No Can Do


ryans2_icon.gif sabra_icon.gif veronica3_icon.gif

Scene Title No Can Do
Synopsis The Company's lack of clout has never been more frustrating for one agent. Greater security measures on the Company's information are also set in place.
Date June 12, 2010

Fort Hero Sabra's Office

All things considered, the decor of Sabra's office evokes a remarkably comfortable atmosphere — for an administrative office two levels below ground, whose walls aren't much more than painted concrete and whose windows are sorely lacking. She still manages to have houseplants, there's a couple of paintings on the walls — along with a comparatively recent shelf combining bric-a-brac with presumably important binders and files. The rug on the floor was a fixture in her old office, too.

So was Ashton, who refills the elderly woman's ever-present teacup from the pot in his hand. She seems to not even notice, her attention fixed on the dim glow of a computer screen; and if the lack of courteous gratitude on Sabra's part is unusual, it's nothing Ashton isn't prepared to forgive. However, there are other considerations — and these cause the aide to be a little pointedly overt in his placement of two other teacups on the desk, breaking Sabra's reverie. "Hm?" She glances at the clock, and nods to herself. "You're right. Thank you," she says to Ashton, taking up her cup and sipping at the tea.

Agent Sawyer hasn't been at the base since the black outs, but confirmed her RSVP for this meeting late last night after being released from the hospital for a minor head injury — she was one of the thousands who had the bad luck to be driving when the blackouts occurred, and had been broadsided by another unconscious person. Most people woke up in one to three minutes — she woke up in a hospital bed three hours later.

As she enters the office, ushered in by Ashton, her forehead is bandaged and there are a few small butterfly bandages here and there on her hands where the broken glass cut her, though she wears a loose long-sleeved white blouse to cover most of the abrasions. That and a pair of black pin-striped pants and comfortable but fashionable shoes one can chase a subject in complete her "office wear," though anyone who knows Vee knows she prefers jeans or sweat pants on her own time. She slides into a seat across from Sabra, glancing back to where Ryans follows her — she just arrived in time for the meeting so hasn't had time to fill him in on pressing matters. "I'm glad you asked for a meeting. I have some important information that I didn't get until late last night." She didn't get released until yesterday morning and her cell phone was still in her impounded car, as fate would have it.

Following Sawyer, Benjamin Ryans offers the Director a small smile, from where he pauses just outside her door. Called in from his home, the man made pretty good time. "Sabra." He offers politely, with an inclination of his head. Dressed in a dark blue suit, the dress shirt a crisp white, but no tie in sight as is his way.

Ever since the incident that left him younger, he's felt a little odd around the woman, since he no longer looks close to her age. Taking a step into her office, Ryans glances to Ashton giving him a nod as well. While, Veronica is diving into business, the older agent takes a moment to say, "You look well," to the older woman as he settles into a chair, hand unbuttoning the jacket to be more comfortable.

Sabra, on the other hand, seems immune to such things as discomfort: she smiles warmly at both Ryans and Veronica. "Thank you," she replies to Ryans. "Benjamin, Veronica. Would you care for some tea?" she offers, gesturing to the empty cups before them. For all that the meeting has been mandated from her end, it's clearly not so important that the niceties of hopsitality need be shortchanged.

All the same, the elderly lady doesn't dwell on them. Rather, she folds her hands on the edge of her desk, turning those bright blue eyes upon Veronica. Someone just snared all, or effectively all, of Sabra's attention — for good or ill. "Important information?" she echoes, tone that of polite intrigue. "Please, Veronica, do share."

Old people and their niceties! You look nice. Would you care for some tea? Veronica just smiles as they exchange such, waiting for the meeting to start. "Sure, tea would be lovely," she tells Sabra, knowing that Ashton will come pour it for her like she was in some Victorian novel.

"Gillian Childs was kidnapped prior to Thursday's event. My sources tell me that she was taken alive using tasers and most likely negation gas. No faces and no plates were witnessed. My guess is the Institute, and given what Childs can do … my guess is they had something to do with the blackouts on Thursday. Especially if they amplified her ability to amplify with that drug that they're said to possess…" she shakes her head angrily, glancing at Ryans and then Sabra. "Obviously, if she remains in their possession, more grand-scale disasters like these could occur, if they plan to experiment on her. We need to retrieve her."

A glance goes to Ashton at the mention of tea, he gives a small nod of his head. "Thank you, tea would be nice." Settling back in his chair, a foot brought up to set sideways on his knee, his good arm gripping the ankle. The cast awkward, as it sets on the arm rest of the chair.

Of course, Veronica gets Ryans's attention as well, brows lifting on his head. His hand come off his ankle in a stopping gesture. "Whoa there, Sawyer." He gives her a confused look, a glance going to Sabra's office door. "You realize the accusations your making?" There is a touch of concern there. "This is very shaky ground we're standing on." It's something he hates admitting really. "Did they have reason to take her? IF it is them."

Neither Sabra's posture nor her expression change overtly as Veronica and Ryans speak — though her blue gaze seems to cool somewhat. "Benjamin has a point," she remarks levelly. "I wouldn't advise saying that anywhere outside this room." Certain meddling Homeland Security liaisons might hear. She doesn't have to speak the words to imply them.

The elderly woman sits back in her chair, lifting her chin slightly. "You also seem to be at a slight misapprehension, Veronica, regarding the role of this Company in affairs. Our charge is to identify and control rogue Evolved." She folds her wrinkled hands around her teacup, lifting it from the desk but not drinking from it. "We are not watchdogs over the Institute; that is part of the demesne of Homeland Security. If they were indeed a player in Thursday's events or if she was in any way associated with what happened. For which you have only guesses, and while guesses have their place, particularly on field duty…"

Sabra shakes her head infinitesimally. "They are not sufficient to warrant the repercussions that would come from any demand we make of the Institute."

"Masked men, negation gas, coffins for transportation, Ryans. Of course I know what I'm accusing them of. And as for why — Child is an augmentor. A rare power, and a dangerous one, depending on who she's paired with. What else could cause mass hallucinations or mass premonitions in so many people at once? I don't know of anyone who's able to give such visions on such a grand scale. Even Hokuto Ichihara's power couldn't affect that many people at the same time, and she was about as powerful of an oneiromancer as I've ever heard of," Veronica says, though her voice is dropped with the reprimands of her superiors.

"So you're saying there's nothing we can do about this," she says to Sabra, her dark eyes narrowing. "We're going to just let the government kidnap people, who weren't doing anything illegal or wrong, and have even been given a clean slate for their service to our government — to the world? If Childs hadn't gone to Antarctica…" She shakes her head again, leaning back in her chair. She pauses for a moment, before tilting her head at both of them.

"Is there any way to infiltrate the Institute?"

Brows furrow, Ryans frowns at what he hears. "That son of a…" He trails off, his head turning to look at Sabra, and anything he's thinking or feeling falls away. Things Martin said, running through his mind.

"No." Ryans says softly, looking back to Veronica, his expression neutral. "There isn't anything we can do, it's not within the parameters of our agreement with the government." He hates saying those words, even as they pass his lips. "Even if we wanted too… there is too much at stake." He pins the younger woman with a matter of fact look, there is more then she knows going on.

"You do not — I repeat — do not want to go there." His jaw tightens, there is something apologetic in the look he gives her. "We have to tread lightly." For now anyway.

The teacup comes to rest on the desktop once more, wrinkled hands folding in their owner's lap. "Miss Sawyer," Sabra replies in tones of clear rebuke, "contrary to what seems to be popular perception in many arenas, we do not have the luxury of being unaccountable for what we do. Indeed, we are answerable to that same government you now include in your accusations, and — also contrary to popular perception — such clout as we have is not greater than theirs."

Funny thing: reading between the lines, one might come away with the impression that she wishes it was.

"I am afraid," Sabra continues, nodding in Ryans' direction, "that I have to agree with Benjamin. That is not a question you want to be heard asking." Now she picks up the cup again, and takes a drink.

A hand goes to her forehead, rubbing it gingerly; Veronica still has a headache beneath that bandage. "I also do not want to leave Childs in their hands to be used for whatever Machiavellian experiments they have in mind. Think of the worst possibly power you can, the most dangerous, and then consider it augmented — what, tenfold? A hundred? Aside from the fact that Childs, along with that amplification drug, could give them the most dangerous living weapon in the world, she's my friend. We saved each other's lives in Argentina. I do not want to leave her there to be some … some guinea pig."

She sighs heavily and looks away. Clearly it was a mistake to hope for help here, that sigh clearly says. "So what did you want to see us about? Are we being asked to give up our firearms now?" She's still bitter over the loss of the tranq guns.

There is a soft sigh from the older agent, as he turns back to Sabra. There is so much Ryans would like to say, but he can't… not at the moment. "I imagine that the government is well aware of the situation if she is in the Institutes care." But the tone of his voice says he's not wholly convinced.

Benjamin motions to Sabra to go ahead and say what she needs, then picks up his tea cup finally, to take a sip.

Sabra raises a brow at Veronica, but makes no more reply than that: the subject of Gillian Childs and the Institute is now closed. "No, Veronica," she demurs, "though perhaps you will thank me no more for what I am about to say." Blue eyes shift to Ryans. "We are increasing security on the archives. Open case files under active investigation remain as before, but any archived material must henceforth be requisitioned through administrative channels, and no one will be permitted to take it from the library." She folds her hands on the desk. "Electronic copies will no longer be accessible on the network. I am aware this presents an inconvenience to your work, which is why I am informing you in person. However, Ashton, Ms. Reid, and several other administrative assistants will all have authority to fill requests; it should not impair you in any significant way."

There may not have been a slight stress on the pronoun you in that last sentence.

The youngest of the three finally picks up the tea cup set in front of her to take a sip, more as a way to metaphorically bite her tongue and keep herself from getting in any more trouble. Veronica's brows lift at the mention of tighter security on the archives. She glances at Ryans to see if he takes this particular news as good or bad. She can see both benefits and drawbacks, but the benefits outweigh the drawbacks, given their prior discussions.

The older man is silent for a long moment, eyes on the liquid in his cup, before he nods slowly. Ryans looks up from his tea to Sabra. "In light of what has happened, I understand the measures needing to be taken. We'll work with the new measures." There a touch of a strain in his voice, but his words are true. Just one more setback to be worked around.

Sabra inclines her head as no protests are forthcoming. "Very good," she says, taking another drink of her own tea. "There will be a bulletin released later today, which will also detail the new procedures for obtaining archive access. If any questions arise, you are welcome to bring them to me."

Veronica pushes the half-finished cup of tea away from her and moves to rise. "Thank you for the information," Veronica says politely, though it's clear she isn't at all happy from the set of her jaw. "I better go catch up on whatever I've missed for the past couple of days." She moves toward the door of the office, her usually graceful gait stiff, thanks to her bruised and sore muscles.

"Of course," Benjamin Ryans says softly to the director. When Veronica suddenly rises, the man straightens in his seat, foot coming off his knee. The cup is set back down. "Is that all Director?" He asks politely, shifting as if he'll rise from his seat as well. The difference between the young and old within the organization… Manners.

He wants to speak to his own assistant, but not here.

Watching Veronica slip out the door, Sabra takes another sip of tea and then sets her cup aside. Turning her attention to Ryans, the elderly director shakes her head. "No, Benjamin," she replies, releasing him from the meeting. "Thank you for your time."

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License