Ghost of the Pasts

Joined
Jun 26, 2005
#1
Title: Ghosts of the Past

Rating: PGish

A/N: I've been picking at this all summer and now it's done. THere are 6 parts. I will post a part each day until the end, so, no PMs.



Sydney Bristow rolled her eyes as she walked into the lawyer’s office. She thought she had finished with all this months ago. The only reason settling her father’s estate took so much effort was because of everything that he hid. She still had three storage facilities to visit and clean out. She just wanted closure; she wanted the nightmare of the last eight years, and especially the last year, to end. She lost her father, the man that she was just getting to know. Her daughter never got to know any of her grandparents. Even Vaughn was getting anxious. He wanted to marry her, but the time never seemed right. She wished she still had Francie or even Nadia, they might understand that even when she and her father were distant, she still had a dream of him walking her down the aisle. And after they had gotten close, after she learned the truth about her mom and everything her dad did to protect her, she still wanted that and she didn’t want to settle for anything less.

The secretary, Mary, recognized Syd immediately when she walked in and signaled her to wait a second while Mary finished a phone call. Once the woman hung up the phone, she hit another button to let her boss know that Syd had arrived. Syd heard the voice of Miles Turner tell Mary to let her in. Mary smiled at Syd and got up from her desk. “How is that precious baby of yours? I was hoping that you would bring her in today.”

“Isabelle’s great. She’s already running around the house. Michael can barely keep up with her. And she’s starting to say words. She’s learning knock-knock jokes. It’s the cutest thing.”

Mary gave her a maternal smile as she opened the door to Mr. Turner’s office. Syd walked in and as she had done so many other times, she sat down across from the attorney. When Mary closed the door behind her, Syd said, “I thought we had finished with everything. My dad’s estate went to me as sole beneficiary and he set up a trust for Isabelle and some other money for any other children I may have. What’s left to do?”

Mr. Turner sat back in his chair and stared at Syd. “This doesn’t have anything to do with your father Ms. Bristow. You’re right everything is taken care of with his estate. This is a, for lack of a better word, related matter.”

Syd gave him a questioning look. “What do you mean related matter?”

Mr. Turner fumbled for the words say. Sydney watched as he uncharacteristically shifted in his chair nervously. Finally, he said, “I was not only your father’s attorney, but I worked for most CIA operatives because of my past as an agent. One of my other clients was Arvin Sloane. Even after he left the Agency, Arvin kept me on his staff. About fifteen years ago, he came to my office and changed his will and added a letter. Sydney, I know of some of your history with Sloane and I know the real story of how your father died. I’m sorry, but, it is my obligation to tell you that Arvin stated in his will that only after he has been declared dead for a year he wanted his will read. Fifteen years ago he left his estate to his wife and to you, the daughter he never had, and he also left a letter for you.”

Syd became livid. “I don’t want a damn thing from that man. Everything he had, everything he owned was drenched in someone else’s blood. I don’t care what you do with his possessions. Sell them and give it all to Omnifam. That bastard killed my sister and my father. I don’t want to have anything to do with him.”

Mr. Turner slowly nodded his head. “I understand Ms Bristow and I’ve taken the liberty to draw up some papers that will allow you to give the money to some charities you have expressed an interest in. You can sign those papers at your leisure. However, there is the matter of the letter he wrote to you.”

“Burn it.”

“I’m afraid that I cannot do that. He was insistent that you hear it. He apparently did not trust you to read it on your own.”

“He knew me too well.”

Mr. Turner smiled. “Yes he did.” Mr. Turner got serious again. “Ms. Bristow, I have a legal obligation to read this to you. You don’t have to listen, you don’t have to do anything except sit there while I read.”

“Look, I’ll sign anything you need me to sign that says you read this, I don’t want to hear a word that murdering son of a bitch said.”

Mr. Turner understood her feelings, but knew he had to insist on this. “Just sit there and let’s get though this. It’s not a long letter.”

Syd couldn’t believe this. From beyond the grave Sloane was still affecting her life. Finally she nodded her head slowly, the lawyer opened the envelope and began reading.

“Dear Sydney,

If my lawyer is reading this to you, you must believe that I am dead. Though I do not know the circumstances of my supposed demise, I believe that by now you believe me to be a highly corrupt and perhaps even evil man. While the purpose of this communication is not to tell you of the reasons that contention is inaccurate, I want you to know that every action I have ever taken was truly so that the world would come to know the promise that Milo Rambaldi once gave me on the side of a Tibetan Mountain. My actions in life, though they may have appeared repugnant to you, were truly to see the betterment of human kind.

I am also sure that by now you know of your role as The Chosen One, the woman prophesied by Rambaldi to have the greatest power and to see the fulfillment of his works. And Sydney, I believe that you will see those works, even though you have not yet seen them, only the sacrifices that had to be made for them to come to fruition. I want you to ask yourself a question right now. How sure are you that I am dead? Do you or your organization have my body in its custody? Can you exhume my remains and verify that I am no longer of this earth?

In case you have not yet guessed, the end of Rambaldi’s work is eternal life. But not just the life that we know in our feeble brains and experiences. Milo Rambaldi believed that with eternal life there would be no more disease. There would be no more poverty or crime. Think about it, If plants didn’t die, there will be no more food shortages. Our own species would never know another debilitating disease. Because no one will ever want for anything, this discovery will abolish crime and evil as we know it. IT would be the heaven that is spoken about in the Bible. And he has chosen you to be the one to find this gift that he created.

Sydney, if I am indeed dead, if I did not finish my quest, then it is up to you to continue my work. There is a safety deposit box that Mr. Turner has the information for, which holds all my research. I bequeath this to you. But if there is any chance that I did not truly die, then I ask you to find me and together we can bring forth this new era as Rambaldi saw it.

Regards,

Arvin Sloane”

Miles Turner didn’t know what to say. He looked at Sydney who appeared even angrier than she did when she arrived. Finally she said, “you’ve read it, now, I need to get back to my family.” He nodded his head as she got up and left.

<O><O><O><O><O><O><O><O><O><O>

Syd sat on the couch in the living watching TV, or at least looking at it. Vaughn joined her after putting Isabelle to bed. “What’s going on Syd? You look distracted. What happened at the lawyer’s office? Do we have another storage facility to visit?” Syd’s eyes got puffy and she felt a tear fall down her cheek. Vaughn put his arm around her and rocked her. He whispered, “You miss him don’t you? I’m sorry. I wanted to go with you, but I had to teach a class. I should have insisted you wait for me.”

Syd shook her head no. “That’s not it. Not entirely.” Vaughn looked at her confused. “It was Sloane. He left me his estate. Well, he left it to me and Emily, but since Emily is… I get everything. He also left me a letter. Vaughn, he said he’s not dead and said I need to make sure that Rambaldi didn’t give him eternal life. I can’t go back there, but, we were in Rambaldi’s crypt. The whole search took us there. If there’s one place that he would have found eternal life, it was in there.”

“Syd, you killed him. You took the, whatever that thing was, it exploded, and you killed him. You stopped whatever was supposed happen. He’s dead.”

Syd thought for a second. What Vaughn said sounded right, but something was bothering her about it. Finally she said, “you’re right. I killed him myself. I saw the hole in his head. He’s dead. And even if he isn’t, he’s so far underground he’s never going to get back up.”

Vaughn smiled at her and gave her a kiss. “Exactly.” He stared at her as she began to smile. “You feeling better?”

“Yeah, I think I am.”

“Good, cause I have some ice cream in the freezer that has your name on it.”

<O><O><O><O><O><O><O><O><O>

Mongolia

He could barely hold the piece of cement he’d been using as a wedge anymore, and that one only needed to stay in the crack he made. Swinging the cement that he used as a hammer was too much to bear. He didn’t have any way to accurately calculate time, but his best guess was that it had been at least a year since he last had anything to eat. He did some calculations in his head to try and figure out if he was close to his next “death” that would of course result in another life. Not even close. He wiped his brow and leaned on the wedge. The air was stale and humid. He’d been breathing the same air since the explosion. Time didn’t seem to exist down here. It didn’t matter if he took a break, he had all of eternity to get out of this hell hole. He nearly smiled at the idea. Is there a better descriptor of what this place is? If he had to imagine hell, it would be something like this. And it just happened to be a hole in the middle of the earth.

He allowed himself to sit down, though the action looked more like he collapsed taking the wedge down with him. Since his incarceration he had spent all his time chiseling the rock and then trying to wedge through. He had made some progress, and the steady sound of the cement on cement gave him something to listen to besides the crazy thoughts and voices around him, tormenting him. Yes, he couldn’t wait to get out and put an end to those. His seeming life long companion kept talking to him, but he never answered, he just plotted what it would take to relieve himself of the voice altogether.

He ran his hand over his face and opened his eyes, time to get back to work. As he opened his eyes, he found himself squinting. Slowly his eyes adjusted to the new stimuli. It took a second to recognize it for what it was. Light. He had made it to a point where he finally saw something out there. He took his wedge out and put his hand in the spot. Air, real and fresh. It was hot as hell, but a dry heat that felt cool on his skin compared to the air that had been used and reused. He couldn’t see outside the cave, but based on the beam of light now in his tunnel, he guessed it was midday. All of a sudden, he felt a new surge of energy. He would get out. Finally he would get out.
 
Joined
Jun 26, 2005
#2
Part 2

“Marshall?”

“Syd? Is that you?”

Sydney smiled. After both her parents died she left the agency. Saying goodbye, especially to Dixon and Marshall was hard, but they both understood. Dixon took her father’s place as Director of APO and Marshall continued at Op Tech. Since Carrie knew about her husband’s work and the identities of other operatives including Dixon, she was offered a position as well. Syd tried to keep up with the Dixons and the Flinkmans, but it became hard to see them socially knowing that they continued in the life that had been so much a part of who she was. They had secrets that she couldn’t know anymore. Carrie had invited her, Vaughn and Isabelle over a few times. Mitchell put himself in charge of protecting Isabelle. Syd smiled at the memory, even though it had nothing to do with why she called Marshall.

“Yes Marshall, it’s me. How are you?”

“Oh, Syd, you won’t believe it. Carrie is pregnant. We’re going to have another little Flinkman running around. Not that he’ll or she’ll be running. At least not immediately. You know, he or she will eventually. But he or she won’t start out that way. What about Isabelle? How is she doing?”

“Izzy just started running. I think she skipped walking and went straight to running. And she’s starting to say words.” Syd got serious. “Marshall, I need to ask you a favor.”

“Sure Syd. What is it?”

Syd looked around to make sure her fiancé wouldn’t hear her. “Do you have anything monitoring the Rambaldi cave in Mongolia?”

“The, the one where Mr. Bristow and Mr. Sloane were, uh, well, you know. Where they uh, um, boom?”

“Yes Marshall. That one.”

Marshall was a little surprised. He had some equipment sent to the area that would alert him if anyone got too close to it, but he rarely ever even looked at the readouts. The CIA believed that after Syd left Mongolia to follow her mother, Jack decided to go back to the crypt and end the myth of Rambaldi forever. There were of course still believers, and Jack would have known that, so he made sure that if they found their destination they wouldn’t find anything at all. What happened was a mystery to the agency. Jack should have set the charges and got out before detonating the explosives. But something went wrong and Syd asked that there be no investigation. She believed that an investigation would alert the Rambaldi followers of the location of the crypt and would drag out her father’s death longer than it needed. In her heart and the hearts of the surviving members of APO, Jack Bristow died a hero and believing that was all any of them needed.

Marshall finally said, “I have an alarm that will tell me if someone is digging in that area. But, Syd, it was hidden pretty well, and, and, the alarm hasn’t gone off.”

Syd thought for a second. She had to know. Since getting Sloane’s letter she hasn’t been able to sleep well. “What about heat? Do you have any kind of heat sensors that you can point to that area?”

Marshall looked around. Technically this fell into the area of classified intel that he couldn’t share with a civilian, but this was Syd and she was asking about her father’s grave. “Syd, what’s going on?”

Syd took a breath and realized what she was going to say. She felt ridiculous. She laughed a little as she said, “I got a letter from Sloane. He wrote it about the time that he got us involved in the Rambaldi search. He told me to make sure that he was really dead. He believed that Rambaldi promised eternal life and said I should make sure he’s dead. I hoped that maybe if he was right, maybe dad was alive. I’m sorry Marshall. It’s ridiculous, isn’t it?”

“We’ve all been thinking about him too. Your father, I mean, not Sloane. He was evil. I mean Sloane. We all miss your dad Syd.”

“Thanks Marshall.”

Marshall hung up with Syd and continued walking to his meeting with Dixon. He stopped just before getting to Dixon’s office. It wouldn’t hurt to look for any signs of life, would it?

<O><O><O><O><O><O><O><O><O><O>

He could feel the sweat collecting on his brow. What he wouldn’t give for a glass of water. A nice cool glass of water. It didn’t even need to be cold. It didn’t need to have even a single ice cube. Though that would be nice. A nice glass of water and a big thick steak. With a baked potato. But even if he couldn’t have the steak, he wanted the water. He needed the water. He started to feel a little dizzy, he’d have to take a break. The hole was big enough now that he could fit his arm through it. It wouldn’t take long now. He put his mouth up to the hole and took a long breath of air. He inhaled some dirt, but that was okay. He’d get out soon and be able to get a drink of water.

From behind him, he finally listened to the voice that had mocked him since his first resurrection. Well, the man attached to the voice has mocked him for most of his natural life. But since this unnatural part of his life, or whatever the hell this is, the voice itself annoyed him. The voice sounded excited, even as it gasped for breath. After his first resurrection, the voice explained that he was caught under a rock or something and couldn’t move. He of course couldn’t help but smile. He wouldn’t talk to the voice. The man was already just a step from insanity, he was sure this pushed him over. He learned how to tune out the voice, it was almost like white noise. He’d of course pick up some words or phrases. Anytime the insane man talked about his daughter, said her name, he had to fight to stop from letting him hear a reaction. Every noise in this place reverberated through the entire place. He had to be careful of what he let the other man know.

“Jack, I see light. You must be close. I knew you’d find a way. I knew it!”

How did they ever become friends? They were best friends for a long time. It’s hard to remember why or how. Silence. He had to keep up the silence and start the steady pounding. He had to drown out the voice. Jack began hitting the wall again, each hit and he could see progress. Just a little more and he might be able to see the stars outside. He might be able to figure out about what time of year it was. He hit the chisel a little harder than usual and felt everything shift. Not a lot, not so much that he lost his hole and it didn’t sound like the supports he had set up fell. But things did shift.

However, he immediately heard the scream of his companion. He didn’t get to see the rock that held his antagonist, but he knew that it shifted every once in a while and it must puncture the man because a lot of times he will die and then go through the agonizing pain of resurrection. He didn’t know exactly how the process happened, but it felt like each cell in his body regenerated and found it’s way back to where it belonged, like a horribly intricate jigsaw puzzle that was put together top to bottom. The screaming stopped, and Jack knew that Arvin Sloane was dead once again. He started counting. He’d learned the exact number of seconds he had between Sloane’s silence and the even more agonizing cries as he supernaturally got put back together.

<O><O><O><O><O><O><O><O><O><O>

Marshall ran into Marcus Dixon’s office holding a stack of paper. “Mr. Dixon, you need to see this.” Dixon shot him a look. He was on the phone and couldn’t be interrupted. Undeterred, Marshall said, “Mr. Dixon, there’s something going on in Mongolia.”

Dixon said into his phone, “I’ll have to call you back.”
 
Joined
Jun 26, 2005
#4
I'll look into my sig! Thanks for telling me.

Part 3

“Sir, with all due respect, we have to bring Syd in. She and Vaughn are the only ones who have been down there. Remember, Director Chase didn’t even want us in that area because knowing what’s there could corrupt us. She already thinks something like this could have happened.”

“Marshall, she’s a civilian. She doesn’t want to be active. If these readings are correct, then why weren’t we alerted before?”

“I didn’t think the excavation would come from underground so the sensors were only set to pick up activity that started above ground. If they get close enough to the surface and work long enough, then we should get a warning.”

“It looks like they’re pretty close.”

“But they haven’t been for very long. I set it to make sure we didn’t send a tact team in every time a little kid tried to make a sandcastle. Mitch loves to make sand castles. Of course that’s a desert so the sand might not make real good ones like on the ocean here.”

“I have to talk to Chase about this. I want you to keep your eyes on the readings. This is your top priority. You are not to tell anyone about it, not a single person until you hear different from me. Do you understand?”

“Yes sir.”

<O><O><O><O><O><O><O><O><O><O>

Jack continued counting. He was rounding the 6 and a half hour point. It usually took 6 hours and 47 minutes before he would hear Sloane. He was almost able to get out of the hole. His goal was to be out before the screams started. Those went for about twelve hours. And right after the resurrection, Sloane would talk about giving this same gift to his wife and his daughter, Emily and Nadia. Jack wondered if either of those women would want this “gift”. A lifetime living on earth was one thing, and something that should be treasured. But an eternity living the same life was an almost unfathomable concept. He couldn’t understand why anyone would want it. For someone like Arvin, who thought he could make up for his evil, the idea may make sense, but for the general population, it didn’t.

The time was getting close. Jack tried to squeeze through the hole he created, which he did easier than he expected. He must have lost more weight than he thought. He looked up, and saw his first sunrise since trying to blow up that godforsaken crypt. He had to find a settlement first. If he could find some people, he could get some water and some food. It might not be the steak dinner he wanted, but right now anything would be better than nothing.

<O><O><O><O><O><O><O><O>

Sydney Bristow walked into the new APO office since the old one was blown up just before the Mongolia mission. The set up looked very similar to the old one. She felt like she should see her father on the phone with some foreign general that he would complain about any second. When Dixon called, he didn’t tell her why she had to come back, just that it was important. She dropped the baby off at the college Vaughn taught at and came right over. She hoped she’d have a good explanation for her fiancé when he got home.

Someone new took Syd to a conference where Dixon, Marshall and Chase were waiting. Marshall smiled at seeing her, while Dixon and Chase kept their game faces on. She actually preferred it that way. As much as she loved Marshall, she wanted to do whatever business she had and get out. Dixon stood up and indicated she should take a seat, which she did. He then started. “Yesterday, after you called Marshall, Marshall did some checking on the Rambaldi crypt in Mongolia. He discovered some readings that he didn’t expect.”

“Well, I, I guess I should have expected them since you told me to, but they seemed out of the ordinary since, you know, we don’t actually believe in like resurrection or anything.” Marshall looked at Dixon. “I mean, I know that you are a man of faith, Mr. Dixon, but we in general…”

“Marshall, why don’t you just tell me what you saw?”

“Right. Well, I did what you told me. I moved to heat sensors to the area and I found two distinct readings that are consistent with people. A little later on, there was a small seismic shift or something. It didn’t seem natural, although the seismologists I talked to haven’t confirmed that for sure. After that shift, there was only one signature. The second had disappeared. Then, the one that seemed like it was closer to the surface, disappeared and the other one seemed to reappear.”

“What are you trying to tell me Marshall?”

Marshall tried to think of the right words. “I don’t know for sure Syd, but I think your father and Sloane are still alive and one of them may have gotten out. We don’t have any way of tracking which is out and which isn’t and we don’t know why one of them can’t get out.”

Chase then stood up and said, “Sydney, we need to send in a team to search for them and bring them back. We need both of them to see how they survived and then to incarcerate Sloane.”

“You want to run tests on my father?” Syd looked at Dixon. “You’re going to let her do tests on my father.”

“Sydney, we’re still trying to figure out what to do with them once they come in. We’re afraid that if the DSR finds out about this that they will see them as a Rambaldi artifact. But if we keep this in house, then maybe we can figure this out on our own.”

“What does that mean?”

Chase responded. “We want you and Vaughn to go to Mongolia and bring them back here. Marshall will run tests and figure out if they are indeed incapable of dying and if they are, how to give them their mortality back.”

Dixon looked at Syd with compassion. “Syd, we’ve talked about all our options and this seems to be the best one. The most humane, but there’s a chance that you may get your father back, just to lose him again. At the very least, he would have to live the rest of his life in hiding. And we need you to go to cover our tracks with the DSR. We can’t make this an order, but you’re our best shot to bringing him back here.”

Syd mulled it over for a second. “When do I leave?”

<O><O><O><O><O><O><O><O><O>

It was evening before Jack found a settlement. He could only pick up a few words that the first person he saw said to him. He didn’t know Mongolian, but knew enough basic linguistics that he could communicate through gestures and recognize some words. The woman he found took him to a place that gave him both food and water. The next thing he wanted to find was some communication equipment so he could call for help. He learned a long time ago that his sat phone didn’t get immortality like he did. He needed to get to an Embassy. He made plans to break in so he didn’t have to explain who he was or how he got there. He knew enough about the security of different countries’ embassies to know how to get around. Then he’d have to hope that his communication protocols to APO still worked. After that, he’d have to decide what to do with Sloane.

Jack waited for night to fall on the settlement before he started to make his way to an embassy. He talked to enough people to get an idea of where he was. It happened that the French Embassy was close. Traditionally they were the easiest embassy to break into.

Jack watched the patterns of the guards and waited for his next opportunity to enter. He found some rudimentary tools that would help him pick the lock and get in through a shed. After that it was just a matter of ducking around security as they walked and of course being careful of getting caught on camera. Usually that wasn’t a problem, most guards he knew read something during their shifts watching the monitors.

Jack went through three floors room by room before he found communication equipment. It only took him couple seconds to find the right frequency and send the message he ran through his head since he got out of the hell hole. Waiting for a response was the part that took forever. Jack looked at a clock. 3AM in Mongolia was 1PM in LA. Come on Marshall, what’s taking so long? The only time he seemed to leave his office was during a briefing. For a second Jack wondered if his daughter was on a mission.

Jack heard a person walking down the hall. “Damn!” He found a piece of material that would hide the lights on the comm equipment and then he ducked behind some other equipment. As he crouched, he heard Marshall’s voice come over the comm unit. “Hasn’t anyone here heard of headsets?”

The walking stopped and Jack could see the profile of the guard looking around for the source of the noise. Jack decided to leap over to the unit and turn it down. With a little more time he could send a coded message to Marshall since he had a fix on the unit itself. Before he could make it to the unit, he heard Marshall run out of his office to tell Dixon something.


ETA: I think I got the sig problem fixed.
 
Joined
Jun 26, 2005
#5
Part 4

Knowing that it would take Marshall a few minutes to tell Dixon anything, Jack went back to his hiding place. As he heard the security guard look around the room, Jack realized how hungry he was. He’d have to find a way to the kitchen after he made contact with his former co-workers. Shrimp and steak was probably out of the question, but even macaroni and cheese would suffice at this point.

The security guard left and Jack gave him a couple moments to get down the hall before he came out from his hiding spot. He would have to go back to the cave before he got rescued. He couldn’t leave Sloane down there for eternity, no matter how much he deserved it. And Jack wanted to get a sample of the liquid so Marshall could work on an antidote. Sloane may think that eternal life would give him all eternity to undo his evil works, however Jack believed that it only meant a longer time to make mistakes that cost lives.

What was taking Marshall and Dixon so long? Certainly even Marshall couldn’t take this long to explain a transmission to Dixon. Of course they probably assumed he was dead, that could add some time to that conversation.

<O><O><O><O><O><O><O><O><O>

“Mr. Mr. Dixon. I just got a transmission from the French Embassy.”

Dixon rolled his eyes. Marshall had a penchant for coming in to tell him the most inane details at inconvenient times. He started to motion to the phone that he was talking on.

“You don’t understand. It was the French Embassy in Mongolia.”

It took Dixon a couple seconds to figure out what his tech guy was trying to tell him. Into the phone, Dixon said, “I’ll call you back.” He looked at Marshall. “I want to know everything that happened, right now.” He picked up the phone and called Chase.

“There isn’t much to say. But it came on a frequency that only Mr. Bristow would know. I think he was trying to make contact. But when I tried to respond, there was no one there, but the signal continued.”

In the phone Dixon said, “Jack may be trying to contact us…. I’ll be expecting you.” Dixon got up from his desk and started walking to Marshall’s office with Marshall right on his heels. “Where’s Syd?”

“She and Vaughn had to drop Isabelle off with Jack’s brother. They should be leaving the St. Louis area soon.”

“Do you have a way to contact them?”

Marshall had to think about the answer to that question. “I can find one.”

“Good, after we make contact with Jack, I want you to let Syd know what’s going on. Chase should be here in a few minutes.”

The men arrived in Marshall’s office and stared at his receiver. They waited what seemed like hours, neither entirely sure that they had breathed. Marshall said, “Maybe we should contact him. It’s him, it’s gotta be. No one else knows this frequency.”

Dixon silently nodded his head and began to walk to the unit when he heard, “Raptor 14756849 to Merlin. Merlin, do you read?”

Marshall recognized the voice immediately and yelled. He turned to give his boss a high five, but saw Dixon had a tear running down his cheek. “He’s alive!”

Dixon wiped his eyes and said, “Marshall, he asked for you, you better answer him.”

Marshall went to the unit and felt himself shaking as he picked up the microphone. “Raptor 14756849 this is Merlin. We are on a secure channel.”

Jack closed his eyes for a second to gather his thoughts. He wanted to ask about Sydney and Isabelle, but he had to make arrangements first. He would find out about them in time. Just not yet. “It’s good to hear your voice, Merlin. Who else is with you?”

Dixon stepped up and took the microphone. “Jack, this is Dixon. Chase is on her way to the office.” Dixon stopped for a second. “Jack, Sloane contacted Sydney from beyond he grave and she alerted us that something like this might happen. We sent her to Mongolia.”

Jack smiled. His daughter was alright and on her way. He bit back the emotion and asked, “What about Isabelle? Where is she?”

Marshall took the microphone. “Well, it’s kinda a long story Mr. Bristow. You see, when you died, or didn’t die, but when we thought you had died, we had a funeral for you and Syd found out you had a brother. We were all a little surprised, because you don’t talk about your family. But he came for the service and he met Syd and Vaughn and Izzy, that’s what Mitchell calls her. They really are cute together and I think Mitchell has a little crush on her. But he doesn’t like me saying that.”

Dixon rolled his eyes at Marshall and took the microphone. “Syd is with your brother right now and we’re sending her to Mongolia ASAP.”

“Okay, I have something to take care of. I’ll bring a comm unit with me. It’s short range, so she’ll have to get in touch with me when she gets in country.”

After Jack gave the technical information that Marshall would need, he began to get all the equipment he would need and to leave the embassy. It would take some time to make it back to the cave, which he would have to guard from any Followers of Rambaldi that may still be waiting for his greatest work. Certainly they haven’t given up.

As Jack descended down the building, ducking around security – both patrols and cameras – he stopped by the kitchen area and got some food. He ate some of it immediately and the rest he saved for later. Certainly the CIA plane would have something for him to eat, but that was hours away. Jack also stopped at a storage shed and picked up an ax that he thought he would need soon.

As Jack made the long trek back, he thought about his family. It had been so fractured for so long, but now it seemed to him that maybe there was some healing. Sydney met Mike, her uncle. He had refused to meet Jack’s part of the family after their father’s death. When their mother died, Mike made sure that Jack knew he wasn’t welcome after the funeral. But Jack’s daughter obviously had stolen his heart and found a way to mend what was torn between them. At least Jack hoped so.

Jack finally arrived at the tomb and slipped back in, this time with a flashlight. He heard Sloane’s voice welcoming him back. Sloane said he knew that Jack wouldn’t leave him for all eternity. Jack kept silent, by now it was a habit. Finally, Jack was close enough to him and looked at him with a flashlight. There was no telling if this would do it, but Jack believed it would and that would have to be good enough. If he was wrong he and Sydney would figure out something else later.

Jack took the ax and held it high above his head. He saw the panic on Sloane’s face as the other man started pleading with Jack. Jack just smiled at him to say that he brought this on himself. Finally, which a great yell, Jack swung the ax, cutting Arvin Sloane in two. He took the half he could and moved it away from the rock and began counting.
 
Joined
Jun 26, 2005
#6
Part 5/6

Jack took the top half of Arvin and tied it to a post outside. That should hold him at least until Sydney arrives. He munched on some of the French food he picked up. It wasn’t fine dining, but he could feel himself gaining strength from the food. As he counted, he knew it wouldn’t be long before the screams started. In all of this, that was what he hated the most, the screams of agony that Sloane went through. Jack didn’t have even an idle curiosity about whether or not he could see his friend be put back together, he wanted it to end. He wanted this eternal life to be finished.

Only a few minutes now. He wanted to protect his daughter from having to hear it. No one should have to hear the torture that he and Sloane go through every life cycle. He didn’t want to hear it again, but he knew that in order to protect this area, he couldn’t leave and tell Sydney to meet him somewhere else. Besides there was no where he could go that he would blend in.

Fifteen minutes to the screams and finally he heard a jeep in the distance. Immediately he stood up and got ready to defend the area if necessary. He couldn’t find any binoculars at the embassy so he couldn’t make out who was coming, though his heart beat faster at the prospect of who it could be. He made out the binoculars she had staring at him before he knew for sure who arrived. She jumped out of the vehicle before Vaughn had stopped it completely. Jack didn’t even see her feet touch the ground, she ran to him with tears running down her eyes. Jack put his arms around her and held her tight. Finally, she looked at him and ran her hands down his face.

“Dad? It’s really you?”

Jack nodded his head and gave her a smile. “Yes sweetheart, it’s really me.” He hugged her again. He had dreams of seeing her again, it gave him hope that maybe he’d make it out sometime, someday. That he’d be able to reclaim his life. When he woke up, he knew better. He knew that if this day happened, he’d never have the freedom that he was used to. People would want to know how it worked, how did Rambaldi’s elixir make people live forever? He’ll have to say goodbye to his daughter all over again and the day would come when he would have to watch her die and another when he’d have to see her children do the same. The idea hurt him more than he could stand. But right now, being rejoined with his daughter, none of that mattered. All that mattered was that he was back with her.

Syd finally stepped away from Jack and Vaughn stepped forward offering his hand. Jack shook it and nodded. It was time to get to business. It would be a couple more minutes before Sloane started screaming and Jack wanted to protect his daughter from that. “Vaughn, I want you to stay here and watch him. Syd, come with me. We need to go under the surface and get some vials of liquid and then we need to make sure we keep them at the right climate. We have to find a way to reverse this.”

Vaughn and Syd nodded their heads and Syd followed Jack with a climate controlled container. Jack insisted that only he handle the liquid, he didn’t want Syd to accidentally get infected. He then asked Syd to help him take some of the loose rocks to fill in the pool of red goo. He didn’t want to take any chance of anyone finding the “treasure” in the cave. Despite Jack’s best efforts to hide the sound, he could hear Arvin’s screams through the walls. Syd asked him about the noise. Jack refused to look at her as he explained that it’s the process they have to go through every time they lose their life. Syd looked sick as she realized some of what the last year had been like for her father.

“How many times have you?”

Quietly, Jack said, “four.”

Syd nodded her head and put her arms around him. “I’m so glad to have you back.”

Jack took a seat on a rock and Syd followed his lead. “What happened to your mother? Did you stop her?”

Syd nodded her head. “Sark must have given her the horizon. We fought over it and she fell through a skylight trying to get it.”

“Are you sure that she’s dead? Is there any chance that she came in contact with the liquid? I guess I must have at some point, maybe during the explosion some part of me didn’t incinerate and instead fell in the pool. That’s the only thing that makes sense to me.”

Syd shook her head and shrugged her shoulders. “I don’t know. We took her body back to freezers and I haven’t checked on her since.”

Jack thought for a second. “We’re going to have to check on her first thing when we get back. We’ll have to make sure that Sloane is in custody and is a secret.”

“Dad, I should have looked for you. I shouldn’t have let them…”

“Sydney, you did the right thing. I didn’t want those Rambaldi radicals knowing where to find this. You did exactly what I wanted you to do. Now we have to make sure that there are no other effects that we have to take care of.”

Syd looked at their work. “Are you ready to go back up there?”

“I wanted to protect you from his screams. I barely notice them anymore.”

Syd smiled at her father. “You don’t have to worry about me dad. I’m okay. Let’s get Sloane to the plane. The engine might drown him out.”

<O><O><O><O><O><O><O><O><O>

About halfway through the plane ride, Sloane finally fell silent. An hour later, he asked Syd to let him out of his handcuffs. When Syd was about to say no, Jack rolled his head over from his nap and said, “Let him. He’s not going anywhere, he always hated parachuting.”

Sloane smiled. Jack was the only person he ever told that to. It seemed meaningful that Jack would remember. Sloane immediately started looking through coolers for food. He explained that it’s been over a year since he ate. Jack had his eyes closed while Sloane went through different containers. As Jack sat, he wondered about one more thing and he knew that it wouldn’t be long before he found out.

Eventually, Sloane settled into a seat and fell asleep just like Jack. Syd and Vaughn followed suit as well. The pilot woke Syd before they landed. Syd put the shackles back on Sloane. Jack told her to take the vials of the life serum and make sure that Marshall got them, then go get Isabelle. Syd sensed some sadness as Jack said he wanted to spend some time with his family. Jack then told Syd and Vaughn that he would make sure Sloane got to APO, so Vaughn helped the pilot check the plane back in. While Jack waited outside for the transport, Sloane used a key that he lifted from Syd while she slept to unlock his cuffs and snuck out of the plane. Vaughn noticed the escape before anyone. When he contacted Syd, she looked in her container and found that two vials were missing. Jack told the two of them to continue doing what he told them, he’ll take care of Sloane.

“Dad? Did you know he was going to go?”

“Sydney, my relationship with Arvin is complicated. I need to let him do what he wants to do because he needs to do it. But, he knows that in the end, I’m going to bring him in and he will face his fate. Unless Marshall can find an antidote, he will have to live a long life of torment. One way or another he will get his comeuppance, but right now he needs to find out how bad it will be. Now please Sweetheart, I want to see my granddaughter.”

Syd nodded her head before giving her father a hug. She realized that he knew that he would have to live in hiding from the DSR until Marshall could find an antidote. She also wondered how much torment Jack already felt. He must have expected that his life was going to end a year ago. In that year, he must have thought about his life, his mistakes, the things he would have to think about possibly for all of eternity. As the last realization hit Syd, she squeezed her father a little harder and felt new tears roll down her cheek. When she let go of him, she said, “I’ll make sure Isabelle is home for dinner.”

“Thank you Sweetheart.”

<O><O><O><O><O><O><O><O><O><O><O>

Jack had been briefed on the new protocols to get into the new APO office. As he climbed down the stairs to the third subbasement of an abandoned building, he shook his head. He had long believed that the CIA made these protocols more difficult than they needed to be. He arrived at the station that required a retinal scan. He put his eye up to the scanner and waited for the beep to alert him that he wasn’t recognized. He started counting, by now it was habit. It took 47 seconds before Dixon and Marshall arrived to usher him in.

Dixon smiled at Jack and shook his hand. Clapping him on the shoulder. “It’s good to see you Jack.”

Marshall smiled ear to ear. He couldn’t find anything to say and stood dumbstruck. Finally Dixon cleared his throat and nodded toward Jack. Marshall snapped to attention and held out some cards to his idol. “We had to create a new identity for you so we could get you in without the DSR knowing. You know, just a precaution. We’ll have to get a picture of you for your ID badge and a retinal scan of you.” When Jack didn’t take the things in Marshall’s hands, he added, “you look good by the way. Not, not that you didn’t before, you, you know, died.”

“Marshall, I need to go down to the morgue, then I have another errand to run. Whatever you need me to do, let’s get it done.”

Marshall smiled and said, “Yes sir. Of course.” He started to turn to lead Jack to the office, then turned around and gave Jack a hug.

<O><O><O><O><O><O><O><O><O><O><O><O>

Jack went to the morgue. He needed to confirm for himself that Irina was dead, that she had not been saved by the same poison that brought him back to life over and over, and that she would never pose a threat to his daughter or her family ever again. Many years ago he promised Sydney that as long as he was alive he would protect her. If he had to continue living, he would make sure that he didn’t break that promise.

Jack reached for the door to the morgue and felt his stomach lurch. He’d seen her dead body look at him before. He saw that look on her face every waking minute of his life for a year and a half. He didn’t know if he could do it again, and he knew that he didn’t want to. Whatever else she was to him, she was the first and only woman that he ever truly loved. He didn’t know if he could look at her like this again. He spent most of his life haunted by this woman’s ghost and now he had to hope there would be one more face to the ever present specter.

Finally he opened the door and went to the drawer that held her body. What he saw amazed him. There was no mistaking what he saw. It was her and she was dead. He didn’t know if he was supposed to be relieved or not. Before he could figure that out, Jack heard the door to the morgue open and a familiar voice said, “I wondered how long it would be before you turned up.”
 
Joined
Jun 26, 2005
#7
Part 6/6

Jack turned around. “Kendall. What the hell are you doing here?”

“Come with me Jack, we gotta talk. About your wife.”

Jack stared stone cold at Kendall. “What do you know about Irina Derevko?”

“Well now, unless this last year made you less astute, you know that woman isn’t her. If you want to know what happened to your wife, I suggest you come with me.”

Jack slammed the drawer with the clone closed. In all this time the face didn’t change. It still had the slight smile that haunted Jack for 18 months until he saw the real Irina step out of that rain forest. “Your people did a good job covering the bullet hole in her head.”

Kendall smiled, “not my people, me. No one knows where I have Irina right now. The DSR doesn’t know that I’m here or that you’re alive. I think it’s better that way. Believe it or not Jack, I don’t want eternal life anymore than I would imagine you do. If the people I answer to knew that Rambaldi’s greatest work had been found, they would not hesitate to find a way to get it for themselves. You, Irina, and Sloane are safe when it comes to me. But we are going to have to hide you.”

Jack looked at the clock and tried to guestimate how much time he could give Kendall. “Where do you suggest we meet?”

“Follow me. I have a safe place arranged.” Jack stood still. “Come on Jack. I know that you never trusted me, but I’ve never tried to get you or your daughter killed. Besides what could I do to you now? You need to trust me this time.”

Jack reluctantly nodded his head and followed. When they arrived at Kendall’s car, Kendall began his story. “I’m sure that Sydney told you about the fight between her and her mother. Sydney offered her mother her hand but Irina chose to reach for the horizon to achieve eternal life. Syd watched her mother fall through the skylight and she saw her die. She called the death in and left. I read her report and even talked to her later. She was devastated, she had to get out of there. She heard you died in the cave and she just couldn’t face her mother’s body. I was sent to pick up Irina’s body and collect whatever fluid was in the container, the Horizon, so we could analyze it.”

Jack stared at Kendall waiting to see where he was going with this and Kendal began to drive away. “I collected everything I could and put it all on a plane to take to the morgue. Unfortunately, on the plane ride I started hearing screams. I was the only person on the plane that could hear it. I tried to dismiss them first, but they were persistent. Finally I couldn’t ignore what I was hearing and what it meant, Irina Derevko had become immortal. So, when the plane landed, I called off the transport saying that I thought there was a potential hazard, which wasn’t a lie. I secured her in her coffin and drove her to the facility we’re going to. When I took her out and opened the coffin, I can’t describe what I saw. She was regenerating and it was a gruesome sight.”

“So you decided to get the spare Irina to put in the freezer instead of going after me and Sloane.”

“Jack, I tried to go after you, but Irina didn’t know where exactly the crypt was and Marshall had security measures in place to make sure that no one would discover what was down there. I didn’t disagree that it needed to be hidden. Hell, Irina didn’t disagree even though she couldn’t bare to think of you down there buried alive.” Kendall looked at Jack to see if there was any reaction to his statement, but Jack’s face remained stoic.

“Go on.”

“Irina thinks she knows how to reverse the Rambaldi serum, but we need to get back down there. I want to take you to her and have her explain what you need to do to end all this. She believes that you are the one that is supposed to understand everything Rambaldi saw. She can give you the re-engineered Horizon that will reverse all this.”

Jack looked at the clock in the car and nodded his head. “Okay, we’ll do this, but first, I need to make a stop.”

<O><O><O><O><O><O><O><O><O><O>

Jack stood behind a tree and watched as Sloane opened the casket he dug up. Sloane bit back his repulsion at the condition of his wife. “This will do it Emily. I promised you a life without cancer or anything else. We can live forever, pain free. Just like I promised.”

Jack’s heart broke as he watched Sloane’s expectant face turn to disappointment as it became clear that this wouldn’t work. Emily wasn’t going to come back to him. Sloane began wailing and cradling his wife’s body. Finally Jack came out of the shadows.

“She wouldn’t have wanted this life Arvin. Emily was a practical woman, she would see it as the curse that it is. That’s why Rambaldi scattered all the clues throughout the world. He didn’t want the world to have this hell that we’re confined to. At the end of his life, he realized that there’s a natural order for a reason.” Jack looked at Sloane who looked so small and defeated.

“So where do we go from here, Jack?”

“We’re going to make it right again. We’re going to take you into a jail until I reverse the process. And then we’re each going to die like we should have a year ago.”

Sloane nodded his head and held out his arms for Jack to put handcuffs on him. Jack shook his head. “Get in the car, Arvin.”

<O><O><O><O><O><O><O><O><O><O><O>

It took a week for Marshall to verify that the new serum would work. He handed it back to Jack and said that it should take effect immediately. Jack nodded his head in understanding. Syd watched as her father took the new serum and thought his eyes got a little wet. He turned to her and said, “I’ll be at the house in time for dinner.” Syd didn’t know that her mother was alive nor did she know where they were keeping Sloane. However, she understood that her father would be going to see him. She knew that his statement meant he wasn’t going to take his serum right away, but she couldn’t help wondering when he would.

Jack arrived at the prison and heard Sloane talking to Nadia. Kendall said he was certifiable after he got to the prison. Jack took a deep breath before shooting him with a tranquilizer dart. Jack hesitated as he put the needle up to Sloane’s neck. “I take no joy in this Arvin. I do hope that this finally gives you peace.” Finally he pushed down on the plunger.

Jack then went to the next cell. Irina was calm and resolved. He could barely look at her. Flashes of their life together and apart, her clone’s dead face, they all flashed in front of him. Finally he looked her in the eye, almost ready to cry. “Give me one reason, Irina. Arvin needed to be put out of his misery. But you, I can’t kill you again. But I can’t let you hurt my daughter either. Tell me what to do Irina.”

Irina stood up and took Jack’s hand, then she moved to give him a hug. Cradling him, she said, “Go back to your life, Jack. Arvin and I have taken so much of it from you. Live this new life you have and don’t look back. Eternal life is a curse for people like me and Sloane. But for you, it’s a reprieve; it’s a chance to do all the things we didn’t let you do. Take that opportunity Jack. You’ve earned it.”

Jack looked down at the needle in his hand that he planned to use on Irina. “What about you? What do I do about you?”

“Give the needle to Kendall. You don’t need my blood on your hands again. Let him do what you can’t. But please, someday before you use that third needle, tell Sydney that I truly did love her.”

Jack nodded his head, gave his wife a short kiss on the lips, and walked away.

<O><O><O><O><O><O><O><O><O><O><O>

Jack made arrangements with Dixon that at his next “death”, Dixon would use the new Rambaldi potion on him. Jack was determined that this had to be his last life. When Syd heard that Jack made that decision, she tried to argue with him, but he wouldn’t even consider another course of action.

When he saw Syd’s tears, he sat down and invited her to sit with him. “Early in Sloane’s Rambaldi search, he showed me a page from a manuscript he had. He was trying to recruit me into SD-6 and this was part of his vision. I looked at this parchment. It was one of the last things Rambaldi ever wrote. He said that he couldn’t bare to give this extraordinarily long life to himself, because he lived a good life and he realized too late the curse that extending it would give.” Jack looked at Syd. “Sydney, what your mother, what Sloane never understood was that Rambaldi gave a warning about his work, not a promise for power or for a life without pain. They saw what they wanted to see. But in the end, even Rambaldi believed that he could change the future he saw, and he did. You were supposed to be the first infected with this, instead you will someday be asked to release me and make sure that this truly does end.”

Syd wiped tears from her eyes. “But that’s not going to be for a long time, right?”

Jack hugged his daughter, “Not for a very long time.”

<O><O><O><O><O><O><O><O><O><O>

That weekend, all the surviving members of APO gathered at the beach. Jack escorted his daughter to the man who became her husband at the end of the ceremony. The Flinkmans offered to take Isabelle for a few days so Syd and Vaughn could have a honeymoon, so Jack kissed his daughter and granddaughter goodbye. Dixon waited for the new family to leave before telling Jack about a deep cover mission he had. He wanted Jack to watch the area around Mongolia. It would give him opportunities to come back and visit his family as he wanted.

Jack nodded his head. As long as he didn’t use the new liquid, he would have to hide from the DSR and anyone else who knew he died in Mongolia. He couldn’t have a future in LA with his family, not anymore. But he could use this extra time he was given. And he promised that he would. He would be a part of Sydney and Isabelle’s life, even if it was from afar.
 
Joined
Oct 17, 2007
#8
Part 6/6

Jack turned around. “Kendall. What the hell are you doing here?”

“Come with me Jack, we gotta talk. About your wife.”

Jack stared stone cold at Kendall. “What do you know about Irina Derevko?”

“Well now, unless this last year made you less astute, you know that woman isn’t her. If you want to know what happened to your wife, I suggest you come with me.”

Jack slammed the drawer with the clone closed. In all this time the face didn’t change. It still had the slight smile that haunted Jack for 18 months until he saw the real Irina step out of that rain forest. “Your people did a good job covering the bullet hole in her head.”

Kendall smiled, “not my people, me. No one knows where I have Irina right now. The DSR doesn’t know that I’m here or that you’re alive. I think it’s better that way. Believe it or not Jack, I don’t want eternal life anymore than I would imagine you do. If the people I answer to knew that Rambaldi’s greatest work had been found, they would not hesitate to find a way to get it for themselves. You, Irina, and Sloane are safe when it comes to me. But we are going to have to hide you.”

Jack looked at the clock and tried to guestimate how much time he could give Kendall. “Where do you suggest we meet?”

“Follow me. I have a safe place arranged.” Jack stood still. “Come on Jack. I know that you never trusted me, but I’ve never tried to get you or your daughter killed. Besides what could I do to you now? You need to trust me this time.”

Jack reluctantly nodded his head and followed. When they arrived at Kendall’s car, Kendall began his story. “I’m sure that Sydney told you about the fight between her and her mother. Sydney offered her mother her hand but Irina chose to reach for the horizon to achieve eternal life. Syd watched her mother fall through the skylight and she saw her die. She called the death in and left. I read her report and even talked to her later. She was devastated, she had to get out of there. She heard you died in the cave and she just couldn’t face her mother’s body. I was sent to pick up Irina’s body and collect whatever fluid was in the container, the Horizon, so we could analyze it.”

Jack stared at Kendall waiting to see where he was going with this and Kendal began to drive away. “I collected everything I could and put it all on a plane to take to the morgue. Unfortunately, on the plane ride I started hearing screams. I was the only person on the plane that could hear it. I tried to dismiss them first, but they were persistent. Finally I couldn’t ignore what I was hearing and what it meant, Irina Derevko had become immortal. So, when the plane landed, I called off the transport saying that I thought there was a potential hazard, which wasn’t a lie. I secured her in her coffin and drove her to the facility we’re going to. When I took her out and opened the coffin, I can’t describe what I saw. She was regenerating and it was a gruesome sight.”

“So you decided to get the spare Irina to put in the freezer instead of going after me and Sloane.”

“Jack, I tried to go after you, but Irina didn’t know where exactly the crypt was and Marshall had security measures in place to make sure that no one would discover what was down there. I didn’t disagree that it needed to be hidden. Hell, Irina didn’t disagree even though she couldn’t bare to think of you down there buried alive.” Kendall looked at Jack to see if there was any reaction to his statement, but Jack’s face remained stoic.

“Go on.”

“Irina thinks she knows how to reverse the Rambaldi serum, but we need to get back down there. I want to take you to her and have her explain what you need to do to end all this. She believes that you are the one that is supposed to understand everything Rambaldi saw. She can give you the re-engineered Horizon that will reverse all this.”

Jack looked at the clock in the car and nodded his head. “Okay, we’ll do this, but first, I need to make a stop.”

<O><O><O><O><O><O><O><O><O><O>

Jack stood behind a tree and watched as Sloane opened the casket he dug up. Sloane bit back his repulsion at the condition of his wife. “This will do it Emily. I promised you a life without cancer or anything else. We can live forever, pain free. Just like I promised.”

Jack’s heart broke as he watched Sloane’s expectant face turn to disappointment as it became clear that this wouldn’t work. Emily wasn’t going to come back to him. Sloane began wailing and cradling his wife’s body. Finally Jack came out of the shadows.

“She wouldn’t have wanted this life Arvin. Emily was a practical woman, she would see it as the curse that it is. That’s why Rambaldi scattered all the clues throughout the world. He didn’t want the world to have this hell that we’re confined to. At the end of his life, he realized that there’s a natural order for a reason.” Jack looked at Sloane who looked so small and defeated.

“So where do we go from here, Jack?”

“We’re going to make it right again. We’re going to take you into a jail until I reverse the process. And then we’re each going to die like we should have a year ago.”

Sloane nodded his head and held out his arms for Jack to put handcuffs on him. Jack shook his head. “Get in the car, Arvin.”

<O><O><O><O><O><O><O><O><O><O><O>

It took a week for Marshall to verify that the new serum would work. He handed it back to Jack and said that it should take effect immediately. Jack nodded his head in understanding. Syd watched as her father took the new serum and thought his eyes got a little wet. He turned to her and said, “I’ll be at the house in time for dinner.” Syd didn’t know that her mother was alive nor did she know where they were keeping Sloane. However, she understood that her father would be going to see him. She knew that his statement meant he wasn’t going to take his serum right away, but she couldn’t help wondering when he would.

Jack arrived at the prison and heard Sloane talking to Nadia. Kendall said he was certifiable after he got to the prison. Jack took a deep breath before shooting him with a tranquilizer dart. Jack hesitated as he put the needle up to Sloane’s neck. “I take no joy in this Arvin. I do hope that this finally gives you peace.” Finally he pushed down on the plunger.

Jack then went to the next cell. Irina was calm and resolved. He could barely look at her. Flashes of their life together and apart, her clone’s dead face, they all flashed in front of him. Finally he looked her in the eye, almost ready to cry. “Give me one reason, Irina. Arvin needed to be put out of his misery. But you, I can’t kill you again. But I can’t let you hurt my daughter either. Tell me what to do Irina.”

Irina stood up and took Jack’s hand, then she moved to give him a hug. Cradling him, she said, “Go back to your life, Jack. Arvin and I have taken so much of it from you. Live this new life you have and don’t look back. Eternal life is a curse for people like me and Sloane. But for you, it’s a reprieve; it’s a chance to do all the things we didn’t let you do. Take that opportunity Jack. You’ve earned it.”

Jack looked down at the needle in his hand that he planned to use on Irina. “What about you? What do I do about you?”

“Give the needle to Kendall. You don’t need my blood on your hands again. Let him do what you can’t. But please, someday before you use that third needle, tell Sydney that I truly did love her.”

Jack nodded his head, gave his wife a short kiss on the lips, and walked away.

<O><O><O><O><O><O><O><O><O><O><O>

Jack made arrangements with Dixon that at his next “death”, Dixon would use the new Rambaldi potion on him. Jack was determined that this had to be his last life. When Syd heard that Jack made that decision, she tried to argue with him, but he wouldn’t even consider another course of action.

When he saw Syd’s tears, he sat down and invited her to sit with him. “Early in Sloane’s Rambaldi search, he showed me a page from a manuscript he had. He was trying to recruit me into SD-6 and this was part of his vision. I looked at this parchment. It was one of the last things Rambaldi ever wrote. He said that he couldn’t bare to give this extraordinarily long life to himself, because he lived a good life and he realized too late the curse that extending it would give.” Jack looked at Syd. “Sydney, what your mother, what Sloane never understood was that Rambaldi gave a warning about his work, not a promise for power or for a life without pain. They saw what they wanted to see. But in the end, even Rambaldi believed that he could change the future he saw, and he did. You were supposed to be the first infected with this, instead you will someday be asked to release me and make sure that this truly does end.”

Syd wiped tears from her eyes. “But that’s not going to be for a long time, right?”

Jack hugged his daughter, “Not for a very long time.”

<O><O><O><O><O><O><O><O><O><O>

That weekend, all the surviving members of APO gathered at the beach. Jack escorted his daughter to the man who became her husband at the end of the ceremony. The Flinkmans offered to take Isabelle for a few days so Syd and Vaughn could have a honeymoon, so Jack kissed his daughter and granddaughter goodbye. Dixon waited for the new family to leave before telling Jack about a deep cover mission he had. He wanted Jack to watch the area around Mongolia. It would give him opportunities to come back and visit his family as he wanted.

Jack nodded his head. As long as he didn’t use the new liquid, he would have to hide from the DSR and anyone else who knew he died in Mongolia. He couldn’t have a future in LA with his family, not anymore. But he could use this extra time he was given. And he promised that he would. He would be a part of Sydney and Isabelle’s life, even if it was from afar.
 
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