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Chapter or Story Chapter or Story
Loooong chapter this time. Hope you like
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, Emily
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.
Jarod was tossed onto the back seat of the towncar, his muscles still twitching as badly as they did when Lyle had played with the jumper cables back in the Centre. He didn't know what Alex had injected him with but he was only unconscious for a short period of time. Maybe less than 15 minutes, because the car was still at the hotel.
He opened his eyes barely enought to see through his lashes. No Lyle yet. No Alex or Emily. Just a couple of sweepers that weren't paying any attention to him at all. He experimental moved the hand that was away from the sweepers, not wanting to attract their attention. He still didn't have the muscular control he needed to get away. He would have to wait.
He thought back to what had happened upstairs in his room. He had fallen to the ground with siezures after Alex had injected him with something. It was obviously not the same concoction as before, because the convulsions were a completely new side effect. Alex's soft comment to him proved who was responsible.
We can't let Lyle have all the fun with you, now can we?
Alex had roughly grabbed his left arm and bared it for another shot.
This little gift should only put you out for a couple of minutes. Then it's up to you to get away. But don't worry, I'm not helping you. We just don't need to involved Lyle in our game. Remember, get away from Lyle and come and find me. Or your family will pay the price and we don't want that, now do we?
Jarod's thoughts were abruptly ended by the shifting of the car as someone sat on the seat next to him. His body slumped towards this person and it wasn't until he was pushed back upright with a curse that he realized it was Lyle next to him. The sweepers got into the front and the car left the hotel grounds.
Emily was forcefully showed into the towncar. The doors were locked with a simultaneous click as soon as they closed. Her heart stopped for a moment. She was locked in. Her breath quickened and her eyes searched frantically for something to focus on. She had been seated in the mid back seat, tightly closed in by two armed men, ready to pounce the second she did anything to make them suspicious. Since both side windows were blackened out she eventually focused here gaze on the front window, trying to memorize as much as she could, though she didn't really know why.
The man they called 'Alex' was riding shotgun. He whispered something to soft for her to hear, then the driver pushed a button and the small opening between the back and front- seat, the only thing allowing her to see where they were and perhaps even a glimpse of where they were going, began to close.
The small limousine like window finally reached its final destination. Almost imidiatly after a hand grabbed grabbed her mouth and another her waist. Before her mind could catch up to what was happenign, she was blindfolded and gagged.
"Welcome to the Centre" One of the men mumbled as he slapped on a pair of cuffs.
Broots looked around for a bit in the dark room. Usually when entering a seemingly pitch black room, after a few minutes it begins to brighten somehow, and you can at least see something. In the Centre cell that wasn't the case, he still couldn't see a thing. For a moment he thought maybe he'd gone blind, but before he had time to think too much about it the door opened and light flooded the room.
A sweeper stepped in, "Mr Broots, you are to come with me."
Cox was waiting patiently for him, tired of this ridiculous charade, and worried just how much more that idiot Lyle could screw things up on him. It made him short-tempered, he did not like to worry. As he saw Broots coming, he smiled pleasantly. "I hope you have had a relaxing time Mr Broots."
Broots couldn't help but huff at that comment. Relaxing? He thought. Relaxing! I've been kidnapped by my employers, nterrogated, locked in a tiny dark room, I have no idea where Miss Parker is, and that's just in a few hours! Then he composed himself and answered Mr Cox with a silent nod.
Cox could see the outrage he tried to cover up and that made him smile even more. "please, sit down Mr Broots, is there anything I can get for you? A soda perhaps?"
He might be thirsty, but there was no way he was drinking anything given to him in a T-Board. He'd rather die of dehydration. No, he thought, continuing the internal debate, if he was dying of dehydration he would definitively say yes. It wouldn't save his life, but it would remove the thirst. "N-no, no thank you" He whispered.
"As you wish Mr Broots," Cox said, not at all surprised. "You like Sydney very much don't you?"
"Yeah, I like Sydney." Broots suddenly realized something "I mean, not 'like him'-like him, but as a friend" Was that why he was here? Did they think he was having an inappropriate relationship with Sydney? "Well um...not really a friend, more like a colleague" Oh, how he wished he hadn't said no to that soda. "Which we are. We work together, which makes us colleagues."
"Yes it does," Cox agreed with a barely concealed smirk.
Broots steadily continued down the path of destruction "I suppose you could say Sydney and I are friends, in the 'our relationship is strictly work related'-sense. Not that we have a relationship!"
"Of course you don't," Cox said, no longer bothering to hid his amusement. "We are colleagues as well Mr Broots," he said, unable to help himself from throwing that in, seeing just where the implications would take Broots' twisted little mind.
Broots merely nodded, not really sure what to think about that.
Well, that was a disappointing reaction. Still, he was here to play out this charade, not entertain himself. "Mr Broots, is that or is that not your Centre access code?" he slide a folder over to him, watching him intently. He had deliberately told the sweepers to hover near Broots, putting a little more pressure on him.
Broots slowly opened the folder, careful not to make any sudden moves with armed sweepers in such a close proximity. Was it his imagination or were they even closer than usual?
He shook his head and tried to focus on the password in front of him.
Yes, that was his code. But the fact that it was part of a T-Board scared him. They had something on him, but he didn't know what.
"And you don't share that with anybody? Any of your close colleagues?"
"Of course not!" He said louder than he had intended. "I've never even written it down anywhere. I haven't even said it out loud. Do you know how long it took me to memorize that code in silence?"
"So then any activity on it could only be possibly attributed to you? You are soley responsible for any such activities?"
"YES!" He practically shouted, without thinking about the possible ramifications
"I thought as much." Cox said with a satisfied grin. poor Mr Broots just had no clue at all how to play this game.
Suddenly everything clicked into place for Broots. They weren't trying to make him confess to sharing his access code, this was about him incriminating himself. And so far they were doing a great job.
"And I suppose you know nothing about the transfer of Centre funds then?" Cox asked slowly. "An unauthorized transfer."
This was getting to be a bit much for the poor tech, who after realizing what he had basically admitted to, was left staring into blank space, a look of ultimate despair painted across his face. Much like a zombie waiting for dinner.
"I see, then perhaps it was Sydney who stole your code and helped himself to the funds, leaving you to hold the proverbial bag." Cox tried to bait him.
At the mention of Sydney's name Broots finally managed to snap back into reality. "Wha-? No! Sydney would never do anything like that to me." He almost felt like crying but managed to hold his emotions in check and make a more appropriate response, "Everyone knows what happens if you steal from the Centre. Why would he do something like that? Why would I?"
"I cannot pretend to understand your motivation Mr Broots, but if Sydney is holding something over you, we can and will protect you." He offered him helpfully. "I want you to think seriously about your future Mr Broots. You tell us Sydney put you up to this and we will see what can be done for you, it would be most unfortunate for your daughter, what is her name?" He smiled at his reaction. "To be left without anybody to support her, wouldn't it?"
Broots stood up from his seat, and he felt the grip of sweepers on his shoulders, pushing him back down"You leave my daughter alone you hear me!"
"Let's hope your decision to cooperate can avoid any ugliness in that direction," Cox said absently as he stood up, gesturing for the sweepers to take him. "Think upon this matter carefully Mr Broots. Where do your loyalties lie? The outcome of this T-Board will depend heavily on what you choose to say at our next meeting, after the appropriate time to reflect."
He had left instructions with the sweepers to turn the lights back on now, wanting to watch the interplay between the two of them, see how quickly Broots turned on his good friend and colleague, the one he wasn't having any kind of inappropriate relationship with.
Jarod was in trouble. He still had no control over his muscles, his mind kept turning into mush, and now, to top off the whole miserable day, he was getting car sick. Not the mild inner-ear disturbance that could be controlled, this was the full-on better-stop-the-car-now-or-I-might-hurle type. And, thanks to the shot Alex had given him, he couldn't even swallow and now he was drooling like an idiot. Too bad he couldn't fall over towards Lyle, a big old drool mark would really make him feel better. Jarod mentally closed his eyes as the physical ones were already closed. Then the darkness swept him away again.
Some time later, Jarod woke up again. Same situation as before, he realized. Only this time the naseau was worse.
"Boss, I think he's gonna be sick," Jarod heard a voice say from the seat next to him.
Jarod heard Lyle's voice to his right and, in a short moment of clear-headedness, leaned that way. Then nature, and the motion sickness, took control. He heard Lyle's yell of disgust and felt the fist that punched him into leaning the other way. He couldn't control his stomach's voilent eruptions, but was able to take some perverse pleasure in the effects going on around him. And for some strange reason that he couldn't understand, his mind actually started clearing a little and he gained a little control over his muscles.
He still hadn't opened his eyes, so he felt the car turning. He didn't know if they were stopping at a gas station or a restaurant, but he didn't really care. He felt Lyle getting out of the car and the sweeper next to him shaking him to see if he was awake. He allowed his body to shake like the rag doll he had seen in a dog's mouth before. This seemed to convince everyone that he was still under the influence of whatever Alex had used on him. Now he cracked his eyes open a slit. There was no one else in the car with him. Lyle and two sweepers were headed into the building to his right and the third sweepers looked to be filling the gas tank. Perfect.
Jarod gave a loud groan and bent over, clutching his stomach. It took another two groans to get the sweeper's attention, but as soon as he leaned into the car over Jarod, Jarod bolted upright. The back of Jarod's head caught the unsuspecting sweeper under the chin and his teeth met with an audible crunch. He didn't even have time to moan before crumpling onto the seat next to Jarod. Jarod did jumped out of the car as quickly and quietly as he could and headed toward the woods at the far end of the parking lot. He just hoped he could make it there before Lyle and his boys saw him.
Emily felt the car come to a sudden stop, but the darn blindfold made the details as to why hard to come by until one of the cardoors opened and she could hear several sweepers bikering like little girls over who had to stay in the car with Jarod. Apparently he'd gotten sick all over the car, many of the sweepers included.
Suddenly the mood shifted. They went from sounding like schoolgirls to headless chickens. According to the desperate shouts in their now rather loud conversation, it seemed Jarod was no longer in the car. She couldn't help but attempt a smile as she pictured them fumbling around, looking for her doped up brother. Even in his state, and so obviously outnumbered, he still tried to escape.
At that very moment the rest of the doors opened and she could hear all but one of the Centre employees stepped out. This was the window she had been looking for, she thought, this was her chance to be free.
Isolation was easy enough for him to deal with. Sydney had been sifting through his memories and he had plenty of those. Not always good ones, but plenty anyway. Broots had been gone for a long time and he was starting to get worried about the poor tech. Sydney was relieved when the door opened with a creak and Broots stepped in without a word. He was fumbling with his own hands, not particularly looking in Sydney's direction.
"Are you all right, Broots?" he asked curiously.
"Yeah," He said instinctively, although that was not the case at all. He felt like he had a fever, like he was floating on a cloud and not really connecting much to the world around him as he desperatly tried to process what Cox had told him. "I-I'm fine"
Sydney nodded, though he was certain his friend was lying. "They certainly kept you long enough. I hope they weren't too hard on you. They didn't want to know anything specific?"
He didn't know what to do. He wanted to tell Sydney everything that happened. Just spill his guts and have the doctor fix it, like he always did. What would happen if he did? He sighed deeply and tried to make a convincing expression, "No, nothing specific."
Broots was obviously uncomfortable, so Sydney changed the subject, hoping the conversation would cycle back to whatever was upsetting him. "Sounds like they're really just wasting our time then. I still just can't figure out why they let Miss Parker go and not us."
"Because she's not a suspect" Broots muttered under his breath.
"Hm?" Sydney looked up at Broots' even more unusually pale face.
He readjusted himself on the poll, now making eyecontact with the old doctor. Whatever they would do to him, it couldn't be much worse than the feeling of betraying a friend. Could it?
"Sydney, will you promise me something?"
The intense seriousness of Broots' tone alerted Sydney that this was serious. "What's wrong, Broots? I'm your friend. You can tell me."
"Promise me that when you get out of here you'll take care of Debbie?" He couldn't believe he was actually doing this. But he couldn't turn Sydney in, he knew in his heart neither of them had anything to do with this.
"No, Broots. I refuse to promise you that when you will be fully capable of doing so yourself," Sydney said firmly, standing up and putting a hand on Broots' shoulder. "Listen to me. Whatever they're trying to hold over your head, just remember that Miss Parker and I are here for you and are on your side no matter what. Everything will be fine. They're just killing time here. Nothing's going to happen to you or your daughter."
"Promise me!" He shouted, not bothering to contain his emotions anymore.
Sydney took a step back, releasing his grip on Broots' arm. "I will always look out for you and Debbie. That, I promise."
Broots exhaled deeply, for the first time in a long time, he didn't feel scared. He knew Sydney would take care of Debbie, just like he promised. That was one of the many reasons he just couldn't betray him. Unlike most people working for this godforsaken organization he was a decent person. Broots knew whoever was watching would catch on and that they would be seperated in a matter of seconds.
"Money was transfered from the Centre funds using my access code" He could swear he heard them running down the hallway as he contined. "The code is D3XWQ//!O" He took a deep breath and continued as the door was unlocked. "Someone wants us out of the way, figure out who." Then two sweepers stepped in and grabbed him by the arms.
As he was dragged down he hallway he couldn't help but smile. For the first time in his life he had been brave.
It all happened so fast. It was eerie to see Broots being so deathly serious about something and Sydney absorbed the information he had told him as best he could. D3XWQ//!O. He repeated the code over and over again in his mind. Whether it would be useful to him or not, he didn't know. It was better to be safe than sorry, especially in the Centre where sorries were so often lost between rehabilitation and reeducation. Money though? This was all about money? There had to be more. This wasn't petty business politics. It was a set up orchestrated by someone within the Centre. Someone who wanted to get rid of Broots. Broots had no exceptional position within the Centre, except with his role in the Jarod pursuit. Jarod. This was connected to Jarod. It always was somehow.
The door opened again and Sydney knew it was his turn this time.