Cardinal Directions


bebe_icon.gif cardinal_icon.gif f_john_icon.gif

Scene Title Cardinal Directions
Synopsis On the run, three unlikely allies try to figure out the next move. One of them has a suggestion that doesn't involve suicide.
Date June 15, 2009

On A Boat

Get the fuck up. This boat is real!

The Casino Royale's been mostly drifting with the tides, the engine occasionally fired up when another boat was sighted to move it on the currents of the water - never out of sight of land, but keeping clear of other traffic. It saves gasoline from the other option of driving constantly. The sun's just starting to set, a reddish stain spread out over the skies.

The luminous display of a phone running low on its charge clicks dark, and Cardinal stuffs it into his torn jacket with his good hand before those fingers fall to brush over the charred stump of his wrist with a twinge of pain. He gazes down at it for a moment, then out off the back of the boat where he's seated on the steps, expression distant and dark.

"We should really get you to a doctor or a hospital or something," says Bebe, emerging from below deck with the same sort of silence that she manifested on the island. It isn't preternatural but it might be a little uncanny. She tacks on the or something so as to cover all of the other unnatural possibilities — healers and fleshworkers and whatever else might be lurking out there in the unregistered shadows.

Bebe's bare feet pitter-pat across the deck until she's situated somewhere by Richard Cardinal's side. She tries to smile reassuringly but the expression doesn't quite come off with the confidence that it once had. After all, she did just shoot some kind of laser-wielding monster shaped like a man in the back with a shotgun. Twice.

"I know a guy." Cardinal's voice is quiet as he admits that, turning his head a bit to offer a faint, tired smile back to Bebe as she joins him there in the back of the boat, "I know a few guys, actually. It'll— it'll be fine. I'd kill for a steak, though." A weak chuckle tumbles past his lips, and he looks back over the water. "I never did get around to asking you what you were doing on that island, anyway…?"

The young woman's pale lips purse thoughtfully as she tries to carefully grade any answer that she might be inclined to give off the cuff. "It's a long story." Safer to go with the understatement. Bebe folds her arms in somewhere between her chest and her knees, attempting subconsciously to keep her hands out of sight as if that might make her companion even more uncomfortable in her presence. "I don't really… do you— do you have somewhere for us to lay low?"

"Aren't they all…" Cardinal's gaze lingers on the shoreline and the city rising up beyond it, before with a tight shake of his head he looks back to her. "I do. I don't plan on laying low, though, not for very long anyway. He'll just find me and kill me if I do. Sorry for— getting you involved in this." He glances back over his shoulder, "I think Tyler already was."

"Who— I mean, what…" She has so many questions and yet just can't seem to finish a single one of them without stumbling all over herself. Perhaps this is what constant contact with Tyler Case does to a person. They start to question their own recollections and perceptions and suddenly the world seems like a much more confusing place…

"Tell me what's going on."

At the question, Cardinal quirks a faint, tired smile. "It's a long story," he echoes her earlier words, his hand coming up to rub against his face— but it's not there. He stares at it for a moment, then drops his arm down to his side, trying to cover up what he just did by pretending it didn't happen. "That was… Arthur Petrelli," he finally starts to explain, slowly, "The president's father… the head of Pinehearst. They've been in the news lately. You might've seen them. He's got the ability to steal other people's abilities." Like he did to him. "He's… working on a Formula. If they get it done, they can give anyone powers. They'll use it to create a small army they're pulling the strings of, and pretty much take over the world."

A glance over, and he admits wryly, "Sounds a little far-fetched, I know. Crazy shit."

Oh. The expression on Bebe's face mimics her mental sentiment, mouth slightly agape, big brown eyes gone a wee bit wide. The explanation she's offered would probably be a bit easier to wrap her brain around and reckon with logically if she'd been in the country for something a little longer than a year. She's not even a real American (despite a file full of forged paperwork that makes claims to the contrary)! "So… uh, how did you get involved? Do you… know him?" Because, believe it or not, Bebe's picked up on the fact that Richard Cardinal doesn't really look like the sort of man who might have legitimate dealings with someone like Arthur Petrelli. "And— what about John?" She means Doe, not Logan… most likely.

"Arthur? I know of him…" Cardinal's head tips just a bit to one side, a faint smile quirking to his lips as he watches her reaction. It's about what he'd expected. Really, he's surprised she didn't laugh in his face— but after the show from the island, well, one supposes it's hard not to accept anything. "I used to do work as a burglar. These days, most've what I deal in is information. There's things I know…" A look back over the water, "…that he can't find out. I'll kill myself first if I have to. John— oh, you mean Tyler?" A questioning look to her, "I don't know how they know each other. Tyler got picked up by the Company— uh— " Damn, he's dealing with someone who doesn't have any background here.

He clears his throat, sitting up a little, "Short version, they're a group that's infiltrated Homeland Security, that picks up Evolved and either tracks them or shoves them in illegal cells. I've heard rumors of memory alteration, which I guess is, uh, what happened to him." He grimaces, "I tried to find him first."

Bebe doesn't even blink at the whole burglar thing. Why should she? It certainly isn't as if her (former) occupation was any more altruistic. Or legal.

Not a whole lot of what Cardinal has to say seems to be anything akin to 'good' news and that's making it damn well difficult for Bebe to continue to maintain, well, okay… not optimism, per se — after all, anyone willing to throw themselves off the edge of a bridge probably isn't nursing a whole lot of that — but, maybe… hope? The time she's spent in like-minded company and relative seclusion has done wonders for adjusting to attitude and her outlook on things and now, here's Cardinal, realigning her priorities without rightly realizing it. "Do you have a plan that maybe doesn't involve suicide?" Ha. That's almost ironic.

"It doesn't look good, does it? All these fuckin' powerful people dancing the fuckin' watusi over the world and kicking us nobodies when they feel like it…" It doesn't look good. It looks hopeless, is what it looks like, but that isn't despair behind Cardinal's eyes. No, there's something hard, there, defiant. "Well. Fuck all've them. I'm going to prove them wrong."

He pauses, then slants a sidelong look over, admitting ruefully, "'Course, I could be completely insane. I've been tortured and dismembered twice this week."

The look behind Cardinal's eyes isn't unfamiliar to Bebe; she's seen it before in shades of brown and green. That alone is almost enough to put a little more steel in her spine than she might have been able to muster up on her own. "How're you going to do that?" she asks, yet another question pulled out of the bag.

"I'm going to kill Arthur Petrelli." Of course! How obvious! Just kill the immortal monstrosity that bristles with lasers and mental powers, and who can't be killed because his intestines will just grow back. Almost as an afterthought, he adds, "I have a plan. They've been working on a… 'cure' for Evolved abilities. I just need to get into their labs, get it, and then get to him. Easier said than done, but I might have an inside man…"

Bebe's mouth opens. Bebe's mouth closes. What does one say to that sort of thing? No a whole hell of a lot. In fact, maybe it might be better if she simply kept quiet and watched the waves as they lap against the back of the boat where they're sitting. It's the sort of thoughtful task that seems easy enough until one tries to undertake it. Unfortunately, Bebe is nothing if not full of questions to which she must have answers. Immediately. Jack hated her inquisitiveness and Logan never stuck around long enough to entertain it. It is perhaps much to the misfortune of Richard Cardinal and John Doe — er, Tyler Case? — that they've become something of a captive audience for inquiry. "Just you? And maybe your inside man? Against… that??"

"Yeah, the odds're kind've long, aren't they?" Cardinal's tone is quietly rueful despite the questionable sanity that made him state his determination in no uncertain terms. Callused and bloodstained fingertips drum against the rough fabric of his pants in a staccato rhythm for a few moments, and then still as he looks back to her, gaze hooding a little as he admits, "I'm not running, though. Fuck that. He can find me anywhere on Earth, and I'm not just waiting for him to come after me again."

After a slight scowling of brows and a long, hard stare delivered to the man seated not more than a foot away, Bebe declares, "I should have just left you back there and saved you the trouble of trying to put together this elaborate plan of suicide." It's sarcastic, yes, but it also rings with a bit of truth… as least so far as the tiny tart is concerned.

The slightest of smiles answers that, and Cardinal brings one hand up to try and clean his face again— a fruitless gesture, the grime, the sweat, the blood, the salt spray of the harbor doing nothing to let him manage. He's pale under it all, not just from nocturnal living but lack of blood. He's shaking, just a little, but he's hiding it pretty well. The hand drops back down to his knee, and he draws in a breath, exhaling it as he looks over the water again, "Maybe you should've. I'm not gonna hide in a hole and die, though, cute stuff."

That said, he pushes himself up to his feet and turns, grabbing hold of the rail to step back up the stairs, "C'mon. There's a place we can hole up for a night or two in Jersey. If— you'n Tyler want, I can put you on a plane to anywhere you want to go. This isn't your fight."

"I don't have anywhere to go." It's an unintentional lie; an inadvertent deception based on the technicalities of geography. After all, one doesn't need a plane to find their way back to Staten Island. She might even be able to crawl her way back into John Logan's good graces if— if

Bebe suddenly found herself preoccupied by a passing reverie and wondered if anyone had bothered to miss her. She wondered what must have happened with Viv or Eloni or maybe even Logan himself had discovered her missing. Were they worried? Perhaps she ought to let someone know she was still breathing. But, maybe not. She must certainly be so fired for being gone this long. Let them think she's dead. No. No. God help her, she misses him. The smell of him. His skin. The way his breath would always taste of cigarettes and gin and hard candy stolen out of someone else's mouth…

This sort of silence does not necessarily become Bebe, especially when considered in conjunction with the unfortunate expression on her face. So much sadness.

It's at the top of the stairs that the statement reaches Cardinal, and that's where he stops; keeping himself upright by the grip of his hand to the rail leading up that short flight of steps, and keeping it from shaking by the same artifice, though his knuckles whiten still further from the effort. He watches her expression for a few long, silent moments. Damn it.

"Neither do I," he says in quiet tones over the sounds of the water, "Never stopped me from going somewhere anyway. You're stronger'n you think, Bebe, or you couldn't've… done what you did back there." A rough snort of breath, "An' you deserve a damn better hand than you've been dealt. Same as Tyler."

Turning to look over her shoulder, Bebe bears out her very best 'brave' smile but just can't seem to salvage the breath enough to say anything. She's still swimming in seas of sorrow, it seems, though the water tastes different here than it did on the bridge. Perhaps the reminder that she actually found it within herself to shoot a man in the back with a shotgun isn't exactly heartening, nevermind the fact that he just got right back up again.

In the end, Cardinal's just too tired - or not enough the inspiring figure - to try and pull her out of those seas. The maimed thief pushes himself up onto the cabin deck, his head ducking a little and gaze raking over in search of the fridge. Maybe there's something to eat on this boat. God knows he could use it.

"You know…" It's hard to say when the door to the lower deck of the Casino Royale opened, and even harder to say just how long John was listening, but the question of where he procured a bowl of vanilla-fudge ice cream from seems to be the hardest question of all to answer. "When you said you had a boat, I was thinking something…" he comes up the steps towards the helm, brows scrunched together, "I dunno, smaller?" A cracked smile turns into a grin as an all-too-casual John Doe looks between Cardinal and Bebe, one brow soon kicking up in query as he turns to look out at the vista beyond the boat.

"So uh— where are we, exactly?" He squints, bringing up a spoonful of ice cream to his mouth as he stares out with lacking familiarity at the skyline of New York on the horizon, turning back to look over his shoulder, dragging the spoon out of his mouth with a smudge of light and dark on the underside. "This is really good, by the way."

Adrift. Almost utterly so but, perhaps not entirely without direction. Going down. Sinking slowly. Not literally, at least. But, their own personal highway to Hell might actually be the Hudson. Bebe finds the urge to echo John — er, Tyler's smile oddly irresistible and does so even before she realizes it.

"Well, I'm on the ladder," she begins to explain with a subtle pinch in the upturn of her lips. "That's nautical for stairs. Richard's on the main deck. And, you— you're on the stern." There's a brief pause wherein she actually considers relaying a wink but remarkably refrains. "You'll have to check the GPS," she says, gesturing bow-ward, presumably to that colorful inset screen that's situated to the left of the main steering wheel.

"I don't suppose you saw a steak down there?" It's a somewhat hopeless question from Cardinal as he cranes his neck a bit, looking past John Doe towards wherever he dug the ice cream up from. Not really waiting for an answer, he steps along over to the side and out of the way, dropping himself down onto a bench seat and leaning back, head thumping against the wall there.

"Nn— no." It's an awkward response from John to Cardinal, even if he's looking at Bebe with a spoon in his mouth when he says it. "I ah— GPS is…" he turns, peering over his shoulder towards the direction she indicated, then looks back with a rather blank expression for a moment. "I— don't know if I could read it, but— I think that might be Manhattan," he points in the direction of a cluster of skeletal buildings and plumes of smoke, "you know, just— it stands out a bit."

Meandering across the deck, John stops a few paces away from Bebe, leaving his spoon in the bowl as he cradles it in one hand, the other coming up to smudge around a spot of chocolate on the corner of his mouth in some vain attempt to get it off. "So, um, I know this is a really nice boat and all, but… we— can't really stay here forever, I mean, right? I— that's the guy I got warned about. You know the— " he motions to Cardinal, "A— anyway. I— there's this place, uh, out there— " he gestures back to the plumes of smoke and ruined buildings. "One of the ruined buildings, it's— safe," his hesitance seems unsettling about the veracity of his claim. "I promise, it's safe, I mean— the people that stay there? They're totally not going to go someplace not safe. We— might be able to— " John looks down to his ice cream, "get some help? Or— something."

Gosh, he sounds so sure of himself… how could Bebe say 'no' with that sort of assurance? Big brown eyes roll over to Cardinal as if she might require his some manner of indication or input before she'll consider conceding to the much more familiar stranger's suggested safehouse. She finds her bare feet and pitter pats right on over to the helm in order to sneak a peek at the aforementioned GPS screen and then weigh the risk of going to (solid) ground. "…the people who stay there?"

Oh, someone has a plan. It's probably better than Richard's, so he opens his eyes again at least a crack, something hard and dark stirring there as he considers the amnesiac for a long moment after he's done speaking. Then he shifts, fingers curling to the edge of the bench as he pushes himself to sit up more. He brings up his other hand— forgetting it's not there, again, he thrusts his arm back down to his side with a grimace, a surge of anger stirring him back to vibrancy again and away from the edge of sleep he was starting to slip towards.

"I don't suppose they can help me kill Arthur, hm?" A twist of dark, bitter sarcasm bleeding through into his words, a breath drawn in and then exhaled again, "Sure. Set a course; make it so, Number One."

John gives a lopsided smile to Bebe, one that both says oh dear and you might not like this answer. When he turns to Cardinal, however, it becomes immediately clear that the answers are one in the same. "They ah… actually that's what he's planning on doing, actually." Two fingers massage at John's temple as he considers the ice cream for a moment. "He ah, he plans on killing Arthur Petrelli."

Grimacing, John looks up to Cardinal and then Bebe, and back again with a brow raised. "I— don't suppose you've heard of him before?"

"His name's Edward."

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