Deconstruction III


allison_icon.gif bryan_icon.gif flora_icon.gif fitzpatrick_icon.gif harper_icon.gif lee_icon.gif isabella_icon.gif lashirah_icon.gif liza_icon.gif maria_icon.gif martin_icon.gif rossling_icon.gif ryans2_icon.gif veronica3_icon.gif

Scene Title Deconstruction III
Synopsis Two high-profile cases are presented while Harper's profile is broken.
Date August 9, 2010

Fort Hero

Chairs scuff, tile croaks from the brush of metal feet across the surface and there's already voices raised before the tilting chair finally tips over. Laid out on his ass in the middle of the conference room floor, clutching his jaw and staring up wide-eyed at the man looming over him, Desmond Harper seems stunned by the right hook that was just delivered to the side of his face that knocked him clean out of his chair and onto his backside.

"You can back-talk me all y'want, but the moment y'start puttin yer bloody smug face between agents who ain't alive t'defend themselves I'll gladly put you flat on yer bloody ass again." Shaking his hand with a wince, Martin Crowley stands over the prone form of a wide-eyed agent Harper, shoulders heaving and lips downturned into a frown. Liza Messer is already trying ot get between them, one hand trying to guide Martin back by one arm, her brown eyes wide with worry.

Albert Rossling is crouched by Harper's side with a scowl, brows furrowed and a hand only politely offered out to help the DHS liaison up. "You say one more thing 'bout how we did'n do enough before th' bloody bomb an I'll knock every single one of your bloody teeth out of your head!"

Breathing in sharply and unable to form words, Harper just stares up at Martin with wide eyes under the dim glow of computer monitors and lowered lights. This, admittedly, may have been an unfortunate meeting for several members of the Investigative team to be unable to attend due to prior engagements.

To think, though, it all started out so civil.

Thirty Minutes Earlier

Fort Hero, Conference Room

"Alright, c'mon, take your seats, we've got a bloody pig-pile've a mess t'take care of today…" Slouching back in his leather-backed chair, Martin Crowley looks thorugh the doorway to the cadre of agents arriving in for the monday morning meeting slated to discuss two high-profile murders now on the Company's slate. With such important cases on the dockett, it is perhaps unfortunate that LashirahLee, Corbin Ayers, Elle Bishop and Bryan Buckley aren't present. Admittedly Isabella Dawson looks tired enough not to be counted among the living, she is at least corporeally present, even if perhaps not mentally.

"Good morning everyone!" Comes in chirping through the conference room entrance as Liza Messer comes strolling in, blonde hair bouncing atop her head as she physically skips into the conference room carrying a cardboard tray of coffee cups atop a long box of donuts. From the looks of things she's finally out of her ankle brace and the injuries sustained ont he Stack farm seem to have finally healed up nicely.

"Morning," agent Rossling grumbles in entrance behind her, soon after followed by several other members of the investigative team taking their seats around the conference table while Liza cross-references her coffees with lists of preferences of each agent, one by one dispensing necessary morning pick-me-ups along with an offering from a box of assorted donuts all delivered with a cheerful smile.

For once, Agent Gracie Lee and Grant Fitzpatrick seem conversational even before the meeting begins. Gracie's tones — while hushed — come with animated motions of her hand, her blackberry powered down and on the table in front of her.

Already present at the conference table and taking his coffee with both an appreciative smile and a nod of his head, Desmond Harper seems to be in good spirits as he leans back in his chair and sets his coffee down next to an open notebook, donut currently decorating the top.

Today should have been a good day.

Liza may be exceptionally chipper, but Allison, on the other hand, is not. She's moving better now that two weeks have passed since her 'accident', but she's no happier. She heads in and to a spot at the chair, pulling it out and sinking down into it with a bit more care than usual. Perhaps still sore from having her car tumbled over and over? The coffee is ignored, and she just leans back in her chair and waits for things to get into gear.

"Ooooh I hope that there is a low fat french vanilla in there for me" Flora's fingers nearly wiggle, or actually do, in delight at Liza and her bounty of caffeine that she brings, the blonde illusionist having come in on the wake of the freshly healed agent. "There's this little wanna be agent, and he makes the most horrid coffee, I just don't understand how he manages to do it. It's just, wrong. I think they need to send him to starbucks for some barista training on top of his gun training because let me tell you, even a wet behind the ears barista could do better"

A coffee yoinked from the tray, she parts ways in her lavender suit, breezing off towards her seat. "Guy has top marks in shooting a firearm but he can't make coffee for shit, awww Martin, you look so nice today, where'd you get your tie?"

She stops talking long enough to take her seat, check to see what coffee she grabbed and breathe.

She lives! …Sort of. Isabella Dawson rouses a bit and rubs a hand over her face, dour as usual. A coffee is snatched, and she takes a drink. Ahhh. Caffeinated salvation. But she has no words to offer, because after all, if you can't say something nice… So she sits badtemperedly in her chair, and lets her gaze flick from person to person.

"Thanks, Messer," Agent Sawyer tells Liza as she is handed her coffee, lifting the lid to peek at the caramel-colored hot beverage in side to make sure it does have milk in it before taking a swallow of straight black coffee on accident. She settles the lid back on carefully, and she drops into the seat across from Harper, and as far from the blonde in the lavender suit as possible. She waves off the donuts as they get passed around. Her hair is still slightly damp and smelling like fruit or flowers or some unlikely combination of the two, suggesting to those who know her that she's recently completed her five-mile run and taken a shower before slipping into her pin-striped trousers and blazer, today's gray with a pastel pink stripe.

Without his fedora or jacket, Assistant-Director Ryans is steps in straight from his office just a few doors down, it has been shut and locked behind him. He has no trust of anyone in his office. His powder blue dress shirt is pressed, without a tie as usual. His pants are actually dark jeans, seems he's gone casual today. He has those moments now an down.

Stepping around the table, Ryans claps a hand on Martin's shoulder in greeting as he passes him and finds his seat. Harper is pointedly ignored, shouldn't be too hard for the Institute agent to figure out why. He wave away the coffee with a hand and a softly spoken "No thank you," before settling down in his chair.

Buckley is too present - just a little late. He shoots a slightly guilty look at Martin as he makes his way through the door, taking an orange prescription bottle from his jacket pocket, newly filled by the look of it, and cracking it open. Bryan settles into a chair as inconspicuously as possible, but it's difficult to do so and take his I-Won't-Be-Poisonous-Today medicine. He choses one near Agent Sawyer, but also where there is an empty one. Just in case Elle decides to dust herself off and come to work, now that she isn't living at the Fort. The pills are taken without water - just a clap of his hand over his mouth, a jerk of his head, and a swallow.

Once that chore is done, Buckley clears his throat and puts the bottle back into the pocket of his suit jacket. It's black, and he's paired it with a charcoal gray shirt and a dark green tie. Now that's he's based near headquarters, there's no reason not to come to meetings polished.

The flying agent, not so airborne at present, is a silent seat occupant. Maria is stern of features, though keeping her features short of bristling. Occasional glances are leveled at Martin, the man who recruited her into this operation. Three documents are in a manila envelope within the messenger bag by her foot, dated sequentially. The first caused the second to be prepared, and the third causes her to delay addressing the other two.

But she's still seething.

"Nice've you t'join us, Buckley," is only lightly teasing from the British agent as he wheels back a little in his chair, coffee cradled in one hand and brows furrowed. "Alright, now tha' it looks like we've got most everyone here an' accounted for except for those that won't be here t'day, I think it's time we get on with this. Agent Lee," Martin notes with a look to Gracie, who glances up towards the older man with a guilty look of having been interrupted mid-conversation with Agent Fitzpatrick, "you're prepared t'cover for Ayers today, yeah?"

There's a slow nod from the redheaded agent as she threads a lock of hair behind one ear. "Yes, sir. I am." An askance glance is afforded back to Grant, and Gracie is slouching into her seat with one hand snatching her blackberry and the other tapping the keys on the side of the display screen between she and Grant, getting her portion of the presentation ready.

"Alright then… we've got two very high-profile cases comin' on an' half've our bloody staff is out sick or on assignment elsewheres, which is tyin' my hands on makin' some've you need t'perform overtime for us." There's a wary glance leveled to Harper before Martin continues. "I'll jump right inta' our first case. On th' forth, the body of New York State Senator Anthony Portman was discovered in the collective of neighborhoods on Staten Island now known as the Rookery. The Company was called in on this due to both the unusual style of death revolving around Senator Portman, an' also the results of a DHS blood test performed on site, corroberated by our own forensics department." There's a look from Martin around the table, then a gesture to Gracie, "Agent Lee, if'n y'would?"

Nodding sharply, Gracie presses a few keys on her Blackberry and all of the displays around the table are synchronized to display the same gruesome image of a man in a suit laying belly-side down on the street with oneleg bent and most of his face peeled off from muscle and bone, claw marks from fingers gouged in the fatter tissue, blood everywhere.

"Senator Anthony Portman, age 49, did not perish from from acute blood loss as we had suspected on scene. According to coroner's reports of the body, Portman died of a heart attack before he could bleed out from trauma to his facial tissue. Senator Portman's tox-screen came back with significant levels of Refrain in his system, though not enough to cause cardiac arrest. There was also a heightened level of Adrenaline found in his body that indicated a high level of fear reaction just shortly prior to death. No history of heart disease in his family."

Tapping a screen, there's a display of swatches of blood that have turned blue on a test-kit pad. "Portman's blood pulled directly from his body reads as SLC-positive, though Portman was not a Registered Evolved and was a vocal proponent of the national Registry and the Linderman act. We have also discovered that additional blood was found on the scene not matching Portman's AB blood type, which tested negative for the SLC, which was confusing tests performed by Agent Delgado on the scene."

Clicking another key, there's the image of a gruff looking man in his mid thirties with short cropped, dark hair and a goatee. "This is DEA operative Francis Riveria, currently undercover with drug traffickers on Staten Island, part of a Department of Justice operation closing in on the heads of the trafficking ring operating on the island, pushing Refrain for the Ghost Shadows triad. He is the operative who had been shadowing the Senator and building a case against him and reported finding him dead on scene. He is still working undercover, but we've been forwarded contact information by the DoJ should we need to pull him in for questioning. Doing so visibly, however, could result in the failure of the DEA's operation on Staten Island to close that Refrain trafficking ring."

Sliding her tongue over her lips, Gracie clicks the screen again to show a bird's eye view of the parking lot and intersection that the Senator's body was found near. "Aside from the blood, which we've not been able to match in any government database, we also pulled tissue samples from beneath Senator Portman's nails that match the blood type of our mystery victim, it looks like Portman wasn't just clawing at himself."

Clicking another image over, Gracie displays the image of a blonde haired woman in her early fifties with hands folded in her lap and a feigned smile on her face. "This is Senator Portman's wife, Amelia, mother of his two children August and Frederick, both of whom no longer live at home or in New York City. Amelia has agreed to cooperate with our investigation for questioning…"

There's a rough sigh from Lee as she looks up and around the table. "Honestly, that's all we have to go on. We're getting some pressure," and she glances askance to Harper, then back around the table, "from Homeland Security to get this case handled fast and cleanly because of the very public scrutiny being placed on it."

When Gracie starts speaking, Allison looks at her, intently. Very intently. Right up until there are images to look at, then she's looking at those, with no change in her expression. She arches a brow and glances up. "So no one has spoken with his wife at all? If anyone would know if he was hiding an ability, a known ability, I would think it would be her. Unless their marriage was strictly for political reasons anyway."

Isabella looks up at the screen, no visible reaction to the gore. Then again, with her, ah, experiments in learning her power recently, perhaps it's not so out of the ordinary. Ish. Well, the face-peeling is new, anyways. "Maybe his power botched on him," she offers vaguely, before drinking her coffee. "If his assailant tested negative, then either they had a freak accomplice, or he did it to himself." She's too tired to be PC.

"Probably be best if Richards interviews the wife. Like she says, if anyone knows he was hiding something, it'd be her. Or she might just suspect it. It's possible she knows something subconsciously, in which case…" Veronica says, as she gestures to suggest Richards' power would be particularly useful in such an event.

"Physically and anatomically," she adds, glancing around the room, "is it possible for someone to do that sort of damage to themselves without an ability? Did he test positive for anything else — drugs, PCP, that kind of thing that might have caused this, regardless of what sort of power he had? He's Evolved, but it might not be an Evolved crime, especially given what all he's into down there." She pauses, glancing then at Crowley. "I'd offer to go talk to Daselles again and see if he knows anything about Portman, but we mighta burned that bridge." She doesn't know what happened to his cousin, or she'd be sure they burned it. "Who's gonna talk to the undercover guy? We should be able to wrangle it so he doesn't look like he's being pulled out of cover. One of us can go to him undercover — prostitute, drug dealer, typical Staten thug."

A glance goes from the screen to Martin at the mention of much of the staff being gone, there is a bit of guilt in the senior agent, but it doesn't show. Leaning forward a little in his chair, eyes return to the screen in front of his and he listens to what is said in regard to the case.

Harper finally gets a glance from the Assitant-Director, though what he's thinking isn't easily read on his features. Veronica voices his thoughts, so Ryans settles back into his seat, hands folding against his stomach.

"Considering his political record," Buckley interjects with his usual dry tone, his eyes focused not on the images anymore, but on Isabella and Veronica in turn, "the logical place to look may be one of the pro-Evolved factions. Or, if for some reason any of the anti-Evolved groups had reason to believe that the Senator wasn't who he said he was. Either way, someone wanted to send a message by killing him and doing so…so violently." Buckley shifts his gaze from the other agents to Harper. "It's unfortunate that the Rookery isn't the best place to find witnesses." He's careful when he annunciates, so much so that he lets his lips pull up over his teeth to innocently bare his fangs.

He takes a deep breath and looks to the screen again. "The problem with investigating a public figure is number of people you have to talk to. Co-workers. Associates. Friends. Funds. And yes, family. Anyone might have information on who the Senator might have known or enemies he may have had. But my money's that the person he confided in wasn't his wife. But that takes digging, and with as public as this already is, digging could get very, very messy."

"It may well be this is a simple case of a drug deal gone bad," Maria offers up, "given his suspected activities and the substances found in his blood. Also, my background as a biochemist makes me wonder about drug interactions. Refrain induces memories to surface, and therefore qualifies as a hallucinogen in my book. The presence of adrenaline indicates he perhaps saw something which induced fear, perhaps he felt something noxious was on his face and he sought desperately to get it off."

"A bad trip," Fitzpatrick notes with a quirk of one brow, "it wouldn't be entirely unheard of. Truth be told I'd be glad if what happened could be written off that simply, and if we don't find anything in interviews with associates of the Senator that might be the most logical option. He dosed himself on Refrain and went ballistic. Maybe if we can find a scarred junkie or dealer out there we'll figure out exactly what happened."

Tapping the erased of a pencil against his chin, Fitzpatrick offers a look over to Martin. "I think our key probably lies in questioning this undercover DEA agent. Whether we want to jeapordize their investigation or not… we should probably err on the side of or not given our own need to keep good public face with our work, especially now a'days."

Offering a look over to Bryan, Fitzpatrick cracks an appreciative smile. "You know, I always heard you were a sharp cookie, Buckley, but I never have gotten to see much of that myself. Glad you could get on down here and get involved, actually. You bring up some pretty solid points, because the Senator may not have confided in his wife. If he was a patron of the Happy Dagger before it burned down like we'd heard on site, then it's possible he had a mistress or a favorite hooker who might know a secret or two. It might not hurt to get some feet on the ground in the Rookery to ask around. I…" Fitzpatrick grimaces, "I hate to lean on our source there after what happened to Darryl Lincoln, but Rick Daselles might not be a bad angle to look at, we know money buys his info."

There's a visible from from Gracie when the topic of Lincoln comes up, followed by an askance look to Allison and a slow shake of her head. Clearing her throat, Gracie looks up and around at the team, then turns her focus to Veronica. "Refrain was the only substance we found in his system, but its psychotropic reaction could well have resulted in any sort of psychological break depending on what he saw. I've heard rumors about "unrefined" versions of Refrain on the market too that may have contributed to this…"

"Maybe it wasn't his wife. As I said, depends on what type of marriage they had. But until we get a better idea of who we could talk to who might know, the wife is still our best bet," Allison says to Bryan with a small shrug. Then she's frowning and looking to Gracie, then Fitzpatrick. "What happened to Darryl?" she demands, sitting up straighter in her seat. Clearly someone hadn't informed her of this little tidbit of information.

"I can try and talk to Daselles," Veronica offers again. "Hell, I'll offer to go talk to the undercover agent unless someone else wants to go play hooker or thug and get a little visit with him. We should try to play nice with them and not screw up his operation. It might win us some brownie points if we don't fuck up another agency's case. Not that I'd count on it."

She thinks for a moment. "I'd say those of us who were there the day of the raid should avoid playing undercover, but some makeup and a dye job or wig should be enough cover, really, if we're gonna go that route. I'd suggest not Bishop though. She made a bit of an impression — it might be harder for them to forget her face." She smirks a little at that.

"He was killed in an altercation by an unknown evolved." Ryans finally speaks up, answering Allison's question blandly. "I'll discuss it with you later." Clearly, he has no desire to discuss the matter there. A dark look is flicked Harper's way, before he continues onto matters of the case at hand.

"Is there a way to test for this unrefined Refrain? If we can find a way to get our hands on some of it?" Ryans studies his screen again curiously. "See what makes up the unrefined version?

"I also agree with Sawyer, last thing we want to do is start stepping on other agencies toes if we don't have to." There is some irony in his words, but not too many would know why and in what way. Ryans doesn't even look at Harper as he speaks, the man beneath his notice at the moment. "So a little undercover is in order." A glance goes to Allison and Bryan both, brows lift just a little. "Either of you two up for that challenge?"

"Me too," Bryan seconds as well. "Also, Bishop is still recovering from an injury - she wouldn't make a good addition." It's probably for the best she isn't here - if Elle even caught wind of any sort of undercover operation, there's no telling whether or not she'd show up uninvited, just for kicks. But again, it's not something Bryan is going to bring to light while in the presence of non-Company…company. "I suggest a small team. No more than three. Too many, and we risk blowing the DEA's operation." And more, for that matter. Playing dress-up in the Rookery isn't a kid's game. Undercover is close to what Bryan used to do, back in the good old days, but his missions always ended with a corpse, and that's to be avoided here.

Lashirah shows up a touch late, laptop in tow… she's finally out of bandages, though she's still wearing a wrist brace in additon to her usual labcoat and punk rock outfit.

"Alright then, despite the very public nature've this case, I think we're as close to a concensus on what t'do as we're goin' t'get. I'll put up a volunteer assignment tracker for agents willing t'talk to Daselles down in the Rookery and agents who're going to offer t'talk to the DEA agent. I'll do my best t'try and set up the meet in as safe a location as possible, but I doubt I'll 'ave much say in that matter." Lifting up a hand to scratch over his brow, Martin looks askance to Lashirah, then back down the table.

"Furthermore, we'll need an agent t'talk to the Senator's wife, Richards," there's a look to Allison, "you seem like the agent for th' task so I'll leave that up t'you and another agent if y'can think of one y'want to bring along." Folding his hands in front of his chin, Martin slouches forward and creases his brows, clearing his throat and staring at the display in front of himself.

During Martin's dissemination of responsibilities, Agent Harper offers an askance look to Ryans, brows furrowed and lips downturned into a regretful expression before he turns his attention back to Martin. "I'll 'ave Lashirah look into the differences between classifications of Refrain for this an' see if we can narrow down what type the Senator had in his system."

Looking over to Flora, Martin arches one brow. "We've got one other high-profile case that, unfortunately we've less evidence than I'd prefer to go on. "Agent Anderson," Martin intones with a nod of his head to her, "Can you give us the basics on the Hunter death, an' then we'll fill in the details."

Ryans may not want to discuss the matter, but Allison on the other hand…This is likely the first time most of the people present have seen her angry. "And why was I not informed given that I was responsible for him and the reason that he was out of the hospital? As for the undercover job, I'll pass. Thanks." My, my. When did she get mouthy? Isn't that the job of…other agents? She does, however, nod to Martin. "I'll talk to the wife." She looks to Gracie, briefly, then back to Martin, shrugging. "Whoever wants to come with me, I suppose. Ideally they won't really be doing anything, unless they have questions I don't think of."

"UNfortunately?" There's a grin on Flora's face as the table is tossed to her. "I heard that the NYPD were in a tizzy and pantyhoses riding right up their asses after running into Delgado and Bishop" The blonde flips her hair over her shoulder before flipping open the first page of her own folder.

"Hunter Communications, one of their senior employee's, senior in position and not in age, was murdered in his office. Point of entry to the office seeming to be an air vent. Aged forty two, married with two children, no known possible enemies and no witness's to the crime. He was found just past midnight and time of death was calculated at sometime between nine and ten in the evening" Her finger traces along the page. "Fingerprints at the scene were unusable, due to charring and because there was just no usable prints that were found. What few drops of blood were collected, were enough to ascertain type, and evolved status, but nothing more. The remainder of the blood evidence was compromised during the investigation by Agent Bishop"

A glance around then back to the folder, flipping the page. "Death by exsanguination from the wound on his neck and secondary cause being the eight stab wounds to his upper chest and abdomen. Poor guy would have died no matter how soon anyone found him" Another hair flip, she finishes reading off the paper.

"We've been called in by the NYPD to assist the dective in charge, as a personal favor to the CEO and his family. We're not in charge, but we're supposed to work hand in hand to find this individual under the guise of HomeSec"

Isabella's mouth pulls into a frown. She may not be the best or brightest agent, and she may be a little… how you say, rash. But at least her forensics experience keeps her from contaminating evidence. Harumph!! But she has nothing to add besides contempt, right now. So. Contempt!!!

"Is there any chance someone like Dawson could glean something from the blood evidence that forensics couldn't?" Veronica says, glancing at Isabella and then back to the others. "Clearly we're looking for someone with an ability that allows them to get in through an air vent — vapor form, smoke form, teleportation, something of that type. Are there any other cases similar that have gone unsolved on the books?"

"Because our paths have simply not crossed at the right time, Richards." Benjamin Ryans is not flustered by Allison's outburst and pissiness. His experience with two teenage girls a help with that. "Like I said. I am more then happy to discuss this after the meeting." The look he gives her is a flat one that is an attempt to bring a stop to the line of questions.

He then turns his attention back to Flora, nodding a little. "I've already talk to one agent about the forensic's matter, I've not had the time to corner the other… but should it happen again, they will be sent back for Forensics training." His gaze settles on Maria for the briefest moment. "And so no one is left out it goes for anyone else." His gaze sweeps the room , as he speaks, "Many of you have been within the Company long enough to know better." He holds a hand up and ticks them off with fingers. "One screw up… one chance… then training."

"Wasn't there another Hunter murder not that long ago?"

Bryan seems a unsure as he leans on the table and lacing his fingers together. He was in Chicago in March, but that doesn't mean he didn't keep up on his current events. "The heiress…it was something similar, right? And she was registered. There might be a connection." At least, it's worth looking into. He looks to Harper and squints. "Any news from your front on that?" There's the softest of challenges in his tone, and the question is followed by an expectant arch of his eyebrows.

Having been cited by name moments ago, the flying agent decides not to call attention on herself right now, whether to dispute the account given or to confirm it. Maria speaks not.

Lashirah sits down and pulls out her information. "The soot was examined from that case… no correlation to the Samson case soot or ash. Totally wrong chemical composition." She pauses a moment, then sighs and keeps her comments to herself. Nothing nice to say apparently.

"We've ruled out a connection to the murder of Wendy Hunter and the other unexplained murders under the purview of DHS operative Audrey Hanson," Gracie explains as she begins clicking away on her Blackberry. "That was one of the first things we'd had checked out to make sure we had jurisdiction on the case and not Hanson's people. The MO was different on that case, and we didn't find trace residue of the specific ash found at each scene…" There's a furrow of Gracie's brows as she brings up video of the crime scene on the displays surrounding the table.

"According to the forensics analysis I have here, the murder weapon wass a hunting knife— Bowie Bushman— a smooth edge and seven inches in length and made of carbon steel. This suggests a certain desired intimacy in the kill, which Agent Fitzpatrick and I agree implies a certain level of personal connection to the victim from the killer. He wanted to see or feel him die, with premeditated situations like this where an edged weapon comes up that's usually the case."

Rolling her tongue on the inside of her cheek, Gracie tilts her head to the side and reviews something on her handheld's screen. "Renner's throat was cut, followed by eight separate stabs to the chest pre and post mortem that backs up Fitzpatrick's assessment about a personal connection to the murder. Death by exsanguination followed mainly through the throat cut." There's another click of the blackberry and a thumb-scroll down. "Two types of blood were found at the scene, that belonging to the victim and then a second source, thought to belong to the attacker. The blood from the attacker was found on the air vent cover. The drop or two that Agent Delgado was able to collect before Elle passed a current through and destroyed the rest of the possible blood evidence, provides a blood type at least, but not enough to do anything else."

"Fingerprints were found on the vent cover," and images of those are displayed in oddly elongated and smudged manner, "walls around the cover, and inside the vent itself but they are partial and unusable due to smudging of them. If there were better prints, Bishop fried them…"

Lifting up a pen to scratch at her temple with, Gracie changes the display to footage of the vents from black and white closed circuit security cameras. "Footage of vent exits, Four and a half hours previous reveal nothing. No one exiting through any roof vents, no squeezing out through any exhaust vents into basements or the like. Birds, rats, you name it. But no evolved person squeezing in and out…" one of the agents hands moves up to thread a lock of red hair behind one ear before she looks up and around the table to see who's still paying attention.

"None of the witness's are able to provide any valuable information, though when the vent was brought up to people from the building, there was a complaint made by a few people to the the maintenance department about the air vents in various offices not working, or strange sounds in them. The video, unfortunately, doesn't show anything useful…"

Clicking a key beside her screen, showing an itemized list of evidence collected from the scene. "Four security badges were reported as not turned in, all employees of the company and all but one can provide concrete alibi's for where they were. The third one is a Acton Reed, 27, working in IT and says he was home all night by himself and there's no one else to vouch for him. This is our only real measurable lead that I've been able to find in all of this information…"

"That is hardly an acceptable answer Benjamin, and you know it. So no, we won't speak of this later. I'll address someone more reliable," Allison retorts to Ryans, before she looks back to the others, namely Gracie. "Who stands to gain the most from Renner's throat? While it could have been done by a knife because of a desire to some sort of intimacy, it's just as possible that this was a professional kill, and the killer was paid to do it in such a way. I don't think it's that likely, but it's still something to consider, given Renner was one of the senior employees, and thus most likely had some degree of power within the company."

"There are other murders"

"Flora flips a few more pages. "When I was informed about the case and to look into it. There was another murder that popped up. Two of them." She pins one page with a finger, a picture of a bloody bedroom glimpsed of before she drops the page. "I ran a query through the system. You know, for giggles and cause I was bored last night. I came up with two hits in Florida from two years ago. Both had the last name Renner"

The folder is pushed into the center, two of them in fact, for anyone to grab. "Oddly, they're related to this Renner. One was a cousin, the other was… An Aunt, on his fathers side. Blood evidence was found at the scene, but no useable fingerprints again. I've put in a request for the blood, so that maybe, if Dawson has control of her ability and can possibly do something to increase the volume of the blood the NYPD currently has from the scene, we may be able to compare. Whether that would stand in a court of law, who knows. But it would help"

Flora closes her eye's recalling from her own memory. "George Renner, his wife and their daughters were murdered over a period of four hours, no obvious signs of entry, their throats slit as well. No witness's or anything. Tampa Bay Florida. The other murder was a Marigold Renner, Teacher, she died in the same manner, but at her place of employment at a middle school. When she stayed late to complete some work for her class. janitorial staff heard her scream, but the door to the room she was in was locked and by the time that they managed to enter, she had already died and there was no one with her. Nor was there any obvious signs of entry or exit"

Flora glances around. "It's quite possible, this is the same individual. Not the same knife, but same method. Cut the throats, no or unuseable fingerprints and blood at the George Renner scene. Possible we have another serial killer"

Bryan coughs immediately after Allison's outburst and glares at her from across the table. It's one thing to be having a tiff with a superior, but venting it in a meeting of this sort, especially when the DHS liaison is present is far from wise. If Buckley knew the other agent better, he wouldn't hesitate to chastise her as soon as he was afforded the chance. "Certainly now is not the time, Agent Richards. We do have an agenda." Taking a breath, Bryan looks at the evidence on display.

"The way I see it, we need to fill in the cracks and look at the pieces New York's finest aren't going to pay any attention to. Where Reed was, who would benefit from Renner's death," he pauses, giving a nod to Flora and the newest information, "even a possible revenge-against-the-family plot - those are standard lines of investigation." A person need only read a piece of crime fiction to know that much. "We're not here to do their job for them. So whatever they aren't doing is where we need to look." No sense in duplicating work.

There's a blink as Isabella's power is brought up, and her lips firm into a line. There's a bit of an internal war in her eyes, before she offers a sour "I'll work on it." Guess this means a trip to the Suresh Center for some classes. After all, experimenting on pet store animals and cage-caught squirrels is expensive in one case, and time consuming in the other. And messy.

"Not like it'd take much to discount Gray as a suspect. If the brain wasn't sliced open, it wasn't Samson Gray, and he would hardly need a knife to kill someone," Veronica says wryly. That case is still open and on her docket, yet now she owes Gabriel Gray her life, she's not really all that much in a hurry to solve it.

"Acton Reed, is he Registered or Unregistered, and if he's Registered, what's his power?" she asks, writing the name down on a notepad on the table in front of her. "If he's not, we start there. Evo test, and if he's positive, well, we figure out what flavor he is. How long's he been working at Hunter, by the way, and does he have any ties to Florida? Or did you not think to look all that up for 'giggles'?" Veronica glances at Flora.

"I get the feeling you don't like me Agent Sawyer. And here we're both California girls." Snarky is as Snarky does, and there's another hair flip. "He's not registered, so we can test him and go from there. He's been employed with the Hunter Corporation for three months now. I'm sure Agent Sawyer that I can get you his full work history, his likes and dislikes, whether he likes long walks on the beach and whether he wears boxers and briefs" A pause, and a wide grin that rides from ear to ear. "If you like, you know, for giggles"

"And if you were paying any attention at all, whoever you all, you would've noticed that I've moved past it, and you would do well to do the same." Though somehow Allison makes the words sound distinctly like she said 'shut up' instead. Of course, all of her bitching at Ryans, or even Bryan, might not be viewed as badly as what happens next by a good chunk of the agents presents. Is that a little silver gleam in her eyes? They're definitely not hazel anymore.

Then, almost absently said to Flora, "She doesn't like me much either, and I'm a California girl too."

"You know," comes from Desmond Harper as he raises his brows slowly from behind his coffee, "I have to say that if this is an example of how things were typically handled here at the Company before integration with the Department of Homeland Security, it's really no small wonder that security breaches like what caused the Midtown disaster slipped through the agency's fingers." Sharp words from Desmond Harper at the table, with only a fleeting look to Isabella and Dante during it, "Seriously, I look around this table and how much backbiting, sniping and hissing fits are being thrown around? You know, when Lazzaro came down here to offer you all agent training I think you might have wanted to get in on it. You probably would've benefitted."

Martin's hand curls fingers to his palm around a pencil when he hears Harper speaking next to him. "Thank— you Desmond for that very— insightful— " But Harper isn't even halfway done yet.

"This is symptomatic of the problem of the Company," Desmond continues with a motion of his hand around the table, "I mean I understand some of you don't like each other but is there even a single professional among any of you? Someone who follows protocol? I can't even see a good representation of leadership in your directors and assistant directors, and I'm not just saying this to hear myself talk, people."

Martin's jaw clenches and the pencil he's holding quietly snaps in his hand as he lifts his eyes up to meet Desmond's as the DHS liaison sets his coffee cup down on the table. "You do realize I'm here under the advicement of the National Security Agency, don't you? I have a Presidential request that put me down in this place to determine the Company's effectiveness. I file daily reports up to Washington and do you know what's in it?"

Breathing in to try and speak before Desmond can say more, Martin is once again cut off as he opens his mouth. "This exact kind of Dog and Pony activity that seems to be classic Company agent behavior. I mean just here today there were how many outbursts and accusations of inappropriate conduct on assignment?" Harper's lips purse together in an expression of stupefied disbelief.

"And Cruz really had the tenacity to ask me the other day why I think so many of our agents died in the Midtown explosion." Martin's back goes straight at that. "You know why you lost so many agents?" Martin's mouth opens again, but Desmond just keeps talking. "Because you are largely staffed by incompetant people, and I think that the wall outside with the photos of the agents who died in Midtown probably helped contrbute to this environment of inefficient behavior that, as an outsider looking in— "


The sound of Martin Crowley's fist hitting Desmond Harper in the jaw is so loud it sounds like something broke. Harper is struck so hard the force of the blow ejects him from his chair, sends him toppling backwards out of it as the chair flips over and tosses the agent skidding across the floor much to the shocked silence of most everyone else at the table.

Chairs scuff, tile croaks from the brush of metal feet across the surface and there's already voices raised before the tilting chair finally tips over. Laid out on his ass in the middle of the conference room floor, clutching his jaw and staring up wide-eyed at the man looming over him, Desmond Harper seems stunned by the right hook that was just delivered to the side of his face that knocked him clean out of his chair and onto his backside.

"You can back-talk me all y'want, but the moment y'start puttin yer bloody smug face between agents who ain't alive t'defend themselves I'll gladly put you flat on yer bloody ass again." Shaking his hand with a wince, Martin Crowley stands over the prone form of a wide-eyed agent Harper, shoulders heaving and lips downturned into a frown. Liza Messer is already trying ot get between them, one hand trying to guide Martin back by one arm, her brown eyes wide with worry.

Albert Rossling is crouched by Harper's side with a scowl, brows furrowed and a hand only politely offered out to help the DHS liaison up. "You say one more thing 'bout how we did'n do enough before th' bloody bomb an I'll knock every single one of your bloody teeth out of your head!"

Breathing in sharply and unable to form words, Harper just stares up at Martin with wide eyes under the dim glow of computer monitors and lowered lights. This, admittedly, may have been an unfortunate meeting for several members of the Investigative team to be unable to attend due to prior engagements.

To think, though, it all started out so civil.

Lashirah says, "Speaking of security…."

Lashirah tosses two electronic devices onto the table. In particular, two electronic listening devices. Bugs. "Someone has been naughty with DHS-standard issue listening gear. In the forensics lab."

Harper's rant makes Veronica uncomfortable, staring at the coffee cup in her hands, her cheeks flushing with anger at allegations of incompetency at a time she wasn't even here in the city, at a Company she's come to hate and despise and yet still feels is the lesser of two evils. She tries to keep her expression neutral, but when fist strikes jaw, she's up on her feet, eyes flashing angrily as she looks at first Crowley, then Harper. "Jesus, how old are you?" she snaps at Crowley, even as she feels the pang at her treachery in her stomach. She wants to high-five Crowley in reality.

When Lashirah interrupts with the bugs, she frowns, glancing at Harper for a moment before broaching a possibility: "Maybe Ahlgren. Could be Paulson or Ichihara." She knows better.

Her dark eyes avoid Ryans'.

Buckley can't help but agree with Harper for much of his tirade, but when he starts talking about those who lost their lives… well, he's only marginally less upset than Crowley. He stands almost immediately once the punch is thrown, his muscles tensed in readiness. He waits a moment for the tempers to go from flaring to at least simmering before he speaks.

"As much as it hurts to say it, Mr. Crowley, the man has a point." Buckley scans the room, his eyes lingering on Allison and Flora just a bit longer than the others. What with the snark and the flippancy. "People have gotten comfortable. It might not be a bad idea to do a little…reallocation of human resources." The disdain in Bryan's voice drips from his teeth as he says the word, narrowing his eyes. "This is, first and foremost, an occupation. A occupation that can be lost." A grin slips onto his face then, and he snorts out a laugh.

"And you all knew the job was dangerous when you took it."

Seated in her chair, watching as Crowley and Harper come to blows, Maria avoids speaking. She exhibits a professional military bearing, but inwardly she'd like to make popcorn. Or stomp both fighting men into pulp.

"Richards." The warning is growled from Ryans, not missing the silver gleam in her eyes. "You will keep your ability to yourself when sitting at this table." He's dropped the Darryl stuff for now. Not much he can do about schedules and life. Ryans was there, should she go else where…. well… that's her problem.

His gaze goes to Harper, the look cold and almost dangerous. At the Institute Agent's words, Ryans goes completely still, gaze sharpening. So maybe it's a good thing Martin snaps, before Ryans does. It shakes the old man out of his own coil, slowly rising he moves to where he can look at the man on the floor. "Your lucky, it was Martin that delivered that little response…" He leans down and glares at Agent Harper as he hisses out a growls softly, his blue eyes flash with anger. He doesn't care if the others hear what he says. "I wouldn't have been so nice."

Ryans straightens and turns back to the table, moving to pick up one of the bugs. "Good find Lashirah." He praised her, even if his tone doesn't show it. Holding it up, he looks at Martin. "I want the whole god damn base swept for bugs." He then turns to leave, tossing the one he has in Harper's lap as he passes. He knows who really did it, but like Lashirah he doesn't say it out loud, but his actions could speak for themselves.

At the door, his pauses glancing back at first Harper and then Bryan. "Harper is right to a point. This Company is not what is was since the bomb. I should know, but having people like him." He finger is point at the man on the floor. "Is not the solution and never will be." The glare goes back to Harper… a flicker of a look goes to Sawyer, before he steps out. Sometimes it's better to walk away and cool the heels.

Right. "Ookay" A strange look to the two men before Flora gets up, moving around to extend a hand to Harper and produces, an honest to god personalized hanky while helping him up. "Maybe we might refrain from punching the presidential appointed liason there hmm?" She would readily admit, that she sunk to the sniping level, something she doesn't normally do and a glance to the bug's raises blonde brows. That… that was something odd but she refrains from commenting and instead continues to help Harper get himself back in order.

Allison sighs and shakes her head at Martin's punch. Yet, despite being all doctory, she doesn't get up to see how Harper is. For that matter, she doesn't seem to care. However, Bryan's words do seem to affect her. Her mouth opens to say something, but then Ryans speaks and she slowly looks at him. "I haven't mind fucked anyone. Yet. Despite everyone here worrying that I will."

She smiles brightly and turns her attention back to Bryan. "You're right. This is an occupation. And while an occupation can be lost, it can also be dropped." She looks to Martin. "Sir, I know you're rather busy, and I will question the widow, but I'm giving my notice. When my work on this case is over, I'm leaving the Company. I no longer fit in here." She glances to Harper. "And I can no longer work with scum like him looking over my shoulder."

There's a pause, then another glance to Martin. "Would you like me to tamper with him, while we have him here? I can't imagine that your little stunt will improve the standing of the Company much," she offers, as casually as if she were offering to go get him a cup of coffee.

"No— no one's going to…" Grant is slowly rising up out of his chair, offering a slowly raised hand to Allison with wide eyes, "nobody's doing anything and I don't think Martin's… hearing resignations right now," the former detective notes with a nervous timbre in his voice, swallowing awkwardly as he turns to look over to where Rossling is kneeling by Harper.

"Come on— ah, Agent Harper, let's… let's get you down to medical to get that looked at," is Rossling's diplomatic attempt to disarm the situation, helping up the DHS agent by one arm as he offers a look to Martin that almost seems as accusatory as the one he'd given Harper a moment prior. Still holding his mouth after taking the offered hanky from Flora, blood trickling down from his split lip, Harper isn't in any condition to be talking to anyone about anything except how much vicodin he's going to need.

Starting to ease Harper towards the door, Rossling stops dead in his tracks when he sees a broad silhouette standing in the doorway, light from the dimmed bulbs overhead gleaming off of his glasses. "Crowley," comes in the universally identifiable tone of Director Bob Bishop's voice as he crooks a finger at the red-knuckled former assistant-director. "I want you in my office, right now."

Stepping aside to allow Desmond to be walked out by Rossling, Bob offers a silent and judgmental stare into the conference room as Martin slips past Liza and starts walking to where Bob waits for him out in the hall. Liza just looks down at her feet, lifting one hand to rake back blonde hair from her face and shake her head, trying not to seem a little shaken up by everything.

"Alright, everyone," Gracie asserts flatly, "everyone calm down…" threading a lock of red hair behind one ear, she offers a wordless not to Grant and steps over to Martin's place, looking around at the notes and trying to remember if there even was anything to go over.

Lashirah looks at the mess, then shakes her head as she stands up, and heads for the door. "Calm, I'll be tomorrow. Pardon me."

Still stunned from that whole display, the usually grumpy Isabella is just at a loss for words right now. Holy crap, Crowley just decked Harper. Holy crap, Director Bishop just took Crowley. Holy crap, bugs. The notes for this meeting are going to be amazing. "…Well, fuck," she comments in surprise, finishing her coffee and standing. "This oughta be interesting."

Veronica is still standing, but glances at Gracie. "Anderson needs to get us the information on this Reed kid, and one of us will start there," she says, since the three people who outrank her are all gone from the room. "I'll look over the information and see whose schedule fits best."

She glances at Allison, who's just effectively quit. "If Richards isn't up to two cases this week, then someone else can look into Reed and find out if he's evolved or not. If he is, I'd say that's enough to pull him in for some questioning, based on non-compliance with Linderman, and we'll see if his ability has anything that could get in and out of small spaces. If he's at all connected to Florida, I'd say that's our perp." There's still work to be done. Perhaps not for long.

"We can leave the doling out of assignments to the people who sign our paychecks," Bryan says in quick response to Veronica's comment on Richards' caseload. "In the meantime, I think we could all do with a brushing-up on policy and procedure." He too looks to Allison before he moves around the table and stands next to her. "If you'll excuse us," he says to Gracie before looking back to Allison and nodding toward the door. There are times in which seniority carries responsibility as well as leverage. This is a time for the former.

Eyes move around the table as people depart, that military bearing still displayed. "All I can really say," Maria muses to herself, "is this job is never boring."

Allison looks to Grant. "Perhaps he isn't hearing resignations, but it still stands. When this case is over, I'm quitting. No one here trusts me, and I can't really say I blame them." There's a faint nod to Veronica, then to Bryan, then it's towards the door she goes.

"Christ, this is a mess…" Fitzpatrick murmurs as he rubs one hand over his mouth, eyes closed and head shaking slowly. "Alright, I'll… get the minutes up for this meeting and put up the roster that Crowley was going to for assignments." Gracie picks up Martin's pencil he'd broken during Desmond's tirade, then looks up to the door just in time to catch Flora and Rossling escorting Harper out to medical and Crowley being taken off by Bob.

Breathing a strained sigh through her nose, Gracie looks down at the bugs on the table and squints on seeing the little, round pieces of waterboard, circuitry and wires, then looks up to Grant and slowly shakes her head. "I don't… how does…" there's a look down to the computer screen in front of Ryans, and Gracie just taps the screen and closes out the displays with a strained sigh.

It may not have the same gravitas as when Martin says it, but for right now it has all of the same finality.

"Meeting adjourned…"

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