24

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M. Giant: B- | Grade It Now!
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Unlovely Rita

The door to the White House Bunker elevator slides open to reveal Assad, standing with his arms crossed and surrounded by three Secret Service agents and two armed soldiers in fatigues. The little party walks to meet Wayne, who's been waiting in front of the elevator with his own arms crossed. It's very Return Of The Jedi. "Mr. Al-Assad, right this way," Wayne directs, and he, Assad, and Wayne's lead Secret Service agent enter a rather luxurious conference room. Wayne says he believes that Assad wants peace. "On my own terms, yes," Assad agrees, sitting down without being invited. Wayne sits as well, so that he can talk about his own terms instead. He starts by saying that the U.S. has suffered a nuclear strike by terrorists who used to follow Assad. Assad knows: "I was there." Wayne warns Assad that if another nuke goes off, Wayne will have no choice but to retaliate -- not just against terrorists, but against the governments supporting them. He doesn't add that he might hit a few non-involved countries as well, but I suppose you have to break a few eggs if you want to kill hundreds of thousands of people. Assad gets up to pace the room, and Wayne's Secret Service agent paces along with him, his gun visible in its holster. Assad asks he doesn't know what Wayne wants from him. Wayne says he wants Assad to make a television address to the world, declaring his peaceful intentions and asking people in the Muslim community to come forward with any information about Fayed. "You flatter me if you think I hold sway over all Islam," Assad scoffs. What, they don't all know each other? Wayne says that he only wants Assad to influence his fellow extremists. Assad angrily says that it won't work if he presents his agenda on American television from the White House: "Fayed has already called me a traitor, and many others will follow him if there is even a suspicion that I am an American puppet." Wayne calls Assad a partner, and forcefully tells Assad that's what it's going to take for Assad's peace initiative to work: "And between you and me, sir, I really don't give a damn how and when you wanted to present your agenda. You want to lead this peace initiative? Then lead." Well done, Wayne. I suspect that a lot of the problems that are about to come his way wouldn't be so bad if people heard him talking to Assad like that.

Kiefer arrives at the CTU staging area near Fayed's building. Agent Turner is once again in charge, and he explains the logistics of the situation to Kiefer as they peer at the building through gaps in a privacy fence across the street. They don't have confirmation that Fayed's there, but Turner says that the building manager confirmed that Morris entered the building with a woman (McCarthy's presumed shooter) less than twenty minutes ago. That's one observant building manager. The building has no security cameras, so they have no way of finding out which apartment the bad guys are in. At 1:34:42, Turner leads Kiefer to the back of a parked CTUmobile and hooks him up with a CTU earpiece. In a moment, Kiefer's on the line with Buchanan, telling him everything he just learned from Turner. CTU has the building on infrared satellite refreshing at five-minute intervals, and Nadia chimes in that the six-floor building contains over two hundred people in over one hundred apartments. Kiefer says that they don't have time to go room by room (which would tip Fayed off anyway, I would add) and will have to figure something else out. Air strike? After a moment's thought, Kiefer hits on the idea of triggering the building's fire alarm and going in after anyone who doesn't come out. "Chloe, it's good to have you back," he interjects as he gives her the instructions. It's going to be a little while before she can hack into the system, so Kiefer throws on a bulletproof vest while he waits. It's fortunate that when he was ransacking the belongings of some unsuspecting movers a several hours ago, he chose something that matches Kevlar.

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24

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