Tale of an insignificant Level 1 Operative
Synopsis: A (sometimes) humorous look at the people of LFN we love and love to hate from the perspective of an outsider.
Warning: spoilers for several LFN episodes throughout the story
Pairing: Michael/Nikita, Operations/Madeline (supposed), Michael/Madeline (supposed), Operations/random female operatives
Chapter One: An Ordinary Man
A special thanks to RoseML for being my awesome Beta.
[Author's note: Part of this might look familiar since it's the prologue for The Recruit. Once I get around to it, I plan to rewrite the prologue for that story and what's there will be completely gone. Rather than trash it altogether, I decided to turn it into a side story. LFN is told almost completely in the perspective of Nikita who, for a lowly street rat Level 1 operative, had extraordinary access to everyone in charge. She had the attention of Operations and Madeline, and the protection of Michael, Walter, and Birkoff. I figured that was the abnormality rather than the norm. This story is from the perspective of a lowly grunt that dot the landscape of LFN. He's not in the know, he doesn't have any insider information. Everything he knows is purely speculative. I thought it might be fun to see what the other operatives really think about the people up top including Nikita.]
Someone told me once that the average life expectancy of a Section operative is 6 years. If you are a field operative, that life expectancy drops down to 3. Most don't even make it out of basic training. If you are one of the lucky few, the best thing for you to do is to keep your head down, avoid the people in charge, and just try to get out of the crosshair, whether from a terrorist's weapon or from the power that be.
I'm one of the lucky few that beat the odds and are still around. My name is David. I've been in Section One for 8 years. There's nothing extraordinary about me, nothing that stands out, no superior quality that makes me ideally suited for this life. I'm just the guy who's in the background, usually in the second or third team, or backup. There in case the REAL operatives need my help, which is rare.
About the only thing I can say that I've done well is that I've avoided the attention of everyone in charge. Operations doesn't know I even exist. Madeline probably took one look at my file and deemed me to be cannon fodder, completely disposable. Michael at least knows my name, but then he's the super agent who seems to know who everyone is and what they could be used for. He must have determined that I'm useful to be around, only as a 2nd, 3rd, or backup team of course.
My ability to disappear into the background wasn't always the case. I could have REALLY shot myself in the foot had I not had some friendly advice from that old guy in Munitions who's been in Section longer than the concrete that surrounds us, which in these days really isn't that old since this is the third operational center we've moved into. The first one was incinerated by the old Operations, the second one we moved out of when our current Operations decided a change in scenery is needed.
Speaking of the current Operations, I remember when she was called Nikita. The first time I saw her was a few days after I saw Michael. That would be when that old guy from Munitions, Walter was his name, gave me some friendly advice, advice that I took to heart and was probably the reason why I'm still around.
Walter looked up at the new operative's question to find him looking across the room. Striding confidently through Section in his customary black attire was Michael, on his way up to the perch to meet with Operations. He turned back to the inquisitive field ops and replied: "That's Michael."
He laid down the gear he had been gathering and leaned in fixing a stern look of warning at the new guy: "You do not want to get in his way."
"He's someone you don't want to mess with."
The guy looked up at the perch where Operations and Michael were facing down to the Comm area, calmly discussing something. He turned back to Walter and responded: "So he's the top dog around here huh?"
"There are 3 general rules in Section: failure is not an option, you do your job, and you don't get on Michael's bad side. You follow those rules; you just might survive your first year out of training."
At the questioning look on the guy's face, Walter took it easy on him and explained the lay of the land. "If you complete your mission, you'll satisfy Operations. If you do your job, Madeline won't take a closer look at you. If you stay on Michael's good side, you might be able to survive your next mission."
"So Michael leads the missions?"
"He leads them, performs tactical oversights, creates profiles, assigns the teams, you name it, he does it."
"When does he sleep?"
Walter was starting to like this new field op. He teased back: "Who says he does?"
The guy starts laughing in response, drawing several startled glances from fellow operatives. He chokes back his laughter when he notices Michael has left the perch and is walking across the room toward his office. The sound of laughter has drawn Michael's attention and he glances impassively across the room before turning his attention elsewhere.
"Is he always this emotionless?"
"There had to have been a time he let his guard down."
"None that I've ever seen."
"Not even when he was a recruit himself?"
"I wouldn't know. Michael came to us already a full-fledged operative."
"What do you mean?"
"He came to us from another Section, Section 8 I think."
"There are other sections?"
"Of course there are. Terrorism is a global threat; we need sections to cover the world."
"When did he come over?"
"I don't remember, ages ago. Operations and Madeline had to wrestle him away from 8. They weren't too thrilled since he's the most gifted recruit that ever came through Section. From the sound of it they were grooming him for higher level positions, same as here. But what Section One wants Section One gets."
"Does he have any weaknesses?"
"Not many. You'll meet one of them; she's tall and blonde, a true beauty."
"She's an operative?"
"Yup. He trained her and they've been under each other's skin ever since."
"I'd like to meet her."
"Haven't you been listening to a word I'm saying? I warned you not to get on Michael's bad side. Well cozying up to Nikita will definitely lands you smack dab on his radar and quicker than you can say suicide mission, you'll be dead."
The field op held his hand up in surrender: "Okay, okay, I get it. Don't need to keep harping on it."
Walter fixed a stern glare at him: "Good, now get out of here."
"I'm going, there I'm gone."
End of flashback…
I finally got to meet this mysterious Nikita. It's a good thing Walter warned me ahead of time since I'd go after that leggy blonde in a heartbeat. I steered clear of her and stayed off her radar as well, a good thing too once it came out that she was a mole for Center. I remember when that revelation sent a shockwave through Section. We all thought she was this sweet and innocent girl when all along she was playing with the big boys and fooling them all. She even managed to fool Madeline and Michael, two of the most perceptive people around.
That was a scary time for us operatives. People were dying right and left on poorly planned missions, Operations stayed up in his perch most of his time scowling down on us all. Madeline decided to die rather than having to take order from 'an ad hoc internal affairs bimbo', her words according to the interview tape that made its way around Section.
Most shocking of all was when Michael died. If anyone was indestructible, it was Michael. If Section One blows up, that man would still be standing. Of course Michael couldn't be taken out if he didn't want to be taken out. His interrogation tape made its way around Section as well and we all watched with awe as he effectively signed his own death warrant by admitting that he put the well being of Nikita ahead of Section. The ever polite Frenchman even THANKED Nikita when she handed out the death sentence.
Of course like Lazarus, he rose from the dead, took charge, got what he came back for and left just as quickly. He's now the only operative I know who managed to walk cleanly away from Section One to live his own life in god knows where. Maybe Operations knows where he is, but she isn't telling. Maybe one day he'll come back, or Operations might disappear to be with him. The betting pool amongst the operatives is 6 to 1 that Operations would take off to join Michael.
Until that day arrives, I'll do what I do best, keep my head down and stay out of the crosshair whether it be terrorists or the power that be.