Biblical Proportions


cardinal_icon.gif elisabeth_icon.gif raith_icon.gif

Scene Title Biblical Proportions
Synopsis Cardinal and Raith meet again (and Elisabeth too!) and discuss just how bad things in the near future might get.
Date June 26, 2010

Piccoli's Delicatessen

Everything about Piccoli's is welcoming. There's a large, cheerful neon sign mounted on the roof, the interior is brightly lit and spotlessly clean, and the old-fashioned decor is more reminiscent of mother's kitchen than a successful business. Since the doors opened in 1946, Piccoli's has been best known for pastrami, hot dogs, corned beef, and salami. The wait can sometimes be a little long, but the prices are reasonable and the food is always worth it.

It's getting on in the evening, and even in Little Italy the dinner crowd is starting to thin out a bit, just a few old men settled into the corners of the deli sipping coffee and rustling newspapers while making sage commentary on the weather and politics. One of the tables, however, is more notable for the people seated at it.

Richard Cardinal's teeth crunch into a toasted corned beef sandwich that he's just been served, chewing and swallowing, eyes closed behind his shades and the edge of a baseball cap shadowing his face. "God damn that's good," he mutters through the mouthful of corned beef and cheese, "I have got to come here more often."

There's a soft snort of laughter from the woman sitting at the table with him. Liz drinks from her soda cup eyeing her own sandwich. Damn, they're always huge here. She always has to wrap half and take it home. The true measure of a man is whether he can actually eat the entire Reuben. She can't. "You eat like you haven't eaten in days," she teases the man mildly. "You'd think the fridge was empty." It's not. Seriously. And he complains about how much she feeds him. Sheesh. Blue eyes skim up and around the deli, habit now ingrained to keep an eye on the patrons.

Even with the crowd thinning, some are still finding their way through Piccoli's front door. Somewhere in the mix of patrons gradually making their way out into the streets, Jensen Raith makes his way in from them. With people leaving, it doesn't take more than a casual glance around before he spots Cardinal and, guest? A familiar face, sure. He's bound to remember in no time at all.

The ex-spy also holds up one finger to tell them he'll be just a minute before he heads up to the counter and almost immediately heads away, no money paid, to join the two of them at their table with nothing more than a glass of water (and lemon wedge). "Don't mind this," he says simply, "I might be playing action hero tonight. Don't want to play action hero on a full stomach, you know."

"I burn through a lot of calories," is Richard's response, his chin lifting up in an easy nod over to the ex-spy as he walks in the door. Another bite of sandwich is devoured as he gets his drink, chewed, swallows. Once the other man sits down, he offers, "Jensen, Elisabeth— you've met before, I think."

The sandwich is set down, and he reaches over for his drink, "Action hero, eh? Anything we should be appraised on, or top-secret business?"

Action hero? What the hell? Elisabeth simply nods, offering Raith a brief smile. A far more sincere one than the last one he got from her, which was the day he came to drop off the message about carbonite and Han Solo at the library. "We've met a few times, yeah," she replies mildly. She picks up her sandwich to take a bite and let the boys chat.

"Na, it's all hush-hush," Raith replies before fishing the lemon out of his glass and giving it a good squeeze over it. "Odds are almost one hundred percent that I won't have to do anything, but just in case, you know. These are dangerous and unpredictable times, after all. And what about you, Mister Shadow? What's moving and shaking in your neck of these concrete woods?" A long gulp of water, to both let Cardinal reply and to give himself a chance to work on the present situation. Situation: Pretty good. That was easy.

"Just give me a call if you ever need me to scrounge up some backup on anything…" Cardinal shifts to lean forward, his arm resting on the table's edge and his other hand tilting the cup of some sort of soda Raith's way, the straw waggling a bit, "…oh, the usual. Birdgirl told me that I could borrow you to bring Doctor Sheridan in for a little interview on both our behalf, which given current events has gotten more…" Serious, now, "…pressing."

Sipping from her straw, Elisabeth's blue eyes come up to Richard briefly. She wants to be part of that interiew. She'd like to scare the piss out of the bitch. But she's holding her tongue on the matter.

"Hey, just tell me where, when, and who else you need for it. We've got people that have scores to settle with her, so logistics shouldn't be a problem." Another pause for a sip of water, and then Raith continues. "It'll help cement the restructuring the Ferry has lined up, I'd think. If it goes well, I mean. Give the hierarchy some legitimacy in the eyes of people that aren't so sure about it, never mind how helpful the information is going to be with continuing operations why-" Train of thought derailed- "Is it so hot today? I just got used to it being cold all the time. Anyway." Back to work.

"The more 'specialists' we can get for this thing, the better, I'm thinking. We do it right, and she won't even know she told us anything."

"I actually think that we might be able to turn her," Cardinal suggests with a cant of his head to one side, "She's been big on justifying her actions by the greater good and all that… I doubt that she knows the full extent of what some of her compatriots have done." A faint smile as he adds, "…I bet she might be more willing to turn on them if she thought we were the government, too. I'm sure we can find a nice interrogation room somewhere. Failing that, we'll get Thatcher to rip it out of her fucking head."

He pauses, then, taking a sip and grimacing, "They have three Evolved captive, Raith, who together present a rather serious problem."

A single brow goes up and Elisabeth smirks faintly at that. "I'm reasonably goddamn sure they've got a damn sight more than three. As I recall, they're still holding onto Liette's sister as well. And to be quite blunt, I'm not convinced the threat she presents is entirely over either. If they've made her do things for them once, they can do it again. Just different things next time," she comments quietly. The sound bubble around the table guarantees no one else will hear this. She has already done and continues to disagree on whether Bella knows what people are up to, and she adds, "The woman's a complete fucking sociopath. Even if she did know what they were doing, she's not going to care," she dismisses quietly. "Teo should have put a bullet in her head when he had the chance last time, not used her to get to fucking Dalton."

"The only threat Julie poses is the fact that they still have her," Raith replies to Elisabeth, his eyes visibly directing his words to her, "Add to it that their operations are financially unsustainable. Institute's spending money even faster than the CIA was right after the towers came down. Either they borrow more than they can pay back, get their benefactors to cut spending from programs people want to keep, or they shut down. Only one of those three is a viable option. They're going to try getting Liette back. They're going to get sloppy, make mistakes. Sheridan's a sociopath, sure, but she's not an idiot. If we need to turn her, and I'd prefer we do that as a last resort, we'd do better appealing to her research than her ethics. Even the most brilliant scientist can't work without money." That said, back to Cardinal.

"Which three, specifically? Sumter's back, so I know he's not one of them." Although Sumter might not have been an overt concern to begin with. Maybe. "Are we talking a problem to our networks, or more of a Biblical problem? Are we at fire and brimstone, yet?"

Richard clears his throat briefly in a warning fashion at the mention of Liette's sister - a little too late to stop her, unfortunately. Moving on, then, he leans back slightly, "I don't care how we get the information, so long as we get the information… and I don't mean that they're the only danger, Liz, just the biggest one." A sip of soda, and then he waves it a bit towards Raith, "The three in question are Julien Dumont, Doc Carpenter, and - I'm told - now Tyler Case."

"Dumont can produce independent, free-willed dupes of himself. Carpenter can xerox someone's memory and personality into a body, overwriting the existing psyche. And - well - you know what Tyler can do. Rip someone's ability from them and give it to someone else, for one. I don't think I need to spell out what they can do with those three put together, do I?"
Elisabeth nods to Raith — she hadn't been implying that Julie is the person who must be dealt with. She's the one who needs to be retrieved. "In addition, they've got Gillian — which may indicate that they could use her to augment Carpenter and the others in any combination." A possibility that neither she nor Cardinal has mentioned, at least to one another, before now. "This could get dicey damn fast. I don't think we're at fire and brimstone quite yet, but I don't doubt that it's coming to that. And we're going to want to get all of them out of there before the situation becomes financially unsustainable," she points out quietly. "Because that's when they start becoming expendable assets, I would think."

Elisabeth nods to Raith — she hadn't been implying that Julie is the person who must be dealt with. She's the one who needs to be retrieved. "In addition, they've got Gillian — which may indicate that they could use her to augment Carpenter and the others in any combination." A possibility that neither she nor Cardinal has mentioned, at least to one another, before now. "This could get dicey damn fast. I don't think we're at fire and brimstone quite yet, but I don't doubt that it's coming to that. And we're going to want to get all of them out of there before the situation becomes financially unsustainable," she points out quietly. "Because that's when they start becoming expendable assets, I would think."

Everything put together is something that no one needs to explain to Raith the significance of, his troubled expression and knit brow all the evidence needed for that. "See, when you said problem," he begins, "I wasn't thinking something quite that serious. This is extremely bad." It must be, because Raith drains the rest of the water from his glass all at once. If nothing else, it provides him a chance to tackle the issue calmly. "Great timing for this. What else do we know?"

"They won't need to be financially sustainable," Cardinal points out with a subtle shake of his head, "They'll be able to just take everything over… they can kidnap anyone they want, rip their powers out of them and produce a loyal clone to use them." The tip of his finger taps against the cup, "Tyler's power was burnt out, but Sheridan's been working with researchers to develop a retrovirus to restore lost abilities. That means that she might have access to where he is - or at least know. Which is why we need to hit her soon."

Elisabeth shoves a hand into her blonde hair, pushing it back off her face and leaning back in her chair. She was dressed casually for this — a short denim skirt, a pair of strappy sandals, and a sleeveless top — and for some reason just about now she's wishing for body armor. Maybe it's just a psychological response to the feeling of being in over her head yet again. She sips from her soda cup once more and comments quietly, "I can get her pretty much anywhere you want her, I think. I mean… I'm technically still her patient. She just hasn't heard from me in a while." She glances between them. "But we're going to need somewhere to hold her. And considering you want it to look like we're working with the government, the fact that I'm the one who lures her in may give you credibility in that regard," she comments.

For a few moments, Raith ponders everything that has been laid out for him. "When it rains, it pours, I think is the saying," he says finally. "Between the Institute and Messiah, we're all going to have our hands full for a while." But that settles it. "As soon as possible. I'll push the word along through the channels tonight. I just need to know who you want for this. I've got some names in mind already, but all I can do is pull people and equipment together. If you think you can get her somewhere, that's on you, and if you can't, we'll figure something out. And I thought I was kidding about my life being a spy thriller…."

As he speaks, Raith fishes a smartphone out from inside of his jacket, vibrating in his hand momentarily before he stills it and checks what it is bringing to his attention. Not good news, given the frown he so speedily adopts. But he shoves both the frown and his phone away after a moment. "Hands, full."

"Peyton can get her somewhere too," Cardinal offers, waggling the cup slightly in the air in a rattling of ice, "She recently had a confrontation with Bella… she could call her for an 'apology' or something. I'm willing to go with whoever you want on your team, Jensen. Thatcher's the only suggestion I have, I don't know who you have at your disposal, and most of my people are investigators. I steal things and information, I don't have a lot of experience in stealing people - so one way or another, we can get her in position if you can pick her up once she's there."

A glance to the phone as the ex-spy checks it, and he asks, "You need to run? There's one more thing I wanted to talk to you about— kind of a personal matter for you, actually."

Elisabeth is forced into a snicker. "I don't know why you thought you were kidding," she retorts mildly to Raith. She moves to pick up her sandwich, because whether Raith stays or not, she's going to finish at least half of her sandwich. The other half she already knows is going to disappear before she gets to eat it — Richard's been making up for lost time in the eating department. If he turns into Fat Albert, it'll be his own fault.

"I've got a minute," Raith says, not getting up from his seat just yet, "Let's hear it. I could use something that won't require heavy thinking."

Cardinal sets the soda cup aside, and his hand sweeps over the table towards Raith — tendrils of shadow slithering along his hand to form a flat surface, a photograph solidifying in his hand that he lays down in front of the man. It's a group shot, black and white, of men seated around a table.

"The original Project Icarus team, under the Reich. I'm sure you'll recognize Monroe's smiling little face there, the smarmy bastard never changes… that's Kazimir there, Wagner, Otto Brum - the grandfather of the head of the Institute - but this is someone you might be more interested in," he says quietly, finger resting beside one face.

"Marcus Raith, the OSS agent that infiltrated Icarus. Your grandfather."

Elisabeth manages, barely, to not choke on the bite of sandwich in her mouth. That is something she's never seen before! Has he always been able to do that? Blue eyes shoot up to his face for a moment, and then her attention turns to the information he's offering. Uncertainty flickers in her expression, her eyes shifting to Jensen Raith. She doesn't quite know what to make of what he just presented — or why it might be relevant.

It's after a careful glance down towards the photo, and then back up to Cardinal that Raith calmly asks, "What about him?" Raith never had the chance to meet his grandfather. This does not seem to have stopped his family from being involved with the government on uncomfortably intimate levels.

"I just thought you might like to know," Cardinal observes with a shrug of one shoulder, "That whatever he worked on…? It's still relevant enough to national security that the file's still locked. And it's even over Kershner's security level, which seems to really piss her off." A grin edges up at one corner of his lips at the last, fading for seriousness again, "If you ever get yourself some free time, I thought you might want to look into it."

"Over Kershner's head? Shit…. there's a lot of this shit that seems over her clearance level," Elisabeth comments mildly. "Don't we have anyone with higher clearance, or something? I mean, Christ. What about Wireless? She might be able to get into this intel?" She glances between them.

"If it's over Kershner's clearance level, the machine it's on isn't networked, is probably somewhere in the Midwest, and there's a chance the CIA's director doesn't even know about it. Or maybe not. The agency has a lot of secrets hidden in plain sight." His piece said, Raith rises up from his seat. "I'll talk to Wireless about it, and maybe between the two of us, we can figure out how to get to it. If not, then we'll have to get at it the old fashioned way." And now, it's Raith's turn to smile.

"But don't worry. They lost a lot when I packed up and left, including one of their best agents. Maybe even the best. You know how to contact me. Make sure you do when you have more information."

"I'm heading out to an old classified site tonight for the weekend, if we turn up anything related, I'll let you know," Richard offers, leaning back in his chair with an easy smile to Raith, "Go do your action hero thing, and we'll get moving on Sheridan… sometime in the coming week, hopefully?"

Well… Jensen Raith is nothing if not confident. Elisabeth actually smiles at him a bit. The man saved her ass, and he even brought the crazy message from Antarctica. She's sort of got a soft spot for him — well, or she at least thinks well of him most of the time. She's pretty sure he's not exaggerating his skills. "See you around, Raith." Probably sooner rather than later.

"Hopefully. Ciao bello, bella." And, turning around, Jensen Raith makes his way to the deli's exit, and then he's gone.

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