'Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.'
Winston Churchill, Speech at the Mansion House, London, November 10th 1942
Within Manticore's walls, a man is suffering. He has been suffering for some time, under drugs and beatings and lack of sleep. He suffers because a dark force wants what within his head: the locations of the remaining X5 members, the Manticore Children. The man is Zack the ringleader, and the person wanting the information is Lydecker, his commanding officer, personal Bogeyman, and in some ways the closest thing to a father he could ever get…though he will not admit to it. Lydecker has his errant 'son' strapped down to a chair, drugged out of his mind, and attached to so many devices he's more a cyborg than human. The doctor in charge expresses concern for his patient. He doesn't want to use psychoactives so soon after the last session. He asks for a day to two to help stabilize Zack's condition before trying again. What's good for the Project if he dies? Lydecker's pressed for time. He notes the doctor's objections and tells him point blank, if he can't carry out the order…he'll find someone that will. Death is an acceptable risk, and he's more than willing to push it. So, the doctor administers the dosage, readies the laser beam on Zack's eye to keep him off balance, and starts the latest round of interrogation. The EKG briefly registers a dead signal before resuming its normal course. Obviously, Zack's at his last legs. Lydecker keeps pressing him to tell him where are the children? Where is Jondy? Where's Max? Just tell him where they are, and the pain will stop. Zack doesn't say a word. He just lets his mind fall into the abyss of images of the Breakout and death and pain and struggle…
Zack wakes up in a cell with a guard to keep watch on him. Zack's consciousness is dulled by the drugs and lack of sleep…yet he notices a swift figure running by. The guard sees it too and checks out it. The figure jumps him and knocks him out. Zack's senses focus a little better. It's Max! She's risking her own safety to save him. She unlocks the cell and guides him out. He's still groggy from the psychoactives, but still is alert enough to thank her for the rescue. Max tells him she owed him for the last time, so… Zack tells her if he can't make it, she is to leave without him. No sense in having two of X5's best under chains. They rush into a storage room. The guards will be changing soon, long enough for a break to the perimeter fence and freedom. Max asks Zack if he told his captors anything about her and the others. He assures her he kept mum. Nothing would make him talk. Max does voices some concern…almost as if she's prying for information. She asks about how he keeps in touch with the others. Zack suddenly realizes something's wrong. He puts a chokehold on 'Max' and asks what's going on. The psychoactives are still at work and her 'face' seems to shift into someone else. Guards soon barge in and beat Zack into releasing the false Max. The doctor shows up and tries to keep the beating down to a minimum. Zack is at a perilous state. He could die on them at any moment. Lydecker then shows up, checking on the false Max. Zack doesn't know if it's actually Brin or another X5 that was captured and made to look like Max. He does have one thing to say, "I'll…never…tell you…anything!" Lydecker expresses no emotion. It's only a matter of time now.
Blaine's cleaning up some exercise equipment when Max arrives. She has a surprise for Logan. She managed to score a nice fresh chicken from the farmers market for him to perform another culinary masterpiece. Blaine's impressed. It's been awhile since he'd seen fresh chicken. She asks where is Logan. Blaine tells her he went for a walk on the waterfront. Max laughs, the first time in a long while that she's been happy. Her blood transfusion has given Logan a second chance at walking and now it seems as if her world might finally become…normal in a way.
Logan enjoys the quiet of the beach. It's been trashed by wreckage from the Pulse and gang wars, of people trying to flee to Canada, and by the revived shipping industry bringing in fresh overpriced goods from Asia and Australia. Still, he enjoys the feel of sand in between his toes, even when supported by a cane. A far cry from the chair. Perhaps another transfusion will give him completely mobility or just a few more weeks of therapy. No matter. He wants to savor the moment. Max comes by and jokingly tells him about the place being off limits. He laughs it off, telling her to take off her shoes and come over. She does and tells him about the chicken she left at the apartment. Logan's pleased. He sees a poulet chez Cale dinner with some nice Nuits St. George to start it off in their future. She decides that's a great idea and accepts the dinner date for 8 O'clock tonight. Logan admires the beautiful site, in spite of the unsightly debris and loading crane at the naval yard. He walks into the water. For the first time in a long while, anything and everything is possible for him. Max gives him a small smile and asks if the water's a little cold for him. It's freezing, but he enjoys it. It's been awhile since he had that feeling at his feet. He asks her to join him. She shakes her head, knowing the subtle ways of seduction. Logan pulls her gently with his cane and they embrace. They so want to kiss each other and fill the empty moments with love, never wanting it to end. So close…and yet so far when the police hoverdrone breaks the mood and tells them to move in. Max averts her face, despising the machines. She's still a wanted woman, even if the murder of Vogelsang was long solved and filed away. The two lovers to be make their way back to the cruel world. She has to go to work and he has to go home and start on dinner. They go off their separate ways…and then stop. They turn around. Seems they were going the wrong way. If only they could express their love in their hearts and embrace naked passion. The world's too cold to deny such emotions.
Normal has no problem expressing emotions at the Jam Pony, even though they're mostly negative. He berates an employee about not getting a signature for the delivery. No signature, no payment for the route. House rules. Herbal shows up with his confirmation of delivery at 225 Carrington. The signer was one 'Robert Marley'. Normal notes it and credits Herbal's pay before giving him another package. Obviously the fool hasn't noticed he was played for a sucker, but then again the anal retentive are never ones to pay attention to the small details. Sketchy and Original Cindy show up with two shopping carts full of stuff. Her stuff actually. She has been evicted from her apartment. They cut off the power, the heat, and the water. She had no choice but to gather her meager possessions and haul ass. Normal tells her she's late, but she's not in the mood. She doesn't want to be messed with today…unless he wants a good smackdown on his ass. At the lockers, Max learns the sad story. Seems the Red Series Boyz offed Cindy's landlord when they did their search for her. Cindy has little sympathy for the weasel and slumlord, but the tenants didn't want to deal with a 'bad element' any more…as if they had enough hookers, small time dealers, gangbangers, and con artists already. Max feels responsibility for Cindy's blight. First she lost her nice job and now her apartment's gone. Cindy's philosophical. The gig was a bust and the crib was a dump, but she'll tough out and stay strong. She won't let it get her down. Max then has an idea. She offers Cindy to let her crash at her place. Since Kendra has moved in with her Mr. Multiples lover Officer Walter Eastep (giggling about how much fun she'll have with the handcuffs and role-playing), there's now an empty bunk with plenty of room. Cindy accepts, with some reservations. She worries about some of Max's 'friends' showing up and giving trouble. Max assures her the black helicopter creeps have been quiet for some time and the Red Series Boyz are long dead, so things will be cool. They decide to move the stuff in at lunch. Good enough time as any, since Normal muttered something about charging Cindy a storage fee.
The day goes by without incident. Life continues at its pace of the citizens of Seattle, Logan, and Max. They make themselves presentable for the night's dinner with a hot bath and a search for appropriate attire. At their respective cribs, Blaine and Cindy ask about how the date will go. Logan and Max are insistent. It's not a date, only dinner…like the dinners from before. As Logan searches for a shirt, Blaine tells him it's not like that now. The gun's loaded, to coin a phase. He's seen how the pair look at each other. They want to jump each other's bones and make love for a thousand years, if they could get away with it. While Max shaves her legs, she tells Cindy (who expresses similar sentiment) it's not like that at all. They're good friends. As Logan prepares dinner, he tells Blaine they could've made love when he was in the wheelchair…if he wanted to. Blaine knows better, as does Cindy. She tells her boo it didn't make if the obstacle was physical or psychological. It's now gone and they have a chance to lock loins and let Nature and Cupid help out with the mood. Logan asks what is the point? Blaine tells him it's a new ball game and it's making his friend very nervous indeed. The chance to cross a threshold from good friends to lovers is so close now, it's scaring him. Logan scoffs it off. He's not nervous…and then cuts him because he actually is. Cindy expresses her relief about being a lesbian and how she doesn't have to go through all the drama. After the second date, they move in. As Max laces up her shoes and freshens up her lipstick, she tells her nothing will happen. Logan puts the chicken in the oven and tells Blaine they will not jeopardize a good friendship for the sake of good booty. Blaine…knows better. He tells him he'll be discreetly away for the night with friends and wishes Logan a good night. Cindy tells her friend to call her up in case…dessert runs a little late. Never mind that she knows Max's a hunted woman by the Feds. She just wants to know if she finally got some at last. Woman hasn't been laid since…
The mood's more sober at Manticore. The doctor doesn't have to tell Lydecker what happened. Zack's system couldn't take any more punishment. A burial detail is assembled. In a cemetery where barcodes mark the headstones of the deceased, soldiers dig a simple grave and fill it with a simple coffin. The doctor and Lydecker make their respects before going off to fill out the proper paperwork. The Commission will not like this. Soon Zack is buried and night falls. It's quiet for about five minutes…before Zack wakes up. He was drugged, made to look like he was dead. He bursts out of his grave and makes a run for it. He washes himself at a nearby creek and then tries to make it to the perimeter fence. He then notices a pair of flashing lights. He uses his night vision and sees the doctor in his car. Zack rushes inside and is given a set of spare clothes. He asks why did he do this. The doctor wanted to live with himself. Faking his death was the only thing he could do. He can take him to the state line but no further. The doctor gives Zack some money for any emergencies like food or bus fare. It's not much, but it'll have to do. Unfortunately, the kind deed is not enough to shield them from the TAC Team. A helicopter strafes the road and the car runs into a ditch. Patrols show up and both men separate. Zack can only watch as the troopers shoot down the doctor. His last words were simply 'Go!' Zack rushes off, with the soldiers at close pursuit.
It's close to dinnertime now. Logan's lighting the candles and airing the wine. He puts the cane to one side. He won't be needing it tonight. It'll be a nice quiet dinner…maybe. The door rings and it's Max. They say hello and start off for their 'undate'.
Zack reaches a secluded phone booth. He lost his pursuers for now, but it's only a matter of time. His mind is still hazy from the torture and drugs. One thing is perfectly clear, though…he has to call for help. Only one person can save him.
Cindy makes the finishing touches to her bed with posters of Xena. Even at this troubled time, the character has a lot of fans worldwide and the movies have been selling out. Not bad for a woman running at forty or fifty. The phone rings and Cindy answers it. Zack is asking for Max. Cindy doesn't know who it is, though they had met once at Jam Pony. Then again, who would remember Zack as a shy withdrawn bootlicker?
Max and Logan are enjoying themselves. The mood is romantic, the wine is excellent and the talk…well, it's more like awkward starts and stalls. They can't get past the word 'So.' They drink a little more wine, trying to make proper small talk. Then, the buzzer goes off. Dinner's ready. Relief sets in for the two lovers to be. Perhaps some hot food will loosen the tongues a little. They both walk over and Logan is shocked! In his haste to make the perfect poulet chez Cale, he forgot one important thing: turning the oven on! Max suggests chicken tartar and they both laugh uncontrollably. Nothing like an honest screw-up to break the tension. The phone rings and Max goes to answer it while Logan returns the chicken to the oven and this time, turns the oven on. Max asks who it is and suddenly her happy mood goes dark. It's Zack and he needs help…NOW!
The message was brief and to the point. Zack is held up in the wood near Manticore. Max rushes to the door, saying she owes her 'Big Brother' a rescue. Logan reminds her about the troops as he holds down the door. It slams shut. He tells her that it might be easy to go past the Sector Police checkpoints and get him, but evading a Manticore dragnet could be difficult. Max reminds him that they did it before as children. How hard can it be the second time? She tries to open the door and Logan holds it back again. It slams shut a second time. Okay, but what if it was trap, he argues. What if Zack was…turned? Max is shocked by the accusation. Zack would NEVER turn. Obviously, the man never knew the boy that well. She tries to open the door again and once more, Logan holds it down. It slams a third time. He's adamant about not having her go on a fool's errand. She makes a pointed threat: she's more than glad that he got back his legs, but she can still kick his ass. Want to test that? Logan's hand moves aside and the door finally opens. He knows Max is going to rescue her 'brother' even if she has to cripple Logan again to do it. He can only say a silent prayer and hopes she'll be safe.
Max is on her Ninja, seeing how the Sector Police are keeping things tight at the city limits checkpoint. It would simply enough to speed off while traffic had the cops tied up, but she doesn't want to deal with two kinds of heat. Then, she sees an opportunity. A trailer rig full of recycled cars, destined for sale beyond Seattle. The market for used and rebuilt cars has been booming. She spies a van on the top tier and decides on a Trojan Horse. For a few hours, she and her cycle ride inside the van without the driver's knowledge. If her luck holds, she just might make it to the Manticore Base and get Zack out in a hurry. Unfortunately, the Wyoming Patrol stops the rig for a full contraband search. Smuggling has been a problem in the Upper 48, owing to the Maple Leaf Mafia's taste for rare pre-Pulse American goods and white slavery. Max takes her cue and she races off on her Ninja over the checkpoint before a shot is fired. After coming as close as she can to the Base, she hides her cycle with some pine brush and goes on foot. She searches for the obvious hiding places, using her heighten senses to avoid the patrols. She finally finds Zack in a well-hidden cave. The reunion is not joyous at first. He nearly strangles her to death, thinking in his delirious state she had betrayed him. It takes some time to convince him she wasn't turned. After all, if she had been turned, she would have the TAC Team over at their location inside of five seconds. Finally, Zack relents and falls limp. He's very wary and tired…and scared. It's the first time Max had ever seen him in that state since the Breakout. Obviously, he's in no condition to travel for the moment. They have to wait until nightfall. They soon talk about the torture. Max reminds him about how psychoactives could trick the mind into doing things, but Zack tells her about their special training in 'forgetting'. Her mind flashes back to that moment. Lydecker himself taught that course. He told them that no one could resist torture indefinitely, not even them. The only way to evade a long interrogation and keep the enemy from learning vital information is to flood the mind with so much misinformation and junk that they would forget everything…even their own barcodes. She remembers how painful the sessions were, but how effective it was in keeping secrets safe. Zack forced himself to forget everything he knew about the other X5 and how to contact them. Course, the problem is recovering the information. The stress and psychoactives have made total recall difficult. Max tells him that he remembered calling her, so he's on the right track. He tells her she was different. How could he forget the one person from X5 who was so fierce independent, so willful, so disobedient…yet so alluring? In a different time and from a different person, Max would have been flattered. Still, Zack has to concentrate and regain his composure. A helicopter flies by and startles them. Max will scout out and see if they're still safe. Zack rolls up into a ball and falls asleep…
Zack wakes up with a start. He had some bad dreams, some of them induced by the drugs. The memories are slowly coming back, piece by piece though. The psychoactives must be wearing off. Max returns from her scouting. They're still safe. For Zack, it's been a long time since he let his guard down long enough to sleep, a luxury he never let himself savor. Course, Max and Jondy never had that problem. They never slept much to begin with. Max jokes about them sharing shark DNA. Then, Zack remembers something about Jondy. About how she like working nights…in a bar…living in Portland! No, wait. That's Tinga. Jondy lives in San Francisco, close to the Golden Gate one of the few remaining landmarks not sold and carted away by greedy foreigner despot billionaires. Tinga works at a bakery and let her hair grow long. She probably had never cut it since the Breakout. And then there's Zane. He's in LA, working as a mechanic. He has a German Shepherd, scary looking like the ones in Manticore but gentle and sweet. Zack's memories are coming back in full detail now and Max is overjoyed.
Joy is not in Logan's mind. It's more of concern. He has tried for the fifth time to call Max's pager, but it's too far away. He hangs up the phone. Blaine is off to the market for supplies and wonders if he wants anything. Logan just shakes his head. Blaine leaves, noting his own concern about Max. He likes the spunky girl and how she had given his boss and friend such happiness. Logan walks to the table and his legs give out. He stumbles to a chair and sees his legs shaking, particularly his left one. The episode ends as fast as it began. Logan is shaken to the core. According to his research in stem cell therapy, the recovery rate is supposed to be near 100 percent with zero rejection. Since the stem cells are basically pre-formed cellular material, the body would have been able to accept them and let them repair the damage. Even with Max's Manticore transgenetics, he should have at least twenty to forty years' full mobility. His body can't be rejecting the stem cells…can't it?
Max now asks about Krit. How is he doing? Zack has no idea where he was or what he was doing at the moment. He's tired now. Max understands. There'll be time to find out about him. Zack then told her about seeing Brin. The pain of leaving her behind to Lydecker and his butchers in order to save her comes back in a heartbeat. Max vows that she and him will return to Manticore some day to rescue her and any of the others who were caught or left behind. Right now, it's still not dark enough to make a run for it. Zack thanks her for rescuing him, and then tells her about how he thought he ran into her the first time only to find out it was a double. Max is stunned by this news. Not even Manticore technology could clone an exact double. It was hard enough to enhance their abilities without crossing that line. Zack then falls asleep. Max decides to play on a hunch. She tells him that she'll be going to a gas station close by to get some food. If she's not back in two hours, he is to go on without her and find the others. Zack nods in his sleep. Max goes off and hopes against hope she's wrong about her…suspicions.
Max walks close to the gas station. She hides in the woods and lets her enhanced senses do the recon. Her hunch is right, dammit! She sees the hidden troops inside of the store and the woods. She sees the receiver in the ear of the 'attendant' and hears him give a report to Lydecker. He hasn't seen her yet. It's a trap, all right, and what she knows now is even worse. She rushes back to the hiding place and wakes up Zack. Using sign language, she tells him to be quiet. He's been bugged by the doctors, probably during the time he was 'dead'. Zack understands and decides on an appropriate diversion. Time is now crucial. The X5 Group is in mortal danger.
In his mobile command center, Lydecker wonders why Max hadn't shown up. With him is his second in command…and the doctor who 'rescued' Zack! The plan had worked like a charm. The doctor put Zack into a deep sleep long enough to implant the transmitter and then fake the escape and death to give him time to contact Max. Hell, learning about the location on some of the remaining kids was a bonus. Lydecker had thought Zack and Max would just go off into a safe house and then make contact. Still, no sound from them. He wonders if he should shadow them just in case. Suddenly, the audio feed goes into static. It can't do that. The implant's in a prime spot. They're still getting a good GPS signal, though. Zack's on the move, heading south along the creek. Without any further news about Max, Lydecker decides to cut his losses and capture the two. He has enough info to recover three or four more of his kids. Better averages than most of his operations to date, anyway. He orders his men to move out. The TAC Teams move south, following the signal. Zack and Max run like the wind, evading the troops any way they can. Back at command, Lydecker's second tells him the signal's stopped at a creek bank. The soldiers move in and see…nothing. Nothing except a twig with a piece of cloth tied around it, holding the transmitter securely. They've been fooled again!
Zack and Max make it to her Ninja. By the time Lydecker backtracks their trail, they'll be long gone. Still, they have bigger worries. He knows where some of the others are now. They can't waste any time in warning them to pack up and move. Max guns the engine and they speed off.
Max returns to Logan's. She tells him about the trick. Zack follows in, frustrated over how he could overlook something so simple. He blames his big mouth…and that big mouth is open a little when he sees Logan standing up. It's a long story, he tells the youth. Try him.
Lydecker and his second listen to the playback again. He might have definite leads to his kids now, but he has to hurry. Zack will find some way to warn them off. They have to move on the information and move fast! He will not let this get away, by God!
Max tries to help Zack recall more of his memory. Which bakery did Tinga work at? Where does Zane work? How did they stay in touch? Zack tells her about a contact number he left to each X5 member. It links up to a voice mailbox that only he has access to. If one of them gets into trouble, they call that mailbox and he calls them back. Max is impressed by the network, but one thing bothers her now. Where's Jondy, her best friend in the whole group? What's her phone number? Zack doesn't know, the mental block still dogging him. He's frustrated. He knows how important it is, so he has to calm down long enough to collect his thoughts. Maybe a walk on the roof will do the trick. He goes off, leaving Max alone and equally frustrated. It's been so long since she seen Jondy!
Logan suggests patience. Granted, time's not on their side, but each Manticore Child could take care themselves long enough for Zack and Max to save them. Max is near panic. Time is running out fast and Lydecker could already have them all. She then apologizes for her outburst. She just wonders how will they find a way to warn them. Logan then has an idea. Something both she and Zack had overlooked…until now.
Normal's at the office, supposedly checking on reports. He's actually catching COPS, seeing some transvestite getting busted. He screams to the screen and the cops to arrest the freak. He's a firetrucking reprobate! The signal gets scrambled and then Eyes Only is online! Oh, hell. That nuisance again. Eyes Only is making a nation wide cable hack feed for all the remaining X5 still living free in America. He tells them they've been compromised. He shows their barcodes and rank insignia to show them he's legit. He tells them the authorities are onto them and that they must do what they have to do. His message will air every hour, on the hour until they all check in safe and sound. In the scarred war zone of Los Angeles, where the Hollywood sign has been vandalized and broken, one such X5 hears the calls. It's Zane, working his garage. His boss asks him for a 3/16th wrench, but doesn't get it. In fact, the last thing he gets is a hurriedly written note asking him to take care of the dog for he won't be coming back. Zane might love that dog to pieces, but sometimes even loved ones must be left behind when Lydecker comes calling.
Zack and Max are impressed with Logan's gall and his plan. They now will wait for everyone to call in. Simple enough, really. Max muses about Eyes Only making another enemy. Logan figures things have been too quiet for him of late. Nothing like a little trouble to spice things up.
Lydecker and his second are not pleased with the new development. Why would a smart pain in the ass do-gooder want with his kids? The second has no idea, but reckons this is not his usual MO. Eyes Only goes after crooks and creeps, small fish in the big scheme of things. Lydecker may have some respect for that, owing to his experience with such corruption, but vows to find out who this clown is once the operation is over. Having a loose cannon like him making this kind of trouble would be…unwise for everyone.
Things are looking up for Zack and Max. Zane, Krit, and Syl had checked in and have already moved out to other locations. Only Tinga and Jondy remain. Zack is bummed out by how he could be fooled into revealing their location, but Max tells him it was cool. They managed to warn the others in time. She wonders why she didn't have a contact number. The reason's obvious. For her to get one, she has to play by Zack's rules. First one is to leave Seattle. He tells her it's not too late to change her mind and join up. Not a chance of that happening soon. He notices Logan's miracle cure and guesses how that happened. Stupid lovestruck girl!
Lydecker is checking his files when he has some good news for a chance. They got a lead on the Portland contact. The girl's on the run, but the TAC Team is in hot pursuit. He asks for a helicopter to the city ASAP. He's personally take charge of this capture.
Zack gets a call from Tinga. She's in trouble. She needs help now! Max and Logan prepare themselves for a quick road trip.
In the darkness, broken with search lights and helicopters, an Amerasian girl runs in the night. She is Tinga, a X5 like Max and Zack, and the TAC Team is chasing her. She's hiding in a homeless compound, a series of converted buses and shanties. So far, she's eluded capture…but luck is running out on her. Lydecker arrives in his transport. He gets the latest photo of her from her work at the bakery. The orders are simple: a point to point of the compound with tazers only! He wants her alive. Hiding in an abandoned bus, Tinga prays for Zack to hurry soon. Come on, man!
The TAC Team continues their search, tightening their grip. None of the people have seen her. One trooper hits paydirt and Tinga makes a run for it. Every trooper who gives her trouble is tossed aside and knocked out. Lydecker barks out the orders: Delta Squad is to press their advantage and capture the girl. Alpha is to secure a perimeter. He reminds them to get her alive. The Delta Squad has Tinga surrounded. She can't possibly take them all on…that is, until help arrives from the rooftop. Max and Zack jump along side her and they make their stand. The fight is short, brutal, and furious! Each Manticore Child is poetry in motion as they take out each soldier. In 30 seconds, the only ones left standing are the Three X5 members and Lydecker looking at his semi-conscious troops. The kids run on the tops of the buses and make it past the perimeter. They jump into Logan's waiting car and drive off. Once more, Lydecker is denied his prize.
In a secluded part of Portland, Tinga helps Zack hot-wire a car. Logan jokes if everyone in his family is a thief. Zack doesn't listen. They've been trained to forage and steal for their survival. Profit has nothing to do with it…usually. Tinga starts up the car. There's about three-quarters of a tank remaining, enough to make it to the Canadian border. Zack takes the wheel. He doesn't bother ask Max if she wanted to come along. That question was answered the first time they met. Tinga wants her to come along, but Zack tells her not to bother. His old hardass routine has returned. Saddened to see her go so soon, Max and Tinga hug. Tinga tells her little sister to take care. Zack briefly lowers his guard to thank Max for saving him and the others. He hopes miracles come in twos, because she will need one to avoid capture. Max makes her own, thank you, but appreciates the advice. The two are now even. The car races off to parts unknown. Just as well they didn't know where they were going.
In another secluded part of town, Lydecker meets with his Commission liaison. He's still smoking those cheap cigarettes. The liaison tells how unhappy the Commission was over this latest fiasco. Lydecker tells him he knew of the risk of losing Zack, but the results have more than made up for it. All they have to do is follow the trail of fleeing persons. Not even his kids could leave without making some notice. The liaison then drops a bombshell: the new directive is to resolve the X5 problem by any mean necessary…including deadly force. Lydecker is shocked! He warns that he'll go up channels to countermand the order. The liaison tells him no. SHE had signed the order herself. In fact, he has a message from HER to give to Lydecker: if you have a problem with the orders, she'll find someone else. The head of Manticore appreciates the ironic symmetry. It was the same orders he gave the doctor and look what he did. Lydecker decides to play ball. There was no doubt he would.
At Logan's, Max is gushing over seeing Tinga again, however briefly. She looked just as Max remembered her long ago. She just wishes she had more time to talk with her 'sister' and catch up on old times. Logan may have a way to do that. He gives her Zack's contact number. Max is glad…and a bit surprised. Zack covers his tracks better than this. Maybe the experience at Manticore left him edgier that she thought. She has a sudden hunger burst and raids the fridge. There are leftovers: half a poulet chez Cale, leafy green things, and mashed potatoes. Maybe they can have their feast after all. So engrossed with her forage, she doesn't notice Logan falling down again. His legs are acting up and this episode is longer this time. He struggles to keep his composure while holding on to the table. He tells her he'll have to take a raincheck. He has work to do. Max is stunned. She…suspects something, but can't tell what's going on. Logan asks if she could take the food home with her, but she politely coolly refuses. She can garb a bite on the way home. She leaves the apartment and Logan staggers to the chair. What the hell is wrong? Is the transfusion's failing or is it his own mind refusing to accept his regained mobility so soon?
Disappointment follows Max as she calls the number. It's been disconnected, with no new number to follow it up. Zack has covered his tracks well, by cutting her off. She wonders if it's a guy thing or maybe there's a part of her that turns people away, no matter how close she comes. On top of the Space Needle, she yearns for the time before…where she didn't give a damn!
In Post Pulse America, family and lovers are the greatest gift…and the greatest heartbreak.