2007-02-08: Bargaining

Starring:

Paige_icon.gif

Guest Starring: Rainer and Company Goon

Summary: Punishment, pleas, and bargaining.

Date It Happened: February 8th, 2007

Bargaining


Primatech Research, Hartsdale, New York

Here, at least, in the entranceway of Primatech Research, there is light during the daytime hours. Windows are copious, covered with blinds. The further your advance into the facility, however, the less you're apt to see vestiges of the outside world. The main theme of the building is utilitarian; there's little decoration. It's full of simple archways, dull white walls with cyan paint beginning more than halfway down, and flourescent lighting that tends to give the grey floors a colourless sheen. Although there is a security desk, most of the security is located outside, on the grounds. There's no welcoming reception area - this facility is not meant for casual visitors.

Straight into Primatech Research walks someone who very much belongs here - to oversee, that is. Mr. Madson is on his way in, calmly tucking a cellphone into an interior pocket of his dark brown suit jacket. Clearing his throat, he murmurs a few words to a person in a lab coat standing near the entrance, then tucks his hands into his pockets and walks purposefully down the wide hall.

It's really unfortunate that he had to pick that exact moment to head down the hallway. Of all the moments to appear, this one, in particular, was one of the worst moments he could have chosen. A large man lumbers down the hallway, one of his massive arms wrapped around the shoulders of a diminutive brunette teenager while his opposite hand covers her mouth. She looks about as happy to be manhandled by this goon as one might imagine, and her feet, which don't touch the floor as she's been hefted up by the man, kick out aimlessly. From behind the man's hand, she makes several muffled sounds of protest.

Rainer's plain business shoes scuff to a quiet stop a few feet away from the scene. His expression is one of heavyset neutrality. He watches the scuffle for longer than is strictly polite - then again, watching a brute manhandle a small teenager and doing nothing about it isn't polite for any amount of time, is it? "That's enough," his deep voice commands brusquely. "Let her go. She'll be coming with me now."

The goon draws to a slow stop and sets the girl down on her toes somewhat roughly, and she tears away from his hold just as soon as she can. "/OW,/ you freak," she mutters as she scurries away from the man, placing herself smack between him and Rainer. One hand massages her upper arm, a scowl cast back to her captor.

The goon doesn't seem to be concerned about this teenager disapproving of his tactics. "She gave something to the precog," he explains to Rainer, folding his arms over his chest.

This news doesn't seem to come as a surprise to Rainer, even if it's the first time he's hearing it. His expression remains the same, but he leans his head back as if to look down even further upon the teen - which is so unnecessary, given her height. He does not bring the girl anywhere - he does not usher her into his office for some form of punishment, he does not lead her downstairs. No, he stays here, in the hall, and expects her to stay exactly where she is as well. "Why exactly were you talking to Ms. Russo again?"

With little inclination to move, Paige simply ducks her head and regards Rainer with an unapologetic expression. "I ran into her in the park," she replies without hesitation, rolling her shoulder in a shrug as she finally releases her own arm, satisfied that it's stopped hurting. There's still a faint grimace on her face, however, before she looks back to the man. "You're the one who told me to act normal. Normal for me isn't running away from her in the park. She stopped right beside me. I had to say something to her."

"While your reaction wasn't… necessarily out of line," Rainer starts to concede, but he's reluctant; he eyes the girl, suspecting there's more to this story. "It'd be wise, /Paige/, to avoid her in the future. Make an excuse… just waaaalk away. I wouldn't say it's very difficult, would you? It's too easy for her to plant ideas in your head." He looks from the girl to the man who was her captor a few moments ago. His tone of voice is almost bored. "Is that all?"

"While your reaction wasn't… necessarily out of line," Rainer starts to concede, but he's reluctant; he eyes the girl, suspecting there's more to this story. "It'd be wise, /Paige/, to avoid her in the future. Make an excuse… just waaaalk away. I wouldn't say it's very difficult, would you? It's too easy for her to plant ideas in your head." He looks from the girl to the man who was her captor a few moments ago. His tone of voice is almost bored. "Is that all?"

"Whatever you say," Paige replies with typical teenaged sarcasm, rolling her eyes at the almost childish orders she's being given. If he thought that there might be more to this story, however, he needs only examine her body language as she raises her shoulders and glances down the hallway with a hint of anxiety. That ought to answer his question.

"Like I said," the brute begins, his deep voice spoken in an even, uncaring tone, "she gave her something. Looked like a sheet of paper. Could be she's passing messages, sir."

"Is that true? Were you… passing messages?" Rainer's hands emerge from his pockets and he crosses his arms, drawing it out and settling his shoulders. Basically, he makes it look like taking these few minutes to reprimand Paige is a great interruption to his day. And it very well could be, with his job. "Do we have to treat you like a child? Tell me about the paper. I know you're a smart girl, and you've been here long enough that I don't need to tell you that we will find out, and take care of it, even if you don't tell the truth. It's just easier if you do." Mr. Madson sighs and eyes his wristwatch without unfolding his arms. "I'm on a schedule."

The look that Paige turns upon the goon who brought her into this mess is not a kind one, and she holds it there for as long as she can… until she decides that the risk from not responding to Rainer is too great. She turns back to him now, drawing in a deep breath. "It wasn't a message," she counters, shaking her head. Her tone is dismissive as she continues. "It was just some calculus notes with some coffee stains on it. I don't even know why she wanted it."

"Hm," Rainer answers noncommittally. He glances down the hall, seeming to watch… the wall, for a spell, before he turns his stern gaze back to Paige. "It is not… /just anything/ when it comes to precogs. We don't know precisely how her ability manifests yet. Do you know what that constitutes as?" There's a long-suffering sigh before Mr. Madson speaks again. "I'll send someone to deal with the precog," he says impatiently. "As for you, Ms… Williams…" There's a subtle nod to the Company goon, who then tries to roughly resume his grasp on Paige.

"Ow, what the hell?!" As she's once again hefted off the ground by the much larger man, Paige struggles against his grasp, attempting to swing her foot in a rough kick. Like it'll do anything to bother him, right? "It was just a stupid page of homework! It doesn't even mean anything!"

It's not what the goon wants to hear. Maybe there wasn't a good response. Holding both of her shoulders in his massive hands, he narrows his eyes at the small teen and rams her back into the wall. The resounding 'thud' can be heard down the hall as the walls vibrate from the impact.

To say that Rainer feels regret would be pushing it. No, the regretful expression that very briefly enters his otherwise neutral features is because this little meeting had to happen at all. "Take her downstairs," he tells the goon blandly. "Make sure she learns her lesson this time."

"NO!" Pressed against the wall by the goon, her hair in her eyes and a pained look on her face, Paige does not seem particularly keen on this new suggestion. "Please! I didn't think it meant anything!" The goon pries her away from the wall, handling her just as roughly as before. She kicks her legs out wildly, but to no avail; it's like she blinks, and when her eyes open again, she's five yards down the hallway. When the goon hefts her over his shoulder, she looks to Rainer with desperation in her eyes and yells, "There's a girl! I think her name is Hail… Hailien! She says she can walk through things. PLEASE, I'll help you get her here!"

Fleetingly, there's a flicker of life in Rainer's deep brown eyes that indicates maybe, just maybe, Paige has surprised, impressed, or assuaged him. While the goon shows no signs of stopping, hauling the girl literally up by the hair, Rainer lifts a hand in the universal 'stop' sign. "Another phaser… and after the news yesterday… …alright. That will be your assignment. You'll assist her retrieval. Now… this does not /erase/ what you did; you could have risked the Company because of your exchange with Ms. Russo, and you know that any risk to the Company on your behalf is a risk to your family. Go… clean yourself up."

Grabbing at the man's hands as he pulls her hair, Paige yelps, struggling to get free again. It doesn't work, but she breathes a sigh of something akin to relief when Rainer tells him to stop. "Leave them out of this," she says, unceremoniously dropped to the ground by the goon. She remains right where he left her, both hands flattened against the floor, looking up at Rainer with a pleading expression. "Please. I'll do whatever you want, just don't… don't do anything to them." Dragging herself up from the floor, Paige smoothes her hair down with both hands and stretches her neck, satisfied only when she hears a faint cracking sound. "It won't happen again," she adds, absolutely unnecessarily.

Rainer tucks his hands back into his pockets and regards Paige calmly, staring in silence until she's finished. Only after she's clambered off of the floor and tried to assure him again does he respond, and only then after he proceeds to walk down the hall past her and her assailant. "You're right. It won't."

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