Cardinal Suffering


arthur_icon.gif bebe_icon.gif cardinal_icon.gif f_john_icon.gif

Scene Title Cardinal Suffering
Synopsis John Doe and Barbara Dahl bond until Richard Cardinal shows up and brings an unexpected guest along.
Date June 13, 2009

Swineburne Island

Originally man-made to quarantine immigrants found carrying smallpox, cholera, and other potential outbreaks, Swinburne Island later fell under management by the National Park service. It's largely been forgotten in the days since the bomb. Few have the time or resources to spare for a ten acre plot of rocky, overgrown land. More than a mile off of South Beach, it's reachable only by boat, helicopter, or grueling swim. The sole standing structure, an immense, sprawling hospital complex, has fallen into a state of sad disrepair since it was last used in 1911. Portions of the roof have caved in and entire wings have been swallowed by encroaching plant life, including a tall, razor-sharp form of yucca often refered to as 'Spanish Dagger.'

Swinburne Island. If a more forsaken piece of land can be found in New York City, one would be hard to name it. Once haunted by plague-doctors and diseased immigrants and castaways, the hospital's crumbling ruins sink deeper and deeper into decomposition until razorwire warning fences are no longer easily discernible by the yucca that grows amongst them. From one side of the water, the lights of New York City can be seen as evening falls, refracted through the smoke lingering from the Midtown fires - the other, the less constant and more scattered lights of Staten Island.

A shadow drifts across the water and up the rocky shores, though there's no fish to be silhouetted beneath the waves, no bird to cast its shadow over the sandy stones. The shadow yawns upwards as it sweeps across the rocks, and Cardinal rises out of it to clamber up some of the rocks onto the isle proper. The man's a mess; dried blood darkening the urban camo of his pants, his shirt missing beneath the fall of his similarly bloodstained jacket, his skin covered in grime and across his abdomen more dried blood. Needless to say, he looks like he's been through hell. A shopping bag swings loosely from his hand, plastic crinkling, a heavy duffle slung over his shoulder with the other as he walks with a weary step towards the hospital's gaping doors. Sanctuary. A place to rest, in quiet, and figure things out. And maybe finally eat something.

"Social Security Number?"


Some places, though, on Staten Island are quieter than others.

"Mother's name?"


Plastic lawn furniture is occupied just out front of the hospital, shing a yellowed color in the last few rays of sunlight coming through patchy clouds.

"Father's name?"


Lounging back in one chair, holding a bent aluminum beer can in one hand, the broad-shouldered frame of the man now only known as John Doe looks almost like some laughably absurd mirage to Richard Cardinal, let alone the young woman seated in the folding lawn-chair next to him with an umbrella staked into the ground, shadowing her from the warm afternoon sun.

"Favorite Color?"


Six more cans are scattered, empty, around John's feet on the browning and dead grass. His chair creaks as he leans back, bringing the can up to his mouth in a quiet sip.

"…preference in pornography?"

"N— What?"

John's head jerks towards Bebe's slender frame perched in the folding chair, nearly causing the beer can to fumble out of his hand. At least in some way, Richard is going to find time to figure things out here, but peace and quiet may be a foregone conclusion.

Believe it or not, Bebe's just trying to help. She's hoping that maybe — just maybe — one of her twenty (million) questions might jog something in John Doe's brain that he can grasp at more solidly than any of the too-vague notions as to his proper identity that he's been provided with thus far. Or not… as the case — er, Case? — may be. Still, there is some small measure of pleasure she takes in tossing out stumbling blocks along the way, if only to break up the monotony of negativity and perhaps even win a pinched grin or two in the process.

Below the superficial surface, however, they're both struggling to keep afloat in a sea of sadness. Should either of them give up the ghost or the game and stop to think about their particular predicament — both individually and shared — it's almost certain they'll find themselves drowning next waving just shy of the horizon line before the sun has set.

The gravel-strewn path up from the shore and the long-rotted docks towards the abandoned hospital is overgrown by weeds, slender strands bent and crushed beneath booted feet that carry the bloodied and bent freelancer up towards presumed sanctuary…

…and then the surreal view of two of the people he's been hunting for high and low sprawled merry and free as can be in yellowing lawn furniture, beneath an umbrella, is presented to his tired eyes. One hand lifts, tearing the shades from his face so that he can squint at them and make certain that what he sees is real. What the— that can't be— Bebe? Case? That—

A helpless sort of laughter starts to shake his shoulders, somewhere between bemused and hysterical, groceries and ordinance rattling in their bags as he heads for their little patio encampment, his voice lifting in a rough and tired call marked by that borderline-insane humor, "Hi, you two. Sorry I'm late. Traffic. Torture. You know how it is on the expressway these days." So familiar, so casual. As if he knows them. He feels like he does. The other way around, however, is less likely.

Perhaps the wrong angle to play with an amnesiac, in Richard's case.

John gives an abrupt startle up from his chair, looking Richard up and down with an awkward expression, lips slightly parted as he shoots a bewildered gaze towards Bebe, a bewildered gaze to his beer and one up to Richard. "I— uh— " he stumbles over himself, jaw working open and closed, "Do— do I know— uh— " he motions with a can towards Bebe, then looks back to Richard. "Do— we know each other?"

While John squints and stutters, the orange glow of sunlight dims as the sun clips behind a thick gray cloud, one heavy with coming rain. The cool breeze that accompanies the gradual loss of sun makes the impending inclement weather all the more obvious.

Intruder alert! For a split second, the tiny tart might be inclined to make a miserable mistake as her lonely heart so longs to take the newest arrival on the island for the shape of an old occupant; someone who might have finally returned for something very valuable he left behind. Oh — and her! But, alas, this is clearly not the case and her disappointment can be gauged on her face somewhere between those strokes of surprise and suspicion.

"Not really," is the answer that Bebe sees fit to deliver in response to their mutual acquaintance. "What are you doing here?" she wonder aloud of Cardinal more directly. She'll address the how on the next beat.

"No," Richard replies, voice mingling with helpless chuckling as he walks over, and thumps himself down to sit on the ground, dumping duffel bag to one side, shopping bag to the other, "You don't know me, Tyler. I know you, though."

A hand delves into the plastic bag, and he drags out a plastic-wrapped roast beef sandwich, waving it vaguely, "Mind if I eat? I didn't expect anybody else'd be here, and I'm still a few quarts've blood low." That would explain why he looks like he's just waded through a charnel house, and why he's rather pale through the grime and sweat and crusted gore.

As the sandwich is peeled free of the wrapper, he answers Bebe's question finally, "…I was just looking for a place to hole up. Get some rest. Figure some shit out. Guess you two had the same idea…" He takes a bite, his eyes closing as he chews slowly, savouring the taste of the juicy meat and bread, swallowing. Clearly starving, he tucks into the sandwich hungrily.

"T— Tyler…" It's the third time someone's called John by that name, and it still rings hollow. "You— you know who I am?" Back when he was confronted with Catherine Chesterfield, Tyler had Edward Ray's leash around his neck, and far less ability to ask questions or think for himself. Now though, here, things seem different — feel different — because of the young woman nearby.

Taking a few bold steps up to Cardinal — or as bold as one can be with a man who looks like he was just wrung through a meat-grinder — John gets a little too close for comfort as he asks Cardinal a few choice questions. "You— tell me what you know, I— everything, I— I want to know everything." While he's trying to seem intimidating, all John Doe really is coming off as is desperate.

Aaaaaaaand… Bebe's just lost her new best friend. Or so it would seem. But, that's okay. All he ever did was brood, anyways. The young woman's shoulders slump and sink but she isn't apt to give him up so easily just yet. She's quick to close the distance between where she'd previously been curled up cutely against the arm of that old lawn chair to taking up the scant piece of space just behind John Doe's left elbow, awkwardly eyeing the other man now as if he'd just ruined her favorite toy.

The interrogation's observed over the edge of the sandwich that Richard's so hungrily devouring, at first confusion stirring behind tired eyes… then a rueful sort of sympathy, his head shaking ever so slightly. The apple of his throat rises and falls as he swallows, and says quietly, "Memory, huh? I've heard some… rumors, about that. What they do."

The last of the sandwich is finished off in record time, and he crumples up the plastic before shoving it back in the bag. "Tyler Case. Known ability to fuck with Evolved abilities, switch them between individuals, possibly awaken latent ones," he recites from what he remembers, hand dropping onto bent knee as he looks up to John, "On the run due to debts to the Flying Dragons Triad. Father dead, mother and sister presumed to've died in the Midtown blast… extended family's in Colorado. Boulder, I think."

There's a moment's silence, and then he ducks his head to shake it slowly, eyes closing. "I'm sorry, Case," he says in quieter, wistful tones, "I tried to find you 'fore Homeland did, before the Dragons did. Too slow. Too late. Just like every fuckin' thing else I've ever tried to do." Silence, a beat, then he adds, "Ivanov's looking for you both."

Sometimes, there are things worth not ever knowing. Learning that your whole family died in the fiery eruption of Midtown, and that the Chinese Mafia are hunting for you along with the United States Government is among them. John's breath hitches in the back of his throat, and he just collapses back down into the yellowed plastic chair he was sitting in earlier. "Oh," he states rather plainly, as if that's the perfect answer for the situation. His right hand dips down, pulling open the cooler next to him, and ice brushes up against metal as he plucks a can from within the case, cracking the top open with a hiss.

Drinking half of the beer in one long chug, Tyler shakily turns to Bebe, brows furrowing as he stares at her. There's moments where John's blinking, where his lips are parting and it looks like he's trying to work out words. Then, finally, watching Bebe, he murmurs something that isn't no.

"Her— her name was Libby."

While the wayward whore has played the role of guardian angel in girl's skin for other men — her services have spanned from playing the part of a topless psychologist to providing providence in the backseat of a taxi cab to standing against a not so sheltering sky in order to keep the rain out of a dying man's eyes while his blood mixed with milk in the gutter — she has infrequently been so strung out of sorts with the role. The words that tumble off of her tongue aren't imbued with the same sort of assurance that they usually bear. "I'm sorry," she says, softly, a whisper thrown under the bus of small comfort.

Some few fingertips hover a breath above the flesh of John's unoccupied hand while Bebe considers the consequences of laying hands him at this particularly emotional moment. She can't be sure what sort of risk she might be taking, especially after Cardinal's oh-so-illuminating dissertation.

"If I'd been faster… they were going to give you a new face, a new life, but…" A helpless lift of Richard Cardinal's hand, a faintly broken smile, "…I wasn't good enough, and they found you first. M'sorry. And for crashin' into you all here— hah. Listen to me, apologizing to the man that's caused my friends so much fuckin' suffering and the girl that's with the guy who did this to me."

He turns, reaching over for the bag, fingers rustling through the plastic to dig out another sandwich for himself. Under his breath he mutters to himself, "Funny how things work out."

One of John's brows rise at Cardinal, having only half-heard what he said, there's a stammering quality to his response. "I— I didn't mean— I'm sorry." Awkwardly turning his focus over to Bebe, John's eyes divert to his feet, "I— I'm sorry." Too many things done wrong to really be able to make a right with just words. Eventually, though, John realizes that the stranger standing here on the burned brown lawn does look like he's survived exploratory surgery in a back alley.

"Are— ah— " He swallows a little, "Are you alright? I mean — " one hand motions towards the blood on Cardinal's pants, "You look— pale?"

"Oh, I wouldn't worry about him any, Mister Case." The voice isn't any of the three gathered here, and it's projected across the long driveway leading up to the hospital by a man in a sleek black suit, hands in his pockets, gray hair caught in the cool breeze. Richard Cardinal recognizes the man's profile from a photograph that Elisabeth Harrison showed him, admittedly he was wearing glasses in it, but there's little mistaking the distinctive appearance of Arthur Petrelli.

"I think Richard's found himself in a bit of a rough spot," Arthur's words and sudden, abrupt appearance headed up the broken driveway to the ruined hospital causes John to bolt up out of his chair. His eyes grow wide, a shocked and horrified expression crossing his face. "Y— You."

Arthur's brows lower, head canting to one side as his lips creep up into a humorless smile. "Good to see you remember some things, Tyler. Now," Arthur casts a dismissive glance towards the tiny hooker seated beside John, then focuses on Richard again. "One of you has been a very bad boy." From Arthur's raised hand, blue-green sparks begin sputtering on two raised fingertips.

Okay, seriously. Did someone run around posting signs that say 'RIGHT THIS WAY TO TYLER CASE' while they were sleeping? Double-you tee eff, mate? There is likely something laughable in the fact that Bebe has no earthly idea who this old guy is or what the big deal happens to be with his abrupt arrival other than the fact that, you know, he's the second guy to seemingly stumble across their previously undisturbed reverie while stowed away on the island that everybody seems more apt to forget about — until right now. Bebe blinks. What's with the dramatic gesture there, grandpa? She's literally peeking out from behind John — Tyler? — again.

"I've had better— " The words are cut off by the sudden appearance of the man in the suit, Richard's head lifting with a furrowed brow until he recognizes the man, something that takes him a few seconds. He's still suffering from bloodloss, forgive his brain from not working at its usual quick-wittedness. If possible, he gets even paler than he was before, though he doesn't get up. What would be the point? He's still recovering from his torture session, and he's too tired to run. He'd only die tired.

"Arthur." If you name the devil, does it give you power over him? Cardinal fears not. A faint smile is forced to curve to his lips, both brows raising a little as he plays it casual, "What brings you by? Pull up a chair." A half-turn as he reaches for the duffle bag, pushing a hand into it to dig around, "…sandwich? I've got roast beef, turkey… I mean, it's no caviar…"

Blue-green light flickers in a quick path from one end of the walkway to the other, moving in an instant of searing hot laser light. It actually takes too long for Richard to notice his hand holding the sandwich is palm down on the grass, and a smoking, cauterized stump is all that remains. "I think that's a fair point to begin at," Arthur states with a firm adamancy, taking a few striding steps forward, those same two fingers flicking to one side to lift John off of his feet and throw him to the ground, revealing Bebe behind him. Arthur tilts his head and eyes the tiny young woman with furrowed brows. "You might want to… go," he notes to her politely, turning his focus back to Cardinal as blue-green light flickers back over Arthur's two raised fingers.

"Richard, Richard, how are we going to make this right?" The blue-grreen light sparks and sputters between the two digits, even as John struggles to get up from the ground, red lightning crackling up and down his arms as his irises turn red. Arthur turns to the spark of light, one brow rising quickly as he flicks two fingers in John's direction, sending him up into the air as if struck by a great force, crashing through the umbrella that was shading Bebe and back down to the ground. "Now," Arthur turns to look back at Cardinal, "which extremity was I on?"

Go? Go where? Bebe has nowhere to go. Not by her geographical accounting, at any rate. The sudden outburst of magical manhandling makes the castoff call girl's brows crease and furrow but she can seem to muster no more fury than that… until John is psychically puppetted and propelled into what had previously been their merry little makeshift picnic spot. She's had enough.

In an attempt to spare a stranger's pain, Bebe invokes the stolen supernatural ability still swimming in her veins. It makes her fingers temporarily tingle as she reaches a hand down into the almost empty cooler and retrieves what might ostensibly be her fellow refugee's last beer. She then pitches the aluminum canister at the uppity old man throwing lasers all over the place shortly before she — perhaps very stupidly — launches herself in his direction…

Not as clumsy or random as a blaster, an elegant weapon for a more civilized age… The voice of Sir Alec Guinness stirs incongruously in Richard Cardinal's thoughts as he stares numbly at his hand resting there beside the duffel bag, the end of his arm still faintly smoking from where flesh and bone were so cleanly severed. The smell of it, of his own burning flesh, is striking. No doubt it'll stir in his nightmares in the years to come, should he survive the night to have those years. Shock and cauterization keep him from registering the pain yet, a small mercy.

"Son of— son of a bitch— " The words are sputtered out in horror, his skin blanching white. Move, Richard. Move. MOVE! A kick back, and Cardinal shoves to his feet and turns in the same motion— his good hand snagging the duffel as he scrambles to lunge away in a stumbling and desperate run for the waterline, the shadows stirring about him as the space around the thief darkens. It takes a few
moments for his ability to fully manifest, though, and the speed of light is faster than the speed of darkness.

The hand twitches once on the ground, and then is still.

A crackling snap of white light over Arthur's forehead reflexively deflects the super-sonic beer can as it explodes into a shower of frothing brew that spatters down on his clothing, foaming on his new and crisp black suit. Arthur's brow furrows, that force-field shielding snapping and popping like a bug zapper under the presence of the froth, which settles down onto his suit jacket to stain the fabric. In that split-second later, a blur whips past Arthur, blowing his jacket open and sending his blue tie fluttering as Bebe rushes — not towards him, but past him. His brows crease together, looking to the plume of dust left in her wake as she seemingly retreats into the crumbling hospital.

Dark brows lower, and Arthur's focus turns back to Cardinal with a tired, put-upon sigh. "Must we do this, Richard?" There's another flash of blue-green light from Arthur's outstretched hand, and the laser-light lances through the shadow, painfully and cleanly, boiling ephemeral smoke away until Richard spills forth out of the darkness like some umbral abortion.

Black shoes carry in hard report against the pavement, as fingers crook and hook into a clawed hand, and Cardinal is yanked up to his feet and whipped around in the air, drawn back in some rigid, yet awkward form to Arthur's side. "The hand was for leading Matt Parkman to my doorstep, this is a far more lasting reminder of your place." One weathered hand is lifted to the side of Cardinal's head, "Let a mundane life be the reminder you need." A snapping flash of white blossoms beneath Arthur's palm where it touches Cardinal's face, and as the hand is pulled away, a contorted and screaming luminous silhouette of Cardinal is drawn into Arthur, followed by a stirring of the shadows at his feet.

The telekinetic hold is dropped, and Richard is let to fall into a heap at Arthur's feet. "Now, just to be on the safe side…" the old man begins to tilt his head to the side, brows creasing, "let's take a look in that thick skull of yours, and see what we can see."


The sharp-suited figure of Arthur Petrelli pauses mid-gesture comically as a sickly sanguine stain erupts through the front of his beer-soaked shirt and he abruptly pitches forward onto his face in the gravel driveway. The source of the deafening blast then becomes apparently as wee Bebe is revealed standing a scant few steps shy of the old man's shadow, shotgun still cocked and ready. The shhk shhk noise of shells being discarded from the chamber sounds like a whisper by comparison.

The rapid rise and fall of the young woman's chest could be contributed to her being out of breath, although when taken into consideration along with the subtle shaking of her limbs and the reluctance with which she lowers the weapon in her hands may suggest she's struggling with something a little heavier than drawing air.

"Are you okay?" she asks, now standing next to the severed hand of the shadow man, though her big brown eyes are pitched over in John Doe's direction. Without waiting for an answer, she offers an even more obvious statement. "Let's get out of here."

The shadowmorph's voice raises in a doubled, echoing cry as the power's torn from him and drawn into the lined visage of the Petrelli patriarch above. The only thing the thief could ever really call his own, taken from him. Not even the shadows will welcome him without regret or question, not anymore.

Richard tumbles to a heap upon the duffle bag he was desperately clutching, tears streaking the blood and sweat staining his face though he'd never admit to them. His good hand starts to push him up— and then he makes out the words spoken by the other man. Oh, no. No. No
— and then thunder crashes, and Goliath is felled by David. The shotgun-wielding whore is stared at for a moment in startlement, and then a faint smile curves his bloodied lips. "My fuckin' hero," he mutters, shoving himself up to his feet, stumbling a bit as he clutches the stump to his chest, covering it with his other hand as he gazes down at Arthur, watching for signs of breathing. "Is the sonuvabitch dead…?"

A wet, gurgling sound of sucking breath comes from the old man laying face down on the ground. One arm moves in a struggle to push him up from the concrete, even as bone, muscle and tendon all try to slither back together under regenerative duress. John, finally managing to get up from where he was flung, looks to Arthur with wide, terrified eyes. "I— we— we have to get out of here! He— he's the one who— we have to go!"

Limping from a twisted ankle, John raises one hand towards Bebe, sending a crackling bolt of crimson lightning towards her that arcs and snaps and crackles, causing the outline of the tiny harlot's body to blur from minuscule supersonic vibrations as John Doe amplifies her inherited super-speed to the full extent of his ability. "You— we all have to go, we— "

Arthur pushes himself up like some movie monster onto one arm, spilling entrails and blood down to the ground with then snake their way back up inside as his stomach sews itself closed, gore slurping up into the regenerating membrane of his midsection. Slowly but surely, he's pulling himself back together again; tiny rocks on the ground bwgin rising up in the air, trembling and vibrating from a telekinetic assault building up around his half-prone form.

"Bebe!" John limps to her side, laying a hand on her shoulder with crimson sparks, "We've gotta— we gotta go."

With her poached preternatural reflexes pushed past peak performance and into overdrive, there is no perceived pause between tremulous thought and apparent action. A repeat report from the shotgun delivers another deafening dose of lead into the Petrelli patriarch and sends the swiftly recovering beast back down to the ground for the second time, sprawling in grotesque display as the man's insides become his outsides for the second time in so many seconds.

The hand that whips out to hook around Richard Cardinal's hip may be small but in her accelerated state, Bebe's strength by virtual of speed is considerable enough to lift the man almost entirely off his feet as she races for the hidden boathouse on the opposite end of the island at breakneck speed. She is the tiny tart transportation service for this portion of the episode, toting two grown men on either side of her; it's such a ridiculous image.

Their arrival at the dock comes not a moment too soon as the roar of an extremely injured and very angry man filters through the first drops of rain that fall from the heavy clouds hung overhead.

Those three most unlikely of allies - an amnesiac from the future hunted by half the city, a powerless thief with a secret he'd die to keep and a petite whore with a shotgun - find it in themselves to get the boat going in record time. The injured patriarch of Pinehearst isn't fast enough to reach them before the boat's tearing away across the muddied waters of Fresh Kills Bay.

Cardinal stares out the back of the boat at the receding island, fingers curled protectively about the stump of his arm. "I don't know where we're going to go," he says in a quiet voice coarse with pain and anger, glancing back to the other two, "But we'd better figure it out soon. I can hear thunder."

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