Gaining Leverage and Perspective


cardinal_icon.gif mika_icon.gif peyton2_icon.gif

Scene Title Gaining Leverage and Perspective
Synopsis Endgame king and bishop find both while meeting their Messiah refugee.
Date August 20, 2010

A Motel

It's boring here in the seedy hotel that Mika has been staying in for the past few days, since her run-in with Elisabeth and Jaiden. The room is set up like a studio apartment, complete with a small refridgerator and freezer unit, as well as a microwave and a stovetop. There's a television, a bed, and a few chairs; otherwise, it's fairly standard. It looks lived in, with the bed unmade and a few dirty clothes on the floor in a small pile.

Currently, Mika is in the kitchen, chopping up vegetables for what appears to be home-made Ramen. None of that horrible stuff from the packages, this is the real deal. She's in her mid twenties today, her favorite years. She's been cooking like this for the past few days, and her freezer has a nice array of leftovers frozen. Gifts for her visitors, whenever they finaly show up. As she chops, she hums softly to herself.

Like Cardinal, Peyton is wearing her sunglasses indoors today — they serve a couple of purposes. One, they hide the dark circles beneath her eyes. Two, they keep the bright light out of her eyes, which is more important, given her hangover. Three, it's easier to look at Cardinal knowing he can't see her eyes. The ride over was mostly quiet, a few awkward attempts at conversation, and then mostly business — or what business they can discuss on the subway with strangers around.

As they near the correct door, she stands back a little, content to let him take the lead, her hands clasped behind her back. She's dressed casually for the meeting — capri jeans with wide cuffs, red ballet flats, a black-and-white striped shirt. Her dark hair's down, the Betty Page bangs and the Jackie O Ray-Bans completing her retro look.

A black, collared short sleeved shirt and a pair of black jeans make up Cardinal's outfit today, not to mention the set of sunglasses that perch upon his face in a mirror of Peyton's own. They look a matched pair in a strange sort of way as they make their way down the hall, his hands clasped loosely to the small of his back.

A glance to Peyton, a faint smile to her, and then he raises a hand to rap smartly on the door a few times with his knuckles.

Either it's that obnoxious boy, or the people she's waiting on. Mika, clad in a pair of blue jean capris and a pleasant little halter top, turns to peek at the door for a moment. "Just a moment!" She takes a few deep breaths as she shovels the vegetables into the pot of noodles and broth. Then, wiping her hands on the handtowel, she makes her way to the door. Standing on the tips of her toes, she peeks through the peep hole…and smiles quietly to herself. Then, the expression is gone, and Mika is in her zone.

The locks click open, and the door swings open just enough for Mika's face to peer out at the two in the hall, a slightly intimidated expression on her features as she stares up at the two tall people at her door. "C-can I help you?"

When the door swings open, Peyton smiles, realizing that the sunglasses might seem a bit odd from both, like he's Agent Smith and she's Agent Smithette. She pushes the glasses up to the top of her head, her dark eyes taking in the Messiah refugee. She glances through the corner of her eyes to Cardinal, to let him do the talking.

"I've got no idea." Cardinal's hand rests to the doorjam, a brow raising over the edge of his shades and the faintest of smiles touching his lips, "Can you? I was under the impression that you wanted some help from me, actually."

A tilt of his head indicates the door, and he states, "Maybe you should let us in."

Recognition shines in Mika's face, and she's suddenly scrambling back, pulling the door open for the pair as Cardinal makes his discreet announcement. A look of pure relief floods her features, and she places a hand on her chest, offering the pair an apologetic bow. "I'm sorry, I didn't know what you would look like." She gestures the pair in, her teeth knitting over her lower lip.

Once the pair is in, the woman closes the door behind them, turning to examine the pair now that she's less paranoid that someone is out to get her. "Richard Cardinal, right…?" She fidgets nervously. "Um…I'm making ramen, if you'd like any."

"Easy there," Peyton says, brows rising to disappear beneath her thick bangs as she steps into the hotel room. She glances toward the kitchenette when the ramen is mentioned, but shakes her head. "Not for me, but thank you," she says, glancing at Cardinal through the corner of her eyes.

Turning back to Mika, she offers her hand for a shake. "I'm Peyton Whitney," she says with a polite smile. "I'm one of the owners of Redbird Security, which you've apparently already visited?" Her teeth flash in a smile before she moves toward the sitting area, dropping into a chair and crossing her long legs as she waits for the others to join her.

"That's who they tell me I am," Cardinal replies casually as he walks along into the apartment, reaching down to tug what looks like a hand-held radio with three short antennae on it from his belt. The pad of his thumb snaps a switch on, and he slides it back onto his belt, confident that the usual cell phone and radio frequencies are all being jammed.

You can buy just about anything on the Internet these days.

Sliding it back onto his belt, he looks over to the kitchen, "No thanks — I already ate, but thank you. Mika, was it?"

Reaching out, the extremely short Japanese woman takes Peyton's hand as it is offered, nodding quietly to her. She doesn't quite smile, a look of fear lingering at the back of her expression. "Yes, I have been there…" She peers up to the taller woman quietly for a long moment.

Then, her attention is on Cardinal. She watches him switch whatever that is on, her brows raising for a moment, before she relasex even more. Finally, she gestures toward the sitting area, darting into the kitchen to turn down the heat. "Mika Iwasaki, yes." She watches the man quietly, her head tilted toward the side. "I— I'm glad that you came."

Of course, Peyton's own cell phone is off, the battery pulled out, just in case that thing doesn't work on technopaths as they hope it well. She nods to the device. "Just a matter of security, Miss Iwasaki," she says with a smile toward the woman who looks to be just a few years her senior, though is purportedly much older. If she's 90-something years old, it feels strange to call her by her first name, no matter how young the woman looks.

"It's for your own security as well. We don't want anyone eavesdropping on us, right?" Peyton's dark eyes move about the hotel room, looking for anything out of the ordinary, as she lets Cardinal speak to Mika.

Cardinal slides a hand into his back pocket, adjusting his wallet before he steps along over towards one of the chairs set up in the apartment. He sprawls back into the seat, leaning back and folding both arms behind his head, legs stretched out a bit, making himself as comfortable as if this were a social call on an old friend.

"Alright, Miss Iwasaki," he says, brows raising over the edge of his shades, "I'm listening."

Mika nods slowly to Peyton, moving over to the bed since both chairs are taken, and seating herself, crossing her legs Indian-style. "I completely understand the need for security. These days, there's never such a thing as too little in the security department." She seems to be calming herself down slowly, apparently quite relieved that Cardinal and Peyton have arrived.

For a moment, she peers at Cardinal. Then, she takes a deep breath, looking down to the ground. "I'm also known as Sara Bright, and Elise McKenna. I am ninety-one years old." She closes her eyes. "For a very long time, I have worked for Rupert Carmichael, finding him members for his organizations, getting him information when he asked for it. I was a member of PARIAH, a member of Shedda Dinu, and a member of Messiah." She quietly watches Cardinal.

"Recently, I've grown…weary of their violent ways." She frowns down to the ground, running a hand through her hair. "Rupert found out that I was planning to leave Messiah…" Her face suddenly grows more distressed, and her fidgeting increases.

Peyton watches Mika settle on the bed, the younger woman listening to her as the Japanese woman begins to speak. She glances at Cardinal again, then examines her manicure, keeping her gaze downward.

"How far back do you go with this Carmichael guy?" she asks curiously. "And what did he do when he found out you wanted to leave? I mean… it would seem he owes you, I would think. But I guess that's why you're here?" She glances around at the lodging of the hotel. "Well, not here, specifically, but with us. You know." She waves her hand vaguely, then bites her lip. There's a reason she should let Cardinal do the talking. She glances back at him with a slight smile, apologetically.

Cardinal tips his head a little to one side, listening to her story with a somewhat unreadable expression; silent through the brief run-down of who the woman is and who she's been working for. As she trails off, he glances over to Peyton to listen to her question, and then he looks back to Mika, brows raising ever so slightly.

The woman tilts her head toward Peyton as the woman speaks, fidgeting at the hem of her shirt. "He doesn't owe me anything." She looks down to the floor. "I met him back in the days of PARIAH. He saved my life, and I joined his causes whenever he asked me to." She runs a hand through her hair, looking back up at Peyton with a furrowed brow.

"He…wasn't happy, not in the slightest. I…I never saw Rupert angry before…" She shudders. "He slapped me…and then left." A hand is brought up to her cheek, as if her skin still stings from his hand against it. "I— I was one of his best information gatherers. I think that's why he's so mad that I don't want to be part of Messiah any longer."

"God, you poor thing. He hit you? What an asshole!" Peyton exclaims, shaking her head vehemently, eyes narrowing as she rubs her own cheek, as if she can feel the sting, having been hit once or twice in her own time by men. Mostly Humanis First kidnappers, of course, in her case.

"And after that, is that when he sent people after you?" Peyton asks, with a tilt of her head, pulling off her sunglasses from the top of her head to tuck into her red Prada bag she holds on her lap.

"Did he send people after you, then?" Cardinal looks back to Mika, his head canting a bit to one side, "I was under the impression that Peter was the leader of Messiah, in any case… not Carmichael. I'm guessing that I was wrong there?"

"Yes…that's when he sent his people after me. I don't know if it's a scare tactic or what, but…when I ran into Redbird, I had seen a man in a red scarf, in the middle of summer, and the scarf was cut from the same fabric as my scarf." She frowns, rubbing at her cheek once more and staring down at the ground for a long moment. "Peter thinks he's the leader, and Rupert lets him." She shakes her head.

"Well, scarves are very chic this summer," Peyton says, little fashionista that she is. "But I'm guessing you mean like a winter scarf, like a muffler, not a silk or chiffon one?" Her lips quirk into a smile, before she grows somber again, brows furrowing at the mention of Peter. "So Rupert is the one calling the actual shots? Or do they just happen to agree so there's no problem between them?" she asks, glancing at Card, then back at Mika.

"Mnm. Good question." Cardinal's lips purse in a brief line, and then he unfolds his arms from behind his head, leaning forward in a slouch against his knees and raising both eyebrows slightly, "The question is…. why are they after you? There've been one or two others who've left Messiah. No bodies've turned up."

The woman shakes her head. "No…I know this scarf. I've seen it and worn it hundreds of times." She frowns, rubbing the back of her neck. Then, she reaches into her purse beside the bed, pulling out a rolled up red scarf. This is unrolled, set in her lap. "They all look identical, cut from the same fabric." She glances up, looking between Cardinal and Peyton.

"I never met Peter Petrelli, so I can't answer that question accurately. I've only ever met Rupert. So I can't be certain…but I know that Rupert has a very influential presence." She rubs the back of her neck. "Rupert isn't the type to be lead. He's a leader."

Peyton glances at Cardinal at the word influential, one brow arching a little. "Is he? Why do you say that? I have met Peter, though." It's not like that's a secret from Messiah, if Peter knows. Or maybe Rupe doesn't know, but Peter certainly does. She doesn't know the man well enough to know if he'd be easily led, and she doesn't know Rupert at all to know if he'd be a better leader. She leans forward, elbows on her knees as she watches Mika's reactions to whatever Cardinal asks next.

"Are they? I'd wondered about the scarves… very symbolic. Of course, you'd need a really big piece of cloth to work off of," Cardinal observes cynically, "So that symbolism's probably about as artificial as Peter's leadership…" He brings a hand up, scratching under his chin, "You didn't answer the question, though. Why would Rupert send people after you?"

The woman tilts her head toward Peyton. "There's…something about Rupert. Makes you want to follow him." She fidgets at the hem of the scarf, before running a hand through her hair.

She glances toward Cardinal as he speaks, nodding slowly. "Likely artificial symbolism, I'm sure." She sets the scarf off to one side, peering at it quietly for a long moment, before returning her almond-eyed gaze to Cardinal. "I've always been at his beck and call, Richard." She frowns. "I was his best when it came to gathering information and collecting people for him to bring in to his organizations, for obvious reasons."

Suddenly, she shrinks, in the most literal sense of the word. When she's finished, there's a child of no more than six sitting in her place, peering at the two. "And he's gotten me out of trouble so many times, I would be surprised if he didn't think I owe him my life." Or the rest of his life.

"Makes you want to follow him?" Peyton asks innocently, as if she doesn't know any better. "Does he have a power?"

Her eyes narrow a touch when suddenly Mika is shifting, suddenly swallowed up by her clothes, now swimming in the too-large garments. "Is that like a nervous tic or something, like, involuntary action, or can you contain yourself, Ma'am?" The tone of the last word is a touch on the ironic side, since she's now addressing it to a child much smaller than herself. "I'm not sure why just changing your age would make you any more adept at collecting people, though I'm sure it would come in handy at getting information. People tend to underestimate what kids can understand, even when the kid is actually a kid." She stands and glances at Cardinal, moving away toward the window to peer out of the blinds for a moment.

Cardinal's about to say something, and then he's cut off by Peyton's outburst - giving her a surprised look, pausing for a moment before looking back away from her, leaving her some privacy for the moment as he looks back to the 'youngster' sitting on the edge of the bed.

"Carmichael's not the sort prone to petty vendettas," he observes quietly, "If he was, he wouldn't have gotten this far. He's more subtle than that, I'm sure of it. So the only reason he'd be after you is if you know things that could be damaging to him. So what is it that you know?"

You paged Mika with ‘not that she'd know but peyton is all touchy about the age manip thing because she's recently MET for like … 20 minutes — her father who was an age manipulator before he basically killed himself by letting his age catch up to him/instead of going with company agnts, etc.’
You paged Mika with ‘and she's kinda not dealt with it, so the age shifting is making her RAWR>’

"Yes…a power." She frowns, looking back to the ground. It's rather strange, hearing what comes from the child's mouth next once Peyton is done with her tirade. "My apologies. I will refrain from changing my age in your presence, Miss Peyton. I was only attempting to illustrate my point." She dips her head in a respectful bow toward Peyton.

"I…" She frowns, looking down toward the ground, falling quiet for an almost painfully long moment. "If I tell you, can you protect me?"

Sighing softly at the window, Peyton glances back, first at Mika, then a pained expression to Cardinal, then a more apologetic one to Mika. "No, I'm sorry. We were told by the others what you could do. It's just a little … disconcerting, I guess," Peyton mutters her apology. "Will I sound like I'm breaking up with someone if I say it's not you, it's me?" she says, a little smirk tilting her lips as she attempts to be humorous. She glances back at Cardinal, letting him answer the question of protection.

"We can," Cardinal says quietly, his chin dipping in a slight nod towards Mika, "We'll need full cooperation and disclosure, of course, but we can protect you. I've no fear of Messiah, except for the damage it can do screwing the public image of the Evolved over."

The child looks down to the ground, adjusting the tank top that acts more as a dress right now to ensure she's properly covered. "History repeats itself. I've been alive for 91 years, and I can tell you better than anyone that it does. I've seen wars, famine, death like you would never believe. I've seen the skeletal ruins of Hiroshima after the bomb landed, before it was rebuilt." Quite strange coming from a little girl.

"I watched the rise and fall of PARIAH. I watched some of its members go to Phoenix. I watched Rupert create Shedda Dinu from former members of PARIAH, and its rise and fall." She scratches at the back of her neck, peering up at the pair with the wide eyes of a child. "And I've watched him create Messiah. The same things are going to happen, but with the scale of the ones he's getting involved…Petrelli, Sylar…I'm terrified of what's going to happen." She frowns. "You…you know those flashes people had?"

"I've known older," Peyton says wryly. "Though granted only for about a twenty minute conversation." Yes, Peyton's having an 'it's all about me' moment. Her thoughts flit to Winslow, the short moments she had with him before he turned to dust before her very eyes.

She listens to the rest, and then nods at the last query when it comes. "Yeah, we know about them," she says even more tersely, walking back toward the chairs though she doesn't sit. She simply stands, a little behind and to the side of Cardinal as she looks at Mika.

"And I've met Adam," says Cardinal in dry tones, "I suspect that immortality's more of a curse than a blessing. I guess it's a lucky thing that I'll probably be shot before a few more years pass by, I'm enough of an asshole with just over a quarter-cent in me." And, to be honest, he's not sure if he'll ever die of natural causes. He could always cheat and become an eternal shadow.

He nods, then, affirming Peyton's words, "We know about, and what caused, the flash, yes."

The child raises her eyebrows toward Peyton, though she offers a shake of her head, turning to look to Cardinal. "It's quite the curse. I had children once…I'm sure they're grandparents by now." She smiles faintly. "I'm sure it will only lose its glamor as time passes. I'm still fairly young, all things considered. There are those older than me who don't even have my ability." She chuckles.

Then, the slight humor to her demeanor disappears. "I saw something horrible in my own flash." She raises her hands, suddenly, staring down at them. "I don't want that to happen…and if I stay with Messiah, I worry that it will." She lifts her eyes back to Cardinal. "Yet there is my dilemma. Rupert used to have security leaks hunted down and killed. With Pariah, he didn't just handle their funding, he handled internal security." She sighs softly. "Maybe I was being paranoid…scarves are popular…but I don't know where else to go, and what if it was a member of Messiah?" Suddenly, tears well up in the little child's eyes. "I'm not ready to die yet…"

"How the hell did I forget about Adam," Peyton murmurs, shaking her head, and giving Cardinal a don't talk like that sort of look when he talks about dying (again). She sighs a little, her eyes turning back to Mika as the child-woman speaks. "I'm sure if you thought it was Messiah, it was Messiah. I didn't mean to second guess that," she tells the other. "Did you tell him about your vision?"

"Okay, the crying? A bit much," Cardinal states, hand lifting a bit, "Emotional blackmail isn't gonna help you here, I know you're not actually a little kid. Honestly? Kind of creepy. You're fine, nobody's gonna kill you." A roll of his hand as if turning a crank in the air, "So, moving on."

"I'm not surprised, honestly," he admits with a shake of his head, "Messiah's current tactics aren't going to do anything but cause that huge shitstorm that everyone saw… honestly, you have to wonder if it's not on purpose. Anyway. What'd you see?"

Mika's eyes turn to Cardinals, sniffing softly. "I— I'm sorry. It's…force of habit." The tears slowly come to a stop, the girl wiping at them. "I've been doing this for far too long, I think. Not many others have known about my ability, and…I forget how to act normal some times. Please, bear with me." She takes a breath, before looking at the two with a much more steady expression. "I did tell him about my flash. He seemed callous. Uncaring, even when I told him that I wanted to avoid that outcome." She fidgets with her too-loose pants.

Then, she suddenly fills her clothing up once more, growing twenty years in the span of but a few moments, offering the pair an apologetic look. "In my flash, I drove my SUV into a mall filled with rioting people. I had a gun…something I've never even used before. I ran over people, shot them as I drove past. I killed so many people…people who didn't even deserve whatever hatred I had for them." She looks down at her hands. "Then I crashed into a wall…I think I may have died, or was close to it…"

The youngest of the three in actual years turns away again as the woman begins to grow, clearly not wanting to watch the aging process sped up like a time-lapse-photography nature film, limbs growing longer and flesh more filled out, the clothes once more fitting the body they belong to.

"Well, wanting to avoid that is certainly a point in your favor," Peyton says lightly, glancing to Cardinal through the corner of her eyes.

"That does match up with some of the other visions we've seen…" Cardinal's chin dips in a nod, his lips pursing in a frown, "…well, we'll do what we can to protect you from Messiah. Just like we're doing what we can to stop November 8th from ever happening."

The woman nods eagerly, leaning forward. "Thank you…thank you so much." Her normally rigid posture relaxes visibly, her hands clasped. "If…if there's anything I can do to help you stop these awful things from happening…please, put me to work. I feel that I owe you my life for this, Richard, and I will do anything that you ask of me. I do not wish to take advantage of your hospitality."

"I'd guess for now that you should just stay put and make our job easy. Don't go out, unless someone's after you or you feel something's wrong here. And give us a call if that's the case, and we'll come get you," Peyton says, turning back around, and glancing at Cardinal to see if he's in agreement with her words. "We'll make sure you have supplies and anything you need, but don't go running around or it's defeating the point of being here." She pulls her purse over her shoulder, apparently judging the little interview to be about over.

"At least until I've confirmed whether or not there's some sort of kill order out for you," Cardinal pushes himself up to his feet, admitting, "If you think you can move around safely, well, that's at your risk. I'd advise… keeping it to a minimum if you can at all help it, though. I'll figure out your status, and we'll go from there."

As Cardinal raises to his feet, Mika raises to her own feet and offering a small bow to the pair of them in a very traditional sense. "I will stay here until you tell me it is safe. Thank you again, Richard, Peyton, and I hope to hear from you soon." She offers the pair a grateful smile.

It is with overstated appreciation and a bag filled with frozen leftovers of Japanese food that Mika sees Cardinal and Peyton from her hotel room. Once the door is closed and she is along in her little hotel room, Mika turns, leaning against the door and heaving a sigh, pressing her hand over her chest.

Once the door's closed behind them, Cardinal makes his way along down to the parking lot with Peyton. A set of keys rattle in his hand as he steps around the car to open the driver's side door, sliding into the seat. "I don't know if she's telling the truth or not," he admits, "And we can't have a telepath check without putting them in danger. I've got some people I can talk to, though, and whether or not it's an honest defection…"

A shift, and he pulls the digital recorder out of his back pocket, hitting 'stop' on the record as he flashes Peyton a rogue's smile, "…I think she's just given me the lever I need to start prying Messiah apart."

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