Appearances Can Be Deceiving

By Tasamin

 

Sitting in the van the girls were joking and making plans for after the mission. Curlly was thumbing through a clothing catalogue.

Curlly lamented, "I have not had enough time to shop lately." She moaned as she looked at the clothes.

Brenna and Avi laughed. "As if you need too."

"So, what are we doing after the mission?" Jennifer asked.

"I vote for raiding Christopher's kitchen for ice cream sundaes and goodies and then watching old movies. DragonLady suggested.

"Ooh yes! My Fair Lady here we come." Curlly chimed in.

"Could it have to do wit the fact that Christopher was making a batch of cheesecake ice cream?" Brenda asked innocently.

Curlly nudged her. "Shh, no need to spread that rumor around." Curlly admonished.

Rita was barely listening as she was listening on her comm unit to Birkoff's last minute details about the mission and making the appropriate changes to the profile. She looked at the map on her computer screen and realized they were at the drop off point.

"Rita, I am scanning the area wait for clearance." Birkoff said as the van came to a halt.

"Ok Birkoff."

Meanwhile a debate on the merits of which flavor of ice cream was best was in full effect. Rita watched and laughed personally she preferred the simple chocolate ice cream but a Snickers sundae was always grand.

"Rita what are you doing after the mission?" A french accented voice asked in her ear. "Michael?!" Rita sat straight up and shook her head in confusion. For earlier on that evening Michael and her had seen each other off. He had the Talen mission and she had the Kandinski mission. The girls had teased her about her farewell with the enigmatic operative.

Avi started to laugh, "Now she is imagining him here."

"Rita just has it in a bad way for Michael but who could blame her." Jennifer piped in.

Rita waved them off and made a face. As the man began to speak again, "Could I persuade you to join me to join me?"

"Yes of course." Rita replied.

"I will be running tactical for the mission."

"I thought you had the Talen mission?"

"No, it was aborted someone leaked the information to Talen."

"Good." Rita said although something was nagging at her.

"Switch to Delta channel. You may proceed to first marks."

"Got it. Everyone heads up Michael is running tactical switch to Delta channel.

"Ah that explains the look on your face." DL Said with knowing smile.

"Rita is not making it to sundaes." The girls chanted out and laughed. Before they put their game faces on and headed out to complete the mission.

 

Shots rang out in the desolate warehouse district. A moonless night hid the attackers as well as the team. Rita did not know whether to be grateful or dreadfully concerned. The mission was supposed to be simple: take out the marginal resistance and retrieve a mainframe. That had been stolen. There was some serious faulty intel for the team was outnumbered and close to being captured. They made it to the first mark when the firefight had disrupted.

Rita was crouched behind a crate when on her COM set she heard, "Rita, how many down?" Birkoff said tersely. "And why did you go in I told you to hold for clearance."

At that statement Rita cut off communications with whomever a feeling of dread rushed through her as she switched to the team's B channel. "Switch to X channel." Once that was done she spoke again. "All right do not listen to any orders from Section. We are out of here. Prepare for egress."

Brenna who was posted to keeping the egress route open said, "Hold on a minute. Rita, I am not receiving a signal from Stanley." That was their driver it could mean that the egress transportation had been compromised or that communications were down.

"Brenna and DragonLady check it out. The rest of you start moving to sector 4. "

"Rita I am not receiving a signal from Stanley." Brenna replied.

"Dammit!" Stanley was their driver. It could mean the egress transportation was cut off, Stanley was dead or his comm link could be down. "Brenna and DragonLady check it out. The rest of you start moving to the exit point."

DragonLady and Brenna moved cautiously back toward the van as Avi, Kat, Jennifer, Rita and Curlly provided cover fire. The two girls approached the van cautiously. DragonLady gun in hand cautiously approached the driver's side ready to shoot, when she opened the door Stanley fell to the ground in front of her.

"Brenna get in the van! We are going to pick up the rest of the team." She slid into the driver's seat and put her hands on the steering wheel that was still slick with blood. Thankfully she had gloves on. She revved the engine to life and back out quickly. "Rita we are on the way prepare for egress."

"Got it."

The team was still fighting the attackers. When out of the night Brenna launched a grenade in the midst of their attackers. Stunning them briefly giving the team enough time to make a run for the van. Avi lead the group followed by Jennifer, Kat, Curlly and Rita. Curlly suddenly fell to the ground in front of Rita. She had been shot. Rita saw this and terror struck her. Jennifer turned around and helped Rita get Curlly in the van.

"Get us out of here!" Rita yelled.

As they drove away, Curlly was laid out she was unconscious. Avillion cut away Curlly's top. "The wound looks superficial. It only grazed her shoulder she should be fine."

Rita was sitting at the computer cutting all communications with Section. Relief filled her as she heard Avillion. "Good get her bandaged up."

"What is going on?" Jennifer asked sensing there was something different in the air.

Rita took in a deep breath as she looked up from the computer. She could tell that some of the girls had already surmised what was going on. They all had equal looks of dread and fear. "We are in mandatory refusal." Rita mind was working quickly. "We have to ditch the van, strip it for equipment and find another vehicle. It is to easy to find us this way. "

"Everyone strip off your receivers and comm tags." Kat announced.

"Kat we need them reconfigured for a non Section channel."

*********

At CLHQ North and Sherry were busy discussing the plans for the 4th of July. It would be their first major celebration in the new house.

"I was thinking that fireworks could be set off from the terrace. Sherry mused.

"Hmm interesting check with Walter about he safety of that."

"No problem."

The door to North's office opened in walked a somber looking Michael. Sherry's face brightened at the appearance of her favorite MIB. "Your back early from the Talen mission." Sherry said.

"The mission was aborted the target changed locales. I have another mission."

"Oh which one?"

"Rita's team has gone on mandatory refusal. I have to find them."

"You're kidding!" North said in shock as the implications ran through her mind. They would be ignoring all calls from Section and CLHQ. As a matter of fact they would shoot anyone who interfered in their mission.

"What happened?" Sherry asked as concern colored her voice.

"Someone tampered with our signal to the team. They made Rita believe she was speaking to me. Housekeeping has been to the site. 3 operatives down and one other one wounded we are analyzing the blood of the wounded operative to determine the victim.

 

"What does Operations plan on doing?"

 

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