Friends In Low Places


len_icon.gif minea_icon.gif

Scene Title Friends In Low Places
Synopsis Minea received a package and shares it with Len. So close to karaoke, yet still so far.
Date May 31, 2009

Karaoke King

Karaoke bars are noisy. They're heavily populated, but late at night, with an hour to go before curfew, Minea's rented one of the rooms, Cash, and kept the receipt. It's under the name of Mary Sunshine. Little bird on the wire rumored that Len likes Karaoke or else why would he keep asking people about it? But there's an ulterior motive. She went in with some cheapish small minimum performance laptop, ordered a drink, parked in a private room and waited. He'll come. What cowboy wouldn't come?

Hopes were high when Len got the invitation to the karaoke bar from Agent Dahl. He drove his Jeep into the parking lot, and stepped from the vehicle. Of course, the time of night is odd. With an hour to curfew there isn't much time to get in a lot of George Jones, so he made sure to warm his voice on the way over.

Alan Jackson, he is not.

He steps into the place and glanced around for his crooning agent, only to see her parked inside a private room. As eyes turn to look as the tall cowboy makes his way over to that room and disappear behind the door. The shade is drawn as he notices the laptop and a distinct lack of karaoke gear.

"I take it this is not a pleasure call." he smirks at Minea as he slides his posterior into a seat next to her.

"Next time Denton. I promise. You're not going to want to karaoke with what I have to show you. I figured here wasn't too odd for you to be seen, and me to be seen together. I don't think I'm being tailed anymore anyways" Minea fished the USB stick from her pocket, uncapping and plugging it in. "Friday morning I got a present. I didn't tell you about it then because, frankly, I hadn't bothered to look at it yet. But I did yesterday evening when I got home. I didn't call. I wanted time to think on it. Decide whether to burn it or turn it in. You'll see why" She's also spent some time, copying it, and chopping off the end. She wanted a little bit of an insurance policy so to speak, or at least to get a pin on Len and decide whether to show that to him or not.

The video is blank for the first five seconds, followed by digital static, and then the decidedly haunting face of Roger Goodman peering at Minea from the interior of an office in a building with green-tinted windows behind him. His hands fold at his desk as he leans close to the camera.

"Agent Dahl," there's an uncertain tone to his voice, "If you are the one receiving this message, it means that an agent in Pinehearst loyal to me has reported you recovered from your coma and delivered this message. Right now I am recording this message to you twenty-four hours after our last meeting. I… wanted to let you know that I have had a change of heart. Regrettably, it is one that has come too late."

Roger shifts awkwardly in his chair, looking past the camera to a noise not heard on screen, then back to the recording device. "My employer, Arthur Petrelli, is a dangerous man. He seduced the intentions of Homeland Security agent Johnathan Carmichael and I into her service under the auspices of making a better future for the Evolved. Up until he ordered me to wipe your memories for what you learned, I was willing to go with whatever sacrifices he demanded. Jonathan was a close friend of mine, and Arthur promised me that he would protect him, no matter what."

There's a long, tired sigh. "Johnathan died, and Arthur did nothing. Now I begin to see that he is using me as well, and if you are receiving this message, I have been murdered. Either by the Company itself, or by Arthur. He has had me amassing documentation designed to bring down the Company, documentation that I fear is now long lost. I'm telling you this, Minea, because I feel I misjudged you as a person, and as an agent."

"Perhaps in that lack of judgement on my part, is where there is still hope for a brighter future." Roger's head inclines closer to the camera, "There is still a Pinehearst operative within the Company, he also has connections with an organization known as the Ferrymen , an organization I feel may be our last recourse."

"Neither Pinehearst nor the Company can be trusted, Minea. They will crush, use, and destroy anyone who they see fit. I am praying that my judgement of you was wrong, Minea, and that my reassessment of your capabilities is as I saw. I need you to help me take down Pinehearst and the Company, once and for all."

As the words echo through the small room, Len glances at the door. The music and God-awful singing going on out there is enough to drown this out from any prying ears, which is a good reason to use this location. It's funny how most underestimate Agent Dahl, yet she always seems to have her fingertips in everything going on.

Len sits and listens, stoically so as Goodman speaks to Minea and — unbeknownst to him — the cowboy as well. As the recording goes off, he sits there, quiet. He reaches over and rewinds the recording back to the beginning and he listens to it again. After the fourth listening, Len pushes down the lid to the laptop, letting the image of Goodman get buried once again.

"Looks like you have a decision to make, Agent Dahl." He says simply. "How can I help you?"

"I'd like to believe that I already made it Agent Denton. I trusted you once, with information that landed on my lap. I'd like to think that I can trust you a second time." She gestures to the laptop with it's hidden subject beneath. "I wanted your thoughts on this. So far, you haven't done me wrong, but then, Goodman never did me wrong until the very end."

"Alright, Agent Dahl. We have this information. Do you trust all of it, part of it, or none of it?" Len glances over at her. "Because if everything he says here is true, you are working for a pretty nasty organization. We both are. If what he says is not true, then he's got some hidden agenda for wanting you to take down both organizations. And if it's partially true, we need to decide which part is true and which part is not true and why."

"He came to you for a reason, Agent. You said before that he mentioned something about underestimating you — now he's dropping this all into your lap."

Tell him? Not?

Minea licks her lips before turning fully to the agent. "In my time spent investigating Phoenix, I came across a great many things that most agents don't frankly know, and never know. Things that Agent Dalton knows and likely her assistant, but things that even you don't know. Things no one should know. Mind wipe is the least they'd do to me if they found out. But I've kept it under wraps. Company's not a good guy. USED to be. It was meant to be, but like all secret agencies that operate in plain view, they have the skeletons in the closet. When I joined up, I joined knowing some of these skeletons. That was why Agent Goodman hired me. He though I would seriously work to bring down the agency. He didn't count on me and my principles that, in the end, it's a job. Plain and simple"

Minea shrugs. "Level 5 is a containment for Evolved who will never see the light of day. Ever. I believe that Adam Monroe was kept there. The company early on dabble in a virus called the Shanti Virus. In either December or January, it was stolen from under the nose of the company and that act culminated into the near release of it in strategic points across the city by a man name Kazimir Volken. With a projected death rate of 95 percent of the world population if it got out. Agent winters? He's a copy of a man named Briant Fulk who can replicate himself and with a hive mind. His copies were used as the canary to our miner's when we were dispatched to specific locations to prevent the release of the virus. That's what Phoenix was up to on January 28th. I was there as an .. inventive interpretation of my directives"

The brunette shakes her head, tapping the closed screen. "I know stuff Agent Denton, stuff I shouldn't, but I do, through Phoenix. It got me mind-wiped. it will get me mind-wiped again I'm sure, sometime in the future. You know the midtown man? That wasn't 'Sylar' That was the current presidents little brother. Gabriel Gray aka Sylar was framed for it. Not that the man isn't a menace to society and needs to be reigned in. He does. He's an evo running around that needs to be locked up. But the Petrelli's they got a lot of ghosts in their closets and big secrets." Minea sucks in on her lower lip, teeth scraping.

There is some information there that Len already knew. Some information that now confirms things told to him during the meeting with Catherine Chesterfield and Elisabeth Harrison — and of course, some stuff he didn't know.

The unfortunate part of this all is that nothing that was share here today actually shocks him. Surprise, yes. Shock, no. The one thing he's not going to do is try to influence her decision. She came to him, so she's willing to play ball — perhaps by his rules. But the obvious question for him is:

"If you want my help, Agent Dahl. I have to know that you've told me everything. You came to me several weeks ago with intel — but you held this stuff back from me. Not that I blame you, but I need to know how far up this goes and how deep the shit is that I'm about to step in."

Minea studies him again before the laptop is opened again. "The president is evolved. Unregistered. Either he has powered flight, or he can manipulate time like Hiro Nakamura. That, Agent Denton, I highly suggest you keep to yourself, lest we find bullets in out head hmm?" This time, she runs it off the USB, instead of the altered file on the computer. The full file from Goodman. It plays through what he's already heard, but then there it is, the last 30 + seconds.

"On the DVD you are watching, there is an encoded number in the .dat file included with the movie, it contains the phone number for a man named Mason Chesterfield. He is a scientist for Pinehearst that I feel may have reservations to Arthur's agenda. Contact him, and he can put you in the right direction."

Finally, Roger reaches up and lays his hand on the top of the camera. "Good luck, Agent Dahl. And Godspeed."

And the video goes black again.

"Agent Goodman didn't know how much I knew Agent Denton. Now you're the only one who does"

If Len were really one of the type that Goodman mentioned in his video, Minea Dahl would at this moment cease to exist. He would lead her out, have her shot, then buried so deep that she would not be seen ever again.


"Chesterfield? What relation his Mason Chesterfield to Catherine Chesterfield?"

Surely, this cannot be a coincidence.

"I've never delved into the phoenix members. I wasn't paid to. I was only to support back up for my partner as he gleaned the names of individual and kept an eye on terrorist group activities. Maybe she is. We can easily find out" She taps the screen twice with a forefinger. "My proposal, Agent Denton, is that I go through with this. With his request. I find out what the intentions of Mr. Chesterfield are. It means, sadly that I will probably end up learning more dirty secrets about the Company but, that comes with the job. No ones clean. You don't do this job and keep your hands clean. "But I'd like to contact Mason Chesterfield and see what is up. Goodman was defecting to them. They have it in for the company. Come August, I have plans to get the fuck out of dodge if it goes to hell and I have the means to take people with me if I need to, to offer life preservers. Goodman got what he deserved, and if I'm going to eventually get mind wiped again, by god, I want to deserve it, not get it at the whim of some asshole who wants to .. win a pissing contest likely."

Len leans back in his chair. "I'll say this much, Agent Dahl. My arrival here was not all that coincidental. The one thing that I do really well is to clean up my own back yard of all the shit that those who have come before me have left. So, if I have anything to say about this — You won't have to worry about being mind-wiped. It's a practice that I am not entirely happy about and only condone it in extreme situations."

He tilts his head in her direction. "If you want to do this, I won't stop you. The more intel we have the more we can do to try and put a stop to all of these shenanigans that are going on around here once and for all. I highly endorse the use of your partner, if at all possible. I am not certain your mind will handle another wiping."

"Then that's my risk to take Denton. I didn't get into this thinking I could stay safe in my little office and never need to hold a gun. I can use Lawrence as my backup. With his hearing, his sight, all his senses, he's invaluable and doesn't have to be up close to be a safeguard. do you trust him though Denton. Implicitly. Beyond a shadow of a doubt hand him a gun and point it to your head and swear that he won't pull the trigger?"

"I believe that Agent Cook is a valuable and loyal asset to this organization. That being said, this is your case, Agent Dahl. Tell him only what you think you need to get him to go along on the mission. If something happens to you, he needs to report back to me everything he hears."

Les rubs his hand over his stubbly chin. "Tell him he is not to come in after you if something goes back. That intel will be gone forever if you both are taken out. Understood?"

"My thoughts exactly" Minea confirms. Exactly what she planned. "Get out, hide, contact you. Go deep and wait." She would consider her own loss an acceptable casualty at this point. We all die for a greater good yes? "I'd like your thoughts on whether to relay to the ferryman, about the breach in their ranks. I can contact my phoenix contact and let him know to pass it on. Or frankly, we can just message Wireless. Since I believe she is associated with them in some frame. She might suss them out. Or use it as leverage to get her help with Reed"

Len stands, giving a giant stretch before he turns and looks down at Minea. "Agent Dahl. Let's not get anyone killed here, okay? Get in there, get what you can, then get out."

"As for the Ferryman and Pinehearsst — I really would like to know who that informant is without disrupting everything — maybe we can turn it to our advantage, somehow. See if you can't get a lead on that as well — without tipping anyone off. Anything else?"

Minea shakes her head, plucking the USB out and tucking it into her pocket. "Keep this off of emails and the like. It is something that I am sure Wireless would snatch in a heartbeat. I don't doubt that she routinely peruses our system. I doubt there's anything that can keep her out of anything." Everything's being packed up quickly, efficiently. "I'm sure if we hurry out, you might get the last song out in the front."

"Agent Dahl," Len grins over at her. "While I like your way of thinking, there's a time and a place for everything — and this is neither the time or the place. But, I will hold you to that in the near future. You and me can sing 'Friends in Low Place' and actually relate." he gives her a friendly wink, then disappears into the place that's starting to unpack as everything starts to make their way home before curfew hits.

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