This Dream Was *Not* A Wish


cardinal_icon.gif elisabeth_icon.gif

Scene Title This Dream Was *NOT* A Wish
Synopsis More prophetic dreams come to light.
Date March 7, 2011

Redbird Security Solutions, Cardinal's Apartment

She texted this time. Because… well, he's not in the office. So she texts from downstairs and waits for the response that it's okay to come up before heading up the stairs to knock on the door. And when he lets her in, she's dressed not in casual jeans or the black combat pants and boots but in a sleek black business suit with a dove-gray silk blouse and high heels. Her hair's loose and looks disheveled, but it's the kind that comes from running her hands through it not more fun pursuits. And she looks…. perhaps distracted is the best way to term it. "Hi," she greets. "I'm sorry I woke you early…" It's 4pm, but it may be the only other time she's out on this end of town today.

Richard Cardinal was, it appears, finishing up his afternoon workout routine when she showed up. He threw on a shirt for her benefit before answering the door, although admittedly that's probably because he didn't know it was her. "Hey," he waves her in, hair a little mussed and skin sheened with sweat, waving her in, "No, it's okay, I was awake. C'mon in. What's up?"

"So our professor friend hasn't gotten back with me about the intel we sent his way," Elisabeth begins. "However, that said… someone else who does conflict analysis has turned up. And I think we should let her take a look at some of what she's got. Her field of work is actually related well enough that she might be able to tell us some things about where to look next." She walks through his apartment, past his hot and sweaty self, without really looking at him. Shoving a hand through her hair, she turns to look at him. "And I think we need to keep very close contact with Warren. We need to make sure that the failsafes he's attempting to build are actually in place, Richard." Her stress is showing only in the low-level hum that accompanies her movements as she passes him. Most people probably wouldn't notice, but he's altogether too familiar with signs of anxiety from her.

"Who's the conflict analyst?" Cardinal pushes the door closed behind her, sliding the lock into place and stepping over after her, "And I'm going to be meeting with Warren soon anyway… hey." He brings a hand up, reaching to touch her cheek as he tries to catch her eyes, "…what's wrong, Liz?"

"Ygraine Fitzroy," Elisabeth replies. She holds her ground, but her jaw clenches when he puts his hand to it. Meeting his eyes, she says quietly, "A dream. Like the one some other people had about Sumter's funeral, only… before. A few years before. And it's…. bad, Richard. Robot spider things on public streets scanning people's faces, drone jets blowing shit up… and it didn't seem like that was an unusual thing. More like people looked around worried they were too close to the target."

"Ygraine does conflicts analysis?" There's a moment's bemusement there - people often produce the most unusual skills, after all - and then Cardinal's lips pull into a tight frown. "Shit. Another…" He pulls away, hand falling from her cheek, walking back across the room towards the couch with a sigh, "…who the fuck is doing this?"

"I don't know," Elisabeth replies quietly. "But she seems to think that it's…. what'd she call it? A Malthusian kind of prophecy… someone warning us what's coming in the hopes that it can be stopped. And it has to be stopped." Her jaw tightens again. "I broke every goddamn piece of glass in the barracks," she admits softly. "Woke up terrified… and haven't been able to shake it yet."

"If there's someone fucking with dreams…" Cardinal's hand lifts to rub against his brow, fingers drawing in and outwards again in a slow rub of contact, "…we should check with another dreamwalker. Maybe you should hunt down Delia and ask her to check your dreams for— meddling."

"I'll talk to Eve about it," Elisabeth acknowledges. "I'm less worried about meddling in my dreams, considering people like Ryans had the last one, than I am about what they show, Richard." She walks over to stand in front of him and says quietly, "I was sitting at a bus stop waiting for a bus. It was autumn. Brad Russo was being billed as the 'longest running political' something or another on television. And when the drones came through, I ran. I had the sense that I'd screwed up royally and I ran like hell, trying to get out of the way before they caught up to me. I was trying to get out of the city."

"All respect to Eve, but she's barely more rational than Tamara most times…" Cardinal turns slightly to look at her as she speaks, his brow furrowing, "Shit. We really need to stop this drone program… before it gets off the ground. We need to make them look unreliable even before they pitch it to the public."

"We need to do more than that," Elisabeth says softly. "Because they were social engineering. I was running from a perfect stranger because I thought he'd figured out — that the robot that scanned my face right before he spoke to me had figured out — that I was pregnant. I was hiding it like a rabid dog. It was something I had to be careful about, because if 'they' knew, … it would be bad. I don't know who 'they' are — and I have any number of guesses at this point — but I had the sense that I wasn't supposed to be. That I didn't have…. permission, maybe. It wasn't being hidden out of shame or fear of any one particular person knowing. It was about ANYONE knowing."

At that, Cardinal's eyes darken. "Jesus Christ," he exhales, "Ethnic cleansing…" He reaches a hand up, curving it to her cheek, "…well, we'll have to do some engineering of our own. We'll hold a meeting - bring in everyone we can, and see what we can come up with."

Turning her cheek into the hand, Elisabeth closes her eyes for a moment. The distressed hum hasn't abated much, more a feeling than a sound around her. Like she's standing in a pocket of vaguely staticky air. When she looks up at him, she says, "We need to bring her in. All the way in, at least in terms of intel. She can't be kept on as an operative, but …. apparently the woman was a UN conflict analyst of some kind. She may be exactly what we need." Forcing a small smile. "Besides… you owe her a thank you. She's reduced your rather major fuck-up to something that might be manageable proportions in my head."

"Oh?" Cardinal shows very little comprehension of show she's done that, but he nods slightly, "Well, I… guess that I owe her, then." His hand rubs to her cheek, and then falls along with a sigh of breath, looking away. "She's helped us before. She's Ferry."

"I know. She was the last one to talk to Con," Elisabeth tells him quietly. "I was at Sea View killing fuckers and she was watching him drop ConEd around his head." She shrugs a little. He doesn't have to understand the other part — it's a girl thing. "Something she said resonates, though. The idea that these dreams are being sent to specific people as a warning of what's to come. That something in the details might be useful in averting what's happening. The spider drones were… really terrifying, but watching jets blow something up, all I could feel was sympathy and relief that it wasn't right where we were standing. Christ, babe…. " She bites her lip. "I couldn't pinpoint when."

"Those details don't… matter," Cardinal says with a slow shake of his head, "We know what, and who, causes this. We just need to stop them. Either the good way, or— the hard way." Dryly, "I'm hoping we don't have to go the hard way. But…" He hesitates, then looks back to her, "…if it becomes a choice."

"I don't know how dreams that … on the surface at least seem to be some… maybe 8 or 10 years apart… are going to be that helpful," Elisabeth admits. "We already knew that we had to stop it. So why send the dreams? Do they think that we aren't already freaked out enough?" She offers a huff of strained laughter. "I really really didn't need that on top of your little bombshell. Just so you know."

"I don't know." Cardinal closes his eyes, a sigh spilling from his lips as he steps away from her, one hand coming up to rub against the nape of his neck, "I'm sorry, Liz. I just…"

"Well, I seem to be past the point of planning on hitting you," she informs him drily. Elisabeth's tone is still strained, but wry amusement laces it. "Now I'm too fucking worried about a government trying to forcibly take or abort my kid to be bothered freaking about the fact that you knocked up one of your lovers. Has a fabulous way of putting life in perspective, yeah?" She shoves a hand through her hair. "Anyway — I wanted to let you know about Ygraine, since we're calling a meeting anyway. You can think about it and decide if you want her involved in the meeting or if you'd rather keep her involvement on the down-low. I've actually pointed her at Marcus Donovan — Ygraine's the brains behind Liberty. Which is… a trust fund set up to finance people challenging discrimination through the court system — or something like that." She pauses. "And I might be misremembering exactly what she said she did. She said something about translation and interpretation too, but… hell, I don't know. Whatever it was, it sounded good and she talked me past breaking your nose when I lost it all over her, so…. that's got to count for something with the mood I'm in this week." She seems to be bouncing back and forth in moods, too. Amused, distressed, amused… whatever. Tough week.

"I'll talk to her." Cardinal's fingers slide through the hair at the back of his head in a slow rub as he looks back across the room, "And yeah, I know about Liberty. I'll see if… I don't know, I'll see what happens. I'll talk to her. She seems to have her head on her shoulders… why didn't you— I mean, why don't you think we should bring her in as an agent?"

Oh! That. Elisabeth actually smiles at that. "Because she doesn't want to be one. She wants to do this for us, though — she wants to use her brain and to help. But she doesn't want to go out there and shoot shit, babe. Not unless there are no other options. She was trapped in the dome with Jaiden and she got shot in there. She's suffering PTSD symptoms." She pauses. "As if three-quarters of us aren't," she observes drily. "But anyway… she doesn't want to. That's the only reason. She's seen enough of bloodshed for a while, I think."

"Oh." Cardinal brushes it off with a vague motion of his hand, "Shit, most of our agents aren't go out and shoot people sorts. Is that what the Ferry thinks of us?" He sounds almost insulted, "That's fucking Messiah. Christ."

Elisabeth smirks faintly, "Actually that's exactly why she's not taking part in the Ferry operations much except as a courier either." She shrugs. "She didn't say that about the bloodshed, I did." She looks at him and her blue eyes are haunted. "Because it's coming. It's coming hard. Fast. And soon. And you know it."

"No." Cardinal's jaw tenses, "I refuse to just accept that, Liz." He sweeps a hand to one side, voice raising slightly, "I will stop this. One way or another. I'm not going to let this turn into a bloody war."

She watches him with a weary expression. "I know. But do you ever get tired of having enemies on all fronts, love? The DoEA is developing the robots. So far as I know, it's in conjunction with the Institute. But… here's the thing. Why the fuck would the Institute help fucking Humanis First? I mean, Christ.. knowing what they know… how does that even happen? The entire upper echelon of local government is compromised, but fucking NATHAN PETRELLI sits in the goddamn Oval Office. How do we get to robots on the fucking streets from those connections? I just… I don't get it."

"Because that's the future that he came from," Cardinal says in tight, angry tones, "Because he wants to make sure that things end up like he remembers… so he can make his move. Because he's too afraid of letting things deviate to ruin his perfect fucking plans!" He whirls, kicking something to send it across the room. Only problem is, it's a weight, and he ends up stumbling with a swear, hopping on one foot and holding the other, "Fucking— nngh— damn it!

Oh … shit. Ouch. Elisabeth flinches visibly in sympathy. "Well, this is why I want to bring in Ygraine. With what we do know about his future, what we know about how it developed in his timeline… she may be able, along with the game theorist who's looking, to help us figure out how to counter it. Her area of expertise is … how people respond to situations and how their perceptions shape actions. If she can give us insight into the mindset behind these perceptions and the professor can help us work out decisions to stymie the path forward…. we may have the makings of a plan." Right now… all they've got is gut instinct and rage. And lies.

Maybe if he'd been wearing a shoe, Cardinal wouldn't be in quite so much pain. Hop hop hop and he tumbles back onto the couch, lifting his foot up and rubbing his toes with a grimace, "…shit. Alright, alright. I'll— meet with her, see what, ow. Can you get me some ice?"

She eyes him, a somewhat wry twist to her lips. But Elisabeth walks to the kitchen to get him some ice wrapped in several paper towels. "Did you break it?" she asks mildly. When she comes back, she moves to sit on the edge of the cushion next to him. "Can you bend it?" She proffers the ice.

"No, I didn't break it," Cardinal mutters, reaching out to take the ice and press it to his toes, "Just stubbed it— I know what it feels like when I break a toe. Goddamnit."

She remains sitting there, quiet for a long moment. The distressed buzz of not-quite-noise around her has subsided some, barely prickling along the skin of his arm. Elisabeth looks around the apartment and rests her elbows on her knees. "My power's only just coming back up to par," she murmurs softly to him, a segue that might seem out of place.

"A glance up from the ice, Cardinal's eyes on her face. "It's something," he says quietly, "At least you're healing… or whatever." There's a pause, "Have you talked to Jaiden recently?"

Tilting her head, Elisabeth looks at him curiously. "Yeah.. just the other day. Why?"

"He stopped by to talk to me," Cardinal says thoughtfully, "He said he was thinking about registering… considering FRONTLINE."

Ah. Now she nods. "He was working on the paperwork for Registration when I went by," Elisabeth replies, leaning back into the couch with a heavier sigh. The heels of her hands dig into her eyes. "I don't know if it's the right thing for him to Register, but… it would look better for him to do it now rather than waiting in my opinion," she admits. "Right now, because he hasn't traveled outside the country and is not a US citizen, he's kind of in a limbo state. But he's already applied for citizenship, I know that much. And if he goes to them now and says basically that he didn't know if it applied or not but that he was turning the application over just in case, they should take him at face value. I mean… he's not got a record, he's not tied to Redbird or you or me in any overt fashion. No one should be flagging him. And he didn't come on board really until after November 8th — in Zeke's future, he was dead. So… he shouldn't be on that radar either." She brings her hands down. "I don't know that I want him applying to FRONTLINE. He wants to do that for me. And I don't know what to say."

"He has the experience," says Cardinal with a slight tip of his head, "He's ex-military, he has all the training… and the more people we have in the system, the better hold we have over it." There's a pause, "Do you mean that because you don't want him doing it for the wrong reason… or do you want to protect him?"

Elisabeth turns her head to look questioningly at him. "Meaning?"

"You've seen a lot of your friends hurt, killed, Liz…" Cardinal leans forward, resting his arms folded on his knee, his other hand keeping the ice pressed to his foot, "I wouldn't blame you if you'd try to keep him out of the line of fire."

Pursing her lips, she leans her head back. Elisabeth is forced to study the ceiling. "I don't want him to join for the wrong reasons," she admits. "I don't need someone else signing on just to watch my back." She pauses and admits, "But they're not mutually exclusive. He's old enough to make up his own mind — I'm not going to influence him one way or the other except to tell him to be sure of his own motives." She remains slumped back in the seat, uncaring that she's ruffling up her blazer and slacks. "I want the luxury of being selfish," she adds softly.

"So do I." Cardinal's gaze drops down to his foot, and he says quietly, "I wish we had that luxury, love. I really do."

With a faint grin, she looks at him. "Yeah, yeah. Tahiti, I'm telling you. You owe me. Huge." Elisabeth's tone is gentle in spite of the faint hum that still indicates distress.

"Yeah." Cardinal quirks a faint smile, "Tahiti." He pauses, "You gonna be okay, Liz?"

Blowing out a breath, Elisabeth snorts derisively. "Aren't I always?" Her eyes wander his face slowly, and she offers him one of those slow smiles that shows him her feelings more clearly than words. "Life keeps going, lover. It freaks me out a little," she admits. "Won't be the first time I had nightmares that hung around a while or anything. But it'll take more than a what-if to break me." He should know that by now.

"I still think you should get that dreamwalker to take a look," Cardinal shakes his head, "Otherwise… maybe keep a dream journal just in case something else pops up?"

She shrugs slightly. "Sure, I can do that. I'll write down everything I can remember about this one and … I'd say maybe some of the others in the dream might be approached, but… it gives me the willies to consider it," Elisabeth admits with a grimace.

"There were others there?" Cardinal lifts a brow before pulling the ice away from his foot, flexing it a little to test his toe's injury with a grimace, "No, definately not broken."

She watches him flex his toes, reaching out with gentle fingertips to stroke his leg. "Nope… not broken," Elisabeth agrees mildly. When she looks up, she nods. "Odessa," she says softly. "I think… maybe we were co-workers or something. I was really, really familiar with her when she stepped into the bus stop. And I think I saw Brad Russo himself trying to hail a cab." She never saw Claire, too busy panicking at the time.

"Odessa…" It's a name Cardinal's heard before, but not often or in detail. He tosses the ice over to land on the coffee table, then looks up to her with a faint smile as she touches his leg, "…Elle might know how to get in touch with her. I think she knows her. I'm assuming she's with the Institute, though, whoever she is…"

"Yeah," Elisabeth replies softly. "Trouble is… she was also in with … Dreyfus or something, I think." The guy who came to the U.S. after Liz killed his son. Volken's second in command. "I don't really know anything about the woman, but the eyepatch is a little hard to mistake. It was her." She grimaces. "Oh the tangled webs, I must say."

"Oy." Cardinal rubs the bridge of his nose, "All of these lines and strings… my map is going to drive me nuts."

A brow ticks upward. "You have a new string map?" Elisabeth asks, startled.

There's a pause, and Cardinal nods slightly. "I'm trying to map what… Ezekiel's doing," he admits, "Working out the timeline through his actions. Sort of— backwards, but…" He waves a hand vaguely, grimacing, "I'm not the best at string theory still. I'm not Hiro, or Edward."

Elisabeth blows out a breath and mumbles, "Great. Just what we always wanted. More fucking string maps and craziness. But Warren's supposedly going up to see his father again. Maybe…. " She grimaces. "Never mind. Why the fuck should we trust anything we get from that source either?" she asks. "One of him says kill this list of people, the other says don't. Everyone's trying to save the world and not a damn one of us knows what the hell we're doing," she remarks.

"Yeah." Cardinal's fingers rub against his forehead, his eyes closing, "I know. Still, you learn by doing, right?"

She snorts with laughter. "Yeah. Sure." Elisabeth shoves upright and toes the high heeled shoes off her feet, moving to climb into his lap facing him. She's careful of his injured foot. "Doing it over and over again wrong is the practice run, right?" She leans down, bracing her arms on either side of his head as she kisses his forehead. "And praactice makes perfect." Another soft kiss to his temple, a faint smile against his skin. "I bet there are other things we don't need nearly as much practice at." A kiss to his cheekbone. "Things that we've already mastered by doing." She nibbles gently below his ear. "Can you think of any?"

"Oh…" A tilt of his head, Richard's eyes closing and his hands sliding up her hips, "…I think so." A smile curves across his expression, murmuring with a kiss to the side of her jaw, "You'll just have to call down and tell Jo I'm going to be late."

The chuckle against his throat is soft. "Pretty sure she assumes things like that when I come in here lately, even when it's not true," Elisabeth whispers, amused. "I think her opinion of your stamina is… very high."

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