FRONTLINE 01 Briefing


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Scene Title FRONTLINE 01 Briefing
Synopsis Emerson has to give the team their orders… but it's not quite what they might expect.
Date October 17, 2011


The Executive Order was done on a Sunday. FRONTLINE units, although not specifically read in to the situation, have known that this was coming. It’s generated a sense of unease even among the technicians. But it’s For The Protection Of All, and that’s what they all swore an oath to do. No one thinks it’s going to be easy. Or simple.

The first lists of Registered Tier 2 names come down the pipe to Emerson, whose job it now is to enforce that the people on this list move. If they go willingly, they are allowed to bring a reasonable number of possessions. If they must be forcibly relocated, well… that’s their own fault. And lethal force is authorized.

Come early Monday morning, Emerson is given the full briefing on what is expected of her. She is expected to brief her team.

Hannah Emerson still has the list in hand, even as she waits for others to arrive. Or at least, part of the list - the number of tier 1 and above Evolved individuals in New York always serves to surprise her. She can't help but keep running a finger over the orders at the top of the page, a glance offered occasionally to the printout of President Petrelli's executive order. Disdain wouldn't begin to describe her feelings on the matter - she hadn't even considered when news first broke of the Linderman Act that such a registry would be used for purposes like this.

She probably should've known better.

But now, unfortunately, is not the time for questioning. She's in no position to either way. With a sigh, she collects the papers into a folder, and slips it under her arm. How did Elisabeth handle all of this, anyway? She's felt a bit like she's swimming in sand the entire month.

Push it aside. They'll get to that later For now she makes her way to where the others are gathered, dressed in uniform save for, of course, her FRONTLINE gear. "Ladies and Gentleman," she says, posture straightening as she approaches them. "We have orders."

But first- "But before we move on to official business, I'd like to formally welcome back FRONTLINE 01-01, Gavyn Mitchell." She thinks she has that right. The promotions in the wake of Liz and Felix leaving a few months back had been haphazard and were still hard to remember - but as far as she knew, with her as Operations Director, that was where the former 01-03 now fell.

Someone would have to forgive her if she was wrong.

"I'm glad to see you survived your assignment," she adds, with a bit of a more genuine smile. "Anything you can tell us about it?"

“Thanks,” Gavyn responds to Emerson’s greeting, turning her attention to the Director as attention is called for. She’d been quasi-lurking, engaged in some small talk with JJ. Of lighter things, such as favorite cookies and whether pie was better than cake. No one wants to talk about the heavier things, when it can be avoided.

Pie is greater than cake, by the way. Cake is a lie.

She straightens as she replies to the welcoming, and pushes her sunglasses a bit more firmly up on her nose. “I did. In as much as it was akin to kitchen detail, but there’s not much I’m allowed to say about it. Good to be back here, though.”

For JJ, it depends on the type of cake and type of pie. Coconut cake? Better than rhubarb pie, any day. Key lime pie trumps red velvet cake. These are the depths of his conversational points. He stops chatting when it’s time to listen to Emerson, leaning back against a table and taking a long swallow from the large to-go cup of coffee.

His green eyes move from woman to woman as they speak. Despite his casual chat with Gavyn, there’s a tension in his expression and posture that isn’t usually present. They all know what’s coming. He isn’t eager to hear it put into so many words, and directed at him.

Emerson gives a slow nod as she listens to Gavyn, a glance offered over to JJ. "So it goes," she offers with a weak smile when Gavyn is unable to provide them with more detail - she's grown accustomed to the level of security FRONTLINE requires, but that doesn't stop her from being occasionally rueful of it.

"Well, you've come back to us in one piece, and that is the least of what I can ask." There's a hesitant look in her face, like she's putting off something - and from the folders under her arms, it's clear she is. Not any longer, she needs to put on her leadership hat.

"That said, I need every to fall in and stand at attention! I have an announcement, and we have new assignments." She steps back, pulling the folders out from under her arms, giving them room to move and stand at attention as needed. Looking around for any the others, she settles for what she has right now with a flat expression. "I'm sure all of you have heard about the Executive Order handed down this weekend by President Nathan Petrelli. If you haven't, there is a briefing on it in your folders, and I can give you the cliff notes here and now." She hopes her people are better prepared than that though.

The technicians join the line-up to receive their orders as well, though as soon as they have their folders they retreat to the various consoles and screens at which they work.

With a glance at JJ, and then the techs that have filed in for the announcements, Gavyn falls in as ordered. Hands clasp behind her back and her feet settle just about shoulder width, an easy and restive stance that still presents as attentive.

The pronouncement of orders, reiterations of the President’s grand relocation idea hits like a hammer against iron: neither yielding to the other. Her mouth is set in a line and her outward appearance reads as nothing more than the soldier she is, professionalism and military bearing masking the anger and uneasiness that roils within her. It would should in her eyes, too, were they not covered. Only the smallest tightening of her hands at her back might give away how she’s feeling.

There’s no look of surprise at Emerson’s words, so JJ has apparently read the order. He follows Gavyn’s motion, taking a quick moment to set down his coffee before doing so. The young man’s eyes narrow a little as he studies Emerson’s, then glances at the faces of the others present, perhaps to try to appraise their emotions to the order. After a sweep around the room, he looks back to Emerson, his own expression not particularly telling, though that tension sits around the corners of his eyes, the set of his mouth.

Emerson offers a glance to the techs as they receiver their folders - slightly different from the assignments to be given to the other members of FRONTLINE - before lowering her gaze on the two in front of her. "Good, I don't have to catch either of you up," she states sharply, a small hint of a smile appearing on her face. If fades quickly.

"When the relocation effort goes into full effect, FRONTLINE has been tapped to supervise, advise, and if necessary, assist." She stares into their eyes for a long moment, clasping her own hands behind her back. "I am going to be clear: There will be a lot of tension out there. There was tension even before this order was issued and signed. People are primed. There is going to be resistance."

She raises a finger, in the event anyone is considering speaking out of turn. "I want you all to understand this because I want you to understand what our jobs are," she continues. "We are not a force of terror. We are not a force of fear. We are not a force of aggression." She narrows her eyes. "We are a force of peace. A force of order. A force of law."

She almost lets out a sigh, a brief moment in which her discontent shows, as much as she wills it not to. "People are going to be scared. They won't understand. Our goal should be to make sure nothing escalates above anything else, and if it does? Remember your training, and handle the situation accordingly."

She purses her lips. "Each of your folders has a list of residences you will be visiting, schedules for the first wave of relocations, and the teams you will be working with." She pauses. "There is something in those dossiers and instructions I want to address directly, however…"

This is the hardest part to say. "Lethal force has been authorised, in the event of resistance." She falls silent, letting that hang in the air; letting it sink in with Gavyn and JJ. "Do not let it come to that. We are here to protect. Do not let them see us as monsters. These people are innocents. The vast majority of them have likely never done anything wrong in their lives." Not in a way that matters. "Negotiate, deescalate, and relocate. If shots are fired, it will be on someone's head, and I can assure you it will be us before anyone else."

She straightens her posture back up, looking to each of them. "Do I make myself clear?"

A brief flare of nostril, a twitch in a cheek, lips pressing too firmly together for longer than necessary, but Gavyn holds her thoughts and opinions inside. It isn’t the time nor place to speak, while Emerson is spelling out the mission and expectations. Anyone with a sharp eye would catch a hint of loathing toward the orders and authorizations.

“Yes ma’am,” she manages after a pause that’s just a tad too long. Probably assuring herself she can answer affirmative to the mission as a whole; lethal force be damned. Likely trying to find some idea of hope in a seemingly hopeless mandate. Mostly readjusting her composure because her expression is wrestled back to neutrality.

JJ stands alert and still, his expression mostly remaining a little tense, but he does not react visibly to any particular words. It’s only after Emerson stops and asks if she’s clear that he shifts slightly, glancing to Gavyn when she speaks, and then looking back to Emerson. It’s a quiet moment that passes, just a little too long of a pause. Finally, he speaks. Quietly, now that it’s just the three of them.

“Am I to understand that I should do whatever’s possible to not take an innocent life?” he finally asks, before adding a quick, polite, “Ma’am?”

Good. Emerson turns her gaze on JJ, and gives a slow nod. "Correct, Jameson." Emerson's stance relaxes just the slightest bit. "The shit is going to hit the fan out there, to be blunt. We have to rise above it." Though if it were her choice… "I tried to make sure that none of the squads we're working with have anyone who leans too far one way or the other in the Evolved sentiments. But inevitably, someone's going to break. No matter who it is, try to keep things under control."

She smiles. "If we can get through this without any serious incidents, or worse, deaths laid at our feet? The better everyone will feel about this whole thing."

“What’s to feel better about,” Gavyn asks. Nearly demands, really, her tone strained enough to show that she’s keeping herself in check. If barely. A beat passes as she aims to realign her demeanor to a more proper bearing. She needs that pause to caution herself and, with a glance to either side, remind herself of her company.

“With all due respect,” she resumes, somewhat mildly. There’s still an underscore, potential dissension. History is repeating itself, and how do you stop it? “I’ll do whatever I can to avoid taking lives, but I can’t believe for a minute that everyone will feel better.” Another pause and another obscured glance toward the room’s occupants, returning first to JJ then to Emerson. “Just my opinion,” she eventually supplies as explanation.

“Protect first, then,” repeats JJ. He likes his coworkers, actually. Even if he’s here for different reasons than most. What goes unsaid after the first short phrase is that relocate is not his priority. He glances sideways at Gavyn, then back to Emerson. “Here’s a question. When do they stop seeing us as useful and do the same to us? And if there’s always a FRONTLINE of evolved enforcers, what will they do to ensure that we stay on mission?” It could be rhetorical, or maybe he wants an answer. It’s a risk, either way.

Emerson's smile falters as she listens to both Gavyn and JJ in turn. She narrows her eyes at them, posture straightening. "With all due respect," she starts as she looks from Gavyn to JJ, "I would watch your tone. Both of you," she says at first, before stepping close enough that she can almost hear them breathe. Closing her eyes for a moment, she inclines her head and leans down slightly.

"Keep your voices down," she whispers. "You're both right. I know what this. We all do. And if you think we're going to just let it happen, well…" She rolls her shoulders. "Our options are limited right now. I need both of you to roll with this for now. Until we can figure out how to do something. But until that moment comes…" She thinks back to the conversation she had at the diner. "We need to do this right, and we need to make sure we are seen doing it right," she says, repeating Elisabeth's advice almost word for word. "Because we all know this is horseshit."

She’s angry. And though she has a right to be angry, they all have a right to be angry, she also needs to keep her anger in check. And Emerson’s reminder of such is the pause Gavyn needs to press her lips together and look literally past the other woman and regain her composure. It takes several seconds, and her traitorous eyes slant back to JJ and their director, albeit hidden behind dark tinted lenses.

What follows from Emerson is a bit of a surprise. Gav only just manages to hide her reaction to the whispered warnings that follow the reprimand.

JJ’s pale green eyes widen a little — he’s no good to his own cause if he gets fired and thrown in jail or Eltingville or worse, of course. But when she steps closer to give the real message, he nods, dropping his gaze and examining the shine on his shoes.

“Yes’m,” he says, quietly, before looking up and giving a smaller, more assured nod.

"I need you both to be my eyes and ears," Emerson continues, voice low. "I can only do so much on my own. I have to keep up appearances, but the two of you may have a bit more freedom than I do. Take advantage of that. Be vigilant of all sides, civilians and the teams we escort to do this. I have a feeling some people are going to be looking to cause problems and we have to avoid that."

She look between the two of them. "You both may have special assignments coming, depending on what information I receive and what I can ferret out, and if so…" A small grin forms on her face. "Pack warm. With Kershner on leave, that leaves me to make decisions. If you have anything to run by me, let me know, and…" She pauses, thinking for a moment. "I'll get it back to our special advisor," her voice is lower when she says that. With that, she glances over to JJ. "Keep your phone handy, JJ. Someone may need some help at some point." Subtlety isn't her strong point, but vagaries are.

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