2007-08-03: DF: As Far As You Can See


DFNamir_icon.gif Lee_icon.gif DFGeorge_icon.gif DFAileen_icon.gif

Summary: Lee and Namir interrogate Aileen a little more about her project before deciding to release her. George comes in at an opportune moment to take her home.

Dark Future Date: August 3, 2009

As Far As You Can See

An abandoned subway tunnel in New York City

The room is still dark, still dank, and still only lit by the desk lamp near Aileen's feet. The woman herself remains bound to the chair, although she has been released a few times for toilet trips and for a few hours during the night (or what might have been night) to lay down to sleep. Overall, however, it hasn't been a nice captivity. She's kept fed and hydrated for the most part, but that is as far as the courtesy extends. When the door opens this time, it is once again the Israeli in the black headscarf, but he's not alone.
Still, despite the minor courtesies allowed to her, Aileen is not quite in the best of moods. She looks up abruptly as the door opens, simply because it's been a while since she's heard from her captors. She takes a careful look at the door, squinting to try and make out any new details.

Lee must be the good cop. At the very least, he's smiling. And he's charming. And seems trustworthy. Just a regular guy. "Sorry for the accomodations." he says pleasantly enough. "If we had better, you'd be in them, and if we had enough food for everyone, you'd have more." He doesn't try to hide his face. He must already be wanted at a high enough level that he isn't worried about being recognized. Still, he doesn't say who he is. "We might be able to get you on your way if you can give us a few more details about your work."

The masked man remains quiet and in the darker parts of the room, lurking near the walls. He says nothing, but he watches. Bad cop.

Good cop bad cop. Aileen knows this sort of routine. That doesn't make her like it any. "Look, it's a really complicated process in the first place and there's not much more I can tell you. I'm still in the process of researching." She lets out a sigh.

Lee says, "Oh, I wouldn't know what you were telling me about it anyway." jocularly enough. "Your captors aren't evolutionary or anti-evolutionary fanatics. That's not our purpose. We're a political organization. The 'Evolved' stuff is just decoration on the oldest conflict mankind has ever engaged in, tyranny versus liberty, and honestly it's a bit of a distraction." Still charming, still self-effacing, he pulls a chair up, sits in it backwards with his slender legs to either side, arms folded on the top. "You indicated to my associate that the President was not aware of your work. Who is?"

The other figure is still silent and still observant.

Another sigh. "Only the person who suggested I try in the first place. George." Aileen looks away, a slight frown on her features. "It's still in the early stages so there would be no point in mentioning it to other people."

Lee replies, "Who is George? I mean, do you know his last name, is he connected with the Administration, in what capacity, what other connections does he have, how did he come to suggest it to you, you know. Things like that." encouragingly, like this is exactly what he wanted to hear from her all along.

"George is the man she's been seeing," pipes up the masked man. "He also works for the President." Just being helpful.

"That would be correct." Aileen replies, glancing back to Lee. "George is my boyfriend, and yes, he works for the President. He's worked for President Petrelli for a long time. Two years, at least. And he simply suggested it to me because I'd mentioned reading Activating Evolution a few years ago and found it interesting."

Lee replies gracefully, accepting this with a nod: "Where does the money come from for your research? You said it was independent. Do you get grants, or is there a bank account somewhere?"
The other man again falls silent.

"Like I said, it's not as if anyone really knows about it. I use my own money. If I ever get anything out of the project, I'm sure I'd get my money back. It's kind of an investment." Aileen glances back.
Lee tilts his head. "Your own money?" he says calmly. "Well…you can't have any test subjects or anything like that, then!" he joshes. "You must still be working on the very /very/ basics."

"Unless she's lying," grunts the other man. "How do we really know Petrelli doesn't have anything to do with this? How do we know she's not actually getting money from him?"

Lee seems interested in how Aileen responds to the other cop's suggestion. He clearly thinks it is a legitimate question.

"I don't know what kind of person you think I am." Aileen states, her expression dimming. "I don't have test subjects. Even if I did, something like this is way too complicated to use on humans unless I made /tremendous/ progress." Her eyes narrow, looking to the man in the shadows. "Honestly, with the President's resources, do you really think if he knew about this project I'd still be here?"

Lee says, with perfect confidence, "It's because of the President's resources that you /are/ here. He's weighed down because he has so many. We are free because we have so few." He seems to accept Aileen's statements. "Why hasn't George told him? Has he confided in you?"

Once again, the Israeli falls silent and is content to return to the role of observer.

"I haven't made the progress yet. I'm sure, if it was anything /important/ George would tell the President." Aileen shifts in the chair. "Why waste someone's time when we can't be entirely sure that the research will work? Especially someone like the President. I'm a human. I wouldn't want to do /anything/ that would get me thrown into a detainment camp."

Lee says, "It's absolutely guaranteed not to work, if you're just using your own funds and don't have any organizational support, isn't it?"

More silence from the other man in the room.

"Not necessarily. There's a lot of work that can be done with precision and simple funds. It's merely a matter of getting some potential results before I can go large-scale." Aileen glances back at him. "I only need to have one success, really."

Lee thinks about this a moment, his brow furrowing. "You're wrong. But you're being honest with me, which I appreciate. I don't think there's anything else we need from you, unless my friend has thought of something else? We'll have to blindfold you when we take you out of here, and again I'm sorry for that. I want you to know that there's a decent possibility that if you are right and I am wrong, and your research does bear fruit, that it won't have the reaction from the Administration you think it might. Given their current policies, it would almost certainly be held out primarily as a reward for loyalty - another method of controlling the populace, forcing them into line. You could still end up in a camp, or much worse. If you get into that situation, remember that there are people who can help you run." he says. "If you're as smart as you think you are, you won't have any trouble finding us again." He rises, puts the chair back against the wall.

No, it would seem the other man hasn't thought of anything. His brow furrows a bit at the mention of blindfolding, however. "I would prefer that she be sedated and blindfolded," he states to Lee as he moves forward to undo Aileen's bindings.

Lee says, amiably, "I hate needles, but moving her is going to be your responsibility." It's up to him. "Just be sure she gets somewhere safely." A glint of mischief is already in Lee's eye. He likes what he does.

Off in the distance, another conversation is taking place. "The location's compromised no matter what you do," one of the voices says. "Get out of my way, and it'll only be the location."

"Good." Aileen murmurs. She doesn't have to believe him. She's got enough funds on her own to do a good deal of the legwork. She looks back to Lee. "I'm not assuming it guarantees me freedom. I've got other ways to stay out. It's a tough world, I do what I can." Her glare turns to the 'masked' man. "Right. Thanks for that."

Lee says, with modesty, "Nobody will blame you for putting survival first. But that's not something I'm willing to do." He opens the door and overhears the tail end of the other conversation. "Dammit." he says with a smirk. "I at least like pretending that we're not constantly moving. What now?"

In the middle of removing Aileen's bindings — the ropes are off, but the handcuffs remain — the masked man picks up on the voices and immediately draws a pistol from his belt. "I was hoping not to have to kill anyone today," he growls. That's a nice answer to Lee's question. He moves past the other man and steps out into the hallway, gun brought to bear on whomever it might be out in the hallway. "Let him through," he grunts to the guard.

Lee indicates with a hand, palm down, that Namir shouldn't have the gun up like that. "Those things make such a racket." he says almost to himself.

As the guard steps aside, George walks forward, holding his hands up in the air. See? Unarmed. "I'd like the doctor back now, if you don't mind." He squints at the covered face; he still remembers that old subway hijacking pretty clearly, but not enough to place the man from a voice alone. Just enough for an irritating case of deja vu.

Lee says, "Hello…George, I assume? No, I don't mind. Wow, this is quite a welcome change. Normally there would be assault choppers and a squad of HomeSec twerps with M16s. Come on over here. She's right inside. Told us some very interesting things. I assume your arrival without a hail of lead doesn't presage a new policy of detente and peaceful negotiation and political compromise?"

The doctor herself doesn't look too happy at the idea of anyone getting shot. She's doing a very good job of staying quite calm in the midst of this, but she peers intently over, waiting to see what happens. She is, however, notably biting on her lip.

George does not look amused. "This isn't an official operation, so no. This would probably be a good time to convince me to keep it that way… say, by explaining why you were so interested in her in the first place." He shoots Aileen a look, but reserves any release of emotion until after they're out of hostile territory.

The Israeli doesn't lower his gun. He keeps it trained on George, then glances past the man into the hallway beyond. There are no armed escorts. Stupid. "I think it would be better for you if you gave me a good reason not to put one in your skull," he states in his usual chillingly neutral tone.

Lee replies sardonically, "No, I don't think that's how it will go, George. You're a bright young man." (Wait, who's young?) "You can figure out why we wanted to have a conversation with her. You don't need my explanation and at any rate neither of you is entitled to one. You've both made your bed, you've both chosen your side. You haven't left. You haven't fought. You haven't spoken out. You try to survive. To keep your head down and find a loophole through which you and you alone, or maybe together, can wriggle. That's understandable. And if that is as far as you can see, then nothing I am interested in will interest you." To Namir he says in a pleasant tone, "Don't."

A frown appears on Aileen's features, her expression flickering to George. Her eyes are fixated on the gun. "There's no need to shoot anyone." Lee's words, however, don't cause her much happiness either. There's an obvious difference of opinion.

This is not the first time George has been witness to violence or the threat thereof, especially given the sort of work he's been involved in over the past several months. "You wouldn't gain anything by it," he replies, addressing the gunman first, "you'd only draw down the sort of blunt-force response your friend there was expecting. I'm guessing you're sensible enough to want to avoid that. And I don't expect you to believe this" - now he glances toward Lee - "but neither of us is merely surviving. We're both working to resolve things so that there doesn't need to be a fight any longer. That's why I'm not making any assumptions about your motives— I really do want to hear it fresh. There may well be something I haven't thought of yet."

The location is probably not important. It's a temporary spot anyhow. Easier that way. When Lee pipes up with his own command, the Israeli hesitates, then lowers and holsters the pistol. He returns to undo Aileen's bindings without a word, but he's not moving in the manner of a man who's at all pleased with things.

Lee says, still keeping his voice level, cautious. "You're right not to expect me to believe it. I don't. You work with the President, directly. It's his orders that made this fight what it is. You come here with no credibility in my eyes. He's taken…" He stops. "I'm not going to argue with you. You come with something in hand if you want to show me goodwill. All you've shown me is you care about her, and that's a brave enough thing to show, but it's not what I want. The two of you can go. Right up through that tunnel is a ladder, and it comes out at a street corner where you can find your way to anywhere you need to go."

As her bindings are freed, Aileen carefully moves towards George, making sure to glance back and make sure nothing's going wrong for an escape. While there's a lot on her mind, she doesn't speak, a frown still on her features.

George remains where he is, finally reaching a hand and placing it in Aileen's as she approaches. "Watch for a classified titled 'All the News of the Market', PO Box 14. You see that, it'll mean I need to talk with you about something specific." With that, he glances at his watch and starts toward the ladder. Presumably there's a time limit after which someone will presume him missing as well.

Lee says to George's back: "I know the President's forgotten me. Because if he remembered me, he would not have done what he has done. Watch out for what happens when he forgets you, too." When they reach the tunnel and look back, Namir is gone, and when they reach the streets of New York, everyone is gone. It's just another abandoned subway tunnel.

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