"Pledge allegiance to the Flag, whatever Flag they offer.
Never let them know how you really feel.
Teach the children quietly, for some day sons and daughters
Will rise up and fight while we stood still.
Can you hear me?
Can you hear me running?
Can you hear me running?
Can you hear calling you?"
-Silent Running', Mike And The Mechanics (written by Michael Rutherford and B. A. Robertson).
It is Seattle, Washington 2020, Year Eleven After The Pulse and it's raining again. It suits Original Cindy's blue mood in more ways for comfort. She's concerned about Max. It's been about six or seven months after her disappearance with her fellow X-5s, her boyfriend Logan Cale...and her mortal enemy Colonel Donald Michael Lydecker. To Cindy, it might as well be a million years. She still keeps her best friend's stuff at the apartment, hoping against hope that she'll return, cracking wise and making merry as usual. The Ninja alone would fetch quite a price on the Legit Market alone, but to sell it would mean admitting Max is dead...or turned into one of those figures in black she feared the most--which would be worse than death.
No, Cindy must hold on to her sanity and pray Max will return, the same as ever. For now, Cindy must contend with the day-to-day nuisances of life...like Normal and his nagging. Sometimes she eggs him on just to keep her fears subsided for awhile. It helps, but it's only a temporary cure. With a hot run to Sector Four at Cashmere and Swanson in her hands, Cindy goes to get her poncho. One of the newer hires tries to pinch Max's locker for his own. Cindy stops him cold, directing him to the row of lockers on the other side and handing him the Sector Four run for his troubles. Let the creep get double pneumonia in the rain. Cindy is still in mourning for Max. She looks at her best friend's nameplate and keeps herself from weeping in public. Of all the women she has known in her life, there were only two who broke her heart: her first lover Diamond and Max.
Cindy's thoughts are turned to the Eyes Only cable hack blasting thru the big screen. Of all of the workers on Jam Pony, only she knows of the connection to Eyes Only, Max, and her boyfriend. Cindy listens to the broadcast as Eyes Only tells the world about Project Manticore, the genetics experiment which funneled billions of dollars since the earlier 90s to create the perfect soldier for such useless wars as the Balkan Wars and the War Against Terrorism which laid the foundation for the military/corporate dictatorship that rules what's left of America now. He tells them of the breakout in '09 of 13 children who refused to be warriors anymore and tried to live as humans. All were hunted down. Some were tortured. Other gave their lives to stay free. Since the latest round of cable hacks, Manticore had moved its location from Gillette, Wyoming to an undisclosed location. Eyes Only vows to find it and the people responsible for these crimes against humanity will be brought to justice. The hack ends in sixty seconds. Some of the viewers clearly disbelieve Eyes Only's story. Others like Sketchy thinks it's cool, mutants among us. Cindy can only tell him to shut up. If he knew he worked with one of those "mutants," would he be as smug?
Logan Cale slumps on his wheelchair, giving his exoskeleton legs a rest. He has more matters to deal with that require his contacts, his hacking, and his relentless hunt for the killers of his lover Max. He calls up an image from a surveillance cam on his computer and freezes it on her face. He admires the beauty and strength and once more hopes God will allow her into His kingdom despite being of man's foolish experiments in genetic manipulation. The most he can done for her on this earth is to find the bastards who killed her and make sure they will never do the same thing ever again...no matter the cost.
Max, unknown to the gang, is very much alive...though she wishes she had died in that forest. Anything would be better than being forced back into Manticore's elite forces: the shining gates of Heaven, the fiery pits of Hell, or even the absolute darkness of nothing. She vents her frustration in the exercise with her fellow X-5s. The hand-to-hand combat is fierce and intense. Max is knocked to the ground, with the X-5 fighting her gloating about having a lousy heart for combat. That sets her off in a blizzard of high kicks and punches that almost puts the punk into the infirmary. Zack's heart was not lousy. It was always strong. A trooper shows up with some news for Max: the Director wants to talk to her now. Fine with her. She could use a good laugh.
In the main offices of Manticore, Doctor Elizabeth Renfro Director of Operations asks for Max's designation. Like a parrot, Max barks out 452, the number she was given at birth. Renfro knows Max still harbors hope in escaping her cage. During the re-orientation' sessions, she had the defiant girl squeezed into a very small cell with no food and water for a week, pushing the X-5 endurance limit for four to six days, just to get her to respond to her old "name." All the time, Max told her to kiss her transgenic ass. Renfro almost admires this strength. If only it could be shaped into her needs... She decides to show Max something that would interest her. She shows what remains of Zack, still alive after his suicide. He is hooked up to life support equipment, more machine than man. Renfro delights in telling Max how his liver and kidneys went to another X-5 who was wounded in a previous mission and how the heart is keeping her alive. Since the two had so much history together, the Director decided to be magnanimous by allowing them to say goodbye. Zack is going to another facility. Some interesting plans are being tailored made for him. Max can barely hold back the anger and the urge to leap on the evil woman to break her neck. Renfro continues her verbal assault by telling how he got there in the first place. Max is poison to those she loves. Renfro even shows pictures of her dead brothers and sisters to prove the point: Zack, Tinga, and even Ben. The last photo is a shot of an Eyes Only cable hack. Renfro knows of Max's hopes for a rescue from her beloved and of their relationship. It will not happen. Eyes Only believes her dead and has decided on wage a campaign against Manticore thru his broadcasts. Renfro coldly tells her recruit that Manticore will find him and kill him, leaving Max alone in the world...and belonging to the Director! Max tells her to piss off. Why does the bitch assume she needs the help of someone from outside when she can help herself out?
In fact, after she's left alone in her cell after lights out, she continues on her escape plan. She flips her bunk over, pulls out a digging tool, and continues the slow work on the wall. She knows there are ventilation shafts throughout the complex and the wall is close to one of them All she has to do is knock off a few cinder blocks, follow the shaft to the outside, evade the guards and the X-7s, and she's free again. All the time she's loosening the first block, she keeps repeating her name. The Manticore programming is slowly creeping back. She hasn't much time.
The next day, Logan is at the local Veteran Affairs office in the chair, posing as a wounded vet from the Serbia Conflict in '07. Seems his records have been misplaced and he wants his VA Ration Card. The clerk is not convinced. He reminds him of how the Pulse wiped out all electronic records and plunged much of the country into economic turmoil...which is why all vets need ration cards to eat. Logan wants the creep to check again. The clerk then suggests he could find the records...for a small monetary favor. Suddenly, there's a gunshot. It's terrorists again! A woman cries out that they are members of S1W, here to straighten things out. In the past, terrorists didn't get nothing but jeers and the business end of a Tomahawk missile. Now...the vets look to them as heroes, out to clean out the corrupt fat cats who are sitting on what is theirs. They cheer as the S1W members raid the office and hand out ration cards by the dozens. At last, some justice and food. Logan steps out from his chair and looks down on the toady who had asked for a bribe. If he cooperates, he just might be allowed to leave...unless the vets want to take out their frustrations on him. The girl walks to Logan's side. She is Asha Copeland, wanted by the Sector Police for acts of urban terrorism and treason. Logan knows how to pick his friends.
At the apartment, Logan pours over the files and tries to find a connection to Manticore. Asha admires the man's gall. Posing as a vet to get into the VA office and all. Logan appreciates her help in the matter. Asha doesn't mind. They all got what they wanted. Logan got the files he wanted. She got to kick some ass. The corrupt city government will be thinking twice about shaking down the innocent citizens next time around. But why does he want VA files? Logan reckons Manticore is running their budget through the VA's books. If he can find the money trail, he can find Manticore's new headquarters. Asha then asks why his sudden interest in this particular assignment. After all, they've been doing this kind of thing of Eyes Only for some time. Why give personal attention to this one? Logan says this is no an ordinary assignment. Eyes Only is taking this on as a personal favor. Asha reminds him that Manticore is part of the Fed and they play rough. He doesn't give a rat's ass. She then asks if he knew some of the kids. Logan nods his head. He tells her about Max and his belief that she's not really dead. Course, he wishes he could tell his heart that.
Back at Manticore, it's inspection time at the yard. The drill sergeant takes personal pleasure in chewing out the X series troopers. He sees a pair of boots not shined to perfection and berates the child for shining them with bags of mud!' Not having tolerance for those having no respect for themselves or the unit, he sends the kid to isolation. Max cringes over this abuse. In fact, she's been hating every minute of her return to Manticore since her surgery. Day after day, it's nothing but training and fighting and more training and weapon practice and more training and rolling in the mud and even more training! She keeps sane by remembering her old life before, running errands for Jam Pony, doing burglary, and fighting the good fight with Logan.
At her bunk, she's nearly finished removing the first block. A few inches and...suddenly she hears the guards. She quickly puts away her handiwork and puts her bunk back. Seems she has a visitor...one with a familiar face. Max recognizes him as Ben, the brother she had to put down because he went mad. It's actually his twin, or rather clone. His designation is 494. Ben's was 493. Because of his traitorous "brother," he had to spend six months in psy-ops to make sure the madness wasn't genetic. 494 muses that 10 years living in the outside got to the poor bastard. Max barks back that it was Manticore who screwed him up.
494 doesn't care about ancient history. He takes off his shirt and tells her he is her new breeding partner. Since the DNA database was destroyed, Manticore can no longer whip out new embryos to put into willing' surrogates. It's now back to the old fashioned way of getting the sexually mature soldiers together and having them make babies. Max is not playing that sick game. She shoves her would-be partner. That's the only physical contact they're going to share. 494 is not surprised by this resistance. He's not too thrilled by this assignment either. He doesn't like dealing in damaged goods, what with Max spending half her life in filth and degradation. He could catch something. Max tells him to go screw himself and throws his shirt back to him.
494 then tries making small talk, telling her about how he learned Common Verbal Usage' when he was cleared for solo missions. Max is unimpressed. She knows the euphemism for assassinations. 494 just shrugs it off. The guard then shows up. Max tells him that the boy's been telling her love poetry to get her in the mood. Actually, the guard has business with 494. The two make a trade, some Manticore vitamins for cash. 494 then gives him a couple of cigars, telling him it's for Vic. He can pay him back later. The guard nods his head and walks away. Seems 494 is running his own private enterprise right under Renfro's nose. Nothing like making some bread on the side while waiting for another mission. 494 then lies down on Max's bunk. He has an hour to kill before he's due back at the barracks. Can Max wake him up at 0100? As the rogue grabs a quick snooze, Max can only watch and hate the boy's guts. What an asshole!
Max is not the only one dealing with smug bastards willing to do them for some favors. Lydecker gets a call from his old friend' Colonel John McGinnis. He wants to make a deal for Deck. The Committee needs to meet with Eyes Only and Lydecker's the only man who can arrange it. Do this favor and he can come back from the cold. Lydecker's no fool. He knows what this means...but under the circumstances where he's being hunted by his own troops, he's willing to sell out one more person. McGinnis doesn't bother to tell him Renfro's listening. He's sure good ol' Deck knows already, the chump!
Renfro then inspects her troops' and asks about the mission objective'. Some report successful copulation, others have less pleasing news. Those who fail the minimum mission objectives' are sent to isolation. When she reaches Max and 494, she gets a very pleasant surprise. The two did it...twice! Renfro is shocked. What would Max's boyfriend think? She then asks Max if she had received any special medical treatment while she was on the outside. Max tells her no. Renfro already knows about the Tryp pills and the Implant. Why would she be asking about whether Max got any medical treatment? Renfro then leads her to the infirmary and shows her an X-7 in late stage progeria, one of the genetic side effects of Manticore. Max recognizes her as the one who shot her during the assault on the main complex. Even she didn't deserve this. Renfro tells Max that the X-7 is an exact genetic match to her, except for the advanced X-7 make-up. If Max had any medical treatment done, perhaps that would explain why she's not experiencing the same problems as the X-7. Since she can't get the info through Max, Renfro decides to obtain some spinals from both girls to compare DNA. Perhaps Max is living a charmed life since she could still get the wasting disease. Max can't help but be revolted by the dying twin'...or Renfro's smile.
Max finally loosens the blocks and decides to make a recon through the building to find a window. The pain of the spinal still rings through her body. After disguising the bunk to make it look like she's asleep, Max crawls down to the basement boiler room. It's nothing but pipes and steam and dripping water. Nice place to visit, but she won't be living there. Someone or something else has already made a home there. Max hears the growls and the barks and comes face to face with a Nomlie, the worst fear of the X-5s.
This particular genetic reject has the face of a dog, though he looks more like that lion-faced guy from the old TV show Max watched as a kid when the stations were brought back online after the Pulse. Fearing that he is a watchdog' for Manticore, Max asks the little fella to relax. Surprisingly, the fella tells her the same thing. Max is surprised. He can talk! She apologizes for her rudeness. She notices that he has dog in his cocktail. The fella replies that she has cat in her cocktail. Max asks not to hold it against her and then starts admiring his teeth. She wants to take a good look at them. Slowly, the watchdog allows her close to him and they become friendly to one another. The watchdog's name is Joshua and, unlike Max who named herself, Joshua had a father who named him.
Max asks if it was Lydecker. Joshua lets loose a growl. No, it was Father...Father Sandman. Max hears a guard coming close above and starts to panic. Joshua tells her not to worry. They don't know he's down in the basement. Father made him and left him there to fend for himself. Max finds it pretty wacked. Joshua then starts rambling about how Sandman made them all: Joshua first for he was special, then more like him, and then more like Max. Father got lost in all the up there people and now Joshua's in the basement waiting for his return. Max is moved by the tale, and then asks if there was a room with a view half-jokingly. Joshua shows her around, eager to help her out any way he can. Max then sees a horrible sight. She sees other Nomlies, some like Joshua, being kept in cages and chains. Some are like Joshua, almost intelligent and gentle. Others are more aggressive. Most of them are hungry.
Joshua tells her that sometimes the up there people feed them. Sometimes, he does it by himself. They reach a room and Joshua helps Max lift a heavy box to reveal the view: a window with bars on it. It's not much of an exit since there are X-7s in the forest. Max asks how many. Joshua says only one. Max sees him with her enhanced sight, figuring she can take him...that is until more of his brothers show up. Joshua tells her there are lots of one'...and then she gets his meaning. Each boy looks exactly alike. Clones, by the look of it. They're just standing around talking at the ultra sonic range where only Joshua can hear them. There is some bat in their cocktail. The guards soon depart. Max realizes dawn will be coming soon and tells Joshua she has to blaze. She'll be back tomorrow to start on the bars and share some company with the lonely creature. They shake hands and depart. Joshua tells her to go blaze. He appreciates the kindness and gentle manner. It's been so long since he had that kind of affection.
Logan makes ready for his meeting with Lydecker. He's finally got some info on Manticore's new location and he insists on a private meeting. As he is about to leave, Asha comes in with a box. She needs to go to Sector Three and she doesn't want the Police to find the box in her possession. It's just a few...guns. Logan lets her leave them at the apartment. She can let herself out. Asha assures him they'll be gone by the morning. Logan has no problem with that. To the Sector Police, he's just some rich kid who lost his trust fund and still living it up. Why would they bother him?
Logan meets up with Lydecker at a hidden garage. It seems Lydecker has bought along a few friends...in the form of McGinnis and two Manticore troopers. It's a set-up! McGinnis muses over meeting the great and powerful Oz' and decides to take a good look at him before closing his curtain permanently. His one good eye didn't notice Lydecker's elbow until it was squarely in his face. Telling Logan to duck, Lydecker struggles with McGinnis' gun. He shoots wildly, taking out the troopers and wounding Logan before he's disarmed. Lydecker then pulls out his own gun and points at the back of the creep's head. He asks what Renfro wants with his kids. Why is that bitch killing his kids? McGinnis evades the questions until Lydecker threatens to take out the other eye.
Seems the tank used to kill Tinga was an extraction chamber. Renfro wanted something from the girl's DNA, bad enough to kill her and anyone else in the way. So far, Renfro hasn't found what she's looking for. Lydecker releases him. McGinnis sees the cuts and asks to be taken to a hospital. He's gonna need some stitches at least. Lydecker isn't buying that. McGinnis knows his friend's face and his night job'. He can't have him running around and tattletelling. McGinnis tries to feign ignorance: how his depth perception's all shot and how all them white boys look the same to him and how Lydecker's such an old friend. All this time, he's eyeing the gun on the floor. Lydecker asks for Logan's opinion...and then just shoots McGinnis dead before the creep had time to grab the piece. Deck never did like that jerk. Logan is visibly shocked. If this is how he treats his friends'... Lydecker then tells Logan all about Manticore's new digs. Nothing like playing the playas in the middle.
Max continues to saw at the bars while Joshua keeps watch for trouble. It's long hard work, but she's making good time. Another day or two should do the trick. Joshua then asks a favor of Max. When she makes her escape...he wants to go along too. Max is unsure about that. She knows how people would freak the minute they see Joshua in all his glory. She tells him people get scared about different things. He could be exchanging one basement for another. Joshua understands and accepts her answer with some sadness. Max wishes she could take him and as many Manticore troopers willing to leave...but she has to get to Logan first to do that. Max returns to her cell and finds 494 sitting on her bunk. Did she forget they had a date for tonight? Max starts to panic, until 494 tells her he didn't send out any alarms...at least not yet. He doesn't want any trouble and he doesn't care what Max is doing.
He does wonder why she wants out so bad. Nothing beats a roof over your head and three squares a day plus medical and all the free sex you can have. Better than most people are getting in the world right now. Max doesn't want such hospitality that involves selling her soul. She, 494, and the rest of the troops are being used. The cocky bastard doesn't think so. He'll be going back to his cell in five minutes, so she'll be rid of him for the night. Sharing this little secret inspires Max to give 494 a name. 494 already told her his designation, but it just doesn't suit him. She decides to call him Alec...as in smart aleck. Alec' ponders his new name and decides to take it. Fine with Max. Her second choice would have been Dick. Alec feels a bit wounded, but recovers quickly. Alec leaves her cell and bid her goodbye. He even uses her name, not designation. Suddenly, Max feels a bit warmer to the rogue.
Renfro receives some bad news from her bloodhound unit. Seems they've found McGinnis and his goons dead. Lydecker double-crossed her again! If Eyes Only broadcasts the location of the base, the Committee will bury them. The unit then finds a blood trail not matching with the bodies. Renfro lights up a little. Some luck, at last. She asks for a full DNA assay from a sample and then the unit is to return. It's about time she took charge of the situation. She summons Max to her office and lowers the boom. If Eyes Only is stopped in time, the media will be crawling over the base. The Committee will not permit such a violation for it would endanger their other plans. In short, Scorched Earth! The place would be taken to the torch and everyone inside not linked to Renfro's personnel would be killed...including Max. After all, on paper it's just a VA hospital. To the public, it would just another tragic fire with no survivors to tell the truth. It's plausible deniability. Max thinks it's more a bluff. Renfro's face says otherwise. To her, Max and the others are merely meat. She holds a disc in her hand. All she cares about is what is imprinted on the disc. She could restart the program fresh anywhere and anytime she chooses. All she has to do put the disc in her briefcase, lock the doors, light a match...and Max can kiss her transgenic ass goodbye. If Renfro is forced to find Eyes Only herself, he's a dead man. If Max plays nice, a deal could be cut. Hell, she could even have him as a breeding partner if possible. Renfro asks her to think it over. An assistant shows up with the DNA results from the blood sample. Renfro smiles viciously. Time's up! Max is then strapped to a table. Renfro coos that'll she'll help her whether she wants to or not. She then turns on the Interrogator Laser on Max's eye and it's off to Torture Land.
Max then wakes up with a start. She's back in her cell. Alec then shows up with additional bad news. Seems an X-5 has been sent to take out a reporter friend of hers. Max decides it's time to leave now! She's not sure if she kept mum about Logan's identity and she can't take that chance. Alec tells her that she's in no shape to tangle with the X-7s. If she's lucky, she could reach the yard where they'll take her alive. Max then convinces him to help out. It's the best way to get her out of his life. Alec reckons he'll get a new breeding partner who is more willing to get it on and decides to follow her. At the basement, Alec stares at Joshua and makes cruel jokes about him. Max doesn't care for his taunts. She wishes he would pay more attention to the bars. Joshua tells them about the X-7s in the forest and that it's pretty wack. Alec is not amused. He tells Sasquatch' if he could help with the bars. Joshua decides to do it...by pulling them right off the hinges. Both X-5s are stunned. Max then tells them about the plan...
Joshua runs through the forest, with Alec and a few X-7s in hot pursuit. Enough of them are pulled away from the search for Max to head to the perimeter. The X-7s subdue Joshua, but Alec makes sport of helping' them by knocking them down and keeping them from arresting Joshua. He races into the woods and Alec is left with several guns pointing at his head. Alec just smiles. He was only trying to help. The X-7s don't even blink. After knocking down one X-7, she finally reaches the fence. She leaps over it and the X-7 on guard duty tries to shoot her down. Joshua pounces on him and brutally knocks him to the ground. Max pauses to see what happened and Joshua tells her to blaze. She doesn't need to be told twice.
Logan begins his broadcast, the final one dealing with Manticore. Unfortunately, the transmission is interrupted by the loss of the satellite link. Time to wait for a reboot. Logan then notices a very thrilling sight...Max alive and well...and very worried. He gets up and embraces her. She tells him they have to flee. Manticore is coming for him. He kisses her gently and tells her he has to finish the broadcast. Max argues that it's not important right now. Then, Logan feels a little faint and falls to the floor. Max starts to freak out. Logan is suddenly sick! Alec arrives with a smile on his face. He congratulates Max on accomplishing the mission. She was the X-5 sent to kill Eyes Only. She was infected with a genetically targeted retrovirus. She's a carrier and Logan's the only one who can be affected by it. Any intimate contact with each other, and he will eventually die. Max gets seriously pissed off. Alec tells her he was only following orders. It's no concern of his. Course, if she wants Logan to live another day, she'll have to surrender herself and him to Renfro for the antigen. Logan will be questioned about what he knows and who is he working for and then released. Max has no choice in the matter. Max strongly disagrees.
The results from the spinals are given to Renfro and she is overjoyed. She likes the results very much, especially since only she and a lowly tech knows about them. The tech giving her the info has never seen anything like it. He wants to do another work-up just to be sure once Max returns. Renfro tells him it won't be necessary...and shoot him dead. She then calls up her true superiors on her cell. Speaking in French, she tells them she's found what they're looking for. No one in Manticore knows the results and never will. She'll bring the prize to them soon. Suddenly, the place seems colder.
Alec makes the happy' couple ready for travel, pointing his gun at their way. Logan needs his chair because he's too weak. Just as things are going Alec's way, fate throws in a curve. Contact with the satellite has been reestablished. All that's needs is someone to hit the send command. That'll all the distraction Max needs. She and Alec struggle, crashing through the place like two bulldogs fighting. Both are equally matched in martial arts, but Max has the advantage of anger and rage. She kicks the fallen gun to Logan and he points it at Alec. He stops fighting, asking when Logan's dead...can he go home? Max decides to end this running once and for all. She hits the send code and the Eyes Only transmission plays out in full.
Chaos reigns at Manticore's C & C. Their facility has been discovered at the outskirts of Seattle. The Committee gives Renfro the order. Time to cauterize the area. No survivors are to be permitted.
Alec is tied up. Logan keeps an eye on him while Max is off to Manticore to fulfill a promise to a friend. His grip on the gun is unsteady and eventually he falls into unconsciousness. Alec frees himself and picks up the gun. He's about ready to finish off Logan...when another gun is pointed at Alec's head. It's Asha, back from her trip. Alec drops his piece...and then disarms Asha in two bold moves. He tells her he only wanted to put Logan out of his misery. He compliments her on her tastes in firearms and then leaves the apartment, leaving the woman to keep Logan as comfortable as possible.
Max races back to Manticore, just in time to see the first series of explosions. They're not wasting any time. Max decides to chance it and get as many of her people out as possible as well as hunt for the antigen. She reaches the gate controls and frees the transgenic soldiers. Renfro orders an override, but it's no use. The control conduits have been burnt out. The Scorched Earth Policy has worked too well. Many of the X series troops run to the woods, from the X-5s to the X-7s. There is no discipline anymore. Just plain old panic. Renfro orders her troops into the yard. No transgenics are to leave the perimeter. The only exception is Max. She is to be taken alive!
Joshua helps out the Nomlies in their own escape. He tells them to go. They're free! The strong ones help the weak run to the woods.
Alec arrives to see the chaos and the fire. He realizes that Max was right all the time. He was on the wrong side. He rushes off to help those at the perimeter.
Troopers show up to subdue Max, but she's long gone. Meanwhile, Joshua savors his first breath of fresh free air and enjoys the feel of grass under his feet. Renfro quickly packs up her stuff for the evacuation. A soldier arrives to escort her. Renfro's not leaving without Max. Max knocks the escort and subdues Renfro. Seems she was looking for her too. They're off to the infirmary. Once there, she shoves Renfro around, asking for the antigen. She's not listening to her designation anymore. She's Max, now and forever! Renfro relents and gives her the antigen. A trooper shows up and tries to shoot Max down. Renfro shoves her out of the way and takes the bullet herself. Max kicks a table to disarm the guard. He realizes his fatal error. Max tells him she won't tell if he won't. The guard decides to take her up on the offer and runs. The wound Renfro received is fatal. She has only moments to live. Max asks how to get the virus out of her system. Renfro tells her it's impossible. Max then asks why she ate a bullet meant for her. Renfro answers that Max is special, the one they're looking for all this time. Her last words are a request to Max: Find Sandeman. Max remembered what Joshua said about Father Sandman'. Suddenly, it makes sense. Renfro dies, taking whatever other secret she had with her to Hell. Max can share no pity for the wretched woman. She escapes from the burning facility. By now, those transgenics that could escape are well into the woods. Max is happy...for a moment. She then races off to Logan's.
Asha gives Logan an injection of antigen and both she and Max wait for it to work. Time passes slowly...and Logan slowly regains his strength. Max stands a few feet away from him, not wanting to re-infect him because there is no more antigen to spare. Logan vows to find a way to beat the virus, using whatever resources he has left. Max tells him he should recover first. There is sadness in this reunion. So close and yet so far away. It's different now. The first time Max escaped, it was just thirteen of them. Now...it's hundreds, both normal' and Nomlies, out there in the world. Max reckons if they're smart, they'll lay low like the original thirteen did. Logan is more concerned about how the regular people will react once the word got out about the transgenics. They will not be so...accepting as some were with Max. He tells her to keep her head down. Max always does.
Max then makes a pilgrimage to her High Place: the Space Needle. From up there, things haven't changed. But now...it's all different for her, Logan, and the world at large. The whole time Max was at Manticore, all she wanted was her strange little life back. She never figured it would get any stranger, but she guessed it's gonna. She'll have to deal with it, somehow and in her fashion...as she does with all things.
And down on the streets, a Nomlie conceals his features with a hood and blends in with the homeless. It is Year Eleven of the Pulse...and Year Zero of the Age of the Transgenics. The world will soon know of their existence. Many battles will be waged, both to keep the secret and to keep them free. This will be a time like no other. A time where man will either evolve from his baser natures and embrace his new brothers...and fall on old habits and try to wipe them out.
This time, the Genie will not be led back to the bottle. Not without a fight.