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Disclaimer: I don't own the Pretender, I am only playing with them for a while.


Thursday Morning

Sydney’s Office 


Sydney watched the live feed coming from the SIM Lab.  He didn’t trust Damon with Jarod, regardless that it was the Tower’s orders.  Damon was promising Jarod things, promises that Sydney knew wouldn’t be kept.  Jarod suspected the same or he wouldn’t be coming to Sydney asking for advice. 

Watching Jarod patiently teaching Kenny how to fold the swan brought a small smile to Sydney’s face.  He couldn’t help wonder where Jarod had picked up the origami, but he hoped it wasn’t a habit the Tower would want stopped.  Folding the paper into such intricate designs seemed to help Jarod relax after strenuous SIMs. 


A shot and shouting brought Sydney’s attention back to the video monitor.  Sydney’s eyes widen in horror as Kenny was killed.  Jarod’s cry of anguish echoed throughout Sydney’s body.  He jumped to his feet and ran out the door.  He had to get to Jarod.  He had to protect his young pupil.   


The SIM Lab 


Jarod rocked back and forth on his knees next to Kenny’s lifeless body.  He ignored the sweepers that were storming into the room.  His mind was in such turmoil that the sound of the sweeper’s yells barely penetrated. 

“On your feet! Now!” A blow to the head followed the command. 

Jarod looked up numbly.  Another blow brought him to his senses.  He jumped to his feet and backed away from both the sweepers and from Kenny.  But then the fury that was rapidly filling him erupted and he recklessly charged the sweepers. 

Unfortunately for Jarod, he had never SIMmed being a bodyguard.  His first few wild punches landed, but then he was overpowered and his arms were manacled behind his back.  Jarod’s attempts to free himself intensified when he heard the ominous squeak, squeak, squeak of the approaching oxygen tank and its owner. 

“This is ... your fault,…Jarod.  You killed…him…If you had….done as… you were…told, this…wouldn’t have…happened.”  Raines looked at the sweepers.  “Take him… to SL-23….to the…isolation cell.”

Jarod hung limply between the sweepers, his chin bouncing on his chest and blood running steadily from both his nose and a gash above his left eye.  His mind and body were both once again numb and he allowed the sweepers to drag him out of the lab and down the corridor to the elevators.


Sydney tried to slow both his heart rate and his breathing.  He had seen both Raines and the sweepers enter the SIM Lab and he knew that matters were quickly spinning out of control.  He had to get his equilibrium back before approaching Raines, had to calm himself if he was to protect Jarod. 

“What happened in here?” he asked Raines.  “Where’s Jarod?”  Sydney knew that assuming innocence was his best option. 

“Jarod …was just…taught… an important….lesson,” Raines gasped out.  “He will be….returned… to the lab…. on…Monday.” 


“Tower’s…orders, Sydney…Monday…we will see…if the…Pretender…has learned… his lesson.”  And with a squeak, squeak, squeak, Raines and his rolling sidekick left the SIM Lab.   


Monday Morning

The SIM Lab

Sydney paced the SIM Lab early on Monday morning.  He had spent the entire weekend agonizing over some very difficult decisions.  Decisions that now depended on his young Pretender. 

Sydney’s anxiety level rose steadily as the clock slowly ticked its way to 8am. Finally, the black minute hand pointed straight up and the lab doors were thrown open.  Raines entered the laband Two sweepers quickly followed with Jarod draped limply between them.   

Sydney’s concern for Jarod increased as he took in the young Pretender’s demeanor.  Jarod’s head was still down and his shoulders were slumped.  His whole attitude was one of defeat.  Looking at Jarod now proved to Sydney that he had made the right decision. 

“Are you…ready… to resume…working, Jarod?” Raines abruptly asked. 

Jarod simply nodded his head without looking up.  Raines motioned to the sweepers to release Jarod, who then dropped into the chair positioned next to the desk.  Sydney placed the newest SIM folder in front of Jarod, who opened the cover with a shaking hand.

Without another word, Raines and the sweepers left the lab.


Jarod had been reading for almost an hour when his head shot up.   Sydney, what...” “Is the SIM object unclear, Jarod?” Sydney interrupted Jarod. “No, but..,” and again Jarod was interrupted. “Is it possible?” “Yes, but…,” “Then proceed.” Jarod’s eyes widen in comprehension and his hands gripped the folder tightly.  The material in front of him contained all the information he needed for the most important SIM of his life.  Caution and thoroughness were in the highest demand. Lives, important lives, depended on it. 


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