bianca_icon.gif bob_icon.gif fitzpatrick_icon.gif gael_icon.gif lee_icon.gif liza_icon.gif martin_icon.gif rossling_icon.gif

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Scene Title Motivations
Synopsis Across New York, the agents of the Company deal in different ways with the changing face of their organization and the difficulties of their lives.
Date August 18, 2010


Morning sunlight spills down through the tall windows of the Chinatown 5th Precinct. Hard soled shoes of beat officers and detectives alike clatter across the tiled floors, hard plastic seats for waiting are filled with the sullen faces of people coming to bail out their relatives, Register their sons or daughters, report a missing person or any number of tragedies not unique to New York, but amplified here.

Past the front desk and the bullpen, past where detectives are just arriving for a morning shift, where coffee pots percolate and printers noisily spit out sheets of paper, one office door is partly ajar. Leaning on the inside of the door frame, elbow propped up and a smile on his face, a former detective here in Chinatown's rough streets pays a visit to an old friend.

"So, you think it was the synthetic stuff?" Grant Fitzpatrick made a name for himself here in Chinatown, analyzing the murders of Triad officers, the bodies that at one time fell for reasons he couldn't even understand. "You can imagine how deep the bureau has their arm up my ass about this case, it isn't every day that a Senator just disappears and winds up face down dead on Staten Island with the blue fairy in him."

Seated behind his desk, feet kicked up and a coffee cradled in a chipped ceramic mug in both hands, homicide detective Daniel Walsh offers a fond smile to his former partner with a nod of his head. "Aye, it's quite a coiled pile've shit you've got on your doorstep, but remember Fitzy, you're the one who took up the feds offer to join their special little think-tank." There's an honest smile on Walsh's face, eyes tipped down to stare into the steaming top of his coffee. "Place ain't been the same without you, Fitzy. City ain't been the same without you. Y'ever thought about… I dunno, comin' back?"

Leaning away from the threshold of the door, Grant shakes his head and crosses his arms over his chest. "You and I both know I can't do that anymore," has so many interpretations. "In for a penny, in for a pound. I don't think I could go back to ordinary police work after the things I've seen in Homeland."

"Life used t'be a lot simpler, didn't it?" Walsh asks as he looks up from his coffee mug, head shaking in tandem with Grant's. "When'd our fuckin' lives get so screwed up, huh? I remember the days when I could get up in the mornin', an' not have t'worry about somebody who could set fire t'my eyes by thinkin' about them from halfway across the city. It used t'be so different…" distantly focused eyes avert back down to the dark brew in Walsh's mug.

"The bomb ruined everything," Grant quietly explains, moving in to stand in front of Walsh's desk, "it brought all of this out in the open, Danny. It changed the world and made it a dangerous place, made it impossible for people t'do their jobs. Some days I sit back an' I wonder, you know? What it would've been like if the bomb never happened, where we'd be?"

Walsh cracks a smile and laughs bitterly, swinging his feet off of his desk and leaning forward in his chair. "I'd be 'ere at my desk, lookin' up at the damned finest homicide detective ever t'come through these doors, lookin' for a favor from his old friend." Offering a smile up to Grant, Walsh stakes a long sip off of his coffee and then sets it down on the desk. "The bomb didn't change what kind'a people we are, Grant. You still wouldn'ta been happy here, an' I'd still be where I'm at. But we might be more ignorant…" in that his smile falters, "I think we were all happier ignorant."

Grant's smile fades too and his posture slacks, head bobbing into a nod as he looks towards the window in Walsh's office. "Yeah…" Grant murmurs, "yeah I think we were all happier ignorant."

Camp Hero State Park

Warm summer breeze blows through the tall grass bristling up from the parkland of the Camp Hero park, with view of the crashing shores of Long Island on the tree-dappled horizon. Sneakers strike softly against cracked pavement, scuffing steps of a brisk jogging pace carrying a young woman along a familiar prescribed track.

Blonde hair is swept back from a pale forehead by a white headband, sweat glistens on bare shoulders and training weights on her wrists and ankles weighs her down and makes every step harder than it should be, makes her slight frame heavier than it should be. Running by a chain-link fence, Liza Messer sees an old poster plastered to the metal, faded by the sun and tattered by the weather, the square-jawed profile of Nathan Petrelli in monochrome red and blue above the slogan Vote Petrelli '08 offers a sneer from the blonde and a poke of her tongue out at the picture.

Checking her watch, Liza offers a fond smile on her way down the winding path, then picks up her pace, breathing heavy and fatigued as she spots a gentleman in a chalk white suit waiting with a coffee in one hand and a newspaper folded across his lap on a bench up ahead at the end of the path.

Albert Rossling lifts his coffee up in a motion of cheers to Liza as he spots the young agent-in-training coming around the corner, then looks back down to his folded over paper where a half finished sudoku puzzle retains much of his attention. Hearing the huffing and puffing of Liza drawing closer, Rossling lays the newspaper aside and takes out a stopwatch from inside of his suit jacket, the old man offering her a reluctant smile as he waits for her to cross a crack in the pavement.

A soft beep chirps when his thumb depresses the timer and Liza crosses the mark. The blonde runs past Rossling, slowing her pace down gradually until she comes to a stop several feet away, hunching forward and resting her hands on her knees, breathing heavily as a bead of sweat rolls down her nose and drips off to fall down to the ground.

Rossling is slow to push himself to his feet, but only because it's his focus that makes the warm morning air cool and a comfortably chilly breeze to blow across the exhausted young agent. Making his way over to Liza, Rossling offers one gray brow up at her, then takes a sip from his coffee.

"How— " Liza huffs out, looking behind herself to Rossling's approach, "how'd I do?" She's out of breath, eyes shut and head bowed, errant locks of blonde hair spilling over her headband as she tries to catch her breath. Rosslings white patent leather shoes scrape on the pavement as he approaches, checking the stopwatch again just to be certain of the number.

"Six minutes and forty-seven seconds," Rossling notes with a tone of approval, tucking the stopwatch into his front pocket, even if Liza herself seems disappointed. Wrenching her eyes shut she makes a sharp hissing sound and shakes her head, then pushes her hands on her knees to stand up straight, sweeping a hand through her hair to move bangs out of her face.

"I'm still not there yet," Liza admits with a weary smile, wiping her bare forearm over her brow, "but I'm getting there, aren't I? What's the time to beat?" Sliding her tongue over her lips, Liza exhales breathlessly again and can't quite seem to suppress the slowly dawning smile on her lips.

"Typical agent training requires a seven minute mile at maximum time," the British agent notes with mechanical precision, "agent Veronica Sawyer performed her best mile lap at six minutes and seven seconds. You're almost at your goal." Tilting his chin up in assessment of Liza, Rossling looks at her in a way he never thought he'd consider the young agent when they were first partnered up. She used to be a responsibility, used to be a burden.

Now, Albert Rossling sees her as a peer, and an admirably strong young woman.

"How's your ankle feeling?" He asks cautiously, looking down to where a medical brace still darkens her right ankle with black fabric. The bear-trap she'd been victimized by on assignment may have permanently damaged her ability to run, but it hasn't stopped her from trying, through the pain and everything.

"My leg's fine," Liza says with a warm smile as she runs both hands over her hair, "Vee's sure got her work cut out for her, because I'll be beating her mile record, and then I'll beat her score at the target range, and then I'll be the best field agent there is!"

The smile that crosses Agent Rossling's face is a bittersweet one when he steps over and lays a hand down on Liza's shoulder. "You're doing a fantastic job, Messer," has Liza's eyes widening in surprise, because it is so unlike Albert to ever offer anything like praise. "I'm proud of you."

Had Albert ever the chance to say those words to his son before he lost him, perhaps somewhere now in watching Rossling raise Liza Messer into a field agent, his son will feel proud of him. The grumpy old man who has pushed everyone away has finally found something to warm his heart up again.

"Th— thanks Al," Liza offers with a flush of color to her face, brown eyes dipping down to the hand on her shoulder, then back up to Rossling. "C'mon, let's go to the shooting range, I've got a good feeling about today!"

Fort Hero

Firing Range

The pop of small arms fire fills the air, a measured precession of 9-millimeter rounds firing downrange as copper shell casings rattle around on the floor. Staring down the sights of her Baretta, both hands wrapped around the gun's grip and protective goggles worn over her glasses, agent Bianca Karina sees the black and white target ahead of her as an obstacle to the future.

Fifteen shots and the clip is expended, with the brush of her thumb along the clip release, she drops the magazine out of the bottom of the grip, swiftly reaching down to her side to grab a replacement, only to feel another hand already there at her hip. Jolting upright and backing up into someone standing behind her, Bianca turns sharply, staring up at the bearded gentleman standing behind her with a fond smile.

Lifting her hands to pull down her headphones that blocked out the report of the gun, Bianca stares up at Gael Cruz and his unusually happy expression. "I thought I'd find you down here," Gael notes with a hushed tone of voice, wrapping his arms around Bianca from behind, his hands lacing over her stomach. Gun hand shaking, Bianca reaches down to holster her sidearm, then wraps her arms around Gael's and leans back against him.

"Surprised ot see you out of your office," Bianca whispers as she turns her face towards Gael's bicep, her brows furrowed and eyes closed. "You've been working so hard lately I— "

"So have you," is murmured into Bianca's hair, "dont think I haven't seen the hours you've been clocking on the Portman case. You didn't have to go out to Long Island with Richards, especially after spending as many hours in the lab with the forensics team as you did."

A noise in the back of Bianca's throat is an admission of guilt without words. Pressing her nose into Gael's sleeve, she has no excuse to offer. "I know whats been bothering you," Gael admits in a quiet tone, squeezing his arms just a little tightly around her before pressing his nose down into her hair and kissing the top of Bianca's head. "I don't want you to think I'm pressuring you into things… I'm fine with waiting, for the wedding, for whatever. We'll have plenty of time."

"Actually," Bianca's voice is muffled against Gael's sleeve, and when his arms relax around her, Bianca turns around to face her fiance with a nervous expression. "That job, with Richards… I realized how hard it is being an agent, it put a lot of things into perspective for me, and made me realize that the lives we do have outside of work— it's something we should cherish."

Lifting up one hand to brush along the side of Gael's face, Bianca's eyes drift from side to side, trying to search his and finding them as closely guarded as ever. "Let's just run off," Bianca whispers with a laugh, eliciting the same surprised bubble of laughter from Gael. "You have vacation time coming up in September, let's just… let's go out to Vegas, let's just get married. No big ceremony, let's just— before we don't have any time to anymore. Let's do it before there isn't any left."

"There'll be plenty of time for us," Gael murmurs as he lifts a hand to the back of Bianca's head, drawing her chin down to rest on his shoulder. "I'm thinking of retiring soon." The words send a wave of surprise through Bianca that stiffens her spine and has her looking up with wide eyes to the bearded man holding her.

"But— "

"Don't act so surprised," Gael offers with a laugh and a shake of his head. "You and I have been lucky these years we've been with the Company, lucky that we never ran into something like Sylar, lucky that we've managed to survive in a dangerous job like the one we have. I think that… if it's time for us to settle down and start a family, one of us should settle down. You still have your whole career ahead of you, and I've been thinking about moving into civillian contracting for a while now."

Smiling faintly, Bianca still can't quite wrap her mind around the notion that the Company's #1 agent will be retiring any time soon. Huffing out a breath and shaking her head, Bianca looks staggered by the news. "You— is this about your father's business? Are you going to be— "

"I got an offer," Gael explains in a quiet tone of voice, "but let's just leave it at that for now. Let's focus on Vegas, and then… we'll go from there." Leaning back so he can look down at Bianca more clearly, Gael lifts one hand to brush a lock of dark hair from her forehead, letting his callused fingertips stroke gently in the path.

"I love you," Bianca whispers as she rises up onto her toes and presses her lips to Gael's, her arms tightening around his waist. Smiling into the kiss, Gael rests his forehead against Bianca's and threads his fingers thorugh her hair.

"I love you too."

Greystone Park

Sitting here for the last few minutes, staring out through the windshield of her car, arms folded over the steering wheel and eyes squared up at the massive stone building in front of her, Gracie Lee hasn't been able to shake the feeling of anxiety from herself that's been building for the whole ride out. Tucking her chin down and hiding her eyes against her forearms, the redhead agent exhales a heavy sigh and turns to the door of her car, pulling it open to the warm morning air.

Through rays of glittering sunlight cast through cottony clouds hanging low in the sky, Graystone Park Psychiatric Hospital looks almost welcoming, save for its darkened windows and gothic architecture giving it an imposing medieval prison appearance. Or maybe all of that's just subconscious dread in Gracie's mind.

Wrapping her arms around herself and ducking her head down, Gracie makes a slow and steady approach up towards the hospital she'd promised never to return to once before. The assignment involving Darryl Lincoln had taken her here once, and it was here that she came face to face with those age old fears.

Up the concrete steps and into the building, her progress is arrested only when she sees the white-painted walls and the mural of doctors and patients holding hands and smiling right near the door. Those black and white tiles on the floor haven't changed in years, and despite how much has changed since then, Gracie can't shake the feeling of the walls closing in on her just by being around this place.

The receptionists at the front desk can sense her anxiety like sharks can sense blood in the water, and when Gracie finally gets up the nerve to approach them, it's with short steps and tension in her shoulders and neck. They know her here, they know why she's here, and calling ahead for her appointment means that the man in the white coat standing beyond the reception desk isn't just watching the halls, he's waiting for her.

Taking a step to the side, Gracie offers a faint and anxious smile to the familiar doctor. Not Darryl's doctor, no. Taking a few steps closer, Gracie closes her eyes and falters, looking back over her shoulder to the door. "It'll be alright," is the deeply spoken and comforting tones of the doctor as he approaches Gracie, laying a hand on her shoulder and giving it a squeeze, "come on, you're early but I think it'll be alright."

Gracie has no words for Doctor Cartwright, just a faint smile and the watery quality of her own eyes as she listens to the sound of her heels clicking on the tiled floor as she follows Cartwright deeper into the hospital. There's a lot of vacant smiles here, institutionally white walls and bright windows, everything so well lit that it gives her a mirgraine just thinking about it.

Heading thorugh a pair of double doors and into the same day room she'd seen Allison talking to Darryl in, Gracie stops at the doorway, tears finalyl dribbling down from her eyes and rolling down her cheeks, one hand coming up to slap over her mouth at a sight through the doorway.

Doctor Cartwright stops, realizing Gracie hasn't kept up and turns around. The doctor needn't say anything, he just waits there for her, one hand held out and a sympathetic smile on his face. He can't truly feel sympathy for her, but at least he can make the effort to empathize. Few people have been in Gracie Lee's situation.

Not taking the hand but coming in to the day room, Gracie brushes her fingers under her eyes and sucks back tears, swallowing noisily as she walks past Doctor Cartwright, not even noticing that the doctor himself receeds to the doorway to give a measure of privacy.

Gracie's path is towards a chair near one of the uncurtained windows in the green-painted room. Seated in the chair, a gray haired woman with a vacant stare looks out to the street and the trees beyond the hospital's walls, her slippered feet tucked together, one hand in her lap and another fondling the gold cross at her neck.

Jaw trembling when she makes her way to the old woman's side, Gracie slowly crouches down and lays a hand on her knee, looking up with tear-filled blue eyes, the smile on her lips bordering on a grimace and the tightness in her throat bordering on strangulation.

When the old woman looks down, there's fleeting recognition. A wrinkled but still soft hand is lifted, warm to the touch on Gracie's tear-streak cheek, and the old woman's greeting is a heartbreaking one. "You're such a pretty young girl… why are you crying?"

Lifting up her hand to squeeze the one touching her cheek, Gracie hiccups back a sob and turns her face towards that palm, kissing it and closing her eyes. Sometimes late is better than never, sometimes years have to go by before anyone is ready to mend emotional tears or rebuild bridges that were long broken.

Four years is a long time to wait to say something.

"Hi, Mom."

Fort Hero

Supervisors' Offices

The photograph of a slim-faced blonde man in a black bulletproof vest with a white undershirt is one of many that hang on the wall of fallen agents within Fort Hero. Agent Simon Woods earned his place up on this wall after his death trying to bring Sylar to capture almost two years ago now. Below him, the picture of a dark-haired man with a warm smile has the name Rami Hollingwood below it, an agent who died defending the Bronx facility from the attack of a madman.

Sometimes Bob Bishop is a ghost haunting the hall this wall is in, but for him knowing and remembering the faces of those who have given their lives to defend the tennants of the Company is something that must be done. The brunette woman who's picture he looks at next was instrumental in the defeat of the Vanguard, one of the best agents in years to join the Company, and Minea Dahl is now nothing more than a photograph and a name on a wall, one that soon may not even matter.

Ananda Kaur died while undercover, establishing the very first ties the Company has to the Ferrymen through its sister organization Phoenix, murdered by Humanis First and hung out as a spectacle by their most notorious members. Bob reaches out to touch that photograph's frame, brows furrowed and head tipped down, brushing dust away where his fingers glide.

The young looking woman with dark hair next in the row is another tragic addition. Hokuto Ichihara, only having had recently rejoined the Company, only to die outside of the line of duty in the arms of her partner. Bob's eyes shut again and a frown draws at the corner of his mouth when he thinks about the agent they recruited afterward, her murderer reformatted and retrained to join the organization.

Wringing his hands, Bob steps away from the wall, unable to finish this morning's rounds. "Director Bishop," is a throaty voice with a clear British clip behind him. Turning to look over his shoulder, the appearance of Martin Crowley in Bob's periphery comes as little surprise. "I got Director Dalton's message, sir."

Nodding slowly, Bob lifts up his glasses and rubs at one eye, then settles them back down on the bridge of his nose. "Alright, Crowley. Well, that means we're reaching the time then. If Sabra's given you the order to go forward, than I want you to follow through on it. Your vacation time has been authorized, just remember that everyone is riding on this."

Folding his hands behind his back, Martin offers a look at the wall of deceased agants, his eyes tracking down the empty space where Paulson's photograph would have gone, had he not turned on the organization. "I understan'," Martin murmurs, then ticks his attention over to Bob with no other movement save for his eyes. "I 'preciate you givin' me this opportunity, Sir. T'actually do somethin' worthwhile…"

Bob's head follows Martin's words in a steadily dipping nod. "Just don't screw this up," is half a joke, and as Bob looks up to the British agent, he affords him the slightest measure of a smile. "And remember, no matter what happens, you protect as many of them as you can when the order comes down."

"I'll be there waitin'," Martin notes in a quiet confirmation of Bob's words, then tucks his hands into the pockets of his slacks. "Keep an eye on my team for me, yeah?" There's a faint hint of a smile at that as Martin takes one step back down the hall. "They're the only good thing it feels like I've done in all'a th' years I've been doin' this."

Before Martin can turn and leave, Bob calls out again. "Martin," and that much has Crowley pausing, back straightening and one brow raising over the frames of his glasses. "Sarah would be proud of you," hits Martin square in the chest, and his eyes divert to a photograph he'd been tyring not to look at, of a smiling blonde woman sitting several photographs down from the most recent deaths.

"Thank y'sir…" Martin offers in a hushed tone of voice, swallowing down his emotions with a dip of his head into a nod. "A'can only hope tha' I'll keep makin' her proud've me for as long as I can…" Neither man says anything else, the silence between them heavy, and Bob's silent nod of understanding is the order to depart that Crowley was waiting for.

The Company isn't what it used to be, isn't what it was founded on, and in recent months at times it feels like it's done a greater good than Bob had ever thought possible since the upheval of the bomb. But the current of change is a sweeping one, and there is an assurance in that of a coming storm.

Every agent has a motivation for doing what they do, a motivation for joining the Company, for doing what they feel is right.

Not everyone can say they've had the most pure of motivations. But at the end of the day, Bob knows that against all odds they tried to make a difference in the world.

For better or worse.

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