Hope Is A Bastard


vf_elisabeth_icon.gif vf_lynette_icon.gif

Scene Title Hope Is A Bastard
Synopsis Liz and Lynette make peace and promises.
Date December 11, 2011

The Hub

Around the Hub, it's never hard to find Lynette. Follow the sparks. Or the faulty wiring. Today, it's the former. She's off in one of the rooms, sitting in a chair with her hands on one of the generators. Next to her is a little table with some food on it, because when she's refueling their power supply, she drains her own heavily. Not many people come talk to her during this kind of work, either because she is using her power when others do not or cannot, or because she's notoriously grumpy during the process.

But asking for her gets directions here. And good luck wishes, too.

Her hair is pulled back into a messy bun, her jumpsuit stained with grease, her boots scuffed and worn. The light from her electricity spills out of the door, which is also a dead giveaway.

Elisabeth isn't worried about the power use… and although perhaps she should be, she isn't worried about the virus from the other woman either. She's continued through these weeks to allow herself to be negated. She waits until Lynette is resting a moment, and then she knocks quietly. "Lynette? Do you have a moment?" It's so strange to talk to people that she knows from another time and place. There's still this weird sense of being displaced when she does it.

Lynette looks up at the knock, using her sleeve to wipe at her face. "Yeah, nothing but time here," she says, her tone gruff. But she waves her in, perhaps glad to have an excuse for a real break. She reaches over for her water first. "Sorry, there's not really a comfortable place to sit. The generators do in a pinch." Considering that her chair seems to be pretty rickety, they might even be the safer option. "What's on your mind?"

Elisabeth is actually carrying a colder bottle of water from the common area and offers it to the other woman. "I need to be a little bit nosy," the blonde admits, handing the other woman the water before taking up a seat on a patch of floor. "I know that you and Ruiz are close," she begins quietly. "And so I'm assuming he's told you the real story about how we landed here. If not… cut me off here?"

The water bottle gets a look, like Lynette's not quite sure what this gesture is supposed to mean. But she reaches out to take it with a quiet thanks after a bit of hesitation. Her eyebrow lifts at the notion of being nosy, but she doesn't stop her, just looks at her over the bottle as she takes a drink. There's a bit of a twitch at the description of her and Ruiz, but once Liz goes on, Lynette nods. There's a glance toward the door, but then back to the other woman. "Yeah, I got caught up."

Liz nods slightly and clasps her hands as she leans on her legs. "We've been struggling to learn how the interactions of powers might have been part of what caused us to land here," she tells the other woman. "One of the things that's come up is that your ability interacts with Ruiz's portals. And if you don't mind my asking about it, I'd really like to understand that a little more." She shrugs a little. "I know it's a personal question, but… it could be the key to getting home and getting as many of you out of here as we can." She looks up at the electrokinetic. "I know that it's hard to allow yourself a sliver of hope. I've only been here a few weeks and it presses down on me already. I can't… imagine how many things you all have already tried."

"Your boy, Magnes, we talked about it some. He says he was boosted. And turned into a black hole." Which is still weird. "Ruiz makes kind of a black hole. I mean, I always thought of it as a hole to nothing… or, not nothing, but to somewhere without… air or anything. The vacuum," she says, trying to explain her own reasoning. She doesn't usually think of it in science terms, so the flip from the more philosophical is a little choppy. "His power, it takes electricity to power it. I make electricity." Her head shakes a little. "I don't know how important that is, for what you want to try." Hope isn't easy around here. She had a brush with it, but reality was quick to make itself known again. Bring her back to the ground.

"Maybe Edward. Not me. Not us down here. We just survive. Until we don't anymore. Our world is dead." She has no illusions about that, although some people around here do. "But yours isn't. And if we can pull this off somehow, I'll be the first to shove you back home."

And there, within the words the woman offers, Elisabeth sees the Lynette of the Ferry. "Well," she replies quietly, "what I'm hoping is that we can shove at least as many of the kids as humanly possible through that hole. Along with anyone else who can come. You're right… this world is dead. There is nothing here for any of you but death. And I'm … afraid to ask you folks to hope, because if we fail, all I've done is hurt you more. But if we don't at least try, what's the point of continuing existence on a dead world?" Nothing left to lose has never really had a more immediate meaning.

Elisabeth looks very thoughtful about the information regarding the portals. "So let me ask you this… how much power could you potentially pull to feed into Ruiz's portal?" Because the Mallett Device was certainly funnelling power in vast quantities. This may well be where Gillian's power will be of the most use. "Does his portal get bigger the more you feed it?" she wonders.

"The kids, definitely. They don't deserve this graveyard." That's the only world they'd be able to inherit. "But we don't tell them. Not until we're sure we can do it. Maybe not until it's time to go." If. Lynette lets out a sigh, her hand rubbing at her face. "You have to promise me you'll save Mateo. I would do anything to give him a better world. A better life. Just promise me you'll make sure." Which might give Liz a hint at how far her anything goes.

"I could pull everything we have in here. I can do about 2500 volts on my own. But it's got to be quick. I can't hold it long anymore." If they were amped, that would be another story. But practicality first. She shakes her head a little, "Once it's formed, it's formed, as far as we know. I can give him all the power I've got, but he has to have it when it forms. If it can be made big in the first place, that would be ideal. You don't want to go through it if it's too small to fit through. It'll make you fit."

Immediate agreement comes from Elisabeth. "No, the kids can't be told anything at all unless or until we accomplish what we're trying — it would so far beyond unfair that it's not even funny." The blonde moves, coming up onto her knees to put her hand on Lynette's shoulder. "Look at me…" She meets the other woman's eyes and hides nothing from her. "The only things that will keep me from taking anyone here is them being sick," she tells the other woman. And there's a kind of regret for that. "We can't afford to take the virus to a whole new world to make them suffer it. Barring that? I have no intentions of leaving anyone behind if I can help it, Lynette. I swear it." She knows she cannot promise more than to do her best, and she refuses to give anyone here false hope or to lie to them about what she can do.

As to the portal, Liz nods slightly. "We're going after Gillian," she murmurs. "I am hoping that with her help, all of the people with abilities that tie into this can be amped to a degree large enough to open a portal to get us out of here. Not just me and Magnes, but everyone that we can take."

"Yeah, hope is a bastard. The less they have to learn that, the better." Lynette drinks from her water, gulping down a fair amount of it. But she looks over at Liz at the words, not bothering to hide her red-rimmed eyes. Holding back tears is hard work, especially when she's not negated. "I understand. No one who knows they're infected would go. We know what this does to people." But she takes the oath with a nod before she looks away again. "He wants to marry me," she says in a quieter voice. "I want to believe there's a future in that." Her hand reaches up to her face, to wipe away a tear that sneaked by.

But, she seems relieved when they come back to the work, the planning. "Amped. That would change things. I mean, I used to be good. If we had an amplifier, I could really do something. Magnes, too." Ruiz, too, but she doesn't offer him up for that particular meal. He'll have to volunteer himself if he wants to risk it. "Okay. So how do we… aim it? I can't say I understand black holes, but I'm pretty sure they're not easy to drive," she says dryly. Which is also a lot like the Lynette of the Ferry that Liz is familiar with.

Elisabeth merely squeezes Lynette's leg briefly at the news that Ruiz wants to marry her. There's nothing she can say that won't sound ridiculous, so she merely acknowledges it with that squeeze and a nod. Moving on to the other part of the conversation, she says, "I'm not sure how it can be aimed," she admits. "But Magnes is looking to see if he can get hold of of some science books, and between those and Ygraine's understanding of gravitational theory, we're hoping there will be enough information that we can put together to make it happen." She sighs heavily and admits softly, "It's a lot of what-ifs. A lot of guessing. But we've succeeded with a lot of what-if, a lot of guesswork, and a lot of praying before. Maybe the Universe will give us just a tiny break." She huffs out a small, self-deprecating laugh. Oh God… I'm *still* an optimist, Richard. Bubble gum and fucking flowers, love…

"Do you mind if I pick your brain a little about the people here?" she asks Lynette thoughtfully. "There are… some who are familiar to me, but obviously with it being a whole different world, I don't know them. Strangers with familiar faces, you know?"

"Right. He asked me about books." Lynette's contribution was on the metaphysical side. But maybe it helped. "I suppose it couldn't be easy. Then it would feel like a trap." She listens to the very optimistic view of the situation and leans back in her chair— with a squeak— as she takes a moment to chew on it. "I don't know that it'll give us a break, but maybe we can wrestle it into submission. Hell, we can throw ourself at it and go down that way or we can sit here and wait for the Vanguard to pick us off." Which they are already doing. The pressure of that situation makes this escape plan a little more appealing than it might have been otherwise.

Her head tilts at the question, her expression sobering some. "I can't say I know many of them that well. The work keeps me busy. But I can try." She nods to the last words. "That's gotta be the weirdest thing. Magnes told me he'd met the other me." Which was also weird. "What happens with that? I mean, if this all works and we get the directions right, there's going to be a lot of doubles. Or replacements."

"Not replacements," Elisabeth assures her. "Doubles, though, yes." She smiles just a bit. "I met your double," she says quietly. "She'd been… held hostage. Like me. When we broke her out, she was… afraid that she was broken somehow. But she went on to become amazingly strong." The blonde sits back on her heels. "If we get home and there are two of you, you'll have to … figure things out. How to live in the same world. How we'll get identity papers. All the usual stuff." God, she makes it sound so normal to do that shit. But for her, it kind of is. "You'll have the chance to do whatever you want with your life, without being negated. And without worrying about dying of the Shanti virus."

Lynette listens to the description of her other self, her elbows resting on her knees. Parts of it feel familiar. That fear is familiar. But the rest, that gets a shake of her head. "Well. Hopefully she won't mind. Ruiz and me, when we land, we can get out of her hair. Maybe see how Argentina is fairing." Where Ruiz is from. As Liz goes on, it's isn't normal, but since it sounds like it to her, Lynette seems to accept that this is all doable. Or maybe she just adds it to the list of ifs. It's that possibility that gets her attention, though. "I hate it. The drug. I lost so much of my skill after we started taking it. And it makes everything… dull. I feel trapped in a lot more ways than just what's outside."

There is genuine understanding in Elisabeth's expression. "Yeah…. I … if the possibility exists of getting off this shit quickly, I'm taking it. I can't stand not being able to hear. I feel like I'm smothering in a cotton room, soundproofed to hell, and like I can't breathe." The audiokinetic apparently does understand the feeling quite well. "It gives me constant nightmares," she admits. "I found out that in your world here, I died protecting the kids at the high school I was working at… I have to admit on some level I'm grateful that I didn't have to face my own double."

"That's what I did," Lynette says, as far as getting off the drug as fast as possible, "once I got over throwing myself at the outside." There's probably an obvious reason why that happened. "I suggest figuring out a way to make your ability useful. And never step foot outside again." It's not perfect, but it has worked for Lynette so far. "I get that. Part of me feels like everyone who died got off lucky. The virus is a bitch, but this," she says with a wave around the room, "this is torture."

Nodding slightly, Liz comments, "My ability is useful enough. But I won't risk the people down here until I've exhausted all possibilities… which means negating until the situation is resolved one way or the other." Either successs or failure, she means. "Since I haven't been out there yet… can you tell me about where they're holed up in the ruins of the city?"

"I haven't been out in a long time. You should as K about that." Lynette refuses to call him K-Mart. She cannot bring her self to, even in this hellhole. "He'd have up to date information. But right now? With the sniper out there, I think they might be closer than we like." Lynette has compared them to rats in the walls before, but it seems all the more true now as they scramble to avoid the trap. "Planning on storming them? That could fun," she says with a sudden, wicked grin.

"I might do that," Elisabeth replies. "We'll need his expertise when we go after Gillian. I'm not sure about storming them," she adds. "I'm hoping for a more stealth approach. But we'll see how that plays out." She shoves her hand through her shorn hair and asks, "Lynette? How often have you been infiltrated by people from them?" She looks up at the other woman. "Because I know that you guys are worried about that with us too."

"Stealth is probably smarter. A lot less fun, though." Lynette looks up at Liz's hair, then back to her face again. "Never successfully. I mean, we would be dead if he knew where we were. But it's a constant worry. Personally, I don't think he would bother. I think he would, you know. Storm the place." Although, Volken doesn't seem like the kinda guy who knows about fun, he is known for rather decisive actions. "Don't mind it. We're always worried about them."

Nodding, Liz asks, "I know you were worried about the music classes with the kids — with me, I mean. Is there… anything I can do to help ease that with you?" Her blue eyes take in Lynette's expression, and she admits quietly, "It's… difficult. To see so many faces that I knew, even if they were just in passing, and have … no connections." She huffs a faint laugh. "It's actually harder with the people that I did know there — seeing no recognition from them. But… I thought perhaps you would be one of the ones I could start building some trust with." She'd hoped that the woman was if not the same one she met after the Staten Island Hospital raid, then at least similar enough.

"Yeah, that was— I mean, I don't like the idea of a stranger with the kids. But Ruiz says we can trust you. And I trust Ruiz. The music— It hit— It's— " A few false starts and Lynette stops, makes herself take a breath, and then starts again. "Dess. The music teacher. She died recently. She was family." Probably not in a blood sense, at least not to Lynette, but the sentiment stands. "Those kids, aside from a few trinkets, that's all that's left of her. So if I come off as too protective, I guess I hope you understand." As far as the subject of trust, she lifts an eyebrow at the question. "That's what we're doing right now, yeah? I don't think you're Volken's anymore, if that helps." That part's a joke. It even comes with a crooked smile.

There's a nod and Elisabeth definitely appears to understand where Lynette is coming from. "I'm sorry that I stepped into Odessa's shoes the way that I have," she admits quietly. "I jumped at the chance to do the music classes and didn't really consider other people's feelings on the loss of the previous teacher…" She shrugs just a little. "It's the one place, sitting in front of the piano, that I can … pretend. Just for a few minutes. That I'm … home." She looks down at her hands. "That this is a nightmare. That I'll wake up and roll over to find — that I'm not alone." The exhalation of an almost-laugh is wistful. "Landing here with Magnes has been an exercise in a great many things like patience. We don't even know if our friends back home survived the incident that sent us here." Her lips thin and then she pulls in a breath and looks up. "I do understand… and I respect the fact that you're looking out for the kids. It's… what the other you does too. It's one of the things we have in common."

"It's alright. I'm just bad with feeling left behind. She would have wanted someone to keep teaching them." It isn't exactly a go ahead, but it isn't not one. Lynette watches Liz as she talks and there's a pause before her hand comes out to touch the other woman on the arm. It's a bit odd, like she's not sure it's the right thing, but it becomes more sure after a moment. "We'll get you home, if we can. I'm sorry you're stuck here. If there are endless paths through the garden, I'm fucking sorry you landed in this one." Because it is a nightmare. Just one none of them are gonna wake up from. She reaches into a pocket, pulling out cigarettes and matches, she doesn't light one right away, just turns the beaten up box over in her hands. "She's not a good person," she says, of the other Lynette, "she just wants to be one." And maybe about herself, too, since there's only one way she could be so certain about it.

The comment is met with an honest chuckle from Elisabeth. "I fell in love with a man who used to tell me all the time he wasn't a good man," she murmurs. "I've learned that being a good person isn't what people think it is… it isn't about always being 'good,' whatever that is. It's choosing to try to do the unselfish thing when you have to make a choice, even when walking away or doing something else that lets you just ignore the situation is a hell of a lot easier." She shrugs a little. "Generally speaking, I'd tell you I'm not a good person either. I've hurt people and even killed them… in the name of saving other people. I'd like to say that it was always in the name of saving 'the innocent,' but … that would be a lie. Sometimes it was just to save the people closest to me. Or the people I thought were doing the wrong or right things for the right reasons. We're all just… doing the best we can, Lynette."

"That's funny," Lynette says to Liz's first words, "So did I." That particular similarity is what gets a warmer smile out of Lynette. "He thinks he doesn't deserve better. But I know he does." She nods, though, to Liz's words. "That's damn right. It's all we can do." There's a pause, consideration, and then she holds the box of cigarettes out toward Liz. "You smoke?" It isn't the healthest peace offering, but that's clearly what it is, even if Liz doesn't know how deep this particular gesture goes for this particular woman.

Elisabeth chuckles softly, waving the offer of cigarettes off — though clearly she understands the value of such an offer here at the end of the world, even if not the value to this particular woman. "I don't. But I appreciate the offer immensely," she replies easily. "I think maybe all of us feel like we're faking it when we make what other people see as the 'brave' choices or whatever." She shrugs. "Who or what are we willing to die to protect? I think most of us would, to varying degrees and under the right conditions, give similar answers, you know? People we love. Kids. Other people too, if it means the ones we give a damn about get helped. When push comes to shove… I don't think I've ever yet met a person who has turned tail and run when given the option."

"Alright," Lynette says with a nod. She doesn't take one out for herself, either, but slides everything back into her pockets. "That's probably true," she says, "And the people we see as brave probably feel like they're faking it, too." Her head tilts a little, like she maybe hadn't considered that before. She glances toward the door again, like she's thinking about getting up and going somewhere. But she doesn't. She turns back to the generator. Back to Liz. "You can stick around if you want. It's bright, but it won't hit you." The work has to get done around here. Before she can run off to where she'd actually like to be.

"Nope," Elisabeth tells her. "Electricity is the one thing I don't like to play with, lady," she laughs. Climbing to her feet, she heads for the door. "Look me up when you're off duty… I'll buy you a drink," she teases lightly. Because no one BUYS drinks anymore.

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