Musical Interlude


bf_bast_icon.gif elisabeth3_icon2.gif

Scene Title Musical Interlude
Synopsis Her first real gig on the night scene, Elisabeth invites a friendly face.
Date May 16, 2013

Jazz Club in Manhattan

After their first accidental meeting, Elisabeth was leery about keeping in contact with Bast Autumn… but he kept texting her. Checking in on her. And even meeting up with her for coffee and lunch sometimes. She's come to think of him as… a friend? She's not very different from the Liz he knows, really, but to keep things simple for him she tells him that if he'd like, he can use "Lissa" to refer to her — to keep things from getting confused. The last thing anyone wants is to have her and Liz Harrison cross paths.

It gets a little easier to keep them separate when Liz/Lissa colors her hair. The deep mahogany brown with hints of red to it and some darker shades mixed in suits her a lot better than he might have expected. This afternoon she texted him. I'm stepping out of my comfort zone tonight and could use a friendly face…. meet me at Tyndall's? It's a small nightclub that does live music. Around 10.

Bast is an attentive friend like that. Also she's a visitor from another world so there's that. Wanting to make sure she's settling into her new life and what not without any issues. Of course he still thinks that the two Liz's should meet, but if she wants to be called by a different name he'll do that, though it makes no real difference to him. A nightclub meeting? Sebastien can do that, though it's a bit outside of the normal places they meet up to keep up. Bast shows up just a couple minutes before 10 though and stands outside, posted up against a wall. Should I be coming inside? Or waiting outside? I'm here. He's assuming there's a reason for meeting at the night club, though he's puzzled as to what. So for the time being he posts up on the wall outside of the club, one hand tucked into the pocket of his blue jeans, the other holding his phone and browsing through the news while he waits for a response.

Go grab a table, is the return text. You'll see me in a minute… just… be nice!

Liz is beyond nervous about this. Sure, she's periodically been playing piano in various places, but this is her first full singing gig. The board at the front of the club when he comes in reads that tonight's entertainment is 'Raven Harper.' He has enough time to go inside and get seated — apparently he called ahead for a table for him and put his name with the hostess stand. He's in the second row of tables from the stage, slightly right of center.

She still hasn't joined him when the band is introduced for the evening, and it suddenly perhaps becomes clear why. She's up there instead of sitting down here. And there's apparently a theme this evening, because it's perhaps a little more jazzy and blues-y than pop. Between songs, she waves a little sheepishly at him.

Bast eyes the text he receives for a few seconds before there's a soft sigh and he tucks the phone into his pocket. He walks over to the door and pays the cover, having a mild stare off with the door bouncer while he waits for his wrist band or hand stamp and then makes his way inside. Directed to a table rather than having to find one he goes and takes himself a seat, sitting patiently, waiting for a Liz. He pulls his phone out and texts her again even. I'm here. I'm seated. Why was there a table reserved? But then he gets his answer doesn't he?

His phone is put back into his pocket as the band is introduced, his head lifting eyes going to the stage. Those eyes widen slightly when he realizes who is up on stage singing. There's a quick laugh from him and a big easy smile as he waves back. There's some cheering and some applause from the crowd and he joins in. Then the music starts up and he is surprised, and pleased, a jazz fan is Bast. He wears an appreciative smile the whole time and bobs along to the beat of the music at his table. When the set is done and she's approaching the table she'll get scooped up into a big hug and squeezed for a moment or two before he puts her back down and pulls out her chair, then retakes his own. "That was awesome. And I love jazz and blues so that helped too. When did you decide to start singing?"

When she's done with the show, she's flushed with the success of it and laughs as she's swooped into a hug! This is not the same Curtis Autumn she knew, and he's proven it over and over. "Well," she gasps with a chuckle as he sets her down, "it was something I didn't really ever think about! But when I got here… part of the ID paperwork and such had the name of a guy. It turned out he was a sound engineer, and I started working with him mostly on my ability."

Moving to sit in the seat across from him so they can have drinks and dinner, Elisabeth tucks a stray curl behind her ear, blushing though it's hard to see in the low light of the club. "I did just a little singing back home, actually. A friend convinced me to do it," she admits, a brief flash of something passing across her face. "And I'm told that I was in an actual band in college and that we'd played some circuits — my dad told me that after I was shot. So… I guess it seemed like as good a time as any to see what I could do with it, since I couldn't go back to my old job here, you know?"

Bast is a very different man from the Curtis Autumn Liz knows. Moab not blowing up is the difference. He went undercover just like Curtis did. But he was properly retrieved from the prison and given his proper memories back and had Ash's removed. And it made a world of difference for the man who just gave Liz a bear hug. "Sorry. That was pretty awesome though. Suppose the hug wasn't uhhh proper and stuff. But I was excited for you." He settles himself back into his chair as she explains where the singing came from. He sees that flash of something, probably longing on her face. He understands that she mismses people from back home. It's only natural. But he doesn't comment on it, or pry into it. No needs to dig things up. Especially when there's no solution on getting home for her at this time.

"Yeeeah. Law enforcement probably not the best idea all things considered. Though I bet you were a kick ass Frontline officer." He looks up as a waiter comes over and orders himself a drink, and after eyeing the food menu orders something hopefully not deep fried. "I think it's pretty cool. And I love Jazz and Blues so… that helps too. Have a pretty solid collection of vinyls back home. Collected when I was in high school and had less to spend my money on." THere's a faint chuckle from him, seen in the smile more than heard over the noise of the club. "So is this what you're gonna do then? Sing? If so I think it's a good choice. And with the hair color difference, people that know this Liz aren't likely to notice just how similar you two look."

Liz nods quickly. "That's kinda the way I looked at it." She grins a bit, ruffling her short, dark hair. She orders a drink and something to munch on as well, and smiles. "It's funny… Back home, there was a period where I was on the run." Blue eyes flicker up to him. "No one really realized that I'd grown my hair out — I usually wore it up and braided for work. So when I went off the grid, I just wore it loose. It was like to here," she gestures to her hip. "And I put blue and purple streaks in it. Who'd be looking for the head of Frontline Manhattan with purple hair to her ass?" She's genuinely amused. "Now if I'm…. kinda doing the same thing, I guess. Turning into a singer and coloring my hair to keep a low profile. Strange how life works."

"Change of hair color can make all the difference. Especially on the run. Looking for a blonde with medium length hair. So that's what leo's look for at that point. But you know that. People that know Liz will see you with brown hair and while sure you look just like her you can't be her cuz you have brown hair, and she has blonde. It's smart." Bast is all smiles tonight. "At least you're not on the run here. So there's a good point in our favor right? Not being on the run has to be nice. Not having to watch every corner and alley and be careful of every word you speak? Gotta be a relief." Even if she misses home is what goes on unsaid. "Well you'll have to let me know when you guys are performing." Bast looks up as the drinks are brought over, no food yet but drinks are here. He takes his own and takes a small sip from it. "So how are you doing?" He asks, his tone a little more serious, more concerned.

Heh… if he only knew. Not on the run exactly but not exactly welcome either. Technically an 'illegal immigrant.' "I'll keep you up to date on performances," Liz promises with a smile. "Honestly, we're doing really well. Aurora is getting big. I have a fantastic babysitter, and my roommate might as well be her second mom. Life is…. good, I guess." At least, as good as it gets, she figures. "Just… settled in now, doing the day-to-day living stuff. I'm not exactly exciting, you realize." She gives him a cheeky smile.

Bast really doesn't know. He knows, but not really. It's a different thing, knowing a fact than having to deal with it first hand in your everyday life. "Good. I enjoyed the set, look forwards to more. And I'm glad the kiddo is doing well. That's going to be a weird explain if you guys do manage to find a way home." There's a quick laugh from Bast at Liz's claim of not being very interesting. "Uhh I mean day to day life? Sure might not be terribly exciting. But over all life? Yeah, pretty interesting. And I like to know what's going on with you. I like to know you guys are okay and safe. Can't a guy inquire about his friend's alternate reality self and how she's doing?" There's a wide and more than slightly amused grin at that statement. "One of these days you'll have to tell me more about your reality. I still wonder what makes it so different from ours that someone like you would end up a fugitive. That just sounds crazy to me." They're in a club, no one is going to overhear them. Or at least that's what Bast is relying on, though he does glance around to make sure no one is close by.

Elisabeth looks surprised. "It's… sort of involved, but if you really want to know, I'll tell you…" She notes his look and smiles. "There's a silence field about 6 inches behind you that encases us and the table. We can hear everything out there just fine, but they can't hear us unless they're literally standing at the table," she tells him. "It's … an old habit, keeping my conversations private."

Bast looks surprised that Liz looks surprised at his question. So much so that he looks slightly confused as to why she's surprised. His brows furrow in a questioning look but he just tips his head forwards. "I would like to know. I figured before, earlier. When you first got here that you know… you wouldn't want to share so I didn't want to pry. But it's been awhile now so I figured I'd ask." There's a soft oh from Sebastien as he looks around, eyes looking for an obviously invisible silence field.

"Isn't that nifty…" He murmurs appreciatively, then gives his head a shake and turns his attention back forwards. "Cool habit. But yeah, if you're willing to tell I'd love to know. I recall you saying something about no Pinehearst in your world. I'm curious what else is different. Like how could the worlds be so different just from one company not being there. Admittedly Pinehearst has done a lot here for peace. Things were rough there for awhile. Close to boiling over but they've settled a lot. Even more since you guys got here."

Taking a sip from her wine, Liz considers how best to explain. "There are a great many things I don't really know, Bast, or that I only know part of. In my world, when Pinehearst was taken down… I guess that there was no one politically powerful enough to keep the anti-Evos threaded into the Establishment in check. For several years after the Moab incident, things continued to get worse. Humanis First members worked behind the scenes to undermine any kind of pro-Evo protections and the Vanguard was also still on the move. There were a lot of skirmishes, but… at the point where I was chucked through a black hole, Registration was mandatory and the Ferry was actively pulling people out to get them away from our own soldiers. We had a neighborhood — Eltingville — that was basically an internment camp. It … really was starting to look like 1930s Germany all over again."

She pauses, sipping her wine while the waitress leaves their dinner to be eaten. Blue eyes flicker up to him. "I agreed to join Frontline for a couple of reasons. It was part of a pardon for my actions with Phoenix… and it was also to try to do what I always did — protect and serve. But the Frontline unit based on Staten already was the Gestapo — I had reports of them actually executing people. And ultimately… I went on the run because I passed some information to the Ferry. I had no way to know if the information was true or if it was a trap for me or someone else, but… I couldn't in good conscience let it happen. So I prepped my people as best I could to continue what we were supposed to be and according to the U.S. government, I turned traitor."

There's clearly a lot more to the succinct story than that, but Elisabeth smiles faintly. "That's, of course, the nutshell version of how did I wind up on the run."

Bast sits back in his chair a little bit, relaxing as Liz starts to talk. He didn't get wine, he got himself a white russian, so it's something he nurses a little slower, small sips here and there. If the slight blink on his first sip is anyone to go by it's a pretty strong white russian. "Moab incident? Something happened to Moab in your world?" That he finds curious, especially given that he spent time there under cover. Definitely a divergence point. "The Ferry? What's that? I don't think I've ever heard of a group called the Ferry. I think we're going to need to go even deeper. A lot of differences already. Why did Pinehearst fall? What happened to your Moab? And who's the Ferry? Frontline was executing people?"

There's a slow blink from Sebastien at that part. "Not just like… firefight with armed and dangerous opposition but… like executing executing? What in the actual fuck is wrong with your world? My god." Bast's head shakes slowly and he sits up a bit straighter. "Sorry that was… I'm just surprised is all. I mean things got pretty dark here for a bit but not like that. It honestly sounds like the fall of Pinehearst in your reality is the starting difference. Because after that things seem to have gone very south in your world." He removes the straw from his white russian and knocks it back before lifting his hand to get the waiters attention to call for another drink. He’s going to need at least one more for this conversation. “So lets start with Pinehearst. Why did it fall? Who attacked it?”

Weelllll. He knows the expression she makes — the still one that hides a multitude of emotions. Liz's cop-neutral is quite good, but this one has it at a level that's an art form. "We did," she tells him simply. She lets that sink in, sipping her wine while his next drink shows up.

"In early 2009, we fought the Vanguard. Following those battles, the ones that were instrumental in stopping the release of the Virus," the same thing that happened here, "two of our people were sent into Moab with no trial and no representation. Just vanished by Homeland Security. The same shit was happening here, and you know that." She's very certain of it. "We went in after them… and the rescue mission went sideways. People were hurtled forward in time. I suspect, actually, that they landed here. Our world… was this one, pretty much. They landed in 2019."

It's a lot to absorb, so she lets him think on that for a few.

Bast can keep a poker face when he wants to. Stuff like the Vanguard and the Virus are classified. Even if she knows about them, and he knows about them, and she knows he knows… he can't say anything. But he listens attentively for differences in the timeline. "You think they ended up in our world? So a bunch of… wait 2019?" He leans back in his seat a little bit again, eyeing Liz for a few seconds. Not skeptically, but thoughtfully. "So you believe they're /going/ to land here? In the future, 2019." Sebastien's brow furrows a bit in thought. "Is that what you're hoping to use to return home? A hole in time and space? So your Moab was what? Destroyed? Or just… compromised? Cuz ours is fine. So that's a pretty solid variance between our worlds. But I notice you skipped my question about Pinehearst. Who attacked it? Why did it fall? Because Pinehearst has brought a lot of peace here. And it sounds like that's the big element that's different." Bast apparently needs no more than a few moments absorb time. But he's never been slow, in either reality. "Sorry. I'm rushing. I don't mean to. I just want to know well… everything." There's a flash of a smirk from him before he leans forwards again, propping his forearms on the table edge. "Continue. Ignore my interuppty self. Or well don't ignore me but…" Bast's shoulders lift in a quick shrug, another little smirk on his lips. "Sorry."

Elisabeth shakes her head slightly and tells him again, because she knows he hasn't wrapped his head around it. "We destroyed Pinehearst, Bast. Because of what was going on within Pinehearst, at least in 2019. No world is perfect. We all know that. There were… and are… things going on behind the scenes. I don't know if you don't know about them or if you're just willing to justify them to yourself as being for the greater good," she admits to him quietly. "But when our people came home to us and told us what they'd learned… we decided that the outward peaceful, somewhat totalitarian regime was no more acceptable just because Pinehearst instigated it instead of the Vanguard… and we took Pinehearst down. As far down as we could take that monster."

She shrugs a little. "We didn't really realize that sometimes the evil you know is better than what will take its place. Because without Pinehearst, the Vanguard and Humanis First got a hell of a lot more powerful."

Sebastien sits, and he listens. As Elizabeth talks his features pinch into a worried expression, then one of understanding, and finally one of… sadness. As she finishes he sits, silent for a few moments, looking up as his second drink is finally brought. Good timing. He thanks the waiter, then wraps his hands around the glass, engulfing the glass entirely. He sits silent as he takes a few sips from his drink through the tiny straw it comes with. "There are stories. About people being taken. Disappearing. Do they sit well with me? No. They don't. But I did plenty of things for my country as a Marine that I was not proud of. And that still don't sit well with me. I did them because it was necessary. I don't know anything for sure. Just the rumors."

Bast goes quiet again, clearly thinking, his eyes wandering a little bit. "If people are being taken. If this peace is bought at the price of a few lives…" He sighs, lifting a hand up to rub it across his features before he takes another sip of his drink. "That might be something I can live with. Be happy about it? No. Sleep well at night?" There's a soft snort from him. "And your own words about how… awful things got in your world… rationalizes it. Doesn't justify it. But it rationalizes it. How many lives would you say have been lost in your world as a result of destroying Pinehearst? The same number? Twice as many? Three times as many? People being rounded into concentration camps? You might hate me for this… but I think I can live with a little darkness for a lot of good. I know first hand that peace is bought with blood.”

Smiling just a little, she sips from her glass. "I can't fault you for that. It's… a really difficult place to be, and even I'm not always sure we did the right thing," Elisabeth admits. "I guess it's why even in the best places, the leadership hides things from the public… I hope that they're making choices for the greater good, and I hope they don't sleep well at night, knowing what they've compromised. But can I understand the rationalizations that come with it?" She grimaces a little. "Yes. A lot more now than I used to."

She sighs heavily. "I don't have the answers. I never did. I just… did the best I could with what was in front of me. Same as everyone else, I guess." Liz's tone is self-deprecating. "I just have to take my stands where I see the need. At the time, I saw the need. I… cannot honestly tell you that I'd make the same choices now."

"What price peace?" He murmurs softly, an old saying, the words familiar and comfortable for Bast. "What price does peace cost but the blood of patriots? What price does peace cost but the blood of the innocent. What price does peace cost but our restless sleep." Bast smiles, though it's a wry smile, without any real humor. "My Grandfather said that, when I graduated from the academy. He gave the speech. It was a good speech. From a man that knows just how dearly that peace is bought. I know too now, how dearly it's bought as well. And yeah. It's a hard place to be in. Making choices like that."

Sebastien lifts a hand and runs fingers through his hair a few times before he lets his hand drop back to the table, his fingers lacing together. "Good. That you question your decisions. Question whether you made the right ones. I do it. All the time. Mostly I'm satisfied with the decisions I've made. But there's a few that haunt me. That I wish I could have done differently. But I have no way of knowing if they'd have turned out better, or worse if I had. I am curious though… there's not many time travelers out there. Where did your information come from? About the future? Your future? Our future? Not sure which at the moment. The future. I guess this future. Your world is already too different from us to share a future."

He thinks about something for a few seconds, eyes narrowed, peering at the table top. "Do you want to go home? To your world? Knowing how bad it is there. I know you have people there but… do you want to go back? Do you want to take your child back there?"

"Your grandfather … is a wise man," Elisabeth observes quietly. "He understood the context of Benjamin Franklin's words." Glancing up at him, she shrugs a little. "'Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.' In the context that it was written, it's actually meant to defend the authority of a legislature to govern in the interests of collective security. In this case, however, you're talking about a private corporation lobbying the government… and running what amounts to a shadow government. And people must decide how much willful ignorance they are going to allow themselves."

She swallows the last of her wine and motions the waitress for another. "Yes. I want to go home. There are occasional days where I consider the idea of giving up on it… days when I just don't want to deal with all the bullshit that comes with the search," Elisabeth admits. "But my daughter deserves to know her father. And her grandfather." Assuming either or both are still alive. She doesn't comment on that thought aloud, though — it's simply her own private fear. That she'll go home and find that there was no reason to fight to get back there anyway.

"People have decided." Bast comments in a soft tone. "Everyone has heard the whispers. The rumors. And yet…" He gestures around them at the club they now sit in. "Life goes on. People come, they dance, they have a good time, and they go home and sleep well because of the decisions that are made for them." There was something in what Liz said that didn't sit well with him though, the talk of a shadow government controlling the actual government. That drew a twitch of his lips, a pinching of his features if only just for a moment.

“Even if you're taking her home to a warzone? Because from what you've said… that's where it sounds like your world is headed. For a nasty, bloody civil war. Brother against brother. Friend against friend. I…" Bast's cheeks puff out in thought for a second or two. "I don't think I could make that same decision. You just might be braver than I am." There's another small tight smile from him before he lets out a soft sigh. "So you guys destroyed Pinhearst, your Moab had an… incident, and that cleared the way for the Vanguard and Humanis First. That's a lot of difference."

He's quiet a moment or two longer, long enough to take a couple sips from his drink. "Is it wrong of me to ask about my other self? Like against world traveler rules or something? You knew me there. And I find myself curious. Because just by what you’ve said, your reactions to my behavior… I’m guessing we’re not all that alike."

"Alike, but not," Elisabeth replies easily. "I think that… the Curtis I know went through a lot more than perhaps you've seen. He spent some time undercover, spent time in Pariah… and he didn't come back the same. He was manipulated by the people he trusted to give him back his own memories after the undercover work, from what I gather. So he's… perhaps a little harder around the edges. Still a good man, very much like you. Just… not as willing to look the other way when his own government is the one doing the fucking around, maybe?" She shrugs a little.

The undercover work doesn't seem to be a surprise to Bast, though it changing his other self does seem to be. "Huh. Wonder what went different with him that changed the under cover work." Bast's shoulders roll in a quick shrug. "Thank you, for sharing with me, about your world. It's fascinating really. The differences, born from just a few changes. And yet it rippled outwards and turned into vast differences. Not small ones. Huge differences between our worlds. It would be interesting to see what scientists would make of it all. Not that I'd say anything to anyone." He pauses, tipping his head to the side a little. "You know… I'll miss you if you leave. If you do manage to get home? You're a good person. Made some choices I wouldn't have made, but I'm sure the reverse is true too. But you're a good person. And easy to talk to."

Elisabeth smiles at him, appearing both pleased and perhaps a little abashed at the compliment. "Thank you," she replies. She doesn't elaborate on what went different… she doesn't show that she even knows, though she does. There is no need for him to really know that information. Ever. "I'm sure the scientists are already working on such things," she murmurs. "I'm beginning to believe that a friend of mine is right… you can't stop the tide of science. The more I live this life, the more I realize… I'm kind of living in a fucking Terminator movie. Some things happen because they are just inevitable. So eventually, someone here will re-create the bridge that brought us here." She shrugs a little. "I don't even know what to hope for if or when that happens."

"I mean… we've both run around in exoskeletal combat armor. You with your sonic powers, and well me with… me." Bast kind of is his power. "So Terminator isn't far off. And with the rate technology is advancing? Yeah I wouldn't put robots far off at all. Real robots I mean. Combat effective robots." Bast finishes off his drink and sets the empty on the table, not calling for another one. "I'm not really sure what to say to that. I mean I want you to get home because you want to get home. But I also want you to be safe which probably means not going home. And I'm glad I got the chance to meet you, though I'm sure you wish you hadn't gone world hopping and what not." Another small chuckle from him. "Thank you for inviting me out tonight though. I enjoyed the show."

"Yeah…. My world already had them," Elisabeth tells him softly. She stops talking, her second drink arriving on the table. And she smiles slightly. "And I didn't exactly go world-hopping by choice. So… yeah, I pretty much wish every day to have not gone world-hopping. No matter what you think of my world… it's my home, Bast. And there are people I love and miss very much." A shrug rolls her shoulders. "But meeting you has certainly been one of the high points of being in this world, I will say. Your friendship means a lot to me." She reaches out to sip from her fresh glass. "Thanks for coming to dinner with me!"

"Wait what? Your world already had combat-capable robots? You really are living a terminator movie then huh?" There's a quick laugh from Bast, his normal light heartedness starting to reassert itself. "Though that didn't sound like an excited statement. I'm guessing you had to fight them?" He arches a brow at his newly darker haired friend as the food arrives just after Liz's second drink and he begins snacking, eating slowly, taking his time. "I'm sure you miss people. And I'm sorry if I've been kind of negative. About your world." Broad shoulders lift in a quick shrug. "You'll let me know if there's any way I can help right? With anything. Especially with getting you home to your loved ones. But with anything."

That rueful smile reappears. "Actually, I did," Elisabeth comments, shaking her head. "Matter of fact, we were in a running battle against that kind of shit all the way in to the facility where the machine that sent me spiraling out of control was housed." She rolls her eyes rather expressively.

Setting her glass down, she starts picking at her food. "For someone looking at my world from the outside and only knowing this one… you're probably not nearly as negative as you could be," she points out. "I promise, if there's anything you can do, I'll ask. Right now… it's just one foot in front of the other, building a life here, that has me occupied." Perhaps not entirely true, but … certainly nothing that Bast needs to be involved in. "Thanks for sharing the debut with me. I'm really glad you came."

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