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Synopsis Following a meeting of the National Security Council, the Vice President, an influential General and a woman who does not exist conviene on the topic of the security of the United States of America, the Linderman Act, and the future.
Date June 12, 2009

Washington D.C

"Director Blair seemed to be open to the concept." A level, steady tone of voice is what is always presented from the blonde woman walking at the side of General Sebastian Autumn. The door to a small, private lounge opens with a soft click, and her pale eyes lift up to address the aging general as he moves in to the room past her.

Waiting inside, seated back on a burgundy-colored leather chair, the second most powerful man in the United States upturns his eyes from a blue folder to the pair entering the lounge. Giving a long and silent stare, Vice President Andrew Mitchell slowly closes the folder and lays it across his lap. "General Autumn," his head inclines, "it's a pleasure to see you up and about again."

"It'll take more than a bad ticker to keep em laying on my back, Sir." The general's dismissive tone comes with a motion of his hand towards the sideboard just past the leather furniture. "Miss Langford, if you could get Andrew and I a Scotch that'd be wonderful." The general's assistant arches one dark brow, then nods her head slowly, turning for the sideboard without a word.

"Now," the General murmurs, letting out a slight grunt of effort as he sinks down into the chair opposite of Mitchell, "With that dog and pony show out of the way, I'd like to get down to brass tacks with you about the Initiative." Listening to the conversation, Sarisa unstoppers a bottle of Scotch, turning her focus to the general, then the Vice President, quietly pouring the both of them lowball glasses.

Andrew's head inclines in a subtle nod, "Understandable." The folder in his lap is lifted up, and slapped down on the table between he and the general, laid open to show a series of photographs. "We're looking at a mid July deployment of the first Frontline Initiative state — New York. We want to make a tangible and visible effort by year's end that can serve as visible justification for our operations. I've already spoken with Director Leitier at the NCTC and key members of the SSB; they're all on board behind us, once the President puts this bill into motion."

A modicum of surprise dawns across General Autumn's face as he holds out his right hand, accepting the glass offered by his assistant, focus never deviating from the Vice President. "You're saying that Petrelli is backing it now?" He takes a contemplative sip of the drink as Mitchell takes his glass, watching the blonde woman slink to the corner of the room wordlessly. "Last he and I spoke it was a very terse, very short conversation that ended without much ground gained. Why the sudden change of heart?"

Mitchell mimics the General's motions, taking a long swig of his scotch, swirling the glass around in one hand. "Nathan's been under a great deal of stress lately, I think he's finally feeling the pressure from parts of Congress that don't share he and Daniel Linderman's very narrow view of the future. I don't think any of them truly expected something like Humanis First to spring up."

"No… No, you're right, I don't think any of us did." Autumn motions towards the folder with his glass, "but I have to say, their timing couldn't have been more fortuitous for us. Nothing motivates people like fear. Doesn't matter if it's the Communists, Al-Qaeda, the Evolved — people are going to be afraid of something, and they're going to lap up whatever ends up being served to them to protect them from it."

"You make this sound like a scam, General." Mitchell regards the old man over the top of his glass with a modicum of scrutiny, one dark brow raised.

"What we in the defense community see as a necessity isn't always what the public sees as a necessity, and sometimes they need to be made to see things from our perspective. If they're finally becoming aware that the current model is outdated, than that only benefits us and makes doing our job of securing the well-being of the United States at home and abroad easier." While General Autumn speaks, his assistant in the corner listens quietly, looking from one side of the room to another, and then begins wandering around the lounge, one hand coming to lay on Mitchell's discarded suit jacket that lays draped over the back of his chair.

Nodding quietly, Mitchell motions to the open folder. "Those are my picks for the first Initiative state." At the gesture, Autumn motions for his assistant to pick up the folder, carefully ensuring the photographs stay inside as she lays it across his lap, then straightens to stand beside him, her eyes skimming over the folder's contents.

"Spalding?" Autumn's immediately reaction comes as a surprise, slapping two fingers down on a photograph of a dark-haired man in military dress uniform. "That man is the brother of the man who founded one of this country's most violent terrorist organizations. You expect me to parade his name and face around in front of — "

"General," Mitchell intones, no amount of patience spared for the older man's outburst. "Michael Spalding is exactly the image we need for Frontline. A strong and devoted young man who's served his country, fighting against the stigma on his family's name. It shows that anyone can make a difference in Frontline, and once we open up general recruitment, that'll be a necessity. He has the tactical experience and leadership qualities we need."

"And you don't think that some of his brother's agenda didn't sink into his head?" Autumn's question comes with a firm shake of Mitchell's head as an immediate answer. "You're not willing to budge on this — on Spalding?" Mitchell's silence as he takes a sip of his drink is all the answer Autumn needs.

"These other ones then; Ruth Crow Dog, Tristan Bentley — I'll pass them off and see what we can make work. I have a few others in mind for the first and second-string recruitment, once the initial team gets settled in." Closing the folder, General Autumn hands the folder off to his assistant, then turns to look back at Mitchell. "What are we thinking in terms of their first exposure?"

Mitchell's brows raise, and he waves his glass around in one hand, letting amber fluid slosh from one side of the bowl-shaped glass to another. "Recovery of Staten Island," he notes as if he were discussing a walk to the corner store. "I want Staten Island back under United States Government hands before the end of the year, that's the deal. If we can pull off Staten Island, then no one is going to question us, and the funding is going to come in for the other states."

Rubbing two fingers at the side of his head, General Autumn stares down into his glass, nodding slowly. "I haven't introduced you yet, to one of my picks for Frontline." That hand moves to wave in the direction of his blonde assistant. "Sarisa Kershner, of the CIA Special Activities Division." Striding forward, the blonde offers out a hand towards the Vice President, leaning forward so as to not make him strain up and out of his chair.

"A pleasure, miss Kershner." The handshake lingers for a moment too long, Sarisa's pale eyes focused on the Vice President's before she disengages, straightening with a demure smile.

"The pleasure is all mine, Sir." She notes with a tilt of her head, moving to stand at General Autumn's side again. "The General has chosen me to work as the intermediary between the Department of Defense and Frontline's command. I will be their oversight and director of operations in New York. I have already laid some groundwork there in order to make the transition as easy as possible for all concerned departments."

Mitchell nods slowly, looking down at his hand, then up to Sarisa with one raised brow. "If you're with Frontline," the Vice President asks, "what's your specialty?" Her stare turned back at him is emotionless and steady, and her answer cuts Andrew to the core.

"Intelligence gathering. My Registered ability is designated as psychometry — object reading." Immediately the Vice President's mind jerks back to the handshake, looking at his palm and then back up to Sarisa. "I wouldn't be concerned, Sir, we're all on the same side, after all."

"She is quite a spitfire, isn't she?" Autumn's lips creep up into a humorless smile, downing the last swallow of his scotch before laying the glass down on the small table at the side of his chair. "I hate to be one to drink and run, mister Vice President, but miss Kershner and I have a few more meetings to attend before the day is out. Leitier wants to discuss Frontline's counter-terrorism plan with us."

Unnerved and off of his footing, Mitchell gives a shaky nod to general Autumn. "I— " he clears his throat, "It's been a pleasure. I take it the two of you can see yourselves out?" Offering a hand to help Autumn up out of his chair, Sarisa turns to the Vice President and nods wordlessly, before escorting the old General towards the door. Though when the bald man lingers at the doorway and turns to look back at the Vice President, her gaze follows his.

"Oh, one last thing, mister Vice President." Andrew looks up from his scotch, meeting Autumn's gaze with a demanding stare. "It's good to know who's playing ball in our court, because when the time comes that political climate changes and mobsters are ejected from the court…" his bald head inclines slightly, "it'll be good to know who'll still be there when the dust settles. Good day, Mister Vice President."

Sometime between when Autumn and Kershner leave, and when the door shuts, Andrew Mitchell's heart sinks down into the pit of his stomach, and one hand is raised to cover his forehead. Sometimes, he imagines, deals with the Devil aren't as clearly laid out as he'd like to imagine.

Other times, it's hard to tell which one's playing the Devil.

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