2009-10-23: Priorities



Date: October 23, 2009


Sometimes people have different ones.


Guest Room - Jaden's Estate

There are papers everywhere.

Her laptop is set up in the guest room and Elena is clearly doing work, her hair pulled up in a loose twist and clipped to the back of her head by a large claw-barrette. Blowing a lock of hair away from her eyes, she frowns at a few notes that she's made. Dressed in a tanktop and a pair of loose, black yoga pants, she's padding around barefoot in the guest room Jaden has allowed her to use, shifting through other paperwork and rubbing her eyes with one, spare hand.

She was exhausted.

Finally, she grunts, shuffling her stack together and pinning it under a leather portfolio. Peering at her laptop, she eyeballs certain new e-mails that have just come in. Music is softly blaring from her eTunes.

With the music blaring, there's no real way that she'd have heard the sound of something shifting as Peter suddenly pops into the corner of her room. It's not exactly where he aimed to go, but it's close enough that he opens his eyes and sees her shifting through paper work. "Elena?" he calls out, voice on the deeper side, almost whispered, and it looks as if he's not been sleeping much. Again. But he's not wearing his paramedic uniform, or a suit. He's dressed more casually.

"We've got a good lead and a time when we can go, but the window might be short. Especially if they decide to leave early," he says, stepping a little closer, before he stops and…

"Sorry. I probably should have called first. I…" Teleporting into ex-girlfriend's bedroom while she's walking around in tanktop and yoga pants…

She is hardly the modest creature that she was a few years ago. When Peter starts talking about a lead, Elena looks over towards him, inclining her head a little bit. When he apologizes, she glances down at herself, and then waves a hand. "You've seen more of me before, it's fine, Peter," she tells him - reminds him. She takes his appearance in good stride - especially with his initial words. She sinks on the foot of the bed, crossing her legs by the knee.

"What sort of lead are you talking about? Did you manage to figure out where they took Gene? Jaden said he'll try to locate him, he's worked closely with him in the last few months. Eric's offered to help, but we don't even know where to start and they disabled the tracker they put on him." She's hungry for word, it clearly shows, and despite the calm veneer her worry for Gene can't help but show through the cracks.

"I'm not entirely sure, but I know they're planning to move that train you found," Peter says, unable to keep looking at her for a moment. Perhaps cause he thinks of what he had seen of her that… he hasn't seen in a while. Except for the brief meetings since she got back, it's been quite some time. They'd been seperated longer than they were even really together. And now…

"I don't know for sure if he's abboard. They don't really post prisoner manifests for this kind of thing. But… if they're transporting people, we need to get them out of there." If they can.

"I'm thinking the best way would be to attack it in route. I have a plan to unbuckle the cars. Make the train break apart, and then get different groups to… take different areas. Split up to minimize chance of getting all sides surrounded. Force them to spread out their reinforcements. And as far as I can tell they only have one helicopter escourt." And then he moves a hand and there's something there. A small gas mask that covers nose, mouth, and has a set of goggles as well. "The gas you witnessed was apparently something one of the Company Agents that got captured had been working on. But a gas mask should keep the effects at bay."

"I wonder if it's not a better strategy to plant something on the train and figure out where they're moving these people, where they're taking them," Elena replies to Peter seriously. "I tried to do that but I put my tracker on Gene instead. I know you're concerned about the people but I know next to nothing about the men in black playing the game from the other side. The more we know about them, the safer we will be." There is a pause, at that, when they lock gazes, but she breaks away first, standing up from the bed and moving to the laptop so she could turn off the music and close down the screen.

"I bet they wouldn't." She looks up, her eyes narrowing. "They're coralling legitimate American citizens. If they were arresting them, they'd have rights read to them, requisite Constitutional provisions upheld. They wouldn't be dumb enough to have prisoner manifests when what they're doing is illegal, on top of everything else. Always knew the Patriot Act was a bad idea." She takes a deep breath, slowly releasing it.

She nods when he shows her the goggles and the gas mask. "Might do well to protect our identities too." She moves over, lifting her hands to take both items for him so she could inspect them. "These would work nicely. I'm thinking of bringing Eric along. If this is occuring in the evening, even better - he can use his shadow-walking powers to get us out when we need to. So long as it's dark, or if there's enough light to cast a shadow, we'll be able to get out no problem so long as we don't inhale the gas." She looks up at him for a moment. "I'm not going to be there to rescue everybody, Peter, so I hope you have back-up," she tells him simply. "My first priority is Gene."

"Wherever they're going is far more likely to have heavy fortification. It could be in the middle of a military base. I could probably get in and get one out at a time, but I don't think we'd be able to get everyone at once," Peter says, frowning a little as he looks down toward his hands. There's so much that could go wrong, but… "We need to get everyone. Not just Gene. No one deserves to be put through that. It's exactly what I joined the Company to stop from happening. Normal people. Who get locked away cause of their ability. They're people. They're more than just their abilities."

One thing he's not sure the Company will ever understand, but he can tell the government certainly doesn't. "I have resources. A couple people from the Company and… people who aren't. Stay low, protect yourselves… and get as many people as you can out of there. If your part of the train doesn't have Gene, it doesn't mean the others don't. No reason not to try to rescue as many people as you can."

Or he seems to think there's no reason not to. "I didn't know Eric was back," he suddenly adds on, something different showing up in his eyes.

There are numerous things that can go wrong. Elena doesn't have to be a mindreader when he looks down the way he does. Chuffing a soft breath, she rolls her shoulders back and sets the gasmask and the goggles away. "Trying to get everyone out will probably also get us all killed," she replies. "Not to mention the fact that we don't know what sort of people have been taken. If they're dangerous, I rather they be kept to wherever they're going. Better I go with a sure bet and minimize injuries on my part than risk setting loose an entire bunch of dangerous people." This is where their ideologies start to separate. "It's easier to break out one person than a dozen. Like I said, Peter, Gene's my first priority simply because I know what he can do, and the Government can't have him." He was also her friend, and them taking him was unacceptable to. "If I recognize anyone, I'll let them go. But we went there originally to corral a killer and we ended up there. I don't know how many more murderers are on that train. This is where the balancing test comes in for me. Who do I help get away, and who do I ignore?"

She looks over at him. "I believe people are inherently good, before you say anything," she tells him, in case she had just said something he doesn't like. "But I also know that we are dangerous and I'm not opposed to the idea of those who use their powers to ill means getting their just desserts. I'll do what I can, but on my terms. We'll be careful, and we'll look after one another. We always do, despite everything."

When he mentions Eric, she sighs. "I found out by accident," she tells him, lifting a hand to push a lock of hair away from her eyes. "I came here to look for Jaden. He was visiting from England. I had to tell him about Gene."

Who does she help and who does she ignore. "I ask myself that every day," Peter says quietly, looking down and to the side. "And no matter what I answer, if someone else ends up dying— it was the wrong one." That's the way he is. All or nothing. Save everyone or he might as well have saved no one. Too many burdens, but it keeps him attentive to others, even ones people would write off. There's a long pause.

"Level Five got broken into by Alpha Protocol. All the prisoners were taken. Considering how secret Level Five was, that pretty much confirms that the Company has a leak. Maybe they found a way to get information out of the agent they captured." Torture? Cohersion? What's to keep them from doing the same thing to someone like Gene? "But not all the people on Level Five were… hopeless. I'd been working with many of them. Some were nearly ready to get back out on the streets…" Nearly. But not quite.

He let's out a small sigh. "Eric'll be a good help, especially if he's gotten better with his abilities. But there will be others there, too. Stick close to him and… be careful. I don't want anyone to die."
"Usually. Papa made a choice to take a life a few years ago." Peter would remember, he had been there. "It's affected him in ways that still pain me, but if I ever asked him if he would've made another choice, he'd make the same one every time. Doing what's necessary isn't always what's right, Peter. That entire ordeal and the ones following taught me that." And began in many ways her shift to gray. Elena turns away from him at that, moving over to the far close and opening it up, eyeballing the gear inside and trying to plot out what she needs for the evening. The black, fitted jumpsuit that Gene had brought for her is still hanging inside, this one she takes, absently fingering the durable fabric.

When Peter tells her that Alpha Protocol broke into Level Five, she looks up, her eyes narrowing. "So dangerous people are going to be in the cars," she tells him. "If they're military they've probably tried to separate them from the rest of the civilians. I just don't know… I can't guess how they're going to lay that out. Just means we're going to have to be extra careful." She walks past him, tossing the thing on the bed, alongside the goggles and the facemask. "It would help if I knew what they looked like, these people from Level Five. It'll make the filtering process go smoother. That way I know not to let them out."

When he sighs, she looks over at him. "If there's anyone dying tonight, it's not going to be me. Or Eric," she tells him simply. "I don't know about who else you've recruited, how many are Company, but I'm going in with a partner that has a free pass out in the dark. We'll be okay."

"The filtering process…" Peter shakes his head, looking a little harder for the moment. "You know, you'd probably have made a better Company Agent than me," he mutters quietly before reaching into the air and pulling out a piece of paper. "This is where I want to ambush the train, and the time you should be there. There's forest coverage, which should make things easier for us. You don't get much notice, it's happening soon."

Once she has it, he backs up. She has a partner.

"I'll drop a folder in the room in about an hour with notes on the Level Five guys. Including which ones I think would be able to help you, if it comes down to it."

She takes the piece of paper and reviews it quietly, attentively. However, when he mutters about her being a better agent than he would, she shakes her head. "It's the way I think," Elena tells him. "That's all. I don't have the heart for it. Not like you. It's easy to be surgical when you don't care about the mission and just focus on what needs to be done… but the Company won't change with a mindset like that, if you meant what you said to me the day I came back. That you want it to change. It's not going to change with mindsets like mine in the organization, and if I were offered, I'd say no anyway." Her lips lift upwards. "I work better as a free agent anyway. Able to go and move as I please."

You'll just go ahead and do what you will, anyway. You were always that way. Noah's voice echoes at the back of her head.

She nods. "That would be helpful. I'd rather they not get away. These guys… from what I heard of the talk while I was down there myself, they're the worst of the worst. Let me know who you're willing to give a chance and I'll do my best, but the rest can keep their shackles, as far as I'm concerned. If that's okay with you."

"That's why it needs mindsets like mine," Peter says, moving away even more from her. Level Five is where they'd been kept, where he'd been kept. He knows them far better than she does, because he's sat down there trying to find which ones were worth saving and which were truly psychotic. It was one of the many things he would do during his long days, since he doesn't sleep much. "I'll make sure you have it, even if I will probably get yelled at for giving it to you."

He looks back at her face, not looking happy at all, sadder, even. "I…"

He trails off and shakes his head, eyes closing. "Get some sleep. You'll need it."

And then he disappears.

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