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Thread: The Full Monty

  1. #1
    Michael Beckett

    Closed Roleplay [X-Men] The Full Monty

    Mike's fist pounded on the sealed door, which reverberated in the exact same satisfying way that you'd expect a door on a helicarrier to reverberate. Most of the doors, especially up around the command deck and the research labs were all swooshy and high-tech, but down here in the bowels of the ship, where Treadstone had crammed all the stuff that was too loud or undesirable for the more civilized areas - generators; waste recycling; Kara Hawkins - things felt decidedly more like a conventional ship. At a guess, it was probably something to do with being below the waterline; or at least, where the waterline was when the helicarrier wasn't a few thousand feet above sea level; but to be honest that was just him grasping at vaguely clever-sounding straws.

    Of course, with all the machinery around on these levels, the rooms were probably soundproofed; the military probably wouldn't have given a drowned rat's ass about the noise levels in the rooms where it stashed it's seamen - Ha. Semen. - but Treadstone Industries was a little more people friendly, and Beckett knew that his quarters were definitely soundproof, as he and a cute little Spanish Corporal had extensively tested during her tour of duty aboard.

    Frowning, the Sergeant reached for the door chime intercom thingy beside the hatch, and quickly buzzed out MIKE in morse code before holding the talk button down.

    "Open up, Red," he called. "It's Sergeant Beckett. The General wants to see you, a-sap."

    He hesitated for a moment.

    Wants to see us, he mentally amended. That wasn't ominous at all.
    Last edited by Michael Beckett; Oct 4th, 2013 at 08:22:25 AM.

  2. #2
    "Yeah, yeah, I heard you..." Kara grumbled as she tied back her mass of copper hair into a manageable ponytail. Normally she wouldn't have bothered but considering the other lengths she'd gone to today, it seemed best to at least try and tame the fiery beast.

    Her official SHIELD uniform had finally come in and while Kara was perfectly comfortable in her jeans while everyone else around her was decked out in fancy gear she figured she might as well get used to wearing the damn thing. It wasn't so bad, really and damned if wearing something made of Kevlar didn't make her feel like a supreme badass. It had that that's right... shoot me and see if I give a shit thing going for it. Not that she wasn't entirely convinced she couldn't just stop a bullet from hitting her if she wanted but Kara could only really think of one way to test that theory and it was one of those things that if you fucked up it wasn't exactly like you could get a second chance.

    She stopped to make a face in the mirror, looking over her shoulder to eye the patch there in the reflection. Yeah... definitely going to take some getting used to.

    The door was finally opened and she eyed Mike, trying to come up with something shitty to say but he hadn't exactly started anything and the words General and ASAP kinda put a damper on the whole thing.

    "Shiny. Let's not keep the old man waiting then."

  3. #3
    Michael Beckett
    Michael's eyebrows hoisted up on winches, and probably would have risen clean off his face were it not for the intense and inescapable attractiveness he radiated.

    Kara Hawkins being on the SHIELD payroll wasn't really that big a deal: General Heller seemed to be snagging anyone and everyone who seemed even vaguely useful, present company included. What was surprising was that Kara, whom Mike had pegged as the don't give a damn, only here because it pays type, actually appeared to be taking things seriously. Her SHIELD jumpsuit was turned out with all the bells and whistles; bits of it almost looked polished, and she'd apparently tried some utterly futile but bonus points for trying persona grooming. Very different from what Mike had imagined seeing when the door opened, which included everything from just dressing gowns or swimsuits to full-on slumber parties.

    Beckett searched his mind for a compliment, but found himself completely unable to do so. "Your hair -" he tried, but his brain offered him nothing to work with.

    "- looks ploofy."

  4. #4
    Kara had to admit there was some sort of satisfaction in the look he'd given her.That's right, soldier-boy, she can play along. For a moment she half considered slipping fully into the complete persona of Specialist Hawkins, but really Mike wasn't worth the trouble. There were far more amusing and easy ways to mess with the guy if she wanted... like waiting until she saw him heading into his bunk with some cute little thing and then projecting a mental image of his grandmother into his head.

    "Such keen observation skills you have. You must be so proud." A sickly sweet smile accompanied the words. She should have said the General would be the one appreciative of his efforts but something told her that may have not been the wisest choice of words. Thank you caffeine for saving the day, one incident of fully alert better judgement at a time.

    It had taken a bit of time for Kara to get her bearings around the helicarrier that had become her home, though she still found herself staring down unfamiliar hallways more often than she'd like to admit. The important routes had become familiar at least, which meant that she didn't have to wait for Sergeant Smartass to lead her in the right direction.

    "Any idea what he wants?" It was still an annoying thing to not be able to just read people's minds at a whim. It certainly would save her from having to betray her curiosity. Maybe one day...

  5. #5
    Michael Beckett
    "World peace?" Mike shot back with a shrug. "The renewal of Firefly? Waffles?"

    There was this strange misunderstanding between Kara and he. An understandable one, he supposed, what with him being so fantastic, handsome, clearly and intelligent; but a strange one. Kara seemed to labour under the misconception that Beckett actually knew what was going on most of the time. Truth was that he usually didn't. As far as SHIELD was concerned, he was a gopher, there to run errands and occasionally to drive the bus on missions, because the fast-jet pilots up on the flight deck were too cool to slum it behind the controls of helijets; whereas it nestled nicely into the intersect of Mike's skills.

    Allowing himself to put his sarcasm aside for a moment, he genuinely thought about her question for almost an entire ten seconds. The General had asked for both of them, so unless he'd managed to get drunk and had done something particularly embarrassing with Kara that his mind had blocked from his memory, this probably wasn't about anything bad.

    He shot a sidelong glance at the uncomfortably competent-looking Kara. A mission? Already? It was the only logical explanation, and yet it felt deeply illogical at the same time.

    "He probably just wants us to go pick some stuff up for him from the store," he lied. "Needs me to drive, and figures you can probably snatch him a discount."

  6. #6
    A halfhearted laugh escaped before she could contain it. Okay, so maybe Michael really wasn't there to just antagonize her with mysterious I know more than you know mumbo-jumbo. Damn, there went one more reason to hate the guy. At this rate she'd be stupid for him by Christmas. Soooo not going to happen.

    "Helpful..." She mumbled while they continued in the direction of General Heller's office.

    Michael's joking aside, she genuinely found herself a bit nervous about the whole thing. Kara had figured out the overall gist of things that she had signed up for, but reading it on paper and actually going into the field were two different things. Rookie Telekinetic and the Gun-toting Canadian... wonderful. Of course, that was a big old If factor still. Fuck, for all she knew she could be training or some shit and Mike could be playing watch-dog. Why couldn't they have just let her stay in her room and watch Dexter?

    A sidelong glance was cast back at Michael and she frowned. That was odd. She'd been so wrapped up in her own head she hadn't noticed the fact he seemed...well... kind of nervous. It wasn't like she wanted to notice such a thing but she could just feel it. Snipits of words seemed to leak out and flow around him. Kara never considered herself much of an Empath but this was hard to ignore. Kara was torn between being very amused and slightly worried.

    "Whatever... If it means getting out of this metal box for a while, it's all good."

  7. #7
    Michael Beckett
    Michael looked as if he was about to say something, but stopped himself, possibly deciding it was a bad idea. A moment passed, and then he realised that to hell with it, he was going to say it anyway, and if he was going to antagonise Kara for sport it was probably best to do it when aboard a helicarrier full of burly soldiers from 28 different nations who could protect him if she went cray-cray and started throwing fire extinguishers at him again.

    "You're free to head upstairs and stand on top of the metal box any time you like," he pointed out, heaving open one of the manual bulkhead doors that the lower decks had to contend with, and holding it open in an uncharacteristic display of gentlemanly behaviour. "Let me know in advance though so I can bring my camera: the humidity at these altitudes is gonna make your hair look fantastic."

  8. #8
    "Dude," she paused halfway through the doorway before her head suddenly turned to the side to face him. "Are you secretly a chick that morphs into a guy or something? You obsess over my hair more than I do."

    Her eyes rolled as she forced herself to move on almost as soon as she had finished speaking, any chance for some sort of dramatic pause would have given room for Mike to interject with something shitty. He would probably do it anyway. Actually, odds were he was already formulating all sorts of things to say or do to her that weren't exactly on the kind scale. Kara fully expected one of these days to wake up to find her hair cut off or dyed black or something. She half wondered if on some level he was afraid of her powers enough to not try anything.

    Several more unremarkable corridors later and Kara was thanking her lucky stars she had actually managed to successfully navigate to Operations. Unlike most of the hallways they had walked through, the area was bustling with activity. A nonstop stream of information flowing to and from command. Kara hadn't exactly been in this area of the ship that often, there hadn't been a need to so she still found herself made really uncomfortable by all the official looking gadgets and people and... shiny stuff. Yeah. There really wasn't a better word for it.

    Thankfully she wasn't there to try and decipher whatever was on the various displays, Kara's attention turned to a wall of slightly tinted glass against one of the walls. She couldn't really explain what she was feeling at the moment; when by herself the uniform had seemed like a grand idea but now she suddenly felt extremely self conscious. Yeah, Earth to Kara - you aren't really one of them. Next time, stick to what you know.

    Mental pep talk initiated she managed to return to that like I give a crap aura that practically oozed off of her. Eff all of this, she was supposed to here and they could all just suck it up if they didn't like it.

  9. #9
    Michael Beckett
    Honestly, Mike didn't know what to say.

    More than anything, right now he felt wounded. Here he was thinking that he and Kara were developing a fun little playful banter thing, and then she had to go and be mean. It wasn't that his emotions were especially vulnerable or anything, and okay, so maybe he'd learned how to befriend women when he was twelve years old and hadn't really bothered to update his tactics in the nearly two decades since, and okay he was doing that whole infantile thing where you insulted the stuff you liked because you didn't know any better; but damn it, her ploofy giant storm cloud of hair was fantastic, and everyone on this damned ship was so professional and boring that he just really wanted someone he could shoot the breeze with, and have a little playful back and forth banter with... not someone who'd go all Wimbledon ninja on him and smash the conversation ball right into his conversation balls.

    He kept abnormally quiet and trudged his way to OPS. He didn't even bother to check who was on duty, or work out which of the female - and male - members of the duty detail were rocking SHIELD's remarkably flattering fashions in the ass department. He just walked around like a normal person. A normal, boring, miserable person. God, was this what everyone else's life was like, all the time?

    He almost walked into the door, but his finely honed reflexes, tempered by years of almost embarrassing himself but managing to deftly avoid it at the last minute, managed to trigger the door control just in time. The sheet of what looked like glass but probably wasn't glass whooshed out of the way, and he stepped into General Heller's office noting, with some well-concealed surprise, that Captain Daniel Myers was also there.

    He didn't know what the deal with Myers was: glorified taxi drivers like him didn't get clearance to know fancy stuff like that. He seemed nice enough, even if Mike did find it a little odd that in his personnel photo showed him with brown hair, whereas he now appeared to have magically - or maybe mutantly - become a natural blonde. That thought was distracting all on it's own, and his mind started wondering what Kara would look like if someone were to oh, I don't know, pour hydrogen peroxide all over her hair to bleach it blonde.

    He dragged himself back to the present. "Reporting as ordered, sir."

  10. #10
    General John Heller
    The General offered a curt nod to acknowledge the arrival of the two operatives he had summoned. Briefly he contemplated making introductions, but he decided against it, in the end; he was confident that his soldiers had enough initiative and resourcefulness between them to find an opportunity to do that later.

    "Take a seat," he invited, realising part way through that his office furnishings only provided enough seating for one of them to comply. He noted with interest the way that Sergeant Beckett subtly sidestepped, wordlessly offering - or perhaps insisting - the only chair to Specialist Hawkins, while he himself remained standing. Heller allowed himself to wonder if it was a display of gentlemanly behaviour, or simply the desire to remain as far away from the General and as close to the exit as was possible. He studied Beckett's features, but they gave nothing away, save for the fact that the Sergeant was in an uncharacteristically dour mood.

    He turned his attention to Specialist Hawkins and, beneath his regulationally questionable beard his mouth twitched into something that was most definitely not a smile, nor anywhere near becoming a smile, but that might, if cultivated, have the potential to potentially be a smile at some point.

    "Specialist Hawkins," he said, his voice as opposite to it's usual gruff growl as it could possibly get. "You look good. The uniform suits you."

  11. #11
    "Thank you, Sir." Only by a small miracle had she actually managed to make it not sound as awkward as she felt.

    If ever that day Kara was going to allow herself to actually feel some sort of personal achievement had been met and not feel like she had gotten it by cheating someone else else... that was probably it. General Heller was a no nonsence kind of guy, and while it could scare the living hell out of you if you weren't prepared for it, Kara really did have some sort of respect for the guy. Which was pretty damn incredible considering her opinion so far of just about everyone else on the Helicarrier.

    Solider-boy had earned some credit with the chair thing, though.

    The other face in the room was a complete mystery. A name she'd read over once or twice was lingering on the tip of her tongue but it didn't want to actually make itself known. She knew he was part of the same group she was now tied to and that was enough to know that something was up. They didn't call in the big guns for a beer run.

  12. #12
    General John Heller

    Now that really was something to smile about, if you were the sort of person whose face hadn't been so addled and sandblasted by cynicism and combat that it was incapable of doing anything aside from scowling. Indignant to respectful - or at least, convincing enough at faking it to get away with it - in only a few days. It usually took raw recruits months of basic to get their heads around that.

    He settled back in his chair and frowned, not particularly because he had anything to frown about or to think on particularly hard, but because it just seemed like the most comfortable think to be doing. Some people folded their arms. General Heller frowned.

    "Captain Myers," he explained, with a faint nudge of his head in the appropriate direction, "Has an important mission in New York. And, since we'll be sending a helijet Manhattan anyway, there's an additional objective that I need you -" He aimed his explanation directly at Hawkins. "- and Sergeant Beckett to complete."

    An awful amount of conflict started going on behind the General's eyes: a mix of reluctance, frustration, and disappointment, all competing for the ultimately futile opportunity to try and twist his stone-clad features into an actual emotional display.

    "SHIELD has identified a potential new recruit. He is a computer expert with a number of relatively minor cybercrimes to his name, and a handful of potentially useful mutant abilities. He is currently being held by the New York Police Department: your assignment is to retrieve him and, if at all possible, convince him in advance that SHIELD employment is in his best interests."

    "Specialist -" The way he looked at Hawkins suggested that these orders were of the utmost importance. "- he's about your age, and he shares your lack of military background and your brushes with the law. Try to appeal to him: convince him that not everyone at SHIELD is -" His gaze settled on Sergeant Beckett in particular. "- like the rest of us."

    He sat back again, his gaze becoming more inclusive. "You'll be liaising with the Mutant Crimes Division of the NYPD. Your contact -" There was an ominous pause. "- will be my daughter, Phillipa. She works with MCU and the District Attorney's office, and knows to expect you. She'll have more details when you arrive."

    Another uncharacteristic hesitation. "This may seem like a milk run," he admitted, once again directing his gaze at Specialist Hawkins, "But I assure you it is not. I cannot stress how important - imperative - it is that you succeed in retrieving this recruit and bringing him back to the helicarrier." His gaze shifted to Beckett. "By any means, if necessary."

  13. #13
    Sceptisim took hold... No way was she actually being sent out on a mission and no way in hell did the General just make it all sound like this was up to her and that only if she fucked up would Mike really be stepping in. She was hearing things wrong, clearly. Maybe. Definetly.

    The thought persisted all the way to New York which made the flight unusually quiet and seem far longer than it probably actually was. Even Mike seemed to get the hint that now was clearly not the time to bug the strangely nervous little ginger who could probably wipe out your knowledge of how to tie your own shoes if she felt like it.

    Wait... could she actually do that either?

    It was only when the plane actually touched down and they had headed for the Police station that Kara started actually feeling more like herself again. Yeah, definitely too much time in the metal box.

    "Okay this going to sound stupid," The first words she'd spoken in a few hours and that's what came out? "But I could seriously go for a bagel and a cup of hot chocolate right now."

    Comfort lame. Good job Specialist​ Hawkins.

  14. #14
    Michael Beckett
    "Oh," Michael said, deadpan, as they strode his way down the annoyingly crowded streets of New York. "You are talking to me, then."

    It wasn't intentionally a cutting, petty, or childish remark, but it ended up coming out that way. In truth, he hadn't exactly done much talking either. He'd been trying to give Kara the cold shoulder for the whole secretly a chick thing earlier - and yes, he did in hindsight realise that adopting a retaliation strategy perfected by women wasn't exactly helping his case - but it was proving particularly difficult to ignore Kara when for starters, his job required him to say certain things to certain people to avoid them crashing into stuff; and when on top of that Captain Myers had decided to join him in the cockpit and keep him company while Kara hid herself in the back.

    Dan Myers was a nice guy, it turned out. Not what you'd expect from a US Air Force Captain at all; but he'd been surprisingly knowledgeable about the deep inner workings of ice hockey and, cliché as it sounded, that had done a whole heap to endear him to the Canadian Sergeant. From the way he spoke, it sounded almost like Myers had played pro; but Mike knew his record showed him in service straight out of college, and Dan had been reluctant to go into too many details. Out of respect to someone he wasn't currently angry at, Mike was content to mind his own business.

    They'd parked their UV-24 at JFK International, which to be honest was not a particularly convenient place to park, given how it was sort of nowhere near the actual part of Manhattan they were trying to get to. SHIELD had pulled a black branded SUV out of the car pool from the New York field office, and that had managed to get them most of the way across the urban jungle, but now that was inconveniently parked, in a lot two blocks from the precinct they were trying to get to. Beckett had spent a good few minutes toying with the idea of just abandoning the car in the middle of the road and relying on the local authorities to find somewhere to park it - SHIELD could retrieve it later, or not, whatever - but exiting a vehicle in the middle of 7th Avenue was the kind of plan that would have required talking to Kara, and he sure as hell wasn't going to be the one to break the silence.

    He sighed; from the look on her expression, she didn't even realise she'd been cold shouldered. That in itself was a catastrophic failure, but on top of that he was feeling utterly miserable in this overgrown sprawl of a city with it's complete absence of trees or other intentional plant growth; and now she wanted a hot drink and food with a hole in that wasn't coffee and a doughnut; and even if she had wanted coffee and a doughnut, they were several thousand miles from the nearest Tim Hortons, and -

    Something snapped in Mike's brain. He was pretty sure it was his will to life. "Fine," he offered, with a little flash of a smile. A second or two of scanning above the heads of pedestrians led to the discovery of a Boomers, one of those ridiculously American chain coffee places that made his tastebuds weep with sorrow and disgust every time their swill crossed his tongue.

    "Over there," he muttered, pointing in roughly the right direction and already working on weaving his way through the herd of New Yorkers towards the crossing. He shot a glance at Kara, and knew the inevitable judgement was coming, but he refused to let it deter him.

    I don't care if it's pink, damn it. I'm getting a goddamn strawberry frappuccino.

  15. #15
    Kara made a face. Not one of those overly disgusted - oh you have got to be kidding me - faces, just slightly scrunched up her nose and raised an eyebrow. Oh well, beggars can't be choosers. It didn't take her long to catch up to Mike as she gently shouldered her way through while waiting on the cross walk. She'd heard enough stories to know that you definitely didn't walk when it told you not to, not in this city.

    "You know," she found it annoying how she had to raise her voice above it's usual level to actually be heard over the overwhelming crowd of people. "I've never actually been to New York."

    Kara cast a glance up over at Mike, trying to figure out if it was worth trying to continue to talk now that he'd pointed up how much she had clammed up earlier.

    "I thought about it. More than once. So many people... Never thought I'd be here for a good reason." A small smile was offered, a slight form of peace. It wouldn't last. "Of course I was beginning to question if I'd ever actually walk on solid ground again yesterday so there you have it."

  16. #16
    Michael Beckett

    Mike was sure that whatever Kara was saying, it was probably very interesting, but he wasn't listening.

    Actually, that wasn't true. He was relatively sure that it was utterly disinteresting, probably more of her sharing stuff about herself that he wasn't particularly inclined to know, presumably culminating in more of her whining about how terrible it was to have your criminal record expunged and an extremely well-paid, prestigious, and highly sought-after job that meant you got to live on a flying aircraft carrier just land in your lap with absolutely zero effort on your part.

    It was probably something like that anyway, but because of Mike not paying attention for entirely unrelated reasons, it was just an educated guess.

    No, Mike was distracted.

    Distracted by a girl.

    There were models and movie stars and famous people in New York. Or at least, he presumed there were. While the woman he was watching progress slowly down the sidewalk on the opposite side of the street had the kind of stunning looks to easily be one of those, Mike was pretty certain she wasn't. For starters, she walked like someone with a busy sense of urgency - the kind of person who did an actual job where you actually had to work on things, rather than one you could breeze through by standing around and looking pretty. On top of that, there was the fact that she was on her way to get her own coffee, in pretty much the cheapest, nastiest coffee chain in a not particularly glamorous part of the city, rather than sending one of her lackies, or cronies, or whatever it was that you were supposed to call the entourage that famous people always seemed to have.

    No, this was an ordinary woman from the looks of things; and she was gorgeous.

    "Okay, listen up, Kara. This is important." Everything prior to that moment was forgiven and forgotten: there were some things that were more important than his totally justifiable annoyance for completely understandable reasons. "This is quite possibly the most important thing you ever have, or perhaps ever will do in your entire life. I need you to be cool. I need you to be my wingman."

  17. #17
    Given the urgency in Mike's tone she had expected... well, okay so Kara didn't know what the hell to expect but it certainly hadn't been that. Wingman....? The fuck, Mike?

    It was without any sort of surreptitiousness that Kara peered past Soldier-Boy and in the general direction he was facing. Oh. Peachy. Serious? They were supposed to be on some mission to get someone of utmost importance, supposedly, and yeah okay so it was stupid that she went and decided now would be a great time for junk food but that was one thing - trying to get a date was another.

    "You're kidding, right?" She tried, really did to try and not look amused as all hell. Okay, so she was getting her fix for rookie-sent-into-the-field disease in the form of some crap food. But yeah, okay, Mike had gotten the raw deal here. He was the veteran agent getting assigned to the loud mouth newcomer and was taking the backseat. That's pretty fucked. Okay, so that is seriously fucked. She'd been so wrapped up in her own head of what had been suddenly put on her that, okay, she hadn't really paid attention to the flood of discontent coming from...what...her partner in this? Her mentor? There had to be some reason the General stuck her with Beckett rather than Captain fancy.

    "I look like a one way ticket to seriousville right now. That won't do you any favors." A smirk formed, devious, ill-advised. "Tell me what you want from this crap-hole of a coffee joint. I'll get it while you," Kara nodded in the direction of the approaching woman in the suit. "Talk to miss thang there."

  18. #18
    Michael Beckett
    "Talk to her?"

    Mike sounded genuinely horrified.

    "No, no, no, Rookie, that's not how this works. How this works is that you -"

    He'd turned his attention to Kara in order to shoot her a suitably chastising look, but now he'd made the mistake of looking back at miss gorgeous-but-normal and his insides were beginning to feel like a plate of gagh, which was definitely not something he planned on saying aloud to anyone he ever wanted to take him seriously. Ever.

    He frowned, struggled for a plan. He wasn't used to this; usually he was the wingman, swooping in to intercept the friend while his buddy went in for the primary target. That division of labour was important: it was the wingman's job to work out the plan so that the guy who was all misty eyed and foggy headed didn't have to do any kind of thinking.

    "- I don't know. We like..." He waved vaguely. "Walk in front of her. You call me 'Agent Beckett' a bunch of times, and make me seem all important and stuff, and then I get to be all Oh, hi there."

    He rounded on Kara with an angry frown. "Do you not watch TV? How do you not know how this works?"

  19. #19
    A pained glance was cast back at the shortening line at the counter of the Boomers. So...close... Envy filled her as she watched a woman stuff her face with a piece of coffee cake. Not fair...

    "Ugh," the groan left her as Kara peeled her eyes away and back to Mike. "Fine. I'm not going to be held responsible for how this goes, though. It's not like I've done this before."

    Kara held back the muttering that wanted to happen. Television was a damn liar and even if it was right in this case, it wasn't like she watched those kinds of shows. There was only one way this could go - South - and Kara was hoping it went there quickly enough that Mike didn't get all caught up on this chick and was going to actually be able to help later on. Maybe she would just aggravate their eventual target until Mike got to tase the guy, that might cheer him up, right?

    She offered Mike a ready when you are look before nodding in the woman's direction and stepped forward.

  20. #20
    Phillipa Heller
    It had been a long night and the day was already on its way to contend for the title. Phillipa had wanted to get this entire ordeal over with as soon as possible and all things considered she was beginning to slightly regret her decision to call in the big guns on the kid in the cell. Things with wayward mutant kids were getting into the realm of ridiculous lately though, and if she hadn't made the deal then someone else would have offered up a far worse one. There had been some reluctance at leaving her client alone in the police station but even he had understood that sometimes you just needed coffee to make it through that last hurdle and thankfully there had been something acceptable within walking distance.

    Her heels beat the steady rhythm against the pavement that echoed the pounding in her head perfectly. Just a few more hours and they could put this whole mess behind them, hopefully. All she had to hope now was that Charles would do the right thing. Phillipa's mind had been so full of going over everything again and again that she almost didn't notice the two people who were, almost purposely, standing in her way. She'd looked up just in time to see the shock of red hair that lead her eye to the rest of what the girl was wearing. A pit fell into her stomach before she looked at the man standing with the redhead as they attempted to have some sort of awkward conversation that overused his title.

    , thanks Dad.

    "Sergeant Beckett, Specialist Hawkins?" She allowed herself a moment of satisfaction at the looks they gave her. "I must say, I wasn't exactly expecting us to meet in such an informal location. I trust General Heller has briefed you on the sensitivity of this issue?"

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