On The Fourth Day


cardinal2_icon.gif dahlia_icon.gif gillian3_icon.gif magnes2_icon.gif nathan2_icon.gif ross_icon.gif veronica2_icon.gif

Scene Title On The Fourth Day
Synopsis Nathan Petrelli, or 'Adrian', accompanies Cardinal when he rejoins Team Alpha. They set a date.
Date December 25, 2009


Feliz Navidad. Christmas in Argentina is much like the days leading up to it for those of Team Alpha who stayed behind in the ruins of the mission with Dahlia's rag tag group of Evolved rebels. Dinner has been made and shared, what little there is — some fish from the river and some fruit from the rain forest that surrounds them. It's hardly a festive feast, especially with the dark and oppressive mood. Most sit around the campfire, with a couple of the natives out on watch not far away. Rosco is once more unconscious, though the team has let him live — for now. They've even given him some water and food, though no pain killer for the various wounds he bears.

Veronica sits staring into the fire. There's not many days left before her instructions from Peter — Kazimir — are to be followed, if she doesn't hear from the men that left them soon. She throws the bones and skin of the fish into the fire.

Next to Veronica by the fire, Gillian's pulled her blanket around her once again to add additional warmth and comfort from the cold air. Her arm finally stopped itching and hurting, and no fever followed. It never did reopen. The fears of a certain blue eyed bastard seem to have been avoided. "I hope Brian managed to wrangle the kids at Christmas…" Of all the things to be worried about. She'd half forced her brother to take up the Lighthouse after his other half died. And she misses Christmas morning, one of the most important days for children everywhere. "I should be sleeping off a turkey coma right now." Instead of boredly tossing a tiny stick into the fire. Maybe she can poke the prisoner for amusement later.

Magnes has his blanket around him, not saying much in particular tonight, he's just hunched over, looking to be at his worst since they got there… at least emotionally. He's switched into his winter clothes, since his other clothes are more or less obliterated, looking over at both Veronica and Gillian occasionally. "I should be doing something super romantic for Claire after some awkward meeting with her father. I bet I'd have a black eye from her father, that guy is like Batman meets Professor Tomoe, from what I read…"

In the swallowing dark of the jungle's landscape, even Alpha's fire is a small, glimmering indication as to their location. It takes some instruction from the shadow at his back and some vulture-like wheeling around until Nathan makes his descent — and if anyone is looking to the sky, they might see the figure dropping out from the inky canvas above some scores of yards away. Silent, however, and quick as lightning without the illumination to grant him visibility. Not so long after, the trudging sound of boots setting a course through the jungle terrain is almost deliberately loud - noisy in the way you want to warn snakes of your approach as opposed to surprising them.

When the sound of someone's approach begins to filter in, Dahlia is lazy to lift her head and give a kind of automatic headcount of those in her sight. Everyone she knows is meant to be here is within sight, with Ross sitting not so far away and writing in his travel log, the remnants of Alpha all in sight of the fire, and what Branded have spared their time to guard the perimeter and share in the food. Which doesn't mean it can't be Rico or even the returning Alpha men coming back to them.

Which also doesn't mean she picks up her rifle and gets to her feet in meerkat attention, leveling the muzzle somewhere in its vague direction.

"This the campsite we're lookin' for?" is muttered gruffly, meanwhile, as Nathan pauses at the treeline, a hand up to scratch through the black bristle of his beard thick enough to mask half his face. He could well be talking to no one, or the presence of darkness too thick for shadows. "You might wanna go on ahead."

"That's it. I don't entirely trust everyone that's there… it might be best that we don't say who you really are at first." The shadow that was cast unnaturally across Nathan's back spills down onto the earth once he lands, swirling about his feel and spilling away a little bit, "You've got that beard and outfit, so, hopefully nobody'll put two and two together."

That said? Cardinal's ephemeral form whispers through the wilderness towards the campsight, soon stretching long across the fire's light of the encampment. After a few moments to ensure that everything's where it belongs, the shadow spills up the trunk of a tree. "I'm back," he announces, waiting three heartbeats before pushing out of it and stepping into physicality, a faint smile curving his lips, "Miss me?"

Veronica jumps to her feet at the sudden sound of Cardinal's voice — first out of surprise and instinctive reflex, then out of relief, hoping the shadow man will have news, a plan — anything that might help them. "Shade," she says, not even trying to keep some of that relieved emotion out of her tone as she looks to the owner of the voice as he materializes. "Just you? The others — they okay?" she asks, frowning a little and looking beyond him, as if to find Raith and Kazimir, but the campfire's brightness makes it difficult to make sense of the darkness beyond it. "We caught ourselves a Rosco," she adds, nodding over to the lump a few yards away. "But he doesn't know shit, it doesn't seem. Just a thug on payroll, no real information to be gotten from him." The announcement of Rosco's presence serves to warn Cardinal not to speak too loudly of the men's infiltration in the hostage's hearing.

"You're obsessed, you know that, Magnes? You rarely talk about anything else except her," Gillian comments, but she seems amused, even if a little bit annoyed. She's been annoyed a lot lately, though, so this should be no real surprise. But there's Christmas shade that's returned, and she gets to her feet once the surprise has faded, letting the blanket drop. For a change, she looks pleased, even smiling a bit. A glance past him at the mention of others, followed by a tightening of her jaw that makes her smile vanish. She's still not happy with one of those others. "Good to see you in one piece."

"It's easier to think about my indestructable girlfriend than what might be happening to everyone else. God knows what's happening to everyone in New York. And I saw a lot of people I know on that boat… a lot of them might be dead now… it's just easier to think about Claire." Magnes also thinks about the fact that while Claire can't die, she can also be captured, but he tries not to think about that too much. When Cardinal returns, he smiles, nodding. "So you're the Christmas Miracle?"

Dahlia easily lowers the rifle when Cardinal comes into being, relief showing only in the loosening of tension in her shoulders. The weapon comes to rest against her shoulder, other hand planting on her hip, before casting Veronica a glance that makes her brow and mouth serious all over again. "El Palenque will be happy for the warning," she points out, her tone brittle, and if she has more to say, or argue, on the topic, it's interrupted by the sound of someone else's approach.

Neither Peter or Raith, Nathan has his pistol pocketed by the time he steps out into the firelight, casting a look around the faces turned to he and Richard. "Two for one," is offered to Magnes, letting the natural roughness of his voice hopefully overtake the clearer tones that would tag his identity.

There's the subtle sound of a journal being closed, followed with Ross getting to his feet, stepping closer but not quite approaching either man. As much as the appearance of the stranger he does not immediately recognise is certainly pressing, he has something else on his mind; "SatCom?" is all he asks of Cardinal, eyebrows going up.

"Ho, ho, ho." Each word spaced out and spoken in dry tones, before Cardinal gestures back the way he came even as Nathan walks along into the encampment "I brought a friend back from Iago's lovely Bond lair. Try not to shoot him." The hand drops down to his hip, "This is Adrian. Kazimir has the SatCom— he's already made contact with the other teams. The robots shouldn't be any more trouble, either."

He walks along over further into the encampment, "Before I go on, anyone have any food? I'm fucking starved."

Veronica nods to Dahlia. That was important information, but not what she hoped to learn. Her dark eyes narrow as 'Adrian' comes into view. "Adrian," she says, raising her own brows that can't compete with his. Her job has her used to looking for variations on a theme when it comes to the human face — she herself has relied on wigs or colored contacts to make her own appearance just slightly different enough to confuse anyone looking for a dark-eyed brunette. Nathan Petrelli's landmark features are his eyes and eyebrows, and unfortunately for 'Adrian,' the beard isn't hiding those parts of his face.

"There's some fish and some fruit," she says and nods toward the fire where there are still some "leftovers" so to speak.

"Kazimir has the satcom? Did he send any word for us, further directions?" She doesn't look at Ross — it's clear she's not taking her orders from him anymore. She glances at Adrian. "Or maybe you have some ideas." He is the commander in chief, right?

"It would suck if he'd fallen down and broken his neck," Gillian says a little bitterly, her annoyed and angry way of saying she's glad it sounds like 'Kazimir' is okay. And that he didn't just use the SatCom to call in a helicopter to cart her away against her will. "Nice to meet you," she adds offhandedly, not really looking long at the bearded man. Though she'd met him once when he was scruffy, he wasn't that scruffy. And it doesn't click in her memory in the low light and her annoyances.

"Is everyone alright?" is Magnes' first concern when the SatCom is mentioned, though Adrian gets his full attention now, head tilting suspiciously. He certainly isn't trying to identify him, he hasn't gotten to the part in his investigative studies where you look for the President with a beard. "So, Mister Adrian, what exactly are you doing here? You have an American accent, so I'm guessing you're not a native or a nazi. You a part of some failed team sent here before us?"

Ross' eyebrows go up at this news, but protesting would— first, be pointless, because Kazimir is clearly not here. He rubs his brow, and then only nods once. "Kazimir needs to get in contact with Kershner and Autumn, too, and make sure we can get our asses out of this jungle. Whether it's me or him on the line, I don't care — as long as the other side are gonna listen." Which, if Ross' hands going up and splaying in a gesture are to be of any indication, is no guarantee.

"Something like that," 'Adrian' agrees with Magnes, and go figure that a politician would be an easy liar. Incidentally, Nathan never was — but perhaps the right amount of costume, weariness and the importance of not appearing to be who he actually is tips the scales just a little. As for recognition in the other direction — if anyone comes to memory, it doesn't show on what of his face can be seen. "I've been haunting the Vanguard cell here in Argentina for a few months now, but I got captured when I tried to get closer. Your friends managed to slip me out, with the help of one their own."

He moves towards the fire, stooping to inspect the left overs of food — as much as he was never under fed, he's not going to say no, either. Dahlia offers out a canteen of water when he comes to settle, and he uses it to both wash his hands a little and wet his throat. "I dunno about the robots, but Steel was willing to help us get out of the mountain."

"Oh, we have our orders, all right, assuming you take what comes from Volken's lips as orders…" A faint hint of sarcasm there from Cardinal, even as he grabs some of the leftovers for himself; spearing a chunk of fish on a knife, he takes a bite of it, eyes closing as he savours the taste. Hey, he doesn't eat in shadow form, after all. He doesn't say anything again until he's finished that chunk, after which he looks back over his shoulder with a bit of a smirk.

"Steel's been compromised, he's on our side - or at least not in our way. Iago's got no more than five or six people in there. We have go to exterminate Iago and his men, retrieve Steel, and get the fuck out of Argentina."

Well, this is news — good news, more or less. "Doesn't sound like the weapon's here, but you probably know that." Apparently they aren't worried much about Rosco overhearing them, so Veronica tells what she knows.

"Just a tank and more of the fucking robots. So are we heading back to off Iago and get Steel together or did you just come by to say Merry Christmas?" she asks. The bandage on her chest will show that they've had more than their share of excitement since Cardinal, Kazimir and Raith a week before.

"But if robots aren't a problem, then all we have to worry about is the tank, I guess," Gillian says, moving back toward the blanket and the fire, picking it back up and giving it a wave to knock off some of the dirt and stuff that managed to stick on it before pulling it around her. "I still don't know how he ended up in charge of us. Who died and made him general." Besides the entire team that was supposed to support them.

"I need a gun. My ability's range is limited and I probably have more formal training with a gun than Gillian." Magnes states right after extermination is mentioned. "I wish I could call Daphne, she'd have us all out of here by now, if there's no bomb. She's the next best thing to having Hiro. But anyway, if there's no bomb, is there a way to slip Steel out, then blow all those men up?"

There's the sound of a slide of metal to fabric, and then something black and heavy winging through the air. The sidearm lands somewhere approximately in Magnes' lap and might cause a couple of unwanted aches unless his hands are quick enough. Dahlia tosses her head a little once the gun is cast towards the younger man, and holds up an additional clip in offer. This, too, is tossed in his general direction, but she's not about to pass off her autorifle, which remains slung across her back.

"Steel's probably the best way to slip Steel out," Nathan points out, after tearing off some fish meat off the bone, the grease of which is rubbed from fingers to pant leg. "Unless he's gone and changed his mind."

"What about Kazimir and Raith's ETA? Has it changed?" Ross asks of Cardinal, moving back towards where he'd been perched by the fire. "If we're," and that word is vaguely uncertain, as if not convinced he's going to be in the front line, whether by his or the group's preferences, "gonna be storming the mountain, we should figure out when before anyone else does."

"They can take care've themselves," Cardinal says with a slight shake of his head, "Kazimir didn't say anything else, just gave us the go to deal with the problems up at the base - I can show you to the door we used to get in, presumably Steel'll open it back up for us. Once we're in, we should be able to deal with it…"

To the others, he admits, "The bomb was never there. We're here for Steel; we'll need him to disarm the bomb. It armed itself on the twelfth. Codes won't do shit anymore."

This news — that they were always here only for Steel — has Veronica's gaze turn a bit steely as well. "Fucking A. They could have sent a teleporter or something along with us and made that a hell of a lot easier," she grumbles. "So we're to head there, take out the rest and catch up with the rest? Hopefully with transport already en route to meet us there?"

She gives a nod of her chin toward Rosco. "Guessing we should take him out, too, then?" She's not kill squad but she can do it if she has to. She will do it, if she has to, to protect Gillian and Magnes from such a grisly task, no matter how much the former might enjoy it.

Oh, what they were really here… "If there's one thing I hate about these fucking things it's the secret motives. Why can't people ever just say what we're actually doing instead of trying to be a bunch of lying bastards." Gillian's not a fan of those kinds of secrets, but she's seen them more than she'd like to think. Always pulling strings. Getting Hector out of there would have been easier, really. But it doesn't solve some things.

"What about that Iago guy? The one branding people?" she asks, focusing on Cardinal for the moment. "Dahlia and her people helped us out a lot, and the day you left him and that fuckface we got tied up were dragging the invisible kid around tied to a horse. Even if what we thought we were here for isn't what's even here, we still owe it to them to try and take care of him too." And it might be personal vendetta as well. Her people aren't the only ones with nasty brands on their cheeks.

Magnes holds his hand out to the gun, slowing its fall slightly so he can grab it from the air. He does the same to the clip, sliding it somewhere secure in his pants. The clip already in the gun is removed, and he starts to inspect things. When it all seems in order, he slides the clip back in, and the gun goes into his pants as well. "I can live with the bomb not being here, at least we have a solution for it. We should be able to stop those men, we just have to take them out as quickly as possible." He holds his hands down to the ground, allowing dirt to slowly spin inbetween his palms. "What does this Steel guy look like? I need to know who not to kill…" He doesn't seem happy about the situation at all, but he seems willing to go through with it, staring down at that dirt inbetween his palms.

Ross glances from Veronica to Gillian, disbelief writing on his features. "Three teams were dispatched across the globe. You were all here for the debriefing, or were otherwise informed as to our mission. We came here for the likely possibility that the nuke was kept by Ramirez's cell — information that it is not present and that we have something else we can bring to the table does not mean any of you boys and girls were lied to. I don't see how sending you people after a nuclear warhead is less clandestine than sending us after the guy who can disarm it."

Almost mimicking Dahlia's prior motions, the Company agent takes his sidearm out from his jacket, flips it once in his hand, and offers it out towards the general group. "This paranoid bullshit is why I don't have the SatCom right now, relaying this information to the people who can get us out of here — those 'lying bastards' are trying to stop millions of people from dying. Someone take this — I can help guide you to the mountain but as much as none of you trust me," and he focuses on Veronica in that instance, remembering Peter's words to him some weeks ago, "the feeling's mutual. You don't have my back but you can do with more ammo, so."

Nathan is more or less quiet as all this is tossed around, finishing off his fish and then getting to his feet. A glance to Richard, mostly unreadable, before he addresses Magnes. "Kinda short. Dresses in suits a lot. English. Trust me, you won't be able to miss him. Or— you will, technically." You know, gunwise.

Cardinal finishes off another bite of fish, then steps along away from the left-overs of the lovely jungle feast and past Ross - reaching out to casually accept the sidearm from the man as he passes, turning it over to check the clip as he walks along back over to Nathan. "Thanks, Ross. Appreciate it."

It's beside 'Adrian' that he stops, turning to look back to the others with a rather wry look, "Trust me, you get used to not knowing why you do things after awhile. I'm sure Agent Sawyer understands that too, given her employers. Whatever the original plan was sending us in here - Kazimir's taken over the op and is running it his way. I'm backing him on this play, and so's Adrian here."

"I don't not have your back," Sawyer tosses at Ross. She might not trust his judgment or his leadership ability at times but she isn't ready to throw him to the wolves, either. "And we might need all the man power we can get, rather than you guiding us to the mountain and then red shirting on the sidelines." It's a sports metaphor, not a Star Trek one, though who knows, it could be both. "I don't think we should separate again, at any rate, if Kazimir has the SatCom and if we split up, it could compromise every one getting out of this place alive." She pushes a strand of hair out of her eyes, one of the layers too short to stay in her ponytail. She sighs. The next question is short.


"I was calling 'Kazimir' the lying bastard, for the record," Gillian asides at Ross, before she moves back over, complete with her prize blanket and holds a hand out. "I may be here for my ability, but if we're fighting people and not robots, I know how to handle one of these." She got training from a certain crazy prophet in the middle of Midtown's ruins. It may not have come in handy most the time, but she's still going to hold her hand out for one. "I know what end to point at the bad guys, and if we're staying to deal with the people, I'll be able to defend myself with more than a pointy stick. Or Magnes."

"Just tell me what to do and I'll do it, if it's gonna get us out of here…" Magnes slumps a bit more, the 'good' news apparently not doing much for his mood.

Relieved of Company-issued sidearm, Ross' mouth hooks up wry at Veronica's comment, but doesn't reassure his presence — nor affirm he's taking a back seat. As Gillian approaches, he adds, "Him too," regarding her remark, before tilting his head towards Cardinal. "Talk to the guy who can turn himself into indestructible shadow — he's got the one I had on me." And with that, he shifts back towards where'd he set down travel log and pen, taking out a torch in addition now that the firelight has weaned, and using that to light his pages as he goes back to scribbling.

"As for when— my advice would be to set a date and have your shadow man here slip back to the mountain and inform your men in there," Nathan says, with a tilt of his head. "And hell, you people got somewhere to be tomorrow?"

"You start moving as early as possible," Dahlia interjects, with a nod. "It will take some time to transport a group of people to where you have to be without being seen. I have no faith in this Steel — I have seen too much what his machines do, and we should only trust ourselves to move undetected by Ramirez."

"The lovely lady's got the right idea, in my opinion," Cardinal suggests, before Gillian and Ross have their exchange, and he looks at the gun in his hand mournfully for a moment. A sigh whispers past his lips, and he reverses it to hold it out towards the augmentor who'll probably need it more than he does. "Sounds good. Give me a timetable, and I'll rendezvous and let them know."

"Tomorrow's fine by me. The sooner the better," Veronica says coolly, a bit like a petulant teenager perhaps. "In which case, we should get as much as we can ready tonight, get some sleep, and head out at first light." She glances at Dahlia for confirmation of this plan, then Cardinal. "You got enough supplies for the trip back, or you don't need anything with you in shadow form?" she asks the latter.

"I'm tired of sitting around in a dirty ruin," Gillian says, moving over to the shadowy man who can make himself totally invulnerable to most damage and taking his offered firearm. "Merry Christmas to me," she says, checking it out for a minute to make sure she knows where the safety is. She doesn't want to stick it in her pants until she's sure it won't shoot her in the foot by accident. Or at least when it'll be less likely to. "Whenever everyone else is ready, I'm good."

Dahlia directs her hawk-gaze towards Cardinal, and juts her chin up. "Give us three days to move. On the fourth day, we will be prepared." Used to barking orders at the Branded, she doesn't particularly notice (or care) if she does the same with Team Alpha. Ross certainly isn't offering protest, fast words of neat penmanship flying across his page as he writes by the illumination of his flashlight, and Nathan only offers his agreement and possible participation to these plans with a small nod.

"Get some sleep," is the Branded leader's last word, before she's moving off to the perimeter to do— not that, herself, rifle swinging on its strap.

"Not really," Cardinal admits with a tight shake of his head to Veronica, the gun passed off as his Christmas gift to Gillian… and then he turns, shoulders rolling briefly in a shrug as he stretches them out, walking back towards the jungles, "Three days, eh? I thought it was Christmas, not Easter… see you all soon."

Flesh to shadow, shadow to night - and he's gone to set the clock ticking.

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