Here Comes That Other Shoe


curtis_icon.gif elisabeth2_icon.gif felix4_icon.gif

Scene Title Here Comes That Other Shoe
Synopsis Curtis Autumn and a kick in the butt.
Date March 15, 2011

Textile Factory 17

It is truly amazing what a few words to the right people will mean when you're trying to make something happen. In Curtis' case, it was a few words to a future version of a modern pain in alot of people's backside, but it got him where he wanted to be. An interview with Sarisa, and a very lengthy explenation later, and he's got orders and directions to the old factory that serves as Frontline HQ.

There's a deep rumble outside as his car pulls into the parking lot of the factory, an old steel gas hog of a car, american muscle from the late sixties. Curtis turns the key in the engine, and then leans back against the seat, his eyes on the factory. He sits there for several long moments, the seconds stretching out into a small eternity before he pops his door open, picks up the packet of stuff he was given, and slides out of the car. His walk is precise, if a bit slow as he approaches the factory, a bit of nervousness showing on his features. Nervous is not something the soldier is used to anymore, it's a rather uncomfortable sensation for him. he stops outside, just standing there for the time being staring at the factory, contemplation and thought clear on his features as he just looks the place over.

The guards watch the piece of American classic metal roll to the gate and he's passed through to parking lot without incident. Sarisa Kershner did call ahead of him. The place doesn't look like it's packed to the gills with people, but there are at least a few military personnel who call the base home. People who man the equipment, guards on the building and environs, et cetera.

But it's been a busy day and Operations is slammed this morning. Three techs are manning computer screens, one of them is directing a FRONTLINE team out on the streets with a clean-up crew on Roosevelt and the other two are monitoring the police bands for various calls. Elisabeth Harrison only just got word that Da New Guy is even arriving. One of the techs turns and says, "Ma'am? Autumn just came through the gates. Nelson's heading out to escort him to Ops."

Elisabeth herself is standing with Felix in a corner of the room, both of them wearing the exoskeletons and having clearly just come back in from something on the streets. Liz's blonde mane is confined to the tightly pinned French braid she wears beneath her helmet, which is tucked under her arm while she looks at a piece of paper in her hands that was just given to her. "Allright," she tells the tech. And then in an undertone to Felix, she murmurs, "They gotta be fucking shittin' me, Feeb." She should be surprised. Really! She should. But everything else in this world is topsy turvy, so…. yeah. It's just another one of those things.

Another day. Another session in his multimillion dollar gimp suit. Fel's stripping out while the techs attend him, taking the armor away piece by piece like ants. It's like watching a monarch get dressed for bed. The figure revealed as the armor comes off - and Fel's is a weird variant, it's readily apparent even in disassembly - isn't all that impressive. Much less of it overall, a lot of precision engineering. Like having someone build a fighter jet on the union suit scale. He's a thin man, hair cut in a military buzz (hooray, no longer having to fool with his hair), with stark high cheekbones and narrow blue eyes. "Say what?" he wonders. The name's thrown him. Autumn is dead. And all this is his fault.

Curtis stares at the building for another solid minute before he shakes his head a little bit. "Prepare to get shot Curt." he mumbles under his breath as his steps carry him forwards. He's dressed in a pair of black slacks, and a long sleeved black button up shirt. His hair is buzzed short, and he moves with an obvious military precision. He walks up to the door, and knocks, or pulls it open, or whatever he has to do to get inside.

A few steps are taken before the man stops and t6urns hsi head, his eyes looking around intently, studying his surroundings. He spots the two in armor, or partial armor, and begins to head that way, steps even, not hurrying, but not moving slowly either.

The guard, Nelson, meets him at the door itself. "Sir, this way," he tells Curtis Autumn. "Director Harrison's in Ops." The man is about 5'11, brown hair, brown eyes, all business. Carrying a machine gun on her shoulder and wearing black-on-black BDUs.

As Curtis is lead to the Operations Center, Elisabeth murmurs to Felix, "Curtis Autumn is apparently the General's… son? Grandson? Something like that. I'll give you the rest of it later. But be careful what you say to him. Not sure how I want to deal with some of what's in his background."

She turns toward the new arrival as he comes in with Nelson and lifts her chin, blue eyes pinning Curtis. "Welcome to FRONTLINE Manhattan, Mr. Autumn," she says calmly. "Please, come on into my office." She jerks her chin toward the conference room that's doubling as her office.

This is going to be….interesting. Fel looks at Liz with doggish expectation, even as he extends a hand to Curtis. A brief greeting. "Hey. I'm Felix Ivanov." Liz's pet, apparently. He doesn't press Liz further. They can discuss it privately later.

Curtis nods his head to the guard who approaches him, a quick incline indicating he'll follow, and follow he does. He doesn't speak at the moment, just follows the other man deeper into the warehouse, past people, equipment, computers, and all manner of random stuff that helps Frontline operate day to day. He stops when he's led up to Elisabeth and Felix, the man's eyes tracking from one to the other. Felix he recognizes, and the man gets a slow nod of his head before his eyes turn back to Elisabeth. "Ma'am." He replies by way of greeting, though he does stand at attention, back rigid, posture ramrod straight.

When Felix tosses him a greeting Curtis turns his head towards the man again, a small smile playing across his lips. He takes the other man's hand and gives it a firm shake and another nod of greeting before he turns and starts towards the indicated conference room.

"At ease, Mr. Autumn. We're not a military unit, so that's not required." Elisabeth gives Felix a brief nudge to send him into the office with Curtis ahead of her, pausing on the way to shimmy out of the exoskeleton and drop her helmet off. So it's only a minute or two that she's delayed, and then when she comes into the conference room she's wearing the same black-on-black BDU-type clothes as the soldiers out front. She's still holding the paper in her hand that she was given with his information. And as the door closes behind her, the blue eyes are cool and somewhat predatory on Curtis Autumn.

"Well, Mr. Autumn. I see you've got enough clout behind you to get your records scrubbed. I can't cast too many stones in that regard." Nor can Felix. But Elisabeth's smile is anything but warm. She is distinctly on the attack here and she doesn't particularly care that Autumn knows it. "Tell me why I should let an Institute plant run loose on my squad and what makes your superiors think I won't fight this assignment tooth and nail?"

Well, it's kind of common knowledge that Felix is utterly a cowboy. Which is why the Bureau gladly dumped him in FRONTLINE's lap like an unwanted kitten. He's in BDUs, as well, also back. He slants a look at Liz, evidently curiious. Maybe he doesn't have the same info, or the briefing. And then he looks back at Curtis. There's a sort of porcelain immobility there, like he's trying to give nothing away.

Curtis does not relax however, he remains at attention after he enters the conference room. He moves inside several large paces, and then stands still, just turning on the spot to adress the other two people. His eyes focus on Elisabeth as she leads the attack, another faint smile dancing across his lips, gone as soon as it comes. His eyes flicker to Felix to see how he reacts to anything said or done, but for the most part they stay focused on the woman in the room, watching her, studying her.

"Get my records scrubbed ma'am?" He asks curious, an eyebrow slipping upwards as he watches her. He crosses his arms, his stance relaxing just a littl ebit as she continues on, the man listening and letting her finish before he replies. "I'm not an institute plant. You can believe it, or not, that's up to you, but I'm not a plant. I've done too much spying in the recent past for me to want to do anymore. It's a big part of why I decided to go this route. Some things didn't work out, and it was more subterfuge, and I wanted something more straightforwards and honest. Oh I have no doubts you'll rail and complain, but I've already been approved for duty. I'm sure you'll make my time miser5able here, but the simple fact is, I'm a good soldier, and I'll serve well. I'm also well suited to this unit." He takes the folder he's carrying and hands it out towards Elisabeth. "Not sure how much of my past and history you've been made aware of, but here's the full file on what I'm allowed to divulge."

Elisabeth reaches out and takes the file, tossing it on the table that is serving as her desk. "I know that you spent time in Messiah with a good portion of your brain scrubbed out believing your name was Ash, helping kill people. And that you apparently believe that was the correct move by the government that gives you orders even now. That your own … what was he, grandfather?… was a target of the very organization that you were working with — and that most of that same organization was being fucked with by a man that the rest of us put down like a dog," she says in a glacially calm tone.

"I'm also quite aware that you were sent to act as bodyguard to Richard Cardinal by the man who heads the Institute. Which was a complete waste of their time because there was no way in hell the man was ever going to trust you to watch his back — hell, he likely wouldn't turn his back to you. And I'm supposed to believe you were not then sent here with their authorization and the failure of that avenue to keep an eye on what the hell I'm up to?" That smile is so not amusement, Elisabeth's tone dry as dust. "Really."

Fel's utterly still. And his face is curiously expressionless. There's only the glitter in the blue eyes to betray just how intensely he's paying attention; he's got the poised air of a hound just waiting to be let off the leash. But he doesn't speak.

Curtis glances to the discarded file, an eyebrow slipping upwards at the way it was cast to the side. He pulls his eyes back around to Elisabeth though as she goes on a tirade. He stands, calm, relatively relaxed, and simply watches her, listening ot her. Slow breaths are pulled in, and released, chest swelling and relaxing as he listens to her continue. "You're well informed." He comments softly at the end of it all. "I was asked to carry out a mission. It's what I do. I'm told or asked to do something, and I do it, it's really that simple. The Institute asked me to try to take care of something for them. I failed at the task, though it wasn't my own failure so much as a failure of circumstance. Wasn't anything I could do to change it. Doesn't mean I didn't give it a shot, just means it was going to fail from the start, and it did. Cardinal didn't trust me because of who I was when he knew me, and because of who sent me. There was no chance of it succeeding. I also was not asked to keep tabs on Cardinal. I was given a simple directive. Protect him."

His shoulders give a slow roll, and his arms uncross, falling back to his sides. "I was assigned to infiltrate Moab by having my memories removed, and another personality implanted into me. I was a plant there. Then the explosion and I was one of the ones tossed free. The institute tried and failed on multiple occasions to retrieve me. Losing several teams in the process. I was finally retrieved on November 8th after fighting Lietenait Michael Spalding to a standstill yet again. Him and I fought side by side along with the woman with the dog, to protect a woman and her two children from a raving mob of what can only be described as zombies. Rupert Charmichael's programming didn't grab me before then because I stayed away from radios and TV's. After Spalding and I successfully fought off the mob the mother picked up a radio and turned it on. Which activated the programming that had been instilled into me by Charmichael. I then attacked Spalding, and fought him to a standstill. The Institute was only able to retrieve me because I couldn't move."

Curtis' voice stays rather level through all of this little recounting of events. "It took /years/ for the Institute to recover me after my grandfather volunteered me for their project. I lost years of my life to their fuck ups and their blunders. I killed alot of innocents, and alot of soldiers who were just doing their jobs. I caused immense amounts of damage because the Institute failed. They failed utterly and completely. So tell me ma'am. Am I working personally for the group that cost me years of my life because they can't handle a simple fucking retrieval?" His face has gone stony, hard, anger seething behind his eyes, and it's honest anger, and clearly directed at the Institute. "I'm a damned good soldier, and I'll serve the unit well. My history fighting against it should prove that on it's own. But trust me, I am not spying for the Institute."

Elisabeth is listening very carefully to Curtis's words…. but also to the inflection and to the things behind it, like a heart rate, that would give away a lie in most people. Not that she expects it to do that with him. He does give her a piece of information she didn't have — that he killed Michael Spalding. Or at the least, he hurt him bad enough and the bastards who "reclaimed" him left the soldier there to bleed out instead of helping Spalding. Another strike to be held against the Institute in her eyes. The blonde's face goes milk pale. And her blue eyes never leave his face.

When he's done, she tilts her head and studies him. Her jaw is clenched tightly and there is a gentle hum of not-sound buzzing at the edges of awareness while she studies him. It takes her a long moment to contain that rage and speak again.

"You'll begin Horizon training on Wednesday. Generally it's done down at the Naval Academy, but I'll need to skim your orders to see if they want to do it there or on-site here." Elisabeth's tone is tightly controlled. "I highly recommend that you do not mention to your co-workers that Spalding's death was directly related to you — I'm the only one left of Unit 01, so there's no reason to make yourself a target for something you didn't control. And I don't really know how they'll take that." She pauses. "Regardless of the fact that you've been approved for duty on this unit, you should consider yourself on probation for the time being. Ivanov will show you the way to the barracks. You're expected to live on the base. I tend to be lenient about it so long as you have your cell on you at all times — unless we're on alert. And yes, Mr. Autumn… I'm well informed."

Oh, boy. I get to play sheepdog. Fel's lack of enthusiasm doesn't show in his face. Not obviously, though Liz will sense it. The revelation that this is the one who killed Spalding makes his gaze flicker to her again.

Curtis sees the color drain from Elisabeth's skin, and his head gives a slow nod forwards. "They left him there. That man was a damned good soldier, and I would imagine a friend of yours. I don't know if he's dead or not. The fact that no body was recovered leads me to believe that he was not, and this world is insane these days, let alone this city." His jaw sets and he stares down at Elisabeth, waiting for her to speak now that he's gotten his little spiel out. His eyes do tighten at the corners at that hum of noise, but it fades as the woman begins to give him instructions.

The mention of living on the base sparks some curiosity in his eyes but his head nods. "I have no issues with making it my primary residence if that is what is required. And my cell phone doesn't get turned off. I keep a spare phone just in case, so should something happen to my regular, all I have to do is pop the sim card and put it in the new one. getting a hold of me won't be an issue. And I wasn't planning on going around telling everyone about that, but I thought that it might just help towards convincing you of my sincerity and of the fact that I am /not/ spying for the INstitute." He pulls in a slow breath, then lets it out, and simply nods his head curtly.

That Spalding's body was not recovered is something she won't address right now. Elisabeth says quietly, "Yes. He was a good soldier. And he didn't deserve whatever happened." She watches him, her blue eyes assessing. "I won't say I'm convinced… but I will say that I'm willing to give the benefit of the doubt." She glances at Felix, the gentle hum around her not abating though she's not … as confrontational now. Her eyes go back to Curtis. "I'll give you a better briefing of how things run and what you can expect either this afternoon or tomorrow. For today… get yourself settled, meet the other as they come in. We'll work it out."

She tips her chin toward the door. "Felix, if you dont' mind?" It's more order than request, but… Elisabeth needs a little distance from this. That hit her a bit harder than she expected.

Liz will see that deadly little spark kindling in Fel's eyes. The one that says the speedster's grayhound instincts have been roused. But for the moment, he says, mildly, "Yes'm," and jerks his chin at the door promptingly.

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