2007-08-06: DF: Not Oneself

Starring:

DFGeorge_icon.gif Felix_icon.gif

Summary: George secretly administers loyalty tests, with Haitian pills dissolved into the coffee pot just in case. Felix blames Claudine's escape on an earlier batch of pills turning up faulty; he jeopardizes his cover in a different way, but doesn't get found out. Yet.

Dark Future Date: August 6, 2009

Not Oneself


Homeland Security operations building, New York City

This conference room has fallen hard from its glory days. Once housing seminars for dozens at a time, now it sits largely empty. Along the back wall, George sits in a folding chair at a card table, tapping at a computer keyboard. There are handwritten papers (illegible unless you know shorthand) scattered around, along with more chairs.

"Oh, hey," he offers as the door opens, getting up and pouring two cups of coffee - one of them a refill of his own, the other set down next to the cream and sugar to be tweaked as desired. "I was just reviewing some details of the Salonga case, what little there is of it."

The Agent makes a decidedly pained face at that, but merely wonders, "Oh,sir?" He's busily doctoring his coffee with nearly obscene amounts of sugar and cream, like he's gonna hammer a latte out of what he was given.

George takes a sip, then sets the coffee aside and returns to the table. "Notes on thefield activity… nothing much new there. Though I still need to flag Dr. Cutler's firm for review. Then there's the interrogation footage, slightly more useful." Keys are tapped; a video record appears, then starts rewinding.

"That's a kind word for it. It was a debacle," Felix admits, raising his gaze to to the screen. "I'm sure you've glanced at my record by now, and realize that isn't indicative of the quality of my work for the Bureau as a whole," he says, drily.

George shakes his head. "You mean when that other fellow came in? I wouldn't really know, I'm only a layman myself when it comes to a fistfight. No, what really caught my interest was this part here, right near the beginning." Tap tap tap. The image shows the FBI agent stepping out of the interrogation room and walking down a hallway, then switches cameras to follow him into a supply room. Water is poured; pills are retrieved. Per standard practice, Haitian pills and placebos are kept at separate levels to prevent cross-contamination.

The footage shows him checking. Not ostentatiously, not mugging for the cam, but with his usual rather prissy meticulousness. Whatever he's got, it's pulled from the proper container. "The pills were faulty," Felix says, quietly. "That batch has been recalled - the last three digits on bottle and pill are 023. I know it hit one of the facilities for detaining Rebel evolved, out on the west coast. Oregon, I believe, and some in Washington state. Not much out here."

George turns, pausing, then nods. Looks like he buys the explanation. "We're reviewing the QA process— and I've asked them to look into something we can use here to check up on them as well, preferably non-destructively. The rest of the recalled batch will be checked, too… Some of them had already been used, but there were no other reports of failures. Which might just mean that the other detainees were too worn down psychologically to try."

It will be borne out, at least. He's apparently done his best to hand some underlings their respective asses for that screwup. A thin grin pulls at the corner of his mouth. "Like the old story about how mahouts can hobble a full grown elephant with a length of twine."

"Or the modern-day version with AT-AT walkers and tow cables." George leans back into the chair, rubbing his eyes. "I just hope the results are consistent with accidental tampering. Really not in the mood to deal with the repercussions if they turn out to have been deliberate. As for Ms. Salonga… hopefully she'll have the sense to lay low for a while, but I'm not counting on that."

Felix's grin turns into a smirk. He's in no position to mock someone else for a geek metaphor, considering he's likely the only FBI employee in the city with a Hellboy lunchbox. "Sabotage? Oh, Christ, no," he says, with real fervor. "And I agree. A lot of grandstanding and messiah complexes in that group, so far as I can tell," he says, removing his glasses and polishing them with a scrap of napkin.

George mmms, sending the video feed back to the interrogation room and reaching for the papers to gather them up. "Not that that's surprising. If you look at the short-term picture, it's easy to think 'it's got to go'. Mix that with typical human self-importance…"

Felix nods, though now it's George who gets a faintly searching look, complete with nearsighted squint. The glasses aren't entirely an affectation. "True."

Finally, he gets up, setting the stuff down and tossing his cup into the trash. "Well, nothing more on this one till the lab results come back in the morning. I'm heading back to the hotel before something else has a chance to come in." This is a dry joke, as any such case would likely just drag him back from the hotel anyway.

"Lab results?" Felix wonders, pulling himself up as well.

With one hand, George motions vaguely back toward the computer screen. "Checking the recalled pills. First batch should be arriving around seven."

Felix nods, quietly. "Yeah. Some pharmaceutical chemist is gonna end up having a very bad day, some time soon," he opines, settling his cuffs and brushing nonexistent lint from a sleeve.

"I imagine so. Need to check the handling procedures, make sure we don't have any minimum-wage warehouse grunts in a position to screw it up for us." George reaches for his phone, checking it as he heads for the exit. "Anyway, take care of yourself. Any more shit hits the fan, you know where to reach me."

"Listen. Do you have a moment?" Felix wonders, voice low.

George pauses, hand on the door, turning. "What's up?"

This is stupid. Stupid to even ask. But there he goes anyway. "Aileen. Since she got abducted - she's okay, right? Has she had any kind of treatment for the trauma?" He's oddly tentative, fumbling with a cufflink that seems to have come loose.

George purses his lips. "She was shaken, obviously, but she seems all right now. There's counseling available, of course." Granted, said counseling may have a waiting list at any given time. "Why do you ask?"

"She just didn't seem herself, last time I saw her," Felix replies, quietly, finally resolving the struggle with the bit of amber, and shooting his cuffs.

"Well…" The hand is removed from the door; instead, he leans back against the wall. "I suppose it's that the nature of her work is becoming known, now. The more publicity it gets, the more chance there is for people to jump on the wrong ideas about it."

Felix considers this, gaze wandering away from George's face. He's awfully transparent, really. "Yes," he says, glancing back.

George takes a step forward, but then pauses again. "Did she come by here? I usually don't see her until after hours." Medical research facilities are located in another building, a few miles away.

"I've no idea. I met her for coffee," he admits. "We don't work anywhere near each other."

"Ah, that explains it." No suspicion is visible yet, but how will Aileen react later when this is mentioned in passing? Still unaware of the threat hanging in the air, George murmurs another see-you-later and makes his way out to the street.

Not perhaps the threat one might imagine. But that'll be explained later. "Later," Felix says, brow still furrowed in thought as he follows George out.

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