Author's Note: My ridiculous and over-reaching attempt to make sense of the Sex Police arc. This is two parts serious, one part ridiculous, and one part sex, rolled up and taped together with bits of plot. Parts of it are probably stretching the boundaries of probability, but frankly, the Sex Police arc doesn't make sense in the context of canon and I can't make it. Please don't hold it against me. :-p
This story can technically be read as being part of the same universe as Thought But Never Said, but it's not necessary to read that fic for this one to make sense.
Off-Label Uses for the Gelman Process
(Do Not Try This at Home)
Part One: Complications
Madeline hates this restaurant.
The staff are, without exception, entirely incompetent. The food is terrible. If she were one who was given to imagination or had a flair for the dramatic, she'd be swearing that she could feel the grime of the floor right through the soles of her shoes.
Of course, her obvious dislike for the place is exactly why Gordon always chooses it for their rare face-to-face meetings, and she doesn't bother to conceal her frown when she spots him at the door, allowing him the perceived victory. Center informants have gotten unreasonably difficult to come by, as of late. Besides, he so rarely contacts her with anything requiring a meeting the same week, let alone within hours of his call.
"I came across something interesting today," he says without preamble as he sits down opposite her, shaking his head at the approaching server. The young girl rolls her eyes and slaps the menu she's holding back into its place among the others on the counter, but she stays away, and Gordon turns his attention back to Madeline. "An order from the powers that be for a top-level reclassification, off the record. Put in place nearly two years ago."
Glancing around as if to make sure no one's listening—unlike Madeline, Gordon does have a tendency toward dramatics—he leans in closer. "An operative from One—and she's still there, as far as can I tell. Came right down from Mr. Jones. I was digging around looking for… unrelated information, and it happened to catch my eye."
Madeline raises an impatient eyebrow, and he sighs at her lack of enthusiasm.
"Right, well," he goes on, leaning back in his chair, "there wasn't much in the way of details. Female, in for at least a year or two at that point, but could have been ten, for all I know. What I can tell you, though, is that whoever she is, she's important to Jones. He has apparently been getting reports on her monthly."
That manages to visibly hold her interest.
"The real Jones," Madeline asks, "or the one they're parading around as Mr. Jones this year?"
Gordon shifts uncomfortably. "I'd rather not think on it. Just knowing there's more than one Mr. Jones is enough to get them handing out cancellation orders like morbid, demented Father Christmases." He looks away, frowning. "Or Fathers Christmas? How exactly do you pluralize—"
Madeline rolls her eyes and cuts him off. "When you have something useful for me," she says quietly, her ability to infuse threats into innocuous words apparently still effective, if Gordon's paling face is anything to go by, "I trust that you'll contact me?"
He nods. "Yeah. Of course."
She gets up and leaves without another word (she ignores Gordon's sarcastic call of, "You're welcome! Glad we could get together to chat!" and the waitress's grumbles to her coworkers of, "Nasty bitch took my table for twenty minutes and didn't order a damn thing," entirely), her mind already sifting through possible names.
Four sims, two analysis reports, three hours of observation, and six hours of contemplation later, she settles on the person who had been her first suspect anyway.
"We may have a complication," she says the next morning as she walks up behind Paul in the Perch, moving to stand beside him, and Paul chuckles.
"I'd be more worried if we didn't."
She doesn't smile, and after a moment, he lets out a resigned sigh.
"Rosenthal," she answers significantly, not turning to meet his incredulous stare. She's just grateful he still remembers the mission—it's been nearly twenty years, after all, and neither of them were even on that mission.
"Which one?" he demands, all affronted tone and exasperation, as if he doesn't have informants of his own within every level of the Section hierarchy—not that Madeline faults him for it; truth be told, she feels much the same.
She looks down at the operatives milling around on the floor below, settling on staring at one particular face. Paul follows her gaze, and his look of surprise fades a little.
Really, Madeline thinks, he should have known.
Eyes turn up to meet theirs, taking in Madeline's cold, speculative expression and Paul's barely-concealed desire to strangle her where she stands. Dropping her gaze to the floor before darting it back up in their direction for only a second, Nikita uncomfortably looks away, quickly making her way out of the view of the Perch.