Research Librarian

Participants:

elisabeth2_icon.gif gillian_icon.gif

Scene Title Research Librarian
Synopsis While spreading the word that she's not dead, Gillian gets wrangled in to help with some research for Elisabeth at the Library.
Date January 26, 2010

New York Public Library

Once upon a time, the New York Public Library was one of the most important libraries in America. The system, of which this branch was the center, was among the foremost lending libraries /and/ research libraries in the world.

The bomb changed that, as it changed so much else.

By virtue of distance, the library building was not demolished entirely, like so many others north of it; however, the walls on its northern side have been badly damaged, and their stability is suspect. The interior is a shambles, tattered books strewn about the chambers and halls, many shelves pulled over. Some have even been pulled apart; piles of char in some corners suggest some of their pieces, as well as some of the books, have been used to fuel fires for people who sought shelter here in the past.

In the two years since the bomb, the library — despite being one of the icons of New York City — has been left to decay. The wind whistles through shattered windows, broken by either the blast-front or subsequent vandals, carrying dust and debris in with it. Rats, cats, and stray dogs often seek shelter within its walls, especially on cold nights. Between the fear of radiation and the lack of funds, recovery of the library is on indefinite hiatus; this place, too, has been forgotten.


Wearing heavy sweatpants and sweatshirt over her running shoes, blonde hair caught up in a ponytail, Elisabeth looks like any other Manhattan jogger out there… except that she did her running around the ruins. Once back inside the library, she helped herself to Bones's coffee one more time — hey! She replaces what she takes with the same stuff! — and settled in to finish making the list of Cardinal's safehouses that need to be checked today before she leaves town. Who knows what intel or useful stuff he may have stashed? The sound of footsteps in the hall brings her blue eyes up toward the door warily, expecting to see Claire or Peyton — almost no one else comes by in the mornings.

From the coat, expensive scarf and cute hat, it could be Peyton. The clothes, borrowed and her own, were all bought by the younger girl. Late Christmas presents and freely borrowed out coat. The face that peeks out under the hat, though, does not belong to that girl. Gillian's beauty mark on her cheek stands out for a moment, as she shoves her hands in her pocket. She looks as if she's limping, or walking carefully as well. She did have surgery recently, to remove that bullet in her gut, as well as other things. "Sorry to intrude. I'm glad you guys didn't change things too much since the last time I was here…" Nothing blew up! So she's guessing she didn't trigger any insane boobie traps. "I— sorry I didn't show up for the… you know. Wake and stuff." She shrugs, with only one shoulder. "Did you happen to… watch the news last night?"

The sight of Gillian in the door brings Elisabeth up out of her chair and around the desk. "No… I was here all night," she replies warily. "What happened?" She hasn't been out of the library since yesterday evening. She waves off the apology. "And don't worry about it … you were probably better off. Danko survived," she says bluntly. "Showed up and left the place writing down names of everyone who was there, so far as we can tell." She grimaces, stopping in front of Gillian with a bit of a grin. "You look like you're settling in.

"Yeah, I— someone should really find a reason to shoot him," Gillian mutters softly, before her hand touches the bandage under her coat and shirt. She can't really feel it to know if it's busted open or anything, but it's a nervous gesture, to touch where it hurts. "I'm not sure, you may not have known about her. Cardinal did, but… Did you know about Stef? The… at Pinehearst not all of the replicants I made died. One survived and… she kinda took on her own identity. Called her self Stef. She was helping out Shard on Staten Island for a while… I— I guess she died. And her body was found last week and— they identified it as mine. Cause technically she was me or— anyway. I'm trying to get word out that you know— I'm not dead…"

"Find a reason?" Elisabeth snorts. "First clear shot we get, woman," she says darkly. Then her attention shifts to what Gillian's telling her. She looks puzzled for a moment. "Not all of them…. wait." Both eyebrows shoot to Liz's hairline and she seems to need a minute to assimilate what she knows what happened at Pinehearst and Gillian's power. The questions about how that occurred will come later, though. "Shit. So…. what the hell are we going to do about that? If they ID her as you, does your pardon and scholarship go away or what?" Her immediate concerns here are for Gillian herself and what this means to her life. Only second does it occur to her to say, "I'm sorry, Gilly… that probably sounds more than a little callous. Are you okay?"

"I don't know… I had the chance to change my name, but…" Gillian continues to hold her stomach, recalling the offer that was given, and all the paper work. "I decided not to, cause… my parents, the ones who adopted me at least… they'd already been through so much. And my brother too. I figured if I could be me I could…" She grimaces. "I guess I'll have to call that Agent lady and see if they can fix this. I'm also planning to stop by Cat's and see if there's some kind of legal way to… handle it. It…" Callousness and all business is easier to deal with then the sudden appearance of tears in her eyes. The hand on her stomach raises up to wipe them away.

"Her being dead wasn't a surprise, it— I knew she was probably dead. She was dying before I got arrested… It's kind of a long story, but it— it sounds like… either someone was trying to make it look like … like Sylar did it." Or…

Elisabeth moves and wraps her arms around Gillian tightly. "I'm sorry, Gilly. Really." She waits, offering comfort for as long as the brunette seems to need the hug. Only then does she step back and say firmly, "I'm pretty sure there's a legal way to handle it — Cat can work through the legalities and make sure you're not declared dead. You can…. I don't know. You were adopted, so it would be easy to put the story around that maybe she was your twin and neither of you knew about the other." She considers. "If you're uncomfortable getting Cat to do it, my dad's a lawyer and he's offered any of my friends his services. Mostly it's a matter of proving you're who you say you are, which isn't hard — you have a ton of paperwork and a Registration card now." She grins a little. "I'd leave Kershner out of it except to notify her that reports of your death are greatly exaggerated and that you've got a lawyer dealing with making sure you're not legally dead."

"There's also… evidence that I wasn't dead when her body was found. Or at least there should be," Gillian says, trying to move away from the really bothersome part of it and focus on the more… day by day stuff. "I was in the hospital a few days ago. They took blood and shit. So there's like… Physical evidence." It sounds all offical in her head, at least. "I'll talk to Cat. She's always going on about how she's super brain lawyer lady and stuff."

Greatly exaggerated.

It almost seems funny. "How's everything holding up here?"

If anyone understands sticking to business in light of a loss the makes you want to curl in a corner and not move for a few days, it's Elisabeth. She looks tired and she moves back to pick up her coffee to sip from it before saying, "Good. It'll help that you have time-stamped medical records. You should get in touch with your parents immediately, though — they're probably freaking out." She pauses and frowns. "Well, we know it wasn't Sylar…. cuz even if it could have been, if he were to have survived Antarctica, I doubt highly he'd go after your clone. Which begs a ton of questions." With a sigh, she shoves her hand through her hair. "Dammit… now I'm all about the conspiracy theories too." What if Kershner's people are behind this? What if it's Company? What if, what if? Shit.

"Things here are mostly all right. Things got a bit scattered while we were away, so I'm pulling it back together, setting people on course. Putting Claire kind of in charge while I have to be in Annapolis during the week…." She glances at Gillian and says quietly, "There's still a big game afoot, so we're back in business, basically."

"I called them last night, pretty much as soon as I could," Gillian explains quietly. It helped that she'd just had dinner with them on Friday, she's sure! But that doesn't mean they weren't relieved to hear her voice. "They didn't say exactly when she died in the reports… But maybe you're right. He… he wouldn't have done that…" Or maybe she's just repeating it for quiet wishful thinking. Gabriel still had to have loved her a little right?

"There's always something," she says with a forced smile, one that makes dimples show. "I have a new phone number, which you can leave for Claire. If you guys happen to need me for anything. I'd always offered Cardinal my help and… no reason you guys can't call on me too…. I know there's stuff going on with that Rebel person, sending out those weird messages."

The way Gillian says that makes Elisabeth pause a moment. And she grimaces. "Aw, Gilly…. shit, I'm sorry. I didn't realize you'd lost so much out there." She sighs. And for the brunette's sake, she does what both of them seem to need — keeping it on the practicalities. "I'm glad you popped in for a lot of reasons today," Liz admits.

"I'll take all the help I can get, obviously. And trade you phone numbers and give you Claire's too. We've got a new guy living in the library so if you run into a giant black man? That's Bones. Don't freak. He's … like huge." Elisabeth rolls her eyes a bit and smiles just a hint. "Claire and Bones have managed to decrypt the first picture, I think Cat put around what was on it. An audio file regarding … something like 'only the fearful hide.' I haven't heard if anyone's broken the second image yet. We've got Peyton on Danko-watch. But I'd actually like to put you on researching the idea that there actually are camps out there. Rumor hath it that they started it out in Texas, so I'm going to get you to put those infamous research librarian skills to good use." She smiles a bit. "If you want that."

Almost no one knows how much she lost in that ice covered land.

Looking down while the other woman talks, only at the end does Gillian look up and grin, less forced than before. "'Infamous'. I'll see what I can do. I'm not exactly quick on feet right now, but… I can do computer research to start, look at blogs and stuff. I'm not a hacker or anything but… I helped Cat crack the first image, too. Something to do'll be… a good thing right now." Keeps her mind of… other things. What she lost and what she can't have.

"Well, I don't think you need to be a hacker — if someone can figure out what the ending of that phrase is, we'll be in business." Elisabeth smiles just a little. "Believe me, I'll keep you busy." She tips her head. "You decided what you're going to go to school for? Or where?" Because… it's easier than dealing with what's been lost.

"I was thinking of taking some classes at Columbia," Gillian says, pushing at her hair until she can get a stray lock to stay behind her ear. "Literature classes, maybe. Or art. But I also thinking of getting a job at a library again." There's a pause, she looks around and makes a breathy laugh. "Not this one. But— maybe get a job at the university library."

Pursing her lips, Elisabeth considers something as she looks into her coffee cup. Then she looks up. "You want a cup? I borrowed Bones's coffee maker this morning to make it. It's good. I could use a good sounding board to bounce a thought off of, and what you just said brings the matter to the forefront of my head."

"Sure, I could use a cup," Gillian says, finally releasing her side as she takes slow steps forward, being careful not to trip over anything. "The pain killers I'm on make me drowsy, so that'll help things." After she has a cup, she takes a generous sip. "So what did you want to sound off me?"

Elisabeth pours the coffee and waits until Gillian's seated in a chair. "You're still moving stiffly. Have you thought about running by the Piece o' Cake and asking Hadley's help? It'll knock your power out for a day or two, but…." She shrugs a bit and then perches on the corner of the desk with her own cup. "For the most part, this entire group has been about information gathering and coalation. I'm wondering if we need to stay way way under the radar, or if we actually have the ability in this case to set ourselves up as a research enterprise." She shrugs a little. "It's just a half-formed thought, truly. It's not…. " She frowns a bit. "It's probable that if we make any attempt at legitimacy, we'd lose credibility. Which is not what we need. And we sure don't want anyone taking a close look at us."

"Going offical would make some stuff difficult to get info on," Gillian muses into her coffee mug, letting the steam warm her nose while she takes slow sips. "It might be possible to go part way legitimate, maybe some kind of… private investigator thing. But keep the primary operation under the radar. It might not be possible to do both, but— if the government is doing shady shit, it'd be easier to look at them when they don't have their spot light on you guys too."

"Yeah… that's exactly the dilemma," Elisabeth comments. "Well, like I said… it's merely a half-formed thought. Considering they already know what we've all been up to, it seems to me that changing everything would raise more questions and make them keep their eyes on us. If we keep doing what we're doing and we turn over bits and pieces of intel… it could go a long way toward giving us a little legitmacy *and* giving us a barometer for keeping tabs on Kershner too." She purses her lips. "I'll have to think about it a bit more. Maybe when I get back this weekend, we can pull all of us together and hash out the pros and cons of each side of this train of thought. See what hazards we're looking at. Share whatever intel we've managed to come up with. That kind of thing." She smiles a bit. "I'll be back in town every weekend, and I'll also probably be making the trip at various times during the week. I've got a little money put away and the plane tickets from DC are only about $100 a pop."

She adds quietly, "Just about now is when I really miss Richard…. he has a plane parked… somewhere." She'd forgotten that until just now. BUt damn, it would have made things simpler. Personal pilot!

"With the resources and people we met overseas there's plenty of ways you could pass on info and look like you're cooperating," Gillian says, shrugging a shoulder again in response. Two shoulders. And— wait what. "He had a plane? Seriously? Did that include someone who could actually fly it??"

Now Elisabeth laughs softly. "Yeah," she replies. "Him. I didn't really know that until a couple weeks or so before we left for all that, but… yeah. Apparently he wasn't just a VP out at Chicago Air, he was also a pilot." She shrugs a little. "I didn't even remember until that popped out of my mouth, truth be told. All these wierd little tidbits keep floating to the surface." She smiles a little.

"Damn," Gillian says, shaking her head at the amusement, before she downs another good gulp of coffee and gets back to her feet. "Cardinal had a lot of surprises… he was really a resourceful guy. I'm going to miss him…" Right now she could have used him. Both for his skill at making stress go away, and for his ability to say things that stopped her from being a complete idiot. "I definitely can't help with the flying thing, but… I should get going. I just wanted to make sure that people didn't freak out and shoot me on sight thinking I'm supposed to be dead. That would've really sucked."

Dying a few times is more than enough for her.


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