Strickland, Garner, Howe And Landers


cat_icon.gif felix_icon.gif sarisa_icon.gif

Scene Title Strickland, Garner, Howe, And Landers…
Synopsis … aren't partners in a law firm. Sarisa gives a briefing on one mission, and a technopath speaks of another.
Date December 29, 2009

USS George Washington




"Mother fucker." The click-pop-pop-pop of a ping-pong ball bouncing across a hard tile floor accompanies a muttered curse from one of the marines standing by the table. He slams the wooden paddle down and shakes his head, one hand raking fingers back through his hair as a sideways glance is afforded to the man standing at the opposite end of the table. "Alright, that's— okay, you're right that is fast." Removing a ten dollar bill from his pocket, he slaps it down next to the paddle, and rues the day he tried to play Felix Ivanov at a game of table tennis.

The USS George Washington's recreation room is sparsely populated at this late evening hour, just eight hours away from the begining of operation Apollo's Arrow. The few marines down here are those who can't sleep, too jittery and filled with nervous energy to get rest. The televisions perched in the corner of the recreation room display news from back home, shots of President Petrelli at a press conference about the formation of FRONTLINE Unit-01 Squad-02 for New York City, shaking hands with Mayor Bianco.

Entering into the rec room, another Marine with a headset on looks around, brows furrowed. "Anyone see where Private Mills went? She's supposed to be down in the briefing room. Kershner's about to go over the details for Operation: Apollo." And somehow, Felix Ivanov was not invited?

In the hallway outside of the recreation room, Catherine Chesterfield can see where Ivanov stands at the head of the ping-pong table, cigarette hanging off of his bottom lip, letting a serpentine trail of smoke issue up from the tip. She's on her way to the second-string briefing at the nearby conference room, where some of Team Charlie has been gathered to be explained the details of the airstrike. Apparently Felix's invitation got lost in the shuffle. Elisabeth was present at the earlier meeting, eavesdropping in with the Marines who would take part in the bombing run. This is strictly the extraction team's briefing now.

Ivanov, current reigning champion of the Washington's ping-pong table. Because he cheats like a motherfucker, courtesy of his power. Well, he warned them, swore up and down he was faster than normal. Just one particular jarhead refuses to believe this skinny little bastard is the supposed hero of the first battle against the Vanguard. The question has him all but swallowing his cigarette in irritation - he's not in uniform or rhe pseudo-fatgues they've been granted to wear on the Washington, but in a ratty sweater, jeans, and hiking boots. Like some broke-ass graduate student stowed away on the carrier. Perhaps to prove his point, he uses his ability when he vanishes the bill into a pocket, hand striking out and back like a cobra.

She pauses in the doorway, watching the tail end of Felix's match with the Marine and the lightning-fast pocketing of money. It briefly occurs to Cat she could make a mint challenging some of these guys to test her memory, but why take from them? She's rich. Some, if not a large number, of the military persons aboard may well remember her and Elisabeth from the mess hall and one or two of the lounges on the 26th. The brunette guitarist with the solid chops and the strong voice. Rocker chick.

But time is short, and she continues on her path toward that conference room.

"Mills is down at the firing range I think," one of the marines speaks up, waving down the hall after watching a glimpse of Cat going by. "Might wanna' just go down and grab her, I don't think she'd hear a page." The man in the doorway nods his head, slapping a hand against the frame before sprinting off down the hall. When he departs, there's a shorter woman standing where his silhouette was, shoulder length blonde hair contrasting against the black of her suit jacket. A blue-eyed stare is tranfixed on Felix, followed by a fleeting look of humor.

"Agent Ivanov," Sarisa states with an arch of one brow, curling a finger towards him.

"Apparently I forgot to put you down on the list of appointments. You're going to be involved with the extraction team going to recover Bravo once they've called for a retrieval from Madagascar. I'm about to start a briefing on the deployment specifications, so if you'd come with me?" It sounds like he's been volunteered for more work, or perhaps just a morale booster. It's hard to say.

Cigaraette still firmly clenched between his teeth, Felix offers an immense and patently false grin, and claps his hands like a child at a birthday party, in an ecstacy of sarcastic delight. Someone's left his switch permanently set to 'bitchy', since he left Russian soil. But he does put out the cigarette - on his tongue, no less - and discards the butt in a trashcan before falling in step with Sarisa. He even offers her his arm, as if this were an afternoon promenade in the park.

Entering the conference room and taking a seat somewhere amid the pack of people present, Cat's mind drifts slightly. She muses on whether or not Felix has ditched those stinking Russian tobacco sticks and bought some American brand at NEX. Once she's settled, her attention shifts to the various persons around her.

Sarisa and Felix enter the crowded conference room — not arm in arm — with something of an awkward procession. Sarisa motions for the Russian to take a seat at one of the empty chairs, then looks around at the faces of the marines gathered for the briefing. "I'm sorry for the timing of this," Sarisa's already talking before she reaches the front of the room, "we've had to split the briefing into multiple groups to compartmentalize the intelligence we're giving out on the mission specifics. With the people we have on board, security is tighter than usual." Hopefully she's talking about the captive Vanguard members.

"Most of you have probably heard some of what we're planning. Briefings have been kept to the 11th hour in order to prevent information slipping out about the maneuvers." Sarisa finally arrives at the front of the room, signaling a marine operating a projector to turn it on, showing an aerial map of Madagascar. "At 0:400 hours tomorrow, Operation Apollo's Arrow will commence. A strike force of four F-18s will move on the capital city of Antananarivo," she motions with a laser-pointer towards an inland capital city, and the projector displays scenes of a very mountainous urban sprawl. "The air-strike will be coordinates with Team Bravo's insertion into the country, and be the precursor to a US Military occupation of the capital. Occupation teams have already been briefed on their assignments, but a full-on engagement with the Vanguard military forces will be expected. At 04:30 hours, ground-forces will be airlifted in to the capital to begin a district by district lock-down of the city to secure civilians and eliminate hostile forces."

Man, it's like living in a movie based on a Tom Clancy novel, isn't it? Only, instead of Harrison Ford charging in to save the day, they're left with the various riffraff the government has scooped up. HE settles into the indicated chair, assumes an expression of polite interest.

The map is studied, pertinent points spotted and committed to memory by simple fact of seeing them. Cat's features are businesslike and calm, her attention complete.

"Your team will not be a part of the insertion into the capital. Your job will be, specifically, to ensure the safety of Team Bravo when they pop flares to be extracted. Bravo2's commanding officer has possession of the SatCom, and we will be using that to calculate their location. We will not be extracting them until we are usre they have gathered whatever intelligence they can from the Vanguard head of operations, which according to estimates should be timed with the air-strike."

Shifting her weight to one foot, Sarisa motions back to the large screen again, displaying that castle-like museum once more. "This is the highest point in Antananarivo, and it is likely the point where we will be meeting with Bravo once the extraction is called for. This will likely be a hot-zone when we go in, so I've asked our out-sourced help to give us assistance on this. Harrison, Ivanov, and Chesterfield will be accompanying the extraction team specifically for the use of their abilities. Chesterfield will serve as additional logistics and failsafe in case of SatCom failure. Harrison and Ivanov are strictly to aid in countering enemy combatants that may still be present at the evac site."

Tilting her head to the side, she rakes fingers thorugh her hair. "You will be afforded proper armaments for this assignment in order to ensure your safety and the safety of the team. I will emphasize that this is largely an unknown area you will be going into, and the resistance could be of any level of threat. Your primary goal is the safe return of each member of Bravo only. Do not engage the enemy unless absolutely necessary."

It'll be necessary. Felix will make it so. Not that he says as much - there's just that particular light in his eyes, as he slouches in his seat, in contrast to all the neat and perky little military personnel.

There may be reading to do, Cat's mind considers. Her head shifts a bit when her name is spoken, but there's no other overt reaction. The range of possible additional logistics needed is pondered, as well as failsafe for the SatCom and what that might entail.

"We're concerned that there may be EMP weapons present in the city, and if we lose the SatCom's location, we're going to need an accurate understanding of their location and the city layout available. Chesterfield can well supply that, on top of additional logistical support from her database of knowledge." Sarisa seems to be taking no chances here, folding her hands behind her back around the laser pointer, her posture stiffens. "Once the team is gathered, you will evac immediately. One of the helicopters that will be performing the evacuation will be a medical facility for potential injuries. Any questions?"

One of the marines raises a hand. "Sir, do we have any indication of the number of surviving members of Bravo?" Sarisa arches a brow at the question, then dips her head down and considers how to answer. It's more pragmatic than optimistic when she responds.

"Out of the two Bravo units sent in to Madagascar, we estimate only four or five members out of the sixteen are still alive. The commander of Bravo-2 is currently in unknown status as of last communication after they cleared the air-field. They will be accompanied by local insurgents from the Madagascar Liberation Front, but we are not to evacuate local guerillas." Kershner's brows furrow, eyes scanning the crowd. "Further questions?"

The Russian's about as expressive as a birchbark doll, at the moment. He's giving Sarisa that blank, catlike stare. Like he's hoping she'll pull out a laser pointer and let him chase the glowing red dot.

"Is it possible, Agent Kershner, to provide the services you desire of me from the medical helicopter?" Cat's voice comes out clear and even in asking that question, following up by stating "Naval corpsmen of course have solid knowledge of their field, but anatomy and a good degree of emergency medical procedures are in my database of knowledge. Not knowing what the battle may involve, it could be helpful to have as many people on hand as possible in that area. I'm perfectly willing to be tested on the extent of my knowledge by medical personnel. I also have nimble fingers. Good for suturing."

"Beyond that, I should see any and all available maps of the targeted areas."

"Of course, if that's where you feel you'll be able to do the most good I'll have you meet up with Lieutenant Strickland who will be heading up the medical chopper." Sarisa nods her head affirmatively, and whatever issues she has with Catherine at the moment seem completely set aside for the business at hand, in a way the pair are similar in that regard, though the directions of their pragmaticism and heel-digging stubbornness seem to be on different sides of the fence.

"I'll upload regional maps to your SatCom as soon as the briefing is over." Sarisa adds with an affirmative nod once more. "Was that all?" She has to ask, because if anyone could analyze a situation down to the finest nuts and bolts and find something glaringly wrong, or over-analyze something simplistic, it would be Catherine Chesterfield. This, of course, is a prime opportunity for Felix to voice any concerns, outside of his tabby-cat fascination with her laser pointer, that is.

Felix shakes his head after a moment. He doesn't ask which members of which team are the ones who might've survived. Let's hope Liz's favorite bit of rough is among them. There's been enough weeping on each other this trip.

Nodding toward Sarisa comes first, then her eyes moving around in search of Lieutenant Strickland. Potentially, Cat surmises, he or she might be looking at her given the topic which was raised and the answer received. "Thank you," she offers. There aren't any questions floated.

Strickland is a man who looks to be on the far side of thirty, the nametag on his uniform indicating his presence to Cat, coupled with the eye contact. Bristly moustache and shaved head contrasting against a pair of glasses that give his thick-bodied frame an oddly bookish appearance. His nod to Cat is the only sign of recognition he gives, though she reconizes him from her impromptu music show for the troops.

"Then that concludes the briefing. Strickland, Garner, Howe and Landers will be flight captains on the extraction, Landers and Howe will be operating the lead and rear gunships, Stickland the medic chopper and Garner the carrier. In and out, no hitches."

Nodding to the projector operator, Sarisa has the images cut off, then her focus turns back to the group. "Everyone should be ready by 04:00 hours for mobilization behind the strike force. Anyone with unrelated questions can catch me now before I returnt o update the General about our status." A nod is given to the room, and Sarisa concludes the meeting with a sharp, "Dismissed."

Which is when Felix heaves himself up with that peculiar boneless grace he has when the adrenaline has burned out and needs some time to recharge. Not precisely exhausted, but in need of a little nap before all hell breaks loose. He doesn't say anything, merely casts a glance over his shoulder at Sarisa.

As people depart following the dismissal command, Cat remains in her seat. She glances over at Strickland again, then faces forward. If he chooses to approach and test her knowledges, she's entirely open and up for it as stated.

He's a man of business, come to find out, and if Sarisa trusts Chesterfield's expertise, Strickland isn't going to question it. He's up from his seat and departing from the room with the flood of other marines. Sarisa stops one by the door, a red-headed young man with a crew-cut, shorter than most of the other men. Gripping his shoulder with a gloved hand, her brows go up and blue eyes flick towards the door. "Find me Private Mills." Sarisa grouses with a disappointed tone, "and tell her she's going with the strike team instead."

A look is offered to Felix as he passes and leaves, blue eyes narrowed, and when Cat doesn't get up to bombard her with questions, or worse something related to that conversation with Francois she leaves the silence between them as a buffer. There's no nod, no goodbye, nothing of the sort; just a clean and curt turn of her body away from the rows of chairs as she departs from the briefing room behind the redheaded marine and out into the hall.

Leaving Cat alone in the room.


Nominally alone, at any rate. She has an incoming call.

The device which just beeped at her is extracted, its screen looked at to determine the source of this contact, though Cat has a solid idea who it might be. As she checks for correctness in this, a finger hovers over the button one would press to answer it. If it's Petromir or Monk, the button is pressed without further delay.

The latter of which is on the other end the moment Catherine activates the call. His voice is strange, carrying an inscrutable accent behind the obviously synthesized vocal tones. «Catherine.» It's been a long time since they've made this direct of contact, and with Sarisa's prying eyes having left Cat alone, this private contact is exactly as clandestine as it needs to be. «I am contacting you to inform you that R.Ajas and I have discovered the location of Hana Gitelman. We believe she is in combat with an unknown technopath, but my student has discovered her signature.»

The pause in his words come with the popping hiss and squeal of an old phone modem. «I am preparing to engage this opponent. If you do not hear from me again, it is because R.Ajas and I failed. In the event of that incident, documentation will be forwarded to you discretely. Do with it as you wish.» Speaking of pragmatic, Monk seems to have absolutely no emotion in his synthesized voice as he informs Catherine of his potentially impending demise.

"You will not fail," she asserts. There's not a trace of doubt to her voice, Operational Cat is speaking and not acknowledging any chance of non-success as is her practice. "Is this soon to be defeated technopath associated with the Vanguard? Things are reaching a critical stage. I really need Petrelli to contact command and explain himself. I am unable to sway leadership in this operation, and the consequences could be disaster. We shall prevail, but the task becomes increasingly difficult."

Silent then, listening for more from the senior half of Rebel, her mind takes journeys of imagining what a battle of technopaths would consist of.

«We do not know. Petrelli has not responded to my communications since you alerted him. He has disabled his SatCom device as well, but that is a suspicion that I do not have the fortune to investigate. I have no further time to spare, the luxury of this communication are moments where their confrontation escalates. Should I discover the technopath's origin, I will inform you. He has been searching for information on your warhead.» That much confirmation alone is enough to be as good as proven. «I wish I had your optimism, Catherine. If I do not see you again, I will see you in another life.»

Damn. Damn, and damn again. This is not what she needs to hear. But there isn't time to dwell on that. "You will succeed. If you have time, please advise of Hana's physical location so someone can perhaps go to aid her in person. Or pass word to someone more able to do so. Operations here begin in a short time. We will speak when you've defeated the opponent."

And with that, Cat goes silent, expecting the connection will simply end without further commentary from the technopath.

«Signal Lost»

Sometimes she's right.

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