A/N: First, thank you to everyone reading and the review! Second, I apologize for the long delay in updating. Life has taken priority. I might take a week or more between posting chapters but just know that I am still working on this story and don't intend to abandon it anytime soon.
Chapter 19: A Strange Day
Tuili, Sardinia, Italy
As Will sat eating breakfast and Jack sat drinking a cup of black coffee, a truck pulled up outside the concrete wall and parked. He stood and went to the gate and opened it for Charles and another man who was dressed in a military uniform and holding a thick metal case in his hand.
"Jack, this is my nephew Anthony. He works at Salto di Quirra."
"What's your area of expertise?" Jack asked Anthony as he shook his hand.
"Radiation. I'm a physicist," Anthony informed him and Jack gave a nod.
Jack looked over at Charles as he told the older man, "Why don't you stay here and get a cup of coffee. You can keep Will company. I'm sure he'd love to hear all the stories you have to tell."
Charles frowned at him but realized what he was trying to do and gave a nod. "I could use a cup of coffee."
He watched as the older Italian went into the house and then went down to the steps that led underground and showed Anthony the missile that they had confiscated off Kazari Bomani. Jack watched as Anthony slowly disarmed the weapon before studying it.
Anthony removed the substance that was inside it and frowned in concern. "It's not the usual radiation we see inside these types of missiles. It isn't plutonium or uranium." He placed it inside the case and locked it up as he told him, "I have to take it back to base and run tests on it to figure out what it is, Jack. It could take time for me to identify what it is."
Jack understood that it could take time but weeks wasn't something they could afford to waste. "Okay. We might be gone before you get results. I'll inform Charles on how to get in contact with me in case that happens."
"Going anywhere exciting?" Anthony asked as they headed back above ground.
"Sea of Japan."
Anthony looked back at him as he headed toward his truck. "Watch out for tsunamis."
Jack smirked as he watched as Anthony secured the metal case inside the truck. Charles walked out of the house along with Will and said his goodbye's before they both left. He looked over at Will who was leaning against the side of the wall.
Walking over to him, he said, "We'll give it a week before we head to Japan."
Will looked at him as he swallowed hard and asked, "What'd you think you'll find there, Jack?"
"It's what I am hoping you will find. Answers," he told him.
Looking away from him, Will shook his head but he saw the conviction in his eyes. Will may hate this but he would do it because he wanted to know the truth. He wanted to find out who he was and what his dream meant.
U.S. Joint Intelligence Task Force
Los Angeles, California
Sydney downed another cup of coffee, her third, as she stared at the work they had accomplished over the last couple of days. She was inside a secure room in which only a keycard could access. Weiss was sitting next to her on the edge of the table, staring at the photographs over the white board. They had poured over all the files and brainstormed over any possible connections and what the ultimate plan could be of the group known as Prophet Five.
Marshall was busy on his laptop as she picked up a dry erase marker and stood. Going over to the white board, she wrote at the top "Project Christmas". A couple hours before she had obtained most of the files pertaining to the classified CIA project that Jack had been in charge of decades ago. She wrote a couple of names down under it which were Dr. Valerie Kholokov and Irina Derevko.
"Irina Derevko was part of Project Christmas?"
"Not the CIA's version," she said as she looked over at Weiss, "but she knew about it. She stole the research from Jack and gave it to the KGB. To Kholokov. Both of them are, or were, associated with Prophet Five. With Irina being deceased…" she trailed off as she remembered why her mother was dead. She pushed the bitterness down and refocused as she continued, "Kholokov is currently the only other person associated with both projects."
"You think there might be a connection between the two projects?" Weiss asked her.
She was getting that feeling; that was the best way to describe it. A feeling. Gut instinct that the two were somehow connected. "I don't know how I know, but I know that it can't be a coincidence that Irina was connected to both CIA black ops projects that were being conducted during the seventies."
"Project Christmas was about training children to be future spies," Weiss said. "All we really know about Prophet Five is that it's about genetics."
"And who do we pass our genes onto, Weiss?" she said as she looked over at him.
Weiss stared at her as he answered, "Our children. Damn, Syd, you could be right. They could be connected somehow."
"And it's that connection that could be why they wanted Jack and why I'm in this cipher code," she said as she walked over to the opposite wall and looked over the code that Jack had deciphered over a year ago. "It's why both Prophet Five and the subject of Project Christmas are mentioned," she said as she looked over the code.
Prophesy of Five
Subject of Christmas
William the Prometheus
Seek the Thames Prison
They had figured most of it out, it wasn't that hard, except the last two lines. She was important enough that the code had to be sure that the correct "Sidney" was located. Her mother and father were mentioned and she was the subject of Project Christmas. At least one of the subjects. Who was "William the Prometheus"? Was he another subject of Project Christmas? And what was this Thames Prison? They had found no prison located along the Thames River that could possibly be connected to Prophet Five or Project Christmas.
"Prometheus," Marshall was saying as she sat back against the edge of the table and looked over at him, "is, uh, a Titan, a god in the uh-um Greek mytho-myths-y'know, and he's um considered the ultimate, the supreme trickster and a thief. A craftsman. He didn't just, uh, steal fire from the other, uh, from the Gods, but their skills. He's also the symbol of knowledge, intelligence, that's um, that's um, why he's considered to have the power of a fore-thinker. You know, after saying all that out loud, he kind-of sounds like a spy, doesn't he?"
Sydney looked back at the board and over the code and said in agreement, "That's exactly what he could be. Marshall, have you checked for anyone with the codename Prometheus?"
"There's nothing in the CIA database-"
"Have you checked any other databases?" she asked as she looked over at him.
Marshall glanced away and then back as he said, "I have."
She waited as Weiss also turned to Marshall and said, "Well?"
Marshall shifted in his seat and finally told them, "There was a-a, uh, recent inquiry into that codename."
"How recent and by who?"
"The, uh...It was the SVR and it was in January," Marshall said.
"Let me get this straight," Weiss said as he looked at Marshall. "The Foreign Intelligence Service of the Russian Federation was looking into the codename Prometheus in January?"
"That's...Yes," Marshall said as he looked over at her. "At the same time as they were uh, looking into Agent Bristow."
"My father," she said to clarify for herself. Marshall gave a nod and she let out a breath as she shook her head. "January was the one other time that Jack and Will went dark…" She looked back at the white board and at the name "William" as she made the connection that she didn't want to make. "Marshall, I need you to look into the background of Will Tippin."
Weiss looked at her and said, "I don't know Tippin, but you do. Do you think he could be a spy?"
She looked over at him as she answered, "I think we can't ignore the obvious, Weiss. We start with Tippin. If his history checks out we move on. Marshall," she said as she looked at him, "do you know what SVR agent conducted the inquiry?"
Marshall shook his head and said, "I'm not sure if I should-"
"Marshall, do you have a name or not?" she snapped as she glared over at him.
"Y-yes, it's uh...Syd-I don't think-" She got up and started to approach him when he blurted out, "Yekaterina Derevko."
She stopped and stared down at him. "Derevko?" Glancing at Weiss who also seemed just as confused, she said, "Yekaterina Derevko...An SVR agent is related to my mother?"
"She's, she was, her sister according to records," Marshall said as he looked back at his laptop.
A sister. She had an Aunt in Russia who was looking into Jack and possibly Will. This just got a lot more complicated. "Is she after them? Is she after Jack?" He shrugged and she let out a breath. "Let's assume she's after Jack for what he did to Irina. That means it's possible that the SVR have agents in London as well."
"Any word yet from Vaughn?" Weiss asked.
She shook her head. "Not since he was sent the location of Jack's laptop."
Weiss gave a nod as he said, "I'm sure he's okay."
That didn't help the uneasiness she'd been feeling since she'd woken this morning. It was hard to explain to anyone how she felt, especially when she couldn't even explain it to herself. There was a connection between her and Vaughn that went deep. Deeper than she could possibly imagine. It was like she could feel him, know exactly what he was going through, and right then, it wasn't anything good. She felt that something was wrong.
"You didn't say the doctor was a Veterinarian."
"A doctor's a doctor," Renée said as Will walked by her to the sink.
He turned on the faucet and washed the blood off his hands. Will looked over as Renée went over to the doctor. She spoke some words to him as he worked to get the bullet out of Vaughn's back. She then went through his coat pockets, then his suit jacket pockets, and then his pant pockets. At finding nothing, she turned toward him.
Will finished cleaning his hands and was toweling off the water when she stepped up to him.
"You took his things."
He looked her over as he said, "I did. You don't need anything-"
"He's my friend!"
"I don't care who he is to you. You're not authorized to have any of his belongings-"
"And you think you are?!" she said as she went to push him when he reached out and stopped her.
Will caught her arms and shoved her away from him. Glancing over at the doctor, he looked back at her as he said, "I'm in contact with his colleagues in the U.S.. And in an off-books sort-of way I'm working with them as well. The information Vaughn has is for them, and me, not you."
"You have no idea what you've gotten yourself into."
"No, Renée, you're the one who doesn't understand." Will grabbed her and pulled her out of the room. Once out into the hallway, he let go of her as she shoved him off her. "Do you know about Substance 33?"
"What is that?"
"Exactly," he said as he stepped away from her. "You don't know. You thought that man in Paris was your real father. Tell me, did you find him or did he find you?"
Renée huffed and turned away from him. She had a habit of doing that. "I found him."
"These people aren't easy to find. It makes me wonder if you finding him was part of their plan. You have something they want."
"I don't have anything," she said as she turned to face him.
"Maybe you do and you don't even know it. I guarantee you that Marcus Bernard, aka Aldo Desantis, didn't let you find him so you two could have father-daughter time."
She gaped at him as she said, "His real name was Desantis?"
Will gave a nod as he asked, "You know the name?"
"Have you been to the University of Milan?"
He shook his head at the question. "No. What's there?"
Renée looked away and ran her hands through her hair. "Backup files archived under the name Aldo Desantis. We were planning to go there together to retrieve them."
"You and Vaughn?" When she gave a nod, Will looked through the window and watched as the doctor continued to work on Vaughn. He was stitching up the wound. Will hadn't had any time to really think everything through about what had happened and what he'd found out. It was all one big right mess. "The two of you are the children of two of the main project members associated with Prophet Five."
"What does that mean?"
Will looked at her as he said, "It means that you're important to them, which puts you both in extreme danger. They'll be coming after the both of you again. Once he's good to go, we need to leave and get underground."
"Where do we go?"
He pulled out Vaughn's phone and searched the contacts until he found the number he was looking for. "That's what I'm going to find out," he said as he placed the phone to his ear.
Los Angeles, CA
His phone rang in his suit jacket pocket. Once he took it out and saw who it was that was calling, he smiled over at his date and held up a finger, "Give me a minute." Stepping away, Dixon answered, "This is Director Dixon."
"Vaughn has been shot."
At hearing Will Tippin's voice on the phone instead of Vaughn's, he sighed as he stepped further away. "How? What happened?"
"I can't go into all that right now over the phone. We need to get somewhere safe."
Dixon felt the relief as he said, "I'll text you an address."
Tippin was silent a moment before informing him, "Renée Rienne is with me. I think they're after the both of them. I'm going to need help and I can't get in touch with Jack at the moment."
"I'll send someone."
"I don't want just someone," Will told him. "Can you send Sydney?"
Dixon sighed as he thought about it. He hadn't wanted to send her to London but with Vaughn shot and things taking a turn for the worst, he had no other choice. "All right. She'll be there as soon as she can." Will didn't say anything as the line went dead. He quickly texted the address before pocketing his cell phone. Turning around, he walked back over to his date and said, "Sorry for the interruption, you know how it is."
Hayden Chase smiled softly as she grabbed the cup of coffee handed to her by the barista and handed it over to him. "Unfortunately, I know all too well."
Dixon returned the smile as he took the cup. "I've been meaning to talk to you about something. It's a personal matter."
She raised her eyes at him as she walked with him to a table and sat across from him. For the past several months, Dixon had been easing his way into Hayden Chase's life. He hadn't been in any way persistent so not to drive her away or make her suspect anything was amiss. It had started nearly a year ago when he was simply trying to get to know her as a colleague when she had stayed in California to oversee the handling of the task force after the change of Directors instead of returning to Maryland. She had returned to Maryland for a few months and then returned a little over three months ago. Since then, Dixon had started up the comrodary again; at first it was friendly meetings at work to now getting coffee in mornings.
Now, it was time to see if he could advance it forward.
He fiddled with the cup as he took a sip and then let out a nervous laugh and smile as he told her, "I really don't have anyone else I can talk to about this. You've been married before, haven't you?"
"I have," Chase said as she took a drink of coffee and waited for him to continue.
"Was there ever a time when you thought that what you once had was gone and there was no going back?" he asked her as he looked down at the table.
"Are you asking if me and my husband ever felt like we no longer loved one another?"
Dixon picked up the cup and took another sip of the coffee as he looked up at her. "I guess that's what I'm asking."
Chase sat back and looked around the cafe as she answered, "There were times it got difficult. The secrets-"
"Yeah, the secrets. Mine got out," he told her but then clarified, "Not all of them. I never "read in" my wife because I knew if she found out it would put a strain on our marriage. One of my agents accidently let slip what I do for a living. We argued and-"
"Is that why you look different?"
Dixon frowned in confusion as he asked, "I look different?"
Chase leaned over the table as she reached out and touched his right cheek. "You cut yourself shaving and didn't notice. And your tie is tied differently."
"Diane always used to tie it for me."
"Now she doesn't," she said as she dropped her hand.
Dixon shook his head. "I wished I could say that I didn't see it coming. We've been growing further apart for awhile now. Her finding out what I really do, and that I've been keeping the truth from her all these years, well...it was the final straw. I don't know if I can ever go back. I don't know if she'd take me back. I'm sorry," he suddenly said. "I shouldn't be telling you all this but you're someone I respect and trust, and your advice is one that I value."
Chase smiled as she took that in and said, "Why don't we continue this later? We have to get to the office."
Dixon checked his watch and saw the time. "You're right. We're late. Um, tomorrow do you want to meet a little earlier for coffee so we have more time to talk?"
"How about dinner tonight?"
He stared at her for a moment before smiling. "I would like that. I'll get us a reservation. Any preference?"
Chase shrugged and she said, "Surprise me."
Dixon grabbed his cup as they both stood. "I'll do my best."
Rachel sat back as she stared at her laptop. "We got a development. A timer just came up on the Prophet Five server for the Director's eyes only. It's a countdown to an event. The event is going to happen in exactly 144 hours. That's six days and twelve hours from now."
Jack went over to the calendar and counted the days as he said, "December 24th at midnight...Christmas Day. Leave it to Sloane to pick the birth of Christ to make a statement."
Tom checked his phone and stood as he said, "I have to be somewhere."
Jack watched him grab his coat as he asked, "Where?"
Tom glanced at him as he said, "No offense, but until you recover all your memories let's not pretend you're not compromised."
"You think I'm compromised?"
"I think you had something done to your head by our enemies, Jack. What'd you think?"
He worked his jaw as he felt the urge to hit the man. It wasn't easy to stand aside and let things happen especially when he didn't know entirely what was going on or why. However, Tom was right. Prophet Five were the ones that had him for months and they were the ones that did something to his mind that even he agreed sounded like mind control.
Letting out a breath, he gave a nod. Tom left through the kitchen to go out the back way. He turned to Rachel and saw her watching him. "Any idea what this event is?"
She typed on the computer as she told him, "There's nothing about what it is or where it will happen. It's referred to as the Event Horizon."
He thought about that as he sat down and looked at the wall covered in all the information he had collected over the last year and a half about Prophet Five. The group had connections in all aspects of science and technology, medication, and even water treatment facilities.
Jack stood as he walked over to the wall and said, "This is going to be a global event. How can you affect the entire world at once? Everything takes time to move through the air and the water, unless it's already been circulating in the air and our food and water supply."
"Are you saying it's an infection?"
"Quite possibly, and if that is the case then we could all already be infected." Jack turned to her as he said, "Either we've ingested it or breathed it in, it can be a particle or parasite or something in our bodies that when triggered could cause a global pandemic. Something that only they can control or have a cure for."
"They have pharmaceutical companies, they can control the global market."
"It's more than that. They can control everything. They can make it so that they're the only ones who can supply untainted food and water, air treatment systems-"
"What do the weapons have to do with any of it? They were sold around the world for a reason, Jack."
Jack leaned on the table as he worked his thoughts over everything he knew about the weapons, about Substance 33. His thoughts kept going back to the Cold War, to the buy and selling of intelligence, and how everything was about money. But it was more than that for Arvin Sloane. Sloane was a big picture. Big ambitions. If it was global dominance he wanted he would have never had reason to take down the Alliance. It was more than the money for him. It was bigger. It was Christ-like.
"You know by the end of the Cold War the USSR had us beat. They had about ten-thousand more nuclear weapons than us. More troops, tanks, and artillery than we could ever manage to produce. The Titan II, our ballistic missile, had a range of 15,000 kilometers while their SS-9 had the range of 16,000 kilometers. Even though we had about a thousand more ballistic missiles than they did, theirs beat us on range."
"What does that have to do with now?" she asked.
He looked over at her as he said, "The Russians created Substance 33 during the same time as they developed their nuclear weapons. Imagine Substance 33 being inside the nukes instead of uranium or plutonium. A nuclear blast that spreads a radiation like substance that infects people instead of incinerating them. If all their nukes had that inside and they were deployed, just like any nuclear fallout they would have been susceptible to the infection like everyone else. Unless they developed a treatment or a vaccine that immunes them from being infected with the Substance 33 radiation. I'm thinking that they never were able to develop anything that could have prevented them from being infected."
"How'd you know?"
"Because they didn't deploy any of the missiles. For all we know, they never even tested one. You don't make a play like that unless you know you'll win. I'm thinking that the USSR came crashing down on top of them before they found a vaccine for Substance 33. That is until now. The only reason to replace the uranium or plutonium in these nuclear weapons with Substance 33 is because Prophet Five found a vaccine."
"We could be looking at a plan to annihilate the entire populace of the planet."
Jack pushed up off the table as he said, "Except for those immune."
"The Prophet Five project is about genetics," Rachel said as she studied the screen on her laptop. "DNA sequencing. There could be a natural immunity that some people have in their genes. Or maybe what we ingested creates immunity in some people with certain genes. That sounds like something Hitler would do. Global genocide except for the master race."
Jack stared at Rachel as he agreed, "It is. And it's because of that very reason why a man like Arvin Sloane would be attracted to it. If he could find a way to live forever, he'd kill the entire world to get it."
"This isn't about living forever. This is about creating a new world in his image. A world that he controls and has ultimate power."
He gave a nod and said, "In the spy world, information and knowledge is power. He who controls the information, controls the people. Once you control the people, you control the world."
Rachel shook her head as a grim look washed over her face. The reality of it all was catching to her. "You should contact Sydney and inform her of this new development."
Jack stared at Rachel for a long moment as he tried to remember who she was talking about. "Who?"
Rachel looked up at him in concern as she told him, "Sydney. Your daughter."
He shook his head as he didn't remember that name and person. He had a daughter? "I don't know who you're talking about."
Rachel nodded as she said, "Sydney. She's CIA. You really don't remember?"
Sydney. His head started to hurt as tried to remember his daughter. A numbness filled his chest as he rubbed his aching head. "No. Not everything has-" Jack took a step as the room started to tilt in his vision.
He heard his name echo in his head as the room blurred into darkness as he took another step before his knees buckled and he hit the floor.