Davenport was glad that everyone had more or less seemed to forget about him. He got a head start on studying the blueprint that Elena had provided for them and had taken several trips around the entire compound to get a feel for the layout. He was very pleasantly surprised to find a communications room very similar to the one set up in Section One. It made him laugh to think that although Jurgen claimed to want to be free of Section, the trained operative within him quickly fell back to the familiar and thus things seemed to be run just as Operations ran Section. He wondered just how many operatives Jurgen had working for him and made a mental note to see if he kept records of all his employees.
The Munitions room although not quite as well stocked as Walter's domain would still have made the older man quite happy. There were missile launchers and charges that seemed even ahead of what Sections kept at their disposal and again a mental note was made to bring back as much as he could before he destroyed this place. He decided to take the quiet time and wire most of the compound in the event that a quick egress was required and to safeguard against anyone getting their hands on any of the things stored here.
When he finally returned to the Communications center, he dialed up a secure line to Birkoff hoping that he would be alone at this hour. "Birkoff, Birkoff it's Davenport, are you there?" he whispered, not because anyone within the room he was in would hear but in hopes that if anyone was monitoring the comm units back at Section, they might mistake his voice for static on a line.
"Davenport it's Birkoff hey, how are you guys?" Birkoff carefully checked around him and was relieved to see that most of communications had been deserted save for him and one other operative who was busy dosing at the conference table. If Operations had been in the building, the older operative would not have been so inclined to have his feet up and be reclining in one of the chairs.
"We're okay Birkoff, for now anyway. Jurgen is dead and we're trying to set a trap for Madeline" he continued to jot notes on the blueprints knowing that they were now more important to both himself and Michael than to anyone else since he knew that they would never allow this building to remain whole. "We're spread thin and I think Michael is worried that we won't be able to pull this off" he didn't want Birkoff to think that Michael's abilities were slipping, he was simply stating the truth.
"What can I do for you?" Birkoff knew that he was so involved now that if the bottom line meant bringing in Madeline alive, it was going to be worth any risk to help them out.
"We're supposed to be on Mandatory Refusal so I can't come out and ask Section for backup. But believe me buddy, we're going to need it," he saw a possible point in the compound to take Madeline down with minimal backup but it would require exact precision and timing and cunning on all their parts.
"I can pull a couple operatives from the parallel mission without them being missed and I have several in Abeyance right now," he read off a list of the operatives in Abeyance and what exactly they had been placed there for and Davenport handpicked the ones he recognized. "You know, it has to be a one way trip for them" Birkoff stated the obvious. Both he and Davenport knew that if this ever got back to Section or Oversight that they were running missions without their knowledge or consent Abeyance would be heaven compared to the White Room.
"It's for a worthy cause" he chuckled. He didn't think Madeline worthy of anything but a quick trip to be canceled but he now knew that Operation's prime directive was that Madeline was to be taken alive at all costs. He wondered if Michael was aware of this change in plans and made a note to ask him. He couldn't afford to have personal feelings go against Operation's directive without the risk of them all being canceled. "I'll send you our coordinates in a couple minutes" he pecked at the keys and forwarded the necessary information to him. "It should be there now" he read the screen to make sure that it wasn't sent to anyone but Birkoff.
"How soon do you need them?" Birkoff knew he would have to move the needed backup before Operations returned to Section.
"Tomorrow, it's not likely that Madeline is going to give us much time before she expects Jurgen to turn over Michael and Nikita to her," he rubbed at his temples. The lack of sleep over the last couple days was beginning to show in the dark circles that now underlined his eyes. "Birkoff, we have to find a way to protect Michael's wife and child from Section, got any ideas?"
Birkoff had been working on something but had nothing definite as of yet and he felt compelled to be completely honest with him. "The only thing I can think of right now is a trade off of sorts," the solution had eluded Birkoff since he had first heard about them being involved.
"Trade off?" Davenport didn't grasp his meaning.
"Operation's wants Madeline alive even knowing that Michael would gladly cancel her on sight," he started his explanation "no doubt he might be willing to trade her life for theirs," it sounded simple but he wondered what guarantee Michael would require to hand her over. He knew that Michael probably had considered this his bargaining chip after discovering them and he knew that Nikita would back up Michael no matter what.
"God Birkoff, I hope you're right," he sighed then told Birkoff to keep a channel open in the event that he needed to contact him again. "Davenport, keep us informed okay?" he knew it would be difficult but he also knew that having helped them over the entire course of all of this, he wasn't expecting any less.
"Will do Birkoff," and he clicked off the comm unit.
Elena sat upright in bed, Adam beside her, trying to catch her breath. The dream she had been having caused her a pain that she couldn't decide was physical or psychological. She knew that Jurgen was dead and that whatever organization both Michael and Nikita worked for wasn't going to allow her to live a peaceful and normal existence. Her only concern was that Adam not become a pawn for this Section One as they had called it. She had met Madeline once in the entire time that she had been with Jurgen and although at first glance she seemed to be a warm and caring person, after her visit she noticed something strange about Jurgen's behavior and had proceeded to ask him about it. "You were fine before she arrived." She had gently kneaded his shoulders and waited patiently for his reply.
"She is a witch, to put it nicely. Elena you must NEVER trust that woman" he had held up his scarred hands to emphasize the point. "Think about everything I told you about when she would come to watch them change my dressings," he reached back and hugged her tightly. After losing Michael it had felt good to be wanted and desired again. "She actually smiled when I cried out in pain, I begged her to let me die but she wouldn't," something between tears of pain and anger filled his eyes. "I almost wish she had instead of leaving me look like a monster," she had hugged him again to reassure him that it was only how he viewed himself and not as she saw him.
She realized that those days of having a man love her was once again over for her and what lay ahead threatened her very existence, hers and Adam. She was deep in thought and missed the gentle but persistent knocking on her door. "Sorry, please come in" she tried to keep her voice from waking the little boy who lay in peaceful slumber beside her.
"Hi" Nikita poked her head around the corner "we were just throwing together some breakfast and thought you might like some?" her eyes locked onto the sleeping boy. "Awe, he's so precious" she smiled at Elena "You are so lucky to have him," she saw a pained look cross Elena's face. "What? Oh, I know you miss Jurgen, he was good to you wasn't he?" she came to the edge of the bed and rested a reassuring hand on Elena's shoulder.
"But it was only an act wasn't it?" she looked into the blue eyes of the woman she now considered her friend.
"No, I think in some ways he actually loved both of you but his anger at Section, Madeline and Michael and myself overtook the kindness he was capable of" she wanted so to bring a little joy back to this woman's life.
"Does Section always do that?" she started to rise and reached for her robe to tie around her.
"What?" Nikita gently returned the covers to their place over the little boy.
"Do they always use people?" she wanted to know more about this place that someone like Nikita and Michael could possibly work for.
"If it suits their needs, yes" she nodded as she followed Elena out of the room and headed down the hall.
"Why?" she wanted so to understand. "How can you and Michael work for them?" she reached out a hand and settled it on Nikita's arm. "Why do you work for them?"
Nikita kind of snickered. "We don't have a choice, none of us do," she decided to tell her as much about Section as she could. Maybe in the end the information would help save her life or maybe if things didn't work out, it wouldn't really matter what she knew. They joined Michael in the kitchen where he had managed to locate various items for breakfast and had somehow managed to throw together a sumptuous feast.
"What are you to talking about?" he looked up as he set three places not surprised that Adam might still be asleep.
"Section." Nikita poured them each a glass of orange juice.
"What about Section?" he flashed Nikita a startled look.
"She knows about it Michael, from both Jurgen and me" she sat down across from Elena. "Anyway, everyone that is brought to Section is trained for two years... if they make it they live if you call it that" she paused and Michael's fork hung in midair. He knew what telling Elena about Section might cost. "She has a right to know." Nikita gave argument to his silent admonishment.
"And if they can't make it?" Elena lifted a fork full of eggs to her lips. "Michael this smells wonderful," but her attention was still turned to Nikita.
"They die, either Section cancels them or they go on a mission that they won't return from" she swallowed hard knowing how impossible this all must sound.
"Why do you work for them?" she meant Nikita.
"Because I was brought to Section under the pretext that I murdered someone" she turned to make her statement to Michael "But I didn't at least not until Section trained me to" she continued. Michael stared at her remembering the times she had tried so hard to convince him that what he had been told about her arrival there was something completely made up by Section. Oh, she had been living on the street and hustling for her next meal but never had she so much as harmed another soul until Section.
"I didn't believe her when she told me" he confessed.
"And now?" Elena watched the two of them.
"Now, I know the truth about Section" he continued to eat chewing and listening with great patience.
"Why not leave?"
Nikita smiled once again. "You don't just leave," she placed her fork beside her plate.
"What happens when you retire?" Elena asked so full of innocence.
"Retire?" Nikita thought back to the conversation with Madeline. "A place in Palm Beach or a bullet to the back of the head?" Had been her question when Madeline stalled for an answer. "That's highly classified," she had given that tight lipped smile that everyone who knew her wanted to simply slap off her face.
Michael sat silently listening as Nikita tried to make Elena understand that they did what they had to just to survive. There were no other options with the exception of being killed on a mission or canceled by Section.
"Who does this 'canceling'?" she had so many questions and each drew her further and further toward a dangerous road should Section every find her and learn what she now knew.
"Madeline" Michael interjected into the conversation. Elena suddenly knew what Jurgen meant when he had referred to her as 'twisted.' It made her wonder if they would be able to complete whatever it was that they had come for.
Davenport appeared out of nowhere and decided to help himself to breakfast. "Where have you been?" Michael's quiet voice held a demanding tone.
"Not sleeping like you" he teased back trying to lighten the mood for the moment. There would be plenty of time to be over wound and uptight. Michael looked first at Nikita and then at Elena a guilty look on his face. "I've been busy" his chest puffed up as he decided to fill them in. "I've talked to Birkoff" Michael's head shot up knowing the risk he had just taken. "Relax Michael, it was late, no one but Birky was around and thanks to me" he thumbed toward his chest. "We have backup on the way" he smiled.
"How?" Michael and his one word answers and questions.
"Birkoff is pulling some from the parallel mission and some that I hand picked from Abeyance," he knew Michael was aware of the risks that this would place Birkoff in. "He's behind us as is Walter," he wanted the leader to relax.
"We're gonna need weapons" Michael's head was already spinning into gear.
"We got weapons like you wouldn't believe," he laughed but the weariness of not having slept most of the night started to show in a huge yawn.
"You need to get some rest," nothing like Michael stating the obvious here. "After you eat, get some downtime," he knew that they were on a time line but also that he wanted a fully alert and ready Davenport behind both him and Nikita.
The day flew by with people keeping themselves occupied with a list of things that had to be done and in place when the trap to catch Madeline was implemented. By evening, true to his word Birkoff had a good number of operatives in route to the compound and the possibility of several more if Michael or Davenport felt they were needed. Seventeen men and woman had been either siphoned from missions or pulled directly from Abeyance and any record of them having been placed there expunged from existence. Birkoff had only confided in one other person, that being Walter who thankfully was able to arm each person with a COM unit and panel to keep them linked. He knew that they were working with outdated materials but did his best to make sure that they were up and running accordingly.
"We have seventeen operatives in route Michael." Davenport had just finished uplinking to Birkoff and getting the needed Intel to complete the mission.
"We have to keep a step ahead of her, she's not going to give up easily," he smiled while watching his son once again cheating at checkers. "Adam are you cheating again?" Michael's gentle admonishment simply brought a huge smile to his son's face.
"But I beat you didn't I. Poppa?" he laughed then folded the board up and replaced the red and black game pieces in their plastic bag.
"Yes, you beat me and now it's time for your bath" he rumpled his hair. "Give Poppa a kiss" he puckered up for the quick kiss he knew was coming.
"Okay Poppa" he hugged him then turned his attention to Nikita. "A kiss for Adam?" he puckered his sweet little lips in a similar fashion like his father had just done.
"Sure" she kissed him then gave him a warm hug. "I can read to you if you like?" she enjoyed spending time with him and giving Michael and Elena time to talk. "
Okay, I will call you when I am ready" he hurried away on the hand of his mother. "Thank you Nikita" she turned and smiled at the woman she almost considered to be her sister now.
Later that evening when everyone had been carefully tucked into bed, Davenport, Michael and Nikita sat in the study carefully reading over the blueprints and making necessary arrangements for placement of each of the operatives that had begun to arrive. Each time one or more entered the compound it became Davenport's job to find them a place in the huge building and then to instruct them on what would be expected of them. "
Whatever goes down know this, Madeline is to be taken alive. Wounding her is NOT an option, killing her, although I along with the majority of you would gladly take the first shot is NOT an option" he studied the faces around him. "Are we clear on this?" he wanted them to be crystal clear on this order. "If anyone shoots, wounds, or so much scratches Madeline, I will personally cancel that person is that understood?" again they nodded. "I asked is this understood?" his voice raised to a shout. "Yes, sir" they answered in unison.
They knew Davenport as well as Michael and none wanted to be on the receiving end of punishment from either man so they took this order very seriously. "I expect each of you to continue training until this mission goes down, there's food in the kitchen, if you eat, clean it up" he smiled "This might be a compound but right now it is also home to a woman and her child." They exchanged confused glances. "Elena and Adam Samuelle are residing here, watch your language, be careful what you discuss" he wanted them to understand that Michael would deal quite harshly with anyone who didn't.