The Valkyrie's Gambit


gavyn_icon.gif sarisa_icon.gif

Scene Title The Valkyrie's Gambit
Synopsis In preparation for the impending crisis on November 8th, Sarisa Kershner bolsters FRONTLINE's ranks.
Date October 28, 2010

Up the Palisades Interstate, forty miles outside of New York City lies the city of Newburgh, situated on the banks of the Hudson River. Roughly two hours from New York City, this northern point is the home of the Stewart Air National Guard Base, home of the 105th Airlift wing. It is under clear skies in the unseasonably spring-like weather that has been sweeping the east coast that a visitor comes to the airfield.

The sun has just reached its peak in the clear skies by the time a black sedan has rolled its way through the security checkpoint and found itself to the administration building of Stewart. When the sedan's door opens, one black-shoed foot steps out to touch down on the concrete, shark colored slacks pressed immaculately. The hard soles of square heels click against the concrete underfoot as the car's driver steps fully out of her vehicle and slams the door shut.

Reaching up to withdraw sunglasses from her face, the rather severe-looking blonde stares up at the boxy, gray building with a furrow of her brows that implies all the scrutiny she's giving the old post. Folding the arms of the sunglasses closed, they're tucked into the front pocket of her equally shark gray suit jacket on way towards the building.

Not far away and under entirely more stressful circumstances, the office of Lieutenant Emelio Lucetto is occupied by someone else at the moment. Having been waiting for the last twenty minutes, Senior Airman Gavyn Mitchell has been awaiting the arrival of an agent from the CIA's Special Activities division, a woman who's name may not be synonymous with public security, but one who's title more than assuredly is. Sarisa Kershner, defense liaison to the Department of Homeland Security is the DeFacto head of the FRONTLINE organization, following the assassination of General Sebastian Autumn over the summer.

Her request to see Senior Airman Mitchell sent a stir through Stewart and through the ranks of non-evolved airmen serving at the post. It's a pretigious offer, to join the poster-children for a new era of civild efense, even if it is a strictly civilian position. That Kershner has opted to come here and see Gavyn personally after her encounter with Elisabeth Harrison likely means that this isn't just a meet and greet.

This is going to be a turning point.

Gavyn had left shift just a few minutes early to arrive in time for the meeting, doing her best to avoid the questioning looks and pretend to not hear the whispered rumors. And arrive in plenty of time she did. Not more than three times has she checked her watch and worried that she'd missed something before resuming a hopefully casual perusal of the Lieutenant's furnishings. She'd be pacing if not for the space. While she isn't checking the time again, or looking at various framed pictures or certificates upon the wall, the young airman is checking her uniform and making sure all is in order. Of course, with a flight suit there isn't too much to get out of order. The green, single piece suit is still in as pristine a condition as it will ever get.

Another glance at her watch, that makes four times now, and then toward the doorway. How long should she continue to wait? This meeting was twenty minutes ago, right? She picks at an imagined piece of lint from her shoulder and sticks it into a hip pocket while eyes behind sunglasses pass over the office yet again. Is that picture crooked? Nice looking family though. Gav draws in a deep breath and slowly lets it out, hopefully calming some nerves, looking at her watch yet again.

The sound of clicking heels down the hall draws closer like a steady drum beat, the rhythmic click-clack-click of Sarisa's shoes on approach to the Lieutenant's loaned out office. The doorknob rattles when the sound of footsteps stop outside, followed by a brush of kncukles in a short series of polite knocks as the tall, blonde-haired woman steps in through the door, lingering in the threshold.

"Airman Mitchell?" One of Sarisa's dark brows lift slowly, her sharp features focused on the brunette in the chair opposite of the Lieutenant's desk. "Sorry to have kept you waiting, traffic was tied up on the Interstate the entire way up here." On stepping in, Sarisa tucks a leather folio under one arm, striding over to the chair that Gavyn is seated in and offers out a hand covered by a supple black leather glove.

"It's a pleasure to finally be able to make your aquaintence, Harrison has good things to say about you." She isn't moving to the desk, but rather looming nearby to the chair. Sarisa Kershner hasn't been in the Marines long enough to no longer wear her golden oak leaves, but the rank of Major is still often bandied about when Sarisa's name is spoken. She doesn't seem to put much weight on her old career, though. Even if the posture of a marine is still nailed in to her mannerisms.

"Yes, ma'am," Gavyn replies at the intial query, bolting to her feet. She doesn't /quite/ fall to attention, but there's the impression that she would if given the hint to. She accepts the hand and gives it a short, firm shake. "Yes, ma'am, it's alright. Traffic happens." She begins to say more, then stops herself, taking on a well practiced military bearing, waiting to speak until it's proper to. Still, she can't entirely hide the surprise from her features. Good things to say about her?

Affording Gavyn a faint smile, Sarisa moves away and over to the desk, laying down that leather folio and tugging off her gloves by the fingers, letting them lay down on the desk beside it. "I'm not much one for social lubrications, so I'm just going to get down to business. I've taken a look at your service record and gone over the assessment from your Linderman-Act registration…" Turning as she speaks, Sarisa very casually leans back against the desk and rests her palms flat on its surface. "You're promising, and I think you managed to slip through the initial first draft recruitments for Unit One because of your transfer into the Air Guard."

Nudging the folio over and flipping it open with one finger, Sarisa looks up from the paperwork inside to Gavyn. "All good words aside, what I see on this record tells me a story that I would rather hear directly from you. Why you left the Air Force and transferred to the Guard. Why you've been moving around so much the last few years…"

Sarisa's brows furrow, leafing thorugh the folio. "There's no psyche eval from 2007 onward, which means I don't have anyone else's opinion to go on. In what I like to see as a bit of turnabout, I'd like to hear your side of things. Let that truthful tongue say something of its own. If you're worried, I'm not giving you rope to hang yourself with. I've already made up my mind about whether or not I'm dragging you in to this," Sarisa informs with a roll of her shoulders, "but I want to know what I'm getting myself into in advance. Think of this as your one free chance to tell it like it is, without repercussions."

Gavyn watches the woman silently, one can only guess what she might be thinking behind those shades. Casually, while the questions are stated, she clasps her hands behind her back and remains standing. Hopefully it hides the nerves a little better.

Silence follows before the young airman replies. How much can she say without it biting her in the rear? "Four years ago we got hit with something big," she finally replies. "Some friends and I were here on vacation, up from Maryland where we were originally stationed. When that explosion hit, I somehow survived and got pulled into rescue efforts. I admit surprise that it's not in those files, but I transferred here to fill an intel spot before the world found out that Evolved were responsible for the explosion. Stayed here because I had a contract to finish out."

Gavyn glances toward the chair she'd recently vacated, a flick of her eyes, slight twitch of her head, but remains standing. "I don't hold residence because… It's not always comfortable when people find out what exactly I do. Madison Cole, if you'd been told about her, wasn't the first, just the more recent. —I'm not sure if that answers your questions, ma'am. I have a clean record of service, I tend to keep to myself because of my ability. I've never had any problems with anyone."

"Your record says the facts, I wanted to know the reasons," Sarisa suggests with a raise of one black brow. "Spend enough time in Intelligence and you learn that those two things can be mutually exclusive. Truth be told, everything on paper does say you're a good soldier, but that doesn't mean you like being one. FRONTLINE is an immense responsibility, for all the reasons I think you're discovering with your day-to-day life."

Looking Gavyn up and down once, Sarisa's expression shifts from inquisitive to something more inscrutable, but still prying. "If you agree to the offer, you'll be representing our kind in the public eye." Our kind. "People look up to FRONTLINE as a symbol of what's right with us, we're exemplars to children and adults alike. Which is why there's mandatory press involvement for all squads of Unit One, which you'd be positioned to."

"FRONTLINE is the loss of much of your personal life, it's part soldier, part celebrity. I don't need to go over the basic details of how the group integrates with local law enforcement, but it's at times a thankless job. FRONTLINE is high-risk low reward, unless you manage to get a warm fuzzy out of public service. Everything you've told me already, says that maybe you'll find this rewarding."

Leaning forward and off of the desk, Sarisa folds her hands behind her back in more relaxed mimicry of Gavyn's posture, though unintentionally so. "You'll also have to commit to living at the Factory with the other members of Unit One. That's non-negotiable in your case since you don't have a dependant."

"To be frank, I love serving. I signed up in a time of need and I stayed on because of a continued need." Gavyn unconciously straightens just a little, an echo, maybe, to the pride for her choice several years before. "I won't go into details of the job I have now, you can find those in my file, but I'll admit to not liking it much. But joining was the best decision I ever made."

Gavyn lapses into silence again, once more studying Sarisa and still behind shaded lenses. "I still think you and Ms. Harrison sound like my recruiter and his supervisor," she says quietly, hinting at amusement while still clinging to that bearing of professionalism. "What about my current enlistment, ma'am?"

"Gone with a wave of my magic wand," Sarisa quips with a crooked smile briefly flashing across her lips. "General Autumn arranged for an agreement with the Department of Defense that can pull you out of whatever enlistment contract you happen to have in order to serve in FRONTLINE provided you meet the criteria. We've pulled soldiers out of active duty overseas on one occasion for the Massachusetts unit. This is a considerably smaller ball of red tape. The moment you sign the forms I have, you're officially a member of FRONTLINE."

Looking from Gavyn over to the folio, Sarisa leans over and leafs through, tugging out a few papers to lay down beside the folder. "The stipulation is that you will serve out the remainder of your contract in service to FRONTLINE. Should you leave the organization prior to fulfilling the time alotted in your contract you'll be expected to return to whatever post you'd been given prior. I don't forsee that happening, but we have had people retire after experiencing what it's like first-hand."

Easing back towards the desk, Sarisa takes the initiative to boost herself up and sit on the desk's corner, crossing one leg over the other and folding her hands in her lap. "Your first assignment will be two weeks of training in Annapolis Maryland, which is primarily acclimation to the Horizon Armor System that FRONTLINE utilizes. You'll be down there on post for eight hours a day, though we have an arrangement to fly you to and from New York on Uncle Sam's dime at your leisure. The flight is pretty short, so it shouldn't preclude you from fulfilling any other personal responsibilities you may have here at home."

Shifting her weight forward, Sarisa relaxes her shoulders and rubs her palms together. "I'll be assigning Harrison as your instructor for armor training. During your two weeks you'll be expected to wear the Horizon suit for at least eight hours a day to get acclimated in wearing the suit. It's a several billion dollar piece of hardware though, so I'd recommend not dinging the paint…"

Exhaling a sigh, Sarisa furrows her brows and looks down to the paperwork, thoughtfully, then looks back up to Gavyn. "I assume you probably have questions. This is usually the time where I'll answer them. I'm usually quite busy, so you won't see much of me around New York unless it's a major operation. Now's probably your best chance to get some face time with me for the forseeable future."

"What is the Horizon suit," Gavyn begins with probably the easiest question first. "Besides an armor system. And what will my duties entail? You said representing our kind as good people, and Ms. Harrison mentioned working with the police. But that doesn't explain the work." She relaxes her own posture slightly, really it's just a shift of her weight without exactly changing anything, but she looks a little more relaxed.

Gavyn's eyes go to the paperwork, not truly lingering, then back to Sarisa. "And.. why me? I was told to expect a phone call." She neglects to mention the buzz that's been going around the base. That could just be normal for a VIP anyway.

"Elisabeth understates my desire to make face-to-face meetings. Every single member of FRONTLINE has been hand-picked. Why you?" Sarisa tips her head into a nod, fair enough question. "There is not an abundance of Registered Evolved in the United States armed forces. You'd be surprised how few there are, and how many fewer still meet the criteria for FRONTLINE. It's not a slight at your skills, but we're recruiting everyone that meets muster provided they're willing to join. The pay is enciting, and that tends to sell most people on it. But the job itself is a large responsibility."

Furrowing her brows, though, Sarisa looks down to the floor, then back up to Gavyn. "Guess you don't watch much TV. Every time you see one of those black suits of armor the men and women in FRONTLINE wear, you're seeing the Horizon Armor Mk I. It's a cutting edge armor system developed by a defense contract with the Natick Soldier Center. Reactive armor that hardens on balistic impact, lightweight powered hydraulic exoskeleton for heavy lifting and increased load capacity. It's also a fully-integrated future force system. Unit positioning, vitals signs, comms, it's all one big bundle. We're prototyping a Mk II version of the armor right now, but it's still a ways off from finished. The basics remain the same, though. It takes some acclimating to."

Clearing her throat, Sarisa slides off of the desk and stands up again, tucking her hands into the pockets of her slacks. "As for what we do? Harrison told me she covered the basics. But I'll go over it again, You'll get a more detailed run-down in Annapolis, though. But in the nuts and bolts, FRONTLINE is a civilian defense organization. It's not entirely unlike Police SWAT. But FRONTLINE responds to high-profile situations where Evolved abilities come into play. Any local or federal law enforcement can call FRONTLINE in. You won't be arresting anyone, but you will be working in coordination with law-enforcement to resolve conflicts…"

Lifting one dark brow up, Sarisa offers a somewhat wry smile. "If you've speant any amount of time in New York City, you can probably guess why the job is as dangerous as it is. We haven't had any loss of life, but we have had serious injuries. With terrorist organizations like Messiah and Humanis First out there making life hard for everyone, doing what we do is more important than ever."

"Doesn't sound too much different than the reasons I joined the Air Force in the first place," Gavyn states. And it is a statement, not a muse. Still, her eyes fall to the papers again, the folder that seems to encompass quite a bit of information about herself, and then to Sarisa once more. She pushes her shades further up onto the bridge of her nose, habitually.

Letting out a long breath, the airman stands more fully to attention. Not quite, still, but she's no longer entirely relaxed once again. "When do I start? And after my traditional enlistment comes up, what happens? Can I stay in if I want to, or will I be sent off to civilian life?"

"FRONTLINE can be a life-long investment, provided the world sticks around long enough to allow you to continue to perform in it. Given how short on Evolved recruits we are, we can't be picky about putting people out to pasture if they want to stay involved. Besides, there's some people like Lieutenant Spalding who probably will only get more dangerous with age as he learns to harness his ability better. The same goes for you as well."

Looking down to the form, Sarisa reaches inside of her jacket and offers out a red pen to Gavyn. "You sign the line on the bottom of the front page, and I can have you off to Annapolis by Monday morning. There… is one thing," Sarisa explains with a furrow of her brows. "We may call you up out of training for the days of and the days surrounding the fourth anniverssary of the Midtown explosion. There's an expected hike in violence during that time, and even if we can't stick you in a Horizon suit, I'll need you out there on the field. Hopefully you'll be acclimated enough that if we need you on the ground we can depend on you. So this next week is the most important one."

Stepping forward with a nod, Gavyn reaches out to take the pen. There's no hesitation as she grasps it and exposes the tip. Still nothing as she scans over the body of the paperwork before placing pen to paper and scrawls out her signature. The hesitation comes in, only briefly, as she stares at the bold red against the paper. But it's gone again, the pen closing and being offered back to Sarisa.

"Monday then," Gavyn says, straightening and taking a step back. Her shaded eyes come up to Sarisa. "Anything I should bring with me?"

"Few changes of clothing, appropriate PT attire, whatever personal effects you want. It's not quite Basic, but it will push your limits in that suit, and instruct you non what your new limits will be." There's an approving expression, almost a smile but somewhat more smug from Sarisa as she offers out a hand to Gavyn, one brow lifted.

"Welcome to FRONTLINE, Officer Gavyn. You're about to take the first step to becoming a hero to the people of New York City." Sarisa's dark brows pinch together, head tilts to the side and her expression becomes expectant. "I think I'm going to like having you aboard."

"I don't want to be a hero," Gavyn replies, though she accepts the hand once again. "Just serving my country. And hopefully in a better light than before." She pauses after another firm handshake, shades readjusted before hand returning to her side. "Thank you, ma'am. I hope to meet your expectations."

The handshake seals the deal, in more ways than Gavyn may even realize at the tim, and Sarisa seems to go tense in the moment of handshake this time, her eyes focused distantly on something for a fw heartbeats. "Whether you want to be a hero or not, you need to be prepared for what the people of New York City will see you as." Taking her pen back, Sarisa tucks it back inside of her jacket, reaching down to the leather gloves she'd taken off on coming in, sliding them over her hands again.

"That city is begging for heroes, and that's how they'll see you." Offering that bit of warning to Gavyn, Sarisa crooks one corner of her mouth up into a lopsided smile. "Giving them that little bit of hope?" She opines, reaching down to collect her folder.

"That's almost more important than anything."

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