"So, Dagny, don't like watching people being beaten up I take it?" Matred sat down behind her deskwithout indicating that Joel should sit down. He looked around the small, overly organized office, then in keeping with Joel-as-spoiled-aristocratic-brat pulled a chair up in front of Matred's desk. He slumped into the chair without asking for permission. Much to his disappointment, Matred didn't respond to his actions. The arm of the chair had been broken at some point and mended neatly with glue.

"Yeah, well, it was obvious the chick was bat-shit. Besides she was half-starved, I could have snapped her in half – much less your goon squad." Joel held out both of his arms and shrugged. "Excessive force, much?"

"In defense of my men, it can be difficult to ascertain the level of threat at times. You had, however, met this young woman before."

"Sort of." Joel narrowed his eyes. If they thought he was part of a conspiracy, this could get messy quickly. "I'm not convinced that holding someone down while a surgeon picks shards of marble out of their face."

"Did you learn anything about her?"

"Not really."

"Which side was she from?"

"I don't know. She was a maybe thirteen at the time!"

Matred leaned across her desk toward him. "Did she say anything?"

Joel glanced to the side remembering her piteous cries fading into a whimper. He looked Matred directly in the eye. "She kept calling for someone named Misha." Matred pulled away from her. Her eyebrows pushed together and lowered over her eyes. "What? Does that mean something?"

Matred closed her eyes and shook her head. "No. No. It doesn't mean anything." She stood and removed a file from her top drawer. "So, Master Joel Dagny of Sedarian intelligence, shall we drop the pretenses?"

Joel sat up straighter in his chair. "How did you know that?" He knew better than to attempt to keep up a ruse once he had been spotted.

"Oh, please, you didn't think that Sedar was the only country engaged in cloak and dagger work?" Matred slid the file she had taken from the drawer into one of her shelves. Joel stared at her desk. It was far too neat – everything was put away except for a stray pen. "Although, I will admit, you are quite good at it. Some of the best. But then. You have to be in order to keep from being taken over." She sat back down in her chair, picked up the pen, and aligned it with the edge of the desk. "I want your help with this girl, Joel."

Joel raised her switch to his first name and leaned forward propping up his chin on his hand. Any drop of formality was going to be mutual. "Is she that much of a problem, Eileen?"

"I suspect she may have ties to a larger group. And so far my men have been less than successful in getting her to talk."

"Oh, lovely, you beat her up anyway."

"Your assumptions of us aren't too positive are they."

"Well, why can't you smooth talk her out of whatever you want?"

Eileen jerked her head to the side, breaking out of Joel's gaze. "That is impossible."

Joel was quiet for a moment. "And you want me to get the information from her?"

She still hadn't returned her gaze to him. "Yes."

"And my cooperation – "

" – means that I don't arrest you for spying."

"Well, put that way." Joel stood up and held out his hands to Matred. "Arrest me."

She finally looked back at him. "You're not cooperating."

"No, I'm cooperating. Arrest me. Put me in whatever cell you've got the girl in and give me a couple hours. She's more likely to talk to a fellow prisoner than another guard. And I've gotten pretty rusty at my priest routine, so the 'may I hear your confession?' option is out."