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Sydney's Office

The Centre

"Interesting, Broots." Sydney intoned, leaning back in the leather chair, his fingers tented in contemplation.

The pair had not heard the hallmark staccato rhythm of four inch stilettos which heralded Parker's approach. She'd been standing outside the door long enough to hear Broots' seemingly endless anxiety-fueled chatter, long enough to know that Sydney was too preoccupied- - probably with thoughts of Frankenrat- -to even feign interest in the tech's meanderings.

Clearly, neither of the men were aware that something was amiss in Centre wonderland.

"What is?" Parker asked as she entered Sydney's office.

Broots cleared his throat and shifted uncomfortably. 

"Well, a recent study revealed that monkeys exhibit violent, and other very disturbing behavior when they become adults i-if they aren't allowed to play when they are young." Broots explained.

"Well they can forgo the study on humans." Parker said, referring to the escaped and ever elusive Jarod. She dropped a zip lock bag and a small card on Sydney's desk. "From the king of strange and disturbing."

"What is this, Parker?" Sydney closely inspected the contents of said bag.

"It looks like dirt to me, Syd; your little monkey left it on my desk. You really should have let Jarod play when he was a child."

"If I remember correctly, Parker, you said those exact words to me when you were a girl."

"And if you had listened to me then, Jarod wouldn't be tormenting me now." She poured herself a glass of scotch.

"Um, it's a little early for a drink, isn't it?" Broots asked.

Parker shot him an angry glare, and then took a long, satisfying drink of her whisky.

"I guess not." Came Broots' rather asthmatic snort.

"You look exhausted, Parker."

"That's because I am exhausted, Sydney."

"There were rumors of a T board."

"Rumors." She repeated, a note of disdain in her voice. "Sixteen hours and of course, Raines and Lyle were there with their tall tales. Jarod killing anyone is just a- a ridiculous notion. The director is furious," She continued, "the Triumvirate is applying more pressure; there was mention of a bullet and brain- - mine to be more specific- - if Jarod isn't sitting in an African prison this time next year."

"My God." Sydney exclaimed.

"I'm afraid the news only gets worse: Raines asked to take over the Jarod pursuit."

"And?" Sydney prompted her to continue.

"You and I will have not access to Jarod once he's brought in, even if I bring him in. The director flatly refused to negotiate with me."

"But I know Jarod better-"

"I reiterated as much and was ordered to be silent! They shut me down every time I opened my mouth. Raines is also adding a new team from Europe to- to assist us. They'll be arriving next month. All Centre employees with the proper clearance have been given an order to take a non fatal shot and bring him in."

"Shoot Jarod? What are you going to do, Parker?"

"Practice my aim."

"Listen to yourself!" Sydney chided.

"It's possible that we can bring him without any unnecessary blood shed, Syd but we have to find him first. Let's focus on the current situation and see where this-" she gestured to the ziplock bag, "leads us."

Sydney picked up the card and read it aloud.

"G39601M. Does that mean anything to you?"

"No." Parker replied, then turned to Broots.

"I want that dirt tested thoroughly. I want to know where it came from and why the hell curious George left it on my desk. Run the numbers on the card, find out what they mean and why I should give a damn."

"Anything else?" Broots asked sarcastically.

"Yes. Phone the guard that was on duty during the break in."

"He's probably at home, uh, sleeping."

"And your point is?" She asked, her eyes narrowed.

"He, well uh-"

"Tell him that I am going to personally put a bullet in his head if Jarod breaks into my office again."

Broots nodded obsequiously.


Miss Parker's Office

"Are you all right, Parker?"

"Fine, Syd." Parker answered abstractedly.

"I knocked four times but you didn't hear. You know I'm here if you want to talk."

"Thanks, Sydney, I'm still tired from the trip." Parker switched on the computer.

"How was Scotland?"

"Cold. Miserable. It reminded me of this place."

"And Jarod?"

"What about him?"

"You didn't tell me that Jarod was on the isle with you."

"It uh," she said, absently, "it didn't come up."

"Was he well? Emotionally?"

"Emotionally?" Parker repeated with a chuckle. "He was angry."


"His mother was on the isle, too, Syd. She'd been shot and while I was holding him at gunpoint, she was leaving on the last boat. It's my fault that he missed her."

"Is that remorse I hear in your voice, Parker?"

"Absolutely not," Parker answered, unequivocally, "my job is to capture and return him, not organize his family reunion."

"You had Jarod at gun point," Sydney said, "and you didn't call for the chopper?"

"There was a storm, Sydney."

"I'm aware of that, Parker; however, the pilot's report suggests that the storm didn't make landfall until later that evening."

"I don't give a damn what the pilot's report suggests." She returned, fiercely, and began typing, loudly.

"What are you searching for?" Sydney probed.


"And you think you'll find him online?"

"Jarod's mother most likely received medical attention somewhere in Scotland; I'm hacking into hospital records."

"What makes you think she's still there?"

"You know the game, Syd: no stone left unturned along the path of this pursuit. We find his mother, we find Jarod." Parker said, with a shrewd smile, "we may have to dangle her in front of him to-"

"Use his mother as bait?" Sydney interrupted, his brow creased with concern, "I can't be involved-"

Sydney fell silent suddenly when the door opened and Lyle and Raines strode into office.

"The Centre's been burglarized." Lyle unceremoniously announced.

"Really?" Parker sang.

"Jarod ransacked several offices, destroyed the lab and tech rooms, stole several boxes of dsas and files."

"Including my private dsas." Raines interjected.

"And then he killed the night watchman." Lyle concluded.

"I'm waiting for the punch line." Parker said.

"As is the guard;" Lyle returned, dryly, "he's in the morgue and he is not laughing. Neither am I."

"Jarod is not a killer, Lyle, he-" Parker argued and then fell silent, observed Lyle flip open a DSA player.

"This is Jarod stealing the discs." Lyle explained. "And this is him later, shooting the guard."

"In the head with a pump action shot gun- the one we retrieved after Jarod's last encounter with Bartlett." Raines added.

"Unbelievable!" Sydney exclaimed.

Parker rewound the DSA, and then fast forwarded the dsa and zoomed in for a closer look.

"What is it?" Lyle asked.
"Something is different." Parker whispered.

"Damn right somethings different. Jarod is out of control."
"No." Parker said and rewound the dsa again. "His hair- it's shorter when he kills the guard." Parker rose, fixed Lyle with an accusing glare. "You faked this, didn't you, Lyle? I know damn well Jarod didn't break in, steal files, give himself a hair cut, then kill the guard! Your incompetent tech team used footage from two different years and-"

"I thought it was a clever edit myself, Sis." Lyle interrupted. "I can't explain his hair. Hell, maybe Angelo gave him the new "do". Fact is: I don't know, and I don't care. My tech team examined the video and it's legit." Lyle said as he reached for the DSA. Parker grasped his hand, brought him to a halt.

"Your tech team." She growled. "This dsa goes nowhere until Broots sees it."

"Keep it." Lyle said as he turned to leave.

"Lyle." Parker said.


"The Centre began making triplicates of every dsa after Jarod's escape. Get me a list of the dsas he took and the authorization to view them. I'll see if I can figure out what he's thinking. There may be a clue that will lead us to the prize."

"They'll be on your desk by the end of the week." Lyle winked.

"This can't be true." Sydney said.

"And it's not." Parker hissed.


Kincardineshire, Scotland


Jarod intended to spend the day hacking into hospital records on the off-chance his mother had sought treatment- that, of course was on the off-chance that she had indeed survived the injury she'd sustained in Carthis. Best laid plans. He spent the day instead searching for an abducted two-year-old, who as it turned out, hadn't been kidnapped, after all.

After pushing a chair to the door to reach the locks and making his great escape, the diaper-clad toddler had wandered next door to visit his grandparents.

Seven hours after local law enforcement officials issued an alert and searched the neighborhood, Jarod found the toddler sitting on his grandmother's kitchen counter with his small hand inside the cookie jar and after tasting one of the delectable homemade cookies- -the kind Grandmothers are famous for- -Jarod understood the boy's motivation.

Jarod yawned as he ascended the four flights of stairs to his apartment and hummed lightly. He was grateful for the happy ending- it was a rarity. He glimpsed the envelope on the floor as soon as the door swung open and drew his gun.

You run, I chase. Her words ricocheted through his mind.

Once he was certain that he was alone, Jarod breathed a sigh of relief, holstered his gun and opened the envelope.

According to the document, his mother had been treated at Land's End hospital in Scotland and intended to remain in the country. Jarod doubted immediately the veracity of the documents, particularly the latter. Someone doesn't want me to leave Scotland.

Tech Room

The Centre

Sydney observed as Parker impatiently paced the floor and snapped her fingers in Broots' general direction.

"Parker, you have to calm down."

"Calm down, Syd? Damn it, Broots, how long will it take you to complete the analysis?"

"Another second. Uh. It's definitely Jarod," Broots announced. "There's movement behind him. It's a- it's a cat."

"A cat?" Sydney asked.
"Yes, it runs away as the shot is fired."

The tech tapped several keys and opened two newly acquired programs and examined each clip in slow motion.

"I don't see anything here that screams fake."

"What are you saying, Broots? That Jarod killed an innocent man? The guard didn't even have his gun drawn. Watch it again," Parker  commanded.

"What's your boy up to, Syd? Hmm? Why would he steal the D.S.A.s, then cut his hair and kill a guard? He's like a different person."

"Maybe he is- you know uh, a different person or at least when he killed the guard anyway." Broots suggested.

"You're talking about multiple personalities, aren't you?" Parker asked, her eyes narrowed. "Sydney, is that possible?"

"Parker, we don't know for certain if Jarod even-"

"Humor me, Syd," She demanded.

"He was taken from his family as you know, which was very traumatic, and unfortunately, I wasn't always here to protect him from Raines and Lyle-"

"Spit it out, Freud."

"He's been plagued with nightmares and flashbacks all of his life. You know better than anyone what the Centre has done to him. Disassociative identity disorder is a possibility; however-"

"Oh, my God, She murmured.

"Parker, I need to see him, talk to him. Until then, we can only hope and pray that-"

"Hope? Prayers? Does that help you sleep better at night, Syd?" Parker asked, indignantly, thrusting a violent gesture at the DSA player. "Did you see the look on his face, the look in his eyes?"

"Yes, and I understand your concern, Parker-"

"My concern? My concern! Who has chased him for five and a half years? Who kept him from his family? Sydney," Parker hissed, "I would've killed me a long time ago if I were him."

"Jarod has never blamed you."

"He had no reason to blame an innocent guard who had no idea what this place is either! I've heard you say time and time again that you feared he would snap and he finally has."

Broots cleared his throat. "It appears to be real- uh, t-that doesn't mean it is real, it just means- well, if it's not legit, it's a good edit job. A damn good edit job. I-I have to call Debbie and make sure she's all right. I want her get a ride home with one of her friends. Jarod knows where we live."

"No. You and Sam have to pick her up from school right now!" Parker snapped her fingers, observed as Broots literally ran from the room.

"Hell, he could be teaching her class."

"Parker, I believe we should wait-"

"I'm not waiting, Syd." She said, pivoting. 

"Where are going?"

"If Jarod shot the guard, the body will be in the morgue." Parker answered, in parting, and was greeted with the stench of formaldehyde when the elevator doors hissed opened. She stifled a cough, covered her mouth with the sleeve of her jacket and continued down corridor eight.

She breathed a sigh of relief when she scanned the empty morgue and then pivoted around to leave, but then noticed an adjoining room.

"What the hell?" She murmured under her breath, and realized, upon closer examination, that the Centre had added an entire new wing to the morgue and an additional egress.

Parker entered cautiously and then came to a halt, gaped in horror.

Raines was bent over the stainless steel autopsy table, engrossed in his work, his gloves covered in blood.

"This is- or was- Jack Roberts," Raines explained, "the night guard that Jarod killed. I heard from our men in forensics but I don't have to tell you what their findings were, now do I, Miss Parker?" Raines wheezed. "This is exactly what we feared would happen. Jarod was never meant to be out there. He is becoming more and more dangerous, Miss Parker. You have to find and return him."


"You secured Debbie?" Parker asked Broots several hours later.

"Yes. But that's not why I called you down here. The dirt that Jarod left on your desk matches soil samples taken from the Centre's property years ago during routine soil testing." Broots explained.

"Jarod's digging up dirt on the Centre now. Literally." Parker said, pinching a cigarette from the box.

"You uh you stopped smoking years ago, Miss Parker."

"That was clearly a mistake," she murmured, and then asked, "what about the card?"

"Right. It's a license plate number for a 2008 Ford pickup registered to Builders, Inc., a privately owned construction company that was-"

"Contracted by the Centre?"

"Yes," Broots nodded, "but I have no idea where they are located, there's no address, no phone number, nothing."

"Builder's Inc. added the new wing to the morgue."

"They built on to the morgue?" Sydney asked.

"I found Raines slicing up the guard earlier- a regular Doctor Swango."

"M-Miss Parker, when families have a baby, they build on to their house-" Broots fell silent, his eyes widened in fear, "they uh, they are going to add more bodies to the Centre's morgue?"

"Only if Jarod doesn't beat them to it," Parker hissed, "the dirt he left on my desk is his insanely clever way of telling me that I'm next."

Miss Parker's Office

"Oh, Momma." Parker whispered to the woman staring out from the 8 X 10 frame. With a pensive sigh, she returned the frame to her desk and switched on the dsa. She scrutinized the footage, searched for clues, for something Broots might have been missed. When her mobile rang, she paused the player, paused it on a close up of Jarod.

Parker drew a long breath, stabbed the speakerphone key. "What." She hissed.

"Sometimes the answers to life's greatest mysteries are right in front of us." Jarod purred- those were a poor choice of words indeed- had he only known.

"And sometimes people aren't exactly who they seem to be, Jarod."

"Ah," he said, amused, "that's almost funny coming from you, Miss Parker. Almost."

"No. It is funny that you telephoned, however. Sydney was just telling me that he needs to speak with you. It's urgent."

"Urgent," Jarod repeated. "What's wrong?"


"Please don't lie to me." He said.

"Talk to Sydney."

"I was hoping that- that you and I could talk," Jarod said, sullenly.

"About?" Parker sang.

"Carthis. I uh, I can't help but wonder what would have happened if Ocee hadn't-"

Parker closed her eyes and the mobile and expelled a breath.

"That new Thai place on third and main was packed, but uh," Broots stammered and then, noting her distressed countenance and the mobile in her hand, asked, "Were you speaking to Jarod just now?"


"Did you hang up on him?"

"Is that any of your business?"

"Are you all right, Miss Parker?"

'I'm fine."

"Did he- did he threaten you or-"


"Well, what did he say?"

"He said the answers to life's greatest mysteries are right in front of us. What do you read into that, whiz kid?"

"Well, that's no reason to be-" Broots fell silent, and then grinned, "In front of you?"

"That's what Mr. Ambiguous said. Do you need to me to write it down for you?"

"Not in front of you, Miss Parker; in front of the Centre."

Parker knitted her brow. "What are you talking about, Broots?"

"Just now when I pulled into the Centre's main road, I saw an yellow work truck. It was near the Centre's eastern parking garage."

"In front of the Centre," She said with a roll of eyes.

"Yes," Broots exclaimed.

"Dirt," she groaned. "That garage was abandoned just after my mother's-" Parker fell silent, gestured dismissively. "I'll be back." She simply said.

"I'm coming with you." Broots said, jogging to catch up with her.

Outside, they both ducked behind a yellow truck, eavesdropped.

"I want this work completed by the end of the week," Lyle shouted.

"It's going to take a least a month to complete SL-28." A heavyset, red haired man explained.

Parker shot Broots a look of disbelief and mouthed the words SL-28, to which Broots responded with a shrug.

"That is unacceptable," Lyle argued.
"I'll have to hire more men."
"Hire them," Lyle shouted.

Parker and Broots crept back inside the Centre.
"SL-28?" Broots asked.

"I don't know what the hell that bastard is up to but I am going to find out." Parker hissed. "I want you to follow Red when he leaves today. I'll stay here and keep an eye on Lyle."

And SL-28.

En route to the newly built SL-28, a figure emerged from the shadows, grasped Parker's arm.
"What are you doing, Parker?"
"Sydney," She gasped, angrily.

"Broots has returned from his," Sydney shook his head, "errand," he intoned accusingly, mingling in his voice equal measures of admonishment and approbation. It seems," Sydney whispered, "that Broots followed the red haired man to Builders, Inc. headquarters, gained entry and found some blue prints," Sydney explained. "He's upstairs waiting rather anxiously- - as you can well imagine- - for your return."

"Then, let's get the hell out of here," Parker said, pivoting around towards the lift. The pair stood in silence, and then, when the doors shuddered open, stared bemused as sweepers jogged past.

"What the hell is going on, Syd?"

"I've no idea, Parker. Perhaps Broots will know something."

The pair nearly collided with a rather piqued Lyle.

"Lose something, Bobby?" Parker asked.

"Yes. Eight of my sweepers were killed a few hours ago. It was Jarod." Lyle announced and then observed as the color drained from Parker's face.

"That's not all. One of the men I hired to make minor repairs around here didn't come back from his break. He was just found dead in a lake two miles from here. The only witness was a teenager and he has positively identified Jarod. We have to catch him."

"And we will," She replied with a nod, and observed as Lyle stepped onto an elevator.

"Yes, Syd?"

"Broots is waiting for us."




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