2010-01-14: Welcome To My Parlour (Part II)



Date: January 14th, 2010


The next victim to step willingly into Tammy's lair is Cody. Will she make it through the trials and tribulations of the Evil Psych Eval?

"Welcome To My Parlour (Part II)"

Alpha Protocol Psych Offices

It was late in the afternoon, and there was only one more to go before she could officially call herself done for the day. As her last interviewee made his way out of the door, Tammy figured she had just enough time to straighten up the office and get it ready to go home before anyone else arrived. The first step was handling her computer.

Her fingers fly across the keyboard, responding to an emailed request for an appointment with tidy, neat efficiency. After that, it was a matter of closing down the rest of the windows, and then logging off of the secured network. Pushing the little mini-drawer that contained her keyboard shut, Tammy pushes her high-backed chair away from the desk to allow her to stand up, letting the computer finish the rest of it's powering-down on it's own. Moving to the filing cabinets, it's a simple four-digit combo to undo the locks, pulling out the middle drawer.

Digging through the case files, though, was a trickier task. She had to remind herself to get a better filing system one of these days.

"Rachel, is my four-o'-clock here, yet?" The psychologist calls through the open door, into the reception area where her assistant had her desk.


"When she does, will you send her in?"


Finally locating the thick manila folder labeled 'CODY, BAKER F.', and yanking it out from the row of other tabbed manila folders, Tammy pushes the drawer shut with her hip, and a loud metallic *CLANG*, flopping it down unceremoniously on the desk. A quick moment to smooth her skirt, and the straightening of her framed diploma on the wall where someone had brushed up against it, and she figured she was set. The soft chime of her computer logging off confirmed it.

Cody had been in the bathroom for about 20 minutes psyching herself up for the psych interview. Her curly blonde hair is clean but still in its messy mop, her face? Well there's a few bruises, a cut to her swollen lower lip, and her face and neck are pock marked with scrapes and healing incisions from the ice darts a few days ago. "Okay Baker… You can do this… You've been through more than one of these." Her hard blue eyes stare at their reflection for a few minutes before she dashes some water against her face and dries it off with a paper towel.

About a minute later, Cody comes sauntering lazily down the hallway toward the office of Special Agent Lansing and raps quickly on the desk of her assistant. "Cody Baker, here to see Lansing." Her cool voice is a little bit commanding, not the sort of tone she would normally use around the complex. Apparently she just doesn't want to be here, it's probably an attitude that the poor woman has seen time and time again.

The blonde is promptly ushered into the office, where without invitation, she flops down in the first available seat. She's not dressed like many of the other agents. No suit for her. She's got on her combat boots, a pair of faded jeans, a white t-shirt that have the faint imprint of a set of dog tags that are hanging around her neck. "So you're the shrink, huh?" That's her only greeting to the other woman.

In the process of leaning over her desk to put away the various notes, pens, paper-clips, and other knick-knacks that she had apparently used throughout the day but couldn't quite remember when, Tammy doesn't immediately notice the arrival of the older woman into her office, until the sound of someone plopping down catches her attention. Halfway through the motion of locking her desk drawers, the dark-haired woman looks up, briefly offers a small, tight-lipped smile, then finishes her task of securing all her office belongings. Once done, she stands up, drops the keys into her pen cup, which proudly proclaimed her as the 'No. 1 Shrink'.

"That's what they tell me. You must be Miss Baker. I'm sure your day's been just as long as mine, so I won't try to keep you here any longer than I have to."

Dragging her roller chair out from behind her desk, the psychologist positions it in front of the wooden obstruction, close enough to Cody's seat that they could both whisper, and still hear each other without much effort. After taking a moment to shut the door and fetch a pen from her coffee mug, which she'd never actually drank anything from, the younger woman seats herself primly, knees together, hands folded over the top of the file in her lap.

"First, I would just like to say welcome. Anything you say here is confidential, unless you confess an intent to commit a crime. Note that the thought of committing a crime isn't the same as intent, just for distinction, so feel free to speak your mind. With that said… You look like you've been through hell. Do you want to talk about those bruises?"

Once the blonde has made herself comfortable, she pulls a small, soft covered notebook from her back pocket and a pen from behind her ear. One of her feet is propped up on the opposite knee to triangulate her leg in a sort of makeshift table. "No big deal, nothing that a little bactine can't handle." She says distinctly, licking her lips and then focusing her tongue along the edge of the cut to make sure it hadn't opened again.

"Who hasn't taken a few blows for the good of the team, eh?" The comment is made in a rather good natured form, almost as though the woman is proud of her marks. She's not exactly a free speaker in this sort of setting. Too clinical and the woman sitting opposite her is a little too close, therefore, the woman shifts her own chair a little to the side. Her eyes then drift to the file on the woman's lap, a hint of curiosity sparks in her eyes but it's well contained in her once again stony demeanor.

"Work-related hazard? I suppose I can sympathize with that. The work you do is very dangerous, some might even call it perilous."

The top of the file is flipped open to the first page, which has a photograph, fingerprints, and a few notes on occupation and such. After not more than a cursory glance, Tammy flips through the medical records, glossing over past injuries and illnesses, and eventually coming to several sheets of blank paper tacked onto the back. It's here that the pen comes uncapped and a few notations are made, tiny, neat, and nigh-unreadable.

"So you're a field agent for the Protocol. That must be interesting. Would there be anything specific you would say you do in the course of your duties? Someone remarked to me at lunch just the other day that we feel more like over-glorified cops than an agency established for the protection of the public. How do you see your job? Do you like it? Hate it?"

The tone of her voice is kept soft, unobtrustive, curious, yet non-invasive and unjudgemental. Much like every psychologist anywhere else, it's a tone designed for nonaggression, and for comfort.

"I sell nuts and hot dogs in the cold while I wait for people to expose themselves. Sometimes I get lucky and actually see a mark that we're supposed to be going after." Cody begins, the quester alternately bring out a little bit of bitterness and some actual joy in her occupation. "I can't say I'm a huge fan of the cold. I'm used to warmer climates."

The blonde slides a little further down in her chair, her posture slumping slightly for comfort. "To be honest, I haven't seen much of the cop side. I'd probably like it a bit more if I did. I don't have enough access to files that I need to pick appropriate marks and the marks that I do find… well… Let's just say the little ice queen hasn't been the most forthcoming of detainees. She probably doesn't know anything about the terrorists we're supposed to protect the country against and she doesn't fit the MO of someone that's going to destroy the world. If you supplied her with a lifetime of Swan juice, she'd probably go back to whatever she was doing before and lead a productive life."

Knowing that she's probably said a little too much, the woman stills for just a moment and tucks the pen back behind her ear. Her arms fold over her chest and she regards the brunette with a cool stare. "So far, the biggest perk of the job is the free chocolate bars from the broken vending machine in the break room."

"I can see how that can be a problem. I had a friend who was from Florida that lived up here for a little while. He got sick every time the weather changed. All I can say is don't be shy about showing your face to our medical staff. They government doesn't pay them any less for not treating any bug you come down with."

The scribbling sound of her pen sounds for several more heartbeats as Tammy talks, adding lines into the blank page of the file, the folder tilted at just enough of an angle to keep it from being visible to Cody. Leaning back ever so slightly in her chair, the psychologist lifts one leg to cross over the other, looking up from her writing with a slight, soft laugh.

"Be careful of those chocolate bars. They can help cause cellulite. Ahem…"

"What about the Protocol itself? How are you finding life within the agency? Adjusting well, getting along with others? Has your life changed much since you joined, has it gotten better, worse, about the same? Is there… anything you'd want to change if you were put in charge for a day?"

"Chocolate is a necessity that I'm not willing to part with. I'm not exactly scared of getting cellulite, if a little cottage cheese on my ass is enough to get me fired then I'll start caring about it." The candor is brutal and shield across her sailor's mouth seems to have broken just a little bit, but she's not out in full force just yet.

"Protocol is protocol, it's the job I'm assigned to and I'll do it the best I can until I'm assigned to something else. Some of the people here have sticks up their collective assii, but I think that's the same with any organization that has a dress code. Speaking of which, we don't have a dress code here, do we? Because I haven't exactly been following it." Her Captain Obvious hat has gone missing, otherwise she would have put it on at this juncture. The file gets another curious glance, cursory as it might be, but she doesn't shift to try to peek at it. if the results of her evaluation are unfavorable? Well.. she won't be without a job for long… maybe.

The woman tightens her arms across her chest and smirks about the lifestyle questions. "I don't know, has your life changed? Of course my life has changed. I moved from the heat of the middle east to here, otherwise it's about the same. Except now I can get real coke and good chocolate bars."

"It's not my place to say. Are you comfortable in your current clothes? If your supervisor hasn't made a habit of climbing up your backside about it by now, I doubt you have much cause for concern on that front."

Still with that same, tight-lipped, friendly smile, the dark-haired psychologist makes more notes along the lines of the page, which were starting to fill up a quarter of the page by now. She somehow manages to glance down at her writing, to keep it straight and neat, yet still manages to find time to look at Cody as she speaks, a practiced manner that gave the affect that the older woman had her full attention. Several dozen seconds after the blonde finishes, the furious sound of scribbling stops, the pen resting quietly lain across the top of the folder.

"I'll take that as 'you're adjusting well'. I can understand the distaste for bureaucracy. Believe me, it's a common complaint within all Agencies."

"You expressed a… seemingly mild dissatisfaction with the methods of your job earlier. If you could have your pick, what would you do instead of scouring the streets for the evolved among us? What method would you employ to find them, and what would be your primary method of dealing with them once they were found?"

"Better transport techniques," Cody says glibly, "I mean, if you think about it in an ecomonic perspective, a bullet costs thirty cents. Unless you can be assured that a route is safe and direct you might as well just shoot yourself in the foot. We already have major security breaches running loose around the city, then add to that some escaped convicts? I mean, come on."

A long sigh is let loose and the woman sets her jaw. "Then we saw Petrelli and he got away. Why don't we have more men on this? Think about all the damage that guy can do." The blonde shag sways a little as she shakes her head disappointedly.

"So how are you coping with that, Lansing?" Cody leans forward and folds her hands together in front of her. "I mean, you're the interrogation specialist, right? I'm sure the escaped convicts know you really well, they're probably spreading your picture around. Do you feel safe leaving the building every night? How are you coping with that?"

"Yes, unfortunately, no method is full proof when transporting prisoners. Particularly ones with powerful friends. But… what can you do? As for Mister Petrelli, well, I can't imagine he's an easy man to pin down. I'm sure those in charge of the field work are doing everything they can to come up with a plan for each of the known threats out there."

But at the return question of her own possibility of running into trouble, Tammy raises her eyebrows in a small measure of surprise. After a moment of letting the silence hang in the air, she returns with her answer.

"Thank you for the concern, but generally this time is meant to be spent on you. If I start talking about myself, it begins to cloud and color the issues and interferes in my job of finding and solving your problems. But, since you asked… I find that it's really not much different from my time with the CIA. Most enemy spies know who we are, and we know who most of them are. It's not really any different with the evolved, and the risk of being the target of terrorism ourselves is something we all have to take in order to do our jobs. In a world where people can read minds, no one is really safe."

Clearing her throat softly, the doctor lowers her eyes back to her notes, then flicks them back up to the older woman. "Speaking of people who can read minds, what do you think of them? Or of someone who could fly, or control fire? How do you see them figuring into the future of humankind? Would you feel any differently if you were possibly related to anyone who might have such powers?"

At the doctor's explaination, one of Cody's eyebrows shoots up and she puckers her lips lightly as though she's deep in thought. "Enemy spies only know who you are when you're not careful. In my experience with that line of work, if someone makes that kind of discovery they're either on your side or they're neutralized. Permanently." The Petrelli problem? Well that's a gunny sack full of kittens that is probably best left unopened at this juncture, so the blonde keeps mum about it.

"But really, I think talking about your problems is probably a better use of our time here. Unless there's a problem with the way I do my work, I haven't heard peep one from the higher ups… Then again they have a habit of dropping like flies, don't they? Do you know if these evolved had anything to do with that?"

Under the barrage of questions, Cody's lips lift on one corner ever so slightly. "Mind readers, people who can fly, control fire. They're not so much different from someone that might be able to fire a machine gun or wire themselves with explosives. It's really a matter of who can get to them and control them first, isn't it? Get enough of them on your side and you can eliminate an entire country. One mind reader could probably replace an entire department in the CIA. You have to find a way to either control them or dispose of them. They're just as big a liability as any other terrorist."

"It's generally the policy of the CIA not to comment on the policy of the CIA. As for untimely demises, I like to keep my nose in my specialty, Miss Baker. I'm a profiler, not a coroner, I'm afraid I can't really comment as to what may or may not have caused the deaths of people within the agency. You could petition up the chain of command to see if they have any relevant information they would be willing to share, or perhaps drop by the city coroner's office. Death is a little outside my area of expertise."

More scribbling, the ballpoint of the pen blazes it's trail across the page several more times, before it stops. Pursing her lips slightly, Tammy looks over the notes briefly, before finally pulling the cap off of the pen, and shoving it back home over the writing end. Swiveling in her chair, she sets the writing utensil down on the edge of the desk, under the lamp, then picks up the manila folder and shuts closed it's pages.

"Okay. I think we're just about done here. I just have a few more questions you'll have to bear with about your personal life."

"I know we can get a little hectic and busy around here at times, but have you been finding the time to exercise regularly, eat the right foods? Any problems or situations developing at home with friends or loved ones that might have a negative affect on your career or performance. Financial troubles, relationship counseling, anything you can think of?"

"Petitioning up the chain gives a paper trail that I'm not exactly comfortable with. I'm sure that people a little higher up on the food chain than me have probably gone over all the little details with a fine tooth comb."

"As for my personal life… I exercise. I eat. I don't have financial troubles." Each point is addressed in a distinct and pointed manner, the blonde not giving up anything more in that regard than she absolutely has to. Relationship counseling? That just earns a smirk. "I don't need to talk about my homelife, trust me. It's all good there." Only because her home life consists of what? That's right her.

After the questions are answered, the woman rises and grabs her notebook and kicks the chair back to its original place. "I'll see you around Lansing." Special Agent, doctor, two titles that aren't graced in the conversation.

The psychologist gives a mild, accepting nod at the notion that nothing more in older woman's personal life needed to be discussed. Tammy stands as the blonde does, reaching back to set the file down on her desk, the last bit of paperwork she had to do before she could run home and unwind from a day's rigor of… other paperwork. She moves to the door, placing her hand on the handle with the same small, warm smile that she'd worn through almost the entire interview.

"If you ever feel the need to vent about anything, or you feel you need any help with something you can't quite control, please come down and make an appointment with one of our counselors. Remember, we're the only ones here who are legally bound not to gossip about you behind your back, so don't feel shy. Also make sure that if you notice any of your coworkers struggling, to refer them to the psych office. It's not tattling if they really need the help. A lot of times we let our pride get in the way of accepting a helping hand."

Finally, after her parting words are over, Doctor Lansing turns the handle and swings the door open. "Have a good day, Miss Baker."

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