Max was finding it difficult to go through the rehearsal. He was sitting amongst the group of other players in the Brass Quintet and he found it most difficult to try to pay attention to them while trying to follow the music and the conductor. He kept forgetting that he wasn't actually playing and although he hadn't ever been in a band, he had participated in the CONTROL choir program and he found the conductor's timing style to be rather confusing.

There hadn't been any leads and he had yet to hear from 99 that day. They had been corresponding for the last two days during lunch breaks as well as when their rehearsal breaks coincided with one another. However, she had yet to hear anything worth reporting. None of the players really spoke with Max despite his attempts to become friendly with the other members.

Finally, after three hours of rehearsal, the conductor suggested that the band take five minutes to rest before the final rehearsal of the night. After a baffled attempt to speak with the conductor, Max went to look for 99.

He found her waiting behind the stage near where the audience would be seated. "Have you heard anything yet?"

"Still nothing. I don't understand this, Max! There has to be at least one KAOS agent here!"

"I know. Tonight is when the band is supposed to perform and we've got to get to the messenger before he relays the last part of the formula!"

Suddenly, Max and 99 heard two men conversing. Max directed 99 to get under the seats and to view into the practice room where he and the band had been rehearsing earlier. The conductor spoke to one of the stage managers, saying, "Tell me how this looks."

As he peered at a sheet, the man called out as the conductor waved his arms,"1-7-8-9-7!. That's perfect! Those signals should work perfectly."

"Good. I was afraid that my signals weren't clear enough."

"99! The Leader is the Leader! Who would have thought that the Leader would be the Leader? It would be too obvious, because if we thought that the Leader were the Leader then it would have been to straight forward. But, KAOS knew that we wouldn't think that the Leader was the Leader and they banked that we wouldn't think that the Leader was the Leader because the Leader actually being the Leader would be too much to believe."

In a quizzical tone, 99 asked, "Max, do you think you can run that by me again?"

"I don't think so."

The KAOS men conversed for a short while and then the conductor said just before the other left. "Well, I'll be seeing you." Just as the man took a step to leave, the trumpet Max was given in the CONTROL lab began to play.

"99. My trumpet is playing without me," Max pouted childishly.

The conductor, baffled by the sudden playing picked up the instrument. "This is no ordinary trumpet and that man is no trumpet player!"

"What is it?"

"It's an automatic trumpet that plays music after a song title is announced," he said as he removed the microchip valve.

"How can you be so sure?"

"I have one just like it at home."

"We've got to find that man before he rats on us to CONTROL!"

"C'mon, 99. Let's get out of here." Just as Max and 99 emerged from underneath the bleachers, the KAOS men ran into them. Immediately they chased Max and 99 through the studio. Although they attempted to the throw the men off by having Max change into a similar Charlie Chaplin suit that was similar to what 99 was wearing, the men weren't phased. Eventually, the two ran into a stage set up where there were two doors to get in on either side. One agent followed them in to through to the other side while another agent met them at that entrance. It was then that Max led them through, closing each door behind them and locking it until they were in the middle section.

"99 go ahead and prop those two chairs against the door," Max pointed to some of the furniture that surrounded a simple table layout. He grabbed the remaining two chairs and stacked them against the doorway.

"Oh, Max," 99 began in a defeated tone, "This is it, isn't it."

Max seethed, enraged that he had caved into her begging. Immediately, he had the image of them standing in the apartment and he declared, "I knew this was too dangerous. I should have never brought you with me on this assignment!"

99 was slightly hurt by the remark, but it only took a moment for her to realize that it was true. She had allowed herself to get tangled up in this mess, hoping that things would change for the better. It was the end and 007's conversation kept cropping into her mind. However, she could only must up enough courage to say, "Well, even if this is the end, at least we're together."

At that final comment, Max looked over bashfully and then turned away. He fiddled with a cane that he had grabbed from the costume room, searching for something to say. Perhaps, 007 hadn't been as deceptive as he had originally assumed back in his apartment. Hearing 99 say, "At least we're together," made him want to believe that there was still a chance. It was then that he recalled to mind that 007 never had the chance to say, "I love you," because he had been too afraid and it was then that Max decided, "Enough is enough."


"Yes, Max?"

"I've been wanting to tell you this for a long time, but I just never could find the words. Well, what I'm trying to say is that I...I can't even find the words now."

"Well, then, let me find them for you. I love you, Max."

He turned to her with a quizzical look and said, "No. I wasn't going to say that. I was going to say, 'I love you, 99.'"

"I know, Max, but I'm saying I love you, too."

"You do?" He asked in astonishment.

She wrapped her arms around his neck and tilted her head to which Max reciprocated by pulling her close. "I always have," she remarked. As they kissed, Max thought to himself, She didn't love him. She never loved Royal. It was really me. When she pulled away and leaned her head against his shoulder, Max found he was relieved by that fact.

"Maybe this would have been more romantic if we had discovered one another at your apartment, after having a candle lit dinner."

Max had little time to concentrate on the irony of that statement. Instead he concurred, " Yeah, it is too bad." He found that the impending danger no longer restrained him and the words just fell out comfortably. "You know, if somehow we were able to get out of here, I would marry you."

"You would?"

"Of course."

After a moment, it was then that 99 remembered code 19 and she perked up. Pulling away she suggested it.

"Code 19? The double door trick?"

"Do you think it would work?"

"We could always give it a try." Immediately, 99 and Max pulled away the chairs. By this time the KAOS agents had already broken through the first set of doors on either side of the middle section and they were pounding ferociously upon the doors opening up to their section. Max looked over at 99 when he finished and replied, "Are you ready?"


"On three. One. Two. Three!" Max opened the door and 99 slid up against the wall until the KAOS agent ran into the opposing door and thus knocking himself out. Max pushed the agent aside and then prepared himself at the other door. "Alright, 99. One down. One to go." As he stood against the door, he saw that her had was on the knob. "Ready?"


"One. Two. Three!"

99 opened the door and Max repeated the same actions as previous, thus leading to yet another fallen KAOS agent. Immediately, 99 rushed over to Max and embraced him once more. "We did it, Max. And now, we can get married."

Suddenly, the thought occured to Max that they were actually going to get out of there alive and the responsibility of this new relationship, the fantasy that he had held in his mind for so long was going to become a reality. Unfortunately for him, he wasn't sure if he was able to face it. "Married?"

99 pulled away and asked in a hurt tone, "Didn't you mean what you said?"

"Yes, well that was when we were going to die..." He looked over at 99 and then stopped his train of thought. How could he be thinking this? How could he devastate her? How could he continue to lie, especially after the truth was out? It was then, that he went over to the microphone that had been sitting on the table. He pulled off the top piece and removed a circular ring. Without giving another worry, care, or thought to his action, he grabbed 99's hand and placed it on.

In answer to her question he replied silently, Every word.