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Dachau Concentration Camp
Munich, Germany
September 14, 1944

The rows of barbed wire rose ahead in the darkness, the raindrops gleaming on them like pearls in some mystic cavern. Spotlights slashed the mud-soaked ground and the clouds gave the sky a black and menacing look. The sky, despite the darkness of the night, glowed red in the northwest from the chimneys that constantly belched smoke and flames. In the barracks, the boys clung to each other, tears coursing down their faces as they muffled their sobs. Shadows hid strange and unknown places and the sounds around them were peculiar and unidentifiable. The unfamiliar sensation of harsh cloth clung to their skin and the peculiarity of wearing shoes in bed added to the newness and abnormality of the situation. The bed itself, several hard boards with a blanket above and one below the two bodies, made sleep, on this first night at the new camp, impossible. Instead, suddenly feeling terrified and alone, the boys held each other close, trying to ignore the proximity of other sleeping figures on beds that held four or more people at once.

Finally, however, the small, square window that was on the same level as their bed showed the more familiar and softer first hint of light in the far eastern sky and the boys turned to face it, as if it was an angel coming to their rescue. At almost the same moment, a hand reached over and shook them. Gentle though the contact had been, in this new and strange environment it was enough to make them both jump as they turned over to face the possible enemy that now faced them in this strange place.

“Guten Morgen.”

For a fraction the words sounded strange but then memory awoke and it seemed as if their own father spoke to them. Both boys warmed suddenly to this voice.

“Wer sind Sie?” Who are you? To the young Jacob, the foreign words came slowly.

“My name is Henri.” The man smiled and changed immediately to the more familiar French. “I’m in charge of this block. It’s lucky for you that you understand German. It will be very helpful, particularly when you are working for the Herr Doktor Leiden.” The man pulled a small package out of his pocket and pushed it over to the boys. A young Sydney picked it up.

“What’s this?”

”A welcoming present.” He pulled himself up and sat down on the edge of the bed. “How old are you?”

“Ten years old.”

The man smiled. “You’re the youngest in the camp. And very lucky.”

Sydney overcame his shyness. “Why?”

“Didn’t you hear what Dr. Leiden said when he brought you here? You’re his special project - the only ‘Zwillingerprojekt’ in the whole camp.”

“What’s a ‘twins project?'

The man looked sober. “It means that, for a while at least, you will be safe.”

* * * * * * * * *

25 Washington Avenue
Blue Cove, Delaware
April 14, 2001

Opening his eyes to the dark room and feeling his heart pounding, Sydney sat upright in bed and inhaled deeply several times, trying to calm down. After so many years, it would have seemed reasonable that he should be at least partly used to the nightmares by now, but somehow he never was. He doubted if he ever really would be. Sydney stripped the wet sheets off his bed and threw them, with a kind of patient resentment, into the basket that stood next to the door of his bedroom. He could wash them, have them dried and remake the bed before he even left for the Centre, he thought ruefully as he looked at the clock:. 4:17am. He hated himself for getting up that early but, in all the years, he had never managed to sleep much later. Once, it had been a benefit to have this peaceful, personal time before the reveille clanged to announce another new day at the camp, but now it was a curse, a time when dreams, half remembered, would slip behind the curtains of his sub-conscious, waiting until he was asleep before appearing again and tormenting him with their vague memories. Still trembling slightly, he stepped into the bathroom and stared at himself in the mirror.

The face that stared back at him was his and yet, at the same time, not. The eyes of his other half seemed to stare accusingly at him from the glass and he looked down and shook his head in a mixture of sadness and despair. His razor, always the old-fashioned kind, sat gleaming on the edge of the sink where he had placed it the night before, next to the towel and the soap. On the rack to his right another towel sat immaculately folded, waiting for him to use it. Glancing over his shoulder, Sydney could see his clothes neatly arranged for him to don when he was finished in the bathroom. Turning back, his eye was caught by the clean whiteness of his dressing gown. The collar of his sweat-soaked pajama top peeped out over the neatly folded collar and cuffs, the tartan a strong contrast to the gleaming whiteness.

The years and his experiences had made Sydney cautious and careful in his approach and nothing had thus far managed to break that habit. For a few moments, looking in the mirror and noting the lack of color in his cheeks and lips, Sydney considered calling in sick. For a few seconds, he allowed that possibility to pass through his mind. However, like every other day, he thought that perhaps he might be needed and he wanted the chance to be there if that happened. In the same way, Sydney thought with his mouth twisted bitterly as he picked up the soap, that people thronged to the site of a murder or an execution with a kind of morbid fascination….

* * * * * * * * *

The Centre
Blue Cove, Delaware
February 2, 1963

“He’s calling himself Jarod. He wants his mother and father.”

The boy sat on the chair and trembled. His eyes were still covered by the black mask that had been put over his head in his room the night before and his hands were tied firmly behind him with a soft but strong binding. In the fast-moving car he had managed to move the cover a little and had a quick glance of unknown trees whizzing past the window before the man sitting silently beside him gently forced his head away and pulled the blindfold down firmly. The turning of his head showed the young Jarod a man in a black suit driving the car and another man sitting beside him with the gun on his lap . Now Jarod felt hands touch his wrists and gently untie the bonds that bound his wrists. As soon as they were loose, Jarod lunged forward and felt the chair tip over onto him.

Jarod, forgetting for a moment, waited for the nice soft voice that usually met his ear when he fell or hurt himself, but this time firm hands grabbed his shoulders, jerked him to his feet and pulled the mask away from his eyes.

“Be careful, Jarod. You wouldn’t want to damage that valuable brain of yours.”

The voice was neither nice nor soft in the way of the mother or father's had been, but there was something in it that made him turn towards it. The face wore a half-smile and Jarod smiled in response. The man bent down.

“Stay here, Jarod. I will be back later.” The man straightened up and walked over to the door. As he stood there, the door, with no handle inside the room, opened and the man walked through. Jarod waited for a few moments, then picked up the chair and sat on it.

There was no way for him to get out. He had spent the first hours in that room sitting on the chair and looking around him until every surface of the room was firmly imprinted on his memory. For the next few hours he had walked along each wall and closely examined it, hoping to find an exit he could use. Then suddenly the bright overhead lights were turned off almost completely, leaving only a dim bulb glowing in the ceiling. Despite its faintness, that didn’t fool the child. He had seen such lights before in cages of animals in the zoo that only came out at night. For a moment he forgot about his current surroundings in endeavoring to remember what they were properly called. Nocturnal, he said to himself after a moment or two and smiled. But, looking around the room again, nothing had changed. With a sigh, the young Jarod walked over to the only long, flat object in the room. If it was intended for a bed then it was a lot harder than he was used to but at least it seemed to be a bed of sorts and he was very tired. Imagining his mother with her arms around him and singing, Jarod finally went to sleep with a smile on his face.

Awakening suddenly, the boy found that he was no longer alone. The only sign that time had passed was that the lights in the room were now bright again and the man from the day before now wore a different suit. Getting up, the young boy walked over to the table and stared up at the man.

“Good morning.”

Nodding in reply, Jarod waited to hear what he wanted. He was somewhat surprised when the man picked him up and carried him out of the room and, down a long corridor, to another. In this room were several tables, including one that contained a large pile building materials. The man gave his directions quickly and quietly, leaving Jarod to interpret them as he wished. Then he left by the same door as they had entered, one that had a large mirror facing the inside of the room. As he worked on the task, Jarod could hear the voices on the other side of the mirror and he stared hard in the direction from which they were coming. They stopped.

* * * * * * * * *

An abandoned warehouse
Tucson, Arizona
April 14, 2001

The darkness that met his eyes as he opened them was a shock. Disentangling himself from the twisted bedclothes, Jarod got up from the makeshift bed with a muttered curse. A treacherous corner of the blanket, curling itself around his ankle, caused him to land on his hands and knees on the concrete floor.

“Dammit. Damn and blast it all to hell.”

Jarod pulled himself into a sitting position, angrily tossed the very damp blanket back onto the bed, and began to examine his wounds. Pressing on the skin, he oozed a few drops of blood out of either knee and watched indifferently as they ran down his legs. He would need to have a shower somewhere anyway. His body was slick with sweat and he could taste the salty drops that ran down from his forehead and past his mouth, some slipping through his parted lips as he struggled to regain control of his erratic breathing. The echoes of his voice sounded for a few seconds in the large room and came back to his ears before scurrying rather than fading away, as though frightened by the large, uninhabited space. Jarod glanced up through the broken window; in through which blew gusts of wind that moved the papers he had put on the floor and also allowed the broken padlock to beat an irregular tattoo against the wooden door.

Leaping to his feet, Jarod angrily tore the lock off the door and hurled it through the window and out into the building site outside. Standing for a moment, he took several deep breaths, trying to control his breath and also his frustration. He was sick and tired of dreams. Just one night, he thought - one night when he could sleep in peace. One night when he could forget the ghosts of his past. Ghosts… Looking around into the dark corners, Jarod shook himself slightly and then reached over and lit the powerful lamp that sat on the floor beside him. Darkness retreated, not beaten but forced, for the moment, to withdraw, and Jarod found himself facing the rest of the long night alone. He looked at his watch:. 4:17am. What an hour to be awake and alone...…

* * * * * * * * *

SL-13
The Centre
Blue Cove, Delaware

The more paranoid of those in attendance felt the prickling on the back of their necks and looked surreptitiously around the room, focusing finally on the camera that sat up in the corner of the room and that was supposedly not functioning. In an otherwise normal-looking boardroom, this presented the only anomaly. Not even a secretary was welcome in these rooms to take notes. More than one of those present at the meeting, however, believed that the Chairman made sure that the camera was activated so that he, at least, could later have a record of material discussed and suggestions made. Either that or he had a wonderful memory….

The small, flashing, red light was almost hidden behind the bars of the air vent and consequently went unnoticed by the attendees of the Triumvirate Conference below. Nor could they see the figure pressed up against the gently curving walls of the ducts, listening intently to every word uttered. And if they had been aware of the presence of the figure, none would have believed that he could have understood what was happening, as all those present believed that Angelo could have no thoughts or feelings of his own. But the empath, who had been to nearly almost every Triumvirate meeting taking place at the Centre for the last thirty years or more, also had a recording of all meetings, either audio or video, stashed away in a corner of an air vent that nobody else even knew existed.

As the meeting drew to a close, the sounds of people rising from their seats covered the muffled beep of the camera yielding its prize and the owner scrambling away, down into the darkness. Pausing for a moment above an empty office, Angelo let himself down into it with the agility of a monkey. In the space of a fraction of a second, he left the tape on the desk and was back up in the familiar darkness, soundlessly replacing the cover before retreating back to his space where he would be found some thirty minutes later when Sydney came, on the orders of Miss Parker, to bring him into the office for a discussion.

* * * * * * * * *

Jarod's lair
Scottsdale, Arizona

Jarod dropped the paper on his bed and picked up his newest possession with a confused but proud air. Looking down at the curved, smooth piece of wood, his brow furrowed and he ran his hands up and down the strange object. The man, with an accent that Jarod had never heard before, had laughingly guaranteed that Jarod would never be able to lose the strange item. Jarod allowed his eyes to run over the various drawings that decorated it, the various dots coming together to create a pattern of color that, while he didn’t fully understand it, spoke to him of size, power and something deeper... For a few moments, Jarod contemplated this feeling but, giving up, he tossed it up into the air a few times, catching it playfully as gravity sent it directly back into his hands.

Putting it on the bed beside him, Jarod picked up the newspaper that he had also purchased and began to flick through it. At the same time, he opened a pack of Oreo cookies and started to eat them, occasionally pausing to swallow mouthfuls of milk from the bottle that sat on the floor beside his feet. A photo of a young girl caught his eye and he opened the page wider to find a detailed article about the death of the girl called Julie-Ann Hueber, who had died from a rare form of cancer. With a sigh at the waste of a life, Jarod allowed his eyes to wander over the two pages that contained information relevant to the illness suffered by this girl. In the act of closing the paper, however, his eye was caught by a name that somehow seemed strangely familiar. Jarod spread the pages wide on the bed and lay on his stomach, his chin resting in the palm of his hand while he read about the possible cure being worked on by a Doctor James Eaton. The paper went unnoticed as it slipped to the floor and Jarod stared blankly out of the window high above him.

* * * * * * * * *

Infirmary
The Centre
Blue Cove, Delaware

Lyle opened his eyes and glared around at his room. He had woken to find himself in Renewal Wing, a place that disturbed him more than anywhere else in the Centre, with the possible sole exception of Suite Room SL-1217 before its occupant had escaped. His feelings had made him insist on being moved out of there as soon as it had been possible. He had also insisted on having his doctor changed. The expression of superiority on Cox’s face had been both unmistakable and unbearable and Lyle was doing his best to get back to full strength as quickly as possible so that he could escape it. He glanced down at his hands with an inward shudder but was slightly pleased to see that they were finally looking less like grotesque balloons and more like the things he was used to. Frustratingly, however, dried blood still clung defiantly at some parts under his skin, making those areas look black.

His sister had gleefully told him about what had occurred, how the meeting between with Raines and Faith had gone; and, while Lyle was glad to see that his way to the top had been further cleared for him, the fact also made him nervous. She, Looking Glass, knew far more about his deepest thoughts than he was comfortable with. In an attempt to pull his mind away from her, he concentrated instead on a far more pleasant subject - himself. Yanking back the blankets impatiently, he glared down at his foot. The swelling had done a lot more on it than it had in either of his hands, but that had a lot to do with the fact that he hadn’t been using his foot. Well, all that would soon change. Lyle swiveled on the bed, making sure that, for modesty’s sake, his gown didn’t open too widely at the back. With his feet hanging over the edge of the bed, he was about to try standing when a shape and voice outside his room caught his attention.

“In a lot of ways, of course, he’s very lucky.” There came a merciless chuckle from his most dangerous rival that made Lyle clench his fists in a way that would be agonizing when he realized it later. “He could easily have died in that little room before we found him. Or else he could have brain damage due to the loss of blood. Somehow, he escaped both those things. Still, it should be a good warning to him. Those injections control him and, without them, and us, he’s got no hope - or future. Kronos I has provided us with the perfect method of control.”

Kronos I.

What on earth…?

Lyle reached forward to the end of the bed and, panting with pain, finally managed to grasp the folder that was clipped there. He opened it and blinked several times to control his ocular muscles before his eyes alighted on the term he was secretly hoping not to see.

Kronos I.

Cox, the fiend, had been talking about him.

Lyle was about to read more when the folder was whisked out of his hand and he looked up to the find the doctor himself standing there, a sardonic smile curling his top lip.

“What have you done to me, you bastard?”

Lyle’s voice was a growl and was met with an answering smile on Cox’s face, the doctor obviously taking pleasure in the current situation. With no word, he turned and, taking the folder with him, left the room. Lyle’s expression creased into a glare and he muttered to himself. Kronos I. He would have to find out about it as quickly as possible.

* * * * * * * * *

Miss Parker's office
The Centre
Blue Cove, Delaware

“Finally!” Miss Parker spun around in time to see Sydney enter the office, followed by a reluctant Angelo. “I have a tip for you, Syd. Never delay the beginning of a meeting or a cocktail hour.”

Sydney nodded, smiling. “Thank you, Miss Parker. I’ll try to remember that.”

“So…,” Miss Parker shuffled some papers and looked across to where Broots was sitting quietly. “The last new lead we had was more than three weeks ago and several months old.”

“Well, strictly speaking, it wasn’t a lead,” Broots cleared his throat nervously. “It was really just a scrap of paper that mentioned a person by the name of Jarod Fuchs who was associated with an wildlife rescue center in Colorado. There’s no guarantee that it was our Jarod.”

“No.,” Miss Parker's voice made no attempt to hide her sarcasm. “Of course it wasn’t him.” She narrowed her eyes and leaned over the desk. "You're not too smart, are you? I like that in a man.” She rolled her eyes as Broots considered whether the comment was enough of a compliment to require a grin. He grinned anyway, just in case.

Miss Parker shook her head and watched as Sydney put Angelo into a chair and took a seat himself before looking up over her. “Parker, are we going to do this or not?”

Miss Parker picked up the videotape got up from her chair. She walked around the desk, bent down and handed it to Angelo. “Tell me, Angelo. Did Jarod send this to us?”

Angelo giggled and pushed it back at her. Then, getting up from the seat, he wandered over to a corner of the office and began randomly tearing up sheets of paper that sat on the floor there. Sydney got up, took the tape from Miss Parker and approached Angelo slowly. Kneeling on the floor, he tried to put the tape into the empath’s hand.

“Please, Angelo. We need to know who made this tape of the recent Triumvirate meeting. It’s important.”

At the final word, Angelo looked up, directly at Sydney, and held his gaze for several seconds before nodding decisively. Grabbing the tape, Angelo bounded towards the office television and stuck the tape into the machine. Pressing a button, he allowed the tape to be forwarded rapidly to a certain point, at which time he allowed the machine to resume playing at a normal speed and went back to the corner of the office, fingering something in his pocket.

The tape hummed into life and Sydney, who had managed to recover his balance after Angelo had pushed past him, glanced up at the screen before taking his seat again. Miss Parker had already reseated herself and Broots, needless to say, had decided that his seat was probably the safest spot right then and hadn’t moved. Angelo had finished tearing up the sheets of paper and was now occupied in tossing them randomly in the air, creating a small snowstorm. As the screen flickered and stabilized, however, he stopped, staring as shreds of paper drifted to the floor around him. From a pocket in his clothes, he pulled out a remote control and, as the camera focused on various faces around the table, Angelo stopped the film at one and turned to stare directly at Sydney.

On to Act II

 
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