2010-07-20: Worst/Best



Guest Starring:

Agent Nicole Fox

Date: July 20th, 2010


When Maggie can't get a meeting with any of her FBI contacts the official way, she ambushes one in a parking lot finds one off-duty.


New York City

Outside NY FBI Headquarters

The sound of a car door shutting somewhere off to the agent's far right isn't out of place — it's a parking lot. At least not quite; it's a bit too far off to come from the lot itself. Perhaps just outside of it.

The footsteps that follow are quiet like Nicole's; they're not obvious until, so suddenly the subject must have been running to advance so quickly, a figure is approaching from the opposite side of the Toyota Matrix. A tall, blonde figure.

"Agent Fox." It may be the end of the agent's workday, but the strict, demanding voice of Detective Powers means business. However, sans any obvious badge or gun — and they'd be obvious otherwise somewhere in the midst of her grey t-shirt and black jeans — she's doing this parking lot stalking on her own time. "I've been trying to reach you or— anyone in your division. For days. And no one will return my calls." Is that any kind of way to run an operation! "I have to talk to you." Today is finally that day, if Maggie's wholly determined and none too pleased expression is any indication at all, regardless of Fox's opinion.

Instinctually at the approach of a figure in the parking lot, the blonde agent reaches for her gun until the words identify Maggie as the intruder. "Powers," her tone is bland, disconnected, perhaps. "What do you need to talk about— I'd rather have been visited during actual hours— " a glance is given to the car almost longingly before she closes the door and turns to face the other women.

"What's on your mind?" the question is dry, humourless, and unimpressed. With a heavy sigh she shakes her head a little. "If this is about…" the topic on Fox's mind isn't exactly the same as the one on Maggie's although it's in the same vein "…I can't discuss it."

About what, that's the question in Maggie's eyes … but she doesn't ask. "I don't want to do this here, but you've left me no choice. I'm sorry." She walks around the woman's car to stand next to her; the detective's determined stare, on the other hand, doesn't move off of Agent Fox for a second. "I understand that I hardly have any authorization to know certain details, about this case, and that is fine — I'm not one of your agents — but if I am meant… to continue doing the job… that your Director asked me to… I have to…" Know more? Know what's going on? "… be heard."

"Then I suggest you talk to the Director— " is Fox's all too abrupt reply. "— I'm not authorized to share any information about this case. Details will be released once things are wrapped up. And I'm pushing for a wrap harder than anyone on my team, Detective Powers." She issues Maggie a tight-lipped smile. "And I didn't dodge your calls." The entire office did. Clearing her throat she quirks an eyebrow, considering any other options that might exist, "I… could listen. But I can't say anything. Do you understand?"

Where the agent gives that tight-lipped smile and quirks her brow, the detective's features only seem to set more firmly in stone: the only movement comes from the gaze that studies Nicole Fox, but even then, it locks on her and intensifies. She takes a small but notable step forward toward the other woman. "Did I ask you to say anything? I said that I understood," she says very evenly — very rationally, through her undeniably intense demeanour. "If you're the hardest worker on your team… you should know your team a little better."

"Hmmm," Agent Fox shoots Maggie a tighter firmer smile, this one almost sickly sweet. "And now, Detective, you've officially pissed me off. You don't know our team. You don't know our operation. And you don't know my role within it. So don't come in here and parade like you do. Alright?" She opens the car door and steps inside. "I have three kids to get home to. I was going to humour you and help you, unfortunately… I'm not so inclined anymore. G'night Powers." She shuts the door.

The agent's brusque dismissal prompts a quick hardening of Maggie's features, a tension flashing along the muscles of her neck. She's been dismissed and misinterpreted one too many times. She's close and, when the door starts to shut, she grabs the top of it to prevent it— hopefully she's strong enough to keep it there and not crush her fingers. She seems confident she is: she moves to lean down toward Fox, all in all getting in the way the agent's departure.

"I'm sorry, please let me finish," Maggie says to the woman in the car, as prompt as she is lackluster in her apology. Only a small note of her sincerity is audible (she couldn't really want to prevent the woman from going home to her kids); she's focused as can be on her purpose. "You're misunderstanding me, Agent. I'm trying to help you," she states. "I only know what I can see. What I can see is Agent Wright. He seems to think this whole operation is doomed and maybe that's true; maybe it's not. In my professional opinion, I have a hard time believing anything he says, the details he happens to tell me; did you know Wright is a drug addict, Agent Fox?"

Now it's Fox's turn to harden. "I know Agent Wright will always be a drug addict, Detective thanks to our operation. He's in Narcotics Anonymous working his program; I talk to his sponsor weekly. And yes, Sam can be a hard SOB but he's likely told you everything he can tell you…" her lips purse as she puzzles through something. "Did you see him shoot up?" Her eyes shut slowly and she shakes her head, "Wright doesn't know where the operation is headed or what Mason and I intend to do about it at this point. The Director and I have a contingency plan in place… although…" she presses her lips together again her expression more telling than her words. With a clear shake of her head she presses a finger to her lips, "Mason knows the situation with Wright and he's handling it. Evidently." She pauses as her expression turns more reflective, "I can't tell you details at this point, but… there's a plan…"

Listening to every word from the agent with clear watchfulness, Maggie nods subtly a few times here and there. Her expressions softens, if only slightly, into something more sympathetic, and she moves back — again, only slightly. "Is he?" she asks, of Mason — a prompt far more than a challenge. "Handling it?" No word on what she did or didn't see Sam do, but her own expression, with its pointed look at Fox, might be telling enough.

Maggie takes a true step away now, but before she can leave the woman alone, her hand tightens over the top of the car door. She looks out over the parking lot, tense. A struggle plays out in hints and shadows over her features — restrained, barely. She shifts with some impatience with herself, against keeping Fox here. "When you can— " she starts to say civilly but presses her lips together; the struggle is lost.

"I know the conditions in the gang's ranks were unsettled," the detective asserts without explanation, but certainly with knowledge that it's true — only for her voice to turn uneven a moment later, fraught, hurried, searching for information she said she wouldn't. "Agent Fox, I'll learn the plan or I won't." It's not the plan she cares to know at this moment. "It doesn't matter— what happened in there. I mean, to you, it shouldn't matter if I know, it doesn't make a difference; it's not as if I've been in the dark about what goes on. It's just. If what Sam said was true about Miles, if something happened…"

It's Fox's turn to press her lips together a certain softness taking her features in turn. "Detective, whatever Wright told you he shouldn't have. We know next to nothing." Her voice has an almost clinically honest edge to it. "The hostages were removed and we didn't hear from our asset— " no names now, but no talking either. She tilts her head towards the passenger seat, silently urging Powers to enter the car. Talking about cases outside of a secured area is a surefire way to get fired or worse.

Maggie looks to the passenger seat beyond Agent Fox the precise moment it's indicated and is seemingly stunned into momentary silence by the offer. Offer, order. Whichever. Her silence turns out to be not-so-momentary, as she opens her mouth to speak but only shuts the driver's door and strides around to the other side to get inside. On the secure shutting of the door, she looks straight ahead in the car. Even if Fox knows next to nothing, the fact that Maggie is sitting here at all warrants a quiet: "Thank you."

As the passenger door closes Fox nods at the gratitude, but doesn't acknowledge it otherwise, instead she gets right down to it. "Look. We don't know what happened, Wright shouldn't have said anything." There's a pause as the agent grasps the steering wheel as her own distraction in this place. She stares forward through the windshield. "That day… with the hostages… when they were freed… that was the last we heard from him." Her lips press together before she shakes her head, "His wire went dead. We don't know anything. Overall we're making assumptions to keep the operation afloat, the witnesses safe, and trying to figure out how to proceed. Right now we can only assume the worst, but nothing is known for certain— " she swallows now before her eyes soften at the windshield, "I'm sorry. I am. I'm sorry Wright let it leak like that, and I'm sorry I don't have more information." With another slowly inhaled breath she sighs, "Wright is bitter because the asset didn't follow orders regarding the hostages, but… the asset… he made a good judgment call. He did…"

Maggie's head gradually turns toward the agent, watching her rather than the windshield. Her concern is evident — etched in — but her gaze tells of her steady, analytical study of everything Nicole says. "In my line of work," she advises gently after a few moments of quiet, "I know that assuming gets you in trouble. You can make educated guesses, but at some point, if you don't have enough information, without proof, everything is just circumstantial. Circumstances change. Wright… is a pessimist. Miles… even if something goes wrong, he has a plan. He always has a plan." Maggie pauses after this reassurance — which might have been more for herself than the FBI agent — and gives a flicker of a somewhat wan smile. She reaches for the door handle. "Plan for the worst, hope for the best, right."

"I always do, Detective," her lips curl upwards slightly into a kind of smile. "I never met him, but from what I read in his file… I still don't understand why Mason and Wright insisted he was the man for the job…" now Fox frowns but only for a moment before she forces a warmer smile. "Anyways. That's all I know."

The door is urged open and Maggie plants one of her boots on the pavement, but looks back at the agent with an understated smile; what's there is reflective. "Because once upon a time, he was," she answers and climbs out of the car. She leans down to peek back in after the fact, one arm on the top of the door, but this time it's not to delay Fox from leaving the lot. Much. "Good luck, Agent. If you need any assistance … any more at all— " she leaves her FBI shadow out of the offer. " — you know where I'll be." The door is swung shut.

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