Oracle

 

home / season six / episode eight / act II

   

New Boston, Texas

“So you’re a pretender too?”

“Genetically,” she agreed with a small smile. “But I never had the ability that you did.”

Jarod raised an eyebrow. “You did do work for the Prodigy Project.”

“For a few months, yes,” she admitted with a grin. “But I cheated a little.”

“In what way?”

“Knowing Jacob as well as I did, I could work out what he wanted to see me do…”

“And then you’d do it,” Jarod finished for her. “Nobody ever picked up on the fact?”

“Jacob himself did,” Rebecca replied. “One day I was supposed to be doing a simulation when we were joined by another of the Centre’s staff.” Her jaw tensed, eyes gleaming with a hard light that made Jarod look up at her in surprise. “Raines came to watch it, but I couldn’t figure out the result he wanted and eventually he left in disgust. The moment he was gone, I could provide exactly the answer they were looking for.”

“Why?” the man demanded.

“I’m not sure of the exact scientific reason for it, but I don’t seem able to use my abilities properly when I’m around people I dislike.” She shrugged. “Jacob always thought it was a mental block I created sub-consciously. I don’t know if that’s true or not, but it’s one of the reasons that Jacob tried to get me out.” Her voice softened as she stared at the floor. “That and maybe something else…”

* * * * * * * * *

The Centre
Blue Cove, Delaware

“Miss Parker,” called the technician from behind her as the woman was heading for her office. She turned.

“Well?”

“I’ve found more about…” he trailed off, nodding at the papers he held.

“What is it?”

He nodded slightly in the direction of her office and, understanding, Miss Parker pushed open the door, letting him walk in ahead of her and locking the door firmly after her. Walking around to sit behind her desk, she fixed a firm gaze on him.

“What did you find?”

“The information in there’s wrong.” He nodded towards the folder she had just placed on the top of her desk. “Or at least some of it is.”

She arched an eyebrow. “Which part?”

“The part under the date of the project’s termination.”

The woman flipped open the red booklet and looked at the arrangement of numbers before lifting her eyes. “What’s wrong with the date of death?”

“She’s not dead,” the man responded immediately. “At least, I don’t think she is.”

Miss Parker sighed impatiently. “She has to be, Broots. We’ve already established that Oracle is the code-name for Rebecca, the first Red File, and we know she’s been dead for 36 years. There is simply no way that they could have kept her…”

“They did it with Look…Faith,” Broots reminded her. “But it seems like this was different.”

“That wasn’t quite as long,” Miss Parker muttered virtually under her breath before raising her voice so that it would be audible to the man opposite. “How was this different?”

“Several people were involved in actually removing Rebecca from the Centre.”

Miss Parker pulled the release form out of the folder in front of her and waved it at the technician, averting her eyes from a photo that showed the body of the girl on an autopsy table. “According to this, the Triumvirate saw her dead body, and gave permission for Jacob to cremate the body and bury the ashes on Centre grounds. They ended the project and filed the results away.”

Broots briefly held up the folder he was clutching. “This suggests something else. It proposes that the death was staged and it’s believed two people worked together to set up the whole scenario and then smuggle the girl out of the Centre.”

“How reliable is this piece of information?”

“It was a memo I intercepted between Lyle and your father.”

Miss Parker suffocated the anger she felt at the use of that phrase and changed the subject. “And who were the two people?”

“Jacob…”

“Of course,” she interrupted impatiently. “And?”

He gazed at the floor for a moment before raising his eyes to her. “Your mother.”

* * * * * * * * *

New Boston, Texas

“Whoa, whoa, whoa! Stop!” Jarod put up his hands in a gesture of protest and stared at her. “Are you telling me that Catherine Parker helped Jacob get you out of the Centre?”

“Yes. I was the first child she rescued.”

“How?”

“Do you remember the experiment in 1970 that transformed Timmy into Angelo?”

“You know Angelo?” he interrupted.

Rebecca smiled. “I’ve always known of him, yes, the same way I knew about you. We only met once, face to face. I helped him - I should say I helped Timmy - get to the cabin where you were staying when you were working at NuGenesis. But he always knew about Catherine and Jacob’s feeling for me - especially Catherine’s - and so he got in touch with me.”

Jarod raised an eyebrow. “How?”

“The same way he does with you. Or,” Rebecca teased, “do you think he sneaks out more often than just to save Broots from Brigitte and to help you save other victims of NuGenesis?”

He laughed, nodding in agreement, letting her continue. The humor faded from the woman’s face as she recalled the reason that Angelo’s name had come into the conversation in the first place.

“Raines pioneered the treatment that he would late use on Timmy in 1965 - on me.”

“But…”Jarod stared at her, his own amusement dissipating like snow in springtime. “Why?”

“He thought that it might be possible to enhance my abilities as a psychic, but he didn’t want to do it to one of his own projects. Raines thought that if he did it to one of the others the handler of that child, Jacob in this case, would get the blame if something went wrong.”

“And something did.”

The woman nodded silently. Standing, she picked up a photograph from under the framed picture and handed it to him. Jarod eyed the bleeding sores dotted along the hairline of the girl in the photo, her lips blue and eyelids closed; then he examined the face of the woman seated opposite him, taking note of the small scars that were only just visible along the top of her forehead. His mind presented him with the images of what she must have gone through that day - the terror of Raines’ appearance in her room, aware as she would have been of at least some of what he planned to do to her; the agony as massive charges of electricity were applied to her head; the burning sensation that such a strong current would provide…

“It wasn’t that bad,” she interrupted, trying to stop him, and also not wanting to relive it herself.

Jarod arched an eyebrow skeptically, not bothering to question her statement, instead changing the subject. “So the result of that was…?”

“The report Jacob filed stated that he came into my room to find me like that,” she nodded at the picture, “and took me down the infirmary, where they tried to revive me but failed. The Triumvirate was called to view my body…”

“But you weren’t dead,” he broke in.

“Well, obviously,” Rebecca retorted, her eyes twinkling.

Jarod raised an eyebrow. “So how did he do it?”

“According to what Jacob told me later, he found me in my room several hours after Raines ordered me taken me back there. I was unconscious because of the treatment I’d been given and Jacob used the opportunity to stage my death. When I finally woke up, we were in his car. Jacob was driving and Catherine was sitting in the back seat, holding me.”

“And you were going…?”

“Catherine knew of a possible family where I would be safe.” Rebecca’s voice became a little sad. “I never saw either of them again.”

* * * * * * * * *

The Centre
Blue Cove, Delaware

“So what does this memo of yours say?” Miss Parker demanded after a moment of silence.

“Apparently, a few days ago, Mr. Parker found a letter from Catherine to a girl in Oklahoma called ‘Rebecca’ that was written in March, 1970. A sweeper team was sent there, but they didn’t find anything. On the off chance that it might have been real, he sent a message to the usual people across the country, letting them know about her and asking them to keep an eye out.”

“And there was a sighting,” the woman finished, leaning back in her chair. “So that explains why Lyle and Valentine left the Centre this morning looking like wolves were after them.”

“Basically, yes,” Broots agreed, before hesitantly offering the other piece of information that he’d found. “I…I guess you should know…your father told Lyle not to tell you about it.”

“Why?” she snapped.

“I…I don’t know exactly. That’s all it says.” He pushed the memo across the table and stood up. “I’ll let you know if I find anything else.”

Miss Parker looked up at him thoughtfully. “You know, I just don’t get why Sydney was unwilling to talk about it before.”

Broots dropped back into the chair. “Well, it was his brother’s project…”

“It’s more than that,” she interrupted. “Sydney's kept secrets before, but there was always a good reason for it, like when he didn’t tell me about my mother, and when he didn’t talk about Eclipse.” She pressed the tips of her fingers together and stared at them blankly for a moment before lifting her eyes to the man opposite. “Usually he’s protecting somebody, but there’s nobody to protect in this case. It’s been 36 years since Rebecca ‘died,’ and there was no suggestion before this that anybody knew she was alive, was there?”

She touched the memo and eyed the man, watching as he slowly shook his head.

“As far as I could find out, her project’s been lying dormant for all that time. Nobody’s even looked at it.”

“So what’s he trying to hide?” Miss Parker asked rhetorically, eyeing the page for several minutes in silence, before getting abruptly to her feet. The technician watched her, somewhat confused.

“Where are you going?”

“To ask him.” She got to the doorway and looked back. “And I meant both of us.”

* * * * * * * * *

New Boston, Texas

Jarod sat back in his chair and looked around the room, eyeing the windowless walls and solid doors, one that led back into the room from which he had entered and the other that presumably led to other rooms in the building. The walls were devoid of any personal touches, except for that one photograph he had noticed earlier, and the place seemed hardly lived in. Only the woman’s obvious familiarity suggested longer habitation. After taking note of all that, he turned back to his hostess.

“How long have you lived here?”

“About 20 years, on and off.” She shrugged as he stared at her in disbelief. “When I left home to study at college, I didn’t want to live on campus. This was pretty convenient. It’s also safe. Nobody can come in without me knowing.”

There was a look of near-envy as he watched her, his voice becoming quiet. “What was it like, not living in the Centre?”

“Not as good as it should have been.” Rebecca sighed regretfully, staring at her hands. “If they’d been able to save you instead of me, you would have done a lot more than I did.”

Jarod raised an eyebrow. “What do you mean?”

She studied the floor for a moment before looking up at him. “People are scared of me, when they find out what I can do,” she admitted slowly. “I left home because the people I called my parents were afraid of what I could do and what I knew about them. I guess it’s natural - nobody likes the idea of somebody being able to hunt around inside your head,” she added after a second of silent thought.

“Did you do it to me?” he asked suddenly and she smiled.

“Not as effectively as I can now.”

He recoiled slightly in the chair, eyeing her with sudden suspicion. “What do you mean by that?”

“I already told you about one way in which I’m limited. Well, the opposite is also true. After I meet people that I already feel positive things for, I’m better able to predict what they’ll do.”

“So you knew I was coming,” Jarod retorted.

“Well, I hardly leave my door open every day, on the off-chance that you might decide to stop by,” she responded with a smile. “But, although I knew it would be today, I didn’t know the exact time you were coming. I was actually just about ready to give up when you appeared.”

The silence extended for a few more moments while Jarod thoughtfully gazed at the floor and the woman seated opposite watched him. Finally she spoke.

“Jarod, you still don’t trust me.”

“Bad habit,” he admitted, looking up. “But you’re right. Considering that all the information I found said you’ve been dead for more than three decades now, it’s a little hard for me to turn my thinking around, just on your say-so.”

“And I always thought you were flexible,” she joked, standing up. “Let me show you something to try and convince you that I am who I say I am.”

* * * * * * * * *

The Centre
Blue Cove, Delaware

The psychiatrist looked up from his most recent series of reports to find Miss Parker and Broots in the doorway of his office. He raised an eyebrow at the expectant look on the woman’s face.

“What do you want?”

“Everything you know about Rebecca,” the woman responded, walking in as Sydney stood up.

“I’ve already told you, Parker…” he began angrily.

“You haven’t told me anything,” she snapped. “It’s time you did.”

“She’s dead,” he told her firmly. “It can’t make any difference now.”

“No, she’s not,” Broots spoke up, seeing a look of shock cross Sydney’s face momentarily before it was gone.

“And you found out about this fairy-tale how?” the older man demanded forcefully, sinking into his chair again.

Miss Parker ushered the technician into the room and firmly shut the door. “It’s a reliable source,” she retorted before suddenly eyeing the psychiatrist sharply, reading the expression in his eyes, and understanding why he hadn’t been willing to talk about the girl before, her voice softening as she watched him. “You’ve known all along that she’s still alive.”

He sighed once before yielding and nodding slowly. “I didn’t know it at the time. I bought into the same story that Catherine and my brother were trying to sell to the Triumvirate.”

Morgan raised an eyebrow. “Your own brother didn’t tell you?”

“I suppose they thought that the fewer people who knew, the better it would be. Still, they got her to a safe place and nobody was any the wiser.” He eyed the two people now sitting opposite him. “At least, nobody was, until now.”

“The only people who do are the three of us, Mr. Parker, Lyle and probably Valentine,” Broots told him. “Oh, and the sweepers who went with them, too.”

“And Angelo,” Miss Parker added. “He’s the reason I came looking in the first place.”

Sydney ran his eyes over the memo that Broots handed him, nodding again as he looked up. “I’m not surprised at them wanting to keep it secret. Lyle hasn’t exactly been living up to the reputation that his father was no doubt hoping he would. This is probably an attempt to give him a little more status.”

“What do they want with Rebecca?” the woman demanded. “I mean, I know that she’s a psychic, and I guess from the fact that she was a Red File and part of Prodigy that she’s also a pretender, but what do they actually want her to do?”

“I’m not that sure,” Sydney responded. “But possibly they’ll want her to take care of and help train the Seraphim.” His eyes became sad. “After all there’s nobody to help her escape if she was ever caught.”

Miss Parker eyed him firmly. “She means a lot to you, doesn’t she?”

“A great deal,” Sydney admitted quietly. Looking up, there was an expression of near-amusement on his face. “A few months after Rebecca was brought to the Centre, during a simulation she did in January of 1963, she told Jacob and I about someone named ‘Jarod,’ who would be coming to the Centre soon.”

The other two people looked up at him sharply but remained silent.

“She’d been given a difficult simulation to complete and Jacob asked me to help him oversee it. I discovered later that the Triumvirate told him to do so, so that they could see if I’d be able to work effectively with Jarod when he arrived.”

Sydney paused and then smiled faintly.

“She managed to work out a solution and then looked at Jacob, saying there was more than one right answer. Naturally he asked what she meant and she told him that someone else, a different person, would come up with a different answer to the problem.”

“And so she knew…”

“Rebecca never had interaction with any of the other children in the Centre as far as we knew. In fact, I don’t know if she and Angelo even met. But somehow Rebecca knew that at least one child was going to arrive. After saying that about the other answers she looked up at me and said that Jarod would provide me with that different answer.” Sydney suddenly laughed. “It never occurred to me until now that she probably wasn’t only talking about that simulation.”

The woman nodded slowly. “But why wouldn’t you say that before, when I asked?”

“I…had a promise to keep,” he admitted softly. “When we saw each other again, some time later, I promised that I’d keep it a secret.”

* * * * * * * * *

New Boston, Texas

Rebecca slid the videocassette into the machine, and then returned to her chair. With the remote control on her knee, she looked over at her visitor.

“By the time I was eighteen, I hated what I could do,” she stated softly. “I hated being different, so I tried to deny everything. I fought against it as hard as I could, refusing to listen to that little voice inside that told me what was going to happen.”

“But why?” There was a sense of incomprehension in Jarod’s tone. “You could do so much good with that sort of ability…”

She laughed somewhat scornfully. “But you were never a teenager in normal society, trying to live a normal life with abnormal abilities.” For a moment, she stared at the floor before continuing. “I’d always wanted a normal boyfriend, and when I moved away from home I had one for two months. He was around one evening, when I knew that something terrible had happened at his house. It took a lot of persuasion, but we finally went there and…”

Rebecca trailed off and there was moment of silence before Jarod spoke softly. “What was it?”

“His mother was cooking and had an epileptic seizure. The kitchen was on fire. We were nearly too late.”

“But you saved her…”

“And I lost the one boyfriend I ever had as a result,” she returned bitterly. “He didn’t want anything to do with me after that. Admittedly, he didn’t tell anyone else, but just that was enough.” Rebecca shuddered. “I couldn’t do that to myself again. I cut myself off from other people who might have been interested, because I hated the thought of going through it all in the future.”

Jarod saw the pain in her eyes and abruptly changed the subject. “So what’s that?” He nodded at the video recorder and she smiled faintly.

“This was someone who made me change my mind.”

The tape whirred into life and Jarod started as a familiar figure was shown into the room where he now sat by a younger version of the woman who sat in the chair near him.

“Sydney?!”

The woman smiled faintly. “Thirteen years after Jacob and Catherine got me out of the Centre, I was studying psychology at the college and we had a guest teacher for a few days.”

“He did go away for a while in 1978,” Jarod mused thoughtfully. “It wasn’t very long after Raines’ daughter…”

Rebecca looked at him sadly as he stopped abruptly, staring at the floor. After an uncomfortable moment of silence, she continued softly. “I wanted to see him again - or at least see what Jacob would have looked like by then - so I went along.”

It was Jarod's turn to give her a look of sympathy but, as Rebecca was gazing sorrowfully at her hands, she missed the expression. His voice was quiet.

“Did he recognize you?”

“He thought he did.” She smiled, shifting in her chair and altering the subject somewhat. “Can you remember a sim in 1966 when you were asked to create something that would age the photos of crime suspects?”

“Of course,” he agreed. “It was kind of fun, and,” Jarod added, his eyes suddenly darkening with a feeling of rage, “they haven’t worked out a way to put it to a negative use yet.”

“Jacob got hold of it, just after you finished it,” Rebecca continued, speaking firmly to distract him from the thoughts in his mind. “I always knew he missed me a little, but I wouldn’t admit to myself just how much, until he took that photo of me and used your techniques to age it.” She nodded at the picture on the shelf. “Sydney found it when he was cleaning away Jacob’s things, after the car accident, and one was me at the age of eighteen.”

“Sydney looked up, about to start the lecture, when he saw you,” Jarod guessed, knowing enough of his mentor to be able to image the scene, and grinning at the thought of how shocked the man must have been.

“We all had to wait for a few minutes until he regained his composure,” Rebecca agreed, giggling at the memory. “He spent the whole lecture trying to catch my eye, but I left before he could talk to me. He searched the campus and the town for the rest of the day, trying to find me, but as you know, my room’s pretty well hidden.”

Jarod looked at the tape, which had continued to play, in slight confusion. “So how did he…?”

“I thought you would have asked ‘why did I leave?'” she queried, a smile curling her lips.

“I already know the answer to that.” Jarod's eyes were soft. “It hurt too much to see him and have to remember Jacob.”

Rebecca nodded slowly. “I thought that would be enough - one peep - but I knew he was coming back the next day…”

“And you couldn’t stop yourself from going,” Jarod finished. “Then, when it was over, he managed to stop you from leaving.”

“Sydney can be awfully quick when he wants to be,” she remarked, smiling. “I just got to the door, when I heard a voice from behind me…”

“Jacob sends his greetings.”

Rebecca half-turned, surprised that he had managed to say it, and seeing the pain in the eyes of the man at the lectern.

“No, he doesn’t,” she told him as the last student left the room. “He’s been gone - unreachable - for almost as long as I have.”

“If only he was as close as you are,” Sydney remarked softly, gathering his things and walking over to her. “How are you, Rebecca?”

“I’m dead, Sydney,” she replied firmly. “You know that. I’ve been dead for years.”

“So they say,” he finished, his blue eyes twinkling. “For some reason, I have to doubt that, all of a sudden.”

“I might as well be,” she muttered, turning away. “Then everything would be easier.”

Sydney caught her arm and prevented her from leaving. “You don’t mean that,” he affirmed. “You never gave up as a child. You wouldn’t do it now.”

“Things have changed.”

“No,” he contradicted. “Not you. Not to that extent.” Reaching up, the man gently brushed her hair away from her face. “Is there somewhere we can talk, Rebecca? I think maybe we need to.”

She sighed as she gazed at the figure on the video. “We talked for a long time, that night. He told me what he knew of my last hours at the Centre…”

“Why didn’t you know?” Jarod interrupted.

“I do know a few bits and pieces,” she confessed. “At least the time I was conscious for, anyway. I’ve managed to ‘see’ some other parts of it, but most of that’s occurred since I talked to Sydney.” Her lips thinned as she glanced at him. “As you’ve already simulated, Jarod, I was in a lot of pain during the time and I didn’t want to remember more of it than I could help.”

He nodded in agreement, raising an eyebrow as a question occurred to him. “But in that case, I can’t imagine why you’d record it.”

“That wasn’t the important bit,” she remarked with a smile. “I don’t know how he did it, but Sydney convinced me that it was important to listen when I was told things.”

Jarod raised an eyebrow. “Considering that you were ignoring the things you ‘saw’ and were told, I don’t understand why you filmed it at all.”

“I knew it was going to be important,” she replied with a shrug. “Some things were just too big for me to ignore.”

* * * * * * * * *

“Well?”

“We didn’t find her,” Lyle admitted grudgingly. “How sure are we about this contact?”

“Very damn sure,” the Chairman thundered. “She’s in that town somewhere and it’s your responsibility to find her.”

The younger man momentarily considered telling his father about the other Centre subject in town, but, through the slightly open door, saw Valentine pass, his arms around two women, and decided against it.

“I’ll find her, Dad,” he assured the man on the other end. “Sweepers are scouring every place she was seen and we’ve got men at the airport and train station. There’s no way…”

“I’ve heard that before,” snarled the older Parker impatiently. “Just make sure it happens.”

Hearing the dial tone at the other end, Lyle hung up the hotel-room phone and, pasting a smile on his face, gleefully opened the doors that separated the two bedrooms.

* * * * * * * * *

“So why are you resurfacing now?”

Jarod looked over as he asked the question, watching Rebecca return the video to its spot on top of the TV.

“This is hardly ‘resurfacing,’” the woman retorted as she looked around the room that was dimly lit by uncovered table lamps and a bare light-globe in the ceiling.

“You know what I mean,” he stated, standing up as she went over to the kitchenette. “You’ve lived for more than 30 years without the Centre having any idea that you’re still alive, but now you won’t be able to go outside this place because they’d grab you right away.”

“As you said,” she remarked, seeing Jarod’s eyes light up as she took an uncooked pizza from its box and put it on a tray, sliding it into the oven. “It’s been more than 30 years. I was six when they last saw me. They’d be hard-pressed to remember me now, particularly as only a few people who were there then are still employed there, or are even alive anymore.” Rebecca’s lips twitched emotionally as she got out plates and napkins.

Jarod leaned against the wall and eyed her narrowly, changing the subject. “I have a feeling it was more than just a desire to be helpful that made you leave the door open for me today.”

She gave him a look of mock wonder. “You really are a genius!”

He grinned. “What do you want?”

“Persistent too. Always good.”

“Rebecca!”

The woman laughed, taking a can of Dr. Pepper out of the fridge and handing it to him, getting a drink for herself. “You’re right. There is, and it’s to do with a person you already know.”

“Oh, really?” Jarod arched an eyebrow. “Do you know how many people I’ve met during the past five years?”

“Would you like the figure or was that a rhetorical question?” she teased. “I’d add a useful pointer about her being someone who owes you a big debt of gratitude, but I guess that wouldn’t be very helpful either.”

Jarod reseated himself as Rebecca returned to her armchair. “Who is it?”

“My daughter,” the woman smiled. “Andrea Hatcher.”

* * * * * * * * *

The Centre
Blue Cove, Delaware

Miss Parker was still staring at the girl in the photograph when Broots burst into her office without knocking. Irritated, she looked up.

“What?”

I…that security check - the one I was doing when you first asked me to look for information about Ora…Rebecca - “

“Today and in English, Broots,” she snapped. “What did it find?”

“A memo from Eve to the Chairman.”

“And that’s so unusual,” the woman rapped out, rolling her eyes. “Like that doesn’t happen every day.”

“But not all of them are about…” he glanced over his shoulder and lowered his voice, “killing your twin brother.”

Starting slightly, Miss Parker was unable to avoid glancing at the air vent in the room, before she realized that he was talking about Lyle and had to hope that he hadn’t picked up on her slip “Well, what is it?”

“You remember how he was in the infirmary until a day or two ago,” the man stated quietly, sliding into the chair in front of her desk as she nodded impatiently.

“Yes, we all had some peace and quiet. I don’t see what that has to do with it.”

“Well, after I found this,” he waved the single sheet, “I went looking through the records and found some memos from Lyle to Eve that had been sent over the last few weeks.”

Broots passed the note over the desk. Miss Parker read through it thoroughly and then fed it into the shredder that sat on the floor beside her desk. When the room was silent again she waited for him to continue.

“Apparently,” he informed her softly, “Lyle was hoping that, with all of her experience with drugs -- you know she was the person who oversaw the creation of Aurora -- she might be able to come up with something that could control Kronos I. That was the genetic disorder…”

“That we found out Lyle had last year, I remember,” she replied, suddenly staring at the photo on the desk. “And we found out that his daughter had it too.” Miss Parker snatched the photograph and waved it in his face. “That’s who Rebecca looks like! She’s the image of Lyle’s daughter!”

* * * * * * * * *

The Centre
Blue Cove, Delaware

“Well?”

“It’s all coming along fine, Mr. Parker,” Cox affirmed. “I’ve had her watched all day and it’s only a matter of time before we can quickly and quietly get her taken care of.”

“Has she told anyone?” the Chairman demanded.

“There’s no one to tell,” the other man affirmed. “We’ve made sure that she and Mason were kept away from each other and out of touch, and there isn’t anyone else she trusts enough to let it slip.”

“Good,” Parker growled. “Make sure it stays that way. Anyone who finds out the truth - I don’t care who it is - must be eliminated. This information is too valuable to be released. Understand?”

“I always have, Mr. Parker,” Cox responded quickly. “I don’t want to this become public, any more than you do.”

“No, I’m sure you don’t,” Mr. Parker agreed. “So how are the Seraphim doing, anyway?”

* * * * * * * * *

New Boston, Texas

Jarod’s eyes widened as he stared at the woman in amazement. She sat, unperturbed, aware of the feelings that were running through the man, and waited for him to speak.

“But…how…when…where…why…?’

“You’re doing better than you did before for asking questions,” she laughed. “But it would be good if you’d ask them in full before I had to answer them.”

“You’re the one who said you were psychic,” he teased. “Now prove it.”

“Okay, you’re having difficulty understanding how Andrea could be my daughter, when you know for a fact that she’s been living with the Hatchers for almost her entire life, except for the first two years, when she was in the Centre,” the woman suggested as she took the pizza out of the oven and began to share it out.

“Among other things, yes,” he agreed, laughing. “That was rather taxing my curiosity.”

Rebecca divided the food between the two heated plates, giving Jarod a large share and taking a small amount for herself. He raised an eyebrow as he accepted the plate and returned to his seat while she did the same.

“Why did you…?”

“It’s a part of my story,” she broke in. “Let me tell it and then you’ll find out.”

Nodding in agreement, he bit into the hot slice, stretching the mozzarella cheese into long strings that led from his mouth to the plate. Smiling, Rebecca bit into her own piece, and the man stared as it seemed like the cheese was cut by an unseen hand and the woman returned the bitten slice to her plate, neatly swallowing the short ends.

“Oh,” she remarked, trying to suppress her amusement at his open mouth, a few strings hanging down his chin as his eyes widened. “Did I forget to mention the fact that I’m a telekinetic as well? Silly me.”

He eyed her curiously. “You are?”

“I wasn’t when I was brought to the Centre,” she informed him. “At least, I don’t think I was. After the experiment that Raines performed, I found that I could do the same sorts of things that people in circuses can - bend spoons and that sort of thing. It was so much fun as a little kid, being able to show off like that, so I practiced a lot more, getting a lot better and stronger, mentally. It isn’t possible for me to tell if the experiment electrically enhanced a part of my brain that made it able to happen, or whether it would have happened anyway. I just know it works.”

“So what can you do?”

She smiled. “What would you like to see?”

He glanced around the room, his eyes coming to light on the gas stovetop, and the question in his eyes was obvious as he turned back to her. Before he could speak, she nodded in the direction of the corner, and he looked back to see that all four burners were alight. They burned steadily for a few minutes before Jarod saw the dials twist around to the ‘off’ position and the flames extinguish. He turned back to the woman, staring at her in silence for a moment before laughing. She grinned as Jarod picked up his glass and sipped at the contents to prevent himself from choking on the bit of pizza still in his mouth.

“Can I continue or should I wait until there’s no danger of you expiring on my living room floor?”

“Go ahead,” he spluttered as the drink foamed in his mouth, swallowing hard to stop it from going up his nose. “I’m calm.”

“Hmm, yes, I believe it too,” she retorted sarcastically. “But as you’re so sure, I will.” Her face took on a somber expression as she stared at the plate of pizza on her lap. After a moment of silence, she began to speak.

“At the start of 1984, I got very sick. Of course, I knew even before they told me that it was cancer and, because I had to have radiation treatment, which could have affected my chances of having children, when they offered to extract my eggs, I agreed.”

Jarod looked from the plate in her lap to that in his own. “Was that why you…?”

“Yes,” she agreed without letting him finish. “I can’t do some of the things I used to anymore, not after that. I was so sick that they thought I was going to die.” She swallowed painfully. “So did I.”

“And…Andrea?” he asked softly after a moment.

She looked up, her eyes kindling with sudden anger. “Raines never believed that I had really died and he kept trying to pressure Jacob to tell him the truth about what had happened. Jacob didn’t, but Raines kept an eye out for somebody who might have been me, and eventually he must have managed to find out about me being sick.” Rebecca’s fingers clenched around the plate. “The lab in which they had stored my ova couldn’t understand why anybody would want to break in - but I could.”

“He…stole it?” the man demanded in disbelief.

“He’s stolen plenty of other things,” she spat. “Like lives.”

Jarod nodded in silent agreement, waiting for her to continue.

“As far as I’ve been able to tell, he never told anybody who Andrea really is,” she explained after a moment. “He wanted all the glory of what she could do for himself, without having to possibly share his results with anybody else.”

“Did you know he’d do that?” the man asked. “Did you know who her father would be?”

“If I had, do you think I’d have done it?” she challenged. “Would I have put Andrea through all the things they did to her, if I’d known?”

He nodded again, seeing the angry tears welling up in her eyes, before speaking again. “But why haven’t you come back into her life before? Why haven’t you tried to protect her?”

“I couldn’t do that,” she whispered. “I couldn’t come into her life, only to have had to leave again if the cancer did what the Centre couldn’t.”

Jarod eyed her, noting the pallor of her skin and the clarity of her eyes, not wanting to ask about her current medical state but guessing that she was probably in remission, if not cured.

“So how do you want my help? What can I do?” he asked, hoping to take her mind off her current train of thought.

“I’m concerned for her,” Rebecca emphasized, looking up at him. “The Hatchers want to help her, but they can’t fully understand what she feels. She has to learn how to deal with everything she’ll be faced with in the future, and they won’t be able to teach her that.”

“So go and introduce yourself.”

The woman raised her eyebrows. “It took me showing you footage of one of the people you trust most in the world to convince you that I was safe. Within the past 12 months, their daughter was kidnapped and they didn’t know if she was going to be rescued. Why should they believe that I’m not a part of that too, especially if they were to discover somehow that I’d been a victim of that place too?”

He nodded slowly. “And how do you think I can help?”

“The Hatchers do trust you,” she told him firmly. “And they have good reason to.”

On to Act III

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