Two Nightmares


brian_icon.gif cardinal_icon.gif veronica3_icon.gif

Scene Title Two Nightmares
Synopsis Veronica requests help from Cardinal and Brian on intercepting a very dangerous transport of a very volatile sort, and Brian unveils another nightmare that the other two thought they left behind on a mountain in Argentina.
Date January 11, 2011

Redbird Security Basement

Her hands wrapped around a cup of coffee given to her by her host, Veronica paces the basement, clearly worried if her other invitee to this little ad hoc meeting is planning on arriving, despite an RSVP given by text to her invitation, also by text. It's after hours, and she's obviously come straight from work, still sporting what may as well be a "uniform" for her — black pinstriped slacks, black peacoat, black boots, the only color the green scarf around her neck.

She's pale, and the dark rings under her eyes suggest that things are no easier for her in this new installment of the drama that is her life. Dark eyes glance at Cardinal, and she sighs just a little, knowing he will know something is up besides the meeting itself — nerves usually don't show like this on the agent. "Aside from wanting your help," she says carefully, "which I do, very much, by the way — I figured it be easier to meet with him in neutral territory, keep it to business. If he doesn't want to help… don't pressure him. It's fine. I'm sure you can get the resources together that can do it."

What "it" is, she hasn't said yet, though there are two file folders waiting to be handed to the two men she's called together to meet with her.

"I imagine things are a little… awkward there," Cardinal admits in quiet tones as he takes a sip of coffee himself; he's leaning back in one of the chairs at the table down there, dressed in his own 'work uniform' of his pinstripe'd suit. The fedora isn't in evidence, probably sitting on his desk upstairs. "Between you two, I mean. I— well, hopefully he can be professional about this."

Awkward. Stuck between two friends who are ex's. It's like being in a sitcom!

The 'professional' finally arives. Swinging in through the door, he lets out a light pant. Though his smile stays bright. "Holy fuck Dickie I have the—" Oh Veronica's here already. He figured he would get here first.. But even with all his selves she always managed to be just a hint more prompt then him. Smile draining somewhat, he keeps it up for politeness. The young man is dressed in a leather jacket, black beanie pulled slow. White tee tucked into the faded and somewhat torn jeans that cover his legs. Black boots thud against the ground as he makes his entry. With a large duffle bag hanging from his shoulder, Winters makes his way in. Lowering he goes to set the bag against the wall.

"Vee." He says quietly, glancing over to her.



There is a faint flicker of something at Brian's arrival, and that drop in his cheerful demeanor at seeing her. Her gaze drops for a moment before she moves toward the chair she put the file folders on, picking them up and handing both to Cardinal, which will allow Cardinal to pass one to Brian, now that Cardinal is the one in the middle.

"Thanks for coming," she says, husky voice "professional," the voice that Brian knows is all acting. The voice that goes with the mask. "I'll keep this brief."

She waits for Cardinal to hand Brian one of the folders, and nods toward Cardinal's. "You might have seen the news on the Mazdak raid last week? The clipping is in the file there. We have in custody Amid Halebi, rumored Mazdak terrorist, who also has a power like the one that took out Midtown."

She sighs. "His power is very dangerous. However, he's not truly Mazdak. He was being coerced to work with them because their cel overseas is threatening to kill his daughter."

She takes a sip of her coffee, before continuing, keeping her eyes mostly on Cardinal. "If he doesn't communicate with the leaders within about a two-week window, she's going to be killed." She glances at Brian. "Which is where you guys come in."

"You know, I do have a name," Richard points out in rather dry tones, "You can use it on occasion. Really. I won't stop you."

The man's hand sweeps over in a wave towards the other chairs, and the coffee mug goes with it, inviting the duplicator to, "Have a seat, Bri." Another swallow of coffee's taken, and then he leans forward slightly to accept the files. The two are regarded for a moment, then he picks the bottom one and leans to slide the other over to Brian before opening it.

"Wonderful," he mutters under his breath at the mention of the man's power, glancing back up to Veronica with a raise of both brows, "You need us to retrieve the daughter?"

"Dickie." Brian pipes happily.

Making his way over, Brian eyes the duffle bag for a long moment. It will have to wait. Going to settle down in one of the chairs, an elbow is propped up on the table, leaning over to peer at the file. He glances up at Veronica, placing a finger to his lips. His eyes twitch and he quickly looks down and away from Vee. He frowns lightly at the last bit and Cardinal's question.

He shakes his head lightly, turning to face Cardinal. Reaching over towards Cardinal's cup, he places his hand on it glancing at the other man as if asking 'Can I?' with his eyes. Without waiting for the answer he continues, "That sounds like something they would do. Not something she would come to us about. AmIright?"

"Not quite, no," Veronica says to Cardinal, before reaching over to flip the clipping and move on to the next page in the file, a picture of Halebi. "Kershner," she begins, an apologetic look to Cardinal on this note, "is planning to have him moved to a facility in Virginia for — well, to put it bluntly, a mindwipe." Mind rape, might be the colloquial.

Brian will know that she was terrified of such a mental intrusion for many months, that nothing would anger her more than that — in the past. Perhaps now it'd be a blessing. Peace.

"It's planned for the 22nd of this month. He has until the end of the month to contact his people in DC or Lucine dies," she continues, eyes turning from Cardinal to Brian again. "I can get travel routes, guard details, prisoner manifests. We're going to try and keep the guards non-evolved, no Institute, since he'll be contained."

In case it isn't clear: "I'm asking that Ferry," she says to Brian, before sweeping dark eyes to Cardinal, "and you if you're willing," she adds, "intercept the transport and get him out of DHS custody."

"Kershner?" It's a question, but it's not, and Cardinal immediately gets a headache from the very idea of it. One hand lifts to slide against the back of his neck, rubbing against his nape worriedly as he frowns down at the folder. "That… certainly complicates things. I do have a working relationship with the woman, you know, Vee."

Still. That doesn't mean he trusts her, mind, but he does have to tread rather carefully here if he doesn't want his constantly-precarious position to be endangered.

"I can't say that I entirely blame her, honestly, I'm not exactly a fan of terrorists," he says without any irony whatsoever, frowning down at the folder slightly, "And if he really does have Sprague's ability…"

Brian smirks a little bit. He's representing the Ferrymen. Raith and Ryans would be sooo mad. But that's ok. Bringing up his finger he taps at his lips idly. "Umm.. So. Do you really think he's a great guy?" One brow narrows slightly. "Why do you want this guy to be rescued, anyway?" And.. the anticipation is killing him. "I know we're talking about this. But I do have something to show you guys. It's kind of a big deal." He glances at the duffle bag. "If you think it's the right thing Vee.. I'll be there. I'll tell Ferry about it, not sure if they'll go for it. But you'll have a one man army at least."

Veronica follows Brian's glance toward the duffel bag, and arches a brow, and shrugs. Show and tell what you will, the gesture says, before she nods. "Thanks," she says softly. Swallowing and abruptly turning her eyes back on Cardinal she nods to him as well.

"I know that might be tricky, and you can say no. I won't be there," she adds, glancing back at Brian. "I can't be. And I'll be going to retrieve Lucine as soon as I can."

That's quickly brushed aside and she looks at Cardinal. "Once he's mindwiped, they're going to make him a pod person like all those people when we got Niklaus, Cardinal. It's not his fault he has a dangerous ability. If we can free him, we can get him somewhere far from other people where he can have a life. Where he won't endanger others."

Her voice lowers. "It's what I'd hope someone would do for me, if I were in his shoes."

Eyes move toward Brian near the duffel bag and back to Cardinal. "I asked if we could request any particular prisoners be transported with him, but that's a no-go. However, it's possible we can make it worth your while through other means — maybe some supplies or the like. If you have any terms you'd like to request."

She glances back to Brian. "Otherwise, if you can let me know for sure if you're in, and the number of people you think you have going with you, and I'll get you all the details as soon as I can."

The fear of another Bomb is ingrained in Cardinal as it is in all New Yorkers; perhaps moreso, because he knows that it'd ruin any chance for cohabitation between the SLC-positive and negative portions of the population. It'd wrap barbed wire around Roosevelt so fast that nobody'd even notice. It's a slippery slope, though, from there to deciding that other abilities are too dangerous…

He drops the folder down, bringing up a hand to rub against the bridge of his nose. "Okay," he says quietly, "Who put you up to this? You're saying that 'you asked' for things, which means that you're taking orders from somewhere, here."

Pushing himself up from his chair, Brian leans in to just take Cardinal's coffee. Sipping it gently, he makes his way across the room towards the duffle bag. Taking another sip, he crouches down and sets it down on the ground. Turning some he goes to unzip the duffle, but pauses. "Adynomine." Brian spits out rather quickly. "Maybe some heavier hardware. Let me ask." He continues to unzip the green duffle bag. He pauses as if waiting for something and then, "Ferry says.. Uh hold on. They're thinking. Ok. Wait hold on. She's chewing. Okay. Um.. Supplies are okay. Just the adynomine and guns.. and.. Oh. High ranking names of Homesec and DoEa.. I'm sure any high ranking people would be great. The location of Doctor Odessa Knutson-Price. And.. the Ferry would also like you to look into whether or not there is an antidote for negation gas." Brian arches his brows a bit. "That's a lot of stuff." He smiles lightly.

And then Cardinal is asking.. He gives a light nod. "You keep saying 'we'. If you're acting rogue." His lips thin. "Don't avoid this question when I show you what I have to show you, too."

And with that, Brian is pulling out something shiny. It's aa… It's aa…

The decapitated head of a robot is plopped on the table. A robot head that both Cardinal and Veronica would be familiar with. "Look what I found!"

"I can't compromise him, Cardinal, but I trust him," she says softly, then listens to Brian's list, nodding. "I'll ask. Price lives on Roosevelt in the Octagon, works in Suresh Center. I'll check on the rest and get back to you. Tomorrow okay?"

But then, the robot head is pulled out and Veronica's eyes widen. She turns to look at Cardinal, brow knitting together. "Did Magnes bring that back?"

"Whoever it is must be important, if they're in a position to offer anything," Cardinal observes, frowning slightly as he regards Veronica for a few moments to mull over the posible identity of her source. Or perhaps consider if she's betraying them in some way. Finally, he exhales a sigh of breath, and nods, "I'll help. If you can get me anything, what I want is official files. I don't even need anything current— Icarus, Apollo, Coyote Sands. Anything that proves the government's complicity in the Company's activities and their knowledge of the Evolved. If your friend can get me anything along those lines— "

And then he's interrupted by the solid thunk of a robot's head against the table, and he stares at it for a few moments.

"Fuck," he exhales, quietly, "I was hoping they hadn't gotten this far yet. Brian, tell me you didn't find this in the wild?"

"Oh. Well that part was easy." Winters says in reaction to Price's names and wereabouts. When the robot is plopped down and Veronica starts asking about Magnes. "Wait Magnes what?" His brows furrow as he looks rather confused. "Magnes has one of these?" He tilts his head some. He looks over to Cardinal, blinking. "Far.. What.. You guys know what this is?"

He smirks. "Midtown. It started chasing a stoner. I tried to kill it.. a telekinetic intervened." He won't say what else happened. The telekinetic kinda tried to kill him too. However, "Took its head to prove it.. But.. you guys already seem to be on board. It was really loud.. Very strong."

"I told you about Argentina," Veronica says quietly to Brian, a hand going to the leg that still bears a long slice where one of the talons from one of those things had sliced through flesh and muscle. "It's one of those."

She turns to Cardinal. "What do you mean, this far yet? I don't think these migrated from South America. I haven't heard about these yet, but that doesn't mean it's not 'us,' and you told me once Steele was somehow mixed in with Institute. What is it you know?"

"It's one of Hector Steel's llama-bots…" There's a moment's hesitation before Cardinal's reaching out to take hold of the head of it, bringing it up and regarding it with a scowl, "…I knew this is what they had Warren and Hector working on, but I didn't realize they had fucking production models yet."

He gazes down at an old memory - an old nightmare - before saying quietly, "They're trying to refine the compass technology. Install it in these goddamn things."

Turning it around, glassy-lensed eyes pointed at the pair. "Take a good look. This is the face of the thing that'll end us as a species."

"It almost ended fucking me, that's for sure," she says, looking actually spooked at the thing, before turning wide eyes on Brian. Brows knit together with worry, and she takes a step toward him — before realizing that's not her place now.

She swallows. "Did it hurt you?" It seems a silly question, given that he's standing whole in front of her, but it doesn't mean he didn't get killed in another body or endure a hell of a lot of pain, only to absorb the injuries. She glances back to Cardinal. "Warren…?"

"Compass technology? Slow down, Dickie. You're starting to sound very nerdy." Brian huffs quickly. He frowns down at Veronica's leg. More because it makes him think about when they were together rather than Veronica's poor leg. Staring down at her leg for a long moment, while his brain takes him places he would rather it not he finally drags his eyes back up to the robo-head.

"Warren. The guy at the gala? With the bomb?" He frowns deeply, peering down at it. "Species, being evolved, or species being humans?" He asks out of pure curiosity. "If it's that Warren guy from the Gala. He's registered. We just waltz to his house and knock him the fuck out.. Next step. Boom."

When Veronica takes a step forward, his body tightens slightly. He doesn't answer whether or not it hurt him. That'll just make her feel worse foor no reason.

"Warren… Warren Ray. Also-known-as Mortimer fucking Jack, although the Haitian wiped all those personalities from his mind. He's relatively stable now," Cardinal says with disdain, "It hasn't made him any less fucking obnoxious, though. And as much as I'd love to give you the go-ahead there, Brian, he's… kind of on our side. The real problem is Hector, and Hector we don't know where he's at…"

He drops the robot's cranium down on the table, leaning back, hands sliding over his face in a slow rub against his features. "Fuck. The compass— boiled down, Brian, it's an evolved detector. They're hunter-killer drones that'll be able to tell us from them."

"Is this Institute? Why the hell is Warren working with them on this, if he's on our side?" Veronica says, letting her anger and fear push away the sorrow of seeing Brian freeze like that. "I'll look into it — if this is us, or if it's DoEA or what… see if there's any clue where Steele is. Jesus."

She runs a hand back through her hair in frustration. "Why did we save him again? Fuck."

She shakes her head. "Oh, another point, since this is show and tell?" she adds, swallowing. "Looks like Gray Senior is out shopping for a teleport ability. If you know anyone who has one? You might give them a head's up and tell them to hang around with a negator if they can." Not that her negator did them much good on the ship.

"Sometimes, I wonder if we didn't do more damage than good on Apollo…" Cardinal's admission is a tired one as he looks down to the robot's gleaming head there upon the table, his lips pursing in a thin line. A sidelong glance to Veronica, and he grunts, "Alright. I'm trying to stay the fuck away from Samson, though, the bastard already murdered one iteration of me as it is…"

Leaning back in his seat, he leans his head back with a heavy sigh of breath, "I'll… talk to some people. Liz has already been looking into this."

Brian frowns some, nodding at Cardinal. He blinks over at Veronica, sighing quietly. Is this how people stay 'just friends'. "Hector's a stupid name." He points out quietly. He bites down on his bottom list. "I don't think we have any.." He pauses. He might have heard about one on the island. "I'll be sure to spread the word." Winters lets out quietly.

Veronica gives Cardinal a confused look. Already killed one of him? This meeting just gets weirder and weirder. "Well, I think I might have just made it onto his shit list, so I hope I can stay away from him too. Something tells me that choice isn't mine." A rueful smile is offered at that, but no further explanation.

The agent sighs and takes a step toward the door. "All right. I gotta go and get this stuff in order. We need to get the details ironed out this week so we're ready to move on Halebi, if you're in."

Her voice softens. "Thanks. Both of you." Whiskey-brown eyes dart from one man to the other. She can count people she trusts on one hand, and these two are there. Even Brian.

"I'll look into the fucking llamas, too. I finally stopped having nightmares about those. Go figure."

"Brian, see if the Ferry wants in… I'll help fill the team out however it needs to be," Cardinal offers with a tip of his head to the duplicator, "I've got an anti-radiation team too, if necessary." Wry, he looks over to Veronica, "Hey. You know I'll always help. See what you can do about those files, though, eh?"

"And Bri, leave the head. I may want to throw it at Kershner."

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