Season 4, episode 14
Series 414
1st release: 04/06/06
2nd release:
Last update: 01/30/06

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SYNOPSIS by Sally Dye

Jennifer Garner as Sydney Bristow
Ron Rifkin as Sloane
Michael Vartan as Vaughn
Carl Lumbly as Dixon
Kevin Weisman as Marshall J. Flinkman
Victor Garber as Jack Bristow
Greg Grunberg as Eric Weiss
Nadia Santos as Mia Maestro

Michael Kenneth Williams (Roberts)
Robin Sachs (Hans Dietrich)
Elya Baskin (Dr. Josef Vlachco)
Zena Leigh (Beer Maid)
Andrew Kirsanov (Christof Goedde)
Marat Oyvetsky (Prisoner)
Gunter Simon (Klaus) - uncredited

Written by Breen Frazier
Directed by Lawrence Trilling

Broadcast on ABC, 9-10pm, Wednesday nights.


This synopsis is by Sally Dye.

Vaughn has a disturbing dream in which he visits the memorial to CIA agents lost in the line of duty. He chops into the memorial with a knife and a hand reaches out and grabs him. Vaughn wakes up in a cold sweat.

At a Siberian nuclear plant, a semi-conscious man is dragged into a test chamber and locked in. A command is given to bring the reactor online. The man regains consciousness as a countdown begins. The control panel has the name "Nightingale" on its display. When the countdown reaches zero, the man begins to scream. His face and hands alter, and he bleeds from his nose and mouth. It's so disturbing some of the onlookers can't watch.

Vaughn tells Sydney that his contact didn't find anything about Nightingale in the CIA archives. Sydney suggests that they bring the matter to APO. Vaughn is against it.

Sydney goes to Jack and asks if she can use his Level Six clearance to look for files on Nightingale. She explains about Vaughn's search for his father and the clues they have found concerning Nightingale. They don't even know what Nightingale is, but it seems to be a key factor somehow. Jack tells her he appreciates her trusting him with this. He gives her his authorization and leaves her with his computer.

Sydney shows Vaughn what she found on Nightingale. A Dr. Josef Vlachco had dropped out of sight twenty years ago after doing DNA mutation experiments on human subjects. He took all of the records on Project Nightingale with him. Sydney also found reference to a Hans Dietrich, who has been investing in new weapons systems and recently deposited a large amount in an account code named Nightingale. If they can get to Dietrich's records, they might get a lead on Vlachco. Vaughn wants to know where she got all this. Sydney: "My dad." She says she had to tell him everything.

Sloane asks Jack how much Sydney and Vaughn know. Jack is not certain, but he suggests they let Sydney and Vaughn investigate and obtain intelligence for them. Sloane agrees, but: "We cannot afford to be compromised -- not even by your daughter." Jack says it won't come to that.

In Munich, Vaughn and Sydney sit at a booth in Dietrich's beer hall. Dietrich is sitting at a table with several other men. Sydney goes into a locker room and knocks out another beer maid so she can dress in her uniform. She delivers a beer to Dietrich. He wants to know who it's from, and she says, "Me." He leaves with her and they go to his room, which is above the hall. Sydney throws him into a chair and pins him there with her foot. He tells her where all his financial information is on his computer. She knocks him out and downloads the info. Vaughn calls her to say that the other men are heading her way. Vaughn delays them, and Sydney gets the disk and runs back into the hall. She slides down a long table and knocks out several of the men. Then she and Vaughn escape to the cheers of the bar crowd.

Back in LA, Sydney downloads the info. It's encrypted, so she begins the decoding process. Vaughn's cell phone rings. A man's voice says, "Say it's Weiss if you want to know about your father." The man says that Nightingale won't answer Vaughn's questions -- only he can. Vaughn is to meet him at a campus library in an hour -- alone. Vaughn tells Sydney he's going to grab a burger with Weiss.

At the library Vaughn receives another call directing him to a certain book. Inside is a syringe with a note attached that says "Inject me." Vaughn throws the syringe away, but his phone rings again immediately. The man says he has two minutes if he really wants to know about his father. Vaughn gets the syringe and thinks long and hard, but in the end injects himself in the arm.

Jack tells Sloane that Sydney and Vaughn went to Munich, but he doesn't know what they found. He says he could go to Sydney and convince her to bring the case to APO.

Sydney's phone rings. It's Jack. He suggests that they have dinner together. Sydney says she'll meet him. She breaks the code on the disk and finds records of an old nuclear plant.

The injection causes Vaughn to become paralyzed. A man approaches and sits beside him. He says the effects are temporary. He says there is a price for info about Vaughn's father. He wants the transforming coil inside Nightingale. He gives Vaughn a name -- Philip Burke. He says to look Burke up and then contact him. He drops a card in Vaughn's lap and leaves. Soon the paralysis wears off, and Vaughn can move again.

Sydney meets Jack at the restaurant. Jack asks about the investigation. Sydney says from what they've found, Nightingale is an active project, somehow altering human DNA. Vlachco is operating out of an abandoned nuclear plant in Siberia. Jack says she has to bring this to APO. She says she has to talk to Vaughn first. Jack asks her to trust him.

Sloane is amazed that Sydney located Vlachco, whom they have been searching for for many years. He says that Valchco is their strongest link to Elena Derevko. He wants to send a strike team into Siberia. Jack says to wait for Sydney to bring the info in -- he's confident that she will. Then they will draw up a plan that requires him to go to Siberia with them. He will interrogate Vlachco without them knowing. Sloane says to be sure to eliminate Vlachco after he has the info, because Vlachco could alert Elena to their agenda: "Or even worse, he could talk to Sydney, which would be a disaster. Unless you want to destroy everything we've worked for."

Vaughn searches for info on Philip Burke and finds that he was a black ops CIA agent killed in Laos in 1979 on the same day that Vaughn's father was killed. Burke was even shot with the same type of gun that Irina supposedly used to kill Bill Vaughn. He and Sydney wonder if Irina killed Burke, but not Vaughn, Sr. Vaughn tells Sydney where he got the info. He also says that the guy, Roberts, wants them to give him the coil. Sydney is incredulous: "We don't even know what Nightingale is yet!" Sydney says they have to take this to APO. Vaughn says he doesn't trust anyone but Sydney. He says they can tell them everything except the deal with Roberts. Then they will go on the mission to get Nightingale, but instead run a countermission and keep the coil.

Vaughn and Sydney bring the mission to APO and detail how they will retrieve the coil. Jack says they will need a third person to ensure that the reactor stays in standby mode. Marshall is impressed that Jack knows this. Sydney and Vaughn are a little nonplussed, but see that there's no way out of taking Jack with them.

In Siberia, Sydney, Vaughn and Jack get into the facility. Marshall and Sloane monitor remotely. They get past several guards and then split up -- Jack goes to the security room, and Sydney and Vaughn head for the test chamber to get the coil.

Jack finds Vlachco and tells him the more he cooperates, the less pain he'll endure.

Sydney and Vaughn get to the control room and see the shield that holds the coil inside the test chamber. They open the door to the test chamber and Sydney goes in to get the coil. First, she has to dismantle a pressure shield, a process that takes a little time.

Jack tells Vlachco he needs information. He wants to know where Elena Derevko is. Vlachco says he doesn't know. Jack hits him with his gun. Vlachco is still reluctant, and Jack shoots him in the leg.

Sydney gets the coil out. Suddenly guards burst into the control room and open fire. Vaughn takes them out, but the gunfire fries the control panel. The door to the test chamber slides shut, locking Sydney inside. The reactor starts up and the countdown begins. Vaughn tries to run a bypass, but he can't get the door unlocked or stop the countdown.

Marshall tries to talk Vaughn through a procedure that will give him control of the test chamber, but it doesn't work. Vaughn asks if there is another way to shut down the core. Marshall: "Only if you remove the fuel rods."

In the security room, Jack can hear their conversation. He tells Vlachco he doesn't have time for this and shoots him. Then he runs out of the room and heads for the reactor. He radios Marshall that he's on his way to the core. Marshall says not to expose himself to that radiation -- it could kill him. Marshall tries to slow down the countdown and succeeds, but he can't stop it.

Jack gets to the reactor room. He breaks into the security pad next to the door.

Marshall keeps trying to stop the countdown. It's at "two" when suddenly the power shuts down. Marshall jumps up and hugs Sloane, who says to just get Sydney out of the test chamber. Sydney gets the coil and meets Vaughn outside the chamber. She hands it to him and says it's time for Plan B. He kisses her and tells her he loves her. Then he slugs her. She says to remember what he promised. He says he will let her know when he gets there. Then he takes the coil and runs down the hall.

Jack gets to Sydney and they embrace. Sydney says she couldn't stop him -- Vaughn took the coil.

Sloane is disbelieving that Vaughn assaulted Sydney and took the coil. Jack says Vaughn wouldn't go against them without a reason. There must be a third party feeding him information. Sloane says this complicates things. Jack says he'll work up some options on retrieving Vaughn and the coil. Sloane asks if Jack is all right, and Jack says he's just tired.

Sydney gets a text message from Vaughn that says he's okay and to wish him luck.

Marshall comes to tell Jack that after analysis, there was no way he (Marshall) could have shut down the reactor. He says it would have had to be shut down manually. Marshall suddenly realizes that the only way it could have happened was if Jack went into the reactor room himself. Marshall is horrified. Jack: "It was my daughter's life." He tells Marshall this is just between them

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