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Scene Title Information
Synopsis During an exchange of information, Agents Ayers and Sawyers realize they have more in common then the last four letters of their name.
Date May 25, 2010

Fort Hero: Agents' Quarters

The apartment in Fort Hero has seen fuller days, but the news of the Financial District getting power again has let Corbin to begin packing up his things. A cat's tail flicks on top of a stack of boxes readied and packed up again for moving, but it's not needing to move back into his apartment that led him to call Veronica Sawyer to his Fort Hero apartment— "Sorry you had to come all the way back out here," he says to her, as the door is closed and autolocks behind her, can never be too paranoid. Especially after everything that happened.

"Even if I'm pretty much head archivist now, I can't take these files out of the building." Must be important! But he skips over the importance to instead say, "Congratulations on the promotion— and the other thing. Though I guess that's probably more confusing than otherwise…" The Evolved thing… He can't imagine how he'd feel if he suddenly manifested an ability— unless he did and he doesn't know it. Maybe he should retake the test to make sure the— No.

The agent before him has seen better days too, but a night away from Fort Hero and in the arms of a loved one have restored her heart if not her voice. Veronica looks a little better rested — it helped not having scientists bring in some agent with an Evolved ability to fling at her in her sleep to see how she reacts! — but still a touch pale, with those bruise-looking marks under her eyes.

"Please," she says with a hand up at the congratulations. "You know I don't care about that. I'm one foot out the door and they're giving me a promotion? I will never understand this place," she whispers. Travelling from Staten to Montauk in the cold conditions didn't do her vocal cords any favors. "And yeah. It's confusing, but… whatever. I'll deal. If they don't stick me in a coffin and ship me to the Institute." She leans on a desk and peers at the boxes.

"You too, huh?" Corbin says quietly, looking toward the door as if expecting it to get kicked down and people to show up to drag them off for treason. The problem with treason, is you can't spell it without reason. It's always in there somewhere… And they might have some of the best reasons of any, from what they know. "The Company isn't what we thought it was when we joined it— but that doesn't mean that… I don't even know anymore. I didn't sign up to kill people." And he did.

Not just anyone, but the father of a woman he'd been in love with and considered his best friend in the whole world…

"I don't know if everything they said was true, but…" He knows some of it was, and that's why he'd called her here…

"When we went into the lab, we came across pictures of the people who worked there, the Company Agents, and their children as well— While I was filing what we found away, I noticed something…" A folder is passed toward her, oddly unmarked, and when opened there's a photograph of a couple with dark hair, and holding two young children. One with curl brown hair, the other with short cropped pale hair. A boy and a girl. "Their last name was Winters."

Taking the file, Veronica looks at the photograph, her brows furrowing together as she looks at what she's sure is a picture of Brian and Gillian. Without realizing it, her free hand moves to her chest, touching the necklace with the engagement ring on it that lies unseen beneath the thick sweater she wears. "Brian Winters. And Gillian Childs," she says quietly. She doesn't know if Corbin knows anything about Gillian or that the two were siblings, but he's sharing with her, she's going to be honest with him. Mostly honest, anyway.

"I… I know that they were given the formula as infants. Their parents were killed, then?" she asks, frowning as she flips through the folder.

"They were Company," Corbin says, settling down on the chair still set up next to the desk, while she looks through the paper work. "I can make copies if you want to take them out of here, but a lot of what happened is sealed higher than even your clearance level." Even with her promotion? It would seem so. "Their parents were killed by Ichihara Akado," he says, despite that part not being completely cleared, cause it included a lot more. "The Project was called Icarus, probably after the Greek kid, given wings to fly made of wax. You'd think they wouldn't have named it after something that failed and led to the kid falling to his death."

Like the name itself set them up for failure.

"I can't give you anything too high of clearance to give to them, but I can make copies of the photographs that we have. If they want them."

Veronica stares at the picture for a long moment, then nods. "I think they'd like them. They only recently found one another, so I don't think they have any photos," she says quietly. "Ichihara killed their parents — why? Just to get them out of the way, or did they put up a fight to protect their children? I … I'm in contact with both of them. I'm sure they'll want to know as much as… as you can tell me."

Her eyes fill with tears for the babies in the picture, and the parents who clearly would have loved to watch them grow up together. She can't help but wonder if any children she and Brian might have would look like the chubby-cheeked cherubs. "How many people did he kill?"

"Many of the scientists and family members of the children they were using in the experiments. Hokuto was one of them, too," Corbin explains quietly, looking away to cautiously glance at the door. He's telling her far more than he should. Even Crowley didn't know about Project Icarus, when he laid the paper work down on his desk. "Much of the personale was mindwiped, but others— he was ordered to herd them into the facility and burn it down. Keep them inside while they burned to death. Incidental casualties. Arthur and Angela Petrelli signed off on their deaths."

The Petrellis. At least one he's met, while a hard woman, he doesn't know what she wouldn't do, or what she would…

"Maybe they disagreed with the project and that's why they were singled out, I don't know. I haven't been able to dig much deeper than that with my clearance level." Maybe a Level 5 or a Founder could have gotten more… "Ichihara— I think he always regretted it. He had psyche profiles that were worried about his stability. And his loyalty. I don't— I don't want this Company to continue being what it has been, or what it even is now. I think it can become something better than this. What we thought we were signing up for."

The hand toying with the diamond ring beneath her sweater goes to her mouth and Veronica stares again at the picture, focusing this time on the adults — the father and mother of the man she loves, of the girl who she tried to protect in Argentina that became like a sister to her. The hand shakes and she drops the file, turning away.

"I can't… how many people does it take to try to change it, Corbin? Everyone who's left this company seems to try to destroy it once they leave — or are destroyed by it. Is it even possible to change it, if people like Petrelli are still at the helm? I — I want to believe we do good things, but …" Upset, she forgets to whisper and her voice cracks, raw with swelling and emotion. She brings her hands to her eyes, pressing the butts of her palms into them hard enough to make spirals and swirls appear against her eyelids.

"I don't think I can do this," she whispers.

As soon as the file drops, Corbin walks over to pick it back up, situate it, and set it down on the desk, ready to be returned. Pictures of the parents are all he can really promise, as he's already told her more than he was cleared to. "We don't know what was going on with the Project at the time. Angela Petrelli may still be in charge, but we don't know if she was just following along with what her husband wanted— They haven't killed us yet, and I think we've all done things they may not like."

Corbin has made sure Hokuto's killer is sealed at the highest level he can seal files— he didn't even report it to Crowley. He didn't get revenge. Not true revenge. Some would say he did get a kind of Justice, though. That doesn't mean Veronica doesn't have the capacity to guess. She's one of the few he shared with.

"Even if it can't be changed, we can make sure what we do for the Company is the right thing."

She turns and looks at him, eyes weary, and shakes her head. "I don't know, Corbin. I … I was going to let Paulson go. I couldn't join him and Ichihara — I don't condone what they're doing… killing everyone involved isn't the answer. Especially people like themselves, who were pawns, if anything."

She runs a hand through her hair and shakes her head. "If we all do the right thing, the problem is, somewhere behind our back, they're doing something like Icarus. Or what Bella Sheridan did. Someone's always doing something that counteracts all the good we've done. Sure, taking someone off the streets who is abusing their power saves a few lives, but then they kill how many more? There's too much secrecy in this agency, and as long as the left hand — make that hands, how many of us are there? — don't know what the right hands are doing — we can never really know if we're doing any good or not."

"Bella Sheridan got suspended," Corbin offers quietly, though it seems like he understands all too well what's bothering her. More than he might be ready to admit. He'd already been straddling both sides of the fence these days, and it will likely continue. Longer than it should. "I have to stay with the Company because of— because of Deckard." And other reasons. He'd been ready to quite far more times than he can remember, but he needs to stay cause of what he did to that man.

"I know we can't change the whole Company, but we can change our corner of it." Maybe.

"It'd be nice to have at least one other person around who I know isn't just going to follow orders and shoot me in the back." While he does things he probably shouldn't be doing. Like offering sections of the Company Archives so that a child can have pictures of their parents.

"Deckard," Veronica repeats with a shake of her head. "I think… might be broken, even more than he was before. Whatever happened took its toll on him." Her dark eyes drop, knowing it was Corbin who had to shoot him. "I'm sorry you had to do that, for what it's worth. Him and Ichihara." Meanwhile she was willing to let Paulson go. That she's still here and not fired is shocking to her.

"Ryans asked pretty much the same thing, by the way. I think… we three, anyawy, are all trying to make things better," Veronica whispers. "But is it too little too late? Can something like the Company change — or is our goal to take it down if we find more of …" she nods to the file. "More of that."

"And here I was hoping he was less broken," Corbin says quietly, as he moves away from the desk towards the bathroom. It's an escape mechanism that he may or may not have picked up recently, something that allows him to step out of the room without leaving too far. The water comes on and runs over his hands, and he steps back out a bit wringing with a towel.

"Taking it down isn't a goal we should have, or we should have joined Ichihara and Paulson." The temptation was there, but it's not what they wanted— what the men had been doing was wrong. "We do what we can with what we've got, to the best that we can. That's why I'm giving you those pictures, and why I told you about Icarus. If there's only one thing I've got to offer people— it's information. I've— actually been sharing information with the Ferrymen. I warned them of a raid by the Department of Evolved Affairs. We can use our connections to help people."

Veronica laughs and shakes her head. He's sharing information with Ferry. She's sharing information with Ferry and Cardinal and Elisabeth. "Corbin, I think you and I are more alike than we knew," she says. "All right. I… I'll stay until I can't any more, because I'm afraid of what Harper will do or people like Elle will do. Maybe the fact Ryans and I were promoted means that the philosophy has shifted, is shifting. We can hope. We can be like BMW — a good Company borne from something created for destruction, right?" She adds a wry grin, and shakes her head again. "As long as we're being honest…" she adds. "You're the first person I'm telling this, that's in the Company. Winters… we're close. Like… close."

It wouldn't be the first time that partners had gotten close. But Corbin's eyebrows still raise in surprise, before he laughs a bit. "Even more reason to bring that stuff to you, I guess." A lot in common, and it probably won't change. It may grow even more in common… "Maybe the three of us alone will be enough to help piece by piece. It won't be a big change, but— you're right. I don't trust Harper either. Not sure how much I trust either of the Bishops, or Petrelli. You and Ryans and Crowley may be it right now." Yes. He trusts Crowley. Because of words shared right after Hokuto died. "And Deckard too, but he's my own fault."

"I should… check on Crowley, I guess. I always thought he was out to get me. Turns out it's just everyone else who ever worked for the Company, right?" Veronica adds derisively. She tilts her head, crossing her arms as she surveys him. "How's Deckard your fault? I… I've checked in on him, tried to talk to him a little. Maybe because I know he was a friend of Brian Fulk's — that that means he's good on some level. Or because I missed Winters." Funny how she automatically calls him Winters, here at Hero. "I'm not sure he's going to make it — as rough and hard as he seems to be, Corbin, it's… I don't think he's hard enough."

"If I tell you this, it doesn't leave your ears," Corbin says quietly, tossing the towel behind him into the sink again. A few people know— and she might suspect, but now she'll know too. "He murdered Hokuto. As far as I could tell, he was just hired to do it. Maybe he didn't even intend to kill her. If the ambulance could have gotten there she may not have died." Bleeding on the ground, in his lap, while he tried to hold as much as he could in…

"And she wasn't the first he killed. Once I think he was a good man, and… it was either try to find what part of him made him good, kill him, or turn him over to the Institute. I chose to give him a chance. Even if it meant brainwashing him."

There is a slow nod, though Veronica doesn't look surprised. "I'm sorry," she whispers. "That must be hard for you. And … you did what she would have wanted, I think." She didn't know Hokuto well, but she knows that the woman was not a cut-throat killer.

"We're just full of secrets. Here I thought I was the only one sitting on the fence with secret alliances," She shakes her head. "I do think he's good. At some level, anyway. People who didn't know Hokuto personally…" she lets that trail off. The fact that many people would have wanted the Nightmare Man's deaths avenged doesn't need to be spoken aloud. "Thanks for letting me know. I won't repeat it."

"And if your power works how they seem to think it will, your mind is a steel trap," Corbin says with a grin, moving to the cat on the box and scritching behind his ears. Gabriel doesn't mind attention sometimes, but he'll get annoyed eventually and go find somewhere else to nap. "Try not to let it change how you deal with him, though. Deckard. He doesn't remember killing Hokuto. That's one thing I don't think he needs to keep." And one thing he'd rather not think about too much.

Does she really think it's what Hokuto would have wanted? He certainly hopes so.

"I won't tell him," Veronica agrees. "He doesn't remember me, either, from our first go-round, and that's probably for the best." She stands from the desk and moves toward the door. "I don't know. I'm sure there's a way. Stuff me full of negation pills, and then let Rene come glower at me and see what happens, then," she points out. "Not to mention that if they can't mindwipe me… what would be the next step if they think I know too much?" Yes, she's thought about that. "Thanks for the information. I'd appreciate the copies so they can each have one. It'll mean a lot."

"No problem. I'll see if I can find out what happened to their remains, where they might be buried." Corbin says, letting go of the cat as he moves his head away and curls back up into sleep time. "And if I hear anything about them going after you, I'll try to contact you before it happens." It could get him in trouble, but as he said— Information is one of the few things he has to offer people. And until recently he may not have known just how much of it he had access to.

And if it helps people, then maybe he can give something back.

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