Two For Tea


gwen_icon.gif sabra_icon.gif

Scene Title Two For Tea
Synopsis Sabra continues to meet Company personnel. This time, it's Gwen Wickham.
Date October 17, 2008

Primatech Research — Sabra's Office

Late afternoon means Sabra's office no longer gets direct sunlight, but the window still allows in plenty of illumination, especially with the woman's choice of warm and cheery decor. She sits behind her desk, as she often does these days, wearing reading glasses and, well, reading a file. The soft rustle as Sabra slowly turns the pages is almost the only sound in the room — that and the faint hum of a computer fan. It's just a couple of minutes to her next appointment, but Sabra doesn't even glance towards the clock.

And there it is, the rap-at-at-at on the door, followed by the appearance of the tall, olive skinned woman. "Madame Dalton." she says, her lips curving into a smile. She speaks in French, with comfortable fluency. "<Thank you for fitting me in. I know your time is valuable."> She remains in the doorway though, until invited to come in.

"<Sabra, please, dear,>" the interim director replies in the same language, even before she lifts her eyes from the pages. It's not that she hesitates to redirect her attention — simply that the response is an automatic one. "<And do come in. Be seated. My time is just as valuable as yours — and could be spent no better way. Would you care for some tea?>" Sabra concludes, smiling warmly at the agent.

"<Please.>" Gwendolyn isn't going to turn down tea offered by a fellow European. The only other time she gets proper tea is in her own kitchen. "<And you of course must call me Gwen.>" Somewhat charmed by the woman but still cautious - as is her nature, she inquires, "<I hope you are not finding your transition to authority of the branch too difficult? I'm sure we're all eager to see things running smoothly once more.>" It's not a criticism. If her child had been abducted, she'd be a wreck like Bob too. Of course, Gwen doesn't have children, and that may be a reason why.

At some not clearly evident signal, Ashton appears from the side room, tea service in hand. He leaves a cup of tea beside Sabra's elbow first, and then sets out another for Gwendolyn, along with the options of milk and sugar.

Sabra smiles again at the agent. "<Of course,>" she agrees. "<I think matters are progressing quite well,>" the elderly woman replies. "<Transplanting is not easy at my age, but needs must.>" She takes a sip of her tea, then cants her head slightly, blue gaze gleaming. "<Tell me a bit about yourself, Gwen — and not, please, the dry details,>" Sabra concludes, gesturing slightly towards the file now closed on her desk.

Gwendolyn makes a gesture toward Ashton, her left hand brought to her lips then lowered, palm up, against her right hand, also palm up - ASL for 'thank you'. She takes a small dollop of both milk and sugar, but no more, and takes a sip of her own. "<Oh>," she says with some relief. "<Lovely tea.>" She can't help a faint grin. "<Yes, all the dry details are in my file. Born and raised in London, father is British born Indian, mother is white. I was recruited to service while at university and met my husband while working in conjunction with the SAS in Ireland. He quite swept me off my feet. We eloped. Remind me to show you my wedding pictures some time. There's something very amusing about a sari and a kilt in the same shot."

Ashton's departure is delayed by the time required for him to sign 'you're welcome' in return, smile broadening at Gwen's obvious delight in the tea. That, and a gesture from Sabra, which is not in ASL. Then he disappears back into the side room.

"<That sounds about like it,>" the elderly woman replies. "<But it doesn't tell me about you — except perhaps the sari and kilt,>" she concludes, unvoiced laughter glinting in her eyes. "<What drives you, Gwen? What do you wish to do? Where do you wish to go?>" True, parts of the file also address these questions. But… there's a difference between reading the dry ink and the living person. A big one.

Gwendolyn considers a moment, apparently taking the question quite clearly. "<When I started working for my previous organization,>" she begins thoughtfully, "<It was primarily out of what I felt was a duty to queen and country. But I found I quite enjoyed the work itself. I do understand that it's dangerous and difficult and it's by no means a game, but still - it was something of a rush. As long as I kept my head on straight, I could enjoy what I did. The mission in Ireland was like something on another level altogether. Not just because of meeting Hugh - the mission itself. I don't object to the presence of the Evolved. I understand what it means, I think. But my former employers focus on the safety of the United Kingdom and deal with situations as they are parceled. I don't quite believe they understand yet that there needs to be some manner of minding those Evolved who are less than…beneficient with their abilities. And discounting the skills of those of us not so fortunate as to be gifted is a mistake. I think Jessica may have since discovered that."> There's some rumor going around the Company about Jessica's attack on Gwendolyn, and Gwendolyn actually managing to drop Jessica to her knees before the attendants got to the dangerous psychotic.

Listening quietly as Gwendolyn speaks, Sabra sips lightly at her tea, attention clearly focused in full upon the agent. "<It is a rush,>" the elderly woman remarks quietly. "<And yes, many do not understand yet what is happening. Not even young Nathan's revelation can force them to that. But it's the way of history — the new is never met with easy comprehension.>" Even when it isn't entirely new. She raises a brow as Gwen continues, shifting the subject to Jessica. "<And how does Niki regard this… discovery?>" Sabra prompts.

"<I'm not sure.>" Gwen confesses. "<I've accepted her as my assigned partner, but she requires a lot of training. She also needs a bit of time with a psychologist, to help her turn some of that inward direction and self-disapointment back outward. I think once she feels less defeated, she could be an excellent asset. But I think if I'm going to partner her, I'll be keeping a few easy-administer tranquilizers handy."> Gwendolyn, not born yesterday.

One white eyebrow lifts, then lowers again as Sabra takes another drink. "<A wise decision,>" she remarks, a hint of a smile tinging her expression. Reflecting over Gwen's statements as a whole, the old lady nods. "<Are you comfortable handling the training?>"

"<Yes.>" Gwendolyn doesn't hesitate to answer, but neither does it come hastily. "<I'm going to take a soft approach. Start her on some academic instruction and basic self-defense. I think I may want a spotter when we handle the latter, in the event of Jessica emerging, though. At least at first."> Gwen permits another faint smile. "<She's agreed to a maximum allotment of 30 minutes for self-pity a day, preferably before breakfast. It's a start. And there's no hurry to get her in the field, is there? Unless you want her ready for extricating Elle Bishop.>"

Sabra inclines her head as Gwendolyn speaks. "<That can be arranged.>" One brow arches at the description of Niki's self-pity allotment, and the elderly woman chuckles softly. "<Very good. You seem to have matters well in hand on that front.>" A shake of her head is givin in answer to the question. "<That should not be necessary. I would like Niki — and perhaps you as well — to assist Bryan with planning the recovery, but there are other agents who can run it.>" Such as Buckley himself. "<Let me know when you feel a psychologist should be introduced — if you need me to make arrangements.>"

"<I'd be delighted to assist Agent Buckley. And I believe I'll discuss the matter with Niki. It might go a lot smoother if she's convinced that talking to someone will help her, as opposed to feeling like she's fulfilling some kind of training requirement. Convincing someone that taking such steps is a good idea on the level of their personal needs usually produces better results in such circumstances.>" She takes a demure sip of tea and then asks, "<What about you, Sabra? Tell me about yourself - there's precious little on file, and I have a feeing anything you share shan't be dry or boring in the least.>"
Company> Claudine searches for RP.

Sabra chuckles softly. "<I do agree,>" she replies, concerning 'better results'. Another sip of tea is taken as Gwendolyn continues, and the older woman smiles. "<Oh, I wouldn't say that — I've spent many, many years behind desks piled with dry and boring paperwork,>" she answers, smile crooked. "<I was a legal secretary before I was an agent, and even as an agent, I spent little time in the field. It was not my calling, you understand.>" Unlike Gwendolyn. "<Nor Ashton, which is how he became attached to me. We've been in France for the past dozen years, but coming over has been wonderful just for the chance to reacquaint with old friends.>"

Gwendolyn admits, "<You remind me of the director of my department back home.>" She refers of course, to her MI-6 division director, a formidable silver haired fox of a woman. "<Is there anything that I can do aside from what I've already been assigned for that would make the transition easier?>" She adds, "<My husband's out on assignment, but I'm sure he'll be delighted to meet you.>"

Sabra smiles, face crinkling into a web of wrinkles. "<You give me too much credit.>" Yes, she knows who Gwendolyn means. It's in the file, at least in part — and Sabra's done her homework. "<Just be yourself, my dear,>" the elderly lady replies. "<You seem to have your part quite under control.>" Another smile is given. "<I look forward to meeting him as well. He must be a remarkable man, to keep up with you.>"

Gwendolyn smirks. "<He kidnapped me.>" she tells Sabra somewhat gleefully. "<Showed up on my doorstep one day after we'd been seeing each a while and announced we were eloping and he would carry me over his shoulder like a sack of potatoes to the chapel if I refused. It was terribly charming. But you'll see what I mean.>"

Sabra laughs at Gwendolyn's response, face crinkling again. "<A very remarkable man,>" she states. "<I shall definitely look forward to the day we meet, though I fear Ashton may be disgruntled.>" A last sip is taken of the tea, before Sabra sets the cup down on her desk. "<It has been a pleasure, Gwen.>" But the interim director has other meetings to field. "<I look forward to speaking with you again, and hearing your progress with Ms. Sanders.>"

Gwendolyn understands the end of the interview. She rises, and resorts to English. "And thank you, Sabra. I look forward to working under you. Hugh and I have a fondness for suppers with our comrades, if I can persuade you to one some evening, I would very much enjoy it. But now I'll not take up your time further."

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