Max beat him to the parking garage under Fogle Towers. She was waiting near the entrance, the bike idling. Logan motioned for her to follow him to his assigned parking space and she nodded. Damn, he thought, momentarily distracted from trying to figure out exactly what to tell her about his meeting with Matt Sung. It was so hard not to be disappointed at little moments like that, when it struck him all over again that Max didn't know any more where to find his car, or any of the other little details of his life she had taken for granted in the past.
He glanced in the rearview mirror. Max rode slowly behind him, checking out the garage. Probably looking for my secret underground lair, Logan told himself. Little does she know she's already been in my Eyes Only lair more times than she could count. But thinking of Eyes Only bothered him too. Now that Max considered him a liar -- and with some justification -- what would she think when she found out that he hadn't exactly fully explained his professional circumstances either? He didn't like keeping Eyes Only a secret. He was used to sharing his work with her and wished he could still do that, even though he knew he'd infuriated her sometimes with his obsessiveness. But until she was herself again, he just couldn't take the risk.
He pulled into his spot, shut off the ignition, and reached into the back for his chair, assuming that Max would prefer to talk upstairs in the comfort of the penthouse. To his surprise, however, she put her hand on the driver's side door to stop him from opening it. "Wait," she commanded.
Logan sat back but kept an eye on her in the rearview and side mirrors. His parking space was the last one in its row, which meant that the driver's side of the Aztek was exposed. Max was walking slowly along, scanning it inch by inch, and then looking at the nearby concrete wall and support pillar. After she had considered both the car and the concrete from several angles, she walked back to the driver's window.
"I'm not much of a gun nut, so I kinda snoozed through ballistics class back at Manticore, but it looks to me like maybe your car got shot up right here in your own parking garage. Am I right?"
Max raised her eyebrows. "Why was someone ... shooting at you ... in your own ... parking garage?" she asked with exaggerated patience, as if speaking to a child. Then, when he hesitated, she seemed to think better of her attitude.
"Is this how you got hurt?" she asked a bit more gently.
"No," he answered. "No, that was a long time ago. This," he added before she could ask any more questions, "just happened about a month ago, and it's part of what I want to talk to you about. Let's go upstairs and --"
"No." Max cut him off. "Right here is fine." She folded her arms and regarded him sternly, and after a minute he sighed.
"Fine. Those bullet holes were made by your brother, Zack, who apparently didn't snooze through ballistics class at Manticore."
"Who was he shooting at?"
"Me," said Logan, looking Max straight in the eye.
"Why? Did you lie to him too?"
"No," Logan replied, feeling irritated again, "but he thought I did."
"You wanna explain this?"
"I told you about the raid --"
"Yes," Max answered impatiently.
"You were both captured. They experimented on Zack ..." Logan stopped. Max was no longer looking at him. Her eyes were wide with alarm and her mouth was open.
"What is it?" Logan asked, beginning to look around. Had someone followed them? Had Max's enhanced hearing detected danger?
"He's hiding in the woods near Manticore. I have to get to him before they find him, " Max whispered, then looked up at Logan, still clearly shaken. Logan felt his hands go cold. She was remembering! That was what she had told him the night Zack called to tell her he had escaped from Manticore the first time!
Max was still looking at him, a question in her eyes. "Did that really happen?" she asked in a near-whisper.
"Yes," Logan said. "Yes, it did, but over a year ago ... you're remembering ..." Suddenly he felt hopeful and scared all at once. Then Max shook her head, as if to clear it.
"Damn, it's gone now." Her eyes narrowed. "So he was captured again?"
Logan had to struggle to focus on her question. "Yeah ... that's right," he said, pushing his disappointed feelings aside. "His memory was damaged, his mind was altered --"
"Bastards," said Max passionately.
"Max, listen to me." Logan could see her growing outrage and was afraid that she would take off on the Ninja before he could make her understand. "The raid on Manticore was a team effort. It was you and Zack, Syl and Krit, and two others. Me. And Lydecker."
"Lydecker?" Now Max looked openly shocked. "That's impossible."
"No," said Logan urgently. "He turned against them too, Max. He and I stayed behind while you four broke in to rescue Tinga. We were on comms. When the raid went wrong, we came to help. It's just that we were too late for you and Zack."
"What exactly went down?"
Logan hesitated again. "You were shot. Through the heart. Dead. Zack shot himself so that you could have an X-5 heart."
Max caught her breath, and her eyes filled with tears. Logan felt his own eyes sting, but hurried on, controlling his voice as best he could. He couldn't let Max walk away from this conversation until she understood.
"They rebuilt him with cybernetic implants, but there was brain damage, and he's convinced that Lydecker and I betrayed all of you. That's why he shot at me. Lydecker took him away, though he's hardly in any less danger than I am --"
"You know where they are," Max interrupted fiercely. "Tell me."
"Do you understand what I've just told you? Lydecker is not your enemy --"
"He's sure as hell not my friend!"
"But he's trying to help Zack recover. Let him do it." Without thinking Logan put his hand on Max's shoulder and she threw him off angrily, turning to leave.
"Max! Do you want someone to die here?" he shouted after her. At that she stopped and turned back to the car. He was sorry he'd had to say that, but at least now he had her attention.
"Zack needs help," Logan continued quietly, trying to sound as rational as possible. "He was programmed by Manticore to kill. In his mind, Lydecker and I are two real good candidates, but right now nobody knows who else might be on his list. Not you," he added, seeing a question in Max's eyes. "But that's why Lydecker has him in a secure location, and I doubt they're alone. I'm sure Syl and Krit are there, and probably any other X-5 they've been able to round up since Manticore burned."
"I want to see them," Max said fiercely. "It's all I've wanted for the last eleven years."
"I know," Logan said sympathetically. "I know. But there's a lot you don't remember about the last year. Which could make a difference in your safety, or in Lydecker's, or in mine. Let me fill you in. It will be like preparing for a mission. The last time you went to rescue one of your siblings, it didn't have such a happy ending. Let's make it work this time."
Max hesitated, then angrily smacked her hand against the side of the Aztek. "You'd better be playing straight with me on this one," she said, and Logan exhaled in relief. This is her way of giving in, he told himself. Not gracefully, but that's Max, and you'd better take her up on it before she changes her mind.
"Good," he said. "Come back tonight. I'll feed you and I'll fill you in on everything I can think of. Deal?"
"Yeah. Fine," said Max, staring at the bullet holes in the concrete garage wall. "Might as well go to work for a few hours then." She started to walk away, and Logan's shoulders sagged back against the car seat. Then, abruptly, Max turned around.
"And one more thing. When I come back I want you to explain something to me."
Max stared hard at him. "I'm not sure I want to give you any time to work out some story about this, so let's just say that I'd really love to know why Zack decided to kill you first. He hates Lydecker. He must really despise you, huh? Why is that?"
And before Logan could answer, she was on the Ninja and roaring out of the parking garage.