Give Her Two Choices And She Will Kick In The Door


elisabeth2_icon.gif jaiden_icon.gif ygraine2_icon.gif

Scene Title Give Her Two Choices and She Will Kick In The Door
Synopsis The assessment of a character is probably all too appropriate.
Date Apr 11, 2011

Skinny Brickfront, Endgame Safehouse

Feeling rather like the creature from the Black Lagoon, Ygraine slips through the door into what passes for her home at present, closing it behind her before spending a few moments wondering quite how she should best handle this. Clad in her leathers, she is at least waterproof, but the coating of filth and slime over her garb makes the prospect of tramping through the house - derelict though it is - one that seems distinctly unappealing.

And while her own nasal passages feel as if they've been scoured into submission past the barrier of her breathing mask, she rather doubts that anyone else's will be ready for her aroma just yet. So for the moment, she dithers just inside the door, peering down at herself with bemused resignation.

Elisabeth's acute hearing tells her someone entered. But it's not like she can smell Ygraine from where she is. Instead, her voice — a soft, enhanced murmur that carries without high volume — comes to Ygraine's ears. "You know where to look." She's sitting upstairs on the next level, a carton of fried rice in her hands that she's finishing. Breakfast, you know.

Ygraine starts, instinctively glancing around when the disembodied voice arrives. Then she chuckles. "Look for what?", she asks softly, before gingerly starting to unfasten her leathers. Strip down to the skinsuit here, then… find Jaiden to power-hose everything, maybe?

"For me, of course," Elisabeth retorts in amusement, still not moving from her spot. "I dunno what you were doing, but you left here with a friggin' face mask. You think I'm going to chance it?" She continues to eat, simply waiting for Ygraine to join her.

A low laugh, and Ygraine shrugs - leather creaking softly. "I was going spelunking. The mask is just a precaution, generally. But…. Gah. That trip was 'interesting'. You know how concrete rots, if left untended for too long? Well, I fell up through some. Into the stagnant water above. That then went down, of course. I'm… slimy." The shudder that follows those words might also be audible.

Elisabeth sets her carton of rice down and bleahs. "Thanks for sharing. Jaiden's got a shower set up if you want to use it. He's out checking where we might get hold of a generator, but the bucket setup still works. It's just cold as hell."

Ygraine laughs and nods. "I know. Believe me, I've been looking forward to the delights of a freezing shower all the way back. Though I think I'll have to rely on Jaiden to clean my kit for me. And maybe the floor, too. But… I'm making some progress at least. With mapping. And figuring out a few options. Emergency last-ditch bolt-holes to spend a night or two - easily found. There's a huge amount of space down there, and I can get people into spots no one else can. Longer-term bases… harder to locate, but I'm working on it. How about you? Any grand and glorious news?"

"Come upstairs, will you? I'm tired of calling down the stairs," Elisabeth retorts. And she waits until Ygraine joins her before they speak again. Only when they're finally together does she look at the other woman and admit, "No. There's no other news. Richard's doing a pure scorched earth policy. Wiped out Redbird, and apparently wiped out the library's stores as well. I know he was planning on moving the stockpiles, so I assume that's what he did. But I had a couple of things stashed there that he didn't know about that I want to go fetch. So… maybe tonight when it gets dark."

It takes a few moments longer, but Ygraine is fortunately used to getting in and out of her gear - and having decided to simply leave the slimy heap by the door, she is soon padding upstairs to join Lizm now clad pretty much solely in a burgundy skin-suit. The scarf wrapped around her head has been removed and left behind, but it's clear that the portion of her hair not safely tucked away under the jacket had a good deal of water soak through into it. And the outline of her breathing mask and night-vision goggles alike are clearly delineated by a pattern of encrusted dirt.

"Do you want me to take you out there? Or provide some back-up for an emergency escape if needed?", the Briton offers, expression sympathetic.

Elisabeth is throwing away the carton of finished Chinese food. "I don't know," she says finally. "The fewer people in and out of the library the better. That said…. Alec's security stuff should still be in place. The trick will be getting in there without getting pegged by fucking robots." She grimaces. "It's not urgent at this moment. I just put some things in place a long time ago. It'll be fine."

"There's my usual offer for moving you out of sight", Ygraine says quietly, tone sympathetic as she moves to perch close by Elisabeth - carrying with her a definite hint of something unpleasant, though sweat is about as noticable. "But if you ever want anything, just let me know. If I can do it, I will."

"You're already doing enough," Elisabeth smiles a little. "You're helping me edit the scripts. I'm hoping to hear from Richard in the next day or two, once the heat's a little off him. The news so far has complete chaos with regards to Redbird's explosion, and until we sort out whether they're going to bite on the Humanis First angle, I can't put the broadcast we have in mind out."

Ygraine nods pensively. "Don't… don't worry about calling on me. I'd rather be useful than not. Distractions are actively welcome right now. I… found out what Robyn's response to seeing a vision of me and her having a family in future was. She proposed to the girl who pushed me into a breakdown, here in reality. So things to do are very welcome indeed. Quite apart from the little matter of wanting to save the world anyway."

Elisabeth grimaces in sympathy. "Welcome to my world — Richard went out and knocked up his other lover, so… " She grins a little. "I've got on my big-girl pants, but seriously… seeing her still makes my stomach hurt." It doesnt' mean Liz won't do her best by the blonde and her babies, though. They belong to the man she loves.

"At least that was an accident", Ygraine responds with the ghost of a smile - which broadens after a moment. "Though I admit I'm not exactly sure if I'd prefer an incident of stupidity that results in life-long consequences to 'ohmygod - I had a vision of being happy with the girlfriend I just dumped while she was having a breakdown! Leap into an engagement with the person who broke her!' Neither'll exactly leave you feeling great, will they? But mine should be less lasting in the results."

Tentatively, the Briton reaches out a hand to Elisabeth - the arm shaking somewhat, the weakened bicep clearly fatigued. "I admire you, you know. I'm doing all right on turning the other cheek - I've not followed up on any of the crazy notions for revenge that have come into my mind in recent times - but I'm doing a really bad job of forgiving. You… seem to be doing a lot better with being actively helpful. However much it hurts."

Tilting her head, Elisabeth looks at Ygraine. "What's my option? To turn hellbitch on Harmony — who was just as much to blame as Richard — and not look out for their kids — who are entirely innocent in all of this?" she asks, sincerely puzzled. "Jealousy isn't a reason to punish anyone. I never expected monogamy from Richard, and he doesn't expect it from me." She offers a bit of a smile. "My lifestyle doesn't suit everyone, but it works well for me — I play it straight with the men who share my bed, and quite frankly… even the ones who've stopped sharing my bed have remained my friends — and damn good ones — because of that. So… I have a good life. I have a father who loves me even when I piss him off. A man who loves me even when I piss him off. Friends who stand by me even when I've totally screwed up their lives. And lovers who I can honestly say are my best friends. If you judge a person's life by their relationships…. I'm one rich woman."

Giving Elisabeth's shoulder a squeeze, Ygraine quirks a wry smile. "Oh, but turning Hellbitch is so tempting at times, isn't it? I was so tempted to turn up at the hospital after she'd been shot, and lay into her. Give her some small taste of what it felt like to have done to her what she'd done to me. Though she'd missed out on the starvation, the fire-bombing, the imprisonment, the massacres, the… the rest of it. But it was a chance to make her feel what she'd done by laying into me then, and there, and in that manner. And it was so very tempting."

Shaking her head, she chuckles. "The best I could bring myself to do was to simply stay away. You're… I might be wrong, but you're doing a lot better in seeing past it to a brighter future."

Elisabeth smirks faintly and her blue eyes have shadows. "I've seen brighter. I've seen darker. I've buried two men that I loved and gotten lucky enough to have one of them come back from the dead only to find out that in some future I cannot fathom he turned into a complete asshole and I took his child from him." She grins. "You just gotta have a little perspective, and believe me when I tell you… life's too short to hold onto the bullshit Ygraine. Seriously."

"Maybe it's a reflection of my old career", Ygraine says quietly. "There… you don't forget what's gone wrong, or ways that people have screwed you over. You study what went wrong, you figure out what you could have done better, and you use those incidents. You use past defeats as exemplary lessons, and you use them to spur you on. To… just walk away from them is to miss a chance to learn how to be better."

Shaking her head and reclaiming her hand, the Briton sighs. "I'm not at all sure what I'm trying to be better at any more." Darting a glance over at Elisabeth, she flashes a slight smile. "Better friend to you would be good. It's not as if you're free from your own woes or stresses, and I keep finding myself moaning to you."

The audiokinetic laughs outright. "That's good — moan to me all you want, cuz it gives me something to think about besides the fact that I'm still having nightmares, it's too damn quiet in here, it's too dark at night, and I haven't heard from Richard." Elisabeth is truly amused. "And you are a good friend to me. Just next time bring the margaritas, baby."

Ygraine snorts, though she accompanies the noise with a smile. "I'm still tee-total, while I'm pushing myself with rehab on the arm. So the booze'd be //all/ for you. But if I can find a supplier for it, I'll gladly treat you to as many as you want. And the offer to share a room with you stands, you know. Give you some company. Let you listen to my snoring."

Elisabeth's smile eases to a sincerely grateful one. "I might take you up on that," she admits softly. "I don't want to use Jaiden or Felix or Norton as substitutes. It cheapens what I have with each of them. And the truth of the matter is, I actually do better when someone else is in the room."

"I'm more used to sleeping alone, so you know I'm only after the chance to admire Xiulan's work, really", Ygraine assures Elisabeth - maintaining a straight face just long to finish her words, before grinning, shrugging, and then wincing. Rubbing at her weaker arm, she grimaces. "At least scuttling around the tunnels is a good work-out. But it bloomin' well hurts. Hate being this weak. But… yeah. I can certainly provide company. And gladly."

Elisabeth blushes! "You've pretty much seen all Xiulan's work on me," she laughs. "My angel and the knot. Richard's, however, is damn impressive. Maybe he'll show off for you sometime." She smirks.

A laugh, and Ygraine flashes a broader grin, her brows raising. "He's got work, too? How big? And what is it?", she asks eagerly.

Elisabeth rolls her eyes. "Uhm….. a lot," she laughs. A dragon, some numbers over his heart, …. God, I don't know. Every time he's working out, I drool, but geez, Ygraine, you want me to catalog??"

"All by Xiulan?" Ygraine sounds genuinely impressed, then grins broadly. "And I'd prefer pictures, I admit. But you don't have to if you don't want to. I somehow doubt he'll show them off for me anyway."

Waking up in an unfamiliar place is never a good thing, but when one is on the run, you do get used to it. After taking the watch the previous evening, the ladies apparently decided Jaiden needed a little rest and let him sleep, and here he is, swaddled in his sleeping bag, blinking in the new morning light. He gets up, has a bit of a drink, hits the restroom, and goes toward the staircase where he hears voices. "Morning…" he rumbles softly, rubbing a hand over the back of his head. "You let me sleep."

Elisabeth shrugs a bit and allows, "He's not exactly shy, but probably not." And then she glances toward the door, her amusement easy to read. "good morning, sunshine."

A low laugh, and then Ygraine jerks her attention around to the new arrival - relaxing a bit when she identifies the presence. "Hi there. And yes. If you'll insist on keeping taking night watches, then I suspect that we'll continue letting you sleep. Me, I went out for the joys of an early-morning spelunking trip. Liz, here, was rather more sensible."

Jaiden's nose wrinkles a little at the scent of Ygraine and the sight of her in that skinsuit that normally hides beneath the woman's leathers. "I would ask, but I'm afraid it might entail a story of slipping and falling into a cesspool. Need me to whip up the shower for you like I did for Elisabeth?" Jaiden sinks down on one of the open steps, a little above, looking down the stairs at the pair of women. "Any word on…well…anything?"

"Yeah… she's a bit ripe," Elisabeth agrees. "And the cesspool's a good guess." Her smile eases slightly to a more pensive expression. The two people in front of her are trusted… and if they're going to continue to trust her, she can't lie. "Actually, yes… there is some news," she sighs quietly. "I've been debating all morning on whether to even tell you. Because I've… pretty much already made up my mind on this that we're not doing it. But… you should be able to weigh in."

Ygraine stuck her tongue out at the pair of them… but now looks rather concerned, head cocking as she darts Jaiden a glance to see if he has any idea what this is about, before refocusing upon Elisabeth again. "What is it? This sounds serious…."

Ygraine, in her journeys through the place, may have seen the funnel attached to a showerhead in a fairly clean bathroom with no visible source of running water and a few buckets. That, with Jaiden's power and the stove, turns into a hot shower that endlessly recycles - a blessing in this place. At Elisabeth's comment he leans back slightly, elbows going on the step above, to listen. "Lay it on us, Lizzie.

The blonde's expression is resigned and she leans back against the counter, both hands up on it at hip level as she looks at them. "Intel on Remi's situation is trickling in… she's being deported. Soon. We've been given a place and time from a contact, but…." She trails off and seems to be trying to phrase herself appropriately. "The information is coming from within the DoEA somewhere and I have no idea of the actual source. I can't verify it. Graeme said that their first foray into questions with him, they were interested in his ties to Redbird. So we can't rule out… that this is another trap for us." She grimaces. "A part of me feels like this is leaving Remi high and dry, and I feel guilty about that idea especially since I basically blew up all of your lives for some people who had nothing to do with any of you. But… the other side of it is that Remi's issues are all with regard to her Registration. And since I have no idea what her own country's rules are, she may be getting deported just to go home and be perfectly fine. And frankly, being deported could be the best thing for her — the safest thing for her — because it gets her the fuck out of Sylar's range."

Ygraine sighs, closing her eyes. "I'm committed to trying to protect the woman", she says softly. "She specifically asked me to. But I'm not at all sure that grabbing her would constitute doing that. She's still going to be hobbling around on crutches, isn't she? So we'd be hauling a one-legged woman into a life on the run."

Pursing her lips, she cocks her head. "How… sure can we be that she really is being deported to France? Not… shipped out to Guantanamo, or simply 'disappeared' into a laboratory somewhere? And don't worry about claiming responsibility for what's happened to my life. I was screwed as soon as I passed on the intelligence. My personal mess, in that regard, is my own responsibility. Anything we do here is a new matter."

"Well, we all know that if we're caught, there won't be a trial. There won't even be an arrest - we'll simply be listed as 'an encounter with Evolved Terrorists' and written off as such. And as much as I like Remi, and want to keep her safe…" Jaiden pauses, shifting on his step, "I mean…if it was more than deportation….I mean, I've seen her family's estate. It's enormous. And according to her, she spent her time getting to grips with her ability in the guest house far from anyone else. But, with her with us, we'd be pretty potent as far as things go. I mean, she can read thoughts and that would be a useful tool in our endeavours…."

Whatever those endeavours may be.

Elisabeth remains leaning against the counter, her eyes on them both. "One of the hardest things about doing what Richard and I do is the knowledge that our choices… our decisions… impact all of you. For him, sometimes that means making the hard call without telling you there's a decision to be made. To spare all of you making the choice. He'd rather be hated when someone finds out that he made it for them than subject himself to committee vote. For myself… it's a slightly different perspective. I've lead a team of soldiers who would follow me into any situation. They trusted me to make the call, and in turn when things had to be kept from them, they trusted there was a good reason. In that case, it was sort of built in. We don't have that yet… so I'm telling you how and why I'm making this decision. I'm telling you because she's a friend. To all of us. And this choice sucks shit, and the only thing I'm asking of you out of this is to determine whether the reasons are sound. Would you make a different call and if so, why? I need to be able to weigh those opinions in this now so that later… if I have to make a call, you'll know that I did it for reasons you can live with."

"Do we have other reasons to pick her up?", Ygraine asks, frowning pensively. "'Saving' her from deportation doesn't sound too… viable a goal. Fighting it legally, if there were a way, so that she could go on with her work at the ballet theatre… but I can't really say that being possible, either for the government or because of Sylar. So if we rescue her, she'll be a lame woman on the run….. Which suggests to me that if we're to do it, we need other reasons. Strong indication that she's being 'disappeared'. Or another reason to screw with HomeSec, that this just happens to suit. Or… can telepaths network? If we get her, could we use her to link with Kaylee at distance, and have an impossible-to-hack system of communication?"

Ygraine vaguely waves her good hand in the air. "I want her to be safe. And part of me says that she'll be safest with me, 'cause I've promised to protect her. But I'm not exactly doing a fabulous job of guarding anyone or anything right now. So…."

"She's alive, Ygraine….you can't protect her much better than that. It's a poor guard who's charge ends up six feet under." Jaiden sighs and sits up slightly, rubbing his eyes wtih the heels of his hands, getting the sleep to go elsewhere so he has a clear bit of thought. "We have to look at it as risk versus reward. And as much as it tears me up inside to say it, this is a massive risk for a small potential reward. Now, if she's moving in a car, or something, we could easily just snatch and grab and run away. But if it's a convoy to an airport or some other high-risk thing? I don't think even I could justify going out that far on a limb….I mean, if we're pinched, we're done."

"All right," Elisabeth says quietly. "I'm supposed to get final details shortly, but unless something drastic changes…. We're in agreement that this is not something we're going to pull off? Because I don't think we have time to bring in backup from the Ferry even if we wanted to. It's pretty damn short notice on the move."

"Let the Ferry know, I'd say", Ygraine suggests. "They might be planning something anyway, and this might fit with what they want. Might as well give them the chance. But…. Gah. I'd like to at least have a look, I confess. But I'm scared this'll be another trap. In theory, we could pick her up, ask if she wants a dangerous life on the run or if she wants to be left to go to the airport to fly home, and then go with whatever she chooses, but…. Gah. I take it that the idea of a telepath network's not viable, then?"

"Oh, the idea's sound, but the whole 'this may be a trap' type of deal may be another reason to look twice or three times at it. I mean, hell, if we could just get her into a room alone, have Ygraine pull her to the ceiling by changing gravity, then into the AC ducts. Or get her off the plane before take-off. Or just steal her into the city." Jaiden sighs. "It'd be good to have her, but god knows if it's the best thing to do."

"There's no way we're getting into those places and busting her out. The only options we've got are in terms of hitting a car on the road," Elisabeth points out. "And this is all or nothing — there is no giving her the damn option. And we don't have any way to determine what she wants for herself. Going home may be perfectly acceptable to her. Far more so than fucking Evo Gitmo." Shoving a hand through her hair, Elisabeth shakes her head. "We're not doing it." She looks between them. "Which is pretty much what I'd already decided, but the two of you deserved the right to weigh in and nothing you've said so far changes the decision." It is not the first time Elisabeth has made the tough call. FRONTLINE was good to her in some ways. Her blue eyes are steady and she's in her element here — at peace with the the choice.

Ygraine sighs. "It'd have to be out on the road, yes. Time it for crossing a substantial watercourse - heck, even a big enough sewer, given what you've said about your ability in the past, Jaiden. Hit them from below. Force liquid up the exhaust to take out the engine. Then go underground - preferably underwater - with our abilities putting us out of reach of retribution. The basic logistics of it, myself and Jaiden could manage. Hitting one car, and neutralising a couple of agents we should be able to do pretty easily if we're picking the place to move. But if they've got back-up, or cover, or it's another bait-and-switch, or…."

Closing her eyes for a moment, she then looks to Jaiden. "Want to at least watch her? Or stay the heck away? Between us, we can move around the city out of sight really easily, and we could stake out part of the route and at least keep an eye on things for a little. See if she's being driven in a car or is being shipped out in a van marked 'medical waste', if we can."

A darted glance to Elisabeth. "If that'd be okay, that is. I've already put the Ferry at risk with one set of intel. I don't want to screw you guys up at all."

"I'd like to watch her, at least. If an opportunity presents itself, sure. Traffic jam or car accident or something, but if it doesn't, as much as I hate to say it, we'll watch her flying off into the eastern sky, back to France." Surveillance, Jaiden can do. Against trained agents? Jaiden can probably hold his own. Against people ready for them? Jaiden would do the smart thing of looking for the trap before going for it.

The blonde's eyes slip between them. Elisabeth purses her lips. "You're both searching for ways to make this work. Playing the what-if game. And you're both waffling between the feelings of 'we want to do it because she's a friend' and 'it's high stupidity to do it.' Do you want to risk it all?"

Ygraine squirms guiltily. "I… I don't have a lot left, other than my promises", she murmurs. "There's not a lot left in here", a finger taps at her temple, "for me to hold onto. So the impulse to at least see if it's possible to help her is strong. But as I said - if you give us a firm no, then I'll abide by that. I've already put one organisation at risk. I'm not doing the same to you."

Pushing herself to her feet, she stiffly rubs at her bad arm. "I'm… torn. I admit it. But I'll go with your decision. And I'm starting to smell myself now. I should probably get clean, and try to clear my thoughts. I… this has been a bit of a shock, I admit."

Jaiden sighs and gets to his feet as well. "It doesn't feel right, leaving her. But it may be the best thing for her now. She would be an amazing help…." He chuckles softly at the thought of the International Evolved Task Force; a Brit, an Aussie, and a frog, all led by a Yank, before shaking the thought away, brushing a hand through his hair. "I….I want to help her, but if it's not in the cards, it's not in the cards."

Elisabeth considers. And then she sighs. "When the intel comes in for sure about where and how she's being moved…. take who you need, Jaiden. Go out and watch." She looks up at the man. "If you can do it without being identified in any way, including power usage…. make the call onsite. But understand that I don't have the manpower to come in after all of you if it goes south." There's lump in her throat at the idea of giving up Ygraine and Jaiden to this mess, and her jaw clenches. "If I'm willing to go balls to the wall for people I hardly know, I can't do less if we have the opportunity for a friend," she says quietly. "It's stupid. God knows, it's stupid. But I don't want the two of you feeling like the opportunity was there and we didn't even try either. That's not what we did this for."

The manpower for any attempted mission is sitting right in this room. Jaiden nods and rises to follow Ygraine to the shower - after all, he is the one who makes the pressure for the stuff - to sit in the battered chair just outside the door until she's finished. He rests a hand on Elisabeth's shoulder, pulling her into a tight hug. "I'm not going anywhere, Lizzie. If anything looks off. If anything stinks. Hell, if the information comes and doesn't seem right to you….we'll abort." He gives a light kiss to her cheek. "But we'll have tried. Can't fault us for that."

Elisabeth hugs Jaiden and watches them go. Christ, he's going to kick my ass, she thinks and sighs heavily. Good thing she ate before Ygraine came in, cuz her appetite would be shot now. The blonde yanks on her boots and heads out of the building, needing someplace that her hum of spiked anxiety isn't going to give the safehouse away.

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