Till They Can Find Their Way In The Dark


colette4_icon.gif elisabeth_icon.gif

Scene Title Till They Can Find Their Way In The Dark
Synopsis Elisabeth checks in with Colette after the attempted kidnapping at Raytech.
Date February 2, 2021

The Watchtower
Red Hook

February 2nd
3:04 pm

The door to the main bullpen of SCOUT's team is propped open, so the Lieutenant's entrance is at least not a slammed door. Generally speaking, Elisabeth keeps her cool at work. The only other time Colette has seen her with the kind of frown that currently pulls her brows low and makes her look rather intimidating was the day she stalked out of here with Kaylee on her heels. They found out shortly thereafter that Richard Ray was kidnapped. Come to think of it, it's almost exactly a year later…

The expression and the subtle, indistinct hum that buzzes just below the threshold of human hearing don't bode well.

The blonde pauses near the door, slanting a look toward her own office and then toward the Captain's. He's in there on the phone and indecision briefly passes across Elisabeth's face. She really doesn't want to deal with facing him — by now she's quite sure the information has reached him that the kidnapping attempt at RayTech wasn't just thwarted, that his lieutenant potentially brain-damaged the perpetrator with lethal force. The argument can certainly be made that it was warranted… but then again, the law still hasn't caught up things like this.

And besides, those assholes put hands on people she cares about deeply and they were far too close to her children.

Her blue eyes fall on Colette and she offers the younger woman a strained smile. "Morning, Demsky. How's it looking?" With Felix, Abby, and Kaylee out for varying medical concerns, she and Colette are the only ones left standing, it feels like. They are hellaciously busy some days. Other days there is a lot of thumb-twiddling. And paperwork, because the world revolves around its paperwork.

Colette looks expectedly exhausted for all the work they’ve been pulling. She doesn’t sit up from her desk, just stays with her head in one hand and coffee in the other. “Pippa’s staying with me for a while,” she hadn’t had the time to tell Elisabeth yesterday with being off-site all day. “With… everything Nicole’s going through, it’s—” She shakes her head. “Hugo and her get along at least.”

But now Colette Demsky, the child Elisabeth once knew, is taking care of two children. In a way it’s—

“Like the Lighthouse all over again.” Colette jokes, lifting her head up to look at Elisabeth. “Just uh, y’know, less fear of the feds.” She manages a smile at that, taking a sip of her coffee and slipping into something more professional.

“How’re you holding up? I heard something went down at Raytech last night but everyone’s scarce on details.” Colette pivots in her chair, cradling her coffee between both hands now as she gives Elisabeth her full attention.

She'd chuckle if the situation weren't so fucked up. Instead Elisabeth breathes out a long sigh. "Let me know if you need a hand, yeah? Pippa's a sweetheart and my kids like her a lot — play dates and stuff are a thing now."

The blue eyes are troubled as she moves to drop into a seat across from Colette. "Someone tried to snatch Jac right out from under my nose. I think they were going for Abby too." A flash of emotion passes fleetingly across her features before disappearing but Colette knows her well enough to recognize the rage. "Two perps, one is some kind of portal teleporter. The other was some kind of audiokinetic…." She pauses. "Not sure he's gonna wake up again."

A glance is cast toward Wilson's office, but Elisabeth isn't so much worried as she is resigned. "Not honestly sure I give a shit except that we need some answers."

Jesus,” Colette hisses in a whisper. She leans forward, as is conspiratorially. It feels like the old days. “Because of the—the shit with the plane crash? Is this the same people that grabbed them before? Do you know who the fuck they are?”

Colette’s questions come one after the other, eyes wide and hackles raised from the sharp tone in her voice. She looks down the bullpen, then back to Elisabeth with a shake of her head. There’s nerves there, nerves from decades-old wounds splitting back open; fear of abductions, fear of imprisonment, fear of executions.

The grimace that Elisabeth offers holds the same emotions Colette is feeling. "It's almost definitely related — I'd give that a 90 percent probability," she replies in a low voice. "Still not sure who they are… but I have a clue. What catches my attention most is that they were speaking German. At least I'm pretty sure it was German — if not, it was a European Germanic language." The blonde speaks fluent Russian and it wasn't that, but it had the harsher, more guttural pronunciations of similar languages. "I'm wondering about the Renautas company. It's something I'm going to be looking at closely, even though SESA has the lead on the investigation."

Dragging a hand through her hair, Elisabeth looks aggravated. And worried. "Colette…" She wishes she could tell the younger woman she's wrong to worry. "Keep as good an eye on Nicole as she'll allow, okay?" The dream that the Bitch-Entity showed her months ago is haunting her lately.

“Fuck if I can,” Colette says with a stressed with, raking her fingers through her hair. “She’s a fucking stubborn mule and will not let me help. Zachery had to be the one to drop Pippa off on my fucking doorstep in the middle of the night because he was—afraid Nicole might—” She cuts herself off, sitting forward and resting her head in a hand for a moment.

“I don’t know how t’get through t’her. But I mean, after losing the twins like that I—” Colette shakes her head and looks up to Liz. “I don’t even know the fuck I could do. There’s not—there’s no words’r shit to make that better. And she won’t let me in.” Her blind eyes wander down to the floor again, words unsaid bounce behind her teeth.

When she finally looks back up to Elisabeth, Colette refocuses the conversation. “Who’s the Renautas company? I don’t recognize it.”

"I'm so sorry." The sincerity in Elisabeth's face is unmistakable. She thinks highly of Nicole and she hates that the other woman is dealing with such agonizing emotional trauma. She can't even wrap her head around how much pain Nicole and Zachery have to be in. She sighs heavily. "Just… keep reaching out, okay? Even if she won't tell you shit and even if there aren't words to make anything better, it does help a little to know that you're not as alone as you feel. To know that even if it's just sitting next to you in the silence, they're there." It's the only tiny bit of hope she can offer.

Dragging a hand through her hair, the blonde shifts focus. "It's a European nanotech company," Elisabeth replies quietly. "And the more we're learning about what happened to the whole group of them, the more I've been wondering — who would have the tech to do what has been done to them. Honestly, my whole focus was on whether or not it was some kind Praxis subsidiary somewhere or even a Company spin-off or something. And since it's not our case, I haven't been exactly in the loop or anything. But… when they came to grab Jac and maybe Abby… German gave me another thought on the matter and in looking up nanotech… the name Renautas has significance. At least to me, it does."

Shaking her head, Liz says, "They're not allowed to operate on US soil. I've met a version of Walter Renautas. Not for nothing, he originally had some Company connections, I think. Or at least…. Connections to the founders of that place." That's a long, convoluted story. "Anyway… it's a long shot, but it's something I'm curious about." Especially now. Nanotech is a pretty rarefied field, after all.

Colette glances up her row, watching Mira at her desk typing away, then back to Elisabeth. She rolls her chair closer, voice lowered even though she knows no sound will escape between them. For a moment Colette is just silent, looking up at Elisabeth with those blind eyes. She’s debating something, and common sense loses another battle with her.

“Hold up,” Colette says with a slow raise of her hands, palms up. “What’s the plane crash have to do with fucking… nanotech or any of this?” She searches Elisabeth’s eyes. “Do you know what happened to Nicole? To—to all of them?”

"Not much," Elisabeth replies. "I just know that something was done to them and whatever it was, they're not reading as Expressive anymore and that they can't be scanned properly." She shakes her head slightly and says, "That kind of experimentation … I've been worried it's like what happened to Devon, you know? Clones of some kind. But … Abby found out there's some kind of nanotech bugs in her brain." Her tone is grim. "Something about the stroke maybe overloaded them or something, but they found them in her bloodstream. So I've been looking into who the fuck might be doing that kind of work in my spare time. I wasn't thinking overseas possibilities — and I probably should have been, given what happened to Richard last year. I just…"

She shoves a hand through her hair. "I have a couple people I'm going to reach out to — I don't know if they'll have any information either. But I don't fucking like coincidence. And a company built by someone with ties to those Founders that develops Evo-related nanotech? That's one of those coincidences that I'm a little paranoid about."

Colette sighs, scrubbing her hands up and down her face with a nod. “This has been like reading about a fucking car accident on the internet. I get these little horrifying updates from other people every so often and I just have to infer how they fit together.”

Fixing her stare on the floor, or at least appearing to, Colette slouches forward and rests her elbows on her knees. “I wish I had… I don’t know, even like a little fucking way to help. Tamara’s not around, she left after Christmas to go knock over some dominoes somewhere, she just said everything would be ok and…” Colette spreads her hands. “I dunno.”

With a nod, Elisabeth can't help the grimace. "Believe me, I understand how you feel," she replies with a heavy sigh. "This is as helpless as I've felt in years. Abby and Kaylee are both putting on brave faces but… Abby's hurting. All the time. And for Kaylee, I can't …" She closes her head and turns her face to the side. "The silence in her head must be deafening," she finishes softly.

There's a long moment of silence and Elisabeth opens her eyes again to look at Colette. "Letty, seriously… I know she's pushing you away? But just… keep reaching out, okay? Whatever the hell is going on in all of this, there's a thread somewhere. And I know some of the best minds in the business are working on it."

She pauses, and then murmurs, "I used to complain about Edward fucking Ray's road maps. But I really wish we had one about now."

“Flying blind ain’t what it’s cut out to be,” Colette agrees with a rueful laugh and a shake of her head.

“Kaylee’s not returning my texts or calls, but I can keep at her and Nicole.” Colette says quietly. “I feel like I might have more luck with Kaylee, honestly. Nicole’s… she’s stubborn on the best of days, and she’ll always see me as her baby sister that she needs to protect from all the fuckin’ troubles of the world.”

Colette sighs, running her hands through her hair. “I figured, after the war, things’d get easier.” The disappointment in her tone shows just how much they haven’t.

A small smirk quirks Liz's lips and she murmurs, "It's hard sometimes. My father still feels the same about me too, Colette." She reaches out and squeezes The younger woman's arm. "Nicole may not be trying to protect you so much as…. trying to protect herself. To hold herself together because if she lets herself talk about it and feel it… it becomes real." And talk about a tsunami of heartache. "I can't imagine how much she's hurting. You're doing the only thing you can for her, though — holding on tight."

There's a faint grimace on her features. "Kaylee is responding to things, but she isn't really saying much of anything either. I know she's scared. Who wouldn't be?" Elisabeth sighs softly. "I can't even do my fucking job and keep the people in my own building safe, so believe me — I'm in the same boat of helpless fury."

“There’s gotta be something else we can do,” Colette says with a shake of her head, looking up to Liz. “Being a fucking—support network while everyone we love just fucking melts down around us is bullshit.”

"I feel that," Liz replies in a mildly disgruntled tone. "Between this shit and the Entity shit, Letty, I'm chafing at the bit too. I promised Abby I'd keep her safe. She's a fucking mess. The stroke fucked her over physically but she took the kids and was jumping fucking balconies in her condition." There is a major amount of frustration behind her words. "And what really pisses me off more than anything else?" She hesitates and admits, "is that my fucking paranoia is the only reason they had a head start."

She looks at her companion, blue eyes turbulent. "And no one seems to have any clue who or why. It's feeling way the hell too much like the old days." And she Does. Not. Like. "I have a meeting with Agent Hall tomorrow — the liaison to RayTech from the DoE — so maybe something will pop. Besides my fucking temper and some guy's brain," she observes grimly.

Colette can’t help but laugh at that, even though it’s a bit restrained. “Shit isn’t as simple as it used to be, Liz. We knew who our enemy was back then, y’know? It was the government,” and she gestures around the room, “it was the cops. It was all the people in positions of power. Shit’s completely upside down now. We’re the ones with all the power, and everyone stirring up shit and causing trouble’s using the same tricks we did back in the day to stay off our radar.”

Shaking her head, Colette slouches back into her chair and runs her hands through her hair. “It’s like peeping through a keyhole. If you’re right up against it, you can see through it fine. But if you’re across the room, you can’t see shit. We’re across the room now, Liz, and the people on the other side of the keyhole could be anyone.” Colette says as she props her elbow up on her desk, then rests her head in her hand.

“I just feel fuckin’ helpless.” Colette adds in a whisper.

After a long moment of considering Colette's analogy, Elisabeth sighs heavily. "Yeah," she agrees quietly. "Me too." It's a horrible feeling and it gnaws at the pit of her stomach. She wishes she could say something, anything, that would help but, as usual of late, there just isn't anything. "No good deed goes unpunished, yeah?" Too bad she's not joking.

Pushing to her feet, Liz drops a hand on Colette's shoulder and squeezes. She might want off this merry-go-round from Hell, but… the only way out, as always, is forward. "If I figure anything out, I'll let you know. I promise. Meanwhile… just keep doing what you're doing, kiddo," she says wearily. "It's all we can do until someone kicks in the door that keyhole is attached to."

Colette glances to the hand, then looks up to Elisabeth. “Yeah,” she agrees in the same heavy tone of voice. She musters the strongest smile she can, which isn’t very, and slips out from under Elisabeth’s hand and gets to her feet.

“C’mon, let’s get a shitty coffee.”

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