Divided Loyalties


aria_icon.gif elisabeth_icon.gif

Scene Title Divided Loyalties
Synopsis Aria tells a little more about Niles, and where he may have gone next.
Date May 5, 2009

St. Luke's Hospital

Aria Baumgartner's condition is stable, but it's going to take the blue-haired young woman awhile to heal yet. She can't speak, owing to the tube out of her neck and the damage done by Niles' knife. So the cops haven't taken detailed statements from her. Then again, most cops don't know she's a telepath and so can give her statement whether she can speak or not.

Her security involves a guard checking in on her every now and again, but other than that, she's left on her own. There's no TV in her rather dreary room, so there's nothing else for her to do but sleep.

Elisabeth so far is probably the only cop outside of Felix Ivanov who does know she can give a full statement. Not that the statement will likely help the cops much anyway. When she slips in, she does it quietly in case Aria's sleeping. She's been hurt badly. She'll wait patiently for the telepath to rouse from her doze, sitting in the chair next to the bed and doodling notes in her notebook while she waits. Her thoughts, if Aria chooses to listen beforehand, are a turmoil of random thoughts — thoughts about Wight, the time-traveling stuff, the case itself, Aria's condition, several other cases she's working on, a lot of things.

She doesn't have to wait long. Aria doesn't open her eyes, but instead reaches out her mind towards Elisabeth. I'm not sure what else there is to tell. A pause. Why have you come? There's a note of hostility in her mental tone. She's not overly fond of cops.

Elisabeth smiles faintly and looks at the form on the bed. "Because to catch him… to try to make sure he can't do what he and his time-traveling jackass friends have in mind… I need your help," she admits quietly. "He's not the only one, Aria. He and friends of his have come back to try to stop something from happening…. something that we believe is very important to the safety and security of all Evos. I'm not really here as a cop… I'm here as Cat's friend. But because of what I do for a day job, I have some questions to ask that some of them don't think of. Like… can you think of anyone that Niles was particularly fond of that he might have tried to contact in his future incarnation? Or a place that he might feel safe holing up?"

Think what you want to say to me. Or the people here will think you're crazy. Aria pauses, then, Or they will figure out what I can do. Then you'll never see me again. The girl in the bed turns her head towards the window. There's no kind of view here, just the worn side of another hospital building.

I can't be sure of who he's fond of anymore. If you had asked me before I would have said me, the others. But the only contact he's had with us is to try and kill us.

She should probably tell Cat that Niles has been here, that she sent him to Guiding Light. But she's police, and Niles' speech about trusting die Schweine is sharp in her memory.

Elisabeth shakes her head. They can't hear me out there. I've got a silence bubble the size of the room put up in here. And I didn't want to presume on your abilities. She tilts her head and considers Aria. Even without being a telepath, she knows how most people of the Farms feel about cops. Aria…. Cat's told me that you've done some things you're not proud of. And frankly? I couldn't care less what you've done to survive off the grid. The only reason I'm interested in the past is because it may give us a way to predict who he'll hit next, or what he might do. Believe me when I tell you that I have spent too long trying to protect people and dealing with the aftermath when I can't to out you. There's a flash of memory across her mind's eyes, the living room of the mass suicide — the bodies of those kids all covered with tarps.

You know those rumors about people just disappearing? You and I both know they're not rumors. The people responsible for that are the same people I'm trying to stop… and Wight and his friends are trying to KEEP us from stopping them. I still can't figure out why. But maybe, if we can contain them, we might learn why. She's being sincere here — Liz really has no interest in what Aria may have done.

Aria jolts her head away from the image that appears in Liz's mind, as if the motion would dismiss the mental image. There must be more to it than that. They made him disappear, these people. There's hesitation. For a long moment, their mental link is quiet. Then, He came to see me. He told me that he was locked somewhere, in a government cell. And from there they take him to prison for ten years. Right now, his self is locked away. Why would he not want to rescue himself? Your sources must be wrong. He killed Thea, tried to kill me because we would have protested to keep him in prison.

The problem with a mental link over verbal communication is that it gives hints of thoughts behind it. There's guilt that's obvious, shame, hurt. All things that wouldn't necessarily come across with the spoken word alone.

There's a wince, Elisabeth's sympathy for Aria's plight clear in both her body language and the tone of her thoughts. It doesn't surprise me that he's locked up somewhere. I know where he'll be in ten years, I just don't exactly know WHY. What did he do that drew their attention? And honestly? The way I see it is this: If you of all people testified against him to keep him in prison, I kind of get the impression that it would have to be something REALLY serious to make you turn on him and advocate keeping him there. Elisabeth sighs heavily.

Look… I don't have any answers for you on why they're not trying to break themselves out of Homeland's custody. Maybe they just don't have the power to do it…. maybe it's just that they have a bigger agenda. I don't even know for sure that a world without Homeland Security's Evo branch is a better place…. I can only tell you that right here and now? He's a murderer and an attempted murderer. Of INNOCENT people. No matter what else you or Thea have done… you haven't KILLED anyone that I know of. He's killing you merely because he's mad. And that … well, kind of speaks for itself, to my mind.

You don't understand, says Aria. And from the way she says that, she doesn't have the strength to make her understand. My hands are not clean, officer. I may not have killed with my own hands, but that does not mean I wasn't responsible for deaths. I am not an innocent. Please don't treat me as one.
Her eyes are open, but her face is turned away. They took him away because he's too powerful. You saw what he can do. His crimes were no worse than other Evolved. He was just too dangerous to be free.

There's a sigh and Liz nods a bit. Shit. she replies succinctly. Actually, it makes her wonder how they classify people as 'too powerful' or 'too dangerous'. It's not the first time she's wondered, just the most recent thing to bring up the thought. She pushes it away and says aloud mildly, "In this particular instance, you are an innocent. He's gunning for you for something you haven't done … yet. And in my book, that makes you as innocent as you can get."

Aria laughs. That causes a spike of pain. Her eyes pinch closed. I don't know what to tell you, officer. I can't give you anymore insight onto his mind or what he may do next. If you are right about his reasons for coming back, they don't match up with the man I know.

Blowing out a breath, Elisabeth nods. If you think of anyone in the present time that he might turn to who wasn't part of your immediate circle, a contact he had that he might still rely on, a place he might go to ground that he used before… anything like that might help us track him, Aria. I'm sorry… that we couldn't keep him from hurting you altogether. She moves to stand up, getting ready to leave the telepath. Can I get you anything? Maybe a TV to watch in here?

I'm fine, says Aria.

Silence. Stoic, stubborn silence. She stares up at the ceiling.

Then, I sent him to the Guiding Light Baptist church. I told him that Cat received a prophecy. Her hands clench together. A mix of shame and defiance transfers over their link.

Elisabeth looks at her, and then she nods slowly. Thank you. Because the first thing she'll do now is put a stakeout on the church. I know it's got to be hard for you see someone you know as a friend doing these things…. to know that things were bad enough that you chose at some time in the future to keep him in jail yourself. I'm sorry, Aria. Not so much for asking the woman the questions, but making her make the choice between telling Liz and not telling her about the church.

You aren't going to catch him there, says Aria. I know Niles. He's already been and gone by now. She bites the edge of her lip. I'm sorry Elisabeth. I owed him something. But now we're even. I promise I will tell you if he comes by again.

With a gentle smile, Elisabeth puts a hand on Aria's arm. I've been where you are…. torn loyalties, wondering whether to turn in someone I thought was a friend. Although 'turning in' in this case has other connotations. Don't be sorry. Just hang in there, okay? If nothing else, I haven't had any reports of people being hurt at the church, so I think we're all good, okay? She squeezes lightly and then goes to slip out. If you need anything, write the guard a note and have him call me.

Aria stares forward at a spot on the wall, vision distant, detached. And just when it seems like she's going to say nothing else, she simply says, Thank you.

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