2007-08-01: John Hancock And Not Tokyo Rose


DFJane_icon.gif DFMcAlister_icon.gif

Summary: A discussion of other business matters and a dilemma while a radio broadcast is prepared for.

Dark Future Date: August 1st, 2009

John Hancock And Not Tokyo Rose

The Bronx Zoo, NYC

After her talk with Manuel the night before, Jane makes her way to the zoo. She enters through the animal security, and reaches the place she occupies when here. Much is on her mind as she lies down and remains awake for a time, but eventually she does manage to sleep. This goes on for a stretch of hours, and past the sunrise, but eventually ends. And it doesn't end pleasantly. By eight a. m. a nightmare of the experience where her band attempted to hang her and she killed them in self defense terminates her rest. She sits bolt upright on the mattress and closes her eyes while she works to stop the shaking.

A short time later she's in fresh clothing and on the move. There's an item to retrieve, something requested of her.

By eleven in the morning she's back, with that item, and looking for Ali.

… Ali's in that little concession stand she steals when she's here - it's not much. A work surface, a battered electric lantern (off, right now) - a couple of old-fashioned pencils, paper… and a simple transistor shortwave radio.

At the moment? That radio's chattering in german; it's unlikely Ali knows it, but.. it's a connection. To a world outside of this one.

She's writing.. several crumpled papers are nearby; wasteful, but.. such is the creative process. And she's writing from memory - "… hold these truths to be self-evident.." Famous words to come, muttered, from a tired and slowly wearing down DJ in the streets of a dark New York.

The item, Ali soon discovers when Jane arrives at that concession stand with it on a hand cart she acquired, is a piece of equipment. A fairly new one, in decent shape. Ali wants an amp, she gets an amp. She sets it down just outside and stops, remaining quiet for a short time. The German broadcast is listened to. When she speaks again, the words are translated into English for Ali's benefit and she begins to look over what Radio Free America is writing.
… it's.. a comedy show? In german, it sounds like a pair of cats hocking up hairballs to laughter, but hey.

Ali looks up, when the translation hits, flashing a wry, tired smile. "Hey."

It's.. a speech. Or part of one. Notes for one, anyway. "Met a cute guy. Rich, too." Which, given Ali's somewhat legendary ability to be single via chronic foot-in-mouth disease, is more observation than hope. "I should introduce you two. He's kinda your type."

"Is he?" she replies dryly with a question. "What's his name?" There might be a mild sort of interest, although Jane might just as well be wondering if he might be the sort her mother would try to get her married off to like a brood mare. The woman's desire to have her daughter be the wife of a Senator or President is well remembered. Inwardly she undertakes a brief wonder if that might be a worse hell than the world she finds herself in now. The German broadcast translation ceases, she apparently finds it unamusing and not worth the attention. There's business at hand.

She sets down her backpack, then the guitar case, and extracts the newspapers she picked up the day after their adventure in Times Square. Two articles are set out for Ali to read. One is about the events at the White House. The other concerns Claudine's action and capture.

Ali takes them, gratefully, too-thin (these days) hands a little unsteady, frowning and reaching up to rub at the bridge of her nose. Symptoms of something other than her answer, perhaps. "Sven. He's very norse. Jagged, rugged guy. Likes Armani suits, and has a pretty good sense of humor. American accent, though."

Yeah, the papers are important, and welcome, the headlines getting a cursory look once she's steadied herself. "She got… /what/ happened at the White House?" Clearly, /that/ is unexpected. "Since when is he still letting tours through?"

"Sven," she repeats. "Might be interesting to meet him. Set it up. And who knows when that happened, tours going through? I thought it was funny. Priceless, even." A short laugh escapes. "It doesn't get old, that one. But… Miss Salonga was at Times Square that night. It was her who freed the people and got caught." Jane's eyes rest on the speech again, she's still reading over the notes and nodding. They seem to meet with agreement in her mind.

"… Somebody has to say something." It's almost.. embarrassed. Ali may have all the confidence in the world when she's broadcasting, but.. lately? Yeah. Times wear anybody down. "We're even putting that one out on shortwave, I think. We'll lose another transmitter, but it'll be worth it. Ever feel like you're the only one that remembers?"

It's soft - there's something cathartic in the woman's rambling - quiet speech. "It's so strange. The other day, I was lookin' at Jack and then I saw Daphne and.. there's so much /hate/. How come I can't hate him, Jane? I want to. Everybody else does. I believe in what we're doin', and the why - but. I can't hate him. I feel like I'm stuck on the outside of a big, hating moose lodge."

The brunette moves to rest her backside on something and runs a hand slowly through her hair, then pulls it aside and stands again to show Ali her marks. "I think I told you about these once, way back when, didn't I?" Jane's eyes show that hatred spoken of, the anger, all of it she normally shows, but now more so given the topic. "I got these from the Company. I might have had them before I met him, but I don't know. I can't remember. I also can't remember going on a raid to try freeing his brother from the Company. What I remember is waking up in Jersey with drugs all around me, getting home, and doing three days cold turkey. They made me believe I was an addict, the withdrawal and the memory holes, you see? He was along on that raid, he found me at home getting real familiar with one of Lennon's tunes, the only person who came looking. Days later he told me what really happened, and helped me see I'd never been an addict. I trusted him. He was someone I put it all on the line for and would have again. That's still true about Peter. But not him. And that's the source of my hate. The personal feeling of betrayal. Though some might wonder if it's not really me I hate for not seeing it coming."

She has no desire to speak more about her history with the President. The subject of Claudine is raised again. "She's on the level, I'd say. We found each other again, seems she has a big hulking lover who broke her out of custody. Told me she was the one who spiked the Hummer."

Ali flinches back from that intensity - looking down, away - the paper seems to be a welcome distraction. It's something she clings to, works with. ".. y.. yeah? Still. I guess the thing that gets me is her just .. showing up. I don't trust Company stuff and I never even got tangled with 'em. I wouldn't put it past them, though, to throw out one of their own agents like that. Call me paranoid."

She shakes her head. "Blowing up a couple hummers doesn't necessarially make me trust her. But.. I'll /use/ her. I'm not ashamed of that." Far more resolve, the Dj picking up that paper - "I just can't figure out any way I /could/ trust her. Not after what Elle talked about."

"When we talked," Jane relates, "it was about trust and how it shouldn't be easily given. She and I have a history too. And we agreed on one thing. There are bigger fish to fry than our history. These fish are so big they're actually sharks. I told her I'd speak with the broadcaster, and I have, so now it's in your court. Want me to find her and pass a message, I will. Or not, if you don't."

Her eyes go back to the speech notes, and a nod follows. "Declaration works better for this than quoting the Constitution. Except maybe the Preamble. It expresses the whole thing in that opening nutshell." Her fingers take up a writing instrument and make a small change. "John Lenin, Ali? Wouldn't Vladimir Ilyich be proud."

"… oh. crap." Ali leans up and grabs a pencil. "At least it reads the same way." Eraseeraseerase.. "I'll think about it. If nothing else, maybe we can use her to harrass some patrols or get some people out we couldn't any other way. I'd risk her for that." She frowns, slightly. "L..e..nn.. o.. n. There. I feel better, anyway."

"I still didn't tell her who you were. That's part of your choice. The Broadcaster is someone else, far as she knows, unless she's figured out your voice and the radio voice are the same." And Jane taps the paper twice. "This is prime stuff. Perfect." Afterward, a few steps are taken to lean against something. "Got another matter I want to run by you. Need advice, really."

"… advice? Uh." Ali blinks - startled. "Sure? You know - whatever it is. What's up?" She leans back, reaching up to snag her notes (with a still unsteady hand - a thing she frowns at). "You know how bad my advice is, most of the time."

"Maybe just a sounding board, really," she responds. The whole thing is troubling to her, talking of it is pulling that anger back out into Jane's eyes. "It's about the girl who covered us with invisibility that night. She's only sixteen. When she was fourteen I used to give her guidance about getting established in music. We played together sometimes. She's really good. The guitar, the voice. And here she is, at sixteen, survivor of a war, wanting to be active in resistance things. Life made her a grown woman too soon. I have to acknowledge that, she isn't a girl anymore. She's going to do what she's going to do, whether I or anyone else likes it or not. I… I can't really ask her to stay out, because I do the same things. I'm involved. But I'd still not want to see her injured, captured, or dead." The whole situation, that Portia or anyone else faces these choices, it clearly incenses her. "The only thing I can really do is hope to steer her into intel gathering, which her ability makes her best suited for. But even that could get her in deep stink, and… Her mother is close to me. She was there when I started discovering what my voice can do. How would I ever look her in the eye again if something happened to her daughter?"

"Portia. Yeah. I know."

Ali relaxes, slightly. "Jane? I'm gonna say something - and you can't hate me for it. It's going to sound mean, but it's not meant that way."

She frowns, taking a moment to gather her thoughts, then talks, softly. "You can't protect her. You can't keep her. You can't hold her. She's not a child - you even said yourself, she's all grown up. This place does that. These /times/ do that. Are you proud of her?"

"I don't hate you for it, Ali," Jane answers after a long silence. "I couldn't, even if I hadn't brought it up. I think, really, the reason for mentioning it at all is to be told what I already know, to have it reinforced, and not second guess myself." She draws in a deep breath and releases it before continuing. "This is where a person knows her true friends. They don't kiss her ass and just say what she wants to hear. They'll tell the truth, no matter how badly it sucks. And these days? There's not much truth that doesn't suck. I am proud of her. I'm going to suggest she aim at things that fit her talents best, being unseen, gathering information. If it happens to be safer than other actions, bonus. But the choices are hers, she'll make them as she will."

"Yeah. And if she makes 'em cause you and her mom and everybody else helped raise her to make them for the right reasons? That's all anybody can ask." Ali offers her hand to the woman, a simple gesture, palm down - "She may not be okay. But … it's her choice. It'll work out. And you gotta be proud of somebody who wants to /do/ something instead of just put their head down and hope."

Fingers clasp around the offered hand and stay there for some moments while Jane stays quiet, closing her eyes and trying to shake the whole thing off. Eventually she releases and turns her attention back to Ali's notes, starting to read aloud and filling in whatever might be missing from her own memory.

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

McAlister nods, once… squeezing slightly, then leaning back. "I lost my faith in God a long time ago. but that still means something to me, anyway." She tries out a faint smile. "I'm going to go get some water, and then go sing it from a rooftop somewhere. Might as well, right?" And she stands. Slowly. Carefully.

"You are right to be proud of her, ya know. And yeah, she's pretty damned good. I have her demo." A pause. "I'll play it tonight."

"A large chunk of American history has been the struggle to make the nation live up to that document. They certainly didn't see you or I as equal to them, we lack the body parts and stand out too much up top. Nor did they mean anyone with dark skin. And here we are, again." Jane rises, her eyes focusing off into the distance briefly before moving back to Ali's face. When she does, she pulls another segment of the Declaration from memory. "And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor."

"… and we've done that." Ali folds those notes, stuffing them in a pocket. "I hope, when all this is over? They remember me as John Hancock and not Tokyo Rose." She grins, ruefully… and then starts into the zoo proper. "I kinda hope we win. I really don't like the idea of getting shot."

"Don't forget about your amp," Jane suggests, indicating it. And as she begins to collect her gear and wander elsewhere she quotes Ben Franklin. "We must hang together, or we shall most assuredly hang separately."

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