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Disclaimer: The characters Miss Parker, Sydney, Jarod, Broots etc. and the fictional Centre, are all property of MTM and NBC Productions and used without permission. I'm not making any money out of this and no infringement is intended.

The Gift
part I

by Trish

The clicking of her heels on the hallway floor, alerted Sydney to her approach. She had probably received the same memo that he had, regarding the fact that he had been ordered off of the hunt for Jarod. The triumvirate, Mutumbo, to be more accurate, had a special project for him. A new pretender was being brought to the Centre, today. One with Jarod's potential the memo said, but he was unruly. According to his last teacher, stubborn as hell, impossible to control, lacked discipline, and a temper to boot. The triumvirate wanted Sydney to work with him and perhaps he could guide this new member of the Centre. A Christmas gift, Mutumbo claimed, since the holiday was only two weeks away and since Sydney was so loyal to the Centre, he wouldn't mind spending it with the new pretender.

"What the hell is this all about?" she flung the file on his desk.

"I've been removed."

"I can read that Syd, but where did this new pretender suddenly appear from?" she ran a hand through her dark hair.

"I only know what's in the file, Miss Parker. According to the notes, he's just as gifted as Jarod, so I was reviewing some of the older dsa's. When Jarod first arrived here."


Parker stepped behind the desk and stared at the black and white images on the screen. A young Jarod, no more than four years old. In fact, the dsa, that Sydney had cued up was when they first met. He looked so lost and afraid, that is until . . .

"Syd, Miss Parker, he's here," Broots cleared his throat then said, standing in the doorway, nervously looking behind him," He's down on SL-4. They thought that you would want to be there, Syd."

"Coming, Miss Parker?"

"Sure, Syd. I need to met the heir apparent to Jarod."

The three of them entered the elevator, Parker pushing the button to SL-4. The elevator descended at a snails pace, or at least it seemed that way to Parker. The doors opened to reveal, the others that awaited the arrival of the newest pretender. It had been seven years since, Jarod had escaped and three and a half since the clone had disappeared with the Major. She was tired of the chase but she had a job to do and had accepted it with a sense of resignation that she would never leave the Centre.

"Hello, sis," Lyle smiled.

"Lyle," she acknowledged her twin for the sake of the other members that were present, Raines, her father, and entering the hallway was the man himself, Mutumbo.

"Dr. Green, Miss Parker," he boomed, loudly," He's in the sim lab. His name is Ryan."

Mutumbo opened the door to the room, and allowed Sydney to enter the room first.

"Hello, Ryan. My name is Sydney and I'm going to take care of you while you're here."

Parker watched as a small child of three crawled out from under the table that housed the computer for the room. His dark hair, his dark eyes, a look of disdain on his face. Something about the child struck a chord with her, looking at him again, it hit her. Jarod. This was no ordinary child, snatched from his parents, the son of a bitches did it again. Another clone. Her heart sank. A feeling of despair filled her.

"Who are you?" she looked down and saw dark brown eyes stare up at her, intrigued.

"Why?" she replied rather curtly.

"'Cause I want to know?" he replied back.

"My, aren't we rude? Didn't anyone teach you to be polite to adults?"


"So ask nicely and I may tell you."

"Nope, won't ask, nicely. I'm hungry. Sydney!" he said rather matter of factly and climbed into the bubble that was suspended from the ceiling.

"It's not time for dinner, yet, Ryan. First there's a sim you need to perform for us," Sydney said patiently.

"HUNGRY! NOW!" he yelled.

"Listen young man," Parker was at the side of the bubble," He said that you needed to do something first."

"I won't, I won't, I won't," he screamed, a petulant look on his face as he kicked the bubble.

"Get him something to eat," Mutumbo ordered, " we'll leave you with your charge, Dr. Green."

The young sweeper entered and placed a tray on the low table, just to the right of the bubble. Parker watched as the little boy scrambled out and pulled a chair up to the table, removing the lid off of the plate.

"Uck!!!!" he shrieked, and pushed the tray away from him.

"Look you, little brat. This isn't the Ritz and you won't get any special treatment," she voiced, pushing the tray back in front of him," NOW EAT!"

Ryan shook his head in defiance, and watched as Parker picked up the fork and stabbed it in to the pile of bean sprouts. She then held it in front of his mouth, which he refused to open. He shook his head, back and forth.

"Open up or I'll . . ."

"You'll what. . . '" that was all the opportunity that Parker needed, she slipped the fork into his mouth and pulled it out minus the bean sprouts, only problem is that they didn't stay in his mouth. Little Ryan spit them all over Parker, then picked up the plate and threw it at her.

"Don't like it! Won't eat it!"

Parker glared at the child and had to remind herself that this was just a child. A spoiled rotten child, but a child. Turning, she glared at Sydney and Broots, wiping the remains of his dinner off of her suit.

"Not a word, hear me. NOT ONE WORD!" the two men just shook their heads turning not to laugh.

"Do it again. I want to do it again," small laughter echoed around the sim lab.

"Broots, you're with me, now," she snapped her fingers together and watched the techie jump and follow her out the door," Found out everything you can on that brat. NOW!'

"Yes, Miss Parker," he whimpered and scampered away.

"Miss Parker."

"Sydney, did Jarod ever act like that as a child?"

"Never. I can't understand why he would now. I realize what we are dealing with from the resemblance. He's . . ." the doctor hung his head.

"Say it, Syd. A God-dam clone!" she hissed.

Meanwhile in the sim lab, the vent of the air shaft slowly moved and a dark form entered, looking at the child huddled in the plastic bubble, fascinated

"Look like friend, act like daughter. Why?"

"Who are you? I'm Ryan."

"Angelo, friend." the savant reached out and took hold of the small hand that was offered. Eyes widen at the connection.


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