The evening air was brisk, almost to the point of robbing you of your breath but to Madeline each inhale and exhale was exhilarating at best. The sky was a clear midnight blue with each and every star in the constellation twinkling, high above. Funny how one takes for granted all the things that should stop and make you look around she thought to herself. More and more she loathed her life in Section. She started to understand what it was that made Nikita rebel at every turn. Perhaps if she were never discovered she could grow old enjoying all the things that a life in Section "There's a laugh" she snickered to herself "Life in Section" she continued walking up Michigan Avenue until she arrived at Water Tower. She loved coming here, lots of places to shop, great restaurants and plays were what she had come to realize made Chicago such an exciting town.

"We have the target located," one of the three men slouched in the darkened back of the Ford Van whispered into his COM unit. "Should we move in?" he waited for his instructions. Michael had made it very very clear that no one was to move so much as a hair without first asking then getting permission from him. "She's entering Water Tower now, if we move in." the other two men were shaking their heads trying to stop there apparently new operative.

One reached out and flipped the COM unit off his head and covered it with his hand. "Don't do it man!" he gave the other operative a warning glare "Don't question the man on the other end of the com unit" he slowly handed the unit back to the first man who yanked it from his hand and slapped it back onto his ear. "DO NOT move without hearing the order from me!" was shouted back causing him to pull the unit away before his eardrum was ruptured.

After breaking contact and shaking his head to clear his ear he gave the other two men a questioning look "Who the hell was that?" he hissed. "That Jacob was Michael he's leading this mission!" Davenport slammed his hand on the table between the three of them "If you ever question one of his orders again I guarantee that either he or I will be the one to cancel you. Do you understand me?" he shouted the last question. The operative already knew that Davenport would and could cancel him at moments notice without showing any remorse but he had only heard rumors about Michael since arriving from Section 2.

Davenport cleared it with Michael then changing into a nondescript plaid jacket over his black sweatshirt and blue jeans he pulled a cap down over his bald head and left the van. "This Michael guy..." the question was not finished when he saw the look in the other operatives eyes. "He will kill you if you cross him or if he feels you blew this mission!" the operative removed his gun from it's place under his arm and pointed it at the newer man. "He only has to give the word." He pulled the trigger than started laughing uncontrollably as the other man just about wet his pants.

"That wasn't funny" he screamed. "I wasn't laughing when I pulled the trigger was I?" he holstered the weapon after checking to make sure that the loaded clip was now in place. "Just a warning!" he smiled then turned his attention to the newspaper he was reading.



The two Security operatives managed to load Nikita, kicking and screaming into the waiting van and finally get her back to the apartment. "Key please?" one put out his palm and her first instinct was to spit in it although she knew they were only doing their job.

"If you want to get in so bad..." she seethed with raw anger at the situation. "Don't make this harder than it has to be" the other half pleaded. He wasn't at all happy about having to just about manhandle Nikita but the sensible part of his brain told him that crossing Michael would mean certain cancellation. He'd take his chances with Nikita given the choice.

Nikita relented and after motioning that if they freed one of her arms she would have better access to the key in her jacket pocket the shorter of the two men, Danny released her arm just long enough to have her reach into the pocket and retrieve the key. "No tricks okay?" he smiled trying to lighten the situation.

"No tricks" she answered in a defeated tone not sure if they were buying it. After handing the taller operative Deke the key ring she stood back and waited as he unlocked the apartment door.

"After you" he motioned her inside then gave her an incentive push from behind as she slowly passed him.

"Bite me!" she shoved past and turned on the lights to the apartment. "I'd ask you in" she turned toward the door and gave them one of her best smiles, then before they realized what she was doing, she shoved her shoulder against the door to push it closed. A futile attempt against two very strong and agile operatives.

"Don't even think it" Deke shoved her back against the wall and removed the syringe from his pocket. During their ride from Section to the apartment he had obviously filled it with the blue tinted fluid. Nikita turned to make a break toward the bedroom but was quickly stopped and pressed hard against the floor. The last thing she remembered was two faces spinning out of control as the needle pricked her arm. "Why?" she muttered before crumpling to the floor.

"I'm sorry Nikita but you left us little choice" Deke apologized to her still form as he lifted her up and carried her to her bedroom. "Well, at least she should be out most of the evening" Danny smiled "We could always run out for a bite and be back before she wakes?" he asked hopefully. They hadn't wanted to risk losing her by taking her out to dinner and now that it appeared she would remain sedated neither saw any harm in leaving her to sleep it off. Turning off most of the lights in the apartment and leaving the stereo on low, they locked the door behind them, checked their watches and left the building.

Nikita slept fitfully, dreams of Madeline talking to her with random bits and pieces of Operations voice intermixed with reruns of all their missions. Something kept repeating itself throughout the entire 'dream'. Michael seemed to always be somewhere in every sequence. She kept dreaming that they were together, not really knowing if it was true or just what she was wishing for. Unfortunately, the medicine was confusing her even more. The last thing she remembered was telling Madeline that the last adjustment didn't work and why should this one only to have her laugh and assure her that they had new methods.

When she awoke, the room continued to spin making her sick to her stomach and feeling like a building had fallen on her head. Slowly she sat up and made her way to the bathroom after nearly falling over the edge of her bed. She barely made it inside the doorway when her legs weakened and made her collapse over the toilet where she wretched and heaved until her stomach felt tied in knots. She made a mental note to thank Michael for the wonderful stuff she had been injected with. Funny that neither guard came to check on her. After standing against the sink and brushing her teeth to remove the horrid taste, she rinsed her face with cool water, grabbed a towel and patted it dry.

Tossing the towel over her shoulder, she left the bathroom and quietly made her way through the bedroom and too the kitchen. Then entire apartment was empty. Apparently the drug wore off sooner than they had expected. Nikita quickly slipped on her shoes that had been removed after being put on the bed and tucked in. Grabbing her gun and her purse, she decided the safest way to leave was through the patio and over the roof. Without hesitating, she left knowing every inch of her building and the one next door. She would have to again thank Michael for teaching her to become familiar with her surroundings.



Nikita made it far enough away from the apartment building to finally relax a little and allow herself to catch her breath. The after effects of the drugs still caused her some visual distortion and she didn't want to appear drunk or out of control so she hung to the back streets. She knew she would have to get back into Section to find out what Michael had been up to and she hoped that Birkoff and Walter would help her.

The fact that she returned to Section when most of the teams had been dispersed to their various missions made it easier to get around unnoticed. She had hoped that Michael would figure the two operatives would have had no problem restraining her and might not have given any orders should anyone else come upon her. After seeing two older operatives pass and nod without a second glance, she felt more at ease and suddenly much safer in the confines of Section.

"Sugar, what you up to?" Walter's voice startled her as she quickly came around the corner and ran right into him. "Walter I need your help, yours and Birkoff's" she whispered as she pushed him in the general direction of Munitions. "Sure, if I can" he replied trying to slow her down a bit.

"I need to know what Michael is up to" she simply stated. Walter started to shake his head "No way Nikita, anything else but that!" he stood his ground.

"You have to Walter, he had me being held prisoner in my apartment" she sounded very upset "Whatever it is, it's big and I want to know" she got into his face and gave him a stare comparable to Michael's Mission mode.

"Sugar, it's for your own good that you stay out of this" he pushed her farther into the room. "It's gonna blow the lid off this place as it is" he whispered looking around to make sure no one was within earshot. "Things are going to come to a head soon" he held onto her shoulders as he directed her backwards to a chair. "Please, I am begging you to leave Michael handle this?" he sat her down. "I don't want anything else happening to you can't you understand this?" he pleaded but realized it was hopeless.

"I can't Walter, I lost something of myself last time actually, Madeline robbed me of a part of myself. I know that now" Walter looked confused. "What do you remember?" he hadn't removed his hands from her shoulders and didn't realize that he was squeezing her rather hard. "Ouch, Walter you're hurting me," she pulled back. "What do you remember?" he repeated himself.

"Only that Madeline is behind me not remembering things. When I tried to escape from Michael's goons, they injected me with something" she rubbed the arm that had been injected. "I started having these strange dreams" she looked confused herself. "Madeline was telling me that this time the 'adjustment' would work" she brought her head down to her hands and rubbed her temples. "Michael was intermixed in the dreams." her head was still throbbing from whatever it was that Michael had her injected with."

"Michael was involved in this?" Walter just about blew his top.

Nikita quickly shook her head, which didn't help the pain. "No Walter, it was as if he was there to remind me of something I just haven't figured out what" she tried a half smile. "So you see Walter, you have to help me please?" she begged.

"Michael will kill me if he ever finds out" he shook his head, took her by the hand and led her out of Munitions in the direction of Birkoff's workstation. "Birkoff, we need your help" was his simple statement.

Birkoff looked at Walter questioningly and then at Nikita "Hey, anything to help a friend," he smiled.

"What is Michael working on?" she asked as she neared his area.

"Anything other than that" he quipped before turning his back on her. Without warning, Nikita grabbed his chair and his neck in the process and spun him around. "With or without you Birkoff, I will find out what he is doing so you might as well help me now" she hissed directly into his face. "Teams one and two egress is complete" he responded to one of the working teams communicating with him through his COM unit. Nikita reached up and tore it out of his ear before he could be further distracted.

"I am telling you Birkoff, you owe me!" she tried to keep her voice down. With a backward glance at the Observation deck which was at the moment empty she returned her attention to Birkoff. "I need that information now Seymour" she only used his name if she were either teasing him or very angry with him. Birkoff was betting on the latter.

"He'll kill us Walter," he gave the older man a warning glance. "She'll kill us if we don't," was the reply. "Fine, fine suit yourselves, it's your heads anyway," he quickly typed something on the computer and suddenly the screen filled with profiles of secretive missions. "He is in Chicago," he looked up at Nikita.

"Chicago? What is he doing there?" she quickly came around his desk and stared at the screen.

"Apparently, he has found Madeline" he let loose with a whistle. "He hasn't made contact yet but he has her located" he turned the board so she and Walter could both read the input Michael had typed in.

"Thanks Birkoff," she smiled, leaned over and kissed him on the cheek.

"Sugar what are you thinking?" Walter reached out and captured her arm as she tried to pass him.

"I need to get to Chicago," she looked him in the eye as she tried to free her arm.

"Birkoff, make the arrangements." Operations voice came unexpectedly from behind them. All three operatives were taken completely by surprise.

"Operations!" Nikita seemed shocked.

"Birkoff, make the arrangements for two and we'll need a hotel room as well," he smiled at Nikita.

"We?" she stammered in shock. "I am going alone," she was shaking her head.

"Nikita, Madeline did what she did without my permission. She went against my recommendations and she will pay but I will be there to see it." he nodded at Birkoff to continue making the necessary arrangements. "We leave in two hours." he turned back to Nikita. "I suggest you pack light." he smiled again. Turning to Walter he handed him profile panels. "Under no circumstances is Michael to be made aware of either mine or Nikita's arrival in Chicago. Find out where they are staying and what information they have on Madeline and download it to our panels" he turned back to Nikita "Walter will supply whatever weapons we may need" and with that he turned and left.

All three exchanged glances, nodded to each other and left to go their separate ways. Nikita didn't know if she could trust Operations but she obviously had no choice at this point.