Before I Let You Help Me, I Want a Favor


elisabeth_icon.gif robinhood_icon.gif

Scene Title Before I Let You Help Me, I Want a Favor
Synopsis Liz wants to help our Robin Hood — but strangely enough he wants a favor before he'll let her. Isn't that like charging the Good Samaritan to do a good deed?
Date May 24, 2009

SCOUT Headquarters

It's not like Liz has ever attempted to make contact out in the ether with … nothingness. Or not nothingness exactly, just the person inhabiting it. So without exactly knowing how to go about it, she merely posts to a couple of public message boards: Hey, Robin … the Sheriff of Nottingham's looking for a truce. Chat me up! She figures he'll be able to trace it back to the public cafe that she's currently logged in from, and she's using her own ID on it. There's no attempt to hide from him.

And having been monitoring the net from work and from home, Wade has been picking up on these very interesting attempts as communication from Detective Harrison. As Robin Hood, he scours the net looking for his next big scheme and actually has come up with something, though it will take some time to get it all set up. In the meantime, he's mostly keeping digital eyes on those he's had contact with and those he knows might be out looking for him.

Hood has already traced Liz back to her terminal and identified, but it was too easy. Either she's serious and putting herself out there, or she's not very bright. He'll, at least for now, put her in the serious category. He reaches a binary tendril out into Liz' computer and pops up a message on her monitor.

So, now you wanna to talk, do you? 'Fraid your little darts won't work on a computer. And frankly, after our last encounter, I'm not entirely certain you have anything to say that I want to hear.

The pop-up window draws her eyes, and Elisabeth smiles faintly at the text. Her fingers move quickly as she replies.

Our last encounter included a friend of mine you were holding hostage. I wasn't feeling particularly like talking at that moment. Yeah, okay, that's a bit of a stretch…. they were NOT friends, though they were acquainted. I've been doing a lot of work on your situation, and while I don't think I have anything that will help your current predicament, I do have a question of you. Are you interested in keeping your younger self from being stuck in the net with no body?

His attention has been shifted from whatever else he was multitasking to that question as it is typed in. How much does she really know? She can't possibly know everything. He hopes /they/ haven't done anything stupid. He's broken most of his contact with those in the group from the future, not longer feeling like being their puppet — he's got bigger plans now. But still, this nags at him just a little.

I'm certain I have no idea what 'younger self' you are referring to. There is only me, as I am.

He has /absolutely/ no reason to trust her. None whatsoever.

Elisabeth studies the screen and sighs to herself. He's got no reason to trust her, and hell… she hasn't got a reason in hell to trust him or her. But his or her young self deserves every bit of help she can give him, regardless of what older-self is up to.
There is only you as you exist right now… from the year 2019, brought back here by … probably the machinations of Edward Ray from Moab Penitentiary in that year. I don't know what you did to wind up locked up, Taylor Reed — for all I know, you did nothing except exist and they wanted to cage and harness your ability after you were stuck in the 'net. Maybe you did the same kinds of things you're doing now — stealing from the rich to help the poor. I just don't know. And frankly, though the crimes you are committing are of some level of interest to me, they fall far far down on my list of priorities right now because the TOP of my list is trying to reach the 2009 version of you and keep what happened to you from happening to him or her. The trouble is… I have 387 Taylor Reeds in the New York metropolitan area. Ruling out anyone over the age of 12, that still leaves me with 164 Taylor Reeds to wade through to try to find the young you and help him or her out. I'm hoping that you have enough interest in this goal that my approaching you is not a huge mistake.

And I thought I was the fairy tale figure in this little drama. If, by chance, this little story you've concocted is true, what makes you think I haven't already made contact with my /younger/ self to attempt to avoid this little incident from happening?

Leave it to the teenager to be difficult.

What makes you think I'm not just whack-job who gets his kicks jumping into the body of teenage girls and taking them for a test drive?

Leave it to the Internet. Fascinating reading material you find out there these days.

If your little theory has any merit whatsoever, what makes you think I have any reason to trust you? If I was in prison, what makes you think I'm willing to risk going back there? Besides, I have never been all that certain you can change the path of fate.

Interesting. Elisabeth's reply takes a moment to come back. First, I don't know that you haven't already made contact with your younger self — and if you have, and you can tell me that he or she is safely out of the line of fire here, I'll leave you be. Second, somehow I don't think you're much of a whack-job. Pissed off? Yeah, I can definitely see that. But considering what you've actually done with the considerable reach you've got, I have to admit that I kind of figure you're one of the good guys. Could maybe use a little direction, but you've struck me so far as someone pissed at the system — although I'd note that you might want to be a little more selective who you steal from. I'm not what you'd consider rich, and not that I mind giving away part of my retirement fund to someone like Abby, but what money I had put away came from my mother's life insurance policies after she died in the Bomb.

Too bad tone and facial expression can't be conveyed online, her wry tone doesn't exactly translate well. Anyway… I get the clear impression that whatever it was you did, the whole lot of you came back with an agenda to try to change your own future. And honestly? I can get behind that. I don't know if you can change the path of fate… I'm somewhat on the fence about it myself. But I do know one thing… if we didn't believe that we could change things, we wouldn't have fought Volken and stopped the release of a virus that could have killed 90 percent of the world's population. I have to believe that what we do matters, Taylor. What's the point in being here if it doesn't?

Don't call me that.

Seems she touched a nerve.

I left that name behind a long time ago. And if what you are saying is true, apparently I left it a long time ago in the future. And if what you're saying is true, then you've got about eight years to try and stop whatever it is that happened to me. Should give you plenty of time for research.

Then something occurs to him.

Okay. I'll tell you what. You help me. Then I'll help you. For each tip you give me, I'll get you that much closer to the one you are looking for.

Elisabeth considers that offer. Guess it depends on what kind of help you actually want from me. But if she's got eight years, well…. hell, it's not going to be THAT hard. All it takes is portable test kits, and well… she can get access to that, if need be.

Now this could be some sort of test, to see if she's truly trustworthy, or he could be playing her. Or he could have some underlying motive for his questions. Seems if he really wanted to, he could find them on his own — put but he throws out three name:

Travis David Phelps, Marvin Ray Tangent, Phinneas Trent Jacobs. Probably in their teens and probably somewhere in Brooklyn. I want to know where.

Those names have been ingrained into the technopath's memory from the moment he discovered who they were.

Elisabeth jots the names down and leans back in her chair. Before I help you, I want to know why. Because just like I won't even consider punishing the younger you for things s/he hasn't done yet, I also don't want to punish anyone ELSE for things they haven't done yet. That said…. I'm more than willing to put the fear of God and the NYPD into people.

Would you be content with me saying they're friends of mine from 'forward in a day'?

There's a long pause and Elisabeth replies, For now. First thing on the agenda, let's see if they've got records of some kind already. And Brooklyn may also give her a place to start with young Taylor Reed, too. But we shall see. I'll get back to you if I find anything.

For now. Hood was actually considering waiting about 5 years, then after his younger self's ability actually manifested, he would approach and explain what happened, so the boy could do what he could to prevent that from happening. But, this may be a more viable alternative.

There's no saying what could happen to him if he were to somehow manipulate his future — would he just disappear from this timeline? Many questions still and no real answers. But one thing at a time.

I'll be waiting.

Robin Hood has disconnected from the server.

Wade blinks his eyes open from his apartment and chuckles. "Well, this is an interesting twist." He keeps his hand on the keyboard, but opens a few files without moving the mouse or typing on the keyboard. "That leaves me more time to work on this other project."

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