Sunday, October 27, 2013

The Antigone Council ep01 : Night's Black Agents

10/05/2013
The Antigone Council

"The Breaker of Poland"
Episode One

Night's Black Agents

***


Washington, D.C. - United States : 23:49:52
Nicole Tran, ASIS-Specialist Officer.

Working late at the Embassy, Nicole is working on the paperwork regarding a drug bust that she had just handled. The KaQoH gang had smuggled merchandise on a Quantas flight by using the relative of the Governor General as a mule. Traffic Analysis and Data Recovery allows Nicole to realize the relative, who also happened to be a famous celebrity, was involved. Without Data Intrusion, however, Nicole thought she found a dead end. That's when she receives a message from an anonymous source, giving her the celeb's password. It allows her to uncover the celeb's emails which contained the flight details, and proof that even the crew were implicated in the mess. A new mail arrives that moment and Nicole sees it is an invitation to join an organization addressed to her. Nicole marks it unread. Her phone rings. Her fiance, David, is waiting outside. Nicole get's lost working a bit more than expected and realizes she's left David waiting for almost two hours. As she rushes to meet with him, David calls, telling her he is quite fine waiting. Then he screams. Nicole hears David in utter pain. She rushes out of the elevator and nearly bumps into an office mate and ponders on the strange sounds in the phone. An echo of some sort. She rushes down the parking lot and finds the car empty. Save for blood. A severed finger. The engagement ring still on it. She presses the phone closer and realizes she can hear a ping. The elevator. She rushes back to the building.

The security guard tries to help her, but Nicole frantically searches for the echo. She finds David's cellular phone in the trash bin beside the elevator. As the door opens, she finds something else. The rest of David's hand.

It was a Mystery that was to drive her forward...

***

Somewhere in the United States : 16:29:15
Robert Fioncchiaro, 1st SFOD-D.

Robert steps into the confessional booth and starts talking to the priest. The priest knows it is him, and reminds him that he is not supposed to hear about anything questionable.  Robert talks about his operation in Iraq, which was intended to be the extraction of Jessica Tran, a journalist who had information on Bin Laden.   The four of them (Charlie, Jeffries, Redbull) were at the outskirts of the city.  It was mid afternoon.  Intelligence and Interrogation garnered them the information that one of the cousins of the Terrorist leader was in the building.  As was the journalist captive.   Observing the streets (Streetwise) garnered them the intel that there were twelve armed soldiers to deal with.  The two-storey residential building was going to be broken into.  They marked the entry and exit points.  Mission went green.

They penetrate the location with little fuss, using smoke grenades to generate confusion, and with Redbull sniping down any other soliders who come into view.  Robert and Charlie quickly move deeper into position, but when an old woman walks into their path, Robert pins her down and zipties her to keep her restrained.  To his surprise, Charlie shoots her, claiming he rather makes sure their backs are covered.  Flashbangs are thrown to disrupt mobilizing opposition, and very quickly they locate the reporter.  But what they find waiting for them with the reporter catches them totally by surprise.

He moves faster than either of them could react, and Robert finds himself on the ground covered in Charlie's blood and guts.  The man vanishes in a fog that comes out of nowhere and leaves Charlie with the reporter to ponder on what just happened.

It was a need for Atonement that would bring him forward...
(those most would mistake it as a hunger for revenge...)

***

Mesquite, Texas.  United States : 08:11:05
John Smith, KGB Cleaner.

The text messages arrive.  The directions are simple.  John Smith grabs his bag and heads straight to the airport.  As he is walking down the terminal, a woman in a suit tries to stop him, asking him inquisitive questions in an attempt to force him to reveal more about himself and who he works for.  But Smith remains silent, receives more messages asking if he needs assistance.  In response, another man in a suit shows up and tells the detective to leave him alone.  She watches him leave.

Smith arrives somewhere else, is driven to a two-storey house, and there sees the "masseuse" who is in a panic.  She is actually an assassin and was supposed to kill the target while he slept by injecting him with a poison that would resemble a heart attack, but she messed up and the two had a long fight before she finally killed him.  There's blood everywhere all the way to the second floor where she finally shot him in the throat and killed him.   Without saying more than a few sentences, Smith tells her to start cleaning up the blood.  He removes the bullets, slits the man's wrists and slides him into the bathtub.  He then walks to the gas main and creates a leak.  The text messages confirm the secondary objective and he shoots the girl in the ankle.  Disabled and in pain, she barely can muster a fight as he injects her with the sedative to knock her out.  He closes the windows, leaves her in the living room in a towel, then set's a small timer for the needed spark.  Smith is back in the car driving to the airport when the house explodes.

There, the woman in the suit is waiting again and Smith sees her walk up to him.  He drops his book intentionally, which she picks up to hand back to him.  "The Cardinal and the Kremlin," she mutters, "Interesting choice."    He gets back on board the plane and this time is served a drink by the flight attendant even before he asks for one.

A note in under the drink:  Services Terminated.
He sighs in dismay.

With No Where Else To Go, Smith would eventually consider new horizons...

***

New York City, New York.  United States : 08:11:05
Clarice Rosenberg, FBI Behavioral Analysis Unit

Clarice at home relaxing as she reads a book by Jeffrey Matthews entitled, "God-Machine".   She ponders on why the book feels so real, how the author seems to be drawing on events which seem to correlate too much with real world events but her attention is drawn instead to the television where the news covers the death of Justice Armand Poole.  The judge had died in a freak accident while at his home in Mesquite Texas.  Clarice remembered those years she worked with the judge.  She remembers him being extermely racist and sexist, except whenever there were cameras rolling.   Curious to the circumstances behind the death, Clarice decided to ring up her old contact, the award-winning reporter Jessica Tran (Network: 3) and Tran admitted that the judge's death was being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.  Special Agent Miranda Desmond was in charge of the investigation.  The discussion shifts and Bin Laden's name gets mentioned and suddenly the call is abruptly cut.  Clarice's succeeding calls reach instead Tran's voice mail box.  More irked, Clarice calls Tran's boss at the network and brings up the concern that the call was cut.  He tells her she's on leave, having dinner with some friends at Les Grilles.  Dialing the restaurant's number, Clarice finally gets back in touch with Tran and learns she had a brief fugue state when she mentioned the terrorist's name.  As it turns out, Tran was still suffering from traumatic flashbacks of the day of her rescue in Iraq.  Unwittingly, Tran then induces a traumatic flashback on Clarice as she talks about the strange attacker that day.

The inhuman speed and odd motions reminded Clarice of the thing that attacked her mother.  The thing looked human, but was crouched over her mother with its maw open to reveal jagged teeth that look like they had been filed into points.   She recalled her mother fighting back, her mother's hand scratching the man across the face with her long nails.

She comes to and Tran was no longer on the line.  Clarice tried to shake it all off by walking a bit around the house.  When the doorbell rang, she nearly jumped out of her skin.    Clarice finds a woman outisde in a gray jacket over a business smart suit.  A baseball cap covers her head.  "I've come to offer you a job," she tells Clarice and hands her a photo that had been printed out on photo-paper.  Clarice stares at the scarred man's face.

The same scarred man.

"There is an address in the back," the woman tells Clarice, "If you're interested, I shall see you there."

And that urge to Avenge her mother would fuel her forward...

***


Norfolk, Virginia - United States : 22:19:38
Nicole Tran, Inactive ASIS-Specialist Officer.

Nicole meets with a woman in a grey jacket, suit, and cap.  Through Tradecraft, Nicole easily sees she used to work with the Federal Bureau.  She slides Nicole a folder, and as Nicole looks at the picture she gasps.  The blurry picture shows her missing fiance.   There's not much background to tell where he is.  His expression is hard to read.  Perhaps snarling?  Smiling?  A word caught mid-sentence?  Photography helps Nicole realize the picture is recent, even without a time stamp.  It was taken with an older digital camera, probably back before they had resolutions over 2 MB.  The greenish cast of the light suggested fluorescent lighting.  Definitely not in a First World location.  "Ever been to New York?" the woman asks.

Elsewhere - United States : 17:19:38
Robert Finocchiaro, Retired 1st SFOD-D.

Robert is meeting the same woman.  She presents to him an offer to be part of an organization that seeks to uncover the truth.  When Robert questions her of being crazy enough to believe his story of what happened in Iraq, she tells him, "Then I guess even the three others I've contacted are that crazy as well."  Robert's Tradecraft notes that she seems familiar with some of the CIA measures.  Perhaps Special Division.

Elsewhere - United States : 17:19:38
John Smith, Former KGB Cleaner.

Smith doesn't even let the woman say more.  He hears she has a job offer and he takes the envelope.  He nods.  "There's a gazebo.  The address is at the back.  Tomorrow.  I'll see you there."

New York City, New York.  United States : 08:52:05
Clarice Rosenberg, FBI Behavioral Analysis Unit

Clarice arrives at the park to see the gazebo.  She fails to notice the other's already there.  The three watch as she arrives and were given instructions to wait for her to enter before they follow.  Clarice sees the woman in the cap who smiles as she arrives, then brings out four boxes just as the three others step inside.  "The victims were similar in numerous ways.   The perpetrator, sadly, remains at large.  For some reason, our respective organizations have turned a blind eye.  If you wish to learn more, you will find information in the boxes intended for you.  You may choose to pursue this mission on your own.  Or you may choose to be part of the organization to seek out the answers the rest of the world is not ready to give.

I shall be back in two nights, and you have til then to make your decis-" the woman stops as Smith walks up to her and surrenders the box.  "I'm in."  The others are a tad surprised.  "I'm in too," Finocchiaro responds, but keeps his box.  The girls opt to thing about things.

***


Nicole Tran finds an address inside her box.  St. George's Medical Institute.  An old abandoned hospital in London.   The phone in her box contains three other phone numbers.   She tries a number and contacts Clarice.

Clarice is busy viewing the contents of her box, a burned DVD.  Inside is video footage from the surveillance camera from the sky.  In it, the Iraq incident is clearly seen, with some kind of fog pouring out of the building, just before it collapses, then drifting away northwards... only to completely stop, and change direction, as if it was intelligent.

Clarice shares what she knows of the hospital in Tran's notes.  St. George is one of the supposedly most haunted hospital in London. 18 patients were murdered within a span of 5 days, with all of them supposedly dying only in fifth day.  The man behind the murders stretched out their tortures, ensuring none of them died until the fifth day.  A certain wealthy businessman was funding its rehabilitation, but the man committed suicide before it could be finished.

The two talk about joining.  Tran teases Clarice that "Miss Smiles" might know more than the group realizes.  Remembering their drives, the two silently agree to go.

***

Finocchiaro's trip to the watering hole was far from just a night out drinking.  Instead, he meets with an old buddy of his, his ex-handler, Colonel Anderson (Network: 2) and asks him about Operation Dawn.  Anderson tries to warn him that its not safe to ask around about that.  Finocchairo reminds him that he will need his help sometime and Anderson tells him he owes him.  But warns him some answers are best left untouched.

***

Smith sees the woman in the cap get agitated and watches as she calls the three others.  An operation needs to be done tonight.  She asks them all to confirm if they are joining.  They are unanimous.    The operation is to be in Poland.  The target is a Nikolai Svetzgrei.   The man is arriving at Poland at 4:00a.m. local time and has a suitcase handcuffed to his left wrist.  He is flying to Wlochy a district of Warsaw, Poland to meet up with a woman named Gabriella Castallenos.  An exchange of some sort was to happen.

The team has barely the night to prepare.  As each quickly mark down what they anticipate needing, all four pack up for the trip. The woman in the cap apologizes for the hastiness, but reminds them it is imperative that the suitcase be retrieved.

***

Wlochy District, Warsaw Poland : 03:12:01
Unnamed Operations Team

As the group disembarks, they are given what equipment the woman in the cap was able to gather for them.  They quickly make their way to the other hotel nearest to the one Svetzgrei was staying at.  Wasting no time, Tran starts hacking into Svetzgrei's email address and easily does so.  She finds the email from Castallenos.  It takes Tran little effort with Digital Intrusion to break into Castallenos' email account and send Svetzgrei a message changing the meeting place to their new venue, and doing the same to Svetzgrei's account to send the real Castallenos' a message that the meeting is cancelled for now.

Clarice gets to work, however, preparing a disguise to match Castallenos' look.  While the others pick up some supplies at the nearest 24-hour mini mart.  They arrive at the Melody Grand and find the staff a tad more eager than expected to see them.  As it turns out, Clarice's disguise matches the appearance of Malena, a celebrity who often sneaks off to this very hotel to celebrate her private parties!   With less than two hours to prep, the group quickly spreads out with Tran connecting to the hotel's security feed, Smith preparing the adjoining room for the time they need to sever Svetzgrei's hand to get the suitcase.  And Robert prepping the weapons and keeping an eye out for trouble.   The plan is to have Clarice seduce Svetzgrei and lure him to the adjoining room, where she is to knock him out with a sedative.  Smith then walks in, chops Svetzgrei's hand off, and takes the suitcase, then the group exists.

At six a.m., trouble comes in the form of six bodyguards that are accompanying the target.  Robert easily recognizes the six to be former Spetsnaz and warns the others by calling them that he has to go out of sight.  Robert however catches sight of "The Breaker," an infamous former Spetsnaz who reinvented himself when he retired as a wrestler.  Smith decides to prepare for trouble by calling an old contact named Boris (Network:5).  Boris and Blatva are former KGB who are based in Poland now.  They are told to prep for transport if the group needs to escape with new identities, and tickets back to the United States.

Clarice meets with Svetzgrei and the two start chatting it up over breakfast.  Svetzgrei  is clearly a lecherous man who cannot stop touching Clarice.  Robert, however, notices a second wrinkle in the plan when he sees the real Castallenos step into view.  Tran reviews the tapes and true enough, Castallenos had arrived, knocked out the two other bodyguards at the entrance, and is clearly angry with the change of plans.  Robert intercepts, and before she would voice out an alarm, knocks her out cold.  He drags her away out of view just as the Breaker steps into the corridor... sensing something amiss.

Smith exists the room and heads straight to the fire exit door facing the hallway.  He considers a secondary plan in his head while the others move in place.  As Clarice guides Svetzgrei to the room, Robert calmly joins Tran in the adjoining room to ask how things are.   Castallenos is tied up and laid down nearby.  Tran admits things are going smooth, until they realize that someone else is riding on the signal.  "There's another team."

Smith heads to the floor below the one they've set up and sees a woman with a bulky pack emerging from the elevator.  Without hesitation, Smith shoots her in the face and grabs her pack.  "Sorry about that," he coldly says, "But I need this."

Clarice begins to undress, and at the last minute plants the knockout agent onto Svetzgrei's face.  As he drops, Robert and Tran open the adjoining door to move to the next phase.  With the meat cleaver in hand, Clarice begins to chop the hand free.  The meat is tough and the bone does not give easily.  Blood splatters all over Clarice's chest and face.  The guards sadly, suspect something is up, and Robert is forced to delay the bodyguards by opening fire at the door.  With covering fire keeping them from entering, Clarice breaks the hand off and starts carrying the case back to the others.  Neither see Tran forced into a fight with Castallenos who viciously starts kicking and pinning Tran down even while tied up.

Bullets fly and Clarice get's pinned where she is.  Robert downs a few guards, but the others continue to force them to stay where they are.  The "Breaker" arrives, sees the situation, and wisely decides to enter via the room beside the one Svetzgrei entered.  Just as Tran knocks Castallenos finally down, the "Breaker" walks up to her is about to slam a meaty foot onto her neck.

An explosion.

As the explosion kills the bodyguards in the hallway, the blast only flings the "Breaker" into the opposing wall.  Clarice, Tran and Robert grab the suitcase and hurry to escape.  But the Breaker pulls out a pistol and is about to fire.  Leaping from her run, Clarice deflects the shot by slamming into his arm and shoving her open palm into his ribcage.  Something cracks.  The blow forces the Breaker down to the ground.

The group reach the ground floor and find Smith waiting for them by the car.  The hotel staff are also gathered outside, and many sigh in relief as they see their beloved "Malena" emerge from the smoke and flames.  The group hurries to the car amidst the flashes of cameras and cellular phones taking snap shots.   They arrive at the airport where Smith's prepared tickets allow them onboard real quickly.  None choose to peer into the suitcase.

***

Logan International Airport, New York, New York

The four see the woman with the cap confirm the safe delivery of the suitcase and watch as she hands it to her associate.  She congratulates them on a successful operation and reminds them to anticipate her call.  "There are things out there which others in the government would want to keep confidential.  We have the opportunity to find the truth."

***

Wlochy District, Warsaw Poland : 06:12:01

The rubble moves.

A man rises from the burning rubble and the hotel staff watch in disbelief as the charred naked man walks up to them.  The blacked skin shifts as the figure raises its leathery head and opens a cracking maw.  The staff scream as they feel death claim them in a swift and crimson cloud.

Then silence.
Silence save for the crumbling of wood and the dying sound of guttering flames.

Nikolai Svetzgrei shakes the ashes and burned skin off his body.  He raises his stump of an arm and grits his teeth, revealing sharpened fangs.  Blood oozes out of the stump like branches of a coral growth.  Then they tighten into the fleshy form of a regenerated hand.

***

Logan International Airport, New York, New York

The group sees the card the woman in the cap had given them all to keep.
On it, her name is written:  Samantha Miles

Clarice smiles.  She never notices the splatter of blood droplets still dotting her lip.  She unconsciously licks her lips to wet them, swallowing the blood.


End of Episode One

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