The Devil and the Deep Blue

formerly "Serpentine"

(November 2002)

All original material © 2002, Jason Manning

Readers' Reviews & Comments

While Kwong and Mendez must survive what amounts to an
impossible mission in the Far East, Nikita discovers that Walter
has become a pawn in the struggle for power inside Section.

Section One, The Perch...
When Michelle enters The Perch, she finds Nikita at one of the monitors, engrossed in what she is watching. Moving closer, Michelle sees that it's a video-loop of the fateful exchange with The Collective, in which their father trades himself for Michael Samuelle's son, Adam. As she and Nikita watch, their father is gunned down by two of the terrorists. As the video loops to the beginning of the scene, Nikita notices Michelle for the first time.
MICHELLE, upset by what she has seen, but trying to maintain her composure: I can't believe you're watching that.
NIKITA: Why did they kill him? With all the information he possessed.
MICHELLE: Because they knew he wouldn't give them anything. That he would kill himself before he did. By killing him they hoped to deal us . . . (She looks at the screen again, just in time to see her father go down) . . . a severe blow.
NIKITA: I wasn't allowed near the body. Michael kept me away.
MICHELLE: To spare you, I'm sure. What are you getting at?
NIKITA, looking her sister straight in the eye: Is he really dead?
MICHELLE, angrily: Yes. He really is. Oh, I see. You think it might have been some grand subterfuge. And Michael was a part of it? (She shakes her head and turns away from the monitor)
NIKITA, using a remote to turn off the screen: What did you want to see me about something?
MICHELLE: We need to make a decision on the new material. Have you looked at the disk I gave you?
NIKITA: I have. None of them are suitable. (She turns away to gaze out at Section, which is, as usual, humming with activity.)
MICHELLE: What do you mean, 'not suitable'? I spent a lot of time selecting them. Complete backgrounds, psych profiles, compatibility studies. They're perfect for Section One.
NIKITA, coldly: They're scum.
MICHELLE, sarcastically: I see. So we're looking for Boy Scouts now. Like Serrett. The time and expense to train him is wasted. You should have had him killed.
NIKITA, as though to herself: Maybe I should have. Sometimes I think it would have been more merciful. (She turns on Michelle) But I don't like your 'new material.'
Michelle takes a disk from a pocket of her suit jacket and goes to a wall monitor, inserts disk into drive. A file, with photo, appears on the screen.
MICHELLE: Ivan Malankov, age 32, Chechen guerrilla leader, strong on strategic thinking and tactical skills. Highly developed survival instincts. He paid lip service to the Chechen revolt; his only allegiance is to himself.
NIKITA: He authorized the slaughter of entire villages -- men, women, and children -- if they didn't pay for his protection.
MICHELLE: Exactly. Which proves my last point. (She touches the keyboard, and another file, with photo, appears) Jeffrey Gage, age 29, touted as London's most accomplished thief and safecracker. Like Malankov, currently behind bars.
NIKITA: You've left out a small detail. After his last caper he murdered all three of his partners in cold blood. He can't be trusted.
MICHELLE, exasperated, punches the keyboard; a third file with photo appears: Senna Parabo, age 27, currently residing in a Brazilian prison. Known as Viuva Negro -- the Black Widow.
NIKITA: She seduced and married four wealthy men. Every one of them had a fatal "accident" within two years of the wedding day.
MICHELLE, raising her eyebrows: Her psych profile reveals she would be an ideal Valentine op. All three of these people are excellent candidates.
NIKITA: I don't think so. Keep looking.
MICHELLE: Section is understaffed by twenty-five percent. We're spread too thin to adequately perform the missions given us.
NIKITA: We're getting the job done.
MICHELLE: But not for long, at our current depletion rate. (She pauses) I'll have to bring this to Mr. Soto's attention if you refuse to do what's right for Section.
NIKITA, seeing several people congregating at the briefing table below The Perch: You'll have to excuse me. I have a briefing in five minutes.
MICHELLE: What makes you think our father is still alive?
NIKITA, shrugs: In this business, very little is as it appears to be.
MICHELLE: So you think he would have struck a bargain with The Collective?
NIKITA: I was there, remember? I didn't recognize any of the men on the other side of that bridge as agents of The Collective.
MICHELLE: So our father arranged Adam Samuelle's abduction and faked his own death? Why would he do that?
NIKITA: I didn't say he did.
She leaves The Perch.

Section One, briefing table...
Nikita stands opposite five people seated at the table -- Walter, Kate Quinn, Jasmine Kwong, Antonio Mendez and another operative named Shigeta. She activates the holoscreen, producing the image of an Asian man. He is of indeterminate age, handsome, and looking cruel and capable. A data stream scrolls beside the "artwork".
NIKITA: This is Wei Siao Long. He is the leader of Myanmar's United Wa Army. Now that Khun Sa has been "retired" by the authorities, Wei Siao is also Myanmar's foremost druglord. Since Myanmar produces nearly seventy percent of the world's heroin, it's safe to say that he is the world's biggest heroin dealer.
MENDEZ: We don't usually bother with drug dealers, even big ones.
NIKITA: That's right. But Wei Siao has political ambitions. He wants to establish his own little fiefdom in the north Shan states, and to that end he has effectively declared war on the government of Myanmar. The Wa Army consists of somewhere between 15,000 and 25,000 men.
KWONG: But they have never been well-armed. They've been used primarily to protect the heroin production sites and distribution networks.
NIKITA: Right. However, Wei Siao has been in contact with this man.... (She uses a remote to replace the Wei Siao Long file with that of another, a craggy-faced man with Slavic features) ....Bernhard Koch. Quinn?
QUINN: As all of you know, Koch is the largest arms dealer in Eastern Europe. He made quite a reputation for himself supplying the Serbs for the Bosnian conflict. We intercepted several communiques to Koch from a New Delhi-based middleman, Amanullah Nadu, who is representing Wei Siao. We know that a cargo ship, Liberian-registered, is nearing the Andaman Sea as we speak, bound for Rangoon. It is filled with AK-47s and 74s, M16 Armalites, RPGs and over two thousand land mines -- most of which we think is surplus Koch had on hand when demand dried up in Bosnia.
NIKITA: The stability of the Myanmar military regime could be seriously undermined if Wei Siao has any measure of success in his separatist schemes. With the arsenal Koch is prepared to provide, our sims show that success would be likely.
MENDEZ: And since the Myanmar government is pro-Western, we're going to stop that shipment.
NIKITA: Not stop it. You're going to confiscate it, enroute, and offer to sell it to Wei Siao.
KWONG: Has he already paid for the shipment?
QUINN: Our intercepts indicate he has made a down payment. A sizeable one. The rest is due on delivery.
MENDEZ: Which means our little piracy act will up the price, and Wei Siao won't like that.
NIKITA: But he'll pay. He can afford it. The arms shipment is just a means to an end, though. Your mission is to get close enough to Wei Siao Long to replace him with this man -- Wei Siao Gang. His twin brother.
Mendez and Kwong look at one another, taken aback by the scope and audacity of the mission.
KWONG, wryly: Identical twins, I hope.
NIKITA: Exactly. Gang was forced out by his brother because he opposed going to war with the government. Long is a ruthless man, but not ruthless enough to kill his own flesh-and-blood.
QUINN: Our intel is that Gang has been set up in Kuala Lumpur, beyond the reach of the Myanmar authorities, and living in high-style, thanks to the generosity of his brother.
MENDEZ: Gang is going to help us of his own free will?
NIKITA: Yes. He thinks Long's plan will bring ruin to his people. And he is the only person who can keep the Wa Army from going to war. Shigeta will deliver Gang to you. You'll switch him for Long, and hopefully no one will be the wiser. Bear in mind that Long must be alive when Gang arrives, or he won't play ball.
MENDEZ: So we're to bring Long back alive?
NIKITA, grimly: Yes. We'll keep him alive, for a while. Gang may want to reassure himself that his brother is okay. But you will destroy the arms shipment. Mission profiles are on your panels. You'll leave within the hour.
Nikita walks away. Walter, Quinn and Shigeta leave the briefing table. Kwong glances at Mendeaz, then leaves also. He lingers, clearly troubled.

Section One, Munitions...
As Mendez walks in, Walter is handing Kwong a panel.
WALTER: Here's the inventory for Beta Team. There wasn't time to append it to the profile.
KWONG: It looks fine. Except I think we should have a backup for the wide-band jammer. They'll have state-of-the-art comm setup aboard the freighter, and probably a frequency-hopper, so we've got to be sure we have the means to silence them.
WALTER: No problem. (He hands Mendez a panel) Here's the Alpha Team A-List. I'll be right back.
He heads into the Munitions storage area.
MENDEZ, to Kwong: You've seen the profile. There are too many variables. This would be a job for abeyance operatives -- if we still had that program in place. We don't get to see the risk assessment, but I'm sure our P.O.S. is low enough to qualify this as a suicide mission.
KWONG: We can pull it off. What's the matter with you? Are you worried about dying?
MENDEZ, with a grimace: I'm worried about you dying.
KWONG, annoyed: Well, that's very chivalrous of you. Or should I say chauvinistic? Don't worry about me. I can take care of myself.
Shaking her head, she leaves Munitions. Mendez turns to see that Walter has emerged from the storage area -- and overheard the exchange with Kwong.
WALTER, with a sly shrug: Well, like I've always said, that one's an ice queen. Thing about it, though, if a man finds a way to thaw her out....whew!
MENDEZ, dryly: I suppose you are the expert on such matters.
WALTER, grinning: Yeah, well, I've had some experience with women, it's true...
With a grimace, Mendez leaves Munitions.

C141 Starlifter, 30,000 feet above the Andaman Sea...
Mendez, Kwong and six other Section ops, all clad in black bodysuits are waiting in the hold of the Starlifter, which is illuminated by a green light. Each of them is wearing a rebreather, a parachute, and a pair of swim fins attached to a utility belt. Mendez and his three-man team stand on one side of two black bomblike cylinders, while Kwong and her three-man team are lined up on the other.
The green light begins blinking rapidly. Mendez glances across at Kwong with a reassuring smile.
MENDEZ: See you downstairs.
Kwong nods, her features taut. She and the other Section ops don their helmets. She thumbs the display button. Red glowing figures scroll at the bottom of her visor. She checks her rebreather gauge.
The flashing green light turns red. Over the hiss of the rebreather she hears the whine of hydraulics as the cargo plane's rear doors swing outward. Kwong stares at the star-studded night sky. A moment later she hears a clanking noise as skid locks are automatically released. The skids are elevated at one end, and the black cylinders plunge over the lip of the exit ramp.
Mendez goes down the ramp and disappears. Kwong goes next, stepping out into the void. Spreading her arms and legs, she plummets at 140 miles per hour. She focuses on the altitude reading scrolling inside her visor. It's the only visual reference she has to the fact that she is hurtling towards the sea. At 15,000 feet she opens her chute. Now in a controlled descent, she looks down -- and, thanks to the visor's night-vision overlay, can see the surface of the water.
Far below, the large cylinders plunge into the sea. Their parachutes fill with anchor and begin to sink, acting like anchors. Explosive charges built into the chute bolts free the chutes from the cylinders, which are buoyant. Green chem-lights come on at both ends, and the homing beacons pulse steadily.
Kwong hits the water several hundred yards from the nearest cylinder. She releases her chute, puts on her fins, and begins to swim. Within seconds of her reaching the cylinder, she sees other ops dropping into the water, and she's joined by her team. She and a team member climb atop the cylinder, straddle it, trigger the small explosive charges that pop the latches. The cylinder yawns open. Working swiftly, she and her team remove and inflate the Zodiac assault raft, secure the hydrojet propulsion unit to a support frame, load up their supplies, and are in the raft before the cylinder fills with water and sinks.
One of Kwong's team checks the readout on a PDA.
SECTION OP: Bearing 018, 1800 meters.
KWONG: Activate the jammer. Let's go.
The hydrojet propulsion, quiet but powerful, sends the Zodiac skimming across the water. Kwong sees that Mendez and his team are in a second Zodiac, heading in the same direction...

Section One bodysuits are made from a flexible thermal blend of Gore-Tex and acrylonitrile compounds; they are a quarter-inch thick, can double as a wetsuit, and can withstand the impact of a small caliber bullet. The helmets are equipped with a night-vision visor and a holographic heads-up display linked to a computer that provides a stream of data on altitude, speed, direction.

The Andaman Sea, approaching the Charybdis...
The Zodiacs approach the freighter from the stern; then, as the one carrying Mendez and his team proceed straight on, the other swings wide around to starboard. One of Kwong's team members secures a thermal imager to a tripod, plugs it into a panel, and begins scanning the ship 200 meters away.

Zodiac: A high-performance inflatable boat produced by a French company and often used in military maritime and amphibious operations. Its origins go back to the 1930s, when Zodiac, long a manufacturer of balloons and dirigibles, was asked to create a seagoing "bomb carrier" for the French Navy.

Section One, Communications...
Kate Quinn is at her workstation, with Nikita looking over her shoulder. Quinn is receiving the thermal imaging scan on one of her screens. Quinn punches a few buttons on her keyboard and superimposes the scan onto a schematic of the Charybdis.
QUINN, into her comm set: Here we go. Two on the bridge. Two on deck, one fore and aft. I count ten...twelve...thirteen below deck.

The Andaman Sea, approaching the Charybdis...
Kwong hears this via the comm unit built into her helmet. She turns to another team member, who has secured a Macmillan-Barrett sniper rifle with scope to another brace.
KWONG: One on deck at the stern. Take him out.
The sharpshooter finds his target in the Rank Pullin SS20 scope and fires.
SHARPSHOOTER: Target down.
KWONG, into her comm set: Alpha Team, you're clear.
The Zodiac carrying Mendez and his team are at the stern. Compressed-air guns fire grappling hooks up and over the bulwark. The lines are pulled taut, and the team scrambles up them, boarding the Charybdis. Crouching, Mendez unslings the H&K MP5KA4, fitted with suppressor, glances at the corpse of the deck guard nearby.

Section One, Communications...
VOICE OF MENDEZ: Alpha Team at first mark.
QUINN, glances up to see Nikita's nod: Alpha Team, proceed to second mark. Beta Team, hold your position.

Aboard the Charybdis...
Mendez and his men remove their helmets, replace them with night-vision goggles sporting comm unit attachments. He and two of his team ops head forward while the third member remains near the stern. While the other two ops station themselves at the top of companionways leading to the lower decks, Mendez climbs to the starboard hatch leading to the bridge.
MENDEZ, into comm unit: Alpha Team at second mark.

Aboard the Zodiac...
Kwong hears Mendez, and then Quinn via her comm unit.
VOICE OF QUINN: Beta Team, take out the second guard.
Kwong nods at the sharpshooter, who looks through his scope, then looks at her and shakes his head.
KWONG, into comm unit: No shot on the second guard.

Aboard the Charybdis...
Mendez hears Kwong, looks forward, sees the guard along the starboard rail, moving aft, towards him.
MENDEZ, whispering into comm unit: Strausser, move up and take out the guard.
The op near the stern moves forward in a crouching run. Despite his precautions, the second guard sees him, opens fire. Strausser returns fire, but goes down, hit in the leg. Mendez guns down the guard.

Aboard the Zodiak...
Kwong turns to the op handling the propulsion unit.
KWONG: Get moving! (Into her comm unit...) Beta Team boarding.

Aboard the Charybdis...
Mendez enters the bridge in a crouch. The helmsman shoots at him with an automatic; Mendez fires as he dives sideways, rolling. The helmsman does a jerky dance as the bullets strike, then falls. A second man is on a transmitter, jabbering excitedly in Hindu. Mendez takes two strides and knocks him cold with the butt of the H&K. He picks up the radio headset, listens for a few seconds, and hears only the shrill whine of the wide-range jammers.
MENDEZ, into comm unit: Bridge secured.
He hears gunfire, steps out of the bridge, looks aft. The two remaining ops on his team are firing down through the hatchways, and are being fired upon. Mendez sees grappling hooks soar over the port rail; a moment later, Kwong and two of her ops are aboard. Mendez goes down to meet them.
MENDEZ: Send one op to hold the bridge and come with me.
Kwong dispatches one op with a gesture, then she and the two others follow Mendez to the hatchways. Concussion grenades are tossed down. Mendez, Kwong and one other op descend one companionway, while the three other Section ops proceed down the other. They kick in doors, firing bursts into a messhall, a galley, a laundry, a barracks. An op kicks open the rec room door, is hurled backward by a hail of bullets. Mendez and Kwong both toss an M26A1 fragment grenade. They go in with H&Ks blasting, saturating the room, dropping the few crewmen who survived the frags.

Section One, Communications...
Nikita tensely listens to the sounds of battle coming over her comm unit.
QUINN: Alpha Team, I'm reading two more hotspots in the engine room, directly below you. Wait a minute. (She consults an overhead monitor) I'm also picking up an electronic signature...
NIKITA: Mendez, they've activated an explosive charge, probably on the hull. They're going to try to scuttle the ship.
QUINN, to Nikita, turning off her comm unit: The charge could go off any second. Should we abort?
NIKITA, without hesitation: No. That shipment does us no good if it's at the bottom of the sea.

Aboard the Charybdis...
MENDEZ, to Kwong: Come on!
They rush down a companionway, descending to the generator room. At the bottom of the steps Mendez swings one way, Kwong the other. She shouts a warning, gives Mendez a hard shove, and dives sideways, firing her H&K. A crewman gets off one shot with his AK-47 before dying on his feet. Mendez ducks as a bullet slams into a bulkhead nearby. His H&K jams. A crewman steps out from behind a generator, taking careful aim with his pistol. Kwong whirls, takes him down with a surgically-precise burst.
KWONG, wrily: Now, aren't you glad I came along?
MENDEZ: Gloat later. We've got to find that charge.
They split up. A moment later, by sheer luck, Mendez finds the charge, secured to a bulwark.
MENDEZ, into comm unit: I've got it. C4, electronic timer, thermal trigger...
KWONG, from the other end of the generator room, via comm unit: How much time?
MENDEZ, reading the LED panel on the detonator -- its counting down to 5 seconds: You don't want to know.
He slips the thermal trigger out of the plastique, rips the detonator wiring from the trigger cap just as the LED flicks to zero.
Then he remembers to breathe.
MENDEZ, into comm unit: We're okay here.

Section One, Communications...
Nikita takes a deep breath, sets her comm unit down, and walks away.
VOICE OF MENDEZ: Any more hotspots, Quinn?
QUINN: You're clear. The ship is secure. Losses?
VOICE OF MENDEZ: One dead, one wounded.

The Center...
Michelle walks briskly down the sterile, serpentine hallways . A portion of a glass wall slides open as she approaches, and she enters the outer office of Mr. Jonathan Soto. A muscular black man sits at a semicircular desk. He is dressed in a dark suit and has the eyes of a killer.
MAN: Go in. He's expecting you.
He presses a button hidden beneath the desk. A door, indistinguishable from the wall into which it is set when closed, swings open. Michelle passes across the threshold. Tall, gaunt, impeccably dressed, Soto is standing, hands behind his back, gazing into a jungle atrium. There is a smile on his thin, bloodless lips as he turns.
SOTO: Michelle. It's always a delight to see you. To what do I owe this pleasure?
MICHELLE, very businesslike: If you've seen Section One's proficiency numbers lately, you know why I'm here.
SOTO: You've come to tattle on your sister, then.
MICHELLE: Our attrition rate is as high as ever, and yet recruitment is down. She will not approve most of the candidates. Mission success rate -- down. Morale -- low.
SOTO, moving to his desk and sitting behind it: Sounds rather grim.
MICHELLE, leaning over the desk: What are you waiting for? Get rid of her. If you wait much longer there won't be anything left for me to run.
SOTO, raising an eyebrow: You sound certain the job is yours if Nikita fails.
Michelle smiles coyly; she sits on the desk corner, revealing a lot of leg.
MICHELLE: You know you want me -- running Section One, that is.
SOTO, shrugging: It's not quite so simple, my dear. Your father had powerful friends -- many of whom are still in positions of high authority. I have to be careful where she is concerned. He saw to that.
MICHELLE: Speaking of which, she's wondering if he's really dead.
SOTO, startled: What would make her think he wasn't?
MICHELLE: She isn't a fool. She is her father's daughter, after all. She has the video from the mission log. You know the one I mean.
SOTO: How did she come by it? That log has been marked 'my eyes only'.
MICHELLE: I have no idea. I'm sure she has resources you aren't aware of.
SOTO: No matter. You realize it would be better for all concerned if Nikita resigned. It's not as though she ever aspired to her present position. Frankly, I'm surprised she's held on for this long. She has few friends in Section One. Michael Samuelle is gone...
MICHELLE, beginning to pace in front of the desk: Walter isn't. She's responsible for bringing him back into the Section. The old man should be in retirement.
SOTO: Then why don't you get rid of him? I'm sure you can think of something diabolically clever. You are, after all, your father's daughter, too.
Soto smiles coldly. Michelle returns the smile.

Yangon, Myanmar -- Hla Myanma Rice House...
Shwe Ba is eating a bowl of sibyan when Mendez arrives at his corner booth and sits down across the table. Startled, Shwe Ba looks at Mendez, then at a nearby table, where a burly man sits, staring fearfully down at his crotch. Kwong is sitting intimately close to this man, one arm draped langorously over his shoulders. She whispers something in the man's ear, then smiles across at Shwe Ba -- and very briefly he sees the automatic in her hand before she nestles it in the burly man's crotch again.
MENDEZ: I think your bodyguard is worried about something more precious to him than you are.
SHWE BA: What do you want?
MENDEZ: I have a cargo of munitions that your employer wants.
SHWE BA, eyes narrowed: What do you mean?
MENDEZ: Don't be coy. The captain of the Charybdis told me how to find you. If Wei Siao wants the shipment, he has to deal with me now.
SHWE BA, coldly: You must not know who you are dealing with. If you did, you would realize that you've committed suicide.
MENDEZ, sliding a piece of paper across the table: There's the price. And a cell number. You have twelve hours to contact me. Otherwise, there'll be a very large explosion somewhere on the Andaman Sea.
SHWE BA, looking from Mendez to Kwong and back again: You are pirates.
MENDEZ: We like to think of ourselves as entrepreneurs. (He rises, thinks of something, and leans down to whisper to Shwe Ba) And don't bother trying to find the ship. Even if you did, any attempt to board her and, well -- remember what I said about the explosion.
Mendez leaves. Shwe Ba sees that his bodyguard is alone again. He nods after Mendez. The bodyguard opens his jacket, shows Shwe Ba his empty shoulder holster. Having lost his appetite, a disgusted Shwe Ba, pushes the bowl of sibyan away.

Section One, Munitions...
Nikita crosses the Common Area toward Munitions, pausing to take a look around before entering. Walter is in the storage area, panel in hand, doing an inventory. As she walks closer he looks up, and smiles broadly.
WALTER: Hey, Boss.
NIKITA: I keep telling you. Don't call me that.
WALTER, leaning forward, with a conspiratorial whisper: Well I can't very well call the head of Section One "Sugar", now can I?
NIKITA, smiling: I need a favor, Walter.
WALTER: Hey, all you gotta do is ask.
Nikita takes his panel, removes the inventory mini-disk, replaces it with a mini-disk of her own. She hands the panel back to Walter. It shows the video loop of the exchange on the bridge that culminated in the shooting of Mr. Jones. Walter watches, his grin fading.
WALTER: What do you want me to do?
NIKITA: There's something wrong with this picture. For one thing, those men -- supposedly they were with The Collective, and yet I can't find them in any of our databases. Do an analysis for me. Range, velocity, impact. My fa-...Mr. Jones was shot with .45 automatics. Make sure there aren't any anomalies.
WALTER, eyes narrowed: What are you thinking?
NIKITA: Just do it, Walter. Please.
WALTER: Systems could run that analysis.
NIKITA: You're the only person I can trust to be absolutely discreet about this.
WALTER, sighs, and nods: I think you should leave it alone. But I'll do what you want. (He grimaces, squeezing his eyes shut, leaning heavily against a storage rack)
NIKITA, putting a hand on his shoulder: What's wrong, Walter?
WALTER, shaking his head: Nothing. Just...just a little double vision. Ringing in my ears. (He forces a smile) I'm overworked -- and underpaid!
Nikita smiles back, and leaves.

Section One, The Perch...
Nikita is on the phone with The Center.
NIKITA, exasperated: Yes, Jonathan. I'm well aware that the Myanmar mission is highest priority....Yes....You'll be the first to know....It will.
A soft electronic flutter alerts her to a message from Comm.
NIKITA, into phone, firmly: Goodbye, Jonathan. (She disconnects) Yes?
VOICE OF QUINN: Mendez and Kwong have heard from Shwe Ba. They're to meet Wei Siao in twelve hours.
NIKITA: Good. Location?
VOICE OF QUINN: Martaban. It's....
NIKITA: I know where it is. How secure can we make the site in twelve hours?
VOICE OF QUINN, with slight hesitation: We can't. We have no resources in the area apart from the mission teams.
NIKITA: They stay with the cargo. Tell Mendez to proceed. Where is Shigeta and his material?
VOICE OF QUINN: Across the border in Thailand. They're moving to alpha point.
NIKITA: Good. Once he has transferred Wei Siao Gang, Shigeta is to proceed to the Charybdis with Mendez.

Myanmar, the road to Martaban...
Kwong is driving a beat-up, gunmetal-gray Landrover down a twisting coastal road, through what is mostly farmland, with the occasional poor village. Mendez sits on the passenger side, watching the road ahead, and behind, the sea to their right.
MENDEZ: Wei Siao might not be the only player we have to worry about. By now Koch knows his shipment has been hijacked.
KWONG: We'll deal with it.

Section One, Communications...
QUINN: Mendez. Shigeta is at alpha point with Wei Siao Gang.
VOICE OF MENDEZ: We should be there any minute.

Myanmar, the road to Martaban...
MENDEZ: Look around you. Little wonder people like Wei Siao want to wage war against the government. Any way you look at it , it's a repressive military regime.
KWONG, with a glance at him: We're just here to do a job, not to...
MENDEZ, wryly: Yes, I know. Ours is not to reason why. Sorry. Just a momentary attack of conscience.
KWONG: Don't let it happen again.
MENDEZ, not quite sure if she's joking or serious: So what is it about me you don't like?
KWONG: What's there not to like? You're arrogant, stubborn. And you have that Latin machismo thing going....
She looks at him again, with the trace of a smile at the corners of her mouth.
MENDEZ: Then....what's the problem?
KWONG, that ghost of a smile fading quickly: When they brought me into Section I made two rules for myself. One is to survive, no matter what I have to do. The second is not to get involved with anyone. Especially another op.
MENDEZ: What you're saying is, if you didn't have those rules then I might have a chance.
KWONG, hesitating a moment, watching the road: No.

Myanmar, a warehouse in Martaban...
They arrive at a deserted warehouse along an empty dock in the coastal town. One in a row of large doors is open. Kwong drives the Landrover inside, stops as two men armed with light machineguns block the way.
KWONG: Chinese Type 64s. Wei Siao does need better armament. Let's hope he keeps that in mind.
They get out. The two men motion for them to walk. They cross the empty warehouse to an open doorway on the other side. Four men stand there; two are also armed with Type 64s. The third is Shwe Ba. The other, Wei Siao Long, is a small, slender man with hair tied in a long ponytail and wearing an olive-drab trenchcoat, is gazing out to sea. He turns as Mendez and Kwong draw near, studies them with a faint smile on an angular, handsome face.
LONG, in Kachin: Ah, the pirates who stole my cargo...
SHWE BA, with considerable animosity: Yes, that's them.
KWONG, in Cantonese: I do not speak Kachin.
LONG, in Cantonese: No matter. I was educated in Kunming. (He looks her over again, admiringly, from top to bottom) There are many pirates on these seas, but none, I think, that look like you.
KWONG: Let's get down to business. If you want your cargo it will cost you $1.5 million. That's American dollars.
LONG: I paid half that up front to the original supplier.
KWONG, with a shrug: That's not my problem. You should have insisted that he guarantee delivery.
LONG, with hooded eyes: He did. I doubt I'll get a refund, though. By the way, he will not take kindly to what you have done. I don't know if there is a place on this earth that you could go to escape his wrath. But if such a place exists, I suggest you find it.
Kwong reaches slowly into her jacket pocket. Four Type 64s swing her way. She takes out a Psion handheld.
KWONG, coolly: Thank you. I'll do that -- as soon as our transaction is complete.
LONG: You expect to be paid before the merchandise is delivered?
KWONG: It's the only way I will get paid.
LONG, with a soft laugh, as he takes his own: I will want the coordinates of the Charybdis.
KWONG: Of course. But first -- Banque Suisse, Geneva. Account one-four-seven-two-nine.
Long keys the PDA. Kwong watches the Psion's readout, then nods at Mendez. She punches a key on the Psion and they hear a cell phone ring. Long looks at a startled Shwe Ba, who takes a phone from his coat pocket, looks at the readout.
KWONG: There are your coordinates. It's been a pleasure.
She and Mendez turn to go.
LONG, curtly: Not so fast. How do I know the Charybdis is where you claim it is? Or that you haven't rigged your explosives -- you know, the ones you warned my associate about -- to detonate in, say, thirty minutes?
KWONG: Why would I do that? There's no profit in it.
LONG: Still, both of you will keep me company until I'm convinced the cargo is safely in my possession.
Kwong and Mendez look at one another as Long's guard close in on them, the barrels of their light machineguns just inches away.

Section One, Communications...
Thanks to the audio and video feed from the sunglasses Kwong wears, Quinn, at her work station, is watching and listening to the exchange in Martaban.
VOICE OF LONG: This shouldn't take too long. I've had planes in the air for the past twenty four hours, looking for the ship. Of course, I could turn you both over to Bernhard Koch. Call it a good faith gesture on my part. I hope to continue doing business with him, and we'd both probably be much better off with the two of you out of the picture.
Quinn glances up at The Perch, sees Nikita standing there alone.

Section One, The Perch...
Nikita is listening to the same audio feed.
VOICE OF LONG: I am a patriot, you see. Not just a drug dealer. I care about my country, and its people. The Tatmadaw is corrupt. Our Constitution has been suspended for fifteen years, did you know that? Once the revolution begins, tens of thousands will rise up against the tyrants. So you see, I will need much more of Koch's merchandise.
VOICE OF KWONG: And who will take over once the Tatmadaw is out of power? You? Myanmar, run by a druglord. Maybe you could put all the peasants to work in your poppy fields and heroin plants.

Myanmar, the warehouse in Martaban...
Shwe Ba's cellphone rings. He answers it, listens a moment.
SHWE BA: They have spotted the ship -- right where she said it would be.
LONG: How far?
SHWE BA: An hour.
LONG: Summon the helicopter.
Shwe Ba dials a number, speaks in Kachin. A moment later they hear the helicopter. It settles on the dock just outside the warehouse. Long gestures for Kwong and Mendez to precede him.
LONG: We will all go to the ship. If you do plan sabotage, then we will all die together.
Without a word, Kwong and Mendez make for the Bell 214B helicopter, followed by Wei Siao and Shwe Ba. One of the guards accompany them, the rest remaining behind.

Section One, Communications...
At her workstation, Quinn glances over to see Walter emerging from Munitions, walking with long strides towards the nearest access to The Perch. She returns to her work, then hears an anguished cry and looks back at Walter, who is clutching his chest. He drops to his knees, then pitches forward. Several ops in the Common Area start towards him. Quinn reaches him first.
Up in The Perch, Nikita sees Walter collapse and leaves on the run. Reaching the Common Area seconds later, she pushes through the half-dozen ops who have gathered around the fallen man.
NIKITA, frantic: Don't just stand there. Someone call Medical.
QUINN: It's done. (She is performing CPR, chest compressions followed by mouth-to-mouth)
NIKITA, kneeling beside Walter: What is it? What's wrong with him?
QUINN, curtly: I'm not a doctor. But it looks like a heart attack to me.
Two medical technicians arrive. One rips open Walter's shirt, attaches two electrodes from a Micropaq monitor.
MED TECH, to his associate: We have myocardial infarction. Defibrillate.
Nikita rises, steps back as the other med tech applies a portable defibrillator and sends a jolt of electric shock through Walter's body. Stricken, she can scarcely stand to watch.
MED TECH, consulting the Micropaq: Normalizing. Let's get him to Medical.
Two other med techs have arrived with a gurney. They lift Walter onto it, and leave on the run.

Section One, an observation bay in Medical...
Nikita enters to find Walter, hooked up to monitors, his eyes closed. Trying to maintain her composure, Nikita steps closer, takes one of his hands in hers. She bends down, kisses him softly on the cheek.
NIKITA, whispering: You can't leave me, Walter. I...I need you.
Walter's eyelids flutter open. He turns his head slowly, sees her, smiles weakly.
WALTER: Hey, Boss. Who...hit me?
NIKITA: You had a heart attack, Walter. But you'll be fine.
WALTER: A heart.... (He shakes his head) No way. I need a drink....
Nikita pours him a cup of water from a carafe on a rolling tray, lifts his head slightly, puts the cup to his lips. He takes a sip, makes a face.
WALTER: Guess there's no chance I could get something with more of a kick to it, huh?
NIKITA, smiling: Not just now.
WALTER: A heart attack. Makes no sense. I had a physical a month ago. Strong as a bull. (He looks dejected) Damn. Might as well face facts. I'm just getting old.
NIKITA: No. Just rest. Get better. I need you, Walter. I don't think I could survive here without you.
WALTER, squeezes her hand: Always selling yourself short. Hey. I have something for you. Had the nurse give it to me before they took my clothes. (He reaches under the covers, extracts a mini-disk) That asked for... (His voice is weakening; he closes his eyes)
NIKITA, taking the disk: Thank you. Now get some rest, okay?
She starts to pull away, but he clutches her hand, opening his eyes again.
WALTER: I need a favor.
NIKITA: Anything.
WALTER: Jase. I want to see Jason.
NIKITA: Jason Crawford?
WALTER, nodding: There's something I've been meaning to tell him for a long time.
Nikita can see it's important to Walter. She nods. He smiles, relieved, and closes his eyes again. On her way out, she is met by a doctor, a stocky black man.
NIKITA: What's the prognosis?
DOCTOR: It's hard to say with this sort of thing. Heart attacks often occur without warning, without any prior history of pulmonary....
NIKITA: Do everything you can.
DOCTOR, warily: Don't worry. I will. You don't have to put a gun to my head, believe me.
NIKITA: And I want his entire medical history in my hands in thirty minutes.
She walks out.

Section One, Nikita's quarters...
Nikita enters her private quarters (the room formerly used by Operations and Madeline for their breakfast-planning sessions). It's a bright room, filled with discreetly hidden lights, glass tile walls, and a large screen built into a wall, currently showing a video loop of a curving stretch of beach lined with palm trees, the sun bright on the waves as they roll in. Nikita goes to a wall-mounted station, inserts the mini-disk. The video loop of her father's shooting appears in slow-motion; Walter also appears, in a window at the bottom left corner of the screen.
WALTER: Well, Boss the more I see of this the less sure I am that either one of us should be involved. I've run every analysis in the book. Mr. Jones was shot at close range -- inside ten feet -- with two .45 automatics. Weapons have been my bag for forty years and I can tell you, my gut instinct tells me something's not kosher. He should have been knocked backwards. Instead, he fell forward. They shot him in the chest. If they'd really wanted to be sure he was dead they would have gone for the head shot. They couldn't know if he was wearing Kevlar. Or maybe they did know -- if you get my drift....
Nikita vividly remembers those last moments on the bridge with her father...
FLASHBACK OF MR. JONES: I do apologize for this whole elaborate charade. But you see, I had to make it appear convincing....
WALTER: My best guess is that the odds are at least six to one that there's more to this than meets the eye. But, who knows? I think you should drop the whole thing. But I know you wot'. So my next piece of advice to you is -- find the person who arranged for you to acquire this video. Whoever it was, he probably knows a lot about what really happened on the bridge that day. I reckon it's somebody who knows Section inside and out....
Nikita remembers....Mr. Jones, as he begins the walk across the bridge, placing a hand on Michael's shoulder....
NIKITA, a whisper: Michael?

The Charybdis, somewhere in the Andaman Sea...
The helicopter sets down on the deck of the freighter. A reddish sun seems to be melting into the sea. Wei Siao Long, Shwe Ba, Kwong, Mendez and the man with the light machinegun get out and step away from the chopper.
LONG, looking around at a seemingly abandoned ship, then turning to Kwong: Where are your associates?
KWONG: They've been gone for over an hour now.
LONG: First things first. (He turns to Shwe Ba) Go to the bridge and make certain the equipment there has not been sabotaged. (Back to Kwong and Mendez) You will take me below. I want to make sure the charges that you set aren't armed.
KWONG, unconcerned: No problem. The engine room.
LONG, glancing curiously at Mendez: You don't say much, do you?
KWONG: He's not very bright.
LONG, with a gesture and a cold smile: Ladies first.
Kwong leads the way, down a series of companionways to the lower deck, and into the engine room. She leads him to the charge she had found two days earlier. The C4 is secured to a magnetic base attached to a bulwark. She pulls it free, turns, and tosses it to Long.
KWONG: Here. See for yourself.
Startled and alarmed, Long catches the bomb with both hands. Kwong whirls and delivers a spinning crescent kick to his head. As Long sprawls, unconscious, the guard swings his Type 64 around. With lightning speed, Kwong produces a small throwing knife from under her sleeve and makes a lateral throw. The guard triggers the Type 64 as he falls backwards, the knife buried to the hilt in his throat. Kwong lunges for Mendez, tackles him, as a spray of bullets whine over their heads. The shooting stops -- the guard is dead. Lying on top of Mendez, Kwong smiles -- and peels the latex mask from his face.
KWONG: Sorry about that, Mr. Wei Siao.
WEI SIAO GANG: My brother....?
KWONG: Alive.
She rises, helps Gang to his feet. As Gang kneels to check Long's pulse, Kwang reattaches the charge to the bulwark, sets the timer.
KWONG: I suggest you get to the helicopter.
GANG: I have your word that you will not kill him.
KWONG: For as long as you keep your end of the bargain.
GANG, exchanging his black leather jacket for Long's olive-drab trenchcoat: How do I look?
KWONG: A dead ringer. We have five minutes.
She hoists the unconscious Long in a fireman's carry over her shoulder and follows Gang up the companionway. Gang emerges onto the main deck first, runs to the helicopter. A moment later it lifts off. Only then does Kwong emerge. She looks forward, and sees Mendez coming out of the bridge. As the sound of the helicopter fades, they reach the starboard side of the freighter. Mendez has a life jacket -- he hurriedly straps it on Long.
KWONG: Shwe Ba?
MENDEZ: He's history.
They shoves Long over the railing.
MENDEZ: After you.
KWONG: Now don't start that again.
He smiles -- and she can't help but smile back.Together they vault over the rail and plunge into the darkening sea. Knifing into the water, they swim to the surface and are pulled aboard a Zodiac by two Section ops. Long has already been recovered. The Zodiac veers away from the freighter at top speed, skimming across the surface of the sea.They are five hundred meters away when they hear a muffled explosion, followed by a much larger one, and the entire midsection of the Charybdis is consumed by balls of flame. Split in two, the freighter sinks in minutes.

Section One, The Perch...
Michelle enters, to find Nikita on the phone.
NIKITA, into the phone, with more than trace of sarcasm: Thank you, Jonathan. It's nice to know we have your complete confidence.
She disconnects, turns to Michelle.
MICHELLE, trying to sound sincere: Congratulations. The Myanmar mission was a success.
NIKITA: It went according to plan.
MICHELLE: I heard about Walter. How is he doing?
NIKITA: He's stabilized. I'm confident he'll recover. A few years ago, on a mission in Eastern Europe, Madeline took a drug that induced a heart attack. She was nearing full recovery in less than a week.
MICHELLE, her features a mask of stone: I'm not familiar with this drug.
NIKITA, glaring at her sister: Really? That's funny. I could have sworn you would be.
She walks away.

Section One, an observation bay in Medical...
Walter opens his eyes to see Jason Crawford standing beside his bed.
WALTER: Jase! You came. (Weakly, he lifts a hand)
JASON, looking at the hand without taking it: Well, yeah. They told me to. I, um, I hear you had a close call. Look, maybe you're just a little too old for this scene. It's high pressure, man.
WALTER, lowering the hand, forcing a smile: Yeah. Yeah, it sure is.
They look at each other, neither knowing quite what to say.
JASON: So, Nikita said you had something you wanted to tell me?
WALTER, licking dry lips: Uh, right. I did. I mean I do. It's...well, it's hard to find the right words.
JASON: You, at a loss for words? I find that hard to believe.
WALTER, grimly: It's about you. And your brother. I...I was there when the two of you were born. In fact, I was the one who made the decision which of you would stay in Section. You see they were trying a little experiment....
JASON, impatiently: I know. They watched me on the outside, Seymour on the inside. Compared notes. (He shakes his head) Kinda stupid, if you ask me. But why did you get to make the choice?
WALTER: Because...I was the father.
JASON, taking a step back from the bed: What? What did you say?
WALTER: I'm your father, Jase. (He forces a raffish grin) Hey, look. I don't expect....I mean, I just wanted to....When I was laying there on the floor, thinking I was dying, I suddenly realized that I needed to tell you. It's a secret I've kept for a long time. I didn't want to take it to my grave.
JASON, coldly: Oh, well, no, we wouldn't want that on your conscience.
WALTER: Look, I don't blame you for being angry....
JASON: What do you know about how I feel? You don't know anything about me. What do you want from me?
WALTER: Nothing.
JASON: Good. Fine. I know you and Seymour were close.
WALTER, wistfully: Yeah. And he died without knowing.
JASON: I have a news flash for you. It would have suited me to die without knowing.
He hurries out of the observation bay. Walter watches him go, and sighs.


Characters from the television series La Femme Nikita:
Nikita, Jasmine Kwong, Walter, Jason Crawford, Quinn, Michelle

Original "Season Six" characters:
Antonio Mendez, Jonathan Soto, Wei Siao Long, Wei Siao Gang, Shwe Ba