Good For Once


cardinal_icon.gif elle_icon.gif

Scene Title Good For Once
Synopsis Elle Bishop still isn't sure what side she's on, but she's starting to realize she's on the wrong one.
Date September 20, 2010

Redbird Security

There's a sharp, professional feel to the main lobby of the building. The carpet is a deep maroon underfoot, the walls an off-white cream that doesn't glare too brightly beneath the recessed lighting in the ceiling. Half a dozen chairs upholstered in a sandy light brown sit against one wall beneath a painting, a print of a Thomas Brill that shows the ruins of Midtown covered in vines and greenery as seen from the rooftop of the Deveaux building. The receptionist's station takes up almost an entire wall on the right side of the lobby, guarding the hallway that leads back into the building's offices. Behind and above the desk, the logo for Redbird Security Solutions hangs on the wall in glossy black.

The central hall continues the same carpet and wall colors to a number of doors. There are four offices, a restroom done in shades of blue and pale sand tones, and a comfortable employee lounge with attached kitchenette. An open doorway in the main lobby reveals a flight of upward stairs, and there's a locked door at he end of the central hall that guards the basement steps.

The afternoon sun is high in the sky, and it looks like it's a beautiful day outside. The weather isn't too hot, isn't too cold, it's just right. One of those days that you really wish you could go run around at the park or do something that involves being outdoors. Some people are lucky enough to do just that, spending the day out and enjoying the weather.

Sadly, most people have to work today. Elle is one of them. She's looking fairly professional today, wearing a pair of pinstripe pants, a white blouse, and a vest that matches her pants. She's even got a nifty fedora on that matches the ensemble, and it's all completed, of course, by those killer heels she is so fond of, and a purse that goes well with her outfit.

She opens the door into Redbird Security, her heels clicking on the tile as she makes her way up to the front desk, her brows raising slightly as she examines the place over. Not bad, not bad.

As she walks into the lobby of the building, the receptionist looks up from her computer screen - a bleached-blonde young woman, college aged maybe, in a casual business outfit in blue. "Hi," she calls in affable tones, "Welcome to Redbird Security Solutions. Can I help you, miss?"

Blue eyes turn down toward the receptionist, Elle's brows raising a bit, even as a quietly amused expression forms on her face. She laughs softly, and stops before the desk, smiling down to the woman. "Elle Bishop, here to see Richard Cardinal." Her hand holds the strap of her purse on her shoulder, one heel clicking lightly on the ground as she waits.

"Alright, Miss Bishop…" Manicured nails tap over the keys with a steady clicking, "…you don't have an appointment, let me see if he's available." The secretary hits a button on the phone, "Mister Cardinal? There's a Miss Bishop here asking for you."

A moment's pause, then through the speaker he answers, "Send her in."

The button's released, and she flashes an easy smile, "Third door on the right, ma'am."

A smile forms on the petite brunettes face. "Thank you." With that, she turns, making her way toward the specified door with heels clicking on the floor. Once she reaches it, her hand comes down on the handle, and she steps into Cardinal's office.

"Nice digs you got here, Richie-rich." This is Elle's remark as she steps into the man's office, chuckling. "I especially like the little bleach blonde you have out there. She's cute. Stereotypical receptionist, but cute." The door is slipped closed behind her.

It's not a crowded office. A couch, a desk, a few chairs, a Mendez painting over the desk. Cardinal - dressed in a grey suit - looks up from the paperwork he's going through as the door opens. "Hm? Who's— oh, Jo? Hey, she answered the ad. She's working her way through law school, actually…"

The manila folder before him is flipped shut, and he leans back slowly, "…so what can I help you with?"

The woman chuckles softly, stepping up to a chair and seating herself, promptly making herself comfortable. "Few things, actually." She peers down at the manilla folder for a moment, then back up to Cardinal, running a hand through her now brunette locks. "First off, I'm still planning to kill Warren, just in case you're wondering. Fucker broke up with me, that makes it even more personal than him strapping me to a Tesla coil and running a scalpel over my skin."

Elle cringes at the thought, shaking her head. "Then, I had a bit of an…offer for you. See…I'm having trouble with determining my allegiances here. The Institute…well, they're giving me a pretty good deal. I'm in charge of a case, scary as that sounds." She swings her eyes up toward the ceiling. "But I don't like them so much."

"I understand that Hitler paid well too," Cardinal replies with rather little sympathy in his tone, hands spreading a little to either side, "The SS probably got a pretty good deal too…"

His elbows rest on the arms of the chair, fingers resting on one another as he regards her with a brow's slight lift upwards. "The Beauchamp case?"

Elle arches a brow, smirking. "It does pay well, yes. But these days, I find myself feeling like I should try to find something a bit less morally black than the Institute." She leans back in her chair. "No, not Abby Beauchamp. I visited her in the hospital, brought chocolate and flowers." She tilts her head. "Whatever it is the government has against her, I don't want in on it. She's nice."

Then, she leans forward, planting her elbows on the desk. "Are you in any need of someone inside the Institute, Richard Cardinal?"

"If you could try and make sure that she doesn't get shoved through the legal grinder…? Girl's been through enough in her life," Cardinal asks quietly, "All she wants is to live a normal life these days, and she can't even get that…"

The question, then, lures both eyebrows upwards. "Well, I wouldn't say no to one," he admits, "You offering?"

"I can't promise anything, as I'm still proving myself there…but I'll do my best." She nods slowly. "Abby doesn't deserve what we do at the Institute."

Elle then leans back in her seat, crossing her legs. "Perhaps I am." She wears a small smile on her face. "Truth be told, they seem quite terrified of you, for some reason. First time I mentioned my meeting with you, Harper looked like he was about to shit a brick. And Broome doesn't seem too fond of you, either. Before you and Liz had that talk with me, he warned me that I had irritated someone that he couldn't do anything to stop."

Once again the brunette leans forward, smiling to Cardinal. "I have no clue why that is, but to be honest, you're not evil that I can see, and I really would rather be on your side of the fence when push comes to shove. Plus, you know, that other stuff you talked about…maybe it'd be nice to try to be good for once."

There's no revelations forthcoming about Richard Cardinal's relationship with the Commonwealth Institute, at least not tonight. There's just a faint smile that could mean anything, before he leans forward, resting folded arms on the desk's edge and giving his head a slight shake.

"Evil's a point of view," he admits in wry tones, "I like to think that when all's said and done I'll be counted amongst the good guys, but some days I'm not so sure I will. At least I'm not putting people in fucking coma tubes or dissecting them for experiments, though, so I guess I'm at least a step up there."

Elle continues to lean against the desk, one heel tapping against the floor as she listens to Cardinal. "As you just pointed out yourself, Richie-Rich, you're not the one putting people into medicated comas. And you're not the one hunting down former Company Agents who may or may not have had anything to do with the reason the Company turned out like it did." She frowns, then, lowering her head toward the table.

"They have my dad, Richard. I— I can't forgive him for the things he's done to me, but he's my dad. That's the only reason I haven't gung-ho jumped all the way over to your ship." She raises her eyes back up to the man, frowning. "I can't let him rot away in some cell."

Cardinal straightens sharply up in his chair, "…wait, Bob's alive? I figured they would've… hell, I think he thought they would too." The man's lips purse in a tight line, fingertips drumming against the desk's surface, "Do you know where they're… keeping everyone? The Cambridge facility, I'm assuming?"

Elle shakes her head. "Not sure where they're keeping anyone. I don't even know if my dad's still alive, really. If he is, though, they have him." She frowns, not delving into the details of how they got him. Her eyes turn down toward the table for a moment. If she had laser eyes, there would be two holes in Cardinal's desk right now.

Finally, blue eyes raise back up to the man, and a frown is on the woman's face. "So…this is my offer. I still work for the Institute. I'm still Agent Elle Bishop. But…occasionally, I will slide you useful information. In return, I want your protection. They're fuckin' terrified of you."

"Are they?" The hint of a smile tugs up at the corner of Cardinal's lips, amused perhaps, before he points out, "There's not much I can do for you while you're inside, you know. So long as you're in there isn't much that I can do to protect you… you know that."

"They are, as far as I've seen. Harper told me that you're a dangerous man and that I should avoid you." Elle tilts her head toward the side. "While I'm inside, I'll still be working as hard as ever to prove myself. And if I smell danger, I'm out of there." She frowns. "I gotta find out what happened to my dad. I—"

Elle falters in her words, suddenly leaning back and shrinking down in the chair. "I'm the one who gave them my dad, Richard. I don't even know what happened, I—" She stops again, and sighs. "I betrayed him. We had a fight the day before, and I was still so mad at him. I stopped him from escaping. Bryan Buckley…he tried to stop me. I pulled a gun on my own father." A slow breath is taken, then released. "I died. Bryan killed me. And I killed him. I have to make up for it…" She snorts, doing her best to keep that mask of no emotion on her face, and failing miserably. "I never really felt it before, but I think I have a concience."

"I know." Cardinal doesn't show a hint of surprise at the story, one hand coming up to rub against the side of his face, "I know what happened, Elle. I didn't get to be a 'dangerous man' without keeping abreast of things going on… he knew this was coming, cold comfort as I'm sure it is. I don't think he expected to survive the takeover. Chances are they're keeping him so they can march him onto the television for trials and the like… give the public their big boogeyman."

The woman frowns, turning her gaze down to the ground. "I shouldn't have stopped him. I should've just made them go on without me, or something." She sighs, shaking her head slowly to herself. Nothing you can do now…

Elle's blue eyes turn back to Cardinal again, and she scoots up in her chair, one hand lifting to massage at the back of her neck. "I'll get you what information I can, but I'm not going to blow my cover for anything, unless I absolutely have to. I will be exemplary for an Institute Agent, like I already have been." She points between herself and Cardinal. "I don't want anyone but you, Liz, and myself to know about this arrangement."

After taking another breath, Elle smiles slightly. "So is there anything in particular you would like for me to find out, Richey Rich?"

"I won't tell a soul," Cardinal assures her with a slight smile of his own, "Just… do your job and keep an eye out for things, right now. They've been quiet. Consolidating their hold on the Company's assets and such, I imagine, so just watch and listen and see if anything interesting pops up. Our priority is finding the people they're holding…"

A pause, "One in particular."

Elle nods slowly. "Simple enough. I can tell you that I'm currently heading up an investigation of a potentially dangerous empath, not unlike Huruma." She shrugs. "Otherwise, the agenda is to uncover the wherabouts of Company Agents, and to hunt them down. Thus far, I haven't seen anything about captures, however. They've taken over Fort Hero completely, and are making repairs.

Her brows raise at the mention of one person in particular. "And who would that be?"

There's a long moment's silence as Cardinal considers hers, before admitting, "The name is Edward Ray." The surname, at the very least, should be familiar to her.

"Warren Ray's father. He's mentioned him." Elle tilts her head toward Cardinal, nodding slowly. "I'll keep an eye out for him. I don't know if they would trust me with that, but…well, if I find him, you'll be the first to know." She tilts her head toward the man. "Anyone on the Institute's wanted list that I should be aware of? Can't make promises, but I can attempt to help them. Cover comes first, though, I don't want to be put in a coffin."

"Anyone in the Company that I had any interest in is either safe or already incarcerated," Cardinal admits with a slight shake of his head, turning one hand up in a shrug, "I mean, if the hit list changes, let me know…"

Elle nods slowly. "Thus far, it hasn't changed." She leans back in her seat, rubbing her chin. "One last request. You knew that I was Institute, and you have your information. Who all knows that I am Institute? I'd like an idea of how widespread this knowledge is, so I don't get myself into a dangerous situation without even realizing it."

Cardinal's brows raise ever so slightly at the inquiry, just-visible over the edge of his shades. "You can assume that anyone who knew you were Company… knows you're Institute. Probably more, as a matter of fact." He scratches at his chin briefly, "The list of who from the Company went over to the Institute is pretty widespread."

Elle frowns. "There's a list?" She tilts her head to the side, and nods slowly, filing this information away in the back of her mind. "That's good to know. I won't rely on people not knowing, then." She raises a hand, picking up a strand of the brunette hair. "Wonder if it's safe to go back to blonde. I don't think brunette suits me. Do you?" She drops the strand of hair, fidgeting in her seat for a moment.

Then, she's raising to her feet, extending a hand to Cardinal. "Contact me on the Sparks McGee email if you have any questions or anything in particular you want to know. It's secure."

"Of course there's a list," Cardinal's hands spread a little to either side, his tone rather wry, "You don't think that your… old friends are just going to run and hide and never look back, do you? I'd watch your back, if I were you. I doubt that any of them would be in a very charitable mood if you met them…"

A push up to his feet, and he reaches out with his gloved hand to grip hers, "Will do. Be careful out there, Elle."

Elle nods slowly, squeezing Cardinal's hand once, before withdrawing her own and taking a step back. "Thanks, Richie Rich. I'll be careful. You just keep your end of the deal, and make sure the door is open to me if I need it, and I'll help you out as much as I can." She nods slowly, then turns to make her way back toward the door. She pauses with her door on the handle, peering over her shoulder at the man.

"I just realized that I forgot my own birthday this year. September 17th. I forgot because I thought it was in June up until a few weeks ago." She tilts her head. "I don't even have anyone to throw a party for me." She has no clue why she's telling him this. Maybe it makes her feel better?

Cardinal's hand drops back down, resting on the table's top as he watches her walk to the door, watches her pause there. As she speaks, he smiles faintly.

"Maybe that should tell you something," he says quietly, "About what side you've been on all this time."

The petite brunette tilts her head toward Cardinal, frowning. "…Well. That's certainly something to think about, isn't it?" Elle's voice is quiet. Then, her hand pushes the door handle down, swinging it open. "I'm going to go home and drink, I think…" This is mumbled mostly to herself as she makes her way out, the door closing behind her with as soft click.

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