2011-02-10: Unprofessional Conduct



Guest Starring:

Detective Ryan, Captain, Sergeant Gartland, PR Guy



Date: February 10th, 2011


And to think: if Maggie closed the blinds the night before, this never would have happened. (Spoiler: The Captain never gets to finish his morning coffee.)

"Unprofessional Conduct"


Morning at the police station seems like any other beginning of the day, business as usual — that is, a series of varied events and tasks strung together by procedure. So far nothing too unexpected has had time to send any of the early shift scurrying. Detective Powers hasn't been here long— evidenced by the fact that she's just closed the door of her locker with a slam that may have been incrementally louder than usual. She's caught mid-zip down of her leather jacket as she turns, her attention hopping to the face she finds there — her present partner's. "Hm— ? What?" Pleasant enough clarification for his greeting, as though simply misunderstood the first time, followed by a polite, "Good morning, Ryan. Something on your mind— ?" Despite the bright and early hour, she's already focused — or is that distracted? — ready to move right on past him out toward the bullpen. Briskly, she starts to do just that.

She's reached the crisp, untouchable grey shoulder of Ryan's suit — completely indistinguishable from the day's before — when his head turns along that angle, watching her go with narrowed, private eyes. His voice, short and similarly low to keep it from carrying to the rest of the wide room past the lockers, though he characterizes no embarrassment for his agenda. "Powers," as she parallels him, his hands stiffly in his pockets; none of this wildly out of line for the straight-laced detective, except the use there of the word 'wildly'. "I just wanted to give you a chance to explain yourself," he announces with somber sincerity that edges, peeking beyond professionalism, to the menace of — not threat: but he manages to make disappointment sound shockingly menacing. Something drawn out of his pocket is regarded after her; it's a report, and, below, a photocopy. "Before I had to submit this report for your unprofessional conduct with a fellow coworker."

The detective is completely stopped in her tracks. She might as well have run into a wall; she doesn't even spin around to better face Ryan, only whips her head around to stare at him along her shoulder and his with a swing of straight blonde. Absolute incredulity, a fairly rare sight upon her face, now animates it.

"What?" The single high-pitched little syllable is full of surprise; not the professional tone of the other detective, Detective Powers doesn't sound like she's taking him particularly seriously. She even smiles in her bewildered uncertainty. However, after a glance to the direction she intended, she steps in front of him and lowers her voice only to repeat, this time more affronted: "What?" It's his demeanour that truly have her eyeing his face, seeking out the hints his voice belied, the sincerity, the menacing disappointment. He's serious. "Ryan, why are you filing a report against me? Who— " She grabs for the papers, prepared to take them right out of his hands.

"I didn't— " Ryan's voice raises in his own timbre when he's forced to very suddenly reroute the papers from his partner's range, snapping his arm up to leave the file and photocopy against his opposite shoulder. She'll have to breach some personal space to get them now— and he doesn't look entirely convinced she won't, all things considered. But, in turn, he doesn't look really very certain she will, either; it's companion to his own dreariness at what is a compelling, and unbending, sense of duty. "I didn't write it," he informs her, smoothing out the entry against his suit. The handwriting, to any keen eye, is recognizably female. Though the typed portions beneath are likely the detective's input. "And I put this off as long as I could. This young woman came to me last night… I'm giving you, right now, the benefit of the doubt— and then I have to turn this in…"

The study Maggie gives that report from afar as Ryan hangs onto them is intent enough be a preamble to her trying to get her hands on them again. She keeps her hands to herself. "Young woman? Who would…" The more hard-hitting portion of Ryan's statement is last night, however. Her jaw clamps; she lends a thoughtful glance to the side, wheels turning in her head, before she regards Ryan down more somberly and levelly. "I can't explain myself if I don't know what's on that report," she says logically, but not without a hint of unintended rancor, needing to know. Her mouth twitches a little, apologetic; she gives a prompting nod of her head, waiting rather hopefully for some form of details.

"You also can't know how much to make up an excuse for." Mirrored to her, the apology is lessened somewhat by Ryan's unfeeling logic. He holds onto it as tightly as he keeps the file pressed to his shoulder, though neither please him. "I'll tell you— " he goes on, sharp, and with an extra glance to make sure they're alone, for her sake as much as propriety's, but then his eyes are on her. On. "That this is a report of sexual harassment," eww, "That it involves FBI liaison Laurence Miles," double eww, "And that I am not wholly convinced of its validity, but have no choice but to bring it to the proper attention. If you've been the victim of some maneuver," he pressures her slightly with his tone lifting from pure fact to encouragement of openness; he'll be as impartial to any embarrassing tell as he is being to its result, "This will be dealt with as much tact as possible."

"O-oh." Oh. The breath in Maggie's lungs seems to abruptly become trapped; no air or words come out of her suddenly agape mouth. Without response, she is also without composure for a few moments that linger too long. She looks all around the in-between area they're in, blinking through what is a very bizarre realization; her knuckles find her lips and fall, little gestures of her hand when it doesn't know what to do with itself. Moments pass and she manages: "Did— umm." Let's try that again, detective. A more befitting poker face takes hold, serious as — suited to their surroundings by Homicide — death. She holds her hand palm out in a firmer, explanatory gesture. "I'm not a victim of any maneuver. I'm not a victim of anything. There are no victims. I didn't— sexually harass— " Another clamp of her jaw. "That sounds ridiculous." Sincerity moves past the hardness in her eyes to fix on Detective Ryan to assure: "It isn't valid." Is it; a hint of rather acute alarm hitches along for the ride through her gaze. "You don't think this will go far…" she trails off in query.

"I think it's already gone too far. Just existing." Ryan is not without sympathy, but he's also been plain witness to what are key reactions in the woman across from him, faced with the accusation. There are certain kinds of surprise when something is wrong — and when you didn't expect to be caught. "Maybe you just don't know you're a victim yet," he offers, as terrible reassurance. "Maybe we're all pawns right now. But I have a report," there it is, tapped at his shoulder, "and a photo," then brought under his arm for safe deliverance to a destination he back-steps towards; not the bullpen, the Homicide division — Jordan pouring a cup of coffee for his partner who, cheek flat against his desk, snores — but the head office, "And I'm taking them to the chief." Her minute's up; Ryan, with a last, unfathomable expression, goes to do his duty.

The accused detective's more fathomable look of undeniable anxiety — photo ringing an alarm bell and widening her eyes, breaking through in her out-of-sorts surprise — isn't likely to help her cause, though her following regard of Ryan, as though he's a crazy person, may confuse it. Most of it is aimed at his back. "Ryan. Ryan." She's marching after him. "I don't want you to think that," she says, level-headed — but her increasingly strong feelings on the matter make it back in, "There's no context. Wait— " she protests. Her strong voice invades the edges of the bullpen, incongruous to the yet dozy atmosphere perpetrated by Kotowski napping. She also knows loyalty to duty, however, and it stops her in her intended path to follow.

Instead, Maggie waits a moment. She folds her arms strictly, self-consciously, as a group of colleagues pass, before she takes a similar to Ryan's, looking this way and that, tallying who is here, who is not, who might be in an office; destined to be called into one of them, she heads right there preemptively.

Captain's Office

" …a report to the chief about me for unprofessional conduct…" Detective Powers stands tall in the captain's office, mid-preamble. One hand is occupied by strong-minded gestures over the subject, halting every so often in the air with her palm toward the no-frills authority figure. The other is hidden under the fold of the leather jacket draped over her arm, leaving her in the most plain and modest of white blouses.

"I understand we're going to have to address it somehow, Captain, since it exists now— " To paraphrase Ryan. Her voice is level atop its strong opinions; as firmly assuring as its words try to be. "But I wanted to come here and assure you, personally, that there's not anything to worry about. Nothing grounded in truth — at least not the way it had to be colored by the person who complained against me — not in a way that proves I'm any kind of sexual threat against my colleagues. I hope that's obvious." With all of zero hints of previous allegations, she has a reason to sound confident. Her hand is on the move again, as though expecting a response and cutting it off preemptively: "And I don't want anyone blaming Miles of anything except being there." Now that she's gotten that out of the way, she certainly doesn't appear any more satisfied; her mouth defaults to a thin line. Regarding the captain, expectant, she stills and dutifully waits.

Balding in all the least distinguishable places, the Captain's stout frame does little to aid him in not looking like a Jewish comedian, or possibly the jolly bartender in an 80s sitcom. But in his steady regard of the detective across the way, catching him at an explanation before there's been a problem, is the bearing that makes teams of her type of badges listen. One hand left where it stopped on her appearance on the morning's edition of the newspaper — Crisis in Japan, Stockmarket shifting, sports team A beats sports team B — the other with little tendrils of steadily cooling steam rising from his ungrasped coffee mug. His mouth was a thin line long before hers; it's been that way for years. A long beat allows her to exercise that waiting, before he lets out a calmly held breath. "Detective Powers," is decided coolly — not out of any emotional coldness, but backed by the bullpen rumor that he had surgery as a child to remove any part of his brain that would allow him to become unnerved. "The mere idea that you could behave unprofessionally— are some kind of sexual predator, sounds about as plausible as Kotowski one day sitting at this desk. And I will expend just about as much energy on its consideration."

There's only a tiny shift in his unshakeable bulk for the mention of the other party involved, and his grim mouth moves in exercise, not to be confused with hesitation. "As for Miles, I sure as hell will blame him for being there. Here. Anywhere that isn't far, far away." Unlike the distaste his perpetually flattened mouth might suggest, the captain is grabbing, instead, for a weighty sympathy. If only he were sentimental. "That man is so full of bullshit, it's obvious he's earned every second of it. But I would be so grateful if he'd stop getting my detectives in on his trouble bubble." Yes. Trouble bubble; he said it; and he damn sure made it work, too.

"Now." His hand settles onto the paper. Around the handle of his mug. "Will you kindly go catch some criminals, so I can enjoy my morning coffee before any more nonsense comes up?"

A few flickers of this and that — amusement over mention of Kotowski, something vaguely tenser over the assessment of Laurie's bullshit — threaten Maggie's otherwise still face, but she is readily adamant upon the captain's ending note. "Gladly, Captain. Yes," she says but she is still there interfering with his morning coffee, a fact she looks slightly apologetic for as she pauses in tongue-between-teeth consideration.

"It's just that— " The detective takes a step, first closer to the door but, woefully for the Captain, reroutes toward his desk, led by her gesture. "Even though I take this kind of thing seriously, and this incidence is crazy, let's be honest: the fact that it involves Miles is the only thing that would make it even a little bit of an issue. If it had involved anyone else, chances are they wouldn't bother with an allegation," she states slowly. "In case it does… become an issue, I take responsibility for there being anything to misinterpret. Completely. I'm sorry you had to listen to even this much." Now she sounds like Ryan. After regarding the Captain a moment to assess that grim face of his, her stationary form — hand gesture frozen — comes to life with a stern, polite nod, and she swerves to the door — where catching criminals sounds welcoming.

The Captain arches an eyebrow, the spike of it blatantly obvious against his remarkably bare forehead. "What do you want me to say?" He questions pointedly, even more pointedly holding the cup of coffee up in the air near the jaw he would like her to note is moving on her behalf, instead of sipping. "Be more careful with your hook-ups?" The other eyebrow companionably joins the first, then plummets rock-bottom to meet his expressionless — coffeeless — mouth. "Maybe it would do you some good if there wasn't anything to misinterpret. But again— not here. Far, far away from here. Like you can now be." Scoot, scoot, doggy — liked, well-behaved, but interrupting coffee-time, doggy. Captain's eyes are no longer even on her as he drifts to the paper, his bland-toned joke already forgotten; especially since she's nodding and obeying.

The coffee mug gets about to his mouth, and Powers to the door, in perfect symphony for it to collide open, admitting a fiercely scowling Sergeant Gartland. The Captain's sip is detained for this blustering interruption, and his face displays exactly how he feels about that — and all before eight.

"Can you believe what I've just had to listen to— there you are— " his indignant attention rounds on Maggie as soon as the red in his vision allows him to process her there beyond the tunnel. "I warned you," he dictates the cool, disappointed edict with a stabbing finger amidst arms that want to be perpetually crossed. "I said that one day this would come back around to you, if you couldn't see what was important— and here we are, Detective. Your job."

"Excuse me," rumbles the Captain before all else, slamming the coffee mug done and glaring at it lest it attempt to spill any of those desirable brown drops; they each respectfully flop inside. Back to Gartland: "But this is not happening in my office."

"Sergeant," Detective Powers addresses him as respectfully as ever despite the undertone of restraint. She nods to him as well despite the hardening of her jaw. Although she stops in time to avoid a collision with the him, she doesn't stop altogether; she starts to skirt behind him to the exit, pausing by in doorway. "I already brought this to the captain, he knows— " Actually— she points vaguely at said captain as though to correct — something about hook-ups perhaps — but simply goes on. "Don't hold it against Detective Ryan for telling me about the report. A report, by the way, I've informed the captain can't actually be accurate," she says before levelly, hopefully suggesting: "Let's leave him to his coffee."

"You will go and meet with the chief." Gartland orders low — dangerous — completely unamused that she would try and direct his options. "The rep is in with him now. You know," he's switched to the captain, fellow authority; former words have effectively dismissed Powers from the room, and from his attention; he's too frustrated to think about her. "We never needed a PR representative before. I think we can figure out between ourselves how to squash this maliciously directed nonsense…"

Up. Down; this poor, heavily abused coffee mug — it's probably used to it; it says World's Greatest Grandpa. "I," snaps this heavily authorized grandfather, "Wasn't even going to give it a lick of thought until you came in here and brought it up again— " his eyes flicker even in the thick of his growing attention to the unappeased sergeant, "Powers— go talk to chief." With a bit of a wistful sigh, he pushes the mug further from his grip, opening room for his irritated underling to draw in for what is looking to become one of those long days.

Powers doesn't need to be told … thrice. On the second, she obeys in a more timely fashion, having hesitated in the doorway biting down on dozens of words and opinions. She wills past her hesitance and obeys the double orders without argument — at least not beyond her pause — and becomes very briskly destined for the chief's office.

Chief's Office

"Let me get this straight: we're actually entertaining this…" A stout, balding man, the Captain straddled the line between stern proprietor and lovable uncle on the best of days. Today, huddled in the chief's office between three other men, and a damning piece of paper, he was the captain of a team of New York detectives. "As if it wasn't some kind of misunderstanding— " His hand mashed the air above the grainy photographic enhancement, its subjects caught in perpetual guilt. Blown up, it looked more like an act of childish voyeurism than evidence. "Childish prank— "

The length of a chair's back across from him, Sergeant Gartland had his arms crossed tightly, suffocatingly, across his chest. He had folded them the moment this had come to his attention five hours earlier, and it was believed that this was the exact same stance. They showed no signs of loosening. "This came from an outside source. We have no choice but to make an official effort so as not to appear negligent." Already fairly stern of face, the situation did Gartland no favors, and he spun this glower on every source he could find. "At least that's what this guy keeps telling me."

Rounded on, the third man fought off even the compulsion to roll his eyes, so in tune with appearances was he. His own, quite inoffensively generic, pressed down with more restraint than the other two. "If we could all exercise a little professionalism, gentlemen," he scolded with complete politeness, "There's someone in this room who can clear this all up…"

Three pairs of eyes convened on the figure in the chair. Unmatched blues blinked slowly back. Slouched and sunken low in his seat, his shoulders nearly boxing in his ears, Laurie looked more like the child stuck in the middle of a fight between mom and dad than a grown man, the emblem of his outranking of the officers around him conspicuously missing. Dressed down in a green polo beneath the biker's jacket riding up his torso from his posture and jeans, he isn't exactly the mirror of the black-and-white image of himself facing off across the way, under the nose of the intensely expectant PR representative.

Slowly, Laurie's eyes moved from the man ahead to the one on the left — Gartland, focused, bitter — to the one on the right — the Captain, impatient, unshakeable — back to the rep, whose mouth opened: "— I know you want pop. You want dance." He made a gesture meant to indicate the picture, but that was too neutral to really lead. "You want rock and roll. You wanted— "

"Boom boom," interrupted Gartland, leaning in. His own hand, lifting off his forearm very stiffly, flapped angrily as Laurie's eyes glanced over to him. "This year's remix! Got symphonics soul— "

On the other side, the Captain shuffled into the edge of Laurie's periphery, earning him the next flicker of blue eyes that way. He was just finishing rubbing the edge of his bald-spot, returning the liaison's glance with a pointed pressuring that had never given him problems getting answers from his detectives. He opened his mouth: "I got pop! I got dance! I got rockin' electronics! Club, beats— "

Simply as he'd looked, Laurie found his way back to the photo at hand, his misty focus gazing past the visible pixels defining a blue-clothed arm, or the hand captured at halfway running up it. As mouths continued to flap around him, he stopped looking, and the music from the tiny pink-encased ipod near his hip rolled on… I got hip-hop music, with the future sound. So don't worry— even if the sky is fallin' down…



Gonna be okay…

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