Pieces In Motion


cardinal_icon.gif gillian2_icon.gif

Scene Title Pieces In Motion
Synopsis A chance meeting in Cardinal's garden results in a discussion about the game board - and the game to be played after it.
Date July 22, 2009

Scourged by nuclear and methane fires, devastated twice over, there's little left to Midtown that even the charitable would call habitable - but desperation can gather in the hearts of those who've fallen far, and determination ensures that life can find a way. It must be so, for nothing else can explain the splash of green atop one of the crumbling apartment buildings near its edge, grass and stubby brushlife spreading across it with a twisting trail of dark gravel tracing a path throughout the rooftop garden to prove it not merely an ambitious reach of wild weeds.

The sun's beginning to dip down low on the horizon, but there's still light to illumine the man that's making his rounds down that gravel path, a spray bottle in hand attached to a hose hanging down the rickety fire escape, making certain there's plenty of water for the roots to sip from. Perhaps not too surprising a sight, though few would expect the man in question to be Richard Cardinal.

Midtown is a place for the people who don't want to be found. Though that's not entirely accurate. In the case of one multi-powered woman in the city, it's the one place she feels safe to practice her abilities. Squaring off against versions of herself until the pain of doing so becomes unbareable. That was the plan again today. Blood smears down her shirt, a hole ripped in the arm draping over bare skin. Bare, unwounded, but still tattooed skin. Gillian's flying home, at a slow pace, well aware that this could be the last practice she has time for. If she's not ready now, it's unlikely she will be…

Flying slow and close to the rooftops, she spots someone up on one in the corner of her eyes. A glide over brings her close enough to make out basic shape. Even closer brings out features. With the features one she recognizes, she lowers herself down even closer until feet hit the rooftop near the edge. No knock, no hey there, no hello…

"You have a garden?"

If she was on foot, or even climbing, he probably would've heard her coming; the silence of powered flight, however, ensures that when she speaks he spins around, the hose and spray clattering to the gravel beside him as he reaches into his jacket for a pistol— and stops, briefly glowering at the young woman before withdrawing his hand once more.

"Christ," he rolls his eyes, "Don't do that, Gillian. You scared the fuck out've me."

As soon as hand goes towards the gun, her hands move too, raising up close to her face. Hands that stay up as he glowers at her. "Sorry. Probably deserve it. I know I'd be pissed if someone snuck up on me like this," Gillian says, even laughing a small bit as she lowers her hands. One of the hand gestures at the dropped hose, a reminder of it, though it might be hard to miss.

"I spotted you while I was flying back to the Village," she explains after a moment's pause. "I'd actually been meaning to talk to you before we… went in. It's getting close, so I figured this may be the only time I'll get to see you before it."

A half-turn lets him crouch down beside the hose where it's spraying water heedlessly into the gravel and crushed earth, fingers twisting to unlock the handle and let it grow quiet. "Probably true," Richard admits, draping the hose over a bush and pushing himself up to his feet, looking over with a rather wry if faint curl of his lips up at one corner, "We're gettin' down to the end-game here, and it's not gonna be pretty."

"Probably going to lose a couple people— but that's been true of nearly everything I've done with Phoenix since I met them." Gillian says quietly, raspy voice sombered as she looks around at the garden of sorts. Not the best place for one, but where else is someone able to have them? "I'm still not sure what my dream meant, the one with… the White Queen and you. Between me and Eileen giving you pieces it looks like you'll have a chance, which means we all will. Maybe the only chance we got." There's another small pause, a hesitation with her lips parted, "No victory without some sacrifices, though."

"No," admits Richard, glancing over the scattered garden here on the edge of the wastes of Midtown, "There never is. And we can't rest until we're done. That's what Allen told me, and he was right…" He scratches at his temple a bit, then looks back over with a side-cocked head and a slight smile, "I suppose we'll just have to hope we've all made the right moves. I tried to stop Edward from making any more, but I don't think I acted soon enough."

"Edward's a crazy fuck," Gillian says under her breath, before folding her arms. "I hope you kicked his sorry ass or something." There's a lot she's not forgiven him for, and if anyone told her what he decided to tell Cat… well… she'd say it was as much his own fault too, for following what he saw when they touched to the point of crazy. "I hope so too— I'm still not sure who the White Queen's supposed to be, but— fuck maybe it is supposed to be me. I dunno. I'm certainly the most versatile person who'll be on our side. In terms of having all these fucking abilities. If not— it's someone showing up with our group, I guess. Maybe Helena. She certainly wants to be a Queen."

A pack of cigarettes is pulled from inside Cardinal's jacket, and he smacks it against the palm of his hand a few times before peeling the cellophane strip free from around it in a rustling of thin plastic. "He killed Isabelle," he says around the filter of a cigarette that's captured between his teeth, a zippo flicked to life to lick fire at the tip of the cancer-stick. Puff, puff. "I shot him. Hopefully he's dead. 'Course, there's still the present version of the sonuvabitch running around, I've got that bastard on my list too." The pack's offered out questioningly - he doesn't know if she smokes - with a brow's lift upwards. "Dean? Probably. Don't know her too well, but I wouldn't cry any tears if she martyr'd herself. You with Phoenix, anyway, or just hangin' out with them?"

If Helena martyrs herself. Gillian can't help but let her jaw tighten as she lapses into a silence, perhaps telling one. "I was with them cause of Teo— unless he gets over his issues… I dunno. I don't really see me sticking around too much after this. I promised Brian I'd help out with the Lighthouse, and that isn't really a strictly 'Phoenix' thing. I'm not really with them for the political shit, anyway— I was helping them cause I wanted to help someone else. Stayed with them for the same reason, until recently." Sort of Phoenix, but not totally into it, then.

"Phoenix doesn't give a shit 'bout the Lighthouse, or Staten…" A derisive snort of breath at that, as Cardinal turns his head to look out in the direction of the island with a frown tight upon his lips, "…found that out when we asked them to help us try and get shit under control there. Logan, Muldoon, work outwards from the 'house. Dean told us they 'weren't cops' and basically to go fuck ourselves. Phoenix're politicians, these days, you're right." A silence follows, one of consideration, before he observes casually, "'Course. That leaves a hole in the whole urban ecology right now. You're not the only firebird I've heard say they're thinking about stepping aside."

"Are you kidding me?" Gillian asks, eyes narrowing a bit. Rips twist a bit as she glances away off the rooftop toward the city. "She expects help with shit and she doesn't fork over her own stuff when people asks? And she gets all shocked when people might want to work separately." There's a lot of personal tension in her voice. The topic of the boss may not be a good one. "I'm not in this to be part of a girl's club that stands up on a soap box and only dips their claws into things when they feel like it while standing on a high horse and acting like they're better than me." Yup, personal. "Shit happens. Since I'll be living there again soon, if you need help with those bastards, just let me know. I'll do what I can."

"It's all fucked now…" The cigarette in Cardinal's hand trails smoke as he gestures sharply, as if sweeping the idea mentioned off the table, "…since he couldn't get help from her, Fedor went to the fuckin' government, and now he's just paving the way for FRONTLINE to move in. Who do you think bombed the fuckin' place? S'why I quit." He brings the cigarette to his lips, taking a drag off it before blowing smoke to one side, muttering into it, "They're politicians. I might appreciate the cause they're going for, but they're still politicians, and you can't trust a politician beyond their agenda." The last words get a look over, a faint smile, "Might. I think Logan's off the island now, though, someone torched his little boudoir and Laudani's been hovering over him like a guardian fuckin' angel so I don't blow his head off."

"Lovely. So it wasn't even while we were all completely focused on other fucking things," Gillian mutters, rubbing her hands over her face. "I never even heard about the request to help there. You'd think someone would send word down to see if other people wanted a hand in it. Wouldn't be the first time Phoenix has sat on information and not let it trinkle down. I wasn't even told what the fuck was going on with Teo until I called someone else. A little not of 'he's been possessed, you might not be talking to the Teo we know' would've been really nice." There's an exaggerated sigh. "Libraries are ran better than this shit."

"I wasn't told until after he'd handed me over to John Logan. Fucker didn't even remember who I was yet…" Ash is flicked free, drifting in sullenly burning motes on the breeze to scatter through the garden as ashen fertilizer before the filter returns to lips, and Cardinal incinerates more of the paper and tobacco with a sharp draw upon it. The thief regards her for a silent moment, then observes, "S'why I'm thinking of getting some… like minded people together for information gathering, dispersal, and dealing with threats like Arthur as they come up. Less politics, more… get-shit-done."

"See? Would've been nice to fucking pass along instead of just telling members of Phoenix to avoid contact with him. He's the one who recruited me. Why the hell would I avoid him without someone saying why?" Gillian shakes her head. Disagreements make for unhappy people. No one likes to feel like an uninformed lackey. "Well, assuming I don't get myself killed in the endgame, you'll probably have one person at least interested in a loose affiliation. Once I get my regular ability back, I won't be much of one for fightig myself, but I might be able to make some people's jobs easier. Just make sure that information gets passed around. When someone's left in the dark, they're not inclined to share their shit, either."

"E-fucking-xactly." The cigarette's stubbed out on the arm of his jacket, tucked away as Cardinal allows dryly, "I'm not exactly Mister Badass myself, but…" A faint chuckle weaves through his words, "…the people moving the pieces don't need to be able to take the other side. They just need to know where to point them. And all signs point to even worse on the horizon after this."

"You're right there," Gillian says softly, recalling a specific memory of someone who's seen beyond the moment. It makes her think of something. "I think I know someone who might be good for that, too," she says, looking up suddenly. "She's a little unstable at times, but might be interested in helping with a non-Phoenix thing. She's not much a fan of Phoenix, but she's a good friend of mine. Useful too." In multiple ways. "Hell, you might even know her. Hardly surprised when I find people know or knew people I know or knew. Know anyone named Eve?"

At the question, Cardinal purses his lips slightly in thought. "I think I've… heard the name mentioned," he admits, "I don't think we've ever met, though. I'd be happy to meet her, though, assuming— you know— " A vague gesture of his fingers through the air, "— we survive the next week."

A lot of ifs. No one's sure who'll make it. Just the way of things. "If I don't make it out and you do— since you don't need keys to get into places very often— at the apartment I'm using on the 4th floor…" Gillian gives the exact number, pretty easy to remember. 4-0-something. "Under my bed is that journal I was writing all my dreams down in. There might be some info in there that could help you out, including how to find Eve. With how the current future's looking, you'll need all the help you can get." And who better than someone who sees it?

A slight nod to the offer, though Cardinal notes with a twist of dark humor, "You'd better not die, though, just to cheat me out've a drink." He grins, just a bit, "I'm still holdin' you to that."

Gillian laughs rather hoarsely, before backing away a step. The laugh also brings a smile to her face, one that makes the dimples indent in her cheeks. "Of course. I'm not a cheap drinker, though, I warn you. Get a lot of colorful mixed drinks." Sometimes refered to as girly drinks? Sometimes. "I'll have to think of a good one I haven't had in a while for 'glad we didn't die' toast."

A chuckle stirs past Cardinal's lips at that, both brows raising as he observes amusedly, "You have a lot've call to make those toasts? Well, s'pose in this business it's no surprise…" He shakes his head, "We'll get the job done. One way're the other."

"I've had way too many the last year," Gillian admits, though she's still surprised when she comes back from each one. Even if both times she ended up nearly freezing to death immediately after the big fight. Falling into the Hudson and then Antarctica. Hopefully not going to become a trend this time around. "I guess I'll move along now. Let you get back to water your garden." A hesitant sound, "That honestly surprised me. The— you know."

Maybe it's a message from Up High: Bring a Coat. "What, the garden?" Richard turns a bit to look around, his expression turning wry as his attention drifts back to her, "Everyone needs a hobby. And they don't have much in the way of plants on Riker's Island." Jailbird, apparently.

Trimmed eyebrows raise up on her forehead, but Gillian doesn't cower away or anything, just nods. "Surprised you didn't pick up something you could do there, like chalk drawings. Maybe when we get the Lighthouse cleaned up you can help make a small garden and teach the older kids how to tend to it. Be something for them to do outside and supervised." Cause letting kids play on Staten Island? Bad idea. "Let's kick his ass soon." That would be a farewell of sorts, as she takes another step back and looks up at the sky.

"I've mostly been teaching the kids how to pick locks, but I s'pose that's an idea too," replies Richard without missing a beat— he could be serious, he could be joking. It's hard to say. He turns back to reach for the hose, "Damn straight. Watch yourself, Gill. This is gonna be bad."

Teaching kids to pick locks. "Maybe you can teach that to me sometime, too, Richard," Gillian does add, before she takes off without so much as a small jump. The sky's gotten darker since they started talking, so she disappears into the dark with fairly quickly. Zoom.

A tilt of his head back lets Cardinal watch her vanish into the night, gaze lingering there a moment before he returns to watering the grass. "Board's set," he murmurs to himself, "Pieces in motion. Let's hope I'm half the chessplayer your dream thinks I am, babe…"

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