Thursday, November 11, 2004

"You mean to tell me that you had freed yourself from the handcuffs before Crossfield left the lab?" Edwards asked Tamsin.

Tamsin looked around the conference room table to her father, Edwards and Cash. "Yes. I was out of the cuffs by the time Nick came out with the material. But we had no back up and a bomb that was sent to go off in just a few very short minutes. There was no way we could afford another altercation with Nick and defuse the bomb. A choice had to be made, and I made it."

"Cash, you should have entered the lab when you first lost contact with Garrett."

"No sir. Cash's job was to cover that entrance. It was because he did his job that we were able to prevent the bomb from exploding."

"Thanks, Garrett," Cash said under his breath.

"Blame and finger-pointing is a waste of time," Tamsin's father said shortly. "Tamsin, based on your assessment of the incident, what do you suggest our next move should be?"

"We haven't found anything by investigating Crossfield. So, why don't we find out why he would be interested in the Crimson Sun?"

"Could he have told you that to throw you off his trail?" John asked.

"We don't have any other leads to follow up on. And besides, the Crimson Sun is the biggest terrorist network out there right now. It won't hurt to check up on them."

"All right," Edwards said grudgingly. "Check in with the analysts. See what they have on them."

"I don't know Garrett, maybe he was trying to throw you off," Cash suggested as he pulled another cd out of the PC. "Four days of research and nothing linking Crossfield to the Crimson Sun. Edwards won't pursue this line much longer."

"Edwards isn't pursuing anything. In case you haven't noticed, we're doing all the work. And just because we haven't found anything yet, doesn't mean there's nothing to find. There has to be a connection between one of their activities and Crossfield. He wouldn't go rogue unless it was personal. For all we know, Nick could be doing this because someone he once knew crossed paths with the Crimson Sun."

"It couldn't be that simple."

"If it was any more complicated, there'd be a bigger trail to follow. Bank and phone records, camera feeds picking up meetings. Something."

"You really believe he isn't just selling out?"

"Of course he could be selling us out. But if we don't know what precipitated it, then we don't have his weak spot. We have to know him better than he does if we expect to find him and bring him in."

"Well we haven't found anything so far. I'm beginning to think this is a waste of time."

"He's gathering up nuclear material to hand over to terrorists. Unless you have a better idea, this is the only option we've got."

Two days later, they found something. "So, we have a hotel bombing in Indonesia. This woman dies in the attack. Marilyn Davis, wife of Carter Davis. She was four months pregnant. Carter Davis is the son of Franklin Davis, who in 1984, ran into a burning building and saved the life of Nick Crossfield's grandmother. The grandmother lived, Davis didn't. The gesture brought Carter and Crossfield together. Fast forward to two months ago. Carter Davis is found three days after the bombing shot dead. In his pocket was a piece of paper detailing the time and place of a meet. And a name - Gustav Forget." Tamsin paused in front of the big screen. She and Cash had called a meeting with Edwards and Garrett once they had found the link.

"Forget. The Crimson Sun connection," Edwards mused.

"Yes. It looks like Crossfield may be trying to infiltrate the organization on his own in an attempt to possibly find the one responsible for Davis's death," John Garrett theorized.

"Or he's trying to bring down the who organization," Tamsin offered.

"Try to stay in the real world, Garrett. One man can't bring down a terror network that large," Edwards responded.

"One man could lead us to them though," Tamsin countered. "And with us catching Crossfield, we'll get the whole network."

"Forest for the trees," Cash murmured.

"Okay, so now we have the why. Now we need to find him."

"If Forget was Davis's man, then Crossfield would probably try to get in through him," John suggested.

"Indonesia then," Tamsin agreed. "We'll start looking."

"So it was what you thought. Someone he knew crossed paths with the Crimson Sun," Cash said as he and Tamsin left the briefing.

"Are you saying something else with those words?" Tamsin asked suspiciously.

"What? You mean am I asking why is it that you hit the nail on the head? Maybe I'm suggesting that you knew what was going on before this all started? Maybe you're Crossfield's contact in the agency? No. I'm not saying any of that. I actually give you credit for knowing how the man would think. What I am asking is this: Where are we on this? Are we working with him to take down the Crimson Sun? Or is he still the bad guy?"

"We have our orders."

"Yeah, but we both know how many different ways orders can be interpreted."

Tamsin sighed. "If Nick's good enough, it won't matter if we're working with him or against him. We'll do what we need to and he'll succeed in spite of it. His success will be ours."

"You always manage to tow the company line," Cash said with a smile. "Do you know how frustrating that is?"

"Jake, do you think it's easy for me to accept that our target is someone who trained me? Mentored me? Do you think I haven't worked out every possible scenario we're likely to run into? Bottom line, after everything is said and done, is that we have to bring Nick in to answer to the charges. And now we have to do what we can to either minimize his impact on the Crimson Sun, as in retrieving the nuclear material Nick stole before he buys his way into the organization with it, or we have to bring down the Crimson Sun. Let me ask you something. Crimson Sun has been a global threat for fifteen years. Why do you think no concerted effort has been made against them in all that time?"

Cash looked at Tamsin curiously. "Never figured you for conspiracy theories, Tam."

"Never close your mind to any option. No matter how unlikely. There's something to be said for Nick working alone."

"Yeah, one man can get in easier when he's got the cover of the CIA chasing him."

"That's the obvious interpretation. There are others. And you need to keep your mind open to any or all of them."

"I hate it when you turn all teacher on me. I have been in the game for a while now. If I didn't know any better, I'd say you were a little nervous."

"Then it's a good thing you know better," Tamsin replied shortly.