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Date Posted: Wednesday, September 27, 04:57:05pm
Author: Diane
Subject: What Price Freedom?
In reply to: JayBee and Nell 's message, "Friday Challenge: September 22, 2006" on Friday, September 22, 06:19:55pm

His voice was devoid of expression. Absolutely nothing in soulless pale green eyes.

“Look, Michael. I know Nikita was your material. We often form bonds.” Operations studied the young man before him. Not a blink; no hint of sound. “I hope you understand our position.”

Sensing some sort of response seemed to be required, Michael gave one. “Of course.” Operations and Madeline continued to watch the level five op, but he adding nothing more. Sensing the debrief was complete, he finally asked, “Is that all?”

“Yes,” Operations replied to Michael’s back as the younger man was already descending the stairs from the perch.

Operations and Madeline tracked Michael’s progress through the briefing area, past Comm, and into the corridor which led to his office.

“We may have some problems with him.” At Operations’ raised brow, Madeline continued. “There was something between them.”

“The question is…now, can he let it go?”

“We’ll see.”

“Michael took the unit?”

Madeline hesitated a moment before responding. “Yes.”

Operation mused. “Disappointing, but not unexpected.”

“No,” Madeline concurred. “Though we don’t know if he used it,” she added quickly, hoping Michael’s common sense had overruled his hormones the way it had before Nikita. Before Simone. It was a shame it had come down to this. Again.

Operations paused a moment before indicating a nearby monitor with a shrug of his shoulder.

“We do now.”


They both watched; waited. Nothing.

“So, the receiver is not receiving. He didn’t give it to her in time.” Operations wasn’t happy with Michael’s behavior, but though he had failed their test, the distraction had been eliminated.

“Not necessarily.” Madeline indicated a small flashing light in the corner of the screen. A steady blip, one Operations had mistaken for a cursor. As he watched the small blue dot flicker on and off, it suddenly dissolved, leaving the monitor black again.

“She turned it off.”

“What do you suggest we tell him?” Operations was irritated again. Clearly, Michael would now have to be punished for his lapse in judgment.

“Nothing.” Operations’ head snapped up to peer at Madeline’s face. She was tapping her fingernails against her chin, deep in thought. He waited. Whatever plan she was hatching, whatever trap she would lay, would be worth it.

“Nikita believes she has been set free. By Michael. Yet she appears to have no desire to communicate with him. We’ll use that. Say, for six months.”

“Six months?” Operations was skeptical. “Isn’t that a rather large window? Why not two months? Or even one?”

“Michael must believe she is dead. Beyond his reach. He will have hope, for a while, and continue to search. Their connection was stronger than either of us had anticipated. Six months without Nikita, and we will have Michael’s full concentration and cooperation.”

“And at the end of six months?”

“We allow him to find her.”

“Another test.” It wasn’t a question.


“Very well then. Michael’s performance will be reevaluated in six months. And if he brings her back?”

“Oh, he’ll bring her back. And she will come. Nikita will come back to Section for Michael.”

“Unless we cancel her, we’re back to square-one again.”

“Not at all.” Madeline smiled, but her eyes remained cold. “We still need to resolve the issue of Jurgen.”

Operation nodded. He understood.

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