2007-08-05: A Visit To The Ark


DFElena_icon.gif DFDaphne_icon.gif Eric_icon.gif

Summary: With Ali's concerns in mind, Elena and Eric visit the Bronx Zoo and its Keeper, Daphne Rousseau, to warn her about the disease-generating Evolved. Daphne and Elena catch each other up on recent happenings at the Zoo, and Elena offers to take a few of her refugees to safety as yet another solo mission for the Saints' Angel seems to be in the works.

Dark Future Date: August 5, 2009

A Visit To The Ark

Bronx Zoo, New York City

It is approaching nine in the evening, but Elena was raised polite - before leaving Bat Country Labs with Eric, she sent an encrypted transmission to Daphne letting her know that a couple of Saints were stopping by for a couple of deliveries as well as some news. Hoping Daphne will get it, she'll wait for confirmation that the message was received. And then, she continues to wait for Eric by UberBinky, checking her watch on occasion and looking around the evening surroundings quietly.

Whenever Eric arrives, both set off for the Bronx Zoo, the giant fortress on the other side of the city from where they are. It's going to take a few minutes to get there, but on her bike, she could at the very least start thinking, mulling over the next ops. The next steps. Eric has the faster bike, so she'll follow after him. But she tries not to think too hard, or too deeply. She was on a motorcycle after all, it wouldn't do good to be distracted while driving. When they arrive to their destination, she slows the bike, and stops - but doesn't get off it yet. She's at the gates. She'll wait for permission to enter, after giving the right code.

She can't get over how much the place changed. Elena pulls off her helmet and shakes her long, dark hair out, her eyes scanning her surroundings - though they are not the only things doing said scanning. Her Ping ability is up and active…she can detect dozens of life signals winking around her range, like stars scattered over a darkened sky. A few human signals, the closest being Eric. She can't help but lift her fingers to rub her eyelids gently.

She can't get over how much the place changed. Elena pulls off her helmet and shakes her long, dark hair out, her eyes scanning her surroundings - though they are not the only things doing said scanning. Her Ping ability is up and active…she can detect dozens of life signals winking around her range, like stars scattered over a darkened sky. A few human signals, the closest being Eric. She can't help but lift her fingers to rub her eyelids gently.

It's not so much a code as much as it is 'If you're not supposed to be here, the seventeen spider monkeys guarding the gate will rend you limb from limb and the pigs will eat you.' It's an incredibly efficient security system, and while there are other procedures such as passwords and the like, those take a back seat to the keen senses of the animals. Of course, these are monkeys watching the gate, and so it's likely Elena will find one following her around as soon as she's inside. Either he's extra security or he really, REALLY wants something to eat.

There are a few people inside the gate, also watching, just in case any of the Bad Guys get by the first level of defense. One person will raise her hand and wave when Elena and Eric enter, another stands, takes a closer look in the fading light, and goes back to what he was doing. A couple boars inside what used to be the pay stands will give them each a good sniff. No one can tell if you're lying better than a pig, after all. Best nose in the world.

Daphne's actually heading toward the gate to meet them, and so it's not too long before she's able to meet up with them, waving as she nears. Her hair's back in a ponytail, looks like it hasn't been brushed in a few hours, and also looks like there might be some straw or something stuck in it. Summer's winding down, a lot of the livestock are having their babies now, and that's where she was when Elena sent her message. "Good to see you," is the greeting."

"Nothing makes me feel safer than an entire horde of deadly animals making sure breaches never happen," Elena quips, sliding off her bike. She steps over and lifts up a knuckle to tap it friendly-like against Daphne's if she raises hers. Eric, the typical gentleman that he is, starts unloading the bikes with a couple of medium-sized, wooden crates - nothing too heavy. "We brought you a couple of freebies, and I just got back from an op. …well, two ops." Infiltration followed by extraction. "I can update you on a few things, but luckily I visited Ali in Bat Country before headed over. She got concerned over something and mentioned your place so I figure I could give you a sitrep too."

The crates, should Daphne decide to open them later, contain several items. The first crate contains an assortment of vaccines - for the animals as well as the people she takes into her care when they need safe refuge. There's a good plenty bottles of amoxicillin and penicillin, as well as several antibiotics that -shouldn't- be available over the counter, but they somehow managed to snag. The other crate contains various kinds of animal food, for the smaller, furrier creatures.

Elena hangs up her helmet against the handlebars of UberBinky. "How have you been?" she asks softly. "How are things here?" She slides her hands in her pockets.

Monkey following Elena? Tilts his head, looks back at Eric, back at Elena— And goes to see if he can find a banana or something similar in one of those crates. Rice cakes. Biscuits. Something to play with that hopefully isn't a grenade launcher. Daphne catches the creature out of the corner of her eye and gives it a very simple, very direct command.

(No stealing the bikes.)

After bumping Elena's hand, Daphne briefly takes the other woman's wrist. She's not privy to the missions a lot of times, but it's better that way. She's got people to care for here, and if Daphne's caught, if Daphne talks… There's a lot at stake. She can't just run and hide if she needs to. "Whatever you can tell me," she states with a hint of caution. It's gotten to the point where Daphne doesn't like to know too much. But stories and tales from the outside are always welcome.

Monkey finds a air-tight bag of fortified dried fruits designed for creatures like lemurs, fruit bats, and monkeys. Monkey runs off with said bag to show (and share) with his friends. At least Daphne won't have to worry about getting that one open.

Nodding to the crates as the thief runs off, she says, "Thanks. We were starting to run a little low on the food. I know we need a lot, but at least the people here have their gardens." Really, it's just the animals they need to worry about. The big cats are looking thin. The elephants and rhinos - Daphne actually has someone she pays to bring in enough food for them.

"Everything's going … Just. Going. We have twelve new refugees." The ones from Bat Country. "There are tempers, so I have a couple people converting one of the old enclosures to another barracks so we can spread people out. We'll…" She hates to ask for more, but. "If you can find a few matresses while you're out…"

If there was a grenade launcher in the premises, it would most likely be mounted and compact, hidden in a special compartment SOMEWHERE on Eric's bike. Elena liked to keep things light and simple - UberBinky was more for getaways and transportation than straight-up combat, but there are a few precautions installed to keep people happy regarding the safety of their lieutenant. She curls her fingers lightly over Daphne's wrist when the other woman curls hers around her own pulse, holding there for a moment. As if to reassure herself that Daphne was still there. The corners of her mind always had ghosts. Ghosts of her past, ghosts in her present. The latter of which she wasn't all too happy to see. Now that she had a clear head thinking about it, she couldn't help the twinge of guilt, remembering the shock and pain in Peter's eyes when she said what she did…..and she hated herself for feeling it.

Just a touch.

"This is important," Elena assures her. "You have to know." She releases the zookeeper's hand slowly, and slides it in her pockets. Her dark eyes watch the monkey, and she can't help but smile. "I'm still in awe as to how you keep all of them in line." The humans and animals both. When she updates her on what's happening in the zoo, the Saint nods. "I'll see what I can do about the food," she tells her in a reassuring manner. "We have easy access to some." But she won't tell Daphne how or where. "I'll grab a couple of Saints tomorrow and we'll restock your pantry."

The twelve new refugees also causes her to nod. "That's good - if you need anything else, let me know. Mattresses too. I'll add that on the 'shopping' list." Thieving had been necessary - Eric's funds were too precious to use on every day items. They needed the cash for weapons. Operations. Most of the money went to Gene, whose technology served a formidable wall against their foes. As long as they had him, they had the edge. "Is there a place we can talk?" Talk, as in, confidentially.

Daphne's still a little tiny bit too trusting. She's got faint scars trailing down one cheek, but she's never seen the things that Elena and her people have— Not as often, anyway. She has no delusions that things aren't bad, but when Peter showed up, she was more willing to trust. Glad to see him, almost. She wouldn't trust the guy with her life, but he was clear to at least board. Speaking of, she hasn't actually /seen/ him in awhile.

Hope he's okay.

How she keeps all of them in line? Well. That story involves those scars. People were looting the zoo, the animals were being destroyed, and at that point, Daphne just snapped. She had to do something. It was the first time she grabbed hold of the minds of the animals and actually made them do what she wanted them to do. No questions asked. "Well, I have help," is her answer, told with a smirk. A lot of the people here - both humans and evolved, are very willing to help. There are selfish motives as well as selfless ones, but if said motives keep people safe, Daphne's not complaining. "I'm sure they'll all appreciate a good meal. Cass brought coffee the other day. I don't think I've seen everyone so happy."

Formalities and friendly greetings over, though, the smile vanishes, and she nods westward. The zoo office is probably the safest place they can talk, and so she'll lead them in that direction, taking the shortest way possible. They have to skirt around a herd of gemsbok in the middle of a path, but none of the antelope even raise their head as they pass through.

Once at the office, Daphne clears the animals away, too. If she can talk to them? Someone else can, as well. Call her paranoid; the insects that she can't see have her worried, too. They're not completely secure, but this is as close as they get. "Everything okay?" That's a consant worry. "I expected news, I guess. I was kind of hoping you'd have some good news." Yeah, yeah, complain. But hey. She's not quite thirty yet, and she's trying to keep her maturity level somewhere around her age, otherwise everything is depressing.

There was something about Daphne that reminded her about Ali. Gentle souls, altruistic natures. Elena had been the same, once upon a time, but her position in one of the most sought-after, well-funded, and organized terrorist groups (despite Gene's constant bellyaching about not being 'subtle' or 'quiet' enough) active in New York City and god knows where else had to toss that on the wayside. She had people to look after. People to protect. The Cause was second compared to her family and those who she swore by blood and fire to look after always. Even from the beginnin, Elena was no hero. She was a protector, a guardian, and protectors would go through any lengths to protect their own, even if it was against their moral fibre. In restrospect, despite their many similarities, it was the biggest difference between herself and the ghost from her past, who was somehow walking around like a wide-eyed school boy. Peter Petrelli, at least the Peter Petrelli she knew and had loved once, was a hero.

Stepping into the office, the Saint trusts Daphne's word that the place is secure. She always took the word to be the same, as in, as secure as they can make it. Elena always, always, operated under the assumption that what seemed secure is not so secure. There was always a plan, and a few contingencies in place. "I do have good news," she says. "I haven't cleared it yet, but if I have anything to say about it, another rescue operation is under way. You know what that means, the Gate could be opened again." Daphne knows what that means - a rescue op means a channel has been opened as part of the package to ferry off the rescuees to wherever they want to go. New identities. New lives. Safe passage to Mexico. With the latest convoy, the people in Daphne's commune can take advantage of the open channel and go to wherever they need to go if they choose to leave New York. "Fifteen bodies, it looks like."

And then, the bad news. "The not-so-good news….Ali's in Bat Country. Someone, one of us, gave her SARS. By the way she was describing it, the Evolved can transmit, control, and produce disease by physical contact or remotely. I don't know what her range is, so I typically use my own abilities as a benchmark. Probably between 10 to 75 feet. I can give you all the information on the woman if you like, though it's minimalistic because of the short notice. You're the first I've told, because Ali and Eric were concerned about the animals, if there's someone like that walking around."

Daphne /is/ gentle. Tempermental, sometimes, but nice, caring.

Until she flattens you with an elephant. One of the better known fact about Daphne is that she won't tolerate traitors or moles. Those? Are fed to the pigs. Still alive. Not a nice way to go. Unfortunately, the fact that there have been any people who've met that end at all means that Daphne trusts too easily. Maybe that'll fade with time. She just doesn't like that trust betrayed.

What happened to all of them? It seems like a stupid question. It also seems completely impossible that every single person would have this in them - the ability to hurt and even kill for a better world - but those who didn't embrace that side of themselves didn't last too long, those who didn't choose a new way— It's sad. And the worst part is, even if the sun does come out again, this generation will never go back to how they were before.

As Elena gives her good news, Daphne finds and locates a decent-sized spider. While she never mastered talking to insects like her husband, at least she can ask them not to bite. Said spider is picked up and evicted into the hall, because spiders talk. It could very well be a spy. This is why abilities suck, because there are so damn MANY of them.

The door is closed again, though, locked, and just in time for the news about the fact that there could be a way to get people out of the country. "There are a couple people here who need to get out. One's wanted." She doesn't have to say why. "I understand if you don't want to take him. They'll be watching for him, but.. Keep it in mind. He's been patient." That'd mean taking him along on the rescue. Not something that's easy or completely safe to do, Daphne knows, but… She has to think about the safety of the zoo, too, and she's hiding Rudyard now…

The bad news is taken with a blank look, though Daphne's lips press together with her worry. SARS is transmittable through animals - birds, rodents. The connection between this particular news and why Elena would tell Daphne is pretty obvious… Control disease. Animals are vectors for disease. Viral, bacterial, parasitic… All kinds. "What's she look like? Any idea?" They can keep her away from the zoo as much as possible, and put a lock down on any rodents, birds, or other creatures entering the zoo without clearance. She'll have to alert Rudyard to keep the mosquitos away. "All the Saints had rabies shots, right? If not, make sure they come in."

A fingerless-gloved hand pulls a pad of paper out of the pocket of her beat-up jeans, flipping it to the notes she scribbled down after Elena interrogated Ali about this woman. "Her name is Erin. She's about our age," she says. "Used to be Ali's roommate. These are just the preliminary specs, brief description….from what I could get from Google before I got here, she used to be a soap opera star. Here's the latest stats I could find." She passes on the papers - she's already memorized what she found. And if she needs clarification, she'll ask Ali. "I can probably have Gene pull her records, compile a file for the rest of the Saints. Ali believes she was infected for the purpose of infecting all of us back in the stronghold. If she and Prime didn't head over to Bat Country right away, we all could've been." It had been a close call. "As much as I want to issue a kill order, Ali made me promise not to."

She sighs. "But I gave her no guarantees it'll be followed. I can guarantee that a Hunt called wouldn't come from me. I just don't think the Shepherd is going to take it well once he hears the details on this. And I -have- to tell him, and circulate her file and put her on the Watch List." The Watch List is the Saints' compilation of People to Stay Away From/People To Shoot On Sight If Necessary. Prime wanted to dub it Santa's Naughty List, but she veto'd that.

When she hears that two people need out, Elena shoots her brows upwards. "Wanted?" She doesn't ask either. "We can't take him along the op but the plan is to have someone not in it to swing by and pick those who need an exit out, and drive them to the rally point. It's more secure for you, and more secure for us. Who's the other one that needs passage out?" She'll have to call her father to set things up.

And when Daphne brings up the vaccinations, Elena nods. "Gene was first on your innoculation list," she says. "And I think the rest of the team has, except for me. I had to leave for my assignment before I could be administered a shot."

Daphne reads over the notes. It's easy enough to give people someone to look out for, but telling animals is a whole different story, much more complicated without smells. However, the high-profile nature of a TV star should make things a little easier. She used to watch soaps now and then when they were on, but she doesn't know any of the actors' names. This, though? Finding out an appearance shouldn't be too hard. There's a lot they'll have to do— Hopefully Elena won't mind too much when she tears a blank page from the pad, grabs a pen, and starts writing out a short to-do of her own.

"God. Seriously?" SARS could turn into a huge epidemic, especially with limited medical capabilities. A whole lot of people in the zoo and in Bat Country could die without proper care. "Ali's okay? Is she gonna be, I mean? I don't…" There's a point where she stops, looks around as if confused - and she is. This is a huge security problem - and then shakes her head. Right now? There's nothing she can do but listen, get the details. She's managed to keep the zoo disease-free and clean through a whole lot of work. Daphne doesn't want that ruined now.

"If she shows up at the zoo, I'm not going to have a choice," Daphne says, a little of that temper - and finility - sounding in her voice. "She could take out the whole zoo. And you know we're a target." She's honestly surprised they haven't been bombed. Or, rather, she's not. Because if the zoo falls, there's going to be a whole lot of animals stampeding in President Petrelli's direction, and they're all going to be pissed. It's a truce of sorts.

"Other one's a sixteen-year-old boy. He's got family - in Europe, but any step is a step in the right direction. He was here with his older sister when they started detaining humans." She pauses. "He hasn't asked, but I can tell. Sooner he gets home, the better. Speaks more English than he used to, and he's polite. Call it a favour if you have to." Only if it's safe.

"Well, before you leave, then." The rabies vaccine was actually in good supply, and remains so, even if it might be just slightly expired. With the animals in the zoo, everyone who worked here was required to be vaccinated. Everyone who lives here is. "At least we can treat SARS. You can't treat rabies. The number of people who've survived it by the time it becomes symptomatic— I can count on one hand."

Outside, while the girls talk, Eric is busy finishing the chores that he said he would just /so/ the girls could go talk. Rasinfrakinboxes. At least he has a meerkat on his head for company. Best lookout in a moving lookout.

…Ramon would just shake his head to see him now.

She doesn't mind. Elena is here to warn her, acting on Ali's wishes - not to mention Eric seemed to get attached to her Meerkats pretty quickly, and by his words back in the labs, she knows he's been in the zoo while she was gone. So she leans back on the chair, crossing her legs and folding her hands on her knee. She watches Daphne get to work. "I'd say 75 feet is her maximum range. From what Ali tells me, when she met her, she was doing her best to keep herself from -not- hurting anyone. That sort of psychological block if nursed for a bit could be a deterrent. I can deduce that she's not like some of us who have spent the last few years mastering our abilities. Either way, I know you might not have a choice - but you're kind of outside of my jurisdiction so whatever you need to do to take care of you and yours, do it."

She nods. "She's in good hands. Cass is smart, she always has been. She knows what she's doing. I wouldn't be surprised if she's released in the next couple of days or so." And if Daphne kills Erin, she wouldn't be breaking her promise to Ali. To her it was a win-win. Now she actually -hopes- the woman ventures towards the Zoo and makes the mistake of showing her face around the premises. It was a vindictive thought, but she can't help it. No one messes with her Saints without paying for it somehow.

The sixteen year old's mention causes Elena's face to tighten determinedly, especially with the mention of an older sister. She couldn't help but feel her heart ache a little at the thought of Manny, out there, doing what he does.

"Eric too," Elena says with a nod. "He just got back a week ago, he wasn't on your list to innoculate. He's here, before we leave, we'll both take the shot." She's thankful of Daphne's own ways to watch out for them - more of a friendship than just some formal quid-pro-quo alliance. "What about the sister? Do they both need passage out along with the…..con?"

That's a good distance. Seriously, she could stand outside the zoo, behind a tree, and just… Sigh. Writing something else down, Daphne rubs the back of her hand against her forehead. Daphne won't say anything else on the matter, but… Yeah. If Erin comes around here, she won't be leaving, and now they're going to have to watch for disease on top of everything else. "Dammit," is the best possible response.

Patrols? No, she can't risk the people who live here. Reptiles, though. Not a lot of viruses that'll take out a venomous snake. "I've got a new nest of baby rattlesnakes. I'll give you a map in a couple days, tell you where to step if you're coming in. Anyone steps off the path— Just. Tell your people to be careful." Baby rattlers have as much venom as their parents. One bite is all it'd take.

"Eric, too." He's here, might as well. Not exactly the most pleasant vaccine in the world, but at least they won't die from it. "Sister's in detainment somewhere. Couldn't tell you where." Daphne never met her. Only reason the kid got away is because he was lucky, at at least they're not actively looking for him. Much safer to transport than the mercenary who's hiding out here, too.

But, the vaccine. "You'll get your first today. You'll have to come back in a week for the second, and a couple weeks later for the third. I wish I could give you the whole thing at once. It'd make it easier, but it'd also kill you." Not… really that funny, but Daphne smiles anyway. Of all the things that could possibly kill them, 'vaccines' probably aren't high on the list.

"I'm sorry," Elena says, at Daphne's clear displeasure about everything. "But you had to know. Especially with what you deal with, you need to be prepared." Preparedness is all. But when she brings up the rattlers, she lifts her brows. "….really…" Snakes. She hates snakes. She had an aversion to most reptiles really. Except turtles. She liked turtles, they were cute. And maybe geckos. She always wanted a gecko, now that she can't exactly keep a dog. Not with the schedule she has. Maybe a nice leopard one she could call Gecks.

When she mentions that the sister's in detainment, she narrows her eyes. "Looks like I'll have to talk to the kid before I leave too," she says. She'll go alone and break out the sister if she has to, but she would like to ship the kids off to Europe as a package deal. She might not even tell Jack. God, Prime would kill her. Eric wouldn't be happy with her either. But a solo jailbreak was best done alone especially when it's a detainment camp, and she has experience being able to pass herself off as human, and convincingly.

"Kind of like an HPV vaccine, huh? Alright. Thanks for the map, too."

"Yeah, not saying I'm not glad I know," she reassures, pausing in her writing for a minute for blue eyes to look upward. Going back to writing, she misunderstands that 'really' as being incredulous, rather than OMG SNAKE HAET. "No one really notices them. They hide easily and blend in. You walked under about a dozen when you entered the zoo." … So, pleasant dreams, Elena. The snakes are everywhere. WATCHING YOU.

Daphne knows that look in Elena's eye, and she opens her mouth to say something, but… Sighs instead. "Just be careful." She pauses. "They're from Spain." Which means Elena might be perfect for the mission, even if the language has slight variations, even between provinces in the country. It's something, anyway.

"You and Eric are welcome to stay the night here if you want. In fact, you really should. By the time we're out of the clinic, it's going to be really dark." And Daphne doesn't care if Elena and Eric are super awesome Evolved, she doesn't feel right with people outside safe areas when there's no sun to see by. If not, like with Cass, she'll be sending a look out to keep an eye on them on the way back.

Oh god. Elena tries not to blanch at the idea, but whenever Daphne hands her the map, she nods, taking the paper and securing it in a back pocket. "Thanks again as always, Daphne," she says gratefully. Better stay AWAY from said path altogether. She'll see if she can scan the image and patch it through to Gene to add it in their database of helpful documents. Maps, blueprints…. thanks to the legitimate front of the Saints, they're able to access -plenty- of blueprints and establish their own back doors in select locations around the city. It was how they could grab supplies so easily.

When Daphne recognizes the look in her eyes, Elena nods determinedly. "I will," she says softly. "I'm always careful, and this isn't the first time I've done this." The fact that the kids are from Spain, helps. She couldn't help but remember her trip with the boys….one of the few beautiful memories she had before the war destroyed everything.

"If you don't mind the imposition, we'll take the offer. Eric loves this place, and ….it's been a while since I've been here just to see animals." She was particularly attached to the Bengals that Daphne kept in her fortress. Beautiful, dangerous. "We'll replenish the food supply once we head back out to base."

It takes awhile to mark out a path over a carbon-paper copy. The copy is handed to Elena with a mostly straight but off-centre path drawn toward the zoo. She'll mark it with something the animals can smell, and they'll stay off of it, and hopefully no one will know what she's doing.

The original map is folded and placed in a pocket… She'll have to tell the residents she trusts, too, and keep the ones she doesn't inside the zoo.

In any case, she can't argue with someone who wants to hang out with the animals. They're beautiful creatures, though some of the big cats could use more food… They're still healthy, though, as healthy as they can be in a time like this. Nodding toward the door, Daphne opens it, after which she'll lead the way toward the medical clinic. On the way, the monkey who previously stole the package of dried fruit will return to see what else he can acquire.

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