La Vida Loco


mortimer_icon.gif veronica3_icon.gif

Scene Title La Vida Loco
Synopsis Undercover agent Veronica goes a bit deeper undercover to find out more about Mortimer Jack, discovering at least one very startling revelation along the way.
Date February 12, 2010

Ruins of Midtown

It's the middle of the afternoon, and Jack has been walking for a while. He briefly stopped at a music store to stare in the window, looking at the electric guitars with a terribly depressed expression, but his mood has picked up since then. Having picked up a box of donuts, and a copy of Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus, he headed into Midtown. He didn't go too far in, staying near the somewhat safe zones, but he sits on a couch where a hotel lobby used to be, only a small roofless room with four walls and tons of debris now.

"Alright, book, tell me the best date to take my Southern Belle on!" Thus begins the eating of various donuts and the reading of his book.

Of course, they have eyes on Jack so when he comes into Midtown, Veronica follows, waiting for him to perhaps go to whatever locale his Locos are hiding in there, but it seems he's staying in place for a time. They'll keep surveillance on the area, watch for where he goes from this point, but she decides she should head in for another meeting with the dual-minded target. She's on her motorcycle, which makes for uneven riding on the ruined streets. The Harley roars as it comes down the street, passing the shell of the building that Mortimer Jack sits in, then pulling a u-turn and pulling up on the curb.

Off she hops, no helmet, and she approaches the lobby. "That you, Jack?" she says. "I thought I saw you when I drove by."

"Ah, you're…" Jack takes a bite of his doughnut, tilting his head as he seems to completely forget her name. "Who are you again? The girl from the library, but I can't remember your name." He's terrible with names, so the video definitely wasn't lying there. "I have a date, maybe you can help me. Come over here and sit." He pats the dusty couch after stuffing the rest of his doughnut into his mouth, and holds the box out to offer her one.

"Sam," Veronica supplies, flopping on the couch and picking up a doughnut. It means she'll have to run an extra mile, but she has to play along if she wants to make friends. "The bookstore, yes. A date, huh? I thought you were all celibate and shit on account of your belle being dead. You disappeared on me last time — Mortimer came out to play instead." She makes a face as if disappointed in that turn of events.

"Yeah, I fixed that. We work these things out in dreams, Ichihara is teaching us all sorts of things about dreams, that's how we work together." Jack grins and shakes his head, sitting back with his arm spread behind her on the couch. "We're getting closer to finding the Nightmare Man, and when he's dead I guess we won't see Ichihara again. Sucks for Mortimer, he's got a thing for her."

Digging into a jelly doughnut with his other hand, he finally acknowledges the question about a date. "Oh, yeah, I'm still celibate, and my Southern Belle is dead, but I'm going on a date anyway. Just, not with her, because she's dead."

"Well, I suppose you can have celibate dates but it takes a lot of the fun out of them," Veronica says with a chuckle. "Who's the lucky dame, though?" She'll have to check out this Ichihara stuff with Corbin, as she assumes that the former Company agent is the woman Jack is talking about. "By the way, Mortimer said he wasn't celibate. Think I should hit that?" It's a joke, but she's also curious to see how Jack reacts to knowing his body might be having sex, even if he can't remember it.

"Mortimer can do whatever he wants, it's not like I can feel it. I still feel half a year of frustration from not boning anyone." Jack licks some of the jelly off his chin, then starts to suck it directly out of the doughnut, peeking closely inside with one eye. He seems oddly intrigued by how things work, even without his ability. "Who I'm gonna date isn't important, but she's very classy. Where should I take her that's not a rich guy place?" He deflects a lot when it comes to Lola.

"I'm not classy, so how the fuck would I know?" Veronica says with a shake of her head. "I think Denny's is high class." She eats the rest of her doughnut, though she has to force herself to do so, picturing the nutrition information in her mind as she swallows the last bite. "So what are you doing in Midtown? I was just riding around, looking for a place to squat, but most of the good places seem to be taken or, you know, lack roofs."

"I'd let you stay at my place, but again, you might work for Linderman, and then I'd have to kill you." Jack says that last part in a completely deadpan manner, almost creepily, then suddenly smiles brightly and wraps his arm around her shoulders. "But look on the bright side! I've only killed a few women in my entire life, and usually it's been accidental! Maybe if you could prove you weren't working for Linderman somehow…"

"I don't know how to prove I don't work for someone… even if I've never heard of him. Would you kill anyone who worked for Linderman? Or just someone you let get close to you somehow?" she says, tilting her head and looking at him closely, with a smile. "No judgement here. I'd kill anyone who worked with my ex boyfriend, because by definition it would mean they were fucked up in the head, you know? It'd be putting them out of their misery." She puts her finger to his temple as if it were a gun. "You don't know any guy named Vinny Caruso, do you?"

"No, but I'm sure I killed a few Vinnies and a few Carusos. And I wouldn't kill just anyone who worked for Linderman, unless they had something to do with killing my Southern Belle, or were coming after me. You know how former employers are." Jack suddenly plops his book into her lap, apparently bored with it, enthusiastically moving to pull her closer with his arm. "One day I am gonna put a bullet through Linderman's head, for trying to have my Southern Belle killed."

"Trying? I thought she was killed," Veronica points out, noting the subtle change in wording. "Did she survive somehow?" she asks, picking up the book to look at it, flipping the pages and then shaking her head. "This book is stupid. I thought you were supposed to be some genius. Why are you reading this crap?" She throws the book into a pile of rubble.

"She is dead." Jack confirms, though with the way he speaks, it's hard to tell if they're accidental slip ups, or if he's just screwing with her head. "But anyway, I was reading it because when you're dealing with an almost sane woman like my Southern Belle, you have to understand how to think like a man on a sane level. I'm not one for compromises, but if she were alive, I'd have to convince her that I'm not gonna kill her."

"… But if she's not alive — why do you need to read it to figure it out?" Veronica's brows knit together as she asks this. The man truly makes no sense. "Unless you're trying to figure out how to impress some other nearly sane girl, which isn't the same thing. If she's dead, reading the book isn't going to help, unless you want to convince a corpse of something. And I think that's kinda like talking to a brick wall. Not a lot of listening goin' on, though at least it won't interrupt."

"You ask a lot of questions. She's dead and that's all you need to know about her." Jack firmly states, completely cutting that portion of the discussion. "So, back to how you can prove you don't work for Linderman." His arm suddenly jerks away from her shoulders, and she can feel the slight sting of five or so hairs pulling out. He holds them up, wrapped around his finger, apparently having prepared for that while they were talking. "If I find out you're working for Linderman, you'll be implicated in a murder. This shouldn't bother you much if you're not working for him. And of course, if the implication fails, I'll just kill you. On this basis, I'll show you my hideout in Staten, the one we're moving away from."

"Ow!" she protests, hand going to the back of her head and turning to look at her brunette strands curled around his finger.

"I'm not working for Linderman. His name sounded familiar last time and I looked him up - I forgot, he had that whole Evo law thing, huh? Not my kinda guy. I mean, if I could have an ability, I'd totally do it, and I wouldn't want to have to register just because I could blow up balloons with my brain or something! Sure. I agree. You won't find me on Linderman's payroll, I guarantee it," she says, offering her hand as if to shake on a deal.

Jack shakes her hand with his free one, while her hair goes into a pocket. "Deal, then. You can sleep at my old hideout while we're moving. And if you see a dark-skinned girl, that's just my locksmith." He stands now, grabbing his last two doughnuts, biting one after the other. "Let's go then. It's in the Rookery, if you're not too afraid."

"Well, I had a place on Staten, but it's already evacuated in that part of the island. I was looking more for a place around here, since Staten's going jarhead," Veronica says with a shrug as she gets up. "How much more you got to move?"

"We should be moved by next week." Jack basically stuffs his face, then brushes the crumbs from his jacket and turns around to face her. "How good of a fighter are you? Like, are you really tough, or is the bike just for show?" He sounds like he's asking for a reason.

"I'm tough. Survived a few knife fights and a gun fights and still here to tell about it." She tugs her jacket open, pulling her white T beneath down to show a still-recent scar to her chest. "You should see the other guy," she quips. "Why, what you got planned?"

"The majority of my gang is incapable of really fighting, the reason we're so successful is because I have tacticians and strategists. I'm usually the only one with any real fighting experience. I ask because I plan to look for information on a certain man, and I'm not sure where it'll take me. I'll need more than some useless gang members, I need someone who can take care of themself." Jack leans against the wall, sliding his hands into his pockets.

"There's a building, a paper company. I blew it up last year, for decidedly unclear reasons. I was a lot crazier back then, when I had my ability. But there's one thing about it all that didn't sit right with me." He's actually speaking seriously for once, almost inquisitively. "The reason I blew the building up was because a man named Adam asked me to, he promised me parts to build things, which I never got, and I was supposed to rescue someone for him, which I didn't do. But I thought, sure, why not? I wouldn't do something like that now, unless it was just personal, but again, I was crazier back then."

He takes a box of Raisinets from his pocket, offering them over after opening it. "But it's not even about that Adam guy, the thing that was really strange was the other guy. A strange man, I didn't know his name, he had these beady little eyes, big ears, and a big forehead, he just shows up at my hideout. I'd never seen him before, and he wouldn't answer questions about who he was. People don't just show up at my hideout, it's in a completely abandoned location in the Rookery. But then he gave me files, files I don't have anymore, but they gave me all sorts of information on this Company place. Abilities, structural information, lots of stuff. I'm told he's dead now, but I want to investigate why he helped me."

"I can take care of myself," Veronica, aka Sam, says decidedly, but then it's time for the Oscar-Award-winning Performance of her life time, when Mortimer reveals it was actually Adam Monroe behind the Primatech attack. Her brows furrow as if with concentration, while she listens carefully, keeping her boiling emotions under the surface. She waves her hand at the Raisinets, wrinkling her noise to show she has no taste for them. "The guy who brought you files, that was before you blew it up? To help you do it? Maybe he was working for this Adam guy." She tilts her head, as if a thought just occurred to her. "Why would you blow up a paper company? I mean… what's the point of that? This Monroe guy a member of Greenpeace or something?" She has to remind herself to play dumb.

"Maybe, that would answer a lot, except how he found me. But it wasn't just any paper company, this was the base of a place called the Company. They lock up dangerous Evolved. Personally I don't think it's a bad idea. Fighting an Evolved person is fun, and even without an ability it's not that hard, if you have a while to prepare." Jack shrugs and starts to dump a few pieces of his candy into his mouth. "I figure these Company people are probably gunning for me, but my long-term plan is to give them Adam's head on a platter. I don't like him anyway, he had eyes on my Southern Belle. I'll explain my whole being crazy thing, which I still am, but hey, being less crazy is progress, right? And if I give them the guy who took advantage of me being crazy, they'll stop gunning for me."

"I've fought a pyro before. Not much they can do once you conk them out with your gun, you know?" Veronica says, as if excited about the prospect, walking toward her bike and getting on, nodding toward the back. "Sounds like a good plan, but you'll have to make sure they don't just shoot you when you come in with the head on the platter, right? Okay, we heading to Staten or your place here in Midtown?"

"Staten, I don't sleep in Midtown yet, my locksmith is still cracking my safes so I can move my inventions to my new room." Jack follows her, slipping the box back into his pocket, then sits on the bike behind her. His arms wrap around her waist, and he seems to sit on a bike a bit better than Mortimer did. "Fighting an Evolved is like playing rock paper scissors sometimes, occasionally it's as complex as chess. I have a sword, I often use it in fights, but the hilt doesn't conduct electricity. It's great for fighting electrokinetics. I made a few of my weapons anti-Evolved for the raid. But you know, it sounds evil and all, locking people up, that was one of the thoughts that motivated me to blow the place up. But what I experienced after that, the man who took my ability and threatened my girlfriend, and now this Nightmare Man, who caused those 36 or 35 or something children to commit suicide, I'd take back what I did in a second." And this is the crazy one saying it, which says a lot about how he's changed.

The engine roars to life and soon it's too hard to hear besides a shouted word or two. At the docks, Veronica forks over some cash to take them and the bike across to the island, eager to see just what his den at the Rookery contains. "I can come and go, right? I'm not like, expected to just sit and wait around, right? I have stuff I can get done over on Staten," she asks, while they speed across the water toward Staten.

"Yeah, you can come and go, but if you bring anyone they'll be killed." Jack sits on the bike still, resting his chin on her shoulder from behind. He's starting to look vaguely tired for some reason, or perhaps simply relaxed by the water. It's rare to see him being anything but crazy. "The rules are: No pictures or video, don't touch anything you don't recognize, or it'll probably kill you, but most of that stuff is in my room, which you won't be seeing unless you intend to seduce Mortimer. Let's see, no sitting in my chair, and if you're gonna serve yourself in the bar, don't be a hog and drink all the expensive stuff."

Staten Island

"What kind of stuff is that? I wouldn't touch anything, I promise. I just like to know how things work. You can explain some of it to me," she says eagerly. "I used to love to learn about how to fix car engines and stuff. I'm not great at it — I actually just like knowing than I like doing, but how the stuff connects and how one part makes another part function — that's all really fascinating to me, you know?" But then they're off the boat, and back on the bike — she steers toward the Rookery, following directions from Jack.

"Knowing how stuff works is pretty fun, but easier when you have an ability. I don't know what most of my inventions do, the only reason I'm making sure I take them all to my other base is because I don't want the government using them to take over the world or something." Jack casually points out, certainly knowing all about backward engineering things. "I still haven't decided what to do with them. I don't want to destroy them, but I wanna use them for, I don't know, a good cause or something. Most of my inventions are at my new base, but my locksmith is still removing the more dangerous stuff from the safes I can't open without my ability. We found this one thing, it's like a puzzle, depending on how you solve it, it kills you in a different way."

"And you don't remember making these things?" she asks, giving him an odd glance. "Does that mean Mortimer made it, or you just… don't remember it because of your power?" After a few turns she stops where he indicates, climbing off the bike so he can lead her to wherever it is they are going. "And how many different ways? That's not a puzzle I want to solve — solving a puzzle is supposed to be good, not something that would kill you, isn't it? Remind me to stay on your good side. And not take up an offer to solve any puzzles."

"I remember making them, it's just too complicated. Think of it like this…" Jack climbs off to lead her down a completely abandoned street of row houses, some of the doors swinging open, but it's just… quiet. It's truly the end of the world in this neighborhood of the Rookery. At the very end of the street there's a long wall, and what looks like a flight of stairs down into a sewer tunnel.

He taps her head twice, then says. "Imagine someone stuffing an entire book of rocket science into your head. You can remember it all, recall every word, but do you have any idea what a homogeneous second order constant coefficient linear ordinary differential equation is? And can you use one to describe a harmonic oscillator?" he asks this as they start to walk down a long dark tunnel, lights starting to light up on the ceiling the deeper they go.

"No, but I'm not the one who wrote the book in this case," Veronica points out as she begins to walk down the tunnel. When he's not looking, she flips back on the microphone in her ear that connects her to Ryans' voice and advice. "So you only get it when your ability is on, but you don't remember or know how without it at all?"

"I remember the information, I can explain what I did when I put something together, but I can't remember why I did whatever it was I did, and some of the fine details don't make sense to me. I don't really have the same physical coordination either." Jack pats at the waist of his jacket, indicating he has something there. "I can still shoot, but I was a complete crackshot when I had my ability. I don't know if riding a motorcycle was affected, I haven't been able to ride one since I lost my arm. I really hate this arm."

Briefly holding his left arm, he suddenly smiles. "I just realized I haven't said anything crazy in a while. I guess you mellow me out a bit." That in itself should be a little hint on how, well, his craziness works. Since he mellowed out and things got relaxed, with his defenses lowered a little, he hasn't been as crazy as he normally is.

"Well, I don't know if it's a compliment that I make someone saner than usual — when you know, it's usually a compliment to drive someone crazy sometimes. I guess that's bad sometimes too. Weird English." Maybe she should amp it up a little, not keep him mellowed out - see what he's like when he's not mellow. "So how are you going to get this Adam guy? It shouldn't be too hard, right? If you can shoot and all, and you have this gang. Is he Evolved? What's his ability? What'd he do to your girlfriend that makes you mad enough to want to kill him?" Veronica says, peering forward, half expecting some sort of attack from anyone inside the hideaway.

"If I weren't a committed man, I'd say you can drive me crazy as much as you want." Jack laughs and soon they're standing at a metallic door, with a reinforced camera outside of it, and all sorts of vault hatches and security buttons. "Oh, I don't know if he has an ability, but my Southern Belle said I can't kill him… I'll show her who can't kill him! I won't even use a gun, I'll use my sword and dice him to bits. I'll make it slow too, cut the blood vessels, bleed him out and play with him before I cut his head off…" This is followed by a sudden burst of maniacal laughter, and someone on the intercom says, "Oh, it's the boss." and the hatches open.

When the vault opens completely, and the two enter, they're greeted with a rather spacious lounge. It's a mixture of a sports bar and a high class lounge, with around fifteen men from ages eighteen to a good sixty. They all wear biker outfits, and sunglasses with small red numbers to indicate who they are while still somewhat protecting their identities. There are spaces where there seem to have been more televisions, but in the midst of the move, quite a few things are missing, and there's only a few televisions left. "Welcome to my home!"

Oh, and that chair? It's a throne, at the very end of the lounge. And his room is probably the only other metallic door with another electronic lock. There doesn't seem to be anything interesting out in this normal area.

It's a little intimidating for Veronica, to step into the underground vault — she's not even sure if Ryans speaks in her ear if she'd hear it; the connection might not make it through — to see fifteen men, far outnumbering the Company agent. "Nice throne. Are you King Jack? By the way — am I allowed to shoot anyone in the balls if they get fresh?" Just to make it clear she's not here for their pleasure.

"Don't worry about them." Jack says as one of the men close the door with a *click*. "We don't do that kind of thing, plus half these guys are married." They do look inbetween business man, blue collar worker, and college student, certainly not typical gangsters. There's two other men, one somewhere in his thirties, the other in his late forties, arguing about stocks with the report on TV. "But sure, you can shoot anyone you want if they get out of line. I like that in a woman."

She smirks a bit at the approval of her request, and glances around. Nothing too insane going on here, but the outing has been most informational. "I may go grab some clothes and all, as this is about all I have on me," she notes, nodding to her own biker wear. "Thanks for the place to crash. If you want, I'll help you guys transfer stuff when you need, too. Is there some place I can wash up for now?"

"Bathrooms over there." Jack points to the rooms, one that says Locos in red letters, and the other that says Crazy Eights in pink. "There aren't many girls, but they come sometimes. The bathroom is all years for now. I'll be in my room if you need me." He yawns, heading for that second metallic door. "When I wake up, I'll probably be Mortimer, I'm tired of being out."

She heads to the proper rest room, taking a few minutes on her Blackberry to email the news flash to the proper superiors in case Ryans hasn't already alerted them: According to Jack, Monroe hired him for the Primatech job. Says he wants to work for Company and bring down Monroe so Co. won't come after him. Of course, once it's sent, she wipes all traces of it from the small machine. A few moments later, she re-emerges, then heads to the room and taps the door, trying to ignore the glances from the Locos.

There's a groan from behind the door after his brief nap, rubbing his eyes. When Mortimer opens the door, he's shirtless, only wearing his jeans and boots. His physique is about what one would expect for a guy who took down a bunch of Company-trained Evolved and leads a biker gang. "What the hell are you doing here?" New demeanor, clearly not Jack.

Veronica looks amused, glancing past him into the bedroom to see what all is in there. "Hey, Mortimer Mouse. I needed a place to stay, and Jack said I could crash with you guys. You didn't pop up when he offered that, so it can't go against your rules, can it?" she asks, leaning against the doorway. She tilts her head, glancing down and then up, smiling. "So are your plans the same as his, when it comes to this Adam guy?" she asks curiously. "He seems interested in my help in that."

Directly behind him, she'll see lots of empty shelves, possibly where his other inventions were. But there's lots of safes, all different sizes, embedded into the wall behind his bed. A few are open, and there's all sorts of different objects. Much of it looks like abstract art, some like weapons, and others like everyday objects or toys. It's all metal, usually either stainless steel or bronze. "It's more his place than mine, I don't care who he brings here as long as we don't end up dead or in jail. And Adam? Yeah, definitely gonna kill Adam. I know in the end it was our choice to kill those people, but we were out of our minds, Jack even more than he is now. I don't appreciate being someone's pawn and getting more blood on my hands. And this Company place sounds like it was doing good work anyway. Maybe they'd have found this Nightmare Man if we didn't do what we did."

"All right. Just making sure you aren't upset that I'm here. You don't sound too happy about it either," Veronica points out, as if she's the guest in a pair of roommates' home, and only one of them invited her in — which is pretty much the case. "I'm going to go grab some stuff, but I'll come back later. Want me to bring back anything? Raisinets? Jelly doughnuts?"

"I'm not big on sweets, bring back some Taco Bell. I'll find a place for you to sleep, can't quite trust you with this room yet." Mortimer says as he starts to close the door. "Jack probably told the men to let you in, so just knock and you should be able to get back into the base."

"Taco Bell. Got it," Veronica says with a little salute. She needs to go gather some clothes and talk to Ryans — he won't be big on her staying at the Loco hangout but then, she might learn more while there. "Have a good nap. Sorry I woke you, Mort." She lets him shut the door, moving out of the way, then strides back to the doors that lead back out and up. "Back later, boys," she says with a wave, before slipping out, no doubt leaving them to gossip about the new arrival.

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