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Author's Chapter Notes:

Hey all. Thanks again for awesome reviews. Enjoy


Each character is written by a different author (well almost, some writers add on a second later in the story), so to help you readers keep it all straight, each character has a different color.

Writer / Character

Jacci - Mr Cox

KatieQ - Miss Parker

Manoline - Broots

Tinanaz - Jarod

TLM - Sydney

Whashaza - Lyle, Alex

A new chapter will be posted approximately twice a week, check end notes for when the next is scheduled to arrive. 

“This is not my fault,” Alex retorted. There was a long silence, during which Lyle’s attention drifted between the comatose Pretender and Alex. Aware that he had the sociopath’s full attention, he pulled out his cell and dialled a number.

“It’s me. I want you to bring the girl here.”

Alex crouched down beside Jarod, once again slapping his cheeks, none too gently. Jarod didn’t even flinch, his eyes staring straight ahead.

“You should have anticipated this,” Lyle said, “Sydney has obviously taught him more than just refuge.”

Alex shot a quick look at Lyle, his eyes darkened with anger. “If he’s retreated willingly, he could jeopardise our programming.”

“Oh, I don’t doubt that. With Jarod you have to anticipate. And I’ve made contingency plans.” Lyle’s smile was thin and cold. “Get him on the chair, facing the door,” he ordered.

Alex pressed his lips together, not happy to be commanded like a second rate sweeper. Turning his back, he lifted the heavy body and dumped it into the chair Lyle had sat in not so long ago. He wound cord around Jarod’s chest, forcing him upright and into position.

“How do you plan on reaching him in this state?”

Ignoring Alex, Lyle leaned in and softly stroked Jarod’s hair. No muscle twitched, nothing indicated that the pretender was aware of Lyle’s unwelcome touch.

“You will do as you’re told. I promise,” he said, “Unless you don’t care about family anymore.”

Jarod’s breath quickened visibly, the only indication that he had heard Lyle’s words.

“Oh, this is classic. Who did you find?”

“You’ll know in less than ten minutes. I have a call to make to Cox. Keep an eye on Jarod. I don’t want him trying something desperate like getting himself killed.”

Alex nodded and Lyle moved to stand by the window. He punched in the third number programmed in his speed dial list and waited for the call to be answered.


"Cox," Cox answered the phone, seeing Lyle's number displayed. He had better be ringing to confirm they were on schedule. He had already had to give the order to let Miss Parker go, despite his better judgment, but hopefully she would be busy trying to track down just what they thought they had on Broots and Sydney.

Applying more pressure to Broots had been a sensible strategy.

“I’ve found the pretender,” Lyle said by way of greeting, “and he’s not cooperating. I was under the impression that your drugs had been tested.”

Cox took a moment so he wouldn't lose his composure and then stated calmly, "The drugs have been tested, and proven. I warned you that Jarod was different, that success could not be guaranteed with the same degree of certainty."

“Right. And you also promised me the chair. I don’t see that happening,” Lyle stated. “Jarod had managed to be counterproductive; he’s gone and made himself an antidote.”

Cox knew Lyle was not smart enough to have pulled this off. It had been going so well, he should have known sooner or later it would turn sour. "I assume you have the situation under control? How hard can it be Mr. Lyle?”

“Don’t treat me like one of your lackeys, Cox. I’ve worked with Jarod before and I’ve gotten him to cooperate,” he dared, “He’s never gone this deep into himself before.”

What Lyle called cooperation and what the average person called cooperation were worlds apart. "Then you need to get him out, don't you?"

Lyle would never understand that fear and pain was a powerful weapon, but needed to be used with care and precision, especially on a mind as powerful and valuable as Jarod's.

“I’m working on that but it will mean that you need to keep my sister busy for a little while longer.”

"How much longer?" He asked, already having let Parker go. She would be busy with other things right now, and had no idea where to look for Lyle, so that shouldn’t be a problem. Having argued strenuously against her release, knowing it would jeopardize things, he had been overruled, and now they had to hope that she didn’t screw things up anymore than her twin already had. There seemed to be a strong genetic predisposition in the Parkers of being screw-up’s. It really was a surprise that Africa had tolerated this for as long as they had.

“An hour, no more,” Lyle replied, looking back at the pretender and Alex. He smiled, knowing that Jarod was not prepared for his little surprise. “I’ll get back to you when I have results.”

"See that you do," Cox said, tired of all the setbacks. It was well past time that they brought Jarod back. This could have been just as easily done back here, safely, in a controlled environment.

“Very impressive,” Alex grinned, seating himself on the arm of Jarod’s chair. “So Cox still has no idea I’m involved.”

Lyle’s smiled faded. “Don’t underestimate him” he warned. “Cox has managed to survive Africa’s politics.”

Closing his phone, Cox let out a long and cleansing breath. This was not what he had signed up for and he knew Lyle was holding something back from him. As long as he was here though, stuck with this ridiculous T-board, there was nothing much he could do about it.

Since he was stuck, and they had countermanded him with regards to the other problematic twin, he was taking the precaution of having her followed. Perhaps she could do his detective work for him while he played childish games with the headshrinker and the techie.

As interesting a diversion they were, he felt that he was being left out in the cold somehow, not trusting Lyle for one second.

Chapter End Notes:
Next chapter: Tuesday 1st

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