bella_icon.gif len_icon.gif

Scene Title Debriefed
Synopsis Bella goes through her ordeal with Len as she tries to move on with her life after being kidnapped.
Date October 20, 2009

Fort Hero: Len Denton's Office

News doesn't always travel fast enough, but it's understandable that, while the complexities of deigning to negotiate with terrorists are being hammered out, the information channels might be a bit slow or restricted. As such, it's without announcement that Bella makes her faltering way towards Len's office for a voluntary, impromptu debrief. It looks like she's not bothering to take even one day off the job.

Her way is faltering because she walks with a limp. Her leg has been re-stitched and given proper attention, but she hasn't seen a healer or anything, so she remains mobile with the help of a sturdy and somewhat unlikely walking stick with a wolf's head top, which her finger grip hard enough to whiten the knuckles at times. She's not on any pain meds, she doesn't want to dull her edge, but that means the pain in her leg is similarly un-dulled. Nothing an agent or field operative couldn't handle, but Bella's a civvie, a paper pusher, and this is a whole new deal for her. Still, she keeps a brave if somewhat pale face, and lifts her free hand to knock, announcing her arrival.

Len had just sat down and opened up his email and received the report of Bella's release and curses the fact that he wasn't even given a single phone call. That's one 'to-do' off his list now. Coincidential as it may be, when she knocks on his door, he glances up with a start. "Lord have mercy. I was hoping I wasn't seeing a ghost," he offers with a smile as he stands to greet her. "Come in, come in." He's trying not to baby her, but seeing her limping and with a cane, it's rather hard not to. "How are you feeling, Doc?" We'll start with the hard questions, right?

The psychiatrist lurches as gracefully as she may into Len's office and eases herself into a seat, setting the cane against the arm of the chair. She brushes her hair back from her eyes, eyes that show shadows she has neglected to hide with foundation; today she is going all natural, and while she's still very pretty, it's obvious that some usual steps were skipped when she woke up this morning. Still, she manages a smile, and while it's clear that it's a bit of an effort to summon, it's not ingenuine.

"Like I'll find it much easier to empathize with some of my patients," she replies, and there's nothing wrong or faltering about her voice at least. She sounds, at worst, a little tired, and who wouldn't be a couple days after being shot in captivity? "I'm sure there's some procedure for debriefing, so I wanted to get it out of the way as quickly as possible. Simply put, I'd like to get back to work. So, once formalities are dealt with, appointments with /other/ therapists made so that I'm cleared for duty or whatever else, I'd like to discuss that. Work, that is."

"It's interesting that I was just talking to Dr. Salonga about you and here you are. If you need her to handle some of your cases, by all means, just let her know. As for a debriefing.." Len watches her for a moment, as he pauses in his speaking. "If you want to hold this off for a few days, I'd understand." It's obvious she wants to get this overwith, but so soon? He reaches into his desk and pulls out a small voice recorder. "If you're sure.."

There's no hesitation evident as Bella nods. "I need a return to normality. Time off will only cause me to stew. If, during the course of our discussion, you decide it would be wise for me to seek treatment, or get some evaluation of my psychological state, I'm happy to make the time. But I do not want to be stuck on suspension unless there's a hard and fast reason for me to be suspended," another smile, this one less forced but more grim, "I've lost enough work days, as it is."

Len nods. "I'm not the doc, but if it's something that's evident to me, then I'll be sure to speak up." Len flips on the recorder and pushes it towards the edge of his desk so it picks them both up. "Video from the Manhattan branch of the Department of Homeland Security shows you being brought into that office by someone we've identified as Teo Laudini. I need you to tell me how you got to that point."

The fact is, Len is not entirely sure how Teo learned that Bella was working with the Company, which itself is what put her at risk.

Bella reaches up and touches a spot on the back of her head, as if the contact were necessary to remind her. "He arrived for a scheduled appointment. He seemed unsuspicious, calmer than usual, actually, which wasn't something I considered a 'warning sign' so much. When I offered to get him a glass of water, he accepted, I crossed over to the sink, and was reaching for a glass when I was rendered unconscious. I'm not sure how it happened; I had small scale, trauma-induced retrograde amnesia. I only recall coming-to in his car, on my way to the office where I was filmed. While there I tried to cooperate with my captor while trying to send appropriate distress signals to Ms. Reid, but for whatever reason I was rebuffed. I assume she was just following protocols. In any case, after several attempts to prevent my leaving in his custody, I eventually had little choice but to go with him peaceably. I was transferred to place I was held, which is where the agents found me. In some barge in the bay, I'm taken to understand."

It would almost seem as if there were something on Len's desk the way he traces a pattern along the top with his finger as he listens. "Do you have any idea how he might have become aware that you worked for our organization? How long had you been seeing him as a patient?" Len's questions are rather specific, as if he's trying to lead up to something in particular.

"I have no idea as to how he came into possession of that information," Bella says, with the sober steadiness of someone who's /trying/ not to be defensive precisely because she is, in fact, feeling the urge to be defensive not because anyone else is attacking her, but because she's attacking herself. It was an incredible effup on her part to be taken by surprise like that by a known terrorist, "I suspect there is some security leakage somewhere in the organization. Small scale, of course. My captor claimed, and I believe him, that he did not know about my employment until after our first session. It was not a setup. As to the duration of our professional relationship: a month, maybe. Only one session logged, and one referral, a Mr. Flint Deckard. The hard dates are written down in my personal files."

"Other than those you know are in our employ, did you mention to anyone else that you are doing work for us?" The questions are asked, not as accusations, but trying to find out one, if there's a leak and two, where it came from. Len's tone is sympathetic, but these are questions he has to ask, and she didn't want to wait. Deckard doesn't ring any bells for Len, so he doesn't think he needs to follow that trail just yet. He suddenly lifts his hand to stop her from answering, "Are you aware if Laudini has an ability and what that might be?" She can answer all three or just the last, but the last is spoken as it the answer may be important.

Bella shakes her head, "No. I have not, not to my knowledge. My parents are unaware, as is Ms. Wendy Hunter who is a personal acquaintance of mine," 'personal acquaintance', ouch, but it's actually out of an interest to reduce Wendy's grief that she underplays their relationship - Wendy has been and is still going through quite enough, "Laudini claims to be possessed by a time traveling future version of himself, one that has an ability, but the nature of this supposed ability is not something he revealed during our only session together. I saw no evidence of any ability during my captivity. He may simply have paranoid delusions, but his connections and efficiency suggest more calculation than most paranoid schizophrenics are regularly capable of. As such, I judge that he has an ability, but that it's potency may be diluted by his particular temporal situation."

Shaking his head, Len drums his fingers on his desk for a moment. "No. Laudini knew something." As if realizing he's compromising his recording, his fingers stop and he looks across his desk at the psychiatrist as if considering his next question. "Did Laudini say anything to you about Minea Dahl? Or that he'd recently committed any crimes?" Len's not sure how much Teo would have confided in his doctor, the hostage, but perhaps there was something he felt he could share with her since she was his doctor.

Oh right, that little detail. "He claimed to have shot her to death," Bella answers, promptly, "He told me this during my captivity. In session he obliquely referred to potential dangerous acts, but his paranoia and general identity troubles obscured further inquiry. I was… treating him as a work in progress," this last comes with the air of an admission, "He also said he intended to turn himself in, to go to jail, after he had had his memories sufficiently wiped. I would, if I may know, like to be informed of the outcome. For closure purposes."

Len grits his teeth. He considering asking if she's certain, but. Shit. "That is what I needed to know." Now that he knows, he is getting a little sidetracked, distracted. He is quiet for a long moment as he stares off into space. He finally reaches over and turns off the recorder. "I'm going to get this guy, Doc. For you, and for Minea. He motions towards her leg. "What exactly did he do to you?"

"Shot," Bella replies, a hair's breadth from curtly, "Tissue damage only. I removed the bullet on site, stitched and disinfected. The stitches were redone later. The pain is manageable. I'll recover fairly quickly." The facts are listed like bullet points, with a minimum of emotional engagement, "Nothing else. No further abuse. I think he was making a point, and I made it clear that his point was well made."

"Look, you were smart to play it like that. Just so you know. However, when you are feeling up to it, if you want some formal training, let me know." Len is doing what he can to keep his anger in check. "You may want to limit your private practice. In fact, if you want to take a room here on post, I can make those arrangements. If there's anything I can do.." Besides kill Teo Laudini, because that's already something he's planning. Time to put that psycho out to pasture. For good.

Anything he can do. Bella's demeanor turns on a dime as the offer is made. "I want money and resources for a clinical study," she says, with the flat, forthright demeanor of someone pushing for a raise, "I want the means to research Refrain. A technical team and a variety of viable subjects and controls. It will keep me safely in the facilities, and will allow me to remain productive while still letting me lay low for a while. And the benefits of a proper study into Refrain could be very useful for us."

Not quite what he had in mind, but then again the study of Refrain might be useful to the Company. Len nods. "I'll see what I can do. At a minimum, you should be able to do the study here. I'll see if any of the local law enforcement has scored any Refrain during drug busts and see if we can get our hands on some for you. No promises, because it's a long shot, but I'll see what I can do. Fair enough?" Len's motives aren't always as pure as he'd like people to believe. "Anything else?"

"If I were to come into possession of some Refrain myself, would serious questions be raised?" Bella inquires; she asking for a effective pre-emptive absolution here. This is obviously some matter of interest for her, though why it's so strong, so sudden, and so immediately after her release is anyone's guess.

Len arches a brow. "I'll say this. Don't get busted buying. If you do, I am not entirely sure I can help you. You'll lose your license to practice." It's a fair warning. He could probably get her out of jail, but he doesn't like playing that card unless it's absolutely necessary. "And don't get caught using.." he adds, because her questions are starting to raise some serious concerns. "If you need help with anything, you need to speak up. Is that clear?" He's not technically her boss, but that doesn't seem to concern him at the moment.

"I'll be appropriately cautious," Bella says, "And even if I did use it, it wouldn't work. I'm not Evolved," she lifts a brow, "Unless there's been some new formula introduced, or my initial information was incorrect…" She doesn't necessarily expect an answer. That's what the study will be for. "It's clear, Agent Denton. Right now, mostly I want to rest. But I'll only be able to do that once I know my ducks are in a row."

"Fair enough." Len isn't as familiar with Refrain as he probably should be, only because he hasn't had any need to be in contact with it. He's heard bits and pieces about it. He stands to help escort her towards the door. "Let me know if there's anything else you need, Doc. I'm here to help."

Bella gets to her feet, all effective three of them, and accepts Len's assistance with a grateful nod. "Of course. And so am I. I look forward to this all being rather completely behind us." She releases him as she arrives at the threshold, looks back at the towering man, "Glad to be back, by the way."

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