A Higher Echelon

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Bring Me A Higher Love!

Virtuous Vaughn, in an effort to placate Kommandant Kendall and appease his would-be girlfriend at the same time, steps up and informs Syd that her countermission is simple. "In Vietnam, you'll download the data packets SD-6 is looking for and switch it with this." He hands her a disc. "It's corrupted data. We'll have what SD-6 needs, and they'll never be able to access Echelon. And Syd," he says rather earnestly, "we'll find Marshall." Syd just nods at him as if to say, "Oh, who the hell gives a damn about Marshall? Are you gonna KISS me or WHAT?"

And, like, okay. First of all, that countermission sure as shit doesn't sound simple. And B) of course they're going to find Marshall. Duh. Even if Marshall manages to get his flabby ass shot and killed, you can be pretty damn sure that he'll show up again at some point in the future. Because on Alias? Death is just the beginning.

Dark Dungeon Of Dental Dementia. SDAP leans over Marshall as he sweats and squirms. "I will ask you one more time," he wheezes in a voice reminiscent of that creepy hanger-brandishing German guy from Raiders of the Lost Ark, "where is the Echelon software you took from us?" Marshall splutters, "I swear on my mother's grave, I don't know." He starts crying. But because this is Marshall, and it's nearly impossible to keep his mouth shut even when he's just ingested a tube full of goo, he splutters some more. "And though, technically Mom's still alive," he splews, "she has picked out her gravesite, so --" SDAP's all, okay, I gotta shut this idiot up. "Refusal to cooperate has a price," he hisses, reaching for the tube of hardener and bringing it close to Marshall's face as the minions pry open his mouth with the dental device again. Marshall's all, nonononononono as SDAP informs him that his mommy will be next if he doesn't cooperate. Marshall wisely decides to join the ranks of the Dentally Demented and, after the minions remove the device, starts yammering that he sent the software to SD-6 and that, even though there ain't nothin' he can do about that, he conveniently has a photographic memory and can recreate the entire Echelon access program from scratch. "Just don't hurt my mother, please," he cries. "You leave my mother alone!" SDAP just smirks at him and announces that they're off to a very good start.

Jumpin' Jack Flash's Office Of Unwanted Occupations. Jack enters and sees Face Doneaway (tm SpyDaddyRulez) click-clacking away at his laptop. He's all, the hell? Get your plastic-wrapped face away from my VAIO, okay? Face Doneaway's all, dude? Shut up. And I'm downgrading your network privileges, just for kicks. "Pending the outcome of my investigation, your security clearance has been revoked." "Get out of my office," Jack barely grits out. Face Doneaway gets up and creaks her old bag of bones and recycled parts over to Jack. "When Emily was killed, you claim you were in Taipei," she mumbles, her upper lip resembling a moldy slice of Gouda. "It is a fact, not a claim!" snaps Jacky. Face Doneaway's all, okay, uh, when the blackmailers stole a bunch of Alliance cash in exchange for pictures of Auntie Em's murder, you were...? "On assignment in Istanbul," Jacky counters. "Doing back-channel, unsupervised work that you conveniently arranged for yourself!" she snits. Or, like, she would snit, if she weren't afraid that her FACE WAS GOING TO CRACK LIKE A GLASS MADE OF SUGAR WATER. Jack's all, okay, Tamara Taffy-Face, I am a SENIOR officer with discretion to arrange and carry out assignments any fucking way I feel like it. "I will NOT be SUBJECT to a WITCH HUNT!" he crisps at her. Face Doneaway's all, oh, gee. Like I care. You have no protections, no civil rights, no civil liberties or reasonable doubt here, my friend. Or have you forgotten that this AIN'T the U.S. government? "See that I'm not disturbed again," she instructs the guard outside the office. Jack glares at her one last time and then storms off.

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