Personal Research


corbin_icon.gif sabra_icon.gif

Scene Title Personal Research
Synopsis Corbin Ayers reaps the consequences for his on-the-side project involving the Company archives.
Date July 12, 2010

Fort Hero: Sabra's Office

It's early in the day when Corbin finds himself summoned to Sabra's office — just long enough after he arrived, in fact, for the archivist to settle in but not so much that he can actually start serious work. The summons is not for a scheduled meeting, but carried with a quiet insistence on the part of the messenger; and Kayla does insistence well, although the quiet part is less common. She's also well-accustomed to ignoring questions about anything she's not prepared to talk about, such as the why of this meeting.

The office looks no different from usual, as comfortable in ambiance as a subterranean concrete-walled space can be; the absence of Sabra's shadow, however, is decidedly noteworthy. Usually Ashton is immediately at hand with tea for the elderly lady's guests, but not today — and Kayla does no more than the mandate she was tasked with, delivering Corbin to the door without even entering the room.

Despite these unusual circumstances, the woman behind the desk offers the archivist a genial smile, blue eyes gleaming warmly. That is entirely typical. "Corbin! Please, have a seat. I do hope Kayla didn't interrupt you in anything important?"

"I hadn't had a chance to really start on anything, so no, you're not interrupting," Corbin reassures, though it's baseless. Even if she had been interrupting, he still would have made his way here, especially with the way that it was insisted upon. With no idea what he was summoned for, there's a lack of notebooks and even his usual laptop to accompany him into the room, just him and his suit. And the tired expression that has become common of him. "Ms Reid— Kayla— didn't say what this was about."

Sabra's lips quirk in a warm, tolerant smile. "No, she wouldn't, would she?" She looks across the desk at him, silvered eyebrows rising in a prompting expression. "It's come to my attention…" the director begins, reaching over to a small packet of papers and perusing the first page's contents. It's all for show, of course — she knows exactly what it says — but such is the ritual of these little things. "…that you've made a highly unusual number of requests for archive material these past weeks, even for your position." Folding her hands atop the pages, Sabra levels a blue gaze on him that isn't quite as genial as it was just moments before. "I find very little correlation between many of these things and your current official work subjects."

There may've been the faintest of stresses on official.

There's a slow inhale as Corbin hears that, though he keeps from looking away. A fidget of his hands in his lap may give away some of it, though. "It was personal research, mostly. I've been trying to learn about some old cases that I wasn't involved in, and things pertaining to… other cases. I know they weren't offical assignments at the time, but it didn't interfere with the ones I had been working on…" He keeps his voice calm, but there's hesitation, still, and then he glances away, toward the door.

Perhaps he's expecting someone to be lurking.

After he finishes speaking, Sabra looks across the desk at Corbin, gaze level upon him. A nudge of her fingers sets the packet of papers aside, where they're no longer a matter of immediate consideration. The elderly woman reclasps her hands on the bare desktop, the smile she gives the archivist conveying an almost matronly manner of tolerance — I'll put up with your antics, young man… but only unto a point. "Personal research," she echoes. There's something more steely about those bright blue eyes as Sabra continues. "Would you care to elaborate on the nature of that 'personal research'?" The glance towards the door is noted, but the woman offers no reassurance.

Once his eyes settle forward again, Corbin shifts to sit upward rather than slouch. Perhaps it's the way she looks like an old school principal, who's caught him doing something in her private school that he wasn't supposed to be doing. The options are fess up, or try to lie— "I was looking into files regarding the Ferrymen and also anything where the Haitian was brought in to wipe memories." He chose fess up, and risk the possibility of punishment. "Mostly personal information of people that we've dealt with in the past." Not all followed that criteria, but most of them did…

"With the new archive rules, I— I grew concerned that the archives themselves might be compromised, and I wanted to… preserve what I could. I wasn't intending to leak any of it, but I thought that that information should be kept… in case anything ever happened to the archives."

Sabra looks across the desk at Corbin for a long, worrisome moment upon the completion of his explanation… and then brings her fingers up to the bridge of her nose in the wearied gesture of someone confronted with an unwanted but not entirely unexpected problem. "While your initiative is admirable, Ayers, your timing could be improved. Considerably." Opening her eyes again, she looks sharply over to the archivist.

"Please tell me you don't have copies."

"I've been very careful with them— but yes, I've been making copies of some of the information," Corbin admits quietly, finally looking down and away from her. "I haven't let them be on anything with internet access at any time, since I know that's a problem." Computer had been one of the things he had beyond the other archivists, and he had wanted to make the archives computerized more than once, just for easier indexing and presenting— but…

"I know that this is more than enough to fire me, but I— Things that we've done shouldn't be lost, but they shouldn't fall into the wrong hands, either."

Leaning back in her chair, Sabra nods just briefly. No longer does she look like a pleasant-mannered grandmotherly figure, not in the least; at times like this, it's hard to recall that she ever could. "Bring them in tomorrow morning," she informs the archivist, no give or room for negotiation in the severe tone of her voice. "You will turn any hardcopy notes concerning this over to Ashton, not to anyone else, as well as any hard drives containing related information." The old lady glances to her computer monitor. "I am meeting with Benjamin soon; you will join us, and we will address this issue at that conference. In the meantime…" Sabra leans forward a touch, weight on her elbows. "Do not do anything that forces me to revoke your archive access, Ayers."

Compared to the potential of being fired, that seems to be a remarkably mild rebuke… although there's no telling what might happen at the threatened conference.

There's a glance away, and then a tired nod. It's likely Corbin knew the risks should he get caught, but he moves to stand up. "I'll turn everything over in the morning," he simply says quietly, having kept it fairly close together in this case. That it's Ryans who is also getting brought into the conference may be a little of a relief, as he trusts that man's judgment, but—

He still looks like a dog that got caught. But one who knows he did something wrong in the first place. "I'll see you and Ryans at the conference…"

The elderly woman inclines her head. "Good. We shall see you there." She lets him walk towards the door, watching the archivist depart — but before Corbin quite slips out of the room, and out of hearing range, Sabra adds three final, quiet words.

"Thank you, Corbin."

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