RP Orbit


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There was a member of the Security Council at L-14.

These things happened occasionally. In this instance it was not for reasons that involved Laine, and was therefore not her department. She had been appraised of his presence through standard channels, which was appropriate, and then had continued with her standard routine, which was also appropriate. If there was a councilman at L-14, it was for a specific reason, and having personnel repeatedly enter the office that had been set aside for him was not likely to help matters. Laine was not doing that. She was, however, aware that it was likely that several other people would.

That was also not her department.

Laine had determined that the most appropriate thing for her to be doing was maintaining security on L-14's anomalies. This was her job. It was also the most statistically helpful thing she could do, as unsecured anomalies would cause interference that was detrimental to other proposed plans. She checked security procedures and recorded information in her notebook, and that could have been all that happened, except for there was a councilman in the hallway.

This had not been on her agenda for today. Laine debated not engaging, but this was statistically likely to result in more problems. It was better to maintain interpersonal communication, even if she was not good at it. At least there was a script. Laine scanned through her notebook to make sure she was remembering it correctly.

"Good afternoon, councilman."

The script suggested that this could result in a good afternoon and then no further conversation, which Laine thought was the best possible outcome. Some of the other conversational branches were complicated and not entirely filled out. She did not have much experience with this situation.
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It was a well-known fact that Councilman Jupiter attracted anomalies.

The habit was neither intentional, nor, it seemed, anomalous in its own right, and most of the time the anomalies his existence coincidentally drew in were low-grade Households that eventually disappeared into the folds of his jacket for personal use in the future. On occasion, however, it did apply to anomalous personnel in the Foundation, most of whom as anohumans were never classed below low-grade Risky. The encounters were never scheduled, unless it was relevant to his current situation, but he almost always crossed paths with most anohuman staff members before he finished a visit at L-14.

It was still a surprise to see ACF-833 – no, Agent Laine Cantrille, approaching him. Shy did not begin to describe her usual attitude, something that started long before he was Councilman and she location security. He may have hardly known she existed, had not…no, that was not a good subject to dwell on. Agent Cantrille was doing better, but Dr. Redd had recently told her about the last year A.B.C. had spent in the Foundation. It was best to leave a sore subject be.

“Good afternoon, agent,” he said, his open, warm smile showing nothing of the thoughts underneath it.

Then he noticed the direction she was heading in, which was not the direction he was going originally but was also not the direction he had come from, and therefore determined was a suitable reason to fall into step with her. He weighed a few options for his next statement, before deciding on the vague, to leave her with more room for a comfortable answer.

“How have things been?”
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This had become a conversation. Laine was not entirely averse to the idea of conversation, but the councilman's opener was very abstract. Laine was still required to answer. She was quiet for a moment. She was not ignoring the question; she was trying to figure out what it meant. There were numerous options. It was one of the small talk categories of questions that could have meant any number of things, and could have been meant to mean nothing.

It was statistically unlikely to mean nothing, with a councilman.

This particular councilman was occasionally at L-14 and therefore not an unknown quantity. This was because he was the councilman in charge of oversight of L-14, and not because of [redacted]. Laine did not have authorization to have known him before he had been a councilman. That information was not available at Class-C without special permission, which she did not have. Consequently, she did not have access to information about his prior presences or having met him before, for security purposes.

This was not, therefore, likely to be the intent of the inquiry. It could have been personal. Laine was personnel, though she tried to remain impersonal. Things went much more smoothly that way, at least as far as Laine was concerned. Also, she did not like personal questions, and so if it was meant to be personal she was going to decide that it wasn't, since the margin of flexibility existed in the question.

Anomalies, then, and L-14. He was reported to be good with anomalies, and had...

...Several, Laine decided. Her eyes flickered over him, aware of them, but deciding that she was not authorized for an exact measurement at this time.

"Things have been mostly within acceptable parameters." This could have answered many questions, and did not answer several others. Something else was, perhaps, required. One did not withhold information from the Security Council without authorization from the rest of the Security Council. "L-14 had a hole in it, but only briefly. I am hopeful that it does not happen again."
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Ah, right, the hole. He’d been informed of the excursion between Strings’s pet project and ACF-1003 by… related parties, and only because it was relevant, or maybe because he had used somewhat backwards methods to ask. Any good, high-ranking field agent was also a good spymaster general. He had his ways.

What those ways were mattered less than the conversation at hand, which he could tell that Agent Cantrille was not comfortable with.

“A hole involving one-thousand-three, from what I understand.” He kept his tone amicable, as they walked, but kept the topic relevant. “She seems to be back in place, though.”

He didn’t think she was necessarily afraid of him. She was just careful, and always had been. That was good in maintenance security. He’d done some maintenance security in his time, although his co-manager had been better with it. Jupiter had too much wanderlust to like spending every day on the same route, even if he knew every hall the same way.

But it was funny, in a way, because his co-manager was now the one outside the Foundation, and he was now a Councilman. He didn’t laugh, though. Anchor was not authorized to know that, and so he wouldn’t be rude.

“Are you familiar with her at all? I understand she’s had the same observation security for the last several years, but with the recent changes in her behavior I know Dr. Redd has been trying to convince her to accept better upkeep for her unit. With their synergy, he might even succeed.”
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Laine made a brief nod at his explanation. It was correct, but it seemed to miss the point somewhat. "Anomalies are expected to breach occasionally. It is not desirable, but it is not unanticipated." This was explained in the handbook. Further clarification might be necessary. "I have concerns about the hole. L-14 is not expected to have a hole in it. I didn't like it." Laine sounded as if this were somewhat of a personal affront.

SV-3 inquired about ACF-1003, the subject of the earlier breach. "I have read the files that I have access to," Laine answered, "But I have not been directly involved in the maintenance of ACF-1003. She is noted to be temperamental. As am I. It is not likely that we would get along particularly well. Perhaps this is desirable." Sometimes ensuring proper security meant that an anomaly and its guardian were not necessarily meant to like each other. Sometimes that sort of thing could result in instabilities, as well.

Laine was familiar with that situation. She had learned something from it, and become more cautious. Whether or not this was desirable was uncertain, but at least she was currently functioning at a capable level. Sometimes that was what the Foundation required more than anything else, especially when shorthanded. If Laine were not functional, then not only would she be unable to do her job, other personnel would be required to monitor the nature of the dysfunctionality. This would compound the current personnel issues further, and should therefore be avoided if possible.

Laine hoped that it would continue to be possible.
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“You’re concerned with what came into your location, rather than what left it.” He smiled warmly. “An important distinction, and one that some security agents forget. Good for you.”

The praise was genuine. Laine was anomalous, and she was also young, younger than Agent Corby even if it was easier to forget it. That left her with surprises. Some unpleasant, as was usual with anomalies. More often not, as with young agents. He decided that, given there wasn’t much interaction between 833 and 1003, he ought to focus on Agent Cantrille’s progress.

“Out of curiosity, do holes within the location between points bother you? I know Agent Corby has been porting around lately with unusual shortcuts. And, on a second note, do you know what made the hole, or just that it was there?”
You're concerned with what got in, rather than what left it. "Yes, to some extent, but not exactly." It was probably not usual for a relatively junior agent to correct a councilman, especially when the councilman in question seemed to think they had done something right. That would not have been right, though. Also, Laine was not usual.

She was quiet for a moment, not the withdrawn sort of quiet that meant she was internalizing something, but the somewhat frustrated sort of quiet that meant she was trying to figure out how to explain something that she felt should already be known.

She should have expected it, Laine thought. She had experienced a great deal of trouble getting Dr. Kallie to understand the situation, but they had gotten there eventually. This reminded her of variables, when she had been smaller. Laine had known what the variables were without all of the extra steps, but that was not something most people could do. Other people needed the steps.

So, in order to explain, it was a matter of going through the steps, even if she thought they weren't necessary. This was not about explanations so much as definitions.

"I am concerned with things going out or coming in." That much had been correct; he was not wrong in that assumption. "But mostly I am concerned with the hole. Locations are not supposed to have holes in them. It is..." A pause, as she searched for an explanation for something she had never needed to explain. "It is not closed. It is not what went out or came in but also what else could have gone out or come in and where did they come from and that location is not L-14 and L-14 is supposed to be closed. It's not good for security."

Did that explain it? Laine was not sure. She wasn't always good with explanations.

He had asked her about something else, someone else. For a moment, Laine was almost not sure what he meant, but he wouldn't be asking her if she wasn't supposed to know something about it, because he was a councilman and that was his job. And of course there had been a memo about Agent Corby and of course she had paperwork, and if Laine really thought about it, of course she had been moving around, because Councilman Jupiter wouldn't have asked Laine about it if she wasn't aware of the situation.

So, she had been. But it was different. "She is Foundation personnel and she is authorized to be here. There was paperwork." This made it acceptable. "And she is not making holes outside L-14. It is... contained. It is remodeling." That was an appropriate word for it. L-14 had been in use for some time and sometimes things needed to be changed or fixed. Labs were expanded, partitions were made, heating and cooling systems required maintenance. These were considered acceptable. Agent Corby's movement was simply remodeling the location to be where she wanted it to on a temporary basis.

"Also, if she were not supposed to be doing that, you or Agent Cotta or Dr. Redd would have stopped her."

Laine felt that was enough to cover that topic. He had asked if she knew what made the hole, which was also a good question. "I don't know what made the hole. But it wasn't from L-14. I don't think I have authorization to access any more information about what it might have been."
Jupiter knew when to speak, and when to listen. Agent Cantrille was explaining herself as well as she could, but given that it wasn’t perfect, Jupiter needed to keep an ear on meaning rather than the words themselves. Had he been a little more in tune with the security aspect of the Foundation, he thought, maybe he’d be able to parse a little more easily. As things were he knew it thoroughly, but not enough.

So he slipped into field agent habits, which might look like research habits, because they relied on observation and interpretation rather than rules and rhythms. And because field agents were used to being wrong, even when the field agents were also Councilmen.

He listened to the quiet. When she was ready to talk, he listened to that, too. She paused again after, but it was an incomplete pause, and he waited for it to come to fruition. She addressed Agent Corby, and the holes she made that belonged, because Cait belonged to the Foundation, and according to the temporary transference paperwork – meticulously arranged by Agent Weber, Jupiter was sure, even without ever having seen it – she belonged at L-14 for the time being, too.

“The hole,” he said, slowly, with a glance down at Laine to make sure, “is still open.”

That wasn’t something anyone, maybe even the 9ers, would realize. Or if they had, they hadn’t recorded it. That was… possibly concerning. It wasn’t Jupiter’s concern, but it was his responsibility, since 14 was an L-3 sublocation. An ongoing hole, if it was what he suspected, was as much an overreach as Hack’s intervention at 9 if they knew about it there. Not necessarily an issue to be taken up with the same degree of resistance, on his part, but an issue all the same. He would give them the benefit of the doubt, however, and say that they likely didn’t know about it, because it seemed like not even they fully understood the Curiosity that had caused Ira’s breach.

He sighed, not a release of stress, but a deep, grounding breath that brought his attention back to the question at hand. He had to decide what, exactly, Agent Cantrille would be classed to know. His eyes drifted up to a security camera as he passed it, a green light visible above the lens.

He made two short hand signals, a silent snap, and a tap behind his left ear. Field and security sign. Cut audio. As a Councilman, he had a right and a duty to make that order, just in case. He was sure Laine would recognize it, too, and gave the observers a moment to follow through, before speaking in a low voice reserved only for himself and Laine.

“I can authorize you to know more. Partially because this is my location still, partially because it concerns you. I can – and I do.” He made the statement clearly, then continued in the same, soft voice, “The hole leads to L-9, made by something that came between the two locations. Your ties to Strings would also authorize you to know about it, I think. The… something belongs to Strings in a different way from Agent Corby. We are working through what it is, but it’s formerly a part of him.”

Another pause, a moment of consideration.

“I didn’t consider asking you sooner. I’m sorry for that. But do you know what, if anything, changed in him following his brief termination? When your pen stopped working.”

And again, more recently, when it leaked, but that was a different question. This one was more relevant.
The hole is still open. It was a statement, but it was better for it not to be a statement. It was much better as a question. Laine rephrased it, in her mind, as a question. That was important, for security purposes. It was just as important as his request for audio to be off, because this was now a secure situation and that meant the questions were also supposed to be secure, and that meant they should certainly be questions and not answers, because they would not have been very secure at all that way.

"The hole was open," Laine stated, with something of a correction. "And maybe it is not, but it was still, and it could have always been if it were again. That worries me." Was this something that the councilman could parse, or was this something that only made sense to her?

Explain, again, slowly. She searched for words, her hand reaching out, touching the wall of the corridor. "If you wanted to make a door here, you would make a hole. And then you would put in a door. And maybe it would be closed, but it could be open, and there would still be a hole. This is not accurate. I do not like metaphors. Dr. Redd says 'When is a door not a door?' and I do not think this is the right answer for him, but it is an answer. And it can't go back to not being one." Whether she meant a door or a hole or an answer by this was up to interpretation.

That matter settled - or not, given the inadequacy of description - she thought about the other things she had said, about Strings and things and authorizations. And when that was done, he asked her about the pen. This was an answer to a question she had not been asking, but she had known someone else was going to be.

"Dr. Redd asked you about Alex." An incongruous statement, but that was what they had been talking about when the situation with the pen had come up, so it followed from the data. But Alex was not here and did not belong in this conversation or this location, so Laine let that statement go without further commentary, and considered the subject of the pen instead and what it was when it was not a metaphor.

"I don't know what happened with Strings, then. I was very small. And I did not know as many things as I do now. I was not supposed to."
He let Agent Cantrille talk through her thought process, partially out of habit. You could learn a lot about a person by what they were willing to tell you, regarding what happened in their mind. Anohumans did not clearly think the way most people did, so it was good to have insight wherever he could get it. Her solution to the door problem was most likely reality-bending, even if she didn’t say it because she reacted poorly to reality alteration. Whether that was her condition as Anchor, or her experience with Strings, was difficult to say.

She changed the subject, however. Or rather, she addressed the whole of what he had said. She didn’t quite answer his question, but she did address others that had been admittedly bothering him, for some time.

“Alex was one of my people.” He said that gently, not as if he was afraid of the subject, but much more like the subject made him…sad, in some way. Maybe that was reflected in the more upbeat way he added, “So was Strings, and so are you. As the location manager, I was supposed to take care of my people.”

He was only human. He had made mistakes. He acknowledged them, repaired when he could.

“I overlooked some things that I should not have. For that, I’m sorry.”

Jupiter himself wasn’t sure whether that was about Strings’s behavior, Alex’s deterioration, or how either of those had affected Laine. Doing nothing was, sometimes, as bad as doing something. Alex, he had fixed, as best he could. But Laine had not fixed herself, not really, until after he was gone. He wasn’t so proud as to take the last as something personal – she’d been a minor until that point, after all – but he did recognize the issues had stemmed, at least in part, from his own negligence.

He decided to give her space, in case she needed it, or wanted to address it. Or change the subject back. He couldn’t predict anohuman behavior, even someone so regular as Laine, even if she had been – and by long extension, still was – one of his people.
"Alex would have liked to be her own person," Laine responded, in that non-judgmental way that she tended towards. It was neither a criticism nor a correction, merely a fact. She didn't shy away from the name, either, nor hesitate to speak it.

"And Strings, I think, was his own person whether he liked it or not." She moved her hand a little, tracing an invisible line along the corridor: forward, not backward. "But I am yours. And I do not mind." He was a councilman, after all, and charged with the oversight of L-14. That was fitting.

Her hand withdrew, coming back into place at her side once more. "You apologize often. Why?"
Aware that it wouldn’t make Laine too uncomfortable, Jupiter watched her trace a line with her hand, then return it to her side. She was right, of course. Alex had always been independent, and Strings was fierce in how he handled himself, all the way down to his name.

Then, Laine asked him a question. Unusual, simple. Important. Jupiter was good at changing gears for that kind of thing, and he was not as hesitant as some of his fellow Councilmen to explain himself.

“It’s important that I acknowledge when I’ve made a mistake,” he told her, this time without apology in his words or tone. “Doing so sets a good example for other people. Sometimes, it’s a reassurance when I say something that might put someone’s guard up. This time, I meant it as what it was. I made a mistake. I cannot repair it now, but I can prevent it from happening again. That was somewhat implied in the apology, but not everyone would notice that.”

He’d almost taken on a training tone in the last part, although Laine did not need direction there. She wasn’t a field agent, and therefore didn’t need basically stage training in how to handle inflection and phrasing. But she had asked, and that was the best way to explain it without becoming too technical.

Then again, she was maintenance security. Maybe technical would have been better.
Interesting. Laine had not considered the idea of a councilman making mistakes, but she supposed that he had not been on the security council at the time. Now that he was, he was correcting previous mistakes and would not make them again.

Laine could understand that.

She was quiet again for a moment, thinking about questions that she had decided not to ask. "Dr. Redd was considering asking you some questions about Alex. I recommended that he not do that. What did you tell him, when he did?" It had been established that Dr. Redd was going to ask, and the earlier conversation had strongly suggested that it had been done. Laine could ask him about it, of course, but he was not here right now.

Of course, Jupiter might not answer the question, which was his prerogative. He also might be untruthful, which was also acceptable. Laine was an anomaly, and it was acceptable to lie to anomalies. That was covered in the Foundation handbook.
Jupiter smiled, but the intention behind the smile would be hard to make out even to a person who expressed emotion non-anomalously. It didn’t quite reach his eyes. But his voice held the same, soft confidence it had the whole time.

“He put it in the report, and didn’t technically ask me any questions.” Which is what Alex would have done, if you’d asked her that, he didn’t say. “He just made some significant implications.”

He could, of course, tell Laine that information about Alexis B. Charleton. In fact, he could have simply denied knowledge of the report entirely. But that would be unfair at best. Not unreasonable and not illogical, given she was a Class-C security agent and also an anomaly, but… Jupiter had been considering some things. His apparent attraction to anomalies had only simplified a decision he had been considering since Dr. Redd reminded him. Agent Cantrille being security personnel, namely maintenance security, helped considerably.

He took a deep breath, and nodded to Laine.

“Alexis was a good kid.” That was the best preface for this. A confirmation of his opinion of Intern Charleton as an individual, before he turned the known failings. “But she was spiteful, and didn’t take well to being asked to follow orders she thought were wrong. Part of the reason I never expected us to find external communication with any GOIs – and we didn’t. She was too independent for that to be a reasonable conclusion.”

Was, because matters could have changed over the years, in spite of his personal doubts.

“As a lone actor, we can guess until our mouths go numb. She wouldn’t talk about what happened, and there was no other way to determine what, exactly, she wanted. There were some concerns about amnestic therapy, as the therapy part requires a degree of willingness. There are ways around that, granted. But I also had a hunch about her motives that I didn’t want to bring it to too many people’s attention.”

His dark eyes turned up toward the camera as he passed, and he adjusted the angle of his head and lowered his voice a little more, so that anything spoken remained definitively between himself and Agent Cantrille.

“I believe she found… below standard ethical failings in senior research. I have reason to believe she suspected it went all the way to management, though I can assure you it did not.”

He stopped there, because he needed to assess Agent Cantrille’s response – or responses, or lack of response – before he continued, if he continued at all.
Alex was a good kid.

That was a strange statement. Laine had always thought of Alex as an adult. She was older, more mature, more certain of herself. She always had been.

Yet, at the time they were talking about, Alex would have been younger than Laine was now. And Alex had not - was not -

Laine's fingertips brushed the side of the corridor. The texture was familiar, as it always was, because this was L-14. She let her hand rest there while she listened, because it was it was important to be -

- here.

She didn't respond right away, testing the pieces of the story and seeing what might fit. Perhaps some of it did, perhaps some of it didn't. Dr. Redd had suggested that Alex had done a great deal to shelter Laine at the time, even if much of that was by omission. Or perhaps she had been concerned that Laine wouldn't agree with her. Laine had never tried to assign morality to the Foundation's treatment of anomalies. It was not wrong or right, it simply was.

But Alex had always been very concerned with right and wrong. Perhaps it was part of being a researcher. Or perhaps not, but it became part of it anyway, whether it was meant to be or not.

"Synergy theory was less of a hypothesis and more of a... demand." The statement was half a question, with a sense of testing something to see if it fit. Laine had hesitated over the last word, considering request or plea, but neither of those words suited Alex.

Many things, it seemed, hadn't suited her.
Agent Cantrille didn’t disagree with what she said, just took time to consider it. He gave her the space she needed as she distractedly ran her hand along the wall of her location – more her location than his, though that hadn’t always been true.

Her response was short. She understood, though. She’d heard him, and he relaxed, letting his neck relax again so he was facing properly forward. He nodded, in reply to her observation.

“As seen in Leviathan’s use of it in the ethics code, yes.”

A demand that, for Alex, was an outcry against things she saw and hated. Jupiter remembered most of the Class-A demotions in his tenure here. The pair of doctors who continued surgery even after an anomaly resisted anesthesia. The Class-E who would coerce and threaten new interns. The Class-C who enforced complete isolation of an anomaly – not for the safety of the people around it, but just to see what the anomaly did, and didn’t blink when it self-terminated as a response.

The intern who opened up High-Grade Risky containment units, and got three personnel killed and several more injured.

“Leviathan would’ve liked her, I think.” His train of thought pulled into the station there, where it would be safe with a security agent. “The current one that is. The last one didn’t like demands being made of him. This one… he doesn’t mind some force of will if that’s what it takes to make the world go round.”

He liked this Leviathan, for all the needless worry they brought with their tenure.

“I doubt she’d ever expect him to want her back with the Foundation.” A long pause. “I don’t believe it’s wise, though. There’s a reason we’re volunteers. Several. It’s not smart to make people do this.”

Especially when they wanted out as badly as Ms. Charleton had. Smart– or right. Except right wasn’t the Foundation’s business. He knew that, as a field agent, a collections agent. ACF-390 would need to be recontained. The best case scenario was that Alex would still be with it.

Best case. Not for the best, but for the Foundation. That was how things were and would always be.
Leviathan's decisions were not Laine's department. Leviathan's preferences were also not Laine's department. Her job was to carry out those decisions as best as she was able, regardless of preference: hers, or Leviathan's.

Jupiter was a member of the security council, however, and was therefore authorized to have input on Leviathan's decisions and opinions on Leviathan's preferences. That was his concern and not hers.

Or it should have been, except for the subject matter.

"Alex doesn't-" Laine stopped - not a pause, but a stop. She was not trying to think of the next words, because she already knew them. -belong here. Alex doesn't belong here. She took a breath and let it out slowly, and wondered if this method was effective on councilmen or if they thought it mattered. "I'm sorry."

That she knew that he thought mattered.

"I shouldn't say anything." Shouldn't say anything, not because he was a councilman and it would have been impolite or impolitical, but because Laine had a way of saying things sometimes, and this would be one of those things. If she said it - once, even once - it was going to stay that way. It had been five years, and she had not made the mistake. It was always there, though, waiting to be made.

Laine wasn't even exactly sure what would happen, if she said it. It would have some effect, though, and with the situation as it was, it would either hurt the Foundation or it would hurt Alex. Laine couldn't hurt the Foundation.

She did not want to hurt Alex.

The words stayed unsaid, where they still hurt, but only on the inside.

That was how things were and would always be.
Jupiter attracted anomalies. He had a penchant for discovering trinkets, just a knack for seeing through otherwise apparently mundane things. There was a Zippo lighter in one of his pockets that made noise instead of fire, but was otherwise indistinguishable from any other lighter by the brand. If Wallace sat still under a piece of furniture, it would appear the same as any other clump of dust and hair.

But he also tended to attract anohuman attention. He couldn’t see them all the time, but he could read when someone was doing something out of the ordinary, when someone was behaving oddly. That he blamed on his talent for reading people, unrelated to his talent for recognizing objects.

Laine was ready to act anomalously. He felt it, rather than saw it. There was something in her body, something in the way she spoke. Pain was a good means of breaking concentration, and Laine was in pain. He heard it when her words broke off and lingered. He didn’t know enough about Laine to tell her how to ease the pain, to give a command and make her act so that the tension stopped. But he did know people. He was of the opinion that anohumans were people, and he treated them as such, although sometimes he did so more softly than he would otherwise.

“This is your location, Laine. You may speak freely here.”

Not should, or can. Should implied command. Can implied… something related to ability. He didn’t doubt her ability. May was permission, which could be taken or left alone. The choice would be Laine’s, and if she moved on, so would he, leaving her to the hurt. But he wuoldn’t do so without her indication that one of his people wouldn’t be hurt more by the silence.
"This is Agent Cotta and Dr. Redd's location." That was a correction, but Laine felt that it was necessary. She belonged at L-14, but L-14 did not belong to her. That would be something different. It was entirely possible that this was what he had meant, but Laine felt that this was one of those times when it was important to be very clear.

"And thank you, but no. I understand that it is important for people to be able to speak freely, but I am an anomaly. I require a different ruleset. This is a security matter and not an ethical one." Laine had a lot of feelings about Alex, and they made things very untidy. The security of the Foundation had to come first, and Laine did not want to risk that.

"I don't want to say something unbecoming."
Jupiter glanced at Agent Cantrille, not upon her correction on management – she was clarifying, rather than contradicting. She wasn’t the type to contradict, anyway. No, he looked as she made the second correction, regarding her own position.

It was not uncommon for Jupiter to encounter interns and even senior agents who disliked speaking to him of their own accord strictly because he was a Councilman. He determined that this was likely not the case with Laine Cantrille, even as she expanded on her polite refusal. She was, after all, anomalous. In his mind, she was a security agent, and ACF-833 was her anomaly to contain. Therefore she understood it better than an external staff member. So he nodded once, accepting her reasoning.

“I understand.” He smiled a little, in that ‘I’ve been made aware of this, but I am going to continue anyway’ sense, and added, “I apologize if I overstepped somewhere. Thank you for letting me know.”