We Have Ourselves A Conspiracy


cardinal_icon.gif julien_icon.gif peyton2_icon.gif

Scene Title We Have Ourselves A Conspiracy
Synopsis Richard Cardinal is contacted by a mysterious informant with troubling information about the Institute, and a request for information of his own…
Date June 20, 2010


The Bronx isn't a place known for the finer things in life, it's a neighborhood that has seen hard times and knows even harder are to come. From the window of Janetto's Delicatessen, the view of tall construction cranes break up the monotony of redbrick buildings and boarded up storefronts that line the border between the north end of the Bronx and its ruined south end.

The noise of construction crews come with beeping and chirping, the thunder of jackhammers and the grinding of metal saws and drills working on repairs to the buildings damaged by both bomb and storm. Narrowing his eyes, a blonde man seated at one of the window-side booths watches a white banner be raised up along the front of one steel-girder skeleton going up a block away.

Paid For By The Linderman Group is proclaimed in pretentious red white and blue lettering with a marquee of Maxwell Construction Company beneath that in yellow on blue. Leaning back and stirring a spoon around in his cup of coffee, Julien Dumont offers a scrutinizing look to each patron that comes in the chiming front door of the deli, his brows furrowed and blue eyes sweeping up and down them.

He doesn't look like a federal agent, Dumont, with his black tanktop, swept back blonde hair and camouflage pants tucked into knee high combat boots. The tattoo on his right bicep showing Cyrillic writing on a banner around a falcon is questionable as well, just as much as the redness around tired, dark-circled eyes and his thin face. He's a man who gets little — if any — sleep.

The door chimes softly as Richard Cardinal steps into it, one hand braced on the inside of the door itself to hold it for the passage of the woman that he's arrived with, a smile tugging up a bit at one corner of his lips. He's dressed fairly nicely for himself, a black collared shirt buttoned up at the neck and a pair of khaki pants.

Once they're inside, he looks over those within the delicatessen, searching for signs that might indicate the person they're meeting with.

Where Cardinal's dressed "up," heading to the Bronx means Peyton Whitney is dressed "down." While the jeans she wears might be designer, they're not overtly so; the slim black T-shirt she wears cost $50 and fits better than a $10 shirt would, but not that any one in the Bronx would be able to tell the difference. A newsie-style cap pulled low over her bangs and a pair of sunglasses help keeps her sometimes-recognized face concealed on the street, though she tugs off the sunglasses once inside, glancing around like Cardinal does. "Who are we looking for?" she whispers, looking a little amused.

As if to answer Peyton's unheard question, Julien lifts his spoon out of his coffee mug and motions with a wave of it to Cardinal, then settles it back down inside of his mug. The blonde man slouches back, though offers a far more scrutinizing look to Peyton, lips downturned not quite into a frown, but something more thoughtful. A hand is lifted up, fingertips stroke over the blonde hair of Julien's stubbled chin as he leans onto one elbow, resting his chin on a closed fist before finally ceasing the obnoxious clink-tinking stirring of his coffee, lifting the mug to his lips.

Interceding into the meeting is a young woman in a forest green apron and black clothes that hastily strides over to the table and lays down a paper plate with a steaming hot steak and cheese sub in front of Julien. The blonde man smiles appreciatively, then just makes a dismissive gesture wordlessly with one hand.

"That guy over there, apparently," Cardinal replies with a tilt of his head towards Julien's table, his hand sliding over Peyton's shoulder briefly to give her a subtle nudge in the right direction. Those fingers brush down off her arm as he crosses the room, pausing to let the waitress pass by before stepping over to ease into a seat across from Julien.

"I take it you're the one who called," he asks, looking up to the waitress with an easy smile, "Grande coffee, black, and a philley cheesesteak."

The clairvoyant nods. "Apparently, unless he just thinks you're cute," she says lightly, her dark eyes taking in the pretty-boy looks that somehow scream danger in the man hailing them from across the little diner. She slips into the booth beside Cardinal, offering a polite smile to Julien, before tilting her head upward to the waitress.

"Coffee for me, too, thanks," she says, noting that the table already has cream and sugar. Turning back to the two men, she sits quietly, pulling the purse strap off her shoulder to set the bag on the seat between herself and Cardinal.

"Sort've," Julien admits with a crooked smile as he splits the cut in half sub apart, gooey provologne stringy between it. "But I'm the one you need to talk to right now, so that's what's important." He at least sounds like the same man, with an inscrutable eastern European accent that sounds ground down by too much time in America. Noting how hot the sub is, Julien just leaves it pulled apart for now, then offers a look up to Cardinal.

"You're taller than you look in pictures," Julien comments off-handedly, then slouches back into his bench seat with a creak of the red leather padding behind him. Once the waitress buggers off, Julien's smile fades some and his attention flicks between Cardinal and Peyton. "I have information for you about the Commonwealth Institute that I'd like t'share, but in return for everything I tell you I'm going to need some information in return, and I've been told you're the man what has information up for grabs."

Reaching into his pants pocket, Julien produces a photograph of a mechanical device, resembling copper wire coiled around a circular metal frame with a compass needle in the center set into a wristwatch sized bracelet. "I'll explain what you're looking at, an' tell you about someone in the Institute's custody in exchange for some information on people I might be able t'get in contact with if I'm looking to leverage Daniel Linderman some…"

"I let someone take a picture've me? Shit, I'm slipping…" A cocky smile tugs up a bit at one corner of Richard's lips as he leans back in his chair, his arm draping over the back of the chair that he's made himself comfortable in, legs stretching out slightly beneath the table. As the photograph's drawn out, he cranes his neck slightly to look to the picture, then back to Julien's face.

"I've got some names I can give you," he admits, "What sort've leverage are you looking to apply?"

"Funny, that line is usually addressed to me," Peyton says with a slight smile, though in this instance she's glad that it's not her that Julien has pictures of. She leans forward to look at the picture, her brows knitting together. Science isn't her forte by a long shot, so she hasn't the slightest guess what the device might be used for.

Leaning back, she reaches for the yellow packets, stacking three on top of one another in preparation for the coffee.

"An iron pipe?" Julien offers testingly to Cardinal's question. "Me an' Daniel have some unfinished business that I'd like to get sorted out in manners that end with him tiwtching on the ground, preferably. I ain't got much to lose, personally, saying that right out in the open… so let's just get that news out there. He an' the Company have quite a reckoning due, an' I'd like to get in on that while the getting's good." Pushing the picture forward, Julien furrows his brows and considers Cardinal and then Peyton for a moment in silence.

"What you're looking at there's a replication of a piece of hardware developed in the nineteen sixties by US government researchers. It's a proximity detector, of sorts, that's attuned to a singularly unique electro-magnetic radiation that people like you give off. In large enough pockets, these devices can pinpoint and locate people like you, sort've like how a dowsing rod can — in theory — find water."

Turning it around, Julien pushes the picture across the table towards Cardinal. "It's been mass produced, far as I know, quietly. A Company research facility in Antarctica, Colobanth, was quietly up-ended by the Commonwealth Institute in the winter of 2009 and research was done on the electromagnetic properties of Evolved. This was a prototype of a production model, which I presume is slated to be handed out to every rank an' file Institute agent with a gun. Problem is, it only attunes to people like you when it's held by one've your kind."

Slouching back in his seat, Julien flashes a look between Cardinal and his lovely brunette companion before pressing his tongue to the side of his cheek. "That's half up front, you tell me who it is I can get in contact with if I've got some nails to hammer down with Daniel, then you get the rest."

"Oh, I think we're going to get along just fine," Cardinal says with a slow smile, leaning forward then to draw the photograph off the table, lifting it up to look down at the picture as it's explained. The words of the other man don't improve his mood at all, in fact doing quite the opposite. Dark eyes flicker up over the edge of his shades to consider Julien, his expression growing serious, "So it's an… Evolved detector? Wonder-fucking-ful."

The photograph's set back down beneath his hand, and he leans forward to rest an arm against the edge of the table, brows drawing together as he admits quietly, "As it happens, I've got my own plans for ol' Danny-boy, and none of them involve anything good for the old bastard."

The explanation of the device's purpose brings a shiver to Peyton. "It's like a portable Wendy," she murmurs under her breath, growing a little pale at the obvious ramifications that the mass production of such a device would mean for the Evolved.

"How many of those are … do they know when they're supposed to actually be distributed?" she manages a little louder, though her voice is still low due to the public place in which they sit. "Aside from the Institute — if the plans for that thing were found by people like…" Like Humanis First. Like Danko. At least someone Evolved has to hold it, which limits the use of it by terrorists, but there are plenty of crazy self-loathing Evolved in the world. "We can't let that happen," she finally manages to complete a sentence.

"As many as they need, sweetheart…" is Julien's smarmy answer. "More'n enough to get a bead on all the Evolved they might want to find. Ain't much running and hiding when you combine something like that with the already extant isotope tracking system the Company has, now is there?" Food for thought.

One of Julien's fair brows lifts, though, as he considers Cardinal. He reaches down to lift up half of his sub that's now cooled some on the plate, looking to be in no hurry to continue talking from the way he begins to quietly devour half of the steak and cheese sub, nodding to Cardinal to imply that he's listening. There's a look, blue eyes alight to Cardinal, then back down to his meal, and that he's paying attention and occupying himself otherwise seems like tacit request for Cardinal to keep going.

With his interest piqued, Julien Dumont is content to listen, though every so often there's a glance or a look stolen of Peyton, unfamiliarity read in his eyes and curiosity as to how a woman of her youth fits in to Richard Cardinal's grand design. Because if there's one thing that Sarisa Kershner has told Julien about Richard, it's that he's a schemer.

"The word on the street is that the Company's going the way of music videos, so they'll probably lay their hands on the satellite, too…" A disgruntled murmur from Cardinal as he makes that admission, starting to say something else— then the woman in green comes back over with the false cheer of all deli workers to set down the others orders. The 'schemer' flashes an easy smile back to her, murmuring some vague compliment until she's scampered off.

The cheesesteak is left to steam gently on his plate and cool down as he turns his gaze back to Julien, one shoulder raising in a slight shrug as he observes, "You sound like you know exactly how much damage Daniel'n the Company have done with his resources over time. So…" Quiet, to evade eavesdropping, "…while one could always just shoot him, personally I think it'd be more appropriate to - appropriate those same resources and use them to more positive ends."

"It worked," he murmurs, reaching over to pick up his coffee, "In at least one possible future."

"Is there a way to … you know… like they have cell phone jammers and shit like that? Is there a way to screw with the signal… give it false positives to the point that it's useless, or make it so that 'people like us,'" she echoes Julien's words there, not knowing he's one of them, "don't show up? I don't know sciencey stuff at all but I know electromagnetic things can get really glitchy. I don't know. I know carrying magnets in our pockets isn't going to suffice, but something…"

There are times when Peyton's lack of attention in school are apparent more than others, and this is one of those times. She shakes her head with frustration, then reaches for the newly delivered coffee, ripping up her yellow packets to dump them inside, then reaching for the cream.

"Don't much care about Daniel's money," Julien explains with a mouthfull of steak sub, "or what anyone does with all'a his money, I ain't in need. All I want is for his insides to be his outsides and work from there." Finishing one half of the sub, Julien proceeds to lick at his fingers, brows furrowed and head canted to the side. After a brief look to Peyton, his attention settles back in on Cardinal, brows furrowed and eyes narrowed.

"You go after him, I want in. That much is easy to offer, you contact me at that number I called you at earlier." Rubbing his fingers together, Julien reaches down for his coffee, lifting it up and chugging it down before clinking the cup down onto the formica tabletop, offering a blue-eyed look back up to Cardinal.

"Fair's fair. The other half of the deal, is that there's a man in the Institute's custody what goes by the name Julien Dumont. He's Evolved, like you," there's a point of one finger towards Cardinal. "He's a cloner, replicator whatever you want to call it. 'Cept unlike most clone makers, all of his are independant, individual. They've had Dumont since November of 2009." The same time they grabbed Doc, "an' there ain't no telling what they've done with him. But the lady with what we share a mutual aquaintance says you might have an idea."

Looking to Peyton after the fact, Julien nods his head once to her, slowly. "Dunno, don't know enough about the science of people like him." There's another nod to Cardinal. "All I know is that there ain't many people who understand how it works. I got me a friend who's good with science, and she couldn't figure it out. You'd need yourself a grade-A genius for that."

"Done," Cardinal agrees without even missing a beat, the line of his lips curving in a thin smile, "What's your area of expertise, so I know where you can fit in best? You just another hand with a gun, or got any other talents that I should know about…?"

A sidelong look to Peyton, then back down to the photograph, the tips of his fingers brushing against it, "If we could lay our hands on one of these little toys, I think I know just the guy to show it to. You know where we might be able to find… one…" He trails off, then, eyes widening as he sits up, "November… oh, fuck. How many of these clones can he make?"

"Unlimited, an' if he's in a drugged state the clones he makes are far more disconnected from his normal psychic network, making them largely autonomous." Furrowing his brows, Julien tilts his head to the side and offers an arch of his brow, looking around from Cardinal to Peyton then down to the other half of his sandwich. "Given enough time, well, he's basically Adam and Eve, repopulate the whole bloody world from any sort've catastophe or what not. It's just be a very… monochromatic world at that point I guess."

Picking up the other half of his sub, Julien turns it over and then wrinkles his nose, setting it down again. Somebody's eyes are bigger than their belly.

"You'd probably have t'pry one've those compasses off the dead hand of someone who works for the Institute. If you know what you're lookin' for, it's probably easy to find. "As for what I do, I'm a people person an'…" Julien's brows furrow, head tilting to the side. "I used to be a Company agent. I think you know what people like that're capable of."

Peyton tilts her head curiously at the mention of 'just the guy to show it to,' not knowing who Cardinal is thinking on that score, but when he echoes November, her eyes widen a little as well. "November… is the date everyone who seems to have seen a date saw on the day of the blackouts," she supplies quietly, having been scouring the net for blogs, articles, postings, videos and the like that mentioned anyone's visions of the day, to file for Cardinal.


Cardinal's jaw sets a bit as he looks down into the coffee cup in his hand, "We need to either get him out of there, or get…" The coffee's set aside, and he leans in a bit to look between the pair, his voice a low hiss, "…one of the people they have captive is Doc Carpenter. He can— basically take someone's personality and memories and copy them into another person. They can just fucking make an army of whoever they want with this Dumont guy under their control."

"Sounds like you've got yourself a conspiracy then," Julien opines, reclining back into his bench seat and watching Cardinal and his assistant carefully. "I knew a girl, back in my days with the Company, woman as beautiful as a purple sunset. She could touch someone's face, melt their bones and remake them however she wanted, whatever image she wanted. Now think about this for a bit… imagine those three things together. All the fresh bodies and brains, plenty of people to be copied into new bodies, and then whatever face you wanna' put on 'em."

Shrugging his shoulders, Julien looks a bit thoughtful, if not flippantly so. "I don't know what I'd do with resources like that, but I can bet you that if someone like me had that idea just now, someone like them had it a week ago."

Smiling, crookedly, Julien makes a motion towards one of the waitresses as she passes. "He'll take our check now," with a point towards Cardinal.

"Yeah, yeah, I already thought of that…" Cardinal's fingers rub against his forehead with a pained expression, "…people always bring me the best god-damn news. I think I'm going to have to do something about these sons of bitches sooner rather than later…"

A lean back, and a smirk twitches to his lips, "Thanks for the intel. I'll be in touch."

"More mad scientists, more people to hold that evo-dar compass," Peyton says, not thinking and using the term she and Wendy had used for Wendy's power. "More people to round people up and put them in coffins… without a conscience that a normal Evolved person would have to make them think twice about rounding people up like … like dogcatchers."

Peyton's voice trembles just a touch, before she shakes her head, as if to shake away the fear. There's no reason to fear that fate for herself — after all, she's already seen how she dies. She fakes a chuckle at the assigning of the bill to Cardinal — she knows better than to pull out a bill and demasculate the man in front of the informant, but she'll slip him a replacement twenty later on.

"Marvelous," is Julien's response with the flash of a smile to the two, his brows furrowing together as he alights from the table, then looks down to the sub settled on the paper plate in front of him. Eyes narrowed, he considers it and then flicks a stare over to Cardinal and Peyton, drumming his fingers on the tabletop as he watches the waitress coming over, as if there's something important that he's holding in to say, expression pensive.

"So…" blue eyes flick from Cardinal to the waitress, then follow the downward point of his finger to the sub. "Can I get that wrapped up to go?"

Richard Cardinal meets all the interesting people.

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