The characters in this story are the property of ABC TV, the Sci-Fi Channel, and other entities, and I do not have any permission to borrow them. No infringement is intended, and this story is not for profit. This story does not fit into my own little version of the Prey universe. Feedback is most appreciated.

This is part of the Invisible Man episode "Exposed" from another point of view.

*****

Patience had always been considered one of his best virtues, Tom reflected sourly, but never had it been so tested.

He had long since lost track of time. First the cage, then the experiments. And when they tired of that, they put him in a lightless cell until they thought up something new to do to him. Nothing permanently damaging so far, but he figured it was only a matter of time before he became disposable.

And they were careful. He didn't know who they were, besides human, but they were good. He had tried twice to escape but hadn't managed it; now he was only waiting for another opportunity, or the end of things.

Sloan, the lab, the others all seemed now like some bright dream, though he hung on to memories with all the strength he possessed. There was only the reality of captivity, of being reduced to a creature without any control of his destiny.

He sighed without sound, and sat back in the darkness, running a hand through his hair. This one indication of time's passing he had--it was far longer now than he had ever let it grow before, as was his facial hair. The clean-cut Bureau agent was a long way away.

His head snapped up. Someone's coming. He reached out with his Homo dominant sense, struggling to identify the person hurrying along the corridor outside his cell, but the man was a stranger. A new guard perhaps, or a technician.

Then Tom froze as the stranger halted in front of his cell and the door clicked open. "Hey Hobbes!"

Ed?? It couldn't be--it wasn't. The emotional pattern was totally wrong, a complete unknown, but the voice, the height of the silhouette were Ed's. Tom stood up and approached the door, squinting against the light.

The man continued to call for Hobbes, peering into the darkness. He cut off in mid-syllable as Tom stepped to the doorway. "Hey. Hey wait, do I--"

He pointed at Tom, looking confused. A guard he was not. Tom blinked, confused himself. The man was a virtual physical double for Ed, same gangly physique, same brown eyes. But he wasn't Ed.

Tom glanced past him down the corridor, which was empty. "Don't I know you?" the other man asked.

"I don't think so," Tom said. Clearly, this man lacked Ed's intellect.

"Wait, are you sure?" the man asked as Tom stepped into the corridor. "I know you, man."

What was wrong with this non-Ed, standing there asking stupid questions? He wasn't dressed as a technician, but if he was breaking someone out--this Hobbes, perhaps--he was wasting precious time on the wrong prisoner.

"Wait, where did you go to high school?" the taller man asked as Tom slid around him. Tom turned back and put one finger to his lips for silence, then ran down the corridor, discarding stealth and keeping his Homo dominant speed in check until he rounded the corner. Behind him he could hear a final mutter. "I know that dude..."

Security was down completely. There were still guards, but evading them was simple. Tom burst out into nighttime, breathing fresh air for the first time in...he didn't know how long. But he soon would. Tom heard explosions beginning behind him as he fled into darkness. Perhaps he wasn't as incompetent as I thought...