A Mighty Big Wave


cardinal2_icon.gif veronica2_icon.gif

Scene Title A Mighty Big Wave
Synopsis Cardinal and Veronica discuss 'Adrian', Monroe… and other personages of uncertain importance.
Date Dec 16, 2009

Missionary Ruins

As luck would have it, though the roof is long gone, the broken walls of this ancient Spanish missionary have only partially succumbed to the jungle's wasting influence. Smooth grey and brown stone likely cut from the mountainside that seems to loom all around comprises a number of indecipherable rooms and alcoves, some even tall enough to blot out greenery's relentless encroach. Moss has coagulated in substantial mats wherever it's been able to gain hold, with wispy ferns and hardened vines snaking in through cracks and ruptures to keep it company. Although the metal gate has rusted through to nothing, the exterior walls on either side of it afford some limited protection from the wind, and what few overhangs remain at the base of a collapsed bell tower may serve to keep off the rain. The massive bell itself is crusted thick with corrosion in its dead sit in what may have once been an open courtyard, old metal patched black and rusty red amidst the craggy remains of its former post.

Late at night, the mountain is shrouded in a cold foggy mist. The glow of the fire at the center of the ruins gives enough illumination to show the sleeping forms of most of the team and their Argentinian comrades. Not all are present, of course. Dahlia is off making preparations. Some of the natives are off scouting, and Veronica is on watch, sitting on a boulder not far from the ruins, but far enough that the fire's light doesn't interfere with her night vision. Her M16 lies across her lap, though one hand curls loosely around the hand grip, ready to take it up at a moment's notice.

"I love a girl who knows how to handle a gun…" Cardinal melts from the fog-shrouded night quite literally, a faint smile curving to his lips as he appears not far from the boulder; head turning to look off towards the campsite where the rest of Team Alpha and the Branded are gathered, he looks then to Veronica with a brow raised, waiting silently as if expecting her to say something.

Veronica's fingers tighten at the first syllable uttered but then loosen when the sound becomes a voice she knows, and, as much as it matters in this foreign and hostile place, trusts. "Hey, there, Shade. You're likely to give someone a heart attack with that sneaky habit of yours, you know? Luckily I'm not that nervous or trigger happy." She glances toward the shelter, but no one is moving there that wasn't a moment before. "Anything new on your end?"

A faint smile twitches to Cardinal's lips, one hand raising to rub at the side of his neck a bit ruefully. "Seems to me I've heard that before," he muses, turning to look back towards the fire again, silent a moment or three before pointing out, "You recognized him."

Veronica raises her brows, and reaches up to push those pesky too-long bangs out of her eyes. "It's sort of my job to recognize important people. But if he wants it on the down low, then obviously that's what it will be. Not about to cross him, if I can help it, but more than likely I will because I tend to piss off my superiors." A rueful grin at that. "I used to be a good little follow orders type, but I guess I'm not so much these days. What's up though? I mean… last I heard, he wasn't in Argentina, and this guy … this Adrian… he doesn't look like he's arrived after us."

Cardinal exhales a faint snort of breath at something she's said, apparently amused by it, before looking back to her. "He was here before we were. It's a… complicated situation," he admits, "We need to keep word of him even being here out of any reports, though. Nobody can know. Not even Autumn."

"Got it," Veronica agrees easily enough. "Last 'complicated situation' you warned me about was Peter not really being Peter. I can't wait to hear this one," she says dryly with a shake of her head. "Just tell me at least this much — is it really him? Or just someone who looks like him, so I know how much I should worry if I need to protect him from something?"

"It always seems to have to do with a Petrelli, doesn't it? Sometimes I think I should've kept going after I killed Arthur…" Cardinal smirks just a bit - probably joking - and then he nods slightly, saying in quiet tones, "It's him, I can tell you that. The real him, if you catch my meaning."

Veronica nods once. The real president, here in this hell with them. "Next you'll be telling me Ma Petrelli is actually the Pope or something," she says with another shake of her head that seems to negate the nod she just came. "All right. So this one's the real deal. Is the other one, presumably back in DC, a doppelganger or what? And do the two know about one another?" This conversation makes her head spin. "Or is he a replicator like Winters?"

Cardinal snorts. "Don't even joke. I'm Catholic." He reaches into his jacket, pulling out a pack of cigarettes and giving it a shake. A pathetic little rattling suggests there's just one or two more in there. He regards it mournfully, then decides to save it for later, tucking it back away. "Repli— ? Nah. Nathan's a flier. Kind've ironic, really, that he's been one of us all this time." Us, in this case, not including Veronica. Not that he means offense, but she is human, after all. "The other one's him too, just not from… herewhen." A pause. "I hate time travel. It fucks with my nouns and adjectives."

Time travel brings a scowl. "Yeah, I've had to deal with that once or twice. It's rather confusing. Messes with the verbs too. Past tense, present tense, future tense? Very confusing." She sighs. "All right. So no one's to know it's him… hopefully the others continue to not recognize him, though you'd think Ross would soon. He was a bit distracted I guess being pissed at me yesterday." She snorts a bit at that.

"Ross is the one I'm worried about. The others would keep their mouths shut if I asked them, but him…" Cardinal looks out across the campsite again, frowning, "Who's this lady that he reports to, again?"

"Sabra Dalton, I'd guess, though I've never seen him in the New York facility. Though Petrelli's mom is one of the founders so I'd assume if Petrelli's mom is in on it, everything would be kept under wraps. The two do know about each other, right? The … other Nathan and this Adrian Nathan?" Now she sounds like she's discussing a Neil Gaiman novel.

"That they do. That they do…" Cardinal slants a look over to Veronica, then, asking curiously, "So what's Dalton's deal? I've had dealings with the Cowboy, but never this lady before. Hadn't heard of her before this mission, actually."

"What's her deal? She's my superior," Veronica replies with a shrug. "That's about all I'm allowed to know. Looks like Mrs. Claus crossed with Angela Lansbury. I've only met her a couple of times myself. Cowboy's my immediate boss. Don't go and use that information against us once we get back, though, got it? I shouldn't have told you most the stuff, but it's a matter of survival. I needed you guys to trust me enough not to want to leave me for dead once I inevitably got injured."

"I've told you more than I should have, too," Admits Cardinal, offering her a wry smile, "Besides, all that tells me is who the cowboy's boss is. I've already got a decent working relationship with the man, though, so I don't see any reason to go over his head." A snort, "Adam and the mystery killer're doing a good enough job taking down the upper echelons without me interfering anyway.

That comment gets a cranky face from the agent. She was happy to get rid of thoughts of Monroe and Gitelman, leaving them far behind in Manhattan, in order to begin a whole different kind of wild goose hunt. "Don't fucking remind me," she grumbles. "What do you know about the 'mystery killer' — news reports don't show a connection between all those murders that a layman should know about…"

"Honestly? No clue," Cardinal shakes his head slightly, "I'd thought it was all Monroe, but even he seemed pretty pissed off to find out about it." He shoots her a narrow-eyed look, "Brian might know more. He retrieved one of the bodies, I heard."

"Yeah. Winters and I already had a little tete-a-tete on that one," Veronica says dryly. "It's good to know that Monroe's pissed off at least, even if it makes my job harder to deal with two parties. At least someone's pissed off besides me. Second party does a cleaner job. More professional. Monroe's an arrogant narcissist who preens for the cameras in comparison." She lifts her canteen from the boulder's face and takes a drink, then offers it to him.

"You've got a point there." Cardinal reaches over to accept the canteen, tilting it back to his lips to take a swallow thereof. Offering it back over, he smirks, "You'll have to forgive me if I don't mourn for the Founders all that much, though."

"How'd you know Winters retrieved a body, anyway?" she says with a bit of a frown. "You sure know a lot." She takes the canteen and caps it, putting it back on her rock. "You're like a Minea Dahl for the other side or something." It's not said disrespectfully.

"Which side would that be, Sawyer?" At the question and observation, Cardinal gives her an amused look. "I'm actually curious now… just who do you think I am with?"

She sighs, the puff of air visible in the colder night surrounding them. Her bangs float up and then back down as she shrugs. "I don't know. I don't mean that you're on a specific side — not necessarily any of the organized groups. I just mean you're obviously not a fan of Company, and like I said, I don't necessarily blame you for that. But you know a helluva lot for not being Feeb, DHS, Company, or cop."

"I've got my sources," Cardinal admits elusively, his head shaking ever so slightly, "I'm not a big fan of the Company, no, but I'm not the biggest fan of Phoenix either. I just have to keep track of everything that everyone's doing, as best I can." He shrugs one shoulder, "It's my job."

"Anyone pay you to do that job, or are you just self-proclaimed keeper of the secrets of the world, Shade?" Veronica asks skeptically. "You know Monroe personally? Where do you stand on that matter?"

"I don't get paid, but I do have a boss," Cardinal says, before the question about Monroe causes him to sneer slightly. "He's an egotistical ass with delusions of grandeur. All those years of immortality've gone to his head, I suspect. I won't mourn any if someone figures out a way to kill him."

"I'm working on it, believe me," Veronica says, eyes narrowing. "Maybe when we get home I'll even let you help me." There's a slight smirk at that, as if it would be something that people should jump at the chance of doing. "Well, it's good to know that you aren't on a side that's completely diametrically opposed to mine, if you're not working with Monroe or Phoenix. I actually kinda like you. Just don't tell my boss, all right?" There's a dimpled smile at that, a rarity in this foreign place.

"Hey, Adam's your business," Cardinal laughs, one hand lifting palm up towards her, "He's obnoxious, but he hasn't done anything so bad that I'm going to go try and kill him yet. Admittedly, the Refrain thing came close." He grins, then, "It'll be our secret, Sawyer." After a moment's pause, he asks casually (and probably teasingly), "You single?"

"Refrain?" Back up a moment there, Cardinal! "What about Refrain?" she asks, curiously. He really is the Minea Dahl of the 'other side,' with more answers than Veronica can ever come up with. "And … it's complicated," she says, a smirk to the question. "Which I suppose translates to no." Apparently he doesn't know everything.

"Damn. Same here." An amused return comment, before Cardinal finally answers her question. Sort of. One brow lifts, "You don't know? Well, I suppose that the Company doesn't really give a shit about the drug problems in the city, do they…"

Veronica actually laughs a bit at Cardinal's comment. He is cute, and it's not like Veronica is ever interested in simple relationships. But she's more interested, it would seem, in the gossip. "He have something to do with it? Just a money making scheme, or something more to it than that?" she asks, eyes narrowing.

Cardinal considers her for a moment, before asking casually, "Owe me a favor?"

"Don't I already?" she asks — keeping 'Adrian's' identity secret is a pretty big one, but then again, it's not like she's going to go against the President's wishes. "Depends on the favor, I guess. But sure." She gives a shrug. If they get out of here, she probably owes quite a few favors to someone, might as well be Cardinal.

Hey, Cardinal can always use a few more favors stacked up. All this information doesn't grow on trees, after all. "Adam and his people pulled that poison out've Pinehearst," he explains with a shrug, "Struck a deal with the Dragons to produce more of it. Pretty much every vial that got sold sent him a few bucks, at least until that big shitstorm on Staten. Not sure what's going on there now."

"Of course." She shakes her head. She should have seen that one coming. "Pinehearst and Monroe. Throw in the Dragons, and you've got most of my nightmares rolled into one. Well, thanks for clearing that up for me. How I didn't know that…" she trails off and runs a hand through her dark hair. "To tell you the truth, Argentina's a fucking vacation compared to that mess." It's an exaggeration. Back home, only Hana Gitelman stabbed her. Here, there's Rosco and robots to make her bleed.

"Ha." Cardinal shakes his head, turning away then, "There's a lot that needs to be taken care of back home… hopefully all've this works out okay and we can head back to clean house. I'm pretty worried about what might be waiting for us, at this point."

"To be honest, I am, too," Veronica admits. "But maybe some bridges will be made… or burned… or water under them, or some fucking bridge analogy or metaphor or whatever meaning that we've all been working as a united front on this, maybe we can continue to do so back at home. Or at least, erase the lines in the sand, you know?" She stares into the darkness. "Go get some rest, if you need. Or there's some stew by the fire. Don't ask what's in it. Probably alpaca or something. I figured it was safer not to know."

"There's a lot more lines in that sand than you think there are, Sawyer…" Cardinal heads towards the jungle night rather than towards the encampment, the fog misting about his feet as he walks into it, "…and it'll take a mighty big wave to erase them all."

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