He'll Never See Us Coming


cardinal_icon.gif cat_icon.gif elisabeth_icon.gif leonard_icon.gif

Scene Title He'll Never See Us Coming
Synopsis Cardinal gets back in touch with Phoenix. Information is exchanged, and some plans are made.
Date July 5, 2009

Cardinal stands at the end of a dock, looking out over the Hudson as the sun makes its way through the skies; the breeze stirring over the surface, waves lapping at the supports that hold the dock steady. A breath's taken in, and then exhaled, his eyes closing as he reaches into his jacket to pull out a phone. It's flipped open, and he thumbs down the contacts list.

Moments later, Elisabeth's phone rings.

Considering everything going on in the city, Elisabeth is on duty in spite of the fact that it's Sunday. An attack on the mayor's wife is big news, of course. Not that it's the case that has Elisabeth on the streets, but it's the appearance of more police presence that the brass wants. She's just grabbing lunch sitting near the edge of Central Park when her phone rings. Flipping it out and looking at it, she swallows the bite in her mouth and then quickly answers. "It always amuses me to say 'a little birdy told me', handsome…. what's on your mind today?"

"More than you'd ever want to know…" A smile, faint, curves to Cardinal's lips as he looks out across the river, his voice rough with suppressed anger, "…Arthur hit the lighthouse the other night. It's gone. I don't know how many of the kids got out— word has it that he took out Brian. Took his power, too."

Elisabeth's expression doesn't alter on the far side of the line, though she sets her lunch down. "Yeah… I already heard," she replies quietly. "A number of the kids got out, I think we're still getting a head count. Frankly, I'm surprised he didn't already have Brian or Brian's ability. There's a dupe working for Homeland Security, he'd have been far easier to get to than the one running the Lighthouse — that one's got a higher profile." Elisabeth sighs heavily, her appetite gone. She wraps up the remains of her lunch and moves to stand, heading for a trash can to toss it in. "I'll let you know when I have a better count on whether we lost any kids, though." Because losing the kids puts Liz in a real bad mood.

"I know at least… a few of them got out," Cardinal assures her, "Hopefully more than a few." He grunts slightly, "You guys hook up with Monroe? What else is goin' on? I've been out of touch with… the stuff Phoenix has been doin'."

"Not that I've been told, no," Elisabeth replies. And she hesitates. "Do you want me to meet up with him myself?" May as well step up with both feet at this point… Helena wanted her to take a more active role. "I'm not entirely sure what you want done with him — nor am I certain what Helena's going to do with him — but I can at least get the ball rolling, I suppose." Not that it makes her happy.

At that, Cardinal exhales a faint snort of breath. "Up to you. He's kind've a smarmy asshole, but I think he hates Arthur'n the other Founders more than he does Phoenix. He'll try'n convince you he's a 'good guy' but you know better. Personally, I'd say to let Dean at him."

Looking out over the forested part of the park, Elisabeth merely says, "He's more than smarmy. I'll tell her to get the lead out of her ass and move on the meet." Her eyes rove over the area, noting the people walking, jogging, riding their bikes. People are enjoying the holiday weekend in spite of what goes on around them. Is that good or bad? "You okay?" she finally asks softly.

"I'm okay. I'm more worried about you." Cardinal's silent for a long moment, "Things are… moving pretty fast now, Liz. Maybe I should get together with you'n Cat… compare notes, so t'speak."

Worried about her? Not like she's even been involved in anything thus far. "Sure," she tells him quietly. "When you wanna come in? Cat'll make herself available."

"Whenever. I'm available pretty much whenever." A pause. "Laudani…" Cardinal pauses, again, perhaps trying to figure out how to say what he wants to say.

Elisabeth is quiet a moment. Part of her would like to tell him to spit it out, but that's unlikely to get him to talk to her. Instead she says gently, "What about him?" Teodoro Laudani is someone she cares a great deal about. "If you know something about him…. I'd really like to know. Don't know if I ever told you…." The smile can be heard in her voice. "He was teaching at the high school with me before I went back on the force. Didn't really know him back then, but he had a way — goofy sort of not-quite-old-enough way — of teasing that was…. soothing. I miss that guy," she tells him softly. "I'd like to get him back someday. So… anything you know would be nice. If he's gone for good, I'd like to mourn him and get on with things."

Cardinal's eyes close, his head falling slightly. "I don't know. The guy that calls himself that, these days… he's working with Logan now, Liz. Dragged the bastard out've my sights after he shot Abigail. Deckard was there to fix her, but, he's defending the sonuvabitch now. Not to mention the shit he did to me." A tighter tone to his voice, anger leaking through it, "He's working with Ray. Edward Ray."

There's a long pause on Elisabeth's end. Her words come very slowly. "I think you should come in, Richard. Sooner… rather than later." And maybe, just maybe, she can also drag Helena into some of this. "When I brought up Teo to Helena, I was specifically told to lay low on it. I got the very clear impression that some kind of plan is afoot, but I don't know if even Helena is part of it. Like you…. it could be a matter of 'the enemy of my enemy must be recruited.' But Cat may have more information than I do."

Elisabeth adds quietly, "Do you know which Edward Ray? The current or future time one?"

"Current." Cardinal says rather firmly, "I know that for certain. If he's got a plan, it's a fuckin' bad one. He's not working against Arthur, Liz. He knows that's my goal, an' he admitted that if he told me his, I'd never help him. Whatever he's up to, it's not good."

Elisabeth blows out a breath and moves to sit back down on the bench that she recently vacated. "Fuck," she murmurs succinctly. "I can't even keep all the players straight. So current-time Edward Ray is working for….. who? Cuz FUTURE Ray is working to … take down Arthur and not the Company. Are current and future Ray even in contact? The rest of the future people made some attempt to make contact with their current-time counterparts, from what I can tell — frankly, it wouldn't shock me a bit to find out that it's actually future-time Nathan Petrelli in the fucking White House right now. But that'd beg the question of 'where's the current-time Petrelli and what's he doing?' From what I can gather, Peter Petrelli's going to be next to useless in this fight, he's been helping his father or something."

Cardinal is silent for a moment, gathering his thoughts on that. "I don't know Peter. Far as I'm concerned, the Petrelli family can all burn together.. mnm, the Rays are both trying to kill each other, as far as I can tell. They're not fans of each other at all— and since the one from the future's working so hard to deal with Arthur, I'm guessing the current one is supporting him. Which puts Laudani in bed with the enemy, as far as I'm fuckin' concerned."

Elisabeth scratches her head and sighs. "Okay. Well, that's definitely more intel than we had before. Tell me when you want to see Cat and I'll make the arrangments. She might be available now, if you want her."

"Whenever you're available," Cardinal admits, "The sooner, the better. Like I said— shit's moving fast, now."

Elisabeth replies mildly, "Be at Cat's place as soon as you can get there. I'll head there now and give her at least a brief heads-up." And then she's hung up on him.

Village Renaissance Building, Cat's Penthouse

Arriving by any of four elevators, visitors will find they open into three foot corridors facing wide double doors made from sturdy southern pine which swing outward and have the strongest locks available. The stairs lead to single doors, also outward opening, at the end of three foot corridors. Entry requires both a key and a keycard; other security measures are a video camera and voice communication terminal at all doors. The 4th Street side has floor to ceiling windows interrupted only by the access points. Cream colored curtains are normally kept closed.

This level has enough space for sixteen apartments. There is an office space with reception area, conference room, and executive office; a room for archery practice and other forms of physical exercise; a very well appointed kitchen and dining area; a music zone with an array of instruments, electronics, and amplifiers; an entertainment area with an HD set covering an entire stretch of wall from floor to ceiling; a locked room where security footage for the building is recorded and can be monitored; a laundry room; a staircase for roof access; central air and heating; the main bedroom and a few smaller guest rooms; plush deep wine carpet everywhere except the kitchen, laundry room and bathrooms; and track lighting everywhere overhead. The light levels can be lowered or raised in the entire place, or selectively by segments. The overall decor suggests the occupant is a woman.

Elisabeth's arrival at Cat's apartment is preceded by a brief phone call that says simply, "I'm on my way to you — be at the apartment, please? Our little bird would like a confab." And she gets there and lets herself in, and then helps herself to a soda from Cat's refrigerator whilst they await the arrival of one man named after a red bird. "I don't know what all he's got up his sleeve, Cat — he just says it's moving really fast and that the two Edward Rays are on opposite sides of the fence. And that whatever's possessing Teo's on the wrong side of the fence." She grimaces as she drinks from her soda.

16:41, her iPhone display said when she ended the call with Elisabeth. By the time the detective has joined her at the penthouse, it's 17:04. Cat is found in the entertainment area, her eyes focused on the screen as she quietly enjoys a bottle of stout. Things learned lately are mulled over in silence during that intervening time.

Turning to the Scout operative, Cat remarks dryly "Yes, they are moving fast. But not so fast as I thought just two days ago. Word came through Gillian that Arthur had the serum ready and was making a demonstration for the Pentagon tomorrow sometime, so I consulted Micah's mentor to find out who we should line up, learn what his plans are, and move quickly to end things before he can make that demo."

"But Mister Monk, thankfully, arranged a video conference with Father. It seems the formula Arthur has is false, and he has decided to inject subjects with it to give them abilities just long enough to show the Pentagon. Sometime later they'll biologically reject it and die horribly."

There comes a knock upon the door. Knock, knock. It's Cardinal's knuckles that knock, ones that weren't there a bare week ago - because the hand they were attached to was gone. It seems that's been remedied, however, unless there's something robotic beneath the gloves he's wearing. He looks tired, somewhat haunted, but in good health and with new clothes, at least.

Elisabeth grins wickedly at Cat and comments, "Maybe that's what the hell Cardinal's been running from. Maybe the part of the formula he stole was a bad copy…. or maybe Adam Monroe altered it or something." She sets her glass down. "The dying horribly part, I don't like much, though," she says as she heads for the door, opening it and betraying only an affectionate smile for the scruffy guy on the other side. "Hey sailor… long time, no see," she teases gently. "C'mon in." It isn't until she's closing the door that she notes his hand, and then her eyebrows shoot up. "Shit, Richard…. you got your hand back!" She sounds surprised and very glad for him — when last she laid eyes on the man, he was in really rough shape.

Walking with Elisabeth, Cat's greeting is terse, her features have a businesslike focus, given the subject under discussion. "Mr. Redbird," she begins, "good to see you again." Her eyes then settle on Elisabeth, as she mentions a name. "Helena and I recently met with Mister Monroe. He offered to link with us and go at Arthur, says he wants the honor of killing the man personally. We gave him no definite answer. I've advised Helena we shouldn't have anything to do with Volken's stooge, he also being a man who tried to release the Shanti virus on his own in the late seventies."

"Beyond that, I'm not convinced we have common cause with him; after all he was recently working as Arthur's attack dog, arranged stealing part of the formula, and killed Hiro's father.

"I have several healers on speed-dial," Cardinal replies, and it's with a hint of wry amusement in his tone that he wriggles his fingers in the air— taking a step in closer, he reaches out to briefly wrap an arm half-'round the woman in an affectionate embrace before walking along inside, craning his neck to check the place out. "Nice digs you've got here, Cat."

A slight nod's offered over, and he allows easily, "Milk 'im for information and leave him cold, would be my advice. He's entirely untrustworthy, though I'm pretty sure he hates Arthur too. Him'n his little crew could make good cannon-fodder, though, if you're planning an attack."

Elisabeth glances at Cat, surprised. "I hadn't realized you'd already met with Monroe," she says to the other woman as she returns the brief, affectionate squeeze Cardinal offers as a way of telling him she's glad he's alive and in one piece again. Then she looks toward Cat, "You didn't mention you'd been back in contact with your father either. I'm glad for you." Because it only just registered on the blonde cop. Some detective she is today. Then she gets back to the topic at hand. "I've definitely got some concerns about working with Monroe, given his history with the Shanti virus and the fact that he was working with Volken when the maniac also tried to release it." With the addition of Cardinal's comment, Liz adds, "The trick will be to get him thinking that we are actually cooperating. I'm told he's quite intelligent and if he thinks we're doublecrossing him or something… that could get problematic."

"I had thought, after Gillian reported on her trip to Pinehearst and dying there, we would need to move by Monday," Cat informs. "Time, fortunately, isn't that critical. We won't be able to save the subjects he's got rounded up for the test, sadly. But we know he doesn't have the serum. Father says it was subtly edited. He has the mental skills to have spotted the revision, no one else has. He also tells me he's not in danger from Arthur's telepathy."

"Mister Monk had earlier recommended we sit the battle with Pinehearst out, he says things are in the pipeline to deal with him, and if we face off with Arthur we'll lose." That doesn't say she has the same opinion, however. "Father was very not happy to hear of my recent… encounter with Arthur. If what he sees going on inside Pinehearst wasn't enough already to have him working with Edward Ray, he would be very eager to kill him now. Edward Ray was set free from Arthur's clutches some time ago, when I asked how to find him, Mister Monk said to ask Teo."

At the mention of the serum, Cardinal's lips twitch into a thin smile. "He's having a little trouble with the Formula, is he…? Shame, that," he murmurs, leaning against a convenient piece of furnituret, "Whatever will he do without his precious serum?"

An arm folds behind his head, and he watches Cat for a moment before noting, "Laudani… for lack of a better name, since that's almost who he is… has Edward all wrapped up, yeah. I wouldn't rely on him, though. As far as I can tell, he's not working to stop Arthur. His goals are entirely different, but he refuses to discuss them."

Elisabeth nudges the back of Cardinal's shoulder and smirks faintly. "You little shit," she comments softly. You *did* give him the wrong one or something, didn't you? Shaking her head, she merely leaves it at that, fetching her soda from the table and pulling an extra from the refrigerator, handing it to Richard absently. "Hrm…. sound like anyone else we know?" she queries mildly.

"We spoke about Teo when he came to me some days ago, while I was meeting with Eileen, and his aunt turned up. He claims to be the version of Teo from ten years forward and working on an agenda to prevent some of the things that happened. Some of his reasonings make a degree of sense. We haven't, however, spoken much of the future. Yet. And there was one issue he neither confirmed nor denied involvement with," Cat shares quietly as another knock at the doors has her moving to check the video device next to it and spot Leonard.

The door is opened for him, Cat seems to have no issues continuing to speak of the matter at hand while admitting the man. "Which Edward is Teo working with, Mr. Redbird?"

It's all too confusing for Leo. He's not blonde now, wasn't then. Strawberry blonde, maybe? But his little stint in the big house hasn't done much for him, especially in the intellect department. He's looking thuggish, as usual, army shorts, boots, black t-shirt, as he rocks his weight back and forth on his heels, waiting to be admitted to the secret clubhouse.

The comment is neither confirmed nor denied, though Cardinal's lips twitch a bit at the nudge. Then he returns to a more serious expression as he leans forward, pausing to watch the door opened— but Cat's still speaking, so the guy must be cool, so to speak. "The current one," he explains, head shaking slowly, "Whatever he has… Laudani doing has him supporting Logan of all people. The bastard nearly killed Abigail not too long ago, Teo protected him all through the gunfight. I told Edward that I'd do whatever he wanted, if it'd take Arthur down." He pauses, "He basically told me that wasn't his priority or goal."

Leaning against the back of the couch, Elisabeth merely listens to what the two know. She has not been privy to any of the conversation with Adam Monroe, nor anything Teo has told Helena. "So … what do you actually see as the strategy here? Is there anything actually overlapping, or are we all running around like chickens with our heads cut off, at cross purposes to one another's agendas? Cuz that's starting to be what it sounds like, and frankly? I'm goddamn tired of sitting this fight out."

"I don't believe that," Cat replies calmly. "Father says he's been working with Edward Ray for some time. First with the older version when he was approached a few months ago, just before the older Edward aimed me at Pinehearst, then with the younger one Arthur had captive. You may doubt Teo now, but I don't doubt Father. He said I should speak with the younger, and I was directed toward Teo to contact him."

"Teo and I had some words," she goes on to say with her voice taking an edge, "about his attacking our allies and supporting John Logan. He claims his purpose is to use him for infiltrating Linderman's ops."

"My answer to that was simple: he could've come to explain himself for us much sooner."

"Helena here?" wonders the dark-haired boy, once he's shown in. No greeting, no preamble. Like she's a piece of furniture on Craiglist that he spoke for.

"Linderman?" Cardinal's brow furrows slightly, "…what the fuck, there's plenty of people he could've used aside from fuckin' Logan. Hell, I'm technically on Linderman's payroll, even if it's just as a contract operative. Idiot."

The thief shakes his head just a little, "Well, I'm not going t'say that your father's wrong, Cat. I just don't trust the guy, or his goals. Him and not-Laudani both have way too much 'I'm not telling you' going on— " He pauses, then, at a second glance to Leonard, brow furrowing as recognition makes his brain shift gears briefly, "Hey, aren't you the guy that dragged the doc out've that fist-fight at Shooters?"

Elisabeth interjects thoughtfully after a few moments, "It is plausible that he needs us to believe it because our reactions would be different if we knew it was a fake. Right now…. anyone who has a spy inside Phoenix knows that we are completely up in arms about what Teo's doing, confused, dismayed. And that we're apparently treading carefully based on the assumption that Teo's been possessed." She looks at Cat. "The best way to get undercover is to make everyone, most especially those close to you, believe that there is a legitimate reason for the fact that you turned your back on everything." She sighs and moves to pace a bit, glancing toward the newcomer with a curious look. She doesn't know him either. "I'm not saying we should assume that idea and act on it, just suggesting it as a possible rationale for …. a great many actions on Teo's part." She glances at Cardinal. "And by no means does that excuse any of his actions." Then she watches Cardinal and Leonard quietly.

"She said she was heading to the roof earlier, I believe," Cat answers for Leonard. "There's a set of stairs near the kitchen to get up there." Her attention is split between him, Cardinal, and Elisabeth as they speak. There's no interruption of the exchange between shadow man and telekinetic veteran.

"I am, yeah," Leo says, calmly, before nodding to Cat. He makes no move to go find the putative Helena. Presumably if the blonde weather witch needed an escort, she'd be down here waiting for him.

"Thought so." The man's identity at least vaguely verified, Cardinal scratches a hand against the side of his neck, nose wrinkling at Elisabeth's words, though he neither supports nor defies the hypothesis she comes up with. "Anyway. Have you heard from any of your people at the Lighthouse, Cat?" He looks at her seriously, "My intel says that Arthur took Brian's power before blowing it, but I don't know who else was there."

"The children are safe," Cat replies quietly. "An operative was present who escaped with them. It's believed Arthur has his ability, also," she confirms. "I'd be surprised if he didn't take it, that was likely the main reason for going there. The man never met a power he didn't want to steal." Her eyes close briefly as she forces aside the memory of just how much that shit hurts. "He's also very much incapable of forgetting now," Cat tacks on with a scowl. "And he uses false faces."

A question follows. "You said you've got a contract with Linderman?"

All of this is grim news, by Leo's lights. He doesn't say anything aloud, just gets that pinched, annoyed look. And there's a momentary crystalline hum in the air, before he damps it down.

The casual, arrogant facade of Cardinal's attitude is punctured, then, as pain and relief flicker across his features at the news— his shoulders sinking a bit, one hand coming up to pinch the bridge of his nose, eyes closing. "That's something," he says quietly, "I was worried 'bout the kids."

A breath's drawn in, and his hand drops before he looks to her again, allowing ruefully, "Yeah. Ironically, to find out what Monroe wanted with Zoe Porter. Seems like that's kind of superfluous now, given the headline I read yesterday."

"Zoe Porter," Cat repeats. "We saw her once, you and I, at the art auction on Staten Island. She was bidding on Linderman's behalf. I remembered her from the article that bitch Nalani Hollingwood did on her in Pause magazine." Someday, she will take some form of action against Nalani for trying to frame Grace. Whether Nalani knew it or not, attacks on the Ferry must be responded to. Somehow.

"Adam mentioned Zoe when we met," she adds. "Claimed she was his girlfriend, and Arthur murdered her."

Leonard blinks, and admits, rather quietly, "Who is this? I don't think I ever knew her, or of her."

"So that's what he wanted from her…" Cardinal's eyes close, a breath taken, "…okay. I can use that, at least, to turn Linderman against Arthur, if he isn't already. I hadn't realized… shit. Who hasn't the psychotic sonuvabitch killed? If he isn't stopped soon, we'll be wading through a fuckin' sea of blood." Same result either way, then, isn't it?

A grunt, "Nalani's a bitch. Had me arrested, once, when I tried to talk to her about somethin'." He tilts his head over to Leonard, "Linderman's goddaughter."

"I estimate the best way to dispose of Arthur," Cat replies, "is to get him busy, lure him out into the open, and have a sniper blow his head clean off. Ideally, if Tyler Case hadn't been so busy, this could all be easy. I'd ask Hiro to 'port into Pinehearst, stop time, and he could then be carved into separate pieces, burned in a number of places. Let's see him regenerate from that. It's also possible we could put a negator close to him and just shoot him. But that raises the issue of getting him close enough to do it." Her head shakes. "Edward Senior… he said he wanted Pinehearst stopped, but one of the first things he did was make it so much harder to do. Idiot."

"What'd he do?" says Leo. Clearly, someone here is not the brains of this operation.

"You'll need to force him out," Cardinal's head tilts just a little to one side, regarding Cat curiously, "I know Liz said that you were thinking of hitting the Pinehearst building; you could probably get your father an' whoever else out at the same time, if you did. Kill a number've birds with one stone, as it were."

"Plans are being considered," Cat replies, as her eyes turn toward Leo. "Tyler Case from the future is with the older Edward. His ability is taking away and/or switching them around with other people. Soon after they arrived from 2019, Hiro Nakamura was switched with the older version of Nathan Petrelli. After this, Tyler did the same with several others. Abby and Deckard; Gillian, Peter, and Gabriel Gray; Eileen Ruskin and an unknown person… We may not know exactly who all was targeted. It just doesn't make sense to have done that. Especially Hiro. If he hadn't been targeted, Kaito might not have died and we could handle Arthur so much more easily."

"I hate to ask and thus display my ignorance, but what's the point of all this?" Leo asks, wearing that confused German shepherd expression.

Cardinal lifts his hand slightly, noting in somewhat dry tones, "For the record, I asked that a warning be sent to Hiro 'bout all that. I did what I could to minimize the damage." A pause, and then he looks to Leo for a moment. "Arthur plans on making us all his happy little servants in his fascist paradise. We object to the idea."

"Hiro got that warning," Cat assures. "The point is more that Tyler Case made him less than his normal self even before that point, and likely gave Adam the advantage. I can't fathom why Edward would have this done, a thing which worked in Arthur's favor. The younger Edward Ray makes far more sense than the Elder by far."

Then she begins to provide details. "Arthur Petrelli, one of the Primatech founders. Husband of Angela Petrelli, father of Peter and Nathan. Onetime attorney for Linderman, before faking his own death. Now head of Pinehearst, with the goal to make a serum for granting abilities and use it to pad Frontline's ranks, among other things. He's making a power grab, basically, and if he weren't already insane he is now."

"Great," says Leo, succinctly. "Nice to know I need to pull my briefs on over my tights again, and get up for another round of fighting evil." He shakes his head, and mutters, "I need a cigarette. And some fucking vacation."

"Or just manufacture more Evolved to rip powers from," Cardinal observes in rather dark tones, "Fortunately, he doesn't have the ability to reproduce the Formula anymore… the best he can do is Advent…" He gives his head a tight shake, "I wouldn't listen to either Ray, if I were you, but that's just my opinion there. Their powers've driven them completely insane, as far as I'm concerned." He pauses, as if something just struck him. "Cat. You said that— your father's on the inside, right, working in the labs?"

"That's occurred to me to, Mr. Redbird," Cat replies solemnly. "He could steal them, then have the soldiers dosed a second time." Her eyes settle on Leonard long enough to make a comment. "It seems to be a permanent condition, brother." And back to Cardinal. "He is. I can perhaps make contact with him through the assistance of a technopath."

"What my need for cigarettes and time off? Yeah," Leo agrees, propping himself lazily against the wall.

"If you get another chance to talk to him," Cardinal asks, "And if you don't mind — I'd like to talk to him? I've got a germ of an idea, but I'll need him to confirm some things from the inside. I'd just go find out myself, but…" A brief clenching of his jaw, "Arthur ripped my power out awhile ago, which makes things difficult."

"I'd wondered about you not being all shadowy," Cat replies with a nod. "He got me too, tossed me out a window and burned the house in Hartford to the ground. We know someone who sets things right, however. Anytime you like we can get you to her." That memory comes back of Arthur ripping it free. "It feels like reaching through ribs and pulling the heart out with his bare hands when he does that," she describes with a scowl.

"I can't guarantee I'd be able to make the timing happen, the technopath isn't always prompt when I ask to consult, but he does reply at some point. What's the idea you're mulling over?"

Leo blanches, as he listens to that account. And he thought what Verse did to him was bad. "How do we take him out?" he asks.

At the description, Cardinal's gaze slants away, as if afraid of revealing something. Fear, perhaps, or just the memory of the pain. "Yeah. Yeah… it does. Wait, what?" His head lifts sharply, "You do? Sure— wait. Shit. No. I can't, not just yet. After this is over, yeah, but not just yet."

He flickers a quick, tight smile to Cat, "I think I know how to kill Arthur Petrelli. Your father might be able to give us just the weapon we need."

Leonard's question isn't answered by Cat, she has the same one in mind. Her eyes rest on Cardinal curiously, she waits for him to provide. If he has a better way than using a sniper, that's all good.

"I'll… I'd like to talk to him before saying anything," Cardinal shakes his head slightly, "Right now, Arthur can't find me. I'm a blind spot. He could come hunt any of you down at whim, though, and with Parkman's power could rip anything he wanted from your head. If I am right, and he finds this out, he could destroy it before we get our hands on it."

"What we don't know, we can't be made to betray," Leo agrees, without arguing.

That tells Cat something in itself. Cardinal is a blind spot, which suggests he has telepathy or replication to confuse the locator ability Arthur stole from Molly. It also suggests he was given an ability after Arthur's attack which took away the shadows. She knows she didn't send him to Delphine, and hasn't heard of anyone else doing so, besides that would've restored the shadows. So… that leaves an incarnation of Tyler Case, and he did say he's talked with Edward…

"Very well," she agrees. "I'll try to arrange a conversation with Father and the technopath." But at least she'll be present for that conversation.

There're many pieces on the chessboard. It's only now that some of them are starting to get the idea of which pieces they might be, and what others are standing out there, as things approach the endgame. "Just let me know when and where," Cardinal affirms with a slight nod towards Cat, straightening a bit with a determined air, "We can do this, and we won't need a sniper. We'll still need to draw him out, but, once he is… he'll never see us coming."

Nothing out of Leo, who is clearly just now starting to realize how deep the rabbit hole goes. He rubs at his forehead with a palm, as if trying to fend off a headache.

Her mind is at work. Ideally they'll be able to get files from Pinehearst and use them to make things public, work against the Frontline program. Exposing Arthur's false test to the press would be a good thing. Revealing all of it, the murders, the plans, it's a solid goal. But Cat realizes very well the main goal is to eliminate Arthur and Doctor Meier. That comes ahead of getting Gabriel Gray out, and even ahead of rescuing the parents. Hard choices come in such things often, and here it may be again, much as it had been when Dani was held and the Vanguard demanded Wireless in exchange for her. They had to let her be abandoned and die alone.

The guilt will be with her for a long time if it comes to that, but she'll endure. She's done it before, and will do it again if need be, without flinching.

"Thank you for coming, Mr. Redbird," she offers solemnly. "We'll be in touch."

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