Riding Bitch


devi_icon.gif elisabeth_icon.gif

Scene Title Riding Bitch
Synopsis The person along for the ride on the back of a motorcycle, but also the person who's going to have your back no matter what.
Date July 8, 2021

Elisabeth and Richard's Apartment

“There she is,” comes a husky alto sing-song playfulness when the door opens. Devi doesn’t wait for a response before she’s leaning in and wrapping a long, tattooed arm around the other woman’s shoulders in a firm hug.

She takes a deep breath before releasing Elisabeth and slipping properly inside to drop a small messenger bag on the table and adjust her long, dark braid over one shoulder. “How are you holding up?” The ex-biker-bitch inquires, considering the surroundings before turning around to give Liz a proper appraisal.

After hugging the other woman tightly, Elisabeth gets out of the way to let her in and closes the door. With a wrinkle of her nose, she gestures at her apartment – neat, tidy, no kids' shoes anywhere to be seen. It actually feels kind of stuffy and still. "I'm here," is the reply. With the kids evacuated to Detroit with Harmony and Richard gone, the place looks rather like Elisabeth is merely using it as a crash pad instead of her actual home. She has the air of someone with a lot of things on her plate, wearing a simple pair of sweatpants and a loose T-shirt, her hair in a messy ponytail. Like she might actually be expecting to be at home for the night.

"How are things going on your end?" she asks, aware that Devi now knows some of the world-shattering crap that has become almost commonplace in Elisabeth's worldview. "You doing okay?"

Because it was a mindfuck the first time she knew of a possible human-extinction problem – the Virus. That wasn't Mother Nature, though – it was something that could be fought. There is so much more on their plates now.

A single crease forms between Devi’s brows as she considers the other woman-… or, more accurately, the woman’s answer as it’s given in the vacuum of her real life, her family. “I’m doing,” she replies in a tone that is indicative of the natural, human, automated response. But, she drops her chin a moment and adds on a nod. “Doing better, now.”

“And, hopefully, you will be, too.” The flap on the skull-stylized messenger bag is flipped away with a flamboyant air and from its depths, as if Tim Burton commandeered Mary Poppins’ bag of holding for illicit smuggling purposes, comes an obscenely large bottle of whiskey. “What’ve you been doin’ to keep from going bat-shit, anyway?”

Elisabeth can't help the laugh she lets out. There's an edge of incredulity to it. "Shit," the blonde scoffs, "bat-shit went by the wayside a while ago." Quirking a brow at the bottle, glancing toward the clock for the time – its actually well after 5, she just hadn't realized it – and at her phone, because that fucker is prone to ringing at all hours right now, she finally shrugs and gestures Devi toward the couch.

"C'mon in. I can't get completely blitzed, but honestly a drink and some good company is probably just what the doc ordered." In fact, it's exactly what Everleigh told her to go do. And it's true that just Devi's presence is bringing her out of the mire of work and fretting."I'll grab glasses…" Liz eyes the bag skeptically. "Unless you brought those in your Mary Poppins bag there…"

“Man, please.” Devi grins. “I only pack the necessities.” The top comes off the bottle with a low, decisive pop. “And glasses are not required.” She wags the bottle and shovels the grim-bag-’o-holding up under one arm to move towards the sofa. “Also,” the biker bitch quips as she sinks with a sense of familiarity into the crook of the couch, “I make no promises as to the quality of this-’ere company, ‘kay?” She chuckles and takes the first sip from the bottle before holding it out to ‘Liz.

“But, I do have more gifts to make up for it.” The lumpy messenger bag is set purposefully onto the empty space of cushion beside her.

Call her a priss if you like, but Elisabeth prefers the glass. She grins at Devi and goes into the kitchen, bringing back two, just in case she changes her mind. Only then does she take the bottle and pour several fingers of the liquor into it and hands the bottle back.

Dropping into the other corner of the couch and pulling her knee up to tuck one foot under her other leg, she leans her elbow on the back of the couch, props her head on it, and says, "okay. Hit me with it. I could use gifts. If it's a good gift, you get to stay. If it's a gift that gets my family home quickly, I swear to God, Dev… I'll give you a million bucks."

She totally doesn't expect it to be that, but at least she's quipping. As stilted as it might be.

Devi’s smile tilts as she watches Elisabeth move about the place and settle in. At the blonde’s last statement, the sharp little corner of her painted lips bobs down and quickly back up. She makes a show of turning over her empty palms. “Shit, well I am pretty magical and all that. Let’s see.”

She dips one of those longer-fingered hands into the bag and retrieves a plain white cardboard box and an equally plain white envelope to set next to Elisabeth. “Inside the box is a Caduceus. It’s like…” Her left eye wrinkles around the edge in a thoughtful scrunch before she hits the bottle and continues. “Like Life Alert on ‘roids.” She taps the box. “It’ll actually try to save a person, not just ping Joe-Shmoe to send help. There’s one in there for you and more for all the crotch goblins.” Said with absolute love and a beaming smile.

The envelope remains unexplained.

Tipping her head, Liz takes a sip and sets her glass down before reaching for the box. "What do you mean it'll try to save a person?" she asks curiously as she draws it to herself and looks inside. "What is it?"

A quick nudge-up of her chin to banish loose, dark locks out of Devi’s face. She scratches at the corner of her mouth with a black-painted thumb nail as her gaze drops to the opened box. At first glance the contents appear to be some sort of smart-watch with a large, wide band. Closer inspection is clearly required - the band is made up of tiny metallic plates carefully arranged overlapping one another. The scale-mail arrangement of the diminutive and prismatic metal pieces gives the band an easy pliability, the scales reflecting an oil-slick sheen effect when moved out of its box. The ‘face’ of the piece is a blank, black block.

“Wear it on your arm.” She pats her own bicep. “Or your wrist if ya wanna be all picky. It monitors your vital signs and like…” She swirls her hand in vague gestures around her middle as she talks, as though trying to collect elusive words out of the air as she goes. Communication has never been her strong suit. “Has life-saving measures in place when shit hits the fan. Defib and alarms and shit.”

A small stack of matching boxes is retrieved from the bag and stacked on the coffee table. Enough for the kids, as promised.

Liz picks up the device that resembles other smart watches on the market, more those in Bright than here right now, and studies it closely. "Jesus… Devi, you've already tested these and shit? Or are these prototypes?" Not that she believes Devi would in any way hurt anyone with something like this, but she's just a teeny bit leery of putting them on the kids if they're prototypes. Hell… she's a little bit leery of wearing one. "What else does it do?"

She is definitely marveling at the sleek design of it, though. "You got this past all the development regs and shit?" Her grin at the dark-haired woman is admiring. "Don't suppose you could come up with a GPS tracking microdot for the kids, could you?" Because Christ she could use one of those right now. "Not that it would do much good with most of the satellites not usable anymore," she adds ruefully.

Devi gives a single nod, her demeanor sobering slightly at the talk of the device and well… essentially: work mode engaged. “Yeah, Seren’s got the prototype. I’ll have to get that switched out next,” she makes the mental note aloud. “I wanted to get these to you first. They’re cleared, but they won’t be hitting the market. Production is punching them out for Raytech-folk only at the moment. After that, we’ve got other shit to focus on. Maybe it’ll hit the public sphere after.”

“I’ll see what I can do about getting some Mama-mode-monitoring capabilities for the kids’ sets for you, but like you said - it’d have to rely on more localized tech which…” She picks up the seemingly forgotten envelope and holds it out pointedly in Liz’s direction. “… I’m hoping won’t be an issue.”

Knowing what else Devi is working toward, the blonde searches the other woman's face. Putting that thought aside just for the moment, she smiles slightly. Looking now intensely curious, Elisabeth takes the envelope and opens it to retrieve the contents.

The small stack of trifolded papers slip easily from the small blue-lined security envelope. The first labeled Agartha, progress bars listing various stages, dates of anticipated goalmarks, etc. The second is titled NEST and includes signatures over the business logos of Yamagato and Raytech. The last is a printed copy of an electronic boarding pass.

"I want you to come with me." Devi takes a sip long enough to stall and consider Liz's bodily reactions to the envelope's contents and statement. And, without further prompting, the explanation begins…

"We've made a deal with Yamagato. Full control over one level. We're pulling all the stops. I've got to tie up the last of it and then we'll be distributing a memo regarding reassignment of Raytech NYC employees to Detroit for a… temporary project." She chews on the inside of her cheek a moment, giving her painted lips a pursed appearance. "It's behind, Mamasita. The safety net is way behind. We need boots on the ground and in it. I promised him I'd keep everyone safe and-…" It's probably the most she's ever said in one go-around with out any innuendos or swearing, until she repeats: "And, fuck, I want you to come with me."

Elisabeth stares at what's in her hands, for a long moment uncomprehending. Then her body jerks slightly and a shaking hand puts the papers carefully back in the envelope. Raising her eyes to the former biker babe, she swallows hard.

"How far behind?" she asks numbly. Looking up at Devi, her blue eyes hold fear… but not for herself. How many people are they going to leave behind if push comes to shove? And the dark-haired woman can see the anguish as Liz adds, "I can't go. Not yet." But she has to figure out a way to get her parents and Abby's dad and Kaylee's mother up there. And now, with what she knows… it's time to bring the mechanical wizard into the loop. "We need to talk, Devi."

Those words never bode well.

Devi watches Liz with unblinking dark eyes. The only motion from the tall, lanky, tattooed femme is a lick of her lips as she prepares to hang on every word. Well, there it is - two succinct words: Not yet. “Well, kinda ‘xpected that.” Spell broken, she cracks from the stasis of waiting with another deep draught from the bottle and sinks back into the corner of the sofa with a sigh.

“I’m not chalking this up as a loss yet,” Her gaze having wandered across the room, it's just as likely she’s speaking to herself as to Elisabeth. “I’m not above tying you up and tossing you over a shoulder if it comes to it…”

The blonde huffs out a soft laugh and murmurs, "I know you aren't."

Devi takes a deep breath that signals the tabling of this innuendo-worthy discussion for now and answers the looming question of Agartha’s status instead: “Zero-six percent completed. Zero-fucking-six.”

She reads it as if it's hovering in front of her. Because it is - burned in her mind’s eye, impending failure not just for her but … for everyone.

POP. LIMIT: 20000
Project Completion: 06%

FInally, her dark eyes shift sharply to Elisabeth. “If you’re going to invite me to be a sister-wife, we should really wait till he gets back.” She tries on her usual inappropriateness for good measure, but the effort doesn’t manage to light her eyes with the usual mischief. So she waits for the talk.

"If only," Elisabeth whispers. That would be so much simpler. Her stomach has dropped to her toes at the news they are barely six percent toward completion, and she can feel incipient panic clawing at her. Closing her eyes, she pulls in a long breath and lets it out slowly, then seals their couch into a complete silence field. No sound is getting in or out. When she opens her eyes again, she meets Devi's with an intensity that she cannot hide.

"Do you remember when we talked about all the crazy shit that I did in those missing years? Jumping to alternate worlds?" Liz waits a moment only to see the flicker of acknowledgement before she continues. "Devi, Richard took a team across one of those worlds – the hope and expectation was that there was a piece of tech there that might be of some help in saving our world. It may very well be a one-way trip, and he knew it. We both knew it." Her grief is brutally evident.

A darkly penciled, pristine brow lifts to the subtlest of degrees. And still, the tattooed Director seems completely unfazed. Well, unsurprised anyway, because the blonde woman’s grief does phase her enough to have her reach out and rest a tattoo-graffitied hand on Liz’s knee. For all the leather, cussing, and poor-taste jokes - time has softened her jagged edges in the company of a select few, Elisabeth Harrison being one such.

"You're not going to have to tie me up to get me to Agartha, because I'm not leaving my children orphans. But … the flare isn't the only problem." Elisabeth pauses a moment to gather her thoughts.

"Richard sent back intel… fucking insane intel, but I need you to believe me and I need you to do what I'm asking. It may well mean the difference in our survival." She wishes that were hyperbole. Elisabeth wishes that more than anything, but she seems dead serious on exactly how severe this is and she seems to have a depth of belief in the truth of this intel that can't be faked.

"We have reason to believe that Pure Earth is a significant threat to Agartha." And that's probably minimizing the threat for the sake of Devi's own emotional state. "He wants Shere Khan activated and fully armed to protect the reactor of Agartha. As soon and as silently as you can possibly manage it." The murder robot in the basement is being called into service.

Now Devi seems surprised. “He sent back intel,” she repeats, testing the words on her mauve-hued lips. Someone had heard from him. He was still alive. Not that she had doubted it, of course. But, the reassurance was a gift she had not anticipated today. She breathes out heavily - a breath that had been half-hitched, caught up in strangled tension for months. She lowers her forehead into her hands, her field of vision that of her own lap with elbows propped on her thighs as she lets the rest of Elisabeth’s report wash over her in waves that threaten to drown her tentative relief…

Elisabeth's faint smile says she sees and understands the emotion Devi is feeling with the confirmation that the man is still alive and kicking. She gently smooths a hand over the dark hair, a gesture more sisterly than maternal but still one of comfort.

She can feel it like a fishing bobber wavering on the surface of a cold lake, threatening to be plucked under.

Difference in our survival - pluck.

Pure Earth - bob.

Agartha a target - sunk.

Devi jerks her head up out of the clawing and icy plunge, tossing her black hair back in a flurry. “Fuuuuuck.” She shoves to her feet before the waters threaten to drag her deeper, before the surface can freeze over and trap her under. She considers Liz for a long moment, gaze sliding to the boarding pass and back. Finally, quietly, “Okay.”

She can’t drown now - there’s still so much more to be done. More than she had realized.

Watching the other woman spring to her feet in agitation, Liz eyes her warily. "I know it's a lot. Way more than I wanted to put onto anyone's shoulders, Dev," she says apologetically. "I didn't want to say anything but I can't…." She hesitates and then picks up the glass of whiskey to roll it between her hands. "I can't do this alone. And I can't do what you're doing. Kaylee is dealing with…. another angle and she's gone." She looks up, blue eyes pensive.

"That sounds like I'm only turning to you as a last resort. And I'm not. I just hate adding to what you're already carrying."

“Liz,” Devi begins, turning her hand up and forcibly massaging the growing pain between her own dark brows with the pad of her thumb. “I spent months on NEST to get everyone as close to safety as I could, to find ways to speed up progress as much as I could. I thought this was my hail mary, but…” She lets her hand fall away with a last wistful look to the door before shifting her weight to face Elisabeth properly once more. “It’s not that. It’s not even any of that.”

Elisabeth tips her head, realizing there is something going on here that she's missed – not the first time it's happened with Devi. The other woman keeps her cards close, even when she considers you a friend. So she waits patiently for Devi to find the words.

Maybe if she drops some of the weight - all the heaviness that comes with that which is constantly unspoken… maybe then she’ll stop sinking.

“He told me what he was doing - where he was going. He’s always going to be going somewhere I can’t follow. You can’t follow. Where the people that love him can’t go. He’s always going to be the fucking hero. And the worst part…”

It isn't being left behind. Left alone.

“Is that I wouldn’t love him any other way. Wouldn’t love you any other way than what you are sittin’ here right now,” Devi gestures an upturned palm at the heartbroken beauty with a tumbler of whiskey. “… collecting up the scattered nuts and bolts and trying to piece them back into something that resembles a whole fucking life-machine. You’re always going to make something stunning out of whatever fuckfest life, and Cardinal, throw at you.”

“And I’m always going to try to save you. Save you both. Let you run your fucking ratrace and pull you back from the edge at the very last second, because the rest of the planet can go fuck itself.” Another glance at the door as if something on the other side is calling the raven-haired Director. “If you and the kids, and Toots are going to Agartha, I’m fucking there with whatever fucking tinkertoy, killing machine, or nuclear-fucking-gadget you want.”

“With you two, I’m always riding bitch,” Devi’s mauve lips suddenly crack in the brightest of smiles, a chortle tickling her husky vocals. “And, I don’t hate it.” She winks. “It just means I have a shit-ton more work ahead of me, Mamasita. I can’t stop swimmin’ yet.”

It's not that she's in any way bothered by what just happened… it's that she's blindsided. For all her experiences, Elisabeth's blind spots might be considered amusing as hell. She stares at Devi, realizing there are nuances to their relationship that she's been oblivious to, and she is clearly just somewhat gobsmacked.


It's maybe the most ridiculously prosaic response to a person putting themselves on the line that can possibly exist. Liz's mouth opens like she's going to say something, then it closes again in confusion. It happens a couple of times, and when she finally tips her head sideways and finds words, they might even surprise her.

"Does riding bitch mean we're sharing a guy or we're actually involved ourselves? Cuz I'm not–" And she starts to giggle quietly. "God, my love life is so weird. In the middle of the fucking apocalypse, we're talking sister wives and love." Somehow that just fits every other crazy thing in her life. There might be just the slightest edge of hysteria to that giggle, a sheen of tears as she tries to process. It's hitting her hard, what Devi is laying on the table. "I don't know how to do this… from this side of it," she chokes out, "but we'll figure it out." Is this how Leland felt about their Liz – a little awkward but so much affection? She'll probably have to explain that whole thing when she's not overwhelmed.

A huffy form of a stunted laugh cracks one corner of her glossy, lacquered lips into a smirk. “Riding bitch - it’s for the bitch stuck clinging on for dear life on the back of the bike, trusting the driver and goin’long for the ride.” That smirk cracks into a grin that reaches down into her steel-booted toes, warming and softening her dark eyes beneath the shadow of even darker false lashes. She lowers herself back to a seat, this time on the edge of the coffee table directly across from Liz. Elbows on thighs, Devi hands are left calmly suspended between them - and from this renewed perspective that certain sense of ease the biker has always possessed reads as something else, something possibly unexpected - patience.

“That’s just it, Mamasita. You don’t have to do anything. Not with me, not for me, not ever. That’s not how somethin’ like this works, ‘kay? But, there’s it’s been said. Whatever it is. Sure, it’ll get figured out.” Devi’s chuckle is warm. “For now, you take it for what it’s worth - you wrap yourself up in it like a blanket and feel all good and warm, and you go back to kickin’ ass and building your fucking life-machine. I’m along for the ride and I’ll be bring some Shere Khan fuckin’ energy with me.”

The grin Elisabeth offers is still a little damp around the edges. "Okay," is her simple agreement to what this is and isn't. "But Devi…? Thank you. For telling me." Letting out a soft huff of a breath, she admits to the dark-haired woman, "It makes it a little easier, which… makes no real sense to me right now. I've got people, I have all of you guys and Harmony and …" She trails off. "It's not the same."

She struggles with articulation and then just shrugs, the light bulb going on for her and bringing with it a radiant smile at Devi. "You're his Ivanov," well… maybe. Sort of? That somehow makes sense in her head. "It … Knowing that you love him that much and that even if he can't come home, we have one another in whatever it turns out to be? It helps."

Waving her hand in front of her face as if to wave off the mushy stuff, Elisabeth chuckles softly. "He'll complain I'm being mushy, tell me I'm a gross romantic again." She doesn't sound offended at the accusation. "Boy, is he in for a fucking surprise or two when he gets home…"

She has to try to believe he's going to make it home. Even though the odds are against it, Liz cannot right now deal with the likelihood that he won't.

“I dunno who Ivanov is, but yeah, I think I know what you mean. It helps. Somehow.” Less lonely, even if left alone. But, Devi doesn’t give voice to those words. Instead she pushes to feet and slings her bag up over her shoulder.

Another husky laugh. “You’re welcome, I guess. But, really it’s your own damn fault. Stirrin’ the pot -…” She lifts a tattooed finger and swirls it about. “- of feelin’s about his troublesome ass before. Then goin’ on bein’ so badass and all.”

Rolling her eyes, Elisabeth smirks. "Well, it's not like the man was going to fall in love with a fucking music teacher, yeah? It requires badassery and multiple flip flops to keep him in line." The quip is perhaps a little wry, but the blonde shrugs and moves to stand up as well.

"You're likely to have to tap dance a little to keep Shere Khan off the radar. Richard doesn't give a shit if the government bleats at us about illegality of owning murder robots and what-the-fuck, but… we have the unexpected gift of forewarning that Agartha might be compromised and no idea how badly. Make as much use of the shadows as you can until it's too late for them to bitch – hopefully by then Kaylee will be back and she and my father can deal with the Brassholes."

Dragging a hand into her hair, she finally offers softly, "When you need to vent about it all, Devi… come to me. I've carried this shit before, I can handle it." The knowledge of impending Doom is not exactly light, but this isn't her first or even her third rodeo.

Devi simply smiles at the assessment. “Sounds ‘bout right.” She shakes her head slowly, chuckling.

“Believe it or not, discretion is in my repertoire.” Penciled-on brows wag shamelessly. And, while perhaps absolutely nothing about the woman’s appearance and mannerisms can be defined as discreet… a history of illegal activities greased enough to slip by multiple state and federal governments suggest that she is the woman for this assignment in more ways that just her mechanical intuition. “I got this.”

She pauses and then reaches out just enough to give Liz’s forearm a supportive, reassuring squeeze before taking her leave. “We got this. All of us.”

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