cardinal_icon.gif peyton2_icon.gif

Scene Title Hamartia
Synopsis The fatal flaw leading to the downfall of a character in Greek tragedy. Peyton gives news of Bella's latest ventures with Mortimer to Cardinal. The plans begin to brew.
Date June 15, 2010

Elisabeth's Apartment

A television screen is active in the midst of Elisabeth's apartment, and upon that screen is the bobbing head of one of Fox's most furious as he gestures frantically at the dry-erase board behind him on which he's written several very uncomplimentary things about Nathan Petrelli.

Richard's sprawled on the couch with his feet kicked up, watching the television screen and working through the colours of a Rubik's cube one twist and turn at a time. "God," he mutters, "I can't believe I'm actually agreeing with Glenn-fucking-Beck."

When she texted to ask where to meet him, Liz's apartment was the reply — all in code of course, lest a Rebel be listening. While 70 degrees may not be warm, it's certainly not cool, and the humidity in the air makes it feel warm so she's dressed in a white eyelet dress that makes her still-too-pale skin look warmer, tanner in comparison. Peyton has never been this pale in her life — just one more side effect of too many months of snow. There is still the slightest hint of the bruise on her cheek from where she hit a pole on the subway upon passing out Thursday, but for the most part she looks much better than she did that day, when she knocks on Liz's door, a manila folder stuffed in her lime green Prada purse.

"Oh, thank god." Cardinal pushes up to his feet, the television clicked off and its remote tossed back onto the coffee table with a clatter. Around the sofa and to the door, a check through the peep-hole and then he's undoing the locks and pulling open the door, a broad smile curving his lips, "Hey there, babe."

"Hey, boss," Peyton says cheerily enough, tilting her head to offer a bright smile that may be about as fake as those she'd offered the paparazzi for so many years — she may not actually be an actress, but anyone in the limelight puts on a performance, and she's no different. She peeks into the apartment before stepping in, to make sure there's no new recruit she shouldn't be talking in front of in a frank manner.

"So I kinda fell down on the whole Bella thing — the headaches from the subway thing sorta made it hard for a couple days, but I'm back on track. She's in some… I donno. It looks like a medical facility, or something, but I can't ever seem to catch her coming or going, so I don't know where it is." Her nose wrinkles at that — clearly a failure on her part, her expression says. "Started to get all migrainey trying so I had to take a break. But there's some guy that she told she can give back an ability, that his SLC was hiding or some crazy thing like that." She pull out and holds out the manila folder for him to take.

As she steps in, Cardinal closes the door and turns to walk with her along back into the living room, listening to her as she talks — but it's the last words that have him pretty much walking into the couch, screeching to a halt and raising a hand to lower his shades, regarding her steadily."


That gaze drops to the folder, and he reaches for it, turning it around and opening it up.

"I typed up what I was listening to — once it was clear they weren't moving, I was able to swap to audio only, so I can actually see. You'll see that the typing gets a lot better halfway through," Peyton says with another cheery grin, tapping the page in the folder: sure enough, there is a transcript, the beginning riddled with typos but mostly understandable, and then improving abruptly later.

"The guy, he had like a fake arm. But not like a plastic fake arm. Like a cyborg or something you'd see in a sci fi movie," she says. "And he acted like … I donno. Like he was more than one person. He said he had a vision where he was building something mechanical using his ability so he seemed pretty sure it would work."

She sits on the couch, crossing her legs and looking up at him curiously. "The power stuff was confusing. Something about a retro virus — it was risky, but he took a pill — I looked back to see if he did it. I didn't really pay attention in biology, so it was over my head."

"Mortimer Jack." The name is spoken quietly, seriously as Cardinal flips through the typo-riddled document, his brow furrowing in deep lines, "He's a disassociative… multiple personalities, neither of them exactly what I'd call trustworthy, but one of them's particular psychotic. That's Jack. He was a mechanical intuitive, until he ran afoul of Arthur…"

Then it hits him, dark eyes snapping up, "A virus? Not a fomula… oh, those crazy sons of bitches. They're working on Advent…"

Peyton's brows furrow, and she slips off her flip flops before bringing her feet up to curl beneath her on the couch. "A virus instead of a formula — I kinda suck at science, but that'd suggest more… more people could get it, right? I mean the formula was an injection, but a virus could be released and be contracted by a lot of people — killing a lot of people, too, it sounds like. Are they trying to make everyone in the world Evo?"

"No, not that kind of virus, a retrovirus…" Cardinal tosses the manuscript and folder to land on the table, frowning darkly, "…it was a… flawed attempt at re-making the Formula. I'm not sure who made it, originally. It does actually grant abilities, but it's got one fatal flaw."

"Oh. I thought retrovirus was just some type of virus, like… like rotavirus or something," Peyton says, looking a little embarrassed for her lack of science knowledge. She tucks her hair behind her ears as her brows raise. "What's the fatal flaw? Besides possibly killing the person. I mean, you can't really get more fatal, can you?"

"There is no possibly," Cardinal says, shaking his head, "Advent eventually causes complete cellular breakdown. I've seen the latter stages of infection, and trust me, it's pretty fucking unpleasant."

Peyton's eyes widen and her eyebrows disappear up under her heavy bangs. "So he's dead no matter what? She's lying to him to get him to take it? Are they maybe trying to fix it so it doesn't do that, and using him as a human guinea pig? I mean — if they know it's going to kill him — why would they do that and not just kill him if they have him at this facility, whatever it is?" she asks. "But if his vision's… if the visions are the future, which people seem to think they are, he says he's working with her and he's fine. How long does the break down take?"

"Do I look like a biologist?" Cardinal brings one hand up, rubbing against his forehead for a moment before he drops down to sit on the sofa, "I have no idea. I imagine— shit. We thought she was Company, but if they're working on Advent, she might be with the Institute now. I imagine they've been trying to modify it." A sidelong look past his wrist, and he smirks a little, "Maybe they need his power. Or maybe they're just using him as a test subject."

"How the hell do I know what a biologist looks like? You could look like one," Peyton says with a smirk back at him, clearly not too worried about this 'Jack' fellow and his sure-demise, if he's a psychopath and Cardinal doesn't seem to be too worried about him personally. "Yeah, I could see you in a little lab coat, with a pocket protector, walking around with petri dishes. Dr. Cardinal. It has a nice ring to it," she teases, before growing more serious.

"God. I need to make sure Aaron doesn't see her as a fucking therapist anymore. What if she tried to use him as a guinea pig? I mean, this guy seems to think he's signing up willingly. Not that Aaron needs a power, but what other crazy mad scientist pills do they have up their sleeves?"

"No." Cardinal's hand lifts from his face and holds up to her, "Let him, for now… if he's still seeing her, we have a route to her, Peyton, and I'm starting to think that we may need to pick up Miss Sheridan and ask her a few pointed questions…"

"Richard," she says in surprise, her brows knitting as she shakes her head at him vehemently. She rarely uses his first name, for whatever reason, and she rarely argues with him. "Aaron is a mess and God knows what he'll agree to… There's times I regret getting wrapped up in his drama and emotional problems, but I'm still his friend and he's mine, even if he doesn't listen to me and is refusing to see me at the hospital. She said something about getting him … like, legally, declared unfit and making myself his guardian or some shit — I can't even fucking take care of myself, so I don't think I can do that, but if I have to to keep him out of her hands…"

Cardinal drops his hand back down to his knee, his brow furrowing as he sits up straighter in a bit of surprise — startled, perhaps, by her use of his name and vehemence both. She's regarded for a few moments, and then he nods slightly. "Alright," he says quietly, "It'll take you awhile to break her away from him, though. If you start telling him what she's really been doing — do you think he'll believe you?"

"No. He flat out refused to leave her apartment when I told him about the Refrain stuff, so I don't know. Maybe, if he's gotten his head in better order, but … I don't know. I don't want to use him as a pawn, though, even if it lets us have a connection… I can watch her remotely and all that, I don't need to use him for that," Peyton says, frowning and toying with the hem of her skirt.

"It's possible she'd agree to meet with me if I lied to her and said it was about him, and maybe we can do that if you want to talk to Sheridan, but I don't want to involve Aaron at all, Card. I've screwed stuff up with him a lot — I'm not equipped to handle people like… problems like that, I know, I'm not deep enough or smart enough to help him through it, obviously," her voice chokes a little, and she looks away. "But I don't want to add to my failures. He doesn't deserve to be used just to get to her. He doesn't approve of this stuff," she nods to the manila envelope. "Me trying to save the world or whatever, he doesn't approve of it, and it'd be wrong to involve him that way. I … I know we do a lot of things that aren't necessary ethical — ends justify the means and all, but that… that's not okay with me."

Silence reigns for a few moments as Cardinal listens to her, and then he nods slightly, lips pursing in a line. "Alright. It'd be easier, using him, but… alright. We won't, then." As simple as that, he glances back to the blackened television, "If we do it, we'll have to risk you instead, then. I'll talk to someone."

The mention of risking her gets a shrug and a tossing of her hair behind her shoulders. "So risk me. I'm in this. He's not. Unless I tell him what she's done and he believes me — if he's willing to be in on it, maybe that would be okay. But I don't know if I trust him with that information, do you? He's not exactly… you know. Stable," Peyton says wryly.

"It doesn't sound like he would," replies Cardinal with a bit of a chuckle, looking over to her again, "Alright. Aaron's out, then."

"I … can maybe call her and offer to … you know. What she wanted before — to collaborate or whatever psychobabble bullshit she was saying about Aaron's well-being, like she's ever had anyone's well-being in mind, right?" Peyton says, vitriol in her usually good-humored tone, but then she smiles. "I trust you, and I'm not afraid of her." It wasn't Bella Sheridan she saw in her vision, after all.

"Not yet." Cardinal shakes his head a little, "I'll have to make some arrangements first. We'll keep it in mind, though. After…" He regards her, quirking a faint smile, "We'll figure something out. Thanks, babe. You did good."

She tilts her head and dips her lashes, a sincere smile in response to the praise. "I'll keep watching… I think I probably missed some important stuff when my head was all bruised feeling," she says, with a sigh. "I'll keep trying — she has really good timing or something and manages to get in and out of wherever she is without me seeing it, and it's pissing me off." There's a chuckle as she stands up, fingers moving to smooth out the dress before heading toward the door. "Have a good day, boss."

As she rises to head for the door, Cardinal leans back a bit, one arm stretching over the back of the couch as he asks curiously, "You got a hot date or something tonight that you're rushing out with…?"

The clairvoyant stops halfway to the door, turning to look over a bare shoulder, a mixture of sadness and amusement in her eyes before her lips quirk upward into a smile. "No, just getting out of your hair. Now that you mention it, maybe I'll check out one of the clubs or something. It's been a while, and now that the world isn't ending just yet, may as well have some fun, right?" she says, before nodding toward him. "Besides, you have a sorts of lost time to make up for with the lady of the house."

"She spends most've her time off doing… well," Cardinal's hand flicks vaguely through the air, and he quirks a wry smile back to her, "Go, go, have fun. Enjoy some club life, if you can find one that's open."

Peyton smirks. "There's always a club open somewhere in New York City, even if it's an illegal one in a warehouse with little white pills with clovers and hearts printed on them, mon frère," she teases him. "But if you want me to keep you company, we can get Pay Per View and order pizza and come up with dastardly plans to torture bad people," she suggests.

"Go, go…" Cardinal chuckles, turning to reach for the file on the table, "…I should catch up on my reading anyway. If you see any cute punk chicks, get me their numbers."

"Right," Peyton says, turning away and heading to the door, leaving him behind with her words, badly typed as it may be — she's actually rather proud of her idea to type using just the audio aspect of her power, and the fact she was able to separate the power successfully for once. She slips out of the door, pulling out her cell phone. She should visit Aaron, make sure he's not still meeting Bella. Instead, she scrolls through the names, selecting one of her former friends she hasn't seen in almost a year — a certain playboy trust fund baby, texting even as she walks to the elevator: You in NYC?

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