AN: Ahem, due to Baloo's wonderful, addicting influence, I have given into pressure to write a
DA fic, a M/A fic. This is set about ten years in the future of DA from the last episode. It
starts out with an old friend but the main point of view will be told through, well Max and
Alec. =) Here's the prologue, please let me know what you think so far. I hope to have the
next part up soon!

Disclaimer: If you hear of any DA sales, let me know cause I don't own nothing...

************************* Terminal Nation: Prologue ****************************

Raymond Black slipped into the study of his Aunt's house, their house... It was quiet, dark,
and cool. It smelled of old books and dust. He started to flip on the lamp but stopped,
preferring the anonymity of the blackness that filled the room. He sidestepped stacks of paper
and the large, rosewood desk, an original from Pre-Pulse days. Almost everything in here was.

Quietly, furtively, he glanced around, hazel eyes dark, before stealing over to the far wall.
Trembling fingers reach for the oil painting that depicted a rural American scene. The painting
itself, original that it was, would probably make a killing but there was something worth much
greater hidden behind it.

He paused as his sensitive ears picked up the sound of a slamming door nearby. He held his
breath and expelled it after a suitable amount of time passed. There were dozens of people
here for the wake. Dressed in black, wailing, weeping for a woman none of them had bothered to
know before she died.

His hands clenched into unconscious fists as angry tears burned at his eyes and choked his
throat. None of them had cared except him.

And now she was dead. Dead and buried not two hours past. Covered with muddy, muddy earth,
finally removed from the trouble of raising a child that wasn't her own. That wasn't anybody's.

Angry with himself and with the people who claimed to love the only mother he had ever known Ray
wiped his sleeve across his face, trying to stop the tears. He took a deep claming breath, and
slowly unclenched his fists.

After another moment he carefully slide the grand oil painting away to reveal the black faced
safe behind. Grimly now Ray recited the digits to himself, unsteady hands turning the dial
until there was a tiny click. The safe door swung open easily and he stared numbly at the
stacks of cash, small and large bills, hidden there. Hidden from the government and the
relatives that came like vultures to her funeral. Hidden away for him, so that he could have a

So that he could find his past.

Ray reached out and grabbed the bills, stuffing them in the pillow case he had smuggled from
the laundry room. He took a deep breath and closed the now empty safe, swinging the painting
back to its place.

With a whispered prayer to his Aunt he crept from the room. Crept up the back staircase that
led to his room. He grabbed the backpack he had packed before his Aunt had breathed her last
labored breath. Before the scavengers had come with their lawyers and their well paid
attorneys. It was filled with dry food and warm clothes.

Raymond slipped it over his too thin shoulders after stuffing the pillow case inside it. His
eyes, shadowed, haunted, flickered over his room one last time, the soccer trophies, the
ribbons, the fairytales and stuffed animals he had pretended to outgrow so long ago.

On impulse he snatched a frame of him and Aunt Rose, laughing together at the beach one day
several carefree years ago. Before the sickness had come. Before he learned what it meant to
really, really grow up. It too was shoved inside the back pack.

Without hesitation then he unlatched the window of his second story room and climbed onto the
roof. Ray caught an oak branch with ease and squirmed his way down the tree that was so
conveniently planted outside his window. He landed roughly but soundlessly and dusted his
palms against his faded jeans.

It didn't take much stealth to sneak into the garage and grab a bike he hadn't ridden in several
years. He couldn't afford the gas he would need for his moped or the car. Besides, plates
could be traced, even now days. No one noticed a gangly kid on a bike.

He carefully hopped on and pedaled experimentally, trying to get a feel for it again but, like
the old saying went, once you learned to ride, you never forgot. He sped quietly away into the
night, away from the brightly lit house he had called home.

Away from Aunt Rose and sundaes and picnics and seashells gathered early Sunday morning. Away
his childhood and towards, towards his birth and his future. Towards gray, gray Seattle, and
Terminal Nation, home of the transgenics. Because he knew the answers he sought were there,
among the ranks of creatures that weren't quite human. That weren't human at all.

Knew because he wasn't quite human either. The tattoo burned into his skin was proof of that.
He didn't have a barcode on the back of his neck but he remembered a woman who did. A woman
with long black hair and eyes, sable and amber, framed by dark, daring lashes.

A woman he saw in his fevered nightmares, nightmares of a frantic mother and cold, frightening
father. She was his angel, his guardian, his savior. She had rescued him from the arms of
evil. From the man his Aunt refused to speak about. And she lived at Terminal City.

He knew because she was the most famous transgenic in the world. Because her face had graced
every paper, every station, at some time or another in the last ten years since the transgenics
had declared their independence. Because she was their leader.