This Is Gonna Sound Bad


jane2_icon.gif praeger2_icon.gif vincent_icon.gif

Scene Title This Is Gonna Sound Bad
Synopsis The Department of Evolved Affairs is given a wake up call.
Date August 10, 2011

26 Federal Plaza


Is the sound that the golfing club makes when it hits white dimpled golf ball, skating along daintily and up the felt green platform of the mini-mini-office golfing game, where it circles the hole before disappearing. There's a mechanical click, and the ball is ejected to roll right back where it came, stopped from skidding beneath the large, wooden desk with a press of Praeger's shoe. It's a gift from someone, and probably not meant to be used in much seriousness — but truly, the office in the skyscraping Federal Plaza is big enough that the space would go to waste otherwise apart from spontaneous chair races (no) or round table inter-agency conferences (too rare, these days).

"I think it was Katie Sebastian that sang your praises some time ago," he is saying to the woman, who has barely walked in once the EA outside has permitted entrance. Because he next to always has some sort of compliment or hearsay at the ready — whether this is deliberate or simply just Raymond is up for debate. "I heard you lended some help during the Redbird investigations. I know that the Office of Intelligence and Analysis can always use a helping hand across departments. What can I do for you today, Agent Pak?"

"Oh, she just likes me for my body," Jane says as she shuts the door behind her. Because Jane always has something inappropriate to say as her own little quirk. However, this time, her tone is not quite up to par, humor-wise. There are other oddities. Like, she has a briefcase with her. She never has a briefcase, even at the most important of meetings. And she looks a little nervous.

The dreams predicted she died before doing this, and while she's been determined not to let that happen, there's also the nagging thought that it's a little premature. But hell, she never let a little premature anything bother her for long. If you know what I mean.

And I think you do.

She doesn't get in the way of his aim, even as she steps deeper into the office, going so far as to set the case on his desk. "I wasn't too much help, beyond annoying people. But that is what I'm best at. But what I wanted to talk to you about is a little side project I've been working on." But she doesn't quite get to the point yet. If only she's brought a flask.

"Well," Praeger says, stooping to collect the golf ball and moving to place it and club aside, needlessly wiping his hands together before he's turning his attention back to Jane Pak, hands free and focus all her's, a flash of a mild and polite smile beneath frameless glasses that only just outrank it in shininess, "you managed to catch me during a slow moment, but I do have a five-thirty— " There goes the meaningful look down at his wristwatch. "— to try and make in this traffic." He is good at this — exuding a certain amount of benign ignorance, but he is, in the glances from her face to her briefcase and back again, aware that she is substantially more nervous than he is.

Adjusting shirt cuffs, he presses a thin but genuine smile to her, wordless encouragement.

"Five-thirty, huh?" Jane chews on a lip for a moment, which given the fact that she was just given a time limit, is not the most productive of actions, but she's not all that sure he's going to want to make that meeting. No matter the outcome.

"I've always liked you, sir. So I hope you'll understand that I'm not really trying to rock the boat… or, I am, I'm just not trying to rock you out of it. So to speak. But I…" Buck up, soldier. It's an almost tangible peptalk as the woman straightens up and turns to unlock the briefcase. She doesn't open it yet, not yet, but since her collected evidence about his wife is in there, she wants it at the ready.

"I had some suspicions about people in this department, and while I was digging around to see if those suspicions held any water…" That's where she turns to look at him, a hand on her hip. "It's about Carol." She lets that sink in a moment before going on. "I don't know if you know what's been going on with her, but now I know and in case you didn't know, or didn't know… everything, I couldn't just sit on it." Pause. "Sir." A finger thumps against that briefcase, pointedly.

The smile disappears so gradually that you'd hardly notice until Praeger's face is set into a look of pure disapproval — although this could just be how his face looks when it comes to generalised negativity. It is not the meeting he expected to have, as he has oh so many with the countless public servant minions employed beneath him. Most know not to try and talk about anything personal outside of jogging apparel, good restaurants and holidays in Greece. And especially not about the man's wife.

He doesn't shoo her out of the room, naturally. But he doesn't invite her to sit and continue. Not verbally, anyway.

By now, his scrutiny is coming over the tops of his glasses, with the sort of silence that a principal might use when waiting for what excuses a wayward student might have.

As visually intimidating as Vincent's ability is by nature or design, it's also virtually silent. Well behind Praeger's back, free of that scrutinizing stare, pitchy vapor condenses rapidly into the rough form of of a shortish, baldish, Italianish gentleman in DoEA ~Sensitive Situation~ issue BDUs. Which is to say that he is in all black from clunky boots to the snug zip of his collar, sturdy construction thickened all the further by the clamp of a kevlar vest around his middle.

Jane, naturally, is positioned to see him there first. Not necessarily unexpected.

Not necessarily pleasant, either.

It's okay, Jane doesn't need a verbal invitation. Not once she's going. "I had a suspicion about… okay, so this is gonna sound bad, and I've been preparing for getting fire over this for a while, so, you know, no bad feelings there… But Mayes. I've been looking into her for a bit and while I was, I came across reports about your wife. Like, vitals. Check ups. Sedation… Testing. And that… well, it made me wonder. I wasn't instantly on the war path or anything, but I did wonder why she would have that sort of information at all. So it was weird."

She pauses just a little as the smoke catches her eye and starts to form into the shape of her most certain pink slip. But the only giveaway Praeger might get is her focus going just a bit off him for a moment before she gets back on track. "And then I got my hands on a little more. Experiments with her ability, that kind of thing." She doesn't need to explain that that's the part that got to her, because it's written all over her face. "And maybe the worst of all of it… It looks like they've been… letting people request her… power. And because I wasn't sure who to trust in here, I've been working with someone on the outside. To get help." She doesn't exactly introduce Vincent there, but she does look more deliberately at him, as if handing him the floor.

Vincent won't see Praeger's expression— rock still, anyway, so it would make little difference— but he can probably see the way Praeger's back straightens in subtle jolt at the news coming out of Jane's face. There are things he knows, yes, of Carol's situation.

There are also things he does not know, clearly. He also doesn't know that Vincent is here until Jane stares off in that direction, and on cue, Praeger neatly steps aside to better turn and look. He does not look pleased to see him. He does not look overly surprised to see him — whether because his involvement isn't a shock, or because he is processing more important things right now. "These are some very high risk accusations you're bringing to me now, agent," he says, because the woman is due some response, and his voice is even enough to measure by. "You seem to have a talent for getting your hands on things.

"I have reports that contradict what you're saying about my wife, I hope you understand."

Vincent looks about as pleased to be here as he might be pleased to dive into a tank of flesh-eating eels, so. Fair's fair and all is even. Raymond.

Even once he's been recognized, the discourse here is clearly between Praeger and Jane and sounds likely to stay that way until he cuts in point blank. It's probably no coincidence that he's the only person here who cannot be fired.

"I have your wife."

Is what he has to say, in that kind of level and slightly overloud way that tends to muffle out contrary tendrils of conversation. "And your wife contradicts the reports that contradict what Agent Pak is saying about your wife."

At Vincent's opening line, Jane brings palm to face for a moment, shaking her head before looking to the ceiling for the answer to the silent plea of why me. But at least it gets a little better as he goes on. A smidgen. "I couldn't go in and get her out myself, and as odd as it is to say so, Lazzaro was the more trustworthy of my options."

And she turns back to Praeger, her look apologetic, but a little exasperated, too. "And no offense, sir, but duh. They wouldn't want to send you reports about handing out viral immunity at your wife's expense. Or any of the other things I found out about. And I wouldn't come here and say all this to you if I wasn't sure, because that would be douchey. I try to avoid being an asshole as often as possible. And… well, it's all here, but since Vinnie there actually got her out, it's a little moot now. But, hey… damn good job," she says, finishing with a thumbs up for Vincent.

Is she mad?

Ridiculously, this is an important question that Praeger almost says were it not for the fact that shock— oh so briefly— crosses over otherwise schooled features, a brief silver-blue look to Vincent before flicking away again, eyeing the window and what lies beyond it as he listens to Jane. He is probably not going to make his five-thirty, his entire calendar flown out of his immediate thoughts and his hands bound tightly into themselves, the ridges of knuckles gone bloodless until he remembers them, loosens his fingers. So that he can fix his already immaculately placed tie, pinned with silver, a certain nervously quality to the tremor that reaches his fingertips.

"What I mean, agent," Praeger Explains, then taking off his glasses for the purpose of cleaning them, "is that your evidence had want to hold up against it. But I see now that it's hardly necessary. For now. Excuse me— " Because even if you're freaking out, as the kids would say, one should be polite. He asks of Vincent, "How is she?" Which is a lot like is she mad.

Odd? Why should it be? Vincent gives Jane a distinctly skeptical look, in the midst of everything. Testy, even. He is extremely trustworthy. What is he, some kind of terrorist or something?

Her exasperated apology for Praeger fails to smooth his feathers, but he doesn't press the issue, pride stifled for the sake of the future and all. Because that's just the kind of hero that he is.



In a related story, her thumbs up are ill-temperedly received with a look and a glance up and down her person that is less masculinely intimidating than he would probably like to think that it is. "Better, now. On her feet. Astute. She was being detained via ACTS."

Hey! She said he did a good job! She's not handing out medals, no matter how surly he looks. But his look over does get her hands on her hips, although it's her turn to go quiet as Praeger asks about his wife. So instead of butting in, she leans one of those hips against his desk and idly picks up a pencil to flip around between her fingers. She might still be a little nervous, but at least the spotlight is elsewhere now.

This news gets some recoil — and confusion, too, but on what, Praeger doesn't feel it necessary to voice. He doesn't do angry very well, but there is a certain stiffness in the way he minces back to his desk, dragging the chair out from under it and away enough to sit, hand braced against the edge before he tips a look back to Vincent. "I need to talk to her," he says, once he's sure he can sound as he always sounds, needing a careful moment for this mental image to tick on by. This swift demand is followed up with a more conceding, "When it's safe. And I need," and he looks towards Jane, "this documentation you got your hands on. About Carol, and about— "

There's a small pause, a hesitation, and his voice is a little flatter as he finishes that with, "Georgia."

Obsidian eyes watch Praeger all the way into his sit, Lazzaro not having moved from his initial spawn. "Yes, sir," conceded without argument on the subject of visitation, he glances to Jane again after a moment's more meticulous thought. "There are other variables, of course. I'll draft a report. She can deliver it to you." Can.

Will. Agent Judgmental Woman.

"I brought what I have," Jane says with a nod toward the briefcase. She kept copies, of course, but you know, people don't need to know that. "I'm planning on digging more." Into Georgia, that is. When she's volunteered to run messages, she gives Vincent a look for a moment, but eventually nods. "Sure, I can play messenger girl. Got a bike and everything. Little hat. I'm ready to go."

Praeger nods once as requests are heard, noted and addressed, fixing his stare on the briefcase in the way that people do when simply finding a thing to look at as wheels otherwise turn. "Then I'll be looking forward to reviewing your progress," he says, as if on automatic, and as if this in any way was a proper, official meeting. As if maybe Vincent was actually still employed in any capacity. As if remembering himself and the situation, he says, a little more astutely and looking from agent to ex-agent, "I wouldn't flatter myself to think you did this for me as opposed to Carol, but thank you.

"For your work," is added, almost awkwardly. Praeger doesn't do awkward very well, but there it is, unfocusing again into introspection.

Jane's look is met without blinking. Politely daring her to say something in front of Dad.

If (more like when, right?) she doesn't, Vincent is left to look Praeger over one final time, right and left hands included. The last time he left out of here, it was via a very high window. "I've only just met her," only manages not to be awkward only because Vincent is even worse at being awkward. Implication being that it wasn't. For her. Necessarily.

Or something.

The pause that follows is slightly awkward accordingly.


He manages a reasonably professional, "Good to see you, Raymond," before he does the thing where he decides to vanish when he wants the conversation to be over as opposed to when it is — actually over.

Jane gives Praeger a nod, apparently fully intended to share more openly in the future. As for Vincent. She doesn't say anything, it's true. She's a professional. This is her workplace. So she waits until Praeger is looking away before she makes the universal brownnoser signal in Vincent's general direction. But her expression is lighthearted, at least. When things seem to be winding down, Jane stands straight again, tugging her vest into place before she turns to head for the door.

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