Chapter 24

Max sighed and braced her arms on the table. "Go on." She murmured.

"Go on what?" Alec asked, folding his arms across his chest.

"Say whatever you're going to say… whatever that may be… whatever Rosie had to leave to avoid saying…"

Alec shook his head. "Max, you don't need me to tell you anything. You're doing a damn good job telling yourself all those things."

Creeping sounds echoed around the room and Mole, Dix, and Luke joined them at the table. "Is it true, Max?" Luke asked.

"Yeah, Kid," Mole added. "You really got a bun in the oven?" Max simply nodded. "Well, I agree with Logan. You're no good to us."

"I can fight!"

"Is it really worth it?" Dix asked. "If you're pregnant, your first priority should be on what's best for the baby."

Max glared. "For God's sake, it's not even a fetus yet! It's still an embryo!"

"Technically you're eight weeks along now, Max." Alec sighed. "We hit fetus territory two weeks ago." At her glare, he shook his head. "Fine. Do whatever, but I can't guarantee that Rosie and I will stand behind you if you do this." He shoved his chair away and stood.

"You'd abandon your unit?" she asked, stunned.

Alec considered her for a moment. "If we don't know where you're head's at, you're unfit for command. I never thought I'd ever say that, but it's true. I can't speak for Rosie, but I can speak for me… and speaking as someone who involuntarily lost a child, I won't be behind you if you do this… I can't." he left then, shaking his head.

Max huffed lightly, glancing around at Mole, Luke, and Dix. "And you three?"

"I don't know, Max." Dix sighed. "I'd have to think about it."

"M-maybe you just could not let it come to that?" Luke asked. They all turned to watch Mole.

He chewed his cigar stub, suddenly looking nervous. "What are you all looking at me like that for? Like I discriminate when I get to shoot something?" he turned on his heel and headed back to the control room.

*~*~*

Rosie hunkered further down over her maps and continued scribbling notes and extra routes as Mole hovered over her shoulder tapping areas and commenting in a hushed tone. Alec was busy assisting Dix and Luke with rewiring the exoskeleton for Logan in an attempt to give him more power.

Max watched them all from her office as she pretended to be going over supply routes and lists with Mole. Conceding defeat, she sighed and stepped into the main chamber and over to face Rosie. "This isn't your business." She said lowly. "This is my call to make." Rosie simply nodded, her hair falling down to create a scarlet curtain between them. "Good. This is over then."

The curtain of hair shook from side to side in silent waves. Rosie was silent a moment longer before finally stifling a snort. "You are so damn selfish." She mumbled.

"I beg your pardon?"

The redhead stood, tossing her hair over her shoulder, and glared imperiously up at Max. "You're selfish. I didn't stutter."

"This isn't your—"

"Save it! We've heard it and it's not good enough!" Rosie yelled, forcing everyone in the room to stop and stare. "It's not good enough anymore." She took a deep breath and continued in a level voice. "Maybe you're so emotionally inept you can't understand what you're putting Logan through… maybe you don't care enough that there are thousands of us here in Terminal City willing to die for you. And you aren't even willing to take the necessary steps to protect your child." Her eyes narrowed into green slits. "Shame on you." She rolled up the map, slid it easily into a protective cylinder, and placed the cap in it. "I will not follow you for that. I won't die for you if you aren't willing to live for your child."

Max shook her head as though trying to clear it. "We don't need you to proceed."

Alec sighed, shaking his head. "Yeah, you do Max. I'm the only one besides her that knows every step we're supposed to take." He squared his shoulders and jaw. "And I've already told you I won't follow you if you do this."

Max glanced back and forth between them. "You've got to be kidding me! Seriously?" she threw her hands up in exasperation. "It's a bundle of tissue."

"That bundle of tissue," Rosie growled. "Has a heartbeat and reflexes."

Luke stepped forward. "I'm not comfortable with you fighting either, Max."

Behind him, Dix shook his head in agreement.

Mole shrugged his shoulders. "What can I say? I'm not picky about who I shoot but… even I have standards."

Max's eyes narrowed. "All of you?" she looked at each of them in turn, hoping to shame them. "All of you?"

"Me too, Max."

She turned to glare at Logan, standing in the doorway with Biggs, Gem, and Sam.

"And me." Gem sighed, shaking her head apologetically.

Biggs shrugged. "I can't, Max. Sorry."

Sam, ever Max's doppelganger, glared at Max in an attempt to shame her. "I'm not going to risk my life when you won't preserve life. Why would I die for you?"

"All of you at once? What is this? Mutiny?"

Rosie shrugged as Alec crossed the room to put an arm around her waist. "I guess so. We've made our decision, which is based heavily on your decision. What you do with it is up to you, but you're no good to us in a fight. You're too slow, you're off-balance, you're more trigger-happy."

"We stand by our decision, Max." Alec murmured. "You're no good to us. You won't fight. if you do, you fight alone."