Table of Contents [Report This]
Notes: In this fan fiction, I’ve messed around with The Pretender’s timeline to fit with Dark Angel. In this story The Pretender takes place later than it’s supposed to! (It will become apparent in the story).
Jarod started awake. Why was this memory bothering him so much? He shook his head, as if trying to get the images out of his head. It had just been a simple blood test, he’d gotten one every year, but there was something about it… Sydney wasn’t there… Raines had done it without Sydney’s knowledge. Sydney. He had been gone for 2 years now. He would have to remember to put fresh flowers on his grave as soon as he was close enough. He couldn’t stop for that, no matter how important it was to him. He looked about the dingy room, Seattle isn’t that bad, I’ve had worse.
“So how ya doin’?” Max chirped cheerfully as she shrugged her leather jacket off.
“What’s up?” she asked raising her eyebrow at Logan’s tired expression.
“How can you be so cheerful in the morning?” he grumbled, wheeling over to his computer.
“Hey it’s not my fault I don’t need sleep! Is it?” she asked, feigning shock.
“I was thinking about what you said, about finding more out about Mantecore,” he said, quickly changing the subject.
“Yeah?” she said, leaning forward.
“They have links with this place called The Centre, they did business together at some stage, several times” he stuttered, her close proximity making him nervous.
“The Centre?” what kind of dumb name is that? I mean The Centre,” she said, “Do we crash the place or what?”
“Not possible, it’s been closed since the pulse” Logan stated.
“Oh, another company ruined by their dependence on technology!” Max murmured sarcastically. Logan raised his eyebrows at her.
“Will you find out the deal…Please?” she added sweetly.
Jarod was at his computer. He had been spending a lot of time at his computer recently. He wandered around the police files, looking at the top ten most wanted, he was just wasting time. He still didn’t know what to do, he would have called Sydney but…he must remember to buy those flowers.
“Just got in contact with a contact of mine, turns out he knows someone, who knows someone” Logan proudly reported, “He used to work at The Centre”
“Great, sooo?” Max asked, swinging her legs over the edge of the desk.
“Well, um, I have to get in contact with him directly, I have an E-mail address…” Max tilted her heads to the side and looked at him thoughtfully.
“I’ve already sent it” he reported, “I expect a reply soon”. Max grinned at that.
“You know I really appreciate this…”
New message. Jarod clicked on the heading:
Been contacted by a friend, someone he knows is looking into the Centre. Sounds like it’s linked with you. Some place called Mantecore, I think I’ve seen that name before. I don’t know what to do. Can he be trusted? I traced the number, in case you want to check it out, I’m not getting involved.
Jarod looked thoughtfully at the screen, he’d given an E-mail address to Broots. He knew his way around the centre computers; he needed him to help him after the pulse. Broots was actually a decent guy. The address was attached to the E-mail. Jarod had been very much involved, even after the pulse. He should probably check it out…just in case.
“He says he won’t talk about it, sending it around other people he knows, seeing if anyone is getting involved” Logan sighed looking at the screen. Max shrugged.
“So? Can’t you like, I dunno, trace him or something, I mean the security systems on this isn’t that great” she suggested.
“This guy was a computer, technician, in the Centre, he knows his way around this stuff” Max shrugged again.
“So? We just wait to see if anyone else will talk. Its okay if this doesn’t go anywhere” She cheerfully called hopping up, “Now, you wanna get something to eat?”
They headed to the door, Max noticed something sticking under the door, she bent down. A plain brown envelope, she handed it to Logan. Max handed the envelope to Logan. He glanced down at it, and tossed it on the table beside the door.
“Let’s go!” he said and wheeled out the door. Max closed the door behind them; she wondered why he didn’t open it.
Jarod hurried on after delivering the envelope, he couldn’t risk sending it any other way. He looked back and saw a man in a wheel chair and a young girl exit the building. She looked about the right age. He would look into the Mantecore thing more when he got back; it was actually very interesting. As interesting as The Centre, maybe more interesting, and Mantecore was still operational.
Logan ripped opened the envelope, he was sure it was bad news, an envelope that thin. A single sheet of white paper slid out:
Yes, I found out your name, I will give you information on The Centre. However, you cannot give it to Eyes only. I suggest we meet. Warehouse 15, West Dock 8pm tomorrow night. Come alone.
Who was J? How did he find out his name? How did he know he was linked with Eyes only? Logan looked at the last line…Come Alone…should he risk it? He should bring Max, she was involved, he was doing this for her.
Jarod stood inside the door of the warehouse, among the discarded boxes. Whoever owned this warehouse hadn’t been there for a while, a long while, he’d checked. He looked at his watch. 8pm. The headlights of a car swung up over the building, cutting through the shadows in the warehouse as they passed over the gap in the door. He heard footsteps on the gravel outside. Logan was in a wheelchair, so he had brought someone with him. Jarod reached behind him and pulled out his gun.
Max stepped into the warehouse. She was excited. Someone in this warehouse might have the key to who she really was, who her mother really was. She heard someone exhale to her right, her head snapped to face the sound. A man stepped out of the shadows. He stared back at her. Logan wheeled up behind her. The man shoved his gun into the waistband of his jeans.
“Oh it’s you” he sighed, relieved, he stuck his hand out “Jarod”.
“Uh Max” she replied shaking his hand, “and this is Logan” Logan came up behind her.
“I know” he said. Logan looked up at him.
“You know her?” Logan asked, indicating Max.
“X5, am I correct?” He stepped over to a upturned crate and sat himself down, gesturing for her to do the same. Logan came over and they sat in a circle. Max shook her head.
“Wait, lets get one thing straight, who are you? Did you work for the Centre?” she suddenly burst out with. Jarod seemed to find it very funny. Logan sat silently watching them.
“Jarod, just Jarod, and no, does that answer your questions?” he said with a smirk.
“You didn’t work there? So what help are you supposed to be? I mean…”
“I think I can be of more importance because I was, directly, very directly involved in the Centres work with Mantecore” Max frowned but didn’t speak, “Do you find that you can pick up new things very quickly? Know how other people feel and think sometimes?” he waited for her response.
“Yeah, I do pick things up really quickly, but that’s ah um” she was silent.
“That’s me” he said looking up at her.
“You mean, I thought, they used some of your DNA to make us?” Max stumbled, looking at Jarod.
“So, um are you like, a genius or something?”
“Something like that”, Jarod said with a smile.
Logan turned to Jarod. “I don’t suppose you knew what they were using your DNA for when you gave it to them?”
“Actually, I didn’t give it to them” Jarod said, turning to look at Logan, “Oh, and by the way, I love your show”.
Max sat in silence as Logan drove them home. Neither had asked how Jarod had found out those things. “I didn’t think that they would do things like that, I thought,… I knew they used mostly animal DNA” she suddenly said.
“Well humans are the smartest animals,” Logan said, rolling down the car window to hand his sector pass to the policeman who stopped them at the gate.
“Yeah, he kind of had it as hard as we did, except…”
“Except what?” Logan asked, a hint of worry in his voice.
“Except he kind of knew what he was missing, he had a family”. They sat in silence the rest of the way.
Jarod took off his jacket and threw it over the back of a chair. She was almost like family he thought, almost. He smiled. He was glad that she had escaped, and soon too. She was a part of him now, and there were others. He went online, time to call up an old friend, he would probably know about Mantecore.
“What?” Logan said aloud.
“Jarod, I know him,” Sebastian repeated. Logan stared at his image on the screen. “He called me earlier, he was asking about you and Max”.
“So, you know about this, Centre?”
“Hey, who doesn’t?”
“So what’s their deal?”
“Situated in Blue Cove, Delaware, run by a family called the Parkers, officially, they closed down after the pulse. I have a bunch of recovered files here”
“Yes, copies of files, I’ll send them over”
Logan flipped through the newly printed sheets, the files that Sebastian had E-mailed to him. There was some information on Jarod, stuff that he had already told them. But there were reports of other children, Jarod hadn’t said that there were others. There was a knock on the door. Max?
2 weeks later.
Jarod entered the wrought iron gate, high fences surrounding the area. He passed between the gravestones. So many people. He stopped by one grave. A simple gravestone. Sydney - Father and Teacher. He stood for a long time. Just looking. A slightly withered bunch of flowers lay at the head of the grave. A small note stuck to the paper surrounding the stems. He picked it up. Sydney, I miss you. He looked for a signature but there was none. He felt like breaking down.
“I still need you” Jarod said aloud.
“We all need him” a voice behind him said. He straightened up. He turned towards her.
“I know Miss Parker, I know”. She reached inside her coat. For a split second Jarod pictured her pulling out her gun and ordering the sweepers hidden around them to come and get him. But there were no sweepers…there was no gun. She handed him a large padded envelope.
“I’ve debated this for a long time Jarod, but now I’m sick of not being in control of my own life…it’s started…Just remember, this doesn’t make us friends”. Jarod stared at the envelope in his hand as she walked off. Her long coat flapped around her in the cold air. She’s gone soft. He looked at her departing back. What did she mean? It’s started…
Jarod sat down in his car, he glanced at the envelope, thrown on the passenger seat. It’s started… What ? What had started? The only thing it could be…he was denying it himself. The Centre had never gone, he knew that. It wasn’t just the name, or that abandoned building in Delaware…It was more than that. It was everywhere, something that he couldn’t destroy, let alone fight. The pulse had just been an excuse…to disappear. He drove slowly hardly glancing up at the police officer who asked for his pass. He hadn’t been changing his identity so much now…he should start when he got back. It’s started…
He ripped open the envelope, a folded piece of paper and a cd-rom slid out. He picked up the letter:
I don’t know why I’m doing this, I guess I feel like I owe you. It never left. The Centre’s US branch is opening again. My father was pleased. This isn’t an ongoing thing though Jarod, remember that. My father is taking a job there, he hasn’t said much, but he wants me to go back too. You know I can’t do that, I’m disappearing again. This is my only proof, a low level project disk.
Jarod stared at the letter. It’s started…He picked up the disk. It was a plain cd but…could he trust her? If her father was involved…Would she do this? He looked at the disk hesitantly and then pushed it into the cd rom drive on his laptop. Encrypted. He set to work.
There was a knock on the door. Turning the computer’s monitor off, Logan hurried to the door. He pulled it open to find Jarod.
“Oh it’s you”, Logan said, he was surprised to see him back. “What…what is it?”
“It’s not about Max…It’s about you”.
Jarod settled in front of the computer. He inserted the disk and began to type rapidly.
“A…friend gave this to me. There” Jarod pointed to the screen. A list of sub headings ran down the screen. The heading was…Eyes Only.
“It’s a subproject of something called project media. Its an outside project…for Mantecore.” Jarod said.
Logan looked at Jarod. He blinked. This couldn’t be. Jarod clicked on a file. A profile of ‘Cale, Logan’ popped up. Logan swallowed.
“They know, don’t they?”
“Thank you Jarod, I guess. The Centre, do they have um, some sort of contract on me?”
“Yes and…Logan, they usually get their guy”. Jarod stood up.“Keep the disk, I have a copy.” The door closed behind him and Logan sat staring at the computer, for a long time, he just sat.