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ECHOES Of The Past

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Echoes Of The Past (1.1)

The limo drove down the path, leaving a spray of gravel behind it. The driver didn't want to be caught by anyone, let alone members of the British Intelligence Community.

"I thought you were dead" Beckett said. He had recognised the voice coming from the front of the car. The only reason he had not placed it at once was that he really thought that she had been killed nearly seven years before.

"Rumours of my death were exaggerated Nicky - I am alive and well"

"And kidnapping and killing people" Ros added. She didn't know what was going on, or why she had been dragged in to it.

"Mr Mosby was not as helpful as his profile had lead me to believe. He turned Stephano down. Then you and Nicky turned up and forced the issue. It's sad - I don't know what his wife will say"

"So why did you need Adam's help?" Beckett asked "And why are you back in the country?"

"That's another story Nicky. One that we should only discuss when we get to where we are going"

"Which is where?" Ros asked.

"America"

Echoes of The Past (1.2)

The car came to a sudden stop outside the abandoned building. The driver got out and looked around. The street was pretty deserted and no one had been paying any attention to him anyway. The back streets of the town were like that - no one wanted to pay too much attention to anything, just in case it came back to bite them in the arse later on.

He started walking towards the building when another car screeched to a halt behind him. He turned quickly, his hand already on a gun hidden in his jacket, but relaxed when he saw the young woman climbing out of the car.

"Maxine. He called you in too?"

"It seems it's all hands on deck today Lorne. Micah sounded worried"

"That he did" Lorne Cash said to himself. It was a bit of an odd situation - Micah never worried about anything. Even in his position as head of the Emergency Counter Hostilities Organization he never seemed to let anything phase him. But the call he had received that morning - the one that had brought him and Max down there at some ungodly hour - had been from one very concerned person.

They went inside to find Micah sat in front of a console. He was talking to someone on the other end. He noticed his two agents come in and signalled they should sit down. Then he continued talking.

"Yes Mr President. I understand the importance of this. My two top agents will take care of it"

"I hope so Micah. If she is back in the country then anything could happen. No where is safe. Understand?"

"Yes sir. I will make sure she is caught and dealt with"

The line went dead and Micah sighed. He saw Max and Lorne looking at him and turned to face them.

"The Mage is back"

"The Mage?" Max asked.

"Codename for a mercenary. She hires herself out to the highest bidder" Lorne said "She is a genius at electronics - there is nothing she can not build, no where she can not hack in to" He turned to look at his boss "Do you know what she is after?"

"No. It could be anywhere. Given her previous jobs and her abilities we could start to narrow it down but that might be a dangerous thing to do" Micah turned back to the console "All we can do is try to find her. Then follow her until we get an idea of what she is doing"

"Do we have a picture of her?" Max asked "I mean - if we are going to follow her around then it might help to know what she looks like"

"As a matter of fact we do" Micah replied. He tapped a few keys and a picture came up on the console. A youngish black woman with bright eyes. "This is The Mage. Find her and capture her"

"Will do" Lorne said as he stood up.

"Count on it" Max added. Then they left.

Echoes Of The Past (1.3)

The car slowed up and stopped outside a nondescript building in the centre of the city. The driver got out and looked about. The city was busy - it was the middle of August - almost tourist season. She smiled a little and then walked towards the building.

"Miss Powers. It's nice to see you back. Was your little trip a success?"

"No. Harmony and I looked all over Tunisia for the damn scrolls. Nothing was there. We did sort of get interrupted by a few film crews, but they didn't find anything either"

"It's a pity. The scrolls Nyssa described could have been very useful to our cause - indeed to the world as a whole. Are you sure she was telling the truth?"

"I think she was. But when she died she took the location of the scrolls with her. After two years Harmony wants to give up - and to be honest so do I. I think I can make better use of my time - and of The Society's resources as well"

"And with that in mind I have some news. I was hoping your sister would come in as well - it kind of concerns her too"

"She wanted a little break. We have been together every day and night for the past six weeks. I think if we don't spend some time apart one of us is going to end up killing the other. Since that would be a bad thing we tossed for who would come in to work"

"Who won?" The director smiled.

"She did" Melody sighed, then looked up at the smiling face of her boss "Not that I don't like being here. It's a pleasure"

"I get the idea" He turned and picked up a file from his desk "We received a tip from an anonymous source. We think your father might be in danger"

Echoes Of The Past (2.1)

She looked at the note for the third time. It was such a short message, yet it now defined her future in a way that nothing had before. She had been summoned before a special sitting of the JSC to account for the recent events within B2.

She had been expecting it, but not so soon after the wedding. She had expected them to give her time to find her missing agents and to help Alex with her loss. But apparently Mr Dent did not want to give her the leeway she needed to fix it.

After Michaelson's death she had resigned as Jan. Then - when Dent took over and made a total hash of his term as DOIC, she had taken her job back. Within days of her decision two of her agents were missing and Adam had been murdered. The head of the JSC was not happy and wanted explanations.

She had left word with Ed about where she was going. She didn't know how long it would be, or if she would ever be allowed to talk to any of her staff again after the Committee made its decision so she figured she owed it to them to at least tell them why she had to go.

There was a knock on the door.

"Come" She said and was not totally surprised when two Marines walked in.

"We have instructions to..."

"I know. If you will give me one moment to finish up here I will come with you" She replied.

"You have two minutes DOIC, or you will be lead away in handcuffs. I don't think either of us want that"

"Fine" She turned back to her console and finished the message. It would be in the mail box when - if - Ed and Alex returned to work. Then she stood up and took a look around the office, knowing she might not return.

"Very well gentlemen" She said to the two marines "Lead the way"

Echoes Of The Past (2.2)

Alex stormed in to the office with Ed trailing behind her. For the past three days she had been lying in bed, crying over Adam. When she wasn't crying she was sleeping, but she stopped then when the nightmares became too much.

Then, the previous night, she had decided she had had enough of feeling sorry for herself. The people who had killed her husband were running around free. In all probability they had Nick and Ros too. She didn't know where she would start, but she knew she had to do something.

"Ed - don't stop me. I have had enough of not doing anything. I am going to find the people who killed Adam and I am going to make them pay. Now you can either help me or stay out of my way. But god help you if you try to stop me"

"I wasn't going to try Alex" Ed smiled "I was just wondering if you had any idea where you were going to start?"

"With Stephano" She replied, sitting down at Ros' terminal.

"Who?"

"Adam's friend - or at least that's what he said he was. I met him during the reception. Since everyone else there was accounted for it has to be him"

"Ok" Ed sat down at Beckett's terminal, then saw a message flashing "Alex - what's this?" Alex stood up and looked at the screen "It's a time delayed message. Must be from Beckett" She clicked the activate button. Jan's face appeared.

"If you are seeing this you will have come in to the office. I would like to be there but I have been summoned before the Joint Security Council to account for my actions over the past few weeks. I will return when I can, but until then you will have to carry on the Bureau's work without me"

The screen went blank and Alex and Ed just looked at each other for a moment.

"I take it that's a bad thing?" Ed said.

"The JSC control funding, staff and pretty much everything else for the Bureau" Alex said "And they have carte blanche to do what they want in the interest of National Security. I hope Jan can explain herself, or we might not see her again"

Echoes Of The Past (2.3)

She looked up at the screen behind the chairman and wondered how long they would keep here there. She had been sat at the end of the table for over two hours and the committee showed no signs of slowing down. Whether this was fuelled by Dent's accusations or not she wasn't sure. However she was sure he wasn't helping her case.

"It's clear she has lost the ability to do her job" Dent was saying, not for the first time "The death of a civilian. The death of a member of my staff. The abduction of two of her agents. The near disaster over the CatFlap incident - do I need to go on?"

"Mr Dent you have made your position quite clear" The head of the committee turned to Jan "Do you have anything to say in your defence?"

"Anything new?" She asked in a sarcastic voice "I can only tell you what I have told you before. I advised Mr Michaelson against taking part in the operation. He defied my orders and the orders of my staff. While I am not blaming him for his own death it was not wholly the fault of the Bureau either. Mr Mosby was not my responsibility. The security at the wedding was organized by the local police force. If I had been allowed to set up the security at the wedding - as I asked - then none of this would have happened. Mr Mosby would be alive, Alex would not be a widow and Mr Beckett and Miss Henderson would not be missing"

"And the debacle over the CatFlap disk?" Dent asked.

"You know as well as I do CatFlap was being kept at The Hive. If anyone is at fault it is the security at The Hive. If I had not intervened Wymark and his associate would have escaped with the money, and taken the entire world's banking system down with him. Just be glad I came back when I did"

"Without any authorisation you came in and hijacked a government operation" Dent said "You don't deny going way outside of your authorised duties?"

"It was a good thing I did" Jan replied. She realised she was shouting and took a deep breath "I did what I thought was necessary to ensure the good of the country. Can you say you did that too Mr Dent?"

Echoes Of The Past (2.4)

The computer was scanning through lists of contacts. Ed had never been a big computer person, but he was quite impressed at the depths of information the Bureau machines had. Right now it was looking through all the records of various criminal organizations, their members and any associates or friends of the members. He was pretty sure some of the stuff they had on the machines went way beyond the privacy laws, but right now he didn't care. The more he could find out about Stephano the quicker he could help his friends.

However the list was quite large and at the moment he had nothing to do. He stood up and walked over to where Alex was working. Rather than have two computers searching the same records Alex was looking in to Adam's background. Where he had gone to school, things like that. She had told Ed it was in an effort to find out how Adam had known Stephano, but he suspected she also wanted to find out as much about the man she loved as she could, and he wasn't about to stop her.

"Anything yet?" He asked.

"No. And the trail is getting cold" She snapped, then turned to him "Sorry. I didn't mean that. It's just..."

"I know" He replied "It's getting to me too" Suddenly his computer beeped. He looked at Alex then turned back to his computer. It was showing a face
"Alex - it's got something" He looked through the information on the screen then turned to her.

"It appears this Stephano was once part of an ultra radical student movement way back in the seventies. It was called.... The Lowell House Coalition"

"Lowell House?" Alex asked "Does it say where this group was based?"

"Just a sec.... Oxford"

"Adam's old college" Alex replied.

"Do you think he might have been a member?" Ed asked "It would explain how they knew each other"

"I will try to find out. What else is there?"

"It lists some of the other members - those who were of special interest to the authorities" He scanned through the list then stopped "There are two names with stars next to them"

"Whose?"

"A woman named Jessica Ridley. She was listed as the defacto leader and the prime mover in most of the groups operations"

"Who was the other one?" Alex asked. When Ed didn't reply she came over and looked at the screen. She read down the lines then stopped. "You are kidding? I didn't think he was the type"

Chapter Text

Echoes Of The Past (3.1)

He had been waiting in the room for ten minutes when she came in. She looked exactly as she had when he had last seen her - some twelve years before. As he thought back to that day he remembered why they had gone their separate ways and how painful it had been to say goodbye.

"Nicky. You look handsome as always"

"Jessica. You look pretty good for someone who has been seven years dead"

"Yeah I do, don't I?" She sat down on the sofa opposite him. "You are probably wondering about that"

"The news said the building was destroyed. Other sources confirmed it - everyone who was in there died"

"You have been in the intelligence business how long now? Five years?"

"More or less"

"In that time you have never known anyone to fake their own death?" She smiled again "The authorities were getting too close - I was within hours of being caught. So I hired someone to pose as my double. She lured them in to the building and the rest - as they say - is history"

"You killed an innocent person?" Beckett tried to sound shocked, but compared to some of the things he had known her do, one life was pretty small fish

"The person I paid was wanted in fifty countries for crimes way beyond your imagination. She chose to help me rather than face jail and execution. She died for the cause" She turned as Beckett snorted in derision "It used to be your cause too Nicky"

"It stopped being my cause a long time ago. Right after you took your first life" The venom in his voice surprised him. He hadn't realised how much her betrayal had hurt him until he was confronted with it face to face.

"You are telling me you haven't killed a single person for the sake of National Security Nicky? That you and your Hive friends didn't arrange the deaths of people every day. That Jan and Ros and the rest of them didn't kill? Can you really tell me that?" She looked at him

"I regretted every life I took Jess. Can you say the same?" There was a long pause as she looked at him. Then she turned and picked up a file from the desk

"The reason you are not dead is I need your help. You and Ros have skills that I need. Will you help me?"

Echoes Of The Past (3.2)

Ros looked up as he entered. She had been in the cell since they have arrived a couple of days before. She had been a little concerned when Beckett had been taken out an hour before and smiled when he came back in. However after she saw the look on his face her smile faded.

"Beckett - what's going on? Who is..."

"Her name is Jessica Ridley. We went to university together. We were part of a student group called The Lowell House Coalition. We demonstrated against the government on all sorts of issues" He paused "Twelve years ago there was a demonstration against a planned chemical plant in the south of London. I organized a quiet demonstration but Jessica wanted to make the point more forcefully. She planted a small explosive in an attempt so show how lax security was" He paused again as the memories flooded through him "Ten people were injured - one fatally. The plant was abandoned but I left the group"

"And that was the last you heard of her?"

"No. Five years after there was a fire in a government building in Germany. All the evidence pointed to her death in the fire. Turns out she faked it to escape from various governments that wanted her head"

"I take it our security staff were part of that group?"

"Yes. That's why we are now in America"

"But why not another country? There must be plenty of countries out there..."

"There is another reason. Have you ever heard of The Vault?"

"Should I have?"

"Its a counterpart to The Hive. The majority of the nations signals go through there at one time or another. It also houses a huge warehouse of storage materials. It would not be an exaggeration to say that the majority of the nations' secrets for the past fifty years are in there"

"I take it you are telling me this for a reason?"

"Jessica still has the same goals she had. She says there is evidence of a global conspiracy in the files. That the US, UK and other countries are planning a crack down on numerous dissident groups in a mass attack. Once its complete it will stop all protests and so forth in the future - the countries will have absolute power"

"And you believe her?"

"I think I do. You must have noticed the changes back home - the crackdown on our methods and so on. Its like... its like they don't want any random elements left. That everyone must fall in line" He looked at Ros "Can you deny that?"

"Just because Jan and her bosses are getting paranoid - does that mean we have to side with a murderer? Someone who took us at gun point? You really want us to side with her?"

"I do" He said

"This isn't like you Beckett. What's going on?" Ros asked. She saw him glance around, not meeting her eyes. Finally he faced her

"Yes. During the Lowell House years she was never wrong. Okay - her methods are a bit off, but she was usually right about the motives of those we were protesting against. Along with what has been happening back home - I think it is a sunstorm worth investigating" He looked in to her eyes "So - what's it to be?"

Echoes Of The Past (3.3)

"You two are here because I need your abilities" Jessica said "Nicky - you know The Hive inside out. Miss Henderson - you are one of the best in your field"

"How did you know you would get us?" Beckett asked

"I didn't. I wanted Mr Moseby. He was also an expert at The Hive. Plus he showed more devotion to our cause than you did Nicky"

"Adam was part of The LHC?" Ros asked "When?"

"The year after Nicky quit on us. He drifted away after my death. Anyway - I need someone who knows The Hive. As for you Miss Henderson - the more assistance I can have in the way of hacking the better"

"Sorry. I can't help you" Ros said standing up "Take me back to my cell"

"You do know I could kill you now?" Jessica said "If you aren't going to help then why should I keep you alive?"

"Because I won't help you either" Beckett said, standing up next to Ros "I can help - I will help, but not if you kill anyone" Ros looked at him and smiled slightly, but frowned when Jessica nodded

"Very well. Stephano - take her back to her cell and lock her in. Make sure everyone understands no harm is to come to her. If anyone ignores this they will answer to me"

"Yes Jess" Stephano replied, then turned his gun on Ros "If you would come this way" Beckett watched as Ros was lead away, then turned back to Jessica

"Thank you"

"I don't want to hurt you Nicky. You clearly like this woman and I am not a monster. As long as you help me I will keep her safe" She turned back to the board, leaving the threat hanging in the air "Now - before I was interrupted I was going to say I need your help. But I also need one more person. He worked in The Vault for thirty years and has more inside knowledge than anyone else alive. Once we get him I think we can begin"

"Get him?" Beckett asked "He doesn't work for you?"

"Sadly no. His name is Nicholas Powers. He retired from the security services about ten years ago. However I do have his address and I think we can pursuade him to help us"

Echoes Of The Past (3.4)

They pulled up in front of the house. Jessica looked out and then turned to the two men inside the car

"This is the place. I want this done quietly. We slip in, take him and leave. If the police get wind of this its all over - and that will spell the end of Miss Henderson" She looked at Beckett "I hope you understand that"

"I do Jess. I told you - I am in this with you. There is no need for any more threats"

"I'm sorry" She looked at Stephano "Are you ready?"

"Yes boss" He stepped out of the car and crept round to the back of the house. A moment later Jessica's radio beeped

"That's the signal. Lets go"

x-x-x-x

Sophie Powers was just entering the house when she heard the glass shatter.

"Nicholas?" She called out, thinking her husband had dropped a glass in the kitchen. When no reply came she picked up the gardening sheers she had put down and started to walk more quietly. It had been fifteen years since she had left the service, but the instincts had not left her.

She peered round the corner and saw her husband being lead away by two men. He did not appear to be struggling but that could have something to do with the gun being stuck in his back.

Everything in her cried out to rush them - to stop them abducting her husband. But she caught sight of a woman coming down the path towards the two men who had Nicholas. She realised that if she moved there were very good odds she would be seen. She did not want to lose her husband but if she were captured she would not be able to help him.

She ducked back out of sight, then watched as they led Nicholas away. The four people got in to a car and drove off. Once she was confident she was alone she went to the phone and called the only person she knew she could trust.

"I need to speak to an agent" She said when the phone was answered "I need to speak to Melody Powers"

Echoes Of The Past (4.1)

They returned to the HQ without any more information than when they had left. It wasn't their proudest moments

"So - you didn't find anything?" Micha asked "Why do I pay you exactly?"

"Cause I'm funny?" Lorne asked. When his boss didn't smile back he continued "She is like a ghost. No one has heard anything"

"Or if they have they are not talking" Max added "And with her record I don't blame them. She has a habit of not leaving loose ends about. No one has ever given evidence against her"

"So - how do you plan to find her?" Micha asked. Neither of his agents answered him "I take it you do plan to find her?"

"Yes sir. Its just..." Max paused "She is unlike any other person we have hunted. Usually there is a weak link - somewhere to break in to the group. This time - zip"

"Then its a good thing I have arranged some help, isn't it?" Micha smiled at the look on their faces "I knew that would get your attention"

"Help?" Lorne said "Are you suggesting we can't do our job?"

"No. But since Maxine here has more or less said you two are stuck I thought you could use some... guidance"

"Who?" Max asked

"An agent from a group called The Society" He saw the blank looks on their faces "You have never heard of them?"

"No" Lorne said, looking at his partner. When she shook her head he continued "Should we have?"

"No. Not really. They are a branch of the NSA, but way more secret. Kind of like us really"

"So what do they do?"

"Investigate things. They have the powers to arrest and detain, but they very rarely use them. Mostly they are an investigative force that the mainstream NSA can deny knowing. It works out well"

"So who is the agent we are to talk to?"

Micha looked at his files

"A fairly new one. She joined about two years ago. Her name is Harmony Powers"

Echoes Of The Past (4.2)

She checked the address twice before she walked up to the building. Her experiences with Melody - and Nyssa - had taught her not to pre-judge any situation but the block in front of her did not look like a top-secret government installation. 'Then again' she thought 'The Society HQ is not a big flashy place either'.

She walked towards the door and then stopped. Did she knock? Did she burst in? Melody and the other senior agents had explained a lot to her, but not what to do when entering the head-quarters of another government agency. She was about to turn back to her car when she heard a voice behind her

"Miss Powers?" She turned back. There was no one there

"Who is asking?" She said

"The person you came to see. Go through the door and you will be met"

For a moment she considered it being a trap, but then she decided to go for it. She pushed the door aside and went through it.

Inside she found a young woman waiting for her

"My name is Susan. This might seem an odd request but could you place your hand on this please?" The woman held up a scanning device. Harmony put her hand against it, then felt a short burst of heat

"Thank you. If you could just wait here a moment"

The woman walked away. Harmony was left alone for two minutes, then the woman returned

"Please come this way Miss Powers" She lead her in to a small room. Two men were sat looking at a screen. They turned at Harmony's entrance.

"Ah Miss Powers. Thank you Max" The older man said. Harmony looked across at the woman who had introduced herself as Susan. She merely smiled back

"Sorry. But you know how it is"

"No problem" Harmony smiled, then turned back to the older man "Its a pleasure to be here, though I don't know how I can help"

"My name is Micha Simms. These two reprobates are Lorne Cash and Maxine London. We make up Echo. It has come to our attention that a woman known as The Mage has come to this country. We don't know why, but we know that she is an electronics genius. She has pretty high goals so the chances are she is going over something big"

"And you think The Society might have more information?" When Micha nodded she smiled "I can look in to it, but it might take a while. Do you have anything?"

"We have one picture, but it could be years out of date" Lorne flashed the picture up of the woman. He turned to see Harmony's reaction and saw something he didn't expect. She was smiling

"Sorry to break it to you Mr Cash, but that can't be The Mage" She looked at the other two, but before she could continue Max pointed to another screen

"Who is that?" She asked. A woman was standing outside the door, looking up at the camera "And how does she know where the camera is?"

"That's another Society agent" Harmony said "My sister Melody. And she has been doing this long enough to know most things. Can you let her in?"

"Ok" Micha said before Max could reply. He pressed a button Harmony saw Melody enter. She turned as her sister walked through the door

"Sorry to interrupt but something has come up" Melody looked at her little sister "Dad's been kidnapped"

Echoes Of The Past (4.3)

Half an hour later all five were gathered at the home of Sophie and Nicholas Powers. Micha and Max were looking round the house, trying to find any evidence of who took Nicholas, while Lorne and the two sisters questioned Sophie about what they saw.

"There were two men and a woman. She was clearly in charge. One of the two men looked to be from Europe - maybe Germany. The other was British" Sophie said "Why did they take him?"

"I think it is because of where he worked" Harmony said "We have had a tip that..." She saw Lorne look at her with a sharp glance "What?"

"Are you sure this is the time for family sharing?" He asked

"Oh - he is worried you might tell me something secret" Sophie said with a smile "I guess he didn't read his notes before he came in"

"Sorry?" Lorne asked

"My daughters are not the only ones with a background in security. My husband worked at The Vault for nearly thirty years and I have been, at various times, a member of the FBI, NSA and head of Presidential security" She smiled as his jaw dropped "Its just possible I have a higher security clearance than you Mr Cash"

"My apologies Mrs Powers. Harmony - you were saying... something?"

Harmony went on to explain about The Mage

"I think she is going to break in to The Vault. She would need someone's help to do that"

"But why not a current member of staff?" Sophie asked, then she nodded "Because if a current member of staff was reported missing they would lock the place down. Since no one knows Nick is gone nothing will be done"

"Pretty much" Micha said, coming back in "Mrs Powers - I need to ask you to do something. I need you to keep this secret. If we inform the police or any other government agency then The Mage might hear of it, or The Vault will be locked down. If she doesn't have a chance she might run..." He looked at Melody and Harmony. Melody nodded and he continued "..and she has a habit of dealing swiftly with anyone she doesn't need"

"Okay. If you think it would be better I will put my trust in you" She said "Bring me back my husband"

x-x-x-x

As they left the house Micha turned to Harmony

"Your mother is quite an impressive woman" He said

"She was Melody's inspiration" Harmony replied

"Not yours?"

"I'd rather not discuss that. So - what's next?" Harmony said trying to divert the conversation. Despite her change in jobs she still wasn't happy with the way her mother and father had treated her in the past

"How do you know the woman we showed you wasn't The Mage?" Lorne asked, coming up behind them

"A few years ago The Society got a report about a woman named Ros Henderson. She was in trouble with the British Government for various pranks. Some of them involved international dignitaries so MI6 forwarded her description to most of the agencies around the world. That's the picture you have. I think someone must have tampered with the records" She smiled again "Plus Miss Henderson now works for the British government, so I am fairly sure she isn't The Mage"

"Pity. But we do know something else" Lorne said "The Vault. We have to protect it, or at least get there before they do" He walked ahead to join Max, with Micha following him. Harmony turned to her sister

"Do you ever get the feeling we have annoyed them a little?" She asked

"Well I found their hideout, you told them they don't know who The Mage is, our mother provided a very important clue. Overall I think they are feeling a little short of info. But from their records they are second to none at apprehension and capture. I think we will work well together"

(The characters from "Bugs", "Spy Games" and Melody Powers remain the property of their original authors/creators.)

Chapter Text

Echoes Of The Past (5.1)

Jan looked at the faces of her two agents as she came in to the room. Up until now she hadn't realised how young Alex really was - or that she had become a defacto agent of The Bureau. Now she had to break bad news to the both of them and she was not looking forward to it.

"The JSC have forbidden any of us to leave the country. The Bureau has been closed until further notice and my actions over the past few months are going to be the subject of further discussions" She paused, seeing the disappointment on their faces "I know it isn't what you wanted to hear"

"So we are being forced to give up on Ros and Beckett?" Ed asked

"And the people who killed Adam?" Alex added

"No. We are being asked to give up looking for them" Jan said. She looked behind her and closed the door "There is a private jet waiting for us at Heathrow. The pilot owes me a number of favours. We leave in three hours"

"But..." Alex started, then stopped

"If we leave the country we will become fugitives. Not just your average fugitives but serious criminals. I just want you both to understand what we are doing when we leave" She looked at them "There may be no coming back"

"Do we need to take anything with us?" Ed asked "Cause I would hate to forget my tooth-brush"

"Ros and Beckett are missing" Alex said "What do we have to stay here for?"

Jan smiled.

"Good. Go home - get some stuff together. Come back here in two hours. Tell no one anything - we do this in total secrecy or not at all"

Echoes Of The Past (5.2)

Nicholas Powers looked around the room he was in. In his time in the police he had seen a number of interrogation rooms, but he had never expected to be in one as a prisoner. The man he had been talking to had gone out - to leave him to collect his thoughts he had said - and left him alone. So far he had no clue as to why he had been kidnapped, or when he was going to be set free - if ever.

The door opened and two people - the woman and the man who had been in before.

"Mr Powers. Are you willing to tell us more?"

"More about what? And who are you?"

"Forgive me - I thought my friend Nicky had told you why you were here" The woman frowned at Beckett and he shrugged

"You told me not to go too far too fast" He replied

"Never mind" The woman looked back at Nicholas "My name is unimportant, but you can call me Susan if you wish. Why you are here - well lets just say you have information I need"

"What information could I have? I haven't been in the loop for nearly five years. Everything I know is out of date"

"Not everything" The man - Nicky he thought - replied "You worked at the government building known as The Vault for three decades. I am sure you can remember the layout pretty well"

"That's what you are after? You are going to rob The Vault? Are you insane?" He was really amazed

"We are not insane Mr Powers. We are dedicated. The governments of the world are planning a huge crackdown on rebel groups across the world - one being coordinated from The Vault" The woman who had called herself Susan said "They will suppress free will and make everyone fall in line. We can't allow that to happen"

"So you want to break in, get the details of this alleged crack down and stop it before it starts? You really think you can do this?"

"Nothing is more powerful than a group with a purpose" Nicky said "So - where is the main safe?"

"Go to hell"

"Not a wise move" Susan said. She turned and pressed a button on the desk. The door opened and the other man came in "Steven - take Mr Powers away and lock him up safely. We will have to do this without him"

Echoes Of The Past (5.3)

Harmony was woken by the phone. She looked over at the clock - it was nearly 3 am. Only one person she knew would dare call her at that time of the morning.

She picked up the phone

"Hi Melody. What's up?"

"Sorry to call you so early but I have been contacted by someone I think we are going to want to talk to. She says she has information regarding Dad's kidnapping"

"Who is she?"

"She told me her name was Jan and that she works for a group called The Bureau"

"Isn't that...."

"The same group your friend Miss Henderson works for. Jan said she would meet us at lunch time" Melody said

"Okay. Where?" She jotted down the address as Melody continued to talk "Just out of curiosity - why did you feel the need to call me at 3am to tell me this?"

"I figured you would be in. If I called later - who knows?" She could hear the grin in Melody's voice but decided to ignore it "Plus I knew you didn't have a date"

"Yeah - strange that. I had a lot of dates before I joined up with you. No - not so much. Could you get someone to check out if there is a connection in that?"

"No. Now - get some sleep. Its not good to be up at this time of day" Before she could reply Melody hung up. Harmony looked at the clock then lay back down. Maybe she could get some sleep before she was due to get up - in around six hours.

Echoes Of The Past (5.4)

Max and Lorne pulled up outside the ECHO building at the same time

"Any idea what this is about?" Lorne asked his partner as they walked towards the door

"Only that we have a lead. Micha was pretty sure this was a good thing"

"Well - if Micha thinks its a good thing..." Lorne smiled and held the door open as they walked through.

x-x-x-x

"Ah - Max. Lorne. Get yourself a cup and sit down. I would like you to meet Ed, Alex and Jan. They are from England"

"Hi" Lorne said. Then he saw Melody and Harmony "And welcome back to you two"

"Thanks" Melody said with a smile. Harmony saw it and smirked a little.

"So - Jan" Micha said "You said you had some information that might be relevant"

"Yes. For those of you who don't know I am DOIC - the Director Of Intelligence Co-ordination for the British Government. I am in charge of The Bureau. About a week ago two of my staff were kidnapped by a woman named Jessica Ridley. They were brought here. Why - we don't know, but while she has Beckett and Ros I am not going to let them go"

"Ros?" Harmony said "Ros Henderson?"

"Yes. You know her?"

"We know of her" Micha said. "Harmony here was kind enough to point out she was not an international mercenary. But why were they kidnapped?"

"I think they got in the way of another kidnapping" Alex said "The person they killed worked for a government installation called The Hive"

"The place that was a template for The Vault" Max said "It can't be a co-incidence"

"In that case I can explain why Ros and Beckett were taken" Jan said "Beckett is also an ex-Hive man. Maybe when they could not get Adam to co-operate they killed him and took Beckett instead" She saw Alex look down at that "Sorry Alex. I wasn't thinking"

"I know. Don't worry about it" She saw the others starting at her questioningly "The man they killed - Adam Moseby - was my husband"

"Oh" Melody said "So now we have an idea of what's going on. This Jessica kidnaps your agents. She then comes here. Meanwhile we have a tip that an big time merc is going to attack a government installation. Then a former Vault employee is kidnapped by a woman and two men" She paused "I think we can assume this Jessica is The Mage"

"So - now we know who and why. But not when" Max said. Then she looked across at Melody "Your mother gave you a sketch of the kidnappers right?"

"Yes" This time she got strange looks from the others "My father is the ex-Vault employee"

"Do you have them?"

"I do" Harmony said. She reached in to a file and pulled them out, handing them to Max "Here you go"

Max flicked through them, then handed them to The Bureau staff

"Anyone you know?"

As they looked through them Alex stopped on two of them

"This one is a guy named Stephano. He said he was a friend of Adams. And this is Beckett" She pointed to the second

"He was one of the kidnappers" Harmony said

"He is the agent we are missing. The head of the Bureau" Jan said

"And my dad is chief of staff at the White House" Max said "This guy was working with them" She turned to Micha "I say we stake out The Vault and capture them all"

"Beckett is a member of my staff" Jan said "I will not have you arresting him"

"And what about Ros?" Ed asked, but before he could continue everyone started talking at once. The volume of the voices rose as they started arguing amongst themselves. Harmony eventually decided it was enough

"Hey!" She shouted. Everyone turned to her "We can sort out the criminals later. Right now The Mage is going to The Vault. Are we going to stop her, or are we going to stay here and fight?"

Echoes Of The Past (6.1)

The slipped in through the back. Despite the fact Nicholas had told them nothing of substance, Beckett, Jessica and Stephano were able to gain access to The Vault with no real problems. From his Hive days Beckett knew his way around and the access codes were - in his opinion - far too vulnerable.

"Okay. In The Hive the code red safes were on the lowest level. We can get to it through here" Beckett said, walking towards a door. He turned round and saw no one was following him

"What's the matter?"

"You don't think we got in here a little too easily?" Jessica asked

"No. And if we don't stand around talking like little old ladies we might actually get to what we want before they catch us" He walked towards the door, not caring if anyone was following him this time. When he was out of the door Jessica leaned over to Stephano and whispered to him. He nodded and went off through another door. Jessica pulled out a small pistol, checked its load then put it in her pocket. Then she set off after Beckett.

Echoes Of The Past (6.2)

Lorne looked round the corner to see the main entrance to The Vault. No one appeared to be guarding it. He waved the others over

"Okay - we go in through the front. The clearance Micha got us should make it easy. Then I suggest we split up. Ed, Alex - go look around. See if you can find anything to indicate where they went"

"And what will you and Melody be doing?" Ed asked. Alex saw Melody blush, but decided not to mention it

"If we can find the monitoring stations we might be able to find them without them finding us" Lorne said. "So - keep in touch. And don't do anything without contacting me first"

"Yes sir!" Alex said with a slight salute. Lorne actually smiled, then turned to Melody

"Shall we go?"

"Sure" She replied and they set off up the stairs. Ed watched them leave then turned to Alex

"So - where should we start?"

x-x-x-x

On the other side of town Max was leading Jan and Harmony through the down town area. Micha had been given a tip that someone had set up in one of the abandoned warehouses near the docks. He wasn't sure it was The Mage - Jessica - but he sent Max to check it out. On the off chance it was the gang they were looking for, Harmony and Jan went along with her

"Okay - according to the tip that building over there is the one we want" Max said "From the background Miss Ridley is not known for high-security systems. She hides in plain sight so no one can find her. I think breaking in should be pretty simple"

"Good" Harmony said "So - what's the plan?"

Max looked at her

"I'm in charge?"

"Why not?" Jan said "Its your city - your tip" Harmony nodded in agreement

"And you want someone to blame if it all goes wrong?" Max asked. Before they could reply she continued "No - don't answer that. Its just Lorne or Micha are usually running things - they only ever let me make a decision when they want deniability" She sighed "But it does make life easier" She paused for a moment "Okay - I just need to know about your field experience"

"Two and a half years" Harmony said "Plus training on most weapons"

"About fifteen years as an agent and three years as DOIC" Jan said

"Ok. Jan - can you go round the side. Wait for the signal and then break in. You don't have to be quiet about it either. Harmony - come with me"

Echoes Of The Past (6.3)

"Ed? Can you hear me?"

Ed touched Alex's shoulder and indicated he was getting something from Lorne. They both stopped while he replied

"Yeah Lorne. What's up?"

"I have found them. Jessica and Beckett are in a room on the second sub-level. From the plans it is about two floors up from the code red safes. I can switch the locks so they can't escape, but we will need someone to stop them"

"OK. Alex and I can be there in about a minute"

"No - just you. I am sending Melody down to the far side of the room. Tell Alex to meet up with her there. I will meet you on the other side. We can then open the doors and get them to talk"

"Sounds like a plan" Ed said "Do you know if they are armed?"

"The woman has a gun. Beckett looks to be unarmed"

"So she might start shooting?"

"I don't think so" Melody said, coming on to the radio "They are trapped - they will try to talk their way out"

"I hope so" Ed said with a slight smile "I'll tell Alex"

x-x-x-x

"Beckett - the door won't open" Jessica turned to him "Its locked"

"How?" Beckett asked "Did you do something?"

"No. Its the way out - to the next level - and its locked. Do you think someone is on to us?"

"Could be, but it could just be locked as a matter of course. Let me give something a try"

He went over to the door and pulled something from his jacket. It was one of Ros' inventions. He pushed it against the door and switched it on. It buzzed for a few moments then gave a noise Beckett had never actually heard before. He switched it off and turned back to Jessica. Before he could state the obvious the door behind him slid open. He turned round and came face to face with Ed.

Echoes Of The Past (6.4)

Jan was hidden behind a crate. She had been waiting for ten minutes and still hadn't seen anything that resembled a signal.

She was beginning to wonder if Max and Harmony had been caught when a huge explosion ripped through the building to her right. Figuring that to be the signal she jumped up and threw the rock she had been holding through the window. Moments later she was inside and running.

x-x-x-x

"What the hell was that?" Nicholas Powers asked. He was sat in the cell next to Ros, then found himself on the floor

"I think it is the cavalry" Ros said with a smile. She stood up and pulled out a small strip from her shoe. She pushed it against the lock on the cell door. She moved away and crouched down. Seconds later a small flash filled the room and the cell door flew open. She quickly went to the door to Nicholas's cell.

"Stand back" She said. When he answered she pressed another strip against the door.

x-x-x-x

Max and Harmony charged in to the cell block to find Ros and Nicholas charging out. Max stopped for a moment, as did Ros, but Harmony ran to her father

"Dad. You're safe" She said, hugging him. Then she turned to Ros "And Miss Henderson - its good to see you safe as well. Some friends of yours will be happy to hear that"

"Thank you" Ros replied, then asked "And you are?"

"Her name is Harmony Powers - she works for the government" Jan said, coming up behind them

"Jan? What are you doing here?"

"We came to find you and Beckett. Although I am not sure finding Beckett is going to be good news. What has been going on?" Before Ros could start explaining Max spoke up

"Sorry to interupt - but I think we should get Mr Powers home and move to somewhere safe before we start the family reunion"

"No" Nicholas said "We have to go to The Vault"

"Why?" Ros asked

"I think this woman is going after something else. The story she gave us - about stopping the clampdown - it doesn't ring true. I think she is going after the SPE"

(The characters from "Bugs", "Spy Games" and Melody Powers remain the property of their original authors/creators)

Chapter Text

Echoes Of The Past (7.1)

He had wondered why Jessica didn't want him to go with her. After all - there was safety in numbers. But once he realised that Jess and Beckett had been surrounded, Stephano knew what he had to do. Jessica could keep those fools talking for a while yet - and he could use the time to complete the mission.

"Its a stand off" Jessica said from behind a table. "We can't get out of the room and you can't come in here because we could quite easily kill you both. I suggest we find a way out of it"

"Very well" Lorne said "We can talk. Maybe find a peaceful way out of this so no one has to die" He turned to Ed and whispered "Give it a try. He's your man after all" Ed nodded

"Beckett - its Ed. What going on here?"

"Ed. What are you doing here?"

"Wondering why you would hook up with someone like her. Do you know what she is wanted for?"

"I have some idea" Beckett replied "But Jessica has proof that our government is planning a mass crackdown on all groups that oppose them. Not just radical groups - anyone"

"And you believe her?"

"I don't know" Beckett paused. If he could not convince Ed then whoever the other guy was could come in shooting. "But think of the damage it could do. Groups like Green Peace, The GLA. Sunstorm"

"Sunstorm?" Ed asked "Weren't they...."

"Yes. And their methods are my methods. We could be Sunstorm now"

"Okay" Ed replied "Give me a moment" He turned to Lorne and whispered "About a year ago we got involved with this group who were trying to stop a biological weapon being used. Ros and Beckett went undercover with them. They were called Sunstorm"

"So he is on the level?" Lorne asked "He hasn't gone over?"

"No. I think we should listen to him - he is trying to help us"

x-x-x-x

Melody and Alex were waiting at the other door. So far Jessica and Beckett showed no signs of trying to escape.

Suddenly Alex's motion tracker beeped. She glanced at it, then looked at bit harder

"Someone is moving in here and it isn't us. I'll go check it out"

"Okay. But be careful" Melody said. Alex nodded and headed off to follow the signal.

Echoes Of The Past (7.2)

For once Jan was grateful that Ros was not a slow driver. They were shooting through traffic faster than she could imagine, but still she didn't think they would make it on time.

She glanced across at her agent. Ros was concentrating on the road like there was no tomorrow. 'And' Jan thought 'If what Nicholas told us was true that might well be the case'.

x-x-x-x

"I think she if going after the SPE" Nicholas said.

"Really?" Max said "That could be a disaster" Then she paused "What's the SPE?"

"Its a tool designed for use in space. Its called the Suspended Particle Expander. Basically - in space - it can be used to expand the volume of certain particles by increasing their mass"

"Which would be useful" Ros said "Because it means you can take various things up - metal, alloys and so forth - in small quantities then expand them. Much cheaper than launching thousands of tonnes in to space"

"So what would it do here on Earth?" Jan asked

"I don't know. Some people think it doesn't do anything - that it will only work in a zero-g environment"

"But you don't?" Max asked

"I think it will do what it is meant to. And god help anyone they chose to use it on"

x-x-x-x

Jan came back to the present as the car screeched to a halt outside of The Vault building. Max turned to them and said "Okay. We go in - but quietly. Since our agents are already on scene I don't want to disturb them. Our first job is to find the monitors and get a track of what's going on. Then we go and sort the rest out. No one tries anything heroic - clear?" They all nodded "Okay. Lets go"

Echoes Of The Past (7.3)

"I know you"

Alex had followed the blip down two floors and in to the code-red vault. When she had arrived she had found Stephano searching through the safes that filled the walls. She had watched him for a little while, but when it was clear he had not found what he was looking for she stepped in and raised her gun.

"Yes Mrs Mosby. We met at your wedding"

"Adam told me you were a friend of his"

"Oh yes. We go... or should I say we went way back. University days. That was why I was sent to the wedding"

"You are working with Jessica Ridley and Beckett. What are you looking for?"

"This" Stephano said. He pulled a small black box out of the safe to his left "Its called an SPE. Would you like to see what it does?"

"Not just now" She raised the gun a little higher "Tell me - why did you come to the wedding?"

"I was told to get Adam to come with me. We needed his help"

"Why?"

"Haven't you figured it out yet?"

"This place. Its a carbon copy of The Hive"

"Yes. Given Adam's recent problems we thought it would be easy to convince him to come with us. After all - a few weeks in The States would be better than life in prison"

"But he said no" Alex replied.

"Surprising really. He told us that he was not going to leave you. I even told him I would kill you if that would make it easier. He didn't like that idea and he tried to attack me" Stephano paused "It was a pity he hadn't noticed the gun. Still - everyone learns from their mistakes" Then he smiled.

"Except Adam of course"

"You? You were the one..." Alex felt the anger rise within her as she realised who she was looking at. Her finger tightened on the trigger...

Echoes Of The Past (7.4)

Melody heard a noise behind her and turned. She almost drew her gun out but when she saw Harmony coming up the stairs she relaxed.

"You found Dad then?"

"Yes. He is back home and expecting us for lunch tomorrow"

"Wonderful. So - what now?"

"Well - Beckett and Jessica are trapped in that room. Ed and Lorne have the other door. Where's Alex?"

"Oh - she went to investigate a blip on her motion scanner. I'm sure she will be fine"

"Right. Max and Jan are on the way to meet Lorne and Ed. Ros is in the control room keeping an eye on things. So - in about two minutes I am..." Harmony stopped as her radio bleeped. "Yes?"

"Harmony? Max. When you next hear a bleep open the door and go in. We should have them by that time but the element of surprise will help"

"Okay" She turned back to Melody "You heard?"

"I'm standing right here" Melody replied with a smile, then she drew her gun "Do you want the top or bottom?"

"Top this time" Her sister replied.

x-x-x-x

A moment later the radio bleeped and Melody hit the switch on the door then ducked down. As Harmony stood over her the door opened. Seconds later they both rushed in and grabbed Jessica's hands - prising them from around Lorne's throat. As they struggled to keep her down they saw Jan and Ed cross to Beckett and pick him up.

"Ah - Miss Ridley" Melody said "Its nice to meet you at last. And - by the way - you are under arrest"

"What about Beckett?" Max asked. She wanted to put him in to handcuffs, but not without asking Jan first.

"He's with us" Ed said "He has been working with Jessica to get her to reveal her plans"

"Is this true?" Jan asked

"Yes" Beckett replied. Then he turned to Jessica "Sorry Jess. But your ways are not my ways any more"

"So why did you go along with me?" Jessica asked "You were not acting"

"You don't remember my Hamlet then?" He smiled "While you had Ros and me as prisoners I could not cross you. Even more so when you brought Mr Powers in. So I figured I would play along until I could find a way to escape"

"I still have Ros - what's to stop me from killing her?" Jessica asked "For all you know the building could be rigged"

"Then go ahead - blow it up" Ros said, entering from behind her. When she saw Beckett she smiled "I knew it". Crossing to him she gave him a big hug, which he gratefully returned. Then she looked around the room and frowned "Where's Alex?"

Seconds later a gun-shot was heard.

Echoes Of The Past (8.1)

They looked at the device on the table. It seemed so innocent.

"So they are scrapping the idea then?" Harmony asked

"Yeah" Melody said "After the incident at The Vault - and the fact the incident happened - the R and D department have put the project on indefinite suspension"

"But it didn't fire"

"I know. They know that too" Melody pointed at a file "Its all in the report. But they are concerned that one day someone will make it work on earth as well as space. Then - who knows?"

"I guess" Harmony said "So - we got the job of destroying it?"

"They want to keep the knowledge of it as restricted as possible - and ECHO are already have another challenge to face"

"Why not give it to The Bureau?"

"They all went back to England. And it's not that they can't be trusted but..."

"But the government does not want this out of the country" Harmony finished for her "So - how do we destroy it?"

"I think we take a big hammer...."

"Are you sure?" Harmony asked "I mean if this has the ability to expand matter and we destroy it wrong..."

"What do you suggest then?" Melody asked

"I have a few ideas..." Harmony smiled. Ever since she had been a kid she had wanted to visit a trench she had heard about - the deepest in the ocean. She figured if you put something down there it would be a bugger to find it again. She explained it to her sister who smiled back

"You really have the strangest ideas"

Echoes Of The Past (8.2)

As the door slid too Max smiled across at Lorne

"Another job well done" She said. She looked back at the cell - Jessica was sat on the inside.

"Pity about Stephano" Lorne replied "But it was fair. We get one - they get one"

"I am sure we got the better half" Max said looking at Jessica again "Come on - we have to go report to Micha"

x-x-x-x

"So - you're back" Micha said "Is our guest firmly tucked away?"

"In the most secure cell of the most secure jail we have boss" Lorne replied "She won't be on the streets any time soon"

"Good. And can I just take this moment to thank you. You both did very well - and the way you worked with the other departments was a joy to behold"

"Thank you" Max said "Now - what's up?"

"What makes you think something is up?" Micha asked

"You have just congratulated us - twice" Max replied "I can't remember the last time you did that"

"I didn't think I was so obvious" Micha said "There is a problem brewing in Texas. One of our field agents down there found a farm full of sleepers. Literally. They don't know anything for the past twenty years"

"So why do you need us?" Lorne asked

"Did I forget to mention they have an arsenal the size of New England in their farm?"

"On our way boss" The two agents said, already heading for the cars outside...

Echoes Of The Past (8.3)

It had been a long time since she had done this, but she found it relaxing. She had visited his grave this morning - the first time since the funeral - and had found a measure of peace she hadn't had before.

She turned to see Ed sat next to her, trying valiantly to stop the ice-cream melting all over his hand. She smiled

"You might as well give up. Its way too hot"

"I know, but it gets all sticky" He moaned. Then he looked at her again "So - you feeling a little better?"

"Actually - yes. I think finding and bringing his killer back has helped. It hasn't brought him back - but at least I can see justice done. Which - in the end - is the best any of us can hope for"

"Alex - I have to ask you something?"

"Why didn't I kill him?"

"Yeah" Ed nodded "Its not like any of the agents there would have talked"

"I know. It was never a question of that" She thought back to the code-red vault. Stephano had been pointing the SPE at her. She had her gun pointed at him. When she saw him squeeze the trigger her finger tensed, but still she didn't fire. And when the SPE didn't actually do anything she still didn't fire. It was only when he rushed her that she pointed the gun down at the floor and fired off a shot. He had slowed up a bit but hadn't stopped.

"So you shot him in the foot?"

"He was unarmed. I had to stop him but killing an unarmed man is - its wrong. Even one who destroyed my life - I couldn't kill him" She smiled to herself "I also couldn't let him escape. So - I shot him in the foot to slow him down"

"Well - if it makes any difference I am proud of you. It was a hard choice but you made it"

"Thanks Ed. That means a lot to me" Alex smiled. She ate a little more of her ice-cream then asked "Any news from Jan?"

"No. The hearing should be over any time soon. But since we are out and roaming free I don't think they can be that worried about keeping us locked up" He looked around "Well - maybe we should enjoy this while we can"

Echoes Of The Past (8.4)

Beckett glanced across at Ros and rolled his eyes. She could not help but smile back. His former boss - Dent - was off on one at the front of the hearing. For the past ten minutes he had been berating Jan for leaving the country when she had been ordered not to, berating Beckett for apparently siding with radical mercenaries and berating Ros for not standing up to Beckett. He had demanded the two agents be jailed and Jan jailed and suspended for her actions.

Suddenly he finished and sat down. Beckett hadn't been paying much attention so he wasn't sure where it was up to.

"DOIC - do you have anything to say in your defence?" The head of the board asked

"Can I say something?" Beckett stood up and approached the front of the room

"Mr Beckett - you are here as an observer. You are not..."

"Well I think I am. Mr Dent's little performance was not limited to Jan's actions in all this. He took it upon himself to bring Ros and me in to this, so I think I have the right to defend myself"

"Very well. But keep it brief"

"Ok. Ros and I were kidnapped. Rather than getting us killed I used my former friendship with the kidnapper to find out her plans. Ros did not. Between us we found out the whole truth, stopped the theft of a potentially deadly weapon and put both of the kidnappers behind bars. Meanwhile Jan had no knowledge of all this - she was just concerned about the fact two of her agents were missing after another man had been killed. As a duly authorised member of the security services she was required to investigate this. She tried - but you, in your infinite wisdom - stopped her. So she took it upon herself to rescue us without your blessing" He paused "And its a damn good thing she did, because otherwise Ros and I might be dead and Jessica would still be at large"

"So you admit" Dent said "That you needed her help. That you got in to a position that you could not get out of without outside help?"

"Yes. But can anyone here say they have never needed the help of someone else?" He looked around "We are a team. Jan, Ros, Ed, Alex and I. When one is in trouble we are all in trouble. Ros and I needed help - Jan, Ed and Alex risked everything to give us that help" He looked back at Jan and Ros, who were both smiling "I would do the same for them. And I am proud to call them friends"

"Thank you Mr Beckett. If you are done would you please take your seat?"

"Certainly sir" Beckett went back to his seat and sat down.

"DOIC. Now that Mr Beckett has finished - do you have anything to say in your defence?"

"No Mr Chairman. I think Beckett said it all for me"

"Miss Henderson. Even though you are only an observer it would be rude of me not to ask your opinion"

"I agree with Jan Mr Chairman" She turned and smiled at Beckett "Nick said it all"

"In that case I will ask you all to wait outside while we consider our verdict"

x-x-x-x

Alex and Ed turned when the doors opened, then smiled as Jan came through followed by Ros and Beckett.

"I take it it all went well then?" Alex asked

"I think Beckett scared them in to submission" Ros said "He was very convincing"

"Really?" Ed said "What did they say?"

"That although they disapprove of anyone ignoring their rules, having a DOIC and staff who are willing to risk everything to back each other up and to make sure justice is served can only be of benefit to the country" Jan smiled "We - and you two - were acquitted of all charges and I have been reinstated as Jan. So - its back to work as normal"

"That's good" Alex said, pointing to a console "Because I think you need to read this...."

(The characters from "Bugs", "Spy Games" and Melody Powers remain the property of their original authors/creators)