Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes


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Scene Title Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes
Synopsis Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive.
Date October 12, 2010

Eisenhower Executive Office Building

Washington D.C.

Before the coming of dawn's light, under the glow of a dim desk lamp with a green glass shade, the bulky form of Vice President Andrew Mitchell stares down as a handwritten list on a single sheet of lined paper. It's old, the corners of the paper creased and worn, creased on one side with a fold down the middle. The handwriting a child's, a heart drawn in pencil at the bottom of the paper.

With a glass of whiskey on the rocks in one hand, ice clinking softly against the inside of the tumbler, Mitchell reads the letter over and over again. Eyes glassy, he stares vacantly at times, losing focus only to pick up again mid-stream. Lifting up his glass to his lips, Mitchell takes a long swallow, then sets the tumbler down, beads of condensation rolling down the sides when his fingers move away.

That hand rises, brushing damp thumbs over already damp eyes, his jaw unsteadied and a rough sound rumbling in the back of his throat.
Forcing himself to look down at the bottom of the paper, his eyes square on the last line, throat working tightly as he tries to clear his throat again, but only makes a strangled sound. Mitchell's large hand comes up to shield his eyes from the writing, as if that would help anything.

He can hear her voice in his head, narrating the line.

I love you Daddy

The sound of the phone ringing at the desk makes Mitchell startle, his hand bumping into the glass nearby, nearly toppling it onto the letter save that he is able to react quick enough to grab hold of the glass. The amber liquid and ice inside slosh around, but disaster is averted. Dark eyes move to the phone, and as Mitchell's hand moves out he carefully lifts it up, brows furrowed as he brings the receiver to his ear.


Mayor's Office

New York City

"Hello Mister Vice President…"

Reclining in her chair with a creak of the leather, Mayor Sylvia Lockheart is lit in profile only by the glow of a tall lamp standing beside her chair. Eyes are focused out over the predawn cityscape, where a faint blue haze peeks between skyscrapers silhouette black and dotted with yellow lights. "I'm sorry I'm calling so early," Sylvia explains with a purse of her lips, chin tilting up and one brow lifting slowly.

"But after the stunt that happened last week I wanted to make sure that you and I were on the same page." One hand reaches up as Sylvia threads a lock of honey-blonde hair behind one ear. "After all, those terrorists came decidedly close to killing me up on that stage, and I would hate to misunderstand your intentions regarding my position as mayor."

Mayor Lockheart's blue eyes track to the side, brows furrow and there's a slow, subtle nod as she dips her head down and allows her mouth to curve into a frown. "But we're still operating on schedule, correct?" One of Sylvia's brows lift slowly, contemplating something on her desk. "I see, well it's good to know that when we set a plan we stick to it. I've spoken to everyone here in the city, orders have been disseminated. I'm just waiting for your signal…"

Something stated on the other end of the line has Sylvia going stiff, her hand that was toying with the phone's spiral cord stops, one finger wound in the plastic coil. Her finger unwinds, eyes narrow and she swallows a distasteful lump in her throat before exasperatedly stating, "N— no. No, Sir. Not at all. I'll— of course, Sir. For the greater good… I'm— you know that I'm nothing if not loyal to the cause. We lost a very brilliant member of our family when that hospital was destroyed, and her research would have been invaluable."

Sliding her tongue across her lips, Sylvia dips her head into a nod. "They're ready to go on your signal. We've had a few setbacks, but— no, I understand. No, I haven't hear from him since William was killed. Yes," Sylvia's blue eyes track back out to the city's jagged skyline, eyes narrowing.

"Of course Sir. Humanity is first, after all."

The Suresh Center

New York City

Seated quietly in his desk chair, lit only by the glow of his computer screen, Director of Operations Desmond Harper watches over and over the limited angle security footage from the Columbia University Attack. A black and white, standard definition, video feed showing terrified college students running away from an audiokinetic shouting into the seats loops over and over again, ending with the staccato flash of small-arms fire from the police and the audiokinetic's collapse.

Harper lifts up one hand, stroking his hands over his face, exhaling a sigh between his fingers as he leans back against his chair, springs groaning in protest. It's only on what feels like the millionth viewing that Harper notices something. Brows furrow and eyes narrow as he watches something in the background near the beginning of the footage.

Blue eyes grow wide as he leans in, watching the stage area in all its grainy, pixelated mess. There's Georgia Mayes, both hands gripping the podium as she energetically speaks to the audience, behind here is Sylvia Lockheart and a crowd of Department of Evolved Affairs representatives. The wave of panic hits, rippling through the people in their seats, the first affected at the first to run. There's the flash of Rachel Mills disappearing in a teleportation burst—



There's the flash of Rachel Mills disappearing in a teleportation burst. The wave of panic hits, rippling through the people in their seats, the first affected the first to run. There's Georgia Mayes, both hands gripping the podium as she energetically speaks to the audience, behind here is Sylvia Lockheart and a crowd of Department of Evolved Affairs representatives—


Squinting, Harper watches one of the figures in the background. Reaching for a stapled folder of documents at his side, Harper pages through and opens to a seating chart. His finger slides over the seats and the names, then looks up to the screen and counts heads from right to left, his finger moving in line with his eyes. When he looks back down, he's pointing at Sylvia Lockheart's name.


There's Sylvia Lockheart, ducking and covering her head. The wave of panic hits, rippling through the people in their seats, the first affected the first to run—


The wave of panic hits, rippling through the people in their seats, the first affected the first to run. There's Sylvia Lockheart, ducking and covering her head—


"Son of a bitch," Harper hisses as he leans back in his chair, one hand coming up to cover his mouth as he flips the seating chart and report closed, then reaches up to double-tap his blue-tooth headset to life. "Dial Command," he states aloud, followed by a ringing tone in his ear, and after two series of rings, a voice picks up on the other end.

The Commonwealth Institute

Cambridge, Massachusetts


Simon Broome's voice rumbles noisily in the dark, followed by the soft click of a light coming on beside a neatly made bed laden with black silk sheets. Propping himself up on one elbow, Simon Broome furrows his thick brows and shifts the alignment of the phone at his ear move comfortably. The first sight his dark eyes settle on is not someone to share his bed with, not a wife of many decades, but a mechanical harness and lift system, nearby to a motorized wheelchair that gleams threateningly by his bedside.

Nodding several times to the call on the other end, Broome looks to the clock on his night-stand displaying 4:57am in bright red. "Desmond it's not even five in the morning, you realize that this could wait, don't you?" Sitting up straight, Simon throws the blankets aside and swings his legs out of bed, offering a disdainful look to the wheelchair before bare feet touch the ground and he's rising up to stand straight.

"You're sure of what you saw?" Already on the move, Simon reaches down to his nightstand and picks up a headset that matches the one Harper normally wears, hooking it around his ear as he taps the button on the side, lighting up the red LED. He hangs up the phone, but the conversation carries on the headset now instead. "No, I understand, I'm headed down there right now."

Walking barefoot, Simon's loose black pants and button-down shirt swish breezily about his lanky frame. As he nears the door to his dimly lit bedroom, it silently slides open into the wall, revealing a brightly lit and sterile white hallway lined with smooth steel-finish doors. Heading down the hall, the slap of Simon's bare feet pad ever so noisily towards a door just two down from his bedroom.

Proximity opens the door, and as Simon walks to the threshhold, there's the sound of an EKG and EEG beeping steadily beyond. "Desmond, I need you to hold on, I'm going to patch through to the Commander." Two fingers tap the headset at his ear, and Broome states, "Call— "

Mount Natazhat


Some thirteen thousand feet above sea level, a squat, concrete building blends in to the infinite white and gray of snow-capped mountains. Through the haze of whipping snow and biting cold, in pitch blackness near the top of the world, the black body of a helicopter cuts through the night, running lights flashing red and white on her underbelly.

As the chopper cuts through the storm front, passengers inside sit quietly in rows of face-to-face seating, three of them in total and each seated in suits of matte black armor layered of ceramic plating over kevlar weave. Hydraulic joints rest down the arms and legs, articulated gauntlets covering their hands and fingers, helmets with glossy copper-colored visors seated atop their heads.

Numbered indicators on their armor are the only signs of their identities, 00-02 sits with her head tilted back, eyes focused up on the ceiling and fingers drumming on her thigh with the click of metal on composite plating. Beside her, 00-04 is looking ahead between the pilot and co-pilots seats, watching the snow deflect around the windshield, attention on the frost trimming the edges of the glass. «How much further are we?»

Eldridge's question comes with a crackling pop of his voice over the internal communications of each helmet. He turns, though, looking to the man seated across from him to answer that question. 00-00 is what his armor is designated as, but the design is different from all of the others. It is not the heavily plated suit of the advanced Horizon Armor MkII that FRONTLINE Unit-00 wears, but the slimmer and less protected MkI armor that standard FRONTLINE units around the nation wear, only his numbering seems to make him part of their team.

«We get there, when we get there» Tyler Case's voice pops audibly from the comm of his glossy black and featureless helmet. A flashing blue light on his armored wrist signals an incoming communication, and pressing a switch on his wristband, there's a static hiss in his right ear as a call is connected. "Simon," Tyler states in confidence inside of his helmet, unheard by his team members over the roar of the helicopter's engines.

«I'm sorry to bother you while you're headed to the facility, Sir, but there's something that's come up.» Wearily, Simon Broome's voice grumbles inside of Tyler's helmet. «Desmond has noticed something in the video of the Columbia University attack and I've managed to run some of the figures through Edward, and there seems to be a very high probability of likelihood that Mayor Lockheart had advanced notice of the Messiah attack…»

Tyler's head sinks, shoulders slouching forward. The sigh he offers is a weary one, as if confronted by something he was not ready to handle this early in the day. "Then he's probably right," is a misleading answer, but one that Tyler feels compelled to offer. "Double check the numbers, and have them sent to my office. When I return next week I'll look them over and we'll decide how to move following that."

«Sir, there's more.»

Silence is Tyler's implicit request for Simon to continue. «Running other figures, we see a very high likelihood that the events transpiring in relation to Messiah are correlated with the cause of the November 8, 2010 riots that Project Delphi revealed to us. We may be able, with fast enough action, to intercede and prevent— »

"Drop it," Tyler states flatly, cutting Broome off, "we can't waste our energy on what Delphi revealed. Let it play out, we'll have our time to shine soon, but right now it's too late to make any difference in what's going to happen on November 8th. It either happens or it doesn't, but it will not be through any doing of our own. Do you understand me, Simon?"

There is a long, awkward pause.

«Understood, Sir.»

«Attention, we are approaching Mount Natazhat facility.» The pilot's voice shouts over the intercoms, and Tyler looks towards the window where distant yellow lights shine brightly in the blur of the snowstorm. Reaching down to his wrist, Tyler disconnects the call to Simon Broome, tilting his chin up to get a better view of the approaching structure.

«Lock and load,» Tyler urges, watching as Roland and Eldridge unbuckle their seat belts and reach for where assault-rifles have been stowed in side compartments beside their seats. The back bay doors of the helicopter slowly open, and Tyler takes a few steps towards the edge, booted feet clunking along the metal walkway there, reaching down to his side and unholstering a fifty-caliber pistol, before taking two steps forward and then jumping off of the back of the helicopter down towards the illuminated structure below, followed one after the other by the remainder of his team.


New York City

A small, narrow scissoring of blades carefully slice through wiring, cutting metallic fibers with a clip. Stripping the wire coating away, delicate hands attach the copper threads inside around a screw connection point, then trace the black-coated wires back to a central mass where a cell phone is attached wires connected inside the back panel of the device dutifully tied to other clusters of wires and topped with wire caps to prevent accidental grounding.

With a pair of magnifying lenses on eyeglasses, Rupert Carmichael inspects the wiring connections, one corner of his mouth creeping up into a smile. As he lifts the glasses up and off of his head, he sets them down on the workbench, looking up to a calendar displaying a scantily clad blonde woman leaning over the hood of a canary yellow ford mustang with black racing stripes. Days in October are crossed off, and down on the preview calendar for November, the eighth is circled, as if intentionally to draw attention to it.

With the device he has been working on completed, Rupert moves it aside and then retrieved a digital wristwatch from a cardboard box, turning it over and flipping the back open with a screwdriver. Quietly beginning to whistle to himself, Carmichael pries some wires off, then begins to set about working on yet another electronic apparatus.

The sudden ringing of a disposable cell phone on the workbench has Rupert jumping, practically out of his skin as he looks to the device with a phone attached that he'd just made. Wrong phone, which thankfully means something less disastrous is on the other end. Picking up the phone and flipping it open, Rupert tilts his head to the side slowly.


Somewhere Over Maryland

Within the confines of walnut paneling, the interior of the Maxwell Development Corporation's private jet has all of the warmth of a private office. Windows to the jet are shut, hiding view of terrifying altitude. Set on a tray beside a well-dressed man in a black suit with a skinny tie, there is a tall glass of orange juice with an invisible bled of Vodka swirled within, the electric purple umbrella sticking out of the drink is just because the man enjoying it is festive.

"Good to hear from you," is crooned softly into the phone as Rupert Carmichael slouches back into his cushioned chair, lifting up his Vodka screwdriver to his lips, taking a luxurious sip from the top of the glass, skimming off the ice. "I take it this is the everything is going on schedule call, not the I have to turn the jet around call?" Laughter is evident in Rupert's every tone.

For good reason, it would seem, as Rupert snorts out a laugh and shakes his head. "Perfect, perfect. Monty is a good kid, a little gullible but good. You shouldn't have to worry about much with him, just point the boy in a direction and give him orders. Blackmail works wonders where implanted suggestions failed to, ah, take root."

Reaching up to rake stringy bangs from his face, Rupert's lips purse and his eyes cast askance to the glass of vodka and orange juice held aloft in his other hand. "We're ahead of schedule so far. If my watch is right, the Rebel situation should be taking care of itself within a day or so, which means we're right on track…"

Rupert's eyes close, shoulders rise in a tired stretch, followed by another sip from his glass. Rupert inadvertently pokes himself in the eye with the umbrella, but the embarrassing and painful flub goes unseen in the otherwise empty cabin. "Well, alright then. You have the recorder. If you need anything else, just let me know. I'll be right here when we're ready to wrap up."

"Oh, come on…" Lips curling into that ever-present and cocksure smile, Rupert's smugness is on display for no one to see but himself. "We're almost at the end. I'm sure you can wait for the surprise twist just a little longer, right?"

The Octagon

Roosevelt Island, New York City

In the dark, Sarisa Kershner's face is illuminated briefly by the glow of an ember on the tip of a cigarette pinched between two fingers. only when she draws in that smoky breath is there any sign of her presence in the room, for when the ember cools and hot smoke is exhaled slowly between her lips, she practically disappears into the dark.

Normally she isn't up at this obscene hour of morning, not unless she's expecting someone. The sound of keys turning in the lock to her apartment door has Sarisa's back straightening, one brow lifting and that cigarette lowered from her mouth as the door to the hallway opens, casting a narrow sliver of light through to the apartment, revealing Sarisa in partial lighting.

Stepping through the door, her guest's frame is likewise feminine; long and dark hair brushed back over her shoulders, camouflage fatigues covering her legs, pockets laden with what is likely clips of spare ammunition. Sabine Hazel's army jacket is buttoned down, collar lifted to try and stave off the early morning cold.

Under one arm, she carries a red folder, the object of Sarisa's attention as the blonde holds out one bare hand in a clear gimmie motion. Cracking a smile, Sabine treads across the apartment, looking down to the table as she throws the folder down with a slap of the papers, corners of some photographs poking out from the settling.

"Took me a long time to find all that, I'll hope you know," Sabine explains with a subtle tilt of her head to the side, one lock of stray, dark hair falling down in front of her face. "I went through every record I could while the facility was dark. I'll give you credit, Richard and his crew sure know how to throw a wrench in people's gearboxes…"

Leaning forward, Sarisa picks up the folder and slowly pages through it, wetting one thumb with a brief lick as she does. "That one's the best in the files they had, stuff that they were able to get from the Company prior to the collapse for investigation purposes." Sabine's dark eyes drift up and down Sarisa as she makes that comment, moving to come stand on the opposite side of the coffee table from her.

"She's MIA at the moment, but it'll only be a matter've time before the Institute gets a blip on their radar and starts looking for her again." Doing all the talking, Sabine can't help but seem a bit incensed as she rests her hands on her hips, leaning forward to regard Sarisa more carefully. "Well?" Both of Sabine's dark brows lift slowly.

Disturbed from her research, Sarisa looks up from the folder, a crook of a smile crossing one corner of her mouth. "Oh— it— this is perfect," she explains breathlessly, laying down the folder and clasping her hands together as she looks at an assorted collection of pictures of women ranging from their early to late twenties.

"Find her for me," Sarisa urges with a widening of her blue eyes, looking up steadily to Sabine.

"Find me Candice Wilmer."

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