Different Bags, Different Tags


martin_icon.gif ryans2_icon.gif veronica3_icon.gif

Scene Title Different Bags, Different Tags
Synopsis Agents Ryans and Sawyer seek answers from their boss, who doesn't have answers anyone likes, including him.
Date April 9, 2010

Fort Hero Conference Room

This wasn't a planned meeting; that much can be said by the way Assistant-Director Martin Crowley offers a nervous smile and takes a step back into the office on his way out. Admittedly the looming frame of senior agent Benjamin Ryans was imposing before he got his youth back, there's something more disconcerting about him now that he's both terrifying and young enough to beat someone's head in without breaking his hip. "Ag— Agent Ryans…" Martin stammers, reaching up to tug on his collar with one hand, hugging a stack of three bright red file folders to his chest with the other.

To make matters worse is the brunette woman stepping in thorugh the conference room door behind Ryans, and the look Martin flashes over the top of his glasses towards agent Veronica Sawter is one of marked uncertainty. "I— was just about to head to a meeting with Mister Thompson so— if you could— " there's a waggle of one of Martin's hands in the air. "Maybe talk with my secretary we could, ah, schedule a meetin' for a more apprpriate time?"

Grimacing toothily, Martin glances back and forth between Ryans and Sawyer, brows lifting and furrowing together in a hopeless expression. "Schedule? Yeah?"

"I think Thompson will understand." Rumbles the calm voice of Ryans, there is a tone to it that it usually doesn't have, something that Martin should indeed fear. It's a cold edge normally reserved for those on the other side of the agents tranq gun. He headed straight for the Assistant Directors office as soon as he got there, so the older man, is still wearing his trench coat and fedora, making him look more like a mob hitman, then the Senior Agent that he is. His head turns slightly to glance, eyes shaded slightly by the brim of the hat, at Veronica as she steps in, before turning back to address Crowley.

"I may have taken a few years, Crowley, but I am not an idiot." Blue eyes narrow dangerously. "We'd like a few answers, and I would appreciate it if you don't… pussy foot around it."

Her chin tilts up slightly as he studies the man, "I am not liking what I'm seeing from these… 'Sweep teams.' I also find it rather insulting that your keeping so many of us in there dark about it." Arms move to cross slowly. "And I must say I find it rather insulting that Elle Bishop knows more about this bullshit then us."

When Ryans uses colorful language it's a good clue he is really not happy.

"Thompson," Veronica says, in a pleasant agreeable sort of tone that is probably more frightening than it should be, given her petulant attitude of late at team meetings, "can wait." Her small form lounges in a faux-nonchalant manner in the doorway so that their fearless (ha) leader can't make an easy escape. "I'm sure he'll understand. It's not like anyone really expects you to be on time, do they?"

Her dark eyes narrow and she glances at Ryans as he speaks, then back to Crowley, giving him a slow head shake. "Buckley and Bishop knew what was up and got out of that scene faster than I've ever seen them move. Given that they're both Evolved, I don't think I blame them. Why the hell are they putting people in coffins, Crowley? I'm not doing this job to round up Evolved people to be experimented on or cryogenically frozen or whatever the hell they're doing to them. What's going on and who's in charge of it?"

Stiffening up like a cat backed into a corner, Crowley's brows furrow and his grip on that folder becomes white knuckled. "For someone who just came out've retirement because you were gettin' on in yer years, you've sure got an' awfully large capacity for sticking your nose in things Ryans. Things've changed since you've been gone, when the detention area in the Bronx facility was broken into two years ago we bloody well lost almost all of our credit with the government. They were goin' to shut us down."

A sharp look is snapped to Veronica, then fired back to Ryans. "We 'ad to take certain concessions that may not be pretty. The alternative was even worse." Looking back and forth between the agents, Martin rolls his eyes and turns around, heading back in to the conference room further and slapping the files he'd been carrying down on the desk. "You both have heard of the Moab Federal Penitentiary. We helped design the bloody thing in light of our disastrous failure with the Bronx facility's Level five. The really /dangerous/ evolved were supposed to go there. But…" Martin turns around, making a psh-kew sound with his lips and a blossoming motion with his fingers. "It got bloody well blown up and everyone escaped."

Tongue pressing against one corner of his lips lighty. "Moab was a bloody failure, so the government's got a new detention center program. I don' know much about it, other that when we put in a call about a dangerous Evolved t'be detained, they're the ones who show up. Buckley and Bishop are on an assignment t'look into it more, s'why they know. But tha's classified."

"I didn't get this far by turning my back on everything that I knew was wrong." His jaw tightens for a long moments before he comments blandly, "And you know damn well why I left, Crowley." Eyes narrow dangerously, the words growled out. "And it wasn't because I was getting a little long in the tooth. I was still taking down the dangerous ones."

A hand raises to point someplace behind him as Ryans adds, "What we saw was wrong. That was a little boy Crowley they loaded up in a metal coffin and took away." Dangerous or not, there were better ways to deal with some one like that. "I don't like this… and I damn well don't like how The Department of Evolved Affairs is acting around us."

Lips press into a tight line, Ryans adds. "How bad is it Crowley? When we arrived on that scene with the car, they tried to stop us and turn us around until I reminded them we had the authority to be there." There is a heavy sigh out of the agents nose.

The mention of the escapes from level 5 and Moab just get a headshake from the youngest agent before she pushes off the door frame and enters the conference room to lean against the table. "Mistakes happen. The first detention facilities had holes in them — you learn what the holes are, you try again, right? There were factors that people didn't know to take into consideration back then that we can take into consideration now. But whatever this is… I don't like it. Bio-hazard suits? Those boxes? These are still human beings we're dealing with. I'm not going to work to take down people and hand them over to God knows what. I mean, if they're dangerous and in some form of prison but treated humanely —" which is what she's hoped all this time is how the Company treated its detainees, "that's what I signed up to do. That's like any other criminal who is dangerous to the general public. I can accept that. But a little boy who doesn't even understand what death means — yes, he's dangerous. Frighteningly so, but … what are they going to do to him there?"

Sawyer looks up at Crowley, dark eyes questioning, and for once seems to be actually interested in what her superior has to say. The belligerence is not aimed at him but simply the situation.

"We're an embarrassment," Martin says through his teeth. "We let Sylar slip through our fingers, we let the bomb happen, we let the Bronx facility be destroyed, we let Moab get invaded we have consistently screwed the pooch time an' again. Exactly /ow do you think the government is looking at a clandestine organization with no accountability an' a global network of dangerous unregistered evolved workin' for it? Exactly how bad would we 'ave looked on an organization like tha' when we were on the top o'our game? Poorly."

Squaring his shoulders and standing up tall, Martin takes a step towards Ryans. "Don't you lecture me about this, Ryans. I've been wipin' the Company's nose and lookin' after it's mistakes my whole bloody career an' now when all've 'em are crashin' down on us who'se bloody head do y'thinks on the chopping block!" Martin has never, ever raised his voice.

"Y'weren't th' only agent t'lose someone in Midtown, Ryans, an' some've us stayed bloody well on after tha' happened because we 'ad an obligation to our work." There's fire in the normally meek Brit's eyes now. "The government 'as a no-tolerance policy for unregistered evolved 'oo've murdered people. Tha' child, was just a child but what would we've done? Locked 'im up in a pretty cell like we did with Odessa?" That slip isn't even realized, and Martin waves one arm out wildly at his side.

"We make do with what we've got, because the bloody alternative is probably a firin' range for all've us. Either we do the best damned job we can a'protectin' people or we go down screamin'." Brows furrowed, Martin levels his stare to Ryans, jaw set. "You think I like this? Well a'don', but we ain't got any other bloody choice. The dangerous Evolved go inta' a dark hole somewhere, s'the same as it's been for a long, long time with us. Different bags, different tags."

"You didn't have two teenage girls to care for either." The words are spit right back at the assistant director, with an edge to it. "So don't even start on that. I wasn't damn well going to drag them into this life, Evolved or not, look how Elle turned out. Bennet was right to keep his daughter out of it," His mouth snaps shut, his teeth clicking together audibly. Realizing her probably over stepped there.

The neutral mask Ryans usually wears cracks as he glares at Crowley. The mention of Odessa grabs the agents attention, the name vaguely familiar. The agents body relaxes some and his words are much more calm. "We would have treated him better then that. He would have at least to a point been able to be a kid not some… some… vegetable." The irritation plain on his face.

"This job use to be about protecting us.. and them." Them obviously the evolved. Ryans brows furrow some, his voice still calm, but just barely. "Keep the dangerous ones out of the public and protect those that just wanted to live their lives. Train the ones that needed it." There is a soft sigh from the agent and he shakes his head. "Think of how worse things would have been if we didn't do any of it, yeah… things got through our fingers, but what did pales to how much we did." A hand comes up to yank the fedora off his head, the fingers of his other hand rake through his hair. "This is bullshit. The only reason we're an embarrassment is we let them make us one. The goverments scapegoats." He glances at Veronica. "How much do you want to bet, next time something is screwed up, the fingers will point at us."

For once Veronica isn't the one being yelled at. Most of it, anyway, seems directed at Ryans. Her chin lifts a bit in defiance — she had nothing to do with most of the things that happened in the past — only the Primatech facility happened during her stint in New York! But Martin Crowley grows more and more upset, and Veronica actually feels bad for him. Until he mentions Odessa.

"Wait, what?" she says, ignoring Ryans' angry rant for the time being. Her brows knit together as she frowns at Martin. "Odessa Knutson was a detainee and you didn't tell me this? What is she capable of? How many insane criminals have you got me working with, Crowley? Jesus!"

She turns her back for a moment, crossing her arms, taking a deep breath and trying to calm herself down before she whirls around to face the two men again, eyes hard on the assistant director, cheeks flushed with anger.

"Fashionable revelation of the fact that you're workin' on a classified project, Sawyer. Classy." Martin's brow furrows as he shifts his weight to one foot and folds his arms. "Knutson wasn't a bloody detainee, the Company found her as a baby and raised her in the Company, th' exact bloody opposite of Bennet's daughter. Not my call, not my security clearance. She went rogue a long time ago, an' tha's all you need t'know." Looking to Ryans, there's a furrow of his brows and a shake of his head.

"Maybe now you smell which way th' wind's blowin', an' why I'm tryin' so bloody hard to make good on these cases we're handed. When the government demands results from us, it's either kill or be killed, Ryans. For all I know tha' kid was safely transported up to some facility where e' can get proper training. But the government's thrown billions of dollars at their new containment teams, so you a'least 'ave t'applaud their efficiency. Tha' kid's no a danger t'anyone in transit now."

Reaching up to scratch at the side of his head, Martin shifts his weight to his other foot and looks over to Sawyer. "Now, was tha' all th' two've you 'ad to say t'me? Because last I checked Luke Campbell was still murderin' people and we 'ave a bloody glowin' 'andprint killer t'find too. So why don' you two focus on those cases an' doin' yer jobs instead'a tryin' t'do mine."

Ryans' hands curl into fists and he looks like he could truly hurt that smaller man, he ever takes a step towards the assistant director. "You handed her the file in front of me Martin, so I know she is… just not what, not my case, none of my business." His face is already going back to that neutral mask, though his words are still strained with anger.

"Don't worry Crowley, I don't like what is going on, but just like in the past," — So many events come to mind that he didn't like — "I'll still do my job." With that Ryans sides to the side, to let Martin pass, which he planned all along, but sometimes it's satifiying to make the simpering ones squirm. "Not going to let the dangerous one run wild, just cause I don't like the management. Not fair to the civilians."

"I'm always working on classified cases," Veronica points out, back to her petulant teenager-esque attitude. "It's easier to manipulate me that way, right? And eventually easier to say 'she knows too much, mindwipe her and drop her somewhere in a vegetative coma.'" Once, she'd worry saying such a thing might actually give them the idea, but she's fairly sure that's the idea these days. Perhaps hanging out with Moritmer Jack has rubbed off and she's becoming paranoid schizophrenic. "Easier if no one knows what I was working on, so if I disappear, it's just assumed it was in the line of fucking duty."

She shakes her head. She's over the line and she knows it, pushing until she gets shoved, and while Crowley isn't much bigger than her, he certainly can shove so it hurts more. Dark eyes flash and she turns again, this time to leave the room.

Watching Veronica turn to leave ahead of him, Martin furrows his brows and narrows his eyes as agent Sawyer makes her way out of the conference room. "I give her all the hard cases…" Martin murmurs, "because she's the best damned agent we have, and I know I can count on her more than anyone else." Exhaling a dejected sigh, Crowley shakes his head and takes off his glasses, forefingers and thumb pinching at the bridge of his nose once before he tiredly turns to pick up his folders.

"Good day… agent Ryans." It sounds now like Martin hasn't slept in days, and as he turns around, he looks just a little bit more worse for wear than he did before the confrontation. This job, it's been said, takes years off of an agent's life.

Crowley doesn't have many more years left.

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