We Don't Talk About UK


kendall_icon.gif nicole3_icon.gif

Scene Title We Don't Talk About UK
Synopsis No, no, no.
Curious about what happened to the agents on their recent mission, Kendall tries and fails to get info out of Nicole.
Date April 26, 2021

Fort Jay

Fort Jay is a coastal star fort and former Army post located on Governors Island in New York Harbor. Fort Jay itself is the oldest defensive structure on the island, and was named for John Jay, a member of the Federalist Party, New York governor, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Secretary of State, and one of the "founding fathers" of the United States. It was built in 1794 to defend Upper New York Bay, but has served other purposes. From 1806 to 1904 it was named Fort Columbus, presumably for explorer Christopher Columbus. The National Park Service administered Fort Jay together with Castle Williams as the Governors Island National Monument until 2015, when it was repurposed to once again service official government operations in the wake of the civil war. Fort Jay is now the home of the New York branch of the SLC-Expressive Services Agency, or SESA.

The return of the agents in various states of injury and/or sequestering drew plenty of attention from everyone else, and tongues were wagging. All those directly involved, however, aren't saying a single word, so that leaves those only peripherally involved as sources of information. Kendall, for his part, has a vested interest beyond just being nosy, given he's living at the Lanthorn with Lance and the others, and given Lance's state, it was a concern.

Under the assumption that Nicole would know more than most of the agents, and not strictly being part of upper management, he decided to try and start a mini investigation of his own. All right, let's be subtle. Knocking on her office door, he looks into the room to see if she's there.

It’s always hard to tell if the half of the Executive Secretariat in charge of the New York branch’s special agents is in her office or not just to look at the lights through the windows. Fortunately for Kendall, someone has helpfully installed a sign on her door.

Coupled with the hiatus she’s been on, it’s unclear whether Clean or Dirty means that Miller can be found inside. He can have three guesses as to whose helpful installation this was.

The call of “come in” is a better indicator anyway. Dirty it is, then.

The dark haired woman turns her face away from her screen, but her eyes don’t leave it immediately, her fingers still dancing over the keyboard as she finds a stopping point on some note or missive. The monitors have privacy screens over them, which dampens the brightness they put out. He discovers the lights aren’t off entirely, but they are dimmed to nearly such a level.

“Trainee Cunningham,” Nicole greets him with a polite smile. “You’re lucky to catch me. I’m only in the office for a couple hours today. Is there something I can help you with?” He isn’t one of her team, after all, but it isn’t unusual for Corbin’s agents to seek her out when he’s unavailable.

OK, try to be casual about this. The 'dirty' label on the door draws a small amused smirk before he opens the door, stepping into the office. "Afternoon, Ms., ah, Agent Miller." Good job, Kendall. This already seems like a bad start, can he do over? No? Welp.

"Ah, well, maybe. I visited Lance a little while ago in the hospital, after he came back from his 'super secret mission', and I also heard that your husband was involved. Is he ok?" Subtle, Kendall. At least he didn't blurt out the question he came here to ask. He shifts his feet and tries not to break eye contact even after he's reminded why he doesn't usually talk to adults; it's easier to talk to someone whose opinion doesn't matter in the long run.

With a polite interest, Nicole listens without a break in her expression to indicate if she’s bothered at all by the juggling of her title or the way he calls what Lance returned from his super secret mission, or the mention of her husband.

But, honestly, Kendall is about as subtle as a hammer to the eye socket.

“My husband’s injuries are a separate incident with strangely coincidental timing to Gerken’s. Thank you for your concern. He’s stable, but he still has a long way to go.” She smiles with a warmth that doesn’t quite touch her eyes. “I don’t know what foray your fellow was off on, honestly. I did  make sure I visited him at the hospital, but I didn’t ask him about it. I hope his recovery is a swift one.”

Oh. It wasn't subtle at all, then. He did try, at least. "Oh, no idea, then. I thought maybe the ones further up the chain would know. Everyone at the Lanthorn is concerned about Lance, after all." Kendall can spot a poker face easily enough, and the bit about 'strangely coincidental timing'  is another flag. Right then, Kendall can make a few guesses about that. 

"I was, uh…." and now Kendall has to come up with another reason for stopping by to chat, lovely. "…mainly coming by to ask if that's a normal outcome to a mission. Not…. that I'm a stranger to danger myself. But 'jumping out of helicopters' was mentioned previously." OK, round 2, but this is probably a question best posed up Kendall's own chain rather than Nicole, but he's already here and trying to salvage getting 100% shut down on the investigation front. "Robyn also mentioned fighting a vampire." He isn't asking for more details on that, however.

“You know how Lance is.” Nicole chuckles good-naturedly. “He’ll call a trip to Red Hook a super secret mission. Whatever he was up to, it wasn’t SESA business.” The humor fades with a shake of her head, indicating she considers Lance’s condition a somber thing.

“As to jumping out of helicopters…” There’s no balking or incredulity. “That was me. It was reckless, but I made a judgement call. I don’t recommend doing it yourself if you can avoid it. It’s not our standard operating procedure.” Nicole gives a resigned sigh. “The individual Agent Roux encountered was most certainly not a vampire. That is an embellishment.”

"Wait, you…?" Kendall looks impressed. He's talking to a real life person who jumped out of a helicopter! "That's pretty cool. Also sounds terrifying, I'm assuming most missions don't involve people ending up in hospitals." Unfortunately it seems like he's not going to get more information that way, alas. "The way Robyn described him didn't make it sound like an embellishment to call him that. But I guess that's more the exception rather than the rule."

Thinking it over a bit more, Kendall rubs his chin. "Do people usually go off on their own private missions outside of SESA?"

“With only a tether around my waist,” Nicole confirms with a wry smile. “Don’t try that at home.” She can’t decide whether she’s pleased or chagrined that the story of how she rescued Don Kenner from falling to his death hasn’t hit new trainees yet. “And no, most of our missions don’t result in agent hospitalizations. Very few, in fact.”

To the subject of the vampire, Nicole shakes her head with a breath of laughter. “Robyn has a rather… vivid way of describing things. While he was certainly Expressive, and in a uniquely dangerous way, he was still human.”

The last question sees a sigh from the director’s assistant. “If someone wants to call what they’re doing a mission, that’s their call. Gerken has always been impulsive and has a habit of striking out on his own to chase giants and windmills. Sometimes, he gets in over his head. I don’t know which this was.”

Well, if it makes Nicole feel any better about her reputation, jumping out of a helicopter was brought up, there just wasn't a name attached to it. "Sounds like he might need an adult, he is still a kid, after all. I'll keep that in mind if I ever end up on a mission with him." Whether or not Kendall is up to providing that lack remains to be seen, although despite calling Lance a kid, Kendall isn't that much older.

"Good to know about the hospitalization thing. Hopefully we'll keep that to a minimum. I'm not sure how useful my ability would be in keeping people safe, but I'll do my best."

Taking a slow breath in before she speaks, a serious expression settles in. “Lance Gerken is going to make a fine agent. He has integrity, determination, and a strong moral code. He will make this agency proud someday and will be an honor to have been part of his training.” Nicole smiles faintly, her mind somewhere else; likely on the future. “And you can tell him I said that.”

With a sigh, she glances down at her desk before returning her attention to the trainee. “Until then, he’s going to need to learn better caution.” Folding her hands together in front of her on the desk, Nicole leans forward slightly. “As for your line of inquiry, allow me to offer you some advice: No one is going to speak out of turn about any secret operations. Talking about them rather negates the secrecy, don’t you agree?” Brows lift, asking that question without requiring the answer. “If there’s something to be known, you or the department will be briefed.”

A chime goes off from the computer. At the same time, a facedown cellphone lights up against the desk and buzzes once. “I have a meeting with the director in ten minutes,” she warns. “Was there something else I could help you with, Cunningham?”

That was about how Kendall envisioned this meeting going. With a resigned sigh, he ducks his head. "No ma'am. I'm glad your husband is OK with his completely unrelated injury." Not that Kendall knows Dr. Miller from Adam, but…

And, well, Nicole does have a point, after all. It wouldn't be much of a secret if everyone talked about it. "I'll make sure Lance knows you said that." he adds with a smile, then gracelessly makes his escape. Why did he do this, again?

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