Title: Twilight Soldier
Author: Azure the Dragonlady
Disclaimer: Don't own Dark Angel or Twilight.
Summary: Dark Angel / Twilight Crossover. X5 Bella/Edward. No Pulse. After escaping the harsh treatment at the hands of a secret government organisation known as Manticore, X5-472 has tried to settle into life as an Ordinary with varying degrees of success. Going by the name Bella, which was given to her by the CO of her unit, Zack, she comes across the Swan family and is soon adopted by them.
Years later, after an Eyes Only broadcast revealing the possibility of her location being compromised, she decides to go to a small town called Forks. There, she meets Edward Cullen. They both have their seeming impossible secrets, but that doesn't stop them from being drawn to each other. However, when Bella's past finally begins to catch up with her after ten years on the run, she finds that her life just got even more complicated.
Author's Note: NaNoWriMo 2009 Entry. Prologue is not beta'd. I will repost it once it is. This is my first venture into a romance story, so feedback is appreciated.
Prologue: Escape and Adoption
If there was one thing she was sure about now, it was that after all her training, all the drills and the tests, nothing could have prepared her for this moment and for what was about to come.
Things were going horribly wrong.
Max, who was undoubtedly a central figure for Unit 2, had collapsed.
330034521472 immediately crouched down with X5-212, or Jondy as their Unit like to call her. All her unit had names. It was considered an act of insubordination, but they didn't care. Manticore's attempts at de-individualising them didn't work. Their names reminded her unit that their superiors' didn't succeed.
"Max," Jondy whispered frantically, trying to rouse her.
No luck. Max started shaking. It was the worst fear of Unit 2 – getting the seizures. If it was discovered that anyone in the Unit had them, they never returned.
Like Jack, Bella thought. Poor Jack.
It was Max that risked punishment to venture out of the barracks after lights out to find where the Guards had taken him. She returned with devastating news. Jack was being cut into pieces by scientists on the table, dead.
Suddenly a thought came to X5-472. It was ten degrees outside, which would not be helping the shaking much. She had to do something. Immediately, she stood up.
"Bella?" Zack, the CO of their Unit, questioned. 'Bella' was her name, given to her by him. She loved it.
"I'm getting a blanket. It may help." Bella replied, as she dashed off to the nearest bed and ripped the carefully folded brown military-issued blanket off the bed.
However, by the time she raced back with the blanket, things had become much worse.
The door to the barracks burst open and Manticore guards entered the room. Their eyes were immediately drawn to Max's shaking figure on the floor. An eerie feeling came over Bella, and she knew what they were about to do… who they were about to take.
Zack wasn't about to let it happen though.
When two of the guards approached them in the centre of the room, Zack kicked the nearest one in the back. The guard skidded across the floor. Before the guard recovered, Zack appeared immediately in front of him. The CO's right hand came back level with his shoulder and he expertly released a punch.
Turning from the fight, Bella dropped the blanket she'd grabbed and helped the others as they lifted Max up, onto her feet.
Her eyes locked with Zack's before he concentrated on taking down another guard. She was surprised to see indecision in them. Usually, he was reserved and calculative, always knowing what to do. But, not today.
Bella stomach clenched and she got the feeling that today might be the pivotal turning point for them. They would surely be punished for their actions right now. Quite severely, too. She shuddered to think about their inevitable PSY-OPS trip for this insubordination.
A movement to her left caught Bella's attention. Eva was kneeling down, hands reached out. A moment's decision later and she grasped the Guard's discarded handgun.
Less then a second later, Eva had the gun pointed to the ceiling.
"Eva?" Bella wondered what her sibling was doing.
Eva ignored her and pulled the trigger. A single bullet fired from the gun, up to the roof. Silence reigned. Then, Eva aimed the handgun steadily at the guards who backed to the door. They were fearful. Bella could practically smell the fear radiating off them.
Bella knew that the noise would quickly be investigated. They didn't have a lot of time. Zack, also concerned for his unit, knew it too.
"We're leaving," he commanded. As soldiers, they were taught to obey their CO. Whatever he said goes, and this was not any different.
Not even a minute later, the unit had exited their barrack, intending to escape over The Wire and out of the facility that they had lived in their whole lives. Bella wondered briefly what was out there. What could they expect outside The Wire?
Well, we had to ready themselves, because we are about to find out, Bella thought.
Eva was in front, handgun aimed and ready. Zack and Jondy were behind her, Max propped up between them as they helped her walk. The rest of the unit were single file, starting with Bella. As they past the middle of the hallway, Zack took lead. Once they reached the end of the corridor, Zack raised his fist, elbow at a ninety degree angle, signalling them to stop. The unspoken order was immediately obeyed.
Zack peaked carefully around the corner and signalled that the hallway beyond was clear and they started moving again. Max faltered as they turned the corner and was immediately grabbed. It was all going good, so far.
At least until they reached the end of the hall.
Suddenly, Lydecker appeared with three of his guards.
The unit immediately stopped, fearful, except for Eva. She held strong, the gun in her hand never wavering.
Lydecker raised his own gun, eyes locked onto Eva. The X5 looked back at him determinedly. Bella admired her for that.
That was when things went to hell.
Lydecker pulled the trigger and Eva crumbled to the ground. Her gun skidded to a stop in front of Max. The look on Max's face was something Bella was sure she would remember forever. It was a look of dread and horror. Something that Lydecker, in other circumstances would have surely reprimanded her harshly for. The X5 were not allowed to show that sort of emotion.
Lydecker started to walk towards them and Bella looked to Zack for guidance. Their CO would know what to do.
And he did.
Zack suddenly darted for the window, breaking it as he rolled out of the second story window landing on his feet, on blanket of snow. It was the middle of winter. The rest of the unit followed his example swiftly. Bella didn't like having to leave Eva body sprawled out on the cold floor. But, she had no other choice. She looked back once regretfully and saw Lydecker's face. It showed an emotion she couldn't quite decipher. He looked at her and Bella didn't take the chance to risk what he would do and turned back to the window. She followed her family, rolling out of the window and landing expertly on her feet. They sank into the snow a little, but Bella didn't let that deter her from the escape.
She was following the trail left by the X5's who went before her, when the alarm sounded. It was quite loud, especially to her enhanced hearing.
Icy wind blew through her and her flimsy government-issued gowns, but Bella had long since overcome that particular weakness. Thanks to their genetic makeup, X5's could withstand some extreme temperatures, for a little while, at least.
Bella sprinted as fast as she could to the nearest line of trees for cover. Manticore would have deployed its snow mobile and helicopter fleet. She concentrated on her hearing, trying to get a feel of what was going on around her. As soon as she had a good grasp on the situation, she would decide where to go.
There were footsteps of TAC soldiers being organised from behind, sounds of motors from the snow mobiles to her left, as well as the propellers from the helicopters to her right from above. Straight ahead it is, she thought.
She moved quickly, zigzagging though the trees. Bella managed to get a little over half way when the snow mobiles grew closer. Making a quick decision, she jumped up into the nearest snow covered tree and allowed the TAC soldiers to pass.
When they did, she jumped back down, inwardly sighing with relief. It sounded like they were headed away from where she assumed Zack and the others where gathering. She suspected that Zack would choose the clearing, with the fallen tree, as the rendezvous point. It was where the unit had really begun to take the steps to defy Manticore. Max had found a balloon and Zack had knocked their Instructor out to allow her to keep it. But, that was Zack, always looking out for them.
It didn't take long for Bella to reach the place, and sure enough, most of the unit were already gathered behind the fallen tree to the edge of the small clearing. Zack gestured for her to join them, an order which Bella obeyed gratefully.
She leapt over the log and squatted next to Ben. Her fellow X5 grinned at her from his position. She grinned back in relief.
Bella gathered that Zack was waiting to see if a few others would make it, but she also knew that he couldn't wait long. Any moment the TAC soldiers could burst into the clearing. They couldn't waste any time.
Bella suspected Zack was waiting for Max especially. She was the focal point for the group and Zack always did have a soft spot for her.
Minutes later, Zack was getting restless, probably inwardly debating with himself. He felt it was his job, as the unit's CO, to make sure everyone who made it to the clearing where able to escape, but he also wanted to make sure his little sister, Max, was safe as well. It was not a predicament that Bella wanted to be in, herself.
Seconds dragged by, and Bella was about to gesture to Zack when a figure appeared on the small hill at the perimeter of the clearing.
Bella used her excellent vision to zoom in on the figure. It was Max! Bella turned to Zack just in time to see a relieved smile creep onto his face. When Max finally reached them, Zack began to gesture orders.
They were to be paired off until they reached The Wire. Once outside of the facility and safely away the pair was to disperse and they were to go underground and into hiding. Bella inwardly frowned. She didn't like that – to be separated from her family, especially in enemy territory. They didn't know what was waiting for them out there.
It seemed that Max agreed with her. She was vehemently shaking her head. But, in the end, Max gave in and allowed herself to be paired off with Jondy.
As Zack paired everyone off, he sent them off in different directions, as per his training that they all received. They will all be relying on the training that Manticore gave in order to escape from the Manticore facility. The irony was not lost on Bella.
Zack pointed to Ben and then to her. Bella was thankful she got paired with him. She and Ben were particularly close, out of all the siblings. He was her big brother and especially looked out for her.
Bella and Ben darted off in the chosen direction. Side by side they weaved in and out of the trees until they were just about to exit the forest, near The Wire. Suddenly, Ben's arm snaked around her waist, causing her to stop just before she stepped out of the cover of the trees. Ben brought her over behind the tree just as a torch light appeared where Bella had been standing.
When the torch light disappeared with the accompanying pair of snow mobiles, Bella allowed a small sigh of relief. She turned back to Ben and nodded her appreciation. Ben returned the gesture and shot her a relieved grin.
Checking to make sure the cost was clear, the pair ran and stopped at the wire fencing known as 'The Wire'. Bella was just about to jump onto the gate and climb, when Ben suddenly stopped her again. He knelt down and cupped his hands, low to the ground, palms face up.
Revelation suddenly lit up Bella's face as she realised what Ben wanted her to do. She placed her foot in his cupped hands and with their combined efforts, she was catapulted over the fence, landing safely and swiftly on the other side. As soon as her feet touched the snow on the other side of The Wire, she pivoted around on her right foot and faced Ben on the other side of the fence.
"Come on, Ben. You can do it," Bella whispered urgently, gesturing to climb over the fence.
The sounds of snow mobiles in the distance reached their ears. Both Bella and Ben turned to the sound automatically. Then, Bella turned back to her brother.
"Come on," she urged in encouragement. Ben took that as an initiative and started scaling The Wire. As the snow mobiles drew closer, the sound of propellers from a helicopter flying close were also heard. Soon after the helicopter spotlight was on Ben and Bella.
"Ben, hurry," Bella whispered frantically. Ben nodded and flipped himself over the top of the wire. Shots from taser whipped through the air right where he was. As soon as Ben got with reaching distance, Bella grabbed his forearm and started running.
After several miles, Bella finally let go of Ben. She slowed down to a light jog.
"We have to keep going, Bella," Ben said softly.
"We need to have a plan. There is a town up ahead," Bella replied, looking straight ahead. Ben followed her line of vision.
"I see it," Ben stated a little impatiently.
"There are bound to be TAC soldiers there," Bella pointed out, as she laid down flat on the snow, Ben followed her lead silently. "They won't have enough man power to be able to cover the entire surroundings outside of Manticore. And look at what we have on," she added, gesturing to her gown. "We will probably stand out. Look at what those civilians are wearing." She pointed with her right index finger to the civilians who had started about the day. They were wearing heavy clothes – large jackets and pants to keep them warm.
"You're right. Observant as always, Bella," Ben remarked, laughing a little despite the situation. But that was just Ben. He was always trying to make people laugh and comforting them.
His face then turned serious. Bella looked at him intently. She wondered what he was thinking to cause such a drastic change in him.
"Bella," Ben began slowly. "Should we really split up?" he continued.
Bella sighed. She had wondered what Zack was doing when he said that they should split up after getting a safe distance from Manticore. But, now that she had the chance to think on it, she realised just what Zack meant.
"Ben," Bella answered, choosing her next few words carefully. "Zack just wants to make sure we don't get caught and that we remain as inconspicuous as possible. He was just following his training when he ordered us to do that. The training we all received. And, I trust Zack," she added. "He has never lead us astray this far."
"So do I," Ben said quickly. "I just-"
"I know," Bella cut in. "I know." He just didn't like that they were splitting up, in enemy territory. He didn't like that he was just about to lose the only family member he had left with him. She felt the same way.
There was silence for awhile, as they both mentally went over what they should do. Minutes later, Bella suddenly had an idea.
"Ben, listen," she said. "We will need to split off in different directions, going around the outskirts of the town, until we come to another town. If we are sure there is no one from Manticore, we can find civilian clothes and discard these ones, making sure no one finds them. We will need to blend in. But, after that I don't know," Bella explained her idea.
Ben hesitated for a moment, then albeit somewhat reluctantly, gave in.
He got up from his position, laid out on the snow. Bella stood up with him. This time it was her turn to hesitate.
"Ben," she said slowly. "You be careful out there. Stay safe."
"I will," he grinned back. "You stay safe too," he said before he raced off to the right.
Bella stared after him. She wondered if she would ever see him or anyone from her family again.
Eventually, sunlight crept closer, and she was soon bathed into the light of the new dawn. She looked at it in wonder. It made for a spectacular sight. It lit up the town and cast shadows in just the right way that made everything colourful and lively.
Not only that, Bella thought as she stood still in wonder. It also was the sign of freedom.
She was finally free of Manticore.
Several months later, Bella found herself walking along a random highway Arizona. Since the escape, she had managed to acquire some clothes and a backpack for the essentials, although she had to resort to some extreme measure to acquire the basics. She was now a homeless civilian.
It took her awhile, but she finally managed to obtain enough information to make sense of what she once considered enemy territory. It took her some time to go through and figure out all that Manticore did to her. She still had to make sense of some, but she was getting there. She knew now that they brainwashed the X5's.
While the circumstances she was living were less then ideal, it was still freedom. Bella was just glad that she obeyed Zack and trusted him. She didn't regret escaping, now that she knew what was outside.
Walking alongside the highway, Bella was headed to a small town in Arizona. It was a long walk, but she hoped that some traveller will help her get on her way. It was a method she had undertaken before, with mixed results.
There were some unsavoury people who drove on the highways, as she soon discovered. As a trained super soldier though, she had managed to quickly neutralise the threat.
A car coming up from behind slowed as they neared her. A women's voice called out from the open window.
"Hello? Sweetie, are you alright?" the kind women asked.
"Er, yes, thank-you ma'am," Bella replied. If she worded this conversation carefully, she may just have scored herself a free ride, and maybe even meal.
"What are you doing out here all alone, honey?"
"Where are your parents?"
"Don't have any, ma'am."
The women whispered to the man who was driving. From the sound of it, it seemed as though he was a police officer. Suddenly, Bella wondered if this was a good idea as she first thought. She needed to stay off the authority's radar; she would more likely stay off Manitcore's radar then.
"Honey, would you like to come with us?"
Bella had to make a choice. She knew that if she did leave with them, a possible investigation might result, and she couldn't have that, not when they'd take a good look at her and her background. Manticore training wanted her to take this threat to her safety out of the equation, but Bella couldn't in good conscious follow through with that.
Bella sighed, and did the one thing she could do.
"Yes, please, ma'am." She figured if they did try to follow through with the authority, she could become scarce.
The women opened her door and got out. She then opened the back door and held it open for Bella.
Bella hesitated for a moment before climbing in and putting her seatbelt on.
Once the women got into the car again, and the man started driving again, the women started asking her questions, just as Bella anticipated her to do.
"What's your name, honey?"
"Bella," she answered nonchalantly.
"Bella? Is it short for Isabella?" the women asked. Bella didn't reply, but the women seemed to take that as an affirmative. "Well, Isabella, I'm Renee and this is my husband, Charlie. He's a police officer and we're going to take good care of you, okay?"
"Thank-you," Bella whispered.
"You're welcome, sweetie."
There was a lull in the conversation and after awhile, Bella pretended to sleep. She couldn't really sleep though; her instincts wouldn't allow her to. They still considered Renee and Charlie a threat. Instead, she allowed her enhanced hearing to pick up any conversation the two in the front might have. She readied herself for a possible flight from the car at any sign of trouble.
"I like her Charlie," Renee suddenly whispered. She probably kept her voice down so that she didn't wake Bella up. "I want to keep her. She looks like she needs somebody."
"Renee," Charlie sighed. "We can't just keep her."
"Why not?" Renee argued. "She has obviously run away from an orphanage and you know as well as I do that the system doesn't always work. She needs a stable environment otherwise she will be back where she is now. Please, Charlie, we can help her. We'll tell people that she is my niece."
"Charlie, please do this, not for me, but for her. Look at her, she's exhausted," Renee made the last ditch effort. There was a shift in the front seat and Bella knew that they were turning in their seats to look at her. Quickly, she made sure she looked like she was asleep.
"Okay," Charlie gave in.
And that was when Bella realised that they were nice people. With them, she knew that she could have a home, like a normal civilian.
This could be a new beginning for her, a new identity to be established. It may just keep her safe from Manticore. It would help her to fit in with the Ordinaries, a term coined for non-transgenics, mainly when they we're talking about the guards at Manticore.
Things were finally looking up for the escaped soldier.
If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to leave a review/PM.
-Azure the Dragonlady-