Alec groaned and rolled over, covering his head with his pillow as someone or something pounded on something nearby.
"Alec!" Max's voice rang out. She pounded her fist against his door several more times. "Alec! Rise and shine! I need my Ex. O!"
Max sighed, her eyes narrowing. "Lydecker!"
Alec's eyes shot open. He threw the pillow across the room and blurred to the door, whipping it open so quickly it ruffled Max's hair. "Where?"
"Not sure… Another one showed up a few hours ago." She murmured, her eyes shifting as Biggs opened his door to the right of Alec's, investigating the commotion no doubt. "He mentioned Lydecker."
"I'll meet you in Command." She nodded and Alec blurred into his bedroom again, rummaging for clothes.
"Alec, this is Eric." Max sighed as Alec entered her office.
The man named Eric smiled nervously, his blue eyes darting toward the door every few seconds. "X-Four, Four-Two-Four." He added.
"Where's Lydecker?" Alec asked suspiciously.
Eric shook his head. "We haven't seen him for months… I'm only here representing my charges."
"Your charges?" Max asked.
"There are six of us. Myself, three X-Fives, and two X-Sixes… we fled Manticore during the fire. Made it all the way to the Yukon."
"Where are the rest of them, then?" Max asked.
"Outside your fence-line, waiting for me." He answered respectfully. "May I bring them in, Ma'am? The outside world is making them anxious."
Max nodded. "Alec, go with him. Bring them in."
Alec nodded and he and Eric started off toward the fence line. "You guys have been out for a year now?"
"Four of us… Me, Blaine, Cara, and Liz… we met up with Rosie and Caleb when we made it to the Yukon. They've been out for about three years."
Eric nodded. "They're the X-Sixes. They were out on a mission and went rogue."
"I never heard about it." he cocked an eyebrow skeptically.
"They kept it under wraps… figured it'd give the rest of us ideas."
They neared the fence and Alec saw five figures waiting for them on the other side. He immediately noticed a petite redhead watching him carefully, her green eyes wide with disbelief. The tall blond boy next to her was also watching him carefully.
"X-Five, Four-Nine-Three?" he called. Alec stopped dead, recognizing his twin's designation and the blond boy ducked his head in embarrassment.
"It's not Ben." He heard the redhead murmur quietly. "He's taller… leaner." Her eyes raked his face. "His eyes are brighter."
"You knew Ben?" Alec asked as they made it to the fence.
The redhead nodded. "I got injured evading a TAC Team in Chicago… Ben took care of me, got me to the border so I could rendezvous with Caleb." She answered, craning her neck to look into his eyes.
"You guys coming in?" Eric asked. One by one, they each leapt the fence, landing gracefully on the other side. "I hope we're not imposing."
"Not at all." Alec answered, his eyes still fixed on the tiny woman before him. "I'm Alec, by the way." He extended his hand to her.
She smiled sweetly and gently grasped his fingers. "Rosie. Designation X-Six, Four hundred."
"Nice to meet you, Rosie." He smiled, without really understanding why. "How does Lydecker factor into all this?" he glanced at Eric again, but the X-Four deferred to Rosie.
"He was in hiding in Vancouver… found him as we were making our way back down to the border." She answered. "He told me I needed to go to Seattle… Find Max." she frowned a little, her forehead creasing. "He never said why, just said to find Max."
Alec nodded. "Well, let's not keep her waiting." He turned on his heel and led them all back to Command. He noticed that while Rosie and Caleb fell into step easily, matching his stride, the others still marched as though following an officer. He glanced down carefully as Rosie's eyes darted around Terminal City suspiciously.
"There's an ordinary here." She murmured.
"There are several." He answered, but she shook her head.
"Can't you smell it? It's someone who's not here regularly." Her eyes narrowed and she stopped so suddenly that Eric walked right into her.
A clattering of metal on stone sounded behind them and they all whipped around to see a homeless man wander out of the dilapidated tenement on their right. While everyone else relaxed, Rosie and Caleb let out sharp hisses and crouched down.
"It's fine." Alec murmured, placing a hand on Caleb's shoulder. Rosie was crouched too low for him to reach easily.
Caleb shook his head. "He smells of gunpowder." He sprung at the man, knocking him over easily and tearing his long coat off. Alec's eyes widened as the torn fabric exposed an explosive vest. Rosie hissed again and Eric darted forward, quickly disabling the explosives.
"Caleb!" Rosie yelled. "Caleb, don't bite him." She spit into the dirt quickly.
"Why not?" Caleb growled. "I told you someone was tailing us!"
"Don't bite him! That's an order!"
A tall blond girl, one of the X-Fives, held up a hand to each of them beseechingly. "Don't fight you two."
"Stay out of this, Liz!" Caleb cried. He hunkered down again, ready to fight with Rosie if need be. "He deserves to die!"
"He's human! They're not the smartest bunch!"
"Then stop me." Rosie launched herself into the air and landed on Caleb with a loud crack. They rolled off the man and began trading blows, both of them hissing.
"Eric, stop them!" Liz shouted.
"I'm not immune to their venom, Liz!" Eric replied indignantly.
Rosie had gained the upper hand quickly. She landed a roundhouse kick to Caleb's head, knocking him out cold. She sighed and straightened up just as the intruder climbed shakily to his feet. She spit again, grimacing as though she were sucking a lemon. She quickly lifted Caleb onto her back and moved forward. "Let's go. He won't be out for long… and this guy needs time to get away." Alec nodded and started off again as Eric motioned for Rosie to hand Caleb over.
Rosie fell back into step alongside Alec while the others fell behind.
"What was Eric talking about? Venom?" he murmured to her.
Rosie smiled sheepishly. "Caleb and I are a bit… different from the rest of the X-Series." She sighed. "Instead of that shark DNA that keeps the rest of you from sleeping, we have snake DNA… where everyone else has tonsils, we have venom sacks." She spit again.
"So… you're poisonous." He stated lamely.
"Only if we want to be… when we're threatened, we automatically start producing venom… but otherwise, we're tame."
They'd reached Command, where Max and Logan were waiting for them. They were each wearing two pair of sterile gloves, duct taped to their sleeves, and were touching only their hands, drawing the newcomers attention immediately.
Logan smiled warmly. "Welcome to Terminal City."
"So what's the news on Lydecker?" Max asked, her eyes raking over each of them in turn.
"He sent them here." Alec answered.
"But Colonel Lydecker is dead." Logan added, confused.
Rosie shook her head. "Hiding." Her eyes shifted to Caleb, who was beginning to come to. Eric sat him down in a chair. "I'd back away from him, Ma'am." She added as Max made to examine him closer. "You're not immune to the venom."
Caleb's sandy blond hair shook as his head rolled forward and his eyes immediately found Rosie. "You hit me." He snarled.
"You were going to bite him." She said simply.
Max looked worriedly between the two X-Sixes. "Venom?" she mouthed to Alec, but he shook his head, indicating he'd explain later.
"You hit your own brother, Rosie." Caleb continued to glare and his tongue darted out to lick his lips as he quickly tasted the room.
Rosie's cheeks reddened. "I'll hit you again if you try to kill an ordinary."
"I'm stronger than you." He snarled, blurring across the room and pinning her against the wall, his hand at her throat.
"Stop it!" Max yelled, but Caleb only tightened his grip on her neck.
Alec's eyes narrowed as Rosie's face went from red to puce and she gasped for breath. He blurred across the room so quickly, Caleb didn't have time to react, and threw the younger man against the opposite wall. Before he could think, he was crouching in front of Rosie, his lip curled in a snarl, and his eyes no longer human, but predator.
"Alec?" Max murmured as a growl ripped through his lips. "Alec?"
Rosie crouched down next to him and placed a gentle hand on his shoulder. He immediately relaxed, leaning into her, before slumping down completely to the floor. He shook his head drunkenly. "What the hell just happened?" he breathed, eyes wide in confusion.
"That's what we'd all like to know." Logan answered, his arms folded over his chest.