Continued in Sequel: Traces
Author: Mink (Thank you Kirsten!)
Disclaimers: DA & characters are owned by their various creators.
Her hair was bloody and matted to the side of her swollen face.
Empty brown eyes glassy with tears stared vacantly ahead. She was an X-6, beaten to hell, half alive. Alec felt the rage, made worse by the scent, smoldering in his chest.
"This is X6-211. She's pleased to meet you." Ames said.
The female shuddered and gasped as she was forced into a folding chair. Alec could hear the uneven creak of her abused frame as she was handled by the soldiers.
"You can have what's left of her? That is, if X5-814 doesn't tear your throat out first."
Alec could not tear his eyes away from the girl. Her scent, heightened by her fear, was making him dizzy.
"You and X5-814 are going to prove or disprove a theory about transgenic mating traits." Ames explained.
Several of the observing scientists behind him exchanged a private laugh. So this was what this was. For kicks. Alec knew he was in trouble when he saw the heaving shoulders and strained muscles of the other transgenic mirror his own. He looked exactly how he felt, staring at the face of his own torture personified. The slightest touch would ignite his rage and then he would know nothing more until the other's flesh lay broken at his feet.
He knew that the other knew it too.
Once prodded forcefully into the enclosed plexiglass chamber, the other transgenic did not hesitate. A roundhouse kick, quicker than sight, was hurled at Alec's throat in greeting. If he had not felt the slight premature shift in air density and not dodged backwards with better reflexes, he'd find out how breathing felt through a crushed larynx. Alec pressed himself against the nearest wall, heart thudding wildly in his chest. The transgenic lunged again and Alec ducked out of the way, clipping him with a forward kick that forced his opponent away. He needed space. He needed air. To his relief, he noticed the other transgenic backing away slowly, assuming his stance on the opposite wall.
Attacking outright and prematurely had been a stupid move. He could see the other transgenic was slowly realizing this. He was less skilled, his conditioning and processing of a different make than Alec's own. This transgenic wasn't much bigger but his structure was fortified with strengths Alec didn't have. This guy was meant for heavy labor and Manticore infantry. Alec had been bred down to very the strands of his DNA to be like a precision scalpel, a thief, an assassin, to be unseen, and if seen, to be unnoticed. His hand to hand didn't rely on brute strength, it depended on agility and judgment.
He could see too, what effect his proximity was having on his opponent. For a few moments, all they did was stare. Alec's muscles were tensed and ready, every nerve receptive to the environment around him. He needed to size him up, learn him, be him. Only then could he worry about overcoming him. Fortunately, he was a quick learner. He could only hope the other wasn't quicker.
He tested him, striking out with a complex series of capoeira maneuvers, too quick for sight and aimed more for confusion than destruction. The other transgenic was forced to escape him. As he invaded each inch of ground his opponent tried to defend, he caught his scent and it nearly toppled him.
Worn hard and smooth, metallic and sharp as the impossible blue of his unblinking eyes. He smelled like a spent firearm, the low heavy burn of gunpowder and fire, smoke and noise. It was overpowering. Bracing himself once more, he clenched his teeth down against the painful, involuntary shuddering. Alec knew he had one asset not many of his kind realized they had.
"Heh." He said. "Never had to work this hard for a girl before, eh?"
A furious series of judo lunges answered him, making him keep close to the walls. Without thinking, he lashed out defensively, the hard bone of his knuckles clipping the other transgenic across the face. He watched as his opponent reeled back, catching himself quickly against the wall with one hand.
Alec groaned. This was going to turn into a travesty of avoidance. In fact, if the stamina of this transgenic's battery was anything like his, they'd be avoiding each other in this box until next week. Any immediate escalation would require some creativity and flexibility. First, Alec tried something he had honed down even finer than the art of assassination.
"What's your sign?" He asked in Mandarin.
"Shut up!" The transgenic growled back in the same language.
Alec was encouraged to find they had more than a desire to kill in common. He caught his breath as the transgenic's form suddenly shifted, a violent blur of color bursting to life on his blind side. He cursed when he felt the graze of the transgenic's missed blow cool the sweat at the back of his neck when he ducked. The blur came at him again with a low thrum, anticipating his moves, catching him on the thigh, the shoulder, tearing the material of his uniform.
Vaulting into a quick aerial, Alec landed on his feet on the opposite side of the room. When the transgenic's outline came clearly into view, he was panting heavily. Two hectic spots of red stood out on his milk pale face, sweat darkening white blonde hair to gold against his forehead. The transgenic moved again, this time trying to force himself behind him. Reflexively, Alec dropped to one knee, rolling away from a lethal downward thrust.
"You're getting closer." Alec panted, still crouched low to the ground. He staggered to his feet and launched his fists into a blur, making multiple contact with his opponent's face. "Tag. Yer it." He let a small smirk curl his lips through the red haze of his vision.
He could see the transgenic struggle to keep his footing, hear the frantic cadence of his breathing grow more desperate. A change of tactics suddenly occurred to him. It was a risk of control. Contact with the unstable hellion could mean one of two things. He needed to get closer and then he would know.
If he was going to be Kryptonite, why not go all the way?
"You can't hurt me." He said, meeting the transgenic's glittering eyes from the other side of the room, bouncing on the balls of his feet. As he expected, the words had their desired effect. Here came X-5 814 in full speed, teeth bared and fists ready.
With a yell, Alec let his body absorb the shock of pounds of pure, enraged muscle. He was not afraid to die. He needed the last eyes he looked into to know that.
He heard his skull crack against the hard surface of the wall behind him, tasting blood where he bit down hard on his tongue. The hands of the transgenic were closed around his throat. Weakly, he shifted his shoulder, trying to shrug him off. The scent was suffocating. The coppery organic twang of blood mingled with the pull and burn of his sweat. Alec gasped, forcing himself to keep his eyes open. He could feel the transgenic's chest heaving against his, aware of every movement, every change. He heard the heightened roar of his blood as the fingers of one trembling hand tightened around his throat.
Stupid. Stupid. He was so stupid. The Kryptonite worked both ways didn't it?
He smelled the bright trickle of blood appear at the corner of the other transgenic's mouth before he saw it.
It was too much.
His skin was much too warm. Alec struggled to breathe but it was like breathing in fumes, heady and disorienting. He almost gagged. A hand moved hard between his legs, pushing his thighs apart. The other hand was almost choking him, thumb pressed firm beneath his jaw, the X-5's mouth hurting his in its fierceness. He couldn't breathe and he didn't care. All he felt was the span of flesh of their stomachs touching like fire where their shirts had ridden up, all he wanted was to be crushed by hands whose strength he couldn't equal if he wanted. Fingers pressed into his wounded shoulder as a hand sought desperately under his shirt, fumbled at his waist, unable to touch or feel enough, fast enough, soon enough...
Alec heard himself panting, his mouth forced open, his lower lip caught in his opponents teeth, he let him hurt and bruise, pushing hips up against the thigh wedged between his legs. When both of his hands were slammed hard above his head and held there, Alec was too far gone to do anything but let the other transgenic do anything he wanted.
It was violence, this act. Pure and simple. Somewhere in the haze of his senses there was the pain, coming relentlessly with every touch. But worse by far was the need.
"Please." He heard the transgenic's voice quiver, weary and desperate. He pulled back a little. "It...it hurts. Can't...b-breathe."
"I-I know." Alec stammered.
814 swung his ankle out and floored them both.
Alec groaned under his weight.
It apparently took the guards more than a few moments to realize they were no longer fighting. The doors were buzzed open. It was already too late, it was too much. The contact. The scent. The feel of a body pressed down over his own. With a harsh moan, Alec struggled to look up and find White. He saw all the people standing there behind the reinforced plexiglass just watching them like the animals the Agent claimed they had no relation to. He thought of all the cameras that were recording them, footage that would be rewatched and analyzed. Alec thought he might be sick when the pleading look he knew he had was met by Ames White. White could end this right now. White could stop this from happening in front this horrible detached audience of strangers wanting to dissect him.
White only smiled.
Alec felt himself shudder and seize, writhing under the other's weight, his vision going dark as all the blood in his body rushed away and was replaced with a calm. He grasped out when he felt X5-814 being pulled away from him, and as soon as his body was cool and unhindered, he fell back gasping. All he saw before everything went black was Ames White behind the glass.
And he could not read the look that met him there.
Alec slowly opened his eyes to the dark.
After the show the powers that be had gotten a good look at what they knew on paper. Transgenics were stronger and faster, most would say better than a human being. Looks like it had made the staff on property a little nervous because he wasn't left unrestrained in his cell this time. He could hear the nearest cell to him, 814, smell him struggling, his smell mingling with someone else. Had 814 been engineered like he had? Could he hear Alec staying perfectly still so very close by? Did he know he could hear Ames and smell him as 814 cried out along the line of pain and pleasure? Desperate and pleading, as hopeful for release as Alec had been on the floor in front of so many eyes.
White's smell overpowered everything else, seeping in around him like fumes from a smoldering fire, spreading like black smoke up over the ceiling and pouring down the corners. He did smell like an X but there was something else there. Older. Deeper. Heavy and aglow like an ember. A natural transgenic. There was silence from beyond his walls, the only thing Alec could detect was the slow labored breathing of 814 and fading footsteps of the man that had tormented him.
But the scent lingered.
With each deep inhale Alec made, one more piece of his plan formed in his mind.
Armed lab techs came and reconnected him to a feeding tube who knew what else.
Ignoring his hissing when they jabbed needle after needle into his arms, they did their work quickly and left. For some reason that could only mean they were going to be moving him soon, they left him only in hand binds. It enabled him to move to his corner and get the other transgenic's attention. When he finally did, he was relieved to see they had reduced him to wrist restraints as well. The way they were situated they could only see each other's hands through the narrow slit of space on the side of their containers. That was just fine.
Hands were all they needed.
They're watching us.
The X hand coded to him through the slated bars.
Alec quickly handed coded back the sign to use Code Alpha Zulu. It incorporated every hand code they knew in a rapid shifting backwards pattern. Once their observers decoded one hand sign they'd be beyond them moving into another dozen languages, rhythms and alphabets. It was taught for hostage capture situations. Alec supposed this was it.
I'm Alec. Do you have a name?
A real name.
Good God, he reminded himself of Max. And for the first time in a long time he allowed himself to picture her face clearly and remember the timber of her voice. He wondered if she was on her bike right now express speeding down the side streets to make Normal's ridiculous quotas. Alec felt his jaw clench. He never thought he might remotely miss than dank basement dump bustling full of messengers and noise. He put it out of his mind.
The X-5 coded hesitantly back, his shaking hands barely legible.
On the outside, they used to call me Erik.
Alec watched him, beyond in the shadows, shudder and try to stay upright.
They're going to kill us. Erik signed weakly.
Alec smirked. Not if we leave before we give them a chance. His smirk died. He wanted to ask if Ames had hurt him but he already knew what the agent had done. If their roles were reversed he wouldn't want that question either.
He glanced up at the three rotating cameras that observed them.
If we can keep it together long enough, I think we have a shot at getting out of here.
He heard Erik sit back and lower his hands making him go out of sight.
It's not your fault. Alec swallowed, hoping Erik was still watching and trying not to show his shame too with his own trembling hands. It was simmering hard, but he didn't have time for it now that he could see a chance. Alone he was toast, but with help? This Erik could be reasoned with and Ames had no idea what one X-5 was capable of let alone two that were organized.
Undoubtedly their hand code was being read, but they both made sure it'd be mistaken for something benign. Cramped quarters. Misery. Useless hoping aloud. They feigned the typical talk of the confined.
It was time Ames got another lesson about transgenics.
Ames watched the procession carefully from the command center
Dozens of close circuit camera allowed his men to monitor any part of the complex at any given moment. The focus at the moment, was the lower labs. The two surviving X-5 males were being taken out of their cells for the last time.
494 was looking forward to a nice long stint in an examining chair until 452's zip code and address was revealed. 814 was already sold to several different South African factions, each demanding their own vital and separate piece. When they were done with 494 he had the infernal luck of being acquired by a firm that preferred him alive and intact. His staff had two operating rooms prepped for 814's dissection, and subsequent brain death. It was tricky to ship but with the price they were paying it was no trouble at all--
Ames White turned his attention to the small sound of one of the men that sat along the bank of screens.
"Problem?" He asked from over his shoulder.
"I'm not sure."
The man's monitor showed 494 being escorted swiftly to what Ames had dubbed an interrogation room.
"Where's 814? Has he been prepped for surgery yet?"
The other transgenic's holding cell was empty but the doctor's staff in the clean room had not received him just quite yet.
"Damn." Another man along the row muttered.
Ames moved over to him, a sinking feeling in his gut. "What is it?"
"We lost cameras 12, 13 and 14, signal just completely cut out."
Ames leaned in and took over his keyboard. "What about the backup--"
"Lost 39 through 45!" Someone else called out
Ames felt his heart start to beat faster. "Where are the backups?" He roared.
"20-29 feeds are down.
Ames watched as each screen blinked off into lines of monochromatic static. Each angle of 494 being lead down corridor after corridor blinked out until there was only one left. Ames stared at it. X5-494 looked up into the camera over his shoulder and winked. It was right then that everything including the lights went black, the energy grid dying in a slow sigh.
The power to the entire facility had been cut off.
Ames made a fist in the dark.
"Lock everything down, seal all exits."
"The X-5's are loose."
to be continued...