Where Does The Upending Of The Chessboard Leave Us?


alec_icon.gif cardinal_icon.gif cat_icon.gif elisabeth_icon.gif teo_icon.gif

Scene Title Where Does The Upending of the Chessboard Leave Us?
Synopsis Regrouping at Cat's penthouse, the various teams try to compile information.
Date July 24, 2009

Village Renaissance Building, Hallway and Cat's Penthouse

The drive over is puntuated by some movements from Liz that indicate laughter as she texts Cassidy. It's odd not to be able to talk to the person driving. She shows him, however, a text (after he pulls into the parking garage of the building) that says, Reports on the news are that a building in Fort Lee collapsed, conflicting reports all over the place. Nothing concrete. And then she lets Alec help her up to Cat's penthouse so that she can check up on everyone in person. Hopefully there will be people from each team there, so she has a better mental picture of what happened. She looks like hell, though — she's wearing the black pants that were beneath her armor, but one leg of them is sliced open from ankle to thigh, and her thigh appears to be loosely wrapped in bandages. The rest of her looks in one piece, though.

It's in a hallway that they'll find Cardinal, sitting against the wall, arms folded atop his knees; still in all black, boots soaked in something now-dry and an unpleasant black-red that's best not identified. The mask's off, and he's rubbing one hand against his face, no signs of injury marking his features or stance, though he looks tired— not broken, but tired down to the bone, his gaze somewhat distant. There's a shotgun leaning against the wall, a pistol still at his hip, and in his free hand a hypodermic syringe is still dangling loosely in the cage of his fingers.

Alec is playing the role of mystery man today. His entire body is covered, goggled eyes, masked face, even his voice is muffled and altered slightly, toting a slight eastern european accent. He helps Liz where ever she needs to go, acting as crutch and personal assistant all at once. He's handy to have around! He offers a little wave of his gloved hand to Cardinal, perhaps slightly creepy due to his anonymity.

As she spots the man on the floor — and the things he has with him! — Elisabeth pushes out of Alec's hands instantly. The leg won't hold her weight, but it's not a big problem — she's merely dropping to her knees to talk to Cardinal anyway. Or…. not talk. A hand on his arm, her expression fiercely worried, to draw his attention to her and the silently mouthed, 'Okay?'

"Hey, Liz." Cardinal's head lifts from his contemplation of the inside of his palm, a weary smile curling itself across his lips as he looks up to her. At the wordless query, his chin bobs down in a slight little motion, and he replies quietly, "Yeah— yeah, I'm fine. Poor John." The syringe is turned over between his hands, empty now, his gaze tracing its simple lines and markings as he asks, "You okay? You guys made a hell've a noise, I noticed…" He slants a wry look back up to her, lips twitching a bit up at one corner, "I don't know if I would've gone so far as to blow the whole building up, but it definately made an impression."

Alec raises a hand, "Actually I blew the building, she just killed the bad guy." no stealing his thunder dammit! Still greared up to the gills and completely incognito Alec remains a mystery, even his voice is altered slightly. He looks around, "You two need help? I don't think this is a great place for this chat." he points out.

Relief when that smile greets her makes Elisabeth sag over her wounded leg. She puts her hands on Cardinal's cheeks and kisses him once, brief, hard. And then when she leans back, she tries to say she's sorry for John, and nothing comes out. The look of frustration is almost angry, and she yanks out her phone to type in that rapid-fire fashion people who text a lot get, even as Alec explains about the bomb — which makes her backpedal over her letters and amend the text. glad u ok. Sry John dead. Syringe? Inside is better. Then she shows him the screen, and looks up at Alec with a nod that we should all go inside.

Cardinal's free hand lifts up to slide against Elisabeth's shoulder, fingers curling in against it as he leans up to return that embrace; he's tired as anything, but there's an adrenaline-fueled heat to it, lips moving against hers for a moment before he pulls back, fingers skimming down her shoulder to fall back down to his knee. The phone gets a curious look, then the text is read. Ah. A faint snort of breath, and he heaves himself up from his lean against the wall, tucking the hypo away in a pocket as he notes in dry tones, "Think we're secure here, can't reach this floor without the codes'n all. Killed Arthur with this. Thought I'd save it for a souvenier." No response to the comment about John.

Alec sighs, "She blew her vocal cords out and suffered significant burns to her leg. In effect, she's nearly crippled currently and half out of her mind on pain meds but she still wouldn't stay near the doc. I almost punched her out but I figured it wouldn't be worth the hastle later so…" he props Liz back up, once more playing crutch, "Let's go you. Once we get you to Cat's I can breath a bit easier."

Elisabeth scowls at Alec and elbows the shit out of him even as he helps her to her feet…. foot. Whatever. She can't text while she's being manhandled into Cat's apartment, though. So she's silent as the three make their way into the penthouse, Liz using her code to get the door open without bothering to knock or buzz.

She's awake. Mother was gotten here and given a place to sleep in the penthouse hours before. Cat just happens to br approaching the door when Elisabeth lets herself in. Her intent had been to head down to the fourth floor, but the goal has now changed. Eyes look the detective over, to assess her condition firsthand. Cat herself looks weary, and her eyes show traces of confusion. "I gave you a way in?" she asks Elisabeth, only partly seeming to recognize the woman. The man with her gets none such. She asks Alec "Who're you, man?" And her whole manner is different. Instead of the confident, often stern Cat at age 26, the woman before him seems closer to what she was like seven years before.

At the report about the detective's health, Cardinal slants her a sharp look— but given that he's got no room to talk, he merely gives his head a weary shake and steps along with them. The confused words from the living database garner a bemused look— and then he remembers, looking to the pair he's with and explaining quietly, "The light show on the roof fucked with people's powers. Guess her memory's on the fritz."

Alec sets Liz down in a chair and rubs his ribs gingerly, "Someone who just brought you injured team leaders. Shredded vocal cords and severe burns to the thigh. I've cleaned the wound and put ointment on it but you're the wiz with the magic so the rest is up to you. I've tapped out my medical knowledge right there." he then turns goggled eyes over to Cat, "She's been asking about Deckard and Hadley, healers I'm assuming. I was with Sal but she wouldn't wait around, has to be in the mix." he gives a look that would be truely scathing, but it's hidden away behind his mask. "Memory is… aww well that's just peachy." he mutters, throwing his hands up in the air. "I'm someone that's going to remain very very anonymous for now." he eventually supplies, grumping a bit. His accent seems eastern European, give or take.

Elisabeth offers a faint shrug to Cardinal's look. What's he want her to say? Oh wait… NOTHING. And then they get in the door and are met by the befuddled Cat. Oh shit. Elisabeth stares and feels the need to seriously headdesk about a million times. Tyler Case or Arthur or someone got to her. Again. FUCK! she yells with no voice. When Alec sets her in a chair, she offers him a scathing glance right back. Cat… Do you remember…. 'In a New York Minute'? Somehow their code phrase seems terribly apropos in this moment. She shows the brunette the screen. Maybe she should have let Sal fix her vocal cords first.

There's someone else, abruptly, a shadow against the wall. Black boots, blood dried in the faint stipple of stubble down his jaw, pale-eyed, exhaustion and most-healed injury a white sheen underneath the superficiality of his tan. There's a peculiar slide and give of disfocus in Teodoro Laudani's expression, but that somehow fails entirely to undermine the easy certainty of his step. He's reporting in. To—

Well. There's a faint, fractioned hitch of his left brow; he ends up emptying words out into the stretch of still, machine-chilled air between himself and the disorganized hodgepodge of other operatives, without specificity. "Helena's going to be okay. She's at a Ferry medfac in Tribeca, doc's got her, injuries shifted and stabilized. Vanguard remnant and Deckard got out, heavily injured, but no probable fatalities. I think they're rendezvousing at the Garden.

"Your end?" Teo's voice is a mess, if not the total ruin that Elisabeth's is. Between shouting himself hoarse over klaxons and the sticky-brittle residue of haemorrhage in his lungs, he isn't precisely at his operatic best.

"There's a lot of fog and static," she tells the two men, eyes resting on them. "It was worst when the two guys were looping red light at each other, but since then it's been clearing some, and if I concentrate I can drag out the most important stuff." The song title makes her nod in the detective's direction, as she moves to close the doors behind them. "Like somehow I knew the building should be torched, that there could be biohazard stuff needing destroyed in there, made so it could never be used again. But the details… Shit. This fog isn't wearing off fast enough."

The third man is looked at, she thinks for a moment. "Teodoro," she forces herself to remember. "You're the one who picked up Helena and took her to get help. Should go see her soon, after Mother and I hear from Father. Something about him going to shut down a reactor."

"The Garden." It's a two-word affirmation of where the group he went in with is rendezvousing, the lack of fatalities bringing the faintest of smiles to Richard Cardinal's expression; a fragile sliver of good news, the word of less pieces leaving the board than he'd feared. Those tired hazel eyes sharpen for a moment as he considers the look on Teo's face, his thoughts his own for the moment, before his chin dips in a slight nod. He's too tired to press any issues right now. And there's still so much more to do. "Laudani."

Gloved fingers press up against the side of his neck as he cracks it to one side with an audible crackle of vertebrae shifting back into place, and then his hand drops over to Elisabeth's shoulder— giving it a brief, reassuring squeeze. The former thief's attention shifts back to Teodoro, then, and he asks in a business-like tone that doesn't completely hide the sliver of pained emotion beneath the words, "The Cases safely settled in?"

Teo stepping out of the shadows has Elisabeth's head jerking up — her voice may be gone, but her powers aren't. She could respond if he's a threat. But he appears to be… on our side. Helena trusted him, had been in contact with him. So she merely nods to him in that moment and types rapidly on her phone's text window, showing it to all of them with one hand while the other reaches up to absently cover the one on her shoulder. With all of you here, I want a full sitrep from each team. Jack here can tell you about our injuries too - I think we mostly lost clones, but I injured some of our own. Yeah, maybe she's not technically in charge, but with Helena laid up and Cat more out of it than Liz is…. she'll step up for now. And though her blue eyes are cloudy with painkillers, she has a firm set to her jaw that the men in the room, at least, ought to recognize as out and out stubbornness. She's not going to stop bugging them about it until she gets what she wants.

Alec sighs and takes a deep breath. He rattles off a list of injuries, severities, likely recovery times, who's been treated, how and by whom, and who still needs what level of help and care. It takes a few minutes, the list is long. When complete he looks around, "So… that's about it." he wraps up lamely.

Quiet stiffens the air around Teo as if the recovering pamnesiac's words had hit him with coolant fog, much like the stuff that had shattered Deckard's ear during the very scenario which she is reviewing. He doesn't turn his head for the longest time, merely holding peace and place, sparing a nod at Cardinal for the Cases, while Elisabeth gets her drug-addled tiara on and Alec concedes her point. There's a gruff of noise out of his throat, then.

He'd already said his piece, volunteered the medically pertinent details and locations before the order came out. Which is kind of like a good excuse to be faintly obnoxious, with the glance he cants the audiokinetic over his shoulder, but that juvenile token defiance is secondary, really, submerged under the black, ice water difficulty of imparting this one memory and conviction that retains its clarity despite everything else.

Eventually, he straightens his shoulders. Meets Cat's eye, his throat working once, fails to produce poetry. Teo croaks: "I'm sorry."

Her attention settles on Teo, an eyebrow raising, as Cat asks a simple question born from confusion as to why it needs asking. "What're you sorry for?"

"It was all a fuckin' distraction. I can't believe… he threw Allen, threw all that, away just to keep them busy for awhile." The words are a dire muttering under Cardinal's breath as the meaning of Teodoro's simple words of sympathy sink in, his head shaking ever so slightly. "I got it wrong. Damn it."

A breath's drawn in, then exhaled in a slow stir of breath as he steps over to glance at the phone's text message— a grunt, and he looks up to Elisabeth's face, one brow lifting a little. "Dean's hurt, bad. Only thing left of Arthur's on my boots right now. Both Edwards're dead. Future Tyler's dead. Some guy named… Peter? Got shot and dropped off the roof, don't know if he survived. Everyone else on the roof came out've it with minor injuries. Replicant bodies everywhere, Gillian'n Brian'll probably need fuckin' therapy— "

In truth, the order — such as it is, when it can't really be barked at anyone — was aimed a little more at the man at her shoulder, who has been keeping his own counsel for a long time now. Elisabeth's expression holds sympathy as he realizes that he got it wrong from the start, squeezing his hand briefly then. The fact that all the people Cardinal knew about are the ones that she had no way of knowing about eases her. She picks up the phone and types into it. I misted one Arthur, Card killed one… how many more were there involved? And did we get Arthur Prime?, she asks, using Alec's moniker for his own 'first guy'. She shows it to them, her expression worried.

Alec stills for a moment as if he were going to say something, then shakes it off and flops down in the nearest chair limply. His usefulness now is limited to intel about current injury reports and manual labor. This is a spot for leaders and he's just a foot soldier.

Cardinal's revelation is one that the Sicilian hanging back against the corner is intimately familiar with, even if that, too, feels strangely dislocated in the watery light of this morning. Things didn't go exactly according to plan.

He almost wishes that were novel. He closes his raw-rimmed eyes, squeezes once, reopens them again. "Your father didn't make it out of the reactor room," he tells her, as factual as he is speaking from sheer conviction. "He went to stop the meltdown, and he succeeded. I'm sorry. It was the noblest thing I've seen." The last syllables flatten out, diminish behind the turn of his shoulder. Teo wipes his jaw with the back of rough knuckles.

"Medical safehouse is in Tribeca, and the doctor and the Ferry has a few strings to pull if actual surgical tables and hospitals are necessary. Deckard isn't going to be in shape to heal for a few more hours, but I figure you might as well start investing in canned spam and fat milk to keep him fuelled. I'll keep my phone on."

Her eyes move from one to the other as they speak, or text and display, finally coming to light on Teo when he has the floor. Cat blinks once, twice. One foot makes a backward step, the expression settling is one of disbelief. "That… just doesn't make sense. He shouldn't have even been there, working at some biotech firm in Jersey. He's an insurance CEO in Hartford, yet…" The fog parts enough to remember they'd both worked with a thing called the Company, helping make something called the Formula, and the story of being an insurance man and society wife was, for both parents, was in part only a cover. "Reactor meltdown? He stopped it." Through the fog there are flashes of the evening before, the alarms and the evacuation signal for that reason, enough to tell her there was such a crisis.

More extended silence passes, with Cat just studying Teo, before a final string of words is spoken in a tone closer to the fully capable Cat than she's had since Tyler's lightning struck. The tone of a Cat who doesn't let herself show cracks in front of others if she can avoid it.

"Did you recover the body?"

"I did." Cardinal's chin dips in a slight nod to Elisabeth's textual inquiry after he's read it; his fingers lifting to brush against hers briefly on his shoulder, giving them a firm squeeze in reurn before his hand drops back down again, thumb curling through the edge of his belt. There's no details offered, just a quiet, simple confirmation of the kill.

The reddened eyes of the man cut over towards Teodoro, towards Cat, and then he draws back a step towards the doors. "I should go… check on the Cases. I'll need to get with Delphine soon, and— " Deckard. Shit. "Laudani!" A bit sharper and urgent a tone of voice, his chin jerking up towards the other man, "Make sure the old man doesn't get the repairwoman to re-write his ability. Not— not until I talk to him. It's important."

Already time to set the board up for the next game. We can rest when it's over. Too right, Allen.

Alec just eyes the lot of them and shakes his head, "Fuck it." he says, "Liz, you know how to reach me if you guys have to, but I don't do this sitting around waiting bit. If you need me I'll be around. I have shit to do." he pushes himself to his feet and heads for the door, never once having actually mentioned his name.

Elisabeth's ability to keep detached from the news of the injuries and the deaths is at this point due to several things. A good dose of painkiller for a leg burned by lasers and vocal cords literally savaged to nonexistance that makes the world around her just a bit on the hazy side, cop training, and just sheer relief that it wasn't worse. The news of Cat's father saddens her for her friend's very personal loss, and the news of Peter hurts her heart for Helena. But each of these people gave of themselves to try to stop yet another wave of Armaggedon, and for that…. Liz can only be grateful that we've all come out as intact as we have. The news that Cardinal apparently killed Arthur Prime is good news, honestly. And she nods to him briefly, then also nods to Alec with a thumbs-up. She'll get back with him ASAP. Mostly at this point, she doesn't know what to do. The world's sort of saved… right? She watches Cardinal and Teo with a puzzled expression.

Kind of. Not really. Teo would maybe try to articulate about how Arthur Petrelli was, technically, the one who once upon a timeline had saved the world— at least, its majority by exterminating the minority and turning himself into a billionaire by some miraculous coincidence or process. Technically. It could have gone worse though, of course. If the augmentation loop had succeeded—

Teo's head jerks up, cuts a glance over his shoulder at Cardinal when he's called to. A scowl stooping his brow, a frown etched in the corners of his mouth without real heat in it, a reflex of muscle instead of sentiment.

"Deckard wouldn't. Won't, anytime soon," he answers, shortly, before he realizes that turning his head had been kind of a mistake; Cat's got that look to her, the one she gets when she's trying not to look like a mess, but she is, of course, they were all forged through one means or another, and now the hand that had fed, belted, and disciplined her is broken. It's her way of honoring that discipline, that she refuses to do so here. "No. I went to get Case."

The ensuing silence is awkward, crushes down heavy, threatens to push him out under the inexorable lassitude of fatigue. If he knew, Ghost would probably disagree with Allen Rickham— but, irony of ironies, Ghost is the one who here anymore. "I counted six clones alive," Teo remembers to add, a footnote, stuck on crooked to the end. "I can't remember if you need to count how many wound up dead."

Not a word is said as the reply comes. It draws more memories from the fog, of being contacted by Kain Zarek from the Linderman Group about Dani's bones weeks after the likely time of Ethan killing her. It seems this will be much the same. The belief, the expectation, sans the final proof of what transpired. An urn, the contents still unscattered, pops through the mists in connection with that. She just sets her jaw and walks from the group, picking up the red Fender Strat where instruments are kept and heading for the fifth floor alone. Just before she exits the penthouse, Cat turns and speaks a stern instruction, the tone saying she means business.

"If Mother comes out, tell her I'm one floor down. But absolutely nothing else."

That grim task will be hers alone.

"Yeah, well…" It's the old man. He's contrary sometimes. "…just, if any've you see him, let him know I need to talk to him. S'important."

That said, Cardinal's gaze slides over to Cat, watching her as she picks the guitar up and heads for the door. There's nothing he can say, so he says nothing, turning to head for the exit himself, one hand rubbing against his face. "Get some sleep, if you can, everyone. You deserve it."

Alec is heading for the door already, not wanting to stick around and chat about powers that involve duplicated people. And, frankly, there's a lot going on in his head right now and he needs a moment to focus… which he can do best in his own place. "Peace." he comments as he heads out.

Elisabeth winces at Cat's hurt, a pain there's no way for her to help with. And she lets her friend go for now. Liz herself is starting to lose focus, but the news that there were *six* Arthur clones has her looking between the men, trying to speak with no voice. 'So there are…' and then scowling. So four unaccounted for clones?, she demands silently, tugging on Cardinal's arm until he reads it. And then bringing it back to her to add and show it to him again, If he's got Brian's power, we didn't get him unless they're *all* dead, if I remember right??? She then holds the text out to Teo, because he would probably know Brian's powers better than Liz — but in point of fact, there have been at least two Brian clones on the loose living totally separate lives until very recently. And Liz has no clue if you kill the Prime what happens to the clones.

Nor does Teo know. Does he? He should. He stares at the document held out toward him in a stagnant sort of silence, incipient movement curling his fingers, but he doesn't reach out to take it. He hoods his eyes; darts a brief, inscrutable glance after Cat's back when she leaves, something furtive, familiarly boyish about that hapless attempt at subtlety. He almost makes a face.

"Three unaccounted for. Prime was strongest, I think. The ones you and the Vanguard were fighting. Fewer abilities, easier to kill and keep dead— I didn't track any enhanced hearing. Another was chasing Zimmerman, and I could have sworn I saw a second coming at you on the ground level. Another on the fourth floor." He glances at Richard, then, brow lifted, a metaphorical question mark. He doesn't know how many Peter's rescue team had succeeded in killing; Cardinal would know better.

There's a shaded beat's pause, however, before he adds: "Probably isn't as bad as all that. We weren't alone."

The tug against his sleeve draws Cardinal to a halt, and he glances down at the screen. "There were at least two clones upstairs," he replies with a tight shake of his head, "By the time I got up there. I'm pretty sure we got them all. The primary one was… the real threat, anyway." He knows better, of course. A lack of extremely potent powers doesn't make anyone less dangerous.

Elisabeth looks entirely confused by Teo's recitation — because so far as SHE knows, he couldn't track abilities. Did he somehow gain an ability like Molly Walker's? But her fingers instead fly across the tiny keys of her phone once more. 1 on grnd flr dead, vibrated to mist or smthng - had lasers; Card killed 1, thinks was Prime. 1 chsng Zimmerman, the scientist? Prime had enhanced hearing, you didn't find him? She looks between the men and heaves a sigh, wishing now that Sal could have gotten to her sooner. Imalittle dopey — but if Card *saw* 2 more on roof, killed 1, I killed 1. That leaves at least 2 unaccounted for. Yes?

"There was one on the reactor level. Raith shot him in half." There's a bizarre quirk to the corner of Teo's mouth when he says this, unbidden. Either because Raith shooting a big man in half is funny, or because it's finally cycling into his awareness, that Elisabeth had and still has no idea who Ghost was. "Leaves just the one." Go Helena. Good fucking job, Cardinal.

Though— speaking of Cardinal. There is a pale flicker of his eyes moving between Cardinal and the female cop, something registering with strange subtlety in the face behind the expression. He jogs one shoulder up, then, neither the puppyish rue of the Teo she knows nor the soulless nonchalance that Cardinal has come to know his older counterpart for. "I'm sure if there's anything left of him, Gabriel Gray would be happy to impose a little justice on it."

"There might've been more that they dealt with, I wasn't there for the beginning…" One hand lifts, fingers wavering in the air with an uncertain gesture before it falls down to Richard's side. The pair are looked between with a tired, worn down dullness starting to edge his gaze, asking quietly, "Anything else? I've got… some shit to do, before I can sleep. People to check on."

'WhoTF is Wraith??' Elisabeth wonders a moment, but it's gone a split second later because there were any number of people out there fighting that she didn't have names for. The blonde looks at Teo, her expression somewhat lost and so far beyond exhaustion that she's actually hit the point of the world making little or no sense. Or maybe it's the painkillers. She looks up at Richard with a faint nod, typing something into her phone to show him, a rueful grin quirking her lips half upward. Then she makes a shooing motion.

There are people that Teodoro Laudani should be checking on, too, but that isn't quite sinking for him just yet, despite tall tales and vivid memories of electrocution, sonically vaporized appendages, gunfire and rebar flung every which way. He merely closes and opens his nice, cracks his best effort at a reassuring smile for Elisabeth. Inclines his head. "Buona sera.

"I'll see you again over the next few days I'm sure." He swings a long stride back for the hallway, pushing his hands into his pockets, shoulders slumping down into a hangdog slouch that he hasn't worn in months.

Just before he turns towards the door, Cardinal's brought up short by something in Teodoro's manner; body language that hasn't been seen awhile, stirring a curiousity in the thief that isn't quite able to defeat exhaustion and responsibility. He shakes his head. He'll deal with it later. A glance at the phone, a nod and faint smile for Liz, and then he heads for the hallway himself.

"Buy you a drink later, Laudani?"

Elisabeth is settled into a cushy chair here and unlikely to be moving anytime soon. Not even to the couch. In truth, she couldn't actually move if she tried. Alec is the only reason she made it in the door at all, and sheer grit has kept her fighting the sedating effects of the painkillers this long. But she's slowly succumbing — and Sal will probably rip her a new one for leaving the safehouse to come here, being as it's just a whole separate trip he's got to make now. But here is where she'll stay until she sees the doctor at this point. Slumping backward in the chair, leaning her head back, Elisabeth waggles her fingers sleepily at the two men, her phone planted on her stomach and her eyes following them on their way out.

Later is vague enough enough that there's only a very, very brief moment's paranoid hesitation, wondering, perhaps almost uncertain, before Teo picks a hand out of his pocket. Thumb circled around to forefinger, three others splayed, the gesture a caricature as much of American colloquialism and casual culture as it is of being a foreigner. He's speaking Italian again, too. A little, but he just leaves it at the hand motion, this time: O.K.

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