Question Marks


s_mortimer_icon.gif mortimer_icon.gif veronica3_icon.gif

Scene Title Question Marks
Synopsis There are too many for Veronica's liking in the venture she shares with Mortimer Jack. Meanwhile, other names are dropped.
Date March 17, 2010

Ruins of Midtown

It's later in the afternoon, and Jack is sitting back in his usual greyish green trenchcoat, on a new couch in the quickly renovated dentist waiting room. All the old furniture and things have been cleared out. The floor has been carpetted black, walls painted white, and there are clocks on all the walls, none of them moving at the moment. There's no snow in here, and it's not as cold as it is outside of the small building, since there's a large translucent plastic tarp covering the exposed ceiling to keep the snow out, which seems to quickly melt and slide off.

He's lounging back, after having called Veronica in for a talk. He's not smiling, but he doesn't seem upset about anything either. It could be rather unsettling to see him without his smile, that something could make him be outwardly serious, but he's in full blown chessmaster mode right now. "The plan may be slightly altered, but highly improved. And I have a request and a question for you."

The 'hurry up and wait' game is not one that Veronica has ever been fond of. Should any one not part of the plan be seen approaching the building, they will have a few moments to get to their places — aided by Odessa who can freeze the time for the intruder, so Veronica at least doesn't have to lay around on the roof in a blizzard to wait for Sylar or his copcyat, but she's still getting stir crazy. "Why? What's changed?" she says, immediately suspicious. "If you have any new information, you need to share it with me."

"Calm down, Agent Sawyer." Jack spreads his arms out on the couch, as if trying to stir the pot of her impatience a bit. "As I said, the plan is improved. A woman, a woman I love very deeply and would slaughter anyone who tried to harm her, will probably be joining our mission. She's Evolved, she doesn't miss shots. She killed that serial killer Azrael, because I hired her to. Adding her to the plan just means we know for sure Sylar dies."

"What part of 'you're not in charge of this operation' did you not understand, Jack?" Veronica says coolly. "With the temporal manipulator," — he still doesn't know who Odessa is, unless he's guessed — "the odds of me missing are highly unlikely, and if I do, whoever the murderer is will still be stuck in time unless he has a power to combat that, and it's not in my dossier if he does. The thing is, while you may trust her, if I don't know her, I can't. I'm ordered to deal with you, but taking in other unknown factors? I already have too many question marks in this equation as it is."

"My focus is the complete and utter success of my plans. But I have to be a good boy, so I'll follow orders." Jack grins slightly, crossing his arms as he continues to sit and watch. "Next, I have an unrelated question. Does the name Liette ring any bells in your mind?"

"I just don't need another person who might potentially turn and blow my head off. You understand," Veronica says, a faux-sweet smile at the end of the remark. She tilts her head curiously at the name Liette and shakes her head. "No, doesn't ring a bell. Any reason you ask? Not that I can share classified information with you if I do happen to know anything. Unclassified information, perhaps."

"No reason." Jack quickly answers, as if it's nothing, which might come off as a bit suspicious. He quickly moves on to the last thing he called her in for. "Now, my request. Mortimer's a problem. Hokuto was killed and he's being a baby about it. He wants to go find and kill who did it, so I'm keeping him under control so he doesn't compromise the mission and all that. He's naive enough to have started trusting you, so maybe you could talk him into leaving this stupid Hokuto stuff alone?"

Great. The person she trusts (somewhat) in the split mind of Mortimer Jack is going off the deep end. List that under Things Veronica Didn't Need Right Now. Item #527. "Damn it," she says, reaching her hand up to rub her forehead. "Yeah, I'll see what I can do. We have leads on it and it's a high priority — he could mess that up." She'd be looking for the killer too if she weren't here in this Dali nightmare of a trap.

Jack gets that empty look for a moment, then Mortimer's looking around in surprise. "Damnit, how'd I get back here? How does Jack keep doing that…" Logically, if Veronica's been paying attention, Mortimer going after Hokuto's killer isn't in their best interests, so of course Jack could stop him. "Agent Sawyer! You can help me find Hokuto's killer, can't you?" he asks with an almost pleading look in his eyes.

Veronica shakes her head, her eyes solemn as she studies him. Why does Jack have more control over Mortimer than the other way around — even prior to the news of Hokuto's death? Her scientist's mind, however dormant most of the time, is still curious. "I can't help you, Mortimer, and you need to stay away from that case. We have leads, and the more outside parties involved, the muddier those leads get. I'm very sorry she died, and that it's hurt you, but you can't play vigilante on this one, all right? I need you keeping Jack sane for me."

"God, this is just…" Mortimer hunches over, grasping his forehead tightly. "If I'd just get in the way, then, I understand… it's just, you don't understand. I don't know how much you know about her, but, she was the one person who could understand."

"I understand that much," Veronica says quietly. "You just have to let it go, though. It's possibly tied to something else we're dealing with, and … the more people involved, the harder it is to catch the guilty party. Possibly, if we can catch this person, Sylar or his copycat, maybe after that my superiors could use you for the case dealing with Hokuto's death." Before he can get too excited, she lifts a hand. "I can't promise you that, or anything, but it's something you might keep in mind — to help you focus on getting this job done first."

"Yeah… yeah, sorry. I promised you I'd be reliable, but, I've never really… lost anyone before." Mortimer admits, a hand on his stomach and a shake of his head. "No, that's not true. I lost a lot of people over the years I guess, members of the gang. But they all feel like someone else's memories, like gazing through a looking glass. I'll get my head in the game. I need to think in my dreamscape for a bit, but I'll keep Jack sane."

"Well. As sane as possible," Veronica adds wryly — sane is asking too much, isn't it? "I appreciate it. He doesn't like me much, I don't think, and while he's doing what he can to help and 'being a good boy' in his words — if you're not there to keep him grounded, I don't know how much I trust him, to be honest, but hopefully we'll all get what we want out of this little enterprise." She stands. "I need to go check in on voicemail and make a couple of calls, as long as we're just sitting here hoping for someone to take the bait. No rest for the wicked."

"We were captains of the chess team. The way he's been acting lately, shutting me from the hideout, being so focused on this mission, without me even forcing him. I feel like he's orchestrated something that goes beyond this thing we have setup. But if it were that bad, I'd be able to stop it. My problem is… I don't know what motivates him." Mortimer hunches over in his seat, seeming intent on staying there. "He used to run on pure chaos, and now he's putting his mind to a goal. After this is all over, after we kill Sylar, I think we'll know what he's planning. Killing Sylar seems to be a huge part of it."

Veronica's brows rise and she nods, slowly. "Who's Liette?" The question is abrupt and simple — but perhaps it is a piece of the puzzle.

"Probably the girl I heard he's protecting in the hideout. I met with an old contact of ours today. I mostly had to extrapolate since he'd barely tell me anything, but I think Jack is hiding some doctor and a girl in the base, protecting them from something. And for some reason, I don't think he trusts me enough to let me in on it." Mortimer has a bit of an annoyed shrug. "I let Jack take over the other half of the meeting, so I don't know what they worked out. We met some person made of shadows, named Cardinal."

"Cardinal?" Veronica's eyes widen, despite her experience at guarding her emotions. Some bombshells (no pun intended) still affect even the most stoic of agents — and she's far from that. The rest is forgotten. Girl, doctor, whatever. Cardinal was around? "When was this? What did he say? What was he doing there?"

"It was earlier today, early this morning. He called me, he wanted a meeting. He was asking about the doctor and the girl. I don't know the details, but Jack probably does." Mortimer frowns, averting his eyes with a bit of a shamed look. "It must be frustrating, talking to someone who has the information you want, but isn't capable of accessing it. Sorry."

"It's fine. I've got other contacts that should know … just… be careful. I'll try to confirm he's alive but the last I heard he was dead. Of course, the last I heard Sylar was dead too, so who the bloody fuck knows these days," Veronica says, laughing a little weakly. "All right. More phone calls to make now." She strides toward the exam room she's claimed for rest and the like. She glances back over her shoulder. "Thanks, Mortimer."

"He said something about the shadow being what's left of him, after a nuke got through with him." Mortimer shrugs, since it doesn't really mean much to him. He never knew about Munin or any of that. "Oh, uh, you're welcome, Agent Sawyer." he says in a bit of a fluster, then sighs, waiting for the call from the men he has keeping watch. If Sylar or anyone else comes, they'll certainly know before he's marching up to the door.

Veronica pauses midstride. Mortimer couldn't have known that, could he? And he's trapped in shadow form? Her spine tingles with the eerie thought of Cardinal, forever a dark ghost of his former self, a shadow without a form. Her hand is already pulling out the phone in her pocket, scrolling for Elisabeth Harrison's number. She disappears into the little room, closing the door behind her, leaning against it weakly as she presses send, and brings the device to her ear. Pick up, Liz.

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