Testing the Water


vf_dirk_icon.gif vf_elisabeth_icon.gif

Scene Title Testing the Water
Synopsis A battle of wills ensues when two people feel the same need — to keep people alive.
Date November 11, 2011

The Hub: Some Tunnel

The tunnels, void of life on a regular basis, echo with each footstep. In between, drips of water and hisses of steam make music, something that isn't heard often around here. At least not in Dirk's world. The levy broke and the music died. He can pinpoint the day exactly.

His long blond hair is tied into a ponytail at the nape of his neck. He usually allows it to hang free, wild and loose like he used to be back when things were good. Now there's responsibility and management that lay heavy on his shoulders. Edward wants him to relay a list to a stranger and he doesn't like it. Two more mouths to feed, two more mice in their cage, two more people who could potentially kill everyone around them because they were outsiders and outsiders tended to be… what's the word… reckless.

Maybe even stupid.

Of the two new charges, Edward has tasked him to speak with the woman. Apparently she's the more reasonable of the two. Dirk lifts his clipboard into view and checks the name again, Elisabeth. Then he flips through the pages and notes exactly where she is supposed to be. Whether she is or not.. well.. if she's not, Dirk will deal with that when the time comes. People here need to be where they're supposed to be for the safety of all and he has no qualms about getting rid of someone that doesn't toe the line.

Elisabeth has no particular place she’s supposed to be, generally, except Edward’s office at times. And the piano room teaching some kids. And maybe, now, a couple evenings a week singing for Isabelle Ashford’s bar. So she is spending a lot of time exploring the nooks and crannies where people are allowed to be. In this case, he finds her in a hallway not too far from the room she was assigned, apparently heading in that direction. She’s scrubbing a hand tiredly across her forehead when he spots her, and she easily moves to the side to let him pass — he seems purposeful, and she doesn’t want to slow anyone down.

This is the face. Dirk flips through the pages on his clipboard and pulls one out, having it at the ready. Then his clipboard is lowered, his thumb keeping the pages from fanning out and generally keeping everything neat and orderly.

"Elisabeth Harrison," he says, his tone sharp and no nonsense. Right now, he's just like his haircut, business in the front. Since it's tied, there's no party in the back. "I've been sent by Edward to give you something."

He doesn't give her the paper, not just yet.

"But before I do," his eyes narrow somewhat and the sheet is folded over his thumb to keep its contents from being seen. "Why do you need this list? What makes you.." He pauses to look her up and down. From his expression and the twitch of one eyebrow, he's appraising her. Not for her looks but for her worth. ".. so important that he's actually changing things?"

Startled by the way he calls her name, Elisabeth stops and goes immediately alert. Her body language is definitely reading ‘ready for trouble.’ Tilting her head, she debates for a moment on how she’s going to respond to that demand. The abrasive man is … annoying, but given that he’s willing to demand answers and yet afraid enough to demand them from the target instead of the source, he might prove at some point to be a helpful person if she doesn’t alienate him.

Reaching out to pluck the paper from his fingers, so that she can see what’s on it, she replies mildly, “You’d have to ask Edward what his reasons are. As for what makes me special?” She gives him nothing more than an easy smile. “I had an idea about something. I don’t know if it’ll work, but hey… anything that makes life down here better, right?”

"Things that make it easier to live down here is order, Miss Harrison," Dirk says with a firm tone in his voice. Apparently he's not impressed with new ideas, perhaps because he wasn't consulted about the logistics beforehand. Then again, Edward never consults about logistics, he does his thing and leaves the day to day management of the consequences to someone else.

Someone like Dirk.

"I guess my real question is," he continues after a moment, "what are you going to use this for?" There's suspicion in his tone, it's practically dripping with it. "How do we know that you're not just going to give this to Vanguard?" Just because Edward trusts her, as much as Edward trusts anyone, doesn't mean Dirk has to.

The flash of hatred that she allows to cross her face might reassure, it might not. Elisabeth meets his gaze head-on and says very clearly, “I wouldn't piss on one of the Vanguard if they were burning in front of my eyes. In fact, I'd be looking for gasoline. They killed my kids.” She lets him make up his own mind from that.

"Things are safe-ish around here right now," Dirk interjects as he flips the page open in his hand and takes a look through it. "Unless I know what you need them for, I'm going to have to tell Edward that sorry no you're not going to get them." He survived this long, through so many of his people dying, he's not about to risk the few he's gotten to know since.

The page is then slipped to the bottom of the clipboard and secured there. His stern expression is pointed at Liz, waiting for her explanation.

Oh really. Elisabeth simply smiles. “That's perfectly fine,” she replies in a silky tone. “You do what you have to, and I'll do what I have to. I'll just pick up the list from Edward when he takes care of the fact that you can't be bothered to do your job.” She shrugs. “No skin off my nose, friend. Someone else will love the chance to cozy up to him and maybe get themselves a plum assignment.”

She tilts her head. There is a time and place to be nice and a time and place to step on cockroaches. “Move along now,” She waggles her fingers carelessly back in the direction he came from. “It’ll be clear to him why I couldn't do my job.”

"My job is to keep people alive and safe," Dirk snaps back, hugging the clipboard to his chest and twisting his features into a sneer. "If you're too self absorbed and self-important to see that then…" He shrugs and pivots on one heel, starting his walk away. "Edward doesn't have the list and no one else knows where to find everyone."

"Good luck, Harrison," he calls behind him, "being a raging bitch gets you everywhere down here."

Watching him go, Elisabeth actually smiles just a little. Not because he called her a bitch — she was deliberately goading him — but because in his walking away, she gains a little bit of insight. That man will do everything in his power to protect the people here… even if it means disobeying Edward Ray. She hopes she's just being paranoid, worrying about things like Vanguard spies and Edward’s agendas, but this is close enough to her own world that she worries it's not paranoia.

She’ll make it right with him later. But knowing that there are people sticking up for the population and not JUST doing and believing what they're told… is actually something that makes her happy. Even though she has a feeling she'll be doing some groveling.

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