By: Sam Lincoln
Summary: A man from Sloane's past has information that threatens Sydney's future.
Disclaimer: All characters from Alias and X-Files are the property of Bad Robot, Touchstone Television and 1013. All characters are used without permission and no infringement is intended.
Xalias: Chapter Two
Sydney silently cursed and raised her hands. "What the hell is an FBI agent doing here?" she wondered to herself. Sydney filed the question away for later, at that moment her primary concern was not getting arrested.
The women reached into her pocket and took out a cell phone. She dialed a number and held the phone up to her ear, all without taking her eyes off of Sydney. "Mulder it's me. Get up here quick. We have a visitor."
Sydney realized that her window of opportunity was closing and that she had to act now. She dropped down and took the woman's feet out with a sweep kick. The FBI agent fell to the ground, her gun went flying when she hit the floor. Sydney picked up the dropped firearm and rain for the staircase leading up to the roof. On her way there she dashed past a man in a dark suit who was walking up a staircase.
"Mulder!" the red head shouted. "Stop her!"
Sydney turned and fired a round over the man named Mulder's head causing him to duck down. By the time he emerged from cover Sydney had made it up the stairs and was on the roof. She was getting ready to cross her rope bridge when a bullet impacted the roof next to her.
"That was a warning shot," Mulder said. "Drop the gun and step away from the ledge."
"Sorry, I don't do that," Sydney said while still facing away from the man. She freed the rope line's grapnel with her foot.
"I will shoot you if I have to," Mulder warned.
"I know," Sydney replied. "Tell your partner I'm sorry and I'll return her gun when I get a chance."
"You'll get your chance right now because you're going to step away from the ledge and put your hands up," Mulder ordered.
Sydney turned around and faced Mulder," Like I said, I can't do that." She then leaned backwards and fell off the roof, taking the rope line with her. Sydney grabbed hold of the rope and swung down. When she judged herself close enough to the ground she released the rope and fell to earth.
From the roof Mulder watched as the mystery woman picked herself up off the ground and disappeared into the night. "Damn," was all he could say.
Scully burst onto the roof. "Mulder, what happened?" she demanded.
Mulder turned and faced his partner, "She jumped," he said as he walked back into the building.
"Well what the hell happened to my gun?" Scully called after Mulder.
The agents walked downstairs where they found Frohike and Langley nursing their injuries. "Did you catch the bitch?" Frohike asked.
"No, she got away," Mulder dejectedly replied.
Beyers and Agent Vaughn came running up the stairs. "What's going on?" Vaughn asked, "We heard gunfire."
"You're a little late to the party," Mulder wryly noted.
"That would be my fault," Beyers said, "I insisted we lock everything down before we came up here to investigate."
"Well I don't know what she was doing," Frohike said, "but she was standing inside my office when I opened the door. She knocked me out before I could use my kung-fu on her."
"She was waiting for Langley and me," Scully commented, "Very well-trained in hand to hand combat as well," she added.
"And not interested in being captured, resourceful too. Agent Vaughn, you wouldn't happen to know anyone like that?" Mulder asked.
Vaughn stared deliberately at the Lone Gunmen, "No, doesn't ring any bells."
"If you say so," Mulder did not sound convinced. "The question now is what did she take?"
"The better question would be what didn't she take," Beyers noted. "We were hacked again."
"But that's impossible, we're still not connected to the net!" Langley protested.
"It's possible if the person was hooked up to the LAN," Beyers pointed out. "Why else would someone break in?"
"Wow, a ninja and a hacker, I'm in love," Frohike said.
"So what was taken?" Scully asked, ignoring Frohike.
Beyers shrugged, "It looks like everything that wasn't taken earlier today. There's no damage to any of our systems, the data has just been copied."
"Were you working on anything especially juicy?" Mulder asked the Gunmen.
Beyers shook his head. "There wasn't anything earth-shattering going into the next edition. Certainly nothing worth this much attention."
Mulder nodded, "Why don't you guys find out everything you can about the hackings and then give me a call."
"There's no need, I know who did it," Langley declared.
"Langley, don't be an idiot, it can't be him. He doesn't exist," Frohike protested.
"Who doesn't exist?" Scully asked.
"There used to be this guy, he was the best hacker on the net. No system was safe from him. He was literally the ghost in the machine. And then a couple of years back he vanished," Langley explained.
"What happened to him?" Mulder wondered.
Frohike shrugged, "Nobody knows," he said, picking up the story. "The guy stopped posting his hacks. The thing about this guy was that he was old-school. He never took anything, just a screen cap to prove what he did. He'd always email the sys admin of a network he hacked and told the guy how he broke in and how to plug the hole."
"What was his name?" Vaughn asked. It was the first time he had voluntarily taken part in the conversation that night.
"I only knew him by his on-line handle, the Flinkenator," Langley replied.
Mulder frowned, "What aren't you telling me?" he asked Vaughn.
"Plenty," the CIA agent replied. "What aren't you telling me?"
"Plenty," Mulder defiantly replied.
"Alright you two that's enough!" Scully snapped. "Mulder stop asking Agent Vaughn questions he can't answer. Agent Vaughn, stop antagonizing Mulder," she ordered the two agents. "As for you three," she turned to face the Gunmen, "if you want to file a report with the police do so, otherwise this isn't a job for the FBI." Scully stormed off towards the stairs.
"Where are you going?" Mulder asked.
"Home," Scully replied. "I've had a long day and I'm going to take a hot bath and go to bed. If anyone here actually wants to be useful they could find out what's on that disk." The five men watched as Scully stomped down the stairs.
Frohike eased next to Mulder, "What disk?" he asked the agent.
Sydney watched as Marshall continued to pour over the data she had retrieved from the Lone Gunmen. "Find anything yet?" she asked the tech.
"Tons," Marshall replied.
"Find anything that might help us?" Sydney clarified.
"Ahh...not so much," Marshall admitted.
"Well keep at it, if there's anyone who can find what we need it's you," Sydney told Marshall.
"Thanks Sydney, there is one thing. It's not really directly related to Spender, but it's something. There are a pair of FBI agents investigating Spender. They specialize in a lot of really out there cases."
"What do you mean by out there?"
"They investigate Bigfoot and alien abductions, stuff like that."
"Spender believes in aliens," Sydney pointed out.
"Just because you believe in something doesn't make it true," Marshall said, "I should know, I've analyzed enough data units for SETI at Home."
Sydney smiled, "So other than investigating loopy cases what's so special about these FBI agents?"
"That's just it, because they investigate unexplained phenomena they've probably bumped into Spender's organization on more than one occasion."
"Well I suppose asking them a few questions couldn't hurt anything. Give me their records and I'll talk to them tomorrow morning." Sydney told Marshall.
"Sure thing, I've got them right here." Marshall handed Sydney two sheets of paper.
Sydney looked at the paper and her face turned slightly gray, "Uh Marshall, I think we have a problem."
Sydney held up the two pieces of paper with Mulder and Scully's pictures on them. "These are the two agents who were at the Lone Gunmen's office tonight."
"You mean the ones you assaulted because you didn't want to explain why your illegal breaking an entering wasn't really illegal at all?"
"Yes Marshall, those agents."
"Well now, that's quite a pickle," Marshall observed. "Fortunately I, Marshall Flinkman, have a plan."
Sydney yawned, "That's great Marshall, but can it wait till tomorrow? I'm pretty tired."
Marshall looked down at his watch, "Oh sure, no problem. I'll just stay here and keep going over these things."
"Okay, don't have too much fun without me," Sydney said with a smile as she walked over to her room. She wasn't even sure Marshall heard her door close.
-Credit Dauphine, 8:52 am, EST-
The phone on Sloane's desk rang and the spy master immediately picked it up. "Hello?" he snapped.
"Good morning Arvin, you're in early," Spender said.
"Just because I'm in a different time zone is no reason to let world events get ahead of me," Sloane replied.
"That always was your way Arvin," Spender said conversationally.
"What do you want old man?"
"A disc containing a collection of Rambaldi documents has found its way into the hands of a pair of FBI agents. I'm sure you have nothing to hide, but you never know where a reading of those files might lead."
"I see, and just what exactly are you expecting in return for this nugget of information?"
"Why Arvin, I'm hurt, are you that cynical to think that I cannot be altruistic?"
"You always play an angle, usually two or three. The trick is to figure out what those second and third angles are."
Spender laughed, "You don't know how nice it is to work with an operative who understands the game as well as you do Arvin."
"You haven't answered my question," Sloane wearily asked.
"Let's just say that if you clean up your mess through your usual methods you will have removed a considerable thorn from my side."
"I see, and what makes you think I will resort to my usual methods?"
"Because these agents have undoubtedly read the file by now and know enough to make your life very difficult."
"I shall take the matter under advisement, thank-you for bringing this to my attention."
"You are more than welcome Arvin, and forget, my offer still stands." Spender hung up the phone before Sloane could reply.
Sloane stared at the receiver for a moment before dialing a number. It pained him to do what Spender wanted, but the secrecy of SD-6 was more important than any other concern. "Hello Jack, it's Arvin, we have another problem, two FBI agents. What do you think I'm going to do? I'll take care of them. Has there been any progress made on collecting Spender's list? I see, keep me informed." Sloane hung up the phone and turned his attention to another report that lay on his desk.
-Office of Fox Mulder, 9:13 AM-
Vaughn entered Mulder's office without so much as a perfunctory knock. From what he had seen of the man yesterday Vaughn doubted he would be interrupting anything important. Inside he found Mulder talking to a stern-looking black man. Vaughn instantly recognized the man as Dixon, Sydney's partner at SD-6.
"What is he doing here?" Vaughn wondered to himself. He tried to slip out of the room before either Mulder or Dixon saw him.
Unfortunately he was met at the door by Agent Scully. "Oh hello Agent Vaughn, what are you doing here?"
Mulder looked up and saw Vaughn for the first time. "Hey Agent Vaughn pull up a pew. I'd like you to meet Agent Dixon, also of the CIA. I tell you, all this attention from the boys at Langley, you'd think I was a threat to national security or something."
Vaughn nodded to Dixon, "I didn't realize you had company already, I'll come back later," he told Mulder.
"No, that's alright, I have what I came for," Dixon said as he stood up. "It was nice meeting you Agent Vaughn."
"Likewise," Vaughn replied. Part of him wanted to ask where in the CIA Dixon worked, but he knew that was a bad idea, especially in front of the CIA.
Mulder waited for Dixon to leave the office before speaking. "Interesting guy," he commented, "He came in here and basically asked the same questions you did, only he disguised them better."
Vaughn sat down in the chair Dixon recently vacated. He noticed that the seat was still warm. "Really, well the CIA's a big place, it's not uncommon for two sections to be working on the same thing from different angles."
"I just figured one of you wasn't really with the CIA," Mulder said casually.
"Why would somebody pretend to be a CIA agent?" Vaughn asked, trying not to sound defensive. Even though SD-6 was a criminal organization its existence was still classified top secret.
"Oh relax, I don't think you're a fake. Mr. Dixon was a better liar. You asked flat-out about the Cancerman, he beat around the bush. AT the very least he's hiding something." Mulder saw the uncomfortable look on Vaughn's face. "Don't worry, I'm not going to aske you what you know about it. But let me guess, that guy is part of the reason you're here."
Vaughn took his time forming his reply. "I've been investigating an international crime syndicate. Recent intercepts have pointed to a possible connection to this man Spender."
"So you're saying the man who was just in here was a criminal?" Scully asked. "We have to stop him."
"I wouldn't recommend that," Vaughn said. "He's a small fish and wouldn't know anything useful. This is a very sophisticated outfit, very compartmentalized." The last thing Vaughn wanted to see was Dixon arrested. That would lead to uncomfortable questions for everyone.
"Mulder, what do you think?"
Mulder examined his fingernails, "Let the guy walk. He didn't learn anything that vital, and Agent Vaughn's probably right. This guy wouldn't know anything useful, why else would he get sent to the FBI?"
Scully sighed, "Alright, we let the guy walk."
"So what brings you back down to the basement Agent Vaughn?"
"I just wanted to follow up on a few things from yesterday," Vaughn replied.
"Do you think that disc you received is in any way related to any of this?"
Mulder raised an eyebrow, "Now that's an interesting question to ask."
Scully looked at the two men and sighed, "If the two of you are going to keep up this stupid macho posturing I'm going to go get some actual work done." She walked out of the office, letting the door slam shut behind her.
"I think we've just been chastised," Mulder observed. "So tell me Agent Vaughn, why exactly is everyone interested in this Rambaldi character?" he asked. Mulder leaned back in his chair and fixed his gaze on Vaughn.
"I couldn't tell you Agent Mulder," Vaughn replied as truthfully as he could.
"But that doesn't' mean you don't know," Mulder shot back. Mulder stood up and began to pace. "Here's what I think. Milo Rambaldi found something, I'm guessing alien technology. He figured out how it worked and wrote down all his observations. Now everyone is falling over themselves to put Rambaldi's puzzle pieces together, because whatever he found it's an instrument of power."
"That's...that's a pretty entertaining story," Vaughn said to stall for time.
"I already know I'm right, I don't need you to confirm or deny it."
"So what are you going to do if you know so much?"
"What do you think? Rambaldi is proof that aliens have been visiting us for hundreds of years. As soon as I find a working Rambaldi device I'll go public. They won't be able to hid behind their lies after that."
"And then what?"
Mulder shrugged, "We'll see what happens when I get that far."
"Do you think that Spender is involved in any of this?" Mulder casually asked the FBI agent.
"That's the second time you've asked me that, what gives?"
"Like I told you yesterday, this impacts an agent of mine, and I'm very protective of my deep cover agents."
Mulder stared at Vaughn for a moment to guage the other man's reaction, "Alright, I have no idea who planted the disc in Scully's car. But I can tell you this much, whoever did wanted me to know about Rambaldi."
-CIA Detention Center-
Irina Derevko sat patiently in her cell and thought. The CIA did not allow anything in her cell so she had plenty of time to think. The sound of footfalls I the hallway caused her to open her eyes and sit up on her cot.
"Hello Irina," Jack said as he stepped into view.
"Why Jack, what pleasant surprise. To what do I owe the pleasure?"
Jack reached into his pocket and withdrew a small device that he placed on the cell door. "It's a jamming device," he explained.
"And what do you need to hid from your CIA colleagues?" Irina asked.
"Two nights ago CGB Spender set up a meeting with Sloane," he said. Irina stiffened at the name. "He offered Sloane the number two slot in the Consortium."
"Did he accept?"
"What do you think?" Jack rhetorically asked. "However, Spender did offer Sloane something to change his mind."
"The truth about you and Sydney," Irina said.
Jack nodded, "Precisely. Fortunately Sloane sent Sydney after the list."
"I would very much like to wring that black-lunged son of a bitch's neck," Irina observed.
"I'm sure," Jack noted.
"Why are you here Jack?"
"Because I'm sure you recognize how disastrous a merger of the Alliance and the Consortium would be, and I need your help to make that does not happen."
"I trust you have a plan?"
Jack nodded, "Naturally." He passed a two sheets of paper through the food slot in the cell door.
Irina picked up the paper and read it over, "This is good Jack. If you'd pass me something to write with I'll provide you with some names that can be trusted in this matter."
Jack reached into his pocket and withdrew a black crayon. "You didn't think I was going to give you a pen did you?"
Irina briefly chuckled, "No I suppose not." She made some notations on the blank page Jack had provided. "Watch out for yourself Jack, all of these men hate CGB Spender, but they also have no reason to trust a CIA agent."
Jack nodded, "I expected as much."
"You're playing a dangerous game Jack, for Sydney's sake take care you don't end up dead."
"Since when have you cared about Sydney's welfare?"
"Since the day she was born," Irina admitted. "It's just that my duty got in my way."
Jack grunted but did not say anything in reply. "I should go, we don't want anyone to get suspicious." He reached out and turned off the jamming device.
"Good luck Jack," Irina said as Jack walked out of the cell block. She returned to her cot and closed her eyes. She had quite a bit to think about now.
When Jack left the detention center his cell phone began to ring, "Bristow," he said into the phone.
"Hello Jack," Spender said. "I trust your meeting with Derevko went well?"
"It did," Jack tersely replied.
"And do you have the list?"
"Excellent, meet me in the usual spot," Spender ordered before ending the call.
Jack pocketed his phone and continued on his way.
-To Be Continued-