cardinal_icon.gif elisabeth_icon.gif peyton2_icon.gif

Scene Title Labyrinth
Synopsis Oh, what a tangled web we weave… Liz, Cardinal and Peyton discuss the Messiah refugee and other troubles.
Date August 18, 2010

Redbird Security

Once Jaiden took their 'guest' away from Redbird, texts flew to Cardinal and Peyton. Though most of the others in the group will need to know ultimately, it is those two Elisabeth feels are the primary ones to bring into the loop immediately. She's sitting in the reception area on top of Peyton's desk waiting for them to arrive in a pair of cutoff shorts and a T-shirt, her hair pulled up and sneakers on her feet. She was clearly working somewhere in here before this, but her expression when they arrive is nothing short of thunderous. If Elisabeth's ever had a scowl this annoyed, Peyton's never laid eyes on it. She looks positively miffed.

Keys jangle on the outside, assuming the door is locked whether it is or not, and then Peyton steps into the lobby. She's dressed in a maxi dress and flip flops, hair in a messy up-do, looking much more like a college co-ed on vacation in Miami than a socialite in Manhattan. Stacy London of What Not to Wear fame is wrong — people do wear flip flops in New York City.

She has the fox-eared pup in tow, along with a bag full of food she'd picked up on the way — deli sandwiches and a six-pack of Heineken.

"You okay, Liz?" she says worriedly, moving to put the food on the desk.

"Alright," Cardinal asks as he steps in not far after Peyton, regarding Elisabeth's expression a bit warily,

"Who's likely to get shot in the head? You only have that look on your face when you're gonna shoot somebody."

The door's closed, carefully, the bolt snapped into place to keep random passers-by away.

With a glance at the doorway, Elisabeth unclenches her jaw. "Not sure yet." She pushes out of her cross-legged position to go help take some of the things out of Peyton's hands. And help herself to a beer, too. "I think we've got a pretty big problem," she admits. "One we're going to need Aric on like yesterday." As the bottle gets opened, Liz offers it to the room at large. Whoever wants it can have the first one — she opens one for everyone anyway. She keeps the third bottle and takes a swallow from it.

Once they're both in the room and it's locked, Elisabeth leans her hips back against the desk and looks at them. "Had a surprise visitor today. Asian Evo chick — age manipulation apparently — came racing in here looking to hide. Supposedly. From — wait for it! — from Messiah operatives that she spotted in the street who were stalking her with the intent to kill her because she told Rupert Carmichael she wanted out." She pauses, eyes flickering back and forth between the two. "Does this sound hinky in the extreme to anyone else?"

"How convenient," Peyton intones, taking the beer and taking a swallow as she leans against a filing cabinet. "Of all the buildings on the street, she ran into ours? Did she act like she knew who we were, or that it was a coincidence?" She reaches into the bag to unwrap one of the sandwiches — she's gotten food often enough for them that their personal preferences are all there, marked in crayon on the wax paper. Hers is turkey and pesto on baguette. "That's super convenient. If she at least claimed to know you guys somehow, it might have merit…?" her voice trails off, the lilt making it a question.

"Uh… huh." Cardinal's brows both leap up towards the edge of his hairline at that news, and then he brings one hand up to rub against his face, "Shit. We can't get Aric on this one - remember what Kershner said about Carmichael? If there was some sort've mental compulsion that this chick has stuck in her brain, a telepath could get infected from it. We can't get a telepath near any member of Messiah… of all the times for the Institute to have Delphine locked up."

Elisabeth doesn't reach for the Reuben with her name on it, remaining leaned against the desk instead with her arms crossed, the hand with the beer holding the bottle at chin level. "Well, she did admit that she'd heard that this was the place to find Richard Cardinal and that Carmichael hates him so she's operating on the 'enemy of my enemy' adage. Claims she came to us hoping that we'd help her get out of Messiah — she doesn't want to be involved in their militant terrorist actions anymore and this is why they're going to kill her." She slants a look at Peyton. "They didn't fucking kill Magnes when he walked — and he's the biggest security leak in the history of man. Her story just plain doesn't fly with me."

The blonde then looks back at Cardinal and nods slightly. "That's my one concern right there. I wanted to get Aric on it immediately, but I remembered that part. And this chick seems, from all I can tell, to actually believe what she's saying. But either she's a goddamn good liar — and she claims to be 91 years old, a woman who's lived through two fucking world wars who came in here sobbing about how frightened she was that some thugs on the street were going to kill her, so I'm thinking that just doesn't quite mesh with what I'd expect either — or she's under a compulsion…. or she's just a damn bad liar and she's up to something with us. Those are really the only things I can think."

"Like there's a good time to be locked up by the Institute?" Peyton says wryly. She's seen first hand what happens in that place.

The brunette's frown deepens and she glances between Cardinal and Liz. "Still sounds fishy… they happened to be chasing her out on the street right by Cardinal's place? And … if there's this telepath who's mindwarped them all to believing whatever they say, why is her little brainwashing not working?" she muses. "Unless it has something to do with her ability, it not taking because of her age shifting, but I can't think why." There's another, sadder frown at the words age shifting and she looks away, tipping the bottle to her lips to take a long pensive drink.

"It's suspicious," Cardinal admits with a slow shake of his head from one side to the other, "I mean, shit, she walks right into the middle of our business…? Not to mention that I didn't hear they were planning to murder Varlane for taking the next boat out've Messiahville." He walks along over towards the desk, turning, and he drops down to sit on the desk's edge beside Elisabeth, arms folding over his chest as if in a mirror of his lover, "…alright. We'll let her in - give her a bit of shelter, watch her like a hawk. Find out what she's willing to spill. I'll ask my contacts in Messiah about her."

"Basically, Peyton," Elisabeth says, "I'm not buying the idea that she's mind whammied. I'm not buying the idea that she actually was that afraid. She sure seemed to have all the physical adrenaline responses, but if you're a good actor you can fake those pretty well. I cannot imagine that woman who really is 90 years old and survived a couple of world wars and whatever the hell else she's seen with Messiah and who can make herself any age she wants would actually be that afraid of Messiah. She should have her own contingency plans to get the hell out of the area. You'd think she's done this a few times, right? Having to leave and cover her tracks, take on new identities since she can change the way she looks. She came bursting in here in her early 20s and immediately shifted to a 12-year-old's body, which to me screams manipulation because who'd turn away a frightened child?"

Taking another swallow of her beer, Liz nods. "I was going to place her at my dad's place so he could watch her, but Jaiden was here — and she'd already had prior contact with him, too. He suggested anonymity in a hotel, and so we went that route instead. He was going to give her a cell that she could use in an emergency to get in touch with some of us, and I told her I'd speak to you about what to do next." She frowns slightly. "But if she's a plant, it makes me wonder what the fuck Carmichael wants from us and why he didn't just approach us or have Petrelli approach us."

"Yeah, that doesn't… why would you shift from a 20 to a 12-year-old, unless you're trying to get sympathy? It just doesn't make sense. And if it's that easy for her to change forms, in a city this big — it's pretty damn easy to hide and to disappear into crowds if you can change your face a little." Not so easy for her. Peyton is a touch jealous, perhaps at that.

"Should we limit who she meets then? She's already met you and Jaiden — can't meet Aric because of the mind voodoo hoodoo stuff. Who does Carmichael know is in our group, and who does he know isn't?" Peyton muses.

Cardinal's hands spread a bit to either side. "…if she's used to getting her way by manipulating the fuck out of people, she might do that even if she /did/ need some real help," he says, hands clasping back before him and dropping down to rest between his knees, "Take it from me. When you make your living with small scale crime, it… kinda becomes a habit."

He nods, then, "You're definately right about it seeming suspicious as hell, though. We need to deal with this carefully. If she isn't a plant, we can't kick her out. If she is… and she thinks we're on to her? She'll rabbit, we won't learn what Rupe wants."

Elisabeth purses her lips and comments mildly, "She came into Redbird. If Carmichael told her who we were and what Cardinal does, that's the only way she could know. Other than that, Jaiden and I both reacted as any business owner of a security firm would. Suggested protective custody til she could talk to the cops about what she knows about a known terrorist and such." She grins a bit. "We relented when she was so obviously scared and admitted to being unregistered, hence the hotel. So… you can go at this any way you want. Above board or as the head of Endgame or whatever."

Peyton nods. "I guess that makes sense. Better to find out what it's about then just throw her out. We should keep the people who aren't part of Redbird out of it, then. Those are easy enough for him to figure out just by sending someone in to pretend to hire us, right? But the others that aren't on payroll, that are just Endgame, that he's not aware of, we should keep them out of her view," she muses. "But she should meet me, of course." Speaking of views. She flashes a bright smile, bending down to give a sliver of turkey to the well-behaved pup curled up at her feet.

"We'll keep her away from the more… undercover members, then," Cardinal agrees with a slight nod, "She obviously knows we're Endgame. She wouldn't've come to us otherwise, and I'm sure Messiah had a briefing before the attack on the hospital going over who they'd be working with. So that's no surprise." A twitch of a smile to Peyton, "She definately should meet you." He looks to Liz, "Where's the hotel? Pey and I can head by and meet with her."

Elisabeth nods slightly, figuring anyone on the assault that night is probably known to this woman. She tells him the information on which hotel and what room as she sets her beer down and moves to finally pick up her sandwich. She hasn't eaten all day — lunch was derailed by the woman racing in the door. "Glad they pay you the big bucks," she comments drily as she takes her first bite, winking at Cardinal.

"Sounds like a plan," Peyton says, finally taking a bite of her food as well. "If nothing else, it's just good caution. If she turns out to be legitimate, well, she won't blame us for doubting her, right? I mean, if she believes Messiah is so horrible, she should expect us to be careful." She brings her beer to her lips and takes a swallow to wash down the sandwich.

"Exactly. So, we'll proceed that way, then…" A lean back, Cardinal's hands resting on the table behind him, gaze lifting up to the ceiling. "…shit. So, I have good news and bad news. Good news is, I found the last of Ray's time travellers, April Silver. Bad news is, Elle Bishop has all the subtlety of a thrown brick through the goddamn face and now April's on the run."

A single brow shoots up and Elisabeth has to wait to respond until she's swallowed a bite. Covering her mouth, she says around the last of it, "I could have told you that. The woman's got zero tact. Shit. What happened?"

"She pointed at her in the middle of a diner," Cardinal says in pained tones, "And shouted something along the lines of 'Oh, hey, April Silver! My good friend Cardinal wants to talk to you' and then moved to block her way out've the goddamn building."

Blue eyes stare at Cardinal in shock. "Wow," Liz murmurs softly. "That's….. one hell of a wingman you picked." She pauses and asks, "What the fuck were doing with Elle Bishop anyway? The woman works for the Company." Her tone isn't of jealousy, there is merely confusion in it.

Peyton pulls out the seat to the desk that no one is using and sits down, eating quietly as she listens, not knowing who either person is — she's probably seen files on them but she can't remember every thing she's read in all her days spent filing and organizing. Between bites of her own sandwich, she slips bits of turkey to Von.

"She wanted me to look for some ex-Company agent," Cardinal says with a shake of his head, "Odessa Knutsomething? Anyway, apparently she found her anyway, but I'd mentioned I was looking for one too." A pause, "She's Institute, by the way. Bishop. Don't let on you know, I don't think she meant to let it slip."

Elisabeth goes very still and quirks a brow. "Well, fuck," she drawls quietly. "That's an interesting kettle of fish there. Bet her daddy's just loving that." She takes another bite of her sandwich, again covering her mouth to speak around her chewing so she's not flashing her food. "Odessa Knutson was one of the Level 5 detainees, as I recall. With Niki and a few others." She frowns a bit, putting that together with brows drawn heavily down. "That's about all I know of her personally, but Cat would know more if you want me to hit the Phoenix database for it. I think she went with us to Moab…. or was in Moab. Or something." She can't remember and right now it didn't sound that important, but you never know. "April Silver's in the wind, though…. that's going to complicate matters. She's got a decade worth of information in that head of hers," she sighs. Swallowing the bite of her sandwich, Liz just shakes her head. "'Fraid I'm not going to be much help, here, lover."

"If she's on the Institute's radar… go ahead and see what you can find out about Knutson," muses Cardinal, "April… damn. Yeah, we need to locate her, somehow anyway. If we had a picture, we could have Alia start doing a search through traffic-cams and shit — anyway. We've got a lot on our plate…"

A push off the desk to his feet, and he sighs, "…as always."

Elisabeth's eyes on him are sympathetic and she smiles slightly. "It's what they pay you the big bucks for, babe," she teases. A hand goes out to touch his hip briefly as he stands, simply a gesture of affection and perhaps support as well. "We'll work it out. We always do. Good luck at the hotel. I gotta go back to the base for a little while today, but I should be back at the apartment tonight, if you're around." She's going to finish her food before heading out though.

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