b_cardinal_icon.gif young-broome_icon.gif b_niklaus_icon.gif

Also Featuring:


Scene Title Exodus
Synopsis Richard Cardinal's journey through time concludes with an unexpected reunion…
Date February 15, 1992

"No one is going to believe any of this, are they?"

Niklaus Zimmerman used to be a skeptic, against all odds. Despite living in a world with people who can fly, people who can create fire, people who can turn invisible, he knows that other people will have a hard time swallowing the concepts of something like people who can bend time and space. Beneath the boughs of leafless and stick-bare trees casting skeletal shadows on the asphalt walkway, Niklaus isn't alone in his progress through Central Park. At his side is a man more flesh and blood than shadow and ink, at least for today. Richard Cardinal is a man who knows a thing or two about time travel, sometimes much to his own detriment when sleep is concerned. Especially after yesterday.

The storm has ended, in symbolic representation of a job well done. The storm clouds from the night prior have broken up, leaving a patchwork of fluffy white clouds in the cold winter skies, noon-day sunlight casting down through the still wet branches. Hands folded behind his head as he walks, Niklaus' eyes are cast skyward, rather than on anywhere else.

"Truth be told…" Niklaus offers wistfully, "I do not think that I will tell anyone about what happened here. It is not their business, not their problem." His light brows furrow, blue eyes peering up at the sun with a squint before his fingers unlace, hands drop down to his sides and shoulders shrug. "I think we're here. Again."

The Central Park Chess House looks no different than it did in 2010, an octagonal brick building surrounded by green-shingled shelters with concrete tables beset with chess boards. The cold winter air means that there's less people out, but that spring seems to be coming early this year has brought a handful of bundled-up folks out to the park on a sunny day.

Mission accomplished, job well done.

Where's Hiro?

Central Park

February 15, 1992


A fedora's perched upon Cardinal's head; suit and shades, he's the very image of an agent, ironically enough. "It's probably for the best that you don't," he admits with a slow shake of his head, "The less people that realize time travel's possible, well… the better. And you're right. It isn't any of their business."

He slows to a step beside one of the chess tables, looking around beneath the edge of his hat. "Hiro?"

Fidgeting, Niklaus offers a steady nod of agreement to Cardinal as he pushes his glasses up the bridge of his nose, looking askance to one of the shelters where people are playing chess. "I have time then," Niklaus notes as he tucks his hands into his pockets, hunches his hsoulders forward and starts heading for the octagonal building at the center of all the shelters. Pausing, he turns to look over his shoulder with a smile. "I am going to use the little time-travelers room, as it were." There's a nod of Niklaus' head to the restroom signs hanging on one face of the building, followed by a crack of a smile.

"Do not leave without me, no?" One of the German's brows raise at that, as if musing over the possibilities of being stranded in the past like some sort of mischevious squirrel might contemplate being locked in a nut factory. Turning his back on Cardinal, Niklaus begins is casual stroll towards the restrooms, while a chill wind blows thorugh the park, carrying wet and dead brown leaves on it, slapping heavily against the asphalt walkway in his wake.

"I wouldn't dream of it." Cardinal watches the German as he walks away towards the small building where the restrooms are, the conundrum posed by the man one that the shadowmorph has yet to decide a solution to. He shakes his head then, a slow motion before sliding himself to sit on one of the seats beside the chess table, lifting the fedora off his head and turning it slowly over in his hands.

"I just hope that I did the right thing," he murmurs to himself, gloved fingertips brushing a bit of lint off the hat's fabric, a few strands of his hair fluttering in that autumn breeze.

The wind has no answer for Cardinal, save for the cold that cuts through the park, damp and cloying. Eighteen years from now, the world is a much different place. It's hard to imagine that in a time as innocent as this, the groundwork for what would become the decline of civilization was taking place. The bomb changed everything, set the world on a course of self-destruction.

But what Charles said to Cardinal last night rings in his head, under leafless trees and a patch of clear blue sky. Every time a disaster had been averted, a larger one remained in its place, escalation of crisis. If the bomb hadn't happened, how long until the next crisis, and the next, and the next?

Were the Evolved were the problem?

"Excuse me," may as well have been a gunshot for how the distantly familiar voice sends a different kind of chill down Cardinal's spine than Arthur's did. In Cardinal's peripheral vision, a man sitting at one of the chess tables under the green-shingled shelter has removed his own fedora, placed it in his lap and tilted his chin up in appraising look of the shadowmorph.

"My chess partner hasn't arrived yet, and I was wondering if you might like to play a game while we're both waiting on our respective friends?" The warm and grandfatherly voice of Simon Broome has hardly changed in eighteen years. Seated there just ten feet from Richard on a wooden bench in front of the concrete table, he's lifting up a wooden box filled with chess pieces, opening it up with a fond smile on his face and one brow raised.

"Assuming you know how to play, of course?" There's a crook to the old man's lips and an inviting wave of one hand over to his table.

As he hears that voice, Cardinal's fingers still in an instant against his hat, his gaze cutting over the edge of his shades towards the man there. Silence reigns for long moments, before something breaks, and he ends up chuckling - a low, nearly uncontrollable few moments of rueful mirth, his head shaking slowly from side to side.

"Sure," he says, snatching up his hat and rising up to his feet, strolling over towards the other bench and dropping himself down, "I like to think I can. Richard."

"Simon," is offered back with a fond smile as the chess pierces are taken out of the box, heavy stone pieces that clunk softly on felt bottoms as they're laid out on the side of the table. "There's not many people, braving the chilly air to come out here today, especially not those interested in playing chess. Today's a beautiful day though, the gray skies have cleared, the storm's ended and we're given time to appreciate what's important."

Lifting up a white king, Simon offers a fond smile, "Chess. Chess is important." Taking the white pieces for himself, Simon sets up the game with aplomb, and on close study he does look younger, more tightness in his skin, a few less wrinkles, but he still sounds the same. Giving Cardinal the black pieces to arrange, Simon works on setting his own side up after setting the case for the pieces aside.

"So, how long have you lived here in the city?" It seems like an honest enough question as Simon's gloved hands arrange the back row of pieces, "or are you a traveler?" Dark brown eyes lift up at that question as he sets the white king into place, then scoops up a handful of pawns and begins to lay them out.

Cardinal's gloved fingers pluck the black king from the pieces, rolling it in his hand as he regards the familiar scratches and chips for a moment, lips curving in the faintest of smiles. Then he sets the pieces slowly up on the board, starting with the back row and continuing forward as he talks with the other man in casual, conversational tones.

"I was born here," he admits, "I'm travelling right now, though." Honesty, if strange honesty, his gaze flickering over to consider the older man with an arch of both eyebrows over his shades, "Yourself? Where're you from, originally?"

The question has Simon hesitating before he lays down his last pawn, brows furrowing and eyes settling on the scuffed black and white surface where the pieces have been laid out. "Germany," comes with a certain heaviness to it, "I was born in a small town called Velgast, I don't remember much of it, truth be told." Given the rules of engagement in chess, the white side always plays their move first.

Simon lifts up his right side knight, sweeping it out across the board in front of the pawns, brows furrowed and hand moving off the piece as he continues conversing with Cardinal. "My family moved to Berlin when I was very young. I lived in very interesting times…" he admits in a hushed voice, "my mother and I left Germany not long before the end of the war,. It was no place to raise a child."

The lift of the white king's knight across the board is matched by the slide of the black king's pawn forward two squares. Gloved hands rest on the edge of the table, his gaze on the board instead of his opponent as he thinks through his strategy… which is more than just how he's playing the game.

"I can imagine it wasn't," admits Cardinal in quiet tones, eyes lifting to the other man again, "Never been to Berlin, or Germany, myself… it must've been something for you to see the wall go down, though. Probably meant a lot more than it did to us."

"History is funny that way," Simon opines as he moves a pawn forward two spaces on the opposite side of the board from his knight, opening up an angle of approach for his left side bishop. "Events happen, some great and some terrible, and the people who were there to experience them always have the most vivid recollections of what it was, what it felt like, what it truly meant when it was happening." Leaning back in his seat, Simon's brows crease and one dark brow rises slowly.

"Then, years later, you have the spectators who weren't there, who did not live what happened commenting colorfully on the could have's and should have's, those who are given the gift of hindsight to second guess the choices that were made. They weren't there, yet that will criticise as if they were. Then, in their time, they will be forced to make choices, participate in history, and somewhere down the line there will be others who will look back on their choices and wonder…"

A black bishop slides across the board in a slice that brings it to stand before the advanced pawn, Richard's fingers lingering for a moment before drawing away. "They say that hindsight is twenty-twenty," he admits, knuckles dropping to rap against the edge of the table, "And most people tend to imagine that the people who were there had a chance to think, to consider, to plan… when, usually, they didn't. They made the decisions they thought they had to at the time…"

He shrugs one shoulder upwards, "…and hoped for the best. Foresight's a much rarer gift than hindsight."

"Much to the world's detriment," Simon notes with a slowly dipped nod of his head, his own white bishop gliding across the board as it comes to a stop just out of reach of black pawns and bishops of Cardinal's own. "A wise man once told me," Simon offers in quote as his elbows come to rest on the corners of the table and his hands fold beneath his chin, "that we are all masters of our own destiny, in as much as we realize that each and every one of us has a destiny to fulfill."

One of Simon's thick brows slowly raise as his wrinkled brow creases. "He told me that nothing was set in stone, that anything… given a big enough push, could be changed." Looking back down to the board, Simon's dark eyes go distant as he adds, "All you have to do, is be willing to move mountains."

"You won't find any argument from me there, Simon…" A black knight lifts over the pawns, entering into the fray although still close to Cardinal's lines, so to speak. "…I might have to borrow that little quote."

Those dark eyes lift over the edge of his shades, regarding the older man in silence for a moment before he admits, "You strike me as the kind of person who'd be more than willing to move those mountains."

"On the contrary," comes with a lift of Simon's brows as he considers the board, "breathing in deeply through his nose. "People become obsessed with trying to change what's coming ahead, change what the future has in store for them. From the days of old when Grecian Senators would consult oracles and diviners to show them glimpses of the future, to the Cold War experiments on remote viewing and precognition…" there's a slow shake of Simon's head as he looks over the board, hands still folded. "Obsession breeds tunnel vision."

Lifting his hand up to pick up that first knight he'd moved, Simon looks up to Cardinal. "I would have my eyes focused ahead on the future, but not with the intention to change anything at all, quite the contrary. My goal would be to persevere, to be the rock upon which others can cling when the storm of the future finally reaches our shores. A port in the storm, casting light out on troubled waters."

The knight moves in, one row back from the black pawns. The bishop's angle, the knight's placement, it was a quick arrangement of pieces. "I wouldn't want to change the future, Richard, that's too dangerous. All I hope, is that there is a way for humanity to survive its own inhumanity, and when those who come after us look back on what we had done, they are able to have the opportunity to have hindsight. Noah did not try to stop the flood when God warned him of it," he intones in hushed volume, "Noah built an Ark.""

When Broome's hand moves away from the knight, one gloved finger tips over Cardinal's king. "Checkmate."

Richard pauses for a moment, regarding the pieces as if trying to figure out where his mis-step was… and he exhales a chuckle, leaning back slowly from the board, both hands resting on the edge. "So it is," he concedes, "S'pose I've got some practicing to do."

The toppled king is picked up, turned over and offered back to Simon as he returns the argument in kind, "Noah built an Ark… but he also had animals on it, and his family, and seeds for planting. Just because you aren't trying to change the immediate event, Simon, doesn't mean you aren't trying to change the future. It just means that you're looking a step or two ahead. Humanity isn't about simply surviving…"

He meets the other man's dark eyes, stating with conviction, "…it's about living."

Taking the king in hand, Simon rolls it around in his gloved palm, looking at its chipped and broken features as he considers the victory and Cardinal's words all in one. "One is very hard to do without the other," sounds like something Simon is trying to puzzle out the answer to as he lifts his eyes up to settle on Cardinal, brows furrowed and assessing of the man seated across from him.

When Simon's dark eyes angle back to Cardinal, they turn to look over his shoulder. "Your friend seems to be done with his business," is offered a bit tongue-in-cheek as Simon offers a tilt of his chin up towards the building behind Cardinal and where Niklaus Zimmerman has emerged, looking around to try and figure out where Cardinal had taken off to.

"It was nice to see you again, old friend." Simon states with a furrow of his brows, a neutral expression cast across his face as he sets the black king down off the board.

The hands on the table's edge push upwards, and Cardinal rises to his feet, looking down at the board. "I'll get you next time, Simon," he says in the casual tones of someone discussing a long rivalry of skill and games, "I promise you that."

The fedora's lifted up, flipped, and set upon his head once more. He looks to the German, and then back down to Simon, his gaze unwavering and expression serious, "In Exodus Thirty-Two, God told Moses to stand aside, for he was about to strike down his people, who had strayed from the path. Moses reasoned with him, and the Lord repented of the evil he was about to do."

"Noah was a coward."

The edge of the hat's tipped slightly, and he turns to head towards the bathrooms, voice raising in a call, "I'm over here, Nik."

Leaning back in his seat to study the chess piece in his hand and the man leaving the table, Simon Broome falls quiet as Richard Cardinal moves to reunite with Niklaus Zimmerman. Leaning his head to the side, Niklaus is looking back at Broome, then squaring a look on Cardinal with a I leave you alone for five minutes look on his face.

"I was going to apologize for that taking a while, but it seems you were entertaining yourself harassing old men." There's a teasing tone that Niklaus adopts, lips creeping up into a smile. "Far be it from me to deprive a man of his hobbies, you could still push him over and steal his wallet, I do not mean to interrupt." Both of Niklaus' hands come up as he cracks a smile.

It's in this moment that Cardinal finds the world around him ground to a halt, time standing still in the presence of a darkly dressed swordsman standing just out of arm's reach where he wasn't a moment ago. Dead leaves blown by the cool wind hang frozen in the air, motionless artifacts of time ground to a halt. Hiro Nakamura's arrival is punctuated by a question.

"Why are you in Central Park?" There's an arch of the time-traveler's brow, a puzzled look on his face. "I apologize for my slowness, there was an incident in the present and Kaylee is not well. I was waiting for Rhys to see how much damage had been done in the past that we would need to clean… but…" Hiro looks suspiciously back and forth between Cardinal and Niklaus, "it seems you two covered your tracks well."

"We started here," Richard replies without missing a beat to Hiro's words, "When you didn't show up, we figured this was where you'd be picking us up again…" It isn't true, and Niklaus knows it, but he's fairly certain that the German knows better than to open his mouth when it's blatantly obvious that he's lying.

He steps along over towards the swordsman with a shake of his head, "I hope she's alright. Let's get back to where we belong, shall we…?"

A smile touches his lips, a private amusement hidden from the other man by his shades."

"I told you that you could trust me, Hiro."

"So you did," Hiro states with a dip of his head into a nod, while Niklaus remains pointedly silent about the entire affair, his back stiff and shoulders squared when Hiro's hand comes to find one, the other hand coming down to lay on Cardinal's. "She will be fine, she just needs rest. Come, I will take you both home. You did wonderfully."

In an instant, time catches up again and the wind blows, Hiro Nakamura, Richard Cardinal and Niklaus Zimmerman disappear back into the stream of time. At his seat in the chess shelter, Simon Broome narrows his eyes as he watches Cardinal and Niklaus seem to disappear into thin air, his hands folding in front of his mouth and brows creasing together, eyes casting askance to the black king on the side of the board.

The cold winter wind blows steadily across the park, branches rustling together and the distant sound of a dog barking and a jogger running past muted distractions. Simon Broome is lost in thought, staring down at the finished game of chess, going over the moves again and again in his mind.

"You started a game without me?" Startles Simon from his thoughts, brings him back to the present as he looks up to the source of the voice. There, a wiry man in a white windbreaker hiding his dress shirt and necktie save for the collar offers a teasing shake of his head and chastising click of his tongue.

"Oh, no… I was just…" Simon's dark eyes narrow, then look back up as his partner he'd been waiting for folds himself down into the seat Richard was just in, looking at the board thorugh the lenses of small, round glasses. He laughs, blue eyes alighting to Simon.

"You were just winning in what, four moves?" One of his fine brows lifts and there's a grin spreading across his face as he starts rearranging the black side of the board. "Clearly you haven't found a replacement for me yet," he says with fond confidence.

"No," Simon notes, handing the black king across the board to his opponent.

"No I haven't, Edward."

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License