Saturday, February 22, 2014

The Antigone Council ep03 : Night's Black Agents


02/09/2014

The Antigone Council

"Message Received"
Episode Three

Night's Black Agents

***

Given the events of the last op, all four agents find the desire to enjoy some time recuperating both physically and emotionally. Each one takes some time to recover in their Sanctuary or embrace some time with their source of Solace.

National Heroes Cemetery, Undisclosed Time.
Robert Finocchiaro, 1st SFOD-D.

Robert Finocchiaro visits the final resting place of his friends. He finds himself reliving some of the memories of the missions they've taken in the past. A man approaches him while there. Robert notes the man's distinct limp. He recognizes him to be Michael Bishop, a CIA Consultant he has worked with in the past. (Network: 5 points) Bishop and Robert discuss retirement and Robert asks why Bishop would choose to resurface at this point in time. Bishop tells him it is his job to notice patterns.  And he's noticed the pattern of events spiraling from Poland to New York, with the death of Malena and the activities of the reporter, Jessica Tran.  And to note when his help might be needed. He offers Robert his help.

***

New York City, Undisclosed location, Undisclosed Time.
John Smith, KGB Cleaner.

John Smith is at his private bunker, replaying the events of the previous mission in his head.  He feels at ease here in his bunker, away from everyone else.  He receives a phone call and it turns out to be the woman who owns a bookstore that he frequents.  His deliveries have already arrived.  He decides to step out and go to the store.

While there, he does not notice the black woman watching him as he talks to the store owner.  Their conversations are frequently interrupted, however, by an annoying woman who seems to like throwing unnecessary demands around.

***

Undisclosed Location, Residence, New York City
Nicole Tran, ASIS-Specialist Officer.

Nicole Tran has acquired the security footage (Electronic Surveillance: 2 points) of the ASIS parking area of the night her fiance vanished.  She inspects every inch of the footage, dissecting every second to find all the details and clues she can to try to find David.  She tweaks the video to see a black van drive up to David's car, two figures step down to take his body, then one steps down from the van, leaves David's hand in the car, then mark a black splotch on ground. The black spreads, then strangely suddenly contracts. 

Her cellular rings.  Samantha Smiles asks Nicole to prep a new office for an upcoming operations.  Nicole closes the files she was working on and heads out, speed dialing a new office building that has office space for rent.

***

Undisclosed Church, New York City
Clarice Rosenberg, FBI Behavioral Analysis Unit

Clarice Rosenberg finds a sense of stability and peace while in the Church.  Her prayers, however, are interrupted by a phone call.  Smiles informs Clarice that she needs her to head to a bookstore to meet with John Smith.  The urgency of her presence is implied.

***

Clarice arrives at the bookstore dressed in a business suit, with her hair in a bun and thick eyeglasses covering her eyes.  Dressed like a stereotypical librarian, Clarice approaches John Smith to make contact and suggest to him that they should head out.   She easily spots the black woman staring at John and decides to hold back and see if she follows him out.

As John heads out, the woman does follow, but Clarice is interrupted by the bookstore owner, who seems eagerly excited to meet another friend of John's.  

***

The black woman steps out to find John Smith facing her, clearly showing her that he's aware of her following him.  The two engage in a short fight, with Clarice joining soon enough.  The black woman get's disabled by a shot to her shoulder and she surrenders.

She identifies herself as Cardiff, a member of the SWW (Sluzba Wywaidu Wojskowego), the espionage agency of Poland.  They board a car and make their way to the office space.  Robert confirms he is on his way as well, and makes sure that he brings the stash of guns with him.

***

In the office space, Samantha Smiles meets John and Clarice and takes Cardiff aside to talk to her in private.  The group learns the reason they were all called back in today.  A number of deaths have occurred and the people involved seem to suggest a clear message directed at the team.  Among the deaths include the celebrity Malena who was found to have committed suicide in her hotel room, the Air Marshall Troy Venzer whom the team somewhat spoke to during the flight on Berlin Air, a group of athletes which Clarice realizes were the student footballers whom she had misdirected from the men's room where Smith and Finocchiaro were apprehending the Breaker... 

... and Cardiff's team which was investigating the suspicious fire on Melody Grande in Poland - the same fire the team had left behind after Smith used the explosives to deal with the "second team" present that day.  While Cardiff does confirm that her team was NOT that second team, she does tell them that her team was present the following day, after rumors of intelligence activity happening in the area.

"Whoever is behind the killings is sending a clear and direct message.  And that message is aimed at us."

Nicole uses her computer skills and (Criminology: 1) to dig more facts on Venzer's death.  The man supposedly left a suicide note, apologizing for not being brave enough to admit to his family his lifestyle.
Checking the timeline of the deaths, it seems there is a two to three day gap between deaths, with the next one due within the same period.  

"To a hammer, everything is a nail."

One raises the suggestion to use Cardiff as bait, given she survived the death her team had befallen.  Perhaps the one behind the attack is now trying to track her down and the team could use that to their advantage, setting her up in a location which they can properly monitor.

"We will assume there's a supernatural activity to monitor our actions. She she will be the bait."

Nicole digs through old SWW transmissions and using her knowledge (Cryptography : 2) of codes, discerns that the intelligence group has a safe house in the vicinity which they can use.  Smiles tells the group to plan it out, and heads downstairs with Cardiff to discuss certain matters at length.  Nicole notices that Smiles leaves her cellular phone behind, and taps it open to reveal the wallpaper of a fluffy-looking husky.

While Smiles and Cardiff discuss things at the burger joint next door, Robert sets down on the floor and spreads out the guns to start polishing them clean.  Smith leaves it to Clarice and Nicole to map out and decides to head back down after Cardiff and Smiles to talk to them.  

***
No one notices the security guard of the building is already dead.

***

An ambush.

The elevator doors open and men clearly with military training storm into the room, semi-automatic weapons held at ready!  Robert tosses a smoke grenade at them to delay them, and snatches a few weapons to arm himself.  He kicks a pistol towards Clarice, who slides past him to duck behind the closest support beam.  Nicole, still hoping to hack into Smiles' phone, ducks behind the computers and hopes she has enough time.

As the laser beams of the military groups' guns shine out of the smoke, Robert realizes they will have to bring the confrontation to the enemy to gain the advantage of surprise.

***

Down below, John notices the military in the group level at the last moment, giving him the chance to duck behind some furniture as they open fire.  He disables a soldier even as Cardiff closes in to assist.  John tears the radio out of the man's ear and slides it on, listening intently to the woman on the line giving the team directions to strike.  "It is so nice to have children wanting to play," John blurts out into the radio, which causes whoever was behind the operation to panic.  "Who is this?!!"  John simply answers, "You insult us with your little children" which brings the woman to shut down communications.

***

Clarice offers cover fire and by luck hits one of the soldiers in the smoke.  Robert takes the opportunity to slide forward, under the soldier's line of sight, and smack one down with his martial arts, only to spin and discharge the weapon on the second one.    Of the four soldiers that came in, the third turns out to be injured and bleeding out, while the fourth was trying to drag the injured man to safety.

Robert holds them at gunpoint and tells them to surrender.

***

Nicole hands Smiles back her phone,but realizes the radio the team was using is not known for having a very wide range.  She quickly rigs a system (Electronic Surveillance: 2) to try and cause the transmitter to still release a faint traceable signal, counting on the possibility that whoever was in charge was most likely actually in the building when it happened.

Robert and John interrogate the soldiers (Intimidation: 2) , and they soon learn the soldiers are Lebanese. The team sadly doesn't have much useful information to share, granted they were just mooks who were following orders.  

Nicole tells the others she has a means to track the one leading them - which has Clarice and Robert rushing out to the street to find the cues Nicole identifies.  Nicole shares descriptions of the sounds she can hear in the transmissions (Notice: 2) and the two quickly try to find the location to follow the trail.  Clarice notices a woman in the street who did not seem fazed when a car very dangerously drove past the street (Notice: 1) and she tells Robert she suspects that woman has some level of training.  Robert takes aim and fires a shot to disable her.

***

Cardiff and John, on the other hand, handle clean up while Nicole and Smiles head out to find the others.  Smiles tells the rest she will contact the Council for clearance to bring them to a safe house, instead of relying on another office space.

John uses his knowledge (Criminology:2) and (Forgery: 2) to set up the bodies of the military in the room to suggest a fire fight.  He even cuts the arteries of some to spray blood in the desired manner to support the cover story.  He then has Cardiff call emergency services to anonymously report seeing some kind of military shoot out happening in the building.

They exit the floor, leaving an explosive to finish the job - even as they hear one of the soldiers gagging, suggesting he was still alive.

***

Penelope Cardiff is asked to join the Antigone Council, and is offered the role to be the fifth member of the team.  The group is brought to a condo unit but are brought to a level underground  in the elevator beyond the floors the elevator panel suggests.

Down below, each member is asked to remove their clothes for initial security clearance, then biometric scans are taken of each to be recorded for security clearance data for that day only.  The chamber they find underground opens up into a massive office space with numerous desks, monitors, filing cabinets and agents of all kinds.    There seems to be only 1 woman for every six men present, although the key positions seem to be held by women.  Clarice and Nicole notice quite easily that many have clothes that seem a few years out of date.

The Antigone Council is larger than they all expected, and the number of active agents seem to be a staggering number.  The group is shown a conference room where they are introduced to what is known currently merely as The Enemy.    The pitch black oil seems to be the embodiment of the enemy, which takes control of host bodies by remaining inside their chest cavities.  The Council has noted certain signs that hint at the presence of the Enemy, including power fluctuations and as of yet unexplained slow-down or inaccuracies occurring to any nearby time pieces.  The Council desperately seeks to learn more of the Enemy, and to shut them down if possible.

A sample of the enemy the group has is a small orb of black oil that is barely an ounce in volume.  Robert finds himself deeply bothered as he remembers the barrels of the stuff which the team was supposed to deal with back during his days with the military.

Before the group can discuss more, however, the security teams in the area converge in the conference room and train their weapons at the group!  One of them, it seems, has just triggered the alarms and has shown latent "infection" of the Enemy.

The group stare at each other, uncertain who this person would be.

End of Episode Three
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