Non-Office Gossip


kayla_icon.gif veronica_icon.gif

Scene Title Non-Office Gossip
Synopsis Kayla was reading. Veronica wanted a place to sleep. This turned into something not a conversation related in any way to gossip, and of course Kayla ran away.
Date August 7, 2009

Fort Hero: Rec Room

The 'rec room' at Fort Hero is not, actually, a single room, although people often refer to it as such; it is several, all branching off a single hall. They were once something else — offices, perhaps, or residences, or storage rooms; holes in the concrete remain where things were once bolted into place, and here and there an odd device remains attached to the walls. By and large, however, such details are irrelevant. Concrete has been softened with draperies and cushions; somehow, chairs and couches have found their way down here, probably with the help of one teleporter or another. All told, it's a fairly comfortable place to be.

These rooms have been dedicated to games, entertainment, unwinding and socializing, the passing of time; each one seems to have its own theme. There is a room with shelves of books and magazines, which were once orderly and neat until people started trading them around; stragglers can always be found in the other rec rooms. Card tables double for ping-pong games; various other boxed games, from Monopoly to Charades to Scrabble, can be found on shelves and in drawers. Two rooms have been fitted with small entertainment centers — TV, VCR, DVD player, stereo; when the metal doors are closed, a decent level of volume can be reached without disturbing anyone else. Too loud, of course, still tends to get noticed. Broadcast and satellite TV stations can also be accessed on these systems. The video/DVD library is across the hall.

The thing about living on the base is that everyone knows where your room is. Just because Kayla buries herself in work doesn't mean that she wants to be found all the time — particularly in what is technically 'afterhours' by any business schedule. So the woman has absconded with a book from one of the shared rooms and tucked herself away in another, shoes on the floor, feet up on the next cushion over, leaning back against a couch corner and intent upon her book. She's still dressed in the day's professional attire, charcoal pants and a dark teal blouse — but the secretary has let her hair down, at least.

Veronica's on "campus" so to speak tonight to make use of the various facilities — the gym, the shooting range, and not least of all, to visit with Minea. She's ecstatic to have her friend back, even if she doesn't show it openly. She's not in the mood to head back home for the night, and she doesn't have her own room here like some agents do — having opted to keep her own apartment in the "city." She figures that one of the rec rooms is a comfortable and quiet enough space to catch a few Z's. It has to be better than the infirmary.

She steps in and looks surprised at seeing the secretary in the corner. She pauses, not sure whether she should say hello, or head out and pretend she never saw Kayla.

The sound of someone in the doorway penetrates Kayla's thoughts, and the younger woman looks up, regarding Veronica not quite directly, startled wary. Hard to back out and pretend once you've been spotted — on both sides. She folds the book and straightens, stiff, visibly but not overtly self-conscious about it. "Sawyer." It's almost 'hello'. Sort of.

The agent is half in, half out of the doorway, and gives a rare self-conscious smile of her own that exposes her dimples. "Hey. I didn't want to bother you — was going to just… find another room, rather than interrupt you," she says, with a slight shrug. Her shoulder is apparently better — healthwise, there's nothing more serious than a few bruises here and there. "Good book?" she asks. The agent's in casual clothes — cut off jean shorts, flip flops, a t-shirt. A gym bag on her shoulder carries clothes to change into in the morning.

Gray eyes rest briefly on Veronica's shoulder; Kayla's shrug is something more implied than not, but recognizable nonetheless. There's interrupt and then interrupt. Her gaze drops to the closed paperback, considering the front cover, the title that her fingers brush across. Her copy didn't have a cover. "I've read it before." So presumably it's good. She sits back, against the back of the couch, her feet on the floor; doesn't open the book again, doesn't look up at Veronica, either. "You've seen Dahl."

"Yes," Veronica says in an even tone. "Just so you know, in case you're not sure, she only did it for the job. She's not a traitor. You can trust her." Her words are sure, confident of their truth. Whether it's true or not, Veronica believes it, and clearly thinks that Kayla should believe her too. "How are you doing? You're living here now?" she asks, trying not to pry too deeply, walking on the proverbial eggshells since she seems to upset Kayla more often than not.

"I heard," Kayla replies, just as evenly; her gaze flickers to Veronica, then back away. She seems to have not much of a judgment with respect to the erstwhile non-traitor. The pages of the book are fanned through, the page she had been at located. Kayla doesn't seem to start reading, despite that; the book rests idly in her lap.

She turns her attention to the agent in the doorway, looking askance. "You don't spend that much time down here at all, do you? Yeah. Over there." Not that pointing towards the residential halls means much in this room. "I have a place at Siann Hall, but it's just paperwork. For the Registry." How is she doing? Psych sessions aside… "I'm fine." The usual.

"Not a lot of time, no. Was gone on vacation, and I like living apart from work, you know?" Veronica says back. "I need some separation. Some place to go that has nothing to do with what I do for a living." She shrugs, and moves into the room — the other rooms were busier, this is the closest to what she needs to crash in, with its comfy chairs and couches and lack of televisions and video games. She takes a seat on a sofa near but not next to Kayla. She knows the girl wants her space. "So any gossip I should know from someone on the inside so to speak?" she grins conspiratorially at Kayla.

Gossip is socializing; Kayla doesn't gossip. The look she gives Veronica, as if the woman had sprouted horns or a second head or something of the like, makes that rather clear. She's quiet for a bit, clearly turning the question over in her head. "Biggest subject these days is the dead surgeon," Kayla finally replies. Her lips quirk in faint distaste. "When it's not who's sleeping with whom or who's on what secret assignment." Typical boring subjects, those.

"The sleeping with who stuff is more interesting gossip than the surgeon," says Veronica, though of course the fact a surgeon was murdered caught her attention, given her father's death. "What about you? Any interesting guys… girls? … you have your eye on?" It's a dangerous topic to broach. She can't really see the strange and reticent woman dating, but maybe she does. "There's some pretty hot agents around, right? Any eye candy you like?"

Both slender brows arch; Kayla clearly disagrees with Veronica's assessment. "Surgeon was a Company founder, apparently," she remarks offhand. Conversation. Her semblance of sociability, however, shuts down immediately as the agent continues her line of questioning. Kayla draws back into the corner of her couch, lips pressed into a thin line. "No."

"Well, that's news," says Veronica looking impressed with Kayla's knowledge. "I didn't know that. That makes another huh? Any gossip on who's doing it?" she says, letting the other topic drop with the very short, very decisive answer Kayla gives. It's fine with her; after all, her own romantic life is not really one she feels like chatting about with Kayla. Quid Pro Quo isn't going to work.

"Usually is," the healer replies dryly. Since they're not talking about her (lack of any) romantic interests, seem to have left the subject behind entirely, Kayla appears to relax a little. A very little. "Other Company people, the government, Canada's government, Phoenix… more like who isn't on the suspect list."

Veronica nods. When no one knows the real answer, everyone's a suspect. "You got an opinion on it?" she asks, looking into the gray eyes of the other woman curiously. She knows Kayla's smart and that she listens more than she talks — people like that are often right with their instincts. "I mean… just a gut reaction. Any thoughts?" She picks up a magazine from the coffee table and flips through it, before her eyes flick back up to Kayla.

Opinions. Kayla looks across at Veronica for a long moment, her expression inscrutable. Considering something, most likely; whether it's the question, the agent, or something else entirely is difficult to determine. If not impossible. She glances at the magazine Veronica isn't reading, rather continue to regard the woman herself. "Phoenix is messy." Vanguard, Moab, Pinehearst; Kayla did at least a little reading on them. "This was — maybe professionally clean."

"Good point," Veronica says, a touch of approval in her voice. "If it was Phoenix, the entire building would have been blasted probably. They don't go so much for subtle, right?" Her mind echoes with Minea's words — kids playing revolutionary and getting it wrong. "How was he killed? I think I read somewhere strangulation? What makes it so clean?" She hasn't read the case file, and only saw a short news blip, only heard the gossip from people who were hazarding guesses.

Kayla's gaze flicks aside, the woman turning her face partially away from her companion, so that it's only visible in profile. Her expression is carefully flat. "Asphyxiation." Clinical tone in affirmation. She probably shouldn't be talking about all of this, but the subject of the evidence is more palatable than that of his death. "They figure by some kind of cord. Very little evidence left behind. The building cameras were scrambled."

"Hm. Cord suggests … not Evo, or at least not an Evo who could do it with a blink of the eye… unless it was a telekinetic." The way her own father, a surgeon, supposedly died. "But scrambled cameras, that could be a techno… or just someone who knows how to scramble a signal. Might be a team. Most likely a team," Veronica says, her mind sorting through the evidence as if on autopilot. "Interesting." She gives a nod to Kayla. "You have a good mind for this stuff… you could consider being an agent."

The hypothesizing is met with little response; it doesn't mean much of anything without more information, and ultimately it's a fairly moot point in Kayla's eyes. Veronica's final statement, however, draws from the younger woman another look. A 'what-are-you-suggesting-have-you-gone-totally-insane' brand of look. "I could not be an agent — even if I wanted to," she snaps in affronted, defensive reply. "Which I don't."

The response gets a laugh from Veronica, who quickly tries to look sheepish. "Don't look so insulted, ki- Kayla. I meant it as a compliment, even though obviously it's not in your mind. I didn't mean to insult you," the agent tells the receptionist. Her lips curve at the corners as she tries not to smirk. "I just meant that you think about things in an analytical way that helps sometimes, on a case."

Most people would probably accept the apology and regrouping. Kayla isn't most people. Her offense also doesn't arise from insult per se. The book is allowed to close itself, not with any particular melodramatic flair; her free hand scoops up her shoes and the woman rises to her feet. "Maybe think about the rest of it," she retorts; there's no forgiveness offered there, nor any further explanation, as she moves towards the door.

Agents come back injured rather frequently. Get themselves in firefights, use or come up against abilities. And they have to be able to kill if necessary. Which she — doesn't believe she could do.

Veronica sighs. One day maybe she'll have a conversation with Kayla that lasts longer than half an hour, where she doesn't piss the girl off. "You do what you have to. I don't believe for a second that I'm stronger than you, Kayla," the agent says quietly as she stretches out on the sofa, kicking off her flip flops and tossing the magazine back on the coffee table.

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