An Alex Krycek backstory for the Sanctuary universe
With the Well-Manicured Man: patching
The situation wasn't looking any better than it had the day before. And while the old men seemed content to stay where they were, trying, as the saying goes, to do the same thing but expecting a different result, the Brit and I were more than a little uneasy. To one group or the other of the aliens we were going to be like targets, painted with white circles and a nice red dot in the middle, and what was the point of sitting around waiting for someone to draw a bead on you? If the rebels made a serious strike, New York or D.C. would be the most likely targets, cities where their hits would take out critical infrastructure and communications capabilities, and retard human efforts to fight back. Better to get out of Dodge and out of the line of fire, just in case.
And if Armageddon was upon us, well, better to go out on our own terms. That night we caught a red-eye flight to Denver, heading for the Brit's vacation home, a place I hadn't seen since I'd spent four weeks there recovering from what happened to me in the silo.
It was all a blur at first--a blur of travel, of trying to wrap my mind around the possibility that the world might end before the sun had a chance to set, of gray March skies streaking past the window of a plane and then a limo, a haze of drinking to escape the stuff in my head. I'd known bleakness, but this was a whole new degree of it. The tension seemed to hit the Brit physically, because he spent the next couple of days in and out of bed while I paced my room, slept too much and woke up to stare out the window, my pulse ticking away like a timed explosive hidden somewhere inside me. What the hell had been the point of spending so many years running in place on this sorry rock, the bastard son of a high-placed schemer who'd been killed, in the end, by the group he created? What had I accomplished for everything I'd gone through?
Letting myself think about Marita was like poking around in an open wound, but I couldn't keep from wandering back to the puzzle she'd left behind. From what I'd seen over time, from what it seemed that we'd become, especially after the last time... Hell, it didn't make a shred of sense what she'd done, but then letting it go around and around in my head wasn't going to change a damn thing. The Brit kept his promise; he brought me a half-dozen glossy 8x10s of Marita lying in a bed in the group's facility to prove they actually had her and what her condition was. It was all I could do to keep from ripping them up.
In spite of our individual clouds of gloom and doom, though, the days dawned one after another and no word of new incidents came in. The Brit paced beside his wall of family pictures and I spent a lot of time out hiking in the snow, anything to keep Marita and the possibility of fiery death from above out of my head. Sometimes the rhythm of your own body, your breathing and heartbeat and the sweat of exertion, are the only things that will do the job.
I guess it made sense, though, that my mind should wander to Dr. Carrie Phillips, the woman who'd treated me after the silo, and who'd taught me how to manage the flashbacks that hit me afterward with a vengeance. Carrie and her son were... well, in the middle of an onslaught of pain and crazy terror, the two of them had been a welcome oasis of something I hadn't quite been able to define at the time, though I warmed myself at it the way a homeless man stretches his hands out to a bonfire. The kind of closeness or teamwork or whatever it was they had was something I had no personal reference point for, but it was pretty damn amazing. The two of them sure as hell deserved better than what might be bearing down on us now.
One day when I'd gone down into the town for supplies, I found myself driving past Carrie's building at the university. Her car was parked outside her office and I could see Tyler's backpack in the passenger seat, but she didn't need to see me. It's the kind of situation you think about in the theoretical: if you know something beyond your control is going to happen to somebody, do you tell them and let them spend what time they have with that knowledge hanging over them? Or do you let them go on as usual, figuring they'll be better off not knowing? Guess it's obvious which choice I made.
Once he was feeling better, the Brit was on me to comply with my end of our deal. The sky still hadn't fallen; there'd been no new incidents, and if the threat was going to melt away and leave us back where we'd been before, we needed to get the hell back to distributing the vaccine ASAP. So, having no other choice, I gave him the details of the program. When he got over his initial shock, he said it made a certain kind of sense; Martín Covarrubias had been dragged into the the workings of the group against his will, and apparently he had a gift for connecting problems with the people who could solve them. It only made sense that he'd use those skills to fight the group in his own way.
But I didn't have the access code to pick up the vaccine being manufactured in Cali, and I made that clear to the Brit. He called New York, but Marita's condition hadn't improved much. The Oil inside her had gone dormant and had come together into a single pool inside her body instead of being disbursed, but it wasn't dead. Then again, you've got to figure: what I'd given them was a vaccine, not an antidote. She was minimally responsive, certainly not in any shape to answer questions. Which left us with two options if we wanted to move forward without delay: fly to Cali and try to talk Arizábal into handing over the vaccine without the code--a plan I didn't hold out much hope for--or contact Miguel Ansbach and hope Marita'd left the code with him. Since that seemed like our best shot, and because New York was closer, that's where we went.
The Brit had tried to suggest, in one of our talks, that maybe it was the sight of what I'd had done to the boy that had spooked Marita into taking off, but it didn't make sense to me. Sure, she wouldn't have liked it, but it's not anything she would've been ready to swap the safety of her program for. Still, I couldn't help but dread facing Ansbach. He'd appointed himself her honorary guardian after Martín died, and no matter the fact that she was the one who'd started this by running off with the boy, adding the Oil into the equation had been my doing. I wasn't about to take the rap for Marita's choices, but I was going to need Ansbach's cooperation, not just now but over the long haul.
Unfortunately, Ansbach didn't have the code. Which started us looking in other places: Marita's apartment, her home computer, the one she used at her office. I took the hard drives and had Ché go through them, but all he came up with were lists of contacts in cities on the distribution network--information Ansbach already had. The worst part was going through Marita's Brooklyn flat, the secret place she'd never let anyone but me know about. We'd spent time there and the memories stung something fierce.
No matter where we looked, we came up dry. Which meant a switch to Plan B: a trip to Cali. The Brit wasn't about to let me get that far away from him, so we went together. We turned the apartment upside down, but there was nothing there except a bigger minefield of memories than I'd faced in her Brooklyn place. It was a trick trying to keep my focus straight, to not give anything away to the Brit. At FarmaCol I tried every argument, bribe and threat I could think of, but Arizábal wasn't moved. Without the code, he wasn't handing over anything. Our explanation that Marita was seriously ill and wouldn't be able to authorize a pick-up didn't move him, either. Maybe if we could provide some sort of proof, he might bite, but we left Cali without having gained anything except a heavy dose of jet lag and, in my case, flashbacks to an encounter in a certain swimming pool that I had a hard time shaking.
The Brit dropped me in D.C., which suited me fine because I was tired as hell of having somebody breathing down my neck. It had been a couple of weeks since everything blew apart and though I wasn't going to be able to break away from the Brit now that he had his hand in the vaccine program, I still needed some time to myself. The last couple of weeks had been hell, with the kicker being that there were 12,000 doses of vaccine gathering dust in a FarmaCol warehouse, and more being manufactured that we couldn't get our hands on. I headed for my place practically on autopilot, hoping for a good twelve hours of uninterrupted sleep and, if the fates were really smiling, to wake up and find that the last couple of weeks had all been a dream.
But I don't have that kind of luck.
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