A False Witness


amato_icon.gif barbara_icon.gif candice_icon.gif

Scene Title A False Witness
Synopsis After seeing some things that concern him, Amato questions 'Shannon'. Barbara later arrives to try to get the whole story.
Date February 1, 2011

The Garden

Of all the places in The Garden, the basement is easily the coldest.

It's not out of spite. Heat simply rises, and the bottom-most floor of the old house isn't as well insulated as the rest. For all that, it was the easiest place for Amato to detain Candice. What tack had been left in the barn when the horses were moved - mostly bits of leather bridles and straps in need of repair - has been re purposed into shackles. Candice's arms are stretched above her head, secured over an exposed pipe in the low ceiling. Despite his anger, Amato hasn't been too cruel. Candice has been given a crate to sit on - a crate which, at one point, could have held anything from canned goods to ammunition.

Above, the floorboards creak under the weight of boots. The sound edges its way toward the stairs, and it isn't long before the light of an oil lamp heralds the man's return. Still scowling. Still determined. He hasn't changed since he brought her down here, save for the addition of his blood-stained and tattered overcoat, the collar turned up to keep the chill off his neck. When he emerges, the light from the lamp casts eeire shadows across his pale face, extenuating the lines of a sardonic smile.

"A false witness," he says in what Candice has come to recognize as the lofty tone reserved for the quotation of scripture, "shall not be unpunished, and he that speaketh lies shall not escape." He sets the lamp down on a crate near the stairs and clasps his hands behind his back before he begins a slow amble in an arc around the woman. "Destroy, O Lord, and divide their tongues: for I have seen violence and strife in the city. Day and night they go about it upon the walls thereof: mischief also and sorrow are in the midst of it. Wickedness is in the midst thereof: deceit and guile depart not from her streets."

Fortunately for Candice, she doesn't need her hands unbound in order to use her ability, and with it, she's able to not only maintain her current disguise, but chase away the chill. Or that's how it feels to her, anyway. His quoting has her rolling her eyes. "False witness? Dude. You're quoting the bible while tying someone up in a cold ass basement. You're a fucking hypocrite, and the only reason I'm not making you claw your eyes out and scream like a little bitch is because you're Ferry. Which doesn't really mean much to me, but hey, Bennet asked me to play nice with you incompetent fucks," she says, a sneer in her voice.

Amato pauses, arching his brows as he stands slightly behind Candice. "You act as if I should believe anything you say, Candice," he says as flatly as he would if they were speaking over tea. "I would be a hypocrite if I let you wander on your merry way. I am, instead, bringing you to justice. Now then," and he continues his walk, lifting his eyes to the network of pipes in the ceiling.

"What's the modern equivalent of thirty silver these days, hm? A free pass? Your name stricken from existence in exchange for another? Don't be shy." Amato takes another step foward, letting his full height loom over the young woman. "He looketh upon men, and if any say, I have sinned, and perverted that which was right, and it profited me not; He will deliver his soul from going into the pit, and his life shall see the light."

"Justice? I have to have done something for this to be justice," Candice says, shaking her head and eyeing him like he were filth that she'd accidentally stepped in and couldn't get off her shoe. "You wanna know what I have done? What I've done that's technically illegal, but nothing that the rest of your merry band haven't done? I've hidden. I've hidden myself, I've hidden the Ferry. And if this is the thanks I get for that? Well, fuck that. You guys can do your own goddamned hiding."

She leans forward, smirking as she looks up at him. "But if you don't let me go? I can do a lot worse than hide. I can make you wish that you were in that pit, begging for your god to save you from what I'll make you see. What I'll make you smell. And hear. And feel," she whispers.

"Hidden only to reveal when it was most convenient," is the man's dry answer. "But, if you will not confess…" He shrugs, looking disappointed for a moment as he presses his lips together and shakes his head. Bowing it, he lifts his hand, fingers extended and palm tilted upward. "Domine, ut videant, et sciant tuum," he whispers loud enough for Candice to hear, even if she doesn't understand the words. He then lifts his chin and dons his disgusted scowl once more as he lowers his hand to her head, fingers ready to grip her hair.

"Confess what?" Candice snaps at him, trying to jerk back, away from the man she sees as nothing more than a lunatic. "You haven't accused me of anything other than bearing false witness. And hello? I'm not the only illusionist in this damn place. More, your leader knows I'm here. So what's the BFD, you whackjob? Did someone named Candice kick your puppy or something?"

Amato's hand falters, and he draws it back to look at the face suspended below him for a moment. Then, in an instant, he swings the back of his hand across the young woman's face, the strike cracking as loud as a whip. But with the blow to her comes one to Amato as well - the flash of images he's already seen - images of Candice as a younger woman with few morals. In a way, it's a blessing. Given he's seen those very bits of her past before, Amato is able to recover relatively quickly, bending put his face level with hers.

"I have seen and done things you couldn't dream of - things that have condemned me to live in the shadows for the remainder of my life." His voice is a harsh whisper, quiet yet intense with each syllable perfectly formed as it crosses over tongue, teeth, and lips, the curious blend of accents giving the words an even keener edge. "And yet, I am truthful. I do not hide myself from those who have seen fit to trust me. I am honest. I am faithful. What reason would anyone lucky enough to be given sanctuary by the Ferrymen have to disguise their true selves other than to infiltrate them for the purposes of later betrayal? Someone defiled that bond of trust before the Eighth of November. Give me three reasons why I shouldn't believe it was you."

"Now was that so fucking hard?" Candice asks, shaking her head and sighing. "First? I was told to play nice. Playing nice? Doesn't mean betraying. That's sorta playing dirty. Cheating, maybe. Second? Before you decide to play tie me up and hurt me, maybe you should check with your boss. You know, old guy, pretty average looking, wears this hideous glasses? Goes by Bennet? Yeah, he knows I'm here. Until I had to out myself as an illusionist to save some Ferry ass, you're welcome by the way, he was the only one of you guys who knew. So go on, give the old man a call. I'll wait," she says, leaning back, and as she does, the room shimmers.

No longer are they in a cold basement in New York, but instead are on a warm, tropical beach. The Caribbean, maybe? The water is blue enough. And 'Shannon', for she's keeping the same appearance, seems to be lounging in a chair on the sand, in a bikini, arms no longer bound. It looks real, feels real, smells real, sounds real.

But Amato isn't fooled by her glamour. He does straighten and look off to one side to take it in, but the distraction, if it can be called that, doesn't last long. "It never occured to me that you would be so incredibly weak," he says thoughtfully as he turns to look at the crystal clear waters. "Of all the things you could conjure out of that devilish little mind - all the scenes you could manufacture with only your own imagination your only limiting factor…you do this.

"If you must know, I've already contacted the Council. I imagine they'll be quite interested in the identity of their own Judas Iscariot." He walks toward the stairs again, or in the direction he believes the stairs should be - north and east of where Candice is bound. "If you would like, I can try to kick the lamp over and set the whole house on fire. You would suffocate before you burned to death."

"Sure, you could do that. But you'd never find your way out of the house," Candice says, looking perfectly relaxed, shrugging, before she sends the world spinning. Literally. When it settles again, it looks like he's in the same spot, and she's in the same spot, but it's all illusion, so there's no telling where the stairs are, where she really is.

"You don't listen very well either, do you? In order to be Judas, I'd have had to betray them. Which I didn't. And I said your boss, not the Council. You didn't tell me where you got the name Candice from though. Maybe I'm not the person they need to be worrying about."

In all his wanderings with Kazimir, Amato Salucci has seen more than his fair share of strange things. So rather than move another step, he roots himself to the floor, turning to face Candice where she chooses to make herself appear. "Do you prefer to be called Betty Carter? I think that might be the most fitting. It was, after all, the name you bore when you took your first victim. Yes, she gossiped, and all sin is equal in the eyes of God. But you lashed out in anger, Betty. And while lying may be one of the Commandments-"

"Wrath is a deadly sin."

Though she has to be shocked at having someone speak a name that no one has spoken in a decade, Candice just smiles. "Wrath? Clearly you don't know the whole story. See, you don't listen. You're all assumptions. Besides, doesn't your precious bible tell you to judge not lest ye be judged? Well you're doing a hell of a lot of judgement now, and without all the evidence. That makes you a hypocrite, and the worst kind too. A bible toting hypocrite who believes his task is holy. People like you make me sick."

"On the contrary, my dear Elizabeth - " But he pauses again, bending slightly to look at her with a quizzical expression. "Is it Elizabeth? Pity you do shame to such a lovely moniker." But he waves it off with a hand and a shrug before he clasps his fingers again behind his back. "To be a hypocrite, I would have to deny my own crimes. Instead, I full acknowledge my acts and work every day in repentance. You, however, seem bent on your falsehoods. I might even venture to guess that you haven't lived honestly for quite some time."

"See, making assumptions again," Candice says, tsking softly and shaking her head. "And no, hypocrites can admit their crimes. A hyprocrite just does what he tells others they shouldn't do. They're the ones who are too good to follow the rules, but expect everyone else to."

Her expression darkens, and as it does, the scene shifts. The sky darkens, the warmth turns to blistering heat. The sand becomes dark, jagged rocks. The smell of the sea and tropical flowers melts into something much more unpleasant. Blood. Bodily waste. Vomit. Open flesh. Scorched flesh. The sound of the waves turns to the sound of agonized screams, soft, frightened whimpers, desperate pleading. And Amato, at least it appears, stands in the midst of that fire, chained to the rocks, his skin blistering from the heat. It seems that for now, the illusion is going to mirror her mood, to an extent.

"And you speak of honesty, when the whole of the Ferry is hiding, on an island? Their whole goal to hide the evolved who wish to run from the government? Why not have them here, locked up for your amusement? Why not just throw all of us into a dank, dark cell? We're all hiding, so we must all be guilty enough to punish. That is what you're punishing me for, isn't it? For hiding?" she hisses at him, and the words come like a snake's, except they echo slightly on the rocks that surround them.

Gotta give her credit. She knows how to set a scene.

When Barbara had decided to respond to Amato's summons out to the Garden - particularly with the urgency it had presented and the request he had made - she hadn't been entirely sure of what to expect, on top of her own easiness about returning to the Garden after how her last trip to the sequestered safehouse had gone. She had taken a moment before she made her way down stairs into the basement, pushing open the door and stepping into -


Three bottles of water held in her arms, backpedeling a bit as her eyes widen, and she begins to feel highly uncomfortable. She had heard the question posed by a woman's voice before she had stepped into the room, and she had a response all ready to go, but it is lost in her surprise. "What in the world is going on down here?!" She's certainly encountered illusionists before, but it's not immediately what occurs to her when entering the room.

The shock of the stimuli set to convince his mind of things that he knows aren't really there steal Amato's breath for a moment. Only the repeated mantra of the nature of his opponent keeps him from slipping, despite how Candice may wish to see him - chained and suffering in her imagined hades. But when Barbara speaks, Amato's grimace turns into a triumphant grin that diverts the direction of the beads of sweat which trickle down his brow. "So sorry, Miss Simms!" he calls out, unable to keep a slight chuckle from his voice. "I must admit to deprecating our Shannon's originality. Did you know her real name? She's right in that we all hide, but there is in that hiding intended to be some measure of trust. A lie of such magnitude only brings suspicion." Suspicion he may not have if Shannon wasn't skulking around a barely used safehouse.

When Barbara shows up, the illusionary hell disappears, and they're all back in the Garden basement, with 'Shannon' sitting on a crate, her arms bound. "Oh gee, it's the Council, come to rescue me from the madman. The hypocrite who repeatedly asks me questions then refuses to listen to the answers," Candice says sweetly. "Don't suppose you'll tell him to let me the fuck out of here, will you? It is rather cold down here, you know. Isn't this prevented by the Geneva convention or something?"

"Shannon," Barbara says, as if confirming the name. Eyes flick over towards Amato. "You're sure about this, Amato?" teh councilwoman in quires, hading one of the blue tinted bottles of water over to the man who had summoned her. "I am here, Shannon, as an impartial represenative at the moment," she starts as she moves towards Shannon, one of the bottles offered out to her as well. "From what I understand, there's been a very unfortunate charge lowered against you. I'm here to help get to the bottom of this as best as I can, at least until I can bring the matter before more among the council.

"I am certain of what I saw," Amato says in a graver if slightly breathless voice. He takes the bottle, but he doesn't open it. "She claims that Noah Bennet is well enough aware of who she is, but that still doesn't explain her hiding it in the first place. You wanted to find who sold the Ferry to its enemies - I offer you a woman who has consistently lied about who she is and what she has done and propose that every word she utters is examined for its veracity." He stops himself before he launches into an all-out sermon, moving instead to lean against one of the beams that braces up the low ceiling and folding his arms across his chest. "I am certain of what I saw," he mumbles, more to himself than either of the two women.

When the water is offered to her Candice looks at it, arches a brow, then looks up to where her wrists are bound. "How the hell do you expect me to drink that?" she asks dryly when she looks back to Barbara, rolling her eyes at Amato. "See, the problem with you," she says, looking at him, "is that you kept asking the wrong damn questions."

She cocks her head and looks to Barbara. "Point one. I'm sure you guys checked already with Bennet, since I told that bitch Abby to ask him if she wanted to know more about me. Point two. I've been to the island, where a large chunk of the Ferry are now. Yet have you all been scooped up? Nope. In fact I've hidden the Ferry from the patrols. A fact that you should remember since you were there one of those times. On the beach, with the kids and Eileen? Sure it rings some sort of bells."

She shifts in her restraints, head tilting. "Point three, if the fact that I'm an illusionist is the problem, then why hasn't Kendall been questioned? If it's that I'm Company…well, you guys appointed Ryans to your security. Tsk tsk. Be consistent, guys. Point four, if the dumbass over there found out everything that he did, seeing…psychometry, yeah? Then it'd be oh so simple for him to see the conversation with Bennet and prove my point. I think he just gets off on tying up unwilling women."

There's a glance down at Candice's bound arms, Barbara setting the drink down in front of her. "I''ll release one of your hands, Shannon. I'm not here to judge you, I'm here to investigate." She flexes her fingers, druming them on her side. "But I'm afraid that this is going to require honesty on all sides. If you and Noah have an arrangement, I've heard nothing of it. I'll have to speak with him when I get back to the island, if he hasn't taken off on his own matters again."

She does just as she said she would, a confident look offered to Amato before she steps back. "I'ma ware of how much of a help you've been on Polepell. It's greatly appreciated, and that's exactly why I'm here, to see exactly what's up." Crossing her arms, she leans back a bit. "As for Kendall, being an illusionist isn't a problem in and of itself. He was brought to the Ferry by a close associate, up front and known to us. But if it'll help you feel better, I can have someone look into that." Making her way back over to Amato, she turns. "People's abilities work differently. Whic is why, amato, I need you to tell me exactly what you saw."

With a swallow, Amato straightens himself. "I'm not sure if you want all the gory details," he says by way of introduction. And then he systematically describes all of what he saw, including Candice's youth and various interactions with Noah Bennet, Daniel Linderman, and Matt Parkman, not to mention those on the island. Everything as was displayed to him, through Candice's own eyes no matter what face was reflected back at her, is laid to bare in the basement.

"I was not prepared for it," Amato adds in conclusion, turning his eyes to the floor. "And when I am not prepared, all I see are one's misdeeds. Her life is one filled to the brink with deceit. I see no reason to believe her. She has wound lies about the very core of her being as a means of protection - she isn't to be trusted, Barbara. To say she is two-faced…"

"Two-faced? Please, that's insulting." And suddenly Candice looks exactly like Amato, and sounds like him too. "I have a great many more faces than just one," 'he' tells Amato, smirking. "And if you saw me talking with Bennet, you sure you didn't see him telling me how he'd hide me? How he told me to come to the Garden and be a good wittle girl? Maybe you should take another peek." And again she shifts, until she looks like Bennet, glasses and all. "Would this help? Do you trust me more now? Which is weird to trust a guy who raised a girl just so he could hand her over to the Company. But hey, clearly you guys don't care about the truth, just the accusations."

Candice reverts not to her Shannon appearance, but her Candice one. May as well own the identity since Amato's explained it all. "Though…did you hear what you just said, pretty boy? Lies as a means of protection. Why would I get the very people who are protecting me scooped up and shoved in jail or shuffled off to the Institute? Because believe me, I have no love of the Institute. You guys get negated?" She shrugs. "Your ability goes away. Mine takes away my protection. The best defense I have." And her identity, but she's not saying that to them.

Barbara listens attentively to Amato's retelling of the psychometric vision he had received from Shannon- Candice - wearing a grimace for pretty much the entire duration of the tale. Somewhat uncomfortably, even, scratching at her neck as he finishes the retelling, a look cast over towards Candice. "You don't help yourself with sarcasm and indulgance of the man's worries, Candice," Barbara replies, unscrewing teh cap form her bottle of water and taking a long swig.

"In fact, I would venture that that is rather insulting," the postcog notes, pointing at Candice. "The fact of the matter is that this is something I can't decide on my own, not fully. And I believe Amato has some very valid concerns, even given his skewed vision of your past. All this means is that I will have to speak with Noah Bennet much sooner rather than later. But trust… trust is something that's in short supply these days, and we've had other instances lately of potential threats on the island. Did you know one of our wards after the riots worked for teh DoEA?" She lets that sink in for a moment before continuing. "And it turned out he was a good kid, and he's since been able to return to what he was doing before.we found out. But that doesn't change the fact that we have take accusations as grim as this with utmost amount of caution." She taps a foot, looking over to Amato. "Typically, we handle this by going back to Pollepel and placing you under watch, negated until a decision is reached."

While Barbara speaks, Amato indulges himself in a sip from his own water bottle, thankful for the refreshing clarity of the liquid. Candice's - Betty's display of face after face, impression after perfect impression, only serve to unease him. Still, he nods, though it is without the triumph that he had when the woman arrived. Instead, it is stark, bland acceptance of fact. "I cannot accompany you there," he says with a reluctant shake of his head. "I have business to attend to here. But I can make myself available for further inquiry, if necessary." He glances back to the bound woman, this time with a strange sort of pity.

"Pride goeth before destruction, Elizabeth," he says, his tone gentler this time. "Take that from me as much as you may the Lord God."

The moment negation is mentioned Candice shakes her head. "No…No. I refuse to be negated. I don't give a shit what you guys think you wanna do, but I will not be negated," she says, voice fiercely seriously. Enough that pressing the matter would likely only make things that much more difficult. At least from her end. "And what have I said, dumbass? My name isn't Elizabeth. And stop quoting scripture. It just makes you sound like more of an asshole given the whole, you know, tied up thing."

For now she remains with her Candice face, though it's one that's very unhappy for the first time, really, since the questioning began. It doesn't hold sarcasm or a sneer, just anger and unhappiness. "And don't look at me with pity either. You wanna do something helpful? Then get your ass over here and get the full story. Unless, of course, you enjoy condemning someone with only partial answers."

Barbara's expression darkens a bit at Candice, her arms crossing as she peers at Candice, stepping forward. "I know you know how we do things. I'll see about alternatives, but our means are limited and it's the best option we have. And that's exactly why I'm here. To get the full story." She stands a bit straighter, letting out a weary sigh. "I'm sorry, but this is as unpleasent for me as it is for you." She moves, undoing the binding on her othre hand. "Is there an easy way to get in touch with you Amato? In case you are needed." There's a pase, and she tosses the binding aside. "And thank you, for bringing this to our attention. If nothing else, so I know to speak to Noah about not cluing the Council in about something that could have gone as wrong as this."

Pocketing the bottle of water, Amato retrieves a pair of gloves which he subsequently slips onto his long-fingered hands. "Eileen will know," is all he says of where and how he can be reached. Reaching into an inner pocket of the tattered coat, he pulls out a pocket knife, opening it slowly as he steps toward the woman he made his prisoner. Making sure not to move to suddenly as to scare her, he reaches out and cuts a lock of her hair near her scalp.

Returning both tool and spoil to his pocket, Amato raises his eyebrows at Barbara. "I'll continue my own investigation, if you don't mind. Perhaps I'll have more to offer when the time comes." With that, he turns toward the stairs, lifting the lamp resting on the nearby crate and moving it to a hook on the wall so that it isn't easily knocked over before he ascends.

Candice rubs her wrists where the bindings had pressed against her skin and shakes her head. "No, Bennet shouldn't have told you. It's none of your business. I'm just another former Company agent, just like Ryans. But unlike Ryans, I'm more valuable." She certainly has a healthy ego. "And I mean it, no negation. I don't care what the SOP is."

When Amato approaches she gives him a wary look, and it gets more wary when the knife comes out. But when it's just her hair cut she can't resist a smirk, watching him leave. "He's lucky that was actually my hair."

She stands, stretching a little. "God it feels good not to be Shannon anymore. Now, would you like to hear the whole story, or just go on what bits and pieces Amato got? Because trust me, he didn't get them all, not by a long shot."

"Alright," Barbara responds to Amato with a nod. "I'll be sure to speak with Eileen then. And thank you again." WAiting until the man leaves she turns back to Candice, hands on her hip. "A council should work as a council. Bennet hiding anyone within the Ferry should have been made clear to us. The Company has nothing to do with it. Ryans, Lee, Messer, they're all Company and have been as welcome among our ranks as anyone else." Her eyes narrow briefly, before she turns back towards the door. "But that's something I'll discuss with him on my own. For the time being, I am interested in hear your side of this, of course. I don't think you're guilty of what Amato thinks. Not yet. BUt you have to at least understand why we're all wary here."

"Because you're all paranoid and desperate to find someone to put the blame on. Someone with a face, not a faceless entity like the Institute or American government." Candice shrugs, moving towards the stairs, apparently just wanting out of the basement, but it doesn't seem like she's fleeing. "People are easy once you study them long enough. And when you study them long enough to be able to immitate them, they're easier still."

"But my story…I was in Chicago, just minding my own business, and the Institute invaded. Me and one of the head honchos tried to find a way out, and we got gassed. Which is why the no negation. I just will not deal with that if I don't have to. Just after, Hiro Nakamura showed up, said that Bennet would need me, and poofed me out of there, the way that he does."

Once she's upstairs she heads right for the kitchen, to raid the kitchen in case there's anything there she can pilfer. "From there, Bennet decided that he was fine with me being put with the Ferry, and he sent me…here, actually. Wanted me to play nice and all, but you guys make it hard, you know that?"

"Hiro. THe- time traveller?" Barbara wrinkles her nose a bit, sighing. "I've never met him. Only heard a' him third hand." And again she shakes her head, stopping at the doorway upstairs. "I want you to look me in the eyes, and tell me that- if you were in our positions, without an ability that makes it so easy for you to blent in - that you wouldn't be as defensive and scared as we are. Because if you ask me, right now we all have a good reason for it."

With that, she turns and starts up the stairs, hands slipping into her coat pockets. "For now, I'm willing to giv eyou the benefit of the doubt, at least until I speak to Noah myself. But for me to trust you, you have to extend the same curtosy, and cut the other crap." This said, of course, with a smile. "IF we can agree to that, I'm sure all of this will work out fine."

"Sorry, this is me. I play roles, sure, but this? This is me. What you see is what you get." Candice flashes a grin back at Barbara. "For the moment, anyway." She shrugs and moves over to a chair, settling down into it. "So long as you don't negate me, I don't care how you get it solved. Besides, you guys? You need me. Kendall's an illusionist, yeah, and he's got potential, but he's not as good as me. More, he doesn't have my experience or knowledge."

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