Part the Third: Sark

I'd underestimated the benefits of having Sydney in my pocket. It was made even sweeter by her ignorance of the fact. A blind woman with total faith in her sight, running into walls and never realizing they were there-my dog. Vaughn, he was my bitch on a choke collar. Nothing made my day better than watching that man squirm.

We're in a CIA conference room watching Ms. Bristow on satellite feed from Russia, and the irony is delicious. By my count she's broken eight laws on this operation already, three of them international, and been at risk of death for twenty-two minutes and counting. She's running scared at the moment from a shiny-headed man I've named Boris and his svelte companion, Natasha. The link switches to a different camera and I see that the look of equal parts fear and determination is upon her, along with the somewhat surprised look that is purely Sydney; as if after everything she's been through, she is still shocked to find herself pursued by armed guards. Personally, I'm more shocked at her ability to sprint in knee-high boots and a handkerchief of a skirt.

Mr. Vaughn is glancing rapidly between her image and street maps of Vladivostok, spitting directions to her over the com link with an urgency that suggested that he was the one running for his life. It's nearly endearing. Not quite, though.

"If I wanted a chase scene I'd watch 'The French Connection,' Mr. Vaughn. Speed this up, if you would be so kind."

He grips the mic with white knuckles "I'm doing the best I can! It's not all that easy with you sitting on my shoulder and whispering in my ear."

That deserves a laugh. I give him an impatient sneer "Just steer her to the waterside. There will be transportation for her there."

He has a surprised look too. Perhaps they practice together.

"Well why the hell didn't you say that before?" his hand is off the mic without waiting for an answer "Syd? I got you, okay, just veer right into the alley on your right, then immediate left. You'll come to a dock, there's a boat for you there."

Crackling and breathy " ? Why didn' -"

"I was just told too. Just get there and you're home free."

And in front of me, no less. The man has no shame. He'll have to be taught.

"I'll bet you say that to all the double agents."

Hand on mic again "Just let me do my job, Sark," and off "You're almost there Syd, that's your turn."

"Just remember who you're working for, Mr. Vaughn." He twitches. I win.

"Which, one, Vaughn?" the reception's almost shot. He throws a look at me, annoyed to still need my willing assistance.

"Which boat, Sark?"

"What was that?"

He's practically simmering "Which boat . Sark?"

Gods, this is fun.

"Last one. On the right. It's called Devotchka."

He warbles it back to her like a passage from the Bible, and she's drinking it in like prophet's words. I'll have to draw this out longer next time- they're not nearly desperate enough.

Boris and Natasha are half the dock back by the time Sydney is churning up the sea at a completely un-stealthy high speed. The camera feeds shut off as she's lost from view, on her way to the alternate extraction point. Agent Vaughn slouches in the chair, his strings seemingly cut. I feel the need to say something.

"Well, that was sloppy."

Thinking back, that probably wasn't the wisest choice of words. Still, if a man can't say what's on his mind then is he really a man at all? Or is he Michael Vaughn?