Coming Home Is Never Easy


elisabeth2_icon.gif luther2_icon.gif

Scene Title Coming Home Is Never Easy
Synopsis There are always questions that have no right answer.
Date March 4, 2019

Raytech Main Offices, Conference Room

The conference rooms make a decent place for Elisabeth to try and get up to speed, not just on the world itself but also on Raytech and its projects. She doesn't officially work for the company, but she lives in the corporate apartments with Aurora and she's in the halls of the complex a lot. This morning finds her in the conference room with a tablet computer and a cup of coffee, apparently continuing her 'studying' of the years she's missed.

From outside the glassed-in room, she's perfectly visible. Shoving her hair back from her forehead, though, she seems to be unhappy with whatever she's reading. Her expression holds a deep sadness, a haunted kind of rage that doesn't really have a target except the screen in front of her.

In any dimensional timeline, Luther has a lumbering gait that distinguishes his stride from others and makes him recognizable even when not visible. The recently returned head of security has had a return without fanfare (per his own request), and instead has been making the rounds as was standard for the man. He so happens to be a few strides slower than the usual this go around, but the slower pace has allowed him to catch some more otherwise passed over faults in the building he patrols. Thus armed with clipboard in hand, pen and paper, he writes down thoughts and observations. Old school tech at RayTech Industries.

One such observation is the sight of Elisabeth Harrison alone within the conference room. For all that he'd heard of the travelers who'd returned, he hadn't exactly been in a condition to interact at the time. But here and now, Luther finds himself reluctant to disturb the image of the woman seated in her studies by greeting her. Plus, she looks upset.

So he stands there, looming tall outside the glass. Observing.

It takes less than 5 seconds from his pause to her blue eyes are pinning him through the window of the conference room. Apparently she is hyperaware of her surroundings, which perhaps is a good thing… although the ready-for-combat body language that is just as quickly forcibly relaxed might not be such a great thing. Her expression eases from one of threat assessment to a cautious welcome complete with a small smile and a gesture to the door that invites him to enter, if he wants.

The tablet is pushed away a bit so that he doesn't feel like he's an interruption. It's not as if she's doing anything time-critical.

Elisabeth receives a furrow browed look from Luther for her tension. The security chief recognizes the posture, but manages not to reciprocate. The glass between them for those scant seconds survives intact. At her invitation he tucks his clipboard under arm, steps to and through the doorway.

His first words offered are at a polite clip and tone. "Mornin', Miss Harrison. Everything alright?"

"Good morning, Mr. Bellamy. I'm…" Elisabeth pauses and then wrinkles her nose. "I'd say I'm fine, but I'm finally catching up on the details of what happened in Massachusetts back when we went to Alaska," she admits. "I never thought you all had it… easy. I just didn't know how far downhill it went."

She rests her elbows on the table and brings her coffee cup close so she can toy with it. Her gaze is fixed on the cup, a little uncertainty showing in her posture now. "I didn't have the chance to say thank you to you… for everything you did in New Mexico." Her blue eyes flicker upward. "I'm very glad to see that you're recovering. I hate that people got hurt."

Luther remains silent through the response, grey eyed gaze fixed on the woman and watching her as she explains her solo activity. But when she looks to him and thanks him, then it's his turn to dip his gaze downward. A few thoughts tumble through him, possible responses. None of them win out immediately. The one that does comes out subdued in a quiet rumbling timbre, "We lost a lot of good people."

They remain currently unnamed by the security chief, but another thought bubbles to the surface as he adds, "So did Miss Gray's forces, I believe." And in that moment he approaches from the door, closing the distance until he is able to set his clipboard down on the table. Luther's brow furrows again as he studies the woman across from him.

And then it's his turn to explain, "Before the battle, she came to me. Well. She sent a bluebird." The man's fingers curl around his pen. "She said she tried to help you. Showed me a vision, and you were there. In a forest, you, her, Mateo… and Gabriel Gray. But things went wrong. What… What actually happened?"

He can still recall the words in his mind only, the ones Eileen had conveyed.

With or without me, people will die today if that portal opens.

Pulling in a long breath, Elisabeth leans back in her chair and looks at the ceiling, wetting suddenly dry lips. What actually happened? It's not exactly a loaded question… it's just an echo of the same question she's asked herself for years now. Releasing the air in her lungs slowly, she leans forward onto her elbows again.

Dragging her hand over her mouth, there is regret in her blue eyes. "We landed in Eileen's world in 2012… a world where Pinehearst never fell. People were underground fighting Petrelli there the same way we fought him here. In late 2014, several things happened. Arthur — who was Samson Gray in an Arthur meat suit, which we didn't know — killed that world's version of me to rattle some cages. The Underground sent a bomber into Pinehearst to destroy the machine. And I believed Magnes killed in the blast." Elisabeth grimaces. "I wanted… so much to stay away from all the people we knew because we'd had contact with that future before. People were building good lives. But… I felt like I didn't really have other options at that point but to ask Gabriel for help."

She goes quiet for a long moment, memories playing through her head.

“You could stop.” Eileen, largely silent until now, is careful to dull her voice’s natural edge. “It’s been years,” she continues, neutral, even kind, “you have a home here, your families. Our government is progressive, benevolent. Your children would grow up in a world that embraces people like us. A world without real sickness, or disease. Without war.” Her voice sounds raw, almost rough, as though she’s been screaming.

— the radioactive-lined portal starts expanding, incrementally. A second later, it's the size of a disc. A few more, it's the size of a record. The edges seem corroded, as if the portal were burning through reality, bleeding from beyond, like a projection from melting film, like the nightmare dimming from your waking mind, a cigarette burn against paper, a sun swallowing the sky.

The size of a mirror on the wall.

The size of a door.

My world is not safe, are words that ring with better clarity in their minds, ordering their thoughts into something they can hear like a whisper. If you assume a black hole goes somewhere, own the moment you set foot sideways.

As Mateo's heart begins to stutter, Liz looks toward Gabriel. "Stop! Don't feed it more!"

“Gabriel,” Eileen reiterates, struggling to wrangle her own emotions. Fear is high among them. “Listen to Harrison. To me. You have to close it.”

He says, "No," throwing an urgent, if highly distracted look towards her. Wildness contained with solid flesh and bone. "It's broken.

"I can fix it."

When she looks up at him, the regret is still firmly in place. "We tried a test portal that day in the woods. The portal opened to the Wasteland and yanked one of the hunter bots. Eileen was caught in the crossfire while Gabriel was… entranced by whatever it was he could sense in there." The thing they loosed on this world, Elisabeth fears. "She was dying. And he gave up his life along with Volken's power to let it save her instead. It kills when it jumps hosts."

A beat passes and she says softly, "I got her husband killed. Even though she had probably pleaded with him not to help me." Her sorrow and guilt are brutally evident.

Luther remains quiet for her exposition of events and doesn't interrupt the moment when he witnesses that same expression befall Elisabeth, one that recognizes regret and guilt with memories. For a long moment of his own, the security chief is silent as he stares back at her.

"You did," he eventually rumbles out in agreement of her conclusion, flat and seemingly neutral. "Maybe you thought you didn't have any other options, but you always had a choice. Just that the choices made come with the consequences that must be borne. Miss Gray chose revenge. Richard chose you. And I and my team chose to see this through however it played out, in these experiments that put all our lives at risk."

His hand curls and uncurls in a loose fist, fingers flexing and testing their strength. "So let me ask you something else, Miss Harrison. What do you plan on doing here?" Luther turns his gaze away to the empty hallway as if to give her a moment to think on it, then back to the woman. "Is this company still at risk with you and yours being here?"

Elisabeth doesn't flinch from his words. She may have felt like she had little choice, but as Eileen pointed out the day it all went to hell… she could have chosen to stop. To let Arthur — or rather Samson — come for her and for the rest of them instead of risking other people. And she has to live with that choice.

When she meets his gaze, there's a flash of something harder through her blue eyes. "It's possible," she concedes. "Whatever the fuck that was that came through the portal with us is loose now. And I've no idea what agenda it may have." Her faint smile holds no humor. "But I sincerely doubt it's at any more risk now than it was before I got here, when Richard's attention was split between getting to us and keeping his people safe. There's no division of attention now — Raytech is not just his people, they're our people. And protecting our people has always been our number one priority, Mister Bellamy."

Her tone implies the query, Does that answer the question?

Our people. The turn of phrase turns Luther’s focus away from the immediate alarm that crawls up his back from the notion that something came through the portal, to the woman seated before him. Suspicion narrows his eyes as he regards her, the sort of motivation questioning stare burrows its way through the air from the security chief to his target. “RayTech’s protection is my priority as Head of Security,” he responds evenly with a slant of his head, “And that includes not just Richard, but all the Rays. The teams, the staff.”

He takes in a long breath, eyes still trained on Liz as he straightens. “You didn’t answer the question, though. What are your plans? Signing back up with the company?” His hand waves in indication of the room they’re in. “You moving in to this for an office?”

At his assertion, Elisabeth eases slightly, fighting the defensive reaction to his queries. "I've seen how well you do your job, Mister Bellamy … I can't imagine anyone better suited," she replies. "I don't know my plans yet. I'm still getting my feet under me and my daughter settled. I… haven't really thought much about working for Raytech, honestly, so I can't answer that question. But if my using the conference room as a place to read is a problem, I can move back to my apartment. It's not a problem."

Tipping her head, she studies him quietly, uncertain if they have a problem between them or if he's just making sure he knows the lay of the land in his typically brusque fashion. "I don't, however, intend to be a threat to anyone. I'm really just… trying to figure out how to live here and what I'm supposed to do now that all my focus isn't on getting home."

Despite her compliment to whether or not he’s best suited, Luther looks disgruntled enough to indicate he might disagree with that given the recent events. But, he doesn’t give voice to that inner thought. Instead the security chief listens to her plans or lack thereof, blinking slowly at the latter remark. Or is it a reassurance? “It’s quiet here,” he says as a note of their current surroundings, “but it ain’t a library.” Brusque are his words, or rather matter-of-fact. Still… “So long as there aren’t any meetings scheduled in the room, and you got a badge cleared…” He shrugs a shoulder, a conclusion implied she’s fine where she is.

But it’s her statement about figuring herself out that lingers with the man, and Luther considers. “The agents - SESA - had you sign those NDAs, right? Got you an identity and that stuff?” That stuff… his demeanor was relaxing a slight touch. “They gave you some idea what you could do, or just cut you loose?”

Elisabeth nods slightly to his acquiescence that she can use the room if nothing else is happening in it, from all appearances grateful. It's a place that has windows so she can see what's coming at her and it's a safe location… those things are important right now. "Thank you," she says quietly.

As to the other query… well, that's a little harder. She looks down at her hands for a moment, rubbing them up and down her thighs in an unconscious gesture of uncertainty. "The others who came through with us… SESA gave them new identities and helped backstop the backgrounds that were built for them. But Magnes and I are locals. This is our home, so we didn't need to be given new identities. We just resume our own." She is quiet and then looks up at him. "But the life I left here? It's not the same life I'm coming home to. I don't… fit this world yet. We weren't quite cut loose, but … sort of."

Furrowing his brow, Luther blinks in a measure of surprise for what she describes as her and Magnes being "locals" and the results of this government's handling of their identities and her feelings of uncertainty. When his grey eyes flick away in thought and processing, he doesn't verbalize a response right away but the man's posture is telling. He doesn't exactly feel comfortable about it either.

Then again, knowing what she knew of Bellamy in the Wasteland, that could just be his default state in any timeline.

"Well," says Luther once he gathers his thoughts, "you have a chance to start over now. A chance to settle down and raise your kid in what hopefully will be a good place." His gaze dips to the conference table top briefly as he concludes in a phrase that sounds a little warmer, a little more hopeful if quoted from somewhere, or someone, else. A phrase told to him before. "The war's over… You've come home."

He's been a combat veteran, and like recognizes like. "We both know it's not as simple as that. Coming home… is a process," Elisabeth murmurs quietly. "No matter how much I want to be home, and I will get there, …." She trails off. She's not there yet. But the determination to do the work and make it home again in all ways is also evident. She offers him a small smile. "Seeing my daughter with the opportunity to know her father means everything to me. I know most of you had no idea what you signed on for. But… I owe all of you more than I can probably ever repay. Thank you for helping us come home."

Maybe it's just the energy of the room, or the shift of that small smile and the mention of her daughter getting to see and know her father, that changes the man's inner balance that tips it further towards unsettled. A flash of discomfort is quickly dismissed by the short nod from Luther. He turns back for the door, using the further tucking of his clipboard and notepad as a distraction. Halfway in to the turn he pauses, stopped on an inward realization.

"Well I won't keep you further from your studies. If there's anything that you need from the team, Miss Harrison," the security chief rumbles to cover up the awkward silence, leaving the offer unfinished and open. With that, he completes his turn and steps for the door, heading off to complete his rounds.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License