Nanites. I hate em.

Sure, Kenzo vaguely mentioned they'd hurt like heck on their way out of the body once your bladder's done flushing them out, but he never said how much!

Emergency bathroom visit aside I make my way back out to rejoin my odd trio of unusual hosts, still left pondering the latest revelations about my mysterious life... chief among them being this 'other' me that's been secretly lurking beneath the surface all this time, the one 'created' to kill this other Bourne character, himself a product of Treadstone's behaviour modification programmes.

My head hurts. And it seems the more answers I uncover, the less I want to find out.

"What in the heck was going on in there?" exclaims the old man. "Half sounded like you were giving birth!"

Calls himself 'Doc', though just exactly what he's supposed to be a doctor of remains to be seen. He's ex-CIA from what I can gather, but no idea what his role. Either way he appears to be the one in charge of this motley trio.

"Felt like it too!" I say. "Not that I've ever given birth. Not that I remember ever giving birth."

"So, your really 'her', huh? 'Alexia Bourne'! Kinda surreal seeing you in the flesh. Although I... thought you'd be... I dunno, shorter? You know, from watching the footage... of... you... wait! Its not like, you know, we were stalking you or... ah, anything, it was... you know, footage of you in action... although... not... 'that' kinda action... cause, you know... that would be... ah... kinda awkward? Oops. Too late!"

The motormouth's name is Marshall Flinkman. Mid to late 40's, he's an ex-CIA tech guy who was once a member of APO, one of a handful of their secret black op divisions they ran back at the turn of the last century, and the only guy Ive come across able to speak a hundred words a minute about pretty much nothing.

"Who shot first?"

That's the third and final guy, Incidentally, the largest of the three. His real name's unknown, by the other two affectionately call him 'Tiny'. And hey, why wouldn't they? The guy's only the size of a Buick! Not much else's I'm getting from him, bar that annoying question he's been asking me since I arrived.

"Look, dude, I've literally no idea what your talking about!" I say.

"Ah, right! Let me explain..." begins Flinkman.

"Save it, dweeb." interrupts Doc. "She hasn't got all day. We're on a tightly wound clock, remember? You need to find something, we need to help you find it, am I right? At least that's how Nicky's message read?"

"Err... that's right." I say.

"Well then let's get started, shall we?"

Before I can respond he turns abruptly and makes his way over to several large integrated monitor screens positioned over a single keyboard and boots up the hard drive. I turn to Flinkman.

"So what did you mean by; 'saw me in action'?" I ask.

"Oh, right! Yeah... just a collection of raw CCTV footage... snippets of you... from your decrypted file,... various missions taken from cities all over the world. Tokyo, London...!" He mimics a few faux karate movements, nearly knocking over a floor lamp in the process. Cute, only I have no idea what he's on about.

"Say, you... your not gonna... kill us, right? I mean, I heard you were, like, under an evil spell... kinda... thing... back then...?"

"No. No, of course not!" I say. "I...escaped... all that... stuff. Got out. Say, could I... see it? The footage?"

"Ah... sure, why not? Lemme..."

"Hey! You ready or what?" shouts Doc, impatiently.

We head over to him while the big guy hangs back, grabs a comic of a coffee table and crashes his hulking frame into an old red leather sofa. In fact, looking around, it only dawns on me now how the entire place looks like it was recently defrosted from a cryogenically frozen screenshot of a mid-80's sci-fi movie, all 8bit arcade machines, a duke box, pool tables and cobwebs... lots and lots of cobwebs.

"Alright, lets begin. Is it a face or a place?" asks Doc.

"Place." I say. "A... safety deposit box, actually. Somewhere in... ah... well... somewhere."

"'Somewhere'. Thats cute." he says. "What, you think I can just punch the word 'somewhere' into Google and what your looking for just magically pops right out onto the screen? Is that how you thought this worked?"

Flinkman steps up.

"Hey, Doc? Maybe... you know...? That was a little...!"

"What? You, Flinky, of all people know what we are up against out there. Or need I remind you?"

"No. No you... needn't... do that."

Flinkman's voice trails off into an inaudible mumble as he dips his head, grabbing a cross thats dangling around his neck like he was drawing strength from it.

"Listen, 'doctor', 'doc' or whatever the heck your name is, I dunno what your issue is here, but clearly you have one! I was told not too long ago by a woman I'd only just met, that you three stooges could help me find something I didn't even know needed finding, so excuse me if Im a little sketchy on the finer details!"

The rage, I can feel it growing inside me again. 101 ways to kill him, make him suffer, strip every shred of flesh from his...

"Ah, how about a name?" exclaims Flinkman, nervously.

"Yeah, I've got a name. Dr Robert Ludlum. Im trying to locate a file he's got stashed away in a secure location, probably a deposit box of some kind, somewhere in US."

"Okay, well a name's a good start." replies Doc, as he begins tapping away at the keyboard. "There are an estimated 25 million safe deposit boxes leased in the US alone. By cross-referencing his name with every major bank that provides such services, presuming of course he used a bank, we should at least come up with... a short list. There. 152."

"Okay, so how do we get that short list, you know, shorter?" I ask.

"Who shot first?" Interrupts the big guy.

"Wow. Did I just say something to trigger him off?"

"Tiny back there has his 'uses', conversation participation ain't one of em. Ignore him." advises Doc.

"Ah, c-can we maybe try... ah putting them in order of most frequently visited to least frequent?" suggests Flinkman. "I mean It's bound to be the one he's visited the most, right?"

"Wrong." I tell him. "That's... what he'd expect you... or anyone... to think. He'd want to draw as little attention to the real location as possible... away from... there! The one at the bottom of the list! The only one he visited once. Wait a minute, what's the name of that bank?" I ask.

"The Santa Marina National." replies Doc.

No way. No-freaking-way! That's the bank we hit a month back. The one where I got my hands on... the key! Of course, it all makes sense now. They were after Ludlum's plans all along, that's why the key's so damn important. But I'm guessing they didn't know the location of the box was hidden in plain site as well. Only a matter of time until they do. But why that bank? Why 'her'?

"Could you bring up a list of every member of staff employed there and cross reference them with Ludlum, maybe see if there's a connection somehow... family member... friend... shared associate?"

Doc stares up at me blankly. "What does this look like to you, an episode of 'Who Do You Think You Are?"

"I… got this!" offers up Flinkman, as he invites Doc out of the hot seat. "A buddy of mine created a super programme called ShadowNet back in 2010, which served as a… secret backdoor of sorts into almost every government and law enforcement agency's database in the world. Completely inaccessible to everyone... bar a close handful of likeminded... tech... ah... buddies. Of course, he didn't know at the time, that Division was actually being used by Oversight, this big evil... err...!"

"Falling asleep here, Flinkman." groans Doc. "Gonna impress us today or what?"

"Right! Okay... and here... we... go!"

Suddenly the screen's are filled with three to four dozen profiles of men, women, children, all loosely connected to the good doctor. As I scan through them, one by one, a surprisingly familiar face comes to my attention...

"Her! Who's that woman?" I ask.

"That there is... ah... Karen Mulder. No list of priors, known next of kin or... whoa! Something's not adding up with the profile. Gimme a sec. Ah-ha, yep, seems 'Karen Mulder' is not even her real name, it's an Alias. One of... several she's adopted over as many years." he explains.

"Can you access her original file?" I ask.

"It's... heavily encrypted. Somebody definitely didn't want this information getting out. There's firewalls around this that'd make China's look like a picket fence! Ha-ha! You get it? China... The Great Wall... ! Carrie always wanted to go there, I was like 'honey, its a wall! We got one in the back yard, you know?' Of course, what she didn't know, was I was secretly planning..."

"You wanna focus on the task at hand, Flinky?" barks Doc.

"Yeah. I... yeah. Sorry. Cracked it! Thank you, Birkof! She was born... 'Natasha Marie... Ludlum'?. But that... would mean..."

"She's his daughter. Should have known." All the puzzle pieces are finally starting to fit together.

"Well, that's you done!" says Doc. "Guessing you'll be on your way now, huh?"

What is the old guy's problem? It's like the longer I stay here the more agitated he gets.

"Actually, no. There's a friend I need to track down, probably in a lotta trouble right now... could you maybe use the facial recognition thingy to track his whereabouts? His names Kenzo Kuragi... what's so funny?"

"I've heard of that guy being called a lotta things in his time, but a 'friend' was never one of em." explains Doc, as I hear the sound of Tiny peel himself off of the sofa behind me. "But finding him's your problem to deal with. We work for Nikki not you, and we're done here. Flinkman, escort the young pretty lady out, will ya?"

"Sure... ah... sure."

As we make our way back to the front entrance, incidentals the back entrance to the building, Tiny lumbering behind us ominously, I lean towards Flinkman for some final snippets of info.

"Why'd you put up with that guy for?" I ask.

"It's… kinda a long story." he says.

"Wanna skip to the end part?"

"That's an even longer story."

"Alright. Then tell me why Nikki doesn't just use the 'Shadow Net' programme to find Jason Bourne? Or is she too old school?"

"She has, numerous times. Unfortunately Jason Bourne is one of the most resourceful operatives on the planet. If he doesn't want to be found... you may as well be searching for a ghost."

"Fair enough." I say, as we reach the door. "Tell Niki I said... ah... 'thanks'.

"Sure thing." he says as he shakes my hand, discreetly palming me a small ordinary-looking cell phone as he whispers; "It's heavily modified, a prototype actually, with a number of cool built in features, including a lite version of Shadow Net. Works pretty much the same way. Any issues, my number's also programmed in the phone book. But, please, text, never call. You know... Doc being... Doc."

"Why… are you doing this?" I ask.

"Cause you remind me of her. Of... Sydney...!" he says.


"Sorry we... couldn't be of more use! But we've got a Black Ops programme to bring down, right Doc? Anyway, you... ah... look after yourself!" he tells me as he slowly makes his way back, leaving Tiny standing there, arms folding asking;

"Who shot first?"

"Ah, about that..." begins Flinkman, as he spins back towards us.

"It's okay, I get it." I say. "Star Wars, the prequels, right? Original print verses the remastered editions? It's Han, big guy. It's always been Han! He's a survivor. It's in his nature."

Tiny smiles a satisfactory smile as I exit the building.

To be continued...