Bad Company, Part II


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Scene Title Bad Company, Part II
Synopsis Martin Crowley continues his inquisition of the Company with Veronica Sawyer, but an unexpected intersection of past and present changes the paradigm of the meeting.
Date September 7, 2009

Fort Hero, Conference Room

Internal Affairs has a ring to it that conjures up notions of guilt from even the most pious individual. When organizations that operate outside of the normal jurisdictions of the government bring in an Internal Affairs operative, the reasoning behind that is usually of paramount concern. Often, it's big news around the water-cooler. Incidentally, the Fort Hero facilities are lacking in water coolers.

The Company is no different from most law-enforcement agencies when it comes to their IA officers, save that their records and information are typically kept off the books, and the results of their inquests are even more unlikely ever to be heard of. It makes for something similar to the Spanish Inquisition mixed with a tax audit. It's for these auspicious reasons, that the forty-five minute wait that Veronica Sawyer has been suffering through since being served orders to visit with the Company's new transplant agent — and coincidentally Internal Affairs operative — has been twisting her stomach around in as many knots as it is.

The Conference Room in Fort Hero is one of the few places with an honest to God water cooler, and it sits in silent contemplation of whatever rumors have been heard around it across from where she's seated at the chair-flanked table. At the edge of her patience, is when the man who hardly lives up to an inflatedly frightening reputation enters. Agent Martin Crowley is hardly an imposing man; five eight, a hundred and sixty pounds, glasses, "Good morning, ah… Agent Sawyer." The somewhat scatterbrained British accent doesn't help make him any more frightening than a field mouse either.

Carrying a stack of folders under one arm, he hastily approaches Veronica's chair with an awkward and anxious smile, one hand thrust out in jerky offering to her. "Sorry for being late, I've— well I bumped into mister Bishop in the hall and wanted to twist his ear about something."

If this were the Spanish Inquisition, that may have even been more literal.

Veronica's dressed in her usual agent chic — at least, that's her usual style when she needs to have a modicum of professionalism, and this is one of those times. Chocolatey-brown pinstriped trouser pants that fit her like a glove, a matching jacket atop a pale blue blouse, comfortable brown boots she can run in. No doubt her weapons are all underneath that jacket, but she looks like she could be working in a board room of a company of a different sort, if she were not a Company girl.

She stands, smiling so her dimples show, her good-natured and good-employee mask firmly in place as she offers a hand to the senior agent. "Not a problem. I was just going over the current case." There's a folder on the table to occupy her thoughts while waiting for his arrival — but Adam Monroe is only as far away from her mind as he's ever allowed to be. Instead she's thinking about all of the little sins and follies Crowley might be here to interrogate her about. "Nice to meet you." She takes a seat again.

"Ah yes your ahh— " Martin arches a brow as he slips away from Veronica, pullingo ut a chair across the table from her, laying down the stack of folders and pawing through one during that protracted pause. "Yes, yes Monroe. You know I think that might very well be a good start to how this should all go down." Martin's eyes drift up to Veronica as he takes his seat, sliding that folder aside as he pulls out a stack of paperclipped documents, one of them looks like a birth certificate. Furrowing his brows, he leafs through the pages, then looks back up to the agent across the table.

"The file reports I read on your altercation with Monroe says that an agent Marks was killed in the line of duty by Monroe. I know that must have hit you hard, given your… ah…" he smiles quietly, grinning away the explanation. "Why don't you tell me a little about how all of that went down. I know what's here in your report but— sometimes a little distance from an event can be particularly helpful in getting perspective."

Katherine is still alive, unconscious and breathing, though her pulse is starting to fade. She lies there face down, unmoving. A small pool of blood is beginning to form under her on the street.

Veronica's not about to leave Kat, much as she wants to chase down Adam and put as many holes in him as she sees in Kat's body. The Company is still on the phone, beside Kat, and she tells the dispatcher that the target is headed South. She carefully turns Katherine over, staunching the blood the best she is able, cradling her head on her lap. "Stay with me… help's on the way…" She strips her own shirt off, to help stop the bleeding, leaving Vee in just a black bra — she doesn't seem to care as she stares down at Katherine. Somewhere in the distance, sirens can be heard.

Sure. Start with the easy stuff, there, Crowley. The corner of Veronica's mouth curves a touch when he grins. "Which event, Sir? When he shot at agents Dahl and Marks, or when he took me at gun point some time later?" she asks, uncertain which he's asking for further elaboration on. Assuming the latter, she gives a shrug. "He took me at gunpoint, made me sit down and 'have a drink' with him. Asked me who was in charge. Took my weapons. I tried to detain him, but he managed to tase me. I was off duty — I hadn't gone 'looking' for him or anything like that. It was in some random bar, just an utterly chance meeting." It's all the truth, though her cheeks burn red with anger at the memory of it.

"We've tried everyone. Twice. Even brought in healers. They all confirm there is nothing left to do. Again, I'm very sorry." Neither the doctor, nor the lawyer have anything to add. The choice lies solely with Veronica. They stand respectfully aside to give her a few moments with Katherine.

"I'm more interested in the event which resulted in an Agent's death…" Martin states plainly while staring down at the paperwork. "I know there's a lot of hostility around this department due to my presence here, but I want o ensure you, Agent Sawyer," his blue eyes lift up to regard Veronica over the frames of his glasses, "I'm working in your best interests here. My investigation is about inappropriate conduct and negligence from the leadership of this department of the Company, namely Directors Bishop and Dalton. Monroe is only loose because of a security breach which took place almost a year ago."

Leaning back in his chair, Martin's hands fold over Veronica's documents, eyes now squarely on her. "This security breach allowed every resident of Level-5 to escape, along with a long-term compromise of security in this facility itself due to its location being revealed to outside sources. Monroe kidnapped the Director Bishop's daughter and led to him taking a several month long medical leave of absence." Narrowing his eyes and leaning forward, Martin's brows rise. "I guess I'll jus' cut to th' quick then, with this."

"I want to know if you feel the Company's handling of the Adam Monroe case may have contributed to Agent Marks' death. Whatever you say here is in strict confidentiality, Agent Sawyer. Despite the organization I work for, I still respect Client-Lawyer confidentiality, and that is what you are right now. You, and every agent here, are my clients until I'm done."

Damn it, Damn it, Damn it — why did she have to be on the other side of the world in Brooklyn when she got the call to help? Veronica pulls over and is pulling out her cell phone to call 9-1-1, then after, a call to the Company to demand someone who can heal be sent to the scene ASAP or sooner.

"I came to the scene after it went down," Veronica says glancing down, away from his eyes as she tries not to relive that night. "Got called for back up and Marks was on the ground, and I went to help her since Monroe was already too far away to detain, and it was a public locale. I figured it was best if I tried to save the lives of the agents that were there, and Wickham was in pursuit of Monroe already."

She's out of the car while still on the phone, stumbling to where Kat lies on the ground, trying to determine which holes in the other agent's chest are the bleeding the most, and trying to stop the bleeding, futilely, with her trembling hands. The cell phone is dropped as she does so, and she glances at Minea, also bleeding. "Where is he?" she demands, her dark eyes flashing angrily.

Veronica's eyes are dry when she looks up at him, brows furrowing as he discusses her bosses and their supposed security breach.

"Without knowing the details of how the security breach occurred, I don't know that I can say it was their personal fault, no, Sir. It might have been any number of people's fault that the breach occurred. If it was their fault, at some level, then yes, I would say that may have indirectly led to Kat — Katherine Marks' death."

Nodding slowly, Martin scribbles down information on the paper in front of him, jotting down notes and bobbing his head in thoughtful nods as Veronica speaks. "You and I share something of a professional acquaintance in Roger Goodman…" there's a rise of Martin's brows, but he doesn't look up from what he writes. "I worked under Roger in the Chicago branch of the Company. I know his name's a bit poisonous around here these days, but— " finally, that eye contact is established again.

"What can you tell me about your own professional relationship with Agent Goodman, and more directly, what is your own private opinion of how he handled operations during his tenure as assistant director here?" Beginning to move away from softball territory, this one likely counts as a curveball. Regrettably, the analogy is lost on Martin, who's more of a cricket fan.

Taking a half step towards Veronica, Goodman tilts his head to the side, dark eyes leveled at the agent. "The question now stands, which side are you on?"

The younger agent frowns, her brows knitting and ruining that sunny mask she put on at the beginning of the meeting. "I had no problems with Agent Goodman," she begins. "I trusted him, and did what he asked, and felt he was a good leader while he was here." She sighs, picking up her Monroe file and stacking it against the table, as if to straighten the papers within.

As her focus turns to the folder, she can see it's tab reads, Biard, Montomery — Field Agent, Costa Verde CA. Roger's thin brow rise slowly as he holds the folder out to the brunette. "Now, Miss Sawyer, we come to the issue of trust once more. Who to trust, and why. Much about who you are and what you know, is not as it seems on the surface."

"It was only after he left and after I learned why that I had cause to doubt him. It was difficult, as you can imagine, as I'd left my home in California to come serve under him. But I did what was asked of me from the new leadership." She frowns again. "It's hard to know, when so much goes on above my head, how well someone with higher clearance than I do is doing there job. I'm sure you understand. If I have a doubt, I have to assume my direct supervisor is not leading me astray. Because they know more than I do about any given case." She exhales. "I didn't distrust Goodman until I was told to." She frowns at this. She sounds like such a lemming, even to her own ears.

Veronica nods slowly. "How do we do this, then, Goodman?" she asks. "You know that The Company won't let either of us go that easily," she says; her hand reaches up to wrap the lapels of her jacket closer around her neck, as if she's suddenly chilly — the signal to Lawrence on the roof. Goodman might believe he's telling the truth, but even so… it doesn't justify what he did to Minea, or what he would probably do to her, if she had not been the one to come to him first. She'll sort out the truth later.

Nodding his head slightly, Martin grimaces. "That's a very noble quality…" but the way he trails his voice off and looks downt o his paper indicates sarcasm, "for a Golden Retriever." That would be the sarcasm. "I'm not sure how they're training agents these days, but I was always told that if I questioned the objectivity of my seniors, to go above their head and speak to the Director about my reservations. In the future, Agent Sawyer, I'd recommend you do the same thing."

Scribbling a note, there's a flip of his page as he furrows his brows, leaning to the side in quiet consideration of something. "Your previous partner…" Now comes the fastball, "Brian Winters." Martin's blue eyes drift up towards Veronica. "You were placed with him and adopted the public facade of a living relationship with him. Now, I'm not going to question your objectivity in handling his current rogue status, but what I'd like to find out is a little about what you feel towards former Agent Winters. What yout hought of his conduct, his assignment to the Company, and the methods used to— enlist him. Provided you're aware of how he was recruited."

Footfalls can be heard — between the words of his crooning — that stop by the door. Veronica peeks in. She's all business, dressed in black slacks and boots, and a green turtleneck due to the chill outside. She taps on the door that is half open, and then calls in. "Agent Winters?" she says, a voice raised just enough to try to get his attention, though not loud enough to bring the other office drones out of their closed doors to see who is yelling. "Sorry to interrupt your American Idol practice…" she adds a little lower, perhaps to herself, perhaps meant for his ears, it's hard to tell.

Her eyes narrow at the golden retriever comment. She has her own doubts about her loyalty to this company; to have them mocked is like rubbing salts in the self-induced wounds. "To be honest, I only have been able to piece together how he was enlisted from things Winters has told me, Sir," Veronica murmurs in that husky voice of hers. "I knew he was a replicate of Brian Fulk, but I still do not know all of the details of his life before or how he was taken into custody. I know he believed in the job and the Company when I first met him. He was eager and wanted to do a good job. If anything sometimes he was too eager. I do not get the idea he was recruited so much as what you might call drafted."

Whirling around, Brian's brows arch— Wow. Despite knowing what is proper, he can't help but smirk a little bit. Though he won't make a stripper joke, he's learned his lesson with making jokes around all the very attractive females that are in employ at The Company. Quickly buttoning up his shirt, he gives a little grin at her apology. "Eh. Who needs practice? Paula would be all over me." Finishing the buttoning—leaving one or two undone, of course — he goes the door to open it fully. "Come in, can I do something for you?"

"As far as his conduct — as an agent, before he disappeared, he was a good agent. He did his job and he did it well. He saved the lives of not only myself and Agent Marks but several NYPD and FBI agents in the Case takedown. If you mean his conduct since, well. Goodman approached him about Pinehearst. He didn't know what to do and he disappeared for a while. I'm still trying to figure out where his allegiances are currently, as he's reporting to me per Denton's orders."

It takes getting to one of the main streets a block away before they find one, and then they're on their way to Central Park. It's not the safest time to go to the park but it's not like they'd make good mugging targets. Imagine the poor muggers in the aftermath. Veronica leans against Brian in the cab. "Still love me?" Veronica asks, trying to evoke a smile from him.

Nodding once, Martin checks off single box — no notes, no nothing, just a single check mark — and looks back up at Veronica. "Were you, or are you still romantically involved with Agent Winters?" Now he's just shooting to hit the batter square in the shoulder and walk him a base. There's a furrow of Martin's brows as he dryly delivers the sentiment. "Recall that nothing you say here will be used against you in this investigation, however it is necessary for me to ascertain the care taken to assign agents. Inter-office fraternization is not prohibited, after all the Company's second in command — Gael Cruz — is married to his partner."

Leaning back in his chair, Martin's eyes drift up to Veronica. "But what I want to hear, in all honesty from you, is how well you feel Winters was placed with you, and if you are or were engaged in a romantic relationship, do you feel that compromised your objectivity as an agent?"

"I was in a relationship with him, yes."

"A little, I guess." A nervous grin pulls up at his lips. One hand remains glued in his pocket, the other dangles around her shoulders haphazardly. He adjusts himself, allowing his head to lean against the top of her head. His lips pucker briefly to plant a brief kiss against the top of her head. "You still love me?"

"And also with Marks. Simultaneously." There's a little defiance to this as she meets his gaze and raises her chin a little.

The night has come and the room is dark. The sounds of passion have come and gone, and two figures lie in the bed, close with only breathing between them now. One figure is Katherine, who lies on her back, covered up to her chest in bedding. The other figure is rather unseen as her head lies on the shoulder of the Homeland Security agent. Katherine's hand lightly drapes over the other woman's shoulder as she stares up at the ceiling.

"And as far as him being placed with me, well, any two young people being placed together might run a risk of fraternization. Do I feel it was a mistake to place him with me? I don't know. Two single young people will often find a way to do what two single young people like to do, right? It's not like this job really makes for good, stable relationships with people outside of the organization."

She looks away for a moment, focusing her anger and then refocusing it. "It's possible that perhaps Goodman knew something like that would happen. From the timeline I can figure, he went to Winters first, before Dahl. He assumed Winters would have talked to me, brought me in. Maybe it was all a plan." That makes her angry as well. Once more, she feels like a pawn in a game of chess.

Nodding his head, Martin seems somewhat convinced of the latter portions of Veronica's sentiments. "Putting your relationships aside," he seems to give a slight emphasis to the pluralization, "you've brought up something I'd like to talk to you a bit more in depth about. Agent Minea Dahl, one of Goodman's appointments to the Company." Writing a considerable length of notes still about what Veronica described for her relationships, Martin's thoughts seem preoccupied by his notations.

When his eyes finally divert from his writing, up to Veronica, his questions become more pointed. "Have you had much in the line of interactions with Agent Dahl since her appointment to the Company? And— how would you classify them, what's your general opinion on how she handles herself and her cases?"

Minea moves around the bed, careful of the other people and taking her time before she too slides her hand into the free hand of Katherine's. Not a particularly religious woman, Minea mentally murmurs a prayer to god regardless for Katherine to find peace and go to wherever it is that the other agent believed in.

"I never really knew Dahl until after the Monroe incident," Veronica says coolly. "She was a good friend to me when I needed one. She's a good agent, she believes in what she does, and she is very good at what she does on most days." She shrugs, reaching up to tuck a strand of hair behind one ear. "Usually she handles herself well. I'd say the deal with Frontline that resulted in Agent Ivanov's abduction was a mistake, but I'm sure she thought she was doing the right thing." Veronica pauses and tilts her head. "If you're asking about the whole Phoenix stint, I trust that she was always loyal to us." Loyal, like a golden retriever.

"Everyone has good intentions when they make mistakes," Martin notes with a twirl of his pen, not writing anything down at all. "Plantation owners thought they were doing their slaves a favor— taking the uneducated black man out of the jungle and giving him work. The Nazi party thought that it's purification of the Jews was for the betterment of the human race." His head inclines, pen tapping against the side of his head. "A bit outside of how badly Dahl handled things, but the point I'm making is — the path to hell's paved with good intentions, and noble intentions don't make up for mistakes."

Setting down his pen, Martin exhales a sigh."Eventually, intentions just become excuses." And with that, he looks back up to Veronica, eyes narrowed slightly. "Which brings me to my next question. Do you know of any instances in your tenure here with the Company that exhibit what you would consider neglegent activity on the part of Company administration or agents? Anything that you feel could be changed, work better, or be handled differently?"

The doctor isn't in any hurry. He takes a deep breath, as this is truly one part of his job that he truly despises. He reaches over and flips one button, then the second, and then finally a third. The wooshing sound of the ventilator stops almost immediately, leaving only the steady beeping sounds of Katherine's heart beat. The doctor removes the mask from Katherine's face, and then steps away. The beeping continues.

Then the beeps turn into a solid tone, as the jagged lines on the screen flattens out. The doctor silences the sound, then he and the lawyer leave the room. The silence that follows is deafening, as that single tear clings to Katherine's cheek.

Veronica's jaw sets, her eyes narrow, when he speaks of Nazis and plantation owners. She has her doubts about the Company as it is — he's not doing very much to assuage them. She doesn't trust him. "Not in my tenure per se," she says quietly. "But apparently the Company has done some things I'm not sure that I can consider good. Like experimenting on small children in order to make them Evolved, or lying to people in order to recruit them," she says evenly. "Mindwipes. Things like that." She waves a hand as if to fill in the details to her vague words — as if she speaks only of generalities, no specific instances, especially not of herself. "Like you said, they may have good intentions. But some of it, my moral compass points to wrong."

Veronica feels the bullet pass through her head, an unjacketed round parting through gray matter in a numb sensation of pressure before the back of her head erupts in a spray of blood. Her vision blurs and goes back, and a deep, sucking ache hits her in the chest as she watches herself die.

"Vague generalizations don't make my job any easier," Martin notes with a disappointed sigh, considering his pen briefly before looking back up to Veronica. "You're certain that there's nothing that you've seen happen that made you wonder is this how it should be? Nothing you've noticed that you think you could improve upon? No agents you think shouldn't be working their jobs?"

He picks up the pen, clicking the writing head out, hopeful that she might just have some small nugget of information that could be a lead or a break in an otherwise suffocatingly difficult investigation.

"This discussion is very much about trust, Miss Sawyer." Roger glances down to the ground, then back up to Veronica. Removing his hands from his pockets, Roger lets them fold behind his back, shoulders relaxing and a troubled look coming over his dark eyes. "Does the name Montgomery Biard ring a bell to you?"

"You have all the files and information. I'm only level 3," Veronica reminds him. "No, not in the day to day job of people I know and the things I hear about. Denton's a good man. The one person I didn't think should be working here — well, he's out. Varlane. He wasn't ready for this job, and I hate the fact I recruited him, but the call came from on high, higher than Denton. The only other thing in recent memory, Castillo going after Dahl after Denton made it clear that we were not to — I had a feeling Dahl was only a plant, but Castillo thought she had turned traitor. She didn't follow orders, and it almost got both of them killed." She shrugs again.

"But do I think Castillo is a bad agent? No." She thinks a moment. "I'll say I have concerns about the fact that after Winters and I took Tyler Case into custody, somehow he ended up escaping, at some point in the future, and coming back, wreaking havoc with his power. I reported it. Nothing seemed to come of it, but again, I'm only clearance level 3. I have to assume that it's being handled by someone with higher clearance than I have."

"I worked with Agent Paulson in Chicago," Goodman finally says in a grim tone as Veronica moves past that page, "I only became aware recently after perusing Company files that he was another man previously — Montgomery Biard. The agent who recruited you, James Moore," Goodman's focus goes distant, looking at the warehouse behind Veronica, "is registered with the ability of hypnotic persuasion. The dossier on your recruitment, the one I was reading when i first met you, indicates that you were implanted with suggestions to join the Company." Dark eyes narrow slowly, and Roger's tone becomes a bit more sharp. "Your talents were not something the Company would not allow to go to 'waste' with you in an official branch of the government." After a moment he relents some, turning his head away from Veronica. "As I said, this is about trust."

"As far as vague generalizations — Goodman let me know, in his effort to win me to his side, that I was lied to, that my recruitment was based on lies. He told Winters that apparently he had been experimented on as a baby. But those were things that happened so many years past, I'm sure that they're not what you're looking for." Her voice is chilly.

"The past isn't always entirely irrelevant, but that Winters was made aware of that piece of ancient history itself tells me that — " Conversation is interrupted by a click of the door to the conference room and the immediate flick of Martin's eyes up to the intruder. There, in the doorway, a short and curly-haired man in a dark suit steps in, eyes wandering to Veronica with a weak smile before his focus shifts to Martin.

"Sir, I pulled the file on Agent Woods' death that you asked me for. I left messages for Agents Grant and Lee to get in touch with you about that as soon as…" something distracts the dark-haired agent, and his eyes wander over to Veronica. For a brief moment, Martin's brows furrow and his shoulders square.

"Agent Sawyer," his voice is somewhat strained, motioning to the man at the door with a wave of his pen. "This is my partner, Agent Paulson." The name falls like a gunshot in the room to each of them, and Paulson's posture stiffens, eyes grow wide and he focuses back on Veronica in the way a dog would to a particularly fiesty alley cat. His neck muscles tense, eyes dart back to Martin, and he freezes where he stands.

Maybe if he doesn't show motion, she'll forget he was there.

Talk about making one's cue. Veronica's eyes dart from their stoic focus on Crowley's face to the interruption with mere curiosity. It's rare that there's a face she doesn't know around here, so the newcomer merits a glance merely for that reason alone. She glances back to Crowley, waiting for him to continue, but then that name is dropped. There's a flicker in her eyes, a slight movement of her head, half of a shake, half a denial of the words. That can't be Paulson. He looks barely older than herself. He couldn't have killed her father. It couldn't have been this Paulson. And if it was, do they know she's that Sawyer?

Of course they know, some part of her whispers. She brings her eyes back to Crowley, one hand covering the other on the folder on the table, as if to keep that gun hand for reaching for her firearm. "Paulson," she echoes back. It could be taken as a greeting, or perhaps simply asking for clarification that she got the name right.

There's sweat collecting on Paulson's brows as they raise. "Sawyer…" The words come off terse, anxious, and his eyes wander to Martin who only flashes the man a you should have knocked look that is admonishing only in the furrow of his brows. "It's ah— I'll— " he looks back to Martin, nodding his head repeatedly before just backing out of the door like a dog with his nose slapped with a newspaper. When it clicks shut, Martin's gaze drifts across the table back towards Veronica, both brows raised ina very well then expression.

"That wasn't quite how I expected easing you into that bit of information. I take it from— what you said about your own recruitment that you're aware of Agent Paulson's status, and that as a professional Company Agent, you wouldn't allow that to compromise your judgment in the field? Knowledge about Paulson's past assignments is strictly level four clearance or higher. So, you may understand where I ask that it not be publicly shared."

It is that Paulson. Crowley's words confirm that her worst nightmare has just come true. Her face no doubt pale, Veronica's lips part as if she will speak, but she simply nods. "I haven't told any of my colleagues yet," she manages to murmur, though her brows furrow and she gets that little girl lost look that happens when she looks confused or afraid. "Does Denton know he's here?" she murmurs. She thought there'd be some warning before coming face to face with this nightmare — or that Denton would keep it from ever happening. She can't quite manage to look into Crowley's scowling face, and her eyes fall once more on her file folder.

"He might," and the shrug of Crowley's shoulder shows no concern for whether he does or not. "Director Dalton knows, and she's the only one I report to here. Even then, Dalton isn't the one this report is going back to when it's finished, and I have an interview t perform with her regardless. This work I'm doing here?" His eyes lift up to Veronica from a brief glance at her dossier, "this is to prevent things like the accidental death of your father from happening in the future, Miss Sawyer. I don't want you to be under any misconceptions otherwise."

Exhaling a sigh, Martin closes the folder and folds his hands on top of it, shaking his head from side to side. "I think— for now— that's about all I can muster for you with my questions. But if you think of anything else, or see anything you'd like to report?" One brow rises slowly, "Don't hesitate to fire off an email to me, my address is in the public registry in the offices."

"You're trying to prevent accidental deaths, but he still works for the Company?" Veronica says with a shake of her head. So much for her mask; not that it hasn't slipped at least three or four times in the interview already. She stands, picking up her file and closing her eyes to will herself calm for a few seconds. "Of course. I'll email you any concerns as I have them," she says, her voice now a careful study of tranquility. "I'm sorry if I couldn't be more helpful."

Watching Veronica carefully, Martin's head inclines ever so subtley. "Despite what you may think because of your country's judicial system," there's an undercurrent of vitriol there, "making the remainder of a person's life all about the worst mistake they ever made isn't always the best solution to a problem, or even a solution at all. Nobody's without fault, Agent Sawyer, and some people deserve a second chance, despite it seeming like they shouldn't."

"You've… been something of a help." Martin's brows furrow slightly, rising up to stand straight as he looks from Veronica, to the door, and back again. "Pass along my contact information to mister Winters when you see him. I think, in light of our conversation, I'd like to have a confidential chat with him about what made him run, if you don't mind."

"He's no longer under the employ of the Company, but I'll pass it on," Veronica says, her husky voice a touch huskier than usual, a tell-tale sign to those who know her that she's fighting back emotion. To Crowley, it might just sound like a frog in her throat. "I can't guarantee he'll be inclined to talk." She heads for the door, hoping that Paulson isn't on the other side when she reaches for the door knob, eager to escape this conference room, her own private hell.

"Tell him there may be a place here for him after all if he decides he wants to." Martin notes with a steady inflection of that British accent, metered and carefully hiding an accent far more unwieldly. "Someone has to help make changes around here, and if he has a legitimate reason for going on the run, Brian Winters might just be the reformist type we need in order to turn the Company into something less reprehensible in the eyes of others."

Watching Veronica, Martin's smile thins some. "Tell him there's a free dinner in it for him too, if that helps things." Because, after all, no one can pass up a free meal ticket.

"You're dismissed, Agent Sawyer."

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