Marie Lancaster

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MI6 analyst and sometimes field agent assigned to 'special projects'.

Score 269

07/03/24

Marie Lancaster joined the services right out university, as a junior analyst for the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) insignals intelligence (SIGINT). Her high intelligence showed both focused research skills as well as intuitive analysis that made logical leaps that weren't always fully supported by the evidence.

That didn't mean she was wrong, but her supervisors maintained a simmering frustration with her, not because she didn't do her job, but she did much more than her job. Her analysis came with recommended actions, including information sharing with intelligence branches outside GCHQ and often without authorization. At least twice she had shared classified information with another agency without authorization, a clear violation of her clearance code. (Once MI5, regarding an automobile dealership that might be a front for a smuggling operation, yet was tied to the Queen's Platinum Jubilee. A second time with Defence Intelligence (DI), that  indicated a link between pirate activity in the Gulf of Aden and Islamic State munititions deliveries.) She would have been terminated and security clearance revoked, had not both sets of intelligence resulted in positive field action.

As it was, she had several black marks on her record and little hope of getting any more assignments beyond archiving old paper records, when she was called into an office and introduced to Melchior Guiness. He was from MI6, and he implied that he was investigating a security breach that led back to her office... and to her. He questioned her about her multiple protocol breaches, heavily implying that she was suspected of being a foreign agent. Throughout his questioning, she came to see he was not focusing on WHAT she had done (that was well established) but giving her enough rope by leaving her the opportunity to explain WHY she had done it.

Marie intuited that he wouldn't leave without a satisfying answer, so she opted for full honesty, detailing the failings of siloed intelligence gathering that kept SIGINT separate from Information Assurance (IA), and HumInt divided between foreign and domestic, with mountains of red-tape. She layed out a litany of failings in the system bureacracy, with several examples of useful, actionable intelligence choked off from the necessary channels.

Melchior had responded with, "That was a precise, well thought out, and very comlplete  dissection... no... avulsion... of His Majesty's intelligence services. Well done. Would you like to work for me?"

Marie had said yes.

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