Hidden P2 - Even Cass.

Alex's stride ate up the corridors the way Seymour snarfed down caviar. He didn't know what the hell would happen if Jay caught up with Cass. He didn't want to think about it. But he couldn't have gone far...
He heard a woman whimpering around the corner and broke into a jog, then a run.
He skidded round the bend. Oh thank smeg. It was Katrina. He slowed his pace.
Jay, Katrina and Max were sitting down the far end, against the top of the intersection's 'T', in an emotional, shaken embrace. Alex swallowed and nodded his understanding. As he reached them he took a deep breath of the stale air and sighed.
"Come on, mate."
He helped them up and encouraged the emotional bundle along the long corridors to Jay's quarters. They were surprisingly pliant.
He wanted to tell them it would be okay, they'd get over this and sort the bad things out, but he wasn't expert at that kind of thing, and besides, he didn't know if it would be okay. The STCP... and Brittany... seemed really smegged up.

He watched them through the door and - trusting Seymour had done his part - spoke to Holly on the wall monitor. "You know what to do, Holl... lockdown." He said the last word quietly, guiltily, and took a step backwards out of the quarters. Jay's eyes finally raised to meet his on hearing the command - there was currently no protest in them though, only sadness. Smeg. He gave him a tight lipped nod as the doors slid closed. Hoping it would convey... what? Some form of comfort, apology.

He sighed again once the doors were closed. Relief, for now, at the safely contained emotion. Now to find Cass.

He went to her quarters. Not there.
"Holly, where's Cass?"
"Cassandra is currently out of the range of my sensors, Alex."
Wishing he could go shower and eat, instead he crept down into the guts of the ship on the trail of the strange young woman with so much strength and attitude but, currently, so much vulnerability. He knew there was something odd about her - all that clone and access business - but smeg, who wasn't odd? He wasn't exactly whiter than white himself.

An hour into the search and he was about to stop for a fag break, when he smelled someone else's smoke. Bingo.
He climbed through a submarine-style door and found himself in a small room, in which... there was no sign of Cass. He followed his nose. Across the room there was another, smaller opening. Alex Through the smeggin' Looking Glass... He squeezed himself through, into a narrow ventilation shaft type passageway. He wasn't really built for tiny ventilation shafts but sighed, again, and pushed on, shoulders catching every now and then. There she was, at a bend, where the odd shaft flared to accommodate the almost curved corner and opened to a thankfully wider segment of passageway. He could make out her form - slumped in a slouching sit - in the dim light. He sparked his lighter briefly, just to check it was her. It was.

"Go away."
"Come on. Let's get back up top. We don't know what might be lurking around here..."
"... I am."

She suddenly seemed very young. Not something he'd really associated with her before, for some reason, which he realised was odd as she clearly was young. She just always seemed so together.
He didn't really know what to say. He squeezed himself round, there was just room to get into a sitting position next to her.
"Don't you think I'm a freak? An aberration? Dangerous?" Her voice was a husky rasp.
He thought about it for a moment. "Not really, no."
She lifted her head just a little. "P'raps you should."
He shrugged. "You said you weren't her."
No reply.
"Come on." He urged again, as softly as he could. He felt like he was coaxing a frightened animal from a corner. Then he realised, he was.
"Come on, darlin'."
Usually Cass would probably have cruelly shot someone down for that, "darlin'" could seem like a put-down from the wrong mouth. But he was genuine, and she was depleted. Plus she'd never heard Solvay being so... "nice"... he must mean it.
She didn't budge, though.
Alex sighed for what felt like the thousandth time that day and lit up the fag he'd been contemplating. They sat and smoked in solemn but companionable silence, not caring that their smoke filled the shaft. The smokey air was somehow comforting.
After a while, Alex decided to ask "The" question.
"Are you, then?"
She didn't reply. They smoked on. He didn't push it.
Two fags later, in a small, shaken voice she enquired. "Am I what?"
"Are you dangerous?"
She didn't answer, just stubbed her cigarette out.
Then she did something he wasn't expecting. She started to cry. Somehow it alarmed him even more than Jay's mental instability. Cass... crying.

Feeling very much like he was sticking his hand into a wounded tiger's cage, Alex slowly, cautiously, put his arm around her and held her a while, letting her sob against his shoulder. It was the only thing he knew to do.

He also knew, though, that it was probably not a safe thing to do - no doubt there'd be spite, backlash and unpredictability when he eventually let go. She might even injure him - he'd seen her kill Marilyn Monroe most horribly not long ago, for smeg's sake - but he wasn't in the mood for self-preservation at that moment. Anyway, he was into taking risks with his health.

The two normally no nonsense, tough-as-steel-toe Dwarfers sat hidden in the bowels of the ship, clinging to each other like a pair of scared kids hiding from thunder. He doubted they'd talk of it or repeat the bizarre occurance but Christ, everyone had their limits. Everyone needed a hug sometimes, even Cass.

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