The Stomach for What's Coming


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Scene Title The Stomach for What's Coming
Synopsis Eileen stumbles upon Chicago Air unloading supplies in a clearing somewhere along Staten Island's greenbelt, and a friendly conversation with Cardinal takes a dark turn regarding one of their mutual acquaintances.
Date May 27, 2009

Staten Island — Greenbelt

The roar of double rotor blades fills the air as the Kamov KA-32T transport helicopter, in Chicago Air's colours, swoops low overhead the Greenbelt, a sling load dangling on a heavy cable. The chopper slows to a hover over a section of urban parkland that's fairly flat greenery (although it's overgrown a bit from wild grasses) with some tents set up nearby and a handful of people moving around to prepare for something. A human figure clambers out the door, sliding down the cable to land on the passle of crates. He balances there for a moment as it sways, then stabilizes it, waving up to the helicopter as well as presumably radioing them. The cable's lowered, and the man - Cardinal, in a flight jumpsuit - hops off to land in a crouch as the supplies are dropped down and the cable's cut free to be pulled upwards.

"Alright boys," Cardinal calls out as the five or six people waiting for the delivery start moving, "Start gettin' shit ready for when they can get the trucks across the river!" The helicopter veers off and starts off towards the water.

Well, something's certainly going on around here.

They say that curiosity killed the cat. Fortunate, then, that for as lanky, lean and sure on her feet as Eileen is, she moves on not four but two legs as she approaches the site of all the commotion, drawn to the human voice and the thrum of mechanical equipment like a hungry lioness responding to the shrill keen of an orphan child howling for its mother.

Dressed in a hunter green jacket that only allows her to partially blend in with the parkland's flourishing vegetation, she comes into view at the edge of the treeline and lingers there, dark hair blown about her face by the wind sloughing off the transport's rotor blades.

Something is going on, isn't it?

At a distance, she recognizes the sound of Cardinal's voice first, followed by the familiar figure of his body beneath his jumpsuit. The last time they met, he left a lasting impression — the only thing she doesn't remember about him is his name, which may be why she's choosing to hold back.

The men - mostly in jeans and light jackets - start to pull the netting off the crates, crowbars coming up to start opening them up. The crack of wood and nails fills the air, and before too long the first sacks start to be pulled out and tossed into piles on the grass. One of them gets torn on the way out, bleeding a trail of tiny pale grains. Rice, it looks like.

Just about then, Cardinal - who's supervising, which means he's standing a bit off chewing on a granola bar and occasionally yelling at someone - catches sight of the figure that blends in with the treeline. The shadows provide little cover, but the colouring does, and he pulls the shades down a bit to squint towards the woman there.

"Hey," he calls out, one hand lifting. Let's see if she shoots at him and/or runs for it.

Tension appears in the curve of her spine and narrow slope of her shoulders, but Eileen neither bolts nor reaches for the pistol she keeps holstered inside her coat. Instead she moves forward, her motions slow and purposeful in spite of a slight limp that makes her favour one leg over the other and unevenly distributes her weight.

Gray eyes survey the transport's cargo, lingering on the beadlike pellets of rice now scattered across the grass. She'd been expecting weapons, ammunition. Suffice to say, the expression she wears on her face is one of guarded surprise, lips thinning out into crookedly contemplative line. "Rook, wasn't it? Jay?"

As she approaches, he heads to meet her part way. There's a holster slung openly over his shoulder, but the gun's in it, and secured, and he doesn't make any moves to reach for it. "Cardinal," he replies, recognition finally lighting in his eyes as the space between them slows, a smile crooking a bit up at one corner of his lips. "…Eileen. Good to know rumors of your death were terribly exaggerated."

"I'd like them to remain that way, if you don't mind." Cardinal. She knew it was a bird. Eileen studies the holster for several moments, and not simply to admire its make, before lifting her gaze to the man's face and meeting his eyes. That he remembers her name is a little embarrassing, though no colour appears in her cheeks when she feels the hot stab flush swiftly through her. "I take it you're a friend of Teodoro's."

"An acquaintance," admits Cardinal with a shrug of one shoulder, stopping not far from her - although not dangerously close, since she's clearly still a bit wary. "I disagree with him on a few points, but he's a good guy. I let him know that John was out for blood where you're concerned, and he said you were dead…" A wry note to his voice, "Laudani's a terrible liar, though. Always a pleasure knowing John didn't get something he wanted, the sonuvabitch."

"Not a lot of people on Staten Island feel the way I do about Logan," Eileen says. As Cardinal draws closer, her posture stiffens some. Nothing more. Her eyes flick back toward the helicopter and the men unpacking the crates, chin slanted sideways at a mildly inquisitive angle. "Do you have something against brothels, Mr. Cardinal, or did one of his women slip something in your drink the last time you visited the Dagger?"

"I don't have anything against brothels," Cardinal replies with a shrug of one shoulder, his smile fading as he regards her through those night-time shades of his, "But Abigail's a friend of mine, and I hold grudges." He glances back to the crates as he notices the angle of her gaze, exhaling a faint chuckle as he explains, "Food supplies for the island."

"Abigail is everyone's friend." There's no malice in her tone when she says, but her voice doesn't contain any real mirth either. Eileen leaves it at that, however, and hoods her eyes against the glare of the springtime sun oozing out from behind the clouds overhead. "Funded by who?" she asks. "Not the government. They don't give two shits about what goes on out here. Third party?"

"Chicago Air." Cardinal jerks a thumb to the patch on his jacket that has its insignia, his hand falling back down to rest on his hip as he returns his attention to the woman, one shoulder raising in a slow, stretched-out shrug, "Any luck, and we'll get the heliport set up on the island soon, and then we can start really working on this. Assuming Humanis doesn't shoot down any more of our fucking planes."

Unless you're living under a rock, and Eileen isn't, it's difficult to ignore the news reports plastered across every television screen and piggybacking on every radiowave in the greater New York metropolitan area. "I'd heard," she says, looking to the patch on Cardinal's jacket. "Humanis isn't the first organization of its kind, and it won't be the last. You've seen the president's address?"

At the mention of the address, Cardinal grimaces. "Unfortunately," he says, his head shaking just a bit, "Just more political bullshit piled on top of the powderkeg. 'Protecting humanity from Evolved threats' my ass — we're the ones who need protecting, ironically enough. Hell, if some people I knew ever really let loose…"

The corners of Eileen's mouth pinch into a slight frown, contrariness appearing as creases on the dome of her forehead, visible beneath the oily black curls plastered to her pale skin by a faint glistening of sweat. "You don't think Logan let loose on Abigail? Everyone needs protection, whether or not they're gifted. You can't tell me the threat doesn't exist. Muldoon and his poncy little lap dog — they aren't the only ones."

"I know more of Logan's sins than…" A tight shake of Cardinal's head, one hand lifting in a sharp gesture through the air, "…anyway, be that as it may, Petrelli isn't going to protect anyone. All that fascist sonuvabitch is going to do is tighten the noose."

"Then perhaps someone ought to toss one around his neck and see how he likes it," Eileen suggests. There's something about Cardinal's body language and the way he trails off that twists her interest around full circle, however, and she soon finds herself pursuing one of the few topics of conversation that she considers best if left alone: "Tell me about Logan's sins."

"Most recently, pissing me the fuck off," replies Cardinal in sideways evasion of the actual question she's asking, his brow darkening a bit at the topic, "One of his little thugs used some power to turn a friend of mine's hand into bone." A faint snort of amused breath, then, and he cocks a brow up at her, "Bit hard, that first part. Have any suggestions?"

"No, but Teodoro might. If you're serious about doing something, you should see him — he knows people who think like you do." Which is to say: Eileen doesn't, or if she does she's in no position to elaborate here and now, standing in the middle of a clearing at the heart of Staten Island's greenbelt while rotor-generated wind disturbs her hair and clothes along with every blade in the field of grass around them. "Do you know where he lives? Logan."

"Phoenix." Cardinal's nostrils flare briefly in a snort as he names the people in question, his head shaking ever so slightly, "Thanks for the recruitment speech, but I'll pass… we provide information, transportation and fire support when needed, but I don't think he has the stomach for what's coming." A pause, then a slight shrug, "I suppose he might surprise me, though. We'll see." A smile touches his lips then at the question, "Logan? Sure do. Why, you planning to kill him?"

"He came into my home, beat me within an inch of my life and made it feel good." Eileen arches both her dark brows at Cardinal as if to ask, what do you think? "I'd like to do more than kill him, but for now I think I'll settle for simply knowing where the fox makes his den. I've been watching him, and he doesn't sleep at the Dagger."

"It would ruin my long term plans for revenge, but I suppose you've more of a right to his throat than I do." A brief, wolfish grin from Cardinal, before he nods once to the young woman, "I can give you his address. For future consideration if you ever need to know something I do, of course."

The fingers of Eileen's right hand curl into a loose fist, the soft leather material of her glove creaking in muffled protest as the digits fold in on themselves and cause her knuckles to rise up and strain against the fabric. "Thank you."

A step closer, Cardinal's head tilting in as he recites the address in quiet tones, so as to avoid being overheard — and then he takes a step back, noting with a jerk of his chin up, "I'd warn you to be careful, but you already know how dangerous the sonuvabitch is."

Eileen commits the address to memory and at its end seals things with a curt, almost imperceptible nod. "I've an advantage over him that I lacked the last time our paths crossed," she says, beginning to move around Cardinal, apparently intent on taking her leave of the clearing while giving the chopper a wide berth. "If you ever find yourself in need of a favour, leave a message with Teodoro or Dr. Filatov at the Rookery clinic. They'll see that it reaches me."

"And if you need to find me, well…" Cardinal turns a bit, watching her head along out of the clearing with a sideways tilt of his head, "…Laudani knows how to get in touch with me. See you around, Eileen." That said, he turns to head back to those unpacking, barking out, "What the hell are you doing, sitting on your asses? Get to work you lazy bastards…"

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