brian_icon.gif cardinal_icon.gif jessica_icon.gif peyton_icon.gif

Scene Title Reluctance
Synopsis Once again presented with the offer to make a difference, Peyton starts to lean towards getting involved.
Date August 22, 2009


The sun goes down on the city, smoldering like a ball of fire slowly drowning in the ocean to give birth to night - as if by so dying the motes that fluttered up upon the steam would become the stars of the heavens themselves. It's one of those evenings, somehow poetic, the sound of the gulls calling above breaking the stillness of the docks, floating platforms groaning softly with the gentle rise and fall of the tides. The occasional man calls from one boat to another, cheerful greetings to neighbors and less pleasant shouts to those walking too close to the yachts of the possessive.

It's an unusual place for a meeting, but perhaps Cardinal has a boat. At the moment, he's perched on a bench near the end of one of the docks, legs stretched out before him and a cigarette's smoke stirring up towards the heavens as he stares after the coiling plume. "They should be here soon," he informs the other waiting with him casually, "I thought the Royale'd be here, but it must be over at Staten today."

"Hah. You're dumb." Brian says with a little giggle at Cardial. "I'm on the Royale. Right now." A triumphant pelvic thrust is delivered towards the water before he turns back to face the other man. He's wearing a suit, as usual. A deep dark black with a light blue shirt underneath. His sunglasses however are tucked into his shirt.

Walking over to the bench he goes to take a seat on it, bringing one foot to rest on the opposite knee. "Yeah it's over at Staten." A little shrug. "Bebe hasn't finished teaching me how to drive the thing or I'd pick you up." He glances over at the cigarette. "Those don't make you look cooler, you know."

Cardinal called and asked to meet Peyton. After a few text exchanges, Peyton agreed to meet with him. If there needs to be some protection, then Jessica is the one who's going to do it. As far as multiple personalites go, each personality has their own set of skills, and for this, there's none better than Jessica.

There's small talk as they arrive on the docks, and as far as Jessica goes, they are just meeting Cardinal. When Jessica sees Brian there, she slows down her pace and takes a moment to ensure that everything is kosher. "Not sure what he's doing here." she says under her breath to Peyton. She steps up to the two men. "Cardinal. This is Peyton." Her blue eyes scrutinize Brian with a leery glance for a moment, turning her attention back to Cardinal. She reaches up and comes her fingers through her hair as she lets Peyton step forward, if she wants. Her arms cross over her chest.

The little socialite is nervous, of course. She's dressed so far down for this meeting that she doesn't even resemble herself anymore — jeans, black Chucks, a black t-shirt, and that gray tweed newsie cap to hide her face on the way here. When she looks up at the two men on the boat, she tilts her head curiously.

"But I know him…" she tells Niki. "That's the guy who helped me in the hospital, who took me to the safehouse." The guy who warned her not to try to go back to her regular life, the guy whose advice she did not take, and as a result, got kidnapped. "That's not Cardinal, though, right? It's Brian," she murmurs quietly to Jessica.

"I haven't taken up alcoholism, heroin, or meth," Cardinal replies rather dryly, flicking the cigarette off to land in the water with a hiss of embers being snuffed out, "And after the shit I've been through the past few months, I think you should be glad the worst habit I've picked up is cigarettes."

The approach of the pair has him regaining his feet, fingers raking back through his hair as he offers a tired, wry smile towards the pair, "…thanks for coming. Miss Whitney, we've been pretty damn worried about you. I'm glad you made it out alright, I was starting to think I'd need to go try and ask a… locator I know of to find where you were being held."

"Listen man. I don't care if you get lung cancer. I'm just saying. If you think it makes you look like a badass.." Trailing off his features soften when Peyton comes into view. Jessica is glanced at for a moment before Brian looks back to Cardinal as if gesturing for him to clear things up with the leery lady.

Then back to Peyton. "Pey." He says, emotion gushing out in one word as he walks forward quickly. "I was so worried about you." His arms fly up to wrap her into a hug. "Are you okay?"

Leery lady is about to toss Brian into this particular body of water, if Peyton gives the word. She keeps her arms across her chest as watches Brian and Peyton. She turns to Cardinal. "So, I thought I'd go take a peek over at Linderman's building yesterday and this creepy kid flew up on me and was being creepy. I thought I was going to have to tear his limbs from his body. Just ended up throwing a dumpster on him. I guess he thought I was someone else." A mild annoyance to say the least.

"Thanks," Peyton says, to Cardinal, in an uncharacteristically shy manner. What do you say when people who you've never met are worried about your safety? "That's very nice of you, to worry about me, and plan my rescue and all. Someone can locate people? That's kind of cool."

She is then accosted by Brian's hug and she laughs, hugging back. "Hey. I'm sorry I ran off. I just… wasn't ready for all the stuff Cat said. Face change and name change and all that sort of freaked me out." She makes a face. "But I guess maybe you guys were right." She bites her lower lip, and adds, "I registered. I downplayed what I can do, tried not to make it look controlled or like, specific. But I had no choice."

"It's what I do," Cardinal shrugs easily to the shy response, "No need for thanks, miss."

Then the pair have their reunion, and a smile quirks up at one corner of his lips before he turns towards Jessica— since her words pretty much give away her current identity. "A creepy…" A creepy kid? Flying? Thought she was Tracy… oh, no. "Skinny kid… short, curly brunette? Gravity powers?"

"Shhsh." Brian whines at Peyton's non-chalant response. Releasing her he frowns deeply. "Are you okay?" He seems very absorbed with making sure Peyton is okay until skinny kid, gravity powers. "Magnet." Brian interrupts, glancing back at Cardinal. Then to Jesscia. "What was Magnet trying to do?" Winters asks, one hand staying on Peyton's shoulders to show her that his focus and interest is still on her well-being. Or something like that.

Jessica looks from Cardinal to Brian, then to Peyton as well. "Some kid. He flew. Dunno anything more than that. Kept calling me Tracy or something. Thought I'd been mind-wiped." She's a former Company agent, so she knows what that's all about. "I figured he was either some kook or he was sent to follow me. Of course, if he was sent to follow me, he's a horrible tail. Thought I'd mention it in case he tries to follow anyone else. Might want to keep your eye out."

"Magnes?" Peyton echoes. "He visited me." Small world. "He gave me free pizza for life or something, because he felt bad about not being able to help me after he saw me on the news." She looks over at Jessica and nods. "Remember I said … well, maybe you don't," because it was Gina, "that you looked familiar? Like someone I should know from the news or something? That must be who he thought you were."

"Yeah," Cardinal's fingers rub against the side of his face briefly, pushing the shades up with the movement to rub against an eye before he lets them fall back down to settle properly upon his visage, "…yeah, that sounds like Magnes. He's— he means well, but he thinks he's a fuckin' superhero. The kid got recruited by the Company, but they recently discharged him. Without any memory of it, of course, so he doesn't even remember what the hell he'd been up to."

He looks to the others, "He's a good kid, but he doesn't take this seriously enough. I'll tell him to back the hell off, Jessica."

"He got discharged? Already?" He grimaces a little bit. That might have been his fault. Well his fault for giving Magnes an opportunity to fuck up royally. His hand slowly trails down Peyton's arm, giving her hand a squeeze before dropping back to his side. "Kook is closer to correct." Winters points out with a sad shrug before gesturing for Peyton to sit down at the bench. "You still haven't answered me. Are you okay, Pey?"

"Doesn't matter one way or the other to me. If he gets in my way, I've no problem putting him out of it. There might be someone that looks like me, but I don't need it interfering with what I'm doing. That being said, I didn't notice anything different or unusual around there. Not that I got much of a chance to really do much with that kid flipping out on me." Jessica turns and looks at Peyton. "So, anyway, I brought her like you asked. I figure if anyone has the chance to get us ahead of the game, it'd be her. Problem is, she needs a little coaching. She's still just a little raw."

Coaching. Raw. Is she an athlete or a slab of meat? Peyton makes a face and then smiles at Brian. "I'm all right." Sure, it's a little bit of a lie, and she feels rather nervous being so very far from her apartment, but she said she would try. She promised Niki she'd try.

She looks up at Cardinal and gives a small shrug, head tilting toward the shoulder as it comes up. "I don't think I can just see a place… I need to know or at least see the person whose eyes I'm looking through first. And so far, for not very long. It blurs out, and I get headaches," she says apologetically, as if she's letting down this strange team she's on.

"Everybody starts somewhere," Cardinal notes with a slight shake of his head, "Telepathic connections especially can be… difficult to get the hang of." Oh, how he knows. At least a little, from his brief period bearing the power that he was given. The ex-convict regards the young woman for a moment, then tilts his chin up in a slight nod to Peyton, "Do you want to help out? Or do you just think you have to? There's a lot've good you can do, eventually, Peyton."

"We should have had more lessons than just the one." Brian points out. Before looking to Cardinal. "He could probably teach you." But then they're talking about her being their best shot and bla bla bla. So he looks slightly alarmed but his hackles lower back down when Cardinal actually asks if she wants to help. He's not going to push her too hard again.

"This is completely up to you Pey. There's no pressure here at all. You get that?"

"I already told her it was her decision." Jessica glances at Peyton, she finally lets her arms down as she relaxes a tad. "I don't want to sugar coat this, Peyton, but it's going to be somewhat dangerous. But, you know Niki's story and there are others with similar stories who are just as tragic and those stories seem to grow every day. This is one of those things where you have to decide if you're in or your not. I don't think anyone here will think less of you for not helping, but I also think you feel like maybe you should be doing something more with what you have." Jessica shrugs her shoulders, "Maybe this is it."

She's used to being the center of attention, or maybe just a little left of center, but right now she's the center of the small group's focus and it's all so very overwhelming. She backs up to take a seat on the bench and looks at each in turn as they speak to her. Her almond-shaped dark eyes widen, and she bites her lower lip again.

"I want to help but I won't lie. I'm afraid to." Her voice trembles just a little at that, and tears brim in her eyes. "But I'm afraid anyway, you know? I'm afraid to leave my house because of what those horrible people did last week, and I'm afraid that the government's going to snatch me off the streets and put me in some crazy Evo Platoon and if I'm going to be fucking afraid of everything, I might as well be doing something that can do some good at the same time, right?"

Peyton frowns and looks back at Brian. "I've practiced a little. I tried to use it when I was kidnapped but I was too scared. But I used it the other day and saw some file that a Homeland Services officer was looking at."

"I'll tell you what," Cardinal says more quietly, stepping over towards her and offering her a faint, reassuring smile, "Give it some thought. If you decide you want to help… there's an operation going on right now with a bunch more people, working on something really important. I can hook you up with them, you can help them out while learning more about your ability, and it'll — get you out've the public eye for awhile, let you lay low. And if you decide to pull out then, no harm, no foul, and you can go back to your life." More seriously, "Otherwise, you keep going with us, and we'll see if we can save more lives than the bastards can grind down… and take down the sonuvabitch that's got this city's throat in his grip."

Brian goes to sit next to Peyton on the bench, his hand going to rest on top of hers. He allows Cardinal to speak first, letting him get his piece done before turning to look at her squarely. "As you can no doubt tell." He motions with his chin over to Jessica. "We take care of each other. Look out after each other. I know how scary it is." He gives her hand a squeeze. "But you know you have people who would fight and die to protect you. Could you say you had that before?"

Peyton's eyes study Cardinal's face, and she frowns a little, before turning to Brian. "No," she says and shakes her head. The Justins and Lindsays and Nicoles of the world are not there for her — she hasn't had a single call from any of the sparkling people since she's been home. "I guess I can't say that I have."

"I can try to help. And I have money, too. Wendy, my friend Wendy, she kept saying that Brian or Cat were after my money but I know that's not true. So … I don't have a lot at one time, but I have some. Am I not allowed to go home, to stay in my apartment if I join this…operation?" she asks with a frown, glancing up at Jessica, then Brian. "I have a roommate. He'll worry if I disappear again."

"Depends on what you want to do. If you feel safe with him, then you can go back. If you don't, you can come stay with us." Jessica offers a bit of a smile. "It's not that simple. We all walk around as we like, but we also can take care of ourselves. At least for the most part. You do what you feel you can do, but be safe about it."

"What they said," Cardinal affirms, with a tilt of his head particularly towards Jessica when she speaks, "We're not… Phoenix. I don't head up some super-secret terrorist organization that's trying to leave their mark. We're the guys and girls who just get shit done, and to hell with the glory." A smile crooks to his lips, and he shrugs one shoulder, "Money's nice, but I can get money if I want it. What we need is people. Not abilities, either, although those can be useful— but it's people who can make a difference, in the long run, who believe in what they're doing. You're free to do whatever you want, wherever you want. Play it your way, just play it smart."

"You know I have your back, Peyton. You're welcome to stick with me like glue. No one will mess with you, I promise you that." Jessica says as her phone starts to ring and she holds up her finger and wanders off to the other end of the dock to take her phone call.

Giving a nod that agrees emphatically with Jessica, Brian casts Cardinal a look and points after her as if to say 'Who is that?' but when Peyton looks at him again his features are smoothed over neatly. Looking back to Peyton he gives her hand another squeeze before depositing his hands back into his lap. "We all have different niches. My niche is.." He gives a little shrug. "I work for everyone." He pauses giving a little frown. "Almost everyone. Burger King refuses to accept my application."

Peyton smiles weakly at the joke she doesn't quite get. "Okay. I'd like to … not live out on the docks, if that's okay. I have a really nice apartment and it's paid for, so … if anyone needs a place to crash in the Upper West Side, let me know." She probably has no idea what she's asking. "So who is this other group and what are they doing, that you think I can help with? And practice my power on?"

"That's Jessica," Cardinal says with a tilt of his head towards the other woman as she steps away, explaining quietly to Brian's inquiry, "She's… got a grudge against Linderman. Good in a fight, too." That said, the woman's words get an amused twitch of his lips, "Ah, I just time-share with a yacht that parks out here, I don't live here. Upper West Side works for me, feel free unless you feel threatened…"

He turns, then, looking out across towards the dark shadow of Staten Island. "There's a bunch've people over there," he replies quietly, "Shard'n his people. You might've seen the video. They're going to save the island, and maybe the city, and if you're up for it… you're going to help them."

Brian looks a little wide eyed. "You mean that's really Shard?" Giving a disbelieving look. "I heard somebody on the radio say it was just a look a like." He frowns lightly over at Cardinal. "How come I don't get to help save the island slash city?"

"Staten… Island?" It's unlikely she'd ever been on Staten Island in the "good days," let alone now that it's the lost world. "I… if someone's there with me so I don't get sold into prostitution or something, I guess," Peyton says, not without some uncertainty. "But I'll help if I can." She repeats what's become her mantra over the last couple of days.

"Because you're working on sixteen thousand other things," Cardinal replies with a roll of his eyes at Brian's words, "He's working with me, and yeah, that's really him…" A turn of his head, and he flashes a grin to Peyton, "We'll get you there safe, Peyton, don't worry. That's the easy part."

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