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Scene Title Counsel
Synopsis Legal and otherwise. Jared Harrison arrives at the cabin, wanting to know what happened… but more importantly, to check on the man left behind.
Date November 22, 2011

Cabin in the Adirondacks

The drive was hell. Jared Harrison glances out at the late afternoon sun slanting through the empty branches of the trees as he makes the last turn onto the nearly invisible gravel road leading to the isolated cabin that so long ago he and Carina had affectionately named “Sleepy Hollow.”

The boulder lodged in the pit of his stomach hadn’t moved in days. When the news channels exploded with Massachusetts and then Alaska, he knew. He knew his daughter was right in the thick of all that shit. Because where else would she be? Goddamn soldiers shooting children??? The country had lost its collective mind. And then Russo’s broadcast came out. It was … shocking.

”Dad… I have to be out of town for a while. I can’t tell you where I’m going.” Again. ”And I don’t know how long I’ll be gone.”

“This is getting old, Elisabeth Maureen. Two years ago you hared off to fucking Antarctica and came back a wreck. Six months ago, you torched your entire life and turned vigilante. Now it’s happening again. How many times are you going to destroy your life? Honey… you’re a fugitive. Come on. Turn yourself in, let me negotiate a deal for you.”

The sad smile she gave him was answer enough. She wasn’t going to let him help her. And he felt impotent rage at the dangers she was facing. “Daddy… I love you. I’ll let you know when I’m back. And … try not to panic when it all hits the news, okay?”


He’d thought he understood terror and helplessness. But in that moment, kissing her cheek and watching her walk away with a brownie he’d brought her for her birthday, he’d realized what he felt at losing his wife was a mere shadow of the terror he felt at what he was seeing happen to their daughter. Since the day Washington Irving was attacked, his daughter’s life had done a slow spiral down the drain, it seemed. And there was nothing he could do to stop it.

«Meet at the cabin.»

Bringing the car to a stop outside the cabin he lovingly upgraded and renovated in the early 2000s, Jared simply stares at the building, not wanting to get out. Not wanting to hear what’s going to be said. Grief gnaws at his guts. If he doesn’t have an ulcer yet, he will soon, he’s sure. Because if she’d survived… the message would have simply said I’m okay.

When the porch door opens and Richard Cardinal steps out, just looking at the younger man confirms it. He climbs out of the car, closes the door very deliberately, walks halfway to the porch, and stops. He waits there until Cardinal joins him and before the younger man can say a word, he demands quietly, “Hand me whatever change you have. Doesn’t matter what it is.”

A pair of sunglasses rests upon Richard's face despite no longer needing them to protect his eyes from the light; he worries instead that he may need to hide his eyes for other reasons. A flight jacket draped over his lean frame as he steps out onto the porch, looking at Liz's father as he approaches.

He had so much time to think of what to say, so many variations run through his mind, but suddenly none of them seem enough.

"Jared— "

But he's interrupted, and he blinks. Twice. Slowly he digs out a wallet (it's not his) from a pocket, checking for change. A few quarters, dimes and a nickel tumble into his palm, and he offers them out, brow furrowed. "Al— alright?"

Reaching out a hand to take the nickel, the older man studies the younger one. There’s no anger in his tone, nor is there blame. “Now everything you say to me comes under the heading of ‘privilege.’ And you’re going to tell me every damn thing that’s been going on up to the point that my daughter has died for it,” Jared says simply. The driving need to know is obvious, as is the grief in blue eyes the same shade as his daughter’s.

“And then… you and I, Richard? We’re going to make sure it goddamn well means something.” He swallows hard, flicking his eyes toward the cabin. “Tell me how she…”

There’s a hesitation and he says quietly, “I’m sorry.” Because as much as he’s lost, he’s also been in the younger man’s shoes. And he’s demanding answers that may not be able to be given yet.

The 'explanation' of the change actually brings an almost-smile to Cardinal's expression, lips tugging up in a corner at the forethought of it. The remainder of the change, and his (now it's his, old habits die hard) wallet, are shoved back into his pocket as the older man continues.

"You want it all, do you…?" One hand rakes back through his hair, and then he nods, motioning with one hand to the porch before stepping slowly over to have a seat. He looks out over the scenery for a moment, moistening his lips before he says quietly, "Thanks. I… do you want me to start at the end, then? Or from the beginning?"

Wry, as ever, "Might take awhile."

“I wanted it all before, and even under privilege she still wouldn’t tell me except in the most general terms,” Jared tells him, a rueful half smile quirking his mouth upward. Shoving his hands in his jacket pockets, he walks toward the porch and lowers himself to the steps to sit. “That’s … Heh.” He shook his head. “I started that with her when she was about 13, I think. Things she needed to talk about but didn’t want a parent lecturing her over… she could ‘hire’ an attorney. No judgement, no scolding.” The memory amuses him.

He looks at Richard Cardinal, studying the weariness clear in the features that he can see. “Start where you can and stop where you need to. It doesn’t all have to be today,” he replies quietly. “But this is where I’m putting my foot down, son. This has to end. Between what got put out on Russo’s broadcast, watching US troops fire on children, and what’s going on right now — and I know I’m missing a hell of a lot here… but this has to stop.”

"Yeah." Cardinal brings a hand up, his fingers rubbing over the side of his face. "Yeah, it does. I…"

His hand drops, arm resting on his knee as he looks out from the porch in silence for a few beats before he just starts without preamble, or finishing the previous sentence.

"The first time I ever met Liz, she was arresting me." A quiet chuckle, "She was all good cop - bad cop with her partner. Classic. Anyway, I slipped out of jail that night, didn't feel like sticking around to be shoved back into prison." Back into prison. He's got a record.

"The second time I met her, we were both freeing slaves on Staten Island. It was an illegal raid - she was with Phoenix, I was with a small outfit of mercenaries at the time. We weren't getting paid, though— " He slants a look over, "— some things are just fuckin' wrong."

A deep breath's drawn in, "We talked after that, since obviously she wasn't as on the straight and narrow as she acted. And I wasn't just a two-bit crook. And when I… got more involved, it was because of the thirty-six. The suicides."

"The kids," he says quietly, "So yeah, I understand what you mean. It has to stop."

As he listens, the man who was Liz’s father merely nods slightly. If the news that Richard Cardinal has a record is supposed to surprise him, it doesn’t seem to. He keeps his gaze on the tree line while Cardinal talks, a faint huff of sound that might be laughter popping up in the places you'd expect. “That case tore her apart,” Jared commented thoughtfully, watching the trees move in the soft wind. “I remember how much press that mess got — the kid who survived wound up having to move out of state, if I remember right.” He just shakes his head a bit. “She’d already seen too many dead kids.” The words are a bare murmur.

“So… she’s been pretty much doing all of this since she went back to the police force.” Behind blue eyes, the wheels are turning. “That explains a few other things, I guess.” After another moment, he says, “I take it that the interview summarizes a lot of what you’ve been involved with. How did what happened here fit into all that? How did the two of you go from raiding slave pens on Staten — something I might come back to later, by the way — to nuclear weapons in Antarctica and whatever the hell just happened in Massachusetts and Alaska?”

"I took a job."

Cardinal's shoulders briefly shake with a mirthless chuckle, "Seems to be how a lot of this shit goes, right? It all starts with a job. I was… well. I was a second-story guy, not going to polish it up. I was one of the best." No arrogance there, simply truth. His power made sure of it. "This guy hires me to go to Japan and steal a piece of paper. Smelled weird. Smelled wrong."

"It was." He closes his eyes, "I fucked up their plan, and fell into the middle of a conspiracy that went back to World War Two. Arthur Petrelli, developing a way to turn normal people - no offense - into the Evolved. He didn't like that I stopped him. I was on the run.

"And I met a man named Edward Ray."

A sigh, his head shaking, "Things sort of… snowballed from there. Ray could— predict things. Like predicting the lottery numbers, but bigger. What you'd do tomorrow. How that would affect your neighbors. How their reactions would affect local politics. And on. Pinehearst was trying to rule the world. We stopped them. It got… attention."

He shrugs, "I'm— sorry, I'm sort of glossing over a lot of this, but I'd literally be here for days otherwise. The government stepped in, offered us all clemency if we'd help them against a terrorist threat."

A tip of his head over, "Russia, Argentina - Antarctica."

There’s a chuckle that comes from the chest of the man sitting there listening to all of this. “If I didn’t already have half a clue what the hell was going on, I’d say don’t gloss over anything,” Jared comments. “The pieces you’ve mentioned are just filling in details on some things Elisabeth talked about after you were allegedly killed.” He shoves a hand through his hair, leaving the front of it standing up — clearly he’s been doing that a lot. He doesn’t even notice.

“I have the paperwork of her pardon for the activities before Antarctica, Argentina, Russia,” he informs Cardinal with a nod. “She explained some of the Antarctica in more detail after she asked me to bury you.” They briefly had that conversation when the younger man popped back up miraculously alive — the stone is still there, actually. “What did you actually accomplish with this set of raids that just happened?”

"Ah. This…" Cardinal slides two fingers beneath his shades, rubbing at the bridge of his nose, "This is where things get a little… weird."

"I'm sure you've heard of the Commonwealth Institute. They've got the full support and a lot of moles in the government. So, they've been kidnapping people for some time, experimenting on them - they're the source of the killer robots running around New York," he says, and there's more than a little bitterness in his tone, "And many other atrocities besides. The Ferry - and some of my people - went to Cambridge to free as many people as possible from what they called the 'Ark'. Just— just dozens and dozens of Evolved locked up in fucking storage coffins, in induced comas."

"I'm sure you've seen the news," he says quietly, "Somehow their exit plan got leaked, it must've been - and there was a massacre. They got a lot of people out, but, shit, Jared. Those were kids they were rescuing."

There is an immediate nod on that front. “Yeah, I’ve seen the news. The fuckers have lost their minds, shooting at kids. On US soil, too.” For just a moment, there is a flash of an expression of grim rage — Richard might, in this moment, see exactly where Elisabeth came by some of her temperament. Jared just as quickly shutters it, though, and says, “All right. So… now what are the plans?”

The older man looks over, a faint smile quirking his lips when he notes the look shot his way at the question. “My daughter didn’t just love you. She believed in you. And you don’t seem the kind of person who’s going to leave the job undone. So… where can I fit into this and help it move forward?”

The subject of Alaska is set aside for the moment - with probably a hint of relief - as the older man asks his own questions. Richard rakes his fingers back through his hair, his head cocking a bit to one side as he regards Jared for a long few beats.

"Are you sure you want to get involved in this?" A brow lifts a little, "A lot of— I mean, you see what's going on. Safe isn't what I'd call this."

Now the older man meets his gaze head-on. Grief is overlain by rage, though the tone remains conversational and Jared never raises his voice. “My wife was killed in Midtown, Richard. My daughter died to try and stop this madness. Do you think there is anything under the sun that you can do to stop me from getting involved in this? She’s not here to try and protect either one of us anymore. And I’ll be damned if I let them paint her a traitor or try to gloss over this bullshit. All enemies, foreign and domestic is not an oath I took lightly and it’s not one that just goes away. So you can use my expertise and let me help you or I can go out there and get very visible and very loud on my own, possibly fucking up whatever plans you have in place.”

Wonder where she got that habit of kicking in the doors?

"Heh." Cardinal's fingers rake back through his hair, and despite the man's anger, and his grief, he smiles faintly. "Now I see where she got it from. And here I always figured it was her mother."

He draws in a slow breath, then exhales, hand motioning helplessly through the air before falling down to his knee. "I don't… know what I'm doing. Not yet. I'm still… you know." He closes his eyes, "But I'm working on it. For now— there's going to be a lot of legal challenges to what's going on. The government's trampling on a lot of rights. There's an organization out ther — Liberty — that'll probably be pushing a lot of these challenges. I'd advise working with them. We need to take these Humanis assholes out of power, and doing it legally's the best way. Death makes martyrs."

The smirk Jared shoots Cardinal is wry as hell. “Oh she had plenty of her mother in her too… Carina used to cook and freeze food for days when she was pissed off or anxious,” he observes, well aware that Liz did the same.

The amusement leaves his face, though. “There’ve been enough of those,” he agrees quietly. “I’ll look into the Liberty situation. Are you planning on resurrecting Redbird?” He leans forward, pulling his hands from his pockets finally to lean his elbows on his knees and clasp his hands together.

"I don't…" Cardinal shakes his head, looking across the cabin's yard with a grimace, "I don't know. Maybe. Maybe something else, I just— I don't know. And it depends on how everything shakes out. If by the end of this it's illegal even to be Evolved, not much point in planning my corporate renovations, you know?"

“I do know,” the older man admits. “Which is why I’m forcing you to think about it now. If you sit here with nothing to think about, you will lose your mind.” Jared’s voice is low and pained as he looks at his clasped hands. “I wish I could tell you it stops hurting. It doesn’t. You just… learn how to breathe again, learn how to keep putting one foot in front of the other. And it helps to have something to aim at.”

He pushes himself up off the porch, hands on knees at first, and then turns to face the younger man. “Elisabeth was a talker — she’d talk my ear off to get through problems. I have the notion that’s not you. But I’ll stay for a bit and help you get back on your feet. We’ll make some plans that can be made. And if you decide you want that ear, the offer’s an open-ended one.” He makes his way up a step and drops a hand on Cardinal’s shoulder briefly, with a squeeze.

Then he continues up toward the door. “You better not have drunk all the good coffee without me.”

A hand comes up, Cardinal's briefly covering the older man's. He hasn't told him how his daughter died yet, but maybe they both know that'll come eventually, in its own time. "Thanks," he says quietly, and then he looks back out at nothing at all, "And Harm should have a pot on."

He'll just stay outside for a few moments, until the wound in his heart stops aching.

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