The Valkyries Agenda, Part III


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Scene Title The Valkyries Agenda, Part III
Synopsis Sarisa Kershner rounds up the second squad of FRONTLINE.
Date January 27, 2010

Speakeasy Hotel and Casino

Today isn't really much different from most days for Diego. Another shithole hotel. He comes and goes, generally bringing his dog Capone with him, on this errand or that. Probably nothing that important; just doing little things to waste the time. He's met with Daphne a few times, though for what isn't exactly clear. Otherwise his life is as utterly boring as it seems to the people he shares a hotel with.

As for today, he's hanging around out front. Capone is getting a chance to use the facilities and Diego has a lit cigarette resting idly between his lips. He's found a bench to settle on while he reads a newspaper, one leg crossed over the other, backpack settled against his ankle on the ground.

Red Hook is a shit hole of a neighborhood, and from the front of the Speakeasy Hotel where Diego's enjoying a cigarette and Capone is enjoying nosing around at his prospective dumping grounds, it's readily obvious. Every ground floor window on this block has bars on them, every car that's been parked here for more than two weeks is up on blocks and missing parts. There's rarely a police cruiser passing by here, rarely anything other than poorly plowed roads, ice, snow, and freezing cold weather that makes it hard for Diego to tell where the smoke from his exhalation ends, and the steam from his breath begins.

Likewise unusual in this run down industrial neighborhood are nice cars, especially nice and clean cars. Save for the road sale sprayed up by the wheels, the black sedan that rolls down the street looks remarkably out of place and too sterling for this region of the city. It stops, abruptly, and takes a sharp turn towards the empty dirt — and currently mostly ice — parking lot across from the Speakeasy Hotel. The car doesn't stop there, just pulls in, backs out and turns around. When it comes back out onto the street, it moves to park right on the sidewalk just two car lengths past the hotel.

It remains there, idiling for a second, before the engine cuts off and the passenger's side door opens. What steps out isn't the owner of the Speakeasy, but rather a tall and put-together looking blonde woman. Her features are angular, strong jaw, dark brows, blue eyes as cold as the cloudless skies up above.

She squints against the cold wind, gloved hands reach up to lift up the collar of her leather jacket to the back of her neck, and when she settles eyes on where Diego stands by the front of the hotel, it's clear she has some sort of predatory bead on him, like a tiger stalking a gazelle from the tall grass.

Unusual circumstances are the sort of thing Diego picks up on instinctively, even if he's not actively looking for them. Its been trained into him from long before his military career began or ended. A car like the blonde's isn't really all that rare in this part of town- the drug trade is indeed a lucrative business -but its enough to attract his attention. Thus he follows its progress until its driver steps out, and there's no mistaking the reasoning for her stop.

Diego's newspaper is quickly rolled up and tucked inside his belt and his right hand snakes its way around to his backside. To the casual observer it'd appear he was reaching for his wallet or tucking in his shirt, with his hand hidden by his coat, but there's no saying for sure what that hand is up to. As for Capone, he picks up on Diego's sudden alertness, standing still near the end of his leash and watching the blonde with unblinking eyes.

She walks with all of the steady cadence of a woman on a mission, even steps of heeled boots crunching ice and crusted snow underfoot as she mounts the curb and comes at a brisk but not rushed pace towards Diego. As the blonde draws closer, she begins to slow, offering up a surprised— and admittedly somewhat relieved— smile. "Captain Smith," she calls out with a crisp ring of her voice across the sidewalk. She walks with all of the swagger of someone with a military background, someone who's not just a desk-job officer, but someone who's been in the field. There's a way ex-soldiers carry themselves, looks they have in their eyes, tones to their voices. It's been a long time since Diego had to recall those minutae.

She's holding out a gloved hand, welcoming and offering, trying to both clear the distance and break the ice all in the same. Behind her, Diego can see a tall, thin man in a black suit with a skinny tie get out of the driver's seat, square-lensed sunglasses and an earpiece making his rather sleek appearance more threatening than it should be.

"My name's Sarisa Kershner, I'm with the Special Activities Division of the CIA, do you think I could have a moment of your time?" She's aggressive, goal-oriented, probably about one-hundred and thirty-five pounds and jugging from the way she carries her left arm she's carrying under that leather jacket, and the bulge at her ankle is probably a backup. It's all coming back so quickly to him.

Diego watches the approach of this 'Sarisa Kershner', looking for all the world like a coiled spring. Anyone with the werewithal to track him down to this shithole isn't an amateur playing superhero- or villian, depending -though he does an excellent job of keeping emotion off his face. There are very few indications given that he's on edge.

Not one to be rude, however, he extends his own gloved hand to shake hers. Its been some time since Diego 'retired' from the Rangers, but someone with Kershner's job and aptitude would have no trouble seeing the training in him. The way he scans her body, not as a lascivious leer at her feminine charms but for the little things, like a hidden gun or to see if she's favoring either leg. The way even when he's leaning against a wall his body is balanced and ready to move. How his eyes continually switch between the woman he's talking to and scanning the street around them. And he's certainly kept himself in excellent shape; or at least it seems that way, from what can be seen of his form beneath his winter clothes.

"Nice to meet you, Sarisa." His tone is cordial, even if he doesn't quite manage to keep his suspicion incognito. "Please, call me Diego. My father is Mr. Smith, and its been sometime since anybody saluted in my direction. Would you prefer to step inside?" He gestures with his head towards the door to the hotel lobby, Capone apparently having either done his business or missed his opportunity.

Looking down to Capone, Sarisa furrows her brows and offers a subtle nod of her head. Looking back to the car, she waves off the man standing by its side, who sinks back down into the driver's seat. "Inside sounds wonderful, actually. I'm not really much for the cold." Taking the initiative to move to the front doors, Sarisa pauses in mid stride, breaking her movement to drop into a crouch near Capone. Her gloved hand tucks inside of her jacket for a moment, and returns with a dog biscuit held out in the palm of her hand. "He seems like a nice one… I'm willing to bet he makes friends easy."

Crouched there in front of the door, Sarisa looks up over her shoulder to Diego, this little interlude with Capone seeming to have halted their inward progress for the moment. "Admittedly, I'm here on something of rather important business. It's been extremely hard to find you, and we've had to put together some very significant resources in order to track you down. Your name came up in a conversation between myself and General Sebastian Autumn and the President just a few weeks ago, and I'd like to talk to you about an opportunity to…" Sarisa looks at Capone as she finishes her sentence, "get back up on the horse."

Capone is more than happy to take the treat, though he looks over to Diego first to verify that it is okay. Given clearance to proceed, he practically inhales the biscuit- and he certainly seems more than willing to be friends now that the tension has passed. Well, passed for him, anyway.

For Diego's part, he makes his way to the door and holds it open so that both the pit and the woman can make their way inside. "You, General Sebastian, and the fucking President? Pardon the language, ma'am, but that isn't exactly a sentence you expect to hear when you wake up in the morning."

Once they are inside, Diego leads the way over to a couch that is somewhat out of the way and looks like a safe enough place to hold a conversation without too many ears about. "I think I'd like to know just how my name came up in that conversation, right after I see some kind of credentials."

"Ordinary morning are for ordinary people, Diego." Sarisa reaches out to scratch gloved fingers across the top of Capone's head, then straightens out her posture and moves to open the front doors of the hotel. Using her shoulder, Sarisa leaves the door wedged open until Diego can get a hand on it to hold it himself, and then continues on inside to the quiet lobby. Looking up to the ceiling, then around to the faded decour, Sarisa can't help but wrinkle her nose before she faintly smiles. A hand moves into her jacket, the opposite side she keeps her gun, and produces a leather folio, flipping it open to offer out towards Diego. There, plain as day, is a Central Intelligence Agency Special Activities identification badge. Beneath it though, it something Diego wasn't looking for, but unexpectedly finds. There is a golden shield badge, much like what a police officer would have, but the emblem is a shield held aloft by an eagle, with the word FRONTLINE emblazoned across it.

"I know this is going to come as either a large surprise or an extremely large surprise, but as a member of the intelligence community, we became aware of your Evolved status sometime in the winter of 2008 thanks to a report filed by a CIA operative implanted in the organization Phoenix." The badge folio slaps shut, and Sarisa returns it to her coat pocket.

"You're a good man, Diego. I heard good things about you from some members of Phoenix, I konw you took part in the January 2009 defeat of the Vanguard terrorist organization. You're a skilled, devoted, and intelligent man. I know you liquidated your security company, but that while it was running you were a capable businessman and a shrewd chair to the company." Sarisa isn't beating around much of any bushes, she has exactly what she wants in her hand.

"Your name was raised for the FRONTLINE project. We'd like to take you aboard as the Intelligence officer for FRONTLINE New York, Squad 2. Your field skills and background have all been previously vetted, the President has signed off on my recommendation, and I'd like to have you in Anapolis for dressing and training as soon as Friday."

Sarisa furrows her brows, jaw set, hands coming to fold behind her back. "Your country wants you, Diego. We're putting together a very special team, to do exactly what you were doing with Phoenix, but legitimately. I want you to be a part of this, and… if it's any incentive," Sarisa's blue eyes divert to the faded carpeting on the floor, then track back up to Diego. "You'd be working alongside Elisabeth Harrison. I believe you two are aquainted?"

"We've met." Yesterday, Diego was walking up and down city streets virtually anonymous amidst the urban jungle landscape. He was, for the first time in his life, a nobody. Today, he's finding out that not only was he a nobody, but he was enough of a somebody to have Presidents and Generals and CIA agents (oh my) discussing his person. Its clear that it takes him a moment to process all this.

But he was, after all, a Ranger. He recovers quickly. "Well, shit. I guess it had to come out eventually. My superiors in the Rangers knew, even if they didn't know. I'm sure my unusual departure from the Army has been noted, already?" Its a question, but its almost rhetorical, and its close enough that he doesn't wait for her to respond.

"Anyway, I'm interested. I'm not going to bother lying about it. But I want you to know right now; we don't know each other, obviously, but I want to state it clearly right now that I want no part with any secret Evo prisons like Moab. I've got the stomach to get a job done even when its a sick bag of nasty, but I won't participate in anything like that."

Diego stops, looking down to Capone, thoughts winding their way along his brain like gears. "And whats the catch? Working for the government always comes with strings."

"As far as you, me, and the walls are concerned, Diego, there won't be anything like Moab ever again. Officially— and in future discussions? It never happened, it never existed. Some boats don't need any more rocking. But let's just be clear that I have no intention of being involved with anything like that either. The government is a many-headed Hydra, Diego, and not all of the heads get along, we'll say." Angling a look down to Capone, as if wondering his take on all of this, Sarisa can't help but smile on looking at the animal. When she angles a look back up to Diego, some of her tension at Moab's mention fades.

"The catch, is that you have to take a month of your time to train with your team and get acquainted with them down in Anapolis. You'll be training under Marine instructors, and meeting the commander of Squad-1, Michael Spalding. I, personally, am Operations Head of Frontline in New York, and both squad captains answer to me. Now, you'll be filled in on all the details in Anapolis, and you're free to take the one-hour flight from there back here as often as you like, provided it doesn't interfere with your training exercises and group experience."

Reaching into her jacket again, Sarisa withdraws a business card, turning it over and offering it out between gloved fingers to Diego. "Your career is why this offer is coming to you, Diego. Your job in Frontline will be public security, and while it is a military-trained and military-funded operation, you will be a civilian security operative. Again, we'll go over the details in Anapolis. But for now, when you're ready to catch your flight, give me a call on the number, it's my direct line." The card is a simple white affair with the same logo for FRONTLINE on it, Sarisa's name, and a direct line to her. "We'll meet up when you're ready, talk about pay scales, and get you down to Maryland so you can get briefed on what this job entails and meet the team."

Diego takes the card, slipping Capone's leash over his wrist- it hardly seems necessary to even have the dog on one, as he's just settled in and seats patiently by Diego's feet, looking around the room with the kind of pride and confidence that comes from knowing he is a powerful animal, sniffing curiously at various scents that happen to slither past -and flicks the paper rectangle back and forth over his knuckles.

"Training with Jarheads, huh? Hell, its almost worth it to take this job just to show 'em what 'PT' really means." Diego chews his lip for all of another second before looking up, waiting until he can firmly square his gaze with her's. "I don't need to call you. I'm… well, lets just say I've been mobile, lately. Get that ticket lined up, I can be in Annapolis by the morning."

Smiling broadly, Sarisa nods her head once and cracks a lopsided smile. "Show 'em, yeah?" She actually seems genuinely amused by that. "You know what, Diego, I think I'd like to see that." There's a good-nautred laugh from the woman, and it's clear where her training came from with that subtle jab. She seems to have gravitated towards appreciating Diego's matter-of-fact nature, and her final response is a look down to Capone, one brow raised, once more seeing just what Capone seems to think of the matter, which is mostly just a crooked, floppy ear.

"Welcome to FRONTLINE, Diego."

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