Max Collision by Happi Zebra

Category:Maximum Ride
Published:2008-12-27 05:27:29
Updated:2009-01-08 22:10:51
Packaged:2021-05-07 02:31:03
Summary:This is a crossover of Max Ride and the TV Show, Dark Angel, but it's more MR and I don't like crossovers so I put it in straight MR. It's set before Max and the flock have ever left the School. R&R.

Table of Contents

1. Chapter 1
2. Chapter 2
3. Chapter 3
4. Chapter 4

1. Chapter 1

Max Collision

The non-descript white bus pulled up outside the huge facility, apparently unnoticed for the moment, but Jeb new that there would be a flurry of unseen action as their arrival was signaled in the control room. The ground outside was still hidden beneath a thick layer of snow as was common for this time of the year in Gillette, Wyoming. A buzzer went off and the gates moved smoothly open to the left, closing again moments after the bus had driven through.

A beam of torchlight, unnecessary for this early in the evening, swung across the gray and faded stenciled letters, 'The School for the Young and Mentally Disturbed' which ran the length of the bus. Twelve children, all under the age of nine, sat towards the back of the bus, their hands cuffed to the chairs in front of them, their eyes staring jadedly at either the man standing at the front or at the unfamiliar surroundings outside the dark grime-encrusted windows.

Another ten older children – these ranging from ten to fifteen years – stared blankly ahead, their hands and feet cuffed and a nervous guard watched them carefully, behind which a young intern sat nervously fiddling with his case of syringes and making complicated calculations in his head, hoping beyond hope he'd gotten the doses right. Reilly was a genius, they said, Reilly never got it wrong, all the good it did him when they didn't follow his instructions. So here he was, stuck doing everything himself when he never even wanted to be involved with the damn mutants in the first place.

Behind the driver sat a sweet looking two-year old boy, swinging his feet as he stared back adoringly at his friends. He didn't wonder why he didn't get to sit with them; his dad had told him they were special and couldn't play with him, but Ari didn't much care. After his mom had to go away and dad wouldn't play with him, so he didn't have much choice over who he was friends with. They didn't really include him, but that was okay, because they were special and he wasn't. Sometimes he wished he were special, but mostly he just wanted to play like he did when his mom was with him.

Jeb looked past his son, ignoring the boy for the most part, as he surveyed the row of four seven-year old boys. These latest creations were meant to last longer than the last batch, but he wasn't sure he'd made the right decision bringing them here. He didn't know if he was making a mistake coming here at all, but as the bus approached the main building and the sign declaring this a training and medical facility came into sight he knew the chance to turn back was long gone, along, almost certainly, with his professional reputation.

The bus rolled gently to a stop and Jeb stepped down onto the hard frosted snow, looking up to smile at the man who greeted him. Jeb Batchelder was ultimately a scientist and nothing more. A father, yes, a husband, for a time at least, yes, but foremost he was a man of science. The man crossing the icy parking lot was decidedly not, if appearances were anything to judge by, Colonel Donald Lydecker was a military man through and through. The man looked over the bus steadily but said nothing. Jeb hesitated, considering introducing himself, but this man obviously knew who he was and what he did. They'd spoken over the phone a number of times but still, Jeb felt like this man knew much more about him and his experiments than he did about the Colonel and whatever operation he was running here.

Ari, unrestrained by any conventional – or nonconventional – means, raced down the stairs and into the snow, collapsing to his knees and grinning. Lydecker's face clouded and he raised a questioning eyebrow at Jeb as he scooped the boy up.

"My son, Mr Lydecker, he hasn't been altered," Jeb said shortly, indicating the bus with a gesture. The intern, Reilly, made his way down the aisle, turning every few steps to look back at the experiments. The mild sedation he'd worked up had worked wonders, keeping them quiet and from putting up a struggle without having a bus full of unconscious children trying to travel north.

"Dr Batchelder, would you like me to unload them?" Reilly asked, not bothering to hide his distaste. Jeb felt a pang of sympathy for his young nephew, but nodded briefly, watching him go back to the things he hated. The Director had been putting pressure on Jeb since he'd sold part of his company to her and he was making a last ditch attempt to keep The School under his control and supervision. Filling it with people he could trust was one thing, but he doubted he could keep the place from her clutches much longer. The tendrils of her control extended ever more with each piece of equipment she provided the funding for and more and more Jeb was starting to realize his folly in trying to keep his experiments from her influence. Improving the human species illegally didn't bring in money, creating super soldiers did – or would, if they could get it right.

The experiments stepped off the bus and into the snow, not even flinching as their bare feet crunched into the skin of ice that had formed over the snow, their blank staring eyes focused on some point ahead of them, fixed in the distance. Jeb hoped that some of them would survive the exercise planned.

"The barracks are this way. We've cleared cell block E for them." Lydecker turned and started for the building, the expectation that Jeb and his 'soldiers' would follow obvious in the man's confident stride. Jeb looked at the children, the youngest a pair of skinny toddlers, whose twin stares tore at him with their blue mournful eyes. He shuddered at the idea of these beautiful children being left broken and beaten by whatever monsters this Lydecker fellow had created. What had he done?

"Come on, Reilly, you heard the man, let's get the experiments out of the cold," he announced, feeling the full burden of selling his soul for his company to remain intact. His nephew nodded wearily and he looked down at his son pulling at his hand. His dreams had lost him his wife already, his nephew's happiness, and if what the director planned was true he may have already lost his son. Was it all worth it? He'd brought these children here to fight trained killers. He'd brought them here to die. It was no longer a question of whether it was worth 'it,' because what he'd strived to save were all about to be destroyed.

2. Chapter 2

Chapter 2

Lydecker paced before his precise lines of super soldiers. They didn't move, barely breathed, because they feared him. Stronger than him, smarter; the most brilliant tactical minds in the world, but they wouldn't move, wouldn't break rank, because they were young and had never known any different. They were just kids despite all their training and they were scared. Their eyes were fixed on the projection, their minds focused on his every word, absorbing the lesson with a single mindedness that had shocked the officials poking their noses into Lydecker's assignment. He had little patience for such men.

"Your mission," Lydecker ordered, "is to capture or kill the enemy targets. There are four groups; two of these groups will be working as one. There are twelve targets in this combined group, ranging from one-year to nine years of age, you will aim to capture, first, execute only if necessary. Group Two consists of four targets, of seven years of age. Group Three: ages ten to fifteen." The soldiers took it all in, watching the pictures flashing across the projector screen.

"X5-599, your unit will counteract the threat of Group One. X6-871, your unit will counteract the threat of Group Two. X6-872, your unit will terminate all members of Group Three."

There was no hesitation in Lydecker's manner. He'd raised them well, though, his kids didn't show any sign of distress at taking another life. They never had before. His confidence wasn't misplaced. He'd seen the rabble that Batchelder fool had brought; they were no match for the highly trained officers of the super human army he was training here.

"Sir," A man in a solid green uniform tilted his head forward, standing in the doorway expectantly.

Lydecker crossed the room, "What?" he said sharply, frustrated at being disturbed at this late stage. They had the tactical advantage, perhaps even the physical advantage if what the scientist-turned-father-figure had told him, but that meant little in the grand scheme of things; he could not afford a loss, whereas Batchelder had been sent here with the very purpose of losing some failed, but surviving, experiments.

"Batchelder wants to see you; I can take over for you here, sir," the man announced, standing to attention.

Lydecker studied the man, another of his precious kids' mentors, wondering what that sorry excuse for a scientist could want with him. "Very well," he answered, striding from the room purposefully, for the E block barracks, only to be interrupted again after a few steps.


Lydecker turned, annoyed now at the man's incompetence, how hard could it be to deliver a message? He waited expectantly for the man to speak, the door to the room stayed open, held by the green clad soldier. "Batchelder asked that you bring examples of your work with you, sir,"

Lydecker stared at the man for a long moment, "Request denied; Batchelder can study our research after the exercise has been complete," Lydecker said coldly, "Now, get in there, soldier and do your job. I want the X5's present in the courtyard by 2100 hours," he said, not waiting for the man to salute, he turned on his heel and strode off down the halls. What did Batchelder think this place was? His experiments might be treated as kids or ignored for the most part but that wasn't how things were done here. There were rules, protocols to be followed, paperwork t be done.

He entered the E block barracks, looking over the children clustered around each of the end beds, keeping as far from their keepers as possible. Lydecker dropped his gaze to Batchelder, seated on the first bed and facing away from the door, Reilly and the guard sat opposite him and stood when he approached. Batchelder turned and stood, stretching a little as he did so.

"Mr Lydecker… did you not receive my request to see some of your experiments?" Batchelder asked as he realized no one had followed him in.

"I received your request. The X-series aren't granted the clearance to make journeys over the base without planning, I will arrange for you to see them tomorrow," Lydecker said, as diplomatically as he could muster, he wasn't a political creature, but he understood that this man was close to his breaking point. He didn't want to be the one to force him into the extreme.

Batchelder nodded his acquiescence, "That's understandable, I suppose, would you like to meet ours?" he offered mildly and Lydecker felt a flicker of… something. He'd occasionally wondered at his kids' personalities had they been given the opportunity to grow up normally, sometimes it was personal interest, other times he wondered how much of their nature was nature and how much was their soldier upbringing here.

"Right this way then – Reilly, Marc – they get frightened rather easily I'm afraid," Batchelder said, as the two men stood to follow, Batchelder had taken his silence for acceptance, but Lydecker said nothing as the man led him towards the cluster of children.

Lydecker noticed that despite the experiments being free in the large room – excluding their urge to stay as far away from the adults – they still gathered in their units. The two groups of six were relatively close together, but the fact that they were two not one was clearly defined in the way they ignored the other. On closer inspection, Lydecker could see the two groups mirrored each other: clones. He had his share of them here, but in his experience the clone was never as efficient or naturally skilled as the original, they'd never worked out why.

Batchelder went over to the first – or what he assumed was the first – set of six and spoke quietly to the eldest girl. She nodded, her lip caught between her teeth and turned to her group, before they all stood and followed Batchelder back to where he was standing, waiting.

"Mr Lydecker, this is Max and her flock, they're recombinant avian-human hybrids; that is to say they have wings,"

Lydecker studied them all with a well-trained eye and decided that while they didn't look all that special, this kids' could probably compare to his own. He had no doubt they would lose, in the end, but maybe this wouldn't be as easy as he'd expected. Not that it mattered, this was still a training exercise, the more challenging the better his soldiers would become.

He left without speaking to the girl and walking away, back to his neat lines of super soldiers, only then did he realize that these experiments barely had a chance. Because they were the nightmares his kids feared.

3. Chapter 3

Chapter 3

The X5s were given one hour of rest before they would be required in the courtyard, but not all of them slept, not all of them needed sleep. X5-452 lay on her bunk, staring at the ceiling uneasily, she'd overheard the murmurs from an X6 of what they were facing tonight. She heard movement to her left and turned her head.


She sat up and a moment later Ben – or X5-493 as he was known to the staff or anyone outside their unit – had crossed the room to her bunk. He crouched beside her and she felt the attention of some of the others – Zack, Jondy, Eva, Jack, Brin. Zack crossed the room, glaring at us, and signaled adamantly that we were to obey our orders and rest.

"They say we're to fight the 'Nomalies," Ben said desperately and Zack's scowl lifted slightly, "What are going to do?"

"We capture or kill," Zack said firmly, not one to be swayed by superstition, "The 'Nomalies live in the basement, these enemies were seen getting off a large vehicle, and they're younger than the usual 'Nomalies,"

Ben shook his head, "I still think we should make an offering, the Blue Lady will protect us,"

"No," Zack said shortly, "We don't have time and we'd likely be caught,"

Ben opened his mouth to speak and Max put her hand on his shoulder, "We can't go up to the High Place tonight, you know that. Make your offering here or not at all, but don't worry about it all so much; Zack is right, they aren't real 'Nomalies."

Ben nodded reluctantly, but the marching step of boots sent him and Zack scuttling back to their bunks, before the door could open and reveal them. Everyone lay still, eyes closed, waiting for the door to open before they opened their eyes and rose from their beds almost as one, those who had slept fully awake and revitalized. They fell into two lines, each standing at the end of their bunks, eyes front, backs ramrod straight.

Two men in white shirts and pants walked in, placing camouflage uniforms onto each bunk. They pulled on the familiar clothing quickly and tugged on their small military-issue boots. They shouldered their rifles as they were handed to them and as the last soldier took up theirs the order to depart came. They fell in and marched as one, blankly obedient through the twists and turns of the facility, as they would remain until they were given the order to use that extreme intellect and creativity and to hunt down their enemies.

As they stepped onto the courtyard's snow they assembled themselves by rank before the waiting figure of Lydecker. Max stared blankly forward like all the others like her, her unit, her family, and felt a worrying surge of defiance for the man who had trained them. She could so easily snap his neck, just crack and he'd be gone, she'd done it a hundred times to the criminals Lydecker had released as their prey. Trained killers. Bloodthirsty. Cold. Vicious. Unstoppable.

She'd heard her unit called thus time and again, so what were they doing listening to this speech? She settled back as the calming thought came to her, this was all they had, all they knew, was there really anything better? Probably not. Not based on the reports and tactical information being fed to them. Nothing indicated that life could be better than this, in fact, it indicated the complete opposite.


Max mentally flinched at her shouted designation and slipped back into attention with ease, straightening and meeting Lydecker's glare. He strode towards her and looked her over with a keen eye.

"Do you understand your orders, soldier?" he said in a low voice, the slight emphasis familiar to the man.

"Yes, sir!" Max barked abruptly, her eyes hard.

"Do you agree with the chosen strategy?" he questioned.

"It is not my place to question you or our unit leader, sir, tactically speaking, aiming to kill is always more efficient than to capture, sir," Max said quickly, not being drawn into the trap Lydecker had set her.

"Correct, you understand why capture is necessary at times, do you, soldier?"

"Yes, sir; political circumstances don't always allow for persons of interest to be terminated, sir,"

"There are other circumstances, but you are correct in assuming that this is one of those times, though not for political reasons, it is much the same thing. Good work, soldier, but don't let me catch you distracted again,"

Lydecker stalked away and paused, obviously thinking back to before he reprimanded Max and where he was in their last minute strategic overview. He never did resume it though because at that moment a stranger to Max hurried out into the snow and across the courtyard, the lines in his face, his bearing and the race of his heart, revealing his rage instantly to the X5s' superior hearing and analysis.

"Lydecker!" he shouted, coming to a halt several paces away from the bigger man, "What the hell is this?" he said, gesturing wildly at the line of X5s.

"This is Project Manticore, Batchelder, this is what we created," Lydecker spoke calmly, almost soothingly, in a way Max was hard pressed to recall – which could mean it had never happened within her hearing; her memory was superb.

"Not the experiments, you fool! The guns! You can't give them guns! I went along with this exercise because I had no choice, but I will not let your hodge-podge experiments cut down my kids like a damn firing squad!"

Lydecker's face registered surprise for the barest of seconds before he wiped it blank again and smiled at the younger man, "Well, that is a simple matter," he said, shaking his head, "X5s! Disarm yourselves,"

With a fluid and practiced ease the row of children removed their rifles, taking the ammunition from them and laid them gently on the snow, stepping forward past the abandoned weapons.

The man, Batchelder, stood staring, shaking his head, his mouth opened and closed silently for a full minute before he could stammer his reaction to the uniform response of the X5s and what he said stayed with Max forever, she suspected some of the others remembered his words that night, too.

"Christ, Lydecker… you've created these monsters and stripped them of their humanity, how the hell can you people think this will end well?"

We were monsters, we lacked humanity, we understood enough to know what that meant and it's probably the only thing that saved those little 'Nomalies from utter annihilation that night.

4. Chapter 4

Chapter 4

Max stepped out into the snow, clutching Angel tight against her in a feeble attempt to protect her from the bitter cold, beside her Iggy did the same with the Gasman and Fang held Nudge to him, his arms draped around her. Only she and Fang could truly understand what they were up against. Iggy was turning his head uselessly, trying to see past the bandages covering his eyes or hear with his untrained ears. Max hoped beyond reason that Jeb wasn't lying when he said Iggy's senses would adapt to the loss. What they'd done to Iggy had horrified her; if he died as a result it would destroy her.

So Max and Fang stared out at the line of twelve together, of the guns laid neatly in the snow, the uniforms and cropped hair, the blank eyes, they stared and understood that they were up against incredible, almost impossible, odds. A scuffle caught their attention from the corridor they'd been led through and they saw Reilly shove a glaring girl, in his arms he carried a dull-eyed infant and behind him trailed four other morose looking children. They turned away as one, shunning the mirror images as non-entities, as the clones generally did to them.

Max had watched Jeb go before them, shouting at Lydecker and shaking his head, it was obvious something wasn't right, but then, this whole situation wasn't right. She could hear faint orders being shouted at the strange children and they turned, marching towards the opening in the courtyard. Jeb turned back to them and jerked his head, telling them to follow, and started after the strangers, walking slow either for them to catch up or to avoid being too close to these mutants. Max had heard him ask to see them earlier, and wondered idly, now that he had the opportunity, why he was showing no interest in studying them.

"Move it," Reilly said, Max flinching as he sent a spasm down her side from a well-placed prod. "You two will be fighting together," he added, nodding to Max and her clone, "Twelve against twelve, though personally, I like their odds better," he said, eying Angel and Gazzy and their mirror images.

As much as Max disliked him, she had to agree that it was hardly far putting an army of trained superfreaks up against birdkid babies who'd never even opened their wings completely. She sighed and started walking, the others followed her lead, even the other flock calmed a little at her decision and started walking. She wondered if they'd choose her over the other Max, but decided she didn't much care, maybe they could work together to stay alive this one time, but she had no intention of claiming fakes when she had the real thing.

She could see the soldiers up ahead, milling around eagerly now as Lydecker spoke with Jeb, quietly this time, and without the angry undercurrents of their previous exchanges. Max stared at the soldiers, they weren't speaking, but she had the feeling they might be communicating, perhaps through use of gestures and signals. On impulse, casting a wary glance at Lydecker, she bundled Angel into Fang's arms and started off at a jog to the kids she was meant to fight.

They saw her coming from the first step she took towards them and were waiting behind a stocky boy when she paused before them. "I'm Max," she said breathlessly, her voice accompanied by a stream of mist.

They studied her silently for a long moment, so long she thought they wouldn't answer, but then, "My designation is X5-599; called Zack," the boy, probably their leader, answered. His voice was low and clipped the syllables in a way reminisce of most soldiers she'd heard, it was a voice for commands not idle chatter and Max felt a tinge of regret: there was nothing to be gained from talking to these things, they obviously had no compassion.

She swallowed, "What are you meant to do to us?" she asked, knowing what the answer was most likely to be, but needing to hear it all the same. She had to be prepared for what they were facing, maybe then she could find a way to survive.

Zack didn't speak.

"Our orders are to capture or kill the twelve targets," The voice was feminine and came from a few paces behind Zack, who turned and glared, gesturing quickly to silence the girl.

"Max," another voice, this one high and anxious, said.

Max moved to the side, peering past the bulky leader at two female soldiers, their hair cropped like all the others, nothing remarkable to set them apart. One had her arm on the others wrist, while the other stared at Zack defiantly.

"452-" Zack started, his voice full of reprimand, but '452' cut him off.

"Max, my name is Max," she said, and her gaze swiveled to focus on Max. "Our orders were to capture or kill; they were not given classified status. If we cannot capture, we will kill, not the other way round, if you feel you cannot win an encounter, the only way to survive will be to submit," the X5 spoke seriously, her eyes boring into Max's, "You might want to tell your friends that,"

Max nodded dumbly, not knowing what had caused this killing machine to decide to help them, but not willing to question her motives either, "Family; they're my family, and thank you," she finally said and turned and fled back through the snow to the others. There she told them all what she had learnt and hoped that it wasn't some elaborate trap. Reilly watched but didn't comment, nor did he make a move to tell Lydecker or Jeb what they had learnt when the two returned to their experiments.

"Okay," Jeb said softly, "Everyone turn around so I can free your wings, I know none of you have practiced flying, but you won't be able to fly properly here anyway. The advantage will be drawn from the added speed and balance if you can master it quickly enough. We're going to let you go and you have to run as fast as you can into the trees, the X5s will follow after one minute has passed," he explained as he moved around each of them, threading their wings through freshly cut holes. "You all understand?"

All of us nodded mutely, we didn't know if we'd survive the night, but sure we understood, Jeb. Lydecker gave the signal, starting a little stopwatch and we dashed as one into the cover of darkness, our wings streaming behind us like pennants as we tried to run and discover how to best utilize this newly accessible part of ourselves.