2009-10-06: Shades of Grey



Date: October 6th, 2009


Morality is relative. Who gets to act as the compass this time?

"Shades of Grey"

Firing Range - Company Headquarters

New York

For Meryl, eight o'clock in the morning is damn early, but she hasn't really been able to sleep since Benjamin was attacked. It's not because she killed a prisoner who'd already surrendered, though she does have some guilt about that, the way people have guilt when they accidentally run over a squirrel or something. It's more like she doesn't know why. And also, because there are likely more out there, and someone will come for Ben again sooner or later.

So the Agent is in the firing range, both sleep-deprived and hopped-up on more caffeine than anyone should rightfully be allowed to drink. She's examining her most recent target, into which she's shot an angry face. The eyes look crossed. Not her best work ever, but not terrible, either.

The door opens. Just as succinctly, it closes, and Meryl is no longer alone with her cross-eyed angry face of bullet holes.

That Angela Petrelli would enter the Company's firing range should be a surprise. What's more, it means one, singular, obvious thing: that she's here for a distinct purpose. Given the only person in the firing range is Meryl, it only stands to reason what that purpose is. Clad, starkly, in a navy blue pantsuit and tier of pearls, the head of the Company appears to be in a darker mood than usual. She might as well have thorns. "Agent Wolfe."

Wolfe, Winters, it could be either. She'll answer to both. Her driver's license still says Wolfe, anyway. Besides, what's she going to do, correct the head of the Company? Not likely. Even so, when she looks over her shoulder, she addresses Angela thusly: "Cankles."

It's a term of endearment. Really, it is!

For a moment, it looks as if Meryl's going to replace the target and go right on firing. After a moment of weighing the benefits and drawbacks of this course of action, she sets down the weapon, removes the ear protection, and pushes the goggles up to her forehead. "So, you talk to the guys?" Also known as the prisoners she'd very much like to kill.

At the nickname, Angela glares and otherwise silently ignores it. She steps closer to Meryl, and to the real-life shooting gallery. Hands clasped behind her back, she looks out on Meryl's work. "Yes." A side glance to the younger woman before she looks straight ahead. She's not truly interested in the targets; her gaze is focused, but faraway. "We were right to think they were government."

They were either Government, or some other Company-like entity operating on their own. And they'd be stupid to try to round up people like Ben. Safer to leave them be - that's what the Company exists for. "Hell," she mutters, before offering a much stronger expletive. What's decorum, again?

"So, what, you question 'em, you let 'em go? Or are you going to let me know where you're releasing 'em so I can go all open-season on their prissy backsides?" Meryl looks truly angry, even curling her lip up at the thought of them. "I promise I'll just kill them a little. You know how important this is to me. They went after Ben. We've only been married for a couple weeks, and I already need to save his ass."

Exasperated, she shakes her head.

Angela does not move, nor does she look at Meryl again just yet, stoic in the face of the agent's emotion. "Their memories of their capture and interrogation were wiped. They're still in their cell. For now." The matriarch's features tighten. The look she sends Meryl is withering. "I know their attack was ill-timed. I sure as hell won't make excuses for them, but you can't become too emotional. Your anger has gotten the better of you, Meryl, and I need to know you won't let yourself get sloppy. I certainly won't. Do I have to send you to Dr. Eames?"

"Little anger's healthy once in awhile." They protect their own. Especially when 'their own' involves a recent husband and the love of her life. Still, Angela has a point, of course. She knows Meryl's story. No family left, the Company's all she has. "I won't get sloppy. Soon as I'm done with 'em, there won't be any bits left for anyone to find." There's a hitch in her voice as she grits her teeth. They mess with Ben, they mess with her. "Anyway, it's why Ben and I aren't partners anymore. 'cuz if worst came to worst, he'd be the one I'd protect. You know that. I knew that when I requested reassignment."

To some, a visit to the psychiatrist would be punishment. But Meryl brightens instantly. "Could I?? Or Phy— Doctor Aldric. Me and him are buddies. He really helps me work out my issues. D'you know he has a ferret?"

"Dr. Aldric isn't a psychiatrist." Angela studies Meryl seriously, watching that anger twist and brighten in the atypical agent. "It's easy to start a war fuelled by revenge. To want to kill for the ones you care about the most in this life." Dark eyes narrow — anger of her own, though it's kept at a distance. "Rarely does revenge and… the settling of scores lead to success. Not in the acceptable sense. It clouds the vision. Leads to massacre." The woman smiles very subtly, a twitch of thin, red-painted lips and a hint of compassion. "If you kill them all, in their eyes, you're aligning yourself with the terrorist threats like your husband. No, we need to find other angles to come at this from."

Yeah, good point. But they started it.

Not that she'll say that. It'd be a sure-fire way to get her ass committed and back behind a desk. "Ben's not a terrorist," she says. There's no reason to believe he is one. "There was no reason for them to do any of that. None. We weren't hurting anyone. They just… appeared out of nowhere. Thought they could take us down. We got lucky, Angela." That's part of what worries Meryl the most. "They aimed right at our luggage. They could have taken us down easily. They were prepared for a fight. They can't possibly think that hunting people down — I mean… It's… That's our job. And we don't keep them." Max. Gone. Other people. Vanished. "At least we're subtle about it. They don't even care. Someone's going to notice people missing.

"I know," Angela says, her tone weighing heavily and matching her meaning all too much. She already sounds tired thinking about it. "You were lucky— and brutal," she eyes Meryl for a moment. "But you're right. You were lucky. It's just beginning. We'll need everyone together if we want to survive what's to come. For now…" Angela turns, walking slowly back to the door. An aging hand rests on the handle. "We hide."

At first, the idea of hiding seems repulsive. In fact, it seems like the last thing they'd want to do. "Like a game," she says, turning the idea over in her head carefully. It could be fun, staying one step ahead of the bad guys. As Angela starts leaving, there's a chuckle from Meryl as she starts resetting her target. "Heh. You know, I'm not used to us being the good guys."

"You killed that man in cold blood. Agent Winters." Angela looks over her square shoulder from her new spot at the door just as she urges it open more slowly than she did upon entrance. "We're all shades of grey." Trailing a hand along the door frame, she leaves, and the door secures in her wake.

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