The Valkyrie's Failsafe, Part II


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Scene Title The Valkyrie's Failsafe, Part II
Synopsis Felix Ivanov comes to hear Sarisa Kershner's offer from her own mouth, and Kershner lifts up an enticing apple to Felix.
Date July 19, 2010

Financial District

The Offices of the Department of Homeland Security have moved since the nuclear explosion that tore Midtown in half in 2006. Situated in a highrise federal building in the Financial District, these offices are a familiar ground for the former federal agent Felix Ivanov. It's something of an administrative wonder that the Department of Homeland Security does not occupy the same building as the Federal Bureau of Investigations, but that's the United States Government for you, one impossible Gordion knot tied into another in some legislative maze.

For Felix Ivnov, there does happen to be a minotaur in this maze.

Thirty-three floors from the ground, the Central Intelligence Agency maintains a small footprint in New York City, and the offices of Special Agent Sarisa Kershner resides on this high floor. The CIA's offices are subdued and remarkably quiet, cubicles and glass-walled offices with vertical blinds, and it's the office at the end of a long, carpeted corridor paneled with faux wood where Felix's destination ultimately is.

Across the door, Sarisa Kershner's name is engraved on a small brass plaque, and that these offices once belonged to a supervisor is a subtle cue to how Kershner has been slowly rising up the totem pole following her successful lead of Operation Apollo and the Frontline project. Now, horror of horrors, she has more people working beneath her. When sharks travel in packs, it's usually a sign there's blood in the water.

Behind that door, Felix will figure out whose.

He's got that default restrained sneer stamped firmly in place. He's in his best suit, and is impeccably groomed. You gotta wear the best armor you have, when you're bearding the monster in her lair. It's absolutely galling to have no official ID beyond his -driver's license- to get him showed all the way up here. Once he's shown in, he just eyes her, raising those brows - the way the light hits his glasses, they're momentarily rendered opaque lenses.

Kershner is a shark, not only in the color of her gray suit today but also in her demeanor. Felix knows her more than well enough from Operation Apollo, and he knows that smile she offers him as he lets himself into her office is more a baring of her teeth. Settling down a landline phone with a click to the receiver, Sarisa rises from behind her desk, smoothing down the front of her vest before she circles around the desk and offers a hand out to Felix.

"Ivanov, it's good to see you come down here. I'm sorry you had to find out about my offer the way you did, if you ask me it was a bullshit thing to do. You don't have to worry about anything like that with me…" Felix just has to worrk about the figurative flesh-rending teeth and feeding frenzy.

A hand he doesn't take, looking past it as if it just weren't there. Liz's reminded him just precisely how -that- power works. He offers her a sunny grin, though, as if to defuse the rudeness, and shrugs, all insouciance. "Believe me, I understand government bureaucratic mix-ups," he says, with that air of commiseration. "And so I hear. Well, if I gotta get bounced out on my ass, I figure there's no better place to land than FRONTLINE. But….why me? Let's face it, I know I've been tagged as a walking attitude problem."

"On the official record? You're a walking disaster area with a vigilante complex," Sarisa notes with a faint smile, looking down at her unaccepted hand and snapping her fingers in that aw shucks sort've way. Walking back to her desk, Sarisa boosts herself up onto the top of the desk in a very casual way, crossing one leg over the other, her hands folding at her lap as she assesses Felix's posture. "But you know, there's that public facade that paints you as something you might actually be."

Dark brows crease together and Sarisa's blue eyes meet Felix's as she emphasizes, "A hero."

"Don't let it go to your head, of course, but the public adores you. Hurricane Ivanov, I think it said in the newspapers back in 2009? You're a famous face, congressional medal of honor for valor in the field of duty. Frontline isn't a demotion, it's a chance to do what the public adores seeing you do, without getting chastised in the back room for it." Letting her hands unfold and flatten down on the desk at her side, Sarisa leans some of her weight against them.

"You were on General Autumn's short list a year ago, back when Frontline was full with its first squad, before we'd been given expansion funding. Now, look at you? You fought the Vanguard in Russia and Autumn's gone… which means I'm in charge. His recommendation and my word goes a long way."

He makes that little scoffing noise, not quite a laugh. "Me, a hero. If only. We…." Fel makes a funny, uncomfortable little gesture, like he's flicking away a stray fly. "I didn't deserve that medal. It was papering over government ignorance. But you're right. This is what I've ended up better suited for. Fighting, playing superhero SWAT, rather than functioning as a brick agent."

"I saw you first hand in Apollo, Ivanov. I kow how reliable you are, how tenacious you are, and how much like a hunting dog your demeanor is. Everyone else in the bureau may call you a greyhound, but I know you're far more like a bloodhound. Once you get your sights set on something, you don't stop until either you're unable to move on or your target's dead." Lifting one hand to brush a lock of blonde hair behind one ear, Sarisa's eyes lid halfway and she looks askance to the partly blinded office window.

"What I haven't heard yet," there's a look back to Felix, "is if you'll accept the assignment yet." Tilting her head to the side, Sarisa's brows lift and her attention settles squarely on Felix. "Before we go any further… of course."

"I accept," he says, simply. "You'll regret offering, but I accept. Fuck, what else am I gonna do? Go grovelling back to the NYPD? Try to transfer elsewhere? Nah." Again, that dismissive gesture, like a cat pushing away inferior food.

"Don't sell yourself too hard," Sarisa offers with a crooked smile. "Given that, then, you have two weeks of training in Annapolis Maryland at the naval base. The boys there will instruct you how to operate the Horizon armor that you've seen the other Frontline agents in. I've already talked to some people in the logistics department at the DoD and we're looking to get you a further customized suit that can handle your top speeds. It won't have the hydraulic strength enhancements, but it'll be a sight lighter for it, which means we'll be able to work in an additional layer of armor plating beneath the ferro-fluids inside. You'll be a unique snowflake among the others."

Grinning crookedly, Sarisa slides off of her desk with a click of her heels on the carpert, smoothing out the back of her slacks as she stands up straight. "You'll have free rein of a private plane in Maryland that will taxi you back and forth from NYC as you need during training. Given your relationship with Elisabeth Harrison, I think I'm going to ask her to take a couple of days off to go down to Annapolis with you for your armor training, just to show you around the base and get aquainted there, if you'd like her company. I'll make certain that doesn't conflict with any schedules she has either."

That makes Felix brighten, genuinely. "I would like that," he says, simply. No comment on his relationship with Liz.

No need.

The expression says it all.

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