Checking In With The Boss


ben_icon.gif cat_icon.gif elisabeth_icon.gif helena_icon.gif

Scene Title Checking In With The Boss
Synopsis Elisabeth heads for the library to update Helena on the latest mess with the captain of SCOUT.
Date December 27, 2008

New York Public Library

She tries not to come down to the library TOO much. Doesn't want to draw attention to the place. But after seeing Conrad's dispensary and a couple other things this week, Elisabeth feels the need to talk to the young woman in charge of Phoenix. So she brings herself down to the old library, dressed in jeans, hiking shoes, a turtleneck, and a tan blazer beneath a heavy black winter jacket. Her blonde hair is braided back off her face, and she walks through the library's security guards with purpose, asking only where she can locate Helena. Once she gets to the spot they said the leader is, she calls out, "Helena?"

Helena has been rather scarce of late, primarily on Christmas Day. In the interim? She's had some meetings outside of the library and otherwise used the time to pack up her stuff. When she hears her name being yelled, her head is stuck out of her temporary room. "Hey, Elisabeth. Be there in a sec." And so she is, moving to meet the older woman. "What's going on?" she asks. Generally when Elisabeth talks to her, something is.

Elisabeth glances around when Helena yells back, pinpointing the exact location and grinning slightly. "Okay," she calls back. Shoving her hands into her coat pockets, she waits, and then she smiles faintly at Helena. "It's bad that you already know me well enough to decide things are going on. I'm going to have to make a point of coming by just to visit sometime." And in point of fact, she removes a backpack from her shoulder, mostly invisible because it's black and sort of hides against the jacket. "Here… brought you some munchies." The backpack contains pumpkin muffins, blueberry muffins, a banana bread, and a carrot cake (boxed so as not to crush easily. They're all homemade. "Merry Christmas," she offers mildly. "But yeah, there are some things popping up."

"Merry Christmas." she replies. "I'm sorry I don't have anything for you." Helena helps herself to a blueberry muffins and makes with the carb love. "Alright, so hit me."

Elisabeth shakes her head with a smile. "Don't worry about it. I was on suspension for a week after the think with Rickham. I mean… I *shot* Trask. IA was having a field day." She rolls her eyes. "All I do when I don't know what to do is cook, so … hence the Christmas." She sighs, though, removing her jacket while Helena helps herself. "My captain's giving me some serious shit about the information that we gave him being useless. I had to finally give him a name for a long, convolute reason, and Con agreed to be my source. I'm going to have to set up a meeting between them. The question is… how much more information do you want to pass on?"

Helena blinks. "I gave you everything we had on the Vanguard. How was it useless? Funny, because Rickham and Parkman have it to, and they don't seem to find it useless." Helena's tone seems to infer she thinks Elisabeth's boss is incompetent. "Wait a minute, you shot Sergei?" A pause. "Did someone mind control you or something?"

Elisabeth shakes her head. "No…. fucking SYLAR redirected all the bullets. Sergei took seven of the nine I fired." She shakes her head. "All I can say is thank God for kevlar. It was a complete clusterfuck." She scatches her head, looking aggrieved. "Well, bear in mind that the disk I passed didn't have names or any of the updated information. That's why I want to know if you want to give him everything. I can have Con do it at the meeting."

"I wouldn't say that." Helena says. "We have the ear of the president-elect, we have someone who can shape solid strategies, and we have the shared resources to put this to an end. I'm not thrilled that Sergei was shot, but it was not the massive failure you think it was." A deep breath is taken, "Having Sylar control my body was one of the most awful things I've ever experienced."

Elisabeth looks surprised. "I didn't realize that had happened. I knew you'd had a run-in… Con told me that much. I'm sorry," she offers. Though she forces a small grin. "But I have to tell you…. shooting my best friend? Ranks right up there. Even if it's not my fault, he's damn lucky he didn't die." She sighs.

Helena nods. "He's very lucky, especially since Abby can't help him." Helena agrees, and shrugs a little stiffly. "I got away from him." she says, trying not to let herself recall the experience and subsequent nausea related to it. "Hana seemed to want to take charge of information release." Helena says. "We can have a quick word with her. If Conrad wants to talk to your boss, I trust him to make the right discretionary decisions…but can we trust your boss to operate on the level?"

Elisabeth meets Helena's eyes and says, "I honestly…. don't know. He's pretty goddamned by the book, Helena. He's the reason this has even started. Abby used her healing ability on him after asking him how I was doing…. so he tried to run her in. She registered yesterday morning to get him off her back. But he's leaning on me REAL hard about trusting him and knowing that I'm hiding something and wanting to be in on the information that I have to save innocents. I know we can count on him to do the right thing when he's slapped in the face with it…. but Helena, I can't vouch for bringing him into this. I think letting Con deal with him is the best option on this one. Con'll tell him some bullshit about hearing people talk or something, he'll be able to keep names out of it, and he's believable as a person who'd be in on the fringes of things. And he hasn't done anything wrong, so there SHOULD be no reason for Will to run him in.'

Helena blinks. "Abby registered?" Helena looks like someone slapped her in her face. "That's - god, that's - no. God." She starts to pace, only two or three steps back and forth. "Christ. Yeah, let Conrad deal with him. Connie's already registered and there's little else the guy can do to him, right? What a fucking - " she cuts off. Bad words! Helena's hanging out with Elvis a lot these days.

Ouch. Now that's a hit in the gut. "Yeah," Elisabeth replies softly. "She wasn't happy at all. But she's been considering it for some time. Wanting to do some things that would require it anyway. She's talking about being an EMT." She shrugs a little. "I made sure it was painless for her. She's okay. And it was a way to thumb her nose at Will Harvard, I guess. He got in her face about registration and tried to weasel some info out of her about the Asian. So I'd like to take Con to him, let Con hand off the full monty on what we've got on Volken's group, and see what he does with it."

Helena nods. "Alright." She finishes her blueberry muffin, and then eyes the box. She wants another, but is not sure whether she should. "Any other issues?"

"Not really," Elisabeth replies. She grins at the eyes on the box. "Go on — it's yours to share or hoard as you wish." She moves to plop down, crossing her legs as she does. "Seen Conrad's dispensary yet?"

Helena helps herself to another muffin - pumpkin this time. "No, but Conrad's told me about the property. I'm really excited about it - proper amenities, a real kitchen, a place to train, I can't wait to get out of here."

Elisabeth grins a bit at the younger woman. "It's pretty nice. He's got me working camera placements for security for it. How're things going here?"

"Security's stayed good. We haven't hashed out everything with Rickham and we're waiting for Edward to finish his strategy workup." Helena says. "I spent Christmas Eve making it snow, and made a midnight supper and we'll have a new member soon, someone the Ferrymen helped out. Teleporter. Should be very helpful."

Elisabeth tilts her head. "Edward?" Yet another name she hasn't heard. "How many are we, actually, Helena? I know I'm pretty new and all, so if you don't want to tell me as yet, that's fine." And then she smiles slightly. "So that was you? Nice touch," she tells Helena. "And a teleporter, huh? That could be damn helpful."

"Edward…kind of nebbish-y guy with glasses, holed up in the stacks?" Helena supplies. "I don't always have time to introduce people. Sorry."

Elisabeth shakes her head. "No worries," she tells Helena. "There are a ton of people around here all the time that I haven't met. I just wondered how many strong we are…. and whether, with the ear of HomeSec and the president-elect, we actually have any chance at all of winning. That guy… girl… whatever? Sylar. I don't even begin to know how to combat that. He could be ANYONE."

Helena admits quietly, "Sergei's kind of key for that strategy, if and when we come to it."

Elisabeth nods slightly. "They're letting him out in the next couple of days, and he'll be laid up at home for a while. But he'll be all right." The relief on her face is clear as she says it. "Do we have any scuttlebutt on what they're going to aim for next?"

Helena shakes her head. "According to the Catabase, Eileen decided she didn't want to help us anymore. She's left them, and she won't deal with us." She frowns a little bit. "I'm not sure what she thinks we can do to handle this. Use toothpicks and nerf guns?"

Elisabeth nods. "I read it this morning," she says calmly. "Frankly, I don't have the first clue what to tell you. I wasn't entirely convinced that she was going to be a useful source to start with, but…. " She shrugs a little. "I can't say I blame her for being scared to death. After what we've seen so far, hell…. I'm scared."

Helena gives a little shrug. "I don't know what she thinks of herself. Not to sound like some kind of moral snob, but she put her lot in with people devoted to genocide, people who she's so enamoured of that she defended them even though they killed Cat's partner in cold blood, and she expect she's on some kind of moral high ground? The only people who's fault all the death and danger are is theirs. That's why Ethan's whole thing about how it was my fault that Dani was getting hurt was sheer bullshit. You don't make people like that do anything they don't want to do in the first place." She takes a breath. "Sorry…randomly ranting."

Elisabeth nods to Helena. "Oh, I wouldn't say she's got any high ground. Don't get me wrong. Just saying I can't blame her if she's scared." She puts a hand out to set it on Helena's shoulder. "It's okay. Sometimes we all need an ear to vent in, right? Glad I can be that for you. Sure don't feel like I'm doing much ELSE for you," she offers with a faint, rueful smile.

Ben emerges from the direction of wherever Alexander is being kept, a stack of books in his arms. He slows down when he hears voices, taking a moment to see if he recognizes them.

"I don't know about that." Helena says. "This whole thing, it's a bit like juggling knives. On fire. While balancing a powered up chainsaw on my head. With a blindfold." Helena is making short work of a muffin, whole chatting with Elisabeth. "I don't want this to be a disaster."

"A disaster?" Elisabeth doesn't really know how it can be anything but a disaster, but then again. She's not a precog either. "If we get everyone pulling in the same direction, we've got a chance," she says quietly. "Might be a slim one, but it's a chance. We just have to make the most of it."

Calm sounding voices, anyway, so Ben steps out from behind some shelving, blinks at Elisabeth —- really? And then offers a faint, shy smile. "Evening."

From the look on Helena's face, she seems to think they have a chance, and she has an inkling of Elisabeth's doubt. Swallowing her initial reaction, she instead turns to face the figure newly arrived. "Ben!" she says in surprise and then, "Oh, yes. Abby and Teo said - thank you so much."

Moving to stand, Elisabeth looks up at Ben. She's not sure she knows him either, though she tries to place him. And then she smiles. "Well hello," she offers easily. The name escapes her, but the face — bruised as it was at the time — doesn't. "Bike messenger, right?"

Ben walks to the nearest shelf to put his books down; his head bobs. "Right. Ben. Not a courier anymore, I work as an EMT. Hi, Dean. Not a problem. It's what I came to New York to do. He's stable, he'll get better."

Helena holds the box out. "Muffin?" She offers Ben, and only after it's out of her mouth realizes how ridiculous she just sounded. She looks back to Elisabeth. "I believe Rickham will make things happen." she says. "Even without the advantage of knowing their plans, we've got a lot more to bring to the table now. Elisabeth, this is Ben. Ben, Elisabeth.

Elisabeth nods to Ben with a smile. "We've met," she tells Helena. "Briefly. It's good to meet you again, though." She looks at Helena. "I hope you're right. That hope's the reason I'm here. I'll download the additional information onto a CD and Con'll take it to the meet. I need to get back, check on Sergei. But I'll let you know how it goes as soon as I can, okay?"

"Good to see you again, too," Ben tells Elisabeth, and the smile seems genuine. He turns about to lean over and take a muffin from Helena. "Thanks. Everything going okay out there?" He hasn't really left in a few days. That seven o'clock shadow is more like seventy-two o'clock shadow.

"Thank you, Liz." Helena nods, visibly grateful despite the momentary flicker of anger, it seems easily dismissed. "Yeah, let me know how it goes down." She turns to study Ben a moment and grins. "You know, believe it or not, despite our whole revolutionary grunge chic, we do have razors. And shaving cream. We encourage hygeine." Her mouth curves upward, the lightness of the topic change evident in her expression.

Elisabeth laughs at Helena's words even as she pulls her jacket back on over her blazer, the shoulder holster beneath flashing the other two for just a moment. "G'night, you guys." And she heads out.

Ben scratches his chin, upon which he's getting a beard. "I wasn't aware beards were unhygienic," he says with a hint of a drawl. He tears off a chunk of the muffin Helena gave him and tosses it into his mouth to chew.

Helena grins at him. "Whatever you say, Gentle Ben." She helps herself to another, moving to set the box on the table. "Did you lose out on Christmas while tending to Alex? If you did, I'm sorry"

Ben tears off another chunk of muffin, shaking his head. "Naw," he lies. "Just some festive mac n' cheese and a couple of books, that's all. There are even more books here, even, so… lucky me."

Then there were two. But it doesn't last long that way. Someone female with a backpack over one shoulder and guitar case over the other, jean clad and winter-booted in a dark blue hooded sweatshirt with the word Yale across front in white approaches after clearing the sentries. Her dark hair is held in a ponytail and her features seem calm enough, although subdued, but not approaching the levels she'd so recently shown. Two books are in hand as her mostly aimless wandering leads her into the headquarters, to spend some time here and check in between having left one hotel and anticipating another when night and time for sleep comes.

"You're a lousy liar." Helena tells him with a faint smile. "But thank you anyway. If there's something we can do to make up for it, let me know, yeah?" She notices Cat's arrival. "Hey, you. Elisabeth just left. She baked muffins. "Better get some before Ben eats the whole box full." Piglet. She's on her third.

"…I've had one," Ben says, turning his head to smile faintly at Cat and nod. "Hey, Cat. They're good, though, so you should probably have one."

"Muffins," Cat replies with a muted grin as she adjusts course and stops near the baked goods. "So… she says you had three, and you claim to have had one, I guess that means you've had two, Ben." Then she faces the shorter and blonder one, showing a brief smile. Her mouth opens, she starts to speak. "St…" But she catches herself, not sure if she wants to be called what was about to be uttered before the medic. "Helena. How's things?"

"It's okay." Helena assures Cat, who has the choice of pumpkin, blueberry, or banana bread. "And I'm alright. I met a new addition today, through one of our cousins. I'll have her up here soon enough. How're you?" Then wryly she admits, "He's only had one."

"Your logic is faultless," Ben tells Cat, pulling another chunk of muffin off to put in his mouth. He brushes crumbs from his fledgling beard.

She chuckles slightly and reaches for one of the banana bread muffins, holding it in hand and regarding it for a moment before turning Helena. Cat's voice is a bit hollow as she speaks, stating "Getting there, holding it together, trying to stay busy and sometimes not finding enough to occupy the mind, Stormy." But she shakes it off soon enough to raise a brow and ask a question. "Who is she? Interesting. The most recent one and I talked." And the muffin is bitten into.

"Don't knock Cat's brains." Helena chides Ben, and around a mouthful of muffin she offers, "She's a musician. Her family were moved by the Ferrymen but I think something happened to them. I didn't want to pry that far for details."

Ben finishes off his muffin; eyebrows going up. "Uh huh," he says, and then, "Abby was going to talk to the Ferrymen for me about getting involved."

Her head tilts to one side as Helena speaks, it seems Cat's connnecting some dots. There's a flashback in her head, playing out one of them.

Her car is parked in a nearby garage, the same one where the trade took place. Cat, therefore, opts not to go with Grace despite wanting to do so. Instead she speaks in a low voice, one meant for her alone to hear, explaining her behavior somewhat. "I had an ordeal not so long ago, it had a terrible cost. The operation was pulled off by persons with access to an ambulance and crew. He wasn't one of them, but I find myself curious as to whether or not he may know of other paramedics who could be bribed or otherwise involved with a faction."

The other woman nods once at Cat's reply, the set of her jaw conveying that Grace had at least heard about the ordeal in question. Not, however, its details, as the narrowing of those blue eyes suggests. "I wouldn't know. Haven't seen him before this morning." A pause. "Though Anne seemed to know him; her family took a trip out of town not too long ago." Explaining, with that cryptic non-sequitur, how Anne came to be familiar with Grace.

"I think I met her once, with Grace. Her name is Anne?"

And there goes bite number two of that banana bread muffin.

Helena nods her quiet agreement. "That's her." she says, and turns her attention once more to Ben. "We're kind of an extended cousin. The fighting wing, I guess you'd call it. We share resources, information, personel. Maybe a little more your speed. I'm glad for you, if you do decide to connect with them."

Ben brushes his fingers off on his shirt and nods to Helena. "Right. Seems like, anyway," he tells her with a faint shrug. Cat's nodded to as well. "Huh. I know a musician named Anne." WHAT A COINCIDENCE!

"That'll be interesting," Cat replies with a quiet grin, refusing to let the rest of that flashback alter her mood here, or seem to. "I met her again at a diner where she and Elisabeth were talking a few days later. Anne and I decided to stake out a corner and play together sometime soon. My guitar, her flute. I'll have to get her some Jethro Tull sheet music, though. Maybe I'll just write it down for her." Because Cat? She totally saw his stuff on the printed page ages ago.

"Who's Jethro Tull?" asks Helena, because her mother's love of ABBA and Heart and Pat Benatar pretty much ends Helena's knowledge of music before the nineties. She looks to Ben. "Then you'll be in good company." She experiences a moment of awkward, rising up and moving away from the temptation of the muffin box.

"One of those guitar legends, right?" Ben asks, though he only asks is absently. He's picked up his stack of books again and started to walk out amongst the shelving to put them back. Even in a ruined library, the Dewey Decimal System has to be maintained. Or something.

"Jethro Tull was an English guy around 1700 who invented a seed drill, but the name was also given to a band formed in the late 60s by Ian Anderson. Ian plays flute, which made them unique. Progressive rock early on, mostly." Cat pauses there, muffin poised to bite into. "Maybe you've heard a tune called Aqualung?" She searches both faces for any sign of recognition, and the muffin is bitten again.

Helena blinks. "Aqualung. Is that one of those online games? Or maybe that was Aquamaze. Sorry, no idea." She shakes her head. "We have lots of artists and musicians on board. It kind of makes sense I suppose, in a way I can't really articulate." Looking after Ben, she murmurs with a grin, "He's a lil' OCD, ain't he? Except for the scruff."

"No worries, Stormy." Cat replies with a grin. "I'll play some for you, and get Anne to provide the flute parts. You'll like it." Confidence, yes. And she follows Ben with her eyes for a moment, replying when she looks back to Helena. "I've not noticed it, yet." But now she'll be looking for signs. Yes she will. A brief grin shows.

"Are you going to play at the Garden party?" Helena asks. "It's tomorrow, I think." A pause. "I wonder if it's dress up." Another pause. "I wonder if I have anything to dress up into."

"I think so," Cat replies quietly. "I've gotten some of the fire back, for a few days it all just sounded sour." Her eyes cloud a bit, with things coming into memory, but she chases it away. "I… I don't want to be a downer bringing it up, I've done enough melancholy in front of people and…" Been caught crying in public. "I'm hoping to get you and maybe Debater together, visit the apartment sometime before New Year's Day and drink a toast. Is that cool, Stormy?" She shows a hopeful smile, wanting it to seem an upbeat thing, perhaps forcing herself to be that way.

"Without Jennifer?" Helena asks in surprise. "Sure, I'll make time. I think the party might cheer you up." There's a pause. "It might cheer a lot of people up. I think that people who feel it might be silly don't understand…you have to celebrate, you know? Otherwise you lose the point."

Ben returns from the shelves, now with a stack of five books different from the ones he had before. His eyebrows go up a little. "What's being celebra——nevermind, I don't ask questions."

"Jennifer's welcome, of course," Cat assures. "I'm certain Debater would bring her sight unseen, if she wants to come along. I was thinking mostly of people who'd been around her and I together, which Jen hasn't, but she isn't excluded by any means." Her eyes cloud again, and her voice lowers as Ben approaches so what she says is hopefully only heard by the blonde. "The message, on the hamburger wrapper, said I should remember the good times and live well, find someone else. It's hard, so hard, and Christmas hurt bad, New Year's probably will too, but… I have to honor her wishes, shed the guilt and the grief. I have to make myself do that."

And after she finishes speaking, a step back is taken, her expression solemn, as she tackles the query. "Celebrating the lives of the absent, and life itself, Ben."

"Cat's maudlin, it's an early New Years party." Helena says with a faint smile. "If you wanted to come, it could probably be arranged. Not that I'd want to disrupt the whole," she makes a vague swirly motion with her hands in Ben's direction, "Serious Vibe."

Ben's right eyebrow remains up. "Serious vibe. Uh huh. I don't have any other plans." He glances between Helena and Cat, looking nonplussed somehow.

Maudlin. Now there's a word. A dictionary entry of just what it means appears in Cat's mind, the memory triggered by hearing it spoken. Excessively sentimental. Her eyes flash a moment with hurt and a trace of anger, but she quickly gets it chained back. Truth is, she agrees. She'd like to have shown nothing of it all and been stoic through it all, but it came out. She simply must make herself stop showing any of it, to anyone. Memory conspires against her, just the same. But for now, she forces on a wider smile and speaks to both with cheer.

"You should come, Ben, you make it sound like such a job. Honestly. And you, Stormy, make me sound like the world's biggest permanent sad sack."

Helena apparently doesn't see it as an insult, and goes on to explain, "Artists are allowed to be all maudlin and poetic, Cat." The brunette is rewarded with a pat to her arm. She looks back at Ben. "Does there need to be scoring based on your percieved capacity to have a good time? I should warn you, the Russian and French judges are very biased."

Ben exhales, reaching up to shove some of his hair out of his eyes. "It's not like I'm dour and humourless, here." He holds up one of his books and waggles it. "I'll return to my hermit cave now, thanks. Maybe grow my fingernails and toenails out, or maybe make some shoes out of shoeboxes. It'll be awesome. See you guys later." A small smile, somewhat forced, and he turns back the way he came.

She seems to relax somewhat when her arm is touched, taking a bit of comfort from it, and nods toward the blonde. Seconds later, as Ben speaks and starts to exit, Cat shakes her head. She doesn't quite seem to know what to say to him now, so she remains silent. A few beats pass before she makes eye contact with the blonde again and utters quiet words. "Yeah, I know, artists and all that. Perfect memory and so many triggers on top of it to boot. But I do worry how I must seem, and I kick myself for showing so much. For not appearing stronger. It's worst when I have time to think."

"And you… I see it sometimes, that maybe you've felt a close loss, but you never speak of it. When it starts to show, you push it back, don't let it out. Mine's so fresh, but… I'll get to that place, somehow."

Helena takes a moment to worry her lip as she watches Ben's departure. She looks back up at Cat. "You know, I don't think he likes me." She sounds somewhat confused and a touch disapointed. But she doesn't let it linger before replying, "I have too much to do, and no time to wallow. It's for the best."

Her reply is simple and honest, quietly spoken. "You know if you need or want it, my ear is your ear, my shoulder is your shoulder, Stormy." Eye contact is attempted for a brief second, then she shifts topics to let Helena not even acknowledge what she said if she prefers. "Eileen Ruskin hates us now, but she called their group the Vanguard. I took Doctor Ray to Reed Street, he met Gillian who's squatting there now. I think he wants her to find us, he commented about our location in front of her and asked me for the password. But I didn't say it."

"I could go talk to her." Helena says. "See if she'll come." They have some connections, perhaps Helena can use that.

"I think sometimes I can figure him out, and at others the man is insufferable," Cat states. "I think, can't be sure, but I think he expected curiosity would do the trick. I mean, there she is, survivor of Sylar, refused healing of her head wound, but she did let me sew it up. She could be in a safe house, I'd have taken her in, but she chooses to squat in that freezing loft. Offers get rejected, you know? But if finding us is her idea, after something overheard, that might work."

She pauses to grin. "It got me drawn in, you know. I met Peter at the Wench, and we talked, later I saw him on the street talking about a meeting the next day at the Deveaux building address, so I went there and watched the place. He found me after the meeting was over, still watching."

Then she finishes off her banana bread muffin and snags one of the blueberry kind.

December 27th: The Human Can Opener
December 27th: Float On
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