Chloe and The Mice

Chapter One



Disclaimer: I don't own anyone from 24. I guess I do own some of my original characters. If you want to borrow any go ahead.

Chloe O'Brian was staring intensely into the screen at the man in the blue suit. In LA night had fallen but this man walked in the warm morning sunshine. Chloe was in The Zone concentrating, no distractions. The trouble with satellite coverage was that satellites were always moving. There were gaps in the coverage, blind spots. She might lose the man for varying periods of time and have to spot him again. She checked another screen and saw that the red Toyota Land Rover was still sitting in the driveway, good.

From the corner of her eye she spotted a red shirted security guard wandering by. "Coffee!" she barked. The first word she's said in over 2 ½ hours. Without a word he picked up the large insulated mug and headed for the break room where the best coffee was. Good to know those guys weren't completely useless.

She was going to lose coverage of the man for 6 minutes and 20 seconds. Enough time for a long needed trip to the ladies room. Her body protested getting up. It was still pretty sore from the beating Reich Reborn gave it two weeks earlier. On the way out a quick look in the mirror. Chloe had a habit of rubbing her face when she was tired and it played hell with her makeup. Screw it. Back to work.

She had lost the man but she knew where he was heading and his approximate speed. He was walking to the bank because obtaining a vehicle without leaving a paper trail was difficult. And cab drivers have a habit of remembering things they shouldn't. The bank didn't open until nine so he had plenty of time to kill.

When Chloe regained satellite coverage she saw several men in blue suits. Even in Tehran not everybody wore a robe and the blue suit seemed to be a uniform for business men all over the world, especially here in the financial district. She double checked the Land Rover and saw it was missing. Oh wonderful. She tried to find it. As long as it didn't head northeast she didn't care if it went to China. She spotted one but it was too dirty. She looked for the man in the blue suit. Chloe saw only one face and it wasn't her man, however everybody has a distinct walk and posture. Just concentraaate. . . .

"Chloe, I need you to take a look at this." Shari's voice broke the spell.

"Go away!" Is it that guy by the fire hydrant? No.

"It'll only take a sec."

"Shut up! Go away!" She never took her eyes of the screen. Where the hell is that Land Rover?

"It's important."

"Shut up! Go away! If you don't understand any of those words there's a dictionary on Patrick's desk!" The man on the corner? Too tall.

"There's no need to be so rude! After all the work we went through to rescue you!"

"Eternal gratitude! Shut up! Go Away!"

Is it that guy? No, his hair's too long. Oh there he is crossing the street. Shari is quiet. She must have left. She was working evening shift tonight. Most of CTU had gone home hours ago. Chloe had worked day shift and evening and it looked like she would be here all night. She spotted the Land Rover. It was almost there. Crap! He almost never came in on a Saturday.

Ali Sulliman strode confidently to the bank, briefcase in hand. He was familiar with Tehran. It was after all his home. He had fled from it as a young man with his parents after the Islamic Revolution in 1979. Since then he had been back several times, at first for the CIA and later for CTU. He was no longer a young man.

His short black beard was now flecked with gray, and like many other older men he had a hearing aide in his right ear. That hearing aide now spoke with a feminine voice speaking English.

"He's approaching, thirty yards behind you."

Sulliman calmly stepped into a nearby café. He casually moved to the far end of the counter behind several other people sipping coffee and ordered one himself. From the corner of his eye he watched Rashid walk by.

Rashid worked at the Farmer's and Merchant's Bank back when Sulliman's family owned it back in the '70's. Now he was the president and only employee who might possibly recognize Ali. He might not even remember him after all these years but Chloe didn't like leaving anything to chance. She had a backup plan lying on the couch in the break room snoring. She believed in a backup for a backup for a backup when planning an operation. Of course there were some days when CTU is thrown on the defensive and everything is made up on the fly. On those days they usually ended up with a stack of bodies and more pictures on the Wall of Remembrance.

Sulliman felt calm. He had an angel watching over him. A good angel if not a very friendly one. Ali Sulliman loved O'Brian. All the agents did. They might not necessarily like her. She did have a rather prickly personality. But they did love her because she gave them a much better chance of coming home alive.

Ali got a taste of her prickly side when training for this operation. For six hours he endured her sarcasm and snide remarks while practicing putting the program in the computer until she finally told him "Good enough." She then let him go on a 45 minute lunch break and told him to come back because good enough wasn't good enough. It took another four hours before she was finally satisfied. It might have been annoying at the time but that drive for perfection was helping to keep him alive.

While Ali waited patiently in the café Chloe watched Rashid enter the front door to the bank. She then switched to the bank security cameras that she had hacked into. Rashid was wandering around the lobby. Chloe picked up a phone and woke up her backup.

Airman Apprentice Kim Song, age 30, had immigrated to the US from Pusan, South Korea six months earlier. After a month frying hamburgers he enlisted in the Navy. He had been packing parachutes at Point Mugu when much to his surprise his security clearance suddenly leaped to Top Secret and he was transferred to CTU for five days. He had been coached on what to say but not why. Chloe wanted a recent immigrant. The accent had to be perfect. Rashid probably wouldn't notice a bogus accent but good enough wasn't good enough for Chloe.

As Kim held the phone to his ear he looked nervous. Chloe gave him what she hoped was a reassuring smile but she was just as nervous. The distant phone rang twice before the male secretary answered it.

Kim had been drilled extensively on what to say. "This is Mr. Kim from Pusan Steel and Construction. I would like to speak with Mr. Rashid. Is he in?"

"Yes sir, hold on a minute and we'll page him."

On the security cameras Chloe watched Rashid suddenly walk to the elevators. A few minutes later she heard Kim say "Hello Mr. Rashid, my company would like to lease facilities to import steel into in to your country. There is a huge building boom that we would like to take advantage of. Can we discuss interest rates?"

"Yes Mr. Kim, you'll find our rates are very competitive." Both men were speaking English, the international language of business.

Chloe whispered to Ali "You are go."

Ali paid for his coffee and sauntered out to the bank. He walked confidently up to the desk and presented his credentials. "Mr. Siddique here to repair the computers." Chloe hoped his paperwork would hold up. It was forged over at the CIA and she didn't trust the CIA. Too many people over there would leak classified information to the press for personal or political reasons. Of course CTU wasn't much better. She suddenly thought of Spencer.

Ali's paperwork held up and he was directed to the bank's mainframe where he began to work. For well over 20 years the Farmer's and Merchant's Bank was suspected of being used by terrorist groups. But the encryption codes were too good and constantly changing. The program code named Fencepost should fix that. Ali had been trained extensively by Chloe how to enter it so it was second nature. Still it took time. Chloe made a stretching movement with her hands to Kim to try to keep them talking.

Ali Sulliman assumed that Fencepost had been created by Chloe O'Brian. He was wrong. He managed to upload the entire program when Chloe noticed some Iranian police entering in the front door. Had they been found out?

"As you leave the room turn left, then left, then right. Use the fire exit." She whispered to Sulliman.

Sulliman managed to disarm the alarm on the fire exit and slip out into the alley. He used a lighter to destroy the disk he had brought in and pulled a cell phone out of his pocket dialing a number as he walked to the railroad station.

The phone rang three times before it was answered. "Hello?"

"Cousin Ramad! Its me Ali! Are you going to make it to the wedding next Thursday?

"Of course! I wouldn't miss it for the world! I'll even bring Uncle Mohammad!

"OK, I'll see you then."

Out on the Persian Gulf on board the USS Kitty Hawk the dark skinned middle eastern man hung up the phone. He was sitting in the radio room dressed in the khaki uniform of a Navy ensign but he wasn't in the Navy. He sent a coded message to Los Angeles where O'Brian received it.

"Fencepost is planted!" She announced to Director Hayes.

"So we can activate it now?"

"No! Not till Agent Sulliman is back in the safe house in Turkey! We've waited years for this we can wait a few more days." Chloe rubbed her face. It was going to be a long night. She had no idea what she was about to unleash.

Authors Note: Yes, I know this story doesn't have any mice yet. Just be patient.