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Two Worlds Collide
Jarod stared at the screen in front of him. It didn’t seem right. What the Centre was up to wasn’t possible. ‘Was it?’ Jarod scrolled through the endless seeming information he had received from Angelo. People truly thought Angelo wasn’t capable of thinking, let alone gathering and passing off information, and that would be their downfall. Angelo had been feeding Jarod information since his escape in 1996 and without the information Jarod wouldn’t know everything going on at the Centre.
Jarod reached out his arm feeling for his cell phone which was ringing on the table next to him.
“That’s insanity, Broots!” Miss Parker stared at him from behind her desk. “What you’re describing couldn’t possibly exist.”
“Strange, I was once told a person becoming anything they wanted to be was impossible.” Sydney stood with his arms folded in front of him.
“Syd, this is like something from a comic book. It can’t be possible!” Miss Parker rose to her feet turning her back to them and staring out the window. She folded her arms and put one hand under her chin. ‘Could any of this be true?’
“Maybe you should ask HIM.” Broots whispered.
Miss Parker only turned her head, leaving her chin resting on her hand. She stared at Broots for a minute and then let her arms fall down to her sides as she said, “Fine. If it will make the two of you feel better, I’ll call him.”
Sydney nodded his approval.
Miss Parker hooked her cell phone up to the speaker system Broots had worked out for her. She hit 8 and then send. Miss Parker smirked to herself. Eight was his favorite number which was the only reason she had store his number in the speed dial number eight.
The phone rang and then there was a click from the line on the other end as it was answered. “Are you looking at what I’m looking at, Parker?” Jarod’s voice broke the silence in the room.
“Apparently so, Jarod.” Parker answered him.
“Miss Parker doesn’t think it’s possible for this intel to be accurate. What do you think?” Things had changed after Miss Parker discovered who was who at the Centre. Miss Parker had believed for years Mr. Parker was her father only to find out the Parker family had given a son up for adoption because he was a weak child, and as it turned out that man was her biological father. Sadly, Sydney and Broots uncovered the Parker baby birth certificate stating Raines was the baby given up which made him her father. It all took its toll on Parker but she regrouped. She had been having trouble being loyal to Mr. Parker but she couldn’t even bring herself to attempt loyalty to Raines though she played the part well. So now Raines and Lyle were running thing all because Mr. Parker disappeared after jumping from the airplane, which almost crashed but Jarod brought it in without anyone getting hurt, and then fled so Parker would have to bring him in. Sydney knew Parker was happy he had gotten away. Everything she believed changed on the island and Sydney was positive the relationship between Jarod and Miss Parker was different as well.
“Personally, I wouldn’t put anything past the Centre.”
“Are you planning on getting your friends involved?” Parker sat in her chair. She had never had any proof to suggest Jarod worked with other Pretenders or even other people, but all the times Jarod dropped out of sight for long periods and resurfaced just after something major happened, always made her wonder.
“Already sent them the intel. I think they will be useful in extracting these children.” Jarod stated. He knew Parker only wanted to confirm he had friends he turned to and he didn’t mind. He now knew if it came to it Parker would back him up.
McKenzie stared at the screen in front of her. She was waiting on confirmation of the house revisions. They had decided to upgrade everything after there last mission which lasted far too long. They had suffered a lot, the destruction of two houses and a constant flow of uncovering the others. All the houses had since been moved leaving the others abandoned and wiped clean. There wasn’t even a speck of dust that could lead her father to them now, not to mention the Centre.
She hated thinking of Connor as her father but truly she had no choice in the matter. He was her biological father and that would never change, but in her heart she never had a real father and wasn’t sure she wanted anyone to try and fill the spot, especially Connor. He had been the one who kept her at the Centre. He had been the one who made her kill as a small child. He had been the one who had left her to Raines’s experiments. Granted he didn’t realize she was his child but to her it only meant he was a monster.
The screen to her left beeped. She turned to look at it and noticed an incoming message from Jarod. She rose to her feet and walked over to the computer, grabbing the mouse and clicked on the e-mail.
“Attached is something you might be interested in seeing. I plan on getting these kids away from the Centre and hoped you would be helping me. See you real soon. J” McKenzie smiled. Jarod was on his way. He wasn’t related to her in any way but she loved him like he was a big brother. She clicked on the attached file and a spreadsheet of information, lab reports, psychiatric charts, and endurance test reports arranged before her. “My God, what is the Centre up to now?”
Nemesis sat in her office pouring over the papers and files that flooded into her computer and onto her desk from the upgrades and relocations. She never thought about moving twenty house locations and she hoped she would never have to again. The paper work alone was enough to bury her for months. She pushed her chair away from the desk and rose to her feet. She headed for the window knowing full well she would end up staring out into the gardens.
She didn’t want to think about the last few months or the work piling up on her desk. She wanted to take a break from everything that had happened and would happen but she knew it would never be over. She could tell by looking around at the nearly empty house which once bustled with people and team members. Now they were down to a skeleton team.
Michael and McKenzie were the only two who stuck around after everything happened. McKenzie was trying to deal with who her father was and the horrible things he was capable of. Michael wanted to be there for her. He seemed to be able to calm her and McKenzie knew he didn’t expect anything from her. They were as close as brother and sister could be even though they had no blood relations.
All in all, they were functioning well enough, mostly because Connor hadn’t been seen in sometime. That was always a good thing. Connor had done so many things in the name of loving his daughter. He had blown up the old Austin house with two operatives tied up and alert inside. He had destroyed the old San Francisco house nearly killing many of her team. He had kidnapped McKenzie and kept her drugged to prevent her from using her abilities. He had kidnapped Megan, Nemesis sister, and Emily, Jarod’s sister, not to mention all the children he experimented on and the lives he took along the way. He was more than a menace. He was evil.
“Nemesis.” McKenzie entered the office and saw the older woman, her aunt, staring out the window. It had taken time for McKenzie to get used to, the fact, her mother was still alive and was almost as horrible as her father. It was a bigger shock that Nemesis was her aunt. It had take time to adjust but McKenzie realized that her entire life Natasha had loved her and has searched for her. “We got a message from Jarod.” McKenzie walked over to Nemesis computer and pulled up the files Jarod had sent them. “You won’t believe this.”
Jessie tinkered with the computer. He wanted their alert system to be functioning perfectly. They had woken up in the middle of the night too many times with a false alarm. The other looked like they would strangle him every time it happened and he had kept reassuring him he would fix it. The alarm sounded. “Not again.” Every time he thought he was close to solving the problem the siren would go off and scare everyone half to death. He was about to mass out and slam his fist into the machine just to teach it a lesson, but thought fixing the after affects wouldn’t be remotely pleasant. Jessie reached up to hit the escape button but noticed the beacon on the screen. It wasn’t a false alarm this time.
“I swear, Jess, if this is another false alarm…” Brennan swaggered into the room.
Shalimar was behind him. “My ears can’t take anymore.”
Lexa exited from Adam’s office. “Maybe we should have a visual alarm. Something quiet.”
“Guys, it isn’t a false alarm. I have a hit on information about genetic research. Looks like Adam’s work is being restarted. I have a few things coming through. Something about children, genetic mutations, and a center although center is spelled the French way with an RE.”
“Can you track where the information is coming from or going to?” Lexa walked up behind him.
“Well the first transmission of it bounced around all over the world and then settled in an e-mail receptacle in Denmark, but access to it is routed through the States. Whoever opened that account knew what they were doing.” Jessie typed away at the computer.
“So we have no way of knowing where we should look first?” Brennan asked.
“I didn’t say that.” Jessie punched in a few more keys. “If we were anywhere else we’d be stumped but were here at Sanctuary working with system’s Adam created and they got a hit of a possible lead.”
“Jessie, you know you’re going to have to explain.” Shalimar walked around and stood behind the computer he was working on.
“Adam created software to kind of tag something electronically when it is picked up. If the information isn’t split and sent in different direction we can pretty much pin point where it ends up, and in this case the person who received it must have thought whoever they were hiding it from wouldn’t be able to follow it as far as we were able to. Once received, the message was forwarded from Denmark to here in the States where it landed on the west coast.”
“So it’s close?” Lexa folded her arms across her. She hated listening to all the technical stuff. She just wanted to get out there and kick a little ass.
“Give me a little time and the electronic tag Adam’s program marked it with will pin point the final destination of the message. We can probably head out in an hour.” Jessie smiled at all of them.
“Does this mean the false alarms are over?” Shalimar leaned down putting her elbows on the work station and resting her face in her hands.
“That, I’m still working on.” Jessie cocked his head.
Nemesis stood in the conference room staring at the big screen on the wall. She clicked the remote in her hand to change the screen and flip through the data they had received from Jarod.
Michael entered the room. “Jarod will be here soon. He just got into town.”
“Michael, look at this.” Nemesis couldn’t believe what she was reading. “Genetic mutations resulting in the development of super human abilities such as animal like characteristics, being able to channel elemental or environmental energy through their bodies, being able to change the consistency of their body, and extraordinary mental abilities.”
“Sounds familiar.” Michael quipped.
“I was thinking McKenzie’s mental abilities as well but this specifically says these children’s genetic structures were tampered with to cause these effects and McKenzie was born with her abilities, as was Elena.”
Michael turned away from the large view screen and to the small one on the conference table. He started searching through the information and then clicked off of it as Nemesis continued to scan through the files. He was on the search for something else. Something he knew he would recognize once he found it. Michael dug into the computer system’s tracking the splits in the data files they had been sent. He had meant the mental abilities sounded like McKenzie’s but all the abilities sounded somewhat familiar to him. He was positive the Centre was dabbling in something they weren’t prepared for but it didn’t bother him they would likely get burned. Screen after screen flashed past him as he opened and closed the search parameters narrowing down the field with each search knowing he would stumble upon it sooner or later.
Michael looked at Nemesis quickly. She wasn’t even aware to what he was doing. She was completely absorbed in the information she was reading. The Centre had definitely gone overboard this time. Michael watched as the files being displayed lessened and lessened with every input he added. Their computers were extensive and Michael knew it would take someone who didn’t know what they were looking for a lot of time to find what he was searching for. ‘658 matches.’ Michael read off the screen as he hit the access button and started narrowing the search again. This time 14 matches appeared and Michael instantly saw what he was seeking. He clicked on it once so it was highlighted. He now knew exactly where it was in their computers and he could delete it at any moment. Michael hit the escape button closing everything he had just done.
Michael turned back to the large screen Nemesis was staring at. He knew who was on their way. He had guessed correctly and finding the locator embedded into their computers only confirmed it. It had been awhile since he had dealt with them but he was almost looking forward to it, plus they weren’t a harm to them. Michael knew who they were and if they found the house Nemesis might be upset but it wouldn’t hurt anything. After all secret organizations sometimes stick together, plus Michael knew where they where their secret hideout was.
McKenzie and Jarod walked up the front steps of the new San Francisco house quietly. He hadn’t said much so she didn’t say anything on the car ride to the house. McKenzie didn’t know if she had any biological siblings, even though it was highly unlikely, but she felt like she had a brother in Jarod, though Michael was equally protective. She loved having both of them around but it often felt awkward when she felt like she had to tell them what she was feeling and most of the time they already knew.
Jarod stopped at the top of the steps. “So I hear the house is kind of empty.”
McKenzie was reaching for the doorknob but instead turned to him and nodded. “You were here when Lily and Ally took off but it was after you left when Jeremy and Eddie left.” McKenzie sighed. “Jeremy decided he couldn’t take anymore of me and Eddie thought it best if he put some distance between us.”
“Before I left I got the distinct impression you didn’t mind if Jeremy left. But it also seemed like you didn’t mind having Eddie lurking around.” Jarod stared straight into her eyes.
“Jeremy felt something I didn’t. I thought I felt what he did but it turns out it wasn’t for him. I cared about him but I was drawn to Eddie. Of course, after everything that happened, Eddie’s attentions were less than welcome. I just wanted him to give me time and space but he pushed so hard. I just couldn’t take it anymore.” McKenzie looked down.
“And Michael?” Jarod watched her. He knew there was far more to Michael and McKenzie’s relationship than the friendship they claimed but wasn’t sure if they saw it yet.
“He’s still here.” She stated.
Jarod nodded. Apparently, she didn’t catch my insinuation. “I’m just glad you’re all right now.” He bent his knees and ducked down enough to look into her face.
McKenzie made eye contact with him again. “I’m dealing with things better than before but I’m not all right. I doubt I will ever be able to get over everything Connor did that hurt the people I care about.”
“You know, I do understand.” Jarod smiled at her.
She knew he did. The Centre had hurt so many people in the name of keeping him at the Centre. His simulations were used to hurt other and when Jarod had found out about it all, it broke something innocent inside of him. McKenzie definitely knew he understood, but she didn’t want to think about it at the moment. “Let’s go.” She tried to sound chipper as she turned and headed into the house with Jarod right behind her.
Brennan punched in coordinates into the Double Helix’s computer system. “Are you sure this location is right, Jesse?”
“Yep. We hit it right on the head.” Jesse looked over computer readings for the Helix. He was now in charge of keeping things running and he took pride in his work. “The locator is still active.”
“This all seems a little easy.” Shalimar pulled up their destination on her screen.
Lexa was looking at the same things as Shalimar. “The satellite picture shows an estate, on an island with absolutely nothing out of the ordinary.”
“Like I said. Easy.” Shalimar stared at the screen. Something was definitely wrong with the picture in front of her. It was as if the picture itself hid something from her.
“We’re closing in.” Brennan said. “Going to stealth mode.”
Jesse watched the output of energy making sure it reduced to the proper levels. He was keeping the Helix and other systems running surprisingly well and he felt the surge of pride hit him.
“Are you sure about this?” McKenzie stared at the reports of mutations in the subjects the Centre was experimenting on. “Control over elements, control over molecules, animal like abilities, mental powers.” McKenzie paused. “This doesn’t mean…”
“No. These people had their genetics messed with to create such mutations. You were born with your abilities just like Parker and me.” Jarod reassured her.
“How far back does this research go?” Nemesis asked. She was sitting at the head of the conference room table with her arms resting on the chair’s arms. She looked the picture of control and power.
“My guess is far.” Jarod flipped through the information on the main screen. “Look at some of these researchers. They have been working the same field for decades.”
Michael stood by the window waiting for the first indication that something was up and listening to the others work. He knew dealing with mutants meant the unexpected. He had to wonder who would be sent out here. He had met Adam Kane and knew the man was just that, a man, a genius, but a man. He had met other ‘new mutants’ as Adam had called them, but he wasn’t sure the same people would surface again. He stared towards the trees noticing the wind had picked up. He looked around thinking it was similar to the landing of an aircraft but nothing was visible.
Michael turned to look at the other feeling a twinge of guilt he had lead these mutants to them, but knew dealing with the mutants would be easier with Adam’s people involved. He turned from the window and walked across the room. He turned to Nemesis who suddenly took an interest in Michael’s actions. “I have something to take care of.”
Nemesis nodded and returned to the others.
The Double Helix set down on the estate where a large mansion loomed. Brennan looked out the Helix’s window at the house they had set down in front of. “Who are these people?”
Lexa had moved to the front of the Helix to look out. “I don’t know but I have a bad feeling about this. Something tells me we’re expected.”
Jesse’s hands flew over the computer. “I’m not getting any heat signatures from inside the house or the property.”
“Not possible, Jes, I can smell them.” Shalimar stalked around in the Helix. “They’re definitely there.”
“Why aren’t the sensor’s working, Jesse?” Lexa questioned.
“They are. Look.” Jesse showed them the screen of the surrounding area. All four of their signatures were showing up on the screen but nothing from the house of the property registered.
Lexa nodded her head. “They’re blocking it.”
“What?” Brennan looked puzzled and upset. “How is that possible? They don’t even know we’re here.”
“Maybe they aren’t keeping us out, but rather anyone who would try to look into there backyard, so to speak.” Jesse turned to all of them.
“So are we doing this or not?” Shalimar was pacing but stopped to stare at them.
“Let’s do it.” Brennan got to his feet and went back to open the rear hatch.