Dangerous Information


cardinal_icon.gif ziadie_icon.gif

Scene Title Dangerous Information
Synopsis The answers Ziadie's looking for aren't the safest ones to have, but he gets them anyway.
Date January 26, 2011

Redbird Security

Ziadie seems to pause ever-so-momentarily as the door swings shut behind him, and glances down at a card in his hand. He's at the right address, right. The older man pauses, leaning on his cane, before crossing the lobby to talk to the receptionist. Hopefully, his timing is good. Early afternoon usually is. "Excuse me," he says, biting his lip momentarily. "I'm looking for …" he glances down at the card again, "Richard Cardinal?"

"Good afternoon, sir," the blonde at the desk looks up with a bright smile for the older man that walks in, pushing aside the keyboard that she was tapping away at with carefully manicured nails, "Mister Cardinal? Let me ask if he's available— who shall I say is here?"

Ziadie leans a little more heavily on his cane. "Nocturne Ziadie. He doesn't know me either way," the older man responds. "Ms. Renard suggested I come find him, though. Said to tell him she sent me."

The phone's picked up, and Jo depresses one of the buttons. "Mister Cardinal? There's a Mister Ziadie here to see you — he claims to've been referred by a Ms. Renard?" There's a pause, "Of course. I'll send him right in." The phone's hung up, and she offers affably, "Down the hall, third door on the right, sir."

"Oh good," Ziadie says, nearly under his breath. He adjusts the sling his left arm is in, before turning to walk down the hall. Third door, there. "I'm sorry for the unexpected visit," Ziadie says, as he enters, ducking a nod of greeting.

As far as offices go, it's fairly spartan. There's a couch up against one wall that seems mostly for show, and a large desk across from it. A laptop sits atop the desk next to an in-box and an out-box filled with papers, and there's an painting on the wall above the desk of a busy city corner, although oddly there seems to be something missing from it.

Richard Cardinal's settled into the chair behind it, dressed in a pinstripe suit, a fedora sitting on the desk's edge not far away. Oddly, he's wearing sunglasses indoors. As the other man walks in, he pushes himself up to his feet. "Mister Ziadie, come in, come in. Have a seat." He gestures to the chairs in front of the desk, "What is it I can help you with?"

Ziadie sits, giving Richard an appraising look that could quite possibly be close to the cop memorising how someone else looks, though the older man is doing a very good job at hiding his alertness. Unfamiliar situations, and all that. "It was suggested to me tha' you might know a few things," Ziadie says. He speaks quietly, with assurance in his voice, but he doesn't quite seem sure where to go with the conversation next.

A few moments pass. "Robots," he says. "Midtown." There's a distinct annoyance in his voice to those two words. "No one I've been able to talk to seems to know much, so I thought I'd pay heed the suggestion."

It's not the sort of subject that Cardinal expected the other man was going to bring up, an eyebrow lifting over the edge of his shades as he eases himself back down into his chair. "Now that's a rather interesting subject to bring up," he muses, leaning back a bit, hands steepling over his chest, "Right to the point, then. I can respect that. What's your interest in the current— events in Midtown?"

Ziadie bites his lower a lip a moment, taking his time in speaking, first giving half a nod to the arm and shoulder in a sling. "When one runs into something that half buries you in rubble, a man takes a bit of an interest," he responds. "And the distinct lack of information in my inquiries elsewhere means I'm not 'bout to drop the interest."

"There wouldn't be," Cardinal admits with a slight shake of his head, "They'd rather not let word of them get out, after all. I'm surprised someone actually authorized a live test run like this…" The older man is considered for a few long moments, and he states bluntly, "Are you sure you want to know the answer to that question, Mister Ziadie? Some information can be dangerous to know, especially in this day'n age. It'd be safer to walk away."

"Whether it would or not …" Ziadie trails off. "I'm quiet about looking," he says. "But I can't just walk away." The older man pauses. "See, it was one thing at first. But I checked in with some buddies of mine from the force," he says, "and word there is that there are no patrols on the edges of Midtown, 'specially at night. And quiet but unofficial word that this doesn't exist." Ziadie shakes his head. "I'd rather have answers then safe, Mister Cardinal. I've lived long enough, I don't so much care about safe these days."

Richard listens to the other man's words as he speaks, his expression serious… and then he crooks a faint smile. "On your head be it, then," he admits, hands spreading slightly, "How much do you know about the Vanguard, Mister Ziadie?"

Ziadie raises his eyebrows and grins a bit. "See, that's just the thing," Ziadie says. "At this point, I don't know nearly enough about anything 'f the current climate with regards to this." There's a brief frown. "I've been—" He shakes his head. "—I retired in 2003, and didn't remember there 's more t' life than a few things until recently. Though I suppose I have existence of robots to thank for that as well."

A nod, and Cardinal leans forward, arms folding on the desk's edge. "It was a terrorist organization founded by a man named Kazimir Volken," he explains, "There's a lot more to it than that, but it's… a long story, and not exactly important at the moment. Volken's plan was to cause a near-extinction event and rebuild the world in the ashes of what was left. A few years back they tried to release a virus that would've killed most of mankind, but the so-called 'terrorists' of Phoenix stopped them, killed Volken. That wasn't the end of the organization, though."

"Last year," he continues, voice quiet and serious, "A classified government operation was carried out to eliminate the last few holdouts of the group, because they'd laid their hands on a nuclear bomb. I was with the group that was sent in to Argentina. An member've the Vanguard, a man named Hector Steel with the ability of mechanical intuition, had devised traps rigged with evolved blood-tests that'd lock a radio transmitter around your ankle if you came up positive." A mirthless smile, "And then the robots would come for you."

Most terrifying is the fact that nothing he's said has come up as a lie or untruth to Ziadie's own talent.

Ziadie purses his lips, drums his fingers on the desk in front of him silently, as he files the information away. "So how'd they move from traps to robots that walk through midtown and find people without blood tests?" It seems that's his only question, but after a moment, he speaks again. "And how'd it go from being robots in the hands of Vanguard to robots under military auspice."

"The same way that Nazi technology ended up in our hands after the second World War," Cardinal says, spreading his hands slightly, "After the operation, all of the… scientific members of the Vanguard were brought in to work for our government. Including some charming folk who were throwing SLC-positive infants into incinerators as part've a eugenics project." Old anger stirs there, his lips pursing in a tight line.

"Hector Steel's in the hands, I believe, of the Department of Evolved Affairs. And a new technology's surfaced that can detect the… unique energy frequency around the Evolved, that's been integrated into the robots. This is a live test," he states flatly, "Of something that'll be turned on all of us. Check the news feeds. All the mentions of the United States 'drone weapons' program. The AETOS drone that FRONTLINE uses was just one of the prototypes."

Once more, it's obvious that Ziadie is filing information away. The older man bites his lower lip, hiding a frown, and a few minutes pass quietly before he seems to abruptly remember that he's in Cardinal's office, talking to someone. "Sorry," he says. "I get a little lost in my thoughts, sometimes." Another pause. "Live test," he repeats. "Live enough that they're not sending evo officers into patrols in areas where you can see midtown …"

"A live test," Cardinal says quietly, "After all, they're going to need something to keep us from trying to escape the concentration camps they've been rounding us up in once they put up the barbed wire, won't they?" He leans back with a sigh of breath, "As I said. Dangerous information."

"And they're trusting the robots capturing folk as to make sure word doesn't get out too fast," Ziadie responds. "At all." The amendment to the statement is almost an afterthought, and Ziadie drums his fingers on the able once again. "Was too lucky for chance, m'self. Good enough shot and sheer dumb luck that there was someone else as got me out of there 'fore the paramiltary that follow the things around found me." Ziadie bites his lip again, not particularly sure whether he's said too much, or not enough, or what.

"That's it in a nutshell," Cardinal leans back in his chair, his head shaking slightly, "Welcome to the wonderful world of knowing just a few of the things our government is doing without telling us…" He smirks, "It's enough to make a man into a cynic."

Ziadie chuckles a bit. "Or at least, more of one." The older man finally stops drumming his fingers on the desk. "I was a cynic the first day out of academy, 'f not before, more or less."

Cardinal's head tips in a slight nod, the faintest of smiles twitching to his lips. "I can see that. I've known a couple've cops, and they were all cynics at some level… still. In my line of work you see the worst've people, and the best."

"Ain't that the truth," Ziadie says, with a small nod. To both statements, really. "I wouldn't know otherwise. As Fel pointed out, civilian life hasn't exactly suited me so far." He bites his lip again, then continues, letting age be an unsaid excuse for his slight rambling. "I seem to end up with far too much to think about either way."

"Fel…" Cardinal pauses, a brow leaping upwards, "…Felix? That wouldn't be Ivanov by any chance, would it?"

"I would hope there aren't two of him," Ziadie says, a bit of amusement on his face. "It would be in fact." The older man's expression is as close to unreadable as he can make it, though, aside from the evident amusement. "Kid seems to know everyone."

"He's an old friend," Cardinal admits with a quiet chuckle, "An old friend. If you know him, I'm less worried about how much I've told you now…" A cock of his head to one side, "…so now that you know, what're you going to do?"

Ziadie nods. "I knew him from when I was on the force," Ziadie says, thoughtful. "He's … he saved my ass from myself, recently." Fingers drum on the desk once more, apparently that is as much as Ziadie will say on that. "Absolutely nothing for quite a while," he says, rueful. "I've already dislocated my shoulder recently," he nods to the sling, "anything more and I'll be getting blamed for any gray hair on Felix's head."

Cardinal arches a brow at the last. "As if he has any room to talk," he snorts in wry amusement, "The guy attracts injuries like a magnet attracts iron filings. So you're an ex-cop, huh?" The other man's looked over for a moment, "Given any thought to coming out of retirement?"

"Thirty-five years, retired in oh-three," Ziadie says, and half shrugs as he chuckles. "I don't know." There's a brief gesture to the shoulder. "I'm not as young as I used to be."

"Well, we've always got room in the investigative division," Cardinal offers in casual tones, one hand turning up in a 'if you like' gesture, "If you decide you're tired of sitting around. I'm always looking for people with the right skills, and a lifetime've police work definitely qualifies."

Ziadie nods, letting a bit of a smile show on his face. "'t'd be good to be doing more than just goin' for walks and such," Ziadie nods, musing. Apparently going for walks 'and such' is all the older man has been doing, though that seems to have meant going through midtown as well. "I've been tired 'f sitting around for a while now, to be honest," he says. "Leaves too much room for life t'be about—" The older man cuts himself off, shakes his head. "Pardon me, I'm rambling again."

"You listened to me going on earlier, s'only fair," Cardinal exhales a low chuckle of breath, "Give it some thought— talk to Ivanov about it, if you like. Like I said, he knows me pretty well by now."

"Thank you, and I will," Ziadie says, a bit of a smile on his face as he glances at his watch, moving to get up. He bites his lower lip a moment. "Is there a phone here I could use to call a cab, by any chance? I should be getting back, sooner'n later."

"Of course," Cardinal reaches over, turning his desk phone around and pushing it over, "Just hit number and seven to dial out."

"Thanks," Ziadie says, pulling another card out of his pocket to look at the numbers written on it. "I'd take the subway, most times, but someone's decided to worry too much," Ziadie says, fumbling a bit with the phone before he manages to get the dialing out correct. Information is given to the taxi's dispatch, and then Ziadie carefully hangs up the phone. He gives Cardinal a smile as he stands up. "I'll be in touch, I'm sure."

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