How Blurry Can It Get Before The Line's Not There Anymore?


cardinal_icon.gif elisabeth_icon.gif

Scene Title How Blurry Can It Get Before the Line's Not There Anymore?
Synopsis Liz brings Cardinal some of the stuff from the safe deposit box and admits having done something she's not proud of.
Date Aug 2, 2009

NY Public Library

The library's depths aren't as well set up as they were back in the days of PARIAH or Phoenix, but Cardinal's been fixing them up as best he can with his limited resources; the Brill Collection's hung up as a series of prints on the wall, some chairs have been brought in, and there's folders and files piled on one of the tables. It's at that table that Cardinal's seated, right now enjoying a late lunch from all appearances.

The cup-o-noodles is tilted up as he peers down into it, plastic fork stirring in the depths to get the last bit of the meal. There's a beer bottle set nearby, and the papers before him flutter lightly in the breeze of an oscillating fan.

Never thought she'd be coming back here on a regular basis, that's for sure. When Elisabeth slips into the library, she's wearing a pair of scuffed jeans and sneakers, a black tanktop and a gray short-sleeved hoodie over top of it. She's carrying a backpack with her, and as she makes her way back into the rooms Cardinal has decided to use, she pauses in the doorway to study the paintings. It's the first time she's seen most of them. "Hey," she greets quietly.

The cup-o-noodles is tipped down, and Cardinal flashes a smile over the edge of the vessel of lunchy goodness at her— the plastic fork brought up in a wave as he chews, swallows the last of the noodles. Fork in cup, and he tosses the cup towards a garbage can beside him, calling easily, "Hey, beautiful. C'mon in."

Liz sets the backpack down next to the table and drops an easy kiss on the shadow man's head as she walks past him to look at the prints. "I don't think I ever knew what all of them looked like. I've only seen that one," she points at the prison one, "and this one." Her finger touches the one with all the shadowy figures. The spiral makes her tilt her head, studying it for a long moment, the one with what appears to be Peter and his father she skims right over, coming to rest on the one of the Deveaux Building. "At what cost paradise?" she murmurs softly. And then she sighs and turns back to face him. "I brought the paper from the safe deposit box with me, along with the keys. The gun's locked in my gun safe at the house. I'm running the serial numbers on it."

"I know what all of them mean but two of them… and one, I've got a pretty good guess," admits Cardinal a bit wryly, turning his gaze to the shadowy, smoke-shrouded form of the single man with the cane, his chair turning a bit in the direction of her where she's standing. "I got my hands on Dual— " He gestures to the picture of Moab, twinned, "— from John Logan's office, sold it back to Linderman for a whole sequence of prints for the collection." A slight frown to her, then, "Good idea. What's the paper— you said it was a map?"

Elisabeth nods a bit, turning back to face him and jamming her hands in the back pockets of her jeans. "Yeah. It's a map from Cambridge, Massachusetts, to here. Dated last December. The key ring's got half a dozen keys on it that could go to anything." She pauses. "It disturbs me on like eighteen levels that Edward Ray was able to tap enough probabilities to assume that I'd be with you in all this," she admits.

"It disturbs you?" Cardinal leans back in his chair a bit, one hand raising to rub against the side of his face as he notes wryly, "Liz, the other day I had a meeting with the head of the Triad. He'd had my services recommended… by Ray. We're all still pieces in his game, babe." The map's mention is considered for a bit, his brow furrowed, "That was before future Ray got here… maybe… could it've been current Ray? What's in Cambridge?"

Shaking her head, Elisabeth replies, "MIT. Which means we've got… I don't know… a hundred buildings, thousands of students, dorms, cars, labs, God only knows what else. Edward was a professor there for a time, so … it's possible that the keys open the physics building or the statistics building or a lab there or something. But we probably won't know anything until we go up there. The first places to hit would be his office and such. The keys should have numbers on them that the registrar can trace to buildings. I'll put in a call on Monday."

"MIT… shit, of course," Cardinal purses his lips thoughtfully, "He might've had a residence there, too, a house're apartment that we could check out. Obviously if he's aiming us in that direction, there's something he wants to see." He pauses, "We'll hit Coney Island tomorrow, if you're free in the afternoon. Maybe it'll enlighten us. How's shit going with the serial killer?"

Elisabeth nods slightly. "I think I can get away in the afternoon, yes. Maybe not until three or so, though." She bites her lip and the look that flashes across her face is … haunted. She hasn't slept very well since those two days of hell. Even the night he stayed, she woke shaking. It hasn't gotten much better since then. "It's going nowhere. We're wading through the old case files hoping something will pop. But the Feds chased this guy for months and got nothing." She looks worried. "Indications are that Abby's on his radar, and that scares the hell out of me. She's been through so much already."

Cardinal's frown deepens a bit, and he leans forward slightly, one arm resting on folded knees. "Sit down," he says quietly, "Tell me about the case, maybe I can think of something… especially if he's after Abby."

Elisabeth shakes her head, blowing out a breath. "Nah… I'm okay," she says, glancing over her shoulder at the prints again, eying the phoenix flying over Moab for a long moment and then her eyes shifting to the shadowy man that Cardinal obviously thinks might be his own ability portrayed. Her hands remain shoved into the back pockets of her pants as she paces a little. "What do you want to know about the case? As of right now, I've got jack and shit, except the fact that the only surviving vic from his last rampage walked into the dorm room of his first known victim this time around and eviscerated her, wrapped herself in the entrails, and then slit her own wrists and throat so as to bleed out right as we walked into the room." She finally pulls her hand out of her pocket to dig her fingers into her eyes. "And the missing girl that put us on this trail is still missing — no trace of her."

Oh, no. Cardinal knows who that other portrait's of, or thinks he does… and to be honest, it scares the hell out of him. Not that he's volunteered any information about it to her. "Shit," his lips purse in a tight frown, "You have the little girl's name?" A pause, "Can't you ask Molly? Parkman might be willing to let you.."

"So far as I'm aware, none of these people are Evolved, and again so far as I'm aware, Molly can only locate Evolveds. You know something I don't?" Elisabeth looks at him tiredly, pushing her hand back into her pocket. "If you do, then yeah… I wouldn't mind getting access to Molly Walker's ability, but I haven't seen hide nor hair of Matthew Parkman since we saved his life right here in this building, I don't think." Maybe once… she's not sure.

"Ah, I didn't realize that she was limited like that…" Cardinal leans over, reaching out to claim the beer sitting on the table, pulling it off and twisting off the cap. "I've talked to Parkman a few times, but he's a stubborn idiot half've the time… he owes me a few, but I doubt he'll acknowledge it. Mnm. We got any postcogs available?"

"At least so far as I know — and I emphasize that because I only know a little bit based on what I've seen — but I'm pretty sure she can only locate Evos." There's a long pause. "Yes…. sort of. The one that I know is already on the case — she's a forensics specialist with the PD," Elisabeth replies warily. "Why?"

"Couldn't she just… see what happened?" Cardinal's brows raise a little, "Or doesn't it work that way? Shit, I don't know how other peoples' powers work, Liz." He grimaces, nose wrinkling, "I don't even know how my own works, really."

Elisabeth ohs and grins faintly. "Well, the one that I know doesn't work quite like that… especially when you're talking about a mental manipulator," she says quietly. "We know what happened…. the woman knocked on the door, went into the dorm room, and proceeded to kill both of them. It's whoever's CONTROLLING the situation that we need to get." She sighs and shoves her hand through her hair. "Anyway… thanks for asking," she offers with a faint smile. "I appreciate the offer of help."

Cardinal's brow furrows a bit, "…well, shit. He's a fuckin' telepath? That's pretty— pretty fucked up. Okay." The bottle's brought to his lips, and he takes a long draw off it, lowering it with a sigh of breath to the bottle, "Any pattern?"

Elisabeth shakes her head slightly. "Nothing more than what I'm already working on," she replies quietly. "I'm backtracking the missing girl like nobody's business and I warned Abby that she's potentially on his radar. If I fucking thought for a minute that Linderman or the Company or Homeland could do this better, I'd call it in in a heartbeat." She hesitates and says quietly, "Stay away from Cat's building too often if you can, by the way."

Cardinal sits straighter at that warning, his expression turning sharply concerned. "It's been compromised? What happened?"

Elisabeth turns her back on him, looking at the prints once more. Her hands come out of those back pockets and she crosses them in front of her as she studies the shadowy picture of the villains, the single man in the shadows, and the spiral. "No. They're sheltering someone there that I don't want anyone in contact with," she admits to him quietly. "I'm watching her movements… and I don't want you anywhere nearby in case her power goes off. Hopefully it'll be a non-issue by midweek."

"Uh… huh." As she turns her back upon him, Cardinal pushes himself up from the chair and to his feet. He takes a few steps after her, coming up behind her and sliding his arms around her midriff, pulling her back towards him. Quietly, he murmurs down to her, "Who? And what's the danger?"

Elisabeth blows out a breath and leans her head back against his shoulder as he surrounds her. "Girl named Maya. So far as I can tell…. she fuckin' excretes poison when she gets upset. She's got outstanding warrants on her for …. I don't know. Something like 200 people dead." She turns her head, resting her forehead against his jaw. "If she goes off, everyone in the damn building could die pretty much on the spot," she says softly.

Cardinal's jaw tenses just a bit. "Jesus Christ," he mutters under his breath, turning his head enough to brush a kiss to her brow, "You'd think they'd put her on Staten, or… Christ. If there was ever a time I wish Tyler was still empowered. Thanks for the warning, babe."

Elisabeth nods slightly, her jaw clenching. "I'll let you know when it's clear," she says quietly. There are other words she could add on top of it… but she chooses to keep her own counsel at this point. Her hands slide down to rest atop his arms around her and she asks, "So which two are the ones you're not sure of?" she asks.

"Spiral," Cardinal admits with a tip of his chin towards the twisting red lines of that one painting, "Fuck if I know what that means, or meant— it's too abstract. Then he turns his gaze to the darker picture, and he says quietly, "And that one. Hopefully it'll never come to be."

Elisabeth nods slowly, studying the two in question. "That one on first glance I thought might be you — your involvement in thwarting it all. But something about it doesn't seem like that's the case. Who is it that you think it is?"

"No." Richard's silent for a long moment, gaze upon the painting, "That?"

"That's Kazimir Volken."

Elisabeth blinks and murmurs succinctly, "Fuck." She is quiet for a long time. "I keep wondering if that spiral is related to the crazy technopath," she admits. "But what do I know? I'm not versed in the whole imagery thing."

"So long as the life-eating power doesn't rear its head again," Cardinal murmurs in dark tones, gaze locked on the shadowy picture, "I've still got hope that it won't come true… but Edward had the life-giving power slid to Deckard for a reason. And I'm really fucking worried about that." A pause, "Maybe. Dunno, myself."

"Let's hope not," Elisabeth replies quietly. "Guess it's better to be prepared for all options." She pauses and wrestles with a thought silently as she studies the pictures. "CanI ask you something?" she finally asks. "How pissed were you at me for running you in and landing you on the Registry?"

"I was more pissed off at Hollingwood, actually," Cardinal admits, turning his head to briefly rub his cheek to Elisabeth's brow, "You were just doing your job. Now, Magma Man was a fuckin' asshole." He quiets a moment, considering, "Of course, it probably helped that you've got a great ass."

Elisabeth laughs softly. "I do in fact have a great ass," she comments mildly. "I'm glad you saw it that way," she finally says. "There have been times when I regretted my job… and other times when I don't. Your situation, I regretted."

Cardinal exhales a low chuckle, his hands sliding along her belly to wrap his arms about her as he admits, "I wish I could've seen your face when you realized it was me that was goin' in to rescue Abigail with you all…"

Elisabeth actually laughs at that. "Honestly? I was more concerned at that moment that you might shoot me when you figured out who I was," she admits softly. "I mean, Christ… I think that same week I locked up you and Deckard or something. It was crazy. People gave me shit left and right for locking all of you up." She bites her lip and admits, "I shudder to think what they're going to say when they find out that I turned her over to Homeland Security."

"Yeah, I stopped off in the old man's cell on the way out," reminisces Cardinal, "He didn't appreciate it, but, he never does." He hesitates for a moment, then confesses quietly, "I'm kind've worried about him, actu— " A pause, and he draws his head back, "— what? Who?"

Elisabeth swallows hard and looks over her shoulder at him. "Maya." She shakes her head. "I just….. I can't let her remain in Cat's safehouse, rooming with Claire and putting Abby and everyone else in the building at risk if she's sad or pissed at something, Richard."

"She's got that little control? Jesus Christ…" Cardinal closes his eyes, admitting quietly, "Maybe it's… hell, maybe it's for the best. If her power's that fucking— virulent— but, shit, I'm gonna need to pull my people out've there."

Elisabeth shakes her head slightly. "No… I've stuck an Alec on tailing her. They're not picking her up until I put in the call that she's in the clear, out of the building. She's been there a week already… it's not like pulling them now is going to change much."

Cardinal points out dryly, "They'll question her. It may well lead them right to the safehouse… I can't risk that." He closes his eyes, shaking his head a little, "I won't mention the pick-up, but I will mention the danger this woman's putting them in."

Elisabeth eyes him and says quietly, "You think the safehouse isn't already compromised? Elle Bishop stayed there after they all returned from the future. Now she's got some beef with the Company and her father, but I wouldn't count on her not to tell anyone about the safehouse. Besides, I'm dead certain they know who Cat is thanks to current-time Edward Ray. They've known that since the Narrows. It's moot."

"That's all the more reason," Cardinal says roughly, "To get the people I want to stay alive out of there. If it's compromised, it's compromised, you don't fuckin' keep on using it."

Elisabeth reaches one hand up to cradle his jaw, rubbing absently against the roughness with her fingertips. "It's up to you. They're safe enough for now, I think. So far as I can tell, they're pretty much ignoring all of us because we're either doing their job for them — as in the case of the Narrows and Pinehearst — or we're not making enough noise to be trouble. I wouldn't worry too much about it until you're ready to make a lot more noise and force their attention onto us," she says quietly.

Cardinal's head turns slightly, brushing a kiss against her palm. "I don't know much about them," he admits, "Just that they kidnap and tag people, and sometimes put 'em away. What else can you tell me?"

Elisabeth's expression goes thoughtful. "About Homeland?" She sighs heavily. "I know that their charter is supposed to be to help Evolved people classify and when needed control their abilities. And … you know, for all the horror stories and the fear-mongering on the streets, for every person I've heard who knows someone who knows someone… and even for the very few people I've personally seen disappear off the grid…. there are any number of others right out in plain sight. All the cops are registered, all the people on the street who are registered. I've even seen one person who was actually grabbed off the street — a healer — who was bagged and I expected her to be on the missing list. She turned up at the precinct to file her papers and even had a new job. So…." She hesitates. "I'm not a fan of forced registration, don't ever think that. But … they appear to have the ability to help people control uncontrollable abilities."

"Mnm." Cardinal hoods his gaze a bit, considering the matter before he says quietly, "I'd like to believe that, but— Shanti? The Formula? They've got a lot of skeletons in their fuckin' closets, too many to count…"

Elisabeth nods slightly. "Yeah…. I know," she says wearily, dropping her head back against his shoulder once more. "I don't know if I did the right thing. I just…" It actually kind of upsets her stomach, but what's done at this point is done. "There's that fuckin' line again," she murmurs, not really amused.

Cardinal can't help a bit of a chuckle at that, and he brushes a kiss to her temple— shifting a half-step back, he pulls on her hip to try and turn her around to face him. "You did what you think's right," he says quietly, firmly, his head tilting forward to meet her eyes steadily, "Hell, you're not the first person to make sacrifices for that. I've done some shit I ain't proud of for the same reason. Will again."

Elisabeth turns in his hands, facing him with her brows furrowed. She studies his face for a long minute and then nods slightly. "Yeah." Regardless of the fact that it turns her stomach to voluntarily turn anyone over to Homeland's custody. Drawing in a deep breath, she quirks a faint half-smile. "Just….. keep it under your hat for me? Cuz if they think I'm running around turning people in, I'm pretty sure someone's going to take exception."

Cardinal exhales a low chuckle of breath, murmuring, "I think I'm kind've used to keeping secrets by now, babe. I'll just take it out've your hide in blackmail if I ever see a particularly nice piece've lingerie or a schoolgirl's outfit I've just got to see you in— "

Elisabeth rolls her eyes and that does get an honest laugh out of her. "Hey, if you want silky lingerie, all you had to do was ask. But I draw the line at schoolgirls," she teases with a smile. Finally uncrossing her arms to slide her hands up his arms, she tilts her head and takes that half-step forward to snug herself into him and kiss his jaw softly. "Know what wouldn't hurt my feelings at all?" she murmurs.

Cardinal's tongue clicks against the roof of his mouth. "Damn. I'm guessing the maid's outfit is out've the picture too, huh…? I mean, this place is fuckin' filthy." As she steps in against him, his hands sliding up her hips and then resting at the small of her back, murmuring to her cheek, "What's that?"

"Don't even think I'm cleaning up this place," Elisabeth warns on a snicker, nuzzling him gently. "It wouldn't hurt my feelings at all to find out that Edward actually had a viable plan, that it makes things better, and that all it requires on our part is a few well-placed actions. It'd be nice to know someone actually had some answers." She pauses. "Barring that, it wouldn't hurt my feelings at all if you kissed me silly."

"Holy Shit," Cardinal exhales upon a laugh, leaning back a bit, "You're an optimist. Don't worry, babe, we can work through this together and fix you've that little problem…" An amused stir in his eyes, and then he leans forward to do just that; lips parting to hers, he pushes her back a half-step with his chest against her own to ensure that she gets at least one good, hard kiss tonight.

Elisabeth laughs at his incredulity at her wish list, she can't help it. And then she returns that kiss with all the pent-up emotion of a crappy week. Her arms slide up around his neck, her hands into the short hair at the nape of his neck, and by the time they separate, she's out of breath. It's a great kiss. She looks up at him with a cheeky smile. "Now that's enough to make a girl think life's okay."

Cardinal's nose brushes to hers lightly after that smile and murmur, replying with dark humor, "I'm a good liar like that." He draws in a slow breath, then exhales it, brow resting to her own as he asks quietly, "You get a chance to check about Sumter?"

Elisabeth chuckles up at him. "Lie to me some more. Some days, the lie is all that gets me through," she comments. And then she shakes her head. "Not personally yet, no. I picked up the blotter report, but I've put in a request for the full one. So far, all I know was that it was an altercation, but I'm gathering from the fact that you asked me to look into it that it's not. I'll follow up on it tomorrow," she promises. God knows, her serial killer case isn't going far as yet.

"I'll give the old man a call," Cardinal murmurs, his head shaking a little, "See if he got a hold of Sumter when Abigail called him… I need to keep track of him anyway, in case the worst comes to pass, we'll need him." He exhales a sigh, his head falling back to glare at the ceiling, "Life used to be simpler. Now fuckin' look at me."

Elisabeth giggles softly. "Wanna go back to being just a thief? I'll go back to being just a cop. I'll bust you and then I'll let you go in exchange for … certain considerations," she teases. And it is a tease, because doing this? It's kind of addictive. Once you get involved, getting back out looks damn near impossible — how do you go back to a life of blindness once you can see what's happening out here?

And, lucky him, the late Edward Ray's decided to make certain he stays in his game. How does one react to the knowledge that they're the active field agent of someone who's dead? Cardinal's chin drops back forward, and he grins down at her, "Oh really… you just want to get me into handcuffs."

There's a waggle of brows there, and a sultry laugh. "Why the hell you think I became a cop?" Liz teases.

"Is that so…?" Cardinal grins broadly, his hands sliding down her back to boldly trace down and over her backside, "Well, you think you can get the cuffs on me, officer…?"

"That's detective, you brat," Liz says, laughing. "And it's only fun it you struggle, you know." She seems in no hurry to either move away or to push it forward. In truth, bantering with him is the best part of her day right now. She's already been snugged back up against him so he could clearly tell she's carrying her pistol in the back of her pants, but she tells him mock-regretfully, "Unfortunately, I'm not wearing them today. Too bad… that would have been amusing."

Cardinal's tongue clicks against the roof of his mouth, and he teases lightly, "Well, you'll just have to bring them next time." A grin, and he draws back a bit, "Maybe I'll come by your place later, if I've got the time…"

Elisabeth shrugs easily. "If you've got time. You've got a key," she replies. As he draws back, she leans up and kisses him once more — a lingering kiss, not so much an invitation as a comfort. "I'll let you know what I get back on those serial numbers." She nods toward the papers on the table. "And what do we have loose around here? May as well fill me in while I'm here," she offers.

Cardinal lets the tip of his nose brush to hers, and then he draws back, turning to regard the table with a slight grimace. "…Linderman," he admits, "I've got to get into his building to find the list of cops on his payroll, sooner rather than later. I've got John Logan's surveillance file over there, too, so I can finally deal with that sonuvabitch. Everything I could get on Volken…"

Elisabeth nuzzles him lightly in return, appreciating the affection even as her arms loosen to give him room to pull away. "Christ…. if you can find out who's on Linderman's payroll, I'll fucking pay for the information," she says quietly. "Thought you weren't planning on taking care of Logan qiute that way." Note, she doesn't seem in the least bothered by either of these jobs. "How're you going to get information on Volken — or whatever the entity actually is called — if you don't know who he possessed before Volken?" she asks curiously.

"I haven't decided yet," admits Cardinal quietly, looking at the folder for a moment before reaching out to brush his fingers across the name emblazoned on the cover, "After nearly bleeding to death in his fucking basement, I'm a little more eager to see the bastard in the ground, though." His jaw tenses a bit, eyes closing, "And that's something I'll have to look into."

Elisabeth's jaw clenches slightly and she nods. She's finding the line that she walks murkier and murkier these days. As she looks at him, Elisabeth is thoughtful. "What can I do?" she asks.

Cardinal glances back to her, then, a smile curving slightly to his lips, "You've got enough on your plate, babe. Keep working on the serial killer'n all, and we'll hit Coney tomorrow."

Elisabeth nods and shoves her hands into the pockets of her hoodie. "All right." There's a faint smile at him and she jerks her chin toward the backpack. "Brought you some nonperishables," she tells him. "Coffee, soup, stuff like that. Just in case. If it's still working, Phoenix had rigged a generator to the fridge in the employee lounge, back when. If the generator's not still here, I'm sure you can pick one up pretty easily. Assuming you're going to make this place into a work space and a sometime crash pad, thought you might not have had time to stock it yet." She turns to head back out and glances back with a smile. "Go ahead and wake me if you make it in." And then she's gone.

"I've already got the generators up'n running, I'm not sure if they were yours, or if Ray set them up…" Cardinal's gaze falls upon the backpack, and then back to Elisabeth, a smile crooking to his lips, "Thanks, babe. Maybe I'll see you in a few hours…"

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