We're Square


cardinal_icon.gif elisabeth_icon.gif jake_icon.gif

Scene Title We're Square
Synopsis You get to come at me pissed off, I get to go at you pissed off… makes us even. Or something.
Date March 28, 2009

Staten Island beach

'Hey, Jake,' Cardinal said, 'I need to go comb the coast for a body, you bored?'

As the noon-day sun crests in the sky, however, there wasn't much in the way of luck in locating the body in question. The shadowmorph looks distinctly uncomfortable in the open light of day, a baseball-cap scrounged from somewhere perched upon his crown and shades worn beneath. He's settled upon a heavy chunk of concrete that'd ended up there somehow after the disaster on the bridge, turning a pair of spectacles over in his hand contemplatively. They belonged to the body in question, but it's not here anymore.

"Hey," he calls over, "Zu tell you 'bout the shit that went down at the Lighthouse, man?"

"No! Dude, what?" Jake says in answer, loitering near Cardinal with his usual BDU pants/muscle shirt/bomber jacket combo being the wardrobe of the day as it is most days. "What happened at the lighthouse? I haven't seen Zu in a couple of days and been meaning to catch up." He agreed to come look for a body right away because frankly, he was bored. And sober.

It took Elisabeth barely more than an hour to line up a boat — thanks to Cat, who is blessedly able to compartmentalize and leave questions for later — and get to the dock at the Old Dispensary. From there, she can get around Staten. Cardinal said he'd been coming away from the Lighthouse, so Liz headed up that direction and started down the beach from there. She's wearing jeans, hiking boots, and carrying a large backpack on her shoulders as she walks. She flips out her cell phone to call Cardinal and get his location.

"Apparently," Cardinal says, sweeping up the hand holding the spectacles to the darkened beacon of the lighthouse visible from there, "The place got attacked by some kind've fucked-up evolved, like, a regenerating zombie, and some thugs that were handling him. Tried to eat the kids, apparently /Deckard/ drove it off, if you can believe that… she's a'ight, a few bruises. I caught her trying to go hunt for it on her own, sent her home."

Ring, ring. He reaches into his jacket, then, flipping it open and answering. "Talk to me. Oh. Yeah, I'm out here—" Directions are given. Not so far.

Jake spends a moment lighting up one of his cigars while he listens to Card and puffs an acrid cloud out at the end while he grins and says, "That's m'girl." He's so proud of Zu, and he's known her for about a minute. Already it's like the daughter he never had. "Maybe I'll go huntin' with her and we'll do it together." He sucks on the cigar and looks out over the water while Card takes care of the phone call.

After hanging up, Liz picks up her pace to get to the point where Cardinal says he is.

Click. The phone's tucked away, Cardinal's head shaking a touch. "Just make sure you two have some serious firepower, I don't think a nine-mil like she was carrying is gonna do much to it," he observes, his tone dry, "Me, I'm more interested in why this freak had handlers."

"Hm. Maybe too fucked in the head to operate alone. You know me. I AM serious firepower. But y'know, if you say regenerating I'm thinking auto-shotgun. Maybe one of those new AA-10's Blackwater's been testing at their skunkworks. Y'know? The hopper-fed full auto crew-served twelve gauge?" Of course Jake CAN carry a crew-served weapon as a personal weapon, albeit not all day long. Half-shrug and he flicks some ash off the cigar, "Or maybe just a big 7.62 belt-fed of some kind. M60 or a Golf. Where's your contact?"

When she comes into view on the beach, Elisabeth closes the distance with long strides. She's in a hurry. As she gets closer, she's leery that Cardinal has company, and it shows in the way she holds back until she identifies the man. It brings some small level of relaxation of her tension, but as she gets near enough to talk, she looks … pretty much like hell. "How far away?" she demands without much in the way of niceties — merely a nod in Jake's direction and her total attention on Cardinal.

Cardinal squints through his shades, one hand raising to further shadow his face as he tries to identify the vague shape in the distance. "I… think that's her," he mutters under his breath, though he's not able to firmly identify her before she's close enough to speak. His hand drops, then, and he brings the other up with a twirl of familiar, cracked glasses, "It's gone. Somebody scooped it up."

Liz showing up gets an appreciative glance from Jake. He gives Card a look that is that guy look code for: Nice catch. Doesn't matter what condition she's in. Jake's used to hanging around women FAR more raggedy. Discretion used, he listens.

It's probably nothing. Just a large ship out on the river or a truck on Staten. Elisabeth looks like she's been hit in the stomach — the second time in the space of an hour, actually, that she's had that sensation. "I see." There's pure, blinding rage building in her, though, and when she rests her eyes on Cardinal this time… he may not be able to see all of it, but it's visible. It's the ground around her that's giving the most warning of just how close to the line she is. It's vibrating. The sheer sound of the surf is enough to give her a place to start. You know how a bass speaker feels when you stand in front of it? There's a pulse off of her that ripples sand all the way down to the water. She pivots on a heel and says, "Well, then… I guess it's time to go get it back." She sounds calm enough… right?'

That subtle vibration's felt clearly through the concrete chunk that Cardinal's perched upon, the rebar sticking out of its shattered edge setting up a faint, metallic hum. Uh oh. The shadowmorph pushes off the stone, boots hitting the sand as he barks after her, "Liz! Seriously, wait a second…"

As the vibration picks up, Jake's reaction is remarkably calm. Especially in comparison to Card's. He goes right on puffing his cigar, the cherry flaring a little as Cardinal hops up and the bass vibrations begin to pick up. He clears his throat and muses in a way that is hard to hear over the ambient noise, "Girl's serious."

Shaking her head in the negative, Elisabeth doesn't stop walking, though the sucking beach sand is slowing her slightly. "No. No, I won't. I'm going do what we should have done the first fucking time." A second pulse, more tangible than the first though still not enough to forcibly push a person or anything. Her voice sounds calm enough still… The sand makes waveforms, though, in circles away from her. "I'm going to level this fucking place." A third one, stronger still. She's not even really aware that she's doing it.

Oh, look, Cardinal's stopped trying to pursue her. Just in case of sudden uncontrollable sonic maelstrom, he'd rather have some distance, ex-lover or no. He slants a look to Jake, and then back to Elisabeth, his lips pursing in a tight frown as he notes sharply, "Liz, you don't have that kind of power. You'll burn yourself out or just get yourself fucking killed. You think that's what Ivanov'd want?"

Jake gets one of those grins on his face and looks behind and around him as he starts walking after Cardinal, who was trailing Liz but stopped. The look he returns to Card goes with, "Don't lookit me, I didn't fuckin piss in her cheerios." Anyway he's not gonna stop anybody. He wants to watch. Level this fucking place? He's gotta see this. Especially with the suspicious power-effects he's noticing around here.

Elisabeth whirls around and …. oh dear, that might have been the wrong thing to say. Because now? Now she's got a target for all that wrath. Elisabeth drops her backpack now and heads back toward the shadowmorph. "What Ivanov would want? Who gives a flying fucking shit what Ivanov would want right now?" she shouts, the concussion wave enough to give Cardinal a major shove back toward the water as she comes at him like a Fury. "He's fucking DEAD, and you left his fucking body sitting on this godforsaken fucking beach for scavengers — animal and human — take carry off with them, Richard! And you waited until the next fucking DAY to call me about it!!"

She's got enough control here to keep from literally pummeling Cardinal with soundwaves, but…. barely. Just barely. Instead, they're rolling away from her in those bass-speaker-style thrums of raw power. Like she's using it to shunt off the extra. "You don't think I can do it? My fucking teacher LEVELLED FUCKING CONED."

"Eli— " The words are cut off as that concussion blast slams into Cardinal's chest and sends him sprawling in the damp sand by the edge of the water, sputting as he gets a mouthful of salt water. Great timing there, wave! One hand curls into the sand, and he pushes himself up to a seated posture with a grunt, his gaze warily focused on the woman as he works to rise up to his feet. His jaw tenses, then relaxes as he growls under his breath, "So murdering everybody on the island's gonna fix that? Put your damn power away and use your fucking brain for a minute!"

Still calm as the forest, Jake stands there and lets the woman storm in his direction and then casually watches her send Cardinal flying like some kind of Jedi or something. He steps up next to her with one hand on his cigar and then swiftly sends a knife-hand out at Elisabeth's neck. It connects with a meaty slap, and he knows how to find the brachial nerve. Some people just instantly pass out with that kind of hit, but it never causes permanent damage with the pressure he hits with. Really it's a mercy-tap if anything. Imagine drinking about eight doubleshots of hard liquor and getting that all in one instant, and it begins to approach the effect such a strike has on the brain.

Of course after casually chopping the woman in the neck, Jake continues to puff his cigar and look at Cardinal like he's hilarious there in the surf, sucking seawater.

She knows better. She's got better reflexes usually. But Elisabeth is caught in that moment of not thinking Jake's a threat — under normal conditions, she'd never remotely choose to think that — that he takes her entirely by surprise. She starts to throw up an arm, far far too late, and when he connects, the world spins and Liz goes down into a somewhat ungraceful heap. At least it broke her focus, though!

"Thanks, Jake," Cardinal mutters under his breath as he gets himself up to his feet, reaching down to brush wet sand from his pants for a few moments before giving him. Thanks for not killing her, of course, not for 'saving' him or anything. He spits to one side to clear his mouth, and then walks over towards them at an unhurried pace, leaving foot-prints depressed in the sand. He looks down at her, asking quietly, "You awake?"

Little shrug again, "Didn't want her to kill ya, man." Jake explains, sinking a little bit deeper into the sand as he Tenses and amps up his molecular density. This is more or less a precaution. Because he DIDN'T kill the woman, and she's likely to be even more pissed now. He squares his posture to the woman struggling with getting ambush-chopped and says, "She ain't hurt, it was just a love tap. Gotta say though you know how to pick em."

In truth…. it's probably good that Jake did what he did. It does give Liz the moment to pull her wits about her. Going off half-cocked is not the answer, and if she weren't hurting so much and so mad, she wouldn't have. Dropped the way she was, she's lying on her side struggling with the sensation of being VERY VERY dizzy. She ignores Cardinal and shoves herself into a sitting position — the sway in her movements gives away that she's definitely not getting up for a few. "Don't talk to me. We're even now, if that's the way you want to look at it. I threw your girlfriend into Moab… oh, and yeah, by the way, she's on the list to be rescued when we go in later this week. And you told me my partner's dead." Elisabeth's tone is less pissed than it is… neutral. Felix isn't exactly her partner, but lately it's been close enough. Once more biting back everything that comes with this whole situation. "Fuck you, Jake," she adds mildly. "Only reason I'm not going to get pissed is because you stopped me from doing something I'd regret."

"She's not my girlfriend," Cardinal points out in quiet tones, looking down to the seated woman from where he stands not too far from her, "I've never even had dinner with her. She's just a friend." Okay, so, there may have been benefits involved. A brow tic's upwards, and he notes with a rough snort, "I didn't kill the sonuvabitch. Next time, you rather I just not tell you if I find one've your friends' bodies laying around?"

"Hey, why the fuck you?" Jake asks, mildly indignant himself. He even thumbs his own chest, posture ENTIRELY reminiscent of a Corellian smuggler. "I just saved your life, sister. You're fuckin welcome." All the drama about Cardinal's girlfriend, Moab, whatever. He doesn't care! That's all somebody else's problem. He knows about Moab and is going, but it's because there's a paycheck in it. Duh. They haven't been so much as introduced and he's already smacked her around and they've exchanged insults. It's like every favorite person in his life. "Listen, I dunno who died. I dunno why it's important, but I get it. Here." He steps forth and offers a hand-up to Liz that's hers for the taking, provided she wants her feet again.

Elisabeth looks up now and says quietly, with great dignity in spite of the fact that there are tears she's not bothering to swipe at with her sandy hands, "No. I'd rather that you call me and tell me as soon as it happens and don't just leave it sitting there. So you got your rabid dog moment, and I got mine. We're square." She reaches up and takes the proffered hand, getting to her feet cautiously, covered in sand. She uses her less-sandy arm to wipe at her face, cuz it's so damn annoying to cry in front of people. The bruise covering the left cheekbone and face, though, makes her grimace when she presses on it and she shakes her hands to try to dislodge the wet sand.

"Christ." Cardinal's shoe scuffs through the sand as he half-turns away, looking out over the water with a discontented expression. Not quite angry, really, but not quite anything else, either. A turn back to look at her, and he pauses before he can say anything, his brow furrowing, "Jesus, Harrison. What happened?" Oh, he noticed the bruise.

Rediscovering his cigar, Jake puffs it some more and looks at Liz critically after helping her up, and allows himself to relax back to normal density again. Doesn't seem like there'll be any retaliation. He sniffs once and tries not to stare.

There's a shrug and Liz says, "Not important." If she tells Cardinal what happened, all hell might break loose. She nods her thanks, releasing Jake's hand and just … well, she looks at a loss. "There's no way to know where they took the body, is there?" Her eyes go back over the parts of Staten she can see from here, and then she breathes out quietly, "Fuck." She ignores the wet and the sand and looks between the men. "I realize a dead Fed's not something you want to be involved in," she says quietly. "But I'd be much obliged if you could…. just call me if you hear anything, okay? I can't…. I don't even know whether to report it at this point. No body, no proof, and they're sure as shit not coming out here to search, are they?" She sounds bitter.

"If I hear anything," Cardinal replies with a hint of reluctance, his chin dipping in a slight nod to her, "I'll let you know. And don't worry about Staten, Liz— " His head lifts to look back over the island, lips pursing, "— we'll take care of shit here. Just— go home, alright? I'll keep you informed if there's anything you need t'be informed about. It ain't safe here for you."

"Hell he may not even be dead." Jake muses, having not seen a body himself. So what does he know? Looks at Cardinal. Shakes his head and then takes the cigar out of his mouth to ponder it. "…I love a good Cuban."

"Ain't safe anywhere," Liz comments with a cheeky half-smile that doesn't reach her eyes. "Got guys pissed off at me showing up at home, got shit going down at work, and now my partner - or one of them - is dead on the sand in Staten. There's no such thing as 'safe,' Richard." She glances at Jake and nods slightly. "Thanks… even if I half-wish you'd LET me go up there and level Logan and Muldoon… best that I didn't. And if he says he's got a positive ID… I believe him." She's got faith in Cardinal's word, whatever their personal hangups appear to be. "Take care." She turns to walk the few steps back up the beach to pick up her backpack, now also damp and sandy, and walks down the beach without looking back at the two men.

As he and Cardinal walk away in the other direction it only then occurs to Jake. He takes the cigar out of his mouth and says to Card, "Shit, dude. She wanted to level THEM. The assholes we already shot up. Why'd I stop her? I should've just let her kill you…"

Is he kidding?

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