2007-08-06: DF: Boom Town

Starring:

DFGeorge_icon.gif DFElena_icon.gif

Summary: A patron saint of prisoners and an agent of warders manage a civil discussion. Arrangements are made to deliver a package that totally isn't a bomb.

Dark Future Date: August 6, 2009

Boom Town


Congee Village, Lower East Side

It's hour 9 of another shift-and-a-half in the service of the beleaguered Executive Branch, but a relatively slow one: grab some dinner, keep your cell phone charged, and let things swirl around in the back of your subconscious. And it's not anywhere with a Zagat rating - the few of those still operating are too high-profile - but neither is it an under-$30 hamburger that doesn't even bother to look like beef.

And so it comes to pass that a worn-out George sits by himself in the middle of a noisy and crowded sit-down restaurant; at the last even half-empty table, in fact, until someone else gets around to vacating. His attention is half on the menu, half on a notepad covered in shorthand.

30 dollar hamburgers.

What was the world coming to these days? They better be damned good hamburgers.

A young woman who, thanks to a certain metrosexual cosmetics artist and interior decorator, was transformed into a very pale, fragile looking executive with a chic, tousled blonde bob and a pair of wire-rimmed glasses perched on her nose, sits by the corner, a two-person table nearby, her back against the corner while the area in front of her is visible. There is a window near her, affording her a view of the outside world while she eats. She looks to be in her twenties, dressed in a simple, white, button-down blouse, and a smoke-gray skirt that fell modestly under the knee. Black pumps grace her feet, and a leather portfolio is seen leaning on the leg of her chair. Dark, gold-flecked eyes continue perusing the menu, furrowing her brows a little bit.

Damn. No sign of him.

Maybe he caught food poisoning. This solo stakeout may or may not have been for nothing. However when George crosses her line of sight, she quirks a brow slowly. He looks familiar, very familiar….

And then, realization hits her.

But no one else is the wiser. Despite (or because of) wearing the same sort of nondescript dark gray outfit and absently combed hair that he has been for months; despite numerous public outings with Homeland Security teams, some of which have made the news… most people wouldn't know him from Adam. Too busy watching the louder, tougher guys in uniforms.

Just as well; at this point in his career, anonymity in plain sight suits him just fine.

With a sigh, he sets the notepad aside, looking around for one of the overlooked waiters. Instead, he spots someone looking at him, someone he hadn't given a second glance earlier. Not immediately familiar, but… it's on the tip of his tongue. And it's important. How best to resolve it?

Fortunately, this has been a solved problem for ages. Let someone else take the spotlight in your place. "Offer her a bottle of the best bottle you've got left," he says to the next attendant who stops by, "on the condition she comes over and shares it with me. Put it on my tab." And here's a little something for your trouble, as he unobtrusively slips them a couple of twenties while handing over the menu.

Oh, but she knows him. George. Heidi called him George. She called him Matt Damon. Elena's mind drifts back to that night in the club, the night when her powers went haywire. Didn't he end up leaving with that pretty brunette? The President's man, or at least, one of them. Still, when he turns his head to look at her - it's too late to play coy now. She just gives him a smile, and drops her eyes to peruse her menu again. No chance that he would recognize her….she looked very different from that night, thanks to Jadinne, and they never spoke.

And then? The waiter is by her side, offering her the bottle, label-side up.

"Excuse me, miss, but the gentleman over there…" He nods to George. "….sent this over. On the condition that you share it with him." There's an amused tone on the man's voice. Ah, New York. War ravaged and whatnot, it was still a giant meatmarket for the young professionals.

Elena knows, however, that it's not the case. Peering through her lenses at the man across the room, there is a pause, and then… "Of course. I'm not a big wine drinker, but at the very least I should thank him. I'll take that." She takes the bottle and stands up. Her other hand sweeps the leather portfolio back to her hand, and she moves across the room, easy strides taking her towards George. Upon arriving, she sets the bottle down on the table in front of him.

"As I was telling Christopher," she says, having caught the waiter's nametag. "I'm not a big wine drinker, but the least I could do is thank the person who sent it over."

The smile that he offers in response is a curious thing: he also knows that it's not the case, but anyone else paying attention would think it was— and he aims to keep it that way. There's a warmth to it that he doesn't really feel, enough to fool a passing glance.

"I appreciate that," he murmurs, reaching for glasses while his mind races. Who is this, and why is he convinced that she's important? What with the hair and the makeup being switched around, it's harder for him to remember.

"So… to what do I owe the honor of the opportunity? You didn't look like you were planning a table for one to begin with."

"Curiosity." Elena pushes a chair out and takes a seat on it. That was alright. Her back was behind the door - she doesn't really need to see people to know they're coming. As always, given who she was, what she did, she erred in the side of caution. She leans back against her seat, crossing her legs by the knee and linking her fingers together on her lap. "You sent this bottle to me over, after all, I was just wondering why." She inclines her head at him, and offers him a smile. It's a small thing, and noncommittal. "Do we know each other and I just don't remember?" She tests the waters.

To his comment about the table, her smile widens. "Dinner date. But I think I was just stood up. He's an hour late."

George's expression turns sour. "He's a damn fool, then. Or he got held up in traffic." Both are common, lately. "And—"

It's a rightward tilt of the head that does it, placing more focus on one bob as a passing shadow falls across it. "Joan of Arcadia, isn't it? Hear the word of God directly." Not exactly, but the underlying message is clear: yes, I know who you work with.

"And he gets it in one," Elena says, the easy smile, to her credit, not shifting into a satisfied smirk. "I would've gone with Arc, like the real historical woman, but I didn't want to blaspheme." Her dark eyes sweep over George's face. "They say the devil's in the details and all that. I figured being a loyal government spin-doctor, you're probably very attuned to the details." She picks up one of the glasses poured out and taking a quiet sip. She'll have to bring the glass with her, though she doesn't really have to. She had a clean record all her life, the only way they could trace her DNA is if they ran her saliva through CODUS and discovered she had some alleles in common with a Manny Gomez, who was in the system….but she had Gene wipe her surviving brother's record a year ago. It paid off, sometimes, to be a wannabe scientist.

"George, isn't it? How's the benefits package, I'm curious."

The spin-doctor charge isn't one of his regular duties, but happens to be true in this case. At least it started with him; Cyprus gets the credit/blame for turning it into a full-blown Academy Award Moment.

In any case, the comment is allowed to pass undenied. "I can't complain. But what about you?" That forty bucks was worth every penny; this really is good liquor here, especially if you're a detail guy. "I… long story short, had a run-in with someone with an awfully black-and-white view of things, equal and opposite of mine. Or what they assumed mine to be. Your group, on the other hand, seems to be a lot more colorful; I have to admit, it's intriguing."

"I'm not giving you an exclusive, if that's what you're angling," 'Joan of Arcadia' tells him, absently swirling the rich, red liquid around her glass. Her expression is almost lazy, but her eyes are sharp. Adrenaline was pumping through her veins, being so close to Homeland Security. One slip, if she let her guard down for even -one- moment, it could be the end of her. She liked the edge, it was exciting. But she can't indulge too much….plus this was a relief. She didn't want her evening wasted. Not with the hours sitting under a lamp while Jadinne labored to turn her golden skin into Elizabethan white.

"You mean the train job? It could've been done a lot better. Those people didn't have to die the way they did. It must sound very amusing to you, to hear a terrorist say such a thing, but our cause isn't to kill innocents. Quite frankly, our cause usually puts us in a line to kill -your- people. Not people in general."

At that, George's nostrils flare, allowing his concern for his own situation to show. "No, not the train job— I didn't hear about that until after it'd already happened. This was something else." And no, he's not offering any exclusives, either; a description by omission will have to do.

"We have a couple of problems in common here." A plate of complimentary bread is dropped off, and absently reached for. "It's easy to lose sight of which things are causes and which are effects. And, properly, a terrorist isn't necessarily someone who intends to kill— it's someone who intends to strike fear. That may seem noble, depending on where that fear is placed… Here's what interests me. Where do you see yourselves on those scales? And where do you see us?"

"Hm. Then you're going to have to be a little more specific if you really want my input." It isn't done in any wheedling tones, or any coy voices or the like. Joan of Arcadia is a very frank person, and when she delivers the statement, it's done so quite bluntly. "But it seems to me that you're having a little problem. Common, I think, especially when we do the things we do." She takes another sip of her wine. She could drink as much as she likes - she can't get drunk.

She shrugs. "We're simple folk," she answers George with that same, perhaps surprising, frankness. "We put ourselves first, the Cause second. As for the rest of you….well. To put it bluntly, you're in our way. You can't honestly believe what's happening now is how things ought to be. I know you were around when things were less violent. Even for New York. It wasn't all that long ago."

"Actually, my first month here…" He shakes his head, dismissing memories that still retain a personal impact, even if they're peanuts compared to more recent events. "Well, I think you're being honest; you have my thanks for that."

"And no, of course it isn't… only a fool thinks his government is ever perfect. What I do believe is that allowing something as big as this to fall into chaos would be even worse. And that people who think in simple terms… however well-meaning. Letting them direct the course of events? That's always going to run into trouble."

"I have no reason to lie….this time. It's not like we're talking about the next few moves on the chessboard," Elena tells George, finishing her wine and absently wiping her glass thoroughly with the napkin provided for her on the table. "Besides. You already know who I am. One press of a panic button and you'd have me surrounded. The very least I could do is not piss you off by not being a raging bitch." She inclines her head a little bit at her companion, observing him as he eats his bread, and the look on his face. Huh. Something really -was- chewing at him, pun intended.

"Trouble's a bosom buddy. We've learned to live with it," she tells him simply. "Simple terms as to what's important. Life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness. The right to live in your own home without worrying that people in black cars would break your windows and steal your children at night. Or the right to live without worrying that people in black cars aren't causing such a ruckus in the Capitol that forces other people to break windows and steal children at night." She looks at him seriously across the table. "I'm trying not to sound righteous. I've killed people. In God's eyes that doesn't leave me much room to be such, but the current order has to go, George. I'm sorry."

George shakes his head, promptly dismissing— something. "Not my role to judge you personally. I could rattle off something about how many windows broken, how many lives stolen, if the current order did go… but I'm sure you've heard it all before." A shrug: the extent of common ground appears to have been exhausted.

"One thing, though, before you leave?" In case the removal of fingerprints was headed that way. "Speaking of voices, I have that package that Alyssa was looking for. Was holding on to it till I figured how to get it to her."

"I have. I would've extended the courtesy of listening, at least." Elena sets the clean glass on the table, sparkling, as if she hadn't used it. The napkin is stowed away in her leather portfolio. She'll have to take that menu too, the one she was toying with, and the bottle. She shared a drink with him, that entitles her to it, right? She stands up, picking up the bottle, and turns it over to refill his glass. She hangs onto it though.

"….you know her?" she says, lifting her brows. Alarm bells start ringing. While she trusts Ali….does she trust George? Does Ali trust George? What if George was biding his time before he captures her? She can't help but growl inwardly. And WHAT PACKAGE? Ali better not be thinking of taking whatever the hell it was BACK to where they are now, it could be bugged, or worse! But she doesn't jump to conclusions yet. "Toss it in the trash. 6:00 tomorrow morning. Black trash can next to the blue mailbox at the corner of 23rd East and Pine."

George reaches for the notepad, turning to a fresh page and writing down numbers as quickly as they're thrown out. Reactions to deliberately ambiguous clues are always so much fun to watch. If only he could be there to watch their faces when the Saints make the pickup…

And hell, while he's at it, why not kill two birds with one stone. "Will do. I'll include a PO box, too, in case you guys ever feel like sending anything back."

Oh if she could only be there to watch his face when -she- alone makes the pickup. They'd be lucky if they even see her. Elena was the strategist of the group, she knows this could be a trap. It could also be harmless, but she errs in the side of caution. So she nods, and extends a hand for the paper with the PO box number. Just in case.

"Thanks for the drink, George," she tells him simply, putting the wine into her leather portfolio. "I'll be seeing you." She turns around then, and walks over to her old table and surreptitiously lifts the menu she had been fiddling with. This, she keeps in the portfolio too as she turns around to head out through the front doors. He'll see the blonde head walking away from his direction through the windows.

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