Synopsis of Masquerade

Written by TK

Sydney is rock-climbing up a steep mountain. She reaches the top. The sun is rising. She looks out over the vista. She pulls out a satellite phone and calls for Agent Utley. She says she's a fugitive from the FBI.

Back in Los Angeles, Sydney meets with her dad in a car in the rain. She thanks him. He says that she shouldn't thank him, because she's the one that finally pointed the FBI in the right direction. He says that the FBI is now trying to find her mother. He himself went to Langley and pulled her mother's file. It turns out that there was a commission formed after her mother's accident, and it was supposed to assess the amount of damage she had done to U.S. Intelligence. Sloane was on that CIA commission. Jack asked Sloane why he didn't say anything, and Sloane admitted that because of Jack's mental state, he was ordered not to. No one knows where Sydney's mother, Laura, is now. She could even still be in the U.S. Sydney vows to find her. Jack is violently opposed to the idea, wondering what Sydney could ever find out from Laura that would satisfy her.

Sydney remembers when she was five and broke her leg camping in the woods and her father carried her miles back to the car. She thought her father was the strongest man in the world. She had never seen him so scared as when she told him she wanted to find her mother.

Sydney asks Vaughn for help getting info on her mother from the CIA. Vaughn says he can't get it, it's all too classified.

Sydney goes to see Sloane in the middle of the night. He says that she's been avoiding him. She says that she needed some time to process the news about her mother. She asks for Sloane's help in finding her. Sloane tells her how her father was imprisoned after Laura's accident because it was suspected that he was working with her. Then he was vindicated and freed, but began to unravel and started drinking and taking unnecessary risks. Sloane says it took Jack a long time to recover, which is why he never told him about Laura being alive. Sydney says she's taking herself off active duty until she figures out what happened to Laura. Sloane fights her on it, but finally wishes her luck.

Francie and Will are making chocolate chip pancakes when Sydney gets up in the morning. They comment that she's been gone for a week. Francie is going to take Will shopping for a new tuxedo in which to accept his award. Francie and Sydney want to go to the awards ceremony, but Will is embarrassed to have them there. Francie notices a bruise on Sydney's arm, but Sydney explains it away as getting hit with someone's carry-on luggage on the plane.

In the briefing room, Marshall is late because he got hives from a new experiment of his. Sloane explains that Alexander Khasinau, "The Man," has more assets than the Russian mafia, numerous international connections, and basically the standing of a fledgling government. Jack says that they have two five-year-long deep-cover agents in the Russian embassy in Vienna, and one of them, Kyle Wexler, found out that Khasinau just liquidated $250 million in assets. SD-6 wants to know what this cash is for, what Khasinau could be buying. Sydney is supposed to go to Vienna to get a microchip from Wexler during a party at the embassy. Sydney is shocked, but keeps her mouth shut until the meeting is over. She then pulls Sloane aside and reminds him that her priority is finding her mother, and she's not on active duty. Sloane says that they have the same priority right now, because Khasinau was her mother's superior in the KGB.

Jack accosts Sydney in the garage and says that he hoped she would know better than to ask Sloane for help. Sydney says she had no choice. Jack argues that she does have choice. Jack is shocked when Sydney tells him about Khasinau being Laura's superior.

The party at the embassy is a masquerade ball. Just about everyone is wearing a mask. Sydney and Dixon enter and begin to dance with the other elegant couples.

Jack confronts Sloane and asks him why he agreed to help Sydney without consulting him first. Sloane points out that Sydney is a grown woman. Sloane wonders if Jack is okay, but Jack says he's fine. Sloane advises him to take a little time off, but Jack says he doesn't want to leave Sydney alone. Sloane says he also wants to protect Sydney.

Flashback: Marshall gives Sydney earrings that emit an infrared pulse. The agent in Vienna will be wearing IR capable contacts, so he'll be able to see the pulse that is invisible to the naked eye.

A man in a mask enters the ballroom, sees Sydney's flashing earrings, and asks Dixon if he can cut in. Dixon lets the man take Sydney for a dance. The agent quickly tells Sydney that Wexler is dead and they need to get out of here, because the whole operation has been compromised. Sydney worries that this is a setup, but the masked agent talks a bit about SD-6 and convinces her that he's legit. Sydney tells Dixon what's going on. Dixon goes to get the car while Sydney and the masked agent make a quick exit from the ballroom. Sydney asks the agent if he was recruited from college. He says yes, Berkeley. She takes off her mask in shock. He takes his off too, equally shocked. Some guards approach them. They begin to kiss passionately so that they guards will approach them. They take out the guards, and then he asks her how she's been.

They don't have much time to catch up. The agent takes Sydney to a storeroom. He says that Wexler was undercover as executive secretary. The ambassador and embassy security are on Khasinau's payroll. The agent opens a large sealed cold container where Wexler's body is. They assume that Wexler swallowed the microchip, so they open up his stomach to find it.

Outside, Dixon finds his chauffeur dead and is attacked by a masked man with a gun. He overcomes the masked man and shoots him. He tells Sydney to abort, because they were expected. Sydney says they need another moment to get the microchip. The agent is disappointed to find Wexler's stomach empty. They look in Wexler's esophagus. They try to catch up a little while operating on the dead body. They find the chip.

They go back into the ballroom. The masked agent releases some balloons that were set to fall on the room so as to distract everyone. They make it outside where Dixon has a horse and carriage waiting for them. Dixon and the agent, Noah, recognize each other.

Sydney and Dixon sit next to each other on the plane home. Dixon worries about having pulled out a deep cover agent of five years. Sydney protests that they had no choice. Dixon warns Sydney not to get too close to Noah, especially before he's been debriefed. Dixon goes for a walk and Noah takes his seat. Sydney decides it's time for her to get some sleep. Noah says that if she's mad, he understands, but he's not mad anymore, and he doesn't think she should be either. She asks him what he could possible be mad about. He says that he knows he's the one who left, but she didn't put up much of a fight. And then she didn't come to meet him in San Pedro. She's confused about the San Pedro part. He says that he sent her a message to meet him in San Pedro. She says she never got a message. He says he encoded it in a junk email, and she should have been able to pick it out by the subject line. She says that she automatically filters out junk email, so she never saw it.

Sloane is angry that they "squandered a five-year investment" by pulling out Agent Noah Hicks. Noah says that they had no choice, that he would have been dead next. He says that since they at least recovered the microchip, Wexler didn't die in vain. Sloane orders Dixon to escort Noah to McCullough in security section. Sloane tells Sydney that now that he did her a favor, he expects that she'll return it when he needs it.

Noah takes a lie detector test while Sydney secretly watches. He talks about how he trained with the Russians and got posted to the embassy. He says that K-Directorate approached him about becoming an agent, but he turned them down. McCullough asks what his original motive for becoming a deep-cover agent was. He tries to avoid the question. McCullough insists. Noah says that he was in love, which he thought unprofessional, so he decided to get out of town. Now he regrets that. McCullough asks with whom was Noah in love. Noah refuses to answer. McCullough threatens him, but Noah says that since he's the only agent that's gotten anywhere near Khasinau, he knows he's valuable. And he doesn't kiss and tell. Sydney smiles to herself.

Sydney tells Vaughn she'll tell him if anything turns up on the microchip. Vaughn asks about Noah, and mentions that Sydney talked about him during her original debrief to the CIA. Sydney admits that she and Noah used to date while they were in training, but they kept it quiet, because SD-6 discourages fraternization among co-workers. Vaughn says that CIA discourages it as well. Vaughn asks if her dad's okay, because they've sent out two requests to meet with no response.

Sydney finds her dad in a bar and encourages him to see a counselor. He refuses and lashes out at her. She says that she knew he wouldn't listen to her, so she made it official. She says that she's passing on an order from Devlin that Jack see a CIA counselor for trauma evaluation.

Syd finds Noah at SD-6. He's uploading the microchip, which contains 10,000 files in 14 different languages, so he's helping with the decoding. They're both pleased that he was cleared by McCullough. They spend a lot of time working together on the microchip. Sydney asks him how long he's staying. He says it's complicated. He talks about how much fun she looked like she was having when they were training. He said that he knew then that she didn't know what she was getting herself into. She wonders if that's why he left, because he was worried she was going to get herself killed. She admits that he was right about one thing, that she's not having fun anymore.

Francie and Will, having bought Will a new tux, are going to a movie. Francie can't find her jacket, so she borrows one of Syd's. In the pocket, she finds a ticket from Italy dated for last week. Will and Francie wonder why Syd told them she went to Seattle.

Sloane reports in the briefing room that Khasinau bought two supercomputers that can simulate theoretical engineering designs. If he had Rambaldi artifacts, he could use the computers to figure out what pieces he's missing. Marshall continues that the supercomputers use a crystal data core that is an amazing store of information, but needs to be kept at really really cold conditions. Sloane says that they think that it's Khasinau's primary archive, with all his account numbers and contacts and agent names. And they are going to steal it. Dixon volunteers for the mission so that Noah can chill after his long time undercover, but Noah says he knows the area and he can do it. Sloane agrees that Noah's extra knowledge will help, so he sends Noah and Sydney.

Noah and Sydney are pretending to be American hikers. Russian guards accost them and hold them at gunpoint.

Jack is seeing the CIA counselor, Dr. Judy Barnett. He tells her exactly what she wants to hear and she calls him on it. She says he's still going to have to come back and see her. He says that he's not the kind of person who can talk to someone like her.

Noah and Sydney are taken to a guard house, where they use their special camera flash to knock out the guards. They take the secret elevator down to the computer complex and hold the guard down there at gunpoint. Before accessing the core, Sydney tries to look up info on her mother. She then goes into the cold room and gets the core. Another guard arrives upstairs and sets off an alarm that distracts Noah. The guard downstairs has a chance to hit a few buttons that make a mechanical arm knock Sydney over. She falls and the face plate on her protective suit breaks and she begins to freeze. Noah takes out the guard, and then shoots his way into the cold room to save Sydney. They barely escape and Sydney almost freezes to death.

Will and Francie wonder why Sydney is lying to them, and come up with some fantastical scenarios of what she could have been doing in Italy, none of which are close to the truth. They decide to ask her about it when she gets back from San Francisco.

Noah gets them to a safe house that he knows and arranges for extraction in six hours. He asks about what Sydney was looking up on the computer. She says she was looking for info on her mother, but doesn't want to tell him anything else. They talk a little about their past. They share a kiss which quickly turns to passion and they begin taking off each other's clothes.

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