The Old Guard


martin_icon.gif ryans_icon.gif veronica3_icon.gif

Scene Title The Old Guard
Synopsis Benjamin Ryans is not prepared for how the Company has changed since the bomb, and Martin Crowley has plans to make even more changes once he decides what to do with one Mortimer Jack…
Date March 9, 2010

Fort Hero

A long time ago, the Company operated out of comfortable offices with wood paneling on the walls, the scent of fresh paper in the air and the distant sound of forklifts working at warehouses. These days, the Primatech Paper cover has been abandoned entirely, and the Company has been forced deeper underground despite it's relationship with the United States Government.

Fort Hero is not something that Benjamin Ryans ever expected to have to see in his lifetime, a generations old military installation almost an hour outside of New York City on the eastern edge of Long Island. Arriving by train kept much of the mystique of the arrival intact, and the private subway line that traverses the distance between Flushing Queens and the basement levels of the complex is a straight shot.

Through those concrete halls and Spartan furnishings, Ryans is brought for the first time since his tempting back into active duty to the nerve center of the Company's operations, and time has changed things more than he expected. There's less than half the number of active field agents here at Fort Hero than there ever were at the Hartsdale or Bronx facilities, and the great size of Fort Hero itself makes it seem all the more empty.

Led by agent Veronica Sawyer whom he'd met at the rail station. former agent Ryans is escorted up the escalators from the rail platform and it's 1950's flair of architectural style into the military complex that was Fort Hero's subterranean research grounds. Away from the laboratory wing, Ryans is led by Agent Sawyer past more familiar grounds, Agent's quarters and offices, familiar names on bronze plates — Dalton, Bishop — things that make this seem just a little more familiar.

It's within the confines of gray-blue painted conference room that Agent Ryans is brought face to face with the middle management of the Company. Seated like a gargoyle at the head of the long conference table, Agent Martin Crowley looks one part sleek businessman with his pinstriped suit and unbuttoned shirt that harkens back to memories of a young Eric Thompson, but also one part dirty beatnik with his wavy brown hair parted in the middle and worn shoulder length, jaw largely unshaven in a purposefully disheveled look.

Looking up from a set of three bright red folders set in front of him, Assistant Director Crowley's brows lift up as her surveys the old man that follows behind Agent Sawyer into the room. Chin tilting up and eyes peering over the tops of his glasses, Martin's expression is a scrutinizing one. "Mister Ryans, Agent Sawyer…" There's a crook of his mouth up into a faint smile. "It's wonderful t'see you both 'ere today, come on in and 'ave yourself a seat."

"Agent Crowley," Veronica says, husky voice terse though professional. There is no "Assistant Director" from her lips, which are set now as she sets her jaw, still angry at his choice of 'sending backup' a week ago. Her wrist is still bound in a cast after having reconstructive surgery on the dislocated bones, but other than that she is all Company agent in sleek black pinstriped trousers of her own, black boots beneath, and an black wool peacoat to ward off the cold.

The brunette agent glances at her temporary partner, and back to Martin. "You've met?" she asks, before slipping into one of the two seats across from the beatniky director.

It's a harsh reality for the former agent as he's brought through the new Company establishment, a place that brings back memories of his time in the Teams. Of course, it's also a slap in the face, when Ryan's eyes fall on Crowley, to see that the Company he was so loyal too is now run by young hippies. Wasn't there a dress code once? Hair shouldn't touch the collar? That sort of thing?

Even as the thoughts flit through his mind, his expression is neutral, calm and calculating. His way of dress is simple. Dark slacks, matching sports coat and a lightly blue shirt, minus the tie as well. Stepping behind Veronica, Ryans unbuttons the single button on his jacket, headed to a seat.

"Agent Crowley." Ryans' soft rumbling voice greets, calm as always. "No, Agent Sawyer, we have not met. But then, I imagine the director has done his homework." Settling into the other chair, the former agent tries not to let the fact the winter brings out some of the ache from showing. As agents go, Ryans has been around the block. "Or at least not in my time, pre-Midtown."

"Ryans is correct, we 'aven't 'ad the pleasure, but I was just refreshing myself on his dossier." Martin's lips creep up into an affable smile, hands folding atop the folder. "Knowing people in this organization 'as always been something of my job, that's only more so now that I'm working under Director Dalton." Narrowing his eyes behind the lenses of his glasses, Martin eyes Veronica's bound up wrist with a moment of scrutiny before quietly adding, "It's good to see you got off light compared to our other less fortunate agents."

Lifting his hands off the folder, Crowley makes a dismissive gesture with both hands. "We're not here to discuss that particular incident, however. I'm rather eager to find out the results of your ah, investigation into this Mortimer Jack fellow?" Leaning back into his chair with a creak of the back, Martin folds his hands in his lap and crosses one leg over the other, offering a thoughtful look from Sawyer to Ryans and back again.

"Now I've read Sabra's file 'ere, and it's darling," there's something of a sarcastic tone at that, "but what I want to hear is exactly what the two've you think 'bout this fella. Because frankly, I'm looking at what's written 'ere an' jus' shakin' my 'ead." There's a squint of Assistant Director Crowley's eyes, considering the paired agents. "How'd it go?"

The dark eyes of Veronica Sawyer flash when Crowley mentions her getting off light. Somehow she manages to keep her face impassive, even if the eyes tell a different story, and she manages not to tell Crowley what she thinks of his partner and his less-than-meticulous searching skills. They would have been able to handle the surprise attack of the man under the bed, if they hadn't missed the second man in the shower. That's her story and she's sticking to it. And it's what was in the report.

As for the report he mentions now, Sawyer arches her brows. Darling? Is he mocking Dalton? Is there anyone this man approves of?

"As you can see, Sir, we have his location in Midtown, so it's easy enough to keep an eye on him. He did the dirty work on Primatech, but at Adam Monroe's bidding. He wants to kill Monroe. I don't see him as much of a threat or even our jurisdiction, as he says he's lost his ability, but since he's itching to get at Monroe, you could cut a deal with him there. He's, to put it bluntly, insane, but he seems more or less in control, with a couple of triggers that might make him lose it. Mostly, his 'Southern Belle,' who he claims is dead but I believe is alive and working for him, used to be a Linderman worker who Linderman tried to kill."

Darling? A thin brow quirks up, just a tiny bit, at that word, coming out of the yuppie — hippie — whatever's mouth. Darling was something his deceased wife would say. "The man is clearly in need of professional mental help, as Agent Sawyer suggests." The old man supplies without batting an eye, a foot brought up to rest on his knee, making the black dress socks he's wearing visible. "He seems to flip back and forth between the personalities. The split having happened, shortly after that video that aired on the Internet. The battle between him and some law enforcement officer. But I would say he's much like a pitbull, we do not clearly know what will trigger a reversal and him go back to how things were."

A nod goes in Veronica's direction, "I agree for the most part he's harmless." But after a beat he adds, "For now, at least. And from what I saw on the Linderman DVD, he's been insane long before he became two minds." The foot on his knee bounces a bit as he continues to explain. "An insanity brought on by studies done by his father." A matter of fact look is given to the director, "I read the book, out of sheer curiosity, and I would rather not again."

"Interesting." Martin says in a manner with which he implies tedious instead of the word he said. Leaning forward, Martin's elbows come to rest on the table top, hands cradling his chin as he considers the two agents. "So you'd say he's more pants on head crazy than boil your rabbit crazy?" There's a certain cheeky tone that Martin takes that just seems to not entirely take the assessment seriously. "We 'ave a psychiatrist 'ere that this fellow could get a run through on, but frankly I don't much care. Mister Jack sounds like e's just a few too many marbles short of a jar an' I'm not exactly willing to just throw opportunities at wasteful investments."

Reaching up to scratch at the back of his neck with one hand, Martin's brows furrow. "Now, see, this is where we come to a bit of a problem. As much as I'd love to throw one lunatic at another an' just 'ope they blow each other up, Monroe's been off the grid for so long none've our agents know where e's wound up."

Pursing his lips, Martin exhales a deep sigh. "After reviewing Monroe's file I never thought I'd say this, but we've actually got bigger problems right now than 'im." Leaning back in his seat, there's a creak of the frame and Martin's hands come down to fold in his lap again.

"As it stands right now, and especially after what I heard happened with Agent Sanders, I'm just simply not willing t'take the risk of hiring a schizophrenic madman into our organization. Furthermore, I'm not willing to 'ire a schizophrenic madman 'oo also killed several of our agents in the collapse of the Bronx facility." Scowling at that notion, Martin looks down to the desk, slides off his glasses and pinches the bridge of his nose.

"To put a nail in the coffin on this Mortimer situation, I'll give one offer that the two've you are free to give to Mister Jack. If e's willing to undergo a mind-wipe to try an' hammer down some've those pesky mental nails e's got burred up from 'is 'ead, I'll consider finding Mortimer a place with us. But this means losing months— if not years— of memories in the process. Otherwise, he's simply too risky to keep as anything other than a contact."

Rubbing one hand over his chin, Martin furrows his brows, looking thoughtful on the subject.

The look Veronica gives to her new boss is a look one might give a three headed troll picking its nose. Disgusted awe. "A mindwipe?" she echoes and gives a shake of her head. Her own personal phobia coming from the words of the assistant director as if it were some small thing, like having a hangnail removed. Oh, just years of memory — it's no big deal. It might actually help to restore the man's sanity, if the memories are the root of his lunacy; Veronica can see that much. It's not the suggestion of it that bothers her so much but the flippancy with which it's suggested.

"What you propose is … shaky at best. It might not work at all, in which case you've removed the man's memories for nothing, and from what I understand restoring isn't as easy as taking them away." There are too many people with holes in their heads that she knows of. "And even if he were sane — if he doesn't have his power, and he's missing an arm, how is he a boon to us? I don't really see you all recruiting one-armed non-Evolved crazy people. But maybe I missed the memo."

There is actually relief from Ryans as he hears most of what the man says, there is some hope for Director Crowley yet. "I personally, would like to keep him outside of this organization. A contact is the best I see. A chess piece to move when we need something, but not an agent." Giving a small sweeping motion of his hand, the former agent doesn't seem to mind voicing his opinion, he adds. "Mostly, because I think simply taking years away from him may not be enough. You would have to have Rene purge everything his father did to him, to get to the man beneath. Digging that much out, would mostly like take him back to a childhood state of mind. To avoid that, you'd have to go a full wipe of all memories."

Unlike Veronica, the former agent doesn't seem to have issues with mind wipes, he's used The Haitian enough times during his employment. A finger stabs at the side of his shoe, as it rests on it's side across his knee, as he makes his point, "He was insane before the split. You wipe away that time, you'll get the insane man, without the control of the saner half. A man who would be ready to take us on again."

"I do not see how it would work, I am sorry to say."

"Now see Ryans, that's exactly the kind've thinking I was 'oping for. You'd do well to learn from 'is example, Agent Sawyer. Ryans knows to rebuke an idea with contrary facts, not speculation. A child-like Agent's use to no one." Martin lifts both his hands up, "But, I'm nothing if not full of ideas. I doubt you'll prefer my secondary one much better but I think Mister Jack might just well 'ave something of a useful ability for us to 'andle after all." Martin somehow doesn't seem too surprised about the notion of Mortimer having lost his ability, but without details on whether ir was Arthur Petrelli or one of the pair of Tyler Cases that were responsible means he can't pursue that avenue of questioning.

"I'm going to be putting you on an assignment you're not much going to like, Agent Sawyer. But before we get to that, I'm going to get something else out've the way that I've been sitting on long enough." Getting up from his chair, Martin flips open one of the red folders and withdraws a small plastic clip badge and identification card. He walks down the side of the table towards where Ryans is seated and presses them down with a click in front of him.

"Effective immediately," Martin says in a quiet tone of voice, motioning to a Department of Homeland Security identification badge and Fort Hero passcard, "welcome back to the Company agent Ryans."

Sawyer sits back in her chair with a slight smirk — it's exasperation, but there's no reason not to revel in it. Her rebuke was no more speculative than Ryans, but clearly Old-School has Martin's respect while she doesn't. She throws a sidelong glance at Ryans to see if she can discern his feelings toward what now amounts to both of their boss — but of course Ryans as many more years at perfecting his mask than she has. "I'm sure," she adds, regarding the case she won't like. When does she like her cases? Still, she offers a smile to Ryans. "Welcome aboard? Welcome back? Good luck?" she's not sure what the proper salutation is.

Normally, the old agent is able to keep that calm neutral expression, but when the IDs are set in front of him, Ryan's age thinned brows shoot up in surprise. There is a touch of hesitation before, the re-instated Agent leans forward, foot sliding off his knee, to pick up the badge and card.

It's a job he's missed since the day he walked away to care for his little girls. "My thanks," He says softly, after a moment, his thumb brushing over the Homeland Security Badge. There is a twist of guilt as he holds them, as this will have to stay a secret to his kids. Even with that, there is a sense of everything being right again.

His head turns finally, so he can give Veronica a small smile. "Thank you, Agent Sawyer. From what I have seen, I have no doubt that a good luck is in order." Looking at the badge again, there is a look of satisfaction. "After talking to my daughter today, this will come in very handy."

Martin offers Ryans a thoughtful look for a moment, then offers a look back up to Veronica. "Now we need to get down to business. Tomorrow there is going to be a Company-wide meeting of available active field agents to discuss a deluge of cases that have been handed to us through our connections with the Department of Homeland Security. There's a number of Evolved crimes on the rise in the city, and we're the best-eruipped ot handle it, even if we are… admittedly… a bit under-staffed at the moment."

Moving back to his seat, Crowley picks up his glasses from the table where he'd set them down and slides them back on, sinking back into his chair again. "Ryans, I'd appreciate it if you could make it to the meeting tomorrow, I'm going to be doing things a little differently than you may be used to, and I think this will help get you up to speed. In light of Assistant Director Denton's retirement and… staffing issues we're having, I'm assigning all of our active agents together to several assignments over the next few weeks. Consider it a test run, and if it proves successful we may entirely dissolve the one of us, one of them mantra that's been causing us to drag our heels for so long."

Reclining into his chair, Martin folds his hands and looks from Veronica to Ryans, then reaches down to pick up a folder and slide it across the table towards where Veronica is. "The contents of that folder do not leave this room. What you have in there, Agent Sawyer, is an unofficial investigation. We have not been cleared to follow-through with it, but I simply refuse to sit with my hands folded on this one. I'm taking you off of the investigation into Skoll to cover this, it's simply more important."

But judging from his cagey nature, Crowley isn't including Ryans on that. "I believe we can consider the case of Mortimer Jack closed, barring what's contained in that file, Agent Sawyer. Which I believe covers all of the details I needed to get out of the way… unless either of you had any questions?" Martin's brows furrow and he folds his hands in front of his mouth, elbows resting on the arms of the chair.

From chastised to suddenly put on a case more important than Chesterfield's? The office of Assistant Director Martin Crowley is a dizzying space for Agent Sawyer. She picks up the file, arching a brow in curiosity before opening it, in a way that Ryans cannot see what is in it, since clearly he's not meant to know. Her brow furrows, and she looks up with surprise. One day she'll cease being surprised, but that will probably be the day she's Haitianed.

She flips through the file, before closing it and looking up. "What was your alternative idea to Mortimer Jack, or is that not for us to know?" she asks. Part of her hates the man for what he did to Primatech, but part of her places the true blame on Adam Monroe — much like Jack did himself. Jack was insane, and Adam used him as a pawn.

Somethings never change, blue eyes glance at the file as it is pushed across to Veronica, but then looks away to Crowley, Ryan's knows the drill. "I should have no problem making the meeting." A small smile twitches at one corner of his mouth. "Without the girls, it is easier to get away for Company meetings." He doesn't quite know what to think of such a huge proposed change as taking away that rule.

"I will be curious to see what there is that needs to be done," He admits, with a short nod of his head. A glance out of the corner of his eyes to Veronica at her question about Mortimer, but he doesn't voice his curiosity as well.

"Bait." Martin states rather flatly, eyes up to Veronica, "for 'im." There's a motion towards the dossier that Agent Sawyer is holding in her hands. "I think you can start to see 'ow to put two and two together 'ere. I don't trust Jack to be anything other than a liability, but given that you still don't 'ave an official partner, an' I'm not going to put Ryans or Henry on that particular case, I'm going to need you to 'ave someone at your back. You've 'ad previous interactions with Mortimer and I think you'll know best 'ow to utilize his eccentricies to help get into the mind of a madman, yeah?"

Managing a somewhat bland smile, Martin's eyes don't quite have the same affect to them. "I assure you, Agent Ryans, that your return from retirement will be exceptionally eventful." Pursing his lips, the well-manicured agent leans back and laces his fingers together, crossing one leg over the other again. "With that, I release you to Agent Sawyer's custody. She can show you around Fort Hero and give you the lay of the land, as it were. Feel free to familiarize yourself with our current… limited roster of agents. You should see a few friendly faces come tomorrow's meeting."

Looking from Ryans to Veronica, Martin breathes in deeply and exhales a satisfied breath. "With that, I think this meeting is over. Welcome back, Agent Ryans, we've needed someone like you here."

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License