Diver Down

 

home / season five / episode seventeen / act IV

   

The Centre
Blue Cove, Delaware

Miss Parker stormed along the corridor of the Centre, having obtained no satisfaction from the interview with her father. For the second time, she found that Willie was standing directly in her path. She put out a hand and tried to brush him aside, her hand accidentally making gentle contact with his chest. He drew away, with a sharp inhalation of breath between his teeth, and she stopped.

“What bit you, Willie? Finally find a heart somewhere in those inky depths?”

Willie also stopped and unbuttoned his shirt to show her a scar that ran down the middle of his chest. Miss Parker glanced at it indifferently.

“Congratulations. It would seem you do have a heart after all.”

She was about to walk past him again when he spoke.

“Actually, I donated one of my lungs.”

“I wasn’t aware that you could buy your way into heaven these days.”

“I gave it to Mr. Raines.”

This finally stopped her in her tracks.

“You did what?”

“I gave Mr. Raines one of my lungs. Help him, you know, come back from the dead again.”

“I think this is getting unnecessarily messianic.” She rolled her eyes and glanced at him again, noticing for the first time that he appeared to be having slight trouble breathing. “And there aren’t enough egg-heads in Renewal Wing that would have done instead?”

Willie snorted in a way that threatened to burst his stitches. “As though any of those vegetables could have been of a high enough standard even to count.”

“Speaking of vegetables, you know as well as I do that I never trusted Raines in that act of his.” Miss Parker pulled the gun containing the ring of fire out of her holster, released the safety catch and pressed it to Willie’s forehead. “If I see him again, he will get the chance to go among them as an equal instead of a superior. We’ll see if he still has the power to convert.” She moved the gun away and put the safety back on, returning it to her holster. “So where is he anyway? I thought you two had started to buddy together.”

Willie took a step away. “He’s having a long hard look at himself.”

Miss Parker snorted with more volume and power than Willie had. “No matter how long or hard it is, it won’t be enough.”

She walked past him, ignoring the fact that the smirk on his face was wider than ever before.

* * * * * * * * *

Outside the Prefect Hotel
Naples, Florida

Jarod unbuttoned the police jacket he was wearing and threw it into the back seat of the car in front of which he and Faith were standing, turning to her with a smile on his face.

“So they’re going to go with it?” Faith asked the question because she knew that Jarod was relieved to have finally been able to play at least a partial role in the extraction of the confession of Andrew Harrison.

“Well, from everything I’ve heard, the police think the signed confession should be enough to get him convicted of murder. Of course, he’ll protest that he knows nothing about it, but it won’t be the first time they’ve heard that particular excuse before.”

“And with any luck they won’t just file it away and forget about it.”

“Speaking of files,” the voice behind them broke rudely into the conversation. “I seem to have discovered a red one, and a missing looking glass. What a piece of luck! And that’s somewhat strange because I thought breaking a looking glass brought bad luck. I’m sure this one won’t, though.”

Jarod and Faith turned as though pulled by a single string but Jarod augmented his action by pulling his police regulation gun out of the holster and pointing it at Raines’ head. He hardly recognized his own voice as it came out of his mouth but he could recognize the feelings of protectiveness he felt towards Faith as she stood, unarmed, beside him.

“You might have survived other bullets, but let’s see you do it with this one.”

He prepared to pull the trigger but stared in shock as Faith pulled the gun easily from his hand and tossed it into the back seat of his car.

“It’s no use, Jarod.” Her voice was soft but there was a commanding tone in it that he responded to. “It’s too late for that.”

“I’m glad to see that your short time out in the world hasn’t knocked all the sense out of you, Looking Glass.” Raines reached around and produced his own gun from its holster.

“Faith,” Jarod growled, turning back to Raines. “Her name is Faith.”

“Do you know,” Raines began in a conversational tone and ignoring Jarod's interruption. “I’m sure you can’t possibly imagine just how much I’m looking forward to having the two of you back at the Centre? And then everything will change, and it will definitely be for the better.” Raines rocked back on his heels and indulged in his fantasies for the moment, still keeping his eye on the two figures in front of him. “No more Parkers in charge of the Centre. Soon we’ll have gotten rid of Mr. Parker, and his son’s already dead, or as good as: locked in that room on his own, unable to summon help due to the fact that his phone has been switched off. Dying a slow and painful death…” Raines trailed off, a delighted expression on his face.

“And then, of course, there’s Miss Parker.” Jarod made a slight movement in protest at the way in which Raines pronounced the name but the former doctor ignored the pretender. “I haven’t yet decided on an appropriate form of punishment for her yet, however you can be assured that I will. And that brings us, in a roundabout way, back to the two of you.”

Jarod glanced down surreptitiously at the woman who stood behind him. The blankness of her face and eyes made him shudder internally. Raines produced a small button and waved it in front of their faces.

“I thank God every day for modern miracles like this - the tracking device. With just a push of this button I can bring a team of sweepers to this spot that even the two of you wouldn’t be able to outmaneuver. You see, I never made the mistake that other people made. I never underestimated the two of you, and I’m not about to start now.”

“So,” Jarod spoke up, surprising both himself and Raines by the comment. “How have you managed to stay quiet all this time, building your forces? I ask merely for information.”

Raines stepped forward slightly and pressed the muzzle of the gun into the pretender’s chest. “I think, after all this time, you’ve forgotten what it’s like in the Centre, Jarod. I could shoot you on the spot for daring to ask something like that and it would give me a lot of pleasure to do so.” He stepped back again. “But I won’t. I don’t underestimate you and, to make sure that you accord me the same privilege, I will tell you.” As Raines began his explanations, Jarod glanced once more out of the corner of his eye at Faith. She still hadn’t moved…

* * * * * * * * *

The Centre
Blue Cove, Delaware

‘ “He’s having a good, long look at himself.” ‘

The eight words swirled around in Miss Parker's mind as she walked down the corridor towards her office. For some reason she couldn’t rid herself of the idea that the words had a deeper meaning than the one she was thinking about at the present moment.

A long hard look at himself?

In what does one look at oneself?

A mirror…

A looking glass…

Looking Glass!

Miss Parker turned on her heel and ran up the three flights of stairs to Sydney's office. “Sydney!” Her voice echoed loudly as she entered his room. “We have to warn Jarod and Faith! Raines is after them!”

* * * * * * * * *

Outside the Prefect Hotel
Naples, Florida

“Nobody else could have managed it the way I did. There isn’t another person in the Centre who is capable of coming up with a plan like mine.” Raines changed his gun briefly to his other hand and flexed the muscles before returning his weapon to its original position. “After I was taken down to be put back together after being shot, I got the chance for a new beginning along with a new lung. But I knew that I couldn’t come back yet. The time wasn’t right. The Centre wasn’t ready. But I only had to bide my time. I could watch projects that I had been responsible for begin to grow and develop, knowing that when I came back, I could rightfully claim the results as my own and strengthen my position.” He eyed Faith meaningfully. “So I sank into my chair in the Renewal Wing and waited. I kept my mind and my emotions shrouded in darkness so that nobody could learn what I had planned. I watched my actions greeted with skepticism. I saw that many didn’t believe that I would ever be anything more than I seemed to be. But I knew that I would eventually rise up and take my proper place. The Centre will be mine now, as it always should have been. My power will be absolute and I will rule my kingdom.”

Jarod peeped once more at Faith’s face and, somehow, began to understand what she was feeling. She was gathering her power together but Raines, still determined to clarify his own plans and wallow in his own abilities, saw none of it.

“I went into the Renewal Wing knowing that I had to do something to hide my thoughts and emotions. I had no specific plan in mind but found that, with only a little effort, I could make my mind completely blank. Keeping it that way was another matter. So, day-by-day, I began to experiment with colors and other methods of management. It was only by chance that I found my favorite color to be the most likely method. A black cloud was easy enough to maintain but sufficient enough to block out all unnecessary other thoughts. Soon enough I became an expert at it. And it gave me time. Time to reflect on other things at the same time. Do you know what my best moment was?” Raines turned to Jarod and glared at him, a smirk still curling his lips. “It was watching you get into the mind of that killer, Kodiak Brown, when I wanted you to. It seemed like a fitting revenge for that time, so many years ago, when you were too much of a coward to find my daughter. So it was an even greater pleasure to see you become him so completely. That was a definite victory for me.” He laughed; a hard, dry and cruel laugh that made the hair on the back of Jarod's neck rise. The pretender looked once more at Faith, feeling the power in her rise to such an extent that he was beginning to be afraid that she would throw herself on him, regardless of the gun he held. In an effort to restrain her, he placed a hand on her shoulder.

The black cloud that appeared immediately in his own mind seemed to break down his very thought processes and make him incapable of moving. Knowing that what he was receiving was only an echo of the image in Faith’s mind, he tried not to let the expression of panic that he could feel building up inside himself show on his face. With an extreme effort, he forced his mind to react and he pulled himself away. Despite never having seen it, Jarod could recognize, when he once more had the power to think, that that would have been the cloud of which Raines had boasted. His eyes locked onto Faith in some kind of gruesome fascination; he could almost see the power growing in her and he looked away, only to watch the cloud, in some way that he could not understand, transfer to Raines’ own mind. He could see the slow disintegration of the emotions that had been obvious on Raines’ face only seconds before, leaving his countenance, and particularly his eyes, so blank that it hurt to look at them. With some sort of instinct, Jarod knew that this would be permanent. Raines had had great dreams but now none of them would ever come to fruition.

Jarod shuddered inwardly and then turned to look at Faith. Slowly he touched her again and she turned around to face him. He placed a hand under her chin and forced her face up to his. She met his eyes and he could see the effort that such an action had caused her. Some instinct propelled him forward and he took the gun from Raines’ still outstretched hand and, unloading the bullets into his jacket pocket, threw it over his shoulder into the car. One eye on the motionless man, Jarod turned back to Faith. Her face was devoid of the little color it normally boasted and her eyes appeared to be sunken in. Her breath came in fast, short bursts and she remained almost as still as Raines himself. Jarod put a hand on her arm.

“Faith?”

He tried not to shudder as she turned and looked at him, blankness apparent on her own features like a mirror of the man she stood beside.

“Faith, we have to go. Now.”

He could see the great effort it took her to nod and he opened the car door, gently helping her into the vehicle and shutting the door. Jarod suppressed an urge to leave immediately, first locating the button of the tracking device, pressing it to draw the sweepers to the spot and then leaping behind the wheel and drawing the car away from the curb with a squealing of tires.

Faith sat on the seat beside him, slowly struggling out of the blackness that seemed to be in control of her mind. Placing one hand gently on Jarod's knee, she could feel some of the power that he was emanating flow into her. She was careful to block out the negative emotions that he was feeling from what he had just experienced, allowing only the positive ones through the filter she had created for herself so long ago when her newly found abilities had almost sent her insane. Slowly she dragged herself out of her own mind and was finally able to become aware of her surroundings. The first thing she noticed was that their car was traveling at a potentially dangerous speed

“Jarod.”

“What?!”

Her voice was so sharp that, had she not been expecting it, it would have made her jump. As it was, she moved her hand on his knee gently, knowing that the contact itself was good for both of them.

“Slow down, Jarod. They aren’t following us.”

He looked at her out of the corner of his eye and she could still see the anger and frustration that he had been unable to express at what had happened and at his own lack of participation. She searched through his mind for something to break his thoughts and found the concern he had felt for her. Magnifying it was as much therapeutic for her as it was for himself and she could feel her emotional levels return to normal as the car slowed to a safe speed.

A beeping brought Faith out of her own thoughts and she looked around to see Jarod focusing on the road ahead and nothing else.

“Your computer is beeping.”

“It’s a new email.” His answer was abrupt, having already recognized the sound.

“Would you like me to read it?”

He nodded silently. A moment later, the machine open on her knees, Faith spoke. “It’s from Miss Parker.”

“Wonders will never cease,” Jarod responded dryly. “I didn’t think she even knew my email address.”

“She didn’t. It’s being sent through Sydney's computer.”

“And?”

Faith, at that moment, actually began to laugh. Jarod hurriedly pulled the car off the road and, putting it into park, put the back of his hand onto her forehead and tried to find a pulse in her wrist. Still giggling gently, she pulled away.

“I’m not sick, Jarod. It’s just…”

He sat back against his seat and stared at her. “Well, what?”

“She’s warning us…”

She quietly giggled again and, it being so unlike her normal character, Jarod quickly tried to decide whether she was hysterical from stress or else having a nervous breakdown.

“Neither,” she told him tartly. “My sister is warning us about Raines.”

The two stared at each other in complete silence for several seconds. They could never say later which of the two began to laugh first but for some long moments the car rang with their peals of amusement.

* * * * * * * * *

Home of Andrew Harrison
Naples, Florida

Still slightly shaken from the activities of the night before, it took Andrew several moments to answer the door when the bell rang and he stared blankly at the two uniformed figures that stood in the doorway.

“Andrew Harrison?”

The man nodded.

“You're under arrest for the murder of Joanne Hactar. You have the right to remain silent. If you give up the right to remain silent, anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to speak with an attorney…”

* * * * * * * * *

11/184 West Street
Annapolis, Maryland

The door of the room swung open and was held back by a heavy piece of rubble that a sweeper placed in front of it. Had Lyle been capable of noticing anything, he would have been pleased to see his father enter the room and not at all pleased to see Mr. Cox follow behind. Had he been capable of hearing, he would have begun planning a double murder immediately.

“Is he alive?”

Cox looked up. “At the moment, yes. As we’ve always known, though, the length of his lifespan cannot be guaranteed.”

“And the fact has been explained to me on more than one occasion that that is one of the only guaranteed effects of Kronos I.” Mr. Parker impatiently crossed his arms and, glancing at his watch, began to tap his foot. He looked down at the gradually increasing pool of his son’s blood and, in disgust, moved backwards to avoid it touching his shoe.

Cox reached over and pulled towards him the bag that he had been carrying. It yielded a syringe that he filled from a vial and injected into the unconscious man’s arm, attempting to avoid contact with the blood that appeared to be everywhere. Finding that some was on his sleeve, he wiped it carefully on a clean spot on Lyle’s jacket, an expression of disgust crawling across his face.

“Can we move him yet?” Mr. Parker glanced around the room, a sneer on his face. “If Raines was right and this building is supposed to blow, I don’t want to be here when it happens.”

“Only another ten minutes, sir, while the drug works. If we leave too soon, the movement would cause him to lose too much blood.”

“And will this incident cause any side-effects?”

“It’s difficult to say. In the case that he has lost too much blood, there could be some brain damage.”

“Hmmm.” Mr. Parker rubbed his chin, a thoughtful expression on his face. “If that is the case, I will have no further use for him.”

“As I said before, sir,” Cox suppressed his ready answer. “It could be some time before we can be certain. To make life easier, whatever the circumstances, may I suggest that he be taken in the Renewal Wing for his recovery? That way, whatever happens…”

Mr. Parker’s eyes rested thoughtfully on the doctor. “And he will also be neatly out of your way,” he responded acidly. “Still, I suppose you deserve your chance. He has a week, no more. A week to get out of the Renewal Wing on his own - or he never will.”

* * * * * * * * *

Outside the Prefect Hotel
Naples, Florida

The team of sweepers gathered around the unmoving figure, his body still stationary after the mental crushing it had received and unable even to crumple itself onto the pavement. For a moment, the group paused respectfully but then moved in and bundled the body into the back of the car that was parked alongside the curb. As the car pulled away and headed back to Blue Cove, only one man stood and watched it leave; one man who was watching his dreams disappear over the horizon…

* * * * * * * * *

Jarod's new lair
Atlanta, Georgia

“What?”

“I hear that the world is changing…sort of.”

“Jarod!”

He laughed to hear the tone of her voice. “That sounds almost like concern. You aren’t going soft on me now Parker, are you?”

“Not a chance,” she responded in a similar teasing tone, which soon changed into something more serious. “Did everything resolve itself?’

Jarod glanced down at Faith as she lay, her head resting on his knee, and silently watched him talk. “I think it could fairly be said that the situation resolved itself as best it could for both myself and your sister.” His face twisted itself into a half-smile. “You might,” he advised with a gleam in his eye, “want to ask Mr. Raines himself whether he is happy with the way it all turned out.”

Faiths own eyes gleamed briefly in response to his banter but her face remained otherwise motionless.

“He’d be dead before he could answer.”

Jarod jumped at the ferocity in Miss Parker's voice but kept his own devoid of emotion. “Hmmm…”

There was a pause in the conversation, during which time Faith eased off Jarod's shoes and began to tickle his feet, making it slightly more difficult for him to concentrate.

“Did you…know what happened to Lyle?”

Jarod nodded. “I knew. And, before you ask, no. I didn’t have anything to do with it personally, except in an indirect sort of way.”

“What do you mean?”

Jarod thought for a second. “It’s complicated.”

“What isn’t?” Miss Parker’s tone of voice suggested that she was rolling her eyes and Jarod laughed again before speaking.

“Is Lyle okay?”

“According to what I’ve heard, he should be in a few days.” Miss Parker smiled slightly. “That sounds almost like concern.”

“Not at all.” Jarod laughed in his turn. “I just like my enemies to be able to put up a good fight.”

“Does that mean I’m your enemy?”

Jarod grinned. “Not today.”

* * * * * * * * *

Renewal Wing, The Centre
Blue Cove, Delaware

Miss Parker pulled the door shut behind her with a snort and took a step forward into the corridor. Even having only just regained consciousness, her brother was annoying, despite the fact that she was only delivering a message from their father. A noise away to the right made her glance down the hallway in time to see a trolley being pushed down an adjacent passageway. The two men pushing it were unknown to her but the man walking behind was instantly recognizable as Willie and Miss Parker would have put money on it being Raines on the trolley itself. A memory of Jarod's comments came back into her mind and, silently, she followed the group as they rapidly moved to another part of the Renewal Wing. As a door was pushed open, she had a chance to glimpse the face of the body and it took her only a fraction of a second to recognize Raines’ face, despite the blank features. She shuddered internally, turned on her heel and strode away to the upper levels of the Centre.

* * * * * * * * *

Railway station
Atlanta, Georgia

“Make sure, next time you decide to make somebody pay, you don’t let yourself get carried away by your emotions,” Faith admonished gently.

Jarod nodded, a serious expression on his face and a sense of mournfulness apparent in his eyes. “You’re a good lesson for me, Faith.”

“Not me. Eclipse.”

The pretender shuddered at the term and Faith reached out and touched his arm gently. “Just be careful, Jarod. Don’t let it control you. You can control it if you try; you know you can. I know you can.”

He nodded. “I won’t forget.”

The two were distracted by the sound of a train pulling into the station behind them. Jarod's face now wore an expression of infinite sadness and he restrained an urge to grab her, pull her into the car and take her with him, wherever he decided to head next.

“It wouldn’t work, Jarod. The longer we’re together, the easier it would be to find us both.”

The pretender nodded sadly. “It you ever need me…or want to talk…” He paused and swallowed hard, unable to both finish the sentence and retain his composure and Faith slipped her hand into his.

“I’ll find you.”

Jarod smiled and blinked away the tears that glistened in his eyes. Bending down, he kissed her gently on one cheek.

“I know you don’t like goodbyes, Jarod, but life is made up of a lot of them.”

“They can contain a lot of hellos, too.”

Faith gently freed herself from his grasp. “There will be at least one more hello between us. I promise.” She picked up her bag, turned away and walked into the building without looking back. Jarod took in a deep, but shaky, breath, climbed into his car and pulled hurriedly out of the parking lot.

End of Episode
Diver Down

 
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