Blood Will Tell

 

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Centre Grounds
July 4, 1967

She was all porcelain and gold in the sunlight, and Jacob could not take his eyes off her. Alexis Moore had been his subject of study for the last six months. He was not supposed to be intimately involved with her, but he couldn't help himself. There was such kindness, such sweetness in her that he had not been able to resist. That she had found something worthwhile in him was a miracle, and her love had brought him to question his work in a way that he had strenuously avoided since he and his twin had come to the Centre years earlier.

For so long now, everything had been all about the science, about pushing the limits of the knowledge of mankind, for the good of all. If some had to make sacrifices that were unpleasant or even harsh, it was for the best. He had been able to live with that.

But now, as he watched Alexis stroll along the grassy hills outside, talking about how she picked up on the nuances of an unfamiliar profession, becoming someone new each time she changed her environment, he was seeing his work through new eyes. She was amazing, undoubtedly brilliant in an unorthodox way. And she loved him.

He wasn't supposed to have touched her. He wasn't supposed to be so crazy about her. He just didn't have a choice.

"Is anybody home?" She was smiling at him, and pelted him with a wildflower as she picked up on his distraction. "I thought we were working."

"We are, Alexis," Jacob assured her. "I apologize for slipping away just then. There's a great deal on my mind today."

Her face sobered. "Mine, too." She wafted closer, sunlight gleaming on her platinum blonde hair, glaring brightly off the white collar and skirt of her dress. Glancing around nervously, afraid someone might see them, she took his hands in hers and squeezed them. "Jacob, there's something I have to tell you."

He could see the fear in her eyes. Had someone found out about their affair? Was he going to be reported, and lose contact with Alexis? He couldn't deal with that. If he was taken off her case, he would ask her to leave with him. They would go away and start a new life together. His research with her would be coming to a close in a few months anyway, and when they were done with her, she would be leaving.

"Wait," he told her. Leading her by the hand to a tree that would block them from view of anyone in the building, he knelt down before her. "Marry me, Alexis. I can't imagine life without you. I don't want to see you go when your part of the research here is finished. Stay with me, please. As my wife."

"Oh, Jacob!" Tears glistened in her eyes, and her smile beamed brightly. "Yes, my love. Yes!"

He rose and clasped her to him, aching to take her away to his apartment and make love to her, as he had done on only a handful of occasions. But she pushed him gently away, made him look into her eyes. The fear was gone, leaving behind a radiance of joy that nearly blinded him.

"I have to tell you, Jacob." She was glowing, deliriously happy. "I'm pregnant, darling. We're going to have a baby, and it will be brilliant and beautiful, just like you."

Something inside him ruptured painfully. He had known from the first time he touched her that this was a possibility. Part of him wanted that, wanted a family with her. But another part was terribly afraid.

"Then we must leave soon. We'll get married right away."

She nodded. "Yes. Of course. I don't want a big wedding. Don't have any family to attend one, anyway. We could go to Vegas, and then come back here and set up housekeeping."

He shook his head. "No. We can't stay here. The Centre would dismiss me for becoming intimately involved with one of my projects. It's best that we simply sever all ties here, and go out on our own, start new."

"What about your brother?"

Jacob smiled. "Sydney will give us his blessing, of course. I may get a reprimand for losing my professional perspective, but that will be all. He'll love you because I do."

She threw her arms about his neck and kissed him soundly, leaving him reeling and dizzy, drunk with passion, surprise and fear. "I love you, Jacob Ritter," she whispered against his mouth. "I want to make you happy forever."

"I love you, Alexis." He felt her flat belly pressing against his, and marveled that his child was growing there. What a wonderful, terrifying thing parenthood was. But he would embrace it, and be glad it had happened. He wondered idly if it would be twins.

"We should get back inside now," she told him. "We're late. They'll be wondering if we fell off a cliff or something."

Smiling, elated, he took her elbow and led her back toward the building. He would say nothing for a few more weeks, getting his personal life in order and preparing to move as soon as the time was right. They would have to be ready to leave before the pregnancy became obvious; otherwise, he would be dismissed summarily and no one would hire him anywhere as a psychiatrist. He wasn't sure he would be able to adapt as easily to a new career as Alexis could.

"Don't tell anyone just yet," he advised her. "I'll have to find a clean way out of this. All right?"

"Of course, Jacob. I'd do anything for you."

"I know you would, Alexis."

He wanted to run right to Sydney and tell him everything, but prudence suggested he wait on that as well. His twin would certainly keep his secret, but he didn't want any fallout to land on his brother if things went badly. Silence was best, until he had a clear course of action, and that would take some thought and planning. Jacob was good with that. This would be a new research project filled with secrets, just like all the others he dealt with on a regular basis... except this one was personal.

He escorted her to her quarters and wished her a good day, aching to hold her and kiss her goodbye. But the walls had eyes, and everything that went on in that place was recorded. He couldn't afford such a demonstration of his affection, and neither could she.

Jacob returned to his office and sat down at his desk to begin working on the problem, but the only thought that came to him was that announcement. He was going to be a father. He was going to be a husband. Alexis would soon be sleeping by his side for the rest of his life. Nothing could be more beautiful, more perfect than that.

* * * * * * * * *

Present day
SL-12

Miss Parker strode confidently down the corridor, eyes straight ahead. She had not asked her father for permission to see Jarod; as SIS Director, she had the authority to go anywhere and see anyone she chose. She knew it would be reported to him, but she hoped that Jarod would understand to watch what he said, since everything would be recorded. She wanted a few moments alone with him, but that was not possible.

She had to see him, had to know how he was doing, and what was being done to him.

Deftly keying in the entry code, she noticed that a fingerprint reader had been installed above the lock. That, too, would register her visit. She would have to make her reasoning good to convince her father that what she had done was company business.

Pressing her palm against the plate, she waited for the solid steel door to unlock. At the sound of the tumbler releasing, she pulled on the handle and swung the vault door open. It was the same cell that he'd had previously, posh and clean, but a cell nonetheless. The room was white on white, with extensive bookshelves, a desk with a computer, a sofa and coffee table for laying out project materials. In the far corner was a metal bunk welded to the floor, covers draped in white. The resident Centre slave reclined there, hands clasped behind his head as he lay staring up at the ceiling.

"I was wondering how long it would take," he mused, his voice a soft murmur. "I gave you another day, actually. What's your hurry?"

"I wanted to be sure you were secure." She moved the straight-backed wooden chair from its place at the desk to a spot beside the bed, took her seat in it, and gave him the once-over. No bruises or obvious physical discomfort put her a little more at ease. "You look okay."

"I'm fine, Miss Parker," he assured her.

She glanced around the elegant room. It was after his bedtime, but there were books strewn on the table and his computer was still running. "They've been treating you well? No complaints?"

He sat up slowly, hunching over his lap. "Congratulations on your promotion," he responded, changing the subject. "You deserve it."

"After the hell you put me through for the last five years? You're damn right I deserve it." There was something wrong with him. She could feel it, but couldn't pinpoint what it was. This wasn't the Jarod she knew. It had to be the drugs they were giving him.

She shuddered at the complacency in his eyes as he looked at her. "Reports say you're working again. How do you feel about that?"

He shrugged. "Okay. It doesn't bother me anymore. I know it should, but it doesn't."

"What are you working on?" That question, she knew, could get her in lots of trouble, if anybody was listening.

"Refining Aurora, at the moment," he admitted. He frowned briefly, as if struggling with something, and then it was gone.

"How are you dealing with the medication?"

"I'm self injecting now. Can't miss a dose, you know."

She sighed, her heart twisting up inside her. He was so accepting of everything now. That was scary. "I know, Jarod. Daddy's glad to have you back. He was pleased with my performance." That was just to let him know their plan achieved some of the goals they wanted. "One of these days, we need to have a chat about Centre security. Maybe you could give me some pointers."

He snorted a soft laugh. "Daddy." Bowing his head, he added, "Remember, Miss Parker, you know only what the Centre wants you to know." He glanced up at the camera pointed at them, drawing her attention there.

She frowned, noticing that the recording light was off. "What, specifically, are you talking about?" It had something to do with her father, she was sure. But what?

"When you know the questions, I'll help you find the answers."

She met his steady gaze, and tried to read his expressionless eyes. He wasn't giving her anything else, and she wasn't going to ask. She would let it simmer in the back of her consciousness, and listen for that inner voice that would tell her what he was hinting at so broadly. She glanced at the camera, and saw that the light was on again.

She rose, graceful and poised as a dancer. "I'll be visiting you again," she promised. "Just to make sure Aurora is doing the job we were promised." She took the few steps toward the door, and pulled it open with a glance over her shoulder at the man seated on the bunk. "You sure you're all right?"

"Just fine," he answered, his voice placid and even. He lay back down on the bunk, much of him out of sight, except for his bare feet crossed at the ankles. He was lost now, and she didn't know if he would ever find his way back to who he really was.

She walked out, reset the coded lock and went straight for the elevator that would take her back to her office. Keeping her shoulders back, her eyes focused straight ahead, her chin up, she refused to let the horror and regret show on her face. She would not allow herself to cry for what they were doing to him -- what he was now willingly doing to himself. He belonged to the Centre now, body and soul.

And that was the worst thing she could ever imagine for him to endure.

* * * * * * * * *

Chairman's Office

Sydney strode into the room and took his seat across the desk from Mr. Parker. The door opened behind him before he could speak, and a handful of others walked in to take a seat at the small conference table to the right of the desk. Sydney eyed them with distaste.

Cox was there, as hard to read as always. Eve sat where she could see him best, a smug smile on her face. Beside her, a man and woman whom he recognized from the caretaker staff, sat with their hands folded on the table, watching him impassively.

"When I requested this meeting," Sydney began, his gaze sliding back to the Chairman, "I hadn't realized you'd be inviting half the staff."

Parker grinned. "You said it was about the Seraphim. These are the people most involved. What did you have in mind, Sydney?"

The Belgian chose to ignore the others. "I want to work directly with the children."

"That would be a colossal error," Cox announced. "Your emotional instability would pollute them--"

"I am not emotionally unstable," Sydney snapped. "I always retain a professional demeanor, even under the most stressful circumstances. I retain emotional distance from my subjects to ensure untainted results. Obviously, Dr. Cox, you have not studied my records or my work well enough to know that detail."

Cox grinned. "Angry, doctor? The children would sense that instantly. They need calm in order to function, at this stage of their development."

Sydney turned in his chair to face the other man. "You cannot rear them in emotional isolation. They must be immersed in emotional turmoil, if they are to learn to function in it. How will they know to keep their heads if they have never known fear, grief or rage? You cannot teach those responses. They must be learned through exposure."

Parker pursed his lips. "Eve, what do you think? You've worked with the Seraphim."

"I'm not sure. There are merits to both points of view."

Terry Camp, the caretaker supervisor, spoke up, his words couched in a slow drawl. "I agree with Sydney. Not only is it nearly impossible for the staff to maintain an emotional plateau with kids like these, I think they'd learn to deal with negative emotions better if they encountered them on a daily basis. Sort of like teaching them to share. If they never have anybody to practice the lessons with, they can't learn the concept."

Pat duBois turned in her seat to face the Chairman, her short strawberry blonde hair catching the muted sunlight from the windows. "I disagree. While they're still so young, they're easier to handle when they're not upset. If they start encountering too much adult emotional trauma, it's sure to make them agitated and harder to control, not to mention the potential damage to the staff these kids could cause. We can't start them on Aurora yet, and the medication they're getting right now makes them just dull enough to keep the caretakers safe from them. I don't think we dare risk more. Not until they're older, anyway."

Parker's eyes moved from face to face at the conference table, pondering, and then finally lit on Sydney. "I'll have to think about this one. It seems everyone who routinely works with the children is strongly divided in their opinions. Let me get back to you, Sydney. Meantime, you're doing a fine job with counseling and teaching the staff."

He nodded, and Sydney recognized that as his cue to leave. He rose from his chair, noticing on his way out the door that the others stayed behind. He wanted to know what they said, certain that they would have continued the discussion of the subject once he was gone. Sydney was a patient man, but he desperately needed something to challenge him, to take his mind off Jarod. He had tried to visit his protégé several times, but Security wouldn't even let him exit the elevator on the floor where the Pretender worked and lived. All he'd gotten was a few glimpses that Broots had given him by tapping into the security cameras.

It wasn't enough.

He had failed with Jarod, failed to help him, and now he belonged completely to the Centre.

He would not make the same mistake with the Seraphim. He would make a difference with them, possibly even get them out of that place before they were ruined forever. But to do that, he would need to get close to them, and gain the trust of their keepers.

If he couldn't help Jarod, he could do something about the next generation of Centre slaves, or die trying.

* * * * * * * * *

Chairman's Office

Lyle sat waiting, fidgeting with the glove on his hand while Parker chatted with Mme. Berkstresser on the phone. He pulled it half off, adjusted the cotton wadding that filled the space where his left thumb should have been and pulled it firmly back on, remembering briefly the pain of losing the digit. Growing impatient, he rose and began to stroll about the office, gazing out the window to the verdant grounds below.

Another reprimand was in store, he was sure. However, this time he brought ammunition for a return salvo, and patted the breast pocket of his suit to remind himself of the gift he'd brought with him. Parker would be pleased with the project Lyle was about to unveil, and he felt it would certainly make up for the losses of so many of the Blue Files under his supervision. Helping to buoy his spirits was the promise by Mr. White that he was closing in on his target, the missing-but-not-forgotten Faith.

"Now, what did you want to see me about, son?"

Lyle turned at that gruff address, his attention flashing now to something else entirely. "You used to be afraid of me," he observed. "When I was your boss."

Parker shot him a warning glare. "That was before I knew who you were."

The younger man grinned. "What makes things any different, knowing your genes are in this package?"

"You belong to me, that's what makes it different. And I cannot tell you how disappointed I am that you'd let yourself slip so far from where you were. That's your mother's weakness in you, not mine." His blue eyes were cold and hard, disapproving as they swept up and down Lyle's form, measuring and finding the young man wanting.

Lyle swung away from the window, smoothed down his tie and cocked his head as he regarded his father. "Were you the one who sent me to those lunatics in Oklahoma? Was that to toughen me up, before sending for me?"

Parker's eyes narrowed. He frowned, and his voice was a low growl as he answered. "You were supposed to go to Kansas, to a couple I trusted to raise you. Raines was responsible for putting you in that nuthouse. I didn't know where the hell you were, or who you were when you came here. How did all that happen, anyway? How'd you find the Centre, much less work your way up in the hierarchy so fast?"

"Our friend, Raines," Lyle began, "saw to it that I got a glimpse of power when I was still in high school. After Eclipse, he put the idea in my head to erase my past, so Bobby Bowman had to die. When I'd proven myself, I got an engraved invitation to work for him here. And in spite of what you may think of my people skills..." He seated himself in the guest chair and smiled. "...I know how to play politics with the best of 'em. I wasn't in the Tower just because I'm pretty. I'm a damn good administrator when I've got good people under me." He let that unspoken accusation hang in the air for a moment, and then added, "Valentine has proven to be helpful in that aspect. He and I have uncovered some of Raines' private projects. Here's one of them, just to whet your appetite, and to prove that I haven't been slacking off. I may not be getting the results either of us want on those missing Blue Files, but I think this will more than make up for what we don't have at the moment."

He reached inside his jacket and pulled the DSA out, laying it on top of the Chairman's desk.

"What is it?"

"Her name is Ella. She's a pyrokinetic, a firestarter. Raines had his people in the Pretoriat working with her, keeping her hidden away from us here. I think you should have her moved to Delaware for more research."

Parker put the DSA into the reader and watched the girl being put through her paces. He switched off the machine and smiled at his son, his eyes gleaming. "Now, that's more like it. I'll call and make the arrangements. Kruger's not going to like this. Not one bit." He laughed darkly. "But we're in charge now, eh, son?"

Lyle folded his hands and smiled back. "Yes, we are. Dad."

The older man stood up and leaned across the desk to shake Lyle's hand as he rose. "Good work. I'll take care of it from here."

"I'll be following up some other leads. You may be surprised at all the goodies I've got up my sleeve."

"Impress me, son. That's what it's all about."

Lyle pivoted on his heel and sauntered toward the door. "Just don't ever forget..." He turned as he grasped the door handle, and made eye contact. "...that I'm a Parker. All the way to the bone."

* * * * * * * * *

The Centre
July 30, 1967

"You wanted to see me, sir?" Jacob took a seat in the guest chair across from Raines' desk.

"Yes. I've been looking over your notes on Alexis Moore." Raines turned over several pages of paper in her file, pursed his lips, and then raised his eyes to meet Jacob's. "She's one of the best candidates we've seen for Project Proteus. There are others who are also high on our list, but some are too much in the public eye, and we can't proceed with them in the program as it's been designed. Alexis, however, can enter the program immediately. You'll see to that, won't you?"

Jacob felt his insides clench. "What, exactly, did you have in mind, Mr. Raines? I haven't read all the protocols for Proteus yet."

"I wasn't sure it would work with worldly Pretenders like Alexis, so we brought in fresh research material for comparison," Raines explained. "We'll isolate her from all distractions, as we have with the juvenile Pretenders, keep her focused on the projects we want her to work on, and see how well she does."

"What if she doesn't want to cooperate?"

Raines smiled, his watery blue eyes chilling. He smoothed a hand over his hair and leaned back in his tall leather chair. "Once suitable candidates are enrolled in the project, they don't get a choice. We're in control at that point, and they'll work for us until we decide we don't need them anymore."

Jacob swallowed. He had read profiles on half a dozen children scheduled for the program, and had seen firsthand when one was taken from his parents. Sydney was already working with one of them, and now they meant to make Alexis a prisoner as well. If she stayed in the Centre, their relationship would quickly become obvious.

"I'll take care of her," he promised, and rose to leave. Things had just become very dangerous, for himself and Alexis, and for the child she carried. He did not want to provide the Centre with more research material, especially not from his own blood.

He had to get her out of there, and it had to be within the next few days.

"Oh, and Jacob?" Raines called as he opened the door.

Jacob turned, hoping his face wasn't as bloodless as it felt. "Yes, sir?"

"Great work with Alexis. You really got in deep with her."

Raines had no idea just how deep. "Thank you, sir. I'll see to getting new quarters ready." He hesitated. "You know we won't be able to keep her in a cell, like the ones the children have. She's accustomed to comfort, and I'm sure she won't work unless she has pleasant surroundings."

The other man gave him a hard look. "You have to find a way to make her work, Jacob. That's your job."

Jacob couldn't breathe. He nodded, and stepped out into the hall, closing the door behind himself. He staggered as if he had been struck, and leaned heavily against the wall until he could right himself and summon up enough energy to walk away.

"Mon Dieu," he whispered to himself, blindly taking one step after another toward the elevator. He went to his office and phoned his assistant, giving orders to set up a new cell for Alexis Moore. Then, from his desk drawer, he took a notepad and began to write.

Once the letter was finished, he sealed it in an envelope and tucked it into an inner pocket in his suit jacket. He turned in his chair and pulled a book down off the credenza behind him, and let it fall open to the page where he had secreted a photograph of himself and Alexis, taken the day after he had made love to her the first time. She was beaming, and he stood behind her with his arms around her, smiling down at her. He had taken her on a drive that day, desperate to get away from the Centre and have her all to himself. He had asked a passerby to take the photo, and had the film developed out of town so no one in Blue Cove would know. That photograph was his touchstone, his power source when he needed an energy boost toward the end of a long day. He could look at that picture and feel her love, her joy, and be recharged.

He tucked it away again, slid the book back into place, and rose to take the letter to Alexis. He was all business when he informed her that she had been requested to assist with the next level of the program. Offering her his congratulations, he shook her hand and slipped her the letter just before he left.

After that, he went directly to Fenigor. He would need someone's help to get Alexis out of that place, and he trusted Fenigor. Jacob would have to tell Sydney now, even though it might well get him in serious trouble. He needed to know what was going on. He needed to know the truth about how the Centre had come into possession of the children with whom he had been working. Sydney had bought into the lie, and Jacob had kept his mouth shut.

Now it was time for a serious dose of truth. He asked his brother to cover for him at work, play the 'twins game' so no one would know that Jacob was gone. He went home to pack, planning to take only the necessary things so they could travel lightly. That afternoon he withdrew a large sum of money from his personal accounts and had Sydney drive him to the airport. Jacob bought a ticket for St. Paul and set up a bank account there, under an assumed name. There was just enough cash left in his Blue Cove account for living expenses for a few weeks, though he wouldn't be there that long. There would be money enough when he and Alexis arrived to buy a car and head out into the countryside, looking for a home in a quiet little town. He took another day to finish setting the plan in motion, took a connecting flight to Chicago to throw off any inquiries the Centre might launch after his departure, and phoned his brother to meet him at the Dover airport the next evening. He would tell Sydney on the way home, and after his brother dropped him off at his apartment, under cover of night, Jacob and Alexis would be gone.

* * * * * * * * *

Present day
Sydney's office

Angelo slipped the items into the book, and left it lying on Sydney's chair. He had held the photograph for a long time, enjoying the feel of the love the man and woman had felt for each other. It was obvious in their faces, but it resonated in the paper, in the images as well.

That picture had been very special to him for a long time, since the first moment he had found it in the book in Jacob's office as a child. He had taken it, knowing it would not be missed, and later matched it up with the letter he had found hidden in one of the guest rooms in the west wing. The letter had been there for a long time before he found it, but he had treasured it, waiting for the right time to deliver them both.

It was time for Sydney to know. It was time for the truth that only blood will tell to those who listen, time for the rest of Jacob's message to be heard.

He stroked his fingers over the book, smiled fondly at it, and scurried away on a mission of his own.

* * * * * * * * *

Sydney's office, moments later

Sydney took note of the book instantly. Environment and Genetics: The Birth of Personality was an old favorite of his brother's, but he hadn't seen it in years. He smiled as he sat down, recalling the many debates he and Jacob had over the text. Opening the cover, he saw Jacob's signature, and knew that this had been his personal copy. Then he saw the separation between the pages where something had been inserted.

He let the book fall open to that spot, and pulled an envelope out from between the pages. It had been opened already, and he reached into the ragged split. Inside was a letter, written in Jacob's own hand, and a photograph of his brother and a smiling, beautiful blonde woman. Sydney didn't recognize her at first.

Not until he began to read.

My darling Alexis,

You have my heart, and always will. Know that I would die to protect you, and that your safety and happiness are all that matter to me. I want our child to be protected as well, but things have changed here. You are both in great danger, and there is little I can do for the moment but go along with the decisions that have been made.

Fear not, my dearest heart. You will soon be moved to a secured room, where you will be locked in and made to do my bidding. Please, go along with whatever is asked of you. In a few days at most, I will be able to get you out of that dreadful place, and we will flee to somewhere we will never be found. We will need to live simply, possibly in pastoral isolation, but I vow to take care of you and our children, always.

Trust me, beloved. I will not let you down. I would give my life to set you free.

With great love,
Jacob

Alexis Moore had been Jacob's primary project at the time of the accident that put him into a coma. The few times he had awakened afterward, he had not mentioned her because he couldn't remember so much of his life. Jacob had gone to his grave without telling Sydney about her, or about their child.

He concentrated, trying to recall details of their last conversation together, the night of the accident.

"You've been missing for three days, Jacob. I can't keep covering for you with Mr. Raines," Sydney had said.

"I've had personal business." Jacob was morose, obviously troubled.

Rain beat at the car on the dark country road leading back to Blue Cove from Dover. There were a great many curves on that road, but he knew it well. He had been down it hundreds of times, bringing new research subjects in for testing, and driving them back again. But this time, his mind wasn't on the road, despite the slick pavement.

Sydney was worried about his twin. "You never kept secrets from me." It was an accusation, quiet and without judgement, prompting Jacob to confess, to open up the closed space between them.

"Sydney, I - I have ethical concerns about our work..."

They had argued, but Sydney refused to listen. He didn't want to hear about work. He wanted to know where Jacob had gone, why he had just disappeared without sharing what had made him leave.

"...Do you know how we got those children?" Jacob had asked him then, worrying at him with dogged persistence.

"I know what I need to know," Sydney had replied calmly, but even then, he felt his own twinge of suspicion that he tried to keep buried. Sanctimonious pride tamped it back down again.

"No, no! You know what the Centre wants you to know. You -- you always do this! You always push away whatever doesn't fit into your pristine view of the world."

Jacob had been right about that. Sydney was always the one who wanted to believe fairy tales were real when they were children, ever the optimist as an adult. That observation had stung, and he lashed back at his twin.

"And all you want to do is poison the good things in your life!" he snarled back.

He had looked away from the road for just a second. The sound of a car horn and the sudden flash of lights in his face had made him jerk the wheel even before Jacob's warning shout. It was almost as if that other car had come out of nowhere, straight at them...

Jacob had been trying to tell him something, trying to tell him about Jarod and the others. Perhaps he had been leading up to telling him about Alexis... Sydney had to find out what had happened to the woman. If she was still in the Centre somewhere, he had to talk to her.

He rose, tucked the photo and letter into his jacket, and headed for Broots' office. If anyone could help him uncover what had happened to Alexis Moore, it would be the tech. A search would take time, but Sydney was determined. Nothing would stop him from locating the woman his brother had loved. He would explain to her what had happened, why Jacob hadn't come for her. He would help her understand, and he would set her free.

On to Act II

 
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