2010-01-16: Fianchetto



Also Starring The Many Dedicated Agents of Alpha Protocol (a.k.a. Serotonin)

Date: January 16, 2010


If the fianchettoed bishop can be exchanged, the squares the bishop was formerly protecting will become weak and can form the basis of an attack…


Deveaux Building - Apartment 402

The life of Elle Bishop has never been quite as tranquil as it has been for the last week. She took time off from work, and with few acquaintances to speak of, she has been home alone for much of the time. Thinking, considering - two things Elle never really had to do much of until two years ago. Tonight, she is sitting on her sofa with a box of photographs, leafing through them slowly, occasionally stopping to take one out for a closer look. In the background is gentle music - classical, not at all her usual preference.

There had been a lot of radio chatter about the residents of this particular building.

And then it went quiet.

Today is different, however. The surveillance across the street, hidden away behind dark curtains, sends a message outward, agent to agent. "Bishop is home — target in sights, apartment four-oh-two. Agent Baker, do you copy…"

In another apartment, Robin sits thinking about another Bishop. Specifically, the one on a chessboard, as he sits working on an endgame from one of his recent games. Hearing the radio signal, though, it's all forgotten. This doesn't sound good. Quickly focusing on the frequency in use, he listens for a response even as he hops up and makes his way out of the apartment, quickly moving towards 402, a small pile of door-hanging charity fundraising pamphlets (recently acquired just for this purpose) in hand, dropping one off at each door handle he passes on the way but moving quickly.

The radio is silent for a long while before a small chirp sounds and a stern female voice comes over the line. "Ma Baker reporting from sky hook, we are a go."

On the top of the building there are three figures clad in black, the contingency. According to the plan, the fourth floor should already have been blocked off by agents and then she raises the radio to her lips. "Alright. Cut the power." It takes only seconds before the entire building is shrouded in darkness. The three agents on the roof pull the rubber face shields over their faces and pull the glass goggles over their eyes. Each raises a thumb to the other before they drop over the side of the building on their zip chords.

The photograph in her hand drops to the floor without a sound. Elle sits up straight, hands unwittingly gripping the sofa so tightly that her knuckles turn white. The box of photographs in her lap is overturned and falls to the floor with a dull sound as she rises to her feet. When the power isn't immediately restored, Elle begins to creep away from the sofa, carefully picking her way through the dark apartment. She heads to the kitchen, a room with two exits and a useful corner in which to hide, using a small blue charge in her palm to cast enough light by which to see. Maybe it's nothing, and in a few minutes she'll step away from the wall laughing at herself for paranoia. Maybe.

Radio signals from across the street communicate with Cody and replies sound from radios right in the building — fourth floor, in the stairwell. "Checkmate. And go," one of the agents inside replies.

Luckily, or maybe unluckily, Robin was on the same floor already. No need to go by the blocking AP. Concentrating, he tries to broadcast an imitation of the voice from across the street, "Scratch that, there must be a hidden passage, she's now in 302." It probably comes out slightly garbled, but understandable. Then, he concentrates on blocking any signals that the real agent across the street might send. This is rather distracting, though, so all he can do when he gets to 402 is knock on the door urgently.

Two darts fired by agents laying in wait in seated positions in the hallway shoot straight toward the neck of the boy about to knock on the door. The problem with the sent message? There were no codes, no announcement of agent names or numbers. Everything goes through Ma, this time.

Speaking of Ma, she's currently keeping right on track with the plan and she along with her two cohorts are firing canisters of tear gas combined with Swan juice through the windows. Once the canisters go through, they swing to the side to wait for the count of ten.

And if Elle hadn't grown up within the walls of a secret organization specifically designed for this purpose, she just might answer Robin. Instead, she flattens herself against the wall and sucks in a breath, as if he might hear her breathing across the apartment and through the walls. The light in her palm is extinguished, her hands pressed against the wall behind her. She doesn't answer Robin's knock. She REALLY doesn't answer his knock when the tear gas is fired through her window. She valiantly tries to hold out against it, but in the end, she buries her face in her sleeve and stumbles through the dark towards the door.

As soon as the darts hit Robin's neck he stumbles back, then he falls, as the drugs flow in almost immediately to his brain, knocking him down if not all the way out. And as soon as he falls the jamming that he put in place vanishes.


The young man falls in the hallway, left there alone.


Three gas masks are pulled over the faces of the agents hanging by grounded wires from the top of the roof.


The agents in the hallway slowly creep forward, the beginning wisps of smoke eeking out from the bottom of the door already.


Three agents outside the window hop along the wall next to their respective windows, getting enough swing in order to…


A wedge is put in the door to prevent it from opening.


Three agents prepare their dart guns, pulling back the bolts action and gripping them tightly in their hands.


One of the agents outside holds up a hand with as many fingers held up… and three… and two… and one…


The agents in black rubber suits come through the windows, one in the bedroom, one in the living room and the smallest through the kitchen. All three tuck and roll, the lights on their guns instantly coming on to see through the smoke. If they were in the water, it would be like a synchronized swim. If they were on stage, a choreographed dance. As it is, they are each alone. For the moment. Crouching and creeping at the same time, the beams of light cut through the smoke to search for the woman inside the apartment.

Luckily for Elle, there are guns hidden in her apartment - one in the bedroom, one by the door - for occasions such as these. As she stumbles quickly through the apartment, ramming her leg into the coffee table on the way with a muffled curse, she is thinking about those guns and how she will get to them. It didn't come as a shock to her, about ten seconds ago, that she could not create another charge in her hand. She might not understand how they did it, but she doesn't need to. With one of her hands thrust out in front of her, an embarrassingly comical way to flail in the darkness, Elle finds the sofa and reaches down the back. Her hand closes around the weapon; in an instant, she has wheeled around, gun in hand, pointed into the darkness. She shoots three times, entirely blind, hoping to hell that luck is on her side.

Shot one is a miss, the flash of light coming from the muzzle and the sound of the gun is enough to pinpoint which area of the apartment the woman is in. Second shot fired from her gun has a series of darts shot in the same direction that the bullet has come from.

The agent in the kitchen rolls low to the ground, the layout of the building flitting quickly through her mind. Third shot hits the agent in the living room squarely in the chest, knocking him back and causing his tranquilizer gun to go off in a straight line toward the ceiling.

The only sound is the grunt of the fallen agent as the light of his rifle filters through the smoke toward the same spot his dart hit in the ceiling. If the woman has not moved, the rifle of the kitchen agent's gun places a spray of five darts in the area of their 'ground zero' where the gun was fired from.

At least one dart strikes home, sticking Elle in the shoulder and sending her stumbling backwards into the wall. "Son of a— " This was not the outcome she had in mind. She tries again, one last time, to produce a fierce electrical burst… but nothing happens. Why did Adam have to be right? And where the hell is he now? The gun hits the floor with a thud, next to her foot, and a moment later Elle slumps down beside it.

The sound of the gun hitting the floor and then the slump of the body has the two standing agents waiting until the count of..

— Five. Four. Three. Two. One. —

Nothing. Not a sound. It is then that Cody rises from the floor and shines her light toward where she fired, stepping very carefully across the floor until the spotlight hits the prone and unconscious body. Reaching to her side she brings the radio to the voice piece of her mask and her distorted voice sounds through the device to the other agents. "Ma Baker reporting home. Objective clear. Time to clean up."

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