Too Much To Do, Not Enough Bodies


cardinal_icon.gif elisabeth_icon.gif

Scene Title Too Much To Do, Not Enough Bodies
Synopsis Delegation is key to any group.
Date Aug 10, 2009

NY Public Library, Midtown Ruins

The one good thing about today's communications abilities? It means no wasted trips. She already knows he's here and he already knows she's coming by the time her footsteps echo down the hallway. The stride indicates either that the woman's in a hurry or that she's agitated by something, though when Elisbeth steps into the room that has been being used as a 'base' of sorts, there is only a faint frown line between her blonde brows. Blue eyes skim, fall upon him, and darken slightly. "Would you like the good news or the bad news first?" are her first words to him.

As she walks in, Cardinal's on the floor; arms behind his head, knees bent, he stops in mid sit-up to slap one hand against the floor and push himself to a seated posture when she enters, then up to his feet in an easy roll. A t-shirt and slightly baggy sweats is what he's dressed in this morning, and he flashes her a smile before stepping over to where a coffee machine is contentedly gurgling to give him something to help wake up. "Mornin' beautiful," he greets casually, "I'll take the bad news first."

The smile makes Liz roll her eyes and forces her mood off the annoyance factor. She's not annoyed at him, after all. "You know…. no, not gonna say it." She grins at him and then moves to drop the folder she's holding on the table. "We're all fucked up the ass with no lube," she comments as it lands. She turns to face him. "Bad news is: We created our own problems with the earthquakes. Norman White was incarcerated at Moab up until we went in there and blew the place into pieces and parts scattered through time and space."

"We made our own problems? Oh, look, this is my fucking surprised face…" Cardinal's smile fades as he pulls the pot from the machine, tilting it towards a cracked-finish mug to fill it with dark, steaming java, his head shaking a little, "…you have no idea how much we've fucked ourselves already, Liz. Okay. Any more bad news?"

Elisabeth actually snickers at his 'fucking surprised face'. "I love that face on you. It turns me all hot and gooey and stuff," she quips. "The rest of the bad news is that Moab's a crater. Ninety percent of the place has vanished — and none of it has reappeared so far as we can tell. Yet. Note the 'time and space' thing. We know that people were scattered anywhere from hours to a decade into the future, and there's no telling it parts of Moab went forward or maybe even backward. We'd have no way to even track if some of them went backward. And I'm fucking wondering if my serial killer was one of those bastards in Moab too, now. Which…. just for God's sake, don't let me blurt that out anywhere near Cassidy."

Cardinal's nostrils flare in a snort of breath as he picks up the mug of coffee, gesturing with it towards her as he sweeps a thoughtful look in her direction. "So once again, Phoenix's sledgehammer approach to things fucks the world up…" A shake of his head, "Any chance Wireless could get a copy of the prisoner manifest? Then we might know who the fuck is wandering around out there, at least."

Elisabeth points at him and says, "Oh, nononono, mister. 'We' — that means Fedor too, and you've been heard to say before 'we gave them air support' — didn't actually fuck this part up. THAT was Edward Ray and his time travelling assholes. Wireless is pulling down a manifest now. The serial numbers each prisoner was given won't mean anything, but it'll be a list of powers, at least."

"I offered to go in and do some scouting," Cardinal replies dryly, "I thought it was a surgical extraction, not 'let's let everyone the fuck out, even the ones who don't deserve to be'. Anyway, I thought it was something you all did in there that caused the time… kerblewy?"

There's a shake of her head. "We never really knew what caused the time kerblewy, really. Hiro didn't do it, he couldn't even figure out why it happened, so the only thing I can figure is that something Edward and his cronies were doing caused it all. Or maybe an interaction between what Edward did and Hiro's power or something. Hell, maybe elder Tyler had Hiro's power at that juncture. I just can't say for sure, we've never pinned it down." Elisabeth pauses. "Nice technical term there, by the way … time kerblewy." She chuckles faintly. "All right… so the good news is I have a picture of Norman White for you. It's on the top. Most everything else is conjecture. What Hana pulled down from a list of Tier 3 powers, things like that."

The coffee cup's carried along over to the table, set down before Cardinal eases himself down into his chair and reaches out for the folder. "I always figured you guys did it," he murmurs, flipping the folder open, "Nobody would tell me jack or shit. Not even where Isabelle was…"

Elisabeth blinks and looks at him. "I told you she'd gotten out. I'm not sure anyone exactly knew where she was, though." She moves now and perches on the corner of the desk, stealing his coffee to take a drink of it. "In case I never said it… I'm sorry about what happened to her," she says quietly, her expression sincere. "You've lost an awful lot of people lately."

There's silence for a few minutes as Cardinal goes through the folder, staring at the picture for a few moments before saying in quiet tones, "Don't worry about it, Liz." The folder's dropped to the desk, and he rubs at his brow, "You have any contacts in the vice division?"

Sitting on the edge of the desk as she is, Elisabeth merely sets the hand closest to him on his shoulder. Nothing more. She looks over her shoulder at the folder as he opens it, his coffee cup held on her knee with her other hand. "I know a couple of people. Why? What're we looking for?"

"There's a new drug on the streets, s'called Refrain," Cardinal explains, reaching over for his own coffee mug and bringing it up in a gesture to her, not looking up to her yet even as her hand falls to his shoulder, "It's… addictive as hell, and seems to make the user relive memories, even suppressed ones. I'm wondering what they know about it."

Elisabeth slips both hands to the edge of the desk at her hips and considers. "Heard some rumors about a new hallucinogenic out there, but haven't heard too much so far. Not my usual beat. But I'll ask around." She slants a questioning glance at him. "How addictive are we talking? And what do you mean by 'relive' and 'suppressed'? Like… relive in full living color, acting them out, totally unaware of the real world, or just vivid imagery? Suppressed memories like how suppressed? Tyler Case suppressed, or childhood trauma repressed suppressed?"

"The guy I know that used it…" Cardinal hestitates, "…well, one use was enough to hook him, and he said it was like living it out in real life. He said he could smell, touch— " He rubs the side of his face, "— and we're talking brainwipe suppressed, and worse. There was no reason this guy should've been able to access the memories he did. It's potent shit."

Both eyebrows shoot to her hairline. "Oh … perfect." Liz's brain ticks through the ramifications of that and she comments softly, "Are we about to have fucking Evo junkies on the street firing off their abilities because they don't even know where they are??" She sighs heavily and slides off the edge of the desk. "I'm going to Tahiti," she informs him.

"I don't think so," Cardinal's lips purse in a slight frown, "He pretty much… shut down for the duration, I had to help him sit down even. So it's not— so bad as that." Of course, he adds dryly, "As far as I know. But, I mean, shit, this stuff could potentially be used to help treat memory alteration. I'm gonna give my sample to Sal, hopefully he can work it out."

"It can't be used to treat anything if it's addictive. Sal's a good place to turn." Elisabeth pauses and comments, "I ran into Mortimer last night. Of all the people I should stumble across in person." She slants him a look. "And no, I didn't run him in," she says tartly.

"Arthur took his power," Cardinal tells her, glancing over, "He's pretty sane now, from what I can tell. Trying to cobble his life back together…" Wryly, he adds of the previous topic, "…a lot of shit they use as treatments are addictive, don't give me that bull."

Elisabeth just rolls her eyes. "Depends on HOW addictive," she tells him. "I mean, if not having the shit is going to incapacitate them — like heroin addiction, for example — then maybe the recovery of memories isn't exactly as important as all that." She shrugs a little. "I'll ask around. I heard it was coming out of Chinatown, though, so I'd also ask Xiulan. She may have far better intel than Vice."

Cardinal exhales a faint snort of breath, "They used heroin as a painkiller long before they classified it as a recreational drug." He rubs a hand over his eyes, head falling back as he pinches the bridge of his nose and murmurs, "Fuck. There's too much to keep track of… I need more people. I'm gonna start missing shit."

"Yeah, yeah," Elisabeth says. "Look, seriously — do what you want with it, I guess. Who the hell am I to tell you what to do with drugs you find?" She's got bigger things to worry about, honestly. Her head tilts just slightly and her blue eyes on him are sympathetic. It's hell when you take on running a group as diverse as the one he's begun to assemble for himself. "What can I do?" she asks quietly. "Tell me what you need to help keep it straight."

"I need manpower." Cardinal's eyes close, his hand sliding down the side of his face to fall to the table's edge, "I've only got a… handful of people, and half of them're only good for very specific missions. I need to be able to keep an eye on everything, and everyone, and…" He leans back forward again with a limp fall of his head forward, and reaches over for the coffee, murmuring, "I need to find a divergence point, and I don't know how. Before it's too fucking late."

Elisabeth nods slowly and says, "You need to go up to Cambridge. Or you need to let me do it. Whichever you want. I'll take a sick day if I need to." She moves to stand behind him, dropping her hands to his shoulders to knead gently. "You're right that you're trying to do too much at once," she comments softly, and then smiles. "You wonder why things in Phoenix get lost by the wayside? Welcome to the dark side of the revolution, babe," she murmurs. "And boy howdy, did you jump into the deep end of the pool head first."

Cardinal's nostrils flare in a rough snort of breath, though he does reach up his free hand to grip hers where it rests on his shoulder. "They say they want a revolution," he murmurs, "They don't know what it is. You don't get a revolution without blood in the streets. I just want to save us all." He exhales a sigh of breath, staring down into his coffee, "Anyone else you know that might sign on with us?"

Elisabeth swallows hard, her hands going still on his neck. "I…. have something else for you. In the back of that file," she says quietly. She wasn't going to draw attention to it, she was just going to let him find it himself. Slipping one of her hands into her slacks pocket, she pulls out a thumb drive and wraps her arm around him to hold it in front of his nose. "Cassidy… has a damn good idea what we're doing. And a damn good idea what I was doing the night Pinehearst blew. She might be an asset. Mortimer gave her this — there are blueprints and … power sets of the guards and such at Primatech. I haven't looked and what-all else is in there. I have a copy for Cat as well. She didn't know if they'd still be of any use, but…."

The view of coffee is suddenly blocked by the view of a thumb drive, and Cardinal glances up to her with a brow's slight arch, "Hm." Back down to the folder, his fingers slide down from hers, and he flips through the papers to the back. "Primatech's down and out, but… the Company's still around, so the guard information could be useful…" He pauses. "O'Shea. She might be. What about her partner?"

"He's the one I'm not so sure of," Elisabeth admits softly. "Which is why thus far I haven't even tried to feel her out. But…. he knew about all this. And he knows that she's making no effort to bring Mortimer in, that she slept with the man even while there were warrants out on him." She bites her lip. "And by extension, he also knows that I'm actively involved in a bunch of things that are…. questionable at best. Like when we went after the kids we were trying to save from the technopath? The day of the gang shootings, he actually worked up the paperwork before we got back to the station to cover our asses. He…. could be convinced. I think. Or if not… he may be able to be convinced to turn a blind eye and just help cover for me and Cass."

Cardinal's fingertips drum against the paper a little bit, to the hollow rattling of its impact, and then he slants a look over. "I'll approach her," he says quietly, "That way it looks like it's coming from me, and not from you, just in case. Probably best not to involve them in everything — but they might be willing to, you know, help out where they can if motivated properly."

There's a faint smile. "It's not going to matter if you approach her or if I do… the act itself confirms what she knows," Elisabeth says quietly. "It'll just reinforce her image of you as a scoundrel with a conscience." Which makes her chuckle softly, she can't help it. But it brings to mind another conversation. Thank God he's not a telepath. "I can ask her if she wants to talk to you, though. I promised to make dinner for her and Coren anyway, so…. maybe a less cloak-and-dagger setting might work well to talk to them both. And you might as well talk to them both — what she knows, he knows. It's damn near automatic unless he's out of state. He literally sees through her eyes, I think. Not sure of that, but…"

"Man, I hope they're fucking," Cardinal murmurs against the edge of his coffee cup, "Sounds like things could get a little fuckin' complicated otherwise. Sounds good. Set up dinner… I'll show." The tip of a finger taps to the ceramic as he lowers it a bit, glancing back, "What about Bonder?"

There's an outright laugh at that. "They're not," she says mildly. "Though apparently he lived through her fucking Mortimer." Cassidy'll kill her if she finds out Liz told that detail. "We'll just have to see how that plays out, frankly. She … uhm…. told Mortimer she couldn't see him anymore. So I guess she's one up on me." She ruffles his hair as she says it. "I can't seem to kick my criminal lovers to the curb to save my job."

"Bonder," Cardinal tries to bring her back on track, his tone a bit dry as he looks up to her with a wryly amused expression, "Alec Bonder. That security guy that you picked up as one of your 'criminal lovers' at some point, remember? You think he might be amenable to recruitment?" The coffee's set down, and he tries to finger-comb his hair back into place with a good-natured grumbling.

Elisabeth rolls her eyes. "What about Alec?" She swats him on the back of the head. "I already asked him and the answer is yes. He's amenable. I think the two of you ought to have a conversation, but…." She wrinkles her nose at him. "And he's not one of my criminal lovers anymore. And is unlikely to regain that privilege anytime in the forseeable future."

Cardinal ducks his head forward at the swat, a chuckle tumbling past his lips. "Okay. Bring 'im by, or send him by sometime— or I can just go hit his place, I guess, not like I don't know the way."

"All right," Liz replies easily. "I can't decide if I want to be around to smack the two of you the first time you meet or not." There's a roll of her eyes.

Cardinal exhales a faint snort of breath, "Please. We're both professionals."

"That's the problem!" Elisabeth comments. "You've been into his place! And he's like the paranoid bastard from hell, seriously." She eyes him. "You don't honestly think I was referring to anything to do with me, do you?" She nudges the back of his head again. "My ego's not that big, thanks."

"Obviously it is," Cardinal replies amusedly, glancing back to her with a brow's raise upwards, "Because unlike you, I was referring to a bit've professional courtesy and understanding between spys." He grins, "Besides. I already know who wins that contest."

Elisabeth laughs at him but sends him a puzzled look with it. "Which contest? The biggest ego?" She snickers. "Alec." She walks back around him and asks, "So tell me what you want me to do here. You want me to just sit tight, or you want to delegate and let me head for Cambridge? There's been no movement on the serial killer case — and much as it sucks to say it, there probably *won't* be until he makes another move. I can take a sick day off if I need to. Not like I haven't racked up plenty of overtime over the past few months."

Cardinal slides a hand over the side of his neck, rubbing there thoughtfully before admitting, "Maybe you should, with as much as I've got… okay. Why don't you take Xiulan, maybe Sal if he's willing, head up to Cambridge and see if you can get into Eddie's old office, his house, whatever. I'm sure he's left something for us there, but— god if I know why. I'll focus on the Linderman business and recruiting, for right now, and see what I can get going."

Elisabeth walks back over, shaking her head at him. She lightly pushes his hands off his neck and starts working gently across the muscles there. "You're going to scrub your skin off, you keep that up. Good Lord," she comments mildly. "I'll make arrangements to take tomorrow off. Unless all hell breaks loose, it shouldn't be too big a problem."

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