Summary: Mr. Sark’s past collides with his present position in SD-6.
Timeline: Mid-season 2.
Disclaimer: Alias belongs to JJ Abrams, Bad Robot, Touchstone Television and related entities. Made-ups are mine and mine alone.
Three pictures appeared on the screen in front of Sydney Bristow in the SD-6 briefing room. The first and last were two men about Sark’s age, another was of a woman a little older than her. They were clearly black and white surveillance photos.
“This is David Warner Griffith, Randolph Wilder, and Ericha von Stroheim,” Sloane began.
Sark glanced at her and held his gaze on her a little longer than she felt comfortable with. She tore her eyes away to pay attention. “They are former associates of your mother’s, Sydney, and they seem to have pulled rank and are beginning to assume some control of your mother’s former organization. Mr. Sark?”
Sark cleared his throat and began to speak. “David’s strengths are in science and astronomy and the manipulation of such. Wilder is a brilliant IT technician. He used to run tech for the missions that David and I used to go on together. Ericha is David’s lover and has extensive experience in covert ops,” he explained thoroughly.
“What’s the mission?” Sydney asked.
“Before Griffith moved up the ranks in Derevko’s organization, he headed up her ‘welcoming committee’. He and his crew glad-handled potential associates of your mother’s, helped execute blackmail operations, and other second-tier procedures. He’s throwing a party for past associates of his, where we received intel that he may assassinate Robert Monroe Sr. at the party, the head of the underground opium trade in Baja California. We want Monroe for ourselves.”
A surveillance photo of Monroe appeared on their screens after Sloane pressed a button.
“Griffith owns an estate in Baja. You will go there and prevent Griffith and his team from succeeding in assassinating Monroe and kidnap instead, where he will be questioned here at SD-6. Mr. Sark and Agent Dixon will accompany you. Sark, you will run technical ops. Griffith and his crew will recognize you a mile away. Sydney, you and Dixon will attend the party as Billy and Audrey Beckham, the new owners of a large art gallery in London.”
Once again, Sydney and Sark shared a glance, more uncomfortable for Sydney than for Sark.
“Testing,” Sydney said into her in-ear monitor, adjusting her thigh boots in the process.
Sark was a safe distance away, on a hill overlooking the expansive Griffith estate. Couples and men by themselves were being checked at the door for their invitations.
“That’s a go,” he said, peering at the mansion with a pair of binoculars. The white stretch limo she was riding in with Dixon was pulling into the large driveway behind a navy blue stretch Hummer.
“Agent Bristow,” Sark began over her in-ear monitor, as she and Dixon walked up the granite stairs to enter the party, “be careful. Griffith is a dangerous fellow. Wouldn’t want you to go and get yourself hurt.”
Sydney threw a murderous glance over her shoulder where she knew Sark was hiding. Sark hummed to himself as he punched a few buttons on his laptop computer to access the estate’s security cameras, which he put on a loop with a few keystrokes.
“Ready?” Dixon said, smartly ignoring the transmission between them.
“Always,” she replied with a grin, accepting his outstretched arm.
Two bulky bodyguards in Armani suits stopped them at the door. “Invitation please,” one asked.
“I don’t have the invitation,” Dixon began in his Jamaican accent, patting his tuxedo jacket.
“I do, don’t worry honey,” Syd replied in her British accent. She pulled the invitation from beneath her shawl, pushing a stray auburn colored strand of hair aside. The one who hadn’t spoken took the cream white invitation to a nearby computer station and scanned the image of a fish of some sort that was on the envelope through a scanner. The computer screen revealed the dossiers and pictures of Billy and Audrey Beckham, which were conveniently changed to Dixon and Sydney’s photos by the dependable Marshall only the day before. Both waved them through and handed the invitation back to Sydney.
“Enjoy the party,” they added.
A barrage of classic Oriental decor and architecture invaded their eyes as they entered the large open house.
After mingling in the crowd and picking up glasses of champagne for themselves, Sydney and Dixon went to one particular Asian print and began talking about it with some partygoers around them. “Talk about that painting,” Sark had advised them. “Griffith bought that especially for the party. He’ll show up soon.”
The lean, olive skinned David Warner Griffith appeared soon after, with the beautiful blonde Ericha von Stroheim on his arm.
“That’s a Kurosawa, one of 500 created of that particular print,” Griffith offered.
“Kurosawa was a brilliant man,” Dixon added.
“His use of colors during his blue period was unparalleled,” Syd added, gazing at the ornate painting again.
“I don’t believe we’ve met,” Griffith went on, peering at them with some interest.
“That’s because we haven’t,” Dixon joked lightly. Stroheim and Griffith chuckled politely.
“My name is William Beckham and this is my wife Audrey,” Dixon continued, shaking hands with them.
“Beckham?” Stroheim asked. “You bought that art gallery on the West End not too long ago, didn’t you?” Griffith questioned.
Syd and Dixon shared a glance, in character.
“Yes, we did,” Syd said graciously.
“I always meant to visit your gallery, but never seemed to have the time. The only time I’ve been to London was on business. I’ve been there so many times and yet I still haven’t seen the city,” Griffith said, shaking his head in amazement.
“You should stop by sometime. We’d love to have you,” Syd said.
“We’ll do that. If you’ll excuse us. We have some more socializing to do,” Griffith said, staring at Sydney slightly before moving on. She took note of it, but thought nothing more of it.
The party dragged on. They were waiting for Monroe to over-capitalize on his weakness of fine wine before they whisked him away. “What a beautiful night. Stars as far as the eye can see. We should go stargazing Agent Bristow,” Sark said in a light tone.
“Can I go radio silent?” Sydney begged Dixon.
He shook his head with a smile. “Eyes on the prize, Sark,” Dixon warned him in a professional tone.
“Of course,” Sark replied.
Finally, after what seemed like forever, the fully inebriated Monroe stumbled to the bathroom.
“Richard, I say again Richard,” Dixon said into his in-ear monitor.
Sark pulled up the power grid for the estate, preparing to cut power so they could extract him clandestinely. The sounds coming from the bathroom didn’t sound right, but neither agent could quite place it. Dixon and Sydney waited right outside the door to the bathroom. When he emerged, they subdued him with a tranquilizer dart, just as the lights went out.
From behind them, Sydney heard the crowd of partygoers groan and whispered threats erupted from deep inside the bowels of the mansion, upset that their highly illuminated party was disturbed by a sudden blackout. Sydney and Dixon rushed to a nearby side door, where Sark roared up in a SUV and helped place Monroe in the back. Sydney pressed a button on Sark’s laptop as they pulled away from the estate, activating the lights again.
In a smooth, leather furnished office high on the third floor above the party, Griffith smiled slyly from behind his desk. Stroheim was sitting in a chaise lounge chair, drinking champagne, and Wilder was monitoring their getaway on a bank of security cameras nearby. “I knew he’d come back.”
At SD-6 HQ, Sydney and Dixon were informed that Monroe was not taken to the conversation room but instead brought straight to their infirmary, suffering from a an unusual case of poisoning.
“What type?” Dixon asked darkly.
“We’re not, uh, quite sure. Preliminary testing seems to show that it’s, um, organic, but definitely not a designer type, you know. But we, uh, do know is that it occurred at the party and not in transit,” Marshall explained.
“Is there a cure for it?” Sydney asked.
“That’s a, uh, good question Agent Bristow, because we’re not quite sure about that either,” Marshall replied.
Downstairs in the infirmary, Sark was grilling Monroe mercilessly. Sloane was monitoring the interrogation in a nearby room. “I’m going to ask you again,” Sark said in a clipped tone, “tell me about your next shipment.”
Monroe muttered babblings under his breath. His pale skin flushed, his heart beating irregularly, Monroe was one of the worst cases of poisonings that the SD-6 doctors had ever seen. They forced him to drink a special formula that would help slow down the spreading of the poison, but the organic poisoning seemed resilient to it.
“I can make your death a simple one. I can inject your IV full of cyanide if you don’t tell me about your next shipment. It will obviously put you out of your current state of misery. Or I could call for morphine when you tell me all about it. I can wave my hand,” he explained, staring at his hand for effect, “and all those nice doctors and nurses will rush in here and make your impending death a lot more comfortable. If you cooperate, it could be the start of a beautiful alliance.”
Once again, Monroe babbled incoherently.
Sark sighed and stared coldly at the writhing captive, who was buckled to the bed. “You’ve had time to sleep off your hangover, Mr. Monroe.”
Sark leaned in close and whispered softly into the dying man’s ear. “It’s not a hard decision, now is it? Life… or death. You can choose either. There is no middle ground though. But I can’t let you go unless you explain to me or give me a clue as to the details of your last deal.”
Monroe shook his head painfully, his eyes full of tears, sweat dripping down his pudgy forehead.
A man appeared at Sloane’s elbow suddenly. “Mr. Sloane, Mr. Sark has a call.”
Sloane shook his head, not taking his eyes off the questioning. “Take a message,” he barked, his eyes on the scene before him.
The lower-level agent paused. “It’s from a man named Griffith.”
Sloane shot a look at the agent. Pressing a button, he spoke into a microphone close at hand. “That’ll be enough. I need to speak with you.” Sark shook his head sadly at the suffering man.
“Bonne chance to you, Mr. Monroe,” he said in a reserved, empty tone. The doctors rushed in to monitor Monroe more as Sark took his leave.
“What is it, Arvin?” he asked.
“Griffith is on the phone,” he began. Sark raised an eyebrow, but kept his cool.
Taking the call in Sloane’s office, Sark turned his back on the glass door.
“What do you want Griffith?” Sark asked coldly.
“What? No hello for an old comrade?” Griffith replied with a chuckle. “You have something that belongs to me,” he continued.
“What are you talking about?” Sark asked angrily.
“Keep your cool, my friend,” the man replied. He paused, drawing out the tension before beginning again. “Robert… Monroe… Senior.”
Sark smirked. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
Griffith sighed. “I saw you at my get-together the other night. You tried hacking into my security camera system. Did you forget that Wilder still works for me? He created that system. There’s no one in the world that can override it, no matter what they do,” Griffith said in a condescending tone.
“Wha-?” Sark blurted out, without thinking.
“Oh, what were the images that you saw on your notebook? Wilder fed those to you,” Griffith said coolly.
“What do you want?” Sark said conceding immediately.
“My lovely Ericha, you remember her, don’t you? She poisoned Monroe’s last glass of wine. It worked like a charm. But lucky for us all, I have the antidote,” Griffith sustained calmly, “give me Monroe and I can cure him. Then we’ll talk.”
Sark’s mind was whirling. But he knew what he had to do. “One condition: an associate of mine and I are there to oversee you administering the antidote.”
Griffith chuckled his recognizable chuckle again, which Sark hated to no end. “You are in no position to bargain. But I’m going to agree with you this one time. Ericha and I will meet you at the Rhona in Las Vegas tonight. Nice doing business with you again, Sark.” Griffith hung up the phone abruptly.
Sark slammed down the phone angrily and buried his face in his hands.
Sloane and Sydney appeared soon after. “We weren’t able to get the trace,” Sloane said.
“I’m not surprised. Wilder was probably working the phone lines,” Sark said bitterly.
Sydney watched with some interest as Sark was slowly losing his cool. Could it be that he was actually shaken by this man?
“Sydney, you’ll accompany Sark to Las Vegas,” Sloane ordered her.
Snapping back to reality, Sark smiled a little half-smile at Sydney, who shivered at the thought.