Handed The Hanging Rope


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Scene Title Handed The Hanging Rope
Synopsis Ryans seeks out Martin to get the man's opinion on their new positions within the Company, neither of them are happy about it.
Date May 27, 2010

Fort Hero: Assistant Director's Office

Some members of the Company have called the position of Assistant Director a revolving door. The original assistant director was commemorated with a photograph and a plaque in the halls of the Company's Bronx facility before it was demolished, a man who died in the explosion of 2006. His replacement came two years later during a time of chaotic restructuring, and to this day the name Roger Goodman is spoken with contempt and ire by Company officials — a turncoat and spy that nearly brought the entire organization to its knees. Then of course came Len Denton, whom retired from the stress of the job following the murder of agent Minea Dahl.

The man cleaning a desk in a drab concrete-walled office in the bowels of Fort-Hero was Len Denton's unlikely replacement, a man who devoted his entire tenure with the Company to investigating inappropriate behavior in the organization and presenting proof of misconduct to the directors.

Martin Crowley was never fit for administrative work, he won't get a portrait in the hall of directors comemmorating his short period of leadership, and according to what's been creeping down through the rumor mill in Fort Hero, he won't be returning to his job as an internal investigator either.

Maybe that's why he's packing his cup of pencils, lamp and other personal effects into a cardboard box, finally vacating the office that was never really his to begin with. Assistant Director may be a revolving-door position, but when the tag "interim" is added to that, it guarantees a short life-expectancy in the position. At least, however, he still has the investigative team.

If there is anyone that wasn't made for administrative work, it's the tall man who comes knocking on the door. Benjamin Ryans has always been a man who went out and took care of business. He was much more comfortable in the field. "Martin?" Rumbles the familiar voice, before he pushes the door further open.

Though he's actually looked worse before, the set of scratched down the one side of his face, makes him look like he wrestled with large cat. The sleeves of his dark red dress shirt is rolled up with accommodate the cast his right arm is sporting. He doesn't have the all familiar fedora, but then he's not exactly out in the field.

"I wanted to talk to you about all this." He nods to the box of stuff that the man is gathering up. "Mind?" Brows lift slightly as he asks that softly.

"Well… I don't honestly see 'ow much there is t'talk about," Martin offers in a mumble as he rests his hands down ont he sides of the box he's packing, shoulders slack and head bowed. "But I've nothing better t'do at the moment, I suppose." Lifting a hand to push his glasses up the bridge of his nose, Martin turns to face Ryans, walking around to the front of the desk before sitting down on the corner and motioning to the seat in front of the desk for Ryans.

"This'll be your office once I get my things out've 'ere, so I don't see much reason for you not to get accustomed to talkin' t'people in it." Offering a smile that's somewhere between apologetic and congratulatory, Martin folds his hands in his lap and raises his brows slowly, expression expectant.

There is a short nod, before a glance goes back over his shoulder out the door, Ryans nudges it shut behind him, before pinning Martin with a look. Obviously, what he has to say, he doesn't want heard. Niether does he sit, instead he slides a hand into his pocket and leans back against the door. "You know this is a mistake." He says softly. "I am no desk jockey. I have no idea what they are expecting of me."

"Beside…" He motions to the other man with the casted arm. , looking a touch unhappy. "Interim or not, Crowley… you did a good job. Brought about changes that worked. " Blue eyes narrow slightly at Martin. "Now… I might be able to get the answer elsewhere, but I'd rather hear it from you. What happened? Why the sudden change when we did so well?"

"My position was always intended to be temporary, nobody wanted someone from IA running the Company, not… with how this entire organization is run on secrets." Lifting up a hand to rub at his scruffy chin, Martin gives a look down at his other hand, flexing fingers open and closed with a bit of a wince, a dull ache still in his arm from the dislocation he suffered at the hands of Paulson. When he turns his head to get a better look at Ryans, the bruising covering the right side of his face is a yellow stain across his skin trimmed in blue-purple.

"Off the record, I was shit-canned, Ben. I was shit-canned because I'n an internal affairs investigator who failed to notice his own partner turning rogue. I dropped the ball as far as my job is concerned as hard as I possibly could, it's a miracle they didn't yank me off the investigative team all together. You do realize what's going on, don't you Ben?" There's a cold look up from Martin to Ryans, his throat working up and down in a swallow.

"They want you to fail. The US Government is looking for an excuse to put us on the chopping block, you know this, I know this. But the directors are working their assess off to prevent it, to keep the Company active. They know what kind've man you are, Ben, they know you shoot from the heart, that you do what's right more often than what's legal. They're waiting for you to screw up."

"Finally… some truth." Ryans rumbles, moving to settle into the chair finally, settling back with a heavy sigh, eyes dropping to the desk thoughtfully. "They've put me in one hell of a position. Putting the whole damn organization in a hell of a spot. All these new rules and restrictions…" he gives a sharp wave to the door, "Sending in Harper."

He glances up at Martin with a matter of fact look, brows furrowing, Ryans isn't bothering with masks at the moment. "They might as well, just kick the chair out from under us and let us hang. Spare us the suffering."

A hand rubs across his mouth in thought. "I miss the old days. There is a reason we worked in secrecy… because we would do what was right." He says with a small huff of a chuckle. "Was simpler then, not perfect — but not this. Even Sawyer… not sure how long she'll stick around, now that she feels she has the option."

"You don't think I know that?" There's a hint of tension in Martin's voice, his fingers curling closed against his palm as he rises up off of the corner of the desk to take a few paces across the office. "They're not going to kick the chair out from under us, Ben, they're handing us the rope to hang ourselves. They put you in charge hoping you'd do what you always do and go against the grain and direct from your heart and make a massive mistake. They put Sawyer as your subordinate and second so that you're the one responsible if she cracks."

Furrowing his brows, Martin rests his hands on his hips and shakes his head. "Either we buckle, give in and let the government fold us up like a piece of wet paper, or we're forced to play by their rules and possibly tear each other apart at the seams." Rubbing one hand at his forehead, Martin pauses by the door to his office and turns around slowly. "We're walking a tightrope, Ben, and now you're holding the bloody balance beam."

"That doesn't inspire much confidence… even in myself." Resting on the arm of the chair, his hand lifts to run across his mouth, Ryans is thoughtful for a long moment. His head slowly turns, brows lifting slightly. "So it comes down to Martin… which is more important?"

Eyes narrow slightly, his mouth tugging up at the corner. "At this point… either way we go the Company is done, Martin. How do you want to see it go out? We do it the way we always have, the Company goes down. We do it like the government wants.. It's not the Company anymore. Not really and we have to face ourselves in the mirror every morning. " One shoulder lifts slight and on brow lifts a bit higher. "Personally, I think there has to be an option C out there… I'm just now sure what it is yet."

"It would take a better man than I t'figure out that answer, Ben. You 'ave t'realize there's more than just our method of operation at stake here…" Rolling his tongue over the inside of his cheek, Martin slowly makes his way back towards his desk, hands tucked into his pockets. "When the Company made its arrangement with the US Government following the bomb, we agreed t'cooperate, but never agreed t'share secrets. There's hundreds a'thousands of Company files, dossiers of bag an' tags, our entire Isotope tracking system, decades of classified research…"

Lifting his chin up, Martin's brows furrow as he levels a stare at Ryans. "Now you 'ave t'tell me, what's more important? Bein' the Company you remember, or protectin' the secrets that no one man should ever 'ave his hands on?" It's never easy in this line of work, the the last four months have undoubtedly been the hardest for the Company since the bomb. "This is bigger'n all of us, Ben. Pinehearst? That was jus' the beginning… imagine a hundred Pinehearsts, if all've our secrets got out. Imagine that world."

Gaze dropping to the desk again, brows furrowing, there is a heavy sigh from Ryans, "Touche." He says softly, a grimace pulling his mouth to one side, "So… we go down, the government gets our secrets?" Eyes flick up to Martin again, lips press into a thin line.

"Alright…" He murmurs softly, "Alright. So… for the moment we play their game." A hand comes up to forestall Martin from piping up yet, "Until I can give it some thought. If the Company can do anything, it's finding a way to bend the rules. I just have to think of where we can bend it without them seeing it."

Pushing himself to his feet, Ryans studies the other man, brows ticking down slightly, "You know… When I first met you, Martin, I wondered what the hell the Company was thinking." A soft chuckles escapes him, "I'm glad to know, for the moment, that I was wrong. You should still be in this job, permanently."

Shaking his head slowly, Martin rounds his way over to the desk, picking up the cardboard box carefully. "Ben, I know I'm not an easy person t'get along with, and I know the kind've reputation I earned working IA for as long's I did. But most people don't know— or don't care to know— just how much I've lost in the service to the Company. We both lost someone we cared about in tha' bomb, Ben…" there's a tightness in Martin's throat when he adkits that, lifting the box up to his chest, one hand holding the side and another on the bottom.

He steps away from the desk, eyes cast askance and shoes scuffing across the floor and a slow pace over to the office door. "I'm not an' inspirin' leader… but I liked t'think I was a fair one. You saw where fairness got me," Martin looks over his shoulder to Ryans, then looks to the large armchair behind the desk.

"The chair's yours now…" Martin offers in a hushed tone of voice, eyes cast down to the floor, "it's a harder seat to sit in than it looks."

Benjamin looks at the chair as well, brows furrowed with worry. He doesn't look at Martin, but just simply says, just as softly, "I doubt I'll do it half as well as you."

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