last01standing: (DA--Just a dream [ML])
[personal profile] last01standing
Title- Still Falling
Rating- PG-13 (fourth AU has torture)
Summary- Funny how, no matter what, it always comes down to Max and Eyes Only. Five things that never happened to Logan Cale.
Ships- Max/Logan.
Words- 3,000
Spoilers- Season 1 and you’re safe. All of these are AU
Disclaimer- Not the owner
Author’s note- This is, for all intents and purposes, my first attempt at an outright Dark Angel fic. The only other thing I’ve written in this fandom was a crossover with Supernatural that was all about Sam and Alec and let’s face it, I loved Logan way before I ever loved Alec and I’ve been a fan of DA since when it first aired. So yeah, this is my first real DA fic. I’m ridiculously insecure about it.



1.

“Come on man, you’ve got to have some sort of plan,” Sketchy protested as he followed Logan into Jam Pony. “Something more than just being a bike messenger. You know, a higher purpose in life.”

Logan shook his head. “What’s the point in dreaming while we’re still here?”

“Loosen up man. Maybe I’m stuck here forever, but you’ve got a college degree, broader horizons.”

“It’s not always that easy,” Logan said calmly, but his teeth were clenched. Sure he’d gone to college, Jonas would allow no less from a Cale. But after that, he’d cut Logan off completely. No money, no contact, nothing. He’d adapted. Found himself with a job at a bike messenger’s place called Jam Pony, slowly changing from that spoiled rich kid to just an ordinary everyday guy. In a strange sort of way, it was better than his uncle’s world of the corrupt businesses and the false friends. No matter how strange his friends and Jam Pony were, Sketchy, Original Cindy and Herbal were real.

“I wanted to be a journalist,” he blurted suddenly, “exposing corruption, helping to get Seattle back to where it should be.”

Sketchy let out a slow whistle. “That’s deep man. Not entirely sane, but deep. You hear about those guys getting shot down in the street.”

“That’s why I wouldn’t put my name on it. I’d do it on TV. Cable hacks. Never show my face.” He was suddenly embarrassed. He’d never intended to spill the hazy plan he’d had for Eyes Only. “Look, never mind. It’s a stupid idea. It’d never happen.”

Normal saved him further embarrassment, voice drifting out over the usual hubbub of Jam Pony. “Cale! Over here.”

He offered Sketchy an apologetic smile. “Duty calls.”

Normal was waving him over irritably. “Logan, this is Max, our new rider. I need you to show her the ropes.”

He started to say ‘What about Theo?’ But when he actually looked at her, he couldn’t force the words out. She was just over five feet tall with curly dark brown hair, dark eyes and full lips. Normal shoved a package into his chest. “Here, hot run. Let’s get moving.”

He smiled at Max. “Hi, I’m…”

“Logan,” she cut in, “Yeah, I heard. And if I catch you looking at me like that again, you’re going to regret it.” She grabbed her bike and started moving towards the door.

He blinked.

“You coming or not?”

Despite everything, he felt his grin stretch wider. “Right behind you.”

Eyes Only could wait. For now, things were looking up.

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2.

Taking down Manticore won’t bring her back.

Original Cindy’s words rang in his head, a certain and undeniable truth. The voice of reason. The place Max had always occupied before. Berating him for going after bad guys that were just too much for him to handle. Only that was a lie, because with Max at his side, there was nothing he couldn’t handle.

Max was gone now. She bleed out in his arms and never came back.

They were supposed to have all the time in the world.

He’d gone about researching Manticore like every other job. But it wasn’t every other job. They’d taken Max and they needed to pay.

And then what? A nasty little voice whispered and Logan knew the answer. Broadcast the hack, expose Manticore, bring Max’s killers to justice.

And then sit back and wait for them to kill him. It was suicide. Not the kind where he’d take the gun and pull of the trigger, but suicide all the same. Manticore was bigger than his normal corrupt officials. If he tried to take them down, they would make him pay.

He played his hack back once, twice, again. Just like he used to play back the tape of his shooting. In a way, it’s not so different. He’s just watching himself die.

I know my boo well enough to know she wouldn’t want you to get yourself killed over some whacked up mission for revenge.

He forced a sigh and ejected the tape. Cindy was right. Max always wanted Manticore gone but this wasn’t the way to do it. He’d give the information he’d acquired to Krit and Syl next time the swung by, but this wasn’t his fight.

Besides he’d been neglecting his other jobs. The answering machine was full of calls eliciting Eyes Only’s help.

Max may be dead, but Logan Cale was far from it.

He unlocked the break of his wheelchair and pushed himself back to his computer.

Those bad guys weren’t going to expose themselves.


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3.

The first time he had contact with the X-5s, he was afraid. He’d been to the required briefing sessions and he knew how dangerous these soldiers were. They’re not human. That was the ultimate message drilled into their heads. They’re tools, machines, waiting for orders.

It was lies.

He met 452, Max, by accident more than anything. He’d managed to get a job in the security section of Manticore, utilizing his computer skills to strengthen their defense. And in the meantime, he pulled the information he needed for his Eyes Only broadcast.

She’d caught him in the act, snuck up behind him when his guard was down, and said, “Now I know they aren’t paying you to pry in private files. What? Did you just get bored with surveillance?”

He turned and gaped at her takes in the her trim body, the standard issue fatigues and finally her face. “You’re X-5,” he accused.

“Don’t hold it against me.”

“I thought it was past lights out.”

She gave him a mischievous grin. “It is. I got bored. Never was big on sleeping. Shark DNA or something. I won’t tell if you don’t.”

He smiled back, not quite sure of his options. “So do you do this often? Talk with the people on nighttime surveillance when you get bored?”

“You’re the first,” she admitted and settled down in the chair next to him. “I never met a guy on wheels before.”

Any flattery he might have felt at her attention flushed out of him. “It what happens when you get shot,” he bit out crossly. “Or at least what happens if you’re not a genetically engineered super soldier.”

“Sorry. Don’t have to bust my chops about it.” She looked him over intently and, almost as an apology offered, “My name’s Max.”

“Logan,” he replied curtly. He tried to remind himself that this was for Eyes Only. Engaging one of these X-5s was not part of the mission. As unobtrusively as he could, he closed his work and turned back to Max.

She smiled at him and he once again found himself smiling back. “I should get back before they figure out I’m missing,” she said apologetically. “You mind if I come back tomorrow?”

The request caught him completely off guard and before he could provide himself with a hundred reasons of why it was a bad idea, how it would compromise the mission, he heard himself agree.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
When she came back, she asked about the world outside and Logan told her all he could about families and struggles and love and hope and corruption and when he finished, she looked at him sincerely and said, “Sounds wonderful.”
It made him pause and wonder just how bad it really was in here. He was fighting to change a world that, from inside Manticore, probably seemed like a little slice of heaven. “It’s broken,” he told her bluntly.

She looked up and met his eyes. “Isn’t everything.”

She didn’t bother asking if she could come back after that, just showed up every night after curfew. And their short talks slowly started to stretch into hours and for the first time since the shooting, Logan felt completely at ease. She told him about life at Manticore and he told her about Daphne and Val and everything in between. And on the fourth night, she kissed him and from then on, he was lost.

Coming into this job, he’d been planning to simply find the information he needed to expose Manticore and then get out as quickly as possible. He’d never considered what it would mean to the transgenic inside.

Manticore’s contingency plans were simple but brutal. Destroy everything, leave no evidence.

That night he asked Max if she ever thought about breaking out of Manticore. Something like regret crossed her face as she leaned back against her chair. “A bunch of us tried once. Way back in ’09. Couple of us made it out to the fence, but that was as far as we got.”

“You ever think of trying again?”

“They’d stick me back in Psy-ops.”

“Max, I’m serious. Hear me out.”

She nodded once and as he outlined his plan, she started to smile. Logan felt a prickly of excitement in his spine. This could work. He could get into the Manticore security system from his apartment and turn everything off, surveillance, locks, everything.

Then he would make his broadcast.

And tomorrow, the world would be a different place.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

4.

Where is Max?

The voice is loud, demanding, and persistent. The words reverberate distantly in Logan’s head until their meaning becomes obscured in the haze. “You have no right to hold me here,” he tells the voice. “I haven’t done anything.”

Where is Max?

They had taken his glasses, his wheelchair and most of his remaining willpower. He’s never been so afraid. “Look, I’m sorry, but I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

The only thing he can be sure they can’t take is Max.

The blow comes from somewhere to his left, a swooping blur that he can hardly see, much less dodge.

Tell me where Max is.

His mouth fills up with blood, and when he smiles at the blurry figure of his interrogator, it drips out of the corners of his mouth and down his chin, a sticky river of red. He spits a tooth on the ground and tries to borrow some of Max’s bravado. “There aren’t too many of those left. You should keep it. You never know, it could become a collector’s item.”

He doesn’t mind the torture. Nothing short of death can really compare to the bullet that shattered his spinal cord. Besides, this isn’t the first time he’s been captured. Eyes Only has always been dangerous and he knows the risks. He’s never paused to consider the consequences for his actions, but he has always known the risks. It isn’t like last time. There is nobody they can use to hurt him.

As long as he stays quiet, they can’t get to Max

Tell…

“I’m not going to tell you anything,” Logan hisses and every word is agony.

The interrogator’s blurry form leans in close and roughly grabs him by the shoulders. “I’ll be back tomorrow. This can all end whenever you want it too.”

Logan tries to smirk at him, fails. “I’ll be waiting.”

When the door slams shut, Logan closes his eyes and waits for the voices.

Has he said anything?

No, but it’s only a matter of time. Not even an X-5 can handle this kind of abuse forever.


It’s only been ten days.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

On the eleventh day, they break his fingers one by one and he wonders if it’s possible to scream himself deaf.

On the twelfth day they give him back his chair but break both his arms.

On the days thirteen through fifteen they leave him in darkness and after days without human contact, he finds he almost prefers the torture to the quiet.

On the sixteenth day, they stop feeding him.

He does not break.

And on the seventeenth day, he sees her and knows he must be going insane.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

She comes when the interrogator leaves, slipping in right before the door slams shut. Logan hardly recognizes her at first, but when he does, his eyes widen in panic. She doesn’t touch him.

“You have to get out of here,” he tells the apparition frantically. “If they see you here, they’ll…” he trails off in mid-thought feeling more than a little absurd. He can’t even carry on a conversation with a hallucination. “Max…”

“They’re listening,” she whispers and brings a finger close to his lips. She doesn’t touch. “Logan, I’m sorry.”

“What for?” he asks and even though he knows she’s not really there, he can’t take his eyes off of her. “You’re all right. That’s all that matters.” He can feel himself drifting. “You have to go before they come back. They’re Manticore, they’re going to catch you if you stay. I’ll be fine.” He smiles vacantly. “I love you…”

Her face blurs as his eyes slid out of focus. It’s been days since they fed him and he’s tired. “I’m coming, Logan,” she says and her hand hovers next to his cheek, close… “Wait for me?”

“Always,” he mumbles thickly. “Be careful?”

“Hold on, Logan.”

He will not break.

On the eighteenth day they begin the torture again and Logan seals his lips shut, won’t talk, won’t scream, won’t cry, won’t betray her, won’t break.

On the nineteenth day the questions last hours and he smiles as he bleeds because there is nothing more they can do to him.

Where is Max?

His cracked parch lips move slowly, deliberately. On his first try, no sound comes out. He licks his lips and tries to borrow Max’s strength, borrow Zack’s words. His voice comes out as little more than a whisper, but his words are perfectly clear. “I’ll. Never. Tell.”

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5.

He didn’t need supervision to figure it out. One look at the way see moved, the way she talked and Logan Cale knew exactly what was going on. “Freeze!”

She dropped a bag beside her, but he didn’t bother looking to see what it was. If he took his eyes off of her, he was a dead man. He knew why she was here.

Still, the face was familiar, something lingered in her eyes, her lips that made him lower the gun just a fraction of an inch. “Sam?”

Not a hint of recognition shown in her eyes and Logan forced himself to stay calm. “You’re the only one they sent?” he asked shakily and glanced behind him. “Lauren, Sophie, I need you to go back into the room and lock the door.” They wordlessly follow his request and Logan felt a pang of guilt at not being able to protect them.

“Look,” the Sam look alike spat. “I don’t know what you dealio is but I’m just trying to make a living.”

“I’m not going back there,” Logan snapped and hated the tremor in his voice. He was better than this.

“I’m not the one holding the gun.”

“If that’s the way they’re teaching you to negotiate with subjects.” His hands were shaking too. His bottle of tryptophan was by his computers. He probably couldn’t best an ordinary in hand to hand combat right now. “Training must have slipped since I left.”

And suddenly the threat had left his intruder’s stance. “You’re Manticore?” she asked, sounding more than a little shocked.

Logan frowned in confusion. “You didn’t already know that.”

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

“My name’s Max,” she said flatly as he hands her a glass of wine.

“You look like someone in my unit,” Logan can’t take his eyes off of her. “Sam. X-5 453. I thought maybe…”

“Designation’s 452,” Max said curtly. “Sorry to burst your bubble. Must’ve been a coincidence or something.”

“Or possibly, cloning,” Logan cut in smoothly. “Why spend millions to make a different version of a perfect soldier when the same twenty over and over would do just fine. I’m Logan, by the way. X-5 107.”

She nodded. “Jack was 106. They took him away when we were just kids. Seizures got too bad.” She wouldn’t meet his eyes. “So Eyes Only is an X-5, huh? Doesn’t exactly seem like the best cover for someone who’s got a target on the back of their neck.”

“I excelled in computer technology as a kid. Got out here and saw this place was broken too. Just doing my part to fix it.”

“Awfully idealistic for someone with your kind of background.”

“Can’t help it.” Logan gave her a small smile. “Must be my DNA. Besides, sometimes the best place to hide is in plain sight.”

Max let out a half laugh. “You’re crazy. You’re lucky you made it out much less avoided capture for ten years.” Her face suddenly clouded. “You’re the only one I’ve seen since that night. Zack had us split up.”

She gave him a hopeful look and Logan hated to let her down. “Zack and Trip planned it together. Two escapes from two different ends of the facility. Divide their attention. Better chance for someone to make it.” He swallowed hard, these were memories he’d tried to bury for nearly ten years. “My unit drew most of the attention. I was the only one who made it out. All in all, twenty nine of Manticore’s finest made a break for it that night and only fourteen made it out alive.”

“I’m sorry.”

“Don’t be,” he muttered and forced himself back to the task at hand. “Why do you think I started Eyes Only?”

“I dunno,” she said dismissively. “Got sick of only being on one hit list?”

“Hardly,” he said and booted up his computer. “For the last ten years, I’ve been gathering everything I can find on project Manticore and with your help, I think we can take them down for good.”

Max’s smile was slow, wide and breathtaking. “I’m game if you are.”

END

(no subject)

29/7/06 10:33 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] mythverdandi.livejournal.com
X-5!Logan! There's something I never thought of!

These are all wonderful, but number 4 really stood out for me. It's heartbreaking and vicious and bittersweet, and I love it far more than I should given as generally prefer happy fic.

Thanks for posting this!

(no subject)

29/7/06 19:52 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] last01standing.livejournal.com
#4 was always my favorite as well. Distressingly easy to write =)

x-5 Logan has been done before. The first time I ran across the concept was in a fic called Go (http://www.fanfiction.net/s/1323549/1/). I just put my own spin on it.

Glad you liked it. Thanks for reading.

(no subject)

3/8/06 18:13 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] pathstotread.livejournal.com
This was great. I like 3 the best, but 4 is chilling and heartbreaking. You have a good handle on Logan's character. The only nitpicks I have are grammar/spelling related, but even those don't detract from enjoying your execution of an interesting idea. Well done.

(no subject)

6/8/06 18:04 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] last01standing.livejournal.com
Ah. Again, plights of the un-betaed. =). I never seem to catch everything on my own.

Glad you liked the AUs. I always loved this format. It's a great way to examine what ifs without really having to delve in the entire way. Thanks for reading!

(no subject)

8/8/06 03:49 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] duskyfox.livejournal.com
I think I reviewed this on ff.net, but just in case I didn't (and heck, even if I did) just wanted to drop by and say I love your takes on the diffent paths Logan's story could have taken.

(no subject)

15/8/06 19:38 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] last01standing.livejournal.com
Aw thanks so much. This is the first I've written of Logan and was afraid I hadn't quite gotten his character. I'm Glad you enjoyed it.

(no subject)

4/1/08 06:25 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] fauxcynic.livejournal.com
I reviewed this ages ago on FFN and didn't do it justice: all these scenes are so well done, and I love Logan as an X-5 too... but I am head over heels for #3 and have gone to find it a number of times, to read again & again. Just perfect...

...and so since I was trying get rolling on LJ again I thought I'd friend you (hoping you're up for it), and...

OMG!!!

(no, not grapefruit...)

!!!!! You're into Alfred Bester?????

Ah, I knew I loved you. Alfred Bester = Beyond all superlatives... (and why are you the first person in ages who also knows him???)

(no subject)

11/1/08 14:24 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] trolllogicfics.livejournal.com
Always happy to have a new lj friend. If you've noticed, I've friended you with my non-fic journal (
[Error: Irreparable invalid markup ('[livejournal.com profile] spastic_visions') in entry. Owner must fix manually. Raw contents below.]

Always happy to have a new lj friend. If you've noticed, I've friended you with my non-fic journal (spastic_visions) as well.

Good to know these ficlets stand time. This would have been the first thing I wrote in Dark Angel but it was a lot of fun. (my favorite was always #4 but that's because I'm mildly sadistic)

!!!! "The Stars My Destination" is one of my all time favorite books, then I found the "The Demolished Man" and I was head over heels. It's a pity he didn't write as much as say Bradbury or Vonnegut. (I don't know. Criminal that is. Bester's cyberpunk at its best!)

(no subject)

12/1/08 03:26 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] fauxcynic.livejournal.com
Got your reply today and it led me right back to reading #3 again -- and #4, actually (which raises that same, painful ache in the middle of my chest that I always got when I would read a fic like this by one of my favorites, Intodust -- so painful but so well done..)

And oh, classic Bester! Demolished Man was the first one I read ("tension, apprehension, and dissension have begun" *RIFF!*) and I never looked back. And Bester being cyberpunk? Who else would have a whole chapter be nothing but Rorschach test?

(no subject)

6/1/08 08:17 (UTC)
ext_14447: (Default)
Posted by [identity profile] aaronlisa.livejournal.com
Great set of AU drabbles.

(no subject)

11/1/08 14:24 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] trolllogicfics.livejournal.com
Thanks so much for reading!

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