Diver Down

 

home / season five / episode seventeen / act II

   

Ford Diving School
Naples, Florida

“Hey, Andrew!”

Jarod caught up with the man as he was locking away some of the equipment after class.

“Jarod! Hi! Thanks for all your help today.”

“No problem. Have you got a few minutes?”

He glanced at his watch. “As it happens, I do.” The pool being now free, several people began to make use of the facility as Jarod and Andrew watched from deck chairs.

“So, what were you thinking about?”

“Actually, if you’ve got time, I was hoping for a few tips.”

Andrew leaned over and grabbed his bag, opening it and pulling out a book. “I can lend you this, if you think it’ll help. It’s got a few good diving tips in it. Is that all you were after?”

With a smile of thanks, Jarod took it but spoke again. “I was wondering if you’d tell me a little about the kids you’re teaching here.”

“Why were you wanting to know?”

Jarod leaned back in his chair and linked his hands behind his head. “Well, I always think that you can teach people better if you know something about their personalities.”

Andrew Harrison laughed. “You’re right. Okay, about my divers…”

Jarod's eyebrows went up momentarily at the use of the possessive term but he had regained his normal expression by the time Andrew looked at him again.

“I’ll start with the guys. Lou Prosser…”

Jarod gave every appearance of listening intently while Andrew spoke about the male members of the team but his attention levels skyrocketed when the instructor switched to the women.

“Tricia’s a sweet girl but very obstinate. She gets an idea fixed into her head and it’s almost impossible to get it out. I was pretty surprised that she was willing to do what you suggested about the somersaulting thing.”

“And how about Joanne?”

“Joanne?” Andrew tried to give the impression of disinterest, but Jarod could tell that he had immediately become guarded.

“Joanne Hactar. She was a member of your team too, right? I just thought that, seeing as she and Tricia had been such close friends…”

“Close? I think you’re a little out there, Jarod. They were friends and all but nothing more than a somewhat distant friendship. In fact, Joanne was closer to me than she was to Tricia. She told me everything.”

“And what was she like?” Jarod asked the question cautiously, his brain carefully storing away all of the information he was receiving.

“She was a fairly average diver. Tricia was far better. But Tricia has decided for some reason that she would rather stay with me than go off and do something like work with a larger team. Can’t say that I blame her.” A small smile crossed his face and Jarod pretended not to notice it.

“Actually,” Harrison leant in as though he had something very secret to share and lowered his voice. “Joanne and I had just started seeing each other. It was all really hush-hush of course. Her parents may not have been too pleased to know that she was getting into a romantic relationship with a guy of my age. But, although I tried to persuade her that it wasn’t the best idea, she was determined that we make something of it. But she died before it got too serious.”

“You don’t seem that upset by the fact.”

“What are you expecting me to do: break down in tears? Jarod, it was hard on me when she died but death is just one of those things, right? Nothing that can be helped.”

* * * * * * * * *

The Centre
Blue Cove, Delaware

Broots ran into Miss Parker as she walked out of her office; literally ran into her, almost knocking the woman over and sending himself skidding into a nearby pillar that he clasped lovingly with both arms. Hearing the racket, Sydney opened the door and joined the two people in the corridor. Miss Parker recovered both her breath and her sense of pride and stood over the technician with her hands on her hips.

“Were you after anything in particular, Broots, or did you come to work with a death wish today?” She didn’t wait for an answer but opened the door to her office. “Get in here or we’ll all be the laughing stock of this place.”

Broots stepped into the room and, leaning against the wall beside the door, regained his breath. “Believe me, Miss Parker, after what I’ve seen, nobody would have the strength or the courage to laugh.”

She sat on the edge of the desk and glared at him. “And what would that be?”

“Well, I was about to go into the cafeteria, because of the fact that today is tuna salad day, and that’s always when I make the effort to eat there. Well, I just got there when, of all people, Mr. Cox came up to me. He said that he had been sent to get me because somebody wanted to see me in Renewal Wing. I thought that it was kind of weird that I should have to go down there but I thought that maybe you or Sydney…”

At this point Miss Parker stepped across and slapped the palm of her hand hard against the wall, only inches from his head, making him jump. “Broots! Does your train of thought have a caboose?”

“Huh?”

“Get to the point!”

“Well, I got down there but, of course, you weren’t there because you were up here instead…” He glanced nervously at her and noticed that her eyes were beginning to glisten angrily, whereupon he hastily reverted back to his original theme. “I was walking down the hallway when a door opened. A nurse came out, Willie following her. And you won’t believe who I saw next - walking and looking almost like a normal person.”

Miss Parker stepped backwards and, for a brief moment, the scene from her arrival at the Centre that morning flashed before her eyes.

Resurrection Day.

Her own words came back sharply to haunt her and she suddenly understood exactly what the smirk that had annoyed her so much on Willie’s face that morning had meant. Stepping over, she opened the drawer of her desk and pulled a box out of it. Opening it, she glanced down at the gun inside it with the ring of fire on the grip, loaded it and exchanged it for the weapon she wore in her holster.

“Parker, be careful.”

She looked up at Sydney's warning and allowed her lips to twitch in the vaguest semblance of a smile.

“Don’t worry your head about it, Doc. Just let me go and do what I want to do and you go about your own business. I tell you, not even a letter from the Pope announcing that Raines was due to be canonized will save his sorry ass this time.” Spinning on her heel, she turned and walked out of the office.

* * * * * * * * *

Hactar House
Naples, Florida

Jarod tapped gently on the front door of the house but could hear that it elicited no response from within. He knocked slightly harder and, after a short pause, the door opened and a woman stood in front of him. Despite the dark clothes, the blond hair and the lack of a smile on her face, Jarod could see the resemblance to the photo that had appeared in the paper.

“Mrs. Hactar?”

“Yes?” She stood silently but Jarod could feel that she was less than thrilled to be interrupted.

“My name is Jarod Adams. I’m with the coastguard. I was hoping I could ask you some questions about your daughter.”

She coldly stepped back and gestured him into the living room. As he sat down, he glanced around at the various photographs and other decorations that were placed artistically on the mantelpiece and other shelves.

“What can I do for you, Mr. Adams?”

The voice broke through his thoughts and he turned to her with a slight smile. “I know that this is difficult for you, particularly at a time like this, but we’re hoping to be able to make some adjustments to our patrols and other safety measures.”

“What were you wanting to know, exactly?”

Jarod reflected briefly that Emperor Penguins were about the only things he could think of that would be comfortable in the environment in which he was currently sitting.

“Well, when your daughter went down to swim early that morning…”

“She didn’t,” contradicted Helen Hactar flatly.

“I beg your pardon?” Jarod allowed one eyebrow to rise slightly while still keeping the rest of his face as expressionless as that of the woman facing him.

“Mr. Adams, my daughter was almost never out of bed before eight-thirty in the morning, even on days when she had early classes. During her vacations, she would never get up before ten. There was no way on earth that she would have gotten up to go for a swim. I told this clearly to the police.”

“She wouldn’t,” Jarod glanced up at her, allowing a faint trace of humor to creep across his face, “perhaps have crept out for a romantic rendezvous of some sort with somebody?”

He watched as Mrs. Hactar stood up, walked over and pointedly opened the door. “Mr. Adams, my daughter was not involved in anything of the sort, nor would she have wanted to be. If you have any further questions, I suggest you read either the police or the coroner’s reports. I have no more information to give you.”

* * * * * * * * *

The Centre
Blue Cove, Delaware

Angelo hovered around the air vent and looked down on the walkway below him, a movie camera in his hand. Suddenly he pressed it to his eye, bent down so that it was pressed against the bars and waited. For a few seconds, nothing moved below him. However, after a short pause, two figures appeared.

“Are you quite recovered, sir?”

“Perfectly, thank you, Willie. And you?”

“Yes sir. Very well.”

The two men continued along the hallway in silence for several seconds more.

“And have there been any complications?”

“No sir. You?”

“Nothing, thank you.”

Angelo lifted his eye from the lens of the camera, leaving it rolling, and watched as the two men continued below him, unhindered by anything including oxygen tanks. As they passed, he stopped the tape, ejected it and, holding it in his mouth, scampered on all fours down the dark passageway.

* * * * * * * * *

Prefect Hotel
Naples, Florida

Jarod stood at the window with his back to the room and tried to take no notice of the mess. He was also trying to pay no attention to the problem with which he had presented himself but that was proving a lot more difficult to ignore. He sighed, ran a hand through his hair, walked away from the window and sat down in front of his computer. Opening the folder again, he glanced down at the copy of the autopsy and then over at his computer, on which he had been typing the discrepancies between the report and its conclusion, such as the amount of rigor mortis that was present or the hints that suggested Joanne Hactar had died in fresh and not salt water. Points such as these had already brought him to the realization that Joanne Hactar had been murdered. It was now a question of who had done it. And why…

He was so deep in thought that the knock on the door, when it came, startled him considerably. Unthinking, he got up, walked over and pulled the door inwards. It took him several seconds to fully comprehend the identity of the slender, blond figure who stood there looking up at him.

”Faith!”

“Hello, Jarod.”

He stared for one long minute before reaching out an arm and pulling her into the room, shutting the door quickly behind her.

“What are you doing here? How did you find me?”

She tilted her head slightly to one side and stood with her arms folded, waiting until Jarod realized what he had said and an embarrassed blush began working its way up from his neck and covered his face.

“If I could find you last time…” She didn’t bother to finish the sentence but turned away and looked around the room. Jarod's eyes followed her and he thought he could understand what was passing through her mind.

“I’m sorry. It’s not exactly home and garden.”

She glanced once more around before focusing on his face. “This is obviously the best you can do.”

“Well, I…”

Jarod remained silent for a moment, still stunned by her appearance. Suddenly, however, the memory of the last time she had shown up forced its way into his mind including the surprising people who had arrived with her and, half in fun, he opened the door again and glanced up and down the hall.

“You’re looking for Miss Parker.” Faith paused meaningfully.

“She decided not to come along for the ride this time?” Jarod grinned at Faith’s comment as he firmly shut the door once more.

“Not today.”

He paused before speaking again.

“Why are you here, Faith? You said you wouldn’t come back until the time was right…”

“And it is.” Faith walked over and tapped the folder on the desk. “You need help with this…and a few things connected with it.”

He watched her as she walked over and began looking through his bag of toys. With a tentative hand, she picked up the fake dog poop, dropping it almost as quickly, and then began to play with the Silly Putty. After a moment, she put it down and then picked up a string of plastic monkeys out of his bag and held them above her head, looking at them as they twisted in front of her eyes, before laying them down carefully on the bed in the shape of a figure of eight. Jarod, his hands in the pockets of his jeans, leaned against the wall and watched as she continued to investigate his discoveries.

* * * * * * * * *

The Centre
Blue Cove, Delaware

“M…Miss Parker…?”

Broots followed her as she walked down the hallway and needed to run to catch up with her as she entered Sydney's office. She turned as he entered, somewhat breathless, behind her. However the owner of the office spoke before either of the others had the chance to do so.

“Would I be correct in assuming that you failed to find the object of your search?”

Miss Parker growled something inaudible and threw herself into a chair in the corner, which creaked in response. Broots tried not to snicker as he sidled in.

“Broots, are you sure that you weren’t indulging in some nightmare with your eyes open?”

He jumped as the question came at him like a bullet from a gun, however his denial had as much emphasis as he could put into it. “I definitely saw him. He was walking around like everything was okay. No, better than okay! He didn’t even have his tank anymore. That was why I didn’t know he was there until I saw him. No squeaking.”

There was an uncomfortable pause in the room as the three occupants each considered what it might mean to them that Raines was obviously better than he had been since the first accident, many years earlier, that had left him dependent on oxygen. It wasn’t unusual for such a silence to be broken. The unusual thing, or the thing that would have seemed unusual if anyone had been in the mood for noticing unusual things, was the person that broke it.

“Miss Parker, why do you think I was sent down there? I mean, they could have got you or Sydney…”

She got to her feet and gave him a look that would have made a boa constrictor turn away and hurriedly get on with what it was doing.

“The weakest link…” The words were snarled and, turning, she left the room, her heels ringing loudly as she went down the stairs. Broots stared after her, his jaw doing press-ups.

“I don’t…”

Sydney tried to hide a smile as he endeavored to explain. “Raines wanted us to know that he was, so to speak, back from the dead…”

“…again,” interposed Broots.

“And so you were sent down because they knew that you would be certain to come back and tell us about it.”

“But why does he want us to know that he’s back the way that he is?”

Sydney shook his head noncommittally as he looked across at the technician, his eyes harboring a far-away look.

“The only reason I can think of is that he has great plans; plans that he has, up to now, been keeping secret for a great display at some later time, like now.”

Broots took the seat that Miss Parker had vacated and stared at Sydney with a reflective frown to indicate that his collective synapses were coping with this as best they could. “And how…I mean, last time we saw him, it didn’t look like he was ever going to move again. How is it that he’s so much better, magically, than he was?”

Sydney shook his head and stared thoughtfully at his hands. “I don’t know, Broots. I really don’t know.”

* * * * * * * * *

Prefect Hotel
Naples, Florida

Jarod continued to watch her for a few moments as she gradually looked through his collection of items, neither making a sound. Eventually, however, he found that the earlier problem was still working its way around in his mind and he went over and took his former position once more at his desk. Picking up a PEZ dispenser, he took a piece of cola-flavored candy between his teeth and happily crushed it. Turning to Faith, Jarod held out the toy and offered her a piece. She took it gingerly and slipped it into her mouth. With a slinky moving between her hands, Faith watched as he glanced once more over the information he had collected.

“What are you doing?”

Jarod turned and looked at her as she sat on his bed. “It’s kind of a long story.”

“We have time.”

His mouth twisted in amusement. “So sure?”

“Positive.” Her tone was definitive and allowed no argument.

Leaning back in his chair, he linked his hands behind his head and looked at her for several moments in silence; silence that Faith broke first.

“You’re worried about my reaction.”

“Shouldn’t I be?”

Her eyes danced for a moment but the rest of her face remained solemn. “Why not tell me and see…”

For a moment he paused, wondering how much to tell her, and of what. The fact that she knew much of it already meant that there was also a lot that didn’t need to be said and that, when he thought about it, was a distinct relief. “It’s hard to know where to start. You know me as well as I do.”

“Or perhaps better.”

Jarod looked up and met Faith’s eyes; his own locked onto hers, as she seemed to look into and almost through him and he felt his confidence waver in the face of her seemingly greater power. His next question was hesitant.

“So why am I explaining?”

“Because I want to hear you say it.”

He nodded slightly, his mind full of the things he had felt and seen but with no idea how to begin putting them into words.

“All I wanted to do when I got out was to help people. I felt like I had to make up for all the problems that my simulations had caused. And I wanted to know what the real world was like…”

* * * * * * * * *

West Street
Annapolis, Maryland

For a moment, Lyle paused and glanced around to make sure that he was in the right place. Pulling the note out of his pocket, he glanced and gloated once more over the words it contained. He glanced up and down the silent street, looking once more at the limousine that stood at the end of it. As he watched, however, it pulled away from the curb and back into the traffic. For an instant he was concerned, but eventually decided that such an action had probably been caused by the interference of somebody else and that the vehicle was, he thought with an inward shrug, presumably only circling the block and would be back when he needed it. Lyle looked in the other direction and spotted the building he was after, and, with a measured stride, he made his way towards it.

* * * * * * * * *

Prefect Hotel
Naples, Florida

“And this is your latest thing.”

Faith waved in the general direction of the papers and open computer as Jarod finished speaking. Although it hadn’t been phrased as a question, he nodded in response and spoke quietly but with something in his tones that betrayed the frustration she had already felt in his mind.

“Yes.”

He handed the folder over to her and she flipped through it, handing it back with the same light in her eye that he had noticed before. She was about to speak when a voice from Jarod's computer announced that he had mail. After typing in his password, Faith and Jarod watched the film footage shot by Angelo appear on the screen in front of them. The familiar male voices sounded loud in the room but otherwise there was no sound.

Although the vision lasted only a few seconds, to Jarod it seemed like a lifetime. When it ended, he turned to Faith, amazed to see her face so expressionless. His mouth started to speak, but his brain decided it hadn’t got anything to say yet and shut it again. His brain then started to contend with the problem of what his eyes told it they were looking at, but in doing so relinquished control of the mouth, which promptly fell open again. In a continued silence, he watched as Faith stood and picked up the picture of Joanne that Jarod had cut out of the newspaper, holding it a short distance away from her face. Her voice was muted as she spoke. “She didn’t drown accidentally. Your assumption is right. Joanne Hactar was murdered.”

Jarod's brain somersaulted, his jaw did press-ups and his eyes did cartwheels while he tried to understand what she had just said without stating the words that were foremost in his mind. Eventually, however, he yielded to the desire and allowed them to come out of his mouth like an express train.

“Are you out of your mind?”

She turned towards him, her face completely serious and a lack of expression in her eyes. She was about to speak when he jumped in again.

“Do you understand what we’ve just seen? Is it perhaps possible that you haven’t understood the full enormity of what’s happened? Does the fact that Raines is not only once more able to walk but even able to fully function mean anything to you? Like the fact of how much danger we’re in? Faith, are you worried about this at all?!”

He looked at her again and found that his emotions were being smothered under the calm that she was exuding.

“Mr. Raines is never going to get the chance to do anything to either of us again.” She put down the photo, walked over to the window and stared out of it into the gathering darkness while Jarod watched her in silence.

On to Act III

 
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