The Derevko Journals

lenafan

Cadet
Joined
Jan 22, 2003
Location
So. California
3. Helix Protocol

My head was splitting when I regained consciousness. I was not in the empty building. I was lying flat on a table in a very, very white room. There were machines of some kind lined up against the wall to my left. I tried to sit up, but couldn’t. My wrists were shackled to the table I was on and my ankles similarly held. A wide metal band ran across my abdomen and across my chest which served to fasten me to the table. I couldn’t move.

“Impressive, Irina.” The voice resonated in my head and I knew Yelena had caught up with me.

From somewhere behind me I heard a buzzer and then a clanging as a lock of some kind was thrown either manually or electronically. The door opened behind me. I strained to look. However I needn’t, because Yelena moved to my left side, followed by two other figures.

“Awake?” Yelena said.

“Let me go,” I snapped. I knew that wasn’t going to happen, but I had to tell her I wasn’t going to let her browbeat me.

She flashed a quick smile. “Of course. All you have to do is tell me about Il Diluvio.”

“Chto?” I knew she’d been looking for that particular Rambaldi manuscript for some time. “I don’t have that—whatever it is.”

“Liar!” She snapped. “Where is it?”

“I don’t have anything by that name. Let me go!”

“No, but we have time to explore your unwillingness to talk. But first we have a little experiment to complete. Doctor!” She stepped to a spot behind me.

The doctor who was the one wearing a white coat. “Yes, Yelena?”

“Start harvesting the protocols.”

The machines started to come on. In my present situation, I could see very little. A noise from above caught my attention and I saw two large hooks descending from the ceiling. I watched with a bit of fear as the doctor hooked one through the buckle on my chest and the other to the band across my abdomen.

“Start the lift.” He said to someone to his right.

I was lying, it seemed, on a padded platform. It was lifted straight up about three feet. The doctor took hold of the platform and moved it with me to a tank on my right. I had not had time to notice it. There was water in it which was roiling. Since there was no steam rising from it, I quickly surmised it was not hot. The platform was moved over the top.

“Chto za chyort,” I yelled.

“Don’t worry, Ms Derevko,” the doctor explained. “You will be submerged only for minute. I would advise you to shut your eyes and mouth.”

The water closed over me and I did what he suggested as he put a clamp over my nose. Then in a second I was completely under water. I felt the water boiling around me, but I knew it wasn’t hot. Still what was happening? I fought against breathing and kept myself calm. I was not afraid because Yelena wasn’t going to harm me until she got what she wanted. I wasn’t planning on giving it to her. I could open my mouth and perhaps drown. That would end her plans...but I wanted to live.

Then the platform was raised and moments later I was back on the table where I’d been a few minutes before. The clamp was removed and I could breathe normally. I took several breaths as water streamed from my body and the clothes I was wearing. The doctor stood next to me, hypodermic needle in his hand. Before I could object or say anything at all, he’d plunged it into my arm.

I awakened sometime later. The room was pitch-black. There was no light anywhere. I couldn’t even see my hand in front of my face. My clothes were gone, but not the chains. My ankles were shackled. Bending from the waist I was able to ascertain that there was only 18 inches between them. That was not going to allow me much movement—my steps would be limited. However, my wrists were free...no manacles.

“Chyort!” I swore softly. I stood somewhat confused. I decided to find a wall and go from there. Three steps forward and I hit the wall, but not hard enough to cause any injury. I reached up as high as I could. At six feet, my hands reached about two and half feet above my head. Standing on tip toe, I could feel the crease where the ceiling met the wall.

“Start moving, Irina,” I said softly to myself. I slowly shuffled my feet to the left, feeling the wall for any sign of a door or window.

I was careful. I did not know what was in the room...table, chairs, anything to give me a sense of where I might be. I touched nothing as I came to the corner. Now I had to take measure of the room’s size. I worked my way slowly along the wall and used my wing span of six feet to measure it. This particular wall measured eight feet.

My hands explored for something to indicate anything that would give me information. I came to the next corner and my left foot hit something that clanged. I stopped. The item whatever it was moved slightly. I bent down and felt for the object. I found it and lifted it slowly. It was light in weight, but bulky and my fingers sensed it was some kind of bowl. I put both hands around it and lifted it closer. An acrid smell hit my nose and I nearly dropped my urinal.

Okay, that was not a positive find, but a necessary one. I continued my way along the wall after setting the bowl down. This one measured six feet. My hands moved slowly up and down the wall, searching for any kind of crease that would indicate a door, but there was none. I ran my hands along the top where ceiling met wall and there was nothing.

The next side was explored carefully, but there was nothing to indicate any kind of a door. However at the top near the ceiling was a six-inch wide item that felt like mesh of some sort. I tried to pry it off with my fingers, but couldn’t budge it. It was a speaker I thought. Yelena would use it to communicate with me.

I continued exploring the wall, but there was nothing more. In fact other than the speaker there was nothing on the any walls to indicate a door of any kind. I looked up, seeing nothing of course and began to slide my hands along the ceiling. Finally, my fingers touched a minute crease and tracing it, I thought that I’d been dropped through a trap door...but where? Was I underground or in a cellar? I found nothing on the floor to indicate another way in or out.

Backing up, I felt for the wall behind me and slid down into a seated position. I was Yelena’s prisoner and would have to wait for her to make the next move. I decided to begin meditating. That was something I could do that would make the minutes and hours pass. When my sister wanted to talk to me, she would. I could wait her out.


I don’t know how long I was in the room...days, I think, but exactly how many was impossible to figure.

“Irina!”

I looked toward the speaker. “Da?” My voice cracked.

“Have you thought about my request?” Her voice grated on me.

“Go to hell.” I snapped.

There was no response. Silence. She had cut off communication. Then I heard a sound. It was a door and it was not from overhead. Light poured into the room. I blinked hard and threw my right arm over my eyes. Someone stuck a plastic bottle in my left hand.

“Drink it slowly.” It was not Yelena. It sounded like that of the doctor.

I did as I was told. The water tasted good. I wanted to gulp it down, but previous experience with a lack of water had taught me to be prudent, especially if I wanted to keep it down.

Someone else was in the room. I heard the bowl being picked up and another dropped into its spot. I said nothing, but kept my eyes closed. The doctor was taking my pulse. Then he pulled my arm down.

“Open your eyes.”

“It hurts,” I said, not wishing to do so.

“If you want something to eat...” He left the rest unsaid, but I knew what he meant.
I opened my eyes. He had a small pencil light which he used to look at both my eyes. “Now open your mouth.” He looked and then stood, running the light over my naked body. “Bring the bowl.”

Someone entered and handed a bowl to me. I took it and looked for a spoon. There was none. Yelena’s paranoia. As if I would be able to use it in this room or even escape. I held the bowl up and slowly consumed what was in it. It was warm and I resisted the temptation to gulp it down. No use getting sick. I finished by licking the bowl clean.

I cleared my throat. “How...how long?”

“Evidently not long enough,” said the doctor. He left.

The door slammed shut and I was in pitch blackness again. I felt better even though I’d had only a minimum of food and drink. I sank back against the wall wondering how much longer this was going to continue.


I’m sure days passed before anyone came to see me. I was feeling dizzy this time. I essentially was being sensory deprived. It obviously was Yelena’s way to get the information. She was a fool, if she thought I’d give in. I had to keep myself thinking about other things and other people. I thought about Jack, but that just caused my heart to race. Then I thought about Sydney and I thought about Nadia. Where was she? Even more important, was she alive? Katya said she was, but no one knew where she’d gone.

“Hey Mom,” came a voice out of the darkness.

I scrambled until I was sitting with my back to a wall. “Who’s there?”

“It’s me, Mom, Sydney. You wanted to talk to me?”

I blinked. I was delusional. Sydney wasn’t here...she couldn’t be. “Go away.” I whispered. ”You are not real.”

“No, you really don’t want that. You wanted to talk to me and here’s your chance. You can tell me everything.”

I bowed my head, trying to make sense of it. Chyort, why not? Perhaps it would help me through this. I’d wanted to talk to her for so many years, but at CIA there was no chance at a private talk. Everything was videoed and recorded. “Yes, Sydney, I do.”

“SO...I’m here. Go for it.”

“Sydney, I love you. I truly do, in spite of what you may think.” I felt a tear start down my cheek. “I left because I had to. If I didn’t, I was told they would kill you and your father.” I opened my eyes staring into the black, but sensing Sydney’s presence. She really wasn’t, but it felt like she was sitting in front of me.

“Yeah, I think you do, Mom. I do wish you’d been around some more.”

“What...what was it like after I left?”

“I cried a lot. Dad said you were...dead...that you’d been in a car accident. Two days later, he was gone. Emily Sloane came over to hire a nanny for me. Then Dad came home again. I heard him tell Emily that he was going away for he didn’t know how long and that he had to get someone to stay with me for the long term. He said he had money so we wouldn’t be homeless.”

I was silent then said, “He did, didn’t he?” I wondered where he’d hidden it, because our bank account had not been robust when I left. “Was she nice to you?”

“Yeah, but I didn’t care who was there. You were dead and Dad was gone—to prison I learned.”

“When did you learn about...about me?”

“Vaughn and I thought Dad was the KGB agent and were pursuing it. Then there was this meeting Vaughn called to expose Dad. Instead...”

“All those years,” I sighed, “and you were working for CIA as a double agent? What a blow. I’m sorry, Sydney.”

“I cried and ran home to tear up the only picture I had of you and me. Now I wish I hadn’t.”

I was silent again. “I told your father once that I’d never forgotten him; that I pictured him in my mind each day, never knowing if I would ever see him or...you. I also pictured you, but never could see you grown up. You were always a little girl to me.”

“Why didn’t you turn yourself in? Then you could have been around to watch me grow up.”

“I was too far into my job; I’d completed several assignments.”

“Killing those agents.”

I nodded. “Yes.”

“Why Bill Vaughn?”

“He was a member of The Followers of Rambaldi. He stole Nadia from the KGB and took her to Argentina. He refused to tell me where she was. I killed him figuring that then no one would know. Turned out I was wrong.”

“Yeah...Yelena.”

“Have you seen Nadia?”

“Not yet, but we’re looking.”

“Tell me, Sydney, do you remember your first kiss?”

She hesitated. “Why?”

“Because I’m your mother. If circumstances had been different and I was home, you would have told me.”

“Well it wasn’t anything spectacular. I certainly didn’t tell Dad, although I think he wouldn’t have heard me if I did. It was a boy from my eighth grade class. He took me to see a movie called “Big” with Tom Hanks. He kissed me when he brought me home.”

“Nothing special?”

“Well, it was my first one.” She answered,

“And you didn’t tell your father?”

“Mom, he wasn’t at home.” There was a hint of sadness in her voice. “Besides I think he would have killed the boy.”

“When did he teach you the Project Christmas protocols?” I asked because if he’d been in prison, he didn’t do it immediately after my extraction.

“When he got out of prison, but I don’t remember exactly when that was.”

“How was high school?” I decided not to pursue Project Christmas any further. “Did you have a good time? You must have kept up your grades in order to get into UCLA.”

“Yeah, but I was wild. Dad was never home. There was a housekeeper, but she wasn’t exactly the most sympathetic, so I did what I wanted. I tried pot and got sick. Tried drinking beer, which I did like. Drank too much and was really hung-over a couple of times, so stopped it.”

“Sex?”

“Mom, that’s getting too personal. I don’t think I would have told you even if you were home.”

I laughed. “Sydney, I would have found out. By the way, did Jack ever talk to you about...about having sex and protecting yourself?”

She sighed. “No. In fact, he didn’t tell me about menstruating either. The housekeeper did when it first happened. I was twelve.” She paused. “Still I knew some stuff because the girls at school seemed to think it was a big deal in their lives. Now they were grown up and could have sex.”

I groaned mentally. I remember Katya telling me that our mother had told her about periods and what they meant. She got sick with cancer and barely had time to tell me about s ex before she died. Then HE gave me lessons.

“Did you?”

“Well, not right away,” she confessed. “Mom, we were in an AIDS crisis in our country and it was no good having sex. Getting pregnant was stupid...at least I thought so, especially since I wanted to go to college.” She paused. “I wanted to be a teacher like you.”

“You still can, sweetheart, just get out of CIA.”

“I’m going to get Sloane—and you.”

I didn’t think she would ‘get me’ because Yelena was my captor. “Well just now I’m someone else’s prisoner and I don’t think I’ll be free any time soon. Concentrate on Arvin.”

“I’ll get you both.”

“Sydney, stop being so stubborn!” I was peeved by her reasoning. “Get out!”

“Unh uh,” she said.

Then she was gone. I wondered if she’d be back. Of course I knew it was my imagination that brought Sydney to me. I wanted to talk to her for a long, long time and now it seemed so real even though I knew it wasn’t.

“Derevko!” The loud voice grated on my ears. I was slapped hard in the face. “Derevko!” The voice echoed in my ears so loud that I held my hands over them.

My hands were pulled away and I was brought back into a seated position. “Snap out of it. Who were you talking to?”

“Go away.” I mumbled. But I knew it was too late, Sydney had gone...at least for the moment. “Go away...” I began to slump to the right.

Hands caught me and I was shoved back against the wall hard enough to snap me awake. I’d been dreaming or talking in my sleep to Sydney. My God was I dying or just hallucinating? “Go away,” I said distinctly.

“Open your eyes!” It was Yelena’s voice. “I want to show you something.”

“Go to hell,” I said.

“I think you went first, dear sister,” she said. “Drag her out of here.”

Hands pulled at my arms, lifting me up to my feet. I stank, because the two men who lifted me up were holding their breath, at least that’s what it looked like. They hurried me out of the room.

“Clean her up and bring her to me.”

They put me into a shower and turned the water on high. A woman joined them and began washing me from head to foot. I’ve never loved a shower more than this one. It seemed to revive me. I don’t know how long I was there, but long enough to cleanse the filth and stench from my body.

I was put into a hospital gown, taken to another room where they gave me some food. I demolished it in minutes. Then I was marched down a hall to another room which was Yelena’s office.

“Sit down, Irina.” She nodded to the two guards who shoved me into chair and handcuffed me to it.

“Go to hell,” I muttered.

One guard hit me. I was so weak still that I nearly fell out of the chair and would have if I hadn’t been cuffed to it.

“You know you can save yourself a lot of pain if you would simply tell me what I want to know...Il Diluvio.”

“What makes you think I ever saw it?”

“I’m not stupid. I’ve been after that manuscript for years and you probably know it. I traced it to a man who died before I could retrieve it. I learned his son had taken the books to a dealer in St. Petersburg. He swore that that old book was in the box. When I went to the store, I was told I could look at the box, but not take anything. There was no old book by Milo Rambaldi.

“The young clerk told me that the only person who had gone through the box was a woman. He described her very well as she was extremely attractive standing over six feet. I knew it had to be you.”

I shook my head. “No, not me.”

“We shall see, but first I want to show you a video that was taken three nights ago in Vienna.” Yelena walked over to the television. She shoved a tape into the player and turned it on.

I watched in horror as I entered a basement, a glass of champagne in my hand, talking to someone. The view switched and I saw Jack, my Jack, standing there watching me approach. We talked for a moment; then he took me in his arms and we danced. I blinked back tears as we kissed, with some amount of passion. I knew it wasn’t me. I was here. I wasn’t dreaming this.

As the scene continued Jack was asking me something. There was no sound so I couldn’t understand. Suddenly he took out his gun, holding it in front of me. He pulled the trigger and I fell backward into the pool...dead.

He killed me!

I couldn’t move. I was in shock. “Why,” I asked?

“Because you ordered Sydney killed,” smirked Yelena. “You paid Tomasaki, an international assassin to kill your daughter.”

My heart stopped for the moment. “Kill Sydney?”

“Of course. She’s The Chosen One. Sooner or later she and The Passenger would meet and one would kill the other. I am making sure that Nadia, when I find her, will stay alive.”

“You bitch!” I yelled. I knew now why I’d been dunked into the tank. They wanted my DNA to make someone over to look like me. The helix protocol to clone was used on me as it had to double Sydney’s friend, Francie.

“You are going to talk, Irina, sooner or later.” Yelena nodded to the guards who removed me from the chair and took me back to my cell.


SYDNEY AND KATYA

Sydney watched her aunt come off the plane. She had just landed in Vancouver, Canada. They had planned to meet for another financial update. Sydney was pregnant again. She knew she and Vaughn would have a boy this time. Iz was excited when she was told she would soon have a baby brother to help take care of. Sydney was glowing with happiness.

“Katya!” She saw her petite aunt at the last of the first class passengers. She rushed forward to kiss her. “How are you?”

Katya looked at her niece. Sydney would be giving birth very soon. “I’m fine, but look at you. When?”

“Next month. It’s a boy. Iz is so excited and Vaughn is positively bursting with pride.”

“Men!” Katya laughed. She pulled her small case behind her. “Did you make reservations at the hotel?”

“Of course.” The pair had not seen each other for about six months and they each were pleased with what they saw. Katya was unchanged. Sydney was robust in her eighth month of her pregnancy. “Vaughn took Iz skiing and should be back tomorrow. I, of course, would look ridiculous on skis.”

Katya laughed.

Back at the hotel, Sydney ordered a bottle of vodka sent up with a glass of milk. Katya promised to meet within the hour. Sydney opened the door to the suite when she heard a knock. Katya kissed her niece and followed her to the sofa.

“Drink?”

“Yes, vodka.”

“Straight or on the rocks.”

Katya snorted. “Sydushka!”

Sydney handed her a glass filled with vodka. She sat down with her glass of milk. Katya took a swallow.

“So, is there anything else new?”

“No, just Jack.” She pointed to her stomach.

“So you decided on a name?”

“Jackson William.”

“Ahhh.” Katya took another sip. She knew the William was for Vaughn’s father. She looked at her niece. “Did you ever find him? Jack, I mean.”

Sydney sobered, shaking her head. “They told us the cave had collapsed and that it was possible he’d gone back inside. I knew he had when we couldn’t find him. My guess is that he...” she paused. “...that he some how blew up the cave with Arvin in it.”

Katya sighed. What a waste. She liked Jack and from the little she gleaned during the years she and Rishka talked, her sister loved him. “Shall we?” She pointed at her brief case. Sydney nodded.


Two hours later Katya put away the papers that required Sydney’s signature and the financial reports she had brought.

“Dinner?” Asked Sydney. “We can eat here or go out.”

“Out, Sydushka, Vancouver has many fine restaurants.”

“Nothing too spicy. Jackson objects when I do.”

Katya laughed, “Very well. You get ready and I’ll find us a good one.”

Sydney disappeared and Katya made a call to the front desk. When her niece returned, she had the restaurant and had made reservations.

They were eating their salads when Sydney asked a strange question. “Do you believe in telepathy or thought transference?”

Katya’s eyebrows shot up. “What do you mean?”

“I’m reading Mom’s journal she wrote after Yelena captured her. She mentions in it that she had a conversation with me. She thought she was delusional at the time.”

“And you?”

“It’s strange and I’m telling you only because you’re my aunt and knew Mom, but I had the strangest dream one night. I never forgot it. I dreamed Mom and I were talking about me when I was young...just like she describes in the journal.”

Katya took a sip of water. “Your mother had some strange qualities about her that I never probed. It’s possible...” She stared off into space, thinking about something that had happened recently. She decided not to say anything to Sydney.

“Did you have any odd occurrence happen to you with Mom?”

“No,” said Katya firmly. “Nothing like you described.”


14. Heart Attack

I don’t know how long I’ve been here. They come periodically to feed me and sometimes to bathe me. It doesn’t take long for the stench of my tiny room to permeate my hair and body. I’m taken to see Yelena who questions me. I refuse and back I go to the prison room. Yelena has developed patience beyond my expectations.

One morning they came to get me. I was shoved into the shower, scrubbed, and dressed in a white gown. Instead of my prison, they marched me down the hall to that white room I awakened in days and days ago. I was placed in a reclining chair and ankles and wrists locked down. They pulled a wide metal band over my abdomen.

The doctor then attached pads with wires leading to a machine. There were several on my chest and under my left arm. I recognized an EKG machine. Now what? The doctor went to another table that had several instruments on it.

Just then the door opened and Yelena came in, a smile on her face. “SO sister, have you thought more about giving me the information I want?”

“Poshla k chyortu,” I snarled.

“Very well. I think you should know that you are going to feel pain as you’ve never felt before, not even in Kashmir. It will be so excruciating that you will think you are dying. Your heart will actually stop. We’ll bring you back though. I don’t want to kill you yet, sister dear.” She patted my face and stepped back, motioning to the doctor to continue.

He began to inject the liquid into my vein. For a few seconds, I felt nothing. Then pain, waves of pain streaked from my head to my toes. The pain was excruciating. It rippled through my body, time after time after time until I felt sweat running off my face. My heart rate rose with every wave of pain. It was so loud; I thought I heard it pounding through my chest and would burst through any moment. I screamed and screamed again; then I lost consciousness.

I woke up in a bed and thought my body was still shaking. I knew my heart was racing. Not good. I closed my eyes, wondering if I could sleep. They shackled my ankles and wrists to the bed frame so I could not move. A man entered the room with a stethoscope and blood pressure cuff. He quickly checked my heart and pressure. I gave him a lesson in Russian swearing, which didn’t faze him a bit. He smiled at me, wrote something on my chart which was hooked to the bed frame and left.

I didn’t care; it made me feel good to swear. I hadn’t lost it yet. I looked at the restraints. They were solid; I would not escape from them. I closed my eyes, calming myself, and wondered when Yelena would come back. Periodically, the doctor came into my room and looked at the chart. He never spoke to me. No one spoke to me. However, I did get food for the first time on a regular basis.

Three days passed. Then the two guards entered and took me out of the restraints. I was weak, but they practically dragged me down the hall two doors and into the third. The room with the chair. I was put into the chair and restrained as before.

Yelena entered the room. “And did you think about pain? Are you ready to give me information?”

‘Nyet!” I said.

The doctor appeared by my side and inserted the needle into my vein. Waves of pain struck without warning. Every nerve ending burned as though on fire. I gasped for breath willing myself not to scream. My chest heaved. I strained against the chair trying to break the restraints, but could not. Pain pulsated, throbbed and shot through me time and time again, until I screamed obscenities by the dozen at the doctor, at Yelena, and at the guards.

I collapsed, lost consciousness and...died.

I opened my eyes when I felt someone shake me. Chyort, I was still breathing. That meant the doctor and Yelena brought me back. My heart feels as though it’s racing, but other than that, I felt okay. I closed my eyes and shuddered. It was scary losing consciousness and thinking you were dying. Yelena was right the pain was awful and even worse. I wasn’t going to tell her. I closed my eyes again and fell asleep.

I began losing track of the number of times I was given the injections. At first it seemed like every two or three days. I was numbed by the pain and went into cardiac arrest every time. I do know the ‘treatments’ seemed to get farther and farther apart, until the anticipation of what would happen became almost too much to bear.

In between the ‘treatments’, I was left alone. Fed and bathed by my guards, but never allowed to do it myself. It was a change in tactics designed to humiliate me. Yelena thought it would hasten my willingness to talk. I couldn’t exercise either. They kept me chained down day after day. They even made me use a bed pan to eliminate urine and feces. It infuriated, but didn’t break me.

After a period of two or three weeks, Yelena ordered me back to the room and it began all over again. The doctor informed her that my blood pressure had risen everyday and that I probably would collapse sooner this time because of the heightened anticipation.

“Good,” she said and left the room.

The pain exploded once more over my entire body. I gripped the arms of the chair and thrashed as much as was possible, which was very little given the circumstances. Then I screamed and screamed and screamed...


“Sydney, Sydney!” I cried. “Please come, please!” I took deep breaths trying to erase the pain and the terror I was feeling.

“Mom?” The voice was hesitant, curious. “Where are you?”

“I don’t know!” I sobbed. I know my voice was weak and not very positive. “Talk to me.”

“About what?”

“Tell me about Danny.” If I could just get my mind off the terrible pain.

“Danny? But he’s...:

“I know, but he was there with you during your UCLA days. How did you meet?” I was crying, but I knew she didn’t know.

“He was going to be a pediatric heart specialist. We met in the cafeteria. He was nose-deep in a book when I sat down. The room was filled and his table had an empty chair, so I took it. He barely looked up and just grunted when I asked if it was alright since every table was full.”

“Did he recognize how pretty you were?”

Sydney hesitated almost laughing, “Well I really thought he was good looking and was a pre-med student. So I checked the cafeteria the next day and he was there again. I sat down again. He didn’t even notice me until the fifth time I sat down.”

I laughed. It was the first time I’d heard me laugh for months; that is, if I did...maybe I was imagining all of this. “So...”

“He said, ‘this is getting to be a habit” and looked at me for the first time. I just grinned at him. “True,” I said, “but I wondered how long it would take you to look at me and maybe...ask me out on a date.”

“...and...?” I prodded.

“He looked at me from head to toe, nodded, “How about dinner?”

“Sure!” I told him where my dorm was.

“Unh uh, you meet me at the Pizza Palace in Westwood. Know it?”

“Yeah?”

“Be there promptly at 7:00 p.m.”

“Aren’t you supposed to pick me up?”

“I’ve got a test to study for and I’m budgeting my time with you. Take it or leave it.” Sydney laughed. “That was our first date.”

“I take it you made a lasting impression on him.”

“Yeah. We moved in together three months later, just after my freshman year was over.”

“You loved him?”

“Of course. But...” She paused, “...I made a terrible mistake. I told him I worked for the CIA in their black ops company.”

“Sloane found out.” I knew he’d probably had her telephone tapped.

“Yeah. Danny called, slightly drunk, and left a message on my machine, telling me he would marry me in spite of my special work. That was all Security at SD-6 needed to hear. They told Sloane. I was away and I found him in our bathtub, very, very dead.” Sydney stopped.

“Sorry, sweetheart.” My pain was subsiding. I wanted to sleep. “Talk to you later.”


Days passed, maybe months, but I was fighting to stay sane enough to deny Yelena access to Il Diluvio. She changed tactics after letting me stew in terror as I was anticipating my next visit to the room. I was finally taken to the chair. The doctor took my blood pressure which was high...too high. He told Yelena that I would have to be monitored 24/7. There was the possibility I would have a heart attack not associated with the injection.

“Hear that, dear sister? An unprovoked heart attack...and we might not get to you in time.” She smirked.

“frack you,” I cried, tears running down my face as I watched the doctor approach with the syringe.

It took another week. Four more times they took me into the room with the chair. I screamed myself hoarse, but Yelena was implacable. The doctor warned her that I was close to dying simply because my heart was been overworked and the stress on it reviving me might cause it to stop entirely. At this point, I hoped I would die soon, but that was not to be.

She didn’t need to worry. I broke down when I came out of the last injection. I was weak, hungry, and shaking so badly my bed rattled. Tears streamed down my face as I said I would cooperate. Yelena’s men came and took me to the showers. I was washed thoroughly, top to bottom. I was fed small amounts of good food and given plenty of water.

They brought me, dressed in clean clothes, but shackled, to Yelena. They put me down in a chair facing her.

“I want everything you read in Il Diluvio,” said Yelena. She had a syringe lying on the desk in front of her. “Hesitating will only mean another bout with your devils.”

I began. I told her everything from the beginning of the manuscript to its end. I drew pictures of the machine and everything that Rambaldi had included in the directions of how to get it to work.

I was with her for ten hours before I collapsed exhausted. I awoke in a bad that was much more comfortable than the last. I stretched and the door opened to admit my two caretakers. They pulled me out, shackled me and walked me back into Yelena’s office. We continued where I left off. She was already at work to end the world as Rambaldi saw it, but I didn’t know it.

Three months’ later, the machine was built and ready to be set up. I asked, but Yelena would not tell me. She was working with someone. I didn’t know who it was. They were going to carry out Rambaldi’s plan.

Millions would die.

RUSSIAN TRANSLATION
Chto – what
Chto za Chyort – what the devil
poshla k chyortu – go to hell
 

lenafan

Cadet
Joined
Jan 22, 2003
Location
So. California
AN: This part has to do with the last two chapters of Season 4 as well as Season 5. Hopefully you will get more out of this than you did from the series!


PART VIII – ESCAPE FROM HELL

1. Search and Rescue

I was not sleeping well, waking up off and on during the night. The doctor told me that it possibly was due to the injections wearing off or bad dreams. I didn’t remember having any, but then I’d been going crazy having undergone so much during the past several months. I had ascertained by now that Yelena had tortured me over a period of almost 18 months. A year and a half!!! I could hardly believe and was skeptical when the doctor told me.

Anyway one night I was awakened by the two guards and told to dress. When I’d finished they shackled and handcuffed me. I was marched down to Yelena’s office and shoved into a chair.

She entered the room a few minutes later very excited. “We’ve finished the preliminary water contaminants and are ready to act. I’ve picked a city to begin the final experiment.”

“So does this mean you are going to kill me?” I said warily.

“No, dear sister, it doesn’t. I’m sending you somewhere safe and when everything has settled down, you and I will have our final encounter.”

“Why not do it now,” I murmured tiredly.

“No, I want you to see my triumph.” She looked at the two men. “Take her to the plane.”
She dismissed them and me, already checking over a map she’d spread on her desk.

They marched me down some stairs and along a short hallway into a large van. She didn’t tell me where I was going, but then what did it matter. In her mind it was someplace safe, where I would not experience what was going to happen elsewhere in the world. What I didn’t know was that I was seen by two men who thought I was dead.

I was unloaded from the truck and put into a seat on a cargo plane. It was dark when we left and I fell asleep almost immediately. When I awoke, it was daylight and I saw, looking out the window that we were over water. What ocean or sea? I didn’t know. I was fed a sandwich and given bottled water. I really had no one to talk too or had anything to read, so I slept.

I awakened when the plane landed. No one got off, but there was a yellow tanker outside the window, which meant we were refueling. It took only fifteen minutes before we were up in the air and flying west. I’d ascertained this by the sun. Where west? I didn’t think it was the U.S. I thought it strange that Yelena would send me so far from where the action was going to happen—at least where I thought it would take place—Sovogda, a city only a few hundred kilometers from Moscow. Why not there? I didn’t have enough information to understand what she was going to do.

We gassed up again in Cuba and continued flying west, crossing the Caribbean and finally landing on an airstrip somewhere in the jungle. I didn’t even know what country we were in. When the plane came to a stop, a jeep appeared at the edge of the jungle and moved out to meet us.

I was lifted out of my seat and dropped out of the plane. I fell to my knees. It was hot and steamy. The humidity was far different that it had been in Prague. Two men jumped out of the jeep, lifted me up to my feet; and then pulled me to the waiting vehicle. They used black tape to tie my wrists.

The jeep drove deep into the jungle. I don’t know how long it took to arrive at a make-shift camp. One man pulled me out of the jeep and pushed me forward. I stumbled over a tree root of some kind and fell.

“Get up!” Yelled the guard and he pulled me up. I treated him to some rough Russian swears.

The guards didn’t know what I was saying, but they probably figured I wasn’t thanking them. One shoved me forward and moments later I was in a small clearing. Another guard stood near a...a hole in the ground.

“Get in,” snarled a guard.

I stared at him then into the hole. It was four feet wide, four feet long, and maybe five feet deep. There was some sort of bench. Before I could decide how to enter, the two other guards lifted me by the elbows and dropped me down. The other guard dropped a bottle of water down beside me. They dropped the lid and I heard a lock snap.

“Food later,” said a muffled voice and then there was silence.

I fumbled around for the water, opened it and drank half. I had no idea when I would get more and I needed to ration it. I cradled the bottle and waited—for what I didn’t know. I knew Yelena was going to use the Mueller device in some way, but she never told me exactly what that would be. She mentioned her partner was taking care of part of the process, but she didn’t name him or her. I thought it was Sloane.

Rain interrupted my sleep. I was leaning up against the wall when there was a crack of lightning, followed by thunder and then sheets of rain that splattered the roof of my earth cell. It was so hard that I could not hear anything. I put my hand over my ears to muffle the sound.

It stopped as quickly as it began. Luckily no water seeped into my hell hole and I was dry as well as hot. I took another sip of water and leaned against the wall, falling asleep with the smell of earth and heat. I dreamed.


He came to me with that smile on his face. I whimpered. “No, Papa!” It was the fourth night in a row.

“Don’t make me hit you,” he snarled, grabbing my wrist. “It is cold and I want to be warm.”

I tried to get away and he struck me hard along side of my head. It hurt, besides making my brain rattle. I cried out. “Don’t Papa, please.”

“Sniveling brat. frackin is all you’ll ever be good for.” He hit me again on the other side and lifted me into the bed.

I heard his boots hit the floor and then he was straddling me. “You’re mine to do with what I want. Stop fighting me or I’ll knock you out.” He pulled off my panties, throwing the bottom of my dress up to my face. He grasped my bottom and lifted it up. I was crying as he thrust his organ inside me. It hurt. I screamed trying to hit him. He grabbed me by the throat, squeezing. I tried to pull his hands away.

He came, squirting his fluid inside and then collapsed on top of me. He rolled off and fell asleep. I hurried to the bathroom to wash myself. I cried for a long time not knowing what I was going to do until I did.

The snow came swirling from the deep biting cold blizzard. I stood in the alley, my knife held low beside me, waiting for him. He would be coming soon from work. We had no car so he had to walk. In this snow, he would be bent over to break through the wind. It with the heavy snow would keep me nearly invisible until it was too late. I had endured enough and I was not going to take it anymore. Even Mama would approve.

He came thru the snow and wind, stumbling a bit. I thought he might have stopped at a bar to have a drink or two, maybe more.

“Papa,” I cried.

“What? Who/” He said, lifting his head to look.

I leaped up onto his back, my knife digging into his throat as I drew it across. He staggered. I slipped off his back, watching him grasp at his throat which spewed blood thru the white snow, turning it pink. He fell against the wall of the building on the other side of the alley, staring in horror at me. I knew he would not live long. I stood watching him watch me as the blood began pooling around him. He could say nothing as his life ended.



I pulled him over onto this side and dragged him deeper into the alley. I searched his pocket for any money or coins and then I found some boxes and covered him. It was going to be a big storm and I knew that everything would be covered soon. Even the blood on the ground would be covered, absorbed and diluted so that anyone passing by wouldn’t even notice it nor guess that he was just a few feet away. I made my way home, humming an old lullaby that Mama used to sing to us. The beast would not harm me anymore.

I awoke suddenly when the lid lifted. Filtered light entered my tiny earthen cell. I threw my wrists over my eyes. Something was lowered into the hole. It was a rope ladder. I blinked.

“Get out! We have food and if you have to felgercarb, this is the time.” The English was rough and barely understandable.

I climbed out. Thirty minutes later I was back down into the hole, the lid closed and was locked. I had been there for a day. I wondered how much longer I would be here before Yelena brought me back to wherever she was.

I’d been there about three days and the hours had passed slowly. I wondered when Yelena was going to act. She seemed ready to go when she sent me here. What was keeping her from initiating the final act? I leaned against the dirt wall and closed my eyes.


I was in Ekaterinaberg. It was night and it was cold. I was here to take care of another debt... Dr. Sorkoffskiy, the prison doctor in Kashmir. I stood in the shadows of a bar where the good doctor was looking for a friend with whom he could share pleasure. I doubted he would find anyone inside tonight.

I heard the door open and someone was leaving. I waited patiently hoping it was the good doctor. The figure crossed into the light. It was him.

“Doctor Sorkoffskiy?” I said just loud enough for him to hear.

“Huh? Who’s that?” He stopped, peering into the darkness.

“You are looking for an evening’s entertainment?”

“What?” Now he took a couple of steps into the alley.

I smiled and stepped out a couple of paces. He would not recognize me; I was sure at least not right away. I was dressed in a black greatcoat which came down to my ankles. I wore boots with three inch heels and a shapkas on my head. I was now at least six-six. The coat added bulk to my figure.

“I said were you looking for entertainment tonight?”

He looked puzzled as I stepped closer. His eyes widened at my bulk and height. “You are sympathetic to my needs?” He said, licking his lips and walking into the alley further. There was light from a window in the bar.

“Of course,” I answered, taking another step closer. The light hit my face and he gasped.

“You!”

“Yes, me.” I pulled the Glock 9 out of my pocket. “You are the last of those animals in Kashmir. They are all dead...every last mo*******ing asshole except you. Now it is your turn.”

“Wait!” He stared at the gun, eyes widening and fear transforming his face.

I stepped close enough to get out of the light. The gun was level to his heart. “They are all dead. You are the last.” I pulled the trigger, twice. The sound was muffled by his body. I lowered him to the ground.

His eyes fluttered as he realized he was dying. I held my hand on his mouth and whispered in his ear. “You helped me, but used me. My decision was to kill you with as little blood letting as possible. The others were not so lucky.” I reached down and closed his eyes. He was dead.



I was dreaming; the heat was almost unbearable. I’d no water for the past twelve hours and very little food. It seemed the guards just wanted to play cards and drink beer. It was my guess they didn’t have any idea what Yelena was going to do. I know I didn’t—at least not at this moment.

I thought I heard voices, but discarded that notion as wishful thinking. The guards were probably making sure there was no one around. Something kicked the lid. I sighed. Well maybe I’d get some water and maybe not. I kept my hands in front of my face. I heard the lock snap open and the lid slowly lifted. A voice I hadn’t heard in over two years spoke.

“Mom?”

I blinked and slowly lifted my head.

“Mom, we’re here!”

I looked up almost not believing who I saw. “Sydney?” There were two people above me and one was my daughter. I’d thought about her; wondered how she was. I’d even had the hope that she would be the one who found me.

“Mom, are you okay?”

“I—I knew you’d come,” I whispered.

She jumped down in the hole, took out her knife, and sliced through the tape. The other woman reached down and Sydney pushed me up. When the three of us were standing by my former prison, Sydney looked around as if to get her bearings. I would have to depend on her to get us out.

Sydney nodded and led the way. We ran as quietly as we could, one behind the other. Suddenly there was a loud rattling sound. We had stumbled over a trap meant to warn the guards and Sydney was caught in the noose which pulled her up feet first.

“Give me your knife,” I cried.

“I can’t reach it,” answered Sydney. The guards had been awakened and were yelling

.”Here, take mine.” The other young woman handed me her knife turned. “I’ll take care of the guards.” She ran back the way we’d come.

I reached up and began sawing the rope that held Sydney. I could hear sounds of fighting but didn’t look. The knife cut through the rope and Sydney flipped forward onto her feet. We heard a shot and then the other woman was back.

“Hurry,” she said and we ran.

Sydney led the way to the boat as the guards’ jeep drove near us. They were shooting. Sydney reached into her pocket, removed a grenade and threw it. The explosion slammed her back into the boat and I pulled her all the way inside. The other woman powered the boat up and we were away. The jeep had been destroyed and I’m sure the man it also killed.

We headed down river at a fast speed. Sydney put her arm around me. That felt so good. It had been 18 months since I saw a friendly face.

“Your father?”

“He’s waiting for us down river,” Sydney answered.

“Good!” I suddenly felt the need to hit someone and since Yelena was out of reach, he would do, especially since he ‘killed’ me in Vienna. I owed him.

It was daylight when we landed. The jungle was already humid and hot. I sincerely hoped we would be going some place cool soon. Sydney led the way. When we came around a bend in the trail, I saw Jack waiting by a jeep. I stepped forward walking slowly toward him. I stared, thinking about the nights we’d spent together while searching for Sydney and then the shot—the one he fired at my double, thinking it was me.

“Irina?” He said.

I didn’t say anything for a moment, but then I hauled off and hit him. He knew what it was for. “Jack. I missed you.” I said back, shaking my hand. Sydney and her friend seemed pleased.

“Get in,” he said nodding and wiped a small amount of blood from a corner of his mouth.

I sat in the back with Sydney, who held my hand. We said nothing as Jack drove fast, never missing a turn in the road, I swore, or any potholes or bumps on our way to the airfield. There was a plane waiting. We climbed aboard and it took off.

I was sitting next to Sydney. The other young woman who was dark and had black hair, just like Katya and Yelena, was sitting opposite. Jack was across the aisle reading reports or something. I guess he didn’t want to talk to me. Sydney was upset by my appearance. I didn’t look very glamorous—or tough.

“Mom, what happened?”

I told her everything that Yelena did to me after I refused to give her the information on Il Diluvio. Even Jack seemed interested. “She injected me with something that caused excruciating pain. I went into cardiac arrest time and time again. She would have me revived; then she’d do it again. I finally gave in because I couldn’t take it anymore. She never told me what she was going to do with it.”

“She already has,” said Sydney and she explained what was happening in Sovogda. I was shocked.

“Sydney, I wish I could spare you, but I need you to go with me to Sovogda.”

Jack responded that the Russians have everything under control.

I shook my head. “I built these before. I know how to shut them down.”

Jack went to the intercom and told the pilot to change course.

I look at myself and realize that I am filthy with the dirt of my prison. I need to get cleaned up. “Where can I clean up?” I ask.

“Through that door,” Sydney pointed.

I stood and started toward the door. The other woman stood and followed me. “Here, I brought you some clothes.” I smiled and look at her again and am immediately shocked by how much she looked like Mama. Oh moy bog! Nadia!! I dropped the bundle and pulled her into my arms. “Sweetheart.”

“Mom,” she cried holding me as tight as she can. Tears stream down my face as I hold my youngest daughter for the first time since she was born twenty-two years ago.

“Get cleaned up, Mom; I’ll be here when you come back.” She pushed me toward the door. “There’s even a small shower there.”

When I returned, Jack was sitting by Sydney and Nadia was facing her sister. They were studying a map. I slid into the seat, looking a thousand times better than I had. I was grateful for the shower.

I looked down. “Is this where she is?”

Jack looked at me. “She’s made the device operational here. Your countrymen have decided to bomb it.”

“Not a good idea. Toxins will be let out into the atmosphere and will kill more people. I built these. I know what to do. I can stop her.”

Just then the intercom rang. Jack stood up to get it. I had a bad feeling about it and I could sense the plane was turning. I looked at Sydney and she didn’t look happy. Jack returned. “Langley has ordered us to land.” He looked me. I was not going to go to Sovogda now.

When we landed, there were six vehicles surrounding the airplane. Jack left to open the door. I stared at Sydney and Nadia. Five men entered, one carried handcuffs. Of course he was. I said nothing as my wrists were pulled behind my back and cuffed.

“She’s no threat. She’s going to help us.” Sydney said helplessly.

“I’ll be seeing you.” I was pulled by my arm and led out of the plane.

They led me down the steps and to the big black van. It looked familiar. The door was open. Two men lifted me up and I was sat down. The cuffs were removed and my wrists now manacled to the wall of the truck; my ankles were shackled, just like I was brought to the CIA the first time.

It took nearly three hours to return to LA from the desert. No one said anything to me. I thought the CIA was being overly cautious. I had not been seen or heard from for nearly 18 months. Everyone thought I was dead—shot by Jack Bristow, my husband. I leaned my head back and meditated, keeping my mind clear. I was not the problem, it was Yelena and the world was in grave danger.

They marched me down to that damned glass cage. I thought I was never going to see it again. They took off the handcuffs and pushed me inside. I said nothing. I’d broken the immunity agreement and they would do to me what they intended to do after the Madagascar incident. Death by lethal injection was my future.

I crossed to the bunk and laid down waiting for whomever. Out of the frying pan and into the fire—Yelena to the CIA. I had no idea how long I was going to held before they moved me to the Federal Prison in San Pedro. Well, I’d been there before also. This was beginning to sound like old home week. What to do? Yelena was probably a day or two away from getting her wish “to cleanse the world’ as Rambaldi intended. Why? What was she going to gain?

Empress of the world? A world filled with dead people...except they would not all be dead? How wide-spread was the contamination?

I was tired. It had been an exhausting five days. I fell into a deep sleep. I was awakened by the buzzer and the cell doors opening. The two Marshals who brought me entered the cell.

“Get up!”

I swung my legs over and stood. One stepped in front of me and handcuffed my wrists in front of me. That was different! They took my arms and propelled me out down the hall to the van. Where were they taking me? The prison?

“Where am I going?” I thought they might tell me.

“APO.” One said as we left the building and entered the parking lot. This time I was put into a large black SUV. Two guards sat on either side of me; another Marshal was driving and there was a fourth guard sitting next to him. We didn’t drive too far. The guards pulled me out.

We were in front of a subway station which had yellow tape over the entrance. It said it was closed for repairs. There was no one around as we pushed through the gate and down a long flight of stairs which ended at the platform where passengers would come and go.

“This way,” said one guard on my right.

We walked down a short flight of stairs at the end of the platform. The tunnel was dark and silent. A strange feeling came over me...was I being taken to my execution? Some place that no one would suspect killed and discarded into an unmarked grave? I shook my head slightly. This might be something my countrymen would do, but not here. Still I was not above biting my lips slightly in anticipation of the worst.

We stopped in front of a steel door that had bright lettering on it—Authorized Personnel Only. One guard held a key card in his hand and used it in a slot on the door. It slid open immediately. We walked inside. The door closed. In front of us was another door which the same guard opened. We stepped inside and there was Jack, who had a slight smile on his face. The other guard next to me unlocked the handcuffs and stepped back.

I walked toward Jack who waited until I joined him. “Welcome to APO,” he said. “We have some things to discuss...in my office.”

On the way, we stopped to watch the feed from Sovogda. It was horrible. There fires everywhere and bodies lay unmoving on streets, in cars, in buildings. The red ball hung over the city. Jack said they calculated it had a radius of six blocks. It was immense. Even I was shocked. Yelena had created a killing machine of improbable magnitude. She had to be stopped.

A minute later, I was seated at a table opposite him. “What is this place?” I asked, looking around.

“A special black ops division of the CIA. You’re here because Sydney told the director that you were our only hope to stop Yelena. Our daughter is very persuasive when she believes in something.”

“Of course, she is,” I said, “look who her parents are?”

Jack laughed. “You are being allowed to go with the team, but there are provisions.”

I rolled my eyes, “Of course, there are.”

“Read this,” he said, handing me a couple of sheets of paper.

I took them from him. I would be allowed to go with the CIA team to resolve the matter in Sovogda, but would be returned to the U.S. to serve out my sentence. No death penalty, just prison for life. I took the pen from him and signed it. Anything could happen between now and the time we might be successful. Our future was in our own hands.

“How’s your jaw?”

“I’ve been through worse,” he said grinning.

“Jack, I can understand why you believed you had to kill me. The truth is, if the situation had been reversed, I...would have found another way.” I loved him too much to pull the trigger and I was telling him the truth of my feelings.

“I can’t imagine this will be of any comfort considering what you’ve been through, but the truth is,” he said, “there wasn’t a day that went by that I didn’t regret what I did.”

Oh well we were in a truth telling mode, so I said, leaning back in my chair, “And about my indiscretion with Sloane, I hope you can accept my apology.” I wasn’t going to say anything about rape. At this point, what good would it do? I didn’t know for sure that Nadia was Arvin’s or Jack’s.

“For all the things you’ve done, that’s what you are apologizing for?” Jack looked incredulous. “I hope you will get to know Nadia. She’s exceptional.”

I smiled back at him warmly, “I wonder where she gets that from?”

He stared at me with a ghostly question on his face. Then he was all business. “Okay Irina, we’ve got to get moving. Let’s get you into something more suitable for a HALO jump.”

“HALO?” I knew that we were going to jump from a high altitude and do a low opening of our chutes. I thought about it. “You want to keep out of Yelena’s radar?”

“Yes.” He motioned me to follow him.

In the APO’s wardrobe department, I was outfitted with a flight suit for the jump. I was handed a tranq gun. It was tagged when I said it was okay and would be packed with the rest of the weapons. It was obvious that the U.S. was out to stop Yelena and Sloane. Jack told me he’d gone over to her side. I didn’t doubt he was knee deep in this plan. I told him I thought Sloane was the one who arranged the contamination.

Jack shrugged, “I suppose he could have.”

“By the way, how did you find out I was alive?” I buttoned the shirt I was given.

“Marcus Dixon saw you when he, Sydney and Nadia penetrated Yelena’s Prague bunker. Of course, Yelena was planning to move shortly after that.”

“Where do you think she is?”

“Under that red ball somewhere in a well-protected bunker just as you surmised earlier.” He helped me on with the Kevlar vest. “Have you ever done a HALO?”

“Yes,” I said. “It was a long time ago, but I did it.” I didn’t tell him it was not my favorite way to jump.

“Well you won’t have to worry because there’ll be five of us and the lead jumper, Vaughn, will lead us down to a field outside of Sovogda. He’s done several jumps and so has Sydney. We’ll have to hoof it to Sovogda from there. Supposedly we’re to meet the team from DSR.” Jack turned. “Meet you at the exit in ten.”

Just then Nadia entered to get into her suit. I walked over to the dressing area, my helmet under my arm. "Hello, sweetheart.”

“Mother!” She had taken off her dress and was pulling on the jump suit.

I smiled putting the helmet down. I reached out and helped her pull the suit up over her shoulders and arms. “I thought we could leave together as soon as you’re suited. I want to spend as much time with you as I can.”

“Sure,” she said smiling, as she buckled the Kevlar vest on and then her jacket.

“Have you done HALO jumps before?”

She shook her head. “It’s not my favorite way to get to the ground so I’ve avoided them.”

“I agree with you.” I smiled. “I’ve only done it once.” I watched her pick up the helmet they handed her. “Let’s go,” I said, putting my arm around her shoulders. “Perhaps we can talk some on the flight over.”

“Great,” and she put her free arm around my waist.

Ten minutes later we were at the airfield and entered the jet that would take us to Washington DC. From there we’d take a fast cargo plane with a rear exit to 35,000 feet over Sovogda. The CIA would have the air force contact my countrymen that the plane was passing through on an over the pole training flight for NATO which was going to end in Turkey.

Nadia and I took a seat together. “Would you mind if I put my arm around you? I know it sounds wrong for two grown women...”

“Oh, no, Mother.” She seemed so happy to have me sitting with her. “I’ve missed having my mother and now I just want to be with you all the time.”

“Well, that won’t be possible when this is over, but we can talk.” I squeezed her close to me. “I want to hear about your life as far back as you can remember. I should tell you I never saw you since the day after you were born when the KGB took you from me.”

“Yes, Yelena told me that recently. She said they took you in order to protect me from you.”

I was going to kill my sister! The bitch! “Well that wasn’t true, sweetheart.” We sat together quietly. I didn’t want to say anything until my emotions were in check.

“I missed you,” she said finally. “Then when you were killed, Jack told me it was someone else, Martin English, and I killed him. But it wasn’t him, it was Jack all along.”

“Nadia, sweetheart, Jack was set up by Yelena.”

“Yes, I know it now.” She looked up at me. “When Sydney found out, she was devastated. She told Jack she never wanted to have anything to do with him again.”

I laughed lightly. “Serves him right!”

“Anyway,” she swallowed, “now that you’re here and going to help us is just incredible.”

“Sometimes I think that’s just the word to use. Incredible! I’m helping the CIA again. However this time it’s really important. Your aunt is about to destroy the world—at least the inhabitants.”

“Yes, I know.” She turned to look at me. “Why did the KGB take me from you? I know about The Passenger because of my father. He did the same thing.”

“What?” Now I added Sloane to my kill list. “Were you hurt? What happened?”

Nadia told me her story about Sydney’s finding her in a Chechnyan prison and their escape. Then Jack found out about her affair with Sloane and Sloane decided Nadia was his. He convinced her that he would be her protector and keep her safe from those who wanted the Rambaldi secrets, especially Lauren Reed and Sark, both of whom followed him to his Japan hideout.

She talked about the painful process he’d put her through; about how he had second thoughts and stopped, but then Lauren and Sark, who had been sent by the Covenant, had tried to make Sloane continue. They wanted the secret too!

I knew Julian had better have a good explanation or I would add him to my personal hit list. Sydney told me that Vaughn killed Lauren when she and Sydney fought. They were in Palermo at an archeological dig. Katya had been caught earlier by Sydney also and Vaughn knocked her out. Right now she was in the Federal prison in San Pedro.

“I’ve visited her a few times.” Nadia confessed.

“You look a little like her, but more like our mother. Did she tell you why she was in Palermo?” I asked it casually.

“Yelena sent her to find Sydney. She was supposed to kill her—or something like that, but Katya told me she would never do it, because of you.”

I rolled my eyes. Did she go on orders from The Covenant? Yelena had ordered her to go and stop Sydney. That bitch! Maybe I would torture her a little before I killed her. Now Katya was someplace I couldn’t reach to ask. I didn’t say anything—just listened as Nadia kept talking about her life in Argentina and how it had been Yelena who became the orphanage’s head mistress. She had Nadia under her care and tutelage all those years.

“Irina,” said Jack, who had come back to where we were sitting. “I suggest you both get some sleep. When we jump we’ll have to be alert. We have to be able to back each other up when we are in that city. We don’t know what to expect.”

I nodded. I was tired, but I was excited at the same time. Nadia sat next to me. My daughter whom I thought had been forever lost to me. “We’ll try. How much longer?”

“We’re over the Artic and have another refueling to do just before we enter Russian airspace. Washington has confirmed that Russia will be tracking the plane. We have to jump early.”

“Can we make it?” I asked, suddenly aware that we might be in greater danger than I first thought.

“I think so. No, we must.” He corrected himself. “Get some rest—both of you.” He left to return to his seat.

I leaned back in the chair holding Nadia’s hand and a minute later fell asleep.


The next thing I knew, Jack was shaking me. “Wake up. Time to get ready. Ten minutes to our jump.”

Both Nadia and I were ready in the time allotted. I checked her parachute as she did mine. “We’ll have to spend time together when this is over,” I said.

“Of course we will.”

I glanced over at Sydney who was talking to Vaughn. Something was up. I saw Vaughn reach into his pocket and bring out a small box. I saw Jack watching too. I smiled as did he. It was a box with a ring in it, I was sure Vaughn was asking Sydney to marry him. I hoped she would say yes and get out of the CIA.

A red light went on and Jack led the way to the rear of the plane. The ramp was being lowered. Vaughn now stood first in line with the rest of us behind him. Sydney was going to bring up the rear. Suddenly the green light flashed on and off.

Vaughn leapt out and we followed. Falling fast we could see the glow of the red ball even at this height. I hated the sight knowing that there was terrible danger below for my family.

TBC
 
Joined
Jun 9, 2004
Great update. I really like how you are telling this fic through Irina's eyes. It shows us what really happened to Irina all of those years.

texasalias
 

rtms

Cadet
Joined
Mar 30, 2005
Location
Canada
Wow love the Nadia and Irina talk. That was sweet.And that image of the Red Ball is just scary.
 

lenafan

Cadet
Joined
Jan 22, 2003
Location
So. California
2. Before the Flood

The jump was completed without injury to anyone. We left our chutes where they lay as we emptied the pack of the weapons and few supplies. I followed Sydney into the edges of the city. The others were behind us. We stared in awe at the devastation. Bodies lay everywhere. Cars cluttered the streets so much that none could move. There some that had been set on fire and others turned over. It was almost unbelievable.

Sydney held a transponder locator in her hand hoping to locate the DSR team’s transponder. The DSR team had gone in before them six hours ago. They had left Washington D.C. in a hurry. Close by I could hear Jack talking to APO. He looked pained.

“We have two hours before the Russians bomb the red ball.”

Sydney glanced at her locator, saying, “Contact a block and a half from here.”

We followed her and then she stopped, glancing down, horror-struck. It was an arm with the signal watch around the wrist. It looked as though the forearm had been torn from the elbow joint. We looked around and did not see a body to go with the part.

Jack motioned for us to follow him. Suddenly there was a sound of a pipe rolling. Vaughn took the lead approaching the corner carefully and calling, “Show yourself now.” We waited, every nerve stressed.

Then from the corner the face of a young man appeared. Sydney gasped and he did a double take when he saw her. “Brodien!”

“Sydney...Sydney Bristow. I thought you were on leave.”

“Long story. We’re here to destroy that thing.”

“That’s going to be impossible. My team is dead. The municipal water supply has been tainted with Rambaldi’s formula and the device over the city is transmitting a sub audible frequency off the spectrum. Anyone within the radius of the signal who drank water was psychologically altered. There was no way to reverse the process. That thing is at least six blocks wide. It seems to be hovering over the Oransky Building which is about four miles away.”

“Irina can fix it.” Nadia said in a positive voice.

“Irina? Irina Derevko?” He was shocked as he stared at me.

“We can shut the energy source down.”

He shook his head, “No, we tried shutting down the city’s power. It hasn’t stopped that thing.”

“That means the device is running on an internal energy source. We have to get to that building.”

“There’s the subway,” said Sydney.

“It’s dangerous. That thing created animals from human beings. You cannot stop them with those tranqs. Come with me.” He led us around the block and to a pack on the sidewalk. Opening it, he handed us Glock 9s and AK-47s. “You’ll need all the firepower you have to stop any of them.

“Its pitch-black down there. So we have to be careful.” He led the way toward the subway entrance.

Jack and I brought up the rear. He was talking to Marshall at APO and had learned the Russians were bent on blowing up the ball in spite of the warnings of toxic poisoning that Washington and London had sent. “Stubborn bunch your countrymen.”

“They like to control their own Fate.”

“As much as putting faith in horoscopes and fortune cookies.”

Suddenly I heard a horse whinny and turned to see a horse bathed in the red light from the ball overhead. “Look! Rambaldi wrote ‘when blood red horses run the streets and angels fall from the sky, the Chosen One and the Passenger will clash and only one of them will survive.’” I was frightened for my daughters.

“You really are through the looking glass, aren’t you? When I see an angel fall from the sky, I’ll start to worry.” Jack walked toward Sydney and Nadia. I followed.

“Jack, I can’t shake the feeling that tonight one of my daughters will perish.” A shiver ran down my back and my hands turned cold.

He turned to see Brodien break open the lock to the subway. Then just as he started to pull open the gate, a steel rod was shoved into his body. A man stepped out. He looked less the man and more an animal. He turned and started toward Sydney and Nadia. They fired. It took a dozen bullets to bring him down to the ground.

Sydney hurried to the young man’s side. It was obvious he was close to death. Sydney had tears in her eyes, but he told her to go on and a moment later was dead.

“We should move now,” ordered Jack.

We went down the stairs into darkness, but had flashlights. Sydney and Nadia were going to the office to see if the switching gears were working. Jack and Vaughn decided they could get the car going with the battery, but the automatic braking system had to be destroyed. Vaughn and I went to the rear of the car and worked at slicing the brake lines to let out the fluid.

“You shouldn’t wait,” I said to him.

“For what?”

“I saw the ring.” I worked at the line.

“You know, you killed my father. The way I see it, I shouldn’t have to ask for your blessing.”

“None the less, you have it along with some advice.” I was having a hard time getting the knife through the rubberized material.

“Advice from you...wonderful. Like don’t betray your spouse.” His voice dripped with sarcasm.

I laughed. “Yeah, that would be one of them. But even between husbands and wives some secrets are acceptable. However, your activities are not.

He glanced at me puzzled, “What are you talking about?”

“Consider our lives an object lesson. If you don’t want to end up like Jack and me, tell Sydney the truth.”

He didn’t answer because just at that moment we both cut our lines, draining out the fluid. We climbed back on board. Sydney and Nadia were not on board yet. I looked around. Jack was still working on the battery.

“Do you need help?” I asked.

“No, I’ll have it in a minute.”

A minute or so later, Sydney was on board, coming from the front.

“Where’s Nadia?” I asked.

“Isn’t she here?”

Suddenly we heard shouts and Sydney raced to the rear of the car to see Nadia running for her life as five or six Sovogdans chased her. The car started forward. Vaughn joined Sydney firing his AK-47 hoping it would give Nadia time to catch the hand Sydney held out to her. I could do nothing but watch horrified. Sydney wanted Jack to stop the train, but he couldn’t. The brakes were useless. We were streaking toward the Oransky building and destiny.

Sydney turned around in tears, devastated that she couldn’t help her sister. “Your sister’s alive.” I willed her to believe it. I wanted to believe it. We both were helpless and in a situation where we had to go forward or else millions would die.

When we pulled into the station, we saw Arvin waiting. There were five dead men surrounding him. He quickly explained that it was he who had killed them. He had joined Yelena in order to stop her. It was Yelena who primed the water supply and now she was ready to destroy cities and millions in order to fulfill Rambaldi’s Il Diluvio wish. I was responsible too, I thought, for I had given in and told her everything.

Arvin was giving orders in a panicked voice when Jack knocked him down, saying, “You no longer lead this team.”

Sydney was on the com link to Marshall. “How long do we have?”

“Forty minutes because when the Russian bombers take off, they will use Mil Sat for communications. They’ll trigger the toxic stream.”

“We need to get to the roof of that building and shut down that device.” I said.

Jack asked Marshall for information, but all he could upload was the blueprints which Vaughn caught on his cell.

“I need to get to the roof to shut down the device. I can cut the proper wire.” I said.

“It’s a suicide mission,” said Jack who looked at me concerned.

Arvin had revived and was sitting on the bench. “She’s changed the wiring scheme.”

“In that case,” I said in my commanding voice, “take me to my sister.” That bitch was not going win this time.

Sydney would go to the roof while Jack, Vaughn and I would get to the bunker where Yelena had all her equipment. I saw the two hold hands, kiss and then Sydney said something that sounded like ‘yes’ even from this distance. She took the ring from him. Good I thought...about time. Maybe when this is over, she’ll settle down and leave this business. I followed Vaughn, Arvin and Jack down some stairs.

Arvin stood in front of a camera seemingly with a wounded man and the door then slid open. “The wounded man’, Vaughn, killed Yelena’s man while Jack and I strode into the main control room. Yelena heard us and came out from her office.

“Hello sis.” We stood a couple of feet apart. Jack was a little behind me. “Ever since I was eleven, there’s something I’ve wanted to do!” I hit her with my AK-47. She dropped to the floor.

When I was eleven, Yelena exploited her hate by having me arrested for picking pockets. I was put in jail until my parents came home, after which, Papa beat me until I couldn’t walk. That was the last time, because I grew taller and stronger, but by then Yelena was gone. She was a student in the KGB academy.

Jack and Vaughn went to the control panel to see if they could shut down the power from there. They were not having success. I pulled Yelena up into a chair and tied her to it. I then looked around.

“Sydney, can you see the power box?” I asked, using the com link.

She answered and then we all heard the improbable...Nadia! Sydney was begging to let her help her. I looked at Jack and Vaughn, then back at Yelena. At that moment I wanted to kill her. She’d turned my little girl into an animal.

Jack said, “Take her out.”

“I can’t. She’s my sister.” Sydney cried.

We all heard scuffling as they circled one another. “Sydney, listen to me, she isn’t your sister anymore.” My worst fears had come to light. They were fighting...or at least Nadia was. Sydney was trying to reason with her, but it was no use.

“The relay’s blown,” said Vaughn.

“No good. The signal’s still broadcasting.” Jack glanced at the control board.

Yelena was awake and snarled, “Five years I’ve worked on this and I’ve accounted for every possibility.”

“Vaughn, where’s Sloane?” I asked looking around the room.

“He’s not here,” he yelled.

“Get to the roof right away!” I said.

Just then Sydney called down. She had subdued Nadia and was at the power source. “I’m here at the power source.”

“Do you see the master circuit board?” I asked.

“I see a lot of circuit boards,” she answered.

“It’s the one closest to the power source. Trace the ground wire. It should lead you to the coil.”

“Got it,” she said.

“There should be two wires—one black and one yellow.”

“No,” she yelled, “she changed them out. Now they’re blue and white.”

“Hold on, Sydney,” I said looking at Yelena and walking to her. “I’ll give you one chance to do the right thing, not that you were ever any good at that!”

Yelena was stubborn. “No matter what you do to me, I’ll hold out until the moment the MIL SAT is turned on.”

“I’m not going to torture you,” I smiled. “I’m going to let him do it,” I nodded at Jack, “and he really doesn’t care for you, especially after you tricked him into killing me. One thing you should know about Jack. He hates being anybody’s puppet.”

Jack walked back to the little table which had syringes and bottles of fluid in it. He’d surmised it was the city water. He pulled some fluid from a bottle and walked back. “I actually hope you don’t tell us what we need to know. There’s a 50-50 chance that Sydney cuts the right wire. I’m willing to take those odds if that means I can stand here and watch you turn into an animal.”

“You’re not that kind of man, Jack,” she said, her eyes on the syringe.

“I didn’t used to be, but after the year I’ve had I evaluated parts of my life and I’m trying to have more fun.” He jabbed the needle into her neck, pulling back a little so blood mixed with the water.

She was petrified and yelled, “cut the white...the white.”

Jack stopped. I pulled the Glock 9 and fired, killing Yelena. “Cut the blue wire, Sydney, and then run like hell. You have fifteen seconds.” I knew Yelena had lied. She was determined to fulfill Rambaldi’s prophecy even at the cost of her death.

Neither Jack nor I knew what was happening above but we did know the power to the ball had been cut. There was silence, but we could hear the sound of an elevator descending. We ran out into the entrance just in time to see Vaughn carrying Nadia, Sloane and Sydney running toward us with water rushing behind them. They flashed by and we slammed the heavy steel door shut and stood back...waiting.

It was an hour before we could venture outside. We were almost in shock by the size of the destruction. The building was completely gone...a few pieces were strewn about, but most of it had been washed away by the fluid which was no longer a danger. Vaughn was arranging for Med-Evac.

Jack and I stood looking at one another. “The chopper should be here in any minute.” He said.

“We both know how this is going to play out...you bring me back to the states. Turn me over to your superiors.”

He look at me with what I thought was love. “On foot,” he said gently, “you should be able to get through your countrymen’s military quarantine, possibly by daybreak.”

“The agency...what will you tell them there?” I searched his face, not wanting to ever forget it.

“Well, no one can hold Irina Derevko for too long.”

Tears filled my eyes. I took a step forward and kissed him, feeling him respond, kissing me back. I knew he was taking a huge chance to let me go. I wouldn’t forget it or him... ever. I turned to face Sydney, who also had tears in her eyes.

“Take care of your sister.” I said. My heart ached. I doubt I’d ever see her again...or even alive.

“I will.”

“Three years ago when I told you, you were the Chosen one...that only you could take down the greatest evil, I know you must have been overwhelmed by confusion. But tonight you must realize you’ve done just that. Sweetheart!” I leaned forward and kissed her.

I started up the street and then turned. “Sydney, you may not see me on your wedding day, but I’ll be there.” I turned again, walking up the rubble-strewn street. I did have a lot of territory to cover. I was going home—home to Moscow.


3. The Walk

I stood hidden by the trees, looking back on Sovogda. There were fires burning everywhere. In the distance, I could hear the faint beat of a helicopter. That must be the one to pick up Sydney, Jack and the others including Nadia, whom I’d had known only a few days. I sighed. Tears trickled down my face. Once again my youngest had been taken from me.

“May she rot in hell,” I thought, thinking of Yelena.

I would try to find a way someday to see my daughters again. I hoped the American doctors would find a cure for Nadia’s affliction. I felt as though I might cry some more, but I stiffened, wiping away the few tears. I had to live and that meant leaving the area without any of the Russian military seeing or hearing me.

I had no doubt what my fate would be if they did.

My countrymen would shoot first and then ask questions. I had to locate the quarantine lines controlling the city’s entrances and exits; then hide.

Hitching the automatic rifle over my shoulder, I made my way into the brush and then further into the forest of birch trees. I did not think it would be long before I would hear military vehicles heading down the road into the city. I sat down, my back to a thick tree trunk of the only pine tree around. The heavy brush that surrounded me was tall and thick. It kept me completely hidden. I pulled a flask from my inside jacket pocket and drank. It was good water not the polluted water of the city behind me. I wished I had some vodka; it would make the time pass pleasantly.

I dozed. The sound of many engines awakened me. I stayed perfectly still not wanting to look for fear someone would see me or see the brush move. I knew what was going to happen. Based on the interaction between their strike force team and the CIA at home, Russia was not about to admit to anything, but a chemical explosion. That they had told the world, although in retrospect, I doubted that story would fly in the face of satellite pictures. Still my countrymen would probably prevail.

I heard voices, but they were far enough away for me not to worry about being found. I would have to wait. Cradling the AK-47 in my arms, I leaned back, closed my eyes, and slept. It had been a rough five days. Sydney found me in the hellhole Yelena ordered me kept in; then I was taken prisoner and put into a cell at the CIA. They brought me to APO where I signed some meaningless paper agreeing to return to the US after destroying the Mueller device, then the jump, and subsequent confrontation with Elena.

I jerked awake. It was late afternoon. Light filtered through the forest and brush. It would be dark soon. I had slept for five or six hours. Bog, I thought, I’m frackin hungry.

Pushing myself up slowly, I looked around cautiously. There were no sounds other than the songs of birds in the trees. A slight rustling told me there was a breeze blowing through the forest. I slung the automatic over my shoulder and stuffed the Glock 9 into my waistband, turned and looked toward the road. There was no sign of any military cars, trucks or tanks. In the distance, I thought I heard the sound of explosions.

I moved swiftly up the road away from Sovogda. I wanted several kilometers put between me and those military idiots. If any of them caught me walking away from the doomed city, they would think I was one of its citizens.

The team had not brought any food with them and it wasn’t safe to either drink or eat anything from the city. All I had was my flask of water I’d taken from the pack back in Sovogda. I plodded on at a good pace, hoping I would find someone or some place with food.

As I walked, my thoughts turned to the events of the past three days. Originally, everything started with Sydney’s death or supposed death and snowballed from there. That had been very nearly the worst moment of my life…the death of my first born, Sydney, my lovely, beautiful, stubborn daughter. I hoped she be married by the time I heard from Jack.

I came to the top of long incline and stopped. I was tired. I looked around. In the distance, perhaps two kilometers, I saw an old house and a small barn. People, food, and maybe a telephone, I thought. There was always the possibility that Katya was in Moscow. She might be able to get in touch through contacts and or friends. No, wait. Didn’t Nadia tell me she was in prison, in San Pedro? I frowned. I would have to contact someone else for help, but who?

Thinking about it, I picked up my pace a little and fifteen minutes later, walked onto the short dirt road leading to the house. Glancing at the road ahead, I saw tire tracks. The military had passed by here. I pulled the Glock from my waistband. I was not going to knock until I scouted the area outside the house. It was getting dark again and I wanted to be out of sight.

I turned the corner of the house and stopped. A man lay flat on his back, several bullet holes in him. He was already beginning to stink.

“Govno!” I said aloud. My voice carried. I ran to the side of the house, listening for the sound of a voice or voices.

Opening the old door leading to the inside, I had my automatic in my right hand, ready for anything. I suspected I might find more bodies inside than not. I was not disappointed. A woman, I took to be the man’s wife, was lying crumpled on the kitchen floor. She too, had been shot—just once—in the head.

I did not want to stay in there. I looked around and found some raw beets, and carrots in an old burlap bag and, what looked to be, cheese. It had fallen out of sight behind the door where I found the bag. There was no bread, but then I was not surprised. I wondered why they killed the farmer and his wife. Surely, they were far enough away from Sovogda not to be changed by the poisoned water. I glanced out the window and noticed a water pump. There was a fresh-water well on the property.

I gathered up the meager food and hurried outside. After drinking and filling my flask with fresh water, I went to the barn and found a spot out of sight where I could eat. It was dark when I lay back on the wooden floor. I found an area in the wall with a small broken board, which allowed me to look out toward where the farmer was lying on the ground. The automatic rifle was by my side on the left and the Glock in my right hand. No one was going to catch me unawares.

I awoke with a start. I flipped off the safety on the Glock and tightened my hand over the rifle. I turned to look out the small peephole at the yard. Something was out there. I stood up silently, careful not to make any sound. Scavengers, I thought. Were they from Sovogda? Were they tainted with the water and the device? Were they ready to kill at an instant? I stuffed the Glock in my waistband and stepped closer to the door to get a better view.

Three figures were edging toward the door of the tiny farmhouse. Looters, I thought. They were probably soldiers who had been among the military here earlier. I was tempted to shoot them, but my instincts for survival said not to bother. There could be others close by. It would be wise to stay silent.

So I did nothing, watching them enter the house. As soon as they did, I moved swiftly out of the barn’s rear entrance, heading for the forest. I did not want to be seen, nor did I want to involve myself with what might be a dangerous encounter. I was not up to my full strength. It had been months since I’d been free to move about on my own without guards or Yelena around.

I circled around until I came to the road again. I stayed in the forest, but hiked parallel to the road in order to stay on course. I had the rifle slung around my shoulders, keeping my hands on the stock and barrel. I was still tired, but wanted to put as much ground between myself and the looters as possible.

I’d gone about two kilometers when my legs began to ache and my heart was pounding. The torture my sister put me through had been rough and I needed to rest again. Casting about I finally saw a tree with heavy brush around it. It afforded me a view of the road and I could see in both directions if trouble came. This time there was room to curl up. I made myself as comfortable as possible and fell asleep.

I shot out of my sleep with a whimper of a love lost. I’d been dreaming of Jack. Now I heard something or someone close by, coming my way. There were voices from out on the road. I heard something else, the sound of a motor chugging, a car, or some vehicle that could take me to further safety, maybe even to Moscow.

“I got to take a pee.” I heard a drunken and rough voice from almost next to me. I froze.

My hand tightened on the automatic. With my thumb, I pushed off the safety. I stood up quietly. The man, who was not more than two feet away emptying his bladder, gasped in complete shock. He blinked. I gave him the butt end of the rifle, smashing in his skull. He fell like a tree to the ground without uttering a sound.

I moved quickly through the brush. I saw the lighted ends of two cigarettes. The man’s companions were smoking. They were leaning up against some sort of truck that looked as if it had been put together with bailing wire and tape. As I moved closer, I recognized one of the men. They were the three at the farmhouse. Looters! I pulled the trigger as I came close, cutting both down without warning.

The truck was loaded with the few meager belongings of the couple, who had been killed. I did not want to be caught with stolen goods…looted at that…it would mean death. I pulled everything from the truck bed and piled it by the two dead bodies. Using their blood, I wrote ‘ÇÒÁÂÉÔÅÌØ’ across each one’s forehead. I checked but neither was carrying a weapon, but they had money; so taking the money I jumped into the truck and pulled away, heading for Moscow.

RUSSIAN TRANSLATION
Bog - God
Govno – felgercarb
ÇÒÁÂÉÔÅÌØ - looter


4. The Road Trip

The truck did not go very fast and it sputtered occasionally, giving me a scare as I pushed on through the early morning. I had to get myself and the truck off the roads leading to Sovogda. I knew that when the military finished what it had to do, it would probably return by the same road. I was also aware I was not dressed like any farmer’s wife. One look by any security guard or soldier would tell them I was not used to making blinis. I had to find some place to hide and new clothes to go with the old truck.

I also knew that there was a roadblock, which sealed Sovogda off from the rest of Russia. I saw no cars or trucks of any kind as I traveled in a northwest direction. That meant I must find some place soon. I doubted I would be able to get through any roadblock without papers and I had none. Maybe if I was lucky, I would find a house with a telephone.

When the truck made it to the top of an incline, I put on the brakes. Crouching, I moved up to a point where I could see the countryside below me. A small village laid spread out in the distance, but what was more disturbing I thought I saw army-sized trucks on the road. The roadblock. I had to find cover until night.

I drove the old wheezing truck into the brush, cutting enough to hide it from any plane flying overhead and enough to hide whatever someone might see from the road. When I was satisfied, I walked to a small clump of pine trees about three hundred yards distant. I did not think I would need the truck again. Still I was wary enough to separate myself from the hidden vehicle just in case. My years in Kashmir and as The Man had taught me many lessons in the art of survival.

I sat cross-legged on a smoothed out area, hidden by brush. I could barely see the roadblock near a small village and knew that there was the possibility it would be gone in another day. I could afford to be patient. I pulled the last carrot from my jacket and ate, chewing slowly. Beets and cheese were gone and the water was close to it. I had less while under the care of Yelena. I had only a small meal at the CIA because I just was unable to eat all they gave me. My stomach rebelled and I stopped, causing Jack to lift his eyebrows. I’d always had a good appetite. I grunted, and then finished the water.

I sat watching the village in the distance, but not seeing it. I remembered that day Yelena appeared with three of her followers. It was after I destroyed Rambaldi’s Il Diluvio. It was three months after I cut off communication with Jack. He wanted to know about ‘the passenger’ and I couldn’t talk to him about it—about my daughter, because I didn’t know where Nadia was. He’d be angry when he found out and I knew he was skeptical about the prophecy, but as long as Sydney was with Jack, I felt she would be safe. Then Yelena had found me and I knew she was after...Il Diluvio.

I stood to stretch my limbs. Bog, I missed running. That was something I would start as soon as I returned to my apartment in Moscow. I looked toward the village, but nothing changed. The trucks remained in place blocking the road to Sovogda. I sighed and sat down; remembering the past eighteen months took my mind off my hunger at least for the present. Finally the past days’ activities caught up with me. I curled up and fell into a deep sleep.

Yawning, I stretched and then stood up. It was sunset. To my eyes, yellow waves of color waffled across the landscape. I looked down at the village. The people were eating dinner no doubt. I imagined what dinner would be: borscht, cold, or even hot, homemade dark bread with butter; maybe carrots, they were my favorite, and meat of some kind. I felt a pain in my stomach, reminding me it had not much in it the past five days.

Then I saw no trucks! They were gone! The military completed its mission. There were no living humans left in the city of Sovogda. I slung the automatic across my shoulders and put the Glock in the waistband close to my right hand. The knife I had removed from the other farmhouse rested in the inner pocket of my jacket. I figured I had a little more than a kilometer to the village and it would be dark soon. I hoped I would find food without trouble. I also needed a phone, if there were such a thing in the village.

I stood on the village’s outskirts, my eyes searching for signs of life. There were six maybe seven buildings clustered together for protection. They probably were farmers who at one time worked on a commune, but now farmed their small patches of land to eke out a sale of whatever it was they grew. From the looks of the dwellings, there was little doubt it was meager.

I pulled my Glock as I approached the first house. I smelled something…something familiar. “Govno!” I swore and ran to the few steps leading to the door. I saw it was closed. I turned and walked to the next house.

It was the same. The smell. The military had cleansed the land at the crossroad also. They were afraid the peasants were infected or might be infected. I figured that they had slaughtered them all after relieving them of any food they had stored. Glancing about I saw no farm animals either and a quick glance in the commune barn told me they had probably gone with the military to be used as food. I stood thinking. I knew that the water had to be untainted and good. I would fill my flask and return to the old truck. I needed to find gasoline and there was no gas gauge to tell me how much was in the tank.

I drove the truck on the back roads. I didn’t want to risk being seen too close to the area of Sovogda…or the little village. I decided that I needed another night of no human contact. I was hungry, but still had some water left. It was dusk and I parked the truck again out of sight of the road. Ahead of me was a farmhouse about a half a kilometer away.

It was after dark when I approached the building. The farmhouse was dark also. Everyone was probably asleep. I went to the back door and gently pulled it open with my left hand, holding the Glock in the other. Mercifully, the door did not squeak. I stood in the kitchen and smelled something that made my stomach ache…roasted chicken.

An hour later, back in the truck, I finished half of the partially eaten chicken I found. For some reason, I was unable to figure why; I left some money I took from the looters to pay for it. That was not my usual thing—I usually took what I wanted. Feeling somewhat better, I decided to grab a couple of hours of sleep. I still was debilitated from my weeks of captivity. Curling up on the seat, I wondered how Jack was explaining my departure from his care.

I smiled.

I awakened with a start. It was still night, but the moon was up and time to get going. I had to find a phone and out in the rural lands between Sovogda and Moscow, they were rare. I wasn’t sure what I was going to do when I found one, but I’d figure it out before then.

It was about dawn when the old truck wheezed its last on a rural road. Now what? I had the automatic rifle, the Glock with 4 shots left, and my knife. I was not going to get far carrying the rifle. It would stand out like a sore thumb. I figured the truck had carried me over two hundred kilometers from its owner’s farm. It had not been fast, but it was steady. I was sure I was far enough away from the small village and the road to Sovogda that no one would be paying attention to me as someone who escaped that doomed city. The military had been dust down the road and citizens here in the rural Russia were back to living their dull lives.

I hid the automatic after unloading it. If I got lucky and found a phone, I could get someone to take me home. Of course, there was the possibility that wouldn’t happen right this minute. I just had to take the chance no one would find it.

An hour and three kilometers down the road, I saw a farmhouse with smoke rising from the chimney and two cars in front of the home. Prosperous farmer, I thought. It was still very early in the morning and there was the possibility all were in the house having breakfast before heading out into the fields. I entered the barn from the rear and climbed up to the hayloft. I wanted the men of the farm gone before contacting anyone left, most probably the wife. I fell asleep instantly.

Awakening some time later, I scrambled down to the front of the barn. Glancing at my watch, I saw that it was past eight. The farmer and anyone else working for him were now out in the fields. That meant the woman was in the house alone. I brushed myself off. I didn’t want to scare the woman or women so I left my Glock in the barn where it wouldn’t be seen. Certain that I was presentable, I climbed the four steps up to the back door and knocked, a smile on my face as footsteps approached.


As the car approached I savored the sights of Moscow. It had been too long since I’d been here. Being held captive by Yelena for so long I guessed my apartment was in somewhat of a mess. I could only hope my friend Grigor had worried enough about my absence to check the apartment. I would have to call him.

“Do you have your cell?” I asked Dimitri Lutinsky, one of my contacts...but one I could trust. I called him first and he drove out to get me from the farmhouse.

“Da,” and he fished in his pocket, handing one to me. “Who are you calling?”

“Grigor.”

Minutes later, I finished the call and gave the cell phone back to Dimitri. We were heading toward the center of the city and the traffic was much heavier. In the distance, I could see St. Basil’s Cathedral and the Kremlin. My apartment was close to the area. I closed my eyes. I was still tired from an ordeal that began over eighteen months ago and was now culminating back at my apartment. I was planning on a long hot shower, followed by hours of uninterrupted sleep.

We arrived. I leaned toward Dimitri and kissed him on the cheek. “Spasibo,” I said. “I’ll be in touch in a couple of days.” I stepped out of the car and watched as he drove off. I turned and started up the steps to the building. Home at last. I was never so happy to be here.

RUSSIAN TRANSLATION
Bog – God
Govno – felgercarb
Spasibo – Thank you

TBC :D :D
 

lenafan

Cadet
Joined
Jan 22, 2003
Location
So. California
5. Prophet 5

I spent the next six months regaining my physicality by running, working out with Grigor and eating the proper foods. I was back in peak condition and feeling much better than I had eight months ago when I was in Yelena’s hands. I had been keeping in touch with my informant at the CIA and learned that Sydney and Vaughn had not yet been married and, in fact, he had been killed. I was shocked when I learned that and that Sydney was pregnant. I was going to be a grandmother, but Sydney...

Being so far away, I could not give her advice and could not see her. It was too risky. I would have to rely on my contact to keep me informed. Nadia was still comatose having been put into that condition in order to keep her from being a raging animal. Sloane was also now working again with APO, but he was not in charge—Jack was.

I chuckled when I heard that. Jack was never a paper pusher and being in charge meant he would not be going on field trips. I was glad for one reason: Sydney would have someone close to help her through the birth. Not having Vaughn would make it twice as hard. I knew what she would be going through having had Nadia without any moral support.

I was running past G.U.M. and began to slow down before going across Moscow River when behind me, there was a sudden screech of brakes and doors opened. I whirled to see three men jump out of a large black Mercedes. They came toward me.

“Sookin sin,” I thought. “Now what?”

“Irina Derevko?” One man asked.

“Yes, but…”

“You are wanted now,” said the same man.

I sighed. “By whom? Who are you?”

“Prophet Five.” He answered

Without further complaint, I went down the steps toward the car. Obviously, they knew that Irina Derevko was back. I was expecting them to contact me, but not prepared how. I’d thought they would have done it when I returned.

“A moment,” said the first man. He pulled a pair of cuffs from his coat pocket. He cuffed my wrists. “Anyone watching cannot know this is anything but an arrest.”

I gripped my hands together in order to stop shaking. I stepped into the car; the two silent men took the seat beside me and their leader sat beside the driver. A black hood was dropped over my head. I closed my eyes knowing the two men were watching me and had noticed my hands shaking. They had no idea. I was wondering who was Prophet 5 and what did they want with me? I knew they didn’t want me to know where we were going, but I was sure they didn’t plan on hurting me.

We finally parked and I was helped outside the vehicle, the hood was removed. We were standing outside a palatial country home, painted a bright yellow with white trim. One of my captors walked to the door and knocked. The door opened quickly as if the butler had been waiting there for us.

Inside he led the two men and me to a pair of double doors. My hands fortunately had stopped shaking. The man who put on the cuffs now removed them. He nodded toward the doors. “You can go in now.”

I opened them to find four men seated in front of a fire. I didn’t know any of them. The oldest man indicated an empty armchair. I sat down, crossed my legs, but said nothing. It was their party.

“You are Irina Derevko?” It was the eldest member of the group at least he looked the eldest. He was small, wizened, and probably over 80years old. He was pale, but his blue eyes were bright and sharp. He had a very strong English accent. He was definitely old school. He probably had gone to Oxford.

“Da.”

“We have been looking for you for nearly two years. Where have you been?” It was another man who spoke. He had an aristocratic air about him. He had money and a lot of it. He was dressed in an Armani suit. His accent was Italian.

“I’ve been away, a guest of my late sister, Yelena Derevko. She’s dead.”

The old man pursed his lips. The aristocrat raised one eyebrow and the other two were shocked. “She dead?” It was the old man and it sounded as if he knew who she was.

“Da. It was she who turned the people of Sovogda into animals. They slaughtered one another. However, I believe the military has removed all traces of those who lived there.”

“Your sister was involved?”

“She built Rambaldi’s red ball. She was attempting to cleanse the world of humans, except for a special few. I would say that you would not be sitting here if her plans had not been interrupted.”

“You disrupted them...how?” The aristocrat asked.

“Before I say any more, I’d like to know why I’m here.”

“We need your expertise. I’d heard that you are Rambaldi student and know more than anyone about him and we also need someone who is not afraid to kill for the information.”

“So?” What was more interesting is that they wanted my ability to take a job to the maximum degree.

“We are trying to find The Horizon. It is a piece of the puzzle to Rambaldi’s greatest innovation.”

I smiled softly. “Immortality.”

All four gazed at me without emotion. I stared back, careful to mask my own feelings. There was only one other man whom I knew to have as much if not more knowledge about Rambaldi than I—Arvin. He would want that missing piece also. If I could get it before he did. My heart started racing and it was as if an electrical charge ripped through me from head to toes. Could they possibly know where it was?

“Yes,” said the old man, shifting his weight.

“Where is it?” I asked.

A third man spoke with a French accent, “We don’t know, but we think we know who does.” He was medium height, well-dressed, dark skinned with brown eyes. His hair was almost entirely gray. I thought he must be in his seventies.

“Who?”

“Your daughter.”

I stared at him a bit stunned, but managed not to show it. Sydney? That was a surprise, but before I could comment on any of this I wanted to know more. “How is that?” I asked.

“In 2001, your daughter turned herself in to the CIA. Her first contact was Michael Vaughn, a young CIA agent.”

“Of course,” I said. “The last time you spoke to me, you said he had been searching for his father whom he thought was alive and which, as you know, was a lie concocted by my sister, to keep him occupied and away from closing in on her endgame.” I changed the position of my legs and leaned forward. “But how does this tie in with my daughter, Sydney?”

“We think she knows the key, but probably not what it means.”

“I don’t understand.” I was puzzled, because at no time did Sydney ever mention The Horizon, at least in my hearing.

“Yes, probably not,” said the fourth man who was evidently an American. “There is a French girl, Renee Rienne, who is also involved.” He looked at his companion—the one who was French. “She and Vaughn have been on a search for information regarding their fathers, both of whom were involved in an experiment years ago, when both children were very young.”

Now this was getting interesting. “And she’s interested in The Horizon?”

“No, we don’t think so, but she is a minor criminal who is working with Vaughn whenever he can get away from his job to do research on the matter. They seem to be only interested in what their fathers were doing and why.”

“Why not go after her—or Vaughn.

“Your daughter is easier.” The American said. “We did dispose of Vaughn, but not the French Girl. The death of Vaughn has caused a wide-spread hunt for his killer. We’d rather operate in a more genteel way now and quietly.”

“I see.” I needed time to think and to plan. “Gentlemen, I would appreciate it if you would allow me to go home and think this over.

“Very well,” said the old man. “I think we can give you 24 hours. We will pick you up tomorrow evening.”

“No handcuffs,” I said. “I’ve had enough of those.”

They all nodded. “Until then, Irina Derevko.”


I was returned to my apartment feeling better than when the three men picked me up earlier. No handcuffs or black bag was used. I was so tired that when the door closed behind me, I stumbled into my bedroom and fell across the bed, asleep in seconds.

It was mid-morning when I finally awakened. I picked up the phone and called Grigor, who didn’t know I’d had an adventure. I told him to come over at ten o’clock and we’d go over everything. He was to bring my financials too! It was time for him to give me the reports on the apartments that he and Maria managed for me.

I spent fifteen minutes in the shower scrubbing the dirt and grime from my body and another five minutes washing and conditioning my hair. Wrapping a bath towel around me, I sat at the dressing table and combed the tangles in my hair out while thinking about yesterday’s events and Prophet V.

These men needed me as their hired gun and they wanted me to get the information from Sydney. But how? I rolled my hair in giant curlers, not even looking in the mirror. How was I going to do it? There was no way I would hurt her. As for being their ‘enforcer’, they would learn Irina Derevko did not kowtow to anyone. I would be a full partner of Prophet V or ...I put that thought away for the present. Sydney’s knowledge was the immediate problem and how to extract it from her.

There just might be a way... I stood and went to my closet. I pulled a pair of chocolate brown pants out along with matching boots with three inch heels. From the armoire, I took out a burnt orange pull-over cashmere sweater. Before putting it on, however, I returned to the dresser removed the curlers and combed out my hair again. I was expecting Grigor soon and I wanted time to have something to eat.

I was beginning my second cup of tea after a breakfast of eggs and toast, when the intercom buzzed. I went to the speaker. “Yes?”

“It’s me,” said Grigor.

I stepped over to the window and looking down saw him standing on the top step. “Come on up.” I pushed the button that allowed him entrance to my apartment.

He was at the door in thirty seconds and knocking. I opened it and threw my arms around him. “Grigor!” I hugged him and then kissed him on both cheeks. “It is good to see you my friend.”

He kissed me on both cheeks. “You do look good, Irina.”

“I know. Give me a few days and I’ll look even better.” I had never told him about my ordeals at the hands of Yelena. It would have made him crazy since he was unable to protect me. “How are the financials?”

We talked for nearly three hours. I let him do most of the talking and my answers to any question I kept short. I offered to fix supper, but he insisted that his wife Maria had instructed him to bring me back for that meal.

“She will kill me if you do not.” He said, appealing to my concern for his safety.

“Very well, but you must bring me back immediately. I have things to do this evening.”
I put out tea cups in the sink.


I returned in two hours with plenty of time left before I was picked up. Prophet 5 was a group I’d heard of, but not actually come in direct contact with other than a phone call or two. Meeting the four men was enlightening. There must be a fifth person somewhere and perhaps, he or she, would be there tonight.

I sat with a cup of tea thinking about all the ramifications of my being a part of that group. I sensed that I was only there because of Sydney and Vaughn. They wanted the location of The Horizon and they might do something more drastic to Sydney unless I did join. These men were old enough to benefit from Rambaldi’s immortality recipe, whatever that was, but then, so was I with immeasurable results. I was not under the illusion that when I’d finished what they needed me for, they would erase me from their group. But first, the Horizon and what it meant.

Immortality! My blood caught on fire with the thought. Was it a pipe dream of a mad scientist from the 16th century? Who was he exactly? I poured myself more tea and standing in the center of the room decided that I would do it. There were only two reasons: I would be in charge of learning the secret from Sydney, thus negating any torture someone else would probably carry out and the other would be my acquiring the secret first.

I read somewhere that power is the one thing that nobody feels he has enough of. That probably was true, because with that secret in my hands, I would be the most powerful being in the world—man or woman. What I would be able to accomplish! Arvin would be cut out of the loop, except—I sat down thinking. Perhaps he knew something I didn’t. After all, he was an even bigger student of Rambaldi than I having spent a longer period of time researching him. Even Yelena didn’t know as much as either of us.

My cell rang. “Da?”

“Can we pick you up?” The voice was the one belonging to the Italian.

“Da.”

“Buon!” There was a pause. “They are waiting at the curb.”

I pulled on my coat after putting my teacup down and hurried outside. This time there were no handcuffs or black bag. There was a driver and a guard who sat in the front passenger seat. I was a welcomed guest this time.

When I was shown into the large room, the Italian was pouring himself a glass of wine. He looked up. “Welcome, Irina. Would you like some wine?”

“Vodka, please,” I said taking my seat.

The other three men looked at me. I was handed a shot glass of vodka which I downed in one swallow.

“Have you thought about it?”

“Da,” I answered, nodding. “I will join you.”

“Your daughter,” said the American, “holds the key to the location. How do you intend to get the information?”

“I cannot go to Los Angeles. I have a friend who has a friend who is a research doctor who might be able to help. I need someplace extremely private and where no one will interrupt the process.” I looked at them. “You know my name, but none of you have told me yours?”

The eldest smiled, “I’m One. The Italian is Two, the American is Three, the Frenchman is Four and you, my dear, are now Five. And yes, it is true we know your name, but that is because you have only just joined us in the quest for a miracle. Can you be comfortable with that?”

I grinned. “Of course! But who was five before me?” I knew that there were actually nineteen men and women in the secret group. Obviously, they didn’t trust me. I was not going to be a member. They would get rid of me as soon as I got them what they wanted.

“A German. You knew him as Oscar Mueller.” Two nodded at my empty shot glass. “Another?”

Oscar Muller! Stunned, I shook my head. “Have you any ideas about how I can talk to Sydney privately. I’ve found out she’s pregnant and I do not intend to hurt her.” I would be up front with them about her.

“How about the middle of the ocean,” asked One?

I lifted my eyebrows. “Sounds perfect. She will not come peaceably.”

“We know, but trust us, we’ll be careful considering her condition.” Two smiled benignly as though he was to be a grandfather or probably was.

“Good! How soon will you have her?”

“We’ll make the arrangements,” said One. “I own some oil tankers. I’ll check their schedules and decide the best one to use. We will also get her there and it shouldn’t be a problem. As soon as we have her, we’ll helicopter you out to wherever the tanker is with your accomplice.”

“Gentlemen,” I stood. “I will wait for your call. I will also get in touch with the doctor.”

When I was dropped off at my apartment, I saw that it was late. The doctor I was thinking of would probably be eating. If he carried a cell phone that was on, I could get a hold of him. I punched in his number. It rang four times, but was then answered.

“Hello?”

“Doctor Gonzalo Burris! My name is Derevko. I would like to hire you.” I was using a voice distorter. I didn’t want him to know I was a woman.

“For what?” He sounded interested but wary.

“For two hundred fifty thousand dollars.” I knew the amount would be the key. Research scientists were always in need of money to continue their work.

There was silence on his end. I waited. “What do I have to do for it?” He sounded eager.

“I understand you have developed a new procedure using certain drugs that will take a person back in time to a precise minute or moment. True?”

“Yes, at least we’ve had some success!”

“Good.” I paused. “—will you do it?”

“For that amount of money, of course.” He said. “Where should I meet you?”

“I will call you in a couple of days when the subject is ready. Are you prepared to go to sea?”

“Sea?” He was surprised.

“Yes! Our subject will be brought to an oil tanker in a couple of days.”

“Ahhh,” he said thoughtfully. “I see. The subject will not be cooperative?”

“I think not! However the therapy is not harmful, is it? The subject is pregnant.”

“No! She will be fine.” He said. “I will have my equipment ready and when you call it will take me only minutes to have the formula added.”

“Thank you Doctor Burris. We will be in contact soon.” I hung up.

Two days later, One called to say the freighter was leaving Marseilles and heading west across the Atlantic. He gave me the route and coordinates. The captain, he said, would cooperate fully. He also told me that he was sending someone to help—a Kelly Peyton who had previously worked for one of their associates in the U.S. He, however, was now dead and Kelly was taking his place. I frowned, but made no comment.

“We have made arrangements already to get Sydney to the tanker. There is a complication, however.”

“What?”

“There seems to be a problem with the baby according to a P-5 employee who is working at the CIA hospital. The doctor there is monitoring the situation. Sydney supposedly has another appointment there in two weeks, but the doctor is going to call her this afternoon and have her come in tomorrow.”

I froze. It was an unexpected complication.

RUSSIAN TRANSLATION

Sookin sin – Son of a bitch
 

lenafan

Cadet
Joined
Jan 22, 2003
Location
So. California
6. The Horizon

Sydney was brought aboard the oil tanker unconscious. All her vital signs were perfect. Dr. Burris checked her over thoroughly. I gave him the go-ahead. He placed her on a leaning board. Her arms rested on wooden slats and she was belted in and held there. The baby was not touched. Dr. Burris found a vein and inserted a needle. He placed a hanging bag of fluid close by. Then he attached two wires on each side of her head after assuring me again that it would not hurt the baby.

Sydney has gone into a medical trance. Dr. Burris turned to me. “I just sedated her with drug cocktail which should take full effect within minutes. It’s a chemical process of forced hypnosis which will effectively numb the body, but leaves the mind partially lucid, allowing me access to any part of her memory you’d like.”

“First, I’d like some proof that this technique will work.” I said.

“Of course,” he said. He fiddled with some buttons on the machine that Sydney was hooked up to.

“Tell me your name,” he asked. Sydney didn’t respond and he shocked her on her chin. She reacted physically. I winced.

“Sydney Bristow,” she answered.

“That’s it, girl. Sydney, I want you to remember Michael Vaughn...” This time he shocked her on her forehead and she reacted physically again. “Find him,” he ordered softly, but insistently.

I could see Sydney struggling with her tears and trying her hardest not to cry. I bit my lips, but stayed silent.

“Find him and remember the time when you both were happy...a time that was meaningful...Go back, Sydney...Find him.” The doctor urged her in a quiet forceful voice.

Sydney seemed to try to resist. Her face mirrored something else as she struggled with her memory.

“Vaughn...” she said. There was a pause as if he had responded. “Vaughn...?” She said again.

Dr. Burris stared at her.

“Do what?” said Sydney answering the unseen Vaughn.

I frowned, the words seemed familiar, but I couldn’t place the time.

“But Vaughn, we already did this.”

Sydney seemed to be listening, as though Vaughn were talking to her. “I think I do,” she said. “The people you were looking for. The people behind Prophet Five. I think they’re holding me.”

I could imagine Vaughn’s response as being “How do you know about Prophet Five?”

“You told me and they shot you,” she said. There was a long pause and she continued, “I know...The injected me with something, they hypnotized me...trying to get something out of my head.”

“What?” I knew that’s what he would say.

“I don’t know...but I think they’re trying to use you against me.”

Dr Burris pushed Sydney by saying, “Stay with Vaughn, Sydney. Remember the love you feel for him.” He used the shock again.

“I should go,” she says. There was a pause and she says, “I should go.” Another pause and then she said, “I know...I miss you.”

I shifted my weight. I had a sense that they were on the plane to Sovogda and she was re-playing his proposal.

“I—I don’t know what I’m supposed to say...” Then she smiled genuinely and said, “Yes, I want to marry you.”

I was right.

“Okay, we’ve got it.”

From another room, but with a window looking into the one where he and Sydney were, I watched. I could hear him talking to her. Sydney seemed to be in another place. I turned up the sound in time to hear:

“Just that my mom wasn’t exactly the best role model,” Sydney said.

“You’re not there yet, Sydney,” said Dr. Burris facing her.

“Did you hear that,” said Sydney. She was not speaking to Dr. Burris.

“You need to go further back. Follow Vaughn.” Dr. Burris said quietly, adjusting the bag on the stand.

“That’s right,” Sydney said. It made no sense to me, but I was not privy to what was going on in her head.

There was a pause and then she said, “That would be great.”

Then Sydney’s eyes widened, staring at the window. I knew she could not see me. She squinted. She saw Dr. Burris for the first time.

“Who are you,” she asks angrily.

“Shhh, Syd, sit still. We’re almost there Sydney.” He took another syringe from a table nearby. “We almost have what we need. We just need to go a little further.”

I can see Sydney is utterly confused. She watched him put liquid into her vein and then she asked, “what are you doing to me?”

“Nothing for you to worry about. I’m just trying to help you relax.”

“Why? What do you want?”

Dr. Burris tried to shush her as he looked for the vein.

“Stop,” I said. “Are you certain it won’t hurt the baby?” My voice was distorted.

He turned toward me. “If you want your answer you’re going to need to let me do my job.”

“Who is that behind there? Who’s behind there?” Sydney realized he was talking to an unseen person.

“Okay, you may proceed,” I said.

“If you hurt my baby...”

Dr. Burris found the vein and stuck the needle in.

“...I swear to you,” She cried, “I will kill you.”

He walked to the desk and continued, “Which means it’s now time to tell me what it is you’re looking for.”

“A place. I don’t know until I hear her say it, I think. She has to go back further than where she’s gone.”

“Then I’m going to continue the regressive process, attaching her to a memory of Vaughn then take her back through time until you get your answer.” He shocked Sydney. “Sydney, I want you to remember the last time you were with Vaughn. Think of the comfort you felt when you’re with him. Live there, in your memories.” He shocked her again.

He brought her back to the hospital where Vaughn was dying and they were talking about a name for the baby. Then they were together in North Korea and then Sydney was straining against her bounds.

“Vaughn? Vaughn...”

Dr Burris cried “Don’t let him leave you, Sydney.”

There was silence and then she said, “what took you so long.”

“They’re back together,” cried the doctor. He looked at Sydney, “Sydney. Think back to a comforting time. The place you were the first time you realized that Vaughn really cared for you.”

I watched as the doctor patiently worked with Sydney’s memories. He attempted to get her to the place where the information I needed would be. It took a few more minutes, but Sydney, still hypnotized, said:

“I don’t care if they win, Vaughn. I don’t care. I just want you to stay with me.”

“That’s it.” Burris turned toward the mirror and me. “We got her.”

“Excellent. I want the map of SD-6.”

Sydney listened and then said, “Two months tops, and then I’m out. I walk.”

For a moment I wished that that had happened...that she indeed left the employ of SD-6 and the CIA. I concentrated on her noticing that her eyes were tear-filled and she was struggling to keep them back.

A minute went by and then Dr. Burris said, “Focus on the map.” He waited. “There’s a name...what is it?”

“X23-Norte.”

“Well done,” said Dr. Burris.

“Vaughn,” she whispered.

“Thank you, doctor,” I said relieved that it was over.

I turned to the young woman behind me, Kelly Peyton. “I’ll let the others know we got the location of the Horizon. I’ll be back in a few days. Until then keep her comfortable. She is my daughter. Oh, by the way, her doctor is on the way.”

I turned and left heading for the helicopter. The doctor would join me shortly and we would leave. I certainly hoped they knew what X23-Norte was, because I didn’t. But then all they wanted me to do was get the name.

I waited for the doctor to join me and then followed him into the copter. We flew off the oil tanker heading for the nearest landfall two hundred miles distant.

We had been flying for about twenty minutes when a message for me was transmitted via the pilot. He turned the switch on and I listened to Peyton tell me Sydney had escaped and was somewhere on the ship...loose.

“Listen to me carefully. Sydney is having trouble with the baby, but she doesn’t know it yet. We’re sending her doctor out to check this and to do whatever is necessary. Get her, but don’t hurt her or I’ll kill you. Do you understand?”

“Yes!”

“When you have her secured, make sure she’s quiet. Dr. Lynn is her Obstetrician. Let me know when you’ve got the situation under control.” I cut off the communication. Peyton was okay, but I meant what I said. I would have stayed with Sydney if it wasn’t important to find The Horizon. I was comfortable leaving her in Lynn’s hands, especially since I’d paid her over a million dollars for her services.

We were half way to the California coast when we passed the other helicopter on its way to the tanker. Minutes later I heard from Peyton again.

“Yes?”

“She’s secured. She passed out.”

“Is she hurt?”

“No. When is the doctor going to be here?”

“Within minutes.” I paused. “I want to know what happens. As soon as the doctor is finished, everyone is to leave the ship. I’ve a feeling that Sydney may have had time to get a message through.”

“Yeah, she did, but it went through Langley and you know what happened then.”

I nodded, but I also knew Jack and Marshal would have been watching and listening. Even if the message was erased, they would be on it within minutes. Unfortunately, that meant our friend in the CIA there at Langley was now expendable. I hoped he’d be able to tell us about X23-Norte before then.

“Very well. Keep me informed.” I glanced back at Burris, but he was busy making notes. He’d paid no attention to what was happening.

We were fifteen minutes away from landing when I received word from One that Jack Bristow had found our man at Langley, Jeffrey Davenport.

“You’ll have to see to it that he doesn’t talk!” One ordered.

“Do you know where he is?” I asked cursing the fact I would have to fly to Washington DC.

“He’s in the hospital, being operated on. Your husband shot him in order to get him to talk.”

“About...”

“Where Sydney Bristow is.”

“Very well. I’ll take care of it. If they are going to move him for questioning, they’ll wait until he’s out of recovery. I’ll need to know when and how they’ll move him.”

“Get to D.C. and we’ll have the information for you.” He cut communication.

“Bad news?” Asked the pilot politely.

I shook my head. “Nothing I can’t handle.” I leaned forward. “Can I use the radio?” I was going to call my private pilot and have him ready the jet for me.

As instructed the helicopter landed me at the Baltimore Airport where my private plane was waiting to fly me to D.C. Jeffrey Davenport was going to be moved to a CIA facility that specialized in extracting information from people who were not willing to talk. One wanted him gone and I had to agree.

“And one other thing,” said the old Englishman, “X23-Norte meant nothing. Davenport was able to trace it to field-related assignments and nothing showed. He thinks Sydney lied to us.”

“That seems impossible.” I said, remembering the sequence of the questioning. My eyes narrowed as I thought about her struggles. Jack had trained her in the Project Christmas protocols. He told me that he didn’t think she could be brainwashed and he was right about that. She was able to fight through the hypnotic drug enough to give us the wrong information now seemed probable.

“Yes, so it seems, but...” He didn’t finish the sentence.

“I’ll take care of Davenport; then pay a visit to my daughter.” I said.

“Good. I knew we could count on you.”

TBC :ohmy:
 

lenafan

Cadet
Joined
Jan 22, 2003
Location
So. California
7. Maternal Instinct

I picked up a blue van at the airport and drove to a rendezvous with one of Prophet V’s hirelings. I was surprised to see Kelly Peyton waiting. She had a suitcase with her. She shoved it in the back seat and put her seat belt on.

“You can go now,” she said smirking.

“Thank you.” I said softly. This woman meant trouble for me. I think she was going to try to get rid of me after I got the information. “Have you the route the ambulance is going to take?”

“Yeah,” she said giving me the directions. She had a cell phone which she used immediately.

We would wait for the ambulance under a large overpass. I pulled the van over to the spot and looked at her. “My gun?”

She reached back for the suitcase and opened it, handing me a Glock 15. She took out an automatic. She turned to look out the rear window and in the distance we both could see an ambulance. Kelly spoke into her cell phone. I slipped out of the driver’s seat, made sure the gun was ready to fire, and moved a few paces up onto the sidewalk.

Suddenly from out of the nearest cross street, an 18 wheeler drove into the ambulance as it entered the intersection. The ambulance bounced over onto its side and slid several feet. Kelly ran toward it. I walked the gun at my side. A soldier rolled out of the rear door of the ambulance. Kelly was firing almost instantly. She dropped him and also the driver. She finished off the other guard who tried to fire back.

“Wait here,” I said and walked toward the ambulance.

“All right! Don’t shoot! I’m coming out!” Davenport half fell and half walked out of the rear door. “Don’t sh—“

I fired, shooting him in the upper leg.

He yelled as he fell down. “Oh God,” He moaned.

I approach him as he’s groaning in pain. He did look frightened when he saw and recognized me. I’m not happy as he quickly noticed.

“Irina.”

“You compromised our agenda, Jeffrey.

“No, I didn’t do anything. This is all a mistake!”

I point the gun at him.

“Okay! I’m sorry. I’m sorry.”

“Tell me exactly what you said to my husband. Did you tell him about the Horizon?” I asked the gun never wavering.

“No! Of course not. No—you have to believe me. I swear!”

I smiled. “I do believe you.” I shoot him twice in the head and walk away, climbing back into the van and driving away.

I drove Kelly back to the place where we met. “Tell them he didn’t talk—yet.” I would bet that he’d cut a deal of some kind. He had a family and would want to protect them. “I’m going to L.A. to see Sydney.”

She nodded and left the van with the suitcase.


Fortunately, I slept on the way back to L.A. or else I’d have a severe case of jet lag. It was early morning when we landed. I called my contact to find out how Sydney was doing. He didn’t suspect I had anything to do with her being held on a tanker. He said she was at the hospital where she’d undergone testing. The baby was doing fine and her new doctor said the baby would come in about two weeks. I thanked him and left immediately for her apartment.

I parked a block away and walked though the alley behind her apartment. Using a pick, I entered it and sat down to wait. I wasn’t sure yet about how I was going to get the information, but I would play it by ear.

It was an hour later that a key turned in the lock. I sat back, relaxed but eager to see her. I watched as she tossed the keys on the counter and looked up. She smiled and rushed forward.

“Hello Sydney,” I said softly.

“Mom.” She exhaled.

I stood up with a proud look on my face. She returned with a broad smile, happy to see me.

“You look beautiful,” I said, holding out my arms. She fell into my arms and we hugged. I knew she was happy to see me. “I’m here now,” I said tenderly. I did mean it. “Everything is going to be fine.” I stroked her hair.

Suddenly she pulled back, a worried look on her face. “Mom. I’m so glad that you’re here. Honestly, there’s no one else I want to go through this with....but...” She shook her head. “It isn’t safe.”

“Sydney,” I said frowning.

“No Mom, we’re involved in an investigation. The CIA is everywhere. If they find—“

“I know about Prophet V. I know why they abducted you.” She was looking at me with a dubious look. “That’s the reason I’ve come. They’ve been rumored for over thirty years—an organization so secret most of us thought they were a myth. And six months ago, a contact of mine told me that they’ve become active again. That after all this time, they finally found someone who they believed would lead them to what they’ve been looking for.”

I could see that she doesn’t know whether or not to trust me. Well I wasn’t about to confirm it. I love her, but she had important information.

“The reason they came together was to pursue something called The Horizon.”

“Hmmm,” mused Sydney.

“You never heard of it?” I asked innocently.

“No,” she answered shaking her head.

“Prophet V believes you have. They believe you know where it is.” I saw her frowning in a thoughtful way. I put my hand on her arm smiling slightly. “What are you thinking?”

“When Prophet V abducted me, they tried to get me to reveal information about an old Alliance mission.”

“What was the mission?”

“Well, I don’t know the details. Just the code name—Dad is looking into it.”

“You told your father,” I tucked my hair behind my ear. Chyort! Things were going to get difficult. Sydney nodded and I gave her a big smile. “That’s good. How is Jack?”

“He’s good.” Then Sydney looked down with a sad expression. “Prophet V killed Vaughn.”

“I know. I’m so sorry.” I pulled her over to the sofa. “Come sit. You must be tired. Being on your feet is difficult at this stage. Believe me, I know.”

Sydney suddenly giggled and plopped herself down. “I know. The doctor said it would be in two weeks. Dixon told me that I waddled.”

I laughed. “Ummm, well, you do.”

“Let me call Dad. It will take him about thirty minutes to get here.”

I tensed, but it had to be done. I had to get that information about The Horizon’s whereabouts.

Sydney punched in his number. “Dad? Mom’s here.” She listened and closed the cell phone. “He said he would be here shortly.”

“Good.” I decided to play grandmother to be. “Do you know whether it is a boy or girl?”

“No. We didn’t want to know. We picked out a name for the girl though...Isabelle.”

“It’s beautiful and if it’s a boy?”

“We didn’t decide yet, but probably I’ll name him after Michael.” I saw she was about to tear up.

“It’s a fine name, Sydney.” I put my arm around her waist and my hand on her belly. “May I?” I asked softly.

“Oh sure,” Sydney put her right hand over mine. “The baby is constantly moving around. Just be patient.”

“I remember when I was carrying you I thought you never slept. Toward the last three or four weeks you moved almost constantly.” For a moment I lost myself in that memory. I had complained to Jack. I could not get comfortable. I swore Sydney was learning how to walk inside the womb.

“Oops,” said Sydney. She put my hand over to the right side of her stomach. “Feel her/him?”

I did. It was my grandchild! Never did I ever think when I was young that I would live to be a grandmother! I compressed my lips. “Are you sure you’re still two weeks away?”

“Yes, that’s what the doctor told me this morning.”

I said nothing. “Is the doctor a man or woman?”

“A man,” she answered. Then she told me about the appearance of Dr. Lynn on board the tanker and what she did to save both Sydney and the baby. According to her new doctor, Sydney had nearly lost the baby.

“I still don’t understand,” she said shaking her head. “Dr. Lynn was a great doctor. Why would she work for Prophet V?”

I shrugged. “Maybe she was hired to look after you on the ship.” I smiled again. “But that’s behind you. You’re fine, the baby’s fine and it won’t be long. I will miss being with you.”

“But—“

“Sydney!” I turned to look at her. “I can’t be here. It will be too dangerous...for me. I’m here because I knew you might be in trouble.”

She grinned. “Well, at least you got to meet your grandchild.”

She pulled my hand over on the left side. That child was very active. It’s a wonder he or she wasn’t about to be born now.

“Hell, I’ve got to pee!”

I laughed. I remembered those days more so with Sydney than Nadia. I shook my head trying not to think about her, but knew I had to ask.

Sydney was back in three minutes. “That’s a relief.”

“Sydney, what about Nadia? How is she? Have they found anything?”

She looked upset, shaking her head. “No! She came out of it once, but relapsed and they had to put her under again. They’re working hard on a cure, but so far nothing.”

I sat back. “Well then it’s in the hands of God.”

Sydney looked at me in surprise. “I thought you didn’t—“

I shook my head. “I will take all the help from any source. But let’s talk about you when you were a baby. You know you were just six when I left so we never had those Mother Daughter talks. Do you remember anything about those first six years?”

Sydney shook her head, laughing. “I don’t remember much. Your dying kind of wiped everything out of my memory. Was I awful?”

Now I laughed, shaking my head, “No, just a rambunctious extremely inquisitive child that never seemed to sit or stand still. I think this child is going to give you the same grief you gave your father and I, especially when you were three and four.”

“That bad, huh?”

“You have no idea.”

Sydney rolled her eyes, “how about some coffee?”

“Fix tea and I’ll say yes.”

“No problem.” She jumped up and walked to the kitchen. I went over and sat down on one of the bar stools.

Five minutes later, a cup of hot tea was placed before me. I heard a car door slam. Sydney jumped up and glancing at me went to the door to let her father in.

“She’s still here?” He said.

Sydney stepped back nodding and a little taken aback by his abruptness. I waited until he was all the way into the room.

“Jack.” I said calmly, although my heart was racing.

“You look...well.” He said with a smile.

I smiled back. “I got your messages. I wanted to reply, but I sensed it might be a CIA trap.” I smiled again. “Look at us. We’re about to become grandparents.”

“I’m doing my best to ignore that.” He grinned with a little more pride.

Sydney smiled.

“Did Sydney tell you? I fear for her safety.”

“Yes, she did.”

“Did Dixon find out anything?” She turned to Jack.

“Not yet. He’s with a source now.”

A source? I wondered who, but at the moment I decided to wait before leaping into the discussion.

Suddenly his cell rang. He took it from his pocket. “This is Jack.” He listened, nodded and then snapped the phone shut. “That was Dixon. He couldn’t confirm what the Horizon is, but we can confirm it’ in a safety deposit box in Vancouver in Queen’s Bank.”

“We need to act fast,” said Sydney. Prophet 5 has probably figured out by now I gave them the wrong information.”

“Yes that is a safe assumption,” I said sardonically.

Jack nodded. “We can’t use APO. Devlin’s men are everywhere.”

“If you’re being watched, I can go. I have contacts in Vancouver.” I somehow didn’t think Jack or Sydney would go for it, but I thought I’d make a pitch just to see what happened.

I was right. “We’ll go together,” said Jack. Retrieve the Horizon ourselves. Can your contact make the travel arrangements?”

I nodded as Sydney said, “make them for three. I’m going too!”

“Sydn...” I said. Jack looked concerned.

“I know what you’re going to say. You’re worried about my safety. It’s a three-hour flight. A bank. We’ll be in and out.”

At least I hoped I would. Damn it! Sydney was going to complicate things. However as Jack once pointed out, she was as stubborn as I was. I shook my head saying, “Sydney...”

“The Horizon is why Prophet5 killed Vaughn. It’s why they kidnapped me. If we can get it before they do, we can finish this thing. For good.” She added for emphasis.

“Make the arrangements,” said Jack to me.

I was dismayed at his agreement with Sydney. I wasn’t going to go without them both. I reached in my pocket for my own cell and punched in the number for Gerald Switzer in Vancouver. “Gerald? Yes, it’s Irina. I need you to make arrangements for three round trip tickets from LA to Vancouver under the name of Mr. and Mrs. Jack Bristow and Sydney...” I looked at her questioningly.

“Vaughn,” she said firmly.

“Sydney Vaughn,” I said. “Get us on the earliest flight you can.” I glanced at my watch. It was now ten in the morning. “You have my number?” He repeated the number. “That’s right. As soon as you can.” I folded the phone. “He’ll call right back.” I looked at them both with a smile.

“What are we going to say at the bank,” said Sydney.

I looked at Jack and then at Sydney. “We need the box number.” I thought for a moment, looking at them both. “A trust account! For our daughter! It has to be a big amount. We are going to want to see how secure the bank is...”

“Married?” For a moment I thought Jack was going to object.

“Are we?” I said. “But it really doesn’t matter...we’ll pretend we came from—from,” I hesitated. “We are from Italy. Our daughter moved to Canada with her husband and now is pregnant. We want to provide a trust for the child.” I looked at them.

“We’ll need papers,” said Sydney.

“Easy.” I knew Gerald could come up with enough to fool a bank president.

Sydney said, “I’ve got to go to the bathroom.” She left the room.

“Yes, we are.” Jack said staring at me. I looked at him puzzled. “Married.” He said quietly.

We stared at each other. “Jack, I—I don’t understand. You as much as told me it was fraudulent and it could be annulled. I thought after Panama...”

“Then you helped Sydney find me in Mexico City and you helped me try to locate her when the Covenant kidnapped her. Then there was Sovogda. I don’t know why, Irina, but I cannot cut the ties that bind us.”

I winced. My cell rang. “Yes,” I asked. I nodded and held 3 fingers up for Jack to see that he had our tickets. “What time?” I mouthed twelve at Jack. “Good and I need some papers...passports in the name of Mr. and Mrs. Antonio Visconti of Rome. I also need a bogus cashier’s check for...” I looked at Jack. He held up three fingers. “...three million dollars. Can you do it?” I nodded and smiled at Jack. Sydney was back. “Good. Pick us up at the airport at three this afternoon.”

“All set?” asked Sydney returning.

“Yes, sweetheart. Our plane leaves at twelve noon. We’ll be there by three. My contact will have papers for us and Jack and I’ll get clothes to fit our new identities. Sydney, you can wear almost anything a pregnant woman would have.”

“If we leave within the next few minutes, we can be at the airport with plenty of time to spare.”

“Jack, wouldn’t it be safer if we split up? They have cameras there and if I’m spotted...”
I left it unsaid. I knew he would make the right decision.

“Yes!” He thought. “Sydney, you enter separately. Irina get something to put on your head and wear dark glasses. I’ll wear a hat and dark glasses, but we’ll go in separately.” He said looking at me.

Thirty minutes later, we were through security and on our way to the gate. We each sat in a separate chair. I was thinking about Jack and me. I was going to do it again...betray him...at least that’s what he and Sydney would think. I know he’d never trust me even the tiniest bit again, but that was the price I would pay for The Horizon. Whatever it was would mean more power than I’d ever had before...more than Sloane had.

Sitting back, I closed my eyes, a slight smile on my face as I envisioned Sloane’s anger at having been outsmarted. I thought of the Prophet 5 group. They were fools. They thought they would kill me once I brought the item to them. That was Kelly Peyton’s job to get rid of me once I had The Horizon. She was a fool also if she believed she would be able to overpower me.

Gerald had purchased the seats separating Sydney from us which I had suggested. I was sure there wasn’t a video camera on board, since it was an Air Canada flight. I slept most of the way trying to shake off the jet lag I was still feeling. Jack was reading a magazine and I had no idea what Sydney was doing.

We landed in Seatac and I saw Gerald waiting at the passenger gate, handing us passports and the other items I asked for. He led us to the car as we carried only carry-on luggage. By early evening, we were driving into Vancouver. I wanted a shopping mall where we could invest some of the Canadian money he gave us.

“Where is the nearest mall,” I said looking at Jack. “We need some other clothes.”

“I’ll drive you.” Gerald said.

“Will you wait? I’m sure it won’t take long.” I said. Jack and Sydney both nodded, agreeing.

“Sure.”

When Gerald pulled up into the large parking structure, both Sydney and Jack headed for stores. I waited until they were out of sight. “Did you bring the serum?” He nodded handing me a syringe whose needle was capped. “Be careful.”

I laughed softly. “I’m always careful.” I would put up my hair in a bun and stick the syringe inside the roll. “Where is Queen’s Bank?” He told me. “How far is it from here?”

“Georgia Street in Vancouver which about a mile from here.”

“Good. I’ll be back shortly.” I turned and headed into the mall and someplace that I could buy a sexy dress.


It was about ten minutes to six when Jack and I, posing as Mr. and Mrs. Visconti from Rome sat on a sofa waiting for the bank manager, a Mr. Alex Moreau to appear. I saw a well-dressed gentleman approaching us. Must be the bank manager, I thought.

:”Mr. and Mrs. Visconti. My apologies, but the bank is closing. Perhaps we can find another time to endow your grandchild’s trust fund?”

“My daughter’s never late,” I said.

“It’s that clown she married.” Jack was serious.

“Of course, darling, it’s never our angel’s fault,” I said, rolling my eyes as though my statement was far from the truth.

Suddenly the elevator dings. Sydney rushed...well waddled toward us.

“Papa, Mama. Sorry I’m late. Sorry, sorry....” Sydney gestured apologetically at Moreau as she walked past him. Jack and Sydney hug. Jack kissed Sydney’s cheeks. I did the same.

“Where’s Roberto?” I asked, looking past her.

“He’s not coming. He said he doesn’t want your money. It is his job to provide for our baby.” She was apologetic.

“How does he expect to provide for my grandchild as a clown?” Jack was upset and angry.

“He’s not...he’s...” Sydney was offended.

“Bridgette! We agreed the trust fund would be a safety net, in case things don’t work out.” I was exasperated and angry.

“But they will. We love each other.”

“Of course. The two of you will be as happy as your father and I have been.” I put my hand on Jack’s stomach and kissed the corner of this mouth. Jack ‘hummm’d” smiling.

“Let us do this for you. Let us help.” Jack pleaded.

“Okay. For the baby.” Sydney relented with a sigh.

Jack put his hand on Sydney’s cheek and I laughed. “Senor, we would be grateful if you could assist us with the deposit now.”

“I’m sorry, but it is too late,” said Moreau.

Jack took the bogus check out of his jacket pocket. “Here is a cashier’s cheque drawn on the trust account.”

Moreau’s eyes widened. “That – uh—is a very generous amount.”

Jack smiled.

I cut in before he could respond. “He said no, my darling.” I continued softly so Moreau could hear, “...bank is open until six. Maybe if we hurry we can...”

“That—won’t be necessary.” He chuckled. “It would be a privilege to help you plan for your family’s future. I have a daughter myself.”

“Then you’ll know that it’s a parent’s job to take care of their children,” I said rubbing my hand across Sydney’s belly.

“Mama...” Sydney said.

“Come then we will get the trust papers set up and signed. My secretary is still here.” Moreau buzzed for the woman.

Jack and I sat together smiling, no, beaming at Sydney. I loved the smell of his aftershave lotion. I took his left hand in mine and held it. It had always been a strong hand and somehow his touch was comforting. But that was now...but later...well I’d see how everything went. I had no illusions about the end of this day.

A few minutes passed and then papers were brought into Moreau’s office. He checked them briefly and then nodded at the secretary.

“Thank you for staying. Leave now. I’ll see you in the morning.” He motioned to Jack and I. We read the papers and signed them; then we got out of the way so Sydney could sit and sign.

“Congratulations,” said Moreau, taking the papers from her.

Sydney said, “Thank you.” She turned to us saying, “Roberto will be very angry with me if he finds these.”

I put my hand on her shoulder. “Then it will be our family secret. We’ll find a place to keep these trust documents safe.” I looked at Jack.

“Perhaps Senor Moreau can help us. Do you have a safety deposit that we can see?”

“Of course,” said the banker.

Sydney gasped and looked down at her stomach.

“Everything all right, my dear,” I said concerned.

“Yes, but your grandchild keeps kicking me.”

I laughed, remembering in a brief moment when the same happened to me...with Sydney.

“You’ve had a very busy day, my dear.” Jack looked at Moreau. “Would you mind if our daughter waited here?”

“No, of course not,” said Moreau. “Now if you would follow me...It’s so sweet how your daughter wants to please you.”

“She’s our pride and joy,” said Jack and I nodded.

“I’m sure she’ll be a wonderful parent to her own child,” he said.

“Thank you,” I said with a proud smile. Somehow I knew Sydney would outshine me as a mother.

“She has two such lovely role models,” continued Moreau, leading the way to the safety deposit boxes.

I glanced back to see Sydney move to the chair behind his desk. She was going to try to get the number of the box which held the Horizon. All she needed was Moreau’s password to access the information.

We took the elevator to the 12th floor. Moreau opened a gate saying, “We’ve taken great pains to ensure the security of this facility. In fact, we pride ourselves on being too careful with our clients’ assets.” He went on to tell us they put the safety deposit box room on the 12th story instead of in the basement where thieves could dig into it and steal. He opened the heavy door to the safety deposit room.

“That’s good to hear.” I smiled at Jack. I knew Sydney was working to get us the box number, but hadn’t contacted us yet. “What about emergency response? When an alarm is tripped, how long before—uh—the authorities respond?”

“The building has round-the-clock security. Our drills place it at four minutes, but to be honest, it’s never been activated.”

“Then lets keep it that way,” I said and pulled out the hypodermic from my hair and stabbed Moreau with it. He fell unconscious to the floor. He would be out for more than two hours.

“Sydney, have you got it? What’s the box number?” Jack said thru his comm. Link.

Moments later, “Okay Dad, I got it. Box 135.”

Jack nodded, walking to the box and spraying a substance on the lock which sizzled and smoked. After a second or two, he pulled out the box and set it on the table. I moved closer still holding the hypodermic in my right hand.

“I can’t open it,” he said.

“Why?” I was concerned.

“Counter measure. Looks like its acid based.”

“Can you disable it?” I asked.

“Not without destroying the contents. We’ll have to take it back to Marshall. He’ll be able—“

I rushed forward ready to strike him. He dodged and grabbed my elbow. I tried again, swinging my arm around his face. Jack dodged it.

“Peyton’s here...” Sydney ran into the room and stopped, stunned.

She saw Jack’s left hand holding my right arm. He put me into a chokehold with his right and slammed me back into the deposit boxes. Jack took out his gun and pressed it into my throat.

“Talk FAST. They’re here as back-up. You’re working with them, aren’t you?”

I stared at him defiantly.

“Answer me,” he shouted.

As it sinks in, Sydney started walking toward us. “That was you, wasn’t it...behind the glass. You orchestrated the whole thing.” She was disgusted. “Because you wanted this...” She gestured at The Horizon.

I rolled my eyes.

“...and when you couldn’t torture it out of me, you came to me as my mother.”

“I am your mother,” I said quietly.

Sydney’s eyes welled up and she looked at me with distaste. Inside, I winced. I did love her, but The Horizon and what it meant to have it...was overpowering.

“Call off your team now,” said Jack roughly.

“They’re not my team,” I said.

He stared at me, “I don’t believe you.”

“Dad?” Sydney said interrupting.

I said, “You need to believe me. Because if Peyton’s here, she’s here to kill me too!” I had a feeling that Prophet 5 would soon be one less member if she did the job they wanted.

“Then she’s going to be very disappointed, because I’m about to beat her to it.” He was furious and I don’t doubt he would have, but Sydney interrupted us again.

“Hey Dad?”

“I thought I killed you once,” he said. “This time I’ll be more thorough.”

“Dad?” This time Sydney’s voice was stronger.

We both turned to look at Sydney.

“Baby’s coming,” she said as a contraction hit her.

“You should sit,” said Jack.

Sydney rolled a chair over toward me, but didn’t sit “Look we need to get out of here.” She looked at me. “What’s their approach?”

“What?” I blinked and looked at her.

“Their plan—what is it? How are they going to attack us? They’ve killed the security guards downstairs and left one of them manning the desk and security cameras.”

I shrugged, shaking my head. “I don’t know. I already told you—this wasn’t a part of my operation. You want to escape? Give me The Horizon. I’ll tell her you’ve already left the building.” I knew that wouldn’t happen either. Peyton was here to get rid of me and take The Horizon back to them.

“That isn’t going to happen,” snarled Jack, who was really pissed off. “If you are telling the truth, she’d shoot you first.” He found some cord and tied my wrists together in front.

Sydney gasped and we both looked at her. She was looking at her belly.

“Jack, don’t be stubborn,” I said. “The baby is coming. I’m trying to help...giving you a way out.” I watched Sydney grab the table for support.

“How were you going to do it,” said Sydney, taking a breath. “Once you took the Horizon, what was your plan for extraction?”

The lights in the bank went out. We were in the dark.

“There’s a helicopter waiting for my signal.”

“Does Prophet 5 know about it?”

I shook my head. “No. These are my men and helicopter.”

“The elevators would all be ground when they cut the power. It’s four flights of stairs to the roof.” He looked at our daughter with concern.

“I can make it,” she said.

“Move,” Jack said to me. I glanced at Sydney, who was obviously in discomfort. She was stubborn like me. She was determined to make it to the roof. I wasn’t sure the baby would wait though.

We climbed the stairs, me first then Jack and finally Sydney. I could hear the helicopter in the distance. It was waiting for my signal.

“What’s the signal for the helicopter,” asked Jack. I could feel the end of the gun in my back.

“A beacon. It’s in my bra,” I said, looking at him with a smile. Well he certainly knew where he could find it.

Sydney paused to catch her breath. Jack pulled the beacon from my bra without expression and activated it. I smiled to myself.

“Keep moving,” ordered Jack. He turned to look at Sydney. “We’re almost there.” She gathered her strength and continued up the stairs.

I didn’t know where Peyton and her men were and I wasn’t sure Jack was paying attention to that. If they heard the helicopter they’d know I was escaping and would try to stop me.

“Get up where they can see you,” snapped Jack.

I stepped up. The light from helicopter drenched me with its brightness. Suddenly there was an explosion. We all ducked, but the ‘copter was hit and fell to the street below. Jack turned me and the three of us went back down the stairwell and into the 17th floor.

“The building has to have a freight elevator,” said Sydney. She led the way into an office and then further back into the second office.

“Sydney...” said Jack warning her. She needed to slow down...rest.

“If we hotwire a juncture box, we might be able to restore emergency power to one of the cars.” She seemed frantic as she spoke.

“Even if we could, they’ll be waiting for us as soon as we override the elevator.” Jack reminded her.

Good thinking, I thought, but I said nothing. It was their party.

“We have to try,” said Sydney.

“We need to set up a defensive position.” I looked around.

“I’m not interested in your opinion,” said Sydney.

“She’s right. Even if we could outflank them down the stairwell, you wouldn’t make it. Here.” He handed her the gun. “Cover your mother.” He handed her the bag with the Horizon inside. “I’ll take care of Peyton and her men.” He removed his jacket. “I’ll be right back. Whatever happens, keep that pointed at your mother. If she even blinks....”

“I’ll shoot her.” She glared at me.

I’m not sure she would, but I wouldn’t give her any reason to do so, at least, not at this moment. I settled back against the wall of the room which looked like an inner office and watched Jack leave. I thought he was pretty tough to take on three younger killers and I wished him good luck in my mind.

“The truth takes time...that’s what you said...years ago. Is this what you meant?”

“You’d like it to be simple.” I shook my head and looked at her. “I meant for you to take your time before you judged who I am. The truth is never simple. I am a complex person who happens to be your mother.”

“Yeah, but here we are and you’re a prisoner.” She winced as another pain hit her. “Did you put out the order to have Vaughn killed.”

That hit hard. I’m not sure she’d believe any answer but ‘yes’, but I just blinked and said nothing. She inhaled, frowning. I left them all in Sovogda and it took me several days to reach Moscow. I didn’t become a member of Prophet 5 until after Vaughn was killed. That was Gordon Dean’s doing—although perhaps on their orders. Still there was someone else she should consider...Arvin.

“I knew about his investigation for some time. I tried to tell him to tell you about his activities. I warned him in Sovogda.”

Sydney shook her head.

“He didn’t take my advice.” I ended.

“I fell for you. Even Dad fell for you, but Vaughn never trusted you.”

I knew that, but then I don’t think he ever knew the real reason I killed his father... Nadia.
“I think you should know why I shot Vaughn’s father. He took Nadia from the KGB and hid her. When I caught up with him, he wouldn’t tell me. I begged him to tell. Then he said something that sealed his death. My mind flashed back to that day.


“Tell me where you took her.” I had found him in Italy where he was on a job for the CIA. He was on his knees.

“Never,” he said. “She is safe from your KGB goons.”

“I’m her mother,” I cried. “KGB took her from me the day after she was born. I haven’t seen her since them. Where is she?”

“frack you.”

Enraged, I pulled the trigger and nearly blew his head off.


Sydney wasn’t paying much attention to me. She was sitting next to me with the gun trained on me. She was also gasping with pain from her contractions.

“Exhale through your mouth,” I said.

“No!” She sounded resentful, as though she were about to throw a tantrum. The girl was impossibly stubborn at times.

“I’m only offering advice,” I said quietly.

“Don’t” She was breathing heavily now. “I know why you saved my pregnancy. You want my baby and I don’t know why. Frankly, I don’t care. I just want you to leave us alone.”

How was I going to get her to focus on the baby coming? Obviously, she wasn’t going to believe anything I would say. Perhaps a harsh lie would help her focus.

“You should know something, Sydney. I never wanted to have a child. The KGB demanded it. They knew it would ensure your father’s allegiance to me. You were simply a means to an end. And then when the doctor put you in my arms and I looked at you...so fragile. All I could think was “How could I make such a terrible mistake?”

Both of us were on the brink of crying. Tears were welling up in my eyes and tears were streaming down her face. She was focused now on what I was saying.

“And at that moment I was sure of one thing. I couldn’t be an agent and a mother. I’d either fail at one or both and I chose to fail at being a mother.” What a lie, I thought. I was crying because I had to make her believe. I knew I had not failed her at least during those six years I had with her, but for now I wanted her to believe it.

I looked at her and saw that she was not even pointing the gun at me as she braced for a particularly painful contraction. I heard footsteps. Damn it, those were not Jack’s either. They were coming from an office in front of this one.

“Give me the gun, Sydney. They’re coming.”

She gave it to me reluctantly. I turned and fired through the glass, killing Peyton’s man instantly. I jumped up and went to the nearby desk and using the letter opener, cut the cord binding my wrists. I returned to Sydney and took the Horizon, crouching in front of her.

“In time you’ll learn.” I shook my head. “You can’t do both.”

“Watch me,” hissed Sydney in obvious pain.

I turned to leave and looking back saw her gasp in pain. I didn’t hesitate, but returned to her tears coming down my face.

“The only reason I saved the baby was because you’re my daughter.” I said. I couldn’t let her believe anything else. It was the truth. Sydney sobbed. “Now get into that chair and do exactly what I tell you.”

Sydney moved into the chair, gasping.

“Sydney, don’t push,” I cried. I pulled down her wet underclothes. I felt her and there was something there...the baby was coming and not head first. Sydney was fully dilated.

“God Mom, I have to...”

“No, no, no, no—listen to me. Don’t push. I know you want to, but you can’t. Sydney. Listen to me. The baby is coming out backward.”

Now she was sobbing...”What does that mean? Mom!” She gasped.

Just then Jack entered. What is it? What is it?”

“Her muscles are locked...she needs to relax. The baby needs oxygen. If it doesn’t come out right now...”

Jack crouched by Sydney. “Listen, sweetheart, squeeze my hand. This is important. As hard as you can.” He put his hand in her right one.

“Dad.”

“Just keep breathing--breathe...” I instructed, working to get the baby turned after feeling for the cord.

“Dad!” She cried.

“In and out,” I said again

“Okay. Now, again. Look at me.” Jack said. She nodded. “You can do this.”

Sydney was sobbing. I couldn’t see her, but I sensed she was still fighting me. I knew she probably hated me, but hell it was her baby, my grandchild. I wouldn’t hurt her or the baby ...ever.

“I can’t. Dad, I can’t.

‘Sydney, yes, you can,” said Jack.

“I don’t want to do this here,” she wailed.

Who would, I thought. Stubborn girl insisted she had to be here. Now this.

Jack nodded, but didn’t loosen his grip. “That’s okay. Tell me where you want to be.”

“I’m scared.” Sydney was crying.

“I know. That’s why we’re here. We’re going to take care of you. Now...tell me...where do you want to be.”

“I want to be on the beach.”

“That’s good. Just go there. Now tell me about it.” His voice was soothing and calm. I hoped it would have the same effect on Sydney.

Sydney was sobbing, “And Vaughn is there with me.”

“Good,” agreed Jack. “Vaughn is there with you on the beach. Good. Vaughn is there.”

“I miss him.”

I was busy with the baby. I located the cord and moved it. I was silently cursing, because I didn’t have gloves and it wasn’t a sterile environment. I glanced up at Jack and Sydney; then I looked around and spotted Jack’s jacket. That would have to do as there were not blankets or sheets. Sydney would need a hospital as soon as possible.

“Okay, now...Sydney push.”

“Sydney, you can do this. Now, again...”

“Push,” I demanded.

“Sydney, as hard as you can!” Jack put his hand over hers.

Sydney winced painfully, crying.

“Good!” I said as the baby came out, crying. I cut the cord and tied both ends with the cord Jack had tied me with earlier. I wrapped the baby in his jacket and handed Sydney her baby, our grandchild. “Sydney,” I whispered, “you have a baby girl.”

Sydney cried as I handed her, her daughter. She held the baby close, looking at her. I moved quickly as their attention was on the baby, grabbing the Horizon, leaving out the door and past the man I’d killed.

I headed down the stairwell as fast as I could. I had to get out of the building. Peyton and her men were dead, so there was no way I could be stopped. The helicopter fell on the other side of the building, so there probably wouldn’t be anyone outside yet. It took me almost ten minutes to get down the stairs.

I crossed the lobby unopposed and looked for the restroom. I was a mess, but a change of clothes I didn’t have with me. I had to wash my arms and hands. Five minutes later, I was out the front door. I checked the SUV that Peyton and her men had driven, but it was locked.

Moving swiftly down the street, I punched in the cell phone number for Marshall Flinkman. He would be the one to get action started.

“Flinkman,” he said.

“Listen to me very carefully, Marshall. Jack and Sydney are in Vancouver. Queens Bank. They need extraction immediately.”

“Okay...uh is this...who I think it is?”

“Tell the team they will need diapers. Be sure to send a sweeper crew.” I closed the phone and headed down the Georgia Street. After another block, I punched in Gerald’s number. He was my man and I didn’t need to worry about being eliminated. Prophet 5 had picked the wrong person to cross.

“Gerald?”

“Yes?”

“It’s me. I need you to pick me up at the corner of Georgia and Barrington. How soon can you be here?”

“I’ll be on my way when you hang up.”

“You won’t regret it,” I said.

I melted back into the nearest dark doorway. Gerald would get here soon. I would see to it that he had a large increase in his bank account. I needed to catch a plane for Hong Kong as soon as I could. But first, I would have to find a way to deconstruct the bomb protecting the Horizon. It had to be done carefully too. I was not going to lose the prize of a lifetime. I was also in desperate need of a change of clothes. I hoped Gerald had some at his place that I could wear. He was about my height.

Then I needed to make one last call. “Yes?” He sounded tired.

“Jack, it’s me. Listen...Sydney and the baby need a hospital. I wasn’t sterile and neither were our surroundings.”

“Yes! I know. Where are you?”

“Funny!” I commented. “I called Marshall who is sending an extraction team and one of your clean sweep teams.”

There was silence on the other end. “Thanks,” he said. “We’re still coming after you.”

“Of course, but you have to find me first. I love you both.” I shut the phone.

One hour later I was on board an Air Canada Airlines flight to Moscow. My destiny was wrapped in the bundle in the satchel I held on my lap. I sat back thinking about everything that had happened. I knew that now I was a grandmother, I had to make some provisions. I also wanted to write Sydney a letter. I would do it now on the plane while there was time. I would give it and my journal to Katya to keep when I returned home.

My attention would have to focus on The Horizon and, I smiled, Arvin. As for Prophet 5, I had a feeling that they would have a hard time finding me. I would be safely hidden in Hong Kong.


8. Hong Kong

It was a week later when I stepped into the elevator to go to my office. It was located on the 7th floor and I had a view. My two secretaries, both Chinese and friends of Ling Soo Ahn, my good friend these past twenty two years, were waiting for me. I had called them from the airport.

I walked into my office and sat down, indicating the two women to sit across from me. “Well, can you give me the reports on Arvin Sloane’s whereabouts?” I looked at Woo Sing Zhou.

She nodded and handed me a sheaf of papers “He is on his way to Istanbul from Italy.”

I looked at the reports which had come from all of my contacts in Europe where he either was seen or not. I noted he was traveling with Sark and Kelly Peyton. That was interesting, very interesting. What happened to make her change her allegiance from Prophet 5 to Arvin?

“Prophet 5? Peyton was working for them.”

“They are all dead!”

“What?” Now I was surprised.

“Yes, Irina,” said the other secretary who had a stack of messages in her hand. “The police in Zurich found 21 people in a meeting room under a building dead including two bodyguards. They had been slaughtered by machine gun fire. They have a security video showing Peyton entering the building with a large briefcase. They think she had two automatic weapons in it and used them to eliminate the group.”

I frowned, thinking about that news. Somehow Arvin had persuaded Kelly to join him and Sark. That was very interesting. That meant Arvin had uncovered news of Rambaldi’s ultimate endgame and was not going to share with anyone. I leaned back in my chair. He needed what I had now in my possession...The Horizon. He seemed to be heading in my direction.

I dismissed the two women, taking the phone message stack and putting it on my desk. Arvin would definitely be calling, because Peyton would have told him I had possibly retrieved The Horizon at the bank in Vancouver. She didn’t know who really had it, Jack or me. He could call to find out anyway.

I would make the biggest deal of my life—a deal for immortality and power.


SYDNEY AND KATYA

Sydney sat on the sofa. Tears ran down her cheeks. She closed the journal with a sigh, remembering that night Iz was born. She hated her mother until the moment she put the baby into her arms. Then everything just disappeared as she looked down at her precious child...Isabelle. She was crying and she noted then that Jack had tears running down his face.

The cell phone rang in his pocket and he answered it. It was her mother, calling to tell him she and the baby needed to be in the hospital and that she’d called Marshall to have them extracted.

Sydney looked down. Iz was sleeping on her blanket next to her. She was so beautiful and had Vaughn’s eyes. They hadn’t changed. Sydney checked to see if Iz needed changing, but she didn’t.

There had not been another journal. The offices that Irina Derevko rented were clean of any personal effects. She must have had an apartment elsewhere, but Sydney never found it.

Sydney stretched; then picked up her cell phone next to her. She punched in the number and waited.

“Zdrastvooytye.!”

“Hey,” said Sydney. “How are you?”

Katya laughed, “Fine! Any news of importance?”

“No. I—umm—finished Mom’s journals. Do you want to read them? I know you said you tried, but it was difficult.”

“Sydushka, I...” Katya paused. “I loved Rishka very much, but I just can’t read them. She had a difficult life. I think at the end she was not the Rishka I grew up with. I received that last journal with the letter I gave you when I told you that you and your children were her heirs. They arrived just about the time you called to tell me about...about her fall.”

“That’s your privilege, but I did want you to have the opportunity. I’m not sure what I should do with them. Some of the material is pretty rough.”

“Isabelle and your other children will never know her. You could give them the journals when they are able to absorb everything.”

“And maybe not,” said Sydney. “I had a hard time absorbing some of it.”

“You do with them as you please. When can I see you? There are some more papers to sign and money to be dispersed.”

“How about Vancouver BC again it’s closer than Mexico? I could bring Isabelle with me.”

“Oh please do.” There was a pause. “If your doctor approves, how about Saturday?”

“Not a problem. I promise not to give birth at the bank...again!”

Katya laughed. “Good. I love you. See you then.” She hung up.

Sydney put away the cell phone. She sat for a moment looking at the journal she’d just finished. There’d been entries in the journals that had been hard to read—Kashmir was one of them. She reached over and gently rubbed Iz’s tummy wondering if she should give the journals to her children when they were grown. In a way, she was glad her mother had not started another journal. They ended appropriately banal.

“I can’t decide now. I’ll wait,” she thought and looked at her daughter, who had her daddy’s eyes, but looked so much like her grandmother. Maybe Isabelle would be the teacher in the family, fulfilling the wish that Irina Derevko had for her daughter.

Only time would tell...


RUSSIAN TRANSLATION

zdrastvooytye- Hello


FINI ;)
 

rtms

Cadet
Joined
Mar 30, 2005
Location
Canada
Great to see Irina's point of view. Katya is right, she wasn't the Irina in the end that everyone knew, the power got to her. Great story!
 

!r!nab

Scout
Joined
Aug 25, 2007
Location
Classified :)
EPILOGUE???!!!?!?!?! wow. it's a long fic, but i cant believe it's almost at the end! i kind of feel like the story should have gone on forever. :)
 

lenafan

Cadet
Joined
Jan 22, 2003
Location
So. California
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Read and enjoy, but please leave a message about your thots on the presentation. I thank all of you who stayed to the very end and hope you will give me feedback even if you didn't prior to this point.


EPILOGUE – CARPE DIEM

Malibu - Present

Sydney stood on the porch of the beach house in Malibu. It was a perfect day and her two children were playing in the sand below. It was already hot, but there was a cool breeze coming off the Pacific which was the perfect blue. There must have been two dozen sailboats out on the water. She glanced at her watch. It was close to nine. She had errands to run, but there was still time.

She looked to her left up the beach. In the distance, she saw someone coming at a slow jog. Putting her hand to her eyes, shielding it from the sun’s brightness, she could make out the sweats-clad figure loping along the edge of the sand and water. She smiled noticing the ease of the stride.

“Okay you two. She’s coming.” She glanced down at the two children.

Both children glanced in the direction their mother was pointing. Iz sprang up and started running. Sydney had to appreciate the speed her daughter was showing. Poor Jack was only three and was easily out-distanced by his older sister. She watched as Iz jumped up into her grandmother’s arms. Iz was chattering fast and furious as the two walked back down the beach. Jack finally caught up to the pair, holding up his arms. Iz was put down and he was picked up.

About three minutes later, the three came up the steps. Laura’s face and body glistened with sweat. She was breathing easily.

“Morning,” said Sydney standing. “How are you doing today?”

“Better.” She leaned forward and kissed Sydney on the cheek. “Last night was the first time in my recent memory that my hip didn’t hurt.”

“So are you up to watching this active pair this morning?”

“Of course.” She put Jack down. “I need to take a quick shower first.”

Sydney nodded. “I can wait. I just have some errands to do and then I’ll be back.”

“Will you stay for lunch? I—I have some questions...” Her voice trailed off apologetically.

“Absolutely!” Sydney bent down to Iz and Jack. “Now you two mind your grandmother and don’t give her any trouble.”

“They never do. Don’t worry. I’ll have lunch ready.” She hurried to her bedroom.


Hong Kong, 6 years ago

“Oh my God,” cried Sydney, staring down at her mother. Irina Derevko was not moving. Shattered glass lay scattered around her. There was a pool of blood under her head. The Horizon, a Rambaldi ball she acquired in Vancouver, lay nearby. “Mom!??” Sydney shouted down. Irina didn’t move. At this distance, Sydney couldn’t tell if she was even breathing.

Their fight had been hard fought and neither had given quarter until Irina landed on the atrium’s glass ceiling. It began cracking almost immediately under her weight. Sydney had pled with Irina to come back, holding out her hand, but Irina shook her head.

Reaching for the Horizon, she cried out, “I’m sorry.” Stretching out her hand for the precious ball, she had it when the glass finally gave way and she fell.

Sydney ran from the roof, down a hall to the door that led out of Irina’s office. “Vaughn, hurry. Mom’s fallen.” She didn’t turn or look, she simply ran as if her life depended on it down the stairs. Perhaps she ran because Irina’s life would depend on it. She forsook the elevator when a glance told her it was up at the 47th floor. She entered the stairwell and began jumping, almost leaping down the stairs.

A minute later, she heard Vaughn behind her, a couple of floors above her. “Second floor!” Shouted Sydney, pushing through the door. She paused a moment to get her bearings; then she turned for open atrium several feet away. She dashed through the open space and found her mother, still not moving and a small pool of blood under her head. Her right arm and right leg were bent at an awkward angle.

Pulling out her cell, Sydney put a call to 911 and asked for an ambulance. Vaughn dashed into the room. He stopped. Irina Derevko lay prone on her back and was either dead or unconscious. She was bleeding from her neck or skull. He walked to the other side of the woman. Sydney was holding her hand gently, because she had no idea how many broken bones there were or where. Vaughn looked up and sighed.

“Syd, that’s a long way up!”

Sydney nodded almost imperceptibly, “Yes, but she’s still breathing.”

“Christ!” Vaughn said almost not believing it. That woman led a charmed life he thought..

“I called for an ambulance. Would you go and let them in?” Tears streamed down Sydney’s face.

“Yes, but don’t start feeling sorry for her. No matter what happens, she brought it on herself!” He could hear a siren in the distance and then it stopped. He left her and ran to let the Emergency Medical Team into the building.

Sydney brushed her hand over Irina’s forehead and hair. “Mom? Can you hear me?”
There was no answer. Sydney saw The Horizon a foot away from Irina’s head. She picked it up and placed it inside her jacket. She briefly wondered if it had anything to do with Irina’s still being alive.

Voices came from behind her and seconds later, three young Chinese entered, two men and a woman, with their equipment including a gurney. Sydney jumped up, got out of their way, quickly explaining what had happened. The three looked up and back at Irina. They fitted an oxygen mask over her face and slid a protective board under her back and head. The woman EMT pulled a sliver of glass from Irina’s neck. Then they lifted her onto the narrow gurney carefully and rolled her out with Sydney and Vaughn following.

The Chinese woman was talking on her link to the hospital, explaining the possible injuries sustained and some personal information that Sydney answered. They moved her outside to the ambulance. Sydney said she was going with her and Vaughn nodded.

“I’ll bring the car. Which hospital?”

“Victoria,” said Sydney. Both she and Vaughn had been in Hong Kong many times and knew the location of the hospitals on the mainland. The doors closed and the two men rode in front while Sydney and the Chinese girl rode in the back.

The next few hours were long and hard on Sydney as doctors worked over her mother. She and Vaughn sat outside the trauma room waiting. It was an hour later before the trauma specialist came out to talk to them. Sydney and he spoke Chinese. Sydney nodded several times. The doctor smiled and returned to the trauma room. Shortly after that a nurse came out with a clipboard. Sydney signed the second page.

“What was that for?” Vaughn asked.

“Permission to operate.” Sydney answered. She sat down tears began welling up in her eyes.

“Syd, don’t,” said Vaughn

“It’s not all about her. It’s about Dad too! He was so bad when we left.”

Vaughn put his arm around her. “Syd, your Dad took three shots to his chest and stomach. You know he was going to die and so did he. He sent you here to stop your Mother and you did. You saved countless lives. He wanted you to go.”

“I know, but...” she was crying now.

“Why save your mother? She is an evil woman.”

“She isn’t all evil. She stayed and delivered Iz. She didn’t run away then. She told me once that she loved me and Dad. It’s...it’s that idiot Rambaldi that drove her. I wish he’d never been born.” Sydney sobbed.

Vaughn said nothing, but held her. “What happens when people find out Irina Derevko is alive.”

Sydney raised her head. “What?”

“She is on the most wanted list still. This is not going to stop countries from coming after her including the U.S.”

She wiped her eyes clear and looked at him, her mind racing with scenarios. Had she given the EMTs her mother’s name? No, she hadn’t. In fact she had not gone to the admitting office to fill out the papers yet. She said nothing as a solution occurred to her.


Malibu - Present

It was nearing noon when Sydney parked the Lexus and entered the house. She found her two children seated by their grandmother listening to a story she was reading them. She stood for a moment watching. Syd shook her head slightly, thinking about what happened six years ago. The mere idea that Irina Derevko would survive the terrible fall seemed impossible. The fact that she could run and walk again seemed incredible.

However, she had and the doctors were amazed, but it’d taken months of hospital and convalescent care to get her mother able to walk again without any help. She’d sustained multiple fractures involving the hips, ribs, back, right leg, right elbow as well as multiple cuts as a result of having fallen through the skylight. The worst injury, though, had been a severe concussion with hairline fractures of her skull and with that, complete loss of her memory. There were times however, when Sydney felt that it had been a blessing.

The doctors told Sydney that she might one day regain it, but they doubted it. She would have to be taught to walk again...and to talk. Sydney saw it as an opportunity to kill Irina Derevko and bring back Laura Bristow, the mother she knew as a child. She and Vaughn had seen to it that Irina stayed hospitalized in Hong Kong. She had registered Irina as Laura Bristow in the hospital. As far as the world knew, Irina Derevko was dead. Word was out that her ashes resided in a mausoleum in Moscow.

Sydney never told Katya that Irina was still alive even though they talked several times a month. Katya could be a chatterbox at times. One too many vodkas and she might say something that would put Laura at great risk. Sydney used the money Jack left her to accomplish the task of caring and rehabilitating her, especially since Irina and he were still married at the time of his death in Rambaldi’s tomb. Under the circumstances, she thought he might approve.

It had taken nearly six years for Laura Bristow to recuperate to the point she could run or jog. She exercised religiously because Sydney told her that was what she did before the fall. She had been under the care of physical therapists for nearly four years and now had a personal trainer she saw once a week. Soon she wouldn’t need him.

Although her memory was gone, Laura had learned to talk again...and without an accent. It was as if she’d been born an English-speaking American. Sydney brought her books and stories. She used the television to help her vocalize and to sound her words out. Sydney worked almost fanatically to have her mother speak accent free and now there was none. The slight Russian accent when she spoke English died in the fall.

Her English was excellent including her ability to absorb everything quickly. She even used colloquialisms and slang that was a part of the everyday vernacular. Once Laura understood she’d been in a severe accident and had to learn everything again and—accepted it, she learned even faster than Sydney had imagined.

Sydney had brought her mother back to the U.S. four years after the accident. She used some of her father’s inheritance to buy a house in Malibu a short distance away from her and Vaughn’s home on the beach. She paid cash and made sure the name on the deed was Mrs. Jonathan D. Bristow.

She was careful not to touch the inheritance from her mother as she knew Katya might want to see the home some day. That is if she were given an unconditional pardon so she could return to the U.S. Katya was the executor of the estate and a good one too! She took care of the money as if it were her own. So Sydney decided that it would be better not to buy the home with her mother’s money.

Irina Derevko had to remain dead to everyone who knew her, including her only living blood relative, her sister Katya.


Moscow, 6 years ago

Katya stood in her apartment, staring out the window. There were tears on her face. She had received a call from Sydney just a few days ago. Irina, her beloved Rishka, was dead. Sydney told her that Irina had fallen through a skylight several floors. It had killed her and she was bringing Irina’s ashes back to be buried in the mausoleum which once held the remains of the cloned Irina that Yelena had made from the helix protocols. Those had been removed. Now the real Irina Derevko would be entombed.

There was a knock at the door. Katya went to it. “Yes? Who is it?”

“Sydney!”

Katya threw open the door to see Sydney standing there with Vaughn behind her. He was holding a large container. “Come in,” she said standing away from the door.

The pair entered and Katya pointed to the sofa. “Would you like something to drink...? Tea? Coffee?”

“Nothing,” said Sydney and Vaughn shook his head.

Katya went to the kitchen and came back with a bottle of Vodka. She poured herself a drink and then sat down. “I haven’t seen you for some time,” she said. Katya had been in the women’s federal prison after Sydney and Vaughn captured her in Palermo. Jack had arranged for her release after she’d given him information on Sloane and Irina’s whereabouts.

“I know,” said Sydney. She carefully placed the urn with her mother’s ashes on the small coffee table. “This is Mom.”

“Da, I guessed.” Katya took another sip of her drink, eyeing the urn. “Do you want to go to the Mausoleum today?”

“Yes. I need to get back home to our baby.”

Katya’s eyes lighted up. “I’m an aunt?” She was surprised.

Sydney nodded. “A little girl. Mom delivered her, along with Dad’s help.”

Katya’s eyes widened and her mouth dropped open. “Rishka? Delivered your baby?”

Sydney nodded and told her all that had happened that night in Vancouver. She did not tell her about The Horizon or that she and her mother had fought—or that the fight ended with Irina’s falling through the skylight. She sensed that Katya would be happier knowing that her sister had helped to deliver her own grandchild.

“Come it will be dark soon,” Katya said. “Let us go. What time is your flight?” She put on her heavy coat.

“About 3 hours from now,” answered Vaughn.

“We will get there in plenty of time,” said Katya. “I’ll drive. I can get you through customs fast.”

“Are you with SVR still,” said Sydney leaving first.

“No, but I have many friends.”


Malibu - Present

Laura Bristow was 59 and in reasonably good shape. She accepted everything Sydney had told her about herself. She embraced her grandchildren with love and cherished every moment she had with them.

Physically, she was still tall, about six feet, just a shade taller than her daughter. She weighed about 130. Blessed with long legs, she ran along the beach in ground-eating speed. Laura wore her hair long down her back. It was chestnut in color but with long streaks of grey, which showed up mostly while she was convalescing. The eyes were dark and piercing. She had high cheek bones with wide, full red lips. She was still a beautiful woman thought Sydney every time she saw her.

Sydney rinsed off the lunch dishes and stuck them into the dish washer. She smiled thinking about how she had had to teach her mother how to operate all of the electrical appliances both large and small. Still it only took one time. She may have lost her memory, but Laura was a genius. Show her and once was enough.

Sydney turned and saw that Laura was outside, watching the children. She walked out and sat down at the table next to her mother. “Mom, you said you had questions?”

“Yes, sweetheart. I—I was wondering about your father. What happened to him? I mean after you had to leave him?”

Sydney had been dreading the question and never told her, but was going to be honest about it. “He was dead. He told me to find you before he died.”

“Where was I?”

Sydney took a deep breath and said, “Ummm, in Hong Kong. You were in trouble.”

“Why?”

“Bad things were happening.”

“Your father was where?” Laura frowned.

“In Mongolia.”

“Where is that?”

“Northwest of China”

“Is he still there?”

Sydney bit her lips, forcing herself not to cry. “Yes, we buried him there.” She did not tell her mother that they had not found any trace of Jack and that there had been a cave-in where Sloane had shot Jack. The old friends were buried together she guessed.

“Oh,” Laura said. “I thought if he was buried here, I would visit his grave.” She turned to look at Sydney. “Could I go to Mongolia?”

“Mom, do you even remember him?” Sydney asked softly.

Laura shook her head, sighing. “No.” She sat up straight. “But I think it would be nice to pay my respects. After all, he was my husband, wasn’t he? You gave me a picture of him, remember?”

Sydney smiled. Well, why not? “I’ll see what I can do.”


Mongolia – 6 years ago

“What the hell?” The familiar voice rumbled from the darkness. “Where are my clothes?”

“JACK??” Arvin cried incredulously struggling to see in the dark.
 
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