New Boston, Texas
So youre 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 youd 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 Centres
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
couldnt 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.
Im not sure of the exact scientific reason for it, but I
dont seem able to use my abilities properly when Im around
people I dislike. She shrugged. Jacob always thought it was
a mental block I created sub-consciously. I dont know if thats
true or not, but its 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
* * * * * * * * *
Blue Cove, Delaware
Miss Parker, called the technician from behind her as the
woman was heading for her office. She turned.
Ive 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 theres 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 projects termination.
The woman flipped open the red booklet and looked at the arrangement
of numbers before lifting her eyes. Whats wrong with the date
Shes not dead, the man responded immediately. At
least, I dont think she is.
Miss Parker sighed impatiently. She has to be, Broots. Weve
already established that Oracle is the code-name for Rebecca, the first
Red File, and we know shes 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 wasnt 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
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 its 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?
Of course, she interrupted impatiently. And?
He gazed at the floor for a moment before raising his eyes to her. Your
* * * * * * * * *
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.
Do you remember the experiment in 1970 that transformed Timmy into
You know Angelo? he interrupted.
Rebecca smiled. Ive 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 Jacobs
feeling for me - especially Catherines - and so he got in touch
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 womans face as she recalled the reason that Angelos
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.
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 didnt 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
It wasnt 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 werent 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 Id 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.
Rebeccas voice became a little sad. I never saw either of
* * * * * * * * *
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 didnt 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 hed found. I
you should know
your father told Lyle not to tell you about it.
Why? she snapped.
I dont know exactly. Thats all it says.
He pushed the memo across the table and stood up. Ill let
you know if I find anything else.
Miss Parker looked up at him thoughtfully. You know, I just dont
get why Sydney was unwilling to talk about it before.
Broots dropped back into the chair. Well, it was his brothers
Its more than that, she interrupted. Sydney's
kept secrets before, but there was always a good reason for it, like when
he didnt tell me about my mother, and when he didnt 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 hes protecting somebody, but theres nobody to
protect in this case. Its been 36 years since Rebecca died,
and there was no suggestion before this that anybody knew she was alive,
She touched the memo and eyed the man, watching as he slowly shook his
As far as I could find out, her projects been lying dormant
for all that time. Nobodys even looked at it.
So whats 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
womans 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 didnt
want to live on campus. This was pretty convenient. Its 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 theyd 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 its
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 Im limited. Well,
the opposite is also true. After I meet people that I already feel positive
things for, Im better able to predict what theyll 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 didnt 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
Jarod, you still dont trust me.
Bad habit, he admitted, looking up. But youre
right. Considering that all the information I found said youve been
dead for more than three decades now, its 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.
* * * * * * * * *
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 womans face.
What do you want?
Everything you know about Rebecca, the woman responded, walking
in as Sydney stood up.
Ive already told you, Parker
he began angrily.
You havent told me anything, she snapped. Its
time you did.
Shes dead, he told her firmly. It cant
make any difference now.
No, shes not, Broots spoke up, seeing a look of shock
cross Sydneys 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. Its a reliable source, she retorted before suddenly
eyeing the psychiatrist sharply, reading the expression in his eyes, and
understanding why he hadnt been willing to talk about the girl before,
her voice softening as she watched him. Youve known all along
that shes still alive.
He sighed once before yielding and nodding slowly. I didnt
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 didnt 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. Hes 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. Im not surprised at them wanting to keep
it secret. Lyle hasnt 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 shes a psychic, and I guess from the fact that
she was a Red File and part of Prodigy that shes also a pretender,
but what do they actually want her to do?
Im not that sure, Sydney responded. But possibly
theyll want her to take care of and help train the Seraphim.
His eyes became sad. After all theres nobody to help her escape
if she was ever caught.
Miss Parker eyed him firmly. She means a lot to you, doesnt
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.
Shed 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 Id 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 dont 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 wasnt only talking about that simulation.
The woman nodded slowly. But why wouldnt you say that before,
when I asked?
had a promise to keep, he admitted softly. When
we saw each other again, some time later, I promised that Id 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
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 Jarods
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. Id
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 didnt want anything to do with me after
that. Admittedly, he didnt tell anyone else, but just that was enough.
Rebecca shuddered. I couldnt 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
whats that? He nodded at the video recorder and she smiled
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.
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 wasnt 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
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
Of course, he agreed. It was kind of fun, and,
Jarod added, his eyes suddenly darkening with a feeling of rage, they
havent 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 wouldnt 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 Jacobs 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 rooms 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 couldnt 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
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 doesnt, she told him as the last student
left the room. Hes 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?
Im dead, Sydney, she replied firmly. You know
that. Ive 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 dont
mean that, he affirmed. You never gave up as a child. You
wouldnt 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
Why didnt you know? Jarod interrupted.
I do know a few bits and pieces, she confessed. At
least the time I was conscious for, anyway. Ive managed to see
some other parts of it, but most of thats occurred since I talked
to Sydney. Her lips thinned as she glanced at him. As youve
already simulated, Jarod, I was in a lot of pain during the time and I
didnt 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 cant imagine why youd record
That wasnt the important bit, she remarked with a smile.
I dont 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 dont 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.
* * * * * * * * *
We didnt find her, Lyle admitted grudgingly. How
sure are we about this contact?
Very damn sure, the Chairman thundered. Shes
in that town somewhere and its 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.
Ill find her, Dad, he assured the man on the other
end. Sweepers are scouring every place she was seen and weve
got men at the airport and train station. Theres no way
Ive 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. Youve lived for more than 30 years
without the Centre having any idea that youre still alive, but now
you wont be able to go outside this place because theyd grab
you right away.
As you said, she remarked, seeing Jarods eyes light
up as she took an uncooked pizza from its box and put it on a tray, sliding
it into the oven. Its been more than 30 years. I was six when
they last saw me. Theyd 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. Rebeccas 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.
The woman laughed, taking a can of Dr. Pepper out of the fridge and handing
it to him, getting a drink for herself. Youre right. There
is, and its to do with a person you already know.
Oh, really? Jarod arched an eyebrow. Do you know how
many people Ive met during the past five years?
Would you like the figure or was that a rhetorical question?
she teased. Id add a useful pointer about her being someone
who owes you a big debt of gratitude, but I guess that wouldnt be
very helpful either.
Jarod reseated himself as Rebecca returned to her armchair. Who
My daughter, the woman smiled. Andrea Hatcher.
* * * * * * * * *
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.
that security check - the one I was doing when you first asked
me to look for information about Ora
Today and in English, Broots, she snapped. What did
A memo from Eve to the Chairman.
And thats so unusual, the woman rapped out, rolling
her eyes. Like that doesnt 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 hadnt picked up on her slip Well, what
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 dont 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. Thats who Rebecca looks like! Shes
the image of Lyles daughter!
* * * * * * * * *
Blue Cove, Delaware
Its all coming along fine, Mr. Parker, Cox affirmed.
Ive had her watched all day and its only a matter of
time before we can quickly and quietly get her taken care of.
Has she told anyone? the Chairman demanded.
Theres no one to tell, the other man affirmed. Weve
made sure that she and Mason were kept away from each other and out of
touch, and there isnt 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 dont 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
dont want to this become public, any more than you do.
No, Im sure you dont, Mr. Parker agreed. So
how are the Seraphim doing, anyway?
* * * * * * * * *
New Boston, Texas
Jarods 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.
Youre doing better than you did before for asking questions,
she laughed. But it would be good if youd ask them
in full before I had to answer them.
Youre the one who said you were psychic, he teased.
Now prove it.
Okay, youre having difficulty understanding how Andrea could
be my daughter, when you know for a fact that shes 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
Its a part of my story, she broke in. Let me
tell it and then youll 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 Im a telekinetic as well? Silly
He eyed her curiously. You are?
I wasnt when I was brought to the Centre, she informed
him. At least, I dont 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 isnt
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 theres 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. Im calm.
Hmm, yes, I believe it too, she retorted sarcastically. But
as youre 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 cant
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
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 didnt, 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. Rebeccas
fingers clenched around the plate. The lab in which they had stored
my ova couldnt understand why anybody would want to break in - but
stole it? the man demanded in disbelief.
Hes stolen plenty of other things, she spat. Like
Jarod nodded in silent agreement, waiting for her to continue.
As far as Ive 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 hed do that? the man asked. Did
you know who her father would be?
If I had, do you think Id have done it? she challenged.
Would I have put Andrea through all the things they did to her,
if Id known?
He nodded again, seeing the angry tears welling up in her eyes, before
speaking again. But why havent you come back into her life
before? Why havent you tried to protect her?
I couldnt do that, she whispered. I couldnt
come into her life, only to have had to leave again if the cancer did
what the Centre couldnt.
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.
Im concerned for her, Rebecca emphasized, looking up
at him. The Hatchers want to help her, but they cant fully
understand what she feels. She has to learn how to deal with everything
shell be faced with in the future, and they wont 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
didnt know if she was going to be rescued. Why should they believe
that Im not a part of that too, especially if they were to discover
somehow that Id 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.