One of These Things is Not Like the Others


elisabeth_icon.gif veronica3_icon.gif

Scene Title One of These Things is Not Like the Others
Synopsis Veronica and Liz meet to discuss the various threats to their mutual associates, and one piece of the puzzle doesn't seem to fit with the others. But then, where does Hector Steel belong, really?
Date February 16, 2010

A generic Pho restaurant in Brooklyn

While Cat Chesterfield had said she'd alert Claire regarding the discussion Cat and Veronica had regarding a certain quartet of mad scientist types, Veronica wanted to make sure that the message made it through — better to be sure and send the information in more than one format than to risk it not getting through, in the agent's mind. Veronica called Elisabeth and arranged to meet at the pleasant little Vietnamese restaurant. Where better to discuss mad scientists, formulas and catalysts than over a steaming bowl of pho? One thing the agent likes about Harrison is that there's never any need to meet in a freezing cold park away from other ears — Harrison's ability means they can eat and talk like civilized people, and at this rate, they'll enjoy several international cuisines during their little pow-wows.

Veronica sits where she can easily see the door, to wave the blonde over to her corner table. While she waits, she scrolls through email on her PDA, her dark eyes flickering up now and then when the door opens. If the clientele is any indication, the place serves authentic food, as Veronica is the fairest in the place compared to the Vietnamese patrons. That is, until Harrison walks in.

The fact that she is literally the only blonde and damn near the only Caucasian in the place makes Elisabeth grin slightly. She looks… taut. Her expression is a littles strained around the smile as she slides into the seat across from Vee and takes off her jacket. "Hey there, stranger," she comments quietly. "Good to hear from you."

"You too, Liz," Veronica says, a genuine smile for the woman she's grown to respect quite a bit. "Cold day, figured soup sounded good. You doing all right? Your training's done and you're in town now, I hear? That has to be a welcome relief. I mean… you barely got home from overseas and had to leave again." She takes a sip of some tea, before nodding to the waitress to come by and drop off the bowls of pho she ordered in advance for the two of them — nothing fancy and nothing exotic. That way the two can talk without having to worry about waiters coming to take any orders.

There is abject gratitude on her face when soup and tea both show up pretty much simultaneously, and Elisabeth politely thanks the waiter. Leaning back in her chair, she pops the bubble into place now so that it doesn't have to be done later. "I'm so damn exhausted, I dont' even know what day of the week it is," Elisabeth admits. "Between the time zone changes, the training schedule we were keeping, getting back into town…. I think it must have been a half a dozen fucking times in two weeks or something, and now being shipped home earlyhaving fucking Russian Vanguard members loose in Manhattan… Is it daytime?" She's mostly kidding. But only mostly.

"Poor girl," Veronica says, with a sympathetic shake of her head. She's been through rigorous training in her own life, but never on the tail of having saved the world in Antarctica and all. "You really deserve a vacation. Maybe you should have someone shoot you in the thigh — did wonders for me." She smirks at that, as she begins to mix peppers and sprouts into her broth.

"Well, as much as I wish this were purely social, until we're old and retired that probably won't happen. Cat's mother apparently told her to talk to me about those names I got called about." She still doesn't know it was Cardinal who called, nor that he is alive. "So Cat and I had a chat about it, and she seems to think they're about trying to re-create the formula. She was missing a name — Doc Carpenter's — and when she had that, she got a bit more worried. Said that he could replicate the catalyst if he got a hold of it — do you know what the catalyst is, in this case?" She watches Liz, dark eyes worried and somber.

Elisabeth picks up the tea and sips from it as she listens. "I do deserve a vacation. And someday a man that I love will whisk me off to Tahiti, knock me up, and I'll get to have my cake and eat it too. Plump as a partridge." Her smile holds a devilish twinkle, Liz can't help it. "Til then… *sigh*" There's a long pause while Elisabeth debates. "I do know what it is," she says quietly. "And though I'm not going to tell you — not because I don't trust you but because there's nothing you can do about it — I'll make sure that the person who needs to know they're looking for it gets the message." Tonight.

Veronica nods. "Unfortunately I know who it is. That's why I wanted to meet with you — to make sure the message gets to you and yours — I could find her, sure, but figured I'd just play the messenger and have lunch with you instead. So… you know. Just be careful." She takes a couple of slurps of the pho — it's impolite not to slurp the noodles! — and then wipes her chin. "Do you know who Doc is? So you can keep a look out." She pushes a file across the table — a picture of the doctor within.

Well, then, at least there's one more person looking out for Claire. Elisabeth smiles faintly. "I'm kind of glad I don't have to tell you that part but that you already know. It means someone's got her back." She moves to take the picture and study it. "Can I keep this?" She does set it back on the table as she begins to eat. And it's really really good soup, too. "Does Cat know all of this?" she asks around the rim of the bowl.

The agent smiles. "It's probably in everyone's best interest that they don't get their hands on her, but I wouldn't wish that kid any more trouble than she's already had," Veronica says, nodding to the query on the file. "You know the others — Gregor and Zimmerman — right? I know you know what Steel looks like. He's the one I don't quite get in that little group. The others all fit but … one of these things is not like the others." The last bit is sing song, Sesame Street nostalgia. "Cat knows."

With a nod, Liz slides the file into her own things and then resumes eating. "I know Gregor and Zimmerman and Steel," she replies with a bit of a nod. "If Zimmerman and Gregor and Carpenter are trying to put together the formula again….. what the hell use would Steel be, though?" Her brain can't quite wrap around that idea either, and she frowns.

"My only thought feels pretty out there — like something out of Sci Fi, but so the fuck were those robots in Argentina," Veronica says, a scowl at the memory of the robots that caused her and her comrades so much pain, almost killing them in half a dozen ways. "He's like … a mechanical genius. My thought is maybe he's coming up with some sort of mechanical system for disseminating the formula or … I don't know. It doesn't really make sense." She shakes her head, clearly frustrated at her ability to suss this one out. "Cat thought maybe this stuff was related to the things Rebel is warning folks about — the camps and the quarantines and the like. I'm not sure how he'd fit in in that scenario either."

There's a pause and Elisabeth sets her bowl down. "Cat's…. brilliant, in her own way. She can remember everything she ever reads or sees or does…. but that doesn't mean she's got an Evo intuition to match nor that she actually understands the nuances of the information she's got. I'm not saying she's WRONG, I'm merely offering the thought that her suggestion is no more or less valid than some others. In the absence of other facts, it seems to fit right now." She grins a bit. "She jumps to conclusions sometimes."

Veronica nods, setting aside her soup and taking up her cup of tea. "I don't know that they're related. I don't think it was Rebel who contacted me — there'd be more information, most likely, if it were. The two situations might be totally unrelated — or tangentially related — and not necessarily the same, I agree." She sets down the cup and takes out her wallet to pay for the lunch. "Just keep watching Sarisa and keep me in the know, if it's something that I can look into. My guess right now is that it has to do with them, and that my organization doesn't like it but can't do anything official about it. It worries me a little that I've gotten the unofficial nod to look into it — but then they know who I've worked with lately — it might all be very deliberate." She sighs and sets down some bills. "Just … be careful. On all fronts." FRONTLINE and other.

With a faint smile, Elisabeth replies, "No…. I'm pretty sure at this point that it was not Rebel who contacted you. But… you should listen to them if they call again." She reaches for her wallet as well, since she's not expecting Vee to pay for everything. "Speaking of Sarisa Kershner and watching her….. this whole Vanguard thing got kicked up to Homeland Security because Abby's got someone's ear. So CIA Agent Lancaster is also poking her nose in, and she seriously has a hard-on for taking Kershner down a few pegs. Not sure if that will do anything for us or not, but might be a good idea to keep your ear to the ground for her name too. And other than that….. just keep bodyguards on people as best we can until Dreyfus or Kozlow show their hand."

"Mine," Veronica says putting a hand up at Elisabeth's reach for the wallet. "Seriously, it's like $10 for everything," she adds. "Yeah. You take care of yourself. I'm on the Chesterfield thing so I'll do what I can on that front, too." Meaning taking down Kozlow and any other Vanguard out for revenge before they can hurt anyone else, if she has her way.

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