I Need a Hero


magnes_icon.gif veronica_icon.gif

Scene Title I Need a Hero
Synopsis Magnes gets a visit from Veronica, requesting him to join The Company. After all, he's extraordinary and she needs his help.
Date May 26, 2009

Panucci's Pizza, Brooklyn

It's morning at Panucci's pizza, a modestly small building in a row of other houses on a small urban street in Brooklyn. It's closed this early, a little before ten, but the door to Magnes' apartment is in the back of the shop, easily accessed by walking through an alley and knocking on the door, there being no bell.

After glancing inside the pizzeria, Veronica moves up the steps to the apartment. She pulls out her fresh-off-the-presses HomeSec badge and knocks on the door. It's an authoritative knock, though quiet enough not to draw too much attention from the neighbors.

A middle-aged balding short man of around 5'6 answers the door, wearing a dirty t-shirt, a white apron with grease stains on it, and some blue jeans and black sneakers. "I'm tellin' ya, for a boy that has no girlfriend, he's got a lot of little bambinas knockin' on the door for him." Mister Panucci says in his Italian/Brooklyn accent, apparently not picking up on the authoritative knock. "Up those stairs."

They're apparently in a storage room, but Magnes' actual room is up a flight of old stairs that lead to a brown wooden door.

Veronica glances down at her badge in her hand, apparently unnecessary and smiles at the short little man (even if he's taller than her). "Thanks," she says. "We're just friends. But maybe one day…" she can't help but add, with a faux giggle. Might as well give the old man something to talk about — and tease Magnes about. She runs up the steps to the next door, and knocks on it with a little less "authority" this time — to fit her role of the visiting wanna-be girlfriend, maybe.

Magnes opens the door, looking completely exhausted with bags under his eyes, a stretched out white t-shirt, baggy blue jeans, and no shoes. He's wearing his silver-rimmed glasses he rarely ever uses anymore, and behind him is a barely lived in room, most of his stuff being in storage now. There's 9th Wonder comics lining the walls on shelves, a small television off to the side, two doors, one for the bathroom, and one a closet, and finally a black bean bag chair with a yellow Batman symbol on it, completely surrounded by law books. This doesn't seem like college studying, they look like loads and loads of library books.

"Yeah?" he asks tiredly, squinting at her. He's never seen her before, and he's tired… is that Faith? "Who are you?"

She glances into the room, noticing all the super-hero items. "Magnes Varlane?" she says, though she knows it's him. "The people I represent have a proposition for you. Can I come in?" she says with a smile. She's playing nice today, and is dressed for the occasion — skin-tight jeans that show off her body, a shirt that shows some cleavage, makeup, et cetera. You can catch more flies with honey, after all. "We've come to be very interested in your talents." Another smile, all dimples and white teeth.

Magnes' cheeks would be red if he wasn't so exhausted, walking to the closet to pull out another bean bag chair, this one blue with a Superman symbol, dropping it a few feet from his before going back to his seat. "Another organization?" he asks, wiping his eyes, trying to get his head straight. "Those other people already asked, so, I'm guessing you're Phoenix?" Then, looking up, glancing up from her feet to her face, ding, his cheeks flush.

"No. Not Phoenix," she murmurs. "Listen. You seem to want to be a super hero. You certainly have the power to be," she says, sitting down on the Superman chair and sinking into it. If this isn't the most ridiculous assignment… "I wish I had your power… that must be something amazing, to be able to do what you can do…" she all but beams at him. "But here's the problem. You're drawing too much attention to yourself, in a world that would rather see people like you behind bars or worse. The people I work for… they're willing to help you learn to use those powers to their full potential… and even pay you for it."

"Well, that sounds great, but," Magnes a few months ago would be thrilled, but right now, he's just skeptical, very very skeptical. "On top of me being busy reading these law books and trying to find a way out of being completely screwed, how do I know you're not some terrorist group, or FRONTLINE, yeah, that's a great idea." He rolls his eyes, showing his full distaste for the FRONTLINE group. An army of Evolved? What could possibly go wrong!

"We're not FRONTLINE," she says with a shake of her head. "And … your hours can be flexible, give you more time to study than you have now, and with more pay. You could even have an apartment of your own," she says. "We — those of us who work this agency — make pretty good money. Like triple digits." She pauses. "But if you don't join us… you're going to be monitored. And not have all the freedom to use your powers like you do now." She sighs as if very apologetic.

"That all sounds great, it really does." Magnes is actually being sincere now! "And I'm expecting people to come knocking on my door to drag me off any day now, so unless you can magically make this crap disappear, all the money in the world won't help me." he says quite pessimistically, apparently figuring she's from some two-bit operation that happens to be well-funded. "So, my first question is, who are you? Second question, can you guarantee I won't have to hide or deal with being called a terrorist, and third, what exactly will I have to do for you?"

"If you're worried about FRONTLINE dragging you off… this is your best bet to ensure that doesn't happen, Magnes," Veronica says earnestly, reaching over to touch his forearm. "We are not considered terrorists. We're actually working with the government. Contractors, I guess you could call us. Law enforcement, in a way. Didn't you say you were interested in the law? What better way to study than be a part of it all?" She lets go of his arm and sits up — or tries to — in the bean bag. "My name's Veronica Sawyer. I've been working with these people since college. I could have gone to the FBI or CIA or started as a detective in any major city's force if I wanted, but this was what was best for me. And… with talents like yours? It's even better for you."

Magnes looks down at her arm, his attempt to stay calm and serious wavering just a bit, but he must have focus! "If I really really wanted to, I could just skip the country, go anywhere in the world, but that would be wrong, and that's not the life I want, I wanna settle this legitly. And, as great as you keep making everything sound," He sits up himself, leaning over slightly. "You still haven't said who you're working for. I may be kinda naive sometimes, but I'm not dumb, you're avoiding the question."

She shows him her badge. It says Homeland Security. "We basically just try to keep people safe, Magnes. People with harmless or just… you know, useful powers, like yours, we might check in on, and we even try to protect them from people like FRONTLINE. Others with more dangerous powers that can harm people, we try to help them learn how to use their powers so they won't hurt anyone accidentally. And then there are those who use their powers deliberately for bad reasons — and that's why we need people like you to help stop them. The villains. We need heroes… to stop the villains." She pushes a strand of hair out of her eyes as she stares at him. "We can't do that without extraordinary people."

Magnes straightens his glasses, sitting up straight as he mauls it over. The thoughtful expression on his face and the pause suggests that he's quite obviously considering it. "It sounds like a good idea, every fiber in my body is telling me to accept, but the Linderman Act has been doing far more harm than good from my experience, it just feels so wrong to go along with this, while so much of me thinks it sounds so right. Look, I know you don't have all day, and I don't wanna waste your time, but is there any way you can somehow address those concerns?"

"I understand those concerns," she says with a nod. "The thing is… we didn't make that law, you know? The agency I work for — we just try to make sure everyone is safe. Many in our ranks are Evolved. They believe it's the right thing to do. There are bad people out there — of all walks of life. Evolved, Non-Evolved. The police can handle the normal joes with criminal minds. But what happens when you have a criminal who is also Evolved? It takes more resources than the regular police can handle. Powers like yours, for one. And the other resources the agency has that the police don't." She pauses. "And think about this… I mean, if someone who could manipulate your mind — make you a puppet in your own body — lived right next door to you, wouldn't you want someone to be keeping an eye on him? The people who can do useful or harmless things — we're not worried about that. People who can heal, people who can fly … we don't need to 'protect' anyone from them. We do need to protect people from radioactive men or people who can turn your insides out with a look like some Greek monster. "

"John Logan, who can control emotions and turn your power off, who cut my friend's tongue out and shot her, still free. Adam Monroe, regenerator, the whole reason that Japan mess even happened, I need to stop him." Magnes takes a deep breath, an attempt to keep his mood from souring. "If we're gonna do something about those people and people like them, if you're gonna keep the government off my back and make it so I don't have to deal with being a terrorist, then fine, I'll join you. And I should say that the stuff about Hiro being a terrorist is complete crap, I went back in time, I saw what happened."

A-ha. Paydirt. "We're on the Monroe case. And I still need to investigate Logan… I'd love to cut his tongue out myself," Vee admits with a conspiratorial whisper. "It's very possible if you join us, you could help stop either or both of them, Magnes." She points to a very faint, almost-hidden-but-not-quite bruise on her cheek, and her lower lip, which is a touch swollen under its lipstick. "See that? Those are from Monroe. Just two days ago. I couldn't stop him, but maybe you can, Magnes."

"I know I can stop him, it's his friends who are the problem." Magnes seems in better spirits now, standing up and offering her a hand. Now isn't the time to be an awkward mess, professional! "So, do I get a badge and a suit?"

She stands — with some difficulty, as the bean bag chair threatens to suck her in all the more — and grins. "A badge, a suit, a car — whatever you want. Welcome aboard."

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