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Aberrant: Stargate Universe - Measure of a Man

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Olivia had taken care to dress well; a good first impression could only help her at this point. She’d seen her quarry this morning as she’d left the mess for breakfast, so he was around. She drifted up to the control room and stopped next to Walter’s chair, smiling at him.

“Specialist,” he said in greeting, smiling at her. Despite all the nastiness flooding the base, he liked her. She’d been kind, as far as he could see, and if she’d been too kind to some people – well, that wasn’t any of his business, so long as it didn’t affect operations. Of course, he’d heard rumors that she’d been responsible for at least one fight, but she’d been nice to him. “Can I help you with something?”

“I’m looking to talk to our visitor, and I understand he uses one of the conference rooms as his office while he’s here. Can you point me to it?” she asked.

Walter was surprised. No one really went looking for this particular visitor. “Are you sure you want to talk to him?” he asked, then caught him and stammered, “He’s got a room on Level twenty-two.”

“Thanks, Walter,” Olivia said, nodding. “I appreciate it.”

When she was gone, he shook his head and muttered, “I’ve never had someone thank me for that before.” He turned back to his console and returned his attention to the nascent StarGate, vigilant against any intruders.


Olivia found the office; the door was open and she could see him inside, bent over some files. Probably reviewing mission reports. She knocked on the door. “Richard Woolsey?” she asked, putting on her best smile.

The IOA agent looked up and smiled in response. In part, an exotically attractive woman was smiling warmly at him, and in part, he recognized this woman. “Specialist Jenings-Izumi,” he said, rising and offering her his hand.

“Yes, I am,” she said as she took his hand and shook it firmly. “You even got Izumi right.”

“I have studied all the specialists,” he said proudly. “I’ve been looking forward to meeting you all. I’ve heard so much about you all, and have read all your files.”

Olivia nodded. “I’m glad to hear that,” she said, letting her smile fade into seriousness, “because I need your help.”

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Olivia swallowed hard and shut the door, then asked, "Do you mind if I sit down?"

"Not at all," Woolsey said quickly, even moving to hold the chair for her.

She smiled at the old-fashioned courtesy, not that it makes her relax much. "I've come about the IOA," she said softly. "I've... some of the treatment I have received from them has been upsetting. I've heard you're a good person, and I wanted some advice about how to deal with some of the things I've come across."

"Ah, yes, the incident with Abernathy," Woolsey said, and Olivia saw him start to gear up the spin machine.

"No," Olivia said. "I'm talking about the Staff Sergeant who went AWOL. Carl Hatchins. I'm talking about him being here in the first place. His service record doesn't support his assignment to this facility, and that's because the IOA sent him here to show me that they could punish me."

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Mr. Wolsey blinked in confusion. "I am aware of the AWOL Seargeant, but how is the fact that he was assigned here punishment for you? From what I can see in the reports you are correct that he should not have been assigned to this facility, but it looks like a clerical error. There was a Sergeant Major Karl Hutchins who was under review to be offered a position here. I was under the impression that it was a simple typo that caused the wrong man to be placed in this facility."

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Olivia stared at Woolsey for a moment; then she laughed a little and shook her head. "Wow," she said, "they... really covered their butts, there." She looked down at her hands, which was holding each other so tightly that they were white. They also hurt a little, but she wasn't aware of it until she thought, That should hurt. She opened them and pressed them flat against her thighs.

"Sorry, Mr. Woolsey," she said, feeling the tears start to rise. "I'd come here, hoping for some help, and that I could help you. But... look, that was an incredibly convenient typo, because the man that was assigned here 'by mistake'... he's..."

Her hands hurt again, and she unclasped them without looking down. "I can't believe that it's just a coincidence, because it seems really far-fetched that after I turn down the IOA and tell on them, that one of the man who... raped me six years ago gets assigned here accidentally."

She ground it out through clenched teeth and the effort left tears in her eyes, but she'd done it. She felt a tiny bit proud of herself, but suddenly she couldn't stand to be in the room, or to see the look on Mr. Woolsey's face - she didn't want to see the surprise, horror, pity or whatever else he might be showing. That was why she hated to admit this; she wasn't afraid of Hatchins, but she hated this moment, when they rewrote your label into 'victim'.

"I've been told you're a good man," she said to the wall over his shoulder, trying to blink away the tears and instead making them fall. She rubbed at them hurriedly, trying stupidly to make them disappear. "And I really can't provide proof; all I had was the fact that he was here at all. So all I can ask is that you keep your eyes open for the dirty people in your organization, for the hurtful, hateful things they do in their pursuit of their agendas. I'm sorry I couldn't show you what I mean, that I have to ask you to find it for yourself."

She tried to look him in the eye and got as far as his tie. "Thank you for your time," she said with the shred of dignity that she still retained. Standing, she moved to leave the room.

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"Wait!" When she paused at the door he said, "I wasn't aware of that. I will see what I can find out and if it is true, and I don't doubt you. I will do what I can to make things right."

Before she could slip completely out the door, "If you can find any proof please bring it to me and I will do what I can with it."

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"If I find any..." Olivia's voice trailed off, and then she slowly turned. "The only thing I can think of is... only a few people knew about what happened, knew the full truth. I'm wondering how the IOA knew, I never reported it or even told anyone, not until Hatchins got here. But a man named Bill Warrens might know. In fact, I bet he's the one that they had to talk to. He and I had an apartment together, so a background search would bring him up, and he was there."

She was finally able to look in Woolsey's eyes. "Bill Warrens might be able to confirm that someone in the government contacted him and asked about me. It may not be hard proof, but it'd be a start." She gave him a little smile. "Thank you for listening," she added before slipping out of the room.

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Wolsey jotted down some notes and initiated a search on Bill Warrens. To his surprise and utter amazement, he immediately got a hit.

The fact that he did get a hit so quickly was startling enough, but the response even more so. Warrens had just been placed in witness protection for unspecified reasons. The more he chased the rabbit the deeper it went. He was frankly shocked that the details were so easy to find, it was almost like someone was feeding him the answers. His head came up abruptly at the thought and he cross referenced the files on the Specialists and sure enough Steve Courier had the skills to have planted the evidence. That wasn't enough, he needed to verify the evidence.

Taking a deep breath afraid of what he might find he dialed a number and spoke, "Diane, hi, this is Richard Wolsey... Yes good to hear your voice too. Listen, I'm sorry, but I need to ask a favor of you. I need you to fax me a copy of an order that was issued. I have the electronic copy here, but I really need to see the physical paperwork and verify the signature. But Diane, do me a favor and keep this just between you and me if you will."

His relief at her answer was deep, "Thanks Diane, I owe you one."

Twenty minutes later a fax came through and sure enough, Abernathy's signature was right there on the page ordering Hatchin's placed within the SGC. Woolsey had never cared for the man, too slick, too ambitious for a civil servant.

Richard Woolsey sat back in his seat and pondered what he should do. Abernathy's career would certainly be ended when this came to light, but what if it went higher than that? Woolsey could end up being the one whose neck ended up on the block. Abernathy might be sacrificed, but if it went higher Woolsey would be making a serious enemy in the halls of power.

It was worse than that. Woolsey truly believed in what the IOA was doing. He was certain to the core of his being that the Military required oversight and could not be allowed to set their own agenda. The people of the SGC were good people, he had no doubt, but checks and balances existed for very good reasons. It was a hard thing to discover that the system you believed it was broken.

This would require more evidence and more thought. Abernathy might still try and slip out of the noose on the grounds of the typo even though that would be an awfully flimsy excuse. He needed to tie Warrens into the puzzle with irrefutable proof, he needed the connection between Warrens being placed in witness protection and Abernathy. How had the man arranged it?

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