Disclaimer: I do not own Dark Angel or any of the characters, they belong to their respective owners.
A/N: I know not much has happened in this story yet and I'm sorry for leaving you in the dark with this whole "naturally enhanced" storyline. But all will become clear, I'm still stuck in the introduction phase right now. Hope you all enjoy x
Chapter 3: Smart-Alec
I was nearly there, just a few more centimetres and...there! I did it!
I let the metal bed slat fall to the floor in my celebration and winced at the loud clang it made as it collided with the floor.
I kept perfectly still for several long moments until my heart beat subdued and I was convinced the guards hadn't heard me.
Slowly, ever so slowly, I eased my finger tips into the gaps I had chipped around the cement block, with a lot of heaving and hefting and probably some painfully pulled muscles later, I slowly eased the large cement block from it's original place and pushed it out of the way.
I crouched down even lower than I already was and carefully stuck my head through the newly formed gap in the wall.
I couldn't help but smile, probably for the first time since I'd spent the night with 494, I was actually smiling!
And with good reason, too. Just as I had thought, there was an opening behind the brick wall, probably some kind of ventilation shaft, I didn't know much about these things.
All I did know, was that this could be my one way ticket out of Manticore. I changed my body position and sucked in as I slowly slid my entire body through the gap in the wall and ended up in another crouch position in the tight space of the ventilation shaft thing.
The whole vent looked to be very crudely bolted together, like someone had done it in five minutes. Using my fingers, I slowly prised apart the floor of the shaft, the screws holding the metal together fell away easily, rusty.
This thing couldn't still be in use.
I guess if it was there would be some ventilation.
Now or never, I told myself.
I closed my eyes as I let myself drop through my newly created hole, and was surprised when I landed on my feet. Crouched down, but on my feet.
I winced as I felt the burn in my legs, I fell into a sitting position before I forced myself to stand.
I couldn't see at first. There was practically no light down here except for the odd, half-flickering light bulb.
Manticore must have abandoned this thing, maybe build those cells above it?
It must have been some kind of warehouse, some kind of large storage space, there was nothing to this room except a few empty, wayward boxes strewn across the floor and some wall panelling propped up against the genuine wall.
I sighed as I looked around, had I just gotten myself stuck in another room?
I looked around helplessly until my gaze settled on the wall panelling, it was propped against the wall at a strange angle, like there was some kind of indent in the wall?
If there was, maybe I could get my trusty metal bed slat and hack at that?
It was half a joke.
Using all the strength I could muster, I hauled the wall panelling to the ground, certain that no one could hear me down here, even with their enhanced hearing, then I almost cried.
Tears of joy actually, it was a window, a large window. A window I could easily fit through, a window two people could fit through.
I could see through it, too. Even in the dark, it lead to a field. A field! I could be free!
But like most things in Manticore, my hopes were crushed before they'd even began to arise. The window was covered in metal bars, like a prison cell, and no matter how much a tugged, how much I hacked at them with anything I could find. They wouldn't budge.
I wasn't strong enough.
I was just as stuck as I had been an hour ago, only this time it was worse.
I felt every ounce of hope leave me as I dejectedly walked back to stand under the unused ventilation shaft and hall myself back into it, as soon as I got back into my cell I replaced the cement block and leant against the wall, defeated.
So defeated I barely registered when the light in my cell flicked on and the door opened.
"Max? You seem out of breath?"
I looked up immediately to see 494 and all of his attractiveness staring worriedly from the doorway.
My spirits were so crushed it was almost comforting to see a familiar and some what kind face.
Maybe not kind, maybe just not cruel.
"What are you doing here?" I asked, trying to force a little lift into my voice. 494 walked into my cell and the door closed swiftly behind him, he leant against it.
"I have to report to your cell every night until you get pregnant." He reminded me, in a business like tone. "I don't know how we're going to pull this off. We'll just have to play it by ear, I suppose."
I offered him a weak smile. Okay, maybe a little bit kind after all.
"You don't have to help me." I told him, honestly. It didn't matter what they did to me, I wasn't getting out of here.
494 ignored my remark. "You seem upset." He said, kindly albeit bluntly and I almost laughed. Just the way he was so blunt about things, I guess because he doesn't really understand. Probably never had a human to converse with in all his life. It was kinda cute...in an evil government facility kind of way.
"I'm fine," I lied to him, there was no way I could risk telling him what I had just done, he'd probably kill me right now. "Well, better now, anyway."
That wasn't a lie, my spirits had definitely been lifted when he had walked into the room. I guess I just liked having someone to talk to, and about things that weren't about Manticore either.
When he'd first come to my cell, it had felt nice. Telling him about my home, my family, my half-sister Cindy...it had felt normal.
I looked up to him. "Do you...do you have any idea what they want with me?" I asked him, hoping to get any kind of answer. 494 was more in the know than I was. "Any reason why they think I have natural powers?"
"I'm sorry, I have no idea." He answered me solemnly, in a way that suggested he wished he did. "I haven't been briefed." He explained.
I shook my head. "How can you just walk blindly into your orders?" I asked him incredulously. "Into things you don't wanna do? I mean, you're a super soldier. Why don't you fight it?"
"They have their ways of controlling us." Was all he said, but something in his eyes, like he knew...
I sat down on the bed, sighing heavily. "Well, if I had your strength..." I'd be long gone by now.
I almost growled in frustration, suddenly remembering my earlier defeat.
"What could they want with me?" I asked dejectedly, not talking to anyone in particular.
"There is nothing special about me. I can't run or break things or anything. I'm not even that smart! I'm sure Manticore have a way of manufacturing geniuses..."
494 coughed slightly to get my attention. "I have a genius level IQ." He told me, but he wasn't boasting. He was just answering my question.
I stared at him for a full minute. "Seriously?"
He nodded in response.
I looked away and shook my head disbelievingly. "Smart-Alec." I said under my breath.
Then I stopped and thought for a moment, and then I turned back to face him, slowly.
"What?" He asked.
"Alec." I said softly, staring at his face, his eyes. It fit perfectly.
"What?" He repeated again, looking more confused.
"It suits you." I told him, "the name Alec. I think that's what I want to call you."
"Alec." He repeated, rolling the word around on his tongue for the first time.
"I can live with that." Alec told me, and he smiled. Just the slightest bit, pleased with his new identification.
And in that moment, he became so much more Human to me.
"You have a lovely smile," I told him honestly, pleased with my handy work. It was true, he did. He had one of those sunshine smiles that lit up the room. It was the first smile I'd seen in months.
"You should smile more often." I told him.
"I'll...try." He replied slowly. As he said those words, it occurred to me that this man...Alec, he was experiencing these emotions probably for the very first time, or at least for the first time in a long time. I was strangely proud to be a part of it.
And as I watched Alec leave my cell again that night, I tried to think up all the ways possible that I could make him laugh.
I barely slept that night, I just fiddled with the hem of my top, lost in my own thoughts. I was no longer pre-occupied with my dismal failure, but for the first time since I'd gotten to Manticore, I felt lonely.
Not just for home and for my friends and family, but for just someone to talk to. Someone to sit on my bed next to me and just be there.
Part of me wished Alec had stayed a little longer.
I smiled despite myself.
The one person here who helped me, talked to me, even makes me laugh.
There was something within this one that made him different somehow.
Genetically engineered super soldier or not, I liked him.