And Whether Pigs Have Wings


cardinal_icon.gif elisabeth2_icon.gif

Scene Title And Whether Pigs Have Wings
Synopsis Not yet! They'll fly when Cardinal and Liz manage to communicate without confusion!
Date Feb 1, 2011

Textile Factory 17, Elisabeth's Office

It's the first time he's seen the operations center that has become Elisabeth's second home. The guards at the gate radio'd ahead to the comm techs that a representative from Redbird wanted to see the director regarding personnel trapped in the domed area. Cardinal was directed to a parking area and escorted through the factory's grounds to the operations center, where screens and techs have been monitoring the situation since it started.

Elisabeth herself is on a headset giving directions to two teams scoping out the exact boundaries of the area for mapping purposes. "Briggs, based on the curvature of the dome itself and the reports from the teams that have been underground both inside and out, it's a full sphere. I need you to fuckin' well determine if there is air flow through the goddamn thing, and I need you to determine it yesterday. If it's not at least gas permeable, the people inside are rapidly running out of time. Use any goddamn experiment you can think to try. I'm off headset but if you need me, let Faulkner know." She yanks the headset off her blonde hair and turns toward the door when the sound of boots alerts her to the presence of company.

There's a subtle easing of her strained expression when those blue eyes fall on him, but a flicker of something else in her gaze too. "Richard," Elisabeth greets quietly. "I'm sorry you had to come out here in person. I've got some reports on casualties — and there are a few Redbird people on the list, but I don't think it's a complete count. Come with me. Faulkner, I'll be in my office," she tells the tech, gesturing Richard toward the conference room that's staked out as her personal HQ.

"Sound is just a vibration of air," Cardinal observes as he approaches the woman, bringing a hand up to tilt the edge of his fedora towards Elisabeth in a respectful gesture, "I've heard reports you can talk to people within… so either it's air permeable or the dome just transmits sound somehow. Let's hope it's the former, eh?"

An easy nod to Faulkner, and then he's following Elisabeth towards the office at an easy stride.

"No shit," Elisabeth murmurs softly as they move. "They just haven't been able to confirm one way or the other. We can talk to people through the thing, they have cell service but landlines were all cut by the field. So at best guess right now, they're getting fresh air and everything, but I don't want to guess when it comes to people continuing to breathe." She grimaces, preceding him through the door and then closing it behind him and leaning against it. She looks weary, though that should be no surprise. The dome's got everyone in town hopping. "Hey, babe," she greets quietly.

A chair's sprawled into, and Cardinal leans back, one hand lifting up to rub against the side of his face. "We have any fucking clue what caused this, Liz…?" A look over, "At the very least, Elle's on the other side. I don't know who else got stuck yet."

Tipping her head back to rest against the door, Elisabeth shakes her head. "No word on the source. If it's a fucking Evo, you'd think that would be easily ascertained. The most likely location is dead center of the sphere, which the high muckety mucks have already calculated. But we don't have enough strategic personnel within the dome to both keep the peace and do a bunch of scouting without creating the possibility of a panic. And a rush on the Suresh Center." Elisabeth grimaces. "That said, however, it's entirely possible that Ezekial will know something about all this — and whether he'll answer the message I sent, I have no fucking idea." She shoves herself off the door and moves to sit on the edge of one of the chairs, leaning on her knees with her booted feet spread. "Right now, I know Claire and Jaiden are both inside as well. I've got one FRONTLINE operative that I know of in there. I don't know who else." She considers. "Have you been out there to try to shadow through it?" she asks thoughtfully.

At the mention of his temporal doppleganger, Cardinal's expression darkens as he leans back in the chair, arms folding over his chest. "Anything he says is just going to be geared towards getting you, and all of us, to do what he wants. He's poison, Liz," he says quietly, "You shouldn't talk to him at all." Then he shakes his head, "No. By all accounts, it's made of some kind of light… it'd probably be like throwing myself into a fucking meat grinder."

"Well, that's good to know," Elisabeth replies. "I'll make sure anyone who's got vulnerabilities in those areas steers clear." She purses her lips and looks up at him from where she's hunched on her knees with clasped hands. "This where you read me the riot act?" she asks mildly, her tone indicating nothing aside from mild disinterest in the idea that he might.

"No." Cardinal brings a hand up to sweep the shades from his face, regarding her steadily, "You're a big girl. I'm just giving you some advice, is all. The more you talk to him, the more any of us do, the more power we give him. Trust me. I'm a gardener, and so is he." Whatever that means.

She smiles slightly and pushes upward, leaning back in the chair to slump, her eyes drifting around her office. "I needed some answers," Elisabeth admits quietly. "And Eve's a hell of a gardener too." It was her seed that drove Liz north. "As she put it… he's a cruel bastard. But there was a time… when he was you." She turns her gaze back to him and says quietly, "And in some ways he still is. Just… you through a mirror darkly."

As she says those last words, Cardinal's shaking his head. "No," he says, simply, "He's not. And the more you think he is, Liz… the less likely we are to get through this." He grimaces, then, glancing away across the room, "Anyway. So we don't have any more details on the dome yet?"

"For what it's worth … I don't know how much of what he said was a lie. I know that he believes it," Elisabeth says quietly. "And if he's not lying? I hope to God he's wrong about what happens when he loses." She sighs heavily and pushes into a standing position. "Not much," she admits, walking to the table that serves as her desk. "Here are the measurements that they've taken out there so far. There's nothing particularly classified in what I'm giving you right now," she tells him. "They've mapped the exterior dimensions and projected how far underground it goes. It cuts under the river and through a number of subway tunnels, and we're spread so damn thin on the ground right now that we haven't been able to map every intersection to determine what kind of problems may be being caused."

She brings a piece of paper from the desk, one that shows the information she's relaying. "If your guys on the ground could check into that and supplement the intel we're getting, it could lead to a better response time in case of an emergency. But as to the source…" Elisabeth shakes her head. "I've got shit."

The mention of him not being wrong causes Cardinal's jaw to tense slightly… and he picks up the shades from where he'd set them, sliding them only his face and only shaking his head as she speaks. Reaching over, he slides the paper to him, looking at it with a frown. "It can't be a coincidence that it's around Roosevelt…" He shakes his head, "Honestly, Liz, I'm tempted to leave this to the official channels."

Well, that's a switch. Elisabeth tips her head slightly and murmurs, "Are you pissed?" Because she can rarely tell for sure. But as to the business at hand, "I don't know what to tell you about the dome and whether to react or not. We're still too early in it to really have a good read on the subject. But you know as information becomes available I'll give you whatever I have — right now, it looks like it might be prudent to let the muckety mucks with their legions of scientists deal with it. If or when it looks like it requires something less…. bureaucratic…." She smiles. "I trust we'll move on it appropriately, lover."

"I'm sure. I'll just keep working on Operation Goodman for now… keep contact with our people in the Dome," Cardinal says quietly as he reads over the situation report, "Let me know if they find out anything, and we'll make sure the information gets to the right people."

There's a moment of surprise and then Elisabeth laughs. "Well, fuck. Now that didn't hit me until just this moment." She purses her lips and asks, "Richard… if the future has inertia, what're the possibilities that Roger Goodman himself is still doing what he was meant to do…. just in a different place?"

"Hm?" Cardinal glances up, his brow furrowing, "Goodman's dead, Liz. How the hell could he still be working on anything?"

"Oh, you know how overrated death is in our profession…… and how the fuck does a dead man have an office in the Commonwealth offices?" Elisabeth asks mildly. "I could kick myself for not connecting it yesterday, but I really didn't. The teleconference I had was held in Roger Goodman's office on the third floor."

At that, Cardinal straightens slowly in his chair. "They brought Goodman back to life?" He stares at her in bemusement, "Why? He was just one've Arthur's agents… what the hell could he've known that Ezekiel needed so badly?"

Elisabeth shakes her head. "That, love, I have no fucking clue. Maybe Ezekial thought that because Goodman outed the Company that he'd be a good fit for the Institute… but what you just said to me. "Operation Goodman." Goodman's role in the entire timeline was to out the big-bad company to the world. Is there any chance he'd still be on that path, what with the whole future having inertia theory?" She shrugs. "It's a far-fetched thought, but …. yes, they brought him back to life too apparently. Makes me sort of wonder who's next. They seem to like bringing people back to life."

"I thought Minea Dahl fulfilled that particular inertial moment," Cardinal's lips purse in a frown, "I don't know. I've got to interrogate Veronica anyway after that fucking disaster that happened, maybe she'll have some idea why…" He rubs a hand against his face, muttering to his palm, "One question after another. Anyway. Did I tell you why Curtis - or Ash - was put into our ranks?"

"No… did you find out why?" Elisabeth's interest is piqued.

"Curtis Autumn was part of a CIA experiment to sow Judases into terrorist organizations. I suspect they might've used Carpenter for it, or someone with a similar power." Cardinal's voice is tight as he leans back, gesturing with one hand, "Ezekiel sent him to me. To be my bodyguard."

There's….. a very long pause. Elisabeth crosses her arms over the black pullover she's wearing and she murmurs, "Interesting." She mulls that over and finally says quietly, "I might be able to shed some light on that, but you're not going to believe it." She looks at him squarely. "I don't even know if I believe it, but that particular action — assuming you've had a telepath of some stripe check out that story — lends some credence."

"He believes his story, anyway," Cardinal says, a brow crooking up a bit, "What is it you've got?"

Elisabeth blows out the breath slowly. "He claims he didn't send whoever the shooter was on the 8th," she tells him quietly. "That he took a calculated risk in not sending someone to keep us on that path. And he looked distinctly pissed off that someone attempted to take the shot anyway. He claimed that ……" She pauses here, perhaps seeking the right words. "That I wasn't his enemy except insofar as I make myself such and that he had other targets to handle because there were …. how'd he phrase it? That he had 'dangerous people' to get out of the way to ensure our future." She bites her lip. "In light of what you just said, the implication is that he wasn't necessarily being facetious in that regard. That he believes one or both of us may still be in danger."

At that assertion, Cardinal rolls his eyes. "No fuckin' shit we're in danger. How many people have we pissed off? Hell, our relationship with the Ferry's fragile enough as it is, I don't think Eileen and her crew trust us as far as they can see us… and after Gabriel showed up last time, I'm not so sure I trust them either. And then there's Humanis, and the government, oh, and Ezekiel, who may I venture to suggest was lying through his goddamn teeth." He regards her through his shades, saying quietly, "I told you. You can't trust him, Liz."

"I'm aware that I can't trust him, Richard," Elisabeth says calmly. "I'm not a fool and I'm not about to run about changing sides on the basis of a single conversation with him that had to be held via a monitor." She moves forward to stand in front of him and reaches out to put a single finger on the top of the bridge of his shades, sliding them just enough so she can see his hazel eyes over the top. "We made the mistake before of assuming black and white. Defeat Arthur, things get better. You and I have things that we need to accomplish, but never ever forget that nothing is that simple." She leans down to press her lips against his forehead. "I don't agree that his actions or his plans are right. I never will. Because he played on my deepest fears when it comes to you — he thinks that trusting me was his downfall," she confides in a whisper.

Is he angry? Yes, to answer her earlier question. He is. She can see it in his eyes; closed off from her, his expression tightened as he looks back up to her. "And yet after one conversation," he points out, "You're already second guessing yourself… or me, at least." A hand presses to the table's edge, and he pushes himself up to his feet, "I've got work to do."

"In point of fact, I haven't second-guessed you at all," Elisabeth points out. "Do I wonder about things? Yeah. Has it changed anything about the course I've committed to? No." She moves out of his way to let him go, though. "You're the one wondering if something your stupid future self told me will change my faith in you…. the answer is never. Not from here to Hell. Take it as you will, love." She pivots on her heel and walks back toward the table. "Keep me updated on the dome if you can, please. And if anything comes down from the science geeks, I'll let you know as soon as possible."

"If I hear anything about the dome," Cardinal says tightly, stepping away from the table and heading for the door, one hand lifting to adjust the set of the hat on his head, "I'll let you know."

The blonde simply nods her head slightly without turning toward the door. She won't watch him walk out. Men. Can't live with them, can't fucking shoot them when they're assholes. "Thanks," she murmurs.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License