May. 11th, 2007

action_antihero: (OMGWAUGH!Jack)
July 15, 2012
11:48 am

Jack's stuck in traffic heading back from Valencia, and a check on Coco, his mind drifting as he stares at the sea of bumpers in front of him.  Chris' sister has been staying with them, and while he hasn't been back to the condo much, it's always awkward, wondering if or when Caiti's going to remember him from Morocco.  There hadn't been time to talk to her about it either.

He's tapping his finger on the steering wheel  when his cell rings. "Bauer," he says, glancing around at traffic, looking to see if anything's moving.

"Jack, it's Bill. We need you back here as soon as possible," Bill says. There's an urgency to his voice that belies the simple phrasing.

"I'm in heavy traffic, it's probably going to be a while. What is it?" Jack asks, his mind suddenly somewhere other than the road. A horn honks behind him and he creeps forward, resisting the urge to give the driver behind him the finger.

"I can't talk about it over the phone. Just get here as soon as you can." Bill hangs up, and Jack hits the hands-free 'off' button on his visor. Nothing about what Bill had said makes him feel any more comfortable.

It's forty-five minutes before he's back at CTU, hurrying in and looking for Bill. He's leaning over Chloe's desk, looking at something on her screen when he glances up and sees Jack, immediately walking over to him.

"We just got intel from Homeland Security that says the people responsible for the attacks might have some kind of weapon of mass destruction. We've managed to find evidence that there are Second Wave operatives likely operating here in L.A., but the intel says the heavy weapons are on the east coast. Homeland wants us to step up our search for Second Wave here, as they think someone from the cell here has been in contact with east coast cells; we're setting up search protocols now."

"You want me working on this?" Jack asks.

"I know you're here to work on the Palmer investigation--"

Jack cuts him off with a shake of his head. He might want those responsible for Palmer's death, but the living have to take priority. "Where do you need me?"

A couple hours later, Jack's leaning over the shoulder of one of the analysts, when there's a shout from Chloe. "I've got something!"

Jack runs over, joining the department heads in the cluster around Chloe's workstation. "Adil Hassan, born in France, moved to the US at age 23, degrees in Electrical Engineering and Chemistry. CIA flagged him last year as someone possibly high up in Second Wave, but had nothing to hold him on. I've got Union Station footage from yesterday, of him getting off the train from Las Vegas. I've also got a hit on an alias of his booking the ticket, as well as an address here in Granada Hills."

Nadia runs up to the group. "Santa Clarita PD just called and said they've had a report of 'suspicious activity' at a warehouse in Valencia."

Bill looks up. "Have an analyst run the address, see if anything comes up; we'll send out a field team. Mike," he continues as Nadia hurries off, "I want you to check out the house in Granada Hills. Donaldson can take the Valencia site."

Doyle's been glancing over in Jack's direction, obviously not liking that Jack's been privy to all this, or that he's working on this investigation. "If I'm going into Hassan's I'm going to need my second-in-command, someone with more experience than just members of the field team."

Bill nods, his eyes flickering over to Jack. "Jack can back you up."

Doyle looks over at Jack with open dislike before looking back at Bill. "Bauer isn't a CTU agent."

"I've dealt with these kinds of crises before," Jack replies, before Buchanan can defend him. It's not that he's entirely eager to get out in the field, and certainly not with Doyle. He'd still like to give Doyle a taste of his own medicine for what he did to Kim, and by the look of it, Doyle doesn't want him riding shotgun, much less as a second-in-command. Jack isn't entirely sure he wants to be second in command, either. Hadn't he given all this up? But he isn't about to stand there and let Doyle question his abilities--not when Doyle's got to be a good five years younger than he is.

Bill interjects before Doyle can come back with a protest. "We don't have time to argue, we need someone who can lead a field team to the site in Valencia and as Associate Director of Field Ops, Donaldson is it; Jack, how soon can you be ready to go?"

"Five minutes; I just need to get a couple things from field supply," Jack says, evenly.

"Good," Bill says calmly, though he looks back and forth between Jack and Doyle for a moment before going into the particulars of the mission.

Jack shifts in the passenger seat of Doyle's CTU SUV, tightening the velcro straps on his bulletproof vest and rechecking the amount of ammunition in his weapon, trying to psych himself up. It's been a long time since he did anything like this, but then there are some things that you just never forget.

"Let me make something clear, Jack; when we're onsite, I'm in charge. You obey my orders, understood?" Doyle says, his eyes fixed on the road ahead as he speeds around a corner.

"Don't worry, Doyle, I'm not in the mood for some kind of pissing contest. I'll do what has to be done," Jack says drily. Of course he's well aware that that technically wasn't an assent to Doyle's order. Not that he won't follow Doyle's orders; he will. Providing they're what he thinks is the right thing to do at the moment.

They pull to the curb just around the corner from the house in question, bailing out of the vehicles and grabbing any equipment they hadn't suited up with. "Arundel, Wilson, Molina, Levinsky, you're team two, go around the back; Bauer, Morelli, Perkins, you're in team one with me at the front," Doyle says, checking his own weapon. "Everyone else watch the perimeter in case anyone gets loose. At last check five minutes ago CTU reported five hostiles in the building using thermal sattelite, two in the front room and three near the back, but those positions may have changed. We'll go in fast and hard, but we want to take them alive if we can--especially Hassan. Everyone got their comm units working? All right, let's move."

Moving swiftly in formation like a pack of coyotes moving in for the kill, they cross the lawn of the neighbouring house, weapons at the ready. Jack takes a couple deep breaths, focussing on the target, pushing every other thought out of his mind. The adrenaline is starting to flow, and he moves with the others, swiftly and silently into position, careful to stay below the line of sight out of the heavily curtained windows.

"Team two in position," Molina's voice whispers through the comm unit in Jack's ear, as Doyle motions for Jack to go to the right once they're inside. Morelli and Perkins stand back a little, ready with the battering ram and waiting for their cue.

"On my mark. Three, two, one, now!" Doyle says, and Morelli and Perkins swing the ram, breaking down the door. Doyle is in first, heading to the left, Jack a second behind him, moving immediately to the right along the wall, just as he'd been taught twenty years before in Delta training. Two hostiles stare back at them with wide, surprised eyes as both down the hall and through the earpiece, Jack can hear the second team moving into the house from the back.

"Counter Terrorist Unit, down on the ground, hands where I can see them!" Jack yells, deafened in one ear as other members of the team give similar orders. The hostile closest to him looks too frightened to move, his eyes locked on Jack's, but the other hostile--the one standing in the doorway to the kitchen--reacts more qucikly, ducking behind the kitchen island and returning fire a moment later.

Jack scurries toward the closer hostile, staying low as he yanks the man out of his chair and drags him to the ground behind a couch. He can hear a yelp as someone's hit and he peeks over the back of the couch as he pulls a zip tie from his pocket. Morelli is down, but it looks like a hit to the arm; Doyle and Perkins are both behind the meager cover that the furniture provides.

Tightening the zip tie, Jack catches Doyle's eye, gesturing that he's going to move around to the other entrance to the kitchen, flanking the suspect. It's a risky move, as if the hostile gets out of the kitchen, it'll leave the right side of the room open for his escape. Doyle shakes his head, holding up two fingers to tell Jack to wait for the second team, but by the sound of things at the other end of the house they're in the same predicament. Doyle and Perkins are still close enough to the door to prevent the shooter from leaving, if he manages to get past Jack and over to the right side of the room, and with God knows what in that kitchen, Jack isn't about to wait.

He hears a hissed, "Dammit, Bauer, stay put!" in his ear as he quickly moves toward the hallway heading to the back of the house, but doesn't even glance toward Doyle. His back against the wall of the kitchen, he waits for another round of fire from the hostile before peeking around the corner. He has a clear shot and he takes it, firing a bullet into the hostile's shoulder. The man goes down with a yelp, weapon falling from his hand. Jack runs into the kitchen, as the hostile gropes to try and reach the pistol, slamming one foot down on the man's arm before bending to grab it.

"Second hostile down," he says, flipping the man over and pulling out another zip tie as Doyle and Perkins move past him to the back of the house. In seconds Jack's hurrying after them, but by the time he gets there the action is over; one hostile dead, two others down.

"Did you get Hassan?" Doyle asks, flipping the two captives over; Jack peering around Doyle to get a look.

"He's not at the front of the house?" Levinsky asks, wincing from a shot to the vest.

Jack mutters a "son of a bitch," under his breath as he turns away, looking around in frustration for any sign that someone might be hiding elsewhere in the house, even though CTU had said there were only five hostiles in the building.

"CTU, be advised that the target is not in the building, I repeat, Hassan is not in the building. Fuck." Jack looks up from papers scattered on a desk to see Doyle take a breath, as Buchanan replies that they've received the message. "What's the status of the field teams in Valencia?" Doyle asks, heading back toward the front of the house.

"They're arriving at the site now," Nadia's voice replies.

"Okay, keep me updated via comm on their progress, and we're going to need medical transport for two hostiles and one agent." Turning to the others from the hallway, Doyle barks orders for the house to be swept, and the prisoners to be taken to the van for transport back to CTU. Orders given, he turns on Jack, his expression hard "Dammit, Bauer, I told you to stay put!"

"And just wait until the second team came to our rescue, when they were under heavy fire? What if this place was rigged with explosives? What if they'd had some kind of weapon in the kitchen?" Jack snaps back.

"I told you that I was in char--"

"Agent Doyle!" Doyle's tirade is halted mid-sentence with a cry from one of the rooms off the hall, the nervousness in Arundel's voice making the hairs on the back of Jack's neck stand up in warning. "I'm getting low-level radation readings right here!"

"Everyone out of the building, now!" Doyle says, running to the front room, "Bauer, get the hostile in the kitchen, Arundel, get in here and get the hostile in the living room while I get Morelli! CTU, did you catch that?"

Jack runs into the kitchen, grabbing the hostile and propelling him out the front door, just behind Doyle and Morelli. No sooner are they out on the lawn than Nadia breaks in, barely-controlled agitation in her voice. "Mike, the teams in Valencia are coming under heavy fire, we need your team at that site as soon as possible."

Though he doesn't stop pushing his captive toward the cars, Jack can feel a wave of cold wash over him. Shit, their intel had been wrong, they'd sent their strongest force to the wrong fucking location--

"Patch the video feed through to the monitor in my SUV and the audio through comm. You're going to have to get another field team and send a chopper for me; we've got suspects and the only way I'm going to get there in under half an hour is by chopper."

At Doyle's order, Jack can hear a slight pop in his earpiece before shouts and gunfire fill his ear as he yanks the van door open. Listening carefully, he can make out the commands of the team leader. "Fall back! Everyone fall back to-- IED at two o'clock! Fire at the hostile, put him do--"

Before his brain can process the loss of sound in his earpiece, there's a blinding flash of light behind him, and he can hear the others cry out in shock. Turning, Jack expects to see the house behind them engulfed in a fireball, though even before he looks he knows it can't be that; that this light was white, not the yellow-orange of an ordinary explosive device. Blinking to clear the spots from his eyes, Jack's frozen to the spot as he stares in unbelieving horror at the sight before his eyes.

Off to the north, over Valencia, a grey-black cloud rises into an unnaturally blue sky, ballooning into the shape of a mushroom.


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October 2007

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