2010-04-24: The Warning



Guest Starring: Sergeant Gartland

Date: April 24th, 2010


She might be cursed.

"The Warning"


It's especially impossible to tell what time of day it is inside the precinct on first glance, without looking at a timepiece. The gauge is just how worn down people look and, in the case of those who plan to be on the grind for hour yet to come, the amount of coffee being consumed. Right now, there are plenty of hard-working tired faces to be found.

Detective Powers isn't a good gauge. Sure, she has the look of hard-working focus that she often has, and she's more or less done (inasmuch as she ever is), case-wise, but she has a lot of verve left in her yet; her day isn't over. In the midst of strolling from her desk, Maggie flexes her right hand repeatedly at her side, en route to the back of the station where a familiar row of lockers reside.

Someone's been keeping an eye on Detective Powers — in light of recent events, a debatably dangerous thing to admit — but the perpetrator is only her immediate superior, the attentive Sergeant Gartland, who notices the younger detective taking leave of her desk. Holding up an excusing hand to the man he had been chatting with, he rounds a couple of desks in order to align himself with Maggie's path.

"Detective Powers," he greets formally, his hands coming up in front of him and pausing before clasping together. The movement coordinates with his preparatory sigh as he gears up to ask, "If you're wrapped up for the evening, there's something I would like to speak with you about."

Unsurprised by the Sergeant (it should come as no surprise that Maggie happens to be hyperaware of anyone following her), the detective's clenching hand turns into a sudden fist; contrarily, she slows and comes to an easy stop. She has a smile when she faces him, expectant, though the hint of seriousness in her eyes betrays her curiosity … and concern for what happens to be on Gartland's mind. "Sergeant. Sure! Of course," she welcomes. "What is it?"

Gartland returns her smile readily, but an echoing grimness behind the wrinkles of the expression tell of his concentration for the less pleasant subject at hand. Still, he isn't in a position of command for nothing; his delivery is calm, supportive. But in the same way of all officials working in high-risk environments, he's instinctively prepared for an adverse reaction. It puts somewhat of an emotional wall between him and her even as he does that smile. "Thank you, Powers, if you just want to step this way— " He puts a hand near but not on her back, the other only gesturing forward to the lockers she was already heading towards, but, for the moment, it's a little more private there. "You, of course, know that it's procedure to follow up on a case such as what happened at your apartment…"

Maggie, easily taking note of the gesture and stepping around into the locker area, instinctively folds her arms when the issue at hand is addressed. Lo and behold, another moment that lacks surprise. She saw this coming, and while the sergeant speaks, her smile slowly disintegrates and flattens out into a straight line. Glancing away, it's easy to tell she's unimpressed by the reality. "It's really fine— " Procedure being procedure and Maggie being Maggie, she sighs and changes tracks, looking back at her superior. "Yeah— yeah, I know it's procedure. If I have to go in for someone to make sure I'm still sane enough to do my job, I will, Sergeant." A tiny smile. "Again."

He sympathizes enough with her to give a small, appreciate chuckle. "Yeah, again," Gartland nods, heaving another one of those sighs on her behalf. "It's been a tough road for you lately, detective. And I don't blame you if you're tired of it all, but this is about what's best for you, not just the job. God knows, this job goes both ways." After the softer tone, he straightens. "We set up the session for you, paid time, you can take the rest of that day off, whatever you like. And thank you for understanding." The talk would seem over, and small movements of regret betray Gartland's preference that it would be. But, halfway to letting her off the hook and leaving, himself, he pauses. "There's just one more thing, Powers… about the last talk we had."

Maggie offers up a smile resigned to her fate — as a consequence, it lacks any real warmth and seems out of place, wryness not suiting her features. It doesn't last long, and she has no more to say on the matter; she starts to drift to her nearby locker, straight ahead in the middle of the row. Her hand is on the lock as Sergeant Gartland's second-parter begins. Inquisitive blue eyes turn over her shoulder. She thinks back. "…Yeah, sure thing," she answers, again, easily. "What was that? It was— what, about Miles?"

"Yes, and no." Gartland decides, tilting his head to either side and then leaning against the nearest locker to regard her. "It's also about what makes you comfortable and able to do your job to the fullest of what I know to be your incredible ability." His eyebrows raise. "O'Meara can't dependably be said not to be on desk duty any day of the week, and late to file reports any day after that. Joe Parker's been on site with you nearly since day one and, as you may know, he's on personal leave, pending review of his actions." Shifting weight against his locker perch, he glances away across the station, to a meeting room where officers are being briefed. "I just thought this time you could use the fore-warning."

Rarely one to say a bad word about her colleagues even when they're a slacker of dubious morals and a far-out-of-line romantic, respectively, Maggie hesitates. Her hand falls away from the lock on her locker, and she turns around fully with a hand going through her hair. Her gaze follows Gartland's before she answers. "Forewarning. What for?" she asks innocently, not quite sure if she follows his meaning. "That my track record with colleagues seems to involve them vanishing?" Before Gartland can answer, she gestures a little. "And I— hey, I really appreciate it, Sergeant." The kudos, that is; she tries her best and she's not honestly used to getting recognized for it.

He laughs a little again: that sour, this isn't really funny but is rather ridiculous laugh. "Vanishing, by no fault of your own. Which, as I'm sure, your station-appointed therapist will tell you." Mmm, nothing like therapy humor. Gartlands nods a couple of times, to show her he's going to really answer her, and also to acknowledge her thanks. "And forewarning," he clarifies, mouth thinning out, "Because you're not the only one who's been ordered to attend. The chief made a hasty decision because he wants the man-power, but the repeated instances of reckless action and unnecessary violence allowed… some of us… to remind him of certain skipped steps." He pushes decisively off from the locker, unable to stop from looking at least a tiny bit proud, or at least satisfied. "That cowboy consultant turned tail and quit at the first sound of a psych exam after his little tour in the underground. I wouldn't expect any more from him this time, Powers."

Now Maggie gets the drift — and again, she's unsurprised. She was on the right track. "Maybe," she says, light-hearted in comparison to the Sergeant. She turns back to her locker, twirling the dial this way and that to unlock it; but she doesn't ignore him. Once the lock tugged open with a metallic snap and she opens up the door, she sways back to regard Gartland around it. "Thanks for the warning." She hauls an NYPD gym bag out of the locker and heaves it over her shoulder.

That cavalier response does not exactly impress her Sergeant. He regards her with newly narrowed eyes which she goes about the business with the locker, perhaps waiting for some other words from her. When he only gets four, they are clearly not the ones he wanted. Shifting his weight, he takes a couple of steps forward and eye down at her. "Careful you aren't swept up, or feel obliged because of what's happened, detective. I expect you to take this seriously." Glancing once to make sure no other officers are hovering in the area, he also leans towards her, lending maximum conspiracy to the quiet tones of: "Don't feel bad if you need to… reveal a bit of information about another party to get yourself cleared."

"I am taking it seriously," Detective Powers replies and, as it happens, her words are nothing but. Her reply is light and breezy, even though she's telling the truth. She adjusts the gym bag that's been situated over her shoulder, clutching onto the strap. Her poise is much less conspiratorial — she stands straight. A counter to the sergeant's quiet tones, hers are normal and calm. "There's nothing really worth mention…" Maggie hesitates, perhaps tellingly, but goes on as if there was no hitch. "Not anything new. You know already know he can be reckless." They've been down that road. She seems ever-so-slightly impatient, shifting her bag again. "If there was something, I'd bring it up."

Sergeant Gartland studies her face, all aspects that she shows in her responses, but he comes up with nothing. That much is obvious by the brief flickering disappointment in his eyes. "I believe you would," he finally states, "You're a good cop, Powers." And that's what good cops do. But his eyebrows are still lowered. "That's why I wouldn't want to see any of this rub off on you. Anyway," she's impatient, so he backs off, resuming a business-like stance. "It's only a matter of time, isn't it. I'll be needing to see that sign-off sheet from the therapist by the end of the week…" He nods to her and then returns to his work, leaving her to hers.

Maggie's locker clangs shut.

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