Talk About A Doozy of A Secret


elisabeth_icon.gif niki_icon.gif

Scene Title Talk About A Doozy of A Secret
Synopsis Following the kidnapping, when everyone got upset and meetings started to get called, Liz had time to think. And being as she knows exactly where to find Niki, she takes matters into her own hands a little.
Date December 9, 2008

A Motel

A phone rings.

*click* "Hello?"

"Niki…. it's Elisabeth. I'm just calling to check in on you, see how it's going."'

"Oh, hey, Elisabeth. Not too bad. Think I'm coming down sick, but other than that, I'm good. Figures, huh? Just get out of the hospital, and you come down sick."

Elisabeth hehs mildly. "Yeah, never fails I guess. Is it just a cold or something — you're sleeping a lot?"

Niki replies "Yeah. I crashed out after apartment hunting yesterday and didn't wake up till this morning." *yawn* "And I'm still beat."

Elisabeth could make several comments to that, but she won't. "You want me to stop by, bring you anything? Or you just want to rest?"

Niki's voice considers. "I wouldn't say no to some breakfast, if you were in the neighborhood. But if you're not, it's completely okay; I'll probably lie down and try to catch a power-nap. I'm just exhausted. I feel like I didn't sleep at all.

"Sure…. there's a place just around the corner from you that's not too bad. I'll be by in about a half an hour."

Niki replies "Sounds good! See you then!" *click*

The good thing about a sling? It hides a multitude of sins. Like the fact that the hand snugged within is holding a pistol ready to fire if necessary. Oh, sure, if Jessica comes at her, it might not do much but wing the bitch, but that might be enough to let Liz get the hell out of Dodge. And after the hospital incident? She's taking no chances that Jessica will stay contained. When Elisabeth shows up, she kicks the door gently — her free hand is holding a takeout bag containing breakfast *and* some chicken noodle soup from the all-night diner around the corner. "Niki? It's me."

Niki opens up the door and smiles. "Hey, stranger. Oh! Let me get that for you." She reaches out to take the takeout bag. "How's that arm of yours doing/"

Elisabeth stays back just far enough, holding out the takeout bag. "Oh, the arm's doing fine," she replies with a smile. Her eyes on Niki are more than a little cautious. "Hopefully it'll be out of the sling in a week or so. It's healing up pretty fast." She should have taken Abby up on the offer, but then again… just now, the sling's a help. "Go ahead in, I'll be right behind you."

Niki nods, and smiles. "There's not a lot in the way of furniture around here…" she says apologetically. "Just a motel room. But if you want to grab a seat on the bed, that's good. Did you get for both of us?" She starts unpacking the bag. Not hint one of dangerous psychopath chick.

"I picked up a bagel for myself — I already ate this morning." Elisabeth grins slightly. "And I was up late last night myself… celebrating with some friends." It's a bit of a lie, but whatever. At this moment, it'll do. "I got a new job."

Niki nods. "Thanks again, Liz. I don't know what I'd do if not for you. You're a godsend."

There's a faint smile. "It's nothing, Niki. I just worry about you," Liz replies softly. And at least that part's true. Because Niki is the one who will suffer if Jessica pulls this kind of crap regularly. "How goes the apartment hunt?"

Niki chuckles. "It goes. New York's not a cheap place to find an apartment. But then, neither's California. So I'm sort of used to that. Problem is, no job yet, and most of them want that before they'll sign you."

Elisabeth nods. "What're you looking for in terms of jobs?"

Niki smiles. "Honestly, mostly turning in apps at the local stores. I'm not really qualified for a whole lot." If she was, she would have found something other than stripper. "They're mostly minimum wage type stuff."

Elisabeth nods. "Well, it's the holidays, most people should be hiring. At least for the short term." She tilts her head. "Maybe when it's all over, you'll be able to pick up some college classes or something too," she offers lightly. Reaching out to take her bagel from the stack of stuff in the bag, Liz moves toward the chair near the door. "It's a tough market out there, that's for sure. Midtown was the source of a lot of jobs."

Niki nods. "I'm sure something will pop up soon enough. I feel old chasing the post-high-school jobs, though." she admits. "I hadn't even thought about the holidays."

Elisabeth nods with a sympathetic grin. "Yeah, I can definitely understand that. But you're a highly intelligent woman, I don't think you'll have too much trouble once you're on your feet, Niki." Assuming Jessica LETS her.

Niki smiles. "Thanks, Elisabeth. I really do appreciate it. I don't guess that you're looking for a roommate?" she asks with a grin.

Offering a quick laugh, Liz says, "Probably not. I'm going to be in and out at all hours with this job. Eat!" She gestures to breakfast and settles into her own chair to sip the coffee that was included. Niki's apparent ease with her actually makes her feel better, although she's still wary. She needs to see Jessica too, but it'll wait until Niki's had a full breakfast.

Niki smiles, and she works at breakfast. "Thanks." She settles in to start eating her breakfast, hiding a couple yawns.

While Niki eats, Liz nibbles at the bagel. The gun inside the sling is still ready for trouble and she's not getting complacent, but she is relaxing just a bit. "After you eat, why don't you head back to bed… I'll clean up and get out of your hair to let you get some rest. You look wiped out, Niki." Her tones are gentle, concerned. She doesn't try to influence her yet.

Niki smiles. "All right…" she finishes her breakfast up, and then stands to let Liz out. "I'll talk to you later?"

Elisabeth waves Niki off, now using the influence. "~I'll let myself out… go ahead and rest. I'll clean up before I go - I need to talk to someone anyway. Sleep, Niki… you need it.~" She makes it look like she's picking up while she says it. And when Niki lays down, Liz remains near the door, now ready for trouble — she's hoping Jessica will come out.

Niki nods. She settles down on the bed, and gets comfy there and closes her eyes. About 5 minutes pass, and then her eyes open, and she sits up. "Well, well. I didn't expect to see you here."

Elisabeth remains at the door. "Sorry," she replies to Jessica, keeping the pistol still hidden and ready for trouble. "Look…. I know you've talked to Abby's friends on the phone. And given what *I* know about you, I could have brought them down on Niki's head at any time — which you know I won't do. But I need to know what's going on, Jessica. Abby says she's fine, but …. your reputation has me a good bit on edge about how long she'll stay that way."

Jessica looks back at Elisabeth. "It's my business. I'm not going to hurt her, as long as she cooperates, Elisabeth. This is personal, not professional." She looks back to the other woman.

Liz studies Jessica for a moment and says, "You know…. I know you don't trust anyone. That Niki's your top priority. But you can trust me with this. Maybe I can even help. Why do you need Abby? Is something wrong with Niki?" That's the only 'personal' there is for Jessica, after all.

Jessica looks back at Elisabeth. "Why do you care, Elisabeth? It's enough to know that I'm looking out for Niki and I'm not going to hurt Abby unless I have to."

Elisabeth smiles just a little, her expression somewhat reluctantly amused. "I guess I care because Niki touched something in me… she's become my friend, Jessica. And I realize that you don't like that some days. Hell, probably most days. But whatever is going on with YOU is not of her own making. So I care what's going on. And I care if there's something wrong with the two of — what with sharing a body and all. If you've taken Abby for something personal, Niki's the only thing you consider personal. Are the two of you hurt?"

Jessica considers. "If I tell you, I can't tell you without telling you everything. That'll be dangerous for you. You sure you want to step off that cliff?"

Elisabeth sighs heavily. "Hell no. But I'm already up to my fucking neck in all this anyway, right?" She shakes her head. "Tell me."

Jessica nods. "All right. Two power-brokers you need to know about to understand this. First one is Daniel Linderman. You know that name, right? Linderman Group, Linderman Act?" she asks. "He's a very, very powerful man in terms of influence and powerbrokering. I've worked for him in the past as an assassin." she says it very matter-of-factly.

Elisabeth nods, listening intently.

Jessica continues. "The other one is a group, a black-ops kind of company. Their most-known cover is Primatech Paper, but basically, just consider them the Men in Black. They were out there dealing with Evolved before most people knew there were Evolved."

Elisabeth nods again silently, her expression giving away nothing but calm.

Jessica says "Okay. I got tied up with all these factions a couple years ago. Back a little before the bomb in Midtown. The bomb went off, and the blast wave was coming. D.L. and Micah were a good sixty feet away. They were getting hotdogs, from a little cart." It's as close as Jessica will ever come to showing emotion. Her voice tightens a bit, and there's a more tangible sense of control. "We would have died too. Niki wanted to go to them. It wouldn't have done any good. She would have died with them. I took over, I ripped off the manhole cover we were standing by, and dove in. The water, the pipes…it kept us alive."

Elisabeth flinches visibly, sympathy for what happened clear in her face. "I can't say you did the wrong thing there," she says quietly. "But what's that got to do with Abby?"

Jessica smirks. "Getting there. Niki spent the next two years catatonic. I couldn't reach her. I was working here in the city, keeping a low profile. And that's when things started to get complicated. I ended up saving this kid from some rapists. And I also ended up stopping an amateur pair of hitmen. But in doing it, I put myself on The Company…Primatech's…radar. They sent one of their agents to "tag and bag" me. They show up, knock you out, and haul you down to their facility. Then they give you drugs to suppress your abilities, and they run tests on you. And they decide whether you're "safe enough" to go back into society. They decided I wasn't. And they had one of their people, a telepath, start fucking around with our head. Trying to lock me away forever. Erase me."

Okay…. NOW some things make sense. The 'Company' — that name she recognizes now, thanks to Helena's comment the other night. Before that, the only 'Company' Elisabeth knew by that moniker was the CIA. And the description of what happens…. sounds altogether too much like what Trask has told her about his own run-in with HomeSec. "All right," she says slowly. "Which even as an amateur sounds like a bad plan — you're part of Niki. Erasure means losing part of herself, like a lobotomy. So…. you're trying to integrate?"

Jessica hesitates. "I'm…considering it. I don't think removing me from the equation is a good plan. Niki can't take care of herself on her own. But at the same time, I don't think that integrating is possible through normal means. Abby's a healer. Maybe her ability can "heal" whatever the difference is in our brain."

Elisabeth nods slowly, blowing out a breath. "Shit." She pauses, considering what she's been told and what tiny amount she knows about Abby's powers. "I can't even tell you if she can do it. I know her powers heal, I know that she doesn't believe she's an Evolved, that she's merely a conduit for God's work. But that's all I know about her power … except that it uses her own energy to do it." She looks at the blond assassin. "I want your word that no matter what, Abby's safe with you. And that whether she can help you or not, you're not going to hurt her in ANY way, Jessica."

Jessica nods. "SHE can't tell me if she can do it either. If she knew what would happen, I would have let her try, and that would have been the end of it. But she's never used her ability on someone with a mental illness, and I'm not going to have our brain be the guinea pig. I've got Linderman sourcing me out a patient with DID. Once he finds me one, I'm going to have Abby work her mojo there and we'll see what happens. If it works, and it integrates them, I'll have her try us next. If it doesn't, I'll turn her loose." She then looks icier. "You know I won't give that." It's very matter of fact. "I'm not going to hurt her unless she or her friends give me reason to. I'm not getting paid to. But, if someone does something stupid, then I will do what I need to do."

Elisabeth starts to say something, but she bites it back. She's not a shrink or some expert in multiple personalities. "I was going to suggest you try some OTHER kind of disorder - one that's less rare. But… " She bites her lip. "All right. Abby herself won't give you reason to hurt her." Liz grimaces. "If you'd trusted me just a little bit more BEFORE this and told me what you needed, we could have gone about this without the kidnapping part. Abby will usually heal anyone who asks." She shakes her head. "I'll …. do my best to keep them all calm. I want Abby back in one piece."

Jessica nods. "You keep them from doing anything stupid, and no one gets hurt. I will promise you that. But I'll also promise you that if they try something, I will kill her, Elisabeth." It's said with that same matter-of-factness. Whether she's being nice or not, Jessica's still a sociopath.

Elisabeth nods slightly. "I understand that. Believe me." She has no illusions about Jessica's place in this world. "Now do me one other favor — stay in this room and sleep or something. Niki's exhausted because you're out running around when she's sleeping. She needs physical rest just as much as the act of her brain shutting down." Liz reaches behind her for the doorknob. "Just… let Abby keep in touch. It'll help." And she steps out of the door and leaves Jessica to do whatever Jessica does.

December 9th: Finite Resources
December 9th: Civil Disturbance
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