Summary: Yet another Sark offspring enters the picture to save Sydney’s life.
Timeline: The time between episodes 6 and 7.
Disclaimer: Alias belongs to JJ Abrams, Bad Robot, Touchstone Television, and related entities. Harry Potter and associated characters belong to JK Rowling and associated entities. Buffy and Angel belong to Joss Whedon and Co. Made-ups are mine and mine alone.
Somewhere in the south of Spain, a young woman was practicing tai-chi when the doorbell to her beachfront villa rang. Expecting it to be her weekly courier, her face fell when she threw open the door.
“Julian,” the woman began in a soft British accent icily. “How nice to see you again.”
Mr. Sark stared at his baby sister with a brotherly malevolence. “Germaine. Are you going to invite me in?”
“Of course not,” she replied curtly, her arm firmly on the doorknob, ready to slam it shut again. “I haven’t seen you in over ten years and you expect me to welcome you into my home with open arms? If I may be so forward, what the hell are you doing here?”
“I came to talk business,” Sark began. He looked around. “I’d feel much better if we continued this conversation inside, Germaine.”
Germaine paused. Her elder brother had heard of her talents; he wouldn’t have come otherwise. That’s just the way their family operated. “Come in then. I’ve got tea.”
“You can’t stay, Sydney?” Hermione asked her politely. Sydney had scraped her chair and stood up from their table in the Three Broomsticks and began to put her coat on.
“We were just about to order some firewhisky,” Buffy said with a glint in her eye. “Well, for Angel and me anyways. The whippersnappers have got to get back to school, otherwise, Professor McGonagall will have our heads!”
“I’ve got stuff to do,” Sydney replied in a half-apologetic and half-offhand voice.
“‘Stuff’ meaning something for the CIA, right?” Harry asked knowingly. Sydney shot him a look. The Hogsmeade wizarding community even knew what the CIA was or did, but to err on the safe side… “Sorry,” he replied quickly.
“It’s okay. I’ll see you guys soon,” she said, exiting before she spilled anything. She arrived at the London branch of the CIA on time.
“Agent Bristow,” her UK superior Walter Hassan said curtly as she entered the tactical meeting room. Sydney had quickly gotten used to his cold demeanor and learned not to take it personally. The only other people in the room were Marshall’s female UK counterpart Kelly Cattrall, a leggy brunette in cat-eyed shaped glasses. A big, hulking brute named Agent Foster James looked like he could feel an entire football team just by looking at them. “This mission comes straight from the LA office. We have Director Dixon on satellite right now,” he said, pressing a button.
“Hello?” Dixon began warily. “Nice to see you again, Sydney.” Sydney smiled broadly in reply. “Thanks to your efforts over there, we have been able to extract the precise location of the latest Rambaldi artifact. Marshall has more information for you.”
Marshall crashed into the frame soon after Dixon exited it. “Hi Sydney!” he said warmly. “Hi over there!” he said waving to the others in the room. They all looked a bit perturbed by the effusiveness of Marshall. “So… uh, yeah. Um, we were able to determine that it’s a necklace and that uh, it can bring about temporal paradox,” Marshall explained, pressing a button on a remote on his end. The screen filled with pages from Rambaldi’s notebook of a necklace. “He called it ‘La Girata di Tempo’. Essentially ‘Time Turner’ in English.”
“Temporal paradox?” Kelly asked incredulously.
“You mean time travel?” Hassan said.
“Marshall, that’s scientifically impossible,” Sydney added. Rambaldi was a man beyond his years, but even he couldn’t be smart enough to attempt that.
“Well, uh, not according to Rambaldi. He thought it was possible. And he even um, created a prototype of it,” Marshall said.
Dixon appeared. “We have no intel to indicate that the prototype even works, but we have to keep it out of the Covenant’s hands. We’ve forwarded a copy of our intel to your office and you are being tasked to retrieve it. Good luck.”
Germaine was standing alone on a bridge overlooking the Seine. She instinctively checked her Movado and grinned when her contact arrived. “You’re late,” she said with a grin.
Jack Bristow smiled a half-smile, invoking their private joke. “What are they planning?” he said, his elbows resting on the bridge’s framework.
“Julian has asked me to assemble a team to retrieve the necklace. He’s given me the layout of the jewelry exchange and paid 50% of the contract in good faith. But, unfortunately, the money’s in the dustbin across the street,” Germaine replied.
“Good,” Jack said in a short, business-like tone.
They stood in comfortable silence for a few moments longer before Jack made the first move to leave.
“Wait,” Germaine said, breaking protocol. She kissed her right index and middle fingers and brought them to Jack’s lips before pressing them against his cheek. Her own cheeks glowed scarlet as she secured her trench coat around her and walked away to blend with the French crowds.
Sydney rented a room in a local London hotel for the night; Hassan decided to send her to Italy to retrieve the necklace the following day. But, instead, she found herself staring at her CIA-issue cell phone and dialing her father’s number.
“Sydney?” Jack’s familiar voice flowed through the phone lines.
“Dad, I, uh… hi,” Sydney stumbled slightly.
“Is everything okay, honey?” he asked, genuinely concerned.
“No, I just… I guess I’m a little homesick,” she admitted.
“England is only temporary,” Jack reminded her. “You’ll be back in LA in no time.”
“You’re right. I don’t know why I’m bothering you so late at night,” Sydney explained.
“Don’t worry about it. Dixon told me about your latest,” he continued. “Good luck.”
Serenity flushed through Sydney. She never tired of hearing it, especially from someone like Jack. “Thanks, Dad.”
“I better let you go,” said Jack.
“Yeah, I’ve got an early day tomorrow,” Sydney said agreeably.
“Watch out for fireflies, okay?” he said.
Sydney was taken aback. “Okay. Goodnight.”
“Mountaineer approaching,” Sydney reported from her seat in the rented BMW that went with her cover of a jeweler who was readily interested in using this particular jewelry exchange to deposit some carats.
“Copy that Mountaineer,” Agent James replied from the locksmith’s van he was sitting in, monitoring her progress from a inconspicuous spot across the street.
“Hello,” Sydney said crisply in her British accent. “I’m Penelope Clearwater. I have an appointment with the curator,” she explained to the rent-a-cop at the front desk.
“Of course!” the rent-a-cop gushed after checking the docket. “Mr. Orzabal will be here shortly.”
A chubby man in a tight suit appeared soon. “Miss Clearwater!” he exclaimed out, rushing forward to shake Sydney’s hand. “I’m Nikolai Orzabal.”
“Nice to meet you,” she said, irritably wiping the sweat from Orzabal’s palm onto her Dolce skirt in order to stay in character.
“Please follow me. We have much to talk about!” Orzabal chirped, unaware of Sydney’s clandestine hand cleaning.
For the next thirty minutes or so, Orzabal explained the security measures the jewelry exchange practiced and their almost fifty-year history of never being robbed successfully for the next thirty minutes or so. Sydney listened with half an ear, as Agent James hacked into the exchange’s security cameras to loop the feed of Sydney and Orzabal in his office.
“Go time, Mountaineer,” James said in her com when he had finished.
“I’d like to see the safes, if you please,” Sydney said, cutting Orzabal in mid-sentence.
“Of course!” he said cheerily, standing up to lead her back into the hall and towards their safes. “We completed the upgrade of our manual safes to digital combinations almost two years ago. Our safety procedures eliminated the need to step into the secure area physically. It’s simply another degree of security that our exchange provides.”
“Can I see how it works?” Sydney asked.
“Yes, I suppose I could show you,” Orzabal said, stumbling slightly towards the computer. He pressed a few buttons on the keyboard, accessing a passcode screen. “You choose four digits, which you must never reveal, and they become your password. You enter it into this computer any time you wish to deposit or remove items and the arm retrieves your box and puts it on this conveyor belt… as I will show you momentarily. The window is unbreakable, so that is another facet of our security measures.”
Sydney watched with muted interest through a window as a mechanical arm whirred to life and extracted a plain black box. The robotic arm placed it carefully on the conveyor belt and it brought it to the area where the computer was.
“Go,” James said. He looped the feed to those security cameras too.
“Excellent,” Sydney said, peeking at her watch. “Oh, dear. Do you have the time?”
“Yes, it’s 10:35 AM,” Orzabal said, leaning in to watch Sydney as she fixed her watch. She pressed a hidden button and sprayed a sleeping gas into his eyes and mouth. She caught him before she fell and carefully placed him on the floor; the spray to reawaken him was tucked safely into her pocket.
“The password is BTM3,” James said in her com. “That should activated box 47.”
Sydney did as she was told and the mechanical arm whirred to life again, carefully removing box 47 and placing it on the conveyor belt. The belt slowly proceeded to come towards Sydney. Breaking the lock quickly, she carefully lifted the necklace out (the pendant on it resembled a giant hourglass) and replaced it with a non-working replica. Just as she was lowering the Rambaldi necklace into another case for safe exfiltration, several guns cocked from behind her.
“Sydney Bristow. How long has it been?” Sark began congenially.
Sydney’s blood ran cold as she turned to see Sark flanked by five men with heavy metal. Sark was aiming a .35 millimeter at her.
“First off, let me thank you. You did all the hard work for me. You looped the cameras, taking out Orzabal. Of course, you could’ve taken out the guard and disabled the alarm system as well, but I see Agent Vaughn isn’t with you this time,” he said conversationally. “Give me the necklace.”
“Or what?” Sydney dared to ask.
“Mountaineer? What’s going on? Do you copy?” James’ voice said urgently in her ear.
“Or we kill you and take the necklace anyway,” Sark replied, walking towards her. “I’m sure you wouldn’t want that.”
“No, of course not,” Sydney replied, thinking quickly. She handed the case containing the necklace, and Sark smirked.
“See? That wasn’t so hard, was it?” he began, but before he could finish the sentence, Sydney spun him around, pressed his back against her front and turned the gun he was holding against him.
“You’re going to let us walk out of here,” Sydney threatened the five remaining men. “Or your fearless leader here gets a bullet in his head.” The five men wavered slightly.
Sydney inched towards the door before Agent James came bursting in and began firing. Guns began firing everywhere. In confusion, Sark slipped out with the necklace. James grabbed Sydney and ducked around a corner, handing her a weapon.
“Sark’s got the necklace!” she yelled over the gunfire.
“I’ve got this! Go!” he ordered her.
Sydney tore off in the direction she had last seen Sark and was knocked off balance by a punch. One of Sark’s team members was about even height and weight as she was and she was losing time engaging this guy in a fight. Finally, he delivered the piercing blow; Sydney was knocked to the floor by a roundhouse and got the wind knocked out of her.
Sputtering for air, the guy cocked the gun Sydney had knocked from his hands earlier and stood over her. Sydney closed her eyes and waited for the hot lead to pierce her chest. But when she heard the gunshot, she found she was unharmed. The guy stood over her; a fresh bullet wound in his chest. He toppled over silently.
Another one of Sark’s masked men was holding a gun. But it wasn’t a man. The man pulled off his mask and threw it aside to kneel beside Sydney. It was Germaine.
“Agent Bristow?” she said. “I’m Firefly. I’ve got the necklace. I’m going to get you out of here.”
“What? I don’t understand,” Sydney said, allowing Germaine to help her to her feet.
“Agent James was wounded, but I’ve got one of my men tending to him as we speak,” Germaine replied, hustling Sydney out a side door.
“The necklace…” Sydney began, her mind reeling.
“I’ve given Julian a false prototype. He won’t know the difference,” said Germaine, guiding Sydney towards the van James had been in moments before. Germaine handed the box containing the necklace to her.
“Wait, aren’t you coming?” Sydney asked before Germaine could slam the door.
“No. Just make sure the necklace goes to the right people,” she said.
Two days later, Dixon was back on the satellite video phone. “Preliminary tests confirm it is the Time-Turner from Rambaldi’s notebook. It has the defining characteristics of other Rambaldi artifacts and it’s being sent to Langley for further investigation. Good job, Syd.”
Before Sydney returned to Hogsmeade, she called Jack again. Something she had written in her report was bothering her.
“Dad, I don’t understand something. Did you task Firefly to back me up?” Sydney asked.
“No. Firefly approached me after being asked by Sark to assemble a team to accompany him to retrieve the necklace. I asked her to watch out for you, though. Why?”
“It was something she said. She called Sark by his first name, Julian, as if she were on a first-name basis with him,” Sydney said, shaking her head, trying to flesh out what she was thinking.
“Firefly’s real name is Germaine St. John. She’s on a first-name basis with Sark because she is Mr. Sark’s little sister,” Jack explained. Sydney raised her eyebrows.
“Same mother, different fathers,” Jack continued.
“How did she find you?” Sydney asked.
“Apparently, she was in contact with your mother when you were missing for those two years. Irina suggested that if Sark ever approached her for anything, she should come to me.”
Sydney shook her head unbelievably. She wondered if she should thank her mother for her foresight or hurt her for her past betrayal.
“Sydney, I have to go. Good job,” Jack said sincerely.