A More Apt Pupil


elisabeth2_icon.gif jj_icon.gif

Scene Title A More Apt Pupil
Synopsis The FNB — er, FNG — is welcomed to FRONTLINE Unit 1 by Liz Harrison.
Date November 20, 2010

Textile Factory 17

Wearing his civvies but carrying a FRONTLINE-issue duffel bag over his shoulder, J.J. wanders into the center of operations, having been pointed that way to find his new "boss." Baggy jeans, Nikes, and an black graphic sweatshirt make him look more like a college student than a FRONTLINE soldier, though there's a fierceness in his face that suggests he might be able to get the job done when he needs to.

That is, until his face transforms at the sight of all the computer monitors and their flickering images of just about everything there is to know about the city. His pale eyes light up and he lets out a low whistle of appreciation, moving toward the machines though he doesn't touch anything. Yet. His gaze flicks from one display to the next, watching the images change with rapt attention until he remembers why he's here, and looks for the person in charge.

The operations room seems perpetually busy. There is a blonde sitting in front of the bank of monitors and though she's wearing jeans and a black V-neck with 3/4 length sleeves instead of any kind of uniform, she definitely seems to be the person in charge. She points toward one of the screens and tells the man scanning, "There. Capture that and keep an eye on it." Her voice is a low, husky murmur. Sounds like she may have a mother of a head cold brewing.

When he stops in the doorway Elisabeth doesn't immediately turn. Her usual somewhat preternatural sense of hearing is muffled by her inability to manipulate the sounds around her so she's not as situationally aware as normal. The whistle, however, gives him away and she pivots on her heel sharply, blue eyes laser-bright on the new arrival. She skims him, assessing. "Jones, right? you got a preferred handle, Jones? We're pretty informal around here." Finally she steps forward and holds out her hand. "Elisabeth Harrison. Welcome to FRONTLINE Unit 1."

Jones steps forward and gives her a grin — he has one of those faces that changes drastically with a smile, turning his stern looking face into something much more boyish and pleasant with just a turn of his mouth. "Thank you, Ma'am," he says politely, accepting the hand and shaking it firmly.

"I look forward to working with you. You can call me J.J. if you like, Ma'am." The young man is trying to be polite and follow the etiquette of military operations — apparently "informal" doesn't quite register.

"Elisabeth or Liz is fine. Ma'am is for when we're in the field," Elisabeth informs him easily, shaking his hand. And oh my, he is pretty. Step on that thought. Right. Now. Can't have that showing in her face one little bit. Now that she's closer, there is weariness in her expression, lines at the corners of her eyes that indicate perhaps not enough sleep. "Glad to have you aboard, J.J." Glancing back at the techs, she says, "Let me know if you spot anything." And then she puts a hand on J.J.'s upper arm and moves to lead him out of the center toward the main areas of the base. The places he can leave his gear and such. "I hear good things about you," she tells him mildly. "What made you decide to head for New York instead of sticking with Unit 3?"

"Liz," he says with a nod, and lets him lead her away, glancing back at the computers almost longingly, before turning to pay attention to their path and to her. J.J. chuckles a bit at her words and shakes his head, grinning.

"Decide might be a strong word, Ma- Liz. I was just getting trained when the shit hit the fan out here, so they figured may as well throw me here, since I hadn't really gotten to do much out there. Said that there were holes that need filling, here, and so here I am. I hope I can live up to the job. I haven't seen any combat, really, but I was in the Reserves for a couple years before I got pushed toward FRONTLINE. I'm sure I'll have my FNB moments, and you can use me as a scapegoat if you like, but I'll try hard and I learn fast."

There's a faint grin at that. "Well, Emerson'll be happy not to be the noob anymore," Elisabeth admits. "But in all honesty, the entire squad outside myself and Ivanov are new." Sadness, hurt — both flash across her features and are quickly hidden. "The rest of the team bought it in the riots. So we're all on a learning curve here, figuring out what each person can do. I see from your jacket that you've had most of the Horizon training completed already," she says, leading him toward the barracks. "Hannah, Kait, and Gavyn are all finishing theirs this week." In spite of the holiday. "We're pretty much on 24-hour call. You're expected to live on the base, generally, and if you're going to be off overnight, you need to make sure both I and ops are aware of it."

"Well, that's good and bad news at the same time," J.J. says, frowning a little at her words. "I'm sorry about the rest of your team, Ma'— Liz." His smile returns quickly, and he gives a shake of his head, ducking it a little. "Sorry, I'll try to break that habit when we're not in armor. Good habits die hard?"

He looks around at the barracks once they've stepped in, and unslings his duffel from his shoulder. "But I'm glad I'm not the only new kid on the block so to speak. As far as what I can do — I don't have a super cool laser eyes ability or anything, but I'm good at on-the-spot intel, if that helps. And I can shoot and all that. That armor's primal, man. I wanna wear that suit all the time." There's another flash of a grin at that.

Elisabeth nods slightly at his sympathies. "Thank you," she tells him. If nothing else, she's grateful that Kershner had to inform all the families of the others — Liz is not sure she would have been able to. This team of people, they're hers now. And God help her, she's going to keep them alive at all costs. "Emerson just got back from a two-day run at Annapolis and will be working on patrol exercises here in the armor for the next couple of days. Kait's heading down for Sunday and Monday, then she'll be back while Gavyn goes for her final test-out on the equipment Tuesday and Emerson does another two days down there on Tues and Wed. No one's out of town for the weekend." Lord knows, the holidays are always insane. And considering it's a nearly full moon out there? Yeah. Liz wants 'em all at home. "You can use any of the bunks you want. It's just you and Ivanov. Felix is… hard to miss."

Elisabeth grins. "So… to give you the brief rundown, Hannah Emerson was pulled from the Army with superhuman endurance. Gavyn Mitchell's Air Force — wears glasses all the time because she tends to make people tell the truth. She works hard to keep herself from pegging everyone around her. Kaitlyn Dooley came in from the NYPD with a healing ability. Felix Ivanov," a name that a lot of people may know already, "is ex-FBI and a speedster. And I'm also ex-NYPD with sound manipulation abilities."

J.J. tosses his duffel on a bed that looks like it's not claimed and leans against the bunk, crossing his arms and listening as she gives the litany of the group and their abilities. He gives a rueful shake of his head. "Shit, I'm still the FNB, I think. I mean, Reserves? We did a couple of riots and stuff like that, but nothing like police or real military. And nothin' as useful in combat as those, though I guess that puts me and Gavyn in the same corner, I s'pose."

"I haven't heard the FNB thing before," Elisabeth admits. "Usually it's the FNG around here. Self-explanatory I'm sure." She tilts her head and studies him. "You up for this? The riots are over now, we're back to a more support kind of role. We go when the soldiers or the NYPD call us in for Evo-related situations. It's not just about powers — it's about whether you can pull the trigger if you have to as well." Her tone is frank, non-judgemental. "I'm assuming the answer's yes or they wouldn't have sent you to me. But if you find you're having trouble, let me know from the word go, okay? I'll work with you."

"FNG." J.J.'s hand comes up to strike his forehead and he gives a shake of his head. "Sorry. Dyslexic moment or something. That's what I meant." His cheeks grow a touch red and then he sombers for the rest of her questions.

He nods and shoves his hands in his pockets. "I can shoot when I have to, yeah. I mean, if it's a matter of someone like us having trouble controlling their powers or something? I'd rather not kill anyone if I don't have to, you understand, but you seem like you wouldn't be that type either. Obviously if someone's trying to take out an entire city block with their mojo, I'm not gonna hesitate to put 'em down, though."

Pursing her lips, Elisabeth nods slightly. Her eyes on him are still cool, assessing, but they warm in approval at his words. "Then I think we're going to work together just fine, J.J. I'll tell you what I've told the others. I expect this team to be the cool heads in any situation. It's your jobs to try to keep people from getting hurt by whatever means we have at our disposal in any given situation. It's not going to be simple, and it's not going to be easy. Sentiment in this town is going to be a bitch," she says frankly. "But we're going to do our best." She smiles slightly. "C'mon, I'll take you on a tour of the base." And get this boy a map of the area, show him where things are too.

There's a solemn nod at her words, his eyes narrowing a little in a thoughtful manner. "Thanks, Liz. I think I can do that, and I look forward to working with you and the others," J.J. says with a smile.

He pushes off from the bedframe he leans against and falls into stride with her. The FNB — boy? — or FNG is more than eager to see all that there is to be seen and learn all that is to be learned.

A more apt pupil is hard to find.

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