Chunky Salsa

Participants:

felix_icon.gif myron_icon.gif rebecca_icon2.gif

Scene Title Chunky Salsa
Synopsis Well, it's something red and lumpy.
Date March 3, 2009

NYPD Headquarters, Forensics Lab

The forensics lab of the NYPD Headquarters is a massive collection of separate laboratories and testing room. This entire basement level of the building is interconnected with the ballistics lab and its own morgue. The facilities, while stocked with state of the art technology, show obvious signs of wear and tear that have not been repaired. Ceiling tiles are stained brown from leaking pipes, concrete walls show stress fractures, paint is peeling and it seems like every other fluorescent light flickers with old age.


3:30pm

"Never going to look at a dish of cherry cobbler the same way ever again…" Richard Myron has seen some difficult to handle things in his twenty some odd years of service on the NYPD, but piles of human remains reduced to little more than red and brown protoplasmic soup is a first. Standing over the ten inch deep and six foot long steel tray this broth is contained in, the detective covers his mouth with one hand and slowly lurches away from it.

Day 13

Twenty four hours ago, the protoplasmic remains of what may have been at least two human beings was delivered from the Harlem Morgue to the forensics lab at the NYPD Headquarters, assigned to Forensic Investigator Rebecca Nanako to examine. In that time, Police Comissioner Karen Lau, under pressure from the Department of Homeland Security to find a closure to this rapidly out of control investigation, has called in the NYPD's FBI liason Felix Ivanov to participate in the investigation. While DHS would prefer their golden boy Ivanov to be in charge, Lau resisted with every fiber of her being, insisting that the NYPD would not be led around by the nose by federal agents.

Ivanov's first duty, is reporting to the forensics lab at NYPD Headquarters to meet with detective Richard Myron, a non-SCOUT operative who began the investigation on this case, and due to the shoe-string budget and chaos still consuming the city over the last month, Myron has remained active on the case and is to catch Ivanov up on the details.

"I mean, seriously, who turns someone into liquid?" Pacing around the examination table, Myron gives a side-long stare to Rebecca, one hand rubbing his stubbled chin, "As soon as Ivanov drags himself down in here," the seasoned detective mutters, "I want to know what you found out…"

After being part of the unit that sorted the remains of the Twin Towers, Fel will never be comfortable in a morgue again. Which is why he's pinched around the mouth and nose as he comes in, in his usual impeccably tailored suit. It's the smell that gets to you, even with camphor under his nose to try and mask most of it. At least he doesn't flash his badge with a Fed's usual OCD insistence. "Ivanov has dragged himself here," he says, trying to summon cheerfulness, and succeeding mostly in a sort of strained gallows humor.

If she were to be honest, Rebecca Nakano would have to admit this case has really baffled her. It has taken her literally days of analyzing and compiling and testing in order to come up with a viable solution. It's truly the ultimate puzzle where all the pieces are the same shape and size and you have no idea what fits where until you try each and every piece. And so she did.

"She has neatly put some sort of organization to the soup. Three containers, each with liquefied remains. "Let me tell you what I know." She starts, a touch of Asian accent in her response as she eyes the containers before her. "First, the remains — not my word, but their word — was only a few hours old when I received it. The components match up with what you might find as amniotic fluid. In addition, I've found the compound that would also suggest that there are traces of fetal tissue. I'm not saying that's what it is.. I'm saying that's what it looks like." She stands and pulls a piece of paper off her printer. "To the best of my knowledge, it appears we have the remains of three different individuals, and yet the only match that we could come up with was that all three matched someone on file at Homeland Security. Veronica Sawyer. This seems /impossible/, but I ran the tests three times."

It would be very unlike Rebecca to be unsure of her findings, but none of this makes any sense to her, but this is the way the pieces fell, and all she has to fall back on is science, no matter how bizarre it may be. "Finally, I was asked to Evo-test the samples. The test came back affirmative. I also checked the database and Ms. Sawyer is not a registered evolve. Make of that what you will." She leans back after her little speech and looks from one to the other. "Any questions?" Becca has all sorts of questions, but no one short of God is going to give her any answers.

"Have you ever seen anything like this?" Myron abruptly asks, after staring slack-jawed at Rebecca for a moment, bringing up a coffee mug to his lips, slurping at the lukewarm contents before shunting both of his eyebrows up in a crease of his brow. "Tell me this happens all the time, liquefied human remains just…" He nods his head towards the tray, putting a good distance between it as his eyes settle on the thick red-brown mixture, "Tell me this is normal and I'm just sheltered."

He walks back over to the tray, swishing a mouthful of coffee around before noisily swallowing. "This is, really, bat-shit territory." To Felix though, there is something disturbingly familiar about the consistency of the remains. Bodies having been found in Roy Wilkins park in November, bodies of two homeless individuals melted down to protoplasmic mass. The Department of Homeland Security swept those remains and the entire case under the rug for some reason. But then there's also information in Phoenix's database he was given, about a chemical agent that would have bonded with the Shanti-Virus, one that causes people to spontaneously manifest Evolved abilities, and they destroy them from the inside out.

"All this," Myron waves a hand over the tray, "Is supposedly from our perp we're searching for in this investigation. Detectives Damaris and Grimes are hitting the street looking for leads on several persons of interest…" He snorts roughly, giving a shake of his head, "I got Liz Harrison on this too at Lau's request. It's makin' me nervous, a guy like this…"

"This is our suspect? This is chunky salsa," Felix says, bluntly, thereby making sure he will never, ever be able to go out for Mexican again. "So, genetically, one person. But physically, enough remains for three? Including a fetus, or something like? You think it, she, whatever was pregnant?" He turns a blue eye on Rebecca, and asks, not apparently sequitur, "Did you test for any sort of viral or bacteriological agent?" Myron gets one of those cadaverous smiles. "Normal. Not in any New York I've ever heard of. But I have heard of something like this before. Back when we were hunting Santiago."

Sure. I come across this type of thing all the time." Rebecca is not really known for being a smartass, but this one was hard to pass up. "Honestly, none of this makes any sense. Not one bit. But science backs it up.. somehow. It seems utterly impossible. If I had those samples from the first case, I could tell you more of the same, I'd imagine." She tugs off her latex gloves and runs her fingers through her hair as she stands from her stool. At Felix's inquiry she shakes her head. "Nothing out of the ordinary. I mean, there are normal levels of bacteria here, and nothing strange. No bizarre strains or anything like that."

"I don't know what to tell you other than Veronica Sawyer has some explaining to do, and I hope you have some sort of idea where she might be, or we may have other samples to test." She leans against the counter as she addresses those in the room.

Some officers bring in some crates of charred material. "Set it in the corner, and I hope it's labeled properly this time." Seems that some of these cases have gotten the best of the analyst and she's just a bit on edge as she reaches up and pulls off her glasses with one hand and rubs the bridge of her nose with the other. She slips back on her glasses. "Anything else I can help you with?"

Myron breathes out a deep sigh, "Nah, darlin', you've done a damn fine job with this harry Houdini bullshit." He stares down into the tray of reddish brown fluids. "Ivanov, on the other hand…" When Myron looks up, he's lowering his coffee mg with a distasteful look on his face. "I spent the afternoon this weekend driving around with Officer Harrison, I hear you two are acquainted."

Myron takes a step away from the tray, glancing over his shoulder at it, before looking back up to Felix. "I got a lead about how this whole pile of strawberry jam got made, and the lead's name is Flint Deckard." The old man cocks one brow and cants his head to the side. "Apparently he was shooting at some people in the alley, who were shooting at some Triad members, who were shooting at frosty the fucking snowman as far as I know." His free hand smooths over the top of his balding head, "Grapevine says you might know where to find Deckard, and since you're brought in to piggyback this investigation, I think I speak for Damaris, Grimes and Harrison when I say — lean on him."

Myron casts his eyes back over at Rebecca, pursing his lips slightly. "You've been here a little while, an' I hear the guys upstairs talking about you being a pretty sharp cookie." The old detective shifts his weight, leaning his hip against the examination table, sending it rolling on its wheels before lurching away and glaring down at the table like it bit him.

After a moment, Myron looks back to Rebecca, finishing his sentence, "Uh— You see anything in this? Something that— you know, is one plus one equaling three?"

"Deckard's on Staten, I've seen him, he's gone to ground there - it's where the scum settles to the bottom," Felix says, flatly. "What can Deckard possibly have to do with this? Deckard's stupid people trick is X-ray vision, not dissolving people like he's the Drano Fairy. Where was this mess found?" He tugs off his glasses, squints at the clock on the wall across the room, and polishes the lenses with his tie. "I'll see what I can do. I'm damned certain he didn't do that earlier shit he was accused of, but I can't figure out who would have a hard on to frame some small time gun dealer, unless they just wanted a patsy to divert attention from the real killer. Last indication I had was that it was Vanguard, and they're supposedly neutralized."

She waits for Felix to finish his spiel about Deckard, whom she only knows by name. "I rarely follow cases, as much time as I spend analyzing.. mush. But.." Going back into 'geek mode', Rebecca turns around and heads over to her computer and sits back down on her stool, spinning it around and begins to type some keys.

"I did some correlating searches and comparison, using an ad-hoc query and founds some interesting similarities." She continues to type at a rapid pace, and finally hits the enter key. "Here. Remember the case where the incident where someone supposedly ripped apart a corpse. Reports say the evolved shows signs of uncontrollable strength — meaning, the person who evolved, really had no control over their own strength. And here." she scrolls down to the next search find. "This incident in which someone was electrocuted from the inside out. By all accounts, the victim was the evolved who electrocuted themselves — again, another uncontrolled outburst."

She moves down a little more. "Then we have this case. I can't see any evidence of intent. It seems like an uncontrolled freak accident." She taps a few more keys before clicking with her mouse as a photo pops up. "I can find only one commonality in all three cases. This man was scene at all three crime scenes." Underneath the photo is the caption. "Tyler Case." along with typical stats of aliases and last known whereabouts. "I can't say he's responsible. I'm saying it's very coincidental."

"You know where a guy ont he FBI's most wanted is," Myron quirks a brow, "— wait X-Ray vision? He's a fucking— " quickly changing his tone, "One of you?" Whoops. Myron rubs his hand over his mouth, pacing back and forth slowly, looking down at the floor, then back up to Ivanov. "Far be it from me to tell the feds how to do their job, but shouldn't a jury be the ones deciding if he's — you know — murdered people? Christ Ivanov, this guy was a witness to," Myron waves a hand at the tray of congealed red mess, as if to use that as an example. "He saw what we're trying to figure out happen, he's an eye witness on this Tyler Case nutjob that's— "

Myron looks up to Rebecca, watching her with an impressed expression. He blinks, twice, and looks back to Felix, "…potentially running around Manhattan doing whatever the hell this is."

Pacing in a circle like a caged animal, the old, rotund detective pauses and looks up to Rebecca, one gray brow arched, then turns back to Felix. "If you know where he's gone down, can you dig him up and ask him about this? Find out what he's seen? Liz says she couldn't find him, he didn't want to talk to her. If you're so buddy-pal with this guy, maybe you could help us stop a few more corpses from rolling in?" Myron's lips press together, "It might get you another shiny medal." He's a little bitter.

"A freak?" Felix's voice should be able to etch glass. "A mutant? Yes. No, he's not one of me. Because what I am is a cop. He's. On. Staten. I'm one of the few suicidally stupid enough to go there. I couldn't arrest him because I had no safe way to bring him off alive. They don't even dare send a bird over there - I'm going to magically get myself and a dangerous fugitive off that little stretch of hell, especially when all he has to do to call down the mother of all lynch mobs on me is say my name? That stupid fucking medal might as well be a millstone, and I'm not Dumbo the goddamn flying elephant." He's lowered his head enough that he's eying Myron truculently from under his brows - clearly the older man has hit a sore spot. "I don't know. Staten is a huge place, he doesn't like me, he's not gonna come running when I call. The only reason he didn't call down the mob on me last time I saw him is because he's afraid I'd just kill him first."

The pacing, the yelling, the talk of 'evolved' causes Becca to tense. As much as she's seen and heard, there's still some bias inside her towards them. She's tried to be impartial in her job, though admittedly, during strange cases like this there can only be one solution. Evolved. Impressive glances don't seem to phase her, as she is fairly oblivious to this sort of thing. It's her job and she does it. She does it well. Of course, and there's the civil suit1 she's already been told she's going to be a witness for. She stands and moves from between the two and goes to take a look at the boxes that were brought in earlier from the gas station fire.

Myron sighs, rubbing his hand over his mouth again as if trying to peel it off his face, "Just— try, for Liz at the very least." The detective looks back at the tray, "Jesus fuck what is happening to our city?" His eyes track over to Rebecca, watching her anxiety and misinterpreting it. "Sorry for yelling down here, we ah— us old birds get cantankerous if we haven't had our coffee." His eyes shift over to Felix, managing a crooked smile.

"Hey, look, just— if you can, Ivanov. I ain't gonna' question what you do with your work, I'd be pissed if someone did it to me. If you can get Deckard to talk, we might be able to get a lead on this Case guy. Otherwise, I guess you can talk to Damaris, Grimes, or Harrison about the case. They know a lot more combined than I do."

And Felix's waspish ire vanishes as if a switch had been flipped, and he's left standing embarrassed, glasses in hand. He expels a long, slow sigh. "No, you've every reason. I just couldn't get Deckard stashed somewhere safe and secure in a way that I could get to him later," he says, with a nod. "Now, from what she's been saying, sounds like Case is Evolved, too. Only his particular trick is setting off the Evolved powers of others. Maybe making them go haywire," Which…..is a good way to watch Felix commit suicide by mere presence of suspect, now that he thinks about it. "I suppose I can track Deckard down, talk to him." Read 'talk' as 'knock a few teeth out of'

Becca is sorting through the soot. Yes, they brought her boxes of soot2 . Lord, have mercy. At the apology, she offers a warm smile and nods. "It's fine. Everyone's stressed out." Including her. But she so nonconfrontational, it can border on pathetic at times. Besides, if the yelling would have gotten too bad, she'd have found someplace to hide. As she looks at all the crap they brought her, she rather decides maybe she just needs a giant vacuum cleaner. Seems as if the conversation is winding down and everyone is on the same page, so she adds nothing further. She's given her input, as science has dictated to her.


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March 3rd: Is This The Real Life
Previously in this storyline…
Old Blue

Next in this storyline…
The Right to Remain Silent

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March 3rd: I Won
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