The Greater Of Two Evils

doctor_icon.png finnegan_icon.png

Where: Primatech Paper, lower levels

When: August 15, 2012

What: Which is which, though?

It's been a busy time. Lost agents, shot agents, a variety of guests taking up cells here and there. And one mystery they need ironed out. They never explained to Finnegan why he was made to wait to question the man-with-no-name, even when the orders came down for him to get what he can out of him.

Below decks, as it were, the Doctor sits on his simple cot up against a concrete wall, the lights overhead casting slanted light through the window into the hall beyond. They say he hasn't said much, has even tapped a foot in boredom. And all in all, he looks much like he did on the other side of the portal, generic white clothes being the only glaring difference.

The keypad is punched and Finnegan steps in. He's dressed like a company agent today rather than a bartender, and it's easy to see he's carrying given his open suit jacket. The tie is loosened and top collar undone, however, because it's bloody hot outside in the desert heat.

"Morning, Doc," says Finnegan pleasantly enough moving to pull the chair in the room to where he can face the other man. He sits in it backwards, straddling it and resting his arms across the back. "Enjoying your stay?" Whether he means in 2012 or the Company cels, who knows.

"I've been in better hotels, to be honest," the man says, an eyebrow lifted as he watches Finnegan settle into the chair. "If this is the future's idea of decent accommodations, I have notes."

The Doctor takes in a deep breath and shifts to sit forward, elbows on his knees as he regards the agent coolly. "All alone this time? Where's the lovely wife?" Only a twitch at the corner of his lips gives away that he's prodding purposefully rather than it being a genuine inquiry.

Finnegan's brows twitch and he narrows his eyes, though he smiles. "Never alone, Doc. You try anything stupid and you'll be overwhelmed by how not alone I am." His fingers drum out a rhythm on the back of the chair as he considers his next words.

"Tell me what interest you have in Miss Abrams, and why precisely you needed to pull a gun on her at the little shindig back at the Moulin Rouge," he says, tone straight forward and cutting to the chase.

"No reason to be afraid of me, I'm not even armed," the Doctor says, hand to his chest as if taken aback. "I was asked to help find Miss Abrams, and when I did she had no idea who that young man was or why he would want her. She agreed to come along an meet him, under the warning that things may not be as they seem with you lot. I see I was right on that score, at least."

He takes a glance toward the door, but back to Finn a moment later. "It's simple. You all wanted her for whatever reason. Threatening the goal is an acceptable practice in gaining control of the situation. Or at least finding out where the chips are. She knew it would be dangerous."

Since he's been attacked at the speed of "flight" while in a similar cel, Finnegan just raises one shoulder at the mention of not being armed. He's taking no chances. "If she didn't remember him at all," Finn says, "how could she know we aren't what we seem? That seems a bit sketchy, pal, if you ask me."

The fingers tap again, and he tips his head. "You apparently weren't too surprised to find these kids from the future running around in the past. Why not?"

"I knew, she took my advice on it. That young man did a poor job of not seeming suspicious, I'm afraid. Might work on that before you send him anywhere else. Or any when else, for that matter."

A hand runs down the front of his shirt, taking a moment to straighten out a wrinkle or two as he considers the question. "'When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.' I watched. I paid attention. It's easy to see what doesn't fit when you know to look for it. And I realize you all must think of then as a simpler time, but we've seen the improbable often enough."

There's the slightest snort and Finn shakes his head. "He's not one of us, I promise. No one sent him here." That's not the only thing earning his derision however. "And really, going from 'improbable' to time travel is quite a leap, dontcha think?"

He rises from the chair to stride the length of the room and back. "So tell me. How exactly did Miss Abrams fall into your hands, and what was her story when she came to you? Was it just the kid she didn't remember, or…?" he lifts one hand as if to beckon the rest of the sentence from the doctor.

"Not when it's the truth. I could have sat back shocked when it became clear, but that seems like a waste of time, Mister Finnegan. Better to accept and move forward." The Doctor follows Finn's movements when he gets him from the chair, straightening up some but not standing himself.

"Miss Abrams had been lost when I ran into her first, she asked for a ride to a diner. I did so and made sure she had someone there who knew her before I left. That would have been the end of it, but then he asked me to find her. I went back to the diner, found that she worked there and asked her if she knew who he was. She didn't, but was understandably curious to know why someone she didn't know would be so interested in her whereabouts. She's from then. Ask her. She doesn't know your time, not one drop."

An eyebrow rises and Finn shoves his hands into his pockets as he listens to the other man.

"What diner did she ask to go to, and who was it that she knew, this person you say that you left her with?" he asks the doctor, rather than trying to debate whether Rylie properly belongs in 1955 or 2012. "And why did you decide to bring her to the party? That seems a bit odd to me."

"Pearlies. Local place, burgers, shakes, that sort of thing. The woman's name tag said Peggy, I believe. You'll forgive me if the details slipped, I wasn't terribly concerned at the time."

The matter of the party gets a little pause, eyes narrowing a moment before the Doctor's expression eases and he spreads his hands in an elaborate shrug. "It seemed like a good idea at the time. Had I known you were going to blow it up, I might have waited for another time."

"I didn't blow it up," Finnegan says crankily and returns to the chair, this time turning it to sit properly. "And cut the attitude. You know more than you're letting on, and I can't figure out quite what it is, but trust me, we have ways of finding out. So, if you ever want to get back to 1955 again, I'd suggest you help me with whatever you know that might help Miss Abrams out. Because I can tell you, she has been tampered with, and right now, you're the prime suspect."

The agent leans back, arms crossing. "You're pretty big shit back in 1955, but no one's going to come looking for you here. I suggest you do what you can to help me out, all right, pal?"

"How do you know I'm not on my own there a much as here? I can make my life just about anywhere. 1955, 2055, wherever you'd like to drop me." Attitude seems to come with the title. The Doctor scoots back to lean against the wall, arms folding as he looks over at Finnegan. "I'm not sure what you're accusing me of, tampering with can have so many meanings. But I suppose I can understand being on a short list of suspects, considering I'm the only time-appropriate person here. I only meant to help her."

Which is likely a questionable claim, considering.

The doctor's words make Finnegan tip his head, looking at the other man through narrowed corners of his eyes. "That's a pretty blase attitude to time travel, buddy. How do you know you'd be comfortable out there in 2012? You haven't been out of this cell yet. Could be a bunch of apes running the place, enslaving mankind for all you know. Maybe we're the last bastion of free men. 2055, the earth's been vacated except for some cleaning robots and we all live in a giant space ship. For your information."

He heaves a sigh as if for lost causes, and pulls a notepad from his pocket. "All right. Let's get down to basics. What's your name, age, occupation, date of birth?"

"Would you rather I cry over it? Scream? Throw punches?" The Doctor's hands move to his knees, bracing against them for a moment before he looks over at Finn again. "And if the last bastion of free men is more concerned with 1955 than their own time, perhaps those apes aren't too bad a swap."

He leans his head to the side, far enough to get his neck to crack, but instead of answering, he lets out a sigh. "We're onto the boring questions now, are we?"

"Don't underestimate the catharsis of a good punch," says Finnegan, who then taps his pen on the pad. "Yes, the boring questions. As much fun as waxing philosophical and all is, Doc, I do need the general facts."

He makes a loose fist, holding his hand up as if to examine his nails but also giving the doctor a nice view of a knuckles that have the marks of a boxer, bruises and callouses of a fighting man. "Name, date of birth, occupation, residence… the general sort of thing." He looks back to the Doc. "Or are you having trouble remembering?"

The knuckles don't go unmissed, nor is the memory of their tangle forgotten. The Doctor shifts a bit, rolling a shoulder in his first show of discomfort since he got here.

"Doctor," he begins, not promisingly, "2055. Earth-cleaning robot. Trash heap? Perhaps hopping several decades has addled the mind a bit." The look he gives Finn there is nothing short of defiance, lacking the smirking amusement he's held thus far.

That hand shoots out — this time not to punch but to grab the man by the collar if he can. "You," Finnegan growls, "aren't doing much to sell this 'I was only trying to help that poor girl' excuse of yours, you arrogant piece of shit."

He pushes the doctor back against the cot. "Now, like I said, I'm the nicest way of getting information out of you. I'm a bit rough, maybe, but there's a lot nastier things than me out those doors. I said you might not see 1955 again? You might not see anything but this cell again if you don't start talking, pal, and right now, while not exactly the Ritz, it's gonna look like the fucking Holiday Inn compared to what you could deal with."

It isn't hard to grab the other man, and the surprised look on the Doctor's face doesn't need to be faked. He leaves his arguments, at least, until he's shoved back again. He tilts his head, fingers reaching up to try to flatten out a crunched collar.

"Where is the girl? In a cell like this, too? Forgive me if I don't buy that you are doing this for her own good, either. How am I to know you're not going to take what I say to use it against her? Threaten me all you like, Agent. But I'm going to do what little I can from this cell to protect that girl." The arrogance is still there, certainly, but this time, he seems to brace himself physically as he speaks.

"Retrieving someone from the past who doesn't belong there is in everyone's best interest, Doctor. Whether you buy that or not, it's the truth. No harm is going to come to that girl at our hands. What could go wrong for her is if someone has information that could help her and withholds it," Finnegan says, rising again and striding the length of the cell and back; sitting still does not become him. "You won't even tell me your name? And you want me to believe that you're telling me the truth in all these other matters? That is hard to buy, and I think you know it."

Finn looks at his watch, and then the cell door. "I'll have to see if one of our information specialists is available if you don't talk to li'l ol' me." The words information specialist have a sinister tone to them.

"She thinks she belongs there. Your word against hers, she strikes me as the more innocent of the pair. She didn't threaten me half as often." The Doctor cuts his gaze toward the door again, lips pressing together. "If you are that desperate for my name, then do what you must. I don't know what's happened to that girl, only what she's told me. Whatever your specialist can do, I'm afraid they'll get nothing more than that from me. Maybe you all should ask her what her story is. Although, I do warn, if she's a liar, she's a very good one."

Finnegan shakes his head. "She strikes me as the more innocent of the pair of you," he tosses back at the Doctor. He moves toward the door, shaking his head.

"Enjoy your stay. It might just be for the rest of your life," he says over his shoulder, punching the key code into the door to let himself out. "Why," he laments as soon as he's out of hearing, "don't they send the telepaths on these things?" Well, one's still in sick bay.


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