|Dates run:||February 4-7, 2009|
|Read the logs:||The Orchid|
Robert, you really are completely mad, aren't you?
When an old nemesis resurfaces, Scott and Jean team up with a certain pirate to forestall yet another of his crazy plans.
One of Christopher Summers' few hobbies during his more comfortable years in Madripoor has been collecting items of historical interest from the WWII period in Southeast Asia. Recently, he acquired the papers of a Japanese commander who served in Borneo during that country's occupation of the island. A couple of weeks after purchasing them, he received an offer to buy them from a Mr. Vargas. Although Chris refused, Vargas was persistent, making numerous offers over the course of the next few weeks. A couple of days after Chris's final refusal, he returned home to discover that he'd been robbed; the only things taken were the papers. In their place was left a brief note signed 'Vargas', stating that the situation could have been resolved far more profitably for Chris had he been more cooperative. In a PS, Vargas told him to say hello to his son for him. The security cameras showed no evidence of a break-in, but Raza, who'd been present briefly at the house that night, had no memory of the evening.
Chris, thoroughly baffled, called Scott and asked if he knew a 'Vargas'. Thanks to Doug's research from the previous year, Scott recognized it as Haverford's favorite alias, and he and Jean headed to Madripoor to find out what the lunatic was up to now. Meanwhile, Chris, armed with Haverford's real identity, used his sources to track him down to a hotel in Hightown.
After arriving in Madripoor, Scott and Jean went to Haverford's hotel. Scott kept watch in the lobby while Jean headed upstairs to break into Haverford's room, where she found no trace of the papers or anything helpful. While she was searching, her link with Scott abruptly went quiet. Rushing downstairs, she found no trace of Scott.
Back at Chris's place, Jean used her telepathy to help him remember more details about the contents of the papers. It turned out that the Japanese commander had heard a local legend about an orchid with remarkable properties, which supposedly gave anyone who ingested it superhuman powers. The orchid was said to grow only on the slopes of Mount Kinbalu in Borneo. The commander had sent out men to gather specimens, but they hadn't returned.
Consulting more of his contacts, Chris discovered that Haverford chartered a plane and filed a flight plan to Kota Kinbalu, the city closest to the mountain. He and Jean flew there, and Jean went out into the city to search for Scott and Haverford, while Chris hit up his scant local contacts. While Jean was out searching, Scott showed up at the hotel where she and Chris were staying. Chris was startled but relieved to see his son. Scott was acting very oddly, however, and attacked Chris unexpectedly. Jean reappeared in the nick of time, rescuing Chris and following Scott when he fled.
As she chased him, she realized that Scott was not himself; the link was dead-silent, and there was a foreign presence in Scott's mind. Managing to catch him, she made it clear that he was not getting away. Realizing that he was cornered, a second man quite literally emerged from Scott's body and runs, leaving Jean rather more concerned with her unconscious husband. Scott came to fairly quickly, although he was disoriented and sore, and not really sure where he was.
They regrouped at the hotel, and Scott told them what little he remembered from the time he was missing. His memories were fragmentary, but with Jean's help, he managed to piece together some of the important bits, including a meeting with a local botanist who suggested to Haverford where he might look for the orchid and the map location of the site. He can't identify who possessed him, but the three of them realize that the body thief must have been responsible for the theft of the papers as well, mostly likely by possessing Raza briefly.
The next morning, they chartered a plane and headed out after Haverford. Jean scanned from the air, and as it was a fairly remote area, she managed to find a single, familiar mental signature without too much difficulty. They landed and confronted him just as he located specimens of the orchids; he was alone, with no sign of his companion the body thief. Haverford ingested one of the flowers hurriedly, but to no obvious effect. They took the orchids away from him, and then dropped him deeper in the jungle, far from any road. Since he hadn't done anything except steal from a pirate, there wasn't much point in turning him over to the authorities.
Trivia and Meta
Scott was very blase about finally getting to join the Club of Those Once Possessed, and in fact was (surprisingly enough) more upset about having beaten up his father.
Yet another Alias-inspired plot; on the TV series, there was indeed a Rambaldi orchid.