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Chapter or Story Chapter or Story
Copyright 1999 by Allie Davidson, Smoke N' Mirrors Workshop
Summery: When Jarod is lured into a trap and captured without the knowledge of Miss Parker, Sydney or Broots, he discovers how low Lyle will stoop to encourage his cooperation in an assassination sim. This is the first of three parts.
Mrs. Parker, as Brigitte liked to be called, licked her lollipop and stared at a DSA containing a sim of young Jarod working with Sydney. It was one of the few DSAs left in the Centre of Jarod and Sydney; Jarod had all the others.
Young Jarod sat at a table; a large aerial photo of a walled compound and surrounding streets covered the table's surface. "The embassy is vulnerable to attack here and here," Jarod pointed out a three story building outside the walled compound and then a
secondary gated entrance into the compound for employees. "A sniper has easy access to the three story building across the street, and it would take only a small force of four to five men to gain access to the embassy compound through the poorly guarded side gate."
"What are your suggestions, Jarod," Sydney asked.
"Since this building is unoccupied, the best solution is to destroy it." Jarod pointed to the three-story building. "As for the gate, it should be guarded by two guards here and here, and another guard positioned on the parapet wall up here. The gate should be replaced and security cameras placed here and here. Considering the gate's current construction, a vehicle travelling approximately 30 miles an hour could destroy it with little damage to the vehicle itself."
Sydney patted Jarod on the shoulder. "I'm certain our clients will be pleased with your suggestions. Sydney nodded then smiled down at him. Jarod looked up and returned the smile
Brigitte hit the still button. She took the lollipop out of her mouth, frowned then reversed the DSA, stopping again on the scene where Jarod and Sydney smiled at one another. Brigitte giggled. She retrieved her cell phone out of an inside coat pocket, flipped it open then dialed a number with her thumb. Her called was picked up on the second ring.
"Hi love," she said. "Could you do something for me? Could you get rid of Sydney?" She nodded at the voice on the other side +of the connection. "Yes, that's perfect. And see what you can do to get Broots and Miss Parker away from the Centre. Where?" She said after a moment, paused then threw back her head and laughed. "Miss Parker will love that."
Brigitte closed the cell phone with a decisive click, sucked on her lollipop and stared at Jarod and Sydney smiling at one another. How sweet, she thought to herself, just like father and son. She turned to her desktop computer, opened up a new word processor file and began composing an obituary.
* * * *
Anger tightly leashed, Miss Parker strode into Broot's office. Sam hovered behind her. "We're leaving. The Centre's jet is ready. Sam will take you home so you can pack. I'll meet you at the airstrip."
Broots looked up from the computer screen. "Jarod?"
"No, the Easter Bunny. Hop hop, now," she ground out. "Of course it's Jarod."
"I can't leave Debbie behind," Broots said as he stood and shrugged on hiscoat.
"Bring her. We're going to Disneyland."
* * * *
Miss Parker glanced at her watch. Thirty minutes to closing time and the crowds had thinned; employees made up the majority of the park's crowd. Debbie pulled Broots into the Pirates of the Caribbean line for one final ride. At least they were enjoying themselves. Sam stood at her side and scanned the crowd. A tip had come in that Jarod worked at Disneyland as one of the strolling Disney characters. Pluto ambled into view talking to a Minnie Mouse. Indistinctly she heard their voices. She motioned to Sam and they faded behind a balloon stand. Minnie and Pluto walked closer.
"Jarod, meet me at the employees entrance in an hour and we'll go get dinner," Minnie said.
"Sounds good, see you then" answered a deep voice muffled behind the heavy mask. Pluto waved as Minnie walked away.
"That's him!" Miss Parker hissed to Sam. She motioned for him to stay as she started forward. The big costume limited Jarod's line of sight. Miss Parker walked behind him, pulled her gun, leaned close and pushed the barrel against his ribs.
"If you don't think I'd plug you in Disneyland, then think again Wonderboy. If you want to get out of here without a bullet hole in
your guts, you'll walk quietly with me."
"Please... Don't shoot!" said the muffled voice from inside the costume. "I'll go with you."
Miss Parker jerked her head toward Sam. He joined her.
"Follow Sam and don't cause any problems. I'm right behind you."
They escorted Pluto out of the park and to their car. Miss Parker opened the car door and Sam shoved Pluto inside. He sprawled against the leatherseats.
"Now don't you look cute," Miss Parker said, smiling as she sat next to him. She reached over and yanked off the Pluto mask. The man looking at her was not Jarod.
"Who the hell are you?"
"I'm Jarod," the man said, his voice trembled and he cringed against the seats. "Please, don't hurt me."
Miss Parker kicked open the door, threw the Pluto head out of the car and gestured to the frightened man. "Run away Pluto, and if you tell anyone you've seen me I'll have you neutered."
* * * *
The falling rain mingled with the tears on Jarod's face. From the cover of trees on a knoll above the cemetery, he watched the funeral. From this distance, and through the sheets of pouring rain, he thought he could see Miss Parker and Broots, Michele and Nicolas all huddled together as the casket lowered into the ground. The tree bark scratched against Jarod's cheek as he wrapped one arm around a tree trunk, slid to the wet round and wept, not caring that the rain soaked into his jeans or plastered his hair against his head. At this moment the world could disappear and he wouldn'tcare.
Sydney was dead.
If he could call anyone father, it would be Sydney.
"Time to come home my wayward prince," said a smug female voice behind him.
The wet leaves had muffled the footsteps of the sweeper team surrounding him. Jarod didn't care, he didn't move even when a 9mm gun barrel pressed against his cheek. Two men grasped either arm and jerked him to his feet. He sagged etween them. Brigitte walked into his view. She brushed her gun barrel under his chin
"Cheer up, Jarod. No one lives forever," Brigitte said with a mock pout.
Jarod looked up and into Brigitte's smirking face. Sorrow turned to rage at this woman who mocked Sydney's death.
"Damn you!" Jarod screamed and lunged at her, taking the two men off guard. He pulled from their grasp and tackled Brigitte taking her down with him into the muddy ground. He straddled her and wrapped his hands around her throat. For the first time he saw that smug smirk wiped off her face as he squeezed. She grabbed his wrists and tried to wrest them from around her throat. Hate and rage smothered reason and lent him strength.
A gun butt slammed into the back of his head. He ignored the pain. Blood coursed down his temple and splattered onto Brigitte's face. The woods wavered out of focus, then darkened. The last thing he saw was Brigitte holding her bruised throat and gasping for breath.
* * * *
Sydney only partially listened to the speaker lecturing about new research into the psychology of twins. So far the conference had been interesting. He visited with colleagues he hadn't seen in years and enjoyed the sites of Milan, Italy. Despite thisenjoyable trip, something bothered him, a creeping sense of unease and an unshakable feeling that the Centre sent him to Italy toget rid of him. Why? There was only one thing that really mattered to him and that was Jarod. If the Centre felt compelled to send him away that could only mean it had to do with Jarod.
At intermission, instead of mingling and discussing the lecture, he made his way across the hotel lobby and up the elevator to his room. In his room he picked up the phone and dialed Miss Parker's direct number. When no one answered, he tried Broots; noanswer there either. He hit the operator button and the Centre operator picked up.
"This is Sydney Green. I'm calling from Italy. Miss Parker isn't answering her phone," he said to the women. "Could you locate her please."
"I'm sorry, but Miss Parker is out of town."
"Out of town?" Sydney echoed. "Where is she?"
"I'm not at liberty to discuss that information over the phone."
"Yes, I understand. Could I speak to Broots?"
"I'm sorry again, Mr. Green, but Broots is not available."
Sydney didn't press the operator for more information. That Broots and Miss Parker were unavailable simply confirmed his suspicions that something was going on. He hung up the phone, stared out the window for a moment then picked up the phone again and dialed another number. "I would like to change my reservations." He gave his flight information to the reservation operator. "You have a flight this evening? That would be fine. Please book me a seat."
* * * *
"Jarod, you're being uncooperative," Lyle said with false kindness and wagged his finger.
Jarod struggled against the restraints; both wrists and ankles were manacled. He had been under guard constantly and locked in a small cell room similar to the one he had occupied during his earlier years at the Centre. Once, he thought he heard the distinctive squeak of the wheels on Raines's oxygen tank, and heard the man's raspy breathing, but he never saw the man."I'd go to hell before I'd ever help you," Jarod ground out.
Lyle shrugged. "Funny you should say that because that can be arranged. Hell will be a cozy warm place compared to where you're going." Lyle motioned with one hand and a nurse appeared holding a hypodermic needle. "In fact, you'll soon be begging to help me. Addicts will do anything for their next fix."
"What!" Jarod's frantic eyes went to the hypodermic needle in the nurse's hand. She approached him and he struggled. Two husky men, sweepers by the look of them, held him down as the nurse tired a length of surgical tubing around his arm then slipped the needle into a fat vein, pushing the plunger, releasing the drug into his bloodstream. "No!" he screamed.
Warmth spread throughout his limbs, starting at his toes and working up to his head, tingling along his scalp. A seductive sweetness of euphoria weakened him and his struggles ceased. He fell back on the bed breathing slowly. The numbness was bliss. Pain, hatred and anger faded. Lyle stood over him, his face oddly contorted and his voice sounding like it came from underwater. His lips didn't move in sync with his words
"How long before he's addicted?" he asked.
"Two doses at the least, four on the outside," the nurse answered
"Sometimes twice a day, sometimes once, depends on the individual and when they become sick."
"Make sure he gets it when he needs it." Lyle leaned over Jarod. "Enjoy your trip." Lyle disappeared and the clang of the cell door closing echoed through Jarod's mind.
* * * *
"Daddy, that trip was a waste of time and if I had to speculate, I would say it was a decoy."
"Decoy?" Mr. Parker chuckled. "Now Angel, Brigitte gained that information from a very reliable source."
"And who would that be, Daddy, Mickey Mouse?" Miss Parker said with mock politeness.
Brigitte opened the door and sauntered into Mr. Parker's office. Miss Parker's fist itched to punch that smirk off the other woman's face, or at least shove that lollipop in a more appropriate place.
"Didn't find anything, Miss Parker," Brigitte taunted as she snuggled into her new husband's arms. Her voice sounded more husky than usual.
Miss Parker's gaze hardened. "You tell me Brigitte. What was I suppose to find?"
Brigitte shrugged then smiled up at Mr. Parker, rubbing noses with him. Miss Parker wanted to puke. Then she noticed something; finger shaped bruises colored the skin around Brigitte's neck. The woman had tried to cover it with makeup, but the purple-yellow bruises were still visible.
"Well, why you two are locking lips, I have work to do." Miss Parker stalked out of her father's office as Brigitte's insufferable giggling followed her out. She slammed the door and came face to face with her brother.
"Bad hair day?" Lyle said pleasantly. He appeared in a better mood thanusual.
Miss Parker stood close to her brother, ran a hand up his tie then grasped it and pulled him close. "If I find something has been going on behind my back, you're going to be singing soprano in the women's Sunday churchchoir."
* * * *
Jarod didn't know how long he'd been in his cell room. The nurse would show up once a day, sometimes twice with a dose of the drug. At first he fought them, then he looked forward to her visit, to the drug that slithered through his veins making him forget everything, who he was, what he wanted, why he was here and most importantly Sidney's death. The pain faded further away with each dose of the drug until the hurt was distant and no longer important. He didn't know how many days had passed when the nurse came in and gave him something to drink. She didn't have the hypodermic needle with her and it took all his strength not to beg. He was thirsty and drank the mildly medicinal tasting liquid.
Whatever it was, it cleared his mind, made him painfully alert, made him think of things that he didn't want to think of. Lyle walked in, tipped his head like a friendly puppy and held up the fix that Jarod craved.
"Looking for this?" Lyle held the hypodermic needle just out of Jarod's reach. "I can see it in your eyes. You help me and I'll help you."
"Yes," he finally whispered and hated himself for it and hated Lyle's triumphant expression. "I'll help you."
"I thought so." Lyle motioned behind him and two Centre guards walked into the room. "Get him a shower and clean clothes."
They didn't have to bother with the manacles; those had disappeared days ago, they were no longer needed. Jarod didn't have the strength or the will to leave. He stood and followed them down a long unmarked hallway dimly aware this was a Centre sublevel, although the usual Centre personnel were absent. He felt a little better with a shower and clean clothing, but the craving lurked and his stomach churned. One of the guards motioned him out of the lavatory.
The guards escorted him to the end of the hall he entered a newly constructed simulation room. The difference between this simulation room and the others he had worked in was size; this room rivaled the size of a basketball court.
At one end of the room a huge detailed model of a city had been constructed across several long workbenches. A life-size stage
set complete with buildings, streets and live-size cardboard mockups of people spread across the remainder of the room. The style and architecture of the buildings were Spanish and vaguely familiar. A man and a woman, whom Jarod did not recognize, sat at a fold out desk.
Lyle nodded toward the man who stood and approached them.
"It's your show now, Monsieur Boutroux," Lyle said, gesturing to Jarod.
"Does he understand French?" the Frenchman asked. Jarod nodded, replying in French.
For the next two hours Monsieur Boutroux took Jarod around the life-size stage, and then to the model of a city. Somewhere in
Spain, Jarod guessed looking at the layout and the architecture. He committed a few unusual landmarks to memory. He wondered if he would remember, or if he would ever need to. Lyle followed them, sometimes asking Jarod to translate.
"How many in the motorcade?" Jarod asked the Frenchman as the man pointed out a route through the city.
"Six cars, four men in each and all armed. The individual we seek will be riding in the forth car."
Jarod hesitated then glanced up at Lyle who patted his suit jacket, a reminder that relief would be withheld if he didn't cooperate.
"You need to split the motorcade taking out the first three guarding vehicles away from the target," he pointed a stoplight. "One of your men will be positioned here at this corner while reading a newspaper and blending in with pedestrian traffic, he will handle a device that can change the light from green to red if necessary. Here in the intersection, stall a large vehicle to make certain the other two cars cannot veer around. Then, with gunfire you need to startle the target vehicle into moving down this street here. The desired destination is this area." He pointed to a small village-like square several miles to the west of the stoplight.
"And how can we make certain they'll go there," Boutroux asked.
"A series of impassible obstacles. More stalled cars, working construction crews." Jarod swallowed, braced both hands on the table then looked up, he avoided looking at Lyle. "Is your goal assassination or kidnapping." "Give me the scenario for both," the Frenchman said.
After several hours of detailed information, the drug that the nurse had given him began to wear off. Barely able to control the tremors in his hands, and sick at his stomach he yearned for the drug to ease his pain. He took a deep thankful breath when the Frenchman turned to Lyle.
"Your man was most helpful," Boutroux said. He and Lyle shook hands, then he motioned to his female partner and she pulled a
laptop from a computer case. "My assistant is transferring the remainder of the fee into youraccount."
"Pleasure to do business," Lyle said.
* * * *
Jarod sat on his cot, sweat poured down his face, his clothing was soaked, his breath was short and fast. The nurse was no longer needed, neither were the guards to hold him down. Jarod snatched the needle from Lyle's hand. Placing one end of surgical tubing in his mouth and grasping the other end in his right hand, he secured it around his upper arm. Lyle watched as he injected the drug. Jarod didn't care. He needed its solace; he had to have the peace it gave him. He didn't hear Lyle leave, only the door closing and locking behind him.
Jarod's eyelids fluttered as the drug oozed through his bloodstream. If hell existed, he had found it. He fell back onto the bed, wrapped a hand around the needle tracks on his arm, then curled into a fetal position and wept softly.