Major Natasha Lebedeva, section chief of intelligence for the Imperial Central Securitate, collected her notes. A ten-year veteran of the ICS, she specialized in psychological warfare and black ops, with well over 100 successful operations to her name. She was sure that, with his impending retirement, Colonel Richat would soon nominate her as his successor in the position of ICS Undersecretary for Extraordinary Affairs.

“Come in, Major.” Richat was seated at his desk, flanked by his usual personal escort of two ISC military police–since the base attack the previous August he had rarely been without them. “I had to discuss this with you personally, as our most experienced operative. We’ve received intelligence that a Callistan has infiltrated the highest levels of our organization.”

“What sort of intelligence?” Natasha was taken aback by the news. She knew all about Callistans, genetically engineered masters of infiltration and subterfuge who sold their services to the highest bidder. Able to change aspects of their appearance at will–though not to the ridiculous extent of popular rumors–they were also rumored to be masters of impersonation to the extent that the line between impersonator and impersonated was often blurred. Natasha had written her master’s thesis on the case of a Callistan unmasked and executed in the Imperial General Staff decades ago, and was the foremost expert on them within in the ICS.

“We’ve recently installed a photophore scanner with a resolution of 1.2 PPB. The absolute latest in military-grade scanning technology, able to detect Callistans no matter how perfect their disguise or how long their mimicry has gone on,” said Richat. “It uses the normal surveillance inputs throughout the ICS compound.”

“That’s wonderful news, sir,” said Natasha. “We sure could have used one of those at Theg Prime. They never did find General Raven’s body.”

“That they did not, Major. And all they ever found of his troops were a few bone fragments.”

“I know, sir. I worked recovery on that project,” said Natasha with a shudder. Even for one as combat-hardened as she, the memories were distinctly traumatic. “Is that why you’ve brought me in? To consult?”

“After a fashion,” said Richat coolly, as was his aspect and manner in all things. “As I said, we’ve discovered a Callistan infiltrator and would like to solicit your input. Who do you think it is?”

Natasha hesitated, combing her brain for anyone who acted strangely or had a suspiciously sketchy past. “Captain Reid? He was a photographer before the war, after all.”

“No, Major. It’s you.”

“W-what? I-”

“A disguise so perfect, you fooled even yourself.” Colonel Richat gestured at his bodyguards, who relieved the Major of her sidearm and clapped her in irons. “Take her away.”

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