Friends In Rogue Places


emily_icon.gif lance_icon.gif

Scene Title Friends In Rogue Places
Synopsis Emily comes to check on Lance at the WZSR station and after realizing he's been out of touch with the after-events of their secret trip abroad, brings him up to speed and confesses her desire to see what they witnessed broadcast widely.
Date May 12, 2021

WSZR Building

It's completely slipped Emily's mind to realize that she's not explained the details of what happened when she was held in the SESA office while Lance and others were whisked to the ER several weeks ago. She knows the talks they had before– their determination to expose Whitehearth for what it was– but nothing since.

When she shows up at the WSZR station hoping for the chance to catch him for a conversation alone, all of that comes rushing back to her the moment she opens her mouth to ask something else entirely.

"shit," she breathes out, then looks back up to him. "Actually, hold on. Lance, how much do you even know about the aftermath of everything up to this point?"

There was no way that Lance was going to sit around doing nothing for the extent of his recovery leave, and someone has to help out at the radio station – so that’s why he’s here. A spare cane that Pines left behind has been helping him get around now and again when he overstrains himself, bandages still wrapping his torso under the shirt, though he’s recovering at least.

“Uh… nothing? They told me not to say anything,” he observes, eyebrows lifted as he leans back in the chair near the broadcasting table, “And left it at that – why? What’s going on?”

"Christ. And here I was worried that…"

Emily shakes her head and sighs heavily, "Okay. So… I could have sworn I'd told you the full of it." Apology-tinged, but determined she goes on, "So the night we got back, while everything was getting sorted, they held me in debrief for like… over twelve hours. I gave our account to a ton of people."

"Then this UN overseer comes in and says she's going to bring the info before the UN, but it's complicated. She and Nazan tell me the facility we hit was bombed right after we left, by 'Mazdak extremists'." She doesn't visually make the airquotes, but her disdain boxes them in well. "So their ability to actually follow up on the footage is fucking minimal now."

Emily spreads her hands for a moment. "So remember when we were talking before the meeting about what we'd do to get the footage out there, if it came down to it?" She fixes Lance with a wary look before asking, "What friends out there do you have that could help with that?"

"Because I'm afraid the UN's not going to do enough," she admits bluntly.

“Th’fuck?” Lance’s brow furrows a little, confusion turning towards anger,“That was a– that was a whole concentration camp, Em. That was the sort of place that Brian trained us to infiltrate and bring down during the war, they were faking peoples’ deaths and planning to do god knows what with them…”

“And they’re just going to run it through bureaucracy? It’s never going to go public, they’re just– they’re just going to get away with it.”

“I didn’t get fucking shot just so they could fuck around in committees,” he bluntly observes, “What do you need?”

Well, at least they were on the same page there.

"We need a technopath," Emily answers resolutely if quietly, gaze unbreaking from him. Her hands come back together, fixing tightly with one another. No matter how strongly she feels about the matter, the mere point of discussion here is … well …

Potentially treason?

But so very, very important.

"Someone who can scrub the data– make our voices not sound like us. Like someones from the UK, preferably. Alter us so we're not recognizable, but keep things realistic. But we need someone who can get it all out there… Everything we saw in the facility, it…" She falters, unable to find the strength of words she's really searching for. Exhaling harshly in frustration, she finds herself looking back to Lance from where her gaze had grown uncentered. "It needs to get out to as many channels as possible. The people in the UK need to know what's happening right under their noses."

"Maybe it leads to a civil war of their own," Emily acknowledges uneasily. "Maybe it doesn't. Maybe those who aren't Slice don't give as much a damn as we do here. But they need to be able to make that choice for themselves– to be shown what's happening to their neighbors and friends and…" Her voice quavers and she stops speaking altogether, hands tight in her lap.

“Hey… hey.” The second ‘hey’ softer as Lance leans forward, hands folding between his knees, “You’re preaching to the choir, Em. Don’t need to struggle with what the right thing to do here is. I’ve lived through it. I know.”

He frowns, then, brow crinkling up, “I don’t know any technopaths I can just reach out to like that. I don’t think Pe– the mosaic I know has picked up that ability either, although I can ask, I guess. We could probably just find, like, a computer guy though.”

“What about Wolfhound,” he asks then, “Do they have one? Isn’t Miss Gitelman with them?”

Emily tries to not let her disappointment show, but there's palpable surprise that she can't quite hold back. "Oh," she breathes out, distracted for a moment as she begins to backtrack. Does she know any technopaths?

Grudgingly, not really, either.

"No," she mutters her reply. "Like sure, maybe she was during the war and a bit after, but I've never met her. It's just Huruma and…" A hesitant draw of breath later follows with, "my dad running the show over there." Mention of him for what he is is new. Direct mention likewise suspect.

But these are desperate times.

"I don't know, Lance," she laments. "I don't know if a regular 'computer person' is going to cut it here." Her head shakes slowly. "Not if you and me and everyone we care about is going to stay safe after the release. Not if we don't want shit to get traced back to US activity."

“Hhm.” Lance drums his fingers together, expression screwing up in thought. Their words aren’t carrying past the pair of them at the moment, although she wouldn’t have any way of realizing that since there isn’t anyone else there to notice.

“Okay. Obviously we can’t talk to SESA people about this. What other groups do we know that we can call on for help, here?”

He leans back, straightening, “You said Wolfhound’s out. I wouldn’t trust any of the criminals I know with this sort of information… hm.” A pause, “I could ask dad, maybe? He might know a technopath that’s out there somewhere.”

“What about Raytech? Do you think they have some computer magic that they’d be willing to use?”

"Your dad," Emily exhales out under her breath, because it's a rhetorical rather than an actually helpful comment. "Your dad who's in Riker's dad, your dad who's in Riker's because of treason and terrorism dad." She lifts a hand to her face and rubs the side of it guiltily, not enjoying having to point that out, but feeling it necessary for the sake of what they're doing.

She considers briefly what if they did make contact with some pro-Evo terrorist technopath, given the nature of what they were dealing with…

And quickly puts the thought back down again, like it's burned her.

"As for Raytech, I don't– I don't know that I'd feel comfortable running that route either. Devon considers Richard and Liz like adoptive parents, and at best, that makes me third-removed family. Richard owes me for locking me in a conference room, but…" Emily grimaces and looks down between her knees at the ground, as though it might hold the answer. "Is that the path we'd really want to take?"

“Okay. Okay, I– look, I know someone who might be able to get it out there,” admits Lance with a slight grimace, “But I don’t know if he’ll want to, he might just want to keep his head down and not get involved with any of this. He doesn’t want to risk drawing any attention to himself, and he definitely doesn’t want to get me in trouble…”

He pauses, then, arching a brow at her, “What, you mean getting it out there? Yes. Absolutely. One hundred percent. Why wouldn’t we?”

"No, not–" Emily shakes her head quickly, uneasily. "I mean getting others, others who have plenty to lose involved in any of this. Not to mention, what we could do to our message if it was found out it came through a questionable vehicle. Raytech sells armor and weaponry, and were our findings tied back to them in any way it all– it all could just end up looking very bad."

Exhaling shakily, she notes, "And once it's all out there, we lose control of the narrative, ultimately. We can try to package it up best we can, but once it's out there, it's not ours anymore."

A beat passes before she looks back up to Lance, venturing warily, "Who's this potential contact, though? If they're like three degrees removed from any of this, I mean," her posture lifts in a shruglike way before sinking back down again. "All the better."

“More than three,” Lance says, drumming his fingers against one knee a few times, “It’s not someone anyone would expect. As for who– I can’t tell you. Plausible deniability. Sorry.” A quick smile, eyebrows lifting then falling as his expression becomes serious once again, “But I can’t promise he’ll even want to be involved.”

“Although if anything he’ll probably be worried about me if this gets out, so I might be able to spin that if he’s involved at least he can take me more out of the situation…”

All Emily can do is give Lance a baleful look of uncertainty, clearly not enthused about the idea of trusting their world-shattering secret to someone whose name she's supposedly not going to learn. Her power sits behind her teeth, unspoken words to encourage Lance to open up whisper-close.

Instead, she allows while looking right at him, "Yeah, I mean– ham it up on that front if that's what it takes," and furrows her brow for having let the intrusive thoughts work their way in at all.

"Are you positive we could trust them with this– and that they have the right skillset for it?"

“I trust them,” Lance says with a dip of his head, “And if they don’t have the right skillset, they– will know who does. And they won’t send me to anyone who’ll betray us, at least not knowingly, but– given what we’re doing, there’s always risk.”

“They’re the best that I can think of, though. Aside from asking Dad.” He smirks a little, “Yes, the dad in jail.”

Emily relents with a sigh and sits back more deeply in her chair, returning his smile with a ghost of one of her own. "I… well, considering for a while, you and your siblings were the ones I'd turn to with all this anyway, if it were just me and you hadn't been involved…" She lifts both hands and rubs at her face vigorously before acquiescing, "I'm just going to have to live with that."

She fiddles her hands in her lap, supposing, "I tried to keep the fact I downloaded a copy of it to myself as much as possible. I uploaded the video to a draft email at work the day– the day everything happened, but never sent it. To myself, or to anyone. When I got back home, I saved a copy of it and then deleted the draft." Despite having a sense that they're shrouded in silence, she turns her head toward the door anyway. "I did my best to cover my trail, there, but I imagine the exchange server might still have evidence, if someone dug hard enough, of the download of the deleted file. That's a risk I'm willing to accept, though."

“I don’t know how computers work that way,” Lance wrinkles his nose a little, “So I’ll take your word for it.”

He glances away across the room, “But– I can talk to him and we’ll see how it goes. I think I can probably convince him. Damn. I wish one of Cash’s friends had been a technopath, but I don’t think they were…”

Emily bares her teeth for just a moment in a silent grimace before she uncomfortably asks, "Try not to put too much risk on yourself?" She shifts her weight in her seat, clasped hands parting only so she can fiddle next with the zipper on her jacket. "They're probably watching– listening– when you do things like that. If they stop hearing, they'll get suspicious and wonder what's been said. I…"

She lets out a shudder of a breath and tries to let go of her paranoia. "I don't know," she summarizes instead, looking off to the side. Her forehead wrinkles with a shift of her brows. "How soon do you think you could go in to see him?"

“Trust me, if they were watching me talk to him it wouldn’t matter what I was saying,” Lance replies with a bit of a chuckle, one hand coming up to push back his hair– it’s gotten a little shaggy, convalescence being what it is. “I can go talk to him ASAP and see if he has any thoughts. He’s definitely got more experience with this sort of thing than we do…”

Emily nods once– nods twice, and sighs out, "Okay."

She looks back to Lance, at a loss for what else to say in light of how overwhelming and ground-shaking all of this feels. This is usually the point where she'd peel off quickly, without hardly a word further, but her need to be around someone who gets it outweighs her usual tendency for self-isolation. A long beat passes before she asks, "You need any help around here today? It's not like you're back at one hundred percent yet…"

“I could use some help getting a box or two of vinyl into the booth so I can change them up,” Lance replies, flashing her a smile, “And some company– god knows I’ve spent too long in the hospital, I’m used to being surrounded by a billion people at all times.”

He pushes himself to his feet - slowly - and tilts his head towards the storage room, “C’mon, you can pick out the genre today.”

Grateful for something to do that's not continue to obsess over this, Emily returns the smile she's given. She comes to her feet more quickly, resists the urge to offer him a hand– knows well from her own experiences in life she hated it when people assumed– and follows after him with a nod.

"Gonna have to come up with a radio name on the spot to explain the tone shift, aren't I?" Emily asks with a wry grin.

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