Waiting For Godot


aric_icon.gif cardinal_icon.gif claire_icon.gif harmony_icon.gif peyton_icon.gif smedley_icon.gif

Scene Title Waiting For Godot
Synopsis It isn't easy waiting for a storm's approach.
Date November 8, 2010

Redbird Security - Basement

At the bottom of the stairs there's a sturdy metal-reinforced door, locked not with an electronic mechanism but with an old-fashioned mechanical combination lock. A bright yellow biohazard sign is hung up on the door.

Once through the door, the basement is mostly open space interspersed with support columns of grey brick. A thick layer of grey latex paint covers the walls and floor, the ceiling overhead tiled with squares of sound-suppressing foam. A few filing cabinets are pushed up against the near wall, and a single computer desk, the box unconnected to anything except for power, sits between some of those cabinets. The rest of the front part of the roomis an area with folding chairs around a table and a pull-down screen across from a podium with a projector sitting on top of it, evidently for meetings.The far wall, behind the string map, bears the legend in stark white block letters upon the grey that stretches across most of the wall and from floor to ceiling: 'FIGHT THE FUTURE'.

The right third of the room has been divided from the rest by a wall of bulletproof glass and metal framing, accessed by a simple glass door near the main entrance of the basement. Inside, three locked gun cabinets sit against the wall, and the rest of that section of the room has been turned into two shooting lanes. Cheap pulley assemblies on the ceiling attached to electric motors hold target posters.

"…the Ferrymen Council got hit a couple hours ago," Cardinal's voice echoes down the stairs as he walks along down, leading Harmony on the way, his cellular phone snapped closed as he steps off the last step. Not that it'd get any reception down here anyway, considering the ridiculous levels of EM shielding the basement has. He looks tired, but determined, striding past the piles of supply boxes that're set up through the basement. "I don't have any details, probably won't until tomorrow." Assuming anyone survives going unspoken.

The string web went up in flames the night before. Now, that part of the basement is scattered in ashes and burnt pieces of paper.

Peyton is downstairs using the firing range, finishing unloading the last of her magazine so she doesn't hear the voices behind her. The peacock feather on the nape of her neck seems to watch them as she shoots, since her hair is held in a ponytail.

Only after she's done, the tall brunette turns, eyes down as she moves to set the gun down and pick up a bottle of water, taking a long drink before lifting her eyes and seeing the newcomers to the basement. The gauze from her arm bandages can be seen under the sleeve of her t-shirt, wrapping her upper arm down to the elbow — a visible reminder of why she feels she needs the practice, no doubt.

"Hey," she says softly, one hand reaching up to pull down her ear protectors.

As he looks up from his spot in the basement, Aric sighs and opens his eyes, "I knew it started…flashes of emotions are hitting me when I go over to the range. Is that under the street? I am keeping away from it for now." As he stands up, Aric moves to the large boxes of supplies he brought and takes out a small pill packet.

Aric is looking like hell himself. It is clear he has gotten little to no sleep himself. He grabs a bottled water and walks over to Cardinal and holds them out to the man. The pills and the bottle. "Conserve the water but take the pills. You need to be alert…they are just basic caffenine pills."

It's started.

So.. what now?

To Harmony, it feels like it is the end. It feels like maybe the whole world is going to come crashing down on her at any second, and leave nothing but silence. She has felt this way once before, years ago. Only.. the whole world WAS coming down ontop of her. The world seems awfully compact when you're inside of a plane. The blond girl follow closely behind Cardinal, taking a moment to look back over her shoulder as if checking for a pursuer, or some explosion headed their way. She has had time to change, but still goes from one pair of tight black leather pants, to another. A black midrift tank on the top, with her backpack and her leather jacket slung over her shoulders.

"So.. should we be locking ourselves down in a basement? I mean.. I'm down I guess, I'm just wondering about the enclosed spaces and single exit hiding spots." she speaks.

"The 'Guard won't be crashing our party, and we can handle any rioters that try to kick in our door without any problem…" Cardinal's head shakes slowly from side to side as he walks along over to the table, dragging a chair away from it and sprawling onto it with a clatter of metal chair-legs on concrete, one arm draping over the back as he flashes a wry smile to Harmony, "…only reason we're down here is because nobody can listen in. We're shielded from everything."

A pause. "Well, everything but psychics, but there isn't much that'd stop one of them anyway. Aric, Peyton… this is Harmony. She does things with radiation. Harmony, this is Aric and Peyton, as I'm sure you figured out by now." He reaches over to accept the bottle of water and the pack of pills offered from the telepath, flashing a quick half-smile, "Thanks. How're you two holding up?"

Peyton reloads her weapon with a fresh clip, then slips it into a holster, apparently carrying for the duration of the 8th, and however long after. She smiles at Harmony. "Nice to meet you," she says, then shrugs at Cardinal. "Worried. Trying not to check in on every single person I know every thirty seconds, or I'll be no good to anyone, right?" she says lightly.

Dark eyes flit to the clock and back. "You want me to watch anyone at noon in particular?" she offers, brows knitting a bit with worry.

"Ah…" Harmony's brows raise understanding, "Makes sense. Kinda you're own little bomb shelter, huh?" As she looks at the walls, Harmony's brows turn a smidgen in towards each other. She kicks herself for thinking it, and finding it funny, but she can't help it. The fact is, she can go boom, in the nuclear way. And the thought of a bomb shelter with a bomb inside is a little ironic to her. But this goes pretty well unsaid, for a few reasons. Neurosis's aside, Harmony tosses her backpack on a nearby table, which she turns to lean herself back against, setting her arms on the edge of it on either side of her.

She looks over at the others as introductions are made, and raises two fingers to the side of her head to toss them a friendly salute. "Likewise." she replies to Peyton with a smile. "So.." she looks around the woman, "There's a firing range in here? Really?"

As the tired telepath walks back to his shadowed corner in the basement he sits back down. His hair falling into his face. His eyes move to look towards Harmony as he nods slowly to the woman, "If your thirsty or hungry your welcome to the provisions. Just a little…they need to last till the worse is over." Aric closes his eyes and says softly, "How am I holding up? Like shit Cardinal…I killed a man for nothing. It did not stop this…" He takes a deep breath, "My defenses are down…I have no energy to keep them focused…watch your thoughts around me."

The heavy steps of a slightly moody ex-cheerleader is the only warning people get before Claire Bennet makes her way down the stairs, having been let loose to join them all — which honestly surprised her. She had been resigned to waiting out the day in her small apartment upstairs.

Stopping a few steps from the bottom steps, her blue eyed gaze scans over the faces down there, only two of them really familiar to her. "Hey," is softly offered up as a greeting by Claire, with a small nervous smile. Her hair isn't pulled back into that severe pony tail, but left loose to lay over her shoulders, fingers keeping it tucked behind her ears. Her clothing more a dark turtle neck and jeans, compared to the BDU pants and black shirts from before.

"They usually don't let you train with assault rifles in a public firing range," Cardinal points out as he twists the cap off the bottle, setting it on the table's edge before tearing open the pack of pills. Yes, he clearly needs more caffeine today. The energy drinks and coffee weren't enough. The pills are tossed back and washed down with the water, and then he gestures with it in Peyton's direction, "Nobody in particular yet… check on Niklaus? He was supposed to be back by now…"

At the appearance in the doorway, he offers a tired smile over, "Claire. C'mon in— Claire, Harmony, vice versa… and shit, Aric." He turns a serious look on the other man, "You didn't kill him for nothing. You stopped him from doing this again. It was necessary."

The clairvoyant smiles at Claire's greeting, then moves over to offer her hand to Aric, squeezing his lightly. "You did what you had to. You didn't know about the other guy," she says softly, then nods at Cardinal when he asks her to check on Niklaus. "All right," she says softly. Her dark eyes turn black as the pupils swallow up the iris, and she seems to stare blindly across the room before she drops her lashes, downcast gaze aimed at the ground.

//When Peyton's vision collides with that of Niklaus', it is of all things a well-furnished office where he is standing in conversation with two women. One of them is probably in her early sixties, maybe a little older. Blonde hair worn somewhat puffy, attire business casual and she is embracing Niklaus in a tight hug even as she speaks, soon unwinding her arms from around him. //

"It's been… it's been too long, I'm sorry we had to take you under these circumstances." There's a faint smile that crosses the old woman's face as she steps to the side, revealing the second woman for Peyton. She's older, seated at a desk in the corner of the office with walls of windows behind her viewing the Manhattan skyline. White hair is pinned up in regal fashion, lips a kiss of red and eyes showing a ferocious intelligence.

"Niklaus dear, sit down. Ashton, would you be so kind as to get our friend some tea?" The white-haired old woman directs a silent blonde man standing at her side, whom promptly offers her a firm nod and steps away towrds where a tea-set rests beside her desk.

"I do not require tea," is Niklaus' own sharply German-accented response, even as his arms awkwardly come down from around the woman who embraced him. His attention turns from her to the white-haired woman, whom he regards in silence for a moment. "Exactly what is this, Miss Dalton? I profess some ignorance over you and your… group. Is this the Company?" The venom in Niklaus' voice is clear.

"Oh," Sabra laughs breathily, "Oh, no. No, no, no dear. This isn't the Company at all. But before we get on with this, Mister Stone, would you please be so kind as to block the room?" Niklaus begins to turn, indicating that Sabra was speaking to someone behind him, but Peyton is suddenly hammered out of Niklaus' vision by what feels like the psychic equivalent of a kick in the head.

Suddenly, Peyton slumps against the wall, hand coming to her head as she sucks in a sharp breath of air through her teeth, then whimpers as she slides downward. She's conscious, but when she looks up, her eyes are teary with pain, narrowed, her pupils normal-sized once more. "Dalton?" she manages, as she reaches up to massage her temple. She needs to catch her breath before she can explain more.

"Assault rifles? Seriously?" Harmony perking up in interest like a kid being asked if they want to see a dead body. "I've never even fired a regular gun, let alone something that big. I'd totally ask for a lesson? But one, I sorta don't need one given what's in my arsenal already? And two, I totally see an opportunity to flirt in that later. Gun range boys are usually kinda hot, and it'll be like getting help making a shot in pool." the girl usually every bit a joker at the best of times. But she is probably at least halfway serious about that. It's good to remain light hearted when you can because on the inside, she is really freaking terrified. She does what she knows best in a situation like this, humor and a little wild behavior.

She reaches up with one hand, shaking her fingers through the blond curls, fluffing them out a little before smoothing them back down. She listens to the plight that Aric seems to have, regarding killing someone. It makes Harmony look at him for several moments, not judging, but trying to put herself in his shoes. He apparently did something she has been stressing about for the past few days. If she could take a life. "I dunno what happened? But.. with all that craziness going on? I can probably imagine you didn't have any choice." she mentions to him, as if it could possibly help. Harmony's finger idly rubs up and down the bridge of her nose, a small bit of discomfort setting in. Claire seems to break the self-tension with her greeting, Harmony looking up at the girl and waving as Cardinal introduces her. "Hey." she replies, reaching over to her backpack and taking open the zipper. "So like, what's—" she blinks as Peyton comes to slump against the wall, the girl rising up to her feet quickly, looking to Cardinal, "Hey, is.. is she okay?" she asks.

As he stands up quickly, Aric is moving to Peyton. He reaches out to help her now as he says softly, "She is a little old for him I would say…and what was this about the Company?" He looks over at Harmony as he says, "Hard to explain yet…I am a telepath who is really tired so I tend to pick up everything around me right now…just a fair warning." Aric's strong arms extend to her if she takes his support, "Come and sit down…we can talk about my issues when I don't want to cry like a girl or feel…nevermind. You ok Peyton?" Aric knows Claire is there but does not look to her yet says softly, "If you need some food Claire there is plenty for all in the large boxes over there."

The smile Harmony gets from Claire, is a strained one, tight lipped and nervous, but not at meeting this new woman. It is November 8th after all. No words beyond that, not much for the cheerleader to really say, the stress of today making her someone subdued.

Taking the last few steps down, the regenerator half watches Peyton as she moves towards the wall, turning her back and just thumping her back against it, with a slight slouch. It's like, Claire doesnt' know what to do with herself. Too much idle time for the young woman.

"No thanks." The answer is gravelly from the ex-cheerleader, giving Aric a shake of her head. While she doesn't really get tired, she does get emotionally worn down. "I don't exactly feel much like eating at the moment. Maybe later."

A scattering of water drops splatter over the table as Cardinal slams the water bottle down rather sharply, hand flattening to the edge of the table as he pushes himself up to his feet and is across the room before the second hand clicks any further on the clock. Right beside Aric, he reaches out a hand to Peyton's arm, his brow furrowing rather severely in concern, "…what the hell… are you alright? Dalton? Dalton who?"

Peyton lifts eyes that blink with pain to Cardinal's face and she nods. "I'm okay. Just… a little dizzy. Felt like when Zarek's grandfather knocked me out with a rifle," she says lightly, reaching to take his hand and squeeze it softly. "He's not … it looked like an office. A woman named Ms. Dalton, he called her, and she had a younger guy there named Ashton. Like… an office. He asked if it was the company, and she said it wasn't, but then she told someone named 'Mr. Stone' to 'block the room.'"

The clairvoyant gives a soft huff of a laugh. "I guess I know I can be blocked out now — I don't know if they felt me or if it was just a coincidence. But Nik's mad — they took him against his will, though she apologized for it and offered him tea. The other guy's name was Ashton."

Her free hand comes up to wipe a tear from her cheek. "Can someone get me some Advil?"

"Wait.. so like.. you can pick up people's dark and dirty little secrets? Shit that they like.. don't want aired out?" Harmony arches a brow at Aric, "Oooh.. Yeah.. That's both impressive and scary." the blond rocker purses her lips together, her nose crinkling up like she just tasted something sour. "Do people who know about you start like.. thinking things at you? Just to fuck with you? That's kind of a dick move, but kiiiinda funny at a party with heavy drinking." she mentions with a nod of her head. "Hey.. my heart goes out to you, and my hat comes off. I don't think I could handle being in other people's heads. I can barely handle what I got. Do you know, I used to wake myself up because I'd have a nightmare and start glowing like a Christmas tree? I had to start wearing a sleep mask to keep from thinking daylight had come early." The girl shakes her head with a chuckle. Yeah, stay lighthearted, he probably already knows you're shaking in your boots, Harm.

She is watching Claire's pensive demeanor as the ex-cheerleader is parking herself against the wall, peering thoughtfully before Cardinal slams his water, sending a spray up to land on Harmony. "Whoa!" she shields with her hands a bit too late. "Thanks for the shower, a bit premature, but refreshing." she wipes the water off the front of her shirt, smirking. The girl listens to Peyton's explanation, which she doesn't really know what is going on, but maybe it'll make sense at some point.

Aric looks over at Cardinal, "I didn't mean to see what she saw…it was like watching T.V with bad reception. She was really kind of old for him." Aric takes a step back from Peyton and nods slowly, "Advil? I am not sure I packed that in the supplies. Let me see what I have…I have two bottles of Patron for when the shit gets really heavy…" He shakes his head, "Not yet though…yet lets see what I have." Aric moves to the wall of boxes he horde over and pulls down the one marked, "Medical Supplies."

"Dalton? Dalton… wait…" Cardinal's forehead lines in a bemused furrowing, "…Sabra Dalton? Christ… we'll have to figure this one out later, but— shit. She knows, about Niklaus, she had the clearance…"

Whatever he's muttering about, from his expression, it isn't good.

His fingers squeeze against her arm, and he pushes himself up to step over towards the supplies, searching for a bottle of tylenol or advil. "…we don't have the time or opportunity to go hunting for him right now. We'll deal with it tomorrow. Keep checking in now'n again to see if you can pick him up, but if you get smacked like that again, stop. I'm not going to risk you getting hurt." A bottle's found with the supplies, dug out of a plastic container, and he tosses it loosely underhand towards Peyton.

Peyton catches it, already starting to look a bit more alive, color returning to her cheeks. "I'm okay now. It was more… mental, I think. No lasting damage," she says, though there's a tightness around her eyes as she uncaps that bottle, shaking out not one, not two, not three, but four Advil into her palm. She finds the water bottle that she let slip from her grasp, taking a swallow to chase them down.

Her eyes flick back to the clock and she slides back up the wall, eyes fluttering slightly as a wave of dizziness rushes through then abates. "Who do you want me to watch for the broadcast?"

Harmony gets up from where she is and scoots out of the way as they go scrambling and rummaging for bottles. She hasn't encountered many psychics before, so she isn't completely convinced that something else didn't happen, like someone is invisible and pushed her, or some other kind of thing. Someone could be in the room right now, and she wouldn't know it. There are a lot of scenarios that her paranoid mind concocts, all of which she isn't readily voicing. She simply slips a small bag of peanuts from her backpack and scoots off to the side to enjoy.

As he looks over at Harmony, Aric says softly, "Your safe…I would know if anyone was here invisible right now…" As Aric looks down at the floor, he looks spent and walks slowly back towards his spot in the corner. He runs a hand through his hair and plops down on the floor. He closes his eyes and begins to take a few deep breaths. He pulls a water out from his pocket and takes a sip of it before closing the bottle. "Have we heard from Liz? or Felix?"

While what their talking about goes over her head, having been undercover with Messiah, the mention of the broadcast has Claire shifting with unease, straightening from the wall. Eyes shift to the clock a bit nervously, before glancing to Cardinal. "Are we sure all the triggers are voice based?" She's been let out of the apartment, so she'd rather not be tossed back into it again, but more then that, she doesn't want to suddenly hurt her friends.

"You said that Matt found three of them in my head. Doubt they are all based for the riots, but —" Claire glaces at the clock again, but then away quickly, as if denying that time is moving or hoping that it will suddenly stop.

The electronic lock beeps and clicks first, followed after a few moments of softer gears turning by the rest of the basement door's manual locking mechanism. Of course, Aric can feel the man's mind before he even walks through the door. The others have to wait until it opens to see who it is.

Wes doesn't look any worse for the wear, considering the day and the foretold events. But he is already wearing his oilskin longcoat, and with it unbuttoned, his revolvers are clearly visible as he walks into the room. But it would be safe to assume that he's got more then twelve bullets to his name right now.

He squints at the congregation before he shuts the door behind him, the locks shinking and clunking back into place once more. "Folks," he says with a nod before he edges his way into the room, the heels of his boots making a distinct sound on the concrete floor. It's only then that he tries to catch Peyton's eyes, his brows lifted slightly. "Hunkerin' down for the duration?"

"We've got… Gun Hill and the Verb covered…" Cardinal's fingers push back through his hair as he considers the matter for a few moments, "…check in on… the Lighthouse people… fuck." He glances over sharply, "Check in on Matt, I told him he should've stayed here, he could get exposed to the broadcast. Then flip through any ferry operatives you can think of. The raids shouldn't start until after the martial law decree, but they've already been attacked once this morning."

That order given, he turns towards Claire, hesitating. "No," he admits, reluctantly, "But we're going to hope they are. Time based wouldn't make sense, you might not be near a clock."

The door, then, "Smedley. Pull up a chair and get ready for the show… one minute to the broadcast."

The long list of people to check in gets the very tiniest, faintest of winces, like just thinking about checking in on all those people hurts Peyton's head all the more. She slides back down the wall to take a sitting position and gives a nod, then looks over to Wes and smiles affectionately. "All right. I'll check with Matt, first," she says softly.

Once more eyes drop to stare at the ground, the pupils expanding in their brown depths.

"What?" Harmony looks up like a deer in headlights with peanuts in her mouth. She looks around as Aric speaks to her, the reminder that he is psychic kicking in a second later, "Oh! No! Umm.. yeah, you don't wanna be in here.." Harmony waggle-points her finger at her own head. "I may seem like I've got it under control? But.. biiiig worrier here. About things that— Well just silly stuff. And the thing is, I know it's silly? But I still worry about it anyway." the girl smirks. Like how she knows the likelihood of her going all radiation-poison-shedding-of-glowy-doom is very very low, ranging in the decimal points? But it still pops into the front of her mind as a worry. And she unfolds that worry until it is a giant posterboard, and before she knows it, she is devising some complex defensive reflex to get all hidey-hole again. Even now she is worrying about worrying too much.

The arrival of someone new brings Harmony's attention up from her own hole of thought to blink her bright blue eyes at the newcomer. She shifts her position, slipping into a seat, the blonde girl giving him a nod while she munches on her snack. She pulls in a breath, hearing them talk about the riots starting soon, and a feeling in her stomach as he anxious fear starts to claw it's way to the surface. The light is very dim, but Harmony starts to shed a little bit. A slight corona of illumination as her mind wanders off into her intense emotion.

Aric shakes his head, "I am gonna try and take a power nap. I need to get some focus or you all are gonna have me insane before sunset." Aric leans back against the wall and looks in Cardinal's direction, "Wake me if you need me? I think I could sleep some…yet if you need me…don't let me sleep." Perhaps the man is trying to make amends for killing Rupert. He just might not want to dream to much to relive turning him into a meat pie. Aric takes a few deep breaths as he closes his eyes and enters a state of meditation that will allow him to enter the world of dreams shortly after.

The former blonde doesn't look in anyway assured by Cardinal's words, arms fold across her stomach as she turns on the ball of one foot and paces away. "Feeling like a damn ticking time bomb. Waiting to either go off or not," the words sighed out, stressed and irritated. There is another glance at the clock, but she flicks her gaze away too quickly. Someone is paranoid.

"I don't even know what is up with my mom or Lyle," head shaking, "Should have thought to have you ask dad what they were going to do" The statement directed to Cardinal, Claire sending a sideways glance towards the leader of the group.

However, the ex-cheerleader's pacing steps pause at the sight of another stranger, brows lifting a little.

The welcome, as quick as it is, is met with a nod from Smedley as he makes his way across the floor. But he doesn't snag a chair. Instead, he goes to sit next to Peyton, easing himself down and giving her the space he knows she needs (by the dilation of her pupils). But the gesture is clear enough, even if it won't be seen by her until she regains her own perspective.

He looks then to Harmony and Claire, nodding to Aric when the man excuses himself. With his legs stretched out in front of him and his ankles crossed, Smedley laces his fingers and lays his hands in his lap. It might be movie night, if it weren't for the subtle tension visible in his jaw.

"Thanks, Peyton." Cardinal walks along back over towards the table, and he drops down to sprawl back into the chair where he was, glancing back up to the clock hanging on the wall. "Get some sleep, Aric. The jammers should be going on about now," he observes, one hand coming up to scratch against the underside of his jaw, short nails rasping against stubble, "Which means we should have riots and violence in the streets within the next ten minutes…"

He reaches for the water again, his head shaking slowly, "…may God have mercy on New York."

The clairvoyant is deaf to the voices in the room as she listens to those in her head. She does feel Wes sit on one side of her, and reaches to take his hand as she pulls her knees up to her.

In Matt's world, on the other side of a wall of glass, four large computer monitors lord over the analysts who sit in front of them. It's the feed from D.C., and while there are picture-in-picture images of the various news affiliates, the main input is from some sort of internal broadcast. Matt Parkman closes his eyes and sighs, and there's a soft whirring, rattling sound. When he opens them again, he's looking at his desk for a moment. There's a glimpse of a report - a bulleted list of something, but it goes by far too quickly.

But now, one screen has been blocked by vertical blinds being pulled by a young woman in a pencil skirt and blazer.

"Sir," the woman says as she finishes, revealing a pair of large, apparently noise-cancelling headphones from under her arm. "It's almost time."

She blinks her eyes and looks up. "He's awake. In his office, at his desk. His secretary I think just brought in some headphones for him, I guess to blank out the noise," she tells Cardinal before resting her head on the wall, eyes closing and a furrow of pain mars her brow. The psychic block left her with a headache.

Something snaps her out of her self-induced trance. For a few moments, Harmony's brain was about a foot in front of her, and her eyes were deadly focused on it. That is the expression that was plastered across her face while she shed light. But her eyes blink and she shakes her head, pulling back to the here and now, which isn't much better than the place she was just in. The clock is ticking, and she refuses to look at it like everyone else. Thinking that if she doesn't look at it, it won't happen is a silly thought, but it is better than nothing. "Ten minutes.." she echoes Cardinal. Those words having more of a negative meaning for her than they ever have before. At least she stopped glowing before she got much brighter. "Sooo.."

Smedley's calloused hand is easily taken by Peyton, but what small solace is brought by that touch leaves at the death of Harmony's light and her cryptic words. He frowns, his eyes narrowing as he looks from Peyton to Cardinal, the only other people in the room he even remotely knows. "She okay?" he asks, his voice quiet. After all, there's no reason not to be polite.

The bottled water's tipped back to Cardinal's lips, and he takes a hearty swallow of its contents before dropping it back down to rest on his knee, gloved fingertips rapping anxiously against the plastic sides. It's clear that he'd rather he was out and about taking an active hand in things. He's only one man, though, and he's done all that he can to ease the damage tonight. The waiting's just a killer.

"Good. At least he paid some attention to what I told him…" He pauses — was Harmony just glowing? Well, she's not now, so he's going to assume they're not all irradiated or anything.

"Hm? Oh… shit." He gestures, "Wes, have you met everyone? This's Harmony, Claire… obviously you know Peyton."

"I'm going to go freshen up," Peyton says softly, glancing at the clock a little nervously, then leaning to kiss Wes on the cheek. "And I'll be in my office. If I see anything that needs reporting, I'll report." She moves to a standing position, holding the wall a little more than she normally would need to, still just a touch dizzy.

"Nice to meet you, Harmony," she says with a smile and she moves toward the stairs, slowly and gingerly, as if uncertain of her steps.

"Hey." Claire offers Smedley a half of a smile, it almost seems apologetic, probably for the fact that Cardinal had to introduce them.

There is a soft sigh and she glances at the stair way, brows dropping a just a little. "I — I think I'm going to go sit in my room." Anxiety and having people around her when she is uncertain what Rupert did to her, she'd rather keep some distance, just in case.

A guilty look is sent Cardinal's way, before Claire is beating a hasty retreat out of the gloomy basement.

'Ten minutes, Harmony..' Steven Roberts tapped his daughter on the shoulder on the private plane, rousing a frown and a groan of complaint from the teenage Harmony. This was the last thing she heard then too. Because ten minutes later, her ability manifested as a mini-reactor meltdown, sending the whole family plummeting to their doom. Huh. Ironic to hear those words again, here.. now.. in another world shaking situation. Another sure sign that things aren't going to be the same anymore.

While she wasn't watching the clock, she could hear it's tick. And each one was like a firm smack ontop of the head. She was waiting for the 'boom'. Please? Someone poke her and tell her she's on Punk'd.. That'd be nice right about now. A girl can dream…

"Huh? Oh, hey.." she looks between Cardinal and Smedley at this point, summoning a smile for him somewhere, "Sorry, I was out of it for a sec. Um.. We should… play a game or something." she suggests with a shrug. Why not? It's better than sitting there waiting to get squished. "Oh! Take.. take care.." she says to the departing few, "Nice meeting you too!" a wave given to Peyton.

Smedley nods as each person is introduced, but then Peyton is leaving and thereby snags his full attention. He stands with her, squeezing her hand and pressing his cheek to hers after the quick kiss. "Be careful," is all he mutters to her. He knows the building is safe, but some people were born to worry.

Perhaps it's because of that worry that he fixes Harmony with a frown at her suggestion once Claire and Peyton have left the basement room. "A game?" He glances to Cardinal again before he leans back against the wall, folding his arms across his chest.

"Alright…" As the two women depart, Cardinal raises up his hand, "…keep us appraised, we'll keep you appraise, et cetera, et cetera and all."

It's quiet, down here, with the concrete walls and soundproofing tiled across the ceiling. A silence that belies the chaos that's just beginning to spark in the streets, a spark that'll catch upon the city like a match on gasoline.

"A game, eh? What the hell… poker's my game, usually," he admits, glancing to the pair, "You two?"

"A game." Harmony solidifies to Smedley with a nod. Things are getting to serious and stressful, and that just won't do for her. She'll start glowing again. "This is actually my first End of the World so.. kinda not sure how to handle it. Might as well enjoy myself hm?" Words of wisdom she has to offer to the other man with a smirk.

"Oh-ho!" she perks up at Cardinal's suggestion, "If we're playing poker? We're going for strip. I like that shirt you have on, and I could use a show." she makes an animated and very exaggerated point of her finger at Cardinal with to fingers, making a gun with her hand and pulling the trigger with a 'pop' sound from her mouth. In other words, you're going down. "I'm kinda liking the ratio of guys to gals right now? So.. Expect to lose hard and fast." she grins.

It may be the building settling. Or maybe the buzz of electronics. Or even some vermin in the walls. But in truth, the soft, rasping sound is Smedley's teeth grinding together as he stands half-braced against the wall. His fingers dig into the oilskin on his arms as he looks between Cardinal and Harmony, his frown only deepening the lines around his mouth and in the corners of his eyes.

"First of all," he says after a moment of tense silence, his denim-blue eyes resting on Cardinal. His voice, for all it's prairie-twang, is quiet and calm. "All hell is about to cut loose on this city, and you want to play poker." There's almost a twitch in how his eyes narrow to slits for a moment before he turns to look at Harmony - but he doesn't look her in the eye. Instead, his gaze flits from her hairline to her shoes, as if he's having trouble taking her in.

"And pardon me sayin' so, miss, but I ain't got much reason to be gettin' naked until December. Maybe even later'n that." Smedley clears his throat and pushes himself away from the wall, letting his arms fall to his sides. "Now if you two will excuse me, I've got an arsenal t'pack."

"Yeah… not exactly the time for strip poker, babe," Cardinal points out in rather dry tones at the suggestion, the bottle of water waggled in her direction, "Not when I might need to head out at any minute and deal with a crisis…"

Whatever he was about to say is cut off as Smedley speaks, then, the faint smile that'd crooked up at his lips at the admittedly absurd idea of strip poker at a time like this fading entirely. His own voice is flat when he speaks, "And what would you suggest I do, Wes? There's nothing I can do out in the streets, and right now, the jammers're probably blocking all've our communications. I guess I could pace back and forth…" A spread of his hands to either side, "Maybe I twiddle my thumbs and obsess over the fact that every god damn life that's lost today is because I wasn't quite good enough to change this future. If you like, I could go upstairs and over-stress Peyton's power by making her check in on everyone I fucking know. Maybe that'd make you happy, cowboy?"

"Well what are we supposed to do?" Harmony's brow gets wrinkly, a frown given to the man and his summarization of her suggestion. "Sit around, twiddle our thumbs? Look scared and pray? Line up and sit all in a row all quiet like good little lambs?" Her voice only elevates a hair, with none of the joking undertones that she normally has. "Huh. That's never been my style. I'm gonna have fun till I can't anymore. If something goes down, and comes our way? Well… we'll deal with it. Simple as that." she shrugs. Now if she only believed it was actually that simple.

The girl just sighs as Smedley excuses himself after going on about not wanting to get naked. "Well, it's nice to see that some people haven't forgotten how to have fun and laugh, isn't it?" she comments to Cardinal, droooooling with sarcasm. "I'll admit, I was kinda kidding about it? But.. yeah, c'mon. I'm just trying to keep spirits up here. We can play regular poker. Fuck.. Go fish if you want to."

"I really don't give a flying rat's ass, Cardinal," Smedley says, spinning to face the other man again, his coat momentarily flaring with the motion. "And secondly," he says, eying Harmony again, "y'don't play poker with a man like me, missy. S'just a bad idea."

Wes squares his shoulders then and fixes his attention on Cardinal again. "I've got shit to get ready for. You wanna come upstairs and lend a hand? S'fine with me. Rifles don't stuff themselves into bags. You want to play with the dogs so they don't go stir crazy up there? You knock yourself out. But sittin' here playin' patty-cake ain't gonna do anyone a lick'uh good. Fuckin' city's gonna burn, and you might as well be playin' the fiddle."

The water bottle's set to one side, Cardinal's hand landing flat against the table's surface and pushing there as he levers himself up to his feet. "Maybe you're right," he replies mildly, walking over towards the other man with a slow shake of his head, "I haven't more than a couple hours in three days. I went back in time and got the shit kicked out of me by a guy, I flew up to Baltimore and back to kill the sonuvabitch that set this riot up in the first place, got electrocuted and covered in the blood've a friend of mine, and then after catching two hours've sleep this morning I've spent five hours building barricades in the lobby. But maybe you're right. Maybe I still haven't done enough."

A spread of his hands, palms lifting in a helpless gesture, and then they fall back down to his side. Then one of them comes right back up for the other man's jaw, clenched into a fist.

Harmony wants to say something. And usually when she wants to say something, she says it. Not a girl to hold back her tongue. The words are just about to spill from her mouth at Smedley's tirade when.. Action! She expected fists to be flying but.. she didn't expect it to be among people here. Least of all, Cardinal. Harmony rises up in her seat a bit, but doesn't move to intervene. Her eyes just widen as she sees Cardinal going back for the windup and taking a swing at the man, practically putting the words she wanted to say into actions instead. "Whoa.."

The punch connects easily. It's hard to tell if Wes wasn't ready for it, or if, given his antagonism, he wanted to get decked. His weight shifts with the blow, and his foot staggers to compensate for it, but he doesn't bend too far when Cardinal's fist follows through in it's arc. Instead, he reels back slightly before he brings up a hand to test the injured area, his eyes held nearly shut. It hurt - there's no denying that.

"You two have fun," he says in a lower voice before he takes a step away from Cardinal, his eyes slipping from the other man to the girl still seated behind him. He doesn't turn his back until he's at the door, and only then so that he can wrench it open and slip through.

"Yeah." Cardinal's hand aches as it drops down to his side, his jaw set as he regards the other man flatly, "Fun. Plenty've it…"

His hand flexes slowly as he glares after the gunrunner, and he's the one who turns away, stalking towards what looks like a large reinforced cabinet against one of the walls that's a foot or two taller than him. He slams his palm against it, and his entire form darkens with shadow, almost liquifying for a moment as it fades to a two-dimensional shadow, slithering through the cracks in the doors and vanishing into the cabinet proper.
Harmony just watches as her suggestion of strip poker just seemed to ruin the party. That's a first for her. The blond girl can only blink as Smedley backs off, and Cardinal makes his retreat as well. She expected there to be more, but.. their situation is probably already bad enough without trying to kill each other. She opens her mouth to take in a breath, preparing to speak out to Cardinal as he storms across the room, but better judgment has her pursing her lips in silence.

It goes from point A to point C in a matter of seconds. The hit, and then Card melting into the cabinet, leaving Harmony to one…solitary…conclusion. Delivered at the perfect moment. Right when everyone is gone, and enough time has passed by for crickets to chirp. The 'what-the-fuck' second passing.

The doors of the cabinet swing open with the click of a lock disengaged from the inside, a black-gauntleted hand shoving them open to allow Richard Cardinal - in full Horizon combat armor - to step out of the storage cabinet, the soft whrrr of the exoskeleton almost but not entirely silent. The black-armoured figure, bereft of the unit designation and FRONTLINE emblems usually on the suit, marches straight across the room and over to the weapons cases, pulling one open with a jerk and reaching in to take hold of one of the assault rifles racked there.

"Fine, then," he mutters against the visor of the helmet, voice muffled as he slams a clip into the rifle, "I guess I don't get any time to rest."

Just when she was about to sit down and utter the words 'Now what?', this happens. Harmony pauses mid-sit, and getting that look upon her face again, Harmony watches the suit of armor march back across the floor, grab a few weapons and arm them. This time, her jaw drops open to speak, but no words come out at first. She closes her mouth, rethinks the situation, still with her fingers planted on the table. What can she say to that, really? The blonde girl is at a loss for words for several moments, until..

"So.. does this mean no poker?"

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