It's Been A Tough Week


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Scene Title It's Been A Tough Week
Synopsis Cat and Elisabeth catch up.
Date January 16, 2009

Greenwich Village

In a time that seems long ago, Greenwich Village was known for its bohemian vibe and culture, the supposed origin of the Beat movement, filled with apartment buildings, corner stores, pathways and even trees. There was a mix of upper class and lower, commercialism meeting a rich culture, and practically speaking, it was largely residential.

Now, it's a pale imitation of what it used to be. There is a sense of territory and foreboding, as if the streets aren't entirely safe to walk. It isn't taken care of, trash from past times and present littering the streets, cars that had been caught in the explosion lie like broken shells on the streets nearest the ground zero. Similarly, the buildings that took the brunt of the explosion are left in varying degrees of disarray. Some are entirely unusable, some have missing walls and partial roofs, and all of the abandoned complexes have been looted, home to squatters and poorer refugees.

As one walks through the Village, the damage becomes less and less obvious. There are stores and bars in service, and apartment buildings legitimately owned and run by landlords. People walk the streets a little freer, but like many places in this scarred city… anything can happen. Some of the damage done to buildings aren't all caused by the explosion from the past - bullet holes and bomb debris can be seen in some surfaces, and there is the distinct impression that Greenwich Village runs itself… whether people like it that way or not.

Near the end of sunlight hours for another day, Cat makes her way to the streets of Greenwich Village, with her iPhone in hand, and undertakes to contact someone. There is concern regarding how things have gone of late, especially in view of word that's gone around about events taking place, and things being discovered.

With that device in hand, she debates briefly on whether or not to give a member of the police this information, and opts to place trust in her. So it is that the number she has for Elisabeth Harrison is brought up and the call placed. There on East 4th Street, she places the buds in her ears and waits for the other end to pick up.

She's on her way out of the precinct when the phone rings, and she pulls it out and glances at the number. A raised eyebrow accompanies it — some of Phoenix have her real number, and this is one of the few. Which is probably good — it raises questions if her disposable one rings. Pausing out of the wind, she puts the phone to her ear. "Hi," she greets quietly, just in case someone walks by. "What's up?"

"I think the sky is up," the feminine voice belonging to Cat replies from the other end. The voice has a bit of humor in the tone. "That, and touching base," she adds. "How are you holding up?" She studies the street around her, memorizing faces and such that pass by, while speaking into the open air so the inline microphone in that earbud cord picks up her voice to transmit.

Elisabeth chuckles at the question. "Well…. I'm not in jail, as yet. My boss hasn't determined how to deal with me so far, I think. I can't decide if he's letting me stew on purpose or if it's merely a matter of not knowing what to say to me. How about yourself?"

"I'm standing on a street in Greenwich Village," the voice of Cat answers. "And I have something to show you." Concern has entered her tone after hearing talk of possible jail.

On her end, Elisabeth frowns. "All right… I'm on my way. Where in Greenwich?" She heads for the street to hail a cab. Driving in New York isn't something she has to do except on duty.

"14 East 4th Street," Cat answers. "I'll be waiting out front."

Acknowledging the location, Liz hangs up, flags down a cab, and gives the driver the location. When she finally arrives and pays the man, she steps out onto the curb and looks around, pulling her hat down tighter onto her head and shoving her hands into her pockets because of the near-zero temperatures. She spots Cat immediately, and heads her way. "What's going on?"

When the Scout member arrives and spots her, Cat is standing near the top of the stairs which lead down to a place whose doors bill it as The Rock Cellar. "Hey," she offers in greeting, and gestures toward that place with one hand. "Let's go inside, shall we? It's below frosty out here." And her appearance suggests defenses against it. Heavy winter coat, snow boots, jeans, hands in gloves and in pockets.

Elisabeth grins. "You're singin' my song, that's for sure. God, this is *ridiculous*," she says. "It gets cold in the winter, but wow." She heads for the stairs, going down them to what she can only assume is a club of some kind. Once inside, she pauses to pull her hat off her blond hair and her gloves off her hands and look around.

The Rock Cellar

A comfortable place, located in the basement of 14 East 4th Street. The red brick walls are covered with memorabilia from various icons of rock and places in rock history, creating a feel similar to that of a Hard Rock Cafe.

The left wall has two bars separated by swinging doors which lead to and from the kitchen. Directly across from the entrance is a two foot high stage with all the equipment needed for acts to perform there. The right wall has three doors marked as restrooms: two for use by women and one by men.

Thirty square feet of open space for dancing and standing room is kept between the stage and the comfortable seating placed around tables which fill the remainder of the Cellar.

The lighting here is often kept dim for purposes of ambience, and when performers are onstage the place is loud enough to make conversation difficult. Just inside the door is a podium where location staff check IDs and stamp the hands of those under twenty-one with a substance visible under UV lights at the two bars and by devices the servers carry. On the podium's front is a sign with big black letters that just about explain it all: If You Don't Like Rock 'N' Roll, You're Too Late Now!

The doors close behind Cat as she enters after Elisabeth and stops not far inside, near the ID checker's podium. It's after three p. m. so the place is open. The two bars are tended, servers are about, and a scattering of customers is present. No band is onstage, if there's one scheduled for tonight it's still far too early, but rock is being played at a volume which doesn't preclude conversation. She leans toward the blonde and states "It's a little place I found. This way." And she's on the move again, headed for someplace in the back which isn't in sight of the main area.

Elisabeth looks thoughtful and unzips her jacket as she follows Cat through the place. She likes the ambience, and grins at one of the servers as she walks through. When they reach the elevator hidden in the back alcove, she raises her eyebrows. "Oh lord… don't tell me there's an opium den up there," she quips mildly. Entirely facetiously.

She steps into the elevator and waits for the blonde to join her before opening the control panel with a key and keycard produced from a pocket, revealing more buttons in there. It shows the car goes to three floors above those which have generally available buttons. Cat presses the one marked 6 and the elevator does what they're designed to do.

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.

Elisabeth looks around appreciatively as they step off the elevator. "Jesus, Cat, what is this place?"

"It's not an opium den," Cat replies as she approaches the double doors and opens them with her key and keycard combo, stopping there to let Elisabeth enter ahead of her. "It looks like a penthouse, in fact. A nice one, I think."

Elisabeth grins at the other woman and just sort of boggles as she looks around. "It's a beautiful one. Is this your new place?" All she knows of Cat is that she lived in Dorchester near Liz's own apartment…. although at the moment, she's not staying in her apartment, awaiting repairs on the wall around the doorframe.

"It is," Cat answers as she closes the doors behind the boggling blonde. Once they're secure she starts walking toward the kitchen, which is waaaaaaay over there on the other end. "Are you thirsty? Or hungry? Both?"

Elisabeth uhms, and looks at Cat. "I could use a drink, yeah. I just got off-shift. It's been…. pretty stressful," she admits.

"Wine, beer, cola?" she asks over her shoulder. "What's been going on, Liz? I've been reading things with your name on them, that sound very much other than pleasant." Cat removes her coat along the way as well, she's got time to do so and then some.

Elisabeth blows out a breath and moves to take off her coat, leaving it and the hat and gloves on the back of Cat's couch before heading in with Cat to the kitchen area. "You know what, a glass of wine would absolutely suit my mood about now. White if you have it." Leaning a hip against one of the counters, she crosses her arms and says, "Well…. let's see. This week has consisted of getting the shit beat out of me just because Jessica felt like it, handing over Teo and Alex's name as members of Phoenix and strugging in spite of being tortured to make them seem low-level only to find that Abby gave away Teo as the HEAD of Phoenix as soon as Jessica looked cross-eyed at her, recovering in the hospital and having Abby come heal me while at the same time apologizing for healing Jessica…. and then ARRESTING Niki, who is innocent of any wrongdoing at all, and having to break the whole multiple personality thing to her, causing the poor innocent part of the psyche to have a psychotic episode."

"In the meantime, I finally confess to my partner that Niki, the woman whose alter ego almost killed me, is actually my FRIEND," she looks at Cat, "He's less than pleased with me at the moment." She pauses a half second, and then adds, "Oh yeah! And then to top it all off, Jessica informs all of the uniforms standing in the hallway of the precinct that I'm a member of a terrorist organization, which I attempt to cover up by saying I'm working undercover for my captain, who I now have to … just wait and see what he's going to *do* with me, because he's been "too busy"," air quotes here, "for an actual meetng with me since Niki accidently discovered her power during the psychotic break and busted up the precinct."

She pauses and considers. "I don't *think* I've missed anything. Oh… except that Teo told me he'd found a bunch of bombs and I'm trying to figure out who to tell and how soon and hoping they don't go off and kill a bunch of people before I figure it out."

It's been a TOUGH week.

She just listens and absorbs every word in silence, at first reaching for a bottle of white wine and two glasses, but the action changes in the middle of Elisabeth's extended update. The wine bottle is placed on the counter, and the one glass, but then she pulls out a shot glass and a bottle of Johnny Walker Red. Cat doesn't ask, she just holds both and looks at the troubled officer in silent question. "That is… the week from hell," she deadpans. "It's close to being abducted and hearing your lover scream while a sadist bastard cuts off her thumb."

Elisabeth grimaces and says softly, "Nothing will ever come close to that." Now she feels like she's been kvetching, and she shakes her head negatively to the Johnny Walker. "The wine's fine," she says humbly. She moves to sit in a chair at cat's breakfast bar, saying softly, "I feel like I'm standing in front of an avalanche. There's no escaping it, no stopping it. And I find myself reverting to old behaviors to cope with it all…." She grins a little. "Which isn't so bad, cuz the sex is mind-blowing, but… it's not with the person who says he's in love with me. *THAT* person … can see the changes in me, has known far longer than I have that I've been unhappy, and commented to me recently that he was glad for me. That I'm happy again. And part of me is, Cat. The other part… is just waiting for the avalanche to roll right on over me." She sighs. "So now that you have my whole sob story…. what's on *your* mind? I'm sure you didn't call to hear me bemoan my choices in life." She props her chin on her hand, her elbow on the counter, to look at Cat.

"It was a reflection that not everyone is as tough as you or I am," Cat replies somberly. She puts away the whiskey and shot glass, then pours two glasses of the white. It's a Rhine white, a very good one. Elisabeth's is handed over. "On the topic of Jessica outing you to the unit, it's recoverable, fairly easily. It's known you have informants, and Jessica, well, she's stark raving nuts. This can't be the first time an arrested person has trashed the cops who arrested her, and certainly won't be the last. As to your intrepid Captain, there's really little he can do, beyond ordering you go onto paid administrative leave while things are looked into. The level of allegations raised, I believe, are beyond his purview. It would be an Internal Affairs matter, if there's to be an investigation."

Elisabeth nods slightly. "Yeah… well, the uniforms were willing to believe it was undercover stuff, they don't have the first clue what SCOUT does. Hell… those of us IN SCOUT don't even know what we do," she comments with a rueful grin as she takes a sip of her wine. "Nice," she comments after swallowing it. "And it won't be IA looking into it…. but apparently either the Company or HomeSec. Jessica passed a *lot* of information up her chain. I can't find out exactly what."

"That's easy enough," Cat replies. "All you know on this whole thing is already part of a Federal investigation, there's nothing to discover about you that Parkman doesn't already know. And Rickham, but… he no longer is a player in anything." She scowls with distaste at saying his name. "Which leaves the Parkman angle as a concern. We no longer have the next President to keep him in line." She takes a slow sip of her wine.

"About the bombs, they were discussed when Dr. Ray outlined the teams, and Teo left it with me to work the problem of determining how the bridges would be assaulted. At his suggestion, I handed the mission of recon to a teleporter, and told her to take a camera along."

"Last night Helena and I spoke with Doctor Ray, and he commented on the bombs, the difficulty and chaos of removing them, saying it's a lose/lose situation. He also doesn't believe it possible or wise to try holding their existence quiet and removing them without attention to avoid tipping our hand."

Elisabeth nods slightly. "Oh, I know that already." She blows out a breath and says softly, "I have an appointment with the bomb squad captain in the morning." There's a note of finality in her voice. "He's going to need a little time to plan how to assault the bombs, and in all honesty, since Teo's known about the bombs for nearly a week, I needed today to …. clean up my mess. Because when I hand over the information and pictures that I've already got, I think it's probably going to spell the end of my career. I'm kind of hoping my captain gets back to me before I do it… I think I'd like to be able to come clean with him on this part." She looks down, sipping from her wine without looking at Cat.

"You can't have known about the bombs for a week, Elisabeth," Cat reminds quietly. "It was only on the 11th that I met with the teleporter and laid out the mission. Prior to that point, it was just speculation on how the bridges might be brought down, whether by direct explosive, mortar fire, ship based artillery, or all of the above. Artillery now seems unlikely, and unneeded, because bombs were found, and that alone will close the bridges for a time. This round to Volken." A deep breath is drawn.

"You've been working the bridge threat angle for some time, I personally saw you conducting recon with Darius. You couldn't report anything further up the chain at that point; there was neither evidence nor proof. Just a possibility. Once the proof entered your hands, you acted appropriately, did you not?"

Elisabeth nods a bit and says, "I know, Cat. It's why I have an appointment tomorrow." She looks up at forces a smile. "And the best part is that Darius is the one who came to me with a bomb scare tip. So…. me sitting on the information will… pass muster. I'll tell the bomb squad captain that I was attempting to verify the credibility of the tip. It'll be okay. I'm just….. altogether too stressed out, that's all." She sips the wine again. "Knowing what's coming sucks," she comments quietly. "I'm really glad precognition is NOT something I was cursed with."

"You're not guilty of any wrongdoing, Elisabeth," Cat replies calmly, "thus I don't see reason for concern your career is at its end." She too sips her wine, and a thought comes to her briefly. "I don't know the nature of the explosives, I've not read about such things, nor had the teleporter. I was asked if someone of expertise should be along for the ride, and I said no. All that was needed then was the speed of getting to places on the spans to take pictures, which could then be shown to the expert and analyzed. Taking someone along would only tax the 'porter's strength and stamina. I have to wonder, despite Dr. Ray's judgment, if the bombs could be removed one by one by that teleporter and Gillian Childs in tandem. If they went to each location and touched the device, they could be teleported away and left with the bomb squad then, perhaps even without Volken's knowledge. But that requires input from the experts, for all I know they could be a kind which detonates if moved."

Elisabeth hesitates and raises both of her eyebrows. "Wait…. you think it's possible that they could be moved?" She purses her lips and says softly, "I don't know if Helena told you I've been vetting my partner in the midst of all this. He's an explosives guy."

"I don't know the mechanics of the bombs," Cat replies quietly. "I have to think it's possible they could be the sort which detonate if moved. First it would need be determined if it's safe to move them. After that, we do have a teleporter and an augmentor who could touch the devices, port them somewhere, and quickly port away again."

Elisabeth grins, for the first time in days feeling hope and optimism. "I don't know what Gillian does…. but I do know what Darius does. He generates forcefields. Like… major forcefields. *And* he's an explosives guy. Do *if* the teleporter can take someone with her, we may, in fact, be able to move the damn things regardless," she says excitedly.

"Gillian Childs enhances the abilities of others," Cat replies. "I would run this by Teo, he worked with the teleporter, and maybe has seen the photos taken. He may have knowledge of explosives too. I would also mention the possibility of handling it this way to Dr. Ray. Perhaps it isn't lose/lose after all, if we can get the bombs off the bridges without them being closed, Kazimir Volken may only learn of it when they're to be detonated and nothing happens."

Elisabeth blinks and looks puzzled. "Teo's the one who gave me the information and told me to do what I had to… I'm pretty sure if he knew about explosives, he'd have said so." She looks like we've actually got a chance at this. "Everything I've learned about Darius thus far has been positive. And I'm going to take the chance on him. We'll let him make the call on whether he needs a power enhancer to help with the forcefield thing and whether the bombs can be moved. That seems our best option short of shutting down the bridges for nearly 10 days."

Elisabeth says, "I'm not all about running the statistics past Dr. Ray — he's seen a possible future, but it doesn't mean it HAS to go that way, and statistics … are not ALWAYS right, Cat. Sometimes you have to have a little faith too," she adds softly."

"That's true," Cat states. "Probability isn't certainty. Faith is placed at times in those probabilities. What I'm doing here is speculating on a possibility in a field I admittedly am not an expert about. I can't say whether or not they'd explode on being moved. That's a call for others to make. Even if I were expert, I've not seen the devices and still couldn't make a call. What I'm recommending is caution, and getting input from multiple sources. I also don't have the authority to issue any instructions." Her wine glass is lifted. "Teo, Helena, and Doctor Ray should at least hear the idea first too, shouldn't they?"

Elisabeth swallows her wine, and says decisively, "I'll send them a message about what I'm up to, but I want to show Darius the pictures tonight." She smiles a little. "I don't think either of them are going to naysay a bomb guy."

She nods once. "Excellent. I would also recommend, if this is tried, some ways of being sure the effort isn't spotted. Volken could have observers telling him if the bombs are getting removed without the bridges being closed, and if that's so, it could cause him to have them set off immediately."

Elisabeth mmms. "Good point, although I'd think that would be an expenditure of manpower far beyond what he's thus far put into Manhattan… boots on the ground are time and money invested, and I've had the impression that Ethan and his group are not that large."

"I'm thinking of the fact we know Volken recently brought in reinforcements, and we know his operation has hundreds of members around the world. Given the likelihood he moves on his plan before this month ends, he probably has a good number of his operatives on scene in New York or en route, and these are people we know nothing about. Of course, with than in mind, it's lucky we have an invisible man around."

Elisabeth mmms softly. "You're making a point here of overthinking and overcomplicating matters, Cat." She smiles. "With your brainpower, it's not surprising, but sometimes you just have to look at the situation and make a choice. I've made mine, and I'm sticking to it no matter how many other details you throw my way."

She replies quietly "I expressed my thoughts, as always. People do with them what they do, or don't." Her wine glass is raised again. "I'd like nothing better than to screw Volken every step of the way, to make a lose lose situation into something else." Cat sips more of her wine, before asking "Do you like the place?"

Elisabeth offers Cat a smile. "You just have far too many thoughts sometimes, I think. Not to worry .. you've just bolstered my hope that we, in fact, flip Volken the bird. But it means moving NOW, *before* he has all his boots on the ground in Manhattan. All the more reason to move quickly." Then she settles in and looks around the place. "I love it," she says honestly. "It's very warm, and large open space. Comfortable. Looks comfortable."

"Thank you," she replies, leaving the topic behind and raising her wine glass again. "The whole building has potential." But Cat doesn't elaborate about that. "The club in the basement is a place I can go play from time to time. It's a bit more upscale than my first New York gigs, and the music there is a bit wider. Not just punk, like the Surly Wench audiences wanted."

Elisabeth looks at Cat and nods. "Are you renting out apartments up here? Or going to do something else with the space?" She pauses. "Do you own the whole building?"

The liquid in that glass is sipped from briefly before she answers. "Do you really want to know what my plans are?" Cat flashes a quiet grin as she turns to look out over Greenwich Village six floors below.

Elisabeth tilts her head questioningly. "Why wouldn't I?" And then she smiles. "You look like the cat that swallowed the canary."

"This floor is my home," Cat begins. "Just below it is a recording studio, where media projects for Phoenix can be worked in. I may use it for just me, or start a label. Or a third course, I could charge rents for use of the space by other labels and artists. Maybe a combination of all three." She turns back to face the Scout member then.

"The fourth floor is a sanctuary of sorts, a safehouse. Or will be. This whole building used to be offices, except the studio which had been here before and the club in the basement. That's why the elevator has the hidden buttons, so only people being brought to the top three floors will be able to use them. The first three floors are apartments for the general public, subject to some screening. But the ownership of the structure, that's murky. I'm not certain a trail to any single person could be found."

Elisabeth looks puzzled. "Why is the ownership of the building murky?" Her brows pull together. "Deliberately muddied by you to keep it safe, or …?"

"If it were discovered the place has a safehouse, it would be good not to have it tied to me directly," Cat answers. "But, of course, I'm a musician and musicians are known to have eccentric people around them sometimes. If I decide to host people as guests on a floor of the building free of charge for a while, that's just me being artsy."

Elisabeth grins at Cat. "Nice cover," she acknowledges. And Cat's of course smart enough to be able to cover the ownership trail. "Hell, it's too bad it's a safe house. It has far more security than my building," she comments mildly. "Are you going to actually record for yourself, or do you have other plans for a day job?" she asks curiously.

"That was another consideration, security," Cat replies. "I lived at Dorchester Towers, still do have the apartment there. Now I have the security footage all coming to me, and I'll know exactly who lives in this building. Only the fourth floor is a safehouse, though, the bottom three floors are open for public rental. That, the club, and any income from the studio will go to finance things I do so I stay level or even increase the bottom line. I've not really decided about recording for myself. I've not really had to do much here yet, people were paid to handle things so far."

She goes back to looking out the window, remarking quietly "It's not something I've taken much time to think about yet. There's a big job to do, but the safehouse plans are a measure of confidence. That we'll succeed."

Elisabeth nods slightly, listening thoughtfully. "Well, I have to say it seems like a good sideline, at least." And then she says quietly, "and I hope that it's somewhere you'll feel safe." Cuz God knows, Cat deserves it. "We're going to succeed. Maybe not the exact way we plan to, but… I have to have a little faith that we're on the right track, or there's no point in fighting, Cat."

"That's why I made the move here," she answers, "and made plans, with more coming. To not allow even the possibility of considering failure." Cat's glass is lifted, she drinks a bit more of the wine, before speaking again. "Self-fulfilling prophecy."

Elisabeth grins and holds her glass up in an air toast. "From your lips to God's ears," she tells the woman quietly. And then sips from her own glass. "So tell me something…. what made you decide to show it to me?"

"Because I trust you," Cat answers simply.

Elisabeth's reply comes after a moment of silence, and she has to drop her eyes. "Thank you." Because considering how she feels about her own actions, it means a lot to hear Cat say that. A smile is forced out, and she looks back up. "That means a lot to me."

"You're welcome," she offers, turning away from the window again.

Elisabeth doesn't know what else to say on that topic, and so she leaves it be. "Interested in grabbing some dinner?" she asks in a somewhat abrupt change of topic. "I was heading that way when you called me."

"The Rock Cellar serves food," Cat replies with a grin. She heads for the elevator.

January 16th: Defenseless Girls In Parks
January 16th: Failure To Communicate
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