If These Walls Could Talk


elisabeth_icon.gif jaiden_icon.gif ygraine_icon.gif

Scene Title If These Walls Could Talk
Synopsis Eventually we keep coming back here — at least some of us do.
Date Apr 15, 2011

Skinny Brickfront, Endgame Safehouse

It's a chilly night, the unheated derelict not exactly providing the most luxurious of accommodation for the fugitivies within. High-quality sleeping bags, however, can do wonders… and at present one of this particular room's two occupants is sitting up - bag part-unzipped, cocooning most of her while leaving her arms free.

For at the moment, Ygraine is making use of the night-lights in the room, one perched on the wall above her shoulder illuminating the sketch-pad propped against her up-drawn knees. A soft, steady scraping accompanies the motions of her hand, as the pensively-frowning Briton works away upon the page.

The fact that Ygraine is awake isn't something that kept her roommate from sleeping. But it does treat her to the realities of sharing a room like this. Elisabeth doesn't sleep well. Several times she's jerked awake, alarmed, and taken a while to go back to sleep. She hasn't woken screaming, which is perhaps testament to the fact that one can only be terrified for so long before the adrenaline levels off and acceptance of the new baseline sets in. It's also a blessing — even negated, it would still be a danger for people to be heard screaming like a banshee in a supposedly empty building. But she's a restless sleeper, and clearly the worries and stresses wear on the blonde and interrupt her sleep. It's the scraping sound that lures Liz from sleep this time, and she goes tense in the silence as she listens. And wakes up more fully to be aware of her surroundings. It's not a knife being sharpened, it's something far more innocuous.

Rolling over in her sleeping bag, her hand propped under her cheek, Elisabeth looks at the woman drawing. "What's got you not sleeping?" she asks softly.

Ygraine's gaze lifts, brows rising as she peeps at Elisabeth over the barrier of knees and pad alike. "I hope that I didn't wake you", she murmurs, tone apologetically guilty. "But…" She gestures, half angry and half frustrated at the page before her.

"It's therapy. One of the few things that seemed to work at all, while I was… in care. And something my shrink here encouraged me to keep up with, when I came back in oh-eight. So I've been trying to draw things while I'm here. Especially from that dream I had last week. Get them out of my head, and onto the page…"

Elisabeth nods slightly. "It's fine. It's too quiet around here anyway — I don't sleep well like that. Jaiden said something about getting a fan in here, but it's so goddamn chilly at night, I don't want to put one in here. In the summer, definitely." She's quiet for a long while, as if she might have drifted off again, and then murmurs softly, "I'm worried. Richard should have been in contact by now." She bites her lip. "Harmony said he trashed the library. But he could live there in the shadows pretty much indefinitely. Wanna take a run to Midtown with me?"

Ygraine cocks her head, brows arching again. "The library? Midtown? The Central Library? I… sure. If we're taking my routes, it'll mean a trip underground", she cautions. "But I can certainly get you there. Would you be wanting to set out in the morning?"

"Yeah," Elisabeth says softly. "Right after curfew breaks. Underground will have to be fine. I need to go." She rolls to her back and sighs heavily. "I've got some things put away there that I want to check the status of. Not sure where else to put them, so I'll leave them in place."

Ygraine nods cautiously. "If you're sure. I don't want to bring you face to face with your fears if I don't have to, but… if we can avoid the patrols and the robots, I'll be glad. And I can certainly help you to find out what's happening. Is there anything we should take with us to help to check out these… things?"

"Ffft," Elisabeth snorts. "Ygraine, I took Richard into the subway tunnels right after I got back to retrieve weapons that Conrad had stored down there. I can handle it. I just don't like to." She shoves herself upright. Dawn is starting to brighten the sky, though neither of them can really see that except in the lessening of the gloom in the room beyond the nightlight's reach. Sitting with her knees pulled up, Elisabeth says, "There's no need to take anything in particular. Just be ready to run like hell if there's any trouble."

Ygraine chuckles and nods. "Down there, I can evade people better than anyone else I know of, I think. Just stay close to me so that I can switch which surface you're drawn to, and we should be able to get away from any pursuit fairly quickly. But I stick to the tunnels mostly because no one's likely to realise we were ever there. And I'd hope to avoid any problems. But if we do run into them - don't worry. I've no intention of fighting if I can possibly help it."

Elisabeth nods slightly. "Let's get dressed. We'll get moving as soon as curfew's up," she murmurs. She pushes the sleeping bag off her legs. She's sleeping in a pair of stretch pants and one of the three pullovers she packed. Packing light is… definitely not fun. It doesn't seem to bother her to strip out of the pants while Ygraine sits there, though she shivers a bit as she steps into her jeans and socks. By the time she speaks again, she's yanking a brush through hair. "I should get one of you to cut this. Really short. It'd be… better for concealing it. Easier to care for," she comments absently.

Possessed of a hip-length mane of her own, Ygraine chuckles softly. "Just learn to wear really heavy jackets with built-in back protectors. Then no one notices the hair tucked inside", she advises dryly. "But if you really want to, we can. Personally, I think it both suits you and changes your appearance in a way no one is likely to expect."

Having taken the time Liz used to get hastily dressed to carefully put away her drawing utensils, Ygraine then reluctantly levers herself out of her cozy nest. "I wanna sleep past dawn, at some point", she grumbles, before demonstrating that years of sports changing rooms - not to mention a professional career that involved wearing little more than a spandex skin-suit - have left her without any particular body modesty herself. That said, she still markedly favours her wounded arm - visibly thinner than the other, and with angry scarring on both sides of the bicep - as she sets about struggling into the burgundy bodysuit she has taken to wearing under her leathers. "Do you have a way of getting into the Library from below? Or will we need to go in over the surface?"

There's a faint smile. "The doors on one side are hidden at subbasement level. They look impassable, but they're not. We should be able to squiggle in that unless Richard blew the place to smithereens," Elisabeth replies. And she glances back at Ygraine, a faint somewhat shy smile on her face. "I don't want to cut it. Right now it serves very well to make me look a lot younger than the businesslike head of FRONTLINE Manhattan."

Cracking a swift grin, the Briton nods in agreement - before continuing the undignified process of wiggling into the clinging garment while trying not to overtax her weakened arm. "I was wary of saying that, but yes it does. I honestly think it suits you. And… it's not just a change in age. It's a change in style. With it down, you move a little differently. It alters how you hold your head. And it changes the way your clothes look."

Elisabeth looks surprised. "Really?" She never really noticed. She moves to pull a fleece on over her shirt and steps into her hiking boots. "C'mon… let's get some coffee and get the hell out of here before the guys decide we're out of our minds." Cuz…. Jaiden and Trask just might.

A low chuckle. "It's a matter of weight distribution", Ygraine informs Elisabeth. "Something I've thought about quite a lot over the years - especially since I began working seriously on my ability. With it draped over your back, some of the weight is taken there, and it also interacts with your body. With it all tied up behind your head, it's a very different balance."

Doing up her fastenings, Ygraine now sets about slipping into her leathers - also tight, but the process is made rather easier by the supportive suit already in place. "And I suspect they'd be more interested in deciding they're coming with us to protect us than anything else. Though Trask, at least, we can probably talk out of that. It's not as if I can take him by many of my tunnel routes."

The blonde chuckles. "Norton's…. protective," Elisabeth comments. "But he's no fool. He knows his ability occasionally causes problems. The best thing about him being here is that he's not wanted. He's an unknown face these days, which means he can move about a lot easier. He's been actively scrounging out useful things and foodstuffs for us. I told Jaiden that if by mid next week we don't see any signs of the building be compromised we could start to make it a bit more habitable."

"I suspect we'll still be using the hand-powered washing machine for some time", Ygraine says with a rueful grin, hauling on her boots, crouching down to lace them up. "But making this place a bit more comfortable would be very welcome indeed. And having a few luxuries that aren't provided by the kindness of your awesome mail clerk would be welcome."

Ruins of Midtown, New York Public Library

As the sun brightens the morning sky and the city comes to life with people heading out to work, the companions make their way along more traveled streets, seeming just one of the multitudes. A couple of coffees in their hands from a street vendor, just heading out for a morning. Ygraine and Elisabeth did not manage to convince a certain water wielder that they were perfectly capable of going into Midtown alone. He heard "Midtown" and "library" and retorted "robots!" and set his jaw resolutely and so it goes.

Elisabeth is well versed in the areas where slipping into Midtown is possible, and it's toward one of these locations that the group goes to slip into subway tunnels no longer in use. As they get underground, for the first time in several days that almost-audible vibration picks up around the blonde again, creating a subtle sort of hum just at the threshold of human hearing.

Elisabeth is nervous. Hell, so is Jaiden. Mucking about in Midtown, where robots and the military have decided to set up shop, is never a good thing - even more so when the three of them are on the run. There haven't been any wanted posters put up around town offering million-dollar rewards for information leading to their arrest and conviction, but Jaiden's sure that they're out there somewhere on police watch lists and FBI daily briefings - an "Oh by the way if you see these people" type of thing.

Dressed casually against the cool weather in jeans and a button down shirt, a cap pulled over his eyes, a backpack slung over his shoulders, Jaiden fits in rather anonymously - nothing really makes him stand out, which is what he was going for. When they enter the tunnels, the flashlights come out of the backpack and one reassuring hand rests on Elisabeth's shoulders. "You okay, Lizzie?" is his murmured question. "We can take our time goin' through here."

As soon as they're out of sight of the surface, Ygraine produces some more of her crank-powered tech. A torch is clipped to each shoulder, to direct its beam forward, while she attaches a simple cycling reflector to the base of her jacket at the back. A scarf is wrapped around her head, worn over a breathing mask - but the night vision gear remains in its pouch at her belt for the time being. Elisabeth, it seems, prefers illumination to an eerie green glare, for some some reason.

"C'mon. We'll go by walls and ceilings wherever possible", Ygraine says softly. "Makes it easier to navigate some sections, and makes us a lot harder to track, should anyone check any part of our route."

"I'm okay," Elisabeth replies quietly. The hum perhaps gives lie to the words, but … for the moment, at least, it's low level anxiety responses. She's not shaking. Yet. "If we take our time, however, I'm not sure I'll get to the end of the goddamn tunnel before I freak. So… let's just go as quick as we can, okay? And for God's sake, Ygraine, make sure the fucking rats are out of our path." She has some horrid, vivid snapshot memories of rats. She sticks hard on Ygraine's heels, trusting Jaiden to have the rear. But it's not as if this is the first time she's traveled the tunnels — she uses them every time she goes to West Village.

It never gets any easier if you've got a problem with enclosed spaces, and knowing what he does about Elisabeth's past, it's no wonder that she has the hangups that she does. Hell, Jaiden would be catatonic in a ball if he went through what Elisabeth did. The blonde has a great deal of respect and admiration from the Australian - something she probably suspects, but he hasn't said. THe fact that he follows her without question should speak toward that belief.

Jaiden's jacket doesn't have one of the reflectors on the back, his lights pointing straight ahead, giving little bouncing illuminations of signs, cracks in the subway walls, mold dripping from the ceiling - things best left unseen but necessary at this time because the last thing anyone wants is to step into an unmarked service shaft and break a leg. Ygraine's already been without use of an arm for far too long, and the last thing anyone wants is to be laid up while on the run. It's part of the reason they aren't going after Remi, after all. "Onward into the breach, ladies…"

"High up it is, then", Ygraine assures Elisabeth, the smile audible in her voice. "And we can go as fast as you guys feel comfortable. Some find the whole process of being on the 'wrong' surface really disorienting, but down here I personally find it a lot easier. Whichever surface you're standing on is down, and forward is forward. The rest, you don't need to worry about. Just don't stand on anything that can't bear your weight - and I'll lead you around all of those that I know about, I promise."

Elisabeth forces a small smile. She nods to Ygraine and then simply follows. "I haven't been out here using the subways," she admits. "I don't know how close we'll be able to get to the library underground." She lets the Brit lead the way, though, for as far as the group can go.

"There're reasons I recommend breathing masks", Ygraine says dryly. "There're other tunnels down here than just the subway. It's possible to cover most of the city, underground. At least if you're able to make use of vertical shafts where necessary. And with your pet spelunker around, today you can."

"Now… Jaiden's done this before, but watch out for the impact it has. I flip gravity, so everything it pulls on will change angle when I tweak this. Inside and out. But come over here and give me your hand, and I'll help take your weight. Now raise your foot and brace against the wall like this… and I'll flip your 'down' around to the wall if you're ready?"

Oh God. Elisabeth's so not sure of this, but she takes Ygraine's hand and says, "Is it just as disorienting if I close my eyes and let you just lead me to the ceiling and start from there?"

The answer to that might be a 'yes', because the disorientation is largely physical. Abruptly, Liz finds herself bent forward over that braced foot, her other - that had been supporting her weight - now up behind her at an odd angle against the ground. Or wall. Or however it should be thought of now.

But what's most immediately attention-grabbing is that the change in gravity does indeed have effects. All her clothing her hair, and every soft organ and liquid within her body is now being pulled in a different direction to before. From brain to stomach, there's a lurch as the whole orientation of the world switches through a ninety degree change.

Then she's standing, quite normally it seems, though held up by Ygraine. She's perfectly stable, and everything feels normal - save for the fading after-effects of that sudden shift. Though if she opens her eyes, she'll probably find she's now on the wall.

"It gets better with time", Ygraine quietly assures her. "One more, and we'll be on the ceiling, if you're up to it. Just let me take Jaiden up here beside you…."

Oh GOD…. Elisabeth's never experienced the vertigo effects of her own ability, though she knows they exist. The twist lurches her stomach and she gags a bit. She manages not to get ill, but just barely. "Holy shit," she gasps. And once she's stable, she nods to let Ygraine fetch Jaiden too.

Ygraine worriedly studies Liz for a moment or two, then lets go of her and pulls Jaiden up - the big Aussie clearly rather more used to this than the former cop, though he doesn't appear to find it as casually easy as the practitioner herself.

"The charges last for about ten minutes, now - I've improved, with practice. So if you're separate from me, don't worry about falling off. It'll attach you to a specific object or a clear plane - such as a whole wall - and you can move around freely on that", Ygraine explains, as she guides her companions up towards the ceiling. "So long as some part of you is within a foot or so of the surface you're attached to, you'll keep the connection. So you can walk normally, even run with care. Though I tend to lean right forward and trail a hand near the ground and scurry when I need speed. There're also some funkier effects possible, since it's an object and not a direction you're attached to… but for the time being… brace your foot up once more, and I'll get each of you up here. From here, we can mostly stick to the ceilings, though there'll be some stretches on walls and in shafts. I'll keep things as level as I can, I promise."

It's a wild ride — well, walk — through tunnels in this fashion. Elisabeth is both amazed and appalled on some levels. Each time the plane of gravity shifts, she feels that sickening sensation and has to pause before moving on. But on the up side, there are no encounters in the tunnels to worry about. There's just some climbing and scrambling over (through?) rubble. It's damp, there are rats squeaking, it's chilly. All of this adds to her anxiety as they progress, and she is finally unable to keep it at bay. They are not going to get any closer to the library underground without thoroughly traumatizing the audiokinetic. The hum around her is an audible sound, and there are beginning to be rumbling effects. "Yg-g-g-graine, stop here!" she demands breathlessly. "We have t-t-to st-t-t-t-top." She points toward the opening up onto the streets. "I c-c-c-can't go further!" The panic is going to overtake her if they don't. But on some levels, the woman is proud of herself. They sure as hell got a lot farther down here than she's been able to get before. This was a much longer trip than the stretch she uses for her forays to West Village to check on Felix and Teo and news of Francois.

Worriedly, Ygraine turns back to study her companions, before moving to rest her hands on Liz's shoulders, peering at her from around the mask. "It's all right. I'll go up and check. Have a quick glance outside to see how things are. I can get up and down more rapidly than either of you guys. Are you going to be okay here for sixty seconds? Jaiden'll stay with you. I'll be right back, I promise."

All through the tunnels Jaiden has remained silent and stoic, watching. Every orientation change, although discomforting, is taken with a grit of his teeth and a slight grunt as all his insides change direction. It's a little jarring, sure, but 90 degrees is far, far more comfortable than the 180's that he normally does with Ygraine in their training. "We'll be okay, Ygraine…" Jaiden nods toward the surface. "Hurry back, okay?"

He turns to Liz and takes her into his arms, the rumbling of her sonic ability almost like hugging a hive of bees, sending vibrations through his whole form. "Shhh, lizzie. We'll be out in two shakes of a lambs' tail…."

Her teeth are gritted against the possibility of making any more sound than is necessary. Elisabeth can't stop the fact that the place is vibrating, but she nods to Ygraine, shooing the woman insistently, and then buries her face in Jaiden's chest while Ygraine checks street level. She's shaking badly at this point and it's just not going to get better until they're out of the underground.

In rather less than a minute, Ygraine returns, swinging back out of the vertical shaft and onto the ceiling with casual ease. "On a very hasty look, it seems clear", she quietly informs her companions. "One more set of flips and we're out. If we all move up as a group, we should be out and in the open again in next to no time."

Jaiden shifts slightly, with Elisabeth still huddled against him, his hands brushing through the woman's hair, soothing her, gently stroking with talented fingers, making his way toward the shaft that Ygraine just emerged from, almost dragging Lizzie along with him. "Come on, girly girl…" he murmurs quietly, leading her to the surface, through one more orientation change up the side of the tunnel, then one last one to the ground above. "Take deep breaths….there you go…."

She's not so far gone that it's going to incapacitate, but the underground tunnels definitely have an effect on Liz that nowhere else does — perhaps the combination of darkness, dampness, rats, chill air. She follows readily, moving quickly in spite of the trembling that she's doing. Once they are topside, she can finally breathe properly.

Standing out in the morning sunshine, regardless of the fact that they're in the ruins of Midtown, Elisabeth turns her face skyward. It takes a few minutes for the panic to recede, and she finally offers the other two a shaky smile. "I used to be mildly agoraphobic on top of all that. I guess this is an improvement, hmmm?" Her tone is wry. "I do… mostly okay in dark as long as it's not silent, cold, and full of rats," she offers.

Worriedly dividing her attention between Elisabeth and their surroundings, Ygraine has posted herself a little distance off the ground, giving herself a vantage point that extends her visual range beyond the cover behind which the others (and the greater part of herself) are concealed.

Flashing a smile down and around at Liz - visible now that she's pushed aside her breathing mask to enjoy the cleaner air - the Briton chuckles softly. "I panic around people, so I admit that I've found spelunking restful, in some ways", she says quietly. "But I can certainly understand where you're coming from."

If Jaiden panics at anything like that, he doesn't show it. He's reassuring and calming, his breathing mask pulled down around his neck, sticking to the shadows of a burnt out building, occasionally poking his head out to soak in a bit more sun. Here, in the ruins, it's quiet. Sure, you get the occasional echo from the busier parts of the city, but nothing like you would get with traffic running three feet from you. It's a ghost town in the heart of one of the busiest cities in the world. An eerie exclusion zone, much like Chernobyl, where nothing moves or lives save for the wildlife and the occasional tresspasser.

"So, ladies…" He slips a bottle of water from his backpack, offering it first to Elisabeth, then to Ygraine before taking a drink for himself. "Should we risk continuing here, or go back there to head for our destination?" He doesn't say where, just in case something is listening, but the women surely know what he means.

Elisabeth takes the water and has a swallow before handing it back, and then nods. "Let's keep going," she says. "We've already gotten this far, we may as well. Considering it's a known site, we won't be able to come back here after this, so I want to check on it."

Traveling through the ruins is usually not that big a deal once you're out of range of the patrols on the edge. In spite of machines on the loose, it's not a big deal today either. And there's no one anywhere near the Library, so slipping into the place is easy enough as well.

The main level is showing wear and tear from the weather's ravages of the past couple of years, though it's still in decent shape. The outer rooms near shattered windows are obviously in worse shape than the interior. The deserted public library still holds a wealth of knowledge on its shelves. Elisabeth looks around carefully and leads Jaiden and Ygraine through the subtle security that Alec put in place so long ago. "We were mostly using downstairs," she tells them. "It was too cold to be up here."

Having taken hundreds of trips through the ruins, albeit mostly as an Alley Cat rather than a fugitive, Ygraine seems to be quite at home amidst the devastation. The Library in particular also seems to be familiar to her, though it's over two years since she was last here.

"There's a huge amount of room in here", the Briton murmurs. "Certainly lots of space to hide things."

Running a finger along one of the shelves a thick streak of dust makes an appearance, falling to the floor, evidence of his passage visible on top of the shelf. He runs a finger along the books too, seeing titles - histories, mostly, since they're in that section, with a few scattered here and there where a shelf fell to the ground. "And a mostly fully stocked library to boot…Lots of research material available." He pulls a book from the shelf and opens it, rustling the pages. "British history, 1066 to Queen Elisabeth. Don't mind if I do." He tucks it into his bag and follows.

"It's the perfect spot for an emergency hideout, honestly. Abandoned, in the middle of an exclusion zone, and supposedly patrolled. With any luck the people who are supposed to watch this place just give it a cursory glance, if anything."

"It served Phoenix well, and it served us during that terrible winter. But… a lot of people knew it was where we were, so… I don't know how safe it'd be to operate out of again," Elisabeth admits. Now that we're in here, in spite of the gloom, she has relaxed significantly. It's sort of like home. She leads the way through, clearly well acquainted with every inch of the place, and takes them down a stairwell. She pauses at the door to a hallway off to one side and starts to laugh. She can't help it; she peeks in there just to see.

"It's the one place the Phoenix let even me know about. And where they took the President-elect and his protectors after he was rescued from those 'gas main explosions'", Ygraine explains to Jaiden on the way downstairs… but thereafter finds herself peering quizzically at Elisabeth, before peeping into the room that seems to be the source of the blonde's mirth.

"Think of it as an emergency backup, then…" Jaiden pauses to peek into Elisabeth's mirthful room, glancing at the blonde while lifting up on his toes to peer over Ygraine.

It's a makeshift firing range. And there's nothing in there, but Elisbeth is still giggling just a little. "Niki and Claire and I came to get some of the weapons from here. After the long winter. Just … to do what we're doing now. Check on the place. Found fucking penguins sitting on the range. Niki was all like 'we should arm them with head-mounted rockets…'" The blonde leans on the doorway chuckling. "I just… wondered if they were here still.

"Penguins", Ygraine responds, lifting a brow at Elisabeth, before cracking a grin. "I love penguins. Though it's probably a good thing they're not still here. Hope they found better homes."

"Of all things…" Jaiden chuckles and sinks back to his regular standing position, stepping around Ygraine to give the room a quick once-over. Sure, there are signs of Penguin Inhabitation - a bit of feather here, some dessicated stuff that could potentially be droppings there, and perhaps a footprint or two in the grime on the floor, but the residents have long since moved on. "Sounds like a plot that Warren would dream up. Kamakaze Attack Penguins. We'd just have to put little voice boxes on them so they could play Wagner's 'Ride of the Valkyries' as they waddled up to their targets…" Absurd, yes, but hilarious to imagine.

It makes Elisabeth laugh just as much now as it did before. "Good grief," she murmurs, still chuckling. "C'mon… the war room was down here." She leads them down the other hall toward the room. "If Richard's been building a new string map, it'll be here," she says, and then stops short as she rounds the corner into the room. It's a mess. There is cracking along the floor, the string map is utterly destroyed stretched between two of the walls, paper scattered among the broken strands. A broken computer sits along the far wall, clearly trashed. "Oh God," Liz murmurs. "What the hell….?" The cop in her recognizes the signs of a struggle. A fight of some kind. And worse yet, as they walk further in, she recognizes the fine spray of blood spatter near the string map. She pales slightly. It's not too much blood, but someone was clearly hurt.

Ygraine's response is to spring up onto one of the clear walls, gaining height to survey the wreckage from above - and to avoid walking on anything she shouldn't. "I'm not seeing any signs of someone having been killed here", she ventures, uneasily quiet. "I don't think that whatever happened was fatal."

Standing in the middle of the carnage, surveying the haphazard accumulation of strings and paperwork, Jaiden's hands are pushed deep into his pockets. The spatter of blood looks, on a cursory glance, like someone might have been shot, but nothing near bleeding out. He circles the periphery of the room to examine the computer. If they're lucky, the hard drive will still be there…

"At least some of this was a fight. Richard may have trashed the place, but ….. " Elisabeth shoves her hand through her hair. She glances toward Jaiden and nods slightly as he heads for the computer. "No, Ygraine, it wouldn't have been fatal. The spray doesn't look that bad," she admits, taking a closer look. "Whoever it was obviously wasn't interested in the computer, though. So… maybe Alia can retrieve some things off it. Regardless, it'll probably be a week or two before we hear from Richard — given the fact that either someone tracked him here and they shot him or he shot them, it means he won't come back here. And he won't chance leading them to the Brickfront. Let's get the hell out of here." She pauses, and says, "I need to check the reserve stacks, I'll be back in a minute, okay?"

"I'm not sure you should go anywhere on your own", Ygraine immediately protests. "And should we take pictures of this stuff? Do you want to go with her, Jaiden? I can try snapping a few shots, in case it'll be at all useful."

It takes a moment for Jaiden to paw through his backpack, a digital camera coming out, small and silvery in his hands. "Sounds like a plan, Ygraine." He slips out of his backpack and tosses her the camera, leaving the pack on the floor next to the computer. It's a Dell, so getting the drive out is a matter of pulling one black knob and pushing in two blue switches, unplugging a couple of wires, and boom, done. "Wait up, Lizzie.." Jaiden gives Ygraine's shoulder a squeeze and murmurs "Be careful, love." before following after.

Elisabeth slips through the library on stealthy feet, quite certain there is no one else in the building. She can hear quite nicely, thank you. As she reaches the basement reserve stacks, she unerringly heads for a particular set of stacks and checks behind a row of books. There's little dust in here, the doors always shut and no exterior exposure to the elements. A metal box sits behind, and Liz pulls it out to briefly check the contents as Jaiden joins her.

Meanwhile, Ygraine sets about documenting the mess - making free use of the ability to roam over the ceiling, to take shots without needing to further disturb things, before reaching down (and zooming in on) points that might be of particular interest.

He doesn't ask. Not yet, at least. Better to get the questions out when all three ar together to prevent repeating of the same information. It's part of his training - you want to be sure that everyone gets the same information at once - it prevents people from missing things and lowers the chances of bad information given. he does try to peer to see what the contents of the box actually is.

The metal lock box holds paperwork, an Evo test kit, and an unloaded Beretta with two loaded clips. Elisabeth closes it up tightly, puts it back in its spot, and puts the books back. "Okay," she tells him. "It's still here. Do me a favor, please, and memorize the location." She glances up at Jaiden. "If there's ever a time where someone has to take my son and get him the hell out, there's a set of adult paperwork with no pictures attached that can be used by Richard," for whom they were intended, "my father, or whoever may be taking my son to safety. The other set is a child's set, not filled out at all yet."

Perhaps fortunately, Ygraine is still busy in the map-room, and is not present to pitch into this particular conversation, leaving Jaiden to tackle his surprise - and Elisabeth - on his own.

Jaiden arches a brow at the mention of Elisabeth's son and does a quick glance around at the locations, memorizing the books, the location, the call numbers, and the like. He's good at remembering things like that, and after a brief moment he nods. "You don't worry, Lizzie. This will be taken care of. But your son? I didn't know you had a son….?"

Elisabeth smiles just a little. "Well, presuming Zeke is to be believed… the child I dreamed of will be a boy. Assuming he ever comes to exist," she says. "I was covering all the bases." She shrugs.

"Good girl." Jaiden leans in to give her a kiss on the forehead. "let's get back upstairs and see what that computer can tell us, if anything."

She smiles slightly. And then Elisabeth sighs and heads back to meet up with Ygraine. "I can't go back the same way we got here," she admits when she and Jaiden get back to the war room and Ygraine. "It's too much. Once is all I can take for the day."

Upstairs, Ygraine is still on the ceiling - but has clearly been moving around to grab all the images she can. Looking across to Elisabeth, the Briton offers a slow, inverted shrug. "If you're able to cope with a short spell underground, it could help with breaching the perimeter. Otherwise, I can take us up and over sections the troops 'know' are impassable, readily enough. And I can move us through the ruins out of open sight more easily than most - it'll just involve hanging onto your breakfast, I'm afraid."

"If we get sick I'll replace anything lost. It won't feel good, but hey, at least we avoid the tunnels. Right?" Jaiden looks up at Ygraine on her spot on the ceiling. "If you have everything, we might want to collect what's here and see if we can reconstruct the map."

Elisabeth's eyes go once more to the string map. She hasn't approached it at all. She considers it and then nods slightly. "I don't know that we can," she admits. Walking over there, she squats down next to the mess, sifting through with an absent look. "He was trying to build it with himself as the nexus," she tells them softly, realizing what the ball at the center appears to be. She sighs. "We'll take the strings and papers, but this kind of thinking is definitely not something I excel at. Perhaps the professor will be able to help out." She grimaces and starts to gather them up. "Let's go. There's not much left here for now. If it stays in the clear, we can use it as a last-ditch fallback."

"If nothing else, we can try to make sure that it doesn't fall into anyone else's hands", Ygraine suggests, nodding to Jaiden. "Better for us to do nothing with it, than for the wrong people to figure it out. But let's work quickly, and get out of here and on our way."

Using a discarded file folder from one of the stacks, Jaiden starts collecting photos and papers, scouring the floor for everything, trusting in Ygraine's pictures to keep everything straight. When he's finished, his backpack has five folders tucked inside, and the floor, aside from a few bits of string, is bare.

Throughout, Ygraine does her best to catalogue things as they're uncovered - though speed is of the essence, and it's not long before all three are underway once more, the wall-crawler having a rare opportunity to show off her ability's uses in an extended (if gut-wrenching) session of transit through the ruins, then back into the comparative 'safety' of the still-inhabited city beyond.

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