Location: Hawk's Office, The Pit
Date: February 19, 2019
Summary: Surefire stands before Hawk to answer questions about his involvement in the Coffin scandal.
Hawk's Office - The Pit
This office is fairly spartan, for that of a General. The desk is solid wood and is covered with a blotter, green desk lamp, and a computer terminal hooked into the Pit network. On one corner of the desk behind his phone is a model of the Kodiak. Behind the desk is a very comfortable leather bound chair. In front of the desk are three armchairs, that also appear comfortable, but not quite as comfortable as the one behind the desk. On the walls are pictures of Hawk's family, and some close friends as well. In the corner of the room to Hawk's right is the US Flag. The room appears much like a den, with a blue carpet floor and wood paneling. Built into the right wall are bookshelves filled with various technical manuals, books on military history, tactics, and philosophy, as well as a few personal books. Models of current G.I. Joe vehicles are spread among them.
Besides the door leading back to the Administration lobby, one on the left leads to Hawk's private bathroom, while one across from it on the right leads to Hawk's personal quarters.
General Hawk is seated behind his desk, a schematic of the BET currently on his terminal screen that he is studying at this moment.
There is a knock on Hawk's door. It is crisp and professional.
General Hawk looks up from his schematics. "Come in." he says, flipping the screen off and leaning back in his chair.
Surefire steps carefully into the room. He favors one foot, which post-surgery is encased in a high-tech boot. He steps to the middle of the room and comes to attention, saluting Hawk while staring straight ahead. Even though he undoubtedly knows the purpose and likely outcome of this meeting, he remains calm and professional. He seems prepared to accept his interrogation and fate, whatever that might be.
General Hawk stands up from his chair and returns the salute. "At ease." he says, before returning to his own chair. "I have no doubt you are aware of why we are having this meeting?" he inquires.
Surefire assumes a stiff at-ease position, hands neatly folded behind his back. "Yes, sir," Surefire replies simply, without elaboration. He stands ready to answer questions, but offers no excuses without prompting.
General Hawk nods, leaning back in his chair and resting his elbows on the armrests, clasping his fingers together in front of him. "Let us begin with an answer to the one question that is forefront on my mind: What the HELL were you thinking by withholding this information from your chain of command??"
Surefire replies stiffly, "Sir, I noted the conditions of the facility, but frankly didn't feel it was my place to criticize how the CIA was running their installations. I made discrete inquiries and it seemed clear the current CIA director and presidential administration felt no qualms. I thought it best to focus on the security concerns. In retrospect, I was wrong. I should have brought my concerns directly to you and allowed you to make your own decisions on whether to use your political influence to make changes I couldn't."
General Hawk nods stiffly. "You're damn right you were wrong." he says, leaning forward and placing his hands on the desk. "But something in your answer concerns me. Are you telling me, here and now, that you saw nothing wrong whatsoever with the treatment of those prisoners? Nothing that violated every known human rights treaty on the books? Are you making a statement on the record to that fact?"
Surefire stands even straighter, even at ease, and stares straight ahead as he responds. "No, sir. But, sir, you know me to be a very by-the-book individual. I would not have transferred the subject to the Coffin had there been a better option. Due to his background, Arkeville's presence suggested a strong risk of exactly what occurred - an attack on the facility by alien robotic perpetrators. Incarcerating him at Gitmo or SuperMax would have resulted in the release of even more dangerous criminals in the eventual attack by Transformers. I felt the Coffin to be the least worst option available."
"I do not dispute the tactical reasons behind that decision." Hawk says, leaning back in his chair which creaks slightly. "You are right of course in that he was a high value target. That still does not explain why you turned a blind eye to human suffering. Now the committee report says there may have been some arm twisting in that regard. I want to hear your take on that."
Surefire replies, "All pressure not to speak came from within me, sir. My inquiries into the CIA and the administration showed a similar lack of concern about the conditions at the Coffin. On the contrary - the administration has a 'torture works,' 'fight fire with fire' attitude I find repellant. However, seeing no way to change the attitude and culture at the site, I chose to, as you said, turn a blind eye in the name of expedience. I have no one to blame but myself."
General Hawk nods slowly, and is silent for some time. "It is disappointing that you did not report of this to me as soon as you became aware." he says. "However, I think I can understand the situation you were in. Failing to report was a serious lack of judgement, and lapses like that we can not afford with Cobra literally sitting in our backyards." he says, leaning forward. "A reprimand will appear on your record. Such a lapse must never... EVER.. happen again." he says, before leaning back in his chair. "However, the world is aware we had a liason there, and they are going to want answers. I am willing to give you an opportunity to redeem yourself."
Surefire nods slightly, continuing to stare straight ahead. "I understand what I did was wrong, and I will be sure not to make the same mistake again. I accept any discipline or opportunity you care to offer or order, sir. I am ashamed of the position I put you and the G.I. Joe team into with my actions and inaction." Surefire's voice remains calm and even, expressing his feelings of regret with no trace of pleading or self-pity.
"I think we can perhaps kill two birds with one stone." Hawk says. "You know of our plan to take back our territories. What I want to do is get someone on the inside. Therefore I am proposing this. We hold a court martial. Only you and I will be aware of the true nature of it. You will be found guilty and delivered to a military prison, where an escape will be arranged. There is no doubt that Cobra will attempt to recruit you. If you can get into their ranks, we will have more intelligence on them than we have had in a long time, and you will have restored my faith in you."
Surefire nods quickly, agreeing to the plan without question. "Yes, sir. If permitted, I will discuss with Mace tips for undercover operations. My only concern, sir, is the ongoing problem of base infiltration by various bad actors. These occurred under my watch, and for that I take full responsibility as well.
"In my absence, I recommend Sergeant Shockblast to take my place. He has been an excellent agent both at home and in the field. Perhaps a joint security command could be set up with Hard Drive, as computer and physical security concerns are overlapping more and more by the day." Even faced with court martial and a dangerous mission, Surefire seems equally concerned with everyday Pit security without him.
General Hawk nods. "I'll consider your recommendation." Hawk says. "In the mean time, to get this ball rolling, consider yourself relieved of duty pending the hearing. Dismissed."
Surefire nods. "If you wish, sir, I can create a list of qualified candidates to replace the hole in the chain of command left by my court martial." Coming to attention and offering a final salute, Surefire heads out of the office, to pack his bags and prepare for his new mission.