Posted by Lieutenant Commander Peter Sigmundsson (Chief Intelligence Officer) in Undisclosed location- CIO vs. Operative - Who is the better agent? When the past doesn’t match the present…or the future
Posted by Civilian Jessa Novar (Child) in Undisclosed location- CIO vs. Operative - Who is the better agent? When the past doesn’t match the present…or the future
Posted by Lieutenant Commander Peter Sigmundsson (Chief Intelligence Officer) in Undisclosed location- CIO vs. Operative - Who is the better agent? When the past doesn’t match the present…or the future
Posted by… suppressed (3) by the Post Ghost! 👻
Celia opened her eyes and immediately knew things for her were about to get extremely uncomfortable. The room was dark and she felt groggy. The last thing she remembered with the CIO hauling her off the floor by her neck…her shirt....her collar? Normally she had a crystal clear memory for events like this. It helped to be instantly awake when one was an intelligence operative. Right now she felt disoriented.
Taking a second she surveyed the room. It appeared to be barren of any decoration. There seemed to be no real lights: Just black and darkened shadows. She could be in a closet, in a holding cell, or some other secluded place. The one thing she knew was that she was not in the brig. “So is this where we break out the thumbs screws because I know the protocol as well as you?” It was normal for even the most experienced agent to feel trepidation in situations like this. Normally being caught by your own side or that of a Federation member meant you were probably going to have a walk in the park with the interrogation. Civilized people did not do the creative things others did. The wild card was the kid. Universally people became less rational when one involved children but since this mission was about a child, it was hard to exclude that element. Celia never held too much concern about kids. They simply grew up to be adults one day but not all people held this pragmatic view.
Celia Decker, intelligence officer
There was a slight creaking and one of the room’s shadows seemed to shift, a large black mass moving forward barely a foot from her. There was a slight click and a small ball of light, floating maybe six feet above the floor between Celia and the now visible form of Peter, gave a dim light. Enough to show his emotionless wooden expression “Have you ever heard the story of how the Cardassians tortured Admiral Picard back when he was Captain of the Enterprise , this was the Enterprise of my youth, Enterprise D. Galaxy-class, gods what a class of starship” His expression seemed to shift as he spoke, in fact his entire posture seemed to change from rigid man of the uniform to a more relaxed person, he had on a slight smile, a wry smile as if he knew a joke that no one else did “This happened the year before I joined the Academy but the story became somewhat of a legend during the Dominion War, a story of Human resilience, Cardassian brutality and most importantly how ineffective torture really is”
Her eyes immediately snapped to the light and then the voice in the darkened space. She didn’t waste a moment uttering a silent curse that it was the intelligence chief and not some security guard in the room. The simpering brat had made her play a hand from her deck back in sickbay. It was not the last hand in the poker game she was playing but only this turn. A new round of cards had been dealt and now she had to figure out which one she would play. They both had different mission objectives and different methods to achieve them. She remained quiet and continued to let him talk.
He leaned forward “The man was drugged, tortured, humiliated for some classic Cardassian scheme. No one really knows the details of what happened but I’ve read the after-action reports and let me tell, it was not pretty yet he held on, ‘there are four lights’ became a rallying cry”.
There was no training that prepared one for torture or interrogation. Since this was a Federation vessel and she was a Federation member it would be the latter but that did little except give her less hope. If this was an enemy, there was a chance they would just kill her and not care but the security chief wanted answers. This meant he would probably try to tap into her psychological component in an attempt to disrupt her senses and sense of duty.
He leaned back “No this isn’t where I bring out my thumbscrews, I won’t even have to hit you. I’m afraid that if I did you might not wake up” He raised his left hand and made a fist, showing just how large his hands truly were. “We’re just going to play a little game of chicken or better yet a game of faith and duty. Do you believe enough in your cause to die for it” His smile widened showing teeth, a predatory smile “Because I believe enough in my cause, in my duty to kill for it” He said cheerfully “But that’s a bit heavy as a start for a conversation don’t you think?” He asked rhetorically “Instead I’ll ask you this, you’ve clearly been briefed on me or at least my presence on the ship, you have some training in tradecraft although perhaps not very extensive but enough for the layman. What do you know about me?”
Celia listened to his speech and looking at Peter instantly broke out crying. Whether or not he would buy the dog and pony show she was about to sell him remained to be seen. By now Primrose and the rest of the team would be moving into the extraction phase of the plan with the girl. In the world of intelligence, time was sometimes more important than information. The more time she could buy for herself and the extraction team would increase the chances of success of the mission. “Please I was just trying to help her. It’s not fair what happened to her. I was just trying to help her. She is just a kid.” The tears were real as was the way her face twisted up and her shoulders sagged and caved as she began to sob. What wasn’t genuine was the sentiment. Peter seemed to not be sure of her credential. For now, that was what she would play on and sell the lie as long as she could.
Peter watched the woman, his expression remained the same, and even seemed to be more amused at the reaction. He did lessen his smile, no longer flashing teeth but still had a grin on his face.
Already the mental games were afoot. Had she mentioned she knew him in sickbay? Did she call him by name or even department? His arrival was unexpected. The man breezed in like a wraith in the commotion and seemed to be there before she even knew it. How much had he heard or was aware of? She had to keep her responses vague or get twisted up in her own lies. Looking up at him with tear-stained cheeks she shook her head with all the emotion of an OMAP award-winning actress. “That is his kid. Who would do that to your own child? Lock them up? Treat them like a criminal. Someone has to help her even if her own father won’t.”
The tango between the operative and the chief had begun. Celia could not admit she knew the man and continue with the ruse that she was an unassuming doctor. Men like Peter would not give up when they posed a question so the only thing Celia could do was try and introduce new information. If it was new information, then it would give her a chance to control the narrative and buy more time.
Celia Decker intelligence operative
Peter leaned forward, hands on his knees and his ever-present smile widening “That was fairly good Celia, you might have even been able to move me a few hours ago but you made a catastrophic error earlier, you tried to pressure that child you speak so movingly about” He clapped his hands together a few times in mock congratulations “Now stop that sniffling before you have something real to cry about” He said ever so casually “Since you don’t want to engage in idle conversation I won’t force you.”
Her face dropped the pretense of emotional distress as she leaned back in her chair. The posture would be one Peter would notice. It was the projection of a laisse-faire attitude; however, in her mind, Celia was running possibility after possibility of what would come next. Peter planned on not making it easy even though his manner and verbiage presented that if she played ball things would be fine. Celina causally glanced down at her wrist and grimaced internally. She had no idea if is had been ten minutes or three hours since she had been in sick bay. She cursed the man for inducing unconsciousness. It was disorienting and gave him the advantage. Celia had been trained to try and maintain a sense of time yet Peter, just like her, had been trained to erase this advantage. Without a reliable passage of time, Celia would have to rely on things like hunger or thirst to figure out how long time had passed and she was not hungry.
He leaned back “Now let’s start this for real, I’ll explain what I am going to do, I am going to ask you about how many operatives are in your cell on the Atlantis and if you have any other backup and of course, if you have any other assets. Then when we’re done I will put you in a cell somewhere.”
Celia took a deep breath. “My name is Celia Decker. I am a doctor for the Starfleet but…even if you were right…But Peter, me telling you who, where, and why won’t make much of a difference so why should I betray my comrades’?” Settling back in her chair, she let out a small laugh. “You and I both know that I am bound for the brig so do your due diligence and get me a lawyer and a call.” She would continue to use the innocent until proven guilty plan for now.
He gave her a moment to digest his words before resuming “Now usually when I deal with Section 34 I give you the benefit of the doubt, I’ve worked with your people in the past and will likely do so in the future but I’ve also opposed you in the past as well. But I have a soft spot for children and am wholly against them being used to gain advantage for anyone” He shrugged “It’s one of my few flaws” He said with a chuckle “So since there is a child involved I am drawing a line, if you share information that leads to me stopping your allies things will go as they should, you’ll be detained and then someone high up the chain of command will order your release in a few weeks and you will continue your work for your organization as will the rest of your cell.” He paused for effect “If you don’t I will find them anyway, it’ll be messier that way but still it’ll be dealt with.”
*You are good,” she thought and let a small smile twitch the edges of her lip. Peter was running this by the standard playbook so far.
That did not mean he would continue as she resisted. She opened her mouth but was silenced by a hand the size of a dinner plate before she could protest.
He put his hands up “‘But Peter, me telling you who, where, and why won’t make much of a difference so why should I betray my comrades’?” He said in a high-pitched voice, the voice was comical but he seemed to perfectly mimic her accent and vocal pattern.
Celia sat up far straighter now that in the past. While the man placed the sentence in a humorous way, it was verbatim to what she had said. The man seemed to have an exact memory. She would have to be far more careful in what she said. He would twist the story using her own words back on her if she was not careful. “Neat trick,” she complimented him with an acid-like sarcasm however if you think you are smarter than me I need to tell you,” Celia let her tone turn hard but was cut off by Peter.
“Well little lady let me tell you why” He continued in his normal voice “Because if you don’t your side will suffer severe casualties. I haven’t decided yet if it’d be better to let you live or not. Still, I can promise you that no one else will” He again spoke very casually, normally he might have spent some time building rapport, trust, or an intimidation factor. Still, something about this whole thing nagged at him, his gut told him that he didn’t have that sort of time so he would simply bludgeon cooperation.
“Peter,” Celia used his name and spoke in a neutral tone. “Do you know what children are? I am not sure you do so let me harden that soft spot you have for them. Children are nothing more than living breathing ideologies. We take the tabla rasa that is their brain and imprint our culture on it. We make them think and breath and live our ideologies. Then we set them loose on the galaxy. That child,” Celia’s voice held nothing but contempt, “is our enemy. She is all that we hate and despise. Our,” she stressed the word, “job is to stop her before she and her kind bring about an ideology we have to fight with words, blood, and lives.” Celia hoped that by slowly inserting the words like “our” it would slowly make Peter come to see the facts. “You are right. Someone needs to be in the brig and it is not me.”
Celia Decker intelligence agent.
Suddenly Peters’s hand was right in front of Celia’s face followed by his middle finger flicking right in the center of her forehead with force that shouldn’t come from a single digit. His expression remained amused “You see that’s why I never joined during the three separate occasions your people tried to recruit me” He didn’t actually know if she was Section 31 but treating her as if he did serve two purposes “You misunderstand the Federation Ideal, hate is a weakness, throughout our history hate has never led to anything but problems. Fear-mongering only leads to suffering. Adding to that you are taking away one of the fundamental freedoms we serve to protect, choice. Choosing what to believe, just because you think something is wrong doesn’t make it so.”
“We are protecting choice. The choice not to be overrun because our heads were buried under the sand like a bunch of damn ostriches to scared to take a good look at the future,” Celia’s voice was icy as she jerked her head away from his finger as he tapped her. “This is no different than when the Earth sat back in the 1930’s and allowed Hitler to lay waste to half the planet and Hirohito the other. Everyone sat back and spoke like you but we know how that worked out. These people are religious parasitic zealots. They come spewing rhetoric in one hand and weapons in the other. No planet is able to resist them and if they do they are wiped off the face of the universe. The Galactic Union makes the Borg look like a walk in the park. That child is the harbinger of doom. We are just shoring up our defenses and those people in the brig can help. Don’t get on the wrong side of this Peter.” Celia had turned her tactics from denying her involvement to recruitment. If they could turn Peter, his expertise would be invaluable. “You joined Starfleet for all the right reasons. Don’t let some child turn you or feed you their kool aide.”
He pulled his hand back, shaking it as if his finger hurt “Besides you aren’t actually interested in the threat they cause but the technology they could provide, the ideological threat is minimal, most species within the Federation already have either a mistrust of organized religion being in control of a government body due to bad history or are too stubborn to accept it” Peter slowly unzipped his jacket with a sigh, something metallic under his coat seemed to glint of the floating ball of light.
“Yes,” she admitted. There were times to lie and times not to. “With their technology that we have seen, we can protect the Federation from any threat. We just need time to integrate it into our systems and understand it. Reversing engineering is possible but we can not let people outside our organization get involved.”
Peter then suddenly smiled “So it is a fight then?” He asked, “That’s what ‘containment lost means?” He seemed chipper as he spoke. He’d caught it as she said it but didn’t comment immediately, actually, he doubted that’s what she’d meant with her words but her reaction would tell a great deal “Now that you’ve been caught your forces have been mobilized. With a ship this size, I’m assuming you have at least two or three units, four-man fireteams?” He asked rhetorically “Now it depends on what your plan is, taking over the ship is possible with such a small force but you’d either need an escape vessel to take your prize away from the Atlantis…”
Taking a breath she played out the mission in her head. The counter-insurgent team had to know where she was and who had her. Jessa had waffled enough with her commitment to her own people and some newfound quasi sympathy with several of the crew that the team would press her. Celia had no idea what phase the mission was but since the klaxons were not blaring there stood a good chance it was still a covert one.
Siggmundsson was piecing things together far faster than most over the past few days but that was his job. It was what he was trained to do. To take wisps of knowledge and bits of conversation and weave them into a tapestry that gave made conspiracy theorists salivate. “Peter,” Celia said in a soft almost flirty tone, “trying to take over the ship would make us mutineers at best and terrorists at worst. It would also be stupid and impossible. No one team could do that with four prisoners locked in a brig.”
He paused as he considered “Or perhaps someone who can give a semblance of legality to this” The thought was absurd to the point of being ridiculous, he was an idiot, one of the rare examples of failing upwards within Starfleet and Section 31 using someone like that was unlikely but for some reason, the thought struck him as the missing piece of the puzzle. Most of everything here was guesswork based on a ten-minute conversation with the spy in front of him and the last five since she woke up, all of it was conjecture ad guesswork, no evidence or intelligence. You never got intelligence when facing Section 31, so he improvised. He knew tradecraft better than most humans and he knew Section 31 intimately, hell his time on the Viking had nearly doubled his already considerable experience with the rouge agency. He laughed heartily “Please tell me I’m wrong, I really want to be wrong, don’t tell me you’re working with Primrose?” He could feel his eyes watering but he kept a close eye on her reactions. If he was right this would be over even sooner than he expected.
Only Primrose was enough of an idiot to think this mission was going to be utterly covert. There was no way the crew of the Altantis was going to just wake up one morning and scratch their arses wondering what happened to the people in the brig. That was why they placed him as the frontman. Primrose had the rank to toss around and the initial backing of those with actual power. Someone was going to take the fall and someone was going to spend the rest of their possibility short life staring at walls in a four-by-four cell. That person however was not going to be Celia or the rest of her team. Peter was correct when he told the child that Celia would be arrested and spend some amount of time in jail. He was also correct in that some event would happen to allow her and the rest of her team to be released a few weeks to months later. Prison riots and shankings were convenient and allowed the public to get their pound of flesh. They also allowed operatives to slip out and back into action.
“Primrose is an idiot that can’t walk and chew gum at the same time.” It was pointless to try and deter Peter from his line of thinking.
The man was like a shark that smelled blood in the water. He would seek it out to the end until he found his target. Celia needed to chum the waters but make sure she kept Peter’s attention on her and continue to try and recruit him. “You know the really crazy part of all this? We are just as rabid in our beliefs as that abhorrent little brat in sickbay. Want to know what makes us different?” She let the question hang although it was just a rhetorical one. “We hold the stylus. Everyone knows history is written by the winners. Play your cards right and you might even get a reference in Fedepedia. The real question is will your footnote be left as Peter Signmundsson the man that let an alien force sweep across the Federation or the tactical genius that saw it coming and stopped it before it began?”
Celia Decker counter intelligence operative
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