Steve had just completed an assignment. He sat in his living room in front of the T V. He had the Redskins football game on and was just getting ready to enjoy a thick juicy steak. He was just about to take the first bite when the doorbell rang.
“Dam” He grumbled. “I’ll give you five to one odds it’s Oscar If it is, he’s getting the bionic boot to the moon.”
Steve opened the door. To his shock and dismay Helen and Jim stood on the doorstep. “Mom, dad, what are you doing in DC? Come on in.”
Steve held the door for them. “Here have a seat.” He cleared away a weeks worth of mail he had thrown on the couch so he could go through it later.
“Oh Steve! we’re interrupting you dinner.” Jim interrupted when he saw the TV tray with Steve’s steak dinner on it.
“Don’t be silly. So what brings you to DC?” Steve asked again.
“We have decided to do some traveling.” Helen started. ‘We thought we might as well scope out the East Coast first. So here we are.”
“How long will you be in Washington?” Steve asked His mouth watering for his steak.
“I guess we can stay as long as we want.” Jim chimed in. “Look don’t let us stop you eat your dinner. I thought we taught you better than to let a perfectly good piece of steak go to waste.”
“Thanks!” Steve declared as he began to dig in.
“Well Steve began between bites. I just got back from an assignment. I have an appointment with Rudy tomorrow. Tell you what I’ll do. I’ll hire a tour guide for you. He can get you into places most tourists can’t.”
“That would be great son.” Jim stated. “But we don’t want you to go to any…”
“No trouble.” Steve cut him off. “I want you two to see everything the City has to offer. I’ll arrange it before my appointment with Rudy.”
“That would be nice.” Helen exclaimed. “But like Jim said if it’s to much trouble…”
“No I have pretty good connections here. You’ll get the VIP treatment.” Steve told them as he guzzled the last of the beer from his glass. “Don’t worry about a thing.”
“Well that will be great. Will we see you tomorrow?” Helens eyes pleaded.
“More than likely not till late afternoon. I don’t go into Rudy till about ten. I told him I wanted to sleep in. Anyway it usually takes about three to four hours for everything.”
“Maybe we can have dinner.” Helen suggested
“It’s a date.” Steve showed them to the door. “I’ll call you tomorrow then.” Steve said as he opened the car door for his mother.
Steve walked back into the house. He put the rest of his steak in the oven to warm then he called Oscar.
“Yes Steve.” Oscar said as he picked up his private line at work. “Is anything wrong? Rudy is right here.”
“No, nothing is wrong. Oscar my folks are in town…”
“That’s great Steve. What are they going to do a little sight seeing?”
“That’s the plan Oscar. I was hoping…”
“Say no more what hotel are they at. I’ll have a tour guide for them first thing in the morning.”
“Thanks Oscar. Tell Rudy I’ll see him around ten. I’m having dinner with them tomorrow night if you want to join us.”
‘We just might at that.” Oscar hung up and gave Rudy Steve’s message.
At Steve’s house he finished his steak while the Redskins went into overtime with the Dallas Cowboys.
The next morning Steve was in Rudy’s office at ten sharp.
“Glad you’re back Steve.” Rudy greeted. “Now let see if I need to do any repairs.
“I think you might. By the way did Oscar tell you we’re having dinner tonight?”
“Yea he did. I’d be more than happy to join if I wouldn’t impose.”
“Rudy you could never impose.” Steve informed him.
“Well that’s great.” Rudy exclaimed, and then got down to business. “Now about those repairs.” Rudy began to repair whatever damage had occurred.
“There! Steve, try that out.” Rudy exclaimed when he finished.
“Works great Rudy, thanks. Look I’m going to go ask Oscar if my folks go off all right, who knows maybe I can catch up with them. This didn’t take as long as I thought.”
“The repairs were minor this time. That sounds like a great idea I bet they will be pleasantly surprised.”
“See you tonight. We have 7:30 reservations at Drisco’s:”
“I’ll be there.” Rudy muttered as he interested himself in the file he was reading before Steve had walked in.
“Without disturbing Steve quietly slipped out of Rudy’s office and headed for Oscar’s.
“Steve!” Oscar declared. “Are you done with Rudy already?” He glanced at his watch.
“Yea the repairs were real minor this time around. In fact during the whole mission I only had to use my bionics once.”
“Really, it went that well?”
“Yea The formula I retrieved is in Rudy’s lab. Must be pretty important? There were a lot of people who didn’t want me to have it.”
Oscar removed his glasses and looked at Steve. “I thought you said it went well?”
Steve gave a slight laugh, “Well it did. I guess. But I used my head more than my bionics.”
“Oh I see.” Oscar remained behind his desk.
“Anyway Oscar did my folks get off ok?” Steve was anxious to catch up to them.
“Yea they are enjoying Washington in grand style.” Oscar started shuffling papers on his desk. “Anything else I can do for you?”
“I was hoping I could catch up with them. You wouldn’t happen to know where they are would you?”
“As a matter of fact…” Oscar handed him a sheet of paper. “This is the schedule. I’m sorry Steve I should have figured that’s what you wanted.”
“That’s ok Oscar.” Steve glanced at the paper. “According to this they are at Washington Monument.” Steve mumbled as he headed out the door.
“What did you say Steve?” Oscar glanced up and Steve was gone.
After leaving Oscar’s office Steve got in his car and headed for the Washington Monument. He caught up to his folks, as they were just getting ready to leave.
“Steve!” Helen cried. “I didn’t think we would see you till tonight.”
“I finished early. I thought I would join your tour.”
“We would love to have you.” Jim stated. “This is Tom Star. Oscar hired him to give us the full treatment.”
Steve and Tom shook hands. “I was hoping to get to meet you Col. Austin.”
Shall we continue with the tour?” Steve suggested.
“The tour guide gave him a puzzled look “Are you joining us.”
“That’s the idea.” Steve gave a snarl. “Do you have any objections?”
“No sir. I just thought… Oh never mind.”
Steve enjoyed the tour as much as his parents did. When it was finished he gave them a ride back to their hotel “I’ll send a car for you to pick you up for dinner.” Steve said as he escorted his mother back up to their room. I’m going to go clean up I’ll see you at Drisco’s.”
“That sounds wonderful. We’ll see you then.”
Steve left the hotel and headed for home. He never made it. He was thinking about the wonderful time he had had that afternoon with his parents. He only wished they would stay in Washington, then maybe on the other hand he could move back to Ojai. Oscar would have to go out of his way, but…
Steve was so preoccupied in what he was thinking he didn’t see the truck in front of him had come to a stop. Steve slammed on his breaks and swerved to avoid the collision. Steve’s car went off the road smashing into a tree.
Feeling he wasn’t hurt Steve let himself out of the car. He looked around to see if anyone had spotted the crash and might be willing to help. In the distance Steve saw a group of trees as he stared at them He saw a very familiar person standing in the distance, then he lost conciseness and fell back on to the front seat.
At Drisco’s everyone had arrived. “Steve’s not here yet?” Oscar asked as he sat across from Rudy, leaving the chair opposite Helen vacant for her tardy son.
“No I’m surprised to.” Jim stated. “Steve is usually on time.”
“Yea I know. Maybe he’s stuck in traffic, It’s pretty bad most of the time in the City. Why don’t we order drinks? I bet he’s here before they come.”
The drinks arrived and still no Steve. Rudy turned to Oscar “I’m getting worried.” Rudy whispered.
“Yea me too” Oscar whispered back. “I wonder…”
The host walked over to the table and interrupted them “Dr. Wells? You have a phone call.”
Fearing the worse Rudy took the receiver. “Yes I’ll be right there.” He replaced the receiver then thanked the host.
“What is it Rudy?” Helen was shaking. “Is it Steve?”
“I’m afraid so. There’s been an accident.” Rudy turned to Oscar “He’s at National right now.”
Oscar left money for the drinks and Rudy threw some in for a tip and the four of them left the restaurant and headed for the National Medical Center.
Oscar and Rudy pushed through the doors to the Special Bionics Section. With Helen and Jim trailing behind.
Rudy let the pair into his office, then the two of them headed to check on Steve.
Steve was just coming around when they stepped in. “Oscar go get Helen.” Rudy said. Since Steve is coming around I think his mother should be here, well since she’s here anyway.”
While Oscar went to retrieve Helen Rudy began to check Steve over. “Well no major damage.” He reported. “You have a concussion, but other than that I think you’re going to be just fine.”
Helen stepped in with Oscar. “It’s ok mom.” Steve assured, “it’s not as bad as it looks.”
“Well I hope not.” Helen exclaimed.
“Steve?” Rudy asked, “Do you remember what happened?”
Steve told Rudy in detail about not seeing the truck in time and swerving to avoid it, “It was the weirdest thing.” Steve started.
“What’s that Steve?” Rudy wondered.
“Well it was right after the crash. I thought I was fine so I got out of the car. I was hoping to find someone to help.”
“Go on.” Rudy encouraged. He wanted Steve to remember as many details as he could.
“It was the strangest thing. I saw this person in the distance just staring…”
Rudy shook his head. “Some people, they see an accident and all they can do is stare.”
“Well this somebody could’ve been my twin brother.”
At these words Helen’s hand flew to her mouth, she let out a loud gasp. “Oh my g-d!” She cried. “Scottie?”
“Scott?” Oscar turned toward her. “Who’s Scott?”
“Steve’s identical twin brother…”
Oscar, Rudy and Steve stared at her in disbelief. “Twin brother?” Oscar finally broke the silence as he shook his head.
“He died before I took them home from the hospital. Anyway that’s what they told me.” Helen began to cry. “Now I wonder…”
“Wonder what?” Oscar turned to her.
“If that was actually the case. I mean if Steve saw…”
“Helen.” Rudy began. “Steve had a concussion. I’m sure he didn’t see what he thought he saw.”
Helen shook her head. “No Rudy you’re wrong. Ever since the day they told me he had died…I never believed it, but what was I supposed to do? I was a single mother, back in a time when people frowned on it.”
“But your husband had been killed in the war.” Oscar reminded.
“Yes I know, but it didn’t matter. It was believed that children should be raised by a mother and a father…”
“I just can’t believe they would take one…what about the funeral I mean…I’m sorry Helen. I don’t mean to sound… well insensitive.” “Oscar could still barely speak.
“They suggested it be a closed casket.” Helen began to cry at the memory.
Steve lay back on his pillow hardly believing what he was hearing. “Mom? Why didn’t you ever tell me this before?”
“I don’t know. I guess by the time you were old enough to understand it was past history.”
“I don’t mean to interrupt.” Oscar broke in, “But you said the casket was closed?”
“Yes it was.” Helen choked back the tears.
Oscar thought for a moment. Then spoke again. “Did you ever see the…well the…Oh I’m sorry, Helen. There just is no delicate way to phrase it? You never saw the body?”
“They said it wasn’t a good idea.” Helen sobbed.
“I see. If you will all excuse me.” Oscar started out of the room.
“I’ll be right back.” Rudy followed Oscar out into the hall “You don’t believe that do you?”
“As a matter of fact I do. I just don’t know how I’m going to approach Helen to get permission to have the body exhumed “
“You can’t be serious?” Rudy grabbed his arm.
Back in Steve’s room Steve stared blankly out the window.
Helen stepped over to him. “Oh honey. I’m so sorry I never told you. When you were a little boy, I was afraid you would feel sad about your brother, then when you grew up it seemed like it really didn’t matter.”
Steve continued to stare out the window. As he did once again he saw himself standing on a rooftop across the street.
“There he is again mom.” Steve cried out.
“Where honey?” Helen turned in the direction he was looking.
“Never mind, he’s not there now. Look I’m tired if you don’t mind.”
“Not at all. I’ll be right over here if you need me.” Helen sat in a chair on the other side of the room.
“I’m very serious Rudy.” Oscar continued. “Helen was right. A lot went on in the 40s concerning single women and children. If they could provide for them that was one thing, but if they asked for help many people lost their children. Not just babies, but older kids as well…”
“I remember reading about that.” Rudy stated. “You think that happened to Helen?”
“I’m sure it did. Look I had an assignment ready for Steve. I was holding off till his parents left because it’s really not priority, well I didn’t think it was until now. There are two scientists who snuck into the country.”
“Really?” Rudy questioned.
“Yea, and they are experimenting with bionics. Rudy if they somehow have Steve’s brother Scott…”
“Oscar that is highly unlikely.” Rudy emphasized
“That’s why I want the casket brought up, Rudy if what I suspect is true, there will be either no body, or that of some poor infant that didn’t make it. You could determine if the baby is Steve’s identical twin.”
“What if they weren’t identical? What if they were fraternal?”
“You could still determine if they were at least brothers.” Oscar hammered the point.
“Good, then I’ll get a court order, I really don’t want to upset Helen. She’s upset enough.” Oscar left to make the arrangements.
Rudy went back into Steve’s room. Helen was standing over him. “So how is he Dr. Elgin?” Rudy laughed.
“I think he’s going to be just fine Rudy.” Helen smiled. “He fell asleep just before you came in. But he insists he saw that man again. The one he says looks like him”
“Just outside over on the rooftop. Oh Rudy if it is Scott?”
“Helen the chances of that are a million to one.” Rudy told her.
“Well anyway I think he’ll sleep for a while anyway.”
“Good. I need to speak to you about something. Why don’t we go down to my office?”
“It sounds serious Rudy.” Helen stated after Rudy settled her on the couch in his office.
“I’m not sure how to go about this. Like Oscar said, there is really no delicate way to put it. Oscar wants Scott’s body exhumed.”
Helen stared at him for a moment. “Yes I do suppose it is for the best. Do I need to?”
“You don’t need to do a thing. Oscar is getting a court order right now.”
“I guess we sit back and wait then, imagine after all these year, my babies together again.”
Rudy didn’t have the heart to tell her that that if what Oscar suspected was true,her other baby more than likely was an enemy agent working for the other side and was probably out to kill the only child she had left.
“Yes Mr. Goldman. We’ll get right on it.” The man on the other end of the phone told him.
“I want hourly reports.” Oscar ordered.
Oscar hung up and headed for Rudy’s office. “Rudy. I’m going out to Ojai. I want to take personal charge of this.”
“Ok Oscar, I told Helen what was going on. She is very anxious to here.”
“I’ll let you know as soon as I know anything.” Oscar left for Andrews where a jet was warming up for him.
Rudy and Helen were both standing over Steve when he woke up. ‘Hey you two. What’s going on?”
Rudy thought long and hard before he decided it was ok to share the information with Steve. “Oscar is in Ojai. He is overseeing, well they are exhuming the casket that is to have the remains of your brother.”
“Easy Rudy, my mother is right …”
“I already know honey. After all these years my questions will soon be answered.”
“What questions? Mom I wish you had shared this with me a long time ago. Maybe we could have already done this.”
“I suppose you are right dear, I just didn’t know how to tell you.”
“Yea I guess that isn’t a topic for the dinner table.” Steve turned to Rudy. “So when do we find out?
“Oscar said he would give us, or try to give us hourly reports.”
“Well you be sure and keep me posted.” Steve closed his eyes and drifted back to sleep.
“Rudy?” Fear rose in Helen’s voice.
“He’s just sleeping. Why don’t we go to my office again and see if Oscar has called.
The phone was ringing as they entered. “Rudy it’s Oscar they finally broke through. We should know in less than an hour whether or not there is well if there is a body in that casket.”
“We’ll be standing by Oscar.” Rudy hung up the phone and turned to Helen. “They should know in about another hour.”
“That long? Well I suppose I’ve waited thirty years and better, another hour won’t hurt.”
“That’s the spirit.” Rudy smiled. “I’m going to check on Steve. Why don’t you just relax there’s a deli around the corner that delivers if you are interested.”
“Thank you. I am a bit hungry.”
“I’ll inform the gate some one will bring it up to you.”
“Thank you for being so helpful.” Helen gave him a hug.
“Think nothing of it. I’m like Steve though this information would have been nice to have had a long time ago.”
“I know now that it is out in the open I am relieved.” Helen exhaled deeply. “I have kept it inside for so long.”
“Well now that it’s out in the open, maybe something will come from it.” He was just getting ready to leave the room when the phone rang once again. “Oscar, any news?”
“Not yet Rudy. They are very close though.” Oscar spoke from the excavation sight.
Rudy turned to Helen. “Would you go see if Steve is awake?” Rudy asked. “If he is, tell him I’m on the phone with Oscar and I’ll be there shortly.”
“I will.” Helen left the room and started for her son’s.
“Ok Oscar I just had to send Helen out, what is it?”
“Yea? What is it Rudy?”
“I just thought of something. Obviously whoever is doing this either knows he is Steve’s twin, or that he looks enough like him to pull this off. I’m ordering round the clock guards for Steve. I don’t want them to get Steve before we get them.”
“I agree. I’ll make the arrangements.”
“Thanks. He still claims what he saw is real. I’m beginning to believe it myself. I would have said something were very wrong with Steve if Helen hadn’t mentioned Scott to us.”
“Yea I know. Hang on a minute Rudy.”
Rudy could hear confusion in the background. It was Oscar’s voice, though not directed at Rudy “What? Well that’s what I thought.”
“Oscar! “ Rudy called into the phone. “What’s going on?”
“Rudy.” Oscar stated as he got back on the phone. “The casket is empty”
“Ok Oscar so what you are trying to tell me is that Steve’s own twin brother is involved in this?”
“I’m on my way back now. If you can hold Steve off till I get there I would appreciate it.”
“I’ll try, but you know Steve. He wants answers and he wants them now!!”
“Yea I know. I’ll be there first thing in the morning.’
“Ok I’ll try to hold them both off till then.” Rudy hung up the phone and went back down to Steve’s room. “Helen I think you should go back to the hotel and get some rest.”
“What did Oscar say?” Helen was anxious
“He said they wouldn’t know until morning. He’s going to be here as soon a possible.”
“Well then I guess I’ll wait till morning. If there are any changes…” she pointed to Steve.
“I’ll let you know.” Rudy assured. “I’m sure he’ll be just fine.” Rudy led her down the hall “Oh wait here. You’ll need this to get back in here in the morning.” He turned to the guard. “Will you be on duty in the morning?”
“No sir unless…”
“I would appreciate it if you were. I don’t want her to have any trouble in the morning.”
“I’ll be here sir.” The guard promised.
Rudy watched Helen walk down the hall; he then headed back to Steve’s room “I heard most of that. What did Oscar say?”
Rudy shook his head.
“Spill it Rudy!!”
“Ok, ok. The casket was empty Steve.”
“So that means that I do have a twin brother out there.” Steve looked toward the window.
Rudy nodded. “Yea Steve, it looks that way. Unfortunately he’s working for the other side. Now weather or not he’s one of the scientists I don’t know. Chances are he works for them over here.”
“There is another possibility.” Steve continued looking out the window.
“They took him by mistake.” Steve presumed.
“I doubt that is very likely.” Rudy explained. “Steve it’s just not possible.”
“That’s what you said about the possibility of my brother still being alive.” Steve reminded. “Well I think it is very possible. When do I get out of here?”
“Not till day after tomorrow at least.” Rudy shook his head. “Look, why don’t you get some rest, ok?”
“How can I rest Rudy knowing my brother is out there somewhere and in danger?”
“I hate to tell you this but you’re the one in danger Steve.” Rudy told him.
“I don’t believe it. I want you to let me out of here now. I won’t sleep anyway.”
“Well this will help.” Rudy injected him with a mild sedative. “Now just let that take an effect I’ll be here first thing in the morning.”
“Yea well I uh….” Steve drifted to sleep.
Oscar was standing outside the Bionic’s Section when Rudy left. “How’s Steve?” He asked.
“Sleeping I gave him a sedative. He’s worried that whoever is in on this grabbed Scott by mistake.”
“No Rudy. No mistake. He’s working for them.”
“You have proof? Maybe Steve is right.”
“No I don’t have the proof yet, that’s why I didn’t want to say anything till morning. I’ve got everyone I can think of on this case.”
“Well you know Steve. He wants it on it too.” Rudy informed him.
“Well I’m afraid that won’t be possible.” Oscar spoke softly. “I don’t want Steve involved in this at all. If I had my way, Steve would stay right here. Rudy, could you come up with…”
“Oscar, no way!” Rudy protested. “You want Steve under wraps, then you tell him yourself, and tell him the truth.”
“Yea I guess you’re right. He’d just figure it out anyway.” Oscar presumed. “Well listen Rudy I’ll see you in the morning.”