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... 3 x 00 Prologue ...

It still rang in her ears, the sentence that Detective Clemente had said before he got back into his car and followed his fellow police men out of Terminal City.
"Their lives depend on the decisions that you make now…"
He was right.

Her eyes were closed and she breathed in the air. In and out, in and out, again and again. She tried to clear her mind, tried to chase all the thoughts of angst, anger and fear away, but it wasn't that easy. They stood on the roof of the main building in which all the computers and TV-sets were, Mole and Luke called it their media-center, and looked out on the cops that had surrounded the place that the Transgenics and Transhumans called their new home.
Even after these terrible hours in the Jam Pony office with the hostages and the tragic loss of CeCe, Max had held her coolness until the Detective had left. Then she had convinced all the Transgenics and Transhumans that populated Terminal City, the chemically and toxically contaminated waste land of Seattle, to stay here and fight peacefully for their right to be here, among the ordinaries and nomlies, as Ben had called them when the X-5 unit was only 9 years old. When they had escaped the torture and pain that was impersonated by Donald Lydecker and his associates at Manticore. But this had just been the beginning of her personal struggle to survive, and it had been the same for Zack, Brin, Jondy, Jack, Krit, Syl, Tinga, Ben, Jace and Zane. They all had gone into different parts of the US, but Zack, the natural leader of them all, had found them all and kept their secret hide-away until it was time to regroup and attack.
But everything that could go wrong had gone wrong…Tinga had died, Brin had been reindoctrinated, Zack had sacrificed himself to save her, and then this bitch Elisabeth Renfro had made her nearly kill Logan because of this damn virus. It was genetically targeted to only Logan's DNA, so even a single touch, a brush of a much as a finger against exposed skin would make him sick and he'd die eventually, after only short time. Logan had been through it already two times, and that had made Max turn away from him because it hurt both of them too much.

But right in the moment when Joshua and the two other X-units raised the flag, their flag, on the roof, she knew that she couldn't do without that man. Logan held her hand, his own in the thin latex-gloves, hers in her black leather gloves. Although she could not really feel his skin against hers, she knew that he was there, she knew that he would be there even when she now opened her eyes now.
She looked around and saw proud faces, she saw her friends Original Cindy, Sketchy, Alec, Logan and Joshua and the others, some of them saw in her something like a hero. She felt it in their glances and in their way they acted towards her. It was not that she didn't care, but she didn't know how to make them see that she was just a normal girl trying to find some peace for herself, some luck in her miserable life. Well, what was normal, anyway?
Her power seemed to have reached rock-bottom but the wave of emotion held her upright and gave her something even better, serenity and something like happiness. The load that she had been carrying around with her for nearly one year, since Manticore had been burned to the ground by Renfro. For nearly all the time since all the Manticore creatures had been escaped their prisons in the facility that they had no choice but to call home - because it was the only home they had ever known - she had been carrying the weight of the whole world. Or so it seemed. But now, she knew that there were others that supported her. Others that shared the load that she had been carrying far too long.

Yet she knew that it was not going to be ok the way it looked like right now. She would have to start negotiating with Clemente or else…or else it would take the turn that White had predicted. She would do anything to avoid that. She just had to…
And she did. She had talked to the afro-American Detective and they agreed on something that came close to a pact. He would keep the cops out of the streets of Terminal City as long as the Transgenics and Transhumans would not attack. That was an easy thing to promise. She knew that her friends here were not as aggressive as the people outside thought they were.
Things had changed, and she was not sure if they had changed for the better. But she knew one thing for sure, they would not give in…never again!

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