History of a Mad Man


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Scene Title History of a Mad Man
Synopsis Temporary partners Sawyer and Ryans take an audio-visual stroll down memory lane as they plan their investigation of Mortimer Jack.
Date January 31, 2010

Ryans' Home

It's a fairly quiet neighborhood, a few kids playing outside in the snow. Husbands out shoveling the walks, while their wives watch through the windows. Suburban America at it's best. His wife had fallen in love with the neighborhood when they first arrived to look at the place. First glance she had told him, 'This is it.'

It's not exactly the place you'd think there would be an planning session in progress between former and current Company agents over one killer, Mortimer Jack. Inside of a quaint little home, trimmed in earthy tones, is just that.

In the dinning room, in it's whites and country hues, with it's pine wood and tiled table, sits both Agent Veronica Sawyer and former Agent Benjamin Ryans. Light streaming through the large window that looks out on the back yard, diffused by the lacy curtain's Ryans wife had put up only a week before the explosion. A cheerful painting of a country barn has been set aside to lean against the wall, so that photos and the like could be pinned on the wall. If Mary had been alive today, she would have pitched a fit about holes in her wall.

"Alright." Ryans says with a sigh, reaching to shift the laptop that sits on the table between them. "This DVD you said supposedly is about Mortimer past?" Popping open the DVD drawer on it, he lays the shiney silver disk in it, and closes it again with a soft click.

"Apparently a doctor was investigating him to see how fit he was to work for Linderman," Veronica explains. How ironic, as their investigation's goal is to see how much of a danger he is presently. "Of course, that was before Primatech, and so where he was mentally at the end of this investigation," she nods toward the screen, as the black cuts to actual video, "and where he is mentally now are not the same things."

A video begins with a middle-aged light-skinned man, wearing circular gold-rimmed glasses with blonde hair, straightening the camera. He has a rather professional expression on his face, wearing a dark-grey suit in front of a coffee shop.

"My name is Doctor Michael Sagan, I'm a Psychologist for the Linderman Group. Mister Linderman has left it up to me to determine if Mortimer Alex Jack is psychologically stable enough to be an asset to the organization, since he appears to be a talented engineer, and I will do this by interviewing people from his past and present, then finally Mister Jack himself."

The video suddenly switches to a girl in her early twenties sitting on the other side of the table in the cafe; brunette, dressed in expensive yet casual clothes, quite pretty. Doctor Sagan's voice can be heard on the other side of the camera.

"Miss Brant, was it? Mister Jack's high school girlfriend."

The girl nods, appearing slightly apprehensive as she grasps her cup of coffee with both hands.

"He was such a nice guy, chess club, soccer team, I think he even did some fencing. Everything was going great, then this one year, we were around sixteen, it's like he just gradually changed. I didn't understand it, he became violent, impulsive, like he just didn't care anymore. And then he'd wear these silver contacts and call me 'Princess Girl'. I just didn't understand…"

The video continues as the girl explains finding Mortimer with a bomb in the school's science lab, counting down with no regard for his or her safety — the bomb fizzles, nothing but smoke pouring forth.

"Well," Veronica says, leaning back, scribbling something on a note pad. "It's not a recent problem obviously. I would guess that if it's lasted this long, it's unlikely that it's gone away just because we haven't heard of anything lately."

"Ironic that Daniel was looking to employ him."Ryans says sounding less then thrilled about that. Of course, Ryans had been Company for absolutely years and had seen it all including Adam's deceit. Fingers rub along the stubble of his jaw as she watches the tape. "To be so young and to have such an ability thrust upon you." There is a small shake of his head. "There is no way it could have gone well. It take time to learn what is truly wrong and right in the world… and puberty is not that time." A small smile tugs at his lips.

"My father once told me that the part of your brain that is capable of moral reasoning — seeing the world as grays rather than black and white and such — doesn't really develop until after puberty. Also, the part of your brain that is most open to learning a new language turns off so that part can turn on, which is why little kids can learn languages so fast, or music, anything that has its own language. I wonder if Jack's brain is wired differently in that part…" Veronica muses, her father's daughter coming to the surface. "Daniel, huh? You on first name basis with Linderman?" she peers at him curiously. "Would he talk with you about Jack, you think?"

That gets a chuckle, from Ryan as he slants a glance at the young woman, "I was brought on to the Company only two years after its founding. I worked straight up until the midtown explosion. I am familiar with all the founding members and older members such as Sabra." His eyes turn back to the screen, thoughtful. "I don't know if, he would talk to me, it's been years. I do, however, think it is worth a try. As long as I make it clear I have no reason to put his associate into the light, maybe he will co-operate."

"Weird. To be on first name basis with them. Maybe I should have you chat up Monroe for me — for old times' sake. And then I Can throw a net on the bastard," Veronica says with a shake of her head. She pushes play once more.

Doctor Sagan's face is once again on camera, outside of a large Brooklyn apartment building, with plenty of refugees sitting around at fires. "The last interview was quite intriguing, though raised more questions than it answered, so I tracked down Mister Jack's former science teacher to get more answers. Apparently he's living in this overcrowded Brooklyn apartment because he happened to be out of town when his home and Mister Jack's former school was destroyed in the Manhattan explosion."

The camera focuses on a man in his 50s, apparently Claremont. "Yes, I'm also an engineer, I tried to foster his growing interest in engineering, a very brilliant boy, but he became quite unstable over time."

"Do you know why he became unstable, and why the sudden interest in engineering?"

"Well, I believe it may have been a home situation issue. His mother works for NASA, and his father was a frustrated psychology writer. From what I hear, he envied his wife, she became sick of it, so she left them both." Claremont explains, sitting back against the ladder of the bed. "I suppose life just changed for him, and he felt he needed a change. Things were going well until he built the bomb."

Doctor Sagan clears his throat, then asks, "Why did he build the bomb?"

"I noticed he appeared to have an amazing talent for building something out of seemingly useless parts, so I gave him a box, and then told him to do what he wants with it. He went into some sort of trance-like state, almost hypnotized by the parts. I decided to leave him alone and let him work, and when I came back his girlfriend was running down the hall…" The man goes on to recount how Jack was arrested and expelled, and he hasn't seen him since.

"Scary ability. No wonder he was able to take down Primatech," Veronica says with a shake of her head, reaching to pause the DVD. "Though I'm not sure this is going to give us too much added insight into how he is now, I guess it's good to see what created the monster so to speak."

The mention of Adam Monroe gets a sharp look from Ryan, blue eyes hold a certain coldness to them, "I think not. I doubt he sees me in any better light then he did the others. That is a dangerous man, scary in that he does not care who he hurts to reach his goal." The hand resting on the table curls into a fist. "Sabra told me the deaths of some of the founders had been traced to Adam. Bastard should have been dealt with rather then tossed in Level 5. Four hundred years is long enough for him to have lived, it is high time he laid down for good."

He quiets again as the video continues, the fisted hand relaxing as he listens. "Very scary. No wonder Linderman wanted to employ him. Heel, I'm surprised the government did not sink their claws into this one, monster or not." He turns her way shifting in his chair as he does. "This does give us a look at what he was. We have to know what he was and what made him tick, before we can say whether he's changed for the better though….." He looks towards the laptop again and gives a short nod of his head. "How he can be sane after that will be simply short of a miracle."

Well, at least her temporary partner of sorts sees eye to eye on Monroe. She nods in agreement at first, then shakes her head when he mentions the government using Jack, monster or not. "If we keep taking morally depraved people, despite how useful their powers are…" she begins, then just waves her hand to dismiss the result of such actions as unspeakable. "I've already stopped one maniacal madman from destroying the world, you know? This sort of power — you can try to have checks and balances for it, but it usually finds a way to escape." She waits a beat. "Like Monroe." She pushes play once more.

This time, there is no video but just audio, Sagan speaking to a Doctor Richards, which the two agents — former and current — know is the name of Mortimer Jack's mother.

When Sagan asks what caused the change in her son's personality, the answer is twofold: "My genes, his father's greed. I'm Evolved, registered, mind you, I have what I call Mechanical Intuition, I can create things provided I have the correct parts, and fully understand the workings of any machine I happen to be using. But this gift has a terrible side effect, one I learned to control, but my husband exploited in my son and ruined his mind."

"I see, and, what is the side effect?"

"Hallucinations, highly realistic and constant hallucinations when we're using a special 'sight' we have. We can see the inner workings of machines, see what /could/ be, all the parts assembling themselves before we even get started. But when we use the sight on non-machines, or just keep it on casually, things become strange, your view of reality becomes warped, you can mistake this for 'true' sight, because it feels so enlightening. If you don't keep your focus completely on machines, you can truly go insane, which I believe may be the case with my son."

Jack's mother goes on to say her husband's experimenting kept their son in a permanent hallucinating state, and that once he built the bomb, she "washed her hands of it," and both Jack and his father disappeared around the same time, but not before his father's book was published and made the best seller's list.

Grimacing, Ryans reaches over and hits pause on the video and climbs to his feet. "And there is the meat of it." His rich tone, bland with disgust as he picks up a empty glass from the table. Taking it into the kitchen, he opens the side by side fridge and takes out a pitcher of a tea. "More ice tea? My wife use to make the best sweet tea, I've yet to figure out exactly what it is she did."

As he pours he gets back to business, "Abandoned by his mother… and experimented on by his own father. It is no wonder he turned out as he did." He frowns a bit and glances at the laptop. "Makes me almost want to pity him." Almost.

"Sure," Veronica says, smiling a little sadly at the mention of a wife obviously no longer in the picture. She doesn't ask, though, figuring he will tell her if he wishes. "It's good, though, as it is." Her eyes look at the paused screen. "Yeah, it makes me feel really lucky to have the upbringing I did. My mom sort of went absentee after my dad died, but I guess so did I — running off to college, only visiting when I had to. We're not close, but she was a good mom until then." There's some sadness there, but also a smile. "But then I didn't have a potentially earth-ending ability like our friend Mortimer."

Once he returns, she takes her glass and hits play once more.

On the laptop, video comes back, showing a slightly plump brunette wearing a casual dark-blue frilly dress, smiling into the camera.

Sagan introduces her as Mary Jack, Mortimer's sister, and asks the woman to discuss her childhood. The woman, a psychologist like her sister, tells the camera that she is trying to find a cure for her brother and that she noticed the changes after her brother started going off with their father.

"They'd come back, Morty would be in a daze, sometimes irritable, and I saw my father rather beat-up-looking on occasion. But I prefer to remember the times before that, the trips to the amusement parks, long car rides, days at the beach, getting defended by him at school… He was a great brother before this mess started."

When asked to give a typical conversation, she recounts one at the school library, with her brother theorizing about dimensions and Lovecraft, that perhaps it was possible that there were "Lovecraftian horrors trying to destroy the third dimension, the only thing keeping them trapped." Or, "Maybe the Lovecraftian horrors are the good guys" who need to break through to "defend us against the Elder Gods!"

But Mary's reminiscence is interrupted suddenly when the tape fizzles and statics, and then instead shows Mortimer Jack, whom Vee recognizes from her files, wearing a grey shirt and a black biker jacket, sitting back in some warehouse.

"This blatant censoring of the media is brought to you by Mortimer Jack! If anyone interviews my sister again, or tries to use her to get to me, I'll blow up five buses, two criminal hideouts, destroy a fire hydrant, and kidnap your sisters, and so on in that order until you get the point. This has been a blatant censoring of the media, brought to you by Mortimer Jack!" Then he fires a golden desert eagle into the camera, presumably destroying it.

Veronica just stares at the screen. "Well," she just says, blinking finally.

"My father, might as well been absent. He was a navy man and was more often then not gone on the boats. Of course, I was not exactly the best son to my mother either." Ryans explains as he scoots around the kitchen island to refill her cup. Leaning across the table to do so he says with a touch of amusement, "When I showed interest in the Navy myself.. she happily signed the papers that let me join when I was seventeen."

"I wasn't much better then my own father, when it came to my girls. But you know well, that working for the Company means your gone often." His back to the screen listening as he moves to put the pitcher back in the refrigerator. His brow furrows as she shuts the door and then freezes.

They say that things like a sound or a scent can tricker memory. In this case it's the sound of Mortimer's voice that makes the ex-agent freeze. "Wait." He saids suddenly, taking the few steps to his seat quickly. "Rewind that… I know that voice." He doesn't wait for Veronica to do the work he does it himself and hits pause when Mortimer points that gun at the camera.

A finger points at the screen and gives a little shake as he look at her. "I saw him a few weeks back at the library… He was talking to a young woman Abigail Beauchamp like he knew her… something about healing." Glancing at the laptop again his eyes narrow, "He seemed rather….. normal."

Veronica's eyebrows raise. "I know Abby. You think they're in touch? I can … get in contact with her, see if she knows where he is. If they're friends, she may want to protect him, but if I make it seem like we're just checking on his welfare and all… she might tell me." Maybe. Abby and she have a tentative respect for one another, or at least she has respect for the once healer. "She's not a healer anymore, unless she finally got her power back, though." She writes down Library and Abby on her note pad, letting the video play on.

The next bit shows two bikers dressed in black with helmets on, the helmets having the red numbers 4 and 8. They're sitting on black motocross bikes, and this is clearly Sagan's original video again, since you can hear his voice. "—ortimer anyway?"

It's hard to tell exactly which biker is talking at any given time, but this one appears to be 8, who has a much deeper voice than four. "I work at an office, I'm a programmer. My life was pretty terrible before I met Mortimer. I had no purpose, no meaning, then one day I was getting mugged, and he just rides by, and cuts the man's head off! Staten is bad, but this was four years ago, before it got anywhere near as bad as it is now. But I was just so fascinated, how could someone do that, without a second thought? I was too fascinated to be afraid, I, wanted that, and it's like he could sense it in me…"

The biker recounts Mortimer talking him into joining his gang: "You can't say you have power over life until you can take a life, it gives you power, you can feel it going inside you…Right now I see a suit without a body, you don't exist, you don't have a soul, I can see it. And if I can see through you, they can too." Mortimer apparently then gave the biker an address and told him to join his group — the second biker nodding, apparently having a similar experience.

The two then explain their numbered helmets, which are not their ranks but simply there in place of names. "The numbers are just because Mortimer hates remembering all our names, we're the Locos, and that's all that matters. Power and Chaos, like from that old show. Rank goes to the survivors, Mortimer kills a guy, our rank goes up. We're the only original surviving members."

"Power and Chaos? I don't know what show he's talking about," Veronica says, pausing the disk once more. "And apparently he kills his own gang members? That's … creepy."

"No.. I'd rather not involve her if possible. She knows who I am.. and if you know her, they she knows who you are as well.. I'd rather not risk her telling him." Ryans presses his lips together tightly, in thought. "Of course, I risk the same with Daniel, but I'm hoping to convince him that I have no plans on putting his association with a madman into the light. I simply want information." Settling in his chair, with a sigh, he shakes his head. "I'll leave the choice to you, Sawyer. If you feel you can convince her that we are only checking on him.. then by all means do it."

The bikers, only make Ryans' expression grim, the frown pulling at the corners of his mouth. "It makes no sense. There is no way that Mortimer could be sane." Obviously what he's been seeing here not quite jiving with what he saw in the library. Glancing at Veronica, he shakes his head. "I don't recognize it either. Though old means different things to your generation and mine. Newer to me, might be old to you all."

"Well, if we can't find a locale on him other ways, we'll keep Beauchamp in mind," Veronica agrees. "It's probably not important. But now we know the helmets are just… arbitrary, I suppose. He probably reuses one helmet when someone's offed, giving it to the next newcomer. Haven't seen any or heard of any in Manhattan, but maybe they're over on Staten, still. I can check that out." She pushes play once more, picking up her glass of tea to take a sip.

The video then cuts to Mortimer is sitting in a steel chair, wearing a black biker jacket, a grey shirt, blue jeans, and black boots. His eyes are silver, and he's staring deeply into the camera, fascinated apparently.

"Why would a robot cyclops want to interview me?"

"Mister Jack, my name is Doctor Sagan, I work for Linderman. It's my job to learn more about you and evaluate your ability to perform." he explains. Mortimer makes a joke about the girl at the corner store in retort, while he absentmindedly takes apart and puts back together a gun.

"No, I mean your ability to effectively work for someone else. I'd like you to tell me a bit about how you came to form a biker gang, and why you do what you do." Doctor Sagan patiently corrects.

"Alright, Cyclops Robot, I'll tell you what you wanna know. But I'm gonna shoot you when I'm done. I'm not sure where I'll shoot you, might be in the head, might be in the knee, but I am gonna shoot you. And if you get up I'll just kill you." Mortimer casually explains, still taking apart and rebuilding his gun as he sits back in the chair. "I didn't start the biker gang on purpose, I started riding a bike 'cause it was fun, but then I kept seeing these guys getting beat up, like, these clothes, clothes with no bodies. I'd save 'em, don't know why, I just felt like it, some would run away, some would stare at me. So I thought, why not teach 'em how the world really works? Some of 'em laughed, some of 'em got it, and after a while, we became the Locos. Sometimes we get called the Chaos Cult, but I think that's stupid."

"How does the world really work?" Doctor Sagan asks, though his tone comes off slightly condescending.

Mortimer stands, quickly building his gun again, but this time he twirls it around his finger, then suddenly aims it at Sagan's head. "I'm clinically insane, but I'm not stupid, notice how I actually know I'm nuts? You're being condescending, you think the stuff I say is stupid, but let's see where you are when he rises out of the sea and tortures you with unimaginable horrors, or when the mad piping starts! Do you wanna hear the mad piping?" he asks, growing more and more irritable, eyes wide, finger on the trigger as the camera points up at his looming form.

"N-no, I didn't mean to be condescending, please don't take it that way! I just want to learn mor—" Doctor Sagan stops speaking as the gun is lowered, then sheathed, then Mortimer simply walks back to his seat and changes his eyes back to normal.

"I'm bored now, go home." Mortimer says in a suddenly casual, yet uninterested tone. "Two and six, get this guy out of here before he makes me do something that messes up my Linderman job!"

Two men come and take the camera from the doctor, then drag the man out of the room. The video cuts again, this time to Mortimer's smiling face, a super close up. "Mister Linderman, I promise I can do my job, all I want is parts, I don't care about money or being greedy, as long as you let me do whatever I want, I won't do a thing that screws up your plans! At least, not on purpose. So come on, Mister Linderman, I'll build whatever you want, don't listen to that jerkass Doctor! Yeah, I'm a little insane, but who isn't?"

He stands up and starts pointing to the various grenades and guns on his belt, showing off the things he's created in an attempt to impress Linderman. "Don't worry about me getting arrested for this stuff or something, I mostly stay on Staten. When I leave, I usually hide my guns, and I don't really kill anyone outside of Staten either, unless they really piss me off, or you order me to. So come on, give me a chance, point me at some people and I'll blow 'em to hell!"

Then, the video comes to an end.

"Do that.. I wish we had people with ears over with whats going on over over on Staten. If they flush out the gang, it would be interesting to know." Ryans murmurs, before turning his attention back to the laptop. What he sees does not make him at all happy, the video is stopped and the old agent leans back in his chair, a hand rubbing across his mouth, "It definitely gives good incite into who he was…." The words trail off as his thoughts turn inward for a moment.

"So.. We need to get close. Get a good look at who he is now. I'll try to arrange a meeting with Daniel Linderman and see if he has any incite into where this man is now. At least we know he's into books. So maybe talk to book shop owners see if they have seen him. Keep an eye on the library." Ryans hand lowers to rest on the table again, "Any ideas, Agent Sawyer?"

"Did… Did Linderman have Jack blow up Primatech?" Veronica says, her head tilted and eyes narrowed as she stares at the laptop. "Or did he just do that of his own crazed mind?" It's something to ponder. She turns back to Ryans. "I can ride… maybe head over to Staten and see what I can find out, see if I can catch him there, or anyone who runs with him. At least with the numbered helmets, it shouldn't be too hard to identify them, right?"

"I do not know." Ryans says softly with slow shake of his head. "But… I think not." Though he doesn't sound completely certain."From what I read though, he had to have information on the facility to plan such an attack. That does make Linderman suspect, if he did indeed employ the madman. This is only an audition tape so to speak."

There is a firm nod to her idea, as Ryans agrees with that course of action. "Make sure to take something with you that will help Company find you if something happens, and even better would be if you could get a wire for recording whatever you hear."

"I'll make sure to LoJack myself, Gramps," Veronica says with a smirk, though she appreciates the concern for her safety from the retired agent. "So. You'll check with Linderman and I'll see what I can get on Staten, and maybe we can get in the madman's head. Not that I really want to go there." She makes a bit of a face. "I'll head over there tomorrow. I'll have to get a bike and some Staten-chic clothing."

"I appreciate that you will, Kiddo." Ryans throws right back at her with a small grin. "That sounds about right.. and I think maybe wee both best check up on this Lovecraft stuff." He pulls the file on the table close and taps a finger on a section of text, sliding it her way. "They recommend avoiding it, but… it is our job to make a fair assessment of his current state of mind. That means touch on things they might not like."

"Either way, Agent Sawyer, I think we have our plan of attack."

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