Play Along


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Scene Title Play Along
Synopsis The church hosts a bug sweep between estranged allies, before Teo and Elisabeth a difficult conversation about humility, loyalties, who their enemies are. Coincidentally, it's their friends who are hardest to come to a decision about.
Date August 3, 2009


Elisabeth: T, need to talk re: pastor's list. Also need sweep of church for bugs, if you wouldn't mind asking Wireless. She and I are having words atm, but don't want pastor paying for it. Lemme know when u can meet. —L.

Teo: Okay. GLC at 9PM work for you?
Teo: And
Teo: Oh, boy.

Greenwich Village — Guiding Light Baptist Church

There is no mistaking this building as anything but a church, with its arching glass windows and concrete cross fixed to the edge of the pointed roof. Curving stone steps lead up from the pavement to a set of black double doors, often kept closed during the colder weather, but unlocked during the allocated hours written on a blue sign fix to the brick wall. In white, formal letting, it reads GUIDING LIGHT BAPTIST CHURCH and lists its hours of worship.

Through the doors, you first step into an open, nondescript foyer, with access to an unobtrusive staircase headed upwards, and a second hallway leading off somewhere less public also. Mainly, this room opens straight out to the much more spacious worship hall, with immovable rows and rows of pews. A small church, it only seats an absolute maximum of around one hundred and fifty people at a time. It has a high ceiling and is warmly lit, simple and reverent in design, colours light and earthy. The stage before the pews is wide open, with seats off to the side for other pastors and guest speakers, and there is a podium placed off center. On the other side, there is a small organ with music sheets kept nearby.

Meeting Teo back at the Guiding Light Church after dark turns out to be a little more problematic than she expected, so Elisabeth is running about 20 minutes late by the time she arrives, out of breath and a bit flushed from the run. She slips into the church, glancing around for Teo and uncertain whether the man will be hiding or just sitting in a pew or what. "Hello?" she calls through the sanctuary.

The text rings into Elisabeth's phone first. Brief, two words, leaving little and a great deal, both, as to the imagination of the woman when she reads it.

Play along.

"Hey, Officer." Across the chamber, a familiar shape inks itself in through the lights. Shaven head, stubble, a hangdog slouch rounding out the lines of his hoodie's cut. There's a smile squinted in around the Sicilian's deep-set eyes, which doesn't quite mitigate the shadow of worry behind it. That might well have something to do with the fact that there's another, almost equally familiar figure moving in tandem to him— or is he moving in tandem to her? Hana, shadow cutting her likeness through the trajectory of low light from the ceiling.

Teo makes a point not to stare, but there's a distinct sense of watching the air between women, out of his peripheral vision. Idle, though, he blunts his left sneaker against the wooden end of a pew. Thunk. "I can't find Sumter anywhere on premises. We gonna talk shop anyway?"

For her part, the technopath remains silent; offers Elisabeth a brief nod, acknowledgment, summary greeting. Not much different than usual, really, except that she doesn't say anything. Teo can talk; Hana is listening. Dark eyes narrow, looking first to one of the nearer pews, then shifting to address the front of the room. She raises a hand, two fingers and thumb folded in; two fingers not. Two bugs.

Slanting a glance at the text as she enters, Elisabeth misses that Teo's not alone until she looks back up. And then her blue eyes go wary. Her eyes flicker to Hana and she offers the other woman a faint nod of greeting as well. Words between the women will likely be all business, if they speak. And the acknowledgment of the bugs is a mere nod again. "Why wouldn't we?" she asks the man, appearing to give him all her attention.

Two bugs is too bugs too many, if not necessarily for a compound of this size. Teo makes a face, like a child confronted with a casserole of particularly unpleasant consistency. His face then turns inquiring, next, brows hiking in a question for Hana. He taps a forefinger at his ear, twice, then motions two fingers in the cardinal directions through the church's spacious interior. Despite this, though, he keeps talking, spinning so much nonsense into the air —

— though surely, it's no accident when he drops — "The Ferry's got her next shipment coming in Staten side in a few weeks, and the safehouse on Daughtry Road is going to need clearing out before we can handle it. Assuming everything's going on schedule. Radio silence being the pain in the ass it is. You still keeping your eye on the Coast Guard?"

Hana nods to Teo's silent query; she can do that. Walking with deliberately quiet steps, she retraces their path towards the church entrance, dark clothes blending into evening shadows.

Elisabeth's head tilts as she looks at Teo with a puzzled expression. The Coast Guard? Play along, he says. "They're keeping to their normal routes so far," she tells Teo convincingly. "We're working on getting someone on the inside but haven't managed yet — if we can do that, it'll make lots of things simpler." May as well make sure no one hits the Coast Guard, right?

"Great. We can navigate around that. That was it. 'M gonna head out, if there's nothing else." Teo lists his head benignly toward the shadowy arch under which he had entered through, starts to lean into his next stride that way. He nips the cellphone out of his pocket in the same motion, cracks the policewoman a quizzically apologetic grin as he does so, the picture of juvenile mischief, out of context, sized to the wrong frame. "Let me know if you hear anything from Sumter? He's a good guy to have around, 'specially with the young ones. Tend to get scared, you know?

"Where are you headed?"

"I'm sure he's tending to his parishioners or something," Elisabeth replies mildly. "Probably home. Could use a good night's sleep for a change. Walk with me?" she asks as she falls into step with him and heads toward the door back out to the outside.

Teo does not visibly or audibly object. He ducks his head instead, swerves around shoulders-first to begin to walk, his strides long, ground-eating, even, something indistinct hummed under his breath.

Teo has a key, quite recently appropriated, employed expediently to lock up, a noisy rasp and click of metal on metal. He doesn't even really look askance at the woman until they're outside, through the back, the narrow clinch of alleyway obscuring them from view of the street. There isn't a lot of light back here, either, but enough filters out of dim apartment windows above and around the shoulder of the curb that they know to avoid dubious stains and lumps on the asphalt.

"Should be clear," he remarks, a moment later.

Once they're out on the road and moving, Elisabeth merely keeps an ear behind us for any approaching trouble. "Good Lord… hope I didn't royally screw the pooch back there." She shakes her head. "Sumter said he gave you a list of the people who were specifically threatened that day. And I wanted to check and see if we were putting some eyes on the church to keep him and the parish safe?" She's not sure he even knows enough people to do it, but hey… he's been working with Hana, right? "He doesn't want active police involvement right now."

"You did great," Teo answers, crooking her a grin, sidelong. "I don't know if they're going to bite, but. With a little luck, within the next couple days, whoever fucked with Pastor Joseph is going to start casing a house full of Evolved gang-bangers. I found 'em on Staten Island the other week. I'll see if I can get some cameras into the area for Wireless to watch through, hang out a little myself. Little luck, we'll get some faces or a motive or some shit. Neither Joe nor I can piece it together from what he told me.

"Flint Deckard, Abigail Beauchamp, and me." There's a split instant's pause as Teo strains his ears, wondering if they're about to be privvy to the splitting squeak and pitch of electronic eavesdroppers begging for their liiives at Hana's blade, but there's nothing, and he doesn't push the limits of his ability. Not now. "No cops on this yet, then?"

Greenwich Village

Dingy. Alley. Stuff. Terrorist Route B.

Elisabeth shakes her head. "The pastor told the responding officers that it was an altercation with a friend and he wouldn't be pressing charges. There's no follow-up on that kind of domestic disturbance." She shoves her hands into the pockets of her jeans and looks around in the darkness, a hesitation in her tone and her body language. "I may be walking away from Phoenix," she finally tells him quietly. "Not leaving the scene, just… not specifically working with that particular group as much. Some things are coming down, and I'm not happy with them." She looks at him. "If I do, do you want to cut ties?"

A shrug moves through Teo's shoulders. As ever, he fails utterly at manifesting the classic Gallic shrug, the gesture that says nothing at all; his shrug states, quite emphatically, that he doesn't know because he doesn't understand. He is blond— when his hair grows out long enough, anyway, and easily confused. "According to local mythology, I'll play pattycake with anything that has a gun arm. 'S this— um," he adds 'um' in like most people would say 'if you don't mind me asking.' They've known each other long enough to know that that's casual code for precisely that, "the thing with Wireless just now?"

"Not exactly." Liz stops on the sidewalk and turns to look at him. "I admit that the thing Hana's pissed at…. I probably fucked up. I didn't ask questions because I didn't even know that the possibility EXISTED." She hesitates, looks away, and says, "Cat's harboring a known fugitive in the safehouse. Not like that's anything new or anything. Except that this particular wanted fugitive's ability is …. shit, Teo. Sylar-level in its potential for widespread. She fuckin' excretes POISON when she gets upset or angry." When she looks back at him, her blue eyes are shadowed. "I cannot in good conscience let that woman stay in a building with a bunch of innocents. I understand that it's not in her control. And I didn't know to ask whether Phoenix or the Ferry had access to the suppression drugs — and so I didn't ask. I took steps to put in place a plan to turn her over to Homeland Security."

Elisabeth's tone isn't apologetic so much as … determined. "The good of this one girl does not outweigh the good of the many people in our care. If someone tells her that her brother's been picked up by the cops, if someone tells her I'm a cop, … who the hell knows what's going to get said that makes her panic or freak out or get pissed? And when that's happened before, whole fucking towns have died in moments." She shakes her head. "I pulled the plug on it when Cat said she'd deal with it…. but she's pretty pissed off at me. As is Hana." And honestly, she's waiting for Teo to get that way as well.

Disbelief comes prompt and as ordered. Teo's baby blues go big in his head and his head on its axis with whiplash-inducing velocity. Not that he ever does manage to catch that particular physical affliction, of course, but there always seems to be that risk, however fictional. He doesn't trounce the jagged, rust-rimmed edge of the plumbing or slip on the muck-tarred gutter, though. Merely continues forward, listening, watching where he's going with his peripheral vision before he turns his head back around again. "If we didn't have access to suppressant drugs, you might have made the right call," he allows, finally. "But we do.

"And you should've known that: the strike that you, Cat and Kinson made on Carmichael wasn't possible without it. Peter Petrelli was— maybe still is— ten times as fucking dangerous as her, and we blew apart a Federal Penitentiary to get him out.

"So that was pretty fucking ideologically inconsistent and stupid," he allows, the corner of his mouth digging in: a grimace. Annoyance, of all things; no incendiary spike to the Sicilian's temper visible here, despite expectation. "If you're going to leave, I think you should do it because… you don't trust the consultation of others anymore, not because you made the right call. Any of this could've been averted if it occurred to you you can talk to the operatives you're working with. Pool resources, get a second opinion you can respect.

"If you can't—" and it does seem that way, doesn't it? "If you didn't just panic and act without thinking? 'S probably better that you go, yeah."

She expected the scourge of his temper. Elisabeth was braced for it. She addresses the part of this she understands first. "Would you like to know where my trust lies? UP until recently, it lay in *you*, in *Hana*, in the people that make up Phoenix. In the idea that our goals out here are to protect this city — hell, this whole world if we gotta — from people like Volken and Petrelli. Whatever we have to do to accomplish that, I'm okay with. When you start telling me that we've got a woman who could literally biologically wipe us out and that we're doing NOTHING to help this woman — who is terrified of her own powers, by her own words — suppress her abilities when we could *and should* be? That makes me wonder where exactly we stand in all this, Teo. It's not ideologically inconsistent to MY mind — if we can't help her, she is one of those rare cases where she *must* have some help. Or we're all going to be in deep shit as soon as she panics about something. And as to talking to the operatives I work with? Well… shit…. they sure as fuck don't tell ME anything. There's shit coming down with you that no one's talking about, there's drugs we have access to that I thought were a one-shot deal for the Moab raid, and …. what the fuck are you talking about, Carmichael? I never even met Carmichael." She knows who he is from the files, of course. But her memories of that event were wiped.

Christ. If they still had Kinson, Phoenix's problems would be half. Lacking that, his aborted stint of times past only makes it all the more irritating to remember what people have henceforth been permitted to know or not. Teo's eyes go crossed in the dark, for comedic effect, but the effect is largely lost to the dark. It probably wouldn't comfort the audiokinetic to know that the absence of Teo's temper can probably be safely attributed to the presence of Ghost's temperament, but that's neither here nor there. She's venting. He gets it. Crisis conclusion still pending.

"Hana isn't really fucking pissed because of the principles of shit. Not really. She's pissed because she hates the Company, mostly. Only thing she hates more than the Company is terrorists. Mind you, there's good fucking reason for that, but for her, the Company's full of uglier sinners than there are sins for. Cat's a believer. Never met this girl you're talking about, but she sounds like a good soul. Her situation probably could've used a second opinion.

"It's up to you who you respect and trust enough to want to get that from." He doesn't look at her while he says this. He's craning his head forward, looking out into the stretch of pavement that marks the open street's cold coda. Liz knows better than to think he's really distracted. "If you're with Phoenix, you're gonna need to talk to them. If you're going independent, it's friends and trust on a case-by-case basis. 'S more paranoid that way. Thanks," he adds, a beat later, blankly. For trusting him. Before.

Elisabeth glances at Teo and says quietly, "She has a right to be pissed at the Company. And her issues with me on this…. are Company related, because the person I chose to contact about it is someone who's been affiliated with the Company although he's got bona fides with HomeSec. He's also the only Homeland agent I knew, honestly." She sucks in a deep breath. "Yeah… her situation probably could have used a second opinion. And probably could have used me not being pissed about the fact that Cat's done nothing to address the situation." She hesitates. "Cat's a believer in a lot of things, Teo… but her view of the situation is black and white. Everything is either 'you're with us or you're not.' Maya's an innocent and we don't turn people over to Homeland for any reason. Whereas in my world, it's just not that simple…. if we can't help someone and they need the kind of help that Homeland is supposed to be providing and as in Maya's case we're talking about the potential for a lot of death… you have to weigh the costs and benefits. And frankly? I don't see how her powers are in any way a benefit. SHE doesn't even see that — she was pathetically hopeful when I mentioned we had a negator who might be able to stick to her like glue and keep her powers from being used. Which is why I thought that if we had the ability to negate her, someone would have already done it." She grimaces. "I'm not proud of it. But I did think it was the right call." In a lot of ways, she still does. Though she'll acknowledge maybe she didn't go about pushing it the right way.

There's a momentary pause as she considers his words and smiles faintly. "The funniest part of what you just said? Is that you've skipped over the question I asked you about Carmichael and the implied one about yourself. Thereby leaving me in the dark once more. So in spite of the fact that I trust you to the bottom — regardless of the fact that your apparently possessed body shot up an entire precinct of cops — and I trust you to give me a solid read on your thoughts on what I've done at this point…. it doesn't go both ways."

"Not really. You just said a lot of things and my lungs aren't big enough to fit all due response into them," Teo responds, gallantly. "Carmichael was a HomeSec agent we interrogated with your help while your day job had you puttering around Matt Parkman, thus: contingencies. I got possessed by an evil dude for a couple months, but he's gone and everything is okay now. Look— I get the whole… alpha female clash thing.

"Cath, Hana. I mean, no offense signorina," he is putting two hands up, palms out, swiveling slightly on his stride, the character of his grin falling somewhere between inappropriately casual, shit-eating, and the deliberate joke, sugaring the pill. "But you sound a little defensive. And you could have— may still cost the girl every prospect she has in her life. Last resorts are last resorts for a reason. Even if your error isn't about the extravagant moral principle of the thing, losing your head in the middle of paranoid panic isn't really something to pat yourself on the shoulder about, I think. You're right about one thing: shit's no joke.

"Not to anyone. Especially the people you're disagreeing with. Glory of this country." Teo stuffs his hands into his pockets, slouches slightly as he walks. A purse-dog busts up yipping in an apartment above them, somewhere, tinny yiyiyiyi filtering through drywall and windows. Teo doesn't look up. No one comes out, anyway. "Gonna talk to Hel about it?"

Elisabeth mmmmms quietly, digesting his words. And she's forced to smile faintly at the whole 'alpha female' thing, pushed into an assessment of her own actions here. "If I'd known we still had the ability to drug her and keep her suppressed, it would be a non-issue. If I'd asked… again, a non-issue." Her mind is taking in the contingencies that would have had to be in place for Carmichael, sussing out the idea that if she was in on that, she must have asked to not know. "I didn't lose my head. I deliberately chose to place the safety of Helena, Cat, Claire, Abby, and everyone else in that building first. My error — if there was one at all — is merely in not asking Cat why she wasn't already being suppressed in … perhaps a nicer fashion before making the call. And I've already informed the agent in question that she rabbitted. Cat says she'll handle it. I'll give her a day or two to get her ducks in a row and ask her whether it's handled and exactly how." She looks at Teo. "I'm sure Cat will inform Helena all on her own. I don't think I'm going to do it just yet."

A shrug hikes Teo's shoulders; this time a rueful gesture rather than one of simplified, blank confusion. "That's a little like throwing a sick kid out in the woods to get eviscerated by fucking bears because you weren't aware there was medicine in the next room, Liz. That's not a mere error, and it wasn't about Cat— it was about looking at options. If you aren't willing to take risks and fight for Evolved civil rights and fair treatment on a case-by-case basis. She could learn to control her ability, the way Gillian got a hand on hers and any number of our friends have. We know people who are immune to toxins. We have people who'd rather risk going to jail stealing suppressants for her than see her locked up because it wasn't cost-effective.

You didn't give them a chance to try, and nnnow…" She's run off, apparently. Wearily, he shifts his eyes along the street, wondering under which mailbox's shadow the woman might be hiding now, the deadliness lying coiled in her soul. "It may be only one life in the balance against those of your friends, but that's the perspective a Hell lot of people take against the Evolved. Hel's boss. Cat's her — other second," he guesses at Elisabeth's rank. "These are people you should talk to before the Company. If you can't, won't, 'cause you think you ought to be making the call on behalf of the entire Village Renaissance's inhabitants, then—

"I'm sorry Trask and Conrad rubbed off, treating you like a kid. Or what-fucking-ever it was that gives your wisdom its locus these days. And you should probably ditch the club on account of major ideological differences." It sounds like it's a hard thing to say. Mostly because it is.

Elisabeth looks stung by that accusation. "It hasn't got anything to do with Conrad or Norton Trask," Elisabeth shoots back. "What the fuck makes what I just did any different than what Cat and Helena have done by HARBORING her in a building with a bunch of civilians and other people who don't know what she can do, HOPING that she won't get sad or angry at something? They're sure as fuck making decisions for a bunch of people who aren't get spoken to about it or getting a vote in it. Especially considering the lower levels of that building house people who have no clue what's upstairs and a nightclub that's regularly full of non-involved civilians, Teo." She shakes her head. "You know…. you're probably right. If this decision of theirs actually sits right with Helena and Cat and even you? You're right. I've got no business actually considering myself part of the organization. Because while I'll agree with you that I should have spoken to them or you or Hana ahead of time and that the action was precipitous in light of the fact that we do still have access to the drugs…. fuckin' A, Teo. If you work with someone who has an uncontrollable power that has this level waht-the-fuck involved, you put her in seclusion and work with her to control it. You don't chuck her into the middle of a huge population of innocents and HOPE she can manage."

Irritation marks Teo's brow, too, for the first time since— she's seen him in the last few weeks, despite that other circumstances had involved Arthur Petrelli and people who nearly murdered Pastor Sumter. "Yep. They're wrong for that.

"For not checking what Maya's ability was, or how good her control it is, or whatever the fuck progression of wilful ignorance and procedural errors led to her being in this fucking situation. Jesus fucking Christ, Liz. Just because Cat, Helena, or whomever fucked up first doesn't mean it's weak or stupid for you to admit you did so second, and you sure as fuck aren't going to improve their attitude by giving them this one. You all came this close to ruining the life of at least one Evolved innocent.

"You're propagating retarded behavior. Please stop?" His voice is thinned and cold, as if it were reduced to a scratchy-scarred sheet of frost, transparent and buoyant, instead of an object with mass and density that had turned cold. Annoyance, no doubt, and a different sort to what she might recall from him, but it's been awhile and a rough couple months.

Elisabeth grouses at him, "I already said I was wrong, okay? And you're right — of the three of us, I'm the fucking adult here, so …." She shakes her head. "I'm sorry." She looks around and just sighs. "I'm sorry," she repeats in a softer tone. "I've got a lot of shit on my plate right now. Including an evo serial killer case that we're desperately trying to keep out of the news who may have his eyes on Abigail. I'm… stressed." It's the understatement of the century.

Unequivocally familiar, Teo looks dismayed at that. Her day job has frequently been wont to appall him. He doesn't like organized crime. For a terrorist, he's never muched liked crime at all. "All forgiven. I think. From me, anyway." Cat and Hana are Cat and Hana, respectively, so he figures pragmatism will soothe Cat's irritation eventually, and time and modification will bring Hana her change of heart. Even Hana. "This just in.

"Serial killers aren't allowed to have their fucking eyes on Abby."

There's a soft huff of laughter that doesn't quite reach her blue eyes, though that's necessarily visible in the dark. "Yeah, well…. tell him that. And worse yet…. he's either a telepath or has a compulsion power or something. This is gonna get…. very ugly if anyone gets hold of it. Right now, everyone's thinking they're random incidents. There's an FBI case from a few years ago, where he was doing it before. And the last surviving victim of his first round — assuming that was his first round — just killed the first victim in this round that we know of." Nice symmetry, right? She shoves a hand through her hair and hesitates.
"And I've been told Volken survived the bridge… or rather… that it's SUSPECTED that Volken survived the bridge. Did you know?"
Complaint etches lines around Teo's eyes and mouth, like Kleenex mashed under heel. He rubs his cheek with his thumb, hard enough to raise a dull red line on it. "Cardinal said something earlier tonight. That Volken's ability survives, irrespective of whether the great Lord prick himself is still around.

"And there are prophesies crapping out Vanguard imagery everywhere. I d'no. There are enough of his men still alive— ones that didn't turn on him," Teo is quick to highlight the difference between their Remnant allies and the faceless masses of bloodthirsty genocidal killers who ostensibly failed to see the error of their ways, "that that could mean fucking anything."

Elisabeth nods slightly. "It was …. explained to me that Abby's power is eternal, not Evolved. She doesn't even test as Evolved anymore. And that Volken's was a similar thing. If that's the case, I have to wonder where the hell it jumped after the bridge. But it does sort of follow that if he showed back up, the Vanguard loyalists would rally…. wouldn't you think?" She sighs and smiles faintly. "I told Richard… doing this is pretty much like being a cop. You never actually win anything. You just hope to keep more people alive than dead."

"Cardinal's a good guy. Not surprised you're fucking him," Teo answers, beatifically, marching on like a wee tin soldier. He isn't made of metal, though, and there's nothing so mutable or less mechanical than the whimsical sidelong squint of his grin. Banished with a shrug. "I think, at his core, he's twenty times the romantic than I ever have been, am, or will be come. He's cut out for this."

His face changes, slightly. "I don't know if the Vanguard loyalists would rally. I don't know how loyal they got. Lot of hired guns, I think. Few who've had their faith shaken pretty fucking bad since the bridge. Whoever's on top of this should talk to the Ethan and my aunt."

A dozen retorts come to mind, but Elisabeth quashes each of them. "He keeps telling me he's not a good man. Can't figure out if he's trying to convince me or him," she admits mildly, not bothering to deny that she's sleeping with the man. "I figure if my judgment of him's all fucked up, well…. prolly be the last time I bother to take the chance on someone." She's been burned a lot this year. She slants Teo a glance, "I'm not talking to the Ethan fucker — and you better not let Cat know YOU are. That'll go over like a lead balloon, I'm pretty sure."

There's a scissory motion of Teo's right hand, dismissing Cardinal's big boy-bravado disclaimer. "Defense mechanism. Too many people knowing you run around doing good things on the principle of the matter, they're bound to exploit that.

"Also, he's probably being coy or some shit, I d'no. Doesn't want you to flip your shit if you ever see him do something cold. In that sense," he shifts pale eyes sidelong at her. Turns up one corner of his mouth, "I don't think he knows you very well. I think Richard's going to take care of talking to Ethan and whomever. I don't think I'm part of that story yet."

Elisabeth laughs quietly. "No… he doesn't know me too well yet," she says. Is that a good thing or a bad one, she wonders absently. But it's a thought for another time. "All right… what do you want me to do about the pastor?" she asks him. "You were already on this long before I was."

"Like twenty hours," Teo responds, wry from the certainty that that isn't long at all. Barely a headstart. "I'm gonna see about getting surveillance set up in the church, so we can find out on the day if they plant bugs or attacks anybody else. Get Joe a panic button, even if it doesn't get a teleporter on-site. If you know a psychometer or a retrocog or anybody who could help us figure out who did this and wouldn't report this in, be good to have them.

"Check in here whenever you like. If you get a day off anytime soon, maybe we can make a trip to Staten and set up watch on the safehouse there. Could be fun." Like bowling, or watching a movie, except they're playing electronic spy games with the Evolved gang-banger methhead lunatics utilized as bait for foe that may well be worse— "'M afraid whoever did this to Joe 's probably already figured you for a person of suspicion—" after the little exercise in misinformation, if her checking in on the pastor earlier in the day hadn't led them to question. "So watch your back?

"It might not be all that big," Teo adds, always one for optimism. It's pathological. He kicks a stray Coke can across the narrow brindle of the street. "Little Ferry problem. Maybe nothing will happen."

There's a thoughtful pause and Elisabeth says, "PD has a postcog on staff in forensics, but she's limited to reflective surfaces. I didn't see any mirrors in there that would be useful to her. Not sure I know another one." She rolls her eyes and says quietly, "Teo….. if I'm not already on Humanis First's radar, that would be purely a miracle in and of itself. SCOUT is not a secret unit in the police department, and we've been involved in a LOT of things. If this is related, it's a given that what we said here isn't a problem. If it's NOT a Humanis First attack, it's not like it puts me in any more danger than usual, so… " She shrugs. "Kinda a moot point, don't you think?" She smiles faintly. "Let's see what shakes out. I'll stop by on Phoebe Thornton, and I'll keep coming by. Let me know when you want me to sit stakeout with you," she laughs. "Sounds like a party. Haven't been on one of those yet." Yeah,… right. Party. Sitting still for hours on end and stuff. Uh-huh! Fun!

"Might do us better to plant some bugs instead." Teo makes a face, relaxes it. Lengthens his stride the further they get from the checkpoints of broader streets. "Be bad for them to see us staking out people who're supposedly our fellow Ferrymen. Hey. Do me a favor, do Thornton off the clock, no badge or anything, yeah?

"Mention the boat— " by which he probably means the Ferry. "Assuming Joe was serious when he said no cops, I suspect his imminently moneyed lady-friend was, too." Lady-friend. Joseph would rotate through a dozen shades of pink, coral and fuschia. "If windows work for your SCOUT friend— I'm sure the bastard passed by a few in and around here. Anything that would help. Grazie."

"I think you're right that bugging the place or bringing in another cop while the place is being watched is a bad idea. If I can bring Rebecca in, I will. There's plenty of windows she can try with, but I don't want to tip anyone off that Joseph actually is involving the cops." Elisabeth replies. "And yeah, I'll handle the Thornton thing off the clock."

There's a pause and she looks at the young man, so different now than eight months ago when they were both teachers at a high school that no longer exists. "Thanks, Teo… for not freaking out on me. I didn't particularly expect you to be in agreement with my actions — hell, they made me sick to my stomach just doing them, and I still don't know what I'm ultimately going to do about all this. But … you at least listened and understood the rationale. And that, I appreciate."

Teo's grimaces and his smiles look almost the same in this light. "Of course I do. It's what makes me frustrating, the other ninety-five percent of the time." He sniffs once, long, like he's inhaling a laugh at his own expense. "And I'll be waiting with bated fuckin' breath, to see what you decide."

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