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Author's Chapter Notes:
This chapter features secrets to be finally revealed and a confrontation between two siblings. Twin siblings, to be exact.

As always, comments are really appreciated. And please, forgive my lack of English!

Thanks to Antoinette for the usual help in the translation!


9.29 a.m.

When Miss Parker entered her office, she found a little circus waiting for her. Broots was working at his computer, as always, while Sydney was following Angelo’s random acts, for he was running around in evident anxiety.

“What’s going on with him?”

“Miss Parker…Jarod…Danger!”

“He’s been repeating those words for an hour, now.”

“Angelo…” she said, taking his face between her hands. “I know. We both know. Don’t worry, Jarod and I are ready. But you must stop, because I need you to calm down and be clear-headed!” she said with all the calm she still had. Angelo seemed to melt at her touch, and he grimaced, almost smiling.

“Very good, Angelo.” she whispered, stroking his face.

Sydney and Broots were still staring at her, intrigued by that unusual maternal attitude of hers.

“There are interesting developments. We need to talk!” she said to both of them.

“Talk about what?” a very familiar voice said.

“None of your business, Lyle, get out of my office!” Parker shouted at him. 

Her brother, instead of listening to her, got closer. “I was looking for Angelo. I want to use him for something.”

“He’s not an object!” Sydney complained.

“Come on, Syd, let my brother have fun with our little monster!” she silenced him. Sydney was confused. Why the sudden change of attitude towards Angelo? But the empath didn’t seem to care, instead, he was smiling.

“Take him out of here, and if you find anything tell me. I’ve got some unfinished business with Jarod, and I don’t wanna let him flee for the millionth time!”  

Lyle seemed surprised by the hate his sister put in those words. He had never seen her more determined in the last years. So, he dragged Angelo out of her office and left the Three Little Pigs on their own.

“Would you mind explaining?” Broots asked, still ashamed for her acting. 

Miss Parker sighed and sat on the couch, feeling an incoming nausea attack.

“I had to get rid of him, and he must believe I’m still hunting Jarod…It would be a disaster, should they find out about our relationship.”

When he heard Miss Parker talking openly about a relationship with Jarod, Broots understood how much times had changed. 

“We spoke with Ethan…for a long time…” she started.

“Tell us everything.” Sydney invited her.

The next half hour was spent talking. Miss Parker told them about her brother’s trip to Africa, about the prophecies, about her father surviving to the jump, about Jarod’s departure. She revealed them everything that she had discovered, because they had the right to know, and they were the only ones she could trust, now that Jarod and Ethan had left. When she was over, she noticed astonishment in Broots’s eyes and resignation in Sydney’s. 

“Miss Parker…Are you…a-afraid?” Broots asked her.

“Yes.” She admitted. “But there’s no space for fear. It’s time to find the answers.”

“Where do we start?”

“From Michael’s identity. I know now that he’s not my brother, so I want the truth. I feel responsible for him, even if I don’t know why.”

“Your bond with him probably derives from the fact you helped with his birth, you were close to him before they isolated him. After all, you were sure he was your father and Brigitte’s son.” Sydney explained.

Once again the voices stunned her. He is not your brother.

“Broots, I know I’m asking a lot. But you must run some DNA test on the kid, is it possible?”

Sydney and Broots stared at each other. “When we were looking for information about your biological father, we also found some placenta and cord blood samples from the baby.”

“Great. Nothing better than a prenatal-viscera-cocktail to discover where Michael comes from.”

Even if Sydney thought her connection to the baby was touching, he sensed her anxiety. He knew that little baby meant a lot to her.

“Get to work, Broots, compare the baby’s DNA even to the Pope’s, if necessary.”

“All right, Miss Parker.”

So said, Broots got out. Sydney was looking at her and wondering if this was the right time to tell her about his conversation with Raines.

“I feel you’re hiding something from me.” she said, as if she was reading in his mind.

“Your inner sense is getting better and better.”

“Just intuition.”

Their laugh suddenly faded.

“I spoke to Raines. He told me everything about Mind Rain…It was the Triumvirate that ordered your memories to be deleted and the consequent separation of you and Jarod from one another.”

Parker had tears to her eyes. So, it was true.

“He admitted that they were afraid that your intent to run away together and leave The Centre would come true. You were a risk for The Centre safety. So they…”

“Brainwashed us.” she ended.

“A few hallucinogens, hypnosis and drugs were enough to do the trick…God only knows what they did to induce you to forget everything.”

And then Miss Parker started to smile. “Not really everything…”

Sydney smiled too, and he caressed her arms.


6.56 p.m.

Jarod and Ethan had arrived home. Even if the pretender had still difficulty in calling it so, but how could he possibly define the place where his father, sister and little brother lived?

He had thought a lot about the meaning of “home”, lately, and he had realized that maybe Tommy was right when he confessed him that it was only Miss Parker’s eyes, where he felt home. He’d been gone for just a few hours, but he was missing her too damn much. He couldn’t focus, the thought about her absence was consuming him. 

“How is she?” Jesse asked.

“Fine, Jes. Miss Parker is a strong and stubborn woman, she doesn’t fear anything. Or at least she doesn’t show…”

Ethan smiled, thinking that one day the boy in front of him would become a replica of his brother. And yet, he felt he was a very different person. His will to abstract himself from the way the others saw him was leading him into becoming a special and unique individual, very different from Jarod. And that was a very pleasant sensation, for his inner sense.

Major Charles had welcomed Ethan with serenity and affection, commenting that he’d never dreamed to have a third son, it was like a blessing to him. Emily was glad to have finally found the object of her lifetime research. Now, she was feeling that her family was starting to be complete, and Margaret was the only missing piece to finish the puzzle. Jarod left the conversation with the others and moved outside to the garden, where he took his phone. The moment had come to make a very important call. 

“Agent Zane!”

“Agent Andrea Zane! How are you?” Jarod asked, sincerely glad to hear the woman who had been a colleague for a few days while he was hunting Alex.

“Jarod Morse. Was that your last name, in the end?” she asked, sarcastically.

“You haven’t found out yet? I thought you were NSA!”

Andrea laughed again. “To what do I owe this honor, Jarod?”

“I need your help, Zane.”

She sat more comfortably on her chair. “After what you did for us, Jarod, whatever it is that you need, I’m going to help.”

“Are you sitting?”

She smiled. “Yes, I am, why?”

“It’s going to be a long story.”


Ethan joined Jarod on the porch. Jarod hadn’t eaten anything, and he had been on his own the whole night. His father explained that his son usually behaved like that; when he needed to think, he retired somewhere, alone with his own thoughts.

“You miss her, don’t you?” he asked.

Jarod smiled sadly, tightening his arms to his chest.

“Me too. But we did the right thing, Jarod. She’s safe, I feel it.”

“You - You’d feel if she needed any help, wouldn’t you?” Jarod asked him, wondering how much the inner sense bonded the siblings.

“I believe so. Even if sometimes it’s not easy to distinguish between her voice and mama’s. They’re almost the same.”

“I know.”

The brothers were silent for a few minutes, then Ethan gave in to his curiosity. “Who did you call before dinner?”

“It was the NSA agent I’ve worked with while I was hunting Alex, Andrea Zane. I know I can count on her.”

“You told her the truth about The Centre?”

Jarod snorted. “I would have sent her a ticket to the madhouse. I just asked her to begin an investigation about a ghost-society set in Delaware, to find its links with the Government and other huge private companies. I sent her some documentation and asked her to take a look at it. I also explained that it is a place the existence of which almost everybody is unaware, and that it has a façade as a research centre.”

“Well, that is the truth, from a certain point of view.” Ethan noticed.

“I know.” Jarod laughed “I told her that I heard rumors about children being kidnapped during the sixties, that there were many unexplainable disappearances in the Blue Cove area. I asked her to open an investigation.”

“Did she accept?”

“She couldn’t help it. She owes me a couple of favors, and the material I sent her will make her understand that she did the right thing. We also need the governmental authorities to investigate about The Centre, Ethan. They must be ready when the moment comes.”

Ethan nodded slowly. But when would the right moment arrive?



11.34 p.m.

Miss Parker was sleeping on her couch. She kept dreaming about Raines threatening to take Michael away from her, obliging her to choose between him and Jarod. But she felt like if she was missing a puzzle piece. She saw her possibility to choose, but she couldn’t look beyond to understand the implications of her choice.

Sydney came into her office, wondering why she was still there. 

“Miss Parker. Why don’t you go home?”

She shook her head slightly, without answering. Sydney guessed that she was feeling lonely, so he sat next to her.

“I don’t want to…go home…and find it empty, Sydney. I can’t stand loneliness anymore.”

Noticing that she was almost crying, the shrink asked himself how much Jarod had affected his protégée’s behavior.

“It’s ok to miss him, Parker.” he whispered, trying to cheer her up.

“I’ve never relied on anyone, Sydney. And now here I am, looking at my phone in the hope of it ringing. I’m not a fifteen-year-old-teenager in heat, damn it!”

Sydney smiled at her reaction. Were symptoms of love struggle, the ones Parker was feeling?

“Go home.” he suggested.

“I can’t. Broots is still here, he’s running those tests for me…Unfortunately, comparing DNA matches is as easy as to find an Oriental woman that my brother Lyle hasn’t tasted, yet.”

When she realized how macabre that sounded, Parker felt nausea surfacing again. Sydney noticed that and put a hand on her shoulder. “Did you take something, for your ulcer?”

She shook her head. “I’ve never had these symptoms before. I believe it’s stress caused by my inner sense, or at least this is what Jarod thinks.”

Sydney tried to think what kind of illness had nausea as symptoms, but he was stopped when a tired Broots entered the office.

“Miss Parker.” he seemed upset.

“Finally, Broots!” she snapped at him, standing up.

But the computer genius was silent, he was sweating. Evidently he had found out something interesting.

“Were you able to run the DNA tests on Michael’s placenta and cord samples?”

Broots paused for a moment, then he nodded, without uttering a word.

“What’s the matter?” she asked him, a bit upset by his hesitation.

“First, I made a comparison between the baby’s DNA and your father’s, and I noticed at once that he couldn’t be his son at all.”

“Score for me.” she whispered; even if she already knew it, she felt nauseated.

“Then I went to The Centre bodily fluid storage facility. I found Brigitte’s blood. After more tests, I came to the conclusion that she couldn’t be Michael’s mother.”

Now Parker was shivering. Something inside her started to move, and the voices also started to burst. Sydney noticed her change of mood, but didn’t intervene. 

“So he is not my brother. Don’t tell me he’s another clone, please.” Miss Parker whispered, with faint voice. 

Broots rubbed one hand on his bald and sweated forehead. “He’s not a clone…not really…they used Brigitte as surrogate mother, but they implanted an embryo created from the union of an egg fertilized with some liquid-”

“I know where babies come from, Broots! Get to the point!” she lashed out, feeling like flaring up.

“Well…in the bodily fluid storage I also found…a sample of Jarod’s seminal fluid, the one they used to create his clone, Gem-”

“His name is Jesse, Broots!” she stopped him promptly. She didn’t want to hear that boy called in no other way, if not by his name.

“Well…it matches.” Broots cut out.

Sydney sighed.

“Meaning?” Miss Parker, asked, not wanting to understand what her colleague was saying to her.

“Jarod is…Michael’s biological father…they used his fluid to fertilize the egg.”

Parker was disgusted, once again. She didn’t know how to react to that news. How could she possibly tell Jarod that there was another one of his clones around?

“And that’s not all.” Broots continued.

“What could be worse?” she asked.

“The egg…well, you know…Michael’s DNA…it matches exactly to his mother’s…” 

“What an unpredictable discovery!” she replied, almost causing Sydney to laugh. “And who is the fortunate one whose eggs were stolen to inseminate Brigitte?”

Broots squeezed his eyes, uncomfortable, sweating further. 

“I don’t think that…maybe I should run some other tests, just to be sure, you know, I…”

“Broots!” she screamed.

“It’s you, Miss Parker.”

Sydney opened his mouth, but couldn’t say anything because the woman had just fallen to the ground, she had fainted. 


When Parker woke up, she was on her sofa, surrounded by Sydney and Broots, who looked very worried.

“Parker! Thank God, you gave us a huge fright.”

She didn’t answer, but she sat up. She had been unconscious for five minutes.

“Do you remember what Broots said to you?” Sydney asked her, stroking her hair in affection.

She nodded, and for the first time she heard the voices saying clearly two words: your son.

Michael was her son. They used her genetic material to create an embryo. 

Michael was her son…and his biological father was Jarod.

These made them…the baby’s parents?!

“Parker, say something, please.”

“What am I supposed to say, Syd?” she whispered, without strength.

“I know this is unacceptable, but – ”

“Sydney, they created my son in a lab!” she snapped at him. “How do you think I should feel?”

“What are you going to do, Miss Parker?” Broots questioned her. 

“I must tell Jarod…” she whispered.

Sydney could hardly imagine how difficult that would be for her.

“Do you want me to take care of it?” he asked her.

She smiled. The offer was tempting, but she couldn’t let Sydney take such a burden upon himself. It was a matter between the two of them, or better, the three.

Michael was their son. 

“No, Sydney. I have to do it.”



0.07 a.m.


Jarod was alone in the garden. He couldn’t sleep and didn’t want to go inside and feel once again like a stranger under his own roof. Ethan, instead, had familiarized with his new surroundings very well and he was sleeping in his room. 

Jarod was playing with his phone and wondering if he should call her. How much would she scoff him if he didn’t resist even one day, before calling her?

Just as he was heading back inside, his mobile started to ring. Could it be her?

Jarod smiled and opened the communication. “What?” he asked, trying to mimic the sound of her voice when she answered the phone.

Miss Parker, on the other side, smiled to herself. She was going to face the most terrible venture of her whole life.

“I intentionally wake you in your deepest sleep phase and all I get is a lifeless “What”?” she quoted the first telephone call Jarod had made after his escape from The Centre.

He laughed. “I knew you were listening.”

“Jarod…” she stopped him, while their laughs faded. “We need to talk.”

The seriousness of her statement worried him. “Did you find out something?”

She opened her eyes wide. “Yes…actually I did.”

Jarod was silent, waiting to know.

“Broots ran some DNA tests to discover Michael’s identity, today.”

Jarod sighed. He wasn’t sure he wanted to hear the rest.

“Please, tell me he’s not a clone.” he begged her.

“That is what I was hoping too.” she smiled as she realized they both had the same thought.


“No, Jarod…he’s not a clone. Michael is a baby born from a surrogate mother, Brigitte, but he was generated by artificial fertilization.”

“And who are his parents?” he asked her, more and more curious.

Parker sighed, a tear wetting her face.

“Parker, you can tell me, come on…” he said to her, wishing he was there with her in that moment.

“The biological father…well, it’s you, Jarod.”

Silence fell. Parker let the dust to settle, she was sure he needed to internalize the huge news he had just found out.

But Jarod didn’t need to hear anything else. He already knew. From Parker’s voice. From her heavy silence. From the way she had revealed him that he was the baby’s father.

“You’re the mother, aren’t you?” he asked her.

She was crying openly now, Jarod could hear her sobbing.

“How could they possibly do it, Jarod?” she asked, between a sob and the other. Jarod squeezed the phone, pulling it far from his ear just for a moment. How could they possibly do it?

“Jarod, I need to know…how you feel…”

Jarod had never seen baby Michael. It was one of the scandals of The Centre that he had ignored, mostly for necessity. Once he had found out that Miss Parker had helped with his birth, he had felt relieved that everything went fine, but his involvement had finished there. Since Parker had showed interest in taking care of him, anyway, everything had changed. Parker’s intention to ask for Michael’s fosterage had become also his. He had started to picture them together, raising the boy. And now, suddenly, Michael was actually their son.

“We have a son.” he whispered.

Listening to Jarod pronouncing that word, Parker finally realized that she wasn’t alone in this. Jarod knew that Michael wasn’t another project of The Centre, they were talking about a human being. A defenseless baby. Their baby.

“Yeah…and you know one thing?” she said, ready to make a huge revelation. “It feels weird, but good.”

Jarod nodded to himself. The thought of having a baby and, most of all, a baby who was biologically connected to the woman he loved, yes, it felt very good. 

“We need to take him away from there, Parker…you were right…you already knew it, didn’t you?”

She tried to think about her inner sense. Didn’t it make her guess that between her and that baby existed a special bond? That kind of bond between a mother and her baby?

“I’m realizing now, that I’ve always known.”

“I promise I’m putting an end to The Centre, Parker…and then we leave with Michael.”

“But when?” she asked, betraying her evident impatience.

“Soon.” he answered, ending the call. He needed to ponder, and he had to do it on his own.



7.03 a.m.


Miss Parker hadn’t slept at all. The thought of being under the same roof of her son without seeing him made her nervous and impatient. She hadn’t recalled Jarod, she had to leave him alone. And she needed to think, too.

Among all the secrets at The Centre, they had just found out the worst one. Her father, Raines, God only knows who…they had used their genetic material to create a new pretender. They scrambled eggs and seminal liquid all together and put it in Brigitte’s uterus, and maybe she didn’t even know about it. Then they had made Parker believe that the baby was her brother. And now they were raising him in isolation, to use him as soon as his abilities would show themselves. Jarod’s pretending skills and her inner sense. Jesse wasn’t as a good result of their genetic manipulation. Not even Ethan.

Sydney had watched over her all night, trying to be close to her without saying anything. He had just held her hand, as he had done after Catherine’s death. He knew that this used to calm her, but that night he hadn’t been very helpful.

After many hours spent in silence, Parker had to face the facts. “I must talk with Raines…I must get the permission to visit Michael!”

“Parker, if Raines finds out that we know the truth about the baby, he will make them take him away, just as he had done with Jesse and Ethan.”

“He’s my son, Syd!” she shouted. “What mother would leave him in that zombie’s clutches?”

“We cannot show our hand, Parker, we must move cautiously…get the chance to deal with Michael without threatening Raines!”

She shook her head. “Jarod is right. I should take the baby, run away and disappear.” she continued, without reasoning.

“So you’d spend your whole life in running, and you deserve much more. You must be patient.”

“I’ve been patient my whole life, Syd. Now I can’t do it anymore.”

“But you have to, Parker.”


“Because it’s your destiny, remember?”

Miss Parker thought about the Prophecies. She had almost forgotten them, after the revelation on Michael’s true identity.

“The Scrolls say…that the Angel and the Chosen will cooperate to destroy The Centre and eventually they will succeed.”

Sydney nodded at her words.

“The last hope for The Centre will be their legacy…born within The Centre…” Miss Parker continued. Now she was understanding the interpretation of those words. Their legacy

“Born within The Centre and final means to make it rise again.” she said. 

Sydney touched his chin. “Do you reckon…it’s Michael we’re talking about?”

The voices became louder, more insistent. Your son. Legacy

“I’m sure. This explains many things…my father jumped in the ocean not to let me find out about my fate, not to let me and Jarod find out about the baby…but he hadn’t considered my inner sense.”

Sydney smiled, proud of the woman’s stubbornness.

“The Triumvirate knows about the secrets of the Scrolls. Do you think they talked about them with Raines and Lyle?”

She shook her head. “No, they didn’t, otherwise I’d be already dead.”

Besides the cynicism showed by Miss Parker, Sydney had to admit that she was probably right.



Jarod didn’t sleep at all, just as Miss Parker. Unlike the woman, yet, he had spent the whole in night making plans. Plans that, once simulated, proved to be one more disastrous than the other. At first, he thought about getting inside The Centre and take Michael away, but that meant to condemn his son to a life on the run. Then he thought he could kidnap Lyle to convince him and hand Michael over him, but then he remembered that blackmail wasn’t the right strategy with Miss Parker’s brother.

With Raines as headman of The Centre, the situation wasn’t negotiable: there was no more Miss Parker to convince to surrender in exchange for her father’s life, as it had happened years before when he had gained Major Charles’s freedom. 

When Ethan joined his brother, he realized at once that Jarod had a troubled night. The voices suddenly started to whisper a word. Nephew


“Oh, Ethan…” he greeted him carelessly, continuing his wanderings through the computer archives of The Centre in hopes of penetrating their surveillance videos.

“My sister…She found out something, didn’t she?”

Jarod sighed.

“The boy…” Ethan whispered, his eyes closed. “He’s her son.”

Jarod was staring at him, now. “Our, son” he corrected him. Ethan stood in silence, realizing that this was so obvious. Now, the dream he and his sister had for such a long time made much more sense.

“Ethan…The Centre used…” he couldn’t even say this out loud, “They created that baby in a lab, but this doesn’t change the reality. Michael is our son.”

“I know…And he’s the key to everything.”

“You’re talking about the prophecies?” Jarod asked.

Ethan gave him the picture showing the last part of the text. Jarod read it again and memorized it.

“I think that Catherine was referring to Michael, when she advised me and your sister of a danger hidden inside The Centre. She defined it as a terrible secret, born from the two of us…”   

“Do you think Michael could be dangerous because he’s going to fulfill what’s written in the Scrolls?”

Jarod rubbed his face, worried. “I don’t know what to think, by now. I wasn’t prepared for anything like this. Until a few months ago I was just a pretender on the run, today I’m the Chosen, father of a predestined son.”

Ethan came closer and put his arm on his brother’s shoulders. “Big bro, if there’s something I’ve learnt is that nothing is determined. If it weren’t for you and my sister, I wouldn’t be here.”

“But, the Scrolls…”

“Forget it, Jarod. Now you have to think about your free will, which always gave you the chance to choose. You refused to cooperate with The Centre and you escaped. You rose against a reality that deprived you of your family and you’re finding it, piece after piece. For God sakes, you even re-built the lost relationship with my sister!”

“And that was no piece of cake, believe me!” he replied, with a grin.

“My mother will lead us. She paved our way with Margaret. Now we must complete their work and finish this thing.”

Right then, the algorithms Jarod had created to filter the surveillance videos of The Centre started to work. He connected with SL-19 and started skim through the cameras, until he found the one he was looking for. In an almost empty room, inside a crib, Michael was playing with some cubes. Jarod zoomed in to better frame his son’s face.

When he saw him smiling, Jarod started to weep for joy. It has never happened to him, before. He had never felt those kind of emotions for someone he didn’t even know. And yet, that baby was his son. He had never been looking for him, but now he was right in front of his face, smiling, giggling. And the more he looked at him, the more he recognized in those eyes something of his. His smile, instead, was all his mother’s. 

Ethan squeezed Jarod’s shoulder, the pretender was speechless, such was the emotion. It was the first time Ethan saw his nephew, but for Jarod that was the first time he admired his son.

Realizing that he needed a few moments on his own, Ethan went away discreetly. Jarod took his mobile phone and dialed the number by heart. 


Parker was still sitting and talking with Sydney, when her phone rang. She ran and took it, then she answered rapidly. 

“What?” she asked, but forgetting her usual imperative tone.

Jarod was still breathing fast, he didn’t know what to say.

“Jarod, is that you?” she asked in a whisper. 

While he was touching the screen, picturing himself actually touching his awesome baby, Jarod answered. “You know, he’s really wonderful…”

Guessing what Jarod was talking about, Parker gave Sydney a look and he understood he was in the way. He left her office just as she reached her computer.

Jarod was sending her a safe link to get access to the video he was looking at. 

When Parker opened it, her son’s beautiful smile appeared to fill her computer’s screen.

“Yeah. I’d love to say that we did good, but we didn’t do anything.”

Jarod guessed her interior conflict, because it was the same he had. “Maybe, for once, The Centre didn’t make a mistake.”

“My father played at being God again, Jarod, he used Brigitte as an incubator. Do you think she knew?”

“Uhm…Judging by the way she was bonded to the baby, I don’t think so. She would have never carried our son in her womb.”

“I’m still wondering…when they…”

“Took your eggs?”

She hushed, finding peace in Michael’s smile.

“Does it matter anymore?”

“You’re right.”

They hushed for a few seconds. Then, suddenly, Michael laughed, and he pronounced two words “Mum…Dad!”

His gaze turned to the camera, with the result that it looked like if he was staring at them. Miss Parker stood up, worried. Jarod felt his heartbeat increasing suddenly. 

“My god.” she whispered, touching her chest. Again that feeling of nausea coming to her. This time, she couldn’t resist. She ran to the bathroom and vomited, yet without closing the call. So, Jarod heard what was happening. 

“Parker! Parker!”

She took the phone again after a couple of minutes, getting back to her desk.

“It happened again?”

“I’ve got stronger attacks, now.”

Jarod snorted, worried.

“I asked you not to neglect yourself.”

“We must think about Michael, first…and The Centre.”

“About this, yesterday I called NSA an old friend of mine, she’s NSA…I sent her some information to convince her to open an investigation.”

“Fine.” Parker said.

“What will you do?”

“We stay here in hell, trying to discover what plans the Triumvirate has for Michael…and for us.”

“What do you mean?”

“Sydney thinks my life is in danger.”

“What makes him think that?”

“Angelo…He’s been blabbing about a danger for you and me…I believed he was talking about the same danger my mother told us about, but I’m not so sure anymore.”

Michael laughed again, so his parents focused on what had happened before.

“Do you think he has my…inner sense?”

“We had proof a few seconds ago.” Jarod answered, convinced.

“This time Raines is going through with it. He won’t miss out on a boy who could potentially be the best pretender The Centre ever had.”

“Over my dead body…I’d die before letting my son live what I’ve been through!” he snarled.

“For once, I agree with you.”

Jarod felt his father’s presence at his shoulders and realized he had to end the conversation.

“I have to go, Parker.”

“I know.”

Ending the call, Jarod turned around towards the Major.

“Jarod, what’s going on?”

Jarod sighed. “Call Emily and Jesse, too.”



8.47 a.m.


Broots entered Miss Parker’s office with the looks of someone who hasn’t slept well. He too, like his two colleagues, had spent the night pondering about what he had discovered and wondering how he could help the person he considered as a sister, now.

“News?” he asked Sydney. She wasn’t there at that moment.

Sydney shook his head. “No, but Jarod sent us a link to access the surveillance cameras. Now we can keep an eye on the baby.”

“One day, he’s going to explain to me how he does these tricks.” Broots replied, surprised by Jarod’s skills in eluding The Centre security mainframe. 

“Where’s Miss Parker?”

“In the devil’s nest.”


Raines had summoned Miss Parker urgently. Angelo hadn’t been very helpful, and Jarod had practically disappeared. After his sighting in Blue Cove, his tracks got lost. It seemed like if the pretender had decided not to leave crumbs for them anymore. 

Seeing the conversation he had with Sydney the day before, Raines had to make sure that Miss Parker was still on their side. And most of all, he had to figure out if the woman had found out something she shouldn’t. 

“You wanted to see me?”

“Miss Parker, how is the hunt for Jarod going?”

“Slow and ineffective, as always…our enfant prodige decided he’s not having fun anymore with gifts and presents for us. Maybe he’s taking a break.” she replied, maintaining her consumed-huntress-tone. In the end, she had acted like that for years. 

“The Triumvirate is unhappy. Our research has been pointless for too long, they’re convinced that somebody is helping Jarod from the inside.”

“Don’t look at me, if it were for me, Jarod would have been in an isolated cellar years ago…where he would not be driving me crazy with his damned clues!”

“And yet.” Raines accused her, with a grim look. “It didn’t seem to me that you were thinking about putting him in a cellar, when we found you on that island.”

Parker was really exhausted. How could she convince that man – her father?! – that she wasn’t helping Jarod, while that had been her very occupation for the last few days?

“Listen to me, subspecies of creeping-warm. Jarod is out there, somewhere, and the only connection he always had with this madhouse is his relationship with your colleague Dr. Freud, who does whatever he can to act like a mommy, to him. It’s true, along the way he left me clues and souvenirs and tried to taint the memory of my mother and the name of my father, but all of this just made me much more determined to catch him and bring him back.”

Raines seemed satisfied, now.

“On that island, I just used his abilities to find the Scrolls, and if I’m not wrong, the strategy we adopted had success!”

Raines didn’t need to hear anything more. He recognized the daughter he’d always wanted, in that moment. He felt close to her and decided it was the right time to give her a piece of truth.

Just when she was leaving, he stopped her. “It was true, what you’ve asked us on that plane. Mr. Parker wasn’t your biological father.”

Miss Parker opened her eyes wide and turned around. Was that actually happening?

“By that time, we already knew Mr. Parker couldn’t have any children. He was the one who asked me to allow the artificial insemination of your mother, so that he could have an heir. The Centre experiments were just cutting edge, in those years…we had a good result…”

Parker walked towards him, disturbed by the way that viscid serpent had just revealed to her that he was her biological father. She was so tired of all those genetic revelations.

When she was almost nose by nose with him, she started to whisper nastily, “Even if in my veins there’s your blood, you’ll never have my trust, neither my forgiveness…for killing my mother.”

“If you knew how things happened, you’d change your mind, daughter.”

Miss Parker, disgusted, gave him a provocative look, then reached for the door. She decided to take that chance to obtain something, after that terrible conversation.

“I want to see my little brother…or should I call him…my cousin?!”

Raines wasn’t so convinced he wanted to let her. He was afraid of some foolish act from. But after all, the baby was young, and aside from some routine experiments to stimulate his inner sense and his abilities as a pretender, his real training hadn’t started yet. In the end, it was something he owed his daughter.

“I’m giving you access to Sublevel 19.”

“Am I supposed to thank you, daddy?!” she said with sarcasm.

“Now I’m all that remains of a father figure, for you. Mr. Parker is missing and he won’t come back anymore.”

Parker laughed. She was disgusted by how many lies could come from that man’s mouth. 

“You know, there’s something you don’t understand and neither did my father. I had just one paternal figure, and it’s none of you.”

“The same person who was a mommy to Jarod?” he asked, quoting Parker’s words.

“Sydney was the only adult who stood by me when I was a kid…Jarod has always been right on this, he might be a mentally-disturbed-pretenders babysitter, but he was always there, for us.”

And when she said those words, she realized that she’d always wanted Sydney to be her real father.

“Maybe one day you’ll find out that I would have been much a better father than the one you had, even better than Sydney.” Raines said.

“Don’t – count – on – it!” she concluded, spelling every word in rage.

So said, she exited, leaving Raines alone. The man smiled to himself, thinking that perhaps that conversation could amend the many mistakes he had made in his entire life. 

The first of which was letting Sydney behaving like a father to the girl he had never been able to call daughter. He took his phone and called his loyal sweeper Willie. “I’ve got an assignment for you…there’s someone who’s been a thorn in my side for the last time…”


As soon as she got the authorization for Sublevel 19, Miss Parker went to visit Michael, accompanied by Broots..

When she reached the baby’s room, she hurried to get inside to hold him. She couldn’t imagine she would find her brother Lyle.

“What the hell are you doing here?” he screamed, while evaluating some clinical charts. He seemed shocked by her being there.

“Surprised to see me here, brother? Our beloved newfound daddy decided to give me the keys to the kingdom, too.” she replied, showing him her magnetic card.

Lyle snorted. “He shouldn’t have, you’re too emotional, you wouldn’t understand.”

“Understand what? That you’re raising a…a baby…to become a pretender able to substitute the fugitive we’ve been chasing for years?” 

Broots looked at her in total admiration. It was unbelievable how she could keep her nerve in that situation; there she was, in front of her own son, risking to spend his all life at The Centre, and yet she wasn’t batting an eye, keeping her sarcastic façade.


What they couldn’t actually know was that there was also somebody else looking at that video. In fact, Jarod was keeping Michael’s room under control. He sat at his computer with Ethan and Jesse, still a bit upset for the umpteenth revelation about The Centre. The three of them hung on Miss Parker’s words, while she was giving Lyle a piece of her mind. 



“The baby is the key for the future of The Centre. It’s our clients who carry on this rollercoaster, Parker. No sims, no clients, no money…you couldn’t afford your lifestyle anymore…and judging by what you always wear, I’d say you like playing and being snobbish” Lyle blurted.

Parker moved closer to him. “Not as much as you love to seize and torture innocent unlucky Asian girls, Lyle. Even if that is a bad habit that could cost you a lot.”



Jarod was enraptured. He hadn’t often heard Miss Parker thundering against Lyle. But watching her so furious towards him and listening to her answering that way, made him realize that those years of tricks and clues to make her discover Lyle’s past had been worth it.   



“He’s just a means, Miss Parker…the boy will grow to become a very good pretender.” Lyle explained.

“What makes you believe that? It doesn’t seem to me that his mother’s IQ was much higher than the one of a burlesque dancer.”



A smile came out automatically on Jarod’s face, and also on Ethan’s. Jesse had met Brigitte, and he couldn’t help but agreeing with Miss Parker, the woman wasn’t a genius.

Obviously, Lyle couldn’t answer this remark because he couldn’t tell Miss Parker the truth about Michael’s parents. But there was something, Lyle didn’t know that Miss Parker had already found out everything.



“You just think about Jarod and returning him to The Centre, Raines and I are taking care of the baby…you don’t have to worry about him, it’s not your business.” he concluded, turning around.

Miss Parker clenched her fists and almost attacked her brother, but Broots stopped her.   



“Don’t do it, Parker!” Jarod shouted while watching the scene. If she let herself go, if she told Lyle the truth, he would discover that the attachment the woman felt for the baby came from elsewhere. He would find out she knew. Jarod was relieved when he saw her calming down. Michael, meanwhile, called her.

“Parker!” he said.    



Afraid that Michael would call her “mommy” again, she took him in her arms “You’re right, little boy, that’s our last name.” she whispered. 

Lyle noticed the maternal attitude of his sister, and took advantage to make a joke. “You’re spineless, Parker. Emotions are making you soft.”

She was sorely tempted to put the chart he was reading inside his mouth, but obviously she didn’t do it.

“Beware of your emotions.” her brother whispered to her. “If you let yourself go, they can submerge you until you drown.”

“I’ll keep that in mind.” she concluded, through clenched teeth.

Lyle exited the room.



“What a woman…” the three brothers said in perfect unison. 

“Damn it, I’d love to be twenty years older just to be you!” Jesse let out.

Jarod smiled and patted him on his shoulder. “Maybe The Centre cloned her, too.”

“Very funny!” the boy replied.



Miss Parker was cuddling Michael, while Broots read the charts left by Lyle. Apparently, they were making routine-exams, a lot of character and intelligence tests. They couldn’t speak freely under the cameras, so Miss Parker said goodbye to her baby kissing his forehead and she left when she saw a doctor entering the room. Once back in the safety area, she and Broots stopped.

“You were a-amazing, Miss Parker.” he confessed to her.

The woman, strangely, smiled. “Thank you, Watson. Now, let’s go back to work. We have to catch Jarod, don’t’ we?”

Broots smiled, too.

Chapter End Notes:

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