They Who Give Up Essential Liberty


elisabeth_icon.gif william_icon.gif

Scene Title They Who Give Up Essential Liberty
Synopsis Liz reads Will the riot act for his actions regarding Abby, and she puts her foot down on what she will and won't do for the NYPD.
Date December 26, 2008

Central Park

Although she called ahead for the meeting, Elisabeth didn't sound happy when she asked her captain on the phone for his time. It's the day after Christmas, after all, and things are .. a bit weird. But she needed to talk to him and asked him to meet her in Central Park, where they could walk the cleared trails and talk out in the open.

"Liz." William greets as he walks towards the woman. His hands are tucked into his coat pockets. A long black peacoat with a gray scarf worn snugly about his neck. Steam puffs out of his mouth as his black shoes tap against the walkway. His eyes fix on Elisabeth as he approaches. "I assume you're not happy with me." He says plainly.

It's pretty darn cold today, but Elisabeth's blond hair is beacon enough for him. She's wearing a black skirt and knee-high black boots with low heels beneath a black coat into whose pockets she's shoved her gloved hands. She's not wearing anything on her head. When William arrives, she turns to look at him. "Not happy with you? Will…. I'm positively flabbergasted," she says finally. "I don't know whether to slap your face, or haul you up on charges myself. A friend of mine recognizes your uniform, asks you how I'm doing after being in the hospital, and you take it as an invitation to chuck her into your car, drive her around, scare the living hell out of her, interrogate her, and attempt to blackmail her. Are you *insane*?"

William's features do not change, he stares at Elisabeth simply. "Are you insane, Elisabeth?" He asks in retort. "I don't know why you're trying to play me. Why you're trying to hide things from me. But I'm not so stupid." He practically growls. "She is breaking the law. I did nothing that you could haul me up on." He snarls. "Now, what the fuck are you hiding from me? How are you getting all your fucking information and why won't you let me in on it?" William asks angrily, glaring at her. It's not a common occurance that William curses, though his tone is kept low so that hopefully none hear him.

"Let me ask you something, hotshot," Elisabeth snaps out, a silence bubble snapping into place around them faster than her words rap out even. He may or may not even notice, except that what few sounds are going on around them in the not-nearly-full park are now muted. "If I'd taken the job you offered me and told you I was Evolved and unregistered, would you have run me in too? Or tried to blackmail me?" she demands. She doesn't bother to keep her voice down, and no one nearby even seems to notice.

"I would have told you to obey the Law. I would have drove you in to follow the laws our country sets for us. Not in a mean way. In a friendly way, just like I did with your 'friend'." William shoots back. He doesn't notice the sudden change in sound. "The laws are here for a reason Elisabeth. You may be opposed to them, but it is our job to follow and enforce them. I gave Abigail an out, since she is clearly confused and dense. And she possibly has information that could lead to the protection of hundreds of innocent lives." He pauses for a moment shaking his head in disbelief at her. "How dare you come at me with your self righteousness, like I'm doing something wrong, when this is what you should have been doing the whole time?!" Then he glances around. Though he doesn't bother telling her to keep her voice down. He figures she has it under control.

"Well, number one, you can now go screw yourself. She's not in violation of the law anymore. Number two, it's NOT my job to run people who don't hurt anyone else in - and I *won't* do it. If you don't like it, then fire me now. I work for you because actual CRIMINALS out there are Evolved, and it's quite clear to me after that raid that the NYPD needs all the damn help it can get with that. But just like I don't run in every person I see breaking the speed limit because there are bigger problems on our hands, nor will I stop anyone I remotely suspect MIGHT be Evolved and run them in. So tell me now if that's going to be a problem for you." She doesn't have to shout at him, her blue eyes are shooting sparks though. "As the captain of this squad, everything we do, good and bad, reflects on you — and frankly, my friend, if you yourself don't have bigger things to worry about than a little blond who heals people, then clearly you're not looking around this city." And she's not done yet. "And number THREE," she spits at him, "I get my information from the same kind of places you do — people on the street. Some of them people who've had run-ins with the law before and don't trust cops much. Why the HELL do you need to know who my source is? Is it because you're a control freak and you just feel like you need to know everything, or is it that you just flat don't trust me?"

William stares at her as she goes on her tirade. "I didn't arrest her Elisabeth. I let her go. I want information from her, so I can protect other people, and I have good reason to believe she has more information than she lets on. You are trying to be a hero on your own. You are the one not trusting me." He growls back. "So they're fine with you as a cop, but wouldn't be fine with me as a cop? Liz, you're not a very convincing liar. Either that or you think very highly of yourself. Or very lowly of me."

Elisabeth points at him. "No, Will, you didn't arrest her. You *TERRORIZED* her and blackmailed her. A girl who did nothing more than stop you on the street and ask you if I was okay. That was enough to rouse your suspcions that she knew something she shouldn't know. She said you started interrogating her right then and there. Then you hustled her into your car and attempting intimidation and blackmail to get her to agree to be some kind of informant — on what, she has no idea, mind you! — before you'd let her out of the car. This is a 19-year-old CHILD who had no idea what you intended when you took your 'wrong turn', Will." She gives him air quotes. "Are you getting any clue yet that you acted like a complete freak, and if she was smart she'd press charges because you did it in front of a witness who can testify on her behalf?? And you wonder why I don't think very highly of you right now?" She throws her hands in the air. "You are either the single densest man alive, or you're a damn good cop and a damn BAD human being, Will." She walks in a circle to cool off. "For the record, Captain, the person who gave me the information is an ex-con that I busted probably half a dozen times or more back when I was in uniform, before I became a negotiator. He's a registered Evolved, but he's had enough trouble with cops hassling him even when he's not doing something that he's not all that keen on being interrogated. And if you go at him the way you tried to go at Abby — who is perfectly innocent in all of this — he's going to flat out tell you to go fuck yourself."

"You think this girl told you the complete truth, Elisabeth? You don't think her view of things might be completely slanted. Get off your emotional high horse and use your brain." William says calmly now. "The girl came up to me, and used her ability on me in broad daylight. When I asked for her registration card, as law requires me to do, she said she had none. You think HomeSec will treat her better than I did, Elisabeth? If she uses her ability in broad daylight like that, she's lucky she ran into me." He speaks icily. "She is not the brightest girl, maybe why she got scared. I took a turn away from the place she did not want to go. Tell me why that's wrong. She was attacked at the Church, Elisabeth. By an Asian. The same Asian that attacked the school. She was pinpointed, her and her fiancee. For no reason? Then why didn't they kill anyone. She knows something Elisabeth." He says, shaking his head at her. "I did nothing wrong. Take me to court. And create bigger problems than we already have. What are you trying to do Elisabeth? Because right now showing me that you're a damn good human being, but a terrible cop. I am doing my job. I'm protecting the people I'm sworn to protect."

Shaking her head, Elisabeth says quietly now, "No… you're not. You're not protecting anyone. I don't care who's registered and who's not, because quite frankly, being registered doesn't do a damn thing *for* any of us. Except make us targets for harassment by bigots who haven't got a clue. They don't care if we're good cops, and I'll still go out there every day and bust my ass to keep them safe from people like the guy who attacked the president-elect's entourage, Will." She shakes her head. "You know what, screw you. I'm a good cop. I was a good cop before you got a swelled head by becoming the poster child for Evolved cops, and I'll keep on being a good cop long after someone figures out that you aren't even interested in looking into the information I brought you because you're more worried about investigating where it comes from than you are about investigating the information itself." She shakes her head at him. "You know…. you always struck me as a good cop. I don't know what's happened to you, but I hope you figure it out soon. If you want to talk to the person who gave me the disk, his name's Conrad Wozniak. You can look him up in the system. And I'll have him meet you in the park whenever you feel like it. He's a low-level type - boosts cars, rips people car, shit like that."

"Oh shutup, Elisabeth." William responds quickly. "Stop acting like I'm the bad guy. Your information is useless as it is. What the fuck else am I going to do with it? Have our cops look for bald british men and asians? I can't investigate your information because it's not good enough." He spits back. "Stop acting like you're the only one who can do anything right. I'm trying my best, and don't try and make me feel guilty about trying to get information that can save lives. You're acting like you're more concerned with the whinings of a nineteen year old girl," William says, giving a shake of his head. "I'm going to solve this thing, with your cooperation or without it." He pauses for a moment. "Yeah, I'll meet with him."

Elisabeth sighs at William and shakes her head. "I swear to God, you're hearing barely half of what's actually said. For what it's worth, the information's also been turned over to Matt Parkman of HomeSec. I don't think I'm the only one doing anything right. I don't care if you want information. What I do care about is the fact that it sure as hell looks to ME like you terrorized a nineteen year old kid just because she knows me. And that looks pretty damn bad. What *exactly* are you trying to solve here? The case of Washington Irving? Or the case of who told me what?"

"I terrorized no one Elisabeth. She's a girl. A not very bright girl. Can't you see that? She saw things the way she wanted to see them. I will apologize for scaring her. But all I did, was try to convince her that her ability is like everyone else's ability." He says, giving her an irritated look. "And ask her to help me. I didn't touch her, I didn't threaten to arrest her. I was just going to do what any other cop would do. Except of course for you." He says, delivering a pointed look at her. "And no, don't flatter yourself. It wasn't because she knows you. It was because of the Asian, Elisabeth. I'm a cop, I make deductions and connections." He bites his bottom lip at the last question. "Did you really ask me that question, Liz?"

Elisabeth's tone now is lower, more calm. "I did ask you. Look, you can dress it up any way you want. I came back on the job because I have something to offer this team and this city. Part of it is this ability…. and part of it is in contacts I've made over YEARS on the street. I'm not going to give you a list of every friend I have, *or* of every informant who offers me information. I *suspect* that some of the people I know may know people on these fucking vigilante groups…. and because I have no proof except for the fact that they occasionally give me useful information, I don't move on it. If I thought for a minute the people who give me information were actually involved, I'd run them in myself. But I'm far more interested in the information they're willing to share than in catching the low-level types. Aren't you?"

"Of course. That's why I didn't take Abigail in, Elisabeth. You just supported me. What are you so upset about? When I'm trying to do the same thing you're doing. I did nothing to harm that girl. I will do nothing to harm that girl. I'm sorry she got scared. That was not the intention. But she has information Elisabeth. I'm convinced she does. And maybe whatever little information she does have, I can click something together. Is that alright with you?"


"I'm *upset* because you thought it was okay to scare a kid, Will. If some guy, some cop out there, scared your sister the way you scared Abby, would you still be telling me it was okay?" Elisabeth's tone is far quieter now. "She's my friend, she's a young kid, and you scared the living shit out of her, Will. Even if she did know something about the Asian guy *and* even if she'd been inclined to help us… do you think she's going to do it now after you freaked her completely out?" She shakes her head. "And maybe, just maybe, *I'm* still freaked out about losing a bunch of cops, damn near facing off with some guy named Sylar, and being under investigation by IA my first week out of the box."

William stares at her for a moment, the anger starting to settle, steam coming off of his breath as he looks at her. Giving a soft sigh he takes a step forward, his arms coming up, slowly, and not to strike. Should she allow him he goes to collect the woman in a hug. "I'm sorry." For what, is not stated.

Surprised by the move, Elisabeth stiffens slightly, and then takes the proffered hug, returning it lightly. "You're a good cop, but damn, man….. you can be a complete dick some days. If I'd been much madder, I'da met you here with a two-by-four." She looks up at him as she draws back, her mouth quirking half upward at the corners. "This has been one of the most suck weeks of the last couple of years!"

"I've never had how to be nice courses." William offers in explanation as she backs up. He offers her a weak grin as she backs up. Giving her a little nod. His arms go back in to hug her once more, a little longer this time. He says nothing, though once he parts he shakes his head. "Want to go get coffee or something? I'll buy." He offers.

Elisabeth returns the second hug, puzzled by his actions. She wouldn't have thought they were quite this close or anything, but hey… it's Christmas and it's been a crappy week. She'll take the offered comfort where she can find it. "Sure, coffee." She turns to start walking, shoving her hands back into her coat pockets. "I know that's not entirely true…. it can't be true. I met your brother, and he seems like a real nice guy."

William visibly stiffens at that. "I'm not my brother." He says quickly as he walks alongside her on the walkway. After a moment he concedes, "He is a real nice guy. How did you meet him?" He asks, his brows perking up.

Glancing at him, Liz replies easily, "Never said you were. Just said that based on the fact that I met him, I'm pretty sure you didn't lack for examples of social graces in your parents, that's all. He came looking for you down at HQ the other day. I was in there trying to do some research on the information I brought in, hoping to come up with some names or something to give you… I think he wanted you to feed his cats," she says with a grin.

"Yeah." William says plainly. "I fed his cats." The words are said very dryly, his own hands tucked into his pockets. "I'm sorry I yelled at you." He adds in, with a little reluctance.

Elisabeth glances at him. And then she grins slightly. "No you're not." She shrugs as they walk. "I know you still don't quite get it — maybe a little now that I made you think about your own sister. But women in this country are VERY aware of exactly how vulnerable they are, especially to people deemed to be in authority. When a guy — especially a cop, who DOES have power over you — puts you in a car, takes a wrong turn, and seems to be alternating between interrogation and blackmail? A woman's first thought is rape. So yeah… I was pretty pissed at you. Next time, think it through a little more. And as for yelling at me about the other?" She shrugs some. "You're right," she admits. "I know what the law says to do about people without cards. But I *was* people without a card for a long time. I'm not even happy that I have a card now. The *only* reason I registered was to come back on the job… I knew I'd wind up using it out there, especially if I came to work for you. And if you do it voluntarily, they don't do any tests on you."

"I certainly get it Elisabeth. But this girl Abigail, how many times do I have to say it, isn't very bright." He professes. "I could have been going a different way. And even then, she didn't know where I was going. How would she know I was taking a /wrong/ turn?" He shoots out, looking over her. "And stop using the word blackmail. I was not doing that. And I was not interrogating her. I was being kind and asking questions. She got freaked out, I'm sorry." He frowns. "Yes, I am sorry for yelling at you." He says a little more sternly.

Elisabeth grins at him and says, "Well, she *assumed* you were going to run her in, I suppose. So 'wrong turn' is relative." She shrugs. "In any case, it's over anyway. She registered this morning. I walked her through processing myself." With Abby thumbing her nose at William the whole while. "And stop saying she's not bright. She's pretty damn smart — the two of you are from different perspectives. And just because she thinks her power's a gift from God doesn't make her stupid. I think that's where mine came from too, I'm just not all that religious about it, that's all." She keeps walking with him. "All right… I believe you." She looks back out over the park as they walk. "Still, I probably deserve it. Won't be the last time you yell at me if I keep working for you, though. Just thought I should warn you."

William eyes her for a moment. "Good." He says lightly. "Elisabeth.. How can you defend her intelligence? I don't care if she thinks her ability comes from God. Maybe that is where it comes from. I don't know. But she said she didn't have abilities like all the other Evolved. A faith healer. You don't have to study very hard to find Faith Healing looks quite different than what she does. Even I know that. Fasting, long times of prayer, groups, all that. What's more, is I had my brother there. Who is also a Healer." He gives her a dumbfounded look. "And she still refused to see the logic. How mmuch more obvious can you get? And why would I need to yell at you more?"

Elisabeth rolls her eyes. "Just because she has a kind of faith you don't, just because she refuses to believe that she's Evolved, doesn't make her stupid, Will," she insists. "Her worldview is one you don't share, and that's cool. But don't mistake it for either ignorance *or* stupidity. You don't know her well enough to make that judgment." She smiles slightly. "And I'm pretty sure we're going to butt heads here and there — maybe not like we did today. But I'm just letting you know up front that if stupid things pop up, I'm not going to flinch about calling you on them. And I'm also not going to run about asking for people's cards. It's my line in the sand. If I gotta arrest someone, I'll worry about adding a lack of a card to the list of their offenses as necessary, but I'm not gonna run about asking anyone on the street that I might catch using a power whether they're registered. And I have a feeling you're gonna yell at me for that kind of stuff if you catch it."

"If you don't ask for someone's card after they demonstrate an ability." William pauses for a moment. "I won't fire you, because you will be fired before I get a chance. That isn't me, Elisabeth. That's Karen Lau, that's the United States Government. Don't put your ideals above the law, Elisabeth." William goes to eye her for a moment. "You don't arrest them, you just take them to get registered. If they refuse.." He gives a little shrug. What happens them is implied by the silence.

Elisabeth merely shrugs. In truth, if she gets fired at this point… they have to catch her at it first. "This law is flawed. I'll uphold my oath, though." The one to serve and protect, etc. "By the way… got the word from IA today. They cleared it as a clean shoot, in spite of the circumstances. So I'm back on active as of today, essentially." Though not officially on duty again until Monday.

"Goodie." William says wryly. Though he allows a little grin after that. He tilts his head back. "The law isn't flawed. Sometimes people have to sacrifice for the greater good. It's a shame about the registry, it really is. But it's been proven we need it. If everyone were to register, these people would already be caught." He gives a pause. "People are putting their ideals of privacy and all that at the sacrifice of lives. You above all people would see this, I think. You were at Washington Irving." He shakes his head. "I'm willing to sacrifice a few of my rights so the rest of the country can keep theirs."

As she walks with him, Elisabeth replies quietly. "Look at it this way, Will… I don't go along asking every Hispanic person I come across for their immigration papers when they're doing something nice for someone, nor am I going to assume that people using their powers for good in a public venue are unregistered. If they're doing something questionable, I'll ask." She looks at him. "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety."

"Who said that?" William asks lifting his chin for a moment. Tucking his hands into his coat pockets he gives an irritated sigh. "Maybe we just shouldn't talk about this." The Captain says, letting out a huge puff of steam.

Elisabeth chuckles softly. "Benjamin Franklin," is her answer. She keeps walking with him and nods slowly. "All right," she replies to the suggestion not to talk about it. He knows now where she stands, and while he may not agree, it appears he's not going to do anything about it. So…. better to not push it. "What should we talk about?"

He grins a little bit. "I don't know. Whatever I talk about with you gets me in trouble." He says, letting his eyes roll back a bit. "What do you want to talk about? How's your boyfriend the antivirus?" William asks.

Elisabeth tenses slightly. His words are perhaps more truth than either of them might like. "He's recovering nicely. He'll be going home in a couple of days." Her answer is given calmly, as if there is no issue in the world with the situation.

"Good." William says cheerily, looking over to her for a moment. "I'm glad he's okay." The Captain says, growing silent after that comment. Not much to talk about indeed..

Elisabeth bites her lip a bit. "So, uhm…. I wanted to ask you what kinds of things you think I ought to be doing. What duties beyond the raid situations you might have for me. My old captain's asked me to occasionally help her out, as well, and I wanted to make sure that was all right with you."

"Investigation." William frowns. "Doing everything you possibly can and more to find out who these people are." He licks his lips. "Personally Elisabeth, I have no time to help myself out. I would rather have your undivided attention." He says, tilting his head a bit at her. "Other people can do the normal stuff. Evolved crimes unit, works on the evolved stuff."

"We'll see how my time works out, then," Liz replies mildly with a slight smile. "I've got a meeting with Wozniak in a couple of days. I'll let you know when it is so you can be there as well." She looks away from him, refusing to meet his gaze on the matter. Better to ask forgiveness than permission indeed. "I forgot to ask, by the way, am I supposed to be in uniform regularly, or are we plainclothes except when we're in riot gear? No one made very clear if we're more on the level with the detective squads or with patrol. I haven't worn my blacks since I got off patrol."

"Both." William says with a little grin. "I'm the only Captain who does patrols." He shakes his head. He gives a nod to her words about Conrad. "Good." Letting his gaze wanders, he continues on the previous subject. "If it's Evolved, we're on it, plainclothes or blacks."

Elisabeth nods. "Okay. Though I'm staying out of the blacks as much as humanly possible," she tells him with a laugh. "I hate the gun belt. I'd rather my inner pants or shoulder holsters." She slants him a cheeky grin.

William gives a little nod, just a little bit of laughter emitting once she tells him her tastes in holsters. He gives her a strange look for a moment before looking back to the path ahead of him.

"What?" Liz asks him with a grin. "Something wrong with the holsters I prefer?"

"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." —Benjamin Franklin

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