Two Kings And A Queen


cardinal2_icon.gif raith2_icon.gif

Scene Title Two Kings And A Queen
Synopsis Cardinal surveys the game to come by asking the person who should know best.
Date Jan 7, 2010

USS George Washington

USS George Washington is the sixth ship in the Nimitz class of nuclear-powered supercarriers, and the fourth United States Navy ship to be named after George Washington, first President of the United States. She was built by Newport News Shipbuilding and was commissioned July 4, 1992. George Washington is 1,092 feet long, 257 feet wide and is as high as a twenty-four-story building, at 244 feet. The super carrier can accommodate approximately 80 aircraft and has a flight deck 4.5 acres in size, using four elevators that are 3,880 feet each to move planes between the flight deck and the hangar bay.

Traditionally, US Navy aircraft carrier hangar bays were painted "Navy Gray"; George Washington was commissioned with her hangar bay bulkheads and overhead painted white, to make the hangar bay appear larger and brighter. All US Navy aircraft carriers have their hull number painted on both sides of their island structure for identification. These numbers are lighted white for visibility at night while in port. By order of Congress, George Washington's island number is outlined in red, white and blue lights in honor of her namesake's contributions to America's independence. General Washington had long been a proponent of a strong Navy. On November 15, 1781 he wrote, //Without a decisive Naval force, we can do nothing decisive. And with it, everything honourable and decisive. These words are engraved on a plaque on the ship's quarterdeck.//

The USS George Washington is still docked just off the shore of Marion Island, where the clean-up operation dealing with the remaining Vanguard continues - as well as the search for information that might lead them to the man known as Vidar, and the weapon known as Munin.

As the sun's going down over the horizon, reflecting its reddish glow across the ocean's rippling mirror, Richard Cardinal walks along down the corridors of the ship, offering an absent nod of greeting to a sailor that he passes en route to his destination. He's dressed in half of a combat outfit, the half that's missing being the actual weapons and the armoured jacket, his skin still red and raw in spots but at least he doesn't look like a snake about to shed anymore.

As he reaches the cabin that's assigned to one of his former team members, he pauses outside to rap on it with his knuckles sharply. "Jensen! You in there?"

The simple reply is, "Sure am," accompanied by no quip or fanfare of any sort.

When Cardinal pops inside it's pretty clear, right away, that he hasn't been up to anything weird. Although 'anything weird' is very much normal for Raith. Rather, he is simply in the middle of a simple stretching routine, working out the shoulder that he landed on during his last rocket-related accident. It wasn't dislocated, broken or otherwise damaged beyond some bruises (and rather large ones at that), but it pays to be vigilant. "What can I do for you, Rick?"

At the call from within, Cardinal pushes the door open and steps along inside. A moment's taken to make certain there isn't anything weird enough to just have him step back out, then he closes the door behind him securely.

The nickname's let pass without comment. At least it's not 'Dickie'.

"Had some questions for you, if you've got a minute," he replies, leaning back against the door and loosely folding his arms across his chest, a faint smile touching his lips, "How's the head? You took a nasty knock back there."

"Oh, the head's fine," Raith replies, finishing up his stretch and giving his shoulder a few good rolls to make sure he hasn't kinked anything, "Took worse knocks in Ranger school. Probably." That done, Raith shifts his position to find a more comfortable seat on his bunk. His success is mixed. "And yeah, I've got a minute. What's up?"

"The King of Pentacles."

Cardinal's furrows brows raise over his eyes, looking up to the other man questioningly from his own comfortable lean against the cabin's door, "I'm assuming you know who he is." A wry twitch of his lips, "Since you're the King of Swords, and all. Wears sunglasses. One eye. What can you tell me about him?"

Cardinal has apparently hit, as the saying goes, pay dirt. Raith doesn't answer immediately, but he doesn't pause to think and search through his memories, either. It's plain from his expression - unmoved with narrowed eyes - that he is scrutinizing Cardinal, as if to determine whether or not he is worthy of such information. "I can tell you that him having one eye is news to me," Raith finally says.

"I can tell you that he's one of the best there is at what he does. I can tell you that his devotion to his country is unwaiveringly blind. And I can tell you there's only one mother fucker in this operation crazier than he is." Two guesses who, but you'll only need one.

"Those last two put together would leave almost anyone blind enough that they wouldn't even need one eye," Cardinal observes with a thoughtful grunt, a hand lifting up from his forearm to scratch at his cheek lightly, "If you say he's the best at what he does, then I'll believe that."

"But," he asks, leaning forward slightly, "Just what is it that he does?"

"Absolutely anything his boss tells him to, that's what," Raith replies. "If his orders are to kidnap and rape the president of Mexico and blame it on the Spanish, he will do it. And he will smile the entire time he does it. The war got to us, Richard. Both of us went nuts. The difference is that now I can see the world for what it is. He only sees what he wants to believe."

"He's not the kind of guy you want to fuck with."

"That's about what I expected…" Cardinal brings a hand up, fingers pinching the bridge of his nose, eyes closing, "…I'll try not to, but I'll fuck with anyone I need to, if that's what it takes to see the work through. He's in Kershner's pocket for now, it seems."

That hand drops, and he fixes Raith with a serious look, his usual wry manner falling away, "How much do you know about her?"

"Whether or not you agree with my assessment, I want you to take a moment to let this sink in," Raith says, leaning forward and resting his arms on his knees. "Both of the Kings," he says slowly, "Think that the Queen, is nuts. I want you to think about that."

Cardinal arches one brow sharply upwards. "Now that," he murmurs, "Is definately saying something, Jensen. Go on."

"If you ever see her laughing, joking or otherwise having fun, don't be fooled. I remain convinced she's some kind of android. 'No sense of humor' doesn't begin to cover it. The only reason we ever gave her a pass on it was because of her laser-like focus on her objective, whatever that was. If she wanted it, she got it, whatever the cost. That's part of why she might've been better than me." It's clear from the way he seems to bristle that Raith is not in any way happy about this possibility. "You can't get into her head. You can get into mine. You don't want to get into mine, but you can. I could never figure her out, except that sometimes, she wants what she gets a little too badly. Looked too intently at the goal one day and 'boom.' Next thing she knows, I've got my thumb shoved into her thigh because I wasn't keen on having her bleed to death. I'm pretty sure she'll never forgive me for that. That's about all I know that'll be interesting to you."

"I would't fuck her, and I definitely wouldn't fuck with her. There wouldn't be enough left to bury."

"Mnm." The appraisal elicits a thoughtful sound from Cardinal, his hand raising up to scratch against the side of his neck absently as he considers the other man's words. His brow twitches a little, probably more from the sting of the burn than anything he's actually thinking.

"Well," he finally observes with a wry half-smile, "I guess life's about to get very, very interesting, then. I never planned on living forever anyway."

Never planned on living forever? "No." About this, Raith is absolutely adamant, sitting up much straight and, as it were, puffing himself up to look more intimidating. "Richard. No. She will fuck your shit up. And then, she will most likely come in here and fuck my shit up, and we'll be lucky if she stops there. Don't do it."

The reaction stirs a faintly amused look to Cardinal's face, his head cocking to one side. "If you weren't so worried about yourself I'd think you were worried about me, Jensen," he observes, chuckling faintly, then letting it die off as he returns to seriousness.

"No. She wants to work with me, longer term, but while our short-term goals are the same…" One shoulder rolls in a shrug, and he ducks his head, scratching at an eyebrow with one finger as he admits, "I've just got to be prepared in case our long term ones aren't."

Well, that's… different? "Unless your long-term goals are ensuring the complete global supremacy of the United States, they probably aren't." And then, Raith considers something different. "Although I must say, with the right teacher… yeah. You'd make a pretty good spook."

"Technically," Cardinal observes dryly, lifting a hand to flick his ID badge, "I am a spook. You're looking at Agent Lamont Cranston, CIA Special Affairs Division. She still doesn't know how I pulled that one off, which I'm pretty sure is driving her nuts."

A wry smile, "I'll take that as high praise. I had a teacher - the best - but we had a falling out. Funny enough, it was because he got involved with Kershner, as I recall." He pauses, head tilting as he considers that, "Huh. Hadn't thought of that before. Ironic."

It's pretty clear that Raith did not hear everything that Cardinal just said. The badge is… distracting.

"Lamont Cranston," he says, "AKA, the Shadow. That's pretty cheesy even for you, you know. In fact, that's almost in poor taste. Definitely in poor taste. Didn't we teach you better than that?"

"I didn't do it," Cardinal objects, hands raising up palm first, "That's my boss's particularly… poor sense of humor at work." A glance down to the badge, "Probably his revenge for me trying to murder him that time."

"Rick," Raith says, holding his hand out to indicate 'stop,' "I think we are rapidly approaching the point where I will officially know more than I care about. So, let's not go that far, okay?" Back to business. "Any other questions I can possibly answer for you? Or, you know, anything?"

"No…" A push away from the wall, and Cardinal shakes his head as he straightens, "I think that's enough for me to work with. Thanks, Jensen." He tips his head up in a bit of a nod, a brow lifting, "Oh, try not to mention that we ran into Air Force One back in Argentina? I'd rather not get my memory ripped out of my head for knowing about it."

"Yes, I'll keep that on the down low," Raith replies, and while he doesn't sound very serious, he nevertheless holds his right hand up and to his side, palm forward. "Scout's honor."

Cardinal regards the other man for a moment, before asking dryly, "Were you actually a scout?"

"Ranger," is Raith response to this final question, "Even better."

"Good enough." Cardinal's shoulders shake with a brief chuckle, and he turns around, "If we all survive this clusterfuck, we should sit down and talk over a beer sometime."

"If." How Laconic. "If there's nothing else, I think I might get a nap in. I haven't had time for a nap in almost ten years, you know."

"We can rest when we're done, Jensen," Cardinal calls back over his shoulder as he steps out into the hall, letting the door shut behind him, "Not before."

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License