Naked Jarod

 

home / season five / episode eighteen / act III

   

Day 5 -- Friday
Socorro, New Mexico
Anderson-Dean University Campus

“Jarod, that was the craziest thing I’ve ever seen,” commented Lea, giving Jarod a soft slap on the shoulder.

“Hey!” He reacted to her playful hit.

“Where did you learn how to do that?” Her warm smile lit her face. “I’ve never seen anyone stand on their head for so long.”

“I had a lot of time to practice when I was younger.” Jarod smiled and plucked a PEZ from its dispenser with his mouth.

“I’ve never had so much fun in any class! Thank you.”

“You’re welcome.” Jarod laughed, chewing his PEZ.

“Did Ms. Richards know you were gonna do that?” Lea crunched a carrot stick and tucked a lock of hair behind her ear.

Jarod shook his head. “No. She was just as surprised as everyone else. But, I’d say she was pleased.”

Lea’s bright smile quickly faded as a tall shadow fell over her and Jarod while they were sitting in the grass. She caught Jarod’s look as he tilted his head upward, shielding his eyes against the afternoon sun.

“Hello, Miss Parker,” he said, plainly.

“Hi.” The smile in her voice was almost genuine.

“Miss Parker, this is Lea Marshall,” Jarod introduced the two women.

“Hello, nice to meet you.” Lea rose from the grass and extended her right hand.

Miss Parker tentatively took the woman’s hand. “Yeah.” She turned to Jarod. “Um, Jarod, can we talk?”

“Sure.” He stood. “Lea, will you excuse me?”

“Yeah. I have some painting to do. I’ll see you later.”

Jarod nodded and watched Lea cross the grounds as he spoke. “Yes, Miss Parker?”

She shook her head. “This doesn’t make any sense.”

“What doesn’t make any sense?”

“All of this. Are you aware I was pulled from my regular assignment to come down here?” Miss Parker leaned against a tree. “My father told me I had to locate this operative, but I was given nothing. No photo, no description, nothing. I don’t know who I’m looking for.”

“Let’s walk.” He extended his hand to her. She sighed, shaking her head, pushed herself from the tree, and walked past him.

Jarod released his own sigh and followed. They walked for fifteen minutes in silence. Only the sounds of the streets surrounded them.

“Miss Parker,” Jarod called to the woman several steps ahead of him.

She stopped and turned around, staring at him, wondering what he wanted.

“This way.” He pointed to a building.

“I thought we were going to the crime scene?”

He smiled. “The crime scene is that way.” He pointed back toward the university. “I need a few pieces of information first.”

“Okay.” She followed him into the police station. “What are we looking for?” She whispered to Jarod.

“Hold on.” Jarod watched Sydor, waiting.

* * * * * * * * *

Nieuwendyk nodded, listening to his partner describe the movie he had watched the night before with little true interest. Finally, Sydor finished and left for his daily trip to the coffee shop down the street. He nodded at Jarod on his way out and gave Miss Parker a head-to-toe glance that made her feel violated.

The other detective pushed himself from his chair and approached the man he had seen enter the station several minutes ago. “Good afternoon, Jarod.”

“Detective.” The two men shook hands. “This is Miss Parker.”

“Pleasure. Name’s J.T.” The detective shook hands, tentatively, with the attractive woman, eyeing her a little too intently.

“What?” she snapped.

“I’m sorry.” Nieuwendyk could not get over her resemblance to the victims.

Jarod, trying to pull the conversation away from Miss Parker, asked, “Anything interesting?”

Shaking his head, Nieuwendyk responded, “ID on the third victim.”

“Do you have ID’s on the first two?”

“Yeah. They came in a couple days ago. Daniel said to keep a lid on it for a few days. Don’t really know why. He let us pass out the photographs.”

“So, who are they?”

“Here.” Nieuwendyk handed Jarod a list. “The last one, I hear, is that guy, Van Allen’s ex-girlfriend.”

“Interesting. Thanks.”

“Sure. Be careful.”

“We will.” Jarod guided Miss Parker back to the street.

“What was that all about?”

“What?”

“The girlfriend thing.”

Jarod pulled Miss Parker to the edge of the sidewalk. “Sydor questioned Craig Van Allen before the ID had come back on the third victim.”

“So, now what?”

“The last crime scene. Let’s go.”

* * * * * * * * *

Socorro, New Mexico
Anderson-Dean University Campus
Crime Scene #4
Friday Late Morning

“Jarod, there’s nothing here.” Miss Parker sighed and rubbed her hands over her hair.

Jarod shifted some debris, picking through leaves and sticks. “Maybe there is something.” He held a small, silver disc between his thumb and forefinger.

“A DSA? What would a college student be doing with a Centre DSA?” Miss Parker knelt beside Jarod.

“This was no college student.” He picked through several more bits of debris.

“Jarod, do you suppose this was the operative I was sent to find?”

“Maybe.”

“We need to find out what’s on that DSA.”

“Yes. We do.” Jarod wrinkled his brow. “How did the police miss this?”

“What?”

“The police were all over this scene. How did they miss this?”

“Unless it wasn’t here when they searched.”

Jarod’s head snapped to his right, looking directly at her. “If that’s true, then someone knew you would search the scene and planted it… as a message.”

“Where’s your DSA player?”

“My apartment.”

“I’m hungry. Let’s eat.”

“You go ahead. I have some things to do.” Jarod stretched his legs, stiff from kneeling.

“All right.” Miss Parker turned away and turned back to him. “Wait, where is your place?”

Jarod gave her the address, then watched her cross the grounds.

* * * * * * * * *

Jarod's Apartment
Socorro, New Mexico
Friday Late Afternoon

The soft sound of sad lyrics drifted beyond the door. Miss Parker stopped and listened.

I don’t have a worry
I don’t have a care
I don’t have a sound piece of mind
But I managed to fare…*

Interesting song. She knocked.

“Come in,” she heard his voice call. Pushing the apartment door open, she entered, absorbing the surroundings and the continued chorus of the song:

…I don’t feel no raging
There ain’t nothing new
Drop me in the ocean
And paint me blue…*

Canvases and sculptures of all sizes lined the walls and shelves. Wonderboy has been busy. A charcoal drawing caught her eye and held her attention. The man in the drawing was nude. She looked around, all of the figures in the room were nude, including… “Oh, God!” she gasped.

“Hello, Miss Parker,” Jarod returned, his focus remaining on his canvas.

“Um, Jarod. Why are you…?” she could not bring herself to speak the word.

He faced her, his tall, slender body fully exposed. Her voice caught in her throat as she tried to speak. Conforming to general standards of modesty, after instinctively eyeing Jarod head-to-toe, she covered her eyes and turned away from him. “Jarod, would you please put on some clothes. Or at least a robe?” she snarled, able to speak now.

Jarod smiled and pulled a robe from a nearby chair. “Is this better?”

She turned around and blinked. “Eh,” she shrugged. Remembering why she had come, she said, “Where’s the DSA?”

“All business.” He placed his charcoal on the nearby table and brushed off his fingers. He retrieved the DSA from the backside of one of his drawings and inserted it into the DSA player.

An image flickered on the screen, followed by hissing static.

“There’s nothing here.” Miss Parker threw her hands in the air, exasperated. She turned and walked to the window.

Jarod watched the static shift and settle into an image. “Miss Parker.”

She turned to him, saw the image. “Hold on. Back that up.” She made a motion with her hand as she walked.

He reversed the DSA, played it back for her. They watched the images again.

For Centre Use Only

“Are you sure this is what you want?” a doctor asked the woman on the table.

The light haired woman nodded eagerly. “Yes, Doctor. We both want this very much.” She smiled up at someone off-screen.

“Brigitte?” Miss Parker gasped. “What is going on here?”

“Just watch,” Jarod instructed.

For Centre Use Only

The woman on the table extended her hand to the man in the shadows, who stepped forward to take it. He turned his head and prompted, “Go ahead, Doctor.”

 Miss Parker put a hand to her mouth. “Daddy.”

“Yes. Brigitte, your father, and a fertility doctor from NuGenesis.” Jarod recognized the doctor on the DSA as one who had been working at the NuGenesis lab a couple years ago.

“But… the Centre has a fertility doctor.”

“Which leaves a very important question, needing a very important answer.”

“Who are the donors?” The DSA turned to static and hiss again. “Is there more?”

“No. That’s all that wasn’t damaged.” Jarod ejected the disc and handed it to Miss Parker. “I’m sure this is part of the message.”

“Jarod, I….” She furrowed her brow. “Do you have a picture of the last victim?”

He nodded and retrieved the photograph from his desk, handed it to Miss Parker.

“I know her. Well, knew her. We had one class together in high school.”

“Was she a friend?”

Miss Parker shook her head. “Not really. We talked sometimes, but I never knew she worked for the Centre.”

“It has a long reach.”

“There has to be more.”

“The DSA was…”

Miss Parker cut him off, “Not the DSA. She had to have found something else. They wouldn’t kill her over a damaged DSA. She must have uncovered something else. Perhaps something about my mother? Or something my mother was working on?”

“I don’t know, Miss Parker. But you are right about one thing.”

“What?”

“The Centre killed her. She’s not a victim of the serial killer.”

“How can you be sure?”

“I was at the scene when the police collected the evidence. They found fibers from the fourth victim’s clothing. The other victims were found naked.” He watched Miss Parker’s reaction to that word. “But, there was no indication they were stripped at the scenes.”

“I’m guessing we have more investigating to do?”

“A little. We need to talk to Craig Van Allen, and with some of Michelle Maldonado’s friends.”

“Maldonado, that’s the ex-girlfriend, right?”

Jarod nodded.

* * * * * * * * *

The Centre
Broots' Office
Friday Morning

Sam strode into the computer tech’s office, shifting around a stack of papers in the floor, and stopped just in front of the cluttered desk. “Mr. Broots, you said you might have some information?” He transferred the package for Miss Parker he was still carrying from one hand to the other.

“Yeah. Man, I never expected this, but when I tried to cross-reference against Centre itineraries again, I received a message telling me access to that area was restricted. Then, I tried to access personnel files; those were blocked too. Then,” he put a finger in the air for emphasis, “I ran a program to counteract the firewall to get into some of the files, which got me in, but as soon as I opened Miss Parker’s file, my machine crashed and I had to re-boot.”

Could this get any worse? Sam asked himself. Almost wishing the thought had not crossed his mind, he heard Broots begin another lengthy dissertation about the re-booting process and, yet another failure to retrieve the files. “Mr. Broots,” Sam spoke up to quiet the tech’s tirade, “do you have anything helpful?”

Broots shuffled around on his desk and located a micro-cassette. He glanced at Sydney, a question in his face asking if he should give this information to Sam.

"Go ahead, Broots," Sydney said with a nod.

“Okay, well, I found this.” He inserted the cassette into a player and handed the headset to Sam, pressing the <PLAY> button when Sam was ready.

Sam removed the headset. “Miss Parker was told by her father to not come in four days ago?”

“That’s what I thought, at first, but then I analyzed the tape, and the voice is her father’s, but the phrases were pieced together and played back to sound like one fluid instruction.”

“If it wasn’t sent by her father, who then?” Sam folded his arms over his chest, cradling the package, growing tired of this dead-end chase.

“Um, I don’t know, but she did come in the day she received this message. The day she left early.”

“All right, so either she didn’t get the message, or she chose to ignore it.”

“Well, the time stamp on the answering machine tape was 6:02 AM. Miss Parker doesn’t leave for the Centre until almost 7:00AM.”

“So, unless she failed to notice the message on the machine, she heard it and ignored it,” Sydney spoke again.

“Sydney,” Broots stated. “Do you really think she would ignore a message she thought was from her father?”

“Only if she realized it was not actually from her father.”

“Are you saying she knew it was a fake?” Broots stammered.

“I’m not sure she knew, but Miss Parker is not a passive woman. If her father called to tell her to stay home, he would have a good reason and Miss Parker would want to know that reason.”

“This still doesn’t tell us where she is,” Sam stated.

“No. And without access to the necessary files, I won’t be able to find that information.” Broots flailed at the computer that failed him. “Someone is cutting us off at every turn.”

“Perhaps we should open the package,” Sydney suggested.

“Syd, it’s a federal offense to open someone else’s mail,” a confused Broots said.

“Yes, and I would not ordinarily condone such measures, but given the circumstances…”

“No.” Sam’s firm voice ceased further comment on the subject. “My instructions were very specific. No one is to open this but Miss Parker.”

“But it may help us find her.”

“No. We’ll have to find another way.” Sam’s adamant attitude was enough to convince Sydney and Broots. They would have to find another way of locating Miss Parker.

* * * * * * * * *

Local Police Station
Socorro, New Mexico
Interrogation Room
Friday Evening

“You’re wrong!” Sydor slapped a hand on the table. “Van Allen is our man and we’re going to charge him!”

“You can’t hold him without probable cause and the DA will never take this to trial with the evidence you have.” Jarod had been trying to reason with Sydor for the last hour. He explained that with no evidence at the scenes and an alibi that checked, Craig would never be convicted. Miss Parker had said little, not sure where Jarod was going with this conversation.

“Get out of my interrogation room before I charge you and your friend with these murders!” Sydor rose from his chair and pointed to the door.

Jarod turned his head to Miss Parker, gave her a look, and nodded toward the door. She rose with him and exited the interrogation room. Two steps away, they heard the door of the interrogation room slam closed.

Nieuwendyk approached them. “What’s eating him?”

“He didn’t agree with our findings,” Miss Parker snapped, not annoyed with Nieuwendyk, annoyed that she and Jarod had eliminated a suspect, but Sydor refused to acknowledge their findings.

“Why?” Nieuwendyk asked.

“Because they didn’t agree with his,” Miss Parker stated firmly.

Nieuwendyk furrowed his brow. “Come with me.” He led Jarod and Miss Parker outside to walk. “So, tell me what you’ve found.”

Jarod recalled as they walked: “The most obvious is the alibi for Craig Van Allen. He and Leandra Marshall attended an art lecture at the university. Lea said she was with him the entire night, along with about four hundred other people. Craig gave the lecture.”

“Okay, and Sydor ignored this?” Nieuwendyk asked, perplexed.

“We didn’t get a chance to point out the specifics,” Jarod responded.

Nieuwendyk nodded.

“Is Sydor married?” A thought had struck Jarod; he remembered the ring he had found at the third crime scene.

Nieuwendyk nodded once, then shook his head. “Well, he was. His wife left him about six months ago. He took it pretty hard for about a day, then he seemed back to normal.”

“Do you have a picture of her?” Jarod stopped walking.

“Yeah.” Nieuwendyk pulled out his wallet and flipped to a photograph of Sydor and his former wife.

“Miss Parker,” Jarod grabbed her arm and pulled her toward him, “take a look at this.”

She gasped at what she saw. “Unbelievable.”

“Exactly. You look just like her. Well, similar. If Sydor didn’t see it he’s blind.”

“All right. So that explains his reaction, but…” Miss Parker stopped. “Jarod, does this mean…”

“That Sydor is our killer? Possibly. We need to go over the evidence.”

* * * * * * * * *

“I don’t believe this.” Nieuwendyk tossed a file to Jarod. “Sydor’s previous assignment. He had several assault charges filed against him.”

“His wife?” Jarod asked opening the file.

“No. Other officers. He was reprimanded and transferred.”

With a huff, Miss Parker said, “He attacks women and gets a slap on the wrist. Do we have any real evidence on our man-of-the-year?”

“Yes. Including the fact that he suspected Craig before the ID came back on Maldonado.” Jarod ruffled his hair.

“She’s the ex-girlfriend, right?” Miss Parker waited for Jarod’s nod; he had answered that question for her three times already. Did she really not remember or was she just reinforcing a point? “Anything else?”

“The wedding band at the Maldonado scene.” Jarod smiled at Miss Parker’s expression. “It was engraved with Sydor’s name and the date of his wedding. He didn’t realize it was missing until I found it at the scene.”

“Jarod, that only links him to the third victim. What about the other three women?”

“Two,” Nieuwendyk corrected.

“Right.” Miss Parker closed her eyes and rubbed her temples; all this information was making her head spin.

“Only two of the other victims fit. Jarod found inconsistencies with the fourth victim. It looked more like a *copy-cat* killing.” Nieuwendyk paused long enough to collect his thoughts. “There were clothing fibers found with the fourth body. The others only had the red, silk scarf. The fourth victim had faint contusions and slight abrasions on her body, as though she had been held against her will before she was strangled.”

Jarod continued for Nieuwendyk, “And a closer examination of the evidence from the first victim revealed another piece of jewelry was left at the scene. Police initially thought it belonged to the victim, but we determined it actually belonged to Sydor’s ex-wife. The first three victims all had some type of personal relationship with Sydor and each was seen arguing with him the day before the body was found. I have not been able to pinpoint the catalyst for the arguments, but the rest should be enough.”

“Does Sydor have an alibi for the murders?” Miss Parker asked, getting lost in what had been established and what had not.

“Not one that can be corroborated. He originally claimed to be with his partner, but J.T. told IAD a different story. The investigation was tabled when the fourth victim was found and Sydor had an airtight alibi for that crime. He *was* with J.T. then.”

“So, IAD figured his alibi would check for the other three?”

“Not sure. IAD had a few problems recovering all of its evidence and had to drop the case.”

“So, now what?”

“We get Sydor to confess.”

“And how do you propose we do that?” Miss Parker cocked an eyebrow at Jarod, received a sly smile in return.

On to Act IV

 
  The Pretender - © NBC, All rights reserved.
Web Maintenance by Rayhne
  home | primer | season five | season six | staff | updates | guestbook
"Ownership of the characters of The Pretender is property of NBC/TNT/Pretender Productions. Copyright of the original works on this site, including title graphics and written episodes, are the property of their creators and the VS site only, and may not be used without express written consent of the authors/artists/webmaster."