The Plan


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Also Featuring:

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Scene Title The Plan
Synopsis Hiro Nakamura takes Richard Cardinal and Jonas Zimmerman back to a monumental epoch in the Zimmerman Family's timeline, but the interference of an unexpected third party changes the scope of their journey.
Date February 14, 1992

"So you believe him, about all of this, don't you?"

Niklaus Zimmerman is skeptic, against all odds. For a man who's family life reads like a bad science fiction novel, for a man who can bend electromagnetism to his own will, he seems to have a hard time swallowing the concepts of something like people who can bend time and space. Beneath the boughs of leafy green trees casting mottled shadows on the asphalt walkway, Niklaus isn't alone in his progress through Central Park. At his side is a man more flesh and blood than shadow and ink, at least for today. Richard Cardinal is a man who knows a thing or two about time travel, sometimes much to his own detriment when sleep is concerned.

"I do not know why I have such a hard time believing this, what we are going to do…" Niklaus looks up into the branches of the trees overhead, a handful of leaves starting to turn yellow above, sunlight filtering down between the clusters of leaves in warm goldenrod hues of afternoon glow. "Maybe it is because I would have imagined, that if time travel were possible, our lives would be better?" Both of Niklaus' brows furrow together as he exhales a sigh, tucking his hands into the pockets of his jeans.

"What I also do not understand, is why if we are going back to the time when I was but a little boy," his blue eyes track to the side, watching a young woman jogging with her dog passing by, "why we do not simply stay, make the future as best as possible. We could kill Arthur, save my mother, prevent all the great mistakes of the late 20th century…" Niklaus turns to look askance at Cardinal, one brow raised.

"It is not simply because it has not occured to anyone," Niklaus notes with a raise of one brow and a sarcastic smile, "is it?"

"The Butterfly Effect."

Richard's head shakes slowly as he walks along, hands tucked into the pockets of his flight jacket as he tries to explain, "Say you went back… killed Arthur, saved your mother, stopped Petrelli from getting his senatorial seat, saved a busload of babies. Then you find out that Arthur killed someone who turns out to be much worse, Mitchell becomes president and starts sending out death squads to kill the Evolved…" A sidelong look, "So what do you do? Can you go back and stop yourself, or does it cause some sort've paradox that kills you? Or do you have to kill yourself, leaving your timeline drifting…"

"No." Cardinal grimaces, "I've got enough problems trying to keep the future on track. If you started trying to fix the past you'd end up going insane in short order."

Niklaus' brows furrow, his head cants to the side and blue eyes sweep across the park ahead. "That sounds no less dangerous than the decisions we make in our every day lives. We choose who lives and who dies, and hope that we made the right choices…" Niklaus' eyes narrow as he looks ahead to the approaching brickworked octagonal building where many more of these asphalt paths converge. "The only difference is, in nineteen seventy-seven, we would be forearmed… more so than we are now, yes?" One of Niklaus' brows lift as he offers a tempting smile, as if he were the devil on Cardinal's shoulder, prodding him with his fiery pitchfork.

"We're here," Niklaus uses as a way to perhaps offer Cardinal an out from the conversation, and it indeed proves true, they've reached their destination. The Central Park Chess & Checkers House is a squat brick building surrounded by wooden shelters which consist of little more than green tiled roofs and concrete benches inset with pieceless chess tables and wooden benches.

Hiro Nakamura has a sense of dramatic irony for bringing Cardinal here of all places to meet.

Cardinal takes that offered out - not necessarily because he disagrees with what Niklaus is saying, but perhaps he agrees too much. It can't be denied, after all, that Richard is something of a serial meddler. He's all but founded a career on it in the past few years.

"So we are…" There's no sign of Hiro immediately, so he walks slowly along beside a chess table - considering the checkered board, he dips a hand into one pocket, drawing out a chipped and scratched black king and moving it a few spaces with a tap-tap-tap upon the board. "…maybe we're early."

"You are right on time," is time-traveler humor, it kind of has its own extremely small core audience. "It is good to see you, Richard Cardinal, Zimmerman." Stepping into view as though he were just edited into a reel of film, Hiro Nakamura is a darkly dressed and anachronistically armed figure in the otherwise mundane world. A black vest pulled over a long sleeved shirt of the same color, dark cargo pants and boots laced up like he's some kind of soldier. The ray-skin sheath of a sword that is distinctly not Takezo Kensei's rests on his back, more olive and brown hues than the old's black and gold.

Niklaus is a picture of stoicism the moment Hiro appears, his pale brows furrowed together and chin tilted up in a squared expression of severity and silence. The notion that he has to go back and interfere in his own life is a troublesome one, let alone that he has to do it while coloring within Hiro Nakamura's lines. It's frustrating, to be beholden to another man's wishes.

"I take it you both are prepared for your journey as best as you can. You will be going back to the year 1992, I will be sending you to a building in what is now ruins on Manhattan, there you will meet with Doctor Jonas Zimmerman, and you will need to protect him and his family from an assassin. We do not know what this assassin will look like however, so it may be best to simply get he Zimmerman's out of the city and away from where anyone would know to look for them."

Now, of course, Niklaus has something to say. "Wait, you're— " blue eyes flick to Cardinal, then back to Hiro. "1992?"

"1992?" The question's echoed, taking Cardinal off-balance as it does, the time traveller regarded for a long moment as if he's not sure if the man is telling the truth or not. After a moment, he lifts the chess piece up from the table, tossing it up in the air and catching it again before tucking it back carefully to an inner pocket of his jacket.

"I don't know you." The statement's flat as the stoic, darkly-garbed form of Hiro Nakamura is regarded from behind dark shades, "You're Hiro. But I don't know you." It's a subtle distinction, but it's one that he suspects will be understood.

"And I'm not going anywhen until I get some answers."

There's a subtle arch of one of Hiro's brows as he considers Cardinal, and then Niklaus, then back to the shadowmorph once more. "Richard, you of all people know me. You know what I went through to save my father in Tokyo, while Adam Monroe sought vengeance, and you know that I failed. More importantly, you know the gravity of the situation that we have all found ourselves in, Richard. The answers are simple ones, ones that I feel you are intimately familiar with. An individual has formed a group, traveling through time, and they are causing havoc in the past in an attempt to… unravel the future. Recall what Edward Ray and his lot did, to me, to our future. It is the same, but on a far larger scale, one that I alone cannot remedy. For as much as time is on my side, I am but one man."

Hiro takes a step closer to Cardinal, looking over his shoulder to Niklaus. "This is about your future, and your past, Niklaus. A postcognitive that works with me has determined that your life is in peril, all of the Zimmermans' lives are in peril. This assassin, if I am right, nearly killed me in 1945 when I was attempting to patch another hole in history."

A look is shot back to Cardinal, brows furrowed. "We do not have time to stand here and discuss the intricacies of trust. There is someone else out there with my ability, and they are tearing history apart, brick by brick, and if we do not act on a schedule than the number of windows I have to move within my own timeline without overlapping and running into myself grows more narrow. A Rift could undo everything."

As he is talking, Hiro fails to notice a small line of blood trickling down from his left nostril over his upper lip.

"There is more than one Hiro Nakamura," Cardinal states, bluntly, in regards to his argument that he's only one man. A quote from another man who exists as more than one of himself.

A breath's taken, exhaled, "…I know what you're doing. I also know that Samson Grey claims to have killed me in the year ninteen seventy seven, and I don't intent to walk to my own funeral. I want to know you're not throwing my life away for the sake of whatever time war you're waging."

"You have a little…" Niklaus wipes one finger over his upper lip, motioning to the red under Hiro's nose. The gesture has the time traveler reaching up, distractedly, and looking for a bare moment distraught by the presence of the blood there. Pulling his sleeve up over his hand, Hiro wipes the blood away from beneath his nose, then looks up sharply to Cardinal.

"There is only one Hiro Nakamura," is said with all the affirmation of a man who finds his own individuality important. "I would not do this to myself, I— could not do this to myself without causing irreparable damage to the timeline. The sheer amount of irrecoverable damage would be unimaginable, we would all be severed strings. This is someone with less finesse than I have, someone different that can do something like what I do. I am not throwing your life away, Richard…"

The name Samson Gray, though, has Hiro pausing enough to consider the implications. "I have no intention of sending you back to 1977, there is nothing going on there, no ripples, no distortions from the timeline we are in at present. Rhys has seen nothing in that era that would indicate I would need to bring you there. Richard, I do not play games with people's lives… I believe you have me confused with someone else."

Yes, that was a jab at Edward.

"You have a little…" Niklaus wipes one finger over his upper lip, motioning to the red under Hiro's nose. The gesture has the time traveler reaching up, distractedly, and looking for a bare moment distraught by the presence of the blood there. Pulling his sleeve up over his hand, Hiro wipes the blood away from beneath his nose, then looks up sharply to Cardinal.

"There is only one Hiro Nakamura," is said with all the affirmation of a man who finds his own individuality important. "I would not do this to myself, I— could not do this to myself without causing irreparable damage to the timeline. The sheer amount of irrecoverable damage would be unimaginable, we would all be severed strings. This is someone with less finesse than I have, someone different that can do something like what I do. I am not throwing your life away, Richard…"

The name Samson Gray, though, has Hiro pausing enough to consider the implications. "I have no intention of sending you back to 1977, there is nothing going on there, no ripples, no distortions from the timeline we are in at present. Rhys has seen nothing in that era that would indicate I would need to bring you there. Richard, I do not play games with people's lives… I believe you have me confused with someone else."

Yes, that was a jab at Edward.

"Someone once told me about certainty…" Cardinal's jaw sets for a moment as he considers Hiro, the suspicions aroused by the conversation all stirring in his head like a thousand buzzing wasps through a hive, "…it's his flaw too, you know."

A breath's taken, exhaled, and then he nods, once. "Alright. I'll do this. But…" A gloved finger thrusts at Hiro, "…after this little time war is over… you need to promise me that you'll find out what the hell Samson was talking about. I don't have any intention of dying before I was born."

"I do not presume to know the motivations of anyone who bears that name, let alone one who… apparently tried to kill me while I was sick in the hospital." It's a point that Hiro seems a little confused about, but the notion has his brows furrowing and jaw squaring. "What of you?" Hiro asks with a look to Niklaus, watching the German cautiously.

"I have every intention of going," Niklaus affirms with a suspicious look to Hiro, "after all, I need to save my family do I not?" There's something bitter in Niklaus' tone that seems to imply some small level of frustration in what he's doing, but that it isn't entirely directed at Hiro, the swordsman is thankful for. Offering Niklaus a nod, Hiro takes a step forward towards Cardinal, then lays a hand on his shoulder, offering out his other hand to the German. When Niklaus takes Hiro's hand, it incites a warning from the time-traveler.

"Remember," Hiro states firmly, looking ot Cardinal, "every choice you make here, will drastically affect the future. I will be able to clean up memories and some of the mess left behind by your footprints, but not everything. COnsider the butterflies."

"You don't have to give me the lecture," replies the disciple of Edward Ray, eyes narrowing behind his shades, "We'll protect the Zimmermans. You'll just have to trust me, as to anything else I do."

Trusting Richard Cardinal was likely Hiro Nakamura's first mistake.

It wouldn't be his last.

New York, New York

February 14, 1992

9:18 pm

A soft, mechanical whirring sound has joined the subtle ticking-click of a computer's processor taxed to its limits in the dimly lit confines of a laboratory setting. Fluorescent ceiling lights in the tiled drop ceiling have been turned off, only the glow of rows of CRT display monitors flickering and a few desk lamps illuminates the long, windowless room. The walls are painted an institution white, lined with faux wood cabinets and formica countertops set with sterile looking steel sinks.

Hunched over a microscope with a centrifuge spinning at his side, Doctor Jonas Zimmerman looks for all his worth like a man obsessed. With his glasses set down on the bridge of his nose, long and wavy hair falling at the back of his neck in gray curls and a tiny grayed goatee he seems much younger than last Richard Cardinal saw him.

To Niklaus Zimmerman, he looks no different than the last day he ever saw his father.

That also happens to be today.

From their vantage point across the room, Cardinal and Niklaus are aware that they are alone, no tiny Japanese swordsman to fill their ranks, sent hurtling through time and space to this particularly critical moment in time. Leaning away from the microscope, Jonas turns to look at the centrifuge, only to see two strangers standing at the far end of the lab. His eyes grow wide, mouth hangs open and throat tightens in confusion.

He's going to scream.

Oh hell are the first words that pass through Cardinal's mind as he realizes just exactly where he is, and when he is, and he briefly curses Hiro for not possibly dropping them somewhere down the street so they could walk here without setting off sixteen thousand different alarms. Then again, if anyone's developed the skill to calm someone down after suddenly appearing in their midst it's Richard.

"Doctor Zimmerman," he says quickly, gloved hands lifting to show that he's not holding any weapons, "Please don't scream. We're here to help you."

Niklaus has different ways of defusing situations such as this, which shows when he throws one hand into the air and rips a pen out of Zimmerman's front pocket by its tiny metal internal components, spins it around and presses it against his throat in the same time that Cardinal is trying to play good cop. Admittedly, this is entirely a bluff on Niklaus' part. Though, the anger and betrayal in his eyes may not be entirely a feint.

"Alternatively," he notes in a thicker German accent than he normally speaks with, "scream, un' I kill you." Niklaus' brows furrow together as Jonas' mouth opens and throat tightens, as if he were just about to scream to the loudest possible volume his old lungs could muster. But either the pen or Cardinal's presence has Zimmerman stopped dead in his tracks, a look of confusion spread on his face.

"I— " Jonas' words are croaked, a nervous look down to the pen, then back up to Cardinal as he ever so slowly lifts his hands above his head. Silence implies his compliance.

"Nik— " Cardinal doesn't finish the name, it could be anything, 'Nick' could be anyone. One gloved hand raises a bit towards his companion as if to restrain him, "…we're here to help Doctor Zimmerman, not kill him." It's a wry statement. He knows— no— is pretty sure that Niklaus wouldn't kill his own father, whatever anger and betrayal he may feel towards Jonas.

The bonds of family run deep. It's something he envies those who have them for.

He shakes his head slowly, stepping forward, "Doctor, you and your family are in danger. We need to get you all the hell out of the city before it's too late."

While Cardinal plays the face in this situation, it becomes clearer and clearer by the moment that Niklaus Zimmerman is the muscle for this job, and he isn't wholly disappointed with that notion. With a twist of his hand and the pen moving away from Jonas' throat and back into his pocket, Niklaus remains a silent and stoic figure staring down his father with all of the dead-eyed certainty of a dog bred to fight being held back on a short leash.

Only when the pen is gone does Zimmerman lift up a hand to his neck, feeling where it had pressed to his wrinkled throat, then affords Niklaus a look that implies some level of scrutiny. It's only when he turns to focus on Cardinal that he puts aside the sense of deja-vu in the back of his mind. "Are you agents?" It's a carefully worded question, one that comes with a wavering anxiety from the fragile old man as he feels across his htroat with his fingertips again.

"Are— are you from the Company?" Jonas' eyes flick back and forth between Niklaus and Cardinal at that, noticing the way Niklaus looks affronted by the question.

"No." The admission's simply said, Cardinal's head shaking at the question, "We're aware of the work you've done for them, the Formula, but honestly I don't particularly care…" The shades he's wearing not helping one bit to convince the other man that he's not an agent of some sort, "…all I care about, Doctor, is making sure you and your family survives the afternoon. There's an assassin that's been dispatched to kill one or all've you, and I'm not taking any risks as to which that is."

Jonas' heart skips a beat when Cardinal mentions the Formula and his hands curl tight against his palm, it was a secret that hundreds of his co-workers died to keep, and that someone outside of the Company knows sends a chill down Jonas' spine. "I— " there's a hitch of breath as Zimmerman shakes his head, swallowing audibly as he backs away from the pair, but stops from moving any further when Niklaus' cold stare meets his own.

"An— an assassin?" It's hard to believe, harder to vocalize, "Why? Why would— I— what proof do you have?" There's defiance, even if small, in Zimmerman's tone as his raised hands begin to lower to his sides. "You— you appear in here out of nowhere, throw around an ability, tell me these things. What— what proof do you have?"

When Doctor Zimmerman's brows furrow and his lips downturn into a firm frown, there is a squaring of his shoulders beneath his labcoat and a look up to Niklaus, lingering, then back to Cardinal. "I will go nowhere with you, not until you can prove to me that you are not the assassins. That there even are assassins, that this— that this is all not some ruse."

The old man's regarded for a long moment… and then Cardinal exhales a sigh of breath, one hand coming up, fingers sliding beneath his shades to rub against his eyes. "You'll have to keep an open mind here, Doctor," he says quietly, "Because the explaination's a little complicated… and we're short on time."

"Niklaus," he says, glancing back to the 'muscle' of the group, "Tell him who you are, please."

The invocation of the name causes Niklaus' shoulders to tense and Jonas' eyes to grow wide. The recognition on hearing the name is instantaneous, the wire-framed eyeglasses do little to hide his son's identity once the connection has been made, once the impossibilities of it all are spelled out in large letters. Niklaus sees the recognition in his father's eyes, sees the horror turning to confusion, turning to gears turning behind Jonas' eyes.

"We're insurance agents," is all Niklaus needs to say when he sees that look of recognition on his father's face. "You will come with us or you will die, I will die, and you will have even more blood on your hands than you already do." Throat muscles tightening, Niklaus looks over to Cardinal, then looks to the door and back to Jonas. "Where are we?"

"Man— Manhattan," is the stuttered response from Jonas as he takes a wary step forward towards Cardinal and Niklaus, looking back and forth between the two with growing realization of something larger than himself happening. "We— we're in the heart of Midtown, we— it will take some time to get to Staten Island. I— I will— I must go and…" Jonas' jaw trembles, his hand reaching up to clutch at his chest in anxiety before he looks down to the centrifuge still spinning, then back up to Cardinal.

"My wife is not far from here, she— she is in the Bronx picking up some files from my office there. I— " Jonas looks down to his hand at his chest, then back up to Niklaus with an expression of absolute disbelief. It's only then, of course, that Niklaus starts to realize when he may be in time.

"«What is today's date?»" is clipped in German and lobbed across to Jonas who seems blindsided by the language shift. Jonas' brows tense, his shoulders square and he looks down to the centrifuge again, then back up to Niklaus.

"Friday— Valentine's day," is in English, because the lats thing he needs is Cardinal not trusting him. Niklaus' eyes look glassy, one of his hands clench and the computer monitors flicker from a magnetic charge vibrating the metal objects in the room.

"I know where everyone is," Niklaus insists with a hushed whisper, looking to Cardinal. "This is the day the Company turns on my father. This— this is the day everything changes."

Staten Island. The words curl like a cold fist around Cardinal's heart. It's not nineteen seventy-seven, he reminds himself, before another little voice whispers to remind him that an old man's memory may not be very accurate when it comes to dates…

That dread is shoved aside. It's too late now, and there's work to do. Richard looks between the two men as she speaks… and then he nods once, tightly. "Go. Save her and we can rendezvous later," he orders the other man, preventing him from having to struggle with his desire to do so, looking back to Jonas, "Barbara and Niklaus are on Staten? Take what you need, you've got five minutes."

That Richard continues to prove that he knows too much helps reinforce his story about his origins, his unspoken reality. Niklaus looks at Cardinal, eyes wide, and then without so much as another word turns for the door to the laboratory like an attack dog suddenly released from his leash. As he's moving, Jonas' eyes go wide and he turns to Cardinal. "No it— Barbara is here in this building, she has been performing tests related to her ability with Simone. It— she is downstairs, I can go get her we— we can go get her, take her out."

The moment those words hit Niklaus, he pauses by the door and turns, looking back at Jonas with brows furrowed and blue eyes wide. His sister is here. The worry that flashes across Niklaus' face is palpable, had they been responsible for Jonas' decisions today, were they the ones to blame for how everything went down?

As Niklaus turns back to the door to the lab, he seems intent on something as he swings the door open and barges out into the hall without another word. Looking left and right down the corridors, Niklaus suddenly seems to realize where he is in the well decorated and marble tiled hallway, turning right and storming out of sight. Jonas, in turn, looks up to Cardinal with his thick brows furrowed.

"Niklaus— my— my Niklaus, he…" Jonas' head shakes slowly, "he is on Staten Island at our house. It— we can leave now, I am ready. But you must tell me what is going on, who— who is coming for me?"

"I don't know." Cardinal moves to head for the lab's door as well, although he waits a few moments until Niklaus is out of sight to do so; reaching into his jacket, he pulls out his pistol, the russian-made weapon's hammer pulled back with a click. He slants a look back to Jonas, explainly curtly, "Someone's attempting to alter time by assassinating people who had… have… important roles in the future. We're here to stop it."

"They couldn't've picked a worse day, either." A look back over one shoulder, "Let's grab Barbara and get the hell out of here."

Breathing in deeply, Jonas offers a firm nod as he heads to the door, grabbing a heavy wool winter jacket and flannel scarf from the coatrack. As he winds the scarf around his throat, Zimmerman looks from Cardinal to the door and back again. "Barbara will not understand what is going on, she… she is not aware of the Company, not aware of all of the details of her existance. We must be careful, she— she is at a delicate age." Sliding on the wool coat, Zimmerman begins to button it up and has all of the appearance of a man preparing for the blustery cold of winter. It is Valentine's day after all.

"Do you know how many of them there are?" Jonas asks with a raise of his brow, flipping up the collar of his jacket against the back of his hair at his neck, "if there is only one, it may be advisable to split up, divide the number of targets or…" Jonas' eyes fall shut, his head tilting to the side as he looks towards the hallway and steps out ahead of Cardinal. "The— the elevator is this way."

"You know all we know about whoever they've sent… could just be one guy, could be more than one. Hopefully we'll be able to handle whoever they are…" There are Evolved, after all, and there are Evolved. Richard keeps the pistol low as he makes his way along down the hallway, keeping an eye on doorways and cross halls as he does, keeping up a quiet stream of conversation to keep Jonas calm. Well. Sort of. "They picked a bad day for this. This wasn't exactly the best day of your life, I'm afraid, Doctor… your wife found out some things she wasn't supposed to."

When Richard and Jonas make their way out into the hall, it is the presence of a horrified look on Jonas' face that arrests the scientists' forward movement. Halting his progress by the door to the lab they'd just emerged from, Jonas stares at Cardinal and brings the lab door shut with a soft click, slowly making progress towards the shadowmorph with a gradual shake of his head. "I…" lips fall shut, a tongue slides across them and Jonas exhales a heavily huffed breath.

"Doctor Zimmerman?"

The voice chills Richard Cardinal's blood cold. As ice courses through his veins, the sound of hard-soled shoes click on the marble tiled floor of the opulently decorated hall that seems so familiar, but at the same time so alien to Richard. There's something about the building's architecture that rings familiar, but it is lost on the sound of Arthur Petrelli's voice echoing down the hall.

"I believe we've had a discussion about which floors of this building guests are allowed on," coming down the hall, hands tucked into the pockets of his slacks, wool winter tech coat unbuttoned and black tie crisp against his white undershirt, Arthur Petrelli looks nearly identical to the way Richard Cardinal remembers him, save for subtly thinner, a slightly darker cast to thicker hair.

"Weren't you supposed to be out of the lab hours ago?" One of Arthur's dark brows arch as he looks from Zimmerman to Richard, eyes narrowing subtly. "Have we met?"

"I just hope that Nik doesn't run into Ar…"

Then there's that voice. Richard only heard it a few times in person, but it never meant anything good. It meant pain and helplessness, it meant to run and it meant to do it now before it was too late. Logically, he could talk his way out of this, and normally he would. He's a fast talker, and in this time period, Arthur has no reason to know what sort of a danger he'll be later in life.

But this is Arthur Petrelli.

"Richard, Richard, how are we going to make this right?" The blue-green light sparks and sputters between the two digits, even as John struggles to get up from the ground, red lightning crackling up and down his arms as his irises turn red. Arthur turns to the spark of light, one brow rising quickly as he flicks two fingers in John's direction, sending him up into the air as if struck by a great force, crashing through the umbrella that was shading Bebe and back down to the ground. "Now," Arthur turns to look back at Cardinal, "Which extremity was I on?"

The pistol in Richard's hand was a gift from Fedor, an assassin's weapon used by the Russian secret police back during the cold war. He doesn't even have time to think through the action before it's swept up in the direction of the Company's patriarch, and his finger's squeezing the trigger as fast as it can.


Bullets rip thorugh Arthur Petrelli's chest, sending the old man staggering back with one hand to his sternum, a wheezing cough exploding from his mouth as he falls away from the gunfire. Doctor Zimmerman stares wid-eeyed at the sight the moment the gun discharges, his breath hitching in the back of his throat as he turns to run, shoes squeaking on the tiled floor as he does.

When Arthur hits the ground, hislegs squirm and twitch on the floor, back arches and mouth opens like a fish gasping for air, Richard can almost feel history shattering beneath his footsteps as he completes the act. Arthur isn't moving and with the blood pounding in his ears, Cardinal can't even hear Jonas running down the marble-floored corridor.

There's a scrambling sound nearby, a door bursting open down the hall as two blue-uniformed security guards comes charging out into the hall, hands on their holstered guns, looking confused as their focus looks likely squared on Richard. As their arms tense and it looks as though they're about to draw, another voice fills the void.

"It was just a car backfiring," a smooth, velvety voice deep with bass and firm in tone. "There's nothing out here in the hall to both you, why don't you gentlemen go back inside your office and keep watching the game?" By the time those words have hung in the air, the security officers begin relaxing, laughing to themselves and smiling, turning around slowly and laughing awkwardly.

A moment later, Arthur Petrelli's body disappears in a distorted mirage-like haze, and five bullet marks scar the wall at the end of the hall in the direction Cardinal fired, not a single shot hit anyone. But it wasn't Arthur Petrelli's voice that he heard warning those guards back into their offices.

It was the man who fades into view within arm's reach of Cardinal, well over six feet in height, broad-shouldered with dark skin and short, coarse black hair graying at the temples. Dark eyes square down at Richard, one black brow raising. "That's about what I figured…" the tall man notes with a slow shake of his head, lips tugging up into a bright smile. "You're gonna' do more damage than you know, son."

In Richard's periphery, Jonas is stading motionless and confused looking, one brow raised as his stare exchanges glances between Cardinal and the suit-wearing man between them. "My name's Charles," is offered with a hand extended to Cardinal, "and I think we might want to share some words, up on the roof?"


As the body of Arthur Petrelli hits the ground in a bloodied heap, Richard's eyes widen behind his shades as he realizes what he's just done, and exactly the size of the butterfly that he's just stepped upon. He didn't actually expect that to stop him, not Arthur. Not the near-invincible boogeyman that, to this day, haunts his nightmares. He's still holding the gun trained on the man, his hands shaking a little.


Then the body vanishes, and the dark-skinned man appears next to him out of nowhere. Cardinal stares at him for a moment, before his jaw tenses, realization setting in. "…Deveaux."

Well. At least it isn't Maury.

"We don't have time for… for some words," he states flatly, trying to keep his agitation from showing through, "I need to get the Zimmermans out of harm's way, Deveaux. And that was— that was unfair."

"It was a lesson, Richard." Cardinal offers a look to Jonas, nodding his head and motioning to the stairs, then back to Cardinal. "You're lucky I was in the building when you arrived, and what I've already seen inside of your head has made it abundantly clear that Kaito's young boy apparently needs to more closely screen his agents in the future." Resting a hand on Cardinal's shoulder, Charles Deveaux furrows his brows and tilts his head to the side. "If this is your idea about how traverse the streams of time without stepping on any butterflies, I think you may need help."

Without so much as a word, Jonas turns towards the stairwell while Charles is talking to Richard, his hand gently squeezing Cardinal's shoulder while they speak. "I understand the severity of your situation, and I also understand the delicate nature of what it is you are doing. But what it is you know and do has put a remarkably responsibility on both your head and now my own…"

Dark eyes alight to the stairwell, then back to Cardinal. "I've already seen too much inside your head… and now you and I need to have a talk. Then, then, we will make certain that whoever it is that thinks they can change history on a whim is likewise educated." Somehow, it's clear form the tone of voice that Charles is using that he plans on educating temporal assassins in a wholly different way.

"You don't know what Arthur did to me, Deveaux," Cardinal says, but it's… softer, quieter, his gun lowering finally back to his side as the older man's hand drops to his shoulder, "That's… that's the one butterfly I wouldn't mind stepping on. Today's the day he tries to kill Jonas's family. I couldn't let him…" It's an excuse, of course, one written in his mind after the fact. The truth of the matter is that just seeing Arthur terrified Richard beyond any rational capacity.

He's hating himself for it now, of course, because Charles is right. He has too much responsibility to let his weaknesses control him.

A breath's taken in, then exhaled, and he releases the hammer of the pistol; sliding it into his jacket, he slants a sidelong look back to Deveaux, "Fine, then. Let's talk."

"Unfortunately for both of us, Richard, you have to." The words come heavily from Charles as he steps away from Richard, nodding to the stairs and continuing to talk as he walks at Jonas' heels. "You're right, though, I don't know what Arthur did to you, and I don't believe I should either. I know that you're from too far into the future, too distant a time for us to comfortably discuss the intricacies of our involvements with one another. But what I do know is that you're here with good intentions, even though misguided."

Holding open the door to the stairwell, Charles allows Cardinal to step in first, feeling that breath of blustery cold air whip down from the stairwell and out into the hall. As Richard steps in, Charles follows behind him and lets the door swing shut. "Before we get too far into this, I need you to know that whatever it is that Nakamura Junior is planning won't work on me, whatever memory modifications he's hoping to ascribe… this is going to be a very serious game you and I play here, Richard, because whatever you tell me right now I am going to have to carry the burden of…"

Their footsteps echo up the stairs, Jonas' just a few ahead of them, far enough though that he's the first to open the door to the roof, letting out a breath of cold air that floods the stairwell with damp air and the sound of falling rain. "With that said, I also know that you know who I am… and that you know what I do, and what I've done. That you know about Coyote Sands… and I have a sinking feeling that the young Nakamura may have intentionally sent you where he did, so that you and I would meet."

And Hiro said he didn't play games with people's lives.

"I've been to Coyote Sands. Angela and Bob showed it to us…" Cardinal's still calming down, silently glad that nobody he'll have to deal with once they're out of here was there to see that, was able to see his resolve snap so easily. The thump of his boots over the stairwell carries him up along with the others, hands tucking into the pockets of his flight jacket and head ducking down a bit, "…he probably did, come to think of it."

As they reach the roof, he steps out after Zimmerman, face turning up towards the rain and eyes closing for a moment. "Whatever you might think, Deveaux," he says in quiet tones, "I don't have any desire to… step on butterflies. That doesn't mean that I can't take advantage of this opportunity. I just have to be careful."

"Precicely." Charles Deveaux is an inveterate meddler as well, he and Richard Cardinal together make quite the pair.

Once out on the roof, it becomes clear that the falling rain isn't going to be hitting anyone. While the greenhouse has been cleared out of plants, the glass roof that is demolished in 2010 is still intact in 1992. Here, the sound of falling rain is a soft patter, cool air coming in through the open door out onto an iconic rooftop that has yet to even see the pigeon coops built. Instead, decorative wrought-iron patio furniture rests near that sculpture of cherubs that Richard Cardinal had just seen a scant few days ago in the company of Arthur's son Peter.

"This way," Charles offers as he motions to a door that leads into a portion of the rooftop that is collapsed and dilapidated in Richard's era, a penthouse. Jonas opens the door for Charles, standing aside for both he and Richard before stepping in last and closing the door. The penthouse apartment has remarkably rich furnishings, though at times comically anachronistic, such as the fifty inch projection television sitting in the living room, all wood paneling and monstrous thickness and boxy size.

Much of the house has a distinctive Asian flare to it, from wall scrolls depicting traditional Japanese art to a flower arrangement on a low set table in the living room surrounded by pillows. Photographs hanging on the walls show a happy family together, a middle-aged Japanese woman with her hair tied back in a bun in a formal yukata beside a stoic looking Kaito Nakamura, a young girl and boy with glasses standing in front of them.

"Kaito's family stays here from the spring to the fall every year. They're in Tokyo right now, so the three of us can have some privacy…" Charles turns in the foyer of the penthouse, looking to Jonas, then to Cardinal. "If you have something you'd like to address to me first, Richard, before we get down to more pressing business, I recommend you do it now."

At the same notion, Jonas folds his hands behind his back, tension running thorugh his body. "Charles we— we do not know how much time we have, I— we cannot risk waiting too long." To Doctor Zimmerman's nervousness, Charles just slowly shakes his head, offering a hand onto Jonas's houlder with a firm squeeze, before looking back to Cardinal.

"Niklaus is taking care of one, the other's in this building along with you. As for your son in the here and now, I have faith that I will know if someone is coming after him. The Company looks out for its own." Whatever that means, considering what happens today.

Cardinal lets his head drop back down, his gaze trailing over the rooftop with an expression of distant bemusement. So different, back then… back now. The skyline intact, the whole of Midtown spread out around them where in just a few short years there will be only ruins.

A moment, and then he tears himself away from it to follow behind Charles, walking along into the penthouse, gaze pausing briefly on the photographs.

"The Company's as much a danger to them as the assassins, Deveaux," he states flatly, his gaze cutting over towards him, "Completely aside from whatever comes from the future… Arthur's as big a threat to them right now. You'd better hope that you're right about their safety."

Away from the pictures, and he walks through the room, hands still tucked away in his pockets and hidden eyes looking about the foyer. "I never met you," he admits, "I don't know how far I can trust you, but I guess I don't have much of a choice."

"Not particularly," Charles says with a fond smile, self-satisfied in a way. "If the Company is endangering their lives, than I may be able to at the very least slow that down." The news of this has Jonas trembling in his shoes, staring worriedly out ahead of himself, lips pressed together and throat tight, looking frantically back and forth between Cardinal and Charles with building impatience.

"If Robert and Angela saw fit to trust you with the secret of Coyote Sands, it must have been for a good reason, one that I shouldn't be made aware of either. I disagree with the very concept of traveling through time, disagree that any one man should be allowed that much control or freedom to influence the lives of others. The very concept is something that I have spent the majority of my life founding this organization to protect the world from. People who would abuse the powers they have been given for their own selfish ends, or for misguided good."

Breathing in deeply, Charles exhales a sigh and offers a slow shake of his head, looking to Jonas before looking down to the floor, starting to walk with a slow pace, letting his lack of speech and the sound of rain serve as punctuation between sentences.

Charles moves slowly as he talks, pacing around Cardinal and Zimmerman, moving over to a table in the foyer and running one hand over the usrface to pick up a layer of dust before turning back to face his two guests again. "Explain to me what the Company is doing to endanger the Zimmermans, I'll see what can be done about that. In at the very least slowing down whatever's happening without drastically altering the history you know. I also need to know what is supposed to happen tonight, if you're aware of that."

"You started with good ideals," Cardinal admits in quiet tones, leaving that unspoken stress upon the word started hanging. He knows he shouldn't say too much. Charles doesn't want to know anyway. Some things, however, have to be said to protect the Zimmerman's at this point, whether they like it or not.

"Claudia found out about Hartsdale," he says simply, turning to regard Deveaus, both arms folding over his chest, "Found out about Arthur's involvement. He tried to… clean up his mistake. Jonas managed to get the kids out somehow - sent them on the run, I think. Niklaus in particular, for reasons he's fully aware of." A glare, momentary, focuses on the good doctor.

"He knew too much, so they couldn't just kill him. He's too valuable."

That haunting truth makes Charles shoulders slack, his expression sagging in the deep exhalation of breath that comes with a sigh. That Jonas breaks into a flurry of movement is unexpected, practically throwing himself at Cardinal as he winds bony fingers into the shadowmorph's collar, hands shaking.

"What— what did you say? You— I am not going to let my wife die!" Suddenly, all of Jonas Zimmerman's calmness about the preservation of the timeline goes right out the window. "I— you are talking about my wife!" There's an unbridled fury on Jonas' face as he turns towards Charles, a pleading expression lifting his brows. Charles has sympathy, that much shows true in his expression, but unfortunately for Jonas, Charles also has responsibilities.

All it takes is a look for Jonas to go limp, his hands unwinding from Cardinal's lapels, expression going blank. A furrow of Charles' brows showing more intent concentration comes as the old man walks himself over to a chair and sits down. Exhaling a held breath, Charles turns his attention back up to Cardinal.

"I'm sorry," Charles offers in hushed apology to Cardinal, brows furrowing and head shaking, "sorry that you have to be the one to do this." Drawing in a deep breath, Charles looks askance at Zimmerman, brows furrowed, then turns to look back at Cardinal. "The Niklaus that came with you may already be in danger then, if he was going to see Claudia than he's headed right to where Arthur is. Jonas had sent her to retrieve some files from the Bronx Primatech facility. But all of that was supposed to happen, Claudia's death to cover up the secret… Jonas' departure." Charles' lips turn down into a frown.

"I think… we may be able to work with this." Dark eyes sweep back to Cardinal, chin tilting up slowly. "You, Jonas and I will go get Barbara and make sure she's safe, I'll send a pair of agents I trust to check up on Claudia and Niklaus. Once we're sure Barbara is safe, I'll have you and Jonas go to Staten Island to take care of his boy and make sure that history follows the proper course. If we play our cards right, we'll keep everyone in the same places they should be, so that when our assassins arrive, we'll be able to have a trap waiting for them."

Charles turns to look at Jonas, brows furrowed. "Unless there was anything else" there's a deep breath drawn in, then a sharply exhaled sigh as Charles turns to look back at Cardinal. "We should get moving on this."

Cardinal looks at the silent, seated form of Jonas Zimmerman for a long moment. "All that needs to happen is that he needs to believe his wife's dead, Deveaux," he says in quiet tones, cutting his attention back to the man, "And that Arthur does. If she can just… disappear until present day… I can put their family back together when I get home. I can fix what you broke."

There's a pause, then, and he draws a breath before stepping over closer to the man, choosing his words very carefully, "The Company isn't going to last forever… and the people who come after you don't even have those ideals you started with to back them up. If there's anything you think needs to outlast you… find a way to keep it safe. A way that nobody else knows about."

No details given, unless the telepath decides to dig for them. For some reason, Richard doesn't think he will.

Richard's suggestion of what to do with Claudia comes with a furrow of Charles' brows. There's a squaring of his jaw, an uncertain look and a nervousness that crosses his features, as if he's considering playing a very dangerous game of cat's cradle with fragile thread that could break at any moment. "I see where you're goin' with that…" Charles notes with a firm nod, looking aside and going silent for a moment as a mental command is sent down to someone else in the building, then back to Cardinal.

"I've notified Agent Karlslund and Agent Goodman to go check on Claudia, they have their instructions not to interfere with the German and to assist him however he needs and that there is an imposter impersonating Arthur. I'll clean up that mess myself afterward. Arthur may have quite a many abilities, but he's no telepath yet…"

Turning to look over at Jonas, Charles breathes in deeply. "We'll leave him here for now, I'm afraid that I'm going to have to make some… revisions to his memory already. I'll be aware if anyone comes up here though, so he'll be safe for now. Let's go downstairs," Charles offers in a hushed tone of voice, "we'll meet up with Agent Thompson and Ichihara after you handle Barbara."


The Deveaux Building

February 14, 1992


Drawings line the walls from floor to ceiling, leaving spaces around large windows to allow the light in. Sketches of city streets, buildings, portraits and still-lifes all decorate the walls of Barbara Zimmerman's studio in the Deveaux Building. It's been a half an hour since Simone left to visit with her friends, and a half an hour since her father should have left the lab and gone to bring her home.

Instead, she's here, with her sketch books and canvases, with her drawings and only the sound of rain pattering on the windows to keep her company. A brief wave of something like anxiety crosses Barbara for a moment, a chill down her spine, as though she had felt someone standing in the room, but there is no one there, no one but the wind and the shadows.

On the easel in front of her, Barbara has halfway finished a more detailed sketch from a smaller and hastier done picture she had drawn some weeks ago on a trip to France with her family. It depicts the edge of a fountain's basin, where three people are seated. One a waifish woman with dark hair tucked up beneath a black hat, her eyes large on her face, nose small and frame birdlike and narrow.

The other is a tall, broad-shouldered man in a leather jacket, dark hair swept back and jawline squared, eyebrows dark and thick, his nose shadowed in to suggest a prominent feature on his face.

In the young woman's lap sits a boy, youthful and smiling, blonde hair at chin length and toothy smile staring up towards the man in the leather jacket, even as he affords him an askance look with dark eyes. There's someone in the background, on the other side of the fountain, viewed through a sheet of water as little more than a blur.

Barbara Zimmerman has no reason to recognize Eileen Ruskin and Gabriel Gray.

Not here, not now.

The picture she has produced is regarded with a grimace, and appraisingly look moving up and down it as she taps her good, considering exactly what to do with this one. It's one of her better ones, to be sure, worthy of being up on the walls around her, and yet, something about it just doesn't sit well with Barbara. Something that's hard to place, unfortunately, leaving the seventeen year old exhaling sharply as she rises up from her seat in front of the easel, a hand at her chin.

"Maybe father'll like it," she muses to no one in particular. He always seems to like her odder drawings, the ones that she doesn't really know where she gets the inspiration for. The ones that just sort of? come to her. Shrugging lightly, she sets to dismounting the drawing from the easel, looking for a clean place to put it. Maybe this one she'd get framed up and taken home, rather than keeping here in the studio with the others, if her father let her. She usually only gets to take the landscapes home.

Letting out a long sigh, she sets down the larger sketch, turning to the smaller, rougher version, a page out of one of her sketchbooks. It's a little crinkled and folded, but not enough to obscure any of the few details compared with in. It's about the end of a long day for Barbara, tired and ready to go home as she leans back and stretches. Hands on hips, she stares out the window, waiting. A bit impatiently as she suddenly shouts "Father?" as if maybe calling his name will reveal that he's about to open the door to take her back home. It's boring without everyone else here, after all.

That little bit of children's magic appears to work perfectly for once, as barely a half-beat after she shouts for her father the door's opened to reveal the form of Jonas Zimmerman, his lab coat traded in for a long winter one that's wrapped about himself in preparation for going out into the elements.

"I'm right here, Barbara," he says, his voice a little distracted as he steps inside; glancing back over his shoulder as if to make sure he's not being followed, he closes the door, stepping within and looking over to her with a hesitant smile, "I'm right here. Get your things — quickly, we're, you're going to have to get out of here."

Barbara quirks an eyebrow at her father for a moment before she returns his smile. "I was hoping you'd say that," she responds with a bit of feigned cheer, stretching again before she turns back to the easel - beside it sits a backpack, filled with a few various things. What it lacks are her sketchbook and her various drawig utensils, the latter of which she slowly sets to collecting - various pencils, a view pieces of oil chalk, pens and the like. "Everyone left a half hour ago! I was beginning to think you were just gonna leave me here!" She's joking of course, a grin plastered across her face.

"I'm sorry, Barbara."

It's more than an apology for keeping her waiting, but it won't be long before Barbara realizes that.

Jonas's hands are tucked in the pockets of his coat as he walks along over to the easel, regarding the painting for a long moment as if trying to identify the figures that surround the fountain, his lined lips pursing together in a tight line for a moment. Slowly, he draws in a breath, exhaling it just as slowly, head bowing as he gathers himself.

He reaches a hand out, then, his fingers splaying apart in her direction with a subtle tremor visible to them. "Barbara… Barbara, I need you to listen. I need you to trust me, and not— and not question me. Can you do that?"

Barbara rolls her eyes at her father as she last of her oil pastels is placed into it's container, ready to be slipped into the backpack. As he moves to the book, she looks up from where she kneels, first at the painting, and then at Jonas. "Like it? I did it from that sketch I made, when we went to France? I thought you might like it." The teen shrugs, making grabby hands at her sketchbook as she lazily and slowly stretches over towards it.

And then suddenly, her father takes a markedly more serious direction with the conversation, just as Barbara pulls her sketchbook in, stuffing it into her bag. A worried expression slowly forms on her face, the young woman rising up from her crouch. "I trust you, dad. What's up? I'm not in trouble am I? I mean, if it's about me yelling at Elle Bishop, she was really being a-" she stops just in case, you know. Bob could be about to walk in the door, and the last thing she wants him to hear is her calling Eleanor Bishop a royal pain in the ass, even if she is nine years younger than Barbara.

"She can be like that, I know." Jonas almost smiles, though it fades after a moment, "No, it's… it's not that, it's not that at all. Barbara…"

He trails off for a moment, at a loss for words, drawing in a breath and then looking down to her with a serious expression. "I haven't been… honest with you, and I'm— and I'm sorry about that. I wish we had more time, more time to explain— but we don't."

"What I do here— my work— I, the people I work for, Charles, Robert, Arthur— the Company— they're not what I've told you all these years. There's secrets here, and I'm going to have to tell you some things now, and you're going to have to remember them." One hand reaches out to her shoulder, shaking a bit as he looks down to her eyes, "Do you understand? I need you to listen."

By now, Barbara looks a little ill at ease, zipping up her backpack and slinging it over her shoulder. "What… are you talking about, dad?" Barbara's face is contorted into a grimace, even as she makes her way over to her recently finished drawing, hefting it up into her arms. "I'm listening, father. I just… what do you mean, secrets?" Her voice sounds worried, hesitant, like she missed an important part of a conversation she doesn't remember having.

"It's going to sound— it's going to sound crazy," Jonas admits, his chin dipping a bit down towards his chest, "You'll just have to trust me."

A breath's taken, and then he meets her gaze steadily. "Your paintings, the things that you see… they're real, Barbara. There's people, people like you, who're special. Who can make things happen, who can fly, who can— that's what my research is about. I developed a— a Formula that can give people these abilities. Like you, like your brother, like— your sisters."

Barbara has taken to looking around the room as she "listens" to her father, only really snapping to full attention at the mention of?. Abilities? What? She turns and peers at her father for a moment. "What… are you talking about, dad?" she inquires, steping back towards Jonas with a look of concern on her face. "I think you're spending too much time with Mr. Petrelli and Mr. Bishop, because that does sound crazy." Of course, all of that craziness is quickly forgotten. "Sisters?" she repeats, "Now I know you and Nik are up to no good." Only if this is a joke, it's not terribly funny, and the look on Barbara's face reflects that.

"Just… just listen to me, Barbara," Jonas's hands both drop to her shoulders, his gaze intense as he looks down to her, "You might not understand, but you— you will, eventually, so listen to me. You can't trust Art— Mister Petrelli, or Mister Bishop, or any of them. I need you to… to take what you have, I'm going to— give you some money. I need you to go to the bus station, and pick somewhere to go. Anywhere. Don't— don't tell me, don't tell anyone. I need you to run, Barbara."

A moment, and he says more quietly, "I've made— I've made a terrible mistake, one that I endeavour to start changing. But they've already— they've already killed your mother, Barbara. Claudia's gone. They can't get you too."

"Dad, you're scaring me," Barbara says with a frown, her hand placed on her father's shoulder. And then her eyes widen. All other thoughts leave her mind, and there is only one thing she can think about."W-What the hell are you talking about, mother's dead?!" Her hand tights, gripping the fabric of Jonas shirt. "W-Where's mom, I want to see her! If this is someone's idea of a joke, it's not funny!" She practically yells, jerking back and forth on the handful of fabric.

She can see it in his eyes, though. Something is terribly wrong, and her hand starts to shake, falling back to her side limply. "What the hell is going on? Where Nik? Dad… what did you do?!"

"You wouldn't understand, Barbara," Jonas swallows once, his hands gripping her shoulders in a firm squeeze as he looks down to her, "One day… one day maybe you will. Maybe you can forgive me for everything I've done. Please…" He pleads her, "…just listen to me. I need you to get away from here, Barbara. We're running out of time. Please. If you ever listened to me… listen to me now."

"What do you mean away?" Barbara questions, now looking frantic, looking around the room like there might be, who knows, a ninja or something ready to pounce. "Where's Nik, Dad? Does this have to do with those…" she shakes her head, mostly at herself, "abilities you mentioned? I-" Tearing up a bit now, she raises a hand to wipe them away. "What did you mean sisters?"

A half-step back, and Jonas reaches into a pocket of his coat to pull out a wallet - his fingers fumbling through the billfold, coming up with a roll of money and thrusting it out at his daughter. "Two of them, you were triplets… you'll meet them some day. We gave them up when you were born. They all have these abilities, like you, like what you can see."

"Please. Barbara." His expression pleading, stricken, "You have to go. Just go to the bus station and… find your way. I'm sorry about this. Maybe one day I can make up for it all."

Barbara just stares at the roll of money for several moments, her hand shaking as she reaches up and takes it, hesitantly "W-Where's Nik?" she asks again, quieter, visibly trembling as she takes it. She backpedals a bit, her backpack fully on her back now. "What do I see dad? I? I always draw these thigns, and people I've never seen? stuff you and mom do that I wans't around for?" She's moving, but it's clear she's not ready to leave. She wants one last chance at answers.

"You see the past, Barbara," Jonas says quietly as she takes the bills, "You can see the past… I should have told you years ago."

"I promise you, though," he says, meeting her eyes, "We'll all be together again someday. I'll make sure of it."

Barbara face contorts into a look of confusion and amazement. "I-I see the past? I-I've been drawing people lives?!" Her voice is still frantic, hands tugging at her hair. "I- Jesus Dad!" She sounds angry for a moment. "Yeah! You should have!" She stands for a moment, and then she stares, tears trickling down her cheek. Abruptly, she lunges forward, arms around Jonas. She's silent for a moment, tears wetting the front of his shirt. "I love you, dad. I-I'll go. But I'll find you. And Nik. And mom." Apparently, she doesn't still believe that. "I swear it." She tears herself back, reluctantly. She stares at her father, for several moments, before she turns, crying as she runs for the door.

As Barbara runs out of the room in tears, there is a rippling distortion by one of the windows before she's even down the hall. It had been easier to hide from Richard Cardinal and Barbara Zimmerman both than be selectice about who's mind he blocks himself out of, especially while keeping up the mental projection of Jonas Zimmerman. When the image of the old man flickers and fades away, Richard Cardinal is the only sullen figure left behind in the wake.

"I'm sorry you had to do that," is Charles murmured response, turning to look over to Cardinal with furrowed brows, half of his face illuminated by light spilling in thorugh the slatted Venitian blinds. In Charles hand is a sketch, a drawing of the past held lightly between pinched fingers.

"Before we leave, I'll make sure Jonas remembers that as if he did it himself…" dark eyes move to the drawing he's holding, then slowly slides off of the stool he'd been perched on, one dark shoe coming down to touch on the floor before another. As Charles approaches Cardinal, there's a squared cast to his chin, letting the drawning be laid face down on the table before he approaches the shadowmorph.

"We'll have Zimmerman go to his house on his own, I'll set it up so he feels like it was entirely his idea. You and Jonas will drive down to the Primatech Paper facility on Staten Island, I'll make a phone call when you get there, trigger a subliminal command in Jonas and send him on his way as bait…" Charles crosses his arms over his chest, watching Cardinal carefully. "You and Agent Ichihara will follow in a second car, try to keep an eye on him. Ichihara's an expert at remote surveillance, he'll be able to keep you up to speed on anything happening. Hopefully, we'll be able to draw your assassins out into the open. I'll have Agent Rains and Agent Bennet watching Barbara, at least for a little bit. Let her get far enough away from the danger."

Holding out a hand for Cardinal to shake, Charles Deveaux offers a subtle tilt of his chin upward and the raise of one brow. "I hope you and I can work together on this. This is what the Company was created for. Not… whatever you feel it became."

Before Cardinal can choose to take the hand or not, Charles has one last request though. "Also, give me a phone number I can reach you at…" there's a crook of his lips into a smile, "in your time."

"Just in case."

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