Always With The Bad News


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Scene Title Always With The Bad News
Synopsis Elisabeth calls to make good on a promise and deliver bittersweet news as probably one of the worst birthday presents possible.
Date January 18th (early afternoon Jan 17, McMurdo time)

Telephone Lines

It is late afternoon before Elisabeth wakes enough from her own issues to realize that there are phone calls that need to be made. Or at least…. one call. It may be that everyone else just doesn't get told until they're back, but this one call must be made now. The teams' satellite phones were all taken back when the helicopter landed and they were debriefed, but Felix Ivanov once again comes through with his personal one so the number is familiar as it rings through on Abby's phone. A detached part of Elisabeth wonders if the ex-healer is still in Mexico.

The time spent in town the other day also gave time for Abby to park with Raquelle at a restaurant somewhere and charge her cell phone. Essential when you're wanting to be notified about impending doom. Magnes's 'twitter' though had given her notice of a sorts. They had succeeded. She's gone through the rest of the day in a good mood, as good as one can get when you're in the deserts of Mexico living in a ghost town temporarily. Deckard's bar was better equipped to have a resident, door working, roof covered, gaps in walls covered. It wouldn't keep everything out, but at least it would be better. God forbid it rain.

Her phone rings though, wee hours of the morning and Abigail jolts awake at the tinny sound that emanates from under her pillow. A few bleats later, she's thumbing it on with sleep fgged eye's and a croaked "Beau-" She coughs, clearing her throat. "Beauchamp, hello?"

"Hey, Abs," comes the tired voice of Elisabeth through the line. It always sounds a little odd on the satellite phone. There's a bit of a delay as it relays too. "We won, babe." It doesn't sound like exultant celebration on the blond ex-cop's end of the line though. "Go ahead and tell everyone … especially if you're home … that we're in the clear."

They won. She knew that already. Liz's voice is strange and fuzzy through her head as her mind gets into gear.

"Yeah… Ma" there's another cough and she sits up, sleeping bag slithering to around her waist. "Magnes said as much on his.. tweeter, twit, whatever thing." She reaches up to rub at her eyes and look out a broken window at the just barely filtering dawn. "You get hurt?"

"Lotta bruises through the armor. Nothing major," Elisabeth replies softly. "Abby…." She trails off, not sure she wants to do this. Not even sure how to do this. She's done it so damn many times with Abby. "We took… some losses. I'd have rathered wait until we got home to tell you about them. But you'd be pissed."

"Can't do what you do without some Liz"

Abiail glances down to the ground where she's gonna set her feet, check for scorpions in her tent before she does just that. Turn over her boots and shake just in case and satisfied, slips them on. A wrap cardigan goes on next as if the extra layers might prepare her for whatever names might be reeled off at her. Liz's at least, won't be on that list and a small unspoken prayer goes up for that.

"I'm uh, you can tell me" Please don't be Teo.

There is a long silence and Elisabeth says, "Gabriel Gray. Ruskin's … not in good shape." Because she can't remember if Abby and Eileen are friends. "Velasquez, the pilot." She can't even remember if Abby met him. "Danko." That name ought to ring alarm bells for Abby. "Noriko, Gillian, Ivanov, and Sawyer all took pretty significant injuries." She still can't bring herself to say the two names that will be most relevant to her friend. She goes quiet. "They'll all be okay. Teo's okay." She trails off again and then sucks in a deep breath to say in a quiet, intense rush, "Abby, we lost Francois and Richard." Thoughts of the Frenchman who launched himself off the back of that helicopter to go down there with Teo bring snapshots of the man to mind. His loss hurts her, but it's not killing her.

Just about everyone then, got hurt hard. Each name ticked off on her own mental list, some that she didn't know about. A Humanis First member? Strange bedfellows ran rampant in the group. Each list of those who were hurt was one lest band around her chest. Hurt did not mean dead and if Kershner had a healer who could take care of her own foot, then they had someone who could take care of the others.

Francois. Richard. Eyes squeeze shut and there's silence from Abigail side of the phone, breath held like she's not quite believing what Liz just said. Her tongue darts out to wet her lips, open her eyes and stare at the ground. "How"

For a long time, Elisabeth can't answer. Hell, she's not even sure she understands the answer. "The weapon actually exploded. Best I can extrapolate from what I saw…. Richard took it into the shadows with him somehow. Made it… incorporeal. A failsafe for if we couldn't disarm it." Her voice fails her for a moment. She can't even describe the five-mile-wide shockwave of shadow. The scream on the wind that will haunt her nights forever. And then she says, "The other deaths were all… collateral damage of the weapon, as far as I know. They just… couldn't get out."

Maybe it's good that Flint can't see her in her tent. Can't see the palm that covers her eyes or the wetness that leaks out from under said palm. She wets her lips again and again, catching the salty liquid as it falls sometimes. Liz can't see the nod from the other end of the phone. "Thank you, for telling me now, not waiting. I don't know when I'll be back in the city. Things… things aren't going so well down here either" Certainly, she's crying, if the way her voice wavers and the wet quality to her voice.

"How uhh, how are you holding up? They keeping you in your pills?" God knows she's going for her own if only so that she doesn't just loose it in the deserts of Mexico. She's knows Richards importance to the blonde on the other end of the line, how hard it must have been to even think of telling Abby much less going through with it. "There uh, anything I can do for down here?" A crooked forefinger wipes at the underside of her right eye as if it could staunch the flow of tears.

"I weaned off the pills after Russia," Elisabeth says softly. "I was already halfway through detox when we got aboard." Her tears at this point are silent trickles. She raged and threw things until she was so tired she could be calm for this call… but the tears haven't stopped yet. She isn't sure they ever will. Her free hand comes up to wipe at her face just to keep the wetness from freezing there because of the frigid temperatures out on the observation deck. But the answer means there's no buffer between Elisabeth and the nightmares. Of course, her nightmares are going to be a little different now — coming on this run seems to have made her own trevails not unimportant but somewhat …. lessened in impact at this point. "I wish there was something, Abby. I wish…." She bites her lip. "I'm sorry. We just… couldn't evacuate quickly enough. There just… wasn't enough time."

"Its okay Liz." She quietly assures over the phone even if it isn't. The odds of them having been able to stop the bomb had been what? "Richard saved us all. Not a good guy he always swore" But in the end. In the end he's gone and leaving a trail of tears behind him that he surely knew he would.

"What's, wha-" She stops, trying to gather herself a bit, pull the phone away from her ear for a moment or two and close her eyes again. "What's.. the plan now. World is saved. When are y'all coming home and when will there be services for the fallen? Do y'all need me to try and see if Flint will meet up with folks for healing? He left the map for that purpose anyway. I can try, I can try and see if he'll go somewhere" THe odds were slim. She could barely get him alone to talk some more.

"Did anyone tell Francois that.. that he'd.." That she'd miss him. Thinking of him. She and Eileen, Hiro. Brought him from the past just so he could die. "I'm sorry liz, i'm so sorry about Richard"

For her part, Elisabeth is apologizing to ABBY for Francois's death. Richard's death is a cross Elisabeth half-expected to bear. It doesn't make it hurt less. In point of fact, it's crippling her heart — sometimes she can't breathe with the hurt. But she's walked this road before, and she realizes she'll find a way through. "I'm …. " She trails off, a shaking hand coming to her lips to hold back whatever other words might come to the fore. "I'm okay, Abby." It's easier to lie to her from afar.

"I'll be okay," she whispers. "I'm just so damn sorry that Francois…" Shaking her head, Liz blows out a quiet breath. "I, uhm…. we're docked at McMurdo Station to make sure everyone's stabilized, and then… I guess we're heading home as soon as we can get back to the appropriate waters and send planes. No one has said for sure, but… that's what I expect. Uhm… I don't think anyone was hurt bad enough to require Flint, no. Services… I can't even wrap my head around. If …. if Pastor Joseph feels up to it, maybe. I, uhm…. I think I'm going to talk to Father Wilder at St. Paul's for Richard. He was Catholic," she says somewhat inanely. "Not practicing, but… " She shrugs on her end a little. "Once a Catholic, always a Catholic… in some ways, anyway."

Joseph's missing. She's not going to add to the woman's burden when she's worried her own self about that every day. "You're not okay Liz, stop saying you're okay cause I know you're not. if I'm not then I know you're- you're not" The zipper to the tent is undone as she heads on out of it, awake is awake now and she needs to do something or she'll just end up screaming at someone, people, something. "Call when you're sateside, when, when you figure things out"

"Okay," Elisabeth acquiesces. "I'm not fine. I'm about as far from fine as it's possible to get. But … hiding in the closet crying doesn't fix it, right?" she asks her friend with a small, watery smile. "I'll call as soon as I get back on dry land." She pauses and says softly, "Love ya, Abby." There's a soft click as she hangs up the phone.

"I love you too Liz" She echoes into the phone, thumb turning it off and closing with a soft clap. She straightens up outside of the tent and a few steps later, she's outside of the building her tent is in. She wants to throw the phone, throw it long and far away, her other thought is to try and ride chopazo, pull a flint and just disappear away on the horse. But she's never really ridden one before and would fall off and break her neck.

She opts instead, to step back into her corner of the town, grab a backpack, blanket, some waters from the case of bottled water and anything else she'd need. Changes out of Pyjama's and once satisfied, she leaves a note. Gone for a walk. Back whenever. Somewhere there's a peak nearby and she can go climb, hike, walk. Something. "Happy birthday" She murmurs to herself as she sets out.

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