Work to Do


aric_icon.gif cardinal_icon.gif colette_icon.gif elisabeth_icon.gif francois_icon.gif

kain_icon.gif monica_icon.gif niki_icon.gif niklaus_icon.gif peyton2_icon.gif

Also Featuring:

jaiden_icon.gif jessica_icon.gif von_icon.gif

Scene Title Work to Do
Synopsis The members of the Endgame conspiracy come together for a meeting to update themselves on the state of the Great Game. Things heat up in the Sanders/Dawson/Zimmerman camp, and it's discovered where lines have been crossed and trusts broken.
Date October 6, 2010

Redbird Security - Basement

At the bottom of the stairs there's a sturdy metal-reinforced door, locked not with an electronic mechanism but with an old-fashioned mechanical combination lock. A bright yellow biohazard sign is hung up on the door.

Once through the door, the basement is mostly open space interspersed with support columns of grey brick. A thick layer of grey latex paint covers the walls and floor, the ceiling overhead tiled with squares of sound-suppressing foam. A few filing cabinets are pushed up against the near wall, and a single computer desk, the box unconnected to anything except for power, sits between some of those cabinets. The rest of the front part of the room is an area with folding chairs around a table and a pull-down screen across from a podium with a projector sitting on top of it, evidently for meetings. Deeper in the room, two dozen free-standing posts with sand-filled bases are scattered about, with strings and lines of yarn of all manner of colours connecting them. Post-it notes and photographs have been attached here and there with little pieces of tape. The far wall, behind the string map, bears the legend in stark white block letters upon the grey that stretches across most of the wall and from floor to ceiling: 'FIGHT THE FUTURE'.

The right third of the room has been divided from the rest by a wall of bulletproof glass and metal framing, accessed by a simple glass door near the main entrance of the basement. Inside, three locked gun cabinets sit against the wall, and the rest of that section of the room has been turned into two shooting lanes. Cheap pulley assemblies on the ceiling attached to electric motors hold target posters.

"We've been too idle of late, and that's my fault."

Richard Cardinal stands before the block white letters that stand painted on the wall behind him, dressed in a sharp black suit right down to the tie - the very image of a Man in Black, as if in mockery of the opposing side.

That is, if they really are the opposing side anymore. The lines for everyone are blurred, these days.

"We needed the time to catch our breath after… everything that happened, especially after that disaster at the Institute's hospital. We needed to settle in here, get our bearings and figure out what move to make."

The meeting was called well in advance, and although there's a few chairs empty, there's more of them filled than the last time he called a gathering in the basement of the Redbird Security building. The conspiracy known as Endgame is growing as time goes by.

"It's also come to my attention that not everyone… knows what all the pieces on the table are," he admits with a glance towards Aric and a few of the other, newer members, "So tonight we're going to go over our entire situation… and then figure out where to go from there."

"Any questions, before I begin?"

Aric is sitting in his chair backwards, his legs straddles over the chair, "The home made cookies and brownies are in the corner if this meeting went on too long." Aric smiles towards Liz, "Your Mocha Latte is on the counter like I made for you the day I first met you." He runs a hand through his long locks and looks at all those gathered with a slight nod of respect.

Elisabeth stands to the side, slanting a quick smile to Aric. She's dressed more casually tonight — a pair of soft khaki slacks and a sleeveless hunter green sweater. Her arms are crossed over her front, and her hair is loose and a bit damp still. She's leaning on the wall and just watching the group thoughtfully. It's Cardinal's show.

"Yeah Ah' got a damn question. What's half-pint doin' here?" The question comes sarcastically from where Kain Zarek leans up against the wall, arms folded across his chest, not having invited himself to sit down at the table. That he's wearing a battered old leather jacket with a hooded sweatshirt beneath is likely in some attempt not to be recognized coming in to the building. Jeans have holes in the knees, work boots are dusted with dried mud. It's only when his black brows furrow and he offers a look over to the brunette teenager seated at the table with a Mac laptop open in front of her.

It takes a moment for Colette Nichols to realize that someone is addressing her, and another moment to realize she was called— "Half pint!?" Mismatched eyes snap up to Kain, brows furrow and cheeks puff out. "Come over here and say that!" There's a narrowing of her eyes as she slaps both of her palms down flat on the table, seeming for all her worth like a very angry kitten; largely ineffectual.

"Yer sister's gonna slice me up an' down if she finds out you're here, sport. Why don'cha run along an' go play a video game or somethin', yeah?" One black brow lifts as Kain looks from Colette to Cardinal with a what the hell are you thinking expression on his face.

Notably, Niklaus Zimmerman has not yet deigned to come down to the basement, or call, or show up.

The furry red dog at Peyton's feet looks like he's paying better attention than she is, despite being deaf. Von watches Cardinal, red foxy ears piqued in interest though the can't hear anything the man says. His mistress, on the other hand, is sitting in the corner chair, eyes distant and cast away though she is listening.

The clairvoyant is doing her hourly "scan" of the various people she's trying to "catch" in this present: Samuel Sullivan, Kira St. Croix and Arnold. If she can catch them in her timestream, if she can recognize their surroundings, if she can get there in time — she has a gun in her purse for just that occasion.

But no such luck. She blinks her dark brown eyes and reaches up to scratch at the healing wound on her temple, darting a glance n Kain's way. Does he know he almost ceased to exist? She heaves a sigh and glances back at Cardinal, returning her attention to the present.

As much as François had promised he'd be late — he's on time. Miraculously, the universe works the way he wants it to, the traffic does its thing, and the Frenchman is seated. Like many, probably, he does not cosy right up to the table, finding a perch a little away for simple virtue of the fact that he is unfamiliar to most people here, and is not seeking to do any pontificating. A leg folds over the other, dressed in a simple attire of jeans, a deeply green button down shirt with the sleeves rolled to his elbows, and shoes of polished black.

As Kain pipes up, François finds himself glancing down at the watch on his wrist, thumb skimming over expensive silver.

Monica sits back in her own chair, not commenting yet herself, but rather, cleaning a gun there in her lap. She's not really… looking at it, though, like her hands know how to go through the motions better than she does consciously. For her, her sideways glances go to the string web, a bit of a frown on her face for it.

The sound of stilettos thundering down the staircase goes unheard in the soundproofed room, but their cadence rings out unmistakably when the door opens and Niki Sanders hurries in, shoving the door shut behind her. "Sorry," she murmurs quickly. "Hope I'm not too late." A black duffel bag is dropped on the floor and shoved under a bench up against the wall with her shoe. Clear platformed stripper heels. Someone just got off work, or is planning to head that way after the meeting. As if the way she tugs a black sweatshirt emblemised with the iconic sign welcoming visitors to Fabulous LAS VEGAS over a pair of black hotpants and fishnets wasn't enough to suggest that.

She's just in time to catch Colette's outburst and furrows her brow. Isn't she a little short for a stormtrooper? It's let go for the time being, however, in favour of flashing a look to Monica and the way she oh-so-casually is cleaning a gun. "'Klaus isn't here yet?" Niki mumbles the query, scanning the room for any sign of her half-brother.

"She's here because she wants to be here, Zarek." Cardinal's response is steady but it bears an edge to it as it's spoken, "And as for Nicole… what she doesn't know won't hurt her, and the last thing I want her to know about is this little group meeting right now. She's still fully loyal to Linderman…"

"…and we'll get to Linderman in good time tonight. So unless you two children want to take it outside and have a slap-fight, just cool your heels for the time being."

He brings one hand up, fingers rubbing against his forehead for a moment to try and banish the headache that's already beginning to form. After a few more moments, his hand drops down to rest by his side as he looks back over the group, "So since there's no more questions, let's start from the beginning. Some of this is going to sound a little… strange to some of you, but trust me, it's all real."

"The Company's been in the news; most of it's pretty true. They were originally a group of evolved, the Founders, who came together with the intent of keeping the 'secret' of the Evolved safe. Of course, power corrupts, yadda yadda…" He spreads his hands, "…they became a conspiracy. Arthur Petrelli - the president's father - was one of them, and he was one of the sources of corruption in the group. So…" And he fixes a look on Kain and Colette, "…was Daniel Linderman. They rigged the senatorial election for Nathan Petrelli, they blackmailed Rickham out of office, and they arranged for the Bomb."

That little tidbit of information dropped, he remains silent for a moment, "Yeah, the Petrellis tried to sacrifice one of their sons in the middle of the city, killing god knows how many, just to get Nathan in office and power."

"As anyone who's picked up a newspaper can see, they're falling apart. They finally made too many mistakes, and they've been dismantled and their agents either jailed or taken into the fold of the Commonwealth Institute. They're our biggest threat right now. They're Vice-President Mitchell's pet project, they have their own FRONTLINE unit, a budget in the billions and just about no oversight at all to do whatever they want. Some've my own friends have been kidnapped by the Institute, and more that I know of have either been forced into service or vanished by them. Their director's Simon Broome, and we don't know his exact goals just yet."

As he nose wrinkles, Aric says softly, "Jesus…sounds like my family life in a fucked up kind of way." Aric cocks his head to the side looking over towards Monica and smiles softly at her. He catches Peyton and smiles a bit more wanting to tell her that he punched someone for her yet turns his attention back towards Cardinal. The man tucks a few loose strands of hair behind his ear leaning against the chair with his elbows.

Breathing in a deep breath through his nose, Kain offers an askance look to Colette, then back up to Cardinal as he approaches the table. "Sparky ain't entirely eatin' outta' Danny-boy's soup cup these days," Kain notes with a raise of one brow. "From what Ah' heard at a dinner date between me an' John Logan an' her, Danny told her to run for the hills. Apparently the ol' bastard thinks that the axe might be comin' down on his neck soon'r than we'd thought. He wanted her t'protect herself, and he sent her t'me an' Logan."

Kain's blue eyes glance down at Colette and her laptop, then back up to Cardinal. "Shit's truer'n fiction," he mumbles with a furrow of his brows and a shake of his head, glancing over his shoulder to Niki as a chill runs down his spine and he politely moves around the table and away from her. "Ah' dunno how we can use that, but Ah' found out she's got some sorta' depression thing goin' on. Mah bodyguard Manny was down at her house the other day, an' she wasn't in her right sorts. Might be a good time t'talk t'her again, 'fore she goes and does somethin' stupid."

"She's not stupid," Colette grouses with an askance look to Kain, eyes narrowed. "I'll talk to her," is added in a murmur after the fact, "don't— nobody needs t'worry about her right now." Colette's attention turns back to the laptop, then up to Cardinal. "What about the visions? We— we're going to discuss that right?"

That's the only reason she's here.

There's a little smile when Niki comes in, and Monica nods her over this way to an empty chair. As for the question about her brother, the mimic shakes her head, "Haven't seen him, Nik." But when Colette mentions the visions, Monica frowns again.

Catching Aric's smile, Peyton smiles back a little wanly, then glances from Kain to Colette as each speaks. Her brows knit together at the mention of visions, and her eyes dart back to Cardinal. There is a pang of something within her that Aric can sense — fear and resignation combined.

Von heaves a bored sigh — there are no tennis balls or rawhide chews in sight. This is boring! — and lays his muzzle on top of his paws, brown eyes darting left and right and back for a moment before he begins to chew on his own leash out of boredom.

Hearing about the big hitters behind the Institute has François' attention, at least, but he keeps his mouth shut for now about those captive, and the reason he happens to be here. For the resident telepath, there is the echo of whirring thoughts as if to compensate for outward silence, snatches of words, both English and French with a leaning towards the latter. There is a ragged tiredness to it, the kind one might develop when memorising something over and over. …venir en aide, etre peu dispose… no time if not by this week…

The first part of the story is one that Niki is very intimate with. It's a little odd hearing it so simplified, when it's something she lived herself. Her part in Nathan Petrelli's blackmailing and rigged congressional election is one she isn't proud of.

But talk of Linderman's assistant perks her head up. With the name Nicole being bandied about, Colette suddenly looks more familiar. "Nichols?" Grey-blue eyes narrow and Niki's lips twist into a sneer. "Might be a good time to give her a nudge." Her voice drops to a mutter to add, "Off the roof." She takes a seat next to Monica and nods in both greeting and acknowledgement.

A look is flashed to Kain, and Niki shifts her chair closer to Monica's in a gesture more symbolic than anything. I know what you've done. Don't fuck with my family.

Elisabeth is not oblivious to the undercurrents, and she's got an eye on the Kain/Niki(Jessica) situation even as they're playing it out. But her attention is on the ball, so to speak. Keeping her ears on the briefing and waiting to see what Richard already has in mind.

As his eyes fall on Niki and Monica, Aric turns his attention towards Kain. The Telepath looks at him a bit deeper this time as he considers the man silently before giving Liz a concerned looked. He rubs his temples and closes his eyes a moment taking a few deep breaths.

"If you can talk to her, Colette… if she could be convinced that it's in her best interest to step away from Linderman before she gets dragged down with him, that'd be great," Cardinal admits, pinching the bridge of his nose again at the exchanges between the pair, "She's still a little - upset at me, so maybe I can apologize. Anyway."

"To continue… whatever the Institute's plans are, they don't have a single ounce of ethics to them. Anyone who was inside their Staten Island facility should know that. They've performed horrific experiments on Evolved and other people, and brought on war criminals – like Dmitri Gregor - and given them free reign to do as they will. Desmond Harper seems to be their primary field agent."

There's a pause, "Oddly, they've been given orders not to directly interfere with us when it's possible. I don't understand why, just yet, but I'm not interested in testing the limits of that just yet."

"Amongst other things… they carried out Project Delphi. It was an experiment on a precognitive that could give people visions of the future - a Ferryman by the name of Joseph. Sumter. It went wrong, causing the flashes of the future that everyone saw a few months ago. The vision of the riots and insanity that erupts on November eighth."

"And yes, Colette, that's one of the things we're here to discuss."

Jaiden heads down the stairs, pretty sheepishly, all things considered. There was a meeting and he was late for it. Punctuality is normally high on his list, but there was something important he was doing and lost track of time. He gives nods to anyone who looks over at him, even giving Elisabeth a small smile before listening to Cardinal, setting his box down. He claimed this from Abby, who was upstairs.

Down the stairs comes a quiet, slow progression of footsteps. Carrying a stack of Tupperware boxes in one hand, Niklaus Zimmerman looks like he might actually be quite put-off about something. The bespectacled German pauses as he reaches the basement level, offering a faint smile to Niki, followed by a more apologetic one to Cardinal.

"I apologize for the lateness," he notes in a stilted German accent, "there was an accident at the kitchen last night, I am something like grounded, you see?" One of his brows raises as he approaches the table, setting down the Tupperware with a clunk heavier than just pastries would imply. Lifting up the top box, Niklaus sets it down beside the bottom one. Pulling the lid off, the fresh scent of baked goods spills out, followed by an askance look to Jaiden and his own confections. There's a very subtle challenging expression that crosses his face before he looks up and around the room.

"Fresh scones, and a few strawberry Danish that I saved from their grisly fates." The Tupperware is pushed ahead, followed by the second lid being removed to reveal— bricks of clay? "I also made some C4. Twelve bricks. I hope you all did not suspect I only bake sweets. That would be largely ineffectual for your needs, unless you are planning on also opening a bakery, that is." The undercurrent implying I may need a new job soon.

Clicking silently on the keyboard of her laptop, Colette offers a look up to Niklaus on his arrival, then back to Cardinal. Content to be working on whatever notes it is she's taking, her attention seems to be largely muted save for when notion of Project Delphi is raised. It elicits a look up from her work, mismatched eyes staring over at the shadowmorph, then François briefly, then back down to her laptop again in quiet typing.

Elisabeth glances toward the stairs as the newest arrivals all appear. And she moves briefly toward Aric, picking up the cup of latte he brought for her at the beginning of the meeting and casually putting a hand on his shoulder in thanks as she drinks it. Talk to me, she orders (or at least attempts to send). His look regarding Kain disturbs her.

"Did you bring us some Devonshire cream for the scones, Niklaus?" Peyton murmurs, a slight smile gracing her face for the first time since the meeting began in earnest. "And are the rest of us who don't bake going to get kicked out for not being able to keep up with the Joneses?" Aric, Niklaus, and Jaiden with his box of rescued pastries all get a mock-competitive glance from the clairvoyant who has very few culinary skills.

As if sensing Peyton has returned to the living for the time being, Von suddenly springs up from this prone position, putting paws on her knee, holding his leash in his mouth.

"The last group that I need to mention here is Messiah…" A breath's taken in, and then Cardinal exhales it in a frustrated sigh, "…Peter Petrelli is not in control of them, as he thinks. Their so-called tactician, Rupert Carmichael, is a persuader, and he's been using his ability to put suggestions in their minds, manipulating them. Worst of all, information's come to us that Rupert's connected to Mitchell - and all the 'terrorist attacks' haven't hit anything at all, with everything important moved out ahead of time."

"We're extracting Claire, and I'm working with people inside the group to break Rupert's hold on them, including Peter… Niklaus, so good of you to join us." Wry, as he looks to the grey bricks, "And you brought presents. How thoughtful. We'll put it in the weapons locker."

As he looks up at Liz, Aric places a hand on her shoulder and smiles softly, "Interesting bunch you have I have to say." He drops his voice to a near whisper knowing the woman's skill and says, "Niki does not like Kain. All I can say it is has to do with Monica or she is protective of Monica…very much so…he seems a bit…shady. I was doing my best to close my mind yet…some of them are loud thinkers. I can scan Kain if you wish but…well charming with the morals of a pea. Yet I could be wrong."

There is a quirk of a smile from François to Colette, some vague familiarity to do with the Vanguard's remnant and the Ferrymen both, but it's a brief enough moment that it's swifter than a blink. Niki and Jaiden's arrivals mostly get a scoping look from the Frenchman, from where he sits nearish the wall with a leg demurely slung over the other, his hands coming to link together, his back at a slouch. If there is a point at which he might interrupt— well there probably isn't, as one topic is expanded on after the other, and there is a time for letting a leader say all he has to say. François, in this capacity, is a listener. Especially when Niklaus mentions he cooked up some weaponry, at which point François raises a speculative eyebrow.

There's always a way to get a girl's attention. For some it's flowers, or nice jewelry… but Monica doesn't even blink at all the baked goods. The C-4, though, that she looks over Niklaus' way for.

However, Cardinal also gets a blink for his words. Clearly, she was expecting something else to come up at this meeting. She doesn't say anything, thought the telepath in the room is quite suddenly hearing things about someone named d'Sarthe coming from the previous quiet mind of Monica Dawson.

"Ahh," she starts in her gently southern accent, "So we're doing something about Messiah, right? I mean, besides gettin' Claire out, what about everyone else?"

"Niiiice, Niklaus," Elisabeth compliments mildly. And then there's a faint smirk from Liz and a ffft sound. Aric's telling her nothing that she doesn't already know. I know what the deal with Kain and Jessica is, don't worry about that. She squeezes the telepath's shoulder. Try not to shut down too hard. If anyone's even thinking subversion at this point, I want to know about it. And she has no qualms about using Aric this way — this is the safety of hers. Blue eyes skim the group again and the blonde winds her way through toward the back of the room, pausing long enough to bend and kiss François on the temple as she passes on her way to the stairs. She's on call, she needs to check her pager regularly.

"C4?" Niki tips her head up to give her brother a look both appraising and appreciative. "Nice." That may be a bit more of Jessica talking, but sometimes it's hard to tell where one personality ends and the other begins. A smirk is sent Peyton's way. "I think you and I can get by on our looks for a while," she teases. It's not to say she can't bake. She certainly can. But really? This is not a PTA meeting, so she just can't be bothered.

As the topic if Messiah comes up, however, Niki lets out a quiet sigh and sits up in her chair. "Richard," she offers in voice that's quiet, but firm enough to call his attention to her. Now look at what you've gone and done. You're going to have to tell him. "I have tabs on Peter Petrelli." She could just leave it at that, but… "He's staying at my apartment."


"Bon courage," is a muttered well-wishing for Elisabeth, François' attention summoned at the peck and twitched glancing concern sent after her, a hand drifting up but ultimately going nowhere, fingers curling into palm. When you're in her line of work, being called out is never fun. His attention returns to the meeting, however.

As he looks up at Liz, his eyes move towards Monica curiously. Aric runs a hand through his hair as he brings his hands to his mouth rubbing his chin in an attempt to keep his mouth hidden, "You say so Liz. When Richard yells at me for listening I am sending him your way…and you might want to talk to Monica. She just thought about d'Sarthe or whatever his name is. The French guy I pissed off by punching that asshole Deckard in the mouth at his opening." Aric drops his hand from his mouth and clears his throat from his whispering.

"At your apartment?" Cardinal's brows both lift a little upwards at that revelation, giving her a rather curious look, "Hnh. I'd… be careful about that, if I were you. Not that I think Peter's dangerous to you in his right mind, but we don't know what sort've alterations Rupert's done to his brain. And for the love've God, don't ever be alone with Carmichael."

"If we take action directly to fix the situation with Messiah… they'll take it as an attack. I'm helping some people inside their organization, including Peter himself, uncover the truth and deal with it internally."

"Alright. So let's look at all the things that we have on our agenda."

"Firstly - we've been collecting as many of the visions as we could gather - Colette's been extremely helpful with that - and trying to piece together what exactly happens. We know there's riots, fires… and there's a lot of people working erratically. All the members of Messiah that've told me what they've seen have indicated that they're going on a murderous rampage," he admits with a grimace, "Jaiden tells us that he heard a broadcast in his vision, someone saying 'Every Prophet in His House… and when one of our precognitives was asked how to stop what happens, she answered 'Don't Listen'."

"So… logically it seems like some sort've trigger phrase. I could be wrong. I don't know," he admits, rubbing at his face, "If I'm right, it sounds like Carmichael, which - could make sense if he's actually trying to force public opinion against the Evolved. If people want to continue to hunt down visions - by all means, let me know, and I can give you some leads to follow up on."

Peyton blinks, looking up at Cardinal. "Every prophet in his house — that's … that's what that Else Kjelstrom paper said all over it, wasn't it? Maybe we should look at that again… do you want me to … oh, it was Colette who sent that out, wasn't it?"

Peyton's dark eyes sweep over to the one person younger than her in the room, and she offers a tentative smile. "Do you have that on your laptop? Maybe there's something else useful," she says, a little uncertainly. "If you don't, it's in my files in my office, I'm sure."

With how little Monica reacts about the news of Niki's roommate… it's pretty clear she already knew that part. But she does raise an eyebrow at the note for Niki to be careful, either because none of them lead particularly careful lives or because she doesn't think Niki needs the warning, it's hard to say exactly. But as Cardinal goes on, she goes quiet there, just listening for now.

Perhaps surprisingly, this is where François speaks up. It's a quiet offering, reluctantly given, but spoken nonetheless; "It was in mine too. The phrase — every prophet. Over the radio." If he's said anything to anyone here that is remotely familiar with him about his vision, it certainly evades memory. More likely, he simply hasn't mentioned it up until this point. A lot of people, anyway, got visions.

"Oh— " Colette blinks once as she looks up to Peyton, "Y— yeah I have it on my computer, hold on." A few keystrokes and mouse clicks later, and Colette is turning the laptop around to show an image editing program with digital camera photos of notebook pages. "I scanned these all from Else's journal after she had like, a mini psychotic breakdown with her prophecy stuff, right before she got really sick from the Five Ten."

But something about the notion of Every Prophet In His House worries Colette. "But… But people heard that on the radio and like, television and shit," Colette looks up from her laptop, flicking a look to Elisabeth, then Cardinal. "I mean like, how does that even work? From what Conrad told me about how audiokinetics work, there has to be a certain wavelength of distortion in order for them to generate their sound magic, they can't do it remotely through mediums that carry sound because the transmissions are lossy."

Sliding her tongue across her lips, Colette looks down to the table, then back up again. "If he can do his shit over broadcasts, then doesn't that mean he could like… screw with someone's head over a phone call? I— how do we even protect against something like that?"

And therein lies Colette's look to François He had a vision? She will be dogging his heels later to get that on record.

"I wouldn't still be alive if I weren't careful," Niki reminds Cardinal. You're making a mistake. When Colette turns her laptop for others to see, the blonde leans in with a curious expression. "She's a precog?" she asks, turning her eyes on Colette. The look is neutral, but there's a flicker of something like distrust. She looks a little too much like her older sister for Niki to be entirely at ease with her. Sometimes I wonder which side Richard's really on.

Aric frowns softly as he looks at Niki and stands slowly. Aric thinks Niki is an awesome chick but he clearly frowns at her. He walks over to Cardinal and leans in and whispers something to him and leans away walking to his plate of cookies. He looks down at them and picks up the biggest one and takes a bite. He begins to chew slowly scanning the crowd.

"I… shit, I'd nearly forgotten about the paper," Cardinal admits with a rather startled blink over in the direction of Ms. Whitney, "Good call, Peyton.. good call. I'll go back over it all later, if anyone else wants to go over it, go for it. Maybe some fresh eyes could give us some insights."

Then he shakes his head at Colette, "It's not audiokinesis… it's, well, it's basically mind control. And if he's set people up to react in certain ways to the phrase - well, he doesn't even need to be alive anymore for it to trigger. It explains why the members of Messiah have seen themselves… start to murder people left and right, even the ones who're less than violent themselves."

In dark humor, he jokes, "Since none've us are going through a psychotic fit, I suppose that means none of us are under the influence of Rupert, or whoever else is behind this. Mind you, it's just a theory at this point, so let's keep coming up with theories until we have solid evidence."

"We've got a month, people. A month to find out how to stop this. Let's make it count. I'll handle the Messiah angle… Colette, keep hunting down visions. If anyone else is interested, I'm putting her in charge of that project." A smile's flashed over to Colette, "Since she's clearly good at it."

He steps over to the table, reaching out to capture one of the strawberry Danishes that Niklaus brought out, taking a bite and chewing - swallowing - before saying, "Moving on… the Linderman Group." The whisper from Aric brings a lean in slightly, a frown pursing to his lips, and he nods once silently to the other man before leaning back.

"Maybe he's not working his magic over the radio, maybe he's just… setting off people he's already messed with. If he set it up so that just hearing that phrase… you know what I mean? Which… certainly doesn't solve a problem of protecting against it." Monica pauses a moment… then looks over at Cardinal. "Either way… What if we just… took out the radio? Broadcast stations, towers, however it works. If we took them down shortly before the eighth…"

Oh, but Linderman comes up. And gets a frown from Monica. Oh these darn criminal organizations.

"The Manchurian Candidate." Jaiden murmurs, referencing a decent Frank Sinatra film or a more recent Denzel Washington film about brainwashed soldiers triggered by a code word or phrase. This was also a plot point in Leslie Nielsen's Naked Gun.

Aric looks over at Jaiden and says, "Good movies." Aric moves back to his chair and plops down sliding off his sneakers and pulls his knees up to his chest while eating the cookie.

There's a slight flush as Cardinal praises her and Peyton smiles in the tacit equivalent of a pshaw. At the mention of the Linderman group, she turns to look at Kain, but then Monica speaks. "All of them?" The clairvoyant shakes her head.

"I don't think we could get them all — and then there's still, what, internet things, podcasts, et cetera, loud speakers in large buildings… if we're worried about widespread mind control from him, I don't think there's anyway to stop that, unless we stop him." Her voice is cool — her foray into the past is making her a bit more stoic and pragmatic about the sanctity of human life.

"I've got people working on getting building layouts on the out-of-state locations you gave to me," Niki tells Cardinal, assuming he knows what she's referring to. "I'm going to use my own people on this. That leaves your people," Endgame people, "free for your other projects. I've got it covered. Linderman won't know what hit him." Her gaze is hard, like she's not negotiating the terms of how she's going to accomplish her task.

"New York City, she is too big a city for me to effectively put a dampener on," Niklaus explains from where he's been quietly listening, having made his way to Niki's side during his silence. "But I can cover a few square blocks with an EMP distortion that should disrupt radio broadcasts and electronic communication. Disrupt, not stop, mind you." Niklaus reaches up to adjust his glasses, looking askance over to the laptop, then back to Cardinal again.

"I could also create an electromagnetic pulse that would destroy all electronics in a block or two but… I do not feel that would be intuitive to our goals." Furrowing his brows, Niklaus looks down to the laptop again, then curls his fingers against his palm. "Could you print out 'zat for me? Computers and I do not fare well when in proximity to one another."

Colette looks up to Niklaus, brows lifted, then turns to look to her laptop. "Yeah I… I can print it off here, sure." Mismatched eyes angle back to Niklaus, and her mind swims with odd notions: This guy totally sounds like he's not from around here. Oh man I wonder if he's French too? I wonder if he knows François? My feet are cold. It smells weird down here.

Colette's mind is a minefield for wholly normal reasons.

I wonder if he cooked that C4 in Abby's restaurant…

"We got any leads on what we're doin' with Danny?" Kain finally speaks up again amidst the silence. "All this Propheticcc and Pigshit ain't borin', but Ah' do recall we wanted t'try an' get a move on this shit before the riots. Ah' do recall you'n Ah' havin' some meetin' in Danny's office in mah little high-lu-cunation." The southerner offers with a drawl and the flash of a smile.

"Unless all'a that's gone on the back burner?" One of Kain's brows lift as he considers Cardinal. "Ah' ain't here t'play Cowboys and Psychics with you boys, Ah'm here t'handle that there business an' keep mah head out've everythin' else."

Aric's eyes move towards Colette as he brings a hand to his temple and wrinkles his nose. He sets his feet back on the floor when Kain speaks it draws his attention. He cocks his head to the side and wonders what is this man's story and since he is the only telepath in the room he can think with ease. He does look in François direction and considers the French man for a moment. Whoever this Teo is…I will say he has decent taste. He has pretty eyes.

"Like I said… we've got a month. If you can come up with a way we can shut down the broadcast without causing a bigger disaster than we're trying to prevent," Richard admits with a splay of his hands to either side, the danish in one of them, "I'm all ears. That's tech shit, and as you should know by now, I'm not exactly Mister Technology."

A bite of the danish, he chews, swallows, and leans back against the wall, "I said we're getting to it, Kain. Christ, you people're impatient. No, it's not on the back burner, it's still a priority."

"Linderman's going down - with or without us, that's pretty obvious by now. If it goes down without us, though, it's going to be a fucking mess," he observes flatly, "d'Sarthe's here to be a distraction. Pretty soon, Daniel'll be getting a…. prophetic painting that suggests d'Sarthe's a severe threat to him. That should keep his attention in that direction."

"Niki," he says, looking over to the disassociative strong woman, "You have the addresses of those law offices, right? I talked with Ling Chao - she's on board, you just need to talk to her. We need Linderman's will and testament."

"I've got this," Niki reiterates, an edge of annoyance to her tone. At the mention of d'Sarthe, her attention shifts squarely to Monica, judging her reaction. Son of a bitch, she hadn't meant for her to find out like this.

As he finishes his cookie, Aric turns his attention from the pretty eyed Frenchman and looks towards Cardinal, "I want to help a bit more hands on. I am an unknown face within this "community". I could help in more ways then just sitting on the side lines…yet I might not be the best to help in anyway with d'Sarthe. I am not his favorite person….I kind of pissed him off at his opening by punching Deckard's kid in the mouth."

There is a curious upward tic of one of Peyton's brows at Aric's words. "Oh, was that you?" she says with some amusement — she clearly doesn't know why. "Poor Amadeus. He doesn't mean to be an idiot. I think he just took one too many tokes before puberty, you know?" She actually sounds amused and almost fond of the young Deckard man. "If you want me on Linderman watch, I can do that," she adds, back to Cardinal. On top of Dankovision, Institutevision, and now Time Villain vision, of course. It's like having dish network.

Monica's reaction, outwardly at least, is understated. But, it does get her to stop messing with her gun for the first time during the meeting. "Do you mean prophetic or… 'prophetic'?" She even uses her fingers for the quotes. This question does seem to carry more weight than it really should on the surface. Her gaze flicks over to Aric when he speaks, too. "Well… we don't need to be friends with d'Sarthe, right?" Ah, there it is. "Right?"

"Flint Deckard has a kid?"

It is said in unison between Colette and Kain, both of their expressions a mirror of one another'; a single brow raised and twitching, mouth open and head tilted to the side. Slowly, the pair turns to look at each other, brows furrowed and eyes narrowed, then Colette reaches out for her laptop to slide it back over while Kain folds his arms over his chest and looks down to the floor.

"d'Sarthe's good backup. If we wanna keep the Triad from cuttin' our throats when this is all said an' done, we're gonna' need someone with cred in the criminal underworld to work hand in hand with us, 'cause despite what Dicky thinks, Ah' ain't gonna be able t'hold all this mahself."

Ridge of a fingernail dragging in a fidget against his scarred left ear— because not everyone can be pretty all over— François coincidentally has a curious glance sent back towards Aric at the name Deckard, and then to Colette and Kain, an encounter of his own too fresh in his mind for that not to snag on his attention span. What hooks him is not, however, related to world domination, toppling corporations, or averting the apocalypse. So again, silent (patient!!) presence.

Ever loud, in his head. …that motel open twenty four hours, I think. I hope. I would not like to take McAlister up on her offer. Should ask but none of these others are soldiers, no one here, but remember the seeing girl… And a glance to Peyton when this crosses his mind. Restless thoughts for all that its outwardly understated.

The finger-quotes from Monica get a smile from Cardinal. "The second one."

"As for… friendly… like Zarek said, he makes a good backup. That doesn't mean we have to like it, but we only need to tolerate him until we've solidified our hold on things," he admits, reluctantly, "I know you and him have history, Monica, but at least temporarily we're going to need the bastard."

Wryly, "If it makes you feel better, I'm sure he'll eventually double-cross us, and then Jessica can rip out his spine and beat him with it."

"You punched…" A chuckle stirs past Cardinal's lips at Aric's words, "…well, he probably deserved it. Anyway, why don't you help Colette with her project? There's a few hundred thousand people to interview, I doubt either of you'll run out of things to do."

"He deserved it…I know you and Peyton can take care of yourself but he called you gay as if it were a bad thing and…" He looks at Peyton, "He spoke very ill of you. As if you were a piece of meat for him to rub one out on. He is a pig." Aric wrinkles his nose at the thought of the boy and sighs, "I do regret hitting him….only a little." When Cardinal mentions helping Colette he gives her a wave and says, "I'm at your disposal."

Niki reaches over to rest a hand on Monica's forearm. A show of support and reassurance. "So what? We just help d'Sarthe set up shop in the meantime?" I do hope he fucks this up. Maybe Monica'd like his teeth for souvenirs. "If he makes one move against my family, all best are off. I don't give a fuck what kind of deal you've struck with him. I will break it, and I will break every bone in his body. Are we clear on that, Richard?" But a look is shot in Kain Zarek's direction as well. This warning goes almost double for him.

The mimic doesn't seem to know what to say for a moment, but it may be the first time most people in this room have really seem Monica get mad. She doesn't yell or storm out, it's not very explosive, but she's definitely tense. Like she's holding herself in the chair. For Aric, the telepath can easily tell that's pretty much the case, as her focus is on keeping her ability from reacting to her emotions like it is wont to do.

"History is putting it mildly. This is the guy that tied up my grandmother and my little brother and set fire to the building." She was there, too, of course, but that's part's not what's bothering her so much. "It ain't history, Rich. I'm not done with him yet. Or his thugs." And this time it's Monica who isn't going to budge on the plans. The name D.L. rings through her thoughts loud and clear. She's practically shouting it.

Peyton's cheeks color as she stares at Aric, then looks at Cardinal — gay? — and she just snorts, before Niki's threats and Monica's explanations sober her. She brings her coffee to her lips, sipping, before dark eyes look back to Aric, amusement sparkling in her gaze. "I'm sorry he offended you, Aric. Please don't risk your own well being, or even just your knuckles, for me," she says softly, her cheeks flushing just a touch. "A lot worse than whatever he said has been said about me, I'm sure of it."

She glances at Monica with wide eyes, then looks back to Cardinal. "I don't know how I can help on that front, but whatever you need me to do, just let me know."

Aric brings a hand to his head and lets out a gasp of pain. Aric says softly, "Monica…please. I don't know who D.L. is, but you're shouting it. If you lose focus it will get the better of you. Trust me I know." He looks in the woman's direction, "Cardinal will do right by you. I am sure of it."

"Ol' Giddy-up Buttercup didn't get as far as he did out in the Windy City or the Big Easy without effort, d'Sarthe probably's got plans on top'a plans. Ah' sure as shit ain't volunteerin', 'cause he don't trust me none, but it might not be a bad idea t'put someone on the inside with him. A nobody, someone with underworld ties, knows the streets. But someone who ain't front page like mah'self. Y'all fix that up, an' there won't be none've us worryin' about knives at our backs."

Then, of course, Colette strays from the topic of business to be a little bit of a smartass. She is entitled, sometimes.

"Me and this guy?" Colette jerks a thumb in the direction of Aric, "That's typecasting," and that also isn't what that means as she murmurs it in regard to Cardinal. "Like puttin' the queers together, huh?" There's a crack of a smile as she offers a look up to Aric with a huffed bit of laughter before she looks back down to the laptop. You know I don't think I've ever been able to admit that in public before. That's kind've awesome. Okay cool nobody is staring. Awesome. I am comfortable! "I'll have to consult my lawyer about this, she is very strong on civil rights," Colette continues to tease as she lifts a brow to Cardinal, lips crooked up into a smirk, trying to restrain all-out laughter.

"I actually don't think we've met," Colette admits as she furrows her brows in looking at Aric. "Name's Colette, and, I guess we'll have some time to get to know each other while working on this project. I might— have something else I could use your help on too, little side project've mine, if you've got the time. It's about… some kids that're in trouble."

Colette's half-blind stare angles to Cardinal as she clarifies. "Nothing you gotta' worry about though, Mister Cardinal," she's so formal with him, "it won't interfere with the vision project."

"As far as I'm concerned," Cardinal answers Niki seriously, "If he touches any of us or our loved ones… all bets are off. I take care've my people, Niki, and that counts — fuck, just about your entire extended family, at this point."

Tracy probably isn't included there.

"I know, I know," he holds up a hand, looking pained, "It wasn't my idea but now that it's already in motion — eventually, we'll get around to him. I promise, and I'm sorry we can't deal with him right now, but… let's focus on one crime lord that's fucked with your family at a time, eh?"

Completely ignorant of the firestorm that's about to erupt over on the Sanders and Dawson side of the table thanks to Aric's attempt to be helpful, he smirks over in Colette's direction at her playful tirade, "Yeah, well, I'm a bastard like that - besides. Your lawyer's probably Cat and we'll just end up strangling each other to death on the floor of the courthouse… and hell, sure, I'm not gonna complain if you drag him in to help with something. He's the one who wanted something to work on."

Niki's head swivels sharply back to Monica, her eyes wide. "He did that to Nana? And Damon?" As if that revelation weren't bad enough, Aric is bringing up her dead husband's name. Her eyes flit to the telepath, then to her cousin, back to Aric, and this process is repeated several more times before she finally stands up and shoves her chair aside a little too roughly. Sometimes she just doesn't know her own strength.

Niki jostles Niklaus some as she whirls past him and goes stalking away from the table. The effect would be ruined by her attire if she didn't just have this way about her when she's seething. Her pace falters momentarily as she catches sight of her own reflection muted in the bulletproof glass that shields the firing range from the rest of the basement.

Nobody else sees the way that Jessica crooks her finger to Niki with a smirk. Nobody can perceive the way the world shifts as the two personalities trade places and Niki is left on the other side of the glass, so to speak, with her palms pressed against it, watching Jessica's next move.

"D.L. is dead, Monica." Jessica's jaw is set tense, her eyes narrowed to dangerous slits as she wheels on the gathered group again. The sound of Niki pounding against the glass catches her attention, but she only glances that way out of the corner of her eye briefly.

When her cousin's name is spoken out loud… oh the look Monica gives Aric. It's angry, it's betrayed and above all… it's oh so very guilty. But she doesn't say anything, she just closes her eyes tight for a moment, her hands gripping her chair until her knuckles turn white. Calm down, calm down, calm down, she seems to be chanting at herself in her head. It doesn't seem to be working.

So when Jessica addresses her, she turns her head to look at the other woman. She's not crying, so that's a plus, and she is looking her direct in the eye. "He's not dead. He's with d'Sarthe. I saw him in N'awlins. He saved my life. Nana and Damon's, too. I didn't get to ask him if he knew about you, we all had to split. I wanted to find out what was going on before coming to Niki about it." Yeah, she knows Niki's not the one giving her that look. She also leaves out the fact that Liz was in the know, but otherwise, Aric can tell she's telling the truth. or, at least, believes what she's saying.

As he turns his attention to his new partner he smiles and says, "Aric Gibbs its a…" Aric suddenly stops and looks at Niki. He cocks his head to the side as his eyes go wide and he is suddenly up on his feet. He takes a step back from the woman as he grabs his chair, looking between Cardinal and Jessica and Monica and back to Cardinal. He whispers softly, "Fuck… that… ummm you wanna tell me what the fuck just happened? That is not her."

Oh, hell. Cardinal's attention snaps away from Colette as Niki's chair clatters to one side and she stalks away, listening to the revelations made between the cousins… and he brings one hand up, fingers rubbing against his face as he closes his eyes for a moment to offer up a prayer to keep the basement and every in it intact.

"She's disassociative, Aric," he murmurs in very low tones, "That's the protector personality, Jessica. And — just for the record — blurting out someone's thoughts? Real stupid move. Remind me to smack you for it later.

"Actually." Richard's hand lifts to scuff the telepath on the back of the head, "I'll just do it now."

Aric jumps and caught his thoughts too late as he is smacked in the back of the head by Richard. He brings a hand to his head and rubs it and growls, "A deaf person could have heard her thoughts. It was bloody painful…" Aric looks annoyed at Richard and gives a double meaning to his name perhaps as he emphasizes his name, "Dick." Aric storms off into the corner and sits down on a chair and says, "I will just sit here in silence from this point." He closes his eyes and begins to do his best to bring his blocks back up to filter out everyone's thoughts a bit better while keeping an ear on the meeting.

"Anschlag," is roughly stated over Jessica's shoulder, followed by the brazen touch of a hand on her shoulder as Niklaus squeezes firmly. She needn't know what the German is actually saying to understand the tone of his voice or the imploring look in his tired eyes behind those round-lensed glasses. "Pick your battles," is in more proper English, even if heavily accented as his fingers squeeze her shoulders again, brows creased and the wrinkles of age on his face making him look more weary than he truly is.

At the table, Colette has gone rigid, her mismatched eyes wide and back straight. Looking back and forth from the people in the meeting, she has a certain wariness to her, an uncertainty and fright that hangs in the back of her mind, having lived for too long in an abusive household not to recognize the tingle of violence threatening the air. "H— Hey c'mon…"

And Kain—

Hey were did Kain go?


Over by the stairs, Kain Zarek is quietly making his way out of the basement. He followed the trail of broken bodies that Jessica Sanders left in the Vegas desert once, he doesn't need to do it a second time. Exit Cajun, stage right.

In the interim, François has gotten to his feet, a hand gripping the back of his chair and coming to lean against it, clearly tempted to part ways as the meeting's integrity becomes shakier. Kain's exit is a draw to follow suit, but being of politer stuff, he lingers at least for now, those glances for his watch manifest in his anxiety to not stay where he need not.

"You knew he lived!" Jessica hisses furiously. She begins to stalk toward Niki's cousin, positively livid with her. The supposed deaths of Micah and D.L. have been a point of contention between the two personalities, and this reveal is… ill-timed at best. The hand on her shoulder stops her, however, and she turns with a fist raised as if to attack.

A fist that loosens and drops to her side when her gaze settles, and softens on Niklaus' face. Niki all but crumples against her half-brother, hooking her arms under his to curl her fingers around his shoulders. "I'm fine now," she says quietly, her cheek pressed into the magnetic manipulator's shoulder. Her breath comes in quick gasps, betraying the tight grip her emotions have on her throat.

In her mind, she can hear Jessica pounding on the glass. And the telepath can hear her hurling insults, calling her weak. Though they originate from Niki's own mind, rather than some indeterminate space behind her. But if she's so weak, then how come she's in control now?

A sigh whispers past Cardinal's lips as the two cousins go at it verbally - well, the barrage is mostly one-sided, admittedly - and he steps over, grabbing hold of a chair and tugging it out from the table to drop down into it. He rubs against the nape of his neck with one hand, watching Niklaus take control of the situation, and then he brings the danish up to take a bite.

He clears his throat after he's swallowed, asking carefully, "Can we… continue? I think there's one more subject on the table before the night's through, if we can get through it without murdering each other."

Von growls unhappily and his owner tightens her grip on the leash. Peyton stands as well, preparing to flee to her office upstairs until Cardinal calls them back to order. Her eyes dart to the retreating back of Kain Zarek, brows knitting a little in worry. Sitting back down with a sigh, Peyton reaches down to pet and soothe the pup who is riled up at the tension in the room.

Mission accomplished, Niklaus lifts his hand from his sister's shoulder and offers an askance look to Monica, brows furrowed, then another to Aric. Both of the looks imply an unspoken you should know better before he moves away from the table, hands tucking into the pockets of his slacks, shoulders hunched forward before he finds space up against that bulletproof glass, leaning against it with his back and watches the meeting.

With Kain gone, Colette exhaled a huffed sigh and considers closing her laptop. The presence of one more item on the menu has her giving pause though, looking up to Cardinal with a single brow raised, her head tilted to the side.

There is a static pause wherein people wait to hear what that last item could possibly be, although François is more gathering confirmation from a glance to the Endgame leader and tucking his chin in at a nod. "I can be brief. The Institute has a facility in Massachusetts. Research, interrogations, training — I have managed to infiltrate it. Not many of you know me very well, but what you do need to know right now is that they have a friend of mine, detained, and have kept him for going on two months now.

"I need people willing to come with me perhaps in a week or so to extract him. Or create a diversion so that we can do so. Please— only if you have done something like this before. We will be very much out of our element and the less people we need to get out of there, the better, so they should also be capable." He ticks a glance over those within the room, and leaves it there for now, an eyebrow raised as if to ask for queries. Volunteers wouldn't be bad either.

Niki rubs the back of her hand under her nose, feeling rather sheepish as she releases Niklaus so he can go stand up against the separating wall of glass after doling out the admonishing looks. She shoves her hands in her sweatshirt pocket, staring at her shoes as she tunes out Jessica's curses and suggestions of retaliation in favour of listening to François' information.

When he finishes speaking, the blonde's head lifts. "I'll go, if you'll have me." Niki wouldn't be surprised if he wouldn't take her after that outburst. "I have super strength," she adds for his benefit. "And I'm a sharpshooter. And… I hate the Institute as much as anyone here." She offers a shrug to punctuate her resume.

The clairvoyant chews her lower lip, listening to François speak. "I'm no good in a fight and I'm certainly not any help, not compared to Niki or Monica. But I'll help with surveillance if you need me to. If you've infiltrated — if you go in again while I'm watching — prior to the extraction — so I can see anyone you need me to watch, I can watch from their perspective and let you know what's going on via radio, if that's any help," Peyton offers.

"There's a few familiar names working with the Institute there," Cardinal adds to François' words, "There's a Varlane — I can't be sure if he's related to Magnes, but I'm getting to the point that I don't believe in coincidences — and Norton Trask." He slants a look over to Monica as he says that name, since he's a former member of Phoenix, after all.

That said, he offers a faint smile over to François, "And I'm at your disposal, as you already know. Try and keep me away from Trask, though, he'd knock me out of shadow form instantly. Radius power negation."

Colette's brows furrow at François request, her mismatched eyes on his green, a look of worry painted in her expression. She doesn't know François well, but she knows his plight well enough. Sliding her tongue across her lips, Colette asks the one question that could influence her decision to per her life in danger once more. But it is François' stipulation of experience that has her even volunteering at all.

Pinehearst, Bella's laboratory, the Staten Island Hospital, for a girl her age she has been forced into situations far too complex and far too dangerous. In an ideal world, she would be in school right now, in an ideal world Teodoro Laudani wouldn't be the captive of some perverse scientific organization. This isn't an ideal world, though, and the impending answer to Colette's question is far from ideal too.

"Who…" She asks with a slow shake of her head, "Who do they have?"

They saved Teo, after all, didn't they?

That looks from Niklaus just makes Monica sink lower in her chair. But the plus side is that feeling low starts to drain that adrenaline and she's eventually able to relax her hold on that chair. Whew.

She gives François a nod, "That I can get on board with. Generic fighter." That is the label she's giving herself. But the name Cardinal drops gets a confused look. "Trask… the negator? I know I've been out of the loop, but isn't he out of the game, so to speak?"

The offer of help doesn't really relieve François' own tension, but still, it's something, and gratitude can manifest in different ways. He's nodding to Peyton with obvious interest as to her idea. "I'll be in contact with you then. I am heading out to Massachusetts tonight — if you can spare some time tomorrow taking a look through my eyes, you can familiarise yourself, perhaps? But you I am not entirely sure where he is in the building." Niki and Monica both get grateful looks, nods of affirmation, as he continues with, "I will be making one more trip back to New York before the raid — I can go over more details then.

"It is complicated," is directly to Colette, sympathy and reluctance in the tilt of his smile. "An Institute experiment. They copied Teo's body over twice, divided his memories between them. The one that— knows me best, is still captured. The one that joined Eileen's group, and went on the Apollo missions," for those that have any idea what that means.

It's to Peyton he adds, "Has anyone ever detected your presence? Telepaths, probability manipulators? We need to be careful — their powers are very psychic."

Niki slowly moves to reclaim her seat next to Monica, flashing her an apologetic look. She also, knowing her cousin, reaches out to take the gun from the girl's lap, gripping it by the barrel rather than the handle, and sets it on the table, nudging it out of arm's reach. There's a twitch of a smile to her lips. It's not that she doesn't trust her. Honest.

Cardinal's hands spread a bit to either side at Monica's question. "You never really get out of the game, Monica," he admits, his tone rueful, "It won't let you… until it's done. If it ever is." He takes a bite of his pastry, then, chewing and swallowing it, regarding Peyton thoughtfully as the question comes up.

The silent oh in Colette's expression is all the teen can offer when François starts explaining things like cloning Teo. Wringing her hands together in front of the laptop, Colette ducks her head down and purses her lips, tilting her head to the side and gently biting down on her bottom lip. Like Princess Peach from the Mario Brother's games, François' Princess is apparently in another castle.

Looking back up to the Frenchman, Colette slowly dips her head into a bobbed nod. "You've got my support then, I mean, as long as I'm available. I don't know what could happen between now and then, but Teo's the one who was responsible for my meeting Conrad, and…" she shakes her head, expression twisting to a rueful one, "and I owe it to him t'help him out."

When Colette's eyes meet François again, there's a mixture of fragility and resolve in them, a glass doll putting itself on the precarious edge of a cliff to stretch for something just out of reach. "I'll be there. I will, I— I owe him."

"I am no stranger to breaking into places I am not supposed to be," Niklaus suddenly chimes in from where he rests against the wall. "I have been wanting payback on my former employers ever since I was arrested. This would be the perfect chance to take a pound of flesh as it were." The German's brows knit, eyes narrow and lips tug into a frown.

"I will delight in being your blunt instrument," is Niklaus' final agreement.

Monica gives Niki a grateful look there, and she reaches over to take the other woman's hand. She mouths a quiet 'I'm sorry' to Niki that's quite sincere. Then she looks over at Cardinal again. "Yeah, I suppose I know that." For that, though, her tone's a little cooler than usual.

There is some doubt in the look he casts Colette's way, head tipping, before François can bring himself to at least nod at her once he acknowledges Niklaus in a sweeping glance. There is resolve, to not repeat the Staten Island raid. Desire not to condemn so many people to pain and injury and death. But there is also some time to consider his options, and so François, despite his firm and formal resolve just a moment ago, is not saying no. "Merci, all of you.

"In this case, I can hand the meeting to Richard for close." Lines at his eyes define the smile his mouth doesn't quirk.

The last bits of a strawberry danish have just vanished down Richard Cardinal's gullet, aside from the crumbs that scatter from his fingers to the table's edge. He feels it's only his just reward to have pastry after spending the meeting trying to manage the cat-herd that is Endgame, and somehow managing to survive the process.

"In the interests of ensuring that we all get out of here alive," he allows wryly, "I think we can adjourn. Niki, Niklaus — Barbara should be coming by tomorrow, if you two want to talk to her about things that happened in ninety-two."

Niki clasps Monica's hand tightly in both her own and shakes her head. She's sorry, too. When Cardinal mentions her sister, he earns a surprised look. He found Barbara? After all her good intentions to keep her away from Endgame? She turns to look over her should then to Niklaus. "We need to talk," she tells him. Now goes unspoken.

"Yeah. About that," Monica moves to stand up, a bit of that tenseness coming back to her muscles as she looks Cardinal's way. "We're not okay, by the way. I'm not saying I like Linderman any better, but I am not okay with this working with d'Sarthe business. I mean, if he had just tried to kill me, I could look past it. But my brother's just a kid and Nana's a badass, but she's an old woman. You already know he's going to stab you in the back, but I'm not sure you really appreciate what you're putting on the chopping block."

Monica looks back to Niki, giving her one more squeeze before she lets her go and starts for the door. She's got to go run this out of her system.

Niklaus' look he gives Cardinal involves a furrow of his brows, then a slow dip of his head into a nod. Blue eyes meet Niki's, but there's no words, just a turn of his shoulders away from the table and a slow progression towards the stairs. He's heard enough and volunteered for enough to be done with the meeting, and the prospect of being in the presence of his siblings in a plural sense has his heart wrenching inside of his chest, what little of it there is left.

Better now to leave and save the potential lash of anger to come. As Niklaus winds his way to the stairs, Colette watches his departure, lifting up her hands to slowly close her laptop, brows raised and attention drifting between François and Cardinal. He'd gone back in time too flashes through her mind before she pushes her chair out, tucking the computer under one arm.

"Alright," Colette murmurs, looking down to the tabletop then up to Cardinal. "I… should probably get going. I'm supposed to be down in Brooklyn in about an hour and traffic this time've morning's always bad."

Excuse as much as it is, there's work to be done at the Brick House if it's going to hold the Messiah operatives that the council agreed it would. Work that she was tapped to do, work she doesn't have time to do. But like most things in Endgame, it's all about keeping up appearances.

A half-smile with no humor in it whatsoever tugs up at the corner of Cardinal's lips at Monica's words in his direction, a rueful sort of expression as he leans one elbow on the table and lifts a hand up to rub against his eyes as people begin to get up and drift out.

"Thanks for coming, everyone," he says quietly, "We've all got work to do."

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License