The Voice Of God


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Scene Title The Voice of God
Synopsis Cardinal confides in Simon about what must be done with Julie, and discovers the reason why time has not been on his side.
Date November 1, 2011

The Commonwealth Arcology

The office of Simon Broome is one of the few private places in the Institute that isn't cheerfully bright. Per Broome's request, the office is painted with a neutral slate gray coloration with steel furniture and a smoked glass desk. Lighting is kept dim, and what little decorations hang on the wall are black and white photographs of areas of the United States taken during thew 1960s and 1970s. Slice of life photography of families, bodega owners, animals, urban landscapes, and automobiles. Each one has a handwritten card below it, with a date and the photographer's name. In another time, Simon himself might have been a photographer. He has the eye of one, the eye of someone who knows just when to capture a moment in time forever, imprinting it in monochromatic immortality.

"I took that in the summer of 1978. At the time, I was working for the Department of Defense, developing networking infrastructure for DARPA." Simon gestures to a photograph of the Nevada desert, where a group of migrant workers stand around a construction site, drinking beers and eating sandwiches on a lunch break. Stark lines of light and shadow emphasize the angular nature of construction equipment, and the gritty realism of the workers themselves, captured in this candid moment. "You might recognize that building in the back," he notes, pointing to a squad concrete structure built into a desert hillside. Simon's conversational partner wears the face of Tyler Case, a stolen body robbed of life and possibility by the cruelest positioning of fate. Richard Cardinal, spanned across past and future, squints at the image.

"Fort Daedalus." Cardinal finally recognizes it, offering Simon a side-long look. "That's…" he shakes his head. "Did you have any part in that?" Simon shoots Richard an insulted look at that, then closes his eyes and shakes his head and rests a hand on Cardinal's shoulder.

"Richard," Simon says with a sigh, "I'm old, but I'm not that old. Besides, Daedalus was scrapped long before I had any importance in the DoD. We reused the facility to hold servers. Back in the day, those were — "

"Simon," Cardinal strains the name out, fingers pinching the bridge of his nose. "I appreciate this, the… distraction? But I can't. I want to have time for this," he gestures to the photographs. "But I just can't. We need to decide what to do about Juliette." When Cardinal returns the conversation to business, Simon's shoulders slack and a look of weariness crosses his face. Nodding, defeatedly, he steps away from the photographs and circles back around behind his desk. Standing there for a moment, Simon taps a display on his desk's touch screen and brings up Juliette Fournier's two dossiers.

The photographs flicker and disappear in their frames, replaces by a pair of images of Juliette. One well-groomed and placid, the other wild-haired and agitated. "I've been going over our options. With the twins' sets of abilities, we have even less means to control their environment and exposure to powers. At Luis' last assessment, he's determined that Julie is capable of maintaining at least nine discrete powers at once. That's up almost double from this time last year. In another six months, I don't think we'll even be able to contain her."

"You can't now," Cardinal jabs, looking over his shoulder to Simon. "Not anymore, at least. Liette took Eldridge's matter relocation ability. She practically tore the Natazhat facility apart before leaving. We're lucky she didn't know where she was or what we're doing there. If that ability is handed off to Julie, she could not only tear her way out of here, she could bring this entire place down around her. I'm sorry, Simon, I know — I know this isn't easy, but we can't let this go on."

Exhaling a sigh, Broome nods and swipes across his desk, changing the images in the frame to depict medical records. "Earlier this year, Julie was exposed to an extremely fatal strain of malaria, by means of Claire Bennett. Luis has been working on a cure for the contagion, and thanks to research done by Doctor Blite, he's come around to a mitigation." Cardinal approaches Broome's desk, hands in his pockets. "I've gone over the figures multiple times. We're… going to have to negate Julie's abilities, and put her in an ACTS until we can find Liette and figure out what to do with her. If we cut them off from each other, Liette's health will fail." Simon looks away, down to the floor for a moment. There is no happiness in his voice, but backed into a corner he presents the only possible outcomes. "Either they'll bring Liette in, she'll turn herself in, or she'll die." Simon's dark eyes alight back to Cardinal, brows furrowed. Is this what you want is painted on Broome's face.

Sweeping a hand over his mouth, Richard paces away from Simon's desk and glances back at the medical records. "Will Julie be ok?"

"More than likely, yes. Between the medication that Luis was able to synthesize, Doctor Zimmerman's assistance, and Claire Bennet's availability…" Simon levels an uneasy look at Cardinal. "She has the best odds. But that is the only control we have, Richard. If Liette comes here looking for blood, she'll get it one way or the other." It is with considerable reluctance that Cardinal agrees to the plan as it is. That much is visible on his face and painted in his posture. "I don't know what else to do, given the situation, Richard."

Cardinal dips his head into a nod, pinching the bridge of his nose again as he paces back and forth in front of Broome's desk. "I keep… We keep having to make these concessions, Simon. Do you remember what we talked about in 61?" He looks up to Broome briefly, frowning. "We weren't going to become the enemy. We had everything lined up, we — we could've saved everyone." Cardinal's voice cracks, one hand coming up to scrub at the side of his face. "How the fuck did we get so far off course?"

Dismissing the displayed images with a wave of his hand, Simon circles around his desk and walks to Cardinal's side, resting a hand on his shoulder. "Nothing worth doing is ever easy, Richard. You told me that yourself." There's reassurance there, faith. "In 1961 I was a frightened young man, who'd caused the death of the one person who loved him unconditionally. You are the person who saved me. You were, and will always be, our compass. But fate had other things in store for you." As his hand comes off of Cardinal's shoulder, his eyes alight to Broome.

"Samson Gray," is a name Cardinal hasn't thought about in a long time. But Broome's expression darkens some, his eyes downcast and a look of something other crosses his face. "What?" Cardinal asks, knowing that look. Broome makes a noise in the back of his throat, one of worry and guilt. Cardinal's expression screws itself up, going from concerned to pleading. "What aren't you telling me?" Simon's answer is to slowly walk back to his desk, Cardinal close on his heels. As he comes around the side, Simon swipes a hand across the glass surface and taps through some files.

"We received some intelligence about an hour before you arrived, from the DoEA through Reclamation Command in Staten Island." Broome stops on a document, double-tapping a dossier with two fingers. An image pops up of a narrow-faced and unshaven man with a prominent nose and deep-set eyes. "His name is Griffin Mihangle, he's a recently flipped informant for the DoEA within the Ferrymen."

Cardinal approaches, brows furrowed. "I know him, he's a telekinetic. Not particularly remarkable. What did he share?" Cardinal's stare at Broome is piercing, it's times like this he wishes he'd had the freedom of a telepath. Broome changes to a written dossier, then enlarges the text of a conversation between Mihangle and Colonel Leon Heller. Cardinal's eyes sweep back and forth across the text, head tilting to the side and brows furrowing. After a moment his breath hitches in the back of his throat and his eyes grow wide.

"Walter Trafford?" Even that exasperation is nothing compared to the hand that Cardinal claps over his mouth in shock on reading the next line. "Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ how many of them!?" Broome shakes his head and dismisses the dossier and deposition text.

"Unknown, but at least four. Rumor among the Ferrymen is that they all came from the same point in time, backwards, and have been walking among us possibly for years." At Broome's revelation, Cardinal storms away from the desk, both hands running through his hair and breathing hastening. His eyes flick from side to side, searching the room for meaning and pattern. As she wheels back around, Broome can see the indignation in his expression and is quick to temper it. "I have not fully gone through Mister Mihangle's deposition, nor have I verified any of this information. That said, I believe it is potentially true based on something pulled from Desmond's helmet camera from a few weeks ago." Cardinal starts to approach the desk, but turns to a picture frame when Broome starts the image.

«We've got another one in here. Looks like a vagrant, might be Ferry.» The helmet camera from Desmond Harper's 00-01 Horizon Armor shows a green-jacketed man laying unconscious on the floor of an apartment.

«Confirm kill, 00-01. Black extraction, no witnesses.» An Institute logistics officer at Miller Airfield offering tactical support makes the call.

Cardinal leans in, squinting, looking at the blurry image.

«Affirmative,» Harper replies, training his sights on the young man and firing two rounds into his chest.

Broome stops the video, and Cardinal lets out an audible, "Jesus Christ. Was that — was that — " He can't form the words, and Broome has yet to deliver the worst of the news. The next image he pulls up is a spectrum scan of the apartment, showing a pooled area of blood without a body. But the walls are phosphorescent with lime green daubs of light. As Cardinal sees that, his head shakes and he steps away from the desk, sweeping two hands over his head. A few small arcs of red lightning dance up and down his back.

"Whoever was killed in that apartment, we believe Liette resurrected him with a copy of Doctor Stevens temporal manipulation ability." Broome dismisses all of the images, and after Cardinal has a moment to cool down he circles back to the desk, rubbing both hands over his face. "Do you recognize him?"

"Yeah," Cardinal rasps, "that's — Robert Bishop Junior." Broome raises one dark brow slowly and pointedly. "He's — the original power source for the Mallett Device. He's where I went too far. Where I…" Cardinal closes his eyes and leans forward, resting his palms on the top of the desk, exhaling a ragged, weary sigh as he does. For a while, Simon's office is silent save for the hum of electricity in the ceiling lights. Simon quietly lifts a hand, once more, to rest on his old friend's shoulder. There's a reassuring squeeze, and Cardinal lifts one hand to rest atop Broome's.

"We've gotta negate Julie," Cardinal admits with a desperate resolve. "Draw her sister out, and — make sure the automated security at the Ark is ready. Has Brooks gotten anything from Ray yet?" Broome shakes his head slowly, then looks down to his desk in wordless inability to help the situation. Cardinal nods, as if he'd half-expected this to be an uphill battle now. "Thank you, Simon. I know this is hard work, but… we're almost done."

Simon looks up to Richard, equally tired in his expression as his friend. "You never answered my question," Simon notes. Cardinal seems puzzled by the topic change, and waits for Simon to explain further. "When you came to my mother's funeral. You asked me to imagine if we could be like the voice of God, calling back to Noah through time, to warn of the flood." Cardinal's brows raise slowly. "You said that we could be the road sign ahead, warning of approaching danger, and you asked me, what, then, would differ us from God himself?"

Cardinal looks down to the floor, knowing the answer now that he didn't have when he posed the same to Broome decades ago. When his eyes meet Simon's again, there's guilt in his voice. But his answer is resolute.


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