cardinal_icon.gif kain2_icon.gif

Scene Title Tyrants
Synopsis Kain Zarek returns from Chicago with news about Gideon d'Sarthe and the future…
Date July 23, 2010


"It's not much of an office yet, Zarek, but you just have to imagine… you know… furnishings. Maybe I'll put a Thomas Brill up behind the desk…"

It isn't much of a office right now, either, Richard Cardinal is definately telling the truth there. It's a room with a desk, a desk chair, and a few folding chairs up against the wall. There isn't even a computer on the desk yet, although there /is/ a file cabinet pushed up against the wall.

The shadowman's hand brushes absently through the air to wave to the chairs as he walks along over to the desk, wearing an off-the-shelf suit he'd picked up somewhere. "Been wondering where you were off to… been a lot've shit going on."

Looking to be better slept and probably five to ten pounds of additional muscle on his frame, Kain Zarek seems to be better off than the skinny and sallow ghost of a man that Richard Cardinal found drinking himself to death. Looking around the office, there's a certain stoic silence to him while he considers the amenities of what will — for now — be something like a base of operations.

"S'not a bad setup you got yerself here, Dickie," blue eyes move from a window to Cardinal, "looks like we both gone an' been busy the last couple'a months." Moving over to the desk, Kain's brows furrow together and he opts to just stand beside it for the conversation. "Ah've been out in Chicago, followin' up on a lead that's taken me a few months t'narrow down. You an' Ah' both know that there ain't no way we're gonna' be able t'take down a group like Danny's — even from th' inside — without money and resources an' this little office needin' an Ikea catalogue… Ah' figured we'd need a sugar daddy."

"You have no idea how busy I've been, Kain, no… no fucking idea." There's a rather weary note to Cardinal's voice as he steps around the desk, fingertips skimming over the surface of the piece of furniture before he sprawls himself down into the chair, the faintest of smiles curving to his lips, one elbow on the chair's arm and fingers resting to the side of his face.

"A sugar daddy, eh? What is it that you've got in mind? If you tell me that Al Capone's still alive, I'm going to quit, right now, I'm warning you that. I've had enough of immortal gangsters."

"Ah'll just be goin' then," is Kain's half joking response as he feigns turning around to leave, only to abruptly stop and turn around, "but he's a nice gangster, Ah' promise." That's entirely joking, because if there's one thing Kain's new contact is, it's most assuredly not nice.

"You know 'im, most everybody does. His name's Gideon d'Sarthe, biggest crime boss in the Big Easy and Chicago. Best of all, he's one of Danny's least favorite people in the world, 'cause apparently them two used to be fast friends until they had themselves a fallin' out, that left ol' Gideon with a hankerin' for mah' favorite type'a revenge; Cold."

Crossing his arms over his chest, Kain kicks up one dark brow. "Ah' negotiated a meetin' with Gideon back in Chicago on th' 4th o' July, but he ain't headed out here till he had his affairs settled back home. Seems now he's ready an' comin' on up to th' Big Apple, an' he wants t'meet with you. Told him you had some plans, ones he might wanna' invest in. So…"

"I think I've heard the name," Cardinal admits in a quiet and thoughtful tone, knuckles rubbing against his jaw thoughtfully, "Gideon d'Sarthe… biblical names are never a good sign in a gangster, but I'll bite. No surprise that they've had a falling out, most of the Founders have burnt their old friends along the way."

"Mm. So what does he get out of this? The whole point about not just shooting Daniel in the fucking head was because I don't want some other group to just roll in here that we'll have to deal with."

"He wants what anybody wants, a slice of the pie when it's done cookin'," and all that time around d'Sarthe must have given Kain a penchant for food analogies. "No matter how smoothly we try an' make this transition, there's gonna' be detractors. There's gonna' be boys an' girls who are loyal to th' Linderman name or just want t'get outta' dodge once the old man's down the drain. We're gonna' need someone who has experience keepin' criminal elements under control."

Squaring his shoulders, Kain's brows furrow. "That means we're either gonna' need to buy out Danny's supporters, or have someone with th' muscle an' th'…" Kain looks around, then back to Cardinal, "manpower t'get it done. Every business needs contractors, an' this man's our Gangster Haliburton."

There's a few moments of silence before Cardinal reluctantly admits, "You're right. We will need that kind of strength until we manage to get a solid hold on everything… after we take the head of the snake, the rest is going to thrash. We'll need some hands to hold it down. The trick's going to be making sure that it doesn't carry us off afterwards."

Then he flashes a grin, "What the fuck, though, it's not like either of us live safe lives anyway. Might as well take a gamble. Tell me about this d'Sarthe."

Snorting a laugh, Kain tilts his head to the side and shrugs his shoulders, pacing around the office towards the window. "He's a scary sun've a bitch, Gideon is. He's the Daniel Linderman of his turf, crushed other smaller groups under his heel, knows what he's doing… cooks a mean pot pie." There's a crooked smile at that, and Kain twists from the window to look back at Cardinal.

"He's got a big organization under him, lots'a ruthless people, th' kinda' men we're gonna' need. He's also got a daughter, finest piece of French import you ever did see… but if you so much as look at her ol' Gideon will rip your muscles outta' your skin."

Then, there's the forgetful smile. "Did Ah' forget t'mention he's got some sorta' spooky power? Ah' mean he ain't casper the ghost like you, but rumors say he's flayed men alive with just lookin' at 'em. He's strong as an ox too."

"If he was one of Daniel's cohorts back in the day… there's probably a file listing his ability," Cardinal considers— and then exhales a rough snort of breath, "Unless he was hiding his 'good friend' from the Company, of course, which is entirely fucking possible. Alright. So. Jealous father. Good cook. We're looking at a… classic old-school mobster, then. I can deal with that."

"He's got a second in command you might wanna be aware of too, Jason Mines," and at that Kain's brows furrow together. "He's a roughneck son of a bitch, word on the street is he can kill people with a look, turns 'em inside out or something like that. Apparently a rival crime family down in Chicago wanted to off Mines and sent twelve of their best boys after him, and all that came back were trash bags full've men."

Kain's brows crease together and his head shakes slowly. "Mines ain't ever far from Gideon, he's d'Sarthe's me," seems somewhat bitter in tone. "For whatever that says about th' bastard." Stepping away from the window, Kain dips his head down into a slow nod, then looks askance to the door he'd come in through.

"You want me t'set up a meetin' with him? Face to face kind? Ah'd recommend no funny business of tryin' t'play ghostbusters with 'im, 'cause he ain't the most trustin' kind."

"I can play it straight," replies Cardinal in quiet tones, leaning back in his chair and turning his gaze up to the ceiling, "I suppose it's about time I stopped hiding in shadows… and started taking a direct role in things. Besides. That'll give me an ace in the hole if I need it."

Shrugging his shoulders, Kain looks down to his feet and furrows his brows. "There anythin' else you need me t'do in mah spare time? Ah've only got so much Ah' can do while I'm workin', an this trip to Chicago killed all'a mah vacation time." Looking down to his feet, there's clearly something worried in Kain's expression, something haunted dawning over his features as he looks back to the office window, then to the desk, as if trying to discern something about the room.

"If… not, Ah' should probably get on goin'," he admits in a hushed tone of voice, nodding his head to the door. "Long days t'come an' all."

As the other man speaks, Cardinal watches him for a long moment… and then he lifts his chin up in a nod back to the other man. "What's on your mind, Kain?" A quiet question, a quiet statement, "There's obviously something rattling around in that head of yours. What's going on?"

"What's your game," is quiet at first, too quiet to actually be a direct question. When Kain finally turns to look at Cardinal, his brows are creased together and blue eyes are narrowed. "Is this— is all'a this real? All you wanna do, everythin' with Danny… is this legit or are you fuckin' me or tryin' t'do something else?" There's as much of an accusation as possible in Kain's tone of voice.

"Ah' need t'know if this is some sorta' government thing, if you're in cahoots with the boys an' girls wearin' the stars an' bars, or if you really are who you say you are. 'Cause— if this is some sorta' sting— something t'get Danny outta' the picture Ah' need t'know where Ah' stand."

Exhaling a heavy sigh, Kain's eyes shut. "Ah' need t'know you ain't screwin' me, Dickie."

A hand lifts up, Cardinal's fingers sliding over the arms of the shades he habitually wears, drawing it off her face and clicking them up. It's set to one side as the other man speaks, and dark eyes sweep back up to regard his face, watching his expression, his emotions there. Then he nods, pushing himself up from the chair and to his feet, pacing slowly along towards the window - a hand raising to brush the venetian blinds with a soft 'ting' as the hard plastic bends.

"I'll be honest with you, Kain," he says quietly as he gazes down over the street outside, "I don't care about… any of this, really. The crime, the lifestyle. That's who I was once, yeah. When I was a thief, when I was… just a shadow doing what I wanted. These days… these days, it's just a means to an end." A breath's drawn in, and then exhaled in a sigh as he turns back with a bit of a smirk.

"That's what I need you for, Kain. Because for you, this is it. This is the life. And I need someone - I need you - to care about it. I need an empire to let me do what I need to do, but I don't have the time, effort, or inclination to run it," he explains quietly, "I'm legit here, Kain. As far as I'm concerned, you can have the world, so long as you help me do what I have to."

"Then why're we the ones who cause the riots?" Kain's words might as well be a gunshot for all the explosive power they pack, despite how quietly they're offered. "I saw it, Richard, that's why I was out of the city for so long. Gideon sent Mines up here to meet with me and you, and we all got nailed by whatever hit everyone else. I decided to take some time off after, and went up to Chicago to seal th' deal m'self…"

Narrowing his eyes, Kain's next question seems relatively loaded. "How long you been a member of Frontline, cause the cat's outta' the bag on that one too, Casper, you were wearin' one've their suits without the fancy head-gear."

"You saw that." A quiet statement from Cardinal. No surprise, though, his gaze dropping to the floor briefly before he turns to look out the window, "I don't know, Zarek. I wish I did… but I don't. I assume we've got a reason, but I'll be damned that I know what it is. Maybe we're starting a revolution… all I know is, whatever we're doing in that future… it's not going to happen. I'm not going to let it happen."

It's half of a lie. He knows that it's where the List leads… he just doesn't know what lies beyond those deaths.

A turn, then, and just the hint of a smile tugs up at one corner of his lips. "I'm not. I've been offered the opportunity more than once, but… I saw that too, in the future. The transponder'd been deactivated. I think I stole it."

Lips downturning into a frown, Kain stares at the table and then looks up to Cardinal. "Ah' dunno what we were doin'… cept Ah' seemed t'think it was our fault. An' I told you something right at the end…" Kain shakes his head slowly, walking away from the desk and towards the office door. "Ah' said congratulations, 'cause we'd gone an' killed a future…" then, pausing, Kain looks back over his shoulder to Cardinal.

"An' Ah' was in Danny's office, an' so were you, and we were watchin' the city burn." Swallowing tightly, Kain breathes in deeply before exhaling a steady sigh. "Whatever goes down in November, looks like we're the winners."

"Are we?"

There's a cynical note to Cardinal's voice when he asks that question, his head shaking slowly from side to side, slumping back to rest against the window's edge, a hand lifting to rake back through his hair, "That's… that's what we do, Kain. We identify timelines with unsatisfactory conclusions and act to make sure they never come to pass. Christ, Kain, the things I've seen… did you think I was kidding when I told you I survived a nuclear bomb? You have no idea how fucked up some of this shit is. Chemical weapons that'd kill the human race. Accidents that'd raise the ocean level by hundreds of feet, world-wide."

"An' we stop somethin' worse from happenin', by settin' the city on fire?" One of Kain's brows slowly rise as he considers that implication. "What sorta' thing d'you wager, Richard, warrants startin' a riot like that? What sorta' future did you find out about, where we gotta burn everythin' down an start over again?" It's hard to imagine a scenario where a plan like the one the Vanguard may have attempted would become necessary.

"Ah' just wanna' make sure, that we ain't tradin' one tyrant for another…" and that comes with a somewhat guilty look that flashes across Kain's face, his blue eyes distantly focused before he looks back up to Richard. "There anythin' else you need me t'do, boss?" Because despite his protests, Kain knows he's in too deep now to turn back, whether he wants to or not.

"I haven't," Cardinal says quietly as he looks up and over to Kain, his expression serious, "I haven't yet. I hope that I don't find anything… bad enough to resort to something like that. You're not the only one that saw things on June 10th. I don't want to become a monster, Kain."

A push up from the window, and he shakes his head, "So… yeah. There's one thing that you can do for me, Kain."

One black brow lifts up, and Kain's wandering footfalls pause, blue eyes linger on Cardinal with an expectant stare, even though he seems to be bracing himself, physically, for whatever may actually be thrown at him by Richard. When you're the employee of a man who says he survived a point-blank atomic explosion, sometimes you live your life trying to expect the unexpected, and never quite being able to.

Richard Cardinal walks away from the window, stepping across the office and over towards Kain. One hand lifts, reaching out to clasp his shoulder, meeting his gaze seriously. "Make sure that I don't."

That message sends a chill down Kain's spine, his eyes growing wide before his throat tightens in a swallow and he looks down to the floor of the office. There's no words for Cardinal, no words that could possibly convey what else he saw comfortable. Kain nods once more, reluctantly, and then just heads to the door without another word. Cardinal knows what Kain is willing to do, it's part of the reason that they've decided to work together as they have, and Kain — unfortunately — is aware of what Cardinal is capable of as well.

Theirs is a precarious equilibrium, one that could be shifted off balance sooner rather than later.

And rebalanced with a bullet.

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