Title: Necessary Evils
Note: Thoughtcrimes was a made for tv movie from 2003. It was originally supposed to be the pilot of a tv show but when it didn’t get picked up the inital filming was eventually released on DVD. I found it on youtube. It’s awesome and would have made an awesome tv show (then again by not getting picked up we got ‘Stargate: Atlantis’ and ‘Numb3rs’ sooo…bright side).
The basic premise of “Thoughtcrimes” is 8 years after Freya McAllister (Navi Rawat) begins hearing voices at her prom she’s visited by a doctor at the mental institute she was committed to. He tells her she isn’t crazy; just special. He begins training her without letting her know he is a member of the NSA. Nine years later she’s assigned to work with Agent Brendan Dean (Joe Flanigan) and his team to chase down a terrorist in New York.
Disclaimer: Thoughtcrimes is owned by: Jan de Bont, Jessika Borsiczky (Producers), Thomas Dean Donnelly, Joshua Oppenheimer (Writers) and the USA Network. This is purely for entertainment purposes and in no way am I profiting.
The sounds of clanging bells, slapping waves and fog horns echoed through the dirty warehouse muffling the footsteps of the strike team surrounding him. A few quick hand signals had the agents scattering through the building. Brendan watched, crouched behind a crate, as his men took up positions around the room. A glance at his watched revealed less then ten minutes before their target was supposed to arrive and he breathed a quiet sigh of relief; they had made it. Two long weeks of countless, dead-end, leads had culminated in this moment.
He quietly adjusted his footing, peering carefully through the shadows and, by memory of the tactical plan, picked out his men one by one. The anticipation had his heart rate elevated and the sticky sweet taste of adrenaline flooded his mouth. He could practically feel Kunzel across the way, on the roof of a neighboring building, watching through his scope and ready to alert Brendan once the target had arrived. Merriweather’s voice called through his com, ticking down each minute, from the surveillance truck strategically parked in the busy Port Imperial Ferry Terminal less then a quarter mile away. Patel had drawn the ‘short straw’ and was a few blocks away, waiting for the order to move the local New Jersey Police in; thanks to their insistence on a “joint” operation since they were technically operating on the cops turf.
Everything was ready; it had been a long two weeks, but in, now, six minutes, it would be over. Just one more scumbag, drug runner behind bars. Brendan let the calm he always experienced before an operation went off to roll over him and slowly exhaled through his nose. The next sound, quiet footsteps, behind him, where there should be none, had him spinning on his heel and bringing his gun up…
“I said I was sorry!” Freya’s voice interrupted Brendan’s internal musing and without opening his eyes he was back in the NSA satellite field office.
The quiet sounds of the warehouse were once again his overly loud office. The hard back of a crate behind him was once again his wobbly desk chair. The cool gun in his hand was a stapler he had been clutching with a white knuckled grip since he sat down twenty minutes earlier, leaned back in his chair and closed his eyes.
“I could have shot you,” he hissed, still without opening his eyes. Truth was he was terrified to open them; mainly because, for once, he was so pissed at his partner that he was afraid he might actually be tempted to shoot her. If only to show her what it felt like. ‘Maybe then she won’t follow me into places I expressly told her not to’, the thought was broadcast loud and clear in Freya’s direction and he knew without looking that she picked up on it.
“I’m sorry,” she repeated, her voice lowering to a whisper. “You know I had a good reason.”
“That’s what com’s are for,” he answered succinctly. “And I’m still not talking to you so please go away.”
“You’re thinking loud enough for me to catch everything,” she snapped back, still quietly.
Brendan merely shrugged, ‘You would prefer I asked Welles to teach me to block better? You shouldn’t be listening anyway.’
“Fine,” she huffed and the only reason Brendan didn’t get up and walk away was the reason she had followed him into the building. The target was on the other side of the warehouse, unseen by Kunzel, pointing a sniper scope right through the windows and getting ready to start picking the team off until he couldn’t shoot them any longer.
‘As a damned distraction!’
The real deal had been moved to a few hours earlier and only Freya’s increasing proficiency with passive telepathy had saved the strike teams lives. Now, however, the real problem was that somehow the information had leaked and that was another reason Brendan had for sitting with is eyes closed. He had decided on the subway ride in to the office this morning that he was going to test a childhood theory, fruitless though he knew it was.
“You do realize that just because you have your eyes closed, Harper can still see you right?”
“Shut it Patel,” he snapped, still without opening his eyes. “I haven’t been yelled at or fired yet, there’s gotta be something to this.”
“Uh-huh,” Terri chimed in, lightly patting his head from behind and nearly sending him scrambling out of his chair in shock. “Yes, Merriweather in stealth mode,” she joked, meeting his finally opened eyes with a raised eyebrow. “Still shook up champ?”
Brendan merely shook his head, trying to clear it, and caught Freya’s eyes for the first time that morning. She had apologized the entire way back to the office yesterday as he sat silently beside her driving the car. She had apologized in the elevator. She had spent the entire rest of the day inserting apologies into various sentences. This morning, she had sat next to him for twenty minutes silently until she picked up on his, apparently broadcasted, memory of the incident from the day before; wherein she began apologizing again. The problem was, he didn’t want to hear she was sorry. He just wanted to know she wouldn’t do it again.
‘You’re never going to just stay in the car are you?’ A head shake indicated a negative answer and Brendan sighed before glancing at his watch. ‘Come on.’
Silently he checked his gun at his hip, patted his pockets for his badge and grabbed his suit jacket before leaving the small conference table they had in the middle of the team’s bullpen. Freya quickly jumped up and followed him; leaving three stunned team members in their wake.
“They’re really creepy when they do that,” David Patel commented to the other two, receiving nods in agreement.
“It’s only creepy since I’m fairly certain they don’t even realize they do it. I’ve had partners I’ve connected with before; but, that silent communication thing always took a lot longer then three months and four cases.”
“It’s a female thing,” Terri shot back. “We’re just smarter then your species.”
“So, are you going to tell me where we’re going?” Freya asked as they crossed the street from their building to the parking garage the NSA had purchased and locked down for agency use when they opened the field office.
‘You’re the telepath’
“Stop behaving like a spoiled six year old,” Freya grumbled. “You’re pissed enough, I’m not going to actively read you right now.”
“Thank you for that; and to answer your question, we’re going to the Westside Pistol and Rifle Range.”
“We’re going where?”
“You heard me,” he replied, pausing to sign out an agency vehicle. ‘Welles might think your gift is enough; but I’m the one in the field with you. You’re going to learn to watch my six and, subsequently, your own. I’m not having another op go like yesterday’s did.’
“Brendan, I don’t have clearance to carry a gun. Hell, I don’t even have a badge,” she pointed out, sounding more then a little confused, as they climbed into the car and buckled in. Brendan didn’t reply to her point, merely pulled the car out of a space and through the underground garage, driving silently until they had pulled out onto 3rd Avenue towards 47th Street. “I’m just an observer. That’s what Welles and Harper said.”
“You let me worry about Welles,” he finally replied, turning to glance at her in the passenger seat. “The day you got clearance to step into the field with me, you put your life in my hands and vice versa. You’re not an observer; as far as I’m concerned from today on you’re a probationary agent and you will behave as such. That means, you’re going to learn how to shoot a damn gun among other things.”
“They’ll never let me carry one.”
“I said, let me worry about Welles,” he reiterated, ignoring her pluralization. ‘Harper’s all for it. I already have a special carry permit for you, I was just planning on leading into this a little less abruptly. Welles is the one who thinks you’re a china doll.’
“I am not a china doll.”
‘Damnit. Thought I was blocking that last one.’
“Practice harder,” she responded, smirking slightly. “So, you’re going to turn me into a real Fed huh? I thought NSA was just math nerds with guns?”
“It is,” Brendan agreed. “But, you’ve seen my file. I’m a nerd who wasn’t content with sitting behind a super computer in Ford Meade. So, I joined the FBI. Two years ago when the NSA decided to catch up with the rest of the alphabet soup and realized that a few field offices might actually be necessary they recruited me. A few inter-agency transfer forms and ta-da, I’m here.”
“So you admit you’re a nerd,” she teased.
“That’s what she gets from the conversation. Yea, Probie, I’m a nerd. Eidetic memory sort of makes that a given.”
“Let me guess; in high school it was straight A’s, student body president, captain of the, umm, baseball team?”
“And soccer. Different seasons at my school.”
Freya rolled her eyes and chuckled, “So you were the perfect apple pie kid huh?”
“I guess,” Brendan muttered, shrugging. “Why aren’t you just pulling all this stuff out yourself?”
“Because, if I’ve told you once over the last three months, I’ve told you a thousand times, I’m not going to do that to you. Or anyone. Well, except the criminals I get paid to do it to.”
“Good, ’cause, if you didn’t do that I’d be wasting my time right now,” he joked back as he made a right turn onto 19th Street and drove the final few minutes to the 6th Avenue parking garage he would be using.
“Where’d you go to college?”
“Okay, I get that you’re not pulling stuff out of my head. But you’ve seen my file.”
“I didn’t read that far back,” she admitted. “Welles only gave me a few recent highlights.”
“Oh,” he muttered. “Yale. Mathematics and Psychology.”
“I knew I was going to do something like this, psych seemed like a good idea. Got my masters in psych through NYU two years after I finished at Quantico.”
“I wanted to wait til I could get transferred back up here. I’m from New York, so I wanted to work out of the New York office.”
“Where were you assigned first?” she questioned as they climbed out of the car in the parking garage.
“Hoover Building. It was, very, very stereotypical. Bad suits, bad haircuts, bad attitudes.”
“Yes, well, at least now the attitudes have changed.”
“Do I need to remind you that you’re now my probie?” he asked, though the feelings drifting towards her and the charming grin he was wearing told Freya he was joking. “And what’s wrong with my suit and hair?”
“Nothing,” she answered quickly with a bright smile.
“For a telepath you’re a shitty liar. Turn here.”
Freya simply grinned back at him and followed along up the stairs and into the building where Brendan immediately headed for a registration desk, pulling out his badge and releasing the ammunition clip from his gun as he did so.
Brendan slowly sipped on the cup of coffee he had located in the small observation room three hours after he and Freya had arrived. He had spent the first ninety minutes on the range while Freya was occupied with a mandatory new shooter safety course and was now relaxing, and observing, her through the glass window on the firing line with an instructor.
“You’re not teaching your girl how to shoot Dean?”
Brendan chuckled and looked up at one of the range managers, merely shaking his head in the negatively, “Not my girl in the way you’re implying Matt. That’s my partner.”
“Your partner is learning how to shoot…here? Don’t they usually teach that at the academy?”
“Special case. Really long story.”
“Okay,” Matt replied with a strange look as he took a seat next to Brendan. “So you’re not teaching your probationary agent how to shoot? I know you’re certified to instruct.”
“I am, and I’ll take it up after today. I just wanted her to get a feel for something else. I had her registered for the new shooter course and you know Steve doesn’t like to give up his class.”
“True,” Matt agreed. “Kid’s a good shot,” he added, glancing down the firing line through the window at Freya’s target.
“She is,” Brendan agreed, strategically ignoring his quick instructions to Freya before she had entered the classroom three hours earlier. He might still be getting used to the telepathy outside of the field, but he had quickly learned to adapt and apply it to work related situations. Therefore, it was as simple as slowly thinking through every step in aiming and firing a gun and telling Freya to take the information from his mind. “She’s just gotta get the muscle memory and she’ll be even better.”
The duo in the box in front of him put the safeties on their weapons and Brendan stood to wait for them to come back into the observation room. He had given Freya his gun to learn on, as she would be provided with a Glock 23 herself once she was fully certified, and was beginning to feel antsy without the usual weight at his hip. He watched as the instructor, Steve, spoke with Freya on the other side of the glass and desperately wished for her gift at that moment so he knew what was being said. He knew the man had been annoyed by the strings Harper had pulled to get Freya a license in such a short time, though how he had found out was beyond Brendan, and he didn’t want them talking for much longer. He had simply asked the man to show Freya how to shoot her first time out.
Harper had compared it to a parent taking their child driving for the first time. In other words, it’s something that shouldn’t be done. He also wasn’t entirely sure he wanted to be near her while pointing a weapon at that moment; too many bad memories.
The near-miss at the warehouse the day before had shaken Brendan worse then he thought even Freya had picked up on and it had led to this. When he had arrived back at his studio apartment the night before he had made a few phone calls and arranged range time for Freya the next morning. He had told her the truth; he would take care of Welles.
‘And the conversation will go something like this, Doctor Welles, this is what’s happening. Thank you. Good-bye.’
“I’m pretty sure that’ll go over very badly.”
“Yea well, tough for him. Remember, magic phone, instructions to keep you safe. Well, as far as I’m concerned, this is me keeping up my end of the deal. So, how’d you do?” He grinned as she proudly held up a few targets with more then passable scores for a first time shooter, “Very nice.”
“Well, you helped.”
“Hey, I was out here the entire time.” He watched as Freya raised an eyebrow and gave him an incredulous look. “Okay, so maybe my many years in law enforcement and our team’s little ace in the hole helped.”
“Just a bit,” she replied dryly. “So what’s next?”
“Next? We go back to work. We’ve still got to track down Stephenson and figure out how he found out what we knew.”
“So, no more super-spy stuff today?” she joked, following him towards the desk where he reclaimed his weapon from Matt; as it had been returned to the weapon’s locker immediately after being used on the range until they were ready to leave.
“Ah, Freya, you have so much to learn,” Brendan joked, leading her out of the room by her arm and down the hall towards the building entrance. “The paperwork is the super-spy stuff. The guns and fighting are just the perks.”
“We’ve been over this before; math nerds with guns. Paperwork is their weapon of choice.”
“You want me to spend the rest of the day scanning everyone in the office don’t you?”
“You’re damn right I do,” he agreed quickly. ‘Someone leaked the info. Or they have a really, scarily, good hacker. And if that’s the case, said hacker should work for us. If that’s the case, it’ll be Terri’s job to find them. But if not…’
“I’ll figure it out,” she assured him.
“I know you will,” he replied, nodding along. The duo fell silent until they were back inside the car and well on their way back uptown to the Regent Business Centers where their offices took up three floors under the guise of a very exclusive corporate insurance brokerage. Brendan could feel Freya’s eyes on him as they drove and finally just asked, “What?”
“You’re going to teach me how to really shoot right?”
“Absolutely. If you’re going to be my partner you’re going to learn how to be my partner. How to anticipate. How to fight, or at least how to avoid getting knocked out if at all possible. And how to shoot,” he explained. “And you’re going to do it without using your telepathy beyond the initial information. You need the muscle memory to actually pull any of this off. Knowing what to do is different then knowing how to do it. The telepathy can’t make it become second nature.”
“I understand,” Freya replied. “And I agree.”
“Good, you can start by either meeting me at Columbus Circle every morning at six. Or running at least five miles on your own downtown by your place.”
“It’s probably easier for me to just head over to jogging and bike lane on the FDR.”
“Probably. You promise you will?”
“Absolutely, I like running. Helps me keep my head clear. What else?”
“Well, running, shooting and some self-defense training are good for now. But after a few months I’m going to get you cleared to run the training course that the FBI and NYPD use up here. And, if you’re willing, I’d like to pull out a few favors and have you take a few classes in the various forensics that we use. Psych, computer, the biggies.”
“I’m willing. I want to do this job right,” Freya replied to him, meeting his gaze as they paused at a red light a few blocks from their building. “What’d you say to Patel the other day when you were cleaning your gun?”
“Necessary evils of the profession,” Brendan repeated, pulling the memory up instantly, with a small smile and a shrug. “It’s true.”
“Well, now they’re my necessary evils as well.”
“You keep up this attitude and I might be able to skip calling you probie.”
“You keep calling me probie and you’re not going to want to witness my attitude.”
‘Probie. Probie. Probie. Probie.’
“You know Brendan,” Freya interjected, ignoring the good-natured, though slightly mocking, mental voice for the moment. “I really am sorry. It was a stupid move and I should have found another way to tell you.”
Brendan turned the car off in the garage across the street from their building, that the NSA had purchased and locked down, and met her gaze from across the car. For the first time he saw an actual understanding of what she had done and nodded, “You’re forgiven. But don’t do it again. I really don’t like shooting people if I don’t have to and shooting you would probably kill me. And if it didn’t? Welles and Harper would.”
“Promise,” she agreed. “We should head in before the rumor mill starts up again.”
“Let ’em talk,” he muttered, climbing out of the car and walking to turn in the keys at the guard desk. “Half the nerds are sleeping together anyway,” he explained. ‘They’re just mad that you got the hot one.’
Freya had to cough to cover the sudden bout of laughter she was nearly overcome with and off Brendan’s confused look she simply patted his shoulder and smiled, “You really need to work on better blocking.”