The New Face Of War


elisabeth2_icon.gif jaiden_icon.gif

Scene Title The New Face of War
Synopsis Going back to the Revolutionary War and grassroots tactics… can it really work? Inciting them to march?
Date Apr 12, 2011

Skinny Brickfront

The blonde padding through the house is not an unfamiliar sight. With a cup of coffee she's on the watch this morning. The uppermost floor of the building is pretty wide open for this kind of patrol. And Elisabeth doesn't exactly need to be outside to be able to keep adequate watch either. She's in the northmost corner of the building, peering out to see what's going on in the world. She's still wearing the ripped hip-huggers, though she's thrown a heavier jacket over the tanktop so that her angel is not visible.

No sense in showing off too much that could get her recognized by someone passing by. After all, how often is a blonde woman with an angel tattooed on her back seen in an abandoned building? Not bloody often. Jaiden was allowed to sleep a little late again, and after taking a shower and putting on a set of clean clothes, he makes his way to where the coffee pot lives and pours himself a cup. And then it's off to patrol, or at least, to find the person who's on patrol and tell her about the dream he had. Again. At least this one is better.

Dressed in jeans and a button-down shirt with pockets on the chest, a pen poking out of one of them, he finds Lizzie where she's at, making a bit more noise than necessary to let her know someone's coming without calling her name. And when he sees her? "Morning, Lizzie. How goes things? Al quiet?"

Glancing over her shoulder at his familiar tones, Elisabeth looks weary — not distressed beyond reason, but there's an air of worry about her. She'd expected to hear from a shadow before now. But she's not stressing over it as yet. He warned that he'd be laying low and taking care of some other things. "Morning," she greets with a small smile. "Things are quiet. I wonder sometimes if keeping watch is pure paranoia." She shrugs a little and when he joins her, she leans her head on his shoulder. The hum is, for the first time since they got here, nearly entirely absent. It's a good gauge to her mood at least. "It occurs to me that living here could be mildly awkward."

"It might be pure paranoia, but what's worse? Watching for an assault that may never come, or trusting that it won't come and being surprised when it does. You should know me better, Lizzie." Jaiden's arm goes around her waist, holding her close, the weight of her head on her shoulder, the warmth of her against him reassuring. "I'm the original boy scout - always prepared, even when I'm not." He takes a sip of his steaming coffee, sucking air through his teeth to cool it before swallowing, looking out over the city. "It could be awkward….no running water and the like. Might be a good idea to find a small place with walls, a roof, a floor, and furniture…or try to make this place a little more habitable, at least with running water."

Elisabeth snerks softly. "I was more thinking about something a bit more personal," she admits, her coffee cradled to her front as she leans into him. "I haven't wanted to do too much quite yet to make this place more obviously inhabited until we see whether we're going to need to abandon it. Give it another week," she finally says. "If nothing gives, then … we'll start making it a little bit more … comfortable." She sips from her drink and asks, "How're you? Sleep okay?"

Jaiden lets out a breath and chuckles, swirling his coffee in it's chipped mug, taking another sip as he ruminates on what to tell her. The pause, the way he doesn't say anything for far too long, may give elisabeth a clue that he's thinking on what to tell her and what not to tell her. When he does speak, he begins, as it is best, at the beginning.

"I had another prophetic dream last night." A good way to start. "Of course, I don't know when, exactly, it was, but it was at least nine to twelve months after the first of my prophetic dreams. I was in…." A pause. "An evolved concentration camp. With Monica, and our new son. Jaiden Micah Dawson-Mortlock."

The blonde blinks. Goes still with his arm around her. And then Elisabeth looks up. "Oh… God…." Concentration camp. Jaiden and Monica. Both. And …. oh…. GOD. "I … don't know what to say," she admits softly.

The large man nods soberly. "Of course, I have no context for anything. It's just…." He sighs quietly. "I knew that he wasn't supposed to be born. I must have done something right, bribes, begging, or something else, to allow him to be carried to term. It dovetails right in with your dream, of running, afraid because you were pregnant." He doesn't say it, but there's a term for it. Eugenics. The science of 'improving' human population by controlled breeding. "We've got to stop that from happening, Liz…it already is starting, with Eltingville."

"Yeah," Elisabeth says quietly. Her expression is tight. "Jaiden, I'm going to tell you straight on this — I don't know how to derail what they're doing. It took years for people to full comprehend the concentration camps overseas. This is something we have to literally horrify them with. This is one of those mountains that small changes may just plain not be enough." She frowns.

Jaiden goes quiet, rubbing the back of his neck with one hand, looking out over the city. If you look hard, you might be able to recognize a landmark in the early morning light, but the sun doesn't seem as bright when something this dark is looming overhead. "Normally…if I wasn't a wanted man, I'd sneak in, take pictures, and tell the story." There's an exhalation of breath. "I might just do that."

She watches the morning light climb across the city and Elisabeth's voice is soft. "Not yet. There've got to be people already in there, Jaiden. In point of fact, we'd be better served letting Richard go." She smiles a little. "He's a pretty amazing photographer. Very good eye." She doesn't have a single image of the two of them together, not even in the better days. For a moment she wonders if the man's ever even been in a photo or if he's always the one taking them. "He had a stash of images that would rival some of the ones you took in the Dome," she admits softly. "But don't tell him I told you. Still…. he's far less visible than any of us, and it seems like that will be something we should send the sneaky types in for, yeah?"

"That makes sense." Jaiden says softly, hand brushing over her lower back, beneath her shirt, just above the waist. "With my accent, hiding is just not something that is done…"

Elisabeth shoots a faint smile at him. "Looks like there are some good things coming too, hmm? Even if it's …. not as good a future as we might have hoped for?" She's quiet for a long moment, looking up at him, and asks softly, "Are we fools, Jaiden? Not to just…. present ourselves that the fucking Arcology and subject ourselves to the rules there so we can ride it out?" She wouldn't be human if she didn't have some doubts.

"We're human, Liz. Hope is what we do. It's what keeps us going. Hope for a better future, not just for us, but for our children…" Jaiden's voice trails off, his fingernails scraping lightly against the skin of her back, tracing the slight raised outline of her tattoo. "It may be considered foolish, to think we can change something so imposing, but I have to think we can. If we just roll over and give up….it would be unamerican."

The blonde smirks. "You're not American to start with," Elisabeth retorts mildly. She shivers a bit as he runs his fingers over the Celtic cross-and-knot beneath her shirt. It brings a kind of sadness when he does it. "Everything we do changes it a little," she says softly. "We keep seeing snippets of things, and some of them are contradictory. For example… you were also supposed to die on November 8th, along with me. But in changing it, we've already clearly changed things because you couldn't have had a daughter who dies and a son with Monica if you had. I still think this is a possible future." She smiles a little. "And I'll tell you what Abby told me. Take what you know about a possible future and hold onto the good things. Work toward making the things you want happen. We can't just spend our time trying to stop things, we have to spend time building things — building an alternative." She looks up at him. "I don't want to put anymore markers of death on my body if you don't mind."

Jaiden's mouth turns up in a small smile, his head tilting to kiss her lightly on the cheek. "No more memorials, Liz. You and I, we'll grow old together."

Elisabeth rests her cheek against his kiss for a long moment and murmurs, "Balls to the wall, Jaiden." She sounds … perhaps a little resigned. "The only way we're going to beat a man who thinks of all of this as a chess game is to go balls to the wall and do things that he doesn't expect of us. He knows Richard too well. He knows me too well. We're distinctly disadvantaged in that regard. But we have some assets that he doesn't realize have alraedy slipped through his hands." She considers. "I need to pick up my armor from Warren. And I need to get Felix out there to check the bridge where we left the Horizon armor. We left the exoskeletons and the helmets behind, but we hid the armor itself. Let's see if they tracked them yet." She purses her lips. "Trask is also an asset, because precogs can't see him. That's less urgent in terms of fighting Humanis First and more important when it comes to fighting the Institute. But we can't fight the Institute first, I don't think. We need to focus on what's in front of us."

"I like the way you think, Lizzie….prepare, and then fight, but not before. The last thing we need is to tip our hand." Jaiden grins and gives her a light squeeze. "Hopefully the armor is where you left it, and hopefully Warren has more than one suit ready. Ideally three…because I'd love to have a set of that to go running around in. It would make the fight that much more even." Give the pawns the powers of a Queen. "Do you think Evil Cardinal has a precog on the staff of the institute? Because that would just be cheating - and we'd need to get our own."

"We have our own," Elisabeth says with a faint smile. "Unfortunately for us, Zeke has also had use of her in the past." She considers. "Although, what Eve saw back then could be entirely thwarted at this point. And quite frankly? I don't want to fall back on old habits, relying on precogs to steer our course. Yes, what she sees can help us sometimes. But it can't be how we conduct a war. It can't be the be-all, end-all. Between us and the Ferry, we have a number of soldiers. Maybe it's time to sit down and start talking about all-out warfare. And how to wage it with a united front." She mulls that over.

"The bones of Redbird, and Endgame, fighting with the Ferry. It'll have to be an insurgency if we do fight like that. A straight up one-on-one battle with the US military is not something that any of us will come out of without a few bruises." Jaiden drains the remains of his cup and pats Elisabeth's back lightly. "Eve, whoever she is, will be advice. Not a roadmap. She'll give us things to look out for, hopefully, allowing us to avoid major pitfalls while trying to achieve our goal."

Elisabeth draws in a deep breath and lets it out slowly. She turns to face him, her expression not precisely peaceful but… satisfied. "And here it begins, Jaiden. We've backed away from a fucking war for too long. The Ferry's got the right of it in guerrilla tactics. But if we're going to do this, it has to be a carefully pitched fight — not targets of opportunity, targets that send a clear message. And that's where we're most likely to fall, too." She nods slowly. "The Revolution was in the minds and hearts of the people … . This radical change in the principles, opinions, sentiments, and affections of the people was the real American Revolution. It's what bought us freedom from the British. And it's what bought us a Bright Future before. We just have to make it work for us now."

And here, in the cool of a spring morning, gazing out over a city besieged by a government that sees oppression as the solution to a problem that should not exist, a new movement is born. Perhaps not a new idea, but a new movement, certainly. "War is not something to undertake without great consideration - it's all or nothing. Once the first shot is fired, there's no going back. But we'll do it. For our children, for our future. We have to."

She nods to him. "Which is why the first step is making clear who the enemy is. Before you can convince them to fight, you have to first convince them that there's a problem." Elisabeth rubs the back of her neck and sighs. "Which… still leaves us sitting tight for a while longer before we go and rattle the cages. Because until an official report comes out about Redbird, we can't start propaganda against Humanis First."

"There's got to be some kind of report….perhaps the second video we put out, once this first one hits, is you refuting the report's findings. After all, Redbird was just a security company - not a terrorist organization." Jaiden dips slightly resting his coffee cup on the windowsill before straightening, arm going back around Elisabeth's waist, holding her close. "One rule I will not break, Lizzie….I'll do everything. I'll even die for this, but I will not target innocents for any reason. Even if it's to blame Humanis First, I'm not going to do that. We're not Terrorists - we're freedom fighters."

"You don't have to worry there. That's not what this is about," Elisabeth says firmly. It's the line that she herself refuses to cross. "Richard blew the building when no one was there. Deliberately. We are not out to punish anyone. If we have to hit a target, if innocents get in the way? We abort." They're completely in agreement on this. "Even if that means Humanis First members go free."

"I just like to state it to be clear. If I don't say it out loud, it might be seen as tacit agreement. Bloody groupthink." Jaiden sighs softly, rubbing the back of his neck, still holding Elisabeth close, not willing to let her go any further than absolutely necessary. "How does it feel to be at the birth of a movement?"

The blonde laughs softly. "I don't have a fucking clue." Elisabeth sounds wry, sliding both her arms around his waist and holding tightly. "And I warn you that I am not the chess player that Richard is. So … things may or may not run the same way these days, as we're … coming at this from a couple of different angles."

"I prefer rugby myself. It's a bit more physical, sure, but there is a lot of strategy involved trying to score. As long as we have more points when the clock hits zero, we win, plain and simple." Jaiden grins. "And we get to bust some heads along the way."

Elisabeth laughs. "Sounds like my kind of game. Football, right? Or similar to?" She heaves a sigh and murmurs softly, "Can I just tell you that I dislike communal living for a lot of reasons? Not the least of which is the nosy factor," she says idly, resting against him.

Jaiden dips at the knees and lifts Elisabeth into his arms, cradling her close. "Very similar. American football is a derivative of it - the main difference is that in Rugby there are no forward passes and no plays - it just goes until halftime. Full out sprint. Lots of blokes in the scrum, trying for the ball. It's a hell of a workout." He kisses her cheek lightly. "Well…the potential for being caught is one of the thrilling bits about communal living…"

And she does have a thing for rooftops, after all.

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