The Fine Print, Part I


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Scene Title The Fine Print, Part I
Synopsis On their last day in Russia, Abigail, Elisabeth and Catherine are given a visit by Sarisa Kershner, and told of what is to come. But the arrangements made with her are not entirely what they might appear on the surface…
Date December 24, 2009

Spektor Home

This isn't how anyone imagined they'd be spending the holidays.

"…seven-seven is reporting all clear in section B-4. Move to sweep next sector."

Snow falls in thick and heavy flakes, a drowsy descent from darkened skies high above Ryazan Russia. Within the home of Ivan Spektor, chatter fills the air of the warmly lit home. Dozens of men and woman in suits with radios and ear pieces have taken over the Spektor home. The kitchen has been taken over, laid out with rows of laptop computers and wiring heading out one of the windows to a portable satellite array. Black armored SUVs parked out front leave a spaghetti-mess of tire tracks in the front driveway.

"Seven-Eight what is the status of remaining Tangos in sector A-15?"

Situated in one of the sitting rooms off of the kitchen, Ivan has been wound up in conversation for the last hour with the woman responsible for this makeshift command center being established. Sarisa Kershner looks less primed for business now than she did two days prior, seated comfortably in one of the high-backed armchairs, gloved hands cradling a mug of cocoa prepared by Mrs.Spektor in insistance that has kept the other agents swarming the house equally well fed.

"Ten-Sixteen reporting in, I repeat we have Tango codename Hel in custody. Repeat, Tango codename Hel in custody."

Quickly rising up from her chair, Sarisa sets her cocoa down and brings up one wrist to her mouth to speak into the communication device on her sleeve. "This is SatCom command, Ten-Sixteen. Tango codename Hel is to be transported directly to SatCom HQ, over." Blue eyes drift over towards Ivan, brows raised in a triumphant look of told you so that is mirrored with smug satisfaction on the older man.

Here in the home of the Spektor family, the joint operation between the Company and the CIA is quietly mopping up the leftovers remaining behind from the Vanguard operations. With all of team Charlie present at the Spektor compound, it's presumably only going to be another night before they're all rounded up and sent… somewhere. The exact details haven't been clarified yet, but it's expected not everyone will be going home.

But at least, for some of them, they might just get home in time for Christmas.

Elisabeth is listening intently to the radio transmissions as she walks into the room. The worst that she herself suffered were bruises from where bullets impacted her kevlar and the lingering aftereffects of being electrocuted. She's carrying a mug of coffee with her as she comes in, black pants, sweater, and boots offset by the bright beacon of blonde that is her shoulder-length hair. "Who is Hel?" she asks quietly.

Entering through the door in the later afternoon, some time after Francois drew a Gallic cock on Abby's cast and she ate chicken, Cat lets her eyes wander the place. "This is different," she remarks as eyes capture and record all within sight. She takes a few steps forward to allow anyone immediately behind her entry as well, and approaches the seat which holds Sarisa. Her mouth opens as if to speak, but issues no sound.

Elisabeth has already asked Cat's question.

"Maybe it's Grigori?" Or someone else. Abigail's thumping in behind Liz and Cat, most of her casted leg hidden by a long jersey skirt and a woolen sock to stave off cold. She leans on the crutches, glancing around at the people in suits and other states of dress that mill around with the wide-eyed curiosity that only the young, or at least the youngest in this motley group, can summon up. Sarisa is someone new, and the deference of authority others show her means that her blue eyes focus on Sarisa now with a questioning look.

"Not Grigori. She's another Vanguard operative," Agent Kershner clarifies with an arch of her brows, "who according to the intelligence you had furnished us on tyour activities and information gleaned from their holdings in the region, she may well be Volken's biological daughter. We're trying to figure that out right now, but she was apprehended making an attempt to board a train bound for Moscow. She's going to be detained and brought to the USS George Washington for questioning."

Folding her gloved hands behind her back, Sarisa takes a few steps across the hardwood floor towards where Elisabeth and Cat have made their entrance, notcing Abby behind them, affording the blonde a faint smile. "It's good to see you all managed to get through this with as minimal injuries as you have. Alpha and Bravo teams have, from what little intel I've been able to get from them, suffered some rather heavy losses." Blue eyes alight from Abby to Elisabeth. "Actually… it's fortunate that the three of you found me. I have something I've been meaning to talk to you about now that you're in better shape." She eyes Abby and inclines her head towards her. "We have a metabolic specialist that will be awaiting your arrival in the States to clear up that ankle of yours. It's the least we can do."

Considering that, she takes a step closer, offering a gloved hand out to Abigail. "I think this is our first face-to-face meeting as well. Sarisa Kershner, Special Activities division head of the CIA. I've heard a lot about you miss Beauchamp, it's an hnor to finally meet the person who helped save all our lives last year."

Elisabeth nods slightly, as if the answer Sarisa supplied on Hel was expected, though she goes tense at the addition intel that Alpha and Bravo have suffered heavy losses. She keeps that reaction firmly behind the neutral cop expression, though, merely watching Sarisa. She raises her mug to take a swallow of her coffee as Sarisa greets Abby — because though the younger woman never seems to realize it, she has in the past been integral to a lot of important moments. Without her gift, most of Phoenix and a lot of other people would be six feet under. She remains leaning on the doorjamb, though, pretty certain of Abby's response.

"That's excellent news," Cat opines, "has the demise of Skoll been verified?" Hearing of trouble with the other teams doesn't appear to surprise her, the poise she normally displays and the neutral expression remain. All business, no trace of something seeming to chew on her metaphorical tail earlier remains.

Abby's response is red flooding her cheeks along with a frown. "If it's all the same to you, I'll be fine without your specialist. I appreciate the offer but I'm sure I can manage. Thank you very much for the offer though" She'd rather have Flint do it in truth. Abigail shifts to the right, putting her weight on her good side, no move made to shake the woman's hand. "Sorry, I don't shake hands" Force of habit. "You're welcome though. It seems I had no choice in the matter in saving 6 billion people. I think this time it's being left to other people though. Maybe you can call me when the third apocalypse rolls around. But what Cat said, has Dr. Kozlow been found?"

One brow arching at the dismissal of healing assistance, Sarisa seems a bit taken back by the notion. There's a subtle tilt of her head to the side, and quiet discernment of her attempt on figuring out exactly why Abby had become withdrawn about the idea. Eventually, her silence is punctuated by a nod of her head, offered ahnd wiping on her slacks before being folded behind her back with the other hand. "No…" She finally answers to the paired questions, "We haven't yet been able to find his body." With a furrow of her brows, Sarisa looks back to Cat. "There's a lot to go through and right now most of our men are doing their level best to track down the remaining living Vanguard operatives in the area. Now that we have Grigori in custody, I've taken some information from Grigori that will lead us to the remnants of his cell scattered in the area. Russia won't have anything to fear of the Vanguard again."

"As for the matter of your furthered involvement in this venture, I think you'll all be happy to know that most of you will be leaving on a 3am flight out of Moscow tonight that will be taking you back to the States. We have the intention of getting you home in time for Christmas, even if it's not quite Christmas morning. However, there are some stipulations that I'm going to have to discuss with the three of you prior."

Nodding her head to take a step into the adjacent study, Sarisa continues talking as she walks quietly out of earshot from the other agents and Ivan. "Miss Beauchamp, you'll be headed home and will not be requested for further assistance. You put your life on the line here for us, and the American people thank you for your involvement. Now, I know you were not made privy to the arrangements surrounding your induction into this assignment…" She removes an envelope from her pocket, offered out to Abby. "This is a measure of gratitude from the President on behalf of your service. We also ask that, in the interests of national security, you do not discuss the events of your time here in Russia with anyone once you return home to the States. Operation Apollo is a highly classified government operation, and anything involving your actions are state secrets."

Smiling faintly, Sarisa's head quirks to the side. "You will not find our agencies troubling you again. You have always proven to be highly cooperative with all government agencies whenever you have been in our company, however, and that has reflected on this operation. You'll find the contents of this envelope satisfactory, and… non-negotiable." As if to dissuade any sort of humility on Abby's part.

"As for the two of you…" Sarisa adds, looking back over her shoulder to Cat and Elisabeth, but she lets that hang in the air for a moment.

The talk of stipulations has Elisabeth grimacing very faintly. As if that weren't expected, right? She follows Sarisa into the study — finding out what's on the cards is definitely preferable than remaining in the dark. She's glad to hear that they're going to be sending Abby home, her hand sliding to Abby's shoulder briefly. Her chin tips up as Sarisa's attention falls on herself and Cat, though, unconsciously tensing. After all, she was brought into this under …. shall we call them 'less than ideal' circumstances. But she doesn't seem angry, merely wary.

She walks along with Sarisa and the others, eyes resting briefly on the envelope Abby is given. When the President is spoken of, it isn't Nathan Present or Nathan 2019 which comes to mind, but the real President, and Cat highly doubts Allen Rickham even knows about that envelope. It's a thought Cat refrains from expressing, along with several others.

Silence is kept as she observes Sarisa, interested in what comes next.

There's a mutter under Abby's breath that only Liz and Cat and maybe possibly Sarisa if she's paying attention as to whether it's from the real president or the doppleganger, but the envelope is taken with a gracious nod. She'll look in it later, more happy that she might make it home in time for Christmas. The envelope is pinned between hand and crutch. "Won't say a word. I told folks I was off on vacation with my family. If they ask, I'm blaming my ankle on a car accident" She won't tell a soul about what's happened.

Okay. Maybe Flint.

Okay, Maybe joseph too.

"As for you, Doctor Chesterfield," Sarisa's blue eyes drift towards the pamnesiac, "your furthered assistance has been requested by General Autumn, but I imagine you've considered as much. Your logistical skills and knowledge of Vanguard tactics and operations will prove invaluable. We will be reconveneing on the USS George Washington to coordinate with Team Alpha and Bravo once they return from assignment. If you'd prefer to return home shortly for the holidays we can arrange for that, but we request you remain available at a moment's notice to be recalled into active duty again."

Shifting her weight to one foot, Sarisa angles blue eyes to the floor. "We ask that you also refrain from discussing the mission specifications with your organization," theres a furrow of her brows, "but we know we can't control that. We only ask that you keep this information securely contained and not readily available to outside sources. Furthermore, our agreement to offer amnesty to yourself and other members of the Phoenix organization will not be honored until you complete your full requested appointment with us. After which point we will discuss the particulars of that arrangement and which members will receive record clearings."

Looking to Liz, now, Sarisa manages a grimace. "You'll be staying on with us as well, Harrison. You and Ethan Holden are remanded to government custody until the completion of this assignment, and those orders come from the top, so I'm sorry to say I have no control over them or any knowledge as to why only you and Holden have no room for bargaining on this. There is however some arrangements I've been allowed to offer to you, as tenuous as they are. You could be allowed to return to the States on a temporary basis and required to check in with a liaison to my office and remain within New York City limits and wear a tracking anklet. We know this is the holidays and I understand if you have family you wish to see. Otherwise I can take you directly to the USS George Washington with me to debrief on what is coming next. The choice is, ultimately, yours."

Elisabeth would laugh if it weren't so not funny. A tracking anklet? Seriously? Elisabeth has spent almost her whole life in New York City, aside from college years that she no longer has any memory of — where the hell do they think she's going to go? "I'm fine with accompanying you back to the carrier, Kershner," she tells the woman calmly.

"Though I'd like to see my father, I'll be content with arrangements just to be able to call him and assure him that I'm all right. So far as I'm aware, people back home believe me to have been kidnapped, so it's not as if I could go home and merely resume my life anyhow," she says with a hint of bitterness as she sips her coffee. "Besides which, I couldn't live with myself if I quit knowing that the warhead is still out there…. and probably armed at this point."

Her features harden at the announcement of custody for Elisabeth and Ethan, eyes moving slowly between the two of them. Cat takes time in formulating words, holding her silence while Elisabeth speaks. It clearly gives her disquiet, and perhaps anger. But other than that, her only remark on the matter is in regard to the detective's choice. "Coming to the carrier is a sound decision, Elisabeth. I'll bring my guitar and balalaika along."

Then attention shifts to Sarisa. "There are some who were aware of the dangers before we became involved, Agent Kershner. I've been ruminating over it all for some months now, things only recently beginning to add up. As such, others are aware a new threat from a past adversary was on the rise. I will tell them the threat has been successfully handled." Here, she pauses.

"But I can't honestly do that yet, the mission is incomplete, until the warhead has been found and neutralized. Therefore, I'm headed for the carrier. Home will be there when we finish the job."

"Are our movements about common areas on the carrier to be restricted?"

Nodding once, slowly, Sarisa gives her confirmation to Elisabeth's request. "We can arrange for a call to be made to your father once you're aboard the carrier. As for the warhead's status, I was contacted by a member of team Alpha this morning to infer that he believes that the warhead was indeed activated. Which means we're operating ona very short timetable to figure out exactly where the Verano and the weapon are. We have some… general indications at this point, but I'm not going to be jumping at ghosts until we have confirmation from both Alpha and Bravo teams."

Quirking a brow to Cat at her decision to head straight to the carrier, Sarisa shakes her head. "You'll be completely free to move about the carrier, you and Harrison both. We're not sure about Holden yet, until we can be assured he isn't a flight risk. But… he and I have some words that need to be exchanged regardless. But yes, once aboard the USS George Washington you'll be given freedom of movement. All contact with the outside will need to be monitored, but that is SOP for this situation. You'll be fortunate," Sarisa notes with an arch of one brow, "The carrier is currently en-route to Madagascar to deliver air support to Team Alpha. You might well be present for the air-strike we'll be coordinating against ground targets there."

Given their responses, Sarisa seems remarkably pleased with the outcomes. "I appreciate your devotion to this assignment and your continued cooperation. I assure you both, when this is over and we can all rest at ease, your continued assistance will be taken in a high regard. Given that," she looks down to her right wrist and the watch on it, "you have about six hours before our flight leaves from Moscow, and about two hours before we leave the Spektor estate. I— "

"Miss Kershner?" Comes the rough and deep voice from the doorway. Turning slowly, Sarisa spots Ivan coming up to stand beside where Elisabeth is. "I just wanted to extend my thanks to these young ladies, an' to offer well-wishing for their journey to come. If that is fine, yes?" Sarisa's brows lift, blue eyes flicking from Cat to Abby to Liz, then back to Ivan.

"Of course, Agent Spektor." There's a nod of the blonde's head as she turns, arms folding across her chest. "I think I've talked their ears off enough as it is," she admits with a wry smile, looking side-long to Abby, then back to Ivan. "Just make sure they don't miss their ride." She says in all jest to the Russian, walking out and past Ivan back towards the command center that has been made of his dining room. As Sarisa leaves, Ivan watches the blonde depart, then turns slowly back to Liz, Cat and Abby.

"The Company— " the old man shakes his head, "nyet— Russia— owes you all a debt of gratitude for your efforts. I do not have anything with which to thank you with, aside from the remainder of my family's hospitality…" There's a tilt of Ivan's head to the side, considering Cat for a moment. "And it pains me to ask this of you, but I was wondering if I could have a favor from one of you…"

Elisabeth rolls her eyes a little bit and smirks faintly. "I'm still not sure why idiots thought they needed to drug me into coming along — if someone had just asked, I'd have come." She is so going to punch Lazarro in the face. Even if Cardinal gets to him first. Seriously. But she keeps all of that between her teeth and merely says, "Thank you, Agent Kershner." She steps a bit sideways from the doorway to allow Ivan entry and then tilts her head at him curiously. "I'd hesitate to say 'anything' what with circumstances," she comments with a small smile. "But what is it you would like?"

"I would ask before you go, Agent Kershner, if you'll be meeting with Signor Laudani, Monsieur Allegre, and Agent Ivanov. Or if you wish us to pass word of options along to them, so they can relay choices. And thank you for your time. See you at sea," Cat offers.

From there attention goes to Ivan, and she's quiet to hear what he desires to ask.

Abigail dips her head to Sarisa as she takes her exit, a funny glance back at her. The woman keeps looking at her and it's unnerving. This gives way to Ivan and Abigail speaks up. "Thank you, for your hospitality and for putting up with us. It can't have been easy opening your home to a handful of strangers and putting up with our eccentricities. What can we help you with?" She shifts again, lifting her left foot and then lowering it beneath the skirt before looking at the envelope she was passed and passing it to Liz with a soft request to open it.

Hesitating in the doorway, Sarisa angles back at Cat's request. She looks at the woman, nodding her head once in a don't worry about it motion. It's clear she plans on handling the others personally. Once she's taken her leave of the room, Ivan looks over his shoulder to make sure she's gone, then addresses the three younger women quietly. "Oh, please, it was the most excitement we've had in this home since I retired." Ivan admits with a crooked smile.

"All I ask of is just to deliver a message for me… should you return home." Ivan seems dubious about that prospect for any of the three women gathered here. "There is a man I trained in the Company, a good man… Noah Bennet," Ivan's brows lower some. "I'd heard thorugh the grape-vine that he went rogue some time ago, left the Company, left off on his own. I may not be able to read minds or see the future, but I can feel Noah's influence on the three of you. Maybe it's not direct, but you have the presence of people who have had contact with him. The way you handle conversations, the way you have eluded the government all this time… they are the same tactics I taught Noah when he was your ages." A smile creeps across Ivan's face, whistful.

"I would like, if my intuition is right, to simply let him know that he has friends in Russia that have not forgotten him and do not hold…" he waggles one hand in the air in a see-saw motion, "grudges for the choices he has made. He and I may have retired in different ways, but he is still an old friend of mine and I wish him nothing but a good life. I simply want him to know that what came between he and the Company— it did not reflect on our relationship."

Furrowing his brows, Ivan takes a step closer to the three younger ladies, his voice lowering a touch. "Also, let him know that it seems… the wind is starting to change direction; turning downwind. He will know what I mean."

While she listens to Ivan's request, Elisabeth's hands are busy opening the envelope that Abby hands her. She politely does not read the contents, merely opening it and holding it so that Abby can look at and/or retrieve the contents for herself. Cool blue eyes come back around to Ivan when he finishes and she says with a soft smile, "I would have to say that you must have been a very, very good teacher, Ivan, if you remained alive long enough to retire — I'm sure your protege sees the change in the wind as well." It's a sincere compliment, though Ivan Spektor somehow became friends with an ex-Vanguard member. "I'm sure if someone runs across him, they'll be able to pass the message along." She pauses a moment and then moves forward to hug the older man. "Thank you for everything. Merry Christmas, Ivan." She will bid Katarina private farewells in person.

"«Thank you also for your hospitality, sir, and to your wife for indulging me with our session as fellow musicians some time ago.»" Cat's words, spoken in Russian, come with gratitude in the voice. She nods in silence as Elisabeth agrees to see the message is passed along, while briefly wondering just what he meant by the change in wind direction. Is it good, or bad, in the man's mind? Something to ask Bennet about herself when she can.

Moments later, though, she's thinking of the next stage and the carrier. "It's been some time since I played before a live audience. Might use the guitar to entertain shipboard people a time or two."

There's a grateful nod to Liz as she opens the envelope, and she takes the papers in the envelope, reading over them with raised brows. "I can talk with Mr. Bennet and pass along the information when I return." Since Liz and Cat will be heading to the aircraft carrier. The papers are folded back up, shaking her head. "It was a pleasure to meet you, I'll miss staying at your home," the former healer offers up. "I should go… pack and…" Whatever wasn't shot up and tear gassed at the apartment. Probably better off abandoning her clothing there. "Go put my foot up."

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