His Father's Son


harper_icon.gif mortimer_icon.gif

Scene Title His Father's Son
Synopsis Mortimer Jack's life has been a lie.
Date July 27, 2010

Coler-Goldwater Hospital

«My name is— » voices sound like they're underwater.

« — Doctor Michael S— an, I'm— Psychologist for the inderman Gr op. Mister Linderman has left it— t— me to determine if M— mer — lex Jack is psychologically stable enough to be an — sset to the organization, since he appears to be a tal— ted engineer— this by interviewing people from— past and present, then finally— Jack himself.»

Distorted, muffled, warped and hard to discern. They're the voices that consciousness becomes aware of before anything else, the voices that warble in the dark.

«He was such a nice— chess club, soc — — am, I think he even — fencing. Everything was — »

Familiar pain, needles and tubes, a machine is hissing so his lungs don't have to move. The pistons needs oiling, the air cycler is running a half-revolution slower than optimal, there's two screws loose enough in the cover over his head that he could unscrew them with a thumbnail and— something is wrong.

«— going great, then this one year, we were around — it's like he just . I d n't underst— d it, he — violent, impulsive, — didn't care anymore. — call me 'Princess Girl'. — just didn't understand — »

There's a click and a hiss, hydraulica are moving as the haze of sedadives makes his head feel heavy, eyelids droopy, but it's coming around. Light is dim, here, wherever here is, and when that casket lid slowly pulls open, there's a dangling harnass of plastic tubing going from it into Mortimer's nose and arm. A television is playing a garbled and broken video in the room, the volume is too loud.

«Some things are simply out of your control.»

A flat-screen television plays a jerky, broken film with missing portions, a series of familiar interviews conducted in the not distant past. More aware of his surroundings now, Alex is clearly still in charge, even if he isn't alone in the room. Looming over the coffin Alex waking up in like some technological Dracula, Desmond Harper's expression is stoic and reserved, dark brows furrowed and arms crossed over his chest, the charcoal gray of his suit looking ink black in the dim light of a hospital room.

« — o you know why he became unstable, and why the — engineering?»

« — why — build — bomb — »

The film gutters and flickers at Harper's back, it's not the first time he's watched it before.

« B — how? What could — drastic change — son's behavior?»

«His father — »

Mortimer's eyes focus on Agent Harper reflexively, an unfamiliar face offering a smile not entirely honest. Drugs in his system cause Alex's head to spin, his world to twist and everything to seem upside-down and inside out until equilibrium starts to reassert itself. Even then, he's still mildly sedated.

«I mean it! If other dimensions are alive, and we can't see — »

The tape cuts out with the sound of that shouting, insane voice. Silence falls over the hospital room, no ceiling lights on, only the glow of the television, it's easier on Mortimer's eyes that way. Harper's smile grows some, hands reaching out to start delicately sliding plastic tubing out of Mortimer's nose, withdraws IVs from his arm. "Welcome back, Alex. You and I have quite a lot to discuss."

Alex's eyes immediately fill with that mercurial color, so it's nearly impossible to tell where he's actually looking, but judging by the way the shapes of his eyes move under his lids, it's clear he's trying to take in every machine in his visual range. "Beauti… ful… blonde… where?" is the first thing he asks. He doesn't seem very concerned for his own safety, and considering the fact that he didn't even draw any of the weapons on his body, the fact that Elle took him without much of a fight could even be considered suspect… or maybe he's just crazy, one never knows. "That video." he says more clearly as the fog gradually clears in his mind.

"That video," Harper notes with a quiet tone of voice, ensuring that Mortimer is entirely unhooked from the coffin. "You're going to want to take it slow, you're still under pretty heavy sedation, we didn't take the initiative to negate your ability though, knowing who you were. It's fortunate that agent Bishop brought you in when she did, I was beginning to wonder if you'd ever come in on your own volition, Alex." Offering a faint smile, Harper folds his hands behind his back and steps to the side of where he was standing, reaching for a chair out of Mortimer's line of sight, dragged over with a scuff of metal feet before hs sits down.

"Take some time, clear your head… we have a lot to talk about." There's an amiable smile from Harper as he folds his hands in his lap, looking up at the coffin where it sits on the table. "My name's Desmond, by the way. Desmond Harper, I'm a friendof Doctor Bella Sheridan. Co-worker."

Alex slowly sits up, rubbing his forehead. He takes a look at Harper, but seems mostly interested in his surroundings. He's always interested in new structures and engineering, even if most of it involves the dreaded 'compu-tor'. "What do you think this is?" he asks, hunching as he tries to wait for his strength to return. "I didn't even fight her back. I knew she'd be taking me to either the Company or the Institute, neither thing I have to worry about. Besides, I couldn't hurt that pretty face. I want that face."

Breathing in deeply and then exhaling a slow sigh, Harper steeples his fingers and shakes his head slowly. "You actually have a lot to fear from the Company, some of their agents might have shot you on sight for what you did to them last year. That wou;d've been detremental to our work, and would've cost you— well— everything. Fortunately, miss Bishop seems to see things our way, which is good for her and you."

Leaning back in his chair, Harper assesses Alex for a moment, his head canted to the side. "Here's the deal," he explains quietly, "the Institute," and he seems to dislike saying the name, "would like to extend to you an offer to continue your research, we have a very narrow and very specific area of interest that you're capable of working with, since we've discovered your predelictation towards not working with computerized systems. A shame, but we work with what we have on hand."

Exhaling a deep breath, Harper gets up out of the chair and drags it over to the side of the coffin, turning it around so Alex can use it like a step once his legs are stable enough to stand on. "However, there's two stipulations. One? You work within a small budget, and we finance you to have a workshop of your own where you can continue to perform private work in addition to our contracting. Or two, you submit to a deep memory augmentation, a soft format of your crazy… permanent extrication of your aberrant personalities and, maybe a little sanity thrown in there."

Managing something of a faint smile, Harper inclines his head into a nod. "You do the latter, your budget is as big as the number of zeroes you can write on a check, and you get to work in one of our secure facilities. Because, presumably, you won't be out of your mind after that."

"Sure I don't see th—" His hand suddenly grips the side of the coffin, carefully standing and stepping down into the chair, which he slowly sits down in, hunched slightly with an annoyed expression on his face. "I'm sick of this facade. Alex was sane enough to get me through the door, but I won't let him fuck things up for me any further. Jack, by the way."

He raises his gaze to look Harper square in the eye, since he knows he has some explaining to do. He's not all smiles like usual, since he's not exactly happy. "I'd be the crazy you're trying to soft format. I'm not a personality, Alex is a personality, Mortimer is a personality. What people don't understand is the fact that I came first, Mortimer manifested after I blew up Primatech and got sane, then I came back when… that thing happened in the strip club. Alex manifested because of Hokuto, and then getting my ability back. But I've always been me."

He holds a finger up, intending to finish without interruption. "My crazy as you call it, I guess you could say is poor impulse control? That's brought on when my ability is triggering my chemical imbalance. Not saying I'm less inclined to gut someone, I just have control over when I do now that Bella has me on that medication. So, between me, the owner of this body, and you, my future employer, I want to give you assurance. I could have popped out at any time, allowing Alex to have his security that he was in control, with his ambition, to take us somewhere I didn't have the skills to get to. But I didn't, I suppressed every urge I had, in the interests of getting what we needed. This personality thing? It's crazy, I know, but you make sure we're on the right medication, and you won't need to worry about this memory augmentation thing."

"If you agree to that, I think we can discuss a few things, and a few people I'd like to sell out."

Harper is, admittedly, silent for a time when realizing the wrong personality is in the driver's seat. There's tension in his throat, tightness in his neck and stiffness in his shoulders with a twitch of the fingers of his right hand. For all of that silent moment, he regards Mister Jack like someone who an uncaged tiger. With equal measure respect and fear.

"Private lab of your own it is," Harper says finally with a flash of a smile, rueful that they always make him work with the complete lunatics. "There's actually some details about the video we were watching that you might want to be aware of, and I've been told to cover that ground with you first…" Wringing his hands together, Harper walks a few paces away, looking at the paused picture on the screen of Mortimer with his hands flailing in the air shouting about paralell dimensions.

"That video," there's a motion to the screen, "is mostly a propoganda piece, designed as disinformation to you. I know this is probably going to be a bit unsettling, but… what you believe was your youth, your life and your childhood was a carefully constructed lie. Most of it, anyway. The reason we know about you, is because we happened upon your case file in the remains if Pinehearst. We know about where you come from, who your father is, and most importantly we know why you've broken the way you have…"

Motioning towards the chair Jack had used as a step out of the coffin, Harper smiles again faintly. "Why don't you go and take a seat, and… I'll explain to you everything I know."

"Do I keep my men and my base in this deal?" Jack asks, but then Harper keeps talking, and an eyebrow raises. The other personalities are aware, they're listening, because Jack is allowing it. Whatever Hokuto did so long ago runs deeper than simple equality these days, there is some measure of compassion despite the constant power struggle. "What the hell are you talking about? I remember running my gang, me and Mortimer remember our childhood and high school, and Alex remembers everything, except that part inbetween running away and having the gang." So his memory apparently jumps from high school, to being a cult/gang leader.

He sits back into the chair, then just watches. "Explain, I think this might result in having to kill someone. Don't worry, it's not you."

"Fantastic," Harper notes with a sarcastic tone of voice, one hand lifted to rub at his forehead as he consider the more addressable parts of the discussion.

"Your men and your base aren't my concern or the Institute's concern, all we're doing for you is giving you a workshop that we know and contracts to fulfill. The rest of what you do is entirely up to yourself, but I'd recommend you wait until the end of the show and tell portion of this presentation before finishing negotiations." Brows furrowed, Harper cants his head to the side and paces back and forth across the room, trying to put everything into the proper words.

"Did you ever wonder how it was so easy for you to get a contract with Daniel Linderman? How he… really didn't ever ask you to do much? How he let you get away with— and I'm not even exaggerating, am I?— murder?" Harper eventually winds up leaning with his back against the hospital wall, arms crossed over his chest.

"Your father wasn't a novelist, he wasn't a psychologist, and your mother didn't have an ability like you. Everyone in that video aside from yourself? Was an actor, roles filled to play specific parts. All of them…" Harper waves one hand in the air slowly, "based in fact but made of fiction."

Lifting up a hand to brush fingers through his hair, Harper looks away from Mortimer to the video screen. "Your father did abandon you as a child, and he did leave you with your mother. Her name was Carolina Alexander and she was in and out of mental institutions much of her adolescent life. She had some… pretty severe mental disorders, ones that she claims were brought on by your father and some of the things he told her. Your mother tried to kill you, you were about… six or seven?" There's a crease of Harper's brows.

"She tried to drown you in a bathtub in her Queens apartment. She only managed to get halfway, before she had a breakdown and called 911. You were brought into child protective services and she was sent to Graystone Park Psychiatric Hospital. She comitted suicide two years later." Running his tongue over his lips, Harper looks from the screen to Mortimer.

"When you were in state care it came to the attention of interested parties within the Company that you weren't— usual. They took you in from foster care and placed you with an adoptive family so that your growth could be watched and maintained. They changed your legal name to Jack Williams. You were… probably eight when they died. They were Company agents, died in the line of duty. One of the Company's chief operatives, a man named Charles Deveaux… erased your memory of the incident, of the family, helped you come up with a new life, one without all that trauma. The agents who adopted you were Stephen and Amelia Mortimer, British agents with the Company and they kept you overseas for several years in London…"

Creasing his brows, Harper tilts his head forward. "By… the time you were eleven, you demonstrated more control over your ability and you were brought in for testing at the Primatech facility in Odessa, Texas. You spent the next several years there learning how to control your ability. Unfortunately, something about the way your ability works, your… intuitive understanding of things broke down the psychic constructs that Charles had put in place. You had a severe psychotic breakdown when past memories came flooding back, memories of your mother, memories of your other foster parents. More drastic measures had to be taken."

Tucking his hands into his pockets, Harper leans off of the wall and starts slowly pacing across the floor. "A Company agent called the Haitian was brough tin, and he wiped your memory clean, or— that was the understanding. After a while leaks started to happen, accidents, things you witnessed…"

"We have a record of sixteen memory wipes, mostly partial. Your dementia, psychosis? It's all connected to those memory wipes, and the tumor that you have. Were it not for your disassociative identity disorder, your probably would've lost a great deal more cognitive functions due to the placement of the tumor. Your… insanity? It's actually saved your ability to act as a functional person, to a degree."

"What the hell?" is all Jack can really say to any of that, and it was probably collective between all identities. "Wait, wait, the book, my father wrote that book!I know where my sister lives, I think… I know how to play soccer, and chess, I was on the teams!" He hunches, both hands grabbing his head as the thought of the tumor runs through his mind. "Get it the hell out!"

He's having trouble knowing what he should react to first, really, not so much a psychotic break as just the shock of getting multiple bombshells dropped at once. "What the hell does Linderman have to do with any of this? And how are you going to fix it?"

Disquieted is one way to explain the look on Harper's face when Mortimer starts to crack. A hand comes up, rubbing at the side of his face, brows furrowed. "You never played chess, you never read the book your father supposedly wrote because it doesn't exist. Your sister's…. a more complicated story than you're aware of." Breathing in deeply, Harper takes a few steps over to Mortimer and lays his hand down on his shoulder, "All of that reality was bits and pieces of false realities constructed for you by Charles Deveaux prior to your memory wipes."

The hand slowly comes away, and Harper's tone of voice takes on an earnest tone. "Daniel Linderman is one of the founders of the Company. He was in on all of this from the beginning. It was his idea to create that tape, in the hopes that by presenting you with an amalgamation of the false reality you already believed… you'd fill in the blanks yourself. The interviews, all of that, it was designed to be an architectural experiment is psychological construction. You… wrote your own identity out of the fragments of reality. Since it wasn't like Charles' creations and it was something you… built yourself, it stuck."

Exhaling a sigh, Harper rubs a hand across his forehead and paces away from Mortimer. "The first members of your gang were men paid to play the role by mister Linderman. After that you started recruiting on your own. He thought he could control you, use the ability you had for God knows what purpose. That apparently didn't take."

"It does exist! People have said they read it. Bella read it!" Jack argues, clearly not the quickest to admit that his history is a lie, but by now he's grasping at straws. "What the hell am I supposed to do with this? Why are you even telling me? Am I dying?" He taps his head a few times to indicate the tumor. "Give me good news." he demands, frowning and gripping the arm rests tightly.

"Maybe the book does exist, but your father didn't write it." Harper carefully narrows his eyes, then looks back to the screen before settling a look on Mortimer again. "Good news is that the man who did this to you is dead, Charles Deveaux died in 2006. Most of the Company founders are dead, and the man who authorized all of this— Arthur Petrelli— died last year. That's how he knew to look for you, how he knew… everything you could do."

Snorting out a tired breath, Harper realizes that really isn't all good news. "The good news is you're not dying, not— right now. I had some of our doctors take a look at the CAT scans Doctor Sheridan did of you, and the tumor's small but in an inoperable location. You— without proper medical treatment— do have a shortened life-span. But there may be ways to repair it… but it'll take time to figure out."

Clearing his throat, Harper looks around the room, then back to Mortimer. "The good news is if you agree to work for us, and agree not to ever speak about us to anyone, you have your freedom. You have a workshop, and… you can have your name back. Your real name, not one of these— scraps."

"Fine, it's a deal, the others agree, even if Alex is pissed that I tricked him. Looks like nearly everyone I'd have to kill is dead, but there are a few things I want to ask about. I want to let most of this stew in my head for a while, but if you'll hear me out?" Jack has to strain for patience sometimes, so used to simply acting impulsively and doing what he wants, but he's not stupid. "This name I get back, Jack Williams? That mean I'm legally alive and don't have to live in my base? Also, who's my father? And do I get my golden guns back from the police?" He's still stuck on the guns.

Taking a breath, he continues. "Alex wants to know if we get a salary, and what our job is going to be. Mortimer doesn't care as long as we're getting legal status. And, two last things, I want to get a girl named Liette back, Cardinal, the shadow man, knows where she is. And I want that hot blonde's name and number."

"That's a… diverse list of things," Harper notes with an incline of his head and two fingers rubbing at his temple. "Ah, your real name isn't actually Jack Williams, that was what one of your foster families created for you…" but he doesn't explain the details of that further as he turns, taking a few steps towards the coffin, brows furrowed. "You will get legal status back, we can see to that without a problem, though you may want to take your own precautions to not run afoul of Linderman or anyone else, we won't be giving you a security detail."

"You don't get a salary, you get paid for each design you successfully create to specifications. We don't want your random surprises, we'll send you requests for something with a concept and you draft out a design or make a prototype. We pay you on completion. The shop we give you?" Harper's brows raise, "That's all yours to play with how you want and it'll be on the government's dime. Not sure I know much about this Liette? But, I'll see what I can dig up," and that's a carefully constructed lie. "As for the blonde, yeah…" Harper cracks a smile, "I might be able to get you her number."

"Liette's an Evolved encyclopedia, she knows everything. Alex wanted to use her to equip my men with anti-Evolved weaponry, then demonstrate to the Institute that we could use her to extrapolate about Evolved abilities that haven't even been discovered yet, and prepare by eventually creating the ultimate anti-Evolved weapon. In the meantime, I could make sure men have mission-specific weaponry, that's how I took down Primatech." Jack explains, pausing to give a few things some thought, and possibly inner-discussion. "Alex thinks we get paid once, then you get rich from selling our designs that we barely got a commission from. In my opinion, we're getting a lot out of this… package deal. Mortimer doesn't care. If you need time to elaborate on the finances and that sort of junk, I can give it, but we're solid on this deal as a whole."

Another pause, and he asks, "So, golden guns, our real father, and our real name?" He seems to have thrown a few things that he either forgot or dismissed in there, and the disassociation of thoughts is pretty clear. They all have different needs. "We're at the final stretch, don't let us down." he offers with a wide grin.

"We're not making money on this, trust me. Your designs go straight into military applications and we continue to hemmorhage money from our defense budget. Were not backing from the comission scale you have, but I think you already knew that." The details about Mortimer's interactions with Liette has Harper's brows furrowing, thoughtful considerations being made at the back of his mind that he might try to tempt Luis with— even if just for a while. Could Mortimer tell Julie from Liette?

"Don't know about your guns, sorry. As for the other two parts," there's a slow nod of Harper's head. "Your father's with us," is perhaps not the answer that he wants to hear, "but he's in a coma and there's no likelihood of him coming out of it. He named you Warren, your real name is Warren…"

Harper offers a mild smile as he clarifies, "Warren Ray."

"Warren Ray, eh? I like it. Sounds like a murderer's name, but with a bit more class than Jack. Hear that you two? You're Mortimer and Alex, I'll be Warren, because I came first. You don't even pay rent up there." Warren explains, apparently pleased with this. He finally stands, stretching, confident that they'll handle his tumor and the other problems he seems to have dumped on him. "I'd like to see my father, whenever it's convenient. But for now, I think I need to buy a new suit. I'd like my ID and papers as soon as possible, I think I'll… register to vote." this, followed by a manical laugh, then a few coughs. "Guess that's what happens when I'm not in the driver's seat for a while."

Grimacing for a moment, Harper offers Mortimer a nervous and insincere smile. "That's fantastic," comes out a bit more disingenuous than he'd hoped, "you'll have your identification as Warren Ray by the end of the week. It'll take a little longer to get your workshop up and running, so for now you're probably best off going back to wherever you were staying and laying low until you get your proper identification card. We'll have you Registered as a tier-0 Evolved, so you'll have all of the liberties and freedoms they do. If you want better living accomodations than your… uh— your base or the machine shop, we can get you set up with an apartment at the Octagon here on Roosevelt Island without issue."

There's something of a smile that creeps across Harper's lips as he notes that, then looks around the hospital room, then back to Mortimer. "I guess I should start getting used to calling you Warren from now on." There's a wryness to Harper's smile that he offers, then looks just a little more serious.

"Welcome aboard."

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