Going Underground


cardinal_icon.gif elisabeth_icon.gif

Scene Title Going Underground
Synopsis Phone call no one wants to get from a friend.
Date June 14, 2009

Elisabeth's Apartment/Unknown

It's in the late evening that the phone rings. The number's familiar - just an ordinary call, nothing special at all no doubt.

She's been painting the walls today to blend in the repaired parts with the rest of her apartment. When the phone rings, Liz is finally taking a break, surveying her handiwork and mightily pleased with herself actually. She's plopped in the middle of the living room floor with a glass of wine, and she picks up the phone with a smile on her face that reflects in her voice. "Well hi there, handsome," she greets. "I was kinda hoping I'd hear from you soon. What's up?"

In the background, there's the sound of surf rushing across the sides of a boat. The voice on the other end of the line is definately Richard's - but it's tired, somewhat hoarse and there's a quietness to it that's not usual for him. "Hey, Liz," he replies, "Had better weeks."

His tone brings her upright and Liz sets the glass down. "Richard? What's wrong?" For him to call her with those words makes every alert in her head go off.

"I…" It cuts off, silent for a long moment, before he says, "I need you to do me a favor. I need somebody— protected. Arthur might come after her. I can't tell you why. He's a telepath now."

Way to confuse the blond cop. "Okay," Elisabeth replies slowly. "I'll trust you on the why, babe." Arthur's name crops up, though, and she is quiet. "Fuck…. if he's a telepath, how much you wanna bet Matt went after Molly on his own. Mother *fucker*. Richard…. how bad off are you?" Because he's clearly not good. "Tell me what you need, for her and for you."

"Xiulan. She— lives in Chinatown, Green Dragon Tattoo. She's with the Dragons, but… I don't think they can protect her, not from him," Cardinal murmurs into the phone, "She's stubborn. We can't let him get anywhere near her."

Oh Christ. Elisabeth walking into Dragon territory's gonna go over REAL well. "All right. I'm assuming she's got a power that if he gets his hands on it, we're royally fucked," she comments with a sigh. "Will she go with me if I approach her?" Elisabeth's tone is beyond worried. He knows her well enough by now to practically see her worrying at her lower lip with her teeth while she listens.

"No. It's what she knows— same thing that I know. I'll fucking blow my head off before I let him get it," Cardinal says, his voice strained but defiant, "And I don't know if she will. She trusts Abigail, so, maybe get her to go with you. I don't know." There's a few long moments of silence, then he admits quietly, "Not sure if I'm gonna survive this one, Liz." There's no fear in it. Resignation.

There's silence on her end of the line for a long time. "Tell me what happened," she says quietly. "And I don't fucking care if it puts me on Arthur's radar, I'm already there anyway. Just do it. Because if he kills you and I can't get to her and what you know is …. so important that you're willing to kill YOURSELF to keep it safe… it needs to be somewhere." Her words are practical, but her tone is a bit choked even as she accepts what he's telling her.

"I beat him, Liz," Cardinal replies with a tired laugh, "I beat the motherfucker from the beginning, but he doesn't know it yet. Can't know it. Or he could fix it. So long as he doesn't know… he can't do shit about it." He takes a slow breath, then exhales it, "He's a telekinetic, fires lasers, regenerates, he's fast— fuck, who knows what else he can do. I have to go. I'm still a few… pints down after what Logan did to me. And what Arthur did— I, I have to go."

Elisabeth's voice is urgent. "No… you need to tell me, Richard, or I swear to fucking God, I'm going to …. come out to where you are, cuz Wireless can track your phone, and I'm going to … do something drastic," she threatens. "Talk to me on the phone, or talk to me in person. If you beat him, I need to know how. And for God's sake…. I need to know you're okay. Do you need a healer? We have the name of one." What Logan did to him? He's not sitting somewhere fucking bleeding out, is he? And then Arthur caught up too? Christ Almighty, "What the hell have you gotten yourself into, Richard? Let me help you."

"I'm throwin' this phone away after this," Cardinal states fiercely, heat bleeding into his tone "What happened? Laudani happened— or whatever's in his fucking body. Pulled me out've the shadows and let Logan take his fuckin' due. Nearly killed me. Flint— Flint fixed me up. Then Arthur found me. Look, I'm not alone, but I'm sure as hell not goin' near anyone I care about until this is over. Trust me, for fuck's sake."

"Oh God," Liz murmurs softly. "Don't trash the phone," she tells him. "I do trust you and I won't sic Wireless on you, I swear it." She wouldn't have anyway, she just wanted him to talk to her. She bites her lip. "I'm assuming you're not going to want to know where I stash Xiulan, if I can even get her to come. But…. Richard…. if he's got Molly's power, he can track her anyway. That's what Molly's power *is*."

"Then he can't even know she exists," Cardinal replies in quiet tones, "If he gets into my head, he will, that's the only— the only fuckin' way he will. Keep this quiet, Liz. I can't even trust Phoenix anyfuckin'more, not with Laudani, and— they're compromised, as far as I'm concerned. I've gotta go. I've— take care of yourself, an' everyone."

"Richard, wait!" Elisabeth's voice has a tone of urgency in it. "We know that Teo's compromised; we didn't know it was this bad. I won't tell anyone in Phoenix what's going on, but I do want you to do something. My line is encrypted, and so is my laptop — Wireless's doing. I'll leave the laptop wherever you want it, even out on Staten. But I want you to put down EVERYTHING you know, everything you're trying to keep from Arthur, into my laptop. Encrypt it however you want. Just…. send me a password. I won't open it unless I either get word from you or I get word that you're dead, with proof. Okay? I will not betray your confidence, but …. think about it this way. If you're not the only person WITH information, Richard, then he's got no reason to kill you anymore. Even so, I won't do anything without your consent. Please? I'd like to know that if you have to blow your own goddamn brains out, at least it was FOR something."

"It's only safe once we're dead, or he is," comes the stubborn response, "It won't do you, or anyone, any fuckin' good. All that matters is that he doesn't learn it. More people know it, more chance of him learning it." A slow breath, then it's exhaled, "Bye, Liz. Don't come looking for me until this is over."


When he hangs up on her Elisabeth swears under her breath, holding the phone against her cheek with her eyes closed. "FUCK," she swears, a low rumble of objects shaking throughout her apartment accompanying the heartfelt invective.

Messages now go to people most in need of them:

Abby, need you. Will be at your apartment immediately.

Helena, Cat — Teo's body wreaking havoc across town. Cop killing has put him on both NYPD and Fed radar, including his name. He's also attacking or assisting attacks on Phoenix allies. A.P. has taken both Molly Walker's (Parkman's daughter) ability to locate anyone and I believe Parkman's own telepathy — his power list currently includes telekinesis, laser fire of some kind, regeneration, speed, Evo location, telepathy and God only knows what else. —EH

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