Underground Breakdown


elisabeth2_icon.gif jaiden_icon.gif

Scene Title Underground Breakdown
Synopsis Looking for a place to take a break, Elisabeth finds Jaiden at home… both share the bad news and the good.
Date November 18, 2010

Jaiden's Apartment

It's a bit after lunch when Abby heads out, brown hair and brown eyes in tow, leaving the solitude and safety of Jaiden's underground apartment. From outside, the place looks abandoned, and all the bars and grates and the like give a rather quaint 'go the fuck away' vibe to the place. But those in the know - those Jaiden trusts, knows that there's a way in, a safe way, and all that they could possibly need is in that garage somewhere.

The sound of dishes clinking can be heard, Jaiden washing up. The smell of chicken curry is heavy in the air - canned vegetables instead of fresh ones, of course, but you can't be choosy when the city is under a stranglehold like it is.

In the bedroom, on Jaiden's bed, Delia's unconscious form rests, a comforter pulled up beneath her armpits, an IV stuck in her right arm, keeping her hydrated for as long as she's in this coma. He checks on her every now and again, to stroke her hand, to brush her hair - to let her know he's there, even if she's not. Dishes done, Jaiden sits in his chair, flipping through a copy of Lord of the Rings, stopping, re-reading, and stopping again while piano plays on the CD player in the corner - it's not time for NPR's news yet, assuming they're even broadcasting. In Red Hook, he'd wager that this is the only place with electricity, clean, running water, and food, thanks to large amounts of preparation and a large solar array mounted out of sight on the roof to charge the batteries. His shortwave radio sits near his right hand, tuned to the police bands where the news of the day - more looting, more arrests - comes in.

Considering that Elisabeth's base is in Red Hook, it's not the only place with power. And getting out here without drawing attention to it is a challenge right now. But Liz manages, and the lock on the door slips open silently. It's not actually that she's looking for Jaiden. She has no idea that he's even back. More or less, she was going to ground — looking for a place to hide. The exhausted blonde is shocked to find the lights on and the smell of food in the air. She pulls her pistol, stepping into the more open area with the black weapon held out in front of her with competent hands. It's only then that she spots Jaiden himself. And blue eyes go wide as they fall on him. Apparently she's rendered speechless.

Footsteps on the stairs are a rare occurrence these days, and the fact that someone is heading down means that it's someone Jaiden gave access too. There's too many variables for someone to just luck into getting the doors open without him knowing about it and not knowing the combinations or anything like that is pretty minor, but still, he does rise to his feet when the door opens.

Dressed in his usual gear - clean, thank god, due to having a shower that works with hot water - he waits by his chair to see who it is, and when Elisabeth comes into view, it is he that is rendered a bit speechless.

The gun helps with that, too.

"No need for that here, Lizzie-girl." His voice is soft and calm when he finds his words. "Close the door and come in. I've got some curry and rice if you'd like it." It's a rather bizarre scene - Jaiden's suburban lifestyle in the middle of a riot zone. Keeping a plan and sticking to it seems to have worked just fine for him.

There's a fine trembling in her slender hands as she lowers the weapon, and Elisabeth's voice has a rough-edged quality to it. "I didn't know you were back in the city. What the hell are you doing back in the city? Isn't going back and forth dangerous?" She moves to holster the weapon in the front innerpants holster that she favors in her civvies, the butt of the pistol nearly invisible against the black shirt and jeans she's wearing. The color does little but wash her out and make her look wan tonight. "Curry sounds wonderful," she admits. It's damn cold outside. She'd been planning on a simple can of soup sitting in his sanctuary, honestly.

"Yeah, it is dangerous., but being out there meant I was watching. Being here means I can help. And besides.." Jaiden's book is laid on the armchair, the spine up to keep his place, as if it matters. He's read the book so many times that he could go to any spot and pick up from there. "Delia couldn't stay there." He points to the girl in his bed, hooked up to an IV and unconscious. "She went out and never came back…we're trying to find her now."

With a motion over his shoulder he heads to the kitchen, retrieving plastic containers with rice and curry, still warm. "Probably could use a bit of microwaving, but it's fresh and it's good. A little spicy, if you're not used to it, but…" There's a small shrug, some of each being ladled into a bowl and put into the microwave. "Hot food is good food when you're hungry."

It's perhaps testament to just how tired Elisabeth is — how much of her energy reserves it took her to get here this late in the afternoon — that she only now notices the redhead in the bed. "Shit," she murmurs softly, her brows pulling together. "I hope she's okay?" she asks. "Jaiden…. Abby needs an egress out of the city. I'm actually really glad you're here," she admits softly. And then she moves to sit in the chair he so recently vacated, curling into the warm spot he left behind and pulling her black fleece jacket tighter around her. "I'm sure it'll be fine," she murmurs absently in belated response to the food. "The raids on the safehouses…. how bad?" Because that honestly has always been one of her nightmares — that she would be the cause of another safehouse being raided. That she was in the middle of Roosevelt Island instead and heard secondhand is worse in some ways — it means she wasn't in a position to try to help.

While the microwave hums, it's magical powers causing the curry to warm up to piping hot, Jaiden moves over to help Elisabeth to a seat. She does look exhausted, but right now there's really nothing that Jaiden can do other than be supportive to one of the other women he considers a very close friend. "Abby was here earlier today. She and I talked and she's got a way out that doesn't involve roads or boats or planes. She'll be out of the city before you know it. The safe houses? Well…." Jaiden hangs his head and sits on the arm of the chair. "Not many left. One of the council of the Ferrymen turned on the rest. I think two were killed, three were arrested and the others….dunno. Out of the city somewhere. We've got about 70 out of the city….I think this?" he lifts his arms to indicate the garage around him. "This is the only one I know that's still active and untouched."

The microwave goes *ding* and Jaiden gets up to get the bowl, bringing it over on a plate with a spoon and a glass of milk to help soothe the burn of the curry.

There is sadness in her expression, and Elisabeth nods a little as he explains the situation. "All right," she says softly. "You're welcome to pass along to them that I'll send what information I can, but so far as I'm aware, all of the targets that were exposed have been hit and it's over. There have been no additional names or locations sent through for FRONTLINE to raid. That doesnt' mean there won't be," she admits quietly. "But I'll give them as much advance notice as I can if it comes at me."

She reaches up to take the plate, her hand still trembling slightly. Her voice still hasn't lost the husky edge to it, though perhaps in a couple more days it'll be back to normal. "How're you doing?" she asks. "Any damage I should know about?"

"Thank god for small miracles. And it seems the visions weren't entirely true….I'm still here, and you're still here, for better or worse. I'll pass that up through the chain whenever I can. The fact that everything you knew about as FRONTLINE was hit will be a relief to a good portion of people, I think."

Jaiden sits on the chair's arm, a wide overstuffed one, and leans back, kicking one foot as he watches Elisabeth eat. "I'm as right as rain, Lizzie. No hurts to speak of. Just a little tired - but I guess that goes with the territory now. Any word on what's going on? Are the riots basically over? Are the crowds just looking for answers now? I get a little news, but it's only what I hear on the shortwave and NPR…and even they're just giving the sanitized version."

"Right now, it appears things are mostly contained. Martial law is going to hold for months, though…. which means it's going to get worse before it gets better," Elisabeth admits softly. She sets the plate in her lap, not really eating it as yet. More toying with it. "We lost most of the FRONTLINE squad. I've been promoted to operations director for the Manhattan branch. Staten Island is getting its own squad." She nibbles her lips. "I'm not honestly sure where we go from here, Jaiden. There are a lot of variables." She keeps her blue eyes on the food so he can't see the shimmer of tears that she's too tired to keep out of her eyes. "I've got some irons already on the fire in terms of sorting out what comes next, but right now it's all about regrouping."

"I know this is going to sound strange, but tell me what you need to have happen. If I need to come in out of the cold and suit up, I won't have too much trouble doing it but…." Jaiden shrugs, reaching out to brush the tears from her cheeks, his fingers soft, light against her skin. "If I can help, I will."

She takes a deep breath and shakes her head. "No," Elisabeth says softly. "You do what needs doing for Delia and the Ferry right now," she tells him. "I know where to find you if I need you. And in all honesty, all you'd be doing at this moment is playing the waiting game." She shakes her head. "I'm tied up learning how to run FRONTLINE on this end, and I've got Peyton keeping track of the people we've got in jail and running Redbird. Richard's…." She bites her lip. "He went walkabout." Of all the people to say that to, Jaiden will know what it means. He's not out simply doing things that need doing — he's gone to ground in his own way.

"Fuuuuuck…" Jaiden leans back with a groan, his head tilting back to look at the nondescript ceiling, painted black to make it seem roomier in here. She knows that she thought she was going to die and left a USB drive for Cardinal just in case she didn't make it back, but him going away? It seems to be something she didn't count on. "He'll be back. He's like a cockroach - it'll take a nuclear war to have a chance to snuff him out. He'll be fine." And he sounds quite convincing when he says it, too. "Seriously…you've got my number, you've got keys to this place. If you need a break, or a hand, or anything, you come get me or call me on the shortwave. I'll be to you as fast as I can."

It's far worse than he knows. And Elisabeth's confided the entire truth in one perso… well, TWO people in one body, anyway. And that's as far as she's willing to go. "He'll be back," she murmurs quietly, still toying with the food. "I've got enough shit on my plate and it's not like we're going to be making any strides for a while anyway." Not exactly true, but perhaps close enough for government work — of which she's doing a lot. "That drive I gave you? I'm … gonna need it back. Some things have shifted enough that I need to update it. I'll bring it back to you for safekeeping when I'm done." She smiles a little. "I could use the break — I blew out my ability on Roosevelt and we're not sure what the long-term effects will be. So I'm sticking close to the base and Redbird a lot. If you need me, you have my cell." It's as secure as she can make it, what with Wireless's mad skillz on encrypting the thing.

Cell service is still up? Jaiden figured that would be one of the first things to be turned off during the riots, only doled out in small sections to those the company or the government wants to keep happy. "Well, Shower's open, hot water tank's full, and I've got enough pajamas and the like to keep you clothed while your clothes are washed. So, time for me to be an asshole. Eat your food, then go take a hot bath. That's an order, Lizzie."

She's going to follow those orders…. and probably fall asleep in the tub. Letting Jaiden take care of her is altogether too easy. The blonde needs someone to fuss a little, and Felix….. well, he can, but it looks funny on the base. She's likely to snooze on his couch for a long while as well. But she has to get back to the base before curfew.

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