Small Targets


liza_icon.gif shane_icon.gif

Scene Title Small Targets
Synopsis Two short agents chat over coffee.
Date December 30, 2019

Fort Jay

Usually, break rooms were for taking breaks in. For a ‘break’, however, Agent Elizabeth Anne Messer has decided that this just means working in another room. Working, however, comes in the form of a chair wedged in a corner with a table adjacent, one leg drawn up on another chair. Next to her is a stack of files which she’s flipping through with one hand, the other hand around a half-finished cup of coffee that looks more cream than coffee. In front of her is a cup-cake with the icing licked off.

Scowling a bit, she flips over some papers and takes a long sip from her coffee.

“Hi.” Agent Bishop has a young voice, that doesn’t entirely seem to fit with his age. Shane strides into the break room, empty coffee cup in hand. He takes in Agent Messer with a cursory look, assessing her quickly. He hasn’t met Agent Messer yet, but he’s read all of the dossiers.

“Agent Messer, yes?” Shane asks, now facing the coffee machine as he checks to see how much remains, or if a new brew needs to be started. Shane is a short, sleek agent; he’s the sort that blends in: not a 007, but more one that would go under radar. He’s the newly transferred agent from Florida, with a specialty in in criminology: he isn’t at SESA for the cheerful cases, but the darker ones. From his tone, he himself isn’t dark.

“Oh, yeah, that’s me,” Liza asserts, doing her best to sit up just a tiny bit straighter in her semi-lounging position in the chair. “And you’re Agent Bishop!” It’s not hard to tell that she’s taking a moment to measure him up before she moves her leg and sits up fully. “It’s nice to finally get to meet you. I’ve heard good things.” She doesn’t elaborate on what she’s heard.

She shuts the file in front of her and scoops up her mug, getting to her feet so she can join him over by the coffee maker. By the time she’s on her feet, it’s readily apparent that she’s just an inch over five feet, the petite blonde coming to rest nearby. “So Florida, huh? That must have been… exciting?”

Unalike perhaps every other agent around, Shane is really barely taller than she is: only a few inches! He meets her gaze easily, no neck craning required. “Certainly required a change of clothes, coming up here into this thing you call ‘winter’,” Shane replies with a flick of smile. “Retired my short sleeve uniforms,” he says, with a shake of head. “Investing in hats.” A slight gesture of hand brings attention to his tanned, shaved head, with a comfortable smile in his dark eyes. There’s analysis there, but no sharpness.

“But I’m glad to get to do some good here,” Shane says, starting up the new batch of coffee. “Looks like we are getting more training and review programs off the ground.” His eye twinkles a little. “Tests.

“Weather’s a fickle thing, but I find if you’ve got a good coat, good shoes, and a good hat you’re pretty solid,” Liza nods a little, her gaze on the stream of coffee into the pot when she hears the word… “Tests?” She slowly looks over, clearly intrigued. “What kind of tests?”

Whatever kinds of tests she’s thinking about seem to be pretty fresh in her head as she pictures them. “I always had fun doing those sort of things. I hated if I didn’t get a perfect score. Practiced like heck for all of them.”

“Heck,” Shane repeats, as if echoing her word. “Is there a swear jar around I need to be aware of?” Shane asks, in a conspiratorial whisper. He scans the break room as if looking for it, his dark eyes checking for such cheerful offenses before he turns to rest backwards against the edge of the break room counter.

“Yes; various aptitude tests. Some of them aimed to determine skills and talents in the young agents, others to check for needed improvement areas. It’s important to keep up on skills and training,” Shane says, with a lift of his slim shoulders. He appraises her thoughtfully. “A mix of creative thinking and troubleshooting, marksmanship, and physical challenges.”

“I mean, we did have one but Robyn filled up that sucker real fast,” Liza gestures to an empty corner of the counter. “But mostly I just only swear when I really, really mean it. It kind of charges it up if you save it like that. More potent.” She peers at the coffee maker only briefly before her attention returns to Shane.

“We’ve got some great young trainees. Good instincts, I think, but kind of greener than I’d like. But that’s why they’re trainees! You have to learn somewhere and there are far worse places to learn than in some exercises.” She pauses. “But you’re making it fun, right? Not just like this is an army boot camp?”

“‘Fun’ was not really the adjective I had in mind,” Shane says dryly, attention coming to the coffee as it makes a weird noise, but it’s just notifying that it’s ready to go. He gestures a hand for her to go ahead and fill hers, since she’s standing by so eagerly.

“But boot camp is not my style either; I like to challenge minds, not just muscles,” Shane pauses, a little smile slowing out. “Speaking of a challenge, I could use help on one of them, if you’re willing to be part of it. Just requires a sense of ‘fun’.”

Liza seems surprised by the offer for her to go first, but she steps forward with her mug to refill it most of the way. “By fun I just mean something that doesn’t just make it feel like work.” She scoots over a bit so she can stand out of the way of the coffee maker as she prepares the correct amount of sugar and creamer necessary for her consumption.

She perks up at the mention of help, and her smile broadens at the requirement of said help. “I think you’ll find no one better, Agent Bishop. If there’s anyone around here who knows fun, that would be me. Consider me the expert in fun.”

“Good. I have an idea I’d specifically like to use to challenge the interns,” Agent Bishop explains, taking the carafe in one hand and filling his own cup: though similar to her, he leaves some space in it for creamer. There isn’t currently someone in the room he’s feeling like he needs to posture against.

“Which means I need a ‘victim’ for them to determine how to best deliver aid to,” he explains as he moves to accept creamer after she’s done with it. “Think you can be properly challenging to console?”

“Her name is Debra and she’s a single mom,” Liza doesn’t really look at him while she thinks, she’s staring into her coffee as she stirs it. “Her son is named Jacob and he’s in the hospital with leukemia so it’s really important that she’s helped so she can get back to him.” She looks up, then tests her coffee with a sip.

“Gotta tug at the heartstrings and give them something to fight for.” She looks at her cup, sets it down, and pours more sugar in.

At first, Shane stares at her as if she’s entirely lost her mind, one brow sky high, the other dropped low, eyes widened. It’s a comical expression for sure, one he did not intend to make, no doubt. It suggests there may be a quirky personality under the more professional veneer.

“Maybe, but if she’s moved too quickly, her spine injury could mean she’ll never walk again. How will she care for Jacob?” Shane asks, switching gears to come along with her on this story as he stirs his coffee.

Liza seems delighted that he hasn’t poo-poo’d her suggestion, and she stirs her coffee again. A test sip, and she’s decided it’s fine. “So they’ll have to be careful to make sure that they get her out of this dangerous situation without further injury or she could be in real trouble.” She nods at him several times.

“Good, good, I like this,” she says as if the whole thing were his idea. “We can work with this. She probably doesn’t do well in an emergency situation, so they’ll have to calm her down before they can assess things.” She suddenly giggles. “I could really give them trouble with that. Proper people skills are important for an agent.”

“They are,” Shane answers, in a more solemn and serious way. “Be sure to give it the proper respect it deserves. She may have been in an incident with an Expressive. It’s important not to make this comical, and for them to take the test seriously, as well.” Shane takes a seat, sliding sideways into the chair, resting his forearms on the table, and giving her cupcake a sort of amused side-eye. He doesn’t want it; but the sugar rush may explain a few things to him.

“I’ll place items in the location for them to use to construct a stretcher,” Shane decides, still stirring his coffee with the little red plastic stick. “But I want to see if they come to that themselves. Caring for those impacted is an important piece, and I think if the fail it… it will stick with them in later cases.”

“Not comical, but still fun,” Liza agrees. “It’s still a training exercise, after all. I think some humor, just enough for a break to the tension, may be doable, but certainly not comical.” She scoots over to a nearby chair as she sips her coffee. “So no hints at all if they’re not coming to the right answer on their own? Just let them cripple Debra?”

It’s his exercise, she’s not dictating it, so she’ll go with whatever he says. “Or maybe a small warning that boy my back hurts.”

“I would say…” Shane says, thoughtful, watching her. “Use your judgement,” he answers, elusively, with a slight narrowing of his eyes. She might, very suddenly, realize that the only people being tested with how everything is handled MIGHT not just be the interns.

“It is probably best if they don’t cripple Debra,” Shane says, though, stretching his back and leaning back in his hair a little. While still a lean man, his height issue is hidden while seated, and he seems confident in his own skin. “I would say, don’t let them actually move Debra without it.”

“So nonverbal cues,” she surmises. Liza sips again from her mug, peering over the rim of it at him in something of an appraising look, her face mostly obscured. The expression is gone by the time she sets the mug down. “I believe in them. They’re smart, they’ll remember how dangerous a spinal injury is.”

She looks at the remainder of the cupcake and reaches for it. “Sounds like it could be a pretty fun test, even if a little real. That’s what a good test is, really.”

“Once they do create a stretcher, they’ll have trouble moving Debra out. I want to be sure ‘Debra’ doesn’t actually need real medical help, either. Can I trust that you’ll be mindful for Debra?” Shane asks, eyes moving to the cupcake, then watching her.

“Otherwise, though, the other two challenges - physical ropes course and the munitions range - should be ‘fun’ regardless.”

There’s a wry smile from Liza. “‘Debra’ will be just fine and will, most assuredly, make sure the training exercise is safe for everyone involved.” The cupcake is scooted over closer and she starts to pull down the wrapper. “Oh, ropes! Those are fun. Shooting I’m not the biggest fan of, but that’s mostly cause it happens when the poo really hits the fan. A situation can be going great, but once there’s shooting you know it’s a lot harder to recover from.”

The cupcake is removed from the wrapper. Liza proceeds to dunk it into her already sugared coffee. “Ropes are great though. Great exercise.”

“My ropes lean ‘boot camp.’ But I hope you can look at it as ‘fun’,” Shane says, brow arched again, but he shakes his head and drinks his coffee, taking in a deep, even breath, and releasing it as a sigh.

“I know that the munitions are the skill we never hope to use. But should it come down to it, I want to be sure every agent here is one that I’d trust behind me, so that I feel I can take point… and not be shot.” Shane says it seriously, but then adds with a slight smile, “Even if I am a small target.”

Liza stuffs the cupcake partially into her mouth, though she doesn’t inhale the whole thing at once. There’s a decent sized bite which she quickly swallows before looking back over at Agent Bishop. “Yeah, training for guns is a necessary evil, I just prefer the other sort of exercises… reflexes and the like.”

She pauses, then returns the smile. “Small targets have to watch each others’ backs, right?”

Shane lifts his mug and leans across to clink his mug against hers where it’s sitting on the table as she eats her cupcake. “And be better than the big ones,” Shane decides with a determined little smile, leaning back again with his mug.

He pauses as his phone buzzes, orienting. “Mmm, one of my witnesses. I’ll send you a memo about the course times, all right?” Shane asks, pushing to his feet.

The mugs clink together in a satisfying way and Liza chuckles, dipping her cupcake into the coffee again. “We’re always better than the big ones,” she states. When he goes for his phone and moves to leave, she nods in response. “You got it, Big Guy!” Liza gives a one-handed, two-fingered salute as she goes for another bite of her cupcake.

“Don’t work too hard!” She says before the rest of the cupcake disappears entirely.

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