The Definition of Duty


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Scene Title The Definition of Duty
Synopsis Rami goes to have a chat with Felix about what happened with the various explosions that sent New York into chaos. The fact that they know each other makes the interrogation worse, not better. By the end, a pie-friendship is broken.
Date January 30, 2009

St Luke's Hospital

It's a hospital room. But, bizarrely enough, not the ICU. Or even one of the high level monitoring wards. Just one of the perfectly ordinary rooms, with a minimum of gear. Not a lot of security. Despite having been brought in comatose, Fel's awake, alert, and even remarkably perky.

When the list of detainees came around, Rami only glanced at them with cursory interest. That is, until a familiar name jumped off the page at him. A few phone calls later and the offer was made to the appropriate agents to question Mister Ivanov. He explained that the two are familiar with one another, and that might make questioning a touch smoother.

That remains to be seen.

The agent pushes open the door, neatly be-suited and carrying a briefcase. His wool jacket is damp from the snow outside, as is his hair. "Well well. Seems you're keeping yourself out of trouble, ay Felix?" Ah, sarcasm.

Felix looks over with a faint, unrepentant grin. He's in a hospital gown, sitting up in his bed. He's not so much a detainee in the usual sense, since he's a Fed in good standing. But his SAC has told him to make nice with the other agencies, so he doesn't seem displeased to see Rami. "Just my luck, huh?"

"How are you feeling, then? You're looking fairly chipper. I take it they're taking good care of you?" Rami shrugs off his jacket and hangs it on the back of the door. The briefcase is set down on a table and he drags a chair over to sit by Felix's bed. His expression is rather hard to read. There's a pair of raised eyebrows, a curious look, but hard to tell if this is a social visit or a professional one. Knowing him, more likely the latter.

The briefcase sort of tears it. "I'm tired, I ache, but it's okay. I know a healer who paid me a visit," he says, bluntly. He doesn't have the air of a man who has anything in particular to hide,but then he's been doing that for years.

It does, especially when Rami pulls out a small tape recorder. "Well then. I suppose that means you can tell me what happened. Precisely." He flicks on the tape recorder. "Subject, Felix Ivanov, Federal Agent. Would you mind stating your vitals for the record?" He doesn't feel he needs to elaborate what that means. He's no doubt conducted these interview himself at some point.

Fel nods, easily. "Ivanov, Felix Nikolaievich. Age 36. Russian born, naturalized 1983. FBI Agent, Badge #2501," he says, practically rattling off. And then he cocks a bright eye at Rami, expectantly. "And whose recognizance is this under?"

"Oh, do you really need to ask these questions, Felix?" Rami quirks a grin and chuckles. He pulls out a folder and flips through it. He looks quite honestly amused. "If I've never told you before, what makes you think I'm going to now? Let's cut to the chase, shall we? Please relate exactly the circumstances leading up to your current…situation."

"Because this is the first time it's official, and not off the record chat," Felix says. His voice is sweet, but he looks quite prepared to be obdurate. "Not just about me, now."

"If you insist on playing these games, Felix, then I can send in a less friendly interrogator. It makes no difference to me. I only came because I thought a familiar face might make the process go…more smoothly." Rami moves forward and leans his hand on his chin, elbow on knee. Oddly green eyes watch him from a dark face. "Now. Are we going to have a nice chat, or would you like this whole process to be brusque and impersonal?"

Felix hesitates, eyeing Rami patiently. "I can give you a basic precis, then," he concedes, finally.

Rami continues to watch Felix. The inquisitiveness is not unlike the cat watching a mouse. He motions in a suggestion that he begin.

"I received info through an informant that the serial killer we'd been stalking since late summer was involved in a plot to distribute a genetically engineered virus intended to kill upwards of ninety percent of the population. He intended to begin with Manhattan, after more or less sealing the island by destruction of the bridges. As you see, that was thwarted. The intended vehicle of delivery was an aerosolized version of the virus launched via mortar from various points around the city," Felix begins, eyeingRami in return.

Rami clicks a pen and begins to make notes in a file folder as Felix speaks. "And just who were you working with?" He won't let on what he does and does not know. A typical interrogation tactic, but an effective one - usually. Then again, he doesn't often have to work his magic on Federal Agents.

"I'm not at liberty to name names. Suffice to say some of the organizations in the pro-Evolved underground," Felix says, quietly. First rule - you don't ever turn in your informants.

"You are not at liberty?" Rami scoffs. "And who precisely is witholding your liberty? By 'pro-Evolved underground,' you mean terrorists." A few more notations are made in the file. "I'm sure the city is quite grateful for your efforts, but vigilante justice cannot go unpunished. You know this as well as I do."

"No, you and I both know you can't tar all of them with the same brush, Rami. No more than every jihadist group we fight against is Al-Qaeda." Fel's voice is low, calm. "I don't know your level of clearance, so I'm giving you what I can. If you want more, you can talk to my SAC."

"Oooh. Bringing up the race card. I thought you had more class than that, honestly." Rami's eyebrows lift. There's a grin on his lips, but that doesn't quite soften the steel behind his eyes. "If you want to be difficult about this, I can bring someone in here and have them confirm my clearance level. The fact is, whatever good you might have done, you did it without the input of local law enforcement. No doubt civilians were endangered or even killed. There is a difference between protecting your contacts and tromping along with them on some ill-conceived vigilante mission."

"No, I did not do it without the input of local law enforcement," Felix says, cooly. "And I'm not playing the race card. I'm playing the fellow spook card. No one's going busting in to a network we're working on, only to net the little fish while the big ones get away. I'm pretty damn sure we didn't injure any civvies. I'm not such a no-nothing cowboy as to run around putting my gun on Joe Citizen. I don't know if your bosses are pissy they weren't in on the loop. That's their problem, they can take it up with Bureau brass. What I did, I did with the blessing of my superiors, to the best of my knowledge."

Rami stands abruptly, then reaches to click off the tape recorder. "I can see this was a mistake." The recorder is flicked back into the briefcase, then pushed closed and clicked shut. "I'll have one of the Homeland Security agents come to you for questioning. Perhaps you'll be less defensive with them." The case is picked up and he stands. "It's a dangerous game you're playing. You protect the pro-Evolved and suddenly there's red flags on your file and black cars following you wherever you go. This is a new world, Felix. This city is the wild. Idealism has no place here."

Felix grits his teeth. "Which is why I'm protecting what resources we have. We just avoided a major disaster that'd make '06 look like a child's temper tantrum via the efforts of a large network of citizens, only a very small fraction of which even -possibly- have any links to the men we're after. Jesus, Rami, I was here for September 11th, and I barely missed the bomb. I'm out to serve and protect, same as you are. But that doesn't involve stamping yellow stars on Evolved citizens. I am not handing my contacts over to you for the NSA or whomever to make a little shopping list and start picking up people we -need- to work with. It's not a matter of idealism. It's practicality. You're too old a fox to think it's all shades of black and white."

"You believe what you want to believe, Felix." Rami levels his gaze on the other man. "I do as I'm ordered and I uphold the law. It is not for me to interpret, nor is it my place to give civilians a pass on taking the law into their own hands simply because the outcome was favourable. I am an Agent of this country's government." His voice tightens somewhat. "As are you. I pray you don't forget that as you dally with would-be heroes."

Felix's expression has sealed over like a winter pond. "I've never forgotten it. Nor will I," he says,biting off each syllable distinctly.

Rami looks Felix in the eye, then rocks back and retrieves his coat. "I do hope you make a full recovery," and then the door is pulled open. Unless he's stopped, the lanky Arab man makes his way out and down the hall.

January 30th: Negotiations
January 30th: The Whole Truth
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