Everyone Has Issues


elisabeth_icon.gif ygraine_icon.gif

Scene Title Everyone Has Issues
Synopsis Liz and Ygraine have an interesting conversation about things.
Date March 5, 2011

Le Rivage Apartments, Ygraine's Apartment

There's only a short delay before the knocks at the door are answered - Ygraine having taken the time to slip aside the secure viewport's cover and check who (or what) was outside. Then keys are turned in the multiple locks, the bolts are slid aside, and the chains unhitched. Working one-handed, it involves a bit more rattling and effort than would normally be the case - but before too long the portal is swung open.

As is increasingly often the case at present, Ygraine is receiving another early-morning guest… and it shows in her attire. A very simple and very brief silken robe is worn over her immobilising sling, one sleeve hanging empty and the slinkly lines disrupted. Her hair flows in a great unbound wave of fading red, and she looks rather as if she has only recently woken up.

That said, she musters a warm, pleased and only slightly apprehensive smile for the blonde on her doorstep - the expression softening the tension around her eyes, and doing something to reduce the pinched look of her features.

She's wearing those black-on-black fatigues today. Meetings are generally for weekdays. Today Elisabeth is planning on being out in the armor and doing more hands-on kinds of work. So she's got her blonde hair pinned up into a French braid that hides its length. She smiles a little at Ygraine, holding up a bag of bagels. "Brought gifts," she offers. "Sorry it's so early. But I was on my way to work and Jaiden mentioned yesterday that you had been hurt." There's worry in her gaze. "A meat shot?" she asks mildly.

Swinging the door fully wide as she steps back and to the side, Ygraine is left without a hand free to gesture an invitation for Liz to move inside. Offering a rather bashful smile, she manages a carefully one-shouldered shrug. "Come in, please. Grab a seat. Would you like some coffee? Caffeine's one of the few drugs I can mix with the painkillers…"

Dallying to restore some of the security behind Liz, she then pads into the living area after her. "I… yes. Blew through reinforced leathers, and my arm in between. Missed the bone, thankfully, and… Jaiden's ability had medical possibilities I hadn't previously appreciated. Though I hope never to have the inside of myself power-washed ever again."

Elisabeth grimaces. "Oh Christ, that sounds painful," she agrees. Wow. Eeew. She sets the bag on Ygraine's counter and smiles. "I had them slice 'em before I left the shop," she tells the other woman. "Figured I'd save you the trouble. And there's whipped cream cheese in there — softer to spread. I'd love some coffee if you have it already made. If not, don't worry about it. I'll get some at work." Leaning on the counter, she studies the berobed woman. "Aside from that you're okay?" she asks.

Laughing softly, clearly touched, Ygraine ducks her head, then - bare feet padding softly - moves closer to Elisabeth, deviating slightly to start busying herself with making coffee. Fortunately, the process is already well under way, and it smells distinctly as if the Briton favours real over instant.

"Not… really, no", she admits sheepishly, darting a somewhat guilty glance over her shoulder. "As… well. As you might guess from the whole 'underground' life and the extra security on the door, I don't exactly trust easily. I… had someone I'd done more for than anyone else on the continent demonstrate that… I wasn't exactly right to think of them as a friend. And… as a result, my complicated love life is abruptly a great deal simpler."

A long, shuddering breath, then another guilty smile - this one distinctly bright-eyed and unfocused, however. "Sorry. I'm still… trying to adjust. And do it without finishing losing what's left of my collection of marbles."

She's glad Ygraine was honest. "A lot of my friends are suffering traumatic stress problems," Elisabeth says quietly. "It's not easy." She's lived with it. "Do you have … people?" she asks. She and Yg are not the closest of friends, but the blonde looks out for people. It's in her nature.

Ygraine chuckles faintly, then offers a tight, lop-sided shrug, tearfully staring at the coffee in the hope that it'll hurry up and give her something to pretend to be busy with. "The lover my erstwhile friend took from me is still my best friend here. I adore her. Trust her implicitly. But it's not exactly fair to dump any more of this on her. She was forced into an impossible decision, and however… mistaken her perceptions of what happened might be in my opinion, it's not my place to try to shatter her love for the… the third party. I'm scared I've come far too close to that already."

Sighing heavily, the Briton shakes her head. "Otherwise? The person I trust most, here, is Jaiden. And I've already…. The… the day after it happened…. I'd torn my wound, from the stress. Clenching a muscle with a hole cored through it is a really bad idea, it turns out. I went to him to get it rebandaged. He… had me dump it all on him. He told me about what had happened to him, and I pretty much said "that's crappy - now I'll tell you how I've only got the one partner again. Aren't I badly off?" Poor bastard."

There's a moment there where Elisabeth is…. kind of amused. She can't quite hide it. "Jaiden'll be okay. He's better off without her if that's the way she's going to be. And I think he's sorted it out a bit." With a little help from friendship. "I could top your horrible love life, but I doubt it will make you feel better." She shrugs. "So… tell me what I can do to help. Anything?"

"He said I wasn't the first to tell him he was better off without her, given her behaviour", Ygraine responds, managing a brief moment of weak laughter. "And I sincerely hope that you've not had a protege and friend - someone who was one of just three people you'd ever given keys to your home - decided that…."

A low sigh, and she shakes her head, before finally judging the time right to busy her available hand with sorting out that coffee. "I was… assessed as being in PTSD, back after the firebombing. Diving in and out of the building. Hearing - feeling - the bombs going off. Hoping to God I hadn't missed anyone who was still alive. Finding the massacre outside. The hand in the road. Seeing what had happened to the Chapel and the Center…."

As she talks, gentle clinks and glugs accompany her careful hand-motions. "I was over the edge, in some ways, by then. Then I had some more malnourishment. Trying to avoid disasters. Organising looking after hundreds of people as best we could. Being, with Jaiden, the only transport across the river that any of us could use. Being, with Jaiden, the only source of power we had. Trying to set up phone networks so people could get word to their families and friends outside…."

"And it just got worse. Then I got shot. And power-washed on a filthy sofa in a Hell-hole. Then more starving, more troubles, the ice coming down…. And shortly after I came out, that's when my erstwhile friend decided that the time was ripe to tell me that, in her opinion, I didn't know the truth about my own life and my lover, and that I should get the fuck out of the way for her."

Another sigh, and Ygraine briefly looks as if she's considering doing something violent to the unfortunate teaspoon in her hand. "And that was meant to be a short answer saying 'I bloody well hope you've not gone through this', and offering sympathy if you had. Ummm. Milk? Sugar? I think I should probably let you sort those yourself…"

Elisabeth listens to Ygraine talk. She gets it. Hell, the fact is that most people in this town are probably suffering from it on some levels. She grins just a little and says softly, "The man I've given my soul to lived through me having my brains blown out by Humanis First and a year of PTSD reactions to damn near everything and then I lived through having him absorb a nuclear explosion and die in front of my eyes. And when we finally both managed to recover from being dead at random times and acknowledged what we had, he got spooked and ran off to knock up his one-night stand." She shrugs. "We've all got our issues, babe."

Even in this town and with her own experiences of such things as time-travel and listening to people die while preventing the death of the world, that particular set of announcements would normally draw at least a measure of incredulity from Ygraine. But right now? She doesn't have the willpower to spare to be sceptical, so she simply turns and attempts to offer Elisabeth a hug that might be more effective if her immobilised arm weren't in the way.

"Christ. By the time I find someone I don't immediately feel guilty about dumping on, I'll probably have recovered", she ventures, mustering another weak little laugh.

Elisabeth laughs softly and hugs gently. "Yeah… that's pretty much how I feel about telling people my problems too," she admits. Which is why she doesn't talk much about them. Though the current one seems to be getting more vocalization than most — maybe because it brings up so much emotional baggage that she's having to distribute the weight of it a little so as to not fucking explode and kill the man who is the source of her hurt. "So… now that we've established that everyone we know is royally fucked up in the head," she grins as she draws away. "Seriously… is there anything I can do to help?" She moves around Ygraine to help herself to ungodly amounts of sugar and milk in that coffee.

Ygraine seems a little reluctant to let go of Elisabeth, but has enough self-control left that she doesn't cling. "I… honestly don't know", she admits sheepishly, one brow arching slightly as she watches the apparent attempt to convert the coffee from liquid back to solid.

"If you wanted to talk, I'd listen. It'd let me feel that I was doing something useful", she admits quietly. "Which… I'm scared about. I've… I'm involved with" - created and am running - "a civil rights campaign. But there's no money to employ me for that, and… even if this were a neat job done by a surgeon to repair a torn bicep, I'd probably be off my bikes for three months or more. With a hunk of my bicep still somewhere in Queens… I fear I'll be doing well to come close to that. Which rules me out of couriering, of just about any kind. Makes it kind of hard for me to do too much in the martial arts and self defence coaching I had been doing…. So, other than idiotic schemes to seduce lots of beautiful people to prove how happy I am and how I don't care about being betrayed and having my heart broken, I keep returning to 'what the fuck do I do' and 'can I find a way to earn a living while campaigning for civil righs'?"

Glancing up at the woman, Elisabeth hesitates and says softly, "I'm … " She sets the sugar down and says, "Thank you. It has occured to me recently that … pretty much all the female friends I had are gone now. I'm …. not ready to talk about it yet, but I will keep the offer in mind. I promise." She grins a little. "I keep… saying it out loud. That it happened. Just so that I don't completely lose my shit. I'm pretty pissed off. I don't know what to do about it, because I don't think I've ever been jealous in my life until now. So… you know… there's the whole dealing with that too." She grins a little. "Let's turn this to you. Campaigning for civil rights is actually something I may be able to help you with. Marcus Donovan." The name should be somewhat familiar. "I'm betting he could use an assistant or a partner."

"The offer'll stand for as long as I'm around", the Briton says quietly, managing a small but wholly natural and unforced smile. Then - "Actually", she muses, momentarily wagging a teaspoon at Liz, "to dart off on a tangent - there might be something you could be the perfect person to ask about. Remind me to ask you about security, before I let you escape. But… Donovan? The mayoral candidate? I've been… supporting Liberty. I hadn't thought of trying to contact a… major name to forge an association of some sort. Could you really put me in touch with him?"

"Yeah, actually, I can." Elisabeth grins a little. "I arranged security for his family through Redbird. So… yes, I can make a personal call and tell him that someone he can trust is trying to do the same thing he is. I'll offer the introduction, you'll have to sell yourself. But hey… it's an in. And he's been campaigning in Washington DC." She pauses for a long moment, assessing Ygraine. "And the Deveaux Group sent him to Redbird for help keeping his family safe. So… you may have other things in common. I'm going to caution you that I don't know what the Deveaux Group's agenda is, but … it's worth keeping an ear on. And I'd love it it if you'd let me know if you hear anything."

Elisabeth pauses once more. "As to your personal security — if you're looking for an apartment system, the guy I used isn't here anymore. But … Laura Morgan actually lives in your building. I can give you her business address and cell phone. She can be trusted. She set up my father's security."

Ygraine looks startled, more than once during that - and very nearly winds up pouring milk into the sugar. "I… wow. Ummm." Closing her eyes for a moment, she chuckles. "Right. Easy bit first - contacts details for Laura Morgan would be great. There's a notepad by the phone, there, if you can jot things down. I… don't write quite so easily as I used to, at the moment…."

Carefully closing up the milk, she waves an invitation towards the living and dining areas, leaving it to Liz to choose whether to go for soft leather luxury or the formal chairs at the dining table. "As for the Deveaux Group…. They sent me someone. Or tried to. I was in the Dome, when he found Robyn here. That's… not quite working out as I'd hoped - he doesn't feel able to take the active role I'd have liked - but he seems set to be really quite helpful. But I was certainly intending to go and ask them what they were up to and why. My name is not at all the obvious choice for a contact-point for Liberty."

Taking her coffee to the seat in the living room after jotting down the information, Elisabeth settles into the soft cushion easily. "If you're referring to Graeme," she says candidly as she sips her coffee, "You may be surprised what he's willing to do." Christ. Does the woman know everyone?? "What is Liberty anyway?"

Ygraine stares at Liz for a few moments, then laughs softly, moving to curl up - her weight-loss leaving the powerful musculature of her legs starkly on view - at one end of the sofa. "He was… wary, at first, as you might imagine", she says quietly. "But I got him interested. And… then he discovered that his sister was Humanis First. He decided that the visible role I'd wanted him to take wasn't too advisable. And I can't blame him. But he surprised me by dropping by for breakfast, and left me some work he'd done. He's a media analyst, in part - while some of my training's in communications and conflict analysis. I'm a specialist in how things go wrong, why, and the courses that people's thoughts and behaviour are likely to take, along with the consequences for them doing so. He knows more about the positive end of things. So I'm hoping that he can help out. A lot."

Taking a long sip, the Briton offers an apologetic look. "Sorry. Pain killers are still kicking in, and my thoughts aren't quite on track yet. Liberty… you probably saw the posters last year, though in this city you can easily see hundreds a day. It's a campaign trying to do an end-run around the administration's opposition to the existence of opposition. Every American citizen - so not people like myself or Jaiden - has the right to appeal to the Supreme Court if their rights have been reduced or their liberties infringed by the actions of state or federal authorities. In extremely simple terms: the administration has passed laws that make the collection of DNA and other personal data mandatory, without right of appeal. Previously, such data collection required the justification of the act to judges and the granting of warrants or the voluntary surrender of their information and samples by the person in question. Making it mandatory is a clear loss of rights, therefore the Registration laws cannot be deemed to have gone through due process until the Supreme Court has ruled on them."

"In theory, it's a stance that should be backed by even the pro-Registration lobby - get the Supreme Court to rule in their favour and they get a new legitimacy. But… when I was talking to lawyers about it, I had more than a couple warn me that it wouldn't even matter what the legal situation was - the administration would oppose me. They didn't even want to give an opinion on the matter, lest it come back to bite them. But… tapping a model used in the UK to help to foil a compulsory identity card scheme there, I'm trying an end-run around that, too. Liberty doesn't exist to run the Supreme Court case - it exists to raise awareness for an independent trust fund, that will release money to cover the costs of any Supreme Court case dealing with this. Take down Liberty, and the fund still exists - along with the Constitutional right and requirement for the Court to judge the matter."

"Oh, right," Elisabeth nods. It's been a long several months and she just blanked on the name, honestly. She nods slowly and smiles. "Cat." It's not even a question. It's so something her friend would fund. "Sounds like you guys are on the right track. And I think you can sell it to Marcus too — he's been fighting on his own for a long time." She sips her coffee and nods slightly. "Sounds like you've got quite a lot going on. And if I come across a healer who can help you, I'll let you know. Right now, the only one I know of is Filatov — but he's been off the radar for quite a while now. Still, some of your other contacts may actually know where to find him." Another pause. "And I've had word that the haven is inundated with Evo flu. So be careful if you go."

Ygraine looks wholly blank at 'Filatov', having looked unsure at mention of Cat - and then sighs ruefully when the flu is brought up. "Yeah, I'd heard. It… doesn't sound good, though I'm not exactly in the loop these days. As you know, I was one of the people providing 'the loop' for anyone to be in. But… as for Cat? I've not had a way to contact her for ages. I made sure to run Liberty past some people in the underground before we went live, but… I'm doing what I can to dodge notice myself, or give the administration any remotely legitimate excuse to claim this as a foreign or criminal effort. I'm formally listed as just a 'technical advisor', with Adelaide Naimarc as our chair and 'face' - a rich pop singer who'd already founded Evolved Anonymous: I reckon she's as safe from retribution as anyone I could find. So… for the Deveaux Group to identify me as the person to talk to and to then give Graeme my home address, and to do so without him even noticing who left him the card…."

Her shrug is very carefully one-shouldered, to avoid disturbing her arm. "I want to know what they're up to. But any money we can get, I'll welcome. So long as it leaves Liberty in the clear with the authorities, that is. But money sunk into the pledge fund should be safe - it's held overseas, and isn't directly under Liberty's control. It's set up to release the funds to match costs, only in the event of a case suitable for it. If we could get the money to actually employ some people full-time for Liberty, it'd be very welcome… but that's not meant to be the focus and I'm rambling again. Sorry. I talk to take my mind off pain. Donovan and Cat - if you can set things up with either of them, I'll… fuck. I've no idea what I'll do. D'you want a pet Brit?"

Elisabeth is surprised that Cat isn't on board and helping in Liberty's effort. It seems right up the lawyer's alley. She nods slightly, though, at the Deveaux Group. "Yeah… we'd like to know what they're up to as well. One of our own was brought into their circle and … at the moment, they seem like they may be people we want in our corner. But … these days?" She shrugs with a grimace. "You just never know."

"This place isn't publicly listed", Ygraine says quietly, pensively eyeing her coffee before looking back up at Elisabeth. "I have a mortgage here, so my name is on official and financial databases - I'm no ghost. But I'm not on the electoral roll, my telephone's not listed, I do as much as I can without using my address, I order things to be picked up by myself as a courier, and so on. That they identified me as the motive power behind Liberty, then gave my address to someone… that seems awfully like a display of power, designed for my benefit. Not a big one, but definitely someone letting me know that they knew a lot more about me than I want in the public domain, both about my activities and my location, and done in a way that even the person they sent to me wouldn't realise the significance of."

"Yes, well…. " She smiles faintly. "You got onto someone's radar and they wanted you to know it. Presumably because they like what you're doing and want to help — otherwise Graeme is unlikely to be the person they contacted. From what I gather, one of the people running the place is someone that Richard helped save the life of, and the others were hand-picked by Charles Deveaux, if I understand right, after he met Cardinal in the past. So…. all of that said, I'm inclined for the moment to simply sit back and watch what happens." She smiles a little. "But if you find something you don't like, Ygraine, you know where to come."

Ygraine nods, slowly and pensively. "I'm intending to go and see them, as soon as I can. I'd… have gone before now, but… well. I didn't think that turning up and possibly collapsing into tears would be wholly sensible. Likewise, if you come across anything about them, please do let me know. Oh - and should the name 'Adelaide Naimarc' ever come up, keep an eye on her. I'm seriously worried about the danger I'm putting her in with this. Given the… when paid lawyers say 'it doesn't even matter what the laws are: the administration won't like this', you know things are bad. And I'm acutely aware that I'm hiding behind her."

Elisabeth nods slightly. "If the name comes up, I'll pay close attention to the context." She smiles slightly. "We're all in danger. Always. Just make sure she knows the risks. Be straight with her." She moves to stand up. "I need to get to work. If you need anything, call me, okay?"

"I have been, and I will. I just want to do all I can to help her", Ygraine assures Liz, before uncurling, rising to her feet to see her visitor to the door, positively radiating sheepish gratitude all the way.

Elisabeth grins a bit and hugs Ygraine. "I swear to God, I'm turning into Den Mommy of all the baby terrorists and civil rights advocates." She rolls her eyes. "I'll see you later."

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