Dunn shuffled his papers while rushing to Conference room C. The trembling in his hands was easy to stifle; it was his stutter he needed to worry about. Never did shake that from that time in France… He reassured himself, Calm down, Roger. It's not like you're undercover anymore… This is supposed to be easier… He reached the door, catching sight of the paper posted beside it:
"RESERVED: MTF Briefing"
Roger Dunn creaked the door open, instinctively checking his 9 o'clock and panning to his 3. Doing so, he locked eyes with every Foundation rep seated at the long, board table. His eyes drifted back as he closed the door behind him, keeping a steady gaze on the steel-faced man in the center.
"Dunn. It's about time you got here. You got something to say, or should we just leave?" Donald Woods, Director of Task Forces; Former MTFC of Nu-3.
"Terribly sorry about that, sir. This Site's layout is more confusing than the Library." His slight smile was met by unimpressed stares. "Let's get on with this, shall we?"
"Yes. Let's start with why you want to form a Task Force more expensive than the Seventh Occult War."
Dunn was taken aback as he inserted his flash drive into the console. "Umm.. Of course. Getting to that." As he picked up the laser pointer from the podium, his black-haired associate entered. "Ah, Laura. Nice of you to join us," he hissed through a lock-jaw smile. "Everyone, if we haven't introduced ourselves yet, I am Major Roger Dunn, Former Commander of MTF Rho-4, and this is my colleague Laura Guzman, Human Resources and Internal Affairs." The projector switched on, displaying a large icon of an auction gavel with "M-3" displayed under it.
"We are here to propose the formation of a Mobile Task Force, designation Mu-3." he swallowed dry as he continued. "I think you will be convinced by the end of this presentation that this Task Force will, without a doubt, be much more beneficial than it costs you." God, I feel like a sellout.
Laura stepped up, "If you would all look to the proposal letter you were issued earlier, you will see the purposes outlined for the Team, and the separate divisions for said purposes." The board leafed through the assortment of papers spread across the table. Laura leaned over to Dunn, "I thought you were going to set everything up neatly."
"I was pressed for time."
"I have a question," the bird-nosed Doctor raised his hand. "It seems as if this is actually a request for three teams. How do you—"
"Yes, I will be addressing that; mm.." Dunn scanned the papers on the podium in front of him.
"Nope. I'm sorry," Director Woods interjected. "I just can't see prioritizing this sort of team over one that would be more pertinent; say, a Containment Task Force."
More like an Armed… Dunn had a sense of the old commander's agenda. "Actually sir, if you'd allow me to continue, I'll state expressly why this team must be formed." The Director of Task Forces conceded and waved for him to proceed.
"Thank you." The Major advanced the slideshow, displaying an assortment of graphs. "As you all are probably aware, Marshall, Carter, and Dark LLP have increased their acquisition rates to over 125% compared to last quarter. Our field operatives can barely keep up with the amount of items being transported. Informal Agent squads we've deployed have proven useful for tracking specific POIs and items, but this is simply not prudent in the long run. This MTF will be able to oversee these responsibilities more efficiently and with a faster response time than most Containment forces."
"What about the operatives we already have in the field?"
"They will most likely be absorbed into the Task Force, sir." Laura snatched control from Dunn, clicking through to the "Divisions" slide. "The roles of these Field Agents fall into one of three categories, sir. These divisions will be: 'Profilers,' the Tracking branch; 'Probes," the Undercover branch; and—"
"Thieves?" The Doctor spoke up in monotoned annoyance. "You expect me to believe that the Containment branch of this team will be able to just sneak the items under the LLP's nose? We've blown the cover of whole regiments trying to secure items from them."
"Yes. This is why I'm proposing Agent Samuel Aguirre to personally train and command the Containment division."
"A thief to lead thieves, eh Dunn?" Captain Rainier, officer of Internal Affairs spoke her peace, "He isn't fit for a Task Force yet. He's little more than a Consultant at the moment. You expect him to lead a whole Containment division?"
"Agent Aguirre's service and contribution to past missions and MTFs has been beyond exemplary. I believe he is more than capable enough to be the cornerstone for this team." Dunn turned to Laura, "For the other branches, I've chosen Agent Guzman here for the head of the 'Profilers'; and former Commander of several U-MTFs, Agent Dennis Ford for the liaison of the 'Probes'."
"Your agents' qualifications for these teams is contestable, Dunn."
"Not at all, ma'am," Laura opened a folder she'd held discreetly at her side to this point, dispensing its contents to each member of the panel. "I was a Profiler for the FBI for almost seventeen years. Top of my class at Quantico, and over 75 unsubs identified, tracked, and apprehended on my record. While Agent Ford was a Field Agent for the CIA for five years before his arrival at the Foundation, and currently works as an instructor for the Foundation's Internal Investigations division. He understands the duties of an operative, and is also a capable handler."
"Getting back to my original point: I have to say, while money sure ain't everything, it's still pretty damn important." The Director pointed his large, weathered hand at the funding tables displayed on the screen, "And you're proposing we spend millions on a single branch of this team; over ten times as much as the other two cost!"
"Sir, as of right now, our very few Sleeper Agents have had to rely on a strict budget, even dipping into their personal accounts just to keep up appearances with MC&D. This funding will be used to supply our 'Probes' with luxury vehicles; fine clothing; upper-class properties; and, notably, the funds needed to interface properly with contacts."
"I just don't see any justification for the use of Foundation resources to purchase luxuries." My God… He's a sellout too.
"Director Woods. I understand that your background is in Armed Containment forces, but this team will revolutionize how we track, locate, and obtain future SCiPs."
"Well, I don't know how things are done across the pond, but I do know that my superiors aren't going to approve of this much money being spent on something like this."
"I believe, sir, that with an opportunity of this nature there should be little, if any, hesitation to take advantage."
"If I may, Major Dunn," Rainier butted into their face-off. "My major concern with this Task Force is the amount of secrecy needed for success."
"For these 'Probes', transmitting their data to outside personnel will require a delicate process. One slip, and we lose very valuable Sleeper Agents. How do you plan to reconcile this?"
"Um, Agent Ford is an extremely thorough operative. I don't expect such a mistake would happen under his ward."
"Just to be safe, Director," she turned to Woods. "I propose that, for the 'Probe' branch, handlers are to be recruited from our Information Security department, as to ensure protection from data breaches."
Director Woods sat in silence for a minute or so. "I agree with you, Rainier. Such a breach could be extremely costly." He stood up, picking up the proposal forms, "I'm granting the formation of this MTF for a trial period. That means: limited funds, limited personnel, and the express authority of InfoSec in regards to the Sleeper Agents' information." He slammed a stamp on the forms.
As the board members filed out of the room, Dunn and Guzman began picking up the leftover papers.
"Well, at least it's something…" Laura forced a smirk.
Dunn sighed to himself, "I didn't even get to finish my powerpoint…"