Chapter 3: Blasts of the Past
Jack and Miranda walked through the morgue hallways side by side as they prepared to take another glance at the body of the dead CIA operative. Miranda recognized a female coming out the morgue as Sydney Bristow, Jack's daughter and one of Miranda's old friends from the old days.
"Sydney," Miranda called, grinning, and wrapping her arms around Sydney's shoulders. Sydney smiled, and hugged her back.
"How are you?" she asked. Miranda nodded.
"I'm good, how are you?" Miranda asked.
"Fine, we've missed you," she replied, smiling. Miranda grinned at her.
"I've missed you too, I've been busy actually," she said. Sydney looked at her, curiously.
"Doing what exactly?" she asked. Miranda shrugged.
"I've been traveling the country with my boyfriend and his brother, we've seen...alot, and done some very interesting things," she said, omitting the parts where she fought demons, ghosts, and wendigos. She knew that if she told them that, they'd probably send her to the psych ward. Sydney nodded, smiling, then turned to her father.
"Sloane called, said he wants us to meet back at the office for another debriefing. He's giving us an assignment," she said, scowling. Miranda's features grew dark.
"I was hoping I'd never hear that name again...especially since Jack told me you guys work for APO, a black ops division of the CIA," she said, looking between the two of them. Sydney nodded, and pursed her lips.
"Trust me, when I first found out, I was against him as well, I still am. But, Director Chase told us that she and the CIA were keeping a close eye on everything Sloane does, that if he steps over the line, they'd know," she informed Miranda. Miranda rolled her eyes, and shook her head.
"Is he still hooked on Rambaldi?" she asked, crossing her arms over her chest.
"He says he's moved on, but everybody knows he's lying...in fact, that's why Nadia left; she couldn't trust him. And, frankly, I don't blame her. I'd leave too, if I could," Sydney replied.
"How is your sister, Nadia?" Miranda asked, her tone lighter. Sydney smiled.
"She's fine, she's out of the country as of right now, I don't know what she's doing, I haven't talked to her in awhile," she said. Jack stepped in between the two women.
"Can we catch up later? We should get back to the office...there's a prisoner there that we should see, for questioning. Miranda, why don't you join us? Maybe help out in the interrogation process. We all remember your methods of getting the truth out, they're most useful we know," he said, grinning slightly. Miranda nodded, grinning as well, as she cracked her knuckles.
"Always happy to help, lead the way," she told him. He lightly pressed his hand against the small of her back, leading her back the way they came, Sydney following close behind.
They arrived at APO not long after they left the hospital. Miranda assumed it had to have been a CIA hospital with how close it was to the underground office, located deep within the subway system underneath the city. They walked through a tunnel like hallway and came into a well-lit room filled with barely closed off desks with people bustling and walking around. Miranda looked around the office, finding it hard to believe that she was underneath Los Angeles when it was so brightly lit up. She followed Jack to his office where he set down a briefcase, and logged into his computer. Miranda stood outside his office, and waited, still looking around the large office space, seeing many familiar faces. Suddenly, a short, plump man approached Jack's office, carrying a stack of papers in his hands, wearing a long sleeved button down shirt and black pants, his hair nicely brushed to the side.
"Marshall," she said, happily, remembering her old friend. Marshall was the techie of the group, devised all of the equipment that Sydney and the others used on their missions. Miranda had always found Marshall funny and maybe a bit unsuited for such a dangerous lifestyle.
"Miranda, hi...wow, I can't believe you've come back...are you coming here to work or..." he trailed off, and Miranda couldn't help but giggle silently.
"Well, I'm not joining if that's what you're asking, but yes I have come to help with a case. That's how I ran into Jack, at the morgue where the operative is now, probably receiving an autopsy as we speak," she said. Marshall flinched. Such a practical man, can't understand how someone as sweet as Marshall can work for a man such as Arvin Sloane, Miranda thought to herself. The problem was, they all worked for him. Sydney had told her on the way back to the office that Director Chase had not only hired Sloane, but had put him in charge, thinking it would be easier to keep an eye on him that way.
"I have to talk to Mr. Bristow for a second, but I hope we can catch up soon..." he said, smiling, then turned to Jack.
"Mr. Bristow, you should see this...the blood had traces of sulfur in it, very unusual and nothing I've ever heard of before," he explained. All the color drained from Miranda's face. She knew what they were dealing with. Croatoan virus. One of the deadliest supernatural viruses, and not one that was curable, at least not in a way that allowed the carrier to live. It was practically a demonic virus. This will not be an easy or fun case if that's what Sam and I are dealing with. Question is how do I keep these people out of it? They've never dealt with this kind of anything. And more importantly, how do I convince them to stay out of it without telling them exactly what it is? Dammit, not again, Miranda thought.