Dealing Karma


bella_icon.gif cardinal_icon.gif kaylee2_icon.gif niklaus_icon.gif peyton2_icon.gif raith_icon.gif

Scene Title Dealing Karma
Synopsis Bella Sheridan's given a chance to repent for her wrongdoings at the hands of Ferry and Endgame associates.
Date July 20, 2010

A Park

All very nice, all very amicable. Hardly brittle at all. Hardly cold. They both want the same thing, yes? For Aaron Michaels to get better. For him to break free from his vicious cycle. Of course, they were both so wrapped up in themselves. No, I was. No, no, I was! No really, let me apologize. No please

And so on. The levels of sham are thicker than even Bella, a shammer from way back, even realizes. And after a little chat in which nothing was resolved save that they would stop working at odds, and during which many motions of reconciliation were made, a last motion, the half-hug and Parisian cheek-kiss - mwah mwah - marks the end of the interaction. Isabella Sheridan backs away from Peyton Whitney, gives a final wave, and then turns, heading towards the entrance (now exit, to her) of the park. She has some supplies to deliver. A schedule to keep. Plans to set in motion.

The socialite hardly looks the part of aider and abetter to a kidnapping in her filmy yellow Betsey Johnson sundress. She heads for a different exit, pushing her sunglasses down over her eyes so that she can check on Bella every few steps. She presses the button that allows her to talk into the radio she has been equipped with, hidden by her dark hair. "She's on her way out. I'll be watching," Peyton murmurs.

The plan is for her to be in public view for some time, to make sure she's not seen doing anything suspicious for some time, her name having been dropped by Bella Sheridan to at least one of the two employers they know the doctor is working for. Shopping, a museum trip and lots of Starbucks where people know her name and face are on the agenda for the day.

There is, in the parking lot that's carved out of the green of the park itself, a gleaming silver sports car that belongs to Dr. Sheridan - fancy, flashy, and exactly the sort of thing that someone wouldn't expect to see her in. Gifts are gifts, however. On the floor, an earpiece rests quietly as if dropped there, the only sign that it's on a tiny LED light that sparks in the shadows.

"Acknowledged," whispers a voice beside it before the living shadow of Richard Cardinal wraps itself up and around it, the radio subsumed into the darkness and bleeding once more into the two dimensions of shadowstuff. A whispering motion slides behind the chair, waiting for the psychiatrist to find her vehicle. If there's one thing he's developed over the years, it's patience.

Yes, the car is ridiculous. And, of course, it's a stick shift meaning she had to drag up one of the most lost and neglected of her skills. I mean, who drives in New York? Stupid people, that's who. At least that's what this particular New Yorker-reading, NPR-listening, left-of-center voting psychiatrist thinks. Which makes this absurd car all the more absurd.

She slips in behind the wheel, tossing her purse into the seat next to her, and activates the ignition. Bella shifts into first drive, and pulls out onto the road.

It's fair to say, as she turns the dial to WNYC, she suspects nothing.

The first sign that something might be wrong is a reflection in the rear-view mirror, a shadow spreading over the back of her seat and her shoulders, but that could easily be mistaken for a cloud drifting over the sun or a particularly large truck rolling along beside her.

More obvious is the voice that whispers, ever so softly beside her ear. "Good afternoon, Doctor Sheridan."

Dark fingers gloved in black leather corporealize from shadow, an ever-so-light touch against the sides of her neck as that ephemeral, whispering voice greets, "You're going to want to turn right at the light, if you please… and then straight for a bit. Some people would like to have a few words with you about matters of importance." Turn right…

What will it take to make him appear? A shout? A gunshot? A desperate cry over the radio? Any of those might do it, and none of them happen, so Jensen Raith does not appear. Not in the open, at any rate: He's still nearby in sedan that is most likely not his, seat and body tilted back as if he'd just closed his eyes for a bit of a nap. His coat lays in the passenger seat, and what it might be covering is of no consequence save for those who know him (who may well guess it's covering 30 rounds of copper-jacket lead in convenient firearm format).

What does come over the radio, however, the notice that Isabella Sheridan is leaving, prompts him to 'wake up' and fumble with his smartphone as if addressing the alarm clock, holding it up in front of him for easier reading. The fact that this gives him a clear view of Bella as she returns to her vehicle is a coincidence. Really.

She steps inside, and all that's left for Raith to do is wait and make sure that her unexpected navigator (providing the best navigation she never knew she needed) gets her under way without a variety of armed thugs suddenly attempting to rescue her. And then, he will leave himself and meet them at the party. And what a party it will be.

Bella's instant reaction to the voice at her ear is to scream and jam her foot down on the brake pedal, causing her to snap forward, hard, against her seatbelt. If Cardinal weren't insubstatial at this moment, his intimidating words might have been precede by a grunt of pain, and proceeded with the distortion of a broken nose. Apparently Dr. Sheridan scares easy.

The car is still as Cardinal's speech unfurls without trouble. She's already trembling, alreadly clearly terrified. A frightened civilian. Her hands are shaking on the wheel but, wordless, she starts the car up again, though it takers her three stalls to get it right. But she gets it into first again, and rolls up to the light, her right-turn blinker on, dutifually.

A stir of dark amusement in the voice of the shadow answers her sudden scream - and the near-accident she causes as she hits the brakes - but there's no attempt to engage her in conversation. All business, as she's given directions in quiet words beside her head. Turn left. Go down that way. Take this turn. The part of town gets worse and worse by the moment, although they don't quite reach anything like Harlem or Midtown

A Warehouse

Then they're pulling up on what looks like an old warehouse, the sign defaced by a red-painted gang tag that makes it impossible to read. There's a chain-link fence around it, but the gates have been opened and the chain holding them closed cut by bolt cutters. "Pull in here," murmurs Cardinal, "Park, empty out your pockets, and then go inside. Cooperate and there won't be any need to harm you, Doctor Sheridan."

Moments later- many more, in fact, than were supposed to have passed- another vehicle pulls into the yard after Bella's, comes to a halt, and then falls quiet. Inside, Raith slides Wilby, the massive rhino-killing revolver, out from under his coat and places it back into the holster at his hip, and then grabs his coat before opening the door and exiting. He regards the scene unfolding in front of him from behind the circular lenses of his dark sunglasses while he pulls his coat back on, and then loses interest, fishing out a cigar and box of strike anywhere matches and then, of course, lighting up. The King is on the scene.

Moments later- many more, in fact, than were supposed to have passed- another vehicle pulls into the yard after Bella's, comes to a halt, and then falls quiet. Inside, Raith slides Wilby, the massive rhino-killing revolver, out from under his coat and places it back into the holster at his hip, and then grabs his coat before opening the door and exiting. He regards the scene unfolding in front of him from behind the circular lenses of his dark sunglasses while he pulls his coat back on, and then loses interest, fishing out a cigar and box of strike anywhere matches and then, of course, lighting up. The King is on the scene.

"…really? Where do you keep your wallet?" Women and their lack of pockets. Cardinal will never really understand the whole concept of a purse. He has pockets for that. And why, exactly, would he need a mini hand dryer anyway?

The shadow whispers away from her to spill across the door in a shift of shadow, "Well, leave whatever you have behind and go along inside, Doctor Sheridan. We have a lot to discuss."

"My purse!" Bella says, a little indignant under her fear, dimpling her voice with a pique that sounds like anxiety. The object in question sits in the passenger seat. With nothing else on her person besides aforementioned sun dress (which she is not leaving behind), Bella opens the door and steps out of the vehicle. She's extremely compliant - she already has her hands behind her head despite nowhere she could really possibly holding a weapon. Maybe a Derringer in her cleavage? Nope, not really enough of it for that.

She turns slowly to face the direction of her captor's hands, which is all she's seen of him. There seems to be a slight weakness in one of her legs, which trembles worse than the rest of her.

Slight weakness, yeah, great. Raith elects to pay it no mind for the moment, and instead pads away from his vehicle and to the warehouse entrance, the sliding shutter of which he pushes up and opened with a rusty squeal of protest, but nothing else to keep him, or any of the three, from going inside, although for the moment, Raith lingers, the glowing tip of his cigar showing off his presence in the warehouse where there are no lights to speak of in the dark. All the noise does is tell anyone around that they're home. They brought dinner, too.

"You can put your arms down, for the love of god. Just head over to the side door over there and go in… it's unlocked."

The shadow stretches out before her as if to provide a path for her to follow, darkness twisting a line across the pavement of the parking not to the door in question. It's a metal door with a 'DO NOT ENTER' sign on it. So inviting.

The creak of the steel side door Raith has opened into the waterside warehouse is an unnecessary alarm to the people gathered inside. Sitting in the dim light of a single oil lantern settled on the concrete floor, the square-jawed and broad-shouldered frame of Niklaus Zimmerman sits in relative comfort, kicked back in a metal folding chair with his feet propped up on a rusted engine block sitting in a dark and old grease stain.

"…so what do I do?" he asks in mid conversation, shuffling a handful of cards around with a furrow of his brows, "I pick up the, ah," eyes alight to the ceiling in search of the word, "the thing? You know? The one that cuts the deli meat into thin— a meat slicer!" Excitedly brandishing his cars, Zimmerman lets his brows lift up in amusement, "I pick it up and get the blade spinning and we question him about the combination, because who would want thinly shaved slices of face missing, yes?"

It's only when the side door opens with a click and a squeak that he ends his story time, brows furrowed and head canting to the side. Dim light gleams off of Niklaus' round spectacles as he looks to the shape entering through the open door, brows creased and blue eyes angling towards the woman only now visible as Bella enters. Sitting adjacent to Zimmerman with a milk crate dappled with cards between them, Kaylee Anne-Thatcher has been reduced to playing Gin Rummy with Niklaus while he regails her with stories of vault heists in Europe.

"Alas, you will need to hear about other time later, our date is here!" Throwing down his cars onto the milk crate, Zimmerman offers a crooked smile to Bella. "Guten abend," he offers cheerfully, "please to be taking a seat, I do not wish to need the chains…" and on that note, a metal folding chair vibrates up from a stack beside the entrance, snaps open in mid air, then hovers over near where the rusted engine block rests.

Studying the cards in her hand, Kaylee can't help but smirk and shake a finger at the German after she sets her own cards down and starts to gather them all into a neat pile. "You better… never did like a half finished tale… plus, you do and I promise to tell you about the time I took down a squad of a guards." Seems like it's share evil story night at the warehouse. Such bad influences around her! "

However, the arrival of Bella puts that all on hold, the telepath's gaze finally turns to focus on the doctor as a predator would their prey. Looks a little out of place on the blonde, with her tank top and blue jean shorts, she certainly isn't dressed for the part. There is a touch of amusements in her voice as she supplies, "And I hear he can get pretty creative with those chains, so… best to listen to the man."

Her lips curl up on side, eyes narrowing dangerously. They wouldn't really need the chains, but why show Bella all their cards, so to speak. Picking up the box for the cards she starts tucking them away, however, she's also listening to the woman's thoughts…. just in case.

A rusty protest to opening, and another one to closing. It served as nothing more than a notice that, yes, everything went smoothly. Pausing briefly to draw smoke into his mouth, Raith turns about to face the team that's been assembled for the task at hand and walks briefly away from them, retrieving a worn, black duffel bag from its hiding place behind discarded sheet aluminum. Then, he joins them proper. "Glad to see my bag was still there," he says before dropping it next to the rusted engine block with a metallic and plastic clatter. Stenciled on the side in white, block letters are the words 'BAG O TRICKS,' and Raith has taken care that the bag has fallen in such a way that those words are quite visible to Bella as she is led over.

“You'll have to forgive the somewhat… primitive surroundings," comes a voice from behind where the psychiatrist has just entered from, "Unlike your employer, I don't have a series of tubes to place people into for convenient mind-raping…"

A black suit with a grey shirt beneath the jacket, a black tie, and a black fedora - the apparent captor of the good doctor is most notable for the fact that he doesn't currently have anything resembling a face. A formless shadow stretches from neck to hat, his voice that same hollow, echoing whisper from the vehicle.

Richard Cardinal opens up a heavy manila folder in his hands as he walks slowly to 'herd' her towards the seat offered, musing aloud, "Speaking of your employer… let's see what we have here…"

This is what Bella is thinking, and feeling: She now understands the kind of people she's been taken by. The other side of the same coin. The monsters with the different agenda. Out of one set of bloody hands and into another. Her fear is replaced by terror, understanding, fatigue and disdain, a strange combination that leaves her very cold, but very hollow, like an as-yet untrampled frost heave. She wishes, and this is a real wish, that she had been taken by a better sort of people. People with values, dignity; people who would at least make her feel like she deserved what might happen to her. People who had earned the right.

She wonders what it will be like to suffer, and how long and how much she can suffer, before she dies. Correction, before they let her die. She wonders what the exactly chemical content of that suffering will be. She wonders if there is any direct link between that volume of chemicals, and the phenomenological experience of suffering.

She wonders if, later, one of these men will rape her.

Isabella Sheridan tries to look calm as she takes her seat, but her lip is already possessed of a slight quaver, and tears are rolling down her cheeks.

"Crying will not help you," Niklaus notes as Bella takes her seat, "Wahrheit Mact Frei," Zimmerman notes clearly, "Truth will set you free." In that commentary he tucks his hands into his pockets and walks around the engine block, brows furrowed in assessing of Bella. "I will profess some ignorance to what brings you here, my benefactors have made certain I only know what I need know, which is— I imagine— your situation."

Reaching up to scratch a hand at the bottom of his chin, Niklaus takes a step back and away from her chair. "I am here to inform you that I am blunt force. You are fortunate, I am only watching und not participating in this, provided you do not rise from your seat," and he enunciates those last few words clearly and with a bob of his head to each sylable. "Then I intercede."

Offering an askance look to Cardinal, Niklaus gallantly motions to Cardinal. "The spotlight, it is yours."

It's hard for Kaylee not to smile a bit more at the thoughts running through the doctor's head. There is a mild satisfaction at all those thoughts going through Bella's head. In fact, she has to bite her lip to keep from responding to some of those thoughts, cause to the telepath… Bella deserves what she thinks she's gonna get.

Well… except the rape. Kaylee doesn't condone that.

Watching, Sheridan sit there crying, the blonde has to think about the bully who has been found themselves in the face of something worse. It's all good when your the one doing the torturing… but when you are faced with it… Kaylee's eyes move to the bag and then Cardinal.

Uncrossing her legs, Kaylee rises to her feet and and slowly makes her way towards Bella, but instead of stopping in front of her, the telepath steps around behind her, looking to Cardinal while hands move to rest on the back of the chair, fingers curling to hold it. "I don't think she'll move." Her voice calm and pleasant.

//She's pretty damn scared… // That is shared with Cardinal alone, along with passing on the red headed woman's thoughts and worries, with a faint smirk on her lips.

"You can relax, Doctor Sheridan. We aren't some sort of… penny ante group of terrorists like those you're used to dealing with, surroundings notwithstanding. You're not dealing with freedom fighters or spree killers. I'm not at liberty to tell you who it is you're dealing with, but we have no interest in hurting you… as much as certain people have requested otherwise," Cardinal states in rather dry tones, before his attention turns down to the papers gathered within the file folder.

"Doctor Gregor Dmitri. Biologist… last employed by Edmond Rasoul, former military dictator of Madagascar. Supervised a eugenics program there involving keeping the women of the country in chemical comas and perpetually impregnated. Fetuses exhibiting the Suresh Linkage Complex were thrown into an incinerator. Charming." A number of pages and a faded photograph of Gregor's face are dropped from Cardinal's gloved fingers onto the top of the cards scattered on the milk crate. The next file is smoothed out beneath his fingertips.

"Doctor Jean Martin Luis. Killed untold thousands of people in New York City by forcing a little girl to cause an atmospheric disturbance that buried the city in snow," Cardinal sums up after a moment of reading, "The reason was because one of his experimental subjects, a young girl that was a twin of the other, was returned to her parents and he wished to force them to give the child up for his projects again. What a nice fellow…" It, too, is dropped on the pile.

"Bao-Wei Cong. Former personal physician to Liu and Song Ye, leaders of the Flying Dragons triad and general psychotic fucks. Apparently, he's recently exposed himself to the Advent retrovirus, although since he's still alive I suppose he's managed to stabilize the formula. Given my reports that he's shedding ice and has grown some sort of claw, though, he may live to regret that…" Another file, dropped atop the others.

"Simon Broome…" A pause, and Cardinal flips the pages to the next file, "…well. Moving on. Doctor Bella Sheridan. Psychiatrist. Kidnapped Joseph Sumter and Colette Nichols-Demsky, amongst others and performed forced experiments with Refrain on behalf of the Company."

Richard Cardinal turns his shadowed features towards the woman that's taken her seat, pointing out flatly, "This doesn't read like a list of co-workers. This reads like the character list from a horror movie. But you realize that, don't you, Doctor Sheridan?"

They even have their own cooky psycho! This is just like being at work. It's a shame that Bella is actually too frightened to manage a sense of humor. It might help her keep her cool. Though hysterical giggles are no more likely to help than tears.

Eyes follow Kaylee on her approach. Bella thoughts: a Patricia Hearst case. Only Bella knows Stockholm Syndrome is bullshit. Along with hyponotic memory recovery and multiple personality disorder. Following these lines of association, flicking through the card catalogue that is her accumulated knowledge, this is her best way of staying calm. Distracting herself with fact and educated opinion, relating only by long chains of reference to her current situation.

Only that very observation, that specific metathought, only brings her crashing back down to that very situation. One she needs to get out of, as intact as possible.

Dammit, but she was just starting to get free of this, trying to escape with her insurance policy, out of the clutches of those lunatics. Go back to doing what she was always supposed to do - her psychiatric practice. Not this madness she got swept into.

There is a very cold thought at this point, that Kaylee can pick out. Sharp and bitter and full of loathing. If she had passed over Joseph Sumter, as if he had lambs blood overhead, this might well not be happening. This would not be personal. They would not care nearly as much.

Such principle. At least she has no such pretensions. She has her self interest, undiluted.

Wahrheit Mact Frei? Very well. In Amfang war das Wort. So Bella begins speaking.

"Yes," she says, "Which is why I was in the process of stealing their research and going underground." She doesn't address what she's done. She's at least glad it's not much standing next to the… accomplishments of her co-workers.

There is another thought Kaylee can pick up, on. The reflection that she imagines it won't matter mentioning that she never killed any of her patients, but that the only fatalities of her whole operation were inflicted on her staff. And further that she did what she could to see Sumter released from the Project Icarus facilities, with what limited influence she had. Which, admittedly, hadn't meant much in this case.

Pacing around in the background, Niklaus seems anxious, like any animal told that it can't have its meal and has to behave when all it wants to do is pounce. Eyeing that heavy engine block, Niklaus' eyes narrow and he assesses the weight of the metal, feels the vibrations resonating from it with the subtlest push of his ability.

Oh yes, that would do nicely.

When his blue eyes alight to Raith, there's one raised brow and a dip of his head down in greeting. Niklaus is nothing if not polite, but whenever any alleged sociopath is later asked about in his hometoen, the neighbors do always say he was so polite. Looking over his shoulder to Cardinal, the German raises one brow and questioningly leans to the side as if to assess the expediance of this interrogation.

Metal of the chair Bella's sitting on makes a bit of noise, but not from Niklaus, from Kaylee tensing under the woman's thoughts, as her hands tighten on the back. Brows furrow over blue eyes as she watches the back of the woman's head, even though she's listening in on everything. She doesn't yet betray her presence in the woman's mind by trying digging deeper… she holds back waiting for Cardinal to give the order. Til then she listens at the door, so to speak, head tilted ever so slightly to one side.

Eyes lift to the others, but she doesn't really look at any of them, more lost in the thoughts. For them it looks more like she's day dreaming.

Just as 'Klaus' regards Raith, the ex-spy regards the ex-bank robber and does little else other than hang back and take another drag from his cigar. For the moment, he'll let Cardinal direct this little interrogation of theirs, and only take over when this approach doesn't work, but before they have to resort to violence. Raith watches Kaylee much more intently than he watches Bella, although this is difficult to determine because he has not taken his glasses off. Always scheming, always plotting, always Raith.

Cardinal gives his head a subtle shake in the direction of the German as he looks towards the shadowman. No, no, no crushing their interrogation subject beneath a ton of steel and aluminum. Bad sociopath, no cookie. Well, perhaps later. He does bake a mean white macadamia.

"Mmhm. I'm aware of that, too, Doctor Sheridan," he muses, rustling the papers in the file, "I believe you were getting help from Mortimer Jack… alias Alex, as he calls himself at the moment… let's see here." A piece of paper is drawn out and set atop the others, "This would be a list of the known victims of that particular spree killer, Doc…" He pauses, "Ah. Sorry. There's a second page." It's dropped down upon the first, as if to accentuate the amount of blood on the other man's hands. "These are only the known victims, of course, we believe the true number may have been as many as twice this. He's currently hoping to wrangle a job with the government, in other words the Institute, so you may just be shooting yourself in the foot there…"

A pause as he digests Kaylee's latest information dump from the woman's mind, and he notes quietly, "I'm aware that you tried to get Joseph released, Doctor Sheridan, and by and large you aren't the monster that most of your colleagues are. That's why we're talking today. I'm here to offer you a way out, as much as certain of my… associates would prefer to bury you in a shallow grave. I'm all about second chances."

Bella doesn't want to sound too prompt in her answer. But her pride has hit a buyer's market, along with her dignity. So far, all they've done is make pointedly ambiguous yet straight-talkin' threats and rub the evil of her associates in her face. She can live with that. She can't live with multiple lacerations and heavy internal bleeding. Or without her, say, lungs. For example.

"I'd like to hear your conditions, please," as a reply suggests someone who's at least very interested in Cardinal's offer,

Eyes suddenly focus on Cardinal and the telepath doesn't look exactly happy about that second chances stuff, but… Kaylee doesn't exactly argue it. She doesn't want the woman to have it, but… Lips purse tightly and she sighs softly, shoulders slump ever so slightly as she forces herself to relax. That isn't want this is about plus, she's not suppose to be be that person.

You got her attention. Kaylee offers the shadow, a small smile alighting on her lips instead of a frown, as she passes things along. She wants to push away from the chair to get distance from the woman, but this is easier on her own head.

For a brief instant, Cardinal receives a look of slight surprise from Raith. Looks like they both had the same idea path, if not the exact same strategy. Smashing.

Reaching one hand into an outside pocket, the ex-spy walks away from his standing spot and towards Bella, although not quickly enough to be overtly threatening. And when he is within arm's reach, he withdraws his hand from his pocket and quietly, politely offers her, of all things, a stick of Wrigley's chewing gum. "Wasn't so hard, was it?" he asks, as if to drive home the point that if she wanted to get out of this, the first words out of her mouth should have been, 'I am prepared to tell you absolutely everything.'

If a shadow could smile, Richard Cardinal would.

"Full disclosure of everything you know about the Commonwealth Institute," he replies, not beating around the bush, "Locations of their facilities and what security measures you know of, details of any operations and current projects going on there. As much information as you have about your co-workers for the Institute, names, observed abilities and skills, and whether or not you know if they're willingly working for these people or if they're in need of extraction. We know they've captured several scientists and forced them to work for them, and we want to minimize innocent casualties as much as possible." Suggesting, of course, that the lives of people like Gregor may be numbered.

"Any information you have regarding their technology would be useful. The compasses, the sensory deprivation chambers. There are several people we have specific interest in recovering from their illegal detainment as well - Gillian Childs, Edward Ray, Doctor Jonas Zimmerman, Eve Mas, Tyler Case… Edward Ray… Elijah Carpenter, and Julian Dumont."

Bella's eyes dart to Raith as he speaks for the first time. Another one talking. The fact that they are conversing at all re-instills her with some self possession, some energy. Speech is her favorite field of play. The only one she's really trained for. She speaks quickly but clearly. Matter of fact. "I have no loyalty or love for my employers. I am prepared to tell you whatever you'd like to know. I'd also like to know, however, what arrangements will be made for my safety. I realize I am in no position to bargain, so please do not mistake me. I will do what you ask given no assurances or definite statements. I know you may lie or being lying to me. I will take my chances with you, however. You have my full cooperation," a pause, "I will help you tear them down with relish."

She isn't faking her loathing of her employers. Kaylee can tell. Bella is taking some cold but clear comfort in the knowledge that those psychotics, butchers, Evolved-haters and pseudo-scientists will be put down. She obviously doesn't count herself as truly one of their number, either.

"I think she's saying whatever we want to hear," is the German's rather obvious assertion, "she is afraid, under duress, and will say or do anything to save herself." Blue eyes narrow and Niklaus paces back into view from the glow of that lantern from where he's circled away from the others. "I do not care how complient she is or how sweet she seems or how much she cries to get away with everything…"

Niklaus rolls his shoulders. "Take a hand," he admits in a cool, flat tone of voice, "she will know we mean business, yes? She has two of them and there is plenty I can remove it with here. She loses a hand, she will not be so quick to tell us everything we want. Alternately, the oil they drained from cars? It is still here…"

Niklaus looks askance to Raith and arches one brow. "Do you have a sack or a bag in your backpack? Pourous cloth?" There's a rubbing of Niklaus' fingers together as he asks for that material.

It's hard to tell if he's serious, or if he's pushing Bella's buttons to see what it reveals to Kaylee.

The repeat of her father's name gets a raised brow from Kaylee, she only knows of one Edward Ray, so it sounds odd to her. Bella's agreement is a relief to her, since the young woman would like to know just as much as Cardinal about him and his whereabouts and to get him out of there, comatose or not.

From behind the doctor, Cardinal can see a slow nod of her head, indicating that Bella is being truthful, allowing him her thoughts. Of course, Kaylee doesn't agree with Bella's assessment of her place among those others in the Institute. It'll take a lot of convincing to get this telepath on the 'Give Isabella Sheridan a second chance' wagon.

Kaylee really can't help but smirk at the German, brows ticking up just a little, before looking to Cardinal to see if his verbally slaps the man's nose with a newspaper and tell him to heel.

It may not be necessary for Cardinal to reprimand Niklaus. When he elects to address Raith, the King of Swords turns his attention to the German- while still holding his hand out to Bella, offering her a stick of gum as if he were just pausing from the play to take an aside with the audience- and stares at him blankly for a precise measurement of time (exactly seven seconds, if anyone else in the warehouse cares enough to count) without saying a word. Then, he shifts his attention, once again, back to Bella, as if absolutely nothing had just happened. He extends the gum out just a little bit further.

"I don't think that will be necessary…" An offhanded dismissal of the idea put forward, Cardinal not even looking over in the direction of the German, "…we're all civilized people here. I'd know if Doctor Sheridan were lying to me." He says it not with arrogance, but an absent confidence as if it were something he took for granted.

Which, of course, he does. He has a telepath reading her mind, after all.

The shadow-faced man raises one hand to tip his hat slightly towards Bella, then, "We can give you a new identity, and - possibly - workspace of your own, although I can't promise anything there. We can make you disappear, and I promise you, the Institute will soon have far more to worry about than chasing down its ex-employees. There are those within the extralegal groups we have dealings with that still hold… grudges… against you, but we can ensure that they don't become violent. It's not much. But it's more than some might say you deserve, Doctor Sheridan. Anything else depends on you." Depends on you…

Which means what, precisely? Bella is all for defecting, but she's pretty much sick of this particular fucking weirdo social circle. Merely disappearing and resurfacing as… anyone else, really - she'd become Esther Thistletwat if it were necessary - would be ideal for her purposes and desires. To quietly practice psychiatric medicine on people with nice, treatable pathologies… that sounds nice.

It does occur to her to mention she already has a potential pro-disappearance roommate. But that's really more than she's going to press for right now. She needs to get the foundation built here, first. "Full amnesty would be ideal," she states, "With the understanding that any relapse into unethical practice will be met with no further tolerance," she's not trying to grovel - just wants to save them time on stating conditions to her, "I would like to continue my practice, if at all possible."

"Fine," Niklaus notes with quiet disappointment, "but do not complain to me when she just as easily turns on us," Niklaus notes with a wave of one hand as he walks back to the folding chair he'd occupied earlier. "I know this one's type…" he explains smoothly, settling down into the chair with a creak of its joints. "Opportunistic, charming, knows what to say to who to get what they want… but underneath it, underneath the lie? Oh yes, very cold. Very cold."

Now, Raith puts his gum away, taking the hint that Bella is genuinely no interested in it. He even takes a step back before taking another draw from his cigar. Or at least, before he fishes out and strikes a second match to ignite his cigar, the embers having gone out in the absence of being smoked. Once more, the ball is in Cardinal's court: Let's see what he agrees to.

"I know exactly what kind of person she is. I've no intention of taking her to our breast, I assure you. At the moment, though, she doesn't have much choice…" The fedora perched on darkness tilts slightly to one side, and Cardinal allows, "I can't promise you legal amnesty, of course, the Institute is still funded by the government right now, and as much as my… employers would like to classify it as a criminal organization, it has support very high up in the administration. I can promise you amnesty for your past actions from my people, however, and I will… negotiate on your behalf with others. I can't make any promises for them, obviously, and you did take some of their own people. I think they might be willing to agree to those terms also, especially with the ethical restriction."

A faint, whispering chuckle, "I'm sure you can continue your practice in some form. I'm afraid that some of your former clients have lost all trust in you, however. Maybe you can pick up new ones."

Crap, hold on! Bella notices the gum only as its taken away. She just screened it out during he press for survival. Raith can even see her lean forward a little as he draws it back. B- but she… oh well.

That Kraut is a charmer. Bella's heard of good cop/bad cop. She isn't familiar with this, something which I guess you'd call good cop/fruit cop. Dr. Sheridan pays Niklaus no visible mind. What he says is, she supposes, true in a simple, un-nuanced way. One lacking the sort of analytical sophistication (Bella flatters herself) she has developed. One failing to take into account the knots of pathology most people call 'personality'. She does have those quirks, features that make her act against her own self interest, desires that contradict better reason.

She is all too human as well, despite her best efforts.

"I understand," she says, a statement treating and encompassing all that's been said. "I accept your terms." Which means there is no need for any torturing or mind raping, please.

"If nobody minds," the ex-spy begins, "And I know that none of you mind, there's one more term I want to add to the list. Of course, you'll accept it also, I have no reason to doubt that you will. The name might already be on the list, but I want to make absolutely sure you understand that it's an important name." Raith pauses for both effect and to make sure that he has Bella's attention, drawing smoke from his cigar and holding it in his mouth for several seconds before slowly exhaling. "Where are they holding Julie Fournier?"

"A good question," is what Cardinal says in quiet tones, "I'm certain her parents would like to have her back." Then he falls silent to see what Bella answers.

"Last time I saw the young woman I believe you're speaking of," Bella says, slowly and with some care, hedging some of her terms in case her answer is a bad one, "She was an active and willing participant in the experiments, under Dr. Luis's supervision. When he left our facility, I was under the impression that she left with him. My knowledge on the matter is very limited." Mostly because she was creepy as living fuck, particularly when acting as Luis's impish familiar.

Niklaus' brows raise and his hea quirks to the side, when Raith asks that question, lifting a hand to his mouth slowly as he leans back in the chair, putting his feet up on the engine block again. There's something about what Raith said that has Nicklaus' wheels turning again, blue eyes sweeping around the room and something whirring in that electromagnetic head of his.

Suspiciously quiet, or perhaps just put off from the methods of interrogation, Niklaus lets his attention wander over to Kaylee, then back to Cardinal's shadowed visage beneath that umbral fedora. Something about the way all of this is coming together is making Niklaus smile, though for whose sake isn't evident.

She's telling the truth Raith. At least, from what I can tell. Kaylee's voice drifts lightly thorough the man's head and just like Cardinal, the woman's internal thoughts are offered up to him. There is almost something apologetic about the look she gives him, before turning her attention back to the woman before her.

After giving the information to Cardinal as well, she shuts her eyes for a moment. One hand released it's death grip on the chair back, so she can rub fingers across her forehead, as the pressure associated with using her ability is starting to exert itself.

"Well, then keep an eye out for her. And if you happen to find out where she is, we have a way of contacting you." For effect, and little else, Raith takes a step towards Bella and leans down, position his face, quite purposely, threateningly close to hers. "Her family misses her. I don't think any of us want to find out what's going to happen if they have to be told they can't have her back." And then, after lingering for a moment, Raith withdraws his point made. And likely, made inescapably clear.

"Alright, then…" Richard Cardinal lifts one of the other folding chairs up, snapping it open and setting the metal legs down on the floor before he sits, leaning forward and bringing one hand up — tendrils of shadow weaving up from his arm to form a rectangular shape, a notebook forming thereafter. It's flipped open, and he draws out a pen, scribbling a little note on the first page.

"…you'll be expected to show back up on the grid soon, and we'll need you to be in place so the Institute doesn't realize what's wrong until we hit them, so… let's get started, shall we?"

Bella peers up at Raith. His words have significance, surely. She can only assume that the man is being obtuse, and that Julie is his daughter or something. She can offer only: "I will do what I can," which is not very much, likely, "I was making plans to escape my employers already. I'd like to inform my accomplice of these developments, if I may. I don't wish to put him at any risk, and I am not willing to lie to him." This is perhaps the only sign of resistance or insistence they've seen from her this whole time. "Assume, however, his and my full cooperation."

"I'm ready to begin."

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