Title- Pocketful of Lies
Part- 3 of ?
Summary- After hearing a news report on the disappearance of Eyes Only, Max is slowly drawn into the mystery of what really happened to Logan Cale…[ML]
Disclaimer- I do not own Dark Angel
Parts- 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12
“Did you see him?” Max croaked. “Alec? Did you see where he went?”
“Max who are you talking about?” Alec laid a hand on her shoulder. The weight of it settling very nearly sent her into a panic. Something about her world was wrong and every extraneous motion sent waves of confusion crashing down upon here.
“Logan Cale,” she croaked. “I know the guy can’t make a quick escape. He’s in a wheelchair for Christ’s sake. How far could he get?”
“Logan, huh?” Alec said slowly. “Mr. Mystery. He was here?”
She shrugged the comforting hand off her shoulder and gestured to the upturned table. “Who do you think I was talking to?”
“Max,” Alec started and there was something his tone, the complete lack of sarcasm, the slight hint of worry that told her everything she needed to know. “There was no one at the table.”
She had to fight to keep her face void of emotion, but inside everything she knew shattered. “Alec,” she said with forced calm, “this isn’t funny. I know you’ve cased the place.”
“I did not.”
“How many people in here are packing?”
“Seventeen,” he replied immediately and then stopped and shook his head. “Well, I stepped right into that one.”
“I know you cased the place,” Max repeated. “You must have seen him.”
“Max,” there was that tone again, soft, worried… “I wouldn’t lie to you about something like this. I must have missed him.”
They both heard the rest of his thoughts echoing in his spoken words, the thoughts neither was willing to say aloud. Because either Alec had missed him, or he had never been there to begin with.
Max spent the next hour filtering through the crowd looking for any sign of Cale and came to a conclusion: either she’d gone insane or everyone else had. Alec hung by her side the entire time, never saying a word, but silently grounding her to reality, ensuring she didn’t cause a scene.
About an hour before the club closed for the night, Alec finally tapped her on the arm and said, “Max, no one saw him.”
“I know he was here.”
“I believe you,” Alec said and a wave of relief washed over her. “It’s just some of us transgenics actually do need sleep. We can get Dalton to check the nets tomorrow, dig something up on this Logan guy. If we figure out who he is, we can find out what’s got him interested in you.”
Max, hesitated, weighed her options and decided to tell him the truth, because after everything he’d been through, Alec deserved to hear it. “He says White’s back in town. We definitely need to follow up on this.”
“White’s dead,” Alec said. All sign of the happy-go-lucky transgenic suddenly vanished from his features. Out of everyone Alec had gotten the worst of White’s torture, captured twice in his short time on the outside. Max had thought the first time, the debacle with the explosive by his brain stem, was bad enough, but she couldn’t even think of the second time without chills. Nearly six months after it all, even with transgenic healing, the scars were still there, coating his skin, peaking out from under his long-sleeved shirt every time he moved. “Max, we made sure.”
She’d watched White fall. Alec’s face had been coated in blood.
“We need to find Cale.”
They swung by Terminal City before the sun made its way back over the horizon. Dalton was more than willing to help with the search. The young X-6, despite being trained for combat had really taken to computers. Max suspected someone was teaching him hacking techniques but no one had taken credit for it.
“Logan Cale, huh?” the kid asked, leaning back in his chair. “I think I’ve heard the name before. Why are you looking?”
Max exchanged a glance with Alec who leveled his glare on Dalton and snapped, “Classified.”
The X-6 nodded, curtly and Max could see that his soldier’s training was the only thing holding back his curiosity. “I can have something for you by tonight.”
“Thanks,” Max said simply and pulled Alec away so the kid could actually focus.
When they were a safe distance away, she turned to look at him. “Alec, I need to know if you’re alright?”
“When we find this guy,” Alec gritted. “I’m going to kill him. He’s got no business bringing this up...”
“Alec…” There was something inherently disconcerting about the man in front of her now. After all that they’d been through together, she liked to think of Alec as a friend or even a brother. But sometimes she looked at him and had to wondered if she knew the real Alec at all. The one who lurked under all the quips and false bravado…
“He had me for two weeks, Max,” Alec whispered. “Fourteen days. You have,” his voice actually cracked, “you have no idea of how bad it got. And now some guy’s out saying that psychopath’s back? Forgive me for wanting results.”
Max didn’t want to look at him, but she felt she owed him that much at least. After all, Alec had been captured because of her, captured because White needed to get to her. “I’m sorry, Alec,” she muttered.
“You saved the world and nobody died,” he said and one of his trademark grins was back on his features. But the smile was transparent, plastic. Fake. “You know me, I’m always alright.”
Another day, another package, another pick-up, another drops. Another eight hours of Normal bip-bip-bip-ing away. Max kept expecting to round a corner and find Logan Cale standing there, but nothing of the sort actually happened. She was ashamed to say she was a little disappointed. She told herself that it was because she needed answers, but that was a lie. There had been something comforting about Cale’s presence, calming and Max had to struggle not to surrender to the familiarity of it.
She tried to stick close to Alec. The transgenic was not at all his usual self. The confident swagger had been replaced by shifty eyes and a sickly paler. He looked like he was ready to snap and if Ben was any indication, Alec snapping could get messy. The end of the work day didn’t come soon enough.
For once, Normal let them off work on time and Max grabbed her things from her locker and turned straight into Alec.
“Max,” he said quickly. “You ready to go?”
“Where you going sugar?” Original Cindy asked from behind them. “I was hoping we could hang tonight.”
Max sighed. “I’ll catch up with you at Crash. I’ve got some transgenic type stuff to take care of.”
“Let’s go,” Alec insisted, agitation etched into his features.
She leveled her gaze onto him. “I’m doing this alone, Alec.” At his look of suppressed outrage, she added, “You’re too close to this. Go find Asha. Unwind, go steal something, I don’t care, just… just go be Alec. I promise, I’m not going to move on this without you.”
“That’s an order, soldier,” Max said softly. Alec’s mouth shut with a snap.
“Dalton?” Max snapped as she entered Terminal City’s computer room. “You have anything for me?”
The kid’s head whipped around and, not for the first time, Max realized just how young her really was. The X-6 generation ranged from fifteen to nineteen years old, but most of them seemed far younger. Dalton was no exception. He was one of the younger X-6s, only sixteen. He wore army surplus clothing that hung limply off his slight frame and made him seem even smaller. When he turned around, he had such a huge grin on his face that Max had problems seeing him as anything but a little kid.
“It took a while,” Dalton allowed, turning back to the computer screen, “but I did turn something up.”
“You gonna tell me or you just gonna sit there?”
“I didn’t turn up anything on my first few searches, I was looking at recent things mostly. Trying to find out something about his present whereabouts, but there was nothing. And then I broadened the parameters.” He flipped through several screens before settling on one with a photograph. Logan Cale’s picture smiled out at her. “This is your guy right?” He grinned again, obviously proud of his efforts. “Logan Cale.”
“You always talk this much at Manticore?” Max joked, “Things must have changed after I left.” She watched the blush creep down his cheek and immediately regretted her words. “Yeah, that’s Cale.”
Dalton scrolled down and pushed his chair back so Max could see the screen. The headline practically leaped off the page screaming Two Die in Shootout.
“Logan Cale,” explained Dalton slowly, “the one you’re looking for…” He swallowed audibly. “He died in that shootout more than three years ago.”
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