Belinda drove to the furthermost corner of the compound and sat in the blackness for a few minutes collecting her thoughts. She'd fought every emotion within herself not to simply give into the temptation to reply as she heard him pleading for her to simply answer and confirm that she was still alive. She was caught in an incredibly difficult situation right now. She knew that if Madeline even suspected her of working both sides of the fence, cancellation would be her only option. While it was apparent that neither her choice of working with Madeline or Michael was an easy decision, she knew that Michael would be her only chance to be with Walter once more.
Careful to give every outward appearance of gathering Intel, she slowly left the safety of her vehicle and began making a cursory assessment of the compound that lay before her. To the right was the access road she'd driven into. She knew that when the trap to snare Madeline had been set, it would be next to impossible to simply drive in the way she had. She hoped that anyone following her wouldn't consider the fact that she'd done so to be odd.
Treading carefully, she slowly picked her way through the tangle of trees and underbrush that grew just inside the razor wire topped fence surrounding the camp. She made a mental note that egress either under, over or through the fence would be next to impossible since Michael had informed her that it would be electrified and monitored when the time came. When she was sure she was absolutely alone, she carefully looked for the marker that Davenport had supplied, dug around the white marble stone and gently lifted it from its resting spot.
Underneath she found the comm unit that she'd been told would be waiting for her. Knowing she was now on a secured channel she first contacted Michael. "Team leader come in," she was careful not to divulge any identities.
"Team leader." his voice came over loud and clear, ever the steady tone she'd become accustomed to. "What is your location?" he was equally as careful to reciprocate in kind.
"East of point, quarter mile to the right?" she would give no clearer coordinates as to her whereabouts.
"Has target been located?" anyone listening would only get bits and pieces of the puzzle being carefully laid out.
"Primary target has been tagged and located, target is extremely uneasy right now and requires careful handling" she figured that Michael would realize that Madeline was becoming ever increasingly uneasy over time.
"Understood, you have what you came for?" he knew the next request coming.
"Not exactly, requesting permission for a meeting with munitions." he knew and paused for a moment.
"Not advisable at this time," having been in her position, he was sure that at this moment she was near tears.
"Verbal communication?" her voice pleaded.
"Timing for such a request is not plausible" he continued. His hands tapped the desk around the keyboard as he struggled to keep from caving in and allowing her request. Nikita came up behind him and motioned for him to cut communication for a moment, he did as she requested. Looking up at her, she realized that while he sounded cold and uncaring, his eyes betrayed how he was really feeling.
"Give her what she's asking for Michael," she touched his shoulder gently squeezing before she removed her hand. "It might be their only chance." she sat beside him on the desk.
"It's too big of a risk right now Nikita" he knew he didn't have to tell her why but knew exactly how she was feeling.
"Michael, they've been torn apart," she reached out and caressed the side of his cheek. His emerald green eyes locked onto hers.
"Nikita, how am I going to explain bringing Walter here?" he silently nodded while he awaited her answer.
"Tell Birkoff we need him here" she always seemed to have the answer but Michael knew she was thinking with her heart instead of her head right now. "Under what pretext Nikita?" he never broke eye contact with her. "Tell him we need more weapons and more manpower" again the answer seemed easy enough. "And Operations will simply let us have him?" he hated this game. "Walter hasn't been in the field for quite awhile" he pointed out the obvious.
"Operations is not going to allow him to simply leave Section and come join us without a believable reason" she knew he was right but she also knew what it was to loose someone you loved and find him once more. "We have to try" was her final statement before she turned away.
Belinda sat on the hill awaiting Michael's reply and wondering why it took so long for a response.
Belinda sat for what had to be the longest time, alone in the darkness surrounded only by the trees and thickets as she listened to the rasping choir of grasshoppers as they serenaded their perspective mates. She wanted to argue the point with Michael but didn't think it would be wise since he held the key to bringing her back to Section with Walter. "I understand Michael." her voice, barely a whisper croaked out the only thing she could say.
"I'm sorry," his voice, soft and gentle was filled with a warmth that took even Nikita by surprise. It was not often that Michael allowed emotions to surface let alone allowing anyone but Nikita to witness them.
"I'd better be getting back but," she hesitated wondering for a moment if she should risk it, "please tell him I love him." her voice cracked with emotion. "He already knows but I'll pass it along." Nikita smiled at Michael, patted his shoulder than left him alone with his thoughts.
Operations was pacing the perch waiting for both Birkoff and Walter to answer his page. Both came in, shoulder to shoulder wondering what exactly they'd done this time. He turned and studied them for a moment before opening his mouth. "Okay, let me get everything straight.." he looked at Birkoff who swallowed hard. "Michael and Nikita are NOT on Mandatory Refusal?" Birkoff shook his head but didn't say anything. "They never were?" again he shook his head. "Do they know where exactly Madeline is?" Walter nodded. "Sort of."
Operations wide eyed expression shocked the older man. "Sort of?" he clenched his fist behind his back. "Two of my best operatives are on a mission" he began but Birkoff interrupted "Three" then shrugged when he realized he'd spoken out of turn. "Davenport, yes okay, three of my best operatives are running a mission, without my permission and I would imagine using Section resources?"
Birkoff shook his head. "Actually sir, with Jurgen's compound serving as a temporary 'section site' they've been pretty self sufficient so far," he stated that as if he were proud of the job they were doing.
Operations turned, stepped directly in front of them and kept looking at first one then the other. "How close are they to acquiring the target?" Birkoff looked at Walter who had that 'why are you looking at me' look about him. "I want to establish contact with Michael as soon as possible Mr. Birkoff" he slowly removed his suit jacket and began unbuttoning his sleeves. "Like tonight!" his voice caused both men to jump. "Walter, have you had any contact with Belinda since you heard her voice?" he was genuinely concerned for the older man but knew that Walter would immediately go on guard.
"No, no, I only heard her voice but she never responded," he ran a hand over the ever present bandana. "Maybe it's my mind playing tricks on me," his eyes pleaded for confirmation.
"No, Walter, she's alive, Birkoff found out that several of our abeyance operatives were not canceled like it was reported," he reached out a hand to touch Walter's arm in passing. "We'll do everything we can to insure she's returned to you safe and sound" and left the older man in the perch alone with his thoughts.
Walter stood there, staring at the point of contact that Operations had made before leaving him and wondering what would happen now. He surely didn't believe that he'd be allowed any semblance of a normal life within the walls of Section. He didn't have time to think of that now, he just wanted to be around when Operations contacted Michael.
Birkoff worked for over an hour to make sure that the line he contacted Michael on could not be traced or tapped. When he'd finally made contact, Michael sounded a bit irritated with him until he heard the next voice on the line. "Michael it's Operations." Birkoff could only guess what thoughts were running through Michael's mind.
"Yes," his voice suddenly took on the Mission Mode that everyone within earshot was used to.
"I understand that you've acquired Jurgen's base?" he wanted details..Michael could be heard taking in a huge breath. "Yes, base was acquired but Jurgen is dead" he sounded on edge. "Good" Operations really did mean that as Jurgen had long been a thorn in his side. He of course still didn't know the details of his survival but after hearing that Madeline had pulled the wool over the eyes of the entire Section One, nothing surprised him. "How close are we to acquiring your intended target?" he leaned against the com unit, hands splayed on either side. "I want her taken alive Michael!" was the order actually hissed over the line.
"Understood if that's possible" Michael refused to guarantee that Madeline would come to no harm although deep down inside, he knew that she was needed alive for several reasons.
"Make it possible Michael, I don't want a single hair on her head destroyed!" his voice raised another octave. "Understood" damned him and his one word answers.
"I have a request" Michael waited for permission to continue.
"What is it Michael?" Operations was almost sure of what was coming. "I need both Birkoff and Walter here with me." It wasn't a request, it came out more as a statement of fact then a question. "Why?" he knew that Michael would have good reason but he was tired of being kept in the dark. "Birkoff can secure lines to keep you informed and crack any codes we might come up against not to mention I would rather have him working tactical," he knew that his request would be fulfilled.
"And Walter?" Operations was growing tired as he hadn't completely recovered from his injuries and had left Medlab sooner than any of the doctors would have liked. "I need Walter's expertise with explosives and weapons" a fair statement of his job. "Fine, they will be on the next flight out and Michael" he hesitated. "Yes," the one word answers once again. "I'm coming with them," and he motioned Birkoff to cut the link.