Getting By


elisabeth_icon.gif graeme_icon.gif koshka_icon.gif

Scene Title Getting By
Synopsis Graeme makes good his word and brings a friend along to meet with Koshka.
Date March 6, 2011

A Coffee Shop

The coffee shop again, a quaint little place that draws attention for its reasonable prices and decent food and drink, is where Koshka had suggested for meeting with Graeme. She'd been a little surprised that he'd called so soon, but agreed to meet with him again. Not too long after lunch, when the crowds would be at a minimum and she could easily slip out of the house for a short while. Within walking distance, the teenager arrived just a little past the hour, hesitated and nearly abandoned the shop all together. Then finally entered the establishment.

A table had been picked, almost the same as before, affording a casual view of the little eatery. Koshka had again purchased a cocoa for herself before sitting. Legs swing idle beneath her seat, the hot chocolate drink held between two hands. Her eyes watch the liquid inside, foam forming around the edges of the drink and the cup.

It was a bit of short notice, but Graeme called Liz after hanging up with Koshka. Now, outside, he waits for the woman to arrive, with an occasional glance towards the sky, not going in yet. His skateboard is picked up, in hand, and it would appear that Graeme got a decent amount of rest — he doesn't even look tired. Still, he's slightly more than the usual amount of moody as he waits, with true hope that his words to not dress like a cop were heeded.

He said not to dress like a cop. Whatever the hell that means when it comes to a woman like Elisabeth Harrison. She's… kind of all cop nowadays. Or at least…. very much a woman with a dangerous edge to her. She's wearing jeans and a leather jacket, though, her button-down shirt beneath it a soft lavender. It's about as 'not cop' as she can get, really. "So, my dear…. your student's the skittish sort, eh?"

The mug is lifted, Koshka sipping at the cocoa within. Almost too hot to drink and enjoy, she's at least wary of being too hasty with it this time. Lowering the mug again, she glances toward the clock. Still a few minutes ahead of the arranged time. Giving herself a small shake, the teenager hooks her legs under the chair and turns her attention to the sugar packets on the table, pulling one out, replacing it with a packet of a different color.

"Something like that, yeah," Graeme says, hoisting the skateboard up a little more, and then going to get the door for Liz. "I …" he trails off, sighs, and rubs his head before actually pulling the door open. His body's over the slight rollercoaster of negation from last night, but his mind isn't, and the next words are muttered under his breath, not actually at Elisabeth. "Never meet another negator again it'll be way too fucking soon." Then he speaks up, realising that he'd been thinking aloud with a sheepish smile. "After you?"

Elisabeth's face is unable to stop the sudden shift to predatory wariness. "Negator?" she asks in a mild tone. By the time they step through the door, she's masked it. Preceding him inside, she murmurs, "We'll have to talk about it later. Let's deal with your young one first."

Blue replaces pink, which in turn replaces Yellow. The chime at the door slows Koshka's reordering of sugar and fake-sugar as she looks up. The task is abandoned all together with the teenager picking up her mug to obscure her observations. A sense of guardedness comes over her with another sip of cocoa, watching Elisabeth enter first and then Graeme.

Graeme pauses, once inside. "Later," he agrees, the tone meant for Liz to hear and no one else. "I'll be fine, just … a little shaken by it still." Then he crosses the small room, skipping on even ordering coffee, and takes a seat across the table from Koshka, pulling over a third chair for Liz. His skateboard is set underneath the table, and he offers the girl they've come to meet with a smile. The greeting is soft. "Hey."

Graeme then looks from Koshka, to Liz, and back again, and his lips quirk in a slight smile. "Koshka, this is the friend I'd mentioned, Liz. Liz, I'd like you to meet Koshka."

Elisabeth's smile is faint. THere's curiosity in her expression. "Nice to meet you, Koshka," she replies easily. She talks to the teen like a teacher would — treating her like a person not just a kid. She'll let Graeme explain what he's thinking Liz is needed for while she gets a feel for the girl.

”Nice to meet you,” Koshka echoes. Her brows draw together as she studies the woman, curious but guarded. The cop, or authoritarian, air isn’t lost on her, making the teenager a little wary. Then, turning to Graeme, she frowns faintly though her expression turns a little toward expectant.

Graeme looks at Koshka, quiet and thoughtful for a moment. "How're things going, Koshka?" He's going to let Koshka explain what's going on, though.

Graeme leans on the table, silent for a moment longer, and turns to Liz. "She came to me asking about getting proper papers." Then Graeme looks at Koshka. "But Koshka, whatever's happened, your guardian being involved in this would make it almost a null problem."

That frown darkens when Graeme goes on to explain, and Koshka's eyes return to Elisabeth to gauge a reaction. There's a subtle shift of her posture, a preparation to excuse herself if revelation surrounding her legalities goes south. "Things are fine," she does manage to reply, quiet and cautious. "Getting by, keeping busy."

Enlightenment dawns, at least somewhat. And Elisabeth glances around, enclosing the table in a field to keep those outside from hearing the conversation. All of the chatter mutes to nothingness. And then her blue eyes go back to Koshka. "Well, now… that can be a difficult situation." She glances between them. "Registration is the law — and unfortunately, if you're going to be operating on the streets, they're going to start tightening the web. Pretty soon, you'll have to flash Registration cards to get on a city bus or the subway." She grimaces. "Are you trying to get real papers or faked ones?"

Graeme gives Liz a thankful smile for the silence field around them, and the looks at Koshka. He leans back in his chair. It's pretty clear he doesn't believe the answer of 'fine', but he's not going to push it yet.

Koshka meets Graeme's gaze, gone from frown to accusatory. She'd asked for help, not a lecture from someone who looks like they might well turn her in as way of helping. "I —" Another glance is directed toward Liz, hands tightening around her cup of cocoa. "I'm not… I just… It goes against everything I believe but… I need to reconsider."

Elisabeth tilts her head. "Need to reconsider…. what?" she asks. "Staying off the grid or Registering up front? Because I'm not clear yet on which one I'm supposed to help you do," she says quietly. "If you want off the radar, I know some people who may be able to get you out of New York. Or at least underground. If you want to Register, that's a pretty simple matter — although I would highly suggest that whatever you tell them about your ability, you downplay it." There's a faint grimace. "The higher your rating, the more they'll watch. Believe me." She purses her lips and then says to the girl, "Either way, it has to be your choice. There are plenty of reasons to dodge it, and plenty of reasons to do it. For me… the reasons to do it were more compelling. It lets me try to keep an eye on the system. For you? Eh… depends on what you want."

Graeme lets Liz speak, for now, shifting his seat so that he can rest a hand gently on Koshka's shoulder for a moment. He doesn't seem bothered by the accusatory look, overall, before he looks to Liz, and then back to Koshka, and then he remains silent. He'll let Koshka bring up her guardianship. Or not.

"I'm off the radar," Koshka says as she pulls her shoulder away from Graeme's touch. She gives him just the briefest of frowns. "I think I'm about, or was about, as far off grid as you can get without being dead. But my situation's changed, and being… not exactly legal… makes things difficult." Releasing her mug, she sits back slightly, eyes flicking between Graeme and Elisabeth. "Not just transportation, but other means of survival."

Elisabeth nods slightly. "So in spite of it all, you're going to Register." She glances between them. "If it were that simple, you wouldn't need me at all, though. Tell me what you need so I can figure out how to help?" she asks.

"I don't know," Koshka admits. "Graeme said something about… guardianship, which I'm…" She supplements with a shrug. "Long story short, I… don't know where my dad went and… I've been staying with some friends. And doing all that, without a parent? Then once I'm all… legal, I need to find employment."

This is where Graeme speaks again. "From what I looked into, Liz, it becomes much harder for her to get Registered with her guardianship in question." He sighs, frowning slightly.

"Registration is the law — and they're registering kids at birth now. So… though in GENERAL it would be something you have to have a parent or guardian for, there may be ways to circumvent some of the issues. I know a DoEA agent that I can ask about it, though… if you can hang on a few days for an answer? It does raise the issue, of course, of you being 16 and out on the streets alone." Elisabeth grimaces. "Not the best set of circumstances. But the agent may be able to help me sort out a situation for you. Or possibly you could just have an adult go with you to Register or something."

Elisabeth adds quietly, "I won't give a name. I'll tell her the general situation and let her tell me what would need to be done. And if there are workarounds to the guardian situation."

"I don't live on the streets," Koshka says, "I have a home." Though details are left out, home implies a third party responsible for her, if not on official channels. "But… Any help would be… helpful." Looking up at Liz, the teenager nods. "I'm …yeah. Thank you."

Graeme just nods, hands splayed on the table for now. "If it turns out to be so simple as just having an adult go with you, Koshka, I'll do that. If you'd like." He glances over at Liz. "Thank you," he murmurs, quietly.

Elisabeth nods quickly. She seems relieved by that news. "Real glad to hear you're not on the streets, kiddo," she murmurs. And then adds, "And for heaven's sake…. stay out of Midtown." She grimaces. "There's… some testing of equipment going on out there and if you're snagged by it, it would be ugly. I'll let you know as soon as possible about the requirements for Registration — I'm not usually involved in that side of things, so I'm not real sure what the rules for minors are." She smiles a bit between them. "It won't take more than a day or two."

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