Jurisdictional Squabble


elisabeth_icon.gif naomi_icon.gif

Scene Title Jurisdictional Squabble
Synopsis Naomi's first day as Homeland Security liaison for NYPD starts pretty much as expected: with a confrontation over jurisdiction and the sharing of information, or lack thereof.
Date September 27, 2009

NYPD Headquarters: Naomi's Office

Hour two of day one and it's quite difficult to say that the tribulations have only just begun. Feels like an eternity — and never mind that it's technically a weekend. Being the shiny new representative of federal authority in the middle of a nest of city cops means no one wants to make her first day easy. Even if they could.

It's plain as can be that Naomi Mitchell's residence in this office is new; there's a distinct lack of knicknacks, pictures, personal touches. The desk surface is astonishingly clear of clutter, and the black pot tucked away in a corner not visible from the outside hall — boasting a thicket of reedy growth that resembles 12"-tall palm trees but definitely aren't trees — is the sole softening grace to the room's atmosphere.

She has her own coffeepot on a side table, which is unusual given the availability of office coffee… but not really out of place.

Her dark blue, thinly-silver pinstriped suit looks black in comparison with the sapphire blouse beneath it, creases and edges all sharp; the garment isn't new, but someone took definite care with her appearance this morning. The office door is open, the computer turned in a way that allows Naomi to observe it even while she works on some electronic document, muted clatter of keys a familiar background ambiance.

It's the weekend. Most of the detectives really don't bother to dress up on the weekend, and Elisabeth Harrison is no exception. Especially after the Suresh Center incident and the fire at the church wherein the missing Fed was recovered along with a couple of other people. A pair of jeans, a pair of ankle boots with low heels and an emerald-green hoodie over a white scoop-necked blouse that covers her shoulder rig is what she's wearing as she makes her way toward the office of the new DHS liaison. Peeved? Perhaps or perhaps not. Exhausted is a given, based on the faint shadows that even makeup can't quite hide beneath her shuttered blue eyes. She knocks perfunctorily on the door and asks from the doorway, "Agent Mitchell? I'm Detective Harrison. I need a moment of your time, please." It's not really a request, it's more of a statement.

The woman behind the desk rises as Elisabeth appears in the door, regarding her with a perhaps disconcertingly direct regard. "Please, come in, Detective," Naomi replies. "…That would be Elisabeth Harrison, if I am correct?" she continues, offering her hand across the desk. "It's a pleasure to meet you. Feel free to call me Naomi, unless you would rather stand on ceremony," the agent concludes, smiling amiably.

"That's correct," Liz offers mildly, taking the hand as she steps fully into the office. "We'll see if you get to be 'Naomi' or 'that fucking DHS rep' after we talk, I guess," she comments. Although, to be fair, she's actually teasing — the woman's demeanor makes her hopeful that at the very least she might finally get some answers. "I'll try my best not to make your first days difficult, though," she promises.

There's several reasons Naomi drew the short straw for this role. She smiles again at Elisabeth's humor, sharing it rather than taking offense. "I appreciate the attempt, at least," she replies, dipping her head briefly. "Please, have a seat. Do you take your coffee black?" Apparently Elisabeth doesn't have the option of not taking coffee, as Naomi produces two cups from under somewhere.

"I take it any way I can get it," Liz admits wryly. "Especially if it's not the axle grease that Dougherty puts in the machines out there! Thank you." She moves to sit, allowing time for Naomi to pour and sit down and such, before she gets to business. Only after she takes the cup set in front of her does she say, "I'm going to assume here that someone up the chain's already briefed you on what's going on down here with regard to the Sandman case… so I'm going to very politely ask if there's anything you can tell me about why my APB for this woman was pulled." She sips the steaming brew briefly, watching Naomi over the rim of the cup.

It is an improvement over office coffee; almost anything would be. Holding her own cup in her hands, its base just resting against the desktop, Naomi watches Elisabeth with that same direct regard, giving no more reaction to the subject of inquiry than a single lifted brow. It doesn't stay raised for long at all. "I thought you might," the agent replies, lifting her own mug to her lips. "Though the polite is a pleasant surprise," she says before actually taking a drink, smile interrupted by the curve of the cup. "But as to the subject — you presume, first and foremost, that I was told something other than 'move your office'."

There's an easy shrug as Elisabeth lowers her cup to reply, "I can be polite. And I can even take the 'it's a national security issue' answer — though perhaps with less grace — but I'd like at least a reasonable facsimile of an answer that makes sense." She tilts her head. "And yes… I do expect that if you haven't been told more than 'move your desk', you now make it your mission to get me an answer that will satisfy me within reason. Because if you can't, …. well, I'll just keep making a lot of noise. And so far, I'm keeping the noise internal and to a relatively dull roar. It's not likely to stay that way too much longer." She smiles sweetly.

The smile slides off air somewhere between Elisabeth and Naomi's coffee mug; the agent's expression changes only slightly at the order and the threat. She responds in no great haste, taking time to drink from her cup first. "Curious," the woman remarks casually. "Last time I checked, your name did not appear anywhere on the list of people with authority to give me orders." Naomi's expression lacks the saccharine sweetness, but the geniality of her tone is a close cousin: less than genuine. She lowers the cup to rest on the surface of the desk, continuing to regard Elisabeth steadily. "I can also see I was unduly surprised. If you have begun as you mean to continue, then I am afraid we will have little to discuss."

Elisabeth shrugs a little. "I'm used to agents of Homeland telling me it's a matter of national security. But until I get either a good reason from you to keep Maeve Buchanan's names under wraps or a direct order from my superiors to do so, Agent Mitchell… I'm going to follow any and all leads at my disposal. I'm giving you the courtesy of informing you of my intentions. Buchanan is a danger, and your OWN offices were the ones who gave me her name to follow up on. Which is why I'm perhaps being just a hair less easygoing about it than I would otherwise be." She sets the coffee cup down. "I'm pretty used to being stonewalled or downright peeved at whoever holds this position, and I'm pretty used to them being outright pissed and annoyed with me too. My bottom line is getting dangerous felons off the street by whatever means I can. Putting her name out there as someone to watch for — especially since she's pretty distinctive and someone MIGHT have seen her and be able to give us a lead — seems the best way to do that. I don't want to start mass panic, I want to leave her Evo status absolutely out of it. If your people are already all over her, you know…. I have enough cases on my plate that I'm happy to hand her over. But you can't give me her name and then expect me to sit on it without telling me something about why."

"Courtesy, I think," Naomi replies in that same not-entirely-amiable tone, "has factored little. Or at least most people do new acquaintences the courtesy of not offering threats when they want a favor fulfilled." She smiles at Elisabeth then, and the smile is honest, if not completely warm. "And make no mistake, Detective — between you and I, it would be exactly that."

The agent wraps both hands around her coffee, sips from the rim of the cup. It has the added effect of creating a pause in the conversation. "You say my office gave you her name; and yet by their actions my superiors have clearly and emphatically denied that very thing," she says when the mug has been lowered just enough to let speech resume. And silence following, expecting Elisabeth to fill in the trailing blank that hovers between them.

There's a bit more sincerity in Elisabeth's grin — it's actually a little cheeky, having the effect of lightening the shadows in those blue eyes rather dramatically. "I wasn't threatening, Agent Mitchell… I don't make threats." She has every intention of going public and making noise if she doesn't find out what's going on. "And since it's your office being so ornery and contradictory, I'll leave it in your eminently capable hands to figure out which way I'm supposed to be going on this case. I don't like battles over jurisdiction — they bore me and they're a waste of time, for both of us. And frankly… so far, you haven't given me any reason whatsoever to dislike you or to threaten you. If I'm sounding a hair cranky…. well, perhaps you'd be kind enough to chalk it up to having two serial killer cases overlapping one another and not one but TWO partners in the hands of madmen. I have little tolerance for being run around right now, but that's not your fault. The person in question that I spoke to, who gave me an admittedly highly redacted file on Maeve Buchanan, was an Agent Castillo, on the third floor of the DHS building. Feel free to check it out."

"Perhaps," Naomi allows, tone neither agreeing with nor contradicting Elisabeth's statements. "But even we are individuals, Detective Harrison, and whatever your relationship with my predecessor — or this 'Agent Castillo' — it can only help you to remember that." And if there's a slight stress on individual, it's only that: slight. The agent rises, mug held between her hands, by that gesture signaling an end to the meeting. "For what it's worth, Detective: good luck."

Elisabeth mms mildly. "I'm gonna need it," she acknowledges wryly. "Let me know if I need to just chuck this one in my circular file and let your office handle it. It's one less thing I have to worry about if your folks are already handling it." She moves to stand. "And since I'm the one who's being a cranky bitch today, I'll offer my apologies to you. You're absolutely right that my personality clash with your predecessor isn't your problem. I appreciate your time."

The agent inclines her head. "If there is anything else I can help you with, Detective," Naomi replies, "let me know." Some other day.

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