To The False Prophets


cardinal_icon.gif risa_icon.gif west_icon.gif

Scene Title To The False Prophets
Synopsis One night in Midtown, Richard Cardinal runs into a face from the past, retracing old footsteps.
Date June 23, 2010

Ruins of Midtown

Some people have started referring to Midtown as Ghost town. It's a small population of transients and homeless, people who are on the fringe of being in the know about the illegal groups operating out of these crumbling ruins. It's not wholly impossible that they have heard the stories of heavily armed resistance groups moving from tunnel to tunnel, eviscerated skyscraper to eviscerated skyscraper. The world is a strange place, but to most of the uninitiated, people like the members of the Endgame or the Ferrymen might seem as ghosts of the urban landscape to them, able to come and go on a whim and disappear into thin air.

The footsteps that crunch over broken concrete and shattered glass outside of a demolished and bullet-riddled tenement building are some of these ghosts. Wrapped in an oversized black jacket made for a man far taller than her, Risa Lynette looks like a child playing in her father's coat. Norman White's black wool trenchcoat may be tattered and frayed, but it is the only thing she has to remind her of a man who helped save her life.

Risa is not along in haunting the ruins of what would have been the Ferrymen's Armory safehouse, but the bruised and battered looking West Rosen has seen better days. His causal t-shirt and jeans approach to rebellion makes him look more lost than subtle. One side of his face is still purple and yellow from a sound thrashing delivered to him by Catherine Chesterfield, scabs around his eye and on his cheekbones where skin split from the heel of her boot.

"You getting anything yet?" West asks quietly to the brunette leading the way. Risa's approach thorugh the ruins has been meandering, traveling around the decaying perimeter of the building, not quite brave enough to venture inside of osmething that looks ready to collapse.

"Whispers…" Risa offers with a furrow of her brows, head shaking slowly, "lots of… emotional sediment, I'm trying to get more recent." Looking up to the brick-walled building, her breath draws in slow and steady, dark lashes partly hiding equally dark eyes. "Lots of people lived here… there's a lot of history to sift through."

But even Risa and West aren't the real ghosts of Midtown. No, that title fall to someone far more deserving.

Someone far more spectral.

"Yes, well… that's New York for you. If you're looking for history, Risa, this is the place for it…" History…

Another whisper that stirs through the ruins, a shadow rising from the depths of that decaying building on the verge of condemnation and spilling out over glass whose shattered remnants jut like broken teeth from the edge of a window, slithering in a smooth glide towards the pair.

Richard Cardinal's voice is soft, curious as he asks, "What is it that you're looking for?"

Norman White was a lifetime ago. But that was a lifetime the ghosts and living here both can remember.

Already reaching out to grab Risa and fly away with her, West finds his grasping hand swatted at by the brunette as she takes a step back and away from the sound of the hissing voice. "You." There's recognition in her tone, darkness in her eyes, and accusation hiding behind her subtley venomous vocalization. "You are very brave and very cruel to be showing yourself around here, hissing questions at me after what you helped perpetrate."

Tensing up and swallowing nervously, Risa looks down and away, eyes glittering wetly before her head shakes in slow rebuking of the shadow man's presence. "I— I'm sorry…" she relents, realizing the haste in her words, and that both she and Kris stood by and did nothing when Doc was captured and were conspirators in Norman's death at the end.

"What do you want from us, our business here is not yours." Dark brows crease together, and from the sound of her voice, Risa has both gained an edge to herself in Norman's passing yet not lost the touch of eastern european flair to her accent.

As the accusations are hurled forth, the shadow neither flinches nor lunges, merely remaining silence as she speaks them. It isn't until she's finished and asks her question that he answers her, a quiet and bitter wryness to his voice, "You don't think I wish Norman would've listened? I tried… but you know damn well all he was going to accomplish is armageddon." Holocaust…

The darkness unfolds; spilling upwards and rippling into three dimensions, darkness becoming monochromatic and then colour, Cardinal's shoulders falling back to rest against the wall behind him thereafter, arms folding loosely over his chest. The shadowmorph's faint smile is edged sharply and without any humor, his eyes hidden by shades.

"As for your business… well. Everyone's business is my business, Risa. And last I knew, while we might not be under the same banner - or is it a scarf? - we're all on the same side here."

"We should go," West urges, resting a hand on Risa's shoulder, only to have it shaken away by a jerk of it as the slim brunette takes a few steps through the broken glass and concrete towards the shadow. Risa looks warningly over her shoulder to West, who actually recoils from her, only to shake his head and roll his eyes as he turns around, lacing fingers behind his head as he takes a few meandering steps away.

"What side is that?" Risa asks with an arch of one brow. "Doc did not tell me all you and he spoke of, only scraps enough to recognize you. I do not know what your goals are, aside from stopping… saving Norman from himself." Ther ewas another life ended there, but Risa has little love lost for the man known as Shard.

"And stop with this," Risa motions dismissively to the shadow, "show me yourself, I will not talk to black sack-cloth on stone."

"We should go," West urges, resting a hand on Risa's shoulder, only to have it shaken away by a jerk of it as the slim brunette takes a few steps through the broken glass and concrete towards the shadow. Risa looks warningly over her shoulder to West, who actually recoils from her, only to shake his head and roll his eyes as he turns around, lacing fingers behind his head as he takes a few meandering steps away.

"What side is that?" Risa asks with an arch of one brow. "Doc did not tell me all you and he spoke of, only scraps enough to recognize you. I do not know what your goals are, aside from stopping… saving Norman from himself." There was another life ended there, but Risa has little love lost for the man known as Shard.

Seeing Cardinal, though, Risa narrows her eyes slightly. "You hardly looked to have changed, since that day on Liberty Island…" there's some worry in her voice at that, dark eyes scrutinizing his presence. "Has it been that short a time?" It feels like so much longer to her.

"I'd like to think that we have the same goals, in the end," Cardinal says with a shrug of one shoulder, the fingers of one gloved hand smoothing over the sleeve of his flight jacket in absent little movements, "We want an end to bullshit like the Commonwealth Institute, like these camps they're building, like Moab… we all want those sons of bitches out of power and made to answer for what they've done, and planned."

Wry, "We just have some disagreements about methodology, is all."

He looks at her for a long moment, before saying quietly, "It hasn't even been a year. Seems so much longer, doesn't it?"

"You mean you're wrong and too slow to act, and we're right and you'll realize it later?" Risa seems a bit sharp with that accusation, but it earns a brow-raised stare from West at how open the usually soft-spoken young woman is actually being tonight. Stepping closer to Cardinal again, Risa's brows crease together and her head shakes slowly. "You do not even know who we are or what we do, aside from rumor…"

It's a challenging statement, her brows pinched together and chin tilted up. "You think you play this game of knowledge, yet if you knew what our goals were and how we fight, you would see your own mistakes. If we are, truly, on the same side…" Risa motions to the building with one delicate hand shrouded in the long sleeves of Norman's old coat.

"What happened here, to the people who were here?" Risa's dark eyes settle back on Cardinal, brows still furrowed, looking intently up at the taller man under the pale glow of moonlight.

"I haven't the faintest idea," Cardinal admits, revealing that he is not - in fact - omniscient as he turns a bit to look over the building, musing, "I think it was a safehouse - maybe Phoenix, maybe Ferry, I'd need to do some asking around if you're really interested. I could probably find out without too much trouble…"

Those sunglasses slide back to her, then, and he says quietly, "A war needs agents as much as it needs soldiers, Risa. We're fighting the same fight. We're just tackling it from different directions. Or would you rather I stop trying to locate what facility they're keeping Doc in, and start randomly blowing bad guys up?"

"There's nothing random about what we're doing. There's a plan," Risa emphasizes, turning to look at the building when Cardinal admits his ignorance. "I can find out what happened here…" Risa adds quietly, taking a few steps away from Cardinal. "West," she calls out to the younger man, "talk to him while I'm busy…" There's a steady walk, pacing away from Cardinal and West, but when the flyer comes walking over, he's shaking his head slowly and looking Cardinal up and down.

"Two choices, man," West notes holding two fingers up into the air. "You can stick around, or you can buzz off. If you stick around, I'm warning you, when she," he points to Risa, "does what she's intending to do, you're going to get a //face full of the past, whether you want it or not. Just so we're clear that nobody's trying to smash your brain in from the inside. What she does, it fucks with your head… but somebody has to see it, she sure can't."

With that ominous portend, West starts to follow Risa thorugh the battered down doorway into the building.

Cardinal rolls his eyes behind his shades, moving to follow along after the reporter; hands tucking into the pockets of his jacket as he observes, "I know what she can do." The bruised young man's given a once over from behind, and he muses aloud as they walk within, "So… you're West, huh?"

The subtext there being wow, Claire really does// have bad taste in guys//.

"You've read my work?" Is West's conceited assumption. "Cool," he adds with a bob of his head into a nod, following behind Risa with hands tucked into his pockets. "The whole Rose Westen thing was a pretty good cover for the time being, but it's hard to be a journalist and a revolutionary, usually one comes before the other…" Cracking a smile, West looks around and the debris-littered ground floor garage of the building, windows blown out and plants growing up through the cracks in the floor.

"Who're you anyway, if Risa here knows you." West's attention lingers on Cardinal, all the while Risa is walking through the empty multi-car garage, feeling chipped concrete support pillars riddled with bulletholes, stepping over broken stone and weeded undergrowth.

There's no attempt made to correct his assumption. Richard might've read his work, or he might not have, but he doesn't say one way or another. There's a crunch as broken glass is ground under his boot-heel as he walks into the emptied garage, gaze following Risa as she walks about instead of the cocky would-be journalist.

"Me?" A twitch of a smile, "I'm nobody. Just someone who keeps an eye and an ear on things, Rosen, nobody important. Just a shadow."

"Nobody's nobody," West confusingly states, "Especially people who say they aren't anybody, they're the ones who have something to— " Risa's hitch of breath and sharp inhalation that follows comes when she walks over a patch of concrete that seems to trip her up. The brunette lurches forward and clutches at her head with one hand, only to have West abruptly manage to say, "Oh, shit," before the incoming tidal-wave of sensory input assault Cardinal, like June 10th all over again, except a window to the past instead of the future.

slouched against the wall and breathing labored, aching breaths, Doctor Harve Brennan hears the shrieking cries of birds thorugh the doorway into the second floor. Flapping wings and screams, gunfire and absolute pandemonium. Backing thorugh the doorway there's a blast of gunfire as two more Institute retrievers step over their fallen comrade, black and gray feathers fluttering past them from gunfire peppered pigeon remains.

One of the men turns to aim his gun down at Brennan and the woman with him while the other drags the bludgeoned retriever out of the way further. There's a blast of flame down the hall, and Brennan can see one of the white-clad men of the Institute with a hand held up in the air, calling up a rolling wave of fire from in front of his hands, throwing it down the frozen concrete corridor towards the birds. It seems that the retrieval squads have Evolved among them as well.

«Doctor Brennan,» the retriever with the gun leveled on Brennan crackles through his respirator, Brennan's own face reflected in the glossy black visor of the mask, «we're going to have to ask you to come with us.» The young woman slouched against Brennan is lifted away by the other masked agent of the Institute, an arm slung around his shoulder as he looks her over, then starts to lead her out into the hall where the pyrokinetic is keeping the birds at bay.

«This is ground unit six to home base, we have the Doctor. No sign of his companion yet.» The masked operative nods once, watching Brennan thorugh the emotionless visor, and the doctor can't hear the response that the retriever is receiving. «Affirmative. We're sending up a pair.» Two more men from the Institute come storming in to the stairwell, rifles loaded as they head up the stairs into the yellow cloud of gas. As they depart, the one by Brennan looks down to the doctor, withdrawing a side-arm from his belt, a tranquilizer gun. «This is for your own protection, doctor.»

When what should've been a tranquilizer dart being fired is heard, Richard Cardinal awakens on the ground, his head sore and back aching, vision blurred enough that he can see West laying on his side, groaning in confusion and pain from what just happened, with Risa crouches down at his side. "West? West are— are you alright? I'm sorry… I'm sorry they're getting harder, aren't they?" She's brushing blood from his forehead where he struck the ground less gracefully than Cardinal. "What did you see, West?"

A low groan rises past Cardinal's lips as his consciousness focuses back in the here and now, one hand slowly raising up to rub against his face - the heel of his hand pushing the shades up, rubbing into the orbit of his eye for a moment. "Nnh… fuck, that never gets any easier…" A mutter under his breath, and he pushes himself slowly up to a seated posture, looking over to the pair, and then over the room slowly, a frown digging deep across his expression.

"Guys… uh, white— white suits. I heard then name Brennan, he's… I dunno a doctor or something." Weakly pushing up onto one elbow, West reaches up to dab bloodied fingers across the cut on the side of his head, wincing at the pain before pulling himself to his knees, then slowly rising up to his feet. "They were using… rubber bullets. Capturing people, there was gas everywhere… this is the same shit Rupert was warning us about months ago."

Risa gives West a look when he drops Rupert's name while she's standing, brushing dirt off her black sundres. Dark eyes settle on Cardinal, and Risa offers out a hand towards him, her brows furrowed and posture stiff. "Now you have the answers too…" Risa admits quietly, and the gesture of a hand being offered out to the seated man more symbolic than just help up.

"No…" Cardinal reaches up to clasp the hand offered to him, a wan smile touching his lips for a moment as he pulls himself up to his feet, looking back down to her seriously, "…just more questions, Risa. There's always more questions."

Those gloved fingers slide slowly off of hers, a glance slanted to West before he looks back to the postcognitive, "The kid's right about one thing, though. This isn't anything new. I've got a list of a dozen or so people they've taken… and I doubt it's even close to being complete."

Risa lets the hand contact linger after she pulls Cardinal up, taking a step towards him and furrowing her brows. "If you plan on coming out of this alive, and I mean that only in so much as a warning about the people we're up against… then you should talk to Rupert." Her hand disengages from his, and Risa takes a step back away from the shadow manipulator, watching him with narrowed eyes. "If he vouches for you, then I know I can trust you… until then?"

Risa's head shakes slowly, her brows furrowed and a worried look plastered across her face. "The Institute has eyes everywhere, ears everywhere, and we can only trust the people who we know haven't been compromised." Glancing to West as the flyer gets his wits about him, Risa adds "and that's not my call to make."

"…and here I thought Petrelli was in charge," Cardinal points out in dry tones, his head cocking just a bit to one side as he regards her while she steps back, lips tugging up a bit at one corner in a sardonic smile, "I'll have to pass, though, Risa, as much as I appreciate the thought. We'll just have to keep fighting the good fight in our own ways. You might want to think about the last time you believed someone was the only guy who could be trusted to carry the war, too…"

He turns, then, raising a hand in a wave back over his shoulder as he strides for the rubble-strewn door, "The Institute might be watching for you, Risa, but I'm watching for them. See you around. West— get a better god-damn pseudonym, 'Rose Westen' is retarded."

Risa's brows furrow together and her jaw sets, fingers curling against her palm as her eyes narrow at Cardinal's refusal. Dark eyes avert down, brows furrow and her attention turns to West who looks more likely to defensively protect his pseudonym until Risa's warning gaze tells him that it's time to go. Taking a few shuffling steps over towards West, Risa slides an arm around him and watches in silence Cardinal's movements for a moment.

"Cranston," because that's the name Doc knew him by, "they infiltrated the Ferrymen," is Risa's only warning given to the shadowmorph, dark eyes narrowed. "Watch yourself," she intones, "more than you're watching them." Nodding her head to West, the arm around is reciprocated as he takes a hold of Risa, then glides off of the ground in Peter Pan and Wendy fashion with her, alighting like a leaf on the wind towards a window, then drifts up slowly into the night sky, leaving Cardinal alone in the ruins and the bullet-cracked memories of concrete and screams.

Apparently, someone isn't keeping a clean house.

As they soar off, Cardinal's head lifts to watch them go, his gaze hidden behind the darkened shades upon his face. "Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you," breathes the shadowman, quoting the Book of Luke, "For so did their fathers to the false prophets…"

It's one madman after the other, it seems, lying and manipulating their way into the loyalty of those capable of doing the most damage.

At the quiet times in the night, he can but hope he's not one of them.

And then he's gone, and there's naught but ghosts and shadows in Midtown once more.

Some of them have work to do.

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