INS, Division Six: The REAL Men in Black
Summary: Mel and Cole come face to face with the real Men in Black and discover their REAL secret weapon...
Disclaimer: I don't own them, but, hey, just as soon as that deal with Zin goes through...
Timeline: After "Remember When"
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INS, Division Six: The REAL Men in Black
Cole looked curiously over Mel's shoulder as she handed her credit-card to the man behind the ticket-counter. In his black suit, he looked strangely out-of-place compared to the men and women manning the other registers. He must have been new, Cole reflected as the man struggled to get the credit-card to scan. Giving Mel an apologetic smile, he started typing digits into the cash-register, only to have it beep at him.
"Hang on, I think I've got enough cash..." Mel told him, reaching into her purse. She handed him the money in exchange for her credit-card with a smile.
"Ah, thank you." He smiled in embarrassment. "New..." He rang her up, handed her the change, and punched the buttons to make the tickets come out of the machine.
"I noticed." Mel smiled at him, her smile widening as dozens of tickets shot out of the dispenser. A manager stalked over, glaring at him, tore off two tickets and handed them to Mel with a forced smile.
"Enjoy the movie!" the man in the suit called after them as the manager shooed him away.
Grinning and shaking her head, Mel led Cole to the concession stand. "Popcorn, Cole?" she asked him.
"Yes, please, Mel." He smiled and nodded. "And the little pieces of fruit coated in sugar."
"Huh?" Mel asked. She grinned apologetically at the woman in the black turtle-neck behind the counter who was waiting patiently for them to decide.
"Those." Cole pointed to the box of Raisinettes in the display case.
Mel grinned and nodded. "Large popcorn, large box of Raisinettes, and a large diet coke, please."
"Yes, ma'am." Fortunately this one knew how to use both the register and the credit-card machine. She pulled out a box of the candy, poured them a soda, and scooped a bucket-full of popcorn. She started pouring on butter, then cursed softly. "I'm sorry..." she began, moving to dump it.
"No, butter's fine..." Mel assured her.
The woman gave Mel a harried smile and handed her the popcorn. "Enjoy the movie..." she called after them as they left to find their theater. She was joined by the overdressed man from the ticket-counter. "Next time, you get to work the food-service end."
"Fine by me. So long as I don't have to use the credit-card machine. Those things hate me." He shook his head. "Let's go."
"I can't believe you wore that damned suit..." she muttered, shaking her head and walking out from around the counter. "Let's go..."
"Hey, we have an image to maintain..." he pointed out as she led him to screen twelve.
"Shut up, Rookie..." she advised, nodding towards the seats Mel and Cole had taken. It was dark in the theater and Mel and Cole were deep in conversation about the first Men in Black movie, so neither noticed when the two settled down in the row behind them.
"We should have gotten popcorn..." the suited man told the woman as he got his first smell of Mel's popcorn.
"Which part of 'shut up' were you unclear on?" she asked, shaking her head. Predictably, he ignored her and kept jabbering away. She sighed in relief as the movie started. At least now she would have an excuse to curtail his constant chatter.
Near the beginning of the movie, Cole leaned over to Mel and asked softly, "What species is that? I'm not familiar--"
"Dude, quiet..." the man in the suit hissed, leaning forwards. "Ow!" he added as the woman sitting next to him pinched him hard and hissed an injunction of her own for him to be quiet.
"Sorry..." Mel whispered to them before hushing Cole by telling him that none of the aliens were real and he should just enjoy the movie.
"Mel, does your species really have an organization like that?" Cole asked as they walked out of the theater.
Mel laughed and shook her head. "No, Cole. The Men in Black are a myth, an urban legend..."
"Urban legend?" Cole repeated, unfamiliar with the phrase.
"Yeah. Uh... a story that everybody knows but no one really believes." She shrugged. "Or, at least, most people don't believe it."
"But some do?" Cole asked.
Mel nodded. "Well, sure. I mean, there are always going to be crackpots who'll believe anything." She grinned and stopped, inhaling the warm night air and enjoying Cole's arm around her waist. "Mostly people who watch too much X-Files."
Cole frowned. "The X-Files is not true?" he asked.
Mel laughed and shook her head. "No, Cole. It's really not."
"Oh." He nodded slowly. "Does that make me... crack-pot?"
"No, Cole." She laughed again. "You get a special dispensation on account of actually being an X-File."
"Oh..." he repeated, frowning uncertainly.
Neither noticed the silent couple standing nearby, the man dressed in a black suit, the woman in a black turtleneck.
Mel looked around, reluctant to return home so early. There was a bookstore next to the movie theater. "Let's get some coffee and then go for a walk on the lake-front..." she suggested.
Cole smiled and nodded. "I'd like that, Mel. It's a beautiful night."
"Yeah, it is." Mel smiled and nodded. When they had gotten their coffee, two large mochas freezes, they decided to walk to the lakefront rather than take a cab. It was only a few blocks, after all. "They don't have night on Cirron, do they, Cole?"
He shook his head. "Not really, Mel. It doesn't get dark, and since we don't sleep..." He shrugged and slid his arm around her waist again, smiling as she leaned into him. "It is very nice, though. I can see why Enixians prefer it."
"I thought it was just because it was darker..." Mel said as they walked from Lakeshore Drive onto a strip of sand. She pulled away from Cole and slid her shoes off.
Cole shrugged. "Maybe. But it is nice, especially when it's warm like this. It just seems more... I don't know... private, I guess." He shook his head. It was the wrong word, he knew. As good as he was with her language after more than a year, he still occasionally had problems.
"Intimate?" Mel guessed.
Cole nodded, smiling down at her. "Yes, Mel. There are fewer people and the darkness makes it seem more personal." He slid his own shoes off, following her lead, and then slipped his arm around her waist, turning to watch the waves breaking. "Like we're the only two people in the world."
Mel smiled and nodded in understanding, enjoying the breeze off of the lake as it caressed her face and played through her hair. She sat down, pulling Cole to sit next to her. "Yeah." She nodded, grinning and leaning against him. "Like we're the only two people in the world." She paused as another couple walked by, a man in a suit and a woman in a dark turtleneck. "Except them..." she laughed as the couple moved away.
Cole smiled at her, nodding and chuckling with her. They sat on the beach in companionable silence for several hours, just sitting and enjoying each other's company, before they rose and returned to the bar.
"Are you going to bed now?" Cole asked her as they hung up their coats.
Mel smiled. His tone clearly indicated that he was hoping for a negative answer, besides which, she was wired from the coffee and more than a little reluctant to leave Cole's presence. Not answering, she took his hands and pulled him into the alcove, smiling up at him. He smiled back in understanding, freeing one hand to type a combination into the jukebox before pulling Mel into his arms.
She smiled up at him, inhaling deeply to steady herself. Being this close to Cole always left her feeling a little unsteady. Not that she minded. "They're playing our song..." she told him with a smile.
"Yes." He smiled down at her, enjoying having her so close.
Mel's smile faded as she heard the front door open. She could have sworn that she had locked it. "We're closed..." she called.
"We aren't here to drink..." a female voice replied quietly.
Mel and Cole looked up, startled. There were two people, a blonde man in a black suit and a raven-haired woman in black slacks and a black turtleneck.
"Who are you?" Mel asked, pulling away from Cole with a sigh. "What do you want?"
"INS, Division Six..." the man informed her.
"And we want to talk to him." The woman nodded towards Cole.
"INS?" Mel repeated, alarmed.
"Didn't I see you at the movie theater?" Cole asked the woman, approaching her curiously. He nodded towards the man. "You are the one who couldn't make any of the machines work." Smiling at the woman, he added, "And you over-charged us for the candy."
Mel frowned. "She did?"
"Yes, Mel. But she undercharged us for the popcorn, so it's okay."
"Oh." Mel nodded, blinking.
"Is your memory photographic?" the woman asked.
He shook his head. "Not really. Why?"
"Just curious." She shrugged, placing her briefcase on the nearest table. "Name?"
She nodded and the man asked, "Mister Hauser, do you have any documentation as to place of birth?"
"Look..." Mel interrupted, stepping between Cole and the INS Agents. "If you're investigating Cole for something, I think we'd better talk to a lawyer before we answer any questions."
"I hardly think that's necessary..." the woman told Mel. "Agent Smith. My partner, Agent Jones."
"Smith and Jones..." Mel repeated absently.
"Well, it beats Jay and Kay..." the man chuckled.
"Shut up, Rookie..." Smith suggested, shaking her head.
Mel frowned as things fell into place in her mind. INS, Division Six was from the beginning of the first Men in Black movie. Smith and Jones, Jay and Kay...
"The Men in Black." Smith nodded.
"Galaxy defenders." Jones grinned.
Smith scowled at him. "Don't make me hurt you, Rookie."
He shrugged. "You know what your problem is, Smith? You don't enjoy your job."
She shook her head. "Whatever. Just shut up and get it."
"Get what?" Mel asked anxiously as he opened his briefcase.
"Mel, I thought you said that the Men in Black were not real?" Cole asked softly.
"She was wrong..." Smith told him with a shrug. "It's called plausible deniability." She glanced at Jones who had set up a laptop on a nearby table, then at Cole. "Name, please."
"I told you. Cole Hauser."
"Real name..." she prompted firmly.
Cole glanced at Mel who shrugged helplessly. "Daggon..." he told Smith.
"Why'd you bypass customs when you came to earth, Daggon?" Smith asked as Jones typed.
"Uh..." He glanced at Mel. "I thought customs was for traveling between countries, Mel."
"Uh, it is." Mel glanced at Smith. "We didn't know..."
Smith sighed. "Jones, get me a 10-87, will you?"
He reached into his briefcase and pulled out a sheet of paper and a Polaroid. "Daggon, could you turn your head this way?"
Cole obliged, recoiling when the flash went off. He frowned at Jones. "What are you doing?"
"Passport photos. Turn to your left, please."
"System of origin?" Smith asked Cole when Jones was done.
"What are you doing?" Mel asked, more than a little confused. The Men in Black had just confronted her and Cole in her bar and they were doing... paperwork?
"Processing him, of course. Can't have unregistered aliens running around the planet now, can we?"
"What?" Smith asked, looking up from the form she was filling out.
"Uh..." Mel managed to contain herself. "Oh, never mind." She shook her head.
Smith frowned at her. "Can you prove that you were born on this planet, Miss Porter?"
"Yes!" Mel nodded firmly, putting her hands on her hips. "Look, what do you people want with Cole?"
"To get this damned paper-work done so we can go home and get some rest..." Smith informed her flatly. "He can't continue to run around unregistered. He needs a legal identity."
"Right..." Mel shrugged and sighed. "Can I offer you guys a drink?" she offered, knowing it sounded foolish.
Jones shook his head. "We're on duty, miss..." he told Mel.
Smith glared at him. "Scotch, please. Preferably a large one."
Mel grinned and stepped behind the bar. "Cole?"
"Water please, Mel."
"Agent... Jones?" Mel asked.
"Coffee would be great if you have it, miss."
Smith rolled her eyes and returned her attention to Cole. "System and planet of origin, please?"
"Migar. Planet one, Cirron."
Smith sighed deeply. "Jones, hand me a 13-11 and the star-chart."
"What's a 13-11?" Cole asked her as Jones handed over the papers in question.
"Oh, we have to fill out extra paperwork for planets that we don't have formal diplomatic ties with yet." She unrolled the star-chart. "Where is Migar, exactly."
Cole examined the chart for a few moments, then pointed. "This is Migar."
She nodded and noted the co-ords in the appropriate box, reading them aloud to Jones. "And you're from planet one?"
Cole nodded. "Yes. Cirron."
"We're called Cirronians in the Migar system." He smiled at Mel as she placed a glass of water on the table. "Thank you, Mel."
Smith nodded, containing another sigh. "Jones. 13-12, please." She gave Mel a grateful look as the woman handed over a large glass of scotch. "You might want to put on a pot of coffee, Miss Porter. Something tells me it's going to be a long night."
Mel nodded, handed Jones his coffee, and retreated behind the bar again to brew another pot. "I would not have thought that the Men in Black were so big on paperwork..." she remarked, taking her martini and pulling a chair next to Cole.
Smith glanced up at her. "It's the US government. What'd you expect? Nuerolizers and noisy crickets?" She looked up sharply. "Shut up, Jones."
"Yes, ma'am." Jones, who had opened his mouth to comment after Smith had mentioned noisy crickets, closed it and returned to his typing.
"When you arrived here, did you bring any other life-forms with you? Flora or fauna?"
Cole shook his head. "No, Agent Smith."
"Anything to declare?" she asked.
"Don't think so." He shook his head. "I came alone and with only two pieces of equipment. I didn't even have clothes."
Smith looked up at Cole for a moment, wordless.
Jones raised an eyebrow. "Sounds like a declaration to me..." he sniggered.
"Shut up, Rookie..." Smith suggested levelly. She shook her head and returned her attention to Cole. "What brings you to earth? Business or pleasure?"
She nodded and pulled out another form. "Care to elaborate."
Cole briefly outlined his mission on earth and the events of the last year. Listening, Smith cursed fluidly and Jones wordlessly handed her several more forms. Even a rookie like him knew better than to make a smart-ass comment to her when she was in that mood.
"Can I get you another drink?" Mel offered quietly.
"Oh, yes, please..." Smith nodded and returned her attention to the paperwork. "I'm going to go ahead and give you a two-year work Visa for the time-being. If you'll fill this out, we'll mail you a reminder when it's time to renew, along with instructions."
Cole nodded and took the form from her, filling it out.
"Miss Porter, are you his sponsor?" she asked.
"Uh, guess so." Mel shrugged. Jones began snapping off more pictures. "Hey!" she protested, startled and half-blinded by the flash.
"Sorry." Jones grinned and shrugged.
"If you could go ahead and fill these out..." Smith requested, handing Mel several forms and a pen.
All four sat in silence for several minutes, working on their respective bits of paperwork.
"How many species of fugitives are we talking about here, Daggon?" Smith asked finally, laying aside her pen and accepting more forms from Jones.
80-93, waiver to perform police duties as directed by a governing planetary authority. 80-95, limited diplomatic privilege allowing said duties to be discharged on Terran soil, 81-67 through 81-72 inclusive, extradition treaties and waivers... and so forth. Of course, she would also need to fill out a 13-11 and a 13-12 on each species, along with any other indicated forms, but no further actions could be taken on his case until the papers giving Daggon the right to do his job had been taken care of.
"Five others..." Cole told her. "Vardians, Orsusians, Dessarians, Enixians, and Nodulians."
"I've only got three each left..." he told her before she could finish her request.
Smith squeezed her eyes shut, irritated. "Then run to Kinko's!" she hissed, rubbing her eyes.
"Are you ill?" Cole asked her gently. "I can heal you."
Smith began cursing again. "Jones!"
"Form 13-12A, species-specific powers..." Jones intoned, handing over the form.
"All of the Migar species have unique abilities..." Cole provided helpfully. "Vardians are telekinetic. Nodulians can breath under water, but are very prone to dehydration. Dessarians--"
As Cole reeled off the abilities and weakness of each of each species, Jones continued handing forms off to an increasingly edgy Smith.
Mel looked at the growing pile of paperwork in front of Agent Smith, shaking her head. "This is what the MiB is really all about?" she muttered.
"Our secret weapon." Smith nodded. "Disgusting, isn't it? Ten years of training and it's all paperwork and smart-ass rookies who only joined because they saw the movie..." She shook her head. "Jones, you're still here. Go get me those copies."
He shrugged and rose.
"There's a copy shop a half-block from here..." Mel offered, giving him directions.
"Thank you, miss." He rose, grabbed a handful of change from his briefcase, and left the shop.
Smith sighed, shook her head, then smiled at Cole. "Well, at least you're only here on business. There'd be even more paperwork if you planned on actually staying."
Cole shifted uncomfortably, hating to break it to her. He glanced at Mel who was struggling to contain her laughter. "Actually..." he began.