Best Laid Plans of Mice and Madmen


s_mortimer_icon.gif mortimer_icon.gif veronica3_icon.gif

Scene Title Best Laid Plans of Mice and Madmen
Synopsis Veronica and Mortimer meet up to lay the plans to trap a Sylar.
Date March 14, 2010

Ruins of Midtown

It's the middle of the afternoon, and Veronica has been invited to an address in Midtown, a pretty broken area of it too, though not exactly radiation-inducing.

This particular building used to be a small dental office, the entire roof and second story are blown away, but the doors below are still standing. Surrounding it are a few taller buildings, nothing too impressive, just enough to see directly down into that busted roof. She'd know this is the place, because it seems to be the only building in Midtown where the snow is completely melted away, turned into puddles of water.

One might wonder how that happened, but when they walk through the doors of the office, which is just a waiting area now, everything else destroyed, Jack is sitting on the couch directly across from the door, with a flamethrower sitting next to him. He's in his usual greyish green trenchcoat, jeans visible from the shin down, with his black biker boots on. "Hello Veronica." he greets with a wide smile.

It's Saturday and there's no need to impress the upper brass, so Veronica's in jeans and a warm red trench coat, her head covered by a gray hat to keep the snow out of her hair. She arches a brow at the puddle of water before entering the building, then nods to Jack. The smile on his face tells her which of the two personalities it is — she'd rather deal with Mortimer, despite Jack's cheerful demeanor.

"You know that water's now going to ice over and be more dangerous to anyone coming and going from here. You're going to break some poor homeless man's back when he slips on it," she says lightly, not really an admonishment. "How goes the grapevine? If you've been at it a couple of days, we'll need to be ready at any moment. I'll come in tonight to be … on call, I suppose."

"I was a spree killer, Agent Sawyer." is Jack's only reply to breaking a homeless man's back, then stands up, spreading his arms to present the entire room to her. "This is where Sylar dies. I've come into possession of an Evolved encyclopedia, a living encyclopedia. She told me all sorts of interesting things about my ability, and Sylar's, she even compared them. I know how to kill him, because I remember one of my weaknesses… and he has the same one. I can exploit it." He taps the side of his head a few times, his other arm falling to his side. "I have a plan.

"As for the rumor mill, my harmless inventions are going from person to person, even a few homeless people are in on it, right along with the rumors themselves." He points in the general direction of Staten Island. "By now, even the people on Staten should know about me. The Mad Evolved Inventor from Midtown."

Veronica frowns at the mention of an 'Evolved Encyclopedia.' "All right. Good job on the rumor mill. I'll get my equipment and be back tonight to help keep vigil," she says quietly. It's not something she's looking forward to — it's cold here and how she's supposed to stay warm if they're laying a trap for Sylar or his copycat, she isn't sure — generators and space heaters would sort of give away their presence, but maybe that can work into the plan.

"I have another part of the equation I need to factor in, once I know what you're planning. I'll also possibly need to run it by my supervisor." She moves to a couch facing Mortimer, sitting on the dirty couch. "You'll also … pardon me if I am skeptical of your ideas."

"No offense, and I do mean this in the least offensive way possible, but I led forty untrained men with no powers into a facility full of highly trained agents. I think that gives my tactical prowess some credibility." Jack actually isn't smiling when he says that, meaning he truly didn't want to offend her, and is possibly a little offended himself that he's being so underestimated.

* * *

As Jack outlines his plan, Veronica listens, a frown of both dislike and contemplation furrowing her brow. "You'll also excuse me if I remind you that you attacked Primatech when you still had your power," she says, tone matter-of-fact.

As for the plan, she gives a slight shrug. "Some of that may be unnecessary, given the other element that I've had thrown at me. The ability of this person may make some of your plan a touch redundant, but then a check and balance, a failsafe, is not necessarily a bad idea," the agent muses. "When will you have this plan set up, then? And I'll most likely be the sniper in question." She'll have to get some shooting in before then, to learn to compensate for the cast on her wrist.

"That man, the one who gave me the information on Primatech, he was more useful than my ability, I only used my ability to prepare, using what he gave me. I know about as much about Sylar as I knew about your people, if not more." Jack walks back to his couch, lounging back as he continues to speak. "Sylar is a serial killer, a flawed individual. I find serial killers to be incredibly distasteful, almost disgusting. People seeking attention through murder, working out their mommy and daddy issues, disgusting. And that's what Sylar is, that's why I'd love to kill him. I'll kill him because he disgusts me, because it's artistic expression, because I can."

He's smiling again, he almost laughs, but instead he says, "As long as this other person doesn't get in the way. I also have a distaste for people who can't follow orders. Improperly assimilated people."

Another eyebrow shoots up from Veronica. "Let's get one thing straight. You are not the commanding officer in this little operation, Jack. When it comes to your trap, you can tell us what to do so we do not get injured or mess it up, but leave the orders of the other person to me," she says, her husky voice cool and brisk. "Can you tell me the difference between a 'spree killer' and a 'serial killer'?"

"A serial killer often kills out of compulsion, with some twisted motive like a hot blonde rejected them, their drunk father beat them, they didn't get that red fire truck for Christmas. So suddenly they start killing people in some pattern, some of them even leaving clues because they want to be caught. And then there's those sick perverted serial killers, the ones who get off on killing, disgusting." Jack turns his nose up, sticking his tongue out with a twisted blaugh expression. "But a spree killer? The definition I've come to know, at least. They don't kill any particular target, they're not getting off on it, or working out issues through killing. Sure, some want to be caught, but most of them commit suicide, what a waste. But me? I killed because I enjoyed it, I thought it was fun. But I don't have a compulsion to kill people, and I even have a moral compus. No kids, no women unless I'm defending myself, no defenseless animals except dolphins."

He pauses for a moment, to think, and he lays his head back slightly to stare at the cloudy white sky. "Well, I guess I did have a bit of a preference for who I killed. I killed people wasting their lives away, the business men who neglect their families in favor of work, the rich mizers who sit on their fortunes, never truly enjoying it, simply smoking their cubin cigars, cheating on their wives, and wasting away into a fat worthless corpse. People who do nothing with their lives, people who don't contribute to society, or at least make the world a better place for the people around them, they're who I kill. Not because I had a bad childhood, not because I was rejected by the hottest girl in school, not for any of those stupid reasons. I did it because they disgusted me, and because I enjoyed it, every moment. Mortimer can't remember, he only remembers old movies, horrors and all that, but he doesn't remember, he couldn't take truly remembering what he's done."

Lowering his head to look her in the eyes again. "He tells you he remembers what I did at Primatech, but he doesn't. He only tells you because he feels guilty, because he feels he should do something about it, make it up to you. He feels like I ruined his life, like in another world, he could be friends with someone like you, but instead he's burdened with keeping me chained up."

There's a completely callus snicker, and he adds, "A pity, isn't it?"

Veronica knows the definitions, having been a criminal justice and psychology major, but she wanted to hear the ironic words from Jack's mouth. Whereas most spree killings are reactionary, their multiple murders considered part of the same "event" or same chain of events, his are spread out, perhaps reactionary and perhaps for pleasure, but spread over time. He fits the FBI definition for a serial killer, whether he knows it or not.

He's also a mass murderer, though Sylar's numbers certainly outweigh Mortimer Jack's. It's not surprising that Jack fits the profiles of spree, serial, and mass murderers — after all, he has three personalities, right? She isn't going to correct him, however. Let him feel superior to their target, as she needs his help.

The long cataloguing of the people he's killed only makes his argument more and more ironic. He doesn't see himself as a serial killer or deranged. He feels his killings are righteous. He's playing God.

"It is," the agent answers, though the question was meant to be rhetorical. Had Mortimer Jack not been driven mad by his power and his father, he might have been a good person. She can see that. It doesn't make her like him any less.

She returns to the question they seem to have lost in their discussion. "When?"

"A part of me enjoys ruining every shred of happiness Mortimer has. After all, he's the invader in my body." Jack shrugs, counting the fingers on his gloved left hand. "To prepare would only take around three days, with the tech specialists in my group. We just have to keep this place up and maintained from the snow." He looks up, seemingly considering. "If we had some sort of perfectly clear tarp, something that would protect from the snow, but not ruin the shot. And keeping a small heater on should keep the tarp warm enough to melt any snow that falls."

"All right. Let's prepare a list of supplies and I'll get what you need and can't get on your own or from your tech team," the agent says, pulling out her PDA from her pocket, to type in the to-do list. "After that, unless I hear otherwise, I'll return on Tuesday night for the trap, along with the, uh, specialist, that's been added to the case." She'll have Odessa in a balaclava and keep her from Mortimer's sight, if she can.

"That's all fine with me. I said what I came to say, Mortimer won't know the plan, and I don't want you to tell him. Especially don't tell him about the Evolved Encyclopedia we have, she's a bit too dangerous for him to know about, I'm not even letting him awake in the hideout anymore." Jack stands, stretches, and finally says, "I think I'll let him out now, I think he's earned some normal social interaction. He just hates my friends, and criminals in general."

There's a slight groan, and Mortimer stumbles a bit, rubbing his forehead. "I think I've been out like a light for days." he says as he looks around, eyes a bit hazy like someone who's just woken up. "Oh, Agent Sawyer…" he acknowledges with just a hint of guilt rising in his tone, just generally out of the blue. "You need something?"

The agent is about to argue, but it's too late. Her brows wrinkle as she shakes her head. "You sure you're still in control of things? I think Jack's … kind of in control right now, to be honest, Mortimer. And that worries me… he just told me his plan to catch Sylar or Sylar's copycat, and told me not to tell you. Though it doesn't look like anyone but Sylar will be in danger. Well, and potentially me." And Odessa, but she doesn't say as much.

"You think he's still safe? You can keep me safe, if he loses it, decides I'm doing something worth killing me over, like wasting my life or potential?" It's a surreal moment, Veronica realizes, as she asks one part of the man's personality if the other half might kill her in a deranged moment.

"It's fine, Agent Sawyer." Mortimer assures, walking over to place a hand on her shoulder, at least until he suddenly pulls his hand back before it even touches her. He reacts as if her shoulder is possibly made of fire. "I'm still in control. He does this a lot. For example, the men don't take orders from me. I can oversee his orders and things he approves, but I'm not their boss. I know he keeps secrets, but he can't kill anyone, he can't go out and hurt someone without a good reason. These last few weeks have been hard, fighting the Nightmare Man mentally drained us. If we could get one good night of sleep, I'd be fine, we'd be on more or less equal ground, but inbetween whatever he's doing in the hideout that's making him shut me out, and me spending long nights trying to find Hokuto, I think we're both weaker than we normally are."

He stares at her shoulder for a long moment, then down at his gloved hand, shaking his head. "But to answer your question, you're safe. I can answer this with one hundred percent assurance, he can't hurt you." He tries to smile, but it's rather weak, and somewhat exhausted.

"Thank you, Mortimer," Veronica says, a half smile at his reassurance. She stands. "I'll be back in three days. Tuesday night. But I can at least give you this advice, and maybe you can get some rest. Hokuto is alive and well. Is there a message you'd like me to give to her? I have ways of contacting her, and if it would put you at ease a little, I would be happy to send her a message."

"You can… contact Hokuto?" Mortimer's eyes light up a bit, as if he's just been told that some potentially deadly test results came back negative. "Tell her… that I had no idea how similar we were, that she doesn't have to be guilty, because I'm going through the same thing. Tell her that if she needs someone to talk to, someone who can really understand and help her from experience, I'm here. And… tell her 'thank you', for everything." This is possibly the most sincerely she's ever heard him speak, a person who rarely gets any good news or relief, someone who walks around with what feels like a ticking time bomb in his brain. This is one of those moments where the knot in his stomach unfolds, and he can feel a few moments of happiness.

He's smiling, not egotistically and playfully like Jack usually does, but happily in a genuinely thankful manner.

Dark eyes studying his face, Veronica looks a little surprised as she listens and watches the change in his demeanor. "I'll pass it on. I'm sure it will mean a lot to her." She smiles and pats his shoulder, like he tried to pat hers. "I'll see you Tuesday. Or maybe not… if it's Jack at the helm. Try to get some rest. I need you to keep him sane. This whole case is …" dangerous? insane? She gestures vaguely. Take your pick. "Be well, Mortimer." And with that, she heads out of the once-dental office, into the white and frigid landscape outside.

Mortimer looks down at his shoulder when she touches him, then turns his head to watch her walk away. Truthfully, he pulled his hand back because he didn't feel he deserved to make contact with her, or any other normal person. His hands have murdered more people than he can count, yet he can't remember even one face that doesn't later turn out to be the murder scene from some movie.

But if a person like Veronica can show something that even remotely resembles compassion, perhaps even Mortimer Jack can have hope for something that even remotely resembles a future.

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