The Phoenix, The Nightingale, and The Magpies

Florence Elsinger could have been one of the most valuable agents this organization has ever fielded. Instead we created Florence Thorne, a hardened battlemage who despises the Foundation.


The Phoenix

rating: +69+x
Florence stands silhouetted before a burned Foundation logo, a flame conjured in her left hand.

A series about surviving Minnesota, accidental arson, fighting fire with fire, unusual hiring procedures,
the pudding secrets of Lake Superior, punching Nazis, angering geese, falling in love, cooking crabs,
getting tattooed, disrupting a nuclear power plant, intentional arson, betrayal, loss, and starting over.

Written by GreenWolf
Illustrated by Crashington

A Gang of Ghosts

Soldiers in Solomon's War

Life Under the Lake

Never Again a Nightingale

The Federal Files

Further stories about the Thorne family.

From Simon Pietrykau (Director, Department of Analytics)
Subject The Failure of Delta-3, Reexamined
To O5-03 (Overseer, O5 Council)
CC ETHCOM.O5@All (Ethics Committee, Overwatch Command)

Overseer & Committee Members,

As we are now reasonably certain that Special Agent Florence Thorne of the Unusual Incidents Unit is former Foundation Agent Florence Elsinger, I have decided to reopen the Analytics examination of MTF Delta-3 ("Solomon's Hand"). Special attention was paid to the methods used to recruit and retain Agent Elsinger, and how these may have influenced her eventual defection to the UIU. In particular, the so-called Nightingale Contingency merits further and significant scrutiny, as it represents what I believe is a critical defect in our handling of Special Assets, as well as a disturbing failure of our institutional ethics.

Having reviewed the entirety of the task force's internal records, I am frankly astonished that Delta-3 operated effectively for nearly 5 years. The tactics used to recruit Agent Elsinger essentially guaranteed that she would have little to no institutional loyalty, forcing an (over)reliance on the Nightingale Contingency as a means of control. This created a single point of failure for the entire task force, in the form of the individual agent responsible for implementing the Contingency — an agent who could have been killed in action or otherwise incapacitated on any mission.

Given Agent Elsinger's defection, it seems clear that the Nightingale Contingency did, ultimately, fail. Whether this was due to intentional action by her handler or simple happenstance is impossible to determine, but it is also immaterial. Even if we are willing to accept the Contingency as a necessary evil, it is neither effective nor reliable. I would strongly discourage its use in the future, for any reason, on any Foundation personnel.

There is a lesson here, and it is one we would do well to learn: loyalty cannot be manufactured. Using force and coercion to recruit Special Assets will only hamper their effectiveness, and relying on emotional manipulation as a means of control will only backfire. If we are to continue the Special Asset Task Force Program — which I believe we should — we must be prepared to treat paranormal personnel as people, not objects. I cannot imagine that the Nightingale Contingency would have been approved for use on a mundane agent, so why was it accepted for Agent Elsinger? If her loyalty was so tenuous as to necessitate its use, why was she even trusted as a field agent to begin with?

Florence Elsinger could have been — and for a time was — one of the most valuable agents this organization has ever fielded. Instead, as a result of institutional and ideological biases, we created Florence Thorne, a hardened battlemage who is familiar with and despises the Foundation. We should consider ourselves fortunate that she defected to the UIU, and not the Insurgency. As it is, her influence within the Unit will likely sour Foundation-UIU relations for the next decade or more.

Let us hope that is the largest price for our mistake.

Simon Pietrykau
Director, Department of Analytics

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