A Game Of Thrones


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Scene Title A Game of Thrones
Synopsis The impending crisis of an endless winter brings Kings and Queens together in the house of the President to discuss the crisis, and the situation with FRONTLINE.
Date May 4, 2010

Washington D.C.

The White House, Situation Room

Lined with television screens mounted in faux-wood paneled walls, the White House's Situation Room looks like something out of a television drama rather than real-life. Life can at times imitate art, but this cutting edge conference room is the example of art imitating life instead.

The polished wood conference table that dominates the middle of the room happens to be situated with a handful of the most powerful people in the country, for more reasons than any of them actually let on. At the head of the table, Vice President Andrew Mitchell sits in silent consideration of a document laid in front of him on the table's glossy surface, hands folded together and brows furrowed, head bowed and eyes down.

To his right, General Sebastian Autumn is like an expectant father pacing around outside of a delivery room on the inside, though outwardly he is about as animated as a lump of mud. The aging general's only motions are the wringing of his thick, sausage-link fingers together and a tense flick of his eyes from the vice president over to the blonde woman seated across from him.

Autumn wouldn't know it had he not read the incident report, that Sarisa Kershner saw her first active field duty in months on the streets of New York City fighting elements of the Vanguard remaining on American soil. Hair ties back, makeup hiding bumps and scrapes obtained in her brief altercation on that cold rooftop, agent Kershner is the picture of poise and grace — likely more so because a certain Harpy of a woman with a glare that could kill wasn't invited to this meeting.

"No offense, sir…" comes the crooning voice of the man seated at Sarisa's side, dark brows lifted and equally dark sunglasses shielding his eyes, "but exactly how many times were you going to read that report?" Avi Epstein has earned many things in his time as a CIA operative and member of the President's Anti-Vanguard task force, but the right to sass the Vice President is not among them. It's the man across from Avi that levels the first of three withering stares.

To his credit, agent Desmond Harper doesn't say anything at Avi, but the kick delivered under the table has a certain subtlety to it. The look exchanged between the two is an unfriendly one, even if more leveled on Avi's side that Desmond's; the years separating the two in age has done nothing for their somewhat subtle rivalries. Not to mention the resentment towards Desmond over the very large shoes he is filling within the agency.

Vice President Mitchell manages not to look up from the document until he has finished the last few lines, then breathes out a heavy sigh and looks up and across the table to the four people gathered, not giving Avi's question any leverage to his already soured mood. By the time he speaks, he's let the silence in the room simmer to an uncomfortable boiling point. "This is your best solution?" is the accusation leveled towards General Autumn, the Vice President's head tilts to the side to accomodate his chin resting on one closed hand. "This— what you just showed me here— is the absolute best situation you and all the brilliant minds in the DoD can muster?"

Autumn tenses at the manner in which Mitchell addresses him, eyes quickly searching Sarisa before settling on Mitchell again. However, the Vice President doesn't give him long enough to form a response before continuing. "Do you have any idea how much the American people will resist this idea? Take a looka round you, Sebastian, there's distrust of the FRONTLINE project on all levels of public opinion and this administration is taking a beating because of it. 20112 isn't that far off now, and if the President is going to be looking for a second term we need to have better solutions to our problem than this." Mitchell's free hand slaps the paper in front of him lightly.

"If— if I may address some of your concerns mister Vice President," Autumn begins to a stumbling start, "the outline you're looking at right there is just a projection. But right now we don't have many other options, our contract with Pinehearst was supposed to get us the military collateral we needed in order to fill these positions, and there simply aren't enough Evolved in the armed forces today to fill out FRONTLINE like we wanted. Furthermore, the ah, the situation in New York is so hostile that we've had requests for transfer from several members of Squad-02."

"Sebastian," Mitchell keeps a calm, smooth as silk demeanor as he leans up from his slouch, folds his hands in front of himself over the document and leans towards the General. "Exactly how do you see people reacting to this plan to bolster FRONTLINE's ranks? When you get right down to it and you look at the kinds of people you would be entrusting in a public security section, I just…" there's a strained, painful sigh from Mitchell as he leans back in his chair with a creak of the leather. "Kershner," he redirects, turning dark eyes to Sarisa, "do you support this?"

Offering a deep breath and a roll of her shoulders, Sarisa lifts one gloved hand to thread a lock of dark hair behind one ear. "Support is a strong word," she admits too carefully for Autumn's tastes, "but I will admit that it has potential. Right now though I think the social climate across the country isn't… right for a plan of this magnitude on a full scale. We could potentially follow through — in part — with the outline and test one squad in New York City, given that we were considering opening a third squad there regardless. Or, perhaps simply supplement Squad-02 with them?"

Mitchell looks across the table to silent faces, then back down to the document as his fingers unlace and palms smooth across the paper. "I'm not convinced, and in spite of the weather crisis I'm not willing to commit to this relief plan. For the time being we can keep this project on hold. Until I see ore heavy statistical data about the candidates and how we plan to introduce this idea to the public I'm not willing to sign off on it, and I can be certain that the President won't either."

Sarisa nods her head once in tandem with Autumn, and the latter of the two sinks back into his leather chair with the deflating sound of a sigh. Mitchell looks over to Harper at that, across the length of the conference table and motions with one hand to the agent. "Agent Harper, I believe you had some intelligence to share with us regarding the storm situation?"

Clearing his throat, Desmond offers a nod of his head and sits forward attentively. "There's been some matter of confusion over the origins of the storm, but at the moment information from the Institute indicates that the source of the weather pattern may be located directly inside of New York City, but we simply don't have the manpower or the assets to stabilize the situation." Mitchell lifts a brow at the same moment Sarisa does, both of their attentions leveled on the CIA operative.

"Several weeks ago, we had a severe security breach within the Institute when one of its assets was abducted out of the care of her handlers." Harper's brows furrow, eyes cast askance as he looks to Avi, then back to the Vice President. "Her name is Liette, and she is one of a pair of twins endowed with an ability classified as Reactive Ability Mimicry, that— "

"English, agent Harper," Mitchell grouses as he leans his chin back on to the palm of his hand, expression bland as he listens to the explanation. Harper offers a grimace and straightens his tie with one manicured hand.

"Ah, she— can mimic Evolved abilities that she has come into contact with over short term. Eventually the abilities fade from her and she loses the capability to utilize them." At Desmond's explanation, Sarisa offers an askance look at him, then Avi somewhat intently before her blue-eyed stare is peeling at his confidence. Harper clears his throat, leaning back and considering how to continue carefully.

With Mitchell hanging on his words, Desmond wipes a hand over his brow and looks down att he table's surface. "We believe that Liette may have come into contact with subversive terrorist elements within the city who are using her to attempt to weaken the country's ability to resist whatever furthered agenda they may have. We're not aware of any demands having been made, which makes it unlikely that it's an uncalculated maneuver on— "

"Do you have any reliable intelligence that suggests it may be related to terrorists?" Mitchell asks with a blaise expression, his brows lifting and one hand motioning to Desmond somewhat flippantly. "Because all I see right now is someone trying to cover their backside for a security breach that could cost this nation billions of dollars in the form of a state of the art research facility that may or may not even be secure any longer."

"I— I can assure you, mister Vice President," Harper's voice hitches in the back of his throat, "we— the Institute— precautions have been made to ensure that she knows nothing sensative. However, as far as the intelligence goes we… we believe that the organization known as the Ferrymen may have been partially responsible for or have knowledge pertaining to Liette's capture. We performed a raid on one of their illegal safe houses last month that you should have received an indicent report about?"

Mitchell's nod comes with a brief glance down, as if expecting the papers to be in front of him, and the frown on his lips is indicative that they aren't. But for Desmond's sake he at least seems familiar with the information. "Well, we pulled some intel from the individuals we were able to apprehend," Harper continues, "but none of them had any contrete information regarding her whereabouts, only that they could confirm she was involved. The Ferrymen are exceptionally good at keeping care of their own, and several individuals high on HomeSec's watch list are known collaborators with them, up to and including Hana Gitelman and Hiro Nakamura."

That last name makes Aviators arch a brow, head tilting to the side to consider Harper briefly before looking back down to his lap disinterestedly.

"With the storm we're simply pulled too thin at the moment, and the difficulties in discovering the whereabouts of the girl have compounded the situation. However, we feel that we're close to a breakthrough on her location. Even if we aren't able to find Liette in time, I believe there's only a one or two month window remaining in her possession of the ability. Theoretically the storm could just blow over." No one seems all that impressed with Harper's suggestion of how the storm could end, though.

"And we'll all be what, dead when that happens?" Sarisa asks with one brow lifted and a smug look on her face. "Agent Harper, this entire situation doesn't look good for the Institute, I hope you do realize. I would have hope for a multi-billion dollar government investment not to fall into the same pitfalls that the Company's track record of recent incompetence has."

"I'm forced to agree with agent Kershner," Mitchell notes, shaking his head slowly from side to side and lifting his cheek off of his palm again. "None of this is inspiring any level of confidence in you or the Institute's abilities to conduct business any better than the Company has in the past. It's a mark against the Instutute that — as liaison to them — reflects poorly on you as well agent Harper. I hope for your sake and the Institute's that this situation can be resolved before we need to start plugging holes in a sinking ship."

Clearing his throat again, Harper nods and leans back slowly in his seat. His silence is an ellipses punctuating his point in the matter, leaving room open for Sarisa to offer up a thoughtful suggestion. "If I may, mister Vice President…" lifting a packet of paper from the table, Sarisa lays down a document in front of Mitchell and slides it towards him slowly. "I have something I've been drafting as of late given my experiences with FRONTLINE. It's…" she offers a small smile, "well I guess you could call it a compromise between Sebastian's original proposal and the original intention of FRONTLINE."

Brows furrowed, Mitchell slides the document over and looks down at the title, then back up to Sarisa with one brow lifted. "Project Einherjar?" The only reason Mitchell even pronounces the old Norse name properly is because he's heard it from Sarisa's lips before. There's a studious nod of her head, and a look down to the document, then back up to the Vice President.

"Everyone in FRONTLINE wears masks, Sir. I'm simply talking about the creation of a metaphorical mask, and something… more discrete." Watching as Mitchell leafs through the document, Sarisa lifts one brow inquisitively and offers a fond smile to the Vice President, breathing in deeply and then exhaling a sigh as he starts nodding his head slowly. "Consider it a proposal for next year?"

"You're serious about this candidate list?" Mitchell offers with a look up to Sarisa, one brow raised, before he turns his focus back to Autumn. "She's run this by you?" The general's nod in response seems somewhat planned, as if the project before hand was a wind-up and everything thereafter was the actual pitch. Mitchell closes the file and leans back in his seat, folding his hands over his stomach as he looks around at the people at the table one more time, then nods his head slowly.

"I'll bring it up to the President," Mitchell notes thoughtfully, "and if he signs off on it then… we'll see what develops from there." Looking from Sarisa over to Autumn and then around the table again Mitchell slowly rises from his seat and takes the stack of documents up in a sweep of his hand. "We'll reconviene tomorrow, I'm going to take some time and go over this. Harper— " Mitchell looks up to the agent as he's rising from his seat, "I'd like to speak to you in private, now."

"Yes, ah, sir." Agent Harper offers in somewhat sheepish agreement, and General Autumn seems to be wordlessly included on this as the three rise to move out of the conference room, leaving Sarisa and Aviators behind. The blonde leans back, settling down on the corner of the table, one leg crossing over the other and a blue-eyed look offered up to Avi thoughtfully.

Silence lingers in the room as Avi moves from behind his seat after pushing the chair in, following the length of the table over to where Sarisa has sat herself. He steps in close, chin tilting to the side and one hand lifting to brush fingertips across her shoulder, only to have his hand swatted away. "Aw, come on, you don't know I could be him." Sarisa's blue eyes narrow and lips press together in a thin line.

"He wouldn't have mouthed off to the President."

Guilty as charged.

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