2007-07-13: Promise Kept

Starring:

Ramon_icon.gif Lee_icon.gif

Summary:

In the aftermath of the altercation with Carter, Ramon comes to find Lee and finish unfinished business.

Date It Happened:

July 13, 2008

Log Title

Promises Kept


The Secret Lair

Lee is hanging around the counter reading the Poetry of Guilliame Apollinaire, in the origial French, according to the cover, and eating a plate of rolled tacos, clearly homemade. The tacos impede his ability to properly sneer at the purchases of the pimply,
though he seems to be enjoying himself anyhow.
Now /that/ just doesn't match up with the X-Men.

Ramon Gomez comes in slowly. He took a cab, and he comes in slowly because he is now minus an eye and his peripheral vision is messed up. He has an eyepatch over a very nasty scar. He puts his hand on the door and looks over at Lee. "I've been looking all over for you and your sister," he rasps. "For weeks now. Did you go on vacation?"

Lee says, without looking up. "Yeah, we went to None of your Businessville for the annual Not My Problem Festival. Did you go to jail?" He then looks up, espies the scar and the eyepatch and says, without missing a beat, "In Uruguay?"

"No. I was tangling with the man who held your father prisoner like a pet for a few years. Your mother too. Did I mention that I found them and that's why I've been trying to get in touch with you two? Your mother went off with some men in black in spite of me sticking a whole bunch of Hispanics down at the hospital, but your father is healing from all the needles and holy shit the killer trussed him up with in a much more secure location, and we've kept the Men in Black away from him. Is it your problem yet?" Ramon growls.

Lee puts the book down. "What?" he says, intelligently.

Ramon decides not to make another sardonic jab. "I found your missing father," he says again. "And I found your missing mother, though she is now again missing, of her own free will. My friends and I rescued them from the killer just as I promised we would." He continues holding the doorframe in unsteady fashion.

Lee says, "You found our parents? Where? How? Is this connected to the message you gave Nima on the phone?"

"It is connected to that message," Ramon replies. For where, his mouth gives a sour twist made more sinister looking by the ugly stitches poking out from beneath the patch. "Your mother when she showed up at my house to shoot my lady friend. Believe it or don't believe it, but you can check Beth Isreal's records for that day and several for her for yourself, because we brought her there after because her gunshots sparked a driveby that got her in the knee—and your father in a plumbing front company that the killer, John Carter, was using, about to die. You can thank Cass for helping to save his life, cause I sure as hell didn't know what to do when I found him. Six i.v.s, maybe more."

Lee shakes his head, he doesn't believe the bit about his mom shooting someone, but he doesn't argue. "I'm guessing that the guy is still out there somewhere, then? And which hospital is dad at?!"

"Private clinic," Ramon grunts. "And no. He's not out there anywhere anymore. If you want to find your father, come with me." He looks sardonic again. "I'm a man who is in horrible pain, so you can probably take me if you think it's a trick." His hand is bandaged too, and is starting to seep right there on the doorframe.

Lee says, "Why would this Carter guy go after my dad if they were working together?" But he's mostly focused on writing the post-it, ironically in the shape of a heart, which he slaps on the top of the cash register. "You look like you could still pull a trigger." he snaps. Still sore about that, it seems. He grabs his ugly plastic briefcase and rummages for his cellphone among a pile of unread School Board memos, then looks prepared to follow.

"Yeah, well, if any windows jump out for me I'll get them. I stuck $1000 to the wall, if that didn't cover it I told your sister to send the rest of the bill," Ramon growls. "It was amazing, you know, how property went way down on the list when god damn lives were at stake." He whirls on his heelnearly pitches overand hails a cab. When that comes he gets in, pulls out a bottle of pain pills, and swallows two dry, right out of the bottle.

Lee seems perfectly satisfied with Ramon's response, if his superior smirk is anything to go by, but he makes no further comment, instead leaving a message on Nima's voicemail.

And off the cab goes, towards Seville Medical, a division of EvoSoft, Inc. Ramon seems content to /not/ speak to Lee now that he has delivered what he is there to say. Still he's going to finish this. When they get there he pays the cabbie and motions Lee forward.
Lee goes along, looking rather distracted and worried. He believes so little of what Ramon has told him that he is trying to prepare himself for anything.

Bat Country is a SUPER SECRET government facility where…

Okay maybe not.

But it is a medium-sized space at the basement of Seville Medical, a medical facility owned and operated by Evosoft affiliates. Whenever Ramon goes down the elevators with Lee, he can punch in an access code to be let inside the sealed space. It looks like an ordinary clinic enough, but it certainly has no name. There is a space at the back with cots to house patients.

All the beds are empty so far, save one - there is a curtain drawn around a particular cot. When they draw it back, Lee would, indeed, see Billy Jones, his pallour having -mostly- returned, though his eyes still look a little unfocused. Having been under the control of someone else for how many years, with on and off drugging, it's understandable that it's taking him awhile to recover. Older bodies just don't heal up like they used to when young.

He's also fast asleep.

Lee looks so stricken and stunned by the situation that he doesn't even make some horrible quip. He sits himself at the side of the bed, eyes brimming up with tears, hands shaking, he tries to remain quiet though.

Ramon stands near the door, crossing his arms and grateful for the nice wall that lets him lean there and gives him so much support. He, too, is a poster child for not healing up so fast. He absolutely isn't going to interrupt this moment though.
People are breathing on him. What the hell?

His eyes slowly crack open. Billy stirs, as if resisting to wake up, but the presence of people in the room, after so many years of trauma, causes them to snap open. A pale, gaunt face stares up at a face that looks vaguely familiar. He hasn't seen his children in so long. And when his lips part, cracked from the lack of moisture, his voice is raspy. "….Lee…?"

Lee says, "Dad…it's me…I'm here…" He reaches out to hold his hand in his. "It's me. I'm here. What happened, Dad?"
"Needles." Billy's eyes close again, so heavy they can't even lift upwards for any long period of time. "…every day…I remember the needles… kept us like pets. Your….mother and I…" He licks his lips. "Days…vanished like…nothing. I don't…even remember your faces anymore…"

Lee says, "Dad…who did this to you? Who did this? Why?"

"Don't….know his name…." Billy's eyes close again, the answer sounds like a sigh. "Never…told us…his name…"
Lee looks confused. "…just, it was just one guy?" he says. "Why did you leave? Why did you and mom go with him in the first place? Where's mom now?"

"He…took us…" Billy rasps, doing his best to answer his son's questions. But he's tired. He's so tired… "When we…he took us. From where we were. He just…." He shakes his head. "Mary…? Mary is that you…?" Not only was he exhausted, he was also delusional. Even as his eyes open and stare at Lee, before closing again, Lee might get the impression that he's not really -seeing- his son. As if he was just conversing with a dream. But this is probably a side-effect to whatever the hell happened to him. The needles. The programming. For three years, his brain had been constantly abused.

Lee says, "No, it's me, Dad, it's Lee. I came back from LA when you disappeared…I dropped out of grad school, I…" He has way too much to say, he calms himself, focuses outwards again. "…it's me. It's Lee. I'm here." He settles for that, even if his father can't answer more questions.

"….you….oh, Lee." Billy shakes his head against the pillow, closing his eyes again. "…why…did you do that…? How am I going to tell…your mother..?" Another exhaled breath. "So…disappointed. ….disappointed…" The last word is a sigh. Still talking to a dream, but the words are real regardless. Pretty soon he's out like a light again, sleeping.

Lee goes pale, grips his hand. "Dad….Dad?" he whispers, hoarse.

Billy is out like a light. He doesn't hear Lee anymore, and his breaths are deep. His hand is slack in Lee's grip, and he doesn't say anything else.

Lee looks up at Ramon. "What is this place? Why isn't he at a regular hospital?" he asks, keeping his voice low, though it quivers.

"Because when we took your mother to the regular hospital, Beth Isreal, some men came and stole her away." Ramon looks tired himself. "My relatives were watching over her but they were dumb. She said she knew them, they left. I can tell you what I know, but it's not going to do much good if you don't believe me. As for this place, it belongs to the eccentric millionaire Jaden Cain, whom my daughter works for, and he adores her and so humors her with batcave clinics when she makes puppy eyes at him."

Lee says, "Tell me your side. I won't argue with you about anything. I promise." And he seems to mean it.

Ramon looks at him, and nods. He considers for a long time. Then he decides this guy deserves answers. All the answers. He expels a breath and says, "I'm going to start on a tangent, because I'm tired of dancing around the truth. Your family's been through hell. So I want you to think of any three random things. Just humor an old man. Once you understand what I'm about to show you, all of this will make a lot more sense."

Lee says, "All right, go ahead."

"You're not thinking about anything," Ramon says, "Because you're too numb." He shakes his head. "Which doesn't demonstrate crap." He slides along the wall and sits down, rubbing his temple. Trying to decide where to begin. "There is a group out there of some form with more than the average interest in genetic engineering," he says at last. "John Carter, the killer, was a member of that group. So it's possible your mother took off with members of that group. If so, she is still in danger. It is possible she took off with some other faction, or had something of her own going on. I am not actually certain she went with the genetic engineering company…Carter would have been sure to taunt me with that when we were facing off if that were true."

Lee says, "Okay. I mean…we had to accept the possibility that the police were right and our parents left voluntarily a long time ago." He's more prompting for more than anything else.

"They didn't leave voluntarily." Ramon looks up into Lee's eyes. "They were kept as pets. He controlled their mind. Look, there are people. They can do things. Weird things. John Carter, if he knew your name, could make you do anything. I don't know /why/ he chose your parents. I'd very much like to know. Maybe they were convenient, maybe he liked them, but I'm inclined to think there's more to the story. The women he was killing were people his group had injected with some fertility and genetic engineering drug. He was murdering the women. He's laying claim to the children. The Preacher's kidsI keep forgetting his name right nowthey've disappeared since then too, after Carter killed their mother. He'd call them up. And he'd say their name. And then he'd order them to suicide. Because after all, who knew more about the clinics than the women who had visited them? They couldn't risk the leak. The children, they can all do things too. They were genetically engineered that way. It sounds like something out of one of your sister's books or movies. But every word is true. I know what it sounds like. I do. He used your father and your mother to do things for him, as we've already discussed. Your father had no defense against it. Your mother had no defense against it. So they were made to do things they never should have done. I don't know how to find your mother now though. It was a black car, unmarked, two nondescript men, suits, sunglasses. They'd have come back if they'd have even been able to think, but they couldn't. For the most part I'd say they were probably thinking about…about nothing. Everything suppressed."

Lee just listens. "And you found them while investigating this Carter guy. Mom was a gunman, uh, gun woman for him, dad was…what?"

"Same. Arsonist. He also sent him to inject some crap into my i.v. when I was in the hospital," Ramon says. "But he was fighting it pretty hard, because Desiree managed to convince him to stop. That was when she called you." He takes in a breath and says, "As it happens I seem to be able to do things too. I didn't know when all this started. I had an impossible case that no police took seriously. I got the DA to listen for fifteen minutes and then he and the detective /he/ got to listen abandoned me for a serial killer they had much better evidence on. Something they could try in court, maybe. Some bigger name. So that's when I said I was taking things into my own hands. I was tired of watching people die. I discovered some of the things I can do are useful in busting through programming."

Lee says, "I remember you mentioning that before." True to his word, he doesn't believe or disbelieve anything. "But go back. Why did my father have needles in him if Carter can control him without them?"

Ramon considers that. "I don't know," he says. "He left your father as bait, as a taunt. He left everything we needed to learn what was going on—and then while we were there he went after Elena, my daughter, and planted suggestions in her mind to activate later. I would say that he didn't know that I was bringing a paramedic and a drop out doctor, and expected him to die before I got him medical attention. But that day, I brought Dezi and Cass, and they saved him. What he was pumping through his system that day was lethal. Given, though, that he had to give specific commands — raise your right arm, for example, or kill that person and leave if something goes wrong — he couldn't maintain that constantly. I would suspect that he used drugs to keep them placid and under control when he couldn't keep shelling out command after command, and to keep them even more open to obeying him. Maybe your father fought right from the start."

Lee says, "With that evidence, that he'd been held there against his will…couldn't we prove to the police that…so would put him under tighter protection? I don't like this place. This whole thing. I don't like it at all. Not that I believe you or don't. I promised I wouldn't argue and I'm not. But this isn't the right place for him."

"He's your father. Its your decision," Ramon says quietly. "I won't stop you, but I'd advise against it. Not one police officer has bothered to help. They don't like things that don't make sense to them. They don't like things that don't wrap up into neat arrests and cases. They're understaffed and they're busy and they like cases that look good on paper. This case? This case looks a mess on paper no matter what. He's getting medical attention here from people who know and believe and understand what he went through. But I have no power of attourney over your father, and /I/ am not a kidnapper. If you want to bring him elsewhere, that is your choice."

Lee laughs hollowly. "I don't have a power of attorney either. He disappeared. It would be a few more years before I could even get a…" He stops, puts his face in his hands. "…a death certificate. That was the next thing we were going to have to get." A big gulp of breath, then: "I'll…talk to his doctors…hopefully…maybe I can talk to him, ask him…ask him some more things…" he says

"I'll make sure you have an access code, you and Nima. And as far as the people here are concerned—nobody here is going to keep you from your Papi," Ramon says gruffly. He stands up, putting out a hand to steady himself. "I'm going to keep looking for your Mamacita. This is over, but it's not over. I'm going to keep looking until I have the answers. Because that's the only way any of us can go on and that's the only way any of us can keep from living in fear. When we know why they were taken, we'll know if there's a chance it will ever happen again. I want you and your sister to heal, not be hurt more."

Lee says, "You said Carter was targetting people who had been treated with a drug by a company. They must know about him, then. What are they doing about him?""

Ramon gives a hollow laugh. "Probably covering up every loose end he left, as he /worked/ for them. That's why I say this is not the end of it by a long shot. He targeted the women that the genetic engineers injected. He called my children a /crop/."

Lee says, despite himself: "Why would they cover it up? Wouldn't they be pissed that this guy is interfering with their work?" He stops himself. "No, sorry. No argument. I promised. Thanks for the info." He does not believe it, but is too numb to disbelieve it.

"You're not hearing me," Ramon says. "The guy was not interfering with their work. He was acting on their orders. He was disposing of the women who had served their purpose. He was cutting liabilities by killing them." He turns back for the elevator. "When you start to think I'm insane, just remember my insane story and my crazy talk got you your Papi back. Ask Cass. See what she says." He says, "My access code is 27V10. Use it whenever."

And so Ramon brings them back up. He hands Lee money for the cab, but he doesn't take it himself. He will shut the door behind Lee though, and then step back to the hospital. He has to sit down a moment, and he figures Lee needs to be alone with his thoughts.

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