The Enemy Of My Enemy... Ain't My Friend


jessica_icon.gif teo_icon.gif

Scene Title The Enemy Of My Enemy… Ain't My Friend
Synopsis A Company operative and one of Phoenix's have a small number of professional and personal differences to snarl through before joining forces against Kazimir Volken becomes a realistic possibility. Which it doesn't. Become a realistic possibility.
Date January 13, 2008

Between There And Here

Jessica says: Ringring

Three rings in, the line clicks connect. "Hello." Same voice, less Italian.

Well, they know each other's voices. "We need to talk." she says, diving right into the meat of the conversation.

"Heard about your sister," Teo answers, without sounding especially shocked or puzzled by the fact that their telecommunications relationship has been renewed. His tone remains polite, albeit lacking the warmth or mood that normally accompanies the pleasant scattering of Italian. "I was sorry to hear it didn't work out. Are you alienating all of Manhattan because of her again?"

Jessica's voice comes in reply. "I was sorry it didn't work out either. And no. Just a few people. Mostly some of yours in Phoenix, Teo." The last two words are enough for her to let him know that yes, she knows.

Either he knew she knew or Teo's on the verge of overdosing on mood-stabilizers— it's hard to say. There's a low thump, a body settling in space. He repeats his query, but in different terms this time: "Is this about Niki again?"

Jessica replies fairly promptly. "No. It's about Kazimir Volken and the need to do something about it. You and I should talk. And somewhere more secure than cell phones."

Teo considers that for a breath, maybe two. "This line's secure, but I can get you another number to continue this conversation, if you want. You keep beating up people I like, signora. I hate to be rude, but frankly, I want you to leave us alone and suffer a little injury while you're at it. You can talk to your superiors about Volken. Your family isn't the only little pie the Company has a finger in."

The woman replies "I can do worse than beat people up, Teo. Volken is too big an issue. I have access to resources your organization could really use right now. You have access to information that can help those resources stop Volken. Right now, we don't have to like each other. But we do need to work together. I'm hoping you're bright enough to see that. Because if I have to, I can make life very difficult for you and several of your members. I don't want to do that…" And if there's something she hasn't done yet, to any of them, it's lie. "…but I will if you make that a necessary incentive to prompting you to act."

"I'm bright enough to realize you're the least qualified person I've ever met to operate as a liaison on behalf of the Company," Teo answers, his voice a little slower now, as if by regret, mingling the obvious other signs of temper. "If the Company wants to talk, there are channels. I know Volken's a cunt and worth spending time and effort to stop. It's a sensitive situation. I hope you can understand why you aren't someone I want to have around it."

She replies "You'd be surprised. Right now, so far as the Company knows, I've been mindwiped and released. I don't work for them anymore. Except for the senior leadership of the Company, who knows the truth and to whom I directly converse." She'll offer that bit of info. Good faith and all that. "I also have access to Daniel Linderman and his organization. Right now, the enemy of my enemy is my friend. I'm not suggesting this puts us on each other's Christmas list. But we have bigger fish to fry right now. And if there is one thing I am very good at, it's eliminating problems. Now, are you going to put your personal dislike for me aside and do the right thing so we can stop Volken and his people, or does this have to get complicated?"

There's a faint, hollow scrape, a blunt finger dragged across the holes perforated into the mouthpiece of Teo's celllphone. "I think I'm just going to sit here and stare incredulously at the nearest wall until you start making some sense. You say you know there's a war coming, and you nearly cost me a soldier and a medic. Now you're volunteering your PR skills and inferring shit about my intelligence. You really don't notice anything weird about that? Not even a little?"

Jessica snorts derisively. "I couldn't give a shit about PR, and you and I both know it. I'm a wetwork specialist, Teo. I remove problems. You and I both know there's no damage I did that Abby can't heal right as rain. So yes, I am inferring shit. I don't think you're a stupid person. I don't think that you'd be leading up Phoenix if you were. But I also think you're a little too convinced of your own group's abilities. You can't stop him on your own. So which is more important? Us sitting here bandying words back and forth, or stopping this crazy son of a bitch?"

"Let me rephrase this—" Teo takes a moment to locate the English vocabulary. "You fucked up here. As it stands, you're more of a liability than an asset. I have no reason to believe anything you say, and as it stands, I can't even honestly believe you'd commit for self-preservation, at the rate you're burning your bridges. You have no credibility. None. Until you can wrap your head around these facts and give me something worth making amends, this is it."

Somehow, he managed not to raise his voice throughout that set of statements, but it's probably self-evident: Jessica has either put him or found him in something of a mood.

There's a bit of a pause. Probably as she considers it. "I'm already offering access to Company information and resources. What else do you want?"

There's a bit of a pause on Teo's part, too, probably as he either considers that or restrains himself from saying something either regrettable or merely pointless. "It's going to take more than promises to buy you involvement in anything my people do. If you were qualified to do this thing, you'd probably start out by admitting you realize you haven't been acting like it.

"Maybe an apology. Or a stop order on the fucking threats? Something like that. But since you haven't, I'm willing to hold until you come up with something more creative." If Teo's tone got any flatter, it would probably invert and implode into static.

Jessica is silent a bit. Mostly while she goes through a long laundry list of cursing out amateurs in her head. They're talking about the end of the world and he wants apologies? "Fine. No more threats." Since she doesn't need to threaten to do harm anyway. "The fact remains; you people have information they don't have, and they have resources and manpower you don't have. Now are we going to put the chocolate in the peanut butter or not?"

A long, slow exhale blows across the receiver. Not loud or flagrantly rude, but troubled enough by the combined stress of Liz's near hamburger experience and Volken's imminent approach. Teo finally says, "I'm going to want physical evidence — and a demonstration that you're the agent to do this. It wouldn't be beyond us to fucking E-mail your superiors if they want to talk.

"As far as I'm concerned, it's your involvement that's on the line. Get a hard copy of some summary and performance reviews or whatever the Hell it is your boss used to stamp you to confirm what you told me earlier. Mindwipe, access to Linderman, and your boss's signature. Can you do that and rendezvous somewhere today?"

A dryly amused tone. "You seriously think the head of the Company is going to go signing paper on this? You don't get it. This isn't an Official Company Action. Because THEY would like to see you all sitting in very dark holes. Both you and they are trying to look at this problem like each can handle it on their own. On the other hand, if I can convince them that you people are part of the solution and not part of the problem, I may be able to get both of you actually working on the same page."

"Is this the part where I hang up and get back to my job?" There's a clump and clump of Teo putting his feet up on something. "Or do you have another way of advertising yourself as something other than a serene nutcase with a mouthful of pretty promises?"

Jessica replies "You're not going to be able to do your job, or any job, once Volken releases viral death through this city. Just remember when people are dying around you that you had a way out; you had other options to deal with this, and your ego had you turn them down." And with that, she disconnects.

January 13th: Someday There Might Be Trust
January 13th: We're Getting Better at that Interdepartmental Cooperation Thing
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