An Organisation With Secrets


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Also Featuring:

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Scene Title An Organisation With Secrets
Synopsis Members of the Commonwealth Institute's New York branch meet under the direction of Desmond Harper to receive their marching orders. Some are more pleased with their appointments than others.
Date September 9, 2010

Suresh Center - Conference Room

This third-floor conference room overlooks much of Roosevelt Island. Tinted floor-to-ceiling windows show a vista of the tiny island pinned between Manhattan and Queens with a panoramic view of the Queensboro Bridge spanning the horizon. In the center of the conference room, a glass-topped black table features a detailed double-helix logo etched into the glass. Around the table, twenty leather chairs surround the table, each space set with a small LCD touch screen and keyboard recessed into the glass portion of the table top.

Opposite of the panoramic view of New York's skyline, a wide flatscreen television networked with the displays on the tables serves as a central location for showing information contained on the intranet located within the building. Flanking the flatscreen television, there is an American flag and a bright red flag bearing the seal of the Department of Evolved Affairs.

From here, New York City looks peaceful. It's a beautiful lie.

Situated on the third floor of the Suresh Center, the new headquarters of the Institute in New York City is a nerve center of activity. Beyond the glass wall that partitions off the third floor, this conference room is filled with professionals from the organization designed to protect the citizens of the United States against the threat of the Evolved. Culled from ranks of government, military and black-operations organizations like the Company, it is a motley crew around the etched glass conference table.

Seated at one end of the table, arms folded over her chest and jaw set crookedly, a stoic-looking blonde woman with chin-length hair swept back from her head and a square, mannish jaw looks displeased to be up at the crack of dawn for a meeting. The laminated badge on the front of her charcoal gray suit identifies her as Special Agent Olivia Roland, Department of Homeland Security.

Beside Roland there's a much more at-ease gentleman, his beard clipped down to a short scruff over his jaw, curly hair cropped short yo his head and eyes focused down on a stapled paper document set in a sky blue folder on the table in front of him. Special Agent Lucas Eldridge is preoccupied with re-familiarizing himself with the workload being assigned to new agents.

Standing with his back to the table, the man in charge of this special operations unit waits in view of the Queensboro bridge, staring up the vista of Roosevelt Island with his hands folded behind his back, waiting for the other agents to arrive in this dawn light.

Staring into his own muted reflection in the glass, Special Operations Director Desmond Harper is the new head of the Institute's operations in New York City. With his ubiquitous Bluetooth headset plugged into one ear, Harper's ink-black suit gives him a slim silhouette in the faded blue glow of dawn cresting over the right side of the window, while the island of Manhattan viewed at the left side of the window is still cast in darkness, Harper himself and Roosevelt Island straddling the line between light and dark in unknowing symbolism.

On the monitors set around the table and the LCD screen hanging on the opposite end of the room, there is a single blue double-helix logo slowly spiraling, unzipping down the middle and then reconnecting in looping animation of the logo on the glass table. In a way, it's almost like Pinehearst never left.

But these aren't familiar Devils here.

This future isn't bright.

Special Agent Olivia Roland, Department of Homeland Security, isn't the only one upset to be here at the proverbial ass-crack of dawn. Agent Isabella Dawson, newly recruited from the Company's culled ranks, looks cranky, and sour, and underslept in her charcoal pantsuit and shiny red blouse. Really, it's only the stellar red pumps on her feet that give her the ability to have even a modicum of social grace at this hour.

At present, the half-Japanese woman stares threateningly at the logo spinning on the screen. It's almost as if the logo had kicked her puppy, drank its tears, and then stabbed it to death in front of her. But really, it's just more acceptable to glare at inanimate objects than your new fellow co-workers. Or so she hears.

Less cranky but no more awake and aware, ex-Company Agent Carlos Dante Lupinetti makes much more subdued entrance at Isabella's heels, following the shorter woman in and pulling the door mostly closed behind him.

In contrast to Isabella's acidic glare, Dante's coolly sterile gaze sweeps over the group before resting on Harper. "Good morning," he greets to the room in general, though the leader gets a nod and a "Sir" as he moves to take a seat. Is that begrudging respect?

The more things change, the more they stay the same — a conference room is a conference room, and a meeting is a meeting. Yet it feels like a frightening new world for Veronica Sawyer as she steps into the room, glancing at those already present and managing to keep her stoic mask firmly on — those who know the agent are used to the worried expression she perpetually wears, the dark circles beneath her eyes that suggest a lack of sleep. There's the slightest twitch around the eyes as she sees some familiar faces in their midst — mostly familiar faces, really. She knows why she's here — she doesn't know why any of the rest of them are, and it makes her true job here more difficult than she anticipated.

With a heavy sigh, she finds a seat, crossing her legs in her usual pin-striped trousers, a jade green blouse that usually suits her coloring serving instead to highlight the pallor that gives her usual olive coloring a sallow tone today.

It's way too early for this kind of thing. Most of the world is still asleep, curled up nice and warm and safe in their beds, with at least another hour or two before they have to leave the blissful realm of sleep and prepare for yet another day in the daily grind that is New York City, and its surrounding areas. The drive over to the Suresh Center from the Octagon was quick, at the very least.

Elle Bishop looks different today. Sure, she's still got that same diminutive stature. She wears a stylish-looking business black pin-stripe business suit today, with a blue shirt hidden beneath the jacket that goes so well with it. She has those same stylish high heels that are almost always present on her feet, which offer that tell-tale click against the floor as she makes her way in. It's her hair that's different. What was once a shock of blonde hair has been replaced by locks of nearly-black brunette.

Elle also looks like she wishes she was still in bed. Holding a coffee cup to herself as if it were her lifeline, she steps into the conference room, quietly making her way to the table. Casting a blue-eyed glance over those gathered, she drops into her seat, sipping at the hot beverage. A smile is cast in Dante's direction, in particular.

At Elle's back, the contrasting light to her dark - if one buys the deceptive allegory - a face most of the Company converts likely thought they wouldn't lay eyes on again. Former Company Doctor, former Vanguard, former Ferry… Odessa Knutson has been a lot of things in her life. Her hair hangs in shaggy layers about her face, now stark white where it had once been golden blonde. Scars pit and dimple her face, long since healed. Her useless eye is hidden by a black eye patch that the style of her hair obscures somewhat. A bubblegum pink heart of all things can be seen peeking between strands.

Where Elle is dressed darkly, Odessa is bright. A sunny yellow silk shirt with a high, ruffled collar (to hide the vicious scar across her throat) is tucked into a white pencil skirt. Four inch canary yellow heels click on the solid flooring as she makes her way into the conference room behind Elle.

And speaking of canaries, Odessa is looking largely like a cat that's just managed to catch one. Her dark blue gaze is narrowed slightly, the smirk playing on her lips supremely self-satisfied. Setting a coffee cup similar to the electrokinetic's down on the table, Odessa takes a seat next to Elle. Her gaze sweeps the others gathered in the room, almost challenging the familiar faces. Say something. I dare you.

"Agents," is the first word of greeting that Desmond Harper offers as he slowly turns around to regard the people gathering at the table. "It's good to see you all set up in this environment, I know that a lot of you are familiar with one another, having come from similar backgrounds in the Company, but I thought I'd take this time to familiarize you all with each other. I'm a proponent of openness in the workplace, and after the rather difficult last couple of weeks we've had, I think we could all use a little setting of our horizons."

With his back to the window, Harper takes a few slow steps across the office, brow furrowed and head dipped down. "To my right," he explains with a motion to Olivia, "is Special Agent Olivia Roland, ex-CIA Special Activities Division. Her specialties include surveillance and urban counter-terrorism. Special Agent Roland was pulled out of active duty during the first-string recruitment of the Institute. Olivia is a registered Tier-1 Pyrokinetic capable of manipulating, but not creating, fire."

Agent Roland tips her head down into a nod, threading a stringy lock of blonde hair behind one ear, hazel eyes sweeping across the table, meeting Elle for a moment before looking back down to the tabletop. "Next is Special Agent Lucas Eldridge, First-Lieutenant United States Marine Corps, former FBI come Homeland Security. Lucas possesses a long-range molecular displacement ability similar to what's classified as teleportation, which he is registered under. He's our go-to man for all field operations where travel and expedience go hand in hand. Lucas' specializations are counter-intelligence and telecommunications technologies."

Sweeping his blue-eyed stare down the table, Harper offers a smile to Veronica, motioning to her with one sweeping gesture. "Agent Veronica Sawyer, former agent of the Company. Surveillance and observation specialist, exemplary field career during her tenure with the Company. Registered Tier-1 Evolved with the ability of Power Reflection. Specific point-of-target Evolved abilities reflect back off of Agent Sawyer onto the originator. We're still in testing phases with her power, so we're not sure how her ability may interface with all of yours. So best to be careful for your own safety."

Harper's attention moves down to the sullen woman sitting at the table, walking around behind Isabella's chair, setting a hand on her shoulder. "Agent Isabella Dawson, former NYPD forensics investigator and ex-Company agent. Dawson's specialties include crime-scene investigation, something that I assure you we'll all be handling." That almost seems directed to Elle, as if requesting she behaves. "Agent Dawson is a Registered Tier-1 hemokinetic— that's blood manipulator for those of you not up on your terminology." That remark is jabbed towards Roland, who snorts derisively before looking up to Harper and feigning a smile. "Dawson is recently manifested and we're still not entirely sure on the length and width of her ability. We'll come back to her and Agent Sawyer a little later on that topic…"

Moving down the line, Isabella's leash-holding accomplice is next, though Dante gets a pat on the shoulder too, one that— sort of— lingers. "Agent Dante Lupinetti, former NYPD homicide detective, he brings a unique breed of intuitive detective work to the table. He's a Registered Tier-0 Evolved with the ability of superhuman intuition. His breed of cunning will be instrumental in our line of work…" and yet Harper leaves the topic of Dante's academics a little muddied as he moves on.

"Agent Eleanor Bishop," yes, he just used her first name and is smirking about it to himself. "Long-standing former Company agent, Registered Tier-2 electrokinetic. Elle isn't quite our muscle, because that's inappropriate pigeon-holing, but I like to think that in a pinch Agent Bishop could help pull our collective asses out of the fire. Elle specializes in interrogation," Harper notes with one suggestively raised brow and a clearing of his throat. "She can be very persuasive."

Moving past Elle, Harper comes to stand beside Odessa's chair, his hands folded behind his back. "Agent Odessa Price, former Company agent with a focus in medicine. Odessa is going to be performing double duty working in the field with all of you and also serving as one of our laboratory technicians aside our two lab heads, whom I'll be introducing later."

Coming now to the end of the table, Harper tucks his hands into his pockets and offers a lopsided smile. "You all are, at the moment, this nation's single-most important line of defense between an uncertain population of dangerous Evolved and the common man. I'd like to personally welcome you all to the Commonwealth Institute's New York City branch."

The pencil in Dante's hand snaps in half when Harper refers to Dante as "Registered." His eyes widen and he gives the man a completely blank stare. No comment, though. He's behaving tonight.

The fact that they plan on using Eldridge's special brand of transportation makes Veronica glance at him with a slight widening of her brown eyes. Clearly taking parts of bodies along with them as they teleport isn't a concern to the Institute. She arches a brow at the omission on Harper's part of Odessa's ability. Is it because the Institute doesn't know, or because they don't want the other agents to know what the temporal manipulator can do?

The snap from Dante's pencil draws Sawyer's gaze his way and she lifts her brows in something akin to empathy. Welcome to the club, her face clearly says. She gives a nod to those she doesn't know, then brings her attentive if guarded gaze back to Harper's face.

Elle sips at her coffee as Harper goes around making the introductions, nodding toward each person as they are introduced by Harper. She seems very amused by Dante's reaction to Harper's statements, smirking at him from her spot at the conference table as she hunches over that coffee with her hands clasped around it protectively. Her caffeine. Veronica, in turn, is given a small raise of the brunette's eyebrows. So Harper did end up recruiting her.

As her full name is used, Elle grimaces. Note to self: tell Harper to never use that name. That's her mom's name, not hers. She offers him an almost hurt look at the use of her name, before turning her eyes back toward the table. She too notices Harper's glossing over of Odessa's ability, but says nothing. She'll ask Odessa later.

It would appear that Dante Lupinetti wasn't the only one caught off guard by Harper's introductions. Odessa's good eye widens faintly. While her smirk had faded away over the course of Harper's speech, the last vestiges of it are completely eradicated the moment her name - the name she thought was her own little secret - passes his lips. It seems Odessa and Elle both have issues with names.

Beneath the surface of the table, Odessa's hand settles on Elle's thigh, just above the knee. The squeeze could be a show of reassurance, or a manifestation of her own annoyance. The doctor's posture stiffens, her head held high, as though she perhaps really isn't as bothered by the surprise as she seems. Veronica receives a lingering gaze and a nod in response. She'll have to keep her eye on her. She knows what she was meant to be ordered to do.

"Now that we've gotten that out of the way," Harper notes with a dip of his head, "I'd like to introduce you to our support team." When Harper's hand is withdrawn from his pocket, he's holding a small, thin remote that he points at the flat panel monitor over his shoulder, which changes from the animated helix display to that of four video feeds divided across the monitor. In each box, there is a different individual on camera.

In one of them is a weathered-looking old man with short, curly hair and a sagging face, eyes distantly focused and buttoned up lab coat immaculately kept. Behind him is an obscured display of an office. "Joining us from the central office in Cambridge Massachusetts, I'd like to introduce you all to the head of our laboratory division, Doctor Jean-Martin Luis." The old man offers a plaintive smile as his head dips down into a bobbed nod.

"Good morning, ah, agents. It's regrettable that I cannot be here in person, but I'm settling some ah, unexpected last-minute affairs here in the central offices before I join you in New York." Luis' brows raise and a crooked smile spreads across his lips. "I look forward to working with you, especially, Doctor Price. I've heard a great deal about you, and my lab assistant will be most excited to meet you."

On that note, the next screen comes on, revealing— a child. A young, blonde girl no older than fifteen smiles back brightly as she is in the middle of tying her hair back behind her head in a messy bun. "This is Julie, she is a very special operative of the Institute and a guest of Doctor Luis' in our care. She will be assisting Doctor Luis in our medical facilities here indefinitely."

"Good morning Agents, it's a pleasure to make your acquaintances. I've been told that I'll be performing some training exercises with agents Dawson and Sawyer, and I look forward to getting to help you both understand and utilize your abilities more effectively." Fondly smiling, the young girl bows her head and leans back away from the camera.

"Julie is an expert on Evolved physiology and ability manifestation, don't let her young age fool you, she's exceptionally talented and bright." Harper's rather glowing description of Julie has the blonde offering a bashful smile as she shifts around on her seat in front of the camera. "Next I'd like to introduce you to one of our field agents, currently on-assignment." The screen on the bottom left flashes on, revealing a stoic-looking bald man familiar to all of the Company agents.

"This is Rene, he's a Registered Evolved, Tier-2 memory manipulator. Rene has the capability to erase long and short term memory permanently with no known method of revision, even by telepathic intrusion. His ability also gives him the capability to negate the Evolved powers of SLC-expressive humans in a very wide area of effect."

Rene silently dips his head into a nod, the background behind his grainy webcam screen looking like an office, though the vista outside of one of the office windows is a pine forest. "Lastly, our senior field coordinator and the agent to whom you'll all be working under on our assignments. He is the field operations director of the Institute New York, and I believe a few of you may be familiar with him."

The man who appears on the bottom-right corner of the screen may as well be a ghost as far as the Company was concerned, a dead field agent come back to life. His similarities to the Haitian begin and end at black and bald-headed. The severe, gaunt countenance of Roger Goodman comes as no surprise to Veronica Sawyer, though the traitor to the Company's death was well-known among Company agents serving in 2009. That the man who tried to turn the Company over to the government for Pinehearst found a home with the Institute shouldn't be surprising. Yet, somehow…

"It's a pleasure to see you all gathered together," is stated in Goodman's coarse voice, dark eyes judging each individual seated at that desk. "My current field operations are keeping me personally away from this meeting for logistical reasons, but rest-assured by next week I will be getting to know all of you personally."

"Goodman will be your advisor and commander in the field, head of operations beneath myself. Goodman is a Registered Tier-1 teleporter, however his ability is relegated only to himself. Organic matter he takes along with himself is… scrambled along the way. Don't count on Roger to get you out of any tight situations, but if you ever need his assistance, he's— usually— only a phone call away."

The words training exercises is rather ominous coming from a seemingly supernaturally bright child. Why she and Isabella are alone in those plans, without Elle or Dante, Veronica isn't sure she wants to know, but she simply gives a stoic nod at Julie's words. Rene's visage on the screen surprises her, and her eyes widen slightly. She had finally gotten over her fear of the man, thanks to her protection from his gifts, only to find him here.

When Goodman surveys the agents, Veronica drops her gaze, peering instead at her hands in her lap, twisting a little nervously. Who isn't here, aside from those she saw fall to the Institute? She isn't sure where everyone landed, though the fact that Dante, Elle, and Isabella weren't at the meeting the morning of the last, fated Company meeting brings a slight flush of anger to her cheeks.

The blonde-turned-brunette doesn't seem too interested in Luis or Julie, aside from memorizing their faces along with their names. In fact, she nonchalantly sips at her coffee— that is, until Rene pops onto the screen. Elle's eyes widen slightly, and her brows raise high, as she peers at that familiar face. She frowns quietly at the screen, peering up at the man she's known since she was small.

At least he's on their side, now.

Goodman doesn't receive much surprise from Elle Bishop; after all, she was there when he appeared for Odessa. Her brows raise only slightly, leaning forward on the table as she peers up at the screen. After a long moment of scrutinizing those on the screen, the electric brunette turns her gaze back to those in the room, most notably taking Veronica's posturing into account. Then, she's got her attention on Harper once more, sipping her coffee in complete silence.

Odessa's lips part with shock at the second face to come on the screens. She doesn't quite stop herself from emitting a surprised murmur, "Julie?" She hasn't seen the young blonde since she was, well… Even younger. She quiets herself quickly, holding up her free hand in a display of my bad, I'm done interrupting.

The woman with white hair brings her coffee to her lips and when the Haitian pops up on screen, she actually swallows wrong. A quick series of quiet coughs clears the liquid from her airways. At least she didn't spit it across the table and over one of her new co-workers. Her gaze narrows on Rene. They haven't been on the same team for quite some time now, and she isn't sure how this new arrangement will actually pan out. Remember that time I totally stabbed you in the ribs? will probably not make for the greatest of office party stories.

The knowing smile on Julie's face implies less surprise on the younger woman's part, and for all that she seems self-satisfied, there's nothing quite smug about it; borderline, but not quite. Harper moves away from the display, now circling the other side of the table as he walks, remote control something of a pointer waggling around in one hand as he talks.

"The goal of the Commonwealth Institute is supporting branches of the United States Government in the field with specialized support for Evolved-related investigations and special operations casework. For those of you familiar with the Company's investigations department, you won't be treading unfamiliar territory. For those of you who've been in the Institute for a while now," Harper looks to Eldridge and Roland, "help out our newbies along the way."

Moving to the head of the table by the windows again, Harper looks out over the New York City skyline. "This building is our central base of operations at present. We're going to be working on repairing and refitting the old Fort Hero installation, but that's a project that is going to take probably a year or more to get off the ground. For now, all agent operations will be headed from this facility's third floor out of public eye. You are all welcome to take residences at the Octagon for convenience on the Institute's dime."

Folding his arms across his chest, Harper tilts his head to the side. "On paper, we are independent consultants working for the Department of Defense and the National Security Agency. However no one in the field needs to know this. Each of you will need to adopt cover operation identities. Either in the Department of Homeland Security or the Department of Evolved Affairs, whichever is more appealing to you. Right now you have a week to choose that distinction, and it won't directly affect your status as agents of the Institute, but it will define what governmental resources you have access to."

Harper looks over his shoulder to the window, then back to the agents at the table. "In the next week we'll be gaining our footing, familiarizing ourselves with protocol here at the Suresh Center and getting to know one another a little better. As you all likely have seen, there's a strong focus on the apprehension of former Company officials ongoing. This team is going to be put on the apprehension of those individuals, and if any of you have reservations towards working this end, you can speak with me privately after the meeting."

Breathing in deeply, Harper exhales a slow, steady breath. "However, we're going to be pulling double duty. Aside from our search for rogue agents of the Company, we're also going to be handling traditional investigations of Evolved-related incidents. I'd like to open the floor right now to any questions you all may have about how this is going to be working or just any concerns you may have."

Unsurprisingly, that their first case is the apprehension of her former colleagues deepens that worried scowl on Veronica's face, and she looks to Harper; her lips part slightly as if she would speak, but she gives a terse nod at the directive to speak to him privately later. Even if she were willing and eager to serve the Institute, hunting her former colleagues is a lot to ask.

Still, she consciously smooths away that furrowed brow, exchanging that expression for the stoic mask once more, before tipping her head at Harper. "Will we be using the teamwork approach of the Investigative Team or will we be back to more traditional partnerships?" she asks, her husky voice a little huskier than usual — it's the first she's spoken to anyone this morning.

Elle's eyes remain on Harper as he speaks, sipping down that coffee and quietly nodding along to his words, her brows raising slightly. From the look on her face, the mildly smug satisfaction that plays across her features as Harper confers their basic duties, she doesn't seem to mind the hunting of former Company Agents nearly as much as Veronica seems to.

It is, after all, quite personal for her.

Her eyes trail to Veronica briefly, as well as across the other faces in the room, taking in their reaction. Veronica's question is met with a slow nod, her eyes turning to Harper. Beneath the table, she reaches down and squeezes Odessa's hand, glancing briefly to her, before turning back to the man of the hour.

She also offers forth a question of her own, the first words she's spoken to anyone other than Odessa this morning. "Will you be providing information on the resources accessible to each cover operation identity? If not, could you please go over those?" She offers a charming, if somewhat tired-looking smile across the conference table to Harper.

Odessa's lips purse as she listens to Harper's explanation of what the Commonwealth Institute intends to accomplish. The thought of further blood on her hands doesn't concern her as of yet, if that's what this is meant to come to. She's standing on the fence somewhere between Elle and Veronica, in truth. There are assuredly certain individuals she will have no issue bringing in, and handing over to the government. But there are others that she hopes not to have to confront. She's still unaware that the man she promised a pass to is already dead.

"Agent Bishop took the words right out of my mouth," Odessa intones cheerfully. Surreptitiously, she laces her fingers with Elle's loosely. "I am also curious, as Agent Sawyer is, as to how we will be assigned. What's the criteria?" Logic, in Odessa's mind, dictates that partnerships of some sort are a necessity in the line of work they've all found themselves in.

"Teamwork, teamwork, teamwork." Harper reiterates with a wag of his remote control at each punctuation mark. "Put aside outdated and frankly offensive notions of us and them. There is no us and them anymore. You'll be working as a team, coordinating with one another and— most importantly," almost has a sing-song quality to it, "cooperating with one another." That much is offered at Elle, then Odessa, then Isabella. Problem children.

"As far as the resources of your prospective cover identities go, a Department of Homeland Security identity allows you to take authority in crime-scene related situations, as well as access to the DHS' criminal database, communications network and the like. For all intents and purposes, you'd be an acting DHS agent, just not responding to their hierarchy. You'd be working under the title of Evolved Specialist."

Scratching at the back of his head with the remote, Harper looks up to the four video screens, then back down to the agents at the table. "The DoEA badge might give you a different edge. While it's not going to give you the same access around crime scenes and on paper, it can make you a less hostile face. People are much more willing to coordinate their efforts with a DoEA officer than DHS, especially the untrusting. You'd also be operating under different auspices in the field and be utilizing your DoEA cover for agent/civilian coordination. You might have the opportunity to make some public appearances and generally operate in civilian quarters with less scrutiny and less suspicion than a DHS agent would. It's the difference between being a police officer or working social services. The nuts and bolts of resources, I can offer up later in more detail after the meeting."

"If I may, Director Harper," chimes in Goodman as he returns to his screen from off-camera, "I'd also like to recommend to our agents that they familiarize themselves with local representatives of whatever branch they opt to work under. Agents of the DoEA and DHS will be aware that you're working for a special operations branch of the government, however a little making nice could go a long ways towards interdepartmental cooperation. They likely will not know what the Institute is, though it is not forbidden to speak of it."

"Goodman brings up a good point," Harper notes as he looks around the room. "The Commonwealth Institute isn't the Company. People know about us, Doctor Luis' work is highly publicized along with Doctor Suresh's. What I want to emphasize is that we're not a secret organization, but we are an organization with secrets. The only thing that is need-to-know is our operations headquarters being here at the Suresh Center. Due to security reasons that needs to remain a classified point."

"I'll keep the Homeland cover, then," Veronica murmurs after Harper finishes explaining the difference between the two agencies and the consequences of their cover choices.

Her whiskey-brown eyes linger on the screen, staring at the ghost of Company past, Roger Goodman, before they flit back to Harper. "I already have some connections established there, and it would probably make for less questions asked in the long run if I suddenly swapped agencies for no apparent reason." That and she has absolutely no desire to be mingle and rub elbows in a more civilian sort of setting.

"If that's all right with you, of course."

The brunette leans forward, sipping the last of her coffee as she ponders on the information offered, rubbing her fingers over her chin as she thoughtfully regards Harper. As she realizes that her coffee has disappeared, she frowns sadly down at the cup, shaking it once, before setting it down. Then, her eyes turn back to front and center, nodding slowly along with what is said as she absorbs the information.

She glances toward Veronica for a moment, tapping her chin, before turning back toward Harper, a thoughtful look on her face. "Sounds like I should probably go with Homeland, as well." Even Elle herself knows that she is not quite fit for making public appearances and working with civilians. Despite Harper's reluctance to classify her as such, she really is more muscle than anything else.

"What of the hunt for Company agents?" The little brunette tilts her head toward Desmond and the screen in general, her brows raised high on her forehead.

Harper receives Odessa's best innocent look. Though it's kind of hard to look innocent when you resemble a pirate who's seen the wrong end of the sword on several occasions. Can't blame a girl for trying. Tucking a strand of white hair behind her ear, Odessa pushes her coffee cup in front of the brunette at her side.

She opens her mouth to speak, but Elle beats her to it, and so whatever thought it was that crossed her mind, Odessa seems content to keep it to herself. Perhaps it was along those same lines.

"Homeland for me," Isabella adds, after a long period of silence and returned, scathing stares. But at least she nodded at that bit about cooperation. She can play nice, swear it. "I'm not a … public person," she adds. Probably best for Homeland Security that Isabella Dawson never be a face for them. Ever. Unless maybe they drug her with happiness, kindness, and hippie-dippy love for common man.

And as for the hunt for Company agents? Isa merely shrugs. Sure, whatever. Target's a target.

"No need to decide right this moment, I'd like the requisite paperwork filled out by the beginning of next week at the latest though. I need to know if it's Parkman or Praeger I'll need to be sending names to." Two very different bosses. "For the time being I'd like you all to be on an observe and report status regarding rogue Company agents. Right now nothing specific, no one specific, and don't act on any known agents if you manage to find their whereabouts. Report back and we'll get on the situation. Right now the last thing we need are the survivors from the Company being aware of exactly who is ally and enemy. Controlling that information will be helpful for planning on how to bring in the agents that have escaped so far."

Lifting up one hand to rub at his temple, Harper looks over at the videos. "Gentlemen, Julie, thank you for showing up. I'll be looking forward to seeing you on board with us fully come next week." As he makes his way towards the head of the table, Harper rests his hand on the back of the chair, a thoughtful expression briefly crossing his features as he considers Veronica, but nothing winds up being voiced.

"There may be more agents officially joining us as operations expand and progress, but for the time being we're on a holding pattern until everything is finalized with our transition into this building. Those of you who'll need residency applications for the Octagon can get them from me after the meeting."

One more change for Veronica, as if the upheaval in personal and professional life hasn't been complete and total enough. The apartment at Dorchester had been set up by the Company, by Goodman, for herself and for Brian Winters when first the two were partnered together, a year and a half ago. It feels like a lifetime or more.

Her choice to move to the Octagon is both a personal and a strategic one — it will be easier to move on and do this task she's burdened herself with, without all the memories lurking like ghosts in every corner of her apartment. She and Brian had played house, playing at a normal life that Veronica knew they'd never really get to have. It's easier to cut it all away completely. Veronica swallows hard and nods at Harper's words. She'll need an application, and to speak with him about the 'hunt' after the meeting.

Leaning back in her seat, Elle offers another somewhat pitiful look to her empty coffee cup. She needs more caffeine, that wasn't enough! A soft sigh is thrown toward the empty paper cup, before blue eyes turn back up to Harper, nodding slowly. That's exactly what she was hoping to hear. A small, smug smile forms on her features, as she idly fiddles with the hem of her jacket.

She has the advantage of being mildly integrated into the Institute already. Along with that comes the perk of already being settled at the Octagon, as well as having planned for this. A half-wave is offered to Julie and Luis, though the brunette Elle's attention is on Harper.

Odessa's eyes flit to the untouched cup of coffee she's slid in front of her roommate, then up to Elle's eyes, following her gaze. Her breath hitches a moment and she squeezes the electrokinetic's hand once as if to remind her I'm here.

The fingers of her free hand twitch against the desk restlessly. She doesn't quite drum her fingers on the glass surface, but the anxiousness is clear. Odessa watches Desmond Harper's moves with interest. If she has her way, she'll be dragging Elle out the door the moment this meeting is adjourned.

As far as meetings go, the first meeting of the Institute's New York team since its formal inception went well. The self-satisfied smile on Harper's face as the screens on the monitor go black is proof positive of his reaction to that. Lifting up a hand to rake through his hair, the operations director of this investigative team offers a steady look across the table, then swings his hands together in a clap.

"Alright, Agents. You've got your thinking material for the week. Try and spend a little time together while you're not on active duty and keep an ear to the ground about the Company agents, see if you hear anything and report back when you do." Then, with something like smug satisfaction playing across his lips, Harper rests his hands down on the back of his chair and puts an ending to this meeting, much in the same way the late Martin Crowley once did during his tenure at the Company, with a solemn nod, and a declaration.

"Meeting adjourned."

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