Her Father's Eyes


elisabeth_icon.gif lisa_icon.gif

Scene Title Her Father's Eyes
Synopsis Following up on a request from Noah Bennet, Elisabeth pays a visit to Edward Ray's daughter.
Date February 13, 2021

Ambulance lights flash in the distance, cars pass by on a busy freeway, and the Nite Owl Diner is an island of concrete and chrome amidst an ever-changing cityscape.

Noah Bennet paces, looking anxiously at the ambulance, then across the street, then finally back to Elisabeth Harrison. “I should probably talk to the other agents on this, see what they got from Tom. Can you do a favor for me, Harrison?”

She pulls in a breath, readying herself to go back out there, and nods. She's curious about what he needs from her. "Sure. What can I do for you?"

Noah shifts his weight to one foot, looking over at Tom, then back to Elisabeth. “SESA has something called the Off Board Asset program. Volunteers, so to speak, that the agency can call on for specific services. The majority of them came over during the Crossing.” He keeps his voice low, retrieving a matchbook for the Nite Owl Diner from his pocket and discreetly slips it to Elisabeth. “They’re monitored. Not bugged, but surveilled for their security.”

Noah puts his hands back in his pockets, shifting a look to the ambulance, then back to Elisabeth. “There’s a young woman at that address, Lisa Bradbury. I think you might know her.” And Elisabeth does, she was at the wedding after all. “Get her a photograph of our friend Tom here, see what she thinks.”

What Noah isn’t saying is clear enough for Elisabeth. He’s asking her to do it so no one knows he went to see Lisa, which implies a certain level of distrust in the agency. But he’s also counting on Elisabeth visiting one of the Flood Timeline’s survivors as not being unusual at all. “Don’t go today. Don’t even go next week. Let it sit… and go talk to her when the timing feels right.”

The passing of the matchbook is handled with a deftness that shouldn't surprise either of them. It disappears into her own pocket with a casual movement. Her lips quirk in a faint, rueful smile.

She never had a doubt they were being kept under watch.

Four Months Later

Jackson Heights
NYC Safe Zone

February 13th
8:18 am

There’s an undeveloped neighborhood in Jackson Heights dubbed the “International District” by local residents, thanks in part to the proliferation of multicultural settlers coming to this portion of the city following the Civil War. The neighborhood only spans a four block area, but it is flush with businesses that cater to a variety of cultural traditions outside of the typical Americana fare.

The tenement building rising up from Broadway is one such locale; a run down but operational building. At the ground floor level there is a small bodega with barred windows and a neon sign showing that it is open. Signage in the windows indicates Checks Cashed and We Accept Gold & Gas. The five floors above the bodega are all apartments. Construction noise from a few blocks away echoes out this far, but otherwise this stretch of road and this building is unremarkable.

The building at 25-04 Broadway has a fire escape up its right side and a tenement lobby entrance adjacent to to the bodega’s doors. There is no listed address for Lisa Bradbury in any Safe Zone registry. Not the residential lottery for settler housing, not any public works division for bill processing, not even at the DMV. But it’s at this address where Noah Bennet’s matchbook has led Elisabeth.

The van parked across the street, one bearing a fiber-optics company logo on the side, immediately strikes Elisabeth as proof of what Noah had warned her about: surveillance. On her approach to the tenement building with a box of pastries and two cups of coffee balanced on top, she catches sight of a man on his radio inside the truck who does his level best to not make eye contact with Elisabeth.

The door to the tenement lobby beside the Bodega sticks and Elisabeth has to lean her full weight back to pull it open and not spill the coffee. It’s at that moment Elisabeth notices the buzzer call box for residents. All the tags are blank and the buttons look old and worn. Odds are whatever security this building did have stopped working a long time ago. It allows Elisabeth to move into the lobby without so much as a second thought, greeted by the presence of unfinished construction.

The walls of the lobby are covered in plastic drop cloths held up by painter’s clamps. The bottoms of the sheets are pinned down by bricks. A couple of ladders stand in the middle of the lobby below gaping holes in the ceiling where light fixtures should be. The black and white checkered floor is missing a few tiles, revealing bare concrete beneath. Brass-faced elevators give a hint of long-lost class, but paper signs that read out of service prove that they are of no help.

So, stairs it is.

Blue eyes take in everything as she walks. Casually dressed in sturdy jeans, her beat-up hiking boots, and a wool pullover against the chilly day, the blonde is any other woman out on the streets in this end of town. The van and its occupant are marked without comment to the lean, wiry figure who shadows her. Given the state of attempted kidnappings, Elisabeth promised her husband to have her shadows at all times — but Alessandro is a good bit less visible than Mike, so he pulled today's duty. She doesn't have to tell him to keep a low profile as she enters Lisa's building, and he takes up a post in the lobby to keep an unobtrusive watch on the van.

The construction isn't a surprise… and four flights of stairs is good cardio. As she climbs the steps, Liz is wary of the surroundings — not because she honestly thinks she's about to be ambushed but just because these days she doesn't trust anyone. Even the Watchers.

Maybe especially the Watchers.

The ascent is remarkably uneventful and this tenement building is surprisingly quiet. The main stairwell offers a look down each of the hallways with no door for a fire break. The carpet smells musty and old, peeling in some places. The third floor’s drop ceiling is entirely missing, and exposed wires hang down from within.

Up on the fourth floor, there’s a little noise. It sounds like a talk radio program coming from down the hall. And after a cursory check of the numbering on the doors, Elisabeth confirms it’s the direction of Lisa’s apartment. As she closes in on the door, she sees the copper numbers that read 4 4 are missing the 0 in the middle. There’s just a grimy ring where the number once was.

Arriving at the floor she wants, she takes a long moment to assess which apartments are occupied besides the one she's heading for before she knocks on Lisa's door. She holds up the box with its cup-shaped riders, a faint smile quirking her lips. "I come with bribes," she teases the younger woman when the door opens. Coffee — real, amazing coffee — was a luxury in the world Lisa came from. "Got time to visit a while?"

The door pops open from a casual jerk of the handle, and Elisabeth can see Lisa already making her way from the door. “Didn’t know it’d be you but I knew I was going to have company, I uh—” Lisa pivots on socked feet, walking backwards and looking at Elisabeth, “probably shouldn’t have put on coffee though.” She says with a look to the bribes.

It looks like a storage locker inside of Lisa’s apartment. There’s stacks of newspapers piled up on furniture, cardboard boxes awkwardly stacked on top of one-another. And that’s just a narrow slice viewed through the opened door. As she enters directly into a small living room, Elisabeth can see the bones of a once-beautiful turn of the century flat, now run down from poor management.

Liz spots a square table by the door mostly covered with old issues of PAUSE magazine, more newspapers, and stacks of VHS cassettes. There’s a ratty old couch facing a wall where a mirror hangs, but no television. A radio plays soft, quiet music in the adjacent kitchen. Lisa pauses in the doorway between the kitchen and the living room, looking back over her shoulder to Elisabeth. “Shut the door behind you.”

"Well, I never say no to coffee, and since I was dropping by unannounced, I figured it was polite to bring extra," Elisabeth says with a cheeky smile. She closes the door behind her, moving to set the box and the two cups on top of it onto the table. As she glances around, she can see the bones of the old apartment under the current decrepit scene, and she offers, "Wow. This is gonna be a hell of a place." After it's fixed up, of course. If it ever is.

"You knew you were going to have company, hmm?" Elisabeth's tone is casual enough, but she is curious about how Lisa knew that for sure. She's never been one to really understand either Edward's ability or now Lisa's all that well. "I hope it's a nice surprise that it was me." She tips her head. "How've you been?"

“Personally keeping the antacid companies in business,” is Lisa’s sardonic answer as she continues into the kitchen. There’s a turn-of-the-century vibe in here, tile backsplash around the counter and garden sink. There’s an antique green formica table sitting in the middle of the linoleum-floored dining nook, stacked with newspapers that have most of their articles scissored out.

“I knew it’d be a good meeting, that’s kind of how the ol’ gut check works.” Lisa says as she goes over to the coffee pot, pausing for a bit with her back to Elisabeth. “There’s some seriously fucked up shit going on, everywhere. It feels like I’m sitting in the middle of a god damn hornet’s nest in the middle of a fucking hurricane.” Lisa turns, slouching back against the counter, then boosts herself up to sit on it. “And yet I stayed.

Lisa retrieves a coffee cup from under one of the cabinets and sets it down on the counter by the coffeepot for Liz. It has a faded picture of Garfield hanging from a branch painted on it with the words “HANG IN THERE” barely visible.

The huff of laughter that pops out of her own mouth seems to surprise Elisabeth. "Richard used to say stuff like that," she admits. The antacids, she means. "And I suppose a hornet's nest in a hurricane is as good a description as any I can come up with," she acknowledges ruefully. She moves to find a perch where she can sit and talk to Lisa while the young woman pours the magical elixir of life that is known as coffee.

"Honestly, some of that fucked up shit is part of why I came by to see you," she admits candidly. "An old friend gave me your address and asked me to pop in at some point when it seemed like the right time." She shrugs a little and admits, "I don't know that any time is the right time, but…" Elisabeth shrugs just a bit. "I figured I had a couple of different things to maybe ask you about. And I wouldn't have thought they were related. Then again, now that I'm thinking about…. I've never been a believer in coincidence."

Tipping her head while Lisa moves around, the audiokinetic absently makes sure their conversation isn't eavesdropped on. It's an ingrained habit by now. "So… what do you know about the Cat 5 hurricane that's tossing your hornet's nest right now?" She's genuinely curious to see what Lisa's already got for understanding — she knows the woman's ability is similar to Edward's, but she's never been perfectly clear on exactly how Edward's probability shit worked either.

Lisa shrugs, helplessly, and takes one of the paper coffee cups from beside the box of pastries, then opens the box with her free hand, investigating the contents. “Only what people’ve told me, which is almost nothing. But on the flip side, it almost doesn’t matter how much I know. It’s all about instinct.” She picks up a glazed turnover from the box, taking a bite of it between thoughts. It’s good. She knew it would be.

“It’s this whole city, really. The bees, the hurricane, it’s just being here. One day I woke up with a stomach cramp so bad I was dry heaving over my toilet for like a half an hour. I go through my atlas, my newspaper clippings, my phone numbers, trying to get a feel for where it’s coming from…” Lisa explains with a wave of her hand around the apartment. “I get the WSZR building and Richard.”

Elisabeth remembers that day, not all that long ago, when Richard ran head-long into Mazdak. Before they’d kidnapped him.

“I was lucky, had the right things in my go-bag. I found Richie as a shady puddle hiding under a truck. Helped him get home.” Lisa takes a sip of her coffee, pacing the kitchen. “But most of the time? It’s just upset stomach for days, nerves, and anxiety and not being able to precisely pin down the why or how of it.”

Lisa turns to look at Liz, brows furrowed. She straightens her glasses. “Who asked about me?” She suddenly wonders. Only so many people even know she exists.

Elisabeth remembers well the Mazdak bullshit and she grimaces. "In case neither of us have said so before? Thank you for that."

But it's not exactly what brought her here today. "No one asked about you. Noah Bennet asked me to bring you something to see what you might say." Liz slides a hand into her jacket pocket and brings out her phone. On it is the picture of Tom that she's been holding onto for exactly this purpose. She shows it to Lisa.

"I can't blow off his instincts — the man is a legend," she comments wryly. Tipping her head, though, she asks, "Do you know anything I might need to take back to him?"

Lisa’s eyes narrow, first at the mention of Noah Bennet and then further when she’s handed that photograph. Lisa sets down her coffee, pastry on top, and takes the phone. She paces around the kitchen with it, brows furrowed, then motions with her chin toward a door off the kitchen that might be a bedroom or an office.

Lisa doesn’t waste any time as she walks into the adjoining room, which looks startlingly familiar to Elisabeth. There are cork boards on every wall pinned with newspaper clippings. On one wall is a massive map of the Safe Zone made from several sheets of copy paper taped together. There’s colored pins all across the map and different colored threads. A basket of hobby supplies sits on the floor by the door full of spools of yarn, scissors, glitter paint, and some of those glow in the dark stars kids used to put on the ceiling of their bedroom.

Walking over to the clippings, Lisa scans them with a brush of her fingertips like someone dowsing for water. No hits. She walks over to the map of the Safe Zone next, tracing her fingers around until she stops dead on the location of the Nite Owl diner, without ever knowing its significance. Lisa makes a small noise in the back of her throat, then continues to move her hand in a circle around the map and it stops at the Red Hook Market.

Making a small noise, Lisa then walks over to an old United States travel atlas that says 2006 on the cover. She flips through it, stopping on maps for Missouri. She flips through, fingers scanning over the paths of streets and freeways, then closes the atlas. She looks at the photo of Tom again, then looks up at Elisabeth with wide, curious eyes.

Her father’s eyes.

“Who is this?” Lisa asks, waving the phone back and forth.

Gently taking her phone from Lisa for a minute — worried it'll get flung around in all the waving — Elisabeth says, "Someone I ran into recently. His name is Tom and he works at the diner you touched on the map." She is warily watching the young woman, all too familiar with Rays and string maps and the hazards therein. "What are you picking up on?"

She couldn't get a close enough look at where in Missouri Lisa was looking, but her gaze is roving the strings and pins, looking for the important crossovers while they talk. It's a little disconcerting to be pinned by eyes that match those of a man Elisabeth is pretty sure always hated her guts. "Is he important somehow?" she asks as her gaze comes back to Lisa.

“I don’t know,” Lisa says with a slow shake of her head, pacing back and forth with her attention back on Tom’s photo. “He’s in a shitload of danger, though. I can feel it like, acid reflux. He’s being followed, all the time. Right now? I don’t know if that’s related to the danger or precipitating it. But I know the feeling, someone’s watching him.”

Lisa looks back up at her map of New York, mouth working side to side as she mulls over her feelings. “I got a weird ping out in Missouri, something impending there, I can’t be completely sure it’s related to him but it’s—it’s something. Then there’s this.” She steps over and taps on where the Red Hook Market is in the Safe Zone. Coincidentally, a number of Lisa’s bright red strings are converging on that point.

“I’ve got a horrible feeling, Liz.” Lisa looks back over her shoulder. “I’ve been getting these connected sensations of impending danger, the kind you—the kind I feel before something like a natural disaster. Big loss of life, lots of chaos. Here.” She taps the market. “I don’t know when, but it hasn’t happened yet. It’s like tension, something is winding up and when that tension breaks…”

Lisa looks back to Liz. “A lot of people are going to die, and Tom’s going to be there.”

Shit. Because things aren't bad enough? Elisabeth pauses to think through something and observes quietly, "Sometimes I miss having a roadmap, and other times… knowing something is coming is almost worse." Her faint smile is wry.

"Okay… Red Hook is a flashpoint. And Tom is a significant player in this somehow, but unsure how. Honestly, the first thing that comes to mind when you say chaos and loss of life like that is Pure Earth," she admits. Because that would make sense … Tom was a visible and public eruption. Tipping her head, Elisabeth asks, "Lisa, what did things feel like before Detroit last summer?" She's thoughtful, following a mental string that is tugging at her. "Or before that massive clusterfuck of a concert? Is anything here similar?"

Lisa shakes her head, studying the map. “That was different,” she says distractedly, “this feels smaller, sort of uh—” she snaps her fingers, trying to find the right word, “localized!

“Where did I put my—” Lisa starts, looking around, then makes a soft sound and slips past Elisabeth back out into the kitchen. “This kind of reminds me of the anxiety attack I got before the terrorist attack at that festival, the one Eve Mas organized?” She says from the kitchen before returning with her coffee and pastry.

“So maybe you’re right, Pure Earth. Some kind of terrorist thing.” Lisa holds the coffee in one hand, pastry in the other. “I don’t know what it could be, or worse I don’t know when. I usually don’t until it’s right up on top of me.” She takes a few bites of the pastry, still pacing around. “This is really good, by the way, is it lemon?”

So… localized like the concert. Elisabeth supposes that's good news — and then she sighs at herself. 'Good' news. Riiiiight. Because mass deaths in a small area is somehow better. Dragging a hand through her hair, she considers. "Well… text me if anything on that front gets more immediate for you, okay? I'll have the street cops keep their ears open, but…" There is genuinely only so much the police can do unless or until something happens.

Glancing at the pastry, Elisabeth smiles faintly. "Yeah. I don't know how they got their hands on it, but I thought you'd enjoy it. I took some lemon bars home too." Small luxuries — she tries to share them whenever she can.

"Lisa…." Blue eyes return thoughtfully to the strings and she asks softly, "There's something else on the horizon, but I don't have much to go on. Maybe you'll have better luck." Turning toward the younger woman, Elisabeth's eyes are dark. "Some friends of mine have been involved in some kind of crazy experiment. They were taken from their beds, likely by a teleporter and the damn guy we chucked into a hospital bed…. We don't know who is behind it, but maybe you can find a lead."

She changes the image in her phone to the one of the unconscious Iov on the floor of the RayTech hallway. "I know SESA is in the process of identifying him, but…" She grimaces. "Abby and the others are not doing so well. I don't know what other avenues to try."

Lisa winces slightly, taking the photograph in hand. “Hm, I’m not getting much of a… vibe from him?” She looks up to Elisabeth, then back down to the photograph. “Everything I feel is forward-facing, and this guy gives me about as bad a knot in the stomach as the cook in the bodega downstairs does.” Which is to say, not that bad at all. “Is he locked up or something?”

The question feels rhetorical, because after Lisa asks it she starts pacing around her maps and atlases. She studies the map of the Safe Zone, wobbling her head from side to side. Then, she flips through her US Highway Atlas. Her nose wrinkles, and she starts pulling through other books. Finally, she goes for a globe on the other side of the room, sitting on top of a dusty shelf containing some errant vinyl superhero figurines and a novelty mug that reads I ❤️ NY.

“Europe?” Lisa mumbles with her back to Liz. She turns around, holding the small globe in one hand. “He travels a lot. Europe, Western Asia—Russia? I don’t know precisely what I’m feeling here, but it’s like there’s something going on in the UK. Secret, but growing. Something… terrible.”

Squinting, Lisa looks up from the globe. “Whatever this guy was into,” she holds the photograph back out to Liz, “it was international. I don’t think any of this is locally organized. It feels like everything is coming from Europe. But…” Lisa looks back at the map to the Safe Zone, setting down the globe in a chair along the way. “Wait.”

Lisa picks up a red pin, and sticks it on the southern edge of the Safe Zone. “Here.” She taps her finger beside it. “Yamagato Park.” Lisa looks over her shoulder to Liz. “This is connected somehow.”

Elisabeth trails behind Lisa as she looks over the strings and papers and maps. Her expression is watchful, but nothing is terribly more useful than what they already know about the man. At the news that he's essentially not a threat anymore, she nods slowly to Lisa. "Or something. He, uhm… yeah. He had computer shit in his brain and it got shorted out. We're almost sure he's a vegetable."

But the UK bit sparks her attention and she makes a mental note to pass that information along to SESA, and the Yamagato part brings both her eyebrows sky high. "Oh really." If she remembers right, though, Kimiko Nakamura was one of the crash survivors. She wonders if they'll make a move on her too… or if they already have. She'll have to check on that though, she's not entirely certain she remembers correctly. It wasn't her case, so the information she has on it is either straight from Abigail or second- or third-hand. Thoughtfully, she debates one more query on this front.

Instead, though, she tucks her phone back in her pocket for now and nods slightly. "Thank you, Lisa… I appreciate it." She hesitates for a long time, and then says softly, "Richard's going to be leaving town for a while. Not… exactly sure when. Maybe next month or so. If you want to chat, you should probably do it soon." Elisabeth's jaw clenches and although her eyes are bleak, her tone is calm. "It may be a one-way trip." The truth is, she's bracing herself — she expects it to be a one-way trip.

Lisa doesn’t seem surprised by the news but does—in a way—seem unsettled by it. A fear confirmed. “I will,” she says quietly, then looks back to the map with furrowed brows and wide eyes. “Elisabeth…” she says distractedly, then slowly turns to look back to Liz.

“Are we going to be okay?” Lisa asks, wide blue eyes searching Elisabeth’s.

Wishing she had a better answer, Elisabeth meets Lisa's eyes with her own. There is a subtle weariness to her. "I don't know," she admits quietly.

"If you know anything at all about where they might find what Richard and his team are going to be looking for, it may help. Right now, we're… fighting on three fronts that I can see. The Entity that came with us, a solar storm that the team is hoping to thwart, and whatever is coming at us from overseas." She hesitates. "I had a … vision. At the New Year. It was of a multinational force here on US soil, and firing squads lining up the powered against walls." Her tone is grim and there is genuine regret in her gaze. "I never thought I was bringing all of you to someplace just as bad as where you left. And I don't know what to do to keep people safe. So… I just don't know, Lisa."

It's a horrible feeling, to admit that to a young woman that she'd hoped would have a better life here than she'd had at home. Elisabeth feels responsible for the ones who trusted her enough to accompany her. Izzy and Kain and Lisa… so many others. All she can offer is a quiet, "We'll keep fighting until we can't anymore, though." Her smile is faint. "Richard and I never did figure out how to give up."

It’s a lot for Lisa. All of this is a lot. She worries at her bottom lip with her teeth, shifting her weight from one foot to the next as she considers Elisabeth, her vision, the future. Doubt fills her, and she feels like a pale shadow compared to the legacy of her father.

“If I feel anything,” Lisa says with a glance back to her maps, “I’ll be sure to say something. But this—all of this—is so much more than I’m used to, and the further away it gets from where I am the less reliable it all is.” Her brows furrow, attention shifts to her forgotten coffee, and a small frown worries at her lips.

“I just… hope I can be half as much help as I’ve heard my father was here.” Lisa admits with a weary smile, looking up to Liz over the frames of her glasses. “And, you know…” she wrinkles her nose.

“Maybe half the pain in the ass.”

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