*** NOTE (6/29/02): Chapters 1-5 and their author's notes were written previous to the show's cancelation. ***

RATING: PG-13 for some eventual language and violence. Hey, it is DA after all.
TITLE CREDIT: matchbox 20. Don't bother looking up the lyrics, because they aren't relevant. Only the title is.
SPOILERS: Designate This, although some elements from later episodes may slip in, such as Logan's post-AJBAC reaction as revealed in Borrowed Time.

Thanks to Moonshadow for inspiring me to write this fic. I hope I do the idea justice.

AUTHOR'S NOTES: Like many people, I'm not happy with the way this season has gone, and I've been looking for ways to salvage it. Recently I recalled a conversation we had on the Eye Contact thread of Fan Forum's Dark Angel board over the summer. A poster by the screen name of Broken Jack had suggested that due to Manticore's ability to mess with people's minds (think Zack seeing Max at the beginning of The Kidz are Aiight), we might not be able to trust anything that happened this season. When I saw Designate This for the first time, I saw Max sit up gasping after being injected and I immediately suspected that might be the point where Broken Jack was right. Upon a second viewing of the ep and ever since, I've been convinced it was real, but now I would love it if it turned out it wasn't. If the show's Powers That Be decide to go this route, they will win back my respect, and I will be a happy girl.

The first chapter or two will be pretty emotional, because the setting demands it. However, I promise other chapters will have actual dialogue and action. I have a whole scenario set up. If I do this right, Max/Logan and Lydecker fans will be very happy. Let me know whether I succeed.


"Do not attempt to adjust your set. This is a streaming freedom video bulletin. The cable hack will last exactly sixty seconds. It cannot be traced, it cannot be stopped, and it is the only free voice left in this city. Since the early 1990s, billions of your tax dollars have been diverted from legitimate government programs to fund secret experiments in genetic engineering. This covert operation is known as Project Manticore. Its goal: to create the perfect soldier, genetically enhanced for superior strength and speed. These children are subjected to relentless training and propaganda. In the winter of 2009, twelve of them escaped from a facility in Gillette, Wyoming. Some of them were captured; some of them were tortured; some gave their lives fighting to stay free. Since these cable hacks began, Manticore has consolidated its operations to a secret location. Eyes Only will find it, and the people responsible for these crimes will be brought to justice. This has been a streaming freedom video bulletin."

Logan shut off the camera with a sigh. He'd find it, all right. It had taken him all summer, but he was finally confident enough in his proximity to the truth that he was able to take Manticore public. Putting the heat on them was bound to work in his favor; they would get nervous, and they would make mistakes. And he'd be right there to pounce.

They were not going to get away with this. He owed it to Max to see to that.

She may have been gone, but she was always with him. She was on his mind as he worked. She looked over his shoulder as he cooked. And most of all, she beat in his heart as he lay awake at night. If he tried hard enough, closed his eyes, he could feel her weight on his chest, in bed with him where she belonged. He would smile, and open his eyes to look into hers. But only darkness and empty space greeted him, and once again he was rudely awakened to the fact that they had taken her away before she'd ever made it there. It never got any easier.

He was reminded every day of the time he'd had with her. His dress shoes in the closet made him think of her red dress, and all the efforts she had gone to that night to understand his family and save her boss' life. Tucked away in a guest-room drawer was the black turtleneck and black jacket she had left there after their trip to Cape Haven, when she had trusted him to keep her safe. Every day when Logan looked out his window, he found himself looking down at the rooftop where she had landed after jumping through his window, so long ago. She had glanced back up at him, then. She could have just taken off running...but she had stopped for a moment to watch him. Sometimes now he swore he could still feel her watching him.

That was the funny thing. He still felt her. By rights Logan should have been grieving her death and moving on, but he had never even tried, because he'd always had a feeling she was still out there somewhere. He couldn't explain it, and of course he didn't know where she was. After three months Logan had stopped telling people about this feeling, aware how crazy it sounded. Besides, what mattered most was that she wasn't here with him. She wasn't here to share wine with him. She wasn't here to play chess with him. She wasn't here to rave over his garlic chicken. He ate alone now.

He kept the candlesticks out on the table, unlit. So many times she had come for dinner, and he had spent the meal watching her eyes dancing behind the flames. Logan had always been amazed that eyes that had seen such pain were so bright and so alive. What better way to defy her tormentors than to enjoy the life they had denied her?

She had never managed to flee them completely. Always there were people chasing her on the streets. Always there were the bad memories she tried to leave behind. Always there were the seizures. And he would never forget the night she opened her heart to him, laying bare her transgressions and letting him see how much Manticore hurt her.

How could he forget? That evening had been their last peaceful moment together.

For the better part of a year, Logan had been unable to bring himself to show her how he felt. His father's indoctrination, his failed marriage, his paralysis all lurked in his brain, and so he held back. For months he wasted every chance he had to tell her that no matter what her past did to her, she was loved.

Now he was out of chances; Max was gone. All he could do was remember. As Logan touched her picture for the millionth time, he wished it were the soft curve of her cheek he was touching instead of a computer screen. Oh, the things he would do differently.

Logan had learned one lesson, at least. He had to take opportunities when they came to him. And while it was too late to do that with the woman he loved, now was the time for him to do it to Manticore. He would take this chance to hunt those criminals down.

For Max.