Fate's Bitch No More


elisabeth_icon.gif niki_icon.gif

Scene Title Fate's Bitch No More
Synopsis Elisabeth enlists Niki (and Jessica)'s help in taking her fate into her own hands.
Date November 17, 2010

Redbird Security - Main Lobby

There's a sharp, professional feel to the main lobby of the building. The carpet is a deep maroon underfoot, the walls an off-white cream that doesn't glare too brightly beneath the recessed lighting in the ceiling. Half a dozen chairs upholstered in a sandy light brown sit against one wall beneath a painting, a print of a Thomas Brill that shows the ruins of Midtown covered in vines and greenery as seen from the rooftop of the Deveaux building. The receptionist's station takes up almost an entire wall on the right side of the lobby, guarding the hallway that leads back into the building's offices. Behind and above the desk, the logo for Redbird Security Solutions hangs on the wall in glossy black.

The central hall continues the same carpet and wall colors to a number of doors. There are four offices, a restroom done in shades of blue and pale sand tones, and a comfortable employee lounge with attached kitchenette. An open doorway in the main lobby reveals a flight of upward stairs, and there's a locked door at he end of the central hall that guards the basement steps.

Elisabeth lets herself in the front door of Redbird with a simple nod toward Jo, the receptionist. The blonde looks tired — it's an appearance that doesn't seem to be getting better. She's carrying a huge cup of hot something from the chain around the corner; in this case, pure chocolate. And she's heading toward the back hall and the basement stairs when she darn near bumps right into Niki. "Oh! Good God, I'm sorry!" She looks up. "Hey," she greets lamely.

Niki's arm goes wide, steadying the cup of something from the same chain around the corner, the plastic lid keeping its contents from spilling out over her hand, or on either of the blondes. "Morning," she greets with a quiet chuckle. "Sorry. I totally didn't even see you there. I'm obviously not awake yet." She shakes her head, banishing her embarrassment and the sleepiness. "You're here early. Not that I'm entirely surprised."

Elisabeth ffts softly. "I have to put in the time where I can get it," she admits in a slightly hoarse tone. She sounds like she's getting over a case of laryngitis. "With Cardinal incommunicado for a while, I'm helping Peyton out with the business as much as I can in with my own new job." She grimaces slightly studying her friend. "How're you holding up?"

Niki tips her head to one side as if to say eh, you know. She brings her drink to her lips. Coffee, of the Irish variety if the scent Liz manages to catch is any indication. "All my limbs intact. Has… Peyton managed to find about more about 'Klaus?" There's a little guilt in asking, it feels selfish, even if he is one of theirs.

"Not that I know," Elisabeth says regretfully. "I haven't run into her this morning. But I told her to get her ass some sleep," she admits. "I need her firing on all cylinders, especially with so many of ours sitting in fucking cells or otherwise missing." She sighs heavily.

Niki nods. "Any word on Monica, then? I've been too busy trying to keep my profile as low as possible to connect with Peyton." She takes another sip of her coffee, eyes lidding heavily for a moment, savouring.

Oh shite. There's a grimace on that. Elisabeth clears her throat. "She's one of the ones sitting in a cell," she admits quietly. She didn't realize Niki didn't know.

"Should've guessed," Niki mutters, reaching up to rub at her forehead and the headache settled behind her eyes. It speaks volumes about how much Niki has been through in so short of time that she isn't ranting and raving about how no one told her, or how they should be doing something to get her released. "But she's fine, right? All things considered?" She'd better be. God help the person who lays a finger on Niki Sanders' remaining family.

"As far as I know, yes," Elisabeth assures her quietly. "She sitting in a cell but otherwise okay." The blonde peacekeeper reaches up to rub her own forehead. "Actually, I'm glad I ran into you. I didn't know if you were going to go walkabout on us for a bit in the aftermath of all this." Considering the information that's already been dumped on Niki lately. "You got some time to talk?"

A slow nod. "Yeah," Niki confirms, "I have time." She doesn't wait for any further invitation to start heading for the basement stairs. "Peter's gone," she offers as a sort of report. "He just… never came home. I don't suppose you have any information on him, too?" Perhaps the most amazing thing aside from the fact that Niki hasn't simply walked away from everything is that she's the one even left in control. The lack of Jessica having reared her head recently is nothing short of astonishing.

Or perhaps it should be excessively worrying.

Elisabeth walks with her toward the basement. It does worry her, actually — but only in the fact that she worries that there's a head of steam building there that needs a bit of direction. And Liz right now is possibly in a position to direct it. She doesn't say anything until they are enclosed in the basement.

Redbird Security - Basement

At the bottom of the stairs there's a sturdy metal-reinforced door, locked not with an electronic mechanism but with an old-fashioned mechanical combination lock. A bright yellow biohazard sign is hung up on the door.

Once through the door, the basement is mostly open space interspersed with support columns of grey brick. A thick layer of grey latex paint covers the walls and floor, the ceiling overhead tiled with squares of sound-suppressing foam. A few filing cabinets are pushed up against the near wall, and a single computer desk, the box unconnected to anything except for power, sits between some of those cabinets. The rest of the front part of the roomis an area with folding chairs around a table and a pull-down screen across from a podium with a projector sitting on top of it, evidently for meetings. Deeper in the room, two dozen free-standing posts with sand-filled bases are scattered about, with strings and lines of yarn of all manner of colours connecting them. Post-it notes and photographs have been attached here and there with little pieces of tape. The far wall, behind the string map, bears the legend in stark white block letters upon the grey that stretches across most of the wall and from floor to ceiling: 'FIGHT THE FUTURE'.

The right third of the room has been divided from the rest by a wall of bulletproof glass and metal framing, accessed by a simple glass door near the main entrance of the basement. Inside, three locked gun cabinets sit against the wall, and the rest of that section of the room has been turned into two shooting lanes. Cheap pulley assemblies on the ceiling attached to electric motors hold target posters.

"Before I lay this shit on you, kiddo, I need to know exactly how stable you are. I don't want to overwhelm you or set Jess on the warpath, but there are things going on that …. if you want in… I could use boots on the ground for."

Niki can't say she doesn't understand the way people are careful around her, but it doesn't mean she enjoys it. She fixes Liz with a bit of a flat look, but doesn't try to argue. "I'm fine, given the circumstances. Why don't you tell me what's going on and I'll tell you if I'm fit for battle or no."

Fair enough. In Liz's case, she doesn't bother to tiptoe, she just asks flat out. She knows Niki and Jess well enough by now to know they'll take it in the manner it's meant. "I know who the head of the Institute is. And I have a …. let's call it a hunch, because I'm not good at this chessgame bullshit and I could very well be reading the entire situation wrong. And if I've jumped to conclusions, acting on things too soon will get very very dicey and could very well make things worse. In addition to that…. somewhere in there, d'Sarthe may be involved." She pauses. "D.L. was onsite the night we went after Rupert Carmichael."

Niki's eyes narrow slowly as she listens to Liz's hunch. "…What?" Her brows arch in a combination of confusion and incredulity. "D.L. was there," she repeats, as if she didn't hear it right. "So Gideon d'Sarthe might be involved with the Institute?" Red painted nails rake through blonde hair. "I suppose that's no different than Linderman being involved with the Company." A twist of irony, or something.

"Yeah… or something." Elisabeth sounds… honestly, way in over her head. "Richard's usually the one I go to with this shit and he thinks it through, but he's needed elsewhere right now. So this is on me to figure out and deal with. And since you and Jess are pretty tactical-minded, you're about the only person I can turn to with all the pieces of the puzzle. Hopefully before they actually succeed in putting a bullet in my head this time."

"What do you need from us?" Niki asks in a quiet voice, subtly offering Jessica's assistance. "I don't… have as much interest in the Institute as you and Richard do, but I do have an interest in keeping my friends alive. So what do you need?"

Blowing out a breath, Elisabeth moves to sit down tiredly. "I need a lot of things, most of which I don't think I'm going to get, honestly." She toys with the cup of hot chocolate in her hands and says, "Niki… I need someone to find out, if they can, whether d'Sarthe has ties to the Institute. But asking you to do that is … a whole can of worms I'm not sure either of us wants to open, considering the circumstances. And I have a feeling that you're going to have a whole lot more interest in the Institute pretty quick here." She's trusting Niki right now with her very heart. "The man running the thing is a time-traveling, body-hopped Richard Cardinal. And I think he's trying to kill me." She grimaces. "It's speculation — it's jumping to wild conclusions based on a tone of voice, a way that he said something to me. You have every right to just tell me that I'm paranoid," she admits. "But the logic works."

This isn't helping Niki's headache one bit. Taking a large swallow of her spiked coffee, she begins to pace, obviously in thought as she does so. "I will… I'll see what I can find out about d'Sarthe. I may have a fairly easy time of that." Or it could be incredibly difficult, and she might just bust some heads. Which, if one asks Jessica, is still the easy way of dealing with things. "As for the Institute… If it's a time travelling… whatever version of Richard, does he really need to be kept alive? Because, honestly? I don't mind solving our problems with a bullet or two."

"Quite honestly? I've already been considering the ramifications," Elisabeth admits softly. And she confides in Niki what she's not told anyone. "I went to Massachusetts. I went to see him. He was very careful to only say certain things to me, and I'm only starting to put pieces together in hindsight. I don't know quite yet if that's the right thing to do, but it's very much topping the list of possible outcomes," the blonde says, a hint of steel lacing her tone. "I need a little more time to work through the puzzle. Finding out if D.L. was working for d'Sarthe or a player we don't know about yet, though, could help." She looks regretful. "You sure you want to deal with this part of it?"

"I would rather deal with that part of it." Niki's own tone takes on a bit of that steel that Elisabeth's holds. "D.L. and I have a lot to talk about." Very little of it good.

Blue eyes meet Niki's gaze and there's a shared understanding there. Perhaps because Liz herself has a lot to talk about with a certain time-traveling bastard. "I know the feeling," she admits. "In the flashforward that so many people had, our Richard saw something that he opted not to allow — he saw my death. And I told the future version that Richard was having nightmares and was determined to thwart it. So the fucker sent an assassin to make sure that someone took the shot at me." Those blue eyes are icy.

The other woman's lip curls when she's told that an assassin was sent after her friend. "You work on what you can here. I will handle D.L. and I will handle whatever we feel like calling that bastard up in Massachusettes. I've got the nails to put into Linderman's coffin, too, so you just let me deal with that." Niki drains the last of her coffee and drops chucks the paper cup into the waste bin rather harder than she really needed.

"It's been pointed out to me that it could just as easily be Humanis First taking another shot at me, so … it's still an assumption on my part," Elisabeth admits. "But the fucker in Massachusetts has had plans in the works for decades. He was sent back in time from 2030 to 1961 by a Moab-level accident of some kind and apparently LIVED there until he was killed in the late 1970s by Samson Gray. The Institute stuck his brain into someone else's body or something. I don't fucking know — I'm starting to think we live in a goddamn Star Trek episode or something." Elisabeth sounds disgusted. "If you're up for dealing with D.L. and seeing what you can learn of d'Sarthe's operations, that would be the biggest help I can think of right now. I need to know exactly what we're dealing with." She grimaces. "Leave the fucker in Massachusetts off the agenda for this moment. If we take that option, I have to make sure it's worth taking, not fucking things up worse." She looks at Niki and smiles just a little. "I'm a little tired of being Fate's bitch, aren't you?"

"Fuckin' tell me about it," is Niki's growled reply, accompanied by a roll of her grey-blue eyes. All of the coffee in the world will not get her out of this surly mood now. "I'll leave the fucker alone for now, but if he tries anything, I don't care if he's a future version of Richard. Richard can learn from someone else's fuckin' mistakes and not repeat them."

Elisabeth laughs softly. "Well, that's actually what he's out there trying to do, Niki. So… don't worry about current Richard — he's going to be okay." She'll make sure of it. If it kills them both. "It's nice to know I've got two of the best snipers I've ever met in my corner," she admits. "I hired Lola to be my shadow for a while — I'd been hoping you'd be ready to take on D.L. and the d'Sarthe angle."

"Lola?" There's a shake of her head, but Niki doesn't otherwise protest. She can't argue with Mayeux's skill, after all. "Not a bad idea, actually." She sniffs faintly and shrugs. "It's kind of good, actually. I think I needed an excuse to force myself to go deal with D.L. actually… It's fine. I can handle it." And if she can't, Jessica will. "I'll put the word out that I'm looking for extra work, and see if I can't get myself on d'Sarthe's radar."

One of the reasons is not just Niki's tie to D.L. Niki has no overtly known ties to Endgame that Elisabeth is aware of. "Sounds like a plan," she tells her friend quietly. "Be careful." It's stupid to say that to a woman who is as strong as Niki and Jess. But Liz worries. "And keep my number handy. Text me if you need anything, and I'm there. Okay."

"You've got it. And you do the same, okay? I'll pick up a throw-away cell this afternoon and pass along the number. You can use that one in an emergency. I'll still be able to take messages on the usual line." Niki's nothing if not careful about these sorts of things. "Peyton's free to check in on me if you think I've gone off the grid too long," she assures.

Elisabeth smiles and says quietly, "I'll let her know that you're going undercover for a bit. She'll keep checking for Niklaus as well as Monica." She pauses and says quietly, "Thanks. Both of you."

Niki dismisses the thanks with a shake of her head before she starts back up the staircase. "Anything for you, Liz."

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