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Ask No Questions, Tell No Lies

Title: Ask No Questions, Tell No Lies
Fandom: Lost
Characters: Matthew Abaddon, Naomi, Daniel, Miles, Charlotte, Frank. Mentions of Widmore, Desmond, Penny and Locke.
Spoilers: S4, especially Confirmed Dead and The Constant.
Rating: PG-13
Summary: Written for lostfichallenge #84: a different point of view. Matthew Abaddon recruits the freighter people.

"This is a high risk covert op in unstable territory," Naomi had said. "It's dodgy enough without having to babysit a headcase, a ghostbuster, anthropologist and a drunk."

Abaddon could understand Naomi's concerns. If he had only seen the official files, as she had, maybe he would have agreed. But Abaddon knew there was a reason behind the selection of each member of the team...

The Headcase

Daniel Faraday proved to be the hardest to contact out of all of them. The first few times Abaddon tried, he hadn't managed to get past the woman who acted as Faraday's caretaker. "Mr Faraday hasn't been well," she had snapped. "The last thing he needs is you calling and starting all that off again." At which point she had slammed the phone down.

But Abaddon had persevered, and had eventually managed to get through to Faraday. He'd told him that Faraday's name had been given to him by one of his former colleagues at Oxford University.

"Oxford," Faraday had muttered. "That can't be right. They thought I was crazy. It's why I had to leave. They didn't believe me about..."

"I know what happened," Abaddon had replied, "and I do believe it is possible."

He'd waited while that sank in. Finally Faraday had asked "You - you do?"

"Yes." Abaddon answered. "I do. And it happens that the company I work for is researching the properties of time travel, and you are just the person we are looking for."

"What would I have to do?" Faraday had asked.

"You would have to accompany an expedition to an island in the Pacific."

All I know is that you end up on some bloody island.
These words reverberated in Daniel's head long after the phone call.

He hadn't believed Desmond Hume when he had approached him at Oxford. While none of his colleagues knew for sure that Daniel was performing experiments into time travel, some of them knew that he was at least interested in the possibility. So when this man had approached Daniel, claiming to be from the future, he was naturally sceptical. It was obviously some practical joke on the part of one of his colleagues, and not a very original one at that.

But when Desmond had given him the numbers and told him he knew about Eloise, and those numbers had actually worked, Daniel finally knew for the first time that his research was working.

And if it could work for the rat, he'd wanted to know if it could work for a human being. If it could work for himself.

He couldn't remember much about the early experiments, probably because of all the radiation. But he does know that eventually he succeeded.

Of course, he remembered what had happened to Eloise. But he wasn't too worried for himself. He knew he'd make it until at least 2004. Because that's when he would meet Desmond Hume again.

But then had come the day when the footage of the wrecked plane at the bottom of the Sunda trench was broadcast, and it was confirmed as the wreckage of Flight 815.

Daniel knew that wasn't how it was supposed to happen. When he'd asked Desmond why he'd go to an island, Desmond had mentioned that particular flight. But confronted with the footage, he was forced to face the fact that everything he thought he knew had been wrong. Because if that wreckage was really Flight 815, then that meeting with Desmond on the island was never going to happen.

Daniel had known what was coming, and that he was powerless to prevent it. With no constant, what happened to Eloise would happen to him.

His caretaker had asked why he was so upset about the missing plane. But Daniel knew he could never explain, not without seeming crazier than everybody already believed him to be. Unsure of what to say, he'd eventually plumped for "I don't know."

But the call from Abaddon had given him new hope. Hope that his consciousness could be firmly fixed in the present again.

"If anything goes wrong," he wrote in his journal, "Desmond Hume will be my constant."

The Ghostbuster

Miles Straume hadn't seemed particularly interested when Abaddon first made contact with him, claiming that he had been recommended by a former client named Mrs. Gardner, who had been very impressed at the service Miles had performed in exorcising the spirit of her murdered grandson.

His interest, however, was piqued when Abaddon mentioned a project along the same lines, only on a much larger scale.

Abaddon told Miles the tale of the organisation called the Dharma Initiative, and how they had been active many years ago on an island in the Pacific. "Then one day," Abaddon paused, "something happened."

"What was that?" Miles asked.

"That's what we're hoping to learn from you." Abaddon explained. "Mrs. Gardner spoke so highly of you. We need someone of your abilities to go there and...shall we say, commune with the dead. We need you to find out what happened to the Dharma Initiative."

Miles paused. "What, you think they were murdered?"

Abaddon avoided the question. "I am aware of your...particular affinity with those who were murdered," he replied instead.

That was kind of true, Miles thought, although usually he didn't have any trouble communicating with any dead people.
Apart from the ones he wanted to communicate with the most.

Miles didn't remember his birth family. The Straumes, who brought him up, had been great in their own way, but he'd always known they weren't his real family. And all he'd ever known about them was that they were all dead.

"And who knows?" Abaddon continued, as though he read Miles's mind. "It may be that you find answers of your own."

The Anthropologist

Charlotte Staples Lewis's file was in front of Abaddon when he made the call. The official file, the one with details of her birth in Essex, England, her upbringing in Bromsgrove, and details of her Ph.D.

And the unofficial file, the one with the details of her real origins.

Charlotte's voice had initially been cautious when Abaddon had identified himself, told her he'd been in contact with someone from the Tunisia expedition. But she'd been stunned into silence when he'd revealed what he knew about her find, and the significance to them both...

All her life, Charlotte had told people the story of her origins in Essex, England, followed by her move to the Midlands.

She could never tell anyone of where her parents really met, and of their history within the Dharma Initiative.

Throughout her childhood, Charlotte had been regaled with stories of the island, of the Dharma society, the Dharma zoo, the world-changing experiments they intended to perform, the people they knew as the Hostiles.

"But we left," David Lewis would slur when drunk. "We had to leave because of you."

Charlotte knew there had been a problem surrounding pregnancy on the island. For years, no mother had survived beyond the fourth month of pregnancy. So when Jeanette Lewis had learned she was pregnant, she and David had fled the island on the submarine, fleeing to England where Charlotte was born in July 1979, followed in quick succession by her younger sisters.

Throughout her childhood, Charlotte never forgot any of the stories she had been told. It had been what inspired her to become an anthropologist. Every mysterious place she visited, every unknown tribe she encountered, she'd wondered "Is it here? Are you them?"

Abaddon told her about how the Dharma Initiative had been wiped out by the Hostiles. But he and his employer, a man named Widmore, were leading a team to go out there, to remove the island from the control of the existing leader, a man called Benjamin Linus, and return it to Dharma control.

"With your help," Abaddon said, "we can bring your people home again."

The Drunk

Abaddon had left it four days before initiating contact with Frank Lapidus. The man from the hotline had called him straight away when Frank had made contact, claiming to have known that the body shown on the television was not that of Seth Norris.

Abaddon hadn't really expected anything to come out of the news coverage. Certainly not this. The hotline man had greeted him with "Matthew, we may have a big problem." But as Abaddon had listened to his story, he thought it may not be a big problem after all.

The man on the other end greeted him with a growl of "Yeah?"

"Frank Lapidus?" Abaddon had enquired.

The voice on the end was suspicious now. "Who's asking?"

"Mr. Lapidus, my name is Matthew Abaddon, and I'm calling in connection with your call to the Oceanic helpline."

"Damn idiots," Frank had growled. "Telling me I was just tying up the line and probably stopping grieving relatives getting through. I know what I saw. I know that wasn't Seth Norris."

Abaddon had paused for a moment, wondering if the man had been drinking. "I believe you."

He allowed a few minutes for this to sink in, then continued "And the man I work for, Charles Widmore? He also thinks it's possible that the plane at the bottom of the ocean was not really Oceanic 815. He's organising a mission to go out to the Pacific and investigate, and we'd both like very much for you to be a part of the team."

Abaddon thought Frank was about to speak, but quickly cut in with "I know you were meant to fly 815 that day." He was pretty sure he'd got Lapidus convinced by now, but continued anyway with "This way, you get to be the one who finds out what happened to your friend. This one is for him."

Frank knew it was unlikely that he would be able to bring Seth home, back to his high school sweetheart. But he knew he had to try. It was the only way he could make it up to his friend.

The Leader

"You wanted to see me?"
Naomi Dorrit stood in front of Abaddon, in the same deserted office where they had met before.

Abaddon nodded. "We have a problem."

Four of them, actually, Naomi thought, but she'd argued with him on that before and got nowhere. "What is it? I thought the team were all in place, that you'd spoken to them about why they were chosen."

Abaddon smiled enigmatically. "Or why they think they were chosen."

Naomi thought about how nothing had made sense to her since she had met this man. As she was later to tell Sayid, there were times when she thought this was a fool's errand. But Abaddon had made it very clear she wasn't to ask any questions.

"So what's the problem?" she asked instead.

"Penelope Widmore. She's aware of our mission and the island."

"Penelope?" Naomi had asked. "Why would she care about the island?"

"Because of him." Abaddon passed Naomi a photograph of Penelope and a man with brown hair. "Desmond David Hume. Penelope's ex-boyfriend who was last seen in 2001 after setting out on Mr Widmore's race around the world."

Naomi raised an eyebrow sceptically as she took the photo from Abaddon. "And she thinks he might be on this island."

Abaddon nodded. "She must not be allowed to make contact with anyone on the freighter. The entire operation could be at stake."

Naomi sighed. "I'll give orders for the time being that any calls from her are not to be answered," she said at last. "And in the long term...I'll think of something. But she won't be able to get in touch."

Abaddon smiled. "I knew I could count on you."

Alone once more, Naomi studied the photograph again. She wondered what would happen if she actually found this Desmond Hume, or any survivors from 815. Abaddon had kept reiterating the official story, that there were no survivors.
But if that wasn't true, at least she now had a cover story.
"I'm looking for Desmond Hume."

Abaddon watched Naomi's retreating back as she disappeared around the corner. Oh, she'd do what she was hired for, he had no doubt of that.

But there were some things it was better that she didn't know.

Abaddon cast his mind back four years, to a man in a wheelchair.

"You want to know what I think, Mr Locke? I think you should go on a walkabout."


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