Luke jumps through the cold water and into a clear yellow sky, with the sun at the horizon striking his face, and the cold wind blowing against his dark green hair. He spreads his arms to his sides and raises one leg forward, bent at the knee, and the other leg bent behind him – the landing stance. He glides down at a near-horizontal slope, with Jahan a few hundred meters ahead of him. As Luke gets near enough to the ground, he shuts his eyes and breathes more slowly and deeply. He straightens up his legs, locked at the knees with stretched ankles. He clasps his arms vertically above his head. He bends his torso forward and legs backward, and dives into the river like a spear almost horizontally. He reaches the bottom of the shallow river and kicks the ground jumping out of the water and landing with his feet on the levee, running as fast as a car on a highway.
Meanwhile, Jane is meeting with an informer at a café’s terrace in D.C. Both Jane and the informant are in casual clothes giving the impression that they are college students. Jane has a red sweater, light-blue jeans, and white sneakers. The informant is wearing khaki cargo pants and a black sweater with a cap on her head. They are both sitting at a small round table that has only two chairs opposite of each other, sunk into their chairs with slouching backs.
Jane: “Why are we meeting here? Why didn’t you just come to the agency?”
Informer: “I don’t have time for that, and I don’t have that much to add anyway, but it’s something worth looking at.”
- “What is it?”
- “When they do attack the target tonight, they’ll be escaping on foot, as they always do. You know they all dress in black. They’ll disappear like ninjas…”
- “What else?” interrupts Jane.
- “Now from what I heard, they’ll be using barbed wire to block south Rotary road and Fern street, and most likely head to Arlington cemetery. All the maps are in there,” pointing with her eyes at the envelope on the table, “marked with predicted escape routes. If you really want to bag one of them, you could set up an ambush a few blocks inside the cemetery.”
- “Predictions, luck… doesn’t sound like much to me.”
- “It’s better than nothing. You wanted perks. I’m giving you a chance to move up.”
The informer sips her coffee from a Styrofoam cup, and Jane does likewise. The air is getting colder. A white, large 18-wheeler passes by the café, with a large-font red decal that reads the company’s slogan ‘life is opportunity,’ making so much noise that everyone has to pause their conversations. Jane stares at the 18-wheeler; her eyes following its slow, noisy fading away. When the truck is gone, the informer interrupts Jane’s drifting mind, saying: “It’s ok to worry. You’re not the only one who feels this way.”
- Jane: “It’s not that. I just don’t understand how we can’t stop them. We know where they are going to strike, we know the day, we know everything… We have what it takes to stop the attack. It’s as if we are letting them do it! It’s like… we want them to do it!”
- Informer: “The attack cannot be stopped, take my word for it. And besides, we’re not politicians, Jane. Each of us has a role, and in your case and mine, our role is to protect the country. The ‘how’ and the ‘why’ have the makers and shakers of our government to deal with. They know what’s best for us. The terrorists, regardless of their ideology, constantly find holes in our system, in our way of life, and they take advantage of those weak spots to advance their agendas. We can’t win against them unless we use their own methods. We must be cunning and take advantage of a situation and manipulate it to our own interests, just like the terrorists do. Our leaders might lie or cheat or even steal and kill, but when you know that it’s for the good of the country, you can’t really blame them, can you?”
- Jane: “So basically you’re saying that we’re playing cat and mouse.”
- Informer: “Sure. You can look at it that way. When the time is right; when the political tides are in the right atmosphere, we’ll get the job done.”
- Jane: “Listen, ah. Thanks for the maps and all. I guess I’ll see you later.”
- Informer (smiling): “Catch a big mouse tonight. See you.”
Night comes… Remi is walking toward a blue van parked behind a nightclub. He slides the van door open and rides in sitting on one of two opposing benches, next to five other people: Genghis, Ali, Veronica, Kim, and Vega. The van seats vibrate slightly from the loud bass coming out of the nightclub’s techno music. The only light inside the van is coming through the windows from the neon signs on the street flashing interchangeably.
“Where is Luke?” whispers Remi as he slides the van’s door shut.
“I don’t know. He’ll be here, give him a couple more minutes” Ali whispers back.
“He’s here, he’s here” whispers Kim as she looks out of the windshield.
Luke arrives and gets in and taps Kim on her shoulder signaling her to start the van and get moving. He sits on one of the benches and without preludes, he looks at them and says calmly: “They know who we are. I don’t know how, but they do. I don’t know what else they know or don’t know. So let’s not waste any more time. I tell you this – not even foreknowledge can stop what we are about to do tonight. Are we ready?” All of them answer: “Yes.” The van stops at the destination. Luke places his hand on the door handle ready to open it, but stops. He looks at his team and says “I lost my sword this morning. I need a weapon.” Genghis grabs two big boxes from underneath the seats and opens them saying, “Use Jake’s. We need someone to take his position if we’re sticking to the plan.” Luke hesitates for a second, flashing the memory of Jake and Sara in his mind and how they died. Luke whispers as though talking to himself: “vengeance is all that matters.” Luke breathes in deep, and straps the ammo and rockets on his body. He picks up Jake’s shoulder rocket launcher from the first box and his machine gun from the other box. “Let’s get this over with,” says Luke, “let’s go!”
Kim slides the door open and they get out, each rushing to their position. Luke drops on one knee and takes aim, and blasts the Pentagon’s front gate with three anti-tank missiles. As the alarms go off, snipers on the roof and helicopters armed to the teeth begin their ascension; in addition to F-16s arriving in 60 seconds. The plan is for Ali, Genghis, Veronica, and Kim to go into the building to plant the explosives at the critical corners, leaving behind Vega, Luke, and Remi. Luke is firing missiles and blasting everything in sight with his machine gun to divert the agents’ attention and cover for the rest. Remi is throwing flash bangs, smoke grenades, and hand grenades, one after the other, as he clears the way for the others moving towards the building. Ali stands at what used to be the building’s front door using his swords to slash every man that comes out. After the path has been cleared, they enter, but Remi slows down in the hallway and looks behind him curiously. He gapes as his eyes open wider when he sees that Luke had run out of rockets and had dropped his launcher on the ground, and made a 40 feet power jump, getting inside one of the helicopters and kicking its crew off, along with the pilot. Luke then pilots the helicopter, firing its turrets and missiles on the snipers on the compound’s roof, then turns to the other helicopters and shoots them down. Ali yells at Remi as he tugs on his shirt: “Let’s go!”
Remi and Ali’s task is to eliminate the secretary of defense and his deputies. This will get the entire department chasing after them, giving more time for Genghis to plant the explosives, with Kim and Veronica watching his back and clearing the way for him. Two F-16’s close in on Luke’s helicopter and fire two missiles followed by a turret blaze. Luke jumps off seconds before the helicopter is blown up. He lands unharmed, and starts running away from the compound towards Vega for cover. Vega waits for him to come nearer, then fires teargas projectiles landing behind Luke. Then they run in opposite directions. Instantly a dozen cars with armed men are dispatched, but Vega had barbed wire lying on the streets leading to the cemetery. The first wave of cars is halted with punctured tires.
Half a mile south from the Pentagon, Dimitri is sitting in his parked sedan with Jane next to him, both of them off duty, waiting for the target to appear according to the intelligence tip they received earlier from the informer. The two front windows are rolled half-way down, mixing the heater’s air with the fresh cold air. The seats are reclined, with classical music playing on the stereo. They both hear a car’s wheels screeching at a distance. As they get up to see where the sound was coming from, they see Vega running towards a dead-end, trapped in a fenced alley, so the car chasing him stops blocking the street. He is cornered. But Vega keeps running, jumping onto the fence, placing both his feet on it to make a long back-flip. He lands with his feet kicking the sunroof in, unsheathing his claws, and proceeds to tear up the men in the car. Witnessing all this, Dimitri and Jane step out of their car with pistols in their hands. They run towards the car trapped in the alley, which is about a hundred yards away from them. Dimitri reaches the car and keeps some distance, while shouting: “Freeze! Drop your weapons!”
Vega throws a flash bang from the car’s roof. But Dimitri and Jane recognize it and block their eyes before it detonates. Then they both fall on the ground yelling and pretending to be hurt. Vega jumps out of the sunroof and makes his run. The moment he passes Dimitri, Dimitri turns around and locks Vega’s neck from behind trying to render him unconscious. But Vega slashes Dimitri’s arm with his claw, and as soon as he releases himself from the choke, Jane sweep-kicks Vega at the ankles and drops him down on the floor, pointing her gun at him, “That’s enough!” she warns. Vega lies still, as Dimitri gets up and cuffs him after removing the claws. Jane gets up and tries to remove his mask, but Dimitri quickly says to her: “Don’t! Leave it on.” She complies, and they both get him up and walk him back to their car to put him in the back seat. Dimitri starts driving, with Jane pointing her gun under her arm and at her seat. “I guess from your costume, your name is Vega” says Dimitri after a long five minutes of silence. Vega doesn’t answer. A minute later, Jane notices that Dimitri made a wrong turn, and she says:
- “Dimitri, where are you going?”
- “To my apartment.” Dimitri answers.
- “Are you insane?” Jane yells.
- “Yes. I have to be one step ahead of them. They will be looking for him. They will expect us to detain him at a police compound. They will find him the same way they found Luke’s body. So right now, this is the logical step to take. My home is safer.”
- “Safer for who?”
- “For all three of us.”
Jane turns off the classical music and puts on N.P.R.: “… tragedy. The Pentagon, ladies and gentlemen, is no more. Firefighters and paramedics are on location. There is no official count of dead or injured, but initial reports are talking about hundreds of casualties. All government buildings have been evacuated, and the president and vice-president and their families have been taken to a safe place. We turn now to our terrorism and counter-terrorism expert, David Keyes.” Dimitri turns the music back on, listening to Bach’s ‘Mass’. Jane looks at Dimitri as if wanting to interpret his strange behavior. Dimitri looks straight ahead all the way, trying to enjoy the music on the way back to his place.