The Ends Justify The Means


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Scene Title The Ends Justify the Means
Synopsis Warren Ray is brought to his father, Edward, and after a lifetime apart, there are no words.
Date February 18, 2011

The Commonwealth Arcology

Far below the streets of Cambridge Massachusetts, below the campus of MIT, the subterranean arcology of the Commonwealth Institute is a sprawling, labyrinthine construct. For the second day since his first arrival, the mechanical genuis Warren Ray is experiencing the technological marvels that the facility has to offer.

Having been brought down to the unfinished bottom tier of the Arcology following his exploits in attempting to open the forcefield around Roosevelt Island, Warren is given a tour of what is undoubtedly the production lines where his inventions have been produced for all these months. Viewed from a high catwalk above the production floor, Warren walks behind the darkly dressed figure of Doctor Simon Broome, witnessing through tall glass windows the process by which the Institute's most advanced technology is developed.

Only one out of ten production lines is currently operational, but the enormous robotic arms that spot weld, rivet, and assemble mechanical components is an amazing sight. The large metal chassis moving down the production line are familiar, semi-organic looking in aesthetics. The robots that Warren reverse-engineered from the designes of Hector Steel, being fabricated here below the streets of Massachusetts.

"What you did yesterday was quite brave," Simon opines as he halts the tour, turning to look back over at Warren with one dark brow raised. "I saw on the television what you did with Miss Harrison, it was a valiant effort. It's unfortunate that it did not work, but there will be more opportunities to make attempts at penetrating the barrier. I have a feeling that unless we find a way to stop it, it won't be going anywhere."

Looking out to the production floor's one operating line, Simon's brows crease together. "I'm glad you chose to come back, Warren. There's so much to discuss, so many things you need to be made aware of and so many things you need to see." Dark eyes turn to Warren's muted reflection in the window. "I'm glad that opinions from people outside our organization didn't taint your perceptions of us…"

Simon's focus shifts back to the production floor below. "People fear what they cannot understand."

"I have trouble fearing things other than myself, and maybe Elle Bishop in a bad mood." Warren notes with a gloved hand against the window, once again wearing a black suit. "Realistically I have much more to gain from being associated with the Institute than being outside of it. If I fight it from the perspective of one of the terrorist organizations, I just have another enemy, but if I'm in it, I can at least make sure that you're all staying on the straight and narrow."

He smiles, speaking perfectly honestly, and very frank about his thoughts. "If I were truly determined, there's nothing in this world I couldn't destroy, but what has the Institute truly done to me? Other than getting in the way of things with Elle, which I might add I am a little bitter about, this organization made me sane, aided in giving me my past, and now I have the resources to safely work on my projects. I have more to gain by keeping the Institute going than destroying it, but my motive will always be to make sure that we're not a tool of oppression. That we're not responsible for things like the dome."

"Elle Bishop…" Simon closes his eyes and exhales a resigned sigh, "gets in the way of herself. I'm sorry things happened the way they did, I truly am, but some things just weren't meant to be." Wringing his hands together behind his back, Simon turns his attention over to Warren again, turning to face the engineer and put his back to the windows.

"I can assure you that the Institute isn't about oppression, quite the opposite. But what we may appear to be on the outside, isn't quite what we are on the inside. What I'm about to tell you, Warren, is strictly something I would like to be kept between you and I. Not everyone in the Institute knows what I'm going to tell you, and if the truth got out… it could be damaging to us all. It could allow the actual oppressors the upper hand."

Motioning to continue walking with a nod of his head, Simon picks up a slow pace afterward, letting Warren catch up at his own speed. "The Institute was designed with a higher purpose in mind than what most people are aware it does. We, as an organization, exist on three levels. The outer-most level is the public facade, the Commonwealth Institute that is a military contracting company. The second layer is the Institute, a clandestine government organization that was designed with the intention of replacing the corrupt Company."

Glancing to Warren, Simon's brows tense. "At its heart, the Institute is more than that. More than what we wear as a mask to the public, and more than the lip-service we provide to the government." Arching a dark brow, Simon asks of Warren a dangerous question.

"How much do you know about time travel?"

"Not much at all, I only recently heard that it was possible, but I've discussed alternate timelines at length when it comes to my father's ability. And I can handle secrets, though I am curious as to who the real oppressors are." Warren starts following, though his gaze continues to watch the production line with an intense bit of curiosity. "And I'd still love to know how you quoted me from the future."

"Time travel," is Simon's answer to Warren's question, a wry smile wrinkling the corners of his mouth. "When I was a younger man, a visitor came to me on the day of my mother's funeral. He spoke to me as if we had known each other for a very long time, told me things that no other person in this world could know, and over time proved to me that he had a foreknowledge of future events yet to come, and a plan on how to circumvent the end of our world…"

Walking by rows of tall, narrow windows, Broome turns away from the production floor, heading down a deeper corridor that cuts back towards the heart of the Institute. "This man told me that in the future, this country's government would turn to my scientific expertise and my intelligence to found an organization designed to understand people like you and I." A nod is goven to Warren at that. "The Institute was born, in theory, on that day. We would remain little more than a few disparate individuals with a great responsibility and secret. The man, the one who came back in time… he spoke of you, and told me that in his future, you were one of our most valuable allies and assets."

Managing something of a lopsided smile, Broome stops his walk at one of the elevators, pulling out the flat panel to reveal that rounded typewriter keyboard, punching in a series of numbers, then pressing the call button. The elevator doors slide open, and Simon pushes the panel back flat into the wall.

Stepping inside of the elevator, Simon presses the button for an upper floor, then folds his hands behind his back again. "The Institute has a difficult mission, one that requires patience, dilligence and a willingness to perform it at any cost. Our founder comes from a future that has seen the end of the world, but in order to prevent it, we are required to allow history to become dangerously close to the moment of finality, to the brink of no turning back… because a significant and monumental change to this timeline could cause all of our advanced knowledge to be for naught. We may seem cruel, at times, but the Institute serves the greater good of all humankind. Evolved and not."

"So you want to almost end the world, to save it? How exactly does the world end, and what do I do in the future?" Warren has no shame in asking about his own future, it's nothing he can't change. Stepping on to the elevator, he's staring at the buttons with silvery eyes, leaning in to knock at the wall with them, for whatever reason. "Sorry, this is all just a bit… new to me."

"Entirely understandable," Simon agrees, a snorted laugh escaping as he shifts his weight to one foot, watching the crawl of the elevator's analogue meter show which floor they are on. "How the world ends isn't something that can be easily defined, it wasn't one singular event, but a perfect storm of multiple circumstances all coming together at once. What you need to know, and what is most important, is that this country's government is to blame."

Dark brows creased together, Simon continues to watch the elevator's meter tick upwards to higher numbered floors, reaching towards a partition leveled C-Ring, which ranges four floors worth. "For a long time now, the Institute's most central members have been working to ensure that history followes a predestined course. Our leader is experienced with the difficulties of time-travel, in that simply trying to violently change the future in the past can cause divergences to even less desirable outcomes. Once you change the future from what you know, it becomes harder to predict where it will head from here."

Lifting one hand, Simon motions to Warren. "Take for instance your father. He is a man capable of predicting possible outcomes of events with high accuracy, and at one point in time helped collect a group of people together with the intention of stopping an organization called the Vanguard from releasing a viral apocalypse on the world. Edward succeeded in engineering the Vanguard's defeat, but allowed for the rise of more significant threats that he had no forewarning of, no idea of."

The elevator slowly comes to a stop, doors sliding open to the white-walled halls of the C-Ring's science levels. "What we intend to do, is use Edward's design of how time and probability interact and previous instances of time travel to follow our own road-map of the future. Major events that need to be fixed in time in order to propell us along a specific course remain the same, but we try to make small, seemingly insignificant changes along the way with the hopes of creating a better final outcome in ways that— independantly— will not change the future until we are ready to perform the final coup-de-gras."

Walking out into the hall, Simon's dark eyes shift askance to Warren, waiting for him out in the hallway. "It's a complicated notion, and one that could potentially go awry. If we fail to prevent the coming apocalypse, this very facility becomes our back-up plan. A sort of… Noah's Ark, designed to weather the coming flood."

"So, what you're saying is… you're going to overthrow the government itself?" Warren asks once he's stepped outside of the elevator, continuing to look around, his sense of direction a bit confused by this facility as he tries to map it all out in his head. "Who exactly is going to be in charge of this new government, if that's the case?"

"The people, by the people, for the people…" Simon paraphrases, turning to head down the hallway. "Ideally, once the corruption within the government has been purged like an infection, the American people themselves will be in a position to appoint new leaders, to pick up the pieces and carry on. The Institue will have fulfilled its purpose, and with this country returned to a Democratic society we can begin mending wounds outside of the country, presumably with the blessing of the global community at large."

As Simon walks, he flicks another look over to Warren. "The Institute will remain as an advisory counsel, of course. It wouldn't make any sense to simply burn the library of Alexandria, as it were. But we have no desire to be in power. We aren't the Company, and we strive to avoid their pitfalls."

It's clear that where Simon has taken Warren is a medical facility. White-clad doctors walk down the gradually curving corridor, through large glass windows the interior of laboratories can be seen, some of the windows with blinds drawn shut. "From what I have heard about you, Warren, I know that in the future the head of the Institute comes from, you were an integral part of his plan. We knew you were a brilliant engineer and designer, and it's because of a machine you devised that we are even able to propose this plan. You research into cybernetics also is destined to follow a great path…"

Stopping in the hall, Simon turns to face Warren. "We have a choice on what you can do from here, Warren. Your father is in stable condition, just a few rooms down from here. He hasn't regained the ability to speak though, but he's aware of his environment and we've removed the implant for the time being. If you'd like to see him right now, we can do that. Otherwise…"

Simon motions to a door nearby. "The head of the Institute would like to introduce himself to you."

"I… if I could maybe just see my father first?" Warren asks, making an obvious choice. He raises his left hand, removing the glove to reveal the silvery reflective latex over his mechanical digits. "I guess my business endeavour works out. But do I ever have children and a wife, you know, a family?"

Broome's expression darkens for a moment, brows furrowing and eyes cast to the door, then slowly back to Warren. "No…" is apologetically offered to his question, "Not— not a family or a wife, not that I know of. You were too busy with your work, with your research and with your… obsessions… to focus on something like that. It isn't to say that you can't learn from your potential mistakes, however, and change. Just because the symphony must go on, doesn't mean we can't change the small notes. It's a worthwhile change to make."

Offering one look to the door, Simon nods and continues walking down the hall. "Your father's condition is as good as can be expected. He's been comatose for almost two years, we've done what we can but recovery will be slow. The body will heal before the mind…"

As he walks, Simon folds his hands behind his back once more, keeping his pace slow. "Your father was instrumental in the defeat of another time-traveler once, a foe that was his greatest match." Dark eyes regard the machine-empath. "Himself. A future version of your father from a time where Pinehearst rose to control the world came back to change history, but the price we were to pay was seen as too much by Edward. In the end, your father was struck by a power amplifier, one that was in an infinite loop of ability augmentation. We don't know exactly what your father experienced, but his ability was overcharged enough that it rended him comatose, but not brain-dead. Every telepath we tried to use to help wake Edward met with…"

Simon looks down to the floor, frowning. "Every telepath that tried to touch Edward's mind was either driven insane or killed by whatever he was experiencing. That he's awake, now, is a miracle of science."

"I don't understand how my machine woke him up, but maybe it was some unknown factor inbetween my work and my late technopath's work that neither of us could predict." Warren muses, eyes having remained in their reflective state since the elevator, keeping pace with the older man. "My own future isn't an entirely unpredictable one. I do spend most of my time in the lab, currently working on a pet project to test the non-combat capabilities of the robot A.I."

Continuing down the hall, Simon offers an arched brow to Warren. "I had no idea you were interested in artificial intelligence. I believe it might be in our best interests to introduce you and another employee of the Institute in the near future. His name is Colin Verse, and he's a technopath and programmer with a focus in networking structures and development of artificial intelligences. He's currently working on the ALIA project for the Department of Evolved Affairs. You and Colin might wind up being very complimentary partners, if you're interested."

Stopping at another door, Simon pulls out the wall panel and types in a key number to the arched pad, then pushes the plate back up into the door with a click. "But, we can discuss that at a later time…" Stepping aside from the door as it slides open with a hydraulic hiss into the wall, Doctor Broome offers a sympathetic smile to Warren.

"This is your father's room."

"I have no idea how to program, but I've been repairing a damaged 'brain' to integrate into a body with no combat abilities, to see what it does and how it develops when taught like a child." Warren goes quiet when the door slides open, then steps in, swallowing hard as he pulls his glove back on. "Father?" he asks, waiting for any possible response.

The hospital room is sparsely decorated with stark white walls and plastic medical equipment. What little furnishing it does have include a gurney with the back elevated, blankets tousssled and no one in them. A table is where Warren finds his father, sitting down at the glass surface, with a computer program of virtual chess opened up and full-screened on the virtual surface.

Large, expressive blue eyes stare up at Warren as he comes in. The man they belong to is sickly thin, his head shaved bald from the brain surgery he underwent, dark circles around his eyes. Bandages are taped across the back of his head where a bulge of gauze padding covers where a hole had been drilled into his skull for Warren's device.

Rather immediately, it becomes clear that the man sitting at the table recognizes the person in front of him. There's a squeak of wheels as Edward rolls himself from around the table, confined to a wheelchair due to the atrophy of his leg's muscles and potentially brain damage as well.

The plastic IV bags hanging from the drip stand attached to his chair sway from side to side as he wheels past the glass table, staring at Warren as if he were a ghost. That tears well up in the scientist's eyes is a sign of understanding and — remarkably for Edward Ray — raw emotion. But he has no words, not for this meeting, not for anyone.

"I don't know if we've ever met before, father, my memories are all jumbled, but I'm glad that the father from my memories isn't real." Warren walks up to the man, removing both gloves this time to stuff them into his pockets, and offers his hands to Edward. "I didn't know my machine would wake you up, but I'm just happy to finally meet you."

Swallowing awkwardly, Edward's lips move to talk, but no sound words come out, only a hoarse croaking sound. Jaw unsteadied, Edward lifts up one shaking hand towards Warren's, his grip weak as he squeezes his son's hand. A smile plays at the corners of Edward's lips, troubled and bittersweet. His eyes, tear-filled as they are, say what his voice cannot, conveys emotions words would be insufficient to at any rate.

He has his father's nose, his father's eyes. These genetic traits, passed on through whatever union spurred Edward on to have a son of his own. The similarities between Warren and Edward end there, but they are a line of comparison that a man with as much attention paid to detail as Warren has would never be able to miss.

Swallowing audibly, Edward breathes out a shuddering breath, embarrassment in his features as he lifts his free hand to wipe at his eyes, a strangled laugh coming out as mixed as his emotions are.

"It's alright, you don't have to talk. That'll come later, you spoke when you woke up. It's nothing that recovery and therapy won't fix." Warren leans in a bit more, not quite trying to hide anything from Broome, but clearly sharing what's meant to be personal information. "I have my sisters, they're somewhere safe. Everything's going to be fine soon."

The mention of Warren's sisters brings an emotion-choked smile to Edward's face, a smile struggling to show on Edward's lips, his trembling hands struggling to squeeze Warren's harder. Swallowing tightly, Edward's lips open to try and form words, but nothing comes out. Frustration soon becomes evident in his voice, followed by the hoarse whisper of something that sounds like, "brof— brofer," in desperate attempt to communicate with a mouth that will not cooperate and a brain that is still recovering.

Outside, Simon has stepped away from the open door, out of sight and out of mind, affording Warren all of the privacy he needs to meet with the man that created him. In a way, there is a juxtaposition of what Warren's entire life has been, and what Edward is to him. Warren is a mechanic, a creator, an engineer; but in one moment Edward was able to create life with another human being. The concept of children had never been a focus to Warren before, but now presented with the embodiment of his own mortality and origin, he cannot help but see a void in his own life. An absence of his own greatest creation.

Though unfortunately Warren will have to put even more consideration into his biological clock once he's solved the puzzle of his father's words. "Brother? Me, or do you mean something else? Um…" He reaches back into his pocket, pulling out a pen and a little sticky note. "Can you write?"

Edward shakes his head, trembling hands moving to his lap. Sliding his tongue over his lips Edward looks as though he would have trouble even holding a pencil, let alone writing with one. His shaky hand moves down to the joystick on the arm of his wheelchair, pulling the stick back and making his chair whirr softly as he rolls away from Warren, coming to a stop with a squeak of its wheels beside the virtual surface of the large table and its touch screen.

Edward rolls the chair around the end of the table, coming to sit on one side. He brings a trembling hand down to the virtual surface, brushing aside the chess game to reveal a blank white surface. He thumb taps on an icon resembling an upper-case and lower-case A in blue, bringing up the image of a keyboard on the table.

Slow, one-finger typing commences where Edward begins entering letters into the virtual surface, then shakily moves his hand over the process button at the bottom. In synthesized voice, the text is read aloud as unnatural sounding speech.

«Is your brother safe?»

"What? I have a brother?" Warren's eyes are wide at this revelation, immediately approaching the man to listen to the voice and read the screen at the same time. "Who? What's his name? I can find him if I know his name, I have resources and people that can help me."

Once more Edward brings his hands down to the screen, a trembling movement of his hand bringing one letter at a time across the display. His tongue slides across his lips, blue eyes alighting to Warren and then back down to the virtual surface. As the next sentence is sounded out, the text-to-speech voice emotionlessly reads words aloud that should be spoken with care, concern and love.

«Not by blood.»

Edward's eyes avert from Warren's, sweeping across the virtual keyboard in more trembling keystrokes.

«Richard Cardinal. His father and mother were close friends of mine when I was your age.»

The cold, mechanical voice tells a sorrowful tale by digital cadence. Even as Edward continues to type, the machine voice reads aloud Edward's words, without conveying any of the emotion evident in his eyes. An ineloquent and inelegant solution to his muteness.

«They trusted me with him, if something ever happened.»

«Something happened.»

«And I was a coward.»

"Cardinal… Cardinal is safe, I'm not sure where he is, but I know he's alive, you don't have to worry about him, alright?" Warren walks up behind him, placing both hands on his shoulders. "Come on, you should rest now, you shouldn't be straining yourself. I promise I'll find Cardinal and make sure he's safe." Though the implication of this, and his phone call with Cardinal earlier in the day… are many.

Edward's hands continue to brush along the keyboard with soft, tapping touches of each digital letter. Each time his finger impacts one of the keys, it glows softly and expands in size to inform contact, spelling out half finished words. Edward presses the process button again, then turns to look up at Warren as the voice begins to read one final time.

«There are no words»

Edward's lips downturn into a frown, the look of weakness and guilt written across his face is too many years too late to matter. Too many years and too many lies apart. But yet it is there, raw and unfiltered, int he eyes of a feeble and broken man.

«No words to express how sorry I am»

«For failing you all»

Lifting one shaking hand up to cover his eyes, Edward's head hangsa down towards his palm, a noise hitches in the back of his throat, tense and tight. He may not be able to speak words to his son, to the boy he abandoned.

But he can cry.

"You're only human. I've made mistakes that I can't even remember, I've taken lives and hurt people. I can only imagine the things I've done. But the Institute erased that part of me, I'm a different person now, and I want to make the world a better place and somehow make up for what I've done." Warren walks around to maneuver Edward's chair so they can face eachother, and places his hands on to his father's. "What matters now is that you're awake, my sisters and Cardinal are safe, and while we can't get back any time that was taken away from all of us, including you, this is not the end. The best apology you can make to me is to get better, to be able to walk on your own two feet again, and hug your girls with your own arms."

Truer words have never been spoken, and what Edward Ray is presented with here brings tears to his eyes for reasons most people might not ever be able to understand. Presented here with his son Warren, whole and sane, it is validation of everything that Edward has been striving to prove for much of his adult life. His obsession with statistics, with probability and manipulation of events designed to tailor to a specific outcome.

His son was saved, and if it took what cold and calculating torment Edward inflicted on him to heal his mind, so be it.

Offering a weary smile to Warren, Edward lifts one hand to rest shakily on his son's at his shoulder. His smile is faint, tired and small, but the resolve in his eyes shares none of that frailty that his body has. There is determination in Edward Ray, determination and hope.

To Edward Ray, his son Warren is validation to his entire life, and the motto he has unwittingly lived it by.

The Ends Justify the Means.

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