Honest Lives


cardinal_icon.gif deckard3_icon.gif

Scene Title Honest Lives
Synopsis Cardinal and Deckard are forced to wonder about when either of them began thinking of living one.
Date <date of IC effect>

Staten Island Docks


Boat's been parked for a while, now. Long enough for Deckard to have talked with Teo and long enough for him to have done some work on the captain's exploded arse before the poor guy was dragged off to be pent up somewhere for the remainder of the operation. Also long enough for him to have lain himself out for a half hour nap.

Awake now, if not particularly rested (or dedicated to helping whatever is going on around the lower decks with ropes and hauling shit around right this second), he's sequestered himself off ahead of the closed up pilot house, idle hands braced bony against solid railing. Fog seeps along the water's surface some ways down and a chilly turn in the wind from humid evening to oncoming morning has dried most of the blood blotched dark up under the sit of his vest and the darker black cling of his slacks. His hands are clean, his eye patch and sidearm are snugged into place, and he is lax enough now that he may well be considering going back to sleep until someone yells at him to do otherwise.

"She was right."

The voice is disembodied, but not unfamiliar to the one-eyed man; it's a voice that makes a habit of surprising him at the most inopportune times, after all, often when he's passed out on the floor. At least in the past. The world, and the people in it, do seem to be changing, after all. The shadow the man casts on the wall sports a bird's shadow - a parrot, perhaps, to match up with the pirate motif that Deckard's got going here.

"You have changed, old man."

Deckard should probably be surprised. Annoyed. Surprised and annoyed. But he's either too tired or too anemic or too much of both to do more than force an exhalation out gruff through his sinuses. Despite everything, recognition is still fast enough to damp down alarm. Also, he's had a couple of beers from downstairs, so. You know.

His glance at the bird shape is not entirely appreciative. For all that he's not in a bad mood, he's not in a particularly good one either, even if the flat line of his mouth does pull a little sidelong at swashbuckling symbolism.

"Who's 'she'?"

The question garners a faint, hollow snort from the shadow, through whatever strange vibrations it speaks with. It's a question with an obvious answer, at least as far as Cardinal's concerned, and he doesn't see any particular reason to further define it. Whether or not it's obvious to Deckard, well, that's another story.

"There was a time that getting you to use your new ability was a bit begrudging, at best… now you actually want to use it, don't you? Even for pieces of shit like John down there."

Now there's irritation, however dull-edged and slothly grudging. It furrows into his brow and rankles at his nose — a conglomerate expression of ill-tempered distaste that Cardinal is well acquainted with these days. There's no real heat behind it, though. More like groggy dejection, but you can't close a door on a shadow and you definitely can't shove it over the railing.

"It's not mine," is the eventual, inevitable deflection, half-hearted when Flint leans back from the railing to turn fully on the wall, slope shouldered and brows hooded. "Has someone asked you to follow me?"

"I was following Laudani, actually," admits Cardinal, his tone a bit wry, "I shouldn't have been surprised to see you out here, though. I just thought I'd come see… how you're doing."

Slightly awkward, the last, well aware of how Flint generally reacts to, you know, people being friends to him. Awkward silences and grunts generally follow. So, swiftly enough, he asks, "Why'd you come on this op, anyway? You don't work for John. Or Daniel, for that matter…"

"Just bored, or…?" Brows tilted up now, there's resignation for Teo being the intended target where Deckard thought it might have been himself. Not actually better news to his ears, particularly when fitted in with the context of the initial question, here.

"Quid pro quo," is an honest and also conveniently vague answer in return, with 'conveniently' standing in for 'suspiciously' here where Cardinal may already have a pretty solid idea of what the quo in this equation was. "Also, I was bored."

As a matter of fact, he knows exactly where the quo stands. He was there for it, after all. "If you get that bored, old man, I can always find something for you to do," Cardinal points out in a voice dryer than a human tongue could probably manage without hurting something. "Point of fact…"

He trails off a moment, then asks, "Have any of the firebirds bothered to talk to you about their little Miracle Day project?"

"I don't work for you either."

Old man. There's grudging tolerance for the title like there is for everything else. The fact that he's standing on a hijacked boat. The fact that he is up here on the pilot deck alone except not, talking to himself except talking to a shadow that seems to have developed a personal interest in his personal interests.

For all that mere mention of something called 'Miracle Day' should probably evoke rolled eyes or an incredulous smirk, he stands where he a little vacantly past a sideways look down after the main deck. "No."

"No. But we've worked together before."

At the admission, the shadow hisses— a long, slow, irritated sort of sound similar to that of a serpent that's been disturbed. "Of course not. I figured they hadn't. You remember the last one, I'm sure… Evolved running about, doing good deeds that'll make the paper, some sort of… PR blitz. They're planning another one.."

The shadow adds, after a silent moment, "I wouldn't ask you to do it for Phoenix, but our… species, or whatever, really needs the public relations boost right now. To remind people we're not all bad, provide a contrast to Humanis's lovely videos."

Does he remember the last one? Deckard looks less sure. Then again, given that he isn't doing a great job of being much more tangibly present than Cardinal is, it may be difficult to read the subtle variations on nothingness and absence of feeling that read slack on Flint's long face.

"Kind of a lie, though, isn't it?" A skeletal hand splays out lax away from his side — indicates the stolen boat in its grand entirety, complete with blood drying on the decks and spent casings rolling lazy with the occasional swell of wake skirting in from the passage of other large vessels.

A hollow chuckle bears with it not a hint of good humour, the bird upon the wall spilling downwards like a fall of dark liquid, spreading up over the window of the cabin— barely visible there, just a darker tint to the glass as if gazing out over the boat for long moments.

"I didn't see many powers being used here, Flint. Just men with guns. And a sniper who didn't aim to kill."

The statement's left for a moment, before he adds, "In any case, I don't remember when we, of all people, started living honest lives."

"Maybe it was a bad shot," proffered up as argument without conviction, Deckard watches the fall of shadow down over itself until trying to keep track of it on the window becomes a strain. He looks elsewhere — up, oddly — then down at the brown and black flaking off of the sides of his boots.

"And maybe I'm more comfortable with lying for myself than I am an entire 'species' for the sake of…public relations." Another flimsy denial. He knows it enough to sigh to himself, but doesn't come any closer to allowance than that. "Why do you care?"

It's a good question. An excellent one, really, given that while Cardinal's not exactly a villain in the classical sense, and has done good things before, it's always been out of some sense of enlightened self-interest at best. Of course, this isn't much different, or so he tells Deckard now.

"Because with Humanis running around like a bunch of fucking Jason Vorhees wannabees kidnapping people and releasing terrorist videotapes to the media… we need something to contrast that. Something to discourage more people from signing up, something to convince them that we're not all horrible monsters that're damned to the Pit."

More quietly, "Just some of us."

A snort, "Anyway. I doubt Dean'll get off her ass to ask you. That'd require effort on her part. But out've all of us, you have one of the most… miraculous… abilities. One of the ones that'll get us support, used right."

"Do you think I'm using it wrong?" More honest inquiry, curiosity cut clear and cold into the one eye Flint has showing when it traces absently after the sound of that last snort. He's at least a couple of feet off, which leads into him giving up and peering off the side of the boat maybe a little too quickly.

"I'm registered under a different ability. If I…do anything public, the police will be right there behind the cameras waiting. They'll want to know what happened and why. X-ray vision to healing isn't exactly a logical progression."

Voice kept quiet against the wind in the off chance that Cardinal isn't the only eavesdropper out here this fine morning, Deckard hikes a brow into the wind, grizzled hair buzzed too short to tousle. "Short of wearing a bag on my head…"

"No, I think you're using it right, actually…" A shift of the shadow upon the window, as if it had turned to consider him, watching the man for a long moment in consideration of him, "…and if I recall correctly, if you do anything public, the police will probably want to arrest you anyway, Flint."

"No, you're— using it right, but not necessarily advantageously." The statement's let sit, then Richard explains, "You're fixing people who've been in gunfights, et cetera— but if we want to get support behind our cause… whatever that might be… we need people who already have power to support us. If that means finding some politician or billionaire with a failing heart, or better yet with a kid or spouse with something wrong that you can fix, well… you wouldn't have to do it openly. Consider it a kind of infiltration op. Get in, fix a person or two, get out. Miracles don't happen without a lot of work behind the scenes."

Probably true. The bit about him — being arrested if he looks at someone funny or sneezes too loud on a street corner. Flint agrees with a hazy tilt of his brows, hands tucked into trouser pockets one slow after the other. Then he's quiet for a while.

"I dunno." Not promising. Not promising that he's gotten even quieter either, attention still focused out away from Card and away from the boat — over towards the dock, where nothing terribly exciting is happening. Of course, the dock isn't making uncomfortable propositions about getting grabby with weak-hearted billionaires either.

"Seems a little like cheating. Fix one rich guy…" and suddenly maybe people aren't so bad. Nevermind all the other dead and dying who can't afford to go out and buy a fresh set of innards on the black market. But Cardinal's not telepathic and the sentiment's hard to read in Deckard's posture as anything more complex than cloudy, heel-dragging uncertainty. "When they get a solid idea of what they want me to do, then maybe."

It's harder for Cardinal to read Deckard lately anyhow, harder to predict how he's going to act. Maybe Abigail is domesticating him, or maybe it's something different. He doesn't know. Flint objecting on some vague moral ground is alien territory for him - especially when he's just been an accessory to multiple murder. "I don't care as much about cheating as I do making sure there's less sons of bitches willing to do to someone else what they did to Liz."

"Anyway." The shadow peels away from the window, spilling downwards, "I'll talk to you later. Just thought I'd ask, since God knows I doubt they'll bother."

Truthfully it doesn't seem all that natural for Deckard either, if the defensive roll of his shoulders and the vague hang of his head have anything to say about it. He doesn't track the flow of Cardinal's shadow over the wall either, peripheral vision flicking further out rather than in against a catch of dark movement spilling out've the window pane.

"Yeah." Yeaahhh. His brows tilt up again ambiguously, then fall. Also ambiguously. "Thanks for letting me know."

"Take care've yourself, Flint," the shadow comments as it vanishes, off to wherever Cardinal was doing whatever he's doing on the boat, "See you around."

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