avi_icon.gif devon_icon.gif elisabeth2_icon.gif rue2_icon.gif

Scene Title Interruegation
Synopsis The first steps of the investigation into Richard Ray's disappearance raise more questions.
Date January 5, 2020

The Bastion

Buzzing of a silenced cell phone breaks the silence of a room blinded by closed curtains to shutter out the morning sun. A low, pained grown fills the darkness, intermittently broken up by a tiny bit of illumination from the face-down screen of his phone.

Mnhfhhhuck…” comes next, followed by a grasping hand in the dark out from under a swath of blankets. Accidentally swatting the phone onto the floor, Avi Epstein is forced to sit up to stop the buzzing sound. He leans out of his bed, grabbing the phone off of the floor and accidentally accepting the call rather than silencing it.

“Fuck,” Avi says, not even having looked at who was calling. “Uh… mnnh, yeah? What? Hello?” Avi pauses as a voice comes over the other side of the line, scrubbing a hand over his stubbled face.

“Yeah… yeah uh. G’me a half an hour.”

Twenty Minutes Later

The call to Avi was a calm one. Elisabeth needs to talk to Rue, and given the other woman's still pending (she's not sure of it) status with regard to the Zeitgeist drug, she wants Avi to be there as well. At least, that's what she said. When she and Devon arrive at the Bastion, her demeanor reminds Avi of the war days — she's girded for a potential battle. She does keep her silence, however, until all four of them are in a room. And then she goes immediately for the jugular.

"If Wolfhound is running a black op that requires Richard Cardinal's presence, I need you to say it right now. The room is shielded, no one will ever know you said it." Her eyes are steady on Avi, and then she looks specifically at Rue. "I don't care whose orders you may be under. But I need to know that you're under them from somewhere trusted. Now."

“Lieutenant Harrison.” Normally, Rue finds herself relaxed in these situations. But since her run-in with the law regarding her experimentation with Zeitgeist, interactions with law enforcement haven’t been the most amicable.

“Devon.” She had hoped that by participating in the raid that netted them the source of that particular issue, she’d be off the hook. She’s prepared to argue in her own defense that she’s cooperated, that she’s not indulging in those sorts of vices.

That isn’t what this is about.

Blue eyes dart first to Devon, then to Avi, before settling back on Elisabeth. “What is this?”

Devon is two parts the solider and one part apologetic when he follows Liz into the room. He's mostly unaware of what happened prior to the raid between his fellow Hound and the Lieutenant. It was irrelevant at the time, and seems vastly unrelated now. In the present, he's caught between Rue, teammate and close friend, and Liz, White Queen and terrorist mom. It's a position he wouldn't ask anyone to take.

“Richard’s disappeared,” he fills in. It somehow comes across as an apology for Liz going straight in for the kill. “Raytech cameras saw someone who looked like you going into his office then leaving a bit later, after an unknown teleporter abducted him.”

Avi Epstein looks like he hasn't slept in a couple of days. Sitting backwards in a metal folding chair in the Bastion’s spartan conference room consisting of a sturdy wood table, eight more folding chairs, and a wall-mounted television expressly used for strategy meetings. “Okay so, back up.” Pinching the bridge of his nose, Avi massages one hand at his temple, eyes shut and shoulders slack.

“Literally zero of this makes any sense, the fuck’re you talking about?” Avi looks over at Rue, then back to Elisabeth as he waves a hand in Rue’s direction. “Lancaster went to talk body armor with Richard, she came t'me the day before so I could clear it since Francois’— on leave.” No need to muddy these waters. “Of course she'd be there.”

Groaning with a sigh, Avi rakes a hand through his hair. “Richard’s a fucking bag of black gas, what d’you think somebody did suck him up in a vacuum? He probably just fucked off to wherever Nat ran off to.” The latter comment earns a flippant wave of his hand in the air. “They're— cousins or— whatever. Jesus Christ,” Avi murmurs, not taking any of this seriously enough. “So what Rue shows up and Richard bails on a few staff meetings and you’re suspecting a teleporter kidnapped him?” Avi laughs awkwardly and holds his face in his hand. “Doesn't he fucking have one? That tall, dumb, golden retriever he introduced me to once?”

Narrowing her eyes just slightly, Elisabeth pulls out her phone, taps a couple of things on the screen, and hands it to Avi. She gestures for Rue to go ahead and take a look. The security clip from Richard's office — or at least the part from when Rue got up from her chair and made what looks to be a serious effort at an awkward pass happens to when Richard collapses and is teleported out. Just a few minutes of time.

Her blue eyes are steady on the two Wolfhound operatives. A picture speaks a thousand words. "If you're not working a black book operation, Avi, we've got a fucking problem."

Mindful of her posture, Rue ignores the desire to fold her arms over her chest and seemingly close herself off to this conversation, whatever it is. She watches as Avi leaps to her defense, metaphorically speaking. Her expression remains a carefully maintained mask.

At least until she gets up to watch the video over Avi's shoulder. She pulls back a strand of hair that's fallen loose from the bun at the back of her head, brows furrowed. When the clip finishes, she immediately reaches past Avi to play it again. "What…?"

Her gaze fixes on Devon, and she starts to laugh. "Oh, man. You got me good on this one. Best prank you've pulled yet. Did Lucille put you up to this?" Rue shakes her head, straightening up fully. "She's mad at me," she explains to Avi, "for taking the last of the good tequila after the Zeitgeist op." Wiping a smidge of eyeliner away from the outer corner of her eye, she wags her finger at the younger Hound. "You almost had me."

A glance slips to Avi and Liz when Rue begins laughing, then returns to Rue. Devon isn’t joining in. There’s no humor, not even the hint that this could be one of his more elaborate pranks. “You know as well as everyone in this room that I wouldn’t set you up as an accomplice to kidnapping,” he points out quietly. That level of… training as Avi would call it, lacks the harmlessness that he prefers. No one ever got arrested over shaving cream filled balloons.

“I still don’t think it’s Rue.” That’s directed at Liz, support for his teammate plain. “I mean, sure she’s a little… free spirited… at times. But…” Dev stares at the other Hound as if trying to pin such deviance on her. Drugging people and allowing them to be kidnapped, he refuses to see it.

“Everybody shut the fuck up,” Avi suddenly blurts out as he watches the video on Elisabeth’s phone repeat. Then he just snatches the phone from Elisabeth’s hand. “Gimmie that,” is his way of asking for permission. Now Avi is up and out of his chair, tugging his own phone out of his back pocket, putting both phones down on the wood conference table. Avi fumbles his password into his phone, then taps a couple of icons while cursing. “Fucking— stupid wifi, c’mon…”

Once Avi’s finally connected to the internet and logged into his phone, he scrolls through a database file and pulls open video footage from a folder marked NAMBIZA/YAMAGATO43018/VIDEOS. “Shut the fuck up and…” Avi mutters more to the phone than anything until the video on his device pops up. It’s a security camera feed of an enormous conference center viewed from a far back corner. There’s someone on a stage, standing beside a brightly yellow-painted bipedal machine — one of those Yamagato construction robots marching around the north-end of the Safe Zone.

“C’mon…” Avi mumbles, swiping the video forward, “where is— ” An explosion fills the frame, a cloud of dust replaces the man on stage. Avi makes a noise in the back of his throat and slowly walks the footage back with the touch of a calloused finger. “Fucker,” he hisses, then taps the screen to zoom in to a blurry and distant image. “There.

Avi puts the phones side by side, showing the unknown teleporter from the Raytech footage, and a figure that appears out of nowhere on the stage beside the presenter. A woman with bubblegum pink hair.

“It’s Monroe,” Avi says with a drum of one hand on the table, pointing at his phone. “That’s the kid who dropped off the bomb to Yamagato Industries a couple years back. That’s the same fucking sweater she’s wearing in both photos. Hana helped Yamagato track the bombing back to Monroe, this’s gotta be his bullshit.” He looks up to Devon, then past Rue to Elisabeth.

She was right, but she didn’t know how right she was.

The phone is released to Avi readily. There's no amusement in Elisabeth's expression as Rue laughs… but there's a hint of relief. On the main level this is bad news — but Rue isn't stupid enough to stand in front Elisabeth, aware of exactly how pissed off and worried she has to be, and laugh if she'd been involved. The blatant incredulity in the young woman's face helps. Blue eyes shift to Avi as he fumbles about and searches for what he's looking for.

"I was really fucking hoping you weren't going to say that," Elisabeth admits softly. "And now you're telling me Nathalie is missing too? This is… not a good set of coincidences." She hasn't believed in coincidences in a long time. Her gaze flickers to Rue, "Tell me that the woman in that video isn't you, and I believe you. But it means that there's someone impersonating you out there, by whatever means. Nat missing, Richard missing, and now a Wolfhound impersonator." She shakes her head a little. "We're in a lot of fucking trouble here."

Avi grufness doesn’t startle Rue so much, but she does abruptly stop laughing and sharpens her focus again. “Oh, shit,” she whispers, breath catching in her throat as the teleporter appears in the second video. “This is legit?” she asks, addressing Devon again. “You’re really not fucking with me here?” Avi’s staged kidnappings before as training exercises. Rue’s prepared for any kind of fuckery here.

“Fucking Monroe,” the redhead spits petulantly. “Okay. So he’s got, what? A shapeshifter on his team?” That’s a positively horrifying thought. Some of the color has drained from Rue’s face accordingly. “I— I don’t know that Nat being gone is connected, though. She just sort of does that. Especially when things get too quiet.” A glance is spared to Avi for confirmation. “I mean, nothing’s been…”

Suddenly, she seems to doubt that Nathalie may have left on her own. “Believe me, Lieutenant. If I wanted your husband for something, I’d just ask him nicely to come along. He loves a stupid adventure as much as I do.”

“Nat's gone because we had a fucking argument,” Avi interjects, “a huge, bloody one. She’ll be back when she gets over herself.”

“Must’ve been one hell of an argument,” Devon observes quietly. “She's gone off for a few days before, here and there, but…” This feels a little excessive, if not unusual. He shakes his head and files the thought away. Maybe someone else has heard something. His focus returns to Rue and he resigns to an apologetic shrug.

“Would that I could take credit, or give it to the commander.” Because he was part of that training exercise and kidnapped. The Hounds don't play around when they're getting even. “It could be a technopath working with the pink-haired bomber. I know it sounds absurd but… maybe the ones who cracked Praxis. Maybe they pissed the bomber off when her attempt failed so she went free agent.”

Avi looks distracted for a few moments. It isn't even clear if he's heard the last thing Devon said. That's made abundantly clear when he mumbles, “yeah, hell of an argument.” Swallowing down a lump in his throat, Avi straightens and offers a look to Rue, then one over to Elisabeth.

“This is clearly fucked,” Avi says with a motion to the phones. “I've got a line to Director Choi over at SESA, we've been sharing intel on the Adam Monroe situation. We— fuck me.” Avi runs a hand through his hair. “There's a problem SESA and Wolfhound have been secretly working on, regarding Monroe, and— shit I just don't get it.” He looks at Elisabeth, then Devon and Rue, and then walks over and hastily shuts the office door.

“Something about this doesn't add up,” Avi says quieter than before. “What I say doesn't leave this room.” He says that directed to Rue and Devon, primarily. “A few months back we discovered that Curtis was compromised. Kaylee sent us some intel that he might be having personality disorders due to what the DoEA did to him back in the day. So we had Ghost hitchhike inside his head…” Avi rubs a hand at the back of his neck. “Turns out Curtis has been a double agent for a pro-evolved extremist group called Shedda Dinu for a long time now. They've got a telepath who Manchurian Candidate activates him with an old Rupert Carmichael trigger embedded in his head.”

Avi paces away from the door. “Since we found out we've had Curtis under surveillance, and we've been cooperating with SESA on that. We've nailed down a lot of intel on this group in so much as where they might be located, but not membership outside of this telepath and one other key figure named Garza,” and from the way Avi says the name, it sounds like he doesn't know much about him.

“This has been a strictly need-to-know operation, SESA is doing some really cloak & dagger shit to try and get Monroe. They hauled Noah fucking Bennett out of retirement for this, I hear Ben Ryans is on the task force too.” Avi looks down at the phones. “So this is double fuck confusing. Because if they wanted to use a double agent to get Richard, why not a Wolfhound operative who is already compromised?” He looks up to Rue.


Fuck.” Avi suddenly assumes the worst. “Fuck, Rue, what if it is you? What if it's like— not you. But a mental trigger that you're unaware of. Curtis was having blackouts when he'd revert to Ash. What if this is… I mean we haven't seen Ash do anything to indicate he's aware of our surveillance or anything unusual with Rue. But what if you've been whammied by a telepath?”

Then, Avi makes an unfortunate plan. “We could have Kaylee root around and see— ” It takes him that many words to remember Pollepel Island. How Rue got in that cell in the basement.

He says nothing further.

Holding up a hand, Elisabeth is too damn slow to stop him from divulging Noah Bennet and Ben's activities. Fuuuck. Let's hope he didn't just get Ben killed. "I knew Curt was having problems and about the trigger." Kaylee told her. "I didn't realize someone was actively triggering Ash, but…" she sighs. Not following up on that with him makes her a shitty friend. She hopes somehow she can make that up to him.

A glance goes back to Avi. "Devon's thought about the technopath is a valid one, and I've already set Alia to checking Raytech's systems for any sign of that and tracing the phone call that Rue made. I'd very much like to know who cracked Praxis because much like Rebel in the old days, they appear to be at least sympathetic. And if the teleporter and the hackers are working together, that would seem to rule out Adam. So there's potentially a third group on the board, and the possibility exists that Richard was grabbed to bring him into that circle. Your Shedda Dinu maybe? But it's equally possible he's viewed as just as big a threat as Praxis somehow. Honestly, I don't know that we can rule out Pure Earth either — no one really knows Richard got his ability back. He could be seen as a traitor to 'normal' people, if they wanted to frame it that way — Raytech has been pretty high profile lately." Or even another group we have no clue even exists. Corporate espionage. Enemies from Richard's past. The list is long and varied.

Elisabeth drags a hand through her hair. "The three possibilities that immediately present themselves are a mental trigger in Rue, some kind of disguise or illusion or something along those lines with an imposter, or… maybe another Rue that I somehow missed among the refugees who came home with me." None of which are good possibilities. But at least one can be ruled out pretty quickly.

"I would like to ask Kaylee to follow up with you, Rue," her blue eyes turn to the redhead, "but to start with, are you missing time that you're aware of? Have you had any blackouts? If it's a similar problem, you would be missing time. And it would be a significant chunk of it in this case. Or you'd be suffering from exhaustion, no matter how much you're sleeping. Are any of those things happening?"

“One of our own has gone walkabout and you didn’t fucking tell me?” Rue stands up from her chair and fixes Avi with an incredulous look, clearly feeling betrayed by the lack of confidence shared with her. “I could have been surveilling him!” It’s her job, after all.

Blue eyes turn stormy, fingers curl into fists, and teardrop-shaped mouth purses tight. This isn’t the time or the place to argue about decisions made by command. That’s for private meetings. And besides, he’s given her something else to think about. Rue sinks back into her chair like a stone dropped down a well.

She’s rattled. Haunted. She watches Elisabeth with wide eyes as she reiterates Avi’s suggestion. “No. None of those things. I’m sleeping fine. I mean, as fine as I ever sleep. No blackouts…”

Rue swallows hard and turns her face up to Avi again, clearly rattled. “Please. Don’t do this. Don’t make me do this.” She hasn’t looked this small or this scared since before the war.

“Wait.” Devon lifts a hand like he might be about to interject into Avi’s ramblings. He doesn't get that far though. His expression goes from hard thinking to full confusion. Like the math isn't working no matter how many times he tries. It's a familiar one to the older Hounds, he's been looking at people like that a lot since returning from Sunstone.

He shakes his head as the Major continues, eventually sliding a look to Elisabeth and Rue. Are they as baffled as… No. No, Liz doesn't look at all surprised. And Rue…

“Hey.” His voice is quiet, lacking in even a hint at confusion. He doesn't know what could have spooked her so badly, but he knows his own sentiments toward telepaths in general. And most everyone knows his feelings about telepathy. They're not very good. “Rue.” But he can't deny the help he's gotten from having Kaylee dig around inside his head. Devon’s brows furrow a little with his concern and ignorance. “I'll go with you. First sign of anything you don't like or don't want opened, we’ll stop it.”

“Everyone take a moment and pick your underwear out of your asses,” Avi says with a hand at his brow, motioning to Rue. “We had Ghost surveilling Ash— Curtis— whoever the fuck he is. We kept the circle in the know small, and we stayed passive. You don't like it take it up with Jack and Shit.” He's hoping his usual abrasiveness will give her something else to focus on.

“Look maybe we’re going about this the wrong way,” Avi says with a groan. “Whoever the fuck is doing this knows we have access to a telepath in Sumter-Ray-Whatever the fuck her last name is these days. They know we have Huruma and last I checked our emotional bloodhound hasn't noticed anything weird and she noticed Ash. So… so I don't fucking know. But we've gotta tell SESA and we've gotta play ball by the rules. We built this fucking institution we might as well use the goddamn thing.”

Avi picks up his phone and tucks it back into his pocket. “I'll set up some new security screening at our facilities, see if I can get Francis and Scott on digital and physical inventory, see if she jacked anything. Harrison I wager you'll bring this to the police, which is exactly what we need.” Then, angling a look over to Rue, Avi grimaces.

“Let's say we don't do the telepath angle,” Avi inclines his head to the side. “You up for a little counterintel in the form of… pretending to be fucking arrested?”

Rue's reaction sharpens Elisabeth's eyes on the younger woman and her tone is soft. "Rue, breathe, kiddo." She's not sure why the reaction is so powerful, but it clearly causes significant anxiety. She's not thrilled with the lack of confirmation, but she's also not going to force such an intimate interrogation on anyone unless it's absolutely the only way. Right now it's not the only option.

Quirking a brow at Avi, Elisabeth asks slowly, "How exactly is she going to be managing counterintelligence that way?" A beat passes. "Not that I'm against the move of making it look like we totally believe that she's the culprit here, but… assuming that she's not, how does the ruse help us?" She grimaces. "And bear in mind that as soon as I report this situation, I'm off the case. If I'm lucky, whoever SESA assigns will keep me in the loop of this investigation, but Wilson will pull me immediately. I can't officially investigate my husband's kidnapping — it's a conflict of interest."

Rue’s attention is pulled in three different directions in turn. It results in her scrubbing her face with both her hands as if she could rub away the vulnerability she’s just had on full display. She does as Elisabeth instructs and just takes a moment to breathe. In. Out. In, two, three four. Out, two, three four.

“I get it,” she says quietly, without elaborating about which part she actually gets. Whether it’s keeping the investigation into Curtis a small one or needing to surrender herself is unclear. “Okay.” Rue nods her head once, then several more times. “Okay. I’ll go the arrest angle. Give me twenty-four— No. Eighteen hours, to make arrangements. I’m still chasing down leads on the Bradley case and if I miss this meeting tonight…” Avi knows how important this case is to her.

“Just act like you’re verifying my alibi. Come find me here tomorrow and I’ll give myself up for whatever audience you want to amass.” A shaky little smile spreads across Rue’s freckled face. “I’ll be sure to give them my good side.”

“We need to keep the arrest quiet.” Devon doesn't sound entirely sure about that statement. He looks at Avi and Liz for their thoughts on it. Given the sensitive nature of the missing and the implications of who did the abduction, it would be better to keep it low key. But he's not unaware how quickly word and rumor spreads. The Safe Zone is often ripe with tabloid-esque information and at least one well known reporter would be celebrating Christmas all year if Wolfhound appeared to have a black mark on it.

“At least, once it leaks to the public that Richard’s been kidnapped we can announce an arrest has been made.” That makes sense, right? Dev looks at Rue, half frowning. “Names don't have to be released immediately. Or ever, really. That's more of a service.” It's not a foolproof plan, but it's better than making a spectacle.

He watches his teammate for a beat longer, searching for something more encouraging to say. He's already voiced his disbelief in the video, if there's anything else it's eluding him. Devon sighs quietly then turns to Avi and Liz, awaiting instruction from both.

No, no, no,” Avi says rapidly with a wave of his hands, “no see, you folks are thinking strategically. I'm thinking Wile E. Coyote here.” Avi sits down on the edge of the table. “We make her arrest a fucking production. Maybe she resists in public, there's witnesses, screaming, crying. Maybe a meme. I don't fucking know. But the point is,” Avi says with a rise of his shoulders, “whoever did this walked out the front door.” He motions in a straight line with one hand. “They didn't teleport out with Richard. Which means there's a chance they're still here in the Safe Zone, laying low, waiting for this shitfuckery to blow over.”

Avi tracks a look around the room, brows raised to see who is following him. “We bluff arresting Rue, publicly, to lure this shitstain out of hiding. Because they fucked up before, they didn't kill the cameras at Raytech or get Richard to a blind spot before calling in the teleporter. This means there's a chance they'll fuck up again. I like to call that Petrelli’s Law.” Avi makes some air quotes with his fingers. “Maybe it works maybe it doesn't, but that's the best idea I have to smoke out a sloppy fox.”

Pursing her lips, Elisabeth says slowly, "She waltzed out knowing that it was on camera that Rue was the last person to see him, presumably expecting — if they know anything about any of us — that it would bring us here relatively quickly. Maybe not as quickly as it did, but relatively few people know exactly how wired Alia has that building, especially since last year." She flickers a glance at Avi. "After what happened to Remi, Richard takes zero chances with the safety of family. So yeah… they may be expecting a day or two to lay low with the assumption that we would believe Rue when she said he shadowed out and that such a thing is not unusual for him." These days, he doesn't just vanish. He has kids.

"If we make a production of it and they think they're in the clear… I can see the potential in it. I'm not sure it was sloppiness so much as sowing suspicion and chaos." Dragging a hand through her blonde hair, Elisabeth says softly, "I'm on board. Someone at SESA needs to be in the loop as well, someone we can trust. If this is not Adam or the Witches, I don't have the first clue who Richard has pissed off in the past decade." Her jaw tightens, and she nods to Rue. "Eighteen hours. Early afternoon tomorrow, we'll be showing up with handcuffs. Or… SESA will. Kidnapping is federal. And it'll be out of my hands from there."

“Maybe loop in Nichols?” Rue catches herself, correcting, “Demsky’s sister. I understand she and your husband are close after…” She shakes her head dismissively. “All these years.” Whatever she may have just implied, either she’s comfortable with having just implied it, or she suspects she’s in the right crowd for it to not be a big deal.

Devon earns himself a smile from the accused. “Don’t worry about it, okay? I love a spotlight. The brighter the better.” She holds up a finger and fixes him with a serious look, however. “Don’t think that this means you’re reigning champion of our Mario Kart tournament. Next month? Your ass is grass. I’m gonna bring those blue sparks.” That smile returns. See? It’s all going to be okay.

Rue reaches out across the table to offer her hand to Elisabeth to shake. They have an accord. “We’ll do whatever it takes to get your husband back, Lieutenant. I’m on board. Whatever you need.” Then she rises from her seat and moves to the edge of the table where Avi’s perched. “Thanks, Aviators.” She presses a kiss to his cheek. “I’m gonna go get my fucking shit together, and I’ll see you tomorrow for Operation Fox Hunt.” She starts to make her way toward the door, but lingers just long enough to make sure she’s dismissed.

“Bullshit.” For all Devon's concern about the situation and the plan, he sets it aside for a casual defense of his title. “The only way you'll beat me is if I let you win.” Not that he's competitive or anything, but he does have a championship to defend.

Back to business, he drags a hand through his hair. It sounds like a terrible idea, but how much of that is his own fear versus a disagreement with the strategy. Was a time when shooting from the hip would have been his go to.

He shoves every argument for why it's a bad idea aside and drops his hand to his side. Brows tick up slightly when he looks at Avi, conveying curiosity for the next step. “Where do you want me?”

Avi flinches for a moment, hand up to his cheek as he looks back at Rue, upper lip curled into a sneer. His eyes wander the room, quick to land on Devon and then Elisabeth. “Yeah,” Avi says with a shake of his head, “get the fuck out of here, and get your fucking head screwed on straight. Jesus.”

Pinching the bridge of his nose, Avi shakes his head and looks up to Devon. “Police won't let you assist in the investigation, and clomping around and doing it on your own’ll only contaminate whatever counts for a fucking crime scene in this. Stay out of SESA’s way, let them handle it, I don't need you getting arrested for obstruction. In the meantime, if you want to make yourself useful,” Avi pulls out his phone again and types a text, sending it to Devon.

“Head down to that address in the Pine Barrens and tell Nat that when she's done sulking there's shit going down.” Avi sounds frustrated, but he also sounds guilty. It's that guilt eating him up inside that makes him send Devon in his stead. “She's probably there or down at whatever counts for a bar in terrorist Amish country. Go drag her ass back.” He won't, for a multitude of reasons.

Then, turning to Elisabeth Avi adds, “Thanks for the heads up on all this shit and…” he looks her up and down, “glad to hear you made it out of whatever the fuck you've been doing for the last eight years in one piece.” It doesn't sound like he wants to know, either. Some people’s trauma is their own business.

Elisabeth grasps the hand Rue offers her, and tells her quietly, "I know you will. And we'll do everything we can to clear your name as quickly as possible." She's convinced that Devon is right — it's not this Rue Lancaster. Now could it still be a trigger in her head? Sure. But she's willing to play it out this way… if only because her options are limited.

"Tomorrow morning, I'll officially report Richard kidnapped to both my boss and to SESA, and we'll be turning over the security footage. I expect you'll be seeing the guys with handcuffs soon after." Her words are meant for both, but her eyes swivel to Avi and she grins slightly. "Oh, you know me. Making waves, causing problems. Thanks though. It's good to be home…" She pauses and then rolls her eyes. "Got home in time for Richard to get kidnapped. Like I was never gone."

It's a struggle to make that comment lighthearted instead of bitter, but she mostly manages. "Talk to you soon."

If Rue's bothered by Avi's reaction, she doesn't show it. She simply pulls her phone out of her pocket on the way out the door and initiates a call while heading down the hall, back toward her room. "Yes, hi," her voice can be heard trailing off. "I need to speak with an agent about the Bradley case?"

Footsteps carry on a fading echo. "Yes, I'll hold."

Ten Minutes Later

With her purse over her shoulder and keys in her hand, she heads out of the building and down the street to where her vehicle sits waiting. With a click of the fob, the driver's door unlocks and she lets herself in after checking both ways to ensure she isn't about to get clipped by oncoming traffic. Once she settles into the seat, she lets out a little sigh and adjusts the rear view mirror so she can see her reflection.

That was rough, and she thinks it shows in her appearance. The thought of letting the telepath root around inside her head left her shaken. She sweeps her thumbs under her eyes to catch a few stray flecks of mascara. Movement behind her in the mirror catches her attention. Has her sitting up straighter. Turning to look over her shoulder, Rue peers out the back window a moment, listening intently.

The handbag is dropped into the passenger seat finally so she can root around inside of it. Retrieving an earpiece, she slides it into her ear until it fits snugly. “Alright, Pentacles. We'll just see who's the sloppy fox.”


“Yes, go ahead. Of course, I'm listening.”

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