Feet First Into The Deep End


cardinal_icon.gif elisabeth_icon.gif jaiden_icon.gif

Scene Title Feet First Into The Deep End
Synopsis Jaiden's all-in real damn fast — and he may as well get the full briefing with everyone else.
Date Aug 9, 2010

Redbird Security Solutions

New York's Financial District is normally home to coporate hedge fund traders and pedestrians, some going to work in the well-kept buildings or on their way to other parts of the city, others just being tourists, taking pictures of Ground Zero #1 or the giant bronze bull that represents the strength of the US economy, but today, amidst all the traffic, is a blue and white 1968 Mustang GT-500 slowly creeping down the road. The man sitting behind the wheel glances now and then at an iPhone mounted to the dash, making sure his directions are right before pulling into a mercifully vacant parking place and steps out of the car into traffic.

Dodging a cab that came a little too close for comfort, he locks the doors and arms the alarm, scooting around to feed the meter and heading down the block in a nonchalant pace, scanning signs and markings for the security company he has an interview at. It does take him a few minutes to make it there, a bit earlier than he expected, but being early for an appointment is often a good thing - even when the person you're meeting with isn't really expecting you at a particular time. Squaring his shoulders, the backpack spanning them jingling slightly, he mounts the stairs and enters the door. This is it.

The building is actually one of the last remaining old ones in the city. Pearl Street's revitalization sort of hit a snag about the time the Bomb went off. So it's one of the more picturesque brick buildings in the area. The front door of the building is unlocked and there are lights on inside, so someone must be in. The sound of music comes from one of the offices down the hall off the reception area and a woman's voice is singing along to a techno-beat cover of a song most people born in the 1970s know.

No one understands, but Major Tom sees
Now the life commands,
This is my home. I'm coming home.

Earth below us, drifting, falling
floating weightless, calling calling home…

Elisabeth is down there in the last room, apparently putting the last coat of paint on the walls, a soft tan hue. She's wearing a pair of cutoffs and a spaghetti-strapped tanktop with sneakers and socks. And honestly, that voice carries beautifully.

Trying the handle gives the result that Jaiden was looking for, the door swinging open on well-oiled hinges, the man steps into the blessed cool of the shadowed building interior before closing the door behind him with a muffled thud. The sound of Major Tom heralds him down the hall, the man slowly approaching, stopping at each doorway to peer into open offices, some dark, some not, glancing around to get the lay of the land, number of desks and the like (and locations of faucets, water bottles, and bathrooms too!). His wrinkles his nose at the smell of fresh paint - it could be worse, he supposes - and approaches the last room where the voice and the smell is strongest. "Hello?" he calls out before he pokes his head 'round the doorjamb, looking to see who's here and smiling when he catches sight of Elisabeth bendign to and fro in a rather brief pair of cutoffs, taking in the 'view' for a moment before clearing his throat. "Fancy seeing you in a place like this. Tan smudges are quite fetching on you."

She was expecting people to arrive shortly. It's why the door was open. So the sound of the voice in the doorway initially doesn't cause a problem, it's the accent that does. Liz pulls upward quickly and pivots on a heel, blue eyes wide. Well…. shit. A hand comes up to wipe her face absently, leaving another tan smudge on her face. She wasn't expecting him.

"You do have a talent for catching me in the oddest moments," she observes over the music. She sets the roller down and walks to the radio to turn it off. Makes for easier talking. She picks up the bottle of water next to the radio and takes a long swallow, studying him. "I see you decided to come play in the deep end of the pool," she comments mildly.

"Ah, good." He looks pleased, stepping into the room and taking a patch of floor as she suggests, right in the middle, making sure to not be on the cloth keeping the paint from hitting the floor, sitting cross-legged, his fingers clasped over his lap. "I like going into things with as much information as I could possibly get, and it's kind of lucky that you're here to kind of babysit me until I can see the man in charge and get what's going on."

He rocks back and forth, giving Elisabeth a playful grin. "Wasn't expecting an office right off the bat after putting in with you lot, but I'll take one if there's one available"

She snickers at him. "Nah, you only get an office if you work for the security company. If you're looking for a new day job, though, we can talk. Hell, I don't even have an office," Liz retorts easily. She takes another swallow of her water and then moves to pick the roller back up to finish the last wall, apparently unconcerned that she's got company. Or about what he might think of the view either! "If someone hadn't been here, the door woulda been locked. But like I said, the man in charge ought to be along pretty shortly." She gets more paint on her roller and goes back to the wall, setting to work once more.

"Would've been a conflict of interests if you'd been working here officially, Liz, you know that." A casual statement-slash-question from the doorway as Richard makes his appearance there, the hint of a smile tugging up at one corner of his lips. He's dressed for decorating work himself, a simple white t-shirt splattered here and there with dots and stains of paint and a pair of worn jeans that've suffered the same fate. He's still wearing shades, too, although a cheaper pair than he usually wears perch upon his face. A casual look appreciates the sight of Elisabeth in that outfit, then back to Jaiden, asking casually, "Not interrupting, I hope?"

What Jaiden thinks of the view is, luckily, unable to be read, but as he leans back on the floor, resting on his elbows, he's pretty much paying attention to the way bits of her move beneath her clothes as she stretches up on her toes and bends down to get the paint in all of the nooks and crannies. A fairly nice view, if one were to ask. "Oh, I don't know. It's kind of nice having a normal-sounding day job as a mechanic rather than as a security officer. Raises all sorts of red flags when you're talking to folks if it comes out you're security and not someone normal, like them." He clears his throat and slips his iPhone out of his pocket, fiddling with it before giving her a whistle to get her attention. If she turns, his iPhone captures a picture of her (face and shoulders, nothing purient!) with a flash, the man lowering it after a moment to smile, leaning back to look at Cardinal upside-down before straightining and spinning around. "Nah, just talking about the offices and the painting. And taking a picture or two for my contact list. Did I pick a bad day to wander by?"

The other male voice in the door brings her head around to shoot Cardinal a cute grin over her shoulder. "Hello, handsome." And she gets her picture taken, paint streaking her cheek and all! "Oh good Lord, you did not!" she admonishes Jaiden with a roll of her eyes. She turns her attention back to the wall so she can finish even as she answers, "No, actually. You picked a good day." She glances at Cardinal and comments mildly, "He's in — so may as well include him on tonight's briefing, I'm thinking. Cuz if he's amenable, I'd like to take him with on Thursday." Her tone doesn't defer to him for permission, it's more like informing him of her intent.

The mention of the briefing brings Cardinal's eyebrows up in a slow, querying arch in Elisabeth's direction. A look back to Jaiden, then to Liz, and he walks along into the room proper with the wry comment, "Well, I see you've been getting along then. Does he even know what it's about? How much've you told him — I don't want to dump him in the middle of that hell without any idea what's going on."

"Dealing with potential futures - killing the bad ones - by changing them in the past, if the blurb she gave me the other evening was correct." Jaiden looks to Cardinal as he circles. "Trying to make sense of visions of the future and finding ways to prevent those visions from happening. Causing trouble for those who want the bad things to happen. Stuff like that?" He goes quiet, glancing to Liz, patting his cameraphone and slipping it into his breast pocket. Oh yes, he did.

Elisabeth chooses to finish the last several swipes of the roller on the wall to give it even coverage of the tan shade that Peyton chose for this room before responding to either of them, giving Jaiden time to articulate his own response. When the wall is complete — which completes the room in its entirety, she turns back to the men and drops the paint rolls her to floor at her feet. She looks at Cardinal, blue eyes frank as she answers him. "It's a risk," she acknowledges. Bringing in someone new always is. "And it's going to be a massive infodump for him, but I think he can handle it and make his own decision about what he wants to do. We have to give most of the others the full background anyway, and this way we'll only have to tell the details of the Institute's activities and the plan for later in the week one time. He could use a good crash course in the details like Edward Ray and how we got started in all this, how the beginning ties in to what we're about to do, buuuuuut….." She grins cheekily at Richard, her expression impish. "You always tell me I use too many words telling that part anyway. So I thought you'd get the joy of it."

She pointedly ignores the camera phone. Liz might be forced to wrestle the man for it, and that's just kinda rude in present company.

A slight nod of Richard's head is all the agreement she gets - or needs, likely, as he's confident in her judge of character. A hand lifts, raking back through his short hair and scratching at the nape of his neck as he turns back to Jaiden. The hint of a smile tugs up at one corner of his lips as he admits, "Something like that. The world is way - way more fucked up than you know right now, but you'll start to get an idea soon." A pause, "Maybe I should set up a powerpoint presentation. It'd be easier than saying it over and over. Employee handbook, maybe?"

Jaiden chuckles, rolling his eyes at that. "How we save the world - a moving picture show. Frame one, the big city! Frame two, evil! Boo!" Imaginations working, Jaiden sees a cartoony presentation Batman-style, with EndGame standing atop their fallen foes, giant grins and a waving flag in the back. "Honestly, if you can present the information well, it might not be that bad of an idea to have something like that, but the personal touch is appreciated." He looks to Liz. "She seems to think I can do some good in your little crew, and with my background and my….evolved ability." A pause. "I think I can too. My vision….whatever it was, had me falling from a helicopter into a riot, so if I can avoid that, so much the better. Hell, just talking to you and helping your group out may have already changed it for the better. There's something comforting about not knowing, but knowing and doing nothing? That ain't exactly right."

Elisabeth can't help but giggle. "You? Powerpoint? Christ, Richard…. I wasn't even sure you knew Powerpoint existed," she teases with a wink. And she asides to Jaiden in a tone that's probably going to earn her retaliation of some kind either now or later, "He's not a complete Luddite — he can text on his phone now!"

Jaiden's response, though, earns an honest smile from Liz. "Mine had me on the ground in the middle of the riot you dropped in on," she admits quietly. "And Richard…" She glances at the other man, nudging his shoulder with her own as she walks around him to take the roller to the bathroom to rinse it out before it dries. "Well, he won't talk about his. It was pretty bad, apparently."

At the not-entirely-undeserved accusation that Cardinal fails at modern technology, he rolls his eyes - and as she nudges around past him, he sweeps one hand back to give her cut-off clad backside a firm smack, glancing back over his shoulder to her with a smirk. "Just go clean the roller up, wouldja?" A deft side-step of the topic of his own vision.

A look back to the other man, and he nods once, "November eighth… well, if we don't change it, the city's gonna burn. We're still figuring out exactly what happens to cause it, but we have a few clues." He pauses, then asks, "What was that thing you posted about — every prophet…?"

"I don't know, to be honest. It was coming over the radio from what I can recall rightly. 'Every Prophet in his House' were the first spoken words I heard in the vision and then, like someone flipped a switch or something, people just came, running. I can't say those words caused the riots, but….it's what it looked like happened to me." Jaiden gets to his feet, walking over to peer out of the window, scanning the street below before turning his attention back to Cardinal. "Did some searching online to see if it was biblical or religious…closest I could find was a usage in a TV show a while back. Nothing concrete."

"Christ. It sounds like something Edward would say…" Cardinal brings a hand up to rub against his face beneath the rest of his sunglasses, eyes closed, "…alright. That's something, at least." The hand falls, then, and he tips his chin in a nod up and over, "What's your ability? And I know you mentioned you were military - you ever see action?"

"First off, I'm not registering. I don't agree with it on a moral level. I'm not dangerous, but I don't think I need to be in a database just because I can do interesting things." He turns to face Cardinal, his hands going palm up, forearms parallel to the ground. "I'm a hydrokinetic. I play with water and make it do things that it normally can't do. I can pull it out of the air, for example." There's a sharp hissing sound from somewhere and the air in the room gets very dry, and sitting in Jaiden's outstretched palms are two globes of water, hovering a bit above his hands. "Depending on the amount of water around, I can do other things. Barriers, streams, geysers….I can do. Stick me in a pond and I can hold off just about all comers."

Jaiden moves closer, the water dispersing back into the air, forming a small barrier in between him and Cardinal. "Give that a touch and see if you think it won't stop something powerful. Haven't tried versus armor piercing, but small arms won't get through it, and you'd be amazed at how much trouble a gallon of water forcibly introduced into someone's sinuses can be. As far as action - I was special forces in Australia. Combat Medic and Sniper training, mostly. If it has a trigger or goes boom, I can probably use it competently. Action….well…yes. Pirates off the coast of Somalia once, security at the 2000 Sydney games…a run through Afghanistan."

As the water's drawn from the air to condense into those globes, Cardinal's head bobs in a slow nod. "I wouldn't ask you to - register, that is. At least not while the system's so fucking corrupt they're using the registry as a god-damn… shopping list," he says in disgruntled tones, watching the small wall of water shimmer in the air - reaching forward to push one hand against it, fingers pressed to the surface tension.

"Not bad. Not bad. I knew a hydrokinetic once, helped us save the world…" A smile twitches to his lips, and it isn't entirely a nice one, "…and good. You're going to see action again, real soon, Jaiden. This week, in fact."

Elisabeth's been listening from the bathroom as she cleans up the paint roller and her hands. And dear God, where'd that streak on her face come from??? Whatever. As she comes back in the room and heads toward the bottle of water she had sitting over there by the radio, she looks curious. "I never really knew what she could do," she says of the other hydrokinetic. "Except that if I remember right, she could like take the water right out of someone's body or something? I dunno, maybe she was yanking my chain," she admits. She takes a swallow of her water and looks between them, simply listening. "We could certainly use someone with med training, but I have a feeling it's going to be the weaponized versions of what you can do that I'll need most on Thursday." Or at least, we can hope.

"I can pull water out of things….it's how I make the water in the air condense in my hands. I probably could do it to a person, but I don't now how long it'd take and if it would even be a possibility to use that as an attack. I work with the existing water around me but that has a lot of leeway….water pipes, bottles of water, lakes, rivers, streams…" He chuckles. "one militia group during my journalist times decided attacking in a rainstorm would be a good plan. They all made it out alive, but they'd been beaten with sticks for the past hour and a half."

The water disappears to whence it came in a puff of what seems to be steam, but without heat, that dissipates into the room after a moment. "What's going on Thursday?"

"I'll see what I can do about making sure you've got some water, then…" A turn of his head towards the door brings an easy smile to his lips, Cardinal's head lifting in a nod towards Elisabeth, "…Ferry'll have triage set up for our injured, we're trying to convince them to provide some extra manpower, too."

Then back towards the newest member of their little brigade, and he says in serious tones, "We're hitting a… facility. It's government funded, but it's as dark black as you can go, we even have some support from pretty high up in the government for taking it down. They've been kidnapping Evolved and experimenting on them. We'll be working with a few other groups to carry it out."

Now Elisabeth's eyes slide to Jaiden. Though it's invisible, it is now that Conrad Wozniak's training begins to come into play for certain things like listening to heartbeats. Not that a heartbeat alone will tell her that he's lying, but she's been a cop for long enough to know the subtle signs of a person who's just been handed information he's been working for. Her blue eyes are shuttered as she studies him around a sip of her water, simply giving the man her full attention for his reaction.

The man lets out a breath, his heartbeat slow and steady still. There's maybe a hiccup and an intake of breath at the mention of experimenting on evolved - shock mostly, at the audacity - but a nod. "Any idea what we're going to be up against? How many people? Any machinery? Any evolved on their side?" A look to Liz before it goes back to Cardinal. "This has bad things written all over it."

"They're mostly relying on physical security, unfortunately, since they know that all the major active technopaths are arrayed against them," Cardinal admits, scratching at his temple and waving his hand vaguely, "That's what the briefing tonight's about, so I won't go over it twice - but suffice it to say, they've got a lot of guys with guns and probably a decent number of Evolved, too. It's not going to be pretty." A smirk, then, "They aren't going to be ready for what we're hitting them with, though."

Elisabeth gaze slides to Richard and a faint smile quirks her mouth. "I was going to leave Kershner in the dark on this and just slip back with Felix from DC that night, but the more I consider, the more I think it's a bad plan. I need to let her know that something's up before it goes down; we're going to need her help in …. delaying my squad's arrival." Her talents are not entirely unique, but some of the applications of it are singular to Elisabeth herself.

"The less I know about what's coming, the better. At least, until you trust me a little more. I understand the need for compartmentalizing information and I want to help, not be something for the group to worry about." Another glance goes Eilsabeth's way. "So you're going to come and rescue us, or supposedly stop us from destroying a facility….the delayed calvary?" He chuckles. "Nice."

There's a pause as Jaiden thinks, his chin tipping down, studying the scuffed floor of the office for a bit. "Will you be able to get me any body armor at all? Concentrated groups of people and plenty of water, I can deal with, but long-range gunfire with me in the open I'd rather not experience. I've also got a few sources, but Thursday….I don't know if I can pull off a source for military-grade body armor that quick. Oh…and just in case someone's there with cameras…I may be wearing a bandanna over my face, just to hide my identity a little more. I don't mind you guys knowing, but others? The less the other guys have to go with, the better.

"Oh, hell, we'll all be wearing bandanas at the least, balaclavas preferably - Messiah's agreed to take full responsibility to take the heat off the others involved, and I'd prefer to keep the government's guns directed towards them, thank you very much," Cardinal allows with a tight shake of his head, "Even if the pulse doesn't knock out all their cameras, people can still remember faces, so, yeah, covering up. We have a source for military grade weapons - I think we still have some vests downstairs at least, Liz, don't we? And the shotguns and assault rifles, of course."

The suggestion is considered for a moment, and then he nods, "I'll talk to Kershner, then, make sure that things are… delayed."

"UHm…. no," Elisabeth says quietly. "I'm leading one of the exterior assault teams, and I don't want my squad in the line of fire out there. This is not a FRONTLINE operation, Jaiden, make no mistake. If anyone gets picked up for this, they'll be lucky if Evo Gitmo is all that happens." Her tone is serious, and she nods to Richard. "If we don't have a good piece of body armor, I can get hold of it." Cat is a great source for such things. She's been stockpiling them. "And if you have a preferred weapon besides assault rifles, speak up. We don't need to rely on bandannas, mate," she teases. "A balaclava works just fine and is available."

A glance slides back to Richard. "No," Elisabeth says quietly. "This time it has to be my call. I'll deal with her on it."

"Just make sure a water main or two gets popped and I'll have all the weaponry I need." Jaiden shakes his hands out and rocks his head back and forth. "But in case there's not anything around like that, give me an MP-5 and a few clips and a bolt-action rifle with a decent scope."

The woman's regarded for a long moment, and then Cardinal nods ever so slightly. "Alright. Don't give her any more details than you have to. Just tell her to… keep FRONTLINE busy for the night as long as she can. I don't trust her that much." A hand reaches out to grip her shoulder briefly, trailing down her arm before he pulls away, "You'll get more at the briefing. Speaking of, I need to go set things up downstairs."

Her lips quirk into a faint smile. "As she pointed out to me once…. we've got to trust sometime. I'll try to keep it to a minimum, but I'll tell her what I need to," Elisabeth replies softly, one hand dropping on top of Cardinal's just before his slips away. "It'll be fine." She jerks a chin to Jaiden with a smile. "Give him the grand tour or something — I'll go piss off the Shark. Want me to bring back Thai?" She waggles her fingers at Jaiden and winks. "I haven't had time to cook lately," she teases Cardinal.

"If you have a kitchen, I can fling together a pretty decent coconut curry chicken. Sweet and hot and tasty. Good stuff. But bringing back food is good, too." Jaiden smiles. "Want me to wander along with you, Cardinal, or are you putting something super secret together?"

"I'm mostly setting up chairs and getting some maps up on the walls," Cardinal admits with an easy shrug of one shoulder, turning to head back out of the room, "So come along - you can see the basement. Don't bother trying your phone while we're down there, though, nothing gets in or out. Whole place is basically a, what'd Wireless call it? Faraday cage…"

"Thai sounds good. We'll all be hungry tonight, I think."

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