Can We Keep Him?


cardinal_icon.gif elle4_icon.gif sven_icon.gif

Scene Title Can We Keep Him?
Synopsis Elle and Cardinal deal with a security breach that is easy enough to cope with.
Date January 10, 2011

Redbird Security - Basement

At the bottom of the stairs there's a sturdy metal-reinforced door, locked not with an electronic mechanism but with an old-fashioned mechanical combination lock. A bright yellow biohazard sign is hung up on the door.

Once through the door, the basement is mostly open space interspersed with support columns of grey brick. A thick layer of grey latex paint covers the walls and floor, the ceiling overhead tiled with squares of sound-suppressing foam. A few filing cabinets are pushed up against the near wall, and a single computer desk, the box unconnected to anything except for power, sits between some of those cabinets. The rest of the front part of the roomis an area with folding chairs around a table and a pull-down screen across from a podium with a projector sitting on top of it, evidently for meetings. Deeper in the room, two dozen free-standing posts with sand-filled bases are scattered about, with strings and lines of yarn of all manner of colours connecting them. Post-it notes and photographs have been attached here and there with little pieces of tape. The far wall, behind the string map, bears the legend in stark white block letters upon the grey that stretches across most of the wall and from floor to ceiling: 'FIGHT THE FUTURE'.

The right third of the room has been divided from the rest by a wall of bulletproof glass and metal framing, accessed by a simple glass door near the main entrance of the basement. Inside, three locked gun cabinets sit against the wall, and the rest of that section of the room has been turned into two shooting lanes. Cheap pulley assemblies on the ceiling attached to electric motors hold target posters.

There's a stack of file boxes that are sitting next to the file cabinets themselves, apparently part of the transfer of things from the latter to the former. There's the danger of an incipient investigation into the business, and Richard Cardinal's decided that it might be safer to transfer certain records off-site for the time being.

The man's taking a break, though, dressed in a black pinstripe suit whose jacket has been left open and tie untied, sprawled back in one of the chairs with a mug of coffee in hand that he's taking a swallow of, eyes closed behind shades he's even wearing indoors.

Elle isn't looking like she normally does. Her hair is a fiery orange color, and her eyes have green contacts in. She's been staying away from Redbird, for the most part, to avoid her boss, but today…well, the place she's staying at doesn't have all of her clothes. The little redhead has thus made her way back to the building, slipping into her apartment and grabbing another bag of clothes. More selection, that's what she needs.

And she's wearing clothes that are quite out of the season, too. A pair of capri pants, and a tank top; it looks like she's either dressed for bed, or for summer. Which it is definitely not out there. Quietly, the little redhead is making her way down into the basement, just to take a look at the place and maybe shoot a gun a little bit.

But she promptly skids to a rather abrupt halt as she spots Cardinal, freezing in place for a moment as she stares at him with wide green eyes, not making a sound.

Near the computer, at an empty socket, a soft crackle and a bit of an electronic flash precede a louder crackle and a big lightning flash coming from that socket. The lightning flash solidifies into a naked man, early twenties. As he looks around, he notices that there's people around, and he tries to hide certain regions. "So sorry!" The electric mimic calls out from his position next to that desk, "Where am I?!"

As the door opens, Cardinal's head lifts from his coffee; pausing for a moment, a faint smile tugs up at the corner of his lips. "Elle," he greets in quiet tones that nevertheless carry well enough in the empty basement, sitting up about to say something else… when he's distracted by the sudden crackle and flash from near the computer.

By the time the man's solidified, he's not only on his feet but there's a gun in his hand that he has leveled at Sven's naked figure. "…who the fuck are you?"

Elle remains in her spot, staring at Cardinal. Seems she wasn't expecting to see him, judging by the look on her face. The look on her face also suggests that she didn't particularly want to see him, as well. Last time they met was pretty rough, and she didn't quite take it well. That, and with what Liz has told her, and Redbird doesn't quite seem like a good place to be right now.

At least she has better control over her new ability this time around.

She's just taking a step back toward the door, wordless, when that crackle-flash akin to her old ability happens. She blinks a few times, whirling around and raising her hands…which promptly begin to glow rather brightly as she quietly charges up her ability. One of these hands is aimed carefully at the rather naked Sven, the tiny redhead narrowing her eyes at the boy.

"What he said. Who the fuck are you, and how the hell did you get in here?" She narrows her eyes dangerously, her voice carrying a rather dangerously calm tone.

"Sven Petersonn." Is the responds, his voice rather timid and scared, "Through… through the socket. I… got lost." It's true! He makes himself small, and tries to activate his ability. Problem is? He doesn't quite realize how to do that yet. "Don't.. don't shoot me!" Fear is obvious in his voice, and his accent is obviously foreign. Scandinavian. "Please, I didn't plan on going here… I was just looking for a way out of the power grid…."

"Oh, for the love of…" Cardinal's thumb slides the safety back on the pistol with a quiet click, the gun lowered down to his side for a moment before he shifts to holster it; there's not much chance of a naked man being a threat, after all, not with someone ready to pulverize him with radiation if he twitches wrong. His gloved hand lifts in a 'stand down' gesture towards Elle, and he frowns at the man, "You were lost in the power grid? Jesus."

After a moment, he shrugs off his suit's jacket, stepping forward to offer it out towards him, "Here, cover yourself. Gets cold down here."

Elle quietly watches Sven, frowning a bit as her hands flicker with that eerie light. However, Cardinal's 'stand down' gesture is noted, the radiation fades from Elle's hands, the young woman scowling toward Sven as she relaxes. Now she's going to have to stay for a while, and she didn't want to stay around Cardinal right now, dammit.

"Lost in the power grid?" She frowns. "Electric form or something?" She steps closer, dropping her bag to the ground. She is also very pointedly not looking at Cardinal, really, save for a few tiny glowers cast in his direction when she's sure he's not looking.

"I don't know quite how…" Sven starts to explain as he puts on the jacket, "But I.. I guess Electric Form or something like that would make sense.." Then he continues with his story, "December Ninth, 2010, I got pulled into a power outlet in my hotel room, and I first figured out a way to leave that on January Ninth, 2011. That … didn't go well, I must've scared those poor women big time… as I was trying to explain the circumstances to them…. I got pulled back into the outlet I came from, and only just now I found my way to another outlet again…"

"So… maybe it'd be a good idea to step away from that outlet," Cardinal suggests a bit dryly as he gestures in the direction of it, "At least until you can figure out what's going on. The ninth was yesterday, so hey, at least you're doing a little better now."

He doesn't seem to notice the sullen glares in his direction from Elle, or at least isn't dignifying them with any sort've a response. Waving the man to a chair, he frowns a bit, "So… Sven Petersonn, you said? There anyone we should inform that might've reported you missing?"

Frowning, Elle approaches Sven, reaching out to pat the tall man's arm with in her best attempt at a sympathetic gesture. "Well, let's keep you away from those outlets, then, and maybe we can figure out how to help you control that ability, hmm?" She attempts to lead him away from the outlet he materialized from. Where's a good place that doesn't have outlets? "Richard, I think we should get some of those outlet plugs for Sven here, so he doesn't get lost again. You know…those little rubber plugs you put in to keep kids from sticking their fingers into an outlet."

She guides Sven toward a chair that is nice and far from any outlets, a frown on her face. "Are you okay? That's gotta be a really stressful experience…" To her credit, she's trying to sound gentle and concerned, and is doing a fairly good job of it.

"Yeah… I suppose that's a good idea." Sven agrees as he's led away from there. As he sits down in that chair, he visibly relaxes, "You scared the hell out of me when pulling that gun… and when your hands lightened up." He comments, "And I'm feeling rather lost, I should've been back in Sweden by now…" He sighs and looks around, "So… do you have any idea where I am…?" He tries again, "If only to help me orient myself in the power grid, it's like a huge labyrinth, you know?"

"I don't exactly have those laying around," is Cardinal's admission, one hand rubbing against the nape of his neck for a moment as he tries to ignore the fact that their guest is all but naked, "I'll have to go and pick up a pack from the store later." Security being at a premium, after all.

"You're in the Redbird Security building in Battery Park," he supplies, stepping over to reclaim his own chair, reaching out for his coffee again, "Sorry about the gun. We're pretty security conscious here."

Elle listens thoughtfully to Sven making absolutely certain not to look at him lower than the shoulders. After a moment, she raises, darting over to her bag and pulling out…a blanket. Then, she's moving over to Sven, offering it to him to cover his legs with. Then, she's settling down into a seat next to him, crossing her legs underneath herself. "I'm sorry for scaring you, Sven. As Richard said, this is a security building, and with New York being the way it is these days, since November 8th…well, everyone's a bit jumpy these days."

She offers a smile to Sven, doing her best to keep her attention off of Cardinal at the same time. "You're from Sweden? What brought you here to New York?" She smiles faintly up to the blonde Scandinavian. "Do you have a place to stay right now?" Finally, she chances a glance to Cardinal, with a look that says 'can we keep him?'

"Do you have a map or something? I'm not quite familiar with the layout of New York City, well… I do have rather detailed maps of Eighteenth century New York City back home, but I doubt those'd have anything known as a Battery Park on it… I'd have remembered." Sven sounds oddly more cheerful as he recalls that map, "And yeah, I'm from Sweden, Grad Student of the University of Uppsala, specialized in the Imperial Era. I came to New York to do some research regarding New York's history in the University of Columbia." A brief pause, "I suppose my hotel room isn't mine anymore by now…"

"Probably not," Cardinal admits, finishing off his coffee before setting it back down. It's up to his feet that he goes, then, stepping over to the cabinets to see if they have a map of the city filed. They probably do, somewhere. "I'm guessing you didn't realize you were Evolved before your power manifested, then, huh?"

Elle tilts her head to the side, watching Sven. "That's pretty neat!" She smiles to the younger man, tucking a strand of hair behind her ear. "Did you find out anything cool?" The little redhead leans back in her chair, glancing over to Cardinal's back as the smile dissolves briefly into a frown. But the smile quickly returns as she turns to look at Sven.

Then, she's standing again. "You've been lost in the electrical grid for a long time! You must be hungry and thirsty, and probably tired. How about I go run and grab some of those plugs and a bit of food? There's a grocery store about a block away."

"I did, actually… got tested at the airport. Apparently that's a requirement to enter the States." He shrugs before continuing, "That was a whole whopping four days before I manifested, so it hadn't exactly 'sunk in' yet, you know?" A vague grin before he continues, "So anyway… I was planning to spend a week on playing tourist and the week after that on doing research, then be back home in time for Christmas and New Year's… didn't exactly go as planned, as you've noticed."

"They're doing it at the gates now? Christ…" There's a pause in Cardinal's search through the cabinets at that news, glancing back over his shoulder with a frown. A map's located after a few more moments, just a tourist's map of the city, and he's shaking it out as he comes back over to the table, leaning to spread it over its face, "…plans never do. Let's see, we're around… here."

Sven takes a look at the map, and after a few moments of thought, he grins faintly, "You know what would be useful…?" He asks, waiting for a brief moment before answer his own question, "A map of New York's Power Grid." He looks up at Cardinal, "Richard, didn't she call you Richard?" A smile and he looks back at the map, "Let's see… we're here… and the hotel was… there… but I took so many side-paths and dead ends that I'm not quite sure how I traversed the distance…"

Elle frowns quietly at Sven. "Wow…customs is doing mandatory SLC tests now?" She shakes her head slowly, slipping away from the table and picking up her purse from out of the bag. "I'll be back here in a second, you two." She glances to Sven. "I'm Elle Bishop, by the way. Nice to meet you." She shoulders her purse, and begins to make her way up the stairs, not bothering to take a coat despite her rather light choice in attire.

"See if Jo can pull up a map've the power grid on the Internet while you're up there, Elle?" A request called in the woman's wake as she departs, given that the idea's a pretty good one. Richard watches her go for a moment, then exhales a faint sigh before looking back down to the map. "Richard Cardinal. Good to meet you… and I doubt the power grid follows the roads perfectly, unfortunately."

"Right-o, Richard. I'll bring the printout down when I come back." Elle calls this from the stairs in a slightly dull tone, before disappearing out of the locked door at the top of the stairs.

"Nice to meet you as well, mister Cardinal." Sven responds, extending his hand towards the man. "So, are you the guy in charge of this security firm… or just an employee of it?" It's an idle question, "And yeah, I noticed that. It's like a labyrinth in those wires. A clogged labyrinth, I swear, the Rush Hours on the highways were nothing compared to how clogged that network gets."

"President, CEO, owner, all of that," Cardinal admits, his fingers brushing over the map before he glances back over to Sven with a rather wry expression, "Not going to be much help with that, I'm afraid, I've never really been a technology guy. Took me forever just to learn how to use my smart phone."

"So, why the interest in helping me out, boss-man." Sven chuckles, "I'm old enough that people rarely do anything for free. You could've shot me dead and not had one problem if I recall that particular bit of US law correctly. Not that I'm a lawyer, but I know that that would've been a lot easier than the whole thing you're doing right now. That's far beyond what common decency demands."

"What? We gave you a blanket and're checking to see if we have a power map," says Cardinal with a smirk over, one brow lifting slightly, "That's not exactly above'n beyond common decency, in my opinion. Besides, we've got to stick together in this world… God knows it won't be long before they're trying to herd us into camps."

"And you're sending her off to buy plugs to prevent me from accidentally entering the power grid again." Sven points out, "Which suggests you're going to offer me a place to stay, now I know that you haven't done that yet, but the signs point in the direction of 'planning to do so', don't you agree?" He grins, "Either that or you're going to try to force me to stay here, but I think you'd need better protection on those outlets to make that work."

"Actually," Cardinal confesses, his fingers scratching under his chin, "That's more to keep you from accidentally… popping in here again, no offense, but we'd rather not people be dropping into secure areas like that." There's a pause, before he admits, "I could offer you a place to stay. You said they registered you at the airport, so it's not like you're an illegal resident."

"Well, okay. I can imagine that…" Sven maintains his grin, it appears he's not a worrisome person, "And that would be appreciated… I don't think I can get a job here… tourist's visa don't allow that, but I have about five more months until that one technically runs out, so I can stay here until I somehow manage to convince someone to find me a way back." A sudden pause, "Fuck, I don't have my papers…"

"The hotel'll be holding them," says Cardinal with a shake of his head, "I can call them up and see about transferring them there — you might have to show up and pick things up, mind you…"

"Yeah, I suppose that wouldn't be a bad idea…" Sven agrees with Cardinal, "Assuming the papers are intact, I was carrying them on my body, and I distinctly remember the smell of burning plastic…" Yep, papers are made out of plastic these days. "Let's hope they still are, though… and I wonder if anyone alerted the authorities about my disappearance…"

"Oh, hell." Cardinal's nose wrinkles in a brief grimace, "Well, I have some contacts I can call… I'll make sure they know where you went and what happened, we'll get you some new papers hopefully and keep Homeland from assuming you've vanished into the city as a terrorist or something."
"Thanks, man." Sven responds, relaxing again. "And now you're definitely going beyond the call of common decency. Not that I mind, but I do feel I owe it to you to repay you somehow." He grins, "So, you're a security firm, right? I'm afraid that's not exactly a field I'm familiar with…"

Cardinal's lips twitch in a faint smile as he looks over, one shoulder raising in a little bit of a shrug. "I do what I can," he admits, "And yeah, we take on various jobs — security, bodyguarding, there's a lot of our people over in the Outer District on Staten right now. We also spy on cheating husbands, the whole deal."

"Sounds interesting… and kind of dangerous, too." Sven responds with a shrug, "I imagine some husbands would think their wife was cheating if they saw me in their bedroom after I've used my ability." Keep the humor in there boy. "But if there's some way I can repay you, it'd be nice. You seem like a nice guy, wish there were more of that kind around these parts, or anywhere, really…"

"I do what I can." Cardinal reaches out to pick up his coffee mug, glancing into the empty vessel before setting it back down, "I do what I can. Anyway, I think what you need to do is figure out how to control that power've yours."

"Yeah, I figure that's a good idea… but… how?" Sven clearly has no clue, "I mean, that sounds like I should practice somehow… and I don't think that's quite a good idea either, not with my tendency to get lost in that power grid…" He shrugs again, "Got any suggestions, mister Cardinal?"

"I doubt it has to be the power grid," Cardinal admits, glancing back tot he outlet and then to her, frowning deeply for a moment, "Have you considered trying to— I don't know, go in and out of a toaster's plug or something?"

The door at the top of the stairs clicks, and Elle tromps down in her summer clothes, looking like she's just enjoyed the weather. When your body temperature is higher than that of most, it is pretty pleasant to stand in winter cold. She carries with her a few bags, one from a fast food place, one from a hardware store, and one drink tray containing two coffees and a large Icee, and a printout that Jo made for them.

She sets all of these on the table, smiling. "Got some Chicken sandwiches, some coffee, some plug covers, and a map." Elle glances over to Cardinal thoughtfully, apparently a bit less apprehensive toward him than she was when she left. Elle seems to have learned the virtue of taking a walk to cool off.

A pause as Sven thinks about Cardinal's suggestion, "I hadn't, actually… might be worth a try. Got a spare toaster handy?" Before glancing over to Elle walk back in, and the Swede looks over at the sandwiches, "While I'm not really hungry, I haven't had anything to eat but electricity in over a month, so I suppose taking a bite out of those couldn't hurt… they're meant for me, right?"

"I'm sure we've got something electrical laying around here," admits Cardinal, twisting in his chair and draping one arm over it's back as he looks around the room to search for something suitable, "Maybe the coffee machine?"

The arrival of Elle brings his attention back, and he lifts his head up in a nod to her. "Awesome. Good job, Elle, thanks."

Elle pulls out two of the sandwiches, setting them in front of Sven. Then, two more are placed in front of Richard. The last one is pulled out. Following this is fries, distributed to each person. "Two sandwiches and a large fry for each of you growing boys," she grins, distributing the coffee last. "And some coffee. Eat up, fellas, before you try any experiments."

Then, she's gathering those little safety plugs up, and is going around the room plugging them in. That's a security risk that's easy to nip in the bud, at least. Cardinal's appreciation is met with a faint smile that doesn't quite touch her eyes. Turning toward him, she mouths, 'We need to talk soon' in his general direction, while her back is turned to Sven.

As he starts his meal, Sven gives Elle a thankful smile. "Thanks, miss…?" Yeah, it's a question. But before waiting for an answer to it, Sven starts to eat a bit of the first sandwich, slowly. Not too fast, he wants to savor this meal… the first real meal in over a month, after all. "This is much better that electricity." He comments as he finishes his first sandwich, "Trust me on that… not that I think you could subsist on electricity…."

At that mouthing in his direction, Cardinal simply nods once to her; his expression unreadable as he agrees, and then reaches out for one of the sandwiches. He doesn't eat enough as it is. "You might be surprised," he admits with a chuckle, shoulders shaking slightly, "Never take anything for granted anymore, Sven."

Finished with the task of blocking all of the electrical outlets, with a few safety plugs left over, Elle slips back to the table and settles into her seat, unwrapping her own sandwich. Before she takes a bite, however, she smiles to Sven. "Eleanor Bishop. Call me Elle, everyone does." She shrugs, and takes a bite out of her sandwich, washing it down with the icee.

"I never could draw energy from electricity, no…I was always better at discharging it, more than anything else." She looks up thoughtfully, frowning a bit. "Long story there, though. What Richard says is true. Don't take anything for granted."

After finishing his meal, Sven lets out a yawn, "You know… I haven't slept for over a month." He says after that yawn is done, "I figure that it should be no surprise I'm getting tired…" He shrugs a bit, "But nice to meet you, Elle. Do you guys have a bed I can borrow… perhaps some clothes, too?"

"You can borrow one've the empty apartments we've got upstairs," Cardinal decides after a moment's passage, "And I'll get someone to drive you over to the hotel later—I'll check to make sure you haven't been reported missing or anything. Clothes… mm. Might have something laying around."

"My boyfriend— he's only a few inches shorter than you. He left some clothes in my apartment…they might fit. You could stay there? There's a TV and a comfy bed. And the couch is nice, too. I haven't really been in there much lately…so you can hang out there until we can figure something out for you." She then holds up the extra plugs, enough for at least another couple of rooms, if not an apartment. She got a lot of them.

"If someone could lead the way… then that would sound like a reasonable idea." Sven agrees with Elle, "Thank you, both of you. You've been very kind, I'm in your debt." He yawns again, "But I really should get myself some rest now… I'm pretty tired."

At the offer from Elle, Cardinal's head tips her way. "Sounds like a plan," he admits, "After you get some rest we can see about your papers, and try experimenting with the coffee machine… get some rest, Sven, sounds like you need it. I… know what it's like to go a month without sleeping." There's a flicker of sympathy behind his eyes, "You'll need some time to get used to your body again."

At the offer from Elle, Cardinal's head tips her way. "Sounds like a plan," he admits, "After you get some rest we can see about your papers, and try experimenting with the coffee machine… get some rest, Sven, sounds like you need it. I… know what it's like to go a month without sleeping." There's a flicker of sympathy behind his eyes, "You'll need some time to get used to your body again."

With a nod, Elle takes the bag of plugs, making her way toward the stairs. Dax's clothes should fit Sven fairly well. It'll have to do in a pinch. She glances back to Cardinal for a moment, thoughtfully silent. Then, she nods toward him. "I'll be back after we get Sven settled…please don't go anywhere." Then, she turns a smile toward Sven, gesturing for him to follow. "C'mon, let's get you rested. I'll be sure to cover any plugs we encounter so we don't lose you, and you can take as much time as you need. I'll make sure there's food in the kitchen, too." Then, she's leading the way up to her apartment.

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