Subject Numbers


cardinal_icon.gif jenn_icon.gif

Scene Title Subject Numbers
Synopsis Cardinal waltzes into Jennifer Chesterfield's home seeking the answers to two questions. He gets both, and likes neither.
Date October 6, 2009

Solstice Condominiums - Jennifer Chesterfield's Condominium

The sun keeps setting earlier and earlier as fall's chilly touch creeps closer and closer. It's that dull blue glow of twilight that casts out over New York City's upper east side, where from thirty-seven floors above the street, the view of Midtown's gaping wound looks almost as fresh as the day it was delivered. Highrise buildings closer to the blast zone still show structural damage, debris is scattered into areas where cars still drive, surrounded by yellow caution tape, yet to have been removed by public works.

Surveiling all of this from the plate glass windows of her condominium, Jennifer Chesterfield's expression is a dispassionate one. Having shed her blazer fromt he press conference earlier onto the sofa near the windows, she begins taking pins out of her hair, letting it down from the tightly wound bun it was shaped into, staring languidly out at the city she is trying desperately to call her own.

Across the living room of the condo, folders and paperwork are spread out over tables, photographs of seating arrangements for charity dinners, pictures of dresses for functions she'll be attending, and a bottle of sleeping pills for the few moments between breaths where she can spare herself rest.

There's a saying, that it is a heavy head that bears the crown. In her current state, it's a wonder Jennifer Chesterfield is even considering the position she is.

"It's quite the view, isn't it?"

The words are quiet, but no less shattering in their effect upon the peaceful silence that's fallen over the condominium, a peaceful respite from the mayoral candidate's long day. Garbed in camouflage BDU pants and a leather flight jacket, a pair of aviator's perced upon the bridge of his nose, Cardinal walks along out into the living room as casually as if it were his own. In his hands he's holding a pint of ice cream from her freezer, a spoon in hand as he savours the frozen treat, at the moment gesturing to the windows with it as he approaches. Not her, directly, but the window, his gaze on the view.

"Arthur would've fixed it all, you know. But I think we all know that would've just been hiding the wound from sight, rather than truly healing it."

Bristling, Jenn's stillness isn't from stoic disconnect but rather from fear the way a deer goes stiff in oncoming headlights. Her eyes move to catch Cardinal's reflection in the glass of the window, and only some of that stiffness fades as she recognizes the man in the mirrored surface. She's silent, at least for the moment, turning slowly to regard Cardinal more fully, brows tensed together in a stern expression of disapproval. "You wouldn't know the first thing about healing." There's some venom there, and it's hard to say where exactly it came from, just bitter resentment clinging to her words.

"What do you want?" Jennifer's eyes narrow, her shoulders squaring, eyes averting to the phone on the table too close to Cardinal to be gone for, then back up to the nocturnal man. "Because if you've come here to clean up loose ends regarding Pinehearst, you're looking in the wrong direction."

At words as venomous as a serpent's bite, Cardinal's head turns only slightly to regard her; lips twitching in a faint smile before he looks back over the city. "I know that sometimes you need to treat the cause," he observes, gesturing with the spoon towards the crumpled ruins of Midtown, "Not the symptom."

The latter statement, defensive as it was, draws a chuckle from the shadowmorph, though no more words until he's devoured a bite of ice cream. Plunging the cold spoon back into the frozen treat, he turns and dips his chin enough to look at her over the edges of his shades, hazel eyes glinting with some dark amusement. "Don't be ridiculous. Cat'd get so pissed off at me if I did anything to you, Miss Chesterfield. I'm just here to talk, and I rather figured your people wouldn't want to set up a meeting with a wanted felon. Plausible deniability, and all that."

"I'm not sure I want the meeting myself." Jenn's eyes narrow a touch, her posture shifting as she moves over to the chair, now seeming to have persmission by way of the conversation to move about the room, since her life — presumably — isn't on the line. Settling down in a high backed armchair, she crosses one leg over the other and unconsciously straightens her hair, body language indicative of a person preparing for an interview. "The last time I saw you, you were murdering someone that I considered a colleague for over thirty years. Yes," she tilts her head forward, "Arthur had issues, but what made you think you had the right to take his life? There are other ways of handling a situation other than killing someone, or are you too entrenched in your faux-military attire to think of anything less militant?"

Narrowing her eyes, Jenn folds her hands in her lap and regards Cardinal uncertainly. "Or were you just following Edward Ray's orders?" That bard comes with a brow raised slowly, a distrusting squint of her eyes coming with a feigned smile that never reaches higher than her lips. "I don't think we were ever introduced, either."

"Arthur Petrelli…" Cardinal turns away from the window, walking over towards the table and leaning down to set the ice cream canister there, the spoon still protruding forth like some conquering flag, "…cut off my hand, murdered one of my close friends, and ignited an orphanage with nuclear fire, Miss Chesterfield, and that's only a short list of his sin." The casual tones turn to iron by the end, as much as Rickham's flesh ever did, and he straightens, "I was following Edward's instructions, yes— but I would have killed the sonuvabitch for everything he'd done with or without them. I may have murdered the future on that rooftop, but it wasn't a future I would've wanted anyone to have to live in."

There's no shame, no guilt in the look that he fixes upon her, lips twitching in an equally feigned smile, "I'm not here to discuss Arthur, though, or your approval of me. The name's Richard Cardinal. You told Gillian that she was dying."

"A future you wouldn't have wanted to live in, and you decided to make that decision for everyone else in the world because… convicted felons often know what's best?" Those words aren't delivered with ire, but rather a charming and soft voice and a painted smile, her tone of voice patronizing. "You think I don't realize what Arthur Petrelli did with his life? I know better than you did the length and width of that man's transgressions, but death— " cutting herself off, Jenn closes her eyes and recalls the day she tried to kill him herself. The strength in her fades, shoulders wilting from their squared stature, and all of the transposition of guilt over her own husband's death ceases.

Quietly, weakly, she finally addresses what Cardinal wanted. "I didn't tell her anything," Jennifer admits in that small voice, "Edward Ray told her she was dying. I received a pair of videos just a week after the Pinehearst incident, one of them was marked for Stephanie Winters. I knew the name, I knew who she was now and I knew I had to get in touch with her." Biting down on her lower lip, Jenn closes her eyes and shakes her head. "I didn't tell her anything."

"I got a video myself," admits Cardinal in more quiet tones now, regarding the woman where she sits, "Edward was one've the smartest bastards on the planet, but— he was a bastard. He could just be lying to her. Getting her to do what he wants. There's only one guy that'd know whether or not he's telling the truth, and if he is, if there's a way to fix it. Zimmerman wasn't on the list of the dead, Chesterfield. Do you know where he is?"

The fact that Richard knows Zimmerman's name elicits a suspicious stare. "Lewis escaped on the night of the attack, he, Alison Meier, Maury Parkman, my husband and I and Peter Petrelli set up a plan of escape. What we didn't count on was the building being attacked that day, which sent everything into absolute chaos." Shaking her head slowly, there's a look of uncertainty crossing Jennifer's face. "Maury helped Lewis escape before the attack even began, he told us he was headed for the Canadian border, that he had to talk to a former member of the Company named Harold Fletcher. I haven't seen Harry since he retired, and I had no idea that Zimmermanwas even aware that he was still alive."

Shifting awkwardly, Jenn's brows furrow, staring down at the carpeted floor with an uneasy expression. "I haven't heard from Lewis since, and I'm not sure what happened to Maury either. So many good people were lost in the destruction of that building…" an accusing stare is leveled up towards Cardinal, "but you're not here to talk about that, are you?"

"Fletcher? Shit." A hand comes up, rubbing against the side of Cardinal's face as he murmurs through his fingers, "…he's dead. Not much of a lead, but I suppose it'll have to do. I presume Monroe killed him, but I don't actually have any evidence either way on that. I know he's been off merrily butchering the Founders one by one, the murderous sonuvabitch."

The hand drops, then, and he turns a tight scowl in the direction of Jennifer. "Talk to your daughter about that one, Chesterfield. I was never informed of any idiotic demolitions that were being carried out, not until the charges had already been armed. I only took one life that day. How many did your work kill?"

"It could have saved more." Jennifer's defensive tone comes back, jaw squared and brows lowered. "The Formula could have changed the world, had Arthur not lost his mind thanks to Gray's ability." And she'll always hold to her guns on that one reveletory bit of information. "I still honestly believe that a world with the Formula in it would have been a better one than the one we have today, but— now we'll never know. Pinehearst is destroyed, and if anyone has saved whatever research we managed in that facility, it's the government."

Seeing beyond the red in her vision, Jenn's eyes drift up from the floor to Cardinal, focused on him squarely. "Adam— " there's confusion in her hitched breath, "Adam Monroe was working for us. He— he was the one Arthur was charging with most of his tasks he— " venom stirs in her expression, realizing only now the selfish motivations of the immortal, why he was so eager to go to Japan. "If he's the one that killed Paula, Susan, Harry…" Jenn's head shakes slowly, "he's going to be going after more people in this city." There's a hesitant look in her eyes as she slips to another topic, "what is Edward Ray having you do?"

"The Formula never would have saved anybody. You were playing God on a level far beyond anything that you could possibly accuse me of," Cardinal replies in scathing tones to the woman's defensive claims of what she was doing, "And Arthur was insane long before he got his hands on Gabriel, whatever you choose to believe there. Before you judge me, Chesterfield, take a good long look at yourself."

The question about his own motivations hangs in there air for a moment as he looks at her from behind reflective lenses, then turns to walk slowly back to the window once more. "Taking care of loose ends. Threats that Arthur would've dealt with if he'd won. There's a man on Staten Island who'll destroy it. There's a nuclear bomb… somewhere… and god knows what'll happen if we don't find it. You know…" A glance back over his shoulder, a wry smirk, "…the little things in life. If Phoenix was Edward's shield, I'm his sword."

"Because preducting the future and changing it based on the words of a mad prophet isn't playing God at all, is it?" Jenn's smile couldn't be more insincere as she folds her arms across her chest, eyes locked on Richard's movements as her gaze drifts up and down him slowly. "I'm not going to sit here and play your game of moral reletivisms, Richard. You asked me for information on Lewis, and I gave you what I had. If you came in here to tell me how wonderful you are at protecting the people of the city, or chastise me about all of the dangers I'm not focusing on, you should show yourself out the same way you showed yourself in."

Uncrossing her arms, Jenn folds her hands in her lap, eyes still cold as she considers Cardinal. "Was there something else you needed?" That insincere smile comes back up with all of its flavorless intensity.

"You're the one who asked what I was doing, I didn't just volunteer it," Cardinal replies with a snort of breath, turning fully back from the window at last, "I know where I'm going when I die. We're all pieces on this game board, some of us just don't pretend we're not. Never claimed what I was doing was righteous. Just necessary."

That same faint smile crosses his own lips, "No. I needed two things tonight, Chesterfield. If you knew where Zimmerman was… and if you're right for this city. I've gotten both of my answers."

Eyes narrow, slowly, and Jennifer considers the revelation of that second truth with some surprise. Though the look soon fades to something more like irritation as her teeth try at her lower lip and she slowly stands, in the manner polite when about to show a guest out. "Lewis doesn't have long to live, Mister Cardinal." That comes as a surprise, given that she doesn't seem to know much about him. "Alison Meier injected him with a strain of the Advent Virus just a few short weeks before the attack on Pinehearst. She herself had been suffering from it after copying my ability years ago during research…"

Brows crease further, and there's no lost love for Alison in Jennifer's voice. "But Lewis… he's older, he might have already succumbed to the virus' effects." Her hesitation in speech comes only with a rueful smile, "and I think you know where the end of the Advent Virus' road takes someone."

The news mentioned brings a grimace to Cardinal's lips, his head shaking just a bit as he turns to step away from the window, as if preparing to depart, "…wonderful. So I've not one, but two countdowns that I've got to worry about here. I'll have to dispatch some people quickly before one of them drops dead. If he hasn't already. Damn it."

A pause, gaze slanting over to Jennifer, "…one more thing, on a friend's behalf. Do you remember an experimental subject, former Homeland, name of Katherine Marks?"

One brow raises quizically at the question, and Jennifer's focus lingers on Richard before she slowly shakes her head. "The name isn't familiar, but only Dr.Meier had access to the registry of patients, we knew them all by subject numbers. So… unless you had a photograph, I can't be of much assistance." Rolling her tongue inside of her cheek, Jennifer moves around to the side of the chair, head tilted down in silence as she looks back to the window and away from cardinal.

"If you would kindly show yourself out now," Her voice is tense, posture rigid, "I have— I have a lot on my mind." She turns back, looking away from the window towards Richard.

"Subject numbers." It's flatly said, and evidently Cardinal doesn't see any reason to elaborate on his opinion there. The words say it all. The mayoral candidate is watched for a moment through his shades, and then he shakes his head, turning to head for the door at a slow walk, the light slowly draining from him as he does so.

Once he's merely a shadow, his voice drifts back, "I'll give your regards to Lewis, if he's still alive when I find him."

No.. no, she won't do at all. Fortunately, there's another candidate he can manuever things around…


Artificial light spills in through a window designed to show the sunny landscape of a city through slatted venitian blinds. An old, oaken desk is stacked high with papers, colored folders and a few cardboard boxes marked with names and serial numbers. Seated in the chair behind the desk, a man with his back to the window is half illuminated by the glow, a tired expression hanging low on round features.

At the desk, a phone rings, one red light flashing on it. From his silent thought, the man stirs and leans forward, picking up the phone and pressing the Line 1 button, "Hello?" He tries not to sound perturbed at the disturbance, but the voice on the other end changes much of that.

«Bob, it's me.» One brow slowly raises, «We need to talk about something.»

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