Belli ira et lacrimae
(War, Wrath and Tears)
By: Felicia Ferguson
Summary: Kilmer, Frankie, and the team race to stop an attack from an unexpected enemy.
Author's Note: I did quite a bit of research in preparing and writing this piece and took a few liberties with real life. Any technical discrepancies are more than likely my fault, so please ignore them -- they were meant in respect not defamation. Also, after much consideration, I decided to have Frankie and Kilmer's relationship and subsequent marriage begin after they were both in the FBI and their divorce to have been final only a couple of months or so before the Pilot.
Further Note: I was excited to see TM fanfic on I hope everyone continues to post!
Kennedy Space Center
Merritt Island, Florida
The shuttle orbiter Atlantis stood proudly erect on her launch pad. The orange external tank pierced the flawless blue sky. In the air, there was a silence, pregnant with possibilities. Though every mission was important, even special, this mission was to be the most important, the most special to date. In the first joint American-Russian scientific effort, Atlantis would carry not only the usual astronaut compliment, but also two Russian scientists as Mission Specialists.
Thousands of hours of training achieved and launch scheduled for the day after tomorrow, the crew began their final walk-through of the orbiter. Dimitri Kashkov, Mission Specialist Number Two, gazed down from the crew cabin access arm to Atlantis' loading area and watched the American Military Police. M-16's gleaming, the men and women went through the pre-planned movements of the changing of the guard. Security was unprecedented, he had been told, and was all in an effort to protect himself and the other Russian scientist aboard. He smiled at the thought.
"Dimitri!" called his compatriot, "do you not want to get a closer look at our new home?"
Kashkov waved him off and nodded. With one final look at the military guards, he turned his attention to the orbiter itself.
The bullpen of the Homeland Security base of operations, affectionately known as the Vault for its high-level security system, was relatively calm when Colonel Roger Atkins, director of the teams, entered. John Kilmer, the SAC of one of the ten Homeland Security teams and his ex-wife and XO, Frankie Ellroy-Kilmer, had returned from an op that morning. Atkins glanced around the room and noted the latter agent's absence among the usual company of Mo, Mia, Jelani and Anders.
"John," the colonel greeted. Seeing the lines of fatigue etched into the younger man's face, Atkins realized just how close they had come in averting yet another act of terrorism. He wished he had brought something better than more work.
Kilmer glanced up from the report he was in the process of filing on their previous op. He grimaced. "Colonel, I take it by the look on your face that whatever is in that file isn't good news."
Atkins flashed a wry smile and nodded. "Then you would be correct." Handing Kilmer the file, he continued, "The Institute of Organic Chemistry in Moscow, a research facility, has reported that an unknown quantity of Phosgene was stolen from one of their labs. They didn't miss it until this morning during the monthly check of their inventory."
"So it could have disappeared any time between now and a month ago?" Kilmer swung away from the bullpen's conference table and said, "Anders, pull up everything we know on Phosgene."
Anders' hands flew over the keyboard and within seconds information scrolled down the screen in front of him. "Got it. Phosgene, CG to its friends, is legitimately used in plastics and pesticides. However, in World War I it was used as a choking agent and was responsible for the largest amount of chemically-related deaths." He paused for a moment, located the information he wanted, then continued reading, "Exposure will initially cause coughing, the sensation of burning in the throat and eyes, watery eyes, blurred vision, shortness of breath, nausea and vomiting. But most notably, as time goes on, fluid will begin to fill the lungs which will literally cause a person to drown."
Mia and Mo had joined the trio, abandoning their own efforts at deciphering chatter from unknown parts of the world. Mia leaned against Anders' desk and peered down at the screen. "Any idea as to where that canister is now? Mo and I have been monitoring the chatter ever since Echelon popped up with some unusual activity in Chechnya."
Kilmer looked his question. "NSA's got a hit on a Chechen website," Mo answered. "It's a group that has been labeled as al-Qaeda sympathizers: the Sabotage Battalion of Chechen Martyrs. Previously there had only been chatter -- and lots of it -- between them and al-Qaeda linked people. But now there's a blog entry. 'Fire will consume the sky as Allah's wrath spews forth on the Infidels.'"
Atkins raised his eyebrows. "The Infidels. That could be anyone. Any record as to who posted it?"
"Back-tracking now," Jelani said as information downloaded onto his screen. "It came from a computer in Grozny in the home of one Alexi Brilnikov. Brilnikov has ties to the Chechen separatist movement, but so far has not been linked to the more radical branches."
"At least he hasn't been tagged yet," Kilmer muttered as he memorized the face on the screen.
"Phone calls and emails are indicating that something is being set up to retaliate for Russia's bombing of Chechnya with the American's OK after the school incident."
Grim-faced, Kilmer nodded. "Alright, Jelani, have Russian officials pick him up. Mo, you and Mia work on finding that CG." He pulled out his cell phone and tabbed in a number. After the fourth ring, he heard the aggravated voice of his ex-wife.
"Kilmer, I'm in the shower."
"And I'm sure you look great," he replied with a mischievous grin that belied his exhaustion. "But dry off quick. You and I are headed to Chechnya."
...to be continued...
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