04.16.3014: Suspecting Treason
Summary: Nitrim is summoned to the Citadel about the treasonous appearances of his actions.
Date: 23 December 2013
Related: Upon My Liar's Chair
Nitrim Sauveur 

Captain Eva Tiberian's Offices - The Citadel
Room description included in set.
April 16, 3014

A summons to the Citadel is not to be taken lightly. It carries with it weight, no matter one's station within the greater net of Havenite society. There is perhaps only one summons which can be more encumbering, and that is a summons from the Regnant. Lord Nitrim Khournas has at least avoided that fate, as his summons is to the office of Captain Eva Tiberian, a logistician and Hostile expert who has been working with the good doctor and her attempts to understand the Hostile captives in their midst.

Tiberian's offices are in the higher reaches of the Citadel, leaving quite a lengthy walk for the young Khourni son. When he does arrive, he is then made to wait a good fifteen minutes past his appointment. When he is finally shown in, he is brought before a middle-aged woman who stands and makes a slight bow of her head out of proper respect, and then gestures him to the chair before her desk. "Lord Nitrim… thank you for coming."

Slipping into the room in his dark coat with an even darker expression upon his face, Nitrim Khournas unfolds his hands from behind his back and takes quick inventory of the room around him. It's an old trick he's learned in many years, recognizing the room for what it is, the exits, and to get a read of the person he is about to speak with. There's no misinterpretation to be made, though, as he quiet darkness that lingers over the Khourni is very aware as to why he's been summoned.

"Captain Tiberian." Nitrim replies, eyes turning to her to read the age in her eyes as he moves to the chair before her. There is no need for a thank you for her invitation; he couldn't have refused had he wanted to. "I understand you're a busy woman with a rather busy job, so I'll not bother you with the pleasantries. We're here for a very important conversation, aren't we?"

"Quite," Tiberian says as she reclaims her seat, reaching for her tablet as she does. "This concerns your recent visits with the prisoner Sarah 113 of 164… and the reaction to those visits." She brushes her fingers across the tablet in a sweeping gesture, and behind her several vidscreens flicker away. They begin showing footage from Nitrim's visits with Sarah, though there is no audible sound. Tiberian turns a bit in her chair to look at the 'screens, while also being able to glance Nitrim's way easily enough. "I'm curious, Lord Nitrim… what purpose did you have to engage with the prisoner? Obviously your father approved the visitations, and your uncle, Lord Jeb Khournas, did not see fault in them… but there are…" Her tongue clucks. "Unusual behaviors your exhibit."

Steepling his gloved fingers, Nitrim raises his eyes to the screens behind her, following the rather bizarre experience of viewing his mannerisms in the third person, as well as the angle of the camera that captures them. Thoughtful, he listens to the build up and the eventual question from the Captain, then turns his eyes to her. "Information gathering." Nitrim replies simply, his finger reaching to scratch at the corner of his eyes. "On the ice plains at Niveus I made a brief moment of contact with a Cantosan Elite. The aversion to our culture and curiosity if confidence could be achieved; how human they are despite our differing cultures. Cultural intelligence, if you will."

"For whom?" Tiberian asks, glancing toward Nitrim now. "You were gathering intelligence for whom, Nitrim Khournas?" Then she turns in her seat to face him fully. She tilts her head a bit. "Were you gathering intelligence for your own curiosity, for your father?"

"My father wouldn't appreciate any intelligence that didn't have some sort of weighted merit to it, Captain." Nitrim replies with a slight canting of his head, eyes remaining on hers. "I'll admit to being curious, but as someone who's fought in this war and a man with an eye for tactic, I came to interrogate Sarah 113 of 164 with all of Haven's safety in mind. Anything gleamed through confidence or through understanding would have been put to use to save lives. That was my intent."

"Hmm." The Captain leans back in her chair a bit. "And you did not feel that it was beneficial to your efforts to perhaps ask permission from the Citadel to engage the prisoner in the manner that you did? Or to confer with Doctor Figgeroa?" Tiberian taps on her tablet once more, this time drawing up the footage of Nitrim's first attempts to engage Sarah with Awakened powers, and the resulting upset of the Cantosan. "What were you attempting to achieve here, Lord Nitrim?"

Once more, Nitrim's eyes flit up to the footage, a moment he remembers well that ended with a flash of angry teeth in his face, rage barely restrained. "I mean this respectfully, Captain, but I wasn't aware that there was a coordinated efforts in regards to the individual interrogation attempts." Nitrim turns his eyes back to the woman, shaking his head gently. "I would have been rather interested in being a part of a coordinated effort, to be honest, but no, I did not confer."

"That," Nitrim motions to the screen. "Was an attempt to see if she were willing to believe that there were people on our side willing to assist her, or gain her trust, to provide her with an opportunity to communicate outside of your view. She denied it outright, lessons learned, but in time could have resulted in useful information." He pauses. "Entreat to her humanity, what little shared connection we have."

"You did not ask," Tiberian replies flatly. Then she looks back up at the vidscreens. "And what do you think she would have told you? You are her enemy as much as any of us… do you think that in the privacy of your telepathic link that she would have given you anything? The Hostiles are aware of our humanity… I don't see how she would have seen that has a shared connection as her people have no qualms in spilling our blood." She glances toward Nitrim now. "And would you have submitted a report to the Citadel as others have if she had taken an opportunity to share something with you?"

"Unquestionably." The words are delivered simply, but with a certain finality behind them. To seal the gesture, he dips his head slowly towards her, his mossy-green eyes serious. "As to what she may have told me, that could have come with time. She suggested to me that the only way to gain trust with her was to set her free, but I'm not so certain. She's made strange connections and been thoughtful at times, frustrated at others. Still, I leverage that a society consumed with so much hate could only do so because they have a capacity to love, and with her human connection to her biological progeny, perhaps a realization that we as a people are not the monsters made out to be by her society, that a seed could have been planted." Nitrim's head rights back into place. "But I didn't see her believing any of us unless her visitor was appearing to take risks in the eyes of his own people."

"And you did not worry what your people would think when they saw your actions?" Tiberian inquires, her lightly salted brows arching. "Look at yourself up there, Lord Nitrim… look at yourself and tell me… if you were in my shoes, seeing a Havenite attempting to engage an enemy who has killed countless numbers of his own people in secret conversations and circumventing security measures… would you not wonder if maybe his sympathies had gotten the best of him? That he saw a connection through shared humanity, and could have been acting in a manner that could do harm upon his people than good?" Tiberian shakes her head. "Your actions may have had good intentions, but you did not once consider how your actions would be seen by your own kind?"

"In a room that was surrounded by guards in service to the royal family with the conversations being recorded and observed by the Citadel? No. I'll admit that I was a bit curious that I hadn't been approached yet." Following her direction, Nitrim looks once again to the recordings in the room and allows for a few seconds of shared watching. Slowly, as if what he sees gives him insight, he shakes his head. "I knew the conversations were being recorded, and I knew what you would see from your observation booth. I would have to be a very stupid man to attempt that sort of thing in front of the Citadel and believe that it would go unnoticed." He pauses a beat, eyes turning back to her. "I've seen the mutilations, Captain, and I've a sister of my own buried by them. What mattered more to me for my line of questioning is that she wondered why I'd take such risks and that confidence could be achieved."

"Here is what bothers me, Lord Nitrim," Tiberian says as she turns to face him now, the vidscreens still looping footage of Nitrim and Sarah. "You seem to have forgotten that this war is not about Hostiles attempting to kill Arborenin or Khourni or Valen or Orelleans… this is not about Hostiles targeting a hotel on Lazarus Island… this is about Hostiles attempting to exterminate the whole of Haven." The Captain tilts her head. "Do you understand that? Do you not trust guards in service to the King Regnant? Do you not trust the Citadel?" She glances around now, spreading her hands wide. "Tell me what we have done to lose your trust, Lord Nitrim?" Then she leans back once more. "And, why did you think the confidence of Sarah 113 of 164 was worth losing the confidence of your own people?"

"I'm sorry?" Nitrim blinks, eyebrows tilting in the center for a moment of concern. Leaning forward, he rests his elbows on his knees to loom closer to the edge of the woman's desk, maintaining precious eye contact. "Captain, the people of Haven, the Citadel, and the guards outside of the cell had never once lost my trust. In that video, when I attempted to communicate with her mind, it was essential that the guards appear confused by my demands to unhand her and it was essential in those early moments that Sarah 113 of 164 believed that there was something lost in me that sought her for understanding." Slowly, he pulls a case of cigarettes from the inside of his coat, opens it, and offers one to the Captain. "All of extinction is on the line, and if their culture has been indoctrinated even the slightest belief in one soldier on their side questioning their ideals could lead to an internal event, or diplomacy, or a breaking of their morale enough to save millions."

"Do not smoke in my office." Tiberian does not let anger betray her features, and her voice remained even. "Informing the Citadel would have not resulted in the Watchmen becoming privvy to your intentions. Informing the Citadel, informing Doctor Figgeroa, informing those who are your compatriots would have resulted in collaboration and trust. You cannot operate in a vacuum, Lord Nitrim… you cannot make such actions and not expect consequence when you have not informed the people who would have been your allies in this tactic." She points now at Sarah. "You could have brought us in and we could have given you assistance… we could have helped sell your ploy… but instead your rogue behavior has resulted in nothing gained and far more lost." Then she points at him with two fingers. "You wish to be a benefit to your people? Then work with us."

Clapping the case closed, Nitrim's arm retracts back towards his chest and slips the case back inside. With a few pats to his inner jacket to let it lay down flat, he takes a quiet breath and nods towards her. Sitting back once more, he crosses one shin over his knee and balances his hands in his lap, staring down the two-gun point of her fingers. "And what if there are spies in our midst, Captain?" Nitrim asks quietly. "I'll be direct with you, I understood going in the risks, the loss of confidence, and in truth gaining the confidence of Sarah and any inside sympathizers or collaborators would have been the ultimate goal. This war is going to tear our cultures from the inside out, and as I told Sarah, it will leave nothing but a mound of shit to rule over in the end if something doesn't get figured out." A slow frown forms on his lips. "I care. I trust slowly, but if you are offering me an opportunity to work with the Citadel I would do so orderly, directed, and could bring you resources to assist in the efforts."

Now, Tiberian rolls her eyes and issues a faint snort. "Are you suggesting that I am a spy, Nitrim Khournas? Or that Doctor Figgeroa is?" She tilts her head now, pale eyes boring into his without remorse. "Do you honestly believe that there is no one in Haven that you can trust?" She tilts her head now. "Did you not just say that the Citadel has never lost your trust?" Now she shakes her head. "If you believe that you must operate as a rogue agent, solitary and without the support of your own people, then you truly are paranoid and a danger to Haven." She crosses her fingers together. "And why should we trust you, Nitrim Khournas, when you cannot trust us?"

"Captain." Nitrim blinks, tilting his head once more, leveling a far-from-youthful stare to her in return. His brows lower and the scarred flesh at his neck tightens, outlining the weary battle-lines on his face. For a brief moment, as he straightens, he looks his father's son. "I said, and what if there are, what then?" Nitrim repeats his words, gesturing towards her. "I do not believe that you or Doctor Figgeroa are spies and the reason I didn't link up is because I believe that you are spies. I'm not paranoid, and having just offered to operate as orderly and directed is the opposite of saying that I believe that I must operate as a rogue agent. I feel like we're not having the same conversation at the moment." Nitrim's tongue flashes from the corner of his lip, grazing over his teeth. "But given your profession I'm sure you understand the need for keeping control of the flow of information in the event that there are collaborators."

"You should trust me, Captain," Nitrim replies, sitting back in his chair, eyes blinking. "Because I have been a walking pair of eyes since this war began, thinking and paying attention, taking Cantosan lives in defense of Haven, and following whispers without acting on them for months to see what I could find. If any of us Paramounts, lords and Captains in high position had wanted to sell our countrymen with information for a chance at survival, we could have so thousands of times over by now."

Tiberian says nothing in the wake of his words, merely maintaining her unwavering stare. Then she nods tersely. "I will submit to the Crown Council my findings on this conversation, Lord Nitrim, and will inform them that I do not see the need to investigate your actions further." She uncrosses her fingers now, resting them on the arms of her chair as she does. "However… if I may offer some advice… one Havenite to another… if you wish to serve Haven and see that this conflict forever ends, then I suggest you adjust your current tactics. I do not deny that there are those who for whatever reason seek to collaborate with the enemy, but… there are exponentially more who seek the same things you do… and instead of casting millions into doubt because perhaps a handful would betray us, you should take the minute risk."

She then appears to be on the verge of dismissing him, but something halts her even as she starts to turn her chair away from him. "If I should trust you, Lord Nitrim… prove it. There are encrypted methods to submit information. Use them."

"When I have something you'll be the first to know now." Nitrim replies, pushing his way up from the chair. That old familiar itch, the need for a cigarette, scratches at the back of his throat, urging him to rub at the front of his neck. The black leather of his glove peels over his skin silently. "But I'll leave you with something before I go." He turns. "Out there is an algorithm that has been created to try to gather hits on the InfoSphere, to collect data on the number of Awakened dreams for specific details. It was my idea, but not my design, and it is still out there. The idea behind it is…the more details that match, the more shared the dream is, the more potentially prophetic the dream is. A potential early warning radar, if possible. Dreams aren't evidence, but they may be a starting point when threads go cold."

"You will hear from me, Captain, and for what it is worth, I understand where I was out of line." He stops, back turned to her. "This won't be a conversation we'll have twice…am I dismissed?"

"The Citadel is already aware of what Awakened are Dreaming…" And then Tiberian's eyes abruptly go white and a strong, wintry aura burst from around her exterior. "You are not the only Awakened who Dreams." Then she lapses out of her Awakened state. "You are dismissed." And she turns in her chair, gathering up her tablet once more.

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