The rising sun began illuminating the room, which, until now, had only
been lit by a lamp standing on the table where the two Centre operatives
had been working. The woman sat in a chair on the far side of the room,
only just able to hear the words passing between the men. For a while,
she had tried to read through the information they had found, but slowly
her attention became focused on the psychoanalysis Sydney was performing.
Her eyes traveled over Jarod's figure. He was still slumped in the chair,
his shoulders bowed and his eyes fixed, for the most part, on the floor.
Occasionally, he glanced up at Sydney, but he had never acknowledged her
presence beyond that first comment, and she was torn between wishing he
would and hoping he didn't.
Sydney, meanwhile, was finally allowing himself to concede that the hours
of analysis were slowly beginning to produce a result. Jarod's answers
to his questions were becoming more reasonable, and the psychiatrist knew
that he was starting to accept the reality of what had occurred and not
the twisted world that the hours of solitude in the room next door had
"You'll never know for sure if it was your actions which caused
him to develop the peritonitis."
"I should never have done it at all."
"No, that's true. It was a mistake." Sydney spoke calmly.
"Except that this 'mistake' cost a man his life, for what? What
good came out of it? What benefit?" Jarod's tones were bitter and
he turned away, his fingers clenched around the edge of his chair.
"You were trying to save a child's life, Jarod, a child you became
very close to during the time that you spent together, and whether you
like to admit it or not, it's very easy for emotion to cloud your judgment,
as it is for almost everyone."
"Other people's actions don't result in people dying."
"Neither did yours."
Jarod stared at the psychiatrist in utter disbelief. "Have you been
listening to a word I've said?"
Sydney smiled understandingly. "Of course I have. And I mean it.
You didn't put your hands around his throat and squeeze every bit of life
out of him, did you? You didn't put a gun to his temple and pull the trigger.
You didn't do one thing that directly caused this man's death. Your actions,
I agree, might have contributed to it, but you'll never know that for
sure. If you were to be charged with his murder, would the case stand
up in court?"
"Just because nobody else could prove it doesn't mean that I won't
"If you hadn't done it, would Ryan still be alive?"
Jarod lowered his head, closing his eyes briefly to prevent the tears
from starting to pour from his eyes again as his hands moved back to lie
in his lap.
"I don't know," he mumbled.
"Yes, you do, Jarod." Sydney leaned forward. "You know,
and I know, from what you've told me, that if you hadn't done anything,
that child would have died. That was not a situation where you could have
won. Yes, you could have worked part of it differently, and perhaps things
would have been different, but the basic facts would have remained the
Sydney paused, but the other man remained silent, his eyes fixed on the
small flecks of blood on his palms from where his nails had sunk into
"This was a no-win situation. Whether Ecksley gave his kidney willingly
or not, Ryan's body would still have rejected it and the situation would
have been as critical, or more so, than it was before you acted. Your
actions bought Ryan the time he needed until the other organ became available."
"A man died
"And if he hadn't, then a boy would have." Sydney reached out
a hand and covered Jarod's with it. "That's what I meant about no-win.
You'll never be able to weigh up all of your options from the situation
and say 'this person was more important' because life doesn't work like
that. Instead, you have to step back from it, tell yourself that you did
what you could and that the situation got out of your control. It'd be
nice if you could go back and change what you did, but it isn't possible.
You can only accept what you did at the time and use it as an incentive
to ensure that you do the right thing next time."
His eyes still fixed on the floor, Jarod was forced to nod, albeit unwillingly.
Sydney eyed the man for a moment before reaching over to the table and
pulling a plate towards him. Miss Parker had left the room briefly to
bring food up for dinner, although Jarod had refused to eat at the time,
but the psychiatrist now forcibly placed a banana in the younger man's
hand, watching him begin to automatically peel and eat it.
Suddenly, the phone on the table rang, making all three occupants of
the room jump. Morgan leaned forward and activated the speaker.
"Uh, Miss Parker, I
"Broots, what on earth are you calling on this for?" She glared
down at the phone as if he could see her, and his tones contained a hint
of resentment at her sharp tones.
"Well, you forgot your cell phone in my office when you and Sydney
"Did you find out any more about the hospital?"
not exactly. Something else came up."
Her tones dripped with sarcasm. "Of less or a lot less importance
than the things I asked you to find?"
"Actually, you'll probably think it is kind of important. I mean,
I know we knew for sure he wasn't really dead, even though they tried
to tell us he was, but we never heard about him again, so he may as well
have been dead, and he has got a kind of connection to what you asked
me to look for, so maybe I did find a bit of stuff after all, but I guess
it wasn't really me because the file just appeared on my desk and I think
Angelo put it there - "
Miss Parker slammed her fist down on the table, making the phone jump
and the man on the other end instantly silent. "Broots, who is 'he?'"
"Mr. Fenigor," a voice stated from behind the woman, and she
spun around to stare at Jarod.
"How did you know what he was talk
"Is Jarod there, too?" The tech's voice was suddenly full of
curiosity. "Does he know anything about a project called Genesis?"
"Genesis?" Jarod stood up from the chair and walked over to
the table, the pain that had been in his eyes fading as his focus was
directed away from the thoughts that had been circling in his mind. "Why
are you asking?"
"Apparently it was something that Fenigor was involved with. What
"It's a new name for the Yellow Files," Sydney responded from
his seat. "To disguise the activities of the project once Miss Parker
learned they were called Seraphim, Mr. Parker arranged to have the name
Sydney ignored the look of astonished resentment that Miss Parker shot
at him and continued.
"You already know that Proteus are the Red Files and, if it helps,
Blue Files are called
"Olympus." Broots finished for him.
Miss Parker stared at the phone. "How did you know?"
"All three names are mentioned here. Fenigor's been involved with
all of them."
Jarod seated himself in front of the laptop that was open on the table
and started to access the mainframe, allowing Miss Parker to lean over
his shoulder and type in the correct password.
"Is there anything else?"
"A project called Exodus. The only information about it here is
that Fenigor was involved with the beginnings of it about two and a half
"That's it." Miss Parker met Sydney's eye. "That's the
project all those women are part of. Broots, find out everything you can
about it and send it to me. We'll do all we can from this end."
"Sure thing, Miss Parker."
The woman disconnected the call as the dial tone sounded, turning to
"How was Fenigor involved with all three groups of Files?"
Sydney shrugged slightly. "I don't know," he admitted. "I
don't know anything about the work that he did at the Centre."
She turned to Jarod. "You sent us that tape. How much do you know?"
"Not much," the Pretender admitted. "I sent the tape because
I knew he had something to do with your mother. After we talked to him
at the bank, I did a little more research, but all I could find was that
Fenigor acted as go-between for NuGenesis from almost the first day. When
I was working at NuGenesis, I found out that he was sent there on the
14th of April, 1970."
He waited for Morgan to react to the date, but only the woman's eyes
betrayed her surprise. She arched an eyebrow when he remained silent.
"Well? Then what?"
"Then, in 1984, he was transferred to Donoterase."
"Where, presumably, he became involved with Project Olympus,"
"When did they start?" Morgan asked curiously.
"The first of January, 1970," the psychiatrist told her.
"That was the day Fenigor began receiving money from Mr. Parker,"
Jarod reminded the woman. "Presumably that was at least part of the
reason for them."
"Hefty pay raise," she remarked dryly, looking back at Sydney.
"Before the official beginning, how did people like Kyle or Faith
"They were allotted to Prodigy, or at least Kyle and Dannie were."
"Just what is Prodigy?" Miss Parker interrupted.
"It's a selected group made up of Red and Blue Files. Only those
who had the necessary genetic predisposition to be pretenders were allotted
to Prodigy. The others were put only into either Red or Blue files, depending
on their ages."
Morgan looked at the Pretender sharply. "How do you know so much
about it, all of a sudden?"
Jarod shrugged. "I did a little research after getting blown up
in SL-27 and before being dragged back to the Centre about a year later."
Nodding, the woman turned back to Sydney. "And Faith?"
"I'd imagine Faith was probably assigned to the Blue Files -- Olympus
-- after she was brought to the Centre," he told her.
"And Genesis?" she queried, turning back to Jarod when Sydney
He eyed her without speaking, painfully swallowing a lump in his throat,
before standing up and walking over to sit down on the sofa. She took
his place in front of the computer, scanning the information he had been
looking through, a series of messages between two parties identified by
"What's Fenigor's code?"
"CIV2." Jarod said in a monotone. "He oversaw the sorting
of the genetic program from which all of the Yellow Files were created,
so that Cox and the Chairman could make their selections." He swallowed
hard. "Including our s
Gabriel," he corrected himself
quickly, casting a surreptitious glance at Sydney.
"I don't know." Jarod shrugged. "But I'd guess it's Mr.
"According to this, there's been a lot of messages passing between
the two of them in the last few months," she glanced at him, "more
specifically, since Raines was taken down to Renewal Wing."
"You know," Jarod commented dryly, "there seems to be
something ironic about a man in his condition being down there. They ought
to open a Non-Renewal Wing for him."
Sydney smiled faintly, relieved to see that Jarod's depression seemed
to have abated slightly. "I'll suggest it at the first opportunity."
"Can you guess why they'd be sending so many messages back and forth?"
Morgan put in.
"Mr. Parker and Alex were always quite friendly," Sydney remarked.
"Fenigor was one of the first people he ever hired at the Centre,
as far as I know. Now that Mr. Parker's back in control, he can bring
in whoever he wants and clearly feels that Fenigor will be useful, probably
for this 'Exodus' project, whatever it is." His brow furrowed. "What
information is available about it?"
Morgan turned back to the screen, scrolling down it so that he could
get a glimpse of the material. "It's a project the Centre's been
working on since the late 1970s." Her brow furrowed. "I don't
get it. This says the project was abandoned in the mid-80s."
"There's nothing to say it hasn't been restarted," Sydney reminded
her. "It doesn't have to be quite the same. They could use the same
"It looks like they have," she interrupted, pointing at various
items on the screen. "Some of the old Exodus files have been opened
again quite recently." Pointing at a date, she caught Sydney's eye.
"And it's been going on ever since Gabriel was born. That's Exodus,
then. All those organs."
Jarod's expression was already wary at the mention of his son, but this
made his eyes open wide in astonishment. "What organs?"
Sydney half-turned to provide an explanation. "Parker and I are
here because a hospital has been involved sending bodily organs and tissue
to the Centre."
Jarod raised an eyebrow. "It wouldn't be All Saints, would it?"
The psychiatrist looked at him in astonishment. "How did you
"I found some articles about children dying and came to investigate."
"These?" Miss Parker opened the files Broots had sent earlier
and moved aside so he could see the headlines. Rising to his feet, he
glanced at the headlines and nodded.
"Among others, yes."
"So what did you find out?" Morgan demanded.
Jarod began to pace the room. "It's a weird scenario. From what
I could find out, Miniter has contacts among those who bring illegal immigrants
to the US and selects those who could be useful to him. Then the hospital
offers them jobs. A few days or weeks after they start he warns them that
if they don't co-operate, he'll hand them over to the police. Then he
gets them to perform the operations and remove the various tissues and
organs from the children. He's present during the surgery but his name
never shows up on records, so when the cases get to court, Miniter can
say that he had no idea what was going on and will get away with it."
"So what does All Saints get out of it?" The woman's brow furrowed.
"It seems like they run all the risks - they hire illegal staff,
they perform the illegal operations and they run the risk of being shut
down now that they've been caught. What could the Centre possibly be offering
"Miniter is being paid by the Chairman to continue doing it,"
a voice from the doorway interrupted and the room's three occupants turned
in surprise. "You people really should lock the door."
"What difference would it make, Rebecca?" Jarod retorted quickly
with a smile. "You can open it anyway."
"Okay, good point." The woman entered the room and closed the
door, going over to hug Sydney before sitting down on the sofa beside
Jarod. "Anything I can help with?"
"If you didn't think there was," the younger man asked, "Why
are you here?"
"A different reason." She eyed him thoughtfully. "But
I thought I'd see what else I could do."
"What hold does Mr. Parker have over Miniter?" Sydney asked.
"I don't remember anyone of that name working at the Centre."
"He didn't directly," Rebecca admitted. "But check the
Centre records and you might be interested in what's there."
Morgan turned immediately to the computer, taking only minutes to locate
the information. A gasp caused Sydney to step over to the table, his eyes
widening as he read the details.
"What is it?" Jarod demanded impatiently.
"Minter was the doctor who performed the examination on Momma for
the police, the night she was assaulted," Morgan replied in a tight
"Mr. Parker found out," the Pretender guessed, "and threatened
him so that he never named a suspect."
"He then used him for several major projects at places connected
with the Centre and gave him a very good salary," Sydney put in,
reading more of the information, "and has been paying him ever since
to keep quiet about both what he saw at the Centre and presumably also
"So nice for them both to get pocket money," Jarod commented
wryly. "It must have been tough, paying both him and Fenigor out
of his private pocket. I wonder if Mr. Parker put in for a raise."
Morgan turned as Jarod said the name, her eyes coming to rest thoughtfully
on the other woman. "As you know obviously know so much about it,
Rebecca," she began, "what else can you tell us about Fenigor?
Why did he resurface now?"
"Because he can," the psychic responded. "I did some investigation
into his background a couple of years ago, just after he was shot, and
discovered that he and Raines were always jostling for the same position.
Raines wanted Fenigor's position very badly and finally decided that there
was only one way to get rid of him."
"So Raines had Fenigor shot," Sydney finished, eyeing Jarod
warily but deciding not to mention the other agenda that the sniper outside
the Dover Town Bank apparently had. "And that got him nicely out
of the way so that Raines could get on with his other projects."
"And the Chairman had no complaints because it meant that he didn't
have to keep paying him," Morgan added thoughtfully, her tones somewhat
bitter as she exchanged glances with Jarod. "A nice bit of extra
pocket money for him every month."
* * * * * * * * *
Blue Cove, Delaware
She was pert and beautiful, delicate and soft and happy-looking, her
round belly pushing her back from the edge of the table.
Broots' head hit the desk with a resounding crack, and he sat bolt upright,
breathing hard. Raising a hand, he wiped the sweat of his face, closing
his eyes briefly and feeling pain in his chest at the memory of the dream.
The thing he remembered most about her was her smile, an expression of
innocent happiness that beamed back at him from his memory. He wanted
it to go away, but at the same time hoped it wouldn't, wanting to remember
their meeting, afraid that, if he forgot it, he might remember that other
moment, when he knew what had happened to her, when he'd looked down to
find the bracelet lying on the floor of the incinerator room
Something clenched in his stomach, making him glad that he hadn't eaten
since the day before, a superstitious concern making him worry that, now
he was investigating a similar project, the same thing might happen. He
would go down the cafeteria, sit down with his tray, and face
With a hollow groan, Broots sank his head into his hands, unable to block
the sight of those bright blue eyes out of his mind, no matter how hard
* * * * * * * * *
Rebecca pulled a sheet of paper out of her pocket, handing it over. "I
did a little investigation and managed to find a list of projects that
are somehow related to the Seraphim."
"And Exodus is top of the list," Morgan remarked as she read
through the names.
"What was the original Exodus, in the early 70s?" Jarod queried.
"And how is it related to the new one?"
"It was something to do with organs again," Miss Parker mused.
"But I don't know what."
"It was the Centre's way of taking advantage of the growing market
for organs that was increasing at the time, with the production of better
antibiotics and other drugs so that transplantation would be more successful,"
Sydney told her. "I remember that much about it, but that's all."
"Where did they get the organs from?" the younger man asked
somewhat suspiciously as an idea struck him.
Rebecca nodded sadly, picking up on an image of Jordan in Jarod's mind.
"Yes," she agreed. "It was Gemini."
As Jarod turned away, feeling suddenly sick, Miss Parker looked over.
"So were all the things that Broots and I found at Donoterase the
results of that? Or were they the more irregular results, kept for their
"Probably the latter," the psychiatrist responded. "I'd
imagine that the others were stripped of any useful organs and cremated,
just like the women in the Fountain projects were and those in the Exodus
project probably will be."
Nobody could think of an appropriate remark to reply to this and, for
several minutes, there was no movement from anyone in the room.
* * * * * * * * *
Blue Cove, Delaware
He was becoming absent-minded. It was the effects of Fountain, he was
sure of it. Files that had been sitting on his desk in the morning were
turning up in his filing cabinet in the afternoon, with pages missing,
which would appear the following morning on his desk. Nobody would be
going in to his office during the day, Parker was certain, so that meant
he must have been doing it himself. It was more than annoying, it was
beginning to endanger his position. He was sure that eventually he would
misplace a file required for a Triumvirate meeting. Others would see the
state he was in and force him out of his position. God only knew who they
would select to replace him.
He had had one hope, but now that was gone. Although he knew Lyle was
still keeping his team searching for the Israeli healer, Parker suspected
that, if he were found, Lyle would force Namir to cure his own problems,
leaving his father to fade into oblivion. That was a risk he had taken
by providing Lyle with the promised Tower position, and, although there
had been no other option at the time, Parker now regretted it. He had
already begun planning for a successor and knew Cox would be both ready
and eager to take over when the time came, but right now his knowledge
was too limited for that to happen. The only way to block Lyle's path
to the top was with a better prepared candidate, and Parker had already
begun to carry out the steps that would need to be taken so Cox could
be ready to take his place when the time was right. Having brought Fenigor
back to the Centre would help to ensure that. Provided that the two men
could work well together, it would be a combination powerful enough, with
any luck, to knock Lyle out of the running.
The Chairman's hands tightened into fists that trembled. His hair was
beginning to fall out, leaving the shoulders of his jacket decorated with
numerous silver strands, and the skin on his face and hands showed new,
deep wrinkles. In other words, the aging process was catching up to what
it had been before he had allowed himself to be a guinea pig for Fountain.
The concern Parker had was that it would begin to accelerate beyond that
point, increasing in speed, until his body would be a decade or two older
than his mind. And there was now nothing he could do. He had to let it
* * * * * * * * *
Rebecca watched Jarod and Miss Parker pore over the articles and other
information that Broots had sent from the Centre and they had located
on the mainframe. Sydney sat down quietly at her side and she smiled,
turning to face him.
"Why did you really come, Rebecca? You could have sent that information."
With a knowing smile, Rebecca looked up to see the softened expression
in his eyes. "I thought I was the psychic one, Sydney."
"You are," he told her. "But I'd heard so much about you
from Jacob, even aside from the time we spent together, that I always
felt as if I knew you."
"Did he tell you that I introduced him to Alexis?"
"You know that I never knew about Alexis -- except for the work
she did as one of his projects -- until about five months ago."
Nodding slowly, she watched the other people in the room before suddenly
giving a soft laugh, at the sound of which Sydney raised an eyebrow.
"What is it?"
"This whole situation -- the two of them." She kept her voice
low so that neither would be able to hear it. "Every time I know
that they're working together, I can never stop myself from thinking of
the first few months after Jarod escaped in 1996."
"They were close as children."
"And I was envious of that," she confided suddenly. "I
never had any real friends after I was taken out of the Centre and I was
always jealous of their friendship." She sighed sadly. "I always
knew this would happen and I think that's what I was jealous of. The few
people I've ever drawn close to in my life usually get scared off because
of the amount I know and the things I can do."
Rebecca watched as Miss Parker reached for the glass she had been drinking
from, her eyes still fixed on the screen, and mentally moved the object
several inches away, resulting in Morgan's hand merely brushing vacant
air. Sydney laughed as he saw Miss Parker glance sharply over her shoulder
and receive a look of innocence from the telekinetic on the sofa beside
him, before he continued with their conversation.
"You've never been
"Romantically involved?" Rebecca laughed. "Sydney, I'm
a single mother, remember? It's usually a turn-off."
He smiled in acknowledgement. "Was that a thing you told every man
who'd show interest in you, just to see what he'd do?"
"Not exactly. The sorts of places I live are usually enough to turn
men off, and that's even more so now that the Centre's searching for me
"She's still living with the Hatchers. She comes to see me sometimes,
or I'll go and visit there, but they're always uncomfortable with me being
around." She crossed her legs, chewing her bottom lip nervously.
"Unfortunately, all too soon that feeling will extend to her as well,
and then I'm going to have to have her with me all the time."
"I'm scared, Sydney." She looked at him and he could see in
her eyes the same vulnerability that he had also seen during the years
she had been at the Centre and in their other meeting, years later. "I'm
scared that I won't be able to do what's best for her. She lived in a
settled environment at the Hatchers', before Lyle abducted her, and if
I can't provide a similar situation too then there's nowhere else for
her to go."
Jarod turned around suddenly. "Is Andromeda your only child?"
She responded to his question with one of her own. "With what you
know of my limitations, Jarod, don't you wonder why I know so much about
the Seraphim and some of the people who work with them?"
Jarod flipped through his memory of the children's faces, suddenly recalling
a little girl with bright blue eyes and a shock of blond hair, whose telekinetic
abilities had been so proudly displayed to him by Cox. He turned sad eyes
on the psychic.
"Tempest," he replied somewhat glumly.
"Yes," she agreed softly. "Your niece."
The man froze in his chair as the full meaning of the words sank in,
ignoring the startled looks on the faces of both Sydney and Miss Parker.
Finally, a word managed to work its way out.
Ethan?" he offered almost hopefully.
She shook her head sadly. "No, Jarod. Tempest is Kyle's daughter.
Kyle's and mine."
"But Mr. Parker didn't even know you were still alive," Sydney
protested, while Jarod remained speechless.
"Actually, they were hoping to make a Pretender," Rebecca admitted.
"That's what Tempest was supposed to be, according to the notes I
found at Donoterase. They used my ova by chance. Cox found them in Raines'
lab and tested them for viability, but there was nothing to match them
to. Raines' notes gave them clues to possible abilities of the donor,
but no name. It wasn't until they -- specifically Mr. Parker -- realized
I was alive that they did the tests. It was, as I'm sure you can imagine,
a pleasant surprise." The last words were spoken through clenched
teeth, as Rebecca rose from her seat on the sofa and walked to the window.
An uncomfortable moment of silence followed, which Miss Parker finally
"Are the Yellow Files the Centre's peak project?"
Rebecca turned, nodding at Miss Parker's question and pointing to the
list lying on the table next to her. "All of the other projects the
Centre is running at the moment are designed to ensure that nothing bad
ever happens to those children."
"Exodus, as every religious person knows," she smiled faintly,
"comes after Genesis. And it does in this case, as well. Exodus is
a continuation, intended as a support program. The research from Exodus
is intended to correct any problems the children may develop later in
life." She shrugged. "As I said, they don't want any thing to
happen to these children. From the information I've found, they're staking
everything on them. It's a gamble, and they hope it'll pay off, big time."
"And what exactly is this new Exodus supposed to do for the children?"
"That differs, depending on the child," the psychic retorted.
"For someone like Gideon, with all of the possible problems that
could arise from his unfortunate parentage, they want to be sure they
can correct any mistakes that might come up. They've been monitoring him
incredibly closely for his whole life to prevent any genetic defects or
the others?" Jarod asked somewhat unevenly, trying
to ignore the blanched look on Morgan's face.
Rebecca resettled herself. "Mostly, they just want to ensure that,
if anything goes medically wrong with those children -- cancer, Parkinson's,
any of the diseases that are likely to affect at least one of them during
their lifetimes -- they'll be able to do something about it. They can't
afford for those children to die. The Centre's whole future is wrapped
up in them. It's probably that which keeps Mr. Parker in his position
as Chairman. If they can cure the children of anything which may affect
their ability to work -- and also make a little pocket money by selling
off their results to the highest bidder -- then the Triumvirate's power,
and that of the Centre, would be unchallengeable."
Falling silent, Rebecca stood up, trying to suppress a shudder at the
thought as she walked over to the window, staring out of it in a silence
that was oppressive.
Returning to the sofa, she perched on the arm of it, her eyes traveling
slowly from one to another of the faces in front of her. "You know
what the children are like now, with the training they have. Just imagine
what they'll be capable of in five years - in twenty! Most of them will
have the maturity level of children more than twice their age, particularly
those like Angelique or Gideon, who need emotional stability in their
"And with their abilities," Jarod offered, his mind racing.
"When they learn to control them and can use them in any way they're
Only Rebecca saw the pain in Sydney's eyes as he watched his former protégé,
but the emotion on the faces of all four people in the room revealed that
they were all aware of the horror that the Centre could inflict when it
had total control of the eight brilliant and highly skilled minds that
were being trained on SL-17.
* * * * * * * * *
Trevor was meditating when the images began to appear on the edge of
his mind's eye. Knowing that concentrating would be the fastest way to
make them disappear, he forced himself to relax, resisting the urge to
panic as he recognized one of the faces. Slowly, the steps began to be
laid out in logical order, all pointing to one definite conclusion, and
the corners of the psychic's mouth lifted as an image was presented to
him, his ears filled with the sounds of childish laughter that accompanied
His eyes opened, taking a second to recognize his surroundings, before
Trevor slowly got to his feet. The plan would need organization and it
would take a lot of work, but it was doable. His eyes eager, the man rapidly
left the room, hurrying to the stairs and running up them to the room
where his boss was working.
* * * * * * * * *
"So what can we do?"
"Nothing," Rebecca responded quietly. "Not if you want
to save your son."
Miss Parker looked up at her sharply. "What do you mean?"
Leaning over Jarod's shoulder, Rebecca pointed to a file that they hadn't
yet opened and, when the information was in front of them, tapped her
finger on the screen, indicating one of the lists. "This is All Saints
legal team. Any or all of those names familiar?"
"But we could shut them down
" Jarod protested and she
looked down at him.
"If the Centre wasn't playing such a large role with their hold
over Miniter, I'd agree with you. But I've got no doubt by this time that
the Centre is well aware of you being there. Walk through those doors
-- any of you -- and you can kiss goodbye any chance of walking out unescorted.
And you know as well as I do that it would be an escort right into Renewal
Wing. Like I said, if you want to help your son and the other children,
this is one of the places you'll have to leave alone, at least for now.
Maybe later, when things settle down, you can think about it, but get
your priorities right."
"And they are?"
"Family," stated a voice from the doorway. "That's what
you're going to say, isn't it, Momma?"
Rebecca went over and put her arms around Andromeda, whose pale face
and red-rimmed eyes revealed her emotions, feeling the girl bury her face
in her mother's shoulder. Gently, the psychic led her daughter over and
sat her down on the sofa, feeling hot tears soak her shirt.
"It's all right, Andromeda, I know what happened."
I always thought
Rebecca knelt down in front of the sobbing girl. "They do still
love you, baby, but they're afraid of you now, afraid of what you know.
My family was the same." She started to stroke the girl's hair. "They'll
still want to see you, honey, particularly Michael."
"Can I live with you?"
The psychic recognized the question for what it was - a desperate desire
for just a hint of comfort -- and sat down next to the girl, holding her
close and pressing her lips to the girl's blond hair. "I'd love you
to, Andromeda. I'd love to have my baby with me. It's hard for you, I
know, but we'll be okay, you'll see."
A thought suddenly struck Sydney, and he turned to Miss Parker. "You
should call Broots and tell him to stop looking into Exodus before anyone
finds out, or we could have the same problems we had after Fountain."
Nodding, she picked up the phone. As she dialed the number, Jarod looked
back at the laptop, an expression of concern in his eyes.
"I know that you don't like leaving this unfinished, Jarod,"
Rebecca told him quietly. "But you can't afford to meddle in things
that could get you killed. Not at this stage of the game. There's just
too much at stake."
Slowly, he nodded, closing down the files on the computer and, after
sending the files on Fenigor to his own email address, shutting down the
"So what now?" Sydney sat down opposite the woman. "What
happens from this point on?"
She smiled. "What do you want, Sydney, a detailed plan of the next
"It might be nice," he admitted with a small laugh. "Actually,
just knowing that we'll be alive at the end of this year might be nice,
"As I've said before, Sydney, there are a lot of maybes. And I don't
have all the answers."
"That's so comforting," the psychiatrist responded dryly.
"You're in no more danger now than you have been for the last forty
years working at the Centre. Why should this year be any different? You
learnt a long time ago how to stay alive. Just keep practicing the same
skills and there isn't any reason for things to change that dramatically."
She smiled. "As for what happens from this point on, that depends
on what Centre secret you dig up next, and that's a definite 'maybe.'"
"There's so many to choose from." Rebecca rolled her eyes,
trying not to laugh at the expression on Jarod's face. "Please, don't
ask me to start listing them or we could be here forever."
"We don't have time to be," Miss Parker interrupted as she
hung up the phone and picked up the laptop. "Broots said that Fenigor's
asked where I am about four times now and unless we head back soon, he
might tell somebody else."
Rebecca reached into the bag she had brought with her and extracted a
red notebook, which she handed over, grinning as Jarod's jaw dropped.
"Where did you
"Angelo gave it to me when we met. It's got a couple of articles
about the sorts of things you may have been investigating and I'm sure
that'll be quite satisfactory to the boys in black. Otherwise," she
grinned meaningfully at Morgan, "Jarod's lair was clean. Oops. Guess
he got away again."
Laughing, the woman got to her feet. "I guess he did." She
looked over at Sydney. "Are you ready to go?"
"As long as everything's in hand here." He glanced at Jarod
in concern before turning to Rebecca as the psychic nodded.
"Everything's fine. We won't be here much longer than you, so in
a few hours, as soon as you get back to Blue Cove, you can send a sweeper
teams here if you're feeling so keen. Otherwise, we'll see you around."