“….So the assignment was a success?” Oscar asked for the third time in twenty minutes.
“I said it was. I gave the formula to Rudy. He and his team will try to decipher it.” Steve stated.
“You didn’t have any trouble getting it out of the vault at KGB headquarters?” Oscar asked.
“They didn’t even know I was there.” Steve assured him.
“Well that’s good. You deserve a long rest. Take a couple of days off and enjoy yourself.” Oscar offered.
“A couple of days, is that all you’re giving me?” Steve smiled.
“That’s all I can afford right now.” Oscar sighed as he put his hands behind his head and leaned back in his chair. “We have some unsettling news from our friends in Russia.”
“Oh yea, what’s that?” Steve questioned.
“I’ll let you know when and if I have to.” Oscar assured.
“Ok then Oscar” Steve turned to leave trusting that his friend would call him in only if his special qualities were needed.
“I’ll keep you informed if I need to.” Oscar gave him a wave and Steve stepped out into the hallway.
“Hey Steve” Rudy greeted as he was headed into Oscar’s office “I think that formula you recovered is a lot more valuable than we ever expected.”
“Really, well I’m glad we got it then.” Steve gave him a pat on the back and headed down the hall while Rudy stepped into Oscar’s office to give him the run down on the formula Steve had attained for them.
Out in the parking lot Steve got in his car. He was looking forward to his time off only if were only a couple of days.
He got in his car and pulled out onto the street. He was so involved in what he was going to do to keep himself that he almost missed the sexy lady bending over the hood of her car.
‘Well hello lady in distress.’ Steve thought to himself as he pulled over to the curb to offer his assistance. ‘Pretty lady in distress I might add.’ The continued to think
“Hi there” Steve stated as he got out of the car. “Can I help?”
“Oh please.” The woman was on the verge of tears.
“What seems to be the trouble?” Steve stood next to her.
“I don’t know!” The woman continued to sob.
“Well let’s have a little look see, shall we?”
“Oh I would be so grateful.” The woman smiled.
“Well ok then.” Steve peered at the motor for several moments. “Well.” He reached under the hood. “Your distributor cap is loose.” Steve tightened it. “There.” He smiled at her that ought to do it for you.”
“Oh I can’t thank you enough. How can I ever repay you?” She slid behind the steering wheel.
“I could think of a number of things” Steve leaned into the driver’s side window. “Why don’t we start with a little dinner?
“Oh I couldn’t!” She exclaimed. “I wouldn’t want to impose”
“It’s no imposition.” Steve assured. “If you’re uncomfortable giving me your address we can meet at the restaurant” Steve suggested.
“That would be best.” The woman agreed. “By the way my name is Jean.”
“I’m Steve.” Steve reached in and shook her hand. “I’ll see you at Duffy’s at 7:30 then.”
“7:30 it is. And I know where Duffy’s is.” Jean answered Steve silent question.
“Ok. I’ll see you then.” Steve stood back from the car
“That sounds just fine” Jean stated as she pulled away from the curb leaving Steve still wondering how things had happened so fast.
He drove the rest of the way home in silence. He usually listened to the news on the radio or something while he drove. But right now is mind was on the gorgeous red head he had just helped.
He pulled into his driveway and walked into the house through the garage. He laid his keys on the counter then thought it best to start getting ready for his impending date.
After leaving Steve Jean continued to drive for a few more blocks. When she stopped she was in front of a large house. Two men stood on the porch waiting for her.
“Did you see Austin?” The first man asked. He was rather stocky and wore faded jeans an a t-shirt that was three sizes to small causing his belly to show.
“Yes I did Adrik.” Jean smiled. “In fact we have a date tonight.”
“Wonderful.” The second man spoke. He was much thinner than the first man and had better taste in the way he was dressed.”
“Is Fabi ready?” Jean questioned.
“The bandages should come off tomorrow.” Adrik smiled. “And if all goes well he will look just like Austin.”
“Very good” Jean smiled. “We should have the plans for the XJ9 ALPHA by the end of the week.” She turned two the second man “Well Dr. Hedeon?”
“This way Eva” Hedeon referred to her by her true name. “Fabi is waiting.”
They all walked into the house. The front entrance was massive. They walked down a narrow hallway where Hedeon opened the door with a key.
“You keep the door locked?” Jean/Eva sounded perplexed.
“All the doors are locked. We can’t risk anyone coming in here and discovering the project.”
“This is true I guess.” Eva agreed.
The swathed figure in the bed turned toward the voices. “Dr. Hedeon?”
“Good afternoon Fabi. How are we feeling today?”
“Much better thanks” when do we take the bandages off.” Fabi sounded as if he were growing impatient.
“Soon…very soon.” Hedeon assured “how does right now sound?”
“Sounds great I’m getting a little tired of looking out through these little slit.”
“Well let’s get started then.” Hedeon began to peel off the layers that incased the man on the bed. “Well we’re at the final layer.” He announced. “Are you sure you want to go through with this?”
“I’m very sure. Let’s get on with it.” Fabi’s voice raised a couple of octaves.
“Very well then” Hedeon smiled. He removed the final layer. Everyone gasped in amazement.
“Well?” Fabi questioned. “How did it turn out?”
“See for yourself Col. Austin?” Hedeon held a mirror for Fabi to see.”
“This is perfect.” He grinned.
“I say Doctor you have out done yourself.” Eva congratulated.
“Thank you Eva.” He turned to Fabi. “Now we practice. You must learn Austin’s voice. That is the reason you were chosen for this mission. First of all you somewhat resemble secondly you have lived in the states all of your life. You don’t speak with a Russian accent.”
“I was raised here for that reason.” Fabi smiled.
“Yes, yes we have many agents over here. We allow unsuspecting Americans to adopt that way the child will grow up with an American accent.”
“That is a very good idea.” Fabi agreed.
Steve had just stepped out of the shower when the phone rang. He grabbed in. “Yes Oscar?” he spoke.
“How did you know it was me?” Oscar sounded bewildered.
“You always call when I’m in the middle of something.” Steve smiled to himself.
“I just wanted to remind you of the meeting tomorrow morning in my office.” Oscar stated.
“I won’t forget.” Steve tried to dress himself while they talked.
“Ok then I’ll see you tomorrow. Steve this meeting is important. Try to be on time. It involves the XJ9 ALPHA project.’
“I’ll be there.” Steve hung up the phone and finished getting ready. ‘There’ Steve thought as he slipped his boots on. This should do it.’ He left his house and headed his meeting with Jean at Duffy’s.
Jean was standing just outside Duffy’s when Steve pulled up. “Good evening lady in distress” Steve smiled.
“Good evening yourself.” Jean smiled. “Shall we?”
Steve nodded and the two headed into the restaurant
While they ate Fabi, Dr. Hedeon and Adrik sat in the car across the street.
“When do we move?” Adrik asked.
“Just as soon as they come out” Hedeon smiled.
They waited for what seemed like hours then Steve and Eva. Finally they emerged from the restaurant. Eva turned to Steve. “Want to come back to my place?”
“I suppose I could. I’ll just follow you.” Steve grinned.
“Good. We’ll be there in just a few minutes.”
“Steve jumped into his car and he followed ‘Jean’ to her place. Unknown to him Steve was being followed Fabi, Dr. Hedeon and Adrik.
Jean pulled into her drive and Steve pulled up to the curb. He followed Jean as they walked up the steps and she unlocked the door. Steve started to push the door open when Adrik came up behind him and banged him in the head with the butt of his gun. Steve fell unconscious to the floor…
“Come gentlemen we must act quickly.” Adrik ordered. “We don’t want anyone to see him.”
They moved Steve’s unconscious form into the front room and quickly surrounded him. “How long do you think he’ll be out?” Fabi asked.
“Not long enough” Hedeon advised. “I don’t think you hit him that hard.” He injected a sedative into Steve’s right arm. “That ought to hold him for a while longer.” He looked down and Steve and then back to Fabi. “We researched this well.” Hedeon smiled. “You are wearing the same clothes as Col. Austin.”
Fabi gave him a scornful look “Excuse me….but I believe I’m Col. Austin now.”
“You are correct Fabi…I mean Steve.” Fabi reached into Steve’s pocket and removed his wallet containing all of his identification.
“Make sure us OSI ID is in there. With out it you will not be allowed inside the OSI building. Don’t forget we want all the information you can give us…but we are mainly interested in the XJ9 ALPHA project.” Adrik reminded.
“I’ll get it to you.” Fabi promised. He left went out the door and headed out to Steve’s car. He got in started it up and headed for Steve’s house.
Inside the house Hedeon, Adrik and Eva drug Steve down to the basement where they locked him in a cell. “There” Adrik smirked. “Just try to get out of this one Austin.”
“I’ll stay with him.” Eva offered. “He may wonder just what is going on when he wakes up.”
“As you wish Eva” Adrik smiled. “I do believe you’ve become smitten with our prisoner”
“Not at all Adrik” but Eva couldn’t help but smile to herself. She was a bit taken by the prisoner
She sat outside the cell and waited for him to wake up…given the drug Hedeon said he should be out for a couple of hours at the very least. So needless to say Eva was quite dismayed when Steve started to come around within the next few moments.
“Where am I?” Steve wondered as he looked around the cell that held him.
“Don’t worry Col. Austin.” Eva began. “We just want a little information and then we will let you go.”
Since he and Steve had last spoke Oscar turned to Russ and Rudy who were sitting in his office. “I give you odds he’s late tomorrow.” Oscar smiled.
“What makes you say that?” Rudy asked
“He has a date tonight.” Oscar informed.
“Oh, now I see why you’re afraid he won’t be here on time.” Rudy gave a slight laugh.
“Maybe I’ll stop by his place on my way in and remind him or at least get him up and around.” Oscar offered.
“You could just call him tonight and…”
Oscar gave a muffled laugh. “I doubt he’ll be home early enough. But I suppose I could give it a try.”
“I would.” Rudy turned to leave. “Well I’ll see you first thing in the morning.”
“What kind of information?” Steve wondered.
“Now if I told you that it would spoil all of the fun now wouldn’t it.” Eva smiled.
“I take your name is not Jean?” Steve sat on the edge of the cot they had put him on.
“That would be correct. My name is actually Eva. Eva Gleb.”
“KGB?” Steve asked.
“Of course” Eva stated.
“That figures.” Steve sighed.’
“Don’t worry Col. Austin we don’t wish to harm you.” Eva assured.
“Some how that doesn’t reassure me.” Steve lay back down on the cot. “My head is killing me.” He muttered.
“I could give you something for it.” Eva stood to assist him.
“No thanks you’ve helped enough.” Steve spat at her.
“Please Col. Don’t be that way. As I said we don’t wish to harm you. We just want some information then we will let you go.”
“What kind of Information?” Steve wondered.
“Don’t concern yourself with that right now.” Eva implored.
“Why shouldn’t I?” Steve was getting angry at the situation.
“Just relax and enjoy our wonderful hospitality.” Eva smiled.
‘Yea right” Steve muttered.
Fabi had just let himself into Steve’s house when the phone rang. He quickly picked it up. “Hello.” He spoke trying hard to use Steve’s voice.
“Steve?” Oscar questioned. “It’s Oscar.”
“Yea it’s me. What’s up?” ‘Goldman himself…wonder what he wants.’ Fabi listened.
“I’m glad you’re turning in early.” Oscar began. “I just wanted to remind you of the meeting tomorrow…”
“Want to refresh my memory.” Fabi stammered hoping he wouldn’t give himself away.
“The meeting pal on the XJ9ALPHA project.” Oscar figured that Steve had just had a good time with his lady friend and wasn’t thinking clearly. Heck for all Oscar knew the lady was standing right beside Steve. “I’ll pick you up and seven sharp.” Oscar pressed.
“Yea…sure…ok.” Fabi continued to stammer. He hung up and smiled to himself. “That will be just fine Goldman. And just want I wanted the XJ9ALPHA project.”
In his cell Steve was biding his time till Eva left. It wouldn’t take much to break out of the cell that held him, but he really didn’t want to reveal to the Soviets his bionics so he was playing it cool. Letting them think that he was their prisoner.
“Can I fix you something to drink Col. Austin?” Eva asked.
“No I don’t believe so.” Steve muttered. Then quickly changed his mind ‘don’t be a fool this is your chance to get her out of the way for a while.’ Steve thought. “As a matter of fact if it wouldn’t be to much trouble…”
“Anything you want just let me know. I’ll go fix it for you.” Eva took Steve’s order then after making sure the Cell was securely locked she headed upstairs.
Steve wasted no time. He bent the bars of the cell and stepped out. He made his way the open door of the ‘cell room’ and walked through it only to be greeted by Hedeon and Eva.
“Very impressive Col. Austin” Hedeon replied. “Very impressive indeed while Eva was talking to you I made a discovery…”:
“What might that be?” Steve asked.
“We discovered you are the one who broke in here just two days ago and stole a very important formula out of our vault.”
“I wasn’t aware of that.” Steve denied.
“Oh really” Hedeon recounted “we know that you work for the OSI…””
“I do?” Steve tried to sound shocked.
“Of course you do.” Hedeon was becoming impatient. “Now we just want you to go back into your cell and now that I know what I’m dealing with…I can take the right precautions…”
“Precautions?” Steve questioned.
“We know that you are a bionic man.” Hedeon replied.
“Oh I see.” Steve muttered.
“Just lie back and go to sleep.” Hedeon advised.
True to his word Oscar pulled up in front of Steve’s house at seven sharp. “Are you ready to go pal?”
Fabi nodded. “Let’s go.” He got into Oscar’s car and the two headed for the OSI building.
“I’m anxious for this meeting.” Fabi looked over at Oscar.
“Me too Hanson of the NSB is going to be there too.”
“Why is the NSB interested?” Fabi wondered.
“I’m not sure. But Hanson called me last night and told me he was going to be there today.
Oscar pulled into the parking lot of the OSI and the two headed into the building.”
Hedeon had been right Steve hadn’t been left alone for a second since his escape attempt. Armed guards stood close at all times….
Oscar and Fabi headed into the building. “Hanson said he’d be here at 7:30 that’s the only time he could spare today.”
‘This must be a very important project’ Fabi thought to himself. ‘If the NSB is also interested in it, it must be very valuable.
Oscar and Fabi stepped into Rudy’s office where Rudy and Hanson were waiting. “Bout time Goldman.” Hanson spat.
“I’m on time.” Oscar snorted looking at his watch. “In fact I’m five minutes early.”
“So you are now let’s get on with the meeting.”
The four men sat down. Rudy turned to Fabi. “Do you mind if I take the reins Steve?”
Fabi shook his head “I’d be honored.”
“Fine then” he turned to Oscar and Hanson. “Steve and I have been working on the XJ9ALPHA project for some time now. What it involves is a space station on the moon and the exploration or Mars….”
“This sounds interesting. What kind of a space station are we talking about?” Hanson wondered.
“The works” Rudy explained. “We are starting to think along the lines of long term space travel….”
“Are we talking of something like a gas station with attendants and so on?” Hanson interrupted.
“That’s exactly what we’re saying.” Rudy went on.
“I’d like to hear more from Col. Austin if you don’t mind. After all he has actually been to the moon. Do you think this is a good idea Col.?”
Steve had been sitting in his cell most of the morning. ‘I wonder if they know I was to meet with Oscar this morning. Surely I’ve been missed by now.” He thought to himself…He didn’t have time to think much more Adrik opened the door to the cell.
“Now let’s just take it easy Col. Austin.” He cautioned. “Don’t make any moves. We have a man on the inside at OSI and if you make any moves at all Goldman and Dr. Wells are dead where they stand.”
“I get the picture.” Steve muttered.
“See that you don’t forget it.” Adrik snapped. “Now as for your bionics…”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.” Steve shot at him.
“Come now Col. Austin. How is it that you bent the bars of the cell? Could you explain that one to me?”
“I would love to…but I really don’t have the time.” Steve managed.
“I will have Eva come and talk to you. You American men seem to talk much better in the presence of a beautiful woman. Am I not correct?”
Steve only glared at him and didn’t say word.
Adrik turned and stepped out of the cell. “Don’t let him out of your sight and if he makes one move kill him.”
The guards nodded. “As you say.” They nodded.
Fabi looked a Hanson. “Yes of course. I think it’s a good idea.”
“Well who would man it?” Hanson wanted to know. “I mean it certainly couldn’t be run by humans…”:
“That’s where you’re wrong.” Rudy interrupted. “Steve had come up with something very radical.” He turned to Steve. “Care to enlighten us.”
“You’re doing so well. I think I’ll let you keep going.” Fabi tried to hide his nervousness.
“Well if you don’t mind. I mean this is your idea.” Rudy reminded.
“I know…but you go ahead. I don’t mind.”
“Steve has come up with a way to sort of have a little earth on the moon so to speak. We would have two buildings. One the ‘family’ would live in...including an indoor recreation area. And then the ‘station’ itself.”
“Sounds interesting you would filter air from earth into the buildings on the moon.”
“That’s right….” Fabi added hoping it wasn’t too little to late.
“It sounds expensive.” Hanson interrupted.
“On the contrary it won’t cost as much as it sounds.” Oscar spoke.
“Ok what about the trip to Mars. You know it’s been attempted by the soviets about a year ago and failed tragically.” Hanson explained.
“I’m aware of that, but thanks to the soviets we know what went wrong.” Rudy finished.
“Well if you guys think it will work…I’m all for it. Just keep me informed.” Hanson stood to leave. “I’ll call you next week Oscar.”
“Thanks Hanson.” Oscar gave him a slight wave. “Well guys we did it. We convinced him.” Oscar breathed a sigh of relief.
“I wasn’t sure we were going to for a minute there.” Rudy added. “What do you think Steve?”
Fabi sat staring out the window and didn’t answer for several moments causing Oscar and Rudy to give each other a concerned look. “Steve? Did you hear me?” Rudy asked.
“Huh. Oh yea right” Fabi responded. “I think it will work.”
“Good. I want you to head the project. We want it up and running by 1980.” Oscar added. “Think you can have it ready by then?”
“I’ll give it a good try Oscar…butt that’s only four years away.” Fabi was wondering if his people could get it operational before then. They had to beat the American’s at something. Maybe this would be it.
Steve hadn’t been ‘alone’ for long when Eva reappeared. “Col. Austin would you please to come with me?”
“Where are we going?” Steve asked.
“Some place more comfortable.” Eva smiled.
“Only if we leave Frick and Frack behind” Steve snorted.
“I do not get your meaning.” Eva gave him a puzzled look.
“I mean we leave them behind.” Steve pointed to the guards.
“Very well” she gave them a signal and the two men retreated and stayed behind. “Right this way Col. Austin.”
“It’s Steve.” Steve corrected.
“Very well this way Steve” She led him out of the cell area and into the comfortable living room.
“Are we alone?” Steve asked.
“Just the guards downstairs” Eva pointed out.
“That’s good.” Steve indicated. Here was his chance. He would wait for a few minutes though. He didn’t want to hurt Eva but on the other hand he couldn’t have her yelling for the guards the instant he was able to get away.
“Why don’t you have a seat?” Eva suggested. “I’ll fix us some coffee. I’m most interested in hearing about your bionics.”
“What makes you think I’ll tell you anything about that?” Steve sneered.
“We’ll see.” Eva made her way to the kitchen. Steve tiptoed and followed her he watched as she poured the coffee then slipped a powdery substance into one of the mugs.
‘So that’s your game.’ Steve thought. He quickly made his way back to the living room and was sitting on the sofa when she entered. “I thought you could sit next to me.” Steve smiled.
Eva smiled back. ‘You will be putty in my hands in just a few moments.’ She thought as she set the tray with the coffee on the table. She handed Steve the cup she had drugged and turned to him. “So tell me about your bionics.”
Steve set the cup on the table and looked her in the eye “well it’s like this.” With her eyes staring into Steve’s blue eyes he acted quickly and switched the cups around. “I don’t know if I should tell you this or not but….” He picked up the cup from the table and took a sip. Eva did the same.
Steve began to babble on about nothing in particular. He was waiting for the drug to take an effect. He watched as the cup slowly slid from her hand and crashed to the floor. Steve laid her back gently on the sofa and covered her with a blanket that was sitting in a basket on the floor. Then he slipped out the door and headed toward the OSI building.
When he arrived much to his shock he saw Oscar and Rudy talking to him. He quickly approached them. “Oscar just what the devil is going on here anyway?” He shouted.
Oscar and Rudy stared at the man approaching them. “Steve?” Oscar called.
“Of course it’s me. Who is this guy?”
They all tuned to Fabi. “Care to explain?” Oscar growled.
“Why do I need to explain? Maybe he should.” He jerked his thumb toward Steve. “I don’t know who this guy is Oscar but I’m Steve.” Fabi insisted.
“You’re pretty good.” Steve noted. He turned to Oscar Come on Oscar it’s me.” Steve repeated.
Oscar turned from Fabi to Steve and back again. Then he looked at Rudy. “I don’t know which one is Steve.” he admitted…
Oscar continued to look from Fabi to Steve. “Well.” Oscar finally spoke. “Will the real Steve Austin please stand up?”
Both men stepped forward at the same time. “Come on Oscar.” Fabi began. “Can’t you see it’s me?”
“Not bad.” Steve commended. “Not bad at all.” He turned toward Oscar. ”But Oscar it’s me!” Steve demanded.
Rudy again turned to Oscar. “Oscar?”
“I I’m sorry Rudy I can’t tell which is which.” Oscar stammered.
“I can’t believe this.” Steve muttered. “I just can’t believe it.”
“May I suggest?” Rudy began. “Why don’t we all step back into my office I just might be able to discover which one is Steve.”
“I’m all for that.” Steve breathed a sigh of relief knowing what Rudy meant by ‘discovering’
The four men walked back into the OSI building and headed for Rudy’s office. .When they reached Rudy’s office he opened the door. “Come on in. I think a simple blood test will prove this once and for all.” Oscar, Steve, Rudy and Fabi all stepped inside. “Ok who wants to come with me first?” Rudy asked.
“I will.” Steve offered. “I want to get this resolved right now!”
Oscar turned to Fabi. “You’ll wait right here uh Steve we’ll be right back.”
“Yea sure Oscar” Fabi smiled. “I’ll wait here.”
The two men followed Rudy into his inner office “Ok Doc Let’s get this show on the road. “ He reached for the pen knife in his pocket. “Ok” he began as he held the knife in his left hand a slid it across his right index finger. “There. Satisfied?”
“I sure am.” Oscar sighed with relief. “I’m sorry Steve.”
“Don’t mention it.” Steve pointed to the door. “That guy is good. I have a feeling he’s Russian…”
“What makes you say that?” Oscar wondered worrying about the meeting they had all just had less than an hour ago.
“Do you remember my telling you about my new lady friend?”
The two nodded. ‘Yea, Oscar muttered. “What about her?”
“She was Russian. That’s where I’ve been.”
“I see.” Oscar replied…”Ok now what about him? Steve he was at the meeting today on the XJ9ALPHA project.”
“That’s just great!” Steve grumbled. “We have to buy some time.” He turned to Rudy. “Doc is there any way when you go to ‘draw’ his blood that you could sedate him?”
Rudy nodded. Of course I’ll just dip the needle into a very strong sedative before I place it under his skin. He got out a syringe and while he got it ready Oscar opened the door.
“Ok your turn” he beckoned.
Fabi stood and entered the room. “Ok.” He responded.
“Just sit right over here.” Rudy indicated a reclining chair.
Fabi sat and Rudy injected the needle just under the skin of his right arm to draw off Fabi’s blood. Rudy thought just in case. He would hate to drug Steve.
“Say Oscar.” Fabi began. “I just had a thought. What if this kook has the same blood type as me? Then how do we prove it?”
“We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it pal.” Oscar had to keep himself from reaching over and slapping the man till he told he was and what he wanted.
Within in seconds Rudy’s fears were put to rest. Fabi slumped over in the chair in his drug induced sleep.
“Perfect.” Rudy muttered. He then readied another syringe with more of the drug. “I want to keep him out for sometime. That, that I gave him would more than likely only last an hour or so.”
“How long should this keep him out?” Steve asked.
“Most of the night I’ll get some guards in here for when he does wake up. I mean I can’t keep him out forever.”
“I understand. Now I suppose I’ll head back and pretend to be him?” Steve wondered.
“I don’t know if you can. We don’t even know his name.” Oscar noted.
“I suppose you’re right. But I have to do something.” Steve started to undress.
“What are you doing?” Oscar wondered.
‘I’m going to change into his clothes.” Steve explained. “You want to get those off of him Rudy.”
Rudy eyed him quizzically “Yea sure.” He began to remove Fabi’s clothes. “Here you go.” He handed them to Steve.
Steve quickly dressed in what Fabi was wearing then he began to rummage through the pockets. ‘How bout that?” Steve commented. He showed Oscar all of his identification.
“He really went all out.”
“I’ll say. Is there anything in there to indicate who he might be?” Oscar watched as Steve continued to go through the pockets.
“Here’s something.” Steve pulled a leather case out of one of the hip pockets. It resembled the case he used for his OSI ID. Steve opened it. “It says his name is Fabi
Borislav” Steve noted. “KGB” he finished.
“That figures.” Oscar snorted.
“Well I better get going.” Steve made his way to the door.
“Steve. Please be careful. You don’t know what to expect when you’re dealing with the Soviets.”
“I’ll be fine just keep him in one place.” Steve pointed to Fabi. “I don’t want him to show up at the wrong time.” Before Oscar could say another word Steve was gone.
“He makes me very nervous sometimes.” Oscar muttered after Steve had left.
‘Yea? Why’s that.” Rudy had just finished injecting Fabi with the rest of the sedative.
“Sometimes I don’t think he knows what he’s getting himself into.” Oscar replied.
“Don’t worry Oscar. Steve can take care of himself.” Rudy reminded
Oscar walked over to where Rudy stood over Fabi’s unconscious form. “Are you sure of that Rudy?”
Rudy looked down at the man as well. “Well…not one hundred percent.” He sighed.
Steve made his way back to the house where they had kept him. He hoped that by wearing Fabi’s clothes and knowing his identity he wouldn’t have any troubles.
He stepped up onto the porch and walked into the house just in time to see Hedeon standing over Eva. “What happened?” He asked.
Hedeon stared at Steve for a few moments.
“It’s me Fabi.” Steve tried to fake a Russian accent. “I asked you a question. What happened to Eva?”
“We think that Austin turned the tables on us.” Hedeon said helping Eva to her feet. “We had planned on drugging Austin so we could find out more about how his bionics worked. He must have been on to us cause Eva is the one how ended up being drugged.
“I see.” Steve muttered. “Here let me help you.” He helped Hedeon assist Eva to the couch.
“Are you ok Eva?” Hedeon asked.
“Yes I think so.” She stared at Steve. “Fabi is that really you.”
Steve nodded. “I saw Austin right before I left.” Steve lied. “I thought I better get back here…see what we’re to do next.”
This time Hedeon nodded. “That’s what I was afraid of. He’s back at the OSI?”
Steve nodded. “He sure is.”
What if anything did you find out about the XJ9ALPHA project?”
“Nothing yet” Steve lied. “Goldman says there is no such project.”
“I don’t believe that one.” Hedeon spat.
“I don’t know. He says there is no project by that name.” Steve wondered just how much Fabi had found out, he’d have to question Oscar later.
‘I know there is such a project.” Hedeon snorted. “You’re job was to discover what it was.”
“I’m sorry, but now that Austin is back with his people I don’t think I’ll be able to impersonate him anymore.”
“You may have a point. But I do want you to try. Do you still have Austin’s ID?”
Steve nodded. “Of course I do.”
“Good.” Hedeon noted. “Maybe you can convince them he’s the imposter.”
“I’ll try that.” Steve smiled to himself.
They were still talking about their next move when Adrik entered. “What are you doing back here Fabi?”
Steve stood and looked at Adrik. “What was that?”
“Adrik leave him alone.” Eva defended. “He says Austin came back. He thought it was best to get out.”
“I see.” Adrik smirked. “And how do we know we’re not in the company of Austin right now?” He turned to Hedeon and Eva “You…you’re both fools.”
Steve reached into his pocket and removed Fabi’s ID “Here maybe this will prove to you that I’m who I say I am.” His accent was getting better all the time. He had dealt with the Russians enough and could fake their accent pretty well.”
Adrik grabbed the ID out of Steve’s hand. “Yes…I see you seem to be Fabi. If you are Fabi I’m sure you won’t mind answering a few questions.”
In Rudy’s lab at the OSI Fabi slowly started to wake up. He looked around. ‘Now what?” he asked himself. He glanced over at the guards sitting at a table playing cards. He saw one of them turn in his direction and quickly pretended to still be sleeping.
“How long do you think he’ll sleep?” the one guard asked.
“Dr. Wells wasn’t sure. We’ll just look over every now and then.”
Fabi watched as they became engrossed in their game. He stood grabbed his clothes and stepped out of the room. He quickly ducked into a closet and changed. He hoped anyone who saw him would just assume he was Col. Austin. It didn’t take him long to make his way to the elevator and out of the building to freedom.
Oscar and Rudy were just getting ready to leave Oscar’s office where they had hoped for a phone call from Steve. “I better go check our man.” Rudy held the door for Oscar.
“That sedative should be wearing off.”
Then what?” Oscar sounded anxious.
Rudy only shrugged.
Both men were shocked to see the room empty…guards scrambling to find the prisoner.
“What happened?” Oscar bellowed.
“I don’t know sir.” the first guard replied. “He got away from us.”
“I see that!!” Oscar continued to shriek. “He turned to Rudy. “Now what? How do I get word to Steve?”
“Oscar. Just calm down” Rudy cautioned “we just have to hope Steve can get out of this one…”
“What question might that be?” Steve snapped. “You doubt me. You don’t trust me?”
“That’s not the case. We just don’t trust Austin” Adrik sneered. “Now fort he question.”
Steve was nervous just what were they going to ask him? “Before we get on with that” Steve tried to stall. “Why don’t I tell you what I found out at the OSI?”…
“I thought you said there was no ALPHA project.” Hedeon countered.
“Not about that but I learned other things while I was there.” Steve knew enough to bluff with other projects that would send them spinning in the wrong direction. But he couldn’t afford to answer questions he had no idea what the answer was.
“Ok then you tell us.” Adrik sat down at the table. “Let’s begin now.”
Out on the street Fabi started for the house. He only hoped they hadn’t believed Austin was him.
He crept up onto the porch and opened the door. As he walked in he saw Steve talking with Adrik and Hedeon.
“Adrik!” he shouted. “Don’t believe him that’s Austin!”
Oscar and Rudy sat in silence for a few more moments. “I’ll round up Russ.” Oscar began. You get your car and pull it around. Steve didn’t give us the exact address but I think we can at least get in the right neighborhood.”
Rudy jumped to his feet. “I’ll see you downstairs in a few minutes!” They both raced out of Oscar’s office each going his own way.
At the house Adrik looked from Steve to Fabi and back again. “I don’t know Hedeon I really don’t know which one is Fabi.”
“I can figure this one out.” Hedeon smiled. “Ask them both a question…in Russian.” He gave a slight laugh.
“Very good idea” he turned to Fabi. “Tell me your name.” He spoke in Russian. “I want to know your name.”
“I’m Fabi.” Fabi responded a broad grin on his face.
Hedeon feeling it was totally unnecessary turned to Steve. “Ok I want you to tell me who this man standing next to me is.”
In perfect Russian Steve replied. “His name is Adrik you know that Hedeon.” Steve smiled even broader than Fabi. ‘Didn’t know I could speak Russian did you?’ he thought.
Once again Hedeon and Adrik exchanged glances. “Come on Adrik.” Fabi urged. “I’m telling you it’s me and I can prove it.”
“Step on it Rudy.” Oscar pressed “I think we’re almost there. If they discover Steve isn’t Fabi there is no telling what they’ll do.”
Rudy pulled the car to a stop across the street from a small white frame house. “Why are you stopping Rudy?” Oscar questioned.
“That’s Steve’s car parked right in front of that house.” Rudy pointed.
“Ok then prove it.” Adrik snorted.
“Your name before you changed it to Adrik was Alec. You changed it To Adrik when you started at the KGB. I started a few months after you did.”
Adrik and Hedeon turned to Steve. “Well this has been fun boys it’s been a load of laughs.” Steve started for the door.
“Hold it Austin!” Hedeon pulled out a 38. “I said hold it!”
Just as Oscar, Rudy and Russ got out of the car the shot rang out.
The three men made a mad dash for the house They burst down the door. They found Steve on the floor blood gushing out of his head where the bullet had gone in. The Russians were nowhere around.
Rudy ran over to him “Oscar quick. Call an ambulance!” Rudy ordered.
Oscar ran over to the phone while Russ ran out the back door to see if he could round up any of the Russians.
He didn’t see them but he saw a young boy playing in the backyard of the house next door. “Come here a minute.” Russ beckoned.
“Yeah, what is it? The boy asked.
“I don’t want to bother you but did you see the people that live in this house leave?” Russ asked.
The boy came over to the fence. “I saw them they had a black sedan.” The boy told them.
“Did you the license number?” Russ hoped.
The boy shook his head. “Sorry I didn’t look at the license plate. All I can tell you is that it was a black sedan.”
“Thanks anyway.” Russ was coming in the back door as the Oscar was letting the paramedics in the front door.
Russ rushed back into the living room. Rudy was ordering the paramedics as to what to do. “What ever you say Doc” the first paramedic stated He was actually relieved to see an actual dr. on the scene
Using their equipment Rudy stabilized Steve enough to transport him to the National Medical Center.
In their new hideout just a few blocks away Adrik, Hedeon, Eva and Fabi sat at a round table. “So Fabi what did you find out about the XJ9 ALPHA project?”
“Very interesting” Fabi filled them in on what he had learned while the OSI thought he was Steve. “It has to do with space travel just as we thought.”
“What does it involve?” Hedeon wanted to know.
“A space station on the moon for starters they fill that it will help in space travel.” Fabi explained. “Then they discussed the possibility of reaching Mars before the decade is over.”
“That is very interesting.” Adrik smiled. “Have they started the project?”
“Not that I could tell. I think most of it is still on paper.” Fabi informed.
“I see. I’ll get our people to work on it right away.” Adrik indicated.
“Maybe we will finally beat the Americans at their own game” Eva smiled.
“Let’s hope so Eva.” Hedeon laughed. “Other wise this mission was a bust at the start.”
At the National Medical Center Rudy rushed Steve into surgery while Russ and Oscar waited anxiously in his office.
“Hang in there Steve.” Rudy urged as he prepared Steve for surgery.
“Yea sure Doc” Rudy heard Steve mumble. He quickly stepped closer to Steve.
“Steve? Can you hear me?” Rudy asked leaning close to Steve
“Yea I can hear you.” Steve whispered weakly. “What’s going on?”
“You were shot in the head by one of the Soviets.” Rudy informed.
“Shot?” Steve asked.
“Yea, in the head I’m surprised we’re having this conversation.” Rudy was baffled.
“I feel fine.” Steve nodded though he still felt weak.
Rudy examined him closer the blood was still coming out of his head but as Rudy continued to search for the hole that had to be there he found nothing.
“Steve I don’t know what’s going on. I’m going to put you under so I can examine you wound more closely.”
Steve gave a slight nod while Rudy injected him with the drug that would knock him out for a few hours.
In the waiting area Oscar had just been handed a brief by one of double agents. He read it then through it across the room.
“What is it Oscar?” Russ asked.
“It’s the Russians!!” Oscar shouted. “They’ve begun work on an interplanetary space station. No doubt Fabi supplied them with all the information they needed.”
“Can we stop them?” Russ bent over to pick up the file just as Rudy entered the room.
“How’s Steve?” Oscar nearly knocked him down.
“He’s fine. The wound was hardly a wound. What happened is the bullet clipped a vein just under the scalp. That’s why all the blood.”
Then he’s going to be ok?” Oscar asked once again.
“You can go see him right now if you want. I repaired the vein and I’m giving him a blood transfusion to replace what he lost He’ll go home in the morning and back to work in a day or two.”
Well that’s good. Because Fabi told everything he knew about XJ9 ALPHA”
“You’re not serious?” Rudy stared at Oscar.
“I’m very serious.” Oscar intoned. “How soon will Steve be ready?”
“I’d like him to be out for a couple of days…but if I know Steve…He’ll want back in the game ASAP.”
Rudy was right. The minute they told Steve he wanted out to go find Fabi and company.
“I think it’s to soon Steve.” Rudy objected knowing it would do no good to argue.
“You better let me out and let me out now.” Steve hissed….
"What do you say Rudy? Do we let him go?" Oscar pressed...
Rudy shook his head. “I don’t know. He was unconscious for a little while I should…”
“Can it Rudy!” Steve snapped.
“I’m sorry Steve I’m afraid I’ll have to agree with Rudy on this one.” Oscar began.
“Look I’ll have time to play sick boy after we stop them.” Steve noted. “I’ll be fine.” Steve assured.
Oscar glanced up at Rudy. “Well what do you say?”
Rudy continued to shake his head. “I just don’t know.” He replied. “Give me a couple of hours I’ll run some tests…if they come back negative then we’ll see.”
“I can’t ask for more than that.” Steve grumbled.
Two hours later Steve sat in Oscar’s office. “So Rudy gave you a clean bill?” Oscar questioned.
“Well in a sense yes.” Steve replied. “He says I’ll be fine. Now how much did you tell Fabi anyway?”
Oscar sat back in his chair. “Enough to make them curious I suppose. He attended the meeting we had with Hanson on the XJ9 ALPHA project…but unless he had been in on it from the beginning I doubt they’ll be able to do much about it. A space station on the moon is quite an undertaking…you and Rudy have been working on it for some time.”
“Yea I know. They would just love to beat us at something like that…then we would have to answer to them.”
Oscar sighed. ‘Yea I know. “I don’t know Steve our reports tell us that Fabi has already told them about the project.”
“I see.” Steve frowned. “I’m sure they will be getting on it right away.”
“Steve. It is only the four of them who know.” Oscar reminded. “If you can get to them before they get back to their superiors on this…”
“I’ll do what I can. First I have to find them. Do we have any leads at all?” Steve asked.
“Maybe one” Oscar told Steve about the boy playing in the backyard of the house next door to the one the Soviets were using. “He saw the car but not the license number. Maybe you could talk to him. Maybe he remembers a little more now but doesn’t know who to contact.”
“I’ll get right on it.” Steve left Oscar’s office and after getting a description for the boy from Russ and their last name he headed for the elevator. He rode it down to the main floor and stepped out to the parking lot got in his car and headed for the house the Soviets had used.
He pulled up to the curb and spotted the boy in the front yard of the house next door. He walked up the sidewalk and passed the child he climbed the steps and rang the bell. A young woman answered.
“I’m sorry miss I hate to bother you…” Steve explained the situation and asked permission to speak with her son.
“Of Course Billy” she called.
The boy turned to her “yea mom?”
“This man would like to ask you about the people next door.” She turned to Steve. “You can sit on the porch if you like. I’ll bring out something cool to drink.”
“You don’t need to do that.” Steve smiled “unless of course, your son would want something.”
She disappeared into the house and Steve sat with Billy on the porch. “You told a friend of mine said you saw them taking off earlier in a black sedan.”
Billy nodded. “But like I told your friend I didn’t see the license number”
“Maybe you did, you just don’t remember it.” Steve pressed. “Even if you got part of it…”
The boy closed his eyes. “I just don’t think I saw it.” He complained.
After several attempts Steve turned to the boy. “You wait here for a minute.” He stepped over to his car and called Oscar on his car phone.
“No luck so far.” He informed him.
“Steve we need to stop them before they leave the country with the information they have.” Oscar reminded.
“I was wondering if hypnosis would work.” Steve suggested.
“It’s a possibility.” Oscar agreed. It won’t hold up in court…but we may not need that. All we need to gather everyone up. See if you can bring him here to Rudy’s lab and we’ll give it a try.”
Once again Steve spoke to the boy’s mother who after much persuading gave in.
Steve drove the two of the to the OSI building. Rudy and Oscar were waiting just inside the door. “We have a room right over here.” Oscar pointed to one of the conference rooms open to the public.
“Hi Billy I’m Dr. Wells. I’m going to see if we can’t help you remember the license number.”
“Ok.” Billy nodded. He sat in a chair next to his mother and Rudy began talking softly to him within minutes the boy was under.
“Ok Billy we are going to go back just a little bit to yesterday afternoon. You were playing in the back yard and… just tell us what you see.”
“My back yard….my dog…we’re playing in my back yard. “
“That’s right.” Rudy pressed. “Just keep going.”
“Hey Tippy get back here!!” the boy called out.
“What is it Billy.” Rudy wondered.
“He…my dog ran out into the alley.” Billy cried.
“Hey you big idiot!” Billy hollered.
“What’s happening now Billy?” Rudy asked.
“That car almost ran over Tippy” Billy replied.
“What car Billy.” Rudy asked.
“Some black sedan.” Billy sounded anxious.
“Do you see the license number?” Rudy wanted to know.
“LKJ178” Billy replied. “DC plates.”
Oscar grabbed the phone “I want an APB out on a black sedan plate number LKJ178” Oscar barked into the phone.
Slowly Rudy brought Billy back to the present. “Thanks Billy.” Rudy patted his knee.
Oscar turned to the boy’s mother. “Russ will give you and Billy a ride home.” He offered.
“Thanks.” The woman replied. “I never knew Billy could do such.”
“Well it’s all in his mind. It’s just that sometimes we block it out I think he was upset about his dog…that’s why he forgot.”
Steve and Oscar stepped out into the hall. “I better get up to my office.” Oscar noted. “I’ll want to be there when the call comes in.”
“I’ll be conducting my own search.” Steve added. “Just call me on my car phone if they call.”
“I will.” Oscar assured.
The phone was ringing when Oscar stepped into his office. “We have the run down on the car you were looking for we found it parked in front of an abandoned apartment building in George town.” The police informed him.
“Thanks. I’ll get my people right on it.” Oscar told them. He hung up and quickly dialed Steve.
He gave him the address. “Just let me know if you need any back up.” Oscar reminded.
“I will.” Steve headed for the address. He saw the car and only hoped they hadn’t switched cars and just left this one here. Steve crept into the apartment building and began looking for the Soviets.
As he rounded the corner of a hallway he saw Fabi ducking down the next hallway. Steve quickly caught up to him. He grabbed him by the collar and forced him into one of the rooms. He grabbed him around the neck hard enough to render him unconscious but not enough to harm him. Steve changed into Fabi’s clothes and then jammed the door as he left so Fabi couldn’t get out.
Back in the hallway Steve continued his search for the rest of his ‘party’
“There you are Fabi.” Eva called.
Startled Steve turned to her “Yes Eva.” He began to walk in her direction.
“We’ve been looking for you. We are getting ready to call Igor with all of your information.”
“You haven’t contacted them yet?” Steve stammered.
“Not yet.” Eva smiled. “I’m sure they will be very interested in what you have to tell them.”
“I’m sure.” Steve nodded. She led him down the hall and into the apartment they had set up ‘headquarters’ in.
“Aw! You found him.” Hedeon stated. “Where was he?”
“Just wandering the hall I told him we were just ready to call Moscow.” Eva smiled.
“That we were.” Adrik spoke as he lifted the receiver of the phone he had installed.
“Not so fast!” Steve called out. He yanked the phone out of the wall and used the cord to tie up Adrik and Hedeon. Then he grabbed onto Eva. “As for you” he held her tight while he searched for something to restrain her.
After searching high and low he was left with no other resource but to take her with him. They stepped into the coffee shop across the street where Steve placed the phone call to Oscar.
Oscar and Rudy had been waiting by the phone ever since Steve had left. Oscar jumped on the phone when it rang. “Steve?”
“Yea Oscar. I got them.” Steve informed
“Where are you? Do you need back up?”
“As a matter of fact I do.” He gave them the address where he was and told them he’d be waiting out front.
Ten minutes later Oscar, Rudy and Russ pulled up in front of the apartment building. “Where are they?” Oscar asked.
“Steve took them inside and opened the doors to the apartments where he had Fabi, Hedeon and Adrik prisoner.
Steve kept hold of Eva while Oscar and Russ escorted Adrik and Hedeon out to curb where the police were waiting.
“Take them to the NSB.” Oscar ordered.
“Will do” the officer assured.
A week later Steve once again climbed the front steps to the house next to the one the Soviets had used.
He rang the bell and Billy answered.
“Hi Billy is you mom home?” Steve asked.
Billy called his mom to the door.
“Mrs. Andrews I have something for Billy. It’s a reward for the capture of the three people who lived next door for a while.”
“A reward?” Stella Andrews asked.
“Yes I have a check right here with Billy’s name on it. It’s for $10,000.” Steve handed it to her. “That ought to cover some his college.”
“Yes…yes it will. Thank you.” Stella Andrews took the check from Steve.
“Not at all thank you and Billy.” Steve gave her the check then turned and went back down the steps where he got into his car and headed back to the OSI building.
Hanson from the NSB was waiting when Steve arrived. “Good news Col. Austin. We can keep the Soviets here to carry out their jail terms since the crime was committed over here.
“That is good news.” Steve agreed. “Our space station should be well underway by the time they get out.”
“Speaking of that” Oscar interrupted. “Maybe you and Rudy should get started on it.”
“He never give us does he Rudy.” Steve laughed.
“And I don’t think he ever will.” Rudy joined Steve laughing.