A Father's Failures


bf_cardinal_icon.gif bf_edward_icon.gif bf_kaylee_icon.gif

Scene Title A Father's Failures
Synopsis After escaping Moab, Kaylee and Cardinal have a heart to heart with Edward Ray.
Date November 24, 2014

Cardinal & Son Automotive and Salvage

Manhattan, KS

Manhattan — when taken out of the context of New York — is a small town in rural Kansas with little to its name. Surrounded by a sparse pine forest off of a rural highway, the Cardinal & Son Auto and Salvage might as well not exist. The old building looks to have been constructed in the 1950s and had little work done to it in the intervening decades, aside from what was absolutely required.

With the garage bay doors closed, the chill air outside is insulated by the radiant warmth of a kerosene space heater. An electric lamp gives some illumination to dusk-hours, and the faint light of a cloudy day outside provides some ambient glow to the otherwise dingy and tool-filled workshop.

Seated on a leather-topped stool, Edward Ray looks like a broken man. Though he's had time to change into clothes that aren't from a prison, it is a cold comfort in a colder world. Worse, he has spent the last few minutes explaining to two relative strangers his… relativity to them.

Kaylee Thatcher sits on the only other stool in the garage, and a shadow of a man she has come to learn is her adopted brother lingers in the darkness. Edward's blue eyes are vacant, his shoulders slacked, brows furrowed.

“So that’s… that's why. When that baby appeared I just… I knew. I knew what I had to do. I've just… I've been running ever since. Once the Company was revealed and taken out I…” Edward placed a hand on his head. “It felt too late to make a difference.”

It was hard to be judgy of the broken man sitting there, though her expression is one of mild disbelief. Honestly, it was a lot to take in. Pulling her attention from her father to the shadow on the wall, Kaylee’s head tips a little to one side. “Sooo… like Magnes. He’s— you,” addressing the shadow — this is really weird — directly, “Are not from around here.” Thank you Miss obvious.

The stool swings back and forth a little as she continues to let that set in. “It’s… a little overwhelming to go from no family, to having one. Sooo, excuse me if I’m not exactly, jumping up and down about this.” It comes out a little harsher then she means. At least she is gracious enough not to say how cruel it was that it was him and not her mom that was sitting there alive.

“I will say that am relieved you are nothing like mom described,” Clearly, his ex did not have a very good opinion of him. Kaylee studies the bespeckled man thoughtfully. “Also glad you are not a lawyer either.” Here at least, she offers him a small fraction of a smile, though it is tinged with sadness when she talks about her long deceased mother.

It makes sense, I suppose…” The shadows whisper in low, eerie tones, the living darkness that is Richard Cardinal lingering back in the darker corners of the garage as if not wanting to disturb the pair with his appearance. Or lack thereof.

I never really belonged anywhere,” he continues, and the tone seems wistful, maybe even a bit sad, “I guess maybe this explains why.

There’s a shift back in the dark, a more opaque patch than the natural shadows. “I’ve never had a family either, Kaylee. Belle was the closest thing, and… I haven’t seen her in a long time.” Until Moab. And he hasn’t even told her who he is yet. It’d be an awkward conversation. “Why…” A long pause, “…why didn’t you run with me? …us? Why did you leave us behind?

“Probability,” Edward says with a furrow of his brows. “The statistical likelihood of one person being caught over two together.” In the end, it all comes down to numbers. “I like to think that I'm good at statistics, and sometimes I take calculated risks. This… you,” Edward looks to the shadow, “weren't something I could risk.”

Wringing his hands together, Edward slouches his shoulders and exhales a weary sigh. “It's the same reason why I left everyone else I've ever grown close to. It felt like the noose was tightening, and I couldn't risk them. I couldn't even risk them knowing.”

Eyes closed, Edward punches the bridge of his nose with two fingers, then looks up again. “Your brother, Warren, died in that explosion in Pinehearst Tower while I was imprisoned. Because… because I wasn't there.” Blue eyes look away, jaw unsteady. “Your sister Valerie died in the bomb, because I couldn't save everyone.”

Sliding his tongue over his teeth, Edward’s head hangs low. “I failed Michelle, I failed David, and I failed as a father.” A twitch of a rueful smile crosses his lips, and as Edward looks up his eyes are reddened and glassy. “I thought I could trust Arthur. I was… I was so wrong.

A bit of an understanding smile is angled towards the shadows, he’ll be surprised that she looks right at him even mixed in with all the other shadows. Kaylee is after all a telepath. She might have said more, but Edward starts to answer the ‘why’s’ of their lives.

Her expression is neutral as he talks about her other siblings. “Couldn’t save…” Kaylee trails off, realizing he had called and told her to meet him at a certain time… The question is there at the front of her mind… She almost asks, but stops herself. She wishes she could feel their loss with more than just detached regret. “I was on the Pinehearst bombing case, everything pointed to Humanis First.” Brows furrow a little “I’m not convinced, but… like most of my cases anymore… they told me to drop it. Most of them the answers were too convenient.”

There is a moment of hesitation, but Kaylee reached out to place a reassuring hand on her father’s arm, “I think we all were fooled by Pinehearst,” she sighs out. “If I can prove all of this beyond a shadow of a doubt…” She trails off, determination etched on her features. The detective looks at her hand on his arm, “You know if I hadn’t listened to the most unlikely of people. You and I wouldn’t be here talking,” she sounds rather amazed by that. “I guess sometimes you have to take risks, Ray.” It’s natural to slip into the name her mother used for him.

There’s silence for a few moments from the shadows, and then the darkness moves and Richard Cardinal steps forward; an unsteady outline of a man, wisps of shadow seething at the edges, featureless, the suggestion of a fedora upon his head.

It was you… wasn’t it?” No anger, just a sullen curiosity to the whispered voice, “On the phone that day. The one who left the money. Who sent me to that church…

There's guilt evident in the nod Edward offers to Cardinal’s words. “I see patterns. I see possible courses of actions, based on information I'm given. I saw…” Edward looks aside, brows furrowed “I saw terrible things coming. So, I set you on a path I'd hoped would steer you away from it. I never imagined how far you'd go.”

But Kaylee’s mention of the Pinehearst case doesn't go unrecognized. “Arthur’s been using Humanis First as a boogeyman for years. I don't have proof, but I'm fairly certain he orchestrated the Columbia 13 bombing. I'd been trying to find proof of wrongdoing when he saw me for the threat I was and had me imprisoned.”

It was rather surreal to watch as the shadowy man steps forward. A bit like Peter Pan’s shadow, she can’t help but think to herself.

The mention of Arthur drags her attention attention from the whispy form of her… brother — that would take some getting used to — and to Edward again. Eyes narrow thoughtfully, they can see her mind working over all those cases where Humanis was blamed. The mention of another bombing is filed away for now. Yet another thing to look into.

“Don’t worry,” Kaylee finally says softly, with a slightly mischievous smile, one she might of been a master of as a child. “He won’t find me so easy a target. I’ll see what I can find, I can probably get access to the old records, see what turns up.” She does love a good mystery. It was one of the reasons why Judah thought she’d be good at this job. “I already give them enough headaches, what is one more?”

I saw everything I’d do. The Institute, the atrocities…” The edges of Cardinal seethe for a moment with greater agitation, “I couldn’t let that happen. Couldn’t risk it. But… the atrocities happened anyway, didn’t they? In Moab, and Pinehearst…

He turns his head to look at his… sister? “Tamara has evidence. She filmed the King of Swords. Stole something from the computer room, probably records of some kind. It might help.

In spite of everything, there's pride in Edward's eyes. “You're stronger than I ever gave you credit for,” he admits of Kaylee, before looking to the floor with shoulders slacked. “Maybe there's hope for this world yet… a way back from… from whatever brink we’ve rushed head-long into.”

Edward’s blue eyes alight to Kaylee, then to where the shadow of Richard resides. “Allen is certain that if we can make contact with Mason and Jennifer Chesterfield, he can build a case against the government. Allen says he might even be able to take down Mitchell. Something about… Humanis First.”

But Edward shakes his head. “It's a pipe dream right now. With Arthur still out there… there's no saving anyone or anything. He'll stop at nothing to keep what he's gained. He's insane.”

Despite the fact he had been absent from her life, the detective can’t help but feels a touch of satisfaction at that look of pride. Her gaze dips a bit under that praise. It was weird coming from the man her mother had painted as a no good loser.

“I have so many questions….” Kaylee trails off and sighs, eyes a little glassier when she looks up Edward again. “More for mom, but… Whatever happened when you left… it affected her really bad. Especially since it resulted in a huge lie like that… whatever her reasoning, it died with her and granny.” Brushing at the moisture at the corner of her eye, she gives a mildly embarrassed smile. “But, plenty of time for that.”

Sitting a little straighter, Kaylee is obviously trying to shift gears back to what is at hand. “If Richard is right and Tamara has evidence… Getting that out there comes first. Which mean, getting back to New York as soon as possible.” There might be more behind that need to get back… more like someone more.

If that’s the only problem…” Richard Cardinal lifts one shadowy hand, brushing it lightly along the edge of a shelf attached to the wall — wisps of shadow bleeding away as he carves a quarter-inch swathe of wood into nothingness, “…then we kill the sonuvabitch.

His ‘head’ turns to look at Kaylee, then back to Edward, “If he’s that crazy, then releasing evidence will push him into rash action. He’ll expose himself.

“I have a plan for that,” Edward says in a hushed tone of voice, sharing a conspiratorial look to the shadow. “But, it will have to wait a few months for everything to fall into place. In the meantime,” Edward rises from his chair, walking over to a workbench and grabbing an old, dusty notepad and a pencil, scribbling an address down. He tears the note off and walks halfway back before realizing…

…Richard doesn't have hands.

Edward looks down to the address and just tucks it into his pocket. “1600 Clifton Road in Atlanta. It's the headquarters of the CDC. Pinehearst stores some of their biological research on the third basement level, and I need you to find a locker numbered 16-4,” Edward looks to the shadow intently. “You’ll… obviously need a hand getting what's contained in there out. I trust you to be able to figure that out.” There's a brief look at Kaylee, then back again. “You need to retrieve a single vial from the refrigerator. It should be labeled ADV-01.”

“Wherever you do,” Edward says with a raise of his brows. “Don't drop it.”

Eyes widen when she witnesses what the shadow does, the telepath is stunned…. But only for a moment. Suddenly, he’s talking about killing Arthur and her father is plotting with him. “Whoa… whoawhoa,” Kaylee rises to her feet, hands held up. She takes a step back from both of them. “Am I really hearing this?” Her hands move like she is going to cover her ears as she turns to move away. “I can’t be hearing this.”

The telepath is flustered, her head shaking. “No,” is stated finally and firmly. “We need to do this right.” She looks between both her father and her brother, “If you just up and kill him. You’ll martyr him to all these people who are too naive to realize what he is. You’ll make the people rise up against us.” Kaylee huffs out a sigh, “We put this evidence out there and bring him down from his mountain. Then and only then can you remove him.”

Pacings away, the detective rubs a hand across the back of her neck. “I can’t believe I am even saying that. He should go through the system like everyone else…” Though she knows that with someone like Arthur Petrelli, that might not be possible. His fingers might be dug too deep. Eyes suddenly roll upward and she sighs. “Fine.” She looks back their way out of the corner of her eye, “I’ll go with Richard, if only to make sure no one gets hurt… or that anyone jumps the gun on anything.”

See… she can be reasonable.

If you try and take a man like that into custody…” Cardinal’s hands spread, shoulders lifting in a shrug as shadow trails wispy in the wake of the motion, “…all you’re going to do is get people killed. I agree that we need to execute him in the court of public opinion — but then we need to execute him.

There’s a low, dangerous hiss to those last words. “If you could kill Hitler, would you? Because that’s what this is….

“I would,” Edward says with immediate certainty, his blue eyes wide as he looks up to Kaylee and Richard’s shadowy form. “I want you both to be absolutely clear about that. If someone threatens this family…”

“…I would absolutely kill them.

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