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Dark Angel: Cougar

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Link To Me


July 27, 2004



I had nearly forgotten about Sam.


When I had first escaped, she was one of the ones that I wasn’t sure of.  I wasn’t sure if she had gotten out as well, or if she had been killed or captured.


I never told Logan or anyone else about her.  She was different.


I didn’t recognize her at first.  She was in the streets, dressed in black, like me.  Her blonde hair was still short, but not the sheared military look that we had when we were being trained.  She had grown, and was nearly half a foot taller than I.


It was around dusk, when the sun’s rays are turning red and starting to disappear.  Those rays hit her hair and reflected it like a lightning bolt.  That was how I first saw her, with those sun rays dancing around her head.  She knew I had seen her then.  She froze, and I felt as though I knew her.  I didn’t realize it really was Sam at that point, but then she ran, and I knew it was her.


Sam was different from the rest of us because she could run.  She could run like no human being could ever run.  She was fast.  It was how I knew it was her.


There was no way I could catch her.  I knew that.  I went on my way, and then I went back and told Logan that I had seen her.  Naturally, he wanted me to tell him everything.  I told him all I could in order for him to find her.


Sam was one of the great experiments that our captors were working on.  She could run at top speed for hours.  She had an almost inexhaustible stamina.  Her heart was larger than most, and her lung capacity was greater.  They found that she had to run every day or she would basically go nuts.  Running was what kept her alive.  If she couldn’t run then she couldn’t compose herself, she couldn’t keep up her will to live.  They nearly killed her once by keeping her from running.


We had to be careful with Sam, though.  If she started running, it was hard for her to stop.  She was like those Arabian horses.  If you let them go and run to their heart’s content, they would run until they dropped dead.  They loved running so much it would cause their deaths.


No one knew whose DNA they had crossed with Sam’s that caused her to run like that.  Everyone said it was an Arabian horse, but I didn’t think it was possible.  I think they crossed her DNA with several different felines, because despite her running ability, she had the grace and reflexes of a cat, like me and several others.  I think that they crossed her DNA with several different cats, because she can run like a cheetah, but she has more stamina than a cheetah.  I don’t know for sure, though.  All I know is that she was dangerous, and that it took a while for Logan to find her.


Logan had a picture program that he had me use to draw a picture of Sam.  It took me a long time, and the picture didn’t quite match Sam perfectly, but it was close enough.


We found her after a few months.  She was working just outside the city as a messenger girl.  She didn’t use a bike like me, though.  She used her own two feet and ran.  I tracked her down one day.  She was hanging out at her post with a few other people.


Sam?” I asked.


She regarded me with distrust, and I could almost sense her hackles going up in defense.


Sam, it’s me.  Max.”


Sam took a second look, and I could see her defenses go down slightly.  Max?” she whispered.


“Yeah.  It took me a while to find you.”


She stood there for a long moment, studying me, most likely trying to press the time clock forward from when she had last seen me as a little girl, then suddenly, she flung her arms around my neck and sobbed.  I cried too, tears of relief at having found another one that had escaped successfully.


Later that night, she told me what had happened.


She had escaped when I had, but she had been found out only two months later.  They took her back, but she escaped on her own after a year.  After that, she stayed alone, drifting in the streets of big cities, stealing for food and other necessities.  She told me that she had been captured again three years ago, and it took her even longer to escape that time.  She tried to get a few others out.  As far as she knew, she was the only one that had escaped.  Now, she was trying to stay deeper under cover.  She told me that she had made plans to leave the country.  She knew it was worse elsewhere, but she told me that she had to leave.  She was afraid she would be found again.


“If you can find me, Max,” she said, “then anyone can find me.  It’s too dangerous for me here.  I can do more if I can get as far away from my origins as possible.”


So I had to let her go.  She left two days later.  I wonder at what she is doing now, if she’s still alive, if she is well.  Sam left me a number in case I ever needed to contact her for any emergency.  I memorized the number and burned the paper it was written on.  Logan told me the number leads to Russia.  If it comes down to it in the days ahead, I may have to call that number.  Sam would come if I needed her help, but for now, I’ll just let her keep running.