AUTHOR'S NOTES:

When I was picking who would be helping Jarod, I wanted people that were personally affected by Jarod's presence Including the unnamed janitor from the season 2 finale. (If anyone knows his name, let me know.)

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Chapter 3 A Call To Arms

Chicago, Illinois

Sitting at his microphone in the radio studio, Neil Roberts stared at the newspaper before him. Even with the message carefully coded, Neil was able to decipher who it was from. Now it was time to help the man who'd helped him. Turning the microphone back on, Neil tried to think of how to sound the 'call to arms' without giving a heads-up to the PTBs that were after Jarod. "Welcome back, folks," Neil said, trying to sound like his usual self. "If you're a regular of this program you know about my friend, The Middleman. And even if you don't know him by that name, you might know him as a man who helps those who have been hurt by the Powers That Be. Well, now he needs help…."

--

Los Angeles, California

Although Isaac Dexter preferred the play the blues in his car, flipping through the stations he came across a talk station and paused for a moment before reaching to change the station. "Jarod helped me with one of the great challenges of my life…" The DJ said, making, Isaac withdraw his hand from the dial. "If anyone is out there who wants to rise to the occasion, check out the show's website."

Making the first u-turn he could, Isaac headed back towards the city and straight for the nearest library. After finding an unused computer, he logged onto the internet and typed in the radio show's website, looking around till he found a small link in the bottom left corner that said 'Middleman'. Figuring this was the information needed, Isaac clicked and read over it quickly before logging off and heading out as quickly as possible. If he wasn't the only one there then the limo would come in handy.

--

Flipping through the morning paper, Eddie Ballinger stopped dead when he saw the tiny ad in the classified section. All it said was: 'Jarod' and a website. "Jarod… No way…"

"Daddy?"

Eddie looked up as his 4 year old son, Michael, came into the room, still in his pajamas. "Hey, buddy. What are you doing up so early?"

"Wasn't sleepy," Michael replied. "What's wrong, Daddy?"

Eddie sighed as he set the paper down and picked up his son. "One of Daddy's friends needs help."

"From the bad place?" Michael said, looking scared. "That place you told Mommy about?"

"Exactly," Eddie replied.

"I don't want you to go. What if they hurt you? What if they hurt Mommy?"

"Mommy and Daddy will be okay, sweetie," Jessica replied coming into the kitchen and taking Michael. "Tell you what. Why don't you and I go to our secret cabin till Daddy gets back?"

"Okay!" The little boy said, brightly. "Can we bring Tigger?"

"You bet," Jessica said, smiling. "Go get your kitty and I'll pack our stuff," she added, putting her son down. Hugging Eddie, she said, "Be careful. I love you, Eddie."

"I love you, too, Jess," Eddie replied, hugging his wife. "I swear I'll come back."

"If it's the Centere…" Jess whispered.

Eddie pulled away slightly and looked into his wife's eyes before lifting her left hand. "I swear… on our wedding bands… I WILL come back to you, Mrs. Jessica Ballinger, and our son, Michael."

Jessica nodded, but she still threw her arms around her husband's neck and hugged him as though she would never see him again.

--

"Are you sure this is where we're meeting the others?" Erica Greene asked her sister, Kimberly as the two pulled into a disheveled parking lot next to an abandoned church.

"Oh, so you're on board with the idea that we're not doing this alone?" Kimberly asked, grinning. "An hour ago you thought we'd be the only ones."

"Well, I don't see anyone else here," Erica countered as she got out of the car along with her sister.

Looking around, Kimberly was considering that Erica might be onto something when she saw two other cars and a limousine coming down the road and after a few moments all three pulled into the lot and parked. "Huh…" Kimberly said, smirking. "Guess we're not the only ones to show up after all."

A good looking man stepped out of a sedan and looked at the two ladies. "Hi. I-I'm Agent Edward Ballinger."

"FBI?" Erica asked, curious.

"National Security Agency," Eddie replied, pulling out his badge. "I, uh… take it you know Jarod?"

"He was a fashion photographer," Kimberly replied. "He caught this guy who had been stalking me. How did you know him?"

Eddie hesitated as he saw the others get out of their vehicles. "Uh… it's complicated."

Kimberly caught Eddie's gaze and saw the same look in the man's eyes as she'd seen in Jarod's when she'd seen that video of him as a young boy. "You were both in that place, weren't you?"

Eddie nodded. "Yeah. The Centere."

"Well, are we going to meet up with Jarod or talk all day?" said a black man who was dressed in women's clothing.

Eddie looked at him. "Who are you?"

"Isaac Dexter," he replied. "And my chariot awaits."

"But where are we going?" another man asked.

"Don't worry," Neil Roberts said as he joined the group. "I know where we're going."

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