Here's the final part of Point/Counterpoint. I decided to leave off part 5 because it really didn't add to the story line other than explain..stuff. It's better here than there. ^_^ In fact I like it better and that's the final answer...of course who knows what my editor would think, but I'm not going to tell her. And finally, all these wonderful characters belong to our master storyteller, JJ Abrams. Part 4 POINT & COUNTERPOINT Los Angeles Vaughn sat at his desk staring at the screen. Irina Derevko, the woman who killed his father, was standing at the window of her cell watching the camera. She was saying something. He zoomed the lens in closer. She was mouthing his name. She wanted to talk to him. The sweat began to pool underneath his clothes and on his face. He was almost shaking as he entered the cellblock, hearing the doors raise and shut. She was waiting by the window. “I want to tell you about your father, but not here, not like this.” She faced him, watching him. “Can you get permission for the two of us to talk up on the roof?” Her gaze never left his face. “I’ll try.” “Tomorrow.” Irina was on the roof, when he came through the door. Her back was to him as she stared out towards the heart of the city. She heard his footsteps and turned to face him. Three U. S. Marshals stood guard at various positions on the roof, but none were close by. Vaughn stopped, waiting. “In 1982,” she began, “you know I left the U.S. to return to my country. I had spent ten years in your country. I had married Jack and we had a child, Sydney. After I was debriefed, I was arrested, suspected of being a traitor. I was transported to a KGB prison in southern USSR, what is now the area around Mazafarabad. “KGB prisons did not necessarily hold criminals. They had suspected traitors and spies. I was the former. Your father was the latter. I was placed in a cell with no running water, no lights, a slab of wood they considered a bed, and a washbasin. The first week I was interrogated daily regarding my life in the U. S. and why I came back to Russia. Why wasn’t I happy living there? They asked the same questions repeatedly. If you deviated a syllable from your previous answer, they became accusing, derisive and even physical. “After the third week, I was crazy with grief as well as anger. I realized they had not wanted me back after being here for so many years. If I was caught, then they didn’t have to worry. Your government would make me pay the ultimate penalty. I believed what they had told me before I came to the U. S., but now, I began to hate these men with a passion. My faith in my country was diminishing. I was waiting for them to come for me one day, when the doors to the corridor opened. Two guards brought a prisoner in and threw him into the cell next to me. It was your father.” Vaughn swallowed but said nothing. Irina looked away toward the city’s skyline. She sighed and then turned to face him. “Bill Vaughn! I will never forget him. You look so much like him. It’s almost uncanny. “Anyway, they caught him in Kiev. He had no papers or identification on him to verify his mission or reason to be in the city. They evidently had been following him. He was arrested and brought to the prison. “At first they simply tried interrogation, but with each succeeding day, the questioning kept getting worse for him. They began to systematically break his bones beginning with his feet, legs, hands wrists, and arms upper and lower. Every day it was a different bone. Finally, he couldn’t walk. They had to drag him to and from the interrogations.” A single tear rolled down her cheek as she remembered. “He was the bravest man I think I’ve ever met.” KGB Prison 1982 Irina was thrown into her cell. The door slammed shut behind her and locked. She crawled to her bunk, lifting herself up and lying down. They had been relentless. She had not given them anything and she thought they were beginning to accept the fact she had come back to the USSR of her own desire. She heard the door to the corridor open. They were bringing Bill back. She had gotten to know the American pretty well the past four weeks and was devastated by the brutality of his interrogation. Still he had said nothing nor given up the name of his Russian contact. Irina thought him to be the bravest man she had ever known. She didn’t know what Jack would do under similar circumstances, but she suspected he was made of the same caliber. The cell door opened and they dumped him on the floor. They laughed when they heard him scream in pain. Irina stood up, walking slowly to the bars separating them. She looked down. Even in the pale light from the bulb overhead, she could see what had happened. They had broken his jaw. “Bill!” She called softly. He turned his head to look at her. She grimaced. He had been a very good-looking man when they brought him here, but no more. He was bleeding from his mouth and nose. He tried to smile and but couldn’t. “Hi kid,” he was ten years older than she and had from the beginning treated her like a kid sister even though she was thirty-two. “I wish I could do something. If you can crawl over, I’ve some water you can have.” He made an effort. “Sorry, kid, I can’t.” He sighed and passed out. Irina cried herself to sleep that night. Bill was going to die. She knew that was going to happen. How soon, would depend on the interrogators figuring out if he could take anymore. The next morning they came for Bill. He hadn’t moved and was still on the floor where he had fallen. She sat on the edge of her bunk watching them take him out. He was moaning now. The cell door shut with a terrible loud clang that had finality to its sound. “He’s going to die today,” she whispered to herself. The hours passed. Irina wondered why she wasn’t being questioned. Maybe, she thought with passion, they had believed her and were going to let her go home. A tear fell from her eye and rolled down her cheek. She wanted to see her father. He had some questions to answer. It was late afternoon when two guards came for her. They marched her down the corridor, not stopping at the room where she was usually questioned. At another door, the guards holding her arms opened it and shoved her inside. Irina gasped. It was the room where they interrogated Bill Vaughn. He looked terrible and although sitting in a chair, lay face down on the table. Three KGB officers, the interrogators, were watching her reaction. She looked at them and then at Bill. “He’s dying! Why are you still beating him? Just let him be.” They motioned her to them. “Did he ever tell you anything?” She shook her head. “He’s too smart. He probably thought I was a plant.” After what they had done to her, she would tell them nothing. One of the officers took out his pistol and cocked it. “Here take it. Put him out of his misery.” “What?” She was both stunned then angry. “Why me?” She looked down at Bill. “Because it will tell us you are loyal to the Motherland. We can let you go home back to Moscow where you can be with your father. We will return you to full pay and duty.” Irina was horrified. “Please…Irina. Do it.” Bill’s voice was barely audible. “Please!” She backed away from them all, staring at Bill. “Please, please!” pled Bill, choking even as he said. “Be my friend and do it.” Irina stared at the three officers, then at Bill. Blood was visibly seeping from his ears now, It meant they might have fractured his skull or at least hit him hard enough to cause a severe concussion. She walked to the officer who had the gun and took it. She turned around to Bill, pointed at his head and fired. The bullet entered, leaving his brains and pieces of skull all over the other two officers who had not gotten out of the way. One of them had just taken a picture. “Now let me go,” she said, tossing the gun back to the first interrogator. She knew there was only one bullet in the gun. Cowards, they had loaded the gun with only one bullet to prevent her from shooting them. In her heart, she promised that one day when she was free, they would die for this. Vaughn stared at her not knowing if he should believe her. There were tears in her eyes as she remembered that awful moment. Vaughn swallowed hard. “Why should I believe you?” Irina laughed sardonically, “Yes, why should you? In fact, I have no proof that what I’ve said is the truth. However, I do have a message for you, from your father.” “Message?” “Yes. He told me if ever there was a chance I could get the message to his family, they would be grateful.” His heart nearly stopped. A message from his father after twenty-two years! On the one hand, he wanted to hear it and on the other he didn’t. He kept staring at her. Then he said quietly, “And the message…” “Hickory, dickory dock, time ran out of my clock.” “Oh God,” he cried, turning and running to the stairs. Irina stared after him. The Marshals came up and handcuffed her. They would be taking her back to her cell. The meeting was over.