Mundus Vult Decipi


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Scene Title Mundus Vult Decipi
Synopsis The World Wants to be Deceived. Or at least, that's what Edward Ray seems to think, as he meets with Eric Doyle to deliver him his final assignment, and prepare for the last phase of his operations.
Date May 29. 2009

Textile Factory 17

Situated on the banks of the Hudson River in the Red Hook neighborhood, Textile Factory 17 was once a part of a greater industrial complex in New York in the late 1800's. The building itself has that distinctive architectural look of an industrial revolution factory; constructed primarily from aged red brick, Textile Factory 17 however has one defining trait that sets it apart from the other factories in the area, an outer wall that surrounds the factory that closely resembles the bailey of a castle more so than an industrial complex.

The Factory complex is made up of seven distinct buildings, all having been abandoned since the company that owned the mill went bankrupt thirty-six years ago. The factory, warehouse, commons and shipping buildings all sit in derelict condition, having been cut off from the majority of New York's homeless due to the heavy gate that cordons off the facility from the nearby roads.

While it rests clearly in public view and is considered a historic landmark to the Red Hook neighborhood, time and circumstance has not allowed the factory to be refurbished for other purposes.

Some hours of the day are just too early for being jerked around, and the hour just past sunrise, where dew still clings to the waking world and the air has that crisp spring chill to it is one of them.

Faint rays of pale morning light come in through the eastward facing windows of Textile Factory 17's fabrication hall. The rays of light are divided by the tangled strands of white thread that hang from the old and broken looms that once wove these threads together into tapestries of cloth. It is not that dissimilar from the way Edward Ray seems to weave disparate threads of lives together into some fabrication of history.

It's not just the looms that greet Eric Doyle on his journey into the factory floor, but the acrid sting of aerosol paint clinging to the air, and the pressurized hiss of spray paint being used. Not far from the entrance, the aforementioned Doctor Edward Ray stands with a white paper mask covering his mouth, a spray-paint can in one hand, perched up on a step ladder marking orange and red graffiti of some kind on the wall.

Leading Eric into the factory floor, the tall and broad-shouldered frame of John Doe hesitates when he sees what Edward is doing, looking puzzled as he focuses on Eric, then on Edward, and back again. "I ah— " there's no explanation in his eyes, if there ever really is a way to explain what Edward Ray does. There is only the uncertain touch of fingers against a prominent brow, before John motions over to Edward, beginning to scratch at the back of his head and shrug helplessly, as if to say your guess is as good as mine.

It was with a particularly unpleasant series of comments that the puppeteer took being woken at this hour, preferring to sleep in to well until noon if left to his own devices. Alas, so rarely in recent days, years, decades that he has been left to his own devices. So, resigned, he roused himself to tiredly shamble along beside 'John Doe' to the fabrication hall.

So that brings him here today, staring up at the 'doctor' upon his stepladder spraying graffiti upon the wall. Eric lifts one hand, pressing it against the side of his face and rubbing in slow circles that deform his cheek and jowls as if to push either alertness or comprehension into the mind beneath the eye covered by those fingers, stifling a yawn.

"How nice," he quips once his lungs have filled with air once more, "You've taken up painting. Decided to be done with all've this world-altering stuff and try for the Louvre instead, Doctor?"

Jerking his head towards the sound of conversation, Edward's eyes widen, looking just a bit smaller now that he's been robbed of his glasses. The short man offers a concealed smile behind his mask, evidences only in the crease of wrinkles at the corners of his eyes before the paper respirator is pulled away. "Eric," he notes in a remarkably pleased tone of voice, "Excellent, excellent, you're earlier than I thought." Climbing down off of the step-ladder, Edward reaches out to set the can of yellow spray paint on a crooked wooden shelf, then begins walking towards the pair.

"John, thank you for your timely work. You're welcome to go look into what I told you about now." There's a dismissive tone in Edward's voice as he motions to the door, and John looks just a touch put off by being treated much like a Labrador retriever. The dark-haired man stares down at Edward for a moment, then softens his expression as his shoulders slouch, one hand moving up to rub at the side of his head.

"Yeah… yeah sure I— s'cool." A furtive glance is given side-long to Doyle, before John manages a hesitant wave of his fingers, turning towards the sliding cargo door he had opened to come in to the factory. Edward watches the retreating silhouette marching out into the morning dew, then slowly turns his focus back to Doyle, letting that paper mask hang loose around his neck. Now that he's off of the step-ladder, it's clear whatever Edward is spray-painting on the wall is intended to look like a bird of some kind.

"I'm actually just putting some final pieces together before we leave," Edward notes casually, motioning absently over his shoulder. "I'm glad you made it so promptly, that will give youo a bit more time to play with. I need you to get Petrelli out of here and to the ruins of the Eagle Electric facility across town in Queens. There's a large basement to the main factory there that is still intact, I've taken the liberty of ensuring there's a secure door one floor down with some padlocks…" a hand moves into the pocket of his black slacks, retrieving a key ring, letting them dangle on one extended finger.

Eric's arms fold across his broad chest, thick fingers drumming loosely against his biceps as he listens to the… what is it that you call someone that does what Edward Ray does, anyway? Predictor? Analyst? Manipulative Bastard? The look on his face is unamused at best, his eyes shadowed by their lids, lips pursed in a displeased manner.

"Oh, of course, of course," he replies then, a sudden chuckle shaking his shoulders as he steps forward, reaching out with one hand to pluck the key ring from the other man's hand - and as his fingers close on the rings and metal, so too does his power reach out in subtle threads and strings to bind into the muscles and tendons of Edward Ray's hand, to make it close in imitation and hold there, a fist around a nonexistent mirror of keys.

A slow turn, and Doyle walks away a few slow, shuffling steps, flicking through the keys as if counting them. "After all, I came back from the future for a decade just so I could be your baby-sitter, Doctor." A pause, and he glances back over his shoulder with a faint, unkind smile, "It's not as if it'd remind me of the years I've spent locked up myself, oh, no…"

Edward stiffens slightly, more so than Eric's power should make him, and his eyes track in silence the motion of the heavier man through the room. "That's— hardly a fair comparison, Eric. After all, it wasn't me who asked you to baby-sit mister Petrelli, now is it? I would have far preferred if Nathan finished the job, but…" his brows rise, "I— " he grimaces slightly, "he has free will to do as he pleases. As do you, after all. You can walk away at any time, just like I told Niles."

One faint brow rises just a bit higher as Edward keeps his focus on Eric. "But— that's just a temporary assignment, Eric. The ah— harder work is yet to come." Edward's adam's apple bobs up and down as he dryly swallows, "It'stime for miss Silver to take her curtain call. Like I told you when we started this, she has a usefulness, and when it's worn out…" a faint suggestion of a smile creeps up on Edward's lips momentarilly. "That time is now, and I think you might derive some measure of satisfaction from being her executor, yes?"

The first argument doesn't seem to sway the feelings of the puppeteer one way or the other, the look in his eyes the coldness of a man who doesn't consider the lives of others altogether real, despite that faint smile that lingers about his lips. His may be a quieter madness than some, but it remains there beneath the surface of his mask, coloring everything he does and thinks.

At the second, however, his lips purse just a bit… and he relaxes his hand, releasing the other man with that simple gesture even as he twirls the keys upon his finger. "Agent Silver," he muses under his breath, before a low chuckle shakes his shoulders and he turns back to Ray, that smile curving into something of a devilish grin, "Now you have my attention, Doctor."

Exhaling a breath that he was holding in during that tense moment, Edward reaches up and tugs the collar of his black, button-down shirt, and manages to not look offended as best as he can. "She won't be necessary for the final steps of what we do with the Company, and I'm beginning to worry that her interests aren't always in the best of our own. I'd like you to consider this an open invitation to do with her as you please, sooner rather than later."

Glancing in the direction of the door Petrelli is contained behind, Edward looks back to Eric with pursed lips. "After April is… fired," he cracks a smile, "You're a free man, Eric. I don't care what you do with the younger Petrelli as long as he never sees the light of day again, but once you've moved him and taken care of April… we no longer have business with one another, and you're free to do as you please. We're just a few weeks away from the end, I feel."

Looking arond, Edward seems jostled into some recollection of what seems at first a trivial detail, before his eyes settle on Eric again. "Oh I would recommend you vacate the premises before four in the afternoon, or you might wind up behind bars again."

"You can leave April… and the obsolete Petrelli," Doyle responds with a soft chuckle woven through his almost jovial tones, jowls shaking in some private humor, "…to me, really, you should've asked sooner. Although…" One hand lifts, an index finger extending upwards as he leans forward slightly, eyes widening just a touch, "…there is just one small… niggling little matter, Edward, that remains unfinished."

The smile vanished as swiftly as if it were wiped from a dry-erase board, and he meets the Doctor's gaze flatly, "I don't recall you fulfilling your end of this agreement."

There's a tension brimming in Edward as the conversation takes a decidedly darker turn, and the shifting gaze that the doctor is possessed of betrays some of his attitude in fleeting glimpses of weakness. "I— I'm not entirely sure what you mean, Eric." Brows crease together, and the short, wiry mathematician glances from one side to the other, then back to Eric. "I— I've given you everything, a chance at creating a new life here in a different— simpler time. If— if you're anxious about making certain that we deal with Arthur, I'll be more than willing to keep you on, I just — "

No, no, Edward. That's not quite what he means.

"Really, Doctor? I don't recall you giving me a chance to create… anything. If anything, you've made things worse."

That single word is punctuated by his hand's lift, fingers splayed as the puppeteer's strings lash out unseen to lock muscles and bone into stiffness, insurance that the good doctor won't attempt to run out on their conversation. Doyle doesn't break eye contact as he walks forward, slowly, the soft whisper of each footfall coming after the other until he's nearly touching noses with the mathematician. In soft tones others might discuss the weather, he speaks, almost gentle reminder - though every word is as sharp as a knife.

"You said that you'd give us our lives back, Doctor. You said that you'd give us another chance. You gave that to Nathan. You gave that to Reed, I suspect. But what, I ask myself, have you given me? You've made me hunted again, Doctor. They might have forgotten me… after Moab was destroyed, 'I' might have slipped away and lived happily somewhere. But you reminded them. The Agent that I ran into already knew about our little trip. It wasn't anything I told them."

"That— " Tightness constricts Edward's throat from his awkward positioning in the rigidity of his stance. Fingers curled in mid clench of a fist are now caught in a clawed position, back arched and head tilted in a very uncomfortable angle meant to be part of a larger movement. "That isn't my fault, Eric. I can only— I can only do so much, I— " there's a rough, dry swallow, and the mathematician tries to focus his eyes in Doyle's direction. "April probably leaked information to the Company, I— I had no idea if she'd do that or not."

After a moment of real, true panic, there's a glimmer of something else behind his eyes: an option. "There's— there is another avenue. A— the Company won't be around when we're done, Eric. I can assure you of that, I— I'm going to level the field. But you— what if I told you," he grimaces again, "what if I told you I could supply you with a new face, a new identity?"

"I'd tell you that I'm not the puppet, Doctor… Edward… Ray." Doyle smiles, ever so kindly, though it never reflects in his eyes as he raises a hand up to touch the tip of the other man's nose, "I'm the puppeteer. I'm tired of pretending to dance to your strings, of pretending that you have any idea of trying to help us. We were just pieces for you to move on your board, and dispose of when inconvenient. Do you really think I didn't know that? Me?"

He grins, leaning back with a hearty belly laugh, "You really should've known better. I've made other arrangements. But don't worry. I'll deal with Petrelli… and I'll deal with Agent Silver. Did you really ever think I cared about the Company? About Pinehearst? All I ever wanted, Eddy— " A flash in his eyes, "— was to be left alone."

A few shuddering breaths come out through Edward's nose, and the mathematician shakily makes what might be a smile, "I can promise you, Eric… when all this is said and done," his brows crease, a grimace of discomfort from tense muscles and awkward positioning coming over his face, "you'll never see or hear from me, ever again." There's some sense of finality ans assurance there, but as with everything Edward says, there's always a double meaning.

But it's what is said in his silence, in his lie of omission, that is most telling. Never did Edward deny that he was using everyone. It's a dirty, inconvenient truth that has become readily apparent to those watching and paying attention. Edward, it seems, just didn't expect Eric Doyle to be so attentive to details.

"Of course not… because you weren't planning on any of us surviving this. Well." A pause, thoughtful, "Maybe Nathan." Eric's heavy shoulders roll in a shrug, then, and he turns smiling away from the mathematician where he stands before the stepladder that was once his route to the graffiti sprayed upon the wall. A Phoenix? Possibly.

"I'll go collect my things, take care of last minute matters and move on… oh, don't worry. Once I get far enough away, you'll regain control. The strings will drop, and you'll be a real boy again…" Doyle glances back over his shoulder as he pauses beside the door, a faint smile lingering to his lips, "Of course, I never did find out how far my uncle walked into the water before it did. It might be quite some time. Four o'clock, you said they'd be here?"

"That ability of yours, such an amazing thing."

Previously in this storyline…
Being Wrong

Next in this storyline…
They Just Fade Away, Part V

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