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stargate, DanielJackson

Week 18, Title: Fragment

Posted on 2014.08.19 at 22:18
Tags: ,

Being a spy is not like in the movies; no sleek machinations and no sophisticated gadgetry. There’s not even much disinformation, which would make it more tolerable; fooling the enemy instead of being their lackey. It’s hard grit and blood and doing exactly what the bad guys tell her; doing whatever it takes to get to the top.

She runs across the roof, heartbeat heavy in her ears, feet quick and harsh hitting the ground. The stolen memory-stick is light in her pocket. She speeds up in a run to the edge, leaping from one rooftop to another. Knowing it’s too far for her chasers to make. Knowing they’ll still try. She doesn’t pause as she hears them fall. Not looking back, as though there’s nothing as simple as death. Her mind fills with thoughts of these people just doing their jobs, of their lives, their loved ones. She suppresses it all, she isn’t herself right now; she’s a cold ruthless member of her team. She forgets herself. Anything less and she’ll be caught; anything less and she won’t survive.


*


She walks into the candle-lit darkness of the hovel they’re staying in this week. Kane’s too paranoid to allow electricity.

Rico and Gen cheer as she places the data stick on the table. Kane gives her a grudging smirk. Andy looks up with a small smile before going back to tinker with whatever he’s working on. She grins and boasts her way through the tale of her mission, laughing heartily at the eager responses and pats on the back. She only comes back to herself when she finally retires to bed. Grief weighing heavy on her chest. She knows she can’t afford to slip in the field again, can’t allow her real self to bleed into her other self; must take care to push down her real self until she’s alone.  


*


The woman whimpers, curled up on the floor.

Kane hangs up the phone and says, “We’re done with her now.”

“Okay,” Rico replies, aiming his pistol at said woman’s head.

“Wait,” Kane says, tilting his head towards her, “let the newbie do it.”

Rico looks hesitant, sending her a sympathetic glance before shrugging and sitting back down. She takes the weapon Kane hands her. 

She forces her face to blankness and her arm to steady. Then there’s an almighty bang.


She wakes with a scream but the gag in her mouth muffles the sound, she tugs it away. She’s drenched in sweat, trembling slightly and can hear ringing in her ears. She reminds herself that she’s safe, home, except she’s not. It’s some version of home she supposes. It’s been three years since she shot that girl; it wasn’t her first kill nor her last but it haunts her. She re-ties the gag, can’t let anyone hear her nightmares, and stares sleepless at the ceiling; thinking.

The night is her time, when she lets herself out so she doesn’t forget who she is. When day comes she puts on her mask and succumbs; becomes the person they think she is. It’s the only way to not get caught with this kind of long-term infiltration. Her hind-brain forever ticking to prevent suspicious wording or turn of phrase, even as her body forgets she’s anything other than the cold-blooded killer she plays. She won’t get caught out by something simple like diction or nightmares or the broken expression of having blood on her hands. She knows she’s fragmenting, but that’s okay; as long as she gets to the guy at the top.


*


That night they sit around the table for dinner. No one has anything to say. There are only the sounds of chewing, cutlery clanging and the fan-heater; which whirs and sputters before finally breaking. The air stinks of damp and the ever present hum in her ears too readily fills the quiet, it taunts her.

Fortunately soon enough eating leads into drinking and the merriment returns.

Andy starts crawling on the table as Kane chugs his eleventh or twelfth Corona. Rico’s dancing and puts his hand out for her. She joins him with enthusiasm, swaying her hips in time with his as his hands find their way to her waist.

Their bodies slide closer as the next hour rolls by. His breath is hot and feels good against her neck, and she just wants to do something where she doesn’t have to think.

She leads him to her room, ignoring the internal voice arguing that this is her sanctum. She’s bleeding through the other way; her other self into her real self. It matters less, makes it less likely she’ll get found out instead of more. It’s easier this way, hurts less. And the part of her that would say she’s going to lose who she is entirely is too tired to care.


*


She assembles her sniper rifle, sets her sights. Target acquired. Target eliminated. Rinse and repeat as needed.    

The person she is and the person she pretends to be have bled together, they are one. She’s committed these deeds, she’s no better than her team-mates. She’s this twisted person and everyone believes it because it’s the truth. She finally gets to meet the big boss. The guy they’ve been aiming for all this time; the untouchable one; Roy Horncastle.

Then she gets to set the trap. She feels simultaneously brilliant and shitty for doing so. Some of these people are her friends, some of these people she hates. Her inner predator hides a sharp-toothed grin. She knows what she’s doing, no one suspects anything. It all goes according to plan and ends with them having all the evidence they need to arrest Horncastle and make it stick. She’s finally done, survived, won. Taken down the Big Fish. Whoever she is now, it’s been worth it.

That’s how she feels right up until she finds out the plans for Mr Big Fish.


*


When she hears she goes straight to her handler.

“Do you know what they’re doing? Witness protection! They’re putting Horncastle in witness protection!”

Greg sighs, “Yeah, I know. Listen…” 

As realisation hits, she rashly pulls her Glock from its holster. Her hand is shaking but her trigger finger’s steady,
“You knew! This was the plan all along and you knew! You lied to me. I let myself be broken and twisted and mutated into this fucked up mess of a person for nothing. You knew it was for nothing! And you lied!”

“There were fourteen arrests, that isn’t nothing,” Greg states evenly. 

“Nine of those could’ve been made two years ago and still gotten the same time!”

“Horncastle’s going to be a vital resource; he has important connections and information on so many criminal organisations. There are always bigger fish. A lot of good will be done because of what he gives us. Info you’ve made him give us.”

Even though she’s completely unconvinced she slowly lowers her gun; she’s fed up and once more feeling too tired to give a damn; her handler’s not the one she wants to shoot anyway.


*


The ever present hum remains, echoing long gone gunshots.

She sits bored, opposite her psychiatrist. They don’t think it’s safe to send her back out onto the streets. She could fake her way through this easily but she doesn’t care.

“I used to be an agent, so I know what it’s like,” psychiatrist lady says with nerve-rending sympathy.

She scoffs,
“I’m not an agent, I’m a spy. Spies aren’t heroes, we aren’t villains; we aren’t anything. We don’t exist. We are made of lies.”





Comments:


Elizabeth
watching_ships at 2014-08-20 04:34 (UTC) (Link)
great writing. really like the last line.
swirlsofblue
swirlsofblue at 2014-08-20 06:11 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you, glad you liked that line :)
Sean
talon at 2014-08-20 05:21 (UTC) (Link)
Excellent.
swirlsofblue
swirlsofblue at 2014-08-20 06:11 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you, glad you liked it :)
kick_galvanic, zagzagael, skull_theatre
bleodswean at 2014-08-20 18:35 (UTC) (Link)
I adore this format and you work so well within it. This is a strong, introspective piece and I loved the tone you set with the first vignette!

The bitterness of feeling yourself a pawn!
swirlsofblue
swirlsofblue at 2014-08-21 05:56 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you so much for the lovely compliments, so glad you liked it :)
A Karmic Sandbox
karmasoup at 2014-08-20 22:01 (UTC) (Link)
For a story about a person who becomes a monster, a beast made of lies, this rings sadly true.
swirlsofblue
swirlsofblue at 2014-08-21 05:59 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you :).

Rebecca
beeker121 at 2014-08-20 23:01 (UTC) (Link)
"when she lets herself out so she doesn’t forget who she is"

That phrase is haunting and lovely, as is this whole piece.
swirlsofblue
swirlsofblue at 2014-08-21 06:00 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you, glad you liked that line :).
Jemima Pauler
jem0000000 at 2014-08-21 01:26 (UTC) (Link)
Oh, the poor protagonist.
swirlsofblue
swirlsofblue at 2014-08-21 06:02 (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, she thought she knew what she was getting into at the beginning but she really didn't. *Hugs*
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors
halfshellvenus at 2014-08-21 02:46 (UTC) (Link)
Terrific story-- one of your best, I think.

This really captures the misery and conflicted situation the main character finds herself in, and yes-- the end is part of a larger picture, but she lost SO much of herself in the gap.
swirlsofblue
swirlsofblue at 2014-08-21 06:04 (UTC) (Link)
Wow, thank you so much, so happy it worked that well for you :).

uncawes
uncawes at 2014-08-21 05:08 (UTC) (Link)
I doubt the psychiatrist has any idea what it's like - that's another lie.
Is she a spy, or an assassin? Or maybe both. She's a complex creature, whatever she is
Nice work
swirlsofblue
swirlsofblue at 2014-08-21 06:09 (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, possibly the psychiatrist thinks she knows what it's like, but she doesn't.

She's a spy, it's just that the spy-work she's doing requires her to do assassin work to maintain her cover.

Thank you :)
waltzmatildah
waltzmatildah at 2014-08-21 09:24 (UTC) (Link)
I'm totally on a "I want to be a spy" kick at the moment (long story!), so this was a timely wake up call that it's unlikely to be as glamourous as I think it is!

Nicely told, bb.
swirlsofblue
swirlsofblue at 2014-08-21 09:53 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you, glad you liked it :)

Lol, I have those urges too, spies are so cool (well the fictional ones anyway) maybe we could be fictional spies.
waltzmatildah
waltzmatildah at 2014-08-21 10:14 (UTC) (Link)
YESSS! We would make fabulous fictional spies!! WHY ISN'T THIS MY JOB?!

(true story: I've been through the recruitment process for ASIS - the Australian version of the CIA. I got a looooong way in, too! Like, to the point where I was flown to 'headquarters' and subjected to some pretty crazy 'tests'. They don't give feedback when you don't make it past the next step so I'm not sure why I didn't make the last hurdle, but I do remember having to provide details of all social media sites and when the woman taking note of this information wrote down 'waltzmatilda' (while I tried not to VOMIT ALL OVER THE FLOOR BECAUSE OHMYFFFFFGOD), I didn't correct her misspelling!!)

swirlsofblue
swirlsofblue at 2014-08-21 10:23 (UTC) (Link)
We so would :D

Wow, that's awesome and such an awesome story. Eep, I can't imagine having to provide all those details for them to scrutinize.
Teo Says
eternal_ot at 2014-08-21 14:31 (UTC) (Link)
Great writing...loved it. The voice you used worked.:)
swirlsofblue
swirlsofblue at 2014-08-21 15:28 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you, glad the voice worked for you :)
Ink Well
penpusher at 2014-08-21 15:19 (UTC) (Link)
Great definition of spying to its elemental level. Excellent detailing and balance of the emotional/intellectual conversation.
swirlsofblue
swirlsofblue at 2014-08-21 15:29 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you, glad you liked it :)
Es'ka
eska818 at 2014-08-21 20:05 (UTC) (Link)
I really loved this - even though it's about a spy, I feel like the concepts are can be related to "normal" life (at least mine, heh) and the voice here is great.

Anything less and she’ll be caught; anything less and she won’t survive.

Possibly my favorite line (though the last was great too) - it really sets the tone for the entire piece, and it was a great hook as well :)
swirlsofblue
swirlsofblue at 2014-08-22 06:02 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you, so happy you liked it :)

Ooh, that's an intriguing thought, yeah I suppose it could relate to normal life :)
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