The committee investigating the Pattern rotated its meetings between Boston, New York, and Washington, DC, depending on its member’s schedules. This time, it met in Boston. By the time the committee had hashed out the dangling ends of the Penrose case it was the height of rush hour. With half the streets between the Financial District and Logan Airport gridlocked by commuters, it made perfect sense for Nina Sharp to have a cup of coffee with Philip Broyles while waiting for her car to arrive.
"Agent Dunham told me you offered her a job," Philip said.
Nina make sure to sip her coffee before answering. "Did she?"
Philip raised his eyebrows slightly, a gesture of unsurprise familiar from their many years working opposite sides of conference tables and the halls of power. "I would request that you stop poaching my people if I thought it would have the least result on your actions."
"Massive Dynamic recruits only the best," Nina countered. "Which is why I've tried to hire you for years, Philip."
"Loyalty can't be bought."
Nina sighed. "And you inspire it so quickly." It wasn’t only Philip Broyles that galvanized Olivia Dunham’s loyalty, Nina reflected, but the woman’s intrinsic character. The same tenacious spirit and integrity that made her an excellent investigator for Philip's team would make her an asset at Massive Dynamic. With the right people, in the right place, Nina suspected, Agent Dunham would grow into a formidable power in her own right. People like Walter Bishop had left scientific puzzles scattered across the globe; it would take someone like Dunham, with the resources Massive Dynamic could command, to unravel those puzzles.
"I would point out what an incredible conflict of interest that would be, if I thought you weren’t completely aware of that," Olivia told her, at an early dinner in a restaurant overlooking Boston Common. The committee review of the Penrose case had ended at the height of rush hour. Instead of fighting traffic all the way to Logan Airport, Nina had asked her foster daughter to dinner. "And I would also suggest you’ve tried to influence my professional decisions in the past. Nina-" briefly, she looked, not nearly thirty, but like the solemn girl who had answered every variation of you can call me Nina with thank you, Ms. Sharp, for years "-if there's something you haven't told me about your interest in Rachel, and me, I really need to know."
Nina hesitated a moment too long before replying. She wanted only happiness and success for her girls, and had advised both of them, as they'd struggled with school and friends, and decided on colleges, careers, and boyfriends. But that wasn't the only reason she had nudged Olivia in particular, from time to time.
Olivia frowned slightly. "If I didn't know better, I would suggest you don't want me to work with Dr. Bishop," she continued.
Which was true, and also completely out of her control. Nina considered her next words carefully. "I knew Walter when he was a younger man," she said. “When I warned you about the hazards of our current rate of technological advancement, Walter’s experiments were one of the examples I had in mind.” She made a small gesture with her hands, organic left and prosthetic right moving in parallel, only slightly out of phase with each other. “You asked for my help accessing Walter Bishop for one case,” she said. “Now you want his help with Agent’s Broyles’ task force. Where does this end, Olivia?”
Olivia looked away for a moment, the fading daylight highlighting the scrapes and bruises from the misadventure that had ultimately claimed Agent Scott’s life, eyes shadowed as she turned from the view of the Common to meet Nina’s eyes. “It ends when I have answers.”