X5 Son # 2: Scattered Pictures

[March 2002]

Fandom: Dark Angel
Title: X5 Son # 2: Scattered Pictures
PenName: Empress Vader
Character(s): Zack, Jondy, Case, Charlie
Rating: PG
Summary: Continuing the journey started in X5 son #1, Jondy and company arrive at the Ranch and begin deprogramming Zack. But Jondy quickly discovers Zack isn’t the only one who has to deal with burried memories.
Disclaimer: This story is a fanwork based on characters featured on the TV series Dark Angel. A television series created by James Cameron and Charles H. Eglee.

Zack came to her rescue, as usual. He pulled her out of the shelter just in time to protect her identity, but Zack was the reason she was in a shelter.

That wasn’t true, they shared the blame. She could still hear Zack.

“I’m the oldest,” he said “I’m always suppose to be in control.”

“You didn’t do this alone,” she told him, but she could tell he didn’t believe it.

He’d handed her a stolen car and an address, with little explanation as to where the car came from and the destination to which she was now heading. As she drove in the stolen car, Jondy wondered if she would be in this situation if not for that wonderful gift of her cat DNA — her heat cycle had appeared. She was young and didn’t really know how to deal with it yet, if there was ever a way to deal with it. If normal girls thought puberty was a hassle for them, they should try a little cat DNA. There were no counselors to talk to about that sort of thing.

There had been a time she blamed Zack for letting it happen. Then she realized it wasn’t his fault, he hadn’t been alone in that room. So she blamed herself for losing control. And then it didn’t matter. She felt the baby move inside of her and knew his life was more precious than anything she’d previously done. At this point, she just wanted to protect her child.

She found the shelter. She stole the name of a child who died in infancy, Susan Benson, by perusing a graveyard. However, the barcode was still there. The barcode would always be there. And the shelter recorded identifying marks, so she had to leave it, Susan Benson, and any hopes of continuing prenatal care behind. She would always be different and so would her child, but he at least wouldn’t carry the mark of Manticore.

She reached the address on the paper Zack had left in the glove compartment. A girl came to the door as she stepped out the car. Must have been waiting for her. The girl was about 18.

“Hello,” she said in an accent distinctly British. “I’m Elizabeth. You must be Marci. Jake told me all about you.”

“Yeah, I’m Marci,” Jondy replied playing along.

“So your the other one he got pregnant? Come in,” Elizabeth said.

She came in.

“What is this place?” Jondy asked.

“My parents summer home,” Elizabeth replied.

‘Summer home’ Jondy thought. That meant there were other homes and money to pay for other homes.

“I know only a little bit about you,” Marci said. “Jake says you both made a mistake, that up until now and even now you’ve been like a little sister.

He grew up with you. Says you were drunk when it happened. It’s not that I don’t trust him, but I know sometimes with older guys and young girls–”

“He’s not lying,” Jondy quickly said. “We didn’t intended, we were never, like that.”

“Oh, it’s just that your obviously younger than him, I know he’s younger than me, but it’s different.”

Jondy rolled her eyes, she was sick of hearing the about how young she was and how sad it was she was in this situation.

“You seem to know more about me than I know about you,” Jondy said.

“How much do you know?”

“Well up until you told me I was the ‘other one’ he got pregnant, nothing.”

“Oh,” Elizabeth said. “Well, Zack and I had a short little romance. I was attracted to him against my better judgment. You got to love that dark intensity all wrapped in that little handsome blond surfer boy. Before I really got a chance to know him, he was gone. I knew it was better that way.” Elizabeth sighed and stared down at the floor. “William David Watson was born 3 months ago and he died 3 months ago, he was Jake’s son. Have you named you child?”

“I was thinking about Zackary.”

“Zack? What a horrid common name,” Elizabeth replied.

At that moment, Zack came through the front door. He walked straight to Jondy.

“You okay?”

“I’m always okay, is it done?” the girl asked.

“I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t taken care of,” Zack replied. He finally turned to Elizabeth. “Thanks for helping,” Zack said.

“No problem,” Elizabeth said. “You two have had a hard life at the hands of your abusive foster parents. I’m glad to help.”

“We need to talk alone,” Jake said. “So I hope you’ll excuse us for a minute.”

He nodded toward the back door. Jondy followed. She couldn’t wait to get him alone. They stepped on the porch alone.

“What the hell is going on Zack?!” Jondy yelled. “How many children do you have?”

“ONE!!” Zack yelled. “The one you are carrying if it lives.”

“He not it. The doctor says your having a son. Or should I say another son?”

“The child didn’t live. I have only one son.”

“It was a he, William.”

Zack turned away in silence. It suddenly occurred to her that it might be easier if the boy didn’t have a name.

“Since your so quick to defense Elizabeth’s son’s name,” Zack began. “I’m hoping you’ll do something, give her your child.”

“What?!” Jondy yelled.

“It’s for his own good,” Zack argued. “What are we going to do with a baby besides get him and ourselves killed.”

“I’ll protect him,” Jondy said. “He’s mine.”

“He’s not a toy Jondy. We can’t put him away and pull him out later. This is what’s best for him.”

“What do you know? You’re not carrying this child,” Jondy argued. “He’s mine. You think Elizabeth’s what’s best for him? I would die for him, would she?” Tears that she tried to resist broke from Jondy’s eyes.

“And what if you do die Jondy?” Zack asked. “You die fighting for him and they win. They get the child. What do you think they’ll do with a child who has two X5 parents? You think they’ll let him live, find him a good home? No, he’ll become there lab rat. Give him to Elizabeth and it will at least buy us time. The world will think he’s normal.”

“And what if he’s not normal?” Jondy asked.

“We’ll cross that road when we arrive,” Zack said. “But until then, there’s no need to make him the hunted, to make him one of us.”

“What if he hates us for giving him up?”

“If he lives, does it matter,” Zack said. “Sometimes you have to risk not being liked, even losing someone forever, to make things right. If it’s one thing I learned, the world isn’t neat or nice. The world doesn’t care about us, if we die, if he dies, the world goes on. It’s not going to stop or change just for us. So it’s all the more important that we do what’s best for each other, no matter what the price.”

Zack walked up to Jondy and put a hand on her shoulder. “I’m sorry that it’s come down to this.”

“No you’re not,” Jondy replied. The tears fell even more quickly down her cheeks. “You’re not sorry at all. You don’t want to be a father.”

“It doesn’t matter what I want!” Zack yelled. “It doesn’t matter what you want. Don’t you see that?”

Jondy turned away. She wanted to hate Zack, argue with him, but he was right and she knew it. What would she do with a baby? She lived from day to day never knowing where her next meal was coming from, some nights she didn’t even have a place to lay her head — not that she always needed one.

Settling down was a huge risk, one she couldn’t take. And settling down with Zack to raise a baby just wasn’t going to happen in this Universe. And it wasn’t that Zack was irresponsible, if anything he tried to hard, so she couldn’t blame him. The problem with Zack was that for all his common sense, he didn’t understand what he was asking of her. He didn’t understand the bond she had with this child already.

“Jondy say something,” Zack said.

“I love him,” Jondy said. “But you wouldn’t understand that.”

Zack scoffed. “Fine, if that’s what you want to believe. But if you love him, give him a chance.” Zack waited a minute for a response. “Please Jondy.”

It was the first time she could remember Zack saying please. It wasn’t an order for once.

“She can have him,” Jondy conceded.

Zack approached her, but she ducked away and walked in the house.


8 years later

Jondy could see the excitement in her son’s eyes as they approached the ranch. Her son, she didn’t know when she allowed herself to think of him that way. Maybe she honestly had ALWAYS thought of him that way. He hadn’t even suspected his mother could be someone else and she’d stayed away for that very reason. He had a mother that wasn’t her.

She couldn’t help being proud of him though. His leadership qualities. She was most impressed by the bond between her son and Tinga’s son. They were like true brothers. She loved seeing them together, it reminded her of the good times she had had with the others as a child, despite the nightmare that was her childhood.

Charlie wasn’t too happy to learn Colin was Zack’s son. It was He had never been to fond of Zack, but he saw that his son was in need of a friend who understood him and Colin was that child. Elizabeth was hoping for the best out of this trip. Jondy wanted to thank Elizabeth for the job she did with Colin, but she never quite got the words out. A long time ago, thier had been a silient annamosity. Between the two of them, they’d barely said a word about Colin’s biological heritage. It was easier just to see Colin as Elizabeth’s son after that moment of giving him up. Since Jondy had stepped back into there lives, she and Jondy had found a way to get along, because they both loved Colin. And Elizabeth was no longer the spoiled rich girl she had been when she met Zack nine years ago.

Jondy pulled the boys to the side. She had almost forgotten to inform them of one small detail.

“Case, Colin, I know before now I pretty much let you use Jake, Penny, and Marci because those are the names you knew, but it’s important to use real names now, we don’t want to confuse Zack. He’s Zack, I’m Jondy, your mother is Tinga.”

“Okay,” the boys said together.

“But, I’ve always called him Jake,” Colin said. “Won’t it be easier for him to remember me if I use that name.”

“It’s not about Jake remembering you,” Jondy told him. “it’s about him remembering himself. You understand?”

“Okay Marci,” Colin said. “I mean Jondy. Thanks by the way.”

“For what?”

‘For helping me get my father back. For keeping me and Case together.”

“That wasn’t all my doing.”

“You did enough,” Colin replied. He threw his arms around her and hugged her. She saw Elizabeth watching them with a sad look in her eyes. There was a time she resented this woman for taking her child, but that time had long since passed.

Jondy caught sight of a woman approaching them. It was there contact they supposed.

“Hi, I’m Mary, Buddy’s sister,” the woman said. “And I assume you’re here to see Adam.”

“Yes,” Jondy said. “I’m Jondy. That’s his son Colin, his nephew, Case, Case’s father, Charlie, and Elizabeth.” She had never had a problem saying it before, but somehow she couldn’t get out that Elizabeth was Colin’s mother. Now that she had said the truth out loud to Max, it became even harder to repeat the lie.

“Is Colin yours?” the woman asked Jondy.

“No, he belongs to me,” Elizabeth replied.

“Well, I guess it’s time to go to the ranch. He doesn’t know you’re coming.” Mary said. She wasn’t to happy about their arrival, that much was apparent. “Are you sure you want to do this? Adam’s very sweet and everyone loves him. There’s no need to disrupt his life.”

“But he’s not Adam,” Jondy said. “He’s Zack and he needs to know that, for his own good. He can’t live a lie. And his son needs him.”

“Maybe we could –” Mary began.

“No more lies,” Jondy said.

“Zack,” Mary said just to hear herself say it. “I’m so use to calling him Adam, don’t know how I’ll adjust.”


Adam was a bit apprehensive about being summoned into Buddy’s office. Had he done something wrong? His best guess was that there was trouble with the last delivery, but it had been checked and double checked. Despite Mr. Rubin’s complaints, he had not been short changed. And Roke said Mr. Rubin ALWAYS claimed he was short changed.

Adam opened the door to the office and was surprised to see Buddy wasn’t waiting alone. There were 5 people in the room, three adults, two male children. The youngest boy obviousLY belonged to the one adult male in the room. Body language made that clear. The older boy was sitting calmly between the two women. None of them had heard him enter. Suddenly the older boy turned as if he sensed him.

“Dad!” the boy yelled as he got up, knocking down the chair he was sitting in.

The rest of the group turned to look at him as the boy jumped out of his seat. He ran toward Adam and Adam caught him.

“I thought I would never see you again,” the child said hugging him tightly.

He looked down at the child. He didn’t know him, but he did know him. His eyes, that face. Then he realized he was seeing himself. He had a son? Why didn’t anyone mention him before?

“Your my son?” Adam asked him.

“It’s me Zack, it’s Colin,” Colin said.

“Zack,” he questioned. “I’m not Zack”

“Colin,” the younger woman said coming over to them. “Give him some space.”

Adam looked at the woman and smiled. One of those boyish smiles that made him look just like Colin.

“I know you,” he said to the woman.

“Yes, you do. I’m Jondy,” she said. “We grew up together.”

“That’s a pretty name,” Zack said. “It’s different.”

Jondy smiled unintentionally. A compliment from Zack was highly unlikely. Except he wasn’t Zack, right now he believed he was Adam. He’d begun a whole new life as Adam. Zack touched her face. He was gentle, his touch different. She was looking at Zack, but it wasn’t Zack.

“Jondy,” Elizabeth said, pulling her attention away from Zack.

The first thing Jondy noticed was a very sad Case. He’d sat there and watched Colin reclaim his father, a chance he would never have with his mother. He looked up as Zack approached him.

“And you are?” he asked the boy.

“Case,” he stated. “And this is my dad.”

“Charlie,” Charlie said introducing himself.

Zack put out a hand. Charlie was a little reluctant to shake the hand that had once been around his neck, but he shook anyway.

“Case is your nephew,” Colin said. “Don’t you remember him?”

“Colin, he isn’t going to remember in a day,” Jondy told the boy. He had obviously believed seeing them would be enough to trigger all memories.

“And you are?” he asked Elizabeth.

“Elizabeth,” she said. “I’m your son’s mother.”

Jondy noticed she didn’t say Colin’s mother. She didn’t know when an issue that had once been so black and white, became gray. Maybe it always was gray.

“I know you, I don’t remember you, but I know you,” Adam said. “Why are calling me Zack?”

“It’s your name, but you’ve forgotten it. We’re here to help you remember,” Jondy said. “You’re not Adam Tompson, you never were.”

Adam looked at Jondy, perplexed. He had a license, papers, a social security number and all of them said Adam Tompson.

“Zack can I ask you a question?” Jondy said.

“What?” he replied.

“What’s the square root of 24336?”

“156, why?”

“How many people do you think know that off the top of their head?”

He thought about it a minute. “Are you saying I’m some kind of prodigy?”

“More than that,” Jondy said. “But I don’t want to force anything on you. This is enough for now.”

“You confuse me and it’s enough?!” he asked in a tone reminiscent of the old Zack.

“It will come, in it’s own time,” Jondy said. “Trust me.”

He looked at her, studied her face, and somewhere inside trusting her felt right.

“Okay,” he replied.

When the entourage first arrived, Mary and Buddy were a little nervous and jumpy around them. That changed by dinner, which they ate with Mary and Buddy in the main house. “Adam” usually ate with the seven or so other hired hands. Dinner eased the tension with Mary and Buddy who were quickly amused by the children going on and on with little stories from school and their adventures in growing up. There adult counterparts said very little, including Adam who picked at his food instead of eating it.

Jondy watched him from across the table hardly believing that he was Zack. It was amazing how a person’s behavior could make them seem so different. Zack always seemed like he was running on his last bit of energy, plotting, planning, at the end of his rope. Adam seemed much more mellow, even as he sat there confused. He studied the people at the table, Elizabeth, Charlie, Case, Colin, herself — willing a memory to appear, she guessed.

“Not hungry Adam?” Mary asked. “You’re usually a hardy eater.”

“Am I?” he asked Jondy. “Is Zack a hardy eater?”

The table activity froze waiting for a reply from Jondy.

“Yes Zack,” Jondy replied. “Most of us are.”

“Us?” he questioned. “Who’s us?”

Jondy didn’t know what explanation to make at this moment.

“Dad, you’re an X–” Colin began.

“Stop,” Jondy quickly yelled.

“I’m an ex? Ex what? Ex con?”

“No,” Jondy replied. In a way he was, he had been arrested before and escaped. “For now, let’s say you’re ex-military.”

“Did I go AWOL?”

“In a way,” Jondy replied. “But you were in the right.”

“Can you give me a straight answer?”

“I don’t want to put to much on you. I want to let it come to you.”

“You came to me,” he yelled. “To give me my memories so talk to me.”

“I don’t want to give you my memories, I want you to get your own back.”

He got up from the table and walked out the door. These kind of reactions actually gave her hope that Zack was still in there somewhere. Colin started to get up and follow him.

“No,” Jondy told him. “He needs space, let him have it. We’re not going to get him back in a day.”

The meal was finished in silence.

Night came before they knew it. Mary volunteered to settle the boys in, showing them where they would be sleeping. Charlie and Buddy bonded over evening drinks. That left Jondy and Elizabeth sitting alone in silence on the porch.

“How long are you going to play this game?” Elizabeth suddenly asked.

“What game?” Jondy asked.

“How long are we going to pretend Colin belongs to me?” Elizabeth asked. “He’s not my son, he’s yours, it’s becoming more and more clear everyday that he needs more than me. I love him to death, but he wasn’t complete until you came back into his life. For a long time I didn’t want to admit it, but now you’re all back together. Yourself, Zack, and–”

“We’re not back together. He’s your son,” Jondy stated. “I gave birth to him, that’s all.”

“He knows he’s special now,” Elizabeth said. “He just doesn’t know how special.”

“All children are special.”

“Not like him and you know exactly what I’m talking about,” Elizabeth said.

“What if Zack remembers that you gave birth to him, not me.”

“I’ve thought about that,” Jondy said. “I don’t want to lie to him. He’s been lied to and deceived enough, but it’s hard enough for me to admit what happened to myself, how could I explain it to Colin?”

“You’ll find the words,” Elizabeth said.

“I don’t want to ruin him,” Jondy said. “I’m glad you raised him. I’m glad he only sees the positives of whatever he inherited from me and his father.

They were a wonderful surprise for him, instead of a burden. I’m still sorry I missed all of his first, that I wasn’t there to patch his knees and read him bed time stories, but his survial was worth me losing him. I didn’t want him to die because of me. I would die for him as Tinga did for Case, but she almost died for nothing. If it wasn’t for Zack and my sister, they’d have Case anyway. I don’t want that to ever happen to Colin.” Jondy tried to fight the tear falling down her cheek. “And Zack and I were never together, some days I almost hate Zack for ever giving me this burden. I don’t want to blame him, I know it’s not just his fault, but in my mind I still blame him sometimes. ”

“Let’s be honest Jondy,” Elizabeth said. “The problem is you love him too much.”

“We all love Zack,” Jondy said. “He’s the reason we’re out here and not in there.”

“I’m jot talking about the ‘we’ that makes up your little group,” Elizabeth said. “We he walked in, your eyes lit up like Colin’s. When he touched you you could have melted right there.”

“He’s my brother,” Jondy said.

“No, the second he became the father of your child, you’re relationship changed. He’s your son’s father.”

“I don’t have a son Elizabeth. You have a son, we’re not going to change it.”

Elizabeth started to say something more, but then she saw someone approaching from a distance.

“Zack,” Jondy said.

“I better go tuck Colin in,” Elizabeth said getting up a going inside. “I don’t believe I’ll have the opportunity much longer.”

Jondy started to reply, but realized Zack was close and Elizabeth had already disappeared. Zack sat down beside her and looked up at the sky. He seemed to be studying the stars.

“Jondy,” Zack said. “Were we abused?”

“Why do you ask?”

“I remember you — just a flash of your face — you were younger — but I know it’s you,” Zack said. “You were sad, you were hurt. I hear things sometimes in my head, like memories. I can’t hold on to the images. I remember yelling, the sound of stomping or marching. And I feel this sadness and lost. Today I got an image, an image of little children dressed like soldiers as soon as you said ex-military.”

Jondy smiled, he was remembering.

“To answer your questioned,” Jondy began. “Yes we were abused. Do you know about the mark on the back of your neck?”

“The tattoo?” Zack asked perplexed. “Mary said I was drunk one night and–”

“No, that’s not true. You were born with that mark or should I say designed with it. You didn’t chose the military, you were born into it, a secret military of genetically engineered soldiers.”

“What?” He said shocked. “You have to be kidding.”

“Haven’t you ever done something you couldn’t explain?”

“This can’t–you can’t–we can’t be”

“We escaped from our captors, our creators. We ran, you were our leader that night, you were our leader most of the time when we were little.”

“So there are more, more barcode people like us?”

“Originally, you helped 12 of us. There are more out there now, confused, trying to figure the world out as we did. Some as young as we were, some older, some barely resembling anything human, but sentient beings just the same.”

He looked horrified by what he was hearing.

“I’m sorry you were lied to and came to believe things that aren’t true,” Jondy said. “It was probably easier not to know. I will answer any question you ask me from this moment on. However, I don’t want to give you memories, I want you to find them on your own, it’s important.”

He nodded.

“Jondy?” he said


“If I had a nephew, that means I have a sister, where is she?”

“Case’s mother is gone, forever. Her name was Tinga,” Jondy replied softly. “I’m sorry.”

“Was she my only sister?”

“No,” Jondy replied.

She didn’t have a further explanation of her family at the moment. The puzzled look on his face told Jondy he was struggling for memories. Then the effort faded.

“Any more questions?” Jondy asked.

“Only one,” Zack replied. “Will you sit here with me tonight?”


“I like being close to you Jondy,” Zack said. “We were close before?”

“We all were,” Jondy replied.

He just sat in silence staring up at the sky. Jondy didn’t know how to measure this man against the man she knew as Zack. Had he completely rewritten himself as Adam or was this just a buried part of Zack. They sat together all night, satisfied being together again.


About 8 years Ago

Zack heard the cries of his son a sighed a sigh of relief, nothing had been more devastating than looking at the lifeless small body of a baby. He hadn’t asked for this baby, but he willed him to live. However the tears of the baby only made Jondy cry as she turned her face toward the pillow, refusing contact with the child. The midwife took the baby and cleaned him and wrapped him, then offered again to allow his mother to see and hold him, but she continually refused.

Zack took his son from the midwife and told her to go. As the midwife went to see Elizabeth for payment, he examined his son’s fingers, his toes, and marveled at the amazing little being he was. He’d never been so afraid, never been so responsible for something so helpless. Even his siblings had always been able to hold thier own, but this baby was so delicate. The once noisey baby lay there in silence sleeping.

He was a father! Zack tried to dismiss the overwhelming truth of it, but he couldn’t. He had created this life, he had made something real, something he had to protect. He didn’t regret his decision, he couldn’t have a family, but he could protect his son.

“Jondy,” Zack said. “Please look at him.”

“Take him to his mother,” she said through gritted teeth.

“You are his mother,” Zack said.

“No, I’m not,” she replied. “If you’re going to take him, take him.”

If? He realized then she was giving him a chance to change his mind. He couldn’t change his mind. He wanted her to see him, to see the life she was saving, to understand what he understood. She wasn’t giving him up, she was giving him a chance.

“Take him away!!” she yelled.

“Do you want to at least name him?” Zack asked.

“What’s the point?” Jondy replied.

Zack left the room with the crying baby. Elizabeth met him outside the room.

“He’s so handsome,” Elizabeth said as she looked at him the first time. “Just like you Jake. Just like William.”

“He’s like her,” Zack said. “Like his mother, strong, a survivor.”

“What’s his name?” Elizabeth asked.

“He doesn’t have one,” Zack said. He kissed the little boy’s forehead and reluctantly handed him over. “You name him.”

“His mother should name him.”

“His mother doesn’t even want to look at him,” Zack told her. “You’re his mother now, stop thinking anything else.”

“I may not be worldly Jake, but I’m not stupid,” Elizabeth said. “There’s more to you and Marci than you’re telling me Jake. What are you running away from?”

“Let’s just say, family isn’t an option for us.” Zack took a final look at his son. “I’ll be gone by morning. Jondy will leave when she’s ready. Forget you knew us.”

Zack went back into the room where Jondy had given his child life and saw her asleep. She was worn out, really asleep after the emotionally and physically stressful birth.

“I had to do it Jondy. For you, for him, for all of us,” he whispered. “I’m sorry.”

He stared at her for a moment and wanted to kiss her forehead. He resisted the urge to do so. He had to get away, far away from here today.


It had been eight years since that day and now they were all pushed back together on this ranch. Elizabeth sat by Colin’s bedside with that day fresh in her mind. She’d understood so little about the events that had pulled her into this family circle. Case and Colin laid on opposite ends of the bedroom, both the second generation creations of whatever there parents were. She sometimes called them “Human Plus”.

‘I guess it’s just you and me little one,’ she’d said to Colin in there first moment alone.

“Jake” and “Marci” were gone before she knew it and in the beginning there was only joy. She had plenty of baby clothes bought for William and she gave them to Colin ( a name she’d chosen because from a long lost cousin who bore the name). She’d slipped and called him Wlliam a few times. In the beginning it was always about William, if William would have crawled, spoke, began to say mommy at the same time Colin did and then Colin outgrew

Williams clothes. Colin became a boy, not a baby and she began to see she was wrong to try to make him her replacement son. Colin was Colin, William’s brother who lived, not his replacement.

They were okay until she ran out of money. Unhappy with the illegitimate pregnancy she had been cut off from her family. What cash she did have access to began to run out. At the end of the line with a small child, Jake appeared like a guardian angel and helped her get by. She got a job, but it was the money Jake supplied on his visits, in which contact with the child was never intended, that helped them survive the rough days. Colin had always understood his connection to Jake, that he was more.

Colin was six when she got full disclosure. Zack came to her with train tickets and ordered her to move. She didn’t understand and he refused to explain until she refused to move. He told her he would tell her if she left with him right then and he held true to his word. It was hard looking at Colin after that, he was suddenly more than the accidental child of two reckless teenagers. Every advancement he made ahead of schedule caught her eye. She loved him to much to leave him, no matter how dangerous it was to become a part of the X-circle, so she dealt with it, kept a low profile, lived by Jake/Zack rules.

Then Zack came to her saying there was another child like Colin, or at least half like him. A child who had almost been taken. He told her that he need to be more secure about there safety, that an X5 who would watch over them both in the new location. She was surprised to find out that guardian was Marci, who explained that her true name was Jondy. She had established herself as a self defense instructor at a local community center and Elizabeth sent Colin to her because it was time and she knew it. And as the bright boy always did, he slowly tracked down the truth, the connection, the reason he and this other boy had been pushed together. But he hadn’t figured out the final piece. Still, Elizabeth felt it would come and come soon. She accepted she would lose him ever since Marci reappeared in her life. She’d lost a son, so she wouldn’t steal one from his true mother. It was enough to have shared a part of his life.


The next night found Jondy and Zack together again on the porch. It had been a long day, Zack had spent most of it with Colin just trying to remember himself. Colin had slipped and called him Jake a few times and when the boy explained why he’d called him that name Zack wondered, if Zack was indeed his real name, why he would tell his son otherwise?

He’d spent time with Colin’s mother. Elizabeth seemed more like a good friend than a passionate love of the past. Perhaps that was why they hadn’t worked out. Jondy felt different, she felt like she belonged by his side whenever she was there. She was obviously reluctant to talk about them personally so he didn’t say such things in front of her. There was a connection, he just didn’t know what it was yet.

“You tired?” Jondy asked.

“Not anymore. When I first got here, seemed like I wanted to sleep forever. Then one day, I didn’t need sleep. Days were easy, not stressful, but I slept because other’s did. Then I stopped, I had all the sleep I needed for awhile.”

“Max and I were lucky. We can pretty much give up sleeping and be okay,” Jondy said. “I think I was always a bit more of an insomniac.”

“Max?” Zack asked. “She’s one of us.”

“Don’t think about her to much. I don’t really think your ready to deal with that part of your memory yet. ”


“Let’s just say issues with her landed you here.”

Zack looked at her confused, wanting to ask more, not sure if he’d get a straight answer.

“Let’s try an exercise,” Jondy said.

“Okay,” Zack agreed.

“Manticore taught us to live by numbers, maybe it will help. I’m going to say a set of numbers and I want you to say the first name that comes to mind when I’m finished. If no name comes to mind, say so.”



“Zack,” he replied quickly. “That’s me?”

She nodded. “Right, this might work.”

She lifted up her hair and turned to show him her barcode. He stared at it for awhile then reached up to run a hand across it as he recited her numbers. His touch sent a shiver up her spine.

“Jondy,” he said almost in a whisper as the numbers were done. She nearly melted.

His touch was so gentle now, he was so gentle now. She shook thoughts of him from her mind, she didn’t have time to act like a stupid school girl. She dropped her hair back down and turned away from his hand. She then focused on reciting another set of numbers.

“Jack,” he quickly replied. The he saw a flash, like a snapshot. “Something happened to Jack.”

She nodded. “Another day we’ll talk about it.” She recited another set of numbers.


Another set.


Jondy spent most of the night going through every set of X-series numbers she could remember, everyone except Max — the memory she was afraid to trigger. The numbers sparked names easily, but only seemed to create a snapshot of memory sometimes. After she was out of barcode number sequences, he asked her for details on some of the flashes he had seen. She willingly explained with basic facts. They spent the night talking and before they knew it, it was morning again.

They came to spend a thousand nights like this, playing memory recall, talking, sometimes just sitting quietly together.

As life sometimes does, it became routine on the Ranch. During the day Zack worked. Jondy tutored the boys — continued the martial arts training (she even sometimes helped with labor), Elizabeth took care of the boys basic essentials, helped out with household chores. Since he was there, Charlie also took up Ranch work.

Before they knew it, they became a part of the Ranch and the little community that made it up. Outside the ranch, most people still called Zack

Adam and when they asked why the others called him Zack, they replied that it was his middle name (Adam Zackary).

How it happened, neither Jondy or Elizabeth knew, but Charlie and Zack were invited on a fishing trip with there sons and came back friends. Charlie had never been fond of the man who could (and nearly did) crush his throat with one hand, but the father-son bonding changed all that. It made it easier on the boys. They began to act like one family unit. They had there disagreements, but life became easy and settled.

Too easy, too settled. Jondy didn’t want to feel at home and she didn’t want to get to comfortable with the idea of herself and Colin living in the same home as immediate family. Where the months went, Jondy didn’t know. Jondy was just waiting for the disaster that was sure to come.

Her nightly talks with Zack had made him come to some very basic understandings about who he was and where he came from. She almost forgot sometimes he was still in the process of remembering until he greeted her with a “who” or “what”. He had his moments of both pain and laughs as he regained memories. Yet he seemed to keep Adam’s easy approach to life and she was drawn to it even as she fought it. And as much as she loved the “new Zack”, she couldn’t help wanting the “old Zack” back. She wanted to know he was whole again.

Five months had passed when SHE called. Jondy was teaching a new combination to the boys when Mary called her over to the main house. She didn’t know who would call her here, so her first reaction was fear. When she heard Max’s voice it changed to panic.

“Jondy, is that you?” her sisters voice said over the phone. “I would have called before, but I didn’t.”

“Why are you calling now?”

“I want to know how he is, how you are. I’m thinking of coming down to–”

“Don’t,” Jondy said. “He doesn’t need the stress.”

“But Jondy–”

“Stay away Max!!” Jondy yelled.

“He’s my brother too.”

“That didn’t matter when he was broken,” Jondy said. “Colin has his father, just like he wanted. Me and him are still working through things. It’s not the right time. The last thing he needs is to see is you. I can’t let you be the reason we lose him again. Good-bye Max.”

Jondy hung up the phone and turned to see Zack standing there.

“That was Max?” he asked.

“Yes,” she said.

“You should have let me speak to her.”

“You and Max have bad history.”

“You were protecting me?” Zack asked confused.

“When you two get together bad things happen,” Jondy said.

“How together were Max and me?”

“Why?” Jondy asked. “Do you remember something?”

“No,” Zack said.

“Well, I’m remembering something,” Jondy said. “You promised the boys pizza.”

“I did,” he replied, obviously allowing her to get away with changing the subject.

He left. Jondy waited twenty minutes, walked out the door, and started running. She needed to run for a little while.

When Jondy returned, night had come. She expected to find Zack in his usual spot, when he wasn’t there she figured he decided to pursue sleep. She went inside to check on the boys, expecting to find them sleep in there room. Instead, they were both sitting up in there bed listening to Zack. She stood in the door, silently watching the interaction between the children and the man.

“And what do you remember about Jondy?” Colin asked. “Was she a good solider?”

“I remember Jondy as always being into something,” Zack said with a smile. “I remember once she broke out, she was only four. She didn’t break out of Manticore, just our room. She found a way to jimmy the lock open in the barracks. She didn’t do it in one night, but she just fooled with it and fooled with it, until she got it open. I don’t know what she got into out there, but for over a year they didn’t even know she could get out at night. When they found out, they got more sophisticated locks. Jondy was kind of determined like that, she’d work on something until she got it to work like she wanted, at least that’s what I remember. You’re kind of like that Colin.”

“Aunt Jondy is great, I wish I was like her.”

“You look up to her?” Zack asked

“Almost as much as I do you,” the boy replied.

“Me too,” Case said.

“I think she’s a good person to look up too,” Zack told them. “I don’t know about me.”

“Dad, you’re a hero,” Colin said. “You saved them. We know the story.”

Zack knew they only knew a fairy tale version of the story.

“If you say so, goodnight boys,” Zack said tucking them in.

“Goodnight Dad”

“Goodnight Zack”

“Night boys,” a voice said from the doorway, they turned to see Jondy.

“Night Jondy,” the boys said together.

Zack turned out the light and joined Jondy in the doorway.

“We were planning Case’s birthday earlier,” Zack told her.

“That’s right, it’s Friday,” Jondy said. “Do you really remember me and the door?”

“One of my happier memories,” he said. “Do you hate me?”

“Why would you ask that?”

“I remember yelling at you for it, even forcing you to leave the door alone once.”

“You were afraid of me getting caught, hurt,” Jondy said. “We were kids, living like brother and sister. Brothers and sisters sometimes fight, disagree. It’s not enough to hate you.”

“Thank you,” he said.

“For what?” Jondy asked.

“Bringing my son to me and helping me,” Zack said. “I always had questions I just thought there were no answers.”

“You don’t have to thank me. I would do anything for Colin.”

“Is he the only reason you came?”

“Of course not,” Jondy replied.

He touched her cheek, making her shiver with his caress. He tilted her chin and kissed her softly, testing her reaction. He was giving her a chance to back away, but a silent fire had been building between them. She didn’t want to run from it or him, she was sick of running. The moment was right, why fight it?

About 6 years ago

As Jondy came to in the office, she tried to remember what truck hit her. Then she remembered that it wasn’t a truck that hit her, it was a girl, a teenage girl who had to have been her age or younger. But this wasn’t just any girl, it was a girl that could take out an X5. A few hours ago the plan had been simple, break in, grab some pocket money, and go. Now here she was, restrained and sitting in a chair.

The asian girl stepped into the room with an older man. He looked over Jondy.

“Who are you?” the man asked.

“That’s none of your concern,” Jondy replied.

“What do you want?”


“Is that why you are here?” he asked.

“Pretty much,” Jondy replied.

“So you steal to eat. What if I offered you the opportunity to eat without stealing?”

“Dad!” the girl said.

“Jade, if this is truly her goal we can help.”

“Yes sir,” Jade conceded reluctantly.

“How do I know you’re not setting me up?”

“You don’t know,” he replied. “You can only trust your feelings about me. If you feel my intentions are bad, you are free to leave.”

She looked at Jade. Nothing stood out about her, how had this seemingly average girl taken down an X5? Then again, she supposed even she could look average. She had to know the secret.

“Okay,” Jondy said. “What do I have to do to eat?”

The man’s name was Mr. Yen, but he was better known as Master Yen. Jondy refused to call him Master, it sounded submissive and she would never go back to that. She washed uniforms and dishes and did some general cleaning for cash plus three meals a day. It was a secure gig with plenty of free time. She spent a lot of time watching Yen’s various classes. In the morning he had a set of serious martial artist, in the evening, there was a class mostly for children, and on Saturday a women’s self defense course.

There were various times throughout the week when he and his teenage daughter worked together. The girl’s whole life and focus seemed to be school and training. Why anyone would chose not to have “free time” scheduled, she didn’t know. Even when she wasn’t working one on one with her father, she was practicing or studying.

Jondy still sought to understand what the girl knew that could take down an X5. So she watched her, watched Jade and Yen together. The studied combinations and imitated them on her free time, but she learned nothing so she went to Master Yen.

“Mr. Yen sir,” she began. “I want to know what Jade knows.”

“Is that a command?”

“No sir,” Jondy replied. “I’m sorry if that’s the way it sounded, sir. It was meant as a request sir.”

“Sir this, sir that, I sense you’ve spent some time in Military school.”

Jondy nearly laughed at that. “I have sir.” Seeing as he was referred to as “Master” by his students, “sir” seemed like the right words to use to show respect.

“That would explain it. Marci, the difference between myself and your Military School is that I don’t see myself as your superior, but your equal.”

“But they call you Master,” Jondy said.

“That is only because I have mastered things they have not. But every student teaches me as I teach them.” Yen leaned back in his seat. “I sense you are a special one Marci, but I fear there is nothing I can teach you. You are much like your Military, to much about calculation and physical power. What you lack isn’t in strength or in here,” Yen pointed to his head. “It’s in here,” Yen continued pointing to his heart. “I sense there are things here you won’t touch in that heart of yours.”

“I’m willing to try,” Jondy replied.

“You were taught to fight to win. To understand what I teach Jade, you would have to let go of that.”

“Isn’t the point of fighting to win?”

“The point is not to fight.” He saw the confusion on Jondy’s face. “When I Jade found you stealing, I watched you fight her. Your goal was to be stronger than her, her goal was to stop you. Jade thinks simply of the most effective way to end the fight, not hurt her opponent. I have watched you study and copy combinations, I have no doubt you could learn them all. What I question, is your ability to get at the heart of it.”

“Is it enough that I’m willing to try?” Jondy asked.

“Maybe,” Yen replied. “Meet Jade and I in the morning out back.”

“Thank you Master Yen,” Jondy replied and bowed as she had seen others do before.

Jondy didn’t know if she bought into what Yen said about the reason Jade defeated her, but she played along. In the morning, she was shocked to find that her first lesson had nothing to do with fighting and everything to do with Meditation. At first it seemed like a silly practice and she played along only to get to the action. She worked during the day and trained with Yen and Jade in the evenings. Pretty soon, meditation became a perfect method of relaxing and coming to peace within herself. But sometimes the quiet of it was difficult, because she thought about all things she wanted to forget. Still, she worked hard day after day.

Working alongside Jade, a friendship was sparked between the two girls. It helped her to pretend she was a normal teenager if she dragged Jade out every once in awhile to sneak into a club or see a movie. Attracting boys was never hard, so playing girlfriend with one for a couple weeks helped to. Alone with herself, it was so much harder to pretend. She understood why Zack had never spoken the stillborn William’s name, it was easier that way. But William was gone from this world, she had to deal with the fact her son was out there somewhere and she didn’t even know his name.

Eventually, who she was had to catch up with her and one December day it did. She and Jade were sparring when Master Yen came in with a young guy. A guy Jondy knew to well.

“Is this her?” Yen asked.

“You know that boy?” Jade asked.

“Yeah, but sometimes I’d like to forget I know him.”

“Thank you for helping me sir,” he said to Yen. “May I talk my sister alone.”

He nodded and left the room, signaling Jade to come along.

“What do you want Zack? Where do I have to go now?”

“Actually, the area seems pretty secure. I just want you to see something.”


“Your son,” he said he said taking a picture out his pocket.

“I don’t want it,” Jondy said turning away and rushing out the door.

She went upstairs to the room Yen let her stay in and flopped down on the fold away bed. Zack followed her shutting the door behind him.

“His name is Colin,” Zack said. “He’s two now. He’s just like every other kid in the rest of the world. He’s safe. Doesn’t that make you happy?”

“Happy? Does it make me happy? No Zack, it make me anything but happy!” Jondy yelled. “I CARRIED HIM ZACK! He was inside of me, a part of my body for nine months. Do you know how much it hurt to have to turn away from him? I just wanted a clean break.”

“I’m sorry.”

“You’re not sorry, why would you be? You got what you wanted, that Elizabeth girl-woman-whatever she is is raising your son. She has your son, I’m alone, just like you wanted.”

“This isn’t what I wanted. I made a mistake, I’m sorry I’m not perfect,” Zack said. “I was just trying to make a wrong right.”

“I don’t expect you to be perfect,” Jondy replied. “We made the best of a bad situation, I understand that, but you can’t seem to understand how much it hurt. He’s two, he’s talking, walking. I’ve missed all these first. I can’t tuck him in at night. I can’t hold him and love him. I don’t care how selfish it sounds, if I can’t have all of him I don’t want a part of him.”

“Jondy,” Zack said. “I don’t know what to say except I’m sorry. This never should have happened.”

“But it did,” Jondy yelled. “And you can’t fix it, stop trying, go away.”

He stood there. Jondy got up and tried to push him out of the door.

“Go,” she yelled again, but Zack, like a wall, wouldn’t move.

She banged her fist against his chest. He didn’t budge he grabbed her arms and held them still. She crumbled, emotionally weak from all the anger and she cried. He didn’t know what to do. He could deal with anger, he never knew quite what to do with tears. Then he kissed her.


That was six years ago, the second time they ended up in bed together. Like the first time, there had been silence after and no good-bye. Tonight had been different, tonight he had loved her. Or loved her body at least and she let him. And they were both adults now, it was a decision made with a clear head. There was no heat cycle, there was no confused Zack trying to comfort her in a moment of pain. And she didn’t regret it this time. Zack wasn’t gone this morning, he was laying in bed beside her, holding her. There was no shame this time, she loved the big guy.

She didn’t know if it had been there all along or if she had come to love him during her stay on the Ranch. Did she loved Zack, or did she love the man he invented as Adam. And either way, what would she do with this feeling? Embrace it or leave it here in this room never to be spoken of again? Jondy crawled out of bed, away from a sleeping Zack. She needed time to think.


Jondy strolled in the door as everyone was sitting down to breakfast. Colin and Zack sat right beside each other talking quietly. Colin had a huge smile on his face. Zack was everything he wanted, his father. He didn’t need a mother, he had one, or so she kept telling herself. How significant could she be if Zack hadn’t bothered to remember she was Colin’s mother.

“Jondy,” Colin said looking up. “Where you been?”

“I went for a walk.”

“Good Morning,” Zack said giving her a warm smile.

“Good morning,” she replied joining the others for breakfast. She had trouble eating, her stomach was jumpy. Why had she given in last night? Why was she fated to do this over and over again with Zack every few years. She was starting to ask herself if there was a plan in all this. Did some force beyond her control want Zack and herself together. No matter how much she wanted to deny it, they were bonded forever, they had a child together.

“Mom,” Colin said.

Jondy’s head snapped to attention and then she realized he was talking to Elizabeth.

“What is is Colin,” Elizabeth said.

“Dad and I are going to be in a father/son competition,” Colin said. “We signed up yesterday.”

“Me and my dad are signed up too,” Case said.

“You know we’re going to win,” Colin said “Dad’s like the man of steal.”

“So what?” Case snapped.

“Whats your problem?”

“My dad, my dad, blah blah blah,” Case said. “My mom was just as special as your dad.”

“I never said she wasn’t,” Colin argued. “What’s wrong with you?”

“Your what’s wrong!” he yelled. “I’m just like you, but you act like you’re better.”

Case broke away from the table and ran up to his room. Charlie got up to follow him and Zack got up also.

“Let me talk to him,” Zack said.

“Why? Cause you are one of them, you understand?” Charlie asked. “Case is my son.”

“I know he’s your son,” Zack said.

“Then let me handle this,” Charlie said. “Every time I turn around these days, there’s someone else who thinks they know what’s better for my child because of a couple gifts he inherrited. I can handle my child.”

“Okay,” Zack said.

Charlie went upstairs.

“I’m sorry,” Colin said. “I didn’t mean to make him sad. What did I do?”

“Colin,” Jondy said. “You didn’t really do anything. He’s been sad for a long time, but he’s been really good at hiding it.”

“Why is he sad?”

“When you started this, you were looking for a father and he was looking for a mother. You got what you wanted, he didn’t.”


Later that day Jondy sat in the living room playing chess with Colin. It was a game she found to be quiet boring, but Colin ad Zack loved it. Like father, like son. Zack entered the room and looked over the boys shoulder.

“Good job,” Zack said to the boy.

“Check mate,” Colin said. “You’re not even trying.”

“I’m bored,” Jondy replied.

Charlie and Case finally came downstairs. They had been up there talking for hours. Colin popped up and ran over to Case.

“I’m sorry,” Colin said.

“It’s okay,” Case replied. “I mean I like your dad, I just miss my mom.”

“Still friends?”

“Best friends,” Case said and the boys embraced.

Jondy smiled to herself. Colin came back over.

“Another game?”

“Play with your father,” Jondy said getting up.

She walked into the kitchen to grab a soda and saw Elizabeth reading a letter. She was just about to walk out when Elizabeth put it down.

“Jondy,” Elizabeth said.

“Yes,” she said turning back around.

“We need to talk,” Elizabeth said.

Elizabeth sat on a stool and Jondy sat down opposite her.

“Your son is very special to me,” Elizabeth said. “I want the best for him.”

“He’s not my son, he’s your s–”

“Please, let me talk,” she interrupted. “I had a son who’s name was William. God took him away. It took me a few years to accept it, but it’s true. I love Colin as much as I ever could have William, but he’s not mine. He feels it, I can tell by the way he responds to you. He needs you now.”

“He only likes me because I’m the fun one,” Jondy said. “You’re his mother, the disciplinarian, not me.”

“You don’t even see how you’ve already become that in some ways. I do,” Elizabeth pointed out. “I have to go. My Aunt, she’s sick and she needs someone to take care of her. I’m not taking Colin with me.”

“You can’t leave him here alone,” Jondy said.

“Alone? His father’s here, his uncle’s here, his cousin’s here,” Elizabeth said. “And you’re here.” She put a hand on Jondy’s shoulder. “And I know about you and Zack.”

“What are you talking about?”

“His bedroom, last night, I saw you leaving it.”

Jondy took a moment to gather her words. “Zack and I did what we did, but he doesn’t even remember I’m Colin’s mother,” Jondy said. “That’s how much it doesn’t matter.”

“Except it does matter,” Elizabeth pointed out. “Colin can’t face the truth if you don’t. You are Colin’s mother, I’m not”

“She’s my what?!” a little voice said.

They turned and saw that Colin was in the room. Jondy cursed herself for allowing the conversation to go this far.

“Is it true?” Colin asked Jondy.

“How much did you hear?” she asked him.

“You’re my mother?” he said looking confused. “Is Zack really my father?”


He turned to Elizabeth.

“And you, who are you?” Colin asked her.

“The woman who raised you?” Elizabeth told him. “The woman who will always love you like a son.”

Colin stood there in silence, contemplating what he just heard.

“So my mom is an X5, just like my dad?”

“Yes,” Jondy said. “But you don’t want to go spreading that around.”

“You ashamed of me?” Colin asked.

“No,” Jondy replied quickly. “But I’ve told you there are people who would hurt you if they knew where you came from. I had to protect you Colin, you were never even suppose to know Zack was your father. The same people that are after me and your father, the same who hurt Tinga and tried to hurt Case, would have been after you if anyone knew. I couldn’t keep you, because I couldn’t take the chance that someone would catch up with me and hurt you or take you back to Manticore and make you a living experiment.”

“You’ve been lying, all this time,” Colin said. “When we came here you said no more lies.”

“I didn’t know how to tell you. I was a young teenage girl when I had you, mostly living off the streets. I was just learning how to take care of myself, I couldn’t take care of you. So your father and I agreed it was for the best if you believed Elizabeth was your mother. If you didn’t know, they couldn’t know, but you found out some things anyway. The thing about a lie like this is, once you’re in it, it’s so hard to get out of.”

“Mom?” Colin questioned turning to Elizabeth. “All this is true?”

“Your dad hasn’t remembered yet,” Elizabeth said. “But it’s true.”

“So you’re not my mom?” Colin said.

“She is,” Jondy said. “In all the ways that count she is your mother.”

“But I want you to get to know your real mother Colin,” Elizabeth said. “There’s no reason not to. You discovered so much, there’s no reason for you not to know. I want you to get to know her as your mother. I’m going to Boston. I have a sick Aunt there, you can stay here.”

“Boston?” Colin questioned. “You can’t go to Boston. You can’t leave me,” he said frantically. “I barely know her.”

“You have to stay,” she said to the boy. “And you do know Jondy. You’re just shocked and scared. She’s scared too.”

“Your scared of me?” Colin asked her.

“I’m scared you won’t forgive me,” Jondy said kneeling in front of him. “I’m scared you won’t understand that all I ever wanted was for you to be safe.”

Colin stared at Jondy for awhile. His mother and he hadn’t even guessed. He had understood there was a connection, but he never imagined. His mother? Somehow he couldn’t look at her and see a mother.

“I understand,” Colin said putting a hand on her shoulder. “I know why you did it, I guess…mom.”

Jondy broke into tears. She hadn’t realized how long she’d been waiting to hear him call her mom. He’d said it just to get use to the word in association with her, he hadn’t expected the tears. She pulled him into her arms and held him, whispering ‘I’m sorry.’ Elizabeth silently stepped out of the room with tears in her eyes.


Colin kept quiet about the knowledge he had gained about his biological mother, so Elizabeth and Jondy kept quiet and let him deal with it. He was distant from Jondy now. He’d let her hold him, but they were no longer as close as they were when he thought she was just some random Transgenic.

She and Zack went on as if they had never made love at all. They talked, but never about there night together. It bothered her, but what bothered her more was Colin’s reaction to her. When Elizabeth left at the end of the week, he cried. Jondy knew, in the end Elizabeth was the mother he knew and loved.

He was silent the whole day after she left. Zack tried to console him, but he preferred being alone. So Zack gave him space. As the days rolled on, Colin began to open up to his father again. Then Case and Charlie, but he avoided Jondy. She let him be, not wanting to play mommy before he was ready to accept her. Still, she worried that day would never come.

Then the day came that Jondy knew, it was happening again. She was tired from simple task, she was eating anything not chained down, and moody. She was pregnant again, or so she guessed. She’d stop sitting with Zack at night, just so she could crawl in bed and rest.

While Charlie and Zack had the boys out for the day she went to the drug store and bought a pregnancy test. She ran home, took the test, and paced the floor. It confirmed her worst fear. She and Zack had produced another child. Another child — she hadn’t even made things right with the first.

Soon after she heard the giggles of a little boy and the sound of voices coming through the front door. It was almost too soon, no it was too soon. She came in to greet him trying to appear as normal as possible. Case was holding a trophy nearly as big as himself.

“Dad and I won Aunt Jondy, we won,” Case said excited.

Jondy was visibly shocked by this announcement. “Really?”

“Colin wasn’t at his best,” Zack said patting his son protectively on the back.

Colin still hadn’t chosen to open up to Charlie and Case about the last truth he had discovered, the one he hadn’t been looking for. They didn’t know that he was dealing with the knowledge that the woman he always believed to be his mother, wasn’t.

“I’m going to bed,” Colin said running to his room.

“I better talk to him about sportsmanship,” Zack said.

“No,” Jondy said. “That’s not the problem. I’ll handle it.” She looked toward his room. “It’s time I took some real responsibility for him.” She turned to Zack. “We need to talk, too — I guess after dinner.”


Mary and Buddy came with big smiles and congratulations to Charlie and Case. They invited them to a cook out they were having outside, Zack declined. Jondy said she had things to do and went up to Colin’s room as Case left with his father. When Jondy reached Colin’s room she found him playing chess against himself.

“Is that fun?” she asked.

“I think so.”

“Like father, like son,” Jondy said sitting in front of him. “We haven’t really talked Colin, since, you know, you found out. We need to talk.”

“I know,” Colin said turning to her. “I know we need to talk, but I don’t know what to say to you.”

“You have any questions?”

“Do you think my mom will ever come back or has she abandoned me too.”

“No one’s abandoned you Colin. We both love you. ”

“Then why did she leave me?” Colin said. “I know that you — but you’re not my mom. I don’t–”

“I don’t know what to do here either, but I think Elizabeth is giving us a chance to figure it out before it’s to late.”

Colin looked away. “If dad doesn’t remember where I came from, if he only knows I’m his son because we told him, does that mean I’m not important enough to remember?”

“No, Colin,” Jondy said.

“But he remembers you, remembers stuff from Manticore. He even remembers a lot of bad stuff. But he didn’t remember where I came from.”

“Colin, you know how I know your dad loves you. Your dad never had to do a thing for you. No one would have stopped him if he left you with Elizabeth and never saw you again. He could have done the easy thing and really walked away and never seen you again, but he stayed in your life Colin. He protected you, your mother, and still protected all of us.”

“And you?” Colin asked. “You walked away. You didn’t want to see me?”

“I wasn’t brave like your dad,” Jondy told him. “He could look at you, know you were okay and move on until the next time he got to see you. I knew if I ever got near you again, I’d never want to be away from you. That’s why I was afraid to look at you. When you were two, your father bought me a picture of you. I didn’t even want to look at that. But even though I was scared, when he left the next morning I picked the picture up off the dresser and looked at you and melted.” Jondy reached for his hands, taking the smaller ones in hers. “I don’t regret anything more than being selfish with you. I wanted all or nothing and ended up with just that, nothing.”

“I want to look at you and see my mother,” Colin said. “I just can’t. It doesn’t feel right, it doesn’t sound right. I’m sorry.”

Jondy didn’t want to tell him it felt right and sounded right to her. “You don’t have to call me mom,” she told him. “You perhaps found more truth than you were looking for, but at least you know the truth.”

“Am I an X5?” the boy asked. “You’re an X5, my father’s an X5. Am I an X5?”

“No, X5s were slaves,” Jondy said. “It’s a manufactures label. You and Case came from the same place as other little boys and girls. You weren’t manufactured. You’re just a little boy. That’s why you’re special, not cause you come from a couple of X5s. Your more than a designers label Colin. You came from love Colin, I love you Colin. I need you to hear that from me and really hear me. I love you.”

Colin stood silent for a moment staring away at his chess pieces. Then he turned back. “I love you. I’m sorry for–”

“You don’t have to be sorry for anything,” Jondy said pulling him close. He hugged her and she hugged him back.


After Dinner, Zack and Jondy met in his room. They had arranged to meet there before hand. Jondy had to many regrets with Colin to waste time with this pregnancy. She hadn’t planned it, but she wouldn’t repeat past mistakes. She had enough regret for a lifetime.

“I suppose you’re ready to talk about what happened between us,” Zack said closing the door.

“We had sex,” Jondy said. “There was nothing to talk about.”

Zack seemed almost hurt by that comment. “If there’s nothing to talk about, why the urgency?” Zack asked.

“Because now there is something to talk about?” Jondy told him.


“Our child,” Jondy said.

“Colin? What about him?”

“No,” Jondy said, “Not Colin I’m pregnant…wait, you remember I’m Colin’s mother?”

“You’re pregnant?!” Zack said shocked. “Damn, I try to do it right and I still screw up.”

“What are you talking about?” Jondy asked. “Have you been lying to me? Have you been lying about how much you remember?”

She looked into his eyes and suddenly saw angry Zack, pissed off Zack, serious Zack. Zack was all there and he had masked it well.

“Everything after the gunshot is blur,” Zack said. “I only half remember pieces of what landed me here. All I know is they did something to me to bring me back. I was protecting you and Colin.”

“Protecting us from you?”

“From the old me,” Zack said. “At first, when you came I only had these flashes, snapshots, moments. Then one day there was a flood a flood of images, sounds, voices, yelling, stomping. I began to remember me.”

“So why would you keep it hidden?”

“Because you liked Adam, you wanted to be around Adam. No one liked Zack, they tolerated Zack. And Adam didn’t fail you!” he yelled. “Zack failed, Zack died, I was hoping Adam had a chance.” Zack sighed. “Zack hurt people.”

“If was Zack was so bad, do you think I’d be here?”

“You’re here for your son, you’ve said so. And the only reason he even wants me is because he doesn’t know it was me that took away his mother.”

“You gave him a mother,” Jondy said. “You were right Zack. If I had kept him, he probably would be dead and so would I. I was the selfish one for wanting all or nothing. You, at least, stayed in his life.”

“You loved him,” Zack said. “And I took him away. I was real good at that, making people’s lives miserable.”

“You gave us a life,” Jondy told him. “Do you realize what we’d be if not for your actions? Killers, slaves.”

“I’m not suppose to be here,” Zack said. “I died, I saw the darkness come and I wasn’t afraid. I thought peace, but there is no peace for me. They made me and they decided that I couldn’t even die when I wanted to. It’s never over, I wanted it over.”

“Maybe it wasn’t there decision that brought you back.”

“Are you talking about God?” Zack asked. “What could he possibly want with me here? Except to torture me. ”

“Maybe there is a reason you’re here. We’re grown Zack, most of us X5s are fine, we know how to protect ourselves. But your son, he needs you,” Jondy said. “And he’s not the only reason I’m here. Any of us would have come for you. I want to be here.”

“Why would you?” Zack said. “I remember what I was, X5 dictator.”

“I’m not going to lie to you, you were C.O. asshole at times,” Jondy told him. “But Zack, you gave so much of your life to our safety, more than anyone ever expected of you.”

“I was a control freak. I made Tinga leave her family, I took your son, I tried to break up Max and Logan. Don’t try to make me feel better, I know I’m a failure. I failed Mace in the end.”

“Mace? He didn’t get out.”

“Yeah,” Zack replied. “They shot Mace in the head the night of the escape. I saw it. It was the second time I failed him.”

“When was the first?”

“He was four. They had 12 of us out there in the woods and he was the youngest. You weren’t there, neither was Max, Ben was. I was only six. It was a simple mission. I had to lead them back to base, that’s all. But Mace got distracted. He followed something, but he found something else. Some thing Manticore made, a mistake I assume, a Nomolie. Luckily I had come looking for him. I found him, scared the thing away. Whatever it was bit into him good. He was crying, I had to carry him on my back. Everyone was afraid then and Ben didn’t help with his monster stories. An X3 found us, bought us back in. Lydecker said I should never abandon a mission for one solider, told me never to abandon the group for the sake of one solider. I was weak he told me, I had to be stronger, had to think, not feel or I would always fail. He was right.”

“You were six Zack,” Jondy told him. “You have to let things like that go. Six year olds shouldn’t be responsible for four year olds.”

“But I was the oldest, I was suppose to be.”

“You were suppose to be six. You were suppose to be in school and playing with video games and trucks. You were the oldest child Zack,” Jondy told him. “You’re not God, you’re not perfect, you were only a little boy, an amazing little boy for what you did, but just a little boy.”

“It was suppose to be over. I wanted it to be over,” he said with a tear falling down his cheek. It was the first time she saw him cry. She known him all her life and it was the first time she’d seen him cry. She held him close his head was laying against her stomach. He didn’t want to cry, she could feel him resisting.

“I’m going to make things right with this one. I promise,” he said.

Jondy realized then, even with his memories, he was still missing parts of himself. He was a little boy again.

“You’re not alone in this Zack,” Jondy said allowing her fingers to comb through his hair. “It’s both of us. I’ve made mistakes to Zack. After you bought me that picture of Colin, I did look at it. There was a baby you never knew about Zack. After we — the second time we — same thing, I got pregnant, I took care of it.”

“You got an abortion?” he asked shocked.

“Yeah,” Jondy said. “I didn’t think anything could hurt worse than losing my son, I was wrong. I can’t go through losing a baby again in any kind of way.”

“I’m sorry,” Zack said again. “I’ll make things right.”

“It’s not just you Zack, it’s not all on you, it’s us.”

She turned his face up towards her. “Say it, it’s us.”

“It’s us,” he said and pulled her face down to his.

He kissed her gently and Jondy knew then that she loved him. When she had begun to love him, she didn’t know. If he loved her, she wouldn’t ask. Zack would never be what he was again. The old Zack had been scattered, the shell of Zack that was Adam had been cracked, and this was what was left.

“Whoa,” a little voice said

“I’m sorry,” another little voice said.

The kiss broke and they turned to see Colin standing the doorway with Case.

“We’ll leave,” Colin said grabbing Case’s hand.

“No,” Jondy said. “We need to talk.”

“You want me to leave?” Case asked.

“You don’t have to,” Jondy told him.

The boys came in the room. Colin had just told Case about Jondy being his mother. Case was shocked, but not surprised. Colin was a little uncomfortable in the room. It was weird seeing his father kissing Jondy when for so long he’d seen him paired with Elizabeth, his mother, in his mind. It was like catching him with the baby sitter. He hoped his feelings toward her would change.

“I told Case,” Colin told them.

“I think it’s great,” Case said.

“Well,” Jondy said. “We have some more news.”

“What?” Colin asked.

“I’m pregnant Colin,” Jondy said. “You’re going to have a sibling.”


Some Months later. . . . . .

Colin sat side by side with his father on the porch watching Case and Charlie put the last of there bags in a car. They were moving again, moving away. Colin hated Charlie for taking Case away. He and Case understood each other.

“You’ll miss him,” Zack stated.

“Yeah,” Colin said.

“I know what it’s like. After the escape, it was never the same,” Zack said. “Some of us were in, some were out. You didn’t wake up knowing they would be there. It was scary.”

“You think he’ll forget me?” Colin said.

“You’ll see each other again,” Zack said. “You’re brothers in the only way that counts.”

“In the heart,” Colin said with a smile, but he wasn’t really happy.

“In the meantime you have a new little sister to amuse you,” Zack said. “You can teach her all about the world.”

“Are you going to tell her what you are, what we are?”

“Only when she can understand.”

Colin saw a car pull up.

“Who’s that?” he asked.

The car stopped. Two women and a man got out.

“Oh no, not her,” Colin said with a bit of anger in his voice.

Zack’s eyes suddenly lit up. Colin looked at him with disgust. He saw Case walk up to her and give her a hug. Zack got up and they approached each other slowly. Colin watched her carefully.

“Zack,” Max said with a smile.

“Max,” he replied and they hugged.

Case walked over to Colin as he watched them.

“You could say hello,” he said.

“I could, but I’m not,” Case said.

Zack looked over at Max’s male companion and studied him intently for a moment.

“Ben?” he questioned. “But you–”

“Yeah,” Max said. “He did, this isn’t Ben, it’s Alec.”

Alec knew that stay in Seattle where they met had been blocked out. Remembering his grip, he was in no rush to remind him.

“Never knew the guy, I just look like him,” Alec told him.

“You escaped after the fire?”

“Yeah,” he replied.

“Original Cindy,” he said. “Nice to see you again.”

“Same here.”

Jondy came out holding a small bundle. Max and friends approached her with Zack. Jondy hugged her sister and then she got a look at the baby.

“She’s gorgeous. My sisters make beautiful babies,” Max said.

“Well Zack had something to do with it,” Jondy replied.

“This is my friend,” Max said introducing the woman beside her. “Original Cindy.”

“The smart one, right?” Jondy asked.

“You said you had to meet her someday,” Max replied.

“You got a little heartbreaker there,” Original Cindy said.

“So does Colin still hate me?” Max asked.

“Colin’s dealing with a lot right now,” Jondy replied. “I’m letting him deal.”

“What happen to I’m not taking my son back and marrying his father.”

“Eva happened,” Jondy said referring to her newborn daughter. “We’re going to try. It’s all anyone can do I guess.”

Max presented Zack with a folder. “It’s all there. All paper work you’ll ever need to be Adam Zackary Tompson and Marci Jondy Tompson, parents of Colin and Eva Tompson.”

“Thanks Max,” Jondy said. “And thank your friend too.”

“We have to go now,” Max said. She turned toward Colin. “Hi Colin,” she yelled. He waved reluctantly.

Max and her companions got back in the vehicle. Jondy watched Zack as he watched Max leave. She wanted to ask him exactly how he felt about her. Then he turned to Jondy, gave her a quick kiss and kissed his daughter on the forehead. Colin observed them all from a distance. How could they all dismiss things so easily? Max had made a mess of all their lives. Charlie walked up to Zack and Jondy and said his good-byes.

“Come on Case,” Charlie said.

They understood he needed time with his son. Plus, it was already arranged, unknown to Charlie, that Case would be protected. However, Case’s new guardian would never interfere unless necessary. Colin watched him go. First the only mother he had ever known, now Case. And what was he left with, an infant and the parents who had thrown him away. He felt as if he had lost more than he had gained.


That night Colin sat by Eva’s crib. He watched her, sleeping peacefully.

“It’s so easy for you,” Colin said. “They kept you. Why did you have to be born?”

He paused for a moment.

“It’s hard enough without ‘Eva is so cute’, ‘We’re gonna make up for all our mistakes with Eva’, ‘Eva makes us a family’. So I wasn’t family enough for them.”

The bitterness in his voice increased every moment.

“They should be making there family with me, not with you. I just got them back, I just found out the truth. And then you show up and everything I had hopes for, goes away. I never got a chance to be her son, I was getting to know her and now she has to take care of you. What’s left for me?”

He got up and stared at Eva.

“That’s okay. I’m strong, just like my father, I can take of myself. I don’t need anyone. Let them dote over little Eva, make it right with Eva. I don’t care.”

Colin went and crawled in his bed and looked over at the empty bed where Case had slept. He changed beds, he wanted to sleep in that one and have that feeling of warmth and familiarity again.


Note about Story Art: I wanted to do an X5 son story art with the post escape Jondy in it. Of course we don’t have an adult Jondy yet, so I simply used a sceencap of Kyley Stahum in something else and manipulated a preteenage Zack (Chris Lazar). The Story art was added on 3/20/2002

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Welcome to RhondaWeasley.com. Dawn is a writer, theatre artist, and film maker. She loves to create and be a part of the creative. This is my webspace playground, for blogging, displaying my work, and general all-around fan fun.
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