Oscar sat in the office of noted scientist Dr. Hatch. Dr. Hatch's newest invention sat in between them.
“You call it a decoder?” Oscar asked.
“Yes now the military wants to test it. But in the past couple of weeks it seems everyone has been interested in my little brain child.”
“Someone has tried to steal it?” Oscar asked.
“That’s true. So the military wants it under wraps.” Hatch responded.
“Well I have the perfect person for the job. He should be here in a moment. He gets out of school at 3:00. I told him to come right over.”
“Out of school! Is he a teacher undercover?”
“No, in fact he’s a student.”
“A student, how old is he?”
“Seven," Oscar told him. “There are only three agents I would trust with this assignment.” Oscar went on. Then he continued. “The other two are on other missions so it is up to Marc.”
“Can we trust him?” Hatch asked sounding worried.
“I hope so. He’s my son.”
“I didn’t know you had children.”
“They are my sister’s kids. She was killed recently in an accident. I have custody of the kids.”
“Well if you trust him I guess I will have to.”
Their attention was turned to a small monitor that showed the front gate. Marc pulled up on his bike. He showed his OSI ID to the gate guard.
"Marc Goldman to see Dr. Hatch.”
"Yes Marc," the guard said. “Dr. Hatch is expecting you."
“Well one thing for certain,” Hatch presumed, “no one would ever suspect him.”
“That’s the whole idea.” Oscar said.
A few minutes later Marc stood with the two of them in Hatch’s office.
“This is an invention of Dr. Hatch. It is a decoder. Plugged into the right computer it can decipher any code or language in the world.” Oscar was telling him.
Marc smiled to himself. ‘Bet it can’t decipher me and Matt’s language.’
“What‘s so funny?” Dr. Hatch asked.
“Oh nothing.” Marc said. “Go on dad.”
“Anyway in the past two weeks someone has tried to steal it on three separate occasions. We are sending it to PAX so it can be tested and protected. Tomorrow a caravan is to deliver it to PAX.”
“I get to ride in a caravan?” Marc asked.
“Not quite. That is just a decoy. Tonight you are taking it to PAX. We have a pilot ready to fly you to PAX. Where you will deliver it to a man by the name of General Partridge.”
Marc looked at the decoder. “It looks like a garage door opener.” He said.
“I will take you the heliport and the pilot will take you to PAX. How does that sound?” Oscar asked him. “He knows where to go, and the landing codes when you get there.”
“Landing codes? Sounds like fun.” Marc replied.
“Well I have no doubt you can handle it.” Oscar said trying not only to reassure Marc but Dr. Hatch as well.
“Do I take this with me, or do you want to bring it dad?”
“I’m placing it in your care. I need you to sign these papers saying that you took it. Then you will have General Partridge sign this one after you deliver it to him.”
“Dad. I can’t sign my name yet. I don’t know how to write. I mean I can print, and I don’t get very good grades in that.”
“Just print your name the best you can son.” Oscar said trying not to laugh.
Marc printed his name as neatly as he could. “Is that Ok?”
“Now if you did it that way in school maybe you wouldn’t get bad grades in penmanship.” Oscar said looking at Marc’s name printed on the receipt.
“Now,” Oscar said handing Marc the decoder, “just put in you book bag and I’ll see you at home. We have to be to the heliport by 7:30. General Partridge is expecting you at 7:45. He is a very punctual person.”
“Ok I’ll see you at home.”
“If you have any homework, I suggest you get it done the minute you get home.” Oscar called as Marc left Dr. Hatch’s office.
“I will. See you at home dad.” Marc put his book bag on and left the room.
Outside a man waited in the car he spoke on his car phone. “I can’t believe this the courrier is a little kid.”
“That’s not what I would have expected.” The voice on the other end said. “Too bad it’s the last thing he’ll ever deliver.’
“Right.” The first man said.
“I hope we are doing the right thing.” Dr. Hatch said to Oscar after Marc had left.
“Dr. I trust him more than anything. Marc may only be seven but he takes his role as an agent very seriously.”
“I hope so. I worked five years on that project.”
“He’ll take very good care of it. Besides it’s only a couple of hours.”
“I guess you’re right.” Hatch sighed.
As usual at 6:00 Oscar and the kids sat down to dinner. Mary had prepared it but had left as soon as Oscar got home.
“Are you nervous about tonight Marc?” Oscar asked as he passed the platter of chicken.
“Just a little.” Marc answered.
“Why should he be nervous?” Danny asked as he dished up his potatoes.
“No big deal. Marc is going on a little assignment tonight.” Oscar informed him.
“Do you really think that’s a good idea dad?” Danny continued taking the corn from Matt.
“Dan he can handle it. I’ll be right there for the most part.”
“What do you mean ‘for the most part’?” Dan questioned.
“Marc is making a delivery for us.”
“Since when is Marc the pizza guy?” Matt asked.
“Not that kind of delivery.” Oscar said with a smile.
“A man by the name of Dr. Hatch invented a decoder, Marc is going to deliver it to a testing facility tonight. That’s all.”
Before they could finish their meal the phone rang. “It’s at times like these I wish Mary were still with us full time.” Oscar muttered as he got up to answer the phone.
Oscar walked into the living room and picked up the receiver. “Hello”
“Oscar this is Millie Jenkins. Frank is my husband. Carla is with me.”
“What can I do for you?”
“I want my grandsons and Carla wants her nephews. This isn’t over by a long shot. I will not stop until those kids are with us in NY. You may have jailed my husband and son-in-law but you still have us to deal with. I will keep you in court until you have no money left. Those kids belong with us. You may have won the battle but not the war. In other words, it’s not over till fat lady sings.”
“Mrs. Jenkins. You don’t seem to understand. I adopted all four boys. They are legally my sons. Let’s reach an understanding. The fat lady has sung. Your husband and son-in-law are in prison, in federal prison by the way, for trying to kill me. They injured a very good friend of mine in the process.”
“I just wanted to let you know we still intend to fight.” With that Millie Jenkins slammed the phone down.
Oscar rejoined the boys in the kitchen. “I want you to listen to me. That was your grandmother. She is threatening to take you away from me. I don’t want you to get into the car with anyone or go with anyone other than me, Steve, Jaime Rudy or Russ. Do you understand?”
All four boys nodded. “I thought it was over dad.” Danny spoke up.
“She claims it’s not over till the fat lady sings.” Oscar quoted. “Listen maybe we should have a code word in case someone other than the aforementioned people picks you up.”
“I got it” said Matt. “peanut butter and banana sandwiches."
"That sounds good to me." Danny and Marc agreed.
"I can't eat peanut butter." Joey said.
"That's alright." Oscar said. "You don't have to eat it."
It was agreed that would be the code word.
At 7:15 Oscar packed the kids in the car and they drove the heliport in DC. The pilot met them and Oscar handed Marc his backpack with the decoder in it. “Marc, this is Ted Jones. He’s going to take you to PAX.”
“Ok.” Marc replied.
“Good luck son.” Oscar said as Marc stepped onto the helicopter “You be careful.” Oscar warned the pilot.
“I will.” Ted assured him. He sat in the pilot’s seat and turned to Marc. “You ready?”
“Let’s go. I want to get home in time for my favorite show.”
“We’ll make it.”
Oscar watched from the ground as the chopper took. “You better be careful.” Oscar whispered as he watched the chopper ascend into the sky.
Ted landed the chopper and Marc got out. A man who introduced himself as General Frank Partridge greeted him, Marc handed him the decoder and the general signed the paper.
“We will test this in a few days,” the general said. “Say hi to my friend Oscar for me.”
“I will.” Marc promised as he took the receipt back and stuck it in his backpack.
Marc got back onto the chopper. Ted lifted off and they were back at the heliport in no time.
Oscar was waiting when they got back. “How did it go?” He asked Marc when they were all back in the car.
“Great, no problem dad.” Marc replied.
“Good, let’s go home. It is a school night.”
“I was hoping you would forget that.” Matt sighed.
“I never forget about school nights.” Oscar explained.
The twins looked at each other and groaned.
“Come on guys, I though you liked school?” Oscar scolded.
“We do, we just don’t want to go every day.” Matt said.
When they got home Oscar made everyone go straight to bed.
The next morning after dropping the kids off at school Oscar sat in his office. He was talking Rudy.
The phone rang interrupting their conversation. Oscar picked up the phone. He spoke for a few minutes then replaced the receiver back to its cradle. “That’s strange," he said.
”That was the secretary he said he received a call from General Partridge this morning and that Marc never showed up last night."
“I thought you said it went off without a hitch.”
“That’s what I thought. I better go get Marc at school; in fact I think I’ll pick up Danny. We might need some legal advice.”
“That sounds like a good idea. I’ll be here if you need me for anything. Let me know what happens.”
“I will Rudy.”
Before leaving Oscar called the twin’s school. “I will be picking up Marc in a few minutes he is to go with no one else but me.”
“No problem Mr. Goldman.” The secretary of the school said.
“I mean it. I don’t care who they say they are. I’m having trouble with my sisters-in-laws. The same holds for Matt.” Oscar thought ‘I’ll kill two birds with one stone.’
“Don’t worry sir.” The school secretary assured.
Oscar left and drove to Arlington, picked up Marc and then headed for Danny’s school.
“What’s going on dad?” Dan asked fastening his seat belt.
“The assignment I sent Marc on last night got messed up.”
“Messed up? How?”
“From the sounds of if Marc was set up. I got a call form the secretary this morning He said he got a call from General Partridge and he said Marc never showed up.”
“Dad. I put that decoder thing right in the general’s hand, he signed the receipt and everything.” Marc called from the back seat.
“Do you still have the receipt Marc?” Oscar asked.
“Yea, it’s in my back pack.” Marc told him.
“Dan, the reason I picked you up is because I though you might be able to lend us some legal advice.”
“I hope I can help.” Danny stated.
They pulled up to the NSB and got out of the car. Oscar held Marc’s hand all the way to Inspector Gregory’s office.
“Not him again!” Dan said reading the name plaque on the door.
“He’s in charge over here.” Oscar explained to him as they went through the door.
Inspector Gregory sat his desk. Dr. Hatch stood beside him. Other men sat throughout the room.
”Inspector you’ve met my son Marc? And you remember Daniel? I asked Dan to join us he has such a brilliant legal mind I thought we might need his input.”
Inspector Gregory looked at Marc. “Do you feel you need a lawyer?”
“Don’t answer that Marc.” Danny said.
“Why don’t you tell us exactly what happened last night?” Gregory ordered.
Marc looked up at Oscar, then to his brother. Dan nodded.
“Dad took me the heliport. I got on the chopper with Ted. He took me to PAX I gave the General the decoder. He signed the receipt. I got back in the chopper. He took me back to the heliport. I got in dad’s car. He took me home and I went to bed.”
“As simple as that?”
“Yea as simple as that.”
“You say he signed the receipt? Do you have it with you?”
“It’s in my back pack.” Marc started digging things out of his backpack. He laid his math book down on Gregory’s desk and pulled out the receipt. He handed it to Gregory.
“Have this analyzed at once.” He said handing it to his aide.
Marc started to get very nervous. He stepped behind his dad and barely peered out at Gregory.
“Tell us what you know Dr. Hatch.” Gregory said.
“All I know is that I got a call today from a man by the name of Alex Martine. He now has the decoder.”
“If that’s the case?” Oscar interjected. “He got the decoder after Marc delivered it.”
“We beg to differ. Oscar would you be this lax if we were dealing with anyone other than your son?”
“I’m not being lax. I’m being realistic.” Oscar shouted.
Gregory turned to Marc. “Do you want to tell us how the decoder was stolen?”
“You have no call to say that.” Oscar shot at him.
“I feel that I do.” Gregory fired back.
No one seemed to notice Marc. He didn’t say another word. Slowly his thumb made it’s way into his mouth and he began to hum softly to himself.
“I think our best alternative in this situation is to detain Marc on suspicion of treason. After all we did have trouble with him before. I’m referring to the incident with the soviets.”
“Again with the treason Gregory? Can’t you come up with something a bit more original?” Danny asked.
“I don’t get your meaning.” Gregory looked at Danny.
“What I mean is you tried to accuse my brother of this before. It didn’t work then and it’s not going to work now. First of all you can't ‘detain’ him. He’s a minor. Second if you think Marc came up with this story on his own you are sadly mistaken.”
“Do you care to explain that?" Gregory challenged.
“You could start by looking at Marc’s last report card.” Dan reached into his pocket and pulled it out. Then he handed it to Gregory.
Gregory took it. “I don’t understand.” Gregory said looking at Marc’s repot card.
“My brother lacks the intellectual capability to master mind this on his own. I mean really! Just how do you think it played out? My brother called this Ted over to him and told him to take him to the wrong place? Inspector Marc is a kid. He does what grown ups tell him to do not the other way around.”
Gregory was taken aback by this child speaking the law to him "Ok, ok Oscar you can take him home till we get to the bottom of this, but believe me there will be an investigation.”
“I understand. Come on Marc, let’s go home.” Oscar turned to Marc to see why the boy didn’t answer. He was shocked. Marc was curled up on the floor. His eyes staring blankly into space, his thumb stuck in his mouth. “Marc, Marc. What’s wrong?” Oscar started shaking him “Danny call Rudy right now!!” Oscar commanded.
Everyone watched in horror as the scene unfold in front of them.
Rudy arrived within minutes. He too tried to break through Marc wall but had no luck. “I better get him to the lab I’ll know more after I examine him. Dam this is all we need. As if the kid hasn’t been through enough he has to be accused of a crime he couldn’t and wouldn’t commit.”
Oscar could tell Rudy was beyond angry. He was furious.
Oscar, Danny, Steve, Gregory and Dr. Hatch sat outside Rudy’s office waiting for Rudy to come out and give them the verdict on Marc’s condition.
Oscar jumped to his feet when Rudy walked through the door.
“Oscar do you want to talk privately in my office, or is it alright if I tell you here in front of everyone?”
“I think everyone needs to hear Rudy.”
“Ok. Marc is suffering from a condition known as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD for short. Marc has been through a lot lately. Quite frankly that’s what I thought he had the first time. But he didn’t have all the symptoms. This time he does.”
"And now we have that deal with his grandparents." Oscar muttered.
"I thought that was over Frank and Paul are in prison." Rudy stated.
"It's Millie and Carla. I got a call from them last night. They are planning on taking it back to court."
"Does Marc know about this?"
"I told all the kids last night." Oscar told him.
"That's just great. That on top of all of this, no wonder he's off in never land." He turned to Gregory and Dr. Hatch. "The mind of a child is very different from that of an adult. They don’t know how to accept something like this. So rather than accepting it they reject it. In rejecting it Marc has shut down completely.”
“How long will he be this way?” Oscar asked.
“I don’t know Oscar. A day, a week, a month sometimes as long as a year. Sometime they never come out of it.”
“What can we do to help him come out of it? Can Matt help again?”
“I don’t know. I don’t know if Matt can reach him.”
“What do we do?”
“Oscar, this is not my area. I don’t know the complex nature of the mind. My advice is that we just ride it out like last time. We just need to wait and see if he comes out of it on his own.”
“And if he doesn’t?”
“I don’t know Oscar, I really don’t know.”
“Rudy?” Danny asked.
“Can I use your computer?” Danny asked
“Yea what do you want to use it for?” Rudy wanted to know.
“I have something I need to look up.” Danny told him.
“Ok go ahead.” Rudy said.
Danny slipped into Rudy’s office and got on the computer. He knew the access codes by heart now and no longer required Rudy’s help.
He quickly tapped into the other government agency’s computer banks. His objective was to find out what projects Dr. Hatch had worked on. And of those how many actually made it to be tested.
Out in the hall Oscar continued his conversation with Rudy. “I still don’t understand.”
“It’s like this Oscar. Marc’s mind can’t handle what has happened. So he has gone to a place where he feels safe. Where he can handle it.”
“That sounds like what they said about Joey right before they said he was autistic.”
“In a way, it’s very similar.” Rudy told him.
“Can I see him?”
“Yea if fact you really need to stay here. When he does come back to us. He’s going to need to see you.”
“I’ll be here.” Oscar said.
“I just wish someone would admit to setting him up. That might help. If Marc knows he is not in trouble, he might come back to us.”
“Mr. Goldman, Mr. Goldman!!" Callahan came running up to him.
"What is it Callahan?"
"I've been trying to get hold of you. The school called. Matt passed out at school and they can't bring him around."
"I'll go get him" Rudy said. "You go on and be with Marc."
"What's going on Rudy?" Oscar demanded.
"I don't know. Obviously Marc took Matt with him this time.”
“Before I go get Matt I’ll take you to Marc first.” Rudy said turning to Oscar.
They moved down the hall to the room Rudy had Marc in. Rudy stopped him before they went in. “It’s not as bad as it looks.”
“Ok.” He stepped in. Marc was just lying there his eyes were still open but remained unfocused. “Is he awake?”
“No it’s more like a catatonic state. Although he could be completely aware of every thing that goes on around him.”
“What caused this?”
“I say a combination of factors contributed to it. He is still off balance shall we say about his bionics, and then being accused of a crime he couldn’t possibly commit was just too much for his mind to handle. I need to get over to the school and get Matt. I hope he isn’t as bad as Marc.”
‘I’ll call the school and let them know you’ll be picking him up.”
“Ok I’m on my way.”
When he got back into the hall Gregory was waiting for him. “I still have questions I need answered “
“Well he is not in any condition to answer any questions right now.”
“I demand to see him. I will arrest him and hold him if I have to!!” Gregory shouted.
Rudy lost his temper. He grabbed Gregory by his necktie and pulled him into Marc’s room.
“Look at him Gregory! Just look at him! Go ahead ask your dam questions!”
Gregory didn’t say a word neither did Dr. Hatch who had followed them in. They could only stare.
“Come on Gregory, I thought you had some question that couldn’t wait or maybe you would prefer to interrogate from his jail cell!!!” Rudy shrieked. “I’ll tell you if I ever get my hands on the person or persons who set him up and are responsible for this they are going to need medical treatment themselves!!”
Rudy stormed out of the room, leaving a dazed Gregory and Dr. Hatch standing at the mercy of the boy’s father who sat beside the catatonic child.
By the time Rudy reached Bates Academy his fury had subsided somewhat. He headed straight for the office. They told him Matt was with the school nurse. Rudy signed Matt out of school and walked down the hall to the nurse’s office.
“I don’t know what happened “ the nurse informed him. “His teacher called me down to his room. By the time I got there, Matt was like this.”
“His brother is having some trouble.” Rudy said “Listen, watch him for a minute I’m going to take Joey home as well.”
“He’s in the pre school class. You go out the door turn left it’s at the end of the hall.”
“I need to take Joey.” Rudy said to the pre schoolteacher.
“Yes his father called and said you were coming for Matt and you would more than likely want to take Joey too. In fact we were to let you know that.”
“Thank you. Come on Joey, grab you backpack.”
He went back down to the nurse’s office. He lifted Matt off the cot the nurse had laid him on and carried him out to his car. Rudy gently laid him in the backseat He used the seatbelts to strap him into the seat. He set Joey in the front seat and buckled his seat belt as well
Matt was in the same state Marc was in, eyes open but not seeing or responding to anything.
Rudy arrived back at the OSI and carried Matt up to the same room Marc was in. Joey followed close behind.
Oscar watched as Rudy lie Matt in a bed beside Marc. “How is he?”
“About the same as Marc I’m afraid. I am assuming that what happened is Matt felt his brother’s fear, and the light went out in him as well. Any more words of wisdom from Hatch or Gregory?”
“Gregory was crying when he left.”
“Good! I hope this had some impact on him. He still wants to put Marc in jail. Oh by the way I brought Joey with me.”
“I was hoping you would. Where is he?”
“He’s out in the hall with Jaime. He’s fine.”
“I didn’t know she was here.”
“Neither did I until I got back.” Rudy let him know. “Is it ok if she comes in?”
“Yea. Tell Danny to watch his brother.”
“Danny is on the computer in my office. I don’t know what he is doing but he is up to something. Joey will be fine. I’ll give him some puzzles to work on. That will keep him out of trouble for a while.”
“Rudy would you please see what Dan is up to?”
“Yea I’ll check on him. I’ll send Jaime in.” Rudy left the room.
“Hi Oscar. How are they doing?”
“I don’t know. I was hoping Matt could bring Marc back around again. But he’s in as bad a shape as Marc.”
“They will be fine. I think once this case gets resolved they will come back to us.”
They sat talking and didn’t hear Steve walk in.
“Hi! How is Marc doing?’
“No change.” Oscar answered.
Rudy walked into his office. Dan was still at the computer. “What are you working on son?”
“I’m not sure yet.” Danny turned to him. He was rubbing his eyes. “I can hardly see the screen.”
“Come here’ Rudy said. “I have been wondering about you for sometime how you get to close to your work when you are reading. I wonder if you need glasses. You might have a little eyestrain. From the work you do for school and the work you do for me. I’ll set up an appointment with a friend who is an optometrist “
“I won’t argue with you on that one. Rudy can I print this off?”
“Yea. Here I’ll show you how to do it.” They printed off the material Danny had been looking up on Dr. Hatch’s inventions.
“What have you found out?”
“If you don’t mind, I’d rather confront Gregory with this first.”
“Danny, what have you found out?”
“Come with me, and you’ll find out. Better have dad come to. I’ll wait here till you come.”
“I’ll go get your dad.” Rudy said as he left his office.
“I’m telling you Oscar, I think it is just what Marc needs.” Steve was saying when Rudy walked in.
“What does Marc need?”
“He needs some time to come to terms with his bionics. I don’t think Rick Long is doing him any good.”
“Why not? I mean I know the progress is slow…”
“Rudy, Dr. Rick Long has no idea how Marc feels. I do. I have been there.” Steve informed him.
“I’ll agree to that.” Rudy said.
“He wants to take Marc as soon as he is well for a few days. I don’t know if it’s a good idea of not.” Oscar continued.
Rudy thought for a moment “I think it is a good idea myself. Who better to help him? Like Steve said Rick really isn’t getting anywhere with him. He was thinking of cutting down on the sessions after the first of the year.”
“I didn’t know that.” Oscar said.
“Yea I didn’t agree with it either. The nightmares are gone and he has no more problems thinking we are against him and hate him because he is bionic. I think Rick thought that was the only problem. What we have to get him through now is to accept himself as being bionic.”
“I agree with that.” Oscar said.
“Maybe a few days alone with Steve is just what he needs.” Rudy said.
“Ok, ok you sold me. As soon as Marc is well and Rudy says he can leave the hospital, you can take him. My question is where are you taking him?”
“That’s top secret. I don’t want you finding us and screaming emergency!” Steve explained.
“Would I do that?”
“Yes” Steve Rudy and Jaime said together.
“By the way Rudy, what is Danny working on?”
“Oh that’s right, I almost forgot. He said he wanted to tell all of us at the same time. You three, me, Gregory, and Hatch.”
“Gregory and Hatch are using my office.” Oscar told them. “What has he found out?”
“He won’t tell me. By the way, I think you need to take him to an optometrist. He seems to have a little trouble with his eyes. I think it is just eyestrain and he may need to wear glasses for a while. Not a big deal. I have a friend who is one I’ll set up an appointment.”
“Thanks Rudy. Jaime, Steve do you mind staying with the twins for just a minute?”
“Go ahead we’ll be fine.” Steve said.
Rudy and Oscar joined Danny in Rudy’s office. “Sorry it took so long.” Rudy explained to him. “We were discussing the twins. “What’s your opinion of Marc spending some time with Steve by himself?”
“I think it would be wonderful.” Danny grabbed the print out and stood up. He headed for the door. “I think that is exactly what he needs. That is if you can get him away from Matt.”
“We will work with that.” Rudy said as they walked down the hall to Oscar’s office.
Dr. Hatch and Inspector Gregory were sitting in Oscar’s office. “I really need to talk to that boy some more.” Gregory said.
“If I were you I would take him anyway.” Hatch concluded.
Oscar, Rudy and Danny stepped into the room. “Can I speak to Marc now.”
“In your dreams Gregory.” Danny declared. He turned to Hatch “You, you son-of –a…”
“Danny!” Oscar censured.
“I don’t know what you are talking about.” Dr. Hatch protested.
“Oh, yea. How come out of 127 projects you have worked on for the government in the past 7 years only 3 of them have actually been tested and proven to work?”
“I don’t know what he is talking about.” Hatch sounded nervous.
“It is all right here.” Danny said throwing the printout onto the desk. “Take a look Mr. Gregory.”
Gregory took the papers and began to look through them. “Do you care to explain this Hatch?”
“I still don’t…” Hatch began.
This time Danny became angry. He grabbed Dr. Hatch by his necktie and led him down to the room his two brothers now shared. Oscar and the rest followed right behind.
Steve and Jaime were startled to see everyone enter the room in such a manner as they did.
“Look at them!!” Danny screamed. “Look at them Dr. Hatch! And tell me you still don’t understand how you can work on 127 projects over the course of 7 years and out of the 127 124 were either destroyed in freak accidents or they disappeared mysteriously “
“I would like an explanation!” Gregory demanded.
“Alright, alright. The decoder was a fake. I used most of the money I got for working on it on other things. I just couldn’t allow it to be tested.”
“I’m sorry Mr. Goldman. I owe you an apology.” Gregory observed.
“You don’t owe me Gregory. You owe my son an apology.”
“Yes you are right.” Gregory stepped over to Marc. “I’m sorry son. I shouldn’t have accused you. I want you to be alright.”
Oscar joined him. “It’s my fault too Marc. You are too young to go on assignments by yourself. Please, we want you to come back to us.”
Marc and Matt remained the way they were. “Just give it time Oscar.” Rudy assured. “I’ll stay with them tonight. You better go home and get some rest.”
That night Rudy watched both boys very closely. He noticed they were coming back. It was very slow this time though not like the time he had Matt enter Marc’s dream world. It was very slow.
By morning they were almost back all the way. Oscar stepped into the room Rudy had both boys sitting up eating some breakfast.
“You can take them home tomorrow.” Rudy told him. “Then I think you better take Steve up on his offer.”
“I think I will.” Oscar agreed.
The next morning Oscar showed up to take Matt home. He took a suitcase with Marc’s clothes.
“I want to go too.” Matt protested. When Oscar told him that Steve was taking Marc. “I want to be with Marc.”
“I know you do son but Marc needs some time to himself right now.” Oscar explained.
Matt and Marc said good-bye to each other. Oscar took Matt so he could go back to school and Marc waited for Steve to come and get him.
He met with Rudy before going down to Marc’s room. “What’s going to happen to Dr. Hatch? Steve probed.
“He is going to jail for a very long time. The NSB is reopening all of the files on agents who are serving time for treason on behalf of Dr Hatch. I’m sure many will be acquitted for crimes they were accused of.”
“How come no one ever thought to investigate Hatch?”
“I don’t know. I’m just glad Danny is on our side.”
“Me too. Is Marc ready.”
“Ready and waiting.”
“Good” Steve said handing Rudy a slip of paper. “This is where we will be. Just in case we have an emergency I don’t want to waste time giving you directions.”
“Good idea.” Rudy put the paper in his safe. “No one will know but me.”
“Thanks Rudy.” Steve left and went down to the room where Marc had been staying. He opened the door. “Ready to go pal?”
“I guess so. I wish Matt could come along.”
“Well this is just for us. Maybe next time Matt can come along.”
“Where are we going?”
“I rented a cabin in the blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia.”
“Sounds neat. Can I say good-bye to dad first?”
“Sure. Let’s go.” They walked down to Oscar’s office. “Oscar we are leaving now.”
“Ok, you two have a good time. Steve you better take good care of him. I am trusting you with my son.”
“Don’t worry Oscar. I’ll take very good care of him.”
“Come here Marc.” Marc walked over to Oscar. “You behave yourself. You do what Steve tells you to do Ok?”
“I will dad. See you Monday.”
“See you Monday son. I love you.” Oscar said as they left the room.
“Love you too dad.”
Marc and Steve walked down the hall. ‘Why are we going to the mountains together?” Marc wanted to know.
“We have some serious talking to do.”
“About what?” Marc grilled.
“You ask too many questions. Aren’t you just glad to have a couple of days off from school?”
“I guess so.” Marc declared.
“I needed a vacation. Your dad agreed with me. I asked to take you along. He said ok.”
“But you said we had some talking to do.”
“That’s right, but I don’t want you to worry about it till we get to where we are going. I want you to just enjoy yourself. OK?”
When they got to the parking lot, Steve threw Marc’s suitcase in the trunk beside his own. They got in the car and Steve started the car. “Ready?”
“Yea, let’s go.”
“Ok then we’re off.”
“Would you like hamburgers for dinner?” Steve asked after they had taken their suitcases into the cabin.
“Hamburgers would be fine.” Marc muttered. “I want Matt.” He cried.
“Listen, this is Thursday. If all goes well, we will go home Sunday rather than Monday. Ok? Maybe your dad can bring Matt up on Saturday.”
“I guess it’s ok. I just miss my brother.”
Steve took a frying pan out of the cupboard and started making hamburger patties. “Christmas is coming soon. What are you going to ask Santa Claus for?”
“I don’t know. I haven’t really thought about it “
“Boy, when I was your age, I already had my list made out.” He laid the patties into the pan. They began to sizzle and pop.
“I guess I have had other things on my mind.” Matt claimed.
“What sort of things?” Steve quizzed.
“I don’t know.”
Steve flipped the burgers over and sat down across the table from him. “Marc I’m your friend. You know how much we have in common. You ran away to my house one night remember. When you were having trouble with those nightmares.”
“Yea I remember. But I’m not having nightmares anymore.”
“I’m aware of that. Marc I know what it’s like to be the way you are. I’m bionic too. You know that.”
“Yea I know dad wasn’t going to tell us at first but we figured it out.”
“So you know I know how you feel. I felt the same way you did at first.” Steve got up walked over to the stove and turned the hamburgers again. “Do you want, green beans or peas?”
“You have to have a vegetable Marc. They are good for you.”
“That might be true, but they taste awful.”
“Well which one?”
“Beans I guess.” Marc whined.
Steve took a can opener from the drawer and opened the can of beans, and then he dumped them into a pan. He gave the beans a quick stir and then poured Marc a glass of milk and opened a can of coke for himself.
“How did you feel when your dad asked you to go on that assignment?” Steve set each hamburger on a bun and gave put them onto paper plates. He took the beans off the burner and dumped a spoonful onto each plate then set a plate in front of each of them.
“I don’t know. I thought it was all right, then that crazy man started saying that I stole that decoder thing, just because that Partridge family guy didn’t get it. I couldn’t help it that the pilot took me to the wrong place.”
“Did that make you mad?”
“No not really. Well maybe. It never would have happened if I weren’t…”
“Weren’t what Marc?”
“If you weren’t bionic?”
“Right. It’s all their fault.” Marc made a sweeping motion to indicate his arm and legs. “Sometimes I wish my dad had never told Rudy to do it.”
“I know. I felt the same way. In fact I thought I would be better off dead. Do you ever feel that way?”
“No. Well maybe. Then I could see mom and dad.”
“You had a lot come down on you all at once didn’t you?”
“Yea. I guess so.” Matt responded.
“It must be a lot for a little guy like you to take in all at once.”
“You see Marc, we made a mistake. Not in making you bionic but in not following up on your emotional state of mind.”
“What’s that mean?”
“It means we should have had this talk a long time ago. How do you like talking to Dr. Long?”
Marc plugged his nose and gave thumbs down. “He’s a dweeb. “ Marc snorted.
Steve laughed. He gathered the paper plates. He noticed Marc had finished all but one green bean. ‘There is a step in the right direction.’ He thought to himself.
“Why do you think he’s a ‘dweeb’?” Steve asked.
“He asks stupid questions and he asks them over and over again.”
“That would get annoying.” Steve agreed. He threw the paper plates into the trashcan.
“Steve, what’s teasing?”
“What do you mean?”
”That inspector said I was going to be charged with teasing.”
Again Steve laughed. ‘Kids,’ he thought. “Marc he meant treason. You don’t know what the word means do you?”
Marc shook his head.
“It means… have you studied about Benedict Arnold in school yet?”
“I don’t think so.”
“Well he was a very bad man back in George Washington’s time. He sold plans to the other side.”
“What other side?” Marc wanted to know.
“It’s a long story. Try reading your history book. The story is in there. What treason means is that you sell out you country.”
“I still don’t understand.”
“Let see if I can simplify it for you. Let say you promised Matt you would play with him at recess, then another boy comes up to you in school and asks you to play with him and if you do, he’ll give you an ice cream bar at lunch. So you play with the other kid instead.”
“I’d never do that to Matt.” Marc expressed.
“Well there are some people in the government who will do the same thing. They know a secret say about our bionics. If another country wants to know about it the bad person says he will give them the information for a certain amount of money.”
“That’s what Gregory thinks I did?”
“Not anymore. You brother Danny found out that the decoder you were to deliver to General Partridge was a fake. And it wasn’t the first time Hatch has done something like that. He is in big trouble.”
“No silly Dr. Hatch.”
“For treason?” Marc spoke the word correctly this time
“That’s right. You want more milk?”
“No I’m done. I’m tired can I go to bed?”
“Yea we covered a lot of ground tonight.”
“I guess so.”
“Here I’ll show you to your room.” Steve picked up Marc’s suitcase and headed for one of the bedrooms. “You’re right in here. I’ll be across the hall.”
“Ok’ Marc stepped into the room and closed the door.