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[personal profile] last01standing
Title- Pocketful of Lies
Part- 7 of ?
Rating- PG-13
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 
Parts1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12


Max didn’t notice she was shaking until the picture in her hand started to blur, Logan’s smiling face suddenly trembling. She didn’t remember the day, didn’t remember the photograph and certainly didn’t remember ever smiling like that.

“You’re guy’s got handles and stools all over his bathroom,” Alec said, sliding back into the bedroom.

“I guess it’s a side effect from shooting,” Max said distractedly. She couldn’t pull her eyes away from the picture. “You know with the wheelchair and all.”

“Wheelchair?” Alec parroted. “Wait, I went through this guy’s file and there was nothing about a wheelchair. For an ordinary, the guy was as healthy as you got.”

Max’s grip on the photograph reflexively tightened. She could feel the emulsion bending beneath her fingers, marring the faces with their foreign, too happy smiles.

“You find anything?” Alec asked, leaning back against the doorframe. “I’m guessing this day can’t get much weirder.”

Wordlessly, Max handed him the photograph and Alec accepted it. He kept his face carefully neutral as he examined it.

“Well,” Max prompted, “What do you think?”

“You win, Maxie. The guy was in a wheelchair. I guess they never updated his records. I’ve heard the Pulse made that kind of tough.” He paused for a second and then grinned. “You clean up pretty well. Still have the dress?”

Max didn’t smile back at him, just folded her arms, demeanor suddenly cold. “Alec, I don’t know where or when that picture was taken. It never happened.”

“Well, the fact that we have photographic evidence…”

“Alec.” She cut him short. “Alec, I don’t remember that picture. I’ve never seen that dress. Something’s wrong here.”

The smile faded from Alec’s face. “Okay, that is weird.”

“I don’t know if it’s real,” Max whispered, for the first time realizing just how close she was to the abyss. “I don’t know I if should trust this or what I remember.” She took a deep breath. “If this is real, that means… that means I can’t trust myself anymore. For all I know, I could still be back in Manticore.”

“Calm down, Max,” Alec said, alarmed. “We’ll sort this out. I promise…” There was a long pause before he added, “This isn’t Manticore. Come on, psy-ops can cook up some pretty weird shit, but they generally want to keep you trusting the illusion.”


“You’re not at Manticore,” he repeated firmly and handed the photograph back to her. “And, I’m willing to bet you haven’t gone crazy.”

She searched his face for any sign that he might be lying or trying to make her feel better. But Alec didn’t do bullshit and he never had.

“I’m thinking,” Alec continued, slinging a comforting arm over her shoulder, “we drop this photograph of yours off with our psy-op friends in Terminal City and let them do their thing. Stat’s good with stuff like this and if you’re really freaking out, you could try and talk with one of the Probers…”

He trailed off as he realized Max wasn’t really listening, but his words had a calming effect on her even if they hadn’t registered. The panic slowly eased off her chest. She took two deep breaths and composed herself. “Well, let’s get moving.”

It was as close to a thank you that she would ever give.


Max never liked the Psy-Ops section of Terminal City. Most transgenics had migrated into groups during this past year; X-series staying with X-series, Nomilies banding together and the group from psy-ops cordoned off in their little corner, communicating with their mind or some screwball shit like that. Whenever she passed them, Max could feel their eyes on her back, probing into her consciousness, stirring up secrets and memories that were better left buried.

She let Alec take the lead, since he seemed far more comfortable than she was. Zack had once told her that the only people comfortable with psy-ops are the ones with nothing to hide. Sometimes she thought the only people who could understand anything that happened in the last two years were set up on the main street, south of the cat people and north of the X-6s. They could find anything if they wanted, tilting their heads to the side and before you knew it, you were spilling secrets so deeply buried you didn’t even know you were carrying them.

“You’re looking for Stat?” a soft voice came from their left making them both jump.

“You knew that already,” Alec said, eyeing the girl carefully. She was a little slip of a thing, barely into puberty with short cropped dark hair and probing, ice blue eyes that Max had trouble meeting for more than a moment at a time. It felt like she was staring straight through her skin to see the true person who laid beneath.

Alec on the other hand, stared her down. Max couldn’t tell what the difference was, why he could hold the gaze of a psychic so much long than he could hold the gaze of a friend. She suspected that it had something to do with his time with White where the familiar had bleed not only his blood, but his secrets…

“You don’t want to see Stat,” the girl said coyly. “I mean, he’ll figure the photo out for you, but you’re going to want to talk to Cy.”

“Why the hell would I want to talk to Cy?” Max asked. “We don’t get along so well.”

The girl smiled and all at once Max was struck by her youth, she was missing a pair of front teeth, the standard second grader smile. If things were right, she’d be in one of the schools right now instead of Terminal City. If things were right, she wouldn’t be an outcast with the strange mental powers no human should ever have.

“You’ll be back,” she said finally, “when you find your questions.”

“You could save us a lot of time you know,” Alec prodded, “if you just told us the right questions.”

She smiled that gap toothed smile again, pushing a lock of her too-short hair out of her eyes as she turned to walk away. “That’s not how it works.”

They watched her leave. “This,” Alec muttered under his breath, “is why I hate Psy-Ops.”

“You know,” a voice said from behind them, “you shouldn’t say that too loud. People could get offended.”

“Stat.” It always took Max a second to recognize the voice. Much like Brain, Stat was built to be forgotten. No matter how hard she focused, Max could always feel her eyes sliding over his features. Oddly, he was forgettable in the exact opposite way than Brain, average height, scrawny rather than borderline obese. If you asked Max what color his eyes were or how he wore his hair she wouldn’t be able to tell you a thing. And that bothered her more than she’d like to admit. These days, it seemed like there were far too many holes in her memory.

“We’ve got something we’d like you to check out,” Alec said, nudging Max gently.

“Was ninety-eight percent certain you did,” Stat said with a shrug. “Let’s see it.”

Max pulled the photograph out of her backpack, trying not to look at it as she passed it to Stat. Every time she got a glimpse of the smiling faces, her insides twisted themselves into knots.

“What am I looking for?” Stat asked glancing down at the photo. “Great picture by the way. You still have the dress?”

She gave him a blank look. “I just want to know if it was doctored.”

Stat nodded and looked back to the photograph, tracing the edges with his fingers.

“I always expect a puff of smoke or something when he does this,” Alec commented wryly. “The whole thing seems like voodoo.”

“Far as I can tell, it’s real,” Stat announced suddenly. “Can’t say for certain, but likelihood’s up in the nineties.” He paused to let that sink in, Max found his face sliding out of focus.

She wanted to believe it was only because he wasn’t supposed to be remembered.

“Does this have anything to do with the video Dalton had me look at? I can say with ninety-nine percent certainty that this guy was the one getting shot.”

“His name is Logan Cale,” Alec added. The name hung in the room, an almost tangible presence. His name is Logan Cale. Not his name was Logan Cale. That was a distinction Max needed to make.

Stat shrugged and handed Max the picture. “I don’t know what else to tell you. I’m just the number cruncher.”

“We should go back to work,” Alec said, breaking the uncomfortable silence. “Normal sounded serious this time. We can obsess about this after we earn our paycheck.”

“You go.” Max said distractedly, “I’ll catch up with you later.”


“I’m not going to have a nervous breakdown just because you leave, Alec. I’m fine.” Even as she said it, she was reminded of Alec’s broken mantra, I’m always alright.

Alec studied her for a moment and the shrugged, shoving his hands into the pockets of his jeans. “Fine. I’ll see you later.”

She started to follow him out but an unearthly silence had engulfed the room. She could feel goosebumps snaking up her arms.

“Max,” Stat said, voice wavering. “Chances of success are falling.

Max turned over her shoulder to look at him. “What the hell is that supposed to mean?”

Stat shrugged helplessly. “You tell me.”


It was another hour before Max made it back to Jam Pony though Alec had returned earlier. She had stopped by to talk to Dalton, giving the young X-6 the task of tracing all mentions of Logan Cale that had occurred after his death. She doubted anything would come of it, but she didn’t want to leave anything to chance.

“It’s kind of you to join us, Princess,” Normal chastised. “Did you extend the lunch break to include dinner?”

“Just give me a package, Normal. I’m not having a good day.”

“Unless I’m mistaken bad days aren’t reasons to highjack my best employee and disappear for hours. This is a place of business. Here, hot run, bip, bip, bip!”

She snatched the package out of his hands. “Look Normal, I’m sorry. I’ll go overtime make up for this when it’s all over.”

The irritation on Normal’s face melted away. “Overtime?” he repeated dumbly. “Are you feeling all right?”

“I’m good.” Max said, “Where’s this run headed?”

Normal told her the address with the same mildly worried expression and when he finished Max nodded and took a deep steadying breath. “When Alec gets back could you tell him something for me?”

“Sure,” Normal agreed readily. “I am after all in the messenger business.”

“Tell him…” She hesitated for a moment, licked her lips. “Tell him to go to Parkwood Cemetery around midnight. He’ll know what it’s about.”

She turned and left, trying not to squirm under the weight of Normal’s gaze.


Max hovered at the gates of the cemetery. It was ten past midnight and the night seemed darker than it ever had before. There was no moon tonight and the light cover of clouds strangled any light the stars could hope to give. Every so often a gust of wind would rattle the dry, dead leaves coating the barren ground. It was going to be winter soon, the very thought chilled her to the bone and left her teeth chattering. Winter brought unwanted memories of that first escape and the blind terror that accompanied it.

Alec was late. Then again, she wasn’t surprised. He probably wouldn’t show up. It was one thing to steal, but loitering outside a cemetery with a shovel like a grave robber was something completely different.

Max had done it before. She didn’t know why or when, but she wasn’t a stranger to digging up graves. The omission throbbed in her mind, like a scab that could never heal. She absently spun the shovel in her hands, trying to distract from the holes in her memory.

She was seconds away from doing this alone when she spotted Alec making his way across the street swinging a spade of his own as he walked. He looked slightly punch-drunk, like he’d been in a fight before he got here. A thin stream of blood trailed out of the corner of his mouth and there was bruising around his eyes. Nothing too bad. With transgenic healing, it would be gone before morning.

“Thought you weren’t coming,” she said finally. “Someone knock you out or something?”

“Got held up,” he grunted. “Couple people in sector twelve aren’t so hot on transgenics. Cornered me and got a couple shots in before I gave them the slip.”

“You alright?”

His blood filled smile reminded her only of Logan. “You’re the one who’s looking to dig up a grave,” he said lightly. “I’m always alright.”


It took almost an hour to actually find the grave. It was nestled in the older part of the cemetery next to two weather worn tombstones that Max could barely read.

“A Cale family reunion,” Alec said quietly. “It doesn’t look like these get a whole lot of upkeep.”

Logan’s tombstone was the only one that was still legible, but even so, the more recent headstone was chipped and busted around the edges.

“You sure you want to go through with this?” Alec asked, “Because digging up some guy’s grave is resorting to pretty drastic measures.”

“Alec, if you want to back out of this, just go ahead and leave.”

He responded by slamming his spade into the ground at the foot of the grave and starting to shovel. Max took a deep breath and joined him in his work.

They shoveled for what seemed like years, neither speaking a word. The scene felt foreign, as if this whole thing was a dream and Max was really curled up in her apartment, asleep. Not that she ever actually slept…

Somewhere around two o’clock, Max drove her shovel into something wooden. They both stopped for a moment before bending over to frantically uncover the remainder of the coffin. When they could see the entirety of the wooden box they both leaned back, breathing hard.

Alec stared at Max intently. “Max, what do you even want to find in there?”

He was giving her an out, a reason to bury this coffin and erase Logan Cale from her life for good. But for whatever reason, Max that was something she just couldn’t do. “I want to find answers.”

With that, she pried open the lid from the coffin.

No one was inside.
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(no subject)

6/11/06 09:58 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile]
This morning, I swear that I was thinking to myself, "I hope that another chapter of Pocketful of Lies shows up on my friends list today..."


And to think I almost went to sleep before checking LJ one last time.

The longer chapter was glorious, and well worth the wait.

And I am so, so relieved about the ending. That's good to know.

Can't wait for the next chapter. I mean...I will, obviously. Wait. But I'm looking forward to it.

Haha, being tired and flu-ridden makes me ramble, apparently...

(no subject)

6/11/06 17:42 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile]
*grin* Hah! I knew it!