A Warning


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Also Featuring:

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Scene Title A Warning
Synopsis A new body of a dead Company agent is found in Harlem, and "Batsu" is climbing up higher and higher on the Company's totem pole.
Date May 12, 2010


Snow seems to move like a slow film reel, a herky-jerky descend from heavy clouds in the pitch black sky of night. Flashing blue lights create a strobe effect, making the snowflakes appear to skip a beat as they descend. They had to park a block away to get out here, the pair of Company agents making their way down the narrow brick-lined alleyway between two abandoned tenement buildings. Their feet and legs track deep paths in knee deep snow, blown in by the wind into the narrow alley. Natural snowfall can't reach this dark place, from the eaves of two roofs that nearly touch from how closely together the buildings were constructed.

Police lights flash at their backs and yellow caution tape rustles in the freezing wind. A thickly bundled up NYPD beat officer lifts up the yellow tape line, allowing Corbin Ayers and Rain O'Niel to duck below and continue on into the frozen crime scene. The city has nearly shut down entirely, the officers look like they haven't slept in days, and tensions are high. This is the last thing they needed.

When the cold wind blows through the alley, it cuts like a knife; prickling at bared skin as they trying to peel it off of flesh and bone. So cold that it threatens to steal the breath of anyone exposed to it. Not far from their approach, forensics officers and a sullen looking paramedic are crouched by the body of an NYPD patrolman, his headless corpse laying in a smear of blood half buried in the snow, crimson ice crystals crusting his neck stump. His head is several feet away, surrounded by plastic evidence markers with stark black numbers written on them.

A bright flash comes from a forensics photographer taking shots of the crime scene. This isn't even why they're out here, either. Further down the alleyway, where a heavily jacketed detective stands with head bowed and brows furrowed Corbin and Rain see the walls painted with blood, crusty red ice flecked with white from the falling snow. It's a mark, a symbol and it's a gruesome warning.

Already on scene, agent Gracie Lee looks like an odd juxtaposition of ginger-haired woman and Eskimo from the way she's so heavily dressed and the locks of red hair spilling out from her hood. Crouching near the headless body laid out on the snow, her partner agent Grant Fitzpatrick is looking down at the remains of another man, and holding the torn corner of a photograph in one hand, marked with blood.

They'd called over two hours ago to say that another victim of "Batsu" had been discovered. Most unfortunately, this one hasn't been microwaved.

He isn't stopping at Luke.

Rain trudges through the snow, stopping at the body of the NYPD officer that's had his head removed. He bends down to take down the man's name onto a little memo pad, with a notation to find out about his family and make sure they'll be taken care of by someone. He writes down 'possible fundraiser for funeral costs' is written down next to the man's name before he pulls away form the body with saddened eyes, his normally cheery smile is not there at the moment. He then moves with Corbin to what they're here for. At the sight of the crime scene Rain gives a soft sigh and his head tips a little bit.

His eyes lift, glancing to the other two agents who were already on scene, no words, just a slow tilting of his head to them in greeting, a lock of his sunny blonde hair falling down from the winter cap he has on to settle in front of his left eye.

"Why?" He asks softly of the open air, moving towards the message written in blood to examine it, his eyes moving over every inch, then to the remains of the other man. He walks over to him, crouching down a touch to study the body.

"Looks like he found a new puppet," Corbin breaths under his breath, the fact he spoke visible, even if they can't really hear him, due to no one being close enough. He doesn't bend down at the body, taking his steps slower as he works his way over. Bundled up in a similar fashion, he's let his beard grow out for a few days til it could actually be called a beard and not stubble. It helps keep his face warm, for one, though the fuzzy hood and scarf also assist with that. Along with the gloves, and the reflective black goggles that cover the top half of his face and his blue eyes from view.

Continuing into the cold as far as he can, he adds, "Why isn't the best question right now." There's a displeased tone to his voice, as if Corbin's unhappy with his current "partner". The wrong foot they got off on at the meeting about Batsu probably doesn't help.

"What do they know about what happened? What ability was used for this? Who is the guy?" he asks of the two agents that have been at the scene longer, who have likely already asked all these questions. Grant and Lee. Some would consider it a joke. Some wouldn't.

"We're guessing super strength, or telekinesis?" Grant offers a disturbed tone to that, looking up from his crouch to Corbin, then over to Rain. "Their necks are snapped, just… broken bones everywhere. This, ah— this is Jeremy Woo." Grant offers a look up to Gracie, who nods her head and lowers her Blackberry, treading thorugh the snow towards Corbin and Rain, offering a subtle nod of her head, one gloved hand coming up to paw at her reddened cheeks.

"Jeremy Woo, 46, operations director of our executive services' intelligence division." Meaning he works directly beneath Directors Dalton and Bishop, and is of the same structural rank as Assistant-Director Crowley. "He's been with us for over twenty years…" her blue eyes slant down to the corpse, then back up to the two agents just arriving.

"We have a further problem that's grown since you arrived as well. The NYPD officer whom you passed in the alley?" Gracie arches one brow, then looks over to Rain, then back to Corbin, "was killed trying to apprehend the suspect, he radioed in that he had seen someone fleeing the sight of where he'd heard gunshots and was going to investigate. Responders found him decapitated in the alley."

Tucking the Blackberry into her jacket pocket, Gracie offers a look down to Grant, who finally rises up from his crouch by the corpse, brushing off his hands on his slacks. "Woo was one of the highest men on the totem pole, and…" Grant offers out a photograph, one of Jeremy Woo from a Company dossier, smeared with blood in the shape of the symbol.

"This is the photograph you recovered from Batsu's archives, Ayers." Grant offers the photograph out to the agent, "someone took this from Fort Hero."

Rain is utterly silent as everyone else speaks. He himself doesn't really seem to have a problem being here with Corbin, though he can tell the reverse is not true. He stares at the corpse, the symbols, the other agents, then looks around at the alley some. "Any sign of struggle other than the decapitation? Who fired the gun shots?" He looks down at the body again then, crouching over him. "For a super strengther to get this close it would have to be someone he knew, and even then he'd be able to get some shots off. Telekinesis seems the more likely of the two, or something else that doesn't require immediate physical contact. This man was trained, knew his job, knew what we do and what is hunting us. He wouldn't have taken chances. He knew whoever came after him, or he didn't see them until it was too late, those are the only two options."

He goes quiet then. Either option is not fun. Knowing means that the killer is Company or well respected ex Company. The other means they're dealing with someone who can kill from afar. His nostrils flare and he rises to his feet, reaching upt o tug his hat down a little lower on his head, trying to shield his cheeks some from the biting cold.

"It could easily be someone that he knew, if Batsu's using his ability to control someone, like he did the boy," Corbin explains to the younger agent, even if his tones aren't as patient as they might have been before. The wind blowing snow down the alley bites at what little of his skin is exposed, but also causes a flurry of white in the corner of his eye that's distracting. He doesn't want to look over his shoulder right now—

Especially not if he has to see her looking back. Not with what it sounds like her father is doing.

"To get access to the photographs you would need to be an Agent, specifically one with regular access level three. I know cause I filed them in. He must have changed targets to someone else, an agent— Taking Campbell back to our facility may have been a mistake— we don't know how he transfers from one person to the next. Anyone who saw or handled Campbell may have been affected." If he wasn't fighting to keep his teeth from chattering in the cold, that might be guilt in his voice. "But the method of death narrows it down."

Breathing out a hushed sigh, Grant nods his head. "Those were all things I was really afraid of. Gracie suspected that the killer may have been someone the victim knew, but it was the agent who opened fire too, maybe he realized what was going on at the last minute? We didn't find any signs of the bullets hitting the target though, so… I'm not sure what to expect."

Gracie, hunching her shoulders against the cold and ducking her mouth down behind her black scarf closes her eyes to try and alieve them of the feeling of bring frozen in the sockets. "Whoever it is, they're going to have been experiencing black outs like Campbell was. If someone on our team is experiencing them, they'll report it. But, given that we don't have definitive details on Batsu's ability, there's no telling how long he can maintain remote control of another person."

Breathing out a sigh that becomes visible as a puff of steam, the redhead slowly opens her eyes and leans her shoulder against Grant's, letting her head lean towards him as she considers the implications. "This all needs to be brought up at the meeting on Thursday, we're going to have a hell of a time getting these bodies down to forensics. The NYPD want to put them on ice, figuratively and literally, until the weather is over. Shipping them out to base could take days. It's time we don't have."

Rain frowns a bit, then shakes his head slowly. "Talk to the police. Tell them that us getting the bodies could mean the difference in apprehending the man that killed one of thier own. They'll let us have the bodies. They don't take the killing of an officer lying down." He looks in the direction of the officer's body back towards the street, then down at the man who was a high up in thier orginization. "I supose the question that I ask now is. Why this guy? Why not Bishop? Or any of the others high up like that. This guy had rank, but if he can hit us like this… why not take off the head? This is more personal than that. Specific people are being targeted, not just us in general. There's a plan to all of this, it's not blind revenge and killing." he tucks his hands into his jacket pockets, huddling into the thick coat he's wearing, eyes looking around the alley. "What was he doing here?" He asks it waving towards the headless body on the ground.

"They don't take it lying down, but that doesn't mean they won't want to hold onto it for a few days to do their own research, in revenge of their friend," Corbin says to the younger man, glancing briefly at him, though any expression he might have is thankfully hidden. "And I'm sure the transportation of the bodies is also a problem, else we probably would be able to get it easily. We have a hard enough time getting us this far— they can't airlift it, and most vans are out of the question. You want to talk to them about it, go ahead, though."

With that said, he does actually kneel down, squinting, trying to see what he can of the man and remember his face in his mind. The picture— the name… Twenty years in the company versus his near ten years— but that doesn't mean he recognizes everyone on sight.

"If it was blind revenge, he'd have a dangerous weapon inside the building with us. So many are stranded out there right now. I even had to bring— my cat." Hokuto's cat. "I'll see what I can find out about what all the victims so far might have in common." But that means getting back…

"Too bad we couldn't get Agent Lash out here to look at the bodies."

Gracie's gone quiet, after everything's been considered, but when Grant listens to Rain, there's a disconcerted sound of nervousness running through Grant. "I'll see if they can physically get the bodies out there, but— Corbin's right— transporting them in this weather isn't going to be as easy as wishing it were so. We'll figure something out though." There's a look down to the snow freezing Grant's feet, then back up to Rain again.

"And… if I had to guess the pattern of what's happening? He's gone from agents to administrative heads, he's working up the food chain. That means…" Grant looks from Rain to the blood smear drawn across the brick wall, brows furrowed thoughtfully. "He's sending a message, using scare tactics. It's the same as walking up to someone and saying…" Grant grimaces, awkwardly.

"…you're next."

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