Out On A Limb


darius_icon.gif elisabeth_icon.gif

Scene Title Out On A Limb
Synopsis They're not quite square, but she's offering her trust. In part by necessity, but in part because he's more than earned it.
Date January 19, 2009

Darius's Apartment

Asking your partner for a private meeting isn't all that odd. Not really. But with the powder keg that Elisabeth is bringing with her (literally as well as figuratively), she knows there's going to be fallout. There's been a lot of that lately, and she's still not entirely sure where her career is going to wind up after all this. But Will told her to use her best judgement, and …. in her best judgment, this is the only possibility that we've got without bringing the city to a screeching halt for 9 or 10 days. So…. she called him, and then she showed up at his door. Liz is even bearing gifts when she does it — large steaming mugs of coffee, a homemade coffee cake (yes! she's hoping to take advantage of the old adage about the way to a man's heart… sorta), and a tentative expression. When he lets her in, Elisabeth is somewhat cautious.

"I owe you an apology," she says by way of greeting, offering the cake with a bit of a hopeful expression. "This is the first part of my peace offering. I think we…. have a lot to talk about."

Darius accepts the offered cake as he steps away from the door, inviting her in. "Come on in." Is his given reply without great energy and no venom either. The door is closed and locked behind her and he makes for the kitchen. There, he puts the cake down on the counter.

Elisabeth carries the coffee tray to the counter as well, and sets it down gently. "You've been pretty quiet since everything came down… I figure I deserve everything you've been biting back for the past few days, and I guess I figured maybe airing it in private would be a good idea." She moves to take her jacket off, revealing that she's wearing casual clothes — a pair of jeans and a heavy grey sweatshirt with tennis shoes on. "I don't know if I damaged our fledgling partnership beyond repair by keeping quiet."

Darius wasn't wearing any finery when he answered the door. Strangely, he mirrors her almost impeccably. Blue jeans and a gray sweatshirt with USNA emblazoned on the front in blue. As she speaks, he goes to the minifridge and gets out a bottle of water. "Want anything to drink?"

Elisabeth merely gestures to the coffee, though she doesn't move to take any. "No, thanks." She studies him a moment and opts not to push him yet. Her blue eyes watch him, a calm expression on her face.

Darius returns to the counter and leans on it, facing her as he unscrews the top. "Liz. I'm not mad anymore. Oh I admit I was pissed. Pissed when she took the door off its hinges. Pissed that I had Abigail anywhere near that situation. Pissed for a lot of reasons. But then I had time to think about it. When all is said and done, I'm the FNG. Sure, I've got loads of experience the average rookie doesn't but you don't know me from beans. Can you trust me? Do you think you can trust me now? That's a question only you can answer."

Elisabeth nods slowly, listening to him. And then she has to laugh. "Well, hell… I hope you don't think it has jack to do with being the new guy. Cuz two weeks earlier, I was the new guy." She pulls in a deep breath, resting a hip against the counter and letting out the breath slowly. Although it's probably not something he even notices, she erects a large bubble around the two of them… cuz yeah. These days? She's paranoid as hell about certain things. Her voice is soft when she speaks up, her gaze on him direct and somewhat wary.

"You have every right to be pissed. It came down bad, and could have been a shit-ton worse. I had no right to put you in that position without all the facts. And I regret that I didn't say something sooner. I just…. " She bites her lip. "Honestly, I didn't know how the hell to explain what I knew about her and why she came after me."

Darius lifts the bottle to his lips and sucks a healthy draught before lowering it. "It could have, yes. Thankfully, it didn't. I was ready for it to go south. In fact, I usually plan for things to be about three times as bad as expected. Its how I keep people alive. But that's not important. Here's the thing. I'm not pissed. Not yet. Now I'd really rather not get there. That's up to you." He tips the mouth of the bottle towards her. "So. We've got plenty of time. If you have something you want to get off your chest, do it. If you don't.. we can eat cake."

Elisabeth smiles at him and says quietly, "I've got plenty today… but I wanted to give you the chance to get whatever might remain from THAT situation off your chest before I dumped the rest on you." She pauses a moment, looking away from him as if to choose her words though she's had days to figure out what to say. When she looks back at him, there's resolve in her expression. "So… I'm giving you at this moment the gift of my ultimate trust. If you're a plant in the NYPD to suss out where I stand, I'm about to hand you your case against me. So … I hope to God you're everything that your background check and my limited personal experience of you indicates that you are. I'm part of one of those small factions out on the streets… 'patriot', so far as I'm concerned, is the best word you could choose for them, and it's ultimately what made my decision when I was trying to figure out how much to tell you."

She doesn't move from her pose at the counter, her behind resting against it, her hands propped up on it behind her. She continues to watch him. "The information that I gave Will Harvard is the tip of the iceberg. You came to me with a nebulous bomb threat already in your possession… and I'm pretty damn sure your girlfriend Eve gave it to you. She's also the one who alerted us to the potential for disaster. Here's the thing… we've located the bombs. There are a number of them, and they're rigged on every bridge into the city. The choice has become…. tie up the city's bomb squads and cripple the entire city for a good week and a half while we hope they don't blow them on remote control…. or find another way to dispose of them. You, I am hoping, are going to be the ace in the hole. Your explosives experience and your forcefield ability could be the key." She pauses. "How much more do you want to know? Because from this point forward, you'll be taking a step into the darker world of New York."

Darius quirks a brow as she mentions the 'darker' world. "Liz, we're all just above the ahh darker side. Finance, law, enforcement, the streets, its all out there. My dad's a politician. You can't surprise me. Or.." He chuckles, swigging more water. "You could. I just wouldn't show it." He pushes off of the counter and moves towards the couch. Pulling one of the chairs to face her, he sits and reclines in it. "Here's the thing. I know surgical strikes. Planned simultaneous operations. The city.. has policy and politics to answer to. What you're asking me is whether I'd be willing to risk my career to save lives and do it quietly so that the people who planted the bombs don't have a chance to blow them. That about sum it up?"

Elisabeth turns to face him as he moves, remaining with her side leaned against the counter. Her body language is just a bit tense, and she nods slowly with pursed lips. "That about sums it up, yeah. And it could mean dodging Will Harvard on a semi-regular basis…. something I appear to suck shit at." She offers a rueful grimace.

Darius gestures for her to come over. "Sit, be comfortable. Anyway, I dodge Harvard on a regular basis it seems. I don't think he likes me. Don't much care. I also don't know if you've really thought out the question you've asked me. So I'm going to be a pain in the ass. Call it revenge for pissing me off. I'm going to make you figure it out. If you get the answer right, well, then I think we'll work okay together. So what's my answer? Am I going to help you? Or am I going to turn you over to infernal repairs?"

Elisabeth chuckles softly at him and picks up one of the big cups of coffee she brought in — a creamy chocolatey coffee confection that is more sweetness than coffee — along with the file folder she'd been carrying under the cake box before he took it and moves to sit with him. "I kinda thought that might be your reply…. but you just can't be too careful." As she sits, she admits quietly, "The reason Jessica came after me was to torture names out of me on the leadership of Phoenix. The people I work with *used* to be members of PARIAH, but they didn't agree with the terrorist actions of the more hardcore members. I won't say they've done nothing wrong…. but in general, they make real and honest attempts to keep innocents out of the line of fire and only use as much force as is absolutely required." She shrugs a little. "The attack on the high school by the terrorist group who planted the bombs is the reason I came back to the force. They damn near killed me. I needed a more proactive way to serve and protect than the force can provide sometimes. So… here are the photos of the bombs in situ. We've already had a teleporter up there to take a look." She holds the file out to him.

Darius sets the water on the floor beside him and reaches out to take the folder. He opens it and begins flipping through the images. His attention is focused on them until the last one is given a glance and he flips the cover closed. "Do you mind if I keep these? I'll need to get out my manuals and a magnifying glass. I don't want to miss any details."

Elisabeth nods slightly. "Yeah, you can hold onto them. So … here's the basic jist of Plan A, which was dependent, in my mind, to whether your forcefield could be projected or not. Is it centered on you, or can you encase something else inside of it?"

Darius gives a mild shrug at that and lifts his hand in a sweep vaguely in her direction. "Well. That's a fair question. You could try to leave my apartment, if you like, but you'd have a hard time doing it without my permission." Smiling at that, he gives a plainer answer. "I can create fields of force. On me, other things, wherever. If you're looking at wanting to know whether I've encased a bomb before? The answer is, more times than I can count."

Elisabeth nods slowly. "So the bigger question is "can you do it in such a way as to render it mostly safe to yourself?" Cuz I don't want to get you blown up while we do this. I hashed out a half-formed set of plans over coffee a couple of days ago… Plan A was to send you up there with a teleporter and let you and her, if you determine they can actually be moved, take them to a remote bomb squad location and let them deal with the disarming. Plan B was to see if you thought disarming them one at a time was a viable option. Plan C was to turn the whole mess over to NYPD bomb squad and let them shut down the bridges for public safety while they do it… we both know what a train wreck Plan C's gonna be. So … Plans A or B would be better, if one of them or a variation thereof is viable."

Darius considers, leaning back into the chair again and looking off into space. "I can't answer that. I mean, the answer is yes. One of those. A or B in preference. But I'd have to really look at these, maybe even get an eye on the bombs personally. What the bomb is made from, how much, is it shaped, what sort of detonator is it.. there are just too many variables for me to give you a definitive answer. Do I think it can be done? Sure. Can I do it? Maybe. Probably. Here's my problem. I get feedback from my fields. Its not much but when you're talking enough explosive to take out a bridge… that's enough. One detonation, two, I could do. After that I'd be looking at a pretty sizeable migraine and wouldn't trust myself to do number three. Ideally, that means disarm them." He takes a deep breath. "Do we have access to liquid nitrogen? Or a cryokinetic?"

Elisabeth nods slowly to the explanation of what he can take and how much. And then she says, "Uh…. wow, liquid nitrogen or a cryokinetic? I'm gonna have to say 'probably not' on the first, but I know some people who may know some people who could get it…. maybe. On the second, not that I'm aware of. I can ask around, though." She sips her coffee, now cool enough to be thoroughly enjoyable, and considers. "Assuming the answer to both questions is no…. if you have other suggestions on an idea, I'm all ears. Because you, at this moment, just pretty much became Phoenix's explosives expert. The rest of us? Know jack and shit about anything like that."

Darius nods. "Talk to people who have contacts in physics or chemistry departments. The colder we can make the detonator the more time I'll have. Also… I'll want a radio scanner and a white noise generator. If we can figure out the frequency the detonator works on and bleed that channel into oblivion, we may just have a chance at this."

Elisabeth pauses and raises an eyebrow. "Interestingly enough… I might be able to help with that. And if I can't, maybe the guy who's been training me can. We're sort of… human white noise generators. The silence bubble I have around us right now is sort of a white noise kind of thing — a cancellation of sound waves beyond a certain point by turning them back on themselves. I don't know if I can specifically find a frequency, but I'm almost sure he can."

Darius huhs. "Alright. Well that's one problem down. I'll give it some thought and get back to you. Right now.. you've given me a problem to chew on and I really ought to get to work on it right away. I'll want to meet this friend of yours, too. Give him some tests for my theory. Trick is that light and sound aren't always the same. If you know someone who can manipulate light that'd be a good idea, too. I like hedging my bets."

Elisabeth nods and says, "I'll start putting out feelers. Even I'm not entirely sure what we've got at our disposal, powerswise." She grins a little at him. "Bringing you in… is not something I'd have done this early. But I have to admit, having a partner who can cover for things when one or the other of us has to vanish for something… could come in a bit handy."

"Necessity is the mother of invention." Darius notes as he gets to his feet, taking the water and folder with him. "If this bomb threat wasn't out there, I doubt you would have. You still haven't. Neither has Eve. Its all a lot of talk right now." There's an amused raise of his brow as he passes her on the way to what looks like his office. A small desk and lots of weightlifting equipment.

Elisabeth shrugs a little and replies with a small smile, "You're on the first step. You've got a handler for a little while. You'll meet the higher-ups when…. well, either when you're ready, or when we figure out what the hell to do about the damn bombs. Whichever comes first at this point, I think." She wasn't kidding when she offered her complete trust. But that doesn't necessarily translate to the trust of the whole organization either.

"Hah. That's easy. Blow them up." Darius steps into his office, tossing the folder on the desk and spinning a combination on the fronticepiece to unlock his desk. "You think I'm going to leave that much explosive material lying about? Nevermind the fact that the brass is going to want something accountable. I'll give them one of the detonators to work with, maybe a whole bomb if I do manage to diffuse it. The rest? Is going to go up in smoke."

Elisabeth tilts her head and says, "Well, blowing them UP is definitely an option I hadn't really considered. Not unless they're in the Hudson, of course." She shrugs a bit. "There's a thought, too — just chucking 'em in the river and clearing all the river traffic while we do it." She pushes a hand through her blonde hair distractedly, getting up to follow him to the office while staying far enough back not to see his combination. "But I like the way you think." She shakes her head a bit and says quietly, "Will's given me free rein here — told me to use my best judgment about what to do about the whole situation. He's handling Jessica's little outburst… as well as can be expected."

Darius hmms, stuffing the photos into a drawer and locking it again. "Its too bad that she tossed in the 'I'm an operative' bit. Harvard might have believed her up until then. Unfortunately, nobody believes a MPD nutcase when the other side just tried to kill a law enforcement officer." He turns and sits on the edge of the desk, nudging the chair to roll towards her. "You might have been hosed."

There's a faint smile, and Elisabeth has to comment, "Unfortunately, she *is* an operative. Place called "the Company," and they loosely do business with Homeland Security. So… it's possible that I'm still hosed. Guess we'll see." She shrugs a little. "At this point…. once again, it's a choice between my own privacy and the public good. And when given the choice, I can't be selfish. It's just not in me."

Darius laughs. "Yeah.. still not going to buy a psychotic working for the government. If they spring her, I'm afraid I'm going to have to do something drastic. I won't tell you what, of course. That'd ruin the surprise." Her last point just brings a smile to his face. "Liz. You wouldn't be in this business if it was. Neither would I. But you can cover yourself. Get yourself an escape plan. Do it now. Don't tell me about it."

Elisabeth mmms softly. Can't help but wonder if they will. She's almost sure they will. But that's something she'll keep to herself for now. "An escape plan? Wow… you really are a pessimist."

"No, I'm a realist." Darius returns dryly. "And nobody's fool. You read the signs. The writing on the wall. Prepare for war. If it doesn't come.. what are you out? A little time and money? What's money? And if you're right? You're better off than dead. I'd like to say that I don't plan, like a good Marine." He winks. "But I was an officer and its my job to plan so that the men who don't won't have to die."

Elisabeth considers his words, and then nods slowly. "I'll keep it in mind. The advice, I mean." She smiles a bit. "Let me get out of your hair so you can study. I'll let you know what I find out about cryokinetics and light and sound manipulators." She pauses. "If you want any information… if you ask me straight out, I won't skirt the question anymore. If I can't tell you something, you'll at least know that it's either not mine to tell or I don't know the answer. We square?"

"I'll call it a rectangle for now, but its a start." Darius gets up from the desk and starts for the front door. "Right now I'm more worried about these bombs than whether or not I'll get invited to your house for Christmas." He allows a smile at that. "Thanks for the photos. I'll call you as soon as I have an idea what we're dealing with."

Elisabeth nods to him and takes it at face value. Rebuilding trust… building trust… both take time, and she figures they hadn't had quite enough time to BUILD it in the first place, so rebuilding might be a little longer in coming. "Fair enough." She hesitates, as if to say something else, and then merely says, "Good night, Darius." And she turns to head over to pick up her stuff. "I'll see you in the morning," she offer easily.

January 18th: Meeting The Big Man
January 18th: First Night On The Job
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