A Second Pair Of Eyes


elisabeth_icon.gif ygraine2_icon.gif

Scene Title A Second Pair of Eyes
Synopsis Elisabeth brings the script draft to be looked over.
Date Apr 9, 2011

Skinny Brickfront, Endgame Safehouse

While Jaiden goes to ask the one person in the building who is not on a wanted poster to make a pizza run, Elisabeth seeks out the woman whose job is making an impact. "Ygraine? Hey… you busy?" she asks from the doorway, leaning a shoulder against it. "I think I'm almost ready to start taping this thing, but… I want you to look over the script. I want to keep it well under 3 minutes total."

Tucked into a corner with her knees drawn up, Ygraine is this time not looking the picture of misery. Instead, she has a sketchpad propped against her legs, and was wearing an expression of pensive concentration when Liz first looked inside. Now, a startled look is fading into momentary incomprehension - and is then replaced by a sudden smile.

"I'd love to, if I can. If you're… if you're willing to take a bit of a risk, there's someone outside all this, at least thus far, who could be good to bring in", the Briton says, pushing herself to her feet and carefully folding shut the pad. "But I'm aware that might delay things a bit, getting hold of him. But I'll gladly look over anything you have."

"Who're you thinking about bringing in?" Elisabeth asks, the willingness to take a risk implied.

"Graeme Cormac. Friend of Remi's. The chap directed to me by the Deveaux Society - it turns out, with a specific view to potentially winding up involved in the underground", Ygraine explains. "He's the one who got stabbed while carrying Remi, and who invited himself to stay with me when he was forced to go onto negation drugs so that he'd actually heal, rather than just having his ability ignore the pain of whatever he did to his wound…."

Crouching down to carefully slip her pad into her pack, Ygraine looks up at Elisabeth. "By profession, he's a school teacher. But his degree… he's a sociologist, with a particular focus on the use of the media to shape public opinion. He's provided some bits and pieces for Liberty. The big drawbacks are that his sister's Humanis - though signs are that discovering her brother's Evolved has pushed her away from them - and that he's known to HomeSec. The three people who helped Remi at the party were myself, Jaiden, and Graeme. There'll be an obvious suspicion for them to have."

"Graeme was already being introduced to things, but right now we cannot approach him," Elisabeth says quietly. "He's got superficial ties to Jaiden and you, who've both vanished or been raided. He's got ties to Remi, who is already in DHS custody and likely to be deported. And he's dating Aric Gibbs. The only thing that's going to keep those two safe right now is apparently being cut off from all of us until they can be cleared. Right now, Jane Pak will speak for Aric, I believe. And there is nothing tying them to us. We need to keep it that way." Much as she might really like Graeme's input here.

Ygraine raises a hand, pushing herself to her feet. "Just thought I should mention him as a potential resource", she says with a smile. "I know from personal experience how much people can wind up defined by first impressions and their job - hence me being 'just a courier', and you being astonished to discover my studies or past work…. So… do you have anything written out at the moment?"

Elisabeth brings out the sheet of paper Jaiden had been jotting on. She's added additional lines. "We need to keep it at 3 minutes or less. And it needs to hit like a punch to the stomach. I don't know if this is visceral enough. Or short and shocking enough." She hands it to Ygraine to read.

Ygraine props herself against the other door-jamb, purses her lips, and reads. Occasionally, her lower lip is sucked between her teeth and pensively chewed, but it looks rather as if she runs through it all twice before speaking aloud.

"Minor proofing point - in the second-last paragraph you've got 'Humanis First hit blew up'. Looks to be just the remnant of a prior draft, still sticking around. More specifically… I'm not saying dont' do it, but be aware that - crazy though it sounds - there is no commonly-agreed definition of 'terrorist' that governments, even the members of NATO, use. It's become a ludicrously malleable word that the administration here will be able to find some prior version of to say that you fit into. So you've got to try to be sure that you say nothing to make your target audience think that they might be right, if you can…."

"On that note, I'm a bit wary of admitting that you were breaking the law and discounting Registration years back. Or at least doing so quite so bluntly. It comes before you explain that there were people hunting the fugitives. Sets you up as a law-breaker before giving a reason for it. You'll be losing some of your audience before they hear the meat of your message. Get their sympathy, get them angry against someone else, get them wanting to help the victims - then tell them that you were doing so…"

Elisabeth grins just a little. "Why? My lawyer has the paperwork of a presidential pardon for those activities," she points out. "And he's got instructions to take it public if need be." But she does nod. "Revamping the order is why I wanted you to read it. It's a draft. Needs editing and I know it."

Ygraine nods quickly. "The pardon could be a very big tool to use. One of the basic things is to make your audience feel that they are - that they can be - part of something bigger and greater and more up-beat. News that the shadow war has been going on longer than they thought, that efforts leading to a presidential pardon were involved… that should set the tone for some very open questions to be raised with regard to just whose side people should be on right now. I'd also suggest throwing in a few more… trigger words. Liberty's one, biased though I might be in favour of it. But it's something that is intimately connected with the phrase "fight for" in American folklore. Laws are to be obeyed, the government controls things, you just keep your head down - but if fundamental freedom and liberty and rights are at stake. If things seem 'un-American', then you'll get a lot more anger. And therefore more action. Even if exactly the same facts are presented."

The blonde nods, pondering phrasing and word usage. "Normally Cat would be the one I went to for something like this, but…. she's put such a wall between herself and her feelings that frankly she's retreated into the world of being too logical. She's practically a Vulcan these days, she's been so hurt." Elisabeth grimaces, thinking of the young panamnesiac. "All right. I'll keep working on the wording."

"Want me to have a go over? Not that I'm saying you should take everything I do - but if I write up my version of this, it'll give you some ideas. Let you see how another variant looks in practice", Ygraine offers.

Elisabeth smiles. "I'd like that, thank you."

A rather bashful little wiggle, and Ygraine shrugs. "You're welcome. And - in typically belated fashion: this is pretty good. Better than a lot that I've heard. Did… were you involved in the Day of Miracles at all? That might be something else to bring in."

"No," Elisabeth replies. "I wasn't. I was on duty that day, but I had nothing that I could really contribute at the time. The applications of my ability that might have been that kind of thing? I didn't develop until later." She considers. "Although we ought to see if people might be interested in doing it again. It's something Richard often mentioned as being a good publicity tool."

"Jen was a major part of it. Acquire one case of drugs. Push your duplicator to the point of passing out from exhausation. Now you have twenty - or forty", Ygraine says quietly. "Abby, likewise, as a healer. But we might still be able to do quite a lot, if we can manage it right. And… allusions to the good that Humanis seeks to prevent being possible, and the impact of segregation might help. With all the freaks in camps under guard, there'll never be another Day of Miracles."

Elisabeth nods. "One step at a time," she says, scratching the back of her head. "If you don't mind doing a little revamping of that, it'd be good. I want to release it after the explosion — soon enough to be considered 'immediate' but not so fast that it looks like we knew it was coming."

A wince and a nod from the Briton. "When… when will that be happening? And yeah. That's why I held off on Liberty for a while. Didn't want posters for a new group to appear across the city, right before it got trashed. Would have been far too easy to tie us into it."

Exactly. Liz looks… worried. Not at what was said, but her mind clearly went somewhere just then. "Tonight, I think," she says quietly. "Richard was… handling some business last night and today and I think he's planning on blowing it tonight. He'll be in and out, but he doesn't want us all in one place. We need to start looking at other places to go to ground. Teo and Francois are willing to let me and Felix stay there. The Ferry might be willing to let us hole up in whatever remains of the local safehouses here and there. But I want to be very careful about not drawing attention to them. And I think underground is going to take on some literal meanings," she admits with a grimace. "Do you think you can spend some time scouting out places in the abandoned underground that we could use? There's a huge number of catacombs down there."

Ygraine cracks a grin. "I've already done a fair bit. I had a major role in setting up the robot-free routes into Grand Central, once that problem came to light. And… if you can get me the kit, I can make accessible areas that are presently cut off. If the structure's stable, and there's an open section of wall or ceiling, I can get through - and rig lines or whatever for others to do so. Finding hide-outs, I should be able to manage quite easily. There's a lot of open space down there, especially if we're willing to work under the ruins. I never did get around to seriously exploring under Manhattan, but… I could set about doing so."

Elisabeth pales just a little at the conversation. And then she nods, swallowing hard. "Uhm… you're going to want to be cautious of several things besides the machines. There's… a guy… down there. Dr. Cong. He turned… monster. If you cross paths, treat him.. politely. Be ready to run like hell at all times. I don't know what else to say about the man. He's… terrifying. Uhm… make sure, like Grand Central, that we have multiple escape routes. And for God's sake, make sure there are lights. Just the thought is giving me anxiety."

Ygraine winces, expression turning apologetic. "Sorry. Crap. Sorry. I… yes. I can set up some truly emergency-use-only boltholes pretty easily. Especially if you need me to get in and out. But more serious, long-term-stay places… those'll take more work. But there're quite a lot of resources out there on what's beneath the city. I can do more work with those, and see what I can come up with as venues to check out. I could also have a word and ask about us having access to Grand Central itself, if you wanted. Some of us do already, I know, but I could see about extending that."

There's a hesitation and Elisabeth says quietly, "Ryans is the one who came and got me." She clears her throat. "I'm staying away from Grand Central unless it's absolutely necessary. It's the one place in the city that I know wasn't compromised in the raids, and the last thing I want is to draw attention to places."

Ygraine nods. "I can get people in and out, if need be", she says quietly. "I can go by routes that are only open to me, or people who can fly in confined spaces. But I thought I should offer. Do we… do we have resources? Portable generator? Dynamos we can rig to stationary bikes for power? Giant hamster-turbines? Someone who can recharge fuel cells?"

Elisabeth laughs softly. "Right now? No. Building this place into a safehouse was on the agenda that I blew sky high. So…. " She shrugs a little. "I don't know if Claire and MOnica might have been stockpiling such things."

Another nod from the Briton. "I've got limited amounts of personal emergency supplies. The Winter from Hell saw to that - hence my collection of battery-free electrical goods. But I didn't lay in enough to run a safehouse, I admit. But if we can put together some cash, I can see about providing a list of things we could do with. And I'm sure that Jaiden could help with that. He'll have a very good idea of what he can jury-rig and adapt."

Elisabeth nods. "I couldn't take much." She had to walk away from everything except what little she packed in the duffel she gave Ygraine. "But my father gave me the $5000 in emergency funds he kept at his house. It's untraceable — he started keeping it there after the Bomb just in case something bad ever happened again and we had to evacuate," she murmurs. "It's not much. But it's all I'll be able to come up with for a long time to come, I think. I know Jaiden said he'd stashed some things at a few locations. And although we shouldn't go there anytime soon, my father's got a cabin in the Adirondacks. He doesn't go up there anymore — I'm sure they'll watch the place for a while but manpower will be stretched thin, so they won't be able to watch it always. Later on, it could prove to be a fallback position for at least the short term."

"I suspect that the tiny amount of money I had in my account isn't frozen, in hope that they'll be able to check up on me using it", Ygraine says ruefully. "I've got reserve cash in my grab-bag - I set that up ages ago. And… simply knowing where they will have people might come in useful at some point. Hrmmm. So - we check out what funds we have and how we can use them. What resources are here. And I go scouting for places we can best use it all. But after writing my own draft of this."

The blonde nods. "Get to work, lady… we've got a lot to do and not much time." Elisabeth forces a smile. "I'm going to find Jaiden and Norton. I'm freakin' starving, it doesn't take this long to get a pizza, does it?"

A laugh, and Ygraine ducks her head. "I hope they got a meat feast. I'm desperate for some comfort food, I admit." Reaching over, she gives Elisabeth's shoulder a quick squeeze. "Thank you. This… having something constructive to do is very welcome indeed."

Elisabeth looks back as she walks toward the door. "Well, good…. then I'll put you to further work. Once this one's out? We're going to need more of them. They have to stay short, to the point. They have to point out facts about what's going on. Take current events and point out what isn't being said. And by the time we find the proof we need to take it all apart? They'll be listening, Ygraine. They'll already have reason to trust us." The intensity in her tone is unmistakable. There are missions to be had, and this one she gave it all up for. "I refuse to allow the future that we've all been dreaming be as dark as that. It won't be perfect. It may still be ugly. But I won't fucking have it."

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