Better Than No Gun At All


cardinal_icon.gif francois_icon.gif

Scene Title Better Than No Gun At All
Synopsis A plan is described and agreed to when Francois reconnects with more allies in New York City.
Date October 5, 2010

Redbird Security: Basement

The swing and click of a glass door heralds final punctuation for Francois getting something out of his system in the form of making flagrant use of the mini-shooting range that Endgame has for itself. His own guns and his own ammunition, at least, pistol secured back into shoulder rig and Francois moving to set aside hearing protectors and the clear, wide shooting glasses. Leather and elastic are manipulated to take the holster off himself, settling it down with varying degrees of heaviness on the currently empty meeting table, the screen ahead of it wrapped up in disuse.

A chair scrapes against the floor as he sits down wearily, head heavy on his neck. It's hard to tell down here, but it's a hazy afternoon outside, and a few minutes before he said he'd be here. His early arrival was as deliberate as taking his gun along had been. Slouching, arms leaning against the table, he doesn't watch much more than the surface of the table, gun and holster by his elbow. He doesn't look bored — preoccupied, if anything, even if he happens to be doing nothing but waiting, now.

The lock that's installed on the door that gives access to the upper floors clicks open, and Cardinal shoulders the door open before walking along down; he's dressed in a suit for a change, black and sharp, though he left the matching fedora somewhere. "Francois? Jo said you were down here…" 'Jo' presumably being the name of the blonde that's working the receptionist's desk lately.

Catching sight of the tired man at the desk, he walksa long over with a faint smile, "There you are. Christ, man, I was worried - Sarisa's been driving us all completely nuts about you…"

His posture improves automatically when Cardinal begins his approach, like a string drawing the puppet a little straighter. Less snazzy, Francois is in the denim and cotton of a man between jobs, vaguely adrift between New York City's St. Luke's, and Massachusett's Granite Medical Centre. Does not stand, however — there are other chairs scattered around the table, linking his hands together upon table surface and tilting his head in invitation. Words to go with it stall out, though, at the news of Sarisa.

An eyebrow goes up. "Oh, no. What has she been saying, now?"

"The Shark's been tearing half the planet apart looking for a vial of the Formula," explains Cardinal with a slow shake of his head, taking one of the chairs and twisting it around - dropping down to straddle it backwards, arms draping over the back and hands clasping together as he regards Francois wryly, "She seems convinced that if the Institute thinks you don't have an ability, they're going to kill you or something."

Difficult to tell, whether Francois' half-smile is that his granddaughter's well earned nickname, or the news itself. The latter is at least familiar to him, a single nod and a brief flicker of an eyeroll designed to communicate that Francois is not tearing half the planet apart looking for a vial of the Formula. "The most I needed in the short term was for a doctor to confirm that I am Evolved, despite my Registration," he says, fingers splaying. "I took care of that, and I have— perhaps a week or so before I will need to demonstrate my healing talents, officially, which the formula would have done nothing to help anyway, if Abby is of indication.

"I hope to be finished with the Institute before that time anyway. I found Teo. The facility that is keeping him. It is what I thought I should talk to you about. I had spoken to Liz a little briefly, when you were away, about what I had planned to do. Sarisa's been helping."

"It wouldn't work anyway… you'd probably just end up with the ability to turn into a dinosaur or something," Cardinal observes wih a roll of his eyes, hands spreading apart in a 'what can you do' gesture before dropping back to hang loose over the back of the chair, "I tried to explain it to her, but she just doesn't get it."

At the mention that the frenchman has found Teo, he sits up straighter, "Alright, I'm listening. What's the plan?"

Turning into a dinosaur would be pretty cool. Actually. But Francois doesn't let even this derail him, a hand going back to rub the nape of his neck as the other man asks him for his plan, a cynical huffing exhale through his nasal passages. Plans. "I'm in the process of familiarising myself with the layout, the area surrounding it, and the times it is busy and unbusy, and what is kept locked and not locked. There are a lot of cameras, but the integrity of the place is more for show than truly secure. There is easier access if you come up from under it.

"A distraction is called for, perhaps, to turn their heads, and then a team to go inside — I will have access by then. Not too many people, because we will need to be quick about getting out of there. Ability-wise, we will not have many combative people to face, but— a psychometer, a probability predictor. A telepath. They have ethics about usually their powers unnecessarily, which— well, if I am being played, it is a very good play. But I think my cover has been effective so far."

As the situation is described to him, Cardinal's chin dips a little in a thoughtful nod. "Alright… alright, we can do that. Where's this facility - I assume it's not the Cambridge site, since that'd have a hell of a lot more security…" He brings one hand up, scratching at his chin, frowning, "A probability predictor? Like Edward?"

"Mm, I don't know the particulars. Her name is Lillian. The other one is Cody — they are trainees, as I am. Ah, merde," flighty fucking memory, the curse sighed out, an apologetic cant of Francois' head as he adds, "there is another, a negator named Norton — I didn't meet him, just the other two. The telepath is a supervisor, Theresa McAlister." To give his hands something to do, Francois fidgets with the buckle on the shoulder rig. "It is Granite Medical Centre, located in Braintree. They got in a new security system to accommodate someone they are keeping detained — I think it is Teo." If there is more to say about that, it's only indicated in hesitation, before Francois shakes his head, moves on.

He nods a little towards the front of the table, as if to indicate where Cardinal will probably be seated come tomorrow, around this time. "After the meeting, I will be heading back out there. I can keep in contact — a secure way. I have talked to a couple of people already for assistance — I will know better tomorrow."

"Alright. If there's anything you…" Cardinal trails off then as the man's words sink in finally, his eyes widening just a little bit, "…wait, a— a negator named Norton? It isn't Norton Trask, is it?" There's just a bit of sharp worry there as he straightens, "I mean… shit." He glances back over his shoulder, to the door, "…how many negators named Norton could there be?"

Francois raises an eyebrow again at this particular revelation for Cardinal. "Oui, Trask, is how he is better known. Oh, monsieur, if you think that is bad for coincidence… perhaps I should not tell you who their manager is," is good humoured enough, cracking a smile just bright enough to be genuine.

"Christ." Cardinal pinches the bridge of his nose with two fingers, "Trask… Trask is Elisabeth's ex, Francois. He was part've Phoenix back in the days when they were - it surprises me that he'd just sit back and let Teo be captured, honestly." His hand drops down a bit, his lips pursing in a frown, "Then again, I never really knew him, only met him a couple times…"

There's obvious hesitation, before he asks, "…shoot."

There are words in Cardinal's response that has Francois' smile vanishing as fast as a spooked flock of birds, the concept of an ally in conjunction with certain implications in his own info sourcing. Tension settles like a weight in his shoulders, but whatever he has to say about it, he puts on hold for the moment, summoning back a sliver of that smile from before. "His name is Pete," he says, and before Cardinal can quite put together the wrong dots, there, he clarifies; "Pete Varlane."

"Varlane." Cardinal's head drops down a half-inch, his gaze hooding slightly as he regards the other man for a long few moments, "As in… Magnes Varlane…? I'd suggest it's a coincidence, but somehow, I'm guessing that it's not. Guess this explains where the poor kid's family got off to…"

A shrug jolts through Francois' shoulders, a tip of his head in concession of the chance of coincidence. But—

"And if you met this man yourself, you might see why it made an impression on me," he says, warm mirth in his syllables, another dismissive shrug along with a shake of his head. A hand comes up, palms against his forehead in a weary rub. "I may look into that while I am digging, but it isn't a priority. I will admit that my priority is personal, and I do not want to mislead anyone, for all that our targets do align. As for Trask— it is possible he is not even aware of Teo on any relevant detail."

"There's the… possibility that he may be a sympathetic party," says Cardinal, clasping both hands together against his lower face, his forehead furrowing into deep lines, "Trask, I mean. I wouldn't count on it, but if things get down to the line - it's a card that you can try to play. Liz's name should still have some pull with him."

He shakes his head slightly, "I don't really care about Varlane. After you're out, I'll ask him if he's got a relative named Peter."

"If things get down to the line," Francois agrees, some doubt making his tone quieter, rougher, that of a man playing with too much fire too close for comfort. Or at least one that just needs a stiff drink (again) — there is some tension that emptying two clips doesn't necessarily get rid of. "More than they already are, anyway. Closer to the day, I may need your talents for some recon, or perhaps even on the day itself so we have a clear idea of what we are getting into. Oui, that would be better. If you can spare the journey to Massachusetts, anyway. I will be glad to get Teo back, and gladder that I do not have to drive back and forth so much."

"A gun that may're may not have a bullet in it's better than no gun at all when you're staring down a barrel, eh?" Cardinal's chin dips in a single nod to the man's request, allowing, "I'm at your disposal. You're calling the shots here - if you need me, I'm there. You, though, need to get a good night's sleep and get some dinner in you - you going to be in town for the meeting tomorrow night?"

"Merci," is genuine — for Cardinal's offer of service, as well as the advice to eat and sleep soundly. The chair scrapes again at the floor, bookends of departure and arrival as Francois shifts back from the table without yet getting up. He collects up his holster harness, slipping it back on to better conceal it between here and the car he has parked a small distance from the Redbird building. A jacket hung nearby is fit for coverage.

A nod, short and sharp. "I may be a little late, but I intend to be there, oui. That evening I'll head out again."

A clap of Cardinal's hands to the back of the chair, and he pushes himself up to his feet, offering a reassuring smile to the other man, "Just get some rest. Good work so far… God willing, we'll have your Teodoro back and amongst us in no time."

"I'll rest better after that is true. Have a good day, monsieur," with a smile mirrored back at Richard, before Francois is collecting up jacket of denim, and moving for the door with its brightly yellow signal painted on metal surface.

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