Reflected in the Eyes


elisabeth_icon4.gif ff_chel_icon.gif

Scene Title Reflected in the Eyes
Synopsis Two strong-willed women, one man between them, and whole worlds counting on them.
Date January 3, 2019

The Bowels of B-Ring

For several days, Elisabeth Harrison has been mapping the collapsed maintenance tunnels within the walls of the Commonwealth Arcology. Given that each ring of the Ark spans multiple miles and contains dozens of miles of narrow passages and maintenance conduits the task has been arduous.

Each time Elisabeth thinks she's come closer to finding Michelle Cardinal's cell, she comes up empty handed. A few days in to her search, Elisabeth came to the unfortunate conclusion that they may move Michelle around and not keep her in the same place. With that in mind, Elisabeth was forced to alter her searches to try and find patterns in guard rotation, in food delivery, and that eventually led to a breakthrough…

…and more than she could've ever imagined.

Commonwealth Arcology


Containment Cell B-4

A field of silence prohibits the sound of metal on metal from traveling far. Same with the clank of a grate falling sixteen feet to a metal floor. It reverberates through the room, but fails to leave the confines of its dimly-lit walls. The rectangular opening in the ceiling the grate fell from is only a couple feet wide. When a pair of booted feet and long legs come extending through, they take up nearly the entire space. Elisabeth's hips barely fit through the narrow opening, and she's forced to contort her arms at an awkward angle to drop the rest of the way out of the claustrophobic ventilation duct.

She lands on the floor in the room she's certain they'd moved Michelle Cardinal to, and her certainty is paid off almost immediately. She hadn't been able to find Michelle because she was looking for her in cells.

Not in a storage closet.

A gurney takes up the majority of this tiny ten-by-ten closet, an IV bag suspended from a metal arm connects to tubes plugged into the arm of the graying blonde woman laid out beneath layers of thick blankets. A respirator mask on her face is attached to an oxygen tank on a tray below the table. A clear liquid is slowly dripped into her arm.

Michelle Cardinal's prison is one of flesh.

As she turns and takes in the view, only partially visible from the grate over the shaft above, Elisabeth's stomach — already in knots from this possibility — drops to somewhere in the vicinity of her toes. "My God," she whispers.

Her boots make little noise on the floor as she moves slowly to the side of the bed, blue eyes skimming the array of machinery. Her brain is twisting about a million miles an hour while she struggles to realign what she suspected, what she has learned, and what now confronts her. Her hand drops to touch the forearm of the woman on the bed gently. "That son of a bitch," she murmurs.

Based on years-old, very very foggy memories of how Richard once talked about finding Niklaus… she hopes that this stuff is just keeping the hypercognitive asleep and under 'control.' Moving carefully, she slips around the bed and reaches for the IV line, checking the bag hanging above it to make sure that it's nothing but saline and perhaps whatever drug they're using to keep her knocked out.

Michelle's transition from sedated to consciousness it not a quick one. Without a watch to track the time, Elisabeth only has the comfort of knowing how uncomfortable the delay is, twisting at the pit of her stomach. While she's still and slumbering, Elisabeth can see the familiarity in Michelle's face. Having met David, she saw where Richard got his jawline and his eyebrows, his softness and his sensitivity. But in Michelle she sees something she didn't expect. In the sharp lines of her eyes, in the angle of her nose, she sees Richard at his most intense. Perhaps more troubling, though, when Michelle's blue eyes flutter open…

She sees Ezekiel staring back at her.

Michelle's first movement in consciousness is to reach out swiftly from beneath her blanket and grab for Elisabeth's throat. It's an unexpectedly deft maneuver, but still make with weary limbs prickling from sedation. She fails to find the mark, and confusion is present in her intense eyes.

In the minutes she has, it's… strange to see this woman. Even unconscious, she exudes the kind of intensity that Elisabeth has encountered in the worst parts of Edward Ray and even Michelle's son. When the eyes open and that thought itself appears to been prescient, it's like a kick to her stomach. All she do is stare in mute dismay. Not again.

Thank God for sluggish musculature. A swift movement pushes the hand reaching for her throat away, and it's gentle enough. "Don't." Elisabeth's voice is quiet, but the tone holds warning. She steps back out of reach. "I don't want to try to pull this off without your big-ass brain, but I will. My name is Elisabeth Harrison… I think you may have been expecting me."

Confusion bleeds quicker than expected into recognition, and Michelle's pupils dilate visibly. A worried look is cast to the door, then back to Elisabeth, still silent. "How?" Michelle rasps, throat dry. "Who sent— " That look of dawning realization comes again.

"Magnes." Normally, people say that with a frustrated scowl. In Michelle's case, it's a sly smile. "How did you find me?" She asks, slowly sitting up and clutching the side of her head. No apologies for the attempted choking.

"Not via Magnes," Elisabeth retorts mildly, crossing her arms. Normally she'd be more solicitous, but something about the woman has her on her guard… perhaps it's just that split second of seeing the man an alternate Richard once became in the eyes of the man's mother. She really doesn't want to have to go home and tell him that his mother's as big a monster as Ezekiel. "Although he did verify that you were definitely alive, which was a bonus."

Tilting her head to study Michelle, Elisabeth tells her just in case she wasn't actually present when Mr. CrazyPants tried to drown them, "Don tried to kill us. Including Ria. We managed to evade that, but… we're running very short on time, I think, before Don loses his shit completely. Magnes says you already have a plan of some kind. So… we need to talk. Because we're going home."

Michelle remains silent for a few moments after Elisabeth stops talking. Eyes closed, she sits up and continues to massage at the side of her head. "Ria's alive…" comes with a subtle hint of surprise, but more relief than anything. "Good. I'd…" her eyes flutter open again, looking down at the floor. "That's good."

Flicking a look up to Elisabeth, Michelle considers the woman for a quiet moment. "I have people, loyalists. West Rosen, the Gerken family, people who I trust. A handful, but… like a handful of hornets. Angry, stinging." Turning her attention from Elisabeth, Michelle regards the door.

"Ria must have people of her own…" Michelle considers, "that's what she'd be most likely to do." A look is flicked back over to Elisabeth. "Don lost his shit a long time ago, Elisabeth." Michelle searches Elisabeth's eyes, and it's strange, Michelle has so many of Richard's mannerisms, even though she never raised him. "You're lucky you aren't dead. Because everyone else, including your boy Magnes, thought you were." And yet, Michelle didn't seem surprised. "What's your plan?"

Leaning her shoulders back against the wall, arms still crossed, Elisabeth says quietly, "My plan is to get you the fuck out of here so that when Mateo gets that portal open, you can use that hell-spawned machine to help us attune it to the correct world." Her tone is flat. "And I hope, when we do it, that it's stable enough to actually go through — unlike Don's aborted attempt a few days ago." Although she's still exceedingly good at neutral cop-face, the lance of pain that flashes across her features is deep and raw enough to bring most people to their knees.

"Our people are working on pulling together whoever is willing to stand against this maniac. And I hope to God, if this is a success, that anyone who wants to go through goes… and whoever chooses to stay behind destroys that fucking machine once and for all." Her blue eyes meet Michelle's and she tells the other woman baldly, "That fucking invention has caused your son and me nothing but pain from the very beginning, starting with ripping us both out of this world and culminating in landing us in this fucking predicament. I really hope that you're smart enough to know that some things just shouldn't be messed with."

Michelle's brows furrow slowly, blue eyes conveying nothing other than a mixture of silent certainty but also calculation. Elisabeth has seen that look before too, but not in Richard. She's seen that look in Edward Ray. "I am," smart enough. "I just want my son back."

"I can't leave here, not unless you have everything ready to move right now. If I do it's likely Don will just start executing people, and he'll run out whatever clock it is you're aware we're operating on."

Lifting a hand to rub at the back of her neck, Michelle lets her attention drift back to the door. "Either way, a lot of people are going to die on both sides of this. That's always the way it seems to go." When she turns her attention back to Elisabeth, Michelle's expression has softened some. "For what it's worth, thank you." For what, she doesn't say.

"Yeah, it does always seem to go that way," Elisabeth tells her quietly when she comments that's the way it always seems to go.

Blowing out a slow breath, the blonde studies her daughter's grandmother. She can see hints of Rianna… hints of Aurora. "I haven't done anything worth being thanked for," she finally responds. "I just … need to get home." Before Richard literally does tear a hole in the universe or something. She saw the devastation on his face as all hell broke look on this end, just before she went tumbling. Once Odessa gets word across that barrier, she's pretty sure he will stop at nothing to retrieve them.

Flicking a look around the room, she looks… disturbed. "I don't like the idea of leaving you here drugged up. Not even a little. But you're right in that if I take you now, Don's going to go nuclear. We need a few days to get everyone on board and make sure they're in position. You and Magnes just…. stall for time, but make sure the machine can actually be fixed and brought up in a very small amount of time. It won't be very much, Michelle. We believe that those on the other side will be able to help as well."

Michelle remains quiet again, assessing Elisabeth with a thoughtful look. Then, exhaling a short and soft sigh, she nods, fingers pulling at a loose thread in the heavy blankets they'd draped her in. "I was thanking you for everything you've done for him," she finally says, quietly, dismissive of all of the other important planning and plotting.

Looking up to Elisabeth, there's a crease of tension in the corners of Michelle's eyes. "Ever since Mort pulled that machine out of the ocean, ever since he… rebuilt my Looking Glass and welded them together… I've been able to look for him. I've been able to… hear him. The way he talks about you. The way he loves you."

Michelle looks up again, jaw tense and eyes watery. "I have been trying to find him for more than thirty years, Elisabeth. He's gone because of me. All of this is because of me." Her fingers curl tightly into the blanket.

"I need to make this right," Michelle says with a crack in her voice, "for everyone who had to die up until this point."

Elisabeth's blue eyes come back to Michelle, clearly startled. She hadn't expected that — that Michelle has had such exposure. She has to avert her eyes, look just to the left of Michelle's face when the older woman talks about Richard, because her eyes flood with tears. She pulls in a shaky breath and has to wait to respond at all until she feels a little more in control of her voice.

"I hope… " Liz bites back words, seeking new ones. And finally simply settles on the unvarnished truth. "I hope you're not just telling me what I want to hear, Michelle… but I've learned the hard way to be skeptical when it comes to this machine and the people in possession of it or anything like it in any universe so far. I want to believe you," she admits softly. She lets it hang there for a long moment, meeting Michelle's eyes and perhaps searching for something in them to reassure herself.

Her voice is very low and Michelle can hear the steel beneath despite her gentle tone. "I love your son just as much. I don't have a choice but to trust you… to believe what you say. But I know exactly what Richard is capable of when pushed to the limits… and I see the same in you. So don't doubt for a moment that if I believe you're a threat, I will take you out of the equation and take care of it myself. My daughter needs her father."

Michelle furrows her brows, breathing in deeply, then exhaling another short sigh. Her blue eyes fix on Elisabeth, then trail down to the loose IV dangling from the bag on the metal rod. Reaching over, Michelle takes the plastic tubing and fishes up the IV, affixing it to the plastic shunt in her forearm again, smoothing the tape over as best as can be done.

"I'm not sure you know exactly what Richard's capable of," Michelle says warningly. "But I'm not a threat…" she says as she lays back down on the table. "Not unless you get between me and my boy."

Taking another slow breath, Michelle stares up at the ceiling. "I'll spread the word when my people come to check on me," she says quietly. Then, with a hint of both tension and certainty, she adds:

"You should go."

Then she closes her eyes.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License