Insurrection

 

home / season six / episode four / act III

   

Icy Kold warehouse
Maryland

Faith parked beside the unmarked silver van at the loading dock. She checked the address again on the piece of paper Ethan had given her, and verified it against the weathered sign above the abandoned building. “This is it,” she announced, getting out of the car. “Come with me.”

Jarod quietly followed her. They climbed up the concrete steps and pushed open the door to a darkened interior. It smelled of dust and expired refrigerant. Faith closed her eyes for a moment and felt for the hum of emotion, found it, and headed in that direction. She had no idea who she was supposed to be meeting there -- only that they would help Jarod.

One small room upstairs in a row of offices had been cleaned and made over into a miniature hospital room, complete with a railed bed with built-in IV pole, and an array of monitoring equipment.

“Jarod!” called an older man, rising from his seat with obvious excitement. “Son! I’m so glad to see you. Are you all right?” He drew the Pretender into a firm embrace, then backed off to look into his eyes.

“I’m fine,” Jarod said automatically.

Faith noticed the teenage boy in the back of the room, hovering over a machine. The look in his eyes was haunted, and she felt his fear, his anguish.

“No, Jarod's not fine,” she told them. “But I’m assuming from all this equipment that you know what he needs.”

“Dad, what are you doing here?” Jarod asked slowly. “Jordan? What’s going on?”

The older man’s face fell, recognizing that Jarod’s muted reaction was not normal. His eyes went to Faith immediately. “I imagine you’re the one Ethan told us about. Faith, isn't it? Thank you for getting my son out of that hell-hole. My name is Charles, and this is Jarod’s son, Jordan.” He swept a hand in the boy’s direction.

Faith smiled slightly. “I wasn't sure I was ready for this, but Ethan can be very persuasive.” She glanced up at her long-time friend, and her tiny smile disappeared. “We’re all scared for him. I just hope this works.”

“You hope what works?” Jarod asked. His eyes wandered around the room, taking in the equipment, and the concern on Jordan’s face. The youth still hadn’t said a word of greeting.

The major took his son by the arm and led him over to the bed. “We’re going to help you beat this thing. We’ve done the research, gotten the information we need, and--“

“What makes you think I want to beat it?” Jarod demanded. That he felt the threat was obvious. He just couldn’t seem to get worked up about it.

Charles shot a troubled glance at Faith, then looked back at his son. “Are you going to fight us?”

Jarod shrugged. “I'm not going to hit anyone, if that's what you mean.” He clutched the box and vial that held the remains of his tether. “As long as I have this, everything’s okay.” His eyes pleaded for understanding. “Don’t take it away from me, please. It makes me happy. It's everything I want, everything I need.”

Jordan looked quickly away, busying himself with preparation for the task at hand, but Faith felt his torn spirit from across the room. She didn’t have to see the boy’s face to know there were tears in his eyes. As gently as she could, she soothed his hurt, boosting the logic that told the boy it was the drugs talking, and not Jarod.

Providing comfort was less draining, if a bit more unfamiliar. And this boy felt so much like the Jarod she knew as a child that it was almost frightening. The resemblance itself was uncanny. But she had work to do, and turned her attention back to Jarod.

“Sit here, son,” Charles ordered. “We’re going to hook you up to an IV. Jordan has trained as an anesthesiologist, and will put you to sleep while we clean out your system. I’m sure you know how it’s done already. We’ll be using one of your own inventions to help with the rapid detox, to make the physical withdrawal easier. I’ve been learning how to administer and monitor the medications.” He grinned. “It’s nothing like being a pilot, but I’m a quick study. You’re going to be just fine.”

Jarod’s eyes went to Faith. “And what will you do?” he wondered aloud.

She took his hand. “I’ll be watching over you, making sure you can find the way back to us.”

“Yeah. You’re good at that sort of thing,” the pretender shot back with just a hint of sarcasm.

Charles did not try to relieve his son of the drug that he wanted so badly. Instead, he donned a pair of latex gloves and grasped Jarod’s free arm in search of a vein. He sucked in a sharp breath as he saw the needle marks tracking all the way up to both elbows. Charles turned Jarod’s hand over and started feeling along the back of it for a suitable point of entry for the IV.

* * * * * * * * *

Sydney's office

Sydney sat behind the desk, his face haggard from weariness, but his attention fixed on the young woman across from him. Her distress was obvious; she could not function properly in her current state, and he had to help her. He had to find a solution to all this, and soon, or there would be serious repercussions.

“I can’t explain it,” Nancy said softly. “Angelique was comfortable with Jarod in a way she hadn’t been with anyone, even me. I’m worried about her. She’s withdrawn and combative, refusing to let go of her doll and hiding in the corner when anyone enters the room. The only one who seems to connect with her now is Gabriel, maybe because he and Jarod were so close. How do I reach her? What can I do to help her accept this loss?”

The psychiatrist kept his expression neutral, but he couldn’t help the feeling of joy that had come with the news of Jarod’s escape, though he was deeply concerned about the impending withdrawal his protégé would experience. He was afraid that, if the measures he tried didn’t work, the young man might resort to suicide to end his pain.

Nancy was the third caregiver in his office that morning, all of them stressed to their wit’s end, which only worsened the children’s distress.

He sighed. “Since we don’t know where Jarod has gone or how long he may be away, we must treat this as a worst-case scenario. The children were just becoming accustomed to Jarod, and it has upset them. This will manifest in a variety of ways, some of which are already being exhibited.” He paused, pondering the case notes he had read on this particular child, wishing once again that he might work with her and the others directly, rather than secondhand. “It’s not surprising that Angelique has regressed. She trusted Jarod to be there, and that trust has been violated. It will have to be built back slowly, piece by piece. Let her work this out in whatever fashion she chooses, aside from hurting herself. Be patient with her, and be calm. She needs that from you, more than ever now.”

The young woman nodded, sighed and stood up. “Thank you, Sydney. I’ll do my best.”

She had no sooner left than Broots came in. "I'm sorry for interrupting," he said in his typically hesitant fashion.

"You're not. Our session was finished." He took the notes he had made and placed them in Nancy's folder, intending to transcribe them later. "What can I do for you, Broots?"

The tech took the question as an invitation, and sat down in the chair Nancy had just vacated. "You heard that Jarod escaped, right?"

Sydney crossed his arms on the desk in front of him. "Since the entire Centre has heard about it, that knowledge did finally make its way down to me, yes."

He winced at the other man's dry, sarcastic tone. "Well, Miss Parker is trying to figure out how and why Jarod left. I've talked to some people, but you knew him best, so I figure you’re the best source of information.”

"'Knew' being the operative word," Sydney replied. "I haven't seen Jarod, except from a great distance, since she brought him in. I don't know that I'd be qualified to answer your questions at this point."

Broots leaned forward in his chair. "Look, Syd, I know you resent the fact that they wouldn't let you talk to Jarod, and I don't blame you. I mean, you practically raised him from a little boy. But I don't think Miss Parker had anything to do with that decision. I don't think she's deliberately shutting you out."

"Has she said something to you?"

He shook his head. "No, it's more like a feeling I get when I'm around her. Miss Parker isn't the same person she used to be, you know? I mean, she's still tough when she has to be, but she's just… she apologizes after making cracks, she says she trusts me… she's just different. Does that make any sense?"

A tiny smile flickered at the corners of Sydney’s mouth. “Yes, I suppose it does. She’s finally becoming her own person, rather than her father’s martinet.”

“So, then, how do you think this thing with Jarod happened? They said the drugs they had him on would make it impossible for him to leave.”

“From what I’ve read of the research, I agree with that supposition,” Sydney returned thoughtfully. “It’s more than just the physical addiction, however. Jarod’s conquered that before, and could certainly do it again. Under Aurora’s influence, he wouldn’t have had the will to walk out on his own.”

Broots sat back in his chair, mouth hanging open for a moment. “You mean, someone helped him? Like who?”

Sydney couldn’t help smiling, knowing Broots wouldn’t understand. “There’s only one person who could have done it. If Miss Parker thinks about it, she’ll have the answer. All it takes is a little faith in herself and her own abilities.”

Broots frowned, realizing that he wasn’t going to get anything more. Then he nodded, and left.

Sydney had been thinking about that problem all morning, since he received the first frantic call to come into the office, and discovered what was going on. Faith was a troubled woman, but she cared for Jarod and Miss Parker. She was connected to both of them, and only someone with her talent could have persuaded the Pretender to walk away from the source of his pleasure. She would take care of him, and do her best to keep him safe.

He just hoped that what she had to offer would be enough to keep Jarod alive.

* * * * * * * * *

Icy Kold warehouse

Jarod’s eyes were closed, his breathing regular and even. He didn’t flinch when Charles removed the kit and vial from his relaxed grasp, and everyone heaved a collective sigh of relief. He was unconscious, the medication already in his veins to purge Aurora from his body.

"So far, so good," Jordan said.

He seemed calm, at least on the outside. Faith knew he was more than competent to play this role; after all, he had Jarod's genius, and his own skill as a pretender. Still, she knew he was worried -- both of them were. She got up from her chair, and went across the room to sit beside the Major. "All we can do now is wait," she told him.

He smiled. "Ethan didn't say much about you. He just told me that you and Jarod had known each other as children, and that you could help him in a way no one else could."

"I only met Ethan for a few minutes, but I knew Jarod had a half-brother. He has… an inner sense, in the same way Miss Parker does. When he came to me out of the blue and told me it was time to get Jarod out, I knew he was right."

"He also told me you had a unique talent."

She took a deep breath. “I’m what they call a hyper-empath. I can sense other people’s emotions, but my major 'talent' is being able to collect and then reflect back whatever emotion I choose." It sounds so odd when I say it out loud. Offering a small, tight smile, she added, “Strange, I know. But we all have the ability to some degree. We’re all connected to each other, especially when we’re physically or emotionally close to someone.”

Charles nodded. “It does sound kind of fantastic, but I’ve seen a lot of impossible things in the last few years. There’s a large part of our brains that go unused, and I imagine these types of things come from that unknown territory.” He frowned. “Only the Centre seems to be on the leading edge of exploring and mapping it.”

"Taking his natural desire to escape and magnifying it is how I persuaded Jarod to leave, even under the influence of Aurora, but it was a near thing. This is a very strong drug. It will take a long time for him to recover from its influence." She did not add her doubt about whether he would ever completely conquer it.

"You must have been at the Centre the same time as Jarod was. Were you one of their subjects?"

She nodded. "I was nine when they took me out of the orphanage where I was living. That's a little older than they liked, but I had a skill they desperately wanted. They used adoption as a cover, so no one would be suspicious. My legal name is Faith Parker." She watched Charles' reaction, but other than a slight raising of his eyebrows, he was silent. “Jarod had already been there for years, but he was still kind and gentle. He always wanted to help people.” A memory crept up on her unexpectedly, bringing a soft smile with it. “He said I was beautiful once.”

“You are,” Charles agreed.

Faith shook her head. "I haven't been beautiful for a very long time, Major. At least, not on the inside. But I always remembered him saying that. There's a part of Jarod that managed to stay innocent, even in the hostile environment of the Centre. Sydney had a hand in it, I'm sure; but part of it was just his nature. He always seemed to know how to find the good in a situation, or a person, if there was any."

"It sounds as though you knew each other well."

"There were… moments, events that Jarod will tell you about when he's ready." She looked over at Jarod's form. He appeared to be sleeping peacefully. No one deserves that more than you, Jarod, especially after what you've been through. I only wish you could have gotten it some other way than through Aurora.

Mentioning the events that had brought them together reminded her of Eclipse. Her eyes closed, momentarily, as her mind slipped back to that place and that time.

The boat that represented Jarod's return to consciousness skidded onto the white sand beach of their imagination. Faith stepped out over the prow, and Jarod followed her.

Something squished when he walked, and he glanced down at his feet. One of them was stained black, and as they watched, the substance absorbed quickly into his skin. He turned to look back at the hungry ocean, roaring angrily for its missed meal, before the scenario dissolved completely.

As Faith came to awareness, she was back inside the Centre, in a small room, sitting with her back to the wall. Jarod was right there with her.

“Jarod?” she asked.

He lifted his head and looked over at her. “What was that?” he asked. “What was that black stuff? I could feel it going through me.”

She knew he was too fragile right then to understand the truth -- that a small part of Kodiak Brown's personality had managed to merge with his. That revelation would have to wait until he was stronger.

“It’s nothing,” she lied. “Don’t worry about it.”

Faith opened her eyes and stared at the blank wall across from her, repeating softly, “It’s nothing at all.”

* * * * * * * * *

The Centre

The tech fell into the guest chair across from his boss. "I can say with complete certainty that Jarod got out through the ventilation system… again." He tossed a file folder onto her desk, closed his eyes and rubbed them. "I thought you were going to have those sealed off, and motion detectors hard-wired in."

She sipped her hazelnut cream coffee. She had managed to return home long enough to dress and groom herself properly, leaving her minions to start gathering the information she needed. Now she was digesting everything, taking it all in and trying to find the places where the errors occurred. "I put in a request last month to my father. Apparently, that got shelved. None of the improved security measures I suggested were implemented, with the exception of the front entrance, and his chain of command superseded my orders to the contrary."

"What I want to know is, why did Jarod leave?" the tech wondered. "He's hooked on Aurora. There's no supply for it outside of here."

She pondered that for a moment. "Angelo, maybe?"

Broots shook his head. "Angelo wouldn't go near him in that state. He was afraid of Jarod. But I did talk to Sydney, and he seems to have figured things out. He said if you thought about it he was sure you would, too."

"Bunny," she murmured, remembering the toddler’s distressed admission. "Bunny took Jarod." She glanced up and saw that Broots was staring at her as if she had lost her mind. "That's what Gabriel told me, that someone named Bunny took Jarod away. Who would do that? Who could make him…"

She stopped. That was it. Someone had forced Jarod to leave, and just anyone with a gun wouldn't have been able to overcome his dependence on Aurora. It would have to be something else, something even stronger, if that were possible.

Faith.

She sat up straight in her chair, set down her coffee cup and looked the tech in the eye. "Get me everything you can lay hands on concerning the Looking Glass project."

"Well, there wasn't much the first time, so I doubt that I'll find--"

"Just go, Broots!" she snapped.

He was out of his chair and on his way to the door when she apologized. He just grinned at her and ducked out the door. Two years ago she'd never have let an apology slip out. She let it slide, confident in the fact that she had just found a bargaining chip that might allow her to keep her job.

* * * * * * * * *

Icy Kold warehouse

Charles checked the dosage four times, meticulously expelled the air bubble from the syringe, and loaded it into the IV port that took it into his son’s arm. His attention was firmly fixed on his job, and he was performing well. Faith decided he didn’t need a distraction and moved away to a chair near the heart monitor.

She studied the boy instead, remarking to herself how the memories of young Jarod flooded back when she looked at him. She couldn’t help smiling.

“How come you’re looking at me like that?” Jordan asked, checking the electronic panel once more, before making brief eye contact with her.

“You look just like--“

“I know,” he cut in.

“This has been hard for you,” she said softly, scooting her chair a little closer to him. “You’ve been experiencing something strange, a connection to Jarod like nothing you’ve ever known, and it’s scary. I know about that sort of thing.”

Jordan’s gaze went to hers and held. “How did you know?”

She shrugged. “You’ve got the same blood, the same heart and mind. How could you not feel this terrible thing that’s been happening to him?”

The teenager’s surprise gave way to understanding, and to relief. Concern etched itself into tight lines around his mouth as he observed his patient, and checked the monitors again. “You knew him when he was a teenager, right?”

Faith nodded. She could feel her face relaxing with the memories. “Yes, I did.”

“Was he… was he like me then?”

“Jarod was always an optimist, looking for the bright spots. But he was also troubled about what they did to him, what they made him do. Some of it was bad, very bad.”

He had been about Jordan's age the last time she saw him as a child, after Eclipse. They had been shut away together, in the hope that she could save his original personality. Attempts to retrieve the other subjects had failed miserably.

He shivered, and she wondered if he was cold. “It was just a dream, wasn’t it?” he asked her desperately. “I didn’t really hurt anyone, did I?” He stared at his hands. “I can see her face. I can see the knife in my hands. I didn’t want to do it. Why couldn’t I stop?”

She felt the distress coming off him in waves. The simulation hadn’t broken him, but she feared that what lay ahead, the realization of what he had done, would unhinge his mind. As long as he had those memories, as long as they continued to torture him, he would slip further and further away until no one could reach him. She could already feel him retreating.

“Rest,” she whispered, holding his hand and encouraging him to lean against her. “It’ll be okay.”

He was so drained, so weary from his internal struggles, that he obeyed. And while he was unconscious, she took those dark memories and built a wall around them, just strong enough to let him recover.

Soon afterward, the Centre had done a little brainwashing of their own, making him forget he had even seen her. But the wall she had built to protect him had been placed with such care that it held for 25 years.

She remembered her delight at seeing the others who came to visit after she arrived at the Centre. Those three had been her lifeline, her only source of hope. What she felt for Jarod, her adopted sister, and Angelo was the closest thing to love that she could recall since losing her parents.

And she wondered if that wall she had so carefully built out of love had ended up hurting Jarod in the long run, doing more damage than the memories of Eclipse might have, had they been left for him to deal with on his own. She had told Sydney that she would deal with this problem in her own way; and yet, it was still an open wound.

There wasn’t time to come to terms with it now. There were far more important things on her mind, not the least of which were the three men in that room. She turned back to Jordan and began engaging him in safer topics of conversation, doing what little she could to help in the adjustment to this newest facet of his relationship with the man he now called father.

On to Act IV

 
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