The Easiest Lie


aric_icon.gif cardinal_icon.gif elisabeth2_icon.gif lene_icon.gif peyton2_icon.gif

Scene Title The Easiest Lie
Synopsis Jolene Marlowe returns to Redbird to survive a third-degree panel interview, in which nothing goes as planned.
Date December 2, 2010

Redbird Security

Setting a cup of coffee in front of Elisabeth and Aric each, Peyton rests back in the leather chair of her office with her own mug of steaming brew, taking a sip as she pushes the folder with Jolene Marlowe's information toward the blonde woman. She's already briefed the two on the strange encounter between Lene and Elle and why she'd let the strange young woman leave — for fear of injury from the volatile and injured electrokinetic.

She's gone over the background check and the even stranger findings — that her parents, Wendy and Francis Marlowe died in 1944, that the JOlene born to them died in 1945, and yet the same names pop up on birth certificate on October 10, 1990 — presumably this Jolene's. The young woman has a registration card dated to 2008, a social security card as well, but no credit history, no bank history, no proof of existence other than these sketchy documents.

"So what do you think we should do about Delia?" the brunette asks, changing subjects, having also given the two Endgame members a rundown of the situation involving the comatose dreamwalker in the building, and Cardinal's warning that Institute agents are on the job looking for her. "I think it's probably safer is she stays here — I don't think they'd think to look here. I don't think she'd lead them here, in any way, in her dreams."

As she takes the mug Peyton offers as well as the folder, Elisabeth listened to the entire briefing. The blonde looks better than she did last time she was in — coughing a bit less, color in her face finally. She's wearing a pair of jeans and a rose-colored 3/4-sleeve top. "So long as no one knows about Delia's ties to Jaiden — and us — she'll be safe here. But I will admit I like the security in my Dorchester place better for her." She grimaces faintly. "Considering the situation with their interest in subverting both Richard and me to their cause, I doubt they'll make a move on us anytime soon, so keeping her here for the moment seems the best option. At least there are exit strategies here," she says with a sigh. "As to Jolene Marlowe…. she's got to know we'd do a background check on her. She barely made any effort at all to cover the fact that this is a manufactured ID. I don't know what precisely to say to the fact that she's applying for a job here except that she's probably got an agenda that — if she has any brains at all — already includes us finding out in short order that she's not who she says. So the trick is… who is she?"

"I'm here!"

That isn't the answer that Elisabeth Harrison was likely planning on getting, but it is the one that comes never the less. It isn't in the office, but rather outside in the reception area just outside of the office of Redbird Security Solution's CFO Peyton Whitney. Muffled through the office door as it is, the voice of Lene Marlowe is blindly chipper and seemingly unaware of the dire consequences awaiting her beyond that door.

Inside of the office, a buzzing noise at Peyton's desk comes before a voice crackles over the intercom. «Miss Whitney, your 9:00, Jolene Marlowe, is here. Do you want me to show her in?» Of all the times for Cardinal to go off on a vision-quest or whatever it is, in order to find himself.

Dead girls from 1945 don't pop up every day, after all.
Aric takes the cup as well and sips it. He looks at Peyton and says, "I assume that is why I am here? You want me to find out who she really is? And…" He looks over at Liz, "This Delia is in a coma if I understand correctly. Is it the same coma we found Molly in?" He looks over at Peyton and raises a finger, "And perhaps it could be linked to why you "heard" Matt in the hospital?"

The man runs a hand through his long hair and looks down at the intercom and falls silent.

"Seems different. Wes and Jaiden and some other guy got told she's stuck in dreaming mode, since she's an oneiromancer, and needs to find her way back somehow," Peyton says quickly to Aric. "And yeah, figure out what you can… we'll say it's a panel interview or something. What do you want me to introduce you as — consultants?"

Before they can answer, however, Peyton lifts a finger to say wait a moment, pushing the speak button on the speakerphone. "Thanks, Jo. Have her sit for just about a minute while you finish up something and then bring her on back."

Peyton's dark eyes move to Liz's face. "Ready?"

To Aric, Elisabeth's response is quiet. "No… it's not like Molly's. And quite frankly, if you can get in there and try to make contact with her, it might help her find her way back to her body. She's a dreamwalker and she's gotten herself a bit turned around and lost." She starts to say something else and then Joanna's voice comes through. "Consultants is fine," Elisabeth replies, her blue eyes going wary.

There's a pop and blip when the intercom disengages, leaving Aric, Elisabeth and Peyton to make any last-minute preparations before Miss Marlowe is sent up to the office shortly.
As he nods slowly, "I don't look like any consulantants I know but ok. I will keep my mind open to her. And I will look in on this Delia and see what I can do. I will need someone with me in case something goes wrong though…yet lets focus on one task as a time." Aric stands and moves to stand in the corner. He runs a hand through his hair and adjusts his t-shirt to look all consulantant like before he holds his coffee in front of him. He is ready.

"Do I look like a security business CFO?" Peyton says a little sarcastically but smirks. She does look the part of a businesswoman, apparel wise, but at just approaching 22 years, she's a little young to be a CFO. An intern, maybe.

She rises, moving toward the door to open it, stepping out into the hallway and looking toward the reception area. "Miss Marlowe? Thank you for waiting. I was just meeting with a couple of our consultants, so it's very good timing, since I'd like them to meet you as well, if you're planning on doing any work with us." She holds the door open for the redhead. "Would you like some coffee or tea? Water?" she says affably while she waits for the woman to enter her office.

For her part, Elisabeth remains seated somewhat insouciantly, scooting her chair back to watch the person who is going to come into the office. For the moment, she's simply going to remain quiet and rely on Aric to let us know if anything untoward is going on. She sips her coffee.

To the others in the office, Lene's call of, "Oh, n-no I'm fine," seems largely normal. From Peyton's perspective of actually being able to see the young woman bolt up from her chair, hook her sleeve on the arm and then promptly loose a button at her cuffss — it looks decidedly like she is a walking disaster area.

Short a button on the sleeve of her white bitton-down shirt, Lene's green eyes widen worriedly behind the lenses of her glasses, a hand clasping at her forearm and an awkward smile flashing over a flushed red face. Brows screw up into a nervous expression, and the young woman that comes thorugh the office door is much as she was the day she had come to Redbird Security Solutions the first time. Wavy hair an unnatural shade of red is left loose to fall at her shoulders, candy-apple red framed eyeglasses perched on the freckled bridge of her nose. The leather planner clutched to her chest has some loose papers poking out of the top, along with the colored tabs of Post-It notes. Chunk-heel shoes clomp across the floor as she walks, her charcoal gray pencil skirt swishing about at a respectable knee length over black tights.

When she sees Aric, all of the color drains out of her face. Her expression is much in the same way that someone who accidentally walked into a room with a frothing Rottweiler might look.

"If— " has a nervous tremor to it, green eyes darting to Liz, then back over to Peyton with a fluttery breath. "If— if you're busy I— I can come back later?" A tenor of nervous laughter bubbles up through Lene as she offers a grimacing smile.

That grimace, of course, turns into a full on wince a moment after Aric levels his eyes on her. Lifting up one hand to her head, Lene lets out a whine of discomfort, sending her leather folio down to the floor with a clatter, paperwork spilling out, loose colored Post-It notes all stuck to them. It's like someone who was presented with a sudden Migraine, and the reaction is mirrored in Aric as he hears a high-pitched whine behind his eyes when he tries to tune in to Lene's mind, getting a psychic feedback traditionally reserved for two telepaths trying to tune in to one another.

Lene looks more dazed than Aric does.

As the girl walks into the room, Aric does open his mind to hers and that all to familar sound hits him smack between the eyes. As he brings both hands to his head, his coffee cup comes crashing down to the floor. He drops to one knee and grinds in pain through his teeth, "Liz." He closes his eyes tight as he does his best to close his mind from Lene. A small dipple of blood escapes from his nose. This time he is not full on bleeding from the feedback….must be getting use to it.

The reaction of Lene and Aric to one another's presence is quickly noticed by Peyton, and she glances from one to the other, and finally over to Liz. The look on Lene's face reminds the clairvoyant of how she felt trying to peek in on Niklaus not long ago, or the times she'd tried to look in on clones and gotten fractured visions.

"Are you quite all right?" she says, playing a little dumb, reaching for a kleenex box and tossing it to Aric. "Go ahead and take a seat. We're not busy at all, and I'd like you to meet, since if you work for Redbird, you'd be, in all likelihood, working with them as well, after all."

Peyton gestures to the spare chair in the office, and nods to Liz. "I'll let them do their own introductions," she adds — unsure if they want their real identities given to the girl.

Aric's reaction is telling, if only because she's seen Peyton's reaction. Do telepaths react the same way? She's not entirely sure. But Elisabeth is taking no chances. While everyone is dazed to hell the blonde is out of her chair and locking the office door, blocking it with her body as Peyton guides Jolene Marlowe — or whoever she is — to a seat. She puts a hand on Aric's shoulder to steady him.

Shakily making her way to the seat at Peyton's insistance, Lene hesitates from fully sitting down when she notices Elisabeth by the door, then flicks a green-eyed stare back up to Aric, then over to Peyton. "This doesn't strike me as an ordinary job interview…" there's a wavering tremor in Lene's voice as she makes at assessment, lifting up one hand to adjust her glasses as she begrudgingly takes a seat, teeth worrying about her bottom lip.

Lene's attention quickly moves to the paperwork on the floor, and she's up out of her chair again just as soon as she'd sat down, crouching down and playing pick-up with the papers scattered about at her feet, trying to sift them back up into the planner. "Um, if— if this is about my references um, I— I can get you better ones?" A nervous smile creeps up across her lips, one hand threading a lock of wavy red hair behind one ear.

As he stands slowly, Aric wipes the single drop of blood. He knows what he felt and looks towards Lene with a leveled gaze. He whispers to Liz, "Thanks." He leans in and whispers something for her ears only before moving to pick up the pieces of the cup her broke. "I did not take my insulin today. I am so sorry I can be such a clutz." He does his best to keep his voice steady yet he now has a nasty headache. He begins speaks, "This is standard prodical m'am. This is a security company and the three of us have out expertise and handle various things here. You aren't applying for a job at Starbucks. Yet I could go for one of their Pumpkin Latte's right now." He smiles weakly at her as he finishes cleaning his mess and moves to the corner crossing his arms over his chest.

"I don't think you'd know what a standard job interview is like, seeing how your employment history doesn't quite pan out," Peyton says evenly, picking up the folder from the desk and opening it to the resume and background check within. "And… you are non-Evolved? If you work for us, we need to be completely legitimate, with every employee on the record and with authentic documentation. This includes registration, of course."

The tall brunette picks up her coffee and takes a slow sip, dark eyes on the redhead. "Would you submit to blood testing — for SLC and of course other things — drugs, what have you." All part of the process here at Redbird, Ms. Marlowe, her tone says.

Elisabeth keeps her demeanor neutral, even pleasant, but she nods slightly to Aric. Message received. Technically Liz can't be a part owner in the company. In point of fact, her ties are not on paper anywhere. But that doesn't mean the business isn't her baby too. She lets Peyton handle this, though. For now.

Green eyes dart to the door, then up to Liz and around to Peyton and then back to Aric. There's a grimace that briefly crosses Lene's features, then a scrunch of her brows up and an awkward look over to Aric as she stuffs the papers into the planner. "Ah, well— I— can see that… I… a— parently didn't think this um, job… placement— thing thorugh all the way, s-so…" Curling her fingers into the planner, Lene slowly starts to rise to stand, smiling faintly.

"I— I think I might have, uh, m— mis-interpreted this, um, this— business. S-so… so… so I'm— just…" she edges towards the door, offering a glance up to Liz awkwardly, then down to her feet and over to Peyton with a hopeful smile. "I'm… just going to— go? How's— how's that sound? I shouldn't have— I shouldn't have come here, I— I'm sorry."
As his eyes fall on Liz and then Peyton, Aric moves to stand near the door with Liz. He cocks his head to the side and says calmly, "Mrs Marlowe….do you know me from somewhere? When you walked in…you looked shocked to see me? Have we met before and I just have…well I am a clutz and a moron sometimes." Aric makes an attempt to keep it light for the moment in hopes the girl won't make an attempt to run. He knows she is an Evolved of some type…he wants to know what.

At the same time, Peyton speaks: "If you're in trouble, Miss Marlowe, it's possible we can help, but only if you're honest with— " she pauses to let Aric's question take prevalence, and nods to him, then glances to Jolene, backing Aric up on the query.

"Do you know my colleague, Miss Marlowe? We're not angry; we're just perplexed. Obviously you would know we'd do a background check, given the nature of Redbird's business. You're intelligent, clearly, and had to know — which begs the question. Why did you want us to catch you in these lies?"

Tilting her head, Elisabeth watches Jolene — which is clearly not her name — with a quiet kind of calm. "Whatever it is you're looking for, kiddo…. now's the time to come clean about it. We're pretty open-minded about things, and you've made the fact that you need something so obvious that a blind man could see it." Her tone is gentle but firm. "Cadging someone else's identity only works if the original ID is buried so deep no one can locate it. Digital records make that both harder in some ways these days and easier in others. The alternative, of course, is that you are Jolene Marlowe… and that you're really far from home right now. Which is it?"

"L-l-look, y-you're— y-you're giving me too much credit," is Jolene's shaky answer as she backpedals away from the door, green eyes flicking across each of the three worriedly. "I'm not— I fucked up. I didn't— I didn't think— I didn't //know…" Clutching the leather binder to her chest, Lene's wide-eyed expression is shifting towards tearful as panic begins to set in.

"I— P-please don't tell anyone, please." Jaw beginning to tremble, Lene glances left and right as she continues to back up, bumping square into Peyton's desk with a rattle of the cup of pens and pencils atop it, a wobble of the desk light and flat screen monitor. Lene yelps softly when she backs into the desk, turning askance to look at the furniture and then snap her attention back to the blocked door.

"Please don't— please don't call the DoEA. I— I th— I thought I— I th— Oh God I'm— I'm s-sorry…" Glassy eyes all welled up with moisture finally lead to fat tears dribbling down Lene's cheeks as she tightly swallows down a lump int he back of her throat.

Aric shakes his head slowly as he moves away from Liz. "No idea what you want to do. I can't tell you anything right now." He pinches his nose between his eyes as he leans against the wall. "This is all you guys on this one."

Peyton stands, hands up to show they're empty, of no threat. "Listen, Jolene — are you in trouble? We'd like to help you if that's the case," she says softly, glancing at Liz with an oh! of epiphany lighting her face for a moment. Peyton's been to the past enough now to have thought of that as a possibility — but didn't.

"We can be your friends, as long as we can be sure you're not here to endanger us, Jolene. Do you want to sit down and tell us about it? There's a reason you came here, I'm sure of it. I don't think you found our name on any job listings board… I haven't gotten around to signing up with the colleges for any interns. That's giving me too much credit." There's a slight smile to punctuate her words, but Peyton's dark eyes are watching the redheaded woman carefully.

"We're not going to call DoEA, Jolene," Elisabeth reassures her steadily. "Calm down." She can't lace that with anything, not after damn near blowing out her brain earlier today. She doesn't ask any additional questions, though — panicking the girl is not going to help.

Snuffling back a snorted breath, Jolene wipes a hand beneath her eyes and across her cheeks, fingers pushing up her glasses and palm sweeping at her eyes. It taes her a few moments to gather her composure, moments spent with breath hitching at the back of her throat, jaw working behind a closed mouth and brows furrowed tightly.

Glancing askance to the desk again, Lene clutches her planner tightly to her chest with a white-knuckled grip, then casts an uneasy glance to Aric before finally settling her attention on Peyton. "I'm— I'm not— I'm unregistered. I— I've been hiding ever since the Registry came out, m— me and a close friend. We— w— we're afraid, s— she's seen things, t— terrible things, and I just. W— we thought…" Hands shaking, Lene looks for all her worth like a frightened animal, suddenly skittish and fragile despite her earlier pep and zest.

"I— I k— I know who you people are," comes reluctantly, green eyes flicking from side to side from Aric to Elisabeth to Peyton. "I— I've heard about you, like— like— " she lifts up one hand to her temple, tapping softly there. "Y— you're— you stop the future. I— I was— I was hoping th— that— that if I started working here, I— that I could get to meet Richard Cardinal, and— and get his help. I— " Lene hiccups out a nervous noise that borders on a sob. "I'm sorry."
Aric walks over to Liz and whispers very softly, "I could push through the feed and see if she is telling you the truth. Kaylee said I could yet look at her. She keeps looking at me….there is more to this and since my time with you….shall we just say I don't take that lightly." He leans away from Liz and says a bit louder, "Relax ma'am. I don't bite…not unless you ask me too and then I usually only nibble."

The clairvoyant frowns, tilting her head. "We stop the future?" she says, glancing from the visitor to her two colleagues and back. "Which future is that? And … what do you need his help with? It's very possible he'd want to help you, Jolene, but unless you can tell us more, it's possible you won't get to meet him."

She nods to the seat that Lene vacated. "Do you want to tell us what the trouble is? How we can help you? You don't need to be sorry for coming in for help. We've all needed help at some point — trust me on that. I want to help you, but I can't until we know what the problem is. And if it's something only Cardinal can help you with, well, you might have to trust us enough to ask him for you. I can try to arrange a meeting, but without knowing more — well, you understand why we might be leery, right?"

Elisabeth catches Aric's eye and tilts her head slightly, shaking her head subtly in a negative. No mind-raping people without good reason. She turns her eyes to the frightened yound woman who can't be any older than Peyton and murmurs reassuringly, "Richard's working on something right now. How about we slow down, Jolene, and focus on one thing at a time. Clearly you've got some things going on that you want help with or you wouldn't have come with us. You've said your friend has seen something. Why don't you start there and tell us what it is that has you worried enough to come to us under the radar, okay?" She moves away from the door, opening up a bit of space for the girl but not enough that the door will be able to get open.

"Humanis First," might as well be like shouting 'Kazimir Volken' in the company of those that knew him for all that it evokes in Elisabeth Harrison. "She— she saw an explosion. She's— she's like me— us." Lene's brows furrow together, her jaw trembling as she takes a hesitant step away from the desk, still holding her planner to her chest as tightly as she can.

"Th— they're planning an attack. I— she doesn't want me to warn anyone, b— because it could draw attention to us. She— she's afraid that they'll find out that we're not what we say we are. Th— that we're Evolved." Jolene swallows tensely, taking a step forward again, looking down at her feet.

"Humanis First is going to destroy d'Sarthe's restaurant on Christmas Eve. It— it's going to kill dozens of people, and— and… and I can't— I can't go to the authorities, or— or they'd ask how I found out if they even believed me. I— I can't risk getting Registered, I.. I don't…" Lene's green eyes flick to Elisabeth, worriedly.

"Please," is begged with a wavering tone, "please I don't know who else to turn to. I've— I've heard people thinking about you people before. I've heard rumors, I've heard frustrations, I hear so much and I just— I had to believe. I didn't— I didn't know what else to do. You're the only people I thought I could turn to."

Aric cocks a single eyebrow and knows what a bastard d'Sarthe is…yet remain silent for a moment before asking, "Hearing people? You can hear people's thoughts…." Aric takes a second and hmmms. He runs a hand through his hair and looks at Peyton with a raised eyebrow.

The mention of HF has Peyton's alerts up immediately; Aric will feel the spike in her emotions from anxious and worried and curious to fear at the mention of the group. She swallows and nods. "That… that's something we can try to help with, and I can understand not wanting to go to the police."

She bites her lip, her hand moving for her coffee mug, wrapping around it and sliding it toward herself, but no daring to lift it with shaking hands. "If you know details, we can certainly try to help stop it — maybe make a bid for the security on the deal… can… your friend is a precog, and you're a telepath, then? Can you tell us what your friend knows — or even let us meet her?"

The effect on Elisabeth is also one of heightened anxiety. Humanis First is not exactly one of her best friends. "Sit down," the blonde urges gently. "I think you've got a lot of blanks to fill in. An attack on d'Sarthe's is something we would definitely want to avoid, but in theory it can be done smart. For example, if you know that it's Humanis First, a decent description or names of those you know are involved could give us someone to pull in for questioning." She smiles faintly. "And since we don't really need probable cause anymore, it could be…. fun." Her blue eyes are cold as she says that.

For a third time, Lene refuses to answer Aric's question about herself, or anythign he's said in general. She's doing her level best to try and avoid eye-contact as well. At Peyton's question, however, Lene's head shakes back and forth rapidly. Wiping one hand across her cheeks, trying to maintain her mascara despite the black smudged marks running wetly down her cheeks, Lene sucks back another breath, only now starting to get her emotions under control. Though, the wet gob of snot hanging out from beneath her nose says she has a bit of a ways to go.

"No," Lene emphatically asserts, "no she— she'd never willingly— she's too afraid of getting found out. I mean she— she regrets even telling me what happened because she— because she just— she was going to let it happen." Lene's jaw trembles, green eyes avert and her head shakes slowly.

"The— the attack is a bombing. I don't know the details, just— just what she said she saw in the newspaper. She— my friend her— her ability, it's…" Lene's teeth draw over her lower lip, and she eyes the chair next to her warily, glancing back up to Liz afterward, not yet comitting to sitting. "When she reads something, her— her mind… sometimes it swaps out written text for things that haven't yet happened, but are related to what she's reading. L— like. Um, she was reading a newspaper, one about the Messiah attack on that building in the Financial District back in August. It— it triggered her, and suddenly the article was about a bombing at d'Sarthe's. She knew how many people were injured, h— how many people were killed, b— but the article didn't say who did it, o— only that authorities were investigating."

Sliding her tongue across her lips, Lene glances to the chair again, then sucks in a shuddering breath as she turns her focus over toPeyton, then Elisabeth. "All I know is that it happens on Christmas Eve, it— it was a charity event, and— and the author Savannah Burton was killed in the blast." Lene manages a weak smile. "I— I already tried to warn her. I just… I didn't know where else to go."

As if on cue, there comes a knock on the door to the office. A quick, sharp triple-knock.

Aric looks towards the door. He knows the girl did not answer his question and seems to be scared of him. He wants to try and press through the feedback. This girl knows Aric and he suspects something. However, he moves towards the door and expands his mind to see who is on the other side.

That a bombing at D'Sarthe's is planned — if Lene is telling the truth — causes Peyton to blanch. It's precisely the kind of event she'd go to — did she survive November 8th and dying at Danko's hands only to die a month and a half later? "It's okay, Jolene. It'll be okay. You're doing the right thing by coming to us, all right? You're not in trouble."

She looks for the Kleenex box she'd thrown at Aric, and rises to retrieve it, moving to the other young woman to hand her the tissue. "Just a moment, all right?" she says softly, knowing that if the knocker made it by Jo in the front, it's someone who belongs here.

She moves past the girl toward the door, glancing back before angling her body so she can crack the door just a touch, to protect the identity of the stranger inside — more for Jolene's sense of safety and peace of mind rather than to hide the girl from any Redbird employees. The door knob is turned, cracked open as she peers out.

"Oh, God," she whispers, "I'm so glad it's you…" she tells the man on the other side, tears welling up suddenly at seeing him, but she blinks them back quickly. "Hold on," she says louder to those on the other side — Aric will know who it is; Liz would if her power was working, but she can certainly guess.

Peyton steps into the hall, closing the door behind her. "This is probably stupid to try to tell you here, since if she's a telepath she's probably listening anyway, but we have a stranger who came in, faked documents — says there's going to be a bombing at D'Sarthe's Christmas shindig. You wanna come in? Sorry, I'd like, try to ease you back into work mode by making you file last week's news clippings or send out Redbird Christmas cards, but you have impeccable timing." With that, despite the worry in her eyes, Peyton grins, stepping forward to plant a friendly kiss on Cardinal's cheek. "Welcome back?"

The knock on the door brings Elisabeth around to watch and she lets Peyton handle it. Richard's sudden reappearance makes her back stiffen just a little. She lifts her chin slightly and as Peyton steps out, the blonde's attention turns back to the presumed telepath in their midst. "Look… if you know about us, you know that we're on the level in trying to keep people safe. So here's the thing. You're reacting like most of my teenagers did when they were trying desperately to only tell enough of the story to keep their names secret while trying to explain how and why something stupid or bad got done. I'm going to suggest to you that I dislike getting bits and pieces of a story and that I can't act on what you're saying without a better picture. So… do you have a friend who saw all this, or is it you? And if it's you, I'd like to know what exactly you saw."

Elisabeth tips her head and says firmly, "And I'd like to know how the hell you managed to get yourself an identity from 1944 and a Registration card that says you're not Evolved if all you've been doing is hiding out. Once you give me the whole story, then I can make plans to help people. But until you do, kiddo — it looks to us like you're manipulating us. And I hate to say that, because you're clearly scared, but right now, I can't tell if you're scared legitimately or scared of us. Which, because we're strangers and you're taking a huge risk I can't blame you for. But you've got to trust sometime."

"It wasn't me, I swear," comes between intermittant snuffling and snorting noises as Lene blows her nose on the proffered tissues. "A'course m'trying to hide stuff though, I— you've got a telepath there who's probably just dying to torture whatever secrets he knows outta' me. Every other telepath I've ever met has been a psychopath and that one probably ain't any better." Lene's brows furrow, greene yes flick from Aric to Elisabeth.

There's a little anger there, restrained, some sort of past trauma potentially involving a telepath of some stripe. Elisabeth may have had good experiences with them thus far, but for every Aric Gibbs there is a Stephen Verse, for every Matt Parkman there is a Maury.

"My friend helped build my ID. It— it's just enough to pass casual inspection, pulled over by the cops, y'know that sorta' stuff. She knew this technopath, he helped us out of a lot of jams back a couple years ago. We— we're from Canada, or— I am anyway. I met my friend in Oregon after coming down into Washington after my folks passed away. It's kind've a long, boring story, but the jist of it is that I never had proper identification. My folks didn't trust the government, they never registered me at a hospital. They used… they used to work for something called the Company. It's like— " Lene's brows furrow, "you've seen it on the news."

Green eyes track to the door, then back to Liz. "They bailed, not too long after I was, 'cause a bunch of scientists got killed in a lab explosion and they were scared that something might happen t'me. So…" Lene rubs her nose with the tissue, slowly easing over to the chair and folding herself down into it.

"So they raised me away from the city, home-schooled, all that. After they died I just… I didn't know what to do with myself. I knew I had relatives down in Washington state, mom always said so. Wasn't hard… y'know.. sneaking around with the ability I have. Back before the bomb, crossing from Canada into the US was just a matter of tricking someone into thinking they saw something they didn't."

Lene bites down on her bottom lip, worriedly. "Wasn't until it was too late that people got wise of what I was doing, and me an' my friend were running. Monk," her green eyes steadily lock on Elisabeth's, "was what he called himself. He helped us escape these government guys who were chasing us. He helped get us our identities, helped us hide. He started calling himself Rebel, eventually, had us do things for him… track people down, deliver messages. In return he'd do stuff like make us IDs, get us money. Then he just… disappeared."

Lene looks down to the box of tissues in her lap, resting atop her planner. "M'tellin' the truth…"

"Hey." Richard Cardinal - dressed in black BDU's and a Redbird Security jacket - cranes his neck briefly to try and get a glimpse of who's in the room before the door closes, his head tilting down a bit to accept the kiss from Peyton. A tired smile tugs up at one corner of his lips, "Ah ah - I'm not back to work, just stopping in to pick up some things and to check on something. Personally, I wouldn't shed any tears if someone blew Gideon's fat little head up anyway. This's Liz's show."

That doesn't stop him from being curious of course, because if he's anything, he's a horrible meddler. A curious look back to the door once more towards the wood and the supposed telepath within, thinking loudly: HELLO? IS ANYBODY OUT THERE? MORK CALLING ORSON… COME IN… ORSON… MORK CALLING ORSON… COME IN… ORSON…

Maybe Peyton should've mentioned that Aric was in there too.

As he knows who it is, Aric turns to look towards Liz, "I guess then say be careful what…" stops in mid sentence and looks at Lene. He frowns deeply and looks offended. "She knew I was a telepath instantly….yet I think before I touched her mind. I respect the rules placed on me. So be…" As he stops again and place a hand to his head. Aric mutters softly, "Damn it Richard." He looks towards the door muttering and walks to it opening it just a crack and says, "Na noo na noo." He slams it shut and stacks to the corner running a hand through his hair. He looks at Lene, "I am not a crazy person."

"She says she wanted to meet you specific—" Peyton begins and then blinks as the door opens and Aric has his say, then slams the door. She is just a little too young for Mork and Mindy — certainly it was on syndication television, but nothing that the Whitneys would have deigned to watch. "What the hell?"

Her brows furrow, and then she turns to look back at Richard. The strain of the past few weeks is evident on her pale face, dark circles beneath them. "Whatever, if you're not back yet…"

She turns and opens the door to step back in.

Elisabeth listens quietly, considering the information that Jolene is offering. Monk. Rebel. "Rebel was …. hurt," she finally says quietly. "Trying to stop the broadcast that caused the fuckin' zombie wars or whatever we're calling that mess." It's a very simplified version of what Rebel was up to, but what the hell — the full story's way too long to get into. "However, we've worked with Rebel in the past. Aric won't hurt you a bit — your ability and his apparently create a kind of feedback loop. He has no desire to hurt you, he was simply attempting to check what it was that you were lying about." The fact that they have worked with Rebel gives an avenue to verify identity, too. "Is the job just a front for trying to get in here to talk to us? Or are you legitimately looking for work too?" She knows any moment Peyton and Richard will come in, and she's actually pretty much expecting him to want to talk to this girl who has access to a precog. Even if the ability is limited.

Her blue eyes cut to Aric as he 'nanoo nanoo's out the doorway and then announces he's not crazy. Shyeah…. right. Elisabeth rolls her eyes and then jumps as her pager pings her. Yanking it out, she glances at it and growls, then raises her voice. "Richard, get your goddamn ass in here, will you? Precog shit is your bailiwick!"

Lene manages to hide a smile behind her tissue, green eyes alight towards the office door, then back to Elisabeth again. "Most telepaths are like that, you can't tune-in to each other or things start to get squeaky…" Humility and quiet has replaced Lene's earlier jubilance and easy-going nature. Instead, seated in that chair in front of Peyton's desk, she's drying her eyes with that tissue and trying to smooth away the mascara that has smudged itself across her cheeks.

"I applied for the job because… I figured it would get me closer to all of you," Lene admits with a furrow of her brows, looking down to the tile floor worriedly. "I… didn't really think it through very well. Um, t— truth be told, I really could use the employment, though. I— Even if you just pay me in cash, I— with Rebel gone, I don't have any real steady source of income. And In— er— m-my friend, she…" Lene's lips downturn into a frown.

"We don't really make enough money to make ends meet, let alone afford my next semester at Columbia…" Glancing to her right, Lene's eyes wander the floor before slowly looking up to the door again, nervous anticipation riddling her.

"Oops. Sorry, Aric!" A smirk twists Richard's lips, and then he looks back to the curt response from the woman that's been running the business in his absense.

"Pey— wait— " There's a flicker of hurt in Cardinal's expression - or guilt? - as she turns away from him to the door, but as the door's opened and there's that shout from inside, he winces. Damn it. And here he was hoping he could slip in, talk to Peyton about Delia, and be out again before anyone noticed. The best laid plans of mice and men, however, oft go astray. A sigh of breath escapes his lips, and he moves to step in after Peyton.

"Um. Hey." Brows lift over shades as he looks around the room, "What's up? Cliff's notes? Kinda busy."

The pretty boy is in a foul mood, he throws a thumb in Lene's direction, "She claims to be a telepath. Came in lying. Wants a job in hopes we will stop d'Sathe from being blown up on the 24th." He shrugs as he turns his eyes back on Lene, "Yet she thinks I am a pyschopath and what not…" Aric shrugs, "nanoo nanoo." Aric looks back at Richard, "I don't trust her. She should have been open from the start."

Lene seems more at ease, if still weepy — Liz is suddenly busy texting, mouthing work to Peyton when they meet eyes. The clairvoyant smiles and nods to Cardinal, then to the redhead. "Jolene Marlowe — unless you have another name you'd rather tell us? — Richard Cardinal," she says, introducing the two.

She moves toward her desk, but simply perches on the corner, glancing back to Cardinal. "Apparently she came in looking for a job, but also to meet us and try to stop this bomb from going off. Savannah Burton — an author — supposedly dies… I'd be sure there are others who are innocent victims as well. Apparently she has a friend who's a precog. That's about all I got, but she came to us…" Peyton swallows, and rewords that, "to you for help."

That Jolene stands when Cardinal enters the room says something, lowering the tissue from her reddened nose to hide behind curled fingers. Lifting her leather planner to hold to her chest, Lene dips her head into a nod and flicks a wary look at Aric before squaring her attention back on Cardinal. "Jolene Marlowe works, if I have to keep up the cover identity I need to not be jumping back and forth between names. Easiest lies to make are the ones that are mostly true anyway." Sucking back a sniffle, Jolene offers a hesitant smile to Cardinal on seeing him for the first time, her attention appraising as she flicks her eyes up and down, then away and to the floor.

"What… what they said is right. I warned miss Burton, but— but I can't just go to the police with my story, partly because I don't know if there's anyone in law enforcement who has Humanis First sympathies, partly because I don't want to be scrutinized." Green eyes look up to Peyton apologetically, "F— For obvious reasons."

Glancing back to Cardinal, Jolene's brows furrow. "But, um, you can just call me 'Lene, sir." Sir.

"Right, because here at Redbird Security Solutions, we are paragons of up-front honesty and legal integrity," Cardinal points out to Aric in almost amused tones — it's a little forced, but perhaps the man's finally started to emerge from the shadows that'd washed over him like a tide in the wake of the eighth. The door's closed behind him, and he leans back against it, pulling the shades off with one hand and fixing a tired gaze dark with lack of sleep on the girl's face.

"Putting aside the fact that I might throw a little party if d'Sarthe was suddenly and violently in several locations at once," he states dryly, "How did you know to come to us, Lene?"

Aric moves to the corner, as he crosses his arms over his chest he leans against the wall and begins to listen in silence as Cardinal, Peyton and Lene speak. He watches Lene with a weathered eye.

"Other people will be there, Cardinal," Peyton points out regarding D'Sarthe's. "It's the kind of thing I would go to."

Moving off the desk and back behind it, she sits back down, quieting so that the younger woman can answer Richard's question.

"Telepathic intuition," Lene admits with a slow raise of her brows. "Literally, and… figuratively, I guess." She offers a quick look to Aric, then back to Cardinal. "I have two," Lene raises her tissue-laden hand, lifting up two fingers away from the wadded ball, "facets to my ability. One, being able to alter people's perceptions of something. My gun is a squirtgun, this passport has my picture on it, these aren't the droids you're looking for…" There's a quirk of her lips up into a faint smile. "That last one's my favorite."

Lowering her hand, point two is a bit more obscure. "Secondly, I'm a sponge. I don't do the usual mind-reader trick, actively. Instead I'm like… passive information absorbtion. You could say I'm tapping into the cultural Zeitgeist, but that's kind'a pretentious." There's a wrinkle of Lene's nose as she reaches up and lifts her glasses from the bridge of her nose, trying to smudge away a black mascara stain in her field of vision. "I learn things by being around people who know them. Usually it's a lot of useless information, but… every so often I'd hear about you, Sir. I'd learn something about what you did, where you'd been… I know what it is you do, some of the stuff you've done. I— hoped you'd be my solution."

Lene's hopeful expression wordlessly asks: Are you?

"You are totally lying your ass off," Cardinal points out with a broad grin, his head shaking slightly, "Unless you've been hanging out in some very interesting places, the number've people who know enough about me to matter I could fit in a cup, shake it up and play craps with it. Seriously. You can't bullshit a bullshitter, and lemme tell you, kiddo, I'm the king of bullshit."

He brings a hand up, scratching at his jaw, "Alright. December twenty-fourth, someone targets d'Sarthe's, blows that— Evolved kiddie book woman up, and probably a whole bunch've other people. You got anything else on this attack?"

"You might be surprised just how connected people are," Lene offers in response, her brows pinching together in a brief look of consternation. "One psychic chain reaction, one secret, and eventually it'll find its way to me. I know things." There's a quirk of one red brow up, then a look down to the floor when Cardinal asks a question to she of the infinite wisdom, and it turns out that Jolene Marlowe's knowledge of things doesn't pertain to things that haven't happened yet.

"W— well…" Teeth toy at her lower lip, "all I know, is that it's a bombing— one explosion— the number of injured and dead, and that authorities were calling it a suicide attack." Green eyes flick from Cardinal to Peyton and back again. "I— I already warned Savannah, and… I think she believed me. But— " Lene glances askance to the box of tissues in the chair. "But I have to be sure."

Turning her pale green stare back to Cardinal, the faux-redhead offers a mild smile. "You'll… you'll really try? Try to— to help stop this?"

"I suppose I can look into it," says Cardinal with a slow and tired shake of his head, fingers dropping from his jawline to splay in a vague brush through the air, "No promises. I've seen what's going to happen to me if I just keep wading through the blood of future timelines, and it's… well. One little suicide bombing isn't a major thing, I guess."

That hand lifts again, rubbing to the bridge of his nose, "'Course. You might have already stopped it. What if she was the target? She cancels on the gala, bombing never happens, but they'll get her at home. Did you think about that?"

Cardinal's morbid wording get a curious glance from Peyton, and she looks back at Lene. Her chin lifts a little defiantly, resolution in the set of her jaw. "We will try to help," she says more decisively. "Humanis First isn't going to kill innocent people. D'Sarthe might not be worth rescuing, but innocent people at a party don't deserve to be killed for having the bad taste to eat at his restaurant."

Her cheeks flush a bit. "Like I said — that's the sort of thing I'd have gone to. To try and keep an eye on things, to be a face for the business, to mingle with people who know things that we should know. I'm not going to just let them get away with that. At the very least — I donno, we can call in a bomb threat early and get the place vacated or something, if you know what time it's supposed to happen."

Dark eyes flit to Cardinal. "We changed things that were seen for the 8th. Maybe not enough, but some — good things, too. We can do this."

"If the attack began and ended with Savannah Burton, then that just means she's still in danger," Lene insists with a worried tone of voice. "If she doesn't go to the charity event, than they'll target her at her home. We— we don't know why they did it, except for the fact that they're a bunch of psychopathic bigoted bastards."

Clearing her throat and realizing she was starting to go on a tear, Lene bites her bottom lip and dips her head into a slow nod. "I— I just want to make sure that we figure out why this happens— how. Every single life that Humanis First takes just— just emboldens other copy-cats who want to be like their heroes. P— people like Emile Danko and Bill Dean lionized the ideal of the terrorist in the minds of the scared and the confused. They— they set the bar with high-profile, implausible attacks."

Squeezing her binder to her chest, Lene looks down to the floor, then up and around the room. "So— did…" Lene's lips creep up into an awkward smile. "Did I get the job?"

"Yes… but now we have two possible targets to worry about," Cardinal points out, the tips of two fingers rubbing against his temple as if a headache was forming there, "Because you warned Savannah away from the occasion, we're going to need to split our focus to protect her and d'Sarthe's now." Amateurs.

He lifts his chin towards her a bit, pointing out, "Playing the devil's advocate here, Humanis attacks do fire up their supporters, yes, but there's also the Pearl Harbor theory to take into account. The slow dissolution of our civil liberties is something that the Evolved might just hide under their beds from rather than doing anything about it - but start blowing things up and shooting people, and they might come together as a community. How do we know that stopping the attack isn't worse than the attack itself?"

He flickers a smile over towards Peyton, then, noting, "She's in charge of hiring. Up to her."

At the names Danko and Dean, Peyton glances away, her stomach clenching as it always does. "They wouldn't suicide bomb a whole building full of people for one person. I mean, not that they have the ethics to care, but there'd have to be others there to make it worth their while, other people they want to hurt. I guess d'Sarthe might be enough, in addition, though," she says quietly.

At Cardinal's words, she looks back to him, then at the others, before finally shrugging. The girl's fear seemed sincere to her — if not her process. "Sure. But I think we'd need you to documentation that will actually fly if someone checks up on you," Peyton says.

"Because people die," Lene insists with a huff of breath and brows furrowed, "and we can prevent that!" Sudden righteous indignation flares up as she takes a step forward towards Cardinal, one hand whipping out and finger pointing at him as if she were about to chastise a child half her age. "You can't weigh the lives of any of the people who are injured or die at that attack against the potential future outcome it could provide! To quote Bhikkhu Bodhi in his book the Noble Eightfold Path: 'If morality is to function as an efficient guide to conduct,'" Lene brandishes that finger at Cardinal, "'it cannot be propounded as a self-justifying scheme but must be embedded in a more comprehensive spiritual system which grounds morality in a transpersonal order.'" Green eyes widen sharply as Lene's brows drop down in a frustrated expression. "You can't start weighing the lives of people against a hypothetical outcome or you devalue the notion of life!"

Red in the face, Lene breathes in deeply through her nose, then exhales a huffed exhalation that blows an errant lock of hair from her face. Swallowing tensely, she starts to shrink back, teeth worrying at her bottom lip and a look cast side-long to Peyton.

"I— " Best to switch gars, abruptly after that little tiff. "I, uh, I got into Columbia with the ID I have now, so… it has to be at least a little solid. Sure, my work references are bogus, but… unless someone really scrutinize me they— they probably wouldn't find anything unusual."

As the young woman's little rant builds up steam, Cardinal slowly arches one eyebrow over the edge of his shades. About half-way through, he scratches at his chin before dropping his hand back down to rest on his other bicep. As she finishes up and shrinks back from him, he says simply, "This isn't about morality. It never was; never will be. You want the other guys."

"But we'll see what we can do. Suicide bombings put a bad taste in my mouth."

He glances to Peyton, then back to Lene before asking, "So, I do have one question. You admit that you're here under a cover identity, using information to claim to've just picked up through psychic osmosis, and you want a job. But refuse to actually tell us anything about yourself. Is that about it?"

Peyton's eyes widen as the younger woman launches into an invective at Cardinal, a man that Peyton has all but worshipped for so many months. Her brows rise and she presses her lips together to keep from interrupting, finally lifting her coffee cup and taking a sip. She doesn't interrupt. As for the work documents, Columbia might not be as choosy as the people keeping tabs on Redbird, which she'd point out if Cardinal didn't ask the 64,000 dollar question.

Her dark eyes return to Lene. "We'll call you by whatever you like, in public. But … if we're going to trust you, we need you to trust us, too."

"I… told her," Lene admits with a point towards Peyton, "last time. Oh and— and Liz, just a little bit ago. I actually think you're the only one not in the loop on who I am!" A bright smile crosses Lene's face, brows furrowed slightly. "But, ah, a long story full of sighs cut down to size…" she sways from side to side with that moment of rhyme. "I'm the product of Company agents gone into hiding, born and raised in northern Canada… I came down here after they passed away, ran into some trouble, and found help from a technopath who helped get me this far."

Gently rocking back on her heels, Lene's red brows lift slowly. "If you absolutely must know, my name's Jolene Marley." Her nose wrinkles, amusedly. "Like I said, the easiest lie to maintain is the one that's closest to the truth. Probably why Rebel picked the identity he did to steal."

"You can understand why having a telepath of sorts is a little nerve wracking for a security firm, if we don't know 100 percent you're on our side, Jolene," Peyton says softly, a little more compassionately, though she glances at Cardinal with worry in her eyes. Is she already making mistake upon mistake acting in his stead? "We can run a background check on that name, too," she adds. "At any rate, I guess we could use a little help in the office." Out with Joanna — and anyone with more Endgame rather than Redbird related business on their mind can hide elsewhere in the building. "Does that work for you? Say a trial basis — fifteen an hour."

"Miss Marley." A smile twitches slightly to Cardinal's lips, "Welcome to Redbird. Given that you soak up information from being around people, I'm probably not going to see you very often. Nothing personal, but my brain's a registered lethal weapon in twelve states thanks to what's in it."

That said, he turns to the door, "I'll let you work out details. Pey, I'll… talk to you downstairs later?"

"You can background check Marley all you want, but I doubt two former Company agents and a kid they never told anybody was born will show up. But, you're welcome to try, and if you find out anything lemme know, I heard I have an uncle out there somewhere." Red brows lifted, Lene offers a fond smile, clasping her hands behind her back before she settles down on her heels, dipping her head once more into a nod. "I'll do whatever you guys need, I can be really helpful, you'll see!"

Though as Cardinal and Peyton are preparing to leave and lene is looking for a waste basket to dispose of her used tissue in, something dawns on her. Sucking in a sharp breath, Lene takes a few steps closer to Peyton and Cardinal, brows furrowed. "One— one thing though. Just so we're clear?" There's a hesitant smile on her face as she offers up one bit of correction.

"It is always about morality."


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