Hell'd Be An Improvement


maria_icon.gif elisabeth_icon.gif

Scene Title Hell'd Be An Improvement
Synopsis Breakfast between friends amid chaos, and questions.
Date February 1, 2009

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.

When she steps into the Nite Owl, Elisabeth has that tight look of someone who's been working too hard — the same look a lot of the cops and paramedics have right now. She's actually in uniform, wearing the black pants, shirt, and NYPD winter jacket with her full cop belt on. It keeps her from being stopped at checkpoints and allows her far more freedom of movement around the city than she'd otherwise have. She pulls her hat off her head, her hair braided up beneath it, and heads for the counter to order coffee — a *lot* of it, very sweet, before literally dropping into a booth. She unzips her jacket and slides out of it once she's there, rubbing her forehead tiredly while she waits.

Outside the diner, just as Elisabeth steps inside, a pair of boots touch ground. They weren't there behind her a few moments before, the sound of them starting to move forward at a walking pace suggests they might've come from the skies above. Maria spots the Detective and opens her mouth to speak, but finds herself not acknowledged. It makes an eyebrow raise, but then, with all that's happened, she can only imagine the frazzling of her nerves. So she makes her way in and picks a booth where she can be seen and orders coffee, leaving contact or solitude to her discretion.

It goes to show just how wiped out she is…. or how much she trusts this place. If Maria'd been a thug, Liz mighta gotten her head bashed in. When she looks up from dropping into a booth, her eyes skim the people inside — not too many this morning, everyone's far more worried about being with their families — and fall on Maria. And she offers the other woman a tired smile and a silent gesture of 'you're welcome to join.'

The aviatrix who needs no machine stands and makes her way over to the booth, signaling with a gesture to the server that she moved so things still come to her, and sits. "Hola, chica," she offers as her head tilts. "You look like hell grabbed you, chewed a while, and threw you back." Maria sets her messenger bag next to her.

"Yeah, something like that, I'm pretty sure." Elisabeth smiles a bit. "Hell'd be an improvement, I'm almost sure." She looks grateful when the waitress sets down coffee in front of both the women. And then surprised when the little brunette says, "Tom says breakfast's on him. Order when you're ready." The girl heads off to refill some coffee cups to give them time to decide, and Liz looks toward the counter where the manager tips his chin toward her in acknowledgement. A faint grin, and Liz blushes. "Apparently I look far worse than I realized. Or Tom's decided I'm a regular." She looks at Maria. "How're you holding up?"

"Or you're a cop, working quintuple shifts in all this madness," Maria replies. "Maybe both. I'm all good. Rolling blackouts don't stop work at Biomere," she laments. "How the hell did all this happen?" she asks, quietly. "Have suspects been apprehended yet, do you even have suspects identified and being looked for?"

Elisabeth chuckles at Maria, "Which reads 'you look like death barely warmed up,' right? Damn… I didn't realize it was that bad." She scrubs her face with her hands and liberally doctors her coffee with the sugar and creamer in front of her. "I have no idea right now, honestly. Not my department. Right now I'm just on the streets doing my part of the job — keeping the criminals, Evo and not, from making things worse," she says.

Her own coffee gets more conservative treatment with cream and sugar, as her hand wraps around to hold it and the other stirs with a spoon. "Damn," she murmurs. "The papers said HomeSec had made several arrests. I hope they get locked up in the worst prison we can find for them." Her head shakes. "Their trials, now those will be messy. Demonstrations and all that." Because this is America. They'd never lock people up indefinitely without trial. The Nisei during WW2 didn't even have it that bad.

Elisabeth looks down, forced to bite her tongue on this. Maria's someone who… doesn't need to be involved. Not at all. "It's not going to be pretty," she agrees in a subdued tone. Her friends are the ones being held, even though *they're* the ones who saved everything. And she? She's forced to just…. shut up. She merely sighs and looks at Maria. "Don't believe everything you read in the papers, either. I'm not sure how much truth is there and how much rumor."

"I understand," Maria says. "What you do know, if any of it's true, is probably classified. If the full story comes out, leverage is lost over the ones you're after. If they don't know how much you know about them, you've got advantage. Of course, that just gives crazy ass conspiracy theorists ammunition, but, well, they'd invent ammo anyway. See above: crazy ass conspiracy theorists."

"Mmmm," Liz replies. "Well, sad as it may sound, I sometimes wonder how close to right some of those crazy people have it," she comments mildly. Rubbing her forehead, she picks up her coffee to drink. "You ready to order?" She doesn't mean to sound abrupt. "You never told me exactly what you do, anyway…. biotech, but that's a broad term."

"The details I can't really share," Maria answers, "but my project is aimed at researching, finding treatments and cures for cancer. It's really good work." And she nods. "Ordering. Yes, excellent idea." She opts not to discuss the concept of crazy ass conspiracy theorists being right. "I met your Captain a few weeks back," she shares. "Odd guy, that one. Kept calling me some anglo name."

Elisabeth blinks and looks surprised. "Harvard? Kept calling you what?" She looks puzzled as to why Will'd call Maria anything. She waves to the young waitress to get her attention so we can order. The young woman comes quickly and writes down what the two women want efficiently. Then she schleps off to get the order in to the kitchen.

"I talked to him. Was flying at the speed limit along Wall Street, he looked up and saw me, told me to come down, and he carded me," Maria answers. "And with my papers in his hand, all my data right there, he called me just about every name other than Delgado he could find." She laughs, hand lifting her cup. "Then he lectured me about how flying open is dangerous." Her eyes roll toward the ceiling.

Elisabeth can't help but snicker softly. Yeah… that sounds like Will all right. Her eyes are serious, though, as she looks at Maria. "At this precise moment, you may want to take his advice. Anti-Evolved sentiment is exploding out there, what with all the rumors and such that what happened was an Evo attack." Almost the exact opposite, but not like she can tell people that. Not like they'd listen, for the most part. People are sheep, they believe what the news tells 'em and they riot and get pissed at things they don't understand. "If you're going to keep flying in the open, I'd be *very* situationally aware," she tells Maria earnestly.

"I am," Maria assures, with equal seriousness. "You never asked how fast I can be." She sips her coffee and sets the mug down.

Elisabeth grins. "You're right… I didn't ask that. How fast *can* you be?"

Maria doesn't answer that immediately, she looks around to make sure no one can overhear them first, but it does bring a confident grin to her lips.

Elisabeth tilts her head and surrounds the table so that the ambient chatter is completely muted. "Go ahead," she comments quietly. "No one can hear you."

"Mach 2," she supplies, and sips the coffee again. "That part I don't spread around much, for obvious reasons."

Elisabeth raises both her brows, looking stunned. "Holy shit…!" She stares at Maria. "You don't need gear for that or anything?"

"No," she answers with a grin. "It carries some natural resistances with it. Colder temperatures, g-forces, and all that. But, of course, jets use a lot of fuel. So whenever I go at speed, I carry power bars. Lots of them, and always have a few just in case."

With a thoughtful look, Elisabeth sips her coffee. "That's pretty damn cool," she admits with a smile. The expression eases some of the weariness from her face. She shrugs a little. "I can't decide which makes me like you better… searching for the cure for cancer or that you can outfly some aircraft," she chuckles.

"It is," Maria agrees. "I love being me. Just as you love being who you are, tools and all." Her coffee is tasted again, and the grin spreads out further.

Elisabeth glances up when the plates arrive, dropping the silence for the duration that the waitress is there. When the coffee's topped up and the waitress leaves again, she brings it back up just out of habit. "I do, mostly," she agrees. Even though being her right now is pretty damn complicated.

February 1st: Detainee No. 0003220092
February 1st: A Waste Of Time
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