Truth In Advertising


cardinal_icon.gif edgar_icon.gif

Scene Title Truth In Advertising
Synopsis Edgar's desire for a chat is more enthusiastic than Cardinal (or his secretary) would like. At least he's domesticated enough to clean up after himself.
Date January 25, 2011

Redbird Security

It's been another long night where Edgar hasn't been home with Lydia. Since his run in with the strange robot, he's found a new hobby, one might say. He sleeps during the day now, avoiding much of the work in the bookstore that he can't get done in a few seconds time. Of course, everything is explained to his wife as best he knows how… which consists of I don't want a big metal cat killing you, so please just let me do this.

As weird as it is, she knows he's telling the truth, at least in his own fashion. So he's left to his own devices.

The basement of the bookstore has been remodeled into a secret base of operations for the man. Not so secret because anyone who works there can just walk down, but secret enough for him. Sketches, crude maps, and little drawings of catbots plaster the walls… but it's empty right now.

A little before business hours open on the small island of Manhattan, a regular fixture (perhaps secretary) at the office of Redbird Security has taken it upon herself to call and awaken the boss. Fear of being summarily dismissed has been quashed in favor of fear of not letting him know that this has happened.

"Mister Cardinal sir?" the shakey voice over the phone interrupts his much needed rest. "Uhm… Can you come down here? Someone shoved over a million ads for some book store through the mail slot."

The phone rings, and Cardinal's arm flops over, fumbling for the reciever and lifting it up. Bringing it to his ear, he grunts acknowledgement before listening to Jo's words. "You woke me up for… advertising spam? Nnh. Alright, alright, let me… throw some pants on and come down…"

It takes a couple more minutes before the man is dressed; slacks, a button-up shirt, jacket and tie left until he's actually had a shower and some breakfast. The back of the shirt isn't quite tucked in. His hair's messed up, and he's wearing sunglasses. He wanders down into the lobby, "Th'fuck is going on, then?"
ORDER: It is now your pose.

The lobby is quite literally littered with fliers for Ichihara Books. It's a homemade advertisement, one depicting a catbot and the words "Red Birds interested in Robot Cats from the Future? We may have the book to help!" along with the name and address of the bookstore. Apparently someone from the shop really wants to talk to someone from Redbird.

Back in the basement of the bookstore, Edgar's pacing a ring into the concrete floor. The small LED glow from the little alarm clock on the worktable shows it just after seven AM. Surely someone has gotten his message by now. Why isn't anyone here? He's not exactly patient and it doesn't seem to occur to him that not everyone is as fast as he is.

In a whirlwind. Edgar, the drawings, the crude maps, and plan sketches are all gone. Leaving the clock blinking 12:00AM— 12:00AM— 12:00AM—

Before it hits 12:01AM, Edgar is in the lobby of Redbird with his arms loaded with papers. "Wha're you doin' still 'ere? I gotta talk to yeh— " Underneath one of his eyes twitches like mad as he glances toward the secretary and then points a look back to Cardinal. "She safe?"

"What the fuck?" Cardinal's hands spread slightly as he looks around the lobby, stepping over towards the counter to look down at one of the flyers. His fingers drop to rest on the edge of the piece of paper, his lips pursing in a tight frown as he reads the name written upon. "…Hokuto's store," he murmurs, and the name isn't spoken with pleasure.

Then the speedster's suddenly there, and he straightens with a jolt — scowling at the man, his eyes narrowing behind his shades. "What the fuck are you doing, Edgar?"

Jo, meanwhile, lets out a yelp and hides behind the desk.

"I needed teh talk to yeh— " Edgar's words are cut off as Jo lets off her yelp and his face blurs as he glances between her and Cardinal a couple of times. Figuring her safe enough, he moves toward the closest desk, hers and piles the myriad of papers on top of it.

"The poof," scowl, "Yeh din't seem teh like one another too much… Bu' you know a lo' of things, righ'? So I figgered you migh' know 'bout these things… They're 'untin' us— They know, like they can smell us."

He picks up one of the crude drawings of the catbot and holds it up to Cardinal, pointing at it. "I wan'teh 'unt one'a them. See wha' makes i' tick. Righ'?"

"There's no need," Cardinal replies with a tight shake of his head, turning to step back towards the hallway and offering back over his shoulder, "Clean all this shit up and meet me in my office, we can talk there. This's a place of fucking business. Haven't you ever heard of a phone? Maybe make an appointment…"
ORDER: It is now your pose.

"No need?" One of Edgar's eyes narrows suspiciously as he eyes Cardinal up and down. "You caugh' one already? I jus' been wotchin' 'em, tryin' no' teh ge' caugh'… an you go go' one?" A little hmph comes from Edgar and seems pretty impressed with the shadow before he blurs out of sight. A whirlwind of motion causes Jo's neat hair to rise up on end like it's caught in a stiff wind. But all of the paper is picked up and stacked neatly on the top of her desk before the carnie stops to pick up his things.

"Eff you need scratch paper 'er sumthen li' tha'… You can keep i'… Don' wan' me wife teh see wha' I been up to… She migh' worry, y'know?"

After the brief conversation with Jo, Edgar saunters into Cardinal's office. "D'yeh need teh see any o' this then? I done lotseh drawin's… they's pretty good, I think. I could'a been a tattoo artist for robo' cats, eh?"

Richard's managed to adjust his clothes to not be quite so disheveled by the time that Edgar comes into the office, and he's leaning back in his chair underneath that old Mendez painting. In his hands is something that, no doubt, the speedster will handily recognize. It's a compass, the old-style ones that the carnival used.

"Close the door," he says quietly, glancing up from the compass with a frown, "I didn't need to catch one, although one've my agents did anyway. I already knew what they were. I've seen them before, in Argentina. They're hunter drones; they were invented to track down Evolved and either capture or kill them. They used to use traps baited with an evo-test needle attached to a radio homing signal, but these days they've got something better."

Spying the compass, Edgar lets all of the papers drop to his lap as he sits heavily in one of the chairs near the desk. "A compass…" A crude version of the sort the Institute used. The kind that was on the wrist of the man he shot not so long ago. "So then, 'ow do we beat'em? The run in I 'ad wi' one… They ain' the friendlies' type'a beasties. Wha' are they doin' teh people when they catch 'em?"

The carnie didn't really stick around to get that question answered.

"'Cause I sorta.. broke one, y'see? An' a few soldiers when I's 'elpin' some folk outta Midtown." There's a sheepish grin on his face as a little bit of red creeps across his cheeks. "Don' tell my wife though… I dunno if she'd understand. She's sorta quie'.."

"You know what it is?" Cardinal tosses it to land on the desk, the tiny metal arrow spinning with the motion and coming to rest pointing in a direction that decidedly isn't north. He tips his head to it, "They've been refining the technology. They're putting it in the robots so they can detect us… something about an energy field we emit, or something, I don't fucking know. I have people that do science for me, not my forte."

He slides a hand up the side of his neck, rubbing against it as he frowns in thought at the other man, "I don't work the way Messiah does, Edgar, understand — I only send people in guns blazing as a last resort. So when you say 'beat them' I'm not talking about blowing them the fuck up. My people work a little more subtly than that."

The word Messiah has Edgar's eyes darting from the compass on the desk to burning icy blue holes in Cardinal's head. "I ain't Messiah.. They lef' me teh the governmen', used me teh keep themselves safe. Everyone 'ad a phone so they could ge' the call teh retrea'… Everyone 'cept the man they sen' up there. Guess 'oo i' was? Me." There's a distinct bitterness in the carnie's voice as he relates his side of the story. How he got out— that's not exactly revealed.

There's a long sigh from the speedster as he looks down at his drawings. "I ain' talkin' abou' blowin' them up either. I 'ad an idea.. Y'know tornado winds go 'round approximately three hundred miles an hour? I go faster'n tha'… an' I know some'un tha' can go jus' as fast. We can ge' the gas outta the air wi' a li'l tornado— if i' comes teh tha'. Bu' I's thinkin' more along the lines'o' bolt cutters rather than bombs."

"The wind or the bolt cutters won't do any good either," Cardinal says with a shake of his head, leaning forward and folding his arms on the table as he regards Edgar over the edge of his shades with a serious gaze, "Your abilities do make it possible to use the one weapon that could hurt the people building these damned things, though, Edgar…"

"A camera."

Looking down at his drawings and all of the plans that he's devised before settling on tornadoes and bolt cutters, the juggler seems a little confused. "A camera? Tha' seems so…" Then it dawns on him, the people who build them. "Oh.. you mean don' find a way 'round the cats. Stop the people from makin' em."

There's a small pause as Edgar considers, reconsiders, and then finally nods up toward the taller man. "'Righ' then. So you wan' me teh take pictures? Bu' wha' abou' the people these things'er takin'? Wha' do we do teh 'elp them?" There's a mixture of anger and fear behind the man's eyes. "I don' wan'teh know eff we're leavin' 'em to a new Moab. 'Cause I ain' goin'teh leave anyone teh tha'."

"I don't blame you." Cardinal's lips purse in a tight grimace, admitting, "I don't know what they're doing with people yet — the Department's plans aren't something I'm privy to yet — but I'm working on it. Once I know more, then we can work on that. I didn't just mean taking pictures, though."

He pauses, then says, "They're robots, still, so they're working on a program. Follow them, map their routes in Midtown. Then I can get you together with a certain duplicator I know…" A smirk twitches to his lips, "…and we can see how the public likes leaked video of some killer government robots savaging some 'innocent civilians'."

"'Righ' then, I guess I best ge' a camera." The speedster nods a little in acceptance of the idea. Rolling up the papers into a tight cylinder, he holds everything he brought in one hand as he offers the other to the shadowman. "I can't promise tha' if I don' see one messin' wi' a cousin tha' I won' step in. I dunno eff they're learnin' my tricks, bu' I go' alo' of them up my sleeve before I run ou'."

Getting up from his seat, Edgar gives a rather weak smile to Cardinal. "Sorry 'bou' messin' up yer office… I jus' though' I 'ad a good idea. I think bol' cutters'd work."

At that, Cardinal exhales a snort've breath. "I'm not telling you not to. If you see those fuckin' things going after someone, by all means step in. Get them the fuck out've there. The bolt cutters might work, but…" He hesitates, "…honestly, they're pretty nasty fucking things. Hector built them pretty sturdy. I can get you a camera, anyway— I'll pick up one with night vision capability, even, since they're probably most active at night."

There's a quick nod from the carnie, slower than what he could do and it's mostly for the benefit of allowing Cardinal to see the allowance of the camera. "Send i' to the bookstore. Tha's where I'm stayin'— On Roosevelt. Hidin' righ' under their noses, kinda dangerous an' fun a' the same time." Not pausing to allow Richard to answer, he disappears again.

In the lobby, the papers are picked up again in a blur after his wind spills them over. When Jo looks up, her monitor is sitting on top of the stack, keeping them in place.

"Speedsters," Cardinal mutters as the other man vanishes, reaching over to pick up the compass, turning it slowly and watching the direction the arrow points. One day it'll be aiming in a different direction. That's when they'll all have to worry.

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