Friday, December 27, 2013

The Antigone Council ep02 : Night's Black Agents

12/14/2013
The Antigone Council


"Androv on a Plane"
Episode Two

Night's Black Agents


***

Undisclosed location. Undisclosed Time.
Samantha Miles, Dispatch Officer.

Samantha Miles is in a video conference with a group of people, who seem intent to criticize her selection of agents to work for the Antigone Council.  As they share their views on each one, the matter boils down to, "Can they be trusted?"  Miles admits, "No.  But that's why we have John Smith as their operations leader."

***

New York City, New York. United States : 11:21:05
Clarice Rosenberg, FBI Behavioral Analysis Unit

Clarice finds safety as she visits the old neighborhood church where she grew up.  She holds her mother's rosary and quietly prays for guidance as she realizes the world might not be as complicated as she had expected.  The world might be far more insidious.

***

Gold Coast, Queensland - Austraila - 11:49:52
Nicole Tran, ASIS-Specialist Officer.

Nicole Tran visits the Age Care Home to speak to her grand mother.  She feels safe here, as she speaks to her mother whose age has deteriorated her condition.  The grand mother mistakes her for her own daughter, and asks, "Did Arkady pass by today?"  Nicole simply pretends he did to keep her from worrying.  Her thoughts swirl back to the loss of David, and she hopes that the group she has joined will help find answers which the ASIS could not uncover.

***

"As you can see," Miles continues as the group watches the live video feed of the Church and the Home.  Neither Clarice nor Nicole realize they are being watched, "The agents are well monitored and show much promise in helping us deal with.. the threat."

"And of the others?"

"Currently in Berlin.  Blind drop.  Operation to commence in two days.  By then the ladies will be back."

***

Tiergarten, Berlin - Germany - 16:52:01 local time
Robert Finocchiaro, 1st SFOD-D.
John Smith, KGB Cleaner.


Robert Finocchiaro waits inside an adult sex shop for the blind drop. John Smith had confirmed that the drop will be taking place inside the private booth #6 at noon. Assigning Robert to wait inside the shop as a customer, John reads a book at a cafe across the street. 

A 5-foot tall petite woman with a red mow hawk and piercings steps inside the shop and glances at Robert. before ducking behind a shelf of dildos and other adult toys.  As the noon hour passes, Robert worries that the drop has been cancelled and peeks into the booth to check if anything was left behind.  True enough, a burned disc is found under the television set as planned.  He wonders if the woman was the contact.

John and Robert regroup at the hotel, and send a coded message back to Miles on the successful retrieval of the drop.   The two pack up, knowing they have a flight to make in a few hours.  As they make their way to the airport, Robert is amused and shows off his cover identity for the trip.  "Looks like my name is John Smith for this flight," he grins.

***

New York, New York - United States - 11:52:01 local time
Clarice Rosenberg, FBI Behavioral Analysis Unit
Nicole Tran, ASIS-Specialist Officer.

Office space.  That was the excuse that allowed the three women into the office building.  On the 14th floor, Miles shows Tran the prepped computers and tells her to get things started.  Miles wants a live connection with the two who are most likely enroute to their flight back to the United States.  "See if you can find a way to get in touch with them."
They learn from John and Robert (Notice) an unexpected surprise: The Breaker of Poland is on the flight.
Somehow, the man they presumed dead was a passenger on the flight.

Clarice decides to contact Jessica Tran (Network: 3) and tries to get her to confirm if the body of Mikhail Androv was found in the ruins of the burned hotel in Wolochy, Poland, the Melody Grand.  Jessica admits she can check, but asks Clarice if she is willing to do a favor for her too.  She is curious about something called the Rosenberg Diary, and hopes Clarice can help out.  Clarice wonders if its related to her family, and Jessica jokes that may be possible.  Clarice promises to look into it.

The flight was going to last at least 10 hours.  Miles has Nicole message the two to stand down and under no circumstances let the man know they are there.  She then tells Clarice to get ready and map out a plan to shadow the Breaker when he arrives, "We just might be lead to whoever is behind this mess."

Berlin Air, enroute to New York from Berlin.
Estimated flight time, 10 hours and 30 minutes.

During the first few hours, both John Smith and Robert Finocchiaro resort to looking asleep and covering their faces somewhat.  John sticks to reading his book, while Robert covers his face with a sleeping mask and wears headphones to deter people talking to him.

John soon learns the couple seated beside him are a newly wed couple, who seem to be insistent in getting from him tips on whether or not it really is exciting to have sex in the bathroom plane.  They seem to have mistaken the glances John and Robert were exchanging to mean that.

Robert notices the annoying kids seated in front of him, and so he contacts the flight attendant (Intimidate) to make sure no one bothers him during the flight.  The attendant immediately apologizes for the "bad seat" and glares at the children to remain silent.

*

John pretends to fall asleep, sinking into the blanket.  The couple giggles and escapes for the bathroom at the rear of the plane.  Robert too pretends to sleep deeply.

*

Around three hours in, the breaker suddenly stands up from his seat and stumbles to the business class bathroom.  When some people happen to be along the path, he loudly urges them aside and slams the door to the bathroom shut loudly.  The man seated across from Robert stands up, walks towards that area, and observes the bathroom door for a moment.  Robert and John quickly surmise the man is the Air Marshall of the flight.  

*

Back in New York, Miles demands a way to keep track of the team and Nicole gets on to it.  She figures out a way to bounce the signal from the airplane's transmissions to link up to the telecommunications services that have coverage even at that distance.  Using her Digital Intrusion and Surveillance, she eventually finds a way to transmit and receive information from the plane, by silently switching on mobile devices serviced by a specific carrier. 

Nicole quickly works a way to tap into the mobile devices in the flight and lucks out on a shot of the Air Marshall .  She searches for his file, and thanks to her Research, identifies him to be Troy Venzer.  She notes his superior officer is a man named Donald Deutsch.

Clarice, on the other hand, has fully transformed herself into a flight stewardess.  She bids the two goodbye and makes her way to Logan International Airport, with the plan to meet with the breaker as he steps out, and somehow, follow him as he leaves the airport.  Miles warns her to be careful.

*

The man emerges from the bathroom after some time, and walks calmer back to his seat.  The Air Marshall walks back to his own seat, and eventually strikes a short conversation with Robert.  John retires to the bathroom for a short moment, and walks back to his seat without a word.  Robert realizes John is preparing for something.

*

Around two hours left before landing, the breaker once again roughly hurries to the bathroom.  The Air Marshall stands up, concerned, and Robert learns close as the Marshall passes.  The Marshall knocks at the door, asking if everything is okay, and the breaker eventually answers in a calmer voice, admitting he was feeling violently ill.

When he emerges, the Marshall sternly warns him, and thankfully the breaker backs down and apologizes to the authority figure.    John and Robert count their blessings as the plane begins to make its descent and no incidents have happened during the whole flight.

Logan International Airport, New York - United States - 22:32:01 local time
Robert Finocchiaro, 1st SFOD-D.
John Smith, KGB Cleaner.

Clarice Rosenberg, FBI Behavioral Analysis Unit

As Clarice walks towards the new arrivals from Air Berlin, she (Notice) sees the breaker walk towards the men's room.  John and Robert follow behind calmly, with Robert giving Clarice the signal to watch the door.  Clarice quickly reports to Miles and Nicole that the two seem to have changes the plans to shadow the guy.  A group of foot ball players emerge from the crowd and approach the men's room as well.  Clarice uses a bit of her savvy (Flirting) to convince them to walk with her to "another bathroom," where they can get to know her more.

Inside, John calmly confronts the Breaker and makes no effort to hide his identity.  Robert draws out the gun of the Air Marshall which he had (Filch) taken without his knowledge, and warns the Breaker to try anything.  At that closeness, however, both can see how the Breaker does show signs of a man who had been stitched back up together.  The Breaker seems amused to see the two, and calmly surrenders to them, warning them, "You have no idea what you just apprehended."

To the team's surprise, a car is already at the terminal waiting for them.  Nicole and Robert jump in, after securing the Breaker inside, and learn that John Smith had prepared for this possibility (Preparedness M.O.S.) even before the trip to Berlin.

"Where are they taking him," Miles asks Nicole.

"House viewing," comes Nicole's reply.

***

Undisclosed location, New York - United States - 23:02:04 local time
The chair is bolted to the floor.

The Breaker is secured against the chair itself with cable ties.  Nicole and Clarice feel odd about what is about to happen, already sensing something is up.  Miles informs the team to get whatever information they can, and leaves them to handle it as she claims she needs to report to the Council.

In the basement, John gets dressed into his Cleaner usual outfit, with the apron, the elbow gloves and his tools.  Robert looks at his team-mate uneasily, sensing this was about to get... dirty.

"Something is wrong with my device," Nicole taps her screen as she notices her laptop seems to be on the fritz.  The digital clock seems to be showing a two hour delay.   Clarice stares at the many monitors that Nicole had set up and struggles to accept the impossibility of it all.  The man was showing no heart rate and yet was there sitting and talking to the others.

Well, perhaps not talking.  Gloating.

"You have no idea at all," the Breaker sneers.

To Robert's shock, John begins to cut the man, plunging the cutter blade into one of the slightly open stitches on the man's chest, popping apart the threads that tie him together.  The man hisses, telling them that they cannot stop what is coming.   The others struggle to stay calm, but are deeply disturbed as John cuts away a flap of the man's face, clipping away the skin without hesitation.

"He's dead, yet he's... not," Nicole is deeply bothered, and her fears multiply when she stars to see the Breaker struggle against his bonds.  The way the body moved... the unnatural motion of it... reminded her of something... of someone..

"John," Robert tries to stall him, but John simply cuts another flap of skin away.  Almost as if he's eager to find what's lurking underneath.

"The time's all wrong," Clarice notes as her own watch shows a delayed time.  The lights begin to flicker and the Breaker continues to laugh.  One of the cable ties breaks off!

"Hit the switch," Robert yells as the John finally opens up the Breaker's chest with the Y-shaped cut used during post-mortem investigations.  Where the man's heart should be, a black oil hovered.  It was roughly round shaped, but pulsed and grew spinky protrusions as the Breaker got more animated.  The Breaker ripped his own arm off to free it from the chair.  He was now lurching forward to tear himself free.

"Hit It!"

Gunfire.  Shots struck the Breaker, and yet he remained squirming.
Electricity surged through the body, and the black oil erupted like a jagged obsidian flail.  The body continued to writhe.  Robert found himself recalling a long blocked memory:  The Delta Force operation in Beirut.  "Burn it!"  And so they did.

***

As the toasted body of who was once the Breaker cooled down, the group reached a calmness enough to inspect it further.  (Forensics) revealed that the estimated time of death seemed still consistent with when they burned him down, even if the monitoring equipment earlier registered no pulse, no breathing, nor the actual presence of a heart in his chest.  (Chemistry) determined that the black oil was not present anywhere else in the man's system.  It seemed to have accumulated and simply... stayed.. in the chest area.  Now burned, there were tremendously small traces of the oil left behind.  (Military Science) Robert realized the operations he once took part in Beirut concerned these multiple metal canisters of Black Oil.  They were marked with biohazard symbols.  The operation was to burn each and every one.

"They called it... the Nigredo.   There was supposed to be something called the Albedo as well.  And a third word, I just can't recall.."

"Rubedo?" Nicole offered.  "The White, the Black and the Red?"

The silence was interrupted by a ring tone.

All turned to Clarice, who drew out her cellular and saw Jessica Tran's name.  "Yes, Jessica," she muttered as she held it to her ear, "What do you have for me."

"He was sighted there," Jessica admitted, "But there's no official papers stating he died there.  I'm still going to check into that first thing tomorrow morning. The thing is, the reason I called was something else.  I looked into the Rosenberg Diary I was hoping you could help me out with.  Turns out, the Diary was penned by the woman in charge of something called Operation: Orange Soda.   And the name of that person.."

Clarice gasped.
The name was that of her grand mother.


End of Episode Two
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