There are two people standing over his bed, arguing.
Richard doesn’t recognize them, but that’s hardly a surprise, he doesn’t recognize anyone anymore. They seem to know who he is though, the way they are standing suggests that they’ve known him for a long time, but their eyes are guarded, clearly they used to respect him. Not any more though.
That’s ok with Richard though, as much as he hates having to act the sweet, brain damaged incompetent it’s necessary at moment. He has nothing and is being forced to survive on the pity of others, on the sympathy of his nurses and the doctors tending to his broken mind. It’s disgusting and makes his stomach twist angrily… but it’s necessary.
So he continues with his act, wondering when he’ll finally be independent enough to run his own life without having to rely on these impressionable idiots. Richard knows it’s rude to call the people who saved his life “idiots” but to be frank that’s what they were. He knows that he’s clever, knows that his mind’s special, or at least it used to be. He can lay out complicated strategies and figure out how to manipulate the people around him so seamlessly that he still manages to retain his persona of innocence, his life line. He can do intricate equations in his head within a matter of seconds, knows random useless streams of information, and yet he can’t figure out how to link his mind properly to his body. It’s incredibly frustrating.
Richard wonders if these not quite strangers know that, probably not. They probably just assume that he’s another damaged case, another unfixable mess, but he knows he’s not. He also knows that his real name isn’t ‘Richard Brook’, sure that’s what his medical documents say, sure that’s what his nurses, the only people who talk to him any more, call him, but it just doesn’t add up. Richard Brook ‘the struggling actor’ simply can’t exist, he looks fine on paper, but there are far too many loose strings in the real world, why can’t they find any links to his family, for instance. Or why his only two visitors are these strange men arguing at the moment, people who claim to the nurses to work for him. Why doesn’t he have a house, or a history? ‘Richard Brook’ looks perfect on the papers but he doesn’t quite add up.
This leads Richard to assume that ‘Richard Brook’ must just be a fake identity, maybe to protect him, or maybe to hid him, he doesn’t know. Perhaps he worked for the government… that would make sense, after all they are the only people he can think of who would be able to pull a hoax like this. Though on deeper thought he could have worked for some form of criminal organization but he really doubted that, after all it would have to be a pretty big group to have organized something like this, and Richard would have had to be pretty important. No it was far likely that he worked for the government. Even if it would be fun to be one the bad guys, he thought with a smile.
He doesn’t actually know what the two men arguing look like, he hasn’t opened his eyes yet, far preferring to continue pretending to be asleep and gather as much information as he can about them. Of course he knew that wouldn’t last long, after a couple more visits the men start to get impatient, one of them, the one with a deep, nasty voice, leans down to inspect his face carefully, spitting out some vile words about how “they should just give up, he’s useless now.”
Richard doesn’t like that very much, in fact it makes him rather angrily, he may be bed ridden but there was no way that he was anywhere near ‘useless’. So resisting the urge to growl at the man, knowing that if it came down to fight he would defiantly lose as he didn’t yet have full control of his body and that it would also blow his cover if he acted nasty now, he opened his eyes groggily.
Taking the time to observe the men as thoroughly as possible, Richard took quick mental notes. The one on the right was a reasonably average height, roughly 5 ft 10 he guessed, with a large square, slightly squashed face, his nose crooked, probably from persistent breakage. He was brutish looking and although he was larger than most men Richard could remember seeing his weight wasn’t fat, it was all muscle. He looked like a man you defiantly wouldn’t want to get into a fist fight with… or any type of fight for that matter, however he didn’t look awfully intelligent, Richard noted with interest.
The one of the right was leaner though his frame was still pulled taint with tough muscle under his tanned skin, this man obviously travelled a lot, Richard observed. He was taller than the other man; probably about 6 ft 1, with a fine, distinct face with sharp angles that could be described as attractive, purely objectively of course. His knuckles weren’t as toughened as the other mans so he clearly didn’t get into physical fights quite as often as him, though they still had slight cuts and crevices that would suggest that he did sometimes get his hands dirty.
With that in mind Richard was almost certain now that he worked in some kind of secret organisation, criminal, which he still doubted, or governmental.
Blinking slowly, he smiled at the men deciding that he would get more information from these not quite strangers if he let them talk, see if they would slip out any more information he could use.
The men looked slightly taken aback by his innocent gaze; clearly whoever Richard used to be wasn’t usually so sweet. For some reason that thought made him smile, maybe if he could get back to his old self he would be allowed to be as domineering as he wanted… that’d be fun. But first he had to get back to his old self, and to do that he had to remember who he was.
“Hi?” He said quietly, in a soft lilting voice with a questioning tone.
The men just stared at him for a second before one of them seemed to come to his senses, speaking in a well mannered tone with a calm, expressionless face though his eyes looked slightly distressed, Richard wondered why that was.
“Hello, sir.” The taller man said stiffly, examining Richard with careful eyes in a way that was so intimate it made the brain damaged man feel extremely uncomfortable.
They waited for a reaction; Richard stared blankly at them as his mind whirled. sir, so they did work for him, he thought, proud that he’d started to piece the puzzle together.
“We work for you, Richard.” The taller man said again, his voice cautious as he watched Richard carefully for any minute reactions that might prove he was still Jim.
Richard nodded, “I know.”
The taller man frowned, looking over the shorter, stockier man for some form of support, seemingly taken aback by Richard’s confidence on the matter.
The shorter man, stalked forward slightly, giving Richard a hard look, apparently incapable of the subtlety of the taller man. “We need you to sign some papers, sir.” He said stiffly. Richard scowled, that was the voice of the man who’d called him ‘useless’.
Tilting his head to the side thoughtfully Richard, chewed on his lip, not sure if he should trust these men yet, especially the shorter one.
“I’m not sure if that’s the best idea…” He said softly, hoping that these bigger, stronger men wouldn’t get angry with him, “It’s just I’m not really… well, you know.” He finished lamely motioning to his feeble body, and the tubes plugged into his arms.
“Yes, boss, I know.” The taller man said awkwardly sending the shorter a dirty look.
Richard decided that he liked the taller man, he seemed nice and hadn’t talked down to him yet, which was a nice change. The shorter man however was a different matter, he annoyed Richard, the way he looked at the brain damaged man was with something akin to contempt and that aggravated Richard as he could tell the thug obviously wasn’t even that smart. Not compared to him.
“I’m Dave- er, David Carter.” The shorter man said to fill the silence, ignoring the sideways glance Richard gave him at the informal name he’d used to begin with. It was interesting that he’d re-introduce himself to Richard with a nickname rather than his actual name since he was apparently their boss. “I handle your accounts.”
Richard couldn’t help but snort at that, ‘Dave’ was clearly not an accountant, not with his fighter’s stance.
The taller man nodded slightly, “I’m Sebastian Moran.” He said looking carefully at Richard, watching for the slightest flicker of recognition, he got none. With a resigned sigh, that confused Richard, he continued, “I’m your publicist, I make sure things run smoothly and you never have to get your hands dirty… I guess they’ve told you about-”
“Oh, yes.” Richard suddenly interrupted, wanting to test the information that the hospital staff had supplied him with, information that he had already began to doubt.
“They’ve told me all about how I used to be an actor before the, well… the incident.” He supplied, watching for the men’s reaction to his words.
If he was hoping for some great declaration where they revealed all, he was vastly disappointed, all the men did was nod slightly, Sebastian’s jaw clenching ever so slightly.
“Yeah, boss... that’s right.” Sebastian replied his voice sounding a little hopeful as he asked, “Do you know who you are, your name I mean?”
Richard nodded, preparing to test the men further than before, he needed to know the truth, “Richard Brook.”