The Perfect Plant


max_icon.gif ollie_icon.gif warren_icon.gif

Scene Title The Perfect Plant
Synopsis Warren gets on the road to recovery, discovers some new things in the process.
Date February 18, 2019


On the road to New York from Providence.

It's mid-morning, and luckily it hasn't snowed in a week or so, so the road trip shouldn't be too difficult. Logistically, anyway. There could be some difficulties that crop up, of course. But Max is whistling as he loads up the pickup truck with an extended cab with some things he's bringing down to the city — it looks like some meat that's been packaged pretty expertly despite it being freshly caught and killed.

He gets everything inside, making sure to place some netting over it all just in case. Always plan for contingencies, right? Though he's a very careful driver, guys, don't worry. After that it's just a matter of waiting the rest of the cargo, who can, of course, load themselves in and probably won't need any help.

Opening and closing his rather distinctive golden robot arm, Warren is trying his best not to use his ability, which enables him to be quieter than normal and not take anything apart. "Are you a farmer?" he decides to ask. He can totally play off being normal, standing there, with an arm literally made out of gold. "Have you thought about using drones to plant vegetables?"

That's normal, right?

Ollie ambles slowly toward the pickup, he's never been a huge fan of trips to the city but someone has to keep the preacher happy.. and safe from crazy. Plus there's a bit of bartering to be done. His hands are loaded with the dead bodies of about 10 white jackrabbits, strung into groups of two. Before the mesh is pulled over, he tosses them into an empty crate and loads it on at the back of the truck.

Then he gives Max a grunt in greeting.

Leaning heavily up against the side of the truck, he pulls a pouch from his pocket and dips a few fingers into it, rolling the stringy leaves between them before pulling it out. Warren's questions earn a narrow eyed glance and another grunt, that could mean anything really. Slowly, he rolls the bit of tobacco into a thin paper and licks along the edge. Once it's rolled, he opens the door and nods to Warren to get in.

Max looks over when he hears Warren speak, and whether or not he thinks it's normal, he smiles at the younger man, and nods. "Sometimes," he confirms. "Sometimes other things. A little bit of everythin' that's needed, really." His voice is accented, obviously Southern, though not difficult to understand. At least, hopefully not. "I ain't never thought about drones out here, though, no. We're a little less technical than y'all city folk. About most things, anyway."

Ollie's arrival gets a nod, as well as a lifted hand. "Hey," he says. "Looks like you got a good haul." He opens the driver's side door then, getting in himself. "Y'all're gonna have to listen to my music on the way down, though," he says. "I'm old and I ain't gonna be around much longer." He doesn't actually look that old, though. Maybe 50, but certainly not one foot in the grave."

"You look pretty healthy! But anything is better than what I've been listening to recently!" Warren steps into the car, his biker outfit looking a bit out of place out here, but, well.

"Doing things with your bare hands can be fun. You get a large wrench that can bend whatever you need to bend, and you can build all kinds of stuff!" He stares at his hands, thinking, normal thoughts. "I lost my arm to a grenade, but even with this robot arm, I like to do things lowtech sometimes!"

Once Warren gets into the truck, Ollie hops in beside him and slams the door shut. The cab isn't the roomiest of places and being a rather large man, Ollie takes up a fair bit of room, forcing Warren quite close to Max. "You ever just stop?" He finally speaks as he adjusts a little to the side in order to look at both of them.

"You got too many questions, you know that?" He adds then balances the end of the hand rollie on his bottom lip. Cupping it with one hand, he sparks up a lighter and sucks in a deep breath. "Anyhow, since you got so many, I got one for you. Why gold?"

Max chuckles as he reaches over into the glove compartment to pull out a tape. It's old, but it works, as demonstrated when he puts it in and turns on the engine. The music that starts up when he does is bluegrass. "Oh, is that what happened?" he asks, looking over at Warren briefly before he turns back to pull away and start the trip to the city. "Well, seems like you're adapting' pretty well."

There's another half-chuckle, half-snort at Ollie's words. "Now now," he says. "Let's all be friends or this drive's gonna be real long." Or some value of friends, at least.

"I'm trying to keep my brain functioning normally, it's not easy, you know? There's a million questions happening in my head!" Warren stares down at his hand, wiggling his fingers. "It's gold because if I need anything, I can just build it. So I didn't know what else to do with my savings other than build a golden arm."

"I have to check into rehab, engineering addiction. I think admitting it is the first step, or something!" he considers, trying to only take up a modest amount of space, not particularly minding being closed in. He at least gets to talk to people!

Ollie takes a deep drag of the cigarette and lets it loose in a series of rings. When he's almost finished expelling it, he blows a thin stream through all of them, like an arrow. "Ephesians four thirty-two, Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you."

Warren's answer gets a bit of a grunt, "Doesn't seem practical, s'all. Gold's too soft." To prove it, he takes a nail and presses a deep scratch into Warren's metal arm. THen he lets out a quick huff, it could be a laugh. "S'first time I ever did touch this much gold. Y'could pro'bly feed a whole town with what it cost."

"Y'know, I heard that," Max says with an easy nod as he turns onto the main road toward the city, settling in for the long haul. He might've said something more, but before he does, Ollie's talking, and he glances over just in time to see the scratch. His smile fades at that, and he says, "Think there's somethin' in there about judging, too. And about messin' with someone else's property." His tone is mild, but it sounds like he's not going to brook that sort of thing in his truck. Come now, children. But he's old, he can pull it off.

"Gold is very soft, that's why I don't usually wear it if I think I have to fight. It's like, my commitment to peace!" But Warren listens, because he doesn't always think about these things. He thinks of what he can do with technology, advancements, rebuilding, organizing. But he rarely truly thinks about money and solving problems in ways that don't involve building or fixing something.

"I never thought about that before." he says as if he's just been struck with profound inspiration. His eyes shift to a reflective chromium, then he pulls a small tool from some crack in between his plating, and just starts to undo a bunch of almost senselessly complex latches, screws, and wires.

When he finishes, what's under the gold is a ridiculous piece of technology. Full of what might be thousands of tiny gears, wires, and god knows what else. It doesn't look like something that should even be humanly possible to build without it just falling apart.

Picking up the pile of gold plating, he drops them in Ollie's lap. "I never thought about using money to make people's lives better, except with inventions. Go feed a town! No more gold for me."

"No judgement," Ollie's voice isn't completely defensive, it's just because he took another drag from his cigarette. But then there's a pile of gold on his lap and all of a sudden, Ollie feels a little uncomfortable. It's painted right across his features as he casts an uneasy glance in Max' direction.

"Hold on there, pardner," his accent is Western, likely Montana or Wyoming. "You sure you want me to…?" Shaking his head, the large man gathers up the plating and tucks it behind the seat. Mostly so he's not custodian of a small lap fortune. He'll let Max deal with it. "Well Mister Warren, Deuteronomy fifteen ten says give generously to them and do so without a grudging heart; then because of this the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you put your hand to… you done good."

Max can hardly fail to see what Warren is going with his arm — they're packed in tighter than sardines, and his eyesight is fine despite all his saying that he's old. His eyes widen a little bit, and he glances over just in time to see all that gold end up in Ollie's lap. He catches the other man's gaze just briefly, but doesn't hold it — he's got to keep his eyes on the road, after all.

However, after Ollie speaks, he nods once, and his smile returns as he adds, "It does say that. You're gonna get this given back to you, son, some way or another." Though he doesn't try to give back that gold, so he must mean in a pay it forward sort of way. "Guess it's a good thing we're all ridin' together today, huh?" And Warren weirdness or not, the words sound completely sincere.

"My ability, or maybe my brain, I can't tell the difference, it drives me to fix things." Warren's eyes shift back to their natural blue, though he seems extra careful with how he moves his arm without its plating. Luckily wires and artificial muscle keep the more dangerous parts from being too directly dangerous to touch.

"I want to fix the world. All the roads, the buildings, hunger, poverty. I can see how to fix it all, I have seen how, but it's… too big to just fix, too complex." He admires the complexity of his own hand, something far beyond even an impressive watch with how the black gears perfectly interconnect for maximum mobility. "So maybe if I fix a little bit at a time, one thing at a time, one day the world will be a perfectly well-oiled machine. I don't know! But, to me, unhappiness, helpless people suffering, it's like a broken wheel, it's not how I think things should work."

"Well Mister Warren," Ollie's slow drawl is as smooth as old whiskey that's been aged in an oak casket for more years than any of them have been alive. "Things ain't never gonne run the way anyone wants." He pauses there, not to take another drag but to actually offer Warren the rest of his cigarette. It's not the usual sort of behavior for Ollie but usually, Ollie doesn't find a pile of gold in his lap. This is the least he can do to say thanks. "If they did run the way a person wants, another person'd think it's runnin' wrong."

He juts a thumb toward the back of the truck, "I got ten rabbits back there that could feed a couple families for a week if they're stewed with a few vegetables. Some people think killin' rabbits is wrong."

Max doesn't jump in quite yet, letting Warren and Ollie have their discussion for the moment. He glances their way at a few points, but it seems he isn't one of those who you can tell really wants to jump in and is just waiting to talk. No, he's listening only, though he does glance in the rearview mirror when Ollie mentions the rabbits. He can't quite see them, but the idea of seeing them is there. His hand taps against the steering wheel absently in time to the music, but his focus is on the discussion.

Warren politely holds a hand up. "I can't smoke, my brain gets chemical imbalances easily. It's an ability thing!" he explains, smiling. "Thanks, though."

"That's kind of true. It's what I always say about saving the world from everything. Everyone who makes the world worse usually wants to make the world better." He doesn't know bible verses, even though he's read a lot of arguably religious books. But that works enough. "I guess the same is true for fixing the world. But then how do you know when you should fix it?"

Ollie's arm is extended a little further to offer the rest to Max. When he doesn't take it, the large man shrugs and places it between his lips again. "Well, simple really," he says around the cigarette, the puffs of smoke filling the cabin. He's not heartless, despite their speed, he cracks the window enough to suck the smoke out. "When y'see somethin' that makes you think, 'aw heck.. I wouldn't like that.' That's when you fix it."

The large man produces a coin from his pocket and begins practicing to roll it across his knuckles. He's quick to catch it, every time a bump in the road causes it to jump or fall. "Except drones, please don't gimme no damned drones to help with crops. They ain't got the eye."

Max does decline, though there's a murmured thanks at the offer as he continues to drive. He's still quiet for the moment, though there's a little nod at what Ollie says in response to what Warren asks.

He chuckles after the last words, but then he does add his own thoughts. "It helps to ask people what they need, too. If you see somethin' you think needs fixed, ask the people in it what they need. They usually know their own lives better'n anyone on the outside. Then, start helpin' 'em with it. Easy as that."

"Ask…" Warren repeats, like these words are just unfamiliar. "I always thought that, with my ability, I'd know what people need, because I can think of the most advanced things! But… people do get pretty pissed when I upgrade things without asking. I never really understood why."

Then, to Ollie, he asks, "What's the 'eye'?"

"The eye… " Ollie flicks the end of the cigarette out the window and rolls it back up. Rubbing his hands, he holds them over the little heating vent on his side to warm them quickly. "S'what my daddy used to call it. When you put a seed in the ground, that ain't just it. You gotta water it and fertilize it and tend to it so it'll grow up t'be a big strong plant." He pauses a moment to think, rolling his tongue over the inside of his cheek. "It's a delicate thing, you don't wanna fertilize or water at the wrong time. Drones ain't got what it takes t'grow a good crop, they just don't know what t'look for."

Shrugging, he looks over at Max for his input. "Preacherman's got the real answers, he's closer t'God than anyone I ever laid eyes on. 'Cept my momma."

Max's eyebrows raise just a little bit when Warren says that he's never thought to ask anyone about what they needed before. It's a subtle expression, but it's visible if someone were looking for it. "Well, there's your problem," he replies, again in the same tone, just conversationally. They're all just talking, right? "Sometimes the most advanced thing ain't the best thing. We all gotta trust people to know their own mind."

His gaze shifts across Warren to Ollie, and he grins, but shakes his head. "You're gonna give me a big head, son," he says, but fondly, one friend to another. "I don't know that I'm closer to God than the next person, but I try to live a good life like I think He intended us to do."

"I have to go to rehab, that's where you're taking me I think. So maybe I'll get a plant. I'm always waiting to get better or redeem myself, to be allowed to be a person, but…" Warren runs a finger over his synthetic muscle. "Maybe being a person is good for other people too! I could use my ability less, explore the city, make friends, take breaks from work!!!"

"Listen Warren," Ollie says, clapping one of his large hands on his neighbor's shoulder. "Y'don't mind if I call you Warren, do ya?" He doesn't wait for the answer, instead he points down the road with his free hand and addresses Max.

"Preacher? Can we stop at that little roadside place just up ahead?" He turns to Warren with a smile, "Y'gave Providence a real gift today. I'm gonna help you get the perfect plant."

"I think that's a good idea." Of the plant for Warren, that is. "Nice to have something growin' around you all the time." And when Ollie asks if they can stop up ahead, Max nods once, decisively. "Sure thing," he says, and he maneuvers the truck to get off at the appropriate exit to find their companion the perfect plant.

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