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Scene Title Predestination
Synopsis On the eve before their planned split from Team Alpha, Richard Cardinal discusses the future with Kazimir Volken.
Date December 16, 2009

Missionary Ruins

The hour's late at the abandoned mission, the sky too smeared with darkened clouds to allow even the light of star and moon in - and they're far from any city that could offer its flourescence and neon to stain the heavens. The shadows are thick between the trees and around the crumbling walls, and it's beyond the edge of the team's carefully hidden lights that the shadow of Richard Cardinal finds that of Peter Petrelli - or is he Kazimir Volken? The matter seems very much up for debate, at the moment, and the answer may well be somewhere between those extremes.

"Peter." Cardinal's boot crunches on a bit of debris as he steps along out through a doorway not far from where the other man sits, reaching into his jacket and producing a light — a flicker of flame from a lighter's tip, that he uses to light up a cigarette he'd managed to smuggle somewhere. A few quick puffs, an orange dot gleaming in the night before he pulls it away, exhaling smoke into the air, "Or Kazimir? Funny, I seem t'recall asking you which it was, once, and you getting pretty pissed at me."

"That was Peter," says the man seated on a broken piece of stone as he pulls off his tanktop over his head, revealing bare and muscled skin to the distant light of a campfire further in the ruins, "this is not." He rises up from the ruined piece of stone, turning to regard Cardinal's voice over his shoulder, sky blue eyes shadowed behind a furrowed brow, and the dim light of the distant campfire casting dark and deep shadows across his face, making the scar that divides it even more evident.

"Was there something I could help you with?" Scars are more than just facial, it seems. There is a distinct scar that Cardinal can see, one he remembers how Peter's body obtained it. It is the size of a quarter, right at the center of his chest on his breastbone, the bullet-hole that Edward Ray ensured punched straight into his chest. Cardinal can't help but wonder, was this all a part of Edward's plan?

Did he know?

Camouflage cargo pants are folded on the rock beside where Kazimir was sitting, the bloodied tanktop is discarded in the same pile. He crouches, eyes drifting away from Cardinal as he retrieves a pair of matte black slacks that were folded in his backpack, standing up and shaking the dust off of them. "I hope you don't mind if I get dressed."

"Just don't tell Gillian," Cardinal replies dispassionately, hand drifting to one side to flicking a bit of glowing ash away from the cigarette, letting it swirl upon the high altitude air currents like tiny fireflies, "She'd probably get jealous."

The paper-wrapped stick of tobacco's drawn to his lips once more, and he takes a slow drag upon it, exhaling a stirring cloud of smoke before he looks back over towards the other man, a faint smile touching his lips, "Maybe not as much Peter… but not at all? I don't think so. I suppose it doesn't really matter, though, in the long run. But if you are Kazimir Volken…"

"Why are you helping us at all?"

Stepping into the legs of his slacks, Kazimir pulls them up, buttoning them closed. Blue eyes look up to Cardinal as he reaches down into his backpack for a belt, looping that around with a clink of the buckle. "People change…" Kazimir intones flatly, threading the belt's tongue thorugh the buckle, then uses the backs of his hands to brush off the back of his slacks. "I have a feeling that answer isn't going to suffice for you though, is it?" Dark brows raise, and Kazimir looks down at the scar in the middle, of his chest, fingers touching across the mark, before turning back around to his pack, withdrawing a black button-down shirt from within.

"Time has a way of changing perspectives, affecting the way you look at the world. The Vanguard wasn't supposed to be what it has become, and I fear that in pursuing my goals so relentlessly, I lost track of my goals somewhere along the way; my ideals." One arm at a time, that dark shirt slides one, shoulders rolling as he adjusts the collar and begins buttoning up the front. "I wanted to create a world where people did not need to fear the monsters like what I am. It took someone barely even twenty years old to make me realize just how wrong I was taking that ideal." Halfway up the shirt, Kazimir pauses to look up to Cardinal.

"In my self-righteousness I made a deal with a devil I could not control, and his ability drove me out of my mind with a hunger for power." The next button, then the next, until the shirt is securely fastened up to the top. "I have had time to reflect, since thing, time to see the world through his eyes and through his affections for a girl I would call my own daughter." Blue eys drift to the forest floor, "one of two people I would ever admit that emotional bond to."

Turning once more back to his pack, Kazimir withdraws a black silk tie, looping it around his neck, carefully preparing himself as if he were planning on going to a job interview not a mountain hike. "Penance is not an easy thing to seek, mister Cardinal." The knot is snugly drawn up to his throat. "I owe the world a debt. I cannot undo what I have done before, but I can stop others from making a terrible mistake in my name."

The cigarette in Cardinal's hand hangs there as he leans back against the stone wall, one foot lifting up to rest against it; regarding the other man with eyes that see in the darkness, silent throughout the man's monologue of redemption. At last, he brings the cigarette back up, taking a drag on it and exhaling a coiling plume of smoke before he speaks again.

"That was the same excuse that Chesterfield gave for Arthur Petrelli's actions," he observes, his voice thoughtful, "I thought it was bullshit, but maybe.. there's more to it than I thought. Maybe there are some tools that'll damn you as soon as work in your hand. Or maybe you're both full of shit. Hopefully I'll never know for sure."

"If you are Kazimir Volken," he says, then, turning his gaze steady upon the other man, "Then why don't you tell me what their plan is?"

"No." It's a plain enough answer, and Kazimir is quick to give it. Looking down at his shirt, he picks a piece of olive-colored lint off of it, flicking it to the jungle floor before turning around to check his backpack again, finding his suit jacket inside, shaking it out from dust and debris, then begins fishing thorugh the pockets. "You know what you need to know, which is that there is a nuclear warhead and it is a serious threat, and we need to get to the peak of this mountain to find the people in charge here…" His omissions of any possibility of the bomb being here or stopping it here are perhaps intentionally telling. "Anything else will just distract you. I'm going to ask you to do something that you may find difficult…" He says as he swings the suit jacket over his shoulders, buttoning the four buttons on the front up. "I'm going to ask you to trust me."

There's a rueful and crooked smile on Kazimir's lips as he says those words. "Right now, I want the same thing you want, and in that cooperation we'll find the strength we need to carry on. That is the only thing we have above the Vanguard right now, cooperation. Were they not operating in disperate factions and were they not so divided by their own personal goals following my presumed death…" His cuffs are examined, making sure the buttons are intact, blue eyes averted to them in favor of the man he's talking to. "We wouldn't be standing here to have this conversation right now."

"You won't trust me, why should I trust you?" The words aren't sharp, however, more… ruefully amused, Richard's head shaking slowly, his eyes closed, "You think I'm just one of these… would-be heroes, these dime-store terrorists, trying to save the world. We've both got our secrets, Kazimir."

Another drag on the cigarette, smoke stirring past his teeth and lips as he murmurs, "On the shores of the Empire State… the beaches of thirty-fourth street. You know, it is a tempting thought, Kazimir. A simpler world. A more— honest world. I don't think I could pay the price for it, though."

"I'm not asking you to pay anything," Kazimir intones flatly, straightening his suit-jacket's collar, "nor am I asking you to consider the words of sooth-sayers." There's a furrow of his brows, creasing that scar across his forehead. "The more you look into what someone who can read the future says, the more beholden you are to their vision of the truth. Predestination is a fool's errand and I will not have you entertaining the mumblings of some drugged-out sybil."

It seems he knows Else.

"As far as our trust goes…" Comfortable with his attire, Kazimir sits back down on that rock and begins removing a pair of polished dress shoes from his pack, sliding them on one by one. "If I did not trust you to be able to do what is right by your own code of ethics, I would not have offered for you to accompany me up to the bunker. You're a vital link in this plan, mister Cardinal, and— " he looks up to him, blue eyes sharp, "— while it might not be much of a concession, I trust you more than most of the other people here." He's probably talking about Magnes.

"I've seen predestination disproven," Cardinal notes with a vague gesture of his cigarette towards the other man, "Prophecies, though, give one— choices, however. Possibilities. They're like… like those books that chess players collect. Possibilities, sets of moves and countermoves that could lead to a specific endgame. And if you're really careful, you can mix and match…"

The rest of the cancer-stick is flicked away from him, tumbling over some old stone flooring before darkening at last to black. A turn of his head, a faint smile twitching to his lips, "You can trust me to do what's necessary, Kazimir. That's my job."

The foot braced against the wall pushes him forward a step, and he turns towards the doorway to step back inside at last, his voice drifting back over one shoulder, "…but don't expect me to trust you any further than this. You made a decision once. You might make it again."

That offering causes Cardinal to pause there in the doorway, and he turns back around, reaching out to accept the paper offered to him. The folded paper's turned over in his hand, and then he slides his hand back into his jacket to tuck it away, to read from it later.

"I can do that," he allows simply, then smiles ever so faintly, "You can count on me there, Peter."

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