Physics decrees that for every reaction, there's an equal and opposite reaction. For Max, this fact is deadly serious. For all her abilities to work and to live, she needs the food supplement tryptophan daily for her seizures. Sometimes, it only takes one or two pills. This time, it's bad…five pills just to stay frosty. Her source in Seattle's Chinatown is freaked by her hungered look as she downs two pills right on the premise. It's almost like Max is…addicted. Her wired mood is not easily soothed by Logan's latest buzz. It's actually more a social call. He wanted to thank her for the work she had done by treating her to a home cooked meal with some pre-Pulse wine. Not even an inconvenient brown out and power loss can damper his happy mood.
As candles are lit, the talk turns to where they were when the Pulse hit. Logan confesses to a leisurely cruise on his uncle's yacht with a girl friend before the Navcom crashed and they ran aground. Max's Pulse tale is less than happy. On the run from Manticore, she was placed in a foster home with an abusive drunken father who enjoyed beating her and his own daughter, Lucy, when he wasn't drunk enough for a little molestation. The bad memories feel even worse as the tryptophan suddenly wears off. Max suddenly gets the shakes. Logan wants to send for a doctor, but she vetoes him dead cold. This series of seizures may be worse than most, but she'll live. She just wants him to stay with her for awhile. Her voice and her eyes say it plainly. Logan sees an emotion from her that is uncharacteristic in her nature…FEAR. Not the fear of being caught by Lydecker or dying in a hail of bullets or even being reviled as a freak. This is the fear of the dark, of the monster under the bed, of being left alone. Max is a child again, if only for awhile. A child of innocence. Logan nobly watches over his charge.
Nobility is the furthest thing in Officer Walter Eastap's mind. Once again, it's payoff time…even if it's three days early. Usually, Kendra would just slap a wad of bills into his greedy hands and be rid of the creep, but today's not a good day. The payola is MIA and doing a search of the apartment with a bull in the room with easy radio access to his friends is not the most relaxing thing in the world. Max returns, to Kendra's relief…at least, until she reveals that she 'borrowed' the cash for her tryptophan. Terror doesn't even cover the girl's emotions. Seattle's street wasn't a nice place for the homeless even BEFORE the Pulse. By sheer luck and bargaining, Walter holds off the hounds for 24 hours. After that… The girls get into an argument about putting the needs of the squatters over emergency medicine. Max brushes off Kendra, saying she'll get the cash somehow. Kendra…suspects something else.
Work is no picnic either. Apparently, Normal the Bossman has received the following excuses for Max's lateness. It's either A) Dental appointment, B) Death in the family…again, or his personal candidate for Lamest Thing He's Ever Heard…C) arrest by the Sector Police for practicing witchcraft. Max's choice…D) She overslept. Lame, but enough to placate him for another day. Original Cindy is another matter. She's mad at Max for being stood up during her downtime with Logan. She begs for forgiveness…and a loan. Forgiveness is cheap, but not cash. Desperate to make good to her flatmates, Max shakes down a couple gangbangers who were shaking down someone in turn. Her creative theft of their ride nets her a grand at the chop shop…payable on the next day. Cutting it close is the start of Max's Long Night. It seems Original Cindy and Kendra flushed down her pills because they think she's a junkie. They go through the usual claptrap of 12 Steps and Caring and such, but dealing with excessive tattooing via laser surgery doesn't compute for Max. She needs a tryp…now! After losing out at her usual source, she makes a raid at a hospital pharmacy. It would be a piece of cake…if she were running five by five. But her reflexes are shot to Hell and she gets caught by hospital security.
Next day, Walter calls in his bulls and evicts everyone from the building. The Axe falls. Lucky, most of the tenants have alternatives. Kendra has Original Cindy to shack up with. At the same time, Max is carted off to Langford Security Penitentiary. The Axe falls.
Max goes through the usual detail of frisk and shakedown. Her 75 dollars shrinks to 21 and in her worsening condition, she can't do much to argue. The guards put her down for her 'shanky druggie lifestyle' while a dapperly dressed gentleman returns the insults in her defense. The two hit it off almost immediately. His name is Break, a dealer of pre-Pulse antique clothing and frequent detainee of Langford. Seems the cops don't like his stand on brutality or the posters he uses on his storefront to express his opinion. Max follows his lead, knowing she'll need him to survive. Even in her peak condition, the prison would be a hard place. The guards only keep in the inmates at the wire's edge. Inside, it's a fight of the fittest.
Logan is concerned about Max. She hasn't been answering her pager, so he goes to her work at the biker couriers. Bad move, considering Original Cindy does him a dressing down about making her girlfriend into a junkie. Patience and perseverance win out in the end. Cindy didn't know the pills she flushed were the only thing keeping Max alive, and Logan starts a search to see if she did something rash. The search pays out as his contact in the police department locates her. Unfortunately, even with the right bribes, it'll take two or three days to spring her. Time she doesn't have, for now in a feverish state she starts hallucinating about how most of the Manticore subjects suffered from the same aliment. She remembers how one boy fell down dead, how his body was cut open and dissected, and how Lydecker just stood there with a piping hot cup of coffee like nothing unusual was going on. Lucky, Break is there with some milk to keep her from lapsing into a coma. His dealings with a guard whose shoe fetish runs deep into stilettos comes in handy in moments like this. The milk does enough of a job to inspire an escape. Break thinks it suicide, but comes along as distraction. His rendering of Verdi's operas after curfew doesn't go well with the guards, who beat him for his trouble. The pain would have been worth it…if Max didn't have a sudden seizure as she tried to scale the razor wire and was beaten in turn. The warden personally inspects the waif and decides she deserves…special attention.
Original Cindy and Logan wait up for a rendezvous with his police contact. The two are at peace with each other. Logan has even promised to help out with the matter of Walter, whose greed started this hairball in the first place. Cindy grows to like the man. The contact comes by with the bottle of tryp and bad news about Max. Since her escape attempt, she's now under strict observation by the warden. No problem for Logan. He has a ringer…as Original Cindy does her best Hooker Wit' Attitude impression as she gets 'busted' by the contact for solicitation. To the Langford crowd, she's just another pain in their ass. Best way to break out of prison is to sneak in the front door.
Max wakes up, feeling about eighty years old. Her withdrawal symptoms are getting worse. The warden has her sequestered with his cleaning staff of one, Maria. She's an orphan girl who lost her mother in a riot and her innocence to the lecherous warden. For appearances, she cleans his living quarters. In reality…it's something worse. As Logan does his hack attack on Langford's prison files, Cindy meets up with Break and they click up a plan to send Max some emergency doses of tryp. She will need them and fast. She goes into another fever and confesses how her military training got the better of her and forced her to abandon her friend Lucy to her father's abuse when she need help the most. Lucy turns into Maria, but the memory remains. Warden needs some attention and Max decides it's time for payback. Alas, her spirit is willing, but her body's still weak. No matter to the Warden. He was tiring of Maria and has chosen Max for his next evening's…entertainment. Even in her weakened state, Max defiantly vows 'Never again!'.
The wheels spin in Lydecker's favor as his new snitch Vogelsang drops the dime about Max's incarceration. He summons up the TAC teams into play. Break comes through for Original Cindy as he gets her on work detail at the Warden's. Apparently, six inch black patent-leather pumps does wonders for the prison break. As Lydecker's goons reign chaos in the prison, the Warden decides Max is not worth the trouble. He decides to feed her to the wolves, as long as she doesn't spill about his 'activities.' The threat doesn't sink in. The only thing that does sink in is her Vulcan Death Grip into his throat. Original Cindy and Maria came through with the medicine and Max feels chipper…and very pissed off. The trio takes him hostage and decides on a drive to the prison gates.
Cindy rides shotgun with pistol at hand while the others go into the trunk. The Warden is willing to go far…far enough to subdue Cindy as the guards send a party on a rescue attempt. The fiend reclaims his gun and decides to tie up a few loose ends. After all, who's gonna notice three dead escapees…that is if his reflexes were running five by five. Max takes him out with a kick to the door and his chest. She then stretches her legs by giving the perimeter guards some exercises in unconsciousness. Cindy and Maria flee to the woods with the Warden shooting wild and hot. The last thing he sees on this earth is Max running him down in the prison jeep, smashing his car into his body and into a ditch. Payback is a bitch! Something Lydecker will teach Vogelsang in due time as he finds out Max's prison records have mysteriously been deleted by a timely hack from Logan.
As Maria sleeps soundly after her liberation, Cindy, K, and Max reconcile. If only she was honest with them about her neurological condition, then they wouldn't have done the well intended but uncalled for intervention. She decides to be up front with the girls about her uniqueness. About Manticore and her days on the run. Of course, the ladies believe her…for about five minutes. They just laugh out it and Max decides their ignorance shouldn't be taken for granted. She then remembers one person that can't be taken for granted…Officer Walter Eastap. Kendra calms her down. It seems Eyes Only has some conveniently obtained video of her paying him off to hold over his head lest it comes out on instant replay for his fellow officers to see. He won't be harassing the squatters any more. Maria too has come out a winner. Logan has her set up with a dairy farmer and his teacher wife eager for a child to call their own and a pony as a bonus. As they go off to dinner, Max muses about how his resourcefulness and marvels at his generosity. Logan in turn marvels over Max's concern for Maria's and other people's well being. She shrugs it off with her usual devil may care attitude, saying 'The Bitch is back' with a smile. He takes no offense. He knows a Thank You when he hears one.
Friends come in handy when one is in a jam, whether it's today or Post Pulse America…even when they sometimes do misinterpret appearances.