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[personal profile] action_antihero
July 10, 2012

He's up at the same time Chris is, as he had been every morning since the attacks started; some days, it was the only time he really got to spend with her, before she was exhausted by a long day at CTU.

A cup of coffee in his hands, he turns on the TV, almost dreading what he'll see on the news networks. Every day, there's something: another attack, increases in senseless violence against anyone who looks Arabic, destruction of mosques and businesses. Things just seem to be getting worse, spiralling rapidly out of control.

None of it prepares him for what he sees when he changes the channel to CNB, however. Nothing makes him suspect that it might become so personal.


His eyes spots the banner at the bottom of the screen almost at the same time the rest of his brain saw the stock footage of Palmer, registering as something not quite right. For a moment, he stares at that word--assassinated--trying to make sure the word is really the one that he thinks it is.

"Chris, you should see this," he calls distantly. She needs to see the television report, if only to tell him that he's seeing what he thinks he's seeing.

David Palmer is dead. The thought echoes numbly through his brain, as the solemn platitudes of the anchor gradually fades into his consciousness.

"After two attempts on his life on the day of the Califormia primaries, President Palmer not only won the nomination as Democratic candidate, but went on to become the first African-American President in United States' history. Palmer was widely commended for bringing integrity and honesty back into the Oval Office--"

As it starts sinking in, Jack lowers his head, his shoulders sagging. Though he's never been entirely comfortable calling Palmer his friend--the man is the former President of the United States, after all--he had trusted Palmer, because Palmer had trusted him. Palmer had tried to give him time to find evidence the the Cyprus recording was faked, he had put his faith in Jack. Sometimes that had been a thought that was more frightening than heartening, true, but it had meant a lot to him. Even when he'd asked Jack to do things Jack hadn't wanted to contemplate. Following Saunders' orders and killing Ryan. Taking on the raid on the Chinese consulate, even though he knew that if they were caught the government couldn't be implicated. In both cases, the only person he could trust with those acts was Jack, and that meant something to him, even if they were more of a curse than a blessing. Even if Jack would have given anything to not have been the only one who could do the job in Palmer's eyes. They still meant he had the trust of someone he respected, greatly.

He lowers his head for a moment, the weight of it falling on him, rubbing his eyes as they started to water. Palmer is dead, and the country seemed somehow diminished by the loss. Palmer might have damaged his campaign with his stance on internment in the last few days, but he still had the power to do good; still some hope that somehow the country would come to his senses and start following his lead.

Now that power is gone, forever; a voice of sanity in the midst of chaos, now gone silent.

Date: 2007-03-30 04:16 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Ready for work in gray linen dress suit and heels, Chris' enters the living room. She frowns at the cell phone in her hand. Work had called three times while she was getting ready for work. Her mind racing with possibilities, she's too distracted to answer Jack.

Chris hits the speed dial, intending to return one of the calls. However, hearing the words, "David Palmer was 55 years old," she snaps the phone shut. "Wait. What?"

Oh my God.

Date: 2007-03-30 04:24 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Jack hears her heels tapping on the floor, approaching the living room. Blinking quickly, he tries to clear his eyes; they've started to water, even as he still struggles to believe what he's seeing. "A sniper shot David Palmer here in L.A., about forty-five minutes ago," he says, looking up at her.

Date: 2007-03-30 04:26 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Chris watches the scrawl, trying to absorb this new bit of information. "Yeah, I ..." her voice trails off, not even knowing what she was going to say. That's why work was calling.

Noticing the slump of Jack's shoulders and the look on his face, she walks over to take a seat next to him. Looking at him, Chris takes his hand in hers. "I'm so sorry, Jack."

Her own feelings for the former president didn't allow her to feel much. She certainly wasn't happy he was dead but much of the sadness Chris felt was for the people he left behind. For the people who cared about him. Even though she understood more about that day and knew that Palmer had agonized it, he still allowed her father to die and she couldn't get past that.

She wonders if she should call Caiti, if her sister was in the room when it happened. "They didn't say anyone else was hurt, did they?"

Date: 2007-03-30 04:27 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Jack puts an arm around her shoulders, kissing her cheek. "Thanks," he says, softly, spotting the worry in her eyes and quickly figuring out where it's coming from. "They didn't say that anyone else was hurt or that there was even more than one shot fired; snipers usually don't stick around."

Date: 2007-03-30 04:33 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
"No, you're right." Chris leans against him for a moment, briefly wishing she could just stay here with him though she knows she can't.

Reluctantly, she pulls away from him."I should still try to call her." Before she can grab the phone, however, there's a knock at the door.

Date: 2007-03-30 04:45 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Jack looks up at the door, surprised that someone's knocking this early. Then again, it could be one of the neighbours; both he and Chris had gone to get groceries or other things for some of the older residents in the last few days.

"I'll get it; you call Caiti," he says, getting to his feet.

As he looks through the peephole, though, there's an added feeling of unease in the pit of his stomach. It's not one of the neighbours at the door; it's three men in suits and sunglasses, and he opens the door warily.

"Can I help you?" Jack asks, glancing at the men, taking in details behind a calm facade. Coiled wires tucked behind their ears; dark, conservative suits and ties--they look like Secret Service, but something seems off.

Date: 2007-03-30 04:56 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
One of the men flashes a badge, holding it up not quite long enough for Jack to examine its authenticity. "Secret Service. Are you Jack Bauer?"

Date: 2007-03-30 05:00 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
"I am, can I ask what this is about?" Jack asks, still blocking the doorway with his body. The neighbours might think something is going on, but Jack isn't about to let them inside when his first instinct is to be suspicious.

Date: 2007-03-30 05:01 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
"Is Christine Chappelle here?" the agent asks, apparently ignoring Jack's question.

Date: 2007-03-30 06:34 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
After several rings there was still no answer and she was almost grateful for that as she hears one of the agents mention her name. Hanging up the phone, she walks over to the door. "I'm Christine Chappelle. What's going on?"

An awful sinking feeling comes over Chris. If they were Secret Service then their visit might have something to do with Caiti.

Date: 2007-03-30 06:36 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
One of the agents turns his head slightly to look at her as she walks over; the only sign that he's paying attention to her as his eyes are hidden behind the dark glasses.

"Your sister was injured in the attack on President Palmer this morning. We were requested to bring you to the hospital, along with Mr. Bauer, if he wished to accompany you."

Date: 2007-03-30 03:49 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Some instinctual warning goes off in Jack's head at the agent's words: requested by who? And would anyone likely to make that request know that he and Chris were living together? Maybe there was some reasonable explanation, but something else about these guys--something about the suits they wore, about the fact that they still hadn't taken their sunglasses off, that they had supposedly come to personally pick them up when anyone from Palmer's office could have called--still doesn't add up.

There's one thing he is certain about, however: they can't leave with these men.

Nodding, Jack feigns concern, reaching behind him, trying to find Chris' arm and make sure she's not going to go running out of the apartment. "All right--we'll be down in a minute. Just give us a couple minutes to get ready," he says.

Date: 2007-03-30 07:39 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
"She was injured? How bad? Is she all right?" No matter what Jack had said, some snipers did stick around. This might not have been a professional or a terrorist but some madman with a grudge, someone who didn't like Palmer's speech last night.

Jack says something and Chris doesn't hear all of it but she nods along anyway, just trusting that she should listen to him right now.

Date: 2007-03-30 07:41 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
"She's in critical condition; you need to come with us as quickly as possible," the agent says, tonelessly.

Behind him, the other agents shuffle their feet, moving a little closer to the doorway. "Could we come in instead of discussing this in the hall?"

Date: 2007-03-31 01:05 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Even though Jack's listening to what they're saying, somehow the urgency of it isn't overriding his misgivings. This just seems wrong, and he knows that somehow he has to keep them from getting inside. "We can discuss whatever needs to be said on the way to the hospital; for now, we'll meet you downstairs. We'll be two minutes," he says, starting to close the door.

He only manages to close it by a few inches before the agent at the front of the group puts his hand on the door, pushing against it. There's a second where Jack stares into the sunglasses of the "agent", knowing in the pit of his stomach that he had been right, before he lashes out, trying to hit the agent in the face, to distract him. It backfires, the "agent" dodging the blow and throwing his weight against the door, tearing it from Jack's grip.

In the split-second he has, Jack turns, yelling, "Bedroom; call 911!" to Chris, before the pseudo-agent kicks the back of his knee, grabbing his shirt collar as the others push their way inside.

Date: 2007-03-31 01:40 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
It takes a moment for Chris to process what's happening. When Jack yells, her first instinct is to stay and help him bolt the door. But she does what he says, making a beeline for the bedroom, Coco darting ahead of her and hiding under the bed.

Almost at the door, she can hear the scuffle behind her and decides she'd be better off with her gun than the phone. Not that it matters. Before he hand even touches the door knob, she feels an arm around her waist and a hand covering her mouth to muffle her scream. Struggling with the agent, Chris scrapes one foot down his shin before slamming her heel down onto his foot.

Date: 2007-03-31 01:46 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
As Jack drops to his knees, he can feel his shirt collar tightening against his throat, and as his attacker lets go he hears something fall to the floor with a light tinkle. He doesn't get a chance to glance around and see what it is, though, as there's a blow to his back that pushes all the air out of his lungs and sends him to the floor. He manages to turn over, to kick out and hit his attacker but he's barefoot and the hit doesn't carry as much force as it would; certainly not as much as the kick to the ribs he gets from the third assailant.

From the hallway he hears a muffled cry, and he knows one of them has gotten to Chris. Fuelled by anger, he pushes through the pain and tries to land a blow to a more sensitive part of his attacker's anatomy, but he's outnumbered, and the movement only earns another kick in response.

Down the hall there's a yelp from one of the attackers; at least it sounds like Chris is having better luck than he is. Not for long, though, as while he struggles to catch his breath, he can hear the third man heading toward her.

Date: 2007-03-31 01:55 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
The agent holding her yelps and Chris wastes no time in following up her stomp with an elbow to his ribs. His grip on her loosens and for a moment she thinks she just might make it...

The sudden sound of a gun being cocked ends that thought.

"Cooperate and no one gets hurt," the third agent says while the other agent twists her arm behind her back and slaps the cuffs on more forcefully than necessary.

Date: 2007-03-31 01:57 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Jack's hauled to his knees, the cold metal of a gun pressed against the back of his neck. "Don't try anything, or she gets hurt," his attacker hisses in his ear. "Hands on your head."

Though he'd love nothing more than to grab the gun and take down all three of them, he can't be a hundred percent sure that one of them won't get a shot off first, and the last thing he wants to do is risk Chris getting hurt. Scowling, he obeys, the "agent" pulling Jack's hands behind him and putting him in handcuffs. Jack doesn't think for a moment that these guys are Secret Service, but obviously this one at least has a law enforcement background. He can feel his heart rate jump at the feeling of cold steel closing arouns his wrists, and he fights the anxiety he can feel in the pit of his stomach. It's been a while since he last had a panic attack; he can't afford to freak out now.

Yanked to his feet, Jack feels a hand shove him in the back, pushing him toward the door. "Move, and don't try anything." Stiffly, trying to control his temper enough to stay aware of the situation and anything that could work to his advantage, Jack obeys.

Date: 2007-03-31 02:00 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
"Where are you taking us?" Chris didn't expect an answer but she asked anyway. She didn't know who sent them or how they knew about her sister ...

"You'll find out," the man behind her says, following her down the stairs.
Chris opens her mouth to say something else, ask how they know about Caiti, but thinks better of it. If they had her sister, they would have said something already. They push the doors open and the "agents" guide her and Jack over to a dark blue van, where a fourth man is behind the wheel.

Date: 2007-03-31 02:06 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Jack tries not to wince as they shove him into the van after Chris, seating them side-by-side, two of the "agents" taking seats facing them, while one sits on the floor, his back to the doors. All the "agents" have guns out and aimed at himself and Chris; no chance to try anything here, and no chance for them to figure out a plan together, either.

As the van takes off, one of the agents pulls out a set of keys. "I'm gonna cuff you in front, but if either of you try anything, don't think my partners won't hesitate to shoot." Jack's a little surprised at the switch, but then it makes sense. He and Chris are outnumbered, and while in the condo there was the chance they could try attracting attention, they're on their own here. Cuffing someone in front makes it easier for a captive to move on their own; you just have to have the right force available to make sure they don't try anything funny.

His hands in front of him now, Jack glances over at Chris, trying to think of how to get them out of this. There aren't any windows in the back of the van, but judging from the traffic sounds around them and the lack of stops they're headed somewhere remote, somewhere out of Valencia and the other suburbs.

He's not entirely sure whether that helps their chances or worsens them.

Date: 2007-04-05 09:06 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Chris meets his gaze, her eyes widening slightly as the van goes off the paved road. It's been ten minutes since she's heard another car, the only sound now is of the tires rolling over the dirt and rocks. If she had to guess from the direction they'd been driving in, they might be near the Santa Clara River Valley. Lots of open space, not a lot of people.

There were only a few reasons for them to go somewhere so remote and none of them were good.


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