Ask Me No Questions


elisabeth2_icon.gif gavyn_icon.gif

Scene Title Ask Me No Questions
Synopsis Or rather…. ask me a lot of questions, and I still won't tell you lies.
Date Dec 13, 2010

Textile Factory 17, Recreation Room

Monday morning, the bane of all those who work a typical 9 to 5 job. Good thing Frontline isn't quite so typical, the days blending together making so Monday is just another day.

There's no smell of coffee to greet anyone who enters the rec area, which might be considered odd. But there is Gavyn, the young officer taking up space in a chair, which may seem even more out of place. How often does she actually make her presence known, except when she's sent on some assignment or another?

It could almost appear as though she'd never left the room last night. A bottle of water rests on the table beside her, half empty and long ago forgotten. The dartboard seems to have been used at some point as well, with a couple of darts still lingering beside the bottle of water. Yet at the moment, Gavyn's attention is focused on a notebook, pen in hand twirled absently between fingers. Whatever has been written down, reflects hazely in the dark lenses of her sunglasses.

As Elisabeth Harrison makes her way through the rec area toward the conference room that she has taken over as office space, she carries a steaming mug of tea with her. Once again she's apparently suffering illness — she's wearing a pair of black BDU pants and her combat boots with a black pullover, but wrapped around that is a heavy black fleece sweater. Her face is pale but holds the hint of a feverish flush. She tilts her head at the sight of Gavyn and looks curious. "Working on anything in particular?" she asks in a husky rasp.

Response doesn't come right away, but with deliberate care Gavyn closes the book and tucks the pen into a pocket at Elisabeth's question. The notebook follows, folded and sent into a cargo pocket of her own pants. "You're sick again," she points out instead, looking up. If not for the sunglasses, there'd be a look of concern evident. It's worrisome that Liz seems to be out of sorts of late. "And yes. It's… just thoughts." Mostly.

Liz shrugs slightly. "Hazards of blowing out your power — apparently the immune system goes with it," she replies easily. "I'm all right. It's just a head cold, I think." She tilts her head and studies the woman. "Wanna talk about them?" she offers. "Maybe I can help?"

"Try and take it easy at least," Gavyn requests, offering an almost-grin along with it. The grin fails after a second with the further question, though she glances past Elisabeth and to the doorway. "I'm not sure. Some of the things that are going on…"

Gav stops herself, eyes lifting back to Liz considering. Some of those thoughts would have gotten her into trouble, or at least removed from duty, in her life before Frontline. "..Why'd you join Frontline?"

Oh… it's one of those conversations. Elisabeth moves to sit down in the chair next to Gavyn's, sipping from her tea as if to gather her thoughts before answering. "I took the position for a lot of reasons," she admits quietly. "None of you know the background of how I got here…. so maybe it's time you did." She considers, seeking the shortest route to answer a question that encompasses the last eight years.

"I've been a cop in this town since the late 1990s. I was on the job when the Towers came down, I was on the job for the Midtown explosion," she begins softly. "My mother died in Midtown. And while I was in a counseling group for cops, I met a guy who had an ability. Who'd been picked up by the government and tortured, basically, to find out the limits of his ability. He scared the shit out of me. People were supposed to Register then, and I was reluctant so I went on hiatus. Took a job at a local high school that was then attacked by the Vanguard. I lost a lot of kids that day. And they blamed it on a group that … I wasn't sure was involved. I finally realized I couldn't hide my head in the sand anymore. And I went back to work on the NYPD as a SCOUT member — the prototype to this unit." Liz pauses. "And I became a member of Phoenix as well." That name may or may not ring bells for those not local.

Gavyn, her question asked, turns her attention onto her previously abandoned bottle of water. She's listening and taking in all that she's told. Save for a small creasing of her brow, recalling the 2001 attacks and the Midtown explosion. Even the loss of children strikes a certain nerve, though she's careful to try to remain neutral. How many kids did they take out during the riots? And as expected, she has no knowledge of Phoenix. A pique of curiosity breaking through with a curious frown for the unknown.

Silence lingers for a moment while Gavyn looks back to Liz. "That's.. more the how," she says carefully. "But not exactly the why." Sure, the question was answered in part, but the younger woman feels like there might be more to it.

Elisabeth smiles faintly. "You need the how before the why makes sense. Phoenix has been considered a terrorist organization by those who don't know better. We spent two years opposing the Vanguard on every front — we stopped a biological weapon that would have killed 95 percent of the world's population. We did a bunch of other things." She pauses and says quietly, "Because of all that, I was tapped for a classified mission and pardoned for those activities. Part of the aftermath of that mission was a job offer for FRONTLINE. They wanted my 'urban combat' experience."

Now Elisabeth hesitates and says quietly, "I had the option of walking away. I couldn't be a cop anymore. Even with my pardon, they wouldn't take me back. But I didn't have to come here and keep up this fight. And I spent some time seriously considering what they offered. It means … sometimes fighting our own. Sometimes fighting people who are innocent and caught in the crossfire. And as much as that sucks, I believed that I could keep us from becoming the Gestapo. Changing the system happens as much — sometimes more from the inside than the outside. And I don't like a lot of what's coming at us, Gavyn. It smacks of the Nazis. Which is why I ride all of you so hard in terms of non-lethal methods and making sure you can justify any shot you take."

Gavyn leans forward slightly as Elisabeth continues, elbows resting on her knees as she leans in as though being let in to some well concealed secret. Her head remains tipped downward, however, eyes more staring in thought at shoes and floor. Once again she's slow to answer, hands clasping together and tapping against her chin.

"Are we really all that different," Gavyn asks finally, quietly enough that she may well be revealing her own secrets in turn. "The Nazi's didn't start off outright killing people. They started slowly, with their own version of registration, the killing and prisons came later. And obviously I don't disagree with registration; but I have to ask, how is any of this different than other things that have been done?" She pauses, looking to Elisabeth. "Are we repeating history?"

There is sympathy in Elisabeth's expression when Gavyn asks that. "And that's the question I asked two years ago when I became what most of you would consider a terrorist," she says softly. "Personally I used to be adamantly anti-Registration, but I've come to shift views just a bit — to limited Registration. Those in public-sector jobs, like us, like the cops, like EMTs…. I think anyone who want to use our abilities in our employment should be required to Register them. Hell, the Registry should be a way to contact someone who can help you in some form or another. Can you imagine the good that a plant-talker could do in Central Park?" She shrugs a little. "I also think criminals should be Registered automatically upon conviction of a felony in a court of law. But requiring private citizens who aren't using their ability as a money-maker or for criminal purposes is just something that shouldn't exist in my mind. And it shouldn't be publicly available to all and sundry." She hesitates and adds softly, "Right now? Yes… we're repeating history. And I don't like it. I stay here because I believe that on the whole, this team is doing what needs to be done. But the first time they ask me to guard their Auschwitz, I'm done."

We are repeating history, and it's almost comforting to Gavyn, finding that she's not the only one seeing it. More, that she can agree with some of Liz's sentiments. She sits back, letting out a slow breath as she pushes her shades up to rub at her eyes. "I disagree on registering anyone convicted of a crime. Half the 'criminals' that are taken in are petty. The person caught out after curfew, for example, or someone caught for shoplifting."

Setting her sunglasses to rights, Gavyn looks at Elisabeth again. "I don't like where we're headed. It's only a matter of time before we're no better than the SS. Whatever the justifcations… We're not really making ourselves look good in the eyes of everyone else so long as we continue to be part of the government." Now that's a dangerous assessment.

Elisabeth's gaze on Gavyn is assessing. "I'd say that's a bit of a dangerous place to start going," she admits softly. "But let me ask you this: Given what you know about me now, if I asked you to help me in an off-the-books endeavor, do you think you would trust me enough to believe we're on the same page?"

Now the response even longer in coming. Gavyn knew full well what she was saying even before she put it to words. It might even explain her recent habit of hiding herself away, not wanting the festering questions to come to light. But Elisabeth had asked and, if there were anyone she felt she could trust it was her. The older woman had a way of saying things without usually leaving questions unanswered. "I believe we're on the same page," Gav agrees quietly.

There's a long moment where those cool blue eyes study the other soldier intently. And then Elisabeth nods. "Let's hope push never comes to shove, shall we?" she asks mildly. Sipping from her tea, the blonde nods toward the notebook. "Anything in there you want to point out to me as of particular interest?" she asks.

A hand moves to rest on the pocket where the notebook is enclosed. Too late to feign ignorance now, though, Gavyn pulls it free and looks at the creased cover. "It's clippings from the papers," she explains, folding the notebook over again. "Things that stood out as odd. Or made me wonder at the logic behind it." She pauses and looks up at Elisabeth. "The new law regarding transportation. Some of these deaths that have come up. —Martial law."

Lord…. she remembers the days of poring over those, looking for…. something she didn't even know what. "Ask your questions, Gavyn," Elisabeth tells the other woman quietly. "But choose who you ask them of carefully. If I have the answers, I'll give them to you. If I don't, I'll see if I can find them." Another set of eyes is always good.

Gavyn taps a finger against the notebook in a quiet, long-drawn thought. It's a gesture akin to reaching for an itch you can't scratch. The questions she knows are there, hiding beneath the surface and bidding her hide herself while she hunts for the answers. She regards Liz, much as she always has, though more searching this time. With a breath, she starts looks back to her notebook. "Why did Kershner take up a position in DC?"

"Because she was Autumn's second-in-command and got promoted," Elisabeth replies immediately. There's not a hint of subterfuge in that, the answer is honest.

Gavyn nods slowly, the answer wasn't a surprise. Though she thinks there's something more there, she can't quite grasp at what it is. "Seemed kind of sudden," she comments. "She's still recruiting, though. More Frontline squads over the next few years. —She's looking at going into the civilian sector for recruits." Something Gav finds a little troubling.

Elisabeth's expression is thoughtful as Gavyn asks that. She senses a deeper question, but she's not entirely sure what it is. "There's a dearth of Evos in the armed services and even in the police departments, primarily I think due to Registration requirements over the past few years. Too many people reluctant to have themselves labeled like that. Believe me, when I went back in two years ago, I was not happy about outing myself. And nowadays, I think people are even less happy about it — it makes them a target for Humanis First." She sips from her tea. "Recruiting from the private sector makes sense. But …. it disturbs you. Why?"

"Being Evo and from the armed services, I can agree with that sentiment." Gavyn, though she didn't hesitate to register, knew it put a kink in any professional relationship she had in her own shop. Suddenly the waiver for her eyewear had made sense to those who asked. "And I agree, it makes sense. But look past bolstering our numbers. There's Evo out there with a grudge against who knows what, maybe even other Evolved. And suddenly we're training them in military fashion, giving them weapons and Horizon armor?"

There's a faint quirk of a smile. "Smart woman," Elisabeth murmurs softly. "You should be worried. But would you like to know what should worry you more?" she asks. When Gavyn gives her the questioning look, the blonde's reply is very quiet. "The idea that several apparently random targets were hit last week by a group already in Horizon armor. That black helicopters were spotted near some of Squad 1's last known locations before they were reported killed in action. Personally…. I'm far more concerned about the fact that they aren't ours." She sips her tea calmly.

That's definitely reason to be afraid. Gavyn's brow knits together, and her expression is a near classic 'And so it's begun'. "That's…" Troubling comes to mind, but not quite strong enough. "Think how easy they could get anywhere. Even here." Now that's a scary thought. "Any leads on who or what it might be? And who were the targets?"

"Oh, I'm pretty damn certain that both Kershner and I know who it is. And believe me when I tell you we're working on that angle." Elisabeth quirks a brow and says softly, "But leaving aside that part of it for this moment, Gavyn Mitchell…. what do you want to do with your newfound intel?"

"Working freely?" Gavyn stuffs the notebook back into her pocket, still regarding Elisabeth. "I'd find out how we lost those suits and try to reason out the next target. And then I'd become the biggest pain the in ass whoever these two jokers are. We've got enough to worry about without people speeding up our downward spiral."

Now that faint smile becomes… predatory. "And if I told you they didn't steal them at all? Would the threat of making a lot of noise and getting killed for it change what you want to do?" Elisabeth asks softly.

The look, as well as the question, give Gavyn pause. What secrets does the woman hold? "You suspect someone on the inside." It's a statement, not a question. "Doesn't change the threat to us," she continues quietly. "Though it would change the method of achieving that end. I'll do whatever I can to make sure I come home again, but If I'm going down, I'm taking them with me." She's seen too much to hesitate any further.

Moving to push herself out of her chair, taking her tea with her. "Glad we had this little talk, Gavyn," Elisabeth says calmly. "It's always good to know a subordinate is comfortable with her supervisor's stance on a situation. Also good to know that we're on the same page all the way around." She smiles faintly. "I'll keep it in mind."

Gavyn stands as Elisabeth does, seems almost a habit that lacks only the stance at attention and salute. With a contemplative expression, Gavyn offers a nod to reply. "Glad I can talk to you," she answers, arms drawing across her chest. She'll have to seek Liz out more often. "Good to know there's someone I go to that knows what I'm talking about."

"By all means," Elisabeth replies. "Bring me your questions…. and if anything jumps out at you, your observations seem to be right on the money. Keep up the good work." And then she meanders back toward Ops with a thoughtful expression.

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