Dismantling A Life


elisabeth_icon.gif jaiden_icon.gif

Scene Title Dismantling A Life
Synopsis The escape route has to be planned in advance.
Date Mar 30, 2011

Jaiden's Garage

It's the wee hours of the morning — curfew has broken, but barely 2 or 3 minutes ago. Meaning Elisabeth was out on the streets well before. And she's letting herself into his apartment with the key, locking it securely behind her. Then she leans on it. God, this is not what she thought she'd be doing today. She's dressed in a navy pantsuit, looking very businesslike with her blonde hair pinned up out of her way in that military fashion she's adopted for work. "Jaiden?" she calls, letting her ability carry her voice through the apartment without need of shouting. "Jaiden, you up?"

It is the wee hours of the morning, and like military trained him, like clockwork at 5:00am, Jaiden's eyes automatically snapped open. He's not really _awake_ as far as things go, but he is conscious - sitting on his couch with a mug of coffee cradled in both hands, blinking at the news as it scrolls across the screen of his TV. "Over here…" He lifts his free hand to give her a wave. "Didn't expect to see you so bloody early…"

"Yeah, well…. might be the last time I get to come by," Elisabeth admits with a smile. "The next time you see me here, it'll be because I need the escape route." She sets her keys and her turned off phone on his counter, strips out of her suit jacket, and then walks to the coffee pot to help herself. "I'm fucked," she tells him quietly. "And not in the good way."

Suddenly a knot of worry twists in Jaiden's stomach, the man suddenly snapping awake, straightening in his seat. "What's going on?" It's a simple question, but it needs to be asked, and more than likely has a massive amount of information linked to it.

She brings her heavily doctored coffee. "I came across information regarding a prisoner transfer. Prisoners important to the Ferry," Elisabeth tells him quietly as she moves to sit down. "Against Richard's better instincts, I passed it on to let them decide whether to move on it or not. I don't know if they are, I'll make another contact hopefully today. Because additional information was dangled in my path… and by virtue of the fact that it's an agent who already knows my ties to the Ferry from before I was FRONTLINE…. I suspect they're either fishing for me personally or they're fishing for the Ferry or both… and either way, they're going to have what they want. If I don't pass the information on, my original source is still compromised if the Ferry moves on it; and worse yet, the prisoners are being separated. So if I dont' pass on what I have, they have the chance of recovering one of their people but not the other, the arguably more important one to them. My own position's not compromised… right now, but I've been under DoEA investigation for months anyway." She pauses and sips. "If I do pass it on and they act on it, the information that there are two sites could only have come from me. And I'm burned entirely."

The basement, normally warm and secure, now seems cool - almost cold, judging from the gooseflesh that popped up on Jaiden's skin. He holds his coffee cup tightly, his mouth a grim line, a slash across his face before he reaches over to hit the power button on the TV, the screen flashing blue and then fading to black, the apartment going silent as a tomb. "Bloody hell….does that mean that's it, then? If you're a target, chances are I'm a target too, since you're here. Hell, they're probably watching right now, as far as I know." He leans back in the couch, sinking in slightly, looking at the wall for a second, then looking to Elisabeth. "You and I, we'll be okay, yeah?" It seems he's already lumped himself in with her.

"So far as I'm aware, you're not a target of anything," Elisabeth tells him. "Even if they know we're friends, you have never in any way had any trouble with the law here — your paperwork's all in order, you pay your taxes on time. You may be questioned because we're friends, but … so far as I know, there is nothing tying you to the Ferry. That said… you should certainly be cautious what you say to anyone. Even people you know well for a while." She takes another swallow of her coffee. "Given the way I expect this to go down when I pass this on, I'm going to slip out in the confusion on Saturday during the prisoner transfer. I'd like to come here to hole up until I can get to Francois. He'll be able to get me underground. Would that be okay with you?" She reaches out to clasp his hand. "We're going to be fine, Jaiden. I promise you that. I don't want to head for the Endgame safehouse myself… but if you see anything off or feel in any way threatened, either before Saturday or after I'm gone, you should do what you can to get there. I'm going to swap sim cards in my cell phone, and I'll get you the new number by tonight. It won't be active until Saturday night." She's covering her tracks. In serious ways.

As far as Elisabeth is aware, he's not, but Jaiden, being the overly prepared sort, is not willing to take that risk. "That's fine, Lizzie, totally fine. You'll actually be the first person holed up down here that I've had since starting up with the sailing club. Here…" Jaiden gets to his feet, motioning for her to follow. "Let me show you how to get in and how to get out in case things go well and truly pear shaped."

Jaiden walks to the bookcase mounted on the wall and points to three books, pulling them each out about four inches in a particular order, pausing about two seconds between each pull. Sensitive ears will detect a sliding and a 'click' sound every time he does that, and when the third book is pulled, a heavy *thunk* of a massive bar being retracted can be heard. The bookcase, at this point, slides out slightly, mounted on a quarter-inch-thick metal plate. It pivots on well-oiled hinges and reveals the safehouse inside. "Now…if this place is compromised, and you will know when it is, trust me, you need to get out. Over here, behind the generator…." He pads over there on bare feet, stepping gingerly because the floor is cold. "There's an access panel. Open it, turn the top knob, and it'll swing back. There's a ladder down there that leads to a storm sewer and that sewer leads to a subway tunnel a few blocks away. You can get out without being seen, and the chances of them finding this are pretty much zero. Did all this work myself…so no permits or anything for it."

Closing the access panel, Jaiden stands and rubs a hand through his hair, scrubbing his scalp with well-manicured fingernails. "I've got a couple of caches set up - one in northern New York, one in Canada. If you end up needing them, I'll give you the information on where to find them." he lets out a breath and chuckles. "Looks like I'm going to be busy before the show…even more than I was!"

Oh God, why's it always gotta be the sewers? Elisabeth wonders. "Can you…" She gulps, setting her cup down, "Can you leave a flashlight where I can get to it, in case I need to evacuate that way?" She's a good bit pale over the idea of the sewers. "And let's hope I don't need them." The blonde forces an attempt at a smile for him.

"You shouldn't need it - there are lights down there leading up to the subway tunnel. Did a little wiring when I first got here just in case. But yeah, totally. I'll have a big flashlight or two for you…and chances are, if they do come here, I'll be heading out with you." Jaiden moves over to give Elisabeth a hug, squeezing her tight around the shoulders. "You'll be fine, Lizzie…."

Elisabeth leans into the hug and admits softly, "I'm scared to death. I'm … on my way to the lawyer's office to sign all my personal property into my father's name. I put… identity papers in place for Richard, but … I always figured if I needed them it would be too fucking late to really worry about it — that I'd be getting dead in a fire fight." She shrugs a little. "I suppose I still could pull that off." It's a weak joke.

It's not funny, but Jaiden doesn't say so, instead closing his arms around Elisabeth, his coffee cup left on a counter somewhere, holding her very tight against him. "It's okay to be afraid, Lizzie." he murmurs softly into her ear, one hand coming up to cradle her head. Eleanor Roosevelt…she was a first lady in the 40's, I think, said, "You gain strength, courage, and confidence by eery experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, 'I lived through this horror I can take the next thing that comes along.'" You've gone through a hell of a lot, Lizzie…experiences that rightly should have been the end of you, but you survived. You're here, now. And you can beat this. You can take this." Jaiden kisses lightly on Elisabeth's forehead, cradling her face in both hands. "I will never let you fall, as long as I'm alive."

She looks up at the man and she has to smile at that. "What the hell did I do in a previous life to deserve all of you?" Elisabeth asks softly. "Thank you." She takes in a deep breath. "So…. I have a lot of things to do before Saturday's exodus from my own life. Is there anything you need before I go see a lawyer and then go tell Richard how much I've fucked things over?"

Jaiden shakes his head in the negative. "Just contingency plans on my part - stuff I hope I won't have to use, but is there in case I need it, backing up of all my pictures and documents to a secure location, and moving a few things that are special to me back to where I know no-one can get to them. Bluey too." Jaiden's teddy bear. "Get me your number as soon as you can. I'm not going to write it down, but I'll memorize it, and I'll expect you here on Saturday, sometime. Have someone deliver some clothes, or give me your sizes and I'll have some for you."

Well, there's a practicality that she hadn't thought of. Elisabeth looks … surprised. She's never lived life on the run, this will be a first. "Uhm… okay. I'll see what I can do about bringing spares. Or perhaps dropping a duffel bag off at Ygraine's that she can bring to you Thursday and you two can swap bags?"

Jaiden has only been on the run once, and it's always from somewhere that he didn't want to be. Having extra clothes is an essential thing, because nothing points you out faster than clothes that look like you've been living in for two weeks solid. "Whatever you choose works. I'll probably be seeing Ygraine daily until the show starts, so we should be able to transfer a good amount of stuff…." [

"O… okay," Elisabeth replies. She brings her hands up to his waist and hugs him tight. "Richard's gonna have a stroke," she tells him mildly. "Norton's gonna go ballistic. Felix…. I don't even know what Felix or the rest of my squad are going to do. Felix might actually disappear with me, I don't even know." She frowns. So many details. "I gotta get hold of Ryans or Raith. Today if possible. And Francois or Teo. ANd… I gotta move everything over. Reassure my dad." Oh God, that's horrible. "Anything else you can think of to cover my ass?"

"Don't tell anyone but Richard you're here, obviously." Jaiden thinks for a moment, gnawing his lower lip, leaning back to grab his wallet, fishing around inside for a card and scribbling an address on the back. "Anything you need to keep safe - photos, souvenirs, mementos - stick in a box and send it to this address. Use a laser printer to fill out the address and don't label the outside of the box with anything that says it's you. This address is where I'm sending things here….they'll keep it safe until we can pick it up. I pay for the service, after all, through an anonymous credit card held by a good Mr. Jacob Marley."

Elisabeth reaches out to take the card, and her hand is trembling as she takes it. She's really doing this. She's… doing the thing she's been afraid of for two years now. Walking away from her life. Or maybe… just maybe… for the first time really stepping into it. "All right," she murmurs. "I, uhm… I was planning on just giving all that to my dad, but… there may be things I send there. Thank you." Her mother's things… those Liz needs to make sure go to her father today. "Okay." She looks up at him and says, "I'll…. see you soon." She smiles a bit. "I was planning on showing up to your showing, but … I'm not sure that would be so wise now. We'll see how it plays out, okay?"

"Okay…." It's a simple statement, but the way he says it speaks volumes. The door to the safehouse is closed, the bolts locking back with heavy mechanical *clunks* as the books are shoved back into their required spaces, the apartment returning to normal now, as far as cursory glances go. "This is a scary time." Possibly the biggest understatement of the year. "But you're strong, Lizzie. You're one of the strongest women I know. You'll come out on top of this pile of shit smelling like a rose…I guarantee it."

Elisabeth snorts indelicately. "I don't go into anything assuming that," she tells him with a smile. She turns and walks back toward her jacket, her hand trailing gently along his arm for just a moment. And then she simply squares her shoulders, yanks on those bootstraps, and goes about the business of dismantling her life.

"Think positive, Lizzie!" Jaiden calls from the apartment as Elizabeth leaves. And then, probably as the only one who knows, or even sees, presses a kiss to his fingertips and blows it her way. "You'll be fine, girl….you're too strong to break to this. Not after being built up again." And Jaiden, in his apartment, grabs a box and starts loading it with bits of his life that matter, to be sent away to somewhere safe.

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