When They Come For Me



Scene Title When They Come For Me
Synopsis …I'll be gone.
Date April 9, 2011

Redbird Security

Log set to Linkin Park's '[When They Come For Me]'

I am not

A pattern to be followed

The pill that I'm on is a tough one to swallow

I'm not a criminal, not a role model

Not a born leader - I'm a tough act to follow

“Alright, Jo,” Richard Cardinal, suit and fedora, stands outside the frosted-glass windows of Redbird Security Solutions as he bids good-night to the receptionist, a smile that would fool his own mother curving to his lips as he reaches out to clap a hand on her shoulder, “I’ll see you tomorrow, alright?”

The pre-law student that works at the firm during the day flashes a smile to her employer, turning to start along down the block towards the parking building that most of Redbird’s vehicles are parked in. He watches her go, the smile slowly fading. Hopefully, she’ll be smart enough to cooperate with the police when they come to see her. She was loyal enough not to quit when the news about Liz and Redbird hit. He hoped she wasn’t stubborn enough to end up in prison.

She was a good girl. She didn’t deserve any of this. But then, who did?

I am not

The fortune and the fame

Nor the same person telling you to forfeit the game

The door to the lobby swings closed behind him, the brassy chorus of the bell attached to it ringing out one final time. The locks on the door are turned with the solid thump of metal into wood, and he steps slowly out into the lobby, lifting the fedora from his head and tossing it over onto the receptionist’s desk. He sits down on the edge, letting his gaze sweep over the room.

Rows of chairs, frosted glass windows, soft carpets, the logo of his company against a wall in glossy blacks and reds. His company. Maybe Elisabeth had done her job too well, trying to convince him not to treat it as just a front, because he’d finally started feeling like it was his, like this was his life. He’d been making plans around it, making it a part of him. But it wasn’t his life, in the end.

Neither was the life that the man he called Ezekiel wanted him to claim. He understood the man’s motivations and intentions better than anyone – certainly better than he’d admitted to anyone, even to Liz.

Possibly because it was too tempting to agree with him sometimes.

I came in the ring like a dog on a chain

And I found out the underbelly's sicker than it seems

“Christ,” he sighs out, fingers raking back through his hair, “I’m an ex-con. An orphan. A thief. How the fuck did I get here?”

It was the wrong bar, on the wrong night. He walked in, he found Deckard putting a pistol to the back of Teo’s head, and he was curious. That was all. And that put him on the path to everything; Deckard led him to Abigail, which led him to Fedor and to Phoenix. That brought him into a circle of acquaintances that led him to Adam. Then the Formula, then Pinehearst, then Arthur Petrelli, the man whose face still haunted his nightmares…

…and then to Edward Ray.

And it seems ugly

But it can get worse

'Cause even a blueprint is a gift and a curse

'Cause once you got a theory of how the thing works

Everybody wants the next thing to be just like the first

“Damn it, Edward. If you’d just talked to me…”

Would he have listened? Even he’s not sure. Instead, he was sent on a mission – kill Arthur Petrelli. He took up the reins of that mission, approached the freedom fighters of the city with his plan, and they carried it out. He was wearing the boots that the last remnants of Arthur splashed on as he went through complete cellular collapse.

Whatever people might think, though, it wasn’t that mission that set him on his path. It was what Edward had left for him. A map of the probable future left in an ice cream stand, a map of strings and connections that could be adjusted - that could be changed. A disaster in the near future and the promise of preventing it, dropped in his lap.

Edward Ray had been in the business of moving mountains, and for no other reason than he felt that someone needed to do it, Richard Cardinal took up that burden. It just wasn’t always as easy as an injection on a rooftop.

Of course, Edward knew that he’d probably do it. The sonuvabitch always knew that sort of thing. He knew just how the man who should have been his adoptive son would grow up.

And I'm not a robot

I'm not a monkey

I will not dance even if the beat's funky

Opposite of lazy

Far from a punk

Ya'll ought to stop talking start trying to catch up motherfucker

He’d never done what others wanted him to do. The nuns at the orphanage, the government… he never fell in line with Phoenix or the Ferry. He never even followed Edward’s plans to the letter. He forged his own path, for good or for bad.

Maybe that’s where he’d gone wrong. Maybe he was too stubborn to realize he needed to follow sometimes. He just hadn’t ever found someone he was willing to follow for the long haul, is all.

A sharp shake of his head, and he pushes himself up to his feet. Too much maudlin self-contemplation, Richard. This isn’t an end. Just another beginning. C’mon, you’ve got work to do, asshole.

Lauryn said money change a situation

Big said it increase the complication

Kane said don't step / I ain't the one

Chuck said that uzi weigh a motherfuckin' ton

The problem with having built a life like this was that it was difficult to dismantle; there were so many details to take care of, so many people connected to it, that it couldn’t just be abandoned like a cheap apartment and a used car could. He was somebody for a short time, and somebodies can’t just vanish into thin air. Well, Amelia Earhart, maybe. But he didn’t have her panache.

Cardinal’s gloved fingers sink into the grating of an air vent’s cover in the hallway, pulling it off and reaching in to lay claim to the heavy bag of plastic explosive that was Niklaus’s farewell gift to Endgame when he left it for his mother’s organization. Crouched beside it, he carefully inserts the radio detonators one by one, all tuned to the same frequency already. Once they were ready, he pushed up to his feet and began his work.

The first places he seeds are the apartments. His own and Elle’s most particularly, in the hopes that forensics would assume they were killed in the blast and there simply weren’t any bodies left behind from the blast. Then back downstairs to plant the bricks along the walls where he knew the main supports were. Any luck and the building would mostly collapse inward, although he knows there’ll be some collateral damage, since he’s not an expert with demolitions by any stretch of the imagination. He’s making up for his lack of expertise with quantity.

He hopes there won’t be any deaths from the blast, but he’s cynical and resigned enough to accept the possibility. Revolution requires sacrifice.

And I'm just a student of the game that they taught me

Rockin' every stage in every place that it brought me

I'm awfully underrated / but came here to correct it

And so it ain't mistaken I'ma state it for the record

At last, he walks down the stairs and into the basement. The files were already sanitized months ago when Jane Pak started her investigation, so there’s no need to remove those. Most of the arsenal’s been shifted to the safehouse, but there’s enough left that it doesn’t seem suspicious. He tosses in one of the grey bricks anyway, landing with a thump in front of the gun cabinets.

The words painted on the wall are regarded for a long minute, Cardinal’s lips twitching in the faintest of smiles as he reads them. FIGHT THE FUTURE. “You and me, Mulder,” he says, slapping one of the bricks into the middle of the statement as if declaring war with the motion, “You and me.”

I am

The opposite of wack / opposite of weak

Opposite of slack / synonym of heat

Synonym of crack / closest to a peak

Far from a punk

Ya'll ought to stop talking / start trying to catch up motherfucker

And all the people say…

As he passes through the lobby once more, now dressed in the matte black of his Horizon armour, he stops for a long moment to turn around and look at the logo on the wall. The same logo on his jackets, the red bird and the motto around the edge. The vision enhancements in his helmet meant that he could see every detail.

‘Redbird Security – We Protect Your Future’

“We still are,” he says, hefting an assault rifle in his hands and turning around, firing a burst through the window that fills the room with a deafening clamour and the scent of gunpowder. The bulletproof glass wasn’t meant for armor-piercing rounds, a line of holes cut through it at an angle that should ensure they go upwards – and avoid any passing cars.

But it should sure as hell draw some attention. And keep people away from the building.

He smiles, beneath the visor of the helmet. He may not like that he had to make this decision, but this is what he lives for. The moment when the decision is made. When he's finally acting, rather than reacting. All doubt gone - nothing left but a purity of purpose and intent.

charles Deveaux was right. He would have made a good agent.

Oh… when they come for me

Come for me…

I'll be gone…

It isn’t a man in armour that leaves the building, but a shadow, passing across the road as a mirror of a bird flying overhead that isn’t – and the sun isn’t out, either. The Cardinal at last leaving his nest behind, crossing the street and passing onward towards the nuclear ruins of Midtown.

The police sirens are just starting to be heard when the timers hit zero and the main office of Redbird Security Solutions, LLC becomes no more. The upper windows explode first, showering the street in glass and debris, and then the lower floor, before the entire building begins to list and collapse with its supports removed.

There won’t be a government raid on the Redbird offices. Richard Cardinal won’t be arrested.

He’s already gone.

You best stop talking, start tryin’ to catch up, motherfucker!

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