All the Glamour and Prestige


bowie_icon.gif cesar_icon.gif veronica_icon.gif

Scene Title All the Glamour and Prestige
Synopsis Join SESA, they said. You'll solve SLC-E crimes, they said!
Date March 23, 2018

Fort Jay, 2 P.M.

The heavy snowfall has left a blanket of wet across the northeast, but inside the SESA offices of Fort Jay, the warm wooden pillars and modern office furniture is complimented a wafting scent of coffee coming from near Bowie’s desk. Near the butcher paper covered wall of information where agents have been leaving notes, pinned photos, Cesar has set up a cafecito station at Agent Lin’s desk while the other man’s been away from it. This generosity has drawn a number of curious agents nearby, but he’s shooed them off as they move in to try and get him to share.

A passing administrative assistant looks to the small cups wistfully, and to that expression Cesar notes if she can find and herd Agent Sawyer to the notes board too, then he’ll pass her a coveted cup. The assistant lights up and hurries off, leaving Cesar to lie in wait. Or stand in wait, as it were, looking over the board and the notes that cover it, musing over the information that has so far been gleaned.

Agent Lin, as it were, has been at work for too long. Which is why he was catching a nap in the server room during a long withheld break. But now he's making his way back to his desk, looking a little mussed, as one does after a nap. He smoothes out his tie and lifts an eyebrow when he spots Diaz at his desk. He might suspect bad news, but when he gets close enough to smell the coffee, his expression eases into a smile.

"Cesar," he greets, "are you spoiling me or teasing me?" He gestures toward the cafecito, but the question is just a tease of his own.

Veronica Sawyer is not one to be herded. She lifts a brow at the assistant and continues with whatever she’s working on for a good few minutes before her own plans will take her in the direction of Lin’s desk.

“Are you setting up a black market coffee business, Diaz?” she asks, before looking at Bowie. The sleepy and mussed appearance of the man is enough to pull dimples to the surface of her cheeks, though she tries to stifle the smirk. “Clearly Lin needs some. Aw-www,” the word drawn out like a teenager might do, but laden with a little playful sarcasm, “that’s so sweet, you guys looking out for one another.”

Rest is good. With the food thefts having the agency working hard and stretching to solve, there isn’t always time to relax. Still, Cesar’s cafecito entices others to slow down a moment, to sip and refresh. He shares once the others arrive. One cup for the administrative assistant who gleefully hurries off to squirrel herself away with the espresso, another pours out for Bowie, and one of course for Veronica.

“I would never joke with el cafecito,” he says, nudging the tiny cup towards the mussed haired man. And the other cup for Veronica comes with a smile. “But if I thought I could turn a profit with tiny cups of coffee alone, I’d be down at the market and not here.” The last cup he pours for himself, then closes up the half-empty thermos. “Of course we gotta look out for each other. It’s a mad, mad world out there.”

Speaking of the world at large, Cesar turns to gesture to the board, recently added to with his notes of the investigation into the first theft that happened beneath the Red Cross Depot. “Baumann and my little venture,” he says, “didn’t really do much. I don’t know, I’ve been thinking it over and this still doesn’t make sense. Something’s missing.” The man waves to what’s been found beneath Red Cross and what’s been found under the second site of Red Hook Market. “But maybe a fresh set of eyes will help.”

Bowie turns when he hears Veronica's voice, and her words get a chuckle. "I do. We need better couches," he says, making a show of stretching and yawning to really get the point across. "It's a good thing, too. I need looking after," he says, since Cesar looks the more together at the moment. It'll swap later.

He takes the coffee, sipping from it even though it's too hot. He jerks back with a quiet ow. He didn't intend to prove his point further, but as it happens, he was telling the truth. He sits on his desk, offering the chair to Veronica if she wants it, and looks over at the board. "I'm with you. The connections are there, but I don't see them yet. Something got the food out of storage. And then left it there for the rats to eat. But why? Could have sold it. Could have held it for ransom. I don't want to think someone has an eye on sabotaging the Zone, but." He gestures to the board, as if that should explain his reasoning.

"She say anything weird about the rats?"

Veronica accepts the coffee cup with a smirk, taking a daintier sip than she might if it weren’t in such a tiny cup. “I’m so glad I went to Berkeley to investigate food pantries and rats,” she says. She forgoes the chair to lean on another part of the desk instead, studying the notes board and reaching out to touch one of the post-its left by Cooper.

“Do we not have black pens for that man to use?” she asks wryly, before taking another sip and then setting the cup down beside her. “How was that?” she asides to Cesar, actually back to actual work and not just disparaging people’s writing utensils.

“Serves you right for sleeping in the server room,” Cesar laughs, picking up his cup to sip, eyeing Bowie’s hair for a split-amusing-second. Then it’s back to business and the board. The question about rats gets a slight frown. “She did mention wanting to look for animal tracks, but seriously? Rats. In a sewer. Like, ‘Rodents of Unusual Size’?” He doesn’t believe they exist (not true, they do). The man leans against Bowie’s desk, eyes flicking from one note to another. “There’s got to be something right? Like there’s the ghost kid, the rats, the food.” He then gestures to the other notes. “What about these, the booksellers getting their wares shredded up too. The food we found was torn up, destroyed. But that doesn’t mean anything for the kid, though, except that he got chewed up by rats.” Cesar heaves a long sigh, returning to the comfort of the small espresso.

"We do, I think he's bringing his daughter's pens instead." Bowie blows on his coffee and them sips it. Better this time. "The server room is warm," he points out after emptying half his cup. He turns his attention to the board, though, Cesar on one side of him, Veronica on the other, and a teeny tiny cup in hand. "The rats are one thing. The ate the food, they ate the kid, they ate the books. But how did the food get out of the room in the first place? That's my big question mark."

He glances over at Veronica, quirking an eyebrow upward in amusement. "It's not the glamour you were promised, huh?"

Veronica’s brown eyes study the notes, frowning a bit, especially at the words of rats eating a kid. “The kid might know something, yeah. If we can get him to talk to someone. I can’t believe we actually have ghosts, more or less, but it does explain a lot of weird stories from the past.”

She reaches for the cup of coffee to take another sip, glancing over at Bowie. “Honestly, if this is the worst it gets, I’d take it over all the glamour and prestige.” So far she hasn’t been shot, electrocuted, stabbed, or attacked by robots doing her job with SESA, so it’s a step in the right direction. “A phaser could get the food out — is it possible there was a second phaser? Unless William was taking the food for some other reason, someone other than himself.”

Brown eyes roam over the board, Cesar drinking the remainder of his cafecito. He sets his cup down on the desk, pushing off to approach the board. “The big question mark, yeah,” echoes Cesar, pulling out a pen to flip around in his fingers. “I talked to a teleporter. Eimi d’Arcy, she was in Red Hook when I ran into her. She mentioned her power requiring line of sight, so. I’m not sure she’s really part of it.” The man pauses, brows furrowing. “Didn’t think to ask her if she’s talked to Spirit Fingers over here.” His pen stops twitching, and he turns to look over his shoulder at the pair, partially focused on Veronica. “Unless. Ghosts, they usually got some unfinished business right? What if the kid’s trying to… feed the rats?” Cesar shakes his head at the thought. “Goddamn, this is crazy.”

"Well. Psychic projections." Which is totally different than ghosts, you guys. "If someone can talk to him, he might have seen something. I'm not sure how well your mind would hold up, though, in the state he's in." Bowie sets his coffee down in favor of a Rubik's cube he tends to fiddle with (after he broke a lamp and they told him he couldn't have baseballs indoors anymore). "Could he interact with something physical, though? The people I interviewed pointed out that he never touched the books, only talk about them. I think the kid might be a victim of whatever this is, not a facilitator. Considering that he led us to his body, though, you might not be wrong about unfinished business."

As for the notion of a second phaser, he spreads his hands wide. "Anything's possible. Fact is, we have nothing on how the food got from Point A to Point B."

“Right, psychic projection. Probably couldn’t interact physically, you’re right,” Veronica agrees, brows drawing together as she looks at the board, from one spot to another. “I really hate rats,” she says with a sigh.

Dark eyes slide to where Bowie’s hands toy with the Rubik’s Cube, before looking back to Cesar. “Maybe there’s something between the Red Cross and the Market. Maybe in the sewers and tunnels.”

She reaches for the cup, holding it for a moment. “It could be a mimic or something — anyone who can bring things with them. Smoke mimic, for example. Maybe someone who prefers to stay below the surface for some reason.”

A heavy huff comes out of Cesar for the valid correction from Bowie. “Psychic projections,” mutters the man under his breath, although the second comment about his mind not holding up gets a narrow-eyed squint - good-natured yet competitive - and Cesar shakes his pen at the other agent. “Didn’t you say those two,” he points at Lance and Joe’s pictures, “were checking things out too? Maybe they’d be able to get close to the Projector Kid.”

Upon the notions of Point A and Point B, of searching between them, Cesar nods along with the idea. “That’s probably where we need to head next.” The pen finally gets uncapped and he draws on the map marking the Red Cross depot as ‘A’ and the Market storage as ‘B’, then draws a line between the two. “See what’s being used to move the product. How it’s being moved. Phaser, teleporter, mimic. Poltergeist.” And he caps the pen again, tucking it into his pocket. “Anybody want a refill?” he asks after a moment, regarding the cups.

Bowie rubs a hand over his face as the others talk. Because he's frustrated. And he has no clue.

"I have no clue," he says on a sigh, "Those are all possibilities. How would we even go about proving any of them? Especially since the stolen goods aren't in anyone's possession." He might have been really hoping to catch someone with it. "That's a good idea, Sawyer. They probably know the sewers, at the very least. Maybe they're skulking around down there."

He looks over at Cesar, then holds his cup out toward him. "Please," he says. Because he obviously needs more if he's going to keep staring at this wall. To try to see the angle he's missing. "I'm not going to pull those kids into this investigation any more than they already are. They're not trained, they're traumatized, and they have an invincibility complex a mild wide."

“No, thanks, Cesarín,” Veronica says, turning to look at the two boys he indicates and sighing ever so slightly. To Bowie’s comment, she huffs a short laugh. “I wonder where they get that.”

Brian-slash-Andrew, is the answer to that.

How do they prove it indeed. Cesar moves back to the desk, picking up the thermos to pour a couple more shots out for Bowie and himself. After capping the thermos again, he gives the container a slight shake to judge how much is left and sets it back down. The nickname from Veronica gets a short chuckle, but the remarks about the two boys draw a faint grin. “Right, well, I don’t mean for them to be trudging around in the sewers or other restricted areas. But maybe they can hang around the marketplace and see if DeLuca shows back up.” It’s not a possibility he ascribes much weight to, though. “In the meantime, it’s back to the sewers.”

And really, nobody wants to go back down there. But it’s a dirty job, and somebody’s got to do it.

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