Lies and Manipulation


cardinal_icon.gif elle3_icon.gif warren_icon.gif

Scene Title Lies and Manipulation
Synopsis Warren expresses his distrust, dislike for, and generally disses Cardinal. Cardinal returns the favor, and Elle walks in for reassurance.
Date October 5 2010

Redbird Security

There's a sharp, professional feel to the main lobby of the building. The carpet is a deep maroon underfoot, the walls an off-white cream that doesn't glare too brightly beneath the recessed lighting in the ceiling. Half a dozen chairs upholstered in a sandy light brown sit against one wall beneath a painting, a print of a Thomas Brill that shows the ruins of Midtown covered in vines and greenery as seen from the rooftop of the Deveaux building. The receptionist's station takes up almost an entire wall on the right side of the lobby, guarding the hallway that leads back into the building's offices. Behind and above the desk, the logo for Redbird Security Solutions hangs on the wall in glossy black.

The central hall continues the same carpet and wall colors to a number of doors. There are four offices, a restroom done in shades of blue and pale sand tones, and a comfortable employee lounge with attached kitchenette. An open doorway in the main lobby reveals a flight of upward stairs, and there's a locked door at he end of the central hall that guards the basement steps.

Having gone through the motions of the secretary buzzing Cardinal, and making his way to the man's office. He's in his black suit like always, and he looks very serious as he stands in front of Richard's desk, peering at him. "You let them mindwipe Elle. I trusted you to keep her safe, and you let them take more memories. Do you have any idea what memories mean to people like us? Of course you don't." He doesn't sound so much as outright angry, as very disappointed, straightening his white leather gloves. "I can't count on you to be reliable, and I'm a person who thinks reliability is very important. A rusty gear in the grand scheme of things is not the kind of part I want in my machine. I've recently experienced augmentation, I saw the city for what it is, a large broken machine. The people are like gears and I need to set them on the right path to repairing it, but you, Richard Cardinal… you can't be trusted and you're unpredictable."

"As it so happens, Warren," Cardinal observes in rather dry tones, leaning forward to rest both arms folded on the desk in front of him, his tone rather irritated, "Elle agreed to the procedure in exchange for being free - completely free - from the Institute. She recorded all of her important memories for later recovery… given that on several occasions she'd offered to murder you for me, I'm not entirely surprised you weren't amongst them."

One brow lifts over the edge of his shades, and he states flatly, "You think I'm unpredictable? Your Locos are murdering people again. You're a killer, Warren, and you haven't changed a damn bit. You're no more sane now than you were a week or so ago."

"Are you talking about that gang on the news? I don't have anything to do with a gang. And do you think I'd trust a word you say, especially about a woman who's a self-confessed sociopath? I find it unlikely that you'd feel you're in a position to trust her or any of her decisions, I think it's more likely that you'd resort to manipulation." Warren crosses his arms and leans against that spot on the wall as usual, blinking once as his eyes are very quickly flushed with reflective silver. "Your belief or disbelief in my sanity isn't my concern at all, for all I know, this is an elaborate manipulation by Harper. In my situation, with my memories, I'm not in a position to trust a person like you. You're an uncertain variable on the board, but I'd rather not play into your manipulations."

"You don't? That was your gang, Warren," Cardinal says rather flatly, one gloved hand sweeping from the other to direct towards the closed blinds of one window, "You used them to murder and wreak havoc, and you racked up a rather high body count. Do you really, really think that I'm going to believe that you have absolutely nothing to do with them? You're a liar and a killer. If you're looking for 'uncertain variables' then maybe you should look at yourself, you fucking lunatic."

"I don't remember them, at all. I don't remember killing anyone, I don't remember the crimes I've committed. The only reason I know you're telling the truth about the killing is because I know how to kill, I pick up a sword and I know how to use it, I can think of a hundred ways to defend myself with half the things in this office. I know I wasn't born with any of this, but I don't remember." Warren raises his left hand, removing the glove to reveal the bronze robotic one under it. "I don't remember how this happened. I remember building it with one hand, but I have no idea why I'm missing an arm. Do you think I like being called a lunatic when I can't even remember being one? It's like waking up one morning with someone else's blood all over your clothes, and having no idea where it came from."

Elle was just on her way out to seek out Cat; last night, she was here too late to make curfew, and ended up crashing on a couch. Not something she minded too horribly; after being kidnapped not too far from Lola's apartment, she's none too eager to return there, at least for the time being. She's just made her way down the stairs, turning down the hallway leading to Cardinal's office.

Elle knocks once, before her hand comes down on the door handle, and she slips it open. "Richard, I'm on my way out to—" She cuts short when she sees the guest standing within the office, her brows raising high on her forehead as she peers over the 'visitor' with piercing dark green eyes. It takes her a moment, before she turns to peer at Cardinal. "…Am I interrupting something?" Her face is somewhat unreadable as she turns her gaze back to Warren. It's not like he'll recognize her. Different face, different body shape, different voice, different everything.

"If your hands weren't drenched in blood, I might have some sympathy for you," replies Cardinal without an ounce of sympathy, "Poor you. You were so bloody crazy that you got your murderous ass mind-wiped… and if you think you're sane now, you have another thing coming. The world isn't a machine. It's people. You're worse than your father… and he was borderline as it was."

As the door's opened, he pauses, "…I'll be with you in a moment." Then a frown's directed back at Warren, "I'm still having to deal with your messes, as the paper pointed out. Whether it's you that's sending the Locos around, or some other madman, they're going to have to be stopped. Frankly, I don't give a fuck if you trust me or not, Warren. As far as I'm concerned, you haven't changed a bit."

Warren looks back at the woman with those reflective, mechanical eyes, then looks back to Cardinal without saying a word to her. "It's not sympathy I want, it's understanding that I'm not a killer, at least not anymore. I can't be what I can't remember or even comprehend doing. So far there's only one person I have any desire to put a bullet in, and somehow it's not you. And you don't understand, you don't see machines the way I do. The machine of the world, of this city, it's not just cold and mechanical. It feels, the collective emotions of people sway the state of everything. You couldn't possibly comprehend what I saw when I was augmented, what I felt."

He stops to breathe, inhaling and exhaling as he tries to calm and collect himself, then starts to straighten his tie after he closes his eyes for a brief moment. They're suddenly their natural blue again. "If the Locos are my problem, then instead of being childish, tell me how to stop them. How do they work? And what does that message even mean? The one they're writing in blood."

"Your little gang of murderers went by numbers," Cardinal states with a shrug of one shoulder upwards, "If you really aren't involved, I'm guessing that it means that since you've been gone for so long, number fourteen took over and went on yet another killing spree."

"As for understanding? What possible reason have you given me to even believe anything you say? Understanding - and trust - need to be earned, and you've got a fuck-ton of karmic debt to repay before you get anywhere near either of those. Nothing you've ever done has ever helped anyone. All you engineered was pain and horror, and you made it clear you didn't care about another person in the world. You want understanding? Prove you've changed."

"Now get the fuck out of my office before I call the FBI to come collect you."

Slipping the door closed behind herself, Elle quietly leans against the wall of Cardinal's office, fidgeting slightly as she listens to Cardinal and Warren converse, her arms tucked behind her back. She may not be welcome in this conversation, but that doesn't stop her from being curious. Warren is a fuzzy grey blip on her memory, after all, and everything that she knows about him is safely locked away in Cardinal's desk. She does, however, know a little bit about the Locos from Company files.

As Cardinal tells him to leave, Elle scoots a bit further away from the door, her dark green eyes on Warren. She looks curious, like she recognizes him, but at the same time doesn't. Otherwise, she's silent.

"I'll stop the Locos, but not for you, not after what you did to Elle. They were my memories too." Warren turns around, barely looking at the woman as he heads out the door, slamming it behind him. He leaves without incident, and with a mess from his past life to clean up.

"You don't have any memories, Warren," Cardinal's voice follows the other man, although the door's slammed closed before he has a chance to hear it, "You're as artificial as styrofoam."

The shades are pulled from his face, and he brings one hand up to rub against his forehead, eyes closed as he leans into his own touch. "I'm tired of trying to work with murderous psychopaths," he says quietly, "Too many compromises… I'm going to end up like the fucking Company if I don't draw the line somewhere."

Elle stares quietly after Warren, her head tilted to one side, lips poking out slightly as a thoughtful expression forms over her features. He didn't even look at her…once the door is slammed and Cardinal's words drift after him, she turns to to peer at the man, drawing closer and seating herself in a chair, one leg tucked beneath her.

"I hope…I hope I'm not too much of a burden on you." She frowns quietly up at Cardinal. "I'm not artificial, am I? I mean…I just found out that most of my life has been a lie. Again." Elle leans her elbow against the arm rest of the chair, cupping her chin in her hand.

"No." Cardinal's hand drops back down, and he looks up with a tired but honest smile to look to her, "Your memories've been altered… he had a complete lunatic's mind ripped apart and something completely different built on top of it. A few secrets and lies doesn't make you any less of a person. And you're not a burden, no."

"That…" He gestures to the door, "…is going to eventually explode again. I don't want to be anywhere near it when it does."

Elle glances back toward the door, her head tilted to the side. Her hand briefly flits to her hip, toying with the one thing Julius didn't change, the tattoo on her hip. "I'm glad I'm not a burden, then…" She tilts her head back toward Cardinal, her brows raised. "Why don't I have anything written down about him? I mean…I got his name on my hip, but there's nothing in what I wrote about him."

She glances back toward the door. "I mean…I figured I'd think to write something about him." She frowns. "And what did he mean, 'what you did to me'? I'm pretty sure you saved me from being hunted down by our friends at the Institute."

"Apparently, he feels that me letting you get memory-altered by Rene counts as some sort of betrayal," Cardinal says with a slow shake of his head, fingers brushing through the air before his hand drops back down, "I guess he got some sort've memo from his boss, probably because he was assigned a new babysitter."

There's a moment's silence, and then he confesses, "You did. You asked me not to give it to you until you'd had a chance to… form a new opinion of him outside of his influence. I mean, the guy did run a cult."

Elle peers up at Cardinal with dark green eyes, her brows raising as he confesses to that. She tilts her head toward her left shoulder, thoughtfully rubbing at her chin. "It was the only way to prevent them from coming down on you, and…you could've just tossed me over to them and washed your hands of me." She hums softly, turning to peer back at the door.

"Where can I find him? I'd like to do just that, and this," she gestures down at herself, "is the perfect opportunity to get a more…neutral opinion of him." She tilts her head toward Cardinal. "I just don't quite understand how I went from disliking him thoroughly for blowing up Primatech Bronx like I still kind of do, to liking him enough to permanantly put his name on my hip."

"I could have," admits Cardinal, glancing back to the door, "As for where? I don't have any idea where the Institute's keeping the crazy bastard… I'm not sure how you got to liking him, but I know that as recent as a couple weeks before you showed up here you'd sent me text messages swearing you were going to murder him. So, fuck if I know." Wry, "Maybe you're one of those girls that likes abusive guys."

He leans back, exhaling a sigh, "Anyway. Get to Chesterfield - if you've got the time, check in with Lola, see how she's doing, alright?"

Elle arches her brows, raising to her feet and nodding slowly. "Well…I'm going to try and talk to him. Try and figure it out. I'll let you know when I want to read what I wrote about him." If she wanted to form her own opinion of him, then she'll happily go with that. "If I wanted to murder him, it must have been…fascinating. I'll be intrigued to find out." She shrugs.

Then, she's heading toward the door with a bob of her bright red head. "I'll go see Cat and tell her about Julius. Maybe I'll swing by and see how Lola's doing…heh, I remember her, but not how we met." She smiles back to Cardinal, her hand coming down on the door and tugging it open.

"Please don't ever let me become a burden, Richard. I— I really want to be useful to you guys." She smiles faintly back at the man, before her tennis shoes carry her out of his office.

"You aren't a burden, Elle…" Cardinal's weight sinks back in his seat, and it creaks back a bit, one hand pushing up to rake his fingers back through his hair as he offers over a faint smile, "…just try not to make the mistakes you did the first time around."

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