The group were sitting quietly, expectantly when the Controller entered. He started immediately. “The exercise today is your first real life exercise. Your decisions will be acted on. But first, the scene. Our agent is located in this block of flats where the vigilante group operates. They have become suspicious. We need a fall guy to take the heat off our operative. Start”.
The group looked at each other, and studied the flats notoriously controlled by the vigilantes and now hosting their spy undercover.
The Controller prompted them. “Magda, remind the group of the formula followed when we infiltrate”.
The cool blonde looked up and confidently addressed the group. “Criminals are paranoid. Hyper-vigilant. They are on the look out for snitches. To make sure they don’t focus on our operatives we make sure they focus their attention elsewhere”.
She glanced at the Controller to see if she should continue. He nodded. “Suggest the profile of a suitable fall guy”.
“The subject cannot be someone of standing in that community, but someone on the fringes, a new arrival, a stranger in some respects. They will have few social contacts to protect them. They must be someone that smeared, people will believe the smears”.
The Controller nodded. “Would a criminal do?”
Magda and several members of the group nodded no, emphatically. “A criminal would absolutely not do. They might be arrested for their crimes. We don’t want the police involved and if they were arrested they would be taken out of the community and no further use to us. We need someone to remain there until they have served their purpose”.
The Controller nodded at Magda to sit down and called another member of the group.
“Jake, tell us more about the characteristics of a suitable target”. A gypsy-looking, lanky man with straggling dark hair got to his feet.
“Women are easy targets. They lack the family, and community support and acceptance that men enjoy. Men are happy to believe lies of sexual impropriety against women, and other women are quick to believe lies too”.
“Does it make any difference if the woman has children?”
Jake smiled. “It is better if the woman has children. They anchor her to the place. A childless woman might suspect trouble and just up and leave”.
“And what about a married woman?”
Jake nodded, no. “No good. The husband has ties with the community. The wife has his protection. It introduces a whole set of extra problems. A single woman with children is ideal”.
The Controller threw a bundle of files onto the table. “These contain the details of every resident in the flats, excluding criminals and married couples. I expect your proposals for a suitable target to be ready by this time tomorrow”.
The following day Magda and Jake knocked on the Controller’s door. They carried one file. The Controller scoped the contents. “Single woman, widowed, several children, newcomer to the flats”. He looked up and handed the file back. “Good. Now I want the group to come up with suitably dramatic theatre to draw attention to this woman’s outsider status. It should confirm the lies and rumours that have been spread about her and reinforce community avoidance and hostility”.
Over the next few weeks several dramatic events occurred at the flats. Some even made the newspapers. They all centred on one flat where a newcomer, a single woman with children lived.
Shortly after vigilantes dragged her from her bed and her body was found in a nearby alley.
Under the Controller’s instructions the group met again to round off the operation. He noticed Magda and Jake were sitting together in one corner looking pale and subdued.
“First of all” the Controller started “I must congratulate you on a successful operation. Now everyone believes the spy has been dealt with our operative is safe”.
He looked round at the group. They all seemed subdued. “What is the matter? It was a successful operation”
“That woman was innocent” Jake muttered. “Was that really necessary?”
“We didn’t kill her. The vigilantes did”.
The Controller turned to Magda. “Well?”
“The children are now orphans. First their father dies. Then their mother. And no-one is helping them because they are afraid of the vigilantes”.
The Controller sighed. “Your sentiments do you credit. But you are missing the point. Our agent is safe. The vigilantes have saved face – they have rooted out the spy in their midst, everyone is happy”.
As the penny dropped, Jake and Magda stared at each other in horror.
Have to watch those two, thought the Controller. Pity. They had potential.
Copyright 2015 Prayerwarriorpsychicnot