Amber Alert


emily3_icon.gif felix_icon.gif joe_icon.gif joaquin_icon.gif lance_icon.gif rhys_icon.gif

Scene Title Amber Alert
Synopsis After Squeaks' disappearance, SESA enlists any help they can get to bring her home.
Date June 25, 2019

In 1996 a child was abducted in Texas.

Amber Hagerman. She was nine years old.

She didn’t live to be ten.

In the years that followed, her name has become synonymous with an organized call to arms in the hopes of preventing others from experiencing that fate. Before the civil war tore America apart at the seams, Amber alerts were issued through city-wide emergency notification systems. That infrastructure no longer exists and facilitating city or state-wide notifications in a part of the country like the New York City Safe Zone is a Herculean effort. Radio stations, print media, and door-knocking done by local SESA Outreach offices help spread the word.

But SESA never thought they would ever have to set up an alert for one of their own.

SESA Community Outreach Office

Williamsburg, NYC Safe Zone

June 25th


Each borough in the Safe Zone houses a SESA Outreach Office. Some of them are little more than converted bodegas with a reception desk, an agent-on-duty, and a conference room. These offices serve as nerve-centers for SESA, allowing the public to come and perform tasks like Chesterfield Act Registration, report a crime, or seek shelter. The offices are open twenty-four hours a day, all of which operate off of generators to maintain power during rolling blackouts.

Williamsburg’s outreach office sits on the corner of Kent Ave and South 8th Street, just a block away from the river. The broken remnants of the Williamsburg Bridge looms north of the building, reminding everyone in the glass-walled office where and when they are and why places like this are so important. Today, there’s a flood of activity unusual to the outreach office.

“Okay, we’ve got NYPD knocking on doors all the way up to Jackson Heights…”

Agent Rhys Bluthner takes few things in life personally. But today, he is taking exactly one thing very personally.

“Her mother said that she hasn’t seen anyone suspicious around their home, no one she didn’t know.” Standing in front of an outdated printed map of Brooklyn and Queens, Rhys has formed the modern-day perimeter of the Safe Zone with pushpins and red yarn. Each neighborhood is likewise bordered using a line of green yarn. The sound of the door opening from the street brings with it the sound of construction two blocks down, and the arrival of more volunteers to help in search efforts.

“Thanks for coming,” Rhys says as he turns, brows furrowed in worry. “We’re going to need all the hands we can get.”

Emily looks askance to Lance as they enter one after the other, then back to Rhys. She edges her way in through the door, finding what passes as a corner for herself. It's at least a corner of a table. Onto it, she carefully places a journal, protectively papered over with brown bag, never letting her hand leave it. Enough things have been lost lately, she wouldn't lose another.

"I've got something I think can help," she offers up quietly. Her eyes scan the map for only a moment before she lets her gaze settle on Rhys, however hesitantly.

She has no idea how her idea is going to be taken.

“It should work,” Lance says in the tone of someone who’s been having an argument for the last hour, shaking his head as he walks along in beside Emily, “It’s like Lo Jac.” He’s been milking that pun, because humor is his refuge from bone-deep worry at the moment.

Of course the fact that they’ve never told anyone about this may get them eyed askance by the senior agents in the room.

He flashes a quick smile to Rhys, brows raising, “Like she said, we have a, uh, possibility?”

Joe is here. Joe is absolutely here. You couldn't keep Joe away from helping with this search. He shows up dressed in simple jeans and a hoodie, pushing through the crowd and moving towards his brother and friend in Lance and Emily. He steps up near them, heedless of if he's supposed to be right there or not. He looks to Lance first, reaching a hand out to rest it on his shoulder, giving it a reassuring squeeze. His eyes track to Emily, then around to Rhys before he breathes in, and lets it out. "What do we know?" He asks quietly and simply. No inane chatter from Joe today. Only seriousness, and a WHOLE lot of tension simmering just under the surface. This is the second time Squeaks has been taken. And if it's those slavers again God help them because Joe will make it his personal mission to bring down fire and blood on them like they've never seen before.

Joaquin is here, kind of late. But that's because he's hauling in a cardboard box that has its top folded into that locking configuration of the four flaps in a pinwheel. Spotting Emily, Joe, and Lance, he shuffle steps his way closer to the trio with burdened hands. "I'm here," he says as if to clock in to attendance. "I, uh, stopped to get us something to eat. Can't search on empty stomachs, right?"

The desk closest to Rhys' pushpin board gets the box set atop - sorry - and he works the flaps open to reveal six-inch sandwiches and water bottles.

And speaking of the NYPD - there’s one of them. Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue - Felix Ivanov is practically a wedding in his own right. The Department isn’t yet staffed enough or stratified enough to have him back in a detective’s suit, and being what he is….SCOUT’s uniform will have to do.

The faces he knows get a brief smile and an upnod - good to have people who know the missing on hand, but he’s turning to the Agent expectantly. Relaying what the NYPD’s done thus far….but not feeling compelled to come in and start bossing people around, at least.

Looks like this old dog has learned new tricks.

Rhys is quick to take a bottle of water from the box Joaquin set down, motioning for the others to grab one as they need. Unscrewing the cap, Rhys glances at Emily and Lance, then nods to Felix as he comes in. There’s a subtle tension in Rhys when he sees the old federal agent, a hint of a smile too. “To catch everyone up, we’re working on an active missing persons case. We don’t know whether this is an abduction or not, but we’re going to treat the victim — Jac Childs — as in danger until we learn otherwise.”

Walking over to the board, Rhys motions to a few red pins placed in the southern area of the Safe Zone and two dozen more on Staten Island. “I’ve added these pins from some data Agent Cooper gave me this morning. It’s an indicator of every single abduction by human traffickers reported to federal agencies since 2018.” It’s an alarmingly large number of pushpins for a year’s worth of data. “The black pin,” Rhys points at in Jackson Heights, “is where Jac was abducted by human traffickers last year. Now, they were taking her to Staten Island last time, and she was able to get away. But we can’t rule out the possibility that they’ve tried for her again.”

Rhys points to a photograph of a square-jawed man in his late forties or early fifties with a buzz cut. “This is Eugene Arrowood, we believe he was the trafficker who abducted Jac the first time. He is an ex-marine, fought on the wrong side of the war, and has been running guns on Staten Island since the end of the war. We have the Military Police watching checkpoints outside of the Safe Zone in case he’s on the move, harbor patrol as well. Even if Arrowood isn’t involved, he deserves to be behind bars.”

Tense and agitated, Rhys takes a swig from his water. “Beyond this I’ve — we have the police doing everything they can. Today I’m just soliciting for ideas, looking for a way we might be able to narrow down the search grid. Jac was last seen at her home in Elmhurst with her mother Gillian. She left in the afternoon when Gillian wasn’t home, no one knows where she went or why. We have no phone signal to track, no one has reported seeing her that day… so anything, right now, is a help.”

With that, Rhys motions over to Emily and Lance. “What’ve you two got?”

The arrival of other familiar faces does a little to ease Emily's anxiety about bringing the journal into the conversation, her gaze tracking to Joe as he approaches, and to Joaquin when he comes in. In the process, Felix is noticed, his face vaguely familiar, but she moves on to look back to Rhys' presentation.

When it becomes clear what the pins signify, her eyes widen, hand pressing down into the cover. Jesus, there were that many abductions last year? "Oh my god." she whispers, stopping her count when she gets to twenty.

It's too many.

The image of the man on the board similarly looks familiar in the same way Felix had — the image of someone who had sat in her periphery at one point. She struggles to place it at first, the scent of coffee associated with his memory.

Rhys' gesture brings her back to the moment, and Emily looks up right away. "When I first met Jac, she was hunting down the answers to a mystery that remains unresolved. It's — a long story, and involves another missing persons case, but Jac encountered a being made up of living ink, who'd accidentally become unable to reform because they'd been split up into many pieces." Emily runs her thumb along the cover of the journal and then opens it to a random page.

"Jac called her the 'ink lady'. Whenever another piece of her drew close, it'd do two things — part of it would return to the book, but part of it—" Emily lifts her hands, tapping on the inside of her forearm. "Would stick to her. The tattoo that Jac had on her arm? Not a tattoo at all. Each piece we found, another stroke would get added to the symbol."

She takes in a breath to cut herself off, looking down at the pages. "… which is ultimately irrelevant. The point is, I think she can help us track where Squeaks is. The ink woman is a lot stronger than she used to be with all the pieces of her Sq—Jac and I found, and she… I think she can point us in the right direction."

As Joe’s hand claps to his shoulder, Lance reaches one of his own up to cover it as he flashes his lighthouse-brother a quick smile. “Hey, Joaquin,” he calls over to the other in grateful tones, “Thanks for coming…”

He lets Emily explain the ink lady before looking back to Rhys with both eyebrows raised a little.

They probably should’ve mentioned this sooner. Maybe they’ll get yelled at later if it helps.

The number of pins in the map prompts Joe to turn and give Lance a long look. A very long look. They should have dealt with that particular brand of scum when they had the chance. He doesn't say that out loud, but Lance will know what the look means. Or at least… he should. "Have we checked the underneath?" Joe asks of Rhys. "Where she lived… most of her life?" He looks over as Joaquin shows up with important stuff. Food and drink, and Joe offers the other Lighthouse Kid a quick smile and a nod of thanks before his attention swings back to the discussion in regards to Squeaks.

"Hey Mister Felix." Joe offers Felix a tight smile, a very tight smile. Really it's just a relaxing of his steady grimace more than a smile. But it's something. "I have… knowledge of some of Arrowood's movements and what not on Staten if that helps. And some of his men. Some that might be more vulnerable and leverageable than others." Lance has that knowledge too but… Joe isn't going to drag him into that part if he can help it. Lance has gone legit now. The talk of the ink woman has Joe looking rather confused, eyes tracking between Emily and Lance. People have been keeping seeeeecrets.

Human trafficking is still a thing, apparently. Joaquin swallows down a gulp of water from a bottle as well, glancing over to Lance and Joe for a moment as he’s unsure of what else he could add. Emily’s explanation of an ink lady tattooed on Squeaks’ arm is amazing to him.

“Why are they taking people?” Joaquin asks as he too looks over the alarming amount of pins. “Maybe… she was trying to find out where they’ve been taken and got caught herself?” He bites his lip, realizing that might not be very reassuring either.

It's very, very easy to let that hunting instinct start to kick in. But adrenaline serves no particular purpose at the moment, even if there's that prickling sensation of his power wanting desperately to kick in. That crowd of pins, though, each little dot a mute testimony to horror.

"We've been doing broad canvassing," Fel admits, quietly, after an upnod to Rhys. "But yeah, anything that points us in a more specific direction…."

Joe gets a little smile, a hand lifted in a wave. Emily a nod.

The tale of the ink woman has him cocking his head. It sounds like a fairy tale, but then, hasn't the whole last decade been something like that? "The ones taken - where are they taken to, beyond Staten? Do we know? And if they're selling, who exactly is buying?" Yes, it's one individual case, but he's still thinking like a Fed. Interstate commerce and kidnapping are the Bureau's bailiwick.

Rhys’ expression is at first something like: Emily and Lance this is no time for ridiculous stories! Then, it becomes something like: Are you two serious with me right now? But finally ends squarely on: Oh my god why are you two like this?

Dragging one hand down the side of his face, Rhys looks over to Joaquin, Felix, and Joe. None of whom seemed the least bit surprised about the ink woman. Breathing in deeply, Rhys exhales a sigh and looks back at the board, then back to the two intern agents. He holds up one finger to them and will address that development in a moment.

“The human trafficking issue is one the Military Police are going to start handling now that the NYPD is taking care of the city interior. Whoever took Jac might’ve wound up leveraging the transition period between the groups…” Rhys looks over to Joaquin, then back to Joe. “The only way we’re going to put a stop to that is if citizens report suspicious activity and cooperate with SESA. So if you want to leave that information with me today, I can make sure it gets to Detective Ivanov and Major Olson of the Military Police. But I know why people are reluctant to…”

When he turns to Felix, Rhys rakes his fingers through his hair and exhales a sigh. “We know Staten is most of their end points. We’ve heard rumors that there was a hit on a trafficking warehouse last year, but it’s so far outside of our sphere of influence. Buyers appear to be international, or hiding their trail better. We haven’t been able to figure out where they’re being moved to if it’s off Staten Island and… I’ll be honest, some are probably still there. The Ghost Shadows triad had a stranglehold on the whole island and more guns than half the Safe Zone put together.”

Exhaling a huff of a sigh, Rhys shakes his head. “If you’re interested in coordinating with us more, Agent Thomas Cooper and Agent Sylvester Sandoval have been on the case for a while.”

Looking down at the floor, Rhys scrubs the back of his neck and turns to Lance and Emily. There’s a strong we will talk about the logistics of your shenanigans later stare in his eyes. “Does this woman have a name? Because I’m not going to refer to another human being as ink lady unless I absolutely have to and… do we have any idea who she is? How she got to be in the situation she is? Or if she had anything to do with Jac’s disappearance?”

Okay, Rhys slipped a little with that last question. But he’s trying his best not to scold the two in front of everyone else. But he’d just talked about trusting SESA.

Reading Rhys's stare isn't what Emily would consider to be a fun time even under better circumstances, so the look he gets in return is slightly defensive in the form of listen, I told her! with a lift of her fingers off the pages of the book before she lets out a sigh, looking down at it. Not shooting the messenger (at least immediately) was something Rhys was trying at least. She still has to bite her tongue at the literal finger to the face he employs, regardless.

Her look falls at the question about the ink woman's name, because she swears it's been mentioned once, but it doesn't come to mind right in the moment. Shit. "She has a name," Emily admits quietly in lieu of standing any longer in silence about it. Maybe Berlin remembers? "I don't remember it at the moment, but—"

A pained look crosses her at the thought maybe the ink woman's pursuers might somehow be involved. Maybe? Maybe that was possible, but… She shoots a glance up toward Rhys, a clear indication there's more to the story, but for later. In the meantime:

"As far as I'd know, no, I don't think this has anything to do with her." Emily says, however unhappy and slightly uncertain she sounds. "But she could be a resource in helping find Jac, and it's the first and last suggestion I'd have, given everything else that's already been tried."

“Major Olsen didn’t seem terribly inclined to listen to our information about the traffickers the last time I spoke to him,” is Lance’s quiet, somewhat bitter comment as the suggestion is made from Rhys, one hand coming up to rub at the nape of his neck a bit sheepishly. Hey, it was Squeaks’ secret, not theirs, how were they supposed to know she’d never reported it?

They probably assumed she hadn’t, but still. He shoots a look to Felix, a talk to me after sort of look if it’s caught.

“Gillian’d know,” he says with a glance to Emily, then back to Rhys, “I don’t think so. The— uh, she was an inkmorph that somehow got pressed into different copies of the Wolves of Valhalla. I think someone was trying to kill her, but it’s hard to kill bodymorphs I guess…”

Joe just… plants his hands on his hips and gives Rhys a level stare. A very level stare. A very very level stare. He turns his head to look over at Lance, then back to Rhys, then to Emily then back to Rhys. "Well Agent Bluthner. Since you've clearly never met any of us before. Hi. I'm Joe Winters. This is La… oh wait. We have met before. You met us while we were running around in the sewers trying to solve crimes and running after ghosts. Why on earth is any of this even remotely surprising to you?"

Joe is amused. Despite the direness of the situation and the hunt for Squeaks, he's amused. Joe finds the good in everything that he can. He will however reach a hand out to pat Rhys lightly on the shoulder. "You'll get used to it eventually. And with several of my closest people you should… probably get used to having me underfoot." There's a wink from Joe before he nods to Felix.

"I know Felix. And Miss Liz. And some others. I'll make sure the slaver info we gathered makes it into hands that will actually give a crap about it." There's a faint smirk of amusement at the idea of the warpath that Liz might go on when she gets hold of that info. "So the NYPD it is for that. But seriously. If we think the slavers are involved Lance and I can get a strike team reeeeeally close without them knowing. Like really really close. Count their nose hairs close." Yes Joe, they get it.

"They take people because they are bad people that need to be dealt with Keen." Joe offers to Joaquin with a sad look on his features. "I was intending to uhhh hinder their operations but decided that I couldn't do it on my own. But I studied them for awhile. Followed them, staked them out that sort of thing." Joe goes back to studying the map though.

"Gonna repeat myself here but has anyone looked in the sewers or is there any plan to look in the sewers? Also Ghost Shadows Triad? I…. know of a place where we might find some of them. We met this ancient asian guy there who knew WAY too much about us. But there were some Ghost Shadow symbols painted around there. Didn't know what they were till later. We found it when we were looking for Eimi after the whole Fearmonger incident."

Catching the look from Agent Bluthner, Joaquin can only shrug with all the mental and emotional investment of a curious bystander with the mention of the ink lady. And continues to stare with just as much 'wtf' level horror at Joe for the reach over to casually pat Rhys on the shoulder, for the amusement he holds in this moment, for the mention of a strike team. "Joe," he utters tentatively shaking his head, "Sewers, triads, fearmongers, and slavers? You're sounding like an extended issue of 9th Wonders right now."

He sighs and looks over to lead agent Rhys. The motion put on the table that citizens report to SESA gets a solid nod. "Everyone got the Amber Alert, pretty much. If anybody sees her, hopefully they'll call in with a tip."

But that doesn't solve very much at all, even Joaquin knows. Looking back to the photograph of Arrowood, he studies the picture in the way that seems to be remembering the face on it, but looking past the physical details of mere printed film. "Squeaks - Jac - isn't a sucker," he says after a few beats. "She's smart. Street smart. I can't imagine she would've let that guy…" He points to Arrowood's picture, "Get her a second time." He rubs a finger along his jawline, subconsciously comparing chin shapes. His is definitely not the square that he sees. Eesh.

"Anyway, didn't there used to be some statistic that a high percentage of child kidnappings were because of adults the child knows or is related to," Joaquin adds with a glance to Lance, Emily, and back to Joe again. "Staten's controlled by the Chinese triad, and you say there's some 'ancient asian guy there' who 'knew way too much about us'. Maybe he knows more about Sq— Jac. Or he's seen her."

"Of course - I'd be glad to talk to Cooper and Sandoval. The better we coordinate, the less redundancy, the less we risk missing something." Has it actually happened - age mellowing Fel enough that he plays well with others? Stranger things….

Emily he listens to, quietly. Lance's comment has him casting a keen glance that way. "Unfortunate," he says, softly. "But we're here, and I assure you, we're listening hard." This could be a thread to unravel that whole human trading thing. Still thinking like a Fed….and there are Feds in the room, even if he's not one of them. He gives him an upnod. Unspoken message received.

Joe’s comment earns him a curling grin of approval. How quickly his loyalties revert. "Wise of you not to play one man vigilante, but I assure you, everyone here will be grateful for whatever info you've already gained…..or will gain." Because let's be honest, the kid's gonna do it again. Might as well acknowledge it, rather than tut-tut and try and tell him to sit it out.

Then there's a glance back at Rhys, and Fel sighs, rubbing at an eyebrow. "You guys are the front men for anything expressive related…but you know, if we can even hint that this might go interstate, I could likely call in a chip or two with the FBI. Hell, I'm sure you can, too, and better'n me, these days, but….just making sure that option's on the table." Not that he isn't braced for bristling. Inter-agency politics surely hasn't gotten any closer to Kum Ba Yah territory since he left.

Rhys has been mouthing the word strike team for a solid minute. He’s sure he heard what came after those words left Joe’s mouth, but the thought of it has left him reeling a little. Swallowing down his own issues and pinching one hand at the bridge of his nose, Rhys nods to Felix. “We’ve already put in a call with the FBI to make sure they have people to spare in the event this winds up requiring their assets. Given how diminished the agency is these days, we often have to put our requests in advance…”

For as much as he’d like to carry on a mundane conversation, Rhys can’t keep his eyes peeled off of Emily and Lance. Rhys’ pupils dilate and his brows furrow as he inspects the two, then starts tracking his eyes from side to side. “Interesting,” Rhys mumbles just a little too loudly, then shakes his head dismissively. “Unrelated, but maybe you two and Gillian and I can discuss your newfound friend soon?”

Rhys motions to Emily with one hand. “If this inkmorph is willing and capable to consent to assisting in our investigation we’d welcome the aid. Any help she might be able to give regarding Jac’s disappearance would be most appreciated. Furthermore, if you could… let her know?” Rhys seems uncertain just how much perception and agency the inkmorph has, “Let her uh, know that SESA is willing to assist her with her current predicament should she so choose. But we’d encourage her to… find a way to file a report with us?”

Looking down to his feet, Rhys paces a little and looks over to Lance. “Work with her on this, see what you can pinpoint for Jac’s current location.” Rhys looks over at Joe next. “If you have any personal contacts who’ve seen Jac forward information they have to us, and if you can sit down at our office and go over some photographs to nail down a likeness of this man who say knows too much about you? That would be a huge help. That and addresses so we can look into this.”

“Ivanov,” Rhys glances over to Felix, “I’ll trust you and Liz to handle things on your end. I’ll send a message to Major Olson to make sure he keeps SCOUT in the loop on anything they find on Staten Island.” Then, over to Joaqiun. “Want to go door-to-door with me and see if her neighbors have heard anything?”

Emily finds her gaze sliding toward Joe with a similar look Rhys bore at him, one a little bewildered at a distance. For all the far-from-normal things she had said, it was in an entire different vein of life than what her friend goes on about. She also has to remind herself Lance falls in that category, too.

With a blink, she looks in Joaquin's direction as well. Did he fall in with all of that, too? She wonders.

The thin teen comes back to the moment only when Rhys gestures her way, and she answers it only with a nod, hand still sandwiched to the top of the book, which, for the moment doesn't seem to go anything to indicate it — or rather the ink within — hears what's going on around it. Emily merely pulls the book closer to herself, carefully shutting it and glancing to Lance at her side. "She keeps pointing me west, but it's not like I've got a car to go searching with," she murmurs. It's more a temporary obstacle than a permanent one. For cash, she's borrowed a vehicle before, after all.

Her voice lifts, face still tilted generally toward the table. "We'll see what she says," Emily agrees, a strain of discomfort to it.

“Joe.” Lance gives his lighthouse-sibling a ‘really?’ sort of look, one hand coming up to rub fingers between his eyes. Then he’s looking back to the book as Emily gathers it up, a frown pursing his lips before he looks from it to the woman holding it.

“Maybe Aunt Kaylee can talk to her better,” he suggests, “I know she’s having a lot of trouble talking, y’know— in writing without being all weird, but her mind’s there after all… and, uh.”

At that worry, he looks over to Rhys hopefully, “Hey, can interns requisition, like, a car?” The answer to this question may be dangerous.

Joe's head turns to regard Joaquin at the muttering of his name. "What's up Joaquin?" He asks with an honest and curious tone. He really doesn't realize just what he's said that has people staring at him all weird like. His attention shifts from Joaquin to Rhys, to Emily and then to Lance. "What? What did I say?" He looks around for a bit of support and finds it in Felix. "Thank you Mister Felix." bobbles at Felix. "I'll get you everything I have. Come by the firehouse and I'll hand it over. Or we can go make copies or whatever. I have it all memorized anyhow." Joe's shoulders pop upwards in a shrug.

"He knew too much about both of us. Squeaks and me. And I couldn't give you an address. But I could show you the location. Or an agent. Or I can just take Lance and show him. Actually Lance you might already know. Have you seen the downed plane in Queens? That's where it was." Since they used to run around the ruins scavenging and what not. "Soooo about that whole stri… oh. That's what everyone is looking at me about?" He asks, looking around at the group a bit. "Were you keeping your ninja skills on the down low there broninja?" He asks of Lance with a smirk on his lips. He turns to look back over at Rhys. "Hi. We're the Lighthouse Kids." Joe grins wide at the SESA agent, then looks over to Felix. "So… Info?" He looks back at the map then, his features sobering. "We're coming Squeakers." He murmurs softly, despondently.

Joaquin simply shakes his head slowly at Joe for the other guy's initial confusion. Sigh. "Nothing dude, nothing. Don't worry about it." The easiest way for him to handle the strike team and broninja talk. He pre-emptively wipes a hand on a napkin before reaching down into the box he'd brought for a sandwich. Waste not, and all. Or it'll be lunch for the branch office staff. Either way.

"We're not kids," Joaquin adds with a further furrowed brow at Joe. "Anymore… anyway, this is where we let the authorities do what they're supposed to do, yeah?" He falls quiet with the finish, slowly turning back to the pins on the map. The daunting task of finding a clue on Squeaks' whereabouts weighs down heavily. Seeing all the pins marked and thinking how many more aren't, he droops in concerned, discouraged posture.

But at Rhys' invitation for the ride-along (so to speak), Joaquin blinks first at the SESA agent, then to the others, and back.

'Me?' his expression questions.

Joaquin swallows it down with a gulp of bottled water. "Okay," he says. Then after a glance to Emily, more firmly, "Okay."

Exhaling a sigh that he may be forever sighing, Rhys adjusts the curl of his bangs and looks from Joaquin to the others. “Whatever you find, no matter how insignificant you might think it is, please keep in touch. I left a stack of my cards over on the table,” he motions to a box by the waters Joqauin brought, “you can call me at the number there any time day or night.”

Full of nervous energy, Rhys looks briefly up to the map on the wall, then back to everyone gathered. Discussion of the ruins of Queens makes Rhys nervous, moreso that a mysterious figure found in the ruins may know anything about Squeaks’ disappearance. But the longer Rhys looks at Joe, the more he’s stealing glances at Lance, trying to compare something between the two, winnowing down some intangible thread of connection.

The overlaps are too numerous, but all worrying. But he can ask Lance about Samson Gray in more depth another day.

“Alright, whoever’s willing to knock on doors with me is welcome to come. The rest of you, keep doing what you’ve been doing.” Rhys looks back to Emily, reassuringly. “We’re going to find her.” Then a quick look to Felix, his anchor of stability in the room.

Then, perhaps more to himself he says:

“I promise.”

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