Disciplinary Measures


isabella_icon.gif martin_icon.gif

Scene Title Disciplinary Measures
Synopsis Days following the incident at the Stack farm, Martin Crowley meets with Isabella Dawson about her status…
Date July 6, 2010

Fort Hero

A white ceramic coffee mug sits in plain view, I <3 Irony written in black with a little red heart between the words across one side.

It's the only personal effect in Isabella Dawson's personal hospital room deep beneath Fort Hero. Under fluorescent lights and behind a locked door, the agent has found herself in a series of unfortunate predicaments. The bed tray that mug sits on also contains a crumpled paper cup, one that once held a cocktail of five different pills designed to deaden the higher neurological processes of the Evolved and hamper their abilities.

A few days afo Isabella Dawson wouldn't have even known what those pills are.

Let alone be required to take them.

Sitting at the foot of her bed in a guest chair, Senior Agent Martin Crowley looks like a disappointed father who'se just found out his daughter is pregnant. While no longer with internal affairs, Crowley is still a member of the Company's disciplinary comittee and, currently, the only agent at Fort Hero with the necessary credentials and the time to handle agent Dawson's situation.

With one leg crossed over the other, brows furrowed and glasses slouched down the bridge of his nose and a thick dossier laid out in his lap, Crowley doesn't even know where to begin. That he's the only person aside from nurses and Dante to visit her since the incident says a lot about her ability to make friends.

Or, lack thereof.

"Would you… say you're a good agent, Isabella?" Martin's clipped British cadence comes with some scrutiny, his brows raised and a pen tapping against his lips. "In your personal opinion, I mean, are you happy with your performance to date?"

Things like this are never easy.

Isabella Dawson seems…ruffled. Sleepless. Upset. The small woman is curled in her bed, fingers fiddling with the blanket as she lets out a breath. Those pills… She has mixed feelings about them. She hates having to take them and she hates having reason to take them. And yet, they're the only things now that keep her human.

Keep her sane.

(As if that were possible.)

Dark eyes slide up to regard Martin Crowley, as her nails start to pull at loose threads. She takes a few moments, phrasing herself carefully in her head, before she says slowly, "I'm given a mark…and I take it down. I try to keep to the minimum amount of damage done to our agents. I'm faithful to the Company." She pauses, one nail wending its way between her teeth as she looks down again in thought, before she looks back up. "I may not do it gracefully, but I'm a good agent. I do good work." Well, she likes to think so, anyways.

"You have more behavior citations than any current on-duty agent aside from Bishop, and I mean the younger, sparky one an' not the Director." Martin feigns a smile at that, bringing his pen down to the notepad laid out across his lap, making a note. "Disciplinary hearings for your assault last week are likely to be delayed in light of more… pressing concerns." Crowley's attention shifts up from his note pad and to Isabella, a deep breath drawn in and huffed out as a sigh.

"I've been asked to send you in for psychological evaluation with agent Richards, and it isn't just because of the assault. I think you — and I — both are a bit surprised by what happened over the weekend." Scratching with the end of his pen at his beard, Martin slouches to his side in his chair.

"When we did preliminary SLC bloodwork on you, according to…" Martin looks down to flip through the dossier beneath his notebook, "January 11, 2009… we apparently received a false positive. However, there's some specific questions pertaining to the incident at the Stack farm that I'm going to ask you, and I'd like it if you answered them as honestly as you can."

Closing the dossier, Martin looks back to his notepad, checking something off on a list. "Have you undergone any undeclared medical trials in the last year? Changed any medications or suffered any severe physical trauma resultng in prolonged hospitalization prior to the incident at the Stack farm?"

"Well, I have a way of doing things," Isabella mutters. A poor defense, to be sure. She looks up at him, nibbling further on her nail, obviously uncomfortable with this whole line of questioning. This whole visit. Hell, this whole ordeal.

"I'm—I can't be one of them." It's a fierce protest, but not precisely directed at Crowley. Perhaps, more accurately, it's directed at the world. At fate, at God, at genetics. His question, though, gets a frustrated look.

"No, I haven't. I mean—I was at the hospital for a week, after the first Stack incident. Do you think they did this to me?" Which is to say, 'please say they did this to me. I need someone to blame.' Her fierce, unfriendly stare is focused on Crowley and intensified.

"I don't think anyone did this to you, no. There's some indicents that would've raised red flags, but from the sounds of it you weren't involved in anything that could have synthetically caused an ability t'manifest in you." Setting down his pen, Martin closes his eyes and exhales a sigh, lifting up a hand to rub at his right temple. "M'sorry that you're 'avin t'go through with this, Isabella, but this is something you're going t'have t'come t'terms with."

Nervously picking up his pen and tapping it a few times on the notepad, Martin's attention is attracted to the ceramic cup beside her bed, trying not to laugh at the context of it. "Ah'm, the ah— the situation itself is unfortunate, but it happens. Sometimes people test false negatives, like you. We've done some examination into your family tree and didn't see anything that should've alerted us to this sooner, but…"

Martin grimaces and shrugs his shoulders. "Sometimes nature's unfair. Our best estimates, based on data that's been collected since you, uh, manifested… is that you have the same power as Mr.Stack, hemokinesis— blood manipulation. Going theory is that repeated exposure to his ability awakened a reflexive self-defense mechanism in your own system that… turned you active."

Gritting her teeth, for a moment Isabella exhibits the classic signs of an impending tantrum. The death glare, the grinding molars, the stiffened shoulders… But instead of harsh words, it's tears that come.

With her lip all a-quiver, she nonetheless tries to staunchly ignore the tears, and tries to cover up all that with anger. "That's not fair!" she protests, voice breaking a little. "I did my job! And now…I'm just like…like him? What does this mean? How do I make it go away?" Likely, she's as blind to the irony on her coffee cup as Crowley is privy to it.

Deflating some when those tears come, Martin averts his eyes to his lap and exhales a quiet sigh. "I'm sorry, Isabella. There's… really no way out of the predicament that you're in. With time, education and rehabilitation I think you'll be able to function with the burden you've been given… but…"

Lifting up his glasses to rub at the bridge of his nose, Martin exhales a weary sigh. "I'm putting you on a week's probation, for the time being. I'd like you to stay off of any active cases and meet with Richards, maybe spend some time outside of Fort Hero with some personal time. We may have to call you back if an emergency arises, but— I'm doing this for your own good."

Rubbing a hand at his chin after letting his glasses back down, Martin moves his paperwork aside and rises up from his chair. "I think you're letting the stress of this job get to you, and I know what's happened isn't going to help. The problem is, we can't keep you on negation drugs all the time, you're better off learning how to control what it is you do than ignore it. Because… it isn't going to go away."

Isabella finally sniffles, posture bowing under the upset. Her fists wring at the material of her blankets, and the woman looks profoundly unhappy. "Probation?" she snaps, as the tears keep rolling. "I don't — I can't — " Whatever she doesn't or can't goes unsaid. She can't quite get out words, or even thoughts right now.

But oh, learning to control it. Learning to be one of them.

There's a moment of silence as the tears stream unheeded down her cheeks, and a coldness that starts around her eyes and radiates down her whole body. This little princess has been slapped in the face with cold, hard reality. There's no turning back.

She doesn't answer him, though it looks like she really wants to, and with choice words, or violence. But somewhere, the little Dante in her conscience reminds her that committing violence against the officer putting you on probation is not the way to get out of jail free. So after a long, dangerous silence… she nods. It's a small, tight nod. But a nod, nonetheless.

Stepping up to the foot of the bed, Martin looks askance at the door, then back to Isabella. "Richards will know when to meet with you and… I imagine you'll have a week of good weather to take some personal time. I know it sounds ridiculous, but… If you can find the heart to do it, I'd take some time to soak in the sun and just forget everything for a little while. Unwinding might do you a world of good, let alone do your blood pressure some good." Tyring to smile at his joke, Martin falls a little flat given Isabella's condition.

Walking around to the side of her bed, there's a furrow of his brows as he looks down to the crushed paper cup beside the ocffee mug, then back to her. "Is… there anythin' y'need? Anythin' I can get? A'don mean t'sound pestery, a'just can't imagine goin' through what you're goin' through…"

Go figure, but Isabella doesn't find his joke funny. In fact, it gets a murderous glare from the woman. "Soak up the sun," she snorts, derisively. But after another long moment, she reaches over and picks up that mug, fingering it in her hands. Somehow it stops looking like a mug and starts looking like a weapon, the way she holds it. "Personal week. Vacation, wee."

As he looks at her personal effects, or lack thereof, she flicks her gaze upwards to his eyes. Her lips twitch for a moment, and finally mutters, "A cheeseburger." She turns the mug over and over in her hands, and finally summons the presence of mind to wipe fiercely at her cheeks and clean the tears from her skin before more can replace them. "Yeah. A cheeseburger." No please, or thank you, apparently.

Snorting out a sigh, Crowley walks away from Isabella's side of the bed, shoes scuffing on the floor as he returns to his chair to collect his files and then move towards the doorway of the infirmary room. Turning to look over his shoulder at her, Martin seems paused by something, and he turns more fully towards her. "I'll get you yer burger…" he reluctantly admits, "but I do hope you at least try t'find some way t'relax."

Looking at that mug one last time, Martin nods his head in silence before turning to the door again, knocking on it to inform the guard outside that he's ready to come out. When the door unlocks and opens, Martin steps out into the hall, wordlessly, but he does turn to watch Isabella in silence as the medical staff close the door slowly again, viewing her through an ever-narrowing gap between door and frame.

When the clinic door shuts and locks again, it's like a period on the end of a very drawn out sentence.

Or the end of a chapter in Isabella's life.

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