Finally Woken: An Alias/Buffy crossover
by: Sam Lincoln
Summary: What if Sydney Bristow's disappearance was due to a more sinister and supernatural force? (Alias Season 3 AU)
Spoilers: Season 2/3 Alias, Post-BtVS
Disclaimer: All characters from Buffy and Angel are property of Mutant Enemy. All characters from Alias are property of Bad Robot and Touchstone Television. All characters are used without permission and no infringement is intended.
Author's Notes: Just a bit of fun that's been percolating in my brain for a year or so. I'm sorry to have to say this, but for a firm grasp of the backstory here I suggeset you read my earlier stories The Ghosts That Haunt Me and God Shuffled His Feet. They setup the how and why of this tale to a large degree. Though I hope the work will stand on its own.
Finally Woken: Chapter Four
Inside the conference room Sydney saw her father talking to two men standing with their backs to her. They turned when they heard Sydney enter the room and she saw the familiar faces of Dixon and Marshall.
The pair rushed over to Sydney. Marshall reached her first and enveloped her in an enormous bearhug. "Oh Sydney, it's so good to see you again. I knew you weren't dead, I ran the DNA samples so many times and they all said the same thing, that it was you, but I knew it wasn't true."
"Thanks Marshall, I'm glad I'm not dead as well," she said with a smile. "Now would you mind letting go, I'm having a hard time breathing."
Marshall took a quick step back, his face turning red. "Oh, sorry, I just got excited."
Dixon stepped forward and hugged Sydney. He was more restrained than Marshall, but Sydney could feel just as much, if not more, emotion from him. "It's good to have you back Sydney."
"I'm glad to be back," she told her old partner. "It looks like we're back where we started," she said with a small laugh.
Dixon smiled. "Except this time we know we're on the right side."
Jack cleared his throat, "As soon as you're ready we can begin."
Everyone sat down at the conference table. "As you all known Sydney reappeared in Hong Kong several days ago," Jack said to the room. "At the time we have no idea why or how. Vaughn was sent to retrieve Sydney before Sloane. He was unsuccessful. Thanks to Irina Derveko's intervention Sydney was freed, but Vaughn remains in custody." Sydney noticed that Lauren glared at her when Jack mentioned that. "It goes without saying that we are going to get Vaughn back. He knows too much about the Trust's operation status to let him remain in Sloane's possession."
"Sloane must know that," Dixon pointed out.
"I fully expect we will be walking into a trap," Jack agreed.
"Wouldn't be the first time," Sydney muttered.
"Ms. Summers and Ms. Rosenberg have volunteered us their services for this mission and I have agreed. We have worked together in the past and they possess talents that should prove most useful."
"Are you sure that is wise?" Lauren asked.
"Ms. Reed you weren't around at the time, but rest assured, both Buffy and Willow could flay you before you had a chance to react," Sydney said tersely. Buffy smirked at Sydney's comment while Willow stared at her shoes. Lauren and Sydney locked their gaze for a long, and uncomfortable, moment
"So what's the plan?" Weiss asked Jack to break the tension in the room.
"Vaughn is being held in a CIA max security facility outside of San Diego. The plan is to infiltrate the prison, free Vaughn, and get away."
"Sounds simple enough," Buffy quipped.
"Ms. Rosenberg, I would like you to work with Marshall to devise a means of defeating the prison's security system."
Willow nodded, "I'll try."
"Sydney, Lauren, you two will take the lead on entering the prison. Buffy, I want you to watch the perimeter. Dixon and Weiss will monitor the operation and provide the escape vehicle. Marshall will provide OpTech. Your plane will depart for California as soon as Marshall breaks into their security."
"Great," Buffy said. "I hate all that unnecessary waiting around."
"So how exactly are we going to disable this prison's security system?" Willow asked Marshall when they were in Marshall's lab. She was amazed at the quantity of high tech gear strewn about the lab space.
"I don't know exactly, the prison's system is cut off from the outside world so we can't hack in."
"But there must be someway in, they have to talk to the outside world to let them know if anybody tries to break in."
"Sure, but it only talks to the outside world when it detects an intrusion attempt, and since we're trying to intrude it doesn't seem like a good idea to alert them to what we're doing."
"What if we did just that?" Willow asked, an idea began to form in her mind. "There have to be false alarms, right?"
"Sure, happens to every system. It barks a warning to the outside security force and somebody checks it out…" Marshall's voice trailed off as he realized what Willow was getting at. "So when the system is talking to the outside world we inject a timed virus that will take down the system. Brilliant!"
"You could also poke a hole in their firewall and use it to monitor the prison remotely," Willow pointed out.
"Willow, you're a genius! Marry me?" Marshall blurted out.
"Uh, thanks, but I think my girlfriend would complain about that," Willow stuttered.
Marshall's face turned beat red when he realized what he had said. "You're right, my pregnant fiancée would probably object too. Sorry, I got a little excited there."
"You don't say. You know there won't be much time to inject the virus after the alarm gets tripped, and we'd have to have a tap on the prison's outside line,"
"It's hard, but not impossible," Marshall said, brushing aside Willow's doubts. "I've got most of a working virus ready, but it will take some tweaking. You any good with firewall code?"
"I've been hacking since I was in high school. I have yet to meet a firewall yet that I can't penetrate," Willow boasted.
"Please don't be offended, but that's the single hottest thing I've ever heard," Marshall said in awe.
"And that is one of the creepiest things I've ever heard, no offense."
Marshall shook his head to clear his thoughts. "Right, let's just…work on that virus, ok?"
"Right, and remember, me lesbian."
"That doesn't actually help," Marshall admitted.
"I can kill you with my mind."
Faith walked down the prison hallway. The cell bock was deserted with the exception of a single cell at the end of the hall. Faith came to a stop in front of the cell and rapped on the clear polycarbonate door. "Wakey wakey," she called out.
Vaughn lifted his head off the bunk, "Who are you?"
"My name's Faith and I'll be you jailor tonight."
"I'm not going to tell you anything about the Trust," Vaughn said.
Faith laughed. "Honey, I'm not here to interrogate you. See I'm not interested in your stupid little club. You're just bait. It's your gal pal Sydney I want."
Vaughn bit his tongue, he knew Jack would probably send a rescue team, and he also knew that Sydney would undoubtedly be a part of the team. "So if you aren't going to torture me why are you here?"
Faith slid a keycard through a card reader and the cell door swung open. "I didn't say anything about not torturing you, I'm just not going to ask you any questions."
"It wouldn't make any difference if I told you that Sloane was lying to you?" Vaughn asked.
"Considering that you're the traitor, no, not really," Faith replied as the cell door swung shut.
"What's going on?" Buffy asked as she followed Jack and Sydney into Marshall's lab.
"Marshall says that he and Ms. Rosenberg have figured out a way to subvert the prison's security system," Jack explained.
"Hey, go us," Buffy said.
"Buffy, check this place out," Willow said excitedly. "If Andrew saw some of this stuff he'd…well I'd rather not think about what he'd do actually."
"Andrew?" Sydney asked.
"Friend of ours," Buffy explained.
"Marshall," Jack called out. "Are we ready?"
Marshall looked up from the computer screen he was staring at. "What, oh, Mr. Bristow. Yes, were just about ready."
"Mind filling us in on what you're up to?" Buffy asked Marshall.
"Well, as you know the security system for this prison is incredibly secure. Under normal circumstances it's totally cut off from the outside world so, no hacking. But Willow reminded me that the system has to talk to somebody whenever the alarm's triggered, otherwise, what's the point of an alarm, right?"
"So we trigger a false alarm and you make with the computer voodoo?" Buffy asked.
"That's what we thought originally," Willow replied.
"If the prison even gets a false alarm their security will be stepped up for twenty-four hours," Jack said. "The prison's administrator considers it a good training opportunity."
"Yes, exactly," Marshall said. "Fortunately for us there's another way." He reached down onto his desk and pulled out a stack of printouts. "We were analyzing router traffic coming out of the prison, phone conversations, Internet traffic, stuff like that, when we found this." He pointed at a line on the page expecting the others to follow where he was going. "It's the security system. Once a day it barks a system status to the listening post. All we have to do is inject our virus when it's doing its daily update."
Sydney looked at the printout. "I don't know Marshall, that seems like an awfully small window."
"It's tricky, but we can do it," Willow said confidently.
An egg timer next to Marshall started to ring, causing him to jump. "It's time," he announced as he rushed over to a computer terminal. "Ready Willow?" He asked.
Willow flipped open her laptop. "Ready."
"Ok, the window opens in five, four, three, two, one." Marshall and Willow simultaneously started to type furiously. "We're in," Marshall announced.
"So they did it?" Buffy asked.
"That was the easy part Buffy," Willow replied, not looking up from her screen. "Now we have to inject our virus into the security system's code."
"Is there anything I can do to help?"
"Not talking would be nice," Willow admitted. "This is kind of tricky."
"Got it!" Marshall exclaimed. "We have control of their security systems."
"Is there a chance they'll notice?" Jack asked.
"It would take a month of debugging to find our backdoor," Marshall said confidently. "The only catch is that we can only observe. The moment we try to make it do anything it'll set off traps from here to DC."
"Still nice to know we have a plan B," Sydney said. "Good work Marshall, Willow."
"Thanks," Marshall replied, beaming from ear to ear.
Jack turned and face Buffy and Sydney. "The operation is a go. Plan to leave within the hour."
Sydney sat onboard the Trust plane flying to California staring out the window. She glanced over and saw Lauren sitting down next to her. "Hello, we haven't gotten a chance to talk since you arrived and now seemed to be as good a time as any."
"What do you want to talk about?" Sydney asked.
"Michael, obviously," Lauren replied. "I know this must seem very sudden to you, but believe me when I tell you that it was very hard on Michael. It took him a long time to come to grips with your presumed death and he only recently started to move on with his life."
"Why are you telling me this?"
"Because I'm sure you still love him, and I'm fairly certain Michael still loves you as well."
"But he's married to you so keep my hands off?"
Lauren smiled briefly. "I wouldn't put it so bluntly as that."
"It's not my intention to be a homewrecker," Sydney said. "But at the moment I still haven't gotten my bearings straight on anything so I can't even begin to think about Vaughn as anything other than our mission objective."
Lauren nodded. "Yes, of course, retrieving Michael is our first priority, we can deal with the rest after we rescue him." She paused for a moment. "Just know this, I love him as much as you do, and I do not intend to give him up."
"I'll keep that in mind," Sydney replied.
"I'm sure you will. I'm sorry, I'm coming off as overly territorial aren't I?" Lauren said.
Sydney smiled nervously, "A little bit yeah."
"I'm sorry, that's not my intention. I would rather like for us to be friends, or at least friendly. It does no one any good if we cannot get along."
"No, that's alright, I understand where you're coming from."
"For what it's worth I'm glad you are not dead." Lauren stood up and walked back to her seat.
Buffy slid into the seat Lauren vacated. "How are you holding up?"
Sydney looked over at Buffy. "I'll survive, but this all is rather...overwhelming."
"I know what you mean, when I came back from the dead -- the second time that is -- it felt like the whole world had passed me by, and I was only gone for a few months. For you it must be like waking up on a different planet."
"It's had its challenges," Sydney said with a glance over in Lauren's direction.
"Just so you know Willow and I talked it over, and we're both willing to hate her for you."
"You can't hate her, that would make things too awkward with Vaughn, and make you look incredibly catty. Willow and I on the other hand are free to do all the hating you can't."
"That's a sweet offer, strange, but sweet. No, we don't have time to be petty. Maybe later, if, when, we get Vaughn back, but not right now."
"You can't hold it all in like this you know," Buffy said. "You have to let things out sooner or later."
"And what good would that do?" Sydney snapped. "Right now the best thing I can do is focus on something I can control, like this mission. If I don't do that I'm liable to wind up huddled under a chair crying, and that won't help Vaughn very much."
Buffy reached out and touched Sydney's shoulder. "Just promise me that after this you take a step back. Believe me when I say you can't put off dealing with things like this."
Sydney smiled faintly. "I'll try, and Buffy, thanks."
"We're a small sorority so we have to look out for each other."
"That too, but I was thinking formerly dead girls."
"Was that really where I was, dead?"
Buffy shrugged, "Dead, alternate dimension, in the end does it really make a difference?"
"It does to me," Sydney insisted. "I have to know."
"Then we'll figure it out, no big. Rescue Vaughn, stop Sloane and the First, and figure out what happened to you. So what do you want to do next week?"
A smile sketched itself across Sydney's face. "When you put it like that how hard can it be?"
Sark knocked on the door to Jack's office. "Yes?" Jack asked, looking up from his paperwork.
"I just wanted to inform you that the plane has arrived in California. The extraction team should be onsite within the hour."
Jack nodded. "Thank-you, I'll be down to the operations center shortly."
"Jack, I don't mean to be a naysayer, but are you sure it's wise to involve Summers and Rosenberg in this operation? I know you have a history with them, but it seems like you're adding an unnecessary layer of risk."
"I trust the Slayer and her friend as much as I trust Sydney," Jack replied. "They certainly have no love for Sloane, and even less for the First. We're lucky to have them."
"Yes, about that, again, I didn't want to say it, but someone should. How do we know we can trust Sydney? She vanishes suddenly, only to reappear as if out of thin air two years later. Don't you think it's a little risky sending her out on such an important assignment before we verified that it actually is her?"
Jack glared at Sark. "I know my daughter, and that is Sydney."
"Jack, your impartiality in this matter is, how shall I put it, compromised?"
"Mr. Sark, do you really think I am that incompetent?" He tossed a sheet of paper on the desk in front of Sark. "My asset within the CIA provided me with a copy of the blood work the Agency ran on Sydney while she was their captive. It proves conclusively that she is Sydney Bristow, and not an imposter."
Sark picked up the lap report and glanced it over. "One of these days Jack you will have to share with me who your source is. He always provides such excellent intelligence."
"No, I don't. Now if there is anything else I'll be in the command center." Jack stood up and brushed past Sark on his way out of the office.
-to be continued-
author's notes: Chapter Four in the bag. Chapter Five is almost halfway done, and Chapter Six is the end. And maybe then I can finish off Friday Afternoon in the Universe. Thanks for reading and reviewing.