Coincidence Or A Sign?


elisabeth_icon.gif leon_icon.gif

Scene Title Coincidence or A Sign?
Synopsis Or does it really matter if it gives you a new angle of attack?
Date Apr 20, 2011

Grand Central Terminal

She's not the most common sight down here, but Elisabeth Harrison is becoming a familiar one. She's always a little on edge in the underground safe house. A little jumpy, a little uneasy. Not as if that's unique to her, considering everyone who's down here is specifically living under the radar. But there's a different kind of uneasiness — it's not the fear of other people, it's more the sense that just being down here bothers her a little, perhaps.

The blonde makes her way through carrying a bowl with her. Someone made a tub of mac-n-cheese — it's maybe not the most nutritious food around, but it's better than a lot of things. She finds a quiet corner and settles in with the bowl and spoon. She always looks a little lost. Being homeless is a very new experience for her.

Likewise, James Leonard Richmonds isn't the most common of sights here. He's got a public life to live, and it tends to take him places. Poker tournaments don't restrict themselves neatly to New York City. But today he's here to help out in whatever way he can, which usually also involves trying to lift people's spirits. Or at least grant some attention to those who look like they could use it.

So when he notices Elisabeth in her corner, Leon heads over to the woman. "Good afternoon." He greets as he points at a seat next to her, "Mind if I join you?" It's a simple question, really. And he doesn't look like he'd push if she said no. "I'm Leon." He adds for her benefit. "If you ever watch poker shows, you might have seen me. I'm a pro poker player, so they invite me now and then."

Elisabeth pushes her hair back over her shoulder as she looks up, blue eyes taking in the man. She smiles faintly. "Sure, cop a squat," she invites mildly. "Liz. 'Fraid I don't watch poker shows." Although if the man himself watches the news, her identity is going to be pretty self-evident. "What's got you hanging out down here, pro poker player Leon?" she asks.

"My fiancee was Evolved. She dragged me in." Leon explains as he sits down, smiling at the woman next to him, even though there's a hint of sadness in his eyes. Must be related to the past tense. "And, I dunno. I like to think I do the right thing by helping out, Liz." He pauses as he remembers something, "By the way, I met Hannah Emerson recently. She appears to miss you, from what I could glean between the words." He doesn't clarify why, or how, though.

The blonde blinks at him. Once again the lack of six degrees of separation from anyone in this city startles her. She should stop being surprised. "I miss her too," Elisabeth says finally, stirring the bowl in her hand absently. "I hate that I left my team at the mercy of a bunch of assholes." She grimaces a little. "It was something I had to do, though."

"If you hadn't left, they'd still have been left at their mercy, and you'd have been in jail." Leon points out with a wry smile. "I have no clue whether I'll meet her again, and I'm not sure I can tell her if I do. She was talking to someone else, mostly. An elderly male, African American. Can't recall his name, I'm afraid." The poker player shrugs it off, "Life's tough these days. In some ways, I'm lucky I'm not Evolved. I could've lived a regular life, even. Of course, I'd have been a lazy bastard who was too afraid to help those in need, so I'm not sure I'd have wanted to. It'd have been easier, sure. But I've never been one for easy paths."

Elisabeth laughs softly. "Well, you fit right in around here. And I didn't expect you to pass the message — I've already seen her. She'll… be okay." Of that the woman is sure. Elderly male African American…. there's a bit of a wince. Ziadie is an unfortunate casualty of her and Felix's flight into the underground. Blowing out a breath, she offers Leon the bowl of mac-n-cheese. "You want it?" She's lost her appetite thinking about it. "Life's tough, but there are bright moments. And maybe, with a little luck… the future won't look as dark as it does right now."

"No thank you." Leon responds, turning down the food. "I've already eaten, and my brief stint trying to become a dentist left with me a healthy respect for keeping my body in shape." He grins wide enough to show his near-perfect teeth. "My father always wanted me to become a dentist, I bet he's still silently upset that I didn't. Ah well, my younger sister appears to be on her way to become a fine dentist, so I suppose she'll have to pick up my slack." He chuckles at his own joke. "I'm a Mathematician, according to my degree. Specialized in statistics and probability theory." He pauses before he adresses the latter point, "Lady Luck is a good friend of mine, let's hope that hope, luck, and hard work will be enough."

"Really." Elisabeth's statement is a bit flat. "The last probability theorist I knew was a huge motherfucker, pardon my French," she tells him. And then grimaces. "Don't mind me, I'm in a bit of a bitch mood at the moment." She tilts her head. "So what do you do around here?"

"My apologies for my profession, then. I'm afraid that they are quite common, yes." Leon shrugs obviously as he glances away, "Then again, motherfuckers are quite common in all professions, some just a little more than others. I only became a probability theorist because I wanted to focus on poker theory." He glances back, "Poker is my life, my passion. I've been playing for about half my life." He doesn't look like he was old enough to play poker when he started, if he speaks the truth. "I just have a degree as a backup."

She laughs. "Oh, don't apologize for your profession," Elisabeth tells him. "You….." She pauses. "I'm starting to think in terms of how everyone I meet might be able to help me. It's not a mindset I particularly like much." She pauses and admits, "I was sitting here wondering if poker theory could help this situation any better than chess theory ever did." She glances at him with a rueful smile. "So you haven't been playing long then," she observes. "What, 10 years, tops?"

Leon isn't quite that young either, but he chuckles. "I'm twenty eight years old, do the math." He answers the question, "The disadvantage of chess theory is that chess gives you all the knowledge of the situation. The only unknown is what your opponent will do next." He explains calmly, "Poker is about knowing your cards, and estimating what surprises your enemy might have based on his actions, and how he reacts to yours. I think it might be a better thing to base your strategies on in cases like this." He pauses before he adds ruefully, "It also appears we've been dealt a few poor hands in a row, and we didn't start out with even stacks."

Elisabeth tilts her head and considers. "Well… at least poker theory I might have some chance of understanding," she grumbles in a mostly good-natured tone. And hey, it's a whole new perspective at least. "I like the way you think."

A hearty chuckle at those comments, both of them. "Thank you. And poker theory can get quite complex, trust me. It's more than just math, it's also got a heavy dose of psychology. There's a reason telepaths are banned from most poker tournaments. They get a free pass on an entire level of play in poker. It's not fair." He smiles faintly, "Of course, it simply not being fair is only an excuse when money is on the line, the game wasn't designed with mind reading in advance." He seems to consider a few things, "If only we could read the minds of our adversaries, I think it'd help with winning this 'poker game'." The quotes he makes with his hands as he speaks.

"Believe me when I tell you that the people who are our enemies right now? We don't need a telepath — their goals are pretty clear. What we need are laws that actually allow — as an example — a telepathic cop with probable cause to read someone and have that information be admissible in court." She grimaces. "Barring that…. we need a bunch of people to open their eyes and see what the hell's coming at us and have the wilingness to stand against it instead of just saying 'oh, it doesn't involve me' and letting the vocal bastards win."

"True enough. But let me pull out the poker anology again." Leon says with a smile, placing his hands together by the fingertips. "In a poker game, the opponent's goals are usually easy to figure out. The long term ones anyway. But you have to see what kind of tricks he's got up his sleeves to beat him. We know the long term goals of our enemies, but what we don't know is what tricks they got up their sleeves. That's where a telepath would come in. Or a spy, or anything like that. Possibly a telepathic spy."

Elisabeth tilts her head and looks at him. "So, Leon…. tell me something. Did you come sit next to me today just to give your thoughts on how to run a guerilla war?" she asks curiously. The one telepath that has already been close to the action got killed and resurrected, which she doesn't mention, but she's interested in his thoughts here. A new perspective is sometimes just what you need to have a breakthrough in tactics.

"No, actually, you brought that topic up, if I recall." Leon points out with a smile, putting his hands onto his lap and folding them. "But I have been thinking about it, I'll admit. But the only reason I came over to you was because you looked like you could use someone to talk to." He grins faintly, "I don't like seeing people sit all alone when I think they are in need of someone to bounce off what's troubling them. I'm not a psychiatrist, nor a psychologist, but you don't play professional poker without a healthy understanding of people."

The blonde grins. "Well…. I guess you learned far more about my psyche than I might want to admit in all of that, right?" Elisabeth replies, amused. "Heaven forbid I worry about the normal things people worry about — whether I'll have enough to eat on any given day or a safe place to sleep. Not that I don't worry about those, but … no. I'm sitting here trying to work through battlefield tactics and poker analogies." She shrugs and admits wryly, "I think I've forgotten how to hold a normal conversation."

Leon chuckles heartily, "I promise I won't use it against you." He says, his eyes twinkling as he gets out a coin. "Let me tell you something about my psyche. See this thing here? It's my lucky coin. Whenever I need to make a decision and can't decide, I narrow it down to two choices and flip it, I know it seems crazy, but it's served me well so far. I would have been a dentist" He says it like a dirty word, "By now if I hadn't trusted Lady Luck to know best."

Blue eyes study his face and Elisabeth's voice is quiet. "Fate's a bitch, and Luck is fickle," she tells him. "But if she's good to you, more power to you," she says. But something moves subtly in her expression, as if she can't help but wonder…. is Lady Luck so fickle? "There was a story about a man caught in a huge flood and he sat in a treetop," she tells him suddenly, pretty much apropos of nothing. "And a guy in a rowboat came by to rescue him, but the man in the tree turned him away saying God would save him. And then later a small group in a motorboat came by and they too were turned away. And then the Coast Guard came along with a helicopter, but still the man turned them away from saving him, insisting God would save him. When he got to the gates of Heaven, he was pretty upset and when St. Peter took him to stand before God the man demanded, 'Lord, why have you forsaken me?' And God looked at him like he was nuts. 'I sent you a rowboat, I sent you a motorboat, and I sent you a helicopter. What more did you want of me?'"

Liz pauses and looks out over the terminal. "I think you might be my helicopter, Leon," she muses softly.

Leon has heard that story before. It's not what surprises him, it's the last comment that does. "Well…" He says, surprise clear in his voice. "That's an… interesting statement. I'm not dismissing it, just so you know. But I'm not sure in what way you mean me to be your helicopter." He calms down a little, considering for a few moments. "But if you want me to pull you from your treetop and to safety, I'll try. I joined the Ferrymen in order to help people, after all. If you're in need of help, then I'm willing to supply."

"You may have already done," Elisabeth murmurs, picking up her bowl again and taking a bite. "You reminded me of what has always worked best for me. Trusting my gut. Taking a leap of faith and following it. Sometimes I get caught up in worrying about what other people are planning and I get lost in the big picture. But it's not the big picture I need to be worrying about so much. It's the small picture right in front of me," she observes, almost more to herself than him as she speaks around bites of macaroni.

"Norton said the same thing, and I didn't listen. And Jaiden said the same thing and I didn't listen. Now you're saying it." Elisabeth smiles a little. "I can take a hint. It's time to fall back to the smaller picture. We can't worry about saving the world, we have to worry about the people in our corner of it first."

Leon smiles, "Well, I'm glad to have been of assistance, even if I wasn't consciously trying to help you, yet." He extends his hand again, "If you want me to pull you up. If you need someone to talk to, and I'm around? I'll be there for you." He pauses with an impish grin, "Now don't think you're a special snowflake, I say the same to everyone who I think could one day need my help."

Elisabeth laughs softly. "You might come to regret that offer, being as I'm…. far less likely to keep my head down than most of the people you offer to help. I seem to have a tendency to go running about and making a lot of noise."

"I wouldn't make that offer if I didn't mean it." Leon says seriously. He smiles, but his tone is not anywhere near implying unseriousness. "I'm a man of my word, and while I might sometimes be forced to break it by circumstance, I don't break my word willingly. I don't like liars, and I like people who break their promises even less. So I tend to do neither."

She looks thoughtful and Elisabeth then offers him her hand. "It's really nice to meet you, Leon. And thank you." Maybe just for listening, or perhaps for being a far bigger help than he meant to be.

Leon shakes Elisabeth's hand with a smile. "It's nice to meet you to as well, Liz." He returns to her, releasing her hand. "I would finish eating that if I were you, it's getting cold." He nods to the mac an cheese she has in a bowl. "Unless you've had enough, in which case we should see if anyone else is hungry."

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