The Following takes place between midnight and one o’clock a.m. on the day of Operation Nightfall The on board clock showed that it was just a few seconds past midnight, it’ll be three o’clock in L.A. now, the pilot thought just as a man jumped out of the military plane, he was in all black and free fell until the last minute when he released his chute, that man was Sergeant Roger Voss, of Delta team Nightfall, he was jumping ahead of the rest of the team so that he could secure the extraction point.
Meanwhile at U.S. Airbase Aviano, the rest of the team arrived, they filed into the briefing room and were met by the mission leader, Captain Jack Bauer, the team at this point had not been given full mission details, he introduced the five men in turn. “This is my second in command, Dwayne Shelton, Warrant Officer and former Green Beret, he’s a pro, and I trust him with my life”, Dwayne interrupted “Yeah, even though I don’t trust him with mine” he smiles. Jack carries on “Weapons officer for this mission is First Sergeant Brice Gardener” gestures to the man he is referring to, the man is stocky with black thinning hair and a moustache, the man gives a little nod while Jack pauses…”Brice has a range of specialities, including demolition and hand-to-hand combat and just generally just giving the enemy a hard time, especially the Serbs….” Brice shouted out “your not gonna tell the armoured car story again”, Jack replied by saying “come on Brice you like hearing that story as much as I like telling it”…. Brice shrugs “can’t argue with that”, Jack went on with what he was saying “well in a previous mission, he held off a Serbian Armoured car that was heading the search for us, but well we’d used all our charges in the mission, so all he had was a automatic weapon and one clip he took off a dead Serb, so while he’s holding them off, me and the rest of the team are making our way to the extraction point as fast as possible, hoping that he would make it too, well he did….ten days later, dragging three prisoners along with him!”, the other four looked at him, Brice didn’t move and instead just looked at Jack, “Jack, your right, I do like hearing that story as much as you like telling it”
Craig Johnson, (commanding officer – operation falling hammer) alongside Robert Ellis briefed three men, Captain Daniel Lewis (Delta Team Leader), Lt. George Emmett and Lt. David Taylor on the Op, Johnson looked around the room and begins “the plan is very simple, yet needs to be done right for it to be successful, your mission is to track Delta team nightfall and report back there progress, that’s stage one” he waited a second “Stage two, is to capture Drazen and make sure that team nightfall blow his compound, now this is where it gets a little complex but nothing you can’t handle, because their plan is to wait until they have confirmation that he is inside, and they will give the F-18, codename Hammer One the go, when they do not see Drazen in the compound they may abort the mission, you may have to tap into there radio frequency and give the call yourself, when Hammer One drops it’s payload the nightfall team will know something is wrong, so then they will have to be taken care of.” The three men are taken aback by this, Emmett brushes this aside quickly and asks a question “Why can’t we just let Nightfall do it’s job and kill Drazen?”, Jackson looked at Emmett knowingly, as if he knew what was coming “Drazen is more helpful to us alive than dead, but there would be public outcry if the U.S. imprisoned him without trial, but if people think he’s dead, no public outcry, its just a lot simpler, anymore questions?…. no, okay, get some rest, your dismissed, Captain Lewis if you won’t mind waiting.” Lewis gave a little nod and retreated back into the room while the others poured out.
Lewis walked beside Johnson who was looking down at his watch ,nearly ten past, as a fierce by the book military man he liked to be on schedule, Johnson turned to Lewis to discuss more pressing matters “Captain, is your team up to the job?….Didn’t Taylor work with Bauer early in his career” Lewis replied “Yes sir, Bauer trained him…” Johnson cut in “Well make sure it doesn’t become a problem, we don’t have the time” he put a large emphasis on the last word as he glanced down at his watch again. Lewis reassured him “it won’t be”, and then Johnson turned the corner, shaking his head at how much time he had wasted.
Robert Ellis was on the phone to Jack,
Ellis: “How’s the mission doing Jack?”,
Jack: “Yeah, fine, just finished the briefing, would have helped if you were here Bob, where are you?” Ellis looks uncomfortable, because he can’t answer jack’s question
Ellis: “I’ll be there soon”. Jack looked confused, not understanding why Ellis didn’t really answer his question, but Jack decided not to push the issue. Jack: “Well be sure that you are”. Jack, who looked slightly uncomfortable, hung up.
Ellis walked into Johnson’s office to tell him about his phone conversation with Jack, “If I’m not there soon, he’s gonna ask more questions”, Johnson agreed with him “Yeah you better get going,” Ellis was halfway out the door when Johnson continued “Just make sure the team have everything they need before you do and keep your cell on, just in case”.
It was quarter past three at CTU District headquarters in L.A., Richard Walsh was in his office, he still had a couple of hours of work until the day the day was finished, even then he knew he could be called upon at any time, what I’d give for a normal job, he thought about that for a second, a normal job?! That would be good, he would have continued with this thought but his assistant came over the intercom in a panicked voice, “there is a call for you, sir…… but the caller wouldn’t give his name,” there was a long pause while she tried to regain her composure “he just said that he has been watching us…. and that he knows what we do!?!……, sir do you want to take the call??”, “It sounds serious, I’d better take it” in a slightly mock serious tone. “Sir?” says his assistant, not quite sure why he wasn’t taking it in his usual serious way. “Just put me though Sarah” He picked up the phone and stopped trying to put on a serious tone and laughed down the phone “You’ve got to stop scaring my assistant like that Jack” Jack on the other end laughed out loud and said “sorry”, Walsh asked “what do you want Jack, aren’t you getting ready for a mission?”. Jack said “I need a favour Richard”, Walsh said “Anything”, Jack explained “I don’t know where Robert Ellis, the man who is collected the intelligence for the op, I don’t know where he is, he won’t tell me, he should be her helping prepare for the mission”, Walsh is surprised by this, “I know how hard Ellis worked on getting this mission off the ground”. Jack went on “I don’t have a good felling about this”. Walsh tells Jack “it wouldn’t be easy but I’ll will try to find out what I can, is there anything else I can do for you Jack?”. Jack asked “Can you check up on Teri, it’s hard on her, me going away with no proper explanation”. Walsh says “sure” in a very reassuring voice and put the phone down.
Ellis was checking up on the final arrangements before he went to Aviano, Taylor was going through the files of the Nightfall team, he got a shock when he saw Jack’s photo and file, he glanced at Ellis in disbelief, not only because he knew Jack, but because he knew of Ellis’s close friendship with Jack. He doesn’t understand why Ellis would organise a mission where Jack would be Killed. Taylor approached Ellis and asked
Taylor: “don’t you know Jack Bauer quite well?”,
Ellis: “Yes, I do, but in this line of work you have to leave friendship at the door”, Taylor was frustrated at getting this kind of reply.
Taylor: “Still, ambushing another Delta team’s mission and killing them is a bit extreme, why can’t we just take Drazen, fake his death, and then make the Nightfall team swear to keep the secret?”. Ellis determined not to get drawn into a discussion about it.
Ellis: “More risk of it getting out” he said this is a very abrupt voice, obviously hoping to end the conversation, and then went back to what he was doing. Taylor doesn’t give up,
Taylor: “Are you telling me that you want this to happen? For six highly trained Delta team personnel to die, with no explanation to there families?” he pauses to let his words sink in “Jack is a friend to you and me, and all six are Americans, just average Americans, just like you or me” it’s was clear that Taylor has had a effect on Ellis, and he was clearly uncomfortable. Ellis looked at Taylor, he looked hurt, the expression on his face gave away his feelings, he was intense with thought, he opened his mouth, to let Taylor know what he was thinking “I…” but just then Captain Lewis came in, and Ellis’s expression quickly changed “can’t discuss this now, I’ve got to go”, his face showed no effect of Taylor’s words, but instead it was stern, like a commander to a subordinate, without another word to Taylor he walked out saying to Lewis that he is going to Aviano and to call him if he needed anything.
“It’s nearly half three which can only mean one thing” “Yeah, it’s time for another rubbish children’s show” Johnny Townsend cut in on the TV announcer, Townsend was a Agent at the L.A. Counter Terrorist Unit, with a flair for computer hacking, but he was under investigation, he hacked into the Pentagon computer, and he would readily admit his guilt but would insist it was for a good reason. Because he was being investigated there was nothing he could do but watch “rubbish children’s shows” and this was just what he was doing when the phone rang, it was Director Walsh, “Johnny I need a favour, I need you to hack into Delta Files to see what Delta missions go out today”.
Townsend: “Why come to me? when you have a office full of people capable of doing this, and besides I’m under investigation remember, I don’t have a hope in hell of getting near a terminal with the necessary access”.
Walsh: “I need this below the radar and I know you set up a illegal connection to the CTU server at your apartment”
Townsend: “You know I could go to Chappelle with what you’ve just asked me to do, and cut a deal, your a much bigger catch than I am” Walsh replied in kind. Walsh: “Yeah your right Chappelle would love to nail me, but it would be your word against mine, and you’d never see daylight again if Chappelle knew what I did about you” Townsend looked a little flustered
Townsend: “I get the picture, all right, I’ll do it, but it might take some time”.
Walsh: “Just do what you can”. Walsh finished the call and then left his office.
At Aviano, The Nightfall team go over each stage of the mission , they discuss the best way to insert themselves in Kosovo, Warrant Officer Shelton suggested a jump “It’s the best way to get us close enough”, but Master Sergeant Fred Peltzer (The missions intelligence specialist) looks up from a intelligence file and said “that is not really a option, Drazen just got a new toy” he presses a button and a map of the Drazen compound comes up on the screen on the wall at the end of the table where they are all seated at, Peltzer continued “from somewhere, probably a token of Milosovic’s gratitude, but he’s got a portable radar system set-up on the outskirts of his compound, they would know where we were before we did”, Shelton gave out a sigh, he was about to make another suggestion when Peltzer cut him off “Oh yeah and because our mission like most other Delta missions, it is technically illegal, so we have the make damn sure that NATO radar doesn’t see us and….” This time Shelton cut in “Fred, we get it, a jump isn’t an option” Jack came in with the suggestion of a HALO jump (High Altitude Low Opening) saying “the radar wouldn’t pick up a high flying plane or a parachute opening at low altitude”. They all agreed, and then go on to talk about the extraction point.
Robert Ellis was in his car driving to Aviano still clearly thinking about Taylor’s words earlier and was considering what to do next, after a while of intense consideration Ellis called Taylor’s cell, but it was turned off, the voice mail message came on, “The network subscriber you are trying to reach is currently unavailable, please leave a message after the beep, press one to re-record or delete your message at any time”, Ellis started his message “David this is Robert, your right, we have to do something about the mission,” he paused “convince Johnson to change the mission objectives” he paused again and pulled over to the side of the road so that he could think. He looked around, sighed deeply, and pressed one on his phone and left another message, not letting his true feelings known. Richard Walsh in his car pulled up outside the Bauer Residence, he got out of his car and went inside, he said “hello Teri, how are you”, she greeted him “good to see you Richard, what can I do for you?”, he explained “Jack asked me to look in on you to make sure that you where okay”, she asked “how long will Jack be on this CTU training exercise?”, Walsh showed signs of surprise, Jack said he hadn’t given a proper explanation, I didn’t think he would give a straight out lie, but only for a split second after which he covered his surprise well. He answered her question “depends how it goes but it shouldn’t be more than another two days”. Teri made an effort to look pleased at this piece of news, but it was clear she hoped it would be sooner. There was a slightly awkward silence, which Walsh broke by asking about Kim, Teri looked down, she sighed “Kim’s a bit like me, she doesn’t understand why Jack is away so much, only… more so”. Walsh reassured Teri “Well tell her, Jack will be home soon”, Teri appreciated this “thank you Richard”, Walsh said “And if you need anything, just call”, he walked out the door which Teri shut behind him. Walsh walked to his car, his phone rang, he picked it up, it was Townsend, “hi, Richard, it’s Jon, I’m in!” the last statement which was given with a large amount of glee surprised Walsh it had only been twenty minutes since call Townsend, “there are two missions going out today, the first is Operation Nightfall” Townsend briefly described the mission objectives and Walsh recognised it as Jack’s mission. Walsh asked what the second was “The second is Op………” there was a large resounding crackle as the phone went dead. Richard looked at the as phone which boldly displayed the numbers 3:59, it was nearly almost four, but it was clear that he hope to be home early was quickly fading.