A Tangled Webb


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Scene Title A Tangled Webb
Synopsis Interim Assistant Director Martin Crowley calls agent Henry Webb into his office for a debriefing and assigns him to the Chesterfield case…
Date February 16, 2010

Fort Hero, Conference Room

Fort Hero is one of those urban myths in the state of New York, a place where they say experiments with UFOs and teleportation and secret weapons made by Nikola Tesla were stored. The reality of that myth and conspiracy theory may have — up until three years ago — been just as unbelievable, that it was a decomissioned facility once used by a secret organization of super-powered humans working on an agenda to keep the world from knowing about people like themselves. About as believable as cold fusion, that story.

It's funny what difference time can make, when the Company was forced to move back into the old haunt over the summer. The guard has changed more times in the last three years than it had in thirty years in the New York Branch. From Bishop to Dalton, then supervisional drectors like Goodman and Denton, and now they're putting a fellow from Internal Affairs in charge below Sabra, and word around the water-cooler — such as it is — says he's more of a liberal than even Denton was.

It's this new Interim Assistant-Director, Martin Crowley, that's been interviewing field agents all week, checking up on their assignments and for the few agents with no assignments, giving them some legwork to do. When the Bronx facility was destroyed, a good lot of agents were transferred out of New York, which left a wide swath of employees without partners. In a way, Crowley's investigations into these assignments is trying to pair up those lacking their "one of Them" halves.

Seated at the head of a long conference table, Martin Crowley has been silent for much of the time that agent Henry Webb has been here, called in a half an hour ago for a review and meeting with the new boss. But it's been just one long period of awkwardly silent appraisal as Assistant-Director Crowley reads through Webb's entire file.

Only after a half an hour, does he finally show signs of remembering this is a meeting. "Agent Webb…" The top page of the file is folded down, "this is, quite an' exceptional record a'service you've got yourself here." Folding his hands atop the file, Crowley leans forward and rests his chin on his knuckles as his hands come up to meet it. "So tell me, Henry," there's a bit of a smile on the Brit's lips. "Why did you join the Company?"

And, amazingly, Henry has been bizarrely patient and silent during the whole half-hour deal. No fidgeting, no fussing, no daydreaming. Just a blandly pleasant and expectant smile presented to Martin, as if waiting for someone to say a goddamn thing were just his most favorite hobby ever. Maybe he's been envisioning putting a bullet neatly between Martin's eyes. Maybe he's contemplating some lurid daydream, or what color he should repaint his room, if he stays. He's blinked, at least, so it's not entirely like having a replicant stare at you patiently. To all outward appearances, he has that air of 'not very bright, please disregard'….even here. The record in Martin's hands is the one refutation of it.

He finally leans back a little as Martin speaks, lips thinning out. "In order to help meet the unique challenge that the Evolved represent. They're unprecedent both in terms of threat and opportunity. AFter the encounter," he nods at the file, quite sure a great deal's been said about it in there, "Well, it was basically sign on, or be flashythinged. And…..I'm reluctant to agree to optional amnesia."

"Well if it's any consolation I hear it fully clears your sinuses." Martin jokes with a lopsided smile, "the ah," a hand waggles at his temple, "the mind wipe thing. Not tha' we're here t'talk about tha' today." He move shis hands to slap Henry's file closed, then leans back in his chair and folds his hands together. "We've got a problem as of late, Henry, that m'hoping you might be able t'assist us with. We've a severe shortage of agents at the moment, and we're startin' t'back up on cases and investigations that're in th' Company's best interests t'follow through on."

Rubbing a hand over his chin, Martin's brows furrow and his head quirks slowly to the side. "Given your particular, ah, encounter that led you to working with us, a'was wonderin' how you'd feel about being partnered with a telekinetic agent." There's a lift of Crowley's brows at that. "We've got a good old boy who's been with the Company eight years out now who we want to bring in; ex-marine too. But partners're more about more'n just skill sets, s'about being able t'trust one another. D'you think your past experiences'd make you 'ave a hard time trustin' one?"

The 'i am totally trying to think now and it is -hard-' look that he presents Martin with now has obviously been polished since a very, very young age. Mother, I have NO idea who took the last cookie from the jar. Musta been the dog. But a second look does betray actual gears grinding behind the blandly blue eyes. "I don't have a problem with it. I've done my rookie pairings, albeit with a pyrokine. And frankly, I'm much happier working with physical powers. The mental stuff," he waves a finger at a temple, "That's cool, too, but not the plane I'm used to dealing on, you know. It's all kinna Scanners. And, well, that he's ex-Corps is promising. That'll hopefully let me make some useful assumptions about background and skillsets." He looks up, and all but wags his tail at Martin.

Cracking a smile, Martin lifts up the red file folder that contains Henry's information and pulls out a dossier, sliding it across the table to him. "Consider this your warm up then, b'fore your partner gets 'ere and we play meet an' greet. That dossier belongs to Jennifer Chesterfield, veteran of th' Company an' recently deceased mayoral candidate. A'need you to do a little bit of beating 'round the bush for me, Henry. Someone out there went through the effort'a killin' one've our own after she lost the election. We don' know who did it, an' tha's what a'want t'find out.

Paperclipped to that folder, the a photograph of a brunette woman in her twenties that is definitely not Jennifer Chesterfield. "The lovely lady on the cover there's your temporary partner for this assignment. 'Er name is Veronica Sawyer, she's not Evolved, but desperate times call f'desperate measures. A'need you t'meet up with agent Sawyer an' head t'Greenwich Village. Jennifer's daughter Catherine lives there. She's a paranoid young woman, known associate for the group Phoenix, but 'as a nice clean criminal record. She an' Sawyer have a nice rapport. I need you t'do me a favor…"

Leaning forward, Crowley rests his chin on his knuckles again. "A'want you t'serve as a second pair a'eyes an' ears for Sawyer, see if she misses anythin' in conversation. An' a'also want you t'keep an eye on Sawyer an' make sure she's no'…" Martin waggles ihs head from side to side undecidedly. "Leavin' details out." There's a faint smile on Crowley's lips. "Also, th' bugger who offed Jennifer might well come after her daughter, or after the two've you, so it'd be nice for Sawyer t'have some muscle."

"I was never a cop, but that sounds exactly like something I can do," Henry says, brow furrowing. Thinking R Hard 4 Webb. "You think Sawyer might….her sympathies might be a little blurred, beyond the necessary compassion?" Like the Evolved and the bereaved are one, or the Suresh linkage is some terrible terminal condition. Oh, you poor mutants. This'll be a mercy killing, really.

"I can't be sure, she spent a good long time overseas with some undesirable elements playing patty-cake with the government for us…" Martin scratches the side of his face with his thumb, "I'd like to reserve judgment against Sawyer for the time being, but she has reasons to want a grind an axe with us, even if they aren't wholly legitimate." There's a pop of Martin's shoulder up into a helpless shrug. "I just want you to see what you can see, be observant— and be helpful. You don't know much about the case going in, so that may be of assistance. Just be advised, Catherine knows about the Company, so there's no sense in trying to cover it up with a Homeland Security mumbo jumbo. Play it straight with her and you might not get stonewalled."

Looking askance to the door, Martin considers something before eyeballing Henry again. "It's not that a'don't trust Sawyer, it's just that— well— she's a softie, you know how women are." Martin wrinkles his nose, waving a hand dismissively at the comment. "Just let me know if she does anything strange. Denton ran a pretty loose ship around 'ere an' I'd rather not be in the business of loose lips sinkin' ships. We've already lost more'n enough."

Considering some of the brassbreasted Amazons he served with in the Corps, Henry's expression turns a little wry, a little amused. "I see. We want to make sure there aren't any critical lapses in judgement, in light of Miss Chesterfield's unfortunate situation." Man, he speaks fluent Weasel, as well as Pashto and Arabic. How useful. He back to the default bland boy face.

"Atta boy" Martin offers with a lopsided smile. "Oh and… well, one other tiny bit of importance, flip to page three." He peers over the frames of his glasses at Henry as the agent pages thorugh the dossier, "That page lists a culprit we're, ah, speculating. may be involved with Chesterfield's murder. We only have a name to go on as of now; Aleksander Kozlow, a Russian assassin who worked for an international terrorist organizaton known as th' Vanguard. There's some information in the dossier about the Vanguard's activities over th' years. The group's gone down the shitter since, but it seems like a few stragglers might be acting on a //revenge ploy for what 'appened over in Russia."

There's a furrow of Martin's brow at that, before he laces his fingers together and offers a side-long look at Henry. "D'you 'ave any questions?" There's a somewhat pleased look on Martin's face, being the leader is easy! He can't help but wonder how anyone's had a hard time with the job before. It'll be another thing if he's singing that tune in a few months— provided he lives that long with the turnover rate.

"This Koslow. He Evolved, and if so, what's his stupid human trick?" Like all it gives you is the ability to do that funny roll thing with your tongue. Or wiggle your ears. "I've heard of the Vanguard. Not as dealt with as we'd hoped, despite that little party on the bridges a year or so ago?"

"Well, you don't kill a weed by clippin' off the top, Vanguard was kind'a like that. A'think most've it's bad news over an' done for now, though." Furrowing his brows and rubbing a hand over his chin, Martin offers look to the dossier, then back to Henry. "Intelligence a'borrowed from th' folks at the government who were kind enough t'supply it say tha' this Kozlow fella's a healer. Kind've makes an interestin' choice for an assassin, don' it?"

Martin seems to, at least in a small way, admire the creativity of that. "Was that th' only question?"

"A cancer is only ordinary cells getting above themselves. I'm willing to be a healer can be a formidable opponent," And there's an abrupt flash of the creature that'd otherwise only seem to live in the pages of that personnel dossier, the one that cleanly and silently killed dozens at its master's behest. There's that immense, cold, deliberate thoughtfulness in his pale eyes. "Yes, sir," he says, and the facade of amiable near-idiocy rises seamlessly back into place.

The very notion of that makes Martin's smile completely fade as he slouches back into his chair; he'd honestly never even considered that. "A— Ah, well, yes." Clearing his throat, Martin slowly rises up from his chair, smoothing down the front of his suit jacket. "Well, given that morbid notion, a'think m'going t'take this meeting to a close, an' let you go find miss Sawyer. Her cell phone number's in that dossier there, along with some background information on 'er that you might find 'elpful."

Furrowing his brows, Martin looks down to the surface of the table, and then up to Henry. "Good luck on this, agent Webb. I'll be'n touch with ya' when yer new partner's ready for tha' meet'n greet. A'got some big plans for th' two'a you."

"Big plans."

No, you didn't, did you? Henry's face is blandly impassive, giving nothing away. But that particular fact is filed away, somewhere behind that genial facade. He rises from his seat. "Of course, sir," he says, gently, reaching to pick up the dossier and tuck it rather primly under his arm.

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