Postscript -6 months later

Agent Sydney Bristow, on assignment in Rumania, approached the hotel's front desk. Her mission was simple - to check into a room on the top floor, then rappel down to the 5th floor. Once there she would crack open a safe, photograph the drawings the CIA needed, and rendezvous with Vaughn.

She strode up to the aged desk clerk hunched over the register and, true to her cover, imperiously demanded a "room with a view". As the clerk looked up, a pair of twinkling eyes looked out from underneath a shock of white hair. "Hello, Sydney," he said quietly.

"Dad!" she hissed. "For heaven's sake, what are you doing?"

"There's a failsafe in the nightstand you need to throw before you crack the safe itself," he replied. "Otherwise, you'll set off the alarm."

"We didn't have any intel about that!"

"Now there's a surprise," he drawled sarcastically. Raising his voice, he said, "Madam, I have just the room for you, if you'll sign here." He turned the register towards her. Sydney scrawled "Love to Mom", grabbed the key, and headed off to the elevator. She didn't miss the whispered "be careful" as she left.

Really, thought Sydney to herself. This was the 4th time she had bumped into one of her parents on a mission. Other times, she was conscious of being watched, but could never catch who was following her. Once, after accidentally stumbling on a rebel patrol in the dark, a submachine gun had opened up to her left and dropped the 3 soldiers chasing her in their tracks.

She had seen her parents together only one time, when they were posing as a goatherd and his wife in the mountains of Afghanistan. Sydney had almost not accomplished her objective because she was laughing so hard watching them try to herd the goats in the background while she was dealing with a notorious arms dealer. Her mother had been giving instructions, her father had been exasperated.

They both had looked happy.