Office Spaces


nicole_icon.gif shane_icon.gif robyn3_icon.gif voss_icon.gif

Scene Title Office Spaces
Synopsis A transfer agent arrives in Fort Jay and begins to discover just how different the Safe Zone SESA office is from elsewhere in the US.
Date December 5, 2019

The transfer of agent Jeremy Kraig left a hole in the New York SESA offices. He was relocating to attend to matters in another state, headed to the midwest, where his family has been patiently waiting for him. They’d waited long enough, the 60-something Kraig had decided, and he was headed to a promotion to overlook a different SESA branch. There was cake, there were well-wishes. Kraig had mainly been in the offices, he’d rarely gone into the field, but he had been a presence amid the agent groups in New York since their founding. But now, he had moved on.

And the emptied, cold office now has drawn a new occupant. The new Agent has a sizable portfolio that could be easily looked into by any of the SESA field agents, to get a clue about what to expect. Agent Shane Bishop has a significant amount of experience: FBI, Ferrymen, and police work. He is flagged most clearly as an investigator, specifically on criminal situations: he’s being brought in to help on the law enforcement side of SESA’s duties, less on the diplomacy side of things.

And agent Bishop is present now outside the empty office, with a cardboard box of loose objects, and a large folder of paperwork. He sets both down outside the door to the office, one on top of the other, stopping to look through the various access cards and keys he was given, fanning them in his hand, and then looking critically at the closed office door. Shane Bishop is a scrappy, short male, with a lean build and quickly appraising eye. His body language and stance read of police - he probably is terrible at undercover. That appraising eye is currently skeptical about if he was indeed given an appropriate access card to the new space he’s meant to occupy.

Shane suddenly feels something smack gently against the back of his head, before a rolled up poster lowers into his peripheral vision. ""Réveillez-vous!" an accented woman's voice comments from behind him, before a light chuckle rings out. "It's not that great a view. Not worth zoning out for." Stepping up next to him, Robyn Quinn looks at the door with a smirk on her face. Arms folded over her best, she stares at the door with a raised eyebrow.

"I heard we were getting a new agent," she remarks, looking over at Shane. He stands just as high as she did, which is always a welcome change. "I didn't realise you'd be here so soon." She looks from him back to the door in front of them. She offers a hand over to him. "Bonjour. Robyn Quinn. Hurry up before someone thinks you've lost it."

Shane Bishop flicks a glance over his shoulder towards the teasing woman as she appears next to him with her abrupt welcome. At first it’s just an eyebrow hooked sky high at her antics, along with a bemused expression, but it evolves quickly into a soft laugh and grin. “I give no assurances about not zoning out until I’ve had an excess of morning coffee,” Shane smirks in retort.

Bon-JOOR, Agent Quinn,” Shane announces; he clearly does not speak French, there's some butchering there that might even be intentional. “Shane Bishop. Exceeding arrival expectations since, mmmm, 2018. Not very long. It’s a new thing.” He extends a hand back to hers, accepting the handshake. He’s direct and quick with it, but is neither a dead fish in the handshake nor a crusher of masculine overcompensation. “I think we’ve met before, though. I cheat; I read dossiers.”

Shane’s dressed semi casually; his jeans are clean, a jacket with warm wool lining is over a crisp shirt. There’s a telltale part of his jacket at the hip where the leather of the jacket is worn away, from rubbing on a service weapon holster. Small cues that a sharp eye can pick up about the lean detective.

He’s moved the keycards all to one hand, the other swiftly coming up to sneakily try to steal the rolled up poster from her. “What’s this? Have I inherited some required decoration?” Shane asks, eyes quickly scanning the poster. He may not have had his coffee yet, but he’s very alert. “Because I will happily take it instead of additional case files, at least initially. I have already acquired a pile, and I don’t even have an inbox. Once I get that, free for all.” There’s a smile to his rueful tone: he’s teasing, but he’s here to have case files.

A woman dressed sharply in a hunter green blouse made of silk and a pair of pressed black slacks walks past the two standing in front of the empty office without so much as a glance at first. She strides up to another office two doors down and neatly fits a key into the lock. A keen eye will notice each key on that particular ring has a different color of rubber fitted to it.

“Quinn,” is not a greeting, but rather a summons. “Did you get those files for—” The woman turns her head to more directly address the Irish-Frenchwoman as she pushes open the door to her office, but stops when she registers the presence of a new face. Not what she was expecting, at least until memory kicks in to provide context.

Since her return to Fort Jay, Nicole Varlane has been terse with her co-workers. She was a workaholic before, but now she makes that iteration of herself look relaxed. She arrives early, stays late, and wants everyone to ask how high when she says jump.

“Sorry,” Nicole murmurs. “I didn’t realize you were on welcome wagon duty.” There’s a bit of a scoff there, but she catches herself. What’s eating her isn’t anything to do with anyone in this office. Before she can truly start out on the wrong foot, she exhales a sigh, leaves her door ajar and slides her keys back into her pocket before striding back to the other two.

“Nicole Varlane,” she offers with a smile that doesn’t quite reach her faintly glowing eyes. She is the diplomacy. Or she was, once.

Quinn earns Nicole a baleful look from the other agent - at least put "Agent" before it. She may not snap at people for calling her Quinn anymore, but that doesn't mean it thrills her. "Nicole," is a similarly terse response that she lets sit for a moment before continuing. "Not on your life." She moves to one side of Shane, draping an arm over his shoulder. "That's Agent Fancypant's job! Far be it from me to rob him of that joy."

A look is flashed over to Nicole, punctuated with a Cheshire grin. The poster lowers from above, boping into the top of Shane's head again. "No, I'm just here because I saw someone staring off into space, and well- what better opportunity to make sure they belong here."

Arm still across his shoulder, Robyn looks to Shane, pointing the rolled up poster at him. "And not on your life," she repeats, this time aimed at her new target. "I need this poster to go above my record player." She taps the edge of it against his cheek, still grinning. "New and already working cases!" She looks back over her shoulder, lazily holding the poster in perfect stealing position in front of them. "Hey Nicole, someone might be gunning for your status!"

What in the actual hell has gotten into Robyn Quinn today?

“New to SESA, but not new to the work,” Shane chuckles in answer to Robyn’s rapidfire commentary, watching the antics of Robyn with a curiosity and some breed of analyzing observation, as if he were taking in the show in the same way her therapist (if she has one) might do. She’s interesting on a few levels. He doesn’t seem to mind the familiarity that Robyn is exhibiting, but he isn’t echoing it back to her, not entirely. He’s friendly but she’s a bit out in orbit! He evaded the poster taps near his head and face by blocking with a wrist. It’s tolerant, but he doesn’t need to be treated like a child while he’s meeting new coworkers. He’s not a rookie, or trainee, after all.

“Agent Varlane, a pleasure,” Shane says curtly, answering her welcome with professionalism, “I’m familiar with some of your work.” Shane observes the glowing show in her eyes, the use of ability, and he reacts to the possible attempt to intimidate him with relative grace. If glowing eyes are being used to attempt to pressure him to back off, he’ll adjust. He is polite, straightforward, non-threatening. A handshake is offered, but he’s not pushy about it. That he’s a lean, shorter guy usually helps him there anyway. “I’m Shane Bishop.” He had heard Varlane was diplomatic, so the harshness is a surprise.

“I’m here to help, not upset status. I specialize in criminal cases and investigations, or I can be another set of eyes on strange cases. I’ll keep my office door open - after I determine which key opens it,” Shane smiles at them both. As he failed to steal the poster initially since Robyn waved it all over, he didn’t bother a second time: so Robyn keeps her poster.

“Can either of you direct me to Deputy Director Voss’s office?”

“Of course not,” Nicole is quick to assure, her demeanor softening as she reaches out to complete the handshake. Her hand is warm and her own grip is firm, but not in the way that some women overcompensate with male peers. She’s not here to establish dominance. Nicole is very comfortable with her place in the metaphorical pecking order.

Her eyes don’t stop glowing, in spite of that backing down on her hardened exterior. “Another diligent agent is always welcome.” Nicole slants a glance to Robyn, brows lifting in a sort of could you not? expression. “We may not always look the part around the office, but I assure you that everyone here takes their work seriously in the field.”

At the mention of Voss’ office, Varlane nods. “Certainly. Why don’t we get your office open and your stuff inside, then I can give you the tour?” She smirks faintly. “You may want to reconsider your open door policy. We have a couple of pranksters in the office. Having a lock on that door is a reprieve.”

"Voss?" Quinn seems a little surprised for no really discernable reason. She pulls back the rolled up poster, unfurling it so that both he and Nicole can see it in all it's River Styx glory. "Not a prankster," she offers with a grin. "I prefer agent of chaos." Meant mostly as a joke. Mostly. She holds the poster towards him, tilting her head slightly askew. "If your taste in TV shows is as poor as Nicole's, you can have it."

She raises her hand, palm held to one side, leaning in to Shane. "It's okay, I love it too," she stage whispers. Leaning back, she looks over to Nicole, and her demeanor shifts. Her smile becomes more even, and her hands fold behind her back. "All jokes aside, it is nice to have someone new who's willing to put their nose to the grindstone. We always need more people like that." She nods, setting a hand at her hips.

"Anyway, Voss' office is at the end of that hallway." Robyn points ahead, looking in that direction. "If you're going to see Voss, you should stop in and meet Choi as well. She always likes to be able to meet our new hires and interns."

Shane is highly attentive about the adjustments in Nicole’s behavior, and the handshake’s meaning. He’s alert and thoughtful, and receptive to courtesy. The glowing eyes is getting a lot of his attention; he’s still reading it as possible posturing, as that’s the most likely reason for a power being shown up front in an initial greeting. Shane’s handshake is a little on the firm side but not bad: a relic of having to prove himself due to his size, though it isn’t anywhere near as crushing as he’d put towards a big male agent that was attempting to have a dick-measuring competition!

“Is it part of the “welcome wagon” duty to do the tour?” Shane quips, but there’s a quick grin there to diffuse the joke to a more palatable level. “As for my open door policy — well, if you can get a prank by the former CSI, you’ve earned the right to get to do it, and to suffer the consequences of retaliation,” Shane says lightly, tone friendly. “Which of course there would never be any.”

“Yes, I have some questions for the deputy director, though perhaps I can run a few of them by you?” Shane asks. “For example, I used to do a lot of recruit training sessions and evaluations; weapons training, team building exercises, some physical challenges like ropes course. I was wondering who is responsible for working with the trainees, if I could be of service with those. I like doing it while I’m thinking through a case, and the kids get to be yelled at a bit too. Win-win. But if there’s already someone assigned to that, I don’t want to be intrusive.”

Shane, while he’s talking, tests his different keys, and gets one of them to work. He pushes the door with the side of his foot, picking his bankers box of items back up, and carries them into the office, looking around. The box gets put on the desk, the case files in a larger group to the side on the filing cabinet, and he turns around with a quick, open smile to the two female agents: clearly ready to do any tour they might have in mind.

“I look forward to seeing that back and forth.” Nicole smirks, imagining the prank war escalating. As to Shane’s question, she frowns thoughtfully. “I think there’s definitely room for that. Voss is certainly the one to approach on that subject. He’ll say yay or nay to all of that. Or talk to the people who will.”

The River Styx poster gets a roll of Nicole’s eyes. “You’re just waiting to see if they write you in to the story,” she teases Robyn. “You’ll never see me in an episode. My life doesn’t lend to good fiction.” She shakes her head and turns to explain to the newcomer. “River Styx is a popular show around here. People either love it or hate it. If you watch it, you’ll never flounder for something to talk about.”

That blue gaze narrows faintly, sweeping a look around the office without comment. “I’m not normally on welcome duty,” Nicole admits, “that falls to our admin. He’s out today, however.” She points to a desk near the front lobby that looks like barely organized chaos. “He sits there.” The placard on the desk reads Dirk Dickson. “Agent Quinn’s office is down the row that way,” she points back the way Shane came in. “That one’s mine,” her thumb jerks back in the opposite direction, “but you saw that already.

“As for the pool here…” A finger draws a circle in the air to indicate the desks out in the open, staring to point to each desk in turn, whether or not it has an occupant present. “You’ve got Diaz, Bluthner, Mustang, Ayers, Messer, Sandoval, Saito, and Cooper. If you bring donuts, Cooper will be your new best friend.” Nicole smiles. “Junior agents sit over there. That’s Gerken and Epstein.” One desk in that pool sits empty, and it feels like there’s something missing. “I don’t expect you to remember any of that.”

"But if you do, I'm sure everyone will be impressed," Agent Quinn notes. "And Robyn is fine. I prefer it over Agent Quinn or Just Quinn." With a capital J. Robyn's eyes scan over the pool, stopping for a moment on the empty desk. She huffs out a breath, before turning her attention back.

"So criminal cases and investigations," she remarks, circling back around to an earlier part of the conversation. "I have a case I'm working now that could use a fresh pair of eyes, if Voss'll let you spare the time. Come find me or Agent Saito," she states with a motion to his desk

She falls silent on that, a slow grin forming on her face as she mischievously glances back to Nicole. "Look, my life was already a soap opera. I have to see how an actual soap opera handles it!" She moves the back of her palm to her forehead, dipping backwards just the slightest bit. "Ah! But knowing my luck I've been written out. Or God help me, merged into someone else's story!"

She holds that pose for a moment, before shaking her head and turning away. "Well, until then I look forward to seeing how they handle your sister." And she's immediately drifting away, a hand by her mouth as she cackles out a laugh.

With the way that Shane looks over each desk and takes in the names, it might not be surprising if he actually did remember. There’s a clear analytical look passing over the whole of the office, the belongings of each desk. He’s picking up details: who has the messy desk, who has the cat poster hung up, who has the mountain of work in a growing stack. The empty desk is noted for sure, though only a slightly lifted eyebrow is given, not questions asked for now.

Should it be relevant, Shane is pretty sure he’ll learn about that. There’s enough facts to absorb. “I’ll take a look at your materials, then, and give you my fresh opinion from the evidence alone. I’d prefer to do that before talking about the case to anyone, either you or Agent Saito: you’ll get my view with no bias or assumptions,” Shane offers to Quinn regarding her case. His tone is calm about all of it: he’s been doing this for years, and he’s getting a feeling this will be business as usual: a relief, to him. This could have been a very strange office. But there’s still time.

I don’t have a sister,” Shane says aside to Nicole at Robyn’s strange comment, in a puzzled quieter tone, after Robyn has drifted away. The silent question in his words is very much a ‘What was that?’ mild plea to the more serious agent. Shane’s used to a more professional atmosphere.

Nicole looks faintly dismayed at Robyn’s antics. Still, she finds it hard to want to reprimand her. After all, even if they weren’t friends, it isn’t her place. The two of them are on even footing insofar as seniority goes. Nicole’s not her supervisor. Shane is able to note the look of pity in those glowing blue eyes, though it’s fleeting.

“She means my little sister,” Nicole clarifies in a quiet voice. “She ran with the Ferrymen.” Her lips press together in a thin line. She’s clearly not pleased with the comment Robyn made about her kin. “Works with the NYPD now.” In case he may have been worried she was speaking in the past tense in a more final sense. She shakes her head at Robyn’s back and adds, “You get used to her,” in an apologetic tone.

Shane watches Robyn go, though he also observes Nicole’s reactions. There’s all kinds of information here, though he isn’t overthinking it. Still, learning the office dynamics of a new job can be quite important. “I was with the Ferrymen in Florida for …a while. Took a break before I came back into police work, though. I needed a breather,” Shane remarks in a quiet tone, with a deep breath. A smile comes forward, though, as ghosts of the past are brushed back behind the veil where they belong.

“Staying busy’s something important to a lot of us, I think. Staying useful, contributing.” Shane orients towards Nicole, and inclines his head back and towards Robyn’s retreated form, “Everybody’s got their own way of doing the job, or releasing steam, I guess.” And Shane’s willing to adapt. His smile shows that.

Nicole nods in understanding. Going from the Ferry right back into policework would certainly have been daunting. The choice to take a break was, in her opinion, a wise one. “Good for you,” she says with sincerity. She’s also content to leave those particular ghosts in the past. Even if they never actually stay there.

“You’ll have to forgive Agent Quinn. She wasn’t always like this,” Nicole confides. “And she isn’t always like this. When it comes time to work, she’ll really shine.” Possibly literally, but he doesn’t need to know that just yet. “You seem willing to roll with the punches. I think you’ll be just fine here. I don’t know if you and I will collaborate much in the beginning, but I look forward to seeing you work.”

The sound of knuckles on glass are the closest thing Deputy-Director Voss offers as a knock to announce his presence. “I thought I heard the sound of circling sharks,” is his flatly-delivered greeting. Voss is a somewhat dour shadow in the otherwise brightly-lit building, narrow in frame like Shane, long in the face with wide and thick-framed glasses trying to offset that appearance. “Nicole,” he greets on a first-name basis, making a meandering approach into the office from the hall.

“I hope Agent Quinn wasn’t too hard on the senses.” Voss adds with the barest hint of a smile at the corner of his lips. “When Agent Jónsbur was here they’d confided Agent Quinn’s akin to Hákarl, which… is supposed to be some sort of fermented shark delicacy from Iceland.” Voss’ brows flick up in a but what would I know about that sort of expression as he crosses his arms over his chest. “Everyone treating you well, Bishop?”

“Well, I’m not paid to psychoanalyze the team,” Shane assures Nicole, accepting of her words that bolster Quinn’s competency. It also conveys he will draw that line, the criminology will stay pointed in the right direction and he well knows the difference.

“At least, unless the pranks get excessive,” Shane grins. The rap on the glass as Voss appears gets immediate attention from Shane Bishop, though his demeanor is consistent. “Yes sir,” Shane replies curtly.

“I have been treated to an overview and tour, as well as warnings to reconsider my office’ open door policy,” Shane says with a smile. He approaches Voss, intending a polite handshake offered to the deputy director. It’s a bit on the firm end but not crushing: Shane is used to needing to make up for his small stature with an edge to the handshake. Something to prove there.

“Good to finally meet again in person. I appreciate your patience with me closing my last case before I came up to the Safe Zone. I was able to finish training my recruits as well; so you have my full focus here without distractions.”

“I did want to ask— which agents are in change of recruit training programs?”

“Of course not.” Nicole smiles politely in response to Shane’s own assurances about psychoanalysing. Her head lifts when the rap at the window comes and she nods in greeting to the deputy director. “Voss.” She’s not about to call him Kris. She’s got too much self-preservation.

“And me not even in my sharkskin,” Nicole laments, looking over her tasteful attire at the comparison to a predator sensing blood in the water. If she’s offended by the remark, she doesn’t show it. “Just getting Agent Bishop acclimated. He seems ready to jump right in.”

“That's good. His dossier indicated adaptability and we’re sure in need of that here in the Wild East.” One might imagine Voss would say that tongue in cheek, but he lacks the delivery for it “As for training, that's not really our strength here. Antoni Paloma is in charge of that, however.” Voss says as he takes off his glasses, inspecting a smudge on one lens. “We’re a relatively small office and he splits his time between here and our Detroit offices. That's one of the reasons why we don't have a robust training infrastructure in place and pull from outside the Safe Zone.” Voss plucks a small cloth out of his pocket, cleaning the lens as he talks.

“That said, Paloma’s one of the best. Very personable. If you get a chance to talk, I recommend it.” Voss suggests, sliding his now clean glasses back on. “Another pair of faces to get to know would be our agent trainees, Emily Epstein and Lance Gerken. We had a third, Jacelyn Childs, but she's stepped away from the program.” Though there's something in Voss’ tone that sounds dubious about that. “Epstein and Gerken are a part of an intern mentorship program spearheaded by our PR leadership. Epstein’s father was a life-long CIA operative who turned to the Ferrymen leading up to the civil war. Gerken was a ward of the state and raised by a Ferryman replicator, Brian Fulk. They're good kids with big dreams and could use someone to guide them, if you're interested.”

“I thought that name, Epstein, sounded familiar, but I could be mistaken,” Shane observes, thoughtful. There were a lot of names and pseudonyms being used among the Ferrymen, though Shane’s memory is fairly robust. Still, he’s no computer.

“I’ll talk to them - agent Paloma and the kids,” Shane agrees, with a quick, efficient nod and smile. “After I’ve gotten caught up on these cases, which I don’t like leaving hanging.” He looks to Nicole, then the deputy director. “I don’t mean to take up more of your time, either. Thank you for the brief tour.” He checks his watch.

“Though I think I missed where the coffee is.”

At the mention of Jacelyn Childs, Nicole’s gaze unconsciously drifts to the empty desk. An exhale, deep and unhappy, stops just short of a proper sigh. She doesn’t give a voice to any of her thoughts, however, simply shifting her attention back to the two men she’s conversing with.

“Coffee’s down that hall, in the break room. Cream’s in the fridge. Sugar’s up in the left-hand cupboard, unless someone’s left it out.” Spoken with an air of exasperation. It seems Nicole likes to keep things orderly. “Good luck, Bishop. You know where my office is if you need anything.”

“C’mon,” Voss says with a nod to the door before stepping out

“I’ll show you where the coffee that doesn’t taste like burned rubber is.”

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