The Fast Luge To Hell


elisabeth_icon.gif jaiden_icon.gif

Scene Title The Fast Luge to Hell
Synopsis We're on it, but hey… at least we're all on it together.
Date Jan 13, 2011

Nite Owl

It's been weeks. Elisabeth hasn't laid eyes on Jaiden in quite a long time, and what with what's going on with Delia, she doesn't blame the man. The Nite Owl is an old haunt, brings back a lot of memories for her. Some good, some bad. Currently the blonde is sitting at a back booth where she can watch the room and her gaze is a bit faraway. Perhaps something pleasant because there's a nostalgic smile quirking her lips, sadness tainting it just a hint. Damn, Wozniak… if you could see me now. She shakes out of it as Jaiden slides into the seat and relief is the next thing on her face. "Damn, man… I was starting to think you were going to go underground forever," she murmurs.

Jaiden looks very tired. Worn down. Beaten, even. After all, if you had been going from one part of New York to another on a two-day schedule, shipping up supplies on a borrowed boat to Polipiel island before running in to see your comatose girlfriend, you'd look tired too. He's not shaven in a few days at least, but is clean - apparently having a shower recently before making an appearance to see a good friend. "Coffee, please." he orders when the waitress wanders past, slumping down in the seat, swaddled in a heavy jacket to keep out the cold. "Hey Lizzie…long time no see."

As she studies him, Elisabeth is reminded of how she's been feeling. "Glad to hear Delia's doing a lot better," she says quietly as she keeps her hands wrapped around her own cup. "Anything I can do to help out?" She expects the answer's no, but hey…

"You've invited me out for a bit of relaxation. That's pretty good, for a start." Jaiden gives the warm smile he's known for, leaning back in the booth and pinching the bridge of his nose before letting out a breath. "God, I need a vacation. And I bet I'm on a few wanted posters by this point - or at least wanted for questioning."

"Actually, currently you are still an unknown quantity so far as I can tell. You've done nothing wrong and you're not on anyone's radar as one of Endgame's or the Ferry's. The Institute may know your name — considering who the head of the fucking thing is, I wouldn't discount that possibility." Her tone is bitter and perhaps more than a little angry. "Jaiden…. the man behind Simon Broome is a future version of Cardinal. So you're going to have to be careful, and do not under any circumstances trust him. Delia is important, and we need to keep her on the down-low," she says quietly. "When she's able, our Richard needs to talk to her. And avoid Midtown as much as you can. There are robots loose in there that may have Evo detection equipment on them. So pass that on as soon as you can." It wasn't just a call to relax, apparently. It was a call to bring him rapidly up to speed.

The coffee was helping wake Jaiden up just a hair, but when the rest of this information is put out there, so matter-of-factly? Jaiden sits up a bit straighter, his coffee cup held tightly in both hands, knuckles going white, his mouth turning into a straight slash across the lower part of his mouth. "bloody hell…." he murmurs before taking a sip of the strong black brew. "I'll…I'll protect her as best I can. not just because Ryans'll have my balls for breakfast if I do, but because I love her and she doesn't need to be used as a pawn in some giant game of chess. She deserves better than that." The mention of robots with Evo-Detection gets a lift of his brow, almost spock-like as he does so, before he drains his cup, setting it on the side of the table to be refilled as soon as the waitress passes by again. "I'll pass that bit on. Is there any way you know of to disable 'em, or to block their sensors? I might be able to whip up something magnetic that'll scramble them…"

Elisabeth shakes her head and says, "No… though an EMP might do it. I have someone working on a capture/disable order right now. If they are armed with the device that I know about, it has a 50-foot range at the moment. They're attempting to expand it and are trying to use DNA samples to locate specific individuals — so far, to my knowledge, they don't have that capability as yet. At best guess, they're using Midtown as a testing ground." She pauses and smiles a little. "Sorry to basically inundate you with information. It's just …. I can't tell you these things by phone and I don't know when I'll get to see you in person again." She reaches out and clasps his arm. "Delia's ability may be key in getting to someone we need, Jaiden. So if or when she's able, please get in touch with Richard discreetly."

There's a faint grimace. "I've already blown it and gotten Alia captured by the DoEA. I couldn't live with myself if it happened to anyone else on my watch," Elisabeth says softly. "Redbird's under investigation, so you'll want to text him to meet you elsewhere."

"If he's got a text that's not being monitored. At best I can just get one of those disposable phones from a guy I know, send a text, then get rid of it so it can't be traced back to me or to him. Shit…when did this turn into cloak and dagger?" Jaiden sighs and pats her hand, giving it a light squeeze, not letting go just yet. Sharing a moment. "it won't happen to me or to Delia, I swear. I'm ex-military, so I can lose tails and get lost pretty easily. I practiced in North Korea too darn much."

Elisabeth turns her hand in his and squeezes tightly. "It's been cloak and dagger for some of us for a long time," she admits softly. "He's got the last cell that I had encrypted by Wireless, so he should be in the clear. Just text him with a time and day. He'll meet you …." She considers. "Use the deli. He's a regular there. I'll tell him what the text will mean, okay?"

Jaiden covers her hand with his, his strong hands hiding the blonde's in his. Even with the amount of work he does with his hands, they're soft and warm. Whou would think that with those hands he could control water to the point that one would think it was a living thing?

"Is there a way to….y'know…end it? To make it better again? Or are we just fighting against the inevitable?"

"Nothing is inevitable," Elisabeth says softly, blue eyes intense on his face. "What you need to understand about what we're doing is that there is no winning — ever. Just like stamping out all racism. It's a process, Jaiden. Things are going to be bad for a while. Real bad, I'm not going to lie. But there's always light at the end of the tunnel." And for him, for the group that she considers 'hers', for Richard himself, Liz will hold onto that faith. "Even in the original timeline that ended in such a brilliant future, there was darkness before we got there and there were worms in the core. Nothing in this world will ever be perfect. We do the best we can with what we've got. And things will get better." She has to make him believe that. If she's the only one who does, all hope is truly gone. "Don't give up on me," she asks softly.

"You've seen this bright future, though. I'm doing my best to keep my chin up, but if worse comes to worse, I can see myself back in Australia, in prison, or six feet below the ground due to some trigger-happy marine or a team of people sent to track people like Delia, me, and you down. The best thing that can happen is that we live on with these restrictions." He sighs and slides the coffee cup back across the table, warming his hands on the chipped porcelain emblazoned with the logo of the Nite Owl, sliding it back and forth on the worn linoleum. "That's why I got into this, though. to make things better. To keep the bad from happening. To make the better a possibility instead of a fever dream."

"I never saw the future," Elisabeth says quietly. "People I know did… and it was a good place from my understanding. It just…. cost too much." She bites her lip. "And sometimes I think we should have left well enough alone." It's a difficult admission. "I need you to have some faith, Jaiden. Things will get better."

Jaiden nods and reaches across the table, nudging her coffee cup aside, to squeeze her hands again, holding them tight to warm them all the way through. "I know you probably feel like you're all alone in this. Sometimes I feel like it's you, Delia, and me. Like we're the only sane people in this entire world. We know how it should be, but the fear of the unknown….the need for power on some other people's parts….that's such a strong force to fight against. It's like a river, rushing downhill, sweeping everything out of it's path, damn the concequences."

"What should have been is irrellevant now, Lizzie. What is happening now is what's happening now, and only a few people have the means to change it, and I can't see our little asian friend sticking his nose in and stopping it before it all started." Hiro Nakamura, he must mean. "And if things get too dangerous, we'll go somewhere to regroup, then start again. I'm in this with you for the long haul, and it's not just because of that beautiful smile, that beautiful hair, or that perfectly round backside of yours." A bit of teasing. "It's because it's the right thing to do."

Elisabeth laughs softly. He's the second man today to ogle her. And God help her, it's kinda nice to be admired, you know? She forgets sometimes there's a person under all the things she has to do — she forgets how to be a person and let someone else bolster her when she's so busy bolstering everyone else. "Thanks, Jaiden. I'm holding you to that." She squeezes his hand again. "Pretty shortly here, there's going to be some serious fallout — If you have the time to be anywhere near Midtown, to do some of that investigative journalism you do so well…. take a video camera in and see if you can get footage of these things. Because one that happens, it's proof. It's going to be helpful, if we can get it."

His teasing seemed to have the proper effect on Lizzie, thanks to that laugh, and yes, he'll proudly admit that he's ogled her many a time. A part of him, the animal part in the back of Jaiden's head, is still kicking himself for not sleeping with Elisabeth in the past when he had the chance, but those darn morals got in the way. As far as midtown, Jaiden nods. "I'll make a trip through, now and again. All touristy-like. Film near all the big things bt keep my eyes open for anything that looks off or odd. Are these things UAV's or will they just be sitting there like the explosives detectors at the airport, just sampling the air for evo activity…." Jaiden trails off. "I guess that's what I'm going to be looking into, now isn't it. "

There's a faint shrug. "I don't honestly know. And if you get near one and you're the target… run like hell," Elisabeth says quietly. "I'm not shitting. This is really dangerous, Jaiden."

"I promise I will." Both be careful and will run like hell, he must mean, his hands closing around hers tightly, shaking them almost with one slow, easy motion. "How would I know if I was a target, I wonder…." A chuckle. "Anti-cardinal may have questions for me…." His face goes serious then. "I don't think I want to meet him before meeting normal cardinal."

There's a bleak look in Elisabeth's eyes. "No," she responds softly. "No, you don't. Because he'll try his best to make you believe he's … our Richard. That he's doing what he's doing for all the right reasons." She bites her lower lip hard. "He's afraid to try anymore, Jaiden. He's seen so much bad, he's seen his own actions turn out so wrong so many times… he's afraid to try to change things. His whole agenda is to keep us on this dark path because he knows what happens at the end of it. And he thinks that's better than branching off into the unknown." She clenches her jaw. "But I'm unwilling to believe that…. because somewhere out there, he went off the rails." She looks at him, the anxiety clear to him as she voices the fear aloud — he's one of the only people she's articulated it to. "He went so bad off the rails that in some future that I hope to God we can thwart, I took his child from him, Jaiden. Made it so he had nothing to do with the kid's raising." And that is so not Elisabeth.

The question of course is, how much does anti-cardinal know about what's going on in the present. Is his memory still as sharp in an elderly form as it is in it's present form? The man is in control of the institute now and, with unlimited resources, what would he possibly want to do, other than usher in the bleak future. There's a obvious enemy now, and the institute is it. Having a single target is always better than a spread-out group. "What about FRONTLINE in all of this? Are you guys going to be under the control of the institute? I'm afraid that, one day, I'll be sitting on the other side of a battlefield with you in your armor facing off at me, to bring me in dead or otherwise dead." A small smirk. "I don't know if mind control is possible, but frankly, I don't wish that on anyone."

For the first time since they sat to talk, Elisabeth chances forcing her ability into use. The spear of pain behind her eyes isn't as intense as it has been, but then she's barely nudging the power to encase them. And this needs to be said where no one can hear. "Actually, FRONTLINE at this moment is…. something of a wild card. Kershner's focus has to be on getting the fake President out of office. She's working her agenda on that end, and the Institute has it's own version of FRONTLINE out there, armored and all." As if he didn't already know that from when Redbird got hit by that group. "They don't know everything, though — there's a lot that's different in this present from Dick's past. Up to and including if they'd known Delia was upstairs the day they hit Redbird's basement, they'd have seized her." She's certain of that much.

Elisabeth pauses and says, "The day will never come that my FRONTLINE team will face off like that. They're not blind — and the longer they're on the team, the more they're seeing. And questioning. I think if push came to shove, … they'd follow my orders to back off. Or take on FRONTLINE Staten. If it ever comes, though… I expect you to do what you have to in order to take me out of the picture, Jaiden." If she's mind-controlled, well…. those are the breaks.

"I don't suppose getting my hands on a spare suit of Frontline armor is in the cards, is it?" Jaiden asks offhandedly. "I can do a lot with my power, but one good shot will put me down. In that armour, I'd be a lot more annoying to those who need to be annoyed." Images of Jaiden's basement turning into a bat-cave of sorts go dancing through his head for just a moment, but he's positive the chances of that actually happening are somewhere in the midst of Nil and fuck no.

"Are you okay?" He asks after a moment. Even as tired as he is, Jaiden's observant, noticing that wince of pain as she brings her power into play. News of a fake president, of dual frontline teams….all are very interesting and will make a _hell_ of a story if they all survive this. But who would believe them?

Elisabeth nods slightly, removing her hand from his arm to pick up a napkin and dab at her nose, which is starting to trickle blood. "Richard managed it, but I'm pretty damn sure that Alia is not going to be able to pull it off again. If the power swap that's disabled Wireless reverts, maybe we can divert more suits. I just don't know." She wishes. That's for damn sure.

"Listen, one last thing before I drop the bubble. Tell Delia… that I'm sorry, okay?" Liz grimaces. "I sent her after the monster, and I put her on his radar. I can't begin to apologize enough." She drops the silence field, unable to hold it longer without causing a problem. Her nosebleed at least seems to be just a small one.

"I'll tell her, I promise. And…what's with that?" Jaiden gestures to her nosebleed, now being thoughtfully blotted with a paper napkin.

Wiping it and glancing down at the napkin, Elisabeth shrugs. "Side effect of blowing out my ability during the riots," she replies. Her tone is businesslike. "I'd be doing better if I hadn't tried to blow it out again Christmas Eve, I think, but…." She makes an exasperated face. "I always did suck as a patient. It's improving. I can hold the field for nearly a full minute again." Which is quite the improvement considering Liz wasn't entirely sure it would come back. "I'm told it's sort of like a sprain to the brain."

It's not an answer that he likes to hear, but at least it's an answer. Most of the time, he'd expect the person to just brush him off. 'oh, it's nothing' or something to that effect, but at least she told him so he has a small reason to worry, but not a big invisible WORRY that he can't do anything about. Still, Jaiden being Jaiden…he's got to worry just a little.

"You still have the key to my place. Just ignore the christmas tree. It's going to stay up until Delia can come down and spend christmas with me for real, even if it takes until Spring." He chuckles, going quiet after a moment. "You need to rest, Lizzie. Take a day or something.."

Elisabeth shrugs and smiles a little. "I've taken a couple evenings off." It lightens her features, a glimpse of the flirtatious, happy Liz peeking out. "I've had reason to lately. And I'm taking it as easy as I can. Not to worry. It'll work itself out." She rolls her eyes, dabbing one more time just to make sure the blood has stopped and then shoving the napkin into her pocket. "I've got a call out to someone Richard seems to think will be able to help. We'll see if the process can be sped up."

"Don't go breaking your pretty little head, you hear?" There's a tone in Jaiden's voice of warning, of worry, and the squeeze to Elisabeth's hands underscore that worry.

There's a smirk and Elisabeth moves to stand up, leaning over the table to kiss his temple. "Promise," she murmurs with a smile. And then she slips out to get back to the grindstone.

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