Take Down The Black King


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Scene Title Take Down The Black King
Synopsis Two people determined to take down Arthur finally meet, thanks to a dream of a chess match.
Date July 10, 2009

Village Renaissance Building

The lobby of this building is spacious, with wide glass windows which look out onto 4th Street. The floor is a polished grey marble; the smooth walls are freshly painted in a cream color. A security desk staffed by men and women in professional clothing occupies a central position. From that desk maintenance crews are overseen and directed; they also monitor the footage from discreetly placed security cameras which cover all the public areas on the first through fourth floors, including the elevators (one centered in the lobby and each corridor), the stairwells at the front and back of the interior, and the outside of the entire building. More than one person is on duty at all times, and the public areas are kept well lit around the clock.

Behind the desk are four unmarked doors of heavy steel with strong locks and keycard access, evenly spaced. Keycards are required for entry to the building itself during hours of darkness. Anyone without them must make their case for entry with the security staff by the voice transmitters on both sides of the doors.

The rest of the ground floor has three corridors of four apartments each, their doors are sturdy pine with strong locks operated by metal keys and numbered from 101 through 112. Floors two and three are the same as the first floor, minus the security desk and unmarked doors. Each of these have apartments in that corridor instead, making a total of sixteen each, numbered in the same fashion as the first floor residences.

What exists above the third floor is anyone's guess. The elevators only have visible buttons for those first three levels and a control panel of some sort which takes a key and a keycard to access. If the security staff members know what's up there, they aren't saying.

Near the wide lobby windows looking onto the street, Gillian sits quietly flipping through a book. The young woman doesn't stand out at first glance. Normal clothes, fairly nice, but if she's a rich type she'd probably be dressing comfortably at the moment. Dark colors without giving away her formal goth lifestyle. Lipstick, light make up, but it doesn't cause a stark contrast from her face to her make up like it might have in the past. A notebook rests against her knees, while she flips through a book, frowning quietly at it.

Learning chess from a book, even with the help of a perfect memory not her own, isn't really easy… Every time someone lingers near the window, she looks up, and everytime someone enters, she does as well. After being killed twice in the last 10 days, one can't blame her for being edgy. At least with the big windows, she has an escape route.

The leftmost of the glass doors that guard the entrance into the lobby is pulled open with a whisk of its rubber base over the marble. Enter Richard Cardinal; he could use a shave, maybe a haircut, though at least he's been keeping up with his showers. A sturdy, multi-pocketed jacket's thrown over a t-shirt, black jeans worn at the knees and hem covering the tops of shit-kicker boots. A pair of Oakleys covers his eyes, hiding the dark circles beneath them from lack of sleep.

Into the lobby, and he heads for the elevators, a steady pace as he crosses right past Gillian.

As with the last few people who came in, Gillian looks up. Unlike the last few people who came in, though, she jumps out of the chair, sending the book and notebook falling to the floor with a loud thunk that can be heard through the lobby. One glace as all she needed to bring back the memory. Damn the power and it's vivid memory relapses. But in this case… it could be a good thing. But it still makes her swear.

"Fuck," she quickly curses, gathering up the notebook, the book about chess, and quickly heading toward the elevator after him. Assuming he didn't stop, he could be all the way there before she reaches him. "Hi, wait— um." Fuck. How does someone say… 'I had a dream about you.'? "What floor are you headed to?"

The clatter of the books bring but a brief glance over towards the young woman, but Cardinal doesn't slow down all that much once he realizes it was just that— some books. The perceptive might've noticed the tenseness that brought his shoulders up at the first sound of them hitting the floor, however, jaw tightening a bit before he brushes it off. Just somebody dropping something, not Arthur or one of his other enemies at all.

Then she's rushing over towards him and the elevator, though, and he slows a bit, giving her a quizzical look and a longer once-over. "Why?"

Subtlity is something that needs to be worked on. Gillian hesitates a moment at the question, glances back toward the door as if expecting someone else to come through it after him. When no one walks in, she looks back. The over-raspy voice almost seems like she might be sick, or something, but that's just the way she speaks, "I think I'm supposed to meet you." That's not much better than the statement she dismissed… "Do you happen to play chess? Cause I think you'd be good at it. Taking down the Black King." Is this how Eve sounds?

A tip of his head to one side accents the bemused look that Richard returns in response to her approach, one hand lifting up to scratch under his chin in a rasp of short nails against stubble. Her anxiousness is recognized immediately, of course, but then she speaks - and makes murky waters even murkier. After a moment, he's come up with three possibilities of what's going on here.

A) This is the most awkward attempt to use code words ever in the history of spydom and heroic terrorism.
B) She's a member of a strange Chess Cult that's looking for new members, possibly worshipping Bobby Fischer or Kasparov.
C) She's propositioning him using chess-related euphemisms for something particularly kinky. 'Taking down the Black King' sounds particularly ominous in this context.

"…what?" A pause. "I, uh, we are talking about chess, right? Like, the board, the black and white pieces and all?" He needs to make sure it's not 'C' because otherwise he has to walk faster through the lobby.

"Yes and… no?" Gillian says, suddenly looking frustrated as she glances to the nearest people. If she were just asking him for sex, it'd be a lot easier. Her voice is whispered as she continues, stepping closer so as not to shout her whole piece of crazy through the lobby.

"I had a dream about you," she finally gives up trying to come up with a cryptic explaination. "I obviously fail at this shit, but it was you, looked just like you— little cleaner shaven, but it was definitely you, and since you're walking into the building now, and I'm assuming you're not going to the floors you can easily reach with a punch of a number, I'm guessing what I saw was right and you're the key. Or one of the keys. Whatever."

Cardinal's hand drops back down to his side as she steps closer, and he leans in fractionally— and then back, after hearing her words, the dubiously bemused look upon his face shifting to one more calculating as he looks down at her. "You had a dream about me," he repeats, not doubtfully but more consideringly. He tilts his chin up towards her, asking bluntly (if, mercifully, quietly), "Precog?"

"Among other things, yeah," Gillian shuffles the books so the notebook is on top. It takes a few moments for her to arrange things so she can flip the notebook open. Pages upon pages of writing, with sketches in the margins. Handwriting looks neat, but she flips to the end pretty fast. The margins here has a lot of chess pieces. A few paragraphs have outlining and a ??? next to it. She knows exactly which one to point at and does so. "Here— I described you here."

A basic description of his appearance. Fairly accurate, if a little different than how he currently looks. Keywords in the paragraph that would likely stand out: Takes over for Teo. Tavisha called him Richard. Playing Chess with Arthur.

That hand lifts again, pauses near the opened notebook as he looks at her with a questioning brow— assuming she permits, he'll pick it up to read the paragraph in question, otherwise he'll just have to lean over into her personal space to do so. The shades are slipped off, dangling in his fingers as hazel-green eyes scan the words in question. A faint snort of humor at something, though his expression remains serious as he surrenders the work.

"Sounds about right. I don't know a Tavisha, though. Or you." One brow lifts, silent inquiry.

A hand hovers nearby even if she lets him take the notebook. It's important to her! The paragraph, read in full, also mentions the addition of new pieces. All the pawns wiped from the board quickly. Missing a White Queen, which she's to add to the board for him. It goes on— there's more names mentioned. Ethan. Eileen. Edward. "Yeah, I didn't know you either," Gillian says simply once she's got her 'work' back. It's quickly closed and hidden away again under the book about chess. A beginners book, by all appearances. "My name's Gillian."

"Richard." A nod of introduction, a smile just-twitching tiredly to his lips, "Richard Cardinal. You must be Brian's sister. He mentioned you." Of course, he also put a gun to his head, but that was just business - sort of.

"Cardinal— like the bird," Gillian says with a hint of a smile, already associating him with a color in her mind as she nods to his comment. "Yeah, Brian and I only found out we were related a little while ago, but… At least you're not completely clueless about what I'm talking about. God, I can't imagine how crazy I'd look to a poor fuck who just walked off the street and didn't know about— any of this shit."

"I don't think there's much further down the rabbit hole than where I am," Cardinal admits, his tone a wry twist of voice at her observation, head shaking ever so slightly, "Even I don't fuckin' think half of this is real sometimes, I keep waiting to wake up on my friend's couch or something." Fingertips scratch against his brow just under the hairline, a smile twitching faintly to his lips, "No, I… have a decent idea."

"I'd love to lift my head up one day and find out I fell asleep in the library next to a strange book with chess pieces and comic books," Gillian mutters in agreement, even smiling a little as she glances back at the door. "Is there anything I need to do to help you?" she asks when she looks back. "If you're planning to be helping the people upstairs with this— least it means we're on the same side. Fucking thing wasn't direct in anything that happened. Except, you know. You. And whose side you weren't on."

At that, Cardinal's lips crook in some private humor. "Really? Maybe you can let me know, then, because most days I don't know whose side I'm on. I do know who I'm against, though." The smile fades at that, his right hand flexing in a curl of fingers before they relax once more, "I'm just playin' shit by ear. I think they're hoping I manage to pull off a miracle."

"Not without help," Gillian says after a moment, looking up at him more seriously. Despite her fumbling around, she's looking more confident. "Dream might be shit and gibberish, but— here you are. Name really is Richard, and that tells me the rest wasn't shit and gibberish either. If I can help you, I will. Cause I want to be there when he gets what's coming to him, even if I just play a small part." For the pieces of her he ripped apart and murdered, for the lives he messed with… for the piece of her brother he robbed from ever knowing about her. "Need help getting upstairs? Or were you already given access?"

"I've never waited for access to get into anywhere," Cardinal replies confidently, looking over to the elevator, and up. Sure, he might not be a burglar these days, but he's still got those skills. "I'm a little early for my appointment, though, so they might not even be home yet. God knows I can use all the help I can get, though, Gillian…" A rueful shake of his head, looking tired for a moment, "It's a fuckin' balancing act, and I was never in the circus."

"I used to be a librarian. Closest thing to juggling I had to do was keeping a mountain of books from falling on me," Gillian says quietly, glancing to the elevator. "I could take you part way up and you could wait up there— better than the lobby." Sounds like he's more skilled than her, in that sort of thing, at least. Not a thief, though not a saint either. Librarians don't have to worry about that sort of thing often.

They're the ones to watch out for, though. If they don't know how to do something, they can find a book that'll teach them how. "That works for me," admits the thief, slanting over a look and a faint smile, "We can probably talk more freely up there, too."

Fitting that she's currently a walking file cabinet of abilities, then? Possibly…

Gillian grins in response, even laughing a little. As her smile widens, dimples appear on her cheeks, "Yeah, upstairs is a little less… Whisper-worthy." The last part is said at the tones they'd been using before, then she steps over and punches the button to wait. It dings to let them on fairly quickly.

The doors slide open, and Cardinal gestures with one hand for her to precede him into the elevator— either chivalry or paranoia, it's impossible to tell which. A step in after her, and he reaches out with a gloved hand to press down on another button, leaning back to the wall and folding both arms over his chest. As the doors shut, he regards her curiously, head tilting a little to one side, "So tell me about this dream you had."

There's elevator music this time— it must have been out the other day. 80s rock, in fact. Gillian lets him do his thing as she leans against the far corner and says, "It was a game of chess. Multiple ones, actually. White versus Black, but most of us were on the same side in a way— the pieces turned gray one time, to show they were really the same in the end. The group upstairs playing against former enemies, who are now allies, allies playing against allies…"

She frowns a moment, as if the whole thing strikes her as difficult to understand. "And then there's Papa Assface. Teo played him first, had been playing him for years— he lost the first round, and wanted a do-over. And then you took over for him. You were short on pieces, you were alone, so… I gave you a piece, the White Queen. Eileen— do you know her? — she gave you a piece too."

The dream's meanings are considered for a few moments, Cardinal's hand lifting up to knuckle under his chin, lips pursing tightly as he thinks about things. "I think I can understand some of it," he ventures, carefully, "Laudani— in the future, I think he'd been working against Petrelli. He came back, with the other time travellers, and burrowed into Teodoro's body. Took it over. I'm guessing that's the do-over you mentioned."

"Eileen gave me some support, recently, I signed her and some of her friends into my plan… a White Queen, though…" He looks at her seriously, "Any ideas? God knows I can use all the 'pieces' I can get."

"Yeah, I know about that bit, with the future and how this fight didn't even happen for like ten years— until people jumped around time and decided to change things. Guess you could say that was half my fault." Gillian shrugs a bit, as if she's not sure whether to apologize for it or not. "I'm not sure what I can give you except me. I'm not one of the bosses of Phoenix— I can't really promise you much else. But I do more than dream— that was actually the first and only time it's happened."

There's a pause, "Do you know about Tyler Case and the other one? I got zapped and what I was supposed to do mucked with— so now… I get powers from other people. They still keep them, so I'm not like that fucking bastard, but… that's what I got."

"I work with Phoenix, but in all honesty? They're a political group, by'n large, and they make too many compromises for my taste. One day, maybe they'll have comic books about them— " A flicker of memory, Edward's sneer as he mentioned just that, brings the ghost of a smile to Cardinal's lips, "— but the public won't remember a lot of the people who did the real dirty work to get there. Honestly, the best Phoenix can do for me is to be a distraction and deal with some of the lesser players while they keep Arthur's attention."

He gives her a curious look, then, "Huh. Yeah, that's what Tyler does." He says it in a more familiar way than most, like he's talking about someone he knows rather than a boogieman or phenomenon. "Interesting. How's it work?"

"Yeah, I only ended up working with them cause… I needed to keep them from hurting someone I was close to." Gillian says, though that might sound uncharacteristic of Phoenix, vying for protection for Sylar had been about the only reason she'd been with them. "And then Teo kept me on. I'm not sure how much longer I'll stay with them after this is done. I'll probably just help Brian out. At the Lighthouse." That'd been part of her deal with Brian.

"I can definitely keep Arthur's attention with everything I've got— I've been testing it out, preparing, fighting myself in the middle of the night in midtown, using what Brian does. Basically anytime I meet someone who does something— I can do it too. Sometimes it happens right away, I guess sometimes it never does. I met the precog weeks ago and only got the dream a few nights ago." Unreliable in a way, but… "I got at least eight things I've pretty good at now."

"Assuming it gets rebuilt… and if he stays with the project." Cardinal gives her a thoughtful look at the first— and then he shakes his head a little, "Well, if you're lucky, you've picked up what I can do, then. Not what I can— normally do, but what I can do now. It'll keep Arthur from finding you."

"Well that's good. I figured he'd been having a difficult time already, but— hey, if it works like that…" Gillian even smiles a bit, unwilling to admit she'd been weary of Arthur as soon as she found out he could find people no matter where they were. It had been disturbing! "The Lighthouse'll get rebuilt, or moved somewhere— those kids need a home and… If that doesn't work out, I'll find something else, I'm sure. Assuming any of us survive this shit." Third time could be the charm when it comes to Arthur killing her?

"Yeah." Cardinal's head falls back against the wall of the elevator, his eyes closing as he admits fatalistically, "If we survive all of this shit. I hope this even works, with him replicating now— well, the plan hasn't changed, so, hopefully this'll still kill the sonuvabitch." Quietly, "All we have is hope, in the end, I guess."

"Hope isn't something I really bank on often," Gillian says, before she shrugs her shoulders. "But I still believe we're going to kick his ass." She stood by the person who saved the world months ago, she'll do it again. Even if a dream's the only thing telling her it's right. She just happens to have a lot of faith in dreams, and time travel.

Cardinal wishes he could. He'd met too many time travellers and found them wanting. His head drops back forward as the doors ding softly and slide open, and he flashes her a crook'd smile, "Tell you what, if you're right, I'll owe you a drink. If I am, you owe me. 'Course, I don't know what the bars charge in the afterlife…"

The door opens, and Gillian lets out a small laugh, still dimpling at him as he crooked-smiles. She's met plenty of time travellers too, and most she wishes would've stayed where they came from, but she saw firsthand what she hoped would be a good ending, and she knows Gabriel's time jump helped defeat Kazimir… "I'll take you up on the drink. Best part about it, if I lose— well— I'm sure the drinks in heaven are amazing, but the ones in hell— who knows."

"I doubt any've us're going to the first place," Cardinal observes rather dryly, "Who knows, though? Maybe God's got a sense of humor." A shake of his head, noting with some dark amusement, "The nuns'd kill me to hear me say it, though."

"Don't know any nuns," Gillian says, still smiling at the observation. "But I do think God has a sense of humor sometimes— assuming there is a God at all. Not totally convinced, yet." She does seem to be ready to leave the elevator, though, stepping away from the edge of the wall, "I'll take that drink though, when we both survive." Assuming they do. But it seems she's sticking to the positive right at this moment. Cause the negative means no drinks.

"You're lucky," Cardinal shakes two fingers in her direction, moving to step out of the elevator and sweeping an arm invitingly to lead her along past him— that roguish smile lingering as he admits, "I grew up with 'em. And sounds like a fair deal to me."

With his arm leading her past him, Gillian steps out with the book and notebook held close against her chest. What will happen if they don't succeed? The same thing that would've happened if they'd failed on the bridge, probably. Maybe not as drastic. "It's a good thing I ran into you, but that's probably what my dream was setting up. At least now I know the guy I'm helping isn't a total asshole."

"Now, c'mon, Gillian," Cardinal replies in cheerful tones as he steps after her, "You haven't even gotten to know me yet. Give it time."

"You can still be mostly an asshole without being a total asshole," Gillian responds with a smile that actually looks genuine. If he'd known her better the last few weeks, it would actually be the first full smile in a while.

"I try to be a total asshole, but," Cardinal gestures vaguely with one hand as he walks out of the elevator, a lopsided grin there on his own lips, "Then Abigail gets kidnapped, or one of my friends gets tortured, and then I have to go be a good guy or something. It's terribly inconvenient."

"Abigail— healer girl Abigail?" Gillian has to ask, glancing over. The kidnapping was briefly mentioned around her, though she'd never known enough about it to do anything— the last time she'd seen the girl they were falling off a bridge together, losing hold of the other's hand as the water dragged them downstream. "Trying to save people you care about certainly does cause the biggest inconveniences."

"Yeah. And tell me about it…" Cardinal shakes his head a little, slanting over a wry look, "Plus there's the whole 'saving the world' bit too. All I know is, they'd -better- not put me in a damn comic book. If I see one Richard Cardinal action figure…"

"God, I have some old friends who would jump at the possibility of an action figure," Gillian says with a snort, even laughing. Unknown to her, in the future, she had a chance to be in a comic book, and she had refused to allow them to use her identity, despite the fact then the comic book featured a relationship between the character based off her husband and his ex-girlfriend. But publicity had never been what she wanted, even when she got it. Some she could avoid, and the comics had been one. Even if the future shall never happen… The general foundation remains intact. "I just want Arthur to die. They can keep the glory for all I care."

"Exactly. They're the politicals, let 'em gather up the glory and praise and publicity… I don't have the patience for that 'change the system from the inside' bullshit," Cardinal admits with a shrug of one shoulder, fingers gesturing dismissively through the air. "It could turn on 'em just as easily."

"Yeah, this is personal to me, in a lot of ways," Gillian says, smile settling a bit as she thinks back on all the many things that Arthur has done to her since she first set foot in his office and saw him laying in a hospital bed. There's a shrug, then she tries to regain her smile to add, "See? Not a total asshole."

"Damn." Cardinal's head tips back, as he smiles wryly up at the ceiling, "There I go again. You never know, though, I could be totally just pretending."

"I hope not, cause I dislike complete lies. You don't want me to punch you in the nose when the dust settles," Gillian shifts the book so she can raise a hand up and put a forefinger an inch from her thumb in a gesture. "A little bit of lying is perfectly natural, though. You'll probably be getting the same from me, sometime down the road. Right now— well— if you're the key to kicking that assface off of his own fucking board, you're pretty much getting the whole truth."

"The truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?" The woman gets a slightly amused look, one brow lifting as Cardinal regards her a moment, then shakes his head with a low chuckle, "That'll be novel… and I hope you're right, because I really want this fucker dead." He glances down to his hand, fingers curling into a fist by his side, then relaxing as he murmurs quietly, roughly, "There was only one thing I could honestly call mine, and he took it."

"Not quite that cheesy, but sure," Gillian says, despite finding it cheesy, she seems to be amused. There's a long look at him as he mentions what was his— what was taken. "He took what was mine too, even if it'd already been in someone else's possession at the time. Took things from me I didn't even know I wanted until he did. Tried to kill me, nearly killed the brother I'd just found…" Okay, maybe not the whole truth. But it's not like he asked. "All I used to do is— I could make people's abilities stronger. That's why everyone and their brother wanted to use me for something. One touch and all of a sudden you're twice as powerful as you should be." While the power she has now is more useful to her she can't help but miss it. "What'd you use to do?"

"He took this, too," Cardinal's fingers splay as he shakes his hand a bit, looking mostly forward rather than at her as he walks, "I got someone to grow it back for me, though. I… ah, it wasn't anything as impressive as some've the Evolved out there. I could turn into shadows." He slants a sidelong look, then, noting quietly, "Abigail said the same thing. They only came to her when they needed healing. They didn't give a shit otherwise."

Shadows. "Well— least now I know what that power is," Gillian says softly. "He killed one of my clones using it— hunted them down and then froze them while still maintaining that shadow form. That me couldn't even hit the fucker." Her and Abby, in some ways, got the shit end of the spectrum, but she doesn't say that. There's a difference between being useful and being appreciated. "Glad you got your hand back. Everything he's done to me has been… to clones or to the people I— " Love. "Care about. And to me through them." Some of what he's done, she can never get back. And some had never been hers to begin with.

"Have your clones pick up some laser pointers," Cardinal advises— pausing a moment before clearing his throat against his hand, "Ah. I'd prefer you don't spread that around, though, since I, uh, plan on getting it back eventually." He shakes his head a little, murmuring, Sucks, don't it? All of this bullshit."

Laser pointers. Now that could be helpful. Gillian nods, thoughtfully, then tosses out a follow up, "Don't spread around that I'm basically power viagra — enough people fucking know already thanks to Ray's big fucking mouth — and I'll keep it to myself as much as I can." Mentally, that's just been added to her shopping list.

"Ray." Cardinal's lips purse tightly, "Seems like he's always there somewhere behind the scenes, doesn't it… somewhere along the line. He's had his fingers in things for quite awhile."

"Don't much care for him, either of him," Gillian says, confirming she knows there are two of him, at least. "He was in my dream too, playing chess with himself. Been at it a while my dream narrator said. Longer than Teo and Arthur had been at it."

"Yeah, well," Cardinal mutters under his breath, "I'll see if we can cut that game short, then, and save them both some time." A glance over, and he admits, "I should get to my meeting, but— we should get together sometime, go over the dream and all, see if there's anything else we can dig out've it. I'm not exactly a dream interpreter, but, hell, I can use all the help I can get."

There's a hesitant pause, as if Gillian might have something important to say on the matter— then she shakes her head instead. "Later, yeah, I don't want to shove in on your meeting." There's a shifting of her notebook, a pencil (not a pen) clipped to it comes out to scribble down a number, with her name over it. "Here you go. Call me when you're done if you can't find me and we'll meet up."

A smile quirks up at the corner of Cardinal's mouth, and he reaches over to accept the piece of paper. "First you're dreaming about me, then you're giving me your number… careful, a guy might get ideas," he teases lightly, before lifting his chin in a more serious nod, "Talk to you soon, Gillian. Tell your brother if he points a gun at my face again, I will kick his ass, eh?"

From the grin, she may not mind if he gets the wrong idea. Pretty much single right now, other guy she loves is likely a lost cause— and hey, older dark bad boys are her type. But then he mentions her brother and eyebrows shoot up. "Brian did what?" Gillian exclaims. "Unless he had a really good fucking reason, I'm gonna kick him in the shins." She may or may not be the older— there's no telling since the adoption thing, but still. Sister's can threaten their brothers when they're dumbasses. "That dumbass." She shakes her head, muttering, before pulling the notebook back against her and looking stern at someone who isn't actually there. "I'll see you later, Cardinal."

"Ah, I kind've understand it. If he does it again, though…" A low chuckle stirs on his breath as he speaks, the number tucked away before Richard turns to head down the hall, "See you later. Watch yourself, babe… seems like we're all gonna need to work together to win this game."

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