Categories > TV > Dark Angel > One Sheriff At The Time

Chapter 2

by AmandaK 0 reviews

People are scared of things that are different and the transgenics find themselves besieged and hunted in a hostile world. On a mission to bring in a pregnant X5, Alec discovers that all hope may n...

Category: Dark Angel - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Action/Adventure, Drama - Characters: Alec - Warnings: [!] - Published: 2006-03-06 - Updated: 2006-03-06 - 2783 words

One Sheriff At The Time

Alec woke up to hammers beating on anvils right behind his eyes. The splitting headache was familiar; getting nearly electrocuted would do that to a person. He slitted his eyes open, wincing at the glare of fluorescents hitting his retinas. He lay on a bunk bed, the thin mattress not quite concealing a few broken springs. A rough blanket was folded beneath his cheek. The faint stink of booze and vomit it gave off made him gag and he swallowed hard. Cold steel bands circled his wrists and ankles, heavy chains running between them. They jingled when he tried to sit up. An experimental tug told him the shackles were strong enough to hold a horse--a genetically empowered transgenic was no match for them. G/reat/. Somebody knew what they were doing. Thus manacled and fettered hand and foot, he was at the mercy of his captors.

Once his eyes had adjusted to the light and the headache retreated to a dull pounding somewhere in the back of his brain, he glanced around. He was in a holding cell in what looked like a standard police station. Chagrined to learn that it was simple local law enforcement that had bested him--one of America's supersoldiers--he glared at the guard who sat in a chair on the other side of the room, head bent over what appeared to be paper forms. The guard didn't notice and after a few moments, Alec gave up and began to survey the rest of his surroundings. That was when his taser-befuddled senses finally noticed the highly pregnant girl who sat a few feet away on a second bunk. She rested her back against the wall, eyes closed like she were asleep.

"X5-264?" he asked softly, as if the fact that she, too, was secured with heavy manacles was not enough confirmation. She had dark blond hair, same color as his, but it hung in grimy strands past her face, a sign she hadn't had a chance to wash it in days. She wore a pair of blue coveralls, also quite dirty. Her swollen belly pressed against the heavy cotton.

She opened her eyes and blinked at him. "Yes. Call me Kat. You okay? You must've taken quite a hit, you were out for hours."

"I'm all right." He grinned. "Cat. That's cute."

She glowered at him. "No, Kat with a K. Short for Katherine. I always liked that name. And you are?"

"Alec. 494."

Her gaze widened at that. Alec rolled his eyes. "Yeah, the bad apple."

Kat shook her head. "That's not--I'm just surprised you came yourself. I thought you were one of the leaders in Seattle, I figured you'd send someone else to pick me up."

"Like X5-511?"

She nodded. "Is he--"

"Sorry," Alec said. "He died a few weeks ago. Got beaten to a pulp by a bunch of ordinaries, who weren't keen on havin' us trannies about." He paused, taking a few deep breaths, holding a tight grip on his anger and shoving away the images that wanted to come forward. "His name was Biggs."

She shifted, and the shackles clinked. Kat grimaced.

Alec turned away. "Hey you!" he called out at the guard. "Got a pregnant girl here. You really need to keep her in chains?"

The guard dropped the file folder he'd been reading--no, make that /she/, and looked up. Alec smiled to himself; he'd always had a way with the ladies. But as she got up and walked closer, he realized his assumption had been wrong. Her nametag identified her as /Sheriff P. Moreland/. A tall, tough-looking woman in her mid-thirties, she had her light blond hair pulled back into a practical ponytail, showing off sharp features and intelligent eyes. From the expression on her face, she was not one to take much crap from her prisoners. Well, that made sense. Woman sheriff, small loggers' town like this--she'd probably heard it all, and seen it too. He wasn't going to charm them out of here.

Moreland regarded Alec a moment before she spoke. "Your lady friend put two of my deputies in the hospital," she said calmly. "And broke the wrist of a third before we could overpower her. So, yeah, the cuffs stay on."

Alec knew she wasn't going to relent, so he baby-stepped away to sit next to Kat. "How long before your baby's due?" he asked.

She shrugged. "Not sure. Soon. It's not like I've had one before."

"The breeding program?"



Kat smiled at that. "It wasn't so bad. X5-511... Biggs... He was nice enough. I liked him."

"So, why haven't you hooked up after Manticore went down?"

"I was deployed east," Kat said. "New York. Have been trying to make my way west since I heard about the Seattle settlement a couple weeks back. Made it all the way here, but..." Her voice trailed off.

"What happened?"

"Last guy I hitched a ride with? He got fresh. Thought he could have his way with a helpless pregnant female." She tried to sound off-handed, tough, the way Manticore had bred them, but there was a catch in her voice and Alec knew she was close to breaking point. He could only imagine what the last weeks must have been like for her. Alone, on the run, vulnerable. She glanced at him briefly before she looked away, a grim smile on her lips. "Anyway, he knows better now. After that, I ended up here. Money ran out. And I didn't dare hitchhiking any more. Next time, I might end up killing 'm."

"So you called for help."

"Yeah. And now we both end up a prisoner. I'm sorry I dragged you into this, Alec."

He offered a shrug. "No problem. We're family. 'Leastways, that's what Max always says."


"452. She runs TC. It's not much, but it's home. Though the jury's still out on whether or not we get to keep it."

Kat's chains rattled as she drew up her knees. Alec's eyes narrowed.

"You're shaking. How long have you been off your tryptophan?"

"A week. I asked for milk, but they said I couldn't have any."

Alec looked to see Moreland had returned to her seat at the other end of the office. "Sheriff? Ask you a favor?"

Her keen gaze examined him from across the room. "I told you, I'm not uncuffing your friend."

Alec shook his head. "I'm not askin'. But she's sick. There was a bottle of pills in the pocket of my jacket. You still got that somewhere?"

"Yeah." Moreland put down her pen and leaned back. "I read the label. Tryptophan. It's a food supplement, not medication. I fail to see what good that'll do her. Besides, from what I hear, your kind is pretty much indestructible."

Alec sighed. "Pretty much, yeah. But not quite. We come with a defect. A brain chemistry disorder that leads to a serotonin deficiency. We need the trypto to supply what our bodies fail to produce. Kat's running low. If you don't give her those pills, she's gonna suffer from seizures until she goes into a coma, and then death." He gave her a sharp look, hazarding a guess. "Unless that's what you want?"

"It's not," the sheriff said curtly. She walked right up to the cage. Someone should tell her that was a dangerous thing to do, with two transgenic soldiers locked up on the other side of those flimsy bars, he thought. Then again, perhaps she knew what she was doing. After all, she'd been smart enough to keep the shackles on.

Moreland contemplated Kat. "Is it true what he says?"

Kat returned her stare look for look, full of Manticore hardness. "Yeah. But don't worry, I think I can hold out a while longer."

"Shut up," Alec growled. That inbred rigidity could be taken too far. "You know as well as I do that when the tremors start, the seizures aren't far behind."

"Hold out your hands," Moreland instructed. Kat obediently held them up, chains clanking. The stark light of the overheads showed that her hands were visibly shaking. The sheriff 's brows drew down and she turned away. She walked to her desk and returned a moment later. Much to Alec's relief, she cast him the small bottle of tryptophan pills. He caught it deftly. Moreland also shoved a plastic bottle of water through the bars.

"Thanks," Alec said, meaning it. He'd been treated worse at ordinaries' hands.

He shook a handful of pills from the bottle and gave them to Kat. She washed them down with a few mouthfuls of water before she wiped the back of her hand across her mouth and offered him the bottle. He accepted it gratefully and took a large swallow.

He glanced at Sheriff Moreland. She hadn't gone back to her desk but was still watching them through the bars.

"So," Alec said to her, settling himself beside Kat on the bunk again, "if you don't want us dead, why grab us up in the first place? We haven't done anything wrong that I can tell. All we want is to be left alone, live our lives."

"I may not want you dead," Moreland said slowly, "but I am sworn to uphold the law. There's a general warrant out for the arrest of your kind."

"Arresting us is as good as wishing us dead," Alec said. "They won't rest until they kill us all. Wipe out the trannies as tough we never existed."

Moreland shot him a wry look. "I doubt it would come to that," she said.

"It must be nice, living in your world." Alec gave a rueful shake of his head. Why should she believe him? The atrocities the US government was capable of were beyond most people's imaginations, stretching credulity past its bounds.

"The military only wants you contained," Moreland continued. "For your own safety as much as ours."

Alec didn't reply. He tugged at the chains. It wasn't a conscious deed; the deep-seated need to regain control of his fate drove him to never give up. When he realized what he was doing, he put his hands on his knees. Beside him, Kat moved and the bunk bed shuddered. The sheriff observed them in silence, a curious expression on her face.

"The news reports say you're all trained killers," she said at last, her voice low. "Is that true? You don't look it, but the way your friend handled my men--"

"Looks can be deceiving," Alec interrupted roughly. "We also have a fair bit of cat DNA. I bet you couldn't tell that from looking at us." Perhaps not the smartest thing to do, bait her like that, but he was so sick and tired of constantly having to defend who he was--hell, that he was-- he couldn't help himself.

She gave him a startled look before her eyes fixed on Kat's belly. "That preacher did mention animal instinct... primal urges." She was speaking to herself, her lips barely moving and her voice so low that only transgenic hearing could've picked it up.

Alec's eyes widened in sudden understanding. He made a sound in the back of his throat that might have been a laugh. "Lady, you've been watching too much TV. That crap Caldwell spouts... You really believe that's true? That we're all instinct-driven, sex-crazed animals who went on the rampage as soon as we were free?" He firmly stomped on the recollection of his own early days of freedom, spent in a rural motel with a pretty yet vacuous blonde who could never quite satisfy him. His voice low, he added, "You think that's the reason so many X5 females are found pregnant?"

Moreland met his eyes square on. "Can you offer another explanation?"

Alec turned to Kat. "Tell her," he said tiredly, not sure why he even gave the order. Humans, ordinaries, they believed what they wanted to believe, whom they wanted to believe. Yet, something about Moreland's demeanor suggested they might have a chance to make her listen to the truth. She reminded him of Clemente: not so much a zealot as a conscientious officer of the law.

"I was assigned a breeding partner," Kat said simply. "Last summer. Back at Manticore."

"Breeding partner?" From the tone of her voice it was clear the sheriff didn't understand. "Him?" She nodded at Alec.

"No," Alec said. "I got paired off with someone else. All of us were. Well, the fertile ones, at least."

She still didn't get it.

"Manticore's DNA database was destroyed last year," Alec continued patiently. "No more test tube super soldiers. So they decided to breed more of us the old fashioned way."

Incredulous comprehension dawned on Moreland's face. "They made you--" Her voice filled with revulsion. "You were raped?" She looked at Kat, no longer sheriff to prisoner but woman to woman.

"I guess you could call it that." Kat shrugged. "They called it copulating. Orders, you see. It was supposed to go on until we got pregnant. A lot of the females were, by the time Manticore burned down, although very few of us knew it at the time."

The sheriff's face had paled and she looked nauseous. "That's sick," she whispered. "I had no idea..."

"Welcome to our world," Alec muttered. He was surprised to find his hands had curled into fists. They weren't animals, cattle, to be bred like livestock. A year on the outside had taught him that. Yet, even back in the old days, the orders had felt wrong to him. It was the main reason he never forced himself on Max, something he would forever be grateful for; he didn't think Max would have been as accepting of him worming his way into her life if he had. She certainly would have let him die when White put that popgun next to his brain.

Something tugged at his consciousness, nudging it away from his reverie and demanding his attention. Something barely audible, even though the room had grown deadly silent. He glanced at Kat and met her eyes. She gave a barely perceptible nod; she'd heard it too. Her expression was alert, a bit frightened. As well she should be.

"There's a helicopter coming in," Alec said. He tested the chains once more, knowing the futility of the gesture yet helpless to stop. Those bonds chafed, in more ways than one. "Who did you call?"

"What?" Moreland blinked. She shifted her eyes away from Kat with a visible effort, dragging her attention back to the here and now. "What helicopter? I don't hear anything."

Of course she didn't. It would be a few more minutes before that chopper came into an ordinary's hearing range. Alec shuffled across the few feet from the bunk to the bars. They felt cold beneath his palms. "You called someone, didn't you? To tell them you had two transgenics in custody. Who? State Patrol? DoD?"

"Homeland Security," she said.

"Shit," Alec swore. "That's about the worst people you could have called." The time for niceties was fast running out.

"Watch your language," Moreland murmured absently. It came out as something she had said on countless occasions to innumerable prisoners. Her mind was on something else. The sound of the approaching helicopter grew louder, clearly audible now, even to her. She glanced at the windows, which showed night still reigned, and blackness dominated. Not a safe time for flying in mountainous areas. A puzzled crease formed on her brow. "They're early," she murmured. After a moment she gave a shrug, and looked back at Alec. "Those are the standing instructions with regard to transgenic matters. Don't worry, I'm sure all they'll do is take you to a secure facility to be with your own, despite what you believe." She glanced briefly at Kat. "We're not all barbarians."

"Sheriff, your faith in the government is commendable," Alec said with a heavy sigh. "But Homeland Security will have informed the NSA the instant your message came in and the NSA wants us bad. We're at the top of their shit list." Even though Ames White had been relieved of his command after the Jam Pony fiasco, the agency still had a bone of its own to pick. "NSA were sent in to do damage control when Manticore burned, to keep our existence under wraps. They're still mightily pissed about so many of us escaping their net."

"The United States government doesn't go around killing people without good reason," Moreland objected. "It--" The sound of gunfire that echoed outside put the lie to her words and she drew in a sharp, startled breath.

"Wanna bet?"

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