Outside

By Be Boring

Chapter 1: Kay's Escape

Kay lay back on her bunk and looked at the bars on the door. Why did X5-547 have to go and open his big mouth about her not letting him do anything? She didn't care what Manticore said about breeding partners, she didn't plan on doing a damn thing with him. So, being the bitch she was, Renfro made sure she was placed a good distance away from the others with no food or water until she decided to cooperate.

"Fat chance," Kay muttered. She really wasn't that far away from the other X5s. She was actually only at the end of the hall. She shut her eyes to at least try to sleep, but a scraping noise interrupted her rest.

"What the hell is that guard doing out there?" She walked to the door and peeked through the bars, but only saw the guard turning the corner as he finished his rounds. She moved to the left side of her room. The noise was coming from the other side, in the next X5's room. She tried to remember who was in there. She had only caught a glimpse of her. It had been a Hispanic looking woman with long dark hair and large brown eyes. She had looked slightly familiar. Her breeding partner was probably in there now, but the scraping noise didn't sound anything like what they should be doing. The next guard was coming down the hall. Kay turned her attention to him.

"Hey, could you tell those two to keep it down over there? I mean, I know he has to get her pregnant and all but it still is really getting on my nerves," she snapped. The guard offered a half smile.

"Yeah, but you know X5-494, there is no possible way to keep him quiet," the guard joked. Kay thought for a moment. She knew who that X5 was. She had always thought of him as cocky. He reminded her slightly of a pimp she had met on one of her missions.

"I sure feel sorry for the one who has to put up with him!" she smirked. The guard winced and instinctively touched his ribs, as though he was remembering something painful.

"I think X5-452 is perfectly capable of handling herself," he said quickly and continued on his way. X5-452. Kay sat back down on her bunk. It couldn't be.

Kay rolled over and tried to sleep through the sounds of the other X5s climbing the squeaky pipe up to the High Place. She could make out a few figures standing at the window as lookout. She could hear everything going on above her through the open window. Zack's voice reached her from the roof.

"I don't trust her. She'll tell Lydecker about the High Place. We can't let that happen," he insisted. Kay rolled her eyes. Just because Lydecker had chosen to question her when he suspected that the kids were doing something they weren't supposed to didn't mean that she would tell him anything. She wasn't that stupid. She knew they would hurt her for betraying them. Not that they had ever needed a reason before to hurt her.

"Zack's right. She knows all about this and it's obvious she hates us. This would be her chance to get us into trouble," Ben's nervous voice reached her. Well obviously I hate you. Why would I like anyone who thinks I am a messenger of the Nomlies!

"Ever since she came out of that Nomlies' cell without being hurt, we knew she was bad. The Nomlies probably are using her so they can get us, and we know if Lydecker finds out about this that he'll give us to them!" Ben whispered urgently. Give me a break. That 'Nomlie' was sound asleep. It wasn't my fault that the guard put me in the wrong cell accidentally. She heard a footstep behind her and looked up to see Max staring down at her. All of a sudden, Max gave a piercing whistle, the warning to the others that they had been overheard. Kay heard a quick scrambling as the other X5s came back down the pipe. Zack's blue eyes glared at her from the window.

"How much of that did you hear Kay?" he asked calmly.

"I don't know what you're talking about. I didn't hear anything except for you guys climbing back down here, but I wouldn't be surprised if the whole building heard that," she replied just as calmly. This was something they did on a regular basis. They would argue and act as though they weren't upset, but inside they were both seething.

"I doubt it," he smirked and his eyes glanced behind her. She turned in time to see Max's fist as it knocked her out cold.

Kay shook her head. It couldn't possibly be Max. Max would never allow herself to be caught again, but still, she had to be sure. She waited for the next guard to pass and quickly unhinged her door. She had done it before just to get extra food when she was in heat. It was amazing how hungry she was at those times. She tiptoed over to the next cell and peered in. She could see X5-494 napping on the floor with a blanket from the bunk. The bunk itself was raised up and a woman was using something to scrape around a block in the wall, probably to eventually get it to come out. Kay couldn't see her face from where she was sitting, but from her hair color it was a possibility that it was Max. Kay went quietly back to her cell. At least Max didn't know she was here.

The next day Kay awoke to footsteps in the hall. She looked up to see Renfro standing in the doorway.

"Are you ready to cooperate with your breeding partner, X5-358?" she asked. It was obvious from the look on her face that she already knew what the answer was going to be.

"Go to hell!" Kay snapped groggily. She sat up and stretched, looking completely like a cat in the process. Renfro didn't say anything right away, but simply smirked. This X5 had spirit, that was for sure.

"Well then, why don't we come to a compromise?" she offered. Kay stared at her suspiciously. Renfro didn't know the meaning of the word.

"What kind of compromise?" she inquired warily. This wasn't going to be good.

"I'll let you battle your breeding partner, like the matches we usually have to touch up on fighting skills before you go on your missions. If he wins, you cooperate. If you win, you won't be assigned another breeding partner," Renfro replied. Kay thought about this for a moment. X5-547 was a good fighter, but she was better. He was a little slow when it came to defense.

"Fine, but only if I get a meal first," she said. Renfro just nodded and walked away. About ten minutes later some food was brought in for her. Kay looked at the food in disgust. It looked as though it was from last week.

"Sure, don't spoil me," she sighed and quickly ate it so she wouldn't taste it.

Around the middle of the day she was taken out onto the grounds where there was plenty of room. Any X5s and X6s that weren't on missions at the moment were grouped in a circle around where she would obviously be fighting. Even the X7s guarding the perimeter in the area were watching curiously. Kay had noticed that while the X7s had practically no personality, they did enjoy fighting. She entered the circle. She saw X5-547 approaching from the building. Using the little time she had, Kay glanced at the people gathered around her. She spotted X5-494 whispering in the ear of a guard. She almost smiled. He was known for gambling with guards for a little extra money for when he went on his missions. It was then that she spotted Max. She was standing near the inner edge of the circle, looking around as though she was bored and didn't want to watch this. Kay was sure now, that was definitely Max. She returned her attention to X5-547. He had now entered the circle. She noticed he was sweating slightly, but was looking very confident. She also noticed that he had a strange smell. Dammit, that bitch amped him up on something so I would lose! Kay was furious. If he had taken something to enhance his strength, she wouldn't stand a chance against him. Suddenly, the director standing at the edge of the circle blew his whistle.

X5-547 advanced fast, much faster than he normally did. She DID give him something! Kay had to duck quickly to avoid his fist but instead came face to face with his foot. She rolled over onto her stomach and just as he went to kick her again, she grabbed his foot, rolled onto her back, and leapt to her feet, flipping him over. He caught himself and landed on his feet, but she placed a well aimed kick right in the middle of his chest. It hit him squarely and he went flying backwards and landed on his back, gasping for breath. Just as she came to finish him, he jumped up and kicked at her face. She caught his boot with her hand, but received a punch in the ribs. Angrily, she twisted his leg hard and heard it snap. He dropped to the ground, his face twisted in pain. The director blew his whistle again. Kay allowed herself to smile a little. That had been short, even with him on something. The other transgenics looked shocked. Not many of them were familiar with her, since she was the one who was used the most on missions. Now Max was studying her. Kay turned away and focused triumphantly on Renfro. The woman looked fit to kill. Seeing Kay's gaze, she simply nodded reluctantly and walked away. Kay grinned. Now she could just go back to her 'normal' life. As the group of transgenics walked inside to return to their barracks, Kay felt someone touch her shoulder. Please don't be Max. She turned to see X5-494 showing off his cheeky grin.

"What?" she snapped. He knew she didn't think much of him.

"I just wanted to congratulate you on your win. That had to be a record breaker as far as time goes," he commented.

"Well, he's not exactly the smartest X5 Manticore ever created. I'm going back to my normal room, so I guess I'll see you later, 494," Kay said, not wanting to prolong their conversation any further.

"Alec," he corrected, then blushed. Kay raised her eyebrows.

"I didn't think any of you had names for each other."

"We don't. I just got it last night."

"From who?"

"From Ma...um, 452," he replied quickly. Kay just nodded and walked away. So Max was already starting with that. She remembered it had been Max's idea for them to have names back at the Manticore in Wyoming. Apparently it would make them more normal. As if they could ever be normal.

Later, Kay stared out the window of her regular cell. She looked at the trees beyond the fence. She wanted to go out there. That was why she loved her missions. It gave her a chance to be out in the normal world. Not that it was that great, but it was better than being in a cage. She was about to turn away from the window when she heard a noise below her. She got her ear as close to the window as she could and listened. It sounded like metal scraping metal. She got her face as far out of the bars as was possible and looked down. Every now and then she could see something poke out of the window that was just above the ground directly below her. Someone was in the basement trying to get out the window. She walked to the door, made sure the guard was turning the corner, and unhinged her door again. She made sure to get it looking normal before she continued down the hall after the guard. After he disappeared around another corner, she went halfway down the hallway and turned down a staircase. She slowly but surely made her way down to the basement. She had to avoid guards and, as soon as she was on the level above the basement, she had to walk quieter, for if it was a transgenic filing at the window they would hear her coming. She reached the door and silently opened it. Slipping into the room where the sound was coming from, she hid behind a large pipe and peered around it. Max was sitting at the window, filing away at the bars. There was a tall canine-looking man behind her watching her work. Kay hid behind the pipe again as she heard someone else coming and looked to see X5-494, or Alec, walking towards Max.

"This is what you're doing down here?" he asked, surprised.

"Yes," Max snapped, "I want out of this hellhole. You had better not tell anyone about this, cause otherwise I will seriously kick your ass."

"Relax, I won't tell anyone."

Max looked at him suspiciously.

"Hey, if you get out of here then I might get a new breeding partner, so hurry it up," he chuckled.

Max turned back to what she was doing. It surprised Kay when he stepped up and started helping her. He apparently wanted a new breeding partner pretty badly. Her curiosity satisfied, Kay snuck back to her room. She reached the door only to find that it had been knocked over. Someone knew she wasn't in there. She turned around and spotted Renfro coming.

"X5-358, I was unaware that you like traipsing around at night," she said coldly.

"What can I say, I sleepwalk," Kay returned quickly. Her arms were grabbed by two guards and handcuffed before she could stop them. Renfro smiled.

"We have a special place for you, 358. You might get a glimpse of something you'll like before we do away with you." With that she turned and signaled for the guards to follow her. Kay found herself in what looked like an operating room. There was surgical equipment all over the place. There was a table flipped upwards that was facing away from her.

"You have been useful in the past, but I have no use for someone who can escape at any time. We'll start harvesting your organs, and since we'll be sending this one here somewhere for some experiments, you'll have this table once he's gone," Renfro smiled casually, as though this was an everyday conversation. "I believe you'll recognize this person. You may even like what you see." She reached over to turn the table around. Kay doubted she'd like it. Even if it was someone she didn't like, whatever Manticore had done to them must be bad. The table turned around to reveal a young man hooked up to all sorts of machines. He looked like there was a hole in the side of his head, but his eyes were open. He didn't seem to be looking at anything, but they were open all the same. Kay studied him, trying to ignore the tubes coming out of his body. He seemed to be about six feet tall, with blond hair, blue eyes, and a strong jaw. Her mouth fell open as she recognized him. Zack! She turned her eyes away from him. She couldn't believe what they had done to him. Sure, she had hated him as a child, but no one deserved this. She heard Renfro laugh.

"What, I thought you'd be pleased to see that your tormentor is no longer capable of doing anything. Of course, that won't be the case for long." Kay looked up sharply, but Renfro didn't explain what she had meant. Knowing her though, it wouldn't be pleasant.

A few days later, Kay tried for the millionth time to pull the handcuffs off of herself. They were at her wrists and ankles, binding her to a very hard bed. She had been here awhile. She wasn't sure if it had been four or five days, but it had been quite some time. The cuffs were heavy. They obviously were not normal, but were made to keep someone with her strength secure. She lay back and shut her eyes briefly. This was just not working. Even if she managed to get the cuffs off, the door could only be opened from the outside.

Kay's head snapped up. The room was shaking slightly. She heard a loud boom, as though from an explosion. She listened for a little bit longer, then smelled the smoke. Manticore was on fire! She struggled with her cuffs even more than before. The smell was getting stronger and now she could hear the fire as well. She looked down for a moment and saw the orange flickering under the door. That was all the encouragement she needed. With a loud grunt she pulled forward quickly and threw all of her weight away from the wall. The chains connecting the cuffs snapped and she thudded to the ground. It wasn't exactly a graceful escape, but she was just glad not to be bound anymore. The cuffs were still around her wrists and ankles, but they weren't attached to anything anymore.

She rushed to the door and started pounding on it, but the door didn't budge. It was too solid. She punched it, kicked it, even threw all of her weight into it, but it still didn't give way. The fire was getting worse outside. The door was getting hotter. If she didn't get out soon then the smoke would kill her. Suddenly, the door opened on its own. She didn't take the time to wonder why, she just raced out as fast as she could. The fire was all up and down the halls. She had to jump through it in several places. It was only after she made it outside that she noticed the other transgenics running from the inferno. Apparently everyone had been let loose, not just her. She had a feeling that it hadn't been expected by Renfro. She leapt over the fence and came face to face with a lizard-like man in an army suit. He gave her a quick glance and ran away. Kay stopped and looked around. It wasn't just the X series that was running, it was other stranger-looking transgenics as well. This definitely had not been planned. Renfro would never risk the outside world seeing one of the other Manticore divisions. She took off running again as part of the building exploded.

She ran several miles until she couldn't keep herself going. As far as she knew, not many of the others had come in this direction. She stopped running and walked into a tiny town. There was no possible way that this place could have any more than a thousand people living in it. She started to walk towards a bar to ask for help when her knees buckled. She had been more exhausted than she thought. She lay there for a moment, then heard a voice call out to her.

"Miss, are you alright?" Kay raised her head to see an old woman standing on her front porch. She seemed concerned and certainly didn't look dangerous.

"Yeah, just clumsy," she called back and forced herself to her feet. She tried not to look as weak as she was, but she apparently wasn't doing a good job of it because the woman walked out to her. Kay flinched as the woman took her arm.

"You're coming inside and I'll get you something to drink," the woman said kindly. Kay just nodded and followed along. The woman was studying the rub marks on her arms where the handcuffs had been. Kay was glad she had managed to get those off in the woods. That was only one more question she didn't feel like answering.

The inside of the house was warm and comfortable. Kay sat down at the kitchen table and looked around. This place could definitely use some fixing up, but beggars can't be choosers. The old woman set a cup of coffee down in front of her and sat down in the seat next to her.

"Do you have a place to stay?" she asked. Kay shook her head and sipped the coffee. It actually wasn't half bad.

"Well then, you're staying here. I have plenty of room and could use the company." Kay felt a little nervous. She didn't know who this person was or what to expect from her. Still, she was too tired to complain and she followed the old woman to what was apparently a guest room. She was asleep before her head hit the pillow. It had to be at least ten o'clock in the morning when she woke up. She sat bolt upright and looked around in a panic, but then remembered what had gone down last night. She headed downstairs to see if she could get something to eat. She didn't hear anything on the way down, and when she reached the kitchen, there was a note for her on the table.

I'm at church. I didn't want to wake you.
I'll see you when I get back.
Brenda

So that was the old woman's name. Kay walked to the refrigerator and searched for something to eat. She found some hot dogs in the freezer and made those for herself. It was good to have something in her stomach. She scribbled down on the note that she had to leave and was sorry that she hadn't gotten to say goodbye, but thanked her for the coffee and place to sleep. With that she walked out the door.