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A Question of Identity

By Jackie
Page 2 of 4

 

(from the files of Regional Commissioner Brierley)

 

Notes for report on Commissioner Sleer

 

The compiler of the previous report insists that it applies to Commissioner Sleer, despite apparently describing someone completely different. She lacks the contacts she implied she had. (Who would want to impersonate a Commissioner in this sector of the Federation territories?)

 

Her ambitions seem to be beyond her current capacities. The large-scale plans she suggests appear plausible, but she lacks the attention for detail and medium scale planning needed to carry them through, or advance through the intermediate grades to a position where she can implement such ideas. Nor will she provide me with the means of my own advancement: her pursuit of her ambitions will definitely harm my own.

 

Something upset her on Helotrix and there are disturbing hints about her behaviour from those around her. Will advise her to get a grip on herself. She shows a total lack of interest in art and the finer things in life.

 

Prospects: Should she continue in the present path, will suggest she consider a less demanding post. Preferably long before I apply for a more demanding one.

 

****

 

Commissioner Sleer

 

If I was setting up an alternative name and position as a means of escape, I would have chosen something more significant, more substantial, with better contacts. How will a lowly Commissioner in a back of beyond sector, achieve any position of rank? You relied on your connections to get you to a position where your ruthlessness could be effective, and you could make use of your abilities. What will become of you?

 

Travis

 

Servalan, disturbed at this suggestion of failure, poured herself a drink. It was one thing to think to herself that she had chosen the wrong option for her place of refuge, but another for someone else to make the same suggestion. Travis would have to be destroyed - once she could locate him. She would consider what to do with Avon and Orac, which, she now knew, had survived, when she had acquired them. They were too useful, and Avon too decorative, to yield up to the authorities.

She stumbled on leaving the office because she was tired - she was sleeping very heavily lately, and she never drank enough to affect her judgement. She would have to get rid of some of the bottles, in her office and in her quarters. Brierley would only extend his litany of unjustified complaints otherwise.

 

****

 

*`You are monitoring Servalan's activities?'*

*`It is a grotesque misuse of my capacities.'*

*`You prefer being her personal equivalent to Star One? No opportunities for private research?'*

*`Very well. Concerning your next question there are several persons who could answer your description of a figure to unite the rebel opposition. I am now researching their backgrounds.'*

*`Ever considered a career in recruitment?'*

*`And dismissed.'*

*`Any information on the other matter?'*

*`A possible match.'*

*`Investigate. Inform me when you have something that is more than 95% certain. And correlate with other sources.'*

*`Tracing things through the pattern of infinity can rarely achieve that degree of accuracy.'*

*`Considering the claims you make...'*

*`Very well.'*

 

****

 

Servalan had wondered after the events on Domo if she was losing her touch: there had been other failures besides. She had had the illegal slave market suppressed - more out of personal interest than to uphold the Federation's law. She did not want Verlis and the others being added to those who could potentially threaten or blackmail her - and their agendas could not be subverted to her, or Federation purposes. Brieley had praised her for her action in eliminating the "den of iniquity" and financial activity outside the Federation's taxation system. If Brierley had been aware of the full extent of the Commissioner's activities, he might have viewed matters differently. She was completely sober by the time she returned to base, even if she had celebrated victory over Avon and then mourned his and Tarrant's passing with a drink or two. The disappearance of Cancer was of less interest to Brierley than it was to the assassin's competitors. Servalan had been allocated Verlis' goods as a reward - which provided useful revenue to further her ambition.

 

Avon and his colleagues persisted in eluding her. Her office colleagues - provincial boors for the most part - enjoyed prospects denied to her. She suspected jealousy of her connections with the central administration: comments about her drinking and seemingly futile attempts to deal with important rebels were merely a smokescreen.

Servalan remembered how Travis had never been able to destroy Blake, regardless of opportunity. She found the various sources of stress difficult to handle - she was not being given a chance to use her talents to their full measure. It was stress that caused her morning headaches, nothing more. Things kept on going wrong. Travis' messages continued, the taunting element increasing.

She drank to relax, nothing more. She was always able to manage her alcohol consumption

 

****

 

(from the files of Regional Commissioner Brierley)

 

Notes for report on Commissioner Sleer

 

Still seems not fully capable of carrying out her actual job. (Including finding out what can be used to manipulate others. There is nothing she can use on me.) Will suggest she stops investigating her private topic of interest whatever it is. Everybody else knows where to draw the line - and know when to abandon unprofitable private interests.

 

Four of her last seven projects went awry, and I am still awaiting satisfactory explanations. Will start making a note of all the hints those around her make about Sleer and the problems she is having. Too many to be just infighting between my subordinates for my position when I get promoted. (Note - check through my own files of comments on those around me: two Supervisory Regional Commissioners jobs are falling vacant.)

 

Sleer has stopped her teetotal pretence. Shall remind her that it is not done to appear the worse for wear at work too often. Will continue making enquiries about placing her in a less stressful job. Let some other Regional Commissioner's career be thwarted.

 

****

 

`Your handling of the events involving the Feldon crystals and the situation on Virn were not satisfactory at all. And there is now no way Justin's data can be analysed. Explain.' Brierley demanded.

`There were other factors,' Servalan said, knowing how lame the excuse sounded. She could imagine what the response would be if she said that she was having her performance commented upon by someone who appeared to be no more substantial than a ghost. And she could not remember quite what had happened on Virn - Tarrant had been there, she was sure of it.

`People always seem to be wandering in from nowhere and spoiling your plans. If you want to advance, Commissioner Sleer, you have to take these factors into account, and pay attention to detail.'

Servalan stifled a comment about the insolence of the remark.

`Yes sir,' she managed to say demurely.

`Your handling of the attempted theft of the black gold carried on the Space Princess was, however, satisfactory.'

`Thank you.' She would have to accept this faint praise: and circumstances had meant that she could not take the usual "finder's fee." When she returned to power, she would take revenge on this man personally.

`You understand what is to be done in the Betafarl region?'

`Yes - keep the various parties in a state of tension and disagreement with each other, until the Federation are in a position to exploit the situation by stepping in to restore stability.' As she had been attempting to do with Vinni when she had been the Neutral Arbiter in the Teal-Vandor conflict. She intended to turn the situation in the Betafarl region to her own advantage. `Then eliminate Zukan and take advantage of the conflicts that arise, by offering to restore order.'

`If you do this right, Commissioner, you may find your career opening up...' Which, she had been given to understand, would ensure, would involve her being moved. The implications of failure had already been made clear to her: a career in dead end jobs until she finally retired.

`I assure you, I will.' And she would also achieve... something else, if things went according to plan. She was going to get Avon, and get him to join forces with her. Not that she would tell Brierley yet. Not even if he got her drunk. She had never been drunk.

 

She went to her rooms to develop her plans. Including having her Commissioner's budgetary allocation increased. Part of it was financing her ambitions - and the rest went quickly enough. Particularly the money she used to entertain those who might help her - they expected the best wine, and lots of it. Naturally, it would be inappropriate to let them drink alone. Of course she didn't have a problem. She could stop drinking whenever she wanted.

She decided to finish the half-empty bottle.

She had a headache when she awoke because she had dozed off in the chair.

 

****

 

*`How are things developing with the Commissioner?'*

*`She has not been able to develop a power base from which to rise, and her immediate superior is dissatisfied with her activities. I have access to her personal accounts.'*

*`Anything interesting - blackmail, bribery, whatever?'*

*`All information is useful.'*

*`Can you be bribed?'*

*`What are you offering?'*

*`A research period without being disturbed. The other subjects?'*

*`These geographically related local leaders have agreed to negotiations, and Blake's location has been confirmed. Servalan's list of possible candidates was most useful. And the best location for a conference of the other two hundred and fifty three people called Roj Blake is...'*

*`No wonder it was so difficult to find the one we want.'*

*`There was a popular singer of that name at the time. There are also sixty five Kerr Avons, eighty nine...'*

 

****


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