Cold Storage


martin_icon.gif meredith_icon.gif thompson_icon.gif

Scene Title Cold Storage
Synopsis After the fire at Gordon Safehouse, Meredith finds herself in familiar Company.
Date January 19, 2010

A Meat Locker


Everything was burning, below that bridge, The train had buckled from the impact, cars were tossed in every direction, and the fire was spreading faster than anyone had expected. Under that blazing hot sun, she remembers just how strange his voice sounded there on that overpass. The taser was lowered down to his side, warm breeze blowing at his wrinkled suit jacket and tossing salt and pepper colored hair.

"Go… Before I change my mind."

That was the last time she'd seen Eric Thompson…

"Go… Before I throw you out."

The words and the accent aren't quite the same.

Bleary unconsciousness rewards the feeling of a pounding headache, echoes of voices past and present rumbling in the back of Meredith Gordon's head. The bleached color of fluorescent lights comes into focus before much else does, the pin-prickling feeling of extreme cold at her fingertips and all over her skin. Ice crusts her eyelashes as her eyes open, trying to focus on more than the stark glow of those lights.

"I'm not leaving you alone with her, Martin. She's dangerous." Two silhouettes at the edge of her perception are arguing, standing by a large metal door. It smells in here, smells of frost and cold and fresh meat. It's only in that last revelation that Meredith can see the beef shanks hanging from hooked chains from the ceiling where those bright lights are. It's only a jerked reflexive motion of her arms after that where she realizes she's restrained to a metal folding chair in her charred clothing she was sleeping in God knows how long ago.

"Jus' stan' outside." One of the men she can't quite see has a strong accent, British, and for a brief moment when that metal freezer door opens, Meredith can see a short, curly-haired man in a suit slipping out of the freezer into what looks like a kitchen. She doesn't recognize him.

"Miss Gordon…" He only addresses her once the door is closed, stepping out from behind the shadow of a large frozen shank of meat hanging by a chain, "You're a ver'a difficult woman t'get a hold of, you know tha?" Emerging into the bleached white light, Agent Martin Crowley looks like a very unusual cut of Company Agent, wavy brown hair down to his shoulders, scruffy and unshaven, glasses. But his swagger, and the fact that he's handcuffed her to a metal chair in the middle of a freezing cold meat locker likely means that he's not with the Department of Homeland Security, like he'd said when he'd arrested her earlier.

"I was wonderin' if you'n I could 'ave a little chat, yeah? Now that you're all 'wake?" He smiles, teeth bone white from the lighting. "A'happen t'be a big fan o'your former personnel file…"

Dangerous. Meredith likes that. Even in her bleary state and with a pounding headache it's good to be appreciated for being good at something. No matter that that something is putting people in danger. This is what she gets for sticking it out and trying to help out her neighbors - a meat locker. Really, they shouldn't have.

Within moments of being awake, she starts to shiver uncontrollably. Automatically she reaches for her power to bring up her body temperature, to make it easier to bear the environment. It doesn't really make her look all that intimidating, but there's not much that could when she's chained to a folding chair in a room with only dead animals on hooks as decoration. The chattering of her teeth is the only sound that echoes in the room after Martin speaks. The blonde woman is too busy taking in her surroundings, trying to piece together what she knows, who this may be and whose custody she's in. This can't be legit. Hell, this is more like a mob takedown.

Finally, through her frost covered lashes, Meredith takes in the form of this Company Agent. "Huh. You're not the one I set alight." If there's any kind of justice in this world, that one's nursing severe burns. "Yeah, well, sorry I don't leave forwarding addresses. I've got this thing against traveling salesmen and Mormons. Whichever one you are." It must've been the smile. Those eyes narrow at the mention of a personnel file. "Why don't we cut the crap and you just tell me what you want."

Quirking his head to the side, Agent Crowley rolls his tongue on the inside of his cheek, walking past Meredith's chair and picks up something from behind her with a heavy clank, then walks back into her field of view, carrying a bright red fire extinguisher with a casual swagger to his steps. "See, ah, tha's very much th' thing miss Gordon, the fella' you broiled yesterday— " Yesterday? How long was she out for? " — wasn't even one'a us. E' was jus' some government worker who got 'imself in the wrong place at the really wrong time. Me an' m'partner've got some slightly different time an' place considerations. We're not of the same frame of mind as t'whether or not they're wrong or right yet."

He waggles the black nozzle end of the extinguisher to Meredith. "You jus' stay cool, yeah?" Martin's dark bros raise up high, and he can't help but smile at the joke. "Plain an' simple I don' know what t'bloody well do with you Meredith— do you mind if a'call you Meredith?" He's going to anyway. "See, m'not supposed t'be a flat-foot agent in the Company— an yes, m'with the Company— m'supposed t'be Internal Affairs." There's a squint of his eyes, scrutinizing the blonde for a moment. "But when a rogue agent comes an' drops in'na my lap, it makes me raise some eyebrows, yeah? See, we marked you a good long while ago, back when y'worked for us. It's all in your file, an' accordin' to the fella' who keeps track of your file, you weren't anywhere 'round these parts."

Martin breathes in deeply, then exhales a sigh and scratches the side of his face with the fire-extinguisher nozzle. "So tha's got me wonderin' what you're doin' out here in ol' New York City, an' why in particular you felt the need t'burn down an apartment buildin'?" The nozzle's directed at Meredith again, almost in the wat a casual motion of a hand would be in friendly conversation. "Because 'ow you answer tha' determines, really, what th' 'ell we're go'n t'do with you…"

There's a part of Meredith that should feel bad about burning a government agent instead of a Company one, but she really just can't motivate the sympathy. He was trying to take her in just the same as Marty, here. She glares at the fire extinguisher as well as the terrible joke at her expense. Great, a Company Agent who thinks he's funny. At least Thompson was strictly business.

"I don't have to tell you anything." Sure, they can leave her to freeze in a meat locker, but once he's out of sight, she'll turn the place to a puddle of water. Because tell them anything and it could lead them to the Ferrymen. At least the one thing that linked her to them burned to the ground - a small luxury, considering. Still shivering, though her body temperature is slowly rising, she looks Martin straight in the eye. Sure, he can try to be all conversational and good cop, but that isn't about to fool her. She was a Company Agent a long time ago, she knows how the procedure works. Of course, she doesn't remember a meat locker being a part of procedure last time, but companies must evolve with the times.

This must be the answer he was expecting and Meredith is loathe to disappoint. "Go to hell, suit. Talk to Thompson if someone hasn't already managed to run him over, burn him up or generally give him all the things that he's got comin' for him."

Well that's impolite. Timely, but impolite. The tail end of her words are punctuated by the creak of leather shoes, a dimly lit silhouette cutting its shape in the doorway until he lets the bleach white freezer lights flood on over him, giving detail if not colour to a grey suit, a black shirt, a silver tie, all the shades of which can be found in well kept hair of salt and pepper. "It's not about what's coming to me, Meredith," Thompson says, hands in his pockets as he moves, circular, to stand within her range of sight as opposed to blurred periphery, constant amusement and scrutiny written on tanned features. "We're talking about you.

"So why don't we just cut out the middle man and you can report to me?" Pale eyes regard her with something a little deeper than his general aloofness — not quite irritation, but something like it lining interest. Eric glances to Martin, extracts a hand from his pocket to regard his watch past the line of his jacket cuff. "Sorry I'm late," he says, without particular sincerity.

"Ah— m— " Martin clears his throat, brows furrowed and eyes angling to view the senior agent with a side-long stare. "Mister Thompson, sir." Scratching at the bridge of his nose with the fire extinguisher nozzle, Martin flicks his attention back and forth from Meredith, then takes a step back and away from her, but makes a waggling notion with the nozzle at her as if to remind her that he's still right nearby in case she gets any flambe' recipe's in mind.

Disappearing behind an enormous hanging piece of beef for a few moments, Martin re-emerges on the other side with his stalking-viper stare leveled rather squarely on Meredith, then up to Thompson. The dynamic between the two isn't something that translates to paperwork, and being able to see in action what often gets omitted in official reports is somewhat tantalizing. It's rare moments of insight like these, where he enjoys his job.

"Just like old times?" There's a smirk at her old partner's entrance. Thompson's appearance here is not much of a surprise to the blonde. His choice of words in reporting to him is not missed, hence her retort. "Funny, last time I saw you, you told me to run. Sparky over there seemed to think I'd gone rogue when I was just followin' orders. Yours."

Meredith gives the pacing Agent a rather scathing look. While she's talking to Thompson now, she's not about to let Martin think she's forgotten about him and his extinguisher. While escape has been on her mind since she woke up to handcuffs and the meat locker treatment, she's not stupid enough to try anything overt just yet. She's mostly gotten the shivering under control now that she's warmed herself enough. It's still cold enough that her words come out as angry puffs of white cloud. Oh, yes, she knows Thompson more than just handing over her paperwork.

"So this is what I get in return? Chained to a chair with a room full of cows?" Her eyes dart over to Martin at that last word. He would be one of those cows.

Thompson's eyes shut less rapidly than a mere blink at her words, but visibly, it seems to be the only sign of irritation or loss of control over the situation that he allows to present. His chin tilts up, face growing a little stern as if wrestling with throwing the internal affairs man out of the room, versus, well, not. In the end, he shares Meredith's glance towards Martin with less venom and more calculation, before he moves to stand directly in front of her, allowing his mouth to twist back into a smirk.

"It's what you get for losing control of your ability and burning down an apartment building," he says, voice as icy as the room temperature. "Which doesn't sound like you. That's me giving you the benefit of the doubt — if you did it on purpose, then this is entirely out of my hands." Which might be a lie, or at least, a choice.

There's more concrete in his voice when he asks, "What happened?"

Very slowly one of Martin's eyebrows rise up at Meredith's comment, his head quirking to the side and weight shifting to one foot as he gives a shivver from the cold. Thanks to the lenses of his glasses fogging up, he's forced to let go of the fire extinguisher nozzle and slide his glasses from his face, wiping the lenses clean on the front of his suit jacket. There's a wrinkle of his nose, a narrowing of his eyes, and when the glasses come back on, Martin has a much clearer — literal and figurative — picture of what's going on here.

Thompson's interrogation brings a squirrley look from Martin, who seems more intimidated of the man with a very nice suit than the woman who can control fire, if that says anything for how disarming Thompson's particular brand of intimidation is. "I'd make sure'n listen t'mister Thompson 'ere. Because the alternative is findin' out jus' how comfortable one'a them 'omeland Security 'olding cells are."

"Not like me." Meredith echoes Thompson's words, the vision of the Other Meredith very bright in her mind. "Funny, it sounds a lot like something I've done before." In fact, it's an incident that he should know quite a bit about. If she catches the irritation that she gives her former partner, she doesn't show it. Above all, that must mean she hasn't, as she'd be much happier to know that she caused him some - however small - discomfort. If she knew, she may be insulted that Martin wasn't more intimidated by her. She even lit someone on fire in front of him.

The pure contempt that she gives Martin for his attempt to make her talk is almost palpable before she turns her attention back to the well dressed man standing in front of her. As for the benefit of the doubt, she almost laughs. It's not a happy sound, more like one born of exhaustion and pain. "A meat locker. What, did you want steaks once we were done here?" If they let her go, she might even oblige. "I already told you what I think about you and the people you work with. The fact that I'm here and not on some Silence of the Lambs set means you either want something from me or, hell, I don't know, are really bored." She takes a ragged breath. "I didn't do it on purpose." That's her explanation, as little of it as there is.

"So you jus' accidentially set your house on fire? Oops would y'look at that, clumsy me a'went an' tripped over m'fire!" Martin's eyes roll at the comment, head shaking as he steps up from where he'd been standing. "Yes that about bloody well seems to fit with what her orignal dossier stated. How'd that one go— " Martin furrows his brows in feigned confusion, "Oh right, accidentally burned her daughter alive. Right, so between that an' this little lovely display of her lack of control, exactly why'd you let her go before, sir?"

Suddenly Martin seems less armed with a fire extinguisher and more armed with something unusual— Thompson making a mistake. The very notion is like imagining that sometimes it might rain candy and gumdrops, it just seems preposterous of a suggestion. But here it is, the pyrokinetic alternative to candy and gumdrop rain, sitting here in front of him. "Uncontrolable destruction of property I think pretty much sums up the kind've dangerous people we're supposed to be roundin' up, yes? Former agent aside, she's a right side of crazy from the sounds of things, so it might well be a good idea to do what we're supposed to do before she goes and deep-fries an orphanage or something?"

Thompson may not know Martin well, but he does know that tone well, it's backhanded sarcasm. He doesn't buy the accident idea one bit, and he's trying to goad information out of one of them.

If Meredith weren't already drained and using most of her used up energy in not freezing to death while handcuffed to a metal chair in below freezing temperatures, Martin would be in a lot more trouble. Also, he's holding a fire extinguisher. Deep down, she knows the words are just there to harm her and rile her to show what kind of crazy she is, but it still is pouring salt into the freshly opened wounds of what happened only two nights before.

The backhanded sarcasm earns him a glare layered in anger and contempt. Though almost literally steaming with anger - her body temperature is rising even as they speak to the point where she's starting to steam just a little - she makes no overt movements to actually light him on fire. Instead, what she tells him, "You have no idea what you're talking about, so - and I mean this in the strongest possible way - why don't you go fuck yourself?" Don't bring up her daughter again.

It's not like rage has opened up her story for them. She's not any more helpful now than she was before. All she says is, "If I was truly crazy, do you think chaining me to a chair in a meat locker would really stop me? And your only line of defense is a fire extinguisher? I didn't realize the Company could take in any more stupid."

Through Martin's assessment, rigid tension marks lines beneath his gunmetal grey jacket, but Thompson stays mute and still and instead watches Meredith all the while, lifting one bristled, grey eyebrow up as if in agreement with his coworkers assessment as to her sanity before he's turning his steely attention towards Martin. "Crowley, you got an issue with the way I run things around here," he says, and there's no accidental reminder in his words, breath coming out like steam in the frosty air, "then we can pick up this discussion some other time. Otherwise you can run along and wait outside until we're done here."

Flat-foot Company field agent to the bone, despite his rank, one can speculate how he views the paperpushers in the Company. "Or you can stand there and keep your mouth shut," sounds like a generous offer, from his mouth, before looking back at Meredith. "It doesn't sound like you because burning your daughter alive sounds like the kind of mistake you never do again," Thompson states, monotonous. "All you need to do is tell me what happened. I helped you before."

A meaningful glance to Martin, as if unafraid of the information, as he adds, "And I can do it again."

Sliding his tongue across the front of his teeth, Martin's brows furrow and his eyes narrow behind the once again fogged up lenses of his glasses. The Company investigator purses his lips and nods his head, taking a step back and away from Meredith's chair, eyes angled to view both she and Thompson with a side-long look of scrutiny. There's always off the record work done at the Company— in fact more is done off the record than on— and that much brings a bad taste to agent Crowley's mouth.

Pacing away from the pair, it isn't to the door that he moves to, but the wall beside it, keeping that fire extinguisher cradled under one arm like a very heavy security blanket. As much as he'd rather not be exhaling frozen mist and shivvering in a meat locker, there's things he'd rather be on the inside angle of; this being one of them.

Though, on seeing Thompson trying to help Meredith, he's reminded of that old Bob Dylan song; Oh the times, they are a changin'.

The harmonica solo gets stuck, frustratingly, in his head.

Take that, Martin. May it get stuck there in a loop until the end of time. That would be her punishment if Meredith were someone who messed with minds. Unfortunately, she's not. Instead, she watches the man pace back to the corner and gives it a long wait before she turns her attention back to Thompson. Helped her. If he could really call that helping. Maybe not rotting on Level 5 for the rest of her life was a good gesture, but she really doubts that was ever for her.

The wait isn't a terribly long one before she speaks again, this time less vehement than her swearing at Crowley. Instead, she weighs her options and realizes that the only thing she has is telling them something. It may not be the whole truth, but then - would they believe the whole truth? She had a bad dream? She woke up and everything she knew was burning down around her?

All she really has is this: "I don't know what happened. I woke up as I was running outside and my apartment was burning down. If I had had a guess, I'd say that you guys framed me; but that doesn't seem to be the case. Otherwise, this conversation is about to get awkward."

Awkward because that does sort of sound like a crazy person's words. Thompson slices a glance towards Martin before focusing on her again, a wry smile hooking up the corner of his mouth. "You gotta give me something better than that," he says, his tone dry, eyebrows raising towards his hairline. "I think you're a smart enough woman to work out that we didn't frame you. We wouldn't be putting on this kind of show if that was the case — what you did was all your own.

"You say 'wake up'— that means you were asleep?" There's some skepticism in his tone, but probing, fishing for confirmation or denial.

"Asleep?" Martin finally rouses from his silence, shooting a suspicious look to Thompson, then over to Meredith. Somehow, that seems to have raised a few eyebrows from the pair of them, but Martin's tight-lipped and closely guarded ways keep him from offering up more than what Meredith already said, even if it is something of a confirmation that not everything is quite right. Meredith can see it though, the wheels working behind the Brit's eyes; he's trying to put some pieces of a puzzle together in his head.

Then, considering something, Martin quirks his head to the side and almost asks something, but holds it in at the last moment. That half-sound of speech coming from him almost makes it look like his voice was stolen by the cold; rather it was stolen by common sense. Best to wait, see what she has to offer, before offering up more himself.

"That's why I said, 'didn't seem to be the case'." Meredith's a little touchy, but that comes with the position she woke up to. As for giving him 'something better than that', what can else can she say? That's all that she has that is of any real substance. Talk about dreams where a creepy version of her gave her a dressing down and she might as well start crocheting pillows for her Level 5 cell.

"Yeah, asleep as in not awake." Snarky, she will admit, but it seems like a stupid question. How else can someone wake up? "I don't have anything else to give you other than that. I ran back inside to try and stop it and then I got attacked by you guys and the government. I'd say I was real sorry about burning one of 'em up, but I thought we were supposed to be all honest here."

"I was simply wondering if you were blaming your complete loss of control on some kind of psychotic break. A trance. But looks like we got ourselves a sleep walker," Thompson says, moving at a meandering pace away from her, though he keeps his expensive suit away from the hanging chunks of dead flesh. If what she's said means anything to him, Thompson isn't showing it — he's also not showing exactly how cold he is in here, either. "Would you like to rejoin the conversation, Crowley?" he directs over the blonde woman's head.

"Ah, no, sir." Martin reaches up with his free hand to adjust his tie before making a slow progression towards where Meredith's been bound to her chair. "Just… noticin' a pattern is all." There's a quirk of his brow to Thompson at that, and then a pointed look delivered to Meredith. "It looks like madame Director is going to get 'erself a front-row audience with our errant agent, isn't she?" Pacing behind where Meredith sits, Crowley sets his fire extinguisher down on the ground behind her with a clunk, and then reaches inside of his jacket. He's silent as he withdraws the folded cloth from inside of the front pocket of his jacket, and upon unfolding it retrieves a syringe from inside.

"You know, I wonder if this is why we don' have Company reunion parties?" Crowley asks off handedly as he plucks the plastic cap off of the tip of the syringe, spits it out onto the floor, and then as he turns around drives the syringe into the side of Meredith's neck with a very impatient depression of the plunger. "Nighty-night, love. Sweet dreams n'all that."

Sweet dreams, how ironic.

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