Disclaimer: Don't own them; don't make any money from them; just like to play with them

Disclaimer: Don't own them; don't make any money from them; just like to play with them!

Donald Lydecker was not having a good day. In fact he was not having a good week, month or year. He paced up and down in his office cursing a blue streak. Max. Max was the cause of all his problems. Since he had first tracked her down, trying to contact the former nurse from the project, Hannah, he had had nothing but trouble. She had repeatedly taunted and teased him, coming within his grasp only to slip away each time. Bad enough she had somehow helped Zack escape his grip but she had also subverted one of his loyal X5's. Jace had never been a problem, and now she was gone. It was all the fault of Max.

To top it off, She was in town. Lydecker had never particularly liked her but She had played her cards well and was now in a position of ultimate power over him. She was not pleased about Jace and She was especially angry that he had defied her order for deadly force. Not to mention the whole fiasco with Ben. He knew Max was involved, again.

Somehow there was something about Max that Lydecker admired. She had always been one of his top performers before the escape and now she had become his top pain in the ass. Yet he had to admit that Max had resourcefulness and ingenuity that was lacking in those left behind. In fact, in a perverse way, he was proud of her each time she outwitted him and escaped his net.

None of that was going to impress Her. Something big was up and he needed to find out what it was. He hadn't survived with his skin for so long without knowing where the bodies were buried and he intended to survive for a long time yet. He needed something to give Her to pacify Her and what better than capturing his favorite rogue X5, Max. Despite his failures he had what he considered his best lead yet.

After Zack's escape that pain in the ass do gooder Eyes Only had warned his kids that they were compromised. Lydecker had set resources to track him down intending to punish him for interfering in Manticore business. It had taken time but he now had in his hands a strong lead on Eyes Only. What was more interesting was the hunch he had now confirmed that Eyes Only might be the key to Max. There was definitely a relationship there. Deck had tried to plant the seeds of doubt about Max with his comments to Eyes Only and the pictures he had left for him. If it worked that would be good but if not he still had uses in mind for Eyes Only. Smiling to himself he sat down at his desk and quickly punched out an email, setting in motion events that should lead to his reacquisition of Max.

That complete he unlocked his desk drawer and pulled out a CD. Loading it into his computer he booted up a special program. Entering a password he watched in satisfaction as a video began to play. She might think She was all knowing but she was in his territory now. Every room in the complex was wired for recording, the office she had commandeered no exception. Only Deck had the password to read the encrypted surveillance disks and he fully intended to find out exactly what She was up to. Settling back he prepared to sit through hours of boredom in search of some datum that would be of use. He didn't have long to wait. Shortly into the video what appeared to be middle aged, prosperous businessman was shown into her office. The transaction that followed was extremely interesting. Killer hoverdrone technology. He just bet she wasn't going to share that with him. Too bad he already knew. Now he needed to get a copy of that disk with the specs. Always thorough he settled in to check out the rest of the surveillance although he doubted he would get anything else as significant.