A Tear For Those Left Behind
Nikita spun around to face him. "Jurgen, don't..."
"I have to," he interrupted her. "You don't understand Nikita, and I don't know if you ever will."
As Nikita watched, helplessly, Jurgen threw himself from the van and headed toward the building.
"What is he doing?" Birkoff screeched. "Doesn't he know the building's gonna blow?"
"It won't blow, Birkoff," Michael said, shortly. "Not until the counter is reset on the bombing device. Jurgen's safe."
Nikita kept her gaze neutral, knowing all to well that Jurgen wasn't safe, that he'd gone into the building for the sole purpose of resetting the counter.
"Nikita..." Michael's voice broke the silence. "What's the matter?"
Nikita shook her head. As she watched, the building before them was engulfed in flames.
Michael reached out to touch her, and she flinched. She was surprised at how well he'd taken the realization of what Jurgen had done. "Don't."
He put his arm around her, and guided her back into the van.
"Jurgen..." Birkoff began, as soon as they'd entered.
"Go." Michael said, shortly.
"Mr. Jurgen won't be accompanying us back. Just drive."
As the van pulled away, Nikita felt herself staring out the window at the fiery scene behind them. She knew she should be happy for him, after all they both knew he couldn't live up to Section's standards now that they knew about him. And they'd accomplished the mission.
But part of Nikita longed to have Jurgen back, to tell him all the words she'd never said. Part of her cried for him. For his lost life. And for hers.
------ ------ ------
"Nikita, we need to talk. Now." Michael called, as he whizzed by her.
Nikita rolled her eyes, and spun on her heel. She followed his silent figure back to his office, where he closed the blinds, and took a seat at his desk. He typed a few commands into the computer, and then leaned back in his chair.
"Nothing," Nikita said, taking a seat across from him. She forced a smile. "Why?"
Michael glanced around the room slowly, his gaze returning to her face. "We're safe in here."
She nodded. "Okay, so talk. What's your problem, Michael?"
"I don't have one," he replied calmly, picking up a stack of papers. "But by your latest test results it appears you do."
Nikita reached forward and grabbed the papers from his hands. Her eyes ran furiously over the pages, and she threw them back on his desk. "You've never cared about those before."
"Nor do I now," he replied. "But Operations does. And he knows something's up. If you don't start changing your act..."
"My act?" Nikita questioned. Her eyes suddenly narrowed. "This is about Jurgen."
A smirk creased Michael's lips, disappearing just as quickly as it had come. "There's nothing about Jurgen involved here."
"Oh there is," Nikita said. "I spent all that time with him, and all because you were setting me up. I turned to him for comfort and you were jealous." She bit her last words off short.
Michael was silent, as Nikita's words reached him. His silence continued seconds after, as he stared at her. "That will be all."
"Fine." She got up, prepared to leave.
"Nikita," Michael called after her. "Change your act, or Operations will suspect us."
"'Us?'" Nikita laughed, curtly. "There is no 'us' Michael."
------ ------ ------
Nikita was busily scrubbing down her kitchen counter, Prodigy music blaring, when the knock came at the door.
She ran to turn the music down, and opened the door just until the chain caught,
"It's me." Michael's face appeared through the crack.
Nikita sighed. "So?"
"Can I come in?"
She shrugged, pulling the chain over, and allowed him to walk in.
He glanced around her apartment, as she silently eyed him from behind.
"We're going on mission in two hours," he said, without turning to face her.
"So." She began. "I didn't know you made house calls."
He ignored her curtness and walked the apartment's circumference, slowly. "About the mission..."
Nikita snapped to attention. "What about it?"
"There's something I need to tell you." His phone suddenly shrilled from his coat pocket. "Yeah?" He answered it.
As he hung up, he shot her a glance. Their eyes met only for a moment, but in that moment Nikita sensed that what he had to tell her wasn't good. "Michael..."
He spun around, and made his way to the door, without looking back. "Half an hour," he called back.
Nikita stood in shocked silence, her hands on her hips, a confused look upon her face.
Half an hour later, she made her way in through Section's doors. She spotted Birkoff walking by, and called to him.
"Yeah?" Birkoff made his way over.
"What's this about a mission I hear."
"Oh, Operations wants you in the Conference room now. Better not keep him waiting."
Nikita shrugged and walked toward the conference room. She stopped at the door, unsure what would meet her on the other side. She knew it had to be important, or else Michael never would have come to warn her.
Taking a deep breath, she turned the knob, and made her way in through the doorway.
"Nikita, you're late. Sit down, and we'll update you." Operations called, motioning her to a seat.
She took the seat, staring up at him as she did so. "What's up?"
"We're boarding for a mission in twenty minutes. The team will consist of you, Michael, Birkoff, Walter and Dylan. You're going under to prevent a terrorist attack by Red Cell, and you will be returning with nothing in your hand but a disk. Is that clear?"
Operations had been brisk with her, but she knew better than to question him. She made a mental note to ask Walter for the full details. He always knew what was going on.
"Is that all?" Nikita asked, pushing her blonde bangs from her forehead.
"You're dismissed," he said, shortly.
She got up slowly, pushing the chair in. As she made her way from the room, Operations called to her,
"I'm warning you now, Red Cell does have some of our operatives. They aren't any worth to us now that they've spent time there. The team has been given specific orders to let them go down with the lot."
"Don't question, Nikita, just do it."
"Fine," she shrugged.
"Oh, and one last thing," his voice met her ears again. "Of the operatives being held, I believe you may know a few ... or one in particular. A Mr. Jurgen..."
------ ------ ------
"How could it have happened, Walter?!"
"Listen, Sugar, I don't have the answers to everything here. I do know what I'm doing on the missions, but on a personal note ... I haven't a clue."
"But we saw the building blow! There was no way that he could have survived the blast, no way at all. Unless..."
Walter saw the light glimmer in Nikita's eyes, and he began to shake his head. "Oh, no, Nikita! C'mon now, don't go thinking bad thoughts about the Section again. You've been here long enough, you know they do just what they have to ... you can't possibly believe that they..."
"But think of it, Walter, it's perfect! They were going to cancel him, anyway. Why not use Jurgen as bait to catch Red Cell in the act." She cried.
"Nah, they wouldn't!" Walter replied. "How could they trust Jurgen, with all the classified information he knows about the Section. Think of it rationally, Nikita."
"I am thinking rationally," she said, slowly. "I know the Section and I know what they do to people who betray them."
"Yeah, and as much as I liked and admired Jurgen for what he did, he was a traitor, Nikita. There's no other way that Operations can look at it."
"Walter I need those stats," Michael said. He caught Nikita's eye, and motioned her over.
"What." She stood in front of him, her blue eyes piercing into his.
"Are you alright?"
"Fine," she answered.
"I just thought--" he began.
"Michael, we've got the Intel. I think there's something you should come see," Birkoff called.
Michael gave Nikita one last look, and walked away.
"Yes?" He said, approaching the workstation, situated in the corner of the van.
"Well, we had all of our entrances set out; who was going in and who would be coming out where a but it appears they've reconstructed the building since we last viewed it."
"And," Birkoff continued. "That completely screws our plans--at least for entrance purposes."
"I can't!" Birkoff cried. "It's locked at all of the new entrances. The only way to get in is through the alternative doors, which we had planned. But if we're caught--"
"We'll risk it," Michael said, shortly.
"Michael--" Walter cautioned. "I don't usually side with him, but on this one a he's right. We could all be killed if we risk it!"
Michael glared at both Birkoff and Walter. "I said we'll risk it."
"Alright," Birkoff replied, cautiously. He turned his head. "Team One, we're ready for you."
Nikita, who had been watching closely from a corner, quickly pulled her thick blonde hair back into an elastic band, and trotted over to the men. She secured the earpiece that had disappeared into the depths of her ear.
"Nikita, you and I will take the far east entrance, and Dylan will be taking the north. Birkoff, as soon as I buzz you, send in Team Two."
"Okay," Birkoff complied.
Michael shot from the van, a large gun hooked on his finger. He pulled Nikita after him, as she wrestled to load her gun. Together, the two of them ran towards the east entrance of the building, their black-covered bodies close to the ground.
"Nikita, if we have to split up--" Michael began. "We will meet back here, okay?"
They burst through the east doors. It was clear, with nobody in sight. Michael was still a little wary, considering what Birkoff had told him. Red Cell could be waiting anywhere for them, could be willing to pounce them without the slightest hesitation. And usually a clear room meant no good. It meant that Red Cell operatives were lurking somewhere among them.
Nikita scanned the room as they broke in, keeping a close eye on the door that lead from their tiny room. She took off one way, while Michael went the other; both knew their instructions. Reach all of the computers, download the specified files, and then destroy the building. She quickly scooted toward the lone computer that stood in the corner of the room. Slapping a disk she carried into the disk drive, she found the files, and downloaded them onto her disk.
She caught Michael looking toward her, his eyes wide. She could hear him call for Team Two over his intercom, and heard Birkoff's reply. She knew that Michael, Dylan, and herself were the only three who were a must for survival. If the other operatives of Team Two didn't make it out it was no loss to Operations, or the Section.
That was just the way things were, she thought. The Section didn't care about its operatives, no matter what Madeline had tried to say. They didn't care if their operatives lived or died; if they had lives outside of Section, or didn't. However, they did care about the Section, and the Operatives' knowledge of it. Nikita had bitterly found that out through her past relationships.
"Nikita!" Michael's voice hissed at her. She turned to see him walking towards her. "We're going in now."
She nodded, watching as he crept toward the door to the right of them. With careful use of force, Michael blew the door open, its hinges flying ahead. He turned, motioning her to follow.
She followed him closely behind, watching for movement around them. A slight noise to the right caught her attention, and she raised her gun and fired. A white-clothed figure fell to the ground. Nikita sighed, seeing that she'd hit a Red Cell operative.
They were approaching a long corridor, with three doors, the first two nearly ten feet apart. "Take the far door," Michael ordered. "Don't forget." He was gone.
Nikita watched him throw open the door as she continued down the corridor, her body flat against the wall. She peeked around the frame, seeing the door was slightly ajar.
"What. Do you know." A hard voice barked. Nikita flew back, resuming her position against the wall.
Whoever the man had been talking to obviously refused to answer, as only still silence met him.
"Don't wanna talk, do you?" The voice continued, emitting a short, torturous laugh. "Fine. You, go find the new girl. Have her bring in the stuff. Now!"
Nikita heard footsteps coming her way. She quickly ran from where she stood, crouching down behind a large potted plant between the doorways.
As she saw a shadow approach the door, Nikita crouched lower behind the plant, doubting that she could be seen anyhow. A woman in a French maid's uniform emerged from the door, making her way down the corridor, toward Nikita. One of the servants, no doubt, she figured. The woman walked right past the plant, her pace quick and urgent.
A new servant returned moments later; her uniform identical to the woman's who had just left. She had long blonde hair, pulled back in a ponytail, and crooked pink glasses upon her face. In her hands, she held a small black box, no doubt some sort of torture.
Nikita edged her way out from behind the plant. Before she could make a sound, Nikita leapt out at her, striking her tender neck with her outstretched fingers. The girl made a whimpering sound, and fell to the ground, her eyes fluttering shut. Nikita dragged her toward the plant, stashing her just in front of it. Once she had successfully pulled the clothes from the body, and replaced them with her own; she made her way back down the corridor. She'd taken the uniform, the black box, and the unattractive pink glasses the woman had worn. She doubted if whoever was in the room knew his servants apart. She'd also taken the disk and tucked it securely into her knickers.
Straightening the slightly tight dress, she scrunched her nose, and made her way into the room.
"You're late, Girl," the man said, he made his way toward her. "What took so long? And what was all that noise outside?"
"Oh, I dropped the box, Sir." Nikita replied, casting her eyes toward the floor.
"No room for mistakes here, my dear. His eyes swept over her. "My, my. I never noticed what a pretty little thing you are. Maybe we could have a little dinner date later tonight, huh?"
"Oh, I don't think so," Nikita replied.
"Listen to me," he had reached her, and grabbed her wrist roughly. "You will do anything I ask you, got that?" She nodded. "Now give me the box."
She slowly handed it over, and stole a glance at the man who sat on the other side of the room. Nikita's heart sank when she saw who it was.
Jurgen sat, strapped into the chair. His face was swelled up, his shirt torn from his body, pants mutilated. She doubted he had seen her, with his eyes so swollen, but she couldn't risk it.
"May I go now?" She asked, accenting the Irish she'd tried to bring out in her voice.
"What's your name, Sweets?"
"Annie," she replied, slowly.
"Well then, Annie. No, I think you might wanna stay and watch what I'm 'bout to do to this here man. He's a captured one, and I think you should get a first hand view on how we treat those who aren't very cooperative. That alright with you?"
"Good, good." He said. He walked back toward Jurgen, motioning Nikita to follow after him. "Hey, ya got anything to say yet?" He shouted.
Jurgen shook his head, warily. "No."
"Well then. We'll just have to show Annie what kind of procedures we take to those uncooperative like yourself." Standing before Jurgen, he reached his hand out. It made contact with Jurgen's face.
Nikita flinched, but saw that Jurgen remained still. Perhaps he was already close to death. Perhaps she should just make a run for it, and find Michael. She'd obtained her portion of the mission had the disk in her knickers. But Jurgen--she couldn't bear to leave him behind. Again.
Nikita looked back at the man, and saw that he'd opened the back box that he held. She slowly inched toward him, and he spun around. "Oh, don't be shy. Come look!"
She peered over his shoulder, and immediately felt herself shiver. The box contained four small needles, a clamp, a drill, and a small slice of metal. Nikita knew what the needles were for, as she's seen them used before.
"Once injected into a person's body, this medicine will make them immune to anything around. Therefore, letting them wander the streets aimlessly. Within a week, the subject will lose their mind, their constant babbles the only clues toward the lost life."
He didn't continue, but Nikita knew what he'd have said. Once the babbling began, the subject would reveal anything that their subconscious thought of. And she knew if it was injected into Jurgen, he would surely reveal the location of Section.
"Nikita." Nikita froze. She relaxed once she realized the sound was Michael's voice, coming from the earpiece.
She cleared her throat, "Yes?" she whispered.
"We are free to leave. The information has been obtained, and the bombs are in place. They will be activated in one minute. Get out."
"No." She said, slowly.
The man turned to her. "What. Did you say?"
"No, this isn't right!" she cried.
"Listen, Annie. It's not like we's doin' something wrong here. It's this guy who's done wrong."
Nikita bit her lower lip and nodded, hoping he'd turn back to Jurgen. He did, and she found herself staring at his back. She had to reach Jurgen. Had to find a way to get him out of there.
As she was contemplating a plan, a phone began to ring; short, shrilling rings. The man swore, and reached into his jacket pocket, extracting a cellular phone.
"What." He barked. "Aw, dammit! I'll be right there. Don't do anything until I arrive!" He threw the phone to the ground, and turned to Nikita. "Sweets, do me a favor, alright? Look after this guy here, okay? I'll be back soon."
Nikita nodded, knowing all too well that if she'd been a true servant, she'd have died along with Jurgen.
As soon as he'd rushed out of the room, and Nikita could hear his footsteps echo down the hallway, she made her way to Jurgen.
"You're gonna be alright," she assured him, working quickly to untie the ropes wrapped tightly around his wrists and legs.
He was beginning to come to, trying desperately to open his swollen eyelids. "Nikita?" He asked, one eye slightly open.
"It's me," she said, shortly.
"Nikita!! Get out now!" Michael's urgent voice broke through her earpiece. "The building's gonna blow in two minutes."
"No! I can get him out! I can!" She cried, ripping the earpiece from her ear, and throwing it to the ground.
"I'm surprised," Jurgen said, slowly. "That you would risk your life for me."
"You would do the same." Nikita said, shortly. She successfully untied his leg ropes, but was having a hard time unknotting the ones around his arms.
"Nikita, leave." Jurgen said. "Don't do this for me."
"I have to," Nikita answered. "I just have to." As she worked at the double knot, Nikita considered just giving up, and dying with him. It would be a better thing for both of them, dying together. It would accomplish their goal of leaving Section; however they would die trying.
"Nikita--" Jurgen began. "Without you--without you by my side, I don't believe I could have survived Section. When they were trying to bring me down a you were fighting back, for me and for yourself. I--"
A popping sound filled the still air, and Nikita spun around just in time to see Dylan standing at the door a his gun raised and pointed at her. "Get out. Now." He said, shortly, and walked away.
Nikita turned back to Jurgen, and found him silent, his head slumped to one side. "No! No!" She cried, letting her head fall onto his chest. "No, please."
"Nikita," Jurgen spoke, his voice seeming distant and strained. "Don't lose that drive. You, too, will be free some day."
Nikita felt his chest grow still, and she thought she'd lost him. "Jurgen?"
"You...you were the best thing that happened to me, Nikita. And I'll never forget you."
"Don't go a please--" She whimpered, grabbing his face. It was too late, and she knew that he was gone. She had watched Jurgen die. Again.
A tear ran down her cheek as she stared at Jurgen. Those tears continued to cascade down her face, as she realized that she had to get out of the building. Fast.
She began running, pumping her arms at her side to give her speed. Just as she rounded the east door she'd come in, the building was engulfed in flames. It threw her from the doorway, onto the solid ground outside.
Her head hit the pavement, and she felt the world spinning around her. The last thing she saw before falling into the darkness, was Michael's face, full of unusual concern as he made his way toward her.
------ ------ ------
She awoke in Med-Lab later that day, clad in white, lying on a white stretcher. Her whole body ached, and she longed to see a color other than white. She'd seen so much of it, lately.
"Hello Nikita." Madeline called, as she entered the Lab.
Nikita forced a smile forward, and attempted to nod her head.
"Do you know where you are?"
"Yeah." Nikita replied.
"You had a pretty nasty fall, I hear. Nothing permanent in damage, a little fracture in the skull, but it'll heal nicely." She smiled. "You completed the mission."
"It is great," Madeline answered. "Operations was very happy with your performance. Michael told him all about your attempts to ensure the leader's death. We're happy to report that he didn't make it out of the explosion. Neither did anybody else."
"Hmm." Nikita sighed.
"Dylan didn't make it out. He must have gone back for something, Michael figures one of Red Cell's leaders, perhaps. It's no loss to us, anyhow, now that he's gone. We had suspected him as a leak, but were ordered not let this be known until we were 100 sure."
Nikita smiled. She thought again of Jurgen's death, of how Dylan had come into the room and shot him, heartlessly, through the chest. Nikita suspected he'd purposely missed the heart, in order to prolong the suffering that Jurgen felt. And perhaps to stall her. She wasn't too sad about Dylan's death.
"Is that all?" Nikita asked, shortly.
Madeline nodded. "That's all." She spun on her heel, walking toward the door. "Oh, and Nikita? You did a good job, even Operations agrees with that. But Michael's report a something is missing in it. Right now nothing can be proven, but I suspect that you weren't trying to ensure the leader's death... that perhaps you were doing something else. But, well, without proof--"
"I didn't," Nikita said, catching Madeline off guard as she walked from the room. "I didn't do anything else. Anything un-humanitarian." She set her jaw tightly.
Madeline sighed, "The goal here, Nikita, is not to be humanitarian. It is to get the job done as quickly and effortlessly as possible. You of all people should know that by now." She walked from the room, leaving Nikita alone with her thoughts.