|Subject: Chapter 26
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Date Posted: Monday, May 03, 07:12:07pm
In reply to:
's message, "TMTC" on Tuesday, July 24, 12:04:39pm
Chapter Twenty Six
“What purpose did Section’s systematic purge serve?” Now they were getting to the core. As much as he didn’t want to hurt her with this conversation, it was more imperative that they have it. He needed to know exactly how much of the truth she had learned, understood and accepted.
“He didn’t approve of the current regime.” There was no need to specify names in any part of that sentence.
“He wanted change.” She still refused to admit her understanding.
“Ni-ki-ta,” Michael knew she was being purposefully obtuse.
“My father never liked Paul Wolfe. Finally, he disagreed with Operations’ methodology and cleaned house.”
“Is that all?”
She sighed and gave him the answer he was looking for. “He wanted to clear a path for me.”
“And you let him,” Michael finished for her. He understood how painful the discovery of the truth must have been on her. For Nikita, realizing that a map was carved out for her in other people’s blood would have been devastating.
“I didn’t want to send you away, but I knew any recommendation I made on your behalf would fall on deaf ears,” Nikita defended, still afraid to look at the dead bodies her father had left in his wake on her behalf in the light of day. Not only did she cast Michael adrift, but she had done it in the cruelest way possible, hoping his disgust at her and Section sent him far away. But she should have known he would return for her as well as for Adam. She had, mission or no mission, done the same for him and would have again. “I didn’t have a choice in any of it. That much was made perfectly clear to me in the beginning.”
“When was the beginning?” He needed to be sure his perceptions had been on target. Nikita’s words in that forest seemingly a lifetime ago had hurt. Not so much because he believed them, but because after all they’d shared, it showed that she’d known him so poorly.
“Lyon,” Nikita sighed.
“Before or after the night on the barge?” He’d suspected the former for a time, but personal sanity necessitated belief in the latter. A niggling doubt however had never gone completely away.
“After,” Nikita confirmed, ignorant of the inner turmoil the uncertainty elicited in her companion for a while. She had never been privy to his doubts, hadn’t believed he had harbored any. “Guess my father saw our… reunion as his chance to bring me back inside. He didn’t know that by the time Mick came to me, I had already decided to find a way back in anyway.”
“What did he want?” Michael knew better than to ask if she had been given a choice.
“I was to observe and report to Mick. And I wasn’t to expect any help from Center.” Nikita saw no reason to hold back the information now and answered, remembering. “Mick was so naïve to Section ways that I should have suspected him as a cover, but I was too busy trying to maintain my own cover to delve into that until much later.”
“Did your father ever express regret for not interfering on your behalf?” Michael was curious, although having met the man, he could guess the answer.
“No,” A sad, faraway look stole into Nikita’s gaze momentarily as she remembered her father’s answer, ‘You had to be strong and stand on your own feet,’ he’d told her. “He just said it was important that I succeed on my own.” My own two feet indeed, Nikita barely suppressed the urge to snort derisively. Had it not been for the shoulders of the man sitting across from her, as well as a few others, she’d have long been dead.
“You survived,” Michael comforted.
“Not without help.” A hint of bitterness colored her voice as she continued, “Mick wasn’t the only naïve one. I thought I was facilitating real change.” She sighed at her past foolish idealism. Section could never stray too far from its path, not if it was to remain effective. Even now, in command, she sometimes had to make decisions she found abhorrent, but necessary. “Eventually I found out what was coming down, so I did what I had to do to protect those I cared about. You’ve done that many times yourself.”
“Yes, I have,” Michael acknowledged, ending his interrogation. “I’m sorry Nikita, but I had to be certain you saw the big picture.”
“Yes, I did finally see it. Did you?” Nikita turned the tables on him.
“I knew there were internal situations and that you were involved.”
“Your apparent affiliation with Red Cell confirmed it,” Michael avoided providing an exact accounting.
“Why did you come with me then?” Nikita asked. “Why make our recapture so easy? You had resources.”
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