What Side Of The Line Are You On?


cardinal_icon.gif elisabeth_icon.gif

Scene Title What Side Of The Line Are You On?
Synopsis Cardinal and Liz come to terms.
Date March 11, 2009

Somewhere in Jersey

The helo crouches in the hangar like a scarred bird of prey waiting for the right time to take flight once more; its side riddled with fresh bullet holes from the initial insertion, the damage fairly light and easily repaired. It's still and quiet, but one can't help but remember its deadly flight into the city.

In contrast, a set-up over to one side where a coffee machine's being tended by Cardinal at the moment. The vest's been stripped off, and the balaclava's pulled down around his neck like a thick collar of fabric, so it's undeniably him as he changes the filter. All in black, still, though not quite the professional military BDUs of some of the others that went along with the mission.

As she walks away from where Oleander and Trask sit, Elisabeth looks tired. She yanked the hat off when they landed, and her stone arm is now wrapped in a makeshift sling to keep its weight off her shoulder. She heads for the coffee machine, still dressed in the all-black body armor she went all commando-chick in, and then realizes who's at the table. Oh Lord…. She almost changes course, and then decides whatever he wants to say, he probably deserves the right to. So she walks toward him, stopping a few feet back. "Hey," she offers mildly.

"Harrison," Cardinal replies, his voice more than a touch tired as he glances back over his shoulder to the officer, a smile tugging up ever so slightly at one corner of his lips. The shades are there, still, wrapping around his vision to hide his eyes from the relative brightness of dawn. At least, to him. To everyone else, the light's still fairly dim. Mildly, he offers, "Coffee? It should just be a few minutes."

"Wouldn't mind," Liz replies with a small smile. "Thanks. We won't take up more of your time than we have to," she offers. Not that anyone's said anything about it one way or the other. Clearing her throat, she leans against the wall at the end of the table and asks, "So…. we gonna have any trouble after this?" Her tone is pretty nonchalant about the idea.

"I don't know," Cardinal observes casually, spilling the beans into the machine and setting the bag to one side, "You going to try'n arrest me, officer?" The lid's snapped into place, and he starts the machine up. He turns a tired smile on her, one brow arching in unsubtle amusement. "I don't have a registration for that shotgun."

There's a smirk at that. "Pretty sure my M4 hasn't got all the approved paperwork either," Elisabeth says with a roll of the eyes. "Pretty sure that even if I were so inclined, it'd be a pretty damn stupid move."

"Your partner doesn't seem t'agree with you there," notes the shadow-man, leaning his hip on the table and raising one hand up, chin raising to let him scratch under it at the stubble darkening the skin there, "Of course, he seems like the True Believer type, to me. All gung-ho about roundin' up all of us freaks and stuffing us in a cell somewhere." A sound of vague humor, "Guess you're a little less on th'straight and narrow, though, Harrison."

Elisabeth shrugs her good arm and says quietly, "I'm …. probably more flexible in my definition of 'truth, justice, and the American way' than some. My oath is to serve and protect, Cardinal. And if that means that I sometimes step on this side of the line? So be it." She tilts her head. "For what it's worth to you, I am sorry about that. I wouldn't have even responded to that call if I had the option. I have a very visceral, negative response to that woman."

"I see you've been reading your Lincoln," Cardinal observes, that crook'd smile lingering for a moment before he looks away from her, down to the machine. "Don't get me wrong, Harrison. I'm no… idealistic freedom fighter like you'n the rest of Laudani's people. I just think the system's fucked, an' I'm tired of bein' on the bitch end of it all. I'm a crook, never made any claim otherwise. But…," He hesitates, watching the pot percolate, "…there's some shit that's even over th'line for me."

There's another faint shrug and Elisabeth smiles. "I'm okay with working with thieves, if they're doing the right thing. Hell…. I'm working with people who used to blow shit up. Just… don't let me see you do it." She shakes her head. "I'd like to say I'm not an idealist… maybe an optimist, though. Because in spite of it all, I do think somewhere along the way, it has to get better. For all of us."

"I wasn't lying, you know," the thief notes, slanting a look over to her, one brow arching over the edge of his shades, "She really is a… mind controller, of some sort. She told me t'sit down, an' I didn't even think twice about doing it until you showed up. Suddenly I didn't particularly want to get up. I had every reason to. She'd been using it on me the whole time, looking back at it."

Liz nods slowly. "I'm passing that allegation on to Homeland — dealing with unregistered talents who use their abilities on other people is their problem, not mine. It's a federal mandate, so if they're going to take up space in my precinct, they can damn well police their own policies." She shrugs. "I have bigger problems on my plate than worrying about who's registered and who isn't…. and if you think you're the first person to hear THAT from me, you'd be wrong. I even go toe-to-toe with my captain on that one. It's a bullshit law."

Cardinal exhales a rough snort of breath, looking back out across the hangar; his backside and hips resting to the table's edge, both hands resting beside him as he regards the helo for a long moment. "It's utter fascist bullshit, but, fuck, it's not like I've ever listened to th'law before. No offense," he adds offhandedly, silent for a few moments. Then he chuckles faintly, "Shit. I'm fallin' in with revolutionaries and terrorists. Last month I was just a cat burglar. Fuckin' Deckard."

"You know…. I hear that phrase a lot. 'Fuckin' Deckard.' He's done a lot of stuff, that's for sure," Elisabeth chuckles. "The guy who used to be one of our procurers had the most contact with the man. But you know…. under it?" She pauses and looks at the hangar. "Under it all, I gotta wonder if he wants out." She shrugs. "Chalk it up to women's intuition and laugh it off if you want, but… when a guy's hit so far down that going to jail as a known Evo in today's climate seems like the lesser of two evils? You gotta figure his life's gone down on the express luge to Hell."

"It probably has," Cardinal admits, his head shaking a little, "Half th'time I contacted him he was layin' on the floor unconscious in a pool've liquor, Harrison." He's silent a moment, then states in flat tones, "His power's in his eyes. You know that. I watched John Logan have some men hold him down, before the sonuvabitch carved one of them out. Fuck, I probably don't even know a tenth of what th'guy's been through. There any surprise he might want out?"

Elisabeth flinches when she hears that. "I didn't meet him before all this. First time I laid eyes on him, I arrested him." She grimaces a little. "Not too proud of that." There's a wrinkle of her nose. "Which really sucks, cuz I gotta tell you? Most days, I'm a goddamned good cop and I like *being* a cop. It just gets complicated when you're a cop *and* a freedom fighter. Lines get a little blurry sometimes."

Cardinal turns his head back to her, one hand raising to pull those shades down slightly; reddened, bloodshot eyes considering her over their edge, a smile tugging slightly up at one corner of his lips. "So which side of it're you on, Harrison?" A quiet, mild question.

Tilting her head, Elisabeth says quietly, "The side that keeps people who don't deserve it out of jail and rescues those that have been kidnapped into slavery and …. whatever else the 'right thing' is. If it means having to arrest someone and then making sure that I tell the right people when and how to get 'em out or passing along information that the cops are sitting on … that's what I do." She smiles faintly. "I take my life on a case-by-case basis right now."

"That's an awfully complex side," Cardinal observes with just a hint of amusement in his tone, "S'pose it's not a bad one, though. 'Course, you're a better person than I am…" He pushes off from the table, turning to consider the coffee pot, "…think it's ready."

Elisabeth laughs softly. "Man, you don't know the *half* of it. A lot of days lately, I don't know if I'm coming or going. Most of my day job is quelling friggin' riots and trying to talk jumpers out of killing themselves because they've become a freak of nature," she says quietly, an undertone of bitter to it. "Killing fucking slave traffickers? Just about now, that seems like a walk in the park to dealing with the number of dead kids I've seen this month."

"You think they should be quelled? They're just the steam that's building up in the pot, Harrison," Cardinal murmurs as he pulls the pot free, tilting it to one of the paper cups to fill it before offering it over to her with a bitter smile, "I'm not like you. I can't see this ending except in blood. I'm not lookin' forward to it, but it'll happen, eventually. Us versus Them."

When she speaks, her tone is quiet and Elisabeth glances at him with a weary expression. "Yeah. The suck part is that I'm afraid you're right. I keep hoping that you're wrong, but… there's truth to the idea that one bad apple spoils the barrel. And frankly? Evolved are people like anyone else — there's good, bad, and in between. So yeah," she says softly. "I'm pretty sure you're right. And I don't *want* to know that because I have enough nightmares right now, thanks." She moves to take the cup of coffee, setting it on the table to doctor it very liberally with sweetness and non-dairy lightness. "You helped get the Girl Hostage and the rest of our people out of there, and that goes a long way with most of us, though." She grins a bit. "You need anything, you gimme a call, okay? If I can help you out, I will."

"You too, Harrison," Cardinal flashes her a roguish grin, then, turning back to reach for another cup for his own, "If you can stomach callin' on a shadow to get the job done, anyway. No promises here, either, of course. Besides—you owe me a drink." Coffee, black. The cup in hand, he starts back across the hangar, whistling some tuneless ditty under his breath.

March 12th: Bloody Legacy
March 12th: Off To See The Wizard
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