cardinal_icon.gif francois_icon.gif

Scene Title Terms
Synopsis Information is traded and notes are compared as Cardinal and Francois discuss the commonalities between those that wish to see the Institute ended.
Date July 29, 2010

Dorchester Towers: Elisabeth's Apartment

The intent was for all three of them to meet, but Elisabeth's job has called her back upstate for most of the next week - or two - with the exception of brief but regular plane trips down to the city in an egregious waste of public funds. That's part of the fun of being part of a highly funded unit, one supposes.

That in mind, Richard Cardinal's set the meeting for just himself and the former host of not one, but both of the abilities that Hiro Nakamura called 'kamis'. They'd only met in passing, so he wasn't sure how this was going to go.

As the appointed hour arrives, he's working to clear some space on the coffee table where there's blueprints, maps, and sketched out notes spread all over. They're also all over the breakfast bar. Some of them have been tacked to the walls.

Francois is not late, on account of not getting lost, on account of having been here before to meet the woman of the place as opposed to the man he mostly remembers as a vague face, a more definite name. Less worried, too, about second or third impressions — you can really only go uphill with someone when the last time you might have seen them was while rapidly falling down a darkening, collapsing ice tunnel while straddling an active nuclear warhead. One of those things.

He's even dressed up for the occasion, or at least, bypassed going home in favour of heading from work to here, considering the layout of the city. And so Francois is in a suit, with his tie discarded in the car parked on the street below, and shadows of sleeplessness under his eyes which may allude to the situation or his strenuous work hours, either or.

Knocks, thrice, automatically tries the door.

The door is, of course, locked. They're nothing if not paranoid here at the Harrison household.

That's why it actually takes a few seconds to undo all the locks before the door's opened. Cardinal - oddly enough for him - is also in a suit, a neutral grey, if a bit rumpled since he doesn't really pay attention to what he's leaning against or how he's sitting. A tired little smile crooks to his lips as he opens the door, stepping back.

"Francois… come on in," he invites with a tilt of his head, "I think Nick left some scones in the kitchen if you're hungry."

A glance twitches over Cardinal's features, refamiliarising, and offers a nod in return as Francois silently steps inside. "I'm not, but merci," he declines, easing hands into his pockets, suit of steely grey and shirt a darker, slatey kind of blue, opened at the collar and all very well fitted. At odds, a little, from where there's a piece missing from his ear, bitten, but an old enough injury that its mishappenness is laced with white scarring rather than stitches. Not a new addition, particularly.

The throat scarring is, but it's a detail, one obscured by blue collar, at that. "I had heard you'd perished in Antarctica almost at the same time I learned you also survived," he notes by way of greeting, a fleeting smile, almost shy in its dimness, although insecurity probably is not the cause. "It took me some time to get back also."

"I was less than a minute behind you down the hole," admits Cardinal, forcing just a hint of dark humor to his tone as he steps in to close the door behind him, hand skimming up to redo the locks with the clatter of chain and thump of bolts. A turn back, and he offers a wry twist of that weary smile to the other man, "The trick is, don't hit the bottom."

He leads the way back into the living room with a vague wave of one hand, "…sorry for the mess, I've been doing what I can to gather intel on the Institute's hospital on Staten. It's, uh." A look around at all the paper here and there, printouts and satellite photos and books stacked about, and he clasps his hands together as he allows, "Well, let's just say I'm glad the office'll be ready soon, because I think if I overflow any more, Liz'll murder me in my sleep."

Sharper attention is now paid to his surroundings as Cardinal advises what the scattered debris of paper actually is, although likely Francois isn't getting information from a glance around. He follows, regardless, and there's a sharper look of surprise when words register: hospital on Staten. Less shock for the news itself, but perhaps surprised that it comes out of Cardinal's mouth at all. Manages a smile by the time he's back in view. "My bedroom, a little the same," he assures, with a hand gesture towards the spread of loose leaf pages, that hand drifting up to scratch the back of his neck.

"Elisabeth didn't entirely explain you," is— a little ESL, of him, but accurate in its own way. "But I assume you have been watching them for a little while, then?" A hand drifts out not to take anything, but nudge a blueprint around to see its contents.

"I have." A few books are hauled from the couch and set onto the coffee table, Cardinal's head shaking just a bit, "We've had a clairvoyant keeping tabs on the activity instead as much as possible, and now that one of their scientists is willingly cooperating… well, we have a lot more."

A look over, a faint twitch of a smile as he admits, "I'm hard for her to explain, I guess. Have a seat - can I get you anything to drink?"

Francois almost— almost!— asks for wine, but he already feels sodden with it. Not that he's drunk, having been at the hospital all day, but too much in too short a time has him hesitating and then shaking his head. No scones. No drink. Easy to cater for, if not very exciting, but Francois does take the seat that's offered, a concession towards attempted hospitality for all that it's like trying to be polite to a brick wall. "We?" he enquires— which is almost yes in French, but no, he's repeating, prompting.

So, too, does Cardinal ease himself down to seat now that the ritual offering of refreshments that's part of hospitality is over with; settling down at the edge of one of the other couch sections so he can look to the other man without having to twist uncomfortably. He slouches forward, arms resting on his thighs and knees, hands clasping together loosely.

"We," he echoes in return, chin dipping in a slight nod, "Myself, Elisabeth… I may have a few other people here and there. I wasn't actually invited onto Apollo, if you want to be technical about it, I invited myself along. I guess you can say…" A faint chuckle at the absurdity of the statement, "…I do this shit for a living."

"I hope it pays well," Francois replies, linking his hands together in a loose tangle on his lap, lines at his eyes vaguely deepening along with a brief smile, before his attention wanders back to the intel that decorates the room. Takes a breath, lets it out again as if to soothe nerves. "In all that you've gathered, have you run into anything about Teodoro Laudani?" he asks, the query he'd restrained himself from asking with Walsh, but has all the room to do so now. And not pay fifty grand for it.

"I have good news," Cardinal admits after a moment, gaze dropping down to the tips of his fingers as they tap against one another and then lifting back up to fix the other man with a serious look, "And bad news."

Fortunately, he hasn't yet become such a cliche that he makes Francois choose which one he wants to hear first.

"The good news is that yes, he's alive, and he's still being kept locked up in the compound. The bad news is…" Hesitation, "…this is, ah, going to sound a little crazy, but everything with these bastards is. They performed some sort of experiment on him, including at least one augmentor and a man that can sort of — wipe someone's personality and replace it with the mind of another — and there isn't just one Teo down there. There's also some kind of clone."

His hands splay apart, "My contacts don't know what they were doing, exactly."

The look that Cardinal is squared with is one of disbelief, understated on Francois' features as his expression always are — but articulate enough, green eyes gone a little hard in their stare, and there's a minor flush of colour that brings his pale skin to a pinker kind of peachiness. Good posture is abandoned for a slump back as he considers the bad news, and finally nods at it. "I think I may know why," he says, after a moment of making sure his voice would come out evenly. "But I suppose the why does not matter as much as the what."

His hands splay as well, unconscious mimicry, before relaxing again. "I do not have much to offer in return. I met with another contact only recently, and I learned just after I heard from Elisabeth about where this place even is."

"She'd mentioned," Cardinal's head cocks a little to one side, a serious gaze fixed on Francois's own expression, fine lines furrowing on his brow, "That you knew of other people who were already planning to hit the place…? I'd rather not we all be stepping on each other's toes, obviously. I've already had that happen once this month, and it was a fuckin' disaster."

Back straightening a little, Francois hesitates, then nods his confirmation, leaning into the arm of the couch a little. "There is talk of gathering numbers from within the, ah." Uncertainty in his hesitation, a glance upwards to Cardinal as if considering what jargon is appropriate, here, before he continues. "The Ferrymen network. They have had a lot of problems from the Institute. If they are not willing to bear arms against the government, then they will at least offer support for those that do. Transport, medical.

"Mostly, there is a group named Messiah who are looking to raid. A couple of their numbers have offered support, and my sense is that they are something of a wild animal. But I do not have issue with siccing a wild animal on this organisation. You are, too, planning to 'hit the place'?"

"I can work with Raith and his people," Cardinal admits, one hand raising up to scratch under his chin at the stubble there, his lips pursing slightly, "There's some good hands in the Ferry, even if most of them aren't what you can call soldiers, yeah, they're an excellent support network. Messiah…"

There's hesitance, there. "They worry me. I know several of them pretty well, and… well, I have some suspicions that they're being manipulated by somebody. They are a wild animal, and they can be pretty extreme, but we can probably use the firepower they can bring to bear. They have a lot of security on this place."

"If it comforts your sense of ethics," Francois starts, a hint of a smile showing, "then trust that their enthusiasm for taking down the Institute is genuine and without manipulation. I have a sense that those will assist in this are ones that will do so willingly, and I have friends there also. A friend, at least, and mutual understanding with their leader. We have a thing in common."

Evil incarnate, sure, but commonalities are a good foundation all the same. "They will be looking to free the prisoners, all of them, and probably try to cripple the operation. I have heard the term 'brick by brick' used a few times now. Perhaps this is in keeping with your desires."

At the mention of something in common, Cardinal's lips twitch in the faintest of smiles. "It doesn't have anything to do with ethics, Francois… but, in this case, I think we can all find common ground. I may need someone to smack Peter in the back of the head if he starts to pout about it, though. Care to volunteer?"

He nods, then, "I'll get together with Raith, and… I suppose I should get in touch with Peter. Maybe I'll go through one of the other Messianics that're sympathetic to me, since we tend to go together like oil and water."

"If you know Melissa, then perhaps you should go with her." Blithely unaware that getting Melissa to run interference with Peter is a terrible idea, is Francois. But it's also the only other Messiah member he trusts. "I am not Ferrymen, and certainly not Messiah, but as Peter knows, and as Eileen knows, I will help as I can. With Peter," is a jest, a briefer, crooked smile, "among other things."

Another hesitation, that uncertainty with the type and nature of the man he's dealing with cropping back up again, before Francois adds, "May I review the intel you got about Teo? I'd like to try to interpret it for myself."

"I know her." A dip of Cardinal's chin in a nod, "So long as they don't get too… uncontrollable, they'll be useful. My concern is that they're going to be trying to take some of the prisoners themselves, and if they're being manipulated like I suspect…" He grunts, shaking off his over-thinking of the issue with a shake of his head, "Well. We'll deal with that when we come to it."

He reaches out to shuffle some of the papers around, then, picking up his notebook and flipping through it. "There's not much," he admits, "Let's see… Doctor Luis, Julie Fournier, and Elijah Carpenter - and Broome himself - were on the facility for about two days performing experiments on Laudani, all very hush hush. Rumors of a clone of Teodoro. They brought in Gillian at one point."

Francois doesn't ask for the pages themselves, for all that he eyes them with a hint of greed — allows Cardinal to dictate instead and keeps his hands where they are. There's a flash of something, at the word experiments — an anxious breed of grief. Guilt, maybe, abstract though it may be, and his gaze falls sharply away to study the floor instead of printed pages or the other man reading them. "I ask because, he, ah, had talked about— this. Before. But nothing of the Institute, nothing of kidnapping. But of making— "

His eyes shut, briefly, a head shake — the kind people give about loved ones who do ridiculous things. "Of making copies, for himself. It's difficult to explain. But I think it would be worth trying to extract both, in case— " Just in case.

"Copies for himself? Why would…" Oh. Oh. Cardinal cuts himself off by sealing his lips together in a tight purse, fingertips drumming loosely over the paper of the notebook before he drops it down to the tabletop, "…something to do with, ah. Ghost I imagine?"

Subtle startlement is instantly followed by reserve, regret, of speaking of someone else's secret. Francois had clearly not anticipated to be talking sense, but possibly should have, falling silent before allowing a nod, then followed by a shrug. "Non. Not exactly, but that is a part of it. For the Teo that came before, mainly, but I feel he wants to let those dice fall where they may, to pursue a life he thinks he— doesn't have a right to— " His words stall, sinking worry and exasperation cresting over stoicism for a moment as his hands come up to briefly rub wearily at his face, slick French syllables muttered into his hands.

Muffled and foriegn, but he's probably cursing, just a little. More familiar to ears accustomed to English, as common as it is— "Pardon. I haven't told many about that." His hands drop away again, fingers splayed in gesture. "I did not count on it to be relevant, suddenly. We shall rescue him so I can kill him myself."

"I can cover the rescue part," Cardinal says, holding both hands upwards as if in surrender, brows raising a little bit and expression the very definition of wry, "I don't do relationship problems, and that includes problems with alternate personalities that may or may not be actual people." A beat, and then he's muttering as he drops his hands down, "…and it terrifies me how often that actually comes up."

"Anyway." He looks at the other man, "I'm assuming you're going to want to come along on the rescue mission?"

There is the start of a protest that this isn't a relationship problem so much as Teo is insane problem, but it's probably one in the same, at the end of the day, and so words die before they can actually leave a partially opened, and then closed, mouth. Francois only shrugs a little instead, reserve settling back into place with all the swiftness of a flash freeze, posture conforming back into the tailored lines of his suit. "Oui," is curt confirmation, for all that he looks particularly ordinary in his doctor get up and conservative haircut.

A nod, to that. Expected, of course. Cardinal certainly wouldn't let someone else rescue Liz without him being in the ranks. "I hope that you know how to use a gun, then, Francois," comes the next statement from the professional… whatever the hell he is, "Because there's one thing that I think my organization can agree with Messiah on."

"When we're done, there isn't going to be anything left of that little slice of hell."

"I was not in Antarctica for my mechanical prowess with nuclear weapons," Francois notes, with a wry smile. "I can shoot, and your terms are acceptable." Levering himself up to stand, sensing the looming close of this meeting, he nods to the other man. "I can tell Peter, Raith, Eileen that you are interested in something of an alliance of cause, in this. I'm sure they'll be eager to hear what you know."

Cardinal's own hands slide to the edge of the couch, and he pushes himself up to his feet. "Sounds like a plan," he allows, offering an easy if tired smile of his own, "After this particular crisis is over, you'n Teo should come over for dinner sometime." Well. A Teo. Both of them could get awkward.

No kidding.

"Mm. Elisabeth and I," Francois starts, stepping around the sofa to make for the path he had cut through the living space, back the way he came, "keep vowing to meet each other on calmer terms, for no other reason than company. I fear if we did, we would have nothing to talk about, but oui. Perhaps this time, it will happen." A glance over his shoulder as he pauses at the door where he intends to let himself out, remembering himself as he adds, "It was nice to meet you properly."

"She keeps getting irritated that I don't live any sort've semblance of a normal life," Cardinal confesses as he walks the other man to the door, his head shaking as he does so, "Maybe a quiet dinner'd make her happy. We could do something normal, like— fuck. I don't know. Rent a movie? Do they still make Trivial Pursuit?" And no cheating by constantly taking 'World War 2 History' as the category either.

A fleeting, if genuine smile, to the other man. "You too, Francois."

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