The Most Damage


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Scene Title The Most Damage
Synopsis Vengeance is carried out. But none of them can rest until they're done.
Date July 13, 2009

Peter's slight interactions into the timeline not his own only made the situation worse upon his return. Had he stayed too long, he would have risked even worse outcomes.

The shore sloshes against the hull of a vessel designated the Casino Royale. In the dim light of evening, the shadows are long that are cast out across the water of Brooklyn's wharves. Here, old wood turned an ashen gray color from exposure to the elements meets the dingy yellow light of old, flickering street lamps that hang like wilting flowers over the docks.

Allow me to explain.

Seated on one of the benches above decks, a small and unremarkable man folds back a newspaper to an interior page, his glasses reflecting both the fading blue of the setting sun and the yellow of the lights. A drizzling rain falls down all around the piers, causing tiny ripples in the water's surface. The irony is lost to the raindrops.

Traveling forward in time isn't a problem; you travel from A to B.

It's not reading, however, that Edward Ray is occupying himself with. But rather writing, something not congruent with the newspaper folded out across his lap. Letters are circled in an article, the red marker in his hand brightly hilighting fragments of sentences, whole words, and occasionally numbers. His eyes narrow behind the lenses of his glasses, head tilting to the side as he continues to go thorugh the classified section.

Typically this presents you with a view into what will become an unrealized reality.

Tapping the pen on his chin, he goes back over the letters and words circled, one brow slowly rising before he nods, as if in understanding of the madness being displayed by his own use of a red hilighter. Folding the page back, he moves on to the help wanted section, beginning once more to haphazardly circle and underline portions of ads.

Allowing you to see how time would have progressed had you not leapt into the future. This, of course, creates a problem. You can never return to this new future if you depart it, because the after-effects of your disappearance from the past will create a wholly new future based on your absence.

Abruptly, the boat pitches from one side to the other, enought o be oviously more than what the gentle waves could do. Edward looks up from his newspaper in silent expectance, watching the hooded figure begin lumbering up from below decks. The creak of stairs beneath his feet protests the tremendous weight the man of iron represents. His face half-shadowed by the hood, Allen Rickham casts his black, haunting stare down on Edward. "How much longer are we going to wait out here? I'm going to rust."

Unskilled wanderings create… ripples. This is doubly so for those traveling from their native time to a prior one. They could potentially unwrite their own future, creating disastrous consequences when they attempt to return to where they came. A rift as it were.**//

"Not much longer now," Edward note optimistically, putting the cap on his pen as he folds the newspaper and lays it down at his side. "I have it on good word that we're converging. Everything is moving into place, and all that's left is for the game to actually start." There's a quirk of a smile at the corner of Edward's mouth. "I apologize, but I adore the chess metaphor."

Should a traveler appear earlier in a timeline of his own existance, he would be as a pebble, cast upon still waters. But the ripples he creates would in time radiate upon far distant shores. Geometricly altering events in its path.

"I don't like being kept in the dark, Edward." The warning comes as a hollow, metallic growl. One Edward, ultimately, knows is as hollow as the sound of the man's voice. "I didn't come back here to sit on my hands." At that, Edward's gaze tips up to Allen's taller frame, eyes narrowing in scrutiny or disapproval — it's hard to discern when both look so similar.

Your place of origin is where you can do the most damage.

"You won't have to worry about that for much longer, Allen." Edward rises up from the bench, turning to look towards the distant edges of the docks, one hand adjusting his glasses with a crooked smile. "You won't have to worry about that much longer at all."

The rain patters leaden against the hood and windshield of an old and battered station wagon that pulls up to the foot of the wharf, its headlights cutting a swath of illumination through which the raindrops glisten like diamonds. As the engine gutters to silence, so too do the lights slowly fade like a pair of brilliant eyes closing to slumber, the steady squeak of the wipers slowing and then halting. A gloved hand that was merely a stump weeks past drops to the shift stick, setting it into park.

There was a future where Richard Cardinal affected very little; a shadow in the distance that merely watched and permitted things to continue, garnering payment for Linderman, from Zarek, from Parkman. A pawn on a very large board, and one that had very little affect on that intricate game.

The ripples have already swept that future from view, and the Cardinal that pushes the door open and steps out into the rain is a very different man, a smile tight to his lips as he looks out to the faint light that shines upon the Casino Royale. His boots squelch in the muddy ground as he steps around to the passenger's side of the car, pulling the door open and leaning in to slide an arm around Tyler Case— helping him to his feet with a low grunt, "Alright. I've got you…"

It's a good thing that Salvatore was never witness to Richard Cardinal's maimed stump, else he might have significantly less confidence in the man he sits next to in the station wagon. As the car engine stops, he murmurs, "Showtime," in a voice that isn't his, in a tone void of smiles.

It's not just an act. He lets himself go limp, to force the other man to heave up his full weight. Very few could make a more precise copy. Everything is Tyler Case, right down to fingerprints and the unique spots on his retinas and any scars, blemishes or tattoos. Only a DNA test would prove this is the wrong man. Given his supposed chemically lobotomized state, no one should be expecting the power magician to work any miracles right now.

He doesn't care about the future these errant people have come from. In that future, someone he thought he knew has become a monster, and a relationship he felt was meaningful was rendered nothing. He knows very little about the supposed bright future ten years from now, which means he's not about to hesitate changing it. For him, the path has already shifted significantly. The Sonny Bianco of only a month ago would never have trusted a man he barely knew with a plan this foolish. He had so much more to lose.

Cardinal's appearance elicited a smile from Edward, but immediately upon seeing who he's helping out of the car, Edward's eyes go wide, and in frantic precession swats a hand at Rickham's towering, iron form. "No… No, no, no, no, no!" Hustling past the confused man of iron, Edward rushes towards the edge of the boat, loafers thundering down the ramp and onto the pier as rain begins dampening his hair and spotting his glasses.

"Allen!" Edward shouts back up to the boat, waving a hand flippantly in his direction. "Keep John downstairs!" Blue eyes snap back in Cardinal's direction, only able to make him out in silhouette thorugh the glare of the headlights. "Not here, for the love of God not here." Edward murmurs to himself as he makes haste across the dock, waving both hands at Richard.

"What are you doing? Richard, what are you doing?" Stepping out of the direct beam of the headlights, Edward's wide eyes shift focus behind rain-spattered glasses from Richard and Tyler and back again. "I didn't tell you to bring him back to me."

"You didn't exactly give me a lot've instructions on what to do with his mind-wiped ass, Eddie," Richard replies sharply as he helps the slightly-slumped man along over towards the foot of the dock, pausing as Edward approaches, a single brow arching upwards at him as he watches him rush forwad through the rain, "Where did you want me to dump him, in Phoenix's lap? I would've brought him to the library, but some asshole decided to steal my boat for his love yacht."

Just play the dumb muscle here, Richard. It's what he probably thinks you are anyway.

Sal can't tell if things are going well or poorly. Was it in Cardinal's plan to have the man in the glasses yell at him? While Cardinal gets to play the dumb muscle, he plays the mindless man - literally. He's a doctor, he knows how a person without all their marbles behaves. His head looks up and his eyes unfocus, then he trips and grabs on to the thief's arm.

This sure as fuck better be in your plans, Rich. The doc doesn't exactly want to play a lobotomized Tyler Case for the forseeable future.

"I thought it would've become readily apparent what I intended you to do with Tyler once you found him, Richard. I thought you were a bit more of a planner than that." Tucking his hands into the pockets of his black windbreaker, Edward looks to the station wagon, eyes narrow as he peers thorugh the windshield, then back to Cardinal. "He can't stay here, I don't want him getting anywhere near John, do you understand? Tyler's — " he talks about him as if the man isn't even in the room, it's an emotional disconnect Richard hadn't yet seen in Edward, " — yours, Richard, not mine. Why do you think I orchestrated all of this?" He waves his hands around, irate inflection in his voice making him soun more nasally than he really is.

"Why did I have John exchange Barbara's ability for Agent Ivanov's? Why did I nudge just enough pieces together to make sure that she and John met, so that John could get to you and— " Edward clamps down on his words, pressing a snort out thorugh his nose as he backpedals from the car, rubbing his forehead with one quickly withdrawn hand that just happens to be holding a snub-nosed revolver.

"I've armed you as best as possible to take our Arthur, Richard." Blue eyes focus back on the man in question, and that gun is left to hang at Edward's side, idly tapping against his thigh. "Why do you think I had you get Tyler? He's the only one who can disable Arthur's abilities long enough so that you can kill him. No other power augmentor on this continent has the capacity to suppress Arthur's powers long enough for it to be mathematically probable to ensure your victory."

"You said 'go get him', you said that you had to have control've both of them for something, how the fuck was I supposed to know…" A growl under Cardinal's breath as he shifts a bit to let the faux-Tyler lean against the car's side, muttering under his breath, "Here, just rest against the fuckin' car, Tyler."

A step off to one side, his hands spreading to either side in a frustrated gesture, "You aren't exactly good at the details here, Eddie. Besides, we've already got one of them, why the fuck did we need both, anyway?"

Sal is not sure how he's managing to keep his cool, how he's staying in character. It's certainly not a survival technique. Survival instinct is telling him to stop flopping around like a dead fish and make a run for the station wagon before Edward shoots them both.
He reaches Tyler's hand for the car and fumbles, hand slipping a few times as if his motor control isn't all there. He keeps his body bent over, his face somewhat hidden by the lack of light or the cant of it. He doesn't want to risk Edward looking at him and seeing something is amiss. But he manages to do it in such a way that it doesn't look contrived.

None of what the two men are saying parses directly. Something about Arthur, something about the man he looks like. But he's never fully understood the big picture of what has been happening. He's been far on the fringes, affected by the ripples but not causing them himself.

"Because I don't like leaving things up to chance." Edward's still not exactly good at the details. "Just— get him out of here. I don't care where you take him — Phoenix, the Vanguard, whoever," it's an odd thing for him to say, as if it doesn't matter exactly where John is. "As long as you remember that he is your ace in the hole against Arthur. As long as Arthur doesn't have Tyler's ability, and as long as you do, there's nothing Arthur can do to you. He's powerless against Tyler."

Looking over towards the boat, Edward scratches the side of his head with the barrel of his gun, then turns his attention back to Cardinal. "Tyler Case is your most valuable weapon, Richard. Don't just— squander that." The gun is used more like a pointer than a weapon, brandished left and right as Edward talks.

"Take him back wherever you think he'll be safe, wherever someone else won't take him from you. But whatever you do, don't — don't let anyone repair his memories. He's dangerous when he's afraid, and the last thing either of us need is him remembering just how screwed up his life is, and going berserk and depowering us all — or worse."

The analyst is regarded for a long moment's silence in the rain, and then Cardinal takes a step forward, despite the gun in the other man's hand - he doesn't even glance at it, though there's no weapon in the felon's hands either. "I don't believe you."

Those dark eyes narrow in the night, and he gestures sharply towards the boat, "The last time they met, Arthur batted Tyler — John — around like a fucking tennis ball, Eddie. You want me to take step one further on this damn plan of yours, tell me what the fuck it is. I already know the damn consequences, you should know that. Give me some fucking idea what we're doing here, so I can make sure I don't screw up like this again."

Sal is starting to think it would have been smarter for Cardinal to have brought the real Tyler here and instructed him to depower Edward. If, indeed what this man is saying is the truth.

Of course, this is his first time in the presence of Dr. Ray. He's not yet aware of the man's capacity to be two-faced and manipulative, or familiar with his willingness to throw people under the bus for his grand predictions.

Although he's listening to what the two men are saying, although he keeps as aware as he can be, he stays in character. He mimics difficulties with sight and motor function and general disorientation. And he certainly isn't going to try and speak unless it becomes unavoidable.

"You only know what you think you saw." Edward motions towards Cardinal with the revolver, "This isn't my plan anymore, Richard. You're done. I was done with you the moment you got your hand back and headed off to Baltimore. You're free of the strings, and now you just have to finish things up on your end however it is you will. That's the marvelous thing about free will, Richard, we all have it."

Tucking the revolver back into his pocket, Edward's brows scrunch up into an expression of uncertain concentration. "You and I? We're through, and to be honest I'm pretty sure you were tired of me from day one. You have the weapon, but I'm not the one who can tell you how to use it. I'm not God, Richard, no matter how much I might sometimes dilude myself into believing I am." Edward tilts his head to the side imperceptibly, Edward watches Cardinal and then the quiet Tyler. It takes him a longer moment than usual to look back again. "I don't have all the answers."

Cardinal's jaw tenses ever so slightly… and then relaxes a touch, his head shaking as he brings a hand up to rub against the side of his face, sweeping lingering droplets of rain away to dash to the earth. "Alright. I'm sure you've got other plans you're moving on anyway,, more fuckin' changes from that hell of a future you were aiming for," he observes flatly, starting to turn away as his hand drops to tug the jacket closed against the weather—

— then he pauses, and looks back, a brow arching. "Oh. What can you tell me about the idea of Kazimir Volken being less of a human being and more of some sort've entity existing as a power than a living thing?" It's a random question; out of nowhere, about a completely different subject, intended to blindside the man before him into running probabilities and calculations about that question. And taking his mind off the possible threats before him.

There's a stumble and a screech as Sonny truly does get too far into his disorientation act and trips over his own feet. He reaches for the nearest thing to break his fall, which just happens to be the handle of the 1970s car he's standing beside. That slows his descent, but he ends up scrambling on his knees and then leaning against the side of the car that now has a half ajar door.
He puts a hand to his head like he's trying to stop it from spinning and stares blankly at the new scratches on his palm.

Edward's brows furrow together, one raising slightly higher than the other after a moment. "He… possessed people." Edward doesn't sound so sure of that now, and his half-step following Richard indicates that he's not so sure he understands what Cardinal is getting at. "Kazimir Volken is dead, Abigail Beauchamp killed him, Richard. Why — " there's the slightest hitch to Edward's voice, as if his nerves touch down uncomfortably on the topic of the walking death. "Why do you ask about him of all people?"

"I don't think he is, actually," Cardinal states with a tight shake of his head, reaching into his jacket as he starts to turn back towards the nervous analyst from the future, "I've got some files here, that Nakamura retrieved from the past for me, relating to the past research on the Formula…"

Only it's not a file folder that's tucked away in there, but a forty-five calibre pistol, loose in its holster with the safety off. If he's learned one thing from his recent change of profession from burglar to terrorist and revolutionary, it's now to draw quickly. A sweep of his arm as he brings the gun out, up and towards the Edward Ray of a decade later. As soon as the gun's up, his finger's already tightening on the trigger, pulling it back to let the hammer come down.

"What do you mean he's— " The gunshot goes off deafening against the silence of the rainy harbor, a single shot that slugs Edward square in the chest. The caliber of the round isn't enough to send the man off of his feet, but it is enough to send the short man staggering back, fingers pawing at the spot where the bullet struck home. That only lasts for a few moments, before Edward tips back against the pier, and tumbles head over heels into the water with a loud splash.

If not the gunshot than the splash, but something causes the Casino Royale to stir into motion. A creak of the boat's hull and heavy, plodding steps as a dark and hooded figure moves into view on the back of the ship, visible only as a dark silhouette in the rain. Allen Rickham's monstrous form lays only partly illuminated by the glow of the streetlights on the dock, but his focus is out towards the glow of headlights too bright to be of aid in identifying what happened. "Edward?"

The voice is uncertain but hollow, metallic and empty. "Edward?" The second time he has to ask, it's clear something is up. Moving across the edge of the oat, Allen Rickham's gangly form lurches to the edge of the Casino Royalle, looking down towards the shine of headlights in the rain. "Edward!"

The sound of a gun going off is enough to get Sonny on his feet. He doesn't totally drop the somewhat disoriented, vacant act, because there's something kid of big moving around in that boat. He starts to back away, towards the station wagon. Okay, something tells him this will get bad very fast.

Not that being an accessory to murder isn't bad enough.

"That was from Isabelle." The words are a rough husk under Cardinal's breath as the man goes stumbling back, his eyes dark as the faintly smoking gun is lowered slowly as he stumbles back… and then into the water. The former burglar steps over to the edge, looking down at the darkness below with a slight frown pursing his lips. He knows a few people who've fallen into the same water and returned from apparent death. Before he has a chance to make certain the job was done, however, there's that hollow, metallic voice ringing out from the deck of the ship above, and a ferrous monster to deal with.

"Allen!" A voice called through the rain, as Richard looks up towards the darksome form on the deck, an envelope drawn from the other side of his jacket and held up indicatively before he tucks it out've the way of the rain, "I have a present here for you."

There's a low, guttural rumble of screeching metal and resonant vibrations as Allen begins slowly and carefully descending the plank from the Casino Royalle. The long and tattered brown coat he wears catches in the drizzling breeze, brows lowered and lips downturned into a snarling expression. His feet touch down on the dock, wood creaking and groaning in protest from the contact there, as he begins to make his way across the planks towards where Cardinal has called out.

Metallic fingers reach up, drawing back the hood of the sweatshirt he wears beneath, revealing a horrific and molten countenance of warped metal, like some mockery of a statue that was deformed in a blast furnace. "What have you done?" The hollow, empty sound of Rickham's voice sounds remarkably foreboding as he moves thorugh the rain, turning to look where Edward was, then back towards Cardinal's distant form. "What have you done!?"

Holy shit. It's Frankenstein. Sonny stops with his hand on the car door. He mumbles, just loud enough for Cardinal to hear, "Maybe we should be going?" He yanks open the car door , but doesn't get in right yet. The lumbering metal melted giant is eyed, and he ponders going for the pistol shoved in his waistband. But, there's not much a gun can do against a guy made of metal, is there?

"What have I done?" A rhetorical question cast into the night from Richard Cardinal's lips as he holsters his weapon, his freed hand cutting through the air in a sharp gesture, "I've saved a quarter fucking million people, Allen. You have no idea what that lying sonuvabitch had planned. None. I do."

As the metal giant stalks forward, he ignores Sal's sensible advice and steps forward, gesturing with the envelope once more, looking up towards the molten-twisted features of the once-president. "I have here all the information about Ms. Caiati's current identity. And all the information about your family in Alaska, although given that you're still alive in this world, that might be problematic for you to use." Others, however, could use it to find them. Rickham was a politician once, he should know that sort of danger. He fixes a steady look at Rickham, stating quietly in the rain, "You can take it, or you can decide that lying, cheating, manipulative mass murderer is worth being loyal to. What's he ever truly done for you, Allen? Anything, aside from promises?"

This could go south, really fast. And here Sonny was thinking that Cardinal was going to do something smart, like bribe the bodyguard before the murder. He remains by the car, door open, hand ready to go for the keys and to gun the old vehicle the hell away from here. But he doesn't want to abandon Cardinal. So he waits. For the moment.

Each footfall comes like a drum-beat between Cardinal's words. As he gets closer and closer, the horrific countenance of Allen Rickham's molten face is revealed, from the way his ear is rent forward and off of his face at an angle, to the way his left eye drools down at a slithering angle, mixed with deep gouges and cuts in the pitted metal. He turns his head down to the folder, then looks back up to Richard, a six foot six inch tall iron behemoth, but with a lanky and thin frame of an old man. One metallic palm swats the folder aside and into the water, "I've made my bed." And the look in his hematite eyes indicate an unspoken and so have you.

Turning to look over at Tyler, Rickham looks back to Cardinal with his brows lowered. "If Edward hadn't told me not to kill you — no matter what — you and your little buddy here would be twisted inside-out right now." Rickham's eyes narrow, lips downturning into a frown. "But I guess this is what he meant after all…" There's a look turned towards the waters past the pier. "…that he wouldn't be giving me any more instructions after today."

Richard Cardinal's been through too much to fall to some washed-up politician driven mad; he merely looks up, unafraid, as the heavy foot-falls rumble over the docks, over the gravel and earth after their foot. Then the folder's smacked away, and he does show a brief flicker of worry, gaze following it into the dark waters below before looking up towards Rickham.

"He still needs me to kill Arthur," he says in quiet, confident tones, regarding the steel visage of the other man for a moment before allowing with a shrug of one shoulder, "We all made our beds, Allen. Are you staying in this one, or are you going to go find another one?"

Sonny Bianco might not be a terrorist or a spy, or a fighter. But what he is, is smart. And his smarts are telling him to keep his mouth shut and keep close to the car. Tension holds his shoulders square, hand gripped on the doorway as he tries his best not to stare at the molten melt of a man.

Cardinal? They can leave any time now.

Coal black eyes stare down at Cardinal unflinchingly for a time, but eventually those hematite spheres pull away, and Rickham turns to look back where Edward's body had landed in the water. "I've still got a job to finish," he states flatly, a ringing quality to the very end. Eventually, though, he gives one last flat look to Tyler, as if marveling over how young he looks before turning back towards the boat. "We both have work to do…"

Allen's footfalls echo heavily on the wooden planks as he makes his way back to the boat, seeming to have no intentions of relinquishing it to its proper owner just yet. And on his way back to the boat, amidst the jaundiced light of the grimy streetlamps and the drizzling rain, Allen informs Richard of one simple truth that the two of them share.

"…we don't rest until we're done."

"No… none of us do, Allen."

A turn, and Cardinal walks back towards the car with a slow shake of his head, hiding the shadow behind his eyes from all but Sonny Bianco's disguised personage, "…none of us get that luxury. Tell John to call me, please, when he has the chance?"

He tips his head to the passenger's side door, heading for the driver's side, "Let's go. Good job."

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