2007-09-01: DF: Partial Cooperation


DFGeorge_icon.gif Lee_icon.gif DFGiselle_icon.gif Felix_icon.gif

Summary: The panic of some is used as a bargaining chip by others, with mixed results.

Dark Future Date: September 1, 2009

Partial Cooperation

Temporary Field Office 574/Delta, Building B

In a nondescript and largely intact building that still retains a faint odor from its days as a medical supply warehouse, George paces back and forth, tasting and then refusing coffee as he waits for the two early respondents to arrive. Having his girl's death faked was bad enough; not having had time to figure out where she was taken, and why, was worse. But then someone had to go and kill his boss, among many others. He is right pissed off these days.

Lee is in the room before George knows he is there - George can hear him before he can see him, the slight creak of rafters and beams overhead. He's not balancing on them, exactly. He's creeping in on the ceiling. That way he didn't have to come in any of the doors, or even give up any of the tunnels that the other resistance fighters need to keep secret so badly. He plummets towards the floor, skids briefly to a halt. He has returned to being unarmed but for his baseball bat, the handle protruding from his messenger bag, a luxury earned by laying low and working behind the scenes during the recent chaos. He says, "Mr. Dawson." Not 'George' in that mocking tone he said last time, perhaps out of respect for how hard the last few weeks must have been.

Giselle arrives at close to the same moment as Lee, though her method isn't quite as fancy. She comes in the front door - a fact guarded well by all-black clothing, a quietly winding approach by the blonde, and several conspicuous firearms on her person. Even now, there is actually a thick black scarf wrapped around the lower two-thirds of her face, so only two sharp blue eyes are showing. She unlooses it as she nears George's vicinity, a loaded pistol draping from the fingers of her left hand. "Make this quick. I didn't plan on being here."

"Mr. Jones," George replies, in more or less the same tone. "Ms.— Muldoon, is it?" He picks up a dossier sitting on top of a nearby filing cabinet, glances at the label, then sets it back down again. He doesn't bat an eye at either person's weaponry, not any more. "The situation is desperate. Gray won't rest until he's torn everything down… he can't rest, not any more. At this point, it's a blitzkrieg or nothing."

Lee is about to snap something, but he remembers himself at the last minute, and says, incongrously gently: "I'm sure it feels that way." Other than that non-denial denial, Lee lets George continue.

The silence on Giselle's end indicates that George is quite right, as far as a name goes. The pistol does not disappear from her hand; she doesn't even lower it, but she does look over it with semi-cool interest at the pacing man. "How does it feel to be the helpless one, Dawson?" she says softly. Get on with it.

George stops, turning toward Giselle first. "Helpless? No. But… not enough help. Look, maybe you think this isn't your problem— just the Evolved and the government getting what's coming to them. I won't bother arguing the second point, but the first… it's not that simple. You may well have friends who are Evolved, maybe even family. And even if you don't… what do you think Gray will do next if he wipes us all out? You really think he's going to stop there?"

Lee sighs. "I want you to understand that when I say this I don't say it to hurt you or to minimize the fear and anger you must have towards him." he begins, "To me, to my organization, this 'Gray' fellow is nothing. He got lucky because the government was hollowed out like a rotten tree stump, and it just took one good kick to break it. He's one man. Powerful though he may be, organization will beat him. Anyone's organization. Mine, sure, but even the government could beat him once it regroups. You don't need my help if Gray is your first concern. You need investigators, you need resources, you need training, and you need tactical teams, and the government still has a virtual monopoly on those items. If you're running short, there's a good four or five hundred thousand qualified people in camps all around the country, camps the government controls. It's law enforcement, Mr. Dawson. That's all it is and if the government forgot how to do it since it closed the courts and tossed the rule of law down a garbage chute, now seems the perfect time to learn it again. If it decides not to, it wouldn't be the first time an organization chose suicide over survival."

Actually, that first point was exactly what Giselle had been thinking, and she lets both Lee and George know by a minor twisting of her expression as she idly bends an ear to the speech. "How dare you insult my family? I do think this is everything you deserve, and to be honest I can't see any reason why Sylar would." Not stop there, that is. "Jones brought up a good point - if you want help, open the camps. There's all the help you need. Right. There."

George doesn't answer right away, instead pausing to collect his thoughts. "It's not intended as an insult. And of course organization is being brought to bear - that was the first thing I set in motion - but, since you didn't feel like listening to me the first time I said it? It's not enough. Not against someone with a whole bag of Evolved tricks in his pocket-- it's too different. As for the camps… why would anyone there feel any differently than how you two feel? How many of them would offer to help him? No, if that's how you feel, then we're all wasting our time here. Just go— I have other calls to make."

Lee says, correctingly, "It's more than enough, Mr. Dawson. It's, frankly, overkill. How do you think The Alliance survived as long as we did? We only have a handful of Evolved hanging around, and most of them aren't even full members. Most of the time the things we ask them to do have nothing to do with their 'abilities.' If you're willing to open the camps, and the government can give us our other demands - they're well-known to you, I'm sure - our group stands ready to assist in organizing the detainees to stop this idiot. We still have supporters in the camps even if the Saints drove everyone else away from us."

"You're the one who asked us here in the first place," Giselle points out. "If I go, it'll be to your loss. I have what I want." The pardon, of course - she wouldn't have done something like this without a clear promise in advance. "I'm afraid my demands are going to be the same as his, unless you have something else to suggest. Something you want done individually, I mean." Vasili Babenkov and Giselle Muldoon might not be part of a huge and important organization, like Lee is, but they've been doing enough damage as a lone pair that George might want to reconsider.

"Another sniper couldn't hurt," muses George, pursing his lips. "My luck, he'll see you coming from a mile away, but I'm sure we can make it worth your while to try anyway. As for you" - that would be Lee, now - "how about a first step? The Cold War didn't shut down all at once, neither can this… no offense intended to your idealism. But how about some camps, some that're close to this area? You deliver on your promises with those, that'll be a big step toward more of the same."

Giselle narrows her eyes, finally shoving her pistol back into its holster. Though, whether this is an effect of George's words or just something that she felts should've happened by now is unclear. "You're uncreative, aren't you," is her reply, coming out as somewhat of a hiss. "If you think I'm risking my neck by trying to kill Sylar myself, you're even stupider than I thought you were. I was talking about a diversion."

George offers Giselle a shrug. "Honestly, that would be fine, too. I'm trying to coordinate broad strategy here— I don't pretend to be a tactician, there are others for that." Like the Saints, maybe, though he's smart enough not to tell Lee that. Or that he doubts the claim of massive detainee support for the Alliance, as opposed to merely massive detainee opposition to the Empire. And of course the Empire has a number of tacticians of its own.

Lee says, "If you're looking for people with the expertise you need, they're in camps 172-Hudson, 991-Salisbury and 919-Hartford Grey." Support or not, Lee seems to have a very clear picture of who is in what camp. "I can only tell you we'll try. Partial support like you are promising will no doubt elicit partial cooperation. But again. You don't need us. The guy wants Evolved, right? Who has all of those? The government. Just find one he really can't live without. Who's going to be in charge of the operation?"

Speaking of Evolved. And law enforcement. There's one right now. His hair's been dyed a much darker brown and cropped close, and Fel isn't wearing his glasses, but he's still identifiably the rogue Feeb. He doesn't bother to make any particular secret of his approach, though nor he is particularly loud - stealth makes him sound like he's creeping up on them. He's in fatigue pants and a t-shirt, and comes up behind Lee in such a way that it's clear he's here more or less as the other man's bodyguard.

The concern is tangible. Giselle almost has to fight the urge to roll her eyes. "You know, Jones," she directs at the other man for the first time, eying him with a sweeping gaze before narrowing it to settle on his face. Felix isn't focused on quite yet. "It should occur to you that if we just let Sylar have what he wants, it would solve everything you've been fighting for. The government would be taken care for good. Why waste more of your Alliance peeps throwing them against the Empire if good ol' bad guy can do it for us?" The only concern would be that the Evolved people who are left, namely those in terrorist-y organizations, would have to take care of themselves some other way. But hey! One evil would be gone.

Felix? Pay attention to that Fuck You look that George shoots at Lee for suggesting he dangle some of his own guys as bait. It'll probably make an encore appearance or three. "If I'm wrong about him stopping with us," he says to Giselle at the same time, "then you're very much right. But you'd better really hope that I am wrong."

Lee has the same story for Giselle as he had for George: "As I said before, we don't see him as a significant threat us or to the government. If the government falls by this moron's hand, 'Sylar' or 'Gray' or whatever he calls himself, it will be suicide, not murder. Besides. The Alliance is not in this to kill. We're in it to win. We're going to have to live with each other afterwards, most of us." A delicate way to hint at war crimes trials, and perhaps executions. He overlooks George's glare. He's used his own people for bait for the government a thousand times, and never once has the fish wriggled off the hook.

Sometimes. "Sometimes, you have to kill to win," Giselle mutters quietly, though it's quite audible in the room. "How can you live with the people who made you hide, ruined your life? Turned everything to hell?" Aaaand speaking of turning everything to hell. She is finally noticing Felix behind Lee for the first time, and though she doesn't comment, her face instantly has a 'who the f— invited him in?' expression all over it.

Lee's not interested in catching Sylar. Felix? Very much is, though serial homicide was not his field back in the day. He hasn't volunteered, not yet. He merely raises his chin, and gives Giselle an absented nod, as if she were an acquaintance he hasn't run across in a while. "It's that or a bloodbath," he notes, quietly. "There will be Evolved hanging from lampposts when all this is done, but we can try and keep the number of deaths to a minimum."

"Nice to see you again too, Felix." No, you're not getting the Fuck You look yet— he hasn't had time to figure out why Aileen was abducted the second time. That would be signaled by a fist aimed at the gut. For now, he just looks sleep-deprived. "And not that this is likely to affect whether I get one of those lampposts or not, but I think the Evolved would have pushed that much harder if I hadn't been involved."

Lee nods - sometimes they do have to kill, but he answers Giselle by saying, "We live with them the same way we always have." He doesn't agree with Felix's assessment of the political future, clearly, but he doesn't take the opportunity to launch an argument. "You don't have to defend yourself now," he replies to George, his tone lightening, even a smile. "We haven't won yet." He adds: "Who's going to be in charge?"

Wrong person to suggest that to, because Felix of all people should know - when has Giselle cared about keeping deaths to a minimum? She's about to hurl a reply, and indeed her sour glance lingers on the Fed's face for a fraction of a moment, but she turns her eyes to George once Lee asks the question. Clearly, she's interested in hearing the answer as well.

"Dawson," Felix says, politely. There is no gloating, no smugness, and no inkling he has any idea that Aileen is anything other than dead. He's perfectly impassive, turning that blue gaze on George expectantly. Giselle is getting summarily ignored. That feud's personal, and for another time and place.

George snaps his fingers. "You did ask that, yes. Go ahead and stay in touch with me for now— I'll get things fleshed out and get back to you within 12 hours." Meaning, the player doesn't know the details of Imperial NPC forces, but the character does and will describe them off-camera later.

Lee says, "Excellent. If you really want to catch him, go to camp 887-Delta in Louisiana and get Special Agent In Charge Gerald Kandlar out of the camps. Serial killer specialist when he was a brick agent, and caught a huge pile of fugitives when he was in charge of federal warrants." That's Felix talking, to Lee, beforehand, and Lee passing the information on, you can almost hear Felix say: "He is, I'm told, 'real police'. Whatever that means. Put him in charge and give him whatever and whoever he wants. For starters."

Though Giselle's head stays pointed in George's direction, her eyes snap sideways to Lee again. "You do know we're not talking about a regular serial killer, right?" she replies glibly. "It doesn't matter if he's 'real police' or whatever or not. Normal procedures aren't going to work - normal fieldwork isn't going to work."

"It will with me helping him," Felix says, quietly. "This guy is monstrous, but he's ultimately human. HE can be caught, he can be killed."

Lee says, "If I want a pipe fixed, I call a plumber. Not some amateur with mental welding powers. If he were straitjacketed by 'normal' procedure, he wouldn't be a good recommendation."

"Yeah, but if your pipe's spitting fire at you? Who do you call then?" That's at Lee, of course. Giselle had been trying to ignore Felix up to this point, too, but it's difficult when he speaks up. "And he's Evolved, numbskull. Don't call him human. Ever." Because both biologically and for the purposes of this conversation, he is not.

George makes a sour face as Giselle pipes up. "God, don't call him Evolved, either. Man's a cancer. Virus. Whatever. All right, I'll see about releasing Kandlar" - okay, specific name and background, this should prove Lee's claims very early on - "and give him some people to work with. Of both sorts."

"He's human enough to die. He's not immortal, no matter what his powers," Felix reiterates, patiently. "Evolved are human, too. Just genetic sports. Not ubermenschen."

Lee lifts his hands, "I'm not philosopher enough to settle the question of what it means to be human. Not here and not now." He nods to George: "If you want to catch someone, you find someone who is good at catching people. Better to have someone highly skilled improvising and learning than completely retraining someone new from the ground up."

"What have you been doing to protect people from him?" Giselle aims suddenly at George; 'you', of course, refers to a collective. She returns the face as it's made. No, I don't like you either. "He might not be immortal, no, but I'm pretty sure your first priority - if it isn't already - should be making sure he doesn't easily get more toys to play with."

The Empire does have people good at catching people - they're not that hollow. The point of all this is that George isn't stopping there. And they have people good at protecting people, too, but… "The public already knows that Sylar's loose. Guards have been deployed… but we had guards around Nathan, too, and look how that went." Again, not enough.

Felix is silent again, having no comment on the death of El Jefe. Suffice to say he likely didn't wet his pillow with bitter tears on hearing of what happened to Nathan.

Lee shrugs. He doesn't care that Nathan's dead either. He is not vicious, though, when he says: "You were vulnerable. The government had already been hit with a wave of attacks over the previous week. The President himself had just been kidnapped, tortured and was clearly barely functioning. I wouldn't gauge your ability to respond to him by the President's death."

"I never thought I'd be saying this," Giselle shoots more thoughtfully than her sharp tone of voice had been implying up to this point. Her voice is dripping with disgust. "But honestly? You should be focusing on protecting the people with the most dangerous abilities, because those are the ones he'll be after first. -And actually—" Idea idea~. "I don't want to say the word 'bait', but that should tell you where Sylar will be most likely to pop up. Please tell me you thought of this before."

"I'm not in the habit of spelling out the blindingly obvious," George replies in a dry tone, "such as 'lower priority if he already has their power'. But thank you for your completeness. Anything else, or shall I start making the necessary calls?"

"I mention it because it is something you have obviously failed at succeeding at," Giselle replies even more dryly. Look at Nathan. "But whatever."

Lee says, "I'm perfectly willing to accept compromise based on your - in our view unfounded - desperation, but it's not the end for us, Mr. Dawson." He doesn't quite reach 'agreeably' in saying that, but he's more positive than negative. He nods a little, but permits George to have the last word, it's his meeting after all.

Fel merely flicks a look to Lee. There's restrained eagerness behind the cop's mask he's given the assembled triumvirs, but he does take orders.

George inclines his head. "I appreciate that, all of you. We may get through this yet." With that, he heads to a nearby desk, reaching for a phone and a notepad. Time to put the remaining machinery into action.

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