This Is A Mess


cat_icon.gif elisabeth_icon.gif

Scene Title This Is A Mess
Synopsis Briefing Elisabeth about recent events.
Date October 19, 2009

The Nite Owl

The Nite Owl is a survivor from ages past - one of those ancient diners with huge plate glass windows, checkerboard linoleum floor, and a neon owl over the entrance that blinks at those entering. Inside, there's an L-shaped main counter, complete with vintage soda fountain and worn steel stools. All of the cooking is done on the ranges ranked against the rear wall. The outer wall is lined with booths upholstered in cracked scarlet vinyl, tables trimmed with polished chrome. Despite its age, it's been lovingly maintained. The air is redolent with the scent of fresh coffee, vanilla, and frying food.

Time has passed since the raid, and details begun to be tended to. Cat's spent a good deal of time since making it back to the Bronx HQ tending to Helena's commencing withdrawal and putting word around of where things stand. One of the things she did was to contact the Suresh Center and give notice of her seminars for the day being canceled. If she was asked for a reason, Cat conveniently borrowed the fake notice of her father's death which she has no doubt was arranged by Daniel Linderman.

In keeping with that article from the day before, in case she's recognized by anyone, she's clad in a conservative black dress. The color of mourning. Her features show solemnity as well, somberness, consistent with someone in the aftermath of a death in the family. But the cause is something rather different.

As she waits to be joined by Detective Harrison, Cat reflects on recent events. What could she have done differently to prevent Carolina's death? Cauterize the leg wound to prevent further blood loss instead of just pressure and sutures? And Marilena's death too, carrying a version of Helena inside. Then there's the absence of Wendy Hunter. Could the raid have been planned and carried out several days earlier, before she was moved? It wasn't supposed to be like this: it was supposed to be a thorough routing of HF ideally achieved with the help of Sparrow, who would've tunneled them right into the vault, then sealed it all off so they'd be trapped until the police arrived.

All in all, she's a stricken woman today. Cat hates to fail.

Without all the details in her hands, Elisabeth's been working with only the news that the raid happened and Helena recovered. She assumes Wendy Hunter was as well, and in truth…. she's been too busy dealing with her day-to-day life to be able to be of much use. Aside from staying at the Verb while her apartment was being cleaned and aired from the fire, Elisabeth has been very carefully keeping on the straight and narrow for the most part — in case anyone is watching. Call it paranoia if you like, but until she has to burn the career she's worked so hard for, Elisabeth will do her best to keep it.

As she enters the Nite Owl, she raises a hand in greeting toward Natasha and Tom and then slides into the booth that Cat occupies. The brunette's expression is met with a somber look from Elisabeth as she puts a silence bubble around them. "How bad?" she asks quietly. Because Helena's detention by Humanis First? Yeah… big huge HAIRY deal, and Liz knows it.

Her eyes raise from the beer in hand when she's joined, and she watches the blonde's face for a few moments before she begins to speak. Cat keeps her voice quiet, but she doesn't worry about being heard. She simply presumes Elisabeth has the Cone Of Silence up, given the question she led with. "Helena was extracted," she intones, "and is at HQ starting to experience withdrawal. Wendy Hunter was moved, time and location to unknown. I'll ask Candy about that later when we meet up, and see if Peyton has anything on that. Miss Whitney said, at the time of the raid, Emile Danko was on a motorcycle headed into New Jersey. William Dean is dead, it seems he may have executed himself. That man only did two decent things in life: inseminating Helena's mother and escorting himself off the planet."

She pauses then, taking a drink from the beer, then continues in a haunted voice. "Casualties of the raid were the body Doc put a copy of Helena in; the speedster we took to calling Marilena. And Carolina Perez of the Ferry, she'd come along to provide exit support. Portals. It's not known if Danko's aware his cell was largely wrecked or by who, the building they were using in the ruins collapsed in on itself. Hopefully he'll think it was by misuse of the explosives they planned to use in murdering Helena and framing us for something we'd never get over in the public eye."

Finally she closes her eyes and rests head on hands for a bit, maybe a theatrical thing for show to display mourning over Father, or what may be more apparent for Elisabeth. Real grief, a rare display. "It wasn't supposed to be like that."

There's a faint grimace at the news that Helena's suffering Refrain and morphine withdrawal. And sadness at the news about Wendy. Dean's death? Doesn't get more than a grim nod of acceptance. As list of casualties grows, Elisabeth's expression remains neutral though heaviness invades. "No," Liz replies quietly. "It's not supposed to be like this." She reaches across and touches Cat's hand, squeezing briefly, her other hand resting on the back of the brunette's head. "I'm sorry." The words are more than inadequate, and Elisabeth sighs quietly. "I'm glad that the casualties were so low," she admits softly. "I don't mean to sound callous, but… it could have been a lot worse. I think it will be before it gets better."

She's quiet in listening to Elisabeth speak, her eyes reopening to settle on and watch the Detective's features. "It isn't supposed to be like that," Cat quietly remarks, "we got Helena, but it still feels a failure. So many times people are taken and we can't get there in time, or at all." It seems this connects, for her, to what occurred with her lover. That this was planned to be the one time of achieving perfect success, and it didn't go right."

But in Cat fashion, she soon forces poise back into place, her penchant to not show weakness, to not seem wounded. Norman White is addressed as a topic, she calmly asks "Have you heard Sparrow Redhouse mentioned before?"

"Nothing about Humanis First is going to go right, Cat," Elisabeth consoles as best she can. "I mean…. they've taken how many of our own at this point? Including me!" She hesitates and looks away, then looks back. "And if you think I'm actually okay…. you should probably rethink it. I'm doing pretty well at hiding it most of the time. But I still have anxiety attacks that send me into my bedroom closet in the middle of the night to hide," she admits softly.

"My nightmares are manageable but not really gone. Abby's dreamwalker friend has given me a place to hide in my own brain, but…. that's not exactly dealing with it. And I've even got a weird set of locked-up memories hiding in my sanctuary there… which I assume is the block I asked for regarding Carmichael and I didn't want to break it without talking to someone who knows what's there."

She pauses.

"I'm missing…. all of my college years. The last clear memory I have is somewhere near the end of eleventh grade, and my memories don't pick back up again until just after the WTC collapse. Maybe a day or two. I don't remember…. years of my mother's life. I don't remember seeing the Towers fall. I don't remember… turning eighteen or twenty-one, my first boyfriend, my first sex… " She grimaces and says softly, "Nothing is perfect. But I'm alive. And Helena's alive. And we'll be damned if they're going to win." Her tone is firm. "I haven't heard of Sparrow, no. Who is she or he?"

"The neanderthals got lucky a few times," Cat intones quietly as her own fingers squeeze the detective's once gently. She doesn't address Elisabeth's mention of anxiety and nightmares, the panmnesiac keeps herself focused on business to be discussed. "A terrakinetic," she shares as regards Sparrow, "who I was told about months ago by T.Monk and R.Ajas. They're using the name Rebel now. Sparrow has made her way to the city, she was involved on the police side at Chinatown. Came across her late last week, told Rebel I found her. Rebel answered me for the first time since before Pinehearst, said to keep her safe because she'll be needed."

"Needed for what exactly I don't know. When I asked if it was to stop Norman, they said he isn't their concern. They also, on that subject, said they aren't supporting him. They merely believed he had something to say, and everyone deserves a chance to speak."

As she lifts the glass to take another drink, a grin briefly forms. "Rebel said Norman isn't their concern. They didn't say I shouldn't ask Sparrow to work against him."

Elisabeth facepalms. "OH fucking Christ. The technopaths are Rebel??" That's going to go over like a lead balloon, she's certain. With a sigh, she listens to the rest and looks thoughtful. "A terrakinetic to counter a terrakinetic? Well…. it's not as tidy as a negator — and Norton's entirely off the grid at this point. I haven't heard from him in weeks," she says softly. "Homeland Security's looking for him, so if you hear from him, tell him to lay low. But anyway… I'll pass the name along to Richard. And I'm pretty sure Norman's not their concern, but I hope to God the fucking nukes are." She grimaces.

"God, this is a mess." She shakes her head. "News came down through the cop grapevine too about Vanguard and nukes, so at least there's also some government activity on that front. Richard's of the opinion that we need to make a visible Evo showing of stopping Norman — you know, good Evos versus bad ones, to allow for the public opinion tide to turn. I'm inclined to agree here."

"I'd just be wary of lettting Norman look like a martyr," Cat suggests, "when he's stopped. The technopaths, though, Mr. Redbird and I spoke about them recently, he thought they might be supporting Norman. Told him I'd ask them directly, and I did." She pulls out her iPhone and gets busy with her fingers, typing the entire conversation she had with Rebel into the Notes function.

To: Rebel

From: Cat

Sparrow Redhouse found. With me now.

Keep Her Safe.

She will be needed.

You will be told when.


Rebel, is it Sparrow's task to counter Norman White and prevent the sinking of Staten Island?

Norman White is not our concern.

Some believe you are supporting and encouraging Mr. White in his actions, that you aren't opposed to the sinking of Staten Island. I am not among them.

Every man is the master of his own destiny. Every voice deserves to be heard. You are correct.

When Cat's finished with it, Elisabeth leans over to peer at the small screen and read it. She frowns, and then says quietly, "He doesn't confirm or deny support — and in truth, since we know that at least one of them is entirely bodyless," she's referring to Niki's son here, "it may be that what happens in terms of Staten really has no bearing whatsoever to what they're dealing with. Free speech…. as once pointed out, it means the right to allow other people to shout at the top of their lungs everything you disagree with." Elisabeth shrugs a bit.

"The only law White's broken in that regard is that he's using his free speech to incite a war. If he were Jewish sixty years ago and making the speeches he's making…. he'd have been heralded as a hero," she points out quietly. "Anyway, he's not. I'll pass Redhouse's name on to Richard. Anything else you want me to pass on?"

She smiles a little. "And is there anything I can do for you? I don't even get to see you when I'm living in your building, for God's sake." She shakes her head. "I'm terrified of IA following me around or something and exposing you guys."

"He did," Cat replies without batting an eye. She lifts one finger and taps the area where Rebel are asked about supporting Norman. That some believe he is, but she doesn't. Then Rebel's reply, which ends by saying she's correct not to believe he supports Norman. Her eyes watch the face to see if it registers now.

"I'm not worried about anything White says," she adds a few moments later. "He can say anything he likes, I dispute laws against speech. But his actions, which will speak louder than words, those need to not happen. Ever."

And after a bit of consideration, Cat comments "If I do, I'll let you know. Mr. Redbird and I, also, need to talk about those nukes soon. To brainstorm, if nothing else, on how we get onto a Russian base." Silence, then, as she enjoys her beer before heading back to Helena.

Re-reading, Elisabeth ohs! "Well, I didn't read it quite that way, but all right. And yeah… the actions definitely need to NOT happen." She smiles faintly, not really amused. "That, I think we all agree on." She looks puzzled. "I thought they only GOT them from the Russian base.. not that they were still there," she offers. "Might want to verify that part of the intel. Whether they're still sitting there versus have already been removed."

She sits with her friend, though, and shares a beer, offering her silent support. There is little more she can offer except to say to Cat as they both leave, "Let Helena know… I'm thinking of her. If she… wants visitors or … to talk. I'm here. I'm moving back into my apartment tonight, but … you know how to get me." And then she heads off.

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