cardinal_icon.gif elisabeth_icon.gif sal_icon.gif xiulan_icon.gif

Scene Title Manifesto
Synopsis A web of events, and the manifesto of a dead man. You can't drink just six.
Date August 4, 2009

Welcome to Coney Island.

In years past, the attraction was the jewel of New York City, known as the finest resort area in the world… or so the people of New York City would claim. Those glory days have faded with time and neglect, and though recent efforts have been made to restore its beauty and attraction to tourists, it will never shine so brightly as once it did.

It's along the boardwalk that Richard Cardinal stands, not far from a hot dog stand; a loose jacket draped over a t-shirt, urban camo BDU pants acquired from some surplus store or another. He is, of course, holding a hot dog laden with relish, tomatos, and mustard, with which he's gesturing to Xiulan as they wait for the others. "Now this," he declares stridently, "Is a fucking hot dog, babe."

Clad in shorts and a bikini top, Xiulan is working her way through her own hotdog, the occassional bite liberally interspersed with slurping sips off a giant-sized cola. It is response to the comment on the heat that the tattooist grins wryly and slants a glance at Richard's BDU clad backside. "You could always strip down to briefs?" Hey, it'd prolly be cooler. Temperature-wise at least. A quick waggle of her brows is joined with her hopping up to perch on a nearbye railing, sandal clad feet hooking over the lowest rung. "We should go on some rides while we're here."

Since she had to slip out of work to get here, Elisabeth is definitely not in as casual a set of clothes as some others. A pair of jeans, a butter-yellow tanktop covered by a short-sleeved gray hoodie is the best she can manage — it hides her shoulder rig. She arrives at the meeting point even as there's talk about rides, and she's carrying a piece of paper with her. "Hey, guys," she greets everyone mildly, handing the paper to Xiulan. "Got some info for you," she tells Cardinal.

It's exceedingly difficult for Sal to sneak, Batman-like away from his obligations as Sonny Bianco. He had to shapeshift into three different faces in order to make it here. First, his neighbor, then a passer-by, and finally, after finding a quiet corner far enough from his own neighborhood, into Sal Silvatti.

He stopped at a cart to get himself a coffee, then moves a bit zombie-like towards the familiar trio. There was a benefit last night that kept him up til three. This Bruce Wayne shit's harder than it looks. "Afternoon."

"The rides…?" Cardinal brings his head up, looking over to the rise of the Cyclone in the distance, the wooden trestle rising up and then dipping down to guide the track in its famous drop, a grin just-curving to his lips, "Shit, I haven't hit the Coney rides since I was a kid. Maybe when we're done with the investigating…" A half-turn towards the approach of the others, and he brings his chin up in an easy nod, "Liz. Sal. Glad you could join us— oh?" Brows raise at Elisabeth, "Now, or later?"

Setting the soda aside, Xiulan snags the page from Liz, her head tilting to one side as she examines the drawing. After a moment, her lips turning up in an approving smile, dark eyes switching the woman's face. "You know, I could make her look just like you to the point of photorealism," Pause. "If you wanted." The page is carefully folded up and tucked safely into the pocket of her shorts.

It is with a glance toward Cardinal that she adds, "Yes, the rides. We might as well have some fun while we're here." Sides, she's never gotten to that and it sounds like fun. Sal's advance is met with a smile and a dip of her chin in a nod. "Heya."

Elisabeth laughs quietly. "No… I don't want her to look like me. What would I want with my own face tattooed on my back?" she asks. And then she waves to Sal with that faint smile still in place. Then she looks back at Cardinal. "The gun came from a lockup out in Santa Rosa, California, according to the serial numbers. The cops believe it was misplaced in one of the evidence lockers. I've got the case file heading my way, should have it by tomorrow. What I know right now is that it was connected to a murder/suicide in 1979. Oswald White killed his apparently cheating wife as well as attempting to kill their son before turning it on himself. Kid's name was Norman. More than that, I'll need the rest of the file."

"Norman Bates by any chance?" deadpans Sal as he swallows a mouthful of coffee. "What's this about a gun?" He looks from Liz over to Cardinal, then off down the length of Coney Island. Despite being a New York native, he can count the number of times he's been here on one hand. He sounds hoarse. And, well, looks a little hung over on closer inspection.

"Assuming there isn't a ravening monster locked up in the booth…" A wry grin's directed at the chinese tattooist, and then Cardinal looks back to Elisabeth, brows raising a bit, "Huh. That's… weird. Let me know when you get a hold of the case file, maybe there's something in it of interest." A short explaination, "There was a map to MIT and a gun in the lock-up box, for some reason. Maybe the booth here'll give us some clue what it all means."
Another bite of his hot dog, and he jerks his head in invitation to follow him, starting down the boardwalk at an unhurried stroll. Hey, it's a nice day. He's a little hot in this getup, but like Liz, he's got a gun to hide.

Blinking once, Xiulan regards Sal for a moment before shrugging her shoulders and hopping down off her perch. Stepping away from the group, she tosses the hot dog and cola in a trash can, her thumbs hooking the belt loops of her cutt off shorts as she meanders back over to the group. "Aw come on, a monster would be fun," she asides wryly to Cardinal. "But yeah, assuming there isn't one." It is as she moves to follow Card that she notes to Liz. "Hey, if it's on your back it's not for you to look at anyway, right?" Usually, there is someone else back there doing the looking. "I'm just saying it can be as fanciful or realistic as you like."

Elisabeth glances at Xiulan with a laugh. "If he really needs to see my face, then I guess we're not going at it from that angle, are we, now?" she quips easily. She shoves her hands into the pockets of her jeans as they walk. "Like I said, I should have the file by tomorrow. I'm following up on the kid, because he actually survived. He's in a state hospital out there, so we'll see what comes of it. I don't want to raise too many flags out there or tell them I have their weapon. That'll just raise a bunch of questions I don't have answers to yet. So all they know right now is that I'm interested in the case, didn't really say why."

"I'm afraid I'm a little out of the loop." Or maybe it's the hangover that's making it difficult for Sal to think straight. "What do we think Edward was trying to get at by sending all this info out? Or are we still just chasing our tails and following breadcrumbs?" Sal digs a hand into the pockets of his shorts and falls into step behind Cardinal.

"I have no fucking idea what he's up to," Cardinal admits, as much as it pains him to do so, gesturing helplessly with the remnants of his hot dog, still half-wrapped in aluminum foil. Some passing tourists edge away from it so as to not get struck by the hot dog, a glare for his lack of personal space directed his way before they carry on. "He never did anything by chance, though, which means there's a purpose to all've this. I mean, hell, the crazy sonuvabitch put the safety deposit box in Liz's name," he grouses. It's frustrating dealing with a dead man who knew exactly what was going to happen.

It's a bright, sunny day, and there's not too many folk out on the boardwalk. The occasional skee-ball arcade beckons to them from the side, as do various snack foods, though less and less as they draw closer to the more neglected and run-down parts of the island. Before too long, a boarded-up booth comes into view, the brightly-coloured sign still perched upon it. SLUSHO! it reads, YOU CAN'T DRINK JUST SIX!

Mid-way through Cardinal's response, Xiulan slips off in pursuit of cotton candy. Considering her country of origin, Coney Island is too tempting for her to resist for long. It's around about the time they are approaching the Slusho booth that she catches back up, a paper cone of spun pink sugar held in one hand. It is in the wake of licking of some of the gooey strands from her finger tips that she asides to Richard, "We are considering that this could all be one big trap designed to blow you the hell up, right?" Cause really, chances are the Rays are carrying a grudge.

Sal stops with the others in front of the suspicious, tacky booth. "Anyone else feel like they're in a video game?" The coffee, now empty, gets deposited into a can not far from the booth. "Very possible, but somehow Edward strikes me as a 'bring about your own doom' kind of guy, not the booby trap in a Coney Island concession stand sort."

"He just would've blown us up at the library," Cardinal mutters darkly under his breath, "If that's what he wanted. No, he wants something from me, I fuckin' know it." Then he reaches over in mid-stride to pluck a pink fluff of cotton candy from the cone that Xiulan's holding, letting it dissolve on his tongue as they come up on the side door. There's a combination lock holding it shut.

"Shit." Pause. "Looks like you were right about the combination, let's see…" He digs the tourist map from a pocket, unfurling it to check on the number scribbled down.

"Can't you just…. do your thing?" Slanting a glance at Cardinal, Xiulan arches a brow her lips twitching in a wry smile. "I mean, how secure can it…." And then she remembers they are talking about Edward Ray. "Right, combination it is."
Sal turns his back to the booth and peers out at the scattered crowd. He keeps an eye out for anyone looking their way, specifically cops or security officers. They might want to know why the non-owners of the Slusho stand are trying to get into it. "Unless there's something in there that will frame you. How do you outthink a guy who seems to be five steps ahead of you?"

"Don't remind me." Twenty-three right. Ten left. Eighteen right. Click. The lock's metal arms snap open, Richard's fingers curling about it to pull it from the latch holding the door closed, his other hand flat against the front of it. He glances back to the others, then takes a breath… and pulls the door open.

Strings. Carefully fastened to hooks and nails in the walls, forming a complex and intricate web of lines of thread and yarn in a variety of colours, with post-it notes and dangling pieces of notepad paper hanging off them. A single white thread dangles with newspaper clippings, heading towards a tangled knot at the center, to which all the strings eventually lead after intersecting one another at varied points.

"Yeah," Xuilan notes as she peers into the booth. "I bet it would have exploded, or doused you with some horrible poison or lasers…" So positive is Xiulan. In the wake of another glance into the booth, she tears off a piece of cotton candy and pops it in her mouth before leaning her shoulder against the outside. "It's confirmed by the string, Richard, you -are- an alleycat."

Peering over Cardinal's shoulder with the rest of the trio, Elisabeth raises a brow. "You needed that confirmed?" She wrinkles her nose at the thief with a cheeky grin, but studies the mass of strings and papers. "Wonderful…. do I even want to know what the mad genius thinks constitutes the center of the universe?" she asks dryly as she ducks past him to start inspecting post-it notes as she avoids strings.

Sal peers in through the door, over Cardinal's shoulder at the mess of strings. "It's the den of an office supply spider," he deadpans, then his brow furrows in contemplation. "What is this?"

The strings are, by and large, labeled with names - some of them even have photographs attached. A number of the names are familiar mostly to those with a background with Phoenix - Helena Dean, Jesse Knight, Jessica Sanders. The detective may be surprised to find her own string there as well - criss-crossing frequently with Felix Ivanov's, and Rebecca Nakano's. The newspaper articles are all related to earthquakes and related seismic events, beginning in Utah and travelling eastwards. The most recent is the one from New Jersey that had the press in a titter.

A single piece of paper lays beneath the central knot. Scrawled in pen and double-underlined read the words 25,000 killed, 58,000 injured.

"I think… this is how Edward tracked events," Cardinal says aloud as he moves into the room slowly, though his words are more thoughtful than anything, "I've seen a string web like this before, where the younger Ray was staying after Laudani stashed him there." Catching sight of something atop some boxes, he reaches over through some webs, pulling back a stapled series of lined notebook pages, written in pen. "Hm."

"Hiro has one," Xiulan affords quietly. Picking another bit of cotton candy, she slants a glance into the booth making no attempt to crowd the doorway. "I can see if we can get a look at it, or maybe get some pictures, if you want?" Popping the sugary goodness into her mouth, she licks the sticky off her fingers while keeping one eye on the peer. "You know, a Buddist would say you are giving Ray power by following his path, Cardinal." Not, mind you, that she thinks anyone cares what Buddists might say. Beyond her, of course.

Elisabeth starts looking at the connections and makes her way toward the center, looking for names or connections closer to it before working her way back out again. "Whatcha got?" she asks Cardinal. There's a frown on her face as she studies the quake information and quietly offers, "And for God's sake, remind me not to even consider ever pulling another stunt like the one I did the other night. If I'd used infrasound instead of ultrasound, I wouldn't have slagged my own throat to oblivion…. the possibility exists that I could have set off the fuckin' fault line."

"So, what does this tell us?" asks Sal as he examines the knots, making note of the familiar names. It's with some relief that he doesn't find his own among them, or the names of his family. That means that Edward hasn't manipulated anything in his life - that he knows of. He reaches out to flick at one of the strings, then looks towards Cardinal as he finds the notes. "What's it say?"

"It's a good fuckin' thing I'm Catholic, then," Cardinal replies, just a bit sharply. A bit of dust's brushed off the pages, and he steps out from the booth into the better light, leaning against the outside wall and bringing the pages up a bit. "Lemme read this," he mutters, "It's from Ray— Liz, what's the string web about, any idea?"

"From the first day I left my job at MIT, I knew my life would never be the same again. I had foreseen a future where a man who represented hope — a President who could turn around this country — was turned into a martyr on the altar of society's fears. No matter how hard I struggled, nothing I tried to change mattered in the end. I hadn't yet realized the most important truth of my ability. I had not realized that change, true change, requires monumental effort and sacrifice. True change costs lives, it takes planning, and most importantly; true change requires faith. Faith that after all is said and done, I will be judged by the outcome of my actions. Faith that the means justifies the end. Without that faith, in myself and my mission, I could not live with the things I am asked to do, and the people who's lives must be sacrificed for the greater good. That is how I wish to be remembered. A man who fought for the greater good. My name is Doctor Edward Ray, and these are my last words."

"Mmm." Catholic. Right. Doing her level best not to slant a smirk at Richard, Xiulan edges just close enough to peek over his arm at the pages. "There's so many things about this that could be clues. We should probably take some pictures of the string map to go over later, too. You know, so all that information isn't lost."

She can't help the faint snerk, with a glance at Cardinal. "Dude…. you've *so* got major confession in your future." On so many levels. Liz turns back to the knots and studies them once more. "Everything he's got here is linking together a bunch of quakes that trace from Utah eastward. The people on the web are…. a lot of us, actually. All involved and touching the situation in one or more ways. But… Xiu's right. We need pictures. I've got my camera phone, but maybe we should come back with a better camera and document everything."

"Take camera photos for now, just in case someone else finds this before we have a chance to come b —" Speaking of phones. Sal's starts to go off. He pulls it out of his pocket, checks the number and frowns. It's Sonny's phone, not that any of them know that. But he doesn't answer it. He can't answer it with Sal's voice.

"I've got to go. Let me know if you need my help with anything." He shoots a pointed look towards Cardinal. Anything. Even things a simple doctor might not be able to help with. He has resources he'd rather not advertise. "Stay safe guys," and then he's moving off quickly. Time to be Batman again. Or is it Bruce Wayne? He's lost track.

"I never said I was very good at it. Xiulan, you are a camera. Someone find her some paper, or something," Cardinal calls back inside, then turns his attention back to the papers in hand, paging through them one by one as he reads the writing thereupon. His brow furrows into lines, frown deepening as he nears the end. Then he lapses silent, merely looking at the papers in troubled thought.

"Hm? Yeah, I'll call, Sal— might have a project coming up. Take care."

"The future can be changed. It has always been my belief that we all have the capacity to create such change; forewarned and forearmed. From the moment I set out to change my lot in this future, to change what I know I become to something else, I knew it would be a mission I would not walk away from. The day I first met Helena Dean, I knew I would eventually die for a cause I believed in. I didn't know then, however, that our causes would come cross to one another. That the future I envisioned, would come at a price so steep I would not bloody any other's hands with it."

"Sometimes the world needs martyrs, and for the future to be written in a different score there must be one. But unlike the future I come from, the Columbia massacre does not need to be the martyrs. I can don that mantle, and I can be hated by the world, if it means that through the hate of my deed change comes to us all. I will be the martyr, and I will make change. When you read about what I have done in the paper, remember that number — 245,001. Every one matters. I reject the future as it was written, and in its stead I replace it with one of my own design. Because if we do not find a point of divergence soon; what happens, happens, and then we are all truly out of time."

Right. Xiulan the human camera, she'd forgotten for a moment. "Guess I should start carrying a notebook on these little outtings, eh?" Glancing around outside, she nibbles her lip for a moment before holding up one finger and darting off down the boardwalk. When she returns, she is holding a stack of napkins in her hands. "Alright, everyone out," she notes with a wry note to her voice. Once everyone has slipped out of the booth, she drops to a squat in the open doorway and starts recreating the images in perfect detail on napkins. One after another, they are passed over to Richard as Xiulan carefully makes her way inside to capture the scene from every possible angle. Newspaper articles are all copied and their positions noted, just to be extra safe.

Elisabeth nods to Sal. "Good luck," she offers. She knows what it's like to always be called away. "Take the entire stack of notes with you, Richard. I'll take cell phone pictures, and …. she glances about. "We just need to be able to re-create it back at the library, right?" She snaps several pictures while Xiulan heads down the boardwalk, and then when the other woman is back, she follows directions and steps out right behind Sal. She watches him leave, and then turns back to the de facto leader of this little group when he steps out. "Richard…. the kid in the shooting that involved the gun? He's a fugitive…. and Homeland Security has some odd discrepancies in the record. I wasn't going to mention it until I got the records on him from California, but…. how would the gun be tied to all this?"

"God damn it, Eddie," Cardinal exhales after Sal departs and Xiulan begins using her ability to record the entire situation, letting the sheaf of papers drop to his side, one hand coming up to rub against the side of his face, "If you'd just fucking explained…"

"Without the 245,001 citizens of Fort Lee New Jersey exposed to Tyler Case's ability, I fear that the cataclysm to come will not be averted. In my time, Arthur Petrelli was able to silently subvert a plot that could have destroyed the world, a plot so terrifying that it was kept between himself and his most trusted confidants. I was not counted among them."

"But in a world that I cannot abide Arthur Petrelli controling, it will fall to a different force to stem the tide of that coming calamity. With the advent of the 245,001 new Evolved, policy within the government will change and Frontline will become a global peacekeeping taskforce. This is the only way that the resurrection of the Vanguard can be stopped, and the fulfilment of the Final Solution from coming to pass."

"I did what I did to save this world, and I have faith in that decision no matter what the cost."

"— Edward Ray"

He lifts his head, then, his brow furrowing at Elisabeth as he admits, "I… have no fuckin' clue. Maybe we'll know more when we hit MIT? What're these discrepancies?"

"Explained what?" Xiulan's question is called from inside the booth another handful of napkin-photos extended out to Richard. "I'm gonna try to get in on the otherside of this knot," she murmurs. Fortunately, she's tiny and has only marginal trouble squirming, pulling and edging her way past the strings with the least amount of disturbances. Course, now she's on the otherside of the knot doing her thing. You know, it would really suck for her if it was a trap, wouldn't it?

"Well," Elisabeth replies. "To start with, the database only has that he has a bunch of robberies, assault with deadly weapons charges, home invasion. He was found not guilty by insanity, sentenced to a mental correctional facility. Spent 15 years in." She glances at him. "But Homeland's listing him as an escapee from a prison in Texas."

"What he was doing," Cardinal calls back into the booth, craning his neck to look within, "He— well, he did have the greater good in mind." Which is what he's been saying all along, more or less! Of course, he really didn't like the guy, and he murdered an ex of his, which has made it a difficult defense to muster. "We'll have to clean up after him, though."

He turns back again to look at Elisabeth, brow furrowing, "…and no record of when he moved from the nuthouse to the birdcage?"

"I see." She doesn't really, but she's distracted enough with recreating the string map not to ask for more information. Instead, she listens to the pair outside with half an ear, the majority of her attention on the task at hand. "So," she finally calls. "What do the earthquakes have to do with all this stuff?"

Elisabeth glances at him. "He escaped the nuthouse in California. He's a fugitive no matter which way you slice it, I'm just saying there are discrepancies. And I can't figure out how the gun fits in or why Edward would get it out of lockup and throw it into a safe deposit box." And she shakes her head toward Xiulan, though the other woman isn't looking. "No idea what earthquakes have to do with anything, maybe nothing at all." She nibbles her lip and doesn't voice the suspicion, now that Xiulan is bringing that question up, that maybe Norman has a power. It would explain Homeland's actions.

"Lotta pieces," Cardinal admits, tucking the manifesto under one arm and pushing off from the wall, "Not sure how they fit together yet. Xiu, you up for a trip up to Massachusets soon?" A look to Elisabeth, expression wry, "Can't ask you to come, what with the serial killer'n everything. Just keep on that case and see what you can find out about White. Hopefully we can turn all this into a solid picture soon."

"Whenever you are ready." Wriggling back out of the booth, Xiulan passes Richard another stack napkins with pictures on them. "The upside of owning my own shop, you know."

There's an instinctive movement of rejection from Elisabeth at his dismissal, her jaw clenching. "Let me know what you find, I guess," she says tightly. Because he's right… she can't keep ducking out on the investigation, it's going to start causing questions. "Considering with whom he left the keys, I venture to think that Edward thought you might need me there, but… it's your call," she says. "I'll email the pics off the camera as soon as I get back and upload them. I'd appreaciate if you could send me copies of what we found here. I'd like to look it over when I get off work."

"Seriously, Liz…" The detective gets a steady look from Cardinal, one brow raising a little, "Do you really think the force'll look the other way for you to take a couple day trip up the coast to Massachusets? If I didn't think it'd get you into shit, I'd be the first one inviting you along, but you shouldn't, and you know it." Wry, "Besides, I need to be comfortable knowing someone is gonna kill this asshole that's after Abigail. I'll send you copies of everything we've got as soon as I've gotten it all sorted."

Glancing between the two, Xiulan lightly clears her throat as she pushes to her feet and dusts off the hindquarters of her shorts. "I'm sure Richard would love to have you there if you could get off work without getting into trouble, Liz?" Slanting a glance at Cardinal, she dips her chin in a nod in response to his words. Yeah….. Again, she's glancing between the pair, her lips pursing in one of those female expressions that make it pretty darned clear that she's just figured out what is going on. It is to Liz she turns and to Liz she speaks, "It's all cool, Liz," she assures. "You got nothing to worry about."

Elisabeth rolls her eyes. "Cambridge is a two-hour drive from here, and we have keys. We know the places we're supposed to be looking for. But go on," she sighs. "I'm just pissed and stressed out and you're an easy target right now. Put my foot down with Cat over Maya yesterday, and damn near got my ass kicked by Wireless — in person, and lemme tell you she's a scary sort — over it. It could wind up spelling the end of my useful contacts in Phoenix, just to warn you." And then she looks toward Xiulan and grins, her expression settling into a wicked twinkle. "I never did — I don't own him and I don't curtail his activities." It's why she and Richard get along the way they do. But it amuses her that Xiulan thinks she's jealous. "Enjoy yourselves," she adds cheekily.

"What-fucking-ever," Cardinal's eyes roll in his head, "If they don't fucking understand what a stupid idea it is to put a Typhoid Mary in the middle of the fucking safehouse…" An irritated gesture of one hand, the sheaf of papers in it rustling, and then he reaches up to close the door to the boot and reach for the lock to seal it up again, "…fuck 'em. There's a lot that needs to be done, and we're going to do it."

There is nothing said about the exchange between the pair. Oh no. Nothing at all. He likes keeping his organs inside his body.

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