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Scene Title Divided
Synopsis Divided Loyalties, Divided Minds.
Date May 11, 2009

SoHo, Minea Dahl's Loft Apartment

Loyalty is a precious thing. Loyalty to a cause, loyalty to an ideal, loyalty to a dream.

Keys scrape and scuff over the apartment's lock, finally sliding in and turning the tumblers with a muffled series of clicks. As her weight leans on the door while it pushes open, it is only the dim glow of the city's lights at night that filter in through the bare windows of Minea Dahl's apartment. It's been a long day, one filled with dislocated joints and confusing confrontations with an exceptionally angry technopath. The length and difficulty of the day is reflected in the way her feet drag on the way inside.

But loyalty is supposed to be a two-way street. Those we are loyal to must in turn be loyal to us, or the foundation of trust such a relationship is forged upon begins to crumble.

Tossing keys to the table beside the door on her way in, a strange sense of deja-vu comes over Minea as she feels a gentle spring breeze blow across her cheeks through the apartment, watching the curtains on a window near the kitchen lightly blowing. By the time that tingle shoots up her spine, she can hear the soft click of the apartment door closing behind her, and a familiar silk-smooth voice call out behind her: "Good evening, Agent Dahl."

In this world, though, absolute loyalty is an unrealistic ideal. We live in a world of half-truths, moral reletavism, and constantly shifting allegiances. Where once we could have assumed that those who employ us have our best interests at heart… the truth is far more depressing.

Standing with his back to the closed door, the dark silhouette of Roger Goodman is like a looming specter in Minea's jerking vision. Hands folded behind his back, he tilts his head to the side and surveys her with dark eyes, "I'm glad I was able to speak with you today, but I will apologize up front for how brief this encounter of ours may well be."

In our world, loyalty is an illusion. It is survival of the fittest, kill or be killed. And the only true loyalty that exists in this world…

Roger takes a few steps away from the door, letting his hands move to his sides as he steps half-illuminated into the muted light filtering in through the windows from buildings and street lights outside. "I have to admit, I think I might have underestimated you…" There's a smile, partly honest and partly bitter that creeps up onto Roger's lips. "…you're a better agent than I gave you credit for."

…is loyalty to ourselves.

"Agent Goodman" To her credit, the Brunette doesn't stiffen or scream when the double agent closes the door, though her hand does go for her weapon on instinct. "I don't suppose you could have just knocked" Her leather purse is tossed onto a couch and the female agent walks towards her kitchen after eyeing him for a moment. "Should I be taking that as a compliment or is that a disappointment?" The gun is plucked up and put on her counter, followed by her blackberry which has a few buttons pushed, or attempted to push anyways. "Can I get you something to drink?"

"Compliment…" Roger rolls the word over as if unfamiliar with it, "…disappointment…" there's more consideration given, brows furrowing as his eyes move down to Minea's sidearm. "I'd say it's an equal helping of both, to be frank. I'll be straightforward with you, Minea, it's the least I can do at this juncture." The offer of a drink goes untaken, pushed aside as Roger takes a half step further into the room, looking to her hand as they press buttons on the blackberry, then tracks back up to her.

There's a moment of silence, one that seems far longer than it should. Roger's considering something, and when the answer is finally found, he continues to talk, as if the deliberation was if he would continue or not, in spite of the facts.

"I hired you because I felt you were a poor candidate for the Company, because I felt you would endanger your own position and leak information to Phoenix and comprimise the Company's security." His eyes divert to the floor for a moment, lips pursing together in thought. "Half compliment, half disappointment," he reiterates as his focus turns back up to the agent. "I believe in an ideal future, Minea. One where my kind, and your kind aren't defined by the differences between us, a future where the haves and the have-nots are no longer contesting for space. It's a future the Company once promised me with candied words and empty promises…"

Stopping his slow walk, Roger's shoulders slack some. "I've become embittered to the idea of an idyllic future. I used to believe that there was an alternative to the Company, that the dream John Carmichael and I were working towards would be carried out by his will." Dark eyes narrow, a stiffness coming to Goodman's body. "Now Carmichael is dead, and I find myself struggling to carry on in his wake. I find myself questioning orders, questioning the path I've taken and the things I've done…"

He sighs, finally, having been holding that tense breath in for a while. "Do you have any dreams, Miss Dahl?"
"I do Mr. Goodman. Where my sister in law can do what she does without some person calling her a freak. Where someone who has the ability to fly won't get shot down like a duck in hunting season from the air because they happened to born with a different sequencing of genomes from the rest of us. I dream of a future where there's no us and them there's only we" The blackberry is put down and she turns to the sink, grabbing a cup from a cabinet and pouring herself some water from the tap.

"But the world isn't Ideal Goodman. It won't be perfect, and people will always be afraid of what they don't understand and you can't force it down their throat. The company exists to protect the people from what they're not prepared to accept, that they're not ready to accept" Minea turns around, leaning her lower back against the counter tops edge. "I moved from one intelligence community to another. You deduced that from one encounter and aiding of Phoenix that I would undermine the company. You mean.. Like yourself?"

There's a drawn quality to Roger's face as Minea's talks, something distant in his eyes, something that seems less energized and vivacious than it once was. he gives a slow, tired nod as he listens, echoing her last words in part, "Like myself." There's a steelyness to that, a confirmation of something that sets his shoulders square again and causes him to look up from his navelgazing.

"I suppose our dreams aren't that far apart from one another," Roger's tone is musing, philosophical, "but I guess in the end that's all they are: dreams." Roger follows Minea's motion towards the kitchen with a heavy and conflicted stare. "I've walked down the road I'm on too long to turn back now, Minea. I hope you can forgive me for that."

With those words, there's a creak of the wood floor in the apartment, as a heavy-set old man steps out from the shadows of the hall that leads to the bedroom. His brown suit is loose around his bulging midsection, head nearly bald save for a horseshoe of gray hair wrapping around the back of his head. There's something about his tired eyes that seems familiar, but it's fleeting.

As Maury Parkman moves into Minea's livingroom, Roger looks to him, then back to Agent Dahl. "It's the least I can give you, Agent Dahl, for both your service and in memory of ideals that will never truly be fulfilled."

Something is very wrong now, and as that chill spreads back up Minea's spine, Maury levels his eyes on the agent, and a haze of disorientation and vertigo washes over her like a bad night out at a bar. "I'll give you dreams, Minea. I think in the end, you might be the lucky one." He turns his focus towards Maury, nodding his head. "Make it a pleasant one, a permanent one."

"They'll find out Goodman" Her glass clunks with an unsteady contact with the counter, water shifting to spill over the side. "God help you, you don't know what you're doing…" Brown eyes focus Maury as the room swims in her view. So this is it. Fucking hell. "Can't stop the river…"

As Minea's legs begin to give way, the world is super-imposed with double-images of a brighter, more sunnily lit apartment and muffled voices clapping and cheering. Streamers strung about the room, a cake with forty candles blazing on its surface, a dream and a fake future that will never be. This soon fades away into the roar of surf, azure water and clear skies, white sand and the sway of palm trees. A haze of hallucinations and tailored dreams that are forced into her mind, even as she feels the memories and experiences of weeks, months and years becoming muddied under some deep, black abyss.

The glass rolls off the counter and falls to the floor, shattering a second before Minea collapses down to the hardwood. Maury watches her in silence, eyes impassively lingering on her before looking up to Roger. "What'd she mean by the river?" He asks with one gray brow raised. Roger's answer for a long time is just silent tension, his jaw set and eyes sweeping from Minea's prone form up to Maury.

If all we as humans are truly loyal to are ourselves, then we must endeavor to find a goal for our own lives that we can achieve.

"I have no idea." He lies, thoughts drifting away from the lie as Maury's scrutiny turns to him. Roger walks over to stand by Minea's side, then looks back over his shoulder at the elder Company Founder. "It was probably nothing, we should…" he hesitates, teeth drawing over his lower lip, "go back and let Arthur know the job is done."

But what if there is no goal? What if there is no dream? Then who are we truly loyal to?

Maury gives Roger a scrutinizing stare, eyes narrowing before he offers a slow and sedated nod. "Yeah… that— are you alright?" He pries a bit more, trying to sift past the Arabic language flowing around in Roger's mind to little avail. Roger forces a smile in response, still regarding Maury over his shoulder.

Or are we really loyal to anyone at all?

"Everything's just fine."

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