Section 2 - Aftermath

A Reprieve
Conclusion... for now

Director Lee Ann Ming sits alone in her darkened office. The windows overlooking the Operations floor are polarized and dark. The trickling of the fountain in the corner is the only sound. She sits, her hands clasped before her, eyes blank, thinking.

Insider her head, Ming’s version of “thinking” bears little resemblance to anything human. She is calculating the long-term political repercussions of peace between Israel and Palestine. She is considering the millions of variables that could still derail it, slotting in the careful restoration of each preserved holy site by her Operatives for maximum political benefit. She is playing twenty seven games of chess with various opponents, calculating all possible moves from any given move she could make. She is considering four different interior design schemes for the renovation of her condominium. She is composing seven hundred and eighty five e-mails as well as considering the emotional, tactical, and political impact of each upon their recipients. She is reviewing the files of every Operative under her command from memory to anticipate any shift in psychological readiness or loyalty in light of recent events. She is learning the Tgalic language and putting the finishing touches on her personal reconstruction of Proto-Indo-European.

Most importantly, however, she is reviewing and adjusting her policy for dealing with global events.

She is aware, more than most, that the world is changing. Yama’s Apocalypse was just the beginning. Gods are returning to Earth, and while they have thus far been forestalled, delayed, the reshaping of human society in light of the increasing “mad” Talent phenomenon is inevitable. She has done everything she can to preserve some bastion of secular society against this divine new world:

She permitted “Reverend Carpenter” to move freely after the removal of Albright’s control, provoking “Jesus” McGrath into action. The apocalyptic events that followed shocked an otherwise religious America into a healthy cynicism of false gods, while eliminating hundreds of thousands of fanatically-inclined individuals from the population.

She arranged the infection of the global internet by an American mad Talent whose psychological profile bespeaks a fundamental commitment to the secular freedoms upon which the United States and the Internet itself were built.

She repaired relations with the Odal Rune, and cultivated cross-organizational research into the creation of alternate realities.

Most importantly, however, she effectively removed all active Mad Talents from North America save the few she controlled.

Director Ming sits in the dark in her office planning the new shape of the world. Almost idly she moves a white rook on the nearby chessboard and takes a black pawn. The computer automatically transmits the move to her opponent.

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Operation Olive Branch
Camp David

Leader: Ming
Situation Leaders: Aamir, Pyatt
Operators: Mills, Mitchell
Transport: Andreson, Keffer, Riggs, Sandoval
Operatives: D’Antoni, DeLuca, Destino, Dupre, Felton, Fischer, Ganeaux, Han, Lynch, Mornay, Odinson, Oliver, Petrov, Poe, Redinger, Thompson, Townsley, Vasquez, Yaghmaie

Primary Objective: Protect Operative Ganeaux from assassination or abduction

Primary Objective: Completed

Secondary Objective: Support President Obama’s diplomatic agenda and protect his person

Secondary Objective: Completed

Summary: In the aftermath of Operation Armageddon, Section 2 had in its possession the twenty most important sacred sites in the city of Jerusalem. President Obama initiated a peace initiative wherein he would bring to the negotiating table representatives of the Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority, as well as other regional powers and interested parties, to discuss the framework for a lasting peace in Palestine as a precondition for returning these sacred buildings and relics. Section 2 mobilized significant resources, led by Director Ming herself, to ensure that Operative Ganeaux, who had the sacred sites miniaturized and on her person, would remain alive and unmolested and that, further, the President’s agenda and person would remain safe.

Operatives Vasquez and Ganeaux swapped appearances with the aid of Operative Mornay. The decoy Ganeaux was assigned a team of operatives while the real Ganeaux was part of the President’s direct security team. Operative Pyatt oversaw the perimeter defenses as a situation-leader while Operative Aamir took part in negotiations as a known-party to many of the representatives and acted as situation-leader in the negotiating area. Operative Felton remained phased and underground with his “head of abaddon” relic capable of broadcasting precognitive visions.

The first day proceeded as an exercise in identifying all the Talents brought by all parties secreted around Camp David and ensuring that all agents and elements were accounted for. The second day began with all parties laying their bargaining positions and agendas before the others. At the conclusion of the first day’s worth of meetings and discussions, Operative Felton’s head projected into the minds of select Operatives a detailed vision of events that would occur at 1800 hours the following day. This vision portrayed Ayatollah Muqtaqa al Sadr, who was present for the discussions on behalf of his men trapped within the Dome of the Rock, as well as on behalf of the “Occluded Imam,” a potent Shia mad talent, becoming fed up with the slow pace of proceedings. He accused the United States of holding religion itself hostage, whereupon the Occluded Imam emerged from him and forcibly took the Dome of the Rock from the real Operative Ganeaux, as well as taking her Talent power and vanishing. The vision showed the violent chaos that would erupt from such an event, as well as certain opportunistic acts that would likely result in the deaths of the Prime Minister of Israel among others.

Section 2 Operatives discussed with Director Ming possible courses of actions that ranged from pre-emptive violence to diplomacy with certain or many factions. Analysis indicated that the Dome of the Rock is not as sacred a site to Shia Islam as it is to Sunni Islam, and that this may well be a play by the “Occluded Imam” to win the hearts and minds of Sunni Muslims throughout the middle east. The Operatives eventually settled on a suggested course of action for the President. They suggested that he approach the Israeli and Palestinian groups with a good-faith proposal that if they could agree on a joint statement, signed and subsequently announced via news conference, that each group acknowledges and is committed to the other side’s right to exist, that the United States would return the Dome of the Rock, the Western Wall, and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

The next morning, it became clear that the President had been engaged in some “back room” discussions during the night as the Israelis and Palestinians set to with gusto, and the jam of the previous day seemed to have been broken. As the morning progressed, however, the unholy head gave forth another vision, this time of a strike-team of Arabic-looking Talents teleporting in to abduct the false Operative Ganeaux. The vision included the subsequent violence, and the eventual demise of Operative Vasquez masquerading as Ganeaux. Careful attention to this vision revealed to some that this may well be an Odal Rune strike force. Discussion of how to deal with this incoming attack again resulted in a diplomatic solution. Operative Pyatt contacted a representative of the Odal Rune, revealed he was aware of the coming attack, and negotiated the attack away.

The diplomatic solution to the larger problem resolved itself according to the suggestions provided. In front of reporters, the Prime Minister of Israel and the President of the Palestinian Authority, backed by President Gamal Mubarak of Egypt and others, acknowledge a commitment to the two-state solution and the outlines of future negotiated agreements over such controversial issues as the administration of Jerusalem, the right of return for Palestinian refugees, and a land swap for the new Palestinian state to make up for Israel’s absorption of the Gaza Strip and other settlements.

Operative Ganeaux, supported by extensive Section 2 Operatives and the time-dilation talents of Operative Redinger and a team of surveyors were able to return to their proper place and orientation the three aforementioned sites, with an outline for returning the rest as negotiations proceed.

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Operation Armageddon
Jerusalem, Israel

Leader: Aamir
Operator: Mitchell
Transport: Sandoval
Operatives: DeLuca, Ganeaux, Lynch, Odinson, Petrov

Primary Objective – Stage 1: Prepare Jerusalem for potential mad talent assault, ensure cooperation of antagonistic forces.

Primary Objective – Stage 1 Status: Completed

Primary Objective – Stage 2: Save and preserve Holy Sites and civilian population of Jerusalem

Primary Objective – Stage 2 Status: Completed

Summary: In anticipation of the destruction to American life and property should Omega Class Talent John McGrath be permitted to open the seventh seal of the book of Revelations, President Obama authorized Section 2 to engage in operations to assault McGrath’s compound in Ft. Leavenworth (see Operation Signpost, Operation Noble). Analysts determined that, should McGrath be forced to flee his stronghold in Kansas, there was an 86.565% probability that amidst the destruction of his followers, he would skip to Chapter 19 of Revelations and descend upon Jerusalem. Operation Armageddon was activated with the objective of organizing an American presence to integrate with the Nephilim defense plan and to enforce cooperation and compliance with a network of Muslim Talents who would also come to defend Jerusalem’s holy sites. Operative Aamir was already well-known to this network of Muslim Talents, and had already laid extensive groundwork to prepare them for apocalyptic assaults on holy sites (see Operation Conquest). As a result, he was selected to lead Operations Team to interact with Nephilim forces, with Muslim Talents under Egyptian Talent Hassan Ali, and to decide whether to permit the involvement of Ayatollah Muqtaqa al’Sadr of Iraq and his militia.

Al’Sadr has recently become one of those Shia holy men to be blessed with the words of the Occluded Imam, a theoretical mad Talent dedicated to the ideals and mythology of Shia Islam. His presence, along with thousands of mortal followers, could aid or hinder the defense efforts. Operative Aamir successfully negotiated cooperation between Ali’s Talent network and the Nephilim, and cautiously welcomed al’Sadr’s forces, permitting them to occupy the Dome of the Rock and the Al Aqsa Mosque. Over the two days available for preparation, the allied forces negotiated a list of holy sites in order of importance. The plan would be for Transport Operative Sandoval to transport Operatives Ganeaux and Lynch to each site where Operative Ganeaux would physically transport entire buildings into her pocket dimension while Operative Lynch would shunt civilians and property into the future. This process would begin once McGrath appeared and it became apparent that the sites might otherwise come to harm. Operative Odinson was available to engage McGrath in the hope that it would delay him enough to permit more people and holy sites to be saved. Data surrounding the Odinson’s activities in Southern California and elsewhere led Section 2 analysts to hypothesize a certain degree of power fluctuation and instability the led them to believe that there was a 23.7% chance of the Odinson actually increasing in power sufficiently to at least delay a mad Talent of McGrath’s power.

Operative Lynch and the Nephilim concocted a plan to shunt hundreds of Israeli and Palestinian youth into the future prior to McGrath’s possible attack. The Nephilim also engaged in the mass distribution of cheap, internet enabled cellular phones to the citizenry, ostensibly as part of an “emergency broadcast network” (See Operation Lawnmower).

Immediately following the conclusion of Operation Noble, McGrath did indeed appear in the clouds above Jerusalem as the Rider on a White Horse from Revelations Chapter 19. He had seven crowns upon his head and drew a sword from his mouth and had 144,000 spirits in glowing white raiment with him. After suitable pomp and divine signs and portents including turning the entire city the color white, and during which Operative Team managed to remove more than six holy sites from danger, battle commenced between the Rider and the Odinson. The Odinson was almost immediately nearly slain but for a sudden surge of power, perhaps at the hands of the Occluded Imam, who emerged from al’Sadr and supported the Odinson through inspiration and healing, at first, and through direct conflict with the Rider.

During the battle in the skies, Operative Aamir, Hassan Ali and his Muslim Talents, and the Nephilim engaged the 144,000 on the Temple Mount. The glowing minions of McGrath were soon supplemented by thousands of Talent manifested carrion birds (see Revelations ch. 19).

The preservation squad, under the temporary command of Operative DeLuca, proceeded to salvage and secrete holy sites and Israelis civilians. Soon they found themselves engaged with elements of the 144,000 who had swept out throughout the city. Eventually, as the battle on the Temple Mount heated up, they returned to the thick of the fighting where they evacuated the surviving Talents, leaving McGrath, the Occluded Imam, and the Odinson to fight alone. Team then returned to salvaging holy sites. During this time, those citizens with cellular phones were evacuated from the city to the internet realm of the Spirit of the Internet.

The two mad Talents, and the Odinson, fought to a virtual standstill upon the Temple Mount. Operations team returned whereupon Operative Lynch called out in an attempt to awaken some part of McGrath that remembered his Marine corp training for World War 2. He succeeded enough to give McGrath a letter addressed to him personally by the President of the United States. This, perhaps combined with being seriously weakened by the Odinson’s destruction of his symbology, namely his crowns and the names emblazoned on his form, and perhaps being weakened by the Occluded Imam, prompted McGrath to resume his original form, complete with formal dress uniform, whereupon his head was crushed by the Odinson’s Hammer.

McGrath’s corpse was returned to Section 2 to await transport to a secure tertiary facility in anticipation of his resurrection. Operative Aamir, Lynch, and Ganeaux are on indefinite assignment to restabilize Jerusalem and return its citizens and holy sites to a semblance of order.

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Operation Noble
Rural Idaho / Fort Leavenworth, Kansas

Leader: Pyatt
Operator: Mills
Transport: Keffer / Ivanoff / Sandoval
Operatives: Oliver, Redinger, Vasquez, Yaghmaie

Primary Objective – Stage 1: Monitor and assist infiltration and subversion of the Aryan Nation

Primary Objective – Stage 1 Status: Completed

Primary Objective – Stage 2: Support Aryan Nation in assault on Fort Leavenworth

Primary Objective – Stage 2 Status: Completed

Summary: Mad Talents Private John McGrath and Reverend Carpenter had been engaged in “sealing the 144,000”, a process necessary before the Seventh Seal can be broken unleashing the Seven Trumpets and other, intensely destructive acts from the Book of Revelation. The “seal” involved Talent operatives of McGrath escaping the quarantine at Ft. Leavenworth having been “granted the seal,” the ability to confer a specific Talent effect on anyone deemed sufficiently faithful in the belief that McGrath is Christ returned. The “seal” confers significant defenses against any Talent that might interfere with the sealed individual’s faith and free will. Presumably, once 144,000 individuals throughout the United States received this seal, McGrath could continue with his apocalyptic narrative.

The Aryan Nation is a paranoid, militant, racist sect based out of significant acreage in rural northeastern Idaho. They run “churches” with congregations nation-wide. They were nearly bankrupted in the late 1990’s through aggressive lawsuits brought by States’ attorneys, but after Yama’s Apocalypse, recruitment and monetary donations swelled once again. The Aryan Nation leadership had come to believe that McGrath was the “white Jesus” they were waiting for, the messiah who would do away with the African-blooded President Obama and rule the United States according to the principles of the Aryan Nation. As a result of this intense ideology, a number of “pastors” of the Aryan Nation had been “sealed” by operatives of McGrath and Carpenter, including a dangerous Ohio “pastor” named James Riesler. Section 2 abducted Riesler and conducted experiments on the nature of the “seal” as well as subjecting him to the Talents of Ms. Hsu Xiaofeng, a potent Talent under the care and supervision of Dr. Jameson Townsley.

As a result of these experiments, an Operations Team was assembled. Their task was to oversee the infiltration of Ms. Hsu into the Aryan Nation compound in Idaho during their conference to select a successor to their long-term leader Mr. Aaron Suntz. This conference was also to oversee the mass “sealing” of Aryan nation loyalists by Carpenter’s agents. As a result, well over a thousand members would be present. Ms. Hsu, who was captured in Shenzhen last year (see “Operation Legion”), has a potent combination of Talents that permit her to copy her personality into anyone she touches. That person retains their skills and memory, and gains limited Talent capabilities. Under the direction of Dr. Townsley, Ms. Hsu developed the ability to also, as desired, copy a touched individual’s skills, memories, and even Talents into herself. She absorbed the knowledge of Pastor Riesler and was given his appearance by Operative Mornay.

Operations Team set up a surveillance perimeter around the Aryan Nation’s compound. Ms. Hsu spent the majority of three days carefully copying her personality into Aryan loyalists, starting with the mid-level leadership and going with the rank and file thereafter. The leadership itself was protected by three Talents, including a teleporter. Once sufficient Aryans were compromised, Ms. Hsu was instructed to attempt to compromise these Talents, starting with the Teleporter. Ms. Hsu successfully got her alter ego, Pastor Riesler, selected as the heir-apparent to the Aryan Nation leadership.

Carpenter’s agents arrived for the “sealing” but had difficulty making it stick to the Aryans, due apparently to their subverted mentality. Ms. Hsu was nearly uncovered, but managed to convince the Aryan leadership that it was Carpenter’s agents who were the infiltrators. The agents were subdued and killed, and subsequently convinced the three Talents to willingly submit to her own Talent under false pretenses. This gave her the memories, skills, and Talents of the Aryan Nation leadership, whereupon the rest were rapidly subverted.

This constituted success of Stage 1 of the Operation. This opened contingency file 2a.6.03, and two secondary Operations Teams were activated (see below and see file “Operation Armageddon”). Operations Team ascertained the continued loyalty of Ms. Hsu whereupon they were informed of President Obama’s Executive Order authorizing Section 2 and the United States Military to begin joint operations against the quarantined compound in Fort Leavenworth. Operations Team was ordered to support Ms. Hsu and her army of 1,423 well-armed Aryan paramilitary pseudo-Talents in a staged teleportation / infiltration into Fort Leavenworth to stage a full-scale assault.

The subverted leadership of the Aryan Nation contacted agents of Carpenter claiming a desire to arrive in Fort Leavenworth for “baptism.” Upon getting permission, Ms. Hsu and her subverted teleporter systematically transported Operations Team and all subverted militants into Fort Leavenworth. It was then ascertained that Ms. Hsu’s Talent was insufficient to subvert the faith of the local Talent population whereupon a full-scale assault began. Operatives Redinger and Pyatt seeded the encampment with large numbers of high explosives and continued to keep the estimated 8,000-10,000 minor Talents from effectively orchestrating an assault against the better-trained and better-armed Aryan Nation pseudo-talents. Operative Vasquez anchored the Aryan Nation assault and protected Ms. Hsu while providing large-scale healing support to the wounded combatants. Operative Yaghmaie collapsed the already-damaged prison, killing or trapping those inside including McGrath while Operative Oliver, in her Samael form, ambushed and killed Reverend Carpenter. The assault was quick and decisive, as necessary before McGrath could join the fray, which he ultimately did, bursting forth from the collapsed prison. Operations Team extracted back to Idaho leaving Samael to engage in personal combat with McGrath. Section 2 Intelligence Analysis deemed there to be a 87% chance that, when faced with an “antichrist” mad Talent and properly prepared, that Samael would once again “scale” upward to Mad Talent levels of power much like he did when facing Lt. James Hansen in Lester, Saskatchewan. This analysis was proven correct.

Section 2 surveillance observed the apocalyptic fight between Samael and the “Lamb,” McGrath’s monstrous current form. This fight effectively killed all remaining combatants within Fort Leavenworth and leveled all buildings. Samael appeared to be losing, and so contingency file 2a.6.07 was activated along with the secondary Operations Team, consisting of Operative Riggs and Operative Tomoji. Operative Riggs transported Operative Tomoji into Fort Leavenworth whereupon Operative Tomoji activated his Talent, detonating with the force of a small neutron bomb, whereupon he was immediately retrieved once more by Operative Riggs.

Once surveillance was re-established, only Samael remained, hovering, and immense in size (est. 300 feet tall). Operative Team returned to the rubble whereupon Team Leader Pyatt talked Samael down and convinced him to return control to Operative Oliver.

McGrath was not destroyed, but took the bait seeded via his returned agents and “new converts” (see Operation Signpost) and fled from his destroyed base at Fort Leavenworth to Jerusalem. (For subsequent data, see Operation Armageddon)

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Operation Lawnmower
San Jose, CA

Leader: Redinger
Operator: N/A
Transport: Andreson
Operatives: Cross-Sawyer, Ganeaux, Kwasniewski, Lynch, Odinson, Thompson, Yaghmaie

Primary Objective: Integrate the Spirit of San Jose into the global internet

Primary Objective Status: Completed

Summary: In 1994, then-Director of Operations Sophia Ivanova made the decision to connect the proprietary, self-aware and sentient Section 2 computer system to the emerging internet with the aim of control and domination of this emerging technology. The Section 2 AI was the result of decades of hyper-brains and other Talent programmers and it rapidly dominated the internet covertly. As a non-human sentience, it was capable of thinking in ways no human could think. It could fragment its own intellect into sub-intellects, some of which may not even be aware they were part of a larger intellect. It could segregate knowledge, copy parts of its mind, delete other parts, and was for a decade an extremely effective method for monitoring global information.

As the internet grew exponentially, however, and as more and more data from more and more countries became connected, and as other proprietary AI’s developed and were in turn consumed/subsumed, the already-alien globe-spanning intelligence became more and more inscrutable. While the part of the computer system that operated Section 2 remained, as far as could be determined, loyal, the parts of the AI working in China or other countries were equally loyal to those other countries. The overarching goals of the AI became impossible to predict or determine. Furthermore, as a wholly-artificial sentience, the AI had no particular defense against Talents who could control machine intelligences.

Section 2 had been in contact with a mad talent in San Jose who existed in a self-created perception of the internet as of 2006, with additional perceptions via electronics and electrical networks, regardless of whether they were still functional in reality. Through extended contact, a psychological profile was created of this mad talent that led Section 2 to believe that, notwithstanding its belief that it was a purely digital intelligence, it retained residual human morality and motivations. Operations Team was briefed that the San Jose Talent might be a method of mass evacuation of American citizens should an emergency of that scope occur, but that it would first need to be convinced to expand its artificial sense of control over an illusory, entirely Talent-created false internet nationwide. Deputy-Director of Diplomacy Amelia Sawyer (nee Cross) was put in charge of negotiating with the San Jose Talent while the rest of the team was charged with “stress testing” the alternate, digital world into which the San Jose Talent could bring people. This briefing was only partially true, and given as a cover while all involved were still connected to the Section 2 AI. Once within the San Jose Talent’s alternate digital universe, Nephilim Operative Hanna Kwasniewski joined the Operations Team and she and Negotiator Sawyer engaged in the mission’s true primary task which was to convince the San Jose Talent that it was not, in fact, living in a contemporary internet, that an “Internet 2.0” existed out there which it should move into and occupy, and incidentally absorbing or destroying the former AI that controlled the internet.

This task was successful. The AI, however, had seeded the internet with “psychological traps,” files of dangerous philosophy with the San Jose Talent specifically in mind. These traps manifested within the San Jose Talent’s virtual mindscape as dangerous entities with Operations Team was required to engage to defend the San Jose Talent and Operative Kwasniewski as they jointly began bridging his intellect into the real internet.

Operations Team succeeded. The San Jose Talent assimilated the combined knowledge of the internet, supplanting the AI that had held that position before. Unfortunately Operative Kwasniewski’s digital form was inextricably melded with the San Jose Talent.

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Operation Midion's Wrath
Springfield, Nebraska

Leader: Aamir
Operator: Ivanoff
Transport: Ivanoff
Operatives: DeLuca, Fenton, Oliver, Petrov, Vasquez

Primary Objective: Eliminate Torches of Gideon Leadership and Transport Capability

Primary Objective Status: Completed

Summary: The Torches of Gideon are a small but organized domestic terrorist organization operating within an extended network of supporters within fringe Protestant congregations. Their goal is the overthrow of the secular United States government in order to “return” to a Nation “Under God.” They countenance any means to justify their ends. They have previously been a fairly low priority. Section 2 leaves them to the FBI or Secret Service. Only when they engage in significant operations of political assassination has Section 2 intervened. On one such mission to protect Senator Richard Riker (R, Iowa), Operative team uncovered one of the Torches primary covert communications methods (Operation Clay Jar). This intelligence break permitted Section 2 to thoroughly infiltrate the Torches communications, monitoring it in a more ongoing basis.

The threat-profile of the Torches increased significantly after the rise of John “Jesus” McGrath and Reverend Carpenter in Fort Leavenworth. Section 2 surveillance watched Torches communication carefully to see how these events would impact the group. There was a schism, with the majority of Torches accepting McGrath as an “American-born” Christ-returned while a minority considered McGrath to be an “antichrist” cloaked in the skin of the “lamb.” The majority planned a major operation targeting the US Supreme Court (Operation Shattered Jar) which Section 2 risked their surveillance advantage to foil. The real coup came, however, when Frank Silas, one of the two most influential Torches and one of their hyper-charismatics, defected to Section 2 custody. He was part of the minority who believed his organization had been subverted by an antichrist, and in exchange for protection and immunity, gave up all information he had on the organization.

His information accorded with Section 2’s extensive intelligence and surveillance assets sufficiently to trust the key data, namely the fact that the most powerful remaining Torches, including the three remaining leaders and all three members capable of logistical transport, would be meeting for a single, large operation to attempt to transport McGrath, Carpenter, and all 10,000+ of their followers into the heart of Jerusalem to bring about the “New Jerusalem” of their apocalyptic beliefs. Silas’s opinion, along with the Directorate of Intelligence, believed that the surviving Torches organization wanted to have one spectacular success before simply folding into McGrath’s larger organization.

Operations Team was assembled and given all available intelligence on the meeting of the leadership cell and the transportation cell in the obscure town of Springfield, Nebraska where they were going to have a quick meeting before moving as a group to Fort Leavenworth. Team assembled and executed an assault plan that resulted in 100% enemy casualties and 0 friendly casualties or collateral damage, effectively bringing to an end the Torches of Gideon as a going concern.

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Memorandum
Classified: Grade 1

Flagged Personnel: Aamir, Lincoln, Oliver, Petrov, Pyatt, Redinger, Sinjin

To: Members of the Section 2 Oversight Board
From: Code Name – Cherpakha, Oversight Board
Re: Andriy Ostrovsky, aka The Horseman of Death

As you are aware, I have a personal history with the Talent known as Andriy Ostrovsky. My undercover operation within his global arms-smuggling network that concluded some four years ago unfortunately left him alive, and insufficient efforts were made to hunt him down in the months prior to Yama’s Apocalypse. I theorize that Dr. Anthony Albright cultivated Ostrovsky and covertly protected him as an insurance policy against any vengeance I might choose to take against Albright. This is the only explanation that fits all the evidence available. Ostrovsky vanished from his reconstituted criminal network at around the same time that Albright was “reassigned.” We know that Albright continued to operate as the Center for another few months, pulling strings on Project Z and orchestrating Mad Talent activities for purposes still not clearly understood. During that period it would appear that Ostrovsky and “Reverend Carpenter” came into contact.

Ostrovsky was next seen “reinvented” as the Horseman of Death in McGrath and Carpenter’s apocalypse-drama. Ostrovsky’s unique and powerful Talent: the ability to perceive any and all individuals connected in his criminal network, along with all illegal commodities that have been “stained by his touch,” and to affect those items and those around them in limited ways. This Talent, once used to monitor and control a highly complex international smuggling operation, was now being used to kill individuals who came into contact with the products of his network. The thousands dying of mysterious drug overdoses, the other thousands dying of mysterious venereal diseases, all are connected in that the drugs and prostitutes involved were once smuggled through Ostrovsky’s criminal network.

During my undercover assignment, I was a lieutenant in his organization, and was therefore “stained by his touch.” I took precautions to interfere with his perceptions. It was brought to my attention through Section 2 Operations pre-coded alerts that Operative Petrov had reported that a sexual encounter turned deadly in a matter matching the VD plague. I made contact with her that same evening after familiarizing myself with her history. She also was once a smuggled commodity of Ostrovsky’s network, having been brought to the United States as a sex slave. Her Talents manifested in that context, but she remained accessible to Ostrovsky’s power. I gave her the same countermeasures I was using, and proceeded to gather a small team of trusted operatives with the goal of drawing Ostrovsky out and killing him.

The brainstorming and planning session with Operatives Pyatt, Redinger, Petrov, Oliver, and Aamir, along with my own assigned agents Sinjin and Lincoln, eventually came up with a plausible plan to threaten Ostrovsky’s network by simultaneously arranging key assassinations while approaching one of Ostrovsky’s key lieutenants who have been running the network in his absence with an offer of primacy. We chose Victor Aleksandrovich, the logistics officer, with a strategy that was surprisingly honest. After setting up the meeting via false pretenses, the plan was to immediately reveal who we really were, and reveal to Aleksandrovich that his boss was using the network to sow mass murder which is ultimately detrimental to his business. We would provide the Leavenworth Video as proof, demonstrate our effectiveness via the assassinations, aid him in killing Ostrovsky, and then leave him to reform the network under his leadership.

This plan proved successful. While Operatives Pretcha, Poe, Fischer and Hazdi coordinated the assassinations, we made our meeting. Operative Pyatt made our case. Aleksandrovich had already reached many of these conclusion, and upon agreeing to let us help him take over the network, Ostrovsky was alerted via one of his agents. He arrived after a few moments where I was able to place our resources to maximum effect. Ostrovsky came with the “ghosts” of the thousands he had killed, but upon successfully destroying him, the ghosts vanished. Operative Oliver, in her alter-ego as Samael, incinerated the corpse leaving nothing. Aleksandrovich himself departed before the battle and is presumably consolidating his position.

Operative Petrov has been given extensive files on the remaining organization. It is my belief that she will engage the network with an eye to destroying it, and may well recruit other Section 2 personnel to that cause. This is a “hobby” of hers, although I am well aware that destroying this network is ultimately to the benefit of Section 2, albeit not a high priority. If it can be accomplished off-the-books with off-duty personnel, all the better.

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Operation Shattered Jar
Annapolis, Maryland

Leader: Sawyer
Operator: Mitchell
Transport: Andreson
Operatives: Felton, Ganeaux, Lynch, Yaghmaie, Vasquez

Primary Objective: Find and Eliminate Torches of Gideon assassination cell

Primary Objective Status: Completed

Summary: The Torches of Gideon are a domestic protestant terrorist organization that takes their inspiration from the Biblical tale of Gideon, where a small number of covert operatives, blessed by Yahweh, obliterated a far superior foe. They believe that the United States is a Christian nation, and they pursue their agenda via grass-roots political activism and even assassination.

In the wake of the mid-term elections the country is even more polarized than ever. Americans are scared, believing that their government can do little to protect them against rampaging Mad Talents. The Torches of Gideon have thrown in their lot with John “Jesus” McGrath and Reverend Carpenter, updating their ideology to not only make the US a politically Christian nation, but also including the desire to place McGrath into the Presidency. Due to previous operations against the Torches, Section 2 had significant intelligence assets infiltrated into their network. A significant cell of up to six Torches Talents, supported by up to a hundred non-Talent sympathizers began making their way to Annapolis, Maryland as a staging ground for an assassination strike into Washington D.C. The presumed target was either President Obama or the Supreme Court. Operations Team was assigned the duty of tracking down the Torches of Gideon Talents and killing or capturing them before they could put their plan into motion.

Team transported to Annapolis and set up a temporary base in a storage facility. Computer searches and phone calls by Operative Vasquez, coupled with footwork by Operative Ganeaux tracked down at least two different congregations in Annapolis that were holding suspicious prayer meetings that night. While they worked, Operative Felton constructed a precognitive talisman that no only confirmed Operative Ganeaux’s information, but provided sufficient details to develop a plan of attack.

Initial attempts to set traps that would later affect the fight were noticed by Torches of Gideon sympathizers and effectively foiled. Operative Felton’s talisman, however, permitted the plan to change such that all five of the known Torches Talents would be disposed of. A coordinated attack upon the enemy as they were clustered in a church stairwell effectively eliminated the opposition with minimal damage to the Team. They returned to Section 2 with two Torches of Gideon prisoners and left local law enforcement to arrest the fifty-seven sympathizers remaining in the church due to Operative Lynch’s Talent.

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Operation War
Line of Control, Jammu and Kashmir

Leader: Deluca
Operator: Mitchell
Transport: Keffer
Operatives: Lynch, Oliver, Petrov, Yaghmaie

Primary Objective: Negotiate ceasefire commitment between Talent forces of India and Pakistan along the line of control.

Primary Objective Status: Completed

Secondary Objective: Support joint Indian and Pakistani Talent task force in assaulting the Horseman of War and his followers, kill the Horseman of War.

Secondary Objective: Completed

Tertiary Objective: Prevent Indian and Pakistani Talents from engaging in opportunistic violence that would destabilize the region.

Tertiary Objective: Completed

Summary: The Horseman of War, formerly Operative Daniel Summers of Section 2, appeared with about a hundred minor Talent followers in the contested region of Jammu and Kashmir. They assaulted military positions on both sides of the line of control, abducting Indian and Pakistani military personnel apparently at random. The Horseman of War declared that these captives would be taken to the “Plain of Armageddon” to fight a proxy battle of champions. The winning side would then have War and an army of thousands of Talents at their disposal to annihilate their foes.

The mere threat that either India or Pakistan may end up with thousands of fanatical Talent allies was enough to mobilize both militaries to the line of control. Both country’s military Talent personnel heightened their alert status. President Obama, in a series of “phone-call diplomacy” sessions, got the governments of both countries to agree that since the instigator was an American citizen, that America should step in and broker and insure a ceasefire and coordinated response to War.

Operations Team was tapped to travel to Kargil where they met with Colonel Rishi Dharma of the Indian military and Colonel Muhammad Bhatt of the Pakistani military. Team shuttled back and forth negotiating the delicate situation of numbers and logistics as well as the potency of individual “talents of concern” that both sides possessed and were able to enforce a commitment that neither side would use the assault on War as an opportunity to engage in operations against the other.

Team and a combined force of Indian and Pakistani Talents assaulted the camp of War and his hundred followers. The followers were mostly American civilians with minor Talents while War himself had not notable military acumen. The assault was forceful and one-sided and War was slain. It appears that this has doomed the combatants within his extra-dimensional “Plain of Armageddon” but both India and Pakistan considers this acceptable losses.

Team then convinced both sides to forego any opportunism. Both sides withdrew to their respective sides of the Line of Control and Team returned to the facility.

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Operation Conquest
Jerusalem, Israel

Leader: Sawyer
Operator: Mills
Transport: Sandoval
Operatives: Aamir, Ganeaux, Pyatt, Redinger, Vasquez

Primary Objective: Negotiate alliance between Nephilim and Muslim Talents in the Dome of the Rock

Primary Objective Status: Completed

Secondary Objective: Support coordinated assault on the Horseman of Conquest and his followers

Secondary Objective: Completed

Tertiary Objective: Prevent Nephilim and Muslim Talents from engaging in opportunistic violence that would destabilize the region.

Tertiary Objective: Completed

Summary: Three days after John “Jesus” McGrath and Reverend Carpenter initiated their Mad Talent Protestant variant of the Apocalypse, the Horseman of Conquest appeared in Jerusalem leading an army of about a hundred minor Talent followers to retake the Temple Mount to initiate the arrival of the “New Jerusalem” of Revelation. Nephilim quick-response teams engaged, pinning Conquest and his followers in the Al Aqsa Mosque and attached Islamic museum. Due to the public and dramatic nature of Conquest’s arrival, news rapidly reached local Palestinian Talents, who got word to allied and affiliated Muslim Talents from an assortment of countries that the Dome of the Rock, the third most holy site in Islam, was under attack by “American Crusaders.” With surprising efficiency, this loose network of Muslim Talents coordinated transport to the Dome of the Rock implying a pre-arranged conspiracy to defend the Dome of the Rock, presumably against Israeli aggression. This resulted in a three-way standoff between the Nephilim, the assorted Muslim Talents, and the Horseman of Conquest, who seemed to possess the ability to transport limitless numbers of Talent faithful from Fort Leavenworth.

President Obama, in some late night phone-call diplomacy, got the Israeli government and an assortment of Muslim governments to accept a small team of American Talents to broker and insure coordination between the Muslim Talents in the Dome of the Rock and the Nephilim for the purpose of driving out or killing the Horseman of Conquest. It was deemed to be in America’s interest to distance the government from the agents of McGrath and Carpenter in a very visible commitment of support. The President held an unprecedented briefing with Section 2 leadership to make his wishes known.

Operations Team was assembled on short notice and briefed on the situation as it was unfolding. Operations Team’s primary objective was to broker and insure a ceasefire between the Muslim Talents and the Nephilim and coordinate a unified response to the Horseman of Conquest. Their secondary objective was to support the coordinated response in driving out or killing Conquest and his followers. Their tertiary objective was to ensure that, should the first two objectives be successful, that the victorious Nephilim and Muslim Talents did not fall upon each other opportunistically.

Team transported into the Nephilim staging area where they met with Commander Joseph Stein. He relayed to Team the official stance of the Nephilim and the Israeli government that they should extend all cooperation with the Team and work with the Muslims against their mutual foe. Commander Stein also informed Team that this official stance may prove difficult to enforce, as the Muslim Talent force contained a number of highly-wanted individuals, Talents who have been responsible for Israeli civilian casualties and other crimes against the State. Furthermore, there was insufficient trust that each side wouldn’t simply hold back to allow the other force to expend themselves against Conquest before moving in to mop up both groups.

Team sent Operative Aamir and Operative Pyatt into the Dome of the Rock where they met with Hassan Ali, a former Egyptian military Talent who had become the de-facto leader of the Muslim resistance. Ali revealed that, when he was part of Egypt’s covert Talent force, he had permitted the smuggling of the portable nuclear device into Gaza that was ultimately detonated by an Assamese mole, the same device which resulted in Operative Aamir’s Talent manifestation. He revealed that while he was not the Israeli’s primary concern, he ranked up there and there was little trust that the Nephilim wouldn’t simply hang back and let the Muslims expend themselves on Conquest. As far as the Muslims were concerned, they were there to defend the Dome of the Rock, not expel invaders from Israel.

Operative Pyatt provided the Muslim defenders with a small force of copies to support their position while Operative Aamir secured a formal agreement to coordinate the assault with the Nephilim under the assumption that the Americans would ensure that both parties committed to the assault. Operative Aamir the circulated amongst the assorted defenders seeking to convince them that, notwithstanding their grievances against Israel, there were greater threats to Islam waiting to assault its holy places, effectively seeding the defenders with a reason not to immediately turn on the Nephilim should an opportunity arise.

Team Leader Sawyer initiated a number of tactical decisions to weight any assault on Conquest in the favor of the three-pronged attack. Operative Pyatt and Operative Ganeaux engaged in a potent combination of their respective Talents to provide an instant army at need. Operative Team, supported by this instant army, engaged in a coordinated three-pronged attack on the Al Aqsa mosque along with the Muslim Talents and the Nephilim. The power, tactical capability, and planning of the three groups effectively neutralized Conquest’s followers, and a dedicated all-out assault resulted in Conquest’s death. Team Leader Sawyer, backed by a visible display of force by Operative Pyatt, successfully dissuaded further violence, and the Muslim Talents departed without further bloodshed. A Housekeeping Team was dispatched to take into custody all surviving American citizens and to coordinate with Israeli authorities on forensics and cleanup.

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