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Hey all. Look *points to callender* I has improved. Although still, I want to put out sort of a general warning; I am more or less on summer vacation now (no more classes, although one more exam to go) so I can't really guarantee that I'll remember to put up a chapter on exactly the day I say, but I will try my best.
Thanks again for all the wonderful reviews. The response has been above any of our imagination I think.
Each character is written by a different author (well almost, some writers add on a second, but that's 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.
Broots froze when saw Mr. Lyle standing in front of him. As the man walked passed him out the door his expensive cologne intruded into his nostrils and made him nauseous, though he didn't really know why.
As soon as the man was outside he felt as if a giant weight just lifted off his shoulders... Then he saw the sweepers.
His instinct told him to run, flee, grab Syd and head for the nearest exit. But, as usual, he froze.
A second later he saw the handcuffs and the look in Miss Parker's eyes. Something was wrong, very wrong.
They had been right. Mr Lyle was behind all of this madness. The moment Sydney saw his smiling face, his heart had fallen.
Now in the car headed to Blue Cove, Sydney fingered the chains around his wrists, knowing for once how Jarod must feel constantly, de-humanized. It was something he'd fathomed, and something he barely recollected from his days with the Nazis but desperately tried to block away.
Miss Parker was clearly furious, breathing long and deeply. Broots was in a panic, asking questions that neither Miss Parker nor Sydney felt the urge to answer. All Sydney could think about now was Jarod. If this was their treatment, he knew their pretender's was far worse.
And once again, he had failed him.
Alex broke the small glass ampoule of smelling salts just under Jarod’s nose. He sat back, watching as the pretender jerked back before confused eyes settled briefly on him. He smiled and then slipped a hand underneath one arm as he helped the taller man onto his feet. As they made their way towards the bedroom he heard something that sounded in the line of, ‘Your dead.’
“This is just a dream, Jarod,” he replied. “You took something for a cold and it effected you aversely. When you wake up you’ll feel a lot better.”
Jarod shook his head slightly, frowning as he tried to push Alex’s hand away. “No,” he mumbled, “Y…you’re real.”
Alex sighed and effortlessly tucked the pretender in. “This is just a dream, Jarod. Remember. You had a cold and you took something that you didn’t know your sensitive too. When you wake up you’ll feel a lot better.”
Jarod closed his eyes wearily, his protest on his lips but not escaping any further. Alex smiled as he watched the breaths deepen towards sleep. Just before Jarod fully slipped away, he leaned in again and whispered into his ear, “When you wake up you must remember to write in your blue notebook. It’s very important.”
Alex watched as the pretender mumbled his words, fast asleep. Moving away from the bed, he scattered tissues and placed some flu medicine besides the bed, readying the room for when the pretender will wake.
Only when everything was in order, did he leave, knowing that Jarod was almost ready.
Mr Cox put the phone down carefully, allowing a small smile to creep onto his face. He diligently finished off the minor adjustment he was working on with his latest acquisition and carefully cleaned and placed his tools away. It was time to get to work, and Mr Cox was a man who loved his job.
The sweeper team were on their way with what was going to prove to be most interesting and enjoyable. When the directive had been issued he had calmly waited, having no interest in the actual pursuit at all.
To have Miss Parker in his power, before a T-board, was more than he could ever want. The debriefing would be soon and he could barely wait. The anticipation was delightful. He could imagine her reaction, and that of course was going to make it even more fun.
The long, thin body on the bed tossed back and forth. Nightmare images of Alex and Lyle flashed through the tortured brain. Sheets tangled around the legs giving the impression of restraints. Keyboards, needles and blue notebooks chased after his fleeing dream-self, ready to inflict unimaginable harm. A jerk and a shout brought the dreamer awake to a room filled with the odor of sweat and fear.
Jarod's eyes darted all over the room, making sure his dream hadn't followed him awake. He was in bed, but didn't remember how he got there. A bottle of cold medicine and some crumpled tissues caught his eye. He could hear a voice telling him that he had had a reaction to some medicine, but that didn't make any sense. He wasn't sick. Tired, confused, covered in sweat, yes. Sick, no. A shower would help clear his mind, he decided. Getting cleaned up would get the sour taste of Alex and Lyle out of his skin and allow him to feel like a human being not a labrat running in their maze.
Fifteen minutes later, he was letting the ultra-hot water beat down on his head. The hot water in a shower was right up on the list next to PEZ and ice cream as a benefit of freedom from the Centre. A person could put up with a lot of abuse if provided with enought hot water. His musing on hot water were cut short when his softly-lathered washcloth hit a painful bruise inside his left elbow. A quick rinse and close inspection of the bruise proved his theory: this was an injection-site bruise. The remains of four other sites were soon found. Then a suspicious lump on his right shoulder blade.
Jarod quickly jumped out of the shower and headed back into the bedroom. A search of his black jeans pockets produced his knife and then back into the bathroom. A little digging, some blood and a lot of pain later, he had his proof; a Centre-issued tracking device had been implanted in his back.
Jarod knew he had to leave the room he was in. Lyle knew where he was. And he could hear a voice telling him he HAD to write in his blue notebook. But he didn't use blue, he thought to himself. Kyle used blue. A look at the desk twisted his reality again. There was a blue notebook in the middle of the desk.
Jarod didn't stop to think. He quickly got dressed and grabbed his DSA case and left the room, leaving everything else behind.
Cox approached the cell door with a serene smile on his face. He had had her isolated from the other two, not wanting their time interrupted by the snivelling of the computer nerd or clever insights by the shrink. He wanted the focus to be on her. Waiting patiently for the sweeper to open the door, he straightened his tie and smoothed down his jacket as the door was unlocked.
"I thought your taxidermist ass was back in Africa," Parker snarled as Cox's cocky form entered the small cell. She sat up straight, trying to ignore the indignity of being restrained like a common labrat.
A smile twitched on his features, but he didn’t allow it to form fully. "Lovely as ever Miss Parker, and such cutting wit too." He drawled. he entered the room only enough to allow the door to be closed. "I hope I didn’t keep you waiting too long." He told her, watching her calmly. he had had to restrain himself from rushing down here, he was that eager to start the debriefing. it was more prudent though to let her wait for a little bit.
"And to what do I owe the pleasure? I can only assume this isn't another performance review for my team's hunting abilities," Parker replied tersely.
"Or lack thereof," he quipped. "Assumptions are dangerous Miss Parker, I would have thought by now you would understand that simple principle." He taunted her a little.
"It's not an assumption. Only something big would drag us out of the field when we were following our best series of leads in quite some time. I'm just happy to sit back and watch Lyle screw this one up," Parker replied smartly. "I just can't wait to sit back and watch Lyle screw this one up, and may I add, the goon squad left quite a lasting impression with their welcome wagon routine."
"Yes, they do don't they?" He agreed easily. he had expected her temper to be a little more volatile by now. He leant forward a little, as if they might be overheard by the microphones they both knew was there. "I think that is the whole idea."
Parker took a steadying breath, aware that her temper was dangerously close to erupting. She wasn't going to give Cox and his African possy the satisfaction of seeing her crack. She met Cox's gleaming eyes with a strong stare, full of resolve.
"Keep talking and I'll begin to believe that you are involved in Lyle's sordid little scheme. It's too coincidental to be anything but related. Jarod is
seconds away from the nuthouse, Lyle reppears out of thin air and now this pointless charade."
She paused briefly, giving Cox a taunting wink. "Let the games begin."
"Pointless to you perhaps Miss Parker, but as you may be shocked to find out, the world does not actually revolve around you and your problems. The Triumvirate is concerned about your fitness to lead this chase, and I can assure you, this is not a game." He said seriously, amused by her bravado. too many times in the past he had smiled and remained silent as she ranted and disparaged him, not this time though. this time he had the upper hand and he was going to enjoy this. She simply had no clue about what went on here, how things really worked. even with Jarod rubbing her nose in it, she was too stubborn to open her eyes and actaully see.
Parker sat back as Cox was called over to the door by a nameless sweeper. She allowed the façade to fall from her features, her mind instantly turning into concern for Broots and Sydney.
This T-Board wasn’t intended to be a casual slap on the wrist, this was something big. The more she contemplated the situation, the more convinced she became of Lyle’s involvement.
Question was, who was his accomplice? Her twin was too dim-witted and cocky to have invented this sordid scheme on his own.
She pushed away the concern for Jarod, the fear for Broots and Sydney’s safety, the anger and resentment towards her twisted family tree. Today was only about one thing – survival.
By the gleam in Cox’s eye, she would need to bring her A game to the table. It wasn’t just her life she was fighting for.
“He found the chip.”
“So, he’s trying to run again?”
“According to his mind, he has escaped.”
“No. He still needs to complete his notebook. He’ll do it soon. He has no choice.”
“For you sake, I hope so. I don’t want you to screw this up, Alex.”
“Oh, Jarod owes me just as much as you. I won’t underestimate him this time.”
“Just get it done. With my sister out of the way temporarily, I want us to use this time productively. I want him under my full control by the end of the week.”
“And so you have told me more than once this week. I’m not an idiot.”
“I never said you were. I’m fully aware what you are capable off. I trained you.”
“Give wonder boy his freedom for the rest of the day. I want to be there when we bring him in and this time I want him to be aware.”
“I advise against it.”
“Noted. Remember who’s in charge.”
“Don’t lose him, Alex. Let me know the location an hour before.”
Next update: Thursday
(yes I know, so soon. Will be a drought for a few days after that though, exam coming up)