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Cordilla virus attacks

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On the morning of Day 3, former MI6 agent Stephen Saunders orchestrated a series of biological attacks in cities across the United States of America using a highly lethal weaponized strain of the Cordilla virus.

Saunders, a vengeful British soldier abandoned by the U.S. after a failed joint mission in Kosovo, purchased the highly-lethal Cordilla virus from a group of Ukrainian scientists using middleman Michael Amador (who staged a fake auction of the virus to the Salazar syndicate and to a Nina Myers-affiliated buyer). Using the threat of creating a mass grave of Americans as leverage, Saunders dispatched couriers with vials of the virus to no fewer than nine major American cities, including Los Angeles, California; New York, New York; and Las Vegas, Nevada. He used the threat of a nationwide epidemic to make a series of demands of President David Palmer, which were intended to force the United States to retreat within its own borders and "make America clean again."

Of the cities targeted, Los Angeles was the hardest hit; one vial of the virus was released in the Chandler Plaza Hotel in the city's Downtown area, as a demonstration of its potential for destruction. An escaped guest initiated a wave of infection across the city, resulting in a major citywide outbreak that was barely contained by the agents of National Health Services and CTU Los Angeles. Additionally, in the course of evading capture, Saunders also orchestrated a helicopter attack on the local MI6 office, and the government-sanctioned assassination of a high-ranking CTU administrator.

Saunders was captured at the end of the 22nd hour of the day. After Jack Bauer threatened to infect his daughter Jane Saunders with the virus, Saunders enabled the government to capture or kill almost all of his couriers. However, he was shot to death by the distraught widow of one of his victims, which permitted the final courier to escape the dragnet. This man was eventually killed, and his virus safely contained, bringing the national security threat to an end.

Origin and motivation Edit

See also: Operation Nightfall

Saunders' motivation for the attack stemmed from a highly covert mission by the United States Army's Special Forces, Operation Nightfall, in which Saunders took part while on loan from the United Kingdom's MI6. Sanctioned by then-Senator David Palmer, organized by NSA operative Robert Ellis, and commanded by Captain Jack Bauer, Nightfall's objective was the assassination of Victor Drazen, who at the time was the chief of Slobodan Milošević's secret police, responsible for numerous campaigns of ethnic cleansing in Kosovo. Unknown to the team at the time, elements within the Central Intelligence Agency had set the mission up to fail, planning to capture Drazen alive and use him as a source of information while convincing the world that he was dead. ("Day 1: 2:00pm-3:00pm", "7:00pm-8:00pm", "Day 3: 4:00am-5:00am")


The destroyed Drazen compound

The mission ended with a missile strike on Drazen's base of operations, by which time the entire team had been killed except for Bauer himself. It was believed that Saunders had been killed with the others, but in truth he had been captured by Serbian security forces. For the next two years, they tortured him for information, until finally he was released or managed to escape. The ordeal left Saunders with a deep-seated hatred for the United States, which he blamed for abandoning him. He stated that his ultimate goal was to dismantle the American "military machine that exports its ugliness across the globe," to force the country to retreat within its own borders and cease its intervention in the affairs of other nations. ("Day 3: 4:00am-5:00am", "7:00am-8:00am")

Planning and organization Edit

Early stages Edit


Saunders meeting with biological weapon manufacturer Ari Consul

Interpol discovered records of numerous meetings between Saunders and high-profile suspects during the four years between his release from prison and the attacks themselves. These included Sayid Kolobe, a major arms dealer based in the Middle East, and Ari Consul, a biologist from Jakarta, Indonesia serving a life sentence for the manufacture of biological weapons. It was presumably through one of these contacts that he learned of the existence of the Cordilla virus, a type-3 immuno-pulmonary virus engineered by a group of Ukrainian scientists. Saunders purchased the virus for twenty million dollars through the group's chief representative, Michael Amador. In addition, Saunders arranged the theft of twelve of the former Soviet Union's gas dispersal devices from a warehouse in the Ukraine, which he modified to release vials of the virus over a square mile radius. ("Day 3: 2:00am-3:00am", "8:00am-9:00am")

To fund his operation, Saunders exploited his relationship with Diana White, who ran an escort service in Los Angeles catering to businessmen and diplomats. The two of them blackmailed these prominent officials in exchange for silence about their indiscretions. ("Day 3: 5:00am-6:00am")

CTU sting operation Edit

Main article: Cordilla virus sting operation

Initially unknown to Saunders, Michael Amador had offered up the Cordilla virus on the black market, attracting offers from various terrorist organizations and rogue states including al-Qaeda and North Korea. While Amador's plan was to con the selected buyer out of several million dollars, it was this plan that initially alerted CTU Los Angeles to the virus's existence. Jack Bauer (now CTU's Director of Field Operations), Tony Almeida, and Gael Ortega organized a complex sting operation to obtain the virus before it could be sold to any of America's enemies.


Jack Bauer back undercover with the Salazars

The plan, executed over the course of the afternoon and night before the attacks, depended on placing Jack Bauer back undercover with Hector Salazar, a Mexican heroin kingpin whose brother, Ramon, had been arrested following Jack's initial cover assignment. To accomplish this, Bauer staged a prison riot to free Ramon from custody and transported him to Las Nieves, Mexico, where the sale of the virus was due to take place. While the operation was complicated by the arrival of a second interested party, represented by Nina Myers, it was ultimately revealed that Amador had no intention of selling the virus to either Myers or the Salazars, and he managed to escape from the Delta Force unit assigned to apprehend him. With more than two hundred million dollars from the auction in hand, Amador boarded a plane back to Los Angeles, where he had arranged to complete the sale of the Cordilla virus to its actual buyer: Stephen Saunders. ("Day 3: 8:00pm-9:00pm", et al)

Timeline of events Edit

Delivery of the virus Edit

At 2:21am, Michael Amador arrived at a Go parlor in Los Angeles' Chinatown district, where associate Marcus Alvers was waiting for him. In preparation for Saunders' arrival, Alvers transferred the Cordilla virus into twelve individual vials for dispersal. ("2:00am-3:00am")

Stephen Saunders himself arrived at 3:04am to take delivery of the virus and demonstrate the operation of the dispersal devices. He confronted Amador about his activities in Mexico, furious that he had managed to attract the attention of every law enforcement agency in the country and possibly cost Saunders his advantage. As punishment, Saunders withheld half of his arranged twenty million dollar payoff to Alvers and Amador, saying that they would only be paid in full after completing the first attack. ("3:00am-4:00am")

Initial outbreak: the Chandler Plaza Hotel Edit

Main article: Chandler Plaza Hotel

Saunders' first target was the Chandler Plaza Hotel, a high-rise hotel on Wilshire Boulevard in Downtown Los Angeles; as he himself stated, the attack was intended "to send a message." Marcus Alvers infiltrated the hotel disguised as a maintenance man and set about planting the first vial of the virus in the hotel's ventilation system.

Meanwhile, a team of CTU agents led by Jack Bauer tracked a bank transaction to the Go parlor, where they apprehended Michael Amador and found both the virus incubator and the schematics for the Chandler Plaza. A second team led by Michelle Dessler and Gael Ortega headed for the hotel, where they apprised hotel security director Craig Phillips of the situation and ordered him to conduct a search of the building. Realizing that the virus had not yet been released, Dessler led her team inside without HAZMAT suits in the hope of capturing Alvers before he could complete his assignment. Although Alvers was captured on his way out of the hotel, the team was unable to stop the virus from being released: the dispersal device went off at 3:59am, sending the vial's contents directly into the air circulation system. ("3:00am-4:00am")

After the attack on the hotel, Saunders supplied eleven of his most devoted followers each with a vial of the virus. These couriers were dispatched to major American cities, where they were ordered to release their vials on Saunders' command.

Meanwhile, the CTU team was quick to shut down the hotel's ventilation system, but the virus had already permeated the entire building, infecting everyone inside. In order to prevent the guests from leaving and thus spreading the disease, CTU imposed a total quarantine on the hotel; no one was allowed to leave or make contact with the outside. Michelle and her team worked closely with the hotel staff to enforce this, disabling the elevators, phones, and fire alarms; jamming cell phone signals, and sealing off the exits. Regional Director Ryan Chappelle also authorized the use of lethal force against anyone who tried to leave the building.

One of the security guards caught on to what was happening and attempted to escape, setting off a fire alarm in the process. Although Michelle was able to catch him, many of the guests were awoken and gathered down in the lobby. At that time, several of them began showing symptoms, and a panic ensued. One of the guests smashed a window and attempted to flee the building, and Michelle was forced to shoot him. ("4:00am-5:00am")


The infected persons are quarantined

A TAC team soon arrived and took control of the situation; meanwhile, an NHS team quarantined the area, setting up a mobile lab in the lobby. Because of the extremely painful symptoms that resulted from a lethal infection (and there being no possible chance of recovery), CTU sent a case of suicide capsules over to the hotel. The capsules were made available to those who did not wish to suffer such symptoms. ("5:00am-6:00am")

Raid on MI6 Edit

Saunders made contact with Jack Bauer, identifying himself as the man in possession of the Cordilla virus. He had Jack put him in touch with President Palmer, and threatened to release the eleven remaining vials if the president did not comply with his demands. Palmer's first "assignment" was to hold a press conference in which he would use the phrase "the sky is falling." At 5:44am, Palmer held a press conference about his decision to raise the terror alert level to "red." During his speech, he said the following:

I'm not taking this action because the sky is falling, but I'd rather be overprotective than underprepared.

Meanwhile, Marcus Alvers helped CTU identify the man in possession of the virus: Stephen Saunders, the former M16 agent who participated in Operation Nightfall, during which he was supposedly killed. MI6 began searching for all of Saunders' known contacts and came across a name: Diana White, who had supposedly been helping Saunders finance his operation. This led Jack Bauer and Chase Edmunds to White's house, where they apprehended her. They then took her to MI6's L.A. office for interrogation.

As soon as they arrived, however, two of Saunders' men arrived via helicopter and opened fire on the office, killing White along with most of the MI6 personnel. Jack and Chase survived and made their way down to the server room, inside of which was a hard drive containing MI6's file on Saunders. Another two of Saunders' men managed to get to the server room first, planting a charge of C-4 in an attempt to destroy the data. After killing the two henchmen, Jack was able to retrieve the hard drive and escape the blast unharmed. ("5:00am-6:00am")

Saunders' first demand Edit

Ryan Chappelle found one of Amador's bank accounts on a computer confiscated from the Go palor, and followed the money trail to an offshore account in the Cayman Islands. Unbeknownst to him, this account was routinely accessed by Saunders' daughter, Jane. In the hope of preventing CTU from discovering this connection, Saunders called President Palmer and gave him his next "assignment": the assassination of Ryan Chappelle. His body was to be left at the downtown train yard by 7:00am, or Saunders would release more of the virus. ("5:00am-6:00am", "7:00am-8:00am")

Believing the millions of lives at stake to be of the greater good, Palmer acquiesced to his demand. He entrusted Jack Bauer with carrying it out unless he were able to find Saunders before the deadline. By following the money trail, Chappelle was able to access Saunders' offshore bank account, but it was encrypted. Chloe managed to decrypt it, and in it found the address for an apartment in downtown, which CTU believed to be Saunders' base of operations. They dispatched a field team with orders to apprehend Saunders to the location. In case the field team would be unsuccessful, Jack and Chappelle flew to the train yard to be ready to meet Saunders' demand.


Ryan Chappelle is executed.

After covertly taking out Saunders' sentries, the field team raided the apartment, only to find a switching node (which Saunders used to relay calls) inside. With the deadline minutes away, Jack had no choice but to follow through with the demand. He brought Chappelle to the mainline, had him get on his knees, and shot him point-blank in the back of the head just seconds before 7:00am. ("6:00am-7:00am")

Citywide outbreak Edit

Meanwhile, at the Chandler Plaza Hotel, the threat of a citywide outbreak of the virus emerged. Infected guest William Cole left the building before CTU could quarantine the area. Kathy McCartney (whom Cole had a one-night stand with at the hotel) alerted the agents that he was missing. Because she did not know Cole's name, CTU had to search their hotel room for any thumbprints he might have left. They eventually found a partial thumbprint on McCartney's belt buckle. CTU compiled a list of all the people who shared that thumbprint fragment, which allowed McCartney to identify the man. ("6:00am-7:00am")

CTU sent an NHS team to Cole's house in Burbank. By that time, he had already begun showing symptoms and left for a nearby drug store, infecting the four people inside. Cole then drove to an urgent care center at Studio City, where one of the nurses recognized him. She quickly alerted CTU, who sent a field team to quarantine the facility. Agent Chase Edmunds was able to learn from Cole everyone he came in contact with since he became symptomatic.


"The ripple effect"

Although CTU was able to quarantine Cole's house, the drug store, and the urgent care facility, there was a total of eight people he came in contact with who were unaccounted for. These people were set to become contagious at any moment, which threatened to spread the virus through a "ripple effect," making it near impossible to contain. ("7:00am-8:00am")

Not long afterward, two cases of the Cordilla virus were reported at Silver Lake and Hancock Park, resulting in the establishment of five new containment areas. By 8:00am, three percent of the Los Angeles metropolitan area had been quarantined. The situation had become so precarious that Secret Service attempted to evacuate President Palmer from the state. ("8:00am-9:00am")

Jane Saunders Edit

After Saunders verified Chappelle's body, he called President Palmer and laid out his first set of demands. A list containing the identities of all U.S. intelligence consultants in Asia was to be sent to Saunders through, or two vials of the virus would be released in major cities. Palmer called Jack Bauer and told him that he would not give in to any more of Saunders' demands, which gave CTU forty-five minutes to find him.

Picking up on the thread Chappelle was following, CTU discovered that Stephen Saunders had a daughter, Jane, who was a student at the University of California, Santa Barbara. They conducted an undercover operation to grab Jane, switching her out for a look-alike to prevent alerting Saunders. The operation was successful, but Jane initially proved uncooperative. ("7:00am-8:00am")

Jack Bauer learned from Jane that her father gave her an emergency number, and had her call him and stay on long enough for CTU to trace the call. They traced it to a building at 21904 Collins, and sent a large TAC team accompanied by LAPD to the location. Cornered, Saunders needed leverage over someone in CTU. He sent several of his men to grab Michelle Dessler, and then contacted her husband, CTU Director Tony Almeida. Threatening to kill her if he did not comply, Saunders ordered him to give the agents posted at the northeast exit a Code 9. Almeida then radioed the agents and had them move to the front of the building, allowing Saunders to escape through the northeast exit. ("8:00am-9:00am")

Stephen Saunders' apprehension Edit

Saunders and Almeida negotiated a prisoner exchange: Michelle for Jane. Tony broke Jane out of CTU custody and attempted to bring her to Saunders, but was stopped by Jack while en route to their meeting place. Jack convinced Tony to negotiate with Saunders for a new meeting place. Desperate, Saunders picked a new location: Downtown, under the 6th Street Bridge. This bought CTU enough time to mobilize a TAC team and devise an assault plan, which was to capture Saunders (who wanted to oversee the exchange personally) alive.


Saunders is incapacitated.

At the exchange, the TAC team remained hidden, awaiting a visual identification on Saunders. Jack eventually spotted him, and the team moved in, killing all of Saunders' men. Saunders attempted to flee the area, calling in a helicopter for evacuation, but the chopper was destroyed by an F-18. Incapacitated by the explosion, Saunders was captured by CTU. ("10:00am-11:00am")

Going after the couriers Edit

CTU discovered from Saunders' computer that there were eleven vials of the virus spread across the country. Saunders told Jack that the vials were currently in the hands of his men, who had orders to release them at noon. However, he refused give up their locations, prompting Jack to take drastic measures. He took Saunders and his daughter back to the Chandler Plaza Hotel, and then threatened to have his men take Jane into the quarantine zone. Saunders finally broke, revealing that he had fitted his couriers with the locator codes.

The codes allowed CTU to track down the couriers and dispatch TAC teams and local police to their locations. The first to be taken down was the San Francisco courier, then the New York City courier was apprehended and his vial defused. Soon afterward, the Seattle, Las Vegas, and Denver couriers were all neutralized. However, the man in Denver was able to call and warn the remaining couriers before he was killed. By 11:43am, all but one of the couriers were captured or killed. The remaining courier went by the name "Arthur Rabens." ("11:00am-12:00pm")

The final courier Edit

CTU tracked Rabens to the L.A. Metro, and Jack and Chase were in pursuit. Knowing the authorities were on to him, Rabens planted his GPL chip on a civilian in order to throw them off. When Jack learned of this deception, he ordered a complete lockdown on the subway. ("11:00am-12:00pm")

All the men matching Saunders' description of Rabens were then photographed, and their pictures were shown to Saunders for identification. Before Saunders could ID Rabens, he was fatally shot by Theresa Ortega, whose husband had been killed in the attacks.

Rabens made a break for the exit, killing two LAPD officers in the process, and then fled in a stolen vehicle. His escape was witnessed by Jack, who began to pursue. Jack chased him through Downtown, and CTU set up a roadblock at Chamberlain, which forced Rabens to retreat inside a nearby middle school.

CTU secured all the exits of the school. Jack, Chase, and a team of agents entered the building and searched for Rabens, room by room. Chase found Rabens inside of a laboratory and attempted to engage. Rabens overpowered him, but Chase attached the dispersal unit to his arm to prevent Rabens from leaving with it. Rabens armed the device anyway, but was killed by Jack before he could finish Chase off.

Jack was put in touch with Roger Sommers, who had successfully disarmed a similar device in San Francisco. He attempted to walk Jack through the defusal process, but the device Jack was attempting to disarm was configured differently. With no way to defuse it in the time given, Jack had to amputate Chase's arm so he could remove the device. He took the device and ran to a nearby cafeteria, placing it inside of a refrigerator where it could detonate safely. At 12:47pm, the biological threat was over. ("12:00pm-1:00pm")

Aftermath Edit

Upwards of 1,000 people were killed in the attacks. Approximately 800 were killed in the attack on the Chandler Plaza Hotel alone, while an approximate 200 were killed in the resulting outbreak of the virus.

For helping Stephen Saunders escape CTU custody, Tony Almeida was charged with treason and sent to prison. His sentence was reduced to seven months, thanks in part to the testimonies of Jack Bauer and President David Palmer. ("12:00pm-1:00pm", "Day 4: 2:00pm-3:00pm")

See also Edit

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