Escape to Potterverse


elisabeth_icon.gif ygraine2_icon.gif

Scene Title Escape to Potterverse
Synopsis a.k.a. "Humanis First Blew My Brains Out". A rather unconventional chat before the first instalment of a planned Harry Potter movie marathon….
Date March 12 2011

Le Rivage — Ygraine's Apartment

When the last of the security clunks aside and the door is swung open, the first things to hit the corridor are gently and rather wistfully upbeat music - Enya's Only Time - and a gentle, rich aroma of cooking food. Then the changes in the householder's appearance might be noticed: though she's standing in now-customary pose, her one useful hand holding the portal open to invite entry, she's turned distinctly Gothic. Her cascade of hair is now a deep, glossy black, though the lowest portion is a richly vibrant blue. Over-the-knee leather boots hug her legs, part-covering second-skin riding breeches. A flouncy shirt with loose sleeves and flamboyant cuffs is worn beneath a dark green, embroidered waistcoat - the latter decorated with brass buttons arranged to show off its wearer's curves. For once, Ygraine even wears a little makeup - a touch of dark eyeliner, while a dark burgundy coats the lips now twitched into a wry smile. Even her sling is now a sturdy-looking leather affair.

"Come in, come in. Welcome to today's Potter-showing."

Elisabeth stops in shock. Uh……. She herself is wearing jeans and soft green pullover with a pair of low-heeled brown boots. She clears her throat. "I'm….. that's cute," she offers, unable to hide her amazement. "To what do I owe the….. erm… outfit?"

Ygraine giggles, glancing down at herself before using her head - as the only available appendage - to gesture Liz to move inside. "It's not just for you", she assures her friend, voice warm. "Well… I got dressed up today in part for the occasion - it seemed suitable - but…. A change of appearance felt… appropriate. Externalise the freakishness, and wear it as social armour."

Right then! Tally ho! Elisabeth starts to laugh softly and then she steps into the apartment. "Well, more power to you. Usually when I get crazy to change my appearance, I cut my hair. But…. " She pauses and realizes, reaching up to toy with a curl that has reached mid-back. "I haven't cut it in two years, actually." Not since Humanis First blew away half her head.

"I've… well", Ygraine eloquently starts an explanation, moving to restore the door's security. "I've always had a bit of an inclination towards the Gothic. That… rather developed after the Bomb. And… I've been exploring it a bit more in the past year or so. I talked Robyn into making her DJ persona a steampunk, corset-wearing gadgeteer…. And I like the flamboyance and style and ostentatious lack of concern for the dictates of 'normality'. And New York is meant to be somewhere that can cope with the odd and the unusual. So blatantly indulging in a bit of non-supernatural freakishness… it's personal armour and perhaps a little, weak reminder of how the city used to be."

Moving back inside, she gently attempts to claim a one-armed hug. "I can recommend a good stylist if you want to indulge yourself a little. Or a stunningly good tattooist if you want to go further. She did my dragons - and without needles. The wonders of an artistic Evolved ability."

Elisabeth goes still, though she returns the hug. "Really? What kind of tattoo artist?" Or more… what kind of ability? Xiulan's been laying real low and Lizzie hasn't seen her in a while. But she smiles a little. As Ygraine releases her, the blonde considers…. and then she turns her back to Ygraine and pulls the back of her pullover up.

The only people who've really ever laid eyes on her ink are the woman who did it and the men she's chosen to share her bed. On the back of her left shoulder is a guardian angel — very like Liz herself. Blonde, with black wings slightly tattered, sword bloodied, and a haunted expression. Low to the right of the base of her spine is cross, one with four equal-length arms, with a Celtic knot at the center.

Ygraine's eyes widen, and she starts to reach out to touch the beautiful little angel before arresting the movement, her darkened lips curling into another smile. "Wow. Those are… absolutely lovely", she breathes. "Were they done by someone called Xiulan? She did mine, last year. Though you'd need to help me if you want to see it directly. Or wait a fair while for me to struggle through the process. Buttons are a bit of a bitch at the moment. Or… that album under the coffee table. There's a picture of it at the back."

Looking over her shoulder, Elisabeth grins at Ygraine. "Xiulan," she agrees. Letting the pullover drop, hiding the not-quite-broken angel, the blonde shrugs a little. "I met her through Richard. But she's been laying low and off the grid. The last time I saw her was when I went for the cross. You can show me the pictures later." She blushes. "I can't believe I just yanked up my shirt and showed that off. Truth be told, only a few people know I have them."

Tentatively, Ygraine attempts to bring her hand up onto Elisabeth's shoulder. "I'm touched", she says gently. "And envious. They're truly lovely. Thank you for letting me see them. I've been seriously considering getting some more, I confess. Mark the changes… hopefully ink in the lessons so I can't forget them…."

A rather sheepish little smile, then the Briton clears her throat. "So - something to drink? I can sort that while you make yourself comfortable. And… I promise the picture in the album isn't indecent. It's just my back."

Liz chuckles and says, "Whatever you have. Soda, water, wine… I'm game for anything." She smooths her hands down her jeans and smiles slightly. "I asked Xiulan to do the angel after Humanis First blew my brains out," she admits softly. "She reminds me… that even broken guardians have a job that must be done."

Ygraine winces at the middle portion of Elisabeth's reply, shooting her a deeply concerned look… before changing course from the kitchenette to a cabinet set against the wall near her dining table. Sinking into a crouch, she carefully draws out a wine bottle then - aided by resetting the bottle to be drawn to herself rather than the ground - maneuvering the cork out one-handed. "You've… mentioned that before", she says quietly, her words accompanied by the soft, contented sounds of wine glugging gently into a glass. "Would it be… a bad idea to ask how on Earth you survived? And personally, I can only approve of your efforts, by the way."

As she settles onto Ygraine's couch, it's looking like it might not be a movie day. It might just be a wine and talking day. Who knows? She'll wait until they both have glasses, and Elisabeth takes hers and considers. "I went on a raid with Teo," she finally says. "We were hitting a group on the harbor. I was taking sniper while he was on the ground. Somewhere in the mess, I didn't hear two of them come up behind me until it was too late." She grimaces. "They… held me for three days."

There's a long pause as she studies the wine in her glass, watching it tremble. Is it her hand or her ability making it happen? Even Liz isn't entirely sure. "It seemed like forever. They were… inventive. I don't remember more than snapshots of things from those days. Endless music. The only time it got quiet was… when they were coming to ask more questions."

Though she's opting for red grape juice on her own part - to avoid the 'interesting' interactions of alcohol with her prescription painkillers - Ygraine is otherwise doing her best to join Liz as fully as she can. Her glass is set aside on the coffee table, and she slips her arm lightly around the blonde's shoulders, her expression deeply concerned.

"I am so sorry", she murmurs. "I… had no idea. The… the very worst parts of my own life, I only have in… snatches. Little snippets and still images and episodes. Sometimes just sounds…. So that makes perfect sense to me. But… Christ. And… at the end, they… they got rid of you? And someone… saved you?"

"Teo…. has a telepathy ability. He was able to tag along in the back of heads to get to me. And he…. he told me to give them a safehouse. That he'd get out and get it evacuated in time. And I wish…." Elisabeth swallows some of the wine. "I wish he'd never told me the address. It's why I keep my distance from the Ferry now — in case it ever happens again. So I can't give up anything or put them in danger. I pass along information through third parties. But I… got people killed that day." She clenches her jaw. "And then after three days of …creative fun and getting the information they wanted, yes. They got rid of me. And I don't honestly know how I was still alive, based on what I understand of the injuries. The person who got Abby's ability… took three days to put my head back together. But there was brain matter missing. So I have about ten years of my life gone. And … some after effects of trauma, of course." She shrugs a little and offers Ygraine a smile. "Considering that was all of 18 months ago, I guess I'm doing all right."

Ygraine looks, quite simply, horrified. But that fades into a return of her deeply worried concern, her grip tightening on the older woman. "Merde", she murmurs, ber brow furrowed. "The… the holes in my mind are… largely because I couldn't come to terms with what had happened to me. But you…?" The ghost of a smile lifts the corners of her mouth. "God, I admire you all the more now. And I can see why you're driven to keep trying so hard. You're fighting demons, too, aren't you?"

Elisabeth laughs softly. "Well, that's one way of putting it. Because the bastards are demons." She reaches up and grips Ygraine's hand. "To this day I don't know if Teo and Hana, who I'm told found my body in the harbor, ever told anyone that the attack on Beach Street was my fault." Insofar as 'fault' could actually be assigned. "I… I just do what I can to keep all of them safe. This job that I have right now? I hope that it lets me get advance warning when they're going to be hit from a military standpoint. The team I have working with me all seem… on a similar page, at least. I think if push came to shove, I could take them out there to defend the Ferry if they had to pull out of their current digs and get the hell out. But …" She looks at Ygraine and admits softly, "I'm told that they were specifically targeted with the Evo flu. And I really believe they need to pull further out of the metro area. I just don't know that they're safe anywhere, much less where they are." She sighs.

"That… fits all too well", Ygraine murmurs wearily, her gaze unfocusing in a manner Liz is probably coming to recognise as evidence of the Briton's inner wheels turning.

"Putting a few pieces hastily together: we know that there were at least significant elements of collaboration between some of those charged with protecting the city - and Roosevelt in particular - and Humanis. We also know that the Institute is a medical facility with some unusual side-interests. We also know that there have been efforts in the past to 'resolve' the threat of the Evolved (or humanity as a whole) through viral warfare. And if you're going to run covert field experiments to determine the efficacy of a weaponised virus, then a group you've identified as 'terrorists' but who in fact include individuals of all ages… they're the perfect experimental sample, aren't they? Especially if they are in self-policing confinement and are unlikely to spread the malady further afield to cause you significant problems…"

"So far as we know right now, from our precog, the current flu run is actually an outbreak all on its own. A mutation of last year's attempt at a weaponized virus that's not under anyone's control this time," Elisabeth says quietly. "Although deliberately infecting people is not above these assholes. And I'll tell you flat out right now…. Georgia Mayes is a high-up in Humanis First, and she is the person operating FRONTLINE OS out of Staten. Frankly, I would love to see her taken out of the equation — Raith has the skills to pull that off if you want to pass it along. But if he does that, another Humanis First higher-up will probably take her place."

Ygraine sighs, lifting her brows. "I… it's worse than that, I think", she says quietly. "A Ferry patrol was ambushed, about a month ago. They were hanged. Their clothes swapped for ones that had been… laced. To give the infection to the Island. The broader outbreak might be genuine - but the one there… it's someone's field experiment. And it appears to be more lethal than the last one. I don't know the details in full, by any means - it happened while I was… trapped. But someone deliberately infected the network's last active refuge."

Shit. "I wondered if that's what Delia was referring to when she said 'we' were a target. Fuck," Elisabeth sighs. She reaches up and shoves a hand through her hair. "I know it's deadly. They're….. we've already been told by the CDC there's probably an 80 percent attrition rate on this mutation." God…. She looks at Ygraine and murmurs, "I …. don't know what to do. Or how to help."

A pause, then Ygraine offers a somewhat twisted smile. "That, believe it or not, is actually a relief. It suggests, unless either the experiment is a failure or there're hidden side-effects, that the network wasn't treated to a 'special' batch all of its very own. They 'just' used what was already out there. But… Christ."

Leaning over a touch, she gently rests her head against Elisabeth's shoulder, gaze drifting to the TV. "I wanna be in the Potterverse. There, at least, there's a saviour to look to. And a grand old wise man who'll unerringly direct things for the better…."

"Well…. I'm not sure I'd rule that out either," Elisabeth admits softly, "But I do know I'd heard about it before that. So… I don't know for sure." She sighs and smiles. "Let's watch that. At least there, good triumphs." With some losses, but still.

Ygraine gives Elisabeth another squeeze, holding it for a few moments before relaxing her grip and lifting her head. Leaning forward, she takes a long sip of her grape juice, clears her throat, and then grabs the remotes to kill the music then bring the TV and DVD player into life.

As things power up, she offers Liz a rather sad but distinctly grateful smile. "Thank you", she murmurs. "For the trust and… for information. The more we know, the more chance we have of figuring out some way to… maybe not set the world to rights. But at least stop it from going under."

Slumping down in the seat, Elisabeth flashes to the dream she had. And murmurs softly with a frown, "It's going to get worse before it gets better. Just…. warn them, okay? When you can." She pauses. "We're going to be having a meeting soon. You should come. It'll…. lay out what we know. And although Richard's as worried about the more militant leadership of the Ferry lately, I think the three of us need to work up a file for them. Because hoarding information is what turned that bastard running the Institute into what he is." And she's determined it's NOT going to fucking happen on her watch.

"Cut people out of the loop, and the most likely result is that you enhance their militarism", Ygraine murmurs back, snaring her glass once more and settling back next to Liz as the corporate graphics swirl into life on the screen. "People in conflict tend to deliberately cut down on their own ties - listening only to those whose opinions agree with or enhance their own conclusions. The more… options you can feed in, the better. Reduces the risk of the classic 'give us unquestioning support or you prove you're an enemy' idiocy taking hold. So I completely back giving them the most accurate picture we can manage. There's still a lot of good in the Ferry, and I'll very gladly see it supported. So - thank you. Yet again."

Elisabeth grins at Ygraine. "Well… being as hiding information is exactly what created the guy at the top of the Institute, we're doing anything and everything we can to thwart that. It includes shit like this. Scattering information far and wide. Plus…. we've got a plan coming to fruition to out the bastards in news media. Although…" She grimaces. "Russo sort of took himself out of the running for that by erupting on public broadcasting. Sheesh." She pauses. "Although…. in that dream I had, he was a big media name. I wonder if…." She nibbles her lip, the thought only half formed. "Hrm. We'll talk about that at the meeting, I guess. Movie!" she tells her companion with a grin.

Giggling at Elisabeth's enthusiastic response to the main menu shimmering into life, Ygraine matches that grin with one of her own. "I'll gladly help with information analysis and distribution", she assures her friend, while carefully balancing her glass on her knee (reoriented gravity providing it with a security of position its angle should make impossible) and picking up the relevant remote once more, thumbing the PLAY button. "Now… back to a world of friendly half-giants and children beating the greatest evil in the world….."

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