“You are invited too Oscar.” Steve informed his boss.
“Steve I appreciate the invitation but a picnic? I don’t think I would fit in at a picnic.” Oscar explained.
“Mom and dad really want you to come.” Steve pointed out.
“I thought it was supposed to be a family picnic Steve. I’m not family.” Oscar continued to argue.
“Neither is Rudy and he’s going.” Steve told him. “My whole family will be there. They really want to meet you.”
Oscar threw his hands in the air. “Ok pal, you talked me into it. Besides if I were to say no again you would only throw me over your shoulder and take me anyway. Am I right?”
Steve laughed. “You could be.”
“So when do we leave for Ojai?” Oscar asked thumbing through a file.
“First thing in the morning. The picnic is day after tomorrow. I’ll pick you up at 7:00 am.”
“I’ll be ready.” Oscar didn’t take his eyes off the brief in his hand.
“Did you talk him into it?” Rudy asked when Steve stepped into his office.
“Yea he’ll join us. I’m really excited about this. I keep telling my family about you guys but they have never met you.”
“I’m looking forward to it myself.” Rudy stated. “Now why don’t we get your tests done and over with, then you can relax and have a good time.”
“I can’t argue with that one Rudy.” Rudy ran Steve through the usual tests.
“Well Steve. You did great. You’re all set.” Rudy informed him.
“Ok then Rudy. I’ll see you first thing in the morning. I told Oscar I’d pick him up around seven. I’ll grab you s little after that.”
“See you then Steve.” Rudy gave him a slight wave as he left.
The next morning Steve stopped by Oscar’s house first. Oscar was waiting on the porch. “You ready?” Steve called as he got out of the car.
“I guess so.” Oscar said picking up his suitcase.
Steve walked over to him. ‘Here let me take that. The weather is great. I’m cleared for an 8:00 am take off.” Steve tossed Oscar’s bag in the trunk
Oscar slipped into the seat beside Steve. “You know I’m actually looking forward to this.” Oscar smiled.
“Everyone is looking forward to meeting you. I called them last night. Most everyone is already in Ojai.”
“Now this is your mother’s side, right?” Oscar asked staring out the window.
“Yea, my mother’s side of the house.” Steve pulled up to the curb in front of Rudy’s apartment building.
“Rudy said he would be waiting just inside the door.” Steve got out of the car and headed into the building.
“Morning Steve.” Rudy called out from the elevator.
“Hi Rudy. Ready?”
“I sure am. I had to go up to the apartment for my wallet “
“Do you have it now?” Steve wondered.
“Right here.” Rudy showed it to him.
“Great. Oscar is in the car and we have an 8:00 am take off time.” Steve grabbed his bag and the two of them headed for the door.
Steve tossed Rudy’s bag in the trunk. “Sorry Doc, I guess you’re stuck in the back.”
“No problem Steve.” Rudy slid into the back seat.
Steve turned to everyone “So are you both ready?” He asked.
“Yea, why do you ask?” Oscar and Rudy replied.
“Just making sure before we get on the plane.” Steve laughed. “Now has everyone used the facility?” Steve continued laughing.
“Shut up and drive!” Oscar snarled.
Steve turned toward the back seat. “He doesn’t have to get testy about it.” He laughed.
“Steve I agree with Oscar, and if you have clearance for…”
“Ok, ok. I get the picture.” Steve pulled away from the curb and headed for Andrews. “I really appreciate the two of you coming.” Steve became serious. “Personally I think it will do Oscar a world of good to get away from it all for a while.”
“Me too.” Rudy chimed in from the back.
“I could use a little R and R.” Oscar admitted. “I like Ojai anyway. By the way is Jaime going to be there?”
“As far as I know.” Steve replied.
“That’s great. I haven’t seen her since she got back from her last assignment.” Oscar added.
“It will be a pleasure for all of us.” Steve agreed. “It’s been a while since I’ve seen her myself.”
Steve continued to make his way through the early morning traffic. “I didn’t think there would be this much traffic on a Saturday.” Steve muttered more to himself than anyone else.
“It is pretty thick for this time of day.” Oscar noted. He reached in his brief case and pulled out a file folder.
“Oh no Oscar. None of that.” Steve chided. “We are on vacation.”
“Yea come on Oscar.” Rudy called from the back seat. “Put that thing away.”
“Oh alright.” Oscar slid the file back into his brief case and placed it on the floor of the car. “Don’t let me forget it though.” Oscar said.
“Oscar that brief case stays in the car.” Steve informed him.
“Steve it’s top priority.” Oscar shot back.
“Then I’ll put it in the trunk.” He pulled into the parking lot of Andrews Air force base and they all stepped out of the car. “Here Oscar.” Steve took the brief case from him.
“It will be safe in here.” He slammed the trunk after retrieving everyone’s suitcases from it.
Jim met them at the airport. “I’m so glad the two of you came.” He greeted. “Everyone is very anxious to meet you. We talk about you all the time. We are having a small get together at the house tonight just a couple of close relatives you will meet the rest at the picnic tomorrow.”
“We’re glad to be here Jim.” Rudy shook his hand.
They piled into Jim’s car and headed for the ranch. “Jim Rudy and I could stay in a hotel if there are too many people.”
“Nonsense everyone is scattered to the four winds. They all took the hotel in fact and if I recall there on no rooms in the inn.” Jim laughed.
“Well as long as it’s no trouble.” Oscar indicated.
“No trouble at all, Helen is looking forward to it.” Jim pulled into the driveway of the ranch. “Well folks here we are.”
Everyone got out of the car. “You two go on ahead.” Steve offered. “I’ll grab your bags.”
Oscar and Rudy followed Jim into the house. “Helen, we’re back!” Jim called out.
Helen ran to the door. “Where’s Steve?” She asked.
“He’s right behind us.” Oscar stated. “He’s bringing our bags in.”
“Oh good. You’re staying here. I’ll show you to your rooms.
After a lovely dinner and conversation with Steve’s relatives everyone called it a night. “We have a busy day tomorrow.” Jim announced.
The next morning Helen was up early getting everything ready for the picnic. “Anything I can do to help?” Rudy offered.
“No you just sit back and enjoy. I have everything in hand.” She smiled at him.
“Well ok then, when Oscar and Steve wake up tell them I went for a walk and I’ll be back in just a bit.”
“I’ll do that.” Helen promised.
The morning passed quickly and soon it was time to head for the park for the picnic. Steve’s cousin Paul organized games for everyone.
“Aren’t you going to join Steve?” Jim asked.
“Not right now dad. I’m going to do a little exploring in the woods. I’ll be back in time for lunch.”
“Well if that’s what you want.” Jim was disappointed.
“Yea that’s what I want.” ‘Actually I’m a little bored.’ Steve thought to himself.
Oscar and Rudy sat off to the side watching the children play the games. After a while Jim approached them. “You two haven’t seen Steve have you?”
“No Jim why?” Rudy asked.
“Well it’s time to eat and I don’t see him anywhere. He said he was going to explore the woods but that was over an hour ago now.”
“He can’t be far.” Rudy assured. “We’ll just take a look around.”
Another hour passed and still no sign of Steve. “I hate to say it Oscar.” But I’m getting very concerned.” Rudy whispered.”
“Yea me too.” Oscar admitted. “Where in the world do you suppose he could be?”
“I have no idea. Let’s keep looking.”
The picnic was forgotten everyone joined the search. In spite of all efforts they could not find Steve anywhere.
Rudy had to pull Oscar away from the picnic grounds. “Come on Oscar, hey maybe he’s back at the house.” Rudy presumed.
“If that’s the case Rudy then be prepared to treat Steve for any number of ailments.” Oscar scoffed.
“Personally I’d just be relieved to see him.” Rudy said.
“Yea, me too.” Oscar agreed.
They rode back to the house with Jim. The rest of the family headed back to the hotel they were staying in.
“I just can’t believe this.” Jim pondered as they walked though the front door. “I half expected to see him here. I got the impression he was rather bored at the picnic. That’s why he wandered off.”
Three days later Oscar and Rudy caught a flight back to Washington. “Thanks for everything “ Helen said as they stood in the airport waiting for their plane. “I’m sure Steve will show up.” Helen began to cry. “I just don’t understand where he could be.”
On board the plane Oscar and Rudy began to speculate as to the whereabouts of their friend.
“What do you think Rudy?” Oscar asked once they were seated.
“I really couldn’t guess.” Rudy sighed. “My gut tells me that he just high tailed it.”
“You mean he just took off?” Oscar quizzed.
“I don’t know Oscar.” Rudy started crying. “My other instinct tells me he met with foul play.”
“That’s what my instinct tells me too Rudy.” Oscar turned toward him.
“Just exactly to you suppose happened?” Rudy wondered.
“I would assume some foreign government agency could have gotten hold of him.”
You don’t’ believe that do you?” Rudy asked.
“No Rudy I don’t. But I’ll tell you one thing. I will stop at nothing till I find him.”
One year later, 1978>
“Morning Oscar.” Rudy greeted as they met each other at the door coming into the OSI.
“Rudy how are you? Nervous about Saturday?”
“Very.” Rudy replied. “It’s not everyday a man gets married.”
“How’s Jaime doing? Is she all set?”
“I think she’s more nervous than I am.” Rudy laughed. “I know I’ve asked this everyday for a year now. But any word on Steve?”
“No, nothing. Rudy it’s like he just disappeared from the planet.” Oscar looked at him. “What time does Helen get here this afternoon?”
“Jaime is picking her up at three.” Rudy started for his office. Then turned back toward Oscar. “You know, it would be just like Steve to show up at the last minute.”
“In a way that would be great Rudy.” Oscar sighed. “I can hardly believe it has been a year since. Well since…”
“Yea I know.” Rudy pondered. “It was a year yesterday. It makes you wonder where he has been all this time. Is he hurt? Does he need me? I can’t sleep nights for worrying so much.”
“Glad to see I’m not the only one.” Oscar mumbled. “Jaime has been on several assignments trying to find him. There is just no sign of him.” Oscar added.
Rudy nodded ‘Yea I know.”
“Well.” Oscar said approaching the happy couple. “How are Dr. and Mrs. Wells doing?”
“Just great Oscar.” Jaime laughed. “The honeymoon was perfect. All we talked about was Steve.”
“Yea I figured as much.” Oscar turned his head away from the two of them. “Well let’s get back to work.” When he turned back Jaime saw tears in his eyes.
Five years later, 1983
Rudy stepped into Oscar’s office. You’re coming to Chip’s birthday party tonight aren’t you?” He asked sitting on the edge of the desk. “He’s four now,. You know you haven’t been to one of his birthday parties. Jaime gets a little upset about it. She wanted to make sure I invited you personally.”
“I don’t know Rudy.” Oscar’s eyes filled with tears. “Don’t get me wrong. Your and Jaime’s son is great. But why, why did he have to be born on the same day that Steve disappeared?”
“Coincidence I presume.” Rudy stated. ‘Well I asked. Jaime will be disappointed if you don’t come.”
“I’ll try Rudy. No guarantees though.” Oscar continued reading a file he never put down the whole time Rudy talked to him.
“Did you ask him?” Jaime’s eyes danced with hope as she greeted her husband at the front door.
Rudy shook his head. “I asked, but don’t count on it.” He put his arm around her and led her back into the house. “I did find out the reason that he has never come to any of the other parties.”
“Why” Jaime say next to him on the couch.
“Chip’s birthday falls on the same day Steve vanished.” He explained.
“I never thought of it quite like that before, maybe there was a reason for it.” Jaime assumed.
“What would that be?” Rudy held her in his arms.
“Well maybe we are supposed to be so busy with Rudy Jr. (Chip) that we are to forget all about Steve.”
“That could be.” Rudy mused. “Where is the little guy anyway?”
“He’s upstairs with Linda. She has been such a wonderful nanny for him.”
“Yea and she already knows about everything so we don’t have to worry about that.” Rudy stood. “I’m going to go wish my son Happy birthday.”
“I’ll come with you.” Jaime stood and joined her husband at the bottom of the steps. From overhead they could hear Chip and Linda talking.
Rudy, Jaime and Chip were just sitting down to dinner when the doorbell rang. Rudy went to answer it.
“Oscar!” He called out. “Come on in.”
Oscar stepped in and laid a huge box in the hallway. “Is the invitation still open?”
“It was never closed.” Rudy turned toward the kitchen “Jaime Oscar is here.”
Jaime came running into the hall. “Oh Oscar thanks for coming!”
“Well I decided it was best to start living again. It’s been five years now. I guess if Steve really wanted to come back to us he would have done it by now. I have stayed in that office night and day waiting for my private phone to ring, waiting for Steve to call.”
“I know Oscar we all feel the same way.” Jaime hugged him. “Come on it we were just getting ready to eat dinner, there is plenty.”
Fourteen years later, 1997
Oscar, Jaime and Chip sat in the front row of the funeral home. Jaime sat in between them. “I just can’t believe it.” She cried.
“It’s going to be ok mother.” Chip soothed.
Jaime clung to her and Rudy’s only son. “Oh Chip I’m so glad you could break away from school for this. I’m sure your father would appreciate it.”
Chip glanced over at Oscar. “Dr. Marchetti has her on tranquilizers.” Oscar explained. “It has been very hard on her.”
Chip nodded. “What exactly happened?” Chip held Jaime’s to his chest.
“From what we can tell Jaime came home and found your father on the bedroom floor. Marchetti says it was a heart attack.”
Chip nodded once again. The three of them sat in silence through the rest of the funeral.
In a remote cave just outside of Ojai California a lone man slowly woke up. He sat up and looked around at his surroundings. The cave was pitch black. The entrance he remembered being just a few feet in front of him was no longer there.
Steve sat up and scanned the cave. ‘A cave in huh? I bet everyone back at the picnic grounds are worried sick.’ Steve rose to his feet and slowly began to free himself from the cave. He made his way down the path he had walked. Steve glanced down at his watch. ‘I’ve only been gone about twenty minutes.’ He thought to himself.
Steve made his way to the picnic area no one was around. ‘Come on where is everyone?” Steve wondered.
‘Maybe it’s later than I think. I bet they went back to the house.’ Steve began the long walk back to his mother’s house. He knocked on the door when he got there.
“May I help you?” A strange man asked.
Steve stared at him in astonishment. “I’m sorry I must have the wrong address.” Steve slipped off the porch and headed into town.
“Just what is going on?” Steve wondered as he looked at the strange town in front of him. He stepped into a gas station when he read the price of gas was over a dollar a gallon. He was just about to approach the attendant when a calendar on the wall caught his attention.
Steve stepped over toward it. ‘May 7, 1997’ Steve read. “That can’t be.”
Steve approached the attendant “Excuse me. I’m a bit confused, could you give me the date?”
“Yes sir, it’s May 7, 1997.”
“Thank you.” Steve mouthed. “How could this be?” Steve thought aloud as he walked the streets of Ojai.
As soon as he could Steve caught the next flight to DC ‘I have to see Oscar.’ He thought as the plane landed at Dulles.
Steve jumped into a cab and headed for the OSI building. He jumped out and paid the driver then bounded up to Oscar’s office.
Oscar was sitting behind his desk when Steve entered.
“Steve!!” he cried out. Oscar continued to stare at he the man standing in front of him. “Is it really you Steve?”
“I’m afraid so Oscar.” Steve sat in the familiar chairs in front of Oscar’s desk. “Is it really 1997?”
“It sure is. Steve where have you been?” Oscar demanded.
“I don’t really know.” Steve sighed. “From what I can tell I’ve been asleep for the past twenty years.” Steve recounted the events of the past 12 hours.
Oscar eyed him suspiciously. “I can hardly believe it. Come on Steve where have you been?”
“I’m telling you the truth. The day of the picnic I went into this cave. I wanted to be alone for just a bit. The next thing I know it’s twenty years later.”
“Well I don’t believe it. I still say you just took off!“ Anger rose in Oscar’s voice.
“I know it seems impossible to believe, but it’s the truth.” Steve defended. “Where’s Rudy? He’ll believe me.”
Oscar lowered his head. “Rudy’s gone Steve. It was a heart attack.” Oscar began to explain.
“A heart attack…”
They were interrupted when the door flew open. “Chip.” Oscar called “Come on in.”
“Steve. This is Rudy’s son, Rudy Wells Jr., but we call him Chip.”
Steve stared at the familiar face. “He looks like someone else I know.” Steve whispered.
“He’s Jaime’s son too, Steve. She and Rudy married a year after you disappeared.”
“I see.” Was all Steve would say. “Where is Jaime?”
Chip stared at the man. “Who is this Oscar?”
“I’m sorry Chip. This is Steve Austin.” Oscar introduced.
“Pleased to meet you.” Chip reached out his hand.
Steve grabbed it and shook it hard. “The pleasure it all mine. Where is your mother?”
“She’s at home. She’s still pretty upset about dad.” Chip informed him. “I just stopped by to tell Oscar I have to head back to class. We have finals next week. You will look in on mother won’t you?”
“Try and stop me.” Oscar laughed.
“Tell mom I’ll call her tonight.” Chip headed for the door.
“I’ll tell her Chip.” Oscar promised.
After he left Steve turned to Oscar. ‘He’s a lot like his father.”
“Very much so. “ Oscar agreed.
“So how long ago with Rudy I mean?” Steve wanted to know.
“About a week now.” Oscar continued to stare at the man sitting across from him.
“I’m sorry I wasn’t here.”
“Well that’s beside the point for now.” Oscar was becoming angry again. “Truthfully Steve. Where have you been?”
“I told you Oscar I was…”
“I’m sorry Steve I don’t buy it, why all the sudden do you show up now?”
“Look Oscar I find it hard to believe myself. But the fact of the matter is I…”
‘Yea, yea fell asleep.” Oscar mocked.
“You don’t have to believe me. I know what happened. Can I see Jaime?”
“You’re going to have to talk to Michael about that. He’s treating her, that is till Chip gets through medical school.”
“Medical school? Steve looked at Oscar. “You mean he’s going to be a doctor?”
“He’s studied bionics under Rudy ever since he was four and found out about his mother.” Oscar related.
“I want to see Michael. I want to know when I can see Jaime.” Steve headed for the door. “Is he in Rudy’s office?”
Oscar nodded. “Better let me come with you. This is going to shock a lot of people.”
“Yea.” Steve muttered thoughtfully. “I suppose it will.”
Steve was amazed when he stepped into Rudy’s lab. “What is all this stuff?” He asked looking around.
Michael turned to Oscar. “Is that Steve?”
Oscar nodded. Then turned back to Steve. “You’ve never seen things like this before?”
“I told you Oscar I’ve been asleep for the past twenty years remember?”
“I’m telling you I have a very hard time with that one.” Oscar reminded.
“What’s going on?” Michael hated being left in the dark.
“Steve claims to have been asleep for the past twenty years Michael, now he shows up and wants to see Jaime.”
“I don’t know if that’s a good idea. Jaime is still pretty upset. It could push her over the edge.” Michael speculated.
Steve turned to Oscar “Where does Chip go to school?”
“Harvard, where else?” Oscar smiled.
“Thanks.” Steve turned to leave.
“Where are you going?” Oscar wondered.
“I need to talk to him. I have a lot of unanswered questions.” Steve left Michael’s office and caught the next train to Boston.
Once on campus he located Chip’s dorm room. He approached the door and knocked.
“Yes it’s open come on in.” Chip called out.
Steve pushed the door open.
Chip stared in amazement. “Listen mom. I’ll talk to you later. He just walked in the door.”
Chip hung up the phone and turned to Steve. “What can I do for you?”
“Was that your mother?” Steve’s eyes filled with hope.
“Yea.” Chip said.
“Does she know I’m back?” Steve asked.
Again Chip nodded. “Yea Steve. She knows.”
“And?” Steve’s voice was filled with expectation.
“She wants to see Steve. Have a seat.” Chip cleared off a chair that sat next to his desk.
“So tell me Steve. What brings you here?”
“Well I already got part of what I wanted. I was hoping you could convince your mother to see me.”
“Well she really wants to see you.” Chip informed him. “You know the whole time I was growing up you’re all mom and dad ever talked about.”
“Really?” Steve was surprised.
Everyone always wondered where you were.” Chip continued. “Now Oscar says you claim to have been asleep for 20 years?”
“I know it sounds a bit far fetched.”
“That’s putting it mildly.” Chip broke in.
“I just don’t understand why no one will believe me.” Steve sighed.
“Let me ask you something?” The young man asked. “Would you believe it?”
Slowly Steve shook his head. “No I suppose not.” He muttered.
“Look Steve I would love to be able to help you, but this is a little out of my realm.”
“I don’t know if anyone can help me.” Steve again muttered. “I don’t even know if I need help. It is hard waking up in a world that has progressed without you.”
“I don’t doubt it.” Chip agreed. “Anyway mom says she would like to see you as soon as you get back to DC. And Steve, come to me any time. I know if my father were here he would do everything to help you. I feel like I need to take his place. So anytime day or night.”
“Thanks Chip.” Steve headed for the door.
“Steve. Why don’t you just call me Rudy? Everyone called me Chip to avoid confusion. I don’t think that’s a problem anymore. I already discussed it with my mother. She doesn’t mind.”
“Well ok then. See you later…uh… Rudy.” Steve left the campus and headed back to DC.
Steve got the address from Oscar and headed for Jaime’s house. He pulled up to the curb and sat for several minutes before he got out of the car and walked across the porch to the door.
Jaime flung the door open. “Steve!” She cried. “I can hardly believe it!” She threw her arms around him.
“I didn’t think you would want to see me.” Steve smiled.
“Wouldn’t want to see you? What ever gave you that idea?”
“Everyone I’ve talked to so far. I was sorry to hear about Rudy.” Steve lowered his head. “He was a great man.”
“Yes he was.” Jaime held the front door for him and the entered the house.
“I met your son. He’s a lot like you.”
“No. He’s like his father.” Jaime corrected.
They spent hours catching up with Jaime doing most of the talking.
“Oscar says you claim to have fallen asleep the day oft the picnic?” Jaime looked at him.
Steve lowered his head. ”I find it a little hared to believe myself, but that’s what happened.”
Jaime listened to Steve tell what had happened.
“I find it incredible “ she said when he had finished.
“Same here” Steve glanced at his watch. “I better go. Can I see you tomorrow?”
“Of course. You know Steve, Rudy never did get over your disappearance. He talked about you daily. “
“You mean that?” Steve felt heart sick to have caused his friends and loved ones so much pain.
“Yes in fact instead of mama Dada our son’s first word was Steve.”
“Really?” Steve smiled. “Tell me something. When did mom pass?”
“About three years ago now. That’s a story in itself “ Jaime’s eyes filled with tears.
Sensing that the memory was just too painful Steve dropped the topic. “Listen I’ll see you tomorrow then.” Steve opened the front door and there stood Oscar with three other men.
“I’m sorry Steve.” Oscar explained. “I tried to get them to hold off till at least tomorrow.”
“What are you talking about Oscar?” Steve demanded.
“This is Agent Bart and this is Agent Jones they are from the NSB. They want to talk to you.”
Agent Bart stepped closer to him. “Col Austin? You’re under arrest on suspicion of treason…”
Jaime could hardly believe what she was hearing. “You have got to be kidding?” She cried.
“I’m afraid I’m not Miss.” Jones replied.
“It’s Mrs.” Jaime held out her ring finger “Mrs. Wells to be exact.”
Steve stood listening to the conversation go back and forth between all of them. “There must be a mistake.” The finally was able to get in.
“I’m afraid not Colonel Austin. It’s been reported that you have been working with the soviets for the past twenty years.” Bart informed him.
“Working for the Soviets. I don’t think so.” Steve argued. “Like I told Oscar I’ve been asleep for the past twenty years.” Steve tried to defend himself.
“Steve?” Oscar broke in. “You have to come up with something better than that.” Oscar sighed. “They don’t believe it for a minute.”
“But I’m telling you the truth.” Steve continued to argue.
“Steve we’re going to have to ask you to come with us.” Oscar coaxed. “I’ll see to it that you get a lawyer.”
“Look if I’ve been working for the Soviets all this time then why would I come back now?” Steve demanded.
“Your friend just passed away. That could be an answer.” Jones broke in.
“Oh come on.” Oscar interrupted.
“We need to get going we need to make a stop by Dr. Marchetti’s office on the way.” Bart said.
“May I ask why?” Oscar wondered.
“We need to have his bionics toned down, at least till we can get to the bottom of this.” Jones replied.
“I hardly think that’s necessary.” Oscar protested.
“Well we do. Hanson’s orders.” Jones stated.
“What if Marchetti refuses.” Oscar wondered when the got in the car.
“He’ll have no choice.” Bart said. “We have a court order.”
“There are ways around that.” Oscar managed.
Bart pulled away from the curb “I strongly suggest you don’t try that.” Jones sneered.
Steve sat in the back seat with Oscar. “Oscar you know I wouldn’t work for the Russians?”
“Of course I do Steve.” Oscar tried to comfort his friend, but down in the pit of his stomach he wondered if maybe it was true. He slowly turned to his friend sitting next to him and knew his thinking was ridiculous, or was it?
The pulled into the OSI parking lot. “Now let’s go on up to Marchetti’s office.” Bart snarled.
The four of them headed up to Michael’s office. Bart opened the door “Dr. Marchetti!” He called.
“Dr. Marchetti!” Jones hollered.
There was still no reply.
“Looks like he’s not here.” Oscar scoffed.
“Let’s get him to the NSB. We’ll have Marchetti come there.” Bart grabbed Steve. “Let’s go.” He barked.
Jones turned to Oscar. “We don’t need you anymore you can stay here.”
After they left Oscar headed for his own office. Michael sat in one of the chairs in front of Oscar’s desk.
“Michael what are you doing?” Oscar wanted to know.
“Hiding from Hanson’s henchmen.” Michael replied. “Jaime called and told me what was going on. How’s Steve by the way.”
“He’s in NSB custody Michael. I’m glad you weren’t in your office.”
“Like I said Jaime called and told me what was going on? I hid out in here till they left. I was hoping that they would leave Steve.”
“That’s not going to happen Michael!” Oscar shouted. “They are determined to put him in prison for treason. I can’t believe this. I almost wish Steve had stayed wherever he was. I don’t know Michael part of me wants to believe Steve, the other…well the other does wonder.”
“Yea I know.” Michael sighed.
“It’s been twenty years Michael. Where the hell has he been? I just can’t believe he was sleeping.”
“I have a question Oscar?” Michael leaned closer to him. “Has Steve ever lied to you before?”
Oscar shook his head. “No he hasn’t. He’s eluded me on numerous occasions but no he’s never lied to me.”
“Then why would he start now?” Michael wondered.
“I guess he wouldn’t.” Oscar agreed. “It just seems a little well a little unbelievable.”
“Yea I know.” Michael left Oscar’s office and headed for his own.
“Dr. Marchetti I presume?” Hanson greeted.
“Hanson what do you want?” Michael growled.
“We need you for a little project.” Hanson snarled. “And don’t try to elude me or your friends just may suffer the consequences.”
“You want me to tone down Steve’s bionics? I won’t do it Hanson. It could be way to dangerous.”
“It could also be dangerous if we were to allow Colonel Steve Austin to roam free.” Hanson headed for the door. “Are you coming?”
“I can’t do it at the NSB. All of my equipment is here, you also realize I’ve never done this end of it before. I’m not sure what normal strength should be for Steve.”
“Dr. Marchetti you will do as your told when you are told to do it. Do I make myself clear?”
Michael nodded his head. “Yes I understand Hanson. Now if you will just bring Steve here I’ll get started.”
“No tricks Marchetti.” Hanson warned. “If I even suspect you are trying to pull the wool over my eyes I’ll see to it you never work for the government again my friend.”
“No tricks Hanson.” Michael promised. “But I have to do it here as I said all of my equipment is here.”
Hanson reached over and picked up the phone. He dialed his associates at the NSB. “Bring Colonel Austin to OSI headquarters.” He ordered.
A half an hour later Steve was presented to Michael
“Steve I’m really sorry.” Michael apologized “This is the last thing I want to do.”
“I understand Michael. I just wish Rudy were still here. He would know what to do.”
“Yea he probably would.” Michael agreed. He turned to Hanson. “If you don’t mind.”
“No I want to watch the procedure. I want to make sure you actually go through with it.”
“As I told you I’m not real sure if I know how to do this. It could seriously injure him.”
“Do you have any other suggestions?” Hanson was a bit calmer.
“Yes. That’s to have Steve remain here under house arrest.” Michael suggested.
Hanson eyes him suspiciously “Why here?”
“If Steve does encounter any problems then he’s in the right place.” Michael was really trying to keep Steve out of Hanson’s hands.
“I can send one of my own guards over?”
“That will be fine.” Michael agreed.
He started to step back into his office when Hanson stopped him. “Any tricks doctor and all of you will regret it. Colonel Austin’s trial starts in two days. I want to make sure he’s here for it.”
“He will be. That’s why I don’t want him toned down. When it is proven he didn’t commit treason then I won’t have to turn him back up.”
“I understand what you are saying. By the way Goldman says he has a lawyer for Steve He should be here later today.”
“I know he told me. Now if you don’t mind…”
Michael again headed for his office and Hanson headed for his own to round up several men to guard Steve at various times of the day.
Michael stepped into the lab. “Well we got past that one.” He announced.
“How?” Steve asked standing to greet him.
“You must remain here under house arrest. You will have the full run of the floor my office, the lab, and Oscar’s office. “
“I guess it sure beats the alternative.” Steve sighed.
“Hi Steve, Michael.” Oscar greeted as he walked into Michael’s office. “Steve this is Kent Mason. He’s your attorney.”
“Thanks Oscar.” Steve said. He shook hands with Kent.
“Why don’t we get started?” Kent sat next to Steve.
Oscar turned to Michael “I suppose we better let them talk this over. Steve’s trial starts day after tomorrow.”
“Well now that we are alone, why don’t you tell me what happened, from the beginning.”
“It’s like I told Oscar what’s it been now two days since I got back?”
Kent nodded. “That’s correct.”
Steve thought for a long moment “As I started. It’s like I told Oscar two days ago. I know it sounds ridiculous but when I was on a picnic twenty years ago I fell asleep “
“That’s where we have a problem. Another agent not with the OSI but he works for us swears he saw you working for the Soviets.”
“He’s lying!” Steve shouted.
“I believe you. What I’m going to do is make him offer proof.” Kent took his note pad and placed it in his brief case. “Look I’ll speak to you tomorrow.”
“Ok Thanks.” Steve showed him to the door. Hanson’s man was standing just out side.
As soon as the lawyer left Steve turned toward the man guarding him. “I was told I had the run of the floor.” Steve growled.
“That’s true. You can leave the room, but I need to follow you.”
Steve shrugged “If that’s what you want.”
Steve, Oscar and Michael sat in Michael’s office. “Well Steve your trial is tomorrow.” Oscar started the conversation. “Are you nervous?”
“I sure am Oscar.” Steve lowered his head. “Treason is a pretty serous charge. Kent doesn’t think he can get me off.”
“I know. I spoke to him last night.” Oscar cried. “I just don’t know what to do.”
“Well let’s just see what happens “ Steve stressed.
Oscar rose to leave. ‘You try and get a good night’s sleep huh?”
“I wouldn’t count on it.” Steve sighed.
Michael walked over to him “Here Steve. This might help.”
“I don’t think I need that Michael.” Steve said when he saw the needle in the doctor’s hand.
“It can’t hurt Steve.” Michael noted.
“Yea. Well maybe you’re right. “ Steve allowed himself to be injected.
Oscar was at the office early the next day. He caught Steve’s lawyer on his way in. “Hi Kent.” Oscar greeted.
“Morning Mr. Goldman.” Kent called back.
“Are we ready for the trial?” Oscar asked.
“Look Mr. Goldman, don’t expect any miracles. There are to many things stacked against Steve on this one.”
“Such as?” Oscar demanded.
“The NSB claims they have a witness.” Kent explained.
“What?” Oscar asked
“One of their double agents is going to testify that he saw Colonel Austin working with the Soviets. He claims he even worked with him a number of years ago.”
“Does Steve know about this?”
Kent nodded. “He denies it of course.”
“Of course he’ll deny it’s not true. Look I have just as hard a time with that story as anyone else does. But the fact of the matter is he would never do anything like that.”
“You’re sure about that?” Kent questioned
“Very sure. Look I really feel Colonel Austin’s lawyer should believe in him.” Oscar indicated. “I mean what chance does he have if his own lawyer doesn’t believe him?”
“I don’t have to believe him Mr. Goldman. Hell half the people I defend are guilty. All I have to do is convince the jury they aren’t guilty.”
“I don’t know if I like that attitude very well.” Oscar snorted.
“That’s the way it is Mr. Goldman. It is my job to get him off, guilty or not. I’m just saying that the prosecution has this witness….”
“The hell with their witness1 I’m telling I’ve know Colonel Austin for many years he couldn’t and wouldn’t do this.” Oscar continued to argue.
“You haven’t known him for the past twenty years, Mr. Goldman.” Kent reminded.
“Colonel Austin that I knew would never sell out his country.” Oscar finished.
“Well let’s go then. Let’s see if we can’t get your friend off.”
They headed for Steve’s room. “You ready pal?” Oscar asked
“No. Not really. But let’s go.” Steve followed the two of them out to the parking lot.
“I’ll drive.” The lawyer stated. “You two can ride in the back, that way you can talk.”
Steve and Oscar climbed into the back seat. “He doesn’t believe you Steve.” Oscar whispered.
“I know. He told me straight out but he also said he would go to the ends of the earth to defend me.”
“Well that’s good. Cause you’re going to need it.” Oscar muttered.
They arrived at the courthouse within 10 minutes after leaving the OSI building. “Well I guess this is it.” Steve closed car door and headed into the building with Oscar and his lawyer.
“Don’t worry pal it will be fine.” Oscar put his arm around Steve’s shoulder.
“I wish I could believe that Oscar. My excuse is rather flimsy “
“I believe you Steve. I found it a little hard at first but after a conversation I had with Michael I’m behind you all the way.”
“What conversation was that?” Steve wanted to know.
“Steve you had done many things over the years before you disappeared, you eluded me on many occasions. You argued about and refused many assignments, but one thing you never did was lie to me.”
“That’s because I always tell the truth Oscar.” Steve turned toward him.
‘I know that. That’s why I believe you. As ridiculous as the entire story sounds I believe you.”
“Thanks Oscar. I’m glad I have your vote of confidence. Now if we can just convince the twelve members of the jury, we’ll be doing pretty good.”
“Let’s go convince them then.” They stepped into the courthouse.
“You two wait here. I’ll see what courtroom we’re in.” Kent left them for a moment and headed down the hall. He appeared within seconds. “We are in courtroom D Just down the hall Judge York will hear the case.”
“You don’t look very happy about that.” Steve noted.
“Judge York is not the best judge to hear this case. He’s real hard on everyone including the jury. He has no time for ‘fooling around’ as he puts it.”
“A no nonsense kind of guy huh?” Steve slumped down in the chair next to his lawyer. Oscar, Michael and Jaime sat directly behind them.
Jaime leaned forward “I’m right here Steve.” She soothed. “Don’t worry we’ll get through this.”
Steve leaned back to her. “I only wish I shared your confidence.” He sighed.
“It will be ok Steve. You’ll see.” She sat back in time to see her son join them. “Oh Chip I’m so glad you’re here.” Chip gave a slight nod.
The judge entered the courtroom and called the court to order. He turned toward his bailiff
“Well John what do we have?” The judged asked.
“Your honor this is case 19965 the State vs. Colonel Austin. The charges are treason.”
“Very well shall we proceed?”
‘Yes your honor.” The prosecutor stood “John Dillon for the prosecution. Your honor we have proof that for the past twenty years Colonel Austin has been employed by and working for the Soviets as one of their agents.”
“I see.” The judge pointed to Kent.
“Yes your honor. Kent Mason for the defense .Whoever they have as a witness is not telling the truth. For the past twenty years. Colonel Austin has been asleep.”
The courtroom erupted in laughter.
“Order! There will be order in this courtroom!!” The judge banged his gavel.
The courtroom silenced “Call your first witness Mr. Dillon.”
“Yes your honor. I Call Frank Smith.”
“Mr. Smith.” John Dillon began. “Please tell us who you work for?”
“I work for the NSB. I work as a double agent. Which means I say I work for both sides.”
“By both sides you mean the Soviets?”
“That would be correct.” Dillon nodded.
“In your work did you ever see the man sitting before you?”
Yes. On numerous occasions I worked with him for a year.”
“He was working for our side to? You were working together?”
“No The Soviets teamed me up with him.”
“I have. No further questions.
“Very well.” The judge turned to Mason. “Any questions?”
“Not at this time your honor.”
Oscar turned to Michael and Jaime “What does he mean no questions?” He shouted.
“There will be order in this courtroom!” The judge admonished.
“Yes your honor. I’m sorry.” Oscar stammered.
“Another outburst like that and I will have you removed from this courtroom. Do I make myself clear?”
“Call your next witness.” The judge turned back to Dillon.
“I have no more witnesses.” He replied.
“Very good. It looks like you’re up Mason.”
“I call Steve Austin to the stand.”
Steve took the stand.
“Have you been working for the Soviets?” Mason asked.
“No I haven’t “ Steve answered.
“No more questions your honor.”
Mason took his seat.
The judge turned to Dillon “You’re up.”
“Yes your honor.” Dillon was ready to pounce. “Tell me Colonel Austin. Where have you been for the past twenty years?”
“I’ll say it one more time. I’ve been asleep.”
“I have no further questions.” Dillon returned to his seat.
“Any more witnesses?” He asked Mason
“No your honor. The defense rests.”
“Very well.” He turned to the jury. “It’s up to you now if you find him guilty the penalty for treason is death.” The judge explained. “Bailiff show them to the jury room. “
Before anyone had a chance to leave the courtroom the jury filed back in.
“You have reached a verdict already?” The judge wondered.
“Yes your honor. We find the defendant guilty of the crime to treason.”
“An excellent choice.” The judge agreed. He turned to Steve. “You have been found guilty of the crime of treason. The penalty for which is death.”
Steve couldn’t say a word he only stared at the judge.
Oscar leaned over to Jaime “Don’t worry we’ll get a better lawyer on appeal.”
Again they listened to the judge who had not finished speaking. “I am going to save the tax payers a little money and set the date right now. That way we won’t all have to come back here in a week or so. The execution will take place tomorrow morning at 6:00 am.”
Conclusion 1 Conclusion 2