Congratulations, You Live


bella_icon.gif m_jack_icon.gif mortimer_icon.gif

Scene Title Congratulations, You Live
Synopsis When Bella's men are ready to run in and capture Mortimer, Bella has a far different approach.
Date June 1, 2010

Some Manhattan Library

With his crazier half currently pushed aside, Mortimer has one thing in mind, raid some libraries before they flood. There's one particularly small library he's been frequenting, since the Locos cleared the snow around it days before. But he's alone now, wearing his long green trenchcoat, blue jeans, and black biker boots. He's digging through aisles of books in the classic fiction section, trying to collect the few rare gems he can save. "Poor Alice, what are they trying to do to you?" he asks with a shake of his head, having as much of a passion for books as his insane counterpart, though on a much less pronounced scale. He's carrying a small basket one usually uses in the market, stacked with quite a few books by now.

A well worn path, a routine, makes for the easiest targets. It requires only the presence of eyes at certain key points and, should the individual not show up, modification to account for variation. Most human beings are kept in motion by a sort of habitual inertia. They do what they do because that's what they do, day after day. And after the great snowstorm, habit asserts itself even more so in some cases, as people try to reclaim desperately needed normality.

The watch has been kept on Mortimer for some time now. As desperately as one half of him may need any normality at all, this has been no small task, and until now resource expenditure has been kept minimal since, by all reports, Mortimer no longer exhibits an Evolved power, just an artifact that is the result of his power. This made him a low priority. Made. Past tense.

Because his name has come up and the call has gone out, and the 'cooperation' of Institute and Company has made it possible to track him down. It took time to pick up his trail, but when they find him, he's right where they want him.

«Are visible entrances are covered? Over.»

«Affirmative. I'm in position. South exit is covered.»

«East fire escape is covered.»

«Roger. Main entrance is under watch. Extraction unit, use the fire escape. Proceed with caution. Target may be armed. We'll guide you by infrared.»

Three men in pale urban camo, armed with both lethal and non-lethal weapons, faces made insectile by gas masks, move out from an adjacent building and move up to the fire escape. It's been spared total burial due to its elevation, and the team is able to shoot out the lock with a silenced pistol. The sound is dull, but potentially audible within the deep quiet of the library. One can imagine how irritated an actual librarian would be at the puncture of a near-ideal silence.

Mortimer doesn't notice much, it's an old place, there's just been a blizzard, strange sounds are bound to happen. He simply goes about his business of gathering books, walking down more aisles, other sections, then stops at the psychology section. "I don't think my life needs more irony…"

The cold continues to make infrared a valuably enhanced resource. The dim burning ghost of Mortimer appears against the bone cold of the rest of the structure, indistinct and faint but clearly visible. Three more ghosts, yet more silent but with whispers in their ears, make their way through the young adult section, walking between walls of Meyers, Nix, O'Connell and Pullman. They pause at the edge of the shelf, staying low, one man peering around the edge. He catches Mortimer's heel as it disappears around a corner. His comment on irony sounds through the chilly air. The team remains stalk still while their point man assesses the situation.

"Hello Mary Shelley…" Mortimer mutters as he reaches into a shelf and pulls yet another old book out, carefully placing it into the basket. As he's walking, he trips over a stray book, stumbling a bit and dropping the basket with a loud slam. He catches himself without actually hitting the floor himself, though that was a lot of sudden movement. "Messy."

An aisle of books is quite the choke point, actually. After a brief period of consideration, the point man indicates to his two comrades to go the other direction, hand gestures communicating in silent paramilitary fashion, then tapping the gas grenades at his own belt, a match for the ones the other men carry. They nod their assent and head back, turning the other way and making their careful, quiet way down to the other end of the aisle.s They stop, glance back at their leader, who puts up three fingers, two fingers, one finger. Go!

They move simultaneously, down towards Mortimer's aisle. The slam gives all three pause, and they halt. Weapon? No. Just klutziness. They inch, however, until they are within easy throwing range. Three hands descent, find canisters, unbuckle them from belts, grip them in gloved fingers. Thumbs rise to pin rings. Ready. Ready.

«Hold action! All units hold action!»

They cannot ask why, not without speaking and thus alerting Mortimer. They simply stop, a split second away from passing a point of no return. Action becomes, in an instant, tableaux.

«Change of plans. You're to approach the target without hostility. One of the white coats wants to talk to him.» Even through the crackle of background static, the skepticism of the voice on the radio is clear. Still, orders are orders. The point man lifts a hand to his mask, tugs it down to free his mouth, and breaks the quiet once more, this time with words.

"Mortimer Jack! Remain where you are."

"What the hell is going on?" Mortimer asks, holding his basket again, though a voice in his head is buzzing. The protection clause that allows him out is dangerously close to being reached, but right now, things are still sane. "Talk now or things are not going to be pretty in a few minutes. It's not exactly under my control."

If only the point man himself knew what the hell was going on. He's got orders, but they are very vague ones. And this is way off procedure. Announcing himself? If this turns into a shit show because of some goddamn needle sticker…

"No need for hostilities," the point man says, hoping that it's true, "I am here with two others. We're armed, but we're only here to deliver a message." He has no idea if that's true, but it'll work for now. "I can give you my radio if you'll let me approach you. Keep your hands visible, and so will I." They did say this guy was armed and potentially dangerous, right? He does not feel good about this.

"Slide the radio over, and don't make sudden movements, I can't risk him taking control in this kind of situation." Mortimer sounds like he's holding something back, speaking for their safety instead of his own. But he still keeps his hands visile, as a mutual courtesy to get the radio.

When the point man next speaks, it's not to Mortimer, though Mortimer can hear him. "I'm going to pass the radio. Make sure she's on." A pause. "Yes ma'am. Of course, ma'am." The politeness in his voice is a little strained. The pointman carefully removes his earpiece and sets it clearly on the ground, his hand appearing to Mortimer's vision. He flicks it across the floor, towards the erstwhile target.

Mortimer grabs the radio, holding it up to his ear, though tries to keep his wits about him. "Just what the hell is going on?" he demands over the speaker, backing up into one of the shelves, just in case.

"Mortimer!" A familiar voice. One he heard first on a snowy evening, in a dark apartment. A woman's voice. A woman who left him with a note and a number. "It's Bella. I'm so glad I got ahold of you. I'm sorry about this. They… this is so stupid. I wanted you escorted to see me, but your file turned up 'armed and dangerous' so they went and overreacted."

"Well you have to do something, Jack can come out at any moment, I'm running on pure willpower here. Our live is in danger and he's the better fighter. Remember those rules I told you about?" Mortimer asks as he tries to control his breathing, attempting to keep calm. "I am armed, and that's kind of the problem."

"Well, let Jack know that these men will not hurt either of you," Bella's voice intones in Mortimer's ear, sound adamant on the matter, "This is a total fuck up and I'm sorry it went as far as it did, but I'm putting a stop to it. I wanted to speak with you, to… to offer you an opportunity. Lines of communications got crossed, but there's no need for it to come to anything more."

Meanwhile, the three extraction specialists wait. And wait.

"We're listening." Mortimer answers for both, keeping the radio close to his ear. "And this should be a really good opportunity, Jack's not easy to impre— well it should be a good opportunity."

"I'd like to try and get your ability back," Bella answers, matter of fact. She says nothing more, waiting for the reaction.

"And how exactly do you intend to do that, Doctor?" asks the clearly intrigued tone of Jack, Mortimer's willpower apparently reaching the end of its rope. "Will it involve another old man?"

"Why, with drugs, of course! I'm a pill pusher, after all," Bella says, a smile audible even over the radio, "No old men required. I'm not promising anything, of course, and you'll have to respect certain codes of discretion. But success in your case will be one of my highest priorities."

"Well, since you asked nicely. But you won't be allowed to do psychological tests. I won't have you messing up my mind. And I suppose I have to ask what Mortimer gets out of this…" Jack sounds annoyed, but it's clear he's being spoken to somewhere in his head.

"No psychological tests, at least nothing without your explicit consent. I want you with me on this, Jack," Bella says, tone shifting to a sort of practical earnestness - telling it like it is, and meaning it, "And I want Mortimer with me as well. I'm not sure what to offer him, besides my gratitude and assurance that he'll be helping in important work."

"I know what he wants, but let's just move on to more important things, like… //can you get me out of here faster than I can have a psychotic break and kill everyone!" Jack suddenly laughs over the radio, then adds, "Just kidding. Where's my ride?"

"Toss the radio back to the kind gentleman who gave it to you," Bella says, managing to construct a convincing laugh at Jack's little joke, "And his friends will call the van. This is all very hush-hush, so be tolerant of them if they're edgy. You may be surprised to learn that some people are scared of you." This last is a joke in return, marked with good natured sarcasm.

"Nothing to be afraid of, I only murdered hundreds of people and destroyed a clandestine building full of people trained to kill people like me." Jack leaves her with that, then slides the radio back over to the man. "It's all yours! You live!"

The point man reaches out to grab the radio, fitting it back into place. Fucking white coat. He hopes she didn't save his life. He doesn't want to give her the credit.

«Send the van. The man's ready and willing.»

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