Our Worst Fears


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Scene Title Our Worst Fears
Synopsis A terrible crisis looming on the horizon puts the Institute on high alert and scrambles agents on a nation-wide manhunt when the country's worst possible nightmare is realized…
Date December 6, 2010

Suresh Center: Third Floor - Conference Room

This third-floor conference room overlooks much of Roosevelt Island. Tinted floor-to-ceiling windows show a vista of the tiny island pinned between Manhattan and Queens with a panoramic view of the Queensboro Bridge spanning the horizon. In the center of the conference room, a glass-topped black table features a detailed double-helix logo etched into the glass. Around the table, twenty leather chairs surround the table, each space set with a small LCD touch screen and keyboard recessed into the glass portion of the table top.

Opposite of the panoramic view of New York's skyline, a wide flatscreen television networked with the displays on the tables serves as a central location for showing information contained on the intranet located within the building. Flanking the flatscreen television, there is an American flag and a bright red flag bearing the seal of the Department of Evolved Affairs.

Monday morning means back to work. For agents of the Institute it means an admission into the surreal and unusual once more.

Seven o'clock sharp is the time scheduled for the morning debriefing, the first group meeting held in months. With the November 8th riots and terrorist attacks of Messiah still fresh in memory, the agents of the Institute have been pulled thin in their activities. The medical team has fluctuated, with scientists send up and down the east coast on disparate assignments. Doctors Luis and Stevens disappearing for weeks at a time up to Massachusetts, while other field agents like Olivia Roland have been feverishly hitting the streets following up leads on Messiah and other terrorist organizations.

This morning finds many of those people haggard and exhausted around the table. Agent Roland looks weary, her head in her hands and dark circles around her eyes, blonde hair hanging in front of her face and shoulders slack. Her black turtleneck sweater does little to hide the burn scars on her throat from the last case she was in, where a backdraft of negation gas turned the fires of her ability lethal in the air.

Across the table from her, Doctor Darren Stevens looks likewise fatigued. He has gone a shade paler than usual, blonde hair swept back from his furrowed brow, scanning a PDF on his wafer thin tablet with a touch of his fingertips. His reading glasses reflect the backlit screen mutedly, also partly hide the dark rings around his tired green eyes.

So many new faces have gone and gone in the last few months, and agent Calvin Rosen is one of many new faces. He is unconventional in appearance — though perhaps not as much as Doctor Price is. Long red hair hangs down to shoulder-length in thin dreadlocks, swept back and away from his face in an attempt to seem as clean-cut as his suit. A laminated plastic badge displaying a red and gold Department of Evolved Affairs identification card is clipped to his lapel, a snappy cover identity for an agent of the Institute. His thin lips are pressed together in a narrow line, faint brows furrowed, eyes down at the coffee he's cradling in front of himself. He's not much of a morning person.

Who is a morning person is Interin Operations Director Roger Goodman. He is a sleek, dark silhouette of a man, tall in statue and possessed of a scarecrow build. His shaved head dully reflects the fluorescent lights overhead as he stands with his back to the conference room table, hands folded behind himself, staring out the tinted windows to the broken horizon where the jagged skyline of Manhattan sits in half ruin with Midtown its scarred belly.

The clock on the wall ticks with analogue report to 7:01am, and Goodman slowly turns, one thin and dark brow spuriously raised as he looks to the table, then to the door to see who will be late.

They have a great deal of business to discuss today.

I'm late, I'm late, for a very important date.

Yessss Brennan is. Between the kids acting up, Michelle acting out - curse those hormones - getting pulled over for a speeding ticket and somehow someone at the bridge decided that possibly the good doctor didn't need to be on the island. New guys. Someone needs to teach them. This meant pulling over to the side and waiting out the checks back and forth, comparison of ID's, calls to the Suresh Center to assure that why yes, Dr. Brennan did work here and was cleared to come.

Which means that 7:01, the usually prompt physician didn't even get to check in on some regulars in the wards and is rushing through the door, jacket, briefcase, lab coat, donut clutched in mouth by the sheer tenacity of his lips and teeth with a coffee cup somewhere in the jumble that is his arms.

And an apologetic look. Sooo not the best impression for Goodman.

Already seated beside Stevens, Veronica is busy avoiding the scrutiny of Goodman's somber gaze by scrolling through her own cell phone, reading the day's headlines and flicking her thumb across the screen now and then. She looks the part of the Institute agent in her black turtleneck beneath a charcoal gray blazer (pinstripes as usual) and matching slacks with black boots, a warmer coat presumably left in an office somewhere.

A cup of coffee is reached for though Veronica doesn't lift her eyes from the screen to make contact, the sweet and hot fluid sipped carefully before being set down just as slowly and carefully. Her dark eyes dart up at Brennan's entrance and then back down to her screen, thumb flicking across it once again.

Goddammit. Meetings. The perfect things to put the kibosh on an otherwise productive day. Still, gotta play nice for the new boss, so Dante drags himself away from the myriad of tasks he's loaded onto his own plate, to listen to the managerial staff talk at them for an hour.

It doesn't mean he has to be on time, though.

Pacing outside the conference room door, Dante spends a good amount of time talking urgently into the phone, gesturing stubbornly as he talks, chin tucked towards his chest. Someone isn't liking the favor he's asked for, and is being a little difficult. So it's with a snap of the phone and a look of utter frustrated annoyance that Dante slips into the conference room. He stands at profile in the threshold, dressed in his loose business suit, eyes scanning over the new faces in the crowd. Huh. Well. Looking for a chair near the back, the ex-Company agent makes his way over to some corner of the room where he can observe without likely being included. His hands dig in his pockets, digging out a pencil and a crumpled sheaf of notebook paper as he sits.

He's been here for a while. Ever the punctual one, Elijah showed up early, with his leather binder. One side contains files, notes on what he intends to do for the Institute in case they should ask. The other, a notebook. He takes notes religiously. Next to that, a cup of coffee rests, steam rising slowly from the opening. Occasionally, he sips at it.

Blue eyes travel from face to face as they arrive, Elijah offering a small, respectful nod to each person in turn. He doesn't know anyone here, and he never was good with talking to people. So he's happy to just sit in his quiet little corner, watching in silence.

Sterling Boyce seems to be a morning person as well. He sits completely straight backed on his chair with his legs crossed and his hands folded primly in his lap. His chin is held up, extending his neck almost like a swan while the foot on his floor taps against the floor impatiently. His gaze turns downward amid a fan of blonde eyelashes, eliciting a curl of his lips and a skeptical raising of his eyebrows at his shoes— it's a look of disgust at the shoes on his feet. With a sharp shake of his head, he's already disapproving of his attire, even though, in most crowds, he'd be considered rather well dressed in a black suit, lavender shirt, purple tie, and black Oxford shoes.

His gaze turns up to the front again as he manages a polite smile, following a shift in the seat again. He shoots Veronica, who is sitting next to him, a prim smile and an escalation of his eyebrows. All things considered he's in good spirits.

Seven A.M. So it begins again. By 7:01, Odessa is passing around the last of the cups from a large paper carrier, each white cup with the name of the intended recipient written on it in black Sharpie marker in the woman's hand. Doctor Price didn't take beverage orders from anyone, but yet Agents Roland and Lupinetti (despite his tardiness), and Doctors Stevens and Rosen get their coffee or tea the way they normally take it.

Okay, not Doctor Rosen, who gets a cup of black coffee set in front of his place at the table, with a small mound of sugar packets and a bevy of tiny cream containers in various flavours. "You look like you might need another after that one," the Coffee Fairy assessed.

And Doctor Price does make Calvin look a bit more conventional this morning, considering Odessa is dressed in a white dress peppered with small red polka dots under her unbuttoned lab coat. A pair of shiny red patent leather platform heels sound quietly over hard flooring as she makes her way around the table and to a seat on the other side of Darren from Veronica. Red tulle crinkles, peeking beneath the hem of her skirt as she sits herself down. Her white hair's been done up in a bouffant with a red headband set just back from the shaggy fringe of her bangs, which obscure the red velvet and rhinestone decorated patch over her left eye.

Dark eyes expectantly turn to the door as Roger Goodman watches Agent Lupinetti coming in, brows furrowed and hands still wringing behind his back. "Please, take your seats, we have a great deal of work to discuss today and none of it can wait." Striding across the room, Goodman moves to take his place, standing at the head of the table that is closest to the panoramic view of New York City and the Queensborough Bridge. "As you may already be aware, Desmond Harper was critically injured in October during joint operations with the Department of Homeland Security on Staten Island."

Goodman's stare slides up and down the agents at the table. "As such, the home offices have appointed me as the interim operations director from this point forward in light of Agent Harper's condition. He has refused injury regression therapy from Doctor Stevens," and coal-black eyes regard Darren briefly, "in favor of conventional medicine, which will keep Agent Harper out of active duty into the new year."

"For those of you who do not know me," and Goodman offers a quick look to Veronica at that, "I am Agent Roger Goodman, former assistant director of the Company's Chicago, Illinois branch." His dark eyes turn to Elijah, a nod of recognition passed on. "I run a tight and efficient ship and those of you who have worked under me before understand that I do not take excuses from my agents. However, do not let that make you assume I am an iron-fisted dictator. I encourage and expect my agents to come to me with their problems, administrative or otherwise, and I am not above questioning orders from my superiors if they negatively impact the operations of my team."

He is an enunciated, clear speaker. Roger Goodman is famous in the science community, a former public relations director for the Biomere Corporation and their biological research division, lecturer, and soldier. A Renaissance man who lived — up until very recently — a double life. Rumors of his death, and there are some whispered here at the Institute, seem to largely be exaggerated.

Some know better.

Taking a seat, taking a seat, there's his seat, there's a spare coffee that will replace the dregs of the one that's being set down by Brennan as he listens to Goodman converse about the fate of poor Desmond. "We'll be sure to pass around a penny jar for his medical bills not covered by the Institute." Joke, just a joke. After that, Brennan falls silent as possible, switching out one jacket for the lab jacket.

Veronica sets down her phone, picking up a pen and a memo pad. She glances at Darren when his "therapy" is mentioned — is that why he looks so tired? — then returns her whiskey-brown-eyed gaze back to Goodman. Brows rise just slightly at his words that he is not above questioning orders from his superiors, though she simply nods her agreement as to what sort of boss he is.

After all, she trusted him completely, once upon a time, in another office not very different from this one. After all, even when she accepted the job to help assassinate him, giving the motion to the sniper lying in wait, it was after he had told her the truth. After all, he warned her about coming here.

His words might be true — Veronica begins to scribble a nervous and meandering doodle of spirals upon spirals on her yellow note pad.

Dante looks up from trying to flatten out his crumbled notebook paper across the polished conference table, when Dr. Price moves the cup into his view. He blinks at the cup and up at Odessa, like she'd startled him, but then smiles briefly in thanks, taking the cup out of her hands. Notepaper briefly forgotten, he leans back in his chair, sniffing at the bitter nectar appreciatively before taking a sip, his eyes lingering on that odd polkadotted dress. Mmmmm… It is by caffeine alone he sets his mind in motion.

And thus the meeting starts, with Dante pushing gently away from the table, half-hiding himself behind the person in front of him as he sips at his brew. His lips quirk up in a brief smile at Harper's injury. Though Goodman's curt and efficient tone gets the severe-looking agent to sit up a little, taking note with another quirk of a smile. Maybe this won't be so bad.

Oh, Elijah certainly remembers Goodman. Thankfully, he never really had to deal with the man too much. Most of Elijah's involvement with Goodman was on his funding paperwork, though he did attend a few of the lectures the man gave. Always happy to learn new things, the Doctor Ruslan is. Brennan is given another blank look. Seems that Elijah just plain does not get that guy's sense of humor.

If Elijah even has a sense of humor, that is. Does he even smile? The worry lines on his face suggest that he doesn't. Not often, at least.

Boyce bends down to reach into his briefcase— of the shoulder bag variety— and extract a notebook, promptly zipping the bag again and giving it an equally disapproving look, similar to the one he'd given his shoes. After placing the pad of paper on his lap, he extends his hand out to examine his fingernails rather effeminately. He clucks his tongue, shakes his head, and reaches into his jacket pocket for a pen. The pen is twisted and poised to write down notes as he recrosses his legs.

There's a joke to be made here about zombies or ghosts. Odessa has to flicker an appreciative look and a secret smile to Darren, should she catch his gaze at all in that brief moment. She and Interim Director Goodman have something in common when it comes to rumours of their deaths. But any lingering thoughts on that are interrupted by Brennan's joke, and huffs out a quiet breath of laughter through her nose, her lips pressed together to suppress the smirk that comes with it. Truth be told, she'll be relieved when Harper's out of the hospital.

Leaning forward to the virtual surface in front of the seat he is abstaining from using, Goodman taps his fingers on the touch display, bringing up an image on all of the screens around the table and the large flat-panel display on the wall. It shows a map of the United States and several red dots in California, two in Washington state near Seattle, one in Texas, and then one in New York City.

"Our first case takes utmost precedence and is strictly confidential. This matter has been classified top secret by the national security agency and we are to operate under total external silence in following through with this investigation." With a wave of his hand over the virtual surface, Goodman slowly begins to settle down into his chair, summoning up the image of a wiry, unshaven Arabic man with unkempt, short hair and dark circles around his eyes.

"The man you are looking at is Amid Halebi, also known by his codename the Engineer. He is a known operative of the radical anti-American terrorist organization Mazdak operating out of the Middle East, and is believed to be in hiding here in the United States." Goodman leans back in his chair, folding his hands in front of himself on the table.

"Halebi is a class one priority for the Institute, and has been the target of a nation-wide manhunt by the Department of Homeland Security for the last three years. Halebi is wanted in connection with the bombing of Trans-Atlantic flight 808 out of Israel in 2004 and the destruction of the Lybian transport vessel Nataruja in 2005 when he was working in coordination with over a half dozen terrorist organizations in the Middle East."

Looking to the screen, Goodman's brows furrow. "Halebi is an explosives expert, wanted for his knowledge and skill and typically hired on a contractual basis without lending any actual moral support to any one ideological interest. He is strictly in his business for the financial payoff. The CIA was tracking Halebi in 2006 following the nuclear explosion in Midtown Manhattan as a prime persons of interest before the announcement of the Evolved's involvement was made public."

Goodman glances to Dante, then back to the screen soon after. "In 2008 the CIA discovered Halebi's bank account in the Netherlands, and tracking the funds of his operations discovered that he had been funneling money to a hospital in Geneva where his wife Nairi Halebi was dying of leukemia. She passed away a month prior and the CIA was late in discovering the whereabouts of Amid or that of his daughter Lucine."

Touching the screen, Amid's picture receeds to the background and the red dots begin shining. "These points on this map are known locations where Halebi was last believed to have been seen in the United States following his wife's death. A recent discovery made by the Institute when examining Company records that have come into our possession, have turned this case over to us by necessity and put it in a much more damning light." Roger's dark brows furrow as he leans forward, weight on his elbows and hands folded.

"Amid Halebi is a suspected Evolved Human, and we believe that he possesses the ability to generate a thermonuclear reaction with his body, much as Theodore Sprague — the man who's ability was responsible for the Midtown explosion in Sylar's hands — was capable of. An autopsy of his wife's body performed by the Institute confirmed that both her corpse and her leukemia exhibited the same unusual traits as the late wife of Ted Sprague, Karen, who passed away due to exposure to Ted's naturally radioactive state…"

Looking remarkably serious about this situation, Goodman wrings his hands together. "On November 6th, the Department of Homeland Security received a tip from an informant in New York City that Amid Halebi was seeking shelter in the city. However, the successive November 8th riots led to an inability to follow up on the lead as DHS was divided too thin trying to keep the peace. As such, Halebi is believed to be still at large in the city… and it is our job to find him."

Veronica's dark brows knit together at the mention of Sprague, that particular ability and its ill effects on Karen Sprague having set into motion like dominos a sequence of events that affected her personally. She watches the dots on the map, then looks up at the end of the spiel, dark eyes seeking Goodman's.

"Do we have access to this informant, or did the events on the 8th do away with that source in some way?" she asks, swirl-drawing pen paused mid curlicue, poised to write rather than fidget.

The words "top secret" have Agent Lupinetti straightening in his chair, leaning slowly forward and squinting up at the screen, scrutinizing. Hmmm… scribble scribble scribble a few notes down, never taking his eyes off the screen. As Goodman glances his way, Dante's eyebrow flicks up and he dead-stares his new boss right back. What? And when he looks away again, Dante frowns, chewing on the end of his pen thoughtfully. He lifts a finger in the air, adding to Veronica's question, "What are our orders, should we come into personal contact with Halebi? Just find him, or attempt to apprehend him?"

Scribble, scribble. Elijah, though this information doesn't particularly concern him, as he can't really see himself running around after a terrorist that everyone in this organization is currently after. But he's memorizing the details, and utilizing that brilliant mind of his to the best of his ability. If anyone will remember his face, Elijah will.

His scribbling finished, Elijah's eyes raise, turning to each person in the room, silently memorizing their names where he can, their faces, and their voices, as well as listening to their questions.

Calvin rolls a look up to Odessa as if maybe in judgment of the only other freakazoid in the room, but it's not a particularly unfriendly stare before it squares down on offered coffee and several different kinds of cream. Several kinds of. Cream. Using a pen, Calvin sifts through the provided additions without yet touching the coffee, an idle tap tap tap against the desk that is unobtrusive to everyone except those directly beside him. Talk of this new case gets a crinkle of ginger brows, but for now

For now he is listening, declining to take notes. There is a very slow, deliberate, only minorly noisy rrriiipp as he carefully pulls apart a sugar packet, and upends it into coffee.

"An explosives expert," Odessa repeats much like a statement, but with just a bit too much upward lilt of question to sound entirely certain of what she heard. "If he's a contractor for hire, do we think he has anything to do with the explosion at the Space Needle in Seattle that Humanis First has taken credit for?" She's actually been paying close attention the news for a change.

"Thank you agents Sawyer and Price for having questions," Goodman intones as he looks from the wall display to the brunette agent. "The source is a man by the name of Hasid Jafal, he runs a used book store out of Brooklyn near Jamaica Bay. He's been an informant for the FBI for several years now and he has been extremely timely with his information delivery." Goodman's brows furrow together. "Jafal hasn't been heard from since the riots, and DHS hasn't had the spare manpower to check up on him. I'd like it if some of you could handle that. Jafal was the last known person to have the whereabouts of Halebi known to him."

Turning his attention to Odessa, Goodman's brows furrow and his dark eyes turn to the mark near Seattle on the map. "It's possible that Halebi may have developed an explosive device without knowledge of what organization was going to utilize it, or care. If he is willingly working for Humanis First they likely aren't aware of his SLC-Expressive status. I can get in touch with the DHS offices in Seattle and compare fingerprints of the explosive device used at the Space Needle with Halebi's other confirmed devices for similarities. That may give us an enormous edge in narrowing down his activities, especially if he's working with Humanis First…" From the tone, it's an angle Goodman hadn't considered, but one that he seems to put some measure of possibility on. Good catch, Price.

"If Halebi's wife is dead, what's he still doing this for?" Roland finally speaks up, glancing up to Goodman as she sets down her coffee. "His motivation seemed to be funding the medical treatments for his wife. If she's gone, and he doesn't care about any of these causes… why get involved? Why not just disappear?"

Goodman offers a slow nod to the question, recognizing its relevance. "It's possible that Halebi's daughter, whom we still do not have a confirmed location on, could be sick as well from past exposure to her father. We don't know enough about Halebi's family to make that jump in conclusions, however."

"Alright, then— if Halebi really is a walking radioactive device, how many of the radiological scanners in New York City are still working?" Roland arches a brow, her head craning to the side. Goodman offers a smirk at that, and it seems she got ahead of his information there.

"Radiological scanners were installed in most major transportation facilities and government buildings across the United States in the last decade. All airports, train stations and ports have radioactive material detection devices designed to track and detect the movement of legal and illegal nuclear devices through the United States. While the Midtown explosion did leave a hole in that blanket, that none of the scanners have been set off at major transportation junctions implies that Halebi is still possibly hiding out in the city due to the increased scrutiny martial law represents."

Roland offers a slow nod, looking down the table towards Calvin briefly, then back to Goodman. "The other points on the map are times he tripped off scanners, then?" Roland's question is answered by a nod of Goodman's head, as she looks down to her coffee, brows furrowed in thought.

"As for matters of handling Halebi," Roger turns his attention to Agent Lupinetti. "It needs to be done with the utmost concern and care. Theodore Sprague nearly went nuclear on being shot in California by Agent Thompson during his attempted capture by the Company. We can only presume that Halebi may be equally as unstable to physical trauma. Thankfully, Doctor Brennan's unique ability should be able to provide some measure of protection against that from happening."

Tilting his head to the side, Roger lifts his folded hands to steeple them in front of his mouth. "The Department of Homeland Security has requested that Halebi be taken in alive for questioning as well, what he knows about the operations of groups that he has worked for could be invaluable to anti-terror activities around the world."

Wait, they want him to what?

Brennan had been listening, taking his own notes and at the invocation of his name in conjunction with another exploding man, Brennan's attention is perhaps now 100 percent focused instead of 95 percent. "So long as he doesn't need apprehending December 29th," he muses.

Regarding the question invoked by Roland, Veronica's eyes dart in that direction and she offers a shrug. "Sometimes when you've done one thing for so long, it's all you know how to do, even when the initial reason is long gone," she says quietly, somberly. "And money's enough of a reason for other people to do horrible things without needing a greater cause. But both mercenary and possible illness can work to our benefit — if he's doing it for a sick daughter, we can possibly offer Institute's help; if money, well, we can offer to buy him out."

She glances at Brennan and smiles at the date he mentions, knowing the reason why, before her eyes return to the maps and dots. "I can question Jafal; maybe bring along one of the new kids for some training?" she suggests, dimples showing briefly with a slight smile.

Dante adds to the sound of scratching pens around the conference room, nodding especially to the answer to his question. He remembers reading that report on Ted, actually. It doesn't sound like something he'll want to get in on. "For anyone assigned to seeking out Halebi, tranq guns and tasers should probably be handed out." He looks over at Brennan, smiling a little sideways. "Unless you're up for playing babysitter to all our operatives at once, Doctor?"

Boyce uncrosses his legs and leans forward in his chair, his hands still folded neatly in his lap. His hand raises halfway in the air, demurely, not that he waits to be called on, but the question is polite, spoken in a gentle tone, "How likely do you think it will be to take him alive? If this is the goal, tranquilizer guns seem imperative." His eyes scan the room, "Although I believe an excellent point has been made, if his daughter is sick I think we can presume her treatment to be his top priority." He pauses distinctly while his hand moves to tuck a strand of hair— that is too short to be tucked— behind his ear, producing a wrinkled nose and yet another disgusted expression, "I know that if my daughter was sick, as a mother, I'd be obliged to help her any way I could."

Roland gets waggled eyebrows from Calvin, over the top of his coffee which he tastes with the same caution of a poison taster, before taking a deeper sip as he listens. Then he slides a look towards Boyce, suspicion and curiousity meshed neatly together in one eye squinting as those words register, before his coffee cup is set back down. His swallow is very audible, and he tosses pen down to link his hands together.

"What sort've shelter's he been seeking?" he offers. "Friends, official shelters, non-official shelters? On the off-chance he's not a complete terrorist or anything."

Doctor Price is proud of herself for making the possible connection to the bombing in Seattle. It may turn out to be nothing, but it could be worth following up on. And if it is, well, then brownie points for her. But her thoughts of patting herself on the back are derailed abruptly when Boyce speaks up.

First, Odessa's single blue eye sliiiides so she can regard Boyce from the corner of it. Then, her head turns to follow, a more than confused look on her face. And a bit of oh my God the fruit is crazy to her expression, too. "As a—" She cuts herself short, lips pressing together before she shakes her head. That's not important right now. Her hand raises in tandem with the lidding of her gaze. The universal look of never mind, with a dash of I don't really want to know.

As it happens, Calvin's question provides a neat segue from that particular curiosity. "Is it possible," Odessa queries cautiously, "that he's taken up refuge with whatever's left of Messiah or… their like?" The Ferry is what she might be driving at, but she'll never say it.

"We don't know," is Goodman's attempt at ignoring the fact that Agent Boyce just slipped a gasket. His eyes shut, brows furrow and his expression wordlessly cries so help me, God. As Goodman's eyes open and he strains to keep composure, he sits up straight and folds his hands in his lap.

"Not about what his New York associations have been, anyway. Before he was in New York, Halebi was in Galveston, Texas and we believe he may have come into New York by water. Prior to Galveston, he showed up on the radar passing through Bakersfield, California, prior to that Sacremento, Redding, Olympia Washington, and then his first known US location in Seattle. His residency there was under the alias Jacob Hashem where he was working for a fishing company for six months. Prior to that, Halebi was in Turkey in 2005 under the alias Assan Husjaf before he fled from the CIA into the United States."

Looking to the screen again, Goodman's brows furrow as he connects those dots mentally. "As far as apprehension goes, sedative darts will be issued for this assignment. However you must be aware that each dart will have a specific dose designed to hinder Halebi. Too far over a dose on a weight for him that we do not know and you could kill him. Too low, and it will not have enough effect. We're guaranteeing that these tranquilizers won't put him down immediately, but it will slow him to prevent an escape. Given Halebi's dangerous nature, you'll be outfitted with something more specific to combat his ability."

Brown eyes turn to Olivia, and Agent Roland sits up straight in her seat. "The Institute has given us access to a supply of adynomine, an ability negation drug designed by our researchers. It's been outfitted to work with a dart delivery system and has a quick onset time. Furthermore, agents will be able to requisition an aerosol adynomine delivery system, more conventionally identified as negation gas. It's a skin-contact negation chemical with a fast onset time but short duration once outside of the cloud. Gas masks won't help you, since any skin contact aside from inhalation will work just as good, though not quite as fast."

"With these weapons at your disposal," Goodman interjects, looking back to the team, "you should be able to handle Halebi. I cannot stress how important this assignment is, if ever there was a time to prove the Institute's worth, now is it. Or we could be facing a second Midtown disaster somewhere else in the United States."

"There's your answer Lupinetti. Me in a syringe, if I can't be there if you manage to find him." Brennan's glad though, that they'll have this at their disposal, if he's with another group. And Boyce may have popped a gasket, but Brennan knows someone else who's going to when he gets home. "I'll make myself available as much as I can, should my presence be needed," Brennan murmurs to the group as a whole.

The darts at their disposal so readily makes Veronica smirk a little humorlessly — there's no Harper to glare at today, remembering the arguments they'd had on that topic. Instead she simply she nods her understanding. At least this is a case she can philosophically believe in — the danger to the city or nation means she doesn't have to compromise her own integrity.

Dante nods sagely to the remarks of the Agents around him, in agreement. Even Boyce's… until that parses and he gives the odd duck a weird look. Wait, what?

Shaking his head, Dante looks up to Goodman, the news of darts getting a pleased smile, and an intrigued look for the mention of adynomine. Always good to have tools. "Sounds like you're off the hook this time, Brennan," he says with a chuckle and a glance his way. "This sounds like an interesting case." And once he gets a few of his other cases wrapped up, he'll be looking to get in on the ground floor here.

Blue eyes turn toward Boyce, Elijah fixing a look on him that says it all: You are insane. A frown on his face, Elijah offers a slow shake of his head, going back to scribbling notes down on his pad with hooded eyes. He really has nothing to add to this conversation. Manhunts are definitely not part of this geneticist's job description.

Weird expressions aside, Boyce doesn't react terribly, instead, he merely recrosses his legs in that same prim and proper way before folding his hands in his lap. He turns to face Odessa, then Dante, and finally Elijah in turn, issuing each a demure tight-lipped smile. Again, the man's neck extends into the air, craning like a swan or a dancer practicing their craft. His eyes return to the front as he scribbles a few notes on his pad of paper in a very curly, effeminate cursive, lacking any sign of masculinity within it.

Talk of Adynomine generally puts Odessa on edge. The fear of her own ability negated powerful enough to give her an aversion. But its practical applications cannot be denied. And given her encounter on the first, she's beginning to wonder if she shouldn't see about attempting to requisition a few doses, or a canister of the aerosol for her own protection. Could she get it in purse size? She could carry it like pepper spray!

"So we have nothing to go on with the Halebi's affiliations in the city?" Scarred lower lip is sucked between teeth, worried at for a moment of thought. "Not to suggest that this hasn't been thought of already, but have we considered the sting of just… putting out the call in the underworld for an experienced bomb maker? Staten Island seems like a good place to start."

"Halebi likely isn't doing any contractual work if he's laying low, he's been eluding the CIA too long to be caught in a trap like that. As of present we have no knowledge of anyone inside of New York who could be definitively harboring Halebi. This is, unfortunately, where our resources dry up." Furrowing his brows, Goodman looks down to the virtual surface on the glass-topped table, sifts through some files, then tips his head into a note.

"Begin with looking into the contact in Brooklyn, and if you have any criminal contacts, press on them to see if they know anything about Halebi." With that, Goodman looks to be shifting gears to the second assignment, less the meeting mire down further.

Looking down to the display in front of him, Roger swipes away the map and the picture of Halebi. "Our second case has been handed to us by the New York Police Department, and while it does not take such a high precedence as the manhunt for Halebi, it is none the less a high-profile and important assignment that I expect all of you to be working on to the best of your abilities."

Tapping the virtual surface, Goodman brings up on the arranged screens the image of the Linderman Building on the southern tip of Manhattan. "On November 8th of this year, Linderman Group public relations director Kain Zarek was murdered inside of the Linderman Building by an unknown assailant." With another tap on the screen, a photograph of a shaggy-haired blonde man with light blue eyes and a scruffy, dark beard in a pinstriped suit is brought up. "Zarek was one of Daniel Linderman's closest associates and a long-time employee of the Linderman Group."

A video is then brought up, black and white security camera footage from the Linderman building lobby. "On November 8th, Mister Zarek entered the Linderman Building at exactly 7:37pm, alone. He made an immediate ascent via elevator to the 55th floor where Daniel Linderman's office resides. His secretary, Miranda Moore, proceeded to inform Mister Zarek that Daniel wasn't in his office, but she claims that he insisted on waiting for him there."

Goodman watches the video, which — sped up — covers Kain's emergence onto the 55th floor and a very animated argument with Moore, followed by Zarek shoving past her and heading into the office. "From here we have no information on Zarek's activities for the next twenty minutes, as there are no security cameras within the office. In Moore's testimony, she heard two gunshots through the partly soundproofed door and rushed in to check on mister Zarek." The video confirms that, showing Miranda rushing to the door, throwing it open and lingering in the doorway, one hand clapped over her mouth before recoiling in retreat to her desk to use the phone.

"Mister Zarek was found dead by the windows behind Daniel's desk from a single gunshot wound to the head. An NYPD forensic investigation of the site discovered that Zarek had brought an unlicensed firearm into the office, a Colt .45 which he fired once. The bullet was found 22 feet away, flattened as if it had struck body armor, with no signs of ricochet."

Looking down to the virtual surface again, Goodman swipes away the video feed for an autopsy shot of Zarek's body, as well as the image of a handgun. "The bullet retrieved from Kain's body was an uncommon round. A 7.62x22mm Tokarev. According to the bullet forensics, it is believed that the bullet was fired from a Russian-made firearm, a Stechkin APS. There's only a handful of Stechken in the United States and the imprinting on the bullet fired did not provide any other information."

Goodman's brows furrow slowly. "Further complicating this matter is that no one was seen going into or coming out of the office prior to Zarek's arrival or following. The only entrance to the office was recorded by these cameras, and the doors only opened twice. Once when Kain entered, and once when Miss Moore went to check on him. They remained shut for days prior. Once the NYPD ruled out all other possible avenues of entry, the case was deemed SLC-possible, putting it in our hands."

"Body armor," Veronica repeats, eyes narrowing as she focuses on the images on her screen. "So we're looking at a power that would allow someone to get in and out unseen while wearing body armor. Teleportation, phasing, invisibility — though that last would still need to get through those doors."

She taps a pen as she thinks for a moment, then her head tilts and eyes narrow. "Tech should check the videos for any signs of tampering by a technopath or more mundane means from an inside source — could easily cut and splice out a door opening and closing. We should get a list — I know it'll be long — of anyone who might want to hurt Zarek and or Linderman, and compare it against known abilities."

A murder scene. Dante's back goes ramrod straight, the agent leaning in a little, squinting hard at the screen. "Is the office still closed off to the public? Have the police ended their investigation of the crime scene?" Scribble scribble scribble, Dante's notepad is in danger of catching on fire. "Do we have the video feed for the 24 hours after his body was found? And possibly details of the layout of the inside of his office?" Veronica's thoughts get an intrigued glance from Dante, and he taps his pen against the paper, eyeing her thoughtfully…before adding more notes.

There's a (politely) quiet scuff of Styrofoam to table surface while Calvin pushes the base of his coffee cup into perfect, parallel alignment with his spent sugar packet and the edge of the table.

That finished, he is out of things to look intent about and finds himself clamping his jaw meaningfully at the back of an unoccupied chair. It is at least plausible that he is trying to think of ways a person could get through a door without opening it.

"I once knew a man who could melt into shadow." Doctor Price's contribution is quiet, but unwavering. Her gaze is on the surface of the table, the memory of the man whose ability she references leaving her feeling a bit sullen. "He used the ability to travel, and infiltrate. And he could take others with him. Mass didn't seem to be much of an issue…" Odessa bravely raises her gaze to Goodman. "We could be looking at something like that."

Dante's query elicits a squint from Goodman, as if attempting to discern what he could mean by that notion. There's a slow tip of his head forward into a nod, a glance askance to the screen. "I can have that video feed from following the day made available to you agents as well as the office layouts. The office is still closed as a crime scene at present, yes. The NYPD officially handed their investigation off to us and I requested they keep the crime scene clean for as long as possible and the Linderman Group is cooperating fully with us on that."

Moving away the information from the office itself and instead bringing up an itemized list of individuals. "We've been furnished a list of persons of interest by the NYPD, which we've expanded with some of our own information. First and foremost is the revelation that Kain Zarek, only weeks prior to his death, discovered that he had a biological daughter, Theresa Winslow." With a tap of his fingers on glass, Goodman brings up a photo of a young blonde girl taken from a DoEA-issued registration card.

"Theresa discovered the nature of her biological father following the death of her mother. She is New Orleans born-and-raised and, according to a paternity test Zarek ordered in late October, is within reasonable certainty his daughter. The NYPD was originally pursuing a possible angle of involvement from Miss Winslow, however they cleared her of suspicion. Kain did not make any amendments to his will prior to his death, and Theresa stood to make no financial gain from his passing."

Looking down to the information, Goodman sifts through relevant details. "Theresa's current residence at the Penthouse atop Dorchester Towers in Manhattan was bequeathed to her by its inheritor in Kain's will, one Emanuel Calavera, longtime associate of Zarek and his personal body guard who was conspicuously absent during the time of Kain's death. Calavera has since left New York City for Las Vegas, Nevada where we have him listed as working a security detail at the Corinthian casino."

Goodman brings up Calavera's dossier, showing a brutish bald man with a gorilla-like build. "Calavera is a former Navy Seal, dishonorably discharged in 2001 for suspicion of involvement in the rape of a Japanese citizen while stationed in Japan. No charges were ever pressed. Calavera has been under suspicion, along with Zarek, by the ATF for illegal firearms trade in and around New York City, however no charges were ever filed and no hard evidence had ever presented itself."

Flipping down the list, next emerges the image of a swarthy looking man with full lips, a tangle of streaked hair and narrow eyes, a tattoo partly visible on his open chest. "Gideon d'Sarthe, alleged Chicago crime lord. He's moved in to New York City with the opening of his restaurant in central park. The FBI passed information to us that Zarek was seen in Chicago over the summer," black and white surveillance photos flip up, showing Kain on a beach pier talking to an unidentified man. "Meeting with d'Sarthe's people. Gideon is notably one of Daniel Linderman's closest rivals in business and — allegedly — criminal activity."

Looking around the table, Roger's brows furrow slowly. "What this means we aren't sure, but Zarek was also seen at one of Gideon's public fundraisers later that year with the opening of his restaurant. It's possible that Zarek and d'Sarthe may have been involved with one another in a way that might have contributed to his death. Gideon is a registered Evolved with the ability of muscle tissue manipulation, which rules him out as our suspect initially."

Sweeping down the list, the next picture might as well put a stone in Odessa's stomach, as it steals the words right out of her mouth. "Richard Cardinal is my addition to this list. Originally overlooked by the NYPD due to their lacking security clearance. Cardinal was a nobody according to his file. Born to drug dealers that were killed in a botched raid when he was a boy, he spent time in and out of child protective services and youth homes. Did a stint at Rikers for breaking and entering, and his last arrest was in 2009 by an officer Elisabeth Harrison — whom you may now note is the director of FRONTLINE in New York."

Pulling up Cardinal's dossier, Goodman reveals the image of a young looking man with middling brown hair and light eyes as taken from his Registration card. "Mister Cardinal was off the grid for much of his life, right up until the fall of 2009. I have here classified documents from the Pentagon informing that Richard Cardinal participated in a top secret government operation codenamed Apollo. So top secret that not even my clearance at the Institute could crack into it. Following this operation, Cardinal received a windfall of money from the US Government and founded the Redbird Security Solutions company. With no military, finance or business background, Richard Cardinal went from two-bit thief to the operator of a private security company practically overnight."

"With the ATF dogging Zarek's heels and keeping him under surveillance, we have recorded instances of Kain entering and exiting the Redbird Security Solutions building in Battery Park City. We don't know the nature of Zarek and Cardinal's business, though Redbird Security Solutions has boots on the ground in Staten Island's reclaimed zone and outer district and is one of two government contracted agencies with ties to the CIA."

Leaning back in his chair, Goodman adds. "Furthermore, Richard Cardinal is registered as a Tier-1 Evolved with Obtenebrative Transubstantiation. For the laymen, shadow form. I believe he may be the man Miss Price spoke of."

Roger's hands slowly slide down to fold in his lap. "I'd like you agents to question Mister Cardinal, and the other people on this list."

A flicker of recognition at Richard Cardinal's name that's coming up, and maybe if Brennan didn't know what he already knew, he'd be right in there dismissing it that Cardinal wouldn't have done it.

But there was armor involved. Flattened the bullet. Brennan's forefinger taps, studying what's up on the screen. "Has anyone ever studied bullets that have impacted Horizon armor? Is there any way to tell what kind of armor it impacted? Like a ballistics vest, home made iron man-like armor or possible Horizon armor that might have been stolen?"

You know, like the kind of armor worn by the mysterious individual who had knocked Brennan unconscious when he'd gone to 'try and bring Hana in'. You know, that armor.

The images that show on her screen have Veronica studying them carefully, listening and taking notes. Her pen stills when Cardinal's face is shown, when Cardinal's name is spoken. She can't deny knowing him — their relationship as teammates in Argentina and Antarctica is well known. Her brows knit together as she adds the notes to her memo pad; it's not necessary, of course, everything will be given to them eventually in dossiers.

Her stoic mask is firmly in place, but it's still telling that Veronica doesn't have anything much to add — for a moment, before her husky voice follows Brennan's with a query of her own. "The doors were videotaped, but are there windows, vents, any other means of entry into the crime scene that the videos wouldn't have covered?"

Phew, the scene's still clean. Dante drums his pen against the table in a series of jackhammer taps, and his knee bounces under the table. "Mmmm…I'll want a good look at that crime scene. And a one-on-one with the PD detective who was in charge of the case, to compare notes. And whatever videos, images, and audio can be salvaged from the incident, on my desk." Who's giving orders to who, now? And back to the notepad, that pen goes, scribbling furiously, until he has to flip it over. Damn, now he's wishing he had brought a proper notepad.

Each of those new faces on the screen earns a hard squint from the former detective, like he were trying to solve a puzzle in his mind. Especially the mention of this shady "Cardinal" fellow. Redbird Security, hmmm? That sounds like something worth looking into. "Has the FBI looked into Redbird Security? Could be a front for some other organization."

Brennan's question gets a curious look from Dante, and he peers at the doctor for a moment before murmuring. "We could…we very well could. After the meeting, I'd like to talk with you about that, Doctor."

"Depending upon the nature of the material and the angle of entry or deflection, trace amounts of the impact surface may be transferred to the deformed bullet and vice versa," says Calvin, who cannot help but look slightly bored while he knicks a half-moon into the edge of his cup with a thumbnail. "Locard's exchange principle."

"Sir?" Another point raised from Odessa's proverbial corner, and this time the volume of her voice goes along with it. "Last I knew, Elle Bishop was affiliated with Richard Cardinal." A soft breath is exhaled, and a deeper one taken in. "How should you like us to handle it if in the course of our investigations, our paths should cross? She took notes on everything." Her mouth clamps shut tightly in mid-thought. How much of what she knows is common knowledge? "She's liable to raise questions."

Goodman's dark eyes settle squarely on Odessa, nonplussed. "From what I have read from Desmond Harper's files, Bishop received a full-level memory wipe of all sensitive Institute information in an exchange of some sort. Beyond this I do not have any further details…" And that seems to crawl up Goodman's craw. "Which means it isn't an issue… officially."

Which is to say, in Goodman-speak, he'll make it on if he has good reason to.

However, one brow slowly rises as Goodman offers a look to Calvin, impressed. "I'll get whoever wants to review it access to the ballistics information from the bullet Zarek fired and have it sent to our labs. If there's anything on it that the NYPD didn't find, we'll find it. As for the building's layout, there are ventilation systems, yes. The windows on the 55th floor do not open to the outside for safety reasons, however. But there are air-conditioning vents in and around mister Linderman's office." Goodman's dark eyes turn to Dante after that, a thoughtful consideration made for his words.

"I can get you information on the homicide detective. As far as a look into Redbird Security itself, no. There's been no probable cause to look into the company. We don't yet have probable cause to order for a search of their assets, due to the protections offered to corporations we can't use martial law as rationale to throw the FBI at Redbird without probable cause. So we're going to need to do some more digging before we'll be able to get any court to authorize that."

Sliding his tongue over his teeth, Goodman furrows his brows and crosses his arms over his chest. "As for the hypothetical of a suit of Horizon armor having been stolen, the Department of Defense would have noticed and likely alerted us to the theft. As far as I am aware all functional suits of Horizon armor are accounted for. That is an awful specific suspicion as well, Doctor Brennan. Though I do agree that the reactive armor worn by FRONTLINE agents could stop a .45 slug at that range."

Looking back down to the information at his fingertips, Goodman's eyes narrow now that even more speculation is being laid on Richard. "Grand Theft Auto, Burglary, Theft, Escape from a Detention Facility, Violation of the Linderman Act… and all of that, pardoned by a Presidential writ." His tongue presses against the inside of his cheek, dark eyes up on Veronica, then over to Dante. "Be careful about how any of you go about this. I expect all of you to act professionally about this and not put this department in a bad light."

"It wasn't a Mark two that knocked me out and prevented me from capturing Gitleman. It was an earlier suit. One seen on those who work for the Institute." But there's not much else really that he has, and the doctor falls silent, a nod to Dante and his request to talk later.

All of that pardoned — as if what Cardinal did for the country, for the world weren't more than enough "good" to outweigh the black marks on his rap sheet. Sawyer's dark eyes narrow at the words, though she meets Goodman's gaze when he looks her way. She nods at the directive to act professionally. It's a good thing on her off time when she's not being a professional she'll be sure to alert someone that he's a suspect.

"Vents make for more options. Vapor or smoke mimics, that sort of thing," she points out.

Dante, quietly, isn't all that pleased to hear that he can't stick his nose in on Redbird Security. He'll just have to ask around the FBI offices, to find out if they're willing to share what they already know about the place. A Shadow Form Evolved with dubious connections and an even more dubious history. This is too good a lead to not pursue.

Dante's harsh glare stays locked on Goodman as the man speaks, drinking in his countenance and his words with a laser beam intensity focus. "I'd appreciate it, sir. Just hook me up with the right people, and I'll go from there." At the mention of discretion, Dante sits up and nods solemnly. And once more to Brennan, with Dante's pen tapping furiously against the desk, matching the cadence of his bouncing knee. Hmmm…

Nothing if not totally and utterly professional with his crest of dreads, gingery scruff and a touch of artistically understated eyeliner, Calvin taps his thumbs together and manages a thin, condescendingly polite-ish smile for having impressed the good Mister Goodman. He could say more. But does not. Having already earned his requisite one (1) gold star for the day, he may not find it worth the extra expenditure of oxygen.

An uncertain gaze is fixed on Goodman and Odessa gives him a slow nod. It's the kind of look that suggests they should probably speak later. When Veronica suggests vapour or or smoke mimicry, she earns the white-haired woman's attention. "If it's smoke, check for ash or soot around the vents." She would know.

There's the quiet sound of the shifting of stiff fabric as Odessa crosses one leg over the other in her seat, tapping a red painted nail against the table's surface. "Are there no leads within the Linderman Group itself outside of Calavera? What about somebody wanting to climb the ladder, so to speak? He was high up. Maybe someone wanted his position." Backstabbing for position is something Doctor Price is very familiar with. "Or what if someone figured out he was double-dealing with d'Sarthe behind the boss' back?" What if the boss figured it out? That line of questioning is more born from an overdose of detective novels read recently than any foundation in reality.

With a wince, Odessa seems to realise she's getting carried away, getting ahead of herself. "Sorry," she offers, palms up before the Interim Director can remind her that this is only a discussion, and not the time for actual investigation.

"Unfortunately those are the only people we can confirm that Zarek had business dealings with, but in questioning any of these individuals, which you do have authorization to do," and that much is flung at a glance over to Dante, "comes up with any other names, feel free to go out and see if you can get any further information."

Standing up from his desk, Roger looks like there's something else that refuses to let go in the back of his mind, but at the moment he seems unwilling to voice it. "Remember that the manhunt for Halebi takes precedence over anything else. I'll expect to receive updates from each of you on your involvement and what it is you are doing." A tap of Goodman's finger closes out the windows showing the suspects before he straightens his back, looks around the table with dark eyes intent on each agent. "Get out there and do some work, agents."


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