Ideology Schism


cat_icon.gif elisabeth_icon.gif

Scene Title Ideology Schism
Synopsis Liz visits a friend — for business and in the hopes of reaching across the divide.
Date Aug 12, 2010

Cat's Penthouse, Village Renaissance Bldg

This morning comes as so many do, with a routine being carried out. Cat's going about her business as she does on most days. There's been the standard period of physical training followed by the shower, then food and coffee while she peruses her customary stack of newspapers from various points of the globe. In doing so, at the crest of the tenth hour, she's still clad in a sports bra and shorts. It seems more physical training is to happen.

The penthouse, which one blonde member of Frontline has easy access to, doesn't have its customary appearance in one regard. Placed against the kitchen wall are an M16 rifle, loaded clips for that weapon, some grenades, body armor, and a box of biohazard suits.

As always, Elisabeth is polite and calls ahead. She does let herself in once Cat knows she's en route, though. It's been a while since she's been by. As she walks through, heading toward the alcove where Cat's likely to be sitting to have her coffee, the blonde picks up the scent of the aforementioned brew. Good timing!

"Morning, Cat," Liz greets mildly. She's wearing a pair of casual black shorts and pink tanktop, and with her hair pulled up in a ponytail and her sneakers and the armband with an iPod in it, it looks like she ran here. The weapons in the kitchen are mentally noted and dismissed — it's to be expected that Cat's checking her gear for tomorrow.

A page is turned, the printing on it in Cyrillic, and dark eyes scan the text just long enough to have seen it completely. The voice causes a brunette head to lift and settle upon the source prior to a spoken reply. "Morning," she agrees. It is that. Across the table from her is a cup of coffee and food, the sources of which remain warm on the counter.

And it seems she has a famous centuries-dead English playwright's works on her mind. "Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more."

"Yeah," Elisabeth replies drily, helping herself to coffee and breakfast — Cat's nothing if not ever-hospitable. As she slides into the chair across from her friend, she says quietly, "Ever think about getting the hell out of this line of work?" she asks with a bit of a weary edge.

"Frequently," she answers in flatly solemn voice, "my life isn't in need of excitements to break boredom, I pulled off the goal of not letting myself be caged in a prison of corporate offices and their uniform of business suits with the occasional exercise in a yard called court. But the missions still find us." She lifts her cup but doesn't taste its mocha-colored contents yet. "Long as they do, I answer the bell. Matters of this kind perhaps more strenuously than others. Even were it not for the actions of mad scientists and kidnapping thugs masquerading as a Federal agency…" Now the liquid is sipped and the cup set down.

"… I would still have my issues about people close to me being held captive. Sometimes the clock will run out before rescue happens, but I will always work toward it."

She's pretty well aware of Cat's issues with this. Liz takes a sip of her own coffee and simply nods. We all answer for our own reasons. "I was hoping you could get me a few more vests for tomorrow," she says quietly. "We've got a couple of new people who're going to need them." She sets her cup down and begins to eat slowly. That issue is not the only thing that's brought her, though — she's decided that it's time for a candid conversation.

"Cat…. I'm worried about you," she says finally. "Since your mother died, you've been… far more conspiracy theorist than I thought you'd get. I don't know if it's just because you see those conspiracies everywhere now, or if it's a function of your ability. Are you okay?"

"Body armor I've got," Cat reports, "and biohazard suits. We have people to provide wind control who can keep negation gas away from us if it's used, but it won't hurt to be prepared beyond that. Following that statement is an extended silence covered by consumption of dark caffeinated liquid and a slight quirking of lips into some ghost of a smile.

"What conspiracy theories am I spouting, possibly seeing, Elisabeth? Mad scientists making a mutant flu and releasing it into the wild? Recreating a formula to endow people they choose with superpowers? A man from ten years into the future taking the place of his younger self and assuming the presidency his younger self stole, all the while claiming not to be one of the people he outed? A Nazi straight out of World War Two trying to depopulate the planet with a virus so he can take over as global Fuhrer, and a backup plan of using a nuke to make a flood establish him?"

A somewhat dry chuckle escapes as she sets the cup down. "In my defense I submit this whole string of outlandish things which are so very, very true."

Then, more somberly, "I do hurt. The choices are starkly simple; let myself wallow in perfect recall of my failures, or stay busy. Focus on what can be achieved, move forward and make new memories, seize chances to not fail again. To honor the people I let down."

Fingers lift the fork, poising to spear some eggs with the mechanics of Emily Post as she quietly tacks on "It didn't just start after Dreyfus assassinated Mother. It began in December 2008."

Elisabeth laughs softly at the string of crazy but true things that come out of Cat's mouth. She admits softly, "If we tried to explain what we've seen, they'd lock us all up." She sets her fork down, though and says softly, "It didn't start then, but it's gotten a lot worse." Her tone is gentle. "You used to be able to balance it out most of the time, but more and more it seems like….. everything's very black and white with you lately. And I'm concerned that you're distancing yourself more and more. The things we see, the things we know are coming? Most of them suck, Cat. And you've reached a point where you're so black and white about things that no one really even wants to talk to you about it anymore. We work so damn deep in the shades of gray that you don't fit. And that's not fair either, because you bust your tail out there. So…. I need to know what I can do for you to help. We need some middle ground." She reaches out and touches Cat's arm. "I'm losing my friend to the starkness of logic on a Vulcan level."

There's no pulling away from the hand on her arm, silence existing as she listens to what's said and frames a reply. "Black and white," Cat muses, "I…, we, should be so lucky. I'm uncompromising because I am compromised. Ideally, every single secret we have should be told to the public, nothing held back. Air all the rotten, festering, putrescent laundry and let the pieces fall where they will. Ideally, we'd have stayed pure, never allied with Gabriel Gray and so many others of unsavory stripe, but the situations demanded dirtying ourselves, and so we did. And so we will again, I'm certain." Here she pauses to make eye contact before continuance.

"Is it so hard to understand holding out for staying clear of the gray as long as possible, to always encourage others doing the same?"

"Not hard to understand…. but very very hard to live up to the expectations of," Elisabeth says softly. "You don't encourage others to do it. You expect them to. And in most cases, we just flat can't. I know what you want done, Cat. Airing it all and letting the chips fall where they may, however, is a good way to get discounted as a complete crackpot, and you know that. You overestimate Joe Public's willingness to disrupt their own personal status quo." She squeezes gently. "Pretty regularly when I've talked to you in the past few months, I've gotten the impression that I am pretty much constantly in the wrong in your eyes. And it bothers me. And it makes me walk away from you, probably at the times when you could most use a friend. And I'm sorry for that."

"You're still missing the point, Elisabeth," Cat gently asserts without looking away from the blonde's face, "are my words and actions two different things? When the time comes for decisions and immediate actions, have I not given into the gray and conceded the lost debate, at least to that point? I'll never stop having vision of mighty things that can be pulled off. I'll never stop wanting that, and being vocal about it. It's about keeping hope, about reaching a point where what we do isn't just rise up with weapons to tamp down one crisis after another in an endless string." Hands lay flat on the table during a brief beat of silence.

"I sometimes wonder if you still have hope yourself, Elisabeth, in getting to a clear and lasting victory that'll take hard work and sticking with idealism, to some degree. It'll take blood, sweat, toil, and tears, and the conviction some things must be dragged back out of the grey, made black and white."

"I still have hope, Cat," Elisabeth replies quietly. "Not in the same things you do — a clear victory will never be attained. That's my point. People are not black and white. People's agendas are not black and white. And after all that we've seen, I worry that you can't see it." She smiles a little. "Differences in ideology aside, though…. I'm glad you'll be there. I feel better with you at my back, lady."

"I don't doubt it'll take decades," Cat allows, "and it certainly won't happen because someone opts to make a sudden bold stroke like bestowing superpowers on an entire city at one shot, or develops a formula to lay mojo on whoever he chooses, finds a way to take them from those he chooses to disable. But we'll get there because this is black and white: the battles are never entirely over, issues do linger. Sexism, racism. But the desire for liberty always comes out on top, going all the way back to 1776, despite all manner of hurdles faced. It rises to the top because people like us never give up expecting to get there, no matter the grey choices we make. The evidence is in my favor."

She pauses there, considering something, before making a subdued observation. "Black, white, grey… They're not the right colors for attachment to all this. The shade that comes up again and again is red. Tomorrow we nourish the tree of liberty again. The only way I wouldn't be there is if I were physically unable. Factions aside, wedges that seem to be driven between people, some things are constant."

The Bard is back in the building. solemnly invoked with a measure of paraphrase.

"We few, we bloody few, we band of sisters."

Elisabeth snickers softly. "Amen," she comments mildly. But at least Cat knows that Liz worries for her. She goes back to her breakfast to spend the rest of the time the two get together talking about things far less serious.

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