Chapter Sixty-Three

"Am I too late to join the party?" asks the last member of the evil consortium as he saunters into the room. He smiles. "Helena, Tracy Quartermaine-good to see you again! Victor, Tony! Caesar Faison and yes, The Cassadine. Nikolas, I am pleased to finally make your acquaintance." He smiles. "I see your grandmother won't introduce us, so, in the absence of the butler-he glances at the television screen where Reggie's body lays on the floor-allow me to do the honors. I am Ryan Chamberlain-erstwhile pediatrician, now an extension of your grandmother's iron hand, and soon to be known as the good shrink Kevin Collins."

He extends his own hand, and Nikolas takes it. "It's good of you to come."

"I thought so," Ryan comments. "Actually, Helena, it would have been better had you told me of your plans for the poison gas. Fortunately for me, I was able to avoid that particular trap by following the formerly charming Laura Spencer."

He eyes the woman's fallen body on the television screen. "You could have saved her for me. I've always been partial to blondes."

Helena is only momentarily dismayed at his appearance, but she smiles, anyhow.

"Another time, Mr. Chamberlain. Right now, we must begin the final phase of our plan."

"Lead the way, Madam," he gestures grandly. "I can hardly wait to start my new life."

With a sweep of her hand, Helena motions to Faison who pushes a series of numbers on a digital lock, and a wall slides aside revealing an elevator.

"Where are we?" Nikolas asks Helena who beckons for him to join her in the cubicle. With an abiding faith in his hopes, he steps inside as she answers,

"We're under General Hospital, Nikolas. It, too, is about to die and be reborn, though its death will be apparent only to a few." The elevator descends. Hmmmmmmmm

"Got to hand it to your Doc," Luke says to Lucy, standing up and looking around. "The man's got guts."

Sonny nods in agreement, adjusting the small receiver in his ear. "Brass cajones and a seriously warped sense of humor."

They meet Frisco's gaze and he grins. "Hopefully, our dynamic duo bought us enough time that the others can be in place." He leans down and scratches Maverick's ears. "Good boy to track those guys back to the secret door. You want a job with the WSB?"

"No," Lucy says. "The dog is retired as soon as this is over." She glances over in the corner where the real Ryan Chamberlain is sitting, bound and gagged. He's glaring, enraged. Lucy looks over at him. "Relax, Ryan. You're probably better off now than you would be if Helena had you. She'd never let you live, you know. Besides, Kevin needs to do this." She thinks of the man who has just bravely walked into the lion's den, who is facing his enemy knowing, thanks to Laura, just what Helena did to him and his brother years ago. She crosses her fingers, and then bows her head in silent prayer. "Please God," she whispers. "Help my Doc and the others!" Hmmmm

"Here we are," Helena says, as the doors to the elevator whisk open. "This is the future-Look around you, Nikolas." She gestures to the gleaming, state of the art laboratory in which various white clad individuals are hard at work. "Experts in cryogenics, in genetics, and, eventually, in all related fields. Nikolas, thanks to a few brave scientists from the past, we are able to cure some hereditary disorders-through gene manipulation." Helena strides into the lab, her entourage in tow. "For those whose afflictions are currently incurable, we offer suspended animation-through cryogenics-or cryonics, should they die before we can work with them."

She heads to one side room, and opens a door. Inside, there are a series of containers. "They're ready for use," she tells him. "This one is for Tony, and this one for Victor."

The two individuals look up, stunned.

"What is this all about?" Tony demands, looking at Helena. "You promised..."

"Immortality," she tells him, "but I didn't specify in what condition. Now, come along quietly. Cryogenics is a much more exact science than cryonics....." Hmmmmm

Stay tuned!!! Can Kevin pull this off??? Does Tracy have any idea that 'Ryan' is really Kevin?? Can our heroes and heroines pull Nik's chestnuts out of the fire in time?? Is it possible that the others are still alive, too??? (Now, we know that you know that we know you know.....) Hmmmmmmm