Pericles Jones


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Scene Title Pericles Jones
Synopsis Warren approaches yet another skilled individual to repair the city.
Date November 15 2010

Perry's Apartment

Wires and books. And ad hoc furniture. Such is the landscape of Pericles Jones' apartment. Bacheloresque in its clutter and drabness, it is, at least, clean and organized. Shelves and work surfaces have been constructed from milk crates and plywood, bound together neatly but with no sense of aesthetics whatsoever. Books, most second hand and yellowed, adorn the shelves, while the desks and work benches are adorned with projects in various stages of completion, all wires and transistors and capacitors and resistors and batteries and soldering irons and on and on and on…

Only the most innocuous of Perry's work rests in open view of the front door. Small repair jobs, the sort of thing he pays his rent with, if barely. Beyond further doors, in the strange, monastically sparse confines of his bedroom, are the bomb components and the transmitters and the guns and the rest of the terroristic miscellany that point to his violence and radicalism has become less and less a hobby and more and more a fixation or obsession.

Here, too, are his more troubling books. Various texts on explosives and ballistics. Urban guerilla manuals. A collection of Mussolini's speeches. A heavily marked up copy of Mein Kampf, covered in furious, refuting ink, a young man trying to redeem his fanaticism against the fanaticism of the past.

Today, Perry is working on a more benign assignment. With soldering iron in hand, wearing a shapeless white t-shirt with the words 'Cyborg Summer - Albany '07' in black Chicago text, the bespectacled young man fuses a pair of wires together, the New Wave sounds of XTC chattering from modified speakers bolted into the upper corners of the room, their wireless receivers taking cues from a computer that sits, itself mute, on the least wire-laden of his desks.

There's suddenly a knock at Perry's door, Warren feeling he needs to make an impact with this one. He has some sort of one foot mechanical silvery owl on his right shoulder, wearing an unbuttoned black suit while looking official and sort of surreal at the same time. "Pericles Jones? My name is Warren Ray, I own Shalegate Machine Factory."

Perry's hand goes, at once, to his remote control, dialing down the volume on the speakers, cutting a line short: 'Hate step back, my smile might just cr-'. There is a beat, spent in thought, during which Perry tries to make something of the name 'Warren Ray'. Nothing but uncertainty and suspicion emerge, no familiarity, good or ill.

In truth, Perry's been waiting for someone to come. Some government man, some agent of the law. So, of course, Warren is suspected to be just that. As far as covers go, though, factory owner seems unlikely. The bespectacled young man draws open a hand-made drawer, checking to make sure his machine pistol is still there. Yes. Yes, he's got that to turn to if necessary.

But he doesn't take it with him when he rises and comes to the door, flicking of his soldering iron first. Perry undoes the chain lock and the three bolts - sure signs of paranoia, but maybe understandable considering these last days of martial law and concurrent lawlessness. The door cracks open and muddy brown eyes peer out at the suited man beyond.

"Y- yes?" Perry says, not quite able to keep the stammer from his voice, "Something I can- uh- do for you?"

"I want to make you an offer." Warren doesn't ask to come in, as the robotic owl tilts its head, mechanical eyes focusing and unfocusing as its red glowing pupils focus on Perry, little gears heard whenever it impossibly bends its head. "I know you have questionable political views, and I also know that you're very skilled with electronics. Would you like to make the world a better place for both Evolved and humans, without having to kill anyone?"

The owl gets a longer stare than Warren, once it makes its way into Perry's notice. At first he thought- what? That Warren was cosplaying? Perry uses the internet sometimes, he's familiar with the notion. But no… that thing is moving. Its owlish gaze is met in kind for a moment, before Warren's aspersions draw Perry's attention and, with it, his denial.

"I think there's been some sort of mistake," Perry says, whipping out the oldest line in the plausible deniability book, "I'm- uh- I'm flattered but I'm afraid you must be confused. I'm not Evolved- not that I- I- I'm not a political person. I think you may have the wrong person." The wrong Pericles? The chances are low.

"I have the right person, and you can calm down. I'm not from the government, I'm purely independent. Have you seen University Woods lately? My group did that." Warren explains as he rolls his left sleeve up, revealing a part of his clockwork bronze mechanical arm, and a long row of buttons on a remote, almost like a Power Glove's. He types a few things, and the owl extends its long wings, flying down to the floor. "I need people who are willing to question what the government is doing, but I need intelligent people, not muscle. We're going to change the world with our minds."

This is, honestly, a little too good of a pitch. And Perry knows this. And he is far from putting it past a government spy to lie to him outright. Habeus Corpus has been suspended. The gloves have come off. Power and otherwise.

But Warren's arm is so particular and so peculiar, so very not governmental, that it gives Perry pause. "If I ask you to leave," Perry says, stammer disappearing, "you should do so immediately. I am willing to talk to you. But that is all I am offering right now." He eases back out of the gap and lets the door swing open, revealing the sterile wilds beyond. "That agreed… come in."

"I'll leave at your request." Warren heads in, the owl walking in front of him with wings occasionally flapping to keep from getting stepped on. "What I want to do with my group is, quite literally, repair the city. I want to create miracles, I want to advance science, I want New York to be a Utopia. And I want to make sure that the government stays balanced. I want Evolved and non-Evolved to be equal, no secret prisons or any of that, and I'm in a position to keep it from happening. I just can't do it alone."

Perry makes his way to the desk he was working at - in which his pistol rests, close at hand - glancing at the peculiar owl that is now waddling across his floor. He turns his seat to better face Warren, leaning back a little, arm dangling by the drawer. Not taking more chances than are strictly necessary, at least in his mind.

"Explain to me your philosophical precepts," Perry demands, at once, "describe the values, systems of power and economies of this Utopia you're proposing. Who are your influences, models?" There is a flat challenge in his voice, a deadpan insistence that Warren answer these questions sufficiently for a real dialogue to even start. Perry has had it about up to hear with poorly thought-out plans and a lack of that most vital quality: rigor.

There's something of a bee in Perry's bonnet, honestly.

"Influences and models? I can't name a great number of people in history who I could truly say is a good influece or model for a productive society. My mission isn't to overthrow our current society, it's to maintain peace. To advance technology, but keep a status quo that guards our rights from being stolen." Warren doesn't sit, and his owl flies back up to his shoulder with a few clicks of his remote. "We won't be the government, we'll just control the government's ability to take our rights. I don't think there's a precident for what we're doing, except perhaps the Illuminati."

Perry listens with an intentness that is in no way hidden. His brow lines in thought, and he takes his time before replying. "You believe society as it exists is perfectible, then? That there are no root problems, no fundamental changes necessary to achieve what you aim for? Forgive me- I need you to be very clear about what exactly you hope to achieve. The- Illuminati? I am- I would like you to explain which Illuminati you mean. Which vision of what Weishaupt's group represented?"

"I don't believe it's perfect, I know there are many problems, but we have a society, and I don't know if you realize how close we're coming to losing that. I want to maintain a society where we have rights, and are treated like humans. I'm not out to start a revolution, I just want to maintain society, improve our current ways of life with science and technology by very carefully introducing things, repairing more parks, buildings. One day I even plan to revive Midtown." Warren gives that last Illuminati question a brief bit of thought, but ultimately shakes his head. "I mean the vague Illuminati that the average person believes controls things from behind the scenes. No one knows we exist, just that we're influecing events."

If Warren's ability extended to the organic, he could likely sense the steady whirring of Perry's mind, kicked into a faster gear by what he has just heard. There is a marginal easing away of Perry's arm from the drawer, a reduction of his guardedness. The questions stop. Resolutions are next.

"I have other obligations," Perry says, "so for now I will have to ask you to wait on my full reply. I am… interested in what you- in your vision. And I think- I imagine we'll be able to work together. But I can't say to what extent, not yet." Perry rises to his feet, a hand lifting to adjust his glasses, a needless motion done in the manner of a tic or fidget or tell. "If you will leave me some contact information, I should have a more satisfactory answer in less than a week's time. If that's acceptable."

Warren reaches into his jacket, then offers a plain white card.

Warren Ray
Shalegate Machine Factory

Nodding to the card as the owl tilts its head down to Perry's hand, he adds, "I'm also offering you a job, there's a salary involved, if you need one."

Perry takes the card, examining it briefly before setting it on the desk next to his project. The job offer is answered with a nod. "I appreciate that," he says, "but I must continue to defer my answer. I will, however, take that into consideration." He clears his throat slightly. "I think," he says, "you had better leave. I need some time with my thoughts. And the sooner I get it, the sooner I can answer you conclusively."

But where are his manners? In a somewhat fumbled afterthought, Perry offers Warren his hand. "Thank you for the opportunity," he says, a line right out of a job interview.

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