Shadow Puppets


cardinal2_icon.gif kazimir5_icon.gif

Scene Title Shadow Puppets
Synopsis Cardinal and Kazimir discuss plans for the future of team Charlie, and the rescue of Nathan from the Vanguard is planned.
Date December 21, 2009

Svartalfheim Bunker


The skittering clink of mechanical feet do wonders to make the interior of the Svartalfheim bunker feel like it is alive. Lights overhead flicker and pop, a sound that joins with the pinging tink of tiny steel claws belonging to miniature automatons moving in the dark. The more profound clang of footfalls moving across a metal catwalk afford a semblance of other live to a mostly automated facility.

Rounding a corner and entering the maintenance hall, Kaizmir's quiet footfalls take him up towards something otherworldly contained behind a pair of noisily opening mechanical doors. Situated in a bay fit for truck maintenance, an enormous mechanical monstrosity far beyond anything else Hector has been able to throw at team Charlie rests inert. Rough steel plates sweep out to a twenty foot wide dome of metal, linked with interlocking segmented plates, forming a hammered-metal frame in the shape of a horseshoe crab. Nearly thirty feet long and ending with a sword-sized tail, this machine gives the darkly-dressed man pause, blue eyes wide.

"The devil's hands have been busy…" Kazimir admits in a hushed voice, taking a slow step inside of the hangar to get a closer look at the machine. One gloved hand brushes along the surface of the tank, feeling the rough surface of the metal, noticing seams fromr ecessed panels fashioned into the steel. With brows furrowed, he begins circling the war machine, fascinated.

"They must have been idle in the absence of their lord and master, then…" The shadow has been following the man for some time, but only now has he chosen to speak out, the lack of light merely lingering in Kazimir's wake like his own shadow cast by the lighting of the bay, "…because they've been busy indeed. Mister Pendragon in particular."

A raptorbot scuttles by on two slender legs, tiny claws clattering over the cave floor as it heads past on some errand or another. Cardinal remains silent until it's past, noting mildly then, "I see you've met your brother, then."

"He's not my brother." Kazimir states flatly, brows furrowed. "I was wondering if you were still here, or if you'd just up and left, Richard." Tucking his gloved hands into the pockets of his slacks, Kazimir turns his back towards the security camer that can see him over the dome of the massive war-machine, and he does not turn to regard the shadow's voice.

"Tell me what you've found, I've been trying to find a means to communicate with the other teams, but so far i've come up empty handed." There's a quiet pause, and Kazimir stares down at his feet. "They attacked the others… Iago himself and another man he mentioned. I think there were survivors, but I can't be certain who or how badly the casualties were."

"Of course not." A dry statement from the shadow, "I suppose I should talk to him before all of this is done…" There's a few moments of silence again, then Cardinal observes, "…Braxton's got little workshops all over this complex, makes it a little hard to find anything. I've found a rather well-equipped armory, and I found the radio room - they've got the SATCOM there. I haven't seen anything that suggests the presence of Munin, though."

"Munin's not here," Kazimir finally admits to Cardinal, "it never was." A step is taken away from the giant mechanical crab, footsteps tread around the shadow on the floor, moving to examine a workbench, as if inspecting Hector's labors of love. Once more his back is to one of the security cameras. "What I need here is Braxton— Hector — not the warhead. We're already past the arming date, December 12th, there's no way the codes you have are going to disable the device now. Which is why I need Hector's genius. He's a mechanical savant, if anyone in the world could disable the warhead, it is him. But he cannot and will not utilize his ability under duress, and there are some abilities that require a certain brand of natural genius to work. I would not risk giving Gabriel further capabilities to pick things apart."

He's thought this through from the beginning, hasn't he?

"Show me to the SatCom," Kazimir instructs, straightening up and folding his hands behind his back. "I need to get in touch with Catherine."

"I should have known," Cardinal grunts in a displeased tone, "The painters were all repeating that date… twelve-twelve-oh-nine. I've got a whole goddamn collage of prophetic graffiti back home. I wish I knew who the hell was making it…"

That last brings a pause, and he observes mildly, "And you don't think that would be suspicious at all, Kazimir? Whatever they believe, I doubt that they trust you implicitly just yet. You're certainly being watched, and if you started making satellite calls on Charlie's gear…"

"They can question me all they want, I am Kazimir Volken and the moment one of them questions my intentions they'll learn to regret it." Said with all the imperious self-importance of the man he's masquerading as. "I will and can do whatever i want in here. I am not a guest in Iago Rameirez' home, he is a servant in my organization, and the moment I act as though I did not have permission to go wherever I want and do whatever I want is the moment that they suspect something is amiss."

One black brow raises, and Kazimir regards a shadow on the wall. It's not Cardinal, but it suffices. "I am going to contact Catherine to ensure that she does not kill the Russian cell leader, and I am going to keep up appearances while doing it. Catherine is, and always will be, the one person who will always trust this face no matter what mask it is wearing. Grigori needs to survive, because he is integral to this plan. Anyone eavesdropping will simply assume that I am looking after my own interests as I am often wont to do. They know nothing of the other teams, or who Catherine is. For all they know, she's my secretary."

A lopsided smile crosses Kazimir's face. "Now, show me to the SatCom."

"You are Kazimir's shade at best," Cardinal replies curtly, "Whatever you may claim or've convinced everyone else… and I may be many things, myself, but I'm not a member of your organization…"

The shadow shifts, then, a subtle twist to one side, "…it's down the hallway to your left, take two rights."

"No, Richard. You're not." There's something odd in that comment, not snideness or sharpness, but perhaps relief in some fashion. "You have been a tremendous help in all of this, and I applaud your resiliance to the dangers we've faced thus far." There's a look afforded to the side, towards the crook of the shadow that Cardinal truly is, dark brows lowered. "Nathan Petrelli says that he will be beholden to whomever helps him escape from this fortress…"

Kazimir turns, letting those words hang in the air as he walks to the doorway, then pauses in the threshold and furrows his brows. "I want you to get him out of here, get him back to the others and help them fend off Iago's men. If we're lucky, and God help us if we are not, Hector will turn on Iago and we will need not worry about the machines. You… should return to the others with the intel you've gathered. Get Nathan to safety if you can, I'll do my best to cover for his escape with ignorance."

A gloved hand comes out, lightly brushing the metal on the door casing. He won't say he's worried about the others, but it shows in his expression. "You've done all you can here," he stubbornly admits, "save Nathan and see if he can be of use to you. I… don't forsee needing many more long term plans of my own."

"I'll need a distraction of some sort," Cardinal observes after a moment's thought, "Although there's only a half-dozen people here that I've noticed - so it doesn't need to be a terribly large one. Maybe you could give a speech or do a briefing or something that you could demand everyone be at."

He pauses, then asks, "Jensen?"

"Jensen stays here. I need someone to be able to watch my back." Kazimir instructs with a nod of his head. "I'll call the members of this base together for a briefing over dinner in a day or two, it will likely take that long to convince Iago we need it. It will be something like what a dysfunctional family would have, so…" There's a hint of mirth in Kazimir's voice, his head angling to the side, in consideration of the shadow behind him. "You'll have your distraction, as much of one as I can muster. Hopefully that will buy you and Nathan time to escape."

Hesitation traces thorugh Kazimir's motions, as if he's not entirely certain he wants to commit to this particular path. But after a moment's consideration, he just nods his head silently. "Thank you for tursting me this far, Richard. You will not regret it."

"I'll plan around that, then, and I'll talk to him ahead of time. Do you have any other… instructions… for Team Alpha? You know they'll want to come storming in here once I give them what information I have," the shadow points out, "Especially Varlane."

Stepping out into the hall, Kazimir's final instructions to Cardinal are rather clear. After all, with the exclusion of Hector, no others of the Vanguard should be allowed to survive to further pollute the world. Perhaps that's why it's so easy for him to deliver the orders he does.

"Let them."

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