We Need To Talk


graeme2_icon.gif jaiden_icon.gif ygraine2_icon.gif

Scene Title We Need to Talk
Synopsis After their mutual charge gets taken into government care, the trio previously guarding Remi attempt to figure out what to do next.
Date March 22, 2011

An hotel suite, close by Remi's hospital

Ygraine's return to the aparthotel suite was preceded by urgent, angry-sounding phone calls that awoke her companions - though they delivered little more by way of a message than "We need to talk. Now. I'll be there in a couple of minutes." They did, however, follow on the heels of texts saying 'Mystery goons in suits here. Trying to find out more', that can be rather redundantly discovered in the aftermath.

At this pesent moment, she's wrestling with the task of opening the door while having only one hand available to manipulate both key and handle - resulting in a hefty dose of warning clattering, before she forces her way inside, kicking it shut behind her, then heading straight for the suite's living room.

Normally Jaiden would be asleep, but he's pacing presently, with a cup of coffee gripped tightly, white knuckled, in his right hand. He paces, stares out the window, turns, paces some more, back and forth, back and forth - like he was going to wear a hole in the carpet.

Graeme looks up. He's situated on the couch, with pillows stolen from two of the beds, and he'd actually been managing to sleep somewhat, though only after Jaiden insisted that he ought to. He'd woken up about ten minutes ago when called, and so he's still a little groggy, not quite there from the last effects of the meds that have done a decent job at getting him to sleep not wearing off yet, and so Ygraine's entrance is perhaps more startling than usual. "Ygraine?" Carefully, Graeme tries to sit up a bit more.

Ygraine tosses her bag onto a chair, starts pacing to mirror Jaiden, pauses, then delves into a coat pocket and hauls out her portable white noise generator. It's turned on and set down on the coffee table with a very firm click.

"The good news is that Liz is aware of what's happening and'll get back to us ASAP. The bad news? A… Special Agent Audrey Hanson has taken her into DHS custody. Or care. Or witness protection. Or something. With enough authority that unless you're family they won't even tell you what's up. Let alone why. Or where they might take her if they decide that, perhaps, a public hospital doesn't suit their needs. Fortunately, the Frontline guard told me that Liz'd let us know what's going on, but… I'm scared that I've bloody well lost Remi."

This revelation stops Jaiden mid-pace, in between the couch and the window that overlooks the street below where cars and people go about their daily business. For those who don't know Jaiden, it would appear he's calm, simply standing there, sipping his coffee, but for those who are observant, the gritting of teeth, the whitening of the knuckles on his cup, and the way he pounds down half a cup of coffee in a single gulp speaks otherwise. "If Lizzie knows what's going on, she'll tell us as soon as she possibly can." Jaiden's voice is cool and even, restrained considering the bombshell that has just been dropped. "And the staff at the hospital probably don't know anything. Or the guard. They probably just showed up with their own doctor, hand-written orders, and grabbed control of her with a minimum of fuss." Even in emotional times, Jaiden is thinking logically. Which is one of his strengths.

"God and hell," Graeme says to Ygraine. "You and me both." Graeme sits up further, all the way. When he speaks, his words are short, clipped, terse, far off from his usual accent and showing more than anything else how much it's affecting him. "So, how long until the alphabet soup want to talk to us about things?" He grimaces, pulling the sling to adjust the position of his arm faintly as he gets up, walking over towards the small kitchenette. "Liz was pretty explicit with me to cooperate with Homeland, which means they're going to be wanting to talk to us, more thoroughly than the statements they took over the weekend."

"If I'd at least been in there, I'd have seen them. I wouldn't be so worried about whether the guard got… tricked by some power." Growling, Ygraine aims a kick towards the chair supporting her bag, but holds it short to avoid pulverising her toes. "But I was off trying to wash my fucking hand in the rest room when they first showed up. So I wasn't with Remi then. Then when I came out and saw them, I texted you. And when I found out that I couldn't get close even as her PA, I called you guys and came straight here. But I'm already wanting to…. Gah!"

Closing her eyes for a moment, she pinches at her nose, then sighs. "Sorry. Until I hear from Liz, I'll be panicking that I've lost her. That I've lost another friend. That I'm going to have another one go missing. And I am seriously tempted to call up her father and tell him that his daughter's PA isn't allowed to know what's going on with her, but that family supposedly have a right to more information. Get someone directly watching over her. Which, given some of the connections I suspect he might have, could either be a great thing for her - or stir up a whole hornet's nest."

Jaiden has dealt with the red tape in many oppressive governments, on both sides, remaining impartial as he recorded events for stories that were splashed across the front page. The Midtown Man attacking Remi's gala was already spoken of in the paper, so his input was not required or even necessary, but this…Remi's possible disappearance into the government apparatus, leaves a cold knot of something in his stomach. "She's been placed into what is thoughtfully called 'protective custody.' Since this Sylar guy is after her for some reason, the government…probably the Department of Evolved Affairs, decided they should have her taken somewhere for her 'safety.'" Jaiden grumbles. "We were keeping her safe. They didn't need to take her."

Graeme's brow furrows, and he grabs a plastic cup, and juice, closing the door to the tiny refrigerator to turn back to the other two. And for the moment, his silence as he walks over to the couch again is as uncharacteristic as the terse speech was. He's silent a moment longer. "She was barely dealing with the being in a hospital thing with us there," he murmurs, the drawl creeping back into his speech.

"Oh, if they had the resources to run the secret Evolved prison at Moab, and to set up the open one up in Connecticut now…." Ygraine sighs and waves her whole arm in disgust.

"It's quite credible that whichever bit of the whole secret policing apparatus winds up in charge of her do have resources far beyond our own to protect her. Heck, they already proved that by getting in to her while our portion of the guard detail was struggling to use a frigging sink and soap. But this…. This!"

Another kick is half-heartedly aimed at the chair. "Bugger it all. I'm not losing anyone else! So - do you think I should call Monsieur Davignon? Or hold off and see what Liz can tell us before I risk opening that can of worms?"

Jaiden's cup is placed gingerly on the table, the man walking to the window, throwing up the sash to bring in a little fresh air and outside noise to compete with any listening devices that may be ignoring Ygraine's little white noise generator. He turns smartly, doing a precise about face, hands tucked into his pockets before he walks across the room, sitting on the chair across from Graeme, watching Ygraine pace like a caged tiger. Like he wants to be doing.

"You're not going to lose anyone. If Liz is aware of what's happening, she's not going to vanish, she's not going to be put into MOAB II, and she's not going to end up on a milk carton. If the commander of Frontline, who is my, and probably your, best mate, knows what's going on, she'll tell us as soon as she possibly can. Calling Remi's dad would cause this situation to blow up even worse than it already is - and as far as we know, it's not that bad. She's been taken, yes, which sucks, but right now, she's with the US government. And like it or not, they have a bigger fist than all three of us put together when it comes to keeping someone safe."

Graeme nods. "Jaiden's right," he murmurs. "And amongst other things, as I'm pretty sure you know, they're rather estranged at the moment. While her father may be able to throw a lot of weight, Liz knows what is going on." Graeme pauses. "And the last thing we want is for the situation to blow up further." He sighs, fingers tapping on one knee, shifts on the couch with a bit of a grimace. "More importantly in the immediate interim," he says, "is likely to be making sure that when they do want to talk to us," and Graeme is, overall, quite certain that the government will, "they don't get divergent accounts. Or anything from that that might cause it to blow up further…her Registration's probably going to do that as it is."

Jaiden snorts. "What registration?"

Graeme raises an eyebrow. "The one that doesn't account for the screaming," he murmurs. "Half the people at that ball, all the paramedics, and much of the hospital were broadcast privy to her thoughts." He takes a sip of his juice. "Not," he continues, "something they expect from someone whose telepathy is supposedly consensual and limited to tactile."

"Stress is known to be a trigger for more extensive abilities manifesting, and they'd have a hard time claiming that Sylar coming to kill you is not a major stressor. Let alone two of them. Or being stabbed by one", Ygraine says softly, suddenly sounding weary. She slumps down to perch on the edge of the chair occupied by her bag.

"She's not the only one. I need to chase up the Registration officers myself. Make sure the listing for the weights I can cope with has been upgraded. The Dome rather publicly confirmed that I can move people around, and that was again confirmed with what I did to the first Sylar….."

"As far as I go, I registered, what, two weeks ago at most?" Jaiden looks over at Ygraine sitting sadly by her bag, all bound up in her sling. "So my water manipulation is exactly what they were expecting to see. I may get a talking to about public displays or something, but I'm okay as far as things go."

"Two Sylars….." Jaiden sighs and runs a few fingers through his hair, raking it back out of his eyes. "Could this day get any better?"

Graeme nods. "Sometimes I feel particularly lucky that my ability isn't precisely something that can be displayed. And that the most they did to see my limits when I first registered was stick me on a treadmill for a day, and see how long I could stay awake." He sighs. "But they may well suspect that she knew about her power before this, and they'll want to know who else knew. How much they can corroborate things."

"Better? Hah. Certainly. We could get a phone call from Liz now, asking us what's going on and why her guard's talking some nonsense to her about obeying orders", Ygraine points out with a twisted smile. "Things could always get better, even without something so obvious as a Sylar or two turning up here to punish us for getting in their way."

Sighing, Ygraine then nods to Graeme. "And they're likely to be interested in all our relationships to her. Whether we can think of any reason why she might have been targeted by Sylar. Probably have a go at us for daring to try to stop him at all. Whether we'd had any previous reason to be worried about her safety…"

"Could this day get any worse" followed by "How hard could it possibly be?" are the two things you almost never, ever want to hear spoken aloud when you're within earshot, because if all things are equal in the end, that bad stuff will end up happening at the most inopportune time. Still, there are other, more pressing, matters. "We should really come up with a story - so we're all on the same page. Nothing exact, of course, since we all have our own points of view, but so we don't end up telling the government anything that they don't need to know. Things like how we thought there might be trouble, that we know or have known Eileen, or any of the groups we associate with. I don't think my being a part of the Ferry, ENDGAME, or Liberty would go over well." This is, of course, assuming they don't know about this already.

Graeme raises an eyebrow at Jaiden, pursing his lips. Strings, ties, little things that go together, and it's starting to make a lot more sense now. From the expression on his face, it's information, at least in small part, that he's been trying to piece together already, the last of the missing pieces. And he raises his free hand to his face, rubbing at his temples. "Oh, but it all makes so much more sense now," he murmurs. Sailing club. Ferry, of whom he'd known general word of in New Mexico but never had reason to seek out. His glance darts between Jaiden and Ygraine a few times more, and he picks up his cup of juice.

Jaiden, for the moment, just gets a look from Ygraine. Then the Briton sighs quietly. "Liberty is wholly legal. Supporting it because you think it is a good idea is wholly legal. Membership of an organisation blamed for at least some of the violence of the Riots would not be a good idea. If you want to blind them with honesty, you could potentially admit to Liberty as your dark secret. Even tie it in to your citizenship and Registration considerations. Enthuse with the admirable earnestness of a convert about the essence of liberty in the land of the free. As a foreigner, you might even get away with it being taken wholly seriously. But if they know about the SAS, they're likely to be a fuck of a lot more suspicious. Look as if you're trying counter-interrogation techniques of any kind, and they'll probably come down on you a lot harder…."

"Preferably," Graeme says, "not that Remi directly told us that the girl, Eileen," and he's hesitant on the name, "told her to get out of there. We'd had the idea to start to leave anyway, the direct communication is less than relevant to anything, I'd think, and an easy enough thing for all three of us to consistently omit." There's a bit of a tilt of his head to one side. "And beyond that, the truth." He tilts his head to one side. "Though I entirely intend to downplay my ability to keep going after I got stabbed," he says, after a good deal of thought has been spared for the subject. This is his own paranoia showing through, overall, clearly, his own desire to keep a relatively low profile.

"For you, Jaiden? Matter-of-fact. Martial", Ygraine suggests quietly. "You're ex-SAS, and you responded to a visible threat with apparent calm and determination. They might not be happy about foreign-trained special forces types using dangerous powers on their turf, but they're going to have a hard time doing more than huff and puff a little about it. They might even be openly grateful for what you did. But treat it as a military report. Not in format and having a ramrod up your arse while delivering it, but the things you focus on - which I suspect were the things you primarily noticed. Movement. Danger. Those who were responding calmly and were therefore of note."

To Graeme, she shrugs gently. "You got stabbed on your birthday. Being primarily emotional in your memories would be quite understandable, even if you hadn't been stabbed through your friend. You're not combat-trained. You got drenched in blood. You got attacked by someone using terrifying powers. You had lots of weird stuff happening around you. You had a splitting headache. Clarity of impression for much of it would frankly be surprising."

"For myself? I've years of training that has me respond to a surge of adrenaline and apprehension about an imminent outcome by looking immediately for the best route to get to where I want to be, as fast as I can manage. And that's pretty much exactly what I did. To the extent that I let myself get far enough ahead of you that I missed out on so much of the 'fun'."

"Affirmative." Jaiden murmurs softly, his eyes going closed for a moment as he runs over the events in his mind again. "Leave the gray-haired woman out, leave the warning out. We decided to leave because we wanted to, I don't know, go to the afterparty."

Graeme glances at Ygraine and shakes his head. "I can play less-than-informed, and I can play less than comfortable in my own skin," he says. "I'm not actually sure that I can play emotional." He hasn't been emotional about things yet. "I'm not combat-trained, but I had five solid years spent as a security guard and a bouncer in some pretty rough places when I first moved to New Mexico and at least dealing when things go bad. Though I have to admit that the midtown man is a whole new level of something going bad." He leans back, pulling his legs to a crosslegged position.

Ygraine inclines her head to Graeme, mustering the ghost of a smile. "'Emotional' doesn't have to mean bursting down in tears. But if you try rattling off a soldier's assessment of all that was going on, they'll be surprised. And probably suspicious. Holding things together enough to think to pick up Remi immediately and carry her out of there is impressive enough. But you should be able to quite easily focus on the few things of real emotional significance - Remi, safety, and a terrifying super-powered serial killer. A… normal man talking about a dangerous situation is likely to talk about protection. Keeping those he loves safe. A military report is likely to be much more about identifying and neutralising threats, blocking off hostile moves, and the like. When you're heavily trained, it's the… method. The technique. That becomes the focus for what you're doing. You use that to block the rest out. Goals and aims are for before and after. While you're doing what you're trained for, it's the technique that you focus on."

"I'll be openly admitting that a stranger came up to Remi and spoke to her in fluent French. That I thereafter suggested that they talk close at hand by the edge of the dance floor. That's partly why I reacted so… firmly to being slammed into by the invisible man. There was clearly something going on, and it was apparently urgent and private. And there was someone barging through the crowd - or at least through me - to gatecrash that conversation. So I acted. But at the time? I don't think I'd had time to translate anything that was said, for either of you."

"Good thing I don't know French." Jaiden smirks, his eyes opening to glance from one to the other. "And as ex-military, if I see a threat, I ask."

Graeme chuckles. "Thankfully," Graeme says, "Jaiden was there, and I took cues in the situation from him, and from you." He purses his lips as he thinks, looking over at Ygraine. "And that degree of emotional, for me, is about what I'm showing right now. I'm sure I can downplay my own level of analysing the situation enough, though. I think," he says, his own words slightly contradicting themselves. "And no, you didn't translate anything, and I don't speak French either." There's a pause before he continues. "But right. In any case, the fact that I see things in plain terms, all of what I did can be explained by my past as a bouncer, and my concern for my roommate and my friend."

"In a highly dangerous situation, you went straight for Remi - and didn't try talking to her or coaxing her into motion or taking her by the arm. You took hold of her, slung her over your shoulder, and started getting her out of there", Ygraine observes quietly. "Either you have some really… thorough pre-planning sessions about what you might need to do around your room-mate, or you cared enough that when the brown sticky stuff hit the whirly thing, your first action was to take vigorous steps to get her to safety."

A slight shrug, then Ygraine ventures another smile. "To me, that sure looks like an emotionally-driven response, protecting someone you care about. I'm not asking you to be someone you're not - being who you are and doing the things you did makes it darned clear you care about her."

"Me? I'll very probably give something of a reprise of my babble at Liz about which Sylar was in which jacket, whether I mean to or not. But I shouldn't say too much about my distinct impressions now, lest they overflow into yours."

Graeme chuckles. "If the target had been someone else there, I'd have done the exact same thing," he murmurs, and then his head tilts to one side, in substitution for a shrug. "But I'll just as soon not have to have another situation where my competency in such things comes up actually happen."

Ygraine looks surprised and impressed, then chuckles. "Mmm. But you did assume that the target was Remi, rather than the stranger talking to her. But.. your impressions. Your actions. You were focused upon protection. Not fighting, not trying to understand everything, not trying to find the source to personally stop it… it's a… guardian's instinct, you could say. Not a soldier's or a cop's. My attempted point is that you should focus on the simple stuff of being you. Your actions speak for themselves pretty well. And your ability makes them more credible. Most people, after being stabbed, won't simply keep going like you did."

There's a pause. "No, I suppose most people couldn't," Graeme says, quietly, raising his hand to rub his face again. "I'm pretty sure it's lunchtime," he murmurs, looking over at the two with him. "We should probably actually eat, and not just sit here and talk about all of this."

A low laugh, and Ygraine nods. "I'd been about to suggest something similar. I'll sort it, since I woke the pair of you up…. Consider it a minor apology, especially for waking you to this stress."

"I'm not sure I'd have slept much longer anyway," Graeme says, with a grin. "But you know, apology accepted. It involves food, after all." There's a hint of boyish enthusiasm there.

"I'll have to take you for a drink later on. Once we're both out of the shift rotation. Been wondering about introducing you to a place called the Surly Wench. A haven for the oddities of New York life, and one of my favourite spots in the city." Ygraine cracks a grin. "I'll head there once my rotation of keeping an eye on things at the hospital is over. Show up whenever you can. It'll be good to get out for a little."

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