Fear Is A Killer


elisabeth_icon.gif maria_icon.gif

Scene Title Fear Is A Killer
Synopsis A detective and a woman who flies discuss the world.
Date December 30, 2008

The Nite Owl

The Nite Owl is a survivor from ages past - one of those ancient diners with huge plate glass windows, checkerboard linoleum floor, and a neon owl over the entrance that blinks at those entering. Inside, there's an L-shaped main counter, complete with vintage soda fountain and worn steel stools. All of the cooking is done on the ranges ranked against the rear wall. The outer wall is lined with booths upholstered in cracked scarlet vinyl, tables trimmed with polished chrome. Despite its age, it's been lovingly maintained. The air is redolent with the scent of fresh coffee, vanilla, and frying food.

Two days to go in 2008, and it's lunchtime again. This time she opts to eat at a diner, a choice made when she left the apartment without packing food. Maria sheds her lab coat, dons her waist length winter coat, grabs the messenger bag from her desk and hangs it across her back for security and stability, then makes her way out of the Biomere facility. Once she's out on the street she ponders where to go, and decides to pick randomly.

Five to ten minutes later, customers eating at the Nite Owl may see her through the large plate glass windows. She arrives out of the clear blue sky, touching pavement gently a few feet from the door. The five foot three inch woman with the Persian/Hispanic heritage, clad in pants suitable for office work and dark flat shoes, slides her bag around to the front. Fingers grip the door and pull it open, she walks in like her arrival were the most commonplace sight in the world.

The Nite Owl is becoming a regular stop for Elisabeth lately. She's dressed less-than-casually today, though — A pair of heavy dark brown slacks, a white dress shirt, and a tan blazer with a pair of brown dress boots. Her blond hair is clipped back with a gold-toned hair clip to keepit off her face. Her winter coat is sitting next to her, and she's sipping a cup of coffee as the door opens. Briefly, blue eyes slant toward the door to see who might be entering — lately it's been people she knows quite often. When it's not, she merely nods with a smile at the other woman, though she keeps a thougtful eye on all the clientele.

Two other customers mutter under their breath about Evolved freaks as Maria arrives and seeks out a table. Still others pay her little attention. A seat is chosen, she slips out of her messenger bag and coat, then turns attention to the menu. Fingers tap the table lightly while she reads, and the server asks if she wants anything to drink. "Pepsi," Maria replies, and the server departs to get that for her. She goes back to reading the menu.

A few tables away, one of the guys who muttered about Evolved freaks gets up. He's maybe twenty-five, dark haired, tall, and caucasian. He's headed for her table, looking not pleasant.

Elisabeth blinks slightly and frowns, because comments of THAT nature are not tolerated in here. Natasha, the owner, would be kicking people out, she's pretty sure. Getting up out of her seat, the badge on Liz's waist is bared for viewing as she moves to intercept the guy. The gun holster on her belt is also now visible as she makes a point of letting it get noticed by other patrons. Nicely, she smiles at him, putting herself between Maria and the bigot. "Do we have a problem here, mister…..?" The tone is easy, one of asking for his last name.

She looks up at him, her features becoming stern as she watches him approach, but says nothing. Maria's posture now suggests someone with a police or military background, she's accustomed to projecting authority when she needs to. The man is watched, she waits for him to speak.

But he finds himself intercepted by this member of the New York Police Department, and his hostility doesn't decrease. "Yes, I do," he asserts. "I wanted to ask her," his thumb makes a jerking gesture toward Maria, "to show her registration card and if she won't, I was gonna call a cop. Good timing!" He smirks, glancing back at the woman who flew here.

She, for her part, doesn't look at all troubled.

Elisabeth didn't see the other woman come in for her landing, but she smiles easily. "Well, let me see if I can lay this out for you so that you don't forget next time," she replies gently. "Number one: Asking people for their registration cards is not a civilian's job. Ever." And as he makes a move to interrupt, she carries on as if he's not even trying to speak. "Number two: Anyone using their abilities in a public venue should probably be assumed to HAVE said registration card because, well, it'd be damn stupid to run around flaunting such an ability where any cop can see it, wouldn't it?" She holds up a finger to cut him off again. "And number three: I'm reasonably sure that the owner of this establishment does not appreciate bigots. So I suggest you pay for your lunch, tip the nice waitress nicely, and don't come back again. Because you know? Next time you're looking to start trouble, I might just run YOU in."

He seems about to be a continued problem, opening his mouth to speak, but no words come out. He stares at Elisabeth for a long moment, then past her at Maria, before finally walking away. As he returns to his seat, he's perhaps heard muttering to his friend. "Dirty corrupt cops defending freaks who blow up the city. World's going to hell, Jim." "Eric, dude, let it go, man." Eric just glares at him and attacks his burger, silent now.

The Evolved in question watches him walk away without a word, as if she's seen such things a million times. Only when he's gone does she speak. "Good afternoon, Detective."

Elisabeth shakes her head and says to 'Eric', "And I'd be careful who you call a corrupt cop, "Eric"," proving she heard exactly what was said very clearly from this range — an interesting feat itself. "If you have any questions, you're welcome to contact the Evolved Task Force that I'm part of. The captain's name is William Harvard." She moves to drop into a seat next to Maria with a faint smile. "Good afternoon. And I apologize for assholes who seem to think it their business who you are. We all have to put up with it, but you know… I'm just not in the mood today. Liz Harrison," she introduces herself.

"I'm used to it, Detective Harrison," Maria answers. She gestures to herself, stating "I've dealt with it here and there all my life. Can't hide not being lily white, after all, being a minority is just who I am." No objection is made to the seat being occupied. She sits straight-backed with her head up, eyes on the policewoman, and pulls a wallet from her messenger bag. It's placed on the table and not commented on. "If it wasn't my heritage, being able to fly, or both, they'd find something else to hate."

Her pepsi arrives, and she speaks with the server. "I'll have the double cheeseburger with fries, and a slice of pie, please." "Yes, miss," the server answers, before heading off to place the order.

Elisabeth doesn't bother to ask for her card, because her opinion is exactly what she said to the ass at the counter — it's damn stupid in this climate to flaunt an ability where ANYONE can see it unless you have the card to back it up; if you do, you're likely to find yourself registered whether you like it or not. "That's probably the best attitude to take," she says with a wry grimace. "I can leave you to eat in peace. I just wanted to apologize for our friend there," she gestures toward 'Eric'. "If you have any additional trouble in the Nite Owl, at least, let Natasha know. She doesn't care what people can do so long as they don't bust up her place and they pay their tabs. Or you can let me know — I'm getting to be a regular lately." She smiles a little.

She hadn't said her name, having expected the Detective would see it on checking her documents, so the oversight is now corrected. "Maria Delgado," she states, with her right hand offered. The nails are short and clean, the hand not rough, but it does have some strength to it. "It's surprising to see you not going for the wallet, Detective," she adds calmly. It's left just where she placed it.

Elisabeth takes the hand and nods. "I'm very pleased to meet you. And I don't have to go for your wallet, Maria. The fact that you offered it freely is enough for me." She smiles a bit. "Yes, I know some are more rabid than I, but I figure you'd be a fool to offer it when I could check if you dind't have one, and you'd be a fool to use your ability in public without having one. So… since you don't strike me as a fool, there you have it."

A grin forms on her face as she listens, and a nod follows. "Astute, Detective," she replies. "Although Conan Doyle's man Holmes would likely address you as Watson and proclaim it elementary." Maria lifts her glass and drinks from it, a measure of ponderance coming to her eyes. "Are you a straight Detective, or perhaps a Detective Sergeant? Maybe higher in the food chain."

Elisabeth chuckles. "Well…. if you want the truth, I don't know that I have a rank other than 'Officer' at the moment. I took a leave of absence for a couple of years, and prior to that, I was out of the chain of command, really. I was a hostage negotiator back then. I'm still learning my place in the new pecking order."

"Mine was Lieutenant, junior grade," she offers. Maria relaxes a bit, though she still keeps her eyes on Eric occasionally just in case he decides to become a problem again. "You must enjoy your police work, having come back to it," she observes. "I'm still with the Reserves for a while."

Elisabeth slants a glance over her shoulder toward Eric and his friends and then looks back at Maria. "Sad to say that we all volunteer to serve so bigots and assholes can say what they want, right?" She shrugs philosophically. "I believe certain things in life are a calling … teachers, cops, soldiers… these are some of them. And I believe it's mine to be a cop. I tried being a teacher for a while, but circumstances have dictated that I come back. And honestly…. aside from the fact that I'm stressed beyond belief at how different this job is than my last, I'm enjoying the hell out of being back in."

"Things are what they are," Maria offers. "The US isn't perfect by any means, historically it's had issues living up to those lofty words in the founding documents about created equal, and it's well known they only meant men when they wrote them, it wasn't just a generic thing used for mixed genders. We didn't even have voting rights until fifty-some years after slaves were freed and acknowledged as citizens. The struggle always goes on. But it could be much worse."

Elisabeth chuckles. "Eh… it could be," she agrees. "So… what do you do now, if you don't mind my asking," she says. "Oh, hold that thought a moment." She gets up and goes to get her coffee and her jacket to drop them at the table. "Okay… now," she says with a grin.

"Mom escaped Iran in 1979," Maria offers as an example of how things could be worse, before moving on to answer the question. "I'm a scientist. Got my bachelor's degree courtesy of the US Navy and earned a Master's after service. Now I work in biomedical research."

Elisabeth tilts her head and looks thoughtful. "And you like what you do?"

"I do," she answers. "There's a lot to be done, things we can discover. Cures for diseases, for one. I can't talk about the specifics, industrial espionage is always a risk, but it's an exciting, rewarding field, even if it can often be dull, working with samples and test tubes." Maria lifts her glass and drinks again. "The city is so sad. Hopefully things can move into another gear and reconstruction will get moving again, especially in and around the crater."

Elisabeth blows out a breath. "Yeah…. well… that makes two craters in this town. We'll have to see what happens. But until they can be sure the radiation levels are definitely safe, they won't be doing much rebuilding in Midtown." She sips from her cup and comments quietly, "I've lived in this city all my life, and I don't think I've ever seen it quite as … hunkered down as it's been for the past two years. Everyone's afraid of everything else. And I guess rightly so, in some ways."

"Fear is a killer," Maria asserts. "It freezes everything in place. It has to be broken, first. But there are too many idiots right now," she glances at Eric briefly, "and conspiracy theorists shouting about holocausts and concentration camps. Yeah, it's dangerous to fly in public, someone could decide I'm a freak and shoot me out of the sky, or jump me indoors where I can't get away so easily, but no one lives forever. Minorities before and including me couldn't hide who they were, and so I won't now."

Elisabeth tilts her head and says mildly, "I think there are definitely enough parallels between what happened in this country to Japanese Americans in World War II and what's happening now that to be a bit concerned. But I admire that you're willing to use your ability in public and ignore them. Because I think ultimately that's going to be the only way to keep us from another full-on civil war…. showing Joe Q. Public that being able to fly or change the color of your own clothes doesn't change the essential make-up of the guy who lives next door."

"Conspiracy theorists and alarmists serve their purpose," Maria agrees. "They keep the concept floating around in the backs of people's minds that such things have happened, and could happen. Makes the chances of it happening so very small now." Her right hand makes a sort of dismissive gesture. "People before us stood their ground, they lived their lives refusing to be afraid, they got beaten and kicked and lynched and so many other things, and in the end the country changed. It has before, it will again."

"Beyond that, the Navy vet adds, "how can a person be able to fly and not take to the air as much as possible?" She flashes a broad grin.

Elisabeth grins at Maria, and then laughs outright. "Too right," she says to the woman. She glances at the time and moves to finish her coffee. "Listen… it's really nice to meet you, Maria." She reaches in her pocket and pulls out a card, scrawling her cell phone number on the back. "I'd love to do coffee again sometime, but I need to get back to work. Call me, okay?" She pushes the card across the table, and shoots a warning glare at Eric and his friends. "Hey, Natasha! See you tomorrow!" she makes a point of calling out, making it clear that Eric better watch his step if he comes in here anymore.

The number Elisabeth gives her is taken and placed in a pocket, followed by her supplying her own for the rankless officer. "I'll ring you up soon," Maria promises, and she watches the woman depart as her own food arrives. Lunch is about to be had, the consumption of aviation fuel. "See you, Detective Harrison."

Elisabeth grins at Maria. "You definitely will, Maria." She's let much of her old life fall by the wayside, only recently rejoining the land of the living so to speak. And Maria interests her. "Be well." And then she slips back out the door to go deal with work.

December 30th: ...and He'll Hang Himself
December 30th: The Kill Squad
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