Who We Are


cardinal_icon.gif devon2_icon.gif graeme_icon.gif

Scene Title Who We Are
Synopsis It's more than just names, as discussed by three members of Endgame when Richard Cardinal makes himself known to Graeme and Devon.
Date October 17, 2011

Skinny Brickfront : Endgame Safehouse

The common area/living room.

It’s late.

The fact is proven even without knowing that a moon tries vainly to look down on the slumbering city in spite of scudding clouds. The safehouse is settled in for the night; it’s quiet, with most of the inhabitants in their beds. The goings on that define the day-to-day life in the skinny, somewhat run-down brickfront building have come to an end, at least until the sky begins to lighten with the first lights of morning. That event is still a few hours off.

Right now, it’s late.

The hour hasn’t driven everyone to bed, however. In the dull light cast by the plethora of nightlights set out for safety as well as sanity, is one of those who’s been calling the dilapidated building home for some several months now. A boy, barely old enough to claim adulthood, perches on camp chair. With elbows on knees, he’s staring at a notebook that lays open in front of him on a makeshift table and several pages of newspaper.

Not only that, but not everyone needs the same amount of sleep, either. Soft footsteps, soft enough to attempt not to wake anyone, padding down the stairs from the roof. Except it's not just one set of footsteps, there's a few more following Graeme this time. When he reemerges into the main room he's followed by his sister's dog, who is being remarkably well behaved given the rather sudden change in living situation that the now-former teacher has chosen.

When Graeme spots Devon, there's a half mumbled half nod of acknowledgement. And the question, even though he already knows the answer. "Can't sleep?"

"I know I can't," is the casual observation of Richard Cardinal, who's leaning up against a wall away from the light half-concealed in shadow, arms loosely folded over his chest, "Then again, I sleep more during the day."

The same as ever; worn jeans, bomber jacket worn open, tape across his nose where someone recently set a broken bone.

Six months, and this is how he says 'hello'?

If Devon had been about to answer in casual snark, it’s aborted when Cardinal’s voice — unfamiliar to his ears — answers first. He’s not surprised per se, there had been some comings and goings that he didn’t initially recognize. But since no alarms had been raised, he’d decided against investigating. Now, however, that there’s an unfamiliar presence in the room, he doesn’t refrain from looking.

The boy’s head comes up and he turns a squinted look in Cardinal’s direction. Another time, another place, he might have drawn a gun on an unfamiliar person in the house. Tonight he doesn’t. He does straighten, then stand and fold his arms over his chest. Graeme earns an answer then, a brief but questioning look, that’s returned to the stranger-not-stranger-danger.

“Same,” he offers. For whether he’s unable to sleep or when he chooses to sleep is not entirely clear. It could be both. “Who’re you?”

"F—" What had promised to be cursing and a bit of startlement showing trails off, and Graeme turns and stares at Cardinal, outright stares. Odin comes to heel besides Graeme without as much as a word, though the dog at least seems happy to see Cardinal. Maybe happier than Graeme is, all things taken into consideration. Finally, though, after long seconds that draw out into a minute, Graeme speaks again. "You know," he says, taking another breath in, "it's almost creepy when you skulk about like that."

And then, though, Graeme offers a smile. "When'd you get back?"

“Sorry.” Richard’s lips crook up at one corner in an uneven smile to Graeme, a brow lifting with it, “It’s kind of my thing. Especially when someone’s recently tried to put two bullets in my brain pan…”

“Not long now. It wasn’t any time at all, for me, but… well,” a grimace, “Time travel is frustrating all around.”

One hand lifts from his other arm in a two-fingered wave towards Devon, then, “Richard Cardinal. Red King. Don’t mind me, I live here.”

“Devon Clendaniel,” is the boy’s response, tipping his head ‘hello’ to Cardinal. There’s a flicker of recognition in the name at least, if not the man who wears it. “I live here, too.”

His head tilts slightly, eyes narrowing against the dimness to better see the no-longer absent Red King. “Time travel sounds as much of a headache as telepaths,” Devon eventually opines. “You’re who Liz said went way off grid.”

Graeme lets out another breath. "Possibly even more. Telepathy at least is moderately…" he pauses, and lifts his shoulders in a shrug. "Predictable. Well that makes all of us who live here, at least," he says. Which is a change, because up until then although Graeme had been a frequent face at the safehouse bringing supplies and taking shifts on watch, he didn't live there. "For now." There's a pause, and then Graeme walks over towards the kitchen area, putting out a bowl of water and then one of dog food and leaving Odin to it while he turns back to the conversation. "Or maybe I've just lived with telepaths too much and gotten used to it."

"Way off grid…" Cardinal's lips twitch ever so slightly at Devon's words, "…that's one way of saying it. You're a redscarf, right? One of Melissa's, or— Perry's? I can't keep track of what's going on that side of the tracks…"

"My sister's a telepath. It's a bitch sometimes," he admits, "But nothing like time travel. Little asian guy with a sword ever shows up, you tell him to fuck off, trust me on that."

“I stayed with them for a bit.” Devon lowers himself back into his chair as he pushes a shoulder up in a vague gesture. Stayed with, not part of. “While I was stuck on Roosevelt Island. I took a gamble when I met Liz, before I knew her, and told her what I knew about some things on Roosevelt.” Another shrug follows.

There’s easily a lot more to the story, but ask anyone in the house and you’ll find it’s easier to bathe an angry cat than get all the information out of Dev during a first meeting. “Basically,” the teenager summarizes, “I’ve been involved in some missions, and it’s led to me to being here. One of Liz’s team. Your’s now, too. I guess, since you’re back.” A pause, then, “Asian guy with a sword?”

There's a soft chuckle, and then Graeme shakes his head. "I'll take it under advisement," he says. Then pauses and glances at Cardinal, then away. "It's not like we don't have enough troubles without time travel."

There’s a long pause and then Graeme adds, “And if and what of our current problems are caused by time travel is a headache I’ll save for another day,” he finally says. “Today’s been long enough as it is.”

"It's a long story," Cardinal admits with a low chuckle, pushing himself away from the wall, "Hiro Nakamura. Our most… prolific time traveler on record. I was mostly kidding."

He pauses for a moment.


“Oh.” A small crease forms between Devon’s eyebrows, just for a second, as he mulls over the name and… vague description. And Cardinal’s claim to mostly kidding. And the idea of time travel. It all makes that crease deepen a little, and then one eye squint slightly. “Should we hold him down while you beat on him then?”

Graeme raises his eyebrows. There's a long pause while he considers this, and then he looks at Devon. "Wouldn't a time traveller just go back and change it if we did, though?" And then he shakes his head. "Damn," he mutters, half under his breath. "Even thinking about it gives me a headache."—

At the offer, Cardinal grins broadly. "I wish it was that easy. I think he's still sore I shoved him into a wall once…" A shake of his head, "Don't worry about it. Right now… time travel's the least of your worries."

Well. Sort of.

"How're you two doing? Given all the… well, all the everything," he asks dryly, brows lifting above shades worn even indoors as he looks between the pair.

“Have you seen Groundhog’s Day?” Devon’s question comes with a crooked grin. Perhaps the sword-wielding Asian man could relive it over and over until…

“Yeah.” Inquiries to his well-being have always been tolerated, and tonight is no different. The boy’s humor fades a little and he supplements with a shrug. “Saw in the paper what’s going on. I’m… I don’t know. I was just going over my robot notes, but I’m not sure what I can do that won’t be stupidly risky.”

There's a moment of pause, and Graeme stares at Cardinal again, and shakes his head. "Fine, if there's any real meaning to that word anymore, but…" A shrug follows. "I convinced Aric to leave the city and get to safety. The bookstore's closed, most of the employees were either rounded up or fled."

"Same with a good number of the students at the school I was subbing at." Another pause. "I'm furious as hell." Although there's no visible anger on his part— and so far there's no new holes in the walls of the safehouse, which is always a possibility. "So, I'm staying." He shakes his head. "For whatever happens."

"It's about to get worse. They're closing the net, I don't know what's pushed them so far, so fast, but…" Richard grimaces, one hand coming up to rub against his forehead, "Maybe I missed something. In the past six months, or before, maybe… damn it. A part of me thinks this is worse than the flood or the virus."

“There’s a lot of people in government that hate us,” Devon offers as an explanation. It’s accompanied with a shrug. “I heard Humanis First holds some powerful positions. Staten’s just a more locked down version of Roosevelt. —With a worse end than Roosevelt had.”

Rubbing his face with his hands, Dev’s head tilts to hang over the back of his chair. “I’m still in,” he states after lowering his hands from his face. “It’s my fight as much as anyone else’s.”

Graeme nods, and whatever he was going to say is interrupted by Odin finishing with his food and deciding to return not to Graeme, but trotting over towards Cardinal, tail wagging. Graeme goes to grab the leash, misses at least twice, and shakes his head. "Sorry," he says as he finally gets it. "Odin, heel." He shakes his head, and then says, quietly. "Too many factors in this for any one person to keep track of at some point. Even if you think you have it all there's always something else that may have looked inconsequential that could tip the scales, one way or the other." Odin continues to wag, perhaps picking up on the overall state of stress and tiredness in the safehouse a little. "We may be evo, but for the most part we're pretty human too. Don't kick yourself for something in the past, that you can't change."

Cardinal can't help - despite the grim mood - a grin as Odin trots along over, and in short order the conspirator drops down to a crouch; reaching out with both hands to ruffle the dog's ears and neck, patting his back encouragingly. "It's okay," he reassures the canine, as well as his owner, "It'll be okay."

A glance up, and he admits, "Only one person ever lived that could keep track of everything, and he's in a coma right now in the depths of the Arcology…" He grimaces, looking down to the dog, "I want to kick myself. He should have been working to fix this, not… running off on this goddamn pipe dream of his. He should know better."

He nods then, once more, and looks back up, "I appreciate it. We all have to keep fighting… in whatever way we can." A wan smile, "We can rest when we're done."

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