Deeper Still


vincent_icon.gif elisabeth_icon.gif

Scene Title Deeper Still
Synopsis So Elisabeth, in how much shit is the world in exactly?
Date October 16, 2009

West Side Sushi

Located in the Upper West Side, West Side Sushi is a small sushi bar and restaurant that caters towards a medium income though manages a more upscale environment. The decor is tasteful and modern, vibrant in the tone of wooden floors, reflective glass bars, tricky lighting fixtures and artwork on the walls. A winding bar occupies one side of the building, the other devoted to private, comfortable tables with booths and armchairs. A decent range of Japanese cuisine is offered, from light meals to proper dinners, with a focus on sushi of varying prices. A full range of liquor is also available, including sake.

It has a trendy kind of vibe that implies temporary success and limited lifespan, but while it's in its prime, it's a nice place to go, with a casual if still sophisticated ambience with prices that aren't out of reach of the common man but quality that doesn't guarantee it will be overlooked by the wealthier patron.

It's possible that Vincent simply has a propensity for running early, but as he has been before, he's already here, and he's already waiting. Technically off duty, he's seated near the back at a booth by himself with an open bottle of cold beer that's had long enough to condensate between turns of the plastic menu in his hands.

He's fairly easily recognizable even from behind and at a distance, overcoat and briefcase slung into the span of booth bench deeper in against the wall. The suit he's wearing is black over an olive shade of tan with a darker tie — professional as ever.

Elisabeth's arrival is heralded only by the hostess who escorts her to the table. With a brief smile at the woman, Elisabeth slides into the booth on the opposite side from Vincent and looks toward him as she settles, unbuttoning her coat and sliding out of it. The black long-sleeved blouse she wears beneath is also covered by a lightweight black cardigan that hides her shoulder rig. "Sorry… came straight from the precinct," she murmurs quietly. She looks… uncertain. Uneasy. When the waitress comes back by, she glances up and says, "Oh! Uhm… a beer is fine. Whatever you have on tap, please." She doesn't really care what kind of drink it is, honestly. Pensive blue eyes return to Vincent and she says, "I'm sorry I'm late."

"I haven't been here long," may or may not be a lie. This is probably his first beer, even if he does look casually unruffled across the table from her. In his element, so far as trendy sushi restaurants constitute an element. There's certainly nothing pensive about him. He isn't furtive or coy. He's just here, looking over a menu in a sushi restaurant with various rolls reflected dim off his plastic menu and off of his glasses.

The menu gets a cursory glance. Though Elisabeth is not a regular, she's been by several times. Enough to know what her standby order is going to be anyway. And besides… she's not exactly hungry. But she'll wait until orders have been made before she finally raises a bubble around the two of them. She's gotten quite good at the one-way bubble, too… the sounds from outside still filter in, but what they say is going no further than the table. It's a skill she's begun practicing as a way of not drawing attention to what she's doing. And though it's not perfect, it also gives her leeway to listen more carefully to his person, to at least try to determine if he's wired before she speaks. "Detective Lazarro… " Liz nibbles her lip. "It sounded to me like you had some pretty specific thoughts that you wanted addressed. You've given me days to think about it, and frankly… Considering what's going on out there in the streets, I'm inclined to believe that for the most part I can justify actions that I've taken." She grimaces faintly. "And if I can't, well… maybe it's time to turn in the badge anyway." She looks away from him and then back. "So… tell me what exactly you want to know and … I'll try to explain myself."

"I want to know what you've been doing off the record with these people, and why." Simple as that. So says a lift at his brows, concise and to the point. "Did you go to them? Did they approach you? What about their operations has allowed you to feel comfortable with the things you have done. Assuming, of course, that you are — it sounds that way, from exchanges we have had thus far. As for specifics and exacts, right now, I can only know what you are willing to tell me."

Elisabeth leans back in her seat, smiling vaguely at the waitress when she sets the glass of beer in front of her, and takes in a deep breath. "What I've been doing off the record with 'these people' is … at the risk of sounding ridiculously melodramatic," she says in a tone that turns very dry at that last, "… is saving the city. And in one case the planet." The glass twirls in her hand a little and a frown furrows her brow. "Following the attack on Washington Irving, I wanted to assist in locating the Vanguard and getting justice for my students. I knew… that another teacher at the school had some ties." Teodoro Laudani has burned his own identity already, and it's easily obtained intel that he used to teach there as well. "He sympathized with what I wanted, and he offered since I was going back to the police force to send me whatever intel he and his contacts could come up with. In the months following the Irving situation, they gave me information that did in fact pan out. Their intel helped…. with the PARIAH raid, their intel is what sent Darius Johnson and me to search the bridges for bombs, and their intel was what allowed us to stop the viral attack from being loosed. The night of the Narrows collapse, there were human vectors of the virus in a truck on the bridge. In addition, there were people in several locations — Sea View Hospital, Eagle Electric, and ConEd — with other delivery methods in place.

“I personally was on-site at Sea View, and with a small team that included Homeland Security agent Minea Dahl, we destroyed the virus and its delivery system with thermite. Ivanov and his team did the same at Eagle Electric. And a man named Conrad Wozniak, an audiokinetic like me, gave his life to bring ConEd down on the heads of the leaders of the group — who were mobilizing rocket-launched aerial delivery over the middle of town. Any one of those deliveries succeeding would have been catastrophic." She sounds weary as she gives her explanation. "While I am not entirely comfortable with actions that I've taken because they are outside the bounds of my job … I feel that they were and are within the scope of the oath I took to serve and protect."

Lazzaro listens. That's all he can do, really, while she goes on, but his lack of interruption is something in itself. He doesn't even move to bump knuckles against the damp of his beer bottle until she's wound down into a pause, distracted enough that he nearly misses on his first attempt to pick it up for a swallow. "It sounds like you were successful," is what he opts to say first, infuriating neutrality maintained even through talk of near apocalypse once he's had a beat or two to regain his bearings.

"Do you know anything about the virus? I suppose my other concern would be the fact that none of you felt you could trust the government itself to mobilize and take appropriate action."

She takes a swallow of her beer, and then looks at him. "That's bullshit. For several reasons," Elisabeth replies quietly. "Before I answer that question, tell me something… you ever heard of The Company? Also known as Primatech Paper?"

"Do you think so?" There's an earnest punctuality to the posit of that question in light of her declaration of bullshit, but the pitch black of his eyes is hard to read beyond curiosity filmed matte at the surface. Her actual question re: The Company gets an even, "No." Another sip of beer later, he tacks on a mild, "Should I have?"

"Not necessarily. They keep a damn low profile," Elisabeth replies. "In part, The Company is… for lack of a better term… the black ops arm of Homeland Security. The people who founded the Company knew about Evolveds something like fifty years ago, and they were powerful people — they began building what was intended to be a system to protect Evolved people when, not if, their existence was made known. Yeah, yeah," she says with a grimace, "It's all conspiracy nut bullshit. Whatever they were doing in the past, the only part that is relevant NOW is that they are an independent, unacknowledged arm of Homeland. Not all Homeland agents are Company people, nor vice versa. I think for the most part, the rank and file of this organization are actually on the up and up — just people trying to do the right thing for the country."

Elisabeth shrugs a bit and says, "Anyway… they're out there, doing this job same as us. But the people in charge… " She pauses, and says, "The people in charge are also the same people who did things like develop a virus that would have infected and then killed 90-plus percent of the world's population within six months. And with only their handpicked people made immune…. well, you can see what that might do in the hands of someone like Kazimir Volken of the Vanguard." There is one more brief pause, and Elisabeth says quietly, "Information on who the Vanguard members were, what they were planning, and even how was supplied to me. I tried to get people to listen. Harvard said what I had wasn't enough to act on. He wasn't willing to act on an anonymous tip. Ivanov tried his bosses, and they didn't listen either. And Dahl at that time wasn't Homeland yet, so far as I know … or hell, maybe she was and that's why she helped. All I know is that… there were a lot of boots on the ground in that one, and yeah… ultimately we succeeded. And then Homeland swooped down on the bridge and took some of those same people who'd just saved everything and chucked them into Moab Federal Penitentiary."

Elisabeth pauses to take a breath. It seems like now that SOMEONE in the department is willing to listen, she's willing to talk. A lot. Maybe too much. "And if you want proof of the existence of that place — which is basically Evo Gitmo, with no trial and no due process for anyone's actions, entirely against the Constitutional principles we're supposed to be upholding — I can get you actual proof of it. Aerial recon, the whole bit."

More listening. More watching. More long stretches of silence from his side of the table, even once plates are set out before them both and he's made cursory progress towards pushing cheap wooden chopsticks free of their paper packaging. A twitch of his fingers splinters them apart once they've turned over once or twice in his grasp — idle manipulation while he looks her over and has to decide where he wants to start in there, if he does at all.

"I would be interested in seeing that, actually, if you wouldn't mind. I've seen no evidence of the facility's existence myself, but Varlane was insistent."

Taking her chopsticks up, Liz toys with her dinner and merely nods. "I'll leave it for you by tomorrow," she tells him quietly. With all those words finally purged, she goes quiet, waiting for whatever he wants next.

"Excellent," granted in turn, Vincent turns a piece of roll over with a deft twist of sticks without actually lifting it to his mouth, likewise playing where he should be eating. His mother would be so displeased. "Any information you could acquire about the man-made virus would be welcome as well. Otherwise…I appreciate that you have been forthcoming with me."

There's a faint smile, a bit sad around the edges. "Well, I think if I'm going to tank my career and incriminate myself…. I might as well give you as many of the details as possible," Elisabeth finally says. "After all, at this point… it's in for a penny, in for a pound. Since the remnant of the Vanguard is out there and in possession of a nuclear weapon at this point, I figure you might need that intel as to who is still out there and a threat. The information flow hasn't really stopped. I get updates periodically on things like Humanis First personnel when they come across it, and some of them are even out there attempting to stop Norman White. The Municipal Building was not his only target that day." Elisabeth eyes him and says quietly, "You asked me why I work with them. What allowed me to feel comfortable with what I've done. Those are the answers to that question. We work with criminals every day, Detective Lazarro — we flip small-time criminals and offer immunity to take down bigger ones. They're breaking the law. In a lot of ways. But ultimately, thus far… the things that I've personally been witness to have been for the greater good."

"A nuclear weapon." It's not a question. You can tell because there's a period. Elisabeth can tell because there is suddenly an intensity to the black bore of his stare that has literally been non-existent for the entire course of the conversation up until this point. Brows level, the scar along the side of his skull shadowed thin with a slight turn of his head, he sits with chopsticks poised mid-poke. It's a little while before he resumes normal operation again. A few seconds. A minute. Somewhere in there.

"Whatever you are willing to share, I am willing to make use of. I am not William Harvard. And I am definitely not FBI." By a long shot, if the full measure of his downplayed and utterly natural contempt is any indication. Chopsticks grip adjusted, he draws in a slow breath and eventually nods. To what, no telling.

"I look forward to seeing what you come up with. For now, though, I think I've reached my capacity for apocalyptic doom and gloom. How do you feel about spicy tuna?"

There's a soft chuckle as she looks up at him, having been expecting patent disbelief. Liz is not exactly relaxing in his presence, but at least the quip serves to break the tension that's been building in her. She nods a little. "I like the spicy tuna — it's good here. But I admit that I'm more partial to the California rolls." She feels like there's a bit of weight off her chest. They do say confession is good for the soul. Her anxiety levels aren't going to ratchet down anytime soon, but she avoids reaching for the small bottle of pills in her jacket, instead taking a long swallow of her beer before actually digging into her food. She'll wind up taking home far more than she actually eats, but… maybe, just maybe, she isn't actually going to jail. Maybe the sky isn't falling!

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