magnes_icon.gif rupe_icon.gif

Scene Title Pawns
Synopsis Summoned to the Carmichael Manor, Magnes Varlane finds himself plotting with the tactician of Messiah.
Date June 15, 2010

Carmichael Manor

magnes. rupert has requested to talk to you about messiah-related operations. please conviene at his private residence at 304 West 92nd street at 7:30pm. you will be expected by house staff. please use the door. — rebel

Four hours ago Magnes Varlane received a message that would have him coming to the gates of the Carmichael Manor, a private residence nestled in New York City's upper west side, with a glorious view of the Joan of Arc Park and the Hudson River. It's the kind of upscale residence that generations of families would have lived in, with a paved rotunda and cascading fountain, all contained behind a high redbrick wall and wrought iron gates where a call box rests for incoming visitors to announce themselves from the street.

In the iron gratework above the gate, the words Carmichael Manor is written in old English script made from the same dark iron as the gates themselves, somewhat evocative of the entrance of Arkham Asylum in the Batman comic books, but that's just a very Magnes way to look at things.

At this hour of night the sun hasn't yet set, but instead hangs as a low, richly orange ball on the Jersey horizon across the river, casting long shadows up and over the walls of the Carmichael manor and turning the sky shades of plum and crimson that fade to milky blue where clouds mix with the darkening eastern skyline.

That one of Messiah's members seem to be a part of New York high society is an unexpected turn of events, but it's here at the gates to the Carmichael Manor that Magnes finally recognizes the name he's been hearing since the Messiah meeting. Rupert Carmichael was present at some of the fundraisers he's been present to in his work for Tracy Strauss, he's got his hand in the back pockets of senators, congressmen and defense contractors and his family is worth millions.

It's a strange grouping of people that Messiah has drawn together.

After leaving a quick message to Abigail Beauchamp, If I don't call back in two hours, something happened at 305 West 92nd Street, Magnes quickly makes his way over as instructed.

He stares up at the gates, briefly considering simply jumping over, then sighs and slumps his shoulders, pressing the buzzer. This meeting can't be good at all, so he's certainly come prepared. Wearing a long-sleeved black shirt with a game of Pacman printed on the front, a pair of blue jeans with pouches and slots all over them, and his black sneakers. He has two Company guns hidden somewhere in his pants, a combat knife, and a package of marbles.

This is truly the dawn of Crushpouch.

Over the intercom there's a crackling woman's voice that addresses the buzz. «Yes?» It's not a snippy greeting though it is a bit terse, Magnes has heard it more than enough times from Tracy, the kind of tone she uses when she's busy and is trying not to snap at people. Before Magnes responds, a few cars roll past on the street, though traffic is notably light even at this hour of evening.

"Magnes J. Varlane." Magnes announces, looking up on buildings, under cars, in trees and bushes. He's suspicious, he's even got his field extended below his feet. There might be mole people. "I have an appointment."

Theres no verbal response to the name, just a noisy buzz followed by a rumble of the gates splitting apart at the middle and sliding along rollers behind the wall, opening up the path through the courtyard for Magnes. The approach to Carmichael Manor is one most people typically make in a car, but it's somewhat beneath Magnes Varlane to drive — or for that matter even walk — from place to place when flying is a more expediant and awesome method of transportation.

The walk up the driveway is a short one, to the rotunda where that fountain once viewed from a distant splashes with crystal clear water that catches the sunset rays in golden glitter. From there and up the front steps to the doors, Magnes is greeted by a woman in her late twenties or early thirties, skinny like Eileen and just as fragile looking, with her chrly blonde hair tied back into a ponytail and dark clothing looking more business-like than the French-maid chapeau that Magnes might have been expecting.

Somewhat listless in appearance, the woman halfway lids her darkly shadowed eyes and offers Magnes a nod of her head as she holds the door open, then stands aside to allow him into the well-appointer foyer of the manor, to its crimson painted walls and white ceiling, hanging chandelier and darkly stained wooden fixtures. "Mister Carmichael is waiting for you in the sitting room…" she says in a hushed, quiet tone of voice with a motion of one hand towards a pair of double doors off the side of the foyer.

"Is there anything I can get you to drink?" the assistant asks in the same softly monotone voice, her gray-blue eyes meeting Magnes' in that query.

"Nothing, thanks." Magnes politely declines, heading into said room after gravity briefly washes over him to check his equipment. When he's in the sitting room, before he even sees the man, the first thing he has to say is, "I know what this is about." in a serious tone, hands open as if waiting to make a responsive move. "If anything's gonna be sprung, or if we're gonna fight, let's cut to the chase."

That Rupert Carmichael is busy playing a baby grand piano on the other end of the long sitting room may not be a precursor to a fistfightor a duel of epic proportions. The wiry looking man sitting up straight at his piano to look over the sheet music at Magnes seems like someone who could be folded into a small cardboard box with relative ease. "Oh, Magnes… I ah, sorry, Christa told me you were here and…" there's an absent-minded smile on the man's face as he reaches up to take off his jauntily placed fedora, then stands from the piano.

"I'm… not entirely sure you do," Rupert notes with an awkward smile, his brows furrowing together and eyes searching Magnes thoughtfully. "I'm going to ask you a pretty weird question before we begin though," Rupert notes with a look to the door, watching as Christa silently draws the double doors shut as Rupe walks to a high-backed armchair situated asjacent to another with a small tbale between them. "Did you happen to bring a cell phone with you? Blackberry? PDA? Anything with a wireless connection and a microphone?" Like some handheld game systems.

"Of course I didn't. I brought two handguns and a combat knife. I don't want Rebel tracking me." Magnes calms slightly, walking closer and eyeing the sheet music with an eye that says he knows what he's reading. "What's this about?"

Both of Rupert's brows raise, head cocks to the side and lips purse thoughtfully. "Well I'm sure that isn't suspicious to Rebel at all if you're trying to be discrete," he notes with a smirk, then looks down to the chair as he settles to sit. "Christa," Rupert calls through the door, "remind me to get a metal detector!" There's an askance look to Magnes at that cheekily stated reminder, and as Rupert settles into his chair, he crosses one leg over the other and folds his hands at one knee.

"Actually I…" there's a furtive look to the doors, then back to Magnes, "I wanted to talk to you about something I'd rather not have Rebel eavesdropping on." Motioning to the seat beside him, Rupe slouches back against his own chair. "You know, you and I met at the Pavetti fund-raised back in March, I don't think we were ever properly introduced but you were arm-in-arm with Tracy Strauss…" the non-sequitur seems to have no real grounding in anything, not until Rupert looks downt o his lap, then up and over to Magnes.

"I'm worried about Messiah. When I got asked to join this I… I didn't really think it was going to be what it became. But just walking away now would be dangerous for me, dangerous for people I care about. I saw you at the meeting, saw the way you didn't really seem to be… buying into everything. That's why I asked you to be recruited, Magnes. Why I sent West to try and get you in. I— I'm afraid that Messiah is going to try and do something dangerous… Something that'll ruin the whole world for people like me and you."

Glancing again to the door, Rupert furrows his brows and then looks back to Magnes again. "I dunno if what I'm saying… makes sense exactly, but it's how I feel. I don't agree with what the government's doing, but I just… I can't do anything without drawing suspicion to myself."

"I understand. I was sold on Messiah thinking it was a good idea, that it wasn't just terrorism. Rebel outright said it wouldn't be." Magnes takes the offered seat, resting one arm on a rest, and the other on his lap. He's read enough comics and seen enough movies to know not to use both arm rests. "I have options on what to do about Messiah, I'm just not sure which is the best option. What exactly do you want me to do?"

"I know you have some ties to other underground groups, I don't know who but— Shibuya? Then all of the sudden you're working for Tracy?" Rupert offers a lopsies smile and a crease of his brows. "You've got to have some connections to pull off a trick like that, and then there's the attack on the armored trucks back in the fall. You leave a pretty big footprint with that power of yours wherever you go, Magnes. I just… I don't want the people in Messiah to get hurt, you know?"

Shaking his head slowly, Rupert furrows his brows and breathes out a heavy sigh. "Most of them are just scared kids, people without a place to go, people angry at the government. If I went to say, Homeland Security, and told them about Howland Hook or… anything. They'd come crashing in with guns and you know how that'd go. A lot of innocent people who were just in the wrong place at the wrong time would get hurt."

Swallowing noisily, Rupert looks down to the table between them, picking up a carafe of whiskey and pouring himself a glass, then looking up questioningly to Magnes and motions to an empty glass nearby. "I was hoping you'd have some ideas, actually."

"I considered telling the Ferry, but there's a potential for the Homeland scenario to play out in that case too, except with more Evolved abilities. I'd have more ideas if I had access to my augmenting friend… Alright, before we start throwing out ideas, let's lay down the pawns we both have access to." Magnes reaches into a pocket and pulls out his bag of marbles, half of them black, half red. He leans over and separates the pile, putting the red on Rupert's side.

"Gabriel Grey, Tracy Strauss, a speedster, the Ferrymen, a potentially Evolved Russian, possibly Hiro Nakamura, an insane but wealthy British man, and I have connections to the Company and various mercenaries who owe me." He pushes the marbles up to represent each connection, then motions his hand over to Rupert. "That's all I remember at the moment. You?"

Rupert smiles at the marbles, snorting out a laugh as he shakes his head. "You remind me of an autistic kid that I went to University with, he had this.. fascination with marbles, used to count them and kept a little bag with him. He was a really fantastic pianist, got in on a scholarship…" Rupert's step around that question comes with a lift of his glass up and a sip of the whiskey quietly.

"I'm not exactly sure who the Ferry is, I mean— I've heard rumors but…" there's a roll of Rupert's shoulders and a look down to the marbles again. "I think you're probably over-analyzing this, Magnes. I don't really… have pawns, I mean I don't even like to think as people like that so— the fact that you are kind've… worries me?" He squints at that, smiling nervously in the same gesture.

"I think no matter what we do, if Rebel or Messiah's other members find out, they might try and kill us or even kill people close to us to keep us quiet. I don't know if there's anyone in your life you care about, Magnes, but if something happened to Christa I'd— " Rupert's brows crease and his head shakes slowly, words swallowed back as he takes a guilty sip of his whiskey.

"I already lost a brother to this fighting, the whole Evolved/Non-Evolved conflict. I don't want to lose anyone else if I can manage it… and I think whatever we decide to do, we both need to be very careful about how we do it. Rebel— he knows a lot about all of us— more than I'd even probably be able to guess. If he suspects that we're doing anything to subvery Messiah… you know he backed Norman White, right? You just— we have to be really careful. I'd like to that that this can stay between you and me, because I don't know who else in Messiah I can even trust. I— to be honest I'm taking a risk trying to trust you."

"I'm using pawns without the bad connotations associated with the word. If the city is a large chess board, Rebel can be thought of as the Queen who has all the moves, Peter as the figurehead king with the massive army surrounding him. Whoever uses their pawns in the best manner, is the side that wins. But there's a difference between Peter's pawns, and my pawns." Magnes motions over his marbles, then looks up at Rupert. "Mine are my friends, not easily influenced children who could possibly be swayed like a Checker piece. There's danger in this, but we can win."

He sits back up in his chair, still staring down at his marbles. "We have to approach this in a disorganized manner, our actions, schedules, the people we talk to, it can't have a noticable pattern, we can't be rushing to the people we speak to as if there's a urgent matter, if you get what I mean. Rebel can't know anything's up, as you said." He's flicking his finger to move marbles now, without having to hunch down. "Gabriel will probably be our primary weapon against defeating Rebel himself and taking him off the board. Have you ever heard of those sensory input devices, those digital devices where a computer's sensors interface with brain sensory input?"

"The kind where monkeys use mechanical arms to snatch up bananas? Sure… but…" Rupert ducks his head down into a sheepish nod. "If you're going to go all William Gibson on me, Magnes, can it wait until we have a man-machine interface to work with? I think you're going way far outside the scope of what I wanted to talk to you about here tonight. You're… I don't even know, please tell me you haven't been doing any recreational drugs or— actually maybe tell me you have." There's a sardonic laugh at the comment, and Rupert draws another swallow of the whiskey before setting down the glass on the table.

"Let's just take baby steps. That's great if you think this Gabriel guy will help you, ask him and find out first, but you know… you have to be careful about who you talk to. But it sounds like you know that. I was going to suggest that one way of settling things would be to let your friends know what you're doing… people you trust, your… pawns?" There's a motion towards the marbles.

"Stick with the Messiah stuff, on the surface, but feed information to people you trust. If you know you're going on an assignment, let your friends know first. Maybe they can try and defuse the situation, warn people in advance, do the kind of work you and I can't because we're being watched. I think that would be the best start…"

Offering up a smile that those words, Rupert reaches down and picks up one of the red marbles, rolling it around between his fingers. "Then, once we have things a little more figured out?" He looks up and past the marble. "Then maybe we can talk about going Neuromancer on Rebel, hm?"

"In case you didn't know, Gabriel Grey is Sylar." Magnes points out when he shows some unfamiliarity with the name, but just nods, resting his head against the chair. "So you spoke to me, everything's good, and I just feed information and cut off an attack preemtively. You, being in a high position and all, blame the sudden aggressive action against Messiah on the blackout visions. But there is one minor issue… what do we do about Messiah's telepaths?"

"What telepaths?" There's the crack of a smile from Rupert at that question. "Out of every Messiah member recruited, there's not a single telepath among them, unless your friend Sylar," and that's said with the same tone as he would have said Santa Claus, "happens to have it, but then that's not our problem if he's on board with us." Leaning back in his seat and picking up his glass of whiskey again, there's a subtle nod from Rupert to Magnes as he takes a sip from it again.

It's a fortunate break, that there's no telepaths involved in Messiah, whether by coincidence of by design is harder to say. "I don't know how your friends will want to step in front of Mesisah's actions to defuse them, but if we— and by we I mean the evolved— can settle this amongst ourselves, it'll prevent a lot of other problems from arising. We just… have to be delicate about how it's handled, do you think the… the Ferrymen?" Rupert checks the name with a quirk of one brow. "Do you think they're up to the task?"

"They are, but it'll be all about the presentation. I've been around Miss Strauss long enough to know that you're Messiah's PR person, so…" Magnes motions in Rupert's general direction. "I know you don't know the Ferry, but let's say you're dropped in a room of these people you don't know, and have to present a plan to defuse Messiah, how would you do it?"

Settling his now empty glass on the table, Rupert folds his hands and leans back in his chair, head tilting to the side slowly and brows furrow in thought. "Firstly," he notes with a bob of his head and a raise of his rbows, "I'd make sure they knew that there was a problem, I'd explain to them in terms they could understand why Messiah is a danger, why they need to be stopped and then I'd explain what they were doing. What their goal is and how they plan on achieving it…"

A hand lifts, unfolding as it scrubs across Rupert's beard. "Then I'd— well I'd do what I did here— I'd poll them for suggestions first in case they had a much better idea than I had, and after I address their plan, if I thought mine still had merit, I'd propose it to them. But they'd need to know in advance they were going in to a planning meeting. Don't just…" Rupert motions around the room with a wry smile, "drop it in their lap?"

"Good enough. I think I can handle this. I also think it would be good if you get to know more Messiah members, closely, and then pass along the less extreme ones who aren't completely sure about what they're doing." Magnes leans over and starts collecting his marbles, dropping them into his bag. "Those members will be made into Ferry and we'll have an even stronger stance against Messiah, while also making them weaker."

A gun-hand is made towards Magnes with a click of Rupert's tongue and a wink. "I like the way you think when you're not talking about cyborgs," he says with that smirking tone of voice. "Alright, then, we have ourselves a conspiracy…" there's something of a rueful expression that pushes away Rupert's smirk at that as he reaches across the small divide between them with an open hand to shake on the deal.

"You go to the Ferrymen, I'll keep my eye on Messiah for people who're a little unsure about all of the guns, bombs and what-not." Furrowing his brows, Rupert looks from Magnes to his hand and then back again. "Keep coming to the meetings and… just play along for as long as you can, try not to make waves or make anyone think you've gone awol. Smile and nod, do whatever it is you need to do in order to keep their trust. The moment we break that, things're going to go up in smoke."

"I saved Peter Petrelli's life, at least that's how he apparently sees it, so I'm gonna try to ride that train for a while." Magnes stands, sliding the marbles into his pockets, then heads to the piano and hunches over as he begins playing a fairly expert rendition of Fantasie Impromptu. "If anyone asked, we played piano together, we had a nice chat about how urgent things in this city are. You said Claire needs me, I couldn't resist helping my ex girlfriend's cause, so I agreed to stay on for her because I believe the Ferry are ineffective and Messiah is now the last resort for salvation."

"If anyone asks," Rupert cracks a smile and shakes his head, "I'll tell them it's none of their business." Rising from his seat, there's a slowly progressed walk over to the piano beside where Magnes is playing, and looming behind Magnes Rupert watches the young man playing in quiet contemplation. Leaning in, the bearded man's brows furrow and that he whispers something into Magnes' ear isn't even noticed by the younger gentleman as he plays. It's not because Rupert is quiet or that the motion is inobtrusive, but rather it is because of the insidious nature of Rupert's Evolved-human ability, the figurative snake that destroyed Eden.

What he whispers seems like nothing more than sibilant hissing in Magnes' ear, a sound that his mind will pass of as nothing more inocuous than the wind, but as Rupert straightens up and Magnes continues playing, the suggestion has already been implanted, deeply rooted in the back of Magnes' psyche, something for a later date. Not now, now even about Messiah, something for the future.

"You're a marvelous player," Rupert comments as he looks down at the keys. "Stay a bit longer, I'll have Christa put on some dinner, then I'll send a car around to take you home, even if you have more stylish modes of conveyance."

There's a the crook of a smile at the corner of Rupert's lips ads he politely adds, "I insist."

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