First part dealt with the immediate hours after Irina got into the van with Sloane. Now Sydney and Vaughn deal with the idea that Francie is not who she seems and there is a possibility Will might be a secret agent. This part features two fights one of which is deadly. :ph34r: Enjoy. As always the characters belong to JJ Abrams. Part 2 Gotcha! Opus 2 Los Angeles Vaughn, Sydney, and Dixon sat at a conference table. Using the startling information Jack had provided, they were trying to pinpoint exactly what had happened and how. Sydney wanted Dixon to hear the discussion. She knew he could be a disinterested third party and his input would be valuable as such and he wouldn’t betray them, especially since Sydney did not tell Kendall about Jack’s call. “So your father said Francie didn’t recognize his voice?” Dixon said. “Right!” She was visibly upset. “If what he said is true and in this case I don’t disbelieve him, that means Francie is not Francie.” Vaughn thought a moment, “A double, but how?” “Plastic surgery!” said Dixon. “Maybe,” Vaughn said, “still where’s Francie?” “Dead,” said Sydney. “She’s definitely not alive. It wouldn’t serve any purpose to keep her so.” She bit her lip. “Sloane had her killed so he could put the double in her place.” Dixon put his hand on her shoulder, “Sydney, I’m sorry. How come you didn’t notice anything out of place?” Sydney shook her head, “I’ve been so busy lately. I just haven’t been home much. We only saw each other briefly in and out,” “So you really didn’t exchange enough information for her to know about the KH11 satellite. How did she pass on the intel to Sloane?” Dixon put it out. “Will.” Vaughn told Sydney about the dream Will had told him about. “Either it’s still him or another double.” Now Sydney was upset. “He was hypnotized? Or he’s dead?” She stood up. “I am going home.” “Sydney, not a good idea.” Dixon knew she wanted to confront the Francie double. “It’s obvious either Will or Francie or both are involved with Sloane. Wouldn’t it be better to catch them and interrogate for information?” “My parents are missing: Mom is either dead or with Sloane. Dad is going after them. I have no time to waste.” Vaughn was about to say something when his pager went off. “Oh, oh, its Yeager.” “Better see what he wants,” said Sydney. “Don’t jeopardize anything.” “You wait here,” he said. Jamaica Jack waited in the bar for a phone call. When it came, he left, taking a taxi to an address of an old friend. He entered the building and closed the door behind him. He locked it when the man behind the counter nodded to him. “Bill,” Jack said, “did you get everything?” “Yes!” The black man heaved a duffle bag up onto the counter. “Some of it will cost you a little more than we agreed upon. I think you’ll find it’s worth every penny.” Jack inspected the contents of the bag. “The gun?” “It will easily pass through security. No metal parts. Here’s the ankle holster.” He handed Jack one from a shelf. No metal in it either.” Jack counted out some bills from his wallet. “Passport?” Bill handed it to him. “Excellent work if I do say so myself. Here’s the other one.” He pulled it out from a manila envelope. “Drivers’ licenses, U.S. social security numbers, and birth certificates – all here and in perfect order.” Jack threw the envelope into the bag after double-checking the contents. “Did you get me a reservation?” “Yeah. From here you fly to the Bahamas and then take a connecting flight to your destination.” “How much do I owe you?” “Another thousand should do it.” Jack paid him. “If anyone should nose around, you know what to tell them?” “Don’t worry, my friend. I am if nothing but discreet.” Los Angeles Sydney walked jauntily up the steps, put her key in the lock, and opened the front door. “Hey!” She called. “In here,” Francie responded from the kitchen. Sydney had a smile on her face when she walked toward Francie. “Whatcha doing?” She sniffed. “Whatever it is, it smells good.” “Yeah, I’m trying something new for the menu.” Francie turned to the stove, stirred what was in the double boiler. She turned back to stare into the barrel of Sydney’s gun. “Don’t move,” hissed Sydney. Francie froze. The look on Sydney’s face was enough. She was caught totally off guard. Sydney motioned with the left hand for her to move from the stove. As she moved, Sydney followed, turning the gas off. They were walking into the living room, when a door opened down the hall. Sydney was disconcerted by the appearance of Will. Francie took that loss of focus, to kick Sydney in the leg. The gun went off. Francie grabbed for it. Sydney pushed her as hard as she could, still holding onto the gun. Francie crashed into the wall. “Hey!!” shouted Will. “What the hell???” “Stay out of this!” Sydney was on Francie before she could regain her balance. She hit her with a hard left fist to the side of the head. Francie reeled in the direction of Will who was rooted to the floor, not believing what he was seeing. “Syd!” He yelled. “What’s the matter with you?” As Francie moved toward him, he reached out to hold her and to protect her from Syd’s rage. Without warning, though, Francie grabbed his arm, wrenching it behind him and pushed him at Sydney. He fell into his friend, who dropped the gun. Taking advantage of the change in positions, Francie jumped for the gun. Sydney pushed Will to the ground and leaped on top of Francie, pulling her back away from it. Will made a grab for Sydney and was surprised when she kicked him hard. She did not let go of Francie. “You, whoever you are,” she hissed, “have killed my friend and now I’m going to take you apart.” “You’re crazy, Syd,” cried the other woman, but her voice was low and as deadly sounding as Sydney’s. She tried to wrench out of her grasp, but Sydney’s strength came from the knowledge that the real Francie was dead. Her arm tightened across Francie’s throat. “I’m going to let you go only if you tell me what I want to know.” Syd applied the pressure. If she applied enough, it would cut off Francie’s ability to breath. ”Did Sloane order you to kill my friend?” “I don’t know what you’re talking about.” Sydney tightened the pressure. Francie shook her head, but it was clear she was beginning to lose consciousness. Syd was relentless, “Tell me the truth.” Finally, Francie nodded. “Yes,” she whispered. “Did you get the KH11 codes for him?” “Yes,” she whispered. Syd looked at Will, who was staring at them. “Did you get them from Will?” She didn’t let up the pressure. Francie nodded choking, trying to free herself from Sydney’s grasp. “Did you hypnotize him?” Francie nodded again. Suddenly, Sydney took the gun and hit the faux Francie hard enough to knock her out. Sydney sat back and began to cry. “Son of a -----, son of a -----, I’ll kill him!” She thought about Sloane cold-bloodily ordering her sweet, wonderful friend killed. Will had been sitting, watching with increasing horror as Francie had confessed to the evil she had done. He couldn’t speak; he couldn’t breath. He looked from Sydney to Francie and back again. Then tears began to trickle down his cheeks as the enormity of what he had witnessed and heard struck him hard. Oh my God, he thought, what has she done? “Sydney,” he said, “what just happened here?” “She killed our Francie and assumed her identity. Who she really is I don’t care about, only that she confessed. I--,” she moved to his side. “Will, please believe me. That is not our Francie. It’s a double.” She knew it had to be the helix that Sloane created. Bahamas Jack assumed his new identity and went through customs without a problem. The gun rested in its holster where he had put it. He sat down in the seat, buckled up and relaxed. Maybe he could catch some shut-eye before they landed. He wondered what she was doing just now. Zurich The Mercedes drove through the gates up to the door. Sark got out and opened the car door. Irina and Sloane stepped out. Sloane had his hand on her arm in a most familiar way. Sark stared at them, wondering what was going on between the two. He was uncomfortable with the camaraderie they shared on the plane and in the car on the trip here. His eyes narrowed as they walked up the steps into the house. He was supposed to be an equal partner with Sloane and now it seemed Irina had assumed that role. Sydney was right, he was dog serving not only one master, but now two. He would have to do something to right the ship. Los Angeles The sweep team from the op center came back to Sydney’s apartment. The ensuing check had revealed no bugs. Vaughn had come out with them and was decidedly angry with Sydney. She didn’t care. She had gotten Francie’s killer and that was all that mattered for the moment. At least there wouldn’t be any more leaks. Will went back with her and Vaughn. He was going to be hypnotized to find out how much he had leaked to Sloane’s organization. Whether or not he would continue as an analyst would depend on what he revealed. As Sydney and Vaughn entered the op center’s hub, Kendall came up. “Good work, Agent Bristow. It looks like the leak has been plugged.” “Any word about my parents?” Kendall shook his head, “Nothing, but we’re looking. Field agents are checking every place they are stationed and we’ve instituted a computer search of all private plane destinations from Panama to any place in the world.” “That’s useless,” snapped Sydney. “Sloane wouldn’t file a correct flight plan if his life depended on it. “We know that, but we’re downloading satellite images from any that were passing over.” He grinned, “including the KH11. It was photographing everything. It was only the feed that was interrupted.” Sydney felt better. Maybe there was a chance they’d find Jack and Irina sooner, rather than later. She was trying to remember their last words to her. Mom had told her she loved her and that if everything didn’t work out she at least had said that. Sydney, touched by the words of a woman who had dropped back into her life, had insisted all would go well and she would return. Sydney frowned. Something was buzzing in her head. What was Irina doing when she came to the window? She visualized the scene. Irina had been at the little desk looking at something and writing. She squinted, her mind drifting back to that moment. Post it notes! Why? More importantly, what? Then the connection! She sat down at her desk, stunned. What had her father said, “I’m not coming back. I’m going to find your mother.” She had taken the words at face value – that he wouldn’t be back until he found Irina. She assumed the obvious, but things were never as they seemed, especially in the world she lived. Vaughn came up behind her, putting his strong hands on her shoulders. “What’s wrong? You look sad.” “I was thinking about Francie,” she answered, lying to him. Keeping her real thoughts secret seemed right. She had to be sure before she said anything to anyone. Zurich It was night. It was cool. Sloane’s house was quiet. Dinner had been difficult because of Sark. Irina and Sloane had been in the office all day working on the two manuscripts. They had been obsessed with Rambaldi’s words, his meanings. Sloane commented and showed Irina where the missing page should have been. What was on Page 47? He muttered something about her daughter and she had laughed inside at his discomfort. It was obvious that Sydney had been a good double agent. It still bothered Sloane though. He wanted the entire manuscript, but it wasn’t possible with a page missing. Sark had confronted them at dinner. His remarks made it clear he was not about to be supplanted by someone who had been in CIA custody for several months and could be still working for them. Sloane had slyly waited for Irina to respond. He was not above a little slicing and dicing from his cohorts. “I work for the CIA?” Irina gave a short laugh. “If I work for anyone, it’s me. What I do, I choose to do.” “And your daughter would approve, no doubt.” Sark said. “My daughter,” answered Irina, “is a CIA agent and a good one. We have chosen different paths and we don’t need each other’s approval.” Her voice was low and sounded quite deadly. Sark probed. “And Jack? It seems you have betrayed him again. He must really hate you now.” Irina’s dark eyes were as cold as her voice deadly, “You are beginning to get too personal and it could be extremely dangerous for you to continue.” “Interesting!” he shot back, looking at Sloane. Sloane put up a hand stopping the conversation. “She’s right, Sark. It is getting personal. Do you offer any real evidence, or is this a petty attempt to stop her from joining our cadre of Rambaldi researchers?” He poured some wine into Sark’s glass. “Irina brought me the Rambaldi manuscript and, she tells me, she still controls the artifacts she acquired over a period time. You told me you had assumed her assets, but now it seems you didn’t.” “Sir, I thought I knew where they were.” He said. “I was the one who told you about Sydney and Jack.” “And I appreciated that. It helped me a great deal in setting up the end of the Alliance and their SD’s. But you didn’t give me her artifacts.” That had been the end of the conversation. Sark was not happy, but said nothing more. They had gone back to the office to go over the manuscript Irina had brought. There was a formula, but Rambaldi had not said what it was for – long life, everlasting life, what? They had wrestled with the problem for three hours. Then Sloane put the books back into his safe. “We’ll start fresh in the morning.” Irina stretched and smiled at him, “Tell me, Arvin, where is Emily?” “What makes you think she’s alive. Sydney delivered her eulogy for me herself.” Irina leaned forward a little, looking down at him with a knowing smile. “Jack told me something a couple of weeks ago – he said you and he shared ‘a similar unsentimental patriotism…and a devotion to our wives.’ I don’t see you letting the Alliance getting away with making you kill her.” He laughed, “How very perceptive. No, Emily is alive in Tuscany. I bought her a villa.” He loved how he had foiled the Alliance’s plans. She was the love of his life. He turned out the light, locking the study door. Irina smiled at him behind his back, “If you don’t mind I think I’ll take a breath of this mountain air. Sitting for months in a cell makes one appreciate certain freedoms.” Arvin nodded and pointed to a double door. “That leads to a small balcony. There are a few chairs. It will get colder. You might want a jacket. Goodnight.” Irina paused a moment, then went to the closet near the front door and removed a heavy leather jacket she found hanging up. It fit a little loose, but she didn’t plan to meet anyone she knew. At the top of the stairs, Arvin paused, then gestured with his thumb toward the balcony. Then he turned and went to his room, closing the door securely behind him. He had no regrets. He could do without this new partner in spite of the promise of new Rambaldi material. She was too dangerous. The old one would go one day too, but for now, he had use for him. Irina sat for a while, watching the stars in the sky, wondering about Milo Rambaldi and his manuscripts, drawings and formulas. If ever there was a puzzle, it was he. The man lived in the 1500s and was a much superior inventor than Da Vinci. Why had he spent so much time inventing and utilizing puzzles to mask his work, his genius? What was everlasting life in his mind? The flower they had brought back from Kashmir supposedly represented his promise of that quest to live forever, to be immortal. She shivered. It was getting colder. Suddenly the hair on the back of her neck stood up. She had lived too long on the edge not to know someone was close by. Sark? Arvin? She had no illusions about her status with him. He used her to get the manuscript and he would try to get rid of her as soon as it was prudent – after she gave him the artifacts. He was smart, yet he had no idea who he was dealing with in Irina Derevko. No one had any idea, not even Jack or Sydney. She listened. There was a slight breeze rustling through the pine trees. It sounded like water sliding over rocks in a rushing brook. It was a beautiful sound unless you happened to be stalked and she had the feeling she was. Was Arvin so foolish so soon? She smiled in the darkness, waiting. Well, that suited her just fine if he did. No more niceties. Nice knowing where one stood in the scheme of things. She moved to her right silently. She had left the door slightly ajar, but in the dim starlight she saw it was closed. Someone was on the balcony with her. Irina took a deep breath. The large strong hands that Jack thought extraordinary, flexed and flexed again. She tightened them into fists, feeling the muscles in her biceps. She had strength and now, purpose. She could outwait her adversary if necessary. The longer she waited, the more nervous he would be wondering what she was up to. She took another step to the right, and her foot connected with a leg of a chair, making a sound that seemed to roar through the night’s quiet. “Hell,” she thought. There was movement at her left elbow. A hand gripped the arm while another pushed at her back with force, staggering her forward. The hand at her back moved. She sensed it was about to do something besides push. She ducked, dropping to her knees. She sensed rather than felt the air above her move. She lashed back with her right elbow, feeling it connect with a body. She stood. Whirling to her right, she wrapped her arms around Sark’s body. Sark tried to break her hold, but she was too strong, much stronger than he anticipated. She had his arms pinned. “You fool,” she hissed. Sark lashed back with a foot, hitting her in the shin. She loosened her hold enough for him to break free. He clipped her across the chin. She fell back. He gripped her jacket, hitting her again. She was dazed. Sark thought he had the upper hand. Without warning, he pushed her against the balcony railing hard, Irina reached out and grabbed his coat collar, and they both went over, falling into blackness. The screaming echoed throughout the forest and into the night. Los Angeles Sydney sat up, sweating. Her heart was racing. What? She looked around. Vaughn was asleep. What had she heard? She slowly fell back on her pillow, frightened.