Posted Feb. 25, 2021, 4:16 p.m. by Lieutenant Fihnrilkk'Hob"ledn-ardol (Fin) (Chief Intelligence Officer) (D Grisham)
Posted by Commander Jason Reilly (XO) in Office - CIO
Posted by Captain Remy Boudreaux (CO) in Office - CIO
Posted by Lieutenant Fihnrilkk’Hob”ledn-ardol (Fin) (Chief Intelligence Officer) in Office - CIO
After getting patched up, Fin returned to her office and threw herself into a chair. The first order of business for her was to finish reading the damned personnel files. She pulled the next one up on the screen and the face of a familiar Andorian greeted her. “Ohhhh, so its YOU, Marana!” A string of expletives in her native Bajeen peppered the room as she spit them out of her mouth, calling him the most derogatory things she could think of while questioning his parentage and reason for being on the ship.
Frustrated, Fin got up and retrieved a bottle of rum from a hidden cupboard, grabbing a short glass to pour it in. Returning to the desk and the files that waited for her, she set about soaking up the information inside them like a thirsty sponge. An hour and a half and two ‘doubles’ later, she was through and feeling better about almost everything.
“Hmmm, Jason said to go to his office…” With a glint in her eyes and a wicked smile, Fin tapped her com badge. =/\=Lt Fin to Cmdr Reilly. Would you meet me in my office if you have a minute?=/\=
While waiting for an answer, the CIO replicated another glass, a small bucket of ice and a flask of coconut concentrate with light pulp.
There was a slight pause and then the reply came. =/\= Fifteen minutes, Lieutenant. =/\=
A few minutes past the fifteen, there was a chime at the door. Reilly stood in the passageway, his hands clasping something behind his back and he waited for the door.
When it opened, he walked in and looked at Fin. “Well well… no worse for wear, I see.” and the door slid shut behind him. From behind his back, he produced an unlabeled bottle. Knowing him as she did, Reilly’s unlabeled bottles were the really good stuff. “Peace offering? Or are we going to have to smash each other over the furniture?” he asked with a slight grin, but there was sincerity in his eyes.
She looked from his face to the bottle in his hands and then back again. With the fingers of one hand she motioned him to come forward. With a booted foot, she turned the chair opposite her in his direction, inviting him to sit. “As much as I’d like to smash you over the furniture, I think I’ve had enough fighting for one night. Rain check, though.”
It was only then that she let her face relax enough for him to see the hint of a smile on her lips. Golden brown eyes traveled once again to the bottle in his hand. “So what have you brought me?”
Reilly took the chair and sat, and set the bottle between them. “Brandy. French. Hundred and twenty years in the barrel. And I’ll forego the rain check, thanks. Unless you are suggesting a wholly different kind of ‘smash’. Then that is a wholly different kind of conversation than I expected.” and he winked and motioned to her to pour.
“A hundred and twenty years…sounds delicious.” Now that he sat across from her, Fin crossed her legs and picked up the drink she’d been working on. “I’ll stick to this for now though.” After a healthy swallow, she gestured to the liquid refreshments she’d set out. “Help yourself.” And with a quick move, palmed the bottle of brandy and moved it behind her on the desk and out of his reach.
“I think you and I need to sort out some things. If we are going to have to work together, I don’t want to be second guessing your real intentions during a time of high emotion or danger. And from the conversation we had on the way to medical, I think there are a few things you want clarification on too.”
“Fair enough.” he said and leaned back in the chair, arms resting on the arm rests. “Although I can be very clear on your concern about my intentions. I intend to see every mission through successfully… and bring home as many of this crew as possible each time. Being Executive Officer means a bit more clarity in the job description than I had previously. Other than that… Im pretty clear on most everything else, I think.” and he gave her the smile that he knew she knew he saved for marks.
“So what is it you need clarity on… Lieutenant?”
Fin scowled. He was playing his ‘usual’ good guy routine, pretending he didn’t have a care in the world. But she knew different. Months working with him had revealed sides of him most people didn’t see.
She chugged a few swallows and set the glass down again. “C’mon, Jason. Cut the crap. We both know you have questions about me, about my job, my habits and my ways. You even mentioned something on the way to sickbay. What was is?” Her vision took on a far away look as she tried to remember. “Oh yeah, you said you went to prison because of me. How did that happen?”
Reilly was never one to be caught off guard. At least, not often at all. And when he was, he could ninety-nine-point-nine percent of the time conceal his surprise behind a smile or a witty retort that gave him time to regroup and get caught back up.
This was one of the zero-point-zero-one moments. His eyes widened slightly and his lips parted, his surprise evident.
“Wait… Y-… you really don’t know?” and his eyes narrowed as he leaned forward and really looked at her. He read every bit of her body language; language he knew better than most people… and not because of their past liaisons. He had spent months with her in close quarters. One learns to read the signs. And the signs here showed she was pissed… borderline violent towards him but keeping a good lid on the impulse to punch him in the face… and wholly honest. She really didn’t know.
Reilly watched her for a few more moments to be sure; but he knew that for all of Fin’s talents, she could never pull off a lie this big without a tell he could find. “F^%k.” he said softly, and then leaned back. “You really don’t know… do you?” he said as more of a confirmation to himself than a question to her.
“Before I came to the Wolverine, the last time we worked together was on the Sabo case.” For a moment, her eyes looked distant as her mind ran a montage of memories from those months on the viewer in her head. Attention back on Jason. “You were set to meet with him and get the full intel on his operation.” She took another drink and watched his face for any sign that this was the situation he referred to when he said “…you don’t know…”
“I remember I had a really bad feeling that day—in my gut. I just knew something was wrong but I didn’t have any proof.”
Fin stopped talking then, giving him a chance to affirm or deny she was on the right path.
Reilly looked at her in silence, but then spoke. As he did, his voice was flat… almost like he was reciting something.
“That operation ended with the termination of the target by your hand. Ordered and sanctioned by Operation al Control. I was on my way to meet with Sabo, having finally been granted access to see his whole operation from manufacturing to distribution. I was even picking up a list of clients for ‘investment opportunities’. You took him out with me en route. I arrived fifty seconds before the police showed up. ‘Anonymous tip’, they said.” he paused and leaned forward and fixed her with a look that was part anger, part disgust… and part hurt.
’…ordered and sanctioned by Operational Control…’ A puzzled look settled on her face. But it was only the first issue of a very different description of what had actually happened. Yes, she’d killed Sabo, but she’d done it on her own—gone rogue to save Jason. Unconsciously, things started to fall into place in Fin’s mind about that day.
“They arrested me, Fin. I was charged and tried and put in prison for murder. For what you did. And Intel? The same people that gave you the order to take him out? The same people that extracted you and sent you on your merry way? Yeah… they left me there for almost two years, Fin. I had to get out on my own*. And I had to do it in such a way that the operation wasn’t compromised and we were exposed. With no help, no support, and no backup.” and he leaned back slowly.
“So either you didn’t know that particular fact, or in the time since you’ve become a much better liar.”
She sat there, one elbow propped on the desk, her jaw set in anger, and eyes narrowed. Suddenly, Fin launched herself from the chair firing a string of ear scorching epithets in her native tongue towards those who had been in control that day. She was livid with a long buried rage that surprised even her.
Pacing the room, her voice began to settle back into its normal timber while she clenched and unclenched her fists. Eventually, Fin returned to stand behind the chair she’d previously sat in, hands grasping the back of it in an attempt to keep them still.
Looking directly into Jason’s eyes, she spoke a truth. “That isn’t what happened.”
Jason looked at her through narrowed eyes. Something wasn’t adding up… not surprising considering the s%$t-show they were talking about.
“It is according to the OpSec brief I took from Control last time I ‘visited.” Reilly couldn’t help but smile slightly. His break in of the secure records at Intel Headquarters had sent ripples through the whole organization. Of course, he had prepped his run as a ‘security audit’, and he had only copied the file in question while stealing the others… but the result was the same.
“So, that was you?” She let out a huff that was as close to a laugh as she could get at the moment. “That figures.” Now she came around the chair and sat down, leaning forward and planting elbows on knees, clasping her hands together. “Look, Jason, the only thing you’ve said here that I agree with is that I killed Sabo. I was ready to let the operation ride out its course, but I couldn’t shake my instinct that something had gone wrong. Just like you’d made contacts, I had too, so I reached out. This guy…Rldan, was on his way into the inner circle. He was privy to things most of the players weren’t, so I called him. I threatened his family, his children…said I’d do terrible things to them if he didn’t tell me what I wanted to know.” A look of self disgust shimmered in her eyes for a brief second. It hadn’t been one of her finer moments and she was not proud of it.
“He told me Sabo was onto you, that he’d had a visitor in the middle of the night and that his ‘house’ went on alert as soon as that person left. Sabo was going to meet with you and take you out, himself. You were never going to get out of that meeting alive, Jason.”
She saw the day in her mind’s eye as she described what happened next. “I knew there wasn’t time to have you extracted safely. Hell, there wasn’t even time to contact Operations to tell them that things had changed and what I was about to do. Most importantly, I needed to find a weapon that couldn’t be traced to us. I managed to get hold of a Sbap 547. It fires bladed projectiles and is manufactured on Goran IV. By the time I got into a position where I could use it, you were almost there. I only had two shots. The first one didn’t take his head completely off, but it severed the main arteries and killed him in seconds. After that, I went back to our room, left you a note and was packing my bag when Intel showed up at the door.”
Reilly showed another emotion that she hadn’t seen but glimmers of… rage. But it was a slowly simmering one… and that Fin knew was dangerous, very very dangerous, for whomever that rage was directed against.
“Wait.... here.” he practically growled and he stood up and walked out of the room.
Less than five minutes passed before he walked back in carrying, of all things, a binder with paper in it. He dropped the binder on the desk and said “Read it.”
The file was a paper copy of a Intel Operations Report. It detailed their time going after Sabo, but it was the last few pages that were the most… confusing.
She took the binder and scanned several pages quickly, agreeing with what was written there. Jason could read her thoughts on her face. In the current situation, Fin wasn’t trying to hide anything from him and therefore wasn’t trying to manipulate her face to display any particular emotion. So when she ran across the first part of the account where fact met fiction, he saw confusion.
According to the core official report of the op, Fin had been ordered to take Sabo out the day prior, but had been instructed not to tell Reilly. She was supplied with the Sbap 547 at her request, the requisition with her authorization was attached. There was an optical disc that had ‘Scope Cam Footage’ hand written on it.
There was a detailed accounting of her extraction. Then, on the last ten or so pages, were the debrief notes where Fin was told about Reilly being left to take the charges so she wouldn’t be compromised.
She watched the footage and read till the end of the report. Who had gone to all this trouble? Who could have created the alternate accounting of what actually happened that day?
Reilly looked at her and said “So this is where you tell me that this is all a huge conspiracy and that that isn’t the way it happened and there is a really simple explanation for why the secured and official report filed in the same place as all the other reports on the nasty and horrific s^%t Intel has done over the past hundred years and that will never see the light if day is so goddamn important that it and only it has been doctored.”
She was angry but didn’t know where to aim it. She knew what happened the day she took out Sabo, but what was written in that report, wasn’t it. “First of all, you don’t know that THIS is the only report that’s been doctored. It’s the only one YOU know about but that doesn’t mean there aren’t others. Secondly, the video is real. I told you Intel showed up at the door. I hadn’t called them so that means they had to be watching us. Why didn’t they tell us that? Why leave us on our own when the situation changed and your life was in danger? Why didn’t they show up BEFORE I took out Sabo?”
Fin shook her head. “There’s something bigger here, something we don’t see yet. But I swear to you, Jason, I didn’t know anything about you going to prison.”
“And that doesn’t change the fact that I did, now does it?” he asked flatly. He shook his head and then leaned forward and rubbed his face with both hands.
“Ok… so… you are right that I don’t know that that is the only file that has been doctored… and until I see proof otherwise I am hard-pressed to believe that the core report… the one file that all inquires and links are based off of… the file that only the Commander of Intel, the Director of FedSec, and the damn President can see in its entirety… that someone thought it imperative to fabricate it at that deep a level.”
Fin shrugged. “I don’t know what to tell you about that.” She was thoughtful again, then had another drink. “So that’s what’s been eating at you, isn’t it? You thought I ruined the operation and left you hanging in the wind. You let all that resentment and hatred build up instead of asking me a simple question?” She shook her head with dismay.
“After all the time we spent together, you didn’t even think to do that. You just stoked the fires of your anger and laid it all at my feet. Wow…I thought you knew me better than that.”
Reilly looked at her and said “Yeah… ‘cause you’ve done sooo much reaching out yourself, Saint Fin. Did it ever occur to you to that we were never debriefed together? Thats pretty standard for an after action report. Then we get separated and debriefed alone. And you still had some of my gear. You ever call and ask of I needed it? No… you didn’t do anything, either. So you can come down off your high horse and join the rest of us mortals.”
The muscles in her jaw tightened. “Stop being such an ass, Jason, and start listening to me. I told you I packed up MY stuff, not yours. So I didn’t have anything to call you about. You’re so self centered you haven’t even inquired what happened to me after that assignment. Do you really think if you were shoved in some dark prison that I fared much better? No, you haven’t spared a thought about that because its all about ‘you’. It’s ‘always’ all about you.” She was tired of his ‘poor me, poor me’ attitude and just wanted him to go away so she could have a chance to think on what she’d found out so far.
“Why don’t you take your pity party somewhere else? I didn’t know about you going to prison, even though you want to blame me for it, and if you don’t believe that then screw you.” She emptied the glass on the desk beside her hand. “Go away, I don’t need your accusations or guilt trips.” She reached behind her and retrieved the bottle of brandy he’d brought, slamming it down on the desk. “And take your phony peace offering with you!”
OOC: Just wanted to say this is great interaction between you two and I’m really enjoying reading it!!! –Terry
OOC: Thanks! Its easy to have solid exchanges when your writing partner is talented.
“Oh… I know you fared better. You weren’t left to rot in prison by your partner. And you don’t have to listen to her try to deflect her responsibility for it.” and he stood up and picked up the bottle and looked down at it for a minute.
She was done. The truce she’d intended to put into place with Jason, even after she’d taken a beating by that huge Andorian fellow, was long forgotten now. The man standing in front of her was being the worst kind of pigheaded, arrogant, a$$. Her anger was beyond words at the moment so she resorted to hand gestures from her home world. They’d spent a long time together so he would have no doubt of the opinion she threw at him with her motions combined with the disgust on her face.
“Naw, you keep it.”and he drew his arm back and hurled the bottle against the wall behind her desk, shattering it and sending the brandy spraying everywhere. With that he turned and walked towards the door.
She cringed at the thought of the aged liquor wasted in a childish temper tantrum. But if he wanted to bring it down to that level, she could do the same. Watching his back as he headed for the door, Fin launched the glass she’d been drinking from at his retreating figure, catching him between his shoulder blades. “NOW you can go!”
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