In Flux - Season 5, Episode 6

Chapter One

In every way possible, it was a beautiful day. The sun was shining, birds chirped in seemingly every tree in the yard...and Becca was laughing! It was indeed a perfect day for Jaime to finally be free of hospitals and she intended to take full advantage! ''Let's stay out here, just a little while,'' she asked Steve as she inhaled deeply. ''The fresh air smells so good!''

''There was fresh air in the hospital garden,'' Steve pointed out, smiling and indulging her whim anyhow.

''Well yes, but I was a patient there...and now I'm just 'me' again...for the most part, anyway.'' There would still be daily visits from Mark Conrad and (at first) Michael, until a new bionic wing could be set up at Clayton Memorial. (National Medical had been deemed a total loss after the fire.) Jaime had spent over a month recuperating in Colorado Springs before being sent back to Los Angeles (and Clayton) to finish her recuperation. Now, on this perfect day, she was finally free.

After a good ten minutes spent admiring their front yard, Steve began pushing her wheelchair toward the house. Jaime shook her head. ''Gonna walk inside,'' she insisted (sounding almost as stubborn and cantankerous as Rudy).

''Sweetheart,'' Steve began patiently, ''I don't think that's the best idea.'' Michael had just begun therapy to get her back on her feet and she had, indeed, been able to take her first steps but a fall into the house would be just the disappointing setback she didn't need dampening her spirits. Becca laughed again, in the carrier on Steve's back - and it was time to get her into the house as even though he'd nearly recovered from his own injuries, he was definitely starting to feel the weight he was carrying.

''I haven't been HOME in...I don't even remember how long,'' Jaime continued. Indeed, it had been several months since she'd initially been shot in the head during what was supposed to be a simple 'In-and-Out' fact-finding mission - and the set of her jaw told Steve her mind was made up. ''Gonna walk in that door!'' she repeated.

There had to be a compromise!

Out of his own bed and recuperating at his Los Angeles home, Rudy too was feeling cantankerous. Both of his 'children' had been hospitalized and he hadn't been allowed to lift a finger to help them! Now (until a brand-new facility could be built), a Bionic wing was being added to Clayton Memorial, also without his being able to do anything other than give phone input...which he did as often as Michael and Oscar's patience allowed. It was still unclear when - or even if - he might be allowed to return to his life's work (and passion) but with Doctor Corinth gone, he would at the very least need to train a replacement (and one agreeable to the occasional consult) if he was to be retired. This was one thing Michael couldn't do on his own, even if he'd wanted to. For the moment, the future of the entire Bionics Program appeared to be up in the air and genuinely in flux.

Oscar (working with the FAA) had made a great deal of progress on the investigation of the plane crash...and yet they were nowhere near ready to make an arrest - or even to tack the charge onto Anna's growing list. The most likely method for having brought the plane down would have been a device planted by someone on the ground crew, programmed to cause instrument failure once the plane had hit a certain altitude - or possibly one of the passengers (or the pilots) had unknowingly carried one aboard. In either case, did Anna have the technological knowledge to create such a device? Given that she'd created several different methods of mind control, it was very likely she had the knowledge to create whatever she liked, if she set her mind to it. But when and why would such a device have been created? How had she known an evacuation plane would be needed? Just how far into the future did her plans reach - and were there more horrors still awaiting them at this woman's hands?

The investigation, although coming up with some answers, was also truly in flux.

Russ had greatly improved in both attitude and self-image. He'd finally accepted what had happened to him...and what that had caused to happen to Jaime. He'd been released from the strict medical and psychological custody he'd been held under and now occupied only a regular bed, although still in a locked ward. The only obstacle remaining to him before he could finally return home was (at Mark's insistence) that he finally come face-to-face with Jaime. If all went well in the next few days, that was scheduled to happen at the end of the week.

In the meantime, Steve still needed to get his happy (but very, very stubborn) wife into the house. Her jaw was set, her eyes were firm...and there was no way he'd win this argument (so there may as well be no argument). ''Alright,'' he sighed. ''But the minute you're in the house, you need to be in bed. 'Off your feet completely', Michael said. Remember?''

''Dumbest thing I've ever heard,'' Jaime groused. ''My feet - and my legs - have no circulation. Duh!''

''It's the concept,'' Steve told her patiently. ''Relaxation. So that's the deal. No wheelchair - you can walk into the house - but then straight to bed. Take it or leave it.'' He had to pray she'd take it because while Colonel Steve Austin's first, take-no-prisoners instinct would have been to simply pick her up and carry her into the house despite her protests, he still wasn't allowed to do that at the moment. (In truth, he needed to put Becca down pretty quickly now too.)

''I'll take it,'' Jaime said exuberantly, already on her feet. ''Let's go HOME, Colonel!''