Deconstruction, II


allison_icon.gif bianca_icon.gif corbin_icon.gif isabella_icon.gif agent-grant_icon.gif harper_icon.gif henry_icon.gif s_hokuto_icon.gif lee_icon.gif liza_icon.gif maria_icon.gif martin_icon.gif rossling_icon.gifryans2_icon.gif veronica3_icon.gif

Also Featuring:


Scene Title Deconstruction, II
Synopsis Two new, highly-visible cases are laid out before the Company's Investigative Team.
Date July 19, 2010

Fort Hero Conference Room

Forced registration of unregistered agents, a Department of Homeland Security liaison, questions of competence in the face of adversity. The Company has been through many trials since its founding decades ago, but the last six months have been among the hardest in the organization's history. But the Company, as a whole, has survived many dangers, weathered many storms, and while each one has slowly deconstructed a part of the organization, it has always managed to pull itself back together again.

Under flickering fluorescent lightbulbs, the Company must still perform its required duties, all the while defending itself against accusations of being innefective and rife with internal corruption, and it isn't an easy balancing act to make.

Seated at the head of the conference table deep beneath the ground level of Fort Hero, hands folded in front of his mouth and attention focused squarely head on a vacant point in space, Senior Agent Martin Crowley has many different weights on his shoulders. Situated around the table, the men and women of the Company's Investigative Department have gathered to discuss another set of cases handed to them by the Department of Homeland Security, Evolved-specific cases, the Company's specialty.

Tiredly slouching forward in his seat, Crowley looks around at the agents gathered at the table, eyes narrowing and lips downturning into a frown before there's a shake of his head when his eyes settle on the silent observer sitting in a chair at the corner of the room opposite of Martin. DHS liaison Desmond Harper sits, arms crossed over his chest and head cocked to one side, silently judging the performance of every agent situated here.

Some more than others.

"Alright, alright…" Martin mumbles tiredly, glancing to the door and then back across the table. "We've got quite a lot've business t'handle today, so lets try an' get down to business. Two more cases have come up in the last couple of weeks since the conclusion of the Stack case, an' neither of these seem particularly easy t'handle…"

An askance look is sent Isabella's way at that, Martin's knowing expression seeming to convey some sort of helpless apology at the condition of her tenement building. It's been a bad few months for her.

"Get yourselves settled in, an' we'll get down t'business…" on that note, Martin clicks on the display screens arranged around the table, nodding to Corbin quietly. "If you'd boot up that laptop, I'll… get us started with the first case."

Settling into his seat, next to a still empty chair at the table, Corbin raises up the laptop and begins letting it load, pulling out a small flash drive and pushing it into the port on the side, to help with the load up. Due to certain things going on, he's not leaving a lot of files on his computer, all of it staying on flash or external drives. It's a precaution he's begun to take. While it begins to load, he glances to the empty seat next to him, and whispers something soft under his breath, before smiling a bit and focusing back on the loading screen.

No, he's not talking to himself. Really. It just looks like that.

As things are getting set up, Isabella Dawson is staring intensely at Crowley. Though it's not born of any particular dislike of the man, it certainly seems that way, as that's just how the agent is; but really, she's just looking his way as he's the man in charge, and her life lately has, indeed, not been kind to her. Beside her, Dante Lupinetti, also sharing that apartment in the tenement building, is silent and stoic as ever.

Having returned to the Company after a brief week-long 'vacation,' Isa has been a little more even-tempered. Or, rather, she's tried to be more even-tempered. There has been considerable evidence of her biting back retorts, keeping a lid (barely) on her temper, and being almost, maybe, possibly, minutely genial to people. Sort of. She's trying, anyways. For now, she's just quiet, watching Corbin set up, one foot on the ground, using it to swivel her chair this way…and that way. Back, and forth, in a small, constrained movement.

He's still the odd man out, is Henry. There and gone again. Whatever problem the Company's having in Tunisia, it's proving intractable. Because the former Marine is there more often than not…and when he's around Fort Hero, it's inevitably with days' worth of sun-andwind-burn, some jetlag, and a distracted air. Goddamn lizard people overrunning Marrakech, maybe. His bland businessman's suit, while well tailored, suits him about as well as racing stripes on an APC. Not precisely jumpy, but there's the perpetually watchful air of someone who's just gotten back from Indian Country, and hasn't readjusted to civilisation, yet.

Leaning back in her leather seat, Veronica's dark eyes move around the table, her hands wrapped around a cup of coffee, despite the heat outdoors. In the conference room, it's cool enough that she's a touch chilly in a sleeveless blouse, her long hair in a ponytail to survive the humidity when outdoors. Her circling gaze meets Harper's for a moment and she arches a brow, a slight tilt of her mouth in something of acknowledgement, before she glances at Corbin's whisper. "Wha?" she asks him, being the closest person on the other side of the empty seat.

Allison gets settled in her seat, leaning back, her face showing it's normal empty friendliness. It doesn't mean that she doesn't study the others seated around the table though. Isabella is top of her list, clearly, though Harper is a close second, if judging just by how long she looks at everyone.
Sometimes she might be floating above her chair, a few inches clear of the seat, but today Maria is firmly planted. Attention is upon the boss, her face and demeanor serious.

Settled to the other side of Martin, a few chairs down, Assistant Director Benjamin Ryans sits stoically and straight back in his seat. Hands laced together, thumbs lightly tapping together, with elbows set on the arms of the chair he's sitting in. His jacket is settled over the back of the seat, leaving him in a powder blue dress shirt — sleeves left down to keep those yellowing bruises covered — and a pair of dark pressed jeans. His ever present fedora rests on the table before him, a copy of some of the paper work as well.

Blue eyes are narrowed and focused on the table in front of him, thoughtful. When Martin's voice breaks the silence, Ryans' gaze lifts to survey everyone around the table. His thoughts are his own, but needless to say… they are not pleasant. The things he's learned over the past month, it's piling up and eventually it'll all topple.

"Alright, we've got a gaggle of incidents to handle here…" Martin grumbls with a rub of one hand over his head. "As much as I hae to try an' think this one is simpler, m'going to have us go over the incident that occured on July 12th first… the ah, bus hold-up situation?" Dark brows furrowing together, Martin shifts his weight to the side in his seat and looks up to Corbin, "Get your files in order on this, but I'm going to have agent Sawyer get us up to speed on what actually happened before you catch us up to present."

Leaning to the other side in his chair, Martin motions towards Veronica. "Could you go over the basics of the case, details on the bus incident on July 12th and catch up the rest of the agents on the fundamentals of what happened, agent Sawyer?" When Martin's hand comes down from that motion, Corbin alone catches sight of something — someone — that shouldn't be in the room.

Seated in one of the empty chairs at the corner of the table beside Martin, Hokuto Ichihara's phantom leans back in her seat, carnation red suit contrasting against a crisp black undershirt and matching tie. Threading one dark lock of inky hair behind one ear, she offers a purse of her lips and a raise of one brow to Corbin.

"Ayers," Martin's interjection breaks Corbin's focus on the figment in the corner of his eyes, and on a second glance, Corbin doesn't see Hokuto there. "If you'll stop starin' off inta' space, pull up your files so you can come about after agent Sawyer's done with the basics?"

As if that disturbance weren't enough, one more agent entering late to the mission hobbles in on a crutch, carrying a stack of cardboard coffee containers in one hand balanced with rows of hot cups of coffee. "Oh, no I'm late!" Liza Messer's injury sustained on the Stack farm is still healing, but the ankle cast and limp the young blonde agent has is significantly better than her initial situation on the day she'd been caught by that bar trap.

"Sorry, s— sorry, it took me a while to limp down here from the cafeteria…" and why she was in the cafeteria only comes up when Harper lifts up one hand for one of those cups of coffee, offering a thankful smile as Liza comes over with the tray and the DHS liaison takes his paper cup out.

"Agent Harper wanted me to, um, pick up some coffee, so I thought I'd get enough for everyone…" Proceeding to set her crutch down beside Rossling, Liza starts to get up to bring coffees around the table, only to have the white-haired Rossling stand up and roll his eyes disappointedly, taking the trays from Liza with a scowl before pointing down to her seat.

"Sit," he instructs, and then perhaps uncharacteristically selfless of him, proceeds to quietly circle the table, dispensing cups of coffee out to the agents seated around the table. Rossling doesn't usually do anything for the benefit of others, let alone his understudy partner. Today must have caught him on a charitable day.

"Yes! Wonderful, now that we're all sufficiently distracted…" Martin lifts his brows to Veronica, then motions one hand towards her to proceed.

There's a startled jump from Corbin, and he looks back at his computer. "I'm ready, I just…" Ahem. He looks back at the screen, now loaded into the windows platform, and clicks the touchpad over to a folder in the corner, leading to the USB flashdrive in the side. While it loads up, he glances over at the "empty" chair, and shakes his head. 'They're going to think I'm insane and send me to a shrink if you keep appearing out of nowhere!' he tries to think at her. But telepathy isn't one of his skills, and he's smart enough not to mouth it at her anymore.

Files begin to come up, pictures and what not, that display on the projected screen, to help Veronica in her basic explaination of the case.

Isabella takes her coffee as Rossling distributes, even nodding her head in some semblance of gratitude. Almost. The small woman leeeans back in her chair, turning her uncharitable-seeming stare onto Veronica now. For whatever reason, after a few moments it neutralizes, and rather than hostile, she looks … bored. Still a step up!

Henry mumbles his thanks. And then sort of stares at the coffee like he doesn't remember exactly what it -is-. Then the lightbulb goes on, metaphorically speaking, and he blinks and very clearly clicks back into focus, absentmindedly looking around for sugar and creamer, between expectant looks at Veronica.

Seeing Liza up and about makes Veronica smile that rare sincere smile of hers, and she thanks Rossling when a fresh coffee is deposted in front of her. Her folder is opened up at the same time, not as distracted as Martin Crowley thinks, or maybe it's the feminine ability to multi-task that she has and he lacks. "Right. This isn't something we responded to at the scene because Josephine DeVries-Perry, daughter of Congresswoman Annika DeVries, is not Evolved," she explains, nodding to Corbin to put the images of both women up on the screens.

"At about 5 p.m. DeVries-Perry held up a bus at rush hour in Chinatown. According to witnesses, she asked for ‘donations’ and insisted she didn’t want to hurt anyone, saying it was for a 'good cause.' She also made no attempt to cover her face or hide her identity, though she did choose a bus that had no video camera. Two people were injured when one of the passengers shot at DeVries, though DeVries herself didn't shoot deliberately. One injury came from the passenger's gun and the other injury was caused when DeVries fell backwards, landing on her own gun," Sawyer explains.

"DeVries was subdued and the bus was brought to a stop when, presumably one of the passengers used terrikinesis to make the ground in front of the bus collapse. This allowed the police to enter the vehicle and arrest DeVries, who claimed to not remember having purchased the gun or much about the robbery."

She glances up at those watching her. "DeVries is not Evolved. So why we're here. Her mother called us because it’s simply not like her daughter to do such a thing, in her words. She’s a pre-law student at Columbia, a Dean’s List student, a good kid in everything in her past," she explains, nodding toward Ryans. "Ryans interviewed the DeVrieses, which has led to this investigation into a group Josie calls the Fellowship."

When Martin chides Corbin, Allison glances to him, brows lifting slightly. But soon she's distracted by Liza's entrance, and she studies the woman critically, in the way of a doctor examining a patient. Which, for now, is fairly accurate. After a moment she nods slightly and looks to Veronica and frowns.

"The Fellowship? Do we know anything about this Fellowship?" Because Alli's pretty certain it doesn't contain hobbits. "Is her mother believing that she's being controlled or brainwashed in some way? Because, while I can understand the desire to want to believe that, it could just simply be that she fell in the wrong people and they convinced her with entirely mundane measures to hold this bus up."

His head turns and nods a little at Messer, Ryans voice is calm and even edging on pleasant. "Thank you, Lisa. However, in the future… I believe Agent Harper is properly equipped with two legs in working order. He more then capable of getting his own coffee, just like the rest of us." His eyes cut over to Harper, he lets the Liaison know exactly what he thinks of someone using an injured individual in such a way. "You are to relax and heal, Messer, not play gopher."

The look, he give the man, doesn't last long before Ryans turns his attention to Veronica, settling back to listen to the details of the case. The coffee is left untouched for now, his jaw clenched tight against his irritation.

"Josie's mother seems to believe that this 'cult' her daughter is apart of and the man that heads it might be doing something to her daughter." A small smile threatens to tug up the corner of his mouth. "Probably wishful thinking on her part, however, since this is a group actually called "Revolutionaries.. she made sure to tell me the letter E-V-O in it have been made to stand out." He glances to each person at the table, hands unfolding to push himself a bit straighter in the chair. "Sounds much like the wandering ministries… right now it's set up in Brooklyn.

"This one however is all about equality and harmony between man and evolved." A hand make a small gesture towards Allison. "To answer your question, yes… her mother believes this man… Wiley Schnook is brain washing her daughter." He nods his head slowly to her as he concedes. "Any parent would wish that their child isn't capable of it, and most times they are wrong, but considering what this 'group' is about, it's better to be safe then sorry. In our business… it doesn't pay to ignore something cause we don't think it's true." He doesn't chide her or anything, just states it like a simple fact.

"Till we investigate it, we won't know if it is or isn't just a case of a girl falling into the wrong crowd." Ryans settles back in his chair again, obviously done.

"This is weird," and that assessment rises up from Agent Grant Fitzpatrick, furrowing his brows and leaning back in the chair. "I mean, all of the other cases we've investigated, there's been a clear and obvious connection to Evolved activity. Now we've got this — what — cult?" An askance look is afforded to the redheaded Agent Gracie Lee at his side, then back to Martin. "How do we even know we're needed here? This sounds like DHS jerking us around by the chain, we're wasting valuable resources if this isn't something in our range of specialization."

Looking up from her blackberry only when Grant stops talking, Lee's brows furrow and her eyes flick towards her partner, then over to Martin. "I concur with Grant's rambling assessment," she notes with usual firm assertion, "there's no clear evidence of Evolved involvement, how did we get handed this case?"

"I handed it down the line," Harper speaks up, lowering his coffee from his lips, dark brows raised. "I apologize if it seemed a bit presumptuous, but I had a hunch, you know? Three years ago when I was working with the CIA, I was involved in a situation similar to the way this has been shaping up while I was overseas in Afghanistan. The details are different, but I've got a pit of my gut feeling about this… maybe it's hypnotism, maybe it's telepathy, persuasion, pheramone manipulation…" Harper shrugs his shoulders. "Educated hunch."

Rolling her tongue on the inside of her cheek, Gracie opens her mouth as if to abruptly give a /sharp// piece of her mind to Harper, only to have Martin quickly step in conversationally in front of her.

"I okayed this, Agent Lee…" though Martin's tone seems to imply he didn't have much choice in the matter. "Harper's recommendation came with high marks of approval from DHS, let's just— focus." There's a wave of Martin's hand to Corbin. "Ayers is going to give us the details…"

Only now resuming his seat, agent Rossling slouches back down into his chair with the last of the coffee, glancing askance at his tiny blonde partner, then down to his coffee cup, then over to Harper with brows furrowed and lips downturned into a frown. He can sass his partner all he wants, he can give Liza ridiculously complicated orders and berate her when she fails to accomplish them. But no one else messes with his second.

"Good hunch, but I could have told you this was in our field as soon as I researched the guy's name…" Corbin speaks up from his seat at the computer, clicking some windows up. "I looked into Wiley Schnook, and, well… The mother has a good reason to suspect brainwashing. Wiley Schnook is a known Evolved." Corbin says, clicking up a picture of the man onto his screen. Some of them are arrest photographs, others are newspaper clippings of some kind, that mention a trial. And 'Ability'.

"A New Jersey native, he went west for school and work, which is where his ability came out. In California, he was arrested and incarcerated for using his Evolved ability on three different women, who claimed that he took advantage of them during dates. It was discovered that he had the ability of persuasion. This set a precedent for trials centered around Evolved abilities, and though he argued he was not aware of his power, he served a jail sentance in 2007 through 2008.

"Since his time in jail, he's become the leader of the Fellowship. It began as a small group back in San Diego, but grew in size as he travelled from town to town, it grew in size month to month over the past year. Law enforcement agencies have heard of these revival meetings due to reports of complaints by family members that their children were 'brainwashed' or 'kidnapped' by cultists. This isn't a unique phenomenon, and doesn't always mean abilities, but this time…" He seems to think this is the case.

"Some of our own agencies have complied data, but no one actually seems to go missing or be hurt by their involvement with the Fellowship, so we haven't investigated it in any sort of offical capacity. Until now, at least." A map comes up next, showing detailed timelines and 'movement patterns'. "Now, looking at the timeline of the travelling Fellowship, we did find that there were unsolved robberies and thefts along this route around the same timeline in the last several months. These crimes range from petty theft, to armed robbery. Sometimes several incidents occurred in close proximity within a short amount of time. No one had connected it to this group… But…" He overlays a second map, showing the robberies along the same line, with dates. Correlation? He thinks so.

"Once this was clear, I asked a team to go in and check for DNA evidence at the Sunset Villa apartments in Brooklyn, and then went back to compare it to the DNA evidence from some of those unsolved crimes. We didn't get any names, but they did match up with crimes commited in Utah, Nebraska, Colorado and Ohio."

Silence is golden. This is what Isabella has determined is the key to not pissing people off. So the small woman watches the individuals each in turn as they speak. Though the case gets a distasteful turn of her lips, and there's a light of agreement in her eyes to Fitzpatrick's assessment, she offers no opinion. She just sips her coffee. Corbin's review of Schnook, though, gets a minute lift of her brows. Huh.

"This can be dangerous," Veronica says, squinting at the picture of the worried-looking ex-con on her screen. "Obviously, if he's persuasive, he can tell our agents it's not him and God knows what else. If normal, law-abiding citizens are affected to the degree of violent and dangerous acts like that bus job, he's pretty powerful, and with more followers and more money to do what he wants, whatever that is, it's clearly a problem. And unfortunately, a visible problem, thanks to the fact that this DeVries kid is involved."

She sighs, leaning forward and planting her elbows on the conference table. "The other problem is it's a religious group, so if we go about this the wrong way, it looks bad, too. We don't want to piss off people there, and that can get touchy. We'll have to be careful on this case."

"Persuasion," Allison murmurs thoughtfully as she studies the screen. "And we have this woman…Josie…in custody?" She looks to Veronica. "What precisely does her mother want us to do? Take down the Fellowship? Or restore her daughter to what she truly is? How she truly thinks?"

There's a pause, a slow glance around the others of the room, then she hesitantly suggests, "When we had Mary-Anne under custody, I was able to leave a hypnotic suggestion that made her unable to use her ability without direct permission from either myself or Agent Sawyer. I can't guarantee that it would work, but I might be able to implant a suggestion into the minds of whoever talks to Schnook to ignore persuasion. I'd probably have to do some thinking to get the wording right, but if I can do one, I don't see why I couldn't do the other." She smiles faintly. "And yes, I'm well aware that none of you want me using my ability on you, but in this case, wouldn't I be the lesser of two evils? We all saw how chaotic it got when agents were being controlled by an evolved before, and persuasion is just another kind of control."

There is a slow nod of the older agents head, as Ryans listens to everything Corbin lays out on the case, though his gaze wanders to Harper now and then, his brows furrowed. The fact that Harper brought this to them, speaks loudly for this case, given the Assistant Director's distrust of the man. He has a bad feeling about this one.

"I'd like you to talk the girl, certainly, Allison. See if anything else comes up. As it is… the press will be all over this once the mother lets this out." Ryans expression is rather unhappy about that, but what can you do when it's a high profile case. "Call it a precaution. He might have pursuasion… but just in case I'd like you to evaluate her."

Of course, Ryans doesn't address her use of her ability on the agents investigating, for now he lets it go.

"To further complicate matters," Martin notes with a heavy sigh, "our resident negator, Rene, is currently looking into an internal affair in Chicago at the moment along with agents Bishop and Buckley. This means that we do not have our usual proof against individuals of this type at our disposal, but the situation that Rene and the other agents are looking into is vital and takes precedent."

Wringing his hands together, Agent Rossling dips his head into a nod, and as he's about to speak Liza sits up straight and jumps in ahead of him excitedly. "Ooh!" A hand is raised sharply, briefly indicating she has an idea and this were a classroom before tucking it down into her lap with a grimace. "Counter-persuasion tactics! Agent Miles in Chicago taught me an entire mental self-defense course on this, it's standard for new agents, it used to be a voluntary course! I heard about how hypnosis and persuasion can work together in that, agent Richards!"

Rossling rolls his eyes and slouches to the side, "I taught that class to Miles, you do realize?" he offers askance to Liza, then waves one hand dismissively to allow her to continue.

"Oh! Ah, s— sorry. Um, anyway!" Liza's brows perk up and she sits up straight in her seat, "Short term hypnosis probably won't work on a skilled persuader, if that's what we're dealing with after all. But long-term seed persuasion can be incredibly powerful, allowing the subconscious to supercede the conscious mind. Like, Allison, you could do a long-term hypnosis session on someone, and implant a "trigger" word. Basically, when you give the trigger word and maybe a snap of your fingers or whatever, the subconscious kicks in with whatever supplementary information is implanted. You can make people all stuffy like Rossling dance like a chicken, even if your normal short-term persuasion wouldn't work."

Grinning proudly, Liza runs one hand through her hair. "Therefore you could put each of the agents going after Schnook under deep hypnotic trance and over the course of a few sessions, implant them with a keyword that would basically smack them out of the grip of persuasion. It probably wouldn't repeatedly work, and depending on how powerful Wiley actually is it might not work at all… but the theory is very sound! Furthermore, persuasion requires the person be heard, maybe we could come up with some sort of like…"

Liza cups her hands over her ears, "Dramatic music earmuffs solution? Drown out mister Schnook, while allowing us to hear each other over headsets?" Cheerfully rocking from side to side in her seat with hands cupped over her ears, Liza's ideas actually has Harper raising a brow with an impressed look across his face.

Isabella's face is a mask right now, though it's the kind of mask that show's she's agitated. She glances between them again and drinks her coffee, mouth twisting a moment before she mutters, "I'll…volunteer." Gasp! Shock! Snowflake in Hell!

"Good idea. Like what they use with sleeper agents. 'There are three flowers in a vase. The second flower is yellow,' and bam, you have an assassin," Veronica says, bestowing the over-eager pixie Liza with a dimpled smile. She raises a brow and then nods to Isabella when the woman volunteers.

"If his power is directional, it won't affect me, but if it's not, Richards' power won't be able to keep me from being persuaded. Of course, someone could go in as a control, see if we're affected. Again, won't help if it's me, unless we know how his power works," she points out, perhaps a bit over-eagerly. She may not be anti-Evolved any longer, but she still carries a grudge against Persuaders. "We should interview some of his people, though, and of course Schnook himself."

Allison glances at Liza, and it's hard to tell precisely what she thinks of the other woman's suggestions. Instead she nods to Ryans, then Veronica, and leans back. She even falls silent again. Someone's pouting! In a sort of grown up manner. But it's still pouting.

Ryans listens quietly, brows furrowing slightly. Fingers rub along his jaw line feeling the light shadow of facial hair. "It's as good a plan as any… And when it comes to talking to this guy, I'll go as control, unless something else comes up." It's risky, but the man is good at those. "Sawyer… I want you along as well in case Allison's ability doesn't work to keep the others there safe, one of us will need a clear head."

He plans to have others in the room when Allison does her thing to his agents, but no reason to bring that up at the moment, he can already see the pouting. Benjamin glances at the others in turn, before settling his gaze on Martin to see if there is anything else to add to this one, brows lifting a little ask that in a way.
"You're a better agent than you give yourself credit for," is whispered into Corbin's ear as a pair of red-sleeved arms slide around the archivist's shoulders. Leaning up against the back of his chair, Corbin's hallucination of Hokuto Ichihara offers a crooked-lipped smile, black hair shadowing one side of her face where yellow catlike eyes stare back at him through her bangs. "If you ask me, you're one of the best agents here, especially since you've been through what you've been through…"

Cupping a hand against Corbin's cheek, Hokuto leans up and looks across the table, around at all the other people sitting there, then boosts herself up to sit on the side of the table beside Corbin, one leg crossed over the other and hands folded over her knees. "I miss meetings," she admits longingly, "I'm going to participate for now, it's boring all by myself," leaning her head back, the phantom in Corbin's mind offers an askance look to Veronica, then narrows her eyes.

"Interesting," Hokuto admits thoughtfully, then looks back to Corbin. "When did she get a power?"

While Corbin is seeing ghosts, the remainder of the room is unaware of Ichihara's subconscious presence haunting the back of Corbin's mind. "I don't know, Ayers," Martin admits with a rub of his chin, "you're actually a better agent than you lead on." Unconsciously echoing Hokuto's words, Martin folds his hands in front of himself on the table. "You might actually be just unassuming enough to be able to pull through on this. You could pose as a reporter covering the cult, wanting to give them good press. There's nothing a sociopath loves more than to hear themselves talk." And at that he suddenly becomes very self-conscious about talking.

"I volunteer to go as well." Abruptly raising her hand from where she's sat silent this entire meeting, Bianca Karina turns her head to regard the agents across the table. The light of the monitor in front of her gleams off of the agent's rectangular glasses, hiding her eyes behind the white sheen. Whether it was the words of encouragement to Corbin or Isabella speaking up, agent Karina seems intent on getting back into the field.

It's very difficult to keep your mind on the here and now when there's a ghost hanging around in your subconscious. Corbin can't help but look over at her, which makes most people think he's staring off at nothing again, until he suddenly snaps back and looks at Martin. What— better— that's what Hoku— oh.

He shakes his head and then says, "Yeah, all right, I could probably go for the press part. I still have my old press badges, even if I don't use that cover too often anymore. It could work. Good press, hear himself talk, that sort of thing. But since we're not sure how Veronica's new ability would react— she's only had it for a couple months, it might be best she not go." He's answering Hokuto's question, but doing so very round-aboutly. "If it causes abilities to bounce off like we suspect, it may make one of us more suspceptable. I'll go ahead and let Allison give me a hypnotic suggestion or two, but I do have some training." Not really, but he has a Hokuto, who protected him from her father at least… "I might be able to resist it anyway."

Well now that she's volunteered for an Evolved to muddle around for the sake of Work, perhaps Isabella is off the hook for a little bit. Either way she stays quiet this time around. She just sips her coffee, toe tapping a little bit.

"I can also help by interviewing the congregation members when Schnook isn't around, or be there as backup if something goes FUBAR," because something always does! "And we have another case to work on, too. Gotta spread out the assets, right?" Veronica says, but she gives a slight nod to Ryans, letting him know she'll do what he asks.

"I'll find out when the next meeting is. Apparently they're held in a vacant lot near the apartments. Probably Sunday services, though apparently it's not 'church' church, so there may be some meetings prior to then. We can have a couple of people go in for the 'newspaper interviews,' maybe someone else as a photographer? And then go in like curious inquiring minds to the next meeting, see what we see." She glances at Crowley, then Ryans. "That will give Richards time to do her flower planting."

"Before I do any planting I need to speak with the woman. The more I can find out about what was done to her, and how, the better my suggestions will be able to protect whoever I end up using my ability on," Allison says.

She's listening, not adding her voice to the discussions, and not feeling a need. Maria believes the leaders know how to assign her airborne talents in support of the operation. Sniper services, high altitude surveillance with equipment sensitive enough to cover the distance, etc.

"Alright, it looks like we have enough volunteers and a skeleton of a plan there. Ryans, Sawyer, I'll let you two decide how best to go about this assignment with Ayers, Dawson and Karina as assets to look into this church." Rubbing his hands together, Martin leans back in his chair and nods to Corbin to handle something on the laptop, then looks around the room.

"The second case we have is a twisting and complicated one. Agents Dawson and Lupinetti know the problem we're facing first-hand, as do the agents who went to investigate the scene, but… even catching the rest of you up is going to be a bit trick, so I'll handle this one."

With a click of a key on his display, Martin changes the image on the screens around the table to display the image of a six floor tenement building that is — strikingly — missing a sixty foot sphere of material from the sixth and part of the fifth floor. The missing portion is nearly cut out almost like a cookie-cutter, though the scarred edges of the building's mission portions are glowing hot.

"This photograph was taken an hour after an incident that attained national media coverage. An unknown Evolved ability or combination of abilities caused a sixty-foot sphere of matter to be relocated from the Hamilton Heights Apartments in Harlem to just outside of the Washington Monument in Washington D.C. The latter details of this case have been so far kept quiet…"

Folding his hands together, Martin furrows his brows, glasses reflecting the image of Hamilton Heights in their lenses. "Eye witnesses of the incident reported seeing an 'overlay' of the D.C. skyline out the windows of their apartments, even though they were not in the sixty-foot affected area. One eye-witness in question, Evan Langford, is also a material witness in the previous case, as he was present on the bus. We do not believe there is a connection, but it can't be entirely ruled out. Our second material witness, FBI agent Felix Ivanov, corroberates what the other eye-witnesses have seen. We believe some sort of unknown teleportation ability may be responsible, though a check with Company archives and the Registry have come up empty… which is likely why the case has been handed to us."

Motioning to Corbin, Martin dips his head into a nod. "Ayers, if you'd give us th' details on the information we've acquired since the on-site investigation."

"At first we weren't sure if it was a relocation-type ability, but with the description of the DC skyline, I called agents in DC and asked them to look at the area to see if there was anything similar reported…" Corbin clicks a few pictures up, and it's not a pretty sight… "The agents scoured the area around the Washington Monument and found rubble and personal effects belonging to missing portions of the apartment building, as well as remains of Michael and Lisa Parker— part of their remains had been left at the scene of the incident."

Click click, no more dead bodies on the screen, and he shifts onward. "While researching the records furnished by the building owner, we discovered that one of the residents, Stephen Rubio of 503 does not exist. All the personal information that he had was falsified. A sweep of the apartment pulled up fingerprints, though analysis found nothing. The prints were all unnaturally stretched and elongated and did not match anything in the government database."

Flick, flick. "Also, the resident of 602 had the name Monica Dawson. She's been missing since the incident, and no remains were discovered, so it is unlikely she was killed. However, when I ran the name through our database, I came up with a file on her. She's suspected to have connections to Phoenix and PARIAH in the past, and she's being sought as a person of interest, but most likely she'll just be able to give a witness testamony."

Click, click… "The epicenter of the event is apartment 604, belonging to a Shelly Winbrook, a college student at Columbia. She has not been seen since the incident, no remains were found. She has no criminal record, nor does she have any living immediate relatives. Her father Clarke and mother Denise were killed in the midtown explosion. Winbrook also happens to be a secretary at Biomere Incorportated— one of our covers." Omnious! Perhaps.

"Detective Williams at the scene suggested the possibility of a man named Darryl Lincoln having advanced notice of this incident. He'd made a scene at the Crown Heights Police Station on July third— eleven days before the incident — citing the exact address and apartment of Shelly Winbrook, and being quoted as warning ‘they are coming for her.’ Lincoln was held for disorderly conduct and disturbing the peace before being released to the care of his psychiatrist. He's been a resident at Graystone Park Mental Health Hopsital since 2003 when he was admitted for psychotic episodes relating to severe agoraphobia — that's being afraid of unfamiliar public places and open spaces — and a self-professed schizophrenic, where he claimed to hear voices on a regular basis… Through medication and psychiatric care, he was able to get his phobia under control and was given a clean bill of health on June 21st. Apparently a week too early. After the incident he was re-admited to Crown Heights, of his own volition…

"Darryl's parents are deceased, from the midtown explosion, but financial records indicate that he continued to pay rent and utilities on his apartment in Brooklyn despite being institutionalized. Payments for the apartment were made via a man named Richard Daselles — brother of a late company agent Trent Daselles — whom recently assisted Sawyer when she was researching the Akado Ichihara case…" For a moment he stops, glances toward the empty chair, then looks back. "He lives on Staten Island, in the Rookery, and is unaware of the existance of the Company— but it's an interesting connection that perhaps Sawyer should look into."

Brow ticking up, Isabella looks stonily at the photos. Yeah, great. Schizophrenics, huh? "Sounds like that Darryl kid might have an ability, maybe. Did he get tested? Twice?" Because she knows how accurate only one can be. (Hmph.)

"Rubio is obviously a curiosity, with fake names and all that," Veronica says, brows rising when she sees that she was right, that there was some sort of teleportation, or maybe matter-transferral, going on. "Lots of coincidences is this one. That DeVries girl is also a Columbia student, not that that means anything. The Biomere connection, and then Daselles is… well, it's a small world after all," she murmurs. The agent then nods to Corbin. "I'll go visit Ricky again. He's easy enough to get to talk, just takes a couple of twenties."

This case, after hearing about the persuader, seems to interest Allison a little less. Straight investigative work, after all, no need for her particular skills. not yet anyway. So while she nods slightly, and pays attention, she doesn't speak up.

There is only silence from the Team's lead, blue eyes narrowed as he listens to the details, studying what is on the screen in front of him. He leans forward in his chair resting his arms on the table in front of him so he can get a good look at the images that cross his screen. A hand rests across his mouth and brows furrow in thought. His head nods slowly as he listens.

"Do it." He directs to Veronica… "Someone see about this Darryl Lincoln, as well." He shifts to the side some to look at Allison, "You might work well for this. Since you'd be able to go in as a psychiatrist. Should he be resistant to discussing thing, you might be able to get him to open up."

"Maybe Darryl Lincoln was never really insane," Maria wonders out loud, "he sounds like a precog. There were probably a lot of people who developed powers and never understood what was happening, maybe still don't. Not all of us have the oh hey, wow moment of falling off a cliff and not hitting the ground. Lincoln might've thought he went crazy, and no one's ever bothered to test if he had the Complex."

Talk of Winbrook makes her a bit subdued. "I saw Shelly almost every day," the flying agent reports, "working at Biomere. She was like the Energizer Bunny, keeps going and going and going. But not just that… whenever she was around it was like anybody nearby got a boost."

"Interesting, maybe some sort of latent metabolic manipulation?" Bianca comments, tapping a pen against her chin, "potentially it's also some sort of psychologically manipulative ability, empathy or… pheramones? I'd be interested to look into her parents, deceased or not, maybe we I can dig up some blood samples on record and have Lashirah test them for the SLC down at the lab. I'll get on that and see what results we can pull up, same with Shelly's blood as well. I'll try and form a full dossier on her based on information from Biomere and co-workers… whatever i can pull up."

Though in regards to Darryl Lincoln, Martin has one confirmation ready.

"He's Evolved…" the senior agent notes with a furrow of his brows, "but no one has any idea what ability he may have. He's listed as a Tier-0 Evolved on the Registry by merit of a blood test, though he claims to have no foreknowledge of his ability. There's a high likelihood that he is a precognitive, all signs point towards it. Which, unfortunately, reminds me of a case we had a few months ago involving a precognitive as well. Unfortunately, we couldn't get more detailed records from Greystone, we're going to have to have an agent go down there and leverage the hospital administration. Lincoln is sequestered in isolation, last we heard from the hospital, and it's going to take some serious string-pulling to get us in to the institution to talk to him, but I think I may have an in that can work." Steepling his fingers, Martin rests his mouth against the side of his hands.

"Once we convince the asylum administration to further cooperate with us, we should be able to get a look at Lincoln's file and have a talk with him. Whatever it is Lincoln knows about the incident is crucial, given that we have no other leads on an what could have caused a catastrophic event like that."

Lifting her hand up at that commentary, Gracie Lee is usually the last person to volunteer for anything other than information gathering. "I'd like to request to go with Doctor Richards to Greystone. My skills are complimentary to hers and I believe our joint backgrounds in psychology may be useful here. Furthermore I'd like to test Lincoln's ability, I have some experience dealing with mentally damaged or unstable Evolved, it's one of the reasons I was partnered up with agent Petrelli when he was among our ranks." Yeah, Lee just called Peter unstable. They were the best of friends.

"Allison could probably convince them, especially if she uses her shrink creds," Corbin suggests, giving both a hypnotic answer, and a paper one. It could be something that could look into. "That's all I got to suggest, though," he says, glancing at the empty chair, and speaking with his eyes, since he can't speak any other way. Maybe he's looking to see if Hokuto has something to add. She wanted in on the meeting, after all…

Biomere. Washington D.C. Ricky Daselles. Trent Daselles. The names are just too coincidental for her liking, but she also has to look like the good little agent these days. Veronica sneaks a glance at Harper to see if there are any "tells" on his smug face — after all, he purports himself to be an excellent poker player — before shifting to look at Crowley.

"This Shelley Winbrook, is she Evolved? Do we have any idea on her ability? Even if she's not Registered, if she were working at Biomere, it's possible we'd know, right?" Her eyes shift over to Maria. "Do you know at all, even if it wasn't common knowledge?"

Gracie Lee and Corbin both get long looks from Allison, then she shrugs slightly. "I can get in easily enough. That was never an issue. Not unless they have a negator or deaf person at the desk. I'll see what I can find out," she says, nodding to Gracie Lee.

To Sawyer, Maria replies "It could be metabolic manipulation or psychological, empathic. Possibly pheromones, as was suggested by Agent (I forgot what her surname is). I wondered about it more than a few times. It also sounds like things went down just as Lincoln predicted; someone tried to kidnap Shelly Winbrook. If she has a power and was frightened by the move to kidnap her, it might've boosted something one of the kidnappers had."

"She isn't Registered either," Agent Lee adds, "but that doesn't mean anything. Biomere doesn't screen its staff for the SLC, but there's a possibility she was keeping it to herself. There's no records of her having an ability, but like I said, I can check out hospital records or donor samples. I'll report back if I get anything from the lab work." Bianca pushes her glasses up the bridge of her nose, then folds her hands ont he table, brows furrowed as her attention drifts to Liza, who is fidgeting in her seat and raising her hand again.

With a broad smile, agent Messer claps her hands together and beams about being able to be useful. "I can check out Columbia University! I didn't know her personally, but I'm still taking classes there, I can talk to the staff and students and try to find out if she had any friends, if anyone's seen her, maybe try and find out if any of her friends have heard anything too."

As Liza goes on excitedly calling out for involvement, Grant nods his head and rubs one hand over his chin. "Alright, I'll back you up on that. This is something you should be able to handle even on crutches, and I have some ties with the Dean at Columbia from my days on the NYPD. We can tag-team looking for things, and it wouldn't hurt for you to have a little backup anyway."

"That leaves myself as the odd duck out it seems," Rossling notes with an imperious raise of one brow and an askance look to Veronica. "I'll accompany you to speak to this Daselles character then, if he's as easy to talk to as he sounds it shouldn't be too difficult to do." Rossling in the Rookery has disaster written all over it, but the old man is pretty capable, after what happened in the Ichihara case.

Leaning forward in hs chair and finally unsteepling his hands, Martin furrows his brows and offers a nod of his head. "Alright, I think we have enough to go on now. Assistant-Director Ryans and Agent Sawyer have field authority on all cases. Ryans and Sawyer will be directly handling the look into Wiley and his church's activities. Lee and Richards will head up the investigation into Darryl Lincoln."

Exhaling a deep sigh, Martin furrows his brows and looks towards the conference room door, only to see Harper walking towards it. The dark-haired agent pauses, then tilts his head to the side and offers an unspoken wave to the room before ducking out. Martin's eyes narrow, lips sink down into a scowl and as he exhales sharply, he concludes the meeting with a bitter taste in his mouth.

"Meeting adjourned."

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