Mister Shades


joe_icon.gif keira7_icon.gif richard_icon.gif

Scene Title Mister Shades
Synopsis Keira subjects Richard to the audio assault that is Joe talking about stuff.
Date June 16, 2018


Keira was generally quiet on the trip from the 41st precinct to Jackson Heights, for once taking her rather amazingly decked out dark purple Cadillac Escalade. It comes complete with headphones, which Keira encourages Joe to use to listen to music.

Also, it comes with a few armed men, whose sole duty it is to protect the vehicle with their life. They will be staying with the car.

Pulling into a spot, Keira wastes no time in slipping out of the vehicle, making her way quietly into the nice cool air of the Raytech Lobby. The receptionist probably knows her by now. “Here t’see Richard. He will want to talk to me and my friend.” She gestures to Joe, before crossing her arms and waiting for the inevitable appearance of one Mister Shades.

Oh Joe more than made up for Keira's quiet, yammering his head off about everything. From the economy of the markets in the safe zone, to the impact of cartoons on children's lives and everything in between. His Evolved power isn't really being bulletproof. It's talking endlessly without pause. Even with headphones on and music in his ears. "Oh I wonder if Sera is at the desk. She's cool even if Lance totally stole her danish. Slightly creepy in that fade into the background sort of way but cool. Oh the lobby is full of cameras and security so make sure your weapons aren't visible, cuz they're so not going to let you in with visible weapons. Been here before." Joe remarks on their walk up to the building and inside. He waves at the secretary before he stops and stands and waits for either Cardinal to come down, or someone to show them up.

"They work on some pretty cool stuff here. All sorts of sci fi type stuff. That was a pretty nifty car, do those guys know who you actually are? Or do they think they serve Smalls? Just kinda confused on the web there. Since you said everyone thinks Smalls is the boss, but those guys came along as bodyguards with the car and what not. So do they think you're like the Lieutenant? Or do they know you're actually the boss?" His volume is controlled as he asks those questions, so his voice doesn't carry. "Just wondering what I can and can't say around them is all. Secrecy level and all that. Should have a venn diagram for this or something. Or are you basically just Voldemort? She who must not be named?" He intones in a grave dramatic voice.

It may - or may not - be a surprise that the car full of armed backup is asked to wait outside the gate rather than be allowed into the Raytech parking lot. Unless they’d care to consent to a full search of the vehicle and disarmament, of course.

Security is, shall we say, a bit high at the moment. Losing an executive can do that.

“Keira.” Richard only keeps them waiting maybe fifteen, twenty minutes before he shows up, dressed sharply in a grey suit, one brow arching upwards a little as he glances between the two. “I’m pretty sure I know what you’re here about, but you were right to bring it to me regardless. Shall we?” A sweep of his hand towards the elevator, the teenager getting a curious look. He seems familiar.

The armed backup seems more than happy to wait outside, as their current job is simply to guard Keira’s precious dark purple Escalade with their lives. They can do that in the parking lot, or at the gate, it is no matter to them.

Keira presses her fingers to the bridge of her nose as they wait. “Just don’t talk too much to the boys. The more confused they are, the better. They’re not sure who is in charge, just that I could be anyone. Mostly, they answer to Kevin.” Hell, for all Joe knows, this could just be another one of Keira’s faces — there’s no real way to tell without negation. She shakes her head slowly, a small and amused smile on her face. She likes this kid a lot, but she’ll be more than happy to let her other boys deal with his talkative ways at the store.

She seems to brighten up considerably when Cardinal arrives; who wouldn’t, after twenty minutes in a lobby with the World’s Most Talkative Kid? It’s someone else for Joe to target with that motormouth of his. “Good to see you again, Richard,” she murmurs, reaching out and putting a gentle hand on Joe’s shoulder as she moves toward the elevator.

She can be kind of nice sometimes. Or maybe she’s just eager to drop Joe off at home after all of this is over. He talks so much. “My good friend Joe here has a lot to talk to you about.” She gives Richard a look, as if to warn him that he needs to prepare himself for the oncoming torrent of words.

Fifteen minutes? Oh god that's an eternity of Joe rambling and running his mouth, talking the security guards to death, the receptionist to death, the Keira to death at least twice. That is… well that's a lot of chatter, and Joe can roll it out endlessly. But when he sees Cardinal he perks up and looks over. "Mister Shades! I didn't get to say hi last time I was here. Aunt Kaylee was fixing our brains. Had some mindjacking crazy telepath thing hitching a ride in em. But she fixed it all up. Oh and Squeaks played with her skull. The one on her desk not the one on her shoulders. And we got to meet Sera. Interesting lady that. You look like you recognize me but not sure where from. We first met in a park. Where there was a tv star and a surly Brian. Buuuut Brian was pretty much always surly so I'm not sure that really counts. I guess he was kind of less surly that day than most."

He walks into the elevator, claiming a spot on the wall with clear vision of the rest of the elevator car as well as the elevator doors. "Joe." He offers holding his hand out towards Richard. "Nice to see you Card… Richard?" He asks, glancing towards Keira with a curiously lifted brow. "Not Cardinal anymore? Why is EVERYONE changing their names? Can't call Quinn Quinn anymore, she's Robyn, and apparently french now." Joe's eyes roll as he leans back against the wall of the elevator. "Did Aunt Kaylee come tell you about mysterious stuff? I was telling Key here about it and she said you should know. And she's right I just had no real way to come tell you and should I wait till we're wherever we're going? I should probably wait. I'm gonna wait." And he… shuts up. For now. “Oh by the way Key? Can you find twinkies? Friend of mine loves em and I’d like to get her some.” Okay, he didn’t shut up for long, but it was a few moments of blessed peace.

“Joe.” Richard’s lips twitch in a faint, amused smile as he shakes the offered hand, stepping back to another wall of the elevator to do much the same as it begins to move up. “I remember you. Brian… was a good friend of mine, although I haven’t seen any of him in years, admittedly.”

He nods, then, “My sister’s told me a good amount about what’s going on, yes. What did you think— well. Let’s get into my office first.” As if the elevator would be listening. Maybe it is.

The doors open with a ding and he leads the way out, approaching a door and touching the card on his lanyard to a panel. It slides open, and he walks into the office, pausing to look down as a small, reddish kitten swarms around his feet.

Keira is offered a small smirk to Richard as Joe’s mouth starts running again, tipping her head toward the man. “Joe can definitely tell you a lot.” She chuckles. The remaining blue eye turns to Joe as he makes his request, a small smirk forming on her face. “I think there’s some at the warehouse,” she replies, nodding to the talkative Iron Teen. “I’ll make sure t’get you a box or two.”

Keira is on Richelieu the moment they step into the office, dropping to her knees and holding a hand out to the little orange fluffball, clicking her tongue on the roof of her mouth in an attempt to call the kitten over. She always was a sucker for cats, even though she’s more of a dog person.

Also, the kitten is a welcome distraction from Joe’s constant talking.

"Hi." Joe remarks back at Cardinal with a wide grin, shaking the man's hand before letting it go and tucking his hand into his pocket. "Yeah. Brian took us all up to Canada to ride out the war. Lived out in the middle of nowhere. But I remembered you guys were friends. 'Jesus Christ Cardinal.'" Joe's voice drops a bit deeper and settles into a remarkably good Brian impression. "Well, we're hoping he'll stop being a recluse and join everyone back here in New York, but there's still kids up there at the cabin so… probably not any time soon if he does. And if Aunt Kaylee has talked to you that's good." Joe's head noddles a little bit as he follows down the hallway to Richard's office. Joe eyes the cat a moment, he's leery of animals in general. Dogs more so than anything, but animals in general get eyed sideways by him. If it comes close it'll get pettings, but he's not going out of his way to hang with the kitten.

"Soooo maybe you should tell me what Kaylee told you and then I can fill in the blanks if there are any? I was telling Keira about it and she said we should come see you. I wanted to see you before, but Aunt Gillian and Aunt Kaylee were both all about keeping things secret and I don't like that idea. That's how things got where they are now. Secrets and lies and I don't put any stock in them if I can help it. Though all the old Ferry and what not seem intent on keeping secrets and stuff." Joe's features scrunch together a little bit before his shoulders shrug. “So yeah. You should tell me what she told you so I can fill in anything she didn’t. Like the big scary interdimensional demon thing that reeeeeally wants into our world.”

The kitten in question is easily lured, purring happily as he rubs himself against Keira’s reaching hand. He’s a sweet little thing, especially for a cat.

“I’ve seen the tape,” Richard admits, walking slowly over towards the black desk, its glassy top decorated with an in-box, a picture of Elisabeth, and a chessboard that appears to be mid-game. He drops himself into the tall-backed leather chair, the room lit brightly from the broad windows that take up one wall and overlook the roof-top garden of the building beside it.

“I’m a little less clear as to this demon thing,” he says dryly, “So maybe you can start there.”

If the kitten allows it, Keira happily scoops up the kitten, all but smothering him with snuggles and kisses and scritches. Leave her alone, she likes kitties — even if she has trouble with the people who can speak to them.

There’s not much for the shapeshifting woman to say just yet — she’s been listening quite a bit, and she intends to continue doing just that.

Her blue eye lifts to Joe, then to Richard, as she moves over to one of the seats to more easily snuggle Richelieu — though her one-eyed gaze does find the desktop, noting the picture of Liz and the chessboard quietly.

Maybe she ought to try and learn chess.

"Demon thing. Glowing yellow eyes. Reeeeally wanted out of the In Between. It's caught between realities. Ours and wherever Liz was. If you've seen the tape you know she's alive. That's good. But it was what happened that wasn't on the tape that was crazy. We could hear it. It was talking to them, in that other world. But it also talked to us. It called some of us out by name. That's how we know it wasn't some weird effect of the tape itself. It was some kind of temporal event, connected to our reality and theirs at different times and different locations. But that means whatever it is it's still trapped otherwise it wouldn't have manifested in our reality. I don't think. We've gone full chalk on this stuff." Joe grins at Richard, though the grin is short lived.

"Apparently Eve has seen the golden eyed demon as well. Kaylee and Gillian seemed to want to keep it a secret, not tell people about it. But I think that's a huge mistake. Big huge mistake. So I've been telling people. Not like wholesale shouting it in the streets, but important people or people that I think could be important. But yeah, whatever the thing is it wants into reality bad. Did Aunt Kaylee show you my memories? I let her live through what happened in my noggin. If she didn't show you we could get her to link you in, let you see it. Brian always said you were almost half as clever as you thought you were, which means you were pretty dang clever. According to Brian." Another quick cheeky grin from Joe before he turns his head, glancing to Keira.

"Oh and there are slice rats in the sewers. I was warning her not to let her people go into the sewers. Slice electric man eating rats. Oh and we ran into some crazy guy named Samson. Well my siblings did. I didn't. I was off doing uhhh stuff. But they ran into some old hobo named Samson that saved their lives. I don't want to get him in trouble, but he said he was a wanted man. I want to try and find him and take him some food to thank him for helping my family but I also want to know if it's safe to do that and Key said we should ask you about him."

“That’s still twice as clever as Brian,” Richard deadpans, leaning back in his chair as a smile tugs up at the corner of his lips. He misses the duplicator, even if he won’t say it out loud.

He’s listening, and carefully, until Samson is mentioned. Then he’s sitting slowly up straighter, the color spilling from his face as he pales. “Samson,” he asks softly, staring at Joe, “Grey hair, beard. Glasses. Breathing machine?”

Oh, shit. Keira watches Richard’s expression change, and that actually prompts her to pale a bit. Keira has known Richard for a very long time — they were both young when they briefly dated, and she has seen a lot of the man since then, slipping in and out of his life. She’s seen many different sides of him, from angry to happy to worried.

And she’s never seen him react like this.

Still gently scritching the orange kitten’s neck, Keira turns her eye toward Joe. Finally, she sees fit to interject. “That reaction,” she murmurs, pointing to Richard, “means that you should probably stay the fuck away from that guy, and also tell Richard where you found him.”

Joe lets out a quick snicker at Richard's joke. "Well, maybe than one Brian. But bring them all together and you've got a recipe for disaster. I'm not even sure how many Brians there are out there. I still miss original Brian sometimes. New Brian is a good guy. But he's different. I guess I've known him longer now than first Brian but… still. Not quite the same yah know? Actually you might be one of the few who do outside of me and Lance and the rest of the Lighthouse Kids. "Uhhh dunno about a breathing machine. But yeah, from the descriptions I got grey hair and glasses sounds right. Older. Apparently in super hobo mode."

Joe is quiet a few moments, his eyes studying Richard's features carefully. "Guessing he's bad news from the look on your face. But if he's bad news why would he save a bunch of kids who washed out of a sewer? Cuz if it wasn't for him Lance and Brynn and Squeakers might be dead. Bad people don't usually do good things. Though bad people is a matter of perspective. You were bad people in a lot of people's minds. So was Brian. So… anything I should know?" Joe glances over to Keira and her happy kitty petting. Or currently not so happy since she's seen Richard's reaction. "Hmmm that bad huh?" He asks, glancing from her, back to Cardinal. "Please don't baby me Cardinal. Just tell me what’s up okay?" A little glance over his shoulder to Keira at her suggestion. "Yeah so not giving the guy up. Even if he's a bad guy he saved my family. You don't betray good deeds with bad deeds. S'not cool."

(Sorry for the slowness. Hand is getting better, it’s just made typing a pain in the ass.)

There’s the wistful ghost of a smile from Richard at the mention of ‘original Brian’. Brian Fulk. Things had never been the same since that Brian went away. “Yeah,” he admits quietly, “I miss him too.”

Then it’s back to the old man, and he sinks slowly back into his seat, a grimace twisting across his face. He looks up to the ceiling for a moment, sorting his thoughts, and then speaks again.

“Wendy Hunter. 29. Ability detection,” he lists off in quiet, serious tones, “Angelina Jackman. 26. Molecular combustion. Molly Hunter. 15. Clairvoyance. Richard Cardinal, alternate timeline origin. Unknown age at time of death. Obtenebrative transubstantiation.”

After a moment’s silence, he looks back from the ceiling to Joe, explaining, “Those are only the people I personally knew that he murdered for their powers. That’s Gabriel’s father, and he’s ten thousand times worse than Sylar ever was. If he helped you, it was only because he was curious about your abilities and then decided he didn’t need them.”

“You should stay the hell away from him.”

Keira raises an eyebrow, shrugging. It’s not really her concern whether or not he gives the guy up — but she personally would, regardless. Then again, she has different morals than a lot of people, and she lost that lovely youthful conviction long ago.

The list of those dead by Samson’s hand causes the tiny gangster to flinch. “Jesus. At least tell me where he is so I can stay th’fuck away from him.” She means that one — her ability is probably something that she could be killed over, because it’s like the cherry on top of a sundae — not only could that man kill people and steal their abilities, but he could kill people and steal their entire identity.

Not that the two men in this room actually know how her ability actually works — just that she can change her face. It’s still worrisome, though.

"I used to go by Fulk. Even stuck with it for awhile. But eventually it was time to let go. And switching to Winters I think helped new Brian settle in better. Cuz my acceptance of him was important to him." Joe's features scrunch up a little bit before his shoulders shrug at the whole topic. Joe listens to Richard as he starts listing people off. Joe knows what a death list is as soon as he starts hearing it. And when Richard is done he tilts his head a little bit forwards.

"Maybe he wants to change? If he was curious about everyone's powers he could have just cut their heads open to find out. That's the kind of person everyone thinks Gabriel was. But I knew Gabriel as the sad guy who sat in the living room at the lighthouse and played sad songs on his guitar. I used to sit on the stairs and listen to him play. Maybe his father wants to change. Or has changed. And I'm not too worried about him cutting my head open. So maybe I can just go thank him and leave everyone else at home." Joe doesn't… take warnings very well. Brian tried. He did. But Joe still thinks of himself as invincible, or close enough to it.

“You should totally stay away from him though Key. Cuz I mean… don't dangle meat in front of a tiger and all that. I think that's a saying. Might not be. If it's not it should be. Tiger gonna do what tiger gonna do. Like a shark. Just instinct." Joe puffs out his cheeks, then lets it all out with a long sigh. "Have you ever heard of evolved rats Cardinal? Cuz like… my family ran into evolved rats that could turn into electricity. And they eat people. As a unified swarm. I think it's an evolved and… oh. Could they be Samson? If he's Gabriel's father and has all those powers could he shapeshift into the rats and have electric powers? I really hope he's not running around eating hobos. But the rats are doing that. And ate a kid. The kid is still alive though. Well his psychic thingy is. Lance says he's a ghost. I say he's like the disembodied technopaths just psychic."

“He doesn’t want to change,” says Richard firmly, “He’s just being… particular about what abilities he takes, these days. He’s looking for some very specific things, I get the feeling that in his current state he’s wary of pushing himself too much.”

“He’s not like Gabriel. Gabriel knew what remorse was.”

He rubs a hand over the side of his face, “The worst thing is, he’s one of the few people who could solve a lot of problems if he’d use Molly’s ability for us, but— it’d be selling my soul to ask. I know what he’d want.”

The latter subject gets a curious look, “There aren’t any confirmed reports of animalmorphs as a true ability… evolved rats? They can turn into electricity?” Then he pauses, “A disembodied— shit. He must have had a similar ability to my baby sister. Surviving the death of the body isn’t unknown in people who can project their consciousness in some way.”

The shapeshifter frowns. “Please don’t,” she mumbles, shaking her head at Joe. “Don’t go thank him. Just be happy that he didn’t decide he wanted to figure out how to cut your head open so he could be bulletproof too.” She will personally stay the fuck away from his neck of the woods — she likes not being murdered for her ability.

She tips her head to one side, thinking quietly about the rats. “What if animals are getting abilities all of a sudden? There was that one zombie pig — Oleg, I think? Over in Russia. Motherfucker survived getting thrown across the road, got fucked up hardcore, but then he got up and walked away. They like removed the video and shit, like they’re bein’ all secretive and trying to hide that he got up.” She scritches Richelieu, because kitty.

“People are trying to find him, it’s some crazy shit.” So what if she purchased a Oleg shirt? She likes the pig, dammit.

"In his current state? Whatcha mean Shades?" Joe asks curiously, his head tipping slightly to the side. "Maybe I could convince him to come help? To use his power to help? I can ask. Than you can keep your soul. I'm not worried about mine. I haven't tried to break reality though so… there's that." A quick grin from him. "Kaylee and Gillian think they're clever when they try to talk in front of us without telling us things they don't want us to know." Joe's shoulders lift in a slight shrug. "Yeah. His ability was psychic projection I think it was. And he totally wasn't a ghost. He could interact with us. He saw us coming and led us to his body and everything. So I know he wasn't a ghost. There was definitely more to him than that. But he's been down there since before the war. I'm worried about him. And yeah. I know there were some technopaths that ditched or lost their bodies and stuff. I figured it was something like that. Lance argues that that still makes him a ghost. I don't agree. But what can you do, brothers?"

"Well I didn't actually meet him. I was with your friends when they went into the sewers without me. I kinda disappeared on them. After the golden eyed demon I went looking for Zhao Who Knows Too Much in Queens where I saw him lsat. But I couldn't find him, that's why I was on Staten, trying to see if anyone knew anything about him. But needed money for food, so signed up to do some fighting and you know the rest of that story. Long story less long they went without me. So I didn't get to meet Samson."

"Did you just suggest an evolved pig?" Joe's head shakes a little bit. "I think an undiscovered and undocumented ability is more likely than evolved powers suddenly going species jumping. Unless some of the science fairies went and messed with the animals. Which seems all the dumb. But sometimes science fairies will science just because they can. Brian said they usually didn't stop to ask if they should do something, only whether they could. But even accounting for people being mental and doing stupid stuff. It doesn’t make actual sense. Why would you make a regenerating pig? Why would you give a swarm of rats electric powers? A whole swarm. And they actually managed to successfully manifest the exact same power in a whole swarm of rats? That have somehow survived down in the sewers and passed their powers on to their progeny? I mean I know powers run in the family, but the exact same powers? Gabriel and his father aside… that seems highly unlikely. Squeaks and I thought it might have been robots for a bit there but that makes even less sense." Joe stops to look up at Key and Cardinal with a bashful grin. “Sorry. We have already gotten super chalk on all this. Repeatedly.”

“Valerie could help, but she’d’ve needed to meet him before,” Richard muses, a frown furrowing his brow a bit, “I can ask, see if she has any ideas, and…”

Then he trails off, staring at Joe. “Zhao? You don’t mean Wenzhou Zhao, do you? Old guy, bald. Always looks like he just swallowed a bad pickle…? Jesus Christ, kid, where the hell have you been going? Are you on some sort of scavenger hunt for the Most Dangerous People In New York or something?”

Keira shrugs. “They test pigs and rats for things that they’ll use on humans. I wouldn’t put it past the…science fairies to, like, try and experiment on a drug to make normal people into Evos.” For a moment, Key goes quiet to bury her face in orange kitty fur. Cats are awesome.

“A regenerating pig? You shittin’ me, man? Endless supply of bacon, and you only have t’feed one pig. That’d sell in a heartbeat.” Oh, she reminded herself of bacon. “Man, I miss bacon. That one’s hard to come by.”

When Richard asks questions, Keira resumes her snuggling of Richelieu.

“UHhh I don't think he gave his full name? Just Zhao. Squeaks and I were looking for Eimi our teleporting friend, cuz she got lost. Ended up in Mexico. But we didn't know that. We were looking for her when we ran into Zhao in the ruins of an airplane in Queens. He called us children of the Eclipse. Knew Squeaks given name, which I didn't know, and knew my name, knew we were Evolved. He knew waaaaay too much. Which is why we call him Zhao who knows too much. Or just he who knows too much. Voldemort style. He sure didn't seem dangerous. Well beyond his knowing far too much. But yeah, older, definitely looked grumpy, but was totally zen. I went looking for him to see if he knew anything about the golden eyed demon trapped between dimensions."

Joe looks over at Keira with horror on his face. "That would be… I don't have words for the cruelty involved in that statement you just made. Just hack off body parts. DOn't worry it'll grow them back. My god…" Joe actually looks like he might be a little bit sick. Killing he understands. But casual cruelty like that? Not so much. It takes him a few moments to speak again, his head shaking to try and clear the whole image out. "We're going back into the sewers in the next few days or so. To find William ostensibly. But I want to find out what’s behind the rats. Cuz the rats ate William and I'm pretty sure it was the same swarm."

Joe peers over at the cat for a few seconds, then turns to look over at Cardinal. “Brian always said you were a smart guy. Well connected. If you happen to learn anything about evolved experiments on animals or slice rats or animorphs will you let me know? All of our old protectors still think of us as children, and yeah we’re young, but we haven’t been children in a long time. We’re doing stuff now. Like you all were before. Handling problems and sorting stuff that needs doing. We don’t need to be coddled, and lack of information could actually hurt us if someone keeps it from us.”
“The most dangerous people never do,” Richard mutters, rubbing against the bridge of his nose as if a headache was starting to build, “Can you at least let me know where you found Samson, so I can make sure nobody goes anywhere near him for forever?”

“Stranger things have happened,” he admits, “I’ll let you know if I hear anything— on your end, if you can capture one of these rats, we have the laboratory equipment to examine it and find out what the fuck it is, although I have no idea how you’d capture a fucking— oh my god it’s a lightning rat. It’s a fucking Pikachu.”

He leans back in his chair, “I need a drink.”

“Same, I’d like to know where he is so I can stay th’fuck away. I’m sure my ability would be like candy for someone who can steal powers, and I would like t’keep your coworkers well away from there, too.” She has a few crew members with abilities, and she’d rather not dangle them around — she’s already lost too many people to Eileen, she doesn’t need to lose more to a power thief.

The horror on Joe’s face is met with a shrug from Keira. “It is pretty horrifying, but those are Russians, and I’m pretty sure they don’t give a shit about the pig’s feelings on the matter.” A generalization, sure, but not entirely inaccurate. “From a business standpoint, it makes a hell of a lot of sense, and unfortunately, a lot of people value cash over the suffering of an animal.”

Richard’s mention of Pikachu prompts a raised brow, then a laugh. “Holy shit. A herd of man-eating Pikachu is loose in the sewers. We need an Onix.”

"Uhhh not… really? I know my friends washed out on the river and that's where he found them. But beyond that I"m not really sure. I can ask them find…" He pauses, peering at Cardinal. "See now I'm not sure if you're playing on my desire to protect people and find out where he is so you can bring him in, or if you're honestly wanting to just be able to avoid him. And yes, the rats are Pikachus. My friend Caspian is going to try to build something to contain it. But our resources are fairly limited. Think your science fairies could whip us up a pokeball?" He asks, a slowly growing grin on his features, though it falls as he watches the man a little longer. "You're different now. Not sure what it is, but you're different. Could just be kid memories of you, but I don't think so."

Joe pauses, his head tilting to the side again. "How would Samson know who has abilities and who doesn't? Other than people telling him." Joe makes a face at Keira's statement. "I understand where the meat I eat comes from. But killing something is pretty different from carving it up and letting it regenerate I mean… good god that's horrible." Joe's head is shaken a couple of times before he lets out a low sigh. "Oh. And the rats were smart enough to steal food. They were responsible for stealing the food from the storehouses. I think. The first time we went sewer diving and found William it was to find the missing food or figure out how it was being taken. We found a bunch of ripped apart packages but no food. And the rats are eating people. So there's something going on there. Not sure what. But they consume a lot."

“Because frankly, I don’t think anyone could take him in,” says Richard with a grimace, “He’s been collecting abilities for most of his life, he’s… basically a one man army at this point, and he’s very nearly invulnerable. Wendy’s ability was to detect powers and identify them, so he can pick and choose since killing her. My only real hope is that the cancer kills him, honestly, because nothing I - nor the government - could throw at him could do the trick short of dropping a nuke on the area.”

“And even that might not work. Didn’t work on me.”

He frowns, then, leaning forward to rest an arm on the table’s edge, “I’ve been through a lot, kiddo. People change. They’re eating people? And they’re behind the food shortage? Okay, that is a lot more serious.”

Keira raises her hand. “I am not playing on your desire to protect people, I mostly just don’t really feel like dying.” She taps the eyepatch. “I really like being alive, and I really like keeping my boys alive — you included.” She jabs a finger in Joe’s general direction. “You and your friends need to be fucking careful. Ask me for help if you feel like you need to do anything stupid — I can probably at least make it a little more likely that you’ll survive.”

The Mama Key moment is over, and the thug is nuzzling her face against Richelieu’s fur, blue eye watching Richard thoughtfully. “I fucking love this cat, Richard.”

“Yeeees they eat people. I’m pretty sure I mentioned that. Though I do talk a lot and things run together but yeah, definitely mentioned them eating people. Keep up Mister Shades.” There’s a smirk from Joe, though it’s not a very amused one, more just him joking to cover up the OMG morbidness of talking about man eating rats. “But yeah, pretty sure they’re behind the foot shortage. Turn into electricity, zip into the building. Not sure how they got out with the food, maybe they can take it with them? No clue. But yeah. We found a bunch of food in the sewers not far from one of the food storage places. And then found William’s body not far from that. And the packages definitely looked like they’d been eaten by rats.”

Joe looks over at Keira, and his head tips slowly in acknowledgement of her rebuttal. “Okey dokey. But I was mostly asking Cardinal that. Actually I was completely asking Cardinal that.” Joe flashes another quick grin at Keira, winking at her. “And I doubt we’ll ask for help. Getting in over our heads is kind of what we do. Ask any of the old Ferry. There was that time with the monster in the Lighthouse. And that time when Gabriel and Peter had a battle in the Lighthouse. Oh and Gun Hill. And that time on the way to the island when we got attacked by military and Hailey charged them with a moose. Or well, nicely asked a moose to charge them. And Paul and I went to kick some butt. We were like 10 or 11. Something like that. So we’ve been getting in over our heads our entire life.”
“You can’t have him,” Richard observes absently, “He’s mine.”

Wry, he notes, “Ray, not Cardinal. Not anymore, anyway. And— I assume that someone’s informed the authorities about this swarm of murderous lightning rats, Joe? Getting over your head is one thing, getting eaten by rats is quite another. Like I said, if you can somehow catch one, bring it here. I’ll even pay for the privilege of getting it in one of our labs.” Raytech can probably pay quite a bit, too.

“So… Samson,” he says with a grimace, “Where’s the old monster hiding out?”

“I don’t want him,” Keira responds immediately, nuzzling the kitten’s face. “Don’t really have the right kind of living sitch to responsibly house a cat.” She pulls back, gently scritching Richelieu’s chin. “But I am going to visit you specifically to see him.” Richard likely knows that she’s not even kidding — there will be weekly Richelieu visitations now.

She lapses back into silence, waiting for an answer to Richard’s question about Samson.

"Well, I grew up knowing you as Cardinal. That's gonna be hard to shake. Just like I can't call Quinn Quinn anymore. It's Robyn. And she's french now which is weird. I think I said that earlier. Still weird anyway. And uhhhh I dunno? The authorities aren't good for much other than telling us to stay out of it and then not handling it. So I'm gonna go with no they haven't been informed? Unless Lance did it. Which I doubt. So yeah probably not."

Joe's shoulders lift in a quick shrug, a wide smile on his lips. "Sorry. Don't have much faith in the establishment. Pretty sure you of all people can understand that. But totally not worried about getting eaten by rats. They'd break their teeth before getting through my skin. The electric part well… I'm resistant, but not immune so that could be a problem. Well that's cool. The paying for the pikachu. I'm not sure you can sell pokemon though. Kinda seems wrong doesn't it?"

Joe's head tips to the side as he considers his last comment, a quick laugh from him, though he shrugs his shoulders to Richard's final question. "No clue Mister Shades. Like I said I wasn't with the group. I'll have to ask them again. My siblings that is. I can let you know what I find out. All I remember is they said somewhere on the river is where he found them. Oh you should totally get a cat Keira. Like a big one though. Well maybe not like a tiger, but something big and nasty. Like a maine coon? Isn't that a cat breed? Big one? You should get a big cat like that that can spit and snarl at people you don't like."

“I don’t think it’s an actual Pikachu, Joe,” Richard deadpans, “But I think it’s important to know what it is.”

A hand comes up to rub between his eyes, “The authorities aren’t like they used to be. Half of them are ex-Ferry — hell, even Lazzaro is, and me and the man don’t get along in the slightest. I still trust him to do the right thing for the Zone, though.”
“Anyway,” he brushes that aside, “Is there anything else you two wanted to talk to me about?”

“I need to have a beer and a chat with you, Richard, but that can wait for a bit longer.” Keira smirks to the CEO of Raytech, planting one final kiss atop Richelieu’s head before setting the kitten down, offering one final scritch to his head. Then, she’s standing, straightening out her shirt.

Her blue eye flits over to Joe, one eyebrow raising. “Mmm, no. That’s what I have dogs for. You’ll meet Kaang one of these days, he’s far more intimidating than most cats I know,” she replies, shaking her head. “Dogs are trainable. Cats are assholes, and I have hung out with way too many feline teeps to ever really trust cats ever again.” She tilts her head to the side. “Plus, I’ve seen other people attempt to domesticate wild animals. It didn’t work too well for them.”

She tips her head toward Joe. “In any case, if there’s nothing else, I’ll give you a ride home.”

"Says you Richard. I choose to believe it's a realistic pikachu. Fries people and eats em nom nom nom. I mean that's really not something to joke about. But here I am. Joking about it." Joe's head tips forwards in a sad nod. "I know. A lot of Ferry have given in to the man." Joe sighs softly and shakes his head, then shakes it again. "Nah. I can't think of anything else. Cool building though. Wish I'd gotten to see Sara again. She was weird. Cool but weird." He turns to look over at Keira, rolling his eyes a little bit.

"You know. I could go for a beer. I was living in Canada before here. I've had beer. Didn't care for the taste of it for the most part, but good way to relax a little bit." He tips his head a little bit up and down. "Sure. I mean I don't mind walking home so you two can talk and hang out. Also I think it'd be cool to try and tame some wild animals. But I wouldn't have to worry about them biting me. Ooooh I could go pet some sharks like those idiots that claim sharks are just like giant dogs that don't know any better than to bite. They can be trained and stuff. That'd be fun. Or tame like a tiger, or some wolves, something big and dangerous. But yeah, lots of telepaths out there. Makes it hard to trust any animals."

“I did not hear anything about underage drinking,” Richard declares wryly, “The law is already looking for an excuse to kick in my door as it is. And… well, Sera’s still out there usually. She can’t work every night, though.”

He reaches down to scoop up Richelieu as the kitten meanders back over to rub against his ankle, lifting him up to rest in his lap as he offers a wry smile, “Security will escort you back to the lobby. Good seeing you both.”

“Yeah, I have some principals there, Joe.” Keira smirks. “I might be a career criminal, but I won’t contribute to underaged drinking.” The one-eyed shapeshifter has a weird sense of morality sometimes. A smirk on her face, she makes her way over to the door, smoothing her hair a bit as she goes.

“If you want to get an exotic animal, then have fun. I suppose you’re one of the few people who could survive a bit of a training mishap.” She pauses a beat. “If you really want an exotic cat, I know of a feline teep who you should chat with. She might shoot you if she knew I sent you, though.”

Then, she’s at the door, sending an amused smirk back to Richard. “Good seeing you as always, Richard. I’ll be in touch.”

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