04.04.3014: A Fool's Errand
Summary: Luke and Helena discuss his upcoming mission, her possible involvement, and Hostile research.
Date: 17 Dec 2013
Related: None
Helena Luke 

Multiple locations on the Ring and in Detritus
The lab corridor on The Ring and the Atrium in Detritus.
4 April 3014

It might be late, but it's as though Helena never sleeps; nor, does it seem, does this section of the Ring. While it is often quiet with a subdued atmosphere, the wide corridor still boasts the occasional group of workers passing in and out of labs going about their business. Dressed in a surgeon's uniform, the blonde looks a bit worse for the wear but still light on her feet. While she wanders slowly down the center of the corridor with her gaze focused on her tablet, she does manage to dodge deftly around people to avoid accidents. She stops somewhere near the multipurpose lab, muttering science-y nonsense to herself while she scrolls through her screen.

Not always a denizen of the Ring, or a visitor for that matter, Luke's presence has been noted. Specially here in the labs, most recently. Dressed down in all black-Luke at least does look somewhat respectable in his suit, more fitting of an Orelle vassal than anything. As he moves down the corridor, mismatched eyes catch a bit of blonde weaving along slowly. Like a tug ship stuck in the flow of space traffic, but you know-more humanly fixed. A tilt of his head as he watches her from behind, his stride catching him up to her easily.

"Anything good?" his voice rings out, as he comes alongside the Doctor. "Funny, I've been looking for you-didn't think to find you here." He has his reasons for looking nice. Such as a Court summons for a fight that happened months ago.

Helena glances up from her tablet at the sound of the familiar voice piercing the hush of the corridor. She stops in her tracks and turns about to spy Luke as he approaches, and she takes a moment to size up his attire from head to toe. "You look like your mother dressed you up for a date," she announces, fighting back a smile even as the corners of her mouth twitch threateningly. "And yes, I suppose for me it is, but it would be of little interest to you." With a light tap, she shuts off the screen of her tablet and slips it into one of the oversized pockets on her lab coat.

Now that she is off duty, Helena can un-clip her nametag from the neckline of her scrub top and slip that, too, into a pocket. "Lovely to see you, Luke, although I must admit I am surprised to see you loitering here. Since when has academia been a draw for the militant? Or were you…" Her gaze cuts sideways, spying several paces away the door leading into Lady Rozlyn's lab. "Really looking for me?"

"Yes, though I was planning on dropping in on Inculta, as opposed to here. Though I happened to hear you were here, so-" a light shrug. There's a look towards Rozlyn's lab and he looks back towards the Dalton with a faint curl of his lips. "Court date. Nothing more. I needed to be presentable when paying my fine." smirk gone before his own brow is raised. "What about you, darling? This isn't your normal haunt-if I may recall." Luke asks, before an arm is offered with the question.

"Have time? I believe I have volunteered for something purely suicidal."

Helena's hand slips into her pocket, perhaps to check and make sure her work is really there. She raises her free hand to her head, pushing back hair in slight disarray while exhaling between pursed lips. "Hmm? Oh, I have taken up my position part-time now instead of as-needed, so I am here as often as not. I have need of the lab as well, hence why you have discovered me in this very location." The doc is obviously a bit distracted, as her gaze flutters away for a moment and then back to Luke. "I suppose you could call this one of my 'haunts' now."

She licks her lips before offering the Grantham a faint smile, and when he holds out his arm, she blinks quickly but accepts it. "Suicidal? I haven't the faintest what you're talking about, Luke. What did you do?" She spares him a sidelong glance of apprehension.

"An interesting choice." meaning of haunts, and there Luke nods on as he goes to lead the young doctor further down the row. A slight look over to the blond on his arm, as he keeps measured steps. "I know, because I haven't told you yet, darling. Please listen." Kissing his teeth with his tongue the knight pauses as if he is chewing on words, or worse yet-cud. "I told my nephew I would help him hunt down something."

A glance at that word, eyes watching and gauging for a response. "Something that uses a rather toxic poison."

"Work is work." The Dalton shrugs lightly to dismiss the subject, which is just as well considering she is not interested in revealing her current project, and it appears the Grantham has other things on his mind. The weight of whatever is coming next settles uncomfortably on Helena, and she reaches up with her free hand to massage the base of her throat. That teeth-sucking tic of Luke's is enough to set her teeth on edge, and the blonde flips back her ponytail and looks him straight in the face.

"You told your nephew that you would help him hunt down the Poisoner." The words are not spoken as a question, but rather as a deadpan recitation as if Helena cannot quite comprehend their meaning.

Luke looks back to her. His mismatched eyes under half lids, before they flick away. Angry, or annoyed? Hard to tell, but he does set his jaw in a thin line. "I-" and he looks back there as nostrils flare back up. "Don't look at me like that." Perhaps the feeling is mutual when it comes to getting under one's sin. Still he stops in his walk and looks her back.

"I did. Perhaps because I don't like the idea of my nephew throwing his life away in a hunt as a wedding gift to his betrothed." And there he looks down. "Maybe because I want to insure he makes it back alive."

On the other hand, Helena can be read like an open book at this very moment. All of her composure, the serene civility she wears like a second skin - all of it dissipates in mere moments, and her cheeks grow flushed. The rate of her breathing increases, and she pulls her hand free of Luke's arm to walk side-by-side but apart all the same. "I can't tell you not to, and I won't. I certainly can't tell him not to, and I won't. It is the right thing to do, although I believe it is exceptionally risky as well. Nevertheless, it is your duty. Please tell me that you have all of the facts, at least. That they have done their research, probed as far as they can."

A swallow, and he is shrugging there slightly. "I would still listen to you, if you told me not to do it, and everything that goes with it." Luke admits before he is coughing lightly. A slight nod as hands slide into his pocket, now that Helena has separated herself from him. And he remains alongside in that easy walk. "I have looked into his tactics-they say there is someone there who knows how to handle the poison.." a snort. "I don't know. This whole mission seems cocked up."

"Cocked up?" Helena seems to relax in that moment, and she even lets out a quiet laugh as she slips her hands into her labcoat pockets. "No, I do not think so. Consider when last we had word in the news of the Poisoner. I imagine if your nephew is out to hunt it down, he has put in the time needed to locate it. I was asked to put in time to research this, but I was unable to take away from my duties at the time. It was a long, long while ago - many months. I am certain something has been done about it since then."

Helena falls silent again, mulling over the many implications, until she considers something else he said. She squints, and the expression is not one of amusement. Her gaze flickers to his face briefly before looking toward the ground. "If you are teasing me, it isn't very nice. You know I am not in charge of you, and you are free to do as you please. What does Lady Rozlyn think about it?"

"Darling, if I am teasing you, I would let you know." Luke replies with a look before he is walking again, content to fall silent as they move along. "I know you're not in charge of me, but you are one of my friends, and I do value your opinion." A glance back as she mentions Rozlyn and he looks down with a shrug. "I do not know, entirely." he adds after a moment. "I haven't told her yet."

And there he turns and looks to Helena. "I haven't even told Marah-or Flint. What with him being lain up in the hospital and all."

Helena barks out a dry, humorless laugh. "You haven't told her yet? Then again, I'm not so sure she'd have any particular input. When last I spoke with her, she made it clear… Well, that is neither here no there, and I refuse idle gossip. Sir Flint would probably ask why you're still standing in front of him instead of 'out there' getting the job done. Lady Marah, though — I wouldn't presume to know what she would say. Perhaps she would be your biggest supporter, considering it is the welfare of her son that interests you. It would gain you favor, I think, to see you doing something constructive."

If Helena is blunt, she does not mean to be; her expression is calm once more, and no twitch of the mouth or quick glance reveals underlying sarcasm. "Are you asking me because you really want my opinion, Luke, or are you hoping someone will talk you out of it? Because I'm afraid I'll disappoint you there —" She stops short, and after a tense second decides not to finish the thought.

"I am asking you, because I want your fucking opinion Helena, and because I wanted to see if you would take a look-when you have time at what the Peakes have done about the poison." the knight snaps back before he is looking down to his shoes. A faint tug of his lips, before he is looking back up. "I don't want you talking me out of it. I am set in my course, dear." he adds before he is nodding to the lift. Brow raised, in silent question. "I want your own opinion..please. And-" now a hand comes out of his pocket. A motion made "Please continue with what you were going to say? I am curious as to what the Lady said to you as well."

"You might be curious, but it is of no importance whatsoever," Helena replies, attempting to sidle out of the possiblity of confrontation. When he gestures to the lift, she presses her finger to the panel to flag it down before stepping back to wait. "My opinion, Luke, is that it is your duty and you should fulfill it whether I say so or not. I will, however, take a look at the research - you know, since you asked me so politely." She smirks, but the conversation is brought to another pause as one of the many, many lift doors opens up and emits a group of people in labcoats.

When the coast clears, Helena leads the way between the open metal doors and waits for Luke to determine their destination. "There are things in this world we say and do that are so inane and so stupid that we strive to forget them. Right now, I am trying desperately to do just that. Please allow me this avoidance in order to save face."

The knight waits as people spill out in their orderly lines and move on to their labs. A faint smirk coming to his lips, before he is shaking his head and he slides in and presses a button. A glance back to her to see if she will pick a different floor, than where he is going. Still as to her words there is no verbal answer, just a brief nod followed by more allowed silence.

"Is this about the blow up we had?" he asks finally with a look. "Look-I don't want you avoiding me, darling. At all."

Helena crosses her arms over her chest loosely, glancing to her bracelet to check the time and also to see if she has any new messages. "If I were avoiding you, Luke, I wouldn't be here right now. The minute I heard your voice, I would have dashed into a lab where you didn't have access and left you sitting out here staring at the sterile walls. No, I'm not avoiding you, I am avoiding the subject. Or trying. It's rather hard when you insist on bringing it up." Her gaze darts to the panel briefly, but she does not push any other buttons; either their destination is on the same level, or she's following him around like a pathetic puppy. She frowns distractedly and fiddles with the hem of one sleeve. "Tell me about this research."

Luke watches Helena for a moment and he blows out a long breath. "You know I would not try to force you into that situation. I am sorry. Honestly." he adds quietly, before the door closes in around them. It's a whoosh and the ride will be over as soon as it is indeed done. he's heading back to the main entrance-likely to head out and go along his merry.

"I don't know much on their end. I do know that I have been told by Beden, that they have come up with some sort of serum to combat the poison if one of us were to be shot with it." a frown there. "It doesn't sound comforting."

"It sounds rather promising to me," Helena replies, looking up at Luke with raised eyebrows. Now that the topic has shifted away from The Forbidden Zone, she seems rather at her ease. "If he says they have a serum to counteract the poison, then it means that your death will be much more violent should you all succumb to the Hostiles on this adventure." Her tone is downright chipper at this point, perhaps even ironically so, and she punctuates it with a toothy smile. "Don't act as if you're worried that your life is on the line. You live for this kind of stuff."

As if on cue, the doors swish open, and she steps out of the lift and gazes around the heavily trafficked main level of The Ring. "Ahh, heading homeward? I can walk with you as far as the Ways, at least, unless you're still planning on going to Inculta. You know there's always a room for you if you visit." Before they reach the familiar gates, she stops and turns to face Luke while planting her fists on her hips. "You have a chance to help in taking down a true terror, in nullifying a slimy, despicable dark force of the enemy's. What other choice do you have except giving it your all? But you can't really give everything you have if you're still nurturing misgivings. I suggest you discuss every step of the plan with Beden, and make sure you have backups for your backups. Maybe that will set your mind at ease?"

A nod of his head, before he is looking back to Helena "Of course it sounds promising. It sounds promising to me-given I'd rather die with my boots on than be wracked into some sort of messy pain schema, while my body lets poison do it's work." A sniff before he is snorting. "Of course I live for this sort of thing-and I am not worried about my life." that bit stressed as Luke steps out lazily, almost as if he was shambling from a bar with his hands aloof in his pockets.

"I was. But, I am planning on going to Inculta. Perhaps we could have dinner." he adds before he is looking back to her. "Please under stand-my mind is not at ill ease because of the prospect of hunting down a living fucking terror and murdering it to death. No-my concern is over Beden's betrotheds actions. That Young Lord mother fucker.." his voice lowering lest this appears on HNN. "Wants us to capture the thing alive. Undue risk. Alive serves no purpose."

"Dinner sounds marvelous. I'm starved." Helena is silent, allowing Luke to rant while she navigates around a crowd of people. At one point she holds up a finger to warn him that she is only half paying attention when a notice beeps on her wrist and she pauses to flick through messages. Her lips turn down into a disturbed frown, and she looks up to gaze at some point beyond Luke as if momentarily lost in thought. Her weight shifts from one foot to the other, and she jerks her head toward the Grantham at his mention of a betrothed and — "Alive?"

Agog, the Dalton takes a moment to rub her face with her fingers before pushing her hair back behind her ears. "It isn't undue risk, Luke. It might serve a very good purpose, if you would cease underestimating the value of scientific pursuits. But it is foolish - nay, it is beyond foolish. It is basically asking for death 'pretty please and thank you'. Does he have clearance from his House to attempt a live capture? If he does not, I would inform on him. It's for his own good."

"As am I. Who knew getting reamed by a Magistrate would be enough to cause hunger. I do hope you don't mind me coming along-or rather I do hope Lady Dalton, does not mind." Luke adds before he is looking over at the beep. Nothing said, before he is continuing to walk along to the Ways. "Alive." he reiterates back, with a half sigh.

"Oh please, don't give me the scientific crap. I understand it indeed could be very beneficial to such things, but we are talking about trying to take down an enemy specialist, with it's own very tactical and peculiar behavior. It's not about to allow us to do it easily-and I dare say I imagine it won't allow us to take it alive if we do capture it." And the knight looks askance. "But yes, as much as I live for this stuff-we are asking for a lot of death. For one, our particular friend does not go anywhere without a big brother."

"I daresay he would not allow us to capture him alive, although with the right resources it wouldn't matter what the Hostile wishes." Helena falls into another distracted silence, and so she passes through the waygate without another word. Once on the other side, she turns back to wait for Luke, and when he appears she begins to lead the way down the main thoroughfare of Detritus toward the Meherian Dome. "I — is there room for another on this mission?" She glances sidelong to her companion and raises her eyebrows. "And any way you can grant me access to their research?"

"I daresay according to Beden this young fellow is an idiot. But, I am making snap judgments." he adds before is nodding And then back through the way he goes. Words lost until he is on the other side. With the gliding light of the sun. "I am sure there is. Beden is taking volunteers. Are you volunteering darling? If so I might have to do my best to make sure you stay with the medicos. There's likely to be a hive of soldiers and at least another elite in the confrontation if we do find this bastard."

To the next question the knight pauses, and brings his hand up to shield his eyes. "I am sure Beden can talk to Young Lord Peake. He'd be the one with the access."

Helena walks beside Luke now, her pace casual as she strolls the familiar streets. Her gaze drifts from vendor to vendor, and she even smiles and nods to familiar faces. With her hands clasped behind her back, she looks more like a Queen taking a walk among her people. "I am volunteering, if only because I have been, shall we say, expanding my studies. I would stay at the rear, as well out of harm's way as possible. I have no intention of jumping in to be killed." Silence again, for but a moment, and then she barks out a dry laugh. "I fear I am making snap judgments too; I wonder if the Young Lord would even deign to share his knowledge with me, especially if it has been hard-won. Scholarly types are not nearly so, hmm, civil when it comes to their research."

Pace remains casual as they continue down the streets. Though the smirk on the knight's face does not diminish as he watches Helena walk amongst her own. "Good. I am sure it has nothing to do with making sure I do not die violently." he adds, teasing there before he is nodding. "Even smarter. Why didn't I become a doctor?" this mused aloud before he is chuckling. "I think he would, if this would help our adventure."

"I do my job best when I am in the know, that is all." Helena pauses at the foot of the expansive, shallow staircase leading up to the wide, front curve of the Dome. "If you are willing to do me the favor, Luke, please contact your nephew as soon as possible and have him lodge a plea with the Young Lord to share all of his data with me. If he requires something so crass as monetary recompense, then I will consider it. You truly are a friend, Luke, and one I would probably even kill for." Falling quiet, Helena glances away to allow herself a second to regain her composure. "Shall we go in and eat? This way you do not have to spring for a meal."

"I know you do, darling." Luke responds as they pause at the staircase. A glance back to Helena as he shifts his weight, trying to look as cool as possible. Still there's a brief nod. "I can do that." contact his nephew and all to make sure everything is a go-specially with this new addition to the party. "You know I would kill for you too, right?" he adds softly, before he gives a grin.

"But I like buying you dinner." A wink before he is nodding. Lay on as they say.

Helena is completely at home now, and as she crosses the hallway and through the double-doors into the atrium, she shrugs out of her labcoat. Tossing it aside onto one of the outdoor chairs, she slips into another at an unoccupied table and gestures for Luke to do the same. Gone is the ever-so-proper doctor, and in place is a relaxed and comfortable one. She pulls one foot up onto the chair and hugs her knee to her chest before flagging down a servant. "Whatever you want, I am positive we have it. I never did ask you - how did it go with the magistrate? Were you there for the brawl, or is there something else you've done that and haven't told me about yet?"

As lab coat is removed, so is the dark coat, that Luke has on, as means to his looking nice for the officials. A shrug of shoulders, before he is looking back towards the rather at home Dalton, and the Grantham smiles. A nod before he is moving to take a chair close by before he is taking a seat. "This was the brawl yes-" and he looks back towards the servant. "Is this drink or food?" he asks a brow raised as he ponders on his order.

"It went well enough. I paid my fine, and promised not to embarrass my house or Liege again by brawling within his confines. I managed to look contrite." he adds with a chuckle.

"Both. Or, at least, I'm eating because I'm hungry." Smiling, Helena places her order with the waiter - dragon and water, her usual - and gestures once again to Luke. His quick outline of the tale gives her cause for laughter, and she flicks her fingers at the Grantham as if miming throwing something. "You? Look contrite? I think you're putting me on now, unless you've been secretly taking acting lessons somewhere. The Granthams are not known for being able to school their features nor to dissemble." She flashes her teeth in a brief grin before leaning over to pull her tablet out of her labcoat pocket. She sets it on the table between them and taps in her code to bring up the main screen.

"You have seen this face before, haven you not?" Helena nudges the tablet toward Luke, and the display is alight with a picture of the now famous Sarah. "The leaked 'vid they mentioned in the news a long while back was yanked from the 'Sphere before too long, but I managed to download a copy. Did you see it? I was going to ask your opinion of her — point of view."

"Ah." Luke responds before he is nodding to the Servant. 'Steak and an ale. An Abroren if you've got it." He is not entirely sure what is the drink of choice here in Detritus, beyond water. Though the water here is always cold. Likely kept so to combat that horrid sun. A grin is given before eyes dip and the knight shrugs. "A little. I hear it means looking at one's boots and trying to appear solemn. That is just what I did." he adds when he looks up. Now both brows pique and the Grantham leans in to reach for the tablet.


That is Luke's initial answer, before he is snatching it up. "I mean, I have not seen it. Not really, I heard about it, paraphrased and the like."

Helena's nose wrinkles at the mention of ale; the Dalton has never been able to understand the draw of alcoholic beverages. Helena relinquishes the tablet, allowing Luke to take it. While he may be able to flip through the files present on the device, there is nothing classified - and no video. "It isn't on there. I keep those data in much safer places. My point, though, was that this particular Hostile — " she uses the word liberally and without a flinch, much like one would say 'Bob' or 'Fred' "— had mentioned in the video that we are 'killing our own kind'. I have put out feelers here and there, and while I do not have any names or identities - and may never have them, because the 'who' is of no concern to me - I am alarmed by a growing, very hush-hush underworld collection of sympathizers. I was just curious how you feel about that, as a knight, knowing that some people might be seeking to undermine your work with their misguided notions of peace. But, of course, if you haven't seen it, then perhaps it isn't something that is important to you."

Leaning forward, Helena holds out her hand for the tablet once more. "I have been spending a lot of my free time delving into Hostile research. Lady Dalton has pulled many strings to get me information. This is why I am eager for data on the Poisoner; it will add to my collection."

Luke chuckles at the look, before he is leaning back and passing the tablet back. There's a brief raise of his brows before he narrows them in again. There he leans in and tilts his head back towards Helena once more. "What do you mean, an underworld collection of sympathizers?" clearly Luke sees this as some means to cause for action. "I've heard at least one noble state they want peace-which I am sure we can agree would be fine, but is never going to fucking happen." His belief there.

This next revelation though, does cause the knight to remain leaned in. "You have a coterie of Hostile information?"

Helena clucks her tongue at Luke and waves a hand dismissively, as if his rising ire on the topic of sympathizers is overkill. "For every movement there is a countermovement, darling. Color me surprised that you would not have figured there to be those among our own." She pauses, and her tongue darts out to wet her lips briefly. One thin eyebrow nudges upward. "Wanting peace does not a sympathizer make, Luke. It is far more than that." Her gaze drops to the glowing screen, and she flips through a few folders before pulling up the appropriate file. His question gives her pause, and she glances up to find him leaning closer to her.

"I have been granted clearance to access classified documents on Hostiles, including vids and transcripts and research results," Helena replies carefully, blinking at Luke and leaning back in her seat away from him. "That is old news. I've been at this for over half a year now. Here." This time she calls up a somewhat blurry picture of an Elite in battle. "These ones, the 'Elites' - I am certain you know this name, since you mentioned them already - have you encountered any of them in the field before now?" Once again she is directing the picture toward Luke.

"My knowledge is mainly given to tactics and such.. But yes, I know what an Elite is.." he adds before he is looking over the tablet once more. His frown screwed in place before he is looking back towards Helena. And there once more he is tapping fingers on her tablet. Likely, smudging the screen. "I have seen them in the field. I've never fought one, one on one personally." Luke confides before he is raising a brow.

With her leaned back, he is back into his chair as well, content to ply over the image. "What of them?"

"I wish I could tell you 'what of them'," Helena answers with a sigh, sitting back in her chair. By now their meal has been delivered, and she plucks up her fork to pick at her plate but does not yet take a bite. Instead, her left hand reaches for her glass, and she sips the cool, fruit-flavored water while contemplating the tablet. "I was hoping you had experienced them on the battlefield, and perhaps could have granted me some knowledge. If we - ah, but am I presumptuous in saying 'we'? - if we are to set out hot upon the trail of the beast, I would like to be as knowledgeable about the enemy as possible. Perhaps there will be something enlightening in the Young Lord's research."

With a sigh, Helena lets slip her foot and sits upright in her chair, leaning forward to dig into her food. Silence follows as she chews through the first bite, frowning pensively. "I will find something before we go. When did your nephew want to start on this fool's errand?"

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