elisabeth2_icon.gif ygraine2_icon.gif

Scene Title Bombshells
Synopsis A quick exchange of information, some parts more shocking than others. An invitation is issued.
Date March 15 2011

The Nite Owl

The Nite Owl is a survivor from ages past - one of those ancient diners with huge plate glass windows, checkerboard linoleum floor, and a neon owl over the entrance that blinks at those entering. Inside, there's an L-shaped main counter, complete with vintage soda fountain and worn steel stools. All of the cooking is done on the ranges ranked against the rear wall. The outer wall is lined with booths upholstered in cracked scarlet vinyl, tables trimmed with polished chrome. Despite its age, it's been lovingly maintained. The air is redolent with the scent of fresh coffee, vanilla, and frying food.

One advantage of her current extravagance in attire is that the multiple layers help to keep her warm in this markedly gloomy and cold Spring. Still, it's rather bitingly cold out there once again, and it's only now - well into her first warm drink - that Ygraine has just finished removing her coat, folding it onto the bench seat beside her.

Having staked out a corner booth with a view of both door and counter, Ygraine is about as unobtrusive as her unusual garb and appearance permit, though there's a definite fidgety tension to her when she sits down again, fingers drifting from mug to sling to buttons and back again.

Elisabeth had a hard time getting away this morning. Her bluetooth is in her ear and she's talking on it even as she enters the coffee shop. Her expression is a bit more grim than it has been, but she appears to hang up the phone as she waves to the waitress at the counter and calls, "Just coffee." Glancing around she spots Ygraine immediately and unzips her heavy jacket as she joins the woman. Liz is definitely 'on duty' today in the black-on-black combat boots, cargo pants, her hair braided back severely. But she smiles for Ygraine. "Hey. What's up, lady?"

Raising her hand in greeting, Ygraine gestures politely to the seat opposite her, waiting for the customary privacy field to arise before she gets onto anything serious - though she does offer a smile and a warm, "Good morning. Thank you. I'm glad you could come." If the field doesn't appear, then her little Spy Shop white noise generator is already at work, but she's a little more faith in Liz's talents.

"I had a meeting with the Deveaux Group yesterday", she says quietly once Liz has taken a seat. "I thought you'd like to hear the results. It… wasn't exactly a meeting per se. I got the brush-off when I tried to arrange an appointment, so turned up in full freak garb and… well. One of the Group rescued the poor concierge from me, and we had a short chat."

As soon as her coffee appears, the silence field goes up. A faint smile accompanies Elisabeth's answer. "Well, normally I would have taken a rain check — today's kind of bad, but you said it was important." She doctors her coffee as she listens. She's amused that Ygraine turned up in Goth garb, but her blue eyes on the other woman are sharp. "So what happened?"

"I met with a woman named Alice Shaw, who had previously spoken to Graeme - the young man directed to me to talk about Liberty by the mysterious card slipped into his possession. With her was Zachary Stone, though I have the impression that he did not particularly wish to speak", Ygraine explains quietly.

"The whole atmosphere was… odd. Alice was polite, but was explicit in being the wrong person to talk to me. Or… 'not the best person' for me to talk to. Very specifically me. She was 'certainly' the best for Graeme, but not for me. And her attitude to me was different to what Graeme had mentioned. She apparently pressed him, very directly, for his emotional responses to things - with me there was none of that. So… bear that in mind for the, ahhh, firmer facts I can provide. It certainly has a number of interesting implications…."

Elisabeth tilts her head thoughtfully, her brows pulling together. "What the hell's going on over there?" she wonders aloud.

"That, I can't tell you, but… they are up to something seriously weird - though I'll save some of the bombshells for later", Ygraine says with a hint of a smile, allowing herself a long sip of her drink before continuing. "Right… their public role is a philanthropic foundation, right? And I was told that they wished to support my idealism - again, mine, not idealism in general, at least in that context - which was why they had directed Graeme to me. But money? Not a cent. I'm a courier who can't ride, and a translator who's permanently on prescription painkillers at the moment - I'll be scrabbling for bits and pieces of work around the offices at Alley Cat. And I have mortgage to pay and a campaign to run - one they apparently want to see succeed. Or at least become prominent."

She shifts position a little, pursing her lips. "With all due modesty, I'd say that I was a prime candidate for some financial aid. But they directed me to Remi Davignon. I said I knew her and that she'd already pledged a couple of grand for the trust fund for the court case, should it ever come to fruitition, but that her parents had charged her to be very careful with her funds. Shaw seemed surprised that I knew her - again, a hint that they're not omniscient with regard to those they see as 'interesting' or 'useful' - but told me that, through Davignon, I should find everything I needed at present. That I should support her performance coming up - Remi'd already given me tickets to see a performance of Swan Lake she choreographed and has a cameo in, as it happens. And that when finding what I needed changed, I should presume that 'one of' the Group would get in touch. Oh. And she also seemed surprised that Davignon hadn't given me immediate firm support, and said she'd have to speak to someone who knew more about the family, because she 'wouldn't want to make the wrong impression'."

"So….." Elisabeth frowns slightly. "Let me get this straight. They sent Graeme to you, they want to see you succeed… but they also can't put any money toward Liberty's trust fund." Pursing her lips, she admits, "That actually somewhat makes sense, if you want the truth. They keep an extremely low profile and need to continue to do so. They cannot afford to get on the Institute's radar. But then why… pull you in at all?" she wonders. And the mention of Remi brings her brows further down. "I have to admit that I dislike the way this is tilting," she murmurs. "I find it intriguing that her family is being drawn into it." She pauses. "Are you going to talk to her about it again?" she asks finally.

"Remi? Yes", Ygraine confirms with a nod. "My list of rich contacts whom I might try to tap for money is precisely one person long, so far as I know. Though I fear that after this, there'll be no one left on it. But… they know she's a telepath. 'Young, but developing her talent', or some such. And said that I should expect to trade for her aid. How, I have no idea. But she made a point of telling me that 'very little in this life is free'. Which I somehow doubt was a warning solely about Remi…."

"From what I could tell - they make contacts. That seems to be their chosen modus operandum. They take information, use it to identify people of interest and use, and then try to form networks and ties. And each time they move a piece into place they at least try to consider what other ties might lead on from there. It was not, for example, the case that Remi would personally provide me with all that I needed - but that I should find it through her. That might just have been bet-hedging, but… I doubt it. 'Cause, well… ready for a bombshell or two?"

"Sure, hit me," Elisabeth sighs. She takes a fortifying sip of her coffee and waits for it.

"Do the names… Mona Rao or… Anand Kaur mean anything to you?", Ygraine asks, before frowning and pulling a sour face. "Perhaps Ananda…. But she was a member of Phoenix. A telepath. 'Highly trained' apparently. And an infiltration specialist sent by the Company to enter Phoenix. She was given access to the Catabase - which I find personally somewhat amusing, because I never was due to lack of trust."

A snort, then Ygraine offers Elisabeth a rueful smile. "But Kaur was able to report on the Catabase to at least some of her peers or superiors. She's dead now, though I don't know when or how that came to pass. The Group apparently is not affiliated to the Company - though Shaw indicated that she expected there to be some small portion of it still surviving under that name - but it does have 'access to some of their more critical information'. And that's part of what they use to form their connections. Aided by having picked up a number of former Company types. What was it? 'Useful skills never go out of fashion'."

Elisabeth's face darkens. "Mona Rao was killed — lynched with Sumter and Felix. She was dead before we could get to them." But the information that the Deveaux Group has some Company people doesn't seem to shock her. "The people heading up the Deveaux Group include — so far as I know — people that Charles Deveaux hand picked. He was also part of the Company but Richard and I think that during the time hijinks, he may have read a lot from Richard's mind and that the Group was his way of … attempting to help without damaging the timeline too badly. So that they might hand pick some people from the Company to pull in as it went under? Not surprising," she tells Ygraine quietly. "But I think Richard needs to know that information."

Pausing, she considers and then Elisabeth says quietly, "There's something you have to understand. In the midst of a lot of time hijinks …. the man currently at the head of the Institute is a future version of Cardinal himself. He's…. warped. He's lived through a future that's a cross between… the fucking Terminator and 1984 or something. He believes he knows how to make it okay — but to do it… he claims that he has to keep the timeline as close to the one he lived as possible until the last minute." She looks up at Ygraine. "In his future, I died to try to stop him. Which tells me that he's absolutely around the bend. And so in the here and now, both Richard and I are doing our best to stop him. The Deveaux Group may be of help… or they may not. I don't know yet." She sighs. "We're having a meeting Friday night. You should come."

Ygraine just… stares for a few moments. Then she sets down her mug and leans forward, reaching across the table to try to gently touch Elisabeth's hand or arm. "I knew I'd heard the name, but… I was over in the UK. Lying low from all this, after… having a Fed walk up to me in the street and ask about Phoenix and Ferry operatives", she murmurs, mouth working while her mind tries to process what Liz has just told her.

"But… Christ. If… if you want me there. If you think I can help, then sure. It sounds like you need all the help you can get." A swift, tight smile. "And if you think that a half-crippled, half-mad idealist can be some use, then she's at your disposal."

Elisabeth looks at her and says quietly, "The man running the Institute is a liar. He's the best liar you'll ever meet. If you are ever approached by Simon Broome or by Tyler Case… I need to know. Immediately." She grimaces. "And understand that my Richard is not that man."

Ygraine delivers a gentle squeeze, then leans back, running her hand over her hair, before absent-mindedly massaging at the shoulder above her wounded arm. "Broome. Case. Right. What… abilities do they have at their disposal? Is it safe to talk politely, or is this the kind of situation where I should run away up the nearest building?"

"Simon Broome, I've never seen use an ability besides … being multiple people at once. Like Brian Fulk, but…. I'm not sure if that's his ability or someone else creating clones and putting him into them." Now there's an interesting tale in and of itself. Elisabeth grimaces. "Don't ask, that's too complicated for what little time I have now. You should be able to talk to Simon, though — and if you do, he may have useful information even. Tyler Case is exceedingly dangerous — he has the ability to remove or swap Evo powers. If he shows up, get the fuck out." Her tone is grim. "That's the body that the future Cardinal inhabits, and he is not a man to be near. Don't trust him. I'll get you pictures so you know what they look like." She sighs.

Ygraine sighs worriedly, pinching her brow… then wagging her finger at Elisabeth, before looking up. "The last thing she said to me - Shaw. I…. I'd thanked her for seeing me, and for being polite enough to share what she had with me."

Pursing her lips once more, the Briton sighs. "She said it wasn't politeness - it was survival. In the context of what you've told me…."

Elisabeth offers a faint, worried smile. "Yeah… survival is… really what we're fighting for here. That's why I want you there Friday night. One of the things Richard's always been damn good at is keeping his secrets. In the future that he came from, what we can gather is that the Ferry and all the people I consider friends and allies….. turned against us." She swallows hard. "I had a dream… that I think might be a view of that future… and I was pregnant and on the run. Scared to absolute death that anyone would figure out that I was pregnant. The sense wasn't about one person, it was about ANYONE — like… I wasn't allowed and the consequences would be awful. And in the dream, there were robots taking pictures of people's faces on the street and fighter jets streaking over and blowing shit up. Whatever happened? It was bad, Ygraine. We're trying to head that off by doing exactly what Richard never would have considered — giving all the information we have to anyone who may be able to act on it or wants to know it. It's dangerous information, but… the more transparency there is, the better off we think we are."

Ygraine's heard about that dream before, but it still prompts a sharp intake of breath and a deeply worried look. "I can't lbame you for being haunted by that", she murmurs sympathetically. "And… scared though I am, you know my opinion on the value of sharing information in a conflict if you want to avoid ending up just getting information from those who reinforce a set view of events…."

Letting her voice trail off, she closes her eyes for a moment, then offers an apologetic smile. "Sorry. Meeting. When, where, and should I turn up anonymously?"

Finishing her coffee, Elisabeth moves to stand. Friday night, Redbird. Keep your arrival on the downlow, leave all tech at home." She gives the time and then says softly, "Careful out there, Ygraine." And she sighs as her phone rings. "I better go."

Worriedly, Ygraine looks up at her friend… then nods, slowly but decisively. "All right. Barring falling down the stairs onto my arm or the like, I'll be there. And… thank you for trusting me. And good luck."

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