In Good Company


gillian_icon.gif meredith_icon.gif

Scene Title In Good Company
Synopsis Gillian gives Meredith a place to sleep for the night at the Lighthouse. They discuss past events and the good and bad points of the Company.
Date January 31, 2010

Gillian's Car

"We're out of room at the moment," a woman says, speaking to a woman a little older than her with respectfulness, at the very least. "I would love to make room for you, but— I'm afraid we can't right now." There's some guilt, but as she speaks someone moves down the stairs of the house behind her. The home does look full. Lots of bedmats laying out for people to sleep on. People sitting around playing board games or chatting. Some young, some old.

The young woman coming down the stairs looks a little familiar, having visited the now burnt down safehouse a few times in the past. A box is held in hand, not looking to be too heavy, but heavy enough she has a grimace on her face. Gillian was shot not too long ago. While she's walking better now, she's not up to speed.

"Thanks again," she says, freeing a hand so she can hand something over. Cash. The Lighthouse isn't technically a member of the Ferry, even if they've done quite a lot to support it, past and present. Hazel eyes cast around, and then fall on one person she too recognizes. "Hey." So eloquent.

Frowning, Meredith puts her hands on her hips and narrows her eyes at the woman blocking her from having a place to stay for the night. Ever since being dropped off by the Company, Meredith has been bouncing from safehouse to safehouse. Her own has been destroyed by fire and she's getting paranoid about staying in one place too long. Plus, this gives her the ability to talk to safehouse operator's softly and alone about what she found out while in Company custody. They have the right to know. So, as much as she'd like to be angry at the woman in front of her, instead she's just annoyed. Safehouses are hard to come by as it is now.

With an annoyed sigh, the blonde woman crosses her arms. "Nothing? I'll sleep on a windowsill if you've got it. It's just for a night." It does look pretty full in there. If she weren't already fearing the possibility of sleeping out on the streets of Staten Island, she might have a bit more tact and recognize that the woman really does not have any space for her.

The greeting from Gillian causes Meredith to cast a glance over her shoulder and she nods at the other woman. Though she doesn't know her very well, she at least remembers her name and knows her face. "Hey," she says, the annoyance still making it through her tone. She's not exactly eloquent, either.

The fact that safehouses are hard to come by may be the reason there's no more space. The same amount of people needing to be housed with less space to house them in. As money for supplies passes hands, Gillian keeps her eyes on the older woman, processing what's going on, as the safehouse operator looks down and rings her hands. "I might be able to direct you to another safehouse… I'll just need to make a few calls first."

Gillian doesn't seem to realize the importants of the situation, nor does she know much about what happened while she was jumping around the world trying to keep everything from being flooded by a nuke in the middle of Antarctica. "What happened to your place?" She's on Staten Island to finally catch up with Brian, check on the kids and her cat, but she's not planning to stay the night over here.

Those reasons are really why Meredith isn't quite as pissed as she normally would be. As a former operator, she knows how it can get. The woman frowns and then shifts so that she's able to actually talk with Gillian without doing it entirely over her shoulder. "Really?" The blonde doesn't exactly want to get her hopes up, also she's not sure how to take the offer. "I'd appreciate it." Just being a satellite of the Ferry, Gillian gets some trust and respect, but this is a fortuitous meeting.

Just like Gillian doesn't know the details of Meredith's life events, neither does Meredith know Gillian's. Though there was a story in the paper about it. Flatly, she replies simply enough, "It burned down." And she just looks at the other woman, daring her to ask if Meredith herself did it.

The death-not-death… As the safehouse operator walks off to use a phone, the two of them are left alone for a few moments. As along as they can be in a crowded house, at least. "Burnt down? That sucks," Gillian says bluntly, glancing off toward the woman on the phone. "There's room in the Lighthouse. I know we're not so much offically a safehouse, but if you just need a room for a night or two, there's a bed that's empty." She knows cause it's her own! "You'd have to deal with the kids and many Brians, and my lion of a cat… but I don't think Brian would mind. And it's my room anyway."

So what's her brother going to say exactly?

"You're telling me." Meredith's arms stay crossed. "I'm not exactly over the moon about it." She's not happy about this, obviously. Plus, she hates having to beg for a place to stay just about every night. She watches as the other woman moves away to make her phone calls and then turns her full attention to Gillian. "Mostly, I just need a place to sleep for the night. Doesn't have to be a safehouse." This is at least somewhat more promising. "If you're honestly offering, I'm not gonna turn you down. But if you're just tryin' to be nice, you don't have to." The one thing Meredith can't stand is pity. Just because her place burned down doesn't mean she's some sort of leper in need to mollycoddling.

"It's not like you wouldn't do the same if I had suddenly showed up at your apartment, pre-fire, and needed a place to stay," Gillian says, but she holds out the box. "And maybe you can help me carry this shit to the car. I have a gunshot wound in my abdomen that isn't totally healed yet and carrying all this stuff is making my stomach hurt." She seems to be just as cheeky as she'd been when visiting Else in the Gorden Safehouse. Though this time she's not telling her that a dude named Noah needs to build a boat if they're really about to suffer a flood of epic proportions.

"Yeah, but I was basically obligated to." Meredith smirks slightly. And while the blonde remembers that conversation, vaguely, she's not going to hold it against her. Meredith knows a little something about being cheeky. "Sure, least I can do." Without much other ceremony, she takes the box from Gillian and rests it on her hip for the moment. Ducking her head into the safehouse room, she waves at the other woman and calls out, "Don't worry about it, I'm heading out. Thanks." She certainly sounds less annoyed now that she has a place to stay. Without really waiting for an answer, she turns around and starts for the exit. "So who'd you piss off so much they shot you in the stomach?"

"The same people I always seem to piss off," Gillian says, grateful to find the burden removed, as the safehouse lady waves back to Meredith and stops trying to call people. The first one seems to have been a bust anyway. "I don't really know who it was, though— didn't get a good look at them." She'd been distracted with… her ability. The knot in the back of her head that keeps her power at bay is doing it's job right now.

Leading the way outside, she walks to a white Dodge Spirit. …Or it looks like it was supposed to be white. Hard to tell with giant rust things eaten into the paint in various places. A door in the back is pulled open, so she can drop the box there. There's a few more boxes. "Brian usually does this shit, but I said I could handle it today." And… she had other things to look into anyway! Once the box is inside, she moves to get into the driver's seat. The passanger side is mostly clear, but she reaches over to push aside some fast food packages and what not.

For once, Meredith keeps her mouth shut about Gillian's car. It's dirty and rusted and looks like she'd need a tetanus shot just for looking at it. But, she just readjusts her grip on the box and moves toward the back so she can shove the box in with the others. "Guess it's a good thing I needed to find a place to stay, too." So she could help her out with the heavy lifting. Not that Meredith does a lot of weight training, but she also wasn't shot in the gut lately.

"Well, at least you know it's not some new group of people you've pissed off." That seems to be Meredith's problem lately. She tries to stay under the radar and instead just manages to get her apartment burnt to the ground. The story makes her raise an eyebrow at that as she slides into the passenger seat - she doesn't seem to care about the fast food containers. "Hopefully that sort of thing doesn't happen to you too often."

"I don't think they'll be shooting at me again, at least," Gillian says adjusting herself into her seat and rubbing her face. Likely when they get there the Brians will help with the unloading, but… a helping hand is definitely not rejected by her. As the car starts up, the heat sputters on, but blows cold air through the vents at first. "I really need to get a car that actually works…" Rather than being a junker. She bangs a fist against the dashboard hard. And again! There goes the heat. It's mild, though. But it feels warmer than cold air.

"So what happened to your safehouse?" she asks, pulling the car out to start the drive to the Lighthouse.
Public> The Emperor Bao-Wei can't pick which dream to sign up for, errp.

"Then you showed them well enough." As an ex criminal, Meredith knows the value of fear. She gives a raised eyebrow at the vents of the car. It's certainly a little warmer than the outside, but the pyro puts her hand below view of the windshield and windows and then warms up her hands till they glow slightly red. It works a little better than the heater - the car starting to feel warmer after a few minutes. "I've driven clunkers my entire life. Till I moved here. They've got character. They're also annoying as hell."

As for her safehouse, the blonde just frowns. "Someone lit it on fire while I was sleeping." While it may have been herself, that's still telling the truth. There's something else going on and she will find out what that is and she will make them pay for doing this to her life. "Bastard."
"You're not talking about that Nightmare thing, are you?" Gillian asks, glancing over once she has a stop sign for a few moments, before rolling on down the street. The lack of upkeep is even more obvious on this cluncker, as they bounce around a bit with every pot hole. "I know there's been stories passed around about it, so— we all probably know about it by now." We meaning those in the Ferry, and extended family, no doubt. "I got a visit. If I hadn't gotten help I probably would have downed a whole bottle of pain killers before I even woke up."

"I am." Meredith just stares at Gillian for a moment, her hands getting much brighter for a brief flash. After being in Company captivity for a couple of days and kicking about in Safehouses, she'd heard about the Nightmare man from Cat, but she wasn't aware how widespread the information was. She's not all that surprised by Gillian's knowledge about it. Instead, she's just angry at the very idea of him. "I am going to get that bastard and I am going to light him on fire." Her eyes are narrowed and focused on the road in front of them for a moment before she glances over at the driver again. "Got help?"

"I guess there's some people who found ways to fight against him. By making these things, Patronus, Helena called them," Gillian says, paying attention to the road, her her eyes are slightly narrowed as she goes. "Summoning inner strength into a form, fighting light with shadow— that kinda stuff. If I hadn't seen it work, I'd think she was reading too much Harry Potter." Which the Lighthouse happens to have at least two copies off. Kids need books they'll actually read, cause as an ex-Librarian, she refuses to let any of them be illiterate.

"Mine turned out to be faeries of all things…" She shakes her head. "I'm glad you made it out. Did someone find you in time? Was anyone else in the apartment?"

"…What the hell is a Patronus?" Meredith obviously hasn't been reading much in the past couple of years. And she also hasn't gone to many movies. The description doesn't exactly help the matter. This is a woman who can make fireballs from her hands and the idea of making her inner strength into a light show sounds just weird to her. "You have got to be kidding me."

"You don't look like a faerie person." That's all she can really say to that statement. This sounds like some sort of joke. Of course, Gillian doesn't sound like she thinks it is, so she keeps it to herself. "It was just me that night, but I had to keep it from spreading. Almost got picked up by the damn government. Instead ran into some old friends from the Company who kept me in a meat locker for a couple of days. Least they didn't turn me in."

Explaining what a Patronus is will have to wait, cause all of a suddenly the car swirves a bit, before Gillian gets control of it. "The Company?" Yeah, she's heard about The Company. "They helped you get out of government hands? They— you got let go?' And weren't forced to go trampsing about the world fighting a bomb that would drown the world? None of that needed? Friends?? "It— does that mean the Company might not be all bad?" Something strange in her expression as she looks over, like maybe she wants to think that's the case.

When the car swerves, Meredith quickly puts her hands on the dashboard in front of her. There's a sizzling sound as her heated up hand connects with the plastic of the glove box in front of her. The smell of burning plastic quickly fills the car and a faint print of Meredith's hand is now burned onto the glove box in front of her. "Watch." The last thing the blonde needs is to be killed in a car accident because she said something about the Company. Quickly, she pulls her hand backward, but the damage is done. She'll apologize for that later.

"I wouldn't say that," Meredith glares at the road. She and the Company have a long and troubled past. "They're mostly a bunch of self-righteous jackasses who think they know more and better than everyone else. Remember the part where I said they kept me handcuffed in a meat locker for a couple of days? I used the term friends sarcastically, there, Gillian." It's the first time she's used Gillian's name since they met at the safehouse. "But, yes, they let me go and they kept me off the government's radar. That doesn't mean I'd invite them over for dinner. I still want to set most of them on fire."

That brings up another question, though. "What do you have against them?"

Oh, well… that explains the fire. At least it's warmer in the car now? Gillian doesn't say that as she slows down in her driving so she can pay better attention to things. "I have kinda mixed feelings— at first I though they would just lock me up and brainwash me and… use me for my ability." Her raspy voice softens as she keeps looking out at the road, paying attention and avoiding anymore swirving on the sometimes slick roads.

"But there was a guy working for them who helped me get away a couple times… And I— I kinda came to see that some of them are really nice people." Like her near-sister, Veronica, whom she adores and thinks is quite good for her brother. "And I found out recently that my real parents used to be agents, too. I was adopted. They supposed died somehow— I don't know much about it, but… If— they might be the only ones who could tell me much about them." But it's clear she hasn't tried to ask, yet.

"The faeries came from what little I know about my mom. Apparently she could make illusions, made the storybooks she read to me come to life when I was a kid." The car slows to a stop again, waiting for a chance to go again. She looks over, seeking eye contact, "If they did that— do you think it might be safe for me to try to find out more about my parents? Even if it's just— whatever they have on file?"

"Sorry." Finally, Meredith apologizes for the burning on the glove compartment. She closes her hands into fists and the heat slowly seeps out of them. Now the only thing keeping them warm is the sort of warm air blowing through the car vents. Hearing what Gillian has to say about the Company, she raises an eyebrow. "They would have tried that, actually. Or they could have locked you away if they really thought you were dangerous."

As for Company agents actually being nice people, she's not sure about that. She was one of those and she's certainly not nice. Most of the people who remain with the Company have to have the sort of moral code that is okay with taking people and testing them without their knowledge. The question is a loaded one and Meredith isn't exactly sure she knows how to answer it. She looks over at Gillian. "Look, pull over for a second." She doesn't want another swerving incident.

There's plenty of driveways that are likely abandoned on Staten Island, but Gillian pulls into a side street, and then to a small gravel alley behind one and puts the parking break on, which squeaks rather loud, and she's very careful to make sure it works before she takes her foot off the other break. "I don't know what most of the Company does. I just know two of them. One who used to be with them, and another who… is still with them. But…" She shrugs, leaving the car running for what heat it can sputter out. "Oh, and don't worry about the glove box. This car practically belongs in the dump. I don't think it would pass inspection anyway."

Once the car is settled, Meredith twists in her seat so she can talk to Gillian without fear of being run off the road. "Look, the Company isn't something that can get pinned down easily. They kind of just help and not help people at whims. Whatever they think is best for them, they will do. And they will do whatever they think will be best to keep them going. That's the Company as a whole, but that's not everyone. But, you can't think that the Company is all just that one person or that one person is the whole Company." As much as she said she wasn't interested in the politics of the Company, her short time there was enough to show her a lot of how it worked. Not to mention her recent run in with them only cemented that idea.

"While I was there, they kept me locked in a cell and knocked me out for two days. And that was after the meat locker treatment. They wanted information out of me and when they got it, they let me go." She frowns and adds, "I was told they know about the Ferrymen - they even know a safehouse or two. They know some of the places we operate. They've been keeping it from the government. At least, they haven't told them yet. But, now all bets are off. I've been trying to tell safehouse operators. It's only right to tell you, too." She pauses. "What I'm trying to say is, they're gonna operate in their best interest. If you know someone in there, you can ask them. The people I know aren't exactly the helping type."

"So they may not be protecting the places they know anymore soon?" Gillian asks, frowning a bit as she keeps her gaze through the window. Staten Island is cold, and some ways scary, especially with some of the rumors passing down from the people in the know. "There's been a lot of talk about things maybe… getting worse." But she's sure the other woman has heard. "From a guy posting stuff on a computer site, hacking news articles… I mean we've been through a lot of bad stuff, and that flood that Else was talking about— that won't happen."

She can't say how she knows, it's classified, but— she can say it won't happen! "But that doesn't mean something else won't." The car starts to make noises, and she takes off the parking brake and rolls forward a bit before it konks out in the middle of the freezing nowhere. "If I decide to try and find out about my family, I'll go with someone I can trust. Which among them is pretty much… one." And formers.

"Yeah." With a frown, Meredith crosses her arms and leans back on the passenger seat. "Things can always get worse." And with what she knows now, she certainly believes it. "If what I've been told is true, the Ferrymen are gonna get it from all sides now. And we didn't exactly have it easy before. We may have to move…everything." If there's one thing that Meredith knows, it's how to keep off the radar. And that if you want to keep out of the eye, you need to keep moving. She can do it easily enough with herself, but a whole network? One that may not even listen to her? That's going to take a lot more.

"I'm not saying don't find out about your family. I'm just saying be careful about who you ask. And who knows where you're going. It's pretty easy to disappear if you walk right into it." With a shrug, she puts an elbow on the armrest and looks back out into the middle of abandoned Staten Island. "Make sure you can trust this person."

"Don't worry. I'm about as paranoid as they get these days," Gillian admits, a faint smile making a dimple show up on both of her cheeks as she continues in the direction of the coastline. That's where The Lighthouse would be. Part of her wants to talk the Brians into moving it somewhere else, but at least this way… "So, you use fire? That's pretty cool," she says, a side comment as she drives along. "All I do is act as an Evolved battery pack. And by that, I mean I augment abilities." It's said almost as an aside. Offhanded attempt to converse. It's not like what she can do is a secret anymore. It's listed right next to her name on the Registration Website.

"That's the only way to be these days." Paranoia is what keeps people alive and that's mostly the goal these days. Meredith hasn't had much time to check any Registration websites, so knowing that about the woman does come as a bit of a surprise. "That's pretty cool, too." As for her fire, she shrugs again. "It's what I've got. It can be more trouble than it's worth if I'm not careful." For instance, burning down her apartment building while in a nightmare. "What do you mean, augment abilities? Like, just keep 'em going longer than normal?"

"More energy, mostly," Gillian explains, continuing the drive toward the house. "Like— for example Helena Dean controls the weather, right?" It's publically known and rather widely known at that fact. She went all newspaper princess for a while as Phoenix' boss lady. "When I augment her she says that weather changes happen faster, they're stronger, and they have more lasting effects— and she said stuff about feeling all the weather patterns for the whole state, if not more. Sometimes it causes more trouble than it fixes, but… It's one of the reasons I definitely didn't want the government to know about me."

"Huh." Now that's interesting. It's an ability that Meredith hasn't run into before, one that she didn't know could exist. She knew that people could negate abilities, so it only makes sense that there's one to make them stronger, she just hadn't met anyone who could yet. The explanation is met with another bit of a nod. "But they found out anyway."

"Yeah, found out anyway," Gillian says with a mutter as she pulls up to the Lighthouse. This time she turns the car off, letting the heat die out as she pulls the parking brake again. "Now I'm a card carrying registered Evolved. I should've went in and registered a year ago and just said I found out I could glow around Evolved. They might've bought that I could just sense them, or some shit." Until she started helping Phoenix do all their dangerous things… "Anyway— it's nice to meet you again. I thought I'd remember your name by now, but…" Don't you hate that? "I'm Gillian, though."

"Yeah. But, they still coulda found out about you. I'll keep away from any of that. There's no way for me to spin what I do into being something harmless." Anyone who can create fire is going to be at least a Tier-2. With her past, she'd be a Tier-3 without any kind of discussion. Meredith grimaces. So, she'll remain unregistered for now. How long that will last? She has no idea. "It's Meredith." She remembers Gillian's name - it's something she's good at - but she doesn't bring that up. "Nice to meet you again, too." She didn't bother with a seatbelt, so she just moves to open the door. "Thanks for givin' me a place to stay."

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