We're Not Ready


cardinal_icon.gif sarisa_icon.gif

Scene Title We're Not Ready
Synopsis Richard Cardinal and Sarisa Kershner converge to discuss plans for the potential disaster coming on November 8th…
Date November 2, 2010

Redbird Security

It always comes down to the strings, doesn't it?

"It's all very impressive…" Ducking beneath a long and narrow string made of bright red yarn weaving in and out of a tangled spider's web of yarn, thread, string and other materials in the basement of Redbird Security, Sarisa Kershner brushes an errant lock of blonde hair back from her face. "You've charted all of the people you know he's been in contact with…" her glovd thumb brushes over a newspaper clipping showing a photograph of Vice-President Andrew Mitchell.

Blue eyes narrow, and as Sarisa slowly straightens up and twists to turn and look back at the man standing outside of the web looking in — where he always is. "I take it you didn't just show me down here to let me see your newest temporal diorama, though, Richard?" As Sarisa kicks up one of her dark brows, she ducks out from beneath the strings and rakes leather-gloved fingers through her hair.

"Have you reconsidered my offer?" It's a hopeful query as she makes her way out of the string web. "I've got some people lined up, you know, prospectives. I'd like to have someone I trust leading them, and having both you and Harrison controling both of the New York branches of Frontline could… be beneficial."

Sarisa's lips creep up into a smile. "Come on, you know it's tempting…"

"I actually wanted to talk to you about Einherjar…" Richard Cardinal's gloved fingertips trail along one of the outlying strings for a moment, the vibrations of its motion trailing through the whole web, causing the tangle near the heart of it to shake as if a trembling whole. The man's hand falls away as he turns to walk back over to the table, "…how exactly are you doing this? I may have some… prospective possibilities myself, depending on that."

The question is dodged for the moment, because it's more tempting than she might thing. After all, if he gave up his own plans to simply follow orders, he'd be on a different path than the one that leads to his other self. He'd have to give up everything he's been building here, though, and he doesn't seem to be ready for that just yet.

"The same way I handle all FRONTLINE recruitments, though with more of a white-glove touch." Folding her arms across her chest, Sarisa shifts her weight one foot and offers Cardinal an appraising look. "I'll be approaching prospective candidates and informing them of my offer. It's strictly voluntary, but for some of them it's the choice between playing super hero in a billion dollar suit of armor, or rotting in prison for the rest of their natural life. Obviously, there's some sure fire bets in there."

Looking over her shoulder to the string map, Sarisa narrows her eyes for a moment, then thens her focus back to Cardinal. "If you have some prospective clients I'd be willing to look them over. Be advised that I need to be able to be certain that whoever I'm bringing into the fold can follow orders. I can't accept any psychopath and give them cutting edge military hardware…"

The corner of Sarisa's mouth ticks up a little. "Just certain psychopaths."

"Messiah," begins Cardinal, leaning back against the table's edge and resting both hands there as he regards her seriously, "Has… split between Petrelli's loyalists, who now realize they were being controlled by Carmichael, and Carmichael's, most of whom are probably still being controlled. Some of them, now that they're able to think for themselves, want out of the terrorist life… but aren't willing to hand themselves over to the Institute."

"You might be able to offer them another option."

"That… would take some bargaining." There's hesitance mixed with intrigue in Sarisa's tone of voice. "The brass above me is out for Messiah's blood, but they also know the importance of the Einherjar project. I'd need names, so that I can appropriately do background checks on them and see where we stand. Some members in specific may not be able to get the amnesty that they want, and I presume you expect them to be willing to cooperate?"

There's a wariness growing in Sarisa. "Turning an anti-government terrorist into a government implement of peacekeeping doesn't seem like it would be an easy prospect, and we don't have a Carmichael all our own to do that dirty-work for us in converting them. From my understanding the majority of Messiah's membership comes from former escapees from Moab, which itself is a pretty juicy shopping list."

Pursing her lips, Sarisa is visibly waffling between understandable apprehension and deviant eagerness. "Do you have names?"

Just the hint of a smile twitches to Cardinal's lips at that. "I'm not suggesting any sort of… blanket amnesty," he admits, "Most of them will more than likely want to continue with their fight, although we should be able to instrumentalize Petrelli's faction if they don't completely split up." He sounds uncertain about the last. Peter hasn't exactly seemed stable enough to hold things together, but there's still time for him to grow a spine.

"Melissa Pierce, for one, I know is eager to get her life back," he admits, "She tried to make a deal with Parkman to get amnesty for her faction of Messiah if they turned in Carmichael, but I doubt he could do that even if he wanted to. I think that Griffin Mihangle would be willing to go along with it, too…"

He pauses, scratching under his chin thoughtfully, "…I haven't asked Huruma. She might be willing out of boredom."

"Huruma has the background to support it, I'd be willing to entertain her. I was… unaware she was involved with Messiah though, and so is the government at large. Her pardon from Apollo is still in full effect. Though I guess I have some leverage to make that less the case, now, don't I?" There's a faint smile that crosses Sarisa's lips at that."I'm not familiar with Mihangle, but I can run a check on him. Pierce however is a flat out denial from my end."

There's a slow shake of Sarisa's head at that, and her arms come unfolded as she takes a few clicking steps across the concrete floor. "Firstly she has a relative in DHS who is too high-ranking for me to pull that kind of stunt with. Secondly she has no formal military training and from what little I know of her she doesn't seem like the type that knows what the words orders mean, aside from disobey at all costs."

Furrowing her brows, Sarisa lifts one gloved hand up to her chin. "It'll be a hard sell with any of them, regardless. But I might be able to negotiate it…" At that, Sarisa's blue eyes track back to the string web. "Have you had any luck tracking down Carmichael?"

"She got bored with Messiah and wandered away after a few meetings, I think," Cardinal admits in rather dry tones, "She's not stupid, and she knows a disaster when she sees one…" There's a pause, "I should have Carmichael's location within a few days. I'm not looking to capture him alive, though, Sarisa. Risking him falling into the Institute's hands is too dangerous."

"I wouldn't recommend a live capture anyway. In all my time with the SAC I learned to know when a target was viable for capture and transport and when they needed to be made an example of. The question you're going to find yourself asking — or should find yourself asking — is who do you want to take the blame for Rupert's murder. He's going to have loyalists, followers, enemies…" One of Sarisa's brows lifts just a little higher than the other, her smirk remaining.

"You should consider making it appear as though whatever organization you would most benefit from perpetrated the act, so as to keep you own involvement in it clean. I'm not suggesting that there's anything honorable about false-flag engagements," she admits with an incline of her head, "but honor is an anachronism that I think you and I both outgrew a long time ago."

"I wouldn't call it an anachronism, but I think it's definately not meant for us…" Cardinal's head dips in a slight nod, his gaze hooding in a thoughtful fashion, "I'll figure out how to deal with him… he's stretched his neck out too far, and I'll cut it off and find a proper doorstep to drop it on."

"How do you plan on handling the eighth? There's going to be a… partial communication outage that should block the broadcast," he admits, "But I don't know how widespread it'll be. I don't trust my tech's optimism. He's no fool, either, I'm sure he has other things planned to light the fires."

At the latter question Sarisa's brows pinch together in a thoughtful and considerate furrow, even while her attention wanders back to the map. "DHS has an emergency response plan in the event of the riots actually taking place. National Guard and US Army is on standby for emergency response, FRONTLINE is going to be on emergency watch. I've heard rumors in the Capitol about the Secretary of Defense wanting to push forward a declaration of martial law should the event actually take place…"

Turning her focus back to Cardinal, Sarisa arches one brow slowly. "Mitchell is backing it but Petrelli seems resistant to sign anything until he sees what's happening. No one knows what to make of things, whether it'll all happen or just… fizzle. The anticipation is almost more dangerous than the proposition of the riots themselves."

Offering a quick glance back to the web of strings, Sarisa adds. "Any more intel you have will go towards saving lives. We don't know enough, not at all."

A breath's taken in and exhaled slowly, Cardinal's chin dipping in a slight nod. "It seems to start just after noon… Petrelli's giving some sort of a broadcast, probably a speech or something. It's interrupted by a voice that says 'Every Prophet In His House'. It's some kind of trigger phrase and order, and sets everything off."
A pause, "Since it's so confusing, the visions are too from that point on. There's rioting, massive rioting on Roosevelt Island. I think it's Summer Meadows. I can't be sure. There's fires somewhere - enough that the whole sky turns orange." His voice is quiet, haunted, "I've heard a few visions with— I can only assume they're the victims of Carmichael's persuasion. They're just killing. One of them eviscerated and still moving to kill, like some kind've fucking zombie. Liz's unit is holding back the rioters outside the Meadows. Then— she falls. They roll over them."

He scowls, then, "In the middle of all of this, the National Guard raids the Ferrymen. They hit all of the safehouses that the government knows about, crashing in and rounding up everyone they can get their hands down. It's the first shots in a war we can't afford."

That has Sarisa looking absolutely puzzled. "As far as I'm aware the government doesn't know about any Ferrymen safehouses, except for the one on Roosevelt Island that apparently isn't being used any longer. I know they've been trying to keep tabs on that network, too. There's been some reaching up in Seattle, I know the Institute performed a raid on a Canadian compound, but…" There's uncertainty in Sarisa's eyes.

"I have enough contacts in the intelligence community that I'd know if we knew more than we do. The fact of the matter is, we don't. Are you sure that's what your intel suggested? We've gotten some chaff reports that are clearly fabrications, how thouroughly did you screen all of this?"

"I had one of my associates personally interview people throughout the Ferrymen network," Cardinal replies firmly, "These weren't people spreading fearmongering and fabrication, these were people afraid for their lives. If they aren't the 'guard, then there's entire units going out dressed like them on that night."

He brushes a hand through the air, noting, "The intelligence community isn't the only one with intel, though, Sarisa. Peter used to be in the Ferry… and Carmichael was in contact with Mitchell then. Who's in charge of the emergency response on that day?"

"DHS," Sarisa explains a bit sharply, her tension growing more and more as the day of the riots begin to make less and less sense. "If haebus corpus is suppressed and martial law is declared, the Department of Defense assumes full control. That's when you'd see National Guard and US Military forces directly enforcing law. That's worst-case scenario though, Richard. Martial law wasn't even declared after the bomb for Christ's sake…"

Folding her arms across her chest again, Sarisa looks down to her feet. "I still have my people in that Institute retriever unit, I'll have their eyes and ears on-scene should anything start going down, but there's only so much they can do without jeapordizing more long-term assignments." Her blue eyes track back up to Cardinal, now more worried than ever.

"We are not armed to handle this effectively. New York is so geographically divided and infrastructure is so damaged that emergency response is going to be a nightmare. I've been considering reaching out to the Linderman Group, privately, to see if they could offer some assistance up to people like the Ferrymen network. If the rumors I've heard are correct, they've been secretly channeling funds to peripheral associations of the Ferrymen since 2008. If I didn't know any better, I'd have assumed that Linderman himself might've been at the top of their food chain if he's half the manipulator I've heard he is."

There's a begrudgingly crooked smile. "Placate the government with one hand, feed the dog under the table with the other. He raised a lot of eyebrows when he put up that million and a half to the Lighthouse back in 2009. No proof, of any of those rumors, but it makes me want to see if I can lever him for help. It might be the edge we need."

Cardinal's lips purse in a tight grimace. "He might be willing to… might not. The Group has its own problems right now. Linderman was one of the Company Founders if you didn't know that, and the dogs are circling. He's going down pretty soon, one way or another, and it's not going to be pretty. Feel free to try, though. He might be willing to put out one last attempt at a legacy…"

He slides one hand to rub against the nape of his neck, grimacing, "Would it help if you and Parkman sat down to work out some sort of organized response? I can arrange it."

"We already did," Sarisa says disappointedly, "him and the new Op Director and I sat down about two months ago to hash things out. Unfortunately I still don't think it's enough. Not without taking Carmichael out of the picture, which according to everything you've told me cuts the head off the beast and stops all of this from coming about." Blue eyes turn to the string-web again, and Sarisa gestures to it with a gloved hand.

"Can you do it?" She looks back, one brow raised. "It is possible for you to get to him in time? Because I'll lend whatever assistance I can. You and I both have a lot to lose with this, Richard. Just because we're card-carrying Evolved doesn't mean we won't get the same serial number tattooed into our forearms if things keep going the way they are."

Blue eyes close and Sarisa lifts a hand up to the bridge of her nose, pinching there. "We're all staring down the barrel of a gun, hoping that there isn't a bullet in the chamber."

"I can get Carmichael," Cardinal says rather seriously, "If I need any resources to take him down… then I'll contact you. I may need transportation, actually, I doubt that the sonuvabitch is still in town here, he's not stupid… I don't suppose you'd be willing to release some of Chicago Air's assets back to me now that the 'investigation' is over? I was an executive with the company. None of the militarized assets of course, but— a plane or two and our hangar in New Jersey could prove useful in the future."

Hey, he might as well try and get something out've this.

"We can get him, though. I'll see the bastard dead before November's out," he states flatly, "It won't stop the riots. I doubt anything can, at this point— I've done what I can to stop the trigger from going out, but I can't stop whatever Mitchell has in mind, and if he does have the Ferry hit…"

"I'll see what I can do about Chicago Air, it shouldn't be too hard. We moved on it mostly to claim Miller Field for the base where the Reclaimed Zone started forming out of. Fedor seems to have disappeared back into whatever dark hole he crawled out of, but I'm still looking for him along with the entirety of the French government. Between him and Daiyu still being on the loose, there's some ghosts that we're not quite happy about still being unaccounted for…"

Sighing, Sarisa offers a wan smile. "I guess we'll have a whole lot more of these ghosts if November 8th happens the way everyone's said it will. I know someone I can assign to keep an eye on the Ferry, you probably remember him from Apollo. Tall, bitchy guy who also liked to wear his sunglasses at night?" There's a lopsided smile that spreads across Sarisa's lips.

"He's serving as contact for a deep-cover Humanis First contact right now, but I can pull him enough to keep tabs on the Ferry. If things go sour on the 8th and you need to get in touch with me outside of regular channels, Epstein will be your go-to man."

"Fedor's a shapechanger that's going on somewhere near a century or so," Cardinal says with a faint, almost affectionate smile when he talks about the russian cannibal, "You're not going to find him unless and until he wants you to." He scratches at the side of his nose, a brow lifting, "Epstein, eh? Yeah, we've met, in a couple've weird situations." Coyote Sands counts as weird.

A twitch of his lips, "At this rate, why not just call Jensen? Get the band back together."

"The last time the four of us were together it was because Jensen had gone rogue and we were suffering in the ass-crack of Egypt looking for him. Guess that's where he hooked up with Volken's people after the bomb. The Royals haven't seen eye to eye enough to be in the same room together since. I don't feel that's likely to change any time soon…"

Running a gloved hand through her hair, Sarisa steps away from Cardinal, brows furrowed. "I got Fedor to shake my hand when we first met, I know… some of his secrets, but only a generation's worth or so. That's how I knew how much trouble we'd all have been in if he were left to keep his hands in things. He's better on the run," Sarisa explains, looking over her shoulder to Cardinal.

"Was there anything else?"

"Oh, no argue there. He's far better as an agent than he is a supervisor… as much as he taught me, he's a crazy bastard, and I can't blame him for being one," says Cardinal with a slow shake of his head, pushing himself off from the table, "And, well, let me know if you ever want to talk to Jensen. No promises, not like he answers to me, but we do have lunch now'n again."

At the question, then, he pauses for a moment. "We've lost touch with Francois," he says then, simply, "Nakamura appeared in the middle of a mission and pulled him out of the timestream; he's been doing that with people, some kind of battle against a different time traveller. We haven't heard from him since, but I don't see why Hiro wouldn't eventually return him."

Francois and then Nakamura together in the same sentence has Sarisa turning around fully.

Face white and worry painted across her face, Sarisa seems to prove that even sharks can know fear — or perhaps that's actually emotion. "He's…" blue eyes track away to the floor, across to a wall, then back to Cardinal. "He's alright. He has to be, Nakamura's the whole reason he's even… here anymore. I'd figured their debt was even after what happened, but…"

Sarisa's eyes narrow as she looks away, back over her shoulder to the stairs, then to Cardinal again. "He's Francois, he's been through worse than what one son of a Founder can throw at him. I— I have faith he'll be back. If something didn't happen to him in Braintree than I have hope that he'll be fine. Just…" Sarisa's brows furrow, "if you see him again, before I do, I want you to let him know…"

Teeth worry at Sarisa's bottom lip. "Tell him he needs to stop being reckless and worrying me."

"I don't think he'll listen," Cardinal admits, his tone a bit wry, "But I'll tell him. I'm sure that he'll be back in short order, Hiro just… needs all the help he can get at the moment. I'll tell him to get in touch with you when he gets back, though."

Grim uncertainty washes across Sarisa's face at that, her eyes downcast to the floor and voice small. "Don't we all?" The blonde asks rhetorically, than wan smile returning as she turns towards the stairs again, gloved hands tucking into the pockets of her leather jacket.

"Don't we all…"

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