And Nothing But The Truth

Participants:

brian2_icon.gif goodman_icon.gif thompson_icon.gif

Scene Title And Nothing But The Truth
Synopsis So Help Me God
Date January 31, 2009

Primatech Research


There's something to be said about the difference a day makes.

For Brian Fulk, resident of the hospitality of an unknown and faceless government agency, a day can make a whole world of difference. While twenty-four hours of bed rest hasn't quite made the ache of bruised ribs go away, it has done something to diminish the pain, and presumably the medication he has been afforded in handfulls is doing its part as well. A few hours after morning, after inspection by nurse Bettie and another handful of pills, Brian is greeted by a young woman in business attire, the third person he's been indirectly introduced to here so far.

"Mister Fulk?" She asks, coming in to the room with a hiss of the hydraulic door, "My name is Virginia Madison, I work for assistant-director Goodman, he said you two met the other day." She holds a black leather organizer to her chest with one arm, offering out a hand. It's leaving Brian to wonder if every woman that works here is attractive in that librarian sort of way. Miss Madison seems to fit the bill; a leggy brunette with her hair in a bun, horn-rim glasses, a blouse and blazer combo with a sharp pencil skirt. "The assistant-director would like to see you, if you have a moment?"

There's something to be said about the difference a day makes.

For Brian Fulk, resident of the hospitality of an unknown and faceless government agency, a day can make a whole world of difference. While twenty-four hours of bed rest hasn't quite made the ache of bruised ribs go away, it has done something to diminish the pain, and presumably the medication he has been afforded in handfulls is doing its part as well. A few hours after morning, after inspection by nurse Bettie and another handful of pills, Brian is greeted by a young woman in business attire, the third person he's been indirectly introduced to here so far.

"Mister Fulk?" She asks, coming in to the room with a hiss of the hydraulic door, "My name is Virginia Madison, I work for assistant-director Goodman, he said you two met the other day." She holds a black leather organizer to her chest with one arm, offering out a hand. It's leaving Brian to wonder if every woman that works here is attractive in that librarian sort of way. Miss Madison seems to fit the bill; a leggy brunette with her hair in a bun, horn-rim glasses, a blouse and blazer combo with a sharp pencil skirt. "The assistant-director would like to see you, if you have a moment?"

There have been a lot of questions… Why can't I remember anything? What decisions have I made to get here? How did I get here? What sort of man have I become in between these splotches of memories? Am I the type of man, I can look at in the mirror and be proud of? Or have I made some bad decisions? I don't know…

The last button is done on the white shirt, as he fastens the belt tightly. The suit jacket is brought up and around his shoulders, resting comfortably. "I look nice.." He murmurs softly to himself. He was never one for fashion. It just wasn't important to him. But this suit, makes him feel important. Makes him feel, powerful.

How did I get involved with vigilantes? How the HELL did I get involved with vigilantes? And how long have I been with these people? Why did they run out on me? Why was I chosen? And how the hell did I live in a Mormon household and not learn how to tie a fucking tie?

Turning quickly to face Virginia Madison, Brian cracks a charming smile, his tie in a weird knot that certainly isn't stylish. "Well, I don't think I have anything on my calendar right now. I might be able to squeeze you in." Brian responds, taking a few steps over towards the woman. "Um.. You wouldn't mind helping me, with this? Just a little?" Brian asks, giving his patented puppy dog eyes. The eyes that got him called 'honey' or 'sweetie' by pretty much every waitress known to man. "I just wouldn't want to show up with it all screwed up."

Virginia cracks a smile and shakes her head, "Forgot how to tie a tie as well, Mister Fulk?" There's this almost motherly chiding tone to her voice, despite being Brian's age. The young secretary strides across the cell and reaches up, looking at the mess Brian made of the necktie, then clicks her tongue and unravels it, tossing it onto the bed before undoing one button. "We had an agent here who couldn't tie a tie either, he used to wear clipons until Lee tugged it off one day." There's a mirthful smile as Virginia lowers her head, eyes upturned thorugh the oval lenses of her glasses. "You look better without it, and so did Woods."

Though a bit solemn at the name, she nods her head and makes way towards the door of the office. "Besides, Mister Thompson isn't much of a tie-man either, and he'll be with the assistant-director today." Stepping up and out of the cell, Virginia turns and tucks a stray lock of black hair behind one ear. "You're fortunate, Mister Fulk, few people get to have a meeting with Mister Thompson and Mister Goodman. They must truly think highly of you." Motioning with her nose towards an elevator, there's a crooked smile to her lips. "If you'll follow me."

Brian frowns a little bit as she throws the tie on the bed. "But it makes me look official." He whines quietly before returning his gaze up to her. "I don't know any of those people you just talked about. Wait- Agents?" He asks again, tilting his head. Where the hell is he? FBI? CIA? D— There's one that starts with a D, right?

"They think highly of me?" Brian asks as he falls Virginia, doing his best to keep his gaze high. "Why?" He asks after her as he follows her towards the elevator. "Do you know anything about me? Do you have my file in that thingy?" He asks, gesturing towards her organizer. He figures he has a file. "Do you know anything about Jesse Knight?"

Virginia just smiles away the question about Agents with a faint laugh, "I don't know much about Mister Knight, other than what I've read here." She quirks one brow up, heels clicking on the way down the concrete hall past the black stenciled words that read Level-5. "But I do know quite a deal about you, Mister Fulk." She stops at the elevator, flanked by two wall sconces that spill colorless light up the dark gray concrete. "You're very special, though, Mister Fulk." Pressing the call button, the elevator chimes immediately, and the young woman steps inside after the doors slide open, beckong Brian in with one hand.

"You'll get to know Mister Thompson and Mister Goodman soon enough. They're both very influential people around here, but — " Virginia wrinkles her nose and shakes her head, "You'll have plenty of time to figure all that out once they explain to you where exactly we are."

"Right. You can call me Brian." He informs her softly as he steps into the elevator behind her. "You know a lot about me? I know nothing about you, this isn't a very fair first date." Brian says, eyeing everything. Level 5. Sounds ominous. Standing next to her, his hands slide into his pockets, he has nothing else to do with them.

"Thompson and Goodman. Well I hope they like me." Brian says, leaning forward on his toes before bouncing back to his heels. Nervous. "Well, after I leave this place maybe I'll come back and visit." He says with a little smirk over to her.

Both brows raise as Victoria presses the button marked 3, "Date?" Her eyes shift to regard Brian side-long, "Goodman's going to have to keep an eye on you I think." Her expression turns into a smirk, head shaking slowly as her eyes focus on the elevator's display of floor when it begins to lurch into motion. "And, as far as your future plans go, I'd wait until you have to hear what Mister Goodman has to say, he's a man who can be very persuasive when he wants to be."

It's a short trip up the two floors from level five, and when the doors open, it's to a much more brightly decorated facility. The walls are white, mid-way down painted a forest green,. "This way," Virginia says quietly, striding out into the hall, all business, heels clicking with each step as she takes a sharp right and heads down a long hall of office doors, Wickham, Hollingwood, Kenneth, the names go by quickly as she walks. "Just down here at the end of the hall." Where a tall door looms, painted black like the others on this level, but there's just something about the way the nametag reads, Goodman in simple white lettering that makes it seem a bit more ominous than it should, all things considered.

Following, Brian gives a little smirk in return to Victoria. He gives a little shrug when she says Goodman can be very persuasive. And actually eyes her for a moment. Was that a sexual innuendo? A shrug, and he's walking behind her until they get to Goodman's door.

"I had a great time, Victoria." He says with a lazy grin. "See you next time."

They sure know how to pick em. Grimacing slightly, Victoria knocks on the door, leaning over to open it and peek her head inside, "Sirs?" She hesitates for a moment, "Mister Fulk is here." There's a moment of drawn-out silence, and then Victoria opens the door the rest of the way and leans back, motioning for Brian to step in silently.

Within the office, which looks to the uninitiated to have a clear view of the outside thorugh a partially blinded window, rests a smooth and sleek black desk with a glass top upon which rests an utterly organized and minimalistic collection of tools. A single, thin flatscreen monitor, conference call hub, and a prism-shaped nameplate that reads Roger Goodman. Seated behind the desk is that familiar thin man, suit jacket off to reveal just the button-down white shirt beneath, sleeves rolled up to his forearms casually. Dark eyes assess Brian as he comes in, even if the smile on his face presumes to betray his emotions.

"Mister Fulk," Goodman says with a motion of his hand towards one of the two empty chairs opposite of his desk, "Please, have a seat." But it's not a matter of seating arrangements that otherwise have Brian's attention in this Spartan office. It's the other man in here…

In a gun metal grey suit, the other occupant of the room is standing by the window, hands clasped in a gentlemanly posture behind his back and otherwise at ease. Mr. Thompson turns just enough to look over at the newcomer, mouth twisting in the slightest of completely unreassuring smiles, before moving closer, the grey-haired older man neglecting his tie for today, blue shirt open at the collar and an expensive watch ticking at his wrist. "It's good to meet you, Mr. Fulk," Thompson says, taking to simply standing a few feet from the desk, as if observing. "I've heard a lot about you. Please." A hand gestures, urging him to take Goodman's offer of a seat.

Stepping in past Victoria, Brian straightens his jacket as he enters. Eyeing the second man for a moment he finally, if a bit nervously returns his attention to the man behind the desk. "Roger. I would have figured you for a John. Goodman." A little nervous smile is offered. Looking over to the other man he gives a little nod. "You must be Mister Thompson. I had a basketball coach named Thompson." He notes, before going to take a seat as they both insist that he do so.

"It seems like everyone knows a lot about me, here. Except for me."

"That comes with the territory, Mister Fulk." There's only a passing semblance of a smile on Goodman's face as the door to his office quietly closes with a soft click. Leaning back into the black leather of his chair, the assistant-director reaches down to rest a hand on top of an exceptionally thick leather folder of documents bound closed by a string. "I'll cut straight to the details of this meeting, Mister Fulk." Goodman casts his eyes up to Thompson, then back to the young man in the suit.

"You're special." There it is again, that very powerful word. "Does the term, Evolved ring any bells in that spotty memory of yours?" Immediately notions of the fantastic being possible, flying men, telekinesis, bartenders who control fire, great death, loss and destruction. A catastrophic loss of life, bits and pieces like straws not known to be grasped for all come to the forefront of Brian's memory. The Linderman Act, Registrations, protests, vague and broken memories of distant associations. A mental image of a man turned to ash on the sidewalk somewhere, his body crumbling.

"It may be inopportune time to lay this burden of memory on you, Mister Fulk, but you're one of them." Pressing his lips together, Roger folds his hands over his desk, "And you are a very special one, unlike most others. Which is, partly, why I was able to pull the strings required to get you here today. I'm here to tell you about who you are, Brian…" The formalities ever so briefly dropped to manipulate that sense of intimacy and casualness that a first-name affords. "I'm here to tell you about what you are. From there, you can make any decision you'd like with that information."

Thompson simply lets his smile deepen in affirmation of his name, amusement at the comparison, and otherwise allows Goodman to take the stage. The light of the outside world filtering through the partially blinded window cuts silhouettes of both men of stature in the room, making skin darker, eyes brighter. Thompson watches Brian even as he listens to Goodman, body language reading approval above interest, absently adjusting the sleeves of his shirt beneath the cuffs of his jacket, settling the fabric a little neater. "It's our organisation's job to know more about you than you do," Thompson says, eyes on his task and speaking casually. "It's also our duty to share that knowledge. I'm no coach but we're certainly a team." A wink. "At least for right now."

A knot forms somewhere. Is that in his chest or in his stomach? Perhaps it's both. Why is his throat getting tight? Nerves. His fingers clamp together nervously in his lap. He does his best to look normal, to look casual. But how could they not hear his heart when it's so loud? Special, what you are, Evolved, who you are. It's enough to freak a guy out. Who is he? Does he want to know? What is he? An Evolved. Okay, superpowers, that's awesome. But why is he being told like this?

They're on his side, right? These are good guys. But then again, he has no idea who these people are. What if all of this is a lie? What if this is all some elaborate trap just to steal his kidney? He remembers Matchstick Men, at least. A slow glance over to Thompson. He could certainly find comfort with a coach right now. Then his attention returns to the Goodman, the more scary of the pair.

"The group you are formerly associated with prior to their abandoning of you in New Jersey is known as Phoenix." Roger begins unwinding the string on the folder, "A Vigilante organization that is an offshoot of a now defunct terrorist organization known as PARIAH." Once the string is unwound, Goodman idly plucks at a few loose threads on the folder's cover. "While I don't know the circumstances surrounding your involvement with them, it's clear to me that you may have a drive to do what's right. Regretably though, that group may not always be operating under the presumptions of what is right, compared to what is kind."

Opening the folder, the first picture on the top is somewhat disconcerting, a black and white photograph of a corpse with a gaping hole in his chest large enough to put an arm through. "This is where your associations with that group found you." He slides the picture towards Brian, "Your gift is a unique one, and it has been squandered by allowing you to become so much target practice and decoy."

"This is all a bit to swallow, I know. I had to go through this revelatory phase myself when I was a little older than you are now."Dark eyes look up from the folder to Brian, "I'm like you. Special." He reaches down to pull up a series of paper documents. "Mister Thompson here and I represent an organization that worked under the cover of anonymity, eyes and ears everywhere." Goodman's focus shifts to the picture of Brian's corpse from New Jersey. "We work towards the goal of protecting society from dangerous criminals and threats that the ordinary law enforcement cannot handle." One hand dismissively motions as if sweeping away those words. "Right now that isn't important though…" Laying down the document he has in his hand, Goodman turns it around with a spin of his fingers, pointing to the top of the document, underlining the word Adoption with his fingernail. "We've known about you for some time, Mister Fulk. I'd like to talk to you about your parents."

A silent presence, Thompson offers nothing at this stage apart from eye contact and apparent, quiet sympathy written on tan features. It's always important to watch those you tell are special. Sometimes they make this to believe they are better. When really what they are, in the end, is useful. Reassurance can come later and for now, he lets Brian either ask the obvious questions or take in the impossible answers.

Brian listens, listens and watches. A few glances are given over to Thompson, as if looking for comfort from the older man. Though finally, the picture is handed over. His hand goes to his mouth. "What is this?" He says, his tone both shocked and muffled. His hand slowly leaves his mouth as he stares at the photograph in shock and horror. "That's me.. Wha— How—" His features are slowly degrading from nervousness to fear to outrage.

"What is this picture?" Brian asks, over Goodman's voice which simply goes on like he wasn't even there. Brian looks like he might be getting even angrier until the document is turned around with the A word. The picture is dropped on the desk, forgotten.

"What?" He whimpers.

"Your parents," Goodman looks up from the documents, "Your birth parents," he retrieves three sets of stapled papers from the folder and lays them out in front of Brian, "Were researchers who worked for our organization. They were brilliant, wonderful people who made a remarkable contribution to the future of this world." Even with his eyes directed down to the folder, Brian can almost feel Goodman's eyes upon him. "That contribution was you."

Another set of records is removed, and a photograph of a baby is paperclipped to the front. "They were agents with us before my time with the Company," Dark eyes lift up to Thompson, "Allison and Jeffrey Winters were working on a very special project for our organization, and for the world. They were striving to make a medical and genetic miracle. Imagine a world where a child does not need to wait for a donor organ, where a father does not have to die because the kidney he so desperately needs does not go to another patient thousands of miles away. You were that future, Brian."

Closing the folder, Roger folds his hands on top of it, only a tenth of the thickness of the file is lessened by the closing. "You were born, both out of love from your parents, but also as part of a test that has been ongoing within this organization for many years. You, Brian, are a miracle. Thanks to the assistance of Doctor Zimmerman and your parents work, we were able to take a normal child such as yourself, and gift him with superhuman ability."

Leaning forward, the light behind Goodman casts his bald head and his broad shoulders into silhouette. "You have the ability to create replicants of yourself. Thinking, feeling, breathing copies of your own consciousness and physical form. Linked through a hive mind to form a central telepathic consciousness. You were born for a destiny, Mister Fulk. A remarkable one in which your very existance could be the breakthrough to so many medical miracles."

Eyes downcast, Roger leans back into his chair. "Regretably, an accident in 1988 took the lives of both Alison and Jeffrey Winters, and we were given little recourse but to put you into protective custody until such a time as research could be restarted." Tilting his head to the side, Roger watches Brian's reactions closely. "Your current family from a pool of potential candidates, and they were unaware of just how special their child was. We had all of the intentions of catching you early in life, once you awakened to your ability… but, circumstances beyond our control prevented that."

As Goodman makes his debrief, Thompson drifts away to pace around at a distancing radius, as if to watch both men rather than Brian, and by the time he's done, he's near enough to place a weathered hand on Brian's shoulder in a reassuring and gentle clap. "Circumstances that lead you down a misguided path, Brian," he says from where he stands next to the young man. His other hand goes out to very casually flick aside the new information Roger's laid down, just enough to show a slice of the corpse he'd reacted so strongly too.

The hand on Brian's shoulder squeezes.

"We want to offer you a better alternative," Thompson says in smooth tones. "You were flung into botched attempts to save the world. We want to give you a chance at something better, you and your particular gift." He looks across at Goodman. "And we can all make up for past mistakes." The hand removes itself once more.

Words don't come. If they did they would be a string of 'no no no no', but there's not enough power in his vocal cords, apparently. The tightening in his throat increses, leaning forward. It all just blends together. Adopted, parents dead, current family was chosen from a pool. He's reacting well, for having his world shattered. Which is to say, he's not running around the room screaming in a falsetto.
Jeffrey Winters. His hands tremble as he lowers his face into them. Thompson's hand comes down on his shoulder and he tenses. He just found out he was Harry Potter, and they want him to save the world already? He shakes a little. He's not crying. Not yet. He can't cry in front of these embodiments of manliness. He can make more of himself. He was invented? A bright future. He was supposed to be a future, not just a person. A future. For a long moment Brian's eyes are downcast, his hands cupping his face. He makes no movement, and no sound. He simply dwells in all this information. All this impossible information. After a very long, overwhelming silence, he finally spekas, his voice soft and weak.

"What do you want me to do?"

"I want you to sign here." When Brian looks up, the other papers have been moved aside, save for a single white sheet with a logo at the top that reads Primatech Paper Products, "I'd like you to become a regional claims manager for Primatech Paper International." There's a subtle crook of Roger's lips as he slides a pen atop the paper. "Our organization operates on anonymity, Brian. The public is not aware of our existance, on the outside we're a network of shell companies and friendly faces. On the inside, we are scientists, soldiers, detectives, all walks of life united under one cause — to protect the world."

He just leans away, leaving the pen on the paper in front of him, hands folding on his stomach. "If you sign that piece of paper, you're one of us. We'll train you how to use your ability, teach you how to defend yourself, investigative skills, the whole nine yards. You're a bright young man, Brian." He remembers the lies of being told by his father that he was an idiot, a simpleton, that he'd go nowhere in life. "I want you to take a look at this offer, and what we have here for you. I want you to become an Agent in Training, to learn with our best and brightest, to become an agent of the Company."

Both of Roger's brows raise, eyes focused down on the paperwork, "Sign that paper, and your new life begins here." Dark eyes lift up to meet Brian's, "Or you're free to walk out and return to the life you had before. It's your choice, Brian. Just like it's your choice what name you sign on that sheet — Fulk or Winters." Dark eyes narrow eever so slightly, "Life is about choices. So I ask, what is yours?"

His eyes go to Goodman, as if searching for something in the other man. He looks uncertain, wary, weak. Slowly he looks around his shoulder to Thompson. His face asking questions without saying them. 'Should I?' 'Is it okay?'. For some reason the old gray hair has somehow skinned up the young man's trust without even lifting a finger. But then the replicator looks back to the paper. He could sign this paper or go home—

What home?

Leaning forward, numb fingers pick up the cold pen, that seems incredibly heavy in his grasp. How could a pen possibly be so heavy? Dragging the pin to the line, he simply stares at it for a moment. Then the pen is quickly scribbled into a signature, and the young man drops the pen going to stand. "Is there a bathroom nearby, please?" He asks, turning his back on the desk and already going towards the door. Leaving only his freshly signed mark,

Brian Andrew Winters


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January 31st: Proper Representation
Previously in this storyline…
The Whole Truth

Next in this storyline…
Who Dares, Wins

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January 31st: And The Hits Just Keep On Coming
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