Assets and Liabilities


barbara2_icon.gif eileen_icon.gifnoa_icon.gif

Scene Title Assets and Liabilities
Synopsis Speculation is dangerous when the person doing it can't think clearly.
Date November 8, 2011

Pollepel Island

Most of the time Eileen's anger is contained to the tightness in her voice and the sharp edges of words she wields in place of weapons. Now is not one of those times.

Most of the time, too, the Council keeps the door to the Ferrymen's war room on Pollepel Island locked. This evening it's flung wide open as though a hurricane or some other force of nature passed through, allowing anyone in the hallway to overhear the conversation happening inside — if it can even be called that. It's more of a one-sided shouting match without words that Barbara Zimmerman has found herself on the wrong end of.

A glass cast against the wall a few feet away from Barbara's head explodes into a thousand twinkling shards that wink cheerlessly on the floor, illuminated by the lantern that sits in the center of the heavy oak table where the Council holds its meetings. If it wasn't so heavy, the Englishwoman probably would have turned it end over end by now. The blade inside Kazmir's wolf's head cane has already made short work of a bottle of whiskey Epstein left behind before they departed for Cambridge earlier in the day. She looks like she might take it to one of the chairs next, for lack of anything else inanimate to unleash her frustration on.

Most of Eileen's anger, Barbara can take in stride. Maybe it's the Zimmerman in her, maybe it's all the times she had to deal with other people's anger back at Thompson. It's the glass shattering so close to her, though, that finally tells her this isn't a normal fit of anger. This… this is something else, though. She shakes her head, finally ready to break her silence, arms crossed as she stands across the room.

You know. To give the sword some room.

"At some point," Barbara remarks as she watches Eileen look for what will face her wrath next, "I'm afraid you'll need to tell what's gotten you so worked up, Eileen." Barbara watches the Englishwoman for a moment, before glancing down. "I've heard some of how the Cambridge affair went, but no one's had time to give me a full debriefing. I know we lost some people…" but doesn't come. "What happened, Eileen?"

Smart people would probably stay away from that room. Noa's not dumb, but she's still a teenager and prone to foolish things. Most of them done while trying to calm down the adults in her life. She was, after all, trained in part by Raith. She stops to peer into the room, partially in worry and partially because she's never seen this room open before, and she's a curious thing.

"Is everything okay?" she asks, coming to lean against the doorframe as she peers in, not daring to set foot in the room if she's not welcome. Maybe even if she is. "Is there anything I can do to help?"

Eileen buries the sword in the back of a chair with an audible whump. It takes most of her strength the wrest it out again, a little like chopping wood. "Are you fucking stupid?" she asks, though it isn't clear whether she's directing the question at Barbara or at Noa. "Heller knew. Knew about the extraction point, our personnel, everything."

She hefts the sword again, turning to point the end at Noa. "It was an ambush. Not a coincidence. You tell me how that happened, Gitelman. You people are supposed to know everything too."

Barbara's neck cranes up just the slightest bit at Elieen's statement. She takes it in stride, assuming it meant her way rather than the new arrival to the room. She purses her lips. "Mmm," is the only initial response, brow stitching together as she considers this. This certainly validated Eileen's anger, though she keeps that to herself for now. "I would ask to consider carefully before making accusations like that, but… from what I've heard, we lost too many good people for something to not seem off. Still, an ambush…" A hand to her chin, Barbara thinking about it, trying to act as a counter to Eileen's unbridled rage.

She offers a look towards Noa, sympathetic as she receives the momentary blunt of Eileen. "If you do have any insight, it would be much appreciated."

"Shit." Noa's eyes are wide and she looks from Eileen to Barbara, and then back, her brows knitting as the petite woman points the sword at her. "You people? Gitelmans, technopaths or your kids?" she says, chin raising a little — her metaphorical hackles coming up, despite the fact she still leans in the doorframe and isn't changing her stance to a defensive one.

But Barbara is there to calm things a bit, and she shakes her head. "We've changed things too much. This isn't our future. I can't tell you how he knew. And I didn't hear anything on the radios or I would've said something." Her eyes go to Eileen's face. "You know I would've said something. I care about people who were there, too."

Eileen rotates the sword once in her hand. There's something comforting about its weight and the power behind its swing, although it does little to soothe her temper. Neither Barbara nor Noa need much of an imagination to guess what she’s thinking about doing with it.

Who she's thinking about doing it to is probably the more important question that needs answering. "Lancaster," she says, tracing the edge of her thumb along the blade with enough pressure to break the skin if her fingers weren’t protected by the soft calfskin of her gloves. "She's the other one's niece. CIA."

"The young woman who's been training with Special Activities and-" Barbara glances over towards Noa, "Hana, the last I heard. I have to admit, I was surprised to see her among those slated for the trip to Cambridge. One of many that surprised me, but she was among the least expected." Which immediately doesn't sit entirely well with Barbara. "I don't know much about her, I'm afraid to say, beyond some of her activities on the island. I believe that she is one of our more frequent travellers, however." Barbara has been making it her business, as of late, to make sure she's as up to date on the comings and goings of the island is possible.

This sort of thing was exactly why.

"Do you have any others in mind?" Not that she's settled on the first being correct, but talking through this may help them. "Noa, have you spoken at all with Ms. Lancaster?" she offers to the younger woman, moving closer to the table now that the bulk of the sword swinging seems to be over.

"Rue?" says Noa with disbelief, looking from one woman to the other. "So? Epstein and Raith are or were CIA too. Doesn't make them turncoats. I don't know a lot about her aunt, but I don't think she'd tell her anything. I don't even know if she's seen her lately. No offense, but I think that's a stretch." She watches Eileen, her own brow furrowed, before she glances back at Barbara. "Who all knew ahead of time? With enough time to prepare?"

Eileen doesn't have an answer to that question. "Find out," she says. "As soon as Ryans gets back from Alaska," if he gets back from Alaska, "I want the two of you to start digging. Under no circumstances are you to tell Jensen or Epstein what you're doing, or why. If the Lancaster girl is responsible for Cambridge, they'll still try to protect her."

Barbara offers a small nod. "It's probably best that we start keeping a closer eye in general; as best as we can with out casting suspicion. No one'll question it because of the state of things." She has her further questions about this, but arguing with Eileen is a fool's errand at the moment, and the moment she doesn't think she would anyway. There's a precarious state the Ferry is in right now, and she's inclined to ferret out any problems, real or imagined, now.

Offering a look to Noa, Barbara offers a smirk. "Find out what you can about her from Hana. She's might be a good place to start, and she might take to it better from your than me." With that, she looks back to Eileen. "Jensen and Epstein are quite possibly our best assets. You're right, discretion will be key. For now…" She glances to the open door. "This stays between us."

Noa's brow lifts and she shakes her head. "It wasn't Rue," she says flatly. The two are often seen together around the castle. "But I'll look into it to prove it, sure," she adds, lest Eileen get a bit too close with that knife she seems to like to wave around tonight. Her eyes slide to Barbara and she cocks her head. "Hana will help if Hana wants to help. Don't expect a miracle just because I'm her kid. But she'll want to know whose fault this is as much as we all do." She straightens, no longer using the door frame to support her weight. "But it wasn't Rue," she adds. For good measure.

"Epstein is a useless drunk with mangled leg," Eileen corrects Barbara. "He's a liability, not an asset." Her voice wavers when she says it, unsure if she's trying to convince herself or her fellow Councilmember. Her anger has softened some, but it's still there, simmering just beneath the surface, dangerously close to boiling over again if provoked.

She has no reason to be upset with Epstein except for the fact that she almost lost him. That Rue was able to help him to safety while Eileen was forced to stand by and do nothing might have something to do with the target the Englishwoman has apparently painted on her back. Which means—

"I'm going away for a few days," she says, "or I'll do something I won't actually mean to. Noah Bennet is dead. Zimmerman, you're in charge while I'm gone. Gitelman…" Eileen sheaths the sword in one swift, decisive motion. "Just keep your eyes open."

"We'll see, one way or another." That's all Barbara offers to Noa - what she hopes is the truth. Anthring else she has to say is robbed from the tip of her tongue at the revelation that Noah Bennet is dead. Her eyes widen slightly, a hand rising up to up at her brow. "Damnit," she whispers. "Of course, Eileen. Be safe, and we'll be vigilant."

She eyes the sword for a moment, before looking up and into her other councilmember's eyes. "One way or another. This will get sorted."

Noa nods, already turning away to go when Eileen drops that bombshell. Her eyes widen and she takes a step back, putting her more in the hall than in the room. "That… no," she says, with a shake of her head, her eyes welling up with tears. Most of the losses she's heard about tonight were not known to her, at least not more than peripherally. Noah's a near stranger, but not at the same time. "Does Hana know," she whispers, a hand pushing across her face, swiping at the tears that threaten to fall.

"Ask her," Eileen suggests on her way out of the room. She doesn't tell Barbara where she's going, or who with, but it's a safe assumption that she wouldn't be entirely truthful if she did. She disappears around the corner, footfalls echoing through the corridor until they don't anymore.

That final, carefully placed barbed was not an accident. Neither was her casual mention of Bennet's death, as easy as tossing a penny into a wishing well. Eileen Ruskin is exactly the type of person to make others hurt as much as she is.

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