Reintegration Is Different For Everyone


elisabeth_icon.gif jaiden_icon.gif

Scene Title Reintegration Is Different For Everyone
Synopsis What is normal? Does anyone live it anymore?
Date July 19, 2011

Skinny Brickfront, Endgame Safehouse

Sitting at the spool that is serving as one of the tables, Elisabeth looks sort of rough this morning. She's propped on her elbow, her chin in her hand, and a coffee cup in front of her. She's nursing it with a finger sliding around the rim of the cup.

If Elisabeth looks rough, Jaiden looks positively hammered as he walks into the room. He's in different clothes than when he left the night before, and the stack of three stuffed duffel bags may get a little attention as he sends them tumbling to the floor. "I'm back." He announces with a flourish of his arms and a bow, his hat slipping off to *thunk* on the floor, the man reaching down to snatch it up and wander over to the table where Elisabeth sits. "Hell of an evening."

The blonde looks up, forcing a small smile for him. She looks simply tired. She's been holing up in the safehouse lately and frankly, she's probably a little depressed. Searching for a way to actually do something and coming up entirely blank — having nothing to actually physically do to keep herself busy — it's starting to take its toll. "What happened?" Elisabeth asks him with a faint frown.

Jaiden manages to get one of his coffee cups filled with the rich, brown liquid and drinks, nearly draining the cup in four large gulps, shivering as the caffiene hits his system, the heavy mug hitting the table. "well, you want the succinct, pretty version, or the pants-wetting 'oh shit' version?" Without waiting for her to choose, he turns to face her. "Went to my apartment to see what was left after DoEA raided it. Went in the back door, like usual, and found the generator was on, which wasn't normal. Drew my gun and did a quick clear and found Delia and a family of four named the Martells infected with the non-evo flu." He pauses to let her catch up before continuing or to ask any questions she might want to.

Elisabeth blinks at him. Several times. And sits upright in shock. When she parses the information, several questions occur to her. "What the fuck?" is the first one. Rubbing her forehead, she considers. "I suppose it's safe enough for sick non-evos," she observes in a puzzled tone. "Not like they have anything to hide, right? But…. " She sighs. "Why was Delia hiding them?"

Jaiden reaches into his breast pocket for a folded bit of newspaper which is slid across the table to allow Elisabeth to scan it. The title is 'Queens fire set by neighbors' and tells the tale of a family, infected with the flu, that were burned out of their home by their neighbors. (+bbread 8/4) "Apparently she found them, got a big heart, and took them to my place because it was the only place she could think of that was 'safe.' Well…It's not anymore. DoEA took anything that looked even halfway 'terrorist related' as well as any paperwork that I didn't send off to a safe place, and Delia's been strapped with an anklet that keeps tabs on her location. So….my little apartment is not a good place to go, ever." He sighs and rests his head on the table. "Family of four in my place….father died of the plague. I had to help wrap him up in one of the body bags I had in the safehouse and take him upstairs." he sounds pained at that. "Cleaned him up, put one of my good shirts and a tie on him so the family could say goodbye."

"Well…. we assumed that might be the case anyway, after your ties to Remi were exposed," Elisabeth sighs, running her hand through her hair. "Always better safe than sorry, after all — they were rounding up anyone remotely related to that situation. So… it's not as big a loss as it seems," she says. "I'm sorry that you found that kind of thing at the place, though." She frowns a little and reaches out to grip his forearm. "Why the hell was Delia hiding them instead of making sure paramedics came to get them?" she asks again, clarifying. "They're not Evos. And even if they're illegal immigrants, they're sick. What the hell, Jaiden?"

"Religious reasons, as far as I could tell. The family had never seen a physician, trusting God to provide for their needs." Jaiden sighs and pats Elisabeth's hand lightly, leaving his hand atop hers, his eyes closed tightly. "Bad situation for all involved. I came in during the end of it. Good news is that she got a doctor to come down and do something, and they're going to the hospital now so….long story short….one dead, one seriously ill, two more than likely to survive. And my place is relatively clean thanks to the bleach and hot water, but completely unsafe." His eyes open. "I brought my spice collection, and all the coffee I could stuff into one of those bags, and my cooking knives."

Elisabeth shakes her head and sighs. "God helps those who help themselves," she retorts with a frown. "When you get sick, God gave us brains so that some people could become doctors. Jesus." She pauses and frowns slightly, seeming not terribly concerned that Delia found a doctor. The apartment was compromised, in her opinion, from the moment Remi was detained. "The spices and coffee will be nice," she says with a bit of a smile. "We're no worse off than we were yesterday, Jaiden. It's okay."

"Spices, coffee, MRE's, blankets, changes of clothes, first aid kits, tools," Jaiden sighs and nods. "Thanks, Elisabeth. Any word from Warren on the suits Warren's working on?"

"Mine's here. Richard was in possession of his, so far as I know, but whether it's hidden somewhere or went with him, I don't know. Warren was supposed to be getting hold of or making some vests for us — getting the materials for additional suits was going to be extremely risky. I don't know if he is still working on them or not. But it's not like we need suits so much as we need kevlar and some good radios. If we're actually at all going to take on a run at Eltingville or the base on Staten in conjunction with the Ferry's Special Activities unit, I'd like us to be able to not get shot." She shakes her head and pulls her hand back. "I feel pretty out of the loop." In part, perhaps, because she's holed up here lately. "I need to get feelers back out and see what's happening," she admits.

"It might be a good idea for us to make a trip up to the Ferry's base on the island…damn if I can't remember the name right now….to see what's going on and to see if we can help with anything or, more likely, learn where we don't need to be when shit goes down." Jaiden nods. "None of the bulletproof stuff I had was left."

Elisabeth is quiet. For a very long time. And then she nods slowly. "All right," she acquiesces. "I suppose I can't be any bigger danger to them than I am already. And I really could use the chance to talk to Ryans and Raith about what they've got in mind and where we can help or stay out of the way." The admission is difficult. She looks up at him and says, "Sitting here is killing me. I miss my job."

"It's not like they're watching us, trying to figure the precise time to strike or anything. They don't even know where we are, and us hanging out in the shadows and not doing anything isn't helping." Jaiden reaches across the table to give Elisabeth's hand a squeeze. "I miss my life too, Lizzie, but this is what we have to deal with now. We've gotta be grown-ups."

"I pulled on my big girl panties a long time ago," Elisabeth retorts, her tone perhaps a little sharper than required as she squeezes his hand and then pulls out of physical contact. This is why she has retreated lately — because even reassurance lately sounds…. false. And it's not in her to complain about her own choices often because she made her bed; she'll lie in it. Or die in it. Whichever one happens first. "Do you have a way to get a message over there, or do I need to use my contacts?" She's not sure if he's still in touch with anyone. "I haven't heard from Felix and Francois in quite a while, I can swing by the house tonight and see if anyone's about." She's kind of assumed they've all just been laying low, keeping out of trouble, and surviving like the rest of us.

He wasn't trying to be condescending, but it's what it's come to. Jaiden nods and runs clean hands through his hair, blinking away the sleep. "I have a few people I can still get in contact with, yeah, to arrange a meeting. If worse comes to worse, I can walk there underwater without fear of patrols or discovery. Take me a while, but I'll get there."

Reaching up to rub her forehead, Elisabeth murmurs softly, "I'm sorry. I've been a shitty leader lately, I know." She closes her eyes and leans her head back. "I just…. I'm not the person who has all these long-range plans. THe only plan I've got is to try to get the information we have out there. And we just don't have enough right now. We don't have enough to make a difference. And I don't fucking know what will make them sit up and take notice. I've been wracking my brains for weeks."

They have kind of been in neutral for the past few weeks, that's for certain, but now that they've got a base of operations, supplies, perhaps they can find a target or two to take care of. Too bad there's not a self-help book titled 'how to revolt against the government,' because it would be a best-seller to this little group. "Do we have anything we can work with, as far as plans go. Do we know anything that's coming? You and I haven't sat and just talked in far, far too long. We should do some planning. See if we can't….y'know….figure out where the rubber meets the road."

Elisabeth moves to get up for more coffee. She brings the pot back to refill his as well, and then slowly rejoins him. "We have plenty of gun hands, but… creating ourselves as the Evo boogeymen hitting Humanis First back is not going to make people prone to believing in the message we want to get out there. So…. I do have a couple of thoughts. I gave Jane Pak all the information we had and I was hoping to hear something back. Perhaps if nothing else, it would give us additional information. Some of the future information sort of indicated that Raymond Praeger might be someone to trust. At this point, I'm leery of trusting anyone. Matt Parkman might also be someone we could trust, but he's going to do what he has to for his daughter's safety and I can't fault him that. If we can get enough information together, Phillip has said he'll still produce it and help us get it out there." It's the first Jaiden's heard that she's even spoken to the man again. "If we can do that, I think we can then mobilize and start making strategic hits if we need to."

It's not much of a plan, but considering what they had leading up to that, it's better than nothing. "I'll see if my contacts internationally know anything. I still have a couple of contacts in the australian military who might be able to give me a point in the right direction, and one or two warlords gone good in the UN who might still remember me. Assuming I still don't have a death sentence on my head from escaping their countries, of course." Jaiden chuckles softly, then goes serious again as he sips his coffee. "Might be worthwhile trying to get a mole into Humanis First….online, of course, just listening, maybe commenting, to try and find out where they're planning on hitting next.

The blonde looks thoughtful. "That might be the best plan I've heard in two weeks," Elisabeth admits. And then she smiles. "Knew there was a reason you were XO in this fuckin' place."

Jaiden snaps a salute to the CO and gives her a wink after holding it there for a moment or two, reaching over to pat her hand lightly again. "I'll start to do a little snooping and see what I can find. Public access points only, of course. Last thing anyone wants is to have HUmanis First show up anywhere that we might be."

"Christ," Elisabeth mutters, turning her hand over in his and holding tightly. "You know I trust you." She smiles a bit and asks gently, "Aside from hiding people, how's Delia?"

Jaiden shakes his head in the negative and shrugs, linking his fingers with Elisabeth's. "Can't tell you much. Flighty still. Caught up in her own game to try and save the world. She's dangerous - that's for certain. Just because we don't know what she'll do. In a game of cards she's the red joker…." He sighs. "She's skinnier than usual, too. Still worry about her, but since she's in Eltingville, isn't anything I cn do about it. I gave her the number to a voice mailbox I had set up, just in case she needs to get hold of one of us, but…." Another shrug. "I don't see her ever calling it."

Elisabeth nods slightly. And she's quiet for a long time. "Phillip accused me of the same thing, you know," she says softly. "Living in a different world." Her smile is faint and perhaps a little bitter. "He thinks I'm a paranoid schizophrenic. That I need help and that you guys are simply enabling me." It's something she's confessed only to Graeme up to this point. She holds Jaiden's hand tightly. "He thinks I'm hung up on some happily ever after myth when it comes to hoping Richard might turn back up. In short, pretty much thinks I'm a fruitcake." She pauses. "And I wonder sometimes if he's right. If at the end of all this, there won't be anything left because all I have is the fight."

Jaiden's hand rests atop Elisabeth's, giving it a tight, tight squeeze, holding it close. "He can go on and believe that, but you know as well as I do that just sitting back and letting it happen is something we cannot do. We've been pushed. We've been marginalized. We've been attacked. We've been called abominations. And now? We're the crazy people?" Jaiden sighs and shakes his head in the negative. "Fuck that bloke."

It makes her laugh. Elisabeth laughs softly through gentle tears, holding his hand. "You know the sad thing? I don't even know the man, and his opinion should mean shit to me. But…. it still hurts that you guys are willing to trust me with your lives…. and a man who has supposedly known me since high school, who I was supposedly going to MARRY at one time in my life, thinks I'm a nutcase." She shrugs a little. "I don't even know why it bothers me," she admits. "Maybe because I wonder if that's what my father thinks too."

"Your father thinks the same thing I think of you. That you're a very pretty, very talented woman stuck in a situation not of her own making that no-one could concieve of a few years ago. Yeah, it hurts, but you're not the same person you were anymore. He needs to accept that, and not push his views on you just to make himself feel better. He's trying to deal with an extraordinary situation in an ordinary way." Jaiden pauses. "And he's not doing very well at it, either."

"It's nice to think so," Elisabeth murmurs. "But I can't help but wonder sometimes." She blows out a breath and shakes her head. "Anyway… sorry. Got a bit caught up in my own stupidity for a bit there. Don't mind me. There are things to do, I'm just…. still not sure how to do them. Once we get over that hurdle, we may be okay."

"Cross that bridge when we come to it, then blow it up behind us to ensure no going back." Jaiden smirks, giving her a light pat on the cheek. "Everyone can have a moment or two for themselves, Lizzie. Everyone needs a moment or two for themselves, time and again. But us, sitting here, right now, in the cool of the morning? That's all we need to be doing right now."

Elisabeth smiles a little sadly, looking toward the window that allows in some of the early morning light. She nods a little as she does it and then drops her head onto his shoulder to sit there with him in companionable silence.

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