Cardinal Sins


abby_icon.gif cardinal_icon.gif

Scene Title Cardinal Sins
Synopsis Cardinal calls up his Moral Compass - Abigail - to ask which is better. Loss of free will, or loss of lives
Date June 23, 2009

Sunset on a rooftop and a dock

Richard Cardinal sits perched upon the edge of a dock, his legs hanging down, the severed stump of his right hand resting upon his thigh. In the other hand, his good one, he absently weighs the cellular phone in his hand, gaze upon the sun as it slowly creeps down beneath the horizon, painting the sea as red as blood.

After a long silence in the dusk, he flicks it open with his thumb, hitting one of the contacts in its memory and bringing it up to his ear.

Ring ring ring, goes Abigail's phone.

Abigail's watching the sunset too, from a building on the edge of the ruins. A place that Gabriel met her at before. She can see a good chunk of the city and Staten Island from where she is. The ringing cuts through the silence, or as silent as the city can get, and after a few moments she answers. "Abigail Beauchamp"

"Hi." Richard's voice is quiet, almost contemplative, "I'm not interrupting anything, I hope, Abs."

"Nope Richard. Just a beautiful sunset. Called to see how I am again? Need your twice weekly Abigail Beauchamp check in and reassurance?" She's teasing him, it's easy enough to tell. "How's the hand?"

"It's still gone. I'm working on fixing that…" He trails off for a moment, then abruptly says, "I actually had a— question to ask you Abs."

"Ask away Richard. My heart and mind are open and at your disposal" Her own feet swing and thumps against the side of the building. Some day, in the distant future, she won't be able to do this.

"What's more important," asks the man on the other end of the phone, his voice quiet but ever so serious, "The freedom of men, or their lives?"

"It depends Richard" Abigail offers back across the line. "Which is more important to you"

"It's not my life we're talking about," replies Cardinal a touch sharply, "I know which I value most. I just— " He pauses, and exhales a sigh of breath into the phone, "— I stopped by your church today."

"You met Pastor Sumter then, he's usually there" and now the question and the tone make sense. "He gave you a vision didn't he?"

"He's a good man." Unlike the one on the phone. "Yeah. Yeah, he did. Good news. I win." It doesn't sound like good news, somehow.

"But the path to winning….?"

"There's always blood," Cardinal says quietly, oddly in the manner of a quote.

'Will you be able to sleep at night Cardinal, seeing what you've seen?" Not that she knows what he's seen, but blood tends to mean death.

"I will. I… hope that you can forgive me for that," Richard says quietly.

"I ever tell you what I was doing the day that I lost the gift Richard?"

"No," he asks, "What?"

'His name is Amato Salucci. He was part of Vanguard. He lost his hand, I don't know why. Maybe Kazimir Volken took it when he defected. But … He asked me to forgive him that day. He couldn't' get absolution from God, he's never be able to until the day he died and went before him. But he wanted absolution, forgiveness from me for what he did. That it was the closest he could while he lived."

Abigail's feet stop swinging on the side of the building. "Is it your actions that will lead to deaths down the line, or will you be bringing the blood about directly?"

"Hah. Maybe I should talk to him…" A silence lingers for a few moments, and then he admits, "Just one. Just one. And that one deserves nothing less."

"With the death of one save many?"

"It's a choice, the way I see it, Abigail," he murmurs, his head tilting back to regard the skies as they darken overhead like the shadows he's no longer one with, "Slavery under Arthur's boot… or a tide of blood to wash away the future that might have been."

"That, Richard, is a very tough choice" Her breath tightens in her chest. She doesn't envy him in the least right now.

"Yeah. And I guess I've already made it. I just— needed to ask someone."

"I justified killing one man, to save 95 percent of the world. I can sleep at night, knowing that if I hadn't the world would be far worse and a monster would be sitting on a throne. I didn't like doing it, but I know, that there was only one other man who would have done it and even then.. maybe not. I would do it again, if I had to. Choose what's right to you Richard. Choose what the lord tells you, what your heart tells you. What will help you to sleep at night"

There's a soft half laugh. "The needs of the many, outweigh the needs of the few"

"I'm not as good a person as you are, Abby," Richard grunts slightly, a puff of breath to the phone as he levers himself up to his feet, straightening as the last of the sun slips beneath the horizon, "I'll have to settle for the needs of most, against the needs of the many." A pause, and he asks. "Have you seen Laudani?"

"I think, that there's very few people who are as good as me. But I have faith that you're as good as you can be and that's all the lord will ask of you" Has she seen laudani. "Nope. But if you have, tell him the cops are on his tail. They tracked him down to having lived with me. He took down three cops out in New Jersey Richard. Not my Teo. But the.. other Teo"

"No. I need to talk to him, though," he says, somewhat… reluctantly, "Even if the sonuvabitch did hand me over to fuckin' Logan, he has something I might need. So. If he does get in touch…" Meh, dead cops. Cops aren't people. Just Liz.

"I have his number" It's not lightly offered. "I can give it to you, do you have a way to write it down?"

A pause. "Yeah. Give it to me."

Teo's number is rattled off, without hesitation or having to pause to remember the numbers. She's texted him a fair bit.

There's silence for a few moments afterward before she lets her voice go over the line again. "I'm not evolved"

It's memorized, and he'll hold it at least long enough to set it in his contact list. Cardinal has a good memory for numbers, part of the whole burglar and spy thing. "Thanks, I— what?"

"I met up with the woman who is fixing what Tyler Case did. She tried to fix me. There was nothing to fix. Apparently.. I was never like you, or like Flint or anyone else. I never should have been able to heal. Wrong, she fixed my hair. I don't need Xiulan for my hair now"

"That… what? Wait, that doesn't make any sense," Cardinal grunts, his tone twisted in confusion, "How is that even possible? I know you had that ability, Abs…"

"I don't know. I can guess, that maybe.. I was touched" She wants to believe that. How else could she wield an ability,a gift like others but not have the specific biological requirements for it. "I still can't heal. She tried. Richard, you know of Adam and Eve, of the fruit from the tree of knowledge yes?"

"I was raised by nuns," Richard replies. Nuff said.

"Pastor Sumter gave me a vision too. Of the woman using her gift to grow a tree from the the soil in midtown. An apple tree and plucking a fruit, offering it to me. There was a snake around her wrist, starting tow ind itself around the apple. I tried to refuse letting her fix me, but Catherine Chesterfield was with us and she… guilted me. Flint won't let himself be fixed till I'm fixed."

"…but there's nothing to fix," he murmurs, repeating her earlier words, "Hmn. Hah. Maybe God is watching us… I hope so, Abigail."

"Taste of the fruit of knowledge, and accept the consequences. Cat seems to think that my vision was about Arthur and freeing Delphine from him. Not.. that by letting Delphine fix me, I might… learn something that I won't like. Or that I would. I don't know. Have you had any luck at finding Tyler Case?"

"Why?" Evasive. "Do you think he can fix… what happened?"

"Flint…" If the phone had a cord, she'd toy with it. but it doesn't and so instead she swings her feet from on high. "FLint won't give up me getting it back. He wants to find case and to try. That as long as he has it, there's a chance I can have it back. I don't even know if he can get his own gift back, I mean, Tyler case only switches, he doesn't…" he does take away but… "If you see Tyler case, could you…"

"I'll see what I can do," he says quietly, "No promises."

"No promises. It's getting dark. I need to get off this roof and head home. Lest I run into things worse than a depowered Gabriel in the ruins. You going to be okay Richard?"

"No," Richard admits, his tone slightly bitter, "But I win. And that'll have to do. Take care of yourself, Abigail."

"Hey Richard" She lets the silence hang in the air. "Do you think maybe.. just maybe… what I did really was a miracle?"

"It sounds like it." A pause. "Won't that piss Deckard off."


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