Nikita: Secrets

For all works of fiction and writing created by our Community.

Moderators: Moderators, Moderators, Moderators, Moderators

Nikita: Secrets

Postby GirlTalk on Sun Jan 30, 2011 10:54 pm

Nikita receives a cryptic message from Rurik Kaminski, one of her black market arms dealers. He asks to meet her at their usual rendezvous spot overlooking Rockefeller Center’s skating rink. Nikita arrives early and watches the skaters dance below her. She’s wearing her now standard auburn wig. She wonders if Rurik will recognize her.

“Nikita,” Rurik calls to her as he approaches. His Russian accent coupled with his deep voice always gives her a chill.

“Rurik,” Nikita says as she embraces him and kisses both his checks.

“You are stunning as a redhead,” Rurik adds.

“You noticed,” Nikita says.

“If I were forty years younger,” he says. “I would make you my wife.”

“I would probably accept,” she says with a smile. “So, it’s not like you to call a meeting with me. Is everything all right?”

“Maybe I miss you,” Rurik offers with a smile.

“More like my checkbook,” Nikita says.

“Yes,” Rurik shares. “You are one of my best customers. But it’s not business today.”

“Then you really do miss me,” she offers. Nikita takes his arm and gives it a gentle squeeze.

“You’ve known me a long time, Nikita,” he says. “Would you say I’m a Good Samaritan?” Nikita chuckles.

“What arms dealer isn’t?” she replies. Rurik begins to walk with her.

“We can both agree I’m no saint,” he says. “But I’m seventy now and I don’t like to tempt fate either.”

“What are you talking about?” she asks.

“There are many rumors,” he tells her. “One, I thought, might be of interest to you.”

“Like?” Nikita asks.

“Kirce,” he says. “Are you familiar with them?”

“No,” Nikita answers.

“Low level religious extremists with a neo-Pagan agenda,” he tells her.

“What’s the rumor?” Nikita asks.
“That they’ve reached out to Bratva 13,” he shares.

“For?” Nikita asks.

“I’m not sure,” he says. “But you and I both know Bratva never lets morals get in the way of business.”

“Bratva,” she speculates. “They’re rather pricy. They never take a job for less than ten million. Where would Kirce get that kind of money?”

“That’s an excellent question,” Rurik says as he stops and turns to face Nikita. “One with many possible answers. I give you this information because I know you will try to change destiny. And perhaps God will look kindly on me one day.”

“I look kindly on you every day,” she says with a smile. “Does that count for something?” Rurik takes her hand to his lips and kisses her.

“Everything,” he offers. “Be careful. It would be a blow to my business if you were to wind up dead.”

Michael is working late at Division. He’s reviewing recent intelligence from Mossad on another possible sighting of Kasim when Birkhoff bolts through his door. Michael ignores him and continues studying the information on his computer screen.

“I’m going to send you something,” Birkhoff anxiously announces. Michael still doesn’t look up.

“Can you be more specific?” Michael questions.

“A posting on the Internet I found very interesting,” Birkhoff says in a bit of a panic.

“A posting of what?” Michael asks still reading his screen.

“Looks like someone searching for mercenary work,” Birkhoff says.

“Anyone we know?” Michael asks.

“If I didn’t know better,” he says. “I’d say it was Nikita.” Michael jerks his head to look at Birkhoff for the first time.

It’s after midnight but Nikita can’t sleep. Her research into Kirce is keeping her awake. Headquartered in Denmark, Kirce continually spews threats of violence but never actually commits any crimes. For the last several years, they’ve been relatively quiet using only their Internet site to spread the word of the return of the Pagan faith and the eradication of all other religions. Other than that, Kirce is low on the radar for any anticipated activity. Neither Interpol nor Scotland Yard ranks them very high as a credible threat. Strange, Nikita thinks.

Suddenly her thoughts are interrupted by the ringing of her cell phone.

“Birkhoff’s been busy,” Michael says curtly.
“How so?” she asks.

“Since when do you advertise?” Michael asks with a sharp edge to his voice.

“How’d you know it was me?” she asks.

“I didn’t,” Michael answers.

“It’s not what you think, Michael,” she says.

“You’re fishing,” Michael guesses. “I want to know what for.”

“It has nothing to do with Division,” she offers.

“Is that supposed to make me feel better?” Michael snaps.

“It should help you sleep at night knowing Division’s safe,” she answers. “At least this week.”

“Tell me what you’re doing,” he says in a softer tone.

“As long as you understand my decisions are my own,” she says.

“Do I have any influence over you at all?” he asks.

“Too much,” she says softly.

“Then tell me what you’re doing,” he asks again.

“I’m leaving for Europe in a few days,” she says. “At this point, I’m just vetting a rumor. With luck, I’ll be wrong.” Michael is silent.

“I’m taking your lucky knife,” she adds.

“Remind me to give you something more substantial,” he says. “Like my lucky M16.”

The next morning, Michael bursts into Percy’s office.

“Did I hear correctly?” Michael asks. “You didn’t terminate Robbie.”

“Michael,” Percy says as he sits back in his chair. “My decisions about how we utilize our talent are not really open for discussion.”

“So that’s why you told Amanda to keep it from me,” Michael continues.

“Exactly,” Percy says. “I knew you wouldn’t agree with my decision.”

“So you opted to lie to me?” Michael snaps.

“I believe there is a vast difference between secrets and lies, Michael,” Percy shoots back. “Like it or not, secrets are an important component of life at Division.”
“Lies are what people tell to cover up secrets,” Michael snaps.

“Perhaps,” Percy continues. “Is that what you did with Nikita?”

“Nikita is dead,” Michael says as his disposition turns dark. “Why do you keep bringing her up?”

“I want you to admit your relationship with her,” Percy pushes.

“Help me understand what that accomplishes?” Michael fires back.

“Just proving my point,” Percy continues. “You too have secrets.”

“Sorry to disappoint you,” Michael sarcastically answers. “But I have no secrets.”

“At this point,” Percy continues. “Your relationship with Nikita no longer matters. But it does accentuate my point about Robbie. I don’t have to remind you that Cleaners are extremely difficult to develop. I’m willing to test Robbie in the role.”

“So now we’re rewarding insubordination?” Michael barks.

“We’re keeping our options open,” Percy comments. “Flexibility keeps Division agile.”

“What about discipline?” Michael asks. Percy stands up from his desk and walks over to Michael.

“No worries,” Percy reassures him. “If necessary, punishment will be swift and harsh. And it may come quickly. I’ve assigned Robbie to work with you on your ‘tuer vite’.”

“Great,” Michael says in frustration. “I’m being given a time bomb to assist on a critical mission. So you’re punishing me in other words.”

“Perhaps his success will be a reflection of your dedication to Division,” Percy says.

“I see,” Michael says. “Another test.”

“Every day is a test, Michael,” Percy adds. “Especially at Division.”

The traffic around Lincoln Center is thicker than usual. The gala celebrating the Metropolitan Opera’s season finale attracts a large crowd of opera enthusiasts, celebrities, high society, and the press. Cherry, and a handful of other reporters and photographers from the New York Post, gather to enjoy the show.

“We are done as a society,” Jeff, a fellow reporter, fires off as they sip champagne in the lobby. “Look at all the rubes.”

“Jeff, why do you come to these types of events?” Cherry asks. “You’re always miserable.”

“Do the words free tickets mean anything to you?” Franklin, a photographer for the paper snipes. “Besides Jeff loves the opera. It’s humans he hates.”

“Careful,” Monica, another reporter, jumps in. “Someone might label Jeff a shallow prick.”

“Let them try,” Jeff says. “I can look in the mirror at the end of the day and see a proud Republican looking back. Who pays his taxes by the way.”

“I’m going to be sick,” Cherry replies. “Anyone know a good joke?” Monica laughs.

“Hey,” Monica offers. “I read your article on covert ops. How tough was lining up sources for that piece?”

“Not bad,” Cherry answers. “I thought it was going to be a nightmare but seems like there are quite a few disgruntled agents ready to spill. My editor wants a follow up piece.”

“How come my sources make me feel like I’m asking to borrow money?” Monica says.

“It’s your style, Monica,” Jeff shares. “You’re a bitch.”

“Thank you for your commentary, Jeff,” Monica says. “I love you too.”

“Cherry just has one of those faces,” Franklin adds. “People just dump on her. Like a priest at confessional.”

“Thank you,” Cherry says. “I think.”

“You’ve never had to be confrontational in an interview, have you?” Monica asks.

“I never really thought about it,” Cherry contemplates.

“If she gets the info, who cares how?” Franklin asks.

“Monica,” Jeff says. “You’re just jealous.”

“And Jeff,” Monica snaps. “You’re a douche.”

Jeff smirks as the lights begin to flicker indicating the show is about to start. They finish their champagne and join the crowd heading into the auditorium.

Aureole Restaurant is busy as usual. Michael is meeting Robbie for dinner to discuss their mission. Michael arrives on time and is escorted to his usual table.

“You’re Scotch,” the waiter says as he brings Michael his favorite drink. Michael thanks him just as Robbie arrives. Robbie’s face is flushed and he looks uneasy.

“Congratulations,” Michael says. He raises his glass as Robbie sits down.

“Don’t **** me,” Robbie fires back. “You don’t care about me.” Michael gives him a cocky smile.

“You’re right,” he says. “If it were up to me, you’d be dead.” Robbie stares at Michael, surprised by his bluntness.
“Right now, the only thing I care about is whether or not I can trust you. I need to know you’re committed to Division and the success of this mission. Do you get that?” Michael continues.

“Yes,” Robbie asks in a softer tone as he looks away from Michael. “What do I need to do?”

“You need to do everything I ask,” Michael tells him. “Stay focused. Don’t let your petty anger interfere with your ability to be great.”

For the first time this evening, Robbie looks at Michael with admiration.

Suddenly, Michael glimpses an image out of the corner of his eye. It’s Nikita. She’s wearing a beautiful cashmere sweater dress and sunglasses. Her auburn hair stands out in the dimly lit restaurant.

She’s with a gentleman that looks familiar to Michael but he can’t place him. They continue to walk closer and then Michael recognizes the man. They take a seat only a few tables away from Michael and Robbie.

“Here,” David says as he throws his wallet on the table and sits down. Nikita gives him a quizzical look.

“You’ve stolen my heart,” he says. “You may as well take my American Express card too.”

“Only if it’s Black,” she says with a huge smile.

Nikita looks up as the waiter approaches and for the first time sees Michael with Robbie. Her smile slips away.

“May I get you a drink?” the waiter asks Nikita. She can see Michael watching her.

“Stoli Martini, please,” she says. David orders the same and the waiter leaves.

“So what’s new with the Secret Service?” Nikita asks trying to focus on David.

“It’s a secret,” David says sarcastically. “I’d much rather talk about you. What’s new since you dumped me in D.C.?”

“If you’d been dumped,” she says with a smile. “I wouldn’t be here.”

“Why are you here?” David asks as the waiter brings their drinks.

“Maybe I’m lonely,” she says.

“Maybe you can’t live without me,” he says. He smiles as he taps his glass against hers.

“Maybe I need a favor,” Nikita says. David looks hurt by her response.

She turns away from him to see Michael staring at her as he carries on his conversation with Robbie.

“It’s what we refer to as a ‘tuer vite’,” Michael says. Robbie listens intently.
“We’ll be in and out of country in less than an hour,” Michael shares. “If the mission fails, we won’t get a second chance. Once the target knows he’s a hit, he’ll go even further underground.”

“How will we get in?” Robbie asks.

“Chopper,” Michael says. “DEA.”

Nikita’s gives Michael a reassuring smile but he just stares. He never looks away from her. She finally breaks their eye contact and looks at David again.

“How did you know I was in town?” he asks.

“The same way you know I didn’t major in Political Science in college,” she says. David gives her a cautious look.

“You took a real chance reaching out to me,” David offers. “I could’ve brought the FBI.”

“It was a chance I was willing to take,” she says seriously. “I need your help.”

Michael and Robbie finish dinner and get up to leave. Michael watches Nikita to see if she notices he’s leaving. He tosses his napkin on the table and walks right past her.

“You’re asking a lot,” David says.

“If my information is correct,” Nikita replies. “We could prevent a global incident. I’m not asking you to do this for me.” David smiles at her.

“But I would,” he says.

The show at the Met is always long on closing night. By the time the encores and seasonal thank you speeches are complete, Cherry is more than ready to go home.

“Anyone up for a bite?” Franklin asks.

“I’m heading home,” Cherry says.

“Me too,” adds Jeff.

“I’ll go,” Monica offers.

All four slowly pass through the auditorium crowd. When they reach the lobby, Franklin and Monica say their goodbyes and head out a side door. Jeff and Cherry continue weaving their way through the lobby to the front entrance and access to the line of awaiting cabs.

“There’s something you don’t see every day,” Jeff shares as they work their way through the lingering crowd.

“What?” Cherry asks.

“The head of the Russian Department of Industry and Trade, Viktor Golikova,” Jeff responds. “Russian diplomats typically don’t bother with American opera, even at the Met.”

“How do you know that’s him?” Cherry asks.

“Please,” Jeff says offended. “This is me you’re talking to. I know my Russian spies. And, I venture to guess he’s surrounded by Secret Service. Wonder how much that’s costing us?”

“Do you just assume all Russians are spies?” she asks sarcastically.

“Cherry,” he barks. “You are so naïve. I’m guessing you don’t believe in aliens either.”

“Oh, no,” she says. “I believe in aliens. I’m looking at one right now.”

Jeff gives her a smirk as they continue to push through the lobby. Cherry takes another glance at the Russian as she and Jeff walk past. Accidently, she bumps into one of the gentleman standing with Viktor.

“Excuse me,” she says as she turns to look at the man.

“Pardon me,” Percy replies.

Finally, Cherry and Jeff exit the building and hail a cab.

Michael doesn’t take a cab home from the restaurant. Instead, he chooses to walk home in the cold night air. He’s hoping the wind chill will clear his mind of his thoughts of Nikita with David. He walks about five blocks when he feels his phone vibrate to signal a text message. It’s from Nikita.

You’re jealous

He calls her.

“I love this,” she says into the phone.

“Which part?” he asks. “That guy fawning over you or me hating every minute of it?”

“Do I have to choose?” she asks.

“Yes, I’m jealous,” he whispers. “Happy?”

“Very,” she says softly.

“I’m so glad you’re enjoying this,” he says. “Is he going to Europe with you?”

Nikita remains silent.

“I was afraid of that,” Michael says.

Michael opens the door to his apartment. He doesn’t turn on the light and instead walks over to the large picture window overlooking the city. He pulls the curtain and lets the light from the skyline flood the room. He falls onto the couch and looks out at the night sky. Once again his phone vibrates to signal a text.

Can I come in?

Michael looks at the screen for several seconds and then goes to the door.

“How did you find me?” Michael asks upon seeing Nikita in his doorway.

“You’re not the only one with friends at the CIA,” she says.

Michael opens the door wider to invite her in. Nikita walks over by the window.

“Can I get you a drink?” he asks.

“Scotch, please,” Nikita says knowing that’s Michael’s drink of choice. He pours two and hands her a glass.

“Beautiful view,” she says as she takes a large sip from the glass and looks out on the city.

“I’m glad you like it,” Michael says as he watches her. She abruptly turns to face him.

“I’ve come here to make sure you understand about David,” she says.

“You don’t owe me an explanation,” he adds.

“I’m giving you one so get ready,” she replies and she gently pushes him onto the couch.

“Kirce,” she says, pacing in front of him. “Know much about them?”

“Splinter Christian extremists,” he says. “Into Pagan worship. Mostly low level terrorism to draw attention to their cause. They haven’t done much in a few years though. I don’t even remember their manifesto.”

“Pretty much the downfall of all organized religions,” Nikita says. “But in particular, the Catholic Church.”

“The world is full of head cases that think they can evoke change through violence,” Michael sarcastically adds.

“They’ve contracted Bratva,” Nikita says.

“Are you sure?” Michael asks anxiously.

“That’s why I posted for mercenary work,” she says. “I wanted to see what they were looking for.”

“Bratva’s pretty hard core for Kirce, don’t you think?” Michael asks.

“Makes you wonder who the target is,” she says. Michael stares at her for a moment.

“No way,” he says as he jumps up from the couch. “They’d have an easier time entering Fort Knox than the Vatican.”

“Is that a risk we’re willing to take?” she asks.

“That’s where your friend comes in,” Michael adds.

“Yes,” she says as she takes a step closer to him. She’s in the shadows now but she can see the lights of the city reflect in his eyes.

“I don’t like secrets, Michael,” she says. “Reminds me too much of Division.”

“Secrets,” he whispers. “I’m buried alive in them right now.”

“And I’m sorry,” she says. “It seems my so-called death has been both a blessing and a curse.”

He takes a step closer to her.

“I’ll live with that secret before I’ll face the alternative,” he says.

“I’m leaving the day after tomorrow,” she whispers. Michael frowns at her announcement.

She moves within inches of him. They look into each other’s eyes. She slowly moves her mouth to press against his. He responds to the kiss with only his lips. After a few seconds, she pulls back just slightly.

“I love you,” she whispers.

Suddenly, he grabs her and pulls her into another kiss. He holds her tight as he moves his hand down the small of her back. With the other hand, he gently pulls off her wig. Her long black hair falls down her back and he winds his fingers through the strands. He continues to passionately kiss her. Their breathing intensifies and it’s all they hear. Michael gently pulls her head back and he breaks free of her lips so he can cover her neck with kisses. He pulls her body tighter against his and again finds her mouth. She lets out a sigh as he breaks the kiss again and moves his lips next to her ear.

“I need you tonight,” he whispers in a deep voice that carries a hunger Nikita has never heard before.

She doesn’t speak but instead kicks off her shoes. Michael looks for her eyes but they are closed as she thinks about his lips on hers. He turns her around so her back is to him. She looks out over the city as Michael pulls her hair to the side and then over her shoulder. He nibbles at her ear briefly and then runs his lips along the back of her neck placing small kisses just under her hairline. He continues along this path until he reaches her other ear. Nikita is lost somewhere between the beauty of the city shining before her and the sensations Michael is creating. She gasps as he turns her to face him. Once again, he presses his mouth hard against hers.

The next day, Birkhoff leaves Division and heads home. He’s pulled an all-nighter. He’s tired so he splurges for a cab instead of the subway. Traffic is arduous. Birkhoff is impatient as he looks out the window just wanting to be home.

“What’s up with the traffic?” he barks at the cab driver.

“Something going on at the Mexican Consulate,” the driver shares. “Security must be tight. Looks like they’ve got some of the streets blocked off.”

The Mexican Consulate. Now, he remembers. The meeting. He should’ve opted for the subway after all. There’s nothing he can do now but wait. He settles in the backseat of the cab and surfs the Net on his iPad. He decides to check the New York Post site for any recent postings from Cherry. He just stares at the headline of the last article she posted.

Covert Black Ops: The Trendy Cold War

Viktor Golikova’s limo pulls up to the front entrance of the Mexican Consulate. Several security guards surround the vehicle as Viktor exits and walks up the stairs to the doorway. He is greeted by the Executive Assistant to the Ambassador, Ramon Morales.

“This way,” Ramon says as he leads Viktor into a conference room. Sitting at the large table in the room is the Mexican Ambassador, Carlos Salcido, and Percy.

“Carlos,” Viktor greets the Ambassador warmly as he shakes hands with him.

“Thank you all for coming on such short notice,” Carlos tells Viktor.

“You know I never tire of my time with you,” Viktor says. “Only my time with Percy.” Viktor gives Percy a huge grin as he shakes his hand as well.

“You never tire of taking my money,” Percy says.

“You shouldn’t bet American football,” Viktor says. “I’m too good.” The men take their seats at the table.

“It is unfortunate that we had to call this meeting,” Ramon starts out.

“No need to elaborate Ramon,” Viktor jumps in. “I’m aware of the situation. It’s disheartening and unacceptable.”

“Like you,” Carlos offers. “We are disappointed in Hector’s recent refusal to follow orders.”

“He has taken it upon himself,” Ramon says. “To conduct freelance massacres in and around his territory.”

“The Mexican people are subdued,” Carlos replies. “But even they are screaming for resolution.”

“I understand,” Viktor says. “We need someone less obvious.”

“I’m assuming you approve of our recommendation,” Percy says.

“Of course, Percy,” Viktor continues. “We need to be able to control our workforce. If Hector has chosen to break ranks with the support he receives from the Russian government, we’ll reposition our staffing needs in Tijuana.”

“Wonderful.” Percy says as he stands and shakes Viktor’s hand again. “I’ve got the perfect man for the job.”

Later that day, Michael and Robbie arrive in San Diego. There’s a limo at the airport to meet them. They climb in for the brief ride to Point Loma Naval Base.

“We’ve got a small window to prepare,” Michael tells Robbie as they settle in the back of the limo. “This tuer vite is underwritten by the DEA.”

Michael hands Robbie a set of DEA credentials.

“So,” he continues. “As far as anyone on the base knows, we’re DEA. Got it?”

“Yes,” Robbie says still trying to understand the idiosyncrasies of Division.

On the drive to Point Loma, Michael checks his cell phone. No messages.

They arrive at Point Loma and are greeted by Lieutenant Paul Wilson from the DEA. Unbeknownst to the DEA, Paul secretly subcontracts with Division from time to time. He will be the pilot on this mission.

“Michael,” Paul says as he meets them at the main hanger. “Long time, no see.”

“Paul,” Michael says as they shake hands. “This is Robbie.”

“Nice to meet you,” Paul says. Robbie nods at Paul.

“How’s Percy?” Paul inquires.

“How do you think?” Michael asks with a smirk on his face. Paul laughs.

“So he’s continuing to make your life worth living,” Paul adds.

“Yes and he reminds me of that every day,” Michael adds as Paul guides them out of the hanger and toward the barracks.

“I’m anxious to take this target,” Paul tells them. “Hector’s been increasing his dominance in the marketplace. We’ve seen a huge increase in the body count of both law enforcement and other cartel competitors.”

“I’ve seen his feat sheet.” Michael says. “He likes decapitating his enemies.”

“Yes,” Paul says. “He’s one of coldest bastards I’ve ever run across.”
“We’ll be ready at 0800,” Michael says as he looks over at Robbie.

“Can’t wait,” Paul says as he excuses himself and leaves Michael and Robbie to prep for the mission.

Nikita and David hurry to the car rental counter at Kastrup Airport in Copenhagen. The IP address for the computer used to upload information onto Kirce’s website is located in Odense approximately a two hour drive.

“Have you completed a defensive driving course within the last two years?” David robotically asks her as a preemptive strike. He knows the answer.

“Have you driven in Denmark lately?” she counters.

“Yes,” he continues. “Today.”

Nikita doesn’t fight him. She’s just as content to ride shotgun. They enter E20 going east out of the city.

“Just so we’re clear,” David says as they move along with the Copenhagen traffic. “I know you’ve lied to me. But I also know you had good reason.”

Nikita, uncomfortable with the conversation, stays silent as she looks out the car window.

“I understand you haven’t had an easy time of it,” he says. Nikita continues looking out the window. Finally, she turns to him.

“Did you Google me or use spy guy software to snoop into my life?” she asks.

“Google of course,” he says. Nikita gives him a modest smile.

“Tell me about this ghost agency you worked for,” he continues.

“You’re kidding right?” she replies.

“If I was going to use the information to hurt you,” he softens his tone. “I would’ve done it before now.” He places his hand on top of hers and gives her a squeeze.

“It’s hard for me to talk about Division,” she says, slowly slipping her hand from his.

“Division?” he questions.

“A black ops group started about sixty years ago,” she says. “They have a dark past that might disturb even a hard core agent like you.”

“What happen?” he asks.

“I broke free,” she continues.

“And now what are you doing?” he asks.
“Just trying to right my own wrongs,” she says as she glances out her window.

“So why this mission?” he asks. Nikita turns back to face him.

“I used to be the shooter for missions like this,” she says her voice cracking as her memories of that time come flooding back. “Someone shouldn’t have to lose their life to make a point.”

“You must have trouble sleeping at night,” he says softly with true compassion.

“Not anymore,” she answers as tears slip down her cheeks.

Michael opens the door to his room in the officers’ barrack. He turns on the light and tosses his bag on the bed. The room is sparsely furnished. He sits on the bed and lays back. His mind fills with thoughts about his mission and his curiosity over what Nikita may be experiencing in Denmark. He feels a strong need to connect to her. He sends her a text.

Are you having fun yet?

Now, he waits.

Nikita and David are just minutes away from Odense when her phone vibrates. It’s a text from Michael.

She smiles as she reads his message.

“Good news?” David asks noticing her smile.

“Just a friend,” she says vaguely. “Checking up on me.”

“I had a friend once,” David says. “She used to text me all the time so I shoot her.”

“Nice,” Nikita laughs as she types a message to Michael.

No. Haven’t shot anyone today

Michael reads her reply and responds.

There’s still time

Nikita smiles again at Michael’s text.

“Must be a good friend,” David says watching her reaction to Michael. “Wish it was me.”

Nikita gives him a faint smile and slips the phone back in her pocket.

Birkhoff can’t seem to concentrate on his Halo session. He’s restless. He throws his controller on the couch and walks into the kitchen. He opens the frig and stares at the six pack of Bud Lite and half eaten Subway sandwich waiting for him. He shuts the door and walks over to the pantry. He grabs a bag of Doritos and tears it open.

As he munches on chips, he thinks of Cherry. He actually likes this girl. He hasn’t cared for a woman in years and he’d for forgotten how good it could feel. But there’s her job and he’s not naïve. He needs to know where she’s getting her information for her articles on the intelligence community. She may know about the existence of specialty agencies like Division. If she does, she’s in dangerous territory; dangerous for both her and him.

Cherry sees Birkhoff’s name pop up on her work phone caller ID.

“I’ve missed you,” Cherry says as she answers the call.

“Are you sure you’ve got the right person?” Birkhoff asks.

“This is Rob Pattinson, isn’t it?” she says.

“Not exactly,” he responds. “But if you’re expecting his call, I can call back.”

“I’m not worried,” she adds. “I’ve got call waiting.”

“Way to boost my ego,” he shares. “How was the Met?”

“Exciting,” she says. “I saw a Russian spy.”

“What do you mean?” he asks anxiously.

“Actually,” Cherry adds. “It’s not confirmed he’s a spy but it was exciting to see him.”

“Who?” Birkhoff probes.

“The Russian Minister for Industry and Trade,” she says. “I don’t remember his name but he was surrounded by a DFWM entourage.”

Birkhoff’s heart rate increases. He can’t believe she ran into Viktor.

“Maybe he’s just in town on a diplomatic tour,” Birkhoff offers.

“Please don’t harsh my James Bond moment,” she fires back.

“You’re right. Sorry,” Birkhoff says. “I’m sure he’s here to steal the codes to our nuclear warheads.”

“That’s more like it,” she says. “Maybe I should try and get an interview with him.”

Small beads of sweat begin to pop out on Birkhoff’s forehead.

“Might be easier to meet with Sandra Bullock,” Birkhoff says to discourage her.

“I’ll let you know,” she says.
Nikita and David locate the residence of what should be the headquarters for Kirce. It’s an oddly simple single family dwelling in an industrial part of Odense.

“It’s never what you expect is it?” David asks her.

“I have no expectations,” Nikita mutters as she looks at the house and the adjoining neighborhood.

“When was the last time you did a stakeout?” she asks as she fidgets in her seat.

“They still do stakeouts in your world?” David asks. Nikita looks at him for a moment.

“Strange,” she says as she looks back at the house.

“What?” he asks.

“You,” she adds.

“Despite your efforts to insult me,” he jokes. “I take that as a compliment.”

“Please do,” she finishes.

“You like me don’t you?” David continues.

“Be more specific,” she asks.

“I’m your Brad Pitt, aren’t I?” he asks.

“You’ve got his ego,” she says.

“How about his looks?” he asks.

“Now, you’re pushing it,” she offers. She pulls out her cell phone and checks for messages. Nothing.

“Are you in love with someone else?” he asks a bit more serious now.

“You make it sound like loving you was an option,” Nikita says startled by the question.

“I was hoping,” he softly says.

“David,” she whispers. “I’m not exactly dating material.”

“Don’t be so hard on yourself,” he says. “We all have baggage.”

Suddenly Nikita sees a man walking toward them. He passes under a streetlight as he crosses to the other side of the road.

“This maybe it,” Nikita says. She and David watch the man as he gets closer to the house. Suddenly, he stops and turns to look right at Nikita and David.

“He’s look …” David starts to say. Suddenly, Nikita kisses him. At first, he is surprised and then responds to the kiss. The man watches them for a moment and then turns and continues down the street to the door of the house. Nikita pulls away from David and watches as the man enters the house.

After several moments of silence, David speaks.

“What next?” he asks.

The hills outside of Tijuana are dry and dusty. What vegetation is there died long ago. The town is poor with the exception of the downtown tourist areas where the bars, restaurants and shops flourish from the wave for American partiers coming in from San Diego.

Hector Hernandez lives in a large ranch house on one of the hills on the outskirts of town. He has taken his drug money and subsidies from the Russian government and built an exceptional life. Unfortunately, he has also made enemies.

The security around his encampment is fortified by both technology and manpower. He rarely leaves the safety of his home and opts instead to conduct business in either his fortified Hummer or his home office attached to his main house.

The sun rise signals the day of Michael and Robbie’s Op. They are in one of the base hangers preparing for their day.

“Again,” Michael says. Robbie finishes putting on his SWAT gear and turns to face Michael.

“He leaves at 0950 hours,” Robbie says. “He’ll get in one of the five vehicles in his caravan. He’ll drive the five miles to San Angeles Catholic Church. He’ll be surrounded by body guards as he walks into the building. He’s there for one hour. And, then he follows the same routine home.”

“Perfect,” Michael says reassuringly. “Are you ready?” Robbie gives Michael a confident smile.

“I’m ready,” he says.

The Black Hawk leaves Point Loma at 0930 hours and travels the tem minutes from San Diego into the hills outside of Tijuana. The chopper puts down on the dark side of one of the hills about a half a mile from Hector’s home. Michael and Robbie crawl to the crest of the hill and peer through their binoculars at the home. After five minutes, Hector and his entourage exit the house and board their Hummers.

“They’re using decoys,” Michael says. “He could be in anyone of the vehicles.”

“Got it,” Robbie says and he and Michael pull back and climb on board the Black Hawk. The chopper powers up and after five minutes lifts off the ground and down the hill toward the caravan. Robbie quickly prepares the explosive devices. He passes two of the five devices to Michael on his side of the chopper.

“This is it,” Michael says. Robbie gives him thumbs up.

The chopper dives low and closes in on the caravan. Robbie throws the first device at the last Hummer. The magnetic casing attaches the device to the roof of the Hummer.

“Go, go,” Michael shouts at Paul.

Paul pulls the Black Hawk out of the way of the explosive concussion. Seconds later the Hummer is obliterated. The chopper dives again and this time Michael throws an explosive on the next Hummer. Again, the chopper rises and again there is a huge explosion.

“That might be it,” Michael shouts over the sound of the chopper engines. “We may have to take the rest out one by one.”

Robbie readies his M16 and dangles his legs over the side of the chopper. Michael prepares another explosive. Paul dives the Black Hawk again. The blades of the chopper blow the smoke away and Michael and Robbie can see the pandemonium below. Two vehicles have been destroyed and two others rolled. Several of Hector’s security team climb out of the overturned vehicles. Others have escaped and are now on the run.

“Ready?” Michael shouts to Robbie. Again, Robbie gives the thumbs up sign.

Michael and Robbie are tethered to the chopper. They both stand on the landing legs as the chopper swings around and heads straight for the vehicles. Robbie shoots first and takes out the men in the first rolled vehicle. Michael follows his lead by eliminating those from the second rolled vehicle.

One remaining vehicle tries to escape off road and down a hill. Several of the men fire at the chopper out the vehicle’s windows. Paul pulls the chopper up to dodge the incoming fire and then positions Robbie so he can throw another explosive. Robbie’s timing is perfect. The bomb rolls and then latches on to the vehicle before exploding and disintegrating the last Hummer.

“We’re out of here,” Michael says to Paul and the Black Hawk rises and returns to San Diego. Once on the ground, Michael and Robbie jump out of the open doors. Michael turns to Robbie.

“You did well,” he compliments him. “Percy will be impressed.” Robbie is pleased and nods in acknowledgement.

Paul powers down and then follows Michael and Robbie.

“Nice job,” Michael says to Paul as he raises his arm to shake his hand. Suddenly, he feels a sharp pain. Robbie runs over to Michael as soon as he sees something’s wrong.

“What happen?” Robbie asks.

“Must have taken one in the arm,” Michael explains as he winces in pain.

“How bad?” Robbie asks showing clear concern for Michael.

“Not bad,” Michael says and he looks at Robbie. “Hey, I’ll be fine.”

Robbie calms down when he sees Michael’s demeanor.

“I’ll take you to the hospital,” Paul tells him. “You’ll love it. Hottest nurses in California.”

“I feel better already,” Michael jokes.

Nikita and David survey the situation at the house in Odense. David searches the back while Nikita peeks into the windows in the front of the house. She sees a man stirring a pot on the stove. He is slight of build but tall. His dark hair matches his dark horn rimmed glasses. His pale Scandinavian skin matches the grey hairs popping out at his temples. David finally reappears.

“There are side and back doors,” he says. “Simple single bolt locks. No open windows but not a surprise given the season. What about the front?”

“Same,” she says.

“What’s he plan?” he asks.

“He’s in the kitchen,” Nikita says. “At this point, we can do this one of two ways.” David looks at her.

“Tell me what you want me to do,” he says.

Cherry is very excited. She was able to arrange the interview with Viktor Golikova. She wonders what Birkhoff will say when he finds out she met with one of Russia’s premier diplomats. She rushes through her morning routine and heads to The Ritz-Carlton for their meeting. Once in the lobby, she calls his suite and is escorted to the Penthouse.

“One moment,” says one of Viktor’s handlers as he disappears into one of the many rooms in the suite.

Cherry sits down on the couch in the waiting room and pulls out her pen and paper. She’s been thinking about the ribbing she got at the Met the other night. Her friends’ comments about her interviewing skills are still bothering her. Since then, she’s doubted her journalist abilities. To rebuild her confidence she did extensive research into Viktor and discovered some very interesting facts. Information he may be reluctant to confirm. She will conduct her first hard hitting interview today; with Viktor.

The door opens and a man walks into the room. He looks quite different than he did at the Met. His jeans and sweater a definite change from the formidable tux he was wearing the first night Cherry saw him. But even without the tux, he still commands a strong presence. He is taller than Cherry but not by much. His long coarse blondish hair is arranged in an orderly mess on his head. His facial features are well defined. Cherry thinks he looks young than fifty five years.

“My name is Viktor Golikova,” he says as he shakes her hand.

“Cherry Townlain with the Post,” she says.

“Very nice to meet you” he asks and he sits next to her on the couch.

“It’s kind of you to see me on such short notice,” Cherry says.

“I try to always be available to the press,” he says. “It’s important our two countries have open communications.”

“And it is much appreciated,” she says. “Can you share details about your visit to the United States?”

“As the Industry and Trade Minister for Russia,” he says. “My missions to America are important to the development and growth of our business associations.”

“What exactly does that mean?” she asks.

“I am very fortunate to be able to meet directly with many of the leaders of your Fortune 500 companies,” he says. “And, I’m working hard to eliminate trade barriers between our two countries.”

“Could you be more specific?” Cherry asks.

“What would you like to know?” Viktor says, growing a bit impatient with her.

“Do you also do intelligence work for your country?” she asks.

“Excuse me,” he says obviously offended. “But are you trying to imply something?”

“I have a credible source that believes your visits to the States involve more than trading vodka and meeting Steve Jobs,” Cherry sarcastically adds. “We both know Russia has spies living in the U.S. Do they reach out to you on your diplomatic missions to America?”

Viktor is becoming visibly angry.

“Ms. Townlain,” he says. “In case you weren’t aware, there are U.S. agents living in Russia as well. It seems our two countries trust each other to a point. Beyond that point, we prefer verification.”

“You were at the Met earlier this week,” she continues. “Was that for business or pleasure?”

“What kind of business are you referring to?” Viktor snaps.

“It’s a wonderful setting for exchanging valuable information in a non-threatening fashion, don’t you think?” she sarcastically offers.

“I’m afraid to disappoint you, Ms. Townlain,” Viktor softens his tone just a bit. “But I’m not a villain like from your 24 show.”

“I understand the streets around the Mexican Consulate were closed earlier this week for your arrival,” she says. “Can you share the nature of your discussions with the Ambassador?”

“I’m in a fantasy football league with Ambassador Salcido,” Viktor shoots back sarcastically.

“Did the Ambassador tell you about a drug lord murdering people along the U.S. border?”
“He failed to mention that,” Viktor says curtly.

“He uses decapitation to make his point,” she says in a low but serious voice.

“What point?” Viktor asks.

“Perhaps, that the only winners are those with power,” she offers.

“That’s unfortunate”, he says matching her tone. “Those types of events are bad for tourism. But I fail to see what that has to do with Russia?”

“Strangely enough,” she says. “He was killed yesterday and when they found his passport. He only had one stamp. A Russian stamp. Don’t you find that interesting?”

Viktor stands and stares down at her without saying a word. Finally, Cherry also stands and puts her pad away in her bag.

“I see our interview is over,” she says. Viktor just stares at her. Cherry gives him a confident smile.

“Well, thank you again for your time,” she says curtly and she leaves the Penthouse. In the elevator to the lobby, she smiles. She rattled him and that makes her happy. Obviously, her facts are true. Her next article will be very telling, she thinks.

Percy scrambles to the Ritz-Carlton after receiving Viktor’s panicked call. He dashes through the lobby and uses a key card to access the Penthouse floor. He knocks and the door opens onto a room full of Russian men in dark suits concealing handguns. Viktor is pacing in front of the Penthouse balcony window.

“Yes,” Viktor says into the Bluetooth device in his ear. Percy and Viktor make eye contact.

“Percy has just arrived,” Viktor says into the device. “I understand. Yes. It shouldn’t be a problem. I will let you know.”

Seconds later Viktor pulls the Bluetooth from his ear and tosses it on a table.

“Viktor,” Percy snaps. “What is the crisis?” Viktor’s face is pale which makes the dark circles under his eyes more profound.

“There is a distinct possibility that a reporter for the New York Post knows about my mission,” Viktor explains.

“What reporter?” Percy asks.

“Cherry Townlain,” Viktor shares.

“Never heard of her,” Percy offers. “She must just be a beat writer. What makes you think she knows about Tijuana?”

“She accused me of spying for Russia,” Viktor continues. “She knew about our meeting at the Mexican Consulate and she knows about Hector.”

“How can that be?” Percy asks. “There are only a handful of my staff that knew about that meeting and those of us in the room that day.”

“Nevertheless,” Viktor says. “She knew. I’m more concerned with what she’s doing with her information and not how she found out. I don’t have to tell you Moscow is quite anxious.”

Percy paces and thinks for a moment.

“I’ll take care of it,” Percy finally says. “Tell Moscow we’ll have the situation corrected by close of business tomorrow.”

Viktor looks closely at Percy’s face. Percy has a confidence that gives Viktor reassurance.

“Thank you my friend,” Viktor says. “We are in your debt.”

Michael’s arm aches and he uses the pain to keep his mind off Nikita. It’s been two days and there’s no word from her. He knows if anything happens to her, silence will be the only way he will find out. Now, he must confront this silence.

While walking to his office, he sees a group of recruits practicing hand to hand combat skills in the main training area. He stops for a moment to watch the matches.

“How do you feel?” a voice says from behind him. Michael turns to see Amanda.

“Old,” he says. Amanda gives him a modest smile.

“Gunshot wounds will do that to you,” she offers.

“Have you ever been shot, Amanda?” Michael asks.

“Does paintball count?” she asks.

“I’ll get my gun and you can let me know,” Michael jabs. She gives him a smirk.

“I prefer mind games,” she says. “Rather than gun play.”

“Yes you do,” he says with a chill to his voice.

“I understand Percy has a new test planned for Robbie,” she shares. “One that will be the ultimate trial.” Michael gives her a look of disgust.

“The boundaries between right and wrong continue to blur around here,” Michael responds. “And I suspect that’s how you and Percy like it.”

“Keeps life interesting,” she says. “If that’s what you mean.” Michael turns from her and walks away.

Cherry sits in a booth at Cosetta’s in uptown Manhattan. The restaurant smells like a combination of garlic and leather. The waiter brings two glasses of wine. She takes a sip and studies the menu.

“Sorry I’m late,” Birkhoff says excitedly as he slips into the booth opposite her. “Get used to it.”

She holds up her wine glass to toast. Birkhoff clicks his against hers.

“To our first official date,” she says as they take a sip.

“I’m not supposed to remember this, am I?” Birkhoff asks.

“Hell yes,” she says with a huge smile.

“What about all those other occasions we’ve been together?” he asks.

“You need to remember those too,” she says. “I’m sure there’s an app for that.”

“Of course there is,” he mumbles. He takes another sip of wine.

“So how’s work?” he asks.

“Very exciting,” she says. “I met with Viktor Golikova today.” Birkhoff stops breathing for a moment and just stares at her.

“I thought you were joking,” he says. “Now why would you want to meet him?”

“Are you kidding?” she says. “A Russian diplomat agreeing to see me. I almost wet my pants.”

“Sound boring,” Birkhoff says trying to diffuse her excitement.

“It wasn’t,” she says. “He was extremely polite and very good looking. Are you jealous?”

Just then, the waiter appears. Birkhoff, still staring at Cherry, takes a few seconds to acknowledge him.

“What can I get you?” the waiter asks.

“Pizza?” Birkhoff mindlessly asks Cherry.

“Yes, the special,” she says.

The waiter smiles, makes a notation on his small pad, and leaves.

“So other than being hot and saying ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ what did you learn from this Russian guy?” Birkhoff questions casually in an effort to not be too obvious.

“You know I can’t tell you,” she says. “If I blab dets about my sources, no one in town will talk to me. You’ll just have to watch for my article.”

Birkhoff begins to sweat.
“Can’t be too exciting or you would’ve canceled our date,” Birkhoff says.

“You’re wrong,” she says.

“Which part?” he asks.

“I’d never cancel on you,” she asks coyly.

“You’re the first,” he tells her.

“Don’t worry,” she says. “I have plenty of time for my article. I’m doing my due diligence which will take a few days and then you can read about the secrets.”

“Can’t wait,” Birkhoff says as her wonders what really happen with Viktor.

It’s midnight in Odense. The house is dark. The man finished his dinner and is now asleep in a large easy chair in the main room. A single floor lamp is the only light. Shadows quietly dart along the outskirts of the room. Suddenly, the sound of breaking glass shatters the silence and the room goes dark. The man in the chair jerks awake. He stops moving once he feels the barrel of a gun pressed against his cheek.

“Bad dream?” David asks as he cocks the gun. Nikita turns on a flashlight and shines the light in the man’s eyes.

“What is this?” he says with a heavy Danish accent.

“Not the best way to wake up,” Nikita says.

“What do you want?” the man asks.

“Is your name Luc Iversen?” David asks.

“What do you want?” Luc asks again.

“We want to know your connection to the group Kirce,” Nikita asks.

Luc looks confused and says nothing. David moves the gun under Luc’s chin.

“We don’t want to hurt you but we will,” David tells him. Luc nods and David moves back slightly removing the gun from Luc’s face. Luc takes a deep breath.

“Kirce is a group my father started many years ago,” Luc offers. “He was obsessed with Pagan gods and started Kirce in hopes of convincing the world to rebel against modern religions.”

“Was obsessed?” David questions.

“Yes,” Luc says with sadness. “He’s dead now.”

“I’m sorry,” Nikita offers seeing that the subject of his father is still painful for Luc.

“What happen to Kirce after he died?” David probes.

“I am Kirce now,” Luc whispers.

“Have you contracted for a killing?” Nikita asks.

“What?” Luc questions.

“Someone from Kirce has contracted a killing,” David says. “We’re assuming that’s you.”

“I’m sorry but that’s a lie,” Luc shares. “Other than an occasional meeting with some of my father’s cronies and keeping his website, Kirce barely exists.”

“Do you know anything about a group called Bratva 13?” Nikita asks.

“Yes,” he admits. “They are a secret society of Russian assassins started by a friend of my father’s, Jorn Thorsen. Jorn started Bratva a few years after my father started Kirce in 1960.”

“That’s interesting,” Nikita says. “Where is Jorn now?”

“I haven’t seen him in years,” Luc says. “But I believe he’s still around.”

“Any idea why someone saying they are part of Kirce would contact Bratva for the hit?” Nikita continues.

“No,” Luc offers.

“Strange that someone would want to thrust Kirce back into the spotlight,” Nikita says. “Why now?”

“Wait,” Luc says. He rushes to his desk and opens a wide drawer.

“What is it?” Nikita asks. He pulls out a small wooden chest and places it on a table next to his desk.

“My father’s papers, writings,” he says. “Basically, all he lived for.”

Luc opens the box to reveal a small palm sized book. Nikita and David walk over as Luc opens the book to page one.

“My father was schizophrenic,” Luc reveals. “He would write on these pages each day. One day with one voice, another day with a different voice.”

Luc flips through the pages until he finds what he’s looking for.

“He was highly intelligent but extremely misguided by his illness,” Luc tells them.

“Here,” he says as he holds out the page for Nikita and David to see. “His greatest dream was the death of the Pope and the end of Catholic rule. He believed the domination of the Catholic Church with its rules and secrecy was bringing about the downfall of mankind.”

Nikita looks at the page. She takes the book from Luc’s hand and reads the details.

“He planned this down to the day,” she said.

“Yes,” Luc adds.

“What happen?” asks David.

“I didn’t believe he would really go through with it,” he says. “But, ironically, he died just two days before he was to execute his plan.”

“That’s a little creepy,” David acknowledges.

Nikita looks at the date in the book again.

“That’s two days from now,” she says.

“And it’s the ten year anniversary of your father’s death,” David notes.

“Any idea who might want to finish your father’s work?” Nikita asks.

Luc thinks for a moment and then walks back to his chair and sits hard in the seat.

“I’m afraid I do,” he says.

Robbie waits until he’s away from Division to call. He uses his own personal cell phone to dial the number.

“Cherry Townlain,” Cherry says as she answers her phone at the New York Post.

“Are you the one writing articles about spies?” Robbie asks.

“Yes,” she says a little puzzled by the call. “Can I help you with something?”

“I have information for you,” Robbie says.

“Who is this?” she asks.

“I’d rather not say at this point,” Robbie responds. “I work for a phantom agency.”

“What exactly does this agency do?” she asks.

“Kill,” he says. “If you want more, you have to meet me.” Cherry has a twinge of anxiety but pushes it aside.

“Where?” she asks.

“Carnegie Deli, 8 pm tomorrow,” Robbie says and then hangs up the phone.

Michael’s anxiety over Nikita intensifies. It’s been three days. He pushes away his fears and focuses on his memories of their last night together. The night she told him she was in love with him. He remembers back to the first day he met Nikita.

The training facility was quiet even though there was a line of fresh recruits anxiously waiting. Michael walked out on the landing and down the stairs onto the main floor to greet them.

“Listen up,” he barked. “You’ve been given an incredible opportunity. A chance for a new life which is far better than the death sentence you faced only a few weeks ago.” Michael paced up and down the line of recruits.

“Division will stretch both your mental and physical capabilities,” he shared. “Some of you won’t make it. But those that do will have the opportunity to serve your country as few can.”

One of the recruits snickered under their breath. Michael turned to catch the culprit. He walked back down the line of recruits and stopped in front of a young woman with long black hair and bright green eyes.

“Everyone,” he said staring directly at the girl standing only a foot away from her. “Jack will take you to your quarters. We’ll meet back here in half an hour.”

The line of recruits broke off and wandered out the room. All accept the young girl who stood in front of Michael.

“I don’t get a chance to laugh much,” he says. “Why don’t you tell me what’s so funny?”

“Why do you assume it was me?” she asked not backing down.

“What’s your name?” he asked.

“Which one?” she asked.

All of a sudden, he grabbed her arm and twisted it behind her back. Then, he pushed her up against the nearest padded wall. He jammed his knee against the small of her back and moved his mouth close to her ear. She cried out in pain.

“The only name that matters now,” he whispered. He gave her a second to catch her breath.

“Nikita,” she said barely able to speak. He continued to hold her against the wall. The pain was excruciating.

“I have good news, Nikita,” he continued. “We’re going to teach you not only how to get out of a hold like this but to avoid it in the first place.”

He quickly let go of her arm and flipped her to face him. As he did, he pressed his forearm against her throat. She grabbed at his arm to break his hold but he was too strong. To further reinforce his control over her, he twisted her wrist away from his arm. Again, she cried out. Tears flowed down her check.

“Down here,” he continues. “We don’t tolerate smart asses.”
Nikita’s eyes where wide with fear as she listened to him. In that moment, he felt a twinge of affection for her.

“Now, find your quarters,” he growled as he released her.

She took a moment to gather her composure before she stumbled away. Suddenly, she turned back to face him.

“It wasn’t me,” she said. Michael watched as she defiantly wiped her tears and ran up the stairs.

Today in Vatican City, the Pope will conduct a special outdoor service in celebration of Saint Christopher. Crowds of people are entering Saint Peter’s Square in hopes of catching a glimpse of the Pope. Nikita and Luc have just arrived and park their car across from Vatican City.

“This is the ultimate needle in a haystack,” Nikita says.

“Perhaps I’m wrong,” Luc shares.

“You can’t be that far off,” Nikita adds. “We know Jorn is in Rome.”

“We’re assuming a great deal,” Luc continues.

“I’ll apologize after we catch him,” Nikita says.

Luc’s cell phone rings. He puts it on speaker.

“We’re running out of time,” David says on the other end. He’s sitting in the lobby of a rundown hotel in the lower east side of the city.

“We know,” Nikita says.

“Intel has Jorn using his cell phone about ten minutes ago to call another cell registered to a resident of Odense,” David continues. “The call lasted four minutes.”

“What’s the number?” Nikita asks.

“424456821,” David says. “Mean anything?”

“That was my father’s old office number,” Luc says.

“Do you believe in ghosts?” Nikita asks half joking.

“I’m beginning to,” David says. “How long do you want me to wait?”

“The Pope’s service is scheduled for 11 am,” Nikita says. “If he doesn’t leave the hotel by 10:30 a.m., just meet us here.”

Nikita hangs up the phone and looks at Luc.

“Exactly how close where your father and Jorn?” she asks.

“Extremely,” he says. “Jorn only started Bratva to help my father with his mission.”

“And now he will risk everything he’s worked for to fulfill your father’s dream,” she says. “Does that sound like something he’d do?”

“Love is a powerful feeling,” he says. “Even among friends.” Nikita instantly thinks about Michael.

“Let’s go,” she says. She and Luc open their doors and step out onto the street. They cross the road and join the stream of people entering Saint Peter’s Square.

Cherry takes a cab to the Deli. She walks in and looks at all the men sitting by themselves. She smiles at her thought that none of these men look like a spy. They look more like Santa Claus.

“Cherry,” a voice comes from behind her. She jumps and turns to see Robbie.

“Yes,” she says. “You startled me.”

“Sorry,” he says. Robbie gives her a sadistic grin.

“This way,” he says as he moves her to the front door.

“Wait,” she says stopping him. “I thought we were meeting here.”

“We did meet here,” he says. “Now we need to find a safe place to talk.” Cherry is reluctant.

“I’ve got information no one else knows,” he teases. “Ever heard of Division?”

“No,” she says, a little less frightened and more intrigued now. Robbie doesn’t believe her.

“Black ops stuff,” he continues. “So far underground that most intelligence agencies don’t know we exist.”

Cherry looks into his eyes. Robbie puts on his kindest, safest, boy-next-door look for her.

“Okay,” she finally says. “Where to?”

“Let’s just take a walk on the street,” Robbie says nonchalantly. Cherry agrees.

The crowd forming to see Pope Benedict XVI is already thirty thousand strong by the time Nikita and Luc get close enough to see the special podium set up for today’s service.

“Can I ask you a personal question?” Nikita asks as they continue to wind through the masses.

“Yes,” he answers.

“Why did you get involved with Kirce?” she asks. “Forgive me, but you don’t seem to have the same passion for the cause as your father.”

“It was the only way I could spend time with him,” he says softly. “I did it for my father.”

“Did he ever actually commit any crimes?” she asks.

“Never,” he says.

“Where was he when he died?” she asks.

“Here,” Luc responds.

“In Rome?” Nikita asks with surprise. “Where is your father buried?” Luc gives her a quizzical look.

“He isn’t,” he tells her.

“What do you mean?” she asks.

“By the time I was able to get here,” Luc continues. “The authorities said he’d been cremated and they didn’t collect his remains.”

“Don’t you find that odd?” she asks.

“I didn’t until today,” he says.

Robbie walks Cherry down 57th Street toward the warehouse district. He only has to walk a few more blocks.

“So you’ve just become an agent?” she asks Robbie.

“About a month ago,” he shares. “Prior to that I was in training.”

“What makes Black Ops training so different?” she asks.

“The brainwashing,” he coldly states. Robbie looks up and sees the alley next to the seedy hotel and the pawn shop. He stops.

“Do you need to go?” she asks.

“No,” he says in a robotic voice. “But you do.”

Suddenly, Cherry is hit on the back of the head from behind. She starts to fall to the ground but Robbie catches her.

“So this is what New York looks like at night,” Jaden comments.

“Help me get her inside,” Robbie tells her. Jaden takes one arm while Robbie holds on to the other. They pull Cherry down the alley to Division’s secure door.

David gives up on catching Jorn at the hotel. He must’ve become suspicious and slipped out a back way while David waited in the lobby. David heads out the front door toward his car. He glances one last time at the photo on his Blackberry screen. It’s a picture of Jorn he pulled off the CIA database. David’s only fifteen minutes from Vatican City. He calls Nikita.

“I’m close,” David says into his phone. “Where are you?”

“We’re waiting in front of the podium,” she says.

“Give me a few minutes and I’ll send you the photo I pulled of Jorn,” David says.

“No rush,” she says. “Luc can spot him.”

Nikita looks over at Luc. He’s staring mindlessly into the crowd.

“Are you all right?” she asks.

Before Luc can respond, the doors to the Sistine Chapel open and the papal procession begins to descend the stairs.

“I thought I saw something,” Luc mumbles.

He quickly begins weaving through the crowd toward the right side of the podium. Nikita hangs up the phone and follows him.

“Is it Jorn?” Nikita asks as she tries to keep up with him.

Luc just keeps walking and staring at the mass of people. As he gets closer to the podium, he moves his head from side to side trying to get a better look over the crowd.

“It can’t be,” he again mumbles.

“What is it?” Nikita says as she grabs his arm and pulls him around to face her. “Do you see Jorn?”

“No,” he mumbles and then turns again to look into the crowd. “It’s my father,” he says in an almost trance-like state now.

Nikita moves in front of him to see if she can identify Luc’s father.

“Where?” she asks frantically. “Luc, you have to tell me where.”

Luc just stares at her.

“He must be here to complete his mission,” Luc mumbles.

“I need your help,” Nikita shouts at him. “Tell me where he is.”
Luc gives her a glassy eyed look. She rushes passed him toward the right side of the podium. The Pope is minutes away from starting the service. She calls David as she weaves through the crowd.

“Where are you?” she asks.

“Just behind you,” David says. She turns around to see David. He’s about fifty yards behind her.

“Luc’s father is alive,” she says dodging the hordes of worshippers.

“What?” David shouts as he darts in and out of crowds of people.

“Get ready,” she says. “If I have to shoot, this crowd will go ballistic.”

The Pope signals the start of the service. Nikita finally reaches the right side of the podium. She circles around watching the crowd. She focuses on the older men intently listening to the Pope’s words. Suddenly, she sees a man in front of her. He is the only one not watching the Pope. Instead, he is busy digging in a satchel wrapped over his shoulder. She moves closer. He doesn’t notice her coming up behind him. She presses her gun barrel into his back.

“Don’t move,” she whispers in his ear.

Hermut Iversen freezes. David catches up to her and slips alongside of Hermut. David grabs Hermut’s arm as a show of strength.

“We shall all die today,” Hermut giggles. “And finally, my mission will be complete.”

David pulls open the satchel to discover a large package of C4. He can see the bright red numbers clicking down on the timer in the darkness of the bag.

“Bomb,” David mouths to Nikita. “Two minutes.”

David removes the satchel from Hermut’s shoulder. Nikita pushes Hermut aside and looks into the bag. Hermut slowly backs away through the crowd.

“Any ideas?” Nikita asks. David looks around at the square. He grabs the bag and takes her by the hand. As they rush through the crowd, he studies the ground under their feet.

“Here,” David says as he comes to a stop by a fountain in the square. He hands Nikita the bag. She looks at the numbers on the timer. One minute and thirty eight seconds. David bends down and tries to pull open a man hole cover just in front of the fountain. He can’t grip the edge well enough to allow him to lift it.

“Try this,” Nikita says as she hands him Michael’s knife.

David wedges the blade deep enough into the side to allow him to pull up the cover. He grabs the bag and tosses it into the sewer. He quickly replaces the cover.

“Gun,” he screams in both English and Italian.

The crowd turns to see Nikita holding a gun and ready to fire. The people in the immediate area panic. A stampede begins as everyone runs from the scene. David grabs Nikita and they hurry in the opposite direction.

“Where’s Hermut?” Nikita calls to David. They stop for a moment and look around.

“There,” David points.

Hermut is just entering the Church of San Pellegrino. David and Nikita take off after him. After a minute, the bomb explodes creating a huge shock wave under the city. The manhole cover David replaced shoots high into the sky. Nikita and David are knocked to the ground as is everyone else in Saint Peter’s Square. After a few moments, the Swiss Guard quickly takes the Pope and his entourage to safety. David gets to his feet and helps Nikita. They climb the stairs to the Church of San Pellegrino

“I’ll bet Hermut’s going to be ****,” Nikita says. David smiles at her.

“No more than you right about now,” David says. “I think I dropped your knife.”

“She’s here,” Michael says as he quickly pops his head into Percy’s office.

“Michael,” Percy calls before Michael can slip back out. “Come in.” Michael reluctantly walks in and shuts the door behind him.

“You don’t approve, do you?” Percy asks.

“I think there isn’t enough evidence,” Michael says.

“We will never know exactly what she knows,” Percy says. “But she’s familiar enough with the situation to be a danger to us.”

“And you made this decision based on the ramblings of a Russian diplomat who assumes she knew about his Black Ops?” Michael interjects.

“Perhaps I am protecting the reputation of a friend,” Percy states. “But I’m also protecting Division. Our dealings with Viktor are extensive. If she knew about his reasons for being here, it puts us all at risk.”

“But you don’t know that,” Michael says. “You just assume and now a young girl has to die.”

“If you’re trying to get a reaction out of me,” Percy coldly states. “You’ll be disappointed.”

“I gave up long ago trying to find any humanity around here,” Michael adds.

“I don’t need to remind you that you’re no saint either,” Percy fires back.

“I’m reminded everyday,” Michael says. “Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to make sure our star Cleaner has completed his mission.”

Robbie and Jaden watch Cherry. She is still unconscious. She’s sitting in a chair with her hands bound by a zip tie and a piece of duct tape over her mouth. Her head is leaning forward on her chest.

“What have they told you?” Jaden asks.

“That she’s a danger to Division,” he coldly says. “And must be eliminated.”

Jaden studies Robbie’s face. His cold responses are a reflection of the cold look in his eyes. Even Jaden is disturbed by his presence. Suddenly, the door to the room springs open.

“Robbie,” Michael barks. “You need to move to Level 6 and complete the mission.” Robbie just stares at Cherry.

“I believe your role in this mission is complete,” Michael snaps at Jaden. “Get back to your quarters.”

Jaden looks at Robbie and once more at Cherry. Then, she slips past Michael and disappears in the hallway.

Nikita and David are pressed against the front exterior wall of the Church of San Pellegrino.

“Here,” David says as he thrust his Beretta into her hand. She looks at him with a quizzical look.

“I’m gonna want that back,” he says. He turns and disappears around the corner of the chapel.

Nikita squats on the ground in front of the door and pushes it open about six inches. Gunfire erupts just above her head; the bullets penetrating the door from within the chapel. After a few seconds she lunges through the door on her stomach and just as quickly turns on her back and fires both her Glock and David’s Beretta at the front of the sanctuary. No gunfire is returned. She crawls on the floor amid the pews until she reaches midway to the pulpit. She peeks above the seat backs. Then, she makes a dive for cover behind a pillar.

“Hermut,” she calls out. “You need to give this up.”

“You’re joking right,” he calls from behind the podium at the pulpit.

“The Swiss Guard will find you,” Nikita says.

“And when they do,” he barks. “Will their merciful God forgive me?”

“Will yours?” she asks.

“I tire of talking to you,” Hermut snaps. “Who are you?”

“A friend of Luc’s,” she says. “He wants to see you again.”

“I am dead,” he says.

“He’s not,” she continues. “Don’t you want to see him?”

There is silence.

“Father,” a voice calls from behind Nikita.

She turns to see Luc standing just inside the doorway. Hermut says nothing.

“I can’t believe you are alive,” Luc says, his voice cracking.

Still, Hermut is silent.

“Why did you do this?” Luc says tears welling up in his eyes.

Again, silence.

“Hermut,” she says. “There’s a good chance I’m a better shot than you. Do you really want to die in this Chapel?”

Hermut looks around the pulpit at all the religious artifacts of the Catholic Church. He slowly rises from behind the podium. He sees his son for the first time in ten years.

“I’ve been dead before,” he says.

“So you faked your death to fulfill this madness,” Luc says. “All the pain you’ve caused and you did it by choice.”

Nikita peers around the pillar toward the pulpit. She sees Hermut standing alone next to a large statue of the Virgin Mary holding the Baby Jesus. Quickly, her eye darts to see the door to the Priest’s quarters slowly open and David peering through. She looks at Luc to see if he reacts to the sight of David but he doesn’t change is demeanor.

“It’s time to throw down the gun,” she calls to Hermut. He glares at her from the podium.

“I had a twin,” he says. “I never told you that, Luc.” Luc looks confused and hurt.

Nikita watches as David creeps silently closer to Hermut.

“He died when I was five years old,” Hermut says as he looks up at Nikita. “My mother told me he went away and was never coming back. That God had taken him. Why would God take him and not take me?”

“Why didn’t you tell me?” Luc asks. Hermut’s face twists and distorts with angers.

“What could you do?” he shouts. Hermut takes a step forward away from the podium.

“Why would this so-called God take my brother away?” Hermut questions.

“So you spent your whole life angry at something you couldn’t control,” Luc says showing signs his own anger now. “And you left me to wither away under the weight of the guilt I felt. I still feel.”

“Do you know he speaks to me?” Hermut says, oblivious to Luc’s pain.

Luc just stares at his father. Hermut’s tone is now an unnerving calmness. Nikita’s eyes grow bigger as she watches David. He is now within fifteen feet of Hermut and continuing to inch closer.

“You’re brother?” Nikita quietly asks in an effort to keep him distracted.

“No,” shouts Hermut. “God!”

Suddenly, Hermut turns and fires at David. David takes a few steps backward and falls to the ground.

“No,” Nikita cries out as she sees David fall. She moves to go to him. Just as suddenly, Hermut turns and aims at Nikita.

“Stop,” Luc shouts as he rushes his father.

Hermut takes aim at Luc. The sound of another gunshot echoes off the marble floors and high ceilings of the chapel. Luc makes a dead stop just feet from his father. Nikita sees Hermut look down, and then touch his stomach. Blood begins to spill over his fingers. He turns to look behind him in the direction of the gunshot. From the shadows, Rurik Kaminski walks out still pointing his gun at Hermut.

“Jorn,” Hermut calls out. “You were supposed to help me.”

Rurik walks around Hermut toward Luc and Nikita his gun still drawn on his friend.

“I am helping you,” he says.

Nikita stares at Rurik in shock. Hermut falls to his knees still stunned by his friend’s actions.

“You were my friend,” Hermut whispers.

“I’m still your friend,” Rurik says. “I’m sending you to see your brother.”

Hermut sheds a single tear as he falls face forward on the pulpit. Luc hurries to his father while Nikita rushes to David. He’s alive but losing a lot of blood.

“Where’s my gun?” he asks her with a slight smile on his face.

“Let’s see if you survive first,” she says with a huge grin. “Then we can talk about your toys.”

Jaden has just slipped out of the room. Michael continues to hold the door open. Robbie grabs a still unconscious Cherry and throws her over his shoulder. He passes by Michael and out into the hallway.

“Just in case you didn’t know,” Michael shares as Robbie turns back to him. “This is another one of Percy’s many tests. It has to look as if she were never here. Understand?”
Robbie nods and continues toward the elevators and Level 6.

The doors to the elevator open. Birkhoff walks out and heads down the hallway to Operations. He rounds the corner just as Robbie passes by. Birkhoff turns back puzzled for a moment at seeing Robbie toting a girl over his shoulder. He sees Michael at the end of the hall. He looks back at Robbie just as Robbie punches the down button for the elevator. Then, it hits Birkhoff. He’s carrying Cherry. Birkhoff starts to scream.

“No,” he shouts. “What are you doing?” He runs after Robbie.

“What in the hell do you think you’re doing?” he continues to scream as he tries to pull Cherry from Robbie’s grasp.

Michael runs after Birkhoff and pulls him off Robbie. The elevator doors open and Robbie disappears inside.

“Have you lost your mind?” Michael growls.

“What’s going on, Michael?” Birkhoff screams “Why is Cherry here?”

Michael looks at Birkhoff stunned by what he’s hearing.

“She’s just a reporter,” Birkhoff continues still fighting against Michael’s hold on him. “Let me go. She doesn’t know anything about Division.”

Michael hears the ping of the elevator signaling someone is coming. He drags Birkhoff down the hall and into the Computer Lab. The hum of the machines droning on seems deafening. Michael grabs Birkhoff by the collar and slams him against the wall.

“How do you know that girl?” Michael shouts. “Tell me.” Birkhoff’s now in shock.

“She’s my neighbor,” he mumbles.

“What was your relationship with her?” Michael pushes.

“Don’t’ say ‘was’,” Birkhoff shouts frantically. “I don’t know. I like her. Okay?”

“Did she tell you she knew about Golikova and Hernandez?” Michael asks as he shakes Birkhoff several times.

“No,” Birkhoff cries. “She said she saw Golikova at the Met. She never said a word about the drug cartels.”

Michael lets go of his grip and Birkhoff crumples into a heap on the floor.

“Michael,” Birkhoff begs. “Can you stop this?

Michael looks at his friend staring up at him.

“It’s too late, Birkhoff,” Michael warns. “She knows too much.”

“No,” he cries.

“You need to forget her,” Michael lowers his voice.

“What?” Birkhoff whispers. “I can’t. I can’t live with the fact that we’re the one’s killing her.”

Michael thinks about Nikita. Thoughts of losing her creep into his head as he watches Birkhoff in pain.

“I’ve got to get you out of here,” Michael says. “If Percy finds out, he’ll kill you too.”

“I don’t care,” Birkhoff whispers.

“I do,” Michael says in a stern voice. “Wait here and don’t move.”

Michael rushes out of the room leaving Birkhoff alone. The darkness is almost painful. He begins to sob.

Nikita waits for David to wake after his surgery. Hospital Salvatore Mundi in Rome saved his life. The bullet had entered his right side, grazed the top of his kidney and chipped a piece of his hip bone. The surgeon shares with Nikita that he will be fine but she is sure David will play the sympathy card. Finally, he wakes up.

“You must feel like hell,” she teases as he slowly comes out of the anesthesia.

“Are the nurses pretty?” he asks as he opens his eyes.

“Very,” she says. “There’s one named Alfonzo. He’s stunning.”

“Don’t,” he says with half a chuckle. “It hurts too much.”

“You need to shake this off,” Nikita responds. “You’re being very dramatic.”

“I’m gonna need more drugs if you want less dramatic,” he says.

“It’s too bad I’m going to have to miss all this neediness,” she reveals.

“When do you leave?” he asks in a more serious tone.

“Soon,” she says.

“How long am I in for?” he asks.

“The doctors think you can travel in about a week,” she says. “Then, I guess it’s off to Walter Reed with you.”

“You’re assuming I still have a job to go back to,” he shares.

“You may need to color your story a bit,” she says. “I’m thinking ‘shot in Vegas’ is more believable than ‘shot in Vatican City’.”

She checks her watch. She walks over and sits on the bed.

“I’ve got to go,” she says. David closes his eyes.

“I put your Beretta in your shoe,” she says with a smile. He opens his eyes and she can see the tears welling up. Nikita feels his pain. She takes his hand.

“David,” she says just above a whisper. “I can’t repay you for the gift of trust you gave me. I did nothing to earn it. Just so you know it’s much appreciated.”

David just looks at her. She bends down and gently kisses his forehead.

“Bye,” David whispers as a tear finally falls down his cheek. Nikita walks over to the door.

“Oh, by the way,” she says. “I’ll be back in a week to take you home.” David gives her a huge smile as she slips out the door.

Percy searches the offices for Michael and an update on Robbie’s latest mission but he can’t seem to find him anywhere. He walks into Operations.

“Where’s Michael?” Percy barks at the skeleton crew monitoring Operations.

“He was on Level 6” one of the crew calls out.

“Well, he’s not there now,” Percy says in frustration. “And where the hell is Birkhoff?”

“Haven’t seen him tonight,” another crew member calls out.

“I want to know the minute either one of them shows up,” Percy snaps as he leaves.

Michael opens the door to Birkhoff’s apartment and drags him inside. Michael deposits him on the couch. He hasn’t spoken a word since they left Division.

“This is going to hurt,” Michael says and he unsuspectingly jams a needle into Birkhoff’s neck.

“What the …?” Birkhoff says in protest when he feels the sting of the injection.

“Sedative,” Michael tells him. “To get you through the night.”

“I don’t need anything,” Birkhoff says almost incoherently.

“I’ll be back in the morning,” Michael says even though Birkhoff is now sleeping.

Michael slips into his office at Division. It took him less than an hour to get Birkhoff home.

“Where the hell have you been?” Percy asks as he burst into Michael’s office. “I’ve been looking all over for you.”

“Did you check the gym?” Michael asks.

“No,” Percy answers.

“That’s where I was,” Michael coyly says.

“That will be the first place I look next time you are AWOL,” Percy adds.

“What is so pressing, Percy?” Michael curtly asks.

“I need to know about Robbie,” Percy says as he walks closer to Michael’s desk. “Did he pass the test?” Michael gives Percy a faint smile.

“Perfectly,” Michael says.

“Wonderful,” Percy says. “That’s two successful missions for him.” Michael leans back in his chair and watches Percy.

“I think it’s fair to say my assessment of his capabilities was correct” Percy says smugly.

“You were right, Percy,” Michael says. “Robbie will make an exceptional Cleaner for Division.”

“Good,” Percy confidently continues. “With Roan gone, we’ve been sorely lacking in that area. I sleep better knowing someone’s got my back.”

“I’ve got your back,” Michael says with a hint of sarcasm.

“And you can sleep better,” Percy continues also with a hint of sarcasm. “Knowing I’ve got yours.”

Later that night, Michael leaves Division and walks two blocks to hail a cab. The weight of the evening’s events has been exhausting and he is anxious to go home. The air is cold and a light snow falls as the cab glides through Midtown to Michael’s apartment.

The wheels of the car come to an abrupt stop in front of Michael’s apartment building. He pays the cab driver and climbs out, shutting the door just as the vehicle speeds away. He pulls up his collar to prevent the wind from touching his neck. He walks toward the front door of his building.

“Michael,” a voice cuts through the cold air. Michael turns to see a woman with auburn hair waiting in the doorway of the building next door. He walks over to her, his pace increasing with every step. Then, he wraps his arms around her in a tight embrace.

“When I’m through holding you, I’m going to wring your neck,” he whispers in her ear.

“Nice to see you too,” she says.

Michael finally pulls back and takes her face in his hands. He looks in her eyes for a moment and then slowly touches his lips to hers. She returns the kiss and he moves his arms to fully embrace her. Nikita softens her lips under the spell of Michael’s touch. Then, she takes a deep breath as he slowly moves his lips in the opposite direction as hers. After a few more seconds, they part.

“I’m sorry,” she says. Michael gives her a stern look which softens quickly under the influence of her smile.

“I was just worried about my knife,” he whispers.

“Speaking of your knife,” she meekly says. “Do you know anyone in the Swiss Guard?”

Michael looks at her and then once again takes her in his arms.

Birkhoff stirs and then sits up on the couch. His head is pounding and the sunlight beaming in from the window isn’t helping. Then, he remembers the events of last night. Tears well up in his eyes. The knock at his door causes his head to pound even more. He makes a conscious decision to ignore the knocks but they continue. He finally jumps up and opens the door.

“Hey,” Cherry says. “I need a favor.” Birkhoff takes a few steps back as if to catch himself before a fall.

“You okay?” she asks as she takes hold of his arm to help him brace himself.

A few seconds pass while he collects his thoughts. Was this all a dream?

“Went out with a friend last night,” Birkhoff lies. “Just a bit of a hangover.”

“Ironically,” she says. “I have a headache too. But I’m out of Advil. Do you have any by chance?”

“Sure,” he says still dazed. “Be right back.”

Birkhoff heads to the bathroom. Moments later, he comes back to the living room and makes a dead stop in the doorway.

“How are you feeling?” Michael asks. “Cherry told me you have a hangover.”

Birkhoff looks down at the Advil in his hand. It wasn’t a dream.

“I do,” he says. “But these are for Cherry.” He hands her the pills.

“Thanks, Warren,” she says as she takes the pills from his hand.

“Forgive me,” she continues. “But I can’t stay. I have to call work. I think I’m taking a sick day.”

“Nice to meet you,” she says to Michael as she slips out the door.

After she leaves, Birkhoff just stares at Michael. Finally, he sits on the couch and runs his hands through his hair.

“I know what you’re going to say,” Birkhoff mumbles.

“Then you know it’s the only way,” Michael says.

Birkhoff begins to quietly sob.

“She’ll have a new life,” Michael tells him.

“I know,” Birkhoff says.

He leans back on the couch. They are both silent.

“Thank you,” Birkhoff finally speaks.

“We can’t speak of this again,” Michael says with a sudden sternness to his voice. “Understand?”

“Yes,” Birkhoff says.

This time Nikita arrives late to Rockefeller Center. A snow storm is just blowing in and the large flakes float gently on a light breeze.

“I never thanked you,” Nikita says as she walks up to Rurik. His hat and coat are now covered in a blanket of snow.

“I lied to you,” Rurik says softly as he looks down at the skaters below him.

“You had your reasons,” she says as she turns to look at the skaters as well.

“I’m afraid I wouldn’t have found Hermut without your help,” he says. “Even though it was unwitting.”

“I’m not angry,” she says. “Just sad.”

“At?” Rurik asks.

“Luc’s life,” she states. “His lonely existence without a real father.”

“I’ll make it up to him,” Rurik shares. Nikita turns to face him.

“How did you meet Hermut?” she asks.

“He was a patient of my father’s,” Rurik says. “We met when we were both very young. I never really noticed that he was so delusional until he contacted me after he faked his death. It was then I knew the obsession would never end.”

“So you’re happy now?” she asks.

“What is happiness?” Rurik asks her.

“I’m not sure,” Nikita says as she looks out again at the skaters.
“Perhaps it is life without fear,” he says. “Maybe that’s why so few people are truly happy.” Nikita thinks for a moment.

“So your fear is gone now?” she asks.

“Yes,” he softly says. “Is yours?” Nikita looks into his eyes for a moment as if he knew all her deep dark secrets.

“I’m afraid not,” she says.

It’s mid morning by the time Michael leaves Birkhoff. He catches Robbie just as he’s leaving his apartment in Greenwich.

“I need to talk to you,” Michael says. They both start walking down the tree lined street.

“Nice place you’ve got,” Michael says.

“It’s a far cry from Division,” he says. “Isn’t it?”

“Everything’s a far cry from Division,” Michael says. “In fact, there’s no place on earth like Division.” Michael stops and hands him a large envelop.

“All the information is there,” Michael says.

“Why the change in plans?” Robbie asks.

“That’s a ‘need to know’,” Michael snaps. “Besides, I’m sure you weren’t all that thrilled with having to kill her.”

A sad expression crosses Robbie’s face as he thinks back on the original mission. He opens the envelope and looks inside.

“And remember,” Michael says. “Never discuss an Op with anyone. Ever.”

“So this is our little secret,” Robbie says as he looks up from the envelope to meet Michael’s eyes.

“Exactly,” Michael adds.
User avatar
Posts: 9
Joined: Sat Jun 05, 2010 10:16 pm
Gender: Female

Ads are removed for registered users

Ads are removed for registered users

Return to Fan-fiction

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 9 guests