milady_dragon (milady_dragon) wrote,

Surviving the Interview Process - Chapter Three

Surviving the Interview Process - Chapter Three
Milady Dragon
Series: Dragon-Verse
Rating: PG-13
Pairing(s): Jack/Ianto, Toshiko/Kathy
Warnings: Language
Spoilers: Both series up to S2, E3, "To the Last Man"; and minor spoilers for DW S6 E1 and E2, "The Impossible Astronaut" and "Day of the Moon"
Disclaimer: I don't own Torchwood, I would have treated it better.
Author's note: Welcome to the next chapter.  Here we have the actual interview, which was fun to write and gives you some insight into Patrick's family.

SummaryPatrick Everett Delaware  thought he might actually be interviewing for what could have been his dream job...if he knew what that job really was.

29 July 2008

“Please make yourself comfortable,” Jones invited, waving Patrick to the straight-backed chair in front of yet another desk, this one in the office designated for interviews.

Jones had the laptop open once more, and the files were stacked neatly beside it. The metal digital recorder-like thing sat practically in front of the guest chair, the green light pointing right at Patrick’s chest. It almost felt like he was being painted as a target for some unseen sniper who didn’t care that his victim knew death was coming in the form of some sort of projectile.

Jones offered his hand, and Patrick took it, noticing immediately that it seemed warmer than it should. Then he shook that off, coming up with three reasons off the top of his head for Jones to have hot hands like that.

Also, getting a closer look Patrick found he had to correct his assumptions on Jones’ age. He certainly had a baby face, but his eyes looked far older, as if he’d seen much more than someone in their twenties would have. Patrick was certain he would have gotten carded at any bar he went to just on his looks alone.

Jones sat behind the desk, resting his clasped fingers on the wooden surface. He smiled pleasantly, saying, “Welcome to Cardiff, Special Agent Delaware.”

“Thanks.” Patrick sat back, the hard back of the chair gouging somewhat uncomfortably into his spine. He cradled his coffee cup in one hand, working on his fourth cup since discovering that Wales had some form of coffee deity, one that he desperately needed to worship. It only made him more jittery than nervous, but Patrick didn’t care.

“I hope you don’t mind me recording this interview, since Captain Harkness can’t be here.”

“No, not at all, as long as everything is kept confidential.”

Jones nodded. “Everything we say and do here is covered by the Official Secrets Act, and I do have a copy for you to sign once we’ve finished.”

That was good, because Patrick wanted to hope that this Torchwood team was at least a bit professional. He also had no desire to have his words come back to haunt him in the future if he didn’t get the job.

“I’ll be honest,” he admitted, “but I’m not really sure what sort of job I’m actually interviewing for.”

Jones went still at that, frowning. “You mean to say you’re here but have no idea why?”

“Pretty much, yeah.” Although he did know a lot of the facts now – and could infer a few more – just from what he’d heard from his fellow interviewees, he didn’t know everything, and getting them from the proverbial horse’s mouth would be the best way to confirm what information he did have.

For some reason, the green light on the machine flashed red, and then back to green again.

“Then may I ask just how you ended up here?”

“I got called into my bosses’ office,” Patrick explained. “He handed me a plane ticket and told me to come. He said this job would be more up my alley than just working for the FBI, given my family history.” He shrugged. “I don’t even know what he meant by that, although he intimated it had to do with one of my grandfathers.”

He decided that playing ignorant was the best way to go for now. Patrick didn’t want to explain about his family until he absolutely had to. Although he knew they had to have done a comprehensive background check far too much of his family history wasn’t available without certain high-level clearances.

The green light on the recording device flashed red once more, and then back to green. Patrick frowned at it, wondering just what was causing it, and that Jones didn’t seem to pay it any attention at all.

Jones checked something on his computer. “Ah yes, I see.”

There was a flat tone in Jones’ voice that had Patrick’s hackles up, and he jumped to the only conclusion that made sense. “Is my having two grandfathers on my father’s side of the family gonna be an issue?” It had been, before, and he wasn’t at all ashamed of his family.

The other man raised a single eyebrow, and it was somewhat intimidating. “If that had been a problem, you would not be here. I think you’ll find if we decide to hire you that you’re not all that special for having the family background you do.   Torchwood is very open-minded and accepting of all lifestyles. Besides, I have the utmost respect for both of your grandfathers. It couldn’t have been easy being together back before homosexuality was legal, let alone raising your father the way they did and it also being an interracial relationship.”

Patrick relaxed just a bit. There was something very honest in Jones’ face, and he found himself believing his interviewer in this instance. “That’s good. I’ve found myself in situations before that were very…judgmental.”

“I can understand that.” Jones took a sip of his own coffee, glancing back toward the computer. “We did a complete background check on you the moment your CV came across the Captain’s desk. I don’t doubt we know as much about you and your family that you yourself do.”

Well, that sounded a bit snooty, but Patrick was willing to let it slide, not really believing it.

And then, Jones proceeded to prove his boast.

“Patrick Everett Delaware, born 21st of January 1979, in Richmond, Virginia. Father is Canton Everett Delaware IV and mother is Margaret Coulson. Grandfathers are Patrick Andrews, and Canton Everett Delaware III…known to have travelled with the Time Lord known as the Doctor.”

Patrick started at that. The Doctor was a family secret; only a few outside their family knew about him. He was about to open his mouth and demand to know how Jones had discovered that fact, but he was interrupted before he could say anything.

“One of your grandfathers, Mr Andrews, was with the Secret Service until he left and became a journalist. He was shortlisted for a Pulitzer in the 1970’s for his work on a series of articles on segregation in American schools, and it’s long been considered that he would have won if he hadn’t been black.” He shook his head, and Patrick could read the disgust in his eyes. “He truly did some fantastic work on that series, and he should have won. Still, he has done top-notch writing since, including that collaboration he did with Sarah Jane Smith on cultural differences between the British and American gay communities.”

Jones wasn’t even looking at the computer any longer as he cited his information. Patrick was impressed despite himself.

“Your other grandfather, Mr Delaware the Third, was with the FBI until he was forced to resign. He then became a special consultant for the office of the President, where he was instrumental in stopping the Silence from taking over the Earth back in the late 60’s. That was when he worked with the Doctor and his then-current travelling companions….” He turned and frowned toward the laptop screen. “Amy and Rory Williams and River Song.”

Okay, this was officially getting unreal. “Just how do you know all this? Most of it’s higher than classified!” Patrick shouldn’t even know it, and if it hadn’t been for his Granddad Canton’s particular form of bedtime stories he wouldn’t.     

Jones smiled enigmatically. “I have my sources.”

“Well, they’re damned good sources!”

Jones didn’t comment on that. Instead, he continued, “We haven’t been able to discover anything about your father’s birth mother, despite our best efforts.   It’s as if she’d disappeared off the face of the planet. There are various rumours concerning her, but we’ve chosen not to take those into consideration. We prefer facts and not innuendo.”

Patrick had no idea who his grandmother had been. All his Granddad Canton had ever said was that he’d been married before he’d met Granddad Patrick, when he’d attempted to fit into what society had expected him to be by hiding his real sexuality. The marriage had only lasted two months before she’d left, and they’d parted amicably, with a promise that she would never let anyone know that he was a homosexual. Three years later she’d come back into his grandfather’s life, bringing with her Patrick’s dad. That had been the last anyone had seen of her. Not even Uncle Phil with all of his connections had had any luck tracking her down, and Granddad wasn’t sharing her name.

“Your mother, Margaret Coulson-Delaware, was one of the best wetworks agents the CIA ever had before her retirement in 1999, and she still does some consulting work even now. Your father, Director Canton Delaware IV, ran the FBI for ten years before his own retirement in 2002. You have an uncle, Philip J. Coulson, who is number three at SHIELD.” He snorted. “I’ve actually spoken with Agent Coulson, and I have to say he did impress me with his ability to obfuscate.”

“That’s Uncle Phil,” Patrick couldn’t help but agree. He was a bit surprised that they hadn’t mentioned Uncle Phil’s boyfriend, but then that particular relationship wasn’t in any official record, and it wasn’t all that relevant to the situation anyway.

“After high school, you joined the Army,” Jones went on, “eventually graduating into Special Forces as a sniper, although, that didn’t limit you; you now are considered an expert in both current and historical weaponry. Saw two tours in Afghanistan before being poached by the Federal Bureau of Investigation…to be honest, I am a bit surprised you didn’t follow your mother or uncle into their particular lines of work.”

Patrick had wondered that himself on occasion, but didn’t admit it out loud.

“So,” Jones went on, “I suppose this means I get to explain to you exactly what you’re here for, although it would have been nice if your current supervisor would have done that beforehand.”

He wanted to ask more questions, but it appeared the subject had been well and truly changed. He’d save them up for later, because there was no way he was going to let this lie. “You’re telling me. AD Skinner is usually a bit more forthcoming than that.” Actually, Skinner was a bit of a bastard, but he really had no idea what would be getting back to the Bureau if Jones decided he wasn’t right for the job…whatever the hell it was.

Patrick was surprised when Jones raised a single eyebrow at his words. “Walter Skinner? I’ve had the pleasure of speaking to him on the phone.”

Of course he had…

“Honestly, I would have called the man a tight-lipped arse, but that’s just me.”

Patrick almost snorted his coffee up his nose.

“I called him when the Captain and I added your file to our final list,” Jones explained, handing over a paper napkin so Patrick could clean himself up after his coughing fit. “I have to say I wasn’t all that impressed, but that’s just my opinion, of course.”

Personally, Patrick respected the hell out of his boss, but the man was so damn cryptic it was never obvious what he actually knew and what was complete bullshit. Of course, he wasn’t a patch – pun intended – on Nick Fury, and Patrick was at times grateful that he didn’t work for SHIELD’s director, even if he sometimes regretted not waiting to be approached by that particular agency.

“Now,” Jones continued, “to explain just what you’re getting yourself in to. Torchwood was chartered by Queen Victoria, so you can guess we’ve been around for a very long time. We’re in the business of investigating alien threats to the United Kingdom along with other strange phenomena, or as Her Majesty put it, “phantasmagoria”.” He chuckled. “From what I understand, we did a booming business back at the beginning of the twentieth century, during the spirit medium craze.”

This was confirming a lot of what Patrick had overheard in the outer room. It wasn’t as if he hadn’t believed the others or had heard the stories his grandfather loved to tell, but it was still a bit of a shock to have it confirmed.

“The Cardiff branch of Torchwood was created due to a Rift in space and time that runs through the city,” Jones added. “Our team is responsible for policing the Rift and to collect whatever is dumped here by it. The majority of what comes through is fairly harmless, but there are times when a particularly dangerous device comes through, and we contain it.”

He took another sip of his mug, and Jones must have already emptied it, from the put-out expression on his face. “Aliens also come through the Rift and from beyond our world, and Torchwood also deals with them as well. We’ve had run-ins with the Doctor, so we’re very familiar with him.” Anger floated through Jones’ pale eyes, and while Patrick wanted to ask what that was all about, he didn’t dare. Not now.

“We chose your CV because you have a certain skill-set we could use,” Jones said. “You have most of the training already that we ask in our field operatives, which is a good thing, plus there’s your familiarity with weapons. Of course, the sorts of weapons you’d be dealing with in Torchwood would be mostly unknown to you, but you’ve shown yourself quite capable of learning quickly and thinking on your feet. You could add something to the team we sorely lack, since the death of our last weapon’s officer.”

“How did they die?” Patrick asked before he even knew he was speaking.

Sorrow flashed across Jones’ face. “Let’s just say something alien got to her, and leave it at that.” His expression then closed off. “The life expectancy of Torchwood employees is notoriously short, just so you know.”

Patrick nodded. “Pretty much like anyone who works for law enforcement or special ops.”

“Exactly.” Jones then smiled. “As I said before, we’re a small team, but we all have to rely on each other. Not only does the person we finally hire have to have certain qualifications, they have to be able to work well with others. I couldn’t help but notice that you didn’t have a partner at the Bureau. Could you explain to me about why that was?”

“When I was hired,” he said, “it was mostly for ballistics work. I primarily spent time in the lab, or doing research.” Patrick shrugged. “I’d hoped for field work, but it turned out the only time I did anything like that was to visit crime scenes.”

Jones nodded. “You went from action to inaction. That must have been galling.”

“It was,” Patrick decided to be honest. “Sure, we caught a lot of bad guys with my knowledge, and I’ll never regret that, but it…didn’t suit me, I suppose.”

“Perhaps AD Skinner saw that, and that was the reason he forwarded on your particulars?”

“Could be.” For some reason though Patrick doubted it. While Skinner was a good boss, he was notorious for keeping his assets close. Patrick definitely fit into the asset category.

“Well, I can promise you action if you’re hired.” Jones leaned forward. “Perhaps more than you’d ever think possible. Are you prepared to handle it?”

Patrick considered the question. He’d been in Afghanistan, with bullets flying and blood in the air, screaming injured that no one could get to. He vividly remembered the adrenaline buzz as he waited for the perfect shot, and that sudden jolt when an explosion goes off nearby.   He’d been glad to leave all that behind, but after a while he’d come to miss the excitement.

Did he think he could handle it again?

“Yeah, I think I can.”

Jones nodded once. “Good. Now, one more thing…I’d like to get your opinions of your fellow interviewees. You’ve had time to interact with them…I’m very interested in what you think of them.”

It was all Patrick could do not to let his jaw drop. That had been the very last thing he thought he’d be asked, and it really surprised him. “I’m sorry,” he stammered slightly, “but what does that have to do with me getting this job?” There were so many other questions that he’d been prepared for; this didn’t make any sense.

“I want to know how you see other people. You’ll be expected to make judgements based on your personal impressions of certain situations. I’d like to know what you’ve managed to infer from the others in the group in the short time you’ve had to observe them.”

This had to be some sort of test, something that Patrick would need to pass before he’d be considered for the job. He swallowed, suddenly very nervous indeed. He knew there were no true right answers to that sort of enquiry, so he decided to jump in with both feet and hope for the best.

“First of all,” he began, “I’d like to congratulate whoever had the idea of including a ringer.”

Jones’ eyes widened slightly, but then the rolled his eyes and laughed. “You’re the first one to realise that Tish wasn’t here for the interview. Congratulations. And that was the Captain’s idea, in point of fact.”

Patrick relaxed a little. “It was a good one. Using passive interrogation to see just how much everyone would share with the class. She managed to get pretty much everyone to spill something that would be considered top secret.”

“Do go on.”

“Agnew seems to be stuck up on his idea of what Torchwood should be,” he went on, warming to the task. “Honestly, I have no idea what his branch of Torchwood got up to…”

The green light flashed red again. What was up with that?

“But he really wants your team to measure up to that. Oh, and I think he and Reynard are planning some sort of world domination scheme, or else they’re gonna hook up tonight. Either one is truly frightening.”

Jones snorted, but waved him on.

“Gwynne and Jones have bonded over ‘just whose boss was the worst’ while at the same time she’s managed to set up del Rio and Colvert, if the hearts in their eyes are any indication. I have to admit, she’s really quite good at what she’s doing,” he added in admiration. “Also, Gwynne is trying to flirt with you and you’re ignoring him, which is just going to make him try harder.”

That got him a head shake, and suddenly Patrick felt kind of sorry for Eoin Gwynne just from the pained expression on Jones’ face.

“Del Rio is a decent guy, but he does like to show off his knowledge. But he’s with UNIT, and he should know better than to throw that information around a group of perfect strangers. It’s like most of them: they’re overly sharing, and after you made the comment about secrecy…”

Jones leaned back, sighing. “You’re correct, Special Agent Delaware, that I did mention secrecy and how Torchwood is beyond the goverment, but there’s something you’re not taking into consideration…that each and every one of you is here because you’ve all had some sort of encounter with aliens and have lived to tell the tale, although you, yourself, haven’t had that first contact experience yet. Each of them hasn’t been able to tell anyone they know and love simply because they don’t have the clearance. However, here…they’re with people – even though they are near-perfect strangers – who have had something happen to them as well and have pretty much the same security clearance. These are exactly the people they can tell about it, because it won’t go any further than this building. You’re right about Tish being a ringer, and while we were curious to see how much would get shared it was also along the lines of seeing how each of them would work within the group. You see, while each and every one of them out there is being really too chatty for their own good, they’re also interacting with each other.”

Patrick was stunned. He…really hadn’t considered that all of the interviewees would have the same clearance and could actually talk about their encounters. He realised he’d actually lost his chance to share his own stories with people who would understand what his grandfather had accomplished and would know him as the hero he has been, all those years ago.

“We kept you all in a controlled environment,” Jones continued. “You were each put up in the same hotel, rode here in the same vehicle, and the only times you’ve been separated have been during night time and these actual interviews, and we’ve had you all under surveillance. We’ll have you all sign the same documents, making certain none of you talk about anything you’ve seen or heard here. They may be talking now, but once these interviews are over they will go home and not share this with anyone. We’re all familiar with keeping secrets, Special Agent Delaware…the trick is knowing just who you can trust those secrets with.”

Chapter Four

Tags: au, dragon-verse, surviving the interview process, torchwood
  • Post a new comment


    Anonymous comments are disabled in this journal

    default userpic

    Your IP address will be recorded 

← Ctrl ← Alt
Ctrl → Alt →
← Ctrl ← Alt
Ctrl → Alt →