A New Pretender by KB, admin
Part 1 by KB
Although the individual story ideas are mine, the characters are not and nor is the central concept of The Pretender. They belong to TNT, MTM and NBC productions, as well as the fertile imaginations of Craig Mitchell and Steven Van Sickle. A New Pretender
Original characters are mine and I would beg you not to use them without my permission.
Open to hear Jarod's computer alerting him to the fact that he has e-mail. The screen reads as follows:
"Refuge. More secrets about your past. Ticket in the mail. Sydney. PS. Don't get in touch just now. Too dangerous."
Cut to Sydney's office where we can see him working on a computer. A message comes up alerting him to the new message that he, too, has just receive. The screen reads as follows:
"Refuge. I have to meet you. Ticket in the mail. Jarod. PS. Don't get in touch right now. Too busy"
We see Jarod at an airport with a ticket in his hand and a puzzled expression on his face. He looks down, reads notes on a piece of paper and follows a sign which directs him to a taxi rank. Panning back, we see another sign, reading "Welcome to Australia". At the taxi rank we see him enter a cab and give directions to the driver (we cannot hear where he is going).
As the taxi drives away, we see a girl in her early thirties, with dark brown hair and brown eyes. She looks down at a photo in her hand and follows the taxi with her eyes before giving a satisfied nod. She tears the photo in two and, dropping the two halves onto the ground, gets into another taxi which appears to have been waiting for her because it takes off without us having noticed her saying anything. We zoom in on the photo, which turns out to be one of Jarod sitting at a table, obviously in the middle of a SIM. Along the bottom of the photo are the words "For Centre Use Only."
The Next Day.
We see Sydney in exactly the same situation. Same expressions, same sign, same taxi and same girl except that this time she stays well away from the taxi rank and, instead of also getting into a taxi, she actually gets into a car and drives off.
The same day, Jarod's hotel room.
We see Jarod in his room with a package in his hands. He opens it eagerly but, in his eagerness, drops it
onto the floor. A photo falls out. It is that of Margaret, his mother. Jarod sits, shocked, before eagerly scooping the package up off the floor and dumping its contents on his bed.
Jarod is arriving at his new job as a night watchman at a factory. Jarod is introduced by his supervisor, David, to Michael, his co-worker.
David: [mock seriously] Guys, I want to know if anyone so much as dreams about walking into this place, got it?!
Jarod: [confused] Are we night watchmen or psychics?
David: [laughing but still serious] She never said that you were amusing as well.
David leaves, yawning widely.
Michael: First thing's first. Let's have a drink.
Jarod: [worried] Shouldn't we look around and check first?
Michael: [laughing] Calm down mate. We've got all night...
In Sydney's hotel room
Sydney: [aloud] Well, if Jarod didn't send me here, then who on earth did?
Sydney's mobile phone rings
Sydney: This is Sydney
Miss Parker: [sharply] Syd, I just got your message. What in hell is going on?
Sydney: [softly] I wish I knew...
Miss Parker: What do you mean? I get a message saying that you've heard from Jarod, that he asked you to come wherever...that reminds me, where are you, exactly?
Sydney: [calmly confident that for the first time in her life, Miss Parker is actually going to feel something, if only shock] Australia!
Miss Parker: [who has nearly fallen off her chair, which we can tell from the strained tone in her voice] Australia???
Sydney: [patiently] Yes, you know. The country where kangaroos and koala bears come from...You do know what a kangaroo is, don't you Parker?
Miss Parker: [sarcastically] Oh, ha ha! [rapidly recovering from her shock] So have you located Boy Wonder yet, or are you training these kangaroos of yours to become Pretenders too?
Sydney: [ignoring what he rightly perceives to be a rhetorical question] Actually, Jarod wasn't the one who sent me here at all...
Miss Parker: What!!!
Sydney: No. So that means he could be anywhere....
Miss Parker: [following his train of thought] Even here...
Somewhere else, not far away actually
Michael: So what do want to do now?
Jarod: Well, I haven't seen any of your beaches yet and I've heard they're pretty famous.
Michael: OK, let's go...
In a car, driving along a coast road
Michael: [shouting above the noise of his convertible] So, what do you reckon?
Jarod: [as the car pulls into a side street] It's beautiful! [indicating the calm waters of the bay] Is that where people surf?
Michael: Dave was right, you are funny. [They walk from the car down onto the sand] No mate, you wouldn't even get a board moving out there without a sail attached. Hey, there's Kat [spotting a dark-haired girl sitting on the sand with her back to the camera]. Come on over and be introduced! Hey, Kat!!
As she turns, we see that it is the girl from the airport but, looking at Jarod, we realise that he does not appear to recognise her.
Katrina: Michael, hi. Come down to catch some rays? [her voice dripping with sarcasm] That's so unlike you!!!
Michael: [grinning] Very funny. Meet a friend of mine. Jarod, this is Katrina McCarthy, Kat, this is a new workmate, Jarod Torche. He's keeping me safe on the night shift. [We see that Jarod is somewhat attracted to this new female acquaintance]
Katrina: [laughing] You mean, he keeps his eyes open while you take a break that lasts all night! I don't know how Dave hasn't cottoned onto you yet. Maybe I should slip a hint to him when I see him tonight! [We see Jarod's face fall slightly at this, but neither Katrina or Michael seem to notice] We're discussing employee prospects at the board get-together.
Michael: [turning to Jarod] This is the person you have to grovel to if you want a raise. She's good friends with the boss's wife and has a permanent place on the board. [Jarod looks immensely relieved]
Katrina: [brightly] I was just about to head home. Want to come? It's actually tidy right now!
Michael: [laughing] When isn't it? You're about the tidiest person I know!!
The three of them head up the street and go into a house about fifty metres from the beach. Katrina pours them drinks and they laugh and joke around on the patio at the rear of the house, which looks out onto a small inground pool. After what we assume to be several hours of conversation and laughing Katrina begins to look a little tired and Michael suggests they leave. Katrina goes out with them and we see that his car is parked just outside her house. They both get into the car and Katrina goes back inside.
Sydney's room [at a different hotel from Jarod's]
Sydney has received a package in the mail. Opening it, he finds it contains photos of him and his family, shortly before they were sent to concentration camp. There is also one of Sydney and Jacob just prior to the accident. There are standing with their arms around each other and grinning at the camera.
In Michael's car
They drive to Jarod's hotel and Jarod, who wants to know more about this person in whom he's becoming very interested, invites Michael in. They sit down on a couch in one of the three rooms - bedroom, sitting room and bathroom - that constitute Jarod's apartment and pour themselves drinks from bottles sitting on the table.
Jarod: [attempting to speak casually] So, how do you know Katrina?
Michael: Who? Oh, sorry, it's just that it's been so long since I heard anyone refer to her as Kat, except in introductions, that I've forgotten what it sounds like. We went to school together and we've been friends for years.
Jarod: Does she live on her own?
Michael: [who's beginning to realise that Jarod is vaguely interested in Katrina] Yeah, her parents were killed about six years ago, when she was 27. Right now, she's battling cancer, which is why she looked so tired. Before that she was...actually, I don't know exactly what she did. She spent a few years in the US, a few in Europe. I think she works in various Australian embassies around the world giving out visas and stuff, but I'm not sure. Anyway, now she just runs around doing what she can for people, like their washing and stuff. Work that doesn't have a definite deadline, in case she gets sick and can't finish it. [looking at his watch] Look mate, I'm sorry but I've got to go. I've got to pick up the kids from school [we see a clock in the background - its 3:30pm]. Anyway, I'll see you at work tonight. Bye.
Jarod waits until he drives away and then gets his keys and gets into a lift. We see it going down to the basement.
She is curled up in front of the television. If possible, she looks worse than she did before. When the doorbell rings, she heaves a huge sigh before turning the t.v. off and going to the door. Looking through the security hole, we see Jarod standing awkwardly on the doorstep. Katrina straightens up, forces a smile and opens the door.
Katrina: [brightly] Hi! Jarod, isn't it?
Jarod: Yeah, sorry to disturb you but I seem to have left my wallet here. Can I come in?
Katrina: Sure. [lets him in and then shuts the door] This way.
They come into the room where Katrina had been watching t.v. and we see Jarod's wallet lying on the table.
Katrina: [laughing] I wondered if you were coming back for it. Can I get you a drink?
Jarod: [slowly] Well, I only came to get my wallet [he can't resist] but, sure. OK
Katrina goes to the kitchen brings over a tray with a can of Dr Pepper and one of Diet Coke, as well as two glasses
Katrina: Here, pick.
Jarod: [taking the Dr Pepper] How did you guess?
Katrina: [smiling] I didn't have much choice. It's all I've got. Michael loves Dr Pepper too. I think all his friends have stocks of it in their fridges. I personally can't stand the stuff, but there you go...
Jarod: [smiling back] Lucky I like it then.
Katrina: Oh, it's not far to the fridge [but in her present state of agony we see that she thinks it would be a very long way indeed] and I could have swapped it for something else.
Sydney's hotel room
Sydney: [on the cordless phone in his room] Parker, I still have no idea who sent that mail. Has Broots run a trace yet?
Miss Parker: [impatiently] Three, but they’re all going through about thirty stations, including mine, Raines' and Broots'. It'll take hours to work it out properly and even then it could be from a library or a school!
Sydney: [worriedly] I think you guys should get here as soon as possible. Jarod’s had something to do with this, I can just feel it!!
Katrina's house about an hour later
Jarod is going down the hall when he hears a thud from behind him. He spins around and races back to the room he had just left, only to find Katrina lying, unconscious, on the floor. He checks that she is breathing and tries to make her more comfortable before picking up the phone and calling the paramedics.
Outside Katrina's house, about a quarter of an hour later.
A stretcher is being lifted out of the house and down the stairs, with Katrina on it and Jarod walking beside her. He locks the house and puts the key into his pocket, before getting into the ambulance, beside the driver.
At the hospital
Katrina is being settled into a bed by two of the nurses who seem to know her very well. They tease her as she settles against the pillows.
Julia: [laughing] So, bored at home again huh?
Michelle: [smiling] Or was it just that you missed our smiling faces?
Katrina: [smiling back] Oh, both, naturally! Actually, I just missed the taste of the wonderfully nutritious and tasty stuff that they call hospital food. It was a toss up between that and plane food and, well, this was just so much more effective way of gaining entry...
Her teasing comments are interrupted by a burst of coughing and the nurse grabs a bowl which she holds under Katrina's chin. A dribble of blood appears.
Julia: I'll call Dr Harrison!
Both nurses leave.
Katrina: [softly] Jarod?
Jarod comes and sits beside the bed. He takes her hand.
Jarod: [quietly] What caused that? Apart from the attention-seeking bit, I mean.
Katrina: [curiously] How much did Michael tell you about me? Did he tell you what's wrong with me?
Jarod: [softly] Vaguely...
Katrina: [looking out the window] I don't tell people even half of what I'm about to tell you. Even Michael doesn't know half of this. About eight years ago, when I was working an the Australian Embassy in Bonn, Germany, I got sick. On the insistence of my boss I went to the doctor and was diagnosed with leukemia. I started chemotherapy but, just as they thought I was about to achieve remission, they discovered cancerous cells in my bone marrow as well. To cut a very long story very short, I flew back to Australia and, by the time I got home and had sorted out various problems that appeared at the time, they began to find tumours in my lungs and on my brain. That's probably what caused the fainting fit. Either that [a teasing note entered her voice] or I was just devastated that you were leaving. Seriously, I wouldn't tell people that but, considering what you've done, I think you deserve to know something. However I'd rather you didn't tell anyone, not even Michael, at this stage.
Jarod: [solemnly] You have my word.
The door opens and a tall, graying man comes in, wearing a worried expression and carrying a folder of x-rays and test results.
Harrison: Well Katrina, here again.
Katrina: [smiling] Not really by choice but I figured that it was almost time for the next round of tests and thought I could get in ahead of you again. Dr Harrison, this is Jarod, a friend of mine. [Jarod smiles slightly]
Harrison: I've got the results of the tests we just did. I hurried them through because they're pretty serious. Katrina, we're running out of time.
Katrina: [looking out of the window, with a sigh] I know. But where on earth are we supposed to find one man, who isn't even on this continent?!
Jarod: [looking somewhat, understandably, confused] I hate to interrupt but too late for what? And who?
Katrina: [explaining to him] The tumors, both on my brain and in my lungs are pretty far advanced. However, there was one doctor that we heard about that had had miraculous success at removing these sorts of things.
Harrison: [patiently] He was an American surgeon and his name was Jarod Morrison. But he suddenly disappeared, just as we were on the verge of getting him to fly over here. There were, at that time, several other people in Katrina's position. Unfortunately all except Katrina have since died, however we can continue live in hope that he will one day reappear and that we can get him here.
We see Jarod's face as he relives the time when, as Jarod Morrison, he had had such wonderful success with that very thing and we see his face work as he struggles with the difficulty - does he reveal himself now, operate on Katrina and then be discovered by the Centre and taken back? His rule had always been never to repeat a Pretend - it made him too easy to catch! Or did he simply sit and watch Katrina die because of his cowardice? A third option, to simply finish the problem which was developing at the hospital where he and Michael worked and then walk away was simply unthinkable. He was too closely involved.
Dr Harrison puts up chart after chart, showing the growth of the tumours in Katrina's lungs and also the development of some on various parts of her brain.
Harrison: [Explaining to Jarod] None are big enough yet to cause more than brief blackouts, but, given time, would eventually destroy her brain functions, provided the lung tumors, or other tumors which haven't yet developed, such as some in her heart or liver, don't kill her first.
As Dr Harrison is preparing to leave, Katrina notices the time and warns Jarod that he has very little time to get to work. When he leaves, she gives Dr Harrison a phone number and asks him to telephone the person at that number and ask him to come and visit her. The name on the paper is only just legible - SYDNEY.
The hospital about two hours later
Sydney walks along the hallway, stopping to check room numbers with that written on a piece of paper which he holds in his hand. Stopping at a door he taps gently on it and enters.
Katrina: [pleased that he came] Sydney!
Sydney: [shocked] Katrina! What are you doing here? Are you the one who wanted to see me?
Katrina: [smiling] Yeah. I heard that you were in Australia and now, with heaps of time on my hands, I thought I'd get in touch.
Sydney: I haven't seen you since you were working with us! It would be about seven years ago now, I suppose.
Katrina: [indicating a chair] Seven, almost to the day, since I started. Have a seat.
At the same time, in Jarod's hotel room
Jarod paces up and down, trying to decide what to do. Should he operate? The moment he declared his identity, he knew that the news must reach the Centre. If Australia had found out about him then it must be relatively simple for the Centre to do so. They, after all, had more to go on. But if he didn't operate, then she would die. That thought was as impossible to him as that of being returned to the Centre. And yet, could he watch her die, knowing that he could have saved her life? He could stay with her and watch her die or be torn from her, knowing that she would live, perhaps longer than himself. After several hours he has finally decided. His head goes up and he nods slightly. Yes, he has to, for her sake...
Several hours later, outside Katrina's room
Jarod stood in the hall, still determined. Dr Harrison was examining her and he must wait, but, while he does so, he looks around the wing in which they had put her. So many people that he could help, whose lives he could turn around, if he was given the chance and time. He comes out of his reverie to find the nurse called Julia standing at his elbow.
Julia: Dr Harrison is finished now. You can go in.
Jarod stands in the doorway, with a determined light in his eye which Katrina picks up on immediately.
Katrina: Hi...what on earth is wrong with you? You look like you just won Lotto! Sit down, for goodness sake, before you fall down!
Jarod: [as he sits] This is something money can't buy. Katrina, last time I was here you mentioned Dr Jarod Morrison. Well, that's me! [he sits back, waiting for her reaction]
Katrina: [quietly] I know...
Katrina: Dr Harrison just showed me the photos. We were hoping you would admit to it before this!
Jarod: But, I can do the operation...today! As of tomorrow, you'll have everything, your whole... [she puts a finger on his lips to stop him, knowing what he is going to say]
Katrina: You can't...
Jarod: [bouncing to his feet] Try and stop me!
Katrina: [shaking her head] No, I don't mean can't, I mean that it's too late now, it wouldn't do any good and I probably wouldn't survive the op. When Dr Harrison and I said that time was running out, we meant that. There was only a matter of hours left and, now, its too late. When Dr Harrison met you yesterday, he recognized you pretty quickly but he wouldn't say anything, knowing that there must have been a reason for you to disappear like you did; knowing that to push you into doing the op was the quickest way of having you disappear again. He would never push somebody to do something they didn't want to. But he brought the photo of you today to show me. [there is a short pause. Jarod is beyond speaking and Katrina is nervous about what she wants to say] Jarod, I have a lot to thank you for. If you hadn't been there before, I may well not have survived. You remember the things they had to do to bring me back in the ambulance. But I would like, and I think this is kind of natural, to know something about you. You don't have to tell me if you don't want to, but I would like to know...[she trails off, wondering what his reaction will be]
Jarod: [after fighting within himself for a moment] You probably won't believe me, but here goes...
In Sydney's hotel room
Miss Parker: Well, do we think he's here or not?
Sydney: I don't know about him but someone knows our code and the only people who do are myself, Jarod...
Miss Parker: Lyle too. Remember when he got Jarod into the Arizona desert and tried to kill him?
Sydney: [finishing what he was saying]...and Angelo. Lyle is definitely dead, we know that!
Miss Parker: Can we be certain this time?
Sydney: [ignoring this] So who did send it? If only Pretenders know that - and we know they do - then...
Miss Parker: [understanding his train of thought] We've got a new Pretender on our hands...
Harrison: [shaking her hand] Well, Katrina, I think we can let you go this time.
Katrina: Thanks Doctor Harrison. I suppose I'll be seeing you fairly soon?
Harrison: [sadly] Well, you know as well as I do that we can't control these faints. It's only a matter of time... [seeing Jarod appear in the doorway] And now here's you taxi driver.
Jarod strides to the bed and picks up Katrina, who is fully dressed, and places her in the wheelchair which is standing beside the bed.
Katrina: [somewhat annoyed and embarrassed] I could have done that myself!
Jarod: [in tones of open amusement] Well, Miss Independence, and I suppose you're also capable of walking down the six flights of stairs to the car?
Katrina: [laughing but well aware that she is capable of no such thing] Well...maybe not...
She gives him a look, as she settles herself into the chair, which shows just how material a change her feelings towards him have undergone in the previous few days.
Several days later - Sydney's hotel room
Miss Parker: [brightly] Syd, we've got him!
Sydney: Who? Jarod??
Miss Parker: [in heavily sarcastic tones] No! Raines, despite the fact that he's dead! -- Of course Jarod. Willie spotted him driving into the parking lot of an apartment building a few blocks from here, wearing the uniform of a security guard.
Sydney: That means he'll have a gun...
Miss Parker: He won't be the only one...[producing one]
Sydney: [puzzled] How on earth did you get that through customs?
Katrina's room with Jarod's voice as VO
Jarod: Come on, darn you. Answer. [Katrina picks up the phone] Kat, I've got a problem. Can you get...[the phone goes dead]
Katrina quickly presses a button on the phone which keeps the call connected, as well as plugging it into the modem which is attached to her laptop computer. She is able to rapidly connect to the hotel's security system and access the room she wants. On the screen we see Jarod confronted by Miss Parker, holding a gun at his head as Willie puts him in handcuffs. The handcuffs cause a small cut on Jarod's ankle to begin bleeding. Willie, obeying Miss Parker's unspoken order, leaves the room, disgustedly wiping the blood from his hands onto his pants. On another of the four pictures on the screen and show vantage points of various areas of the hotel, we see him taking up a position in the hall.
Katrina, meanwhile is donning a security guard uniform similar to the one Jarod is wearing, except that a badge on the front shows that it is for the hotel where Jarod is staying. She checks that the two guns in the holsters are loaded and then she leaves the room. We hear a car start. We continue to view the action through the computer screen and we can hear what is going on through the phone.
Jarod's hotel, hallway.
Katrina, aware that Jarod's room in soundproof and that the occupants cannot hear what is going on in the hallway, has collected the other members of the security group, all of whom treat Katrina as their chief. She gradually arrests the various sweepers that are surrounding the hotel, seemingly aware of their actions and able to beat them at their own game. Meanwhile, in Jarod's room, we see Miss Parker filling a syringe with fluid. Sydney, concerned, asks what she is doing and Miss Parker tells him that this will keep "Boy Wonder" quiet on the flight home. But not to worry, as she has Tower authorization to do this.
As she finishes injecting Jarod, who rapidly slumps back onto the couch, we see dark shadows behind the curtains of several windows, particularly those of the bedroom and bathroom. One opens a window, which creaks loudly. Sydney, Miss Parker and Broots turn towards the door, Miss Parker aiming her gun into the room. Behind her the door to the apartment slowly and silently swings open and a figure in uniform enters, however the person stays in the shadows. The first that Miss Parker knows of this new intruder is when she feels the barrel of a gun against her neck. Sydney and Broots turn in shock as a female voice demands that she drop her weapon.
Miss Parker: [without loosening her hold on her gun] I hate to mention this but you're sort of outnumbered
The figure holding Miss Parker gives a shrill whistle and instantly the room is full of security guards, all with weapons drawn. The first figure moves slowly into the light.
Katrina: [vindictively] I'd say we just about evened the score, wouldn't you?
Sydney: [shocked] Katrina?!
Katrina: [mock seriously] Sorry Sydney, but this is what I do! Oh, by the way, I was released from hospital yesterday. [Sydney begins to look somewhat amused]
Miss Parker is handcuffed, her gun is snatched away and she is held by three men. Broots and Sydney are also held. Katrina turns immediately to Jarod, who has appeared to notice nothing and is still half-slumped in the corner of the couch. Katrina notices the small vial on the table where Miss Parker had dropped it when the sound of the window distracted her, and snatches it up. She reads the name and turns, with a bitter smile curling her lips.
Katrina: I hate to tell you Miss Parker, but this is a banned substance in Australia, as is the weapon you aimed at Jarod just now. You're under arrest, as is the younger man. [she turns to him and he gasps in recognition] Mr...Broots, isn't it?! Let the older man go. I'll need his help and he isn't as dangerous as the other two. [Sydney is released and Broots is handcuffed]
Miss Parker: I don't think you have the authorization to do that! Aren't you a psychologist?
Katrina: [with open contempt in her voice] Oh no, I think you're mistaking me for someone else! Take them away!
Sydney hurries to Katrina's side as the others are led out of the building and into waiting police cars.
Sydney: What are you? And who are you?
Katrina: I'll tell you later. Right now, help me get him into my car. We'll take him to my place
Sydney looks at her with a queer smile on his lips
Sydney: [sarcastically] So now you're a doctor...
Katrina: [absent-mindedly] I am today...
Katrina's house in a guest bedroom with an ensuite.
Jarod, now fully unconscious, is laid on a bed and Katrina dismisses the men who have helped get him there. One protests,
Jamie: [concerned] But, Miss Robinson, shouldn't we take him to a doctor? [Sydney looks mystified at the strange surname]
Katrina: [firmly] No, he'll be fine here. Thank you for your help.
Sydney's eyes widen as they salute her and march out of the room. We hear a car start up and drive off.
Katrina: [on her knees beside Jarod's bed and rapidly assessing his condition; without looking around] Syd, open the second drawer and bring me the vial and syringe you'll find there. I also need one of the tablets from the blue box and a glass of water.
Sydney fetches what she asks for, places it on the table beside the bed and watches. In the meantime Katrina has loosened Jarod's collar and takes off his shoes, socks and belt. She unwraps one of the tablets and drops it into the glass of water, where it fizzes and dissolves rapidly. She then fills the syringe from the vial and injects Jarod with the contents.
Katrina: [still without looking up] Stand somewhere he can't see you. His heart wouldn't be able to stand a shock like that and I don't have the equipment here to help him with a cardiac problem. [Sydney moves to a place where he can see everything but not be seen]
Within a few seconds Jarod groggily opens his eyes. While he is looking at her, she puts the glass (which has stopped fizzing and looks exactly like water) to his lips, supporting his head with her other hand. He smiles at her as he drains the glass. His eyelids fall and he relaxes. She gently lowers his head and covers him with the blankets which lie, folded, on the end of the bed. She then rises from her knees and dusts herself off.
Sydney: [rushing in concern to Jarod] What have you done?!?!
Katrina: [patiently] Tried to reverse the drug Miss Parker gave him. It's banned here in Australia because it's been found to cause the heart to become very stressed and even a short period of being exposed to it can cause permanent damage. My treatment is the only one to have been found to be even vaguely helpful. I had to wake him from the stupor and then sedate him to try and relax the heart. [allowing a teasing tone to creep into her voice] After all, you wouldn't want to hear that your prize Pretender had died of an aneurysm, now, would you?
Sydney: [looking at her] Come on now, tell me who you are!
Katrina: [smiling] OK, we can leave Sleeping Beauty here for a few hours before he needs the next dose. [leaving the room]
Sydney: [curiously] How long does he need to stay like that?
Katrina: [over her shoulder as she enters the kitchen] At least a few days...
Sydney: So, if you're not really a psychologist, nor a doctor or a security guard, then what are you?
Katrina: [laughing] Surely Syd, you're the one to tell me that!
Sydney: [amazed] You're a Pretender?
Katrina: [smiling at him] Of course.
Sydney: [curiously] So you're the one...
Katrina: [she nodded] I'm the one who sent you that email, yes. I couldn't take the risk of coming back to Delaware. I've seen what happens when a person tries to escape the Centre. I was there when Jarod almost met his parents. And I was there when Kyle was killed. I had to find other people who were the same as me and, when I came to the Centre, I knew I'd found the place. So I got a job working under Raines and quickly got myself allocated to the Pretender program and the search for Jarod and Kyle. That's how I met you, Miss Parker and Broots. I'm also the reason that Jarod is here, but I didn't send for Miss Parker and Broots or the rest of the sweeper gang. That, of course, you did but never mind - they won't be here long.
Sydney: [looking concerned] What are you going to do to them?
Katrina: Well, not kill them so you can take the worried look off your face. Not, I'll simply get them extradited. That'll keep them out of the way for a while. Just long enough, anyway, for you to learn why I want you here and say goodbye.
Sydney: What...? Say goodbye...?
Katrina: Here, read these [handing him four pieces of paper]. Two are birth certificates, one is an adoption certificate and one is a medical certificate.
Sydney: [looking at the first birth certificate] But, these are my parents! Who is this person? Why haven't I heard of him before?
Katrina: [looking at him] That's your older brother. He was born before your parents got married and was, of necessity, put up for adoption. Perhaps the subject was too painful for you parents to tell you, or maybe they were too embarrassed. I don't know. But, as the second certificate shows, this person is also my father. Consequently...
Sydney: I'm your uncle?
Katrina: Bingo! As for the other, that's just to let you know for how long you'll have a niece and why I wanted you here now. [Sydney is silent] I wanted to get to know you before I died. Jarod, too, because he is so like me!
Sydney: But if you're a Pretender too, does that mean...
Katrina: That Jarod is a blood relation of yours? No, I explored that alley.
Sydney: [sadly] I wish Jacob could have known this...
Katrina: [quietly] He did. I found a note after he died that said he had always known who I was and he wished he could have got in touch with me. He wrote it just prior to the accident and sent it to my father. I found it just after my father was killed. Just a minute... [Katrina goes and gets her laptop, which is beeping. She disconnects the phone and taps into the criminal records account at the prison where the police are holding the Centre personnel. She adds a few more small, drug-related offences to their accounts as Sydney watches, open-mouthed. She then puts in an official suggestion that the seven people be extradited, with no chance of return for at least two years]
Sydney: [confused] Can you do that?
Katrina: [laughing] I can do anything I want. [teasingly] I'm a Pretender, remember?! Can you stay for a while? I want to get to know you as my uncle, not just my boss!
Miss Parker has just been strip-searched and several more vials of the drug have been found and confiscated. Fuming at what has been done to her, Miss Parker is led to a cell. We see the process repeated on several of the sweepers, however Broots is spared the embarrassment.
Two days later at Katrina's house
Jarod is now propped up against several pillows and is dressed in plain pajamas. He is still unconscious but, as Katrina approaches the bed with a glass in her hand, he stirs. His eyes flicker open and come to rest on her. However so blurred is his vision that, instead of seeing Katrina, he sees
Jarod: Kyle! [he struggles against the sedation which has left him too weak to move properly]
Katrina: [as she puts the glass down on the bedside table, sits on the edge of the bed and prevents him from moving] No, Jarod. It's not Kyle. It's me, Katrina. I'm sorry.
As he relaxes, having realized that it is not Kyle, she puts the glass to his lips. As he drinks the liquid, we watch her face, full of concern and affection. Slowly the sedative takes effect. She rises from beside the bed and, bending, gently kisses him once on the forehead and again on the mouth. Then, without looking back, she leaves the room.
A court room
We see Miss Parker, Broots and the others brought in. They are handcuffed and have to be jerked to their feet by several of the guards when the judge enters. As she sits, we look around the courtroom. Slowly we focus in on one face at the back. It is Katrina...
A week later, Katrina's house
We see a small article, circled in red, which announces the extradition of Miss Parker, Broots and the others. We see Katrina sitting on the edge of Jarod's bed. He is still unconscious. An empty glass sits beside his bed and Katrina is monitoring his pulse. Sydney enter, carrying a tray which contains another glass full of water. The room is only dimly lit and contains many of the possessions which had been in Jarod's hotel room. We can recognise the suitcases from the airport.
Katrina: Syd, stay out of sight for a few minutes. He's slowly coming round. Keep an ear open, though. I want him to see you before he can jump up and escape.
Sydney: Will he remember any of this?
Katrina: God I hope not - for his sake...
Sydney withdraws, just as Jarod's eyelids flutter and he moves his head slightly on the pillow. He moans.
Katrina: [quietly] Jarod? [more insistently] Jarod, come on. Time to wake up now. [She shakes him gently] Come on Jarod, open your eyes.
Jarod moans again and slowly complies. His eyes rove around the room before coming to rest on Katrina. Recognition gradually dawns and he slowly smiles. He swallows and licks his lips. Katrina holds the water to his mouth and he slowly gulps it down, keeping his eyes trained on her.
Jarod: [beginning to wake up] What's going on? [stronger and trying to sit up] What on earth am I doing here?
Katrina: [gently, calmly] Shh, it's all right. You're quite safe. [she gently pushes him back onto the pillow] Just lie still. [he relaxes against the pillow]
Jarod: What's going on?
Katrina: [quietly] You just had a little accident.
Sydney slowly enters the room, but Jarod doesn't notice
Sydney: [smiling] She saved your life.
Jarod stares up at him for a moment before struggling to get out of bed and escape.
Katrina: [exasperated] Oh for goodness sake! [She pushes him back against the pillow again but he struggles to get away] Jarod, stop! [He complies] Sydney is here alone. No one else associated with the Centre is here and, as I said before, you're quite safe. Syd is not going to take you anywhere. He is here for a totally different reason. Now lie still or I'll have to sedate you again!
Jarod stops and stares up at her as she gets up to refill the glass, but she doesn't notice. He turns to Sydney and sees that he is leaning against the doorway and smiling gently at him.
Sydney: [laughing] She's right, you know. I have no intention right now of returning you to the Centre. In fact I've promised not to for the rest of my niece's life!
Jarod: [confused] Your...niece?
Sydney: [lightly] So it appears!
Katrina returns with a full glass and makes Jarod drain it. Then she leans him forward and takes away several of the pillows from behind his head so that he is lying down.
Katrina: [patiently] You need to rest now [we can see that Jarod is becoming gradually drowsy as the shocks he has received begin to take their toll]. Have to obey doctors orders, you know! Syd, grab the glasses and lets leave the patient alone.
Sydney and Katrina leave the room, turning off the light and shutting the door behind them. Looking at Jarod, we can see that he is already asleep.
The Centre, Blue Cove, Delaware
Miss Parker: [angrily] Damn it, Broots. Override the damned order or something! There's two Pretenders in that hole of a country and I want both of them here!
Broots: [patiently] I've already told you several times, there is no way I can override that order...
Miss Parker: Then book us new tickets, under different names
Broots: [shaking his head] That won't work either. They won't allow the passport photos through. I've tried.
Miss Parker: [slamming both fists on the consul] Then call Sydney and find out what the hell is going on! I want to know everything - now!
Broots: Another no-no. Our calls are blocked to both Syd's phone and the one at the hotel. In fact, calls from anywhere - and that includes my house - are all being blocked somehow. The only person I know who could manage that would have to be Jarod - unless Katrina succeeded in learning the tricks of the trade too.
Miss Parker: [impatiently] Oh for God's sake Broots. She's a Pretender too. She has to be. Of course she knows how to do all that stuff. I just hate the fact that the bitch "pretended" to be psychiatrist here. Why, she'd know everything about the set-up of the Centre better that our Boy Wonder himself...
Several weeks later at Katrina's house
Jarod is looking decidedly better than he had been previously. Katrina, on the other hand, has gradually begun to look worse and has been in and out of hospital several times. However her condition is worsening so gradually that those who care for her most - Jarod and Sydney - have not fully realized what it meant. Sydney is much the same. They are sitting in the garden of Katrina's house, reveling in the sunshine.
Jarod: [amazed] Do you know, I still find it amazing actually to be able to relax and not be pursued by anyone. It lovely just to be able to relax. Even more amazing to find one of my own kind!
Katrina: [chuckling softly] Well, it's nice to finally get a chance to talk to you instead of just sending cryptic email!
Jarod: [finally understanding] So it was you that got me to come here in the first place! [a short pause] Kat, can I ask you something?
Sydney: [taking the hint] I've...I've got some work to do.
Jarod: [ignoring the beseeching look he is receiving] Kat, I want to say something but I am going to find it really hard, so can you wait until I'm through? I love you, in fact I think I'm in love with you. What I want to know is, will you marry me? [he produces a ring box and opens it to show a band of gold supporting a single solitaire diamond]
Katrina: [heaves a huge sigh - it is not one of pleasure] Jarod, I was really hoping you wouldn't ask me that! It's not that I don't feel anything for you - quite the opposite!...
Katrina: No wait, let me finish. [Jarod become mutinously silent] I gave you your chance, now give me mine! I love you very dearly - otherwise I would never have done all of the things I have for you. But I can't marry you for one simple reason. Jarod, we ran the final tests today. It is virtually impossible that I will live for another three months. I'm not saying this because I want sympathy - God knows, I get enough and to spare of that as it is! But I can't marry you! Even if I was to live until the day of the wedding, and even supposing I had the energy to go down the aisle with you, I would have virtually no time left. Even now, I'm living purely on borrowed time! [pausing to collect her thoughts before continuing] I feel that there is a big difference from being in love with someone outside wedlock and the feelings which develop after marriage. I can't possibly ask you to marry me, only to lose me just after, or even perhaps during the honeymoon!
Jarod: But you've lived so long already...
Katrina: And I just don't have the energy to fight on any longer. I want to, believe me. I want to so much. I have so much more to go on for now, but...I couldn't stand it if I said yes and didn't even live to see us married. And...I'm scared that you might resent me for "giving in" or for "leaving you" even more than is natural. [Jarod is upset and confused] I can't explain this well enough to make you understand me, I know. It's not that I don't want to, it's that I can't!!!
At this point the tears that have been in Katrina’s eyes slowly slide down her cheeks. Jarod, too, is silent, not knowing what to say.
Jarod: [slowly] Why didn't you tell me that you were worse?
Katrina: [almost angrily] What good would it have done? All it would have done was to make you torment yourself more for what you didn't do. I don't blame you for that. I would rather have you here with me now - for a short time - than have to see you dragged off by Miss Parker and her goons. Please believe that and never, ever doubt that I do love you and would marry you if it were possible. But it isn't...
Katrina suddenly gets up and walks out of the garden and down towards the beach. Jarod is left staring after her.
Miss Parker receives an email
"Having a nice time visiting relatives. Wish you were here. The weather is fantastic. I'll be back when I can. Sydney."
Miss Parker sent a return message.
"Syd. We need you here and now. I don't give a damn about the weather - I give a damn about that experiment of yours that's running around loose out there acting like an overgrown Boy Scout! Get back here NOW!!"
Two weeks later in Australia
Each day is a reproach to Katrina as she tries to act normally - and fails dismally! Jarod, too, is finding the situation very difficult and tries to bury himself in the Pretends which he creates for himself. Unfortunately he solves them all far too rapidly to divert his thoughts from the real problem. Sydney, too, tries to be away from home as much as possible, realising that Katrina needs to resolve the situation for herself. One evening Sydney and Jarod come together to discuss the situation in the apartment Sydney took for himself when he realized that he would be in Australia for a while.
Jarod: [pacing the room] Syd, I don't think I can stand this any more. I have to get away. This is driving me crazy.
Sydney: [shocked] Do you mean you'd just disappear? Jarod, that would kill her!!
Jarod: [through clenched teeth] But she is driving me crazy. She might have said that she had only three months but we're only two weeks away from the end of that time now!
Sydney: [patiently] All right, supposing you did go - where would you go?
Jarod: [firmly] Home
Sydney: [shocked] The Centre?
Jarod: [angrily] Oh, please Syd. Give me a break. No, I just mean the US. I need to escape, to forget her - and to get her out of my life - forever.
Sydney: [drily] If you did leave, you’d have no concern of her ever reappearing!! The only female you would have to worry about ruining your life would be Miss Parker, but of course you've considered that!! [serious again] Why don't you talk to her first?
The next day - Katrina's house
Jarod and Katrina are sitting having a cold drink in the kitchen
Jarod: [slowly] Look, I know that this is a painful subject [now it is he who is preventing her from speaking] but I need to know...Are you sure?
Katrina: [firmly] Yes, Jarod. I am. I can understand if you feel the need to get away. [Jarod looks slightly stunned but remains silent] If it's too hard, then don't stay around for my sake. [She gets up and takes her glass to the sink so that he can't see the tears in her eyes]
The airport that evening
Jarod is sitting in a chair with his ticket in his hand and his suitcases around him, and alternating looks between the ticket and the check-in desks in front of him
Katrina house several hours later
Katrina, in an attempt to escape from her loneliness, turns on the radio.
"The QAN20531 flight to Los Angeles has crashed into the sea. There are no survivors. Those who wish to inquire about family members should call..." but Katrina hears nothing else as she collapses on the floor.
At the hospital, five hours later
Katrina is on life support now and we hear a constant beeping as the machines fight to keep death away. Sydney is talking to Dr Harrison.
Harrison: [sadly] I don't think we can pull her through this time. She went downhill so fast - it's like she lost the most important thing in her life...[his voice trails off as he looks as his papers and walks away down the corridor]
Sydney: [echoing softly]: The most important thing in her life...
The hospital, two hour later
Sydney is idly looking through the Katrina's possessions, which are laid out on the tray at the end of her bed. Among them he finds a scrap of paper and a large envelope addressed to Jarod. We see the name become blurred as Sydney's tears fall on it. Turning the scrap of paper over, however, he glances at it and bolts from the room, overturning his chair as he leaves. We focus in on Katrina's face, which has not moved.
The hospital, an hour later
Sydney is sitting beside Katrina and holding her hand
Sydney: [begging] Please hold on. I found the note you wrote and I called him. Please just wait until he gets here. He wasn't on that plane...please believe me. I've spoken to him and he's on the way...please just hold on until he gets here...please...[He is interrupted by a voice in the doorway]
Jarod: [softly] Syd...?
Sydney leaps out of his chair and is in front of Jarod with a bound. He is so busy scolding Jarod [as he did when Jarod was a child] for his stupidity in leaving that neither notice Katrina's eyes slowly flicker open. When she sees who it is, she struggles to sit up. The increase in speed of her heart rate causes the alarm attached to the heart monitor to sound and several nurses rush in. Immediately an announcement can be heard paging Dr Harrison. However Katrina has only eyes for Jarod, and they are full of tears as she is pushed back onto her pillows in a way reminiscent of her treatment of Jarod while he was ill.
When Dr Harrison appears in the doorway, he realizes that it is not what he feared and relaxes somewhat. However he is quick to note Katrina's flushed cheeks and bright eyes and peremptorily orders all people out. When they are gone,
Harrison: Katrina, I know you can't talk but answer one blink for yes and two for no, ok? [one blink] Well, you've managed to scare us all nicely. Hey, none of that [as Katrina reaches to tear out the tube in her throat] I doubt you're strong enough to do that yet...[several rapid and furious blinks. Dr Harrison laughs] OK, we'll take it out for a while. Who do you want to speak to - Jarod? [one blink] Sydney? [one blink] Together? [one blink] Okay, then let's get this tube out and see what we can do...
He eventually succeeds in getting it out so that she can talk relatively clearly, if only for a short time. He then goes over to the two men standing in the doorway and speaks quietly for a moment.
Harrison: Don't make her do or say anything too violent - she's not strong enough yet.
Sydney: [reluctantly] Will she pull through this?
Harrison: [even more reluctantly] I wish I could say yes - but I doubt it. She's undergone too much and her heart's too weak. She's still very energetic, though, and she may surprise us yet.
Jarod and Sydney gingerly approach the bed, where Katrina is resting before getting involved in what she knows will be a very emotional situation.
Jarod: [quietly] Kat? [her eyes fly open] Hey, you know you shouldn't have done this! I'm not that important!
Katrina: [softly but with meaning] Wanna bet? Hey, Syd. Pass me that envelope on the table.
Sydney: [holding up the one with Jarod's name on it] This one?
Katrina: [trying to nod] Yes. Can I have it?
She stretches out a bruised arm, with several IV's attached and turns to Jarod with a serious face
Katrina: [softly] I was really hoping that I could give you this in person. [there is a long pause] Jarod, this is who you are...
Jarod snatches the envelope from her and Katrina closes her eyes and takes several deep breaths. Sydney, deeply interested, waits in the doorway. Jarod opens the envelope and drops the contents on the bed. Inside are several more photos of himself with his parents, two pages with birth certificates, two envelopes addressed to him in different hand-writing styles, and a diary. He seizes the first birth certificate
Jarod: This...this is Kyle! "Kyle Michael McCarthy" [he looks in amazement at Katrina] And this one - me! "Jarod Charles McCarthy - born September 20, 1959. Mother: Margaret McCarthy; Father: -" But...why is there a gap? Who is it? What does this mean?
Katrina: [softly and without opening her eyes] Jarod, your father, and Kyle's, was a donor at the Centre's donor bank. I couldn't find out who. Their records aren't perfect. I also had to leave before I could figure it all out. But there's your other reason why I wouldn't marry you...Because...
Jarod: [whispering] You're my sister...
Sydney, too, looks as shocked as either of the others. There is several moments silence and then Jarod looks down at the other photos. Sydney is watching Katrina and sees her appear to sink further into the pillow. Her colour fades and, gradually, her heart rate begins to slow until, for the second time, the alarm sounds. Jarod looks up in terror and sweeps all the information off the bed and back into the envelope. Faster this time, the nurses come running into the room and Sydney and Jarod are swept out. The two men stand outside the glass of the window and watch them work on Katrina. The rooms are soundproof and so they cannot hear what is going on inside.
Tentatively Sydney lays his hand on Jarod's shoulder and Jarod turns to him for protection, both instinctively avoiding looking in the window. Sydney embraces Jarod, in a way he has not done for years, and Jarod does not pull away. After several minutes Doctor Morrison moves out into the hall.
Morrison: Well, we saved her this time but it will have to be the last. If we shock her too many more times we could do permanent damage to the brain or heart. Jarod, she's been asking for you but we need you to stay calm. She won't be able to cope with much excitement. She hasn't lost her stubbornness, however.
Looking through the window, the two men see how true this is, as they watch Katrina struggle against the use of the breathing apparatus. It appears that she wins, however, as a disgruntled-looking nurse eventually puts down the mouthpiece and takes up an oxygen mask. Again, words appear to flow, although the men can hear nothing. The nurse, taking one mask in each hand, appears to give her the option and it is now Katrina who looks disgruntled as she indicates the oxygen mask. It is rapidly put on.
Sydney: [smiling slightly] Obstinacy must run in the family! [Jarod ignores him as he moves towards the door. A nurse opens it and lets him in. She then leaves]
Jarod: [in a voice full of tears] I thought you were leaving me...
Katrina: [who is exhausted by the effort of talking; softly in a half-whisper but with her eyes focused clearly on him] Not hardly, big brother.
The hospital, the next day
Katrina is definitely worse now and it is obvious that Jarod and Sydney have both spent the night beside her. Jarod is sitting in a chair at Katrina's left hand and Sydney is standing behind him. There is also a nurse sitting in the corner of the room. Surrounding the camera are various people including Michael, Julia, Michelle, Dr Harrison, David and his wife, and others we have seen but not met.
Katrina is doing most of the talking and both Sydney and Jarod are often seen to have tears in their eyes. Eventually Katrina stops talking and, slowly, her eyes cloud over and gently close. No alarms sound but the nurse rises from her seat and turns the monitors off. She then opens the door, leaves the room and closes it behind her. Gradually the crowd around the window melt away, most of them also in tears. The camera takes one last look through the window to see Sydney with his hand on Jarod's shoulder and both men openly crying. The camera moves off down the hallway and out of the hospital to the end of the street where the beach stretches out before the viewer. Slowly the screen fades to black.
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters and settings are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. No money is being made from this work. No copyright infringement is intended.