Normality Break


elisabeth_icon.gif jaiden_icon.gif trask_icon.gif ygraine_icon.gif

Scene Title Normality Break
Synopsis Taking some time away just to have a picnic.
Date Aug 11, 2011

A park somewhere

Little Italy has changed immensely in the past years, but one thing has not. Piccoli's. And Elisabeth dragged Jaiden out today for lunch. "Just pick up sandwiches and come back out, okay?" It makes her leery to be places that she might be recognized — and she and Richard ate her semi-often, so that's a possibility here. "There's a small park down from here that we can eat at. I'll keep watch."

Also acutely aware of her own potential for being recognised, Ygraine was similarly keen to remain outside - though she's not in her courier gear, she first collected sandwiches for delivery from Piccoli's three years ago. Having visited for her personal as well as commercial purposes often enough to memorise a few favourites from the menu, she was able to pass on her own request to Jaiden before joining Elisabeth in loitering nearby. With the day merely warm rather than Briton-meltingly-hot, she's evidently rather enjoying the sunshine after her spending so much of the past half-year poking about the city's subterranean portions.

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to infiltrate the restaurant Picolli's and retrieve sandwiches and drinks. Should you be caught or denied service, your team will remain hungry and lonely at the park and forced to eat questionable food from a cart.

Jaiden, of course, was all for food that wasn't out of cans or heated through on a portable stove, and Italian, with it's lovely high-carb pasta, olive oil, and sauces to die for, was a risk that he was certainly willing to make, and since he was the lesser known of the three, it fell to him to get the food. Taking their orders, Jaiden, cash in hand, headed off into the restaurant with a smile and a bounce in his step. It's almost normal, going out for sandwiches.

he's inside for a good ten minutes, but after a while he emerges carrying a large brown paper bag and one of those styrofoam cup holders with three large cups balanced precariously in both hands. "Thanks a lot, mate!" he calls into the store as he leaves, heading in a roundabout way for the rendezvous point in the park. He's dressed comfortably, in sandals, shorts, and a t-shirt with a hat keeping the sun from his face. he's smiling, and honestly, if it wasn't in the middle of a war zone, he might sing.

Once she's sure he's out of the deli in the clear, Elisabeth finally relaxes her vigilance just a little. She pivots on a heel after Jaiden rejoins her and Ygraine and reaches to take the tray of drinks while they walk. The streak of hot pink that has joined the streak of blue and the one of violet in her hair is bright and matches the tanktop she's wearing with denim shorts and sneakers. "Can't believe we chanced this, but … thanks. I'm dying for a Reuben."

The distinctive blue dye at the end of Ygraine's braid has been allowed to fade over the past few months, though her hair remains a dark contrast to her rather pale skin. Her sleeveless top, however, has been chosen to cover up the dragons Xiulan put on her back, while a bandanna has been converted into a scars-concealing band around one bicep. Still, she's evidently relieved when Jaiden returns without apparent sign of trouble, smiling at him past her the protection of both shades and her baseball cap's visor. "For my part, making sure I get vitamin D naturally every now and then is probably a good idea", she observes with a wry smile. "And varying the food is very welcome."

The Reuben - Jaiden watched them make it - barely fit into the carrying container, it was packed so full of corned beef and kraut that they could barely close it after adding the freshly-baked rye bread. It looked so good that Jaiden actually changed his order - getting half of a reuben and half a meatball sub. One of the advantages of being on the run is having a massive calorie deficit that can often be made up in the most tasty of ways. The tray of drinks is handed over, the bag shifted from a pinch-grip to something more akin to a cradle, allowing Jaiden to not accidentally spill anything because he'd probably be killed if he did that.

"You girls still haven't picked a colour for my hair." Jaiden teases as they head to the park. "I swear I feel out of place having a natural hair colour with you girls around."

Liz chuckles softly. "I think you should go for purple," she observes. "We'll put a purple lock in everyone's hair and call ourselves 'Purple Rain' or something." She scans the road as they walk, amused at her own wit. Only to then take hold of Jaiden's arm and steer him slightly to the side as a patrol car rolls past them toward the deli they just departed.

"And name our hide-out Deep Purple?", Ygraine promptly suggests with a grin. It becomes somewhat fixed as she spots the car, her head remaining still though her eyes track its movement from behind her shades. "And didn't I suggest green, way back? Or is that not sufficiently serious?"

The best way that Jaiden has found to get attention from the cops is to actually try to not get attention from them, looking away or slamming on your brakes to get below the speed limit. Elisabeth steering him away from the patrol car is done rather organically, with him moving easily along with her, the man actually laughing. "You know, so much has been going on since then, I forgot….but we'll have to make an afternoon of it one of these days. Turning my hair bright green or bright purple…or perhaps streaks like you've got, Lizzie." Jaiden lfit his hand to brush through her long blonde multicolored hair, still holdign the sandwich bag.

Elisabeth chuckles. "I don't know if I went through a rebellious phase as a teen. Phil claims I snuck out a bit." She shrugs, her smile a little tight but present when no sirens or lights head for them. "But it's sure useful at keeping peope from looking at my face," she admits. "Draws their eyes."

"Whereas it's tattoos, build, and accent for me, for the most part", Ygraine says. "Though at least I can avoid showing up in lycra in public these days. But I like the streaks. And the hair down. They suit you, Liz", she assures her friend.

"I just am glad to see you smiling again." Jaiden observes as they approach the park, the man side-stepping a bicycle as it and its passenger zoom by delivering some important document stuffed into a canvas satchel. "Accent and build for me as well. The hair color might throw them off, though." Jaiden shrugs slightly.

Seeking out a patch of shade to sit and eat in when they enter the small park, Elisabeth heads toward one of the large trees and finds a spot big enough for the three of them. "Well, I still don't feel like we're getting very far… but maybe farther than we thought." She eyes Jaiden for a moment and says, "We need to find a way to get Alia close to one of the bigger drones out there. She's trying to determine how much of her own …. self, I guess… might be in them."

Wincing at that particular notion, Ygraine purses her lips. "Do we know much about how the drones move and patrol, and how precise their sensors are? It might be possible to lay an ambush for one - position people somewhere its search parameters will make it less likely to look, or whatever. But at the least, I can help to infiltrate people into a location of choice in the ruins, if that's the best area to find one."

The great thing about an audiokinetic plus a park? You can talk about anything and no-one will be the wiser. He settles down in a puddle of light and starts distributing the sandwiches in their paper-wrapped packages, putting them on the styrofoam plates so helpfully provided by Picolli's. "Honestly…no, I have no idea. We were pretty stealthy going through the ruins, and it was only by luck that one of those things caught someone and announced it's presence with a klaxon. Steve-bot….I bet they have dozens of them crawling the sewers just looking for anything out of the ordinary." he pauses, stabbing a straw into the indention in the top of his cup. "Any idea how close is close?"

"Alia tells me they can't hear — it's vision and infrared sensors. She seems to be of the opinion that all of them have the same limitation in that regard. But … no, I don't know how close is close," Elisabeth admits, taking the sandwich and plate Jaiden offers and tucking into lunch hungrily. Around a mouthful, which makes her groan in delight "Oh, I've missed that!", the blonde also tells them, "I took the footage to Phillip, too. And I contacted the agent who's been working with us. I don't know exactly what's up on her end, but… maybe in the end we'll come out of this alive at least."

Folding herself down into the shade, Ygraine draws up one knee, almost resting her chin upon it as she loosely wraps her arms around her leg. "Do you know if she'd need line of sight? If not, we could stake out beneath a street they patrol…"

"The big ones…" Jaiden finishes his bite of sandwich. "Have seismic detectors, I think. We got close enough beneath the streets and it detected us. It might have been the infared picking up our heat signatures, or Stevebot broadcasting we were there, but…." He shrugs and takes another bite of the reuben, letting out a sigh of delight as tasty food goes into his empty stomach. "any word from the person about what's going to happen? I mean, we've got proof positive of the robots. Are we going to need to go get a bigger one?"

"You can ask her," Elisabeth says quietly. "Devon's on the same thought process, so we're going to need to give him something constructive to do with his energy on this. In the meantime…." She considers and then says quietly, "I think we're going to have to find a way to get to Colin Verse. Alia thought, back when she was being held, that he might be able to be turned." She knows nothing about this man or his history, so she doesn't know how much weight to give Alia's thought on the matter. "If that's true, we might be able to trash the entire ALIA project."

Elisabeth is quiet. "We might have enough to send to someone like Parkman. Maybe." Her expression is grim. "The trouble is, we don't really know who else to trust. Who is just going to help bury it. Going public with it all still seems the best option, through a reputable source."

"Trashing the whole project certainly sounds good, if it can be managed", Ygraine muses. "And we can probably take steps to minimise risk of IR and vibration leakage. I don't suppose that anything showed up about those armoured, sealed suits we were meant to be getting…?"

Jaiden's ears perk up at that. "Assuming we don't get those, we could always wear something like a diving suit to keep the heat in and the negation gas off."

There's a shake of her head. "No," Elisabeth says. "Warren's keeping a seriously low profile and I don't want to go waltzing into his factory again knowing that he's walking that line — I could bring them raining down on his head."

Ygraine nods quickly. "And… he wasn't someone I'd trust to respond quietly and unobtrusively when startled, anyway. He's surely someone the authorities are taking an active interest in."

The eating takes precedence now, each of the trio engrossed in putting as much of the freshly-made sandwiches into mouths, sipping at drinks, and eating whatever bits manage to escape from the first assault. Eating means thinking, though, and Jaiden, always thinking, is trying to come up with a way to hide from infared sensors that those things carry, as well as having a barrier against the everpresent negation gas. "So, for now, let's cross the suits off the list. If we get them, great, but we're probably not going to in the end. too bad we don't have a way to steal some Horizon suits."

That brings Elisabeth's head up. And she looks…. thoughtful. "I could have Felix go by and see if the ones we stashed when we bolted are still hidden. The helmets are assuredly chipped, but if they haven't retrieved them, it's likely the armor itself isn't."

Ygraine looks surprised, then cracks a grin. "So long as he's very careful - they might have posted surveillance rather than retrieving the suits, conceivably - that could be fantastic. Even part of one of those things could be a real asset."

"What's the power usage on those things like? Internal batteries or something? Can they be recharged? Are they pretty much fit just for you, or if we manage to run into some Frontline folk, could, say, we pop them out of their shell like a pistachio nut and steal their armor be a legitimate tactic?" Jaiden wipes his mouth with a napkin

"Not the exoskeleton. Felix and I were both dressed in the armor that's similar to what I have from Warren — more like advanced kevlar, just….. more fluid. It's heavy and can be a pain to use without the exoskeleton, though. I'm not sure it'll do us any good even if it's still there," Elisabeth admits. "They're fitted for your build, and for some of them they were specially constructed. Like Felix." She starts to giggle, can't help it. "He made one of the techs actually break down and weep when he shredded the first suit they tested on him. Speedster makes friction you know." She shakes her head at the memory, a seemingly happy one. "Mine had a specialized helmet. A lot of them are reasonably generic, though, aside from physical build. The exoskeletons had to be to your measurements to make them usable."

Ygraine nods pensively. "I had the impression that they were personalised… but it could be worthwhile seeing if they can be reused at all, even if only just for yourself and Felix. Better to have the option than not, if we can, eh? Do we have anyone who can tell us more about the robots and their capabilities? Without going to poke them to find out, I mean. So that we can better plan //how/./ to poke them."

"Swift and blinding violence seemed to work for the government…" Jaiden says with a smirk, sipping at his drink and shifting to sit in the shade, his legs and feet still in the puddle of light. "The way I took Stevebot out was having Devon put a hole in it enough for me to force several gallons of high pressure water into it. They're electrical, so anything that can short them out will work I think."

Leaning back against the tree they're eating under, Elisabeth finishes off the last of the sandwich from Piccoli's with a pleased sigh. But her words are less pleased. "If you short it out, you're killing the AI within — Alia needs to be able to determine how far along it is."

"Which is why we really need to know how close she has to be, and what other limits she has to work to", Ygraine muses. "If we can do this without being in line of sight and from a fair distance, it gets vastly easier. I can smuggle people up and down air shafts or anything else we can fit into, to get to a suitable vantage point. Still…" She shrugs, then starts gathering up the detritus of people's lunch. "I'll get rid of this lot", she volunteers, before pushing herself to her feet to do so.

Trask walks up whistling to himself, a few people might notice his appearance others will notice his effect. He says softly as he is close enough, "Alia who?"

Elisabeth looks up, her smile for the negator sincere. "Hey there, you," she murmurs quietly. "Glad you could make it." A day out of the safehouse is just what the doctor — or the Australian — ordered for Liz. She looks a bit more relaxed. "Alia Chavez, our technopath. She was held by the DoEA for a time, and she thinks they may be using a cloned version of her technoAI to run the bots. Or something. I dunno." She's not the most technologically advanced of the group, though she's nowhere near the Luddite that Cardinal was.

"hey there, Trask." Jaiden says from his spot on the grass, watching Ygraine bimble over to one of the bins and toss the evidence of their lunch away. It's an odd feeling, too, being negated, but it's kind of nice, sometimes, to not have to worry about your powers getting out of control. "Good of you to meet us here. Figured we could all use a little outside time."

Trask nods slowly, "So this is what the outside world is like? Kinda bright isn't it?" He grins and moves to take a seat between them. "Techno AI? Fraid I am not sure what effect I would have on one of those."

"God only knows," Elisabeth observes of Trask's effect on people with a grin. "I know what you do to me, and some days it's the only reason the building hasn't shaken itself to rubble." She gestures for him to join them in the shade of the tree. "Jaiden got Piccoli's." There's a tone of absolute bliss in her voice. Jaiden has plied her with one of her comfort foods. And she ate the whole huge sandwich!

"I'm honestly surprised that managed to fit into your mouth, the amount of meat they put on. It's amazing what someone can do when they put their mind to it, isn't it?" Jaiden chuckles, squinting up at the sun. "Elisabeth suggested Picolli's, and me, being the least recognizable one, was volunteered to go order." He reaches over to squeeze Lizzie's knee playfully, leaning back against the tree. "As far as the effect you'd have? I'd guess that as long as the connection was severed whenever your mojo came into play, it'd be pretty damn powerful."

Trask reaches over and intertwines his fingers in Lizzie's hair, pulling on it just a little, as he pulls the stripes forward over her shoulder, "Blue, Purple, and Pink, we going for a whole rainbow?"

Lizzie looks up and grins cheekily at Trask. "I think I might be done. Although admittedly, if Xiulan had been available, I'd have gotten a new tat." A little wildness, expressed in safe ways. "Subverting my adrenaline into music and tats seems safer than some other passtimes…." Like bringing yet another new man into her circle, which she has been known to do under stress — Norton and Jaiden are both well aware of her tendencies to shunt stress into carnal urges.

God, does he. Jaiden has been relieving Lizzie's Stress for….wait….um…nevermind.

"If she puts any more color in her hair, people will ask if her hair is naturally rainbow striped. People might think she's one of the 'my little pony' horses made flesh, or something." Jaiden chuckles and tilts his hat down to cover his eyes slightly, still listening in to the conversation, but relaxing for the first time in a very, very long time. "You've been burning through the rounds in the range too, Lizzie. I've been reloading pretty much constantly since you started practicing."

Trask says, "other Past times huh?" He hasn't released her hair, and instead pulls on it a little harder, guiding her into a soft and tender kiss for a moment, when it breaks he says softly, "Those can be dangerous." He chuckles softly, and lets her go then, turning to Jaiden, "so any left overs?""

Jaiden points to the bag with half a meatball sub left as a reply.

Well, now that's an interesting moment for Elisabeth. Because though she has a circle of men with whom she sleeps and they all know that she's not monogamous, it's the first time anyone besides Richard himself has kissed her in front of any of the others. And Elisabeth hesitates a beat, her mouth captured in that soft kiss, with barely time to realize it's happening before it's over. She looks startled, and then even a little shy. Maybe the first time either of them have ever seen that particular expression. "Ygraine went to dump the trash," she murmurs absently, trying to figure out what to say now. "But there's … yeah, there." Jaiden just pointed.

Trask reaches over and grabs the bag, opening it up and pulling out the grinder he takes a big bite saying nothing else for a few moments.

Jaiden didn't see the shy expression since his eyes were hidden by the brim of his hat, but he could see Trask leaning in and then, silence for a few moments. It doesn't take a detective to figure out what's going on, and to be honest, that's something Lizzie needs now more than anything - reassurance that she's loved, no matter what. "She'll be back." Jaiden says after a moment. "Ygraine's like a bad penny - she keeps popping u."

"So…. to let you guys know what's been going on…. I met up with a DHS agent who's been taking the intel I can get to her and trying to work on that side of the law." Elisabeth hasn't really shared that part of things with them. That she's still meeting with an agent.

Trask says, "yeah but some how she always seems to be falling head over tails when I walk in. Guess it comes from standing on the cieling when her power cuts out." He smiles softly, "How can we help, or more importantly, how can I help? i've been feeling tits useless since I got back.""

"The colloquialism is 'as useless as tits on a boar,' I think. Picked that one up in New Orleans." Jaiden offers after a moment, tilting his head up slightly to fix Elisabeth with one green eye, the other still hidden by the brim of his hat. "that agent good people?"

Elisabeth considers both queries and says to Jaiden, "Honestly? I have to believe so. She was the one who was investigating my ties to Redbird when Alia was taken — and she didn't like what I had to tell her. She has met with me several times for intel purposes, and frankly? At this point, I think she's kind of on our side — 'our side' being defined as the people who aren't actually against the system as a whole, only against the corruption of that system." Because with Cardinal gone, she's not quite as anti-establishment as his agenda was. "She wants us to get the information we have out and seems to be helping. It's all I have to go on."

Glancing at Trask, Elisabeth grins a bit. "Actually, there is a job I need done. I need you to take a pass by Warren Ray's factory and see if you can figure out what the hell's going on over there. He's been real damn quiet lately."

Ambling back now that she has managed to disengage herself from an overly-curious dog, Ygraine raises a hand in greeting to Trask, cracking a smile as she sweeps her gaze over the group. "Hello there", she murmurs to the most recent arrival, folding herself onto the grass once more.

Trask smiles seeing Ygraine, "heads apparently" He says to Jaiden. He then nods to Liz, "I can do that…I need to keep my head down I assume?"

"I think that, in this day and age, it goes without saying." Jaiden smiles to Ygraine as she settles down on the grass within conversational distance, the man shifting a little to keep the brit in one eyeline, the blonde in the other, without too much head movement required.

"Yah… definitely with your head down. Maybe ask around the workers and see if anyone's spotted him recently or anything. I just need to know if he's okay," Elisabeth says. She grimaces just a bit. "He's walking a fine line."

"And he wasn't exactly inclined to subtlety, from what I saw of him", Ygraine says ruefully. "Cautiously checking up on him definitely sounds like a very good idea to me."

"Warren and 'subtle' do not and never will belong in the same sentence," Elisabeth agrees. She leans back against the tree, her head dropping to Jaiden's shoulder while she enjoys the quiet park. "I'd also be much obliged if you could do one other thing for me, Norton… a personal favor?" She hesitates and bites her lip. "Check up on my dad? Just… make sure he's okay? I haven't been by there in a couple of weeks." And she misses her father. Badly.

Trask says, "I am afraid I never met him myself." Referring to Warren, he then nods, "I will look in on him Liz, let him know your doing ok….""

"Try and keep it business with Warren. To make a long story short, he's a technopath. And a psychopath, but he does good work once you aim him the right way." Jaiden turns to bonk his head lightly against Elisabeth's, resting there for a while in relaxation. "just be careful."

"And be glad that you're not female", Ygraine says dryly. "But if things seem too… thorughly off-beat, I'd suggest that you be ready to get out of there. He implicated himself in some bombings, when first I laid eyes on him, and on the second meeting he openly admitted to having killed people. He's about five short of a six-pack, but what he was working on for Liz sounded great."

Elisabeth snickers. "He's actually not a technopath, he's a…." Her brow furrows as she tries to recall. "His ability's mechanical aptitude or something like that. He can build things but he couldn't program them. He and Alia together …" She trails off. That's how the robots got built.

"I like to call him a mechanical improv artist. He makes machines do things that they couldn't do before. It's really neat to watch, but then you hear about bombings and the like and you see that the mind in there is really just not wired properly." An arm goes around Elisabeth's waist, giving it a squeeze, jaiden's hat goign back so he can see fully again. "If they're building off Warren's designs, then he might have put some kind of backdoor, or kill switch, or something in there. nothing like a big blinking heart that says 'shoot here' I'm sure, but it might be enough…" He looks to Trask. "mention that, would you?"

Squirming around into a new position, Ygraine extends her legs out before her, feet wiggling as she stretches the muscles. "But otherwise, he's a lovely chap, of course", she says with a wink and a grin. "Oooh, it's good to be out. Even with this kind of topic of conversation."

"I do know he was working on making sure they had weaknesses that weren't too obvious," Elisabeth says quietly. And then she grins at Ygraine. "No… Warren's not a lovely chap. He's… unique. He wanted me to climb into that armor with no undies, you know. I thought Richard was going to shoot him." She laughs at that memory. Richard's chagrin about needing UNDERWEAR.

"Now there's an image to keep you warm at night…" Jaiden says with a chuckle before putting his hat back down and closing his eyes.

Ygraine snerks, then giggles, shaking her head - but not wholly in disbelief. "That sounds all too credible. Including wanting you to strip for him. But… if he could impress you and Richard with his work, I have to trust that the results were actually good. And in that case… anything we can get on them is worthwhile. And hopefully it'll even permit underwear."

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