Patience And Procedure


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Scene Title Patience And Procedure
Synopsis After an evening at the Rock Cellar, something follows Feng Daiyu home… and tries to kill him.
Date August 22, 2009

Outside of the Rock Cellar's noisy doors, the somer sight of New York City's towering concrete monoliths rise up in the distance. Glittering with diamond-like points of light, these sky scrapers serve as a phalanx against the threat of a horizon, one that Feng Daiyu's hundred yard stare seems to be searching for, even if he can't see it thorugh the dense foliage of an urban jungle.

The noise of a yellow cab rolling past, tires splashing thorugh a puddle and clunking over a manhole snaps him back to his senses, fingers tiredly rubbing at his eyes as he steps out into the street past the cars parked on the curb, holding out a hand to hail a taxi.

For all of the monster Feng Daiyu has been worked up to be, these candid moments that the shadow nipping at his heels is privy to takes away a layer of the mystique, then a government assassn is doing something as mundane as hailing a cab, it takes away something from his presence. Another yellow cab doing circles around the block comes rolling to a stop, and Feng approaches the back door, giving a lingering look back towards the Rock Cellar and the Village Renaissance Building before opening it and ducking into the back seat, unaware of the black mass coiling around his ankles and pooling beneath the passenger's seat.

"Where're ya headed?" The driver notes in a thick Brooklyn accent, craning his neck to look back at Feng. Reaching into his jacket, Feng produces his sunglasses and folds out the arms, sliding the dark lenses over his eyes as he leans back against the seat.

"Queens— 1622 Longfellow avenue." His eyes fall shut behind the lenses, and the driver murmurs an agreement as he clicks on the meter and starts the car off. Before the Rock Cellar is even out of sight in the rear view mirrors, Feng is reaching inside of his jacket, withdrawing a small silver cell phone, narrow as a knife that he folds open and brings to one ear, pressing a quick-dial number.

Silence fills the cab, and only the driver's eyes in the rear view mirror noticing that Feng is on the phone keeps idle chatter quiet. "Sir," Feng says with a tired voice, "I just followed up on your lead about that woman. I don't think she's an issue, and she's not a member of the Vanguard." There's no concern given to the cab driver overhearing the conversation's local side. "No, sir, none of them were present. I think at current, I should focus my investigations on tracking down Holden and— "

Something cuts Feng off, brows quirked up and a press of his lips together. "No, he's— what do you mean you didn't find the body?" Suddenly, Feng Daiyu is sitting up straight, breathing in deeply through his nose as he looks at his reflection in the window. "DId you look where I told you?" Taking such a tone with his employer, Feng won't be getting a Christmas bonus. "It doesn't matter it— " he scowls briefly interrupted, "someone probably dragged it off, it's Staten Island. It doesn't matter. I've got a bead on Holden's location, he's hiding out at a remote cottage on Staten Island's rural periphery, Ruskin, Salucci and Benatti are there too, but it's a safehouse of some kind."

It looks like tonight is going to be a productive night for the shadows.

There are many weapons in Richard Cardinal's arsenal; from the gleaming edge of a knife or the acrid scent of a bullet, to the many allies he can call upon, to his mediocre skill at flying a plane, all of which can achieve many goals and profit him in many situations. Of all of them, however, since even his days as a humble second-story man and car thief he has placed the most value on patience.

Tonight, it seems, that patience has paid off.

Wonderful, thinks the shadow to himself rather darkly as he pools on the floor of the cab beneath Feng's heels, They found the Garden.

"I've been watching the location for several weeks now. I've counted fifty-six seperate individuals coming and going, typically by pcik-up truck and most often by foot. They go all across Staten Island's interior." Rubbing at his chin with one hand, Feng leans his elbow against the door and stares out the window at the passing neon glow of signs as the cab drives up through Chinatown around the tangles mess of ruined streets that is Midtown.

"No, no I haven't seen Holden or Ruskin back there since. There's another… issue I wanted to discuss with you." Feng's head tilts back, staring at the cab driver for a moment before looking back out the window. "I think i've discovered the son of Wu-Long Zhang amidst Ruskin's company. He's likely Evolved, given his parentage…" There's a moment of pause, and then Feng nods his head. "What do you want me to do with him when I go after the others?" His head imperceptibly tilts to the side, then there's a curt nod.

"Understood." Tat couldn't have been good.

If it was just a question of the Ferrymen, or of the Remnant, Cardinal may have been disapproving but willing to sacrifice them… but ah, the mention of the child makes the shadow grow cold with anger. Oh no you don't, you son of a bitch.

Still listening as he talks, the shadow slips up carefully around the seat, spilling between the cabbie's back and the cushioning seat behind him in ephemeral presence. There's no eyes to see there.

"Right… Right," Feng's head tips down into a nod, "I almost had Holden in the subway, he's getting soft, losing his edge. I figure by month's end I'll corner him into losing his compsure entirely, it just is a matter of plucking away everything he cares about bit by bit." There's a jingling saound as Feng produces keys from his pocket, flipping them around in his hand on a keychain, plastic on metal clattering together. "Of course, Sir. I'll keep in touch."

"Asshole." Feng spits out after the phone flips closed, a strained sigh slipping out of him as he tucks the phone back into his pocket and runs a hand over his forehead. Somewhat anxious, the cab driver's eyes divert back to Feng in the rear view mirror, but quickly return back to the road over the remainder of the long drive out to Queens.

It is a long drive. It always is, crossing the city by cab; they all know their own ways, and as the evening's lamps and storfronts streak past like rivers of light, the shadows shift ever so subtly in the driver's seat. A darkness, ever so faint, spreading up over the driver's neck, weaving through the threads of his hair to coil about his ears, covering them and delving within, through the fleshy whorls and brushing the er drum. Not that it can be felt. It's just shadow, after all, and the light must be shifting just so.

The traffic is watched by the eyeless gaze of Richard Cardinal, and he watches, and waits. He's waiting for just that moment, when the taxi's driving through an intersection where a few other cars are crossing at the same time… when a drunken driver weaves from another side… just waiting for that moment's uncertainty that any competent and sober driver could avoid effortlessly. If he can be patient enough, perhaps that moment will be caught.
Six intersections and one polce roadblock later, thecab has seen thick but calm traffic at the late hour of night. It's not until the cab has his the Brooklyn Bridge that things begin to become hairy. Crossing over the span of the east river is rarely an issue, but a collision has blocked up two lanes out of four, with road flares shining bright on the pavement and traffic needing to merge together. The cab driver scratches at the side of his head, a yawn escaping him as Feng watches the slow flash of tail lights up ahead growing, even as rain begins to patter down on the windshield of the taxi in light drizzle. A slow sigh, a frustrated sigh, and his eyes fall shut, fingers pinching at the bridge of his nose.

As the taxi starts to merge, a box truck in the next lane over starts to weave in a little too close, and the cab driver grimaces and starts to direct the wheel in the other direction so as to not slam into the side of the far larger truck. If there was an opportunity for the shadow, this is it.

That it would be. The moment is noticed. And Richard Cardinal screams.

An inhuman, shrill, echoing shriek that vibrates directly against the cabbie's eardrums and the canal leading to and from it, straight against his temples, his neck. At the same moment, the shadow wraps itself about his face, the light of the streets dimmed as blackness washes over his eyes. Not opaque, but enough to make things even more difficult, as the driver's senses suffer a near-literal assault.

The shock of the scream causes the cab driver to swerve out of control, smashing into the box truck before spinning around and slamming backwards into the car ahead of it. The sudden collision causes the vehicle following behind the cab to crash head-long into its now backwards frame, crunching it between the two vehicles and boxing it in from the side the truck crashed into it on.

The jostling around of the car smashes Feng from one side of the vehicle to another as he is thrown against the opposite door, sunglasses falling off and down to the floor. His eyes grow wide, looking towards the cab-driver pummeled into unconsciousness by the eruption of the air-bag from the head-on collision.

One final smash comes when the impacted cars are collided into by a driver trying to swerve around the box truck, t-boning the cab and sending it skidding sideways up over a low meridian and careening into the guard-rail on the edge of the bridge. Metal bends, warps and breaks as the cab smashes its back half thorugh the steel guard rail and hangs precariously off of the edge of the bridge. Dazed, Feng struggles up to a straightened position, then feeling the cab tipping back, lunges for one of the windows with a swift kick, not even trying the door handles before propelling himself out of the vehicle bodily to land in a heap just beside it out of the window, fingers palming at his face to try and find sunglasses that aren't there.

Ah, so close. Yet there's still plenty to be learned here. As the assassin tumbles onto the pavement, the shadow flickers after him, spilling over the concrete and lashing out to spread itself across Feng's own shadow and hide within it. You're under attack, Daiyu, thinks Cardinal darkly, Someone just tried to kill you. Where do you go? Who do you call? Show me, little mouse, how you run in this maze…

Rising up to stand straight, Feng looks back at the cab as it creaks and grinds across the edge of the bridge, threatening to topple over into the icy waters of the east river below. Crouching down, Feng looks up at the yellow lights over the bridge, shedding a dirty illumination down onto the crumpled hoods of cars and steam shooting out from punctured radiators. The muffled voices of concerned motorists pulling to the side to try and see what happened don't catch Feng's attention as much as how open and exposed he is on the bridge.

Immediately something else takes over, and as Feng breaks out into a sprint, he reaches into his jacket for a custom-modified Glock .9mm, rushing thorugh traffic with the gun out as he leaps across the hood of one of the cars, sliding on his side before dropping to a crouch behind it and rushing to the driver's side.

Feng smashes out the driver's side window and aims his gun into the car, red point of a laser sight beaded on the young driver as he reaches in and yanks open the door handle, then manhandles the teen out of the car and to the sidewalk before slipping inside.

Slamming on the gas, Feng peels out and away from the traffic, slipping into the breakdown lane as he goes barreling through a line of security cones and past the police barricade approaching speeds of sixty miles an hour in that narrow stretch of road. But no matter how fast he drives, that shadow clinging to him doesn't fade.

But it's where Cardinal gets his firts taste of Feng's survival instincts.

The speed of light can be outrun; but the shadow that you cast even moving at such speeds never can. Still, despite himself, Cardinal finds himself impressed. Instant reaction, merciless tactics, and he's out and on the move. A dangerous opponent, definately; far beyond the normal street scum and underworld figures he usually deals with.

Rather like Ethan, come to think of it.

The car barrels thorugh the police roadblock between Brooklyn and Manhattan, driving straight past the officers as blue lights flash and flare behind them. But even as ruthless of a fighter as it's been said Feng Daiyu is, his skill behind a wheel is also remarkable. Skidding acrossa an intersection, Feng hand-over-hand cuts the wheel and whips the car into a jackknife turn, cutting down a narrow alleyway that clips off the side mirrors of the Audi he's stolen.

Now in Brooklyn, Feng cuts out across a busy street without slowing, swerving around one car before fishtailing out into traffic and moving into the flow of other cars, having out maneuvered and outrun the NYPD squad cars. He rails the vehicle thorugh four intersections that have turned red, before finally slowing down as he pulls into a parking garage, driving through the first floor and pulling swiftly into a parking space and turning off the engine.

It's here where Feng grips the wheel tightly, breathing in and out with deep breaths, shoulders rising and falling in a sixteen second moment of calming silence before taking out his phone. It's flipped open, the back panel popped off and the sim card taken out and palmed. He lays the phone down on the seat, then opens the door to the Audi with a shove of his shoulder, stepping out and pitching the tiny card in an overhanded throw to ping off a windshield of another parked car and land across the parking garage.

Feng swallows, audible, then hunches forward and rests his hands on his knees, gun dangling from the holster inside of his jacket.

Clever… The click-clack of the card's hurl is noted by the shadow that pools about Feng as if cast by the dim lights of the parking garage. If he's found, caught, there's no tracking his employer through his phone now, without finding such a tiny thing - that most would assume was still in the phone. Crouching, resting. Afraid, thinks Cardinal. Good. …good procedure, Agent Daiyu. What's your next move?

Straightening up, Feng starts to move, a slow pace at first out of the parking garage and down onto street level. He glances up and down both sides of the street as squad cars with flashing blues come blazing past and drive right by him without even realizing it's the very man they're looking for. Feng turns a sharp corner, sliding into an alleyway and moving with a stunning alacrity for a man his age, bounding up onto a dumpster, kicking off of a brick wall and climbing up onto a fire escape. His pace doesn't break once he's there, just the clang-panging of his feet on the metal stairs as he ascends to the roof, dropping into a crouch when he does and scanning the rooftops aceoss the way. Feng tenses up, scrambling for cover and drops into a crouch, hands shaking from the adrenaline surge as he reaches over and rubs his mouth with one hand. His dark eyes dart up to the rooftops again, listening to the distance of the police sirens.

Reaching into his jacket, Feng produces a different sim card and slides it into the phone, flipping it open as he dials a number by memory, his breath finally caught. The reception on the other end is almost immediate. "Daiyu, Feng. Control code six, six, seven, tango, bravo, charlie, eight." He exhales a slow sigh, "Cleaning on Brooklyn Bridge, yellow cab taxi, police pursu— " something causes Feng to hesitate, one brow to kick up.

"Affirmative, I'll get in touch." The phone flips closed, and Feng glances back in the direction of Manhattan before opening the phone again to dial a different number. "Sir…" his tone is different, "I'm sorry for calling you at such an hour. Control just informed me that the FBI has put me on a watch and detain list…" There's a slow, frustrated nod, "Ivanov? Understood— No, don't worry about it. Let him chase his ghosts for now." Feng swallows roughly, dryly, then nods "Yes, Director. I'll be in touch."

The phone slaps closed, and Feng tucks it back into his jacket, hunching up against an air conditioning vent for the long wait he plans on taking while the heat is on.

Ah, good old Ivanov. The rabid dog of the Bureau can always be counted on to stir from the shadows eventually… perhaps, considers Cardinal, it's overlong since he'd gotten into touch with his sometime-ally. The Director. Control. Names meant to obscure and intimidate, but who and what lay on the other side of that veil? Just the CIA, the DIA… or someone else? As the man settles in to get comfortable, the shadow slips away for a few minutes, searching for that other SIM chip that was hurled across the garage.

In the short time it takes for Cardinal to move back to the adjacent parking garage, retrieve the discarded sim card, and return to the rooftops, Feng hasn't started moving. He's camped out on the roof, knees pulled up to his chest, head tilted back and a pill bottle taken out from his jacket, two pills popped under his tongue as he dryly swallows them down, forcing his eyes open as he stares up at the cloudy skies reflecting the glow of the night's lights.

He's doing exactly what he should do, when confronted by an unknown enemy — not leading them back to his hole. It's hard to say how long he'll linger on the roof, how he'll tell when the coast is clear, but for now, under the grimy brown sky of the city at night, Feng Daiyu is content to wonder where the stars are, and wait.

It wasn't so long ago that Richard Cardinal yearned for the open skies, even the smog-drenched murk above New York City from the cold stone of a prison cell… and so he's content, for a time, for an hour or two event to sit unknown beside Feng Daiyu and watch the shrouded heavens with the other man.

The man's well-trained, however, and the shadowmorph knows all too well that come the dawning of the day he'll be less able to hide. And less able to see, as well, blinded by the sun's glare. As well, there are people to be warned, and there may be other agents moving on them. So the shadow slips away, after a time, leaving the assassin alone on the rooftop.

There will be other nights. Cardinal can be patient.

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