Playing Maroczy


brian2_icon.gif cardinal_icon.gif elisabeth_icon.gif sal_icon.gif xiulan_icon.gif

Scene Title Playing Maroczy
Synopsis Cardinal takes his crew to investigate the former headquarters of one Doctor Ray (circa 2019). They were expected.
Date July 30, 2009

New York Public Library

Once upon a time, the New York Public Library was one of the most important libraries in America. The system, of which this branch was the center, was among the foremost lending libraries /and/ research libraries in the world.

The bomb changed that, as it changed so much else.

By virtue of distance, the library building was not demolished entirely, like so many others north of it; however, the walls on its northern side have been badly damaged, and their stability is suspect. The interior is a shambles, tattered books strewn about the chambers and halls, many shelves pulled over. Some have even been pulled apart; piles of char in some corners suggest some of their pieces, as well as some of the books, have been used to fuel fires for people who sought shelter here in the past.

In the two years since the bomb, the library — despite being one of the icons of New York City — has been left to decay. The wind whistles through shattered windows, broken by either the blast-front or subsequent vandals, carrying dust and debris in with it. Rats, cats, and stray dogs often seek shelter within its walls, especially on cold nights. Between the fear of radiation and the lack of funds, recovery of the library is on indefinite hiatus; this place, too, has been forgotten.

Of all the places that one might expect Cardinal to ask for a meeting of those he contacted this late afternoon, 'outside the old public library in Midtown' certainly wasn't one of them.

The devastation at the heart of the city is complete; the ruins of skyscrapers jutting up like markers above graves, the streets buckled and ruined from the radioactive blast that changed New York City - and the world - forever.

The stately ediface of the New York Public Library stands stubbornly in the No Man's Land of Midtown, the nuclear fires having blackened its walls, one of the metal lions that flank the steps molten to unrecognizable slag and the other pitted and corroded, like a candle whose wax has run. Upon the historic steps of the building stands two people. One of them, Richard Cardinal, is leaning up against the surviving lion while lighting a cigarette, a tongue of fire guttering from a zippo's dented maw to ignite paper, tobacco and tar. He takes a long drag off it, exhaling a plume of smoke towards the sun that's beginning to head downwards, his voice stirring through the smoke thereafter as he observes to Xiulan, "The others should be here soon."

Distracted by the image of the melted lion, Xiu blinks once, a faint shake of her head bringing dark eyes over to Richard's face. "You shouldn't smoke," she observes in tones that make it clear that she has yet to drag herself back into the 'here and now'. It is in the wake of another blink that she stuffs her hands in the pockets of her jacket, a wry smile touching her lips as she pushes off the melted lion and meanders over to stands a bit closer to Richard. "Do you really think we're going to find anything?"

The public library has some interesting memories for Elisabeth Harrison. As a child, she spent a decent amount of time within its walls. As a member of Phoenix, the place served as a refuge and for some even living space for months. So to be meeting Cardinal here? Kind of weirds her out. But at least it makes getting away from the precinct easier — it's close enough to not be a couple hours of a trip. With her hands jammed into the pockets of a pair of jeans (because when you're on desk detail for a couple days, you rebel where you can), she's wearing a peach tanktop covered by a short-sleeved hoodie of the same color which serves to hide her weapon. As she approaches, she wasn't expecting him to have company, and she hesitates before coming up the stairs. It's not like she's not in plain sight for ages before she gets there — this place isn't exactly sneak-up-able.

"Liz." Brian says in greeting as his black loafers clip against the stone stairs. He doesn't arrive too long after the cop arrives at the stairs. A black hat is tugged low, he wears a black jacket and a pair of faded jeans. Hands tucked into his pockets, he glances up the stairs. His eyes widen for a moment. Cardinal with.. Hm.

Making his way up the stairs he gives a nod to Cardinal before letting his gaze linger on Xiulan. "Hello." He greets simply, his eyes wandering over the two of them, at a loss for what to do next.

"Mmhm. And I'll be dead a long time before this kills me, babe." Another drag's taken on the cigarette, paper flaring to orange-lit ash before Cardinal exhales the narcotic smoke in a lazy stir on the air. Catching sight of the others approaching, he stubs the cigarette out on the lion's half-melted foot, tucking the remnant into a pocket of his jacket before a push away from his comfortable slouch brings him up to his full height on the stairs.

"'Liz," he calls out in casual greeting, Brian. This is Xiulan, I know you've all met…" A smile tugs up at one corner of his lips with a hint of roguish amusement, glancing to the other man before jerking a thumb to the sundered doors up the stairs from him, "…I'll cut to the chase. This is where Edward Ray and his time-travellers were working out of. Ray might be dead, but he's the sort've asshole who's still got plans running even though he's dead, so, I aim to see if he's left anything behind that might leave a clue're two."

Xiulan's gaze goes first to Liz, her expression unblinking for a moment before she finally smiles and offers a polite inclination of her head. "It's cool, no AK-47 today." As Brian makes way toward them, Xiulan's smile turns a bit more on the wryly amused side, one dark brow arching faintly. "Well, this is definately getting interesting." It is in the wake of another lift her chin in greeting that she adds, "Welcome to the family, take two, Brian." Course, she's drawing back a step as Cardinal gets to the point, her gaze sweeping up to the library. "Gotta love assholes with plans." Lord knows there enough of them lately.

Elisabeth has met everyone before, and she looks surprised to see Brian as well. "Hey," she greets him as the two of them join with the waiting couple. She's also met Xiulan before, clearly, and when the other woman offers a smile, Liz's posture relaxes a bit. At the AK-47 comment, she chuckles. "Glad to hear it," is all she replies. Looking toward the man speaking, she tilts her head. "Holy shit, you're kidding, right? Christ… it's a big assumption that he'd have left anything here for us to find, but finding it, even with a hundred Brians, could take weeks."

"You didn't tell me we were searching a place." Brian mutters in response to Cardinal. A sly grin is delivered to Xiulan, before he looks back to Cardinal. "I would have brought more." He says, tucking his hands into his pockets. He glances over at Liz and gives a shrug. "Are we sure, that any of his groupies aren't still residing here?"

"I'm hoping that if he left anything behind, it'll still be in the part they were using…" A thin hope, but under that facade Cardinal's secretly hoping - or fearing - that he's expected. A half-turn brings his gaze to the opened doors, remnants of old police tape fluttering in the wind from that old raid on the former terrorist base. "And it's a possibility. A few've them are still unaccounted for. Why d'you think I wasn't going in alone?" Wry, the last, accompanied by an equally wry look.

That said, he turns to head up the stairs, yellowing and dried-out tape crunching underfoot as he strides into the lobby of the ruined building.

"Please," Xiulan snorts. "I know you don't expect any of us to believe you have suddenly cautious, Richard." Course, she's grinning as she heads up the stairs and moves inside behind him. It is only belatedly, and reaction to the mention of potential enemies being inside, that she notes over her shoulder with a wry smile toward Liz. "See, I shoulda brought the AK." Course, Brian finds himself on the recieving end of a wink, too boot.

Elisabeth echoes in a good-natured — mostly — mumble that's only a second behind Xiulan herself, "See, you shoulda brought the AK." And then laughs. She can't help it. "You're insane. Gimme a minute before we go in, okay?" She stops on the stairs and closes her eyes, her head tipped so that she start basically listening to the sounds of the old building. It's a trick that Conrad Wozniak taught her months ago, and though she hasn't been practicing it quite as much lately, it's come in quite useful. At the very least, she'll be able to hear if there are people moving around or talking in the place. The creaks of walls and bookcases and books essentially left to rot. It'll take a few minutes, what with the size of the place and such, but when she opens her eyes (assuming they're all still standing around, of course), she shrugs and comments, "I'm not hearing anyone in there. Doesn't mean that there aren't people sleeping somewhere back on the other side that I can't hear or something, but there's certainly no one moving or talking in there now — at least within range of what I can get. Not that it's a perfect method to check with, of course."

"Really, Dickie, you need to be more forthcoming about your meetings." Brian grumbles as he begrudgingly follows the man into the building. Bringing his hand out of his coat pocket, a silver sidearm is held at his side now. A smirk answers Xiulan's wink, following her up the stairs. "I can still.. Divide up and look for stuff." He informs Liz. "I'll just be naked. Hope you girls don't mind." He gives a shrug, implying that he doesn't really care. As Elisabeth does her trick, Brian tilts his head for a moment giving an impressed smile. "Neat trick."

At the request for a pause, Cardinal does just that; turning a bit to look back at her, he waits, keeping quiet so as not to disrupt whatever it is she's doing. At the report the place is more or less empty, his chin bobs in an affirmative nod, "I figured it was, but…" As he trails off, one hand lifts to rub against the side of his face at Brian's words, but he neither addresses the nickname nor the mention of him being naked. No, he just walks through the doors.

The ex-con certainly seems to know where he's going; and some others might know, too, as he strides past the grand, crumbling stairs straight on through the foyer, along the hall past some double doors. There was a portion of this stately library that once was home to Phoenix.

"Since I'll probably end up tattooing more of you? Feel free to get as naked as you please." Xiulan certainly isn't shy. She is, however, quiet while Liz is listening, one brow ticking up in an expression of obvious approval. "Very handy trick, that." Course, her attention turns to the matter at hand as she steps after Richard. The interior of the library is eyed with interest, particularly the dark nooks and crannies that are just perfect for ick leaping out in joyfully unexpected attack.

The 'Dickie' appellation from Brian to Cardinal makes Elisabeth snort with laughter, quickly covered as she does her little trick there. Cardinal may hear about that one later. But it's only as she opens her eyes that she replies to Brian's comment about being naked, her words a mild drawl. "Unless you got something radically different than the rest of the male population, it's only a problem if you think it's a problem." Cuz it's not like Brian's nudity is an issue for her. "That reminds me, Xiulan… I was actually thinking about a tattoo," she comments mildly as they all troop into the library. If you got time when we're done spending hours in here." She rolls her eyes expressively. "I can't spare more than an hour or so, though — they'll miss me if I'm gone longer than that. I'm sort of mid-serial killer case."

Picking up his pace, Brain goes to step in front of Cardinal. "Hold up." He murmurs, going to walk in front of the other man. Once he gets the lead of the group he pauses. Glancing over his shoulder he gives a shrug. "Our best shot of finding something, right?" And with that, he's tilting his head back. He's grown very in control of his power, but expanding at the volume he's planning all at once. It takes some effort.

Letting out a half roar, Brian stands there for a moment, hands balled into fists tightly. Nothing happens… And then.

One after another, a copy of Brian pops out, and another from him, and another from him. And soon there are twenty young men in the hallway. Wearing only the tattoo on their right shoulders, the mini-nudist colony presses forward, spreading up and divying out in search of something Edward and his posse might have left behind.

The lead, clothed Brian lets out a sigh. "Well. Good thing it's a warm day." He smiles.

Well, I never really wanted to see that much of Brian. Effective, though.

"Remind me to start carrying around a few changes of clothes for you," Cardinal notes, his tone rather dry as he keeps his gaze well up off the floor, as the naked replicants spread out, heading through doors and up stairs, adding begrudgingly, "I've got to say, though, I'm… pretty impressed." The ex-con glances after some of the departing clones, "I didn't think you could make that many've yourself."

The words of a serial killer garner a slight frown in Liz's direction, then a nod, before he moves to push further through the library past the lobby, towards the deeper environs. "That reminds me, Brian, your sister wants Xiulan to touch up some of her ink, if you could bring her by - and you don't mind, Xiu?"

The look Xiulan casts Liz clearly states 'Are you /serious/?'. What comes out of her mouth, however, is snicker followed by, "I could tattoo your entire body in the time it would take to drive me back to my shop, Liz." It isn't a boast, and it isn't uttered in the tone of a boast, it's just simple fact. "Just tell me, or show me what you want and you can pretty much consider it done. No ink, no needles, no pain." If only all of life were so easy as that, right?"

Course, then Brian is doing his thing and Xiulan blinks as she watches. "….Woah." Giving a faint shake of her head, she tilts her head back and murmurs to Liz, "Shoulda brought a camera, too." Course, they all have her tattoo and she can't help but grin at that. "Looks really good." Course, Card's comment earns, "He must work out." Followed by. "Of course I don't mind, Richard."

Better late than never, right? Living a double life is hard. Sal had trouble getting away from a charity dinner. He doesn't know how Batman does it. Not to mention the fact that this isn't the most accessible area of the city.

The plainclothed doctor climbs the steps of the ruined library and gently pushes on the door. "Hello?" He's wearing a backpack over one shoulder and looks considerably better than he did a few days ago.

Having not seen the actual popping out of more Brians before, Elisabeth is actually somewhat interested in how it works. And she seems completely unfazed by the naked-boys running loose — it's what happens when you gotta run in flashers and whatnot while you're in uniform. Really. She watches thoughtfully and then grins. "Damn, Brian," is her response. She's worked with any number of his duplicates — between SeaView Hospital and the fight against Arthur, it was a lot of them — but he's always done it before meeting up with the group. As they head into the library, Elisabeth offers Cardinal a look of silently raised brows that says what? you think my serial killer case goes away just because you call? And then she speaks to him. "So, which rooms were they actually using? And let's think of Edward and what his interests are. The former's the LEAST likely place that he'd hide something, the latter has possibilities. Like… the math section."

Letting out a long breath, Brian bends over and places one hand on his knees. Grinning he glances up at Cardinal. "What exactly are you impressed by Dickie? That was an unfortunate choice of words now that I'm naked everywhere." Grinning broadly, his free hand goes to give Cardinal's shoulder a squeeze, letting his hand trailing off the man's back he has to keep himself from laughing. He would keep the teasing up, but then someone is 'Hello-ing'.

Spinning around, Brian's silver gun flies up in nigh perfect aim at Sal's figure. Once realizing who it is, he gives a grunt and slowly lets the gun fall. "Guess who's here." Brian announces.

Meanwhile, the naked army tear through the library, throwing books aside, looking for anything that could be useful.

"Shut up, Brian," Cardinal rolls his eyes, giving the teasing arm a shrug off before he starts to walk again. As they're alerted to the call from behind them, Cardinal pauses, twisting slightly to look back and shout in a voice that carries easily in the now-empty and historic ruins of the old library, "Sal! We're down this way, c'mon and meet up with us… watch out for the naked replicants."

The course of the intrepid explorers leads them through another pair of double doors, past a pair of four-way junctions whose floors are flecked by bits of ceiling tile and shattered lighting fixtures, and past a row of windows long replaced with opaque plastic sheeting that billows, drawn in and out like the lungs of some great beast. Once they're around a corner, there's signs of more recent work that's been done. Power cables run across the floors from door to door, most of the debris's been swept away.

"They were working in here," Richard informs the others, pushing past a set of partially ajar doors and into a large back room. The walls are lined with shelving loaded with fire-damaged books, the tables warped from water damage but otherwise intact. The scent of soot lingers thick in the air, even now, disturbed by movement through this tomb of a building.

Carefully laid out on one of the tables, bereft of all but a week's worth of dust, is a manilla envelope. Predictably, to those who knew Edward Ray, the name 'Richard Cardinal' is written upon it in sharpie.

Watching Brian and Richard, Xiulan's lip twitch in a wry smirk, quiet laughter murmuring in her throat. Rather then commenting, however, she follows the group down the hallway, one brow arching up as they finally enter the recently inhabited room. That brow spikes higher at the fact that there is a letter for Richard resting neat as you please on the table. "Well…"
Sal makes his way through the building towards the sound of Cardinal's voice. The naked Brians are eyed, but not commented on. When he comes upon the others, he nods in turn, then glances to the thief. "What's this all about anyway? Treasure hunting?" He's got his backpack with a med kit. Always good to be prepared.

The byplay between Brian and Cardinal has Elisabeth now almost constantly snickering with laughter that she manfully attempts to suppress, failing miserably at the 'Dickie' salvo. She just can't help the chuckles that roll out of her then, sharing a glance with Xiulan that's pure feminine amusement. All laughter flees her face at the sound of Sal's voice, though, and she moves in the same moment Brian does to turn back the other way — not with a weapon, but then again… she has a weapon. This place echoes enough that she could slow down an enemy pretty quick. As she recognizes Sal, Elisabeth is thoughtful about the choice of which people he's asked for help on this, and she nods to doctor as he joins the group — look, doc, all healed up! She allows the duplicates to go do the heavy lifting because …. well, it's kinda easy to do. The main room where the group was working is always the first point of interest. "Pretty much, doc," Liz replies mildly. "Anything Edward Ray and his cronies left behind." But as they all group up again and step into the room and there's just an envelope there, Elisabeth hesitates. "Well, shit. He really does think of every-fucking-thing, doesn't he?"

"You always push away your feelings." Brian mock whines at Cardinal. Tucking his gun back into his coat, Brian follows Cardinal into the big room. His lips are pulled back at the name written on the envelope. Giving a shake of his head, he goes to fold his arms over his chest. "Want me to read it?" A look is darted back at Sal. A slow shake of his head. Then his attention returns to Cardinal.

"Son of a bitch." It's exhaled past Cardinal's lips as he steps along over to the table with the others, looking at the envelope for a moment with a scowl twisting to his lips— and then it breaks with a bark of laughter, his head shaking sharply. "Yeah. Yeah, he really does fuckin' think of everything. Christ, I'm going to go the rest of my life waiting for someone to show up on my doorstep all 'Yeah, so, ten years ago this guy asked me to bring this here on this date'… cocky bastard. He knew I'd come back here."

The offer's considered, then he reaches out with a shake of his head to lift the envelope from the table, the metal twist unfolded to release the flap. It's brought up, and he peeks inside, before pulling out two pieces of paper, laying them on the table. "Huh."

One of them's a safety deposit box number, labeled 'First National Bank of Long Island, 10 Glenhead Road'. The other's a tourist map of Coney Island, with a Slush-O booth circled with a red pen and the numbers '23-10-18' scribbled beside it.

Drawing back a step, Xiulan folds her arms over her chest and opts for scanning the rest of the room and the nearby hallway. Despite all the naked Brian's running around, one never knows if something horrible might spring out from the darkness. She does, however, slant a glance toward the papers, one brow twitching faintly. "Is that a date?"

"So what is this? Treasure hunt from beyond the grave?" asks Sal as he moves up towards Cardinal and the others and tilts his head to read the named envelope. He nods to Liz, notices she's healed and moves around to have a look at what Cardinal has pulled out. "That's either a padlock combination or the measurements of a terribly deformed, tiny woman."

Elisabeth frowns visibly, stepping forward to skim the pages. "Looks like a combination to a lock," she agrees. "Or at least it's not the American method of number dating — no twenty-third month. Could potentially be European — October 18, 2023. But based on the fact it's a place, it's probably a locker with a combo on it," she comments mildly. "Could potentially actually be BOTH, knowing Edward Ray, I suppose." She looks at Cardinal. "I would assume that since he gave you the safety deposit box, he also put your name on it. But if you want, I can check it before you show your face there — considering you've got outstanding warrants."

"No twenty third month?" Brian asks, looking seriously confused. "Damn. When have I been celebrating my birthday, then?" He asks before giving his head a shake. Staring at the files, edging forward to get a good look Brian gives a thoughtful 'hmm'. "Slush-O booths keep security deposits now? I had no idea. I should take my jewelry to the orange julius, now." Stepping to the side, he brings his hand up to his chin. "You sure you want to know what these things are, Dickie? Could be.. not good. He's expecting you to go get them."

"Pretty much," Cardinal admits at Sal's query, leaning over to rest folded arms on the table's edge as he looks down at the map with a frown, "What's that, a— an ice cream booth or something? Oh, Slush-O, right. Yeah, it could be a combination, or a date, I don't know. Ray's a clever sonuvabitch, it could mean anything." One hand lifts, a finger thumping down on the map's surface, "Only one way to find out."

An excellent question's poised by Brian, then, and he glances over to the other man, regarding him for a moment before admitting, "Always did let my curiousity get the better've me. He might've gone way the fuck too far, but Ray did have the greater good in mind. If he left this for me, I have to— we have to— look into it."

"It might not be a bad to have Liz check out the situation at the bank," Xiulan notes to Richard. As far as the Slush-O goes, she raises one shoulder in a faint shrug. "I think it's pretty much a given that we have to check out." Course, going armed and ready for potential trouble also strikes her as a fabulous idea, but hey.

"And if you can figure out what the person looks like who does own that box, well," Sal's helpful in that regard. Then he folds his arms across his chest and lips purse into a line. "This guy you…shot? Now you're willing to follow his trail of breadcrumbs because you believe he does good? Mixed messages." He ballons up his cheeks and exhales. "But you know. Who can resist following treasure maps?"

There's an easy shrug as Elisabeth allows, "I definitely think we should follow up on it. Without a doubt, as Cardinal has pointed out to me on a couple of occasions, Edward never did or does anything without a reason. If he thought he'd die and still had an agenda, this would be the best way to go about implementing it. So… off we go." She glances at the group. "I'll head back to the precinct and check out the bank deposit box information, see what I can pull up." She looks at Cardinal. "I have to get back. Evo serial killer case." She hesitates and looks at who-all is in this group, and finally says quietly, "And it's possible that Abigail's on his hit list. So… since every one of you here is a friend of hers… try to keep your eyes on her when she gets back to town, please. I'm going to do my level best to stop this fucker before he gets to her."

"Shit. Seriously? Yeah, get going, let me know what you come across…" Cardinal drops down into a chair at the table, his weight tilting it back onto two legs, both hands raising to rub over his face, "…and later this week, we'll go visit Coney Island." Those hands fall, and he flashes a grin to the gathered, "Hot dogs are on me."

"…but only enough for one of you, Brian. Don't push it."

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License