Following an exhausting mission, Steve drove to his house with intent to soak in a relaxing hot bath before diving into bed to sleep through the weekend. As he entered, horror struck him. The living room was a complete shambles.
He treaded warily across the room, striding over objects scattered on the floor to make his way down the corridor leading to the bedrooms. He scanned each one from ceiling to floor, checking every closet for anyone hidden. When he opened the guest bedroom, he let out of gasp….
“Mom!” he cried out. “What are you doing here? And why are you hiding in my closet?”
“Oh Steve!” Helen fell into his arms “Thank goodness it’s you. I had to see you.”
“Ok, but that doesn’t explain why you are hiding in my closet.” Steve wondered. “Did you make that mess in the living room?”
“Of course not. When I got here the door was open. I thought you were here so I let myself in. Then I saw the living room. I was scared. Then I heard footsteps on the porch. That must have been you.”
“Must have been.” Steve presumed.
“Anyway I was frightened so I hid in here.”
Steve led her to the living room and sat her on the couch. “What did you want to see me about?”
“I received the strangest phone call the other day. The man claimed to be Carl.”
Steve turned to her. “You’re not serious?”
“I’m very serious. I haven’t even told Jim about it. I wanted to discuss it with you first. So I caught a flight from Ojai and…”
“Mom. You’re shaking all over.” Steve noted.
“I know. This whole thing has me so upset.” Helen began to cry.
“Tell me what he said to you.” Steve ordered.
“He just said he was Carl and that…”
“Did you ask him where he had been all these years?” Steve wondered.
Helen nodded. “I did. He said he just wanted out of the marriage. He didn’t want to hurt me so…”
“So he thought if you assumed he was dead that wouldn’t hurt you?” Steve fumed.
“I’m not sure. Oh Steve! I don’t know what to do.” Helen cried.
“Where does he want to meet you?” Steve wondered.
“Not me. Us.” Helen informed him.
“Us?” Steve gave her a puzzled look.
“He wants to meet you too.” Helen explained.
“I’m not so sure I want to meet him.” Steve grumbled. “He leaves me fatherless, then thirty some odd years ago he suddenly reappears and wants to see me. What does he want a father – son relationship? I’m sorry I’m not ready for that just yet.”
“Helen put her arm around him. “I’m sorry honey. I didn’t know it would be this hard on you.”
“Well in a way I’m glad he wants to meet me to. I wouldn’t let you do it alone.”
“I’m so happy you said that. I was scared to meet with him by myself.” Helen admitted.
“Do you have a place to stay?” Steve wanted to know. “ If not you could stay…”
“I have a room at the Biltmore.” She told him.
“What time did he want to meet? I’m assuming he wants to meet here in DC.”
“Yes he does. He wants to meet us at a place call Chadwick’s?”
“I’ve heard of it. Listen I’ll pick you up. I don’t want you going alone.” Steve cautioned. “You said noon? I’ll pick you up at 11:30. I want you to go straight to the Biltmore and stay there. “
“You don’t trust him do you?” Helen sighed.
“No I don’t. A man claiming to be my dead father suddenly appears thirty plus years later and I’m not supposed to be suspicious? I don’t think so.”
“Ok I’ll trust you judgment “ Helen said. “I’ll see you at 11:30 then. Do you want me to help you clean this mess up?”
“No Ma. I can do it. I’ll have it cleaned up that quick.” Steve snapped his fingers
“Yes, yes I suppose you will. I’ll see you in the morning then.” She turned to leave.
Steve walked her out to her car “Now go straight to the hotel. I mean it.”
“I will don’t worry.” Helen slid into the car.
“If you want dinner just order room service. I’ll take care of the bill.” Steve told her.
“You don’t have to…”
“I know I want to. Now I’ll see you in the morning.”
As soon as she left Steve headed back into his house. But rather than clean the mess up he headed straight for the phone.
Oscar and Rudy were talking in Oscar’s office when his private line rang. Both men looked at one another “I thought you said Steve was going to bed early.” Rudy stated.
“That’s what he told me.” Oscar reached for the phone. “Steve?”
“Yea Oscar. It’s me. Listen I was met by a big surprise when I got home tonight.”
“What was that pal?” Oscar wanted to know.
“Well…” Steve told him the whole story.
“I’m with you. I don’t trust it either.” Oscar reasoned.
“Oscar could you send someone over to the Biltmore. I really don’t want my mother alone.”
“Of course Steve I’ll get some one right on it.” Oscar promised.
“Great. I told her I would pick her up around 11:30. I’ll see you first thing in the morning.”
“Sounds good Steve. You be careful. Your natural father was killed, you know that.”
“Yea. But they never found the body Oscar.”
“Listen pal. You proceed with caution. “ Oscar spoke softly.
“I will Oscar. Just make sure some one is at the Biltmore tonight.”
“I’m on it right now. I’ll send Russ” Oscar hung up and after telling Rudy what was going on he called Russ and sent him to the Biltmore.
The next morning Steve sat on the edge of Oscar’s desk. “So what do we do?” He wondered.
“I’m not real sure how to proceed with this one Steve.” Oscar started.
“Do you think it’s a good idea for us to meet with him? Steve wanted to know.
Oscar shook his head. “No Steve I don’t. But I know that’s not going to stop you.” Oscar chuckled.
“I just wish he would have called me, and not involved my mother.” Steve sighed.
“That does make it more difficult doesn’t it?” Oscar muttered.
Steve nodded. “Yes it does.”
“You said you were picking you mom up at 11:30?” Oscar asked.
Again Steve nodded. “Russ stayed with her all night?”
“Yea. He says nothing out of the ordinary happened. I mean no one tried to make contact.”
“Does she know Russ was there?”
This time Oscar nodded. “Yea He identified himself right away. He didn’t want her to be frightened. He said you had asked for the protection. Russ says she seemed relieved.”
“Well that’s good.” Steve glanced at his watch. “Well I suppose I better get going. Let’s see what this is all about.”
Steve headed for the elevator. “Steve!” Oscar called after him.
Steve turned around. “Yea?”
“Be careful. Are you sure you don’t want me to send someone with you?”
“No Oscar I think I can handle anything that comes up.” Steve pressed the button to the elevator and headed for his car.
At the Biltmore Helen was waiting in the lobby with Russ. “I thought I would stay until you got here.” Russ stated. He walked over to Steve. “I told Oscar. Nothing out of the ordinary happened last night.”
“Thanks Russ. I really appreciate it.” Steve took his mother gently by the arm and led her out to his car.
“Do you think you will recognize him after all these years?” Steve asked as they drove to Chadwick’s.
“I have been up all night wondering that exact same thing.” Helen whispered.
“Well let’s see where this is all going.” Steve said as he pulled into the parking lot of Chadwick’s.
The two of them headed into the lobby. “Do we have reservations?” Steve wondered.
“I don’t know. He said he would meet us in the bar.” Helen’s voice was very nervous.
Steve again gently took her arm and led her into the bar. “Why don’t we sit over here?” Steve pointed to the only empty table in the bar.”
“I don’t think I see him.” Helen looked around.
‘Maybe Oscar was right. This could be one big trap.’ Steve thought.
They sat at the table and gave the waitress there drink orders.
“I don’t know Steve.” Helen began. “Maybe he won’t show up.”
Steve looked at his watch. “Well it’s only ten . We’re early.”
“I guess you’re right. Oh Steve I’m so nervous.”
“Well don’t be. It will be all right.” Steve pretended to be unconcerned but he kept a watchful eye on everyone in the place.
The waitress brought them their drinks and they sat making idle conversation neither one saying what was really on their minds.
At noon on the dot a man entered the bar. He walked over to where Helen and Steve sat nursing their drinks.
“Hello Helen.” He spoke. “It has been a long time hasn’t it?”
Steve and Helen turned to the man who had approached their table.
Helen covered he mouth and gasped. “ Oh my g—Carl!”…
Steve started in astonishment from one to the other. “Mom is this really?”
Helen nodded. “I believe it is.” She murmured
The man turned to Steve. “My son.” He called out.
Steve stood and looked the man up and down then turned back to Helen. “Mom, are you sure this man is my father?”
“I’m pretty sure of it.” Helen too continued to look at the man standing before them.
“Shall we go into the dining room? I have table ready for us.”
Steve and Helen followed the man out of the lounge and into the dinning room.
After the waiter brought menus and they ordered Steve started the conversation.
“So ‘dad’, what brings you back after all these years?” Steve scowled at him.
“I’m sorry son. I never meant to hurt any of you. It was just after Pearl Harbor I couldn’t bring myself to return home. I thought it would be easier on your mother if I were to just disappear, rather than divorce her.”
“How commendable of you.” Steve sneered.
“I’m sorry I really meant no harm…”
“Why now then why not just leave dead bodies buried.” Steve cut him off.
“I just wanted to see my family one last time.” Carl cried.
“One last time!” Steve shouted. Drawing the attention of everyone around them. He then calmed down. ‘You mean to tell me this is a one-day deal?”
Carl shook his head. “I wasn’t sure how you and your mother would respond.”
“I see. So what? You want to be part of our lives again? You know mom remarried?”
“I was very sorry to hear that. I’ve been to Ojai.” Carl continued. “I won’t ask you to leave Jim, but I would like to be part of your life again.”
“Oh Carl. I don’t know.” Helen was crying.
Carl turned to Steve. “I’m glad Jim Elgin made a great step father for you, but I’m back and ready to…”
“To what?” Steve snorted. “As far as I’m concerned Jim Elgin is my father.”
“Look I said I was sorry, what more do you want?”
“I want you to tell me what this is all about?” Steve demanded.
“I had no idea you would respond this way.” Carl whispered.
“What did you expect?” Steve demanded.
“Steve I want you to forgive me. I want to be a father to you.” Carl pleaded.
“Ok look I’m willing to meet you half way.” Steve thought he better play along if he were to find out what this person actually wanted. “I don’t know if I’m ready to accept you as a father, but maybe as a friend.”
Carl threw his hands in the air. “I can’t ask for more than that. Thank you. Maybe someday you will find it in your heart to forgive me.”
“Yea sure maybe.” Steve muttered.
“I can call you then?” Carl’s eyes seemed to dance with hope.
“Yea I suppose.” Steve handed him a slip if paper with his phone number.
“Thank you son. You don’t know how happy this makes me.” Carl’s eyes filled with tears.
The three of them left the restaurant together. Carl put his arm around Steve. “You take care son. I’ll call you in a couple of days.”
“Yea sure thanks ‘dad’.”
Inside the restaurant two men slowly began to clear away the items left on the table. They carefully bagged and marked all the utensils and cup used by Carl. After placing them in individual bags they placed all the bags into one big bag and exited the restaurant.
“Well” Helen said when they got back into the car. “My flight leaves at 3:00. I’m not real sure exactly what to do. I need to get back to Ojai. Jim has no idea why I left. I just told him I needed to see you.”
“I’ll drive you to the airport, Mom. Don’t meet with him again alone until you’ve heard from me.” Steve warned.
“Why?” She wondered.
“I still don’t trust him. Gut instinct I guess.”
“Well what ever you say.” Helen agreed. “But I do think he’s who he says he is.”
“Just humor me ok?” Steve pleaded.
“If that’s what you want.” Helen sighed. “I’m going back anyway.”
“Yea I guess you’re right. Well here we are.” Steve announced as he dropped her off at Dulles.
“I’ll call when I get back.” Helen stated as she got out of the car.
“Sounds good.” Steve gave her a slight wave as he watched her vanish into the terminal.
Steve started to head back to the OSI and tell Oscar of his meeting.
After leaving the restaurant Carl pulled up to the gate of the Russian embassy.
“Good afternoon Mr. Austin.” The Guard greeted.
“Just let me in.” Carl grumbled.
The guard opened the gate and Carl drove in. After parking he went into the building. He walked to a door and knocked.
“Come in.” The voice on the other side called. Carl Stepped into the room. “I don’t think I can go through with this Akim.”
“You’re going to have to. Once Col Austin finds out you are indeed his father he will do anything for you.” Akim stated.
“But to deceive him this way.” Carl argued. “It was one thing when I sold out my own country and began working for you…”
“If you hadn’t you realize you would be dead today?”
Carl nodded. “But now you want to involve my family…”
“Your son is a very special person. I don’t think you realize just how special he is.” Akim continued.
“I still don’t like it.” Carl sighed.
“You just do your job, get Col. Austin to us. We’ll handle it from there. That’s an order Carl.”
Carl nodded and left the building. He would have to try once again to make contact with his son.
Back in the office Dr. Akim Gavrel was talking to his partner Igor Fodor.
“Are you sure this will work Dr Gavrel?” Igor Fodor asked.
“I’m sure it will. We just need time for Col. Austin to trust that Carl is indeed his father.”
“How long will that take? My people want him in Moscow no later than the end of the week.”
“I think that can be arranged.
“So how did the meeting go?” Oscar asked after Steve was seated across from him.
“Mom is convinced he is my father. I’m not sure what to do Oscar. He wants to get together again sometime.”
“Steve I’m having it looked into. I hope you don’t mind…”
“No Oscar not at all. I was about to ask if you would. Listen I’m going for a drive. I need some time to think.”
“Is your mother still at the Biltmore?” Oscar was concerned for her safety as well.
“No she flew back to Ojai. She’s very confused by all of this.” Steve explained.
“I’m sure she is. Tell her she can call us anytime.”
Steve smiled “I already did.” He stood to leave.
“Steve.” Oscar called.
“Yea.” Steve turned toward him.
“If you decide to make a last minute trip to Ojai let me know in advance.”
“You’ll be the first.” Steve assured. “See you later.”
“Are you sure?” Oscar almost shouted at Russ standing in front of him.
“Positive Oscar. The prints we lifted from the restaurant match Carl Austin’s military record.”
“So he is Steve’s father.” Oscar continued reading the file.
“What about the prints you lifted from the house?”
We’re still working on those. They don’t fit so far, but we’re working as fast as we can on it.
“Thanks Russ for what you’ve done so far. Let me know the minute you find out anything.”
“I will Oscar.” Russ turned to leave.
Oscar gave him a light wave as Russ left the room then reached for his ringing phone “Yes Steve. How is it going?”
“So far so good. I guess. Did you find out anything?”
It took several moments before Oscar replied. “I do have some news. We took the liberty of removing the table ware from the restaurant you dined at this afternoon.” Oscar was silent for a few more moments.
“Well Oscar I’m waiting.” Steve was growing impatient.
“He’s your father Steve. The prints match your father’s military records.”
This time Steve was silent. After several moments he just hung the phone up without another word.
“I hate it when he does that.” Oscar grumbled as he hung up his own phone.
Steve drove straight to his house. ‘I wonder if I should call mom and tell her.’ He thought. ‘I’ll just leave it for now.” Steve spoke out loud as he opened the door.
The phone was ringing as he entered the house. He picked it up. “Yes” He spoke.
“Steve? It’s Carl. I was wondering if you would like to get together for dinner tonight?”
“I think that would be a great idea dad.” Steve agreed.
“You believe me then.” Carl sounded hopeful
“Yes I do. I had some friends do some checking…”
“I understand. Would have done the same thing had I been in your shoes.” Carl related.
“There is a small drive -in on the outskirts of town. It’s called Dragon’s. Why don’t we meet there say around seven?”
“Seven it is.” Carl was elated.
“Oscar!” Russ cried as he ran in to Oscar’s office catching the director just as he was getting ready to leave for the day.
“What is it Russ?”
“Did you tell Steve Carl is his father?” Russ was shouting
“I had to. Why, what’s the problem?”
Russ handed him a file. “We found out who the prints belong to. The ones we lifted from Steve’s house!!”
“Whom do they belong to?” Oscar asked as he opened the file.
“They belong to one Igor Fodor.” Russ looked straight at Oscar.
Oscar dropped the file. “You’re not serious?”
“I’m very serious. That’s not all of it Oscar…”
“I know. Fodor is an assistant to Dr. Akim Gavrel. He has tried and failed at bionic surgery.”
“That’s not what I was going to say. We did some digging when we discovered the prints actually belonged to Carl and the others belonged to Fodor.”
“Go on!” Oscar was getting annoyed.
“For the past thirty years Carl has been working for the KGB.”
Oscar stared in disbelief. “That can’t be true.”
“I’m afraid it is.” Russ handed him another file containing the information proving Carl Austin was a KGB agent.
After several moments of silence Russ broke in. “Are you alright Oscar?”
“Yea I’ve just been adding up two and two. They are after Steve.”
“That would be my hunch.” Russ agreed.
“Again Oscar thought then turned to Russ. “Has Carl made contact since lunch?”
“Not that I’m aware of Oscar.”
“Good I better call Steve and warn him. If all this is true Steve is in a lot of danger…”
Steve had been busy since Oscar had informed him that the man he had met earlier that day was indeed his father. He had been delighted when Carl called and asked him to dinner. After speaking to Oscar, Steve dialed his mother in Ojai and told her the news.
“I knew it was Carl.” Helen sounded joyful. “I just don’t know how to proceed. I would assume we are still married?”
“I wouldn’t worry about that just now.” Steve soothed. “I think he’ll let that drop. I think all he wants is to be friends.”
“Are you sure?” Helen had asked.
“I’m having dinner with him tonight. I’ll speak to him.” Steve promised.
“That would be great.” Helen agreed.
After hanging up from speaking to his mother Steve busied himself preparing for his dinner date with his father.
“How long till you make contact again Carl?” Igor was anxious to know. “The sooner we get Col Austin on our side the better.”
“I am having dinner with him tonight. Give me a couple of days.” Carl pleaded.
“You’re not going soft on us are you? I realize he is your son. That is why it is important for him to come with us. You would like that wouldn’t you?”
Carl nodded. “I have wanted to make contact for years. Now that I have…”
“You must not let emotions cloud your judgment Carl.” Igor chided. “Your son is a very special man. We want to find out what makes him so special.”
“You’re referring to the fact he is bionic.” Carl hesitated.
“How do you know this?” Igor demanded.
“It only stands to reason. I know Dr. Gavrel.” Carl continued. “You are experimenting with bionics and they have not gone well.”
Igor looked over at Carl. “ Well then you would be correct.” He stated.
“What I want to know is why we didn’t have this information a long time ago!” Oscar shouted at Russ as he picked up the phone to call Steve. “I want answers and I want them now!” Oscar screamed as he slammed the phone down after receiving no answer at Steve’s.
“I’ll get right on it Oscar.” Russ promised.
“See that you do!” Oscar stood and grabbed his suit coat from the coat rack in his office, then headed for the door.
“Where are you going Oscar?” Russ felt he really didn’t need to ask.
“Over to Steve’s. Maybe he was just in the shower or something. I need to get to him before Carl and his friends do.”
Oscar had been right. Steve had just stepped out of the shower as Oscar hung up the phone. “Dam I hate it when that happens.” Steve griped, as he quickly got dressed.
Steve had just pulled around one corner as Oscar came around the other. Seeing the driveway empty Oscar cursed then drove on.
“Where would he have gone?” Oscar asked himself.
Igor looked at the clock “It is time for you to go meet your son.” He informed Carl.
“Yea I’m going.” Carl’s voice was barely audible.
“Carl. Don’t do anything foolish.” Igor warned. “We expect you to deliver your son to us no later than day after tomorrow.”
“Don’t worry. I’ll keep my end of the bargain. I’ll deliver.” Carl left the room and headed for his meeting with his son.
Steve arrived a few minutes early. He parked his car and headed inside. He was hoping he had arrived first. He knew just where he wanted to sit. There was a table in the back. As he entered he scanned the area and didn’t see his father. Steve made a beeline for the back table.
A few moments later Carl walked through the door. He spotted his son and headed toward him.
Steve rose when he saw his father approaching. “I thought this would be a nice table.” Steve spoke as he and Carl both sat. “It’s rather private.”
Carl nodded. “I’m glad you agreed to this meeting.”
“Well like I said I had some friends do some investigating for me. They were able to match finger prints taken from the restaurant we ate at earlier today.”
“So you know I am your father?” Carl questioned.
Steve nodded. “I called mom and told her the news.” Steve said after several moments of silence.
“What did she say?” Carl was anxious to hear.
“She is very confused right now.” Steve pointed out.
“I would have assumed so.” Carl set his menu down and took a sip of water. “You don’t know how happy I was today when I saw the two of you sitting there.”
“How did you know it was me?” Steve wanted to know. “You never saw me before…”
“I wanted to make contact years ago, but the time wasn’t right. I’ve kept pretty close tabs since. I read about your accident…”
“Yea well it wasn’t as big a deal as the press let on.” Steve wasn’t sure if he should say anything or not to this man who until only a few hours ago had been a stranger. True his mother knew but that had been by accident.
“Well” Carl continued. “They made it sound pretty bad.”
Even though they were sitting inside the carhop rolled over to the two of them “May I take your order?”
Carl turned to Steve. “Order whatever you want son. My treat.”
They ordered burgers and fries, then they continued talking.
“So what made you want to make contact now dad?” Steve asked sipping his pop through a straw.
“I don’t really know.” Carl lied “I guess I was getting rather lonely. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I have some big time regrets for deserting you and your mother.”
“Well it wasn’t easy growing up without a father.” Steve told him. “Then when I was six mom remarried. Jim Elgin became my father.”
Rudy was just sitting down to his own dinner when Oscar pounded on his door.
Grumbling Rudy stood to answer the door. “Oscar.” Rudy sounded shocked to see Oscar standing in the hallway outside his apartment.
“Rudy is Steve with you by any chance?” Oscar hoped.
“Steve? I don’t think I’ve seen Steve for a couple of days now.” Rudy moved so Oscar could come in. “Is something wrong?”
“Yes something’s wrong Rudy” Oscar proceeded to tell Oscar what had happened.
“Carl’s alive?” Rudy was shocked. “Does Steve know?”
“Of course he knows. He made contact with Helen first. The three of them had lunch today. But what he doesn’t know is that …” Oscar gave him the horrific news that Carl was a KGB agent.
“I’ve heard of Dr. Gavrel. He has been trying to perfect bionics for years. You think they are using the fact that Carl is Steve’s father to get to Steve?”
“That’s exactly what I think Rudy.” Oscar became emotional. “I just wish I could get in contact with him.”
“I wish I could help.” Rudy too was upset.
Oscar turned to leave. “You know Rudy I don’t know what to do. I was hoping he would be with you. I was hoping he had some sort of problem and was here.” Oscar thought for a moment. “In fact at this point, I’d welcome it. I’ll see you later. I’m going to see if I can find him. I’ll try all of his famous hideouts.”
“I wouldn’t do that if I were you. Steve has no idea you know where they are.” Rudy warned.
“I’m not going to approach him. I just want to set my mind at ease.”
“I understand.” Rudy held the door for him and Oscar headed out the door.
“Oscar. Did you try Ojai? You said he was concerned about his mother, maybe he flew out there.”
“I pleaded with him to tell me if he was going to take a trip out there….”
“Since when does he listen to your suggestions?” Laughed.
“Well Steve.” Carl said as they finished the meal and conversation. “This has been great. Can we do it again tomorrow? We still have so much catching up to do.”
“I’ll have to see, but I think something can be arranged.” Steve put his arm around his father and the two headed out to their cars. They laughed when they discovered that they had parked right next to one another.
“Yea dad. I’ll see you tomorrow.” Steve started to get into his car. He didn’t see Akim and Igor rapidly approaching.
Oscar stepped back into Rudy’s house. “You may have something there Rudy. I bet he did go out to Ojai. I know Steve wanted to tell Helen that Carl was indeed the real thing. Can I use your phone?”
“By all means.” Rudy led him back to his study.
“It is long distance…”
“That doesn’t matter.” Rudy had begun pacing back and forth across the floor. Oscar was doing his share of fidgeting as well.
“…Yes thank you anyway Helen. Yes I’ll keep you informed.” Oscar slammed the phone down.
“No luck huh?” Rudy quizzed.
Oscar shook his head. “No Rudy, he’s not in Ojai. He did call Helen and tell her though.”
“Good evening Carl.” Akim approached. “And this must be your son.”
“Not now Akim.” Carl hissed.
Steve recognized both men right away. “Dad? Do you know these two clowns?”
“I guess I do.” Carl admitted.
“Too bad your little reunion had to be so short lived.” Igor sneered. “I suggest the two of you just get in the car right now and no one will get hurt.” He continued
Steve and Carl were forced into the car and Akim sped off.”…
Oscar and Rudy stood for several moments looking at one another. Then Oscar turned “I have to find him Rudy.”
“Oscar calm down.” Rudy put his hand on Oscar’s shoulder “We will find him. You don’t suppose he met with Carl again?”
“That’s what I’m afraid of Rudy.” Oscar garbled.
“I think Steve can handle himself.” Rudy continued.
“Against Fodor and Gavrel?” I don’t think so.” Oscar turned and stepped out into the hall “Rudy I think you better come with me. You’ll be safer at the OSI. If these people are after Steve you may be next.”
“I was coming anyway.” Rudy turned off the lights and the left the building.
Steve and Carl sat in the back seat while Akim and Igor did the driving. “I know these guys dad. How do you know them?” Steve asked.
“You should tell your son the truth Carl.” Akim smirked.
“What is that supposed to mean?” Steve shouted.
Carl looked like he was going to be sick at any minute. “I work for them son.”
Steve stared at him in shock. “You can’t possibly be serious?”
“I’m ashamed to admit it’s true son but the fact of the matter is…”
“Is that why you sold out your own country?” Steve ridiculed. “And for what?” Steve shouted.
“It wasn’t that way at all.” Carl corrected. “If you knew the whole story….” He caught the somber look Steve shot at him. “Aw just forget it.”
“No you opened the can of worms.Tell me!” Steve demanded.
Akim looked in the back seat. “Now let’s just be quiet back there shall we?”
Steve sat back in the seat. ‘Oh this is just great. My own father set me up.’ He thought to himself.
Ten minutes later they arrived at the Russian Embassy. “Ok boys, here is where we get out.” Igor barked.
“What are we doing here?” Steve questioned as he refused to get out of the car.
“May I suggest you get out of the car right now!” Akim ordered.
Carl reached his hand over and laid it on Steve’s arm. “Please son. Do as he asks I’ll explain everything.”
“Explain what? Steve shrieked.
Akim and Igor both reached in Akim grabbed Steve, and Igor grabbed Carl. “You can no longer be trusted.” Igor shouted at Carl. “Besides, we got what we wanted from you.”
They took both men and locked them in a room. “Ok dad.” Steve began. “You said you would explain everything. You gave me a snow job this afternoon. I want to know why!!”
“A snow job?” Carl quizzed
“You said that after the war you just couldn’t return home. That was just a story. Why didn’t you tell me you worked for the KGB? All about what you said keeping tabs. That was all just a bunch of baloney too?” ”
“ Yes. I guess you’re right. When I set up the meeting they showed me your picture. Look son you have to believe me when I say I never wanted to. In fact they have never really trusted me.” Carl sighed as he sat next to Steve. “Back during the war the Russians captured me. They told me if I didn’t go to work for them they would kill me….”
“I think I would have let them kill me.” Steve interrupted.
“Well that is what I told them. So then they said they would go after my family. You weren’t even born yet, but they said they would kill you mother.”
“So you thought it was best to go along with them. I don’t know if I would have done that or not.” Steve pointed out.
Anyway they helped arrange my death and I moved to Moscow. This is the first I have set foot in the US in thirty years.”
“They needed you to get to me.” Steve snapped his fingers at the realization.
“That’s right. They told me they wanted my son to join us and they needed my help. So they brought me over here and I contacted you mother.”
“So you lied!” Steve raged
“Never.” Carl defended
“What do you mean?” Steve was still furious.
“I have always wanted to contact your mother.” Carl wept.
Steve began to feel sorry for this man. “I don’t know if I fully understand.” Steve was much calmer now.
“For years after I defected I wanted to come get you and your mother. But by that time she was living with Jim Elgin.”
“Go on.” Steve was grateful that his mother had remarried. Otherwise…He shuddered at the thought.
“Steve I still love your mother. Now what I said earlier or what I told her about wanting out of the marriage that was a lie. I just couldn’t tell her the truth at that time.”
“If you had we never would have met you.” Steve finished.
Carl nodded “That’s right.”
It was nearing 10:00 when Russ burst through the door to Oscar’s office. Oscar and Rudy both jumped to their feet. “Anything Russ?” Oscar demanded.
Russ nodded. “Yes, and its not good news Oscar. We found Steve’s car at Dragon’s Drive – in just outside…”
“I know where it is. Was Steve there?”
Russ shook his head. “No Oscar, but a waitress says she saw Steve earlier in the evening. She said he was with an older gentleman. From her description it sounds like Carl.”
“Go on Russ.” Oscar insisted.
“We dusted Steve’s car for prints. We found one belonging to Dr. Gavrel. The owner swears he saw two men force Steve and ‘the older gentleman’ as he called him into another car.”
Oscar turned to Rudy. “Well I guess they didn’t waste any time.”
“Now what do we do?” Rudy speculated.
“I don’t know. I guess just sit back and hope Steve can get out of this one himself.” Oscar sighed.
Rudy and Russ nodded.
Steve and Carl had talked most of the night. Steve began to forgive his father who obviously had been pushed into a life he hadn’t wanted.
They had just finished their conversation when the door swung open. “And just how are you two getting along.” Igor laughed. He turned to Steve. “We have big plans for you Mr. Cyborg.”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.” Steve tried to stall for time.
“You know exactly what I’m talking about Col. Austin.” Akim scoffed as he stood beside Igor.
“Yea I suppose I do.” Steve muttered. “So what’s the bottom line here?”
“I thought that was obvious. You’re coming to work or us.” Akim laughed. “For years we have tried to perfect your kind. Then we heard about you. We decided it would be better to either have you work for us, or use you to figure out just how you were constructed.”
Carl gave him a puzzled look. “What does that mean?” He demanded.
“Simple. It means that in order to achieve what we want Col. Austin either agrees to work for us, or we take him apart and find out exactly what we are doing wrong.”
“You can’t do that!!” Carl protested.
“I’m afraid we can, and will.” Akim laughed. “We thank you for introducing us to your son Carl.”
Carl lunged for Akim but Akim belted him down. “I knew we could no longer trust you.” He scowled. “Be ready to leave first thing in the morning.”
“Where are you going?” Steve was almost afraid he knew the answer to that one already
“We are going to Moscow of course.” Akim laughed as he slammed the door.
Steve stepped over to where Carl lay on the floor. “Dad. Are you alright?”
“Yea I just had the wind knocked out of me.” Carl stood and dusted himself off. “So what do we do now?”
“I’m not real sure. I do know we are not going to Moscow.” Steve informed him.
“We?” Carl was perplexed.
“Dad. I’m not letting you go back with them. Neither one of us are going.” Steve started walking back and forth across the room. “You know these people better than I do. What are there weaknesses?”
“I don’t think I understand?” Carl questioned.
“I have to try and get us out of this.” Steve started looking around the room for a way out.
“Oh I see what you mean. I have to be very honest. They don’t tell me much. They never did fully trust me. That’s why they never let me return to the States.” Carl clarified.
“The only window has bars on it.” Steve indicated.
“I noticed that. If we get out of this and your mother finds out that I well that I…”
“I won’t tell her if you don’t. If we get out of this do you want to stay in the country?” Steve’s voice filled with hope.
“Yes I do. I know I can never make up for lost time but I would like us to be able to start out fresh.”
“I can’t argue with that one.” Steve said as he walked over to the windows. “I just don’t see anyway out. Unless. How much do you know about what they were saying earlier?” I mean about the fact as to why they want me.”
Carl lowered his head. “I had no idea in the beginning. Steve I am so sorry…”
“Think nothing of it. So you know about me then?”
Carl nodded. “Yes I do. Can you get us out of here?”
“I’m going to give it a try.” Steve stepped up to the window. “The bars are on the outside. At least we are on the ground floor which would explain the bars I suppose.” Steve speculated.
“What are you going to do?” Carl asked.
“I’m going to bend the bars enough so we can crawl out and back out onto the street. Then I call some friends of mine.”
Carl watched in amazement as Steve bent the steel bars of their prison. “Ok dad. You go first I’ll be right behind you.”
Carl started to crawl out the window when once again the door swung open. Akim fired a single shot. “Hold it. No one is going anywhere!”
Oscar, Russ and Rudy had gotten little sleep the night before if they had slept at all. They had stayed in Oscar’s office all night waiting anxiously for Oscar’s private line to ring. It never did. Oscar had paced the floor most of the night.
Russ had slipped out to get coffee for everyone.
“Take it easy Oscar.” Rudy tried to calm Oscar’s fears. “He’ll call. Maybe Russ will hear some news while he’s out.”
“Not good news I bet!” Oscar shot back.
They both turned to see the doorknob turning. Hoping it was Steve Oscar jumped to his feet and raced for the door.
“Oh Russ. It’s just you.” Then he caught himself. “I’m sorry Russ I was hoping it was Steve.”
“I understand.” Russ set the coffee cups on the table. “I found out a few things. This intelligence report just came in.”
“What’s it say?” Oscar took a sip of coffee.
Russ nodded “Akim Gavrel and Igor are scheduled to leave for Moscow at 8:00 AM.”
“I suppose their plan is to take Steve with them?” Oscar noted.
“That’s the plan Oscar.” Russ confirmed.
Oscar glanced at his watch. That’s less then two hours from now. He reached for the phone.
“Who are you calling?” Rudy asked speaking for the first time since Russ had entered the office.
“I’m Calling Dulles. I’m grounding all flights. Let’s get out there and see if we can stop this.”
After notifying the airport that they had to secure the airport Russ, Oscar and Rudy headed in that direction.
They arrived at the airport in less than ten minutes. The checked the flight board and found the flight destined for Moscow. The quickly ran back to the gate hoping Steve would be sitting in the company of Akim and Igor. The were disappointed when their search yielded nothing but a bunch of angry passengers.
Steve and Carl were led back out to Akim’s car. “Get in both of you!” Igor barked. “No Colonel, you’re up front. Carl you and I shall sit in the back. We don’t want you two to talk to one another.”
Steve slid into the passenger seat while Carl rode in the back with Igor.
“Where are we going?” Steve asked as they left the city of Washington. “I thought we were going to Moscow.”
“You must be anxious to start your new life Colonel” Akim sneered.
“That’s not it. I mean if we are not flying out of Dulles?”
“I know your friends at the OSI too well my friend. They will have shut down Dulles. So we are leaving via Kennedy International Airport in New York.” Akim began to laugh “Thought you could fool us eh?”
“No I didn’t think so.” Steve mumbled.
“I suggest you just sit back and relax and enjoy the ride to NY. We left a false intelligence report saying we were leaving at 8:00 this morning. It’s actually 1:00 this afternoon from Kennedy.”
‘That figures’. Steve thought. “Now what?’
“Steve.” Carl called out from the backseat. “I’m so sorry. If I would have known it would come to…”
“Shut up!” Igor slapped him “I don’t want you saying anything to one another for the trip.”
Steve slumped down in the seat. ‘I have to get us out of this.’ He thought to himself. ‘Maybe when we get to the airport I can think of something then.’
In the back Carl also slumped down in the seat. He was fed up with the whole thing. But relieved he and his son had come to terms with what had happened at least he hoped so.
The rest of the ride was silent save for Akim and Igor speaking to each other in Russian and laughing.
They arrived at NY Kennedy Airport two hours before flight time. “What do we do for two hours?” Igor asked. “I was hoping for less time here. They could escape in two hours.”
“We will just have to watch them close.” Akim stated.
Dejected Oscar, Rudy and Russ left the terminal. The flights went on as usual.
“What now Oscar?” Rudy’s voice trembled. “We can’t let them get out of the country with Steve.”
“I don’t know Rudy. I just don’t know.” Oscar thought for several minutes. “I’m calling all the airports along the east coast. I’ll shut down every major one if I have to. There is no way they’ll ever get out of the country with Steve.”
Oscar again made the necessary arrangements. “What airports have flights to Moscow?” He asked.
“The only one that is direct to Moscow leaves at 1:00 from New York’s Kennedy Airport.” The flight manager told him.
Oscar slammed the phone down. “We’re going to NY. We need to get to Kennedy before one!” He shouted.
Russ and Rudy followed. “We’ll have to fly up ourselves. It’s 11:30 now.” Rudy pointed.
“I know that. Let’s get to Dulles!”
Oscar broke every speed record in the book. They arrived back at Dulles in time for the noon flight to Kennedy.
“Well now.” Akim said as they entered Kennedy airport. “I think our best bet is to stay together.” He turned to Steve and Carl. “You two. I still don’t want you to talk to one another.”
Defeated Steve and Carl both nodded.
“Just so long as we understand one another.” Akim smirked.
The prospect was painful. Steve longed to speak to his father. Was he just going along, or had he meant what he had said when they were locked up together. Could they truly have a relationship? Make up for lost years” Steve ached for the answer.
Akim and Igor forced them into chairs. And sat in between them. “We have only an hour or so left. This was the only direct flight we could get.”
“Direct?” Steve questioned. “You mean we won’t stop along the way?”
“Not once.” Igor smiled.
Behind the scenes and unbeknownst to Akim and Igor the instant they had entered the airport, airport security was watching their ever move, though they had been ordered not to make any moves until Oscar arrived.
“I want to do this as quickly and quietly as possible!” Oscar ordered when he arrived at the airport. “I don’t want to give them a chance to use Steve as a hostage.”
“I understand Mr. Goldman” the chief of airport security stated. “The gate for the Moscow flight is gate 32. Our own security team is in place.”
“That’s great.” Oscar glanced at his watch. “Why don’t you board that flight? I don’t want them to suspect anything.”
“What ever you say sir.” The security chief said. He called up to gate 36. “Board the plane as usual,” he ordered.
“Yes sir.” The stewardess replied. She then got on the loudspeaker. “Flight 1357 to Moscow now boarding.” She called.
Akim and Igor looked at one another. “Well here we go.” Akim said. “We’re home free.”
“I was getting worried Akim.” Igor grabbed Steve. “Say good-bye to your home sweet home.” He laughed. “From now on you will now do all of your shopping at Red Square.”
“Steve and Carl followed Akim and Igor out of the airport and to the waiting plane.
“I’m getting ready to make my move.” Steve whispered to Carl. “Did you mean what you said?”
“Of course I did.” Carl whispered. Back. “I would like nothing more than to be with my family again.”
“Ok then just stick with me.” They continued to follow when they got to the plane much to Steve’s relief Akim and Igor had a welcoming committee. Oscar and his team were standing on the steps of the plane.
“Steve!” Oscar called. “Are you all right?”
“Yea I’m fine Oscar.” Steve called back. He broke away from Akim and headed for Oscar.
“Not so fast Col. Austin!” Igor called. He pulled out his 32 aimed it directly at Steve and fired.
“No!!” Carl cried. “Not my son!!” He ran in between Steve and the bullet catching it in the shoulder.
Oscar’s team moved fast. The surrounded Akim and Igor. Steve dashed for his wounded father.
“Don’t worry dad. You’ll be fine.” He turned toward Oscar. “Is Rudy with you?”
“I’ll get him.” Oscar ran into the plane and arrived back at the door within seconds with Rudy. Rudy quickly examined the wounded man.
“He’ll be fine it’s just a flesh wound.” Rudy reported.
THREE WEEKS LATER
“So how is everything Steve?” Oscar asked.
“Just great. I’m flying out to Ojai tomorrow to see my parents.”
“All three of them?” Oscar laughed.
“Yep. All three of them.”
“Has Jim gotten used to the fact…”
“He and my father are like long lost buddies. Mom and dad asked my father to move in with them.”
“Is he going to?” Oscar wondered.
“I don’t think so. He says he wants to be on his own for a while. By the way Oscar how much longer till you tell the surveillance team to call it quits?”
“Steve it’s necessary at least for a year. We want to make sure Carl is on the level with wanting to remain here and that he’s no longer working for the KGB.”
“I understand. I’m sure he will too. I wanted to thank you for all your help in letting him stay.”
Oscar put a comforting hand on Steve’s shoulder “Think nothing of it pal.” Oscar smiled.