cardinal_icon.gif eldridge_icon.gif elle_icon.gif harper_icon.gif rene_icon.gif

Scene Title Self-Inflicted
Synopsis As part of an agreement arranged with the Institute, Desmond Harper has Elle Bishop's memories erased and leaves her in the care of Richard Cardinal.
Date September 30, 2010

Long Island City

The grinding roar of a rusted old bay door rolling open echoes thorugh the vacant expanse of an out of service freight warehouse on the coast of Long Island City. Just four blocks from the ruins of Eagle Electric and in clear view of Roosevelt Island just a hop, skip and jump across the water, the crumbling brick edifice surrounded by a chain-link fence is usually closed off to the public. Today the razor-wire topped fenced gate is open and the cargo doors are pulling apart like the sideways jaws of some tired old beast.

Standing inside of the warehouse, suited figures stand in silence. Desmond Harper stands at the fore, the light on his bluetooth headset illuminated, brows furrowed and eyes focused on the opening door and the silhouettes coming into view on the other side below the cloudy skies threatening rain to the city. At Harper's side, the short and scruffy figure of Lucas Eldridge seems on edge, a five o'clock shadow dusting his jaw, brows furrowed and eyes narrowed with hands folded behind his back, black suit and clothing slimming his narrow frame.

The Haitian needs no introduction, standing at Harper's other side, shark gray suit looking pale against his dark skin, long-fingered hands loose at his side, a polished gold necklace hanging at his open collar, the same symbol found on Adam Monroe's Kensei sword, found so many places in the world and all seemingly unrelated.

That there is one chair behind Desmond Harper is an ominous precursor to todays' events.

Only one person will need a seat.

"Harper. Rene. Who's your friend?"

Richard Cardinal steps in through the opened bay doors, dressed in a sharp black suit and fedora, opaque shades perched upon the bridge of his nose. One hand tugs to the edge of one glove to ease its fit as he looks around the warehouse for a moment. "You know, all these theatrics aren't particularly necessary. We could just as easily have done this over a latte at my office."

Elle Bishop follows right on Richard's heels, staying close to him, while almost seeming to hide behind him. She's dyed her hair back to its normal blonde, and she wears a pair of jeans that look to be a size too large, held up by a belt, and a pale yellow shirt upon which is printed a stack of pancakes throwing a rather vicious-looking rock on stance at the viewer.

She offers no greeting to the group; blue eyes peek around Cardinal, fixed on the Haitian with a frown. She looks positively terrified at the moment, doing her best to keep the taller man between her and the three men. She really didn't like that they wanted to meet at a warehouse, and her displeasure is acutely visible.

"Public places aren't appropriate for this sort've thing, Richard, I think you know that." Harper takes a step forward ahead of the men flanking him, tapping his earpiece until the light turns off, ending whatever call it was he'd been on. "The process that this involves is, since it's evident you haven't seen it before, not without a certain amount of discomfort." Looking back to Eldridge, Harper nods to the agent, spurring the shorter man into moving over to the folding chair and dragging it over with a scuff of it's legs, swinging it around and planting it between Harper and Elle.

"If you'll take a seat," Harper directs to Elle, brows furrowed and frown dawning on his face, "we can get this over with as painlessly as possible." Glancing at Rene, Harper offers a nod, sending the Haitian striding across the warehouse to stand behind the chair. "This won't take too long," Harper explains, looking back over to Cardinal, "but if you want to wait outside I'll understand."

"Yes, because I'm totally going to leave you alone with her for any length of time, Desmond," Cardinal observes rather deadpan, one hand coming up to scratch at his chin with a gloved finger as he speaks, "I'll stay right here throughout, thank you very much…" There's no trust there, it seems, not an inch given from one King to another.

"Just the classified material," he reminds him then, "I'll be having my telepath check her out afterwards, so don't try going any further, please. There's no harm the girl can do to you anymore anyway, not short of electrocuting you."

There's a pause, before he adds with a faint smile, "And I've asked her not to."

Elle's eyes are filled with dread as Eldridge puts the chair in place, and as Harper makes his remark about Cardinal leaving, the woman shrinks back, quite literally hiding behind the man in question, her eyes turned toward the ground. She allows Cardinal to state the terms, and adds a nice, long moment of silence and hesitation. She's probably well within Cardinal's personal bubble space, huddled behind him as she is.

Finally, without a word, Elle steps out from behind Richard, wringing her hands together as she slowly makes her way toward the chair. Her eyes have the quality of a deer in the headlights, switching between Harper and Rene. She hovers for a moment as she nears the chair.

Finally, with a resigned look passing over her face, she settles herself in the chair, still fidgeting.

The Haitian offers Cardinal a look when he makes the comment about electrocution, one brow raised and head tilted to the side. It's Harper that actually speaks, though, almost in the way a puppeteer speaks for the mannequin. "If I wanted to take her, Richard, the retrievers would've gotten you before you got here. Simon agreed that if you want Elle Bishop, you're allowed to have her provided that she cannot positively identify any Institute members and her memory of the time between her conscription and now is censored."

Standing some feet away from Harper and the Haitian, Lucas Eldridge's narrow-eyed stare is almost challenging of Cardinal, having none of the amenable traits that Desmond Harper possesses. "Elle Bishop will have her memory wiped of all her time with the Institute and any of its operatives including sensative material pertaining to Operation: Hammerdown to prevent it from reaching Company officials still in hiding."

Rene lifts his hands up, settling them first on Elle's shoulders. Long fingers squeeze, as if trying to reassure Elle of something she should remember the pain of, but can't. Then, slowly, his fingers begin to move up towards Elle's hair to settle on either side of her head.

"Your retriever teams would've gotten quite the surprise, then," Cardinal replies with casual arrogance, lifting one shoulder in a shrug to Harper's words as he stops short of the group of three men, "There's really no point in any of this, as she doesn't actually know anything particularly dangerous… but if it'll make Simon feel better, I suppose."

"I do have to ask, though," he inquires, one brow lifting over the edge of his shades, "Why are you so intent on pursuing the Company's former field agents? Most of them were kept in the dark about things as much as the public was - lied to, manipulated to, you know, all the stuff you people do. Didn't it occur to you that most of them would rather just take the opportunity to retire? All you're doing is turning them into active enemies, and risking the lives of your operatives."

Elle tenses as Eldridge speaks, blue eyes focused intently on an old oil stain on the floor. For a moment, her mouth opens, as if she wants to protest— but it dies before it can get past her lungs, her mouth closing once more. Her hands are tightly clenched in her lap, her knuckles white as they squeeze at the hem of her shirt, wringing the thin fabric.

As the Haitian approaches her, Elle's eyes first raise up to Cardinal, offering him a somewhat soulful look. Then, as his hands find their way to her shoulders, that look is transferred up to Rene. In a low whisper, one that anyone but The Haitian may struggle to be able to hear, she poses a simple question to the man of her nightmares. "Why are you doing this for them?" As his hands settle over her head, her eyes clench shut, and her entire form tenses.

Harper offers a look to Cardinal, one brow raised, then returns his attention back to Elle. There's a can't of his head to the side, a motion to Rene, and Harper affords Cardinal a fleeting look before turning away and tapping the button on the side of his headset again. "We're underway, we should be done shortly. What was it that you wanted me to ask?" Pacing away from the proceedings, Harper leaves Eldridge behind, the short man's hands folded behind his back, attention never quite leaving Cardinal, as if both sizing him up and keeping watch-dog like attention on him all in one.

The Haitian watches Elle in silence, his hands resting on the sides of her head, brows furrowed. "You did this to yourself," is the Haitian's hushed answer, frought with apology as his eyes slowly close, and soon enough Elle Bishop is living the likeness of Warren Ray just a few days prior. There's a scream from Elle as her jaws open and a reflexive howl of pain escapes from her throat. Fingers curl and legs kick while the Haitian holds her in place.

Memories blossom at the fore of Elle's mind, then are cut away like a surgeon removing an infectious growth. While the Haitian's expression is one of calm stoicism and reservation, Elle's is wracked with agony, both emotional and physical, ultimately pain she will not remember when this process is done.

Across the room, Harper turns at the sound of the scream, a frown crossing his face and — despite what most may imagine of him — remorse. It's an expression that Cardinal has seen in the mirror before, an expression that he has seen on his own face when confronted with his memories of the vision he saw, the echo of November 8th and Elisabeth Harrison's death.

It's the expression of a man who believes the ends justify the means, but does not have to like it.

Eldridge is a sociopath in comparison, calm and uncaring as he watches Elle writhe around in pain, flicking her a peripheral glance before turning his attention back to Cardinal, too much eye contact, lingering and unwelcomed. That the Haitian can both negate abilities and erase memories is clearly evidenced when the process is completed and Elle has not electrocuted him. When she slouches to the side, unconscious, the Haitian sweeps her into his arms, then gently lays her down on the concrete of the warehouse floor.

The question's ignored, but then, Cardinal didn't really expect it to be answered. He doesn't always ask questions to be answered. Sometimes he just wants to see what the reaction to them is. As the screaming begins, the incessant stream of sarcasm finally cuts off, and he forces himself to watch, his lips pursed in a tight line as the Haitian wields his power like a scalpel. His gaze is hidden by the shades, lips pursed in a thin line.

As she slumps over, he exhales a breath he was holding and turns his attention back to Harper. "Are we done here?"

"Almost…" Harper quietly and somberly notes as he looks down to Elle, holding up one finger as his eyes cast away from Cardinal. "I'll ask him, hold on a moment, Sir." Walking up to Cardinal, Harper's brows furrow as he comes to stand in front of the shadowmorph, a conversational distance but clearly not something he thinks that either Eldridge or the Haitian needs to overhear.

Leaning in, Harper lifts one brow and asks, "What color tie were you wearing in Simon's living room on the day his mother died?"


As Harper leans in, Cardinal does the same, a single eyebrow lifting into view as he waits for the question… and then the other joins it. It's an inquiry that he considers for a long moment, and then he leans back with a slow shake of his head.

"Not yet," is all he says, his tone thoughtful, "Try again next month."

There's brief disappointment on Harper's face as he leans back, slowly nodding and pressing one finger down onto his headset again. "He said not yet, Sir." There's a furrow of Harper's brows as he considers the response from the other end, looking up to Richard with one brow raised. "Yes, Sir, I'll let him know. Thank you, Sir." Tapping the button again, the light goes off, and Harper's hands fall down to his side as his shoulders rise into a shrug.

"Doctor Broome," as Harper calls him with his outdoor voice, "would like you to remember that this was your decision, and that if you ever need any help in the future, you would be better off taking out an ad in the paper." Therein lies Harper's ignorance of a concealed message, what the words mean to Desmond Harper are not what they mean to Richard Cardinal or Simon Broome.

"You can take her with you, we've finished here." Harper notes as he begins to turn away from Cardinal, towards the Haitian who rises up slowly from Elle's side. The Haitian, in turn, is headed for Lucas Eldridge's side, where the black-dressed agent stands in silence, eyes still fixed on Cardinal as if waiting for some barked order like fetch or kill.

Elle lets out a groggy moan, shifting on the cold, dirty concrete floor and raising her hands to rub at her face for a moment, awakening just in time to hear an unfamiliar voice talking about some Doctor Broome person she's never even heard of. Then, as she lowers her hands, blue eyes are opening, in time to see the Haitian raise to his feet, and follow him. She blinks a few times as she peers at the Trio of Institute agents, not really cognitive enough to register anything more than the fact that she just woke up to the Haitian and two people she doesn't know.

Slowly, rubbing at her forehead, the little blonde begins to slowly sit up from the uncomfortable floor, making a little grumbly noise. "What the fuck?"

"I'll keep that in mind," Cardinal says, with a faint smile that might surprise Harper given what he thought the message really was. A slow shake of his head, and he steps along over towards the fallen form of Elle Bishop, reaching down to offer her a hand up from the ground.

"I'll explain in the car," he says quietly, "Let's get out've here, Elle."

When Harper, Eldridge and the Haitian are together, Eldridge narrows one last look at Cardinal between the two other agents, before a crackling pop-snap of electricity fills the air in an explosion of crackling lightning in a spherical cage around the three agents. There's a thunderclap noise and a reverberating echo thorugh the building with an accompanying flash of light and rush of air.

When the light fades, there is a hemispherical chunk in the concrete taken out where the three agent's stood, its surface smoldering, spots of it glowing orange-hot and crackling for a moment with electricity.

But the agents of the Institute are gone.

Elle blinks up at Cardinal. At least she recognizes him. She lifts her hand to take Cardinal's, shifting up to her feet with a grunt. "My head feels—" She doesn't get the chance to continue that thought, rather surprised by that unexpected sound, practically throwing herself against Cardinal for protection with a squeak. She turns once the thunderclap and flashing lights are finished, staring at the chunk in the concrete with raised brows.

"…What the hell is going on? Was I just Haitian'd?" Once quiet is settled, Elle turns wide eyes up to Cardinal.

So that's what happened to Hamilton Heights. Man, that'd been bothering Cardinal for months.

"Yeah." Cardinal's fingers close on hers in a firm squeeze, then he releases them, "You did. It was part've the deal we made to get you out of the Institute… how much do you remember've the last few months?"

As he speaks, he walks towards the doors. He suspects he's got a lot to explain to her.

Elle, a bit wobbly on her feet from having her brains fried. She doesn't let go of Cardinal, instead walking next to him and leaning on him, whether he likes it or not. As she walks, her face screws up a bit, trying to remember.

"Not a lot. There's…fuzzy blurs. I remember…um…I came back from Chicago. I was looking for information on the Institute. I don't remember what we had found…I was working with Bryan Buck—" She stops talking, her eyes widening. "I killed Bryan Buckley…and Daddy…he was looking at me like I ripped his heart out…" She shakes her head, closing her eyes. "What the hell?! What did I do? I can't remember…" A hand reaches up to rub at her forehead.

Yeah. Cardinal definitely has some explainin' to do.

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