When Planets Collide


elisabeth_icon.gif len_icon.gif

Scene Title When Planets Collide
Synopsis Len and Liz finally have it out. Their world views don't seem to line up. Go figure.
Date June 8, 2009

Somewhere in NY

There's a saying that goes around about the best things in life being free. This, of course, does not apply to parking spaces. The best parking spaces cost you a few pretty pennies. What this has to do with this particular scene remains to be seen, except for the fact that Len Denton sits on his Jeep, parked miles away from where he works — probably due to the high cost of parking in the area. If he could invent a Jeep desk, he would be more than happy to park in this very spot and do his work.

But, alas, he will eventually have to return to his office and all the high costs such parking will incur. For now, he's supposed to meet up with Liz Harrison, NYPD Detective Extraordinaire. The little interview conducted with Helena Dean seemed to have caused a tiny ripple within his organization — nothing devastating, mind you — but enough that there were those higher in the Chain of Command who determined that monitoring would be necessary. For now, the Company would be happy to let Homeland take the hit for the 'accusations' levied towards them by Phoenix.

Seat leaned back, and hat down over his eyes, Len Denton is taking advantage of the nice peaceful morning while he waits under this particular tree in a parking lot far from most of New York's civilization. Or at least the civilized civilization.

This is one of those rare instances where Elisabeth, a true New Yorker, even bothers to pull her personal vehicle out of its parking spot. Usually she takes public transport or uses the NYPD vehicles. But for this, no way she wants it tracked. Her small champagne-colored Hyundai pulls in next to Len's Jeep and Liz gets out to walk over to his driver's side window. "Morning," she greets him quietly.

A single finger is lifted to prop up the brim of Len's cowboy hat as he shifts his eyes to look over at Liz as she walks up beside him. "Mornin'." is the response. A hand reaches down to push the trigger on the seat belt latch he never bothered to undo after parking and it whips into place, releasing him from his confines as he steps one boot after the other to his the pavement.

"Nice enough of one for a walk, don't you agree?" he suggests as he stands and blinks his eyes open. He reaches onto the dash to grab his sunglasses and places them onto his nose, shielding his eyes from those hazardous UV rays. He steps onto the sidewalk, expecting she might care to join him. "So. Quite the little outing by Ms. Dean there. Or is it Dr. Dean? I can never keep those things straight."

Elisabeth nods slightly, shoving her hands into the pockets of her jeans. She's wearing them topped by a scoop-necked emerald shirt and a summerweight khaki blazer that hides her shoulder rig. "It's beautiful this morning," she says mildly. As they start their walk, she's not terribly surprised by the topic of conversation. "Ms.," she tells him. "I can't say I was surprised by it," she adds. "Some response needed to be made when Phoenix hit the news being framed as assassins." She shakes her head. "Frankly, the only reason you're — the Company, I mean, not you personally — not at the top of the list of people framing them is that we already know who's framing us. We just aren't entirely sure why."

Len glances her direction as they walk. "I'm actually surprised not to see my name and picture in the paper." He offers a smirks. He shoves his thumbs into his front jeans pockets as he looks around. There are some trees here so it's not too bad to look at. "I figure it won't be long. I'm fairly certain I got someone inside my group dishing out our secrets. Just haven't quite pinpointed who it might be." Now, this isn't necessariliy a question as to whether or not Harrison might have an idea of who this might be, but again — it could very well be mistaken for one.

There's a sigh. "Not surprised by that either. Wish I could say I was," Liz tells him. "Anyone in your company who's idealistic about what you're doing is a potential recruit for the spin-off. Look at Goodman." Elisabeth considers and looks at him. "For what it's worth to you, I didn't know they planned to do the broadcast the way they did. I don't know if I would have warned you or Minea or not, truth be told, but you also have to understand that the information I give you… is not sanctioned, exactly. I'm taking a big chance on you, because right now? The other group is working on building a private army of Evolveds, and I can't see how that makes them any better than what your Company has become." She looks at him. "So what is it you want from me now?"

There's a long sigh that comes from the cowboy as he glances at her. Len considers asking her to switch sides, but all the intel on her that he's received highly suggests that she may use colorful words when she turns down his offer, so Len leaves that alone for now.

"I have some pretty good Intel that Phoenix is not just looking to bring down Pinehearst." There. If it hasn't been said, it's said now. "Despite all my best intentions, and there are some changes being made within my organization, I'm hearing that they are also looking to bring me and my agents down. You can imagine that I might find that a highly displeasurable experience if it turns out that is true. While I realize you don't make policy, I think you have the means to influence. I, on the other hand, do have means to change policy from within, and there have already been a few changes made and more to come. I can't focus on those, if I'm looking over my shoulder for the next shoe to drop from Phoenix."

Well, the name's out there now. Elisabeth stops walking and looks at him. "If you were in charge and could change all your policies on how the Company is being run…. Phoenix would have no interest in you. Your history suggests to me that you're a good cop — that you'd run your office the same way we run most law enforcement agencies, adhering to everyone's Constitutional rights. You are not a target. Nor are the agents that you suss out as good agents. The Company is, though, yes. My best advice to you is make sure you have files on who the good agents are and that you can back up every bit of good work they're doing. Make sure they're following the law as best they can within the structure you're stuck with. Because if you have the documents to prove it — and I have a secure location to back up your documents if you want that — there's no way in hell the lot of you will go to jail, or God forbid, be executed. The whole point of what we're trying to do is stop these abuses from happening. Do we want a world where Evo and non stand side-by-side like our friends who jumped through time have seen? Hell fucking yes! We'd be fools not to! But do we want it at the cost of having people disappearing and being jailed not for their crimes but just for what power they happen to have gotten? Hell no!" She looks up at the man and says quietly, "I have done and I continue to do everything in my power to do it right, Agent Denton. I don't want anyone innocent — cop, Company, misled Pinehearst agent, civilian, even petty criminals — anyone — to be up and executed. Jail is fine with me, and then ONLY after it's proven they did something wrong. Even myself."

"Detective Harrison." Len starts. He stops just as quickly as he starts when he notices she has stopped walking along side him. He turns to face her and he offers her a smile. "While I appreciate your love for the Constitution of the United States and your loyalty and dedication to the citizens of the State of New York, I am afraid that in your lifetime and the lifetime of any children you may decide to have, and probably the lifetime of their children as well — will there ever come a time when innocent individuals do not go to jail."

"It happens often. Is it wrong? Yes. Should it happen? No. Here's something you may have heard before. I do my damnest to protect the citizens of the United States — even if it means protecting them from their own damned selves. I had to sit down and talk with a young man who recently came under my employ, who had the wrong idea about what it is that we do. We do what we can to help people. People who do not know how to handle the ability that God — or science — has given them. While I make no promises that every outcome is positive, I can say that I believe that the majority of cases are positive. Those before me, may have panicked and took the wrong way in order to achieve those goals, but we are doing what we can to turn those things around."

"Now, I can go about my business of helping others, or I can be far to busy watching my back and the back of the agents that work for me from a sneak attack from Phoenix. But dammit, I cannot do both. And with Pinehearst lurking about, I think that one might stop looking to fight the calves, when the bull is ready to attack."

Elisabeth lifts her chin and says, "Sure, innocent people go to jail." She smiles faintly. "But for what it might be worth to you, which may be nothing, if you're doing the right thing, at the very least I will speak up for you. And regardless of what you think of Phoenix's tactics, we've got our eye on both prizes." She meets his gaze behind the sunglasses he wears. "Just because in a POSSIBLE future the fall of the Company meant people were executed doesn't mean it has to happen that way — and in point of fact, that had nothing to do with Phoenix and everything to do with Pinehearst. Arthur Petrelli, in that future, was the driving force behind getting rid of anyone who worked for the Company. And he wields far more power than any of us might like. In truth, so do a number of people. What Phoenix is out to make happen is for public scrutiny to hit the Company. If public scrutiny will take down your Company, then they're doing something wrong. Law enforcement in this country is supposed to be transparent. It was built that way so that these kinds of abuses of power couldn't happen as they had in the Old World." She shrugs. "Other than that, I don't know what to tell you. You have yet to give me any proof that any of the people you've taken into custody have been returned to their lives HAPPILY." In point of fact, that's not entirely true… Kayla is one who turned back up. "I highly recommend you compile a list. And then compile a list of people who were picked up and deep-sixed somewhere, never to see the light of day again. Then talk to me."

Len watches her for a long moment. She's got some fire to her, that's for damn sure. In fact, it was Len who was responsible for the upgrade to Kayla's lifestyle due to the job he provided for her. But, he doesn't feel the need to justify his existence by tossing out names. People /do/ have the right to privacy, and he's /almost/ certain that Kayla would not appreciate her name being tossed into this session of soapbox grandstanding. Ideals or not - there's a truth here that, at least in Len's mind, is just not making past the cranium and into rational thought. None of this, however, he says outloud.

"I'll do no such thing. For one, it's not your business or anyone's business who has benefitted or not benefitted from what we've done. Shall I tell the Social Security Administration to go ahead and just release everyone's Social Security numbers? There is still a Privacy Act in this country. That being said, you and Phoenix, do what needs to be done in your opinions. Working together, we stand a fairer chance of taking down Pinehearst, but if me and mine have to ride in alone, then so be it." He starts to walk on.. with or without her. "I don't see any reason to be trading information with you, if it's just going to be turned back against us. I thought we could work together to bring down Pinehearst, but — I just don't see that happening. Not sure what use we have for each other from this point forward."

Elisabeth smirks faintly and says to him even as he starts walking, "You and yours don't have a snowball's chance in Hell of taking down Pinehearst, Agent Denton. Because as soon as Pinehearst decides that your actions are in any way a threat to them, they'll just kill you. The same way your Company higher-ups had Goodman killed." She'll walk with him a little ways. "So far, quite frankly, I'm the only who's been giving information in our little relationship here. You haven't told me a single thing that's even remotely helpful or useful. I came to you because Minea Dahl believes that you're a good man, and a good cop. Because in point of fact, I do think Phoenix has a chance at taking down Pinehearst and the bad apples in the Company. I was hoping you'd want to help in that matter because you don't want the Company to come tumbling down about your ears. But it seems to me that you're more interested so far in saving your own ass. So you're right… I don't think we have much use for one another anymore. And since I know Minea's turning over whatever information she gets from me to you, … I'll make sure she gets what she needs and no more than that," she tells him as she peels off and heads back toward the car.

Turning around to face her as she walks off, Len tosses out. "Actually, I'm trying to protect those who work for me, as well as those who need our help, Detective. Regardless of what you may think, there are those who are trying to use the system we have to do good. My ass — as you so plainly put it — matters not one iota in the whole grand scheme of things. Because when my ass is gone, there'll be another in my place. Where that replacement stands is anyone's guess. He or she /might/ not be as sympathetic to your cause as I am. But — if I have to tackle Pinehearst alone, I hope they're ready for me."

"I plan to succeed."

Elisabeth turns to look back at him so they're not shouting from a bunch of feet apart. "Then maybe you better consider whether you want allies in this or not. Cuz I guaran-damn-tee you this, Agent Denton… if you think the line I'm walking is fine, yours is far finer. We can help you succeed if you want that help, but as you once pointed out — it's a two-way street. And I've given you a shit-ton of information to start with and gotten nothing but your attitude and assorted shit in return. You want something you don't think I've given you so far? Ask me your questions or tell me what you want, and I'll see what I can do. But a little quid pro quo is in order, too. I didn't give you this much just for my health — I gave it to you because the bottom line for me is protecting people. Innocent people, my people, even your people. If something isn't done soon, we're looking at a major civil war of Evos versus non. And it's going to get real ugly."

There just /might/ be a small smirk that runs across the lips of Len Denton. "Because Detective Harrison — you've asked me nothing. What is it exactly that you want from my side?"

Lifting her chin, Elisabeth says, "Well, let's start with this, then: If I told you that I know for a fact that Pinehearst has kidnapped a DHS agent's Evo child so that Arthur Petrelli could steal her power — which is what he does — what would your people do to potentially get her back? And as a caveat to the question, if we COULD get her back, where would she be out of Company reach? Becuase you know, … thirty-six kids killing themselves to stay out of Company hands sort of gives me incentive to want to protect people who might be terrified and aren't a threat."

Len narrows his eyes at the '36' are mentioned. "You do not want to start pointing your finger this direction when you talk about that tragedy. I think you, as well as I, know that someone had let those kids to do what they did and it had nothing to do with us." He steps forward, and while not intending to, he can make a very imposing figure. "As far as a Homeland Agent's child, I have not heard a thing about this. If this is true, how come I or someone in my chain wasn't notified of this? I would have been happy to put a couple of agents on this so that the child to be returned to her father." He stands in front of her now, looking down — because his height requires it. "But that's more of a 'what if' sort of question. It's not the sort of question that actually has a verifiable answer. Unless the child is dangerous, there's no reason for us to get involved unless the father chooses to let us be involved. So, if you have something you want me to do here, Detective — someone may want to come to us and ask for our assistance because we just do not have the time to go out looking for additional cases. We take them as they come to us."

Elisabeth doesn't look in the least intimidated by Len Denton, and when he steps into her space she gives the very clear vibe of 'not intimidated.' "You ever step into my space like you just did again, Agent, and I'll show you the very meaning of the phrase 'personal space,'" Elisabeth says with a glint in those blue eyes. "You wanna threaten me, you better be prepared to back it up. And since you've offered so nicely, I'll get back to you with my whole wish list of things I want to know." She pivots on her heel, deliberately turning her back to the man in a show of disdain for his effort to cow her.

Len arches a brow as she turns and walks off. Not what he intended, but never the less. "You do that, Detective. You do that. I'll be waiting." Apparently, they didn't need the Company's help with the kid, but he'll have someone look into it. He pulls out his Blackberry and dials a number. "It's me. I have something for you to look into."

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