Title: Wild Card
Crossover with The Pretender
Disclaimer: I do not own these characters.
Summary: After a case, Mike owes a mystery man a favor. Fortunately he gets an opportunity to pay him back right away.

There's a lot of covert ops organizations out there. Some of them "legit" some of them not. Legit meaning, officially, if secretly, working for an established government. Mossad, C.I.A., and KGB are good examples. The advantage to these kinds of organizations is that you tend to get the really dedicated people working for you. You know, the make the world safe for democracy types. Or communism depending on your point of view.

The point is, you typically don't have to resort to too many strong arm tactics in order to keep these people in line.

Then there's the other type. Organizations that operate independently. These usually fall into the corporate/mercenary category. Sometimes you get terrorists in that group too, but like the "legit" operations, you'll mostly find folks working there who really believe in what they're doing. This is often very scary, and beside the point.

These mercenary or corporate outfits have the disadvantage of attracting a less dedicated sort of employee. Mostly they're out for a paycheck, and can sometimes turn on they're employer for the right price. Never send those guys after someone with deeper pockets than you.

One good trick is to masquerade as a "legit" Covert Organization. I've heard of this working quite well. For a while. The danger there is, if your agents discover your ruse, you often wind up with a mole, or at the very least, a former employee with a hell of a grudge, and more inside info than you'd like.

Then there's always the classic strong arm techniques to keep them in line. Hostages, brainwashing, threats, torture, fear, these can all be very effective.

And then there's some places, that use all of these tactics.

"Have you seen this man?" the coldly beautiful brunette asked with badly masked impatience, showing Mike a photograph.

When you're a spy, it's important to know who you can trust, and how far. When you're a burned spy, that's doubly important. The last thing you ever want to have to deal with, is a wild card.

JAROD
THE WILD CARD

Mike took the photo, and studied it. "No, no it doesn't ring a bell."

The woman's companion, who she seemed to avoid looking at, grunted disbelievingly.

"Nice glove." Mike smirked at him. "Too bad about the thumb though." This man had crossed the Yakuza. Jesus what kind of people was Jarod running from?

If you're owed a favor, it's nice to lord it over them for a long time. But if on the other hand, you're the one who owes the favor, it's a good idea to pay it as soon as you get the opportunity.

"You sure?" the gloved man asked. The Men In Black, who Mike deduced were there not just as muscle, but to make sure the woman did her job, moved in. Just slightly. "Maybe you should look again."
Also it's a good idea to always have back up ready.

A red dot appeared on the man's chest.

"I think you're friends should back up a bit." Mike smiled apologetically. "They're making Fi nervous."

The men hastily backed off. And the red light disappeared. After a moment. Mike wouldn't be surprised if Fiona was actually disappointed. "Like I said. I don't know him."

Then, because he couldn't resist, Jarod drove by. And waved.

"Jarod!" Parker shouted. "After him, c'mon!" Unfortunately they'd failed to notice that while they'd been preoccupied with questioning Mike, Sam had gone and slashed the tires on their vehicles.

Later...

"So what's the deal with this Centre?" Fiona asked, lounging against the counter.

"Independent 'think tank'." Sam said, popping open a beer. "They're into all sorts of stuff, but the boys in Washington haven't been able to link them to anything."

Mike handed Fi a cup of yogurt, and opened one for himself. "Not that they're overly concerned, what with all the work the Centre does for Uncle Sam."

"Kinda nice seeing them get shafted like that." Sam grinned cheekily.

"Yeah. It was kind of fun to help with the shafting. Hope Jarod got a kick out of it. Hope he finds his family."

"Which reminds me your mother called." Fiona said off handedly. "I still can't get over the resemblance between you and his brother. Think of the possibilities." Her smirk was wicked and naughty.

"Fi," Mike sighed, setting the yogurt aside. "I say this with all sincerity. You're weird."

The End