Barney had barricaded himself inside a government establishment with fifteen employees, holding them as hostage. He wanted Steve to be delivered to him, threatening to kill the hostages if his demand was not met.
SWAT teams converged to the scene, circling the building. Sharps shooters posted at specific angles with their automatic riffles armed and ready to fire on Oscar’s signal.
Steve had cajoled Callahan into confessing what Oscar had made her sworn to keep secret. Soon as he squeezed the information out of her, he drove up to the scene of the action.
“Steve, what are you doing here,” Oscar asked, surprised.
“I wanted to thank you for keeping me in the dark about this,” Steve replied sarcastically.
“Who told you?”
“Never mind. How long has Barney been in there?”
“Over an hour.”
“How many hostages?”
“Close to a dozen, if not more.”
“That’s it then,” Steve began removing his jacket, “I’m going in.”
“No you’re not!”
“Yes I am,” Steve glowered at Oscar. “He wants me, right?”
Steve jumped in before Oscar could phrase his sentence. “Oscar I know Barney. He’s not going to quit until he gets what he wants.”
“He’s stronger than you.”
“Maybe, but I can handle my own.”
“Don’t be a hero, Steve. You don’t know what he can do to you.”
“As opposed to what he can do to those hostages?”
Steve’s rhetorical question made Oscar pondered about the circumstances at hand. He and Steve stared at each other in a battle of wits as to which one would be more convincing to force the other to yield. Oscar relented. He picked up the speaker and told Barney inside the building that Steve was coming, hands up.
Steve glanced around and noticed a darkhaired man standing in the background, calmly taking notes. Something about the tall man that pricked at Steve but he quickly dismissed him, thinking he was a reporter.
Barney laughed with delight, wallowing in his success. “Finally! My old buddy Steve!” he mumbled to himself. “Sure, let him come!” he shouted to Oscar.
Steve opened the front door to the building and was met by Barney’s gun.
“Come on in, ol’ buddy. And close the door behind you. We wouldn’t want a draft with all those people on the floor,” Barney said cynically, waving his gun at the hostages lying face down on the floor, their hands folded behind their heads.
“I’m here, Barney. You let them all go.”
“Not yet. First I want you to walk over this way,” Barney motioned to a corner of the room with his gun aimed at Steve. “And stay within reasonable distance.”
Steve walked over to the area Barney pointed toward. Shackles in chains were lying on the floor.
“Put one on your right arm and the others on your legs.”
Muddled and somewhat troubled by Barney’s request, Steve acquiesced. As soon as he clicked on the cuffs, Barney took the end of each chain and slid them inside an outlet of what appeared to be a measuring device. Barney switched it on and within seconds, Steve crumbled to the floor, paralysed by the powerful magnetic field.
Steve tried to remove the shackle with his left hand but his efforts were futile.
Barney released the hostages one by one, except for a young frightened girl that he kept within his grasp.
“You have me, Barney, “Steve panted, gasping for air. “Let her go.”
“Oh no, buddy boy! She’s our ticket out of here. With her here, you friends won’t try anything foolish. I’ll let her go when I know you and I are safely out of reach.
“They’ll hunt you down, Barney. You’ll never escape.”
Steve’s respiration was growing worse. The strong magnetic field anchored his bionics to the floor. He began having chest pains from the oppressive weight.
Barney tied the girl to a chair then reached for a tiny flask and a syringe. He knelt down beside Steve and held his left arm down while he injected him the solution. “It won’t hurt a bit and then you’ll be in dreamland,” Barney explained, wearing a large contended grin.
Steve’s eyelids began to flutter. He blinked to keep his eyes open.
“Don’t fight it, Steve.”
The drug proved to be an unbeatable foe. Steve resigned himself and let darkness enfolded him.
With Steve rendered unconscious, Barney removed the shackles. He untied the girl and asked for her car keys. He then lifted Steve with one arm and held his gun with the other, pointing it at the girl and ordering her to walk in front of him toward the back door.
Outside, men stood ready to fire, but they couldn’t get a clear shot of Barney with the girl in front and Steve underneath his arm.
Before driving off with his hostages, Barney warned that he didn’t want to be followed or that he wouldn’t hesitate in harming the two individuals. But the man was no fool. He knew Oscar would have his men tail him. But as long as he had Steve, he knew Oscar wouldn’t risk anything to jeopardize his life.
A few miles down the road, Barney stopped the car and freed the girl who rushed to a nearby restaurant to call for help.
With the Feds closely on his tail, Barney decided to make a sudden cut to left. Just as he turned the steering wheel, he heard a loud swish underneath the car.
“Dammit, where did he go?” one G man asked angrily, banging his fists on the wheel. “Come on, he was just there a second ago!” He turned to his partner in the passenger seat. “Pete, you saw it?”
“Yeah. It’s like he…vanished.”
“The boss ain’t goin’ to like it!”
“Let’s just drive on. Maybe we’ll pick up the trail.”
Having lost the Federal agents, Barney stopped at a remote motel and registered a room under an assumed name. He took a hold of Steve and carried him inside.
An hour later, Steve regained his senses on the bed. He batted his eyelids as he tried to adjust the focus.
“Hi!” Barney greeted, sitting on the bed next to his. “How you doin’?”
“Thirsty,” Steve answered in a subdued voice, still feeling a bit woozy.
Barney poured water into a glass and handed it over to Steve. “Here you go, buddy.”
“Thanks.” Steve drank a few sips.
“I’m sorry I had to do this to you but there was no other way.”
Steve squinted at the room. “Where are we?”
“A motel room in Frederick, Maryland.”
Steve sighed. “Why Barney?”
“I did you a huge favor.”
“By kidnapping me?” Steve lashed out.
“By freeing you!” Barney replied on an equally reproving tone.
“Freeing me of what?”
“Oscar Goldman’s clutches.” Barney stood up from the bed and ran his fingers through his hair in frustration. “I’m fed up, Steve. Sick and tired of being his puppet. The government invested a capital of six and seven million into us and they expect their wonder toys to be profitable regardless of whether or not we get killed in the process. Hey, they’re dead, let’s just pick up the pieces and build another cyborg! “ Barney held his arms up. “ They should have let me die. I didn’t ask to become THIS and I know you didn’t either. How many were the times you confessed to me of wanting to break free?”
“Barney we can’t. There isn’t a place on earth we can hide they won’t find us.”
“I’ve got it all figured out. You and I will charter a plane and crash it into the ocean. We’ll get new IDs and passports. Everything is already set.”
“Barney you’re crazy.” Steve sat on the bed, appalled. “Look…I sympathize with you, really I do, but I for one don’t want to live the life of a fugitive.”
“So you’d rather tempt fate on the next assignment?”
“I don’t have a choice and neither do you.” Steve stood up and put his hand on Barney’s shoulder. “Please, Barney. Cease this foolishness and let’s go back.”
“No,” Barney shook his head. “You go, I’m not.”
“No!” Barney bellowed. “I’m not going back there!”
Steve casually changed the subject. “What time is it?”
“Close to one.”
“I’m hungry. Let’s find a restaurant and we’ll talk about it.”
“There’s nothing to discuss, Stevie. I’m not following you back to Washington.”
“Let’s eat anyway.”
At the motel drive-in restaurant, Barney and Steve were stuffing themselves while discussing Barney’s plan to disappear off the map.
“Just tell them I’m dead,” Barney said to Steve in answer to his question.
“I can’t do that.”
“Yes you can.”
A few feet away at that the cashier’s counter, a man in his late forties asked the Manager if he could pay his bill with a cheque.
“I'm sorry, sir. We don't take personal cheques.” The Manager informed. “Do you have a credit card?
The man groped his pockets and took out a wallet. With slightly quivering hands he clumsily pulled out a few cards in front of an increasingly impatient Manager.
“I....I don't seem to have one on me at the moment.”
“What about cash?”
“I don't any spare on me. You see, it's been awhile since I've been paid and...”
“That's not my problem, sir. You owe me twenty-three dollars and sixty-eight cents.”
“I'm telling you, I...I don't have it. I can't give you money I...I don't have.”
“Well, you should have thought of that before you came to eat here.”
The man handed over a cheque. “Take this cheque instead it's...”
The Manager slapped it out of his hands.
“I don't want your cheque,” the Manager snapped. “I'm sure it'll bounce anyway.”
The man tried to remain calm. “Please, don't make me angry, sir”
The caustic conversation drew Steve’s and Barney’s attention.
“Looks like an unhappy customer,” Barney remarked to Steve, eating a bite of his salad.
“Look...either you pay me what you owe or I'll call the police,” the Manager warned.
“I wouldn't do that, sir.”
“Watch me!” The Manager picked up the phone and dialled. The man immediately pulled out a handgun and shot the receiver right out of the Manager's hand.
The loud report startled the patrons who started panicking.
Barney and Steve slowly got up. Barney went up to the counter while Steve laid low and tried to calm the customers. “Please, stay in your seats. Don't make any sudden moves,”
The man noticed Barney inching towards him. Swiftly, he pointed his gun at his chest.
“You! Sit down!” The man ordered Barney.
Barney continued edging towards the man, hands up, speaking in a cooperative tone.” Can we talk about this, buddy?
“There's nothing to talk about.” The man retorted, waving his gun.
While the man was occupied with Barney, the Manager slowly reached for a gun underneath the counter.
A nervous facial twitch momentarily disfigured the man. He tried to focus on Barney still inching towards him.
“Wait a minute....you’re Barney Miller!”
Barney was taken aback. ”You know me?”
Before the man could explain where he saw Barney, the manager braced himself to shoot.
“Barney, loo out!” Steve shouted.
The man quickly zeroed in on his new target and killed the Manager. Barney stood ready to lunge at him when he shot Barney in the right arm before dashing outside to his car.
Steve rushed to Barney to see if he were alright. Naturally the bullet didn’t do any flesh wound, his arm being bionic.
Steve hurried to the porch and zoomed in on the license number of the man’s car speeding away.
“Steve, that guy knew me and yet I’ve never seen him before in my life.”
“Are you sure?”
“Yes, I’m sure! I don’t like this. He’s probably linked to the OSI. We’ve got to get out of here.”
Barney bolted outside and Steve after him.
Steve clenched Barney’s shoulder and turned him around. “Barney we can’t leave the crime scene.”
“They’re going to find us.”
“What makes you think they haven’t already and are just waiting around the corner to pick us up?”
“Steve, I don’t want to go back. I mean it. I’ll kill myself before they get their paws on me.”
“Stop talking nonsense and let’s go back in to call the police.”
In a subterranean refuge, the schizophrenic man sat in a candle-lit room, engaging in a vehement conversation with himself.
“Why? Why, why, why, why did you have to kill this man?” he scolded, whacking himself over the head. He stopped. “You have to regain control of yourself, Eric Lambert.” He started beating himself again. “No, no, no, my name is Allan Marshall! Why can't I be Allan Marshall anymore?”
He stood up and went to a small dresser. He opened the drawer and took out a vial containing a yellowish solution. He leered at it. “It's because of you. You stole my identity, my sanity. Because of you, everyone is going to die. And I can't get rid of you, you son of a bitch!”
Later, two men from the coroner’s office encased the corpse in a body bag and hauled it to the back of the hearse.
Steve was on the phone trying to reach Oscar. It was his third failed attempt to get through.
“Who are you calling,” Barney asked.
“Oscar. But his line doesn’t answer.”
“Prfffff! Don’t bother. I’m sure he already knows where we are by now.”
“Yeah, “Steve agreed, hanging up the phone. “Still, it’s his private line.”
An imposing figure of a man, late forties, dark brown hair with silver-grey temples, Lieutenant James Cryder of the Frederick Police Department walked up to them. “Excuse me, gentlemen. I’m Lieutenant Cryder of the twenty-third Precinct. I’d like to ask you a few questions.”
“Go right ahead,” Barney said a bit uneasy.
Cryder reached into his pocket and pulled out a small photograph of Eric Lambert. “Was that the same man you saw?”
Steve and Barney nodded.
“His name’s Eric Lambert. He’s a dangerous psychopath. He’s on a virtual killing spree. We’ve been trying to nail him for the last six months. Before Kronk, he killed a salesman at a local hardware store for the sole reason that he didn’t care for the shape of the screwdriver he proposed him.”
“Tough customer,” Barney scoffed.
“Why are you telling us this?” Steve asked.
“Because I was told he knows your friend, here. One witness said he called him by his name, Barney something?”
Barney quickly jumped in. “Harry Tyler. And this is my brother, “ Barney slightly hesitated, “Will Tyler.”
Steve threw Barney an astonished look.
Barney shrugged at the photo. “I’ve never seen that man in my life, Lieutenant.
“I was so hoping you could provide us with a lead. You are my last hope.”
“I wrote down his license number if that can be of any help,” Steve said, giving Cryder the paper on which he noted the number.
“Are you both from around these parts?”
“No, just passing through.”
“Are you planning to stay at this motel long?”
“We were just leaving.”
“I would ask you to remain in town in case I need to ask you a few more questions.”
Outside in the middle of the driveway, taking notes, was the same dark-haired man that Steve spotted back in Washington. He stared at Steve, smiled and then walked away.
“Excuse me for one second,” Steve said, stepping outside to follow the enigmatic figure.
The man turned a corner and disappeared out of sight. Steve looked both ways…nothing.
Early next morning, Steve and Barney left the room to go eat at a diner across the street. Eric had been watching their room since sunrise.
He followed them to the restaurant, in an elderly disguise, and sat at a table next to them. “My God, is it really them,” he mumbled underneath his breath.
“I’m going to try to reach Oscar again.”
“Steve would you let it go!” Barney bellowed.
“I don’t like this Barney. I should have been here by now.”
“I can’t believe that the O Mighty Oscar Goldman could have lost our trail so easily.”
“What if something happened?”
“You worry too much, Stevie. Sit down and eat your breakfast.”
Steve was restless. He got up and walked over to a phone booth much to Barney’s exasperation. At the same time, Eric stood up and deliberately bumped into Steve.
“I'm sorry young man, did I hurt you?” Eric said in a hoarse voice while scanning Steve’s facial features.
“No, I'm alright, sir.”
“My eyes ain't what they used to be.”
Steve smiled and walked away. Eric sat back down and looked askance at Barney
After breakfast, Steve and Barney walked back to the motel. Eric followed them.
As soon as they entered the room, he called them on his cell phone. Barney answered. Adopting a different voice, Eric pretended to be a police officer who wanted to see him regarding his witness account, and that he’d be waiting for him at the cordoned-off diner.
Barney exited the room and walked to the motel drive-in. Passing an alley, Eric smashed the back of his head with his handgun. Barney collapsed.
Eric grabbed Barney by the arms and dragged him behind a trash can. He brushed himself off, rearranged his disguise and walked over to room 394.
Steve was on the phone to Washington. “I’m trying to reach Oscar Goldman at the OSI department.
Eric knocked on the door. Steve drew the curtain to peek outside at the old man standing on the porch. “He’s not there? Okay as soon as he returns ask him to call me, Steve Austin at 555-3487. Thank you.” He hung up and opened the door.
“Hi again, young man. I appear to be lost.”
“You're looking for someone?
“Sort of. I wonder if you can help me?”
“Sure, won't you come in?”
Eric entered and glanced around to see if they were really alone.
“How can I help you?” Steve asked.
Eric pulled out his gun and aimed it at Steve. Stunned, Steve took one step backwards. “What is this?”
“We meet again, Colonel Austin.”
Steve frowned inquisitively at the stranger. “Who are you?”
“I'll fill you in on our way out of here.”
“I'm not going anywhere with you.”
“Yes you are.”
“Make me,” A defiant Steve dared Eric.
Eric took out a small device that appeared to be a paget and aimed it directly at Steve. He grabbed his right shoulder in pain.
“Want more?” Eric augmented the power and Steve fell to his knee, agonizing. Eric switched off the power. “Convinced?”
Steve staggered to his feet, gasping for air.
“I’m an authority on bionics as your dear Dr. Wells will vouch. Now move!”
Eric ordered Steve to walk in front and told him to take the wheel of his car. Steve looked around nervously, hoping to see Barney.
“Don’t bother looking, your friend won’t be of any help to you.”
“What have you done with him?”
“Let's just say he won't be bothering us for awhile. Now drive.”
“Where are we going?”
“I’ll tell you when we get there.”