The Scion, Part I


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Scene Title The Scion, Part I
Synopsis Doctor Simon Broome fulfills a long-time promise from the Institute, and Warren Ray finally meets his father… again.
Date February 16, 2011

The Commonwealth Arcology

From the surface, no one would ever suspect that the Commonwealth Institute of Massachusetts was anything other than a small research corporation.

Above ground, the uniquely artistic and angular architecture of the white, two-story building seems underwhelming when considering it is the headquarters of the Institute that so many have come to fear, revile, or admire in secret. For Warren Ray, it was a tremendous let-down. Modern in all its acotrements with virtual surfaces and touch screens everywhere, it seemed like little more than a technology demonstration than a real place of scientific research, a place of marvel and wonder that could create things like the robots in Midtown, or the AETOS prototype based off of Warren's designs.

Coming to the Institute has been a long time goal for Warren, earning the truth and the faith of the organization's administration in order to get closer into their higher echelons, to actually become a member of the Institute and not just an independant contractor. From the lobby Warren was invited to take a glass tube elevator with key-card access down to the "administrative" level. What awaited Warren, blew his expectations out of the water.

The elevator accepted the key-card and immediately took the machinist down, not one floor, but several, past rows of interior lights visible through the transparent walls of the glass elevator. When it emerged on the other side of some sort of subterranean city, it was like all of Warren's dreams of the future were being built before his eyes.

The elevator travels along what looks similar to the inside of a hollowed-out corpse, tiers of curving balconies look like ribs from the inside and the elevator follows what could be viewed as a spine. High overhead, an enormous artificial sunlight source shines bright and warm light down in through the elevator, giving the feeling of being outside.

Metal scaffolding covers the lower levels of the balconies, where construction workers scale the towering heights with welding irons and rivet guns, creating additional support and finishing development of the lowest tiers of the facility.

Passing by each tier, Warren can see that it isn't just a laboratory, it is a fully functioning arcology, a contained city designed to be self-sufficient, self-sustaining. A world within the world.

The elevator slows gradually and comfortably, an analogue display on the interior rolls over with a click to read B-4, followed by an audible chirp from the display before the curving door slides around inside of the tube to open up to an expansive, white-floored and walls lobby.

Down here, below the Institute's "cover", this facility resembles something out of a science-fiction novel. Everything is sterile, white, architecture featuring curving surfaces and no sharp angles. A pair of white-dressed laboratory technicians carrying traditional paper and pencil on a clip board walk past the elevator door at a brisk pace.

Beyond them, a curving white desk shows no sign of computers or computer monitors anywhere. The whirr of analogue security cameras inside of hemispherical glass domes catches Warren's attention. Nothing, so far, looks to rely on digital infrastructure.

Standing out against all the white, a tall and elderly man in an ink black suit looks to be expecting Warren. Salt and pepper colored hair is cropped close to his head, face weathered with wrinkles and nose as prominent as his ears. Dark eyes watch Warren intently, even as a smile begins to draw up across his lips.

"Warren," is a hearty greeting by the old man as he spreads his arms wide and walks to approach the elevator.

"Welcome to the Arcology."

Warren, wearing his own black suit, actually buttoning it for once, has a white buttoned up shirt under his. And as always, he's wearing brown boots instead of actual shoes. He's surprised and awed by most of his surroundings, his eyes having gone silvery a while ago so he can properly admire the non-digital technology.

And then he's being addressed, and his eyes are blue in time to offer one of his white leather-gloved hands, the fleshy one. "Hello, Mister…?" he has no idea, but his smile is friendly. "This place is amazing, it must have taken decades to build, unless this was all done with the help of Evolved."

The enthusiasm in Warren's voice is met with a broadening of Doctor Broome's smile. "Broome, Doctor Simon Broome." Taking Warren's gloved hand, Simon's grip seems surprisingly strong for a man his age. Shaking Warren's hand, he turns and motion with his free hand down a hall, disengaging the handshake as he nods to the corridor.

"This arcology has taken decades to build, you're quite correct. It began as a continuity of government facility in the late nineteen forties and early fifties, based off of designs of a famous architect and futurist named Paolo Soleri." Walking alongside Warren, Doctor Broome keeps a slow, conversational pace, eager to fulfill the questions that Warren's natural curiosity has brewing. "I convinced the United States Government to abandon the facility's location halfway through construction, with the intentions of appropriating it for my own uses later on down the line…"

Stepping through a rounded archway, Broome and Warren's shoes clack against the polished floor. "When the Institute was founded as a brainchild of the Department of Defense in the years following the public revelation of the Evolved, as a quiet alternative to the Company, we appropriated it for ourselves. It's… not yet finished, but work is progressing steadily and we hope to have it fully operational before the end of the year."

Pausing, Simon turns to offer a crooked smile to Warren, lifting up a hand to clasp down on his shoulder. "It is an honor to finally be able to meet you in person, Warren. I have heard so much about you for so many years. I'm certain you have many questions, though, and I promise you'll be getting answers to everything before you leave here. We've been waiting a long time for yhis day."

"Years? Wasn't I a complete psychopath a few months ago? But I'm told that the Company tried to raise and control me… I only wish I could remember anything real. I often feel like I'm talking about a completely different person. From my perspective, I have this entire work of fiction of a life in my head, and I have to fight every urge to say 'Oh, I remember that thing I did when I was ten'." Warren can't help but go on a bit about his memories, whent he idea that he could learn more about it comes up."

He's a little distracted, eyes slipping back into their silvery gaze to lightly knock at one of the walls as they walk. He's listening to the echo, as if attempting to somehow communicate with this structure's complex design. "I didn't expect to see anything like this today. I was preparing to try and break through the dome tomorrow. They're saying that the government put it up."

"Possibly," is Simon's assertation to Warren's query about the dome. "We've been trying to figure out the cause of the problem ourselves, and with all our information and resources, we are unfortunately just as in the dark as anyone else. We had a precognitive here for a time, very bright, very plesant to be around. Her name is Eve Mas, she's a mechanic by trade, you may have run into her in the city?" Simon arches a thick brow, watching Warren knock on the whitewashed concrete wall.

"She painted us a series of pictures related to the dome, unfortunately everything inside the dome was depicted as nothing but black, presumably because of whatever properties the barrier has, it just… prevented precognitives from being able to see it." Furrowing his brows, Simon breathes in deeply and then exhales a sigh. "We have agents in there, and God knows how many innocent people. If you think you can get in there without risking their health, you have my blessings. Not that you need them," Broome adds after the fact with a dry laugh.

As he starts walking again, the old Doctor folds his hands behind his back, shoes clacking against the floor in steady rhythm. "As for… you," seems delicately touched upon. "It isn't so much your past that we've been keeping track of over the years, but more your future. It's complicated, and… a long story, but there's a man here with us who'll be able to explain it all much better."

"There's a chance I've met her, but it might be one of my crazy memories that aren't in my head anymore. I do remember that I temporarily used her garage for projects, before the Institute started backing me." Warren stops knocking on th ewall when his future is suddenly brought up.

"If I had no idea where I was, I'd think you were planning to sell me a timeshare." But his brows are quickly furrowing into a more serious expression, not exactly sure how to take that. "I guess you don't mean a precog, since you don't have her anymore."

"Time share…" Simon echoes back with a thoughtful laugh and a large smile. "That's one way to put it." Stopping at a matte black door, Simon reaches up and pulls down a panel from the wall that folds out to reveal a curved keypad that resembles a typewriter's keyboard with a small, square monitor display above it. Tapping in a five-digit string of numbers and letters, the door unlocks with a click and slides back into the wall with a hydraulic hiss. The keypad is folded back into the wall and pressed shut with a soft click.

"Before we get ahead of ourselves, however, we have a promise to keep." Brows rising, Doctor Broome steps in through the doorway, which leads into an observation room of a surgery theater. Rows of white hard-backed seats are arranged in a horseshoe around angled windows concealed behind two-way mirrors. Below the windows, a large surgery room staffed by white-dressed doctors is in the middle of what appears to be a delicate medical procedure.

Silently, Simon waves Warren over to the window, then points down. There, in the middle of the room, a wiry man lays on his stomach on an operating table, his head shaved bald and an enormous machine similar to an MRI in size ahead of him. It looks as though the table he's on can be slid into the machine. Extending out from the opening, a spool of wires and ribbon cables connect to a boxy device that is plugged in to the back of the patient's head at the base of his neck, cables and cords spilling over his shoulders like strands of pasta.

monitors here above the windows display the patient's vitals, along with different closed-circuit camera views of the surgery room. "That is your father, Warren…" Simon's dark eyes narrow slowly. "Doctor Edward Ray."

"That's my father?" Warren places his gloved hands against the window, staring for at least a full minute as he tries to process that information. His father is right down there, mere feet from him. "Do you think he'll ever wake up on his own?" he asks, not questioning the machine itself, he actually hasn't taken a good look at it, too caught up into the shock of seeing his father.

"Not on his own," Simon opines with a vague amount of certainty, looking over to Warren at his side. "But I have a feeling that even the famous Edward Ray needs a helping hand every now and then." As Simon offers that ominouos portent, he lifts up one hand to tap a button on the base of one of the monitors, activating the sound. Chatter from the doctors citing blood pressure, heart rate and brain activity comes over the speakers, and as Simon folds his hands behind his back, he offers a nod of his head down towards the surgery theater.

"They're about to start."

The sudden vibration of mechanical devices at play rumbles through the room, and as the table that Edward is on begins to be fed closer to the machine, it goes only far enough to surround his head like some sort of massive halo. The machine plugged into Edward's head illuminates with a series of lights that Warren knows indicates it is now powered on. This far underground, it won't be broadcasting anything back to Redbird Security, but fortunately Warren has kept a mobile device designed to receive a short range transmission as a backup. Skyler Martin's magnum opus before her suicide.

If she had lived to be here and see this, perhaps it would have changed things.

Perhaps not.

"The device is powered on," one of the surgeons states, typing a string of information into a computer atop a wheeled cart that the machine is plugged into. "Edward's brain activity has plateaued, the drugs are having the desired effect." From out of view of the windows, another surgeon begins wheeling in an IV stand that contains a drip bag with a luminous blue fluid inside; the psychoactive drug Refrain.

The surgeon brings the drip stand over, connecting it up to an IV hookup at the small of Edward's back. "We're going to push 20ccs of Refrain to get him started, the drip should keep him on a constantly elevated state of consciousness." A syringe of the same drug is brought down to a shunt at the side of Edward's neck, injected directly into his spine.

For all his cool calm, Simon Broome tenses in anticipation now.

"I did my best with this machine, the design was partially dependent on a now-deceased technopath I had working with me." Warren explains as he prepares for the hopefully inevitable, his silvery eyes staring intently. Whatever happens, watching the machine in action will be far more useful than any blueprints. "I didn't realize that there would be so much else involved." Meaning, the drugs.

"Our work requires many hands involved," Simon explains with a crease of his brows. "Every vision and every dream you combine into a work of art creates a more vivid picture. Science is not that much different from Art, Warren." Turning to look over to the mechanic at his side, Doctor Broome's smile grows some. "You yourself said that once…" Arching a dark brow, Simon's smile turns decidedly more teasing. "Or, you will…"

Following that comment, there'sa loud series of beeps from down on the surgery floor, followed by a visible spike of Edward's vitals on the monitors around the observation room. Broome's attention snaps to the screens, then down inside of the room, and as he draws in a tense breath, his hands wring together behind his back.

"O2 sats are dropping, BP is 187 over 93, he's— he's going tachycardic." The surgeons move about in a frantic sweep through the room, one doctor injecting something clear into one of Edward's shunts, another watching the monitor down on the surgery floor to keep an eye on his vital signs.

"Look— look at his brainwaves." One of the stunned neurosurgeons states as he watches Edward's brainwaves smooth out and begin moving in what looks like a sine wave rather than a series of erratic spikes. His white cloth facemask sucks in and out towards his mouth with rapid breathing, and the surgeon quickly waves a hand towards Edward.

"Turn— turn the connection on!" At the chief of surgery's request, one of the doctors engages the link to Warren's device, and Warren can feel as much when Skyler's cell phone vibrates in his pocket, indicating a data uplink has been established. The moment that the man-machine interface is connected, there's a scream from the table, followed by one of Edward's arms thrashing out and toppling over a tray of surgical instruments with a noisy clatter.

Simon practically presses up against the window, mouth agape and eyes wide. Back arching, Edward rolls onto his side, even as doctors rush in to try and restrain him. When the professor's eyes open, they are a milky white coloration and his lips are moving rapidly, but no sound is coming out. He reaches up, grasping one of the doctors by the lapels of his jacket with trembling, feeble grip.

"The opposite detector shines against an incentive. The bacterium stocks the bliss. How does a shy deadline experiment? The fifty leader glows next to the advanced anniversary." Sudden, hoarse words croak out from Edward's parched lips. Cables and wires attached to the back of his head sway from side to side as he begins to convulse, falling back down onto his side.

"Will a convenience sing behind the opposing soup? The purchase attacks its lonely god on top of the pork. The megabyte associates with the harmless cluster." Arms and legs kicking, it takes only a pair of the surgeons to hold down Edward's shaking body, his muscles so atrophied during his time in a coma. "Any bigotry toes the line…" Continuing to babble, Edward's murky white eyes race back and forth. "A satellite zooms under a ditch. The substitute breaks inside the underlying protein. Any referendum despairs underneath flesh— " Looking around the surgery theater, Edward seems only partly aware of his surroundings, if at all.

"Does a retrieval remember a waving motive? The civilian essence jokes outside the ashamed murder." His arms clutch towards his body, back arching again and fingers curling as he suffers from what resembles a seizure. "Er kommt aus unserer Vergangenheit, seine Zukunft zu √§ndern. Aber wir bleiben gleich." Speaking in German briefly, Edward switches back to English a moment later. "Under a mined filter treks the welcome winter. The imprisoned center skips opposite a slave. The ascending participant pays the dusty laboratory…"

The chief surgeon looks up to the observation room, waiting for orders, but Simon says nothing. He lets this play out, lets this continue, fascination visible in his wide eyes. Whatever Warren is getting on his phone, it's a great deal of information.

Warren doesn't dare, or even think to look at his phone right now. This is the first time he can remember his father speaking, the memory of Edward helping him destroy Primatech being long gone. He listens to everything, tries to commit it all to memory, though briefly looks to Broome as if he, too, somehow expects to be told what to do. But when it doesn't come, he simply turns back to the window to listen.

Men of science do not interrupt an experiment in progress. Of that, Simon and Warren are of like minds.

When no order to sedate Edward is made, the lead surgeon presses his hands down on Edward's shoulders, trying to keep him from rolling onto his back and damaging the neural link or killing himself by driving it into his brain.

"The world staggers," Edward murmurs into the table, his breathing shuddering with each syllable. "The tree's branches wither when the root is severed. Can the patriot find the approving stray. Reflections dance across the surface of the pond." On the monitors, Edward's brain waves begin to spike in both directions, beginning to resemble something more like a normal person's.

"You cannot calculate an apple based upon passenger trains you were never aware of because then all you are doing is swinging and that's not how it works." Sounding more and more lucid by the moment, Edward's convulsing begins to end, but so too is the rapid fire pace of his word-soup. Sliding his tongue over his lips, Edward gasps breathily, the milky white coloration of his eyes beginning to clear.

"Darkness is coming," he whispers with trembling lips, eyes blinking open and closed before they slowly flutter shut, and he slouches into the arms of the doctors, unconscious according to his steadied heartrate and lowered blood pressure. A few moments of tangible silence hang in the air after Edward blacks out, and Simon Broome slowly turns towards Warren, tension ebbing from his posture.

"Congratulations, Warren…" Simon exhales the phrase breathily.

"You've brought him back."

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