cardinal_icon.gif f_edward_icon.gif f_john_icon.gif f_rickham2_icon.gif

Scene Title Martyrs
Synopsis Edward is making some, Cardinal is preparing some, and it seems like everyone will become one.
Date July 5. 2009

Staten Island

There's a terrible pirate problem around Staten Island; it's dangerous to leave your boat anywhere, lest it risk being jacked or worse. The Casino Royale, however, is actually known to some of the other pirates around the area, and thus has at least some modicum of immunity to such dangers.

Of course, that's not to say that it hasn't been stashed on a quiet dock at a fairly empty part of the island, because the people who currently make up its crew aren't complete idiots.

As the sun slowly begins to pull itself up from the horizon, a swollen crimson disc painting the waters red with dawn, Cardinal's booted feet carry him along the creaking wood of the pier they've borrowed towards the building. "Oi," he calls out, voice sharp, "The boat! Anyone fuckin' awake on there?"

There's not a single reply from the ship, just the quiet slosh of the waves up against the barnicle-encrusted pylons ad the clunk of smaller rowboats left abandoned months ago bumping up against the pier. That sound of the sea beyond the island and the report of distant boat engines out on the Hudson serve as a textured backdrop to the cry of gulls. Across the pier, it becomes evident that despite the silence, someone has been on the Casino Royale since Cardinal left, given that the plank is drawn down on to the dock.

It takes a moment for an awkward tangle of jacket and hair to rise up from one of the bench seats on the side of the boat, and a half-awake John Doe to spring to his feet, awkwardly matting down his mussed hair and throwing the jacket he was using as a makeshift blanket over his shoulders. He stares, wide-eyed down at the pier, but then as he looks over his shoulder, it isn't John's voice that calls out.

"Richard," a black-clad figure, shorter than John, makes his way into the frame of view at the top of the boat's plank, holding a small plastic bowl in one hand and a spoon in the other. "It's so very good to see you alive and well, and with both hands." There's a modicum of smirking humor in Edward Ray's voice, as he scoops that spoon into the bowl again. "I hope you don't mind, I helped myself to the ice cream in the freezer."

It figures. As the voice is recognized, Cardinal's lips twist in a slight smirk. "No thanks to your little deal with Linderman," he points out in a drawl, one hand lifting to show off the new hand - obscured as it is by a glove - turning it one way, then the other before he steps up onto the plank to come aboard, "Fortunately, I have my own resources to call on… just finished making a deal for the hardware I'll need for that little job you asked me to do. Should be done in the next few days, God willing. Or His opposite, maybe."

"The Jury's still out on whether or not either of them exist," Edward notes with a stab of his plastic spoon into the icecream, turning his back on Cardinal to maneuver further on to the boat. John casts a side-long glance at Edward, as if wondering if he's going to remain silent about something, but it's about the moment John goes to open his mouth that Edward's blue eyes flick over to Cardinal, followed by a lopsided smile.

"Oh, thank you for greasing the conversational wheels with Isabelle for me." Blue eyes go wide for a moment, brows rising, a tiny smile interrupted by his need to shovel another small spoonful of Cherry Garcia into his mouth. "Mmnh, once you get past her rough exterior," he jabs the spoon into the bowl again, "she's really not that hard to deal with."

"Edward got the Formula." John's eyes meet Cardinal's, followed by the lanky man moving to the other side of the boat. "Where's…" his eyes cast out over the water, "where's Bebe? I— thought she'd be with you?" Edward just keeps his eye contact with Cardinal at that question, brows raised in a knowing expression of where is Bebe, Richard? But his silence is kept by a spoon in his mouth, and a silent meandering away from the two.

"You're the one she wanted to deal with," Cardinal says with a slight shrug of one shoulder, seeming a bit— put out by it, a frown twitching to his lips as he steps along from the plank to the deck with a familiar hop, fingers raking back through his hair once he's landed on the deck, "Guess her trip to the future left her a li'l more paranoid than she used to be." And it's situations like this that teach you who your friends really are, and who you can count on. The answers can be surprising. They certainly have for Richard.

At the question, then, he turns from Edward to John— and there is a hint of betrayal behind those eyes and in his tone, lips pursing briefly. "She went back to Logan." Short. Curt.

John's brows furrow slightly, teeth pressing at his lower lip before nodding his head, eyes casting aside. It's as if whatever Richard said just then reinforced something that was being discussed before his arrival. "Oh," that truly sums up all he has to say, save for a nod of his head as his hands come to rest on the side of the boat. "I— I'll do it, then, Edward. What we talked about."

Smiling away John's answer, Edward non-sequiturs into something entirely different, turning to face Cardinal again with a plastic spoon dragged out of his mouth slowly. "So, hopefully you're able to handle that operation I set up for you soon. Because I'd like to point out how this situation is escalating," with that, Edward motions to a plume of smoke on the northern horizon of Staten Island, just around the cove from where the ship is docked. "Do you see that?" The rhetoric gives not nearly long enough to answer, "that, Richard, is the smoking remains of an orphanage for Evolved children on Staten Island, called the Lighthouse."

Waggling the spoon between his fingers, Edward drops it into the now empty plastic bowl. "Arthur Petrelli showed up there just a few nights ago, and murdered the Lighthouse's keeper Brian Fulk and stole his power of replication." Faint brows rise, and Edward's wide, blue eyes watch Richard for a moment in silence, letting that sink in.

"If you could, I don't know," Edward gives a faint shrug, "expedite matters, it might be prudent. I'm not sure how many of the children weren't able to get away."

"I'm sorry, man." Cardinal reaches out a hand to clap onto John's shoulder, fingers squeezing there briefly as he offers the other man a faint smile— letting it fall again, thumb curling into a belt-loop as he looks over, towards the smoke stirring upon the island's surface. Quietly, he answers the other man, "I know what it is, Eddie. It was Arthur, then? God damn it…"

The thief's eyes close, and he nods once, "Fuck. Brian. Are you sure it was the… core Brian that he killed?" A half-turn, looking to Edward with a brow's lift.

"He killed everything that matters," Edward notes with a disappointed tone of voice, leaving the plastic bowl on a railing to the downstairs area. "Brian's ability doesn't quite work like that though. There isn't a core Fulk, each clone is capable of producing it's own copies. Arthur's ability, however, utilizes the psychic link between them, and was able to strip each individual copy of Brian of his ability, and then, if my estimate is right, systematically hunt down the stragglers and kill them. Now, not only can he find nearly anyone, he can do so and be in more than one place at a time."

A loud, clunking thunk is heard below decks, and the whole boat pitches to port side slightly. There's a grimace, from Edward, just before the engine of the boat kicks on. "I do hope you don't mind, Richard, but in Barbara's absense I've taken the liberty of bringing the one man I know can pilot a yacht on board. Allen's quite a competant pilot, he was just telling me how he used to take his wife sailing in the Camens and — well, I'm getting side-tracked."

Walking to the back of the boat, Edward folds his hands behind his back, looking over at John who's vacant stare now lingers over the waters where the Hudson empties out into the Atlantic. "We're running out of time to get all of the pieces needed to stop Arthur together, Richard. I don't mean to be pressing, but if we let this window of opportunity pass us by, we're not going to get a second chance."

"Eddie," Cardinal says suddenly, turning from the view of the smoke still rising from the remnants of the Lighthouse to slant a look over to Edward, one brow raising upwards above hard eyes, "Does the number two hundred and forty-five thousand mean anything to you?"

He pales just a little in response to the question. Edward's blue eyes track from one side of the boat to the other, looking at Richard with one slowly raised brow. "It's an awfully large number," gears are turning, his vision isn't steady on one spot, Edward's trying to puzzle something out, trying to connect the dots and find an answer from something so vague. "I take it that it isn't the status of your bank account?"

"I'm on board with your plan, Edward," Cardinal says in a very quiet voice, yet one as hard and sharp as a steel blade as he makes eye contact, "But do not push me. I've been pushed enough in the past few weeks, and I am getting very, very tired of it."

That said, he turns back away towards the smoke lingering on the horizon, "I've connected Monroe with Phoenix. What do you want them to be doing? They're the sort that're going to want to carry out an attack, but I'm gettin' the feeling that's what Arthur wants. He wouldn't be provoking them like this otherwise."

"That's a very astute observation. Phoenix is a large cluster of very young pawns in this, and as much as it pains me to see former compatriots used like this, I think it will be good for us. Arthur's plan in 2019 involved turning the public approval towards Phoenix." His eyes drift back to Richard, watching him more so than the water now. "He made them heroes in the public eye, and managed to control the media's opinion of the Evolved through them. They had comic books, Richard, comic books." His stare becomes almost dubious for a moment, and then drifts back out to sea as his forearms come to rest on the back railing.

"Having assessed what I know Arthur's been up to, and comparing that to his original plan in 2019, I figure he's going to be vying for a totally different method of approach. He's going to turn the public against Phoenix. This antagonizing he's doing?" One thin brow rises, but Edward's stare doesn't leave the horizon, "It's exactly like you fear, he's using it to turn then into the enemy, to justify the use for FRONTLINE, and his formula in the manhandling of the American government. He may have had noble ideals in my future, but do not let that make you think he has noble intentions."

As the reverse history lesson plays out, Richard listens, his own gaze out to the island and the distant Lighthouse— or where the Lighthouse once was. How many children were still there, how many did Brian's clones and the other staff get out in time? He doesn't know, and a part of him hopes not to find out. Then he can tell himself the answer is 'all of them got out', even if he knows it's just a comforting lie.

"So." A slight turn, his head looking back over his shoulder, a brow raising, "Should we encourage them to go rushing off to be the heroes, right into the jaws of his trap, or should we discourage it? I have… some influence with people who have a say in their decisions."

"There's no way either you or I can take on Arthur on our own. We're going to need them to play the roles of the martyrs they want to desperately to be, in order to distract Arthur long enough for us to funish the plan." Turning his focus from the horizon, Edward watches Cardinal's profile quietly, "Every conflict has sacrifices that have to be made, you and I both know that too well. Phoenix had its time in the sun, and their deaths will — in some ironic mirroring of the future I come from — ensure that we all have a future to look forward to."

With that said, John pulls up the plank from the docks, having already untied the mooring of the boat. Heavy footfalls out out from Cardinal's back, Allen Rickham's monstrous approach from below decks, and shortly the Casino Royale is moving on the water again, piloted out onto the Hudson and away from the island. "Hopefully, Richard, you and I both have the wherewithal to see this plan through to the end."

"I think you just might underestimate them, Eddie. But, alright. You want a fire… I'll make sure it's got all the fuel it needs." Richard turns towards the lumbering steps of the metallic monstrosity, one hand raising in a greeting gesture before he turns his gaze back towards Edward, a single brow lifting, "So. The Formula?"

"Not yet," Edward notes, unzipping the front of his black jacket, reaching inside to withdraw a pneumatic syringe filled with a chromatic red fluid. "However," it's held out in an open palm towards Cardinal, reflecting with silvery hues inside of the liquid. To its own worth, Cardinal can't help but see how much it looks like congealed blood inside of that tube, "you should be the one to hold on to it."

Tilting his head to the side, there's some imperceptible and unspoken truth behind Edward's eyes. "Just remember, whatever you do choose to do with this?" A single brow rises, "remember the cost of lives it took to get this into your hands. Make sure what you choose to do meets that value."

The syringe is regarded for a long moment, before he reaches out to accept it. Disturbingly similar, the red liquid, to the same fluids that replaced his hand - that rebuilt the bone and sinew and nerves to the fingers that now clasp it, though he knows there's something entirely different inside. "I will. There's more, out there; Helena Dean doesn't have it, any longer. Teodoro took it."

It's cradled in his gloved hand, turned over before Richard looks up from it, a single brow raising in the man's direction, "How are you going to kill Arthur, Edward? He's virtually immortal, now, with all the damn powers that've piled up on him." He's seen one possibility, through the eyes of a vision, but he wonders what the predictator's answer might be. If he answers at all.

"Arthur's engineered his own demise, he signed the very papers that will be his death warrant." When his brows lower, Edward casts a side-long stare to Cardinal. "You had to have heard of the Shanti Virus by now, the super-disease that was going to wipe out two third of the world?" The one Edward helped stop. "Arthur's first abortive attempts at designing the Formula without the actual design for it were based off of research into the virus. It was called the Advent Virus, and it has the unfortunate side effect of anyone being injected turning into a steaming pile of molten human organs."

Zipping his jacket back up, Edward stares out towards the water in prolonged silence. "I'm not going to kill Arthur, though," his blue eyes drift back up to Cardinal, one brow raised, "you are."

"Volken's insane project," Cardinal affirms his knowledge of the Shanti virus, his chin dipping in a slight nod, his brow furrowing slightly at the description. It sounds familiar. It sounds, in fact, exactly like the way he saw Arthur die in his mind's eye. "So that's it," he murmurs, glancing out to the water as well, "Poetic enough. I suppose your plan is that I sneak in during th'chaos that Phoenix and friends cause, find the Virus, and hit him with it? S'not going to be easy without my power."

"Nothing worth doing is ever easy, Richard. You'll figure it out, if anyone can I know you will." In some ways, there's a touch of respect in Edward's eyes as he glances up to Cardinal, then shifts his focus back out to the turbulent waters of the Hudson while the Casino Royale zips inland towards Manhattan. "That is exactly the plan, but we won't be able to accomplish everything we need to do, without getting Tyler Case out of Homeland Security's hands."

"Don't worry about that one, Eddie." Richard shakes his head slowly, "I'll get him for you." And may God forgive me for it.

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