Do We Or Don't We Out HF?


elisabeth_icon.gif helena_icon.gif

Scene Title Do We Or Don't We Out HF?
Synopsis Liz meets Helena in the library.
Date Aug 29, 2009

New York Public Library

Although she knows that Cat has reported in to Helena on the whole 'she's recovering thing', Elisabeth wants to see Helena for herself. And so it is that word goes out to the blonde head of Phoenix that Liz will meet her in what used to be Phoenix turf. She doesn't mention that anyone might be actually staying at the library, just says 'meet me in the main foyer.'

When the sound of Helena approaching hits her, Elisabeth is wary and cautious, moving behind the circulation desk that sits there until she verifies by sight that it's Helena. Only then does she come out, her ears attuned to anyone else approaching from any direction. "Hey," she offers with a small, forced smile.

Helena has ample practice with this building. She knows how to approach it to shake off followers, to keep herself out of sight save from those inside the building who might be watching. All the little checkpoints, though like as not they're abandoned. When she does make it in, she looks warily around, her hands shoved in her pockets, until Liz makes her appearance. "Hey." she says quietly. "You look…better than expected. Hadley, or Deckard?"

Better than expected? Heh… if Helena only knew. "Deckard," Elisabeth replies quietly. Three days' worth of Deckard, but she doesn't elaborate. She's dressed in a pair of jeans, a loose T-shirt that looks like it might not even belong to her — it's rather large, and a pair of sneakers. Her blonde hair has been cut from its previous mid-back length up to just about shoulder-length and she absently shoves it back and then pushes both hands into her pockets. "I, uhm… finally caught up on the news," she says finally. "How're you holding up?" Because talking about Helena's a damn sight better than talking about Liz's mindset, she thinks.

Helena is no stranger to torture. It's just that the scars left over from it aren't on her body. "I'm fine." Helena says, almost tersely as she studies Liz. It's like she's waiting for the woman to spring something on her. "We're relocating. I'm working on some new media stuff. Trying to decide if putting certain information out there will do more harm than good." Her brow furrows. "It's a hard decision to make."

Elisabeth pulls one hand out of her pocket and gestures toward what remains of a reading area — there are still some of those comfy chairs there, though they're worse for wear. "I'm … not entirely sure you should tell me where you're relocating to," she admits quietly. "Considering…." Her guilt runs deep and it's a still-bleeding gash on her heart that she gave up a safehouse. Yes, Teo told her to. But people died. And she can't quite stomach the thought. "What kind of information are you debating?" she invites the woman to talk to her. "If you're at all interested in my advice still, of course." She smiles faintly.

"I don't know." Helena says as she moves to sit down. "After what happened, I could see you not wanting to have anything to do with Phoenix." Resting her hands on the surface of the table she says, "We've got means to get pictures of some of the Humanis First members. Names, too. One of them…" she trails off, switches tracks. "On one hand, if people knew who they were, they could protect themselves. On the other, doing so might make HF view it as a glove slapped to the ground."

Elisabeth blinks, taking in the ramifications of not wanting to have anything to do with Phoenix. "It wasn't Phoenix who got me grabbed, Helena," she replies hesitantly, as if unsure that's actually what Helena means. When the younger blonde tells her what information, though, Elisabeth visibly tenses. She can't quite help it. "Well… here's the thing about the information that you have right now, so far as I know," she slants a glance at Helena's face, acknowledging that her own knowledge may be out of date. "You have a very few names… to which you can add Doug No Last Name Available, No Description Available… and no actual proof that it's true. You could put what few names we know of out there, but that leaves at least a few dozen that we don't. And some of those are going to be law enforcement types or what have you… and it's going to draw attention to Phoenix. If that's the play you're ready to make, then … go to it. But in all honesty, I would recommend not. Put the names out to your networks, tell people to be careful and don't approach. Don't engage. Look at what happened at that gala." She swallows. "Do you know if there's been any word on Ivanov?"

"We have two of the important names." Helena says. "And we've got means to get images of both of them. We might even be able to match a face with the name you just gave." Helena's hands curl into claws against the desk's surface; betrayal of tension that is only to do with Liz in a tangental but still significant fashion. "We could leak the information to the media." she says. "But no, we haven't heard anything about Ivanov. Minea Dahl's back in the welcoming arms of the Company, though. I'm through with trusting anyone from that outlet. I don't want anything to do with them anymore, I don't care if half their personnel decide to defect."

She can't blame Helena for that. The news that Minea's been seen actually brings some kind of relieved expression to her face. SHe hasn't been entirely sure whether they had her killed. "There are a number of things that were handled wrong with Minea… but considering that they have the ability to selectively mindwipe people, I don't think you can entirely blame her for anything. She was kidnapped by them. Whatever else…" She shrugs. "Anyway, I wouldn't advocate for trust but… usefulness is another matter entirely." She considers. "What gain do you see if we leak the Humanis allegations to the media?" she finally asks. "What do you see happening?"

Helena shakes her head. "Anyone we deal with from that organization runs the risk on turning against us. As far as I'm concerned, we're done. They can find someone else to use as their pawns." A pause. "Humanis doesn't seem inclined to hide themselves." she says. "If people know who they are, if people see their faces, then it may lead to their capture at best. But it could save someone's life, if they recognize one of those faces and know to run or hide."

Elisabeth observes quietly, "Conversely… people could assume that you put those names out there because you have a grudge. You have nothing concrete to even illustrate your allegations might be true to them, much less anything that will PROVE them. And as you say… that's basically throwing down the gauntlet. Taking the fight into the open. Humanis First is… too big a target for Phoenix. It's like… fighting the KKK. There are little cells of really militant types, and there are huge groups of people who just hate and normally won't act on that. Guerrilla warfare in this instance is… counterproductive in my opinion. Besides…" She smiles faintly. "Between Ivanov's kidnapping and the report I'm probably going to file when I go back to work tomorrow or Tuesday…. I think maybe Phoenix should just let the system work this time. It's a flawed system," she allows, "but they're already equipped to deal with what amounts to yet another racist hate-crimes group. I'd been intending to tell them that I was following a lead on my serial killer case, but…. I'm also considering telling them that I intersected with this whole Humanis First thing by accident and started following up on a couple of names." She smiles faintly. "Maybe we can spin it enough that the COPS will put their names out as persons of interest."

Helena looks down at the table for a moment. She's really, really unhappy with this. Turning her head to gaze at one of the delapitated library shelves, she says the words quickly: "One of them's my dad."

There is a wince. "Yeah… I kinda wondered. I'd been keeping up on the intel before they grabbed me," Elisabeth admits softly. "I'm sorry, Helena. I can't imagine…"

Helena shrugs a little bit. "I'm kind of sick of telling the story of the conversation he and I had." She adds quickly, "It was over the phone, and it was on an untraceable disposable. But…yeah. It was enough. I don't know what happened to him," her brows furrow again, "It's like he's not my dad anymore. He shot Michael Spaulding, more than once."

Elisabeth rubs her forehead absently and nods a little bit. "Well, that's about guaranteed to get FRONTLINE on the ball for hunting them down too. A lot what's been done so far is unofficial, but … between the gala and my … situation, I think it's about to get very official. So… I think you should just let sleeping dogs lie. Don't make our own a bigger target, okay?"

Helena's eyes flick up. "What if I gave the information to FRONTLINE?" she asks. "Michael Spaulding…" she pauses a moment. "You never knew Cameron, did you?" she asks suddenly. "Michael is his older brother. He's put out to channels that he wants to meet with me, but I've never been sure if it was because he had something to say, or if he wanted to set me up to put me back in prison. But if we gave the information to FRONTLINE, no one would think they got it from anything but government channels."

Elisabeth shakes her head slightly. "No, I never knew Cameron. I knew… that he was important to Norton. That he thought of Cameron as his best friend. And I knew that the rest of you…. " She shrugs a bit. "I knew he started most of this. I think turning Humanis First over to FRONTLINE is not a bad call. Though you meeting Michael Spalding, given his very public statements, could be…. dangerous. But then again.. what the fuck isn't right now?" she asks quietly. "They kidnapped a fucking federal agent from under the noses of FRONTLINE itself." She shrugs and moves to pace a bit. Biting her lower lip, she looks at Helena. "I don't know what help I'm going to be to you, Helena… I don't know what's going to happen if I report what happened to me. But I do know…. that with a weapon in my hands right now, I'm a danger to other cops and a danger to anyone else around me."

Helena studies Elisabeth in silence and with scrutinizing eyes for a few moments. "You're going to have to talk to someone." she says calmly. "You might be reasonable about that fact, and you might not, but you're going to have to. You're going to be angry, and you're going to cry a lot. Maybe just once, but it'll feel like it goes on forever, maybe just little jags that hit you unexpectedly." The plodden way Helena speaks suggests she's been there. "Take advantage of your health benefits and the leave they're going to give you." Leaning back, she closes her eyes. "I was the one who told Cardinal that you'd been captured. He was going to rip Emile Danko apart with his bare hands."

Elisabeth rubs her mouth with sweaty fingertips. "Yeah… yeah, I know I'm going to need a shrink." She's already well-acquainted with the problems she's beginning to have. Some part of her mind is already cataloging the agoraphobia, the hypervigilance, the anxiety — she's a hostage negotiator, she knows all the signs and aftereffects that should be expected. You'd think that would make it easier, but it doesn't. She looks at Helena and tilts her head. "I don't even know if Danko was involved, if you want the God's truth," she tells the younger woman. "The only name I got was Doug… and I was blindfolded the whole time." She pauses. "I'm … sorry?" she says, as if unsure whether to apologize that Helena had to tell Cardinal.

Helena peers at Liz with faint confusion. "I'm not sure why you're apologizing. I made a point of contacting him." She shrugs. "He's also talking about how Phoenix needs to keep out of things with Humanis First. I guess it's not like Martin Luther King went after the KKK. So we'll just focus on our message, I guess."

Elisabeth grins just a little. "No reason," she finally says quietly. "And I think Richard's trying real hard to keep you and the rest of Phoenix out of jail… you and I talked before about Phoenix's role. And personally, I think one of the single most important things you've ever done was that Day of Miracles. Sometimes…. a movement needs a little separation between its militant arm and its visionaries. And you? I think you are the visionary…." She hesitates and says quietly, "In that future that you saw… you were a martyr. I'd like to think we changed all that, but…. you were also the Face of the Evolved. And I think you can still be that Helena. I think you're meant to be that."

Helena looks musing at that, leaning forward. "Here's the problem with another Miracle Day. If you consider the current roster of abilities in Phoenix, there's only a few of us who have something that is…" she looks for a word, and can't find it, so she tries again. "A lot of what we have could make certain jobs easier. The fact that there can be multiple Alecs and Brians means we can create a lot of manpower, but in the end, a lot of men can do the same thing. Miracle Day was about things that only the Evolved can do, not necessarily things that are within non-Evolved scope that we can simply assist in making more efficient. Any twelve guys could build a house, but only Abby could grow that little girl's hand back. So I'm stuck on how to apply what we have."

Elisabeth ahs and nods, finally moving to sit in one of those chairs, perched on the edge like she might bolt at any moment. She sees the problem there, but she suggests, "So this time, instead of making it a day of miracles…. make it a day of everyday good deeds. A few years ago, there was a campaign by a talk show host to do random acts of kindness. So you know … people paid for their car to go through the toll and then paid for the next three. And of those next three, one or two of them actually paid anyway and said 'give it to the next guy in line'. It was a good campaign, it made a lot of people smile that day. Even something so small as that made it a better place, Helena."

"I'm not opposed to good deeds," Helena points out, "But it's not the message. I believe in acting in kindness, and for the most part it's what I try to do. But being kind and doing good deeds is something anyone can do. The message we need to send is that the Evolved can make things better, above and beyond the capacity of what those who are not Evolved can do. That it's about choice, and that we can choose to use our abilities to help mankind. Not just toss a few extra coins in the toll. I mean…Liz, you think I haven't ever wondered if I could end drought in Africa?"

Elisabeth comments quietly, "Actually,…. I think the point is actually made for me by your own example. We can make the manpower…. and and it's something everyone can do with enough hands. A LOT Evos out there… they have powers that are not the miracle-inducing kind. They're… simple. Change the colors of something, talk to plants, talk to bugs, talk to birds, remember everything they ever hear or see. The point, Helena, is that we are just like them. And we've got to be creative enough to show that to the populace at large that there are ALL KINDS of abilities out there — good and bad, miracles *and* not-so-much." She smiles at Helena. "Sure… I've wondered if you could end drought in Africa. But I've also wondered what happens if you do. Just like changing time, those kinds of effects have ripples. Buterflies and hurricanes, Helena."

Elisabeth does add, "And while the miracles *do* need to happen, assuredly, Don't discount the effect of the smaller actions too."

Helena can't help but smile faintly. "The way I manage weather's a bit different than that." she says. "Sculpting weather systems requires more nuance than you'd think, and believe it or not, there's ways to control the greater effects." She leaves that as an aside, though. "You're part of this. Think of something that you can do with your sonic capabilities, would you? I reckon the Alecs and the Brians could…build shelters or something. Go all Habitat for Humanity with a vengeance."

Helena pauses. "Oh my god, did I just say 'reckon'? I hang around Leo too much."

Elisabeth laughs at the comment about Leo. And she shrugs slightly. "Well… the world doesn't want to know that I can turn people to mist…. and considering my day job, I think I'm actually a walking, talking example of the kind of thing I'm talking about. I use my abilities *in* my job, to protect and serve." She grins. "Anyway, it was just a bug I thought I'd put in your ear. Miracles are great, and if we can do them… we should. But we should ALSO be doing the smaller things, that's all." She pauses. "And in the meantime… I want you to feel free to consider me still present when you want me, but… I'm going to be extremely cautious about being anywhere odd for a while. I think I'm going to be under scrutiny." She nibbles her lip again, her hands rubbing up and down her legs. "You and Richard… and even Cat… all think I should report this. It's … possible that people are going to really be looking at me for a while. Maybe even IA. I'm going to tell them what HF wanted from me… tell them that I knew about Beach Street. As Alec points out… the best lies are always 90 percent truth."

Helena nods. "Okay." she says. "See if you can set up some kind of protocol…the best way to communicate with you, or let you know that we need to speak with you. I guess Wireless is the most reliable way."

Elisabeth nods slightly. "I need a couple of days to manage a draft of the statement I want to make. Do you want to see it before it goes?"

"I'm not sure why I need to, unless you plan to bring up Phoenix in some way?" Helena replies uncertainly.

Elisabeth shakes her head. "Nope, I would leave them entirely out of it. I just wanted to know if you wanted to see it, that's all. I'll probably send a draft to Cat anyway…. and possibly retain her services as my attorney of record, depending on how she wants to handle that." She smiles faintly. "I, uhm…. " She runs her hand through her hair, and it's shaking. "I think I need to be off the roster for if you actually make a move on anything. For a while. Richard's suggesting a telepath might be able to …. cage, or block, the memories somehow. I might… speak with Mona about that."

"You could do that," Helena says after a moment, "But can I offer you an opinion?"

Elisabeth nods, her blue eyes studying Helena. "Please."

"Don't." Helena says quietly. "Aside from the argument that playing with memories is a tricky thing and someday the wiring could go wrong at a very bad moment, what happened to you…it's part of who you are, now. It's part of what shapes you. It's why I've had more than one person tell me that I came out of Moab different. You shouldn't have had to endure what you did…but robbing yourself of who you are now that you have, I think is a mistake." Her lips purse tightly a moment. "That probably all came out wrong. But I hope you know I mean well."

Elisabeth actually offers a smile at that, though it's a little strained. "Well, I wouldn't want them blocked. But if she can put a little distance between me and them? It wouldn't hurt my feelings not to wake up screaming every time I close my eyes…. nor would it hurt my feelings not to be afraid of the dark." Though she doubts that she will ever really be fully okay. "But no… you're right, I don't want to lose the memories." Her tone is bitter. "I've already lost almost a decade of my life."

From the look on her face, Helena doesn't seem to understand the last bit, but she doesn't pry. "I should get going." she says. "I'm not sure why you picked here…we abandoned it long ago, but I'd be surprised if it wasn't still on HomeSec's watchlist."

Elisabeth shrugs a little bit, catching the look on Helena's face. "Losing a portion of brain matter also appear to equal losing memories. Somewhere around ten years' worth," she explains quietly. "Luckily… or unluckily, I haven't decided… they're not the most recent years." They're just years with her mother that she'll never have back. "Anyway, yeah… you should. I chose it because it's … familiar. Comfortable." She doesn't know if Richard wants anyone to know that people are holing up here again, so she simply doesn't mention it. If it were still on DHS's watch list, they'd have nailed Edward Ray when he used it. "I still have a phone, contact me whenever you like," she tells Helena. "Thanks for meeting up with me, though."

Helena nods. "No problem." She pushes to her feet. "Let me know what you decide to do, and what sort of leeway you get from your job and such in terms of recovery." She pauses, her hands shoved in her pockets again. "You'll be alright, Liz. It gets better. It does."

Elisabeth blows out a breath and tries to smile. "God, Helena,…. I hope so. Cuz I'm not sure it gets much worse." She watches the other woman leave, slouched in the chair. And she hopes Helena's right.

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