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Special Room in Medical


Mary watched as Raines and Lyle came into her room, accompanied by Gil.

“Does she have to?” Gil asked. “I though Mary was done with this experimenting.”

“Relax. It’s just a phone call.” A man similar in height to her bent down and stared her in the eyes. “Hi, I’m Mister Lyle, remember me? We are going to need you again. Once your Gil backs off.”

“If you don’t knock it off,” Raines said, “she’ll be reassigned again.”

“Please don’t. I am on my pills. I have gone through everything you have asked from me. Oliver has been kept safe. I am here to take care of her, fully.” He looked toward Mary. “We need to take another trip down to a medical room. This won’t take long, I promise. Let’s get your pretty outfit on.”

“Nope, not that one. Dead giveaway.” Lyle smiled at Mary. “I love the hair, it’s so pretty. I can’t believe he’s falling for this. Need to thank Alex’ thoughtfully creative mind in The Triumvirate’s grasp. Well then, pray either up or down for him.”

Mary had no idea what he was talking about. She stood up and followed them out. Ahead there were sweepers, like they were watching the perimeters. It was freaky, and yet exciting whenever she got to leave her room. Didn’t happen so often. She went into the elevator, staying close to Gil.

“Are you okay, Mary?” Gil asked her. “Are you?”

“I’m fine. I’m okay, Gil,” she assured him. She tucked her hair backward. She followed the men toward the medical area. She noticed the one called Mister Lyle snickering for some reason. It didn’t look like someone whispered a joke. Odd. She moved through medical with them, and followed another doctor into a back room.

In that room, they had her lie down on a bed, with her back bent up. The doctor bent her knees slightly, and then gave her what resembled to be a video game wheel again.

“Are you sure this isn’t too much stimulation this time?” She looked at the wheel. If it was like last time, they were going to put a video game on the screen for her to play. 

“No, no, we are studying the movements you make.” He attached some sensors to her head. “Everything is okay, we are watching and monitoring you. Just play the game as it starts. We’ll be in the other room.”

Mary listened and watched the game come on. As soon as the game was done, she could go back to Gil. She didn’t like to leave him alone for very long.


In the Next Room Over

“Cue the light sequences,” the medical doctor said as Raines and Mister Lyle watched from their place. “Five to ten minutes. Give it time.”

“I got a call today,” Lyle said to Raines. He stroked his missing thumb. “Tommy Tanaka heard she was ‘back in College’ again. Would be stopping by in a couple of months.” Bastard even had the nerve to call him.

“We stay friendly to the Yakuza,” Raines said. “Not only that, Tanaka did well with Miss Parker.”

“You know? For being such a caring dad, I don’t see how Mister Parker ever did this to her,” Lyle pointed out.

“Safe. Sound. She’d never run away like her mother,” Raines said. “Highly a logical move.”

“Uh huh.” Lyle chuckled. “He prostituted my sister.”

“No. Mister Parker let them visit, with extra watch,” he told Lyle. “Even father’s know daughters can’t be isolated from a man’s touch. It would interfere with her psyche as she developed. She’d want to escape. Whether anything happened or not, was her prerogative.”

“I don’t think anything would have been her prerogative if she knew.” Lyle stared. “Such power over the mind. Especially her mind. It’s incredible. Like night and day between her two sides.”

“Pretenders are created to breathe their sims to life. Mister Parker simple turned her life into a sim. A Lesser,” Raines said. “Until Jarod got out. Even with her after him, he couldn’t be caught.”

“Distracted him though. He loves to torture her about family secrets,” Lyle said. “So much fun. Thanks to him, I got to show up again.” Only thing he could thank him for. Jarod was the reason the yakuza took his thumb in the first place. Damn Yakuza. “At least make Tanaka pay a high price to see her.”

“No. Jarod messed up relations enough,” Raines insisted. “No price at all, just a one time greeting since he’ll be in the US anyhow.”

“You trust Tanaka with Jarod’s ticket back into The Centre?” Lyle really didn’t want to just be nice after all that.

“She is watched when it counts,” Raines said again. “Like now. Quiet and watch.”

“Okay, okay.” Lyle put his hands back in his pockets. “She was a wild thing back in college, I know that. I’m just saying-“

“We aren’t controlling Parker anymore, we are controlling Mary. Tanaka is special, Lyle,” Raines warned him. “Soon, Miss Parker will be nothing. Just the will that needs to be let loose to tighten the screw sometimes again.”

“She kind of wasn’t happy with that other guy according to earlier reports. Name. Michael? He’s not coming back is he?” Lyle asked. “Do I get a list of names that get to do her? Should I get a pimp hat?”

“She isn’t away at College anymore. Only Tanaka, with the right sim scenario.” Raines watched her. “Maybe I can marry her out as the obedient Mary, get her and my ridiculous grandson out, and gain a real blood relationship with the yakuza. Hm. That would put her to some use.”

“She never caught Jarod though,” Lyle pointed out. “Not even close. After how many years?”

“She failed me in the end. She wasn’t the best,” Raines said. “Neither are you,” he pointed out just as well. “She was only taken in so that Mister Parker didn’t have to worry about her, not for The Centre’s benefit. We involved her in small sims she couldn’t mess up in. They went to her and weaker pretenders. They were called Lessers in fact, not good enough for the word pretender. Kept them in line.”

“Then why’d you bother killing the boyfriend guy?” Lyle said. “Uh. Thomas. Should have just brought her back here instead of all that police involvement and sad feelings.”

“Her father liked her on the outside. Saw how well she adapted. He was proud of her,” Raines answered.

“Then why are we putting her back in?” Lyle asked.

“Because her real father likes her on the inside. He saw how well she adapted too.” He glared at Lyle. “He wasn’t proud of her.”

Lyle looked away. No more questions. Or he might end up the same way his sister had ended up.


Miss Parker opened her eyes. How far had she gone away from The Centre now? Thousands of miles at least. She was in a different country. Yet, it still felt so close. Maybe it would always feel like that. Maybe until she had someone to run away with? Broots. She should call him. She picked up her phone and dialed his number while she watched the beauty of the stars in the night. Hm. It took him some time to answer back. “Broots? Anything on my sister?”

“Uh? Are you in Japan or something?” Broots asked.

“I told you, I wasn’t sticking around America,” Miss Parker said. “Why?”

“It’s about 3 in the morning.”

“Well, wah wah for you. You can go to bed after you answer me. Did you look into Floor 2?”

“Yeah. There was a doctor that came out of a painting door.”

What? “A doctor came out of a painting door?” She rubbed her head. “Come on, Broots, what the hell does that even mean?” He tried to explain the paintings on the sides of it. She barely noticed them. The Centre was always full of weird details everywhere. “You got a name for this doctor?”

“Doctor Gil. He works nights. That’s all I have so far, but I promise we are looking for him. Even Jarod is helping.”

“Yeah, well, sure.” Cute little innocent girl he knew that was probably never a bitch like her? Call in the troops. “Birth certificate yet? Angelo know her? Anything?”

“No,” Broots said. “I mean. If she is that guy who lives in Maine’s daughter along with your mother? Well. You already played that game with Jarod. It was possible. Oh! Sydney did find out her name. It’s Mary.”

“Mary.” Nice name. “Sounded like something mom would have wanted to call a little girl.” Well. “I better get going Broots.”

“You bet. Miss Parker? You’re out there digging out clues, aren’t you?”

“On the sister I didn’t know about, that’s more of a ghost than a real live person anyone can find? Yeah, I am digging up anything I can. Jarod doesn’t need to know that though. He’ll just try and interfere.” Ugh. “This heat is so annoying right now. Not a breeze in the air.” She sighed. It felt hard to breathe like that. Then, she finally felt some wind. Good. “I better keep going. Let me know if you find her. And warn Jarod, I have dibs. One brother is a psycho killer cannibal and the other he completely took away from me. He can’t have my sister. She’s not his.” She shut off the phone and stared at the sky. Strange. It was starting to beat a strange array of colors in the distance.


“How could you forget to turn on the fan system?” Raines chewed out the medical doctor. “There isn’t much to this, but if you throw her off, she’ll fall out of the sim!”

“Sorry, Raines, Sir,” he apologized. “She took it as a still night. It’s fine.”

“Hm. Let’s just get her back to Doctor Gil,” Raines said.

“That guy is not happy about sharing Mary still,” Lyles noticed. “If this works, don’t you think he’s going to tell Sydney that we take her every once in awhile to medical, without him being allowed in?”

“No,” Raines said. “Doctor Gil started out with an acute case of social anxiety. He doesn’t like confrontation, and he won’t reach out to a stranger for help. That’s just more confrontation. He’s only gotten worse over the years with all the hours and work he put in.” He smiled as he wheezed. “Or maybe it’s just his mislabeled medication that keeps raising his anxiety.”

Mister Lyle chuckled at that one. “The world will never know. So you really going to marry her off to Tanaka?”

“Maybe. Maybe not. I have to think about my options. There’s not much left to do with her, but killing her is a waste of Centre resources. Too much work was put into her. The only thing she ever gave us was a lesser pretender.”

“Yeah, but if it wasn’t for my little nephew, The Centre wouldn’t have any sims done anymore,” Lyle pointed out.

“Yeah, I know. How sad is that?” Raines muttered. “Until Oliver outlives his usefulness like her, The Centre will keep taking care of her.”


Broots waited for Sydney to come in. “Sydney. You won’t believe what I found.” Sydney didn’t look good though. “What’s wrong?”

“I picked off some hair from Doctor Gil,” Sydney said slowly. “I had it tested. I gave the results to Jarod.” He put his hands in his pockets. “It’s Miss Parker, not her sister. We will not be catching up with him anytime soon.”

What? “Sydney. Miss Parker wouldn’t involve us in a scheme like this. We’re her partners.”

“Removing Mister Parker from power has eschewed her sense of . . .” Sydney didn’t even finish the line. “Unless Doctor Gil has been hanging out with Miss Parker recently? A man who works nights, and in an area she would never inhabit?” Sydney shook his head. “I feel a sense of betrayal myself. For falling for it.” He strolled across the floor. “For wasting time on it. For even involving Jarod in it beyond that phone call. I!” He rubbed his hair backwards. “I should have waited for this moment, this test, to let him know.”

“She. Wouldn’t.” Broots couldn’t believe it. There had to be more to it than that, she’d never hurt him or Sydney like that. That was too far out. Yes, she was rude and crabby sometimes but she would never do that. DNA couldn’t be denied though. “Maybe someone planted it on him?” He saw the look on Sydney’s face. That was too farfetched.

There was no Mary. It was Miss Parker. Trying to catch Jarod by making him come to her. Except. “It doesn’t matter. You need to see what I found, Sydney.”

“Oh, I don’t want to look at anything regarding this right now. Don’t send anything to Jarod either. Leave it all be.” Sydney left the room. “I am going to go work somewhere else today.”

But? But they needed to see. No. It’s not enough. They felt genuinely betrayed. If Sydney said don’t bother Jarod, he wouldn’t. Until he had enough proof. Enough of what he needed.

To prove an incredibly terrible theory.



Broots jotted down a few more notes as he visited some people where Miss Parker used to work at. Internationally, before she got called back to catch Jarod. “Hi?” He showed his Centre pass. “I need some information on Miss Parker?”

“It’s on the computers,” they pointed out.

“No, um, face-to-face,” Broots insisted. “Call it strange, but Miss Parker left here just a few years ago. So far, no one who is actually still here can say they’ve met her. Have you met her?”

“Mister Parker’s daughter? No,” the woman said. “I’ve worked here ten years. She probably worked on another floor, in a special office. Excuse me.”

“But I’ve checked the other floors. All of them,” he insisted. “I need one person, just one, to verify she was here? Anyone?”


He wasn’t happy to be right. He marked down more notes.



One Week Later


“You took Mary again?” Gil said as he came back toward the painting, only to find Mary being trudged over. She looked disheveled. “What happened?”

“Nothing,” Lyle said as he handed her back like a sack of potatoes. “I think we might be shipping her off soon.”

Shipping her off? “What do you mean shipping her off? To where?”

“Japan, maybe, I don’t know. Africa? The Centre doesn’t have much value left for her here. Jarod thing failed,” he said.

“Her son does a great job at what he does though,” Gil reminded Lyle. “He does that for the reward of seeing her. H-his workload will change if you separate them.” A last resort piece. They couldn’t just give her over to someone else.

“Good point. I’ll look into that. Maybe they’ll move together?” Lyle recommended. “Night.”

Moving. They were wanting to move her. He took her hand gently and went beyond the painting and up stairs.

“Gil? Are they really separating us?” Mary asked. “I need to stay with Oliver. I want to stay with you too.”

“I know, I know.” This wasn’t good. All these years of getting her back and now they were ready to toss her out like garbage.


Mary’s Apartment.


Mary’s voice trailed off. “I missed so much time, Gil. I get so scared they are going to take it all back, but now? They might take Oliver away.”

“It’s okay.” He went over and hugged her. “It’s okay, Mary. I am here now. No one can do anything. Okay?”

 “It was . . . a month. They only let me see him once a month. Now that I am back, can I see him more again?”

Gil looked on the other side of her room, through the door panel. Oliver was reading his manual. The way Lyle sounded, he should push for as much time as possible. It might be their last times together. “Maybe I can push for half visits once a day, and a full visit once a week if he completes certain simulations.” It was never easy keeping those two apart. What would losing him do to her? Completely?

Oliver glanced up to Gil. He waved excitedly and moved over toward the little door panel. “Hello, Gil. Hello.”

“Hello, Oliver,” he greeted the boy. “How are you?”

“I feel fairly convenient and adaptable to changes of positive or negative behavior,” he said to him laughing. “That's what my dad said once on his DSA. I’m fine."

“Do you want to see momma?” He asked. He didn’t have to wait long for Mary to come over.

“Hi, Oliver.” She touched the panel.

“Hi, Mom.” He touched the panel. “When can you visit me again?”

“Gil is working on it.” She placed her forehead against the panel.

“More visits?” he asked. “Can? Can I see my dad yet?”

“He is well and he is fine," Gil answered. "Here is another picture I’ve been allowed to have of him. If you did twenty simulations this month.”

“I did nineteen, but I promise I’ll stay up and do the last one!” Oliver exclaimed. “Please?”

Gil unlocked the door with his key card. As long as he got it done, it would be fine. “Here.”

Mary moved below Gil, long enough to wave at Oliver. Oliver waved back. “Hi, Precious. Enjoy the pictures.”

Oliver grabbed them like they were treats. “My dad!” He held them up with pride. “My dad, Gil.”

“Yes, your dad.” Gil moved back outward, locking the door. “That will keep him happy.”

“As happy as we can be.” Mary stood up and moved over toward Gil. “Thank you for the small half visit. The pictures too. He really liked them.”

“Yes. He did, didn’t he?” That guilty feeling was starting to sink back in again. I can’t do this anymore. I have to let Sydney know, no matter what the cost now. Although Mary couldn’t see him very often, and could not do much physical contact too often with Oliver? They were still there, next to each other. Each of them enjoyed that. Oliver even said he knew when she was there, and when she wasn’t. He was quite correct, especially with all of the missing dates when he couldn’t have her. Because she was on the other side of her roller coaster life.

He always kept his promise though to her. If anything happened, he always watched Oliver. It was part of The Centre contract made for him. It would be tough to take him, and also not high on their priorities.

“They took me again.” Mary said as she came back over. “My clothes feel even stranger, like they aren’t on right.” She picked up some paper from the side of her room. “I am getting worse not better, Gil. Look at this? This is filled with all kinds of forbidden things I’m not supposed to do. Look at the vulgarity.”

Doctor Gil took the paper. Escape isn’t vulgarity. What was happening to Mary again? She must have known before this night. She is collapsing, and she is drowning. No. He couldn’t risk it. I hate talking to people, but Mary and Oliver. They were like his own family. She felt almost like a daughter and Oliver? He was like a son he never had, he was even there the day he was born. He was literally his father. What is best for my duty? Keeping quiet, being good, and letting Oliver and Mary go the respective ways the Centre dictated. What is best for my loved ones?

To speak up. It was time to speak up. “I am going to cut our session short today, Mary. I have to talk to someone.”



Doctor Gil found Sydney. He was much further away in The Centre, and he had to get there in the middle of the day. Not something he liked either. He just concentrated on the way to his office. Sydney. He is very respectable. Maybe he can stop these decisions somehow? He knocked on his office door. He watched as Sydney answered.

He didn’t seem as happy to see him this time. “Doctor Gil.”

“Hello. Doctor Sydney.” Deep breaths. He reached into his coat pocket and gave Sydney some of Mary’s scrawlings. He’d worked with her when she was out as Miss Parker. Maybe he’d recognize something in there. “Can you help me with something?”

Sydney looked at it briefly, but uninterested. “A little scrap of paper.”

“Well, she wrote some things against the rules. I got rid of most of it,” he said. “Uh? Mary is a complicated woman. I. I am happy to have her back, but I um. I’m afraid that The Centre leaders might take her away again for terrible acts. I don’t have the strength to see Mary go through it all again.”

“Doctor Gil. I suggest you take a little extra time on your medication before reaching out for anything.” Sydney shot him down. “I was wrong about Jarod, we no longer are close to capturing him. Our association is now over.”

Ow. It was hard to trust, and Sydney just? “M-my fault.” He grabbed the note at the very edge to pull it away from Sydney. He almost bumped into someone else. “Sorry. S-sorry. Going.”

“Hang on.” Broots looked at it. “What’s this?”

“Nothing, n-nothing, it’s nothing.” He grabbed the note and left in a hurry. He needed to go home, relax, and do some exercises out of his self-help book. That didn’t turn out good. Not good at all.



Broots looked back toward Sydney. “Sydney? Did he want to talk about . . .” Sydney was glaring at him. Nope. Still no. Doctor Gil came to us. He recognized that nervous look. He had problems sometimes too. Trusting people. When he was younger, he had even been on medication. He turned back around and went back to Doctor Gil. If Doctor Gil came all the way to their office, he must have something to say.

Gil was heading quickly away. Yeah, he was about to beat it. Sydney wasn’t in the mood to speak and rejected him. “Doctor Gil?” Broots called out for him. “Hi?” He stopped as Broots caught up. “I work with Sydney. Remember me?”

“Yes,” he admitted. “You were there at the foot of the entrance to Mary’s room.”

“Yes. Yes. Um? Sydney’s gonna regret later not listening better,” Broots said, already knowing he got turned away. “I can listen for him. I want to help Mary.” He bent closer to him. “I want to help Miss Mary Parker.” Oh, he looked like he wanted to bolt right then. “I know it’s not easy to trust, and I-I can tell? You, um. Have problems with people. I did too. I don’t anymore, but I did,” Broots said. “Really helped pull things together for me. Talking to someone.” There. Relatable. “I don’t want to push, but I want to help too. Eventually, more will. One is a start?” He held his hand out for the piece of paper.

Doctor Gil pulled out the paper. “One is a start. We could. Go. Look. At ducks?”

“Yeah. Let’s go look at some ducks,” Broots agreed.



Duck Pond


Feeding ducks. Tranquil. Fun. Mind-blowing. Broots remained calm. “So d-do you have DSA’s of, uh, Oliver?” Broots asked. “I really need to see them.”

“No. No, no.” Doctor Gil fed the ducks near The Centre. “No.”

“Then, that time? Jarod needs to see it,” Broots said. “I mean, Sydney needs to see it for Jarod.”

“I tried.” Doctor Gil shrugged. “Little Oliver is a growing intellectual boy. I think they will remove him from me soon and either give him to Sydney or send him away. With his mother or not, I don’t even know. I’d rather not separate them, his mother’s right beside him.”

“Look.” He tried to keep his breathing under control. “Just, one DSA. One. Just one with Jarod and Mary. That’s all I’m asking.”

“I planned on giving what I have to Sydney,” Gil said. “I?”

“Sydney’s upset about Jarod, but give me two seconds. Please? I can reach him with the DSA’s? I’m his partner. I can get him to trust me, and he’ll come to you?”

“Oh? I see. Oh, alright. I’m? I’m desperate. Come with me.”


The Painting.


“Poor dear, again being woke up,” Gil said about Mary as he undid the first door that looked like a painting. “I will try to find one.”

Screw the DSA’s, he’s taking me in?! Broots was about to go up. As soon as the door was open, he snuck in. Gil really had no idea what a treasure he had. Broots followed him all the way up the stairs until the stairs were pulled back. Miss Parker. She was there. Calm and content. He went in and couldn’t help but stare at her feathered hair. He didn’t think she could look any more dreamy. He was wrong. “Your hair is beautiful.”

“Hello,” she said politely. “Thank you. I appreciate that comment.” She touched her hair. “Gil cuts our hair.”

Broots watched Gil move around the room, but noticed the next door. Bingo. He went over to the door and opened up the panel.

A little boy, fiveish, working on something with a pen and pencil.

“Excuse me, No?” Mary said from behind him. “Excuse me, Gil? Excuse me, No?”

“Oh! Oh, yes.” Gil closed the panel to Oliver. “Please stop, you’re making Mary nervous. You wanted the DSA’s I have. My office is this way.”

Broots swallowed, still happy he took the dive. That boy definitely had some of Jarod’s appearance, but he was definitely not a clone. It sounded, and looked, like it was real.  I shouldn’t be here. Sydney should be here. No, Jarod should be here! As he moved backwards further, he found Doctor Gil’s office and him coming out of it.

“Four DSA’s. Covering some of October 1995. That’s all from that time.” Gil gave it to him. “Be careful with them. It’s all I have left. I don’t know what else happened to the rest.”


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