Another Prankster In Scout


elisabeth_icon.gif erin_icon.gif joe_icon.gif

Scene Title Another Prankster in SCOUT
Synopsis Newest recruit will definitely make life interesting.
Date July 1, 2021

The Watchtower

The massive fire that spread from the Ohio Valley all the way to the east coast is finally under control and being doused. There are still pockets of first responders out there dealing with it, but it's slowly moving toward completely out. There is still smoke in the air from how much real estate burned over the past couple of months, but the Safe Zone's evacuation order has been lifted and people are starting to make their way back to their homes. The local news reports have put out some interesting little tidbits about how those fires are being controlled – RayTech and Yamagato bots have all apparently been outfitted with a modified form of the Banshee that is standard police issue these days.

The SCOUT team is not large and it covers a lot of territory, so as a general rule the place is only full of people when a meeting is being called. At the moment, there is no such meeting happening, so Captain Wilson is in his office and Lt. Harrison is also in hers. Her door is open and she seems to be working on paperwork at this precise moment. With a momentary pause to dig the heels of her hands into her eyes as if she may have a bit of a headache – or maybe, since the turning point of the fire was only two days ago, she may just be tired.

He's barely put a foot out of the stairwell and into the bullpen of the team when blue eyes come up and immediately seek and pin him. Elisabeth's apparently got an ear out for anyone approaching the large open area of desks that her officers use. Her initial expression of wariness turns to one of not quite surprise – after all, she had to be expecting him, right? Just maybe she lost track of what day of the week it is. She waves him to join her in her glassed-in office, though, her smile welcoming.

"Well, well… Officer Winters, it's a pleasure," she greets him.

Joe is… well he’s nervous. His walk just to the building was a shaky thing, steps uncertain and eyes darting around, like a kid who’s worried one of the adults is going to tell him to get lost. That nervousness persists all through the building, including getting lost twice before figuring out where he’s supposed to be. “Yeah great Joe. First day, ask everyone where you’re supposed to be. He didn’t need to look so surprised when I said SCOUT though.” Joe glances back over his shoulder briefly before has to look front again after nearly colliding with a trash can. “Oh boy. Glad no one saw that.” He straightens the trash can, that he totally didn’t bump into, up a little bit before resuming his trek for the SCOUT officers area.

There are certain instincts that you have drilled into you when you live in constant danger for many years. Joe can all but feel himself being bracketed by that gaze, so much so that he stops in his tracks, one foot lifted to take the final step up into the bullpen. His hands go up and he stays in place, balancing for a few seconds before he sees Liz’s expression shift and she waves him in. He finishes the step, visibly relaxing only a little bit as he walks forwards. His eyes dart around trying to take in all of the details in one sweep as he walks towards his new boss’s office. “Hi.” His voice rather quiet on the first try, he clears his throat and goes for it again. “Hello Lt. Harrison. Officer Winters reporting for duty.” And yes his voice does trip up a bit around the word officer. It still sounds super weird, and the way his face scrunches up betrays his thoughts as per usual. A poker player Joe is not.

“That felt really really weird right? Like totally weird? Calling me officer? It sounds weird saying it. Sounds weird even thinking it.” Joe’s face scrunches up again before it breaks out into one of his customary big grins. “Pretty primal though huh?” He looks around Liz’s office a little bit before twisting in place to look back over his shoulder at the rest of the area. “Not many people here. Everyone… busy?” He looks back around to Liz for all of a couple of seconds before he’s trying to peek at other stuff. Never still. Ever.

She watches him come across the open area and grins at the levels of trepidation. She can hear his heart thumping a little faster than what it probably ought to be, his nerves showing there as well. But Elisabeth is genuinely glad to see the young man. "A little weird," she agrees with a grin, "and totally primal too."

She doesn't insist he sit in the chair facing her desk, she just lets him look around her office. It's nothing fancy, just an office that she can close the door of when she needs to, three of the four walls made of glass and the door's top half also glass. Her back is to the wall that is solid, and there are several shelves above a broad countertop, beneath which are a couple of file cabinets. Her desk is pretty utilitarian, but personal touches are certainly visible. A few pictures of Lili and Ricky with their mother or with Aura, Liz, and Richard. They're all candid shots, nothing posed or fancy. Two are set on the counter just to one side of her, as if they're in line of sight anytime she looks there – one of Richard beneath a Christmas tree with a bundle tucked under his chin as if he's sleeping there and one of Liz and Richard on a firelit beach, probably their wedding.

"I saw Grant's report on your activities during the fire," she offers, leaning back in her chair to watch him familiarize himself with the place. "You did good out there – that evac was kind of crazy, and Grant had nothing but positive things to say. And I'm thoroughly impressed with your Academy performance. The only challenges I see in the records are the ones I expected that you'd have, honestly." Tipping her head, Elisabeth queries, "Do you feel ready for this?"

“Not even remotely, but I know I am. Like heart versus head you know? Up here? I know I have all the skills and experience to make this happen. But I am terrified of messing this up.” Joe admits as he steps forwards and stands behind the chair in front of the desk, hands resting on the back of it, gripping it. “It’s a lot of responsibility. What I’m about to step into.” Joe is no stranger to responsibility, but not at this level. “It’s a lot of trust too. I.. I know I’m going to screw up. It’s going to happen. I also know that screwing up… could cost lives.” Joe’s head dips a moment, his eyes noticing that the thing he’s gripping is a chair. One he should probably sit in. “Uhhh do I need permission to sit? Or… should I just…” He eeeeeeases around the chair and slowly slides down into it. No he doesn’t manage to sit still entirely, he’s still fidgeting, but he’s not standing any longer.

“What about you though Liz? Err Lt? How have you handled sending Hailey into stuff? The kids you were protecting once, sending them into action? I know that can’t be easy.” Joe’s fidgeting eases a little as he speaks, relaxing bit by bit now that he’s here in the building. Sitting down. His eyes do flicker over any pictures that he can see from his side of the desk, but they don’t linger, just taking note not prying into the moments themselves. “As for the fire stuff, I think that that is a lot more down to the fact that we lived ready for that level of crazy for so long… it doesn’t feel crazy to me? Just controlled chaos. Which I’m very used to.” He cracks a grin at her, features scrunching up a little bit again with the grin.

Joe’s shoulders finally settle into a relaxed position. Not that he’s not still tense, but it’s that… excited for the new job kind of tense. Not the trepidation anymore. Well, not much anyway. “Problems?” Joe looks a bit confused for a moment before he clears his throat and coughs. “Look, any and all practical jokes or pranks you may have heard about in the academy probably had nothing to do with me.” His head wobbles up and down a couple of times, his big smile coming back for a moment before he dips his head. “I know I got top marks but I’m sure there were some behavioral concerns. And not the pranks.” He knows he’s got an issue with wanting to be a hero.

Elisabeth's smile as she watches him is still easy, her amusement lighting up the weary lines in her face. It's been a rough few weeks. "So… let's start with you never need permission to sit in my office unless I'm calling you in here to ream your ass. And on duty, obviously, it's Lt Harrison or some variation thereof. When we're not in the Watchtower, it's still Liz, okay?" Using the fingers of one hand to prop her cheek on, bracing that elbow on the arm of her chair, she considers him. "Practical jokes happen around here too – Hart and Gordon seem to have thing going on. Just know when it's time to put it away," she observes.

Pausing a long moment, she debates what to say and how to say it with regard to addressing the rest – the 'behavioral concerns' and his questions about how she handles things. Joe Winters is not a child anymore, and he's seen and knows more about war, time travel, and alternate timeline people than anyone his age should have to.

"I've seen a great deal of what you and your siblings are capable of. The concerns about your mindset were something I already knew we were going to have to work a little harder to train with you – not because it's bad that you want to help everyone, but because keeping your head in the game that's in front of you has to be the priority. Taking your eyes off the ball by giving in to the impulse to be the hero instead of part of the team could get you, your partners, or the innocents you're trying to help killed. And I know that I'm preaching to the choir when I say that to you. You've been part of a team your whole life. You have what it takes to be a good officer, Joe – you have the right instincts. It's the discipline to use them in controlled fashion and under orders that will just take work. And you wouldn't be here if I weren't willing to work with you on it."

Her chair rocks just a little on its footings as she purses her lips slightly. "Sending Hailey or Devon or you or anyone else into the line of fire is hard for me," Liz admits candidly, and her smile is rueful. "My husband would tell you that you and I are a lot more alike than some people will be comfortable with – give me two choices, and almost always I'll take the direct route and kick in the door." She grins at Joe, despite a flash of sadness. "But I've also learned the hard way that sometimes… no matter how badly you want to keep other people from being hurt doing something by doing it yourself… you can't. You have to trust that the person on your six has the same training you do and is just as motivated as you are. When I send one of you in, I pretty much always have my heart in my throat until you're back out safely. It comes with the job. I have to trust your training just as much as you do."

“Okay. But how will I know if… nevermind. I’ve seen you angry. I’ll know.” Joe’s self amused smirk turns into a snort of laughter. “And okay on the public vs work bits. I’m glad because I don’t think I could do the Lt thing outside of work. I’m almost definitely going to forget at least a few times at work even.” He will, and no doubt she’ll correct him. “Oh I do. Serious time is serious time. Pack up your things kids cuz the new bad guy of the week is here to kill everyone. Tends to teach you real quick when to put it away.” He sees her thinking about her response, and for once? Joe shuts up and doesn’t try to fill the empty air. He sits and he lets her process before she speaks. Joe is capable of being quiet. It just takes active effort. Or you know, Lance turning his mouth off.

Joe’s features show his feelings as Liz speaks, his eyes concerned but curious, his features shifting to surprise when she doesn’t lecture him but instead talks to him like… well an adult. His eyes blink a couple of times but he manages to keep himself from interrupting. His head dips again, acknowledging the bits about his discipline level. When she’s done he takes a moment to actually think about what he’s going to say before it comes tumbling out of his mouth. “I know that some folks think I want to be seen as the hero. It’s not that though. It’s… I want to do for others what you all did for us. Make everything that was sacrificed for our survival worth it. Help others, but help in a real fashion. I grew up in.. well shadow isn’t the right word but… I grew up in the presence of bonafide heroes. I’ve just been trying to live up to the example you all set for us.” His voice chokes up just a bit but it’s an easy and honest smile that he wears as it happens. “I appreciate you believing in me and giving me this chance. I really hope I don’t screw it up.”

“Well, when I have a few world saves under my belt maybe I’ll learn not to open doors with my head too.” There’s a quick smile but a tip of his head. “It’s not just risk to me though. When I do stuff like that I’ll be risking others. Like I said. Head versus heart. I know it. I’ve watched the lessons you all have learned. I’ve watched the losses from the sidelines. I don’t want to repeat those lessons. Trust me. I want to learn from them.” Joe pulls in another deep breath and uses the exhale to take a moment. “I’ll do my best not to worry you any more than need be.” Joe flashes Liz a wide smile. They both know he is going to cause her more than a few headaches.

Her expression is a little bit embarrassed as he talks about living up to an example. There's a kind of sadness that such examples were even the norm and that he feels like his survival has to be justified by his actions now. Elisabeth does tell him softly, "You're not going to screw it up any more than any of the rest of us do. I know that all of you… you saw heroes. But you're stepping into the reality of it, Joe. We were all just people doing the best we could with what was in front of us and trying to keep as many people safe as we could." Blue eyes flicker toward the bullpen, and then she looks back at him with a grin.

"I have a feeling you're going to get your share of ass-reamings by the time the end of the year rolls around. Just no sibling squabbles in my squad room, okay?" She's mostly teasing him – she expects that both Joe and Hailey will do just fine. "Last thing… and I only say it because … well, familiarity with each other can sometimes be problematic. You have a problem with an order I give you? You come in here and talk to me about it. You disobey an order I give you, especially in the field, and you better be able to explain why to my satisfaction or there will be hell to pay. We on the same page, Officer Winters?"

“I know.” Joe says, his tone soft as he says it. “I know that you all thought you were just regular people shoved into extraordinary situations. But those situations showed that you were not regular people. You were extraordinary people. Many of you just didn’t know it yet.” Joe lets out a soft laugh, a definite tinge of sadness to the laugh. “I would hardly say I’m stepping into the reality of it just now.” Joe looks down at his hands, turning them over a bit. “I’ve shed blood. I’ve been protecting people since I was a child.” Joe sits in silence for a few more moments, looking down at his hands before he rubs them on his pants a bit and looks back up. “More like graduating from the high school team right to the majors.” A small smile from the normally very cheery young man. “Lots to learn but I mostly know what I’m getting into.”

There’s a quick snort from Joe when Liz said he’s going to get his share of reamings. “Wait, zero sibling squabbles? But Hailey is almost DEFINITELY going to start it. I can’t allow her antics to go unanswered now can I?” Joe teasing her back, a little bit, though his face sobers a bit at the last, and his head tilts. “That is going to be the hardest part for me I think. Just obeying orders well… that’s a lot of what has gotten well… the world… to where it’s at.” He pauses a few moments, then offers Liz a smile. “It will help though. A lot. That it’s coming from you. I trust you. I know you. I believe in you. I know you wouldn’t give me an order you didn’t believe in. So I think that you are probably the perfect person to give me orders that I'll follow. And then learn to trust and follow other people." A lot of following orders is trust after all. "Actually I think we are definitely on the same page Lt Harrison. Thank you for giving me this shot and believing in me."

The light blush that covers her features at least brings color to the exhausted lieutenant's face. Elisabeth understands what he's saying and she bites back words of demurral – because she's learning to just accept that a lot of people do see it that way. Her smile at him is sincere as he comments on learning to trust.

"I'm really glad you're here Joe. And I'm looking forward to seeing you develop this career." Liz's blue eyes flicker back to the bullpen outside her door and she lifts her chin to someone out there, a silent invitation or perhaps summons to come over.

"Officer Joe Winters, meet Erin Gordon. I'm going to attach you to her hip when you're not on mine. Gordon, Joe is one of our Pickle's siblings – he's come out of the Academy with honors and he's our newest recruit." There's a wry twist to her lips as she mutters, "Christ, once we get Kaylee and Abigail back on the job, I'm going to feel like I've got a functioning Ferry team for a squad. Anyway – you two, get acquainted. We're having our first slow day since the fires, so enjoy the lull while it lasts."

Erin pokes her head in - literally, like something out of a Scooby Doo cartoon - with a wry half-smile on her face. “‘With Honors’, eh? Someone’s booksmart.” She steps in fully and cheerfully holds out a hand, the other crooked into her belt loop near her badge. “Detective Erin Gordon. We’ll try not to be too hard on you, newbie, but there’s a lot going on right now with only a few of us in the office so you’ll probably be thrown into it basically immediately.” She points to one of her eyebrows, singed partially off by their most recent excursion into the field. “I don’t want to say it’s going to be trial by fire, but, well…you know. It’s literally on fire out there.”

She turns to Liz. “Do you know when the others might be back from wherever they are, or if we’re going to get a whole new squad that I get to be the bad influence for?”

“I am too. I think I can do some real good here. I can put my skills and my power to good use. Well to better use.” Joe cracks one of his normal wide grins before he sees Liz’s gaze go over his shoulder. He twists in his seat to peer back over said shoulder and see who it is that she’s calling in. “Still sounds weird.” He mutters after Liz calls him Officer. It might be true but it’s definitely going to take getting used to. “A Ferry reunion?” Joe asks with another quick smile before he rises to his feet from the chair as Erin steps in. He holds out a hand towards the person who’s just got her head in the door, Joe’s features twisting up into a bemused smile, trying to hold in amusement. He grasps her hand when she steps through and gives it a shake before his hands drop to his waist. “Nice to meet you Detective. Oh uhh no. Pretty average smarts honestly.” Joe lifts a shoulder in a slight shrug. “I’m a quick study though.”

Joe dips his head in a couple of quick nods, though he does let out a soft chuckle. “Oh I’m used to getting tossed in the deep end Detective. It’s where I live.” Joe turns his head and lifts a hand to cover a large yawn, the exhale is a long one too and he gives his head a little shake. “Yeah the fires have been fun. I was helping out where I could. I’ll be able to help more now. Well, next time… though hopefully there won’t be. Though…” Joe’s head bobbles side to side a little bit. “There is always a next time in my experience.”

Joe can’t help the quick bark of a laugh when she says that she’ll be the bad influence. “Oh no.” He glances up and over to Liz, his features straining with the effort not to grin wide. “This is gonna be fun Li….eutenant Harrison.” Hey he caught himself! His eyes dart to the floor though then back up, a quick grin flashed at both the detective and the Lt. “Where is uhhh Hailey’s desk? Locker? Stuff?” He asks, glancing around the bullpen. He must after all, at least prank her.

There's a flash of worry that Elisabeth quickly buries when Erin asks after the others. "Right now, Kaylee and Abby are on indefinite leave of absence due to the strokes – I'm hoping that the situation will be getting resolved in the near future, actually," she tells both of the officers. "Although with Richard … traveling for an unforeseeable amount of time, Kaylee is likely to be remaining at RayTech instead of returning. Modi, Demsky, Hart, and Burke are all out on calls right now. Being so short-handed, we're rotating off days, and Gerken has today."

The blonde lieutenant eyes Joe. "Already, Joseph?" she scolds in Mom-tone instead of Lieutenant-tone. "Do not mess with your sister on your first friggin' day, young man." She's amused, not upset. "And Gordon… for the love of God, try and keep this prank war in check, yeah?" Elisabeth waves her hand at the two of them. "Shoo, brats. Go do something I can pretend to ignore." She kind of needs the entertainment, if she's being honest.

“Right away, maestro,” Erin says jovially, with a deep bow, and turns around to lead Joe back out into the bullpen. Before she reaches the door, though, she turns around and asks with one hand on the doorjamb-

“But before I go, does this mean Winters and I are partners, or am I just training him in the art of not making the Lieutenant too mad for respectfully disobeying the order to stop the pranks?”

Joe gives Liz the most incredulous look, his eyes wide and his features clearly confused. He’s very much looking at her like an alien. “You know that I absolutely have to mess with her on my first day. She’s my sister. In fact she will probably be waiting for it. If I don’t prank her she’ll be peeking around the corners wondering when it’s coming. Which is almost better, except she’ll come after me preemptively. So I have to strike first you see.” Joe lifts a hand and taps a finger against his temple a couple of times. Brainy Joe use’m logic. “Detective, you shouldn’t put a stop to the prank war. You should partake and show us how it’s done.” Joe’s head bobbles up and down a couple of times, a wide innocent smile on his face. A not very convincing innocent smile.

"I mean. To be fair. I've been making the elltee mad for a rather long time. I'm pretty practiced at it. So it wouldn't be anything new.” He flashes Erin a conspiratorial grin before he looks back over to Liz. “Lieutenant Harrison.” Joe tips his head to her and then ducks out of her office, scurrying after the Detective. The game is afoot. “Partners? I highly doubt she hates you enough to do that to you.”

Elisabeth just rolls her eyes at them both. "You're partners for now–" She gives Joe Mom-Stink-Eye. "Not sure I can trust him with his sister yet," she teases. "G'wan, both of you." She trusts that all three of them know exactly how to keep it to a dull roar out there. She's laughing at them, and the amusement seems to lighten the weariness.

Erin laughs, ushers Joe out the door, and shuts the den mother in behind them. “So,” she says, one eyebrow cocked, arms crossed. “You two seem to have a history. Tell me about it while I show you to Hailey’s locker. Are you another one of those-” she waves her hands, at a loss for words, failing to come up with Ferry but knowing Lighthouse??? isn’t correct.

Joe flashes Liz one last mischief laden smile before he and Erin are out and around the corner and away from the office. "Oh, what did you do to piss her off to have her saddle you with me?" Joe's head is given a slow and sad shake. "Lighthouse Kids? Yeah. Hailey and I aren't blood relatives but she is my sister. We all grew up together on the run from government hit squads that wanted us all dead for being kids with powers. Well, in all honesty? Most of them probably didn't want us dead. They wanted to capture us and turn us into weapons and experiments and stuff. So the Lieutenant and some other very brave people risked everything to save us and get us to safety. We then grew up in the canadian wilderness on constant high alert for said government kill squads coming to silence the people that knew about their shenanigans." Joe says every bit of this in a level even tone, as if any bit of that is something that normal people talk about. Erin asked, Joe answered. He walks along with her into the bullpen, his head on a swivel though mostly out of curiosity, looking at everything.

Erin grins and winks, unsubtly leading Joe to the lockers. “Right, Lighthouse. There’s so many names for that time that it’s hard to keep track sometimes. I was a rookie in 2008, basically fresh out of the Academy myself, so it all mushes together considering I wasn’t very involved. I do suspect, though,” and here she raises her eyebrows, “that you probably have some colorful stories about our wonderful colleagues that I am not privy to. I mostly was not on the force at that time.”

She coughs and indicates Hailey’s locker with her elbow. Nothing personal against her coworker, just that the pranks must live forever.

“What made you decide to join up after all that? You’re young, but not too young for me to think that your childhood dream was to be a cop.”

Joe just continues walking along as the conversation contains nothing out of the ordinary. When Erin only raises her eyebrows and just rolls with all of that Joe's always expressive features show that he's impressed with her just taking that in stride. "Oh yeah, there were so many groups back then. So many names. So many people too." His head bobbles up and down a few times as they walk over towards Hailey's locker. He stops in front of it and hmmmmms softly, reaching a finger up to tap at his chin slowly. "Actually…" He reaches into his pocket and pulls out a little memo pad and a small pen that he clicks and writes a simple note. "The game is afoot." He folds it in half and slips it into her locker with a sly little smile. "She'll wonder where I left the prank. It'll take her a couple of days to realize there wasn't one, then the game will REALLY be afoot cuz she's going to want revenge. Which is of course when I'll actually hit her with pranks, hopefully before she gets me so I can get the whole opening salvo."

After slipping the note into Hailey's locker Joe turns back to Erin just in time to catch the question. "Well…" Joe's cheeks puff out for a few seconds as he thinks on his answer. He looks back at the locker ,then lets out a slow hmmm before speaking. "I should probably leave an actual prank too. I just don't want to mess with anything that could cause her problems if she's gotta tear out the door fast." He taps his chin, thinking of further opening moves against Hailey, and also taking time to think on the answer to the Detective's question. "It's pretty complicated." Joe says with a little shrug of his right shoulder. "I guess the simplest way of explaining it is… I'm trying to do right by the people that sacrificed for me? And for the other kids. Some sacrificed careers, some relationships and some sacrificed their lives to save us. We're here because other people chose to do what was right. To stand up and to protect others. I want to continue that."

Erin looks around a moment, reaches her fingers through Hailey’s locker door, fidgets a bit, and pulls up the locking mechanism in the back. There is a distinct click and it opens a few millimeters. Unlocked, definitely open, just in case.

“Well, that’s noble.” Comes her reply, not in the slightest acknowledging what was just done, and instead turning to rummage in her own locker, unlocked the same way, for nothing in particular. “I think that’s kind of where I am, too. I wasn’t a cop for much of the Civil War, because…well, I guess I’ve done a lot of thinking about what the role of law and policing ought to be, and I’ve had a few moral conundrums about it. I think the Lieutenant heard me lamenting about it once when we were drunk at a bar.”

She frowns and pauses her rummaging, fixing her eyes on Joe. “I wasn’t even sure whether or not I wanted to come back to the force when SCOUT was formed, but it’s kind of my last chance for the NYPD to prove it’s not completely corrupt and we can still help people instead of causing more harm in the process.”

Then, a return to the rummaging. It turns up a small, black, hardcover notebook and a green fabric pen case, half zippered. She grabs these things as though they were what she was looking for. “But on the other hand, maybe it’ll do us all some good to have an idealist hanging around.”

Joe's eyes open wide and his mouth drops open when he sees Erin's hand just go through the door. "Oh. We are going to get into a lot of trouble. See I have this brother. Named Paul. He's a… well it looks like you're phasing but I couldn't say for sure. But he's a phaser. He, Hailey's brother and I? Triumvirate of chaos back at the Lighthouse. ALL of the pranks. On the adults, the other kids, each other. So I'm quite familiar with phasing shenanigans." Joe flashes Erin a big wide grin. The kind of big goofy grin she'll come to be familiar with if she's around him at all. "That's so primal. I love powers." Joe just grins and gives his head a shake.

Joe does listen to Erin though, his head dipping forwards in a slow nod when she finishes. He eyes the stuff she pulls out of the locker with a curious gaze but doesn't comment on her doing all that rummaging for a notebook and pen. He does let out a snort and a quick laugh when she calls him an idealist. "I think we'll get along quite well, Detective. I figured if things go south like they did before the war? I'll be in a position to know what's coming and to start helping and prepping other people for it. Like the Lt did for us. Others too. I do want to protect people. I want to be a SCOUT officer. I went after this position. I couldn't join before. I was too young for SCOUT. I want to be here. I intend to do my job, to protect my fellow officers and the people of this city. I will not be an enforcer for a corrupt government though. I am a hopeless optimist. I have to believe things can get better and can be better. I might be an idealist but I'm not at all disconnected from the very harsh reality of our world."

“You are correct! Phasing it is, Officer. Good observation.” She winks and then leads them back towards the bullpen. “But I didn’t mean to offend if calling you an idealist was cheeky or patronizing. It was meant with all actual due respect. I think that idealists are…” Her cheeks puff out as she thinks on the words she means. “I think idealists are often inexperienced, but that isn’t a priori true. Sometimes idealists are the pragmatists who haven’t lost their nerve, maybe. So in that way, it was a compliment, or at least that’s what I meant for it to be.”

They end up back at Erin’s desk. She haphazardly tosses the items from her locker onto the cluttered surface and sits her butt onto it, cool boss style. “So, Officer, did they give you an assignment for today other than to chill with your new squad auntie-slash-sister-slash-senior-officer? I’m not the greatest driver, otherwise I’d offer to take you for a spin on the beat or whatever, but really, it’s best if we leave that to someone who can actually drive.” A pause. “The sirens help, though. Just like the old days, people glare at you because they think you’re using the sirens to evade traffic, when the truth is that you’re actually a very bad driver and you want to make them think that you’re trying to evade traffic with sirens in an unsubtle attempt to mask your painful insecurity vis-a-vis operating a motor vehicle. The glares mean the ploy is working.”

She taps her temple with her forefinger and grins cockily, lopsided.

Joe lets out a quick laugh and gives his head a few quick shakes in a negative response. "No no, I didn't think it was patronizing. I just didn't want you under a false impression about a lack of realism or anything like that. I probably am an idealist. It's just that so often… yeah." His head bobs up and down a couple of times as she speaks. "Sorry. I got a little defensive. I can see why Liz likes you. Sorry. The Lieutenant. I told her I was going to mess it up. Honestly surprised it took me this long." Joe pauses then laughs. "Sorry lost my train of thought. I got defensive. It's… eh. I know I'm young. I know I'm going to have to deal with the 'kid' image all over again. LIke you said, idealism is often seen as inexperience." Joe's features scrunch up a little bit. "If I'm being honest? I think a small part of wanting to join SCOUT was to prove I'm not a kid anymore. Side benefit entirely. Not at all a primary reason." He walks along with her back towards her desk, head constantly turning and looking around.

"Uh. Nope. Report for duty at the Watchtower. That was… what I got. So I did. Then the Eltee said to hang with you. That's been my day so far. Oh don't worry about my safety when you're driving. Actually we're probably the safest pair of people in a driving situation. You can phase out of the car. The car crash won't hurt me. I mean, I guess if I got like… ran over by a dump truck or something that might… do some damage? Not really sure." And of all the weirdness? He now sounds curious about whether getting hit by a dump truck would hurt him. "I can drive. I'm actually a pretty primal driver. So I can be your designated taxi." Joe grins wide again, glancing in the direction of Liz's office. "She said to stick with you. So what are we doin Detective?" He isn't leaning or sitting, he's standing near her desk brimming with energy and go get em attitude.

Erin claps. “Excellent. This is excellent. I love not driving. Do you have super strength or something, regarding the ‘not getting hurt by an accident’ thing? I actually never even considered about phasing out of the car, but then, that’s why we bring new eyes and ears to the force every now and then. New perspectives.”

She takes a sip of coffee from a paper cup, and then another, and then another. She considers the line about Elisabeth liking her, smiles slightly, and then sips again before responding to the question at hand.

“You know what, Winters? I have no idea. I have nothing on the docket for today. No new loose ends or leads to follow. No new disappearances, no new fires, no – anything. It is a slow morning and we must savor this. No, it is our ethical imperative to savor this. What do you say we lure out the Lieutenant and stick a rubber snake in her desk drawer?”

"What? Oh. No not super strength. Though that'd be primal. Then again my ability is pretty primal too. I love my ability." Joe looks over at Erin with a wide grin in place. "Kind of perfect for the job too. I'm bulletproof. Nigh invulnerable honestly. Not much I've encountered that can make me say ow let alone actually do damage. So car crash? I'd probably do fine. Phase out of cards, use me as a distraction to go through walls and take the bad guys out. Or even just you know… drop the clips out of their guns. I don’t know how good your phasing is or how precise, but if you want ideas for creative ways to use your ability? I have a LOT of experience with my brother Paul and his ability."

"I mean… that sounds like a good way to get the Eltee to turn her desk into assorted kindling and scrap metal. Which I approve of… though I'm not sure if she'd be scared of a snake. I mean jumping from …." Joe actually pauses for a second there and rethinks what he was about to say. His eyes shift towards Liz's office, then back to Erin. "Neeeevermind. That's… probably not for me to tell. Needless to say? Aunt Liz is proooobably one of the biggest bad asses I've ever met. And our living room used to be frequented, not just every once in awhile, but frequented by both Peter Petrelli and Sylar so…. you know. I've known a few in my time. I mean heck my adoptive father is no slouch himself. Died and still came back to take care of us. Well, the original him died. The other him came to take care of us. Long and short is… Aunt Liz has saved the world. I kinda feel bad pranking her with a rubber snake."

Joe is quiet for only a moment or two. "She deserves something far more elaborate. We'll need to give it some proper thought."

Erin laughs, grins, and attempts to lock the new recruit into a headlock. “All right, Winters. Your point is heard. Maybe a rubber snake that jumps out of a cake that has a smaller and more delicious and importantly real cake inside? I am more than game to come up with something completely absurd for Aunty Liz. ”

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License