2007-06-19: Privacy Issues



Guest Starring: Dr. Eames

Summary: Seeking advice on his encounter with Jordan, Benji doesn't like what he's told.

Date It Happened: June 19th, 2007

Log Title Privacy Issues

Dr. Eames's Office

Following the encounter last night, Benjamin put in a call to his friendly, neighborhood, Company shrink. So here he is. At Dr. Eames's office. Armed with the card Jordan gave him. He's still more than a little freaked out about the encounter. Not for himself of course, but for his daughter. He knows Rose can take care of herself, but still, he's worried for her. Hence why he's here. He's conflicted, and it shows as he fidgets in his seat.

When Benjamin placed a call to Dr. Eames, the psychologist squeezed the conflicted Company patient into his schedule as quickly as possible. When Benjamin calls like this, rather than coming to a regularly scheduled appointment, it's usually a matter of some urgency - of the mental variety. Inside the office, he's seated across from Mr. Winters.

"Benjamin," the normally imposing, but strangely accommodating Dr. Eames, in his navy blue Mandarin-collared shirt and slacks and wire-frame glasses, greets. There's barely a smile to be found on his face, but there's a certain welcoming in his voice. I'm glad you're here, Benjamin, it seems to say without so many words - he gets straight to the point today. "I can see that there's something on your mind; a new struggle in your life? What brings you in on such short notice?"

Indeed. It's a bit of an emergency. And not of the usual mental sort. Benjamin fidgets a little, then produces the card from his pocket and sets it on the desk. "I don't know what to do." Instead of beating around the bush, he just gets right to the point. Seems getting a bit of a spine against the ex-wife has helped, and he's made progress the past few months. "She approached me last night in Central Park. She basically threatened to make me work for you guys. I admit, she made a good case, but, she's exactly why I don't want to work for a group like that. She .. basically threatened my daughter.. if I don't work for the Company. I don't agree with that. I want to help, but not like this." He pauses, looks away from Dr. Eames, then back at him, "I didn't know who else to talk to, or what to do. I would have talked to Angie, but she's gone."

To say Dr. Eames looks surprised would be a gross overstatement. He does, however, tip his bald head back and lift an eyebrow. He regards the card on the table for an extended length of time before picking it up and turning it over in one large hand. "I see." He returns the card. "Now and then, offers and deals can come off as threats, if worded incorrectly," he begins slowly. "Sometimes, those who work for our Company reflect on the various ways on which they came to work for us and realize that what they thought was… scheming or underhanded was, in fact, necessary. Had they not accepted, they wouldn't be doing something so meaningful today. What did Jordan say in regards to your daughter, Benjamin?"

"Well this was a threat, and I don't appreciate it. My daughter's no harm to anyone." Benjamin is clearly upset, the tone of his voice, the way he can't really sit still, "She said.. well.. something about being locked up in level 5 for hiding my daughter.. I'm not hiding her. I'm just protecting her. She's all I have.. So she.. more or less told me I have to work for you guys, or risk having Rose taken." He lays his arms across the chair's armrests, gripping the ends tightly with his hands. "I.. don't like being threatened. I want to help others, but.." There's a pause as he stops to think for a few moments, "I know I have this ability, I know I can use it to help, but I'm a little scared to."

"…I hardly think you warrant Level 5," Dr. Eames says, first of all; it's an off-handed comment, not what he wants to talk about today. (Or ever.) As the psychologist speaks, he retrieves a clipboard from the small end table beside his handsome leather chair, removes a folder from it, and begins to leaf through the pages. "You have every right to feel scared, Benjamin. It's only natural. You don't want to hurt anyone." Flip, flip go the pages. "However, the fact of the matter, Benjamin, is…" Dr. Eames seems to find one page of particular significance, as he pauses his shuffling. "…it's not entirely true that Rose is no harm to anyone. I know… that may be difficult to swallow, but given time…"

Benjamin blinks and looks straight at Dr. Eames, "What!?" Wait, was the doctor making a funny? This is hardly the time for joking! "Now c'mon, this isn't funny.. and wait.. no.. Rose is not a threat. She's a little high spirited and all. Takes after my mother, obviously, but she's just a teenager, going to college. I want her left alone! No fact of the matter or anything!" Agitated and upset, he half rises from his seat as Dr. Eames pauses in shuffling through the folder. "She's the only child I have, and probably will ever have." The fact that he managed to produce a child, is an achievement in itself! Something he'd like to protect with his life.

Which is exactly why Dr. Eames says, "Cooperating may ease the process when Rose inevitably becomes of more pressing interest. One could say you would be protecting her." The man lays the file aside and steeples his fingers over his knee, which is, in turn, crossed over his opposite leg. "Whether or not you choose to work for the Company or not is entirely your decision— " 'Choose' being the key word. Who's to say he has a choice in the long run? " —I hope you understand that, Benjamin. You perceived threats, and perhaps so; but the ball is in your park. It's a big decision, and it's yours. There is a lot to consider. I believe you've been given more leeway in regards to the Company's particular… privacy issues… due to your prior cooperation and your relationship with Ms. Alvarez. You have to be prepared for the possibility that she may not return," he says this as gently as his deep voice allows. "And what that may mean for… these privacy issues."

Benjamin is clearly taken aback by this information. A turn like this never occurred to him. "What are you saying? That I've been left alone because of Angie? That if it weren't for her, I would have been forced to work whether I want to or not? This.. it's putting a sugar coating on.. it's.. like slavery!" Probably a bad analogy and a tactless one given Dr. Eames's heritage. Whups. "This isn't really a choice, do this or we do that? It's blackmail, straight out!" He does finally rise up from his seat. His hands bracing against the front edge of Dr. Eames's desk. The man doesn't look angry, but more urgent, a desperation. "So what if I have an ability? This doesn't mean you people get to push me around, and take away the life I've built! It's not much, but it's mine." Again, it's not the whole thought of working for the company, he wants to do what's right, it's the methods he objects to.

Dr. Eames is silent for a moment, his stoic features darkening for a flash before returning to neutral. "I am not the one who is at liberty to say," he answers. "But it is not slavery. Benjamin please, take some deep breaths and find your…" Benjamin's therapist trails off, his eyelids drooping heavily. "Your…" It seems like a challenge to keep his head up. "Your calm… Benjamin. Watch what you are doing." His head lolls, eyes fight to stay open. "You force people to sleep against… against their will; yet you blame the Company for forcing hands…?"

That seems to have gotten Benjamin's attention. Eyes widening, he throws his hands up in a defensive gesture and backs away from the desk. "S.. sorry.. I got.. I panicked and.. Sorry.. I didn't /mean/ to.. Accident.." And.. he remembers all too well the last accident he caused.. Blanching, he looks away from Eames, forcing himself to calm down and to stop what he's doing. "Sorry," he mumbles apologetically as he moves to stand behind the chair he was just occupying. "I've.. been good about control.." Except he did lose it a couple of weeks prior with Lachlan, but that was different! Defense mechanism! No really.

Dr. Eames slowly sits up straighter, pinching the bridge of his nose with a strong thumb and forefinger. "An accident. No need to apologize." The briefest flicker of a smile makes itself known. "But you can understand where certain agents of the Company are coming from." He sits back and regards Benjamin. "So you feel, then, that you're doing well with control?"

Benjamin rubs a hand against his arm, shifting his weight from one foot to the other. Almost like an impression of a nervous schoolboy. "Generally… yes… I don't lose control.. much.. anymore.. Just when I feel cornered or pressured. Like now. I mean.. I guess.. I can see.. but I don't /like/ it. This is a free country, we aren't supposed to have our hands forced in our daily lives." Oh Benji, his world remains so small.

"It's normal to act out when you feel cornered; I apologize for making you feel that way. That was not my intent." Dr. Eames re-steeples his hands. "I could talk this through with you, all the many angles. However, I do not want to force your hand, and until your mind is made…" Until your mind is made. Oh, the implications of that statement. "…I can't fully help you, Benjamin."

Act out? What the hell is this? Kindergarten? The corrolation forms in Benjamin's mind and it doesn't help his mood any. "I see.. and you're basically saying I have a choice when she made it clear I don't have one. Am I getting this right? Honestly?"

"Everyone has a choice, Benjamin." The easy way… or the hard way. "Jordan was simply doing her job. She doesn't have the best interpersonal skills I've ever encountered but I admire her dedication to our philosophies— " Dr. Eames holds up a finger as if anticipating Benjamin's next retort. " —which are not akin to slave laws." He slowly stands up, smoothing down the creases of his pants, and moves to a desk drawer. From it, he takes one of his business cards; flipping the helix logo onto the desk, he writes on the back. A phone number. "Call this number when you've had time to think."

Benjamin doesn't immediately take the card. In fact, he'd rather not. In a bitter tone, he responds, "Or else what? People will come after me again? Hit me upside the head? Kidnap me off to God knows where?" Despite the bitterness, there's a sense of futility about the man. If he had more of a backbone, he'd be a better fighter about this situation. "Times like this.. I wish I was just a normal person, living a boring existence." Where he'd be watching his retirement and 401K grow, and do nothing exciting. Boring, mundane and normal. Stack that against being backed to a wall with damned if you do, damned if you don't choices.

"Normal… is relative, in this day and age." Dr. Eames actually allows a smile. "And no, Benjamin," he shakes his head gently. "No. No one will come after you. Contact you? Yes. Kidnap you? No. You have my word. I can help you, Benjamin. Whichever path you choose." He slides the card closer to the edge of the desk. "An acquaintance of mine. He can help you decide."

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