Author's Note: This is another story suggested by the final aired episode. I really haven't made up my mind who did the deed in that episode, but I have no end of plot bunnies about it. This won't go any further. There are no additional chapters to this story. (Unless the plot bunny fairy drops one in my lap!) For now this is a one shot, unanswered questions and all.
My Own Worst Enemy
Plans and Schemes by Ecri
The drive home was quick at this hour. No hordes of commuters created a slow moving, parade along surface streets and highways. No honking horns and screamed obscenities peppered the air. He drove home, parked and went inside, seeking the sanctuary of his den. The whiskey he poured himself was a matter of habit rather than need, and he didn't even taste it or feel the burn as it went down.
Alistair Trumbull then sat at his desk and contemplated the direction things had taken.
Some people enjoy risk. They were what was commonly called "adrenaline junkies" and he had known long ago that some of those people would be working for him. It was inevitable that this line of work would attract that sort of person. The training and psych evals usually weeded those people out, but a few of them were actually right for the job even with the addiction to danger and excitement. He'd never had that problem,
He was a planner. He played chess. He understood what some called "the cost of doing business" and had sometimes used phrases like "collateral damage" and " acceptable risk" and "acceptable loss" and he never worried about the so-called human-factor. Yes, that collateral damage was often people. Lives were snuffed out by the machinations of people like him. It was the way things were.
Edward Albright was a case in point. Edward had been hesitant to join the Janus program until Trumbull had provided the correct pressure. This pressure wasn't in the form of blackmail, though he had used that method in the past and would likely use it again sometime in the future. This pressure had been information. Yes, it was false information, but at the time it had been necessary. He was a man who got what he wanted and he wanted Albright to join Janus.
It was a lot to ask of any operative. They basically gave up their lives. There was no down time, no vacation time, and yes, they were still paid, but the money was kept in a special retirement fund. If the agent were fortunate enough to live to an age where there fieldwork became impractical, their alternate personality, their cover, was eliminated and the original personality retired.
It hadn't happened yet. Most of the agents died in the field and those who hadn't had not yet reached retirement age.
Albright had been about to turn down the position. Trumbull knew that like he knew his own name. He'd sat in that chair in his office and he'd been about to tell Trumbull that he didn't want to give up everything.
Trumbull had known how to change his mind. He was glad he had done it. Albright was their best operative. His success rate was impressive and his ability to make the tough call, to make the kill when necessary was second to none.
The risk his life was in now was an intriguing after effect. Trumbull had broken Edward's switch. He had been the one to tamper with it so that it would break, making the switch between Edward and his alternate, civilian personality, Henry, at random times. It had been necessary. He needed to manipulate Edward and Mavis and the easiest, most effective way to do either of those things was to create an incident where Mavis and Edward were keeping something from him. He knew everything, of course, and he was impressed by how long they'd been able to cover up Edward's brokenness. He wasn't sure how they'd managed it. He wasn't sure if they'd taken Henry onboard or if they'd managed to find a way to bypass Henry.
Tony had been an issue, though. Somehow, he'd found a way to fix Edward.
Trumbull had only learned about it accidentally. If he hadn't paused outside the door to check his phone messages, he never would have learned that a cure was imminent. It was a shame. Nazari had been with the Janus team a long time. He hated to waste a resource, but he had too much invested in this to let it end now.
He would have to bring Mavis in soon, but he'd make it clear that Edward was not to know about his plans yet. That would come later.
Wiping Tony's computer system had been easier than he'd have thought possible. He'd managed to have backdoors installed in every system Janus used, and a simple command wiped Tony's work. His entire setup was a huge paperweight by now.
He smiled. It was time to talk to Mavis. He sat back and waited for the phone to ring, working out mentally how long it would take. First, someone would find the body. If Mavis weren't there when that happened, whoever found it would have to tell her. She'd instigate security protocols, a bit difficult with Tony down, but his backup would be called.
He checked his watch as he poured another shot of whiskey. If he calculated correctly, Mavis would be calling right about…
He grinned as the phone rang. "Trumbull," he growled in answer to the ring.
"We have a situation. Tony Nazari has been shot on our premises."
He held his response for a beat as though processing the information. "Security protocols?" He asked the question as he sipped his whiskey.
"No leads," Mavis confessed.
"He was there late. Was he working on something special?" He had to ask just to see what she said.
"No, I think he was just monitoring systems. He was upset by Paula's breakdown and was trying to work out what happened."
He'd never have found it, of course. Paula was fine. Somehow someone had made Paula seem to be broken so that Edward would be safe. It made him smile. Edward had a lot of friends, and if he didn't miss his guess, they were mostly of the female persuasion.
Edward's switch had been broken before it had been implanted. He'd tampered with it himself. He'd had a designer input a receiver that didn't appear on the schematics of the thing, and all he'd had to do was direct a signal in Edward's direction at a time of his choosing and the switch would be set to randomly cycle from Edward to Henry and back again eschewing any input from Tony or the programming.
"Have you called up his replacement?" Trumbull asked.
Mavis sighed. "I'd hoped to check security before doing that. There's only one other person currently able to operate the programming. I've asked him to start training two other people. I don't want to be caught short again."
"We can't suspend operations until we've trained up some people. Get him started and set up at least two sessions a day to do training. We need to keep this up and running, and we need a closer monitoring of the system. Get someone else working on what happened with Paula, and first thing tomorrow, I want to meet with you. My office at 9:00. We have something to discuss." He hung up.
He'd put as much emphasis as he could on the last sentence. Mavis wasn't stupid. She'd come to his office prepared to find out almost anything, but when he told her that he would be using her and Edward for a plot of his own design, she would finally understand that agencies and missions and national security were unimportant when you had the tools available to run the world on a more secretive level.