“In The End”
“Welcome back, Cipher 97,” Watcher 12 said from behind his desk.
“Thank you, Sir. It is good to be back.”
“How are you feeling? I trust the re-integration process wasn’t unduly unpleasant?”
The cyborg in the Imperial Intelligence dress uniform shook his head. “Not nearly as unpleasant as having that ‘Personality Guidance Chip’ running roughshod over my ability to get work done. I am still getting used to seeing my own face in the mirror again.” He paused for a moment of uncomfortable silence. “I … trust … our benefactor understands the situation, Sir?” Cipher 97 asked cautiously.
“Darth Attarr understands that you were largely not in control of your own actions for most of the mission duration as a result of that blasted Chip, if that is what you are asking, Cipher 97. On the other hand, while the mission was a relative disaster, the ‘after effects’ have provided such benefits that you’ve largely been forgiven,” Watcher replied amiably, shuffling some paper on his desk.
“Unfortunately for them, Doctor Bearagar and his team have been … *ahem* -discussing- the mission failure with Darth Attarr for the past,” Watcher glanced at the chrono on his desk, “sixty three hours. I expect we’ll need a new Chief of Research by the end of the discussion, Cipher 97.”
The Cyborg paled slightly and nodded. “You mentioned benefits which have been a mitigating factor?” he prompted.
“Mmm, yes. So, while you were unable to actually locate General Veerdock, nor actually report that -minor- detail back,” Watcher said mildly, raising an eyebrow, “the schematics of the Nexus, the part where you horridly embarrassed Lord Myrgas Raal by wrecking his little machinations on Nar Shadaa, finding where The Jackal was at first hiding and is now being held, providing full navigational information as well as political reviews of both the Nebula and the Mists, and alerting us to the potential threat caused by File 7 … well, beyond the part where your mission was a stark disaster, it was a -roaring- success. Our benefactor will be in a very good position for some time with the results of this.”
“That’s a relief. It was all I could do to ensure that I was able to get reports sent, with that blasted Chip malfunctioning. What of the two ‘complications’ that have cropped up as a result of this?” the Cyborg asked carefully.
“Yes, well, the fail-safe mechanism finally disabled it once you were well overdue on a report. The Hapanii menace threw a remarkable temper tantrum that lasted about a week or so once her political issues at home were resolved. We were able to keep that largely contained, thankfully … and Republic SIS helped by botching an operation that resulted in everyone looking at them for a while.”
“And the other one?”
“The self-styled ‘Terror of Hoth’ spent some time in supposedly ‘deep cover’, which we used as an opportunity to ensure she caused a few rivals of our benefactor some headaches. She was eventually recalled.”
There was a pause, during which some paper was artfully shuffled in otherwise complete silence. Without looking up, Watcher asked “I trust that if she is a continued problem to your operations, Cipher 97, you will ensure she -ceases- to be, yes?”
There was a pause. “Of course sir.”
“And what about my brother?”
“Still chained to a wall and rotting in an Imperially sympathetic prison on your homeworld of Balmorra, Cipher 97. He’s still technically more useful to us alive than dead, but only just barely. The three attempts it took to make a proper copy of his memories and such were relatively … *ahem* taxing … but he has survived remarkably well otherwise.”
The Cyborg nodded. “Where do you need me next, Sir?”
“You will be briefed in detail in the morning. For now, however, plan to be living well as a socialite on the Outer Rim world of Charadagur Three. Some call it a ‘Corellia in waiting’… I am sure you will hardly miss being in the Core worlds area for a few months, Cipher 97.”