Only 3 of the Team did not make the 48 hour deadline.
A female sniper had gotten stuck in Louisiana at the airport. One of the airport Rent-a-cops had decided to play hero and flagged her as a suspected terrorist. When she had produced her official paperwork, he'd launched into a profanity-laden tirade about that he was an employee of the Federal Government and could spot such obvious fakes a mile away.
He'd called the press and the mayor who was lauding the young man's heroism in front of a group of reporters who were all jotting notes while whining about their makeup to headset-laden runners who seemed to be 5 cups of coffee past their weekly caffeine limit on that particular hour.
The mayor was in the process of detailing how he had attended a Joint Terrorism Task Force seminar and the speaker, an FBI agent, had detailed a profile which this woman clearly fit. At that same moment, a gentleman who was beginning to grey around the temples entered the security area and flashed his FBI pedigree at the local Police Chief.
From their body language, the sniper could tell the two knew each other but were not on overly familiar terms. As the door began to close, the FBI Agent glanced through the window at the Mayor and laughed as if from some private joke. While shaking hands, the Chief inquired what the joke was. FBI Agent gestured with a nod of his head in the direction of the Mayor,
"Ever since the gun-control debacle following Katrina this idiot has been trying to make a name for himself. The Governor required him to attend a session of the seminar and he fell asleep 10 minutes into it. He didn't even recognize me as his teacher when I greeted him. Anyway what's the story with our presumed 'Miss Al-Qaeda' here?" The Chief handed her papers over while addressing the FBI Agent as Gregory. He flipped through the papers and murmured to himself that they 'looked official enough to him…so why all the fuss?' and stopped short as something caught his attention. He flipped back a page and flipped out his cell.
In response to the Chief's inquiry, the Agent replied the contact number looked like the Pentagon switchboard number. The sniper cleared her throat and the three SWAT Troopers nearest raised their weapons into a slightly more threatening position despite the fact she was handcuffed. The Chief frowned and reminded her,
"Lady you have the right to remain silent I suggest you consider maintaining it!" She instantly recognized the old Hollywood standard 'bad cop-good cop' routine as the FBI Agent gave her a look which said "well, what do you want?" and she politely requested she employ the code words she had had employed when she'd originally entered the airport.
As FBI Agent dialed, he turned the 'speakerphone' function on. When the voice did indeed identify the number was the Pentagon switchboard, the Agent identified himself and gave his badge number and indicated the Chief's presence. The Police Chief likewise gave his name and badge number.
They explained the purpose of the call and the operator asked them to hold. The first voice which came on the line was immediately recognized by both men even before he finished identifying himself as the Republican Senator for Louisiana.
He informed them that there was going to be another party joining the conversation in a few minutes but he wanted to hear what was going on since the Mayor's people wouldn't give him any details.
The sniper noted that as the two men took turns detailing the recent events and contents of the paperwork in front of them, they both referred to the man by his first name and their demeanor was more familiar with the Senator than it was to each other. She guessed the two law enforcement types in the room with her knew 'of' each other and were extending professional courtesy but either of them were independently on friendly terms with the Legislator.
The Senator informed them that the contents of their paperwork echoed items which had just been faxed to him by the office of the person who was about to join their conversation. There was a pause on the line and another voice was heard in the background to say 'she is coming through right now' and a familiar voice which was unmistakable to all filled the room. The SWAT personnel all exchanged surprised looks and the FBI Agent and the Police Chief both came to their feet out of respect.
"The individual you are detaining is working for me. I need her and her equipment at that destination in a matter of hours. Since this is a matter of National Security, I'd appreciate any assistance your local official channels can give me in this matter. Since any undue attention could be cause for embarrassment, I'd appreciate you turning that self-serving joker off before he gets started with his media circus." The Agent and the Chief responded in unison,
"Yes ma'am, Mrs Vice President!"
Half an hour later, she found herself aboard the private jet of a man she'd seen numerous times on TV. He was a world-famous Evangelist whose ultimate destination was was Virginia Beach but he'd been in the area doing follow-up on the ministry's efforts in the area. The plane actually belonged to another Evangelist who was from the local area but since the gentleman she was flying with was due to return to Louisiana after recording his weekly broadcasts, he was borrowing the plane for a few days.
She found him a pleasant and intelligent conversationalist even though she admittedly did not agree with everything he espoused. He agreed that was a fair assessment since he didn't care to have her 'assault weapon' to be stored in the cargo area of "God's vehicle" as he referred to the plane…especially since the authorities informed him he had no choice in the matter. As her official escort arrived on the runway to whisk her away, she asked if he could give her an autograph for her aunt. He consented but only if she would let him pray for her. When she finally reported in, she found she was not the last to arrive.
One of the other delayed members was a demolitions expert who was running a tactical training exercise for a Sheriff's department out in California.
When the call had come in, he'd immediately grabbed his gear and headed to the airport without first getting cleaned up.
The first bomb-sniffing dog to come within a block of him immediately went ballistic. Fortunately, the handler knew him professionally and told him he had to get cleaned up or he'd run into similar problems at his connecting airport.
He still had to deal with some questions due to the unique contents of his luggage but right as the police officer revealed he wanted to take the conversation back to his precinct, the officer's Captain arrived looking extremely nervous with a man dressed all in black only a few steps behind. The Captain apologized profusely to black suit as well as the demolitions expert. The Captain whispered something to the officer and the officer's eyes opened wide and she went pale. Once the expert and black suit were alone at the gate, black suit explained,
"I'm new to the local field office. The Captain is well-known for his love of Sci-Fi films so when he called the Pentagon asking about you, I decided to have some fun by dressing in black even though I don't look a bit like Tommy Lee Jones! All I had to say was there was a reason my people needed the world's foremost demolitions expert. I may have hinted that 'September 11' and 'hiccup' may not 'seem' to have much in common, but in less than a day that 'could' change." The expert cringed at the analogy. No matter how effective, the ploy stretched the bounds of appropriateness. When he too had arrived, O'Donnell addressed them all,
"Courtesy of the briefing I gave each of you individually as you arrived, you all know why you are here. Unfortunately, we are still short one man. We are going to run an evaluation mission to bring him in. The specifics are in the folders being handed out to you now. We are heading to Central America to raid a rebel outpost which is on friendly terms with the local government!"