Meeting Hall


elisabeth_icon.gif hall_icon.gif

Scene Title Meeting Hall
Synopsis After the attempted kidnapping at Raytech, Elisabeth Harrison meets with Jac's enigmatic rescuer and finds they come from the same hometown.
Date February 3, 2021

The excitement over the second kidnapping attempt inside Raytech walls has made everyone just a bit more on edge than ever. Elisabeth is no exception, especially since the target appears to have been one of the kids that she thinks of as 'theirs'. It was a ridiculously close call that Jac almost got snatched out of the hallway like that, and Elisabeth still is not entirely convinced that Jac was the only target. After all, they'd stopped outside Abby's place, and if she hadn't been sitting there with Abigail, who the hell knows what would have happened?

With Lou and Bob and the rest of the security team grimly trying to figure out what kind of magic has to be accomplished to keep this from happening anymore, Liz is more interested in something else.

The why.

Raytech Industries NYCSZ Campus

February 3rd
7:01 am

Agent Hall's office is off of the security team's hallway, since she's the liaison to the DoE for RayTech. She's actually parked right next to Dana Carrington's office, though the latter tends to spend more time in the science labs, as far as Elisabeth can tell. After verifying with Lou that the agent is in her office today, Elisabeth makes her presence known to the liaison with a brief, businesslike rap of her knuckles on the doorframe.

At least it's not the cop-knock.

Blue eyes are intent on the agent when the door opens, and Elisabeth has that same edgy, wary look that she wore in the hallway the other day. "Agent Hall," she greets quietly. "I believe it's time we had a talk."

Hall has, perhaps surprising given the state of the world, taken to decorating her small personal space. Elisabeth finds the agent’s door open and the dark-haired woman in the middle or arranging a tray of potted succulents in the office’s narrow window.

“Lieutenant Harrison,” Hall greets with a quick but cheerful look up from her busywork. “Does this look crooked?” She asks, stepping back from the window, arms crossed over her chest and stare angled over the dark frames of her glasses over to Elisabeth. She straightens the glasses with a push of two fingers up the bridge of her nose, motioning to the plants.

Tipping her head to eye the plants and their placement, Elisabeth shakes her head as she steps inside. "No, I think it looks fine," she acknowledges the query. "Just don't ask me to help water them," she quips with a rueful smile. "I kill most plants." Her husband is the green thumb around here.

Blue eyes flicker to the agent and although it's not obvious, Elisabeth slips a field into place around the office… no one walking by needs to really hear what they're talking about. "You took responsibility for what happened in the hallway. Why?"

The blonde doesn't tend to beat around the bush, and this is no exception. She doesn't have her arms folded across her front and her tone is not so much confrontational as it is forthright and curious.

“Because I’m the one that scrambled Oblonsky’s eggs,” Hall says as she turns back to her desk, giving a nudge to the succulent tray, a tilt of her head, and an approving nod. “You might’ve incapacitated him but you didn’t put him into a coma.”

When Hall faces Elisabeth again, she sits back on the corner of her desk and folds her hands in her lap. “I got in his head,” she says with a tap of two fingers at her temple, “literally and I don’t think I mixed well with everything up there. I got some word filtered down from SESA, his brain was packed with some artificial hardware, computer shit. I think I overloaded it.”

Hall shrugs, then looks down to the floor, and back up to Elisabeth. “Besides, I owed you one.”

Is it awful that there is a moment of abject relief visible on Elisabeth's features? The truth is, she truly believed that it was her fault. To find out it wasn't is a huge weight off her chest. And now, as Hall says she owes her, Elisabeth gets the answer to a question she wasn't sure she wanted the answer to. "You are one of the travelers, then," she says quietly. "I wasn't entirely sure…" She tips her head. "I thought I recognized you, but I only had personal contact with a couple dozen of the people who came with us. It … was just a jumble." She feels bad that she didn't know all of them, but then again… she really couldn't be expected to either.

"So… you don't owe me anything at all, for what that's worth," Elisabeth says. "But if you have some answers, I could sure as hell use them." She certainly has a lot of questions on her mind. "I know SESA is taking the lead on the kidnappers. But the DoE has… let's call it sources that neither SESA nor the NYPD have. In the work that has been done so far, do we know if he's got the same kind of shit in his head that the plane crash folks have? And pursuant to that… do we know if any of the tech can be extracted and manufacturers identified? I'm interested to know if it's all tech that's been developed here… or if we're looking for someone making tech Somewhere Else and exporting it here."

“I wish I had answers you’d like,” is Hall’s apologetic answer, coming with a shrug. “We don’t know precisely what’s in Oblonsky’s head, just that he has a lot of cybernetic modifications, like a scary amount and there’s a very small number of companies in the world that can do this. I actually think SESA is going to be tabbing Raytech to examine it all. I don’t know when.”

“To be honest, I don’t know much about the plane crash or what’s going on with all of them. You think Feds compartmentalize information? The DoE and their investigative branch make the CIA look like oversharers.” Hall crosses her ankles and swings her legs back and forth.

“Back before the flood, I was Department of Evolved Affairs back in my world—which, yeah, I realize is a four-letter word here.” She admits with a smirk at the wordplay. “They transitioned me into the DoE pretty much after my naturalization interview. My involvement’s been on… some other scary shit Richard’s probably told you about already.”

Elisabeth nods slightly about not knowing what's in Oblonsky's head. "Well, I hope it's soon," she says with a small frown. "What research I've been able to do, it's brought up the Weiss-Renautas corporation in Europe… the people in my hallway were German-speaking, so it gave me a small thread to at least try to tug on." With a heavy sigh, she crosses her arms.

When the comment is made about the 'investigative branch', Elisabeth can't help but grimace. "Yeah. I've definitely got a bit of insight on that front," she tells Hall grimly. "Given where they're from, I have a whole host of fucking questions." That she will probably never get answers to. Elisabeth's tone is tight, and as she looks up at Hall, she seems older and weary right down to the bone. "Are you going with them?"

The question is almost hesitant, as if she's not sure she wants to know. "Getting here the last time, Hall… " She turns her face to the side and stops. The agent knows exactly what it took, she watched it all happen. Liz seems to struggle with words, starting to say something and then biting it back. "I hope to hell they know what they're doing," is what she finally says.

“Yeah,” Hall says with a dip of her head. “I’m not going over, though, no. They asked and I said no. I’ve made that trip once and I’m never going back there. Besides, I don’t think I could face anyone, thinking about the people in the Ark we weren’t able to take with us.” She sighs, running a hand through her hair as she does.

“Not everyone from my agency is from another world, though. At least—as far as I know. But everyone in the Office of External Investigations has something classified about them. But…” Hall laughs, shaking her curly hair out, “that’s the trick. It’s all classified.”

When she looks back at Hall, Elisabeth's expression is unbearably sad for just a split second, and then the veil of dispassion covers it. "I spent… so many years trying to get home," she murmurs. "The fact that anyone is going to your world with no idea if they'll be able to come back is just one more absurd horror to deal with." Especially when one of those people is the husband she fought so hard to get home to.

She pulls in a breath and squares her shoulders. "I'd like to know who I'd need to talk to about the crash survivors. That is the second time they've managed to get a teleporter into our complex, and I can't protect them from that. But I want to know what's being done."

“SESA’s been fully handed the case, now that my department is fairly certain it isn’t interdimensional in nature,” Hall explains with a helpless shrug, feet still kicking. “I’m not sure who’s lead on it, but I figure Deputy-Director Voss is likely elbow deep in it. There’s still people from my agency handling the wellness checkups, they’ve built a rapport, but the day-to-day investigation is out of our hands now.”

Hall slides off of the corner of her desk, feet touching the floor softly. “Between me, you, and the wall?” Hall adds, her voice quieter as she approaches Elisabeth. “Something weird is going on. And I don’t just mean in the general candor of our daily lives.” She flashes Elisabeth a wink. “Something feels wrong, I just can’t put my finger on it.”

Oh Loooooord. SESA has it. Elisabeth sighs and drags her hand through her hair tiredly. "Gotcha," is her reply to that part. And then her blue eyes sharpen on Hall. "Weird how?" Because that is not good for Elisabeth's current mental state — it is not paranoia when shit is really happening in the shadows. "What is it that feels wrong?" She's taking Hall's instincts seriously here — the woman lived under a lunatic for too long not to be wary.

Hall shrugs a little helplessly. “Everything about it: An abduction of this magnitude with a random cross-section of Expressives, the health issues, bleeding edge nanotechnology, Kimiko Nakamura dying, the choice to try and grab Jac in the middle of a highly secured scientific facility rather than waiting for her to go home?”

“Everything about this feels fucked.” Hall says candidly. “Why not go after someone who lives alone? Why her? Why then? And I don’t have answers. Maybe it was opportunity, maybe it was timing, I don’t know. But grabbing Jac there rather than at her home where there isn’t an armed security force seems like a choice.”

“But you can tell me this whole thing doesn’t feel even bigger than it looks on the surface,” Hall suggests, but on the same note has no answers as to where those suspicions could go.

Ah. Elisabeth's expression eases and she is forced to let out a small huff of a laugh. "Will you forgive me for saying 'welcome to my life'?" She's not being sarcastic; there have just been so many oddities, she feels like she no longer has the capacity to even be surprised when shit goes down. "You're asking all the right questions," she assures the young agent, "and you have good instincts. Trust them."

She pauses, remembering Colette's analogy with a thoughtful look. Then she tells Hall quietly, "It's definitely something bigger… and honestly, I'm not entirely convinced Jac wasn't just a target of opportunity. Because they could have grabbed her anytime. They could grab any one of them anytime — I've wondered a lot if Abigail was their actual target for some reason. If she weren't specifically what they wanted, why risk coming to RayTech at all?" And of course, now her friend has taken off, which Elisabeth hates with the burning passion of a thousand suns. It's taking everything she has not to go pull Abby back, to respect her friend's wishes in light of what they've learned.

She grimaces and clears her throat to explain. "I have a habit of listening a little farther out than usual when I'm sitting anywhere these days. I can't help it." Seeming uncomfortable, Elisabeth chooses to share in a low voice, "The Entity pulled a bunch of us into a dream. It felt more like a warning of things to come — troops from other countries lining up people like us against a wall for execution. Again." Having already lived through such things, Hall is someone she expects will understand her paranoia. "I heard them outside Abby's door and the one guy spoke German. No one who spoke German should have been on that floor." And the few seconds of warning had been enough for Abby to take the kids and for Liz to go on the offensive by exploding the door.

Hall is quiet, even after Elisabeth is done talking. “Our office is very concerned about that vision,” she says in a quiet tone of voice, forestalling any additional discussion of the kidnapping to focus on that monumental nightmare looming over them. “Obviously many levels of government are. Some are more concerned with who was given the vision, because as far as we’re aware it’s a purposeful and small cross-section of New Yorkers. My office is concerned with the how and the why.” Hall looks away. “We have answers for nothing.”

Snorting out a short, derisive sigh, Hall tries to clear her head. “We’re constantly walking a tightrope to keep the world from shitting itself. I thought things were fucked back where I’m from, but the more I read about history here the more it feels like this is just a big, rickety house of cards and trying to keep it from falling over it just adding cards to the top, making the eventual…” she spreads her hands and makes a ker-splode sound with her mouth, “…all the worse.”

“You know, there’s an agent who has a theory about all this…” Hall says, threading a lock of hair behind one ear. “That every time a timeline branch was created, it just made things worse and less stable. Yeah, I know that sounds rich coming from someone who lived in Mad Max with jet skis, but you know what we didn’t have?” She sticks out her thumb. “Viral apocalypse,” index finger, “fascist corporate dictatorship,” middle finger, “a genocidal war full of fucking robots,” ring finger, “an entirely different war full of fucking robots.”

Sighing, Hall shakes her head. “I’m not saying our current choice of residence is the cherry on top of a shit sundae,” she admits with a shrug, “but I’m not saying it’s not either.”

Tipping her head and considering the agent's words, Elisabeth says quietly, "Coming through the timelines as Magnes and I were, I can tell you that… the Entity was somewhere in there the whole time. Maybe from between them where it was trapped, it could just play the long game where time has no meaning." She hesitates. "We've known since 2011 that certain places where the portals opened — places like the top of the Deveaux Building — seem to have … for lack of a better way to phrase it, thinner walls between worlds. Whether that was caused by the fact that the portal was ripped open there or if the portal could be ripped open there because it was already thinner and therefore easier?" She shakes her head. "That, I don't know. I'm not sure we'll ever know."

It's an interesting thought exercise, but ultimately not useful. Elisabeth shoves her hands into her pockets and admits in a soft voice, "I've often wondered the same thing." //How many times had Hiro tried to stop the horrors he saw, only to realize that he made things worse? How many times has she seen it happen herself?/

"When we first stopped Pinehearst, I wondered… if doing that just made things worse. We'd seen what the fascist dictator world looked like — all nice on the surface, rotten at the core. So we set out to stop that. And by doing that, we took out the thing that seemed to maybe be holding Volken's ilk in check — no viral apocalypse in that world either. So we stopped the virus from getting loose… and a bunch of time-travel shenanigans sent Zeke's sorry ass back to the past where he built a fucking world of robots and we lived in a Terminator movie. And then we tried to stop that and landed here, where the nukes have gone off and we've had incursions from at least two of the other timelines plus robots of our own devising." She trails off and rubs her forehead. "To me, though… what is intriguing is that in your world, you for whatever reason didn't have the Pinehearst problem, or the Company. But it did have the warhead, which detonated and wiped all of it out anyway."

Elisabeth looks at Hall. "Does knowing what's to come help you? Honestly, I've come to the conclusions personally that it always just makes things worse and we should just do what we can to mitigate the fallout of whatever is happening." She is weary of the fight and it shows. "Just like we can't stop the fucking solar flare and magnetic storm… but we might be able to make a shield for it." She shrugs a little. "If we stop that? Who the hell knows what comes after? But … there are definitely times I think our ignorance was blissful."

Hall raises one brow when Elisabeth mentions a magnetic storm. Her eyes dip down to the floor, and there’s a subtle sag of her shoulders. “That makes sense,” she says in a more guarded tone, “that your husband would tell you. I’m not sure how he’d live with himself—holding that kind of secret.” Still, Hall seems surprised to hear Elisabeth speak about the end of the world. It’s new to her.

“I guess we’ll never know who had it better.” Hall says with a resigned shrug. “We just have to make due with what we have. But I feel like every time you throw time travel into the mix… you’re just asking for trouble.” She smiles, a weary and small thing, then turns back to her succulents.

“I should finish tidying up here and introduce myself to the security team properly,” Hall says with a glance back at Elisabeth over her shoulder. “If you think of anything you need, please, let me know.”

Elisabeth can't help a soft huff of laughter. "Oh, my husband has kept plenty of secrets that he has had to live with himself over," she tells the young agent in a soft voice. "We've learned the hard way that the end of the world is always coming and time travel is always just asking for trouble." She shrugs a little. "But what are you gonna do? You play the cards you're dealt. And you try to keep a positive outlook."

Studying the younger woman, she offers, "It's hard to do that when all you can see is the scary shit coming at you. But if you give up on hope, you've already lost." As she turns to go, she nods to the instruction and then looks back over her shoulder at the agent. "If you need to talk… I have two good ears, Agent Hall. And I know how to keep my mouth shut."

Not what she signed on for, I bet, Elisabeth thinks, rapping twice on the door frame as she leaves.

Poor kid.

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