I've Been Preparing For Days


cat_icon.gif elisabeth_icon.gif

Scene Title I've Been Preparing For Days
Synopsis A conversation before going into battle.
Date January 28, 2009

Cat's Penthouse at the Village Renaissance Building

Arriving by any of four elevators, visitors will find they open into three foot corridors facing wide double doors made from sturdy southern pine which swing outward and have the strongest locks available. The stairs lead to single doors, also outward opening, at the end of three foot corridors. Entry requires both a key and a keycard; other security measures are a video camera and voice communication terminal at all doors. The 4th Street side has floor to ceiling windows interrupted only by the access points. Cream colored curtains are normally kept closed.

This level has enough space for sixteen apartments. There is an office space with reception area, conference room, and executive office; a room for archery practice and other forms of physical exercise; a very well appointed kitchen and dining area; a music zone with an array of instruments, electronics, and amplifiers; an entertainment area with an HD set covering an entire stretch of wall from floor to ceiling; a locked room where security footage for the building is recorded and can be monitored; a laundry room; a staircase for roof access; central air and heating; the main bedroom and a few smaller guest rooms; plush deep wine carpet everywhere except the kitchen, laundry room and bathrooms; and track lighting everywhere overhead. The light levels can be lowered or raised in the entire place, or selectively by segments. The overall decor suggests the occupant is a woman.

It's morning on the day of action, and Cat is preparing. She has her body armor and her radio gear laid out, along with some functional all black clothing in the open area of the top level where she now resides. Two pistols are next to it, along with several loaded magazines. The same is true for an M16 rifle propped against the wall. She is perhaps expecting a visitor, one she isn't concerned about seeing what she has in the way of armaments. A pair of sturdy military style boots is placed near the gathered items as she emerges from one of the rooms.

The visitor probably won't care. The knock on the door comes, and when it opens, Elisabeth is carrying coffee for two. "Morning," she offers. She's dressed to go in to work — because she can't just shirk duty for this either, she and Darius are kind of going off the radar today — in a pair of sturdy black pants, heavy treaded boots, and a black jacket. "Weather's nasty," she tells Cat quietly. "And forecast to get worse. That could be real good for us."

It was an easy enough thing to have arranged, she finds. When someone coming to see her enters the lobby, Cat gets a call from the security desk and can cause the elevator to come to this level without need of accessing the hidden buttons and be at the doors to open them when the guest arrives. "Morning to you too," she greets, one hand reaching out to accept the coffee. "Thanks." A few steps are taken into the penthouse, she stands aside to admit the Scoutist. "And yes, that could make things interesting, or less interesting. I'm good with less interesting."

Elisabeth chuckles. "Less interesting is all we can hope for. 'Easy' is far too much to ask," she agrees quietly. All in all, she seems to be coping with the stress all right. "How're you doing?" she asks, glancing around as she sips her own coffee. "You almost ready for this?"

"I've been ready since the day I met Ethan," Cat replies deadpan. Something dark flashes into her eyes, but passes away quickly. The calmly focused expression returns. "You?" That cup is lifted and tasted from for a moment, she seems perhaps rapturous in the enjoyment of it. Moments later the doors are closed behind Elisabeth.

Elisabeth flashes a faint grin. "Well… I guess I'm as ready as I can get. For having never done anything remotely like this and taking a TEAM in."

"I've been preparing for days," Cat replies. "I acquired firearms, read up on using and maintaining them, then practiced the principles at a firing range. I believe I'm accurate enough now. I'd be happier, though," she quietly admits, "if we knew the strength of opposition which might be present in Jersey City." Feet in running shoes tread across the carpeted floor on the way to the music zone, and she becomes quieter. "I've not done any of the things people might do if they think time might be short," she muses.

Elisabeth looks curious. "Which things are you thinking you should do?" she asks, interested. "Me? I let Darius get me smashed." Conrad too!"

"I wouldn't know," Cat replies softly. "Getting laid is probably top of most people's lists, but for me that just brings up things I'm not sure how to even address if I wasn't going into battle tonight. How long is too long? How soon is too soon?" She shakes this off, and turns eyes to the array of instruments, the guitars in particular. "Maybe I'll go to the roof and play for a few hours. Get my Hendrix on."

Tilting her head, she studies Cat quietly. "There is no 'how long' or 'how soon'. It's all about whether you feel like you're ready, whether you want it." Elisabeth can sympathize here. "For me, the thing I did was … spend some time with my partner, spend some time with my best friend, spend some time with my Dad. Getting laid kind of came last, but … that was damn nice too," she admits with a faint smile.

Her lips quirk into a grin at the final piece. "Good for you," Cat offers. One hand gestures to an empty chair, she remains standing while Elisabeth does. "I have to address it sometime," she murmurs. "Living well, finding someone else like Dani asked, maybe it's time to start holding tryouts."

Elisabeth moves to slouch on a chair with her coffee. She looks thoughtful. "You do have to address it sometime, but you shouldn't be in a hurry … if you're ready, you're ready. If you're not, then you're not. If someone piques your interest, follow up on it."

"It feels like a betrayal even thinking or talking about it, sometimes, despite her wishes. Most of the time, the thought doesn't even enter my head, but sometimes it does. Like something starting to wake inside me." Cat drinks more of her coffee, and sets the cup down.

Elisabeth offers a soft smile. "Grief takes time. But I think she'd say that the thing waking inside you is the realization that you didn't die too. Celebrating life is a good thing, Cat."

She lets out a short puff of air then. "I should be dead. I expected to be. I would always counsel against making that trade. If a retrieval were to happen, it would have to be by taking back the hostage and giving the captors nothing but death."

Elisabeth thinks about that and says softly, "You do what you can to save as many lives as you can. At least I do. I have to. Even when you don't want to live."

"It was never not wanting to live," Cat explains. "It was having made peace with not doing so, simply." She eyes the wall for a short time, then turns away from it. "I've got some geiger counters to take along, and check the rad levels in Jersey City tonight. I don't trust the official word on that, ever. I'd not be surprised if it were all clear and they're acting like it isn't." Then her eyes settle on the blonde. "What're the odds Parkman starts acting like the enemy again tomorrow morning?"

Elisabeth grimaces a little and just shakes her head. "Not a clue," she sighs. "Things are insane, and with this whole presidential thing… I htink it's going to get worse before it gets better, Cat. I really do. But so far… the man's kept his word. And my police commissioner seems to think highly of him, so…. I just don't know."

She nods. "We're definitely in trouble on that front. The bastard Senator who should be sweeping shit and sleeping in gutters is President, and he made Mitchell the Vice President." Cat mutters Very Unpleasant Things under her breath.

"Dont hold back, Cat, tell us what you really think," Elisabeth teases with a grin.

She just laughs a bit there. "I think that says it all," Cat asserts. "In any case, it's fortunate I don't make my home in anyplace known as connected to the organization. I think tonight may be the first use of assets I've arranged."

Elisabeth nods slowly. "Good luck." She grimaces a bit. "Considering Dr. Ray blabbed everyone's identity all over the damn place the other night, I guess I'm just going to sit tight and see if DHS comes for me when this is all over. Not much else *to* do. Not yet."

"You've got an attorney," Cat reminds. "Not that Homeland Satan allows lawyers. They're very much in the suspension of habeas corpus category, which the Constitution sadly does permit."

Elisabeth says, "Yeah. I know." She grimaces. "If they come for me, I doubt I'll get any warning. But … I'm not willing to go back to laying low. So, let 'em come."

"Lincoln used it, and FDR too. The only dispute would be over the timing of it. There was a nuking in an American city, and Congress was on board with the Linderman Act, so the angle of that clause being in the article concerning the Legislative branch meaning the authority to suspend Habeas Corpus lies there and not with the Executive is moot."

Eyeing Cat, Liz says, "Well, you know what? One problem at a time. Let's focus on tonight." She sips her coffee and says, "Get a good meal. I just wanted to check in on you before it all ramps up. I'm heading in to work to let my boss know I need the afternoon off for personal business." She grins a little.

"I'm thinking too much again, aren't I?" Cat asks, as she lifts her coffee and drinks from it. "Personal business, excellent idea."

Elisabeth grins at Cat. "a little," she acknowledges. "But honey, whatever gets you through." In spite of Cat's doctorate(s) and all, Liz sometimes gets the feeling that the woman who remembers everything is a lot younger in some ways than she seems.

She doesn't know anything of the Scoutist considering her juvenile. The thought she could be viewed in that vein doesn't even occur to Cat. Doubts and self-questioning are set aside, the challenge ahead is focused on, and a challenge is something she's never backed down from. Her features take on a sharper expression of focus and she calls the layouts of those three warehouses into her mind's eye, starting to think of variables to perhaps suggest for Al. "I think the one we want to concentrate on will probably have cars and tracks in the snow… if fresh snowfall doesn't obscure them. Hopefully there are windows to peer through."

It's interesting to see Cat go from self-doubt to the more focused woman before her. Sometimes it's like night and day sometimes. Cat will forever intrigue her, she figures. Assuming she lives long enough to see how someone who remembers everything functions. "Wireless got me the intel on our site. It looks like we may be looking at a large number of guards, but there's going to be no way to know for sure til we get there. But Owen, I think, is going to be our ace in the hole." She runs a hand into her hair. "I've hit my planning limit. Covered every base that I can think of that can be done ahead of time. We're a go."

She looks at Cat and sets her coffee down, moving to stand up. "If you want the truth, I came by for the same reason that you were overthinking….. because I wanted to say something to you in case I don't come out of there and you do. And actually, we just touched on it." She pauses a moment. "From all I have learned of you, you're a brilliant, amazing person. And I'm honored to have met you." She offers a grin. "Don't let your intellect or anyone else's opinions on how long you've grieved determine when you're done, okay? When you're ready, just go about your life as you see fit. Don't feel guilty if you find happiness, Dani wouldn't want that for you." She shrugs a little. "And on that profound note," she says with a rueful grin, "I have to get out of here. Will's expecting me at work today."

"That's what she wrote on the hamburger wrapper," Cat quietly replies. "Doing it is another thing altogether." She stands, leaving her coffee on the table. There's no talk of not getting out alive for either of them. All she says in parting is "I'll see you tomorrow, and we'll maybe go pick up guys."

January 28th: The Parting Glass
January 28th: Endgame - Suffer The Children
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