You're Heroes


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Scene Title You're Heroes
Synopsis On a hot summer afternoon, Sarisa Kershner and Michael Spalding take a visit to the building that will become the headquarters of FRONTLINE Unit-01.
Date August 12, 2009

Red Hook

Under the scalding hot summer sun, in humidity fit to swim in, the cool breeze blowing in off of the East River is like the welcome embrace of a long lost lover. The stench of diesel fuel, the odor of a garbage scow drifting down the river, and the thickness of automobile exhaust is like one of those firm reminders why she was a long lost love. In that urban haze, a black sedan rolls across broken concrete, through a construction yard and past idling cranes, where workers in orange vests and yellow hard-hats sit around on concrete barricades eating their lunch.

The vehicle comes to a rolling stop, motionless for a time while the engine idles, until the rear passenger door opens and a black dress shoe thumps down on the concrete. "So this is it?" Rising out from the vehicle, a tall and broad-shouldered man in a military dress uniform rises from the vehicle. He stares up towards the sun, squinting dark eyes at the light before raising a hand, looking at what the light of the sun is hiding; an immense building.

"This is it." The voice comes from a woman moving out from the opposite door. Tall, blonde, a cunning look of scrutiny washed over her face. She looks at the same dark silhouette hidden by the glare of the sun, a high-walled brick building, like a modern analogue of a medieval castle complete with battlements and crenelated towers. Beyond that façade, old world mill building construction shows a touch of the industrialization of an America long since gone. "Textile Factory 17."

Laying a hand on the hot roof of the car, the buzz-cut soldier looks over at the smiling woman, his own expression more impassive, almost befuddled. "I read about this place in the news, an NYPD officer was gunned down here. Are—" his words hitch in his throat for just a moment, wondering about questioning her. "—you sure this is the image you want to put out there?"

"Michael," she closes her eyes and laughs quietly to herself, circling around past the trunk of the car, thick heels clacking on the concrete, one hand hooked at her shoulder holding the collar of a leather jacket. "Trust me, this building was considered among dozens of others located within the city. We were originally looking at a building located on the edge of the ruins of midtown, one privately owned by the founder of the Deveaux Foundation. But ultimately it was deemed too structurally unsound."

"This," she moves to join Michael at his side, pointing up to the heavy wooden gates with one hand. "This complex was chosen because of its exterior façade. People aren't going to remember the detective who was killed here, they're going to associate the analogue of a castle with security." She turns blue eyes over to Michael with a thin smile. "And knights inhabit castles in the fairytales, don't they?"

A sigh slips out from the young soldier's nostrils, head dipping down into a nod. He doesn't agree, but she's got convictions; ones he isn't willing to combat. "Do I get a tour?" There's an almost child-like mirth to that question, as Michael's dark eyes settle back on the woman with him.

"Of course." One of her hands comes up to slap on Michael's shoulder as she slips out from beside him, moving past and towards the NYPD officers standing watch out front of the building. Sauntering over to the parked cruiser, the blonde taps lightly on the window and leans down in, removing a leather folio from inside of the jacket she carries over one shoulder, unfolding it to show to the officer. "Agent Sarisa Kershner," she doesn't need to say CIA, that's written plain as day on her identification. "I know this wasn't scheduled, but I'd like to show Lieutenant Spalding around the facility?"

She doesn't need to ask his permission, but a charming smile and polite courtesy has gotten worse people into better situations. The officer nods his head, trying not to feel overstepped by that badge as he waves her on in. Sarisa flips the badge closed, pocketing it again as she pivots to follow Michael's meandering stride as he approaches the gates. "Imposing isn't it?" She calls out after him, hastening her pace with a click-clack of her heels to move back up to his side. "When I saw the front of this building, I couldn't resist putting in a bid for it."

"What's with all of the construction crews here?" Michael finally looks away from the wrought-iron sign above the gates, then back to the cranes, bulldozers and forklifts parked out front.

"Ah," Sarisa's thumb comes up to her lips, teeth lightly biting on the nail before it draws away. "I think that'd be better to show you than explain." Dark brows rise, and she's sidling up to Michael and then past him, headed towards the enormous and open gates. While she walks, Michael's eyes linger on the black sedan parked beyond the building, the one he had come here in, and then turns to follow her into the courtyard.

"As you can see…" Sarisa raises her voice a touch to be heard over the sounds of welders and machinists working on the area. "This is the motorpool for the FRONTLINE facility." Just in following Sarisa, Michael's eyes sweep across a lot filled with a handful of civilian vehicles. A pair of black sedans, two very shiny Audi, and one military-grade armored personnel carrier currently being worked on by a maintenance crew catch his attention, all noticeably marked with an eagle and shield emblem that reads FRONTLINE at the top of the crest.

A little overwhelmed by the entire situation, Michael turns to look back at Sarisa with a raised brow. "This is going to raise some eyebrows in the public. I mean, these look like police cruisers," he motions to the sedans, "we're not police, we don't enforce laws, we're—" he swallows his words behind an exasperated laugh and an awkward smile, "we're military officers assisting police in terrorist handling. I don't—why do we have some of these?"

"The war on terror isn't the only one FRONTLINE is fighting, Michael." Sarisa wags one finger in front of his face, paused at the side of the immense, black APC. Its tires make her look small and fragile in comparison. "You're also fighting a war of public opinion, and people need things to identify with. You aren't military, Michael. You were culled from military ranks, but this is ultimately a civilian police force. We may bend the Constitution, but we're not going to break it over our knees. You also aren't traditional forces. You don't need vans filled with ordinance and body armor, especially not you." With that enunciation she taps one finger at the center of Michael's chest.

"Sure, there's a few traditional vehicles here, but sometimes it might be befitting of you to take one of these out, maybe to a public gathering. Maybe to a dinner that the mayor holds…" Brows rise and Sarisa brushes a spot of concrete debris off of the shoulder of Michael's uniform. "Like I said, we're trying to win public opinion. We want people to identify with FRONTLINE and see you all as what you really are. Heroes."

She has a way with words that isn't quite honest. It's something Michael's been able to see since he started talking with her on the ride here. But this, the publicity show of FRONTLINE and the celebrity mindset that she seems intent on layering them with, it smacks of Tracy Strauss, and that alone is enough to leave a bitter taste in his mouth. "Where's CIC?"

"Command is this way," Sarisa notes with a tip of her head towards an enormous factory building with a round tower rising up from it. "The adjacent buildings are munitions storage and the garage. I'll introduce you to your chief mechanic another time," she adds with a scratch to the back of her neck.

Guiding Michael up towards the factory and through the front doors, there's little sign of what Edward Ray once utilized this place as. Gone are the looms with tangled strings and broken wooden frames. Instead, a fully-functional intelligence gathering station operates on the ground floor. Rows of tables, desks, whiteboards and computer monitors suspended of sleek metallic frames surround a network of connected computers, all of the plasma monitors currently dark and deactivated.

"This is the FRONTLINE nerve central. You're hooked into a direct line with the NYPD dispatch here, and your logistics officer will be able to communicate with major bureaus and agencies' FRONTLINE liaisons through these terminals. There's direct access to the New York Transit Authority's traffic camera network – what of it is functioning — as well as dedicated satellite imagery access." Moving past the sleek tables, the building has an anachronistic flair to it. Tall and old factory windows and brick walls, wooden doors and concrete flooring, black metal walkways and staircases juxtaposed against cutting edge technology.

Admittedly, it's hard not to be impressed with the display. Walking with his hands folded behind his back, Michael's eyes sweep over the computers, then up to the walkways on the second floor, then back down to Sarisa. "What's that tower I saw from the outside?" He's full of questions, and little in the way of exterior reactions. He keeps emotions as guarded as his ability keeps his body guarded.

"Ah," there's something too sly about the smile Sarisa gives, "that I think you'll appreciate." One hand beckons Michael to follow at Sarisa's heels as she moves past the computer terminals and up one clanging flight of metal stairs towards an equally noisy walkway.

Eventually this path leads her through an arched doorway and to a narrow and steep stairwell that corkscrews up one floor to a spacious round room with a rod-iron staircase at its center. Here, a pair of couches flank a large oak coffee table set in front of an enormous wide-screen television with a pair of tall and narrow speakers set at either side of it. Smaller speakers are scattered around the room, bookshelves up against the walls, and a pool table surrounded by a half wall of open windows overlooking the east river and Manhattan in the distance.

"A rec room," Michael breathes out with a laugh, shaking his head and rubbing his forefingers at his brow. "Well, alright, that wasn't what I was expecting." The comment draws a curious look from Sarisa as she turns around, tucking one hand into the pocket of her dark colored slacks, one brow raised in silent question.

"I was picturing a big," Michael's hands move out in a circular motion, "you know, spotlight, maybe with a funny shape silhouette that we could shine up into the clouds to strike fear into the hearts of criminals." He's smiling, honestly, for the first time in a long time. There's no limit to the sarcasm dripping off of Michael's words as he managed to actually make Sarisa smile at his analogy.

"You aren't batman," she notes with a rise of her brows to Michael, passing by him with a light slap to one shoulder. "But I guess this is similar to the batcave in a way, right? No poles to slide down, and no tights." She nods her head to that last word, then points up to the spiral staircase. "The next floor up is a conference room." Then she motions to the windows by the pool table, to a large building visible from where they stand, "that's the barracks. You each have spacious personal quarters, and will be expected to live on-site as per the agreement we made."

Michael nods his head slowly, blowing out a heavy sigh as he folds his hands at the back of his neck, heavy footfalls taking him towards the windows overlooking the jagged and broken skyline of Manhattan. "So, one thing I've never been cleared on when I talked to General Autumn…" Michael's eyes linger on the ruins of Midtown in the distance, a distasteful expression lingering for a moment before he turns to look back at Sarisa. "I was listed as field commander in the documentation Autumn had be look over, but – "

"It's me." Sarisa interjects, folding her arms across her chest as she turns to look on at Michael, a smile curled across her lips. "You were going to ask if there was going to be an operations director, and yes, there is. The President wants oversight on FRONTLINE, and he's put me in charge of administrative tasks that don't pertain to field activities. I'm, effectively, your boss." She shouldn't be smirking about that, but there's a mild amusement behind the notion.

Michael laughs, fingers unlacing and his hands slipping down from behind his neck. He bobs his head in repeated nods, brows furrowed together as he looks up to Sarisa, and then offers her one hand out towards her. "Then, it's a pleasure to be working with you, agent Kirschner."

Sarisa smiles wryly, reaching out to take one of Michael's hands with a gloved one, squeezing firmly as she slyly adds, "You can call me sir."

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