The Devil In The Details


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Also Featuring:

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Scene Title The Devil in the Details
Synopsis After skeletons of the past are dug up, Robert Bishop comes to try and make a plea for the future.
Date June 27, 2010

Coyote Sands Relocation Camp


The sun set a long time ago, sunk down into the western horizon to bathe the Arizona desert in cold shadows. The stories told about just how cold the desert can get at night isn't a lie, this sand and dust doesn't retain heat well, and the chill that comes over Coyote Sands isn't just from the grisly past being unearthed from dry, dead ground.

Moonlight reveals some thirty graves, all buried shallow in the ground, some adults, some children. The bodies in some of the graves are almost like the skeletons unearthed at Pompeii, cowering together, arms around one another, trying to shield or protect each other. It's a sickening sight, sicker by the grave unearthed and the bones brought into that pale glow.

That a corner of the moon is being swallowed by darkness is an evocative omen for this meeting. One third of the moon's heavy size bitten away slowly by the encroaching shadow of the earth, a partial lunar eclipse that fell on — of all nights — this one. As the graves were being dug, Angela and Caliban retreated into the warmth of her Angela's parked SUV, but the exertion of unearthing these skeletons in the closet come with only cold comfort for those who did the digging.

Driving his shovel into the ground and leaning against the handle, Avi Epstein rests his sweaty forehead down on the backs of his hands, dirt smeared across his cheeks and brows furrowed heavily. "The fuck are we supposed to do with all've this?" is the grousing question from Epstein's parched lips, shoulders heaving from the dig and mind reeling from the sheer heartlessness of it all.

"The fuck good is showing this to any of us?" Avi asks without looking up from the shovel he leans against, his glasses awkwardly crooked as he presses his head down further against the backs of his hands. "Ain't nothing that can make this right."

"You've put enough bodies in graves before, Epstein… we all have…" Cardinal thrusts the spade into the earth and takes a step back, both hands raking back through sweat-soaked hair as he turns his sunglass-hidden gaze up to the evening skies overhead, "…we can stand to burn a few calories digging some up."

Despite the dark-humored banter, he seems to agree, gaze sweeping over in the direction of the SUV with a frown, "I wonder what she's looking for, though. Maybe one particular skeleton…?

After having been to Antarctica and spent the very extended winter in North Antarctica, Cat isn't much bothered by the decreased temperature of this desert locale. She's shed the hat, it not being needed after the sun's vanishing. Long sleeves and pants provide a measure of insulation anyway, standing out amid the low light because of bright colors. "I suspect Angela knows," Cat muses. Her head tilts toward the truck she and the two with her came in. "If we need more light, that's what we brought the gasoline cans for."

"A particular skeleton?" Veronica says, pausing to rub her blistered hands on her jeans for a moment's rest, then pushing her hair off her face with the back of her hands. Her eyes fall on the unearthed remains. "Not really fancying the idea of going through pockets for ID." She glances at the SUV, then back at the three grave diggers (grave robbers?) with her. "So is this like Project Icarus all over again, or was this a mistake that got covered up?" she asks.

Were Cat's conversation about light a request, it would have been answered. Even then the arrival of another pair of headlights up the dusty road towards Coyote Sands comes slow and with a stiffening of Avi's spine as he looks up towards the noise of tires on dirt. There's a crease of his brows, lips downturned into a frown but not surprise, perhaps there's still one more layer of this particular onion to be revealed here.

Stepping away from his shovel, Avi takes a wide stride over one of the unearthed graves towards the back of Angela's parked SUV. With the interior lights off it's impossible for him to make out what's transpiring inside, what the sound of Caliban's voice and hers might be suggesting, but that he could've sworn that he heard someone crying is enough to give him pause. He hesitates by the side of the SUV, squinting behind the still-present lenses of his sunglasses at the headlights approaching.

"We're about to get our answer," Avi comments quietly, watching the other SUV pulling up as it sweeps headlights over him and then takes a turn to park not far away from Angela's vehicle. The headlights stay on, and the matching SUV even has similar Arizona state plates.

As the headlights sweep over the gathered, Cardinal grimaces despite his shades; one hand raising up to shield his face from the bright illumination that feels like a stab into the back of his brain. "I can't see a goddamn thing," he admits aloud, "Can anyone else see who that is?"

"I don't see whoever came in that yet," Cat answers after glancing that way, having chosen to wait until it parked and the headlights faced away from them. "Looks like another of that security firm's vehicles. Got ideas, Mr. Epstein?" She continues to observe, leaning a bit on the edge of her shovel, while Veronica's question is addressed. "What was being done here was labeled Project Icarus," she relates, "as was what Arthur did at Pinehearst. The tragedy here, the graves, happened because one of the detainees flipped out rather than go willingly for more testing, and the soldiers followed suit. It turned into a massacre."

"Shit," Veronica murmurs, hand moving closer to her holster, though not drawing her weapon. "Local plates, it looks like, but we see how reliable those are," she says wryly, glancing at Avi and then the other SUV full of non-locals. She follows to the other side of Angela's SUV, bringing her shovel with her and waiting for the newcomers to join their little party. She glances in the windows, dark as they are, to see if Caliban and Petrelli look at all disturbed by the new arrivals.

"Stragglers…" Avi answers in grumbling tone, watching the drivers and passenger's side doors of the newly arrived vehicle open and close soundly. Silhouettes in moonlight are the only things revealed at first from those emerging from the newly arrived SUV. As Avi tenses up, he hears a click from Angela's vehicle as the driver's side door opens and Robert Caliban steps out with a crunch of his shoes into the dry earth. He moves ahead to meet the new arrivals, voices low as he converses between the two newcomers, then quietly motions towards Angela's SUV before dipping his head down and walking back to the vehicle he'd come out of. Avi watches the remote scene with scrutiny, even when Caliban gets back inside Angela's vehicle and starts the engine up.

Looking back over his shoulder to Cardinal, Catherine and Veronica he furrows his brows then snaps his attention back to the glow of red taillights as Angela's vehicle makes a slow and steady departure away from Coyote Sands and down the road before coming to a stop near where Cat had parked the old beat-up pickup truck.

Doors open and close again, putting Caliban and Angela a good distance away from the graves. "Mister Epstein," comes a largely unfamiliar voice from one of the approaching men, moonlight reflecting off of the lenses of his eyeglasses and the top of his head. Veronica Sawyer knows Robert Bishop's voice, knows his smooth tone and business-casual demeanor well enough. But for Richard Cardinal and Catherine Chesterfield he's a face from old photographs and old memories, respectively.

At his side is someone unfamiliar to both, a silver-haired man easily in his late fifties, square-shouldered and tall, dressed in a sleek black suit and undershirt in contrast to Bob's camel-colored desert accessorizing. "Doctor Chesterfield, mister Cardinal," Bishop intones with a nod of his head to each, then finally tips his glasses down and affixes a stare to Veronica, "Agent Sawyer." It's not a disapproving tone, but more of a I'm surprised to see you tone.

"In case my reputation hasn't preceded me with all of you, my name is Robert Bishop… current Director of the Company and…" he looks out to the graves, tongue sliding across his lips before he looks down to the dusty road. "And I was among the people to call this place home, once." Motioning to the man at his side, Bob offers the dour looking old man an incline of his head.

"This is Director Alfred Balfour of the Company's Seattle Washington division." Bob's hand lowers and his attention drifts between the four in plain sight of the graves. "I'm glad you could come… and I'm sorry if Angela may have had an interesting way of exposing you to the history of this place. We all… have memories here." Glancing askance to Balfour, Bob furrows his brows and then looks back to the group of diggers.

"I would've been here sooner but my flight from Washington was delayed. Angela needs some… time, so it seems serendipitous enough timing on my part. I take it you've dig up quite a few questions tonight…" were the subject matter not so grim, Bob may have smiled a touch at his joke.

As his vision begins to clear, Cardinal steps slowly along over to stand next to Avi, arms folding over his chest as the pair get out of the car and begin to approach. Pupils dilate slowly behind the oil-slick black of his sunglasses, focusing on the faces of the two men. Recognition wakes at the sight of the balding fellow, a breath drawn in slightly, a subtle sign that the agent beside him might recognize.

"Mister Bishop," he offers casually, "Mister Balfour. My condolences for your job - I hope you've been keeping your resumes updated, from what I've been hearing on the grapevine…"

A sweep of his gaze away from them to the graves, then slowly he looks back, admitting, "Just a bit. Care to give us a history lesson?"

Brown eyes move from one person to another, the woman they belong to doesn't speak. Cat chooses to simply observe and listen for the time being, to absorb whatever history lesson is given. Information from the file Sabra provided is called up, as well as from her own files. Those include knowledge of how Bishop tortured his own daughter and made her insane. The desire to assault him with a shovel and include him among the skeletons is repressed. One likely can't detect she even had it.

Veronica's hand stops hovering near its holster, coming to rest on top of her other hand on top of the shovel handle. Her brows raise and she gives a nod to Bishop, than Balfour, both of whom she has met, the former more often than the other of course. She rolls her eyes slightly at Cardinal's lay-off jokes. "Good evening," she says, keeping her voice neutral. The acceptance of her various superiors at her actions is perhaps more frightening than if she had incurred their wrath. She glances over her shoulders at the mass graves, then back, the question tacit in her dark eyes.

"No," Bob answers belatedly of Cardinal's question, both wry and somber all in one. "But, unfortunately, that's part of the reason I'm here, to tell you what happened in this place and why most people haven't heard of it." Balfour takes a slow step around Cardinal, offering an askance look to Veronica before walking up to the edge of one of the graves, brows furrowing and lips downturning into a frown. Stoic and silent, Balfour looks back over his shoulder to Cardinal, Cat and Epstein.

Tucking his hands into his pockets, Bob looks over to the half-shadowed moon, then walks to the edge of one of the graves, examining them quietly, their silent bones set under the moonlight. "My family and I were brought here to Coyote Sands in the spring of 1961. It wasn't a very good year for anyone, especially our kind…" Being the only non-evolved in present company, Avi rankles his nose at that accusation, then takes a sidestep to stay in pace with Bob as he wanders over to one of the graves.

"The government found out about me through my parents, found out about my parents through finding out about me. We were problems, curiosities, weapons. I don't know, really, what the original intention of this place was aside from trying to understand the kind of threat we as a people represented. We were brought here, told it would be to help us learn how to control our powers, how to integrate into society… and that the guards had guns for //our own protection."

Lifting his glasses off, Bob polishes the lenses, then looks over his shoulder to Cardinal and back again. "This is where I met Angela, where I met Charles, where I met Daniel. This is where the Company was born, out of… this," there's a motion to the skeletons ruefully. "Our families are all here, Charles', Daniel's, Angela's and mine."

Looking to Cat, Bob is quiet for a moment, brows furrowed until he looks back into the graves. "We were just children, we used to sneak off camp thanks to Charles' power. We… we weren't here when the worst of it came, when one mistake turned this into a bloodbath. We lost our families to this place, and swore that we wouldnt let it happen ever again."

Looking up over the frames of his Aviator sunglasses at that notion, agent Epstein squares a oh really look on Bob, one brow raised. The bespectacled Company founder exhales a sigh, then swallows noisily and looks over to the rotting buildings.

"We did what we needed to hide this place, hide our kind from the world so that this sort of reaction wouldn't happen again. We did what we had to do, to make Coyote Sands disappear from history, and with the power behind us… we could. But we weren't satisfied with one victory, we grew. We found more people like ourselves, we became intoxicated by the idea that we could perceive the future and change it if we didn't like what we saw. We let power rot our foundation and ambition blind us to what was important and what was so desperately wrong. We let people like Adam Monroe lead us astray and in our own ignorance let people like Arthur turn into monsters under our own noses."

Bob offers a look over to Cat, then creases his brows into a furrow. "We became the monsters, and by the time any of us realized it the future that was approaching was far out of control. The facade we'd been living under was hiding a rotten core… a new generation of our kind was being born, just like the other epochs before us, and we weren't going to be able to hide for much longer."

A look is offered askance to where Angela's SUV is, and from the looks of it Caliban has started a bonfire out on that side of the camp with Angela. Bob's glasses reflect the distant fire light. "Unfortunately, the problem has grown so far out of our control that the Company no longer has the power to correct its own mistakes…"

At that, Balfour closes his eyes and hangs his head.

"Power corrupts…" Cardinal raises one shoulder in a shrug, fingers sweeping off to one side, "…QED, I suppose."

"I think most of us knew that, though, if maybe not all of the details… so what's this about otherwise? Are you hoping that we're going to be able to fix those mistakes…?"

"John Acton, 1887," Cat quietly adds to Cardinal's comment, "and absolute power corrupts absolutely." Yet, it does register in her mind that those who once were corrupted by power they amassed now stand humbled before potential enemies who've made alliance of a sort with one of their own agents. To her mind, it draws up another famed quote. How have the mighty fallen.

"No offense, but I'm not sure you ever really did have the power to correct your mistakes, no matter how well-intended they were. Cover them up, yes. 'To every action there is always an equal and opposite reaction,' and that's what we're dealing with now — the reaction to every mistake the Company and the government has made in the past, I think," Veronica murmurs, her husky voice a touch sad as she considers that the skeletons in those graves belong to people she's looked up to, that these people who were once children and victims of the government grew into 'monsters' while trying to effect change and improvement.

Much like she is trying to do.

She brings weary eyes up to Bob Bishop, and tilts her head. "We were here looking for answers. You already know what's here. What is it you're here for?"

"I'm here to make sure that you don't make the same mistakes we did," Bob intones gravely, looking up to Veronica with a stiffly clenched jaw. "We are ona collision course for disaster, and no one— no one is at the helm. The damage done by the intelropers from our future have put the world so far off course I…" Bob breathes out a sigh, looking over to Balfour who seems content to remain silent for the moment. "I'm not going to pretend to sugar-coat the truth, because the lot of you here know the true story. Either through your connections," Bob offers a look to Avi, "through your friends," a look to Cat, then Veronica, "or through your determination," his eyes settle on Cardinal lastly.

"We helped create this situation, with the best of intentions and the worst of results. Elements within the Company orchestrated the Midtown explosion, Nathan Petrelli's Senatorial campaign win, and his rise to President. We were serving as architects of a future that— while terrible in cost, was trying to prevent this." Bob's eyes look out to the graves, brows furrowed and emotion hitched in the back of his throat.

"You're familiar with Edward Ray…" is the last thing that anyone might have expected to hear out of Director Bishop's mouth. "In 1992 the Company became aware of Edward Ray while he was living in Massachusetts. We made a move on him, a calculated Bag and Tag affair, had him detained for classification and research. In testing Edward's upper limits, we became aware of a chain of events approaching us that would have revealed our kind with the most disastrous of implications. You think Midtown was a disaster, think the aftermath was a tragedy, it was nothing in comparison. Ray was a genius, statistical and theoretical, his grasp of quantum mechanics and theories on time travel gave us a frame of reference for our work. Diverting the course of history with an event so monumental that there could be no way for what Edward predicted to come to pass…"

Bob closes his eyes and shakes his head, looking into the shallow graves. "We saw this," he intones harshly, "we saw this world-wide." Looking up and over to Cat, then Veronica, Bob loses the wherewithal to keep his gaze steadied before he reaches Cardinal or Avi.

"The fucking bomb?" Epstein splutters, eyes wide behind the lenses of his sunglasses. "You were going to change the future with an explosion?" The ire that rises in his voice is as venomous as it is fiery, and Bob's slow nod of his head comes with a reluctant look to the agent.

"We had no other choice. Between Kaito and Edward's predictions and Angela's dreams, we had to do something enormous to divert the flow of history around what was coming. We failed," Bob intones gravely, "the bomb too little, too late. Something, I… I just don't know." Troubled by the implications and admittance of guilt, Bob's brows crease behind the frames of his glasses.

"Nathan's replacement changed everything, we gave him the power to change the world by uniting sympathies for the Evolved against a opresumed tyrranny, because we knew he had the strength it took to play the role of a villain, even if he wasn't aware he was. But none of us— none of us foresaw him being replaced, and now he's systematically taken our power from us, our influence. We gave him all the connections and power and resources he could need, and now he's turned it into… I don't even know. This isn't the future we wanted to make together."

When Bob loses his voice to speak, Balfour finally speaks up again, and with the practiced tones of a public speaker. "We're a generational race," he states obscurely, "the Evolved. We come and go every so many decades in waves, bursts of population preceeding moments of great social and political unrest and strife followed by a waning of our numbers. The early 1900s was one rise, then the 1950s, then the 21st century. Beginning and ending a population burst with an eclipse, the 2006 eclipse began the new rise and the 2007 eclipse lowered the birth rate back down again… We were the last generation," Balfour states with a distant stare out over the graves, "and look what we were birthed in." Turning his stare across the group of four, his brows crease together and eyes go distant. "Now you're here, a new era… Evolved and Non-Evolved, with your own war that we should have prevented."

Clearing his throat, Bob lifts a hand to lay on Balfour's shoulder, still staring down at the ground and the bones. "What I'm saying, is that we can't change the past. We can't undo our mistakes, but we can try and work together for the future that was supposed to be… a future where the Evolved and Non-Evolved can coexist. We hoped that by you seeing this, being shown this and hearing what we had to say… that you might be able to bury the axes," he looks up and around again, brows furrowed, "make our future something worthwhile together, and not…" he motions out to the bones, "not this."

"You think… you think that what the time travellers did destroyed the world? Do you have— do you have any fucking idea where your plans were leading you? Maybe you like the idea of your future being lorded over by that fascist son of a bitch Arthur god-damn Petrelli…" The accusations stir thick and angry in Cardinal's throat as he takes a step forward, raising a gloved hand that was taken from him by the aforementioned man in a sweep to one side, encompassing the entire area and the corpses laid in the ground.

"And now they have Edward, and they have all the god-damn power in the world, because you put the world on this path and…" That hand clenches into a fist, falling by his side, jaw tensed, "…I don't even think it's possible to stop this anymore. All we can hope to do is lessen the damage."

There aren't any surprises, in Cat's mind. Peter planted the explosion in her head with the ultimate vantage point long ago. Arthur filled in the blanks, now confirmed by the Alchemist. "We thought long and hard about revealing the truth to the world," she states gravely, "but chose not to. We had no proof, it would be so easy to discredit us in the absence of it. We even considered staging an exhibition of Nathan flying, but set that aside. Once again, too easily discredited, and even if it did manage to cause his impeachment and removal, it would only make Mitchell President. Not to mention the rioting in the streets. The whole thing makes me feel dirty, want to take ten thousand showers." Her eyes close, she makes no effort to hide feelings of revulsion from her features.

"I think the first step in setting things right is one you may shrink from. I recommend coming clean, with proof, about everything. Expose this, expose yourselves, expose the Institute, and let the chips fall where they may. When the smoke clears and the dust settles, the people will once again see the dangers of letting fear rule and will keep better oversight."

Some of this is news to Veronica — some of it was alluded to by Paulson and Ichihara. She closes her eyes and shakes her head, her jaw tightening at the anger that rises inside of her at all of the lies, at the mess the company she's tied herself to has caused. "Nathan's replacement? Who the hell is in the White House if it's not Nathan Petrelli?" Veronica says, glancing at Cardinal to see if he is aware of this — after all, he protected the identity of 'Adrian' in Argentina. Her brows knit when he mentions that they have Edward, and she closes her eyes.

At Cat's words, she shakes her head. "Fear will always reign. People are always afraid of what's different. People are too arrogant to think that learning from the past means them personally. I'll do what I can to help bring down the Institute — but I'm sure something else will just grow in its place. It always does."

"Nathan Petrelli from 2019 is in the White House, I don't know where the real Nathan is. He was in Argentina, where you were," there's a look to Veronica at that, "and then he was just gone." Suddenly, pieces of the puzzle from Operation Apollo begin to slot into place. "The current President is… I don't even know how he thinks, he's had a decade to sit in prison and rage. There's no telling what that does to a man."

Strained from that very thought and Cardinal's anger, Bob rubs one hand tiredly over his mouth. Cat's words, though, when finally considered after Veronica's subtle dissuading bring a certain semblance of distress to his face. "Coming clean now would do nothing for us, Catherine. It would kill the last vestiges of life left in the Company and cause God knows what panic. If the world found out they'd been lied to by an organization of secret Evolved and that their president was an infiltrator… that the world they knew was a sham, you think there'd be a world left standing by the time that anger cooled?"

There's a slow shake of Bob's head. "The world is still going on while this is happening. You kneecap the presidency and any number of nations would take that as this country's death knell. Korea, China, Iran. The world wouldn't survive another Midtown, and that's just what that revelation would be, not without someone like Arthur powerful enough to keep control and be strong enough to dissuade other nations from taking advantage of our weakness. We lost the opportunity for honestness…"

Bob's tongue slides over his lips, head shakes slowly. "We should've had more time…" he quietly murmurs with a shake of his head, "the bomb should've changed things, Peter Petrelli should never have survived the explosion, history would've gone down a different path and eventually we would've found peace. But something happened, something changed and everything went wrong. There was no time to course-correct by the time Arthur was rising to power under our noses, no time to course-correct when the visitors came to try and change everything."

Bob squares his jaw and looks down into the graves again. "From what I hear, Arthur's version of the future wasn't as bad as it could've been, wasn't as terrible in the end. There will always be tyrants in history willing to abuse their power, but the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few always, and that future… maybe it wasn't what we'd hoped, but maybe— maybe— it was what we needed." And he says this, knowing in that future he was executed.

"They have all the power in the world because we made mistakes, because we tried too hard to change things. We tried to play God with history and it blew up in our faces…" Bob turns, slowly, one hand lifting to raise his glasses up the bridge of his nose, pinching there gently.

"The Institute is the worst-case scenario, this is everything we were trying to stop and now we don't have the power to. We're hanging on by our nails to buy time, time enough to prevent any more damage from being done and to try and find a way to make things right. You've heard about what happens on the news, you've heard about the visions. If they have Edward Ray, they're going to try and change something, monumentally."

There's a look around, and while Bob is scanning the crowd, Avi squints his eyes narrow and shakes his head. "I get it, Mr. Shadowman deal maker, one of your subordinates, one of the underground… Why me? I'm not Evolved, I'm not even friends with any of these people. Why do you expect me to not just start shooting here and hope Larry, Moe and Curley," he may have meant Cardinal, Cat and Veronica with that generalization, "don't mind when Shemp snaps on you."

Reflected in Epstein's sunglasses, Bob frowns and shakes his head. "I may not be worthy of having the title father," Bob notes pointedly, "But I know what a father will do for their children." That's answer enough to shut Epstein up, but ob makes point enough to drive it home. "You're in Petrelli's trust, in his favor, you can be ears on the inside that we can't have. Maybe you don't understand but we can't fight the Institute, the Company doesn't have the strength. I'm not coming here to ask you for help, I'm coming here to say that when we can't hold them back any longer, when the dam breaks, you all had best have locked your arms together. United we stand, divided we fall."

"The person who set your course in the first place was one of those visitors, Bishop," Cardinal points out flatly, "Don't you wonder what he saw that made him go to such lengths…?"

One hand raises up to rub against the back of his neck, his head shaking slowly from side to side, "…yeah, well, easier said than done. I can talk to everyone, but they don't always listen. If you want us to handle the Institute, Bishop, release all the information you have to us then. Give us the goddamn weapons we're going to need to fight this fight."

It takes an effort of will to hold down her temper when Bob makes claim of what fathers will do for their children, this bald man who tortured his own so thoroughly. Hands start to curl into fists, she perceives that even now he'll practice deceptions. But to let loose that ire achieves nothing. "Call me naive if you will," Cat voices after some moments spent collecting herself, "but I still have faith in people to see reason. History backs me up. In any case, the key here is to break the Institute's political power and ensure whatever rises in its place is held accountable, kept on a very tight leash. The key, barring coming entirely clean, is to make the older Nathan break the Institute himself. Convince him if he doesn't, he will fall."

"We can't just let the dam break," Veronica says with a shake of her head, when the metaphor she'd used recently with Cardinal is echoed by Bishop. "Their greatest resources are the people they've kidnapped and used against their will — people like Ray and Carpenter and Childs and whoever else they have abducted and manipulated or tortured or experimented on."

Her eyes narrow. "Mortimer Jack knows the locale of the Institute. We could possibly use that for a strike against them, if we can get the information from him, though he says he isn't going to divulge it. Or…" she pauses, glancing at Cardinal then Cat, and back to Bishop, "I could be transferred. See if I can get them out from the inside." Too bad she's mouthed off to Harper, and has a history of questioning the Institute's actions lately.

"That's a very dangerous game to consider playing, Chesterfield, not everyone's willing to accept the truth. History will back you up…" there's a glance to the graves that Cat helped dig up herself at that. "As to how to stop the Institute and information about them, you all know more about them now than we do, I'm afraid. But there's something we're holding for the cause, something we're trying to keep out of their hands, and God help us if they get it…"

Looking to Veronica, Bob seems worried. "Mortimer Jack is a sociopath and a madman, he can't be trusted any more than he can be left alone. If Mortimer knows the location of the Institute's laboratories," and there's some noticable scrutiny at that suggestion, "then that information could be extracted from him. I don't think any of us are strangers to that means of interrogation, but with the Institute watching over our shoulder there's no one we can officially lend from the Company to help without setting off red flags and having the hammer drop sooner than we'd expect…

Bob's brows crease together and he doesn't seem to have a progression of where best to go from here, thinking aloud in reference to Cardinal's request. "We have people ready to offer up the necessary tools as soon as we can without risking them getting into the wrong hands. Where I just left," Bob notes with a nod to Balfour, "the Institute was attempting to take custody of Alfred's daughter and holding the Seattle branch of the Company responsible for letting her slip through the cracks and trying to turn it around so we were responsible for her mother's death at Monroe's hands. We're trying to plug leaks in a sinking ship, it's not a matter of if the Company is going to collapse, it's when and how hard."

Balfour's eyes close as Bob speaks, his head dips down into a nod and his hands wring together behind his back. He says nothing, even as Bob continues to be the vocal representative here, having renderd agent Epstein awkwardly silent some time ago. "You may actually be on to something there, agent Sawyer. We need someone on the inside," and at that Bob's eyes alight to Veronica.

"Buckley and Elle were attempting to infiltrate the Institute, but their efforts have been too hard fought. They're too well known as loyal agents, but you've…" Bob stops himself from describing Veronica in so many colorful words, choosing to go instead with. "Despite your gripes against the Institute, you have every reason to hate us and plenty to lose for fighting on the wrong side," and that much is the absolute truth. "I hate to ask you to do this, agent Sawyer, after everything you've been through, een though you volunteered… But you're the best double-agent we could hope to have. Immune to telepathy, location detection… If you can cover yourself with a good enough story and a good enough reason, you could get inside."

Brows creased together, Bob looks over to Cardinal, then Cat, then Epstein, then down to the dirt. "When the Company falls, there's going to be a lot of agents looking to jump ship and side with the winning team, or agents looking for safe places to hide, places to hide their families." Bob looks up to Cat, then to Cardinal, knowingly. But he doesn't make the request, not of Endgame, not of the Ferry. When the time comes, they'll make the choice on their own.

"Coyote Sands was an ending," Bob says quietly, head shaking slowly as he does. "A beginning that came from a great tragedy and loss of life," he looks up to meet his reflection in Avi's sunglasses, then around to the other three in slow succession. "I can only hope that the future that people that listen to you make is better than the one we tried to make."

Cardinal's head turns slightly to Veronica as she speaks, and he nods ever so slightly at her plan to infiltrate… looking back to Bishop then, he nods a little bit. "It's a good plan. If that ability of hers works the way she's told me… she'd be pretty ideal. My people can get information from them now and then, but it's sporadic and random, and we can't always get what we're looking for."

"I'll be willing to pick up a few resumes when the time comes," he says, vague with no promises, before adding with a gesture of one hand over to Bob, "I'm gonna want a minute of your time before you head off, Bishop." Privately, one assumes he means.

Attention shifts from one person to another as they speak, the words and opinions being mentally recorded without fail. When Veronica is outed as having some mojo, brown eyes linger on her. "Congratulations," she murmurs. "Quite the impressive-sounding development." Cat is contemplative for some moments thereafter, breaking her silence with commentary on Mr. Jack.

"That man is definitely certifiable," she agrees, "thankfully I only encountered him in a dreamscape. Infiltration by you, Vee, is a good idea. It's also possible to perhaps get claws on a researcher already in the fold, and I've cooked up some ideas on how to proceed there." This she opts not to elaborate about here and now. "I also counsel against underestimating Edward Ray. He's in their hands, and I've no doubt they intend using him to further some ambitious goal, but if it isn't to his liking he's resourceful enough to write a critical mistake into the plan, and they'll never see it coming."

Meanwhile, should the Seattle director and Epstein shuffle off and leave Bishop alone, Cat hasn't much intention of just letting the shadow man plot privately with him.

The words about her power making her a double-agent get a nod from Veronica — she's already considered that; not that there aren't ways around her power, certainly. "I think my past lends itself to a cover story easily enough, and the recent run-ins with Ichihara and Paulson could have pushed me in another direction than the way they have," she says, addressing Bishop. "We can talk about it later." Meaning back in New York. "My immediate superior is against the plan, but I think others may be on board," she adds.

Her eyes slide to Cat, and she gives a shake of her head at the other brunette's reaction to the news of her power. It's nothing she feels is worthy of congratulations. "Trust me when I say it's not all that impressive," she murmurs. "And as far as Edward Ray goes," she says, a little louder, glancing over at Cardinal, "I would imagine that he may know of our plans before we do, if he's as impressive as you all say. Hopefully he won't get any information extracted from him, if he's being used against his will."

Looking up to Cardinal, then over to Catherine, Veronica and Epstein, Bob shakes his head in slow silence. A wordless look is given to Balfour, followed by a nod of Bob's head. "Thank you for the ride down here, Alfred. You should get back though, before you lose the chance to say goodbye to Sophie." Casting his eyes aside, Director Balfour nods slowly and then looks around to the others.

"Give miss Petrelli my regards," he states in a quiet tone of voice before floating into the air like a wind-driven piece of sand or dust. Balfour looks down as he clears the rooftops, and then in a burst of speed disappears like a bullet into the air, leaving a streaked trail behind him in the skies after punching through a cloud.

Bob glances over to Cardinal again, then turns away from the empty graves and begins walking in the opposite direction. "There'll be time enough for talking later, the stars haven't all gone out yet." Oddly poetic a thing for Bishop to say. "It's getting cold and I think it's time to join Angela by the fire…" Behind where they've been talking, Angela and Caliban's bonfire rises up tremendously large, flames lapping up over the roof of the SUV that partly silhouettes the blaze.

"I'm heading back to New York myself, I won't be entirely unavailable, if this is something that can wait," and when Bob asks that of Cardinal it's clear he implies can it wait for privacy's sake in wordless quality. As the Company's director walks towards the glow of the flames, Avi looks to the shovel he planted in the ground, then to the bodies with a furrow of his brows, disquieted by all of this.

"What're we doing with them?" He asks in a hushed tone of voice, turning his attention back to the bespectacled Director. Bob hesitates, turns to look over his shoulder, moonlight reflecting pale in his glasses as he offers a rueful smile.

"We'll cover them up when you're gone," sounds more symbolic than Bob intended.

"They've given their warning."

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