1. All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.
2. All characters, events etc. portrayed in this story are fictional and any resemblance to real persons or events is purely coincidental.
"911, please state the nature of your emergency," the operator responded.
"Help us! Armed men have taken over Capital One Bank! They've taken us hostages! They're robbing the place!"
"911, how may I help you?"
"Hello, my name is Ralph Eager, I... I work as analyst at Bank of America Financial Institute downtown. We're being robbed!"
"Okay, patrol cars have already been dispatched, can you tell me anything about the assailants?"
"There must be at least 10 of them and they all carry rifles."
The operator could vaguely hear someone in the background saying something along the lines of "Hey you, put that phone down!"
"Hello? Mr. Eager, are you still on the line?"
"Hello this is 911 eme..."
"Help! We're being robbed! They have automatic weapons!"
"Ma'am, I need you to remain calm, what is your location?"
"Farragut Bank! Hurry please, I can hear gunshots already!"
"Police units are already on their way."
4 minutes ago...
5th of March, 2016
"Ah, Lizzie, thank you for coming on such short notice, I'm afraid we don't have a lot of time but this is a matter of great importance," he calmly but firmly said.
"You don't seem all that concerned," she replied.
"Do you remember what I told you last week, that the Director's death wouldn't be the end of it? Of course you do. It's already begun. As we speak, certain elements of the Cabal, particularly those that were loyal to the Director, are working against us. When your life is in constant danger you have no choice but to remain calm at all times to improve your chances of survival. It's a skill I perfected over the course of the last 20 years."
"What are you talking about?" she asked puzzled.
"This morning, not 20 minutes ago in fact, people that I place great trust in managed to intercept communication on the dark web between what we believe to be members of highly trained, highly organized group of thieves. Not all of the details have been decrypted but I have it on good authority that they will hit 3 separate banks simultaneously in the DC area, today, this morning. In fact, it can happen at any moment. The assault is imminent."
"You should have told me earlier."
"It could not be helped nor could I risk explaining that over the phone."
"Then I better inform the others instead. This can't wait."
Keen and Reddington walked towards the car, she tried phoning Cooper but the line was busy.
"Cooper's not answering, dammit!"
She then tried Donald Ressler but once again to no avail.
As they got into the car she was about to call Cooper again but this time he called her.
"Keen. Get here as soon as possible. We have a situation. This is critical."
"On my way, sir."
I knew it, she thought to herself...
"Red, how do all these robberies relate to us?"
"Lizzie, when I decided to make the Fulcrum public, I only revealed part of the information contained within it, just enough to get the Cabal to stop supporting the Director. The rest I still keep as leverage over the Cabal. I think they may be after a safe deposit box of mine in Farragut Bank. In fact don't be surprised if that's one of the targets."
"Well, don't you have copies?" she asked surprised.
"I have, but I also have original documents. Copies would drastically reduce credibility, even in the eyes of conspiracy theorists looking for a reason to validate their beliefs."
"How do they know?"
"They don't know everything, they know the bank, but not the name or the account which is why this will take time. Time we can use to our advantage."
5th of March, 2016
The Post Office
"So you see, we're dealing with at least 20 assailants barricaded inside each bank with at least 100 hostages. So far no hostage has been killed or seriously injured but..."
"These men," Reddington interrupted as Cooper was explaining everyone the situation, "as dangerous as you assume they are, and you're right to assume that they are, they're actually 10 times worse. They are smart, well trained, they will likely have an elaborate and unpredictable escape plan, but they can also be brutal. Extremely. Brutal. Once they are done, believe me, they will not hesitate to massacre their way out of those banks and they will kill anyone, including law enforcement, if necessary."
"You know this how, Reddington?" Cooper asked.
"I have seen this MO before during my time spent on the Ivory Coast and Burkina Faso, many years ago, the perpetrators were never caught, same choice of weapons and gear, same tactic of robbing multiple places at the same time in an attempt to overwhelm the local authorities. Most of the time they would manage to sneak away without leaving a trace even as the building was surrounded or believed to be anyway. But there was that one time..."
"Say no more," Cooper responded, "What do you propose we do about this?"
"You need to assign additional units to each of those 3 banks, in fact, bring the national guard, bring everything, it's the only way you can stop them with minimal casualties should they decide to fight their way out. If this isn't done, you may be looking at a casualty count in the hundreds, I wish I was exaggerating."
"Aram, what do we have on those files?" Keen asked.
"Okay, we've managed to decrypt most of what Mr. Reddington gave us and I believe I may have a name of someone who was involved in setting up these armed robberies. Athanasius Bazarov."
"Bring him in, find out who else is involved," Cooper said.
15 minutes later...
"Athanasius Bazarov was born in Vladivostok, 1967, emigrated legally to the US in 1992 after the collapse of the Soviet Union. He is currently employed as Chief Security Officer at Port Hillsmere, east of Washington. It's a covert military facility for the US government masked as a regular shipping business. He does not have a criminal record and appears to be clean, but most likely just let's others do the dirty work for him while exploiting his position. He lives a simple secluded life from what we can tell suggesting he has something to hide. Exactly what we're not sure of yet. We strongly suspect he somehow used his position as CSO to smuggle the bank robbers into the country and orchestrated the robbery on behalf of a third party, he fits the profile of a man who likes to work behind the scenes," Keen finished her presentation of the suspect.
Meanwhile Bazarov was being brought in. Ressler started going hard on him...
"I don't know anything, please!"
"That's not gonna fly, Bazarov, and you know it. Tell us who you're working for and then call off these robberies, or you're looking at a 50 year sentence in federal prison."
Red was watching on the other side.
"Like the others, he's scared of the Cabal. He'll never talk. Lizzie, you need to make sure they never get those files from Farragut Bank, but play it calm, don't tell anyone else about it."
"What are you going to do?" she asked.
"I need eyes and ears inside and you probably do as well. You need to get Dembe into the building somehow. He'll find his way and mingle with the hostages while reporting everything that goes on in there to the best of his abilities."
"Keen," Cooper interrupted.
"I know you're not supposed to be out in the field, but these are extraordinary circumstances. I'd like you to be the negotiator for one of these banks, keep things under control."
"Farragut Bank would be my choice, I've..." she stuttered a bit as Reddington looked towards her, "I've been there recently, I know the place well, that could come in handy if things get out of control."
15 Hours Later...
It was getting dark and the situation appeared to be nowhere near resolution.
"Keen, how's the situation over there?" Cooper asked on the phone.
"Same as it was when I got here, sir. They're barricaded inside and they're refusing to talk to anyone. Dembe is inside and he hasn't reported anything special either. Just that the hostages are safe for now. Only a couple of minor injuries nothing else. Armed men patrolling the bank. Strange sounds can be heard from inside the vault. Business as usual."
"Keep me updated."
30 minutes later...
It was well past midnight by this time when all of Washignton and much of the surrounding area was hit with a major power outage. Not long after Cooper called Keen again but before she could answer the service went offline as well. Wireless Internet connections also failed. Radios were scrambled.
"What the hell is going on in here? Great, now we can't contact anyone," one of the SWAT commanders standing by could be heard saying.
This can't be a coincidence, Elizabeth thought.
Everyone was in the dark for the next 45 minutes or so, until the phone service mysteriously came back online. She called Dembe to get an idea of what was going on inside.
"Elizabeth, I think they are preparing to leave."
"Is everyone okay?"
"Yes," he confidently replied.
"That's good to hear. Listen, Dembe, any chance you can tell me where they are heading? The power is still out and we can't see anything in there."
"I'll try to follow them."
"Do they have that... document?"
"It's hard to tell, but I suspect they do, otherwise they wouldn't just leave."
Muffled screams could be heard in the background.
"What is that?" Elizabeth asked.
"It's a hostage. I need to hide I'll call you back."
Moments later one of the assailants came to the window with a hostage. Elizabeth suspected it was the same one struggling.
"Do our snipers have a visual?"
"Not sure, part of our communications are still scrambled, we can't give any orders," the SWAT commander replied.
The assailant then shot the hostage and threw her out the window.
"That's enough, we need to breach now before they kill more!"
She called Dembe again.
"Dembe, where are they heading?"
"They're taking the rest of the hostages and heading towards the western side of the building from what I can tell over here."
"I thought so, the plans show that's where the main sewage is. They're trying to escape through the sewage."
"We know where that leads," the SWAT commander said, "we will secure the two possible exits and send units inside through there as well, we have more than enough to keep the entire zone surrounded."
Upon breaching the bank they found all of the other hostages safe in the western side, neither Dembe nor any of the assailants however were found.
"They're in the sewer I'm certain of it!" said the SWAT commander.
When the SWAT units and the national guard secured all possible entrances into and exits from the sewer they discovered, the grating had been cut at least 30 minutes prior to their arrival despite their 2 minute response time.
They had been severely outclassed.
6th of March, 2016
The Post Office
"Last night was a complete disaster!" Cooper said furiously, "The bank robbers got away, martial law has crippled the capital economically, most of them were out of the buildings before we even breached them, over 240 million dollars are missing from Capital One Bank, one hostage at Farragut Bank is dead, we suffered the worst blackout in history, no doubt caused by the same people who robbed the bank, Dembe has vanished too and we found a discarded SWAT uniform not far from the scene, and I just got word from the NSA that an experimental submarine prototype, military grade no less, has been stolen from Port Hillsmere. Nobody saw anything, all we found were a couple of guards knocked out and tied up."
"The same placed we picked up Bazarov from..." Keen remarked.
"Exactly. And I think by now we all know who was truly involved in all of this."
Cooper's phone rang at that moment. The caller ID was hidden but Cooper already suspected who it was since nobody else had ever done that before.
"Reddington!" he answered without even asking who it was!
Cooper put him on speaker.
"It was you all along! You orchestrated those bank robberies to create a diversion and steal a military grade submarine in the chaos!"
"Yes," he replied without a hint of shame.
"You framed an innocent man to further weaken security at the port!"
"I wouldn't say he's entirely innocent of any wrongdoing. Have you looked into his computer files recently to see the kind of naughty images he downloads and stores there? Robbery or not, you don't want him roaming the streets for the next 20 years."
"And yet you still took the money!"
"Yes. Don't look so grim Harold, the money in the other 2 banks wasn't touched, I'm not that greedy."
"What about the blackout?"
"Oh that. Well, I guess the technology from the Skeleton Key came in handy after all. No need to trouble yourself with that. It's a great trick, but I'm afraid I can only do it once."
"You've gone too far this time, Reddington. We're taking you in the first chance we get."
"Oh my God! No! Please spare me, I've had it quite rough these past couple of months, give a man a break!" he said in his typically sarcastic tone.
"An innocent woman is dead because of you."
"There will be time for grieving later but right now, I have a message for Lizzie."
"I'm here," she said.
"Are you familiar with the man who calls himself 'The Extractor'? He's next on the list."
"Of course not, you don't even know these people exist remember? Anyway, I personally employed each of those 63 assailants. One of them however I do not like so much and it's for the same reason I never liked Bazarov. And it just so happens he will be contacting the Extractor soon. You see, Tommy wants to retire and the Extractor specializes in giving criminals new identities. He takes a customer to his safe house, prepares the paperwork, and then he's ready for a fresh clean start on the other side of the US. Or in another country if he prefers that instead."
"A name please? As in a full legal name?"
"Ah yes, Thomas Clearwaters. You find him, you find the Extractor."
"Where are you? What about the other robbers?"
"Bye, Lizzie," he said as he hung up...