Prove We Are Better Than Them

December 26, 2015:

Partisan briefs May and Brin about what happened

New York


NPCs: None.



Mood Music: None.

Fade In…

It's deep down in the depths of the CCU really, you know where they used to store nuclear weapons? That deep down, and well in addition to being quiet it's also full of files. Today though, well there are files in question. Part's set out fruit and coffee, and has a neat little aluminum briefcase set on the conference table. She leads the pair down into the belly of the beast as it were, past heavy blast doors and well there are probably traps along the way but who cares about that shit. "Thanks for coming, sorry I couldn't do this back in the city but I'm borrowing these files and well I can't just go running around with classified documents."

Dark eyes troubled, Brin follows Part into the room. Admittedly, taking the morning slower and speaking with Scott has eased some of the mutants worries, but she's still injured and what she saw at the safe house, isn't easily forgotten.

Melinda May is the last through the door, and even if she outwardly appears unaffected by recent events, she won't easily forget what she saw either. "Thank you for borrowing these files for us to look at, Partisan." She looks at the file storage here and can only imagine what information is contained here.

Theres an audible -pop- as she opens that briefcase and produces the documents, setting a simple black and white uniform in the middle of the table. It's a portrait of a young man in a neat military uniform, wire rim glasses but otherwise? Well he's blonde but beyond that, he's remarkable for how utterly unremarkable his face is. He doesn't look like anyone, really. "This is Armin Keller, born behind the iron curtain in nineteen fourty nine. This Photograph was taken in nineteen eighty eight, in West Germany. He was known as Hauptman Armin Keller,Felix Dzerzhinsky Guards Regiment Kommando 4 back then. He was essentially, an East German hit squad commander. He received extensive training both in East Germany and Russia in clandestine warfare, insurgent and counter insurgency tactics, espionage, counter espionage, bomb making, weapons handling, small unit tactics, media manipulation and so fourth. He was trained to hunt down Western agents operating behind the iron curtain, and murder them. He is confirmed to have taken part in operations which resulted in the deaths of three CIA field officers, six members of British Intelligence and an unknown number of internal activists."
Part pauses, before sliding out another photo. This one a woman, in a vaguely similar uniform. She's beautiful in a haunting way, it's the eyes really that do it. Even in a photograph. "The Russians record her name as Polina Keller in the only file we have on her, she was a field officer in the KGB. She was assigned to East Germany where she met Armin, it is believed she was his handler. After the wall fell, both of them vanished for some years. The next time they surfaced, was in Bogota Columbia. Armin was employed at the German embassy under the name "Schreiber". We're less certain of Polina, but she is believed to have been employed in the Mexican Embassy in some capacity. The Russians claim she was burned after the Soviet Union fell, but her employment in the Mexican Embassy should be viewed with suspicion."And two more photos of Armin and Polina, both looking almost exactly as they had before."Ask questions if you have them as we go, please."

Brin listens intently, keeping silent, viewing the photos as they're displayed. She has questions, but they're not related to this information, at least not yet. She'll wait till the information plays out.

Seeing the images, so many years apart, yet still similar, she casts a look to May and then to Partisan.

Melinda May narrows her eyes as she studies the photo or Armin Keller and does some mental math. 1949… 1988… He's rather young looking in that first image for nearly forty years old. Of course, the second set of photos is even more telling. "Did they surface in Bogota about the same time you were there?"

"As a member of the Stasi, and the KGB's burea of clandestine activity both Polina and Armin would have been considered criminals. At the time Pablo Escobar was on the loose, and the CIA was tasked with killing him by any means necessary. In 1991, the CIA had been trying for four years without any luck. So in 1991 task force "Centra spike" was formed."Out come the documents, heavily redacted but these are vintage CIA op reports. "It was a mixture of DIA, ISA,CIA and DEA assets in country. Operating in support of Centra spike, was task force "Arson Machine". CIA assets on the ground recruited former contacts and contractors, for a deniable hit squad to go after Pablo Escobar using tactics which the US could not sanction. Arson Machine offered clean credentials and US citizenship for participants, there were eighteen members recruited. Armin Keller and I, were amongst them. I met Armin during the operation, he was my partner."And another Photo, theres presumably Armin with an MP5 and a balaclava and the Partisan with her gas mask and AKSU.
Then the rest of the goods start coming out, newspaper and their translations. Murders, vanishings, car bombs, bodies found mutilated. "Armin was a good partner, level headed and intelligent. He was patient, wordly and very professional. The Finger cutting, is his technique and very distinctive."and another, Theres Armin with a woman on his arm thats not Polina in the background. The Partisan, undercover then. "He speaks Russian, German, Latvian, Hungarian, Spanish, Portugese and I believe Farsi but I'm not certain. Politically he was confused. There was a fascist Nazi undercurrent which I attributed to misplaced nationalism, overtones of classical marxist socialism. I believe by the time I met him, he had discarded Nazi ideology. Polina is theorized to have been of Jewish ancestry, but we're really not sure. In either case they were married in either 1988 or 1989."And finally another, of a young woman with very tired eyes in a Police uniform. The little placard she holds up proclaims her to be "BISERA HOXHA, SNAKE BITE".

Still quiet, Brin watches the photo's as they're presented and listens to Partisan. "Who's the young woman on Armin's arm." she motions to the photo. She doesn't recognise that woman, not at all. "And who's that." she gestures to the last photo.

Brin just asked the same questions May would have, so she doesn't pitch in. She does study each image intently, though. As if this were a SHIELD mission briefing, and she seems to be taking it as such. "Do we have any idea of Keller's current whereabouts?"

"Me, thats me Brin. Thats my real name, so please do not repeat it? I've been an American Agent for the OSS and then the CIA since the second world war."Then come more photos, Armin and Polina kissing outside of an apartment complex before heading inside. Theres another from a Mexican embassy christmas party, with the pair off in one corner. "Arson Machine worked in the shadows, until the CIA decided to take the group public in a way. They published documents in national newspapers, and named the group "Los Pepes". Pepes was an acronym for "People Persecuted by Pablo Escobar" for the most part, and we were told to make it much louder and much meaner. We needed to put more pressure on Escobar to flush him out."Another of Armin in a neat suit and very 1992 glasses, with an MP5 in one hand standing over a dead body. Another showing a cocaine stash so large that it looks like a mountain, Part and Armin are standing off to one side." December second 1992, we flushed out Pablo Escobar and a Delta force sniper put a round in his head."And another of a smiling Partisan next to a smiling Armin, posing over the body of Pablo Escobar like african big game hunters.
"December Fourth, Arson Machine was leaked to congress. They ordered the operation be scrubbed, there was talk of felony convictions for CIA leadership. So they ordered the entire operation, liquidated. It was felt that Armin had information on the presence of Nazi war criminals hiding in Colombia. So they turned him on me, got me and my husband arrested. Then they turned on Armin, and his wife. After he refused to answer their questions he was tortured, and Polina was summarily executed. Armin spent some time in a CIA blacksite in Peru, but the paperwork surrounding his release is who knows where. He was believed to be in hiding or dead, until he popped up working for the Purifiers."and fresh color photographs, of the dead men from the safe house. "These are all German Citizens suspected of involvement with various Nazi and radical right wing organizations, they too dropped off the map. So it would appear either he's returned to his Nazi ideology, or he's using it to recruit. As to where he is, no idea."

"I won't. You know I'm used to working with secret identities." Brin answers Part, voice somewhat dull. Eyes on the photo's she takes her time before responding. "So, are the hits on the safe houses, targeted at you or targeted at Mutants?" something that's been bothering her since spoke to Scott earlier that day.

So much potential for bad blood here. And this is an example of just some of the reasons why SHIELD does NOT have a good working relationship with the CIA. They are notorious for turning on their off-the-books operatives, a practice May personally detests. She says nothing about Partisan's real name in that photo, but then she's notorious for saying very little as a general rule. And, oh. That is a SUPERB question Brin just asked.

"People calling themselves The Partisan, and knocking off drug lords or whatever local dictator runs shit is nothing new. There were at least six Partisans claiming the name in Columbia, whilst I was still in retirement. He has no reason to believe I am still alive, and even if he did? I have every reason to believe he would want to be nowhere near me, he knows what I'm capable of and he knows I'll never stop."Out come more photos, and well it's worse. The Sauer farm in upstate NY, twenty seven bodies. All bearing Armin's unique signature. "He would have hung out in Canada and likely either ran an agent, or himself worked as a volunteer at some local pro-mutant charities. He'd have found a mutant who was smuggled north, and then worked them. Told them a sob story about his nephew, who he needs to get to Canada because of some bullshit charge. That Mutant takes pity, tells him about Sauer's farm."Part pauses, tapping the photos of the farm. "He hits the farm, and tortures everyone there for information. They tell him the safe house they were at before Sauer's farm, and so he picks one and hits it. Last night?"Finally pausing to sit down. "This is a counter-insurgency, unraveling right now. He's cutting off lines of supply, so when they really squeeze M-town nobody has anywhere to go. Once he dismantles the railroad routes, he'll go after material support. Now he knows who in M-town is sending folks into the pipeline, he'll make a spectacle of the hit. Once he has M-town isolated, he'll squeeze hard. Maybe stage false flags under the Mutant rights banner, against soft targets. Chemical weapons, car bombs in times square during rush hour. Baseball stadiums, elementary schools, movie theatres, shopping malls. Mass casualty events, and these attacks will continue until congress does something like mandating a meta-human registry or requiring licensing or whatever. Once he has a list, its very easy to say that meta-humans aren't actual humans. Thus they don't actually rate, as far as constitutional protection goes. Then he can start putting people in camps, you see where this is going?"

No, Brin won't look at those photos. She doesn't have to, she lived a lot of it. Yes, she sees where it's going and the answer doesn't please, jaw tightening and eyes hardening.

As to her thoughts on the human vs meta-human angle, she won't be drawn, people have their view on that, and so does she. "So what are you planning to do ?"

May's expression has gone hard. She wishes she had the authority to just have every mutant looking to flee M-Town airlifted out of New York to wherever they would feel the most safe. And this Keller person using M-town's support network against them is making her want to become very, very violent.

"Well the most effective way to end this? We stage a mass casualty terror attack, with the Purifiers taking credit. Thats obviously not a realistic option however, I can't nor should I fight with the gloves off."Part pauses, sinking back in her chair to light a cigarette. "We shut down the arms shipments into M-town, and stop the refuge railroad getting people out of the country. That does not solve the problem, but it buys us time. We need to figure out how the fuck he got out of a CIA blacksite in Peru, and got into the US. He has a hit squad of Neonazis, German Citizens who we might be able to identify or flag. These men have been trained, they have equipment which was paid for by somebody. The likelyhood of finding Armin, slim to none. Where do these men sleep, who feeds them, where do they train? Thats what you need to run down."

"What am I personally going to do, well I'm going to fight a counter insurgency like the legendary insurgent I am. I will visit upon these men a great evil, I will do to them exactly what they've done to mutants. I will capture them, take them to their homes and torture their families to death infront of them. Then I'll murder them slow, and post the videos online. I'll find anyone who supports these men, and I'll field dress them like a deer in view of the public. These men behave as beasts, and I shall treat them accordingly. They deserve a reckoning, and I shall deliver it to them. I will do this until they wither away, or there are no purifiers left for me to slaughter."Part pauses, puffing at her cigarette. "This is a war now, and the only way to end this is with overwhelming violence beyond all reason. It must be made horrible, and terrifying. Men join the Purifers and do these things, because they feel safe."

Brin looks to May as Partisan starts talking, paling even more if that's possible. "I… can't be party to this." she murmurs to both women. "I don't care how wrong the Purifiers are, visiting their own evil back on them makes us no better than them." Shaking her head and folding her arms over her chest "I'll not tell you what to do, Partisan, but I want nothing to do with it. There are other ways … " There has to be. And it's not about getting her hands dirty either … Brins more than happy to do that, but not like this.

May doesn't say it out loud since again Brin has already done so, but she might as well be yelling how strongly she feels about involving innocents. And yet, somehow she manages to keep her voice almost entirely neutral sounding. "I can't be party to that either."

"And what alternative is there? I mean we've been doing this clean, and lets be honest here. Things have not gotten better, they've gotten worse. If you have some alternative solution, I'm all for it. I am unwilling to keep doing exactly what I have been doing, because it's merely maintaining this steady decline. What good is the moral highground, when everyone is dead?"Part's deliver is, flat but well she's not being defensive here. Open minded really, this is something of a strategy discussion anyway right? "I'm willing to roll with whatever works here."

"The way we've been doing it. It's slower, but we're changing hearts as well as minds." Brin delivers equally as flatly. "This way drags us to their level and all of us, are better than that." There's a resolve in her voice. It's why she became an X-Man, why she does what she does. "I have to believe there are enough good people out there to make a difference."

"Far be it for me to tell you what to do, Partisan. You've been doing this more years than I've been alive and then some, but this is not something I can be party to." the brunette looks to May "I don't know what the answer is, but I… just can't." She's not telling Partisan what to or not to do, she's just saying what she won't do herself and that she doesn't know what the answer is.

"I've gone there once before." May says this levelly, but just the vaguest mention of Bahrain has her forcing memories back into their box in her mind. She just can't go there. "I really doubt that SHIELD could properly police the entirety of M-Town, but if we try to keep this clean, I will do everything I can to leverage as much SHIELD support toward this as possible."

Partisan rubs her temples "There are foreign nationals, including Stasi operating here. I've already armed M-town, and taught them how to fight. The issue isn't protecting M-town, it's stopping the purifiers. Look if nobody stops these guys, what happens next. Mutants get pissed the government didn't do enough, and so they turn terrorist themselves? We need to stop defending, and start attacking."

"Then we attack them and only them. Not their families, not their friends. We expose them for what they are … " Brin, along with others, has been chasing the money trail and is looking for other clues. "We don't video torture or maiming and put it on the Internet. We prove we are better than that, by being better."

"Cut off their funding, find out who's supplying them…" conduct a war of attrition rather than horror.

Melinda May nods to Partisan. That kind of tactic she can back. And likely sell it to SHIELD to get the organizatin's resources into play as well. There's an entire division of the covert operations organization devoted purely to tracking someone down through their financials.

Partisan sighs "alright, but I retain "I told you so" rights if this just ends in tears."Sitting upright to start policing up the documents in question. "Lets all remember to kindly thank the DIA, who have a better idea where the CIA's files are than the CIA. Also, they give excellent christmas presents. Any more questions on Keller?"

Brin rubs her face. "We're already in tears, Partisan." and they'd better pray that the news that the underground railway was compromised doesn't get out into the 'public'. Scared mutants, who feel betrayed by those they can trust? What a mess.

"I'll need all the information you can give me on him. Known aliases, old bank accounts, trading accounts … addresses. Anything. We can run algorithms to find commonalities." She'll leave the fighting techniques et al to May to work through. Brins … good with business.

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