2010-02-16: Just The Messenger



Date: February 16, 2010


Tracy visits Janet. It's… special.

"Just the Messenger"

Janet's Apartment — NYC

"Ahhhhhhhh! NO! AHHHHHHHH! DON'T BOIL OVER! I CAN'T… get there…" And sure enough the pot containing pasta boils over before Janet manages to run into her kitchen. Promptly she turns down the setting on her burner. With a sigh, she rolls her eyes and murmurs, "I'm gonna have to clean that up later." The smell of burning fills the air of the apartment as the smoke detector begins to beep furiously. "AHHHHH!" Again, disaster; her garlic toast is also burning. Promptly she opens the oven, forgets to grab oven mitts, and reaches for the cookie sheet containing garlic toast. Seconds later she's pulling her burnt fingers away, "EFFFF!" She turns off the oven as the smoke detector continues to beep loudly. "AHHH! I'm coming! I'll take care of you in a second!!" She reaches for the oven mitts and then pulls the cookie sheet out of the oven before grabbing a teatowel and darting over to the smoke detector. She manages to get the beeping to stop after waving the towel in front of it to wave the smoke away. Now her fingers hurt that the adrenaline is out of her system. She darts over to the sink and runs the cold water before sticking her fingers under the tap.

Water, for a lucky few, is an easy method of travel. It's tricky to navigate, certainly, especially in a city the size of New York and its veritable maze of pipes — but when it comes for dropping in unexpectedly, it's hard to beat. Maybe not as easy as teleportation… beggars can't be choosers.

The tap water runs and runs and runs over Janet's hand, cooling, splashing in the sink beneath.

… Then a knock sounds at the door.

"Who —?" Janet asks herself as she shuts off the tap and reaches for a paper towel to hold over her fingers. And then before she even gets to the door, she's calling through it, "I wasn't that loud, Mrs. Rodriguez! The crisis as been averted just a kitchen mishap!" And then she adds as a kind of afterthought as she begins undoing the locks on her door. "And I don't want to date your son, have Erin's autograph, or know any girls that would want to date Jorge, but he's a very nice —" she opens the door.

A stranger to Janet stands in the hall, waiting calmly. She's dressed in black: a peacoat to the hip with a black sweater beneath and black slacks and slightly heeled boots below. Her hair is long, blonde, and straight, just a bit of it swept away and pulled back with a small clip. Yes, despite Erin's suggestion, Tracy has arrived via a traditional route: the door. Mundane, in comparison to her usual method of travel lately, but first impressions are everything. There's a small, not unpleasant smile of something nearing amusement on her lips by the time the door opens. "Well, I don't know about any of that… but hi. You're Janet," she surmises; she already knows, but there's a tone of questioning in her voice regardless, for the McCarty's sake. "You don't know me. But I know you. And we need to talk."

"Uh…" Janet blinks. She's somewhat less put together. She's still wearing her blue coloured scrubs and her hair has been pinned back by many little bobby pins. Her scrubs are large, untailored, and ultra-comfortable. With a furrowed brow she stares aback at Tracy, "…Hi, I guess. And… I guess I'm Janet —" not that many people call her that these days. "Who… who are you?" She wrinkles her nose. The doctor doesn't recognize Tracy at all despite working for the Alpha Protcol. "Are you selling something? Because if you are, I can't afford it — sitting on a mountain of student loans. But I have to admit I bought that slap chop thing from tv and it broke AND I bought a snuggie last week, which in all honesty, really was a good purchase if only for the novelty effect —"

"No, I'm not selling anything." Except for her point of view, but that can't be bought. Tracy keeps her voice calm, collected — pleasant. All the while, she watches Janet carefully, but studying her, but she keeps her gaze from being too penetrating. "I used to be a … I suppose you'd say a patient where you work. Alpha Protocol." She holds a hand up. "I'm not here to hurt you Janet. I'm not a terrorist. I just want to talk. Can I come in?"

Janet's mouth gapes open. A terrorist is at her door. What's the first thing a good Alpha Protocol agent would do? Try to take them down. But Janet is no agent. She's a doctor. SO, instead, Janet backs up and slams the door before running into her kitchen to grab the phone. She dials the number three times, but her shaking doesn't exactly yield accurate dialling.

Well, she tried the normal, direct approach. Call it her good deed for the day. Now, though — now Tracy can't have Janet doing anything stupid. She acts fast. It's only a moment after the door slams shut that the frightened doctor will be privy to a display just why the people she works for would call Tracy a "terrorist".

Frost creeps along the door on the inside of the apartment, a spreading a pretty but dangerous pattern that creeps over the wood as well as door's locks. They freeze with a screech of cold metal, faster and stronger than any winter cold. So does the doorknob. The door opens, and the locks break.

"You don't want to do that," Tracy says as she steps inside. Her collected tone of voice attempts to implore a rational mind out of Janet more than it carries threat … though she can't help but be a little threatening. She doesn't want to be swarmed by agents. She shuts the door behind her gently without taking her eyes off Janet. "I'm not here to hurt you. I'm a friend of your sister's." Figuring the doctor ought to know which sister, she doesn't specify. She holds a hand up; no harm meant. "Like I said, I just want to talk. Can we do that?"

The good doctor's face turns white at the frost and display of what she might have dubbed to someone she knew 'freakdom', but she's too smart to say that to Tracy. Instead, she drops the phone like she's dropping her weapon or something. Her eyes are wide and she is most certainly silent. She doesn't know how the frost found its way inside her apartment or how the terrorist managed to do it, but it's done its work to effectively freak her out — she's never seen anything like it before. Other than when her plant got sick so quick. Darn Erin! Killing her plant with witchery!

"Who the H-E-double hockey sticks are you?!"

Janet has, unfortunately, seen enough clues in the last minute — if it's even been that long — for her superiors to easily piece together who Tracy is. That means she'll just have to really convince this girl not to tell them, which is looking increasingly difficult. Fantastic. "… well this isn't going to be easy," she murmurs, by and large to herself. "…good thing I like a challenge." She sighs, raising both hands now as she steps forward. Slowly, no scaring the animals…

"My name is Tracy," she answers. She's going to kill Erin, not Janet, if this goes downhill, she thinks. "Tracy Strauss. I'm not a terrorist, I'm … a political advisor. I'm only called a terrorist because of what I can do. Erin sent me to convince you that the Protocol isn't what you think it is."

"AHHHHHHHHHH!" Janet gets on the floor and curls into a little ball at Tracy's approach. "Don't hurt me I don't have a weapon! Seriously! Take anything you want!! I won't struggle — I promise! I don't have combat training and I don't carry a weapon because that would be silly! I don't want to shoot anybody!!!"

"AHHHHH!" Sent by Erin or not, Tracy has effectively freaked Janet out. "I swear I just stitch people up at work!! If this about the girl with the bullet in her leg, I don't know how it got there, I just fixed it!!" The woman is now effectively in the fetal position.

… is this really happening. In the face of Janet's panic, Tracy is momentarily stunned. As the woman shrieks and curls up into a ball, she gapes. This is nothing she's really ever experienced before, someone being mindlessly terrified of her just because of what she's capable of, when she's not even threatening them (not even by accident). It's … unsettling. Saddening.

And insulting. "Would you just listen to me?!" Tracy marches closer to Janet, but stops a few feet short. "I've been trying to tell you— " You know what, let's abandon that line of thought. "I know, you're a doctor. If it wasn't for people like you, no one would've been there to help me when an agent broke my arm trying to get information about your sister."

"Please don't hurt me," Janet squeaks. "I just follow the hippocratic oath, I swear. Even when they tell me not to treat people I do it anyway… I swear." She's still curled into a little ball. Yes, she's freaked. "I'm not suppose to know anything about the operation," she says quietly to the floor. "And I'm not allowed to talk to prisoners, it's in my contract…." Not that Janet listens to her contract, although at this moment, she'd rather Tracy just go away, "You were a prisoner." Come on powers of LOGIC, "Ergo… I can't talk to you."

At this she nods to the floor. "If you go I promise I won't even tell them I saw you! I don't know how to you got out, but I won't tell them anything! And Erin is soooo dramatic, the government is only interested in people who break the law… they're the government, their job is to protect law-abiding citizens… like… Anderson Cooper… and… Oprah… annnnd…. Mrs. Rodriguez… but not Jorge…." Now she's rambling. Oh dear.

Open mouth threatening to outright frown, Tracy watches the younger woman intently for any change of heart. Come on, doctor…
No go.

Tracy sighs. "So what," she says lowly with a vague laugh. "Your sister's a diva. Don't tell 'er I said that, by the way — but she didn't break the law. They came after her." Tracy shakes her head as she goes on. "So— you don't know about their operation. Then let me tell you. They took me when I tried to stop them from capturing children. Children who… are special, who have special abilities…" Is this pointless? Explaining the finer details of how and why the Protocol is a nightmare seems to Tracy like it just might be lost on Janet. "Do you understand what I'm saying?"

Unfortunately Janet isn't quite listening, in fact, she's humming do-a-ditty-ditty-dum-ditty-do and then murmurs to herself, "This is not happening. This is not happening. This is not happening…. cat scan was inconclusive…" She rocks a little as she chants and hums.

Yet, she can't help but hear the bit about the kids which draws a frown before she shakes her head, "There are no children in Building 27," of this she's convinced. "Not a single one. And I've explored places I'm not supposed to go." Because that's how Janet rolls. "And yes, Erin is a huge diva and a drama queen, but not a terrorist." That much she knows. "It doesn't make sense, Ms. Strauss." No calling the terrorist who might kill her by her first name. "Not at all," she's sitting up now at least, even if her lips curl downwards into a terrified frown.

"…27?" Tracy can't help but repeat in confusion. Confusion doesn't last long. "…they moved," she deduces, pausing a moment to crouch upon her heels, on Janet's level, though still at a cautious distance. "There used to be children. I didn't wanna believe it at first either. I'm sure some've the people they have deserve to be locked up, most … we're just people who happen to be different. I can guarantee you those captives weren't given due process. Have you ever seen anyone be sent to trial?"

Janet shakes her head, "I don't ask questions." There's a pause before she shrugs and corrects herself, "I ask questions, but they never answer them. And I'm not allowed to talk to my patients. It's one of the rules. Sometimes it makes diagnosis really hard." She nods at this fact as her eyebrows furrow.

Tracy's comment on people being held without trial isn't well received. "Well they can't do that! Hold people without trial! No one can do that!" she insists forcefully in a whisper. "And what they did to that poor girl with the bullet, well I'm having a friend check the laws about torture here… I don't think that's legal either, but… any military operation is bound to have hiccups, right?" Her tone is almost hopeful.

"That's only the beginning," Tracy says quietly. She has a moment of feeling bad for the girl. She's so in the dark. "They do a lotta things that shouldn't be legal. It's not a normal operation, it doesn't follow all the rules. Now you know. Look, we just…" We being her and Erin, the party who isn't present. "…wanted… you to know." So Janet can do whatever she pleases with that information, because Tracy seems to be done. She begins to stand and adds with a hint of reluctance, "You should talk to Erin."

"I… I'll look into it." Yup, Janet is definitely in the dark. She had no idea; she just fixed people up, apparently patching them up from injuries they shouldn't have incurred because they hadn't done anything wrong. Her eyebrows furrow as she looks up at Tracy, "I'll… maybe." She hmms at the thought of talking to Erin. "Erin doesn't want to talk to me. She doesn't. Not really. I mean… she didn't try contacting me before all of this and it's not like my life is online for anyone to read — " Yes, she reads about Erin. " — if she wanted to know, she would've come earlier." Janet shrugs. "And I see her at least once a week," she glances at the television and then back to Tracy. "Can you believe they made her a porcupine?" she stifles a chuckle before she shakes her head again, "No, Erin wants to talk to me because they came after her, not because she wants to talk to me…"

The slightest of smirks crosses Tracy's face at the mention of Erin's on-screen fate, but it disappears into her serious expression. She holds a hand up in a dismissive gesture, giving her head a subtle shake. "Not my problem. I'm just the messenger." She is not here to mend a relationship between the sisters. "But she could use someone else on her side. So could a lot've people." The way she gives the doctor a look up and down, she has her doubts that Janet is that person, given her reactions. She strolls to the door, starting to nudge it open a crack.

"I don't choose sides," Janet says as she rises to her feet. "I'm a doctor." She fixes whoever is broken. And as Tracy leaves she sighs at her locks. "How the heck am I supposed to get that fixed?" With another hmmm she walks over to the spot where she dropped the phone, which she picks up and dials. A few moments pass as she mumbles, "Pick up… pick up, pick up…" Her cheeks redden as there's no answer. "Hey… it's Doc… Janet~ Janet McCarty~… I need to talk to you… pronto… please… call me back… I, I think I might need your advice…"

And at that Janet hangs up the phone. And turns to look at her boiling over pasta once again. "Well, that resolved one thing. I'm not hungry." With a sigh she pulls the pot off the stove and disappears into the bedroom.

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