Where Credit Is Due


matt_icon.gif melissa3_icon.gif

Scene Title Where Credit Is Due
Synopsis At the request of Jason Piece, Matt Parkman talks to the newest prisoner of DHS, and she manages to offend him.
Date September 30, 2010

Department of Homeland Security Facility

The past twenty-four hours haven't been fun for Melissa Pierce. Who knew a reunion with her uncle would lead to her being dosed up with negation drugs and shoved into a little room? She sure didn't! As the day goes on she's gotten more and more depressed, showing little emotion, but she does seem to be cooperating fully. Of course, she's disliking Jason more and more.

Right now she's pacing the interrogation type room, running hands through her hair, mind working, so she's not really paying much attention to anything else. Not much point. She knows the four walls of this room all too well.

On the other side of the one-way mirror, Matt Parkman is reacquainting himself with Melissa's file. He frowns down at the leaves of paper in the folder, the lines on his face emphasized by an increasing distaste. This isn't how he wanted to spend this hour of his day, but in a world where trust is hard to come by, the opportunity to sow a favor with one of his underlings is something he'd be a fool to pass up.

He doesn't have the folder in hand when he enters the interrogation room, and as soon as he sets the door to close behind him with a resounding clunk of the latch, he folds his arms across his chest. As always in situations like this, he's taken precautions to ensure he has the upper hand. Melissa is negated, and the proverbial volume knob of his own ability has been cranked up to catch her surface thoughts with ease.

"Melissa," he says with a polite nod, his voice just shy of deadpan, an annoyed thread twining around the single word of her given name. "It's nice to see you. Have a seat?"

The sound has Melissa turning and looking at him, then she shrugs and moves to settle into the provided chair. "You have me at a disadvantage. I don't know who you are," she says in a tone devoid of emotion. She wonders why he sounds annoyed, then figures he must just consider her another convict. Scum. Not worth his time. She's so tired of being seen as less than she is.

It's clear enough to Parkman that the woman isn't lying, and so he laughs, shaking his head as he moves to the other chair and takes a seat across the table from Melissa. "Secretary Parkman, Department of Homeland Security." If Melissa is scum, she's worthwhile enough scum to warrant the personal attention of the department's top official.

Jason Pierce wasn't lying at lunch.

"Ahh…Jason's buddy. The guy who has the ear of the president and helped him prove our existence to the country," Melissa says in that same flat tone. "You here to question me, probe me, throw me in some cell…?" Please not the cell. I had enough of windowless boxes. God why did I listen to Uncle Jason? I should've run. What're they going to do without me?

Buddy? "Not quite," Parkman says with a less amused sort of smile. "More like Jason's boss." Don't they still teach high school civics? You'd expect someone with a record to keep some sort of basic knowledge on how the system after them is structured, but maybe that's assuming too many things.

Parkman leans forward to lace his fingers together and lay his hands on the table, looking at Melissa with slightly narrowed eyes. "We're not the Company, Melissa. You still have civil liberties with us. But the fact remains that you've been charged with assaulting an officer in 2008. That, and we're not entirely sure just what it is you're able to do. So I'm going to ask you how you think we should handle that?"

"Okay, boss," Melissa corrects herself easily. "And honestly, I think you should let me go. Slap me on the hand and let me walk out the door. I didn't do anything to get picked up the first time. I was tracked, grabbed and shoved into a box all because I had an ability they didn't like." And she doesn't really think that DHS is any better than the Company. They're all government. They're just barely better than the Institute.

"After that I was kept in that box until I somehow appeared somewhere not Moab. I didn't escape, I was moved. So the charge about escaping prison is bogus. And my lawyer says that my civil liberties were completely ignored the first time anyway." She sighs then, leaning back, letting her head fall back and her eyes close. Can anything else go wrong? Will //this telepath mindfuck me too? God. He's probably listening now. Lalalalalalalala….//

"Again," Parkman says with a sigh, leaning back in his chair and resting his hands on either side of the aluminum seat. "This is why we brought down the Company and are tracking the agents who weren't apprehended on site. They're going to pay for all of that. Lifting a hand, he loosens his tie and unbuttons his shirt collar so he can drag the garment away, turning his head to show Melissa the two marks on his neck that are undoubtedly identical to her own. "Trust me on that one."

He flicks his hand away from his shirt in a moment of disgust for his own tracking device before he goes about putting himself back together again. "Technically, your assault on the officer was your first offense against the actual law, so that's all we're dealing with today." Apart from the registration snafu.

"But given that you walked in here of your own free will, and assuming you willingly go into testing so we can figure out the scope of what you can do, I think we can let that slide for a fine and a written apology to the officer in question." He straightens his tie then, holding back a chuckle. "They like that sort of thing," he adds with a rueful smirk. "Tack 'em up on the break room wall for a bit. Pat themselves on the back. You know how it goes."

Melissa stares at the scar for a moment, before her hand lifts to touch her matching marks. "I don't get it. If you've been there…why are you doing the job you do?" she asks, looking to his face and frowning in genuine confusion. "Most of us just want to be left alone to live ordinary lives. Registration makes that impossible. It's like a scarlet letter or the tagging that the Nazis did to the Jews." Her tone isn't argumentative, she's honestly curious how another evolved can do this to others like him.

"If all it takes is an apology to the Company agent and a fine, then give me a piece of paper. I don't think you want me demonstrating my ability though. The only way I can do that is to hurt someone or for someone to be hurting. I'm a pain manipulator." And here bitterness enters her tone. "That's what got me shoved in that hole. With all of the telekinetics and pyrokenetics and telepaths, they worried about a girl who can temporarily cause pain."

It's not the first time Parkman's heard that comparison, and he's sure it won't be the last. But he still visibly stiffens as the words spill out of Melissa's mouth, and his frown returns. "I'm sure we can find a way of testing it," he says, though his confidence is measured. 'Company agent,' meanwhile, gets a slight upward tweak of one eyebrow. It's a vague term from days when the line between Company men and lawmen blurred far, far too often.

He pushes himself away from the table and stands, jerking his jacket straight with each hand pulling at his lapels. He doesn't have to explain himself to Melissa, or anyone else. Not anymore. But still, the way the young woman looks at him is unnerving. "I do what I do to make sure it doesn't go too far," he says in a lower voice. "Why have a past if we're not going to learn from it, hm?" He turns to go then, but not before leveling a stern gaze on the girl.

"You're punishing everyone for the sins of a few. Why not arrest everyone who has a car for potential manslaughter? Or everyone with a gun for potential murder?" Melissa asks softly. "But you find a way to test it, and I'll prove it. I'm not as dangerous as people seem to think though. The ability to cause a migraine shouldn't have been enough to earn me a suite in Moab."

Parkman's back stiffens again, as if someone just braced it with a bar of steel, and he turns on his way to the door. His mouth twists with the control it takes not to lash out at the misinformed young woman. "Again," he says after a moment, his tone teetering between patience, as if Melissa were sixteen, not twenty-six. "Company. Not United States Government. Company." His eyes narrow again, and he tilts his head just so to pierce through into Melissa's brain as he says it again, sticking it there like a command. Believe it.

"All of those things that happened to you? It wasn't the government. It was the Company, playing around like the egomaniacs they were. They weren't any better than the terrorist groups out there who're convinced they can make the world a better place by blowing up buildings and putting lives at risk. The only difference is that they had resources and time on their side. But they're over with, and now we have to clean up their mess.

"You understand that, Miss Pierce?"

"Believe me, Mister Parkman. You can't hate the Company anymore than I do. They've taken everything from me," Melissa says quietly. "All I want now is to get past all this and try to have a normal life. The stuff that non-evolved people get to have," she says, shrugging slowly.

Her head tilts as she looks back at him. "I'm sorry if I offended you, by the way. Wasn't my intention. I just really hate this whole thing because of my first go 'round with arrests and jails."

He pauses before turning toward the door, as much to steady himself as to watch Melissa. She's an odd one, that's for sure. Someone who warrants watching while still under the direct supervision of the Department. "Someone will be in soon to take you back to your cell," he says flatly. "Sorry. We'll get you home as soon as we've finished testing."

Which is ultimately for everyone's safety, of course.

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