AN: I recently rediscovered the original mission impossible series on Netflix and after watching through the first two seasons and up to the episode "The Exchange" I had an idea for an epilogue so thought I would share. For anyone not familiar with the episode title, it was the one where Cinnamon was captured while on a mission and tortured. You can look up the episode summary online if needed. I obviously took some liberties with some of the facts due to the mystery of the IMF outside of the actual missions, but hope they don't seem too far outside the realms of possibility.
Chapter 1 (Begins at end of final episode scene.)
Cinnamon could hardly believe her ordeal was over as the team crowded around her after Colonel Josef Strom had driven away believing that he had successfully executed her by shooting her and Jim in the back. She numbly climbed into the car with the team to drive away from gated meeting spot and out of the country as fast as they could.
As the car picked up speed putting the countryside behind them, everyone was silent in the car, digesting everything that had just happened and finally being able to relax now that the mission was completed and Cinnamon's rescue had been successful. It was only when Cinnamon began to squirm in her position, wedged tightly between Rollin and Barney in the small backseat that they became aware of her discomfort.
"What's wrong Cinnamon?" Jim's voice and eyes showed he was still on the alert as he surveyed the female agent from his position in the front seat where Willy was driving.
Cinnamon hated herself for sounding weak as she answered. "They used my claustrophobia against me," she almost whispered, she didn't have to say any more as the agents immediately understood and Rollin and Barney instinctively tried to press towards the side doors to try to give her more room. "No it's not you, it's just this space in general." Cinnamon tried to explain, not wanting her friends to feel as if they were hurting her after they had just saved her life.
"We'll be out of the car and on a plane back home shortly" Jim assured her with a tight smile as the car sped along.
It was only a matter of a few more minutes, but it still felt like hours to Cinnamon before they had reached the airport where a chartered jet waited for them as opposed to public transportation. Jim had felt the extra effort was worth it considering the stress of the mission and also wanting the opportunity to debrief with Cinnamon without worry as to who was listening in. "You know we need to do a debriefing about what happened." Jim informed the tired agent as the plane leveled off after its ascent into the sky, silently indicating to the other agents that they should disperse. It was a normal response that everyone wanted to stay close to her after almost losing her, but Jim didn't want her to feel like she had to pretend to be alright as she detailed whatever Colonel Strom and his chief interrogator Dr. Gorin had done to her while in captivity. As of this time no one knew the extent of her torture except for what she had said about the claustrophobia, and while no one had mentioned it as of yet, there was always the fear of rape that so many female prisoners were known to suffer from, but no one was going to ask her about it, leaving it up to her to choose what she felt comfortable divulging.
"They can stay," Cinnamon quickly assured Jim as she saw him signal to the other agents that they should give them privacy. Cinnamon respected that but she felt comfortable enough to say to them all what she would say to Jim, and she did not want to alienate the team after they had worked so hard to secure her freedom and save her life.
"If that's what you want, but I do need to record this as part of the official report." Jim warned as he pulled out a small device, his eyes silently asking her permission before he hit play, when there was no sign of objection he hit the record button and recorded the date and interview purpose then indicated that Cinnamon should start her story from the point of capture.
Cinnamon cleared her throat and tried to sound as professional as possible as she began detailing what had transpired since the alarms went off. "After the guards caught me, they took me to General Strom, he in turn brought in an interrogator by the name of Dr. Gorin. They had me in a chair and Dr. Gorin began to interrogate me, made all the usual threats about death, disfigurement, but I was fine at that point. They kept questioning me, I don't know how they figured out that I was claustrophobic, but they found out. After that they injected me with something and next thing I knew I was in a small cell. I panicked and tried to escape, unscrewing a panel in my cell but I ended up crawling into an even smaller ventilation shaft." Cinnamon maintained her sense of calm control as she related her story to the men as she tried to recall the facts.
"I think I passed out after that, I only dimly remember voices talking about more drugs and some shadows passing by. Later I was back in the cell and all I remember is being very confused, I thought I heard your voice Jim, but I know they were playing games with me. I almost broke," she admitted with her eyes suddenly downcast. "Things were so hazy, I was in and out of consciousness, I felt like I was losing my mind." Cinnamon got a new surge of strength as she looked at the solemn faces around her, sensing the empathy and support from her fellow agents as the continued her tale, while Jim nodded encouraging her to continue. "As soon as I was escorted out of the cell and outside to the car, I was better, the fresh air helped immensely. Then the exchange happened and here I am." She finished quickly obviously rushing as she reached the end point. At the silence Cinnamon looked around again noticing the concerned eyes of her closest friends at how quickly she had ended her tale, seeing in their faces the unspoken questions. "Really, that was all that happened, being drugged and stuck in tight spaces, but I'm fine now" she tried to reassure them, putting on her best smile and seeing some of the tension leave their faces. "So are you going to tell me how you pulled off the mission?" She finally asked, in a successful attempt to switch the topic from her back to how the team had rescued her. Jim watched her for a moment, apparently deciding that she had given him a sufficient report as he turned off the tape recorder and let the team begin filling her in on how they had arranged the exchange of Rudolf Kurtz for her.
As Jim and the other team members took turns sharing their plans and how the plot had unfolded, Cinnamon listened intently and made appropriate nods of approval as the team detailed their race against time to rescue her. She suspected they were giving it a lighter approach than what they had been through, just as she had done, but she respected their attempts to focus on the mechanics of the mission vs. the emotional toll they had been through. She could see it in their eyes, along with the weary looks on their faces that they had all struggled with the emotions of guilt that she had been captured, fear of what might happen if they failed and likely a myriad of other related emotions that they had been forced to push aside to focus on her rescue. Cinnamon had learned by now that even the most professional and trained agent in this field couldn't completely shut off their emotions because if they did they would risk losing the human element they needed to succeed in what they did.
Tears almost came to Cinnamon's eyes as the sights of the New York City skyline came into view as the jet began to make its descent. The IM force all became quiet as they looked out the windows at the view, enjoying the feeling of finally being back in their home country. It was rare for them to all come back home together as they usually dispersed at different locations closer to their hometowns, but the desire for solidarity was more intense this time as everyone processed the near tragedy that would have occurred if they had not been able to rescue Cinnamon in time. They were used to being in danger, but it was different that an agent had actually been captured and tortured without it being staged or part of a scheme to infiltrate a prison. It brought home the reminder that only one thing had to go wrong and their freedom, or even their life could come to an end and also the sobering awareness that if she had broke and talked about the IMF hers would not have been the only life at stake.
"I think I'd like to go out for a drink." Barney suggested as they all stood awkwardly at the plane terminal obviously not wanting to say goodbye.
"That sounds like a good idea, I'll come too" Willy quickly added, looking at the rest of the team to see their feelings.
"Good idea," Jim agreed, realizing that though he had debriefed Cinnamon there was some unfinished business in regards to helping the men share, even though it would be done in a much more masculine fashion over drinks and cigarettes with much less sharing of real emotions Jim thought with a slight smile at the difference between the two genders. "Rollin, Cinnamon…" His voice was a question as the other two agents stood silently by.
"Sure Jim, sounds good" Rollin said easily after a slight pause, barely glancing at Cinnamon as she shook her head negatively in response to Jim's question, obviously not planning to join the men.
"I appreciate the offer, another time perhaps, but right now I want nothing more than to go back to my apartment, have a nice long bath and change these clothes." Cinnamon said truthfully. "I'm fine, really." She reassured them again as she began towards a cab stand to hail a ride to her apartment, the men didn't argue, knowing that some time alone to regroup was probably what she needed most right now. With one last glance of her climbing into the taxi they proceeded to the nearest bar they were comfortable with to continue to unwind with the help of a little alcohol and a relaxed atmosphere.
A short time later
Cinnamon exhaled audibly as she closed and locked the door of the lavish apartment behind her, happy to see that everything was as it had been upon her departure and finally feeling a small sense of normalcy beginning to return. After a quick walkthrough to ensure the apartments security she deeply sighed and began to shed her clothes as she turned on the bathwater and watched the large tub begin to fill before adding some of the lavender bubble bath to make it even more relaxing. Finally she let out a sigh of relief as she slid into the steaming tub of scented water, sinking down and breathing deeply as she finally began to allow the stress to start leaving her body. Her concept of time began to drift as she continued to lay there, eyes closed, enjoying the quiet and familiar surroundings. Cinnamon added more hot water almost absentmindedly on two more occasions, not wanting to leave the warmth surrounding her and cleansing her body of the dirt and imagined residue on her body from her ordeal, also helping relax the tense and bruised muscles that had come as a result of the bullets hitting her back and soreness around the recent injection sites. Cinnamon could see her toes starting to prune but did not let it concern her as she continued to stay immersed in the soothing mixture. She only distantly registered the sound of the latch on the front door, not even bothering to open her eyes as she listened to the sounds of familiar footsteps nearing her sanctuary.