Brutal Honesty


allison_icon.gif isabella_icon.gif

Scene Title Brutal Honesty
Synopsis Dr. Richards conducts Isabella's psychiatric evaluation, which is, of course, fun for all involved.
Date July 12, 2010

Fort Hero Rec Room

The 'rec room' at Fort Hero is not, actually, a single room, although people often refer to it as such; it is several, all branching off a single hall. They were once something else — offices, perhaps, or residences, or storage rooms; holes in the concrete remain where things were once bolted into place, and here and there an odd device remains attached to the walls. By and large, however, such details are irrelevant. Concrete has been softened with draperies and cushions; somehow, chairs and couches have found their way down here, probably with the help of one teleporter or another. All told, it's a fairly comfortable place to be.

These rooms have been dedicated to games, entertainment, unwinding and socializing, the passing of time; each one seems to have its own theme. There is a room with shelves of books and magazines, which were once orderly and neat until people started trading them around; stragglers can always be found in the other rec rooms. Card tables double for ping-pong games; various other boxed games, from Monopoly to Charades to Scrabble, can be found on shelves and in drawers. Two rooms have been fitted with small entertainment centers — TV, VCR, DVD player, stereo; when the metal doors are closed, a decent level of volume can be reached without disturbing anyone else. Too loud, of course, still tends to get noticed. Broadcast and satellite TV stations can also be accessed on these systems. The video/DVD library is across the hall.

After receiving word that Allison was supposed to do an evaluation of Isabella's mental state, it took a few days for Alli to make a call and set it up. But finally it did happen, and the appointed place was one of the rec rooms at Fort Hero. The time…well, now. She's waiting in one of the smaller, more comfortable rooms, dressed casually. To look at her, it looks more like she's waiting to meet a friend and hang out rather than play psychiatrist. There's no notebook, no office-wear, no stern expression. Just a thoughtful looking blonde sitting on a couch.

The big question is, of course, if Isabella is fit to resume work with the Company. Between her burgeoning collection of disciplinary complaints and her newly manifested ability paired with her unease around Evolved, it's anyone's guess really. But today, the small woman stalks in, iced coffee in hand, looking irritated but not homicidal…which is a plus.

She seems to have echoed the casual dress code, as she's wearing a pair of tight jeans and a white, plain babydoll. As she steps into the rec room, sharp eyes peer around, looking for the other agent. When she eventually finds that comfortable room, she steps in and shuts the door before taking a seat on the opposite end of the couch, looking much like a sullen teenager, though she really is trying to school that back. "Afternoon," she says, carefully.

The single word has Allison looking over and smiling. "Hi Isabella. How are you feeling?" she asks, turning so she can face the other agent more directly, hands folding in her lap. But though the look on her face is friendly, her eyes are studying the woman carefully, everything from her expression to the way she moves and sits.

Isabella's stony eyes meet Allison's gaze, and she takes a deep breath, arms crossed over her chest. But after a moment of this, she sits up and forces herself into a more neutral position. The psychologist can certainly tell that the other woman's not in the best of moods, and in fact, she's quite uncomfortable.

"Bored," Isabella replies. "I want to get back to work." After a pause though, she adds, almost like pulling teeth: "And how are you today?" No, she's not one for friendly banter.

"I'm well enough," Allison answers easily. Then she moves on to business. "I heard that you manifested when we went to get Jacob. It can be frightening to manifest, or simply overwhelming and confusing," she says, voice and expression shifting to hold sympathy now instead of just friendliness.

Click. Isabella's mouth clicks shut there and she regards Allison coolly. Isn't that just the million-dollar topic! "I'll say it's confusing," she snaps. "I tested negative!" But, right, this is a psychiatric evaluation. Let's not be too angry. She cools the outward signs of her temper as best she can, but the topic is obviously irritating to her. Thank god for suppressor pills. Deep breath. "Yes. I… m…mani…manifested. Same shit he had."

Allison smiles faintly and nods. "Yes, that would make it even more confusing. How do you feel about it? Once you look past the shock of being evolved when you were certain that you aren't?" she asks, still watching intently.

"Angry," is Isabella's snipped response. "I thought I was normal. Now I'm never going to be normal. I'm always going to be a f…" She cuts off, eyeing Allison for a moment, before backtracking and muttering, "Evolved." Discomfort radiates through the woman, and she crosses her legs and arms, closing off her body language. "I hate this. Isn't there some way to get rid of it?"

Allison's head tilts, her brows lifting. "A freak." See? She knew what Isabella was going to say. "The evolved aren't freaks, Isabella. Which means that you aren't a freak. You're simply different. Evolved. More. But tell me, why do you hate it? Is it that you have an ability? The ability itself? What makes you want to make it gone?"

"Yeah? An Evolved blew up my life. They're destructive, dangerous, and—" Once more, Isabella cuts off. But she lets out a grumpy sigh. "Look, it's a Thing. Some are okay, but it's always in spite of. You see? And they all just… Power corrupts. Doesn't matter what it is, or who it is. It corrupts. And the Evolved shouldn't have that power, because everything's gonna go to hell. Already has. I don't want a part in that. I was good."

Allison sighs softly. "Isabella…I want to help you, I really do. I want to get you back to work. But I can't do anything if you keep censoring yourself. So please, speak openly. You've nothing to fear from speaking freely to me. Now. Power may corrupt, but evolved abilities aren't the only kind of power out there. Political and financial power can be just as devestating. And there are plenty of people with evolved abilities who do their best to help others." There's a faint smile. "Like me."

"Sorry." Mutter. Isabella is silent for a little bit, eyeing Allison like she's sizing her up. Finally, she snorts. "It's rare for an every-day joe to have political or financial power. At least, rarer than the Evo gene." In her mind, anyways. "I mean, whose bright idea was it to give the crack addict on the street the power to incinerate some guy with a blink of his eye?" Nevermind that we're talking about Isa in this too. "How many actually help others? Like, none." Where's she getting her facts, anyways?

"There's quite a few, Isabella," Allison says, shaking her head. "There are more than a few evolved agents for one. We try to keep people safe. To protect them. There are healers who fix problems that modern medicine can't cure. Evolved policemen, or firemen. It all depends on the nature of the power. Can you imagine a pyrokinetic fireman? Someone who can control the flames enough to get people out safely? Or put the fire out completely?"

There's another faint smile. "I use my ability to help people too. I can help fix mental disorders that we can only partially control with drugs. I can lessen phobias. Can you really say that there are no evolved who help people, Isabella? Or is it that you simply hate the evolved and don't want to believe anything good about them?"

"I don't hate Evolved," Isabella huffs in protest. "I work with them. I work with you. And Dante. I don't hate anyone. I've just seen what they can do. And how easily they can do it. And if you ask me, I'd sooner see the gene wiped out and get these powers off the map. People are all disgusting. They don't need powers to add to that. That's not to say I'd like the people off the map. I just…these powers, they're not natural."

"Why do you say that? It's a gene that causes these abilities, it's something people are born with. That makes it very natural. Just another step in evolution," Allison points out. "This is just nature's way of advancing us to the next level of humanity, or that's one theory. It's just like opposable thumbs, or walking upright, or breathing air instead of water."

"It's not the natural order of things," Isabella protests. "Unless… I suppose, Darwin's natural order comes into play. Survival of the fittest. Because Evolved are wiping out non-Evolved as they go. And now I…" …Now she is one of Darwin's fittest. Her eyes narrow a bit, as she regards Allison for a long moment. "Next level of humanity," she repeats, thoughtfully.

Allison sighs softly and shakes her head. "There are some evolved who are killing non-evolved, yes, but the non-evolved kill the evolved and non-evolved both. You can't make one a villian without giving credit, if you will, to the other. Neither group is entirely innocent. Abilities or not, we're all human, and human nature is something that simply cannot be changed overnight."

"I guess," Isabella replies, eyeing her. She falls silent as she mulls over all of this, chewing on her lip. Finally, she straightens and tips her chin up. "Fine. Well, so I'm Evolved. Now what?" She hasn't exactly accepted it, nor embraced it. But she's…taken a step.

Allison smiles. "That is largely up to you, Isabella. But I would say that you need to learn how to control your power now. And more, to accept it. Whether it's something you would've wished for or not, it's a part of you now. Written into your DNA like the color of your hair or eyes or skin. And no, I'm not saying that it'll be easy. Just necessary."

The petite, dark-haired woman regards her fairer companion, and tips up her chin. There's a moment when her mouth sets and she looks like she's going to decline, but she nods tightly. "Fine. I guess that means I have to get over the Suresh Center for their class-things. I don't suppose you have the information?"

"Actually, I do," Allison says, pulling a business card case out of her pocket. She flips through several before she offers one over to Isabella. "I haven't been there personally, since I manifested in California, but I've heard wonderful things about them."

Isabella takes the card and looks it over, eyes narrowing. Then she tucks it in her back pant pocket. "Thanks. I'll check them out." She still doesn't seem too thrilled with the idea, but then, Isabella is rarely thrilled with anything. That's nothing new. "So, Richards. When can I go back to work?"

There's another smile. "That's not entirely up to me, I'm afraid. I can only give a recommendation. And we're not quite through yet in any case. I know how you feel about your ability and the evolved in general, but I also wanted to talk to you about your job. I've heard that there have been some…less than pleasant incidents?"

Isabella's expression sours at that. "So people don't like me. And if that homeless guy had been Stack, he wouldn't have been able to lash back. We would've gotten him." Back go her arms over her chest as she gives Allison a sullen look.

Allison's brow arches. "Isabella. Remember what I said about being open and honest?" she reminds the other woman. "I can't help you if you don't tell me what's going on."

"I don't need help!" Isabella shoots back. "I had a bad couple of weeks, with the frost, and I was a bit sick of being cooped up, and maybe I was a bit snippy with people. And then Dante decided that the asscrack of dawn was the best time to go exercising and he won't let it up, and maybe I threw some coffee on a police officer but he clearly hasn't minded, because he visited me in the hospital and is trying to get me on a date. And I thought the homeless guy was Stack! There's nothing else to say!"

"So you don't think you have pent up anger issues?" Allison says in a wide-eyed, innocent tone. "Isabella, you have to be careful when you work for the Company. The things we do have the potential of affecting a lot of people. More, while you don't need to like the people you work with, you do need to get along with them, and they need to be able to count on you. Lives depend on that."

"I don't have anger issues," Isabella snorts. "I just deal with things as they come." Yeah, right. As Allison goes on, she lets out a sharp breath. "I know. And I try, but they sure don't get try to get along with me." Give and take: not exactly in Isabella's vocabulary.

"Yes, Isabella, you do," Allison says gently. "And maybe they don't, but have you given them a chance to? When someone strikes at you, it's not human nature," there's that term again, "to take it. It's our nature to give back as good as we get."

"Yeah? Well have you ever lived in this godforsaken city? In this world? You have to be tough to take it! Because everyone's gonna try and fuck you over. You just have to be the one on top. And that's what I do, I stay on top." Isabella scowls and shrugs. "And it doesn't matter where I am, if it's the store, or the Company, or back on the police force. I could make nice, play well with others; but they're just going to turn around and stab me in the back."

Allison says nothing for a long moment, just watches Isabella. "Do you really feel that way about the other agents, Isabella? Are you just waiting for one of us to betray you?"

"Like they aren't thinking about it," Isabella shoots back, looking away from Allison. "Staying on top, people hate you for it. Because they want to be on top too. And you always have to be on your watch, because they're going to tear you down. And now that I'm…Evolved? Yeah. Matter of time."

There's another pregnant silence, before Allison nods and rises to her feet. "I'll submit my report, but like I said, I don't choose when you go back to work. I just advise." Though her report will be brutally honest, and probably not to Isabella's liking. Still though, she smiles. "I do hope you contact the Suresh Center though."

Things are rarely to Isabella's liking, anyways. Tough luck! The belligerent woman eyes Allison for a long moment, and nods. "I'll contact the Center. Thanks." Isa stands and brushes down her shirt, then nods shortly to Allison. "Have…a good afternoon." More forced niceties! And off she goes, to go terrorize some other person with her winning personality.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License