Tuesday, August 30, 2011

S1: Chapter 10: Expendable

Murph got back to the unit room and changed. “Dust, what was with the coaching?” he asked once he was back in his jeans. “You didn’t think I knew how to talk to that guy?”
“I don’t know I figured you’ve been married for the last 8 years, you were maybe a little rusty on the game.”
“Rusty? Is that what all of you think? Yve?”
“I don’t know where Dustin got that. I wasn’t the one coaching you,” Yve answered.
“Do you think I’m rusty when it comes to women?”
“I think you have the looks that can melt panties, a voice that makes women weak in the knees and a demeanor that screams ‘sex me now’. No, I don’t think you’re rusty at all. And apparently Simone would agree. She was ready to rip Svetlana’s head from her shoulders for touching you.”
Victor grinned. “Yeah she uh, she said you threatened to arrest her?”
“I did. I had to get her out of there and I was willing to cuff her if necessary.”
He smiled at the thought. “‘Melt panties’ huh? I’ll keep that in mind.”
“Yeah, don’t tell Simone what I said.”
“Don’t worry; there are just some things men don’t talk about.”
“Oh? Like the reason why the interior of the stakeout van looks like the inside of a 1970’s shag mobile? Incidentally, how did she find out where you were and that you had someone with you?”
“She was following me. She said she saw me exit with Brett and Ryan and wanted to ask me to lunch but I was going too fast and of course my cell phone, which had 8 missed calls from her, was in the locker. So when she finally caught me I was walking into ‘Fantasy Date’. She wasn’t happy I didn’t tell her that part but she was smiling before I left. Thank you for getting her out of there safely.”
“It’s no problem Murph; just glad I was there. Apparently that place was used for Andrei’s business quite often. You were set up the second you drove there.”
“Yeah, I didn’t see the Russians in the lobby, she told me what room to request and when we got there she noticed an issue with it and asked that I take her back down the stairs. I guess from there they would have grabbed me or done whatever it is they do.”
“Did; they’ve since been stopped,” Yve corrected him.
He nodded his head in agreement.
“Now to the other fish; Dustin, grab me an invite to that dinner and an escort, preferably one that likes ‘long walks on the beach, poetry and puppies’,” she smiled as Ryan came into the room.
“Wait, you and I are going on a date?” he asked grinning. “Just so you know, I’m not cheap. You’ll have to buy me dinner before I put out.”
“Dinner’s free.”
“Ok, then dessert.”
“Comes with the meal.”
“Fine, then I guess you won’t get any tonight!”
“We’ll see about that. I have excellent skills of seduction,” Yve smiled. “Let Brett know what’s going on Dust.”
“I’ve been trying. I think his comm. is damaged. He hasn’t responded to anything. I can still see him; the cam is still up, but no audio on either end Boss.”
“Great. And we have no idea what they are doing with him or why he hasn’t been able to return back here.”
“My guess? They are prepping him for the date tonight.”
“That’s what we need…audio on that. What happened to the comm.?”
“Not sure. Once he was taken to that back room it went out. He most likely walked through a jammer or signal scrambler. He can’t transmit from there it probably killed the entire thing. Looks like he'll have to do it the old fashioned way and take notes. I hope he has good penmanship,” he joked.
“Thanks Dust.”
He stood and walked towards her. “Tonight you’re Emilia St. Laurent, daughter of Gustav and Lissette St. Laurent. Since no one knows what she looks like I figured it was the best bet to getting you in.”
“Sounds good but where’s the real Emilia?”
“Stuck in customs; apparently she was caught smuggling some electronic spyware through security. She really should observe the rules of foreign countries before travelling!”
“What? It’ll prove phony and by the time the issue is corrected she’ll have missed the dinner and you’ll be long gone!”
She smiled. “I better go and get ready then. Ryan, wear something that’s roomy enough for a few weapons.”
“They have metal detectors at that place, Boss,” he said.
“Victor has weapons that’ll go undetected, no worries. He isn’t a weapons expert for nothing.”
Ryan drove over to his folks place. The three missed calls and multiple text messages from his step-sister prompted a visit he was not looking forward to or wanted to make; but he’d do anything for her.
He parked just outside the beaten trailer door and walked towards the front stoop. The stench of the nearby septic tank caused him to pinch his nose as he ran up the wobbly staircase.
He knocked once and got no answer. He pounded his fist in the door, rattling the aluminum siding before pulling on the handle and walking inside.
“Ma you cooking breakfast in there? I swear I can smell Bacon!” Eddie yelled to his wife as Ryan entered the room.
“Nice to see you too, Old Man.”
“You know damn well I ain’t cooking for you, you dirty, old scoundrel,” Sandra said joining him in the living room. “Oh, I see,” she snarled staring at her only son standing in the doorway of her double-wide. "What do you want you little shit? Tell your pig friends thanks for the four citations we got the other day."
“First of all, I'm a Federal agent, not a cop; not that you can make that distinction.  And second, that has nothing to do with me. If you got tickets it's because you broke the law."
"Fuck you!" she sneered.
"It's great to see that you haven’t failed to keep the liquor cabinet well stocked. But why would you, drinking was all you were ever good at anyway,” Ryan said peeking down the hallway to the room at the end.
“What the hell do you want, boy?” Eddie said closing the gap between him and his step-son.
“I didn’t come here for you.” He pushed his step-father out of his face and headed towards the back room. He knocked once before opening the door. She smiled as he entered through the narrow opening.

“Ryan!” she threw her arms around his neck and clung tightly to him.
“Hey Pin Cushion,” he smiled clutching her back. “What’s the emergency? Are you ok?”
“No! I’m never going to be ok living here!” she dropped onto the bed and he took a seat beside her.
“What’s going on Angel?”
“If Sandra and Dad aren’t fighting they’re drunk out of their minds or high. I can’t live here; I don’t want to live here!”
“Stefanie we’ve been through this. The court won’t grant me custody to you because you’re 15 years old and need parental supervision. My job keeps me on the go and they won’t allow a 15 year old to live in a home without a parent."
He adjusted on the bed and listened to the springs cry at the shifting of his weight. "Stef, Sweets, you know I want to take you from here more than anything. I’m still appealing that decision but the outcome is looking about the same. Did something happen?"
She shook her head no and pulled at her shirt covering the marks on her arms before he could see.
“You’re lying Stefanie. Did Eddie do something to you?”
She started crying uncontrollably and he pulled her into his arms allowing her to cry into his chest. “Talk to me Stef; I can’t help you unless I know what’s going on.”
“They hate me! I heard Dad telling Sandra that if it weren’t for me they’d be happy. He said I was a worthless waste of space. They don't get me like you do Ry. I hate it here! Can I come to your place tonight, Ry? Please? I promise not to get in the way I just can’t stay here another night. Please?”
“Stef, you don’t have to beg like that. Just pack a bag, of course you can come with me. Get whatever you can carry; screw the courts I'll just have to face the kidnapping charges.”
He waited for her to gather up some belongings and they started for the front door.
“Whoa, where the hell do you think you’re going with my kid!” Eddie said grabbing Stefanie’s arm and throwing her towards the hall.
“Hey!” Ryan whipped around and sent his right hook into Eddie’s face breaking his nose instantly. “Don’t you ever fucking put your hands on her! You touch her again and I’ll fucking kill you. Let’s go Stef.”
He drove her to his home and led her to his living room. “I don’t have a pull out couch or an extra bed so you can sleep in my room, I’ll crash on the couch.”
“Thank you Ryan,” she smiled and threw her bag into the corner.
His phone beeped and he pulled it out to look at it. “I have work, Stefanie. I have to go in. There’s leftover pizza in the fridge, ice cream, soda…just stay away from the beer.”
She laughed. “I will. What time will you be home?”
“I don’t know it might be late; stay inside and keep the door locked at all times. You remember what I told you about the lockbox?”
She nodded.  “I’ll be ok Ryan I feel safer already by just being here.”
He hugged her once more and headed for the door.
Yve and Ryan arrived shortly after Brett and stood in the long hall outside the banquet room waiting to enter inside. “Oh I love that necklace,” Yve said admiring Stella’s jewelry as she placed a new comm. in Brett’s hand.
“This old thing? Thank you. I simply cannot have enough emeralds though,” she smiled.
“They look great on you! Match your eyes perfectly!”
She smiled as Brett escorted her through the open door of the banquet hall.
Ryan wrapped his arm around Yve and walked her towards a table near the back of the room. “You look great by the way Boss.”
“Thank you Ry, I always think the same when I see you all dolled up too. And to think, all of this for little old me.”
"You're still not getting any!" She laughed as he pulled her chair out for her.
He leaned in closer as he spoke; rubbing her hand as he noticed eyes on them and played up his role. “How are we doing this?”
“We need to make sure Stella is safe. I just hope Brett put his comm. on.”
“You think they’ll try something here? Tonight?”
“There’s a big possibility. Do you dance, Jax?” Yve smiled standing.
“I’m…no. That's not a good idea if you want to be able to walk the rest of your life.”
“I need to speak with Brett, his comm. isn’t working so please, interrupt his dance and show Stella a good time,” she whispered.
“I’m not good with this type of dancing.”
“Just move slow and lead her, step for step, you’ll be fine, now go.”
He took her hand and led her to the floor until they were close enough to Brett and Stella. He gave Yve a spin and caught Brett’s gaze. The song ended and the band immediately went into another. “Excuse me, do you mind if I cut in?” he smiled extending his hand for Stella.
“Eric?” she asked looking at Brett.
“Please, enjoy yourself Stella. But I expect to have her back in one piece Mr…,”
“Fraser, Jackson Fraser but you my dear may call me Jax,” he said kissing her hand and bowing.
"Mmm well Jax, you certainly know how to charm a lady," she smiled.
"There's more where that came from if you'd like."
Yve shook her head thinking back to his confusion between escorting and prostitution before turning her attention back to Brett.
Ryan moved Stella quickly towards the end of the dance floor as the spotlight searched for couples. “We have to talk,” Yvette said taking Brett’s arm as the spotlight stopped on them.
“What does that mean?” Brett looked up.
“It means we’ve been chosen for the spotlight dance.”
“And what does that mean?”
“It means I hope you’re light on your feet.”
“Can we decline?”
“No one has before and I’d rather not make a scene. Come on, you weren’t so bad with Stella, are you afraid to show me some moves, Brett?” she asked shaking her shimmy.
He smirked and took her hand leading her to the center of the floor as the room burst into applause. He gripped her waist tight and pulled her up into a frame. She rested one hand on his shoulder and took his hand with her other. “So you and Ryan were looking ‘cozy’. Should I be worried?” he asked dipping her and leaning forward until their mouths threatened to touch.
“I’d ask the same about Stella but just like you, he was only selling his part. Besides, I gave you the boyfriend title. I’ll let you know when I’m done with you.”
“Ouch!” he smiled. “You think it’ll be that easy?” he lifted her. “I’m in your system now, 6 months of pure Brett? You’re not going anywhere! I’ll let you know when I’m done!”
She laughed as he pulled her closer and they glided around the floor.
He frowned as his hand lowered more down her back. “You’re armed?”
“Yes, always. That’s what we needed to talk about; I have one for you as well. Stella’s in danger. From what Dustin has been able to figure out, someone has placed a hit on her for her role in the disbandment of my old team.”
“That underground thing?”
She nodded. “That team. We believe they are going to try either today or tomorrow to kill her.”
“Why didn’t someone just tell me that? I could have kept her away from here.”
“Your comm. stopped working. You either damaged it or went through some sort of interference. We weren’t able to reach you.” She wrapped her leg around his and he slid across the floor in time with the music before spinning her.
“That’s not good then. You missed the entire conversation between me and Isadora?”
“Yes. What was said?”
“She wants me to cozy up to Stella, steal a security pass and an ID badge and for it I’ll get an extra couple thousand to line my pockets.”
“So she was the one behind this. What do we know about the attack on Pamela?”
“She ordered that one too but she never got what she was after. She was lucky that Stella came to town because she had a second chance for that information.”
“What are they after?”
“I wasn’t privy to that, I just have a specific goal and that’s getting her the access key card to the information Stella has and what will happen at that meet tomorrow. You smell amazing!”
She laughed. “Thank you. Now I have to wonder if Isadora is working on this alone or if she was hired by someone,” Yve sighed.
He quickly swirled her once more and dipped her as the song faded to the end. The room again cheered and applauded as he pulled her up to her feet.
“Where did you learn to dance like that?” she asked once they’d moved from the floor.
“My Mother insisted I be well rounded, sports wasn’t the end all be all. She forced dance and music on me and Nathan.”
Boss! I just found out why we haven’t heard anything about the sale on that nuclear weapon!” Dustin shouted over the comm. “It was used for parts and is being sold off piece by piece"
"Why would they do that?" Ryan asked listening in.
"Because they don't have the remote or the power source. It can still fetch a pretty penny and if any of their buyers have parts to make it work, they can create their own weapons and not worry about the other pieces!" Yve answered as a sudden fear took hold of her. "Dustin, are you able to track where any of the pieces may have landed?"
"I'm still working on that Boss, but there's more! I picked up some chatter on the same frequency we used for that mission. One of the thieves was in radio contact with someone, still not sure who. From what was recorded and from what I've gathered they were in the middle of creating something big and toxic. It works much as you’d expect and has an instant kill ability.
“What were they manufacturing?” Brett asked.
Something chemical; something with a high mortality rate.”
“Cyanide,” Yve said. “Dustin right before the disbandment the lab guys were working on a specific kill tablet remember? A colorless, odorless and malleable poison that could go undetected; the silent killer. They were finding creative ways to conceal it, soap, makeup, lotions and even candy, chocolate bars. The possibilities for its application was endless.”
That would do it, Boss. Especially as Potassium, in a crystalline form it could easily be mistaken as sugar or salt and dissolves quickly in liquid.”
There was a commotion near the bar. Yve, Ryan and Brett approached and found Stella and another dignitary collapsed on the ground.

“What the hell?” Ryan looked around. “There are no overt signs of death, heart attack?”
“No, first victims of the chemical no doubt,” Yve said. She looked down at the glasses they held in their hands. Ice, she thought as she searched the room. “It’s the ice! Drop the drinks, don’t let anyone drink!” she ordered Brett and Ryan as they ran through the room spilling the beverages and knocking glasses from people’s hands.
She grabbed up a sample and placed it in a glass, fired off a few rounds in the air alerting security and causing the people in the room to duck for cover as they made their way out of the building.
For the remainder of the night, they waited; waited on the lab techs to return information on the sample she’d brought back from the dinner. They waited on information concerning its manufacturing: location, ingredients and how it was even brought into the building and by whom.
Ryan drove home to check in on his step-sister to make sure she was ok before getting back to the HQ and falling asleep on the couch. Brett had gone for a swim to stay awake and cool off. Seeing his "date" die without being able to do anything about it shook him up more than he was willing to admit.
Yve stayed near the phone waiting as Dustin continued researching the articles concerning any cases that may appear as though handled by their old team and Victor had gone home to be with his family.
“Yvette?” Scott called as he entered into the room.
“Results are back?” she asked eagerly.
“No, I came to tell you that we can’t continue on this case. CIA has taken over with a jurisdictional grievance,” Scott said stepping closer.
“Again? This was an FBI agent that was attacked. What right…”
"Why didn't you tell me that this connected with the other case Yvette? It's not like you to keep that kind of information from me. What else are you hiding?"
"I didn't tell you Pop because I knew you would have reported it back to Newell and he would have done exactly this, take it away. I needed you to have plausible deniability so that you wouldn't be held responsible for the orders I gave my team. Can't you see what is going on here? There is something funny about the CIA's involvement in this case and it has all of the earmarks of the supposedly disbanded Black Ops program."
"Sweetheart that's nonsense. They would not have funding for that since it's no longer government controlled. Besides all of the agents have been let go, retired, arrested or disavowed and placed on the most wanted list."
"Disavowed? Do I look out of commission to you?"
“It doesn't matter at this point, Yvette, it's out of my hands. This is a matter of National Security and as such their Counterintelligence office is better equipped to handle it. This can cause an international incident, Yve; one that I have no intentions of getting involved in with the resources we have. Now I know you don’t like handing over your investigations but I need you and your team to back off of this one,” Scott said exiting the room.
“Boss?” Dustin said looking up at her and watching the wheels spin.
“This isn’t right, Dustin. They keep pulling us off these cases just as we reach…someone’s covering their ass and I intend to find out whom!” she said slipping from the room.
Dustin called after her but to no avail. Yve quickly hopped into one of the SWAT trucks and sped from the parking lot.
“Where’s Yve?” Brett asked returning from his swim.
“I don’t know,” Dustin shrugged. “Scott came and pulled us from the case and she left.”
“She didn’t say where she was going?”
“No, only that she intended to get to the bottom of what’s going on. I can only assume that to mean Jacob since he pulled us from the first case. It’s his job as liaison to oversee information sharing.”
Fifteen minutes passed and Brett waited on a call from her. Ryan stood up and stretched as Victor rushed into the room. “What the hell is with the message I got from Yvette?” he asked looking around. “Where is she?”
“She went to talk to Newell. What was the message?” Brett asked.
“Essentially she said to take care of the team if anything happens. What the hell is she talking about? What happened?”
“What? We got pulled from this thing with Carmichaels-Miller and she left in a hurry. What the hell does that mean if anything happens? Did you try calling her back?” Brett asked.
“Yeah, she isn’t picking up her cell.”
“What is she planning? Dustin get her on voice, now!” Brett ordered stepping towards his desk.
He quickly dialed out for her frequency, pinging her until she finally picked up.
What do you need Dust?”
“Yve? Where are you?” Dustin asked over her comm. “The team is looking for you.”
Heading to Newell’s place. That son of a bitch has answers and he will talk!”
“You heard Scott; we need to back away from this Yve. Why are you going there?”
Tying up loose ends. There is more to what the CIA has and I'm going to find out what. I don’t like the idea of the Company returning and neither should you. They are dangerous Dustin and now they’ll have a huge chip on their shoulders because of the way this was played.”
“Boss, be careful, you shouldn’t try going against this thing yourself! We should be there with you!”
No! I don’t want anyone’s hands getting dirty in this but mine. I’ll take care of it and return when I’m done here. Stay away,” she said disconnecting the headset.
“'Hands getting dirty'? What does that mean?” Ryan asked. “Why did she go there? And why would she disconnect the comm.?”
“Newell came and took all of the evidence we had on that Black Veil case she received info from Gabe about, I’m sure she’s figured Newell had a hand in the cover-up. It won’t be pretty when she goes to pump him for information; she wouldn’t want that on audio.”
An hour passed and then another. Morning came soon and the team all paced around the unit room waiting for Yvette to return.
“This is stupid. We should be there with her,” Brett said standing. “I don’t like the idea of her out there alone!”
There was static on the transmission before the comm. came back up.
“Yve?” Brett called waiting for her response.
More static and then a high pitched buzzing echoed on the amplifiers. “Yeow!” Ryan yelled.
“Get that in clearer, Dustin,” Victor said leaning closer.
Something…Dustin…” Yve said.
“Come again Boss, we didn’t quite get that, repeat,” Dustin said as he fidgeted with the controls.
Not right...scene...tampered.”
“What do you mean? What are you seeing Boss?”
“What was that? You were breaking up, Yve, say that again.”
A setup…call…,” she said as the line went dead.
“Yve? Can you hear me? Come in, Yve? Are you there?”
“Get her back Dustin!” Brett yelled watching the vocal lines on the screen bounce around.
“I can’t her comm. has interference. Something in that area is blocking her transmission.”
“Where was she?”
“I don’t…,” Dustin typed in several codes to try and pinpoint a location. For close to 15 minutes the blip navigated around the screen never settling on any one spot.
“Come on! Use that tracking shit Dustin and find her!” Brett yelled.
“That won’t be necessary Gentleman,” a man in a pinstriped suit said walking into the unit room. He was closely followed by Scott and another man. “Your Boss has gone off the grid.”
“What the hell are you talking about?” Victor questioned stepping towards him.
“All will be explained, please, join us in the debriefing room.”
“Thank you for coming, I’m Special Agent Alex Harrison and I’ll try and make this brief. When I said your boss is off the grid, what I meant was that she has exhibited bizarre behavior in her recent moves while working on a case with the CIA. Behavior most commonly associated to Section 8’s or Double Agents.”
“Gentleman, I’m sorry to have to inform you of this, but we have a rogue agent on our hands. Be advised that she is very dangerous and should be considered armed. She was trained by the best and graduated top of her class at the CIA. She is skilled in martial arts, hand-to-hand combat and knows the use of pretty much any weapon known to man.”
“She’s cunning, highly intelligent, lethal and she will be paranoid. She was last seen at the home of the CIA’s Deputy Director Jacob Newell, where she is now is speculation. We do know that she has made several threats to Mr. Newell regarding his involvement in the removal of evidence from her possession. It has come to our attention that his body was found moments ago inside his home, the victim of homicide. Special Agent Yvette Evans is wanted for questioning.”
“We believe she planned this murder and had been working on getting close to him for quite some time, her position here as Unit leader only provided her with that extra step. We have documented evidence showing her intent, questionable phone conversations and surveillance photos of her actions since we’ve been on to her. We also know she was planning to make it appear as a random act of violence and then call foul once the blood trail led back to her.”
“Gentlemen, you know her better than anyone since you’ve worked by her side for the past half year, some of you longer. The CIA is asking for your help to track her down and bring her in. We want her back alive…or dead!”

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