Flies In A Web


cardinal_icon.gif elisabeth_icon.gif sarisa_icon.gif

Scene Title Flies in A Web
Synopsis It's all so black and white to Sarisa.
Date Sept 16, 2010

Redbird Security Solutions, Basement

The string map has gotten a lot of attention from Elisabeth this week. In light of knowing people are getting messages to go into the damn past, she's been somewhat freaked out. A thorough study of the strings, however, has essentially yielded the blonde nothing. Although the letter that arrived from Jaiden was… reassuring? Perhaps? Whatever it was that he went back to do, she's still here. She still remembers him, which means he's probably still alive, right? Cuz if he died in the past she wouldn't remember meeting him at all or …. would she because he didn't go back to the past until after she met him?

"Jesus fuckin' Christ," the blonde groans softly, covering her eyes with the heel of her hands as she slumps over the table in front of her and rests on her elbows.

Standing there like that, bent so that the view she's presenting to the stairs is her behind, Elisabeth scrubs at her face. "Richard… do you ever feel like your goddamned head is going to explode from all the information you're attempting to process? Cuz…. seriously, just thinking about the paradoxes involved in the fact that Jaiden sent a letter gives me a migraine." She digs the heels of her hands into her eyes hard enough to see spots. "And worse…. I don't remember meeting him, and who the hell knows what I might have said to him back then?" It's clearly a rhetorical demand. "I mean seriously. I don't even know who I was back then. And Kershner's going to gimme the Face. She always gives me the Face when I've perturbed her," she laments.

"She might," Cardinal replies in a voice that sounds rather amused, the opening of the door that alerted her to his arrival not followed by the sound of it closing afterwards, "You could always turn around and find out, I mean, she is right behind me…"

The reason for the door not closing is, in fact, because the recently-returned King of Endgame has brought company with him. He's dressed in customary garb for himself - dark jeans, a dark long-sleeved shirt - and he's holding the door open with one gloved hand as a wry smile curves to his lips beneath the shadow of his shades.

"Kershner," he offers casually, "Our ops center, well, such as it is. We keep pretty decentralized for the most part, but it's nice to have somewhere we can work in our own building."

"Such as it is," is offered in echo by Sarisa as she strides in behind Richard, a slimming leather jacket buttoned down over a thin red sweatshirt, her black slacks dashed with red pinstriping, heeled boots clicking on the floor with each long stride. "This is a map like the ones Nakamura and Ray have made in the past," Sarisa offers with a furrow of her brows, moving for the map and not Elisabeth's throat.

Looking up past the map at the block lettering, Sarisa's brows furrow slowly. "Fight the future, that's adorable." Turning her cold stare over to Elisabeth, Sarisa's head slowly cants to the side and a deep breath is drawn in.

"Why don't you explain to me whatever it was you were discussing before I came in the room, and whatever other intel you have, and then I'll let you know about something you may find to be quite the boon…" One of Kershner's dark brows lifts as she adds, "Do try to give context."

Shoving herself upright, her posture immediately falling into a nearly at-attention kind of straightness — the military members of her squad are definitely rubbing off on her slightly — Elisabeth whirls about to see her boss. Weeeeeellllllll fuck.

With a sigh, Elisabeth catalogs what she knows, what she needs to say, and settles on, "I'll explain. No… that'll take too long, let me sum up. Members of various organizations that I have contacts in have been approached by an unknown with the intention of — and apparently accomplishment of, actually — sending these people into the past to stop other teams from changing the timeline."

She glances at Cardinal. Was that short enough? Elisabeth's blue eyes look back at her boss as she waits for the rapping out of questions that will tell her which details the Shark actually wants.

"As if things weren't complicated enough," Cardinal mutters under his breath, a stain of venom to the words, "We've got Hiro and someone else fighting through time on top of it all…"

An unhurried walk takes him along to the edge of the map after the Shark, his steps carrying him to stand beside her, arms folding across his chest and weight shifting to one foot. "Sarisa Kershner, mistress of the obvious - yeah, it's exactly like one of those, only I'm not as good at it as either of them. If I had access to more of the visions that people had during the flash, I could maybe get it a bit closer to accurate…" A sidelong glance, "Don't suppose the government's been gathering them."

"There's a department in the NSA gathering intelligence on the visions, but they're also gathering all the chaffe too. It's going to take too long to sort through it all for valuable intelligence. I don't know any other agency working on it, but right now I figure we're all about on the same kilter…" Turning to look up at the map, Sarisa's brows furrow.

"Nakamura and another… we don't have any other temporal manipulators on record, not since the issue of how Ray got back in time was handled." Looking askance to Cardinal, Sarisa's brows furrow, then she looks past the shadowmorph to Elisabeth. "The best option would be to neutralize both parties, kill Nakamura and the competition before they can do irreparable damage in their own good intended ways."

Looking back to the strings, Sarisa's eyes narrow. "Somehow I doubt that is an option. I will let you in on a secret," she admits in a quiet voice, stepping closer to the web and inspecting it in more detail. "There is a shoot on sight order for Nakamura in the Department of Homeland Security. He's simply too dangerous to be allowed to live with what he can do." Then, off-handedly she adds, "Officially, at any rate."

Thumbing a newspaper clipping, Sarisa looks back to Cardinal. "This is so far outside of my hands that unless you provide me with some actionable information, there's absolutely nothing I can do. I can't police history and I sure as hell…" both of Sarisa's eyes slowly narrow, then she looks askance.

"Anyway," blue eyes flick back up, "continue."

"Well, quite frankly, aside from bringing you up to speed on the fact that it's happening, I'm pretty we don't expect you to actually do shit about it, ma'am," Elisabeth retorts drily. "However, that said, it's always prudent to inform one's boss when one becomes the target of an assassination squad." She shrugs.

"It was worth a try," admits Cardinal with a shrug of one shoulder, turning fully with a slight frown upon his lips as he considers Sarisa for a moment, "Killing him wouldn't do any good. I have… a report that there're multiple instances of Nakamura operating in our timeline, so it might just piss the… other 'hims' off."

His gaze cuts back to the map, and he asks quietly, "There's a… serial killer out there. The same powers as Sylar… same MO. He's an old man, though. What do you know about him?"

It seems very out of nowhere, the question.

Sarisa affixes a look at Elisabeth — yes, the look — then turns her focus to Cardinal and crosses her arms over her chest. "Samson Gray, DHS has been searching for him since the murder of Karen Lau. Agent Audrey Hanson was assigned to his case, Ivanov was on the case for a while as well. Gray's identity has been kept from the public to avoid panic, especially in light of the fact that the world at large believes his son is still dead. The idea of a copycat is more palateable than the truth, in either case."

Walking through th string web, Sarisa looks towards the glass wall where the armory is contained, then stands up straight somewhere close to the middle of the web. "Gray disappeared off the radar during the storm after he tried to murder an ICU patient dying of cancer, we believe it was an attack of opportunity and that Samson himself may have needed whatever ability he had to save his life. His son helped him escape, whereabouts currently unknown." Turning to look back at one of the strings, Sarisa starts tracing it, as if she's figuring things out.

"What's Samson Gray done to you and yours?" Sarisa asks, as if the answer to it won't break her mind in half.

"Wendy Hunter, Power Detection. Angelina Jackman, Molecular Combustion…" A quiet litany of Richard's friends that've fallen to the hunger of Samson Grey, spoken in quiet and carefully controlled tones to try and keep any emotion out of it, his gaze lingering on the many strings that stretch across the time-map in the basement. Most of the notes that hang from the strings are written in a strange kind of shorthand - not very useful to Sarisa's attempts to read it, even if she knows how.

He's silent for a moment, then glances to Elisabeth - then to Sarisa again - before turning his full attention away from both, to the map.

"I ran into… Gabriel's father, I guess? A few weeks ago on Staten Island. He was… confused to see me," he says quietly, "Once I evaded his first attack, he recognized the power. The face."

"He claims he killed me in seventy-seven."

Her jaw clenches, and though Elisabeth says not a single word, her face blanches visibly. She reaches up to pinch the bridge of her nose and gain control of her emotions, and she forces neutrality into her tone. "Oh, fun. You in '77, me in '99, and whoever the fuck else." She rubs her forehead and finally looks up. "This is not making my migraine any better, I promise."

The blank stare that Sarisa affords Cardinal is understandable, few men get to know the exact date of their death, fewer how they die. It's a burden that Sarisa herself is fortunate not to have on her shoulders, though if she knew how she was destined to die, she'd likely be very disappointed. Or, so Else Kjelstrom postulated once in writing.

"Then I think you need to stay away from Hiro Nakamura. That does mesh up with what intelligence Hanson's team uncovered about Samson Gray, he was highly active on Staten Island in the seventies and early eighties, right up until what we can presume is Gabriel's birth, then… nothing."

Arching both of her brows, Sarisa ducks out of the web and hunches forward as she walks back to the edge, straightening up to look at both Elisabeth and Cardinal alternately. "Don't go back in time, don't die. It's as simple as that, I imagine. I can't profess to know how predestined or mutable particular historic events are, and frankly I'm not sure people who say they know would know any better either. But," Sarisa's brows furrow, "if you don't load the gun, you don't die when you pull the trigger."

"I know what he wants me to do in the past, and… shit." Cardinal brings a hand up to rub against his forehead, his eyes closing, "I don't even know what the world'd be like if— it'd change everything. Maybe for the better, honestly. Maybe not. I don't… know."

His hand drops down, and he exhales a rough snort, "Also, you're assuming I can say no. Nakamura could just — rip me into the past and I wouldn't even know until I tripped over someone in bellbottoms. I don't plan on going, but I might not have any choice in the matter."

He chews briefly on his lower lip, "I could see who the Company had active in seventy-seven. Maybe I could get some backup in that time… most of the Founders are in jail now, but Angela's still free."

Elisabeth… blinks at him. There's a jump in logic here that …. "You want to ask the Company for help?" she asks. "Do we even know if, in 1977, they'd already been corrupted, or are you actually…. believing that they meant well back then?" She's somewhat incredulous about the possibility there.

"The Company was officially founded in 1977. That was the date of the inception of the Primatech Paper cover," Sarisa offers clearly, taking a few strides away from the string web, running one hand through her hair and raking back blonde bangs from her face. "The twelve founders were the only members in seventy-seven as far as I'm aware, but if you're… if you're seriously considering actually doing this, Richard, you have to realize that any movement on your part on the Company's radar could prove disastrous to you."

Saisa's cold, blue eyes sweep around the room, then settle back on Cardinal. "One wrong step, and perhaps Arthur Petrelli steps on your butterfly, or Kaito Nakamura. He was a probability predictor on par with Edward Ray. There is no telling what your interactions with them in the past could do, and little benefit to your present given the current state of the organization as a whole."

"Officially." Cardinal's lips purse in a tight line as he considers the map splayed out before them, not looking at either of the two, "They existed before that… nineteen-sixty one, as I recall. The year Coyote Sands was destroyed."

"I know it's an incredibly stupid idea, but honestly, I don't have any desire to die," he says wryly, slanting a look over to Sarisa, "Do you have any other suggestions, other than 'Don't be there' or 'Contact people who could fuck up the entire future'?"

One hand curls into a fist at his side, "I have too much to do to die now."

The soft, husky chuckle of the blonde leaning on the table watching them has a wry sound to it. "Heaven forbid you not want to die just because you don't want to die, Richard," she says, shaking her head. Shoving herself up off the edge of the table where she's leaning, Elisabeth unfolds her arms and tells her boss(es), "Here's the trick.

"Going back in time, they've got to be working from some kind of roadmap. They're not picking random targets through time, are they? They've got to be choosing their course pretty damn carefully to bring about a very particular set of changes. Just killing us isn't enough — sure, it changes the timeline drastically, especially recent events as in about the past two years, but I get the impression that they're not just choosing either their targets or when to hit them at random. Jaiden's note said this guy Bluthener could read the ripples caused by events. Probably similar to a probability manipulator. It seems to me they're not just trying to get a few pains in the ass out of their sandbox; it seems more likely that the particular people and times would be pivotal in some way to whatever it is they're trying to actually make happen. Whether that's… as an example, keeping Pinehearst from being brought down or what, I can't begin to guess. I'll leave that to the two of you."

There's a smile at the man and a nod to Kershner, then Elisabeth says quietly, "I'm on call, so I need to go back upstairs where I can get the signal until my on-call shift is over. See you in a bit."

"If I were you? I'd bring someone who could keep Samson Gray off of you, but even that would be changing things…" Sarisa's brows furrow thoughtfully, her eyes cast askance at Elisabeth, filing away a piece of intel about a specific surname for a postcognitive in the back of her mind. Turning blue eyes back to Cardinal, Sarisa shakes her head from side to side.

"If you're going into hostile territory," Sarisa notes with a shrug of both shoulders, "terrain dictates. Bring whatever you think you can need, then adapt to your environment. That's the best advice anyone can give you. But," Sarisa notes with one brow raised, "if Hiro Nakamura is sending you back to a date that you know you die in, than maybe you should tell him…" alternately, Sarisa offers a more harrowing possibility. "Or, he already knows, and you're not going back to save anyone."

"If he is," Cardinal says quietly, darkly, "I'll make him damn sure that I don't give a shit which butterflies I'll stomp on. I don't care if it's this future I'm changing…" He reaches out and plucks lightly at one string, the entire map vibrating lightly from the touch, "…or the one we've already lived through."

Which, of course, is exactly the sort of attitude that Hiro's opponent has. Richard's always been an irredeemable meddler.

"Anyway." He turns back to Liz with a faint, rueful half-smile, "Alright. I'll talk to you later, babe…" A sweep of his gaze regards Sarisa, then, through his shades. "So what'd you have to tell us?"

"I have a mole on the inside of the Institute's central facilities," Sarisa offers plainly the moment that Elisabeth has left the room. "He has applied for a position at the Commonwealth Institute central offices in Cambridge and has been accepted, I've learned that he will be heading to a training facility in Braintree to join Squad Zero."

Furrowing her brows, Sarisa inclines her head forward, letting blonde bangs fall from behind one ear and shadow the side of her face. "Unfortunately his infiltration will be remarkably short-lived, as he does not currently possess an Evolved ability, though the Institute is not aware of this. They believe that Francois Allegre can still heal people."

Looking up to Cardinal, Sarisa's brows furrow. "I need what you gave Petrelli in Antarctica."

"…Francois?" Cardinal turns the rest of himself towards her directly now, his brow furrowing in a deep wrinkle between his eyes, "You inserted Francois into the Institute?"

There's a momentary pause, before he adds, "Even if I had any of it left, which I don't, it wouldn't work."

Blue eyes narrow and Sarisa fires a stern look at Cardinal. "Yes, Francois is in the Institute. He volunteered. He thinks that by infiltrating the Institute he'll be able to retrieve information about where Laudani's other copies are being held. I'm not going to argue the point with him." From the sounds of it, she doesn't believe it will.

"While he's inside he's going to be gathering as much intelligence for me as possible about the Institute and its operatives. He's already informed me that Roger Goodman apparently is not as dead as the Company had believed and is operating as the head of their human resources department."

Sliding her tongue across the back of her teeth, brows furrowed, Sarisa interjects a more pointed comment afterward. "I don't have time for your games on this either, Richard. Give me a vial of the Formula. I've been good about not asking about it until now, after your little stunt in Antarctica. But I need to seal Francois' cover."

"That's nice," Cardinal replies in dry tones, "But there were only a few vials brought back from the future. I had access to precisely two of them, and I've used both… but even if some of the others survived, and if you could get your hands on them? Francois wouldn't be able to heal again."

"The… abilities that Francois and Volken possessed don't work like normal ones," he explains with a slow shake of his head, "I gave one of the vials to a previous holder of the healing power. They turned into a pyromorph."

A sharp, heavy sigh is exhaled from Sarisa's lips as she turns fully around, the same way a wild animal does after it's been injured and isn't sure how to respond. She paces away, one hand raking through her hair, then as she turns around to make her first pass, Sarisa's brows have lowered and blue eyes are locked on Cardinal with predatory expression.

"If I find out that you are screwing with me, after as open as I have been with you about my operations, so help me Richard Cardinal I will shine a spotlight on you so bright that there will not be a shadow dark enough for you to hide in." Lips curling down into a frown, Sarisa slides her gloved hand out of her hair, exhaling a slow sigh as she does, whereupon her expression shifts— to— a smile.

"That said, I'm glad I know in advance what would have happened had I injected him, that could have been unfortunate." Sliding her tongue over the inside of her cheek, Sarisa looks askance to the string web, then back to Cardinal.

"If there's anything you'd like Allegre to look into while he's nosing around the Institute, I'd talk to him." Swapping between thewatening and sugar sweet like a fucking pendulum suddeny Raith's explanation of Sarisa being the crazy one from the Royals seems to have more weight.

As she paces away, as she threatens him in sharp tones, Cardinal merely regards her with a steady gaze behind those near-opaque shades, apparently unimpressed by her threats when they're laid down. "If I was going to be screwing with you," he replies in ash-dry tones, "I wouldn't've taken you down here. I've been pretty dangerously open about my own operation. Right now, either of us can fuck the other - and not in the fun way."

Even if her power didn't make it verbatum, or Elisabeth hadn't said 'no way in fucking hell', he has a rule about screwing people that crazy.

…at least post-Isabelle anyway.

"I will," he says then, "Do you still have a Dumont in, too?"

"I do," Sarisa notes with a furrow of her brows, "he's working Retreiver duty with Sabine. They're stationed in Queens at a defunct firehouse. Their retreiver team has been entirely replaced by Dumont clones and Sabine, when the Institute puts out calls for a Retreiver squad in that area, they'll know. I'm hoping to use them to gather intel on movements of agents and captures… but the Institute has been exceptionally quiet."

Sliding her tongue over her lips, Sarisa looks down to her feet, then over to the string web. "They're deep-cover at the moment, reporting in only when something happens. I can't risk the Institute finding out what's going on in my end of the pool or it could endanger more than just my operatives."

Cardinal's chin dips in a slight nod of understanding. "Alright. I have my own moles in the Institute right now…" Moles? That was definately a plural he used. "…the only orders their field agents in the area currently have are to track down former Company agents, presumably to turn or kill them. They're going to clean out their own house before turning their attention to ours, I think."

He looks back to the web, "…did you get that frequency?"

"They're all different," Sarisa quietly explains with a look out to the web, "each Retreiver unit operates on a seperate frequency from the next, transmissions coming in from the Institute likewise on different frequencies and they're not constantly broadcasting. From what I know frequency and encryption changes regularly, they seem to be extrmely paranoid about observation of their work and likely technopaths…"

Looking to Cardinal, Sarisa's brows furrow. "Their operation is a tighter ship than I realized. I cashed in a few favors at the Department of Defense and got a look at the blueprints for the Institute's headquarters in Cambridge, just enough to get an idea of size and scope. Miles of tunnels Richard, they built what amounts to an underground city in Cambridge… I can't even imagine what they'd need all that space for. Most of it was an old US military facility from the nineteen sixties, a continuatity of government nuclear war bunker, like Raven Rock in Maryland."

Sarisa reaches up with one gloved hand and scrubs at the back of her neck. "Curiously, I did find one interesting tie. Those blueprints for the modern work done on the facility?" One brow slowly arches. "Maxwell Development Corporation."

"Maxwell…" Cardinal's hand lifts to rub against his chin, thumb grazing his lower lip as he frowns in thought, "They're the company that's rebuilding the Zone, isn't it? Their CEO died awhile back, I remember reading the news… it must be one of their front organizations."
"Leonardo Maxwell," Sarisa intones with an arch of one brow, looking from the string web to Cardinal. "They're also one of the primary contractors rebuilding the ruins of Midtown, outside of donations from the Linderman Group. Furthermore, as far as I can tell Leonardo was in some shady financial waters right up until his death. Funneling thousands of dollars into some private projects, donations to Charitible organizations that only exist on paper. Not nearly enough to find the construction of the Institute, and all right around the time of the storm…"

Looking to Cardinal, Sarisa arches one brow and offers a crooked smile. "I also saw him hanging off of a very unexpected arm at the Corinthian gala this winter, too."

"Interesting," Cardinal murmurs, his lips pursing in a frown, and then he turns back towards her with a brow's upraise raised, "I know you like your drama, Kershner, but this isn't the time for it. Whose arm was he hanging off of…? I missed it, I'm afraid, although some of my agents were there."
The smile on Sarisa's lips is saccherine sweet, which perhaps makes this all the more deliberate.

"Eileen Ruskin."

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