Watch Out For The Kool-Aid


cat2_icon.gif elisabeth2_icon.gif

Scene Title Watch Out For The Kool-Aid
Synopsis Cat learns of the job offer and thinks Liz is drinking the Kool-Aid
Date Jan 6, 2009

USS George Washington

Arriving back at their cabin sans armed escort, Elisabeth has a pensive expression on her face. The marines are prepping for the briefing, and Liz herself still needs to dress. She threw on slacks and a shirt, but she's planning on wearing cammie military-issued stuff for the raid, including body armor. Her blonde hair is yanked up into a ponytail, and she steps back in to find her roommate waiting. "Hey," she says tiredly. "Almost ready for the briefing?"

The other occupant is awake, showered, and half-dressed. Standing there in sports bra, pants, and jeans Cat pulls a t-shirt on over her head and tucks it into the pants, then buttons up. What follows is the upper half of the Marine combat uniform, and hands making quick work of tying hair into something approaching the style of military regulation. "Just about," she informs, tacking on a question. "What the hell was that earlier?"

Eyes settle on the blonde curiously.

"You're gonna shit bricks," Elisabeth says quiet as she moves to strip down and get into the uniform as well. Her combat boots rest under her bed. "It was a fuckin' summons to stand in front of General Autumn and the IA prick Lazzaro." She pulls her running shoes off and shimmies out of the slacks she's wearing to get into the others while she talks. "I'm fired," she says bluntly. "Not that it was unexpected. In point of fact, due to 'good behavior,'" Liz's voice drips sarcasm, "on this mission, I'm actually resigning. How'd he put it? For a more prestigious position." As she yanks the pants up, Liz drops to sit on the bed and look at Cat. "They want me on FRONTLINE's new squad in New York."

She's silent for some moments, considering what she's just been told. Cat's expression is one of mild surprise, tempered by having expected such dealings from the Feds. "That's different," she muses on breaking that silence. "I'd hoped maybe they'd play it straight, let you go back to where you came from having already squared it with the department, that you were roped into a DHS project tied to last year's defeat of the Vanguard, which the NYPD knew about. DHS too."

"But they instead are trying to rope you into a corner, pressure you to join their Gestapo." Her eyes roll, and some anger takes residence on the facial features. "It sucks, but I've got a better job for you anyway. Hadn't mentioned it in case it wasn't needed, but…"

"Some security work, and managing the recording studio. Finding talent, getting them in, giving a shot at getting started. I still have that goal of fostering Greenwich Village musicians."

It makes Elisabeth pause, startled that Cat had a job in mind for her. And a part of her…. actually wants to take that. Might be a good place to really pick up a new life. But the other part of her — the part that has stepped up each time things have come to a head — won't let her merely walk away. And Elisabeth is quiet as she finishes dressing, thinking through her thoughts before speaking them aloud.

"In actuality, they're not pressuring me to join the squad. I was free to turn it down," she says softly. 'Was' may catch Cat's attention. "The being fired part was already a given, you know? I accepted that while I was in Russia. And much as your offer appeals to me, Cat…. one of the things they're offering me with this position is the ability to take the intel we get and actually do something with it." She looks at her roommate. "It is supposed to be their job to take care of these situations… and they haven't been doing that. With the contacts I have with you and the others, we might finally be in position to start helping change things from the inside out."

Elisabeth pauses and smiles just a hair, enclosing the two of them in a bubble that extends only to them and not even to the bunks they stand in front of. "And between me, you, and the shadow… it's also a good place to allow me to keep an eye on what the hell they are doing." She drops the field then and says quietly, "I … would be honored to be able to consider that job offer if this does suit me, Cat. But… I feel like I have to at least try this."

Silence, dark eyes studying a face under blonde hair, in them is disquiet. Distress. "They're the Gestapo, Elisabeth," Cat quietly asserts some long seconds later. "You know they were part of Arthur Petrelli's plan to take power for himself, by using the serum to pad its ranks and be the only source of it. And with Arthur gone, the Company benefitted. Linderman, Angela Petrelli, and others. People who rig elections and have people locked up in secret because they feel like it, or know too much."

"Having someone inside watching them is a good thing," she allows gravely, "but also very dangerous. They can corrupt by simple association, in small degrees with seemingly little decisions. You should consider, too, they know where you came from and will be paying very close attention to see if you're drinking the Kool-Ade." She takes in a slow, deep breath.

"I considered joining the Company when Mother asked me to work with her there, claiming it's being reformed. I discussed it with a few people, as to the merits of the possibility, and decided against it for the reasons I just outlined. That, and I don't believe Mother's bullshit about the Company reforming for even half a second." It makes her eyes light with anger, that Mother went back to them.

Silence returns, which she uses to chase thoughts of that away, before she resumes in a hushed voice. "You've already made your decision. All I can really say is keep your eyes and ears open, be careful when they hand you a cup to check the contents, and be ready to run."

She doesn't dismiss the concerns. Far from it. Elisabeth's seen too much to think Cat's far wrong. Instead, she moves forward to hug her friend tightly, once more enclosing them in silence just to have the whole discussion behind the veil of no-eavesdropping. "I realize they're going to be watching me, Cat. The trick is, I can watch them too. We talked months ago about whether there was a way to get someone on the inside with this squad. And this is the chance. And yes… I'm well aware that they've got the same idea." She pulls back to look into Cat's eyes. "And I'm counting on you to be the person who kicks me in the ass — up to and including kidnapping me yet again — if you think that I've actually gone over to their side. But I've always believed in the basic system. I've always told you that we need people on the inside willing to kick ass and take names just as much as we need people on the outside to do things. Their only stipulation on this job is that I can't be running about on Phoenix operations." She grins a little. "Not that I've exactly been in the middle of them much lately anyway. And what I hope is that maybe you'll view this as a way to make soldiers go out there and get THEIR asses shot off instead of you and Helena having to get YOURS shot off." She shrugs a little. "If it works out poorly, then I'll simply walk, Cat."

Returning the embrace, Cat replies quietly. "I am who I am," she states, "my eyes are open. Frontline's actions are public, there will be efforts made to learn names of people taken by them, and tracking of what happens. I won't hesitate to remind of the Constitution's terms." She doesn't like it, at all, but it is what it is. Soldiers performing a long-term and standardized law enforcement function. It makes her mental ears ring with the sounds of goose-stepping Nazis.

"Which branch is your commission in?" she inquires. "Are they assigning you rank according to experience, and when do you report for OCS?"

"From what I gather," Elisabeth says, "FRONTLINE is to have nothing to do with taking people in. They're supposed to be essentially the Evo SWAT team. Like SCOUT, only more specialized. Not in our job description, so far as I can tell, to run about picking up people." She shrugs a little. "We'll see how that plays out. And no, I have no rank. It's a civilian contractor position. I'll go for a month of boot training in Maryland, but I'll carry no rank in a military service. The details are to be left until after this to work out."

"Maryland," Cat considers, "could be a number of things. There's Air Force, Army, and Navy in that state, but far as I know they don't do basic training anywhere but the Naval Academy."

Elisabeth nods slightly. "Pretty sure that's it." She shrugs slightly and then steps away from Cat to sit back down and pull on her combat boots, lacing them up as they talk. "It's a change of career. It's a new start. If it doesn't work out the way I want it to, I'm out of there. So… don't close the door on that job offer yet, okay?" She smiles at Cat. "It'd be nice to know I have something to fall back on besides teaching. Cuz I really don't want to do it again. Too… heart-wrenching, honestly."

"You're a born recording studio manager," Cat asserts as she reaches for the door. "See you at the briefing." It's too early for good luck, the assignment hasn't started yet, she isn't headed for Annapolis right now.

Sometime between the briefing and the mission on Marion Island there will be some time spent with intensive physical training to excise angst and get herself under focus. Without Elisabeth knowing about it.

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