Cloudy With A Chance Of Genocide


cardinal_icon.gif edward_icon.gif ghost_icon.gif

Scene Title Cloudy With A Chance Of Genocide
Synopsis A Ghost and a Cardinal consult yet another oracle; one of numbers and strings, the counterpart to the one that the redbird follows.
Date June 30, 2009

By the time the red bird and the blue make their way ashore Staten Island, the clock has swung its pointed hand past the witching hour and started the brutal slice into the small hours of morning. Their ice cream is eaten, paraphernalia disposed of. The sea wrinkles pewter below a flat velvet sky, stars blotted out by the density of democratic cloud-cover that covers men, mice and monsters alike.

The boat service Ghost apparently prefers is run by a man who has more tattoos than skin showing on the naked brawn of his arms, and a Glock strapped to his hip that might make you wonder if he may even used to've been a cop. Not that that matters. What a man is now and what he used to be then has less to do with Cardinal's practical intents and purposes than the sentimental optimists would like to think, judging from the company he holds now.

"You told me to keep it out of Arthur's fucking hands," was all Ghost had said of Tamara's quick-caught gift, and that's all.

The safehouse Ghost stashed Edward in is an old fishing shack. No windows, the better to brave storms; a cellar, nets hanging like chapping skin off the petrified gray wood, its skinny struts. Trees around— enough for cover, but not massed close enough to make a perimeter impossible to guard. It's tactical. Water doesn't run, but there's a generator, a lever system if you really have to shit. No one having sex.

Rap-rap-thunk. Ghost's fist drubs the front door. "Doc!" he shouts. "Brought company and intel. Open up."

It was a brief statement about the object given to the precognitive, but it recieved a rather flat and unpleasant look from Cardinal; he, apparently, doesn't particularly think it's safe in the hands that currently hold the object that the thief insisted should be destroyed — if not used immediately. There's no vocal argument given, though. Just another addition on the mental chalkboard of reasons he's not fond of the spirit that's replaced the man he once knew.

"Nice place," he observes in wry tones, looking around the shack and the surrounding territory, one hand scratching at the side of his neck, "Homey. Maybe we could get a little picket fence in here. Some bird houses."

It isn't from inside, but outside the shack that Edward's voice is heard from after several long moments of silence. "Teodoro?" Ever the warbling inquisitor, Edward crunches down the path to the shed from up shore, dressed in a slick black business suit with his hair swept back neatly, carrying an umbrella open to stave off the drizzling rain that has been spotty over the city. "Exactly why are you knocking on my door at this hour?" He actually checks his watch — when did he get a watch? — on asking the question, flippantly clicking his tongue before glancing back up towards the young man and his accomplice.

"And…" There's no look of recognition when he takes in Cardinal's appearance, "who's your friend?" In some small measure of good-natured humor, Edward's lips creep up into a smile as he approaches the shack, keys jingling in his gloved hand, "I thought we agreed not to bring dates back to the apartment."

"I prefer the bad boys," Ghost responds with due aplomb, even as he draws a hand into the lapel of his jacket, yanks free a flattened roll of densely typewritten papers. It closely resembles a newsroll, but it isn't, of course. Font's too big, quality of pulp too high. "Courtesy of Wireless, largely, though I contributed a couple Post-Its from the shit I remember.

"The last time you went to a fancy dinner in a suit, the Company locked you up in the fucking pit for a few months, didn't they?" Criticism, because Ghost seriously doubts Edward would tell him what he was doing out if he merely asked. His hand traces a parabolic arc through the air, tossing the wad of intel at Edward, overhand, through the needling drip of rain.

"Cardinal, Ray. Vice versa." Ghost retracts his hand in easy recoil, nods his head between the two men. Richard in his jacket, recently regrown hand; Edward underneath the delicate spindle of his umbrella and the ruffled strata of pine tree canopy. "He's met your older analogue too. More recently. Seems party to plans he doesn't want to talk to me about."

"That's because I don't like you," Cardinal observes without missing a beat, adding deadpan, "It may relate to all the blood that you arranged to paint Logan's floor with, that used to belong to me." A roll of his eyes, and he turns his attention back to Edward, looking him down, then up, mentally comparing the differences between the two men.

"I have better taste than this scumbag," adds the other scumbag.

A wary glance is given to Cardinal, then back to Teo with eyes narrowed slightly. There's a heartbeat of thought as he considers the papers, the question about his attire, and then as he moves to the door of the shed, Edward puts the key into the lock after elbowing past Teo. Before totally opening the door, however, Edward looks up over his shoulder, blue eyes moving from Cardinal to Teodoro, then back again.

"You do realize," his eyes finally settle on Teo like some game of roulette finally coming to a stop, "that he plans on killing you, right?" Both of Edward's brows raise as he offers that to Teo in explanation of Cardinal, with a deadpan serious delivery.

'Round and 'round the gunmetal of Edward's intellect and psychic ability go. Having already allowed himself to be unceremoniously manhandled aside, the Sicilian appears content with his reticence for a few seconds longer, propped up on the outer wall, merely watching Edward go about his various business even as he tracks Cardinal in his peripheral.

His regard remains on the door, though it isn't fully open. Prying at the dark margin between jamb and frame, curious whether what awaits is another wild labyrinth of strings and paperclipped photographs, or the Spartan boiler room, cot, chipped furnishings that he had originally left. "I kind of pretend like the people who plan on killing me serve as a conscience. You know. Reminder to give baby-Tee his high chair back, eventually.

"It's cool, little dude."

It's against the edge of the shack that Cardinal's shoulder finds a place to perch, and he folds both arms across his chest; settling in there, one brow arching towards the edge of the dark fedora he's wearing, today, as apparent decoration. A smirk just-curls to his lips at the observation, gaze raking over to Ghost, briefly, and then back to the predictor.

"I've got a list," he replies casually, "He's down a couple people. Don't worry about it, I'll probably be dead before I get to him."

The suit yourself look on Edward's face comes with a roll of his shoulders and a click of the lock as he pushes the door to the shack open. "Please don't mind the mess," he murmurs with some dissatisfaction, moving past the stacked buckets and old, molded cardboard boxes just beyond the shack entrance. "Teo if you could go and turn on the generator for me that would be fantastic, I'm not going to be able to read anything in the dark."

Looking over his shoulder to Cardinal, Edward arches a brow. "So, you threw in your lot with my slightly more homicidal counterpart?" There's a hesitant smile there on Edward's behalf, "How's that working out for you?"

The ghost slings one long leg in around the shoulder of a half-open box, doesn't spare its contents a glance. Frowns faintly, reproof at the girlish gossip going on between his gentleman companions, but doesn't deign to comment. Instead, he picks his way into the small storage just off the hallway, hauls the door open. The reek of diesel is immediate, and he stoops in to tinker, a rusted clunk-a-clunk echoing the cramped darkness.

You can't keep a generator outside on Staten Island, of course, no matter how cleverly secluded your quarters. All kinds of dubious personalities around, who have safehouses to outfit, sociopathic geniuses with mastermind operations to outfit.

"Only slightly?" A smile just-quirks to Cardinal's lips, amusement stirring in his voice as he regards the other Edward, asking casually as he walks along into the shack, glancing around, "I'm sure you're just as homicidal, Eddie, in your own way. Neither've you are on the side of the angels. How's it working out? I can live with it."

"I'm sure you can," Edward answers plainly, blindly fumbling around the table in the middle of the shack with nothing but a cell phone for a light. It's a good question where he managed to get one here on the Island. "So, documents aside, what has you uncomfortably pairing up with Teodoro?" Blue eyes are mostly unseen in the dark, as Edward's scrutinizing stare barely manages to make out Cardinal's silhouette for entirely mundane reasons. "You aren't the least bit worried that I— he— likely foresaw your somewhat treasonous intentions?"

A brow quirks a little upwards, Cardinal's head tilting to one side as he regards Edward for a moment. "The parasite you're calling Teodoro," he replies to that flatly, "Dragged me out of the shadows and handed me over to a piece of shit that forced a friend of mine torture me near to death." Well, she's more an acquaintance, but that doesn't really matter. "If he didn't think I was planning to find a way to rip him out of that body and make him not then he'd be a complete fucking idiot."

One shoulder rolls in a slight shrug, "We both have a more important goal than that right now, though. Killing Arthur Petrelli."

"I wasn't talking about Teodoro, Mister Cardinal," Mister Cardinal, this incarnation of Edward is so much more formal. "While you have the noblest of intentions in killing mister Petrelli, I can assure you that my erstwhile counterpart will have absolutely zero compunctions throwing you under a bus if it means even a three percent higher chance that his own plans come to fruition. You're playing a very, very dangerous game."

When the lights abruptly click on, Edward looks something like a squinting mole affronted with the light of dawn. Narrowing his eyes as the shadeless light-bulb suspended from the ceiling flares to light, he raises a hand to shield his bespectacled stare, then turns his focus towards the noisy rumble of the generator, before looking over to the table. With the lights on Richard is presented with an elaborate fishnet map of strings that weave from one end of the wall to the other, with a narrow path winding towards where the generator is kept. Puzzlingly, all of the strings are merely marked with post-it notes and assigned a number, rather than physical details.

"So, what have you got for me?" Edward asks finally, laying out the documents on the table that Teodoro had thrown so brusquely at him, hungrily pawing through the papers with one brow slowly raised.

Clopping, and then a clothey thump of torso meeting wall. Is Ghost rejoining the delightful assembly, and propping himself up, the better to spectate. The post-its warrant a frown, speculative, a lazy squint of pale eyes picking at the details penned onto small yellow squares of paper without managing to pull loose any actual thread of meaning.

That's very inconvenient. He wonders who Edward had figured was going to be the curious one. "Known associates," Niles, for instance, has— had?— quite had assemblage, "loved ones and family living and dead," Case's list is considerable, "under what circumstances, progeny," childless. Markedly. All of them, "Evolved ability— stunts scrapped together from the best of our knowledge, how that wove into whatever landed them up at Moab 2019. I'm sorry there isn't more of that," he admits, after a moment, almost it seems with rue. Memory is such a finite thing.

"So how many compunctions would you have, Eddie…" A push off from his lean, and Cardinal approaches the tangled map of strings; hands sliding to clasp behind his back to ensure that he doesn't touch anything, gaze moving from one taut line to the other in bemused thought. A post-it note is examined. A number. No help. A look back over, one brow raising as he completes the thought, "…doing the same for one of your plans?"

Edward begins paging through the documentation, and is somehow filing the pages into two stacks, one he keeps on his left side, one on the right, but they're a worthless jumble of names and half pages of information on the surface. "That all depends on how badly I wanted something, and how many lives the one lost would save." Edward states in an level tone of voice, looking up to Cardinal for just a moment before turning his focus back down, eyeballing one of the pages in particular as his tongue rolls over the inside of his cheek. That page, he sets directly in front of himself, and then goes back to work sorting the documents out until nothing but his oddly stacked piles remain, the left side notably thinner than the right.

"Then the only difference between you is intensity." Unable to help himself, Cardinal reaches out to lightly pluck one of the strings, before letting that hand drop back to his side. He turns, meandering back over to where the man's going through the papers, and drops one hand down to rest atop the page set before him, gloved fingers splayed out. He fixes Ray with a steady gaze. "Right now, Eddie? I think that what we need is someone who really wants this taken care of."

"Start with this, then." Edward offers, lifting up the left stack of papers, pressing them against Cardinal's chest. "I've disregarded all of the information about Niles Wight and Eric Doyle," Edward notes with an inclination of his head, "if that I've plotted out in the strings is accurate, they're already dead and set an entirely new course of actions into play."

Shifting his weight around, Edward taps his fingers against the papers. "I recommend starting with Rickham's weak link. You'll notice she's listed under two names in Wireless' assessment; Stephanie Caiati and Nicole Nichols." Edward's pale blue eyes narrow, "Focus on the latter name, I'm… guessing somewhere in the upper east side. If you're going to get that metal monster under control, it'll be by plucking at his heart strings, unless you plan on flying out to Alaska to get his son and wife."

Looking back to the untended stacks, Edward puckers his lips to one side, "I'll handle this one, for now." He doesn't specify which one, of course, turning his focus back to Cardinal. "Think you can handle that, mister Cardinal?"

There's paper being shoved against his chest. Cardinal looks at the stack for a moment, before his good hand comes up to claim them. A glance at what's at the top page, before they're tucked into the crook of his arm. One brow lifts, a slight arch, hazel eyes regarding the man that's making plans as fast as he's speaking.

"I think I can; know I can, actually," he observes, his tone dry, "You just seem to've missed the 'why would I want to control him' part of this particular plan. Not to mention the fact that you— " And the tone suggests he means the other Edward, "— seem to have Rickham under control quite well."

"If you don't have a gun, take your opponent's." Edward opines, "If you don't have a fifty ton man made of nigh indestructible metal…" one brow slowly rises, "well, find the other one, or take your opponent's." Edward turns blue eyes back over to Cardinal. "You seem like a man who could do with an indestructible bodyguard, unless you feel like losing that other hand."

His focus turns back down to the table, to the last paper, which he picks up and folds, tucking into his suit before looking over to Teo for a moment, then back to Richard. "If you can keep one of the Cases' from falling entirely into his sway, that would be fantastic. If not, I have a very terrible feeling about what the outcome of that is going to be, if Edward gets both Tyler Case's under his employ." The strained part is, he doesn't know what it will do.

Unfortunately for everyone, the only man who does is Richard Cardinal.

"I'm guessing that the other one wasn't… amenable to your suggestions?" Cardinal regards Edward for a moment before exhaling a faint snort of breath, a moment's hesitation passing before he gives his head a tight shake. "Bullshit. All you're doing is focusing on him and not the problem at hand," he points out sharply, "You want to convince people to go against him? Come up with alternatives to what he has to offer. Not just 'He's bad, here, use this gun against him'. Do I look like a fucking idiot to you?"

Looking back up to Cardinal, Edward arches a brow and considers Richard's question for a moment. His head tilts to the side, answer carefully chosen, "You look like you could use a hot bath," he notes, focus turning back down to the taller stack of information, which is summarily rolled up and walked towards a waste basket near the table, dropped inside without so much as a second glance.

"Take a day off, mister Cardinal. I think it'd do you and everyone else better if you did." Managing a hesitant smile, if not entirely honest, Edward turns back to Teo, watching him in his silence ever so briefly before turning back to Cardinal once more, eyes narrowed in scrutiny as if he just noticed something, but he's focused too far past Cardinal to be looking at him more so than someone or something else. "What did he offer you?"

At the suggestion of a bath, and a day off, Cardinal's smile is brittle. "That'd be nice, wouldn't it? S'hard to find a place to take a break and a moment to have a breath, though. Too much to do." His head tilts slightly to one side, considering Edward before noting quietly, "Protection from Arthur finding me. And the bastard's head on a fucking stick. He follows through on that. I've consulted the oracle, as the old saying goes. Could be that three-percent of yours has me dead afterwards, but— " One shoulder rolls in a shrug, "— I doubt I'll be that lucky."

Edward's eyes narrow just a fraction of an inch as his head tilts to the side, "Oracle?" There's a raise of one brow, and his attention has fully shifted to Cardinal, no longer the waste basket or Teo's slightly congested breathing on the other side of the room, just barely out of synch with the rumble of the generator. "What oracle?"

"The Wizard of Fucking Oz." Cardinal's own narrowed eyes meet those of the man behind the desk, and he spits out, "I'm not just going to run around doing your errands, and his errands, without finding out what they mean, Eddie. And you haven't done anything but tell me what to do since I met you. Either of you. At least the other one gave me something up front."

"I like to play my game close to my chest, Cardinal." Edward's eyes narrow a slight bit more before returning to their usual bug-eyed quality behind the lenses of his glasses. "You have to understand, I know what you're going to do if I tell you any more, which is why I can't. Not in front of Teo, not in private. I divulge what I can based off the possibilities of your reactions. Right now, I like it right where they stand, hopefully you understand that?" And even that omission must have been carefully chosen, for whatever inscrutable reason he chooses anything.

A snort. "That seems to suggest that your goals aren't ones I'd approve of, Eddie," Richard points out, leaning back from the desk, "So I don't see any fuckin' reason I should help you over him. Honestly, it's looking like quite the opposite from where I'm standing."

"Astute." Edward notes with a rise of his brows, blue eyes turning back to Cardinal from where they wandered down to the table. "What have we learned today, class?" Edward glances from Cardinal to Teo, and back again, "One of the three people in this room is going to commit something on the scale of genocide." Edward's eyes narrow a fraction of an inch once more, blue slits of undiscernable emotion. "I wonder which one of us it is."

At those words, Cardinal's eyes grow darker; narrowing a fraction, slight stress-lines etched from recent days appearing at their corners. He stares at the man for a long moment, and then turns, heading for the exit, the stack of papers tucked still under his arm like a forgotten parcel that's held from mere habit. "Any way you look at it, Eddie," are the words that he lets fall behind him, pushing the door open, "There's only one answer to that question."

"Doctor Edward Ray."

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