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Scene Title Agenda
Synopsis Jane goes looking for evidence of Humanis First! in her own Department.
Date May 30, 2011

A Storage Facility in Queens

The rolling metal door winds quietly into place as Jane Pak hoists it up after the key had slid into place perfect. It's a discreet kind of sound, possibly reassuring, because despite the keycard she used to access the storage facility, and the working key obtained to get into the unit itself, and the emptiness of the building itself, she isn't actually supposed to be here.

There's a warm, light rain coming down on the city, heard in a deafened patter atop the squat, sprawling warehouse on the banks of Queens, but unseen from within, the walls windowless and illumination provided only through the light bars afixed to the industrial ceiling, a few of which gone milky and blind in disuse. The place is grey in cement and steel, damp in places, and oddly cold despite the humidity of the dusk. Leaning against a wall or one of the rolling doors would have dust and grit coming off in chalky grime at the slightest of brushes. The place is divided into blocks and skinny corridors between the units, all identical save for the numberings next to each rolling gate, almost confusing if one lacks a sense of direction.

In front of her, lies 50 square feet of space as hired by Georgia Mayes.

Something else she should hire are more reliable personal assistants, unlike Gerald St. James, who left the access keys on his desk before taking a coffee break. It's the closest thing Jane has come, since Elisabeth tasked her to poking around, to something of a lead. And even then, an idea of what might be contained in this place, is something Jane doesn't have. Yet.

There's a string attached to the lighting, and when tugged, the sickly yellow light throws into life the steel cabinets and the lidded cardboard boxes.

Jane does let out a soft, relieved sigh since the door is kind enough not to squeak loudly or slam up into place. She isn't supposed to be here, but she's trying to look like she does. There's a lack of suspicious all black outfits or masks, but she is dressed less like Agent Pak and more like just your average Joe. Or Jane, as it were. A hat serves to conveniently cover her face from any cameras that might be around. And there are gloves, just in case.

She stands there for a moment, looking at the space before her. "I am so getting fired," she says to herself before she takes the plunge and steps in to turn on that little light above. And, of course, there's nothing labeled 'Suspicious documents here!' so Jane first does a cursory glance through cabinets and boxes to see if anything jumps out at her before she thinks about the hours of thorough pawing she'll be engaging in later.

The documents are, in their own way, suspicious once she sets to flipping through them. Archived intel from before the Company was uprooted, photocopied evidence and profiles, hearing documents and reports, printed memos. Papers seeking governmental advice or simple for your informations, and anything of potential worth and value that has been duplicated for the benefit of Mayes — all of which is bad practice, perhaps even contract breaking, but nothing excessively illegal jumps out of her. There are no Humanis First! manifestos, no letters of correspondence, no blackmail photographs or propaganda. The closest she comes to is a heavy folder with miscellanious details on government personnel, both taken from the Registry and other confidential files, as well as publicly available news clippings and minutae — Matt Parkman, Sarisa Kershner, Vincent Lazzaro, and a variety of others with two things in common — their choice of career, and their advanced genetic disposition.

All in all, it seems like the kind of stash that someone might accumulate if they ever expected to be terminated and didn't want to take it lying down.

Upon yanking open one of the unlocked doors of the cabinet drawers, something slides out and scatters across the pavement in a papery slide, seemingly fresh and detailed. Only one page is flipped for Jane to see, and it happens to be the most eye catching — a glossy photograph of an unconscious Alia Chavez, her features slack in her coma, pale and waning.

The temptation to grab it all and keep it for her own job security is definitely there, but she resists! Because she's here on a mission. And… well, the papers scattering to the floor distract her. Crouching down, Jane first picks up that picture, her brows furrowing as she looks it over. But she sets it down, to the side, and starts flipping over the other pages. There is just a little spark of excitement that she might have actually found something, but she's trying to keep it from getting too overblown. But after all this time looking, it's a little hard.

Medical reports, letters of correspondence directly from doctors at the Suresh Centre (before it was shot to pieces) to Georgia Mayes with regard to Alia's condition, which was mostly stable despite strange fluctuations. Research experts in Evolved sciences about the effects of bodily dislocation. Colin Verse's assessment submitted to Mayes and Dr. Bella Sheridan for a psych eval although god knows if she ever opened the thing as there are no letters from Sheridan herself. Legal advice and finally, a letter of enthusiasm from workforce group of the Delaware Evolved prison expressing their interest in the new state of the art technopathic security system—

The light changes.

In that it goes away.

Thrown into quasi-darkness with the slightly mechanical sound of the system going down, Jane's eyes will take a moment to recover — for now, she can barely see her own eyes in front of her, or make out the shape of the door to the unit, the outside corridor a slightly lighter shade of pitch than the cave she crouches within.

Jane's spent a good amount of her life researching. It's a dry business, but necessary for a lawyer. She may be a little out of practice, but she does find this particular set very interesting. And she might have been satisfied with pictures of the documents, but when the lights go off, things change.

First things first, she moves. Just a pivot so she's not where she was when the lights went off. There's just a moment's pause before she quietly snakes a hand out to feel for and scoop up the papers, rolls them up and slides them into her jacket to exchange them for the gun there. She may be off duty, but she's never unarmed. That's just bad business. Only when her eyes adjust does she start to inch toward the door, still in a crouch.

The corridor is empty, still, by the time she reaches it. The silence is as oppressive as the darkness, and to her left, is the shortest way out, although the grid formation of the corridors means that either direction is fine. Of course, this means that when Jane hears the sound of footsteps, it comes from the left, the heavy thud of steps belonging to a male, most likely, and when the casually strolling silhouette crosses by the mouth of the corridor, his shape confirms it. He doesn't turn into the same space — instead, disappears again in his stroll passed, a predatory bent to his casuality.

His foot steps echo, fade, but don't go away.

For an Army lady known for her reckless charges into danger, it's hard to make the safe choice. There will probably always be a slice of Jane that gets a little too giddy in these situations. But she's had years to calm down since those days. Lots of desk jobs. Plus, there's a mystery set in front of her, and she means to figure it out before some thug gets to take her out.

As the steps continue on, she opts to head to the right, depending on her hearing more than her sight to keep her from running into the body making those echoing footsteps. She's pretty confident she can navigate the grid without bumping into walls and doors, so she can sweep her gaze back and forth to check and make sure she's not being snuck up on.

Into the right, she'll twist for the way to carry her out—

And stop at yet another shape of warning, a man with his back to her, and as her eyes grow accustomed to the darkness, she can see the wafting cloud of smoke hang above his head as he indulges in a cigarette, a minute tip of glowing orange at his side. She has two options — go back the way she came or risk sneaking down the other direction of this corridor, but swiftly, her choices are stolen from her as yet another shape occupies the other side. And this time, he doesn't pass by, coming to a definite halt designed to block the way. He is of the same height and build as the man opposite, and as the one that crept by the first time.

Which is the problem.


The voice echoes up from behind her — the first man she had seen occupying the space in the corridor behind her, where she had steered herself from, having backtracked to stand and slowly close in. At the same time, the two others do as well, penning her in at the T-shaped intersection. They are all completely identical.

Jane doesn't answer right away, as she glances between the identical faces. "Apparently. I didn't even notice when I got to the house of mirrors. Do you have one that would make me look skinnier? I might have to take that one home." She's tense and ready, that gun not going away, although it's pointed toward the ground right now. She's not attacking, but she's ready to.

Out the corner of her eye, the one to her left allows for a half-smile to smirk across his face, the two standing opposite each other coming to a halt as the third approaches. "You might want to put your gun away, agent," says one, lifting his chin in indication. He doesn't have a cigarette like his twin standing opposite, but he does hold something clasped beneath his arm, bookish and papery but too difficult to tell much more than that, in this light.

"Yeah. Someone might get hurt," agrees the other.

Much louder than when she'd carefully opened it, the third grabs the lip of the rolling door and brings it down with a rattle of steel and mechanics, bouncing off the hinges with a heavy clang that seems to reverberate through its neighbours. He stops, then, his hands shoved into pockets. "Well howdy, G. I. Jane," he comments. "Fancy meeting you here. My name's Eli — you've met my friends, I see. That's Eli, and that's Eli."

"Did you find anything?" says the one with the cigarette. "Anything good?"

"Yeah. That's sort of the idea of carrying a gun," Jane says, never really quite settling on just one of them. She doesn't jump at the sudden noise, but she does make a face at that one in particular. But her eyes narrow and she looks over the other two as well. "Nope. Just a lot of boring paperwork. Why didn't you just look yourself? Can't you read?" She looks back over to the one who did the introductions, and she lifts an eyebrow. "What makes you think my name is Jane? Or that agent applies?" Her attention flips over to another there, with a smirk forming, "Unless you just meant secret agent. In a James Bond way."

"Well like you say, it's boring."

The other two on either side of her fall silent and watchful of any twitch, any movement, while the one she addresses slides into the role of the spokesclone. "But it's a good question and I'll share the answer but only if we're only gonna be honest with each other. We got a friend in common, so why don't we start there. Aric Gibbs. That ring a bell or has it been so long since?" He lifts his chin in a nod to her, in mimic of the one who had gestured the same way to her left. "You're the Department agent that cleared his name all legal like. If I didn't know any better, I'd say we have ourselves here a bleeding heart."

He digs a hand into his pocket, extracts a wallet, and flips it open. Arm extended, he shows it to her as much as he can, considering their distance and the light, but it's difficult not to recognise the very distinctive pattern of Department of Evolved Affairs identification — not a Registration card, but a badge of a fellow agent. "And if this doesn't convince you we're on the same side— then we're more on the same side than you know."

She can't help it. That comeback makes her chuckle. But the name drop makes her lift an eyebrow again, suspicious first. Trust doesn't come quick. At least, not for guys who turn off all the lights and sneak around like this. "Bleeding Heart, that's my official code name."

Jane leans in to peer at the ID when it comes out, but his words make her lean back to examine him instead. "If we're on the same side, what's with all the creeping around? Turning the lights off and barricading me in? And most importantly, interrupting me?" It seems the ID doesn't actually convince her.

That gets a small, gravelled chuckle from the cigarette smoker, the white run off of steam fluttering out between his teeth at the exhale. "Omega has a flair for the dramatic," he says. "Let's just say we used to be in show business."

"We're interrupting you," the copy who might well be Omega, or maybe not, says as he goes to slide away his identification once she's gotten a chance to look, "because you're looking in the wrong place. In our humble opinion. People don't keep the good dirt on themselves. That's what their enemies do."

"See, we were hired by the Department to be a double agent— "

"— more than double, to be fair."

"A lot more— "

"And we've got one of us in with the Commonwealth Institute to keep an eye on things, and ever since it's been under new management," and there's a snort of derision from the other two, "they've been making sure to proof themselves against the Department stabbing them in the back. That's something we'd share with our superiors, but— frankly— "

"She knows," pipes up the smoker, dropping his cigarette to crush it out. "She wouldn't be here if she didn't think the inmates were starting to run the asylum."

"Is it true?" says the one on the other side. "Is Mayes Humanis First?"

"So I see," Jane says with her smirk returning. "Can't blame you. If I could pop out a dozen of myself, you bet your ass I'd be pulling this all the time. Maybe less creepy and more… fabulous, though." But she goes quiet to listen as he — they go on. But something in what he says does get her to slide her gun into a pocket finally.

"Are you saying they have something on her? That you found something on her there? And who… do you work for, exactly, in the department?" But the question makes her hiss in a breath through her teeth. "That is the sixty-four thousand dollar question, isn't it? And what I'm trying to find out. There are… people who insist she is and that there are others. But they're also people who would benefit heavily if they could convincingly frame up the government this way. So I'm trying to find out the truth."

There's a silence— finally— that descends among the three as they— or he— or whatever weigh her words with interest. The party line of honesty is an appealing one, if Jane would be so vain as to take this thoughtful pause as a measure of approval.

"We're contractors," Eli admits. "Off the books, with informant status. If the Institute thought we'd rank any higher, they'd get suspicious — pretty much every Institute agent with a Department badge gets sidelined in Fed Plaza. But unofficially, we report to an agent in Praeger's office, who reports to the old man himself. If you don't mind, we're gonna be a little candid on that point, to protect our collective asses for not toeing the line as closely as we should — but maybe once we get to know each other, that'll change."

"As for Mayes…"

Leaving behind his cigarette, one of the Elis rocks a little closer by a couple of steps, before halting. "She's had her fingers in Institute resources a hell of a lot — borrowing personnel, intel, and nothing's on the books — not for the Institute and not for the Department. We're trying to look without anyone noticing, but it's not easy. And ever since that little news piece about the HF bombing, we've been interested too."

"The voice recording's a fake, everyone knows that."

"But it makes you think."

"In the meantime, the Institute isn't any better than those Evo lynching bigots — and we're not really the ones to do something with the data we're meant to be collecting except for withholding it. So we're wondering what your end game is, Pak."

There's a papery flutter, and the one holding the folder he carries indicates it by running his thumb along the edge of the pages, making them fan out before settling.

That sound draws Jane's gaze over to the one holding the folder. She watches the papers for a moment, possibly just to take some time to formulate an answer. But she turns back to the spokesman of the group, her hands going to her hips. "I want to do what I signed up to do. I want the DoEA to do what it claims to do on the news. I don't want to wake up one morning and realize I've been working for Humanis First. And if they are in the Department… I want to be able to gather enough information to get them out of the Department so I can do my damn job. That good enough for you?"

The silence matches her own prior pause, thoughtful, weighing.

It's the one who'd been smoking that says, "Give her the file." The one standing opposite obediently crouches down and slides the thing over towards her, where it skids to a halt at her feet. It flaps open to reveal a photograph not so unlike the one of Alia Chavez — but this woman is older and her eyes slit open half awake, white, greying hair, and sharp features. "That's good enough to be food for thought, so that's what you've got at your feet in return. If Humanis First is running the show, then that's a problem — but there might be other factors in play.

"Like I said— "

The Eli in front of her, who had crashed down the door, vanishes. The one who had slid over the file, vanishes.

The one currently speaking, who had been smoking, bends to pick up the cigarette butt as if realising that even such a casually discarded trace of debris could be damning. "Food for thought." He moves, then, to turn from her, and leave her with the Institute folder on one Carol Praeger.

Jane doesn't pick up the file right away, but she does look down to see that photo. And then back up as the Elis start to vanish. "It is that," she says, a thank you in her own way, and she dips down to close and pick up the file as he turns away. She pulls out her papers on Alia Chavez to slide in there as well. And before she goes home to read everything over, she goes back to put the storage unit back in order. But she doesn't linger long.

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