Vertical Movement


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Scene Title Vertical Movement
Synopsis On the eve of receiving her medal of valor from Governor Malden, Elisabeth Harrison is called into Sarisa Kershner's office for an unexpected reason…
Date October 11, 2010

Textile Factory 17

It's been five days since the incident at Columbia University, five days since the chaos and the loss of life. Now, just a few hours before the awarding ceremony at City Hall with Governor Malden, Elisabeth Harrison finaly finds herself called into Director Sarisa Kershner's office at the headquarters of FRONTLINE New York, Textile Factory 17.

Gone is Sarisa's usual stoic demeanor, replaced instead by a more amenable atmosphere of relaxed posture and even something as normally fleeting as a smile. Seated atop her desk with one leg crossed over the other and hanging down the front, Sarisa seems markedly more casual than usual, head tipping to the side as Elisabeth strps in from the stairwell.

On the television screen in the office, a muted news broadcast shows the faces of members of New York's FRONTLINE group above a banner that reads New York City's Heroes, along with a broadcast journalist talking silently. "Everyone is cheering for you today…" is Sarisa's greeting, followed by the blonde sitting forward and folding her hands in her lap.

"I'm sorry it took this long to get to see you, but it's not every day the Secretary of the Department of Evolved Affairs nearly gets murdered," there's a lift of one of Sarisa's brows at that. "It's made things a little hectic."

Dressed in the nicer of the black-on-black outfits that FRONTLINE tends to wear as day-to-day uniforms, Elisabeth made an effort to pin her hair up nicely and even pressed the gear she's wearing. It's not quite the police dress blues, but it's damn close. She looks about as close to militarily pressed and dressed as she gets.

Being summoned to Sarisa's office has most of the time heralded an ass-chewing of epic proportions. And hell… the medal thing? Liz … well, to say she feels wierd about it might be an overstatement. Instead, she more feels like she didn't do anything out of the ordinary. It was her job and she did it. So when Sarisa smiles about it, Elisabeth sort of squirms. "Yes, ma'am," she replies diffidently. "Apparently so." And in the back of her mind has to wonder how soon it'll go to shit, cuz… cheering for Evos? Yeah. Half the crowd. The other half is probably waiting to throw tomatoes.

"It's all right, I didn't expect a face-to-face on the topic," Liz adds. "You have far more important things to do, and it's not like I did anything special. It was my job."

"Your job typically involves far less glamorous things than saving someone in a cabinet-level position to the President," Sarisa explains with a wryness to her smile. "Furthermore, your team deserves it." Notably, Rachel Mills wasn't put up for a medal, likely because her fight or flight instincts landed her in Arkansas following the empathic panic-attack, with little way to get back.

Sliding down off of her desk, Sarisa's feet touch down on the floor with a click of her heels. "If it wasn't for you that audiokinetic probably would have killed the officers who were on him, if it wasn't for you Sanderson would likely be dead. You short-change yourself too much when it comes to this job. This isn't the military, much as it might feel like it, we're not all cogs in a greater machine. In FRONTLINE, everyone is an individual."

Sarisa's hands sweep behind herself, one gloved hand grasping the other. "I want you to know that I'm proud of the work you've done for us, for this city. I know you and I tend to butt heads quite a bit, and…" Sarisa's eyes hood partway, "there is admittedly one other thing I'd like to bring up while you're here."

Elisabeth laughs. "The glamorous part was like all glamorous parts — 95 percent adrenaline and 5 percent panic," she retorts good-naturedly. And then Sarisa outlines what the audiokinetic was doing. She has rarely — no, make that never — actually admitted to the extent of her own knowledge of her abilities. Her chin comes up and she says out loud for the first time, "What I can do is not as … easily dismissed as most people assume. He was strong. Strong enough to slough flesh off bones. I don't know if I can do that, but I do know that I can liquefy internal organs. The fact that they had an audiokinetic is intel we could have used beforehand, and I'm pissed we didn't," she admits quietly.

Crossing her arms, Elisabeth nods slowly, "Thank you, Agent Kershner. I appreciate the compliment. Whatever issues you and I have, I do my best for this team." She tilts her head and waits, watching with cool blue eyes for the other thing Sarisa wants to bring up."

"You can be upset about the lack of intel all you want, but the fact of the matter remains that DHS doesn't know their ass from the elbow as far as Messiah is concerned, and it bothers me." Moving her hands in front of herself, Sarisa crosses her arms and walks over towards the television, where the news broadcast has begun to show footage from the day Columbia University was attacked, aerial helicopter footage of the chaos in the commons, followed by the screen darkening as Sarisa reaches out and turns it off.

"I'd like you to replace me as Operations Director as of next year." There's no warm-up to that as Sarisa twists, looking back over her shoulder to Elisabeth. "I'm going to be accepting a position to work as Operations Director of the Staten Island team being put together right now, and the DoD asked me to name a replacement. If you're amenable to the idea, I'd like to name you. You're the most organized, best suited, and best connected individual I could hope to carry on my duties here in my absence."

One black brow slowly rises. "Spring, next year. What do you say, Harrison?"

Well, talk about stunning an audiokinetic into absolute silence. You could hear a fucking pin drop in this room. Elisabeth stares at her. "You….. " Her brows pull together. "Ma'am…. " She drops the formality altogether. "What the fuck? I mean…. okay, let's just lay all the cards on the table here. What exactly are you asking me? And …. why are you asking me to take this job?" She's entirely flabbergasted. "Spalding's going to shit a brick!"

"Spalding isn't administration and he knows it," Sarisa admits without a monent's hesitation, "Michael Spalding is a rank and file soldier who is spectacular at his job. He's more at home on the field of battle than he ever would be behind a desk. With Thulani having been sent out West to the California team, there's no one else with as strong an administrative background as you. I've already had a discussion about this with Spalding and he thinks it's a good fit. Everyone on the team likes you."

Sarisa moves to sit down on her desk again, carefully crossing one leg over the other and folding her hands in her lap. "My position here as Operations Director was always going to be temporary after General Autumn was murdered. I'm the head of the entire FRONTLINE organization now, Harrison, I can't afford to spend as much time as I do here behind this desk orchestrating teams. I'm going to be spending much more time in Washington coming up, and when the Staten Island team is finalized I'll only be there long enough to ensure that they find a suitable Ops Director who can fill my shoes."

Lifting up a gloved hand to thread blonde hair behind one ear, Sarisa crooks her mouth into a smile. "You can say no, but I think you and I both know this is a huge vertical career move for you. You're a natural-born leader, Harrison, and I need you to put those talents to work where they'll be best suited."

Elisabeth's frown doesn't abate…. but she'd be a liar if she said that her pulse didn't pick up at the possibilities that just opened up for her. "Assuming I don't hang myself over the next six months with my … extracurricular activites?" she asks archly. "Or are you counting on that being an ace in your pocket?"

"What and who you do in your spare time doesn't matter a lick to me Harrison. When it impacts your job I'll be sure to fall down on you like a pile of bricks, but until such a time comes I will continue to profess my ignorance as to whatever it is you choose to perform on a day-to-day basis. But be advised, if word does get to me that you're mishandling your authtority in order to utilize FRONTLINE for your own personal ends, I will bury you." Sarisa's blue eyes narrow at that, but she's still smiling.

"I figure we're both crystal clear on that point, though. So just, keep your nose as clean as anyone else can tell," her head tips down towards Elisabeth, "and you won't have any problems with upper management."

There's a long pause, and Elisabeth seems flummoxed. As if processing this is… giving her a bit of an issue. "Just so we're on the same page, ma'am…." Her arms haven't come uncrossed from her chest yet, an entirely unconscious defensive posture as she carefully verifies her footing. "We're still going after the Institute, and so long as I'm not fucking around sending FRONTLINE operatives where they've got no business, we're square?" She knows how to handle doing THAT job quite well, thanks. Liz bites the corner of her lip. "Yes, ma'am…. I sure as hell think I'd like that job, if the situation in the spring allows it." Her mind is whirling with anxiety, possibility, and even some amount of panic but none of that shows in her expression.

"We're going to clean up the entire country," Sarisa states with no small sense of conviction. "Starting with the Institute, and ending with Mister Petrelli himself." One manicured brow on the blonde's head lifts slowly at that sentiment. "When we're done, this country will be back on the right track, and no one in this fine nation will be any bit the wiser, either. I assure you, Harrison, that this is just one step on the way to healing the world."

Looking down to the paperweight clock on her desk, Sarisa lifts one brow, then looks back up to Elisabeth. "We should get going, you have a Governor to shake hands with and I need to make sure Ivanov doesn't look like a startled grayhound dog while he's up on the steps of City Hall." Hopping once more off of her desk, Sarisa offers a lopsided smile to Elisabeth.

"Oh and, keep this promotion noise between you, me and the shadows for the time being?" Blue eyes regard Elisabeth with askance angle. "The last thing I need is telegraphing my moves to opposition just yet."

Elisabeth laughs quietly about the greyhound dog comment. Cuz poor Felix always looks that way. She shakes her head slightly at it, and then her expression goes a bit more pensive. "It'll stay there," she assures her boss, honestly grateful that the woman's also given overt permission for certain others to hear it. Because it's not like Elisabeth is going to keep that info from him. Assuming she doesn't die in the next six months, she's going to be …. holy shit. Liz is … boggled. "Yeah, I guess we better head over there," she murmurs. Her arms uncross and she takes in a deep breath, blowing it out slowly.

Somewhere the world just shifted a few degrees on its axis.

She's sure of it.

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