A New Pretender by KB, admin
Part 2: Shadows of the Past by KB
A New Pretender
Part 2: Shadows of the Past



Katrina's room, night
Jarod stands bedside the bed and stares down on the bear leaning against Katrina's pillow. The moonlight streams in at the window, illuminating the bed and Jarod but leaving most of the room in shadow. The light reflects off the red satin heart held between the bear's paws. The words "I love you" in white felt are just legible.


Jarod: [thinking but we can hear his thoughts] She's dead. She's finally gone. She was right. I guess I do feel as though she left me. [he picks up the bear and holds it in one hand]


Suddenly Jarod's attention is caught by something glinting on the pillow. Staring, open-mouthed, he picks it up. It glitters in the light as he moves it around and we can see that it is the diamond ring he had offered her when he proposed. He looks in amazement around the darkened room. As the camera draws back we can see two figures in the shadows - Katrina and Kyle. They have been watching him the whole time, however he cannot see them.


Kyle: [tenderly] It was nice of you to let him know you're still around!


Katrina: [laughing] Appreciate my genius. It doesn't happen often.


Kyle: [turning to leave] Coming?


Katrina: Soon. I've got some things to do first.


As Kyle leaves, she continues to watch as Jarod drops onto the bed and begins to cry silently. She kneels at his feet and rests her head in his lap as he sobs. The moonlight shining on her face shows her as she weeps with him. Around the neck of the bear we can see a card, held by a length of red ribbon. As Jarod lays the bear again on the bed beside him we can see the card. It, too, has the words "I love you" written on the cover and has just one word written inside. Jarod.

Intro Music

At the airport
For the second time in as many weeks Jarod stands at the check-in desk. He holds a ticket in his hands and his baggage is a little bit heavier than when he originally come to Australia, because it now includes that all-important package. That information is carefully stowed in his hand-luggage. He wouldn't want it to 'disappear'.

The Centre, Blue Cove, Delaware, the same day
Miss Parker: [angrily] Broots, I don't care how many security barriers you have to jump - I want full information about anyone called 'Jarod' who tries to board a plane from Australia to here. Damn it, we were so close and to be stopped by that...that...[Miss Parker twirls and storms out of the room]


Broots: [softly and to himself] And if he flies somewhere else first...?

Rome airport, Italy


Jarod still has a few hours until his flight to LA. The fact that his flight had been organized and paid for was a sign of how, even when she was dying, Katrina had still thought about him. He remembered the discussion they had had in the garden.


Jarod: [amazed] But why shouldn't I fly direct?


Katrina: [scornfully] Your brain's gone soft with your weeks on holiday. [seriously] Considering how humiliated Miss Parker and the others have to be right now, there is no way they’ll let you get unhindered off that plane. Trust me. I know that area of the Centre even better than you. Parker will be checking for anyone named Jarod on any plane between here and there - passengers or crew, so don't think you'll get away with flying it by yourself. It's much safer to fly via Europe. They'll see you as consumed with grief and unable to think straight - which is exactly what we want them to think.



And so he had found the ticket which would send him back (first class, paid by the Centre) eventually to the US - in the name of Jarod McCarthy. Amazingly she had even got the date on the ticket right. Somehow she had known...


He opens his computer and, types quickly, smiling gently at the screen...

The Centre, that day.
An email arrives for Miss Parker.
"So the chase resumes. Catch me if you can. Jarod"

On the plane to the US
After settling himself in his seat, Jarod glances around at his fellow passengers. An elderly lady is sitting next to him, against the window. Among the other passengers is a young lady with long, dark hair. Not paying much attention to her, Jarod sorts out his bags, however his eye is caught by a movement from the girl which shows him a very familiar profile. However, before he can rise and go to her, the lady next to him commands his attention. Never before has his accustomed tact seemed so hard to maintain as he politely answers her questions. At the first opportunity he turns his attention back to the seat where the girl had been sitting, only to find that it is now occupied by an elderly gentleman. Jarod shakes his head slightly and looks again. The man is still there. Jarod rises from his seat and walks through the whole first-class section of the plane. She is not there. Jarod sits back in his sat with a defeated sigh and, to distract himself, begins looking through the letters he had received in the parcel. Jarod cannot recognize the writing on either of the letters before him. He opens that which looks older. As he reads it we can hear a woman's voice read the contents aloud.


20/09/80
Darling Jarod
You probably don't remember me but I could never forget you or your brother. I am Margaret. I am your mother. I am writing this in the hope that you will one day read it and try to find me. I can only hope that you will escape from the people who have captured you and now want to capture and kill us too. My purpose in writing this was to inform you of the life you would have had with us.


Charles McCarthy and I were married in 1950 and, after many years of trying, were told that we could never have children naturally. However we were told that they had a donor who looked very similar to Charles, even with the same blood type. Within a year of being on the program I had you and, four years later, your brother Kyle. These are the names we gave you, being Charles' and my favorite boys names.


By the time you were eighteen months old we noticed a difference in you. Other children in the neighborhood only played at being firemen or doctors however you seemed to actually become one. Of course, you could know nothing of the real profession but we were always stunned at how involved you would become in your games. In our amazement and pride we took you to a doctor at the Delaware centre - Dr Jacob McCarthy, although at that time he was using the name Green. He was your father's step-brother, although we didn't find that out until later. He wasn't able to find out anything but told us to keep in touch. In hindsight it was the worst decision we ever made. One night, before Kyle's first birthday, you both disappeared.


We received a tip that we were in danger - from someone who signed themselves CP - and, because your step-father was Australian, although he did serve in the American Air Force and won a Flying Cross, we went there. Within eighteen months I was pregnant - although to Charles this time. In 1965 we had a little girl - Katrina Margaret. When she was two years old I heard from an old friend - Harriet Tashman. She said that it was possible for us to at least see you two again. However we had a dilemma - what to do with Katrina... Eventually, to keep her safe, we left her with Charles' parents and flew back to the States, expecting to stay only a short time. However when we couldn't see you and tried to fly home, we found that the Centre (as we then knew it was called) had kept a watch for us and we couldn't buy tickets. And so we stayed in a barn on Harriet's farm until, finally, under different names, we escaped back to Australia and Katrina. Harriet said that she would let us know what was happening through information she received from Catherine Jameson-Parker. She was able to do that until 1970, when Catherine was killed, Since then we have heard nothing.


In 1969, when you would have been ten, I gave birth again, to another little girl - Emily Louise. Both of your sisters are very similar to you, particularly when playing together. One day, when they had finally met each other, I heard them playing doctors and nurses together. Katrina's groans were so real that I almost thought she had really hurt herself.


My darling boy, you would now be twenty-one years old and I would like to think that you are happy and safe. However, knowing what I know of the Centre, I don't know how possible that is. Always remember, though, that no matter what you become I will always love you because you are my own son. Please don't forget me. I will try to get this letter to you through Harriet. Try to contact me, as I will try to contact you, and I will always hold the memory of you in my heart.


Your ever loving mother


Margaret.

The Centre, two weeks later
Sydney is back and the recent events have aged him dramatically. Miss Parker did not know that he was returning and is shocked by his appearance.


Miss Parker: [standing in the doorway of his office] Syd, what on earth are you doing here? I thought you were still in Australia, looking after that relation of yours!


Sydney: [in a hard tone, being on the verge of tears] Parker, that 'relation of mine' was my niece. She died three weeks ago. It was her affairs that I had to put in order. [his voice hardens further] And now, if you don't mind, we have a Pretender to catch...[he turns to his computer and Miss Parker, with a worried glance over her should, leaves the room]


When she is gone, Sydney reaches into the drawer of his desk and pulls out an envelope. In it is a picture of the three of them. His 'family'. Jarod, Katrina and himself sitting on the beach and smiling at the camera. With a sigh, he replaces the photo in the envelope and pushes it back into the drawer. He turns to his computer where an email is waiting for him.


"To my 'uncle'. The chase resumes. Love Jarod McCarthy.

Jarod's latest lair

Jarod is rereading the other letter he received in the envelope - from Katrina. He opens it and, as he reads, we can hear Katrina's voice.


23/7/98


My dearest Jarod,


I know the contents of the letter you received from Mum because she read it to me just after she wrote it. I really hope that I have the chance to tell you all of this in person but, as I told you a few days ago, I don't know that I have the energy to keep going for much longer. Having put myself in your position, if only briefly, I'm getting a pretty good idea of what you are going through. If I was in your position I would probably be very tempted to just leave and get away. I hope that you won't do that but somehow I suspect that that is exactly what you will do. So, this is the rest of our family's history as of the end of Mum's letter.


By the time she finished writing it (and believe me, it took a very long time - the date on it is when she finished it, not when she started it), she was considering going back to the US to try and find you both. Our connections with the Centre had been totally dissolved and Harriet wrote only spasmodically because she was fearful of being pursued by the Centre herself. However, because both Emily and I were both still under eighteen, she delayed it, not wanting to leave us without a mother. By 1996 I was working in an Australian Embassy in Germany and had been for several years. I had had a year in Europe on exchange after I finished school and so was comfortable with the language - not that it would have been a problem to pick up, for any of us! Emily was completing a course in Medicine - unlike me she had always denied her 'gift' as a Pretender and wanted to live a normal life.


In 1996 we heard from Harriet that both you and Kyle had escaped. Mum would have come looking for you herself but there would have been little she could have done. Instead it was decided that I would try and integrate myself into the Centre - Emily was offered the opportunity but declined - and try to find you. Of course I had only been there a short time when I found out what the situation was. Syd, I knew, was in fairly spasmodic contact with you and, by keeping an eye on the newspapers for the type of situation in which you would integrate yourself, I was able to warn you in time of some of the Centre's attempts. Angelo was also very helpful in that respect and we became firm friends. Don't worry about him - his 'gift' means that the Centre will always take good care of him and he is unlikely to try and escape!


So, in 1996 I joined the Centre, first as a psychologist working with children under Sydney's care and then with Sydney, Broots and Miss Parker in an effort to find the two of you! Although you probably don't remember, I was there when you had Miss Parker strip-searched at the Casino, when Miss Parker almost exposed you for what you are, and also when you nearly met our parents. The story behind that is pretty simple. Having been there when the van exploded (and, incidentally, I helped Kyle to get away from the fire - that's when he found out who I was and I gave him his letter from Mum at the same time. It was on my insistence that he didn't tell you about me), I contacted Harriet and organised the meeting. Both Emily and I were supposed to come up from behind you - I as a Centre representative and Emily as a member of the public, should the Centre discover what was going on and try to capture you, as they did! This was because we were not sure if the Centre knew of Emily's and my existence and Mum wanted us to have a chance of escaping. Unfortunately Emily had sprained her ankle that morning and couldn't walk on it and so that is why she was in the car and not with me. I tried to meet up with you afterwards but you left too quickly. I was then forced to meet with the other Centre representatives, much as I wanted to contact you.


I stayed around the Centre for about another nine months, just in time to see Kyle die. And then I left. By this time, of course, I was already very sick with cancer, which had actually been diagnosed while I was still in Germany, and so, being very tired with what I had undergone, I returned to Australia. I got home to find the house a shambles and the body of my father lying in his bedroom. Both Emily and Mum were gone. It was obviously recent and the autopsy revealed that I had missed the intruders by less that forty-eight hours. I know that Emily and Mum made it back to Australia with Dad because I received a letter from them shortly after the failed meeting. Unfortunately I still haven't managed to contact them. Somehow I know that the Centre is involved in this and I can only hope that Mum and Emily managed to escape before they arrived. Of course, not being home, I still doubt that the Centre has any knowledge of my existence. It doesn't, obviously, matter to me any more. What you or Syd tell them is up to the two of you.


My darling brother, I hope that you stay free. Of course, the untimely deaths of Raines, Mr Lyle and Bridget - which, I may as well admit now, I did have something to do with - will make staying free easier for you with just the Tower in charge (the Tower, by the way, is so easily infiltrated that you could get a job working on it!), and I suspect it has already. Mr Parker's death, in case you were wondering, had nothing to do with me! Good luck with all of the professions that you will, I am sure, adopt in the future! I am certain that both Kyle and I will be able to watch over you from wherever we are.


Good luck. I love you.


Your sister Katrina.

In silence, as tears roll down his cheeks, Jarod folds up the letter and gently, almost lovingly, replaces it in the envelope. He takes up a photo, which Katrina had created in her computer, of the six members of his family - Charles, Margaret, Kyle, Emily, Katrina and himself. Slowly he places it on top of the envelope and lies back against the pillows scattered on the double bed. The open windows allow the curtains to move slowly back and forth and also let a cool breeze flow through the room.


Gradually he remembers the events that have shaped his life. One of his earliest memories is his abduction in February 1963. He recalls his first meetings with Miss Parker and Kyle, and her giving him his first kiss. He recalls the time when he accidentally spilt acid on Kyle's hand and also watching helplessly as they took Kyle away. He relives hearing Catherine Parker murdered and the first time he saw snow. He remembers the Father's Day card he gave Sydney and the flat-lining experiments performed on him by Raines and Lyle. And then he remembers his escape.


Gradually he can visualize all of the Pretends he has performed since his escape - doctor, pilot, lawyer, coast guard, forest ranger, hit-man, fashion photographer, plastic surgeon, gigolo, child psychologist and teacher. Slowly his minds fogs as exhaustion sweeps over him...

A church
Jarod is nervously standing at the altar, in his tuxedo


Jarod: Do you think she's coming?


Kyle: [as best man] Jarod, relax. It's traditional for brides to be late. Just be patient. [Jarod gives him an incredulous look]

Outside the church
A limousine pulls up and Sydney steps out, also resplendent in a tuxedo. He holds out his hand to assist the bridesmaid out of the car and we see that it is Miss Parker. She is dressed in a pale violet, very flattering gown. The next person to exit the vehicle is dressed in a white wedding gown. She clutches a bouquet of white and pink roses and her veil is held in place by a wreath of the same flowers. As Miss Parker settles the veil firmly, we can see that the bride is Katrina. The doors of the anteroom to the church are opened for them to enter and, as they stand in the foyer, it is possible to see that the church is full. Many of the guests are recognisable as having been in Jarod's Pretends, as well as Katrina's. As Miss Parker begins her journey down the aisle ahead of Katrina, we see the priest who is to perform the ceremony. It is Mr Parker.


As Katrina walks down the aisle, music prevents us from hearing any of the ceremony. As Katrina reaches the altar, we see Jarod's face. It is full of pride and love. Kyle, too, looks pleased for his brother. Although we cannot actually hear what is being said, we are able to understand the words spoken by the various people. We flash rapidly from one face to another, including various guests as well as members of the wedding party, until the point where the rings are exchanged. We understand the words "I do" to have been spoken, although we cannot see Katrina's face clearly through the veil.


While we watch the exchange of rings we focus on Katrina's and Jarod's hands before moving up to their faces as Jarod lifts Katrina's veil and they exchange kisses. Although we cannot hear the guests cheering, we can certainly see their reaction. Once her veil has been moved away from her face, we can see that under the flowers and the veil a golden tiara has been placed on her hair. We see it glittering and shining under the lights of the church as Katrina moves her head. We are witness to the two signing the marriage registry as many of the guests move out to wait near the car. Finally the newlyweds, holding hands, emerge from the church and are showered with rice and confetti from every side, as well as appearing to hear shouted congratulations from many people, before getting into the limousine. We see them drive off, smiling.


Next we cut to the two newlyweds dancing at the reception. Katrina is leaning against Jarod's chest and he rests his head on hers. They continue this way for several minutes, lit by various spotlights, as the other guests watch. Then we see them cutting into a three-tiered wedding cake. They smile broadly as a camera flash illuminates them and we see that many people at the reception are applauding and even whistling. The scene quickly dissolves to the two of them standing quietly in a corner. We close in on them, blocking out the views of gaiety which surround them, as their faces move closer together and, as they kiss again, the screen gradually fades to black and sound returns to normal.

Jarod's latest lair
We see a close-up of Jarod lying on his bed. His eyes are still closed but tears stream from beneath the lids as he tries to ignore reality and live in the dream he had created for himself. Finding himself unable to do so, he opens his eyes, trying to adjust to what he must now deal with as actuality. He slowly pulls himself up into a sitting position, with his legs crossed on the bed. He rests his elbows on his knees and buries his face in his hands. However, as the curtains cause light to flicker across the bed, his eye is caught by a glitter of gold on the bed beside him.


In shock he automatically picks it up and we can see, as the camera zooms slowly out, that it is Katrina's tiara and the bouquet he remembers from his dream. Looking frantically from side to side he also rapidly notices the picture in a frame standing on the bedside table, on top of the photos and letter. With a face full of shock he picks it up and we can see that it is a photo of Katrina and Jarod, in their wedding clothes, cutting the wedding cake and smiling at the camera. Sydney, Kyle and Miss Parker are apparent in the background.


As the camera pans back further we can see what Jarod cannot - Katrina, standing at the foot of the bed and smiling at Jarod, even as tears stream down her cheeks.

Miss Parker's house, that night
Miss Parker's mobile phone rings, waking her. She sits up and reaches for the phone.


Miss Parker: [irritated] What?


Jarod: [sadly] Have you ever thought about marriage


Miss Parker: [annoyed that he woke her to ask trivial questions] What do you want Jarod?


Jarod: [impatiently] Just answer the question!


Miss Parker: [sighing] For me or for someone else?


Jarod: [softly] You...or me...


Miss Parker: You? Who'd marry you? [sarcastically] An anti-social weirdo who's on the run from the Centre? A person whose whole family- and love-life would have to be fulfilled on the run? Somehow I can't see that as being a particularly inviting prospect for any woman! Although [even more sarcastically] you could start a trend...


Jarod: [sadly] I suppose asking you to be serious just this once would be expecting too much...[preparing to hang up]


Miss Parker: [repentant] No...Jarod...wait. Look, I'm sorry. I didn't realize you were serious. To be honest, I don't know. I really don't know whether a woman would want what you have to offer.


Jarod: [quickly] Would you?


Miss Parker: [slowly] Is that a proposal?


Jarod: No, not really. I just wanted to gauge your reaction. Thanks for your honesty.


He hangs up. Miss Parker looks at the phone in her hand for a moment before heaving a huge sigh and lying down again. But sleep won't come...

Sydney's house, the same night
Sydney's phone rings and Sydney, who is still up and looking at photos of himself and Jacob given to him by Katrina several days before her death, immediately answers it.


Sydney: This is Sydney.


Jarod: How're you coping?


Sydney: Jarod, hi. Oh, all right I suppose. To be honest I can't tell whether I wish I'd never gotten involved at all or if I'm glad I actually did meet her.


Jarod: You too? I thought that was just something I was feeling...


Sydney: [softly] Jarod, that’s a normal reaction to death. Almost everyone feels that way.


Jarod: [after a pause] I keep dreaming about her. [we see that he is dressed only in jeans and is lying against the pillows on his bed, staring at the photo of himself and Katrina cutting the wedding cake] I even dream we were married. How normal's that?


Sydney: [firmly] What's normal?


Jarod: Exactly what I was wondering. Except...This whole thing has made me hate the Centre more, you know. If it wasn't for that I could have had my whole life with her. [becoming excited] If it wasn't for that, Kyle wouldn't be dead. If it wasn't for that...


Sydney: [softly] You wouldn't exist. It's only because of the program started by the Centre in the early 1950's that you actually exist at all...


Jarod: If we hadn't been related, would she have married me?


Sydney: [sadly] Jarod, all of the other reasons she had for not marrying you were just as important as the family relationship. In that case, I think the answer to your question is no, she wouldn't have done so. However had she been healthy...I really don't know.


Jarod: [softly] Will anyone ever want to marry me?


Sydney: [wondering where these questions are leading but shaken out of his own depression by them] I'm not sure. Your lifestyle isn't exactly normal, you know.


Jarod: My parents lived it!


Sydney: [reluctantly] That wasn't by choice...


Jarod: [angrily] Neither is my life!


Sydney: [eagerly] You could come back to the Centre and...


Jarod: And what? Be exploited all over again? I don't think so!


Sydney: [quietly] You know, if the US government ever found out about you, then you'd have a lot more to worry about that just the Centre...Have you ever considered how much worse your life would be if you had to be an international spy, in any country the US wanted to send you to?


Jarod: At least I'd have a life! [he slams down the phone in anger]


Jarod has tears streaming down his face again, but this time they are tears of rage as well as sadness. He stares blankly at a wall in front of him. As the camera pans back, we see Katrina standing behind him, with her hands on his shoulders as they heave. As though directed by a silent signal, he rises and moves towards the bed. Katrina follows him and, when he is lying down on his back on the right-hand side of the bed, she sits next to him. Gently stroking his face, we see her lips moving as though she is speaking to him. It is a scene reminiscent of the time when he was ill and she was taking care of him. Slowly his eyes close and he relaxes until we can tell he is asleep. His right arm is flung out across the bed and the other lies across his chest. When he is asleep, Katrina rises and walks around the bed. She lies next to him and rests her head on his chest with her right hand beside her face. Then she, too, appears to fall asleep. We see Jarod's left arm move to rest on her and the right arm to curl itself around her shoulders.

The Centre, the next afternoon.
Sydney is sitting at his desk, with his head in his hand, and is trying to get the previous night's phone call out of his mind. Miss Parker and Broots have gone to follow a lead that appeared that morning in the post, but Sydney remained at the Centre on the pretence of catching up on his work. As he thinks of the trail which had emptied the Centre of most of its personnel and sent them almost to the Mexican border, he smiles slightly. This is not one of Jarod's tricks. He knows that. After all, there is no way that Jarod could have accessed the small stock of purple notebooks, which he, Sydney, had kept to pass on to the next Pretender. No. He knows that this was a small diversion, created by Katrina, who had presumably taken several of the books before she left the Centre and, knowing her, had probably asked friends to fill them and keep them hidden - only to produce them as the Centre got too close to capturing Jarod. Sydney had to admire her. Even in death she could remind him of her and he could see many of the characteristics that the siblings - Kyle as well as Katrina and Jarod - shared.


Hearing a sound in the shadows Sydney spins around in his chair and waits until his eyes adjust before he can see the figure of Jarod standing in the corner. Unlike the first time this occurred, both men appear truly glad to see each other, although the environment makes the meeting occur under somewhat restrained circumstances.


Jarod: Where is everyone? I've never known the Centre to be this quiet...


Sydney: Angelo stumbled on a purple notebook, which he handed over to me during a meeting. Miss Parker and Broots, certain that it came from you [Jarod chuckles softly] immediately set off for the town mentioned in one of the articles - Matamoros, I think. So, that's where they are. They took the Centre helicopter so, once they find out it isn't you they're after, they'll probably come straight back.


Jarod: [soberly] It's amazing, isn't it, that she managed to help me - us - even after her death


Sydney: You probably would have done the same thing in her situation...


Jarod: As she said to me once - I don't have a female mind capable of creating situations like that. Don't forget - she's had years more experience of being a Pretender in the outside world that I have. I would expect her to be more adept at those sort of things. She's also got all of those little toys - like her phone - which helped her in difficult situations, such as the scene in the hotel.


Sydney: [cautiously] How much do you remember of that?


Jarod: [startled] Why?


Sydney: Katrina said to me after we got you back to her house that she hoped you wouldn't remember anything. I'm just interested to see if you do!


Jarod: [turning a high-backed chair around and sitting on it, resting his chin on the back] I remember making the phone call and then having someone come up to me and take the phone out of my hand. Then Miss Parker was sticking her gun in my neck. She told me to sit down and I did. Willie put those darned handcuffs on and then I saw Parker fill that syringe of hers. I felt a hot flush go through me, like when we were doing that heat SIM in 1971, remember? [Sydney looks pained] After that I could hear what was going on but it just became too much effort to try to open my eyes and focus on what was happening, so I just lay there. But I could hear what was being said quite clearly. I can remember that my heart was thudding in my ears and I also remember thinking it was beating too fast. After that I was picked up and the rush of heat to my head meant that I suppose I fainted. The next thing I know I was waking up to see her...and you...a few weeks afterwards, although it only felt like the next minute.


Sydney: Miss Parker was absolutely furious when she found out that she had been captured by another female, not to mention strip-searched!


Jarod: [reminiscently] ...Seems to make a habit of it!


Sydney: [laughing] She'll never forgive you for that And she still thinks that it was your father who killed her mother.


Jarod: [curiously] Could my father really have been Raines?


Sydney: Actually, no. I ran some tests just prior to the autopsy and found out that he wasn't. Somehow, though, he managed to convince Fenigor that it was your father that did it.


Jarod: It's easy to convince someone in his position of anything you like! All you have to do is repeat it a number of times of times until the person you are trying to convince is repeating it too. When Miss Parker mentioned the name Catherine to him, Fenigor's drugged mind would instantly make the connection Raines wanted him to make and - voila! Fenigor says my father kills Miss Parker's mother, she chases me down to SL27 and your bomb goes off, sending me off my head! [he shoots a sly look at Sydney]


Sydney: [in open amusement] That was a very impressive act you put on!


Jarod: [as he rises and slides back into the shadows] Aren't they all?!

Sydney's office, within the next few minutes
Miss Parker bursts in, furiously angry. Broots trails disconsolately behind her. Just from her face we can tell that she has realized that Jarod wasn't involved.


Miss Parker: [angrily] It wasn't him!


Sydney: [attempting to act surprised and succeeding admirably] How could it not have been?


Miss Parker: How the hell should I know? But it wasn't him! [she throws herself into a chair, forgetting it is on castors, and it takes her quickly and silently into the opposite corner from where Jarod is hiding. She runs it back to the desk with her feet while Sydney and Broots try to hide their smiles]


Sydney: Are you saying there could be another Pretender out there?


Miss Parker: [standing up and pacing in front of the desk] God, no! I think we know about all the others. But, somehow, I think that bitch in Australia could have had something to do with it - except for the fact that she's dead! [we see a pained look cross Sydney's face and Miss Parker immediately notices it] Sorry Syd, I forget. [there is a moment of heavy silence as Miss Parker stands in front of the same chair. Forgetful in the seriousness of the moment, she throws herself into it again - with the same result as before. She shoots a black look at the chair as she rises] God, that thing must hate me!


We notice that Broots has hurriedly left the room and we can hear the echo of laughter down the corridor. Sydney blows his nose to disguise his own amusement and Miss Parker, throwing him a look of disgust, goes out of the room. Sydney turns to the corner where Jarod was hiding, but all we hear is the creak of an air-duct cover and laughter faintly filtering into the room.

Miss Parker's house, that evening
Miss Parker is lying on her bed, thinking over the day's failure. Naturally enough, she is somewhat irritated. Her phone rings.


Miss Parker: What?


Jarod: No, that's wrong. You should say "Hello". I'll hang up and ring again. Talk to you soon.


Miss Parker: Oh, for God's sake Jarod...[she realizes that she is talking to a dial tone and, with a frustrated sigh, hangs up. The phone rings again] Wha...[with gritted teeth] Hello.


Jarod: [amused] See, that wasn't so hard, was it?


Miss Parker: [really frustrated] What do you want Jarod?


Jarod: [cheerfully] Wrong again. Your next question should be "How are you?" but that's probably enough for this time We'll practice again later.


Miss Parker: [angrily] Did you really call me just to try and change my phone manner?


Jarod: [sweetly] Well, personally I would have said 'improve' you phone manner, but, now you mention it, no.


Miss Parker: [so frustrated that she is ready to hang up on him but doesn't] God, do I have to spoon-feed you every step of the way?


Jarod: [seriously] No-one else did.


Miss Parker: [aggressively] You'll regret this!


Jarod: [teasingly] Are you really in a position to make those threats? Stress caused by unfulfilled threats and pent-up energy are some of the major causes of high blood pressure, leading to heart problems and some...


Miss Parker: Stow it!


Jarod: [sweetly] That is very rude of you and something I did not expect from someone of your upbringing.


Miss Parker: [furiously] WHAT DO YOU WANT?


Jarod: [as though to a child] Do you know...I'm not sure I can remember now. It must be all of the shouting that's been going on! Did you hear it? It was very loud!


Miss Parker: Oh, for God's sake!


Jarod: You know, you really shouldn't take God's name in vain. It's enough to get you sent into hell!


Miss Parker: [sarcastically] Play-acting a priest this week are we? Or had some deep, religious experience that shook you to your foundations?


Jarod: [soberly] Death is really good like that...


Miss Parker: So I suppose you were deeply involved with little Miss Pretender in the land Down Under too, huh?


Jarod: [softly] Actually, yes. She was my sister...


Miss Parker: [after a pause] I'm sorry...


Jarod: [brightening up] But that's not why I called!


Miss Parker: [to herself but aloud] Here we go again...


Jarod: Aren't you going to ask why I called?


Miss Parker: OK. [sighing] Why did you call?


Jarod: [rapidly and teasingly] Are you trying to get rid of me? Are you busy 'cos I can call back later if you're doing something important - like washing you hair.


Miss Parker: [rolling her eyes] Do we have to go through this all over again?


Jarod: [sweetly] I only called to see if you had a nice trip...


Miss Parker: Which one? To which hell-hole? The one on the same continent or on a different one?


Jarod: Actually, more like the one you took in Syd's office this afternoon. Hope you enjoyed it. Bye.


Miss Parker: Jarod...no...wait...How do you know about...Hello? Hello? [the volume of the dial-tone increases so we can hear it as Miss Parker slams down the phone in disgust]

Jarod's lair.
Jarod is asleep on the bed and we see Katrina and Kyle sitting on opposite sides of the room. Kyle is curled up in a basket chair, wearing only jeans, and Katrina is stretched out on a couch, fully dressed. Both look incredibly relaxed.


Kyle: Miss Parker hates you now. Even more than before.


Katrina: Do I look worried? What can she do to me now?


Kyle: To you? Nothing. But to Sydney...or Jarod?


Katrina: Did you see Syd this afternoon? I'm pretty confident that he can take care of himself. Jarod too. [casting a tender look at the bed]


Kyle: How did you come up with the idea?


Katrina: [stretching herself out further on the couch] I had to think of something - actually I thought of it while I was still working there - that would keep them away from Jarod and, during the time I was working there, give me time to contact him without the pressure of the Centre's hired goons breathing down my neck. Now, it's just a fun game that will be played out over a few months!


Kyle: But how did they know to produce it now?


Katrina: It would have appeared regardless of what was happening otherwise. The timing was just better than I could have anticipated, that's all. [Kyle reaches out to a table and we see him fill a glass from a can of Dr Pepper] Jarod is going to freak when he realizes that's missing tomorrow. He knows I don't drink it!


Kyle: Does he still believe you're around?


Katrina: He's more likely to believe that than a chance of you hanging around for the last however many months. Besides, to take his last can is really low. In fact it's downright mean!


Kyle: [grinning and changing the subject] I decide...


Katrina: [hurriedly, to shut him up] I know, I know. Can we drop that stuff now that Raines isn't around to shove it down your throat?


Kyle: [still grinning] I still can't believe you had the gall to strip the Centre of its head honchos!


Katrina: [reflecting his grin] Do you mean you never wanted to?


Kyle: Of course, but to actually do it...


Katrina: What, don't I fit your image of a typical assassin? Sorry! Anyway, I didn't do it! I don't get my hands dirty! I leave that to someone else.


Kyle: How did you get the three of them in a straight line anyway?


Katrina: [surprised] Weren't you watching? [with a wicked smile on her face and in mock-serious tones, ticking points off on her fingers] The fire escape really should have been cleared more regularly! In fact, I would have recommended a starvation diet to clear it of all the junk which blocked it up! At least then the Three Stooges could have died - I mean escaped - in a more orderly fashion. Oh, and if I had been in charge of maintenance, I would have made sure that those bullet-shaped pieces of metal were removed from the building! [shaking her head in pretend sorrow] Really, it was a death-trap!


Kyle: [grinning] And the coroner? Was he a friend of yours?


Katrina: [sadly] Either that or only Pretending to be! [shaking her head while Kyle laughs] Some people will do anything for money!


Kyle: [chortling] Raines' money?


Katrina: Do you think I'd waste my own money on an autopsy? Or a funeral? Ugh! [shuddering]


Kyle: [laughing] That was really cruel!


Katrina: You tell me for what, precisely, you need money in hell?


Kyle: [curiously] Is he definitely there?


Katrina: Do you see him here?


Kyle: [with a killing attempt at sarcasm] Maybe he's in the other place!


Katrina: And maybe we'll find him waiting for us when we get there. Better get into practice - only not here, okay? I think I'll go nnuts if I have to hear the stupid mantra ever again. And, in this situation, 'ever' is a pretty long time!


Kyle: [grinning] I decide who lives or dies...I decide who lives or dies...I decide...


Katrina: [rising and pushing him out of the room - through the wall] Oh, go play in the traffic!


She settles back comfortably on the couch and picks up her drink. As she refills the glass, we see that it is a can of Diet Coke.


Katrina: [aloud, to a supposedly empty room] Well, at least I buy my own drinks!


Kyle: [materializing through the wall] With whose money?


Katrina: [with a smile] Miss Parker's. Nothing like adding insult to injury - and I make it my business to do that on every occasion!



Kyle: [laughing] You certainly do! I wonder if Miss Parker’s found the purple notebook in her desk yet...


Katrina: [reminiscently] I just hope she can remember where it came from...


Kyle: [suspiciously] What's that supposed to mean?


Katrina: [surprised] Don't you know?


Kyle: Enlighten me...


Katrina: [seriously] The day after Raines and the other died, I had Angelo come with me into Raines' rooms, after I had disengaged the security systems. I knew that everyone would be at home in 'mourning' - or otherwise - and so I did a search. We found a whole stack of the purple notebooks - and a few DSAs which had been deleted from the mainframe. They all showed Miss Parker doing SIMs as a small girl. In the pile was a notebook - a diary of the SIMs done. Miss Parker was under Raines' care but [she plucks the notebook out of the air and opens it to the last page] "The subject was found to be unable to carry out basic SIMs. It therefore appears as though blood-type is not the only consideration when developing these highly skilled people. The Parker subject will be required to undergo several sessions of re-education so that she can learn about the 'real' events of the past few months. It may, however, be possible later to utilize the extreme aggression and determination that these experiments have developed in her. [we see Kyle's eyebrows go up] Of necessity, she must gradually be introduced to the world outside the Centre and subsequently kept away from the other, successful subjects - Subject Jarod, Subject Kyle, Subject Timmy, Subject Dannie and the others, regardless of their success levels. It may be possible for her to renew her communications with them at some later date." Along the bottom of the page is a black stamp - "Experiment Terminated". Otherwise there are only details about what SIMs were performed and their external possible uses. None of them were completed successfully enough to be offered externally - that goodness.


Kyle: Why didn't I found out about this?


Katrina: [sweetly] As I said to Jarod one day, you, and he, are male.


Kyle: [sitting up indignantly] Your point being...?


Katrina: [even more sweetly] You don't have the feminine instinct that allows you to...[her following words are muffled by a cushion thrown with deadly aim by Kyle] Oh, grow up!


Kyle: [sarcastically] I can Pretend to do many things but I think I need a planning permit from somewhere to grow up now!


Katrina: [warningly] Watch it, or that cushion's coming back to where it came from - in its constituent parts and original form!


Kyle: I'd like to see that! [he is then forced to avoid a duck which is flying straight at his head. It disappears through the wall] Okay, okay! I suppose that cushion couldn't have been stuffed with feather and down, could it?


Katrina: [who hasn't moved and is smiling sweetly (smirking) at him] I suppose it could be possible. [menacingly] Now, do you want the rest or will you behave?


Kyle: [childishly] I'll be good, I'll be good! [suddenly sarcastic] But, one question. Shouldn't younger sisters be nice to older brothers and respect them and...


Katrina: [as she pours his drink over his head] Oh, get a life. How am I supposed to threat you with respect when you act like a six-year-old?


Kyle: Look at the mess you made! Oh, and that was Jarod's last Dr Pepper!


Katrina: So go and buy him another one, like the good younger brother that you are! [as she surveys the mess] It's lucky that only we can see that! Well, get licking and you could clean it up in a matter of minutes! I'll actually go to the effort of buying him the drink, if you'll do that.


Kyle, grumbling, gets down on his knees. Katrina checks that there is enough money in her purse before heading out of the door. We zoom in on Jarod's face and see that he is smiling slightly.

Sydney's office, the next morning
Sydney is working at his desk when Miss Parker bounces indignantly into the room.


Miss Parker: [straight to the point, as usual] Syd, I received a call from your darling protégé last night!


Sydney: [politely] Good morning, Miss Parker. Yes thank you, I'm very well. I hope you are the same. [he resumes his work]


Miss Parker: [with a groan] Oh, God, not you too!


Sydney: [virtuously] I have no idea what you're talking about.


Miss Parker: [aggressively] So it's just coincidence that you try to change my manner of speech the morning after your overgrown Boy Scout tries to change my phone manner?


Sydney: [sweetly] Personally, I would have said improve rather than change but, I suppose...


Miss Parker: [snarling] Oh, drop it. So, if you've already spoken to him this morning, then enlighten me as to the truth regarding his sister.


Sydney: [innocently] What on earth would make you think that Jarod and I have had a discussion this morning?


Miss Parker: Oh, this and that. Now [leaning forward threateningly] tell me what you discussed...

Jarod's lair that morning
Jarod comes out from the bathroom in shorts and with a towel draped around his shoulders. The sun is visible through the bathroom window as he opens the door and his wet hair glistens in the orange light. The room becomes dark as he closes the door behind him. He heads towards the kitchen and we see him open the fridge. He takes a can of Dr Pepper out and is about to absent-mindedly close the fridge door again when he stops and takes a second look. The camera zooms in over his shoulder and we can see that the entire fridge is stocked with cans of Dr Pepper - except for one spot at the front which is filled by a can of Diet Coke. There is an elastic band holding a note to the Diet Coke can with his name written on the front of it. Jarod takes the can of Dr Pepper, the can of Diet Coke and a glass and sits on the couch. He opens the Dr Pepper and fills his glass. Then he takes the note off the Diet Coke can and reads it. We can hear Katrina's voice.


"Should you really drink any of this stuff at this ungodly hour of the morning?"


In shock, Jarod checks his digital watch. We see that it is only 06:30. Jarod looks at the note again and then suspiciously around the room. Grinning, he then raises the glass in mock salute to an invisible person, only to have the smile wiped off his face as the can of Dr Pepper lifts itself off the table and spills onto a plastic sheet which has mysteriously appeared on the floor. Written in the spilled drink appear the words:


"No, I didn't think so!"

Sydney's office, later that day.
Sydney has left for the day but Miss Parker, having received permission to check around, has used her skeleton key to enter and, with Broots, is looking through the desk. They have already found the photos which Katrina gave Sydney. This has cooled even Miss Parker's ardor. However she is still determined to know why he will not betray Jarod. Finally, amid a pile of notes on various subjects, they find a letter. Miss Parker begins to read it aloud but it is quickly possible to hear Katrina's voice take over the narration.


23/7/98
Dear Sydney.


I am writing this to you having just written a long letter to Jarod, so I hope you will forgive me if my strength runs out before I finish it. I know now that I will not have the inner strength or the courage to ask you this for myself and so my memory must speak for me.


I know that you have so far kept the promise I asked you to make regarding Jarod's safety while he is here in Australia. I must apologize for having virtually tricked you into making it by giving you the option of that or instant arrest, although perhaps you did not realize that there was another option at the time...


However I trust that you will respect the family connection and not betray your nephew, even though there is only a connection by distant marriage and not a blood relation, as you are to me. I apologize also for not telling you the truth many times while I was working at the Centre, but, knowing and understanding your devotion, both to the Centre and to your work there, you must realize that such information would have been a complete betrayal, both of my family and of myself. The Centre, of course, has my true address and, had I told you what I wanted to, it is possible that others may have gone to my home and taken the other members of my family. I know that little is sacred within the Centre itself, except what Raines and the others chose was to be kept that way.


It is perhaps time for me to admit to you that I was partly responsible for what happened to Raines, Mr Lyle and Bridget. If you chose to pass this information onto Miss Parker or any other person whom you trust, I beg you to tell them that my own investigation showed that it was Mr Raines who was responsible for the death of Catherine Jameson-Parker. However, as I think you yourself have discovered, he was not Jarod's father. It was Raines who persuaded and blackmailed Mr Fenigor into lying to Miss Parker that day. Having been a witness to Raines' murder of Catherine Parker he was so terrified that he would perform any dirty work Raines wanted him for. A hefty pay-out each week helped to ensure that Raines could control him in any way he wished.


I only wish that my action against Raines could have saved Fenigor's life but, sadly, that was not possible. However I wished to stop the crimes he had been perpetrating against so many - Jarod, Kyle, Angelo, Dannie, Miss Parker and the rest. I did not perform the act myself but there are many people who will do anything for money and they are not difficult to find - just ask Jarod. He became a hit-man for a time and I heard about it from the person who actually pulled the trigger which robbed the Centre of its leaders. Mr Parker's death, unfortunately, was an act of nature, when the stress became too much. He, you may have understood, was blamed by the Tower for the death of Raines and the others.


Syd, I wish that it was possible for me to have time enough to get to know you as my uncle. As everything you have done for Jarod and the others shows, you would have made a fantastic great-uncle to any children I may have been destined to have. I only hope that, one day, Jarod may find a person willing to make him truly happy and that you may get the chance to exhibit your skills in that direction. Should Miss Parker perhaps be witness to this letter at some stage, I hope that she will forgive me for the unpleasant events, instigated by myself, which happened to her in her search, both for Jarod and myself. I hope that she will also understand that the only people who have really caused her harm are now deceased, viz. Mr Raines, Mr Parker and also her brother, Mr Lyle. Jarod, I can assure her, is in no way responsible for the crimes she believes him capable of. I do not know if she will believe me, without proof, when I say that I know she was just as much a victim of the Centre's activities as Jarod was.


My dear uncle, I am sorry that I do not have the strength to continue. I suspect that Jarod will not be able to remain in the current environment and, although I doubt he realizes it, I am not sure I would survive if I knew that anything serious had happened to him before I went. That is the reason behind the extradition order which has kept the other Centre operatives out of Australia. I can only hope that you, too, will remain safe and happy.
I am honored to have met, worked with and been related to you, Sydney. I love you.


Katrina.

The two in the office stand silent for a moment before a noise in the doorway makes them spin around. Sydney is standing there with tears streaming down his cheeks. Miss Parker makes a small sound in his throat before going to him and putting her arms around him. In an almost automatic reaction, he hugs her back before gently releasing himself and sitting in the chair behind the desk. He rapidly clears the desk of its papers, by which time Miss Parker and Broots are seated in chairs on the other side of the desk.


Sydney: [gently] Are you happy now? Now you know what I've been hiding ever since I got back?


Miss Parker: [haltingly] Syd, I didn't realize...I mean...I...


Sydney: [interrupting] She was the daughter of a brother of mine who was born before my parent got married and was adopted out to an Australian family. To cut a long story short, Katrina and Jarod's mother married my brother.


Broots: [curiously] Does this mean that Jarod is...


Sydney: [finishing for him] My nephew? No. Not biologically. His father was an anonymous donor from the Centre. However Katrina was born to my brother and his wife.


Miss Parker: [understanding] And so she worked here...?


Sydney: [nodding] To try and find her brothers. Yes. Unfortunately she did not succeed and so my brother never got to know his step-son before he was killed by the Centre people who were sent to Australia in 1997, remember?


Miss Parker: [who has been trying to understand what she read in the letter about her mother] Is she right? About Raines and my mother, I mean.


Sydney: [gently] Yes. I looked through some of the DSAs in Raines' room after he died and there was proof there that Raines killed your mother. She found out while she was still working here and, I suppose, was the one who left the anonymous tip suggesting that I go through Raines' room. She's also right about the fact that Raines is not Jarod's father. I ran some tests during the autopsy and proved that, just as she must have...


Miss Parker: [softly] She's right, you would have made a fantastic great-uncle to any of her kids.


Sydney: [ignoring this] Somehow she also knew exactly what Jarod was going to do and what was going to happen. After Jarod became upset and left, there was a report on the radio that the plane he would logically have been on had crashed into the ocean. She must have been in the kitchen when the report came over the radio because a neighbor, who went to borrow something, found her there several hours later. [Sydney takes a long, shaky breath] She died the next day.


Miss Parker: [softly] Did he ask Katrina to marry him?


Sydney: [sadly] Yes, but she always said no. Of course, she knew about the family connection and, at that point, he didn't, but she also knew that, with so little time left, it would not be fair on either of them to marry.


Miss Parker: [curiously] Is that why he asked me so many questions about marriage?


Sydney: [firmly] Probably. You’re the only 'normal' female he knows well enough to ask questions like that - always providing you give him a sensible answer.


Miss Parker blushes red and turns her head away. Sydney opens a drawer and takes out the photo Katrina had left for him after her death. He lies the photo in front of him on the desk


Miss Parker: [softly] She looks a little like you - they both do.


Sydney: [not hearing this] Jarod, for the first time, was truly and deeply in love with someone that could understand him totally. He could imagine settling down with this person to a proper life, in a place where they wouldn't be bothered by the Centre, particularly as Katrina worked in Australian embassies all over the world before she got sick. They would have both been perpetually on the move, a situation perfect for them both. His heart broke when she died and I doubt if he will ever get over that.

We see the scene in Sydney's office, looking closely at each person and their reactions. Sydney is weeping again as he remembers his niece. Broots looks awkward as he glances from Sydney to Miss Parker. And Miss Parker herself looks from the letter she still holds in her hand to the photo lying on the desk in front of Sydney. As the song progresses we cut to Jarod, sitting in the basket chair in his room. His head is resting on the back of the chair, his eyes are open, staring at the ceiling, and his lap is full of the things that Katrina had given him. Katrina, we can see, is again stretched out on the couch and smiling gently at him. Gradually the two scenes are superimposed, cutting out Miss Parker and Broots, until it appears that the three people are again together in one room, before fading to black


This story archived at http://www.pretendercentre.com/missingpieces/viewstory.php?sid=2554