Jack stares blankly out of the car window into the night, watching Elizabeth on the phone as she updates her team with Jack’s rescue and the discovery of Suvarov’s location.
The others remain silent, not sure what to say.
He sees Elizabeth finish her call and he gets out of the car and slowly follows Elizabeth up the steps into the house. Physical and emotional exhaustion are starting to overwhelm him. His brain, now over the initial shock, is racing, trying to process what he’s just heard. He believed Elizabeth when he looked at her eyes. But then, he’s well aware that photos can be manipulated – Is she lying? He was never able to relate to his father Phillip; and had been devastated to discover his family’s involvement in terrorist attacks on home soil and their subsequent collusion with the Chinese. If Elizabeth actually is his mother and she’s not lying then although his real father is dead, he was at least a good man.
He wants it all to be true so badly. Is that why he believes Elizabeth? Is he being set up? He shakes his head slightly, trying to clear the fog of fatigue that is starting to overcome him.
He turns left into the room, followed by the others and sees Elizabeth go over and hug the dark haired woman he’d last seen waving smelling salts under his nose.
Jack looks around the dimly lit room. At one end, Seminov is seated and appears to be sleeping with his head down, resting on his arms on the table in front of him. His face, visible from the doorway, is bruised and bloodied with his eyes swollen shut and an obviously broken nose from a previous, vigorous interrogation.
“You okay Captain?”
There’s no answer from Seminov and Jack goes over to him.
He feels for a pulse in Seminov’s neck. It’s there, regular and strong. He is just unconscious. On a balance of probability, he considers Seminov an ally, albeit an unlikely one. Seminov could easily have given Jack up to Lebedev but opted to subject himself to a beating instead.
On the far wall to Jack’s right is a small bare window which looks out into the darkness. The long wall opposite has an archway to what appears to be a kitchen and another door further down which is closed. Halfway down the long wall is an oversized wall clock which shows the time as just past one a.m. Jack has no idea whether it is accurate or not. He had learnt very quickly that time was irrelevant when you were destined to spend the rest of your life in prison. At the other end of the rectangular room under a large curtained window are two long, grey, saggy couches and Jack makes his way towards them, feeling he needs to sit down before he falls down with tiredness.
Anton, Chloe, Belcheck, and Kate join him and Elizabeth turns to them from the other end of the room and says triumphantly, “This is Katya, she’s the reason Jack is here, safe with us.”
While the others introduce themselves in turn, Jack looks up the other end of the room and studies the younger woman. He gets the same, slightly odd feeling as when he saw her the first time – there’s something vaguely familiar about her. No, he corrects himself, not about her, more about her mannerisms, but he can’t place it. He is just so tired and doubts his instincts that he wouldn’t normally second guess.
Elizabeth asks Katya what had happened and nods towards Seminov and then makes her way towards the others and sits down next to Chloe and Kate on the other couch.
Katya walks up the room and stands behind Seminov, placing her hand on his shoulder.
“Elizabeth, when I rang you, I was overheard by one of Lebedev’s men who raised the alarm. They dragged me to the room where Seminov was being tortured. I denied everything obviously, but they didn’t believe me”
Katya turns and paces back and forth across the room between the wall and Seminov. All those seated, follow her back and forth with their eyes while she continues her story.
“Lebedev had left with Jack and fortunately, I think they were worried that they would be seen as disloyal to Lebedev if they went up against me too hard. They took me to another room and I was left with just one guard looking over me. He was sloppy and I managed to knock him out. Then it was just a matter of taking the guard’s gun and making my way back to where Seminov was.“ She said nonchalantly
Katya walks back towards the left wall and resumes her position behind Seminov “We were lucky to get out of there alive.”
“Unfortunately, one guard managed to raise the alarm and we ended up having to shoot our way out. It was pretty intense. One of Lebedev’s men jumped us and Seminov took the brunt. We nearly didn’t make it out alive. All of Lebedev’s men are dead.”
Elizabeth looks at Seminov with concern and says to Katya, “Do you have a first aid kit?”
The man pulls the phone from his pocket and answers it, “This is Agent Bailey”
He listens to the voice on the other end of the phone and concludes the call with a curt, “Yes, Sir, we’ll be airborne in 3 minutes. I’ll confirm once we’ve reached the rendezvous point”
In one swift movement Bailey puts his phone back into his pocket and turns to his team of four, seated round a table and says, “We’re moving out. Helipad in 2 minutes”
Bailey strikes a green button on the wall to send a message up to the helipad of their impending departure and then turns towards a large cabinet. He punches a series of numbers into the key pad on the wall and then on opening the cabinet, starts distributing weapons to his men who have lined up, ready to deploy.
Katya and Kate are cleaning up Seminov. His nose has been reset by Kate, which had produced a groan from Seminov, he is slowly starting to come round which is a relief to Jack since he seems to have been out for a while.
Jack is going over their options and realizes they don’t have many. Between them, they have no resources to speak of. A few hand guns, a finite amount of ammunition and limited manpower. There’s nothing they can do about Suvarov, they’d barely made it out alive, going back there would be suicidal without back up. It is also almost guaranteed he is now categorized as a fugitive having been off the grid for so many hours. He could hand himself in with Seminov and trust that Morozov keeps to his word. He considers that unlikely, he’d been skeptical even when Morozov had first put the offer on the table. ‘Should I have turned down Morozov’s deal?’ he pondered. He’d come to accept being captive, had finally become accustomed to the monotony and being steadily starved of food, light, and human interaction. Now after this brief spell of freedom, the thought of going back, if there is even the slightest chance of ending up imprisoned again, is unbearable.
Jack shakes his thoughts away and brings his mind back to the present. He struggles to keep up with all the different conversations going on around him and his body aches from his earlier beatings, so in the end he admits defeat, relaxes back into the couch and allows his head to fall to the side against the back of the seat.
The change in his eye line alerts him to a moving shadow under a closed door to his left. Who’s in there? He asks himself, immediately alert. He does a quick headcount round the room, nobody’s missing, so someone’s in there that shouldn’t be.
Kate is on her way to the kitchen with the small bowl of water she’s been using to clean the dried blood from Seminov’s hands and face. Jack looks over to Seminov and stares at him, willing Seminov to open his eyes so he can try and communicate without Katya seeing.
He watches as Katya bends over him and appears to whisper something in his ear. Seminov’s eyes open wide as a reaction to whatever Katya is saying and Jack sees the fear.
Jack leans across to Belcheck who’s sitting next to him and mutters “Be ready”. He stands up but is overcome by a wave of dizziness. Violent shakes rack his body and he staggers, falling back into the chair on the verge of passing out.
“Jack! What’s wrong?” Chloe rushes over to his side.
The Bell UH-1Y Venom helicopter rises into the night, with Bailey and his men aboard. “Through his headphone comm unit, Bailey updates his men on the mission.
“We’ve had orders from Washington to do an extraction. The target’s a U.S. citizen and a suspect in the terrorist attacks. We’ve got a rendezvous point to meet with a Russian assault team who’ve got the detail. We’ll be there in just over 2 minutes.”
The men nod their understanding and then sit back, each with their own private thoughts about the mission that lies ahead.
Coming from the kitchen, Elizabeth presses a mammoth sized mug of tea that she has made into Jack’s hands.
“Drink this, you’ll feel better.”
Jack takes a sip. It’s hot. And sweet. Very sweet, to the point of sickly. He makes a face and Elizabeth chuckles. “You used to have a sweet tooth Jack, just drink it. I promise it will help”
He takes another, larger sip and feels the warmth trickle down his esophagus.
Elizabeth turns to Chloe who is still by Jack’s side looking worried.
“He’ll be fine, just needs some sustenance. I don’t think they fed him very well the last six months.”
That’s an understatement thinks Jack, starting to feel revived by the tea.
Kate appears from the kitchen, holding a plate stacked with two oversized sandwiches and holds it out to him.
“Eat,” she says simply.
General Morozov taps his fingers impatiently on his desk as he waits to be put through to President Putinov. This was not how he planned it. If he hadn’t been blackmailed by that American woman his neck wouldn’t be on the line now. He had pushed for Bauer to lead the hunt for the terrorists and now it seemed that he was working with them. As far as he was concerned, both the American woman and Bauer needed to be eliminated. He had been made a fool of. He concluded that Seminov was likely dead which was unfortunate. He was a good soldier. However it was excuse enough for his proposal.
His thoughts were interrupted by a series of clicks and finally the President’s voice came on the line.
“Egor, what news do you have for me?”
“Mr President, thank you for taking my call. We have identified one of the men in the photos as Jack Bauer”
“That’s old news Morozov”, says the President impatiently
“Yes Sir.” says Egor, grimacing ”We have reason to believe that he is working for the terrorists. A helicopter left his last known location. We have managed to track it to a remote building south of the city. We also think he is responsible for the death of three Russian agents. The two that were found dead at the building near the bomb site and also the other man in the picture, Seminov. He is one of our top men Sir, so if he was free to do so, he would have checked in by now.”
Morozov draws a breath and carries on.
“I’m asking your permission Mr President to launch an Su-30 airstrike on the target location. It’s an isolated position. Kh-29 air to surface missiles would be undetected by the wider populace. A very effective way to eliminate both the terrorists and Bauer and solve all our problems in one swoop “
“Regrettably Egor, you haven’t worked fast enough. I have just been forced to an agreement with the U.S. President that Bauer is recovered alive. Twenty minutes earlier and we could have followed your plan”
Much to his chagrin, Morozov makes the necessary apologies he feels he ought and rings off. He leans back in his chair and looks up at the ceiling, trying to take his mind off the missed opportunity by planning all the things he can do to Bauer when he is returned to his custody.
Putinov hangs up the phone and reflects sadly on the conversation he’s just had. Jack Bauer has a lot to answer for. His thoughts are almost immediately interrupted as Serge knocks on his door.
Serge marches straight over to the President and hands him a piece of paper.
“We’ve just received this intel Sir, It’s about Suvarov. He’s at the same location as Bauer.”
Putinov reads the short text, looks up at Serge and says, “Who’s the source?”
“Unknown Sir, it came in via an open frequency. We are looking into it.”
Putinov says firmly, “Make sure he’s taken alive,” and then, as an afterthought, barks, “and find out where this came from.”
Suvarov’s machine beeps erratically. His men rush in, responding to the high pitched alarm. Before they even reach his bedside, Suvarov seizes on the bed and the machine emits a continuous beep,
Alexei grabs the two adhesive resuscitation electrodes attached to the portable defibrillator and sticks them on Suvarov’s bare chest, either side of his heart at ten and four o’clock and then starts CPR chest compressions, like he’s been trained.
Panting with the exertion of the CPR Alexei says” Get the EpiPen”
He stabs it into Suvarov’s chest, flings the spent syringe onto the floor at his men’s feet and then continues CPR, watching the heart monitor screen for any sign of life. A faint irregular heartbeat flickers across the screen and Alexei charges the defibrillator to try and establish a stronger, more regular heartbeat.
The defibrillator brings Suvarov’s heart back to life and he immediately suffers another seizure. If anything it’s more violent than the first and the heart monitor emits the uninterrupted beep of somebody losing the fight to live.
Alexei goes back to CPR, now sweating with the effort.
The Doctor comes up to his side and says, “Alexei, let me take over.”
Alexei steps back and lets the man take his place. He looks anxiously at the screen for any sign of life, any slight deviation on the straight line across the screen.
He charges the defibrillator again with the realization it’s a fruitless gesture. He waits for the Doctor to stop CPR and then applies another shock to Suvarov’s lifeless form.
Nothing. The Doctor has resumed CPR but eventually he steps back and shakes his head. Alexei turns to the rest of the men standing wide eyed in the doorway. “There’s nothing more that can be done here. President Suvarov has died with honor, fighting the cause and we will honor him by continuing with the plan in his memory. Go back to your stations”
Alexei watches the men shuffle out accompanied by low murmurings as they discuss what has just taken place.
Once alone, Alexei turns to the bed and removes the adhesive pads he had attached to Suvarov’s chest just minutes ago.
He stands there for a moment, looking at the man he had served and believed in for so long and then gently pulls the crisp white sheet up over Suvarov’s head, concealing him from view.
Bailey, speaking over the drone of the helicopter’s rotor, is on the radio notifying the CIA Director of their status.
“We’ve made the rendezvous with the FSB team and they’ve updated us with the location that they tracked Bauer’s helicopter to. It’s an abandoned building south east of Moscow and we are now en-route to the target location. We have an updated objective, there are two civilians to recover and take into custody at the target location. ETA is 35 minutes Sir”
Ritter, back in Washington says “Affirmative. The President has requested regular updates. Keep me apprised of any deviation from the plan and let me know once you have secured the target location. The Russian agency have now got a satellite on the target and their tac team will be informed of anything of significance”
The helicopter flies low and fast, heading south, with the 5 CIA agents and 4 FSB Agents reviewing the target location and deciding on the best approach path to provide maximum cover.
“Do we know how many hostiles there are?” asks one of the CIA Agents
The Russian team leader Iosif, shakes his head and with a strong Russian accent says “No and we have no detail on ordnance either. We will be exposed, despite the darkness, it is an isolated spot, we don’t have a choice”
“Can we set down a couple of miles out?” asks one of the CIA agents
“We don’t have time,” says Bailey. “We have to go in hard and fast, extract the marks, and move on out, those are our orders”
Iosif nods. “That’s how our President wants it handled too. We have express permission to eliminate any hostiles, but Bauer and Suvarov must both be recovered alive, unless…” Iosif lets the sentence trail off, knowing that the meaning was understood.
Jack is rather touched by the concern shown by the people around him and while he eats and drinks, he takes a moment to consider what they have all been through to try and find him. He has to remind himself that Elizabeth is still an unknown quantity but he is starting to warm to the pragmatic, elderly woman who claims she is his maternal parent. She’s certainly risked her life at least once already to rescue him from Suvarov’s hideout and has plenty of spirit, despite her age. Anton has impressed him too. He is more than capable and appears trustworthy. He has no connection to Jack whatsoever but obviously has a deep allegiance to Elizabeth, and Jack can appreciate that as a virtue.
Kate surprises him slightly; does she feel she owes him because of what happened to Audrey? He’ll probably never know and he certainly doesn’t blame her, any guilt is on him, he’s had plenty of time to process that over the last six months. Cheng was ultimately responsible for Audrey’s death and Jack did all he could to seek retribution even though he knows it will never be enough to right the wrongs. Kate knew much about his background from CIA dossiers, but had only known him in person for a matter of hours before he had handed himself over to the Russians. She had been a reliable partner for him those few hours in London, and he knows that despite their different backgrounds, in many ways, they are kindred souls, but none of that really explained why she was there.
Chloe has been such a stalwart for so long. He knows he shouldn’t be surprised by her unwavering loyalty, but it doesn’t mean he appreciates it any less.
Belcheck has certainly repaid any good turns Jack had done for him ten times over. He has never asked Belcheck why he’d willingly gone with him to London. Jack had never expected it and he’d never got the opportunity to thank him either. He casts his mind back to the day Belcheck had helped him break Chloe out and he’d said to Belcheck that he didn’t have any friends. He remembered the overpowering feeling of isolation that had hit him when he’d said it. He knew he would never feel like that again and recognized that he had been wrong then too, because despite all he had done and all the choices he had made throughout his life, he has three, here, right at this moment all looking out for him. He realizes that he trusts all of them. Jack reassesses and corrects himself. He trusts all of them with his life. He looks down and smiles to himself. It is an unfamiliar but healthful emotion.
Jack gives up with the sandwiches, the meagre rations he has become accustomed to have seriously impacted his capacity for food, but what he has eaten along with the tea has been almost magical in their restorative powers and he feels strong enough and ready to put his plan into action.
He drains his mug of tea and picks up the plate from the side table adjacent to him and stands up. “Jack, stay there” said Chloe, “I’ll take them.”
“It’s fine Chloe. I’m fine”, Chloe sinks back down into the couch. Even though he has said it kindly, she knows Jack well enough not to argue.
He makes his way to the kitchen and has a look around the small room. There is nowhere that anybody could hide in here. What he can’t fathom, even though he is now capable of clear, coherent thought, is why there’s a person concealed in the next room. What are they waiting for he wondered?
He looks back into the main room.
The bridge of Seminov’s nose is now covered with a wide, white piece of sticking plaster which extends across both cheekbones. There are still smears of dried blood across his face and hands and Katya who has remained close to Seminov since their arrival is wiping the last of them away with a clump of moist cotton wool.
Jack takes his gun from his improvised holster in the waistband of his denim pants and holds it behind him as he walks back out into the main room. He walks towards Katya and Seminov and asks, “How’s he doing?”
Katya looks up “He’s doing okay, I’m almost done, he’s not fully with it yet but I think he’s starting to come round.” She then bends back down to continue cleaning Seminov’s face.
Jack moves behind Katya and grabs her shoulders, spinning her round and pushing her back against the opposite wall. He raises his gun to her temple and demands for her to tell him who is in the other room.
“Jack! What are you doing?” Elizabeth shouts indignantly. She jumps up to start walking quickly up the room towards him and Katya. Before she has taken barely a step, Belcheck has leapt to his feet and gently directs Elizabeth back to the couch.
“Start talking Katya”, says Jack fiercely.
“There’s nobody there,” Katya says, seemingly puzzled.
He pushes the muzzle of his hand gun hard against her temple.
“Try again, because that’s a lie.”
Elizabeth protests again from the couch where she has been seated by Belcheck, but Jack ignores her completely.
“Who is it? Tell me or I can shoot you right here and go and look myself.”
“It’s one of Lebedev’s men, Pavel. He was shot when we escaped and we kidnapped him,” Katya confesses.
“You said all of Lebedev’s men were dead!” Jack says accusingly, calling her lie.
Katya looks back at him defiantly and clamps her mouth firmly shut.
Without taking his eyes or grip off Katya, Jack says, “Anton, will you look after Elizabeth?”
Anton, replies in the affirmative and moves to sit on the other side of Elizabeth from Belcheck.
“Belcheck, take over here,” orders Jack.
Belcheck immediately stands up and moves up alongside him, manhandling Katya into one of the dining table chairs. He produces a set of cuffs, intertwines them with the ladder back of the chair and fastens them tightly around Katya’s wrists. She grimaces but says nothing.
Jack goes over to Seminov and nudges him but there is no response. “Captain?” Seminov utters a weak groan. He lifts each of Seminov’s eyelids, his pupils look normal so there is no evidence of a brain bleed. He checks Seminov’s pulse again; it’s still strong and regular. He just needs a bit more time. The massive lump that has grown on Seminov’s head from where he’d obviously been hit explains a lot.
Jack summons Kate who joins him and they line themselves up on either side of the door frame which leads to Pavel.
With his gun drawn, Jack quietly opens the door and sees Pavel lying on a bed with an obvious wound on his left thigh. Pavel has obviously tried to stem the bleeding with a dish cloth which is heavily stained.
“Stand up,” says Jack, pointing his gun at Pavel.
Pavel stays laying down, looks at him and says, “I can’t walk”
Jack, covered by Kate, walks over to the nearside of the bed and pats Pavel down, checking for any weapons. Once he is satisfied Pavel is unarmed, he glances around the sparsely furnished room. The floor is bare boards which look like they had been polished once upon a time but were now dull with age. Up one end is a chair with a blood stained cushion, courtesy of Pavel no doubt. An old wooden framed mirror hangs on the wall next to the door and on the far wall behind the bed is a small, old wooden wardrobe which has seen better days.
Jack is aware that Belcheck and Chloe are alone next door with one definite hostile and three others who at best he views it’s prudent to class as unknowns.
“I’ve got this,” he says to Kate. “Shut the door to, I don’t want to disturb the others.”
Kate understands his meaning and complies, closing the door quietly behind her while Jack moves around to the foot of the bed.
“Stand up. Or I’ll shoot you in the other leg, and then you may be right, as you’ll have a bullet in your right kneecap too.”
Pavel stares insolently up at Jack and resolutely stays on the bed.
Jack is well aware that this man is up to his neck in the terrorist attacks and is no doubt a trained soldier. He moves around the other side of the bed, closer to Pavel and with unerring accuracy to avoid bone and the main arteries, shoots him roughly 8 inches above his right knee. The bullet enters on the front right portion of Pavel’s thigh and exits out of the front left, ploughing through soft tissue and muscle then embedding itself harmlessly into the bedclothes under Pavel’s other leg.
Pavel screams and clutches his leg. Blood is steadily streaming from both the entry and exit wounds.
“Stand up!” demands Jack.
Pavel looks at him in horror but proceeds to attempt to obey Jack’s barked order. He shuffles to the side of the bed, clutching his right leg with the dishcloth, his previous wound seemingly forgotten.
From the wardrobe behind him, Marie can see Jack through the merest crack between the door and the frame. She must time this perfectly. She finally has her eyes on the man that destroyed her life and she will not let herself waste the opportunity.
Jack leans forward to pull Pavel to the side of the bed and at the same moment Marie lunges out, wielding a knife aimed squarely between Jack’s shoulder blades.
Jack simultaneously hears and feels the air movement behind him and working purely on his survival instinct, drops low and spins around to confront his attacker.
The knife misses its target but gouges deep into Jack’s right arm causing him to drop his weapon. It slides across the wooden floor towards Marie and out of his reach.
He spins away, pulling the knife still embedded in his bicep out of Marie’s grip and she lets out a yell of frustration that her blade didn’t cause a fatal wound. She picks up the gun that has landed inches from her feet.
She is just far enough away that Jack can’t reach out to grab his weapon but he instinctively kicks out with his left foot a split second before she pulls the trigger. Jack feels the draught of the bullet as it passes harmlessly by his left temple but he is momentarily deafened by the gunshot and Pavel’s accompanying scream. Marie’s grip, loosened on the handgun due to his ferocious kick, allows him to wrench the gun from her hand and throw it across the room. He grabs her around the neck and applies a chokehold. Within eight seconds she is unconscious.
Jack unceremoniously drops her to the floor and then with his back against the wall slides down to join her. He is spent. While the food and drink gave him strength and energy, his stomach was increasingly telling him that it was too much, too fast.
He looks at his arm, the knife still protruding from it. “Dammit” he says wearily
Kate is at the doorway, alerted by Marie’s yell and the resulting fracas. The others sensibly have remained in their positions, guarding their charges.
“You okay?” asks Kate, her weapon drawn ready, covering Pavel and the unconscious form on the floor.
Jack, on the floor, resting against the wall, just grunts.
Elizabeth comes into the room past Kate and goes over to him.
“Tell me what to do, Jack. Let me help.”
He looks up at her and says gruffly, “Can you get the first aid kit and a clean towel?”
Elizabeth walks out of the room and Jack starts to stand up but thinks better of it and slides back down the wall to the floor. He looks at the recumbent woman and has a flash of recognition which is gone before he can fully process it. Her face is familiar to him but he can’t place it.
“Can you get these two out of here” he says to Kate, his gaze resting first on Pavel who is cowering on the bed, clutching his thigh and wailing and then the fair headed woman, sprawled, motionless on the floor where he’d inelegantly released her.
Kate is quickly replaced by Belcheck who scoops up the dead weight of the unconscious blonde and carries her out of sight into the main room and then almost immediately returns for Pavel, who much to Jack’s astonishment, screams like a baby when Belcheck picks him up off the bed. Belcheck had been relatively gentle but the sound of Pavel’s cries suggested otherwise.
Jack isn’t alone for long. Elizabeth returns with a clean towel, the first aid kit and a bowl of cloudy warm water which smells strongly of antiseptic. She puts the bowl on the floor next to him and kneels down alongside her son.
Elizabeth opens the first aid kit and takes out a pair of scissors. She carefully cuts through his sleeve, around the hilt of the knife, revealing the full extent of the injury. A single, thin rivulet of blood has run down his arm and is starting to congeal on the back of his hand.
Jack starts to inspect his arm and Elizabeth waits patiently for his instruction.
Although the knife’s handle is almost hard up against his skin, he reckons the wound is no more than two or three inches deep. The knife is small, albeit sharp. He moves the surface of the skin gently away from the embedded blade which produces a small bubble of blood. He considers that proof enough that there is no arterial damage and looks across at Elizabeth.
She knows exactly what he needs to do, she’s folded the towel in anticipation and she nods to indicate she’s ready. Jack grits his teeth and pulls the blade out in one swift movement and focuses on controlling the wave of nausea that immediately hits him.
Elizabeth instantly presses down hard with the towel on his bicep and gently lifts his arm into the air, elevating the wound.
With his free hand, Jack opens the first aid kit and starts inspecting the contents. He gathers together several sterile gauze pads and a wrapped crepe bandage which he takes out and puts onto his lap.
He lifts a corner of the thick towel Elizabeth is pressing onto his arm. The wound is bleeding but certainly not excessively and Elizabeth once more takes control.
“Hold the towel Jack,” she says gently.
From his lap, she takes a gauze pad and from a zipped bag in the first aid kit pulls a large clump of cotton wool which she then partly submerges into the bowl of water.
Taking the towel away from his arm she efficiently cleans in and around the wound which is still seeping blood. The antiseptic in the water stings, which unfortunately sets off another, albeit smaller wave of queasiness for Jack.
‘That’ll teach me to eat on the job,’ he thinks, trying to keep his mind off his throbbing bicep.
Elizabeth gives no indication that she is aware of Jack’s discomfort, for which he is grateful.
Silently, working in unison, they apply the dressings. Elizabeth then proficiently bandages his arm, closes up the first aid kit and stands up.
“Thanks” says Jack
She smiles down at him, and bends down gathering all the items she had brought with her, and silently goes into the other room where he hears her update the others: “He’s okay.”
Jack leans back on the wall with a sigh, resigning himself to what must be done next. Over the years, he has always accepted it was a necessary part of protecting the innocent but that rationalization didn’t make the process any less distasteful. Having been on the receiving end of many interrogations, he knew the pain and misery that could be inflicted and he was about to do exactly that himself. He had long ago finally learnt to live with his conscience and today would be no different.
He takes a deep breath to clear his head, then stands up. He retrieves his gun and picks the bloodied knife up off the floor and wipes both sides of the blade on the leg of his pants. He snaps the knife shut, puts it in his pocket and makes his way back to the others.
Seminov has been moved to one of the couches and is being gently coaxed into consciousness by Anton. Elizabeth and Chloe are seated on the other couch.
Belcheck has placed Marie in between Katya and Pavel and put the few items from her pockets on the dining table. She is still unconscious. Belcheck is standing over the three of them.
Belcheck jerks his head towards the table. “She had a phone, it’s wiped. Nothing else”
Jack nods in understanding.
Kate comes into the room. “I’ve checked the rest of the house. It’s empty.”
Judging by the blood loss Pavel has suffered so far, the wound looks significant but certainly not life threatening, however Pavel seems convinced he is slowly dying, revealing to Jack that he isn’t as tough as he is putting on. Jack decides to use this to his advantage.
He goes to the standard lamp in the corner, unplugs it from the wall and then rips the electric flex from the lamp base. He goes back to Pavel, who visibly withers in Jack’s close presence and wraps it twice, tight around Pavel’s right thigh and ties it off.
“Don’t want you dying on me quite yet, Pavel. You need to do some talking first. But I can always take it off again if you start playing games.”
Jack asks Kate for handcuffs and weaves them through the back of Pavel’s chair, mirroring those restraining Katya. He pulls Pavel’s arms back one at a time and secures them both.
Pavel cries out, “My leg!”
“You don’t need to hold the towel. I’ve given you a tourniquet.”
Pavel quietens down at the barked instruction, as he realizes Jack is right.
Jack strides over to Elizabeth and grabs her by the shoulders. He says fiercely, “Tell me everything!”
Anton leans forward on the other sofa and issues a warning. “Careful, Jack.”
“There’s something very wrong with this whole set up. I need to know the truth.”
Jack tightens his grip on her shoulders and looks grimly at Elizabeth.
“Tell me. Now!”
Chloe grabs Jack’s arm and protests. “Jack, Stop. She helped us get you away from Suvarov, she’s on our side. She showed us photographs of you both.”
He turns to her, anger in his face. “Don’t interfere, Chloe. I need some answers!”
Elizabeth looks into his haunted eyes, sees the depth of pain in them and with composure says, “It’s alright Chloe, Jack just wants to talk”
The calmness shown by Elizabeth, appeases Jack and he finds himself stepping back to allow the older woman to tell him what she knows.
4:40 p.m. (Washington)
In the Oval Office, Kanin sits with the President, reviewing the file that has been hastily compiled on Bauer and mulling over the information provided by Ritter.
“So you’re adamant that this doesn’t sound like Bauer?” asks the President.
“Yes, I am, Sir. Over the years, I’ve heard things, or read things in files, about many people and it’s only when actually meeting them or seeing their actions first hand that you get a proper handle on the real circumstances, their motives, what really happened and why.” says Kanin. “This new intel just doesn’t fit Bauer.”
“Even though he’s apparently been imprisoned by the Russians for the last six months? Wouldn’t he want revenge?” asks the President.
“No, Sir,” Ethan replies. “Some years ago, during Wayne Palmer’s administration, this country had pretty much abandoned him to the Chinese. It was considered too politically sensitive to try and recover him, but, frankly, even then, this country owed Bauer a lot. Then after he’d been imprisoned for around two years, we did negotiate for his release, but only so he could be handed over as a sacrificial lamb to a known terrorist. Even after that treatment, he still risked his life to avert multiple nuclear terrorist attacks on our soil.”
“Go on,” says the President.
Ethan continues as asked. “He is unorthodox, I grant you that. His methods are questionable, but his objectives and his moral focus are unwaveringly sound. He saved both the first gentleman and President Taylor.”
“I was there, remember?”
“Yes, sir,” Kanin replies. President Hayworth stays silent to allow Kanin to continue. “He also saved this country from being held to ransom by Starkwood and he himself was then exposed to a biological weapon and was very lucky to survive. All on the same day as he was hauled up in front of a Senate Sub Committee for the then disbanded CTU. Not the actions of a man that bears grudges.”
“Apart from when he tried to kill Suvarov you mean?” says Hayworth.
“Suvarov was responsible for the conspiracy to kill President Hassan. Jack Bauer was only trying to stop President Taylor from signing up to something that was based on lies and corruption. There’s also the events in London to consider. Heller wouldn’t have given him a pardon lightly.”
“Ethan. Can I remind you, Heller had early stage Alzheimers!”
“Yes, I know, Sir. All the same, Bauer had just stopped London being destroyed by Margot Al-Harazi”
“And then proceeded to decapitate Cheng, the man responsible, rather than going through formal channels”
Ethan looks up from the file and notices the slight smile on the President’s lips. He had realized slightly too late that the President was teasing him. His impassioned defense of Bauer had obviously been a little too much given the circumstances.
Ethan tried one more time. “Sir? You know Agent Aaron Pierce don’t you.”
“Err, yes, he retired a few years ago though, didn’t he? What’s he got to do with this?”
“Do you trust him, Sir?”
“Actually, yes, I do Ethan. Absolutely. He’s a fine example of a man who has a strong sense of right and wrong.”
“Phone him, Sir. Ask him what he thinks of Bauer.”
“I don’t think it’s necessary, but I’ll keep it in mind.”
Ethan recognizes the conversation is over and stands up to leave. He’s not sure that he will ever get to grips with the President’s sense of humor, but his main concern is that the President isn’t being lured into a trap that would leave him politically exposed at an international level. Having seen that happen to President Taylor, he certainly didn’t want that to happen again on his watch. Ethan doesn’t trust the Russians, and this latest intel just doesn’t sound right.
As Kanin opens the heavy wooden door to exit the Oval office, he glances back and sees Hayworth is reading the file on Jack Bauer he had left on the President’s desk. Ethan closes the door to the Oval office behind him, pulls his cell from his pocket and dials.
“Ritter,” says a voice on the other end.
“Erik, it’s Ethan Kanin. Do you have a location on the call that came in citing Bauer’s involvement?”
“Not yet. I have my best people on it and they’ve made some progress but not enough to identify the source.”
“We need that number Erik. I want it within the hour.”
Kanin hung up on the empty threat. He knew it was slightly unfair to pile the pressure on. Ritter’s team were working flat out, trying to get the details on the phone call, on Bauer’s location, intel on the bomb in Moscow and anything else that was being thrown at his department at the CIA. But he felt he needed to keep the pressure up anyway to prove to the President that something was seriously awry.
Now that she has gone into greater detail, Jack is stunned by what Elizabeth has just told him; not least by her resourcefulness and the dedication of her and her team and how long she had spent trying to find him. By the sounds of it she had come close to finding him in Eastern Europe just before he had gone underground again to turn up in London a few days later. He believes every word she has said, despite his brain telling him that he shouldn’t.
If what she said was true, Suvarov’s plan on regaining power and blaming everything on the U.S. government was clearly possible. The ramifications for the world’s political stability were momentous and judging by the timelines that Elizabeth had outlined, there weren’t many hours left before the next attack was likely.
“How is the CIA getting this information? And how are the Russians getting updates too?” demands Jack, still trying to tie up loose ends.
Elizabeth looks over to the three prisoners and lowers her voice, “I am…well, was… a double agent. I worked for both sides. I was never out in the field, I was shall we say, back office. I have contacts in both agencies and know how the information channels work.”
Jack feels his blood run cold. “And on which side does your allegiance lie?” he asks quietly, unsure he wants to hear the answer.
Elizabeth gives a half smile. “Does it help if I tell you I had to come into Russia via a container Jack? I still do the odd bit of freelance work for the CIA.”
Anton, having stepped out of the room earlier to take a call, interrupts them to tell them that her team had reported seeing the CIA helicopter take off, and that they were currently tracking it as it makes its way towards Suvarov’s hideout.
“Good, that’s sorted then,” says Elizabeth.
Jack isn’t so sure but says nothing. He’d never been one to rely on just one plan. He preferred to always be prepared for the unexpected.
He turns away from Elizabeth and walks up the room to Marie who has just come round. He grabs her by the throat and almost lifts her out of the chair. It’s only her handcuffs entwined in the chair back in the same manner as Katya’s that prevent Jack from lifting her out of the chair completely.
Despite her restricted windpipe, Marie manages to croak, “You ruined my life, and I am going to make you pay.”
He ignores this threat, drops her back into the chair and goes to walk away. He then turns swiftly back and puts his face very close to Marie’s and growls, “You are going to tell me what you know.”
“Go to hell you bastard, I’m not going to tell you anything!”
Jack’s brain fizzes with a memory, the same blonde girl, handcuffed to a chair saying the exact same thing.
‘Marie Warner! Small world’, he thought.
He remembers how she had resisted his interrogation last time, and the stakes had been huge that night. He had tried everything and he didn’t break her then. Despite being shot and painkillers being withheld she still hadn’t given up the information that Jack had needed all those years ago. He needed leverage, which he didn’t have, and judging by what Elizabeth had said, he was running out of time.
Jack stands over Pavel who has finally quieted down, apart from uttering the odd, low whimper. Pavel looks fearfully up at him, “I don’t know anything. She kidnapped me,” Pavel nods at Katya, who is still being guarded by Belcheck.
Katya stares blankly at him, and Jack focuses back on Pavel.
He unties the tourniquet causing Pavel to scream.
“No, don’t. Please don’t!”
Jack steps back, gives the flex to Kate, and then takes an empty chair, turns it around and sits on it backwards, facing Pavel.
“Best get started then Pavel, before you bleed out.”
“I’ll tell you everything I know, just please give me back the wire.”
Pavel’s whimpering is already starting to grate on Jack’s nerves, and he uncharacteristically wraps the cord back around Pavel’s leg in the hope it stops his sniveling and gets him talking.
Pavel looks up at Jack gratefully and starts to tell him what he knows about Katya and Marie.
“Jack, let me help,” says Anton who has come over to where he is seated, his weapon held loosely by his side.
Jack looks over to Elizabeth who is white faced on the sofa wringing her hands. She looks up at him, and he can see the shock in her face. Is it at him and what she has just seen him do or is it what Pavel has just revealed? Jack wonders.
“Jack,” she says, somewhat shakily, “I am so, so sorry. I truly had no idea.”
She looks him square in the eyes while his eyes bore into her, trying to see into her mind. Yet, again, his instinct says he believes her, although he can’t rationalize why.
Jack decides to focus on Katya. Somehow, she seems softer than Marie, not quite so fanatical. He isn’t sure that this will be an in, but he doesn’t have anything else.
He bends down to Katya’s level. “You know about me. So you know about my history and what I do to people when they won’t tell me what I need to know.”
He takes a coin from his pocket that he’d got as change from the food earlier in the day and flips it up and down in his hand.
Katya follows its path up and down through the air with her eyes as Jack continues, “I’m going to flip this coin. Heads I hurt Marie. Tails I hurt Pavel. You can stop me any time by telling me what you know.”
Katya looks resolute. Maybe this won’t work. He doesn’t want to inflict lasting injuries on her or Marie unless it’s an absolute last resort, but sometimes it is the only way.
Jack flips the coin a little higher and catches it on the back of his hand. He lifts his other hand from the top of the coin and looks down.
“Heads it is!” he says, smiling grimly. “I’m going to enjoy this.”
Katya looks at him in disgust, “You’re an animal. You killed my mother in cold blood, and now you want to torture Marie.”
Jack ignores the taunt as an irrelevance and carries on with the psychological game, changing his approach, adapting to Katya’s responses, and maintaining control.
“You don’t want me to hurt Marie? You want me to hurt Pavel instead. D’ya hear that, Pavel? She’s picked you.”
Jack moves up the line of prisoners and again removes the blood spattered tourniquet from Pavel’s leg, which immediately starts oozing blood. He purposely throws it down on the floor so it lands four feet or so in front of Katya so she can see what he’s done.
Pavel begs him to stop, crying and wrestling with his handcuffs that are preventing him from clutching his leg.
“It’s up to Katya now Pavel, Who is Marie, how’s she involved?” Jack already knows who she is, but he doesn’t know what she was doing here. Is it just to get him? Was there more to her plan?
“I don’t know, I’d never met her until tonight.”
“Why the bomb earlier today?”
“I don’t know, I was just paid to help.”
“What did they bring in through the port today?”
“I don’t know.”
“What’s the plan?”
“I told you, I don’t know.”
“You said you knew something else was going to happen – something big.”
“I don’t know any details, only Katya does. She used to talk to Lebedev. All I know is it’s planned for some time tonight and it’s big. It has to be much bigger than the one today because Lebedev was really excited about it”
Jack is relentless with his verbal assault on Pavel, firing questions at him one after the other, trying to make him slip up.
“Tell me about Suvarov.”
Pavel looks at him shocked “Suvarov? I don’t know anything about Suvarov. Please believe me.”
“Are you telling me the whole truth, Pavel? You know I’ll hurt you if I think you’re holding something back. I think you’re holding something back. Do I need to really hurt you?”
Pavel is now screaming with utter terror. “No, No! Please, Katya, tell him what he wants to know! You know I don’t know anymore, so I can’t. Tell him. Katya? Please!”
Jack steps back and lets Katya endure Pavel’s cries. Eventually they start to subside, and he takes a pace forward which generates another loud sob from Pavel.
Jack avoids the fresh wound which is still bleeding freely and presses his finger into Pavel’s left thigh, careful not to disturb the clotted dried blood that is effectively sealing the wound. “You know why this leg hurts so much more than the other one Pavel?”
Pavel cries out, shaking his head.
“Because the bullet is still in there, right next to the bone,” says Jack.
He presses harder on Pavel’s leg, and Pavel’s screams intensify. Pavel, sobbing in desperation, cries, “I don’t know anymore, please believe me, please!”
Jack reasons he is probably telling the truth, so he has to break Katya or Marie to get the information he needs.
He looks along the line of faces. Marie appears unaffected by Pavel’s cries but Katya is crumbling. He can see her shaking. He was right. She is the weak link between the two of them. He moves back up the line until he’s in front of Katya again and starts bouncing the coin up and down once more.
“Talk to me Katya or shall we carry on with the game?”
Katya’s eyes are suddenly full of anger and hate and Jack realizes he underestimated her resolve. If he can just get her to start talking, then he’ll break her. Once they start talking, it’s downhill from there. Can he make an emotional connection? He just needs an in.
“Tell me about your mother, Katya.”
Katya stares at him, pain showing in her eyes.
“How’d she die, Katya?” he says gently, “Tell me.”
A tear slowly builds in the corner of Katya’s left eye and eventually spills down her cheek.
Jack swallows some bile that has risen in his throat.
Katya’s defenses are visibly disintegrating, and Jack seizes that moment of vulnerability. He flips the coin again and with one hand covering the other, holds his hands out to Katya “Heads or tales, Katya?”
She visibly shudders, not willing to make the call to condemn either of the other two.
Alexei is seated in Suvarov’s old suite, his elbows lean on the mahogany desk in front of him, with his fingers forming a steeple. He’s going through all the events of the night in his mind. Where all the men were during Bauer’s escape and where Suvarov was when they found him with a bullet in his back. It still didn’t add up that he could have been hit by Bauer but he couldn’t work out which one of his team could have shot Suvarov either. Could it have been accidental? It seemed possible, but unlikely. He had done all he could at this stage, insisting the men pair up which would stop anybody acting independently and compromising the task in hand. He couldn’t afford to risk any more men.
His thoughts are interrupted by Yury who knocks on the door and confirms that the truck is on schedule and will be arriving in just under an hour.
Just as he is dismissing Yury, the intercom on his desk buzzes insistently.
“Alexei, a helicopter has just been sighted coming in from the North, it’s about three minutes out.”
Jack knows he’s close to breaking Katya. The continuous goading, switching between friend and foe is making headway.
“You don’t want to pick heads or tails?” He conceals the coin in his palm and squats down close to Katya and whispers, “Tell me about your mom, were you little when she died?”
Katya nods, tears now streaming from her eyes,her face red with anger.
Jack is sickened by what he has had to do and the depths he has had to go to just to make Katya talk, but he purposefully carries on, trying to break the woman in front of him.
“What happened, Katya? Tell me.”
Katya looks at him in disgust, but doesn’t utter a word. He takes the coin and starts flipping it in the air again in front of Katya’s tear streaked face.
Eventually, Katya can stand no more and screams, “You killed her. She did nothing wrong and you killed her. This is all on you. This is your fault. I hate you.” She then bursts into huge racking sobs.
Jack puts the coin away. And in a softer, yet urging voice says, “Who was she, Katya? Tell me what this is all about. Tell me her name. Give me a name.”
Katya’s answer hits Jack like a battering ram, crushing his breath in his throat, his brain overcome with a chill so intense he is momentarily paralysed.
“Nina. My mother was Nina Myers.”