From Such Great Heights


colette4_icon.gif elisabeth_icon.gif erin_icon.gif kaylee3_icon.gif modi_icon.gif

Also Featuring:

donovan_icon.gif wilson_icon.gif

Scene Title From Such Great Heights
Synopsis SCOUT gets drawn into a web of intrigue as they attempt to prevent conspirators from destroying Mayor Short's career.
Date February 14, 2020

It’s been a warm February so far. The forecast says there might be heavy snow on Monday, but it’s hard to see that far out now. A drizzling rain is falling over the city on Valentine’s day, the dawn sky is a blanket of dark clouds set against dim city lights.

Rolling blackouts snuff out the illumination of boroughs surrounding Bay Ridge, but here the lights stay on all the time. Southwestern Bay Ridge is especially affluent, one of the first neighborhoods to be reconstructed by Yamagato Industries and has had the longest to gentrify in the wake of the Civil War. Homeowners snatched up houses and condos for next to nothing when the Safe Zone was still considered a gamble by most. Now many of these residences sit unoccupied, awaiting wealthier residents to move into the city in a second wave of immigration from distant parts of the US.

One such condo sits in a row of brownstones a block from the harbor. On paper it belongs to Heather Mullen, the late wife of mayor Caroline Short’s aide James Mullen. Heather died shortly before the onset of the Civil War, close enough that papers for her death were never officially filed with the IRS, leaving a swath of holdings still in her name and no estate transfer in place. With the loss of so much documentation in the war, the condo’s ownership sat in a state of purgatory for a decade. It was this interstitial uncertainty that allowed James Mullen to turn the residence into a discreet second home.

In the dim light of morning, there is little traffic on these residential streets. A lone black Yamagato Lapis parked at the curb under the boughs of a stickbare tree doesn’t seem out of place. Tinted windows hide the passengers from view of the handful of pedestrians out for a run or walking their dog.

A blanket of silence hide the conversation going on within.

Bay Ridge
NYC Safe Zone

February 14th
5:56 am

It’s been just over an hour since Michael Green was interrogated off-the-books by members of NYPD-SCOUT to try and curtail an investigation into Mayor Short designed to destroy her career and chances of re-election. Detective Erin Gordon sits in the driver’s seat of the Lapis, turned around to look at the people gathered in the back of the SUV.

Sargent Modi is adjusting the straps on his vest, making sure his NYPD patch is affixed to the velcro on the front. On the bench seat behind him, Colette Demsky is going over a layout of the condo on a tablet, her attention divided between the tactical assessment of the situation and a growing conversation inside the vehicle.

“Caliban’s around the block,” Erin says, ending a call on her phone. “She says she’s gonna stay out of this for her own protection unless we need backup, then she’ll play dumb and come in.” There isn’t an ounce of judgement from Erin.

“It’s a smart call. This is…” Colette sucks in a breath, “I’d say crazy, but I dunno. I think I’ve done worse.” She hands the tablet over the back of the seat to Modi, who takes a look at the floor plan. “Gordon,” she says over to Erin, “what’s the over-under on this?”

Erin makes an exasperated noise and looks back to the condo across the street. “Don’t know. I’m shit at gambling. If we don’t find anything in there we’re going to get a hammer across the hands pretty hard, might not tank our careers but Wilson’s putting it all in on this. We fuck this up not only does the mayor go down in flames, but so does the boss.”

Modi, who has been considerably quiet about this, hands the tablet off to Kaylee beside him so she can look at the floor plan next. “Sometimes the right thing is not the legal thing,” Modi explains with an incline of his head toward Erin. “Plenty of criminals have abused the letter of the law to avoid prosecution. It doesn’t make this choice a legally right one, but given the evidence we were supplied it does make it a morally right one.” He doesn’t feel the need to elaborate much further, but does turn his attention to the woman in the passenger seat.

“Lieutenant Harrison,” Modi says with a raise of his brows. “How would you like us to proceed?”

Elisabeth's been studying the building, her blue eyes focused and narrow, since they pulled up. She looked over the floor plan a few minutes ago and is considering not just the usual hiding places but how and where in the actual floor plan modifications could have been made inside to hide things. She's aware of the conversation, and lets a long breath out slowly. "We're going in now. When Mullen approaches, we'll just let him come in and hand him the warrant." She's truly hoping that Mullen is just relying on the fact that no one knows he owns the place.

"Run as thorough and clean a search as possible — keep an eye on the dimensions of the rooms, hallways, and closets. If he's got hidey holes, we need to find them." There's a moment where Liz absently wishes she had the echolocation talents that Squeaks has. But this is a good team. If there's something to find, we all have a vested interest in finding it. "Modi, Demsky, come in the back. Thatcher, Gordon, and I will come right in the front." She absently checks her vest, and then nods slightly. "Let's go."


The plea comes from the direction of the telepath who is currently pouring over the schematics. There is an apologetic look on Kaylee’s face when she looks at Liz. “I…” Courage flees her for a moment as she glances at the others, but after a hard swallow she continues on, “I think we should consider waiting for him,” she says, returning her focus to her sister-in-law. “If I hadn’t gotten into Green’s head, we would’ve never known of this guy's involvement. He’s smart.” Kaylee gives a frustrated sigh through her nose, looking down at the tablet in her hands, “What I mean is I don’t think he’ll leave a place like that without surveillance.”

Handing the schematics back to Elisabeth, Kaylee shakes her head and offering her boss/sister a lopsided smile, “I’m not saying we shouldn’t do it your way, I’m just… I don’t want to lose this chance. I don’t want this asshole disappearing into the wind before we get a chance to get into his head and find some answers.”

There’s some noise from the others in the SUV, debate on the part of Kaylee’s suggestion. Colette, perhaps unexpectedly, agrees. “She’s got a point. Even if he doesn’t have electronic surveillance he might have eyes-on somehow and if he knows we’re there he might rabbit. It wouldn’t kill our investigation if he flees, but it might complicate it?”

“That’s a hell of a guilty look,” Erin chimes in from the driver’s seat. “You ask me, we go in now and if he fucking runs? That’s a sure as shit show of guilt. I say fuck ‘em, let him run with his tail between his legs, and we’ll find him later with a bigger case.”

Modi makes a noise in the back of his throat, stroking his beard. “I’m not sure what the best course of action is, I can see reason in both sides of this. But there is merit in Erin’s perspective on going in now. If we wait, depending on how long he takes to return, we might not have time to properly act on the evidence and halt the arrest of Mayor Short.” To which Modi adds, “It’s your call, Lieutenant.”

Elisabeth pauses and listens to Kaylee's thoughts. The conversation that happens briefly in the wake basically lays out both sides of the argument with the same points she was considering when they pulled up. "Although I would very much like to get our hands on Mullen, our time crunch is more pressing. Ultimately even if he has electronic surveillance and bolts, we have the warrant in hand. Whether he shows up or he bolts is irrelevant to the immediate problem — making sure we come out of it with proof." She glances at Kaylee. If he does show up, though? Find out whose payroll he's on.

She waits long enough to make sure they're all on the same page, then opens the car door to exit and head for the house. There are a couple things that are sort of fun about this job. The Cop Knock definitely has an amusement factor. WHAM, WHAM, WHAM! "James Mullen, this is the police. Open up, we have a warrant to search the premises!" Her words are amplified to carry through the house. You know, just in case he's home. (He's not, of course.) Then, of course, there's the boot to the door game!

There is a flicker of worry, but Kaylee doesn’t do anything more than give a short nod of understanding. After checking to ensure her straps are secure and the banshee in place, she exits the car and moves to follow Liz to the house.

While her sister-in-law does her thing, Kaylee keeps alert to what is going on around them, watching behind them while Liz kicks in the door.

Colette and Erin follow several paces behind Elisabeth as they approach the brownstone. Erin looks up at the building with a squint, hand on her holstered Banshee but not withdrawing it. She looks to Colette, who comes to a stop at the stairs behind Elisabeth and beside Kaylee.

Modi has lagged back the most, waiting in the street for a moment before looking up to the roof of the building. “I’m going to keep an eye on the back yard,” he says before simply and silently alighting into the air like he was Peter Pan, briefly touching down a toe of one shoe on the roof before leaping effortlessly over the building in a weightless glide. Modi disappears behind the roof and into the back yard without another word.

No one answers the front door.

Colette reaches out and puts one hand on Kaylee’s shoulder — an affirming squeeze — before she moves up the steps beside Elisabeth. Erin follows behind her, flexing her shoulders and cracking her neck to the side, loosening up.

Colette turns her head to the side, snaking her vision around corners, between gaps in blinds, checking out the foyer of the condo. “Ground floor’s clear. No sign of residence. Someone definitely lives there, though.” She looks at Erin, then Elisabeth, and after a few more moments of silence she waits for Elisabeth’s sign before motioning to Erin.

With that signal, the phaser does precisely what she does best and slips between Colette and Elisabeth, then slips through the door like it wasn’t even there. Elisabeth can hear the deadbolt slide, a chain undone, and a second lock turn over with a click. The door opens and Erin spreads her arms like a magician performing a magic trick.

“My lovely assistant Lieutenant Harrison will now help me saw a man in half,” Erin says out of the corner of her mouth with a smirk as she gallantly welcomes SCOUT into the residence.

"Dammit, do you know how long it's been since I got to kick in a door," Elisabeth grouses at Erin without any actual annoyance. But she pauses there in the foyer and says quietly, "If there's no one here, who the fuck put the chain on?" she asks. The details are important. Her eyes flicker upward and she stretches out her ability to listen for telltale sounds of anyone in the upper floors. She jerks her chin toward the back. "Go let Modi in the back door." So that their sweep is from two angles. She motions for he others to fan out, her hand resting on her pistol but not pulling it. This is supposed to be a search warrant entry, not a hostile situation. "Warrant covers the house, all outbuildings and basements, all vehicles registered in either his or his wife's name, and any vehicle parked on the premises. Go to it."

The squeeze on Kaylee’s shoulder pulls her attention back around to the brownstone and offers her friend a small smile, tinged with a touch of anxiety. The smile grows a bit more as Erin does her thing, it was a cool ability after all. Once the door is open, Kaylee’s mind stretches out in search for what the others can’t hear, while Liz listens for physical sound.

The mental mumbling of her fellow detectives are filtered out until Kaylee can safely say, “I’m not hearing anyone.” Finally following the others into the home. There was a sense of unease in her stomach, but there was no one to worry about in the house.

The telepath glances around herself and then up the stairs. “I’ll start up there.” Kaylee says with a jerk of her head upward.

“Maybe they took a window?” Erin says with a shrug, walking backwards for a few paces before turning around sprinting through the wall behind her, headed to the back of the house.

Colette comes in on Elisabeth’s heels, looking up inside the building and then back out onto the street. “Windows all seem closed…” she says quietly to herself, as if taking Erin’s suggestion seriously.

As the group begins to split up and search the house, Erin lets Modi in from the back and the pair begin their search through the kitchen and dining room, checking drawers and cabinets, searching under tables, looking for anything concealed.

Elisabeth’s course leads her through the living room, where photographs of James Mullen and his late wife adorn a mantle over the fireplace. Keepsakes from vacations, seemingly normal effects of a married life. The fireplace hasn’t been used in a long time and was cleaned relatively recently, no soot and little dust. It strikes Elisabeth as suspicious, given the winter months.

As Kaylee heads upstairs, she finds the upstairs hall relatively small. One door leads into an open bathroom, another a bedroom, and a third a second floor office with a paper-covered desk. A laptop sits open on the desk, along with stacks of stapled legal documents and rolled up city planning maps. There’s a cork board on one wall with a map of Staten Island pinned to it, city blocks are circled, there’s numbers written next to them that don’t mean anything to her.

Downstairs, Colette moves through the living room around Elisabeth, then through a pair of glass French doors into a downstairs office that looks mostly unused. Tall bookshelves of hardcover novels that don’t look to have ever been touched, windows that view the street, a desk with no paperwork or even a computer. She starts going through drawers, finding one locked and takes a knee in front of it. There’s a flash-snap of laser light from Colette’s finger, melting the lock.

“Lieutenant,” Colette calls out to Elisabeth, standing up from the desk with a small notebook and a key ring with a single key on it. “Found a ledger and this key in a locked drawer. No computer or paperwork down here, place looks spotless.”

Basement door is locked!” Erin calls from the other side of the ground floor, but she doesn’t go in, not without Elisabeth’s say-so.

As they spread out, each officer verifying in the initial sweep that there's no one home, Elisabeth settles in to searching. She starts with checking the backs of the pictures, the furniture and its cushions, but it's the fireplace that really draws the eye.

"Open the lock," she calls back to Gordon and Modi. She doesn't want Erin going in alone — it has to be cleared before they search it.

Tipping her head thoughtfully, Elisabeth studies the fireplace. The dimensions of it look right, but there are any number of ways to use it for a hiding place. She starts with the interior of the fireplace to see if anything has been shoved up into the chimney and whether there are loose pieces that might be hollow. She doesn't have to tell Colette to skim the book and bag it — the young woman has the training. "What's it a key to?" She calls back to Colette — meaning whether door key or something else.

Sliding gloves on, Kaylee looks over the cork board trying to discern what she sees, but without more information it means nothing at the moment. Still she takes a moment to pull out one of the cameras assigned to the teams and take snapshots of the map and everything around it.

#FFFF80|«Looks like his office is up here.»## Liz hears in her mind, receiving a snapshot of what the telepath sees on the wall.

Turning to the desk, Kaylee takes a few pictures of it untouched, before she taps a random key to wake up the laptop. While she waits, she flips through the paperwork on the desk. What she sees has Kaylee sucking in a breath of surprise, “Holy shit.” This time she doesn’t even use her ability, she simply calls out. “Got something.”

Photos are taken of paperwork waiting for mayoral approval, but the name printed below the signature was not of the current Mayor. In her mind this was big.

Crouching, Kaylee pulls open the drawers, taking pictures before she starts going through the files. “Oh my god…” Jackpot.

Liz suddenly feels Kaylee in her mind, mental images crowding in from the telepath’s excitement, «I know why they are framing the mayor. I’m looking at approvals that are waiting for the new mayor to sign.» On a hunch, she even takes one of the contracts and moves to the board. Flipping to the correct page, she looking from the listed address to the board. Tapping one of the circles, she continues. «This guy stands to make serious money on the Staten revitalization project, Liz.» That project was big money, she should know… Raytech was planning to be a bidder.

«Grab an evidence box and come see this.»

“We gotcha, you bastard,” Kaylee hisses between her teeth. It was what they needed to throw doubt on the mayor's arrest and maybe the time they needed to clear her… if not the proof of her innocence.

“Book looks like a shipping manifest,” Colette says as she leafs through it, “I recognize the style of manifest numbers, Ferry used to keep records like this.” She emerges from the side office, looking around the apartment with brows furrowed. “Key is unmarked, might be for a padlock judging from the shape.”

Colette comes to join Liz, taking a knee and watching her inspect the fireplace. There’s nothing hidden in the chimney, no loose bricks, nothing sounds hollow on knocking around at the stone, and Elisabeth has a keen ear for that sort of audio distortion.

“Opening the lock!” Erin calls from the other side of the apartment, turning her arm insubstantial as she reaches around inside to unlock the door. Once again, Elisabeth is denied being able to kick in a door. “Modi and I are going down into the basement.”

Colette stands up, bagging the ledger and the key. “Surprised our perp hasn’t shown up yet…”


Outside Chez Roux
Red Hook

It is an ordinary day in the Safe Zone, modest traffic flowing through downtown Red Hook, a few riders on horseback moving down bike lanes. Sounds of construction fill the air, and outside of the upscale French restaurant Chez Roux, people pass on the sidewalk unaware of a drama playing out nearby to them.

Jesus Christ, pick up!” James Mullen is in a panicked sweat. There’s no response, not a fast enough one anyway. Instead, James ends the call and texts the number again.

I’m outside! Open the fucking door!
Seen: 6:16 am

It’s only then that James sees someone hastily approaching the locked front doors of the restaurant from inside. The broad-shouldered man looks frustrated and flings open the door and drags James inside before slamming it shut and locking it.

“What the fuck is wrong with you?” The larger man says, slamming James up against a wall in the foyer of the restaurant. “Coming here? To my business?” The huge man slams James against the wall again and then snatches his phone.

“Carlo,” James says in a shaky tone of voice, “Jesus Christ, they’re at the house!” That assertion draws Carlo’s attention away from the phone as he pulls the battery out followed by the SIM card.

“How’s that?” Carlo asks with a narrowing of his eyes.

“The fucking NYPD! My spotter called me ten minutes ago, they have a fucking warrant!” James shouts, and Carlo scowls and winds up, grabbing James by the collar and slamming him into the wall again. This time he keeps pressing.

“You told me this shit would be clean. Why the fuck are you here, Jimmy?” Carlo leans in, curling his fingers so tight around the collar of James shirt that it cinches around his neck.

James paws at Carlo’s chest, then exhales a shuddering breath. “I need help— fuck let me go.”

Carlo releases James, then shakes his head and paces around like an angry dog preparing to lash out with a bite. “You’re a piece of shit, Jimmy. You told Mr. Civella you had this shit under control.”

“I did! I fucking did!” James whisper-screams. “I don’t know how they got a fucking warrant, Carlo. I don’t! But— if they find— Jesus Christ Carlo I’m not the only one who’ll be up against a fucking wall!

Carlo points one thick finger at James. “You go take a fucking seat.” His eyes direct James to a booth away from the windows. “I’ll have this handled.”

“Then me and you will need to talk.”


James Mullen’s Residence
Bay Ridge

Even as she searches, Elisabeth is listening to her team as well. "Gordon, Modi, be careful," she says into their commlink. She can't hear anything down below, either, but it doesn't mean there aren't things there. She backs up from the fireplace, tipping her head and studying it again. "Demsky, take a close look at this thing and tell me what you see?" It was the cleaning of the fireplace, unused, that drew her. Maybe Colette will see something she's missing. It just stands out as off to her. While Colette eyeballs it, she considers.

To Kaylee, she responds, I'll be up in a minute — send pictures out to Wilson. Maybe it's enough to stop the arrest. It's proof of corruption if nothing else — getting himself elected and profiting off the election looks very bad.

Into her link, she also says, "Keep an eye out for a safe or a lock box, too." She pauses. "Hart, see if you can find some links between Culbert, his company, and Mullen." That will backstop their probable cause for the warrant, and now that they have one name… "And see what else you can link Culbert to."

“Okay,” Kaylee murmurs under her breath, feeling a touch impatient but understanding. Looping the camera over her shoulder she replaces it with her cellphone. Going back over what she’d found, the telepath takes more pictures, sending them, as instructed, to Wilson. Making sure to take photos of the waiting signature lines and explaining what he’s looking at. Proof that James Mullen was poised to become a very rich man if Short was ousted.

Once those pictures are sent, Kaylee takes a moment to ensure she’s check everything. Of course, nothing more than what she’s found. So while she waits on Liz, the telepath ducks out of the office and into the bedroom. Standing in the doorway, Kaylee isn’t sure she’ll find anything, but… “Better safe then sorry,” she murmurs under her breath, opening the closet door.

The closet doesn’t look out of the ordinary. Old clothes hang here, mostly women’s, probably Mullens’ late wife’s. There’s boxes on the floor, full of old Christmas decorations. A shelf above the clothes rack has a few boxes, full of old photographs of Mullen and his wife together at Coney Island from at least a decade ago, probably more from how young they look. Most of them are in frames still, probably put away after she passed.

Depressing, but not incriminating.

Downstairs, Colette takes a knee by the fireplace, smoothing her hand over the stone. She squints, looking for any sign of ashes. “This feels like housekeeping,” though she doesn’t mean the literal kind. “Back in the day, when we had to do written correspondence between safehouses, we’d burn the documents afterward but we were sure to clean the fireplaces and scatter the ashes afterward.”

Colette looks over her shoulder to Elisabeth. “There was a safehouse back in Vermont, Canadian border. I heard before my time DHS raided it and were able to reconstitute written records from ashes in the fireplace. Some kind of matter-manipulator expressive.” She looks back to the fireplace. “Might be the same concern here. Or just good ol’ fashioned paranoia.”

Rising to stand again, Colette shakes her head. “I didn’t see anything else out of the— ”

Lieutenant!” Erin shouts from the basement. “You need to see this!”

Hm. Interesting idea. "Bag it," she tells Colette mildly. And then she swoops up a box to take up the stairs to Kaylee, interrupted as she hits the bottom of the staircase by the about from the basement. There's a moment where she pauses, wondering why this moment feels familiar … and then snickers a laugh at herself when she realizes this is rather like being at home with the kids at times. All different directions at once and everyone needing her to see something!

She sets the evidence box on the stairs and calls up, "Kaylee, box on the steps! I gotta check with Gordon too." Knowing she has her sister-in-law's attention, she adds, At least you can tell me from a distance what you've got. The other half the team is all like 'Ma, lookit!' She's definitely a bit amused despite the seriousness of the situation.

She diverts her steps to carry her back toward the kitchen and it's basement door access. Even as she descends, she asks, "Whatcha got?"

“Alright,” Kaylee calls back, amused at the thought Liz throws her way. It was a fair point, the telepath could simply share, everyone else had to do it the hard way. With the bedroom a bust, she gives a soft sigh and turns to the task of grabbing the box at the base of the stairs, glancing towards the sounds, before going back up.

The box is dropped on the desk, top pulled off so she can start loading it with incriminating evidence, including his laptop, which is the first to go in. Something for Sarah to crack for them. Anything she didn’t snap a picture of is taken care of and tossed into the box. Flipping through a hanging file of holdings, it’s quickly added, along with the waiting approvals. «This guy has a stake in all of the companies that are listed on all this approval paperwork. He would have made… god, Liz…. He would have made millions if the Mayor is defeated.»

Kaylee could almost appreciate the work the man had put into all of it, recognizing a lot of this paperwork from her time at Raytech. Though standing there in the office of… technically… her company’s rival, she quickly realizes that they would need to be wary in their own bidding on the revitalization projects. It could potentially come back on them.

“Sssshit,” Kaylee hisses out under her breath.

Welp.. There was no helping that now, that was a bridge to be burned when they got there, so Kaylee focuses on finishing with the desk and moves to carefully taking down the map.

Downstairs, Elisabeth rounds her way through the small kitchen and into the basement. There’s no light on down there, save for the glow coming from Erin’s flashlight. As she moves down the creaking wooden stairs, Elisabeth can hear Modi mumbling to himself; it sounds like praying.

As she reaches the bottom of the staircase, she can see Erin and Modi’s silhouette. Centered in the beam of Erin’s flashlight is a massive pile of shoes, stacked up on top of one-another, possibly a hundred pairs, maybe more.

Pale eyes that are a familiar shade of haunted look up from a communal collection of shoes spread out across five milk crates. The cranny David Cardinal was found in is a sobering part of the daily reality of the hub. The shoes here, free for anyone to take, primarily come from the deceased. Not in the way scavenging is done, but from those who die of injury or non-apocalyptic illness. There's hundreds of shoes here in different sizes, tucked away in a six foot by eight foot nook in a back corridor that leads to the common space.

Seated on a makeshift bench of wood planks, David is trying on a pair of scuffed old work boots. Humbled by the timing, he offers Elisabeth a wearly, “Hey, yeah.” Awkward. “What's up? You're— ” he motions to the shoes, “not interrupting anything. Promise.”

“There’s more,” Erin says, as if that wasn’t enough. Her flashlight sweeps over to the apartment’s furnace, with an attached incinerator. There’s empty cardboard boxes all around it. But she moves her flashlight past that, to a door in the basement wall with a padlock on it.

“I haven’t gone in,” Erin says in a hushed breath.

That door isn’t on the floor plan.

Dear God is Elisabeth's first thought as she's brought to an abrupt stop by the sight of the shoes. Her throat is suddenly parched and she stands frozen for long seconds. Her blue eyes flicker briefly to the padlocked door and she swallows hard. "Break the lock." Her voice is tight and even as she gives the order, she can't take her eyes off those shoes. Why? Why are there shoes there? Why so many? What the fuck are they doing?

She's not sure she wants the answer, but in this instance, it's on her. "I'll go in. You two don't have to." Kaylee… if you're listening, we've got …. I don't know what we've got. There is a frozen kind of horror and resignation to her mental voice.

It's testament to how hard the sight has hit her that she only just now finally thinks to listen for who or what may be behind that door. Not that it will stop her from going in, whatever it sounds like.

The thoughts below her already have Kaylee’s attention, her head tilts as she listens to the nervous thoughts as she drops the map in the box and presses the lid on. Her ability is on high alert as she grabs the box and moves to hurry downstairs, she wasn’t leaving any of that behinds.

«I didn’t get anything when we got here, unless it’s shielded from telepathy… it’s not human or alive.» Kaylee tries to offer as reassurance, even as the image of stacked shoes leaves a sour taste in her mouth.

Colette can hear her friend and co-worker thump down the stairs, before Kaylee hurries into the front room with a weighty box of paperwork and laptop. “Hey, guard this with your life, this guy was into some shady shit… worse if what I’m getting from the others is true.”

The telepath starts for the basement stairs, but stops when she glances at the window. Instinct sets in and Kaylee moves to peek outside. It bothered her the guy hadn’t shown up yet, the lack of appearance makes her stomach twist with anxiety.

After a moment, a thought occurs to Kaylee, a tendril of her ability touching on Elisabeth’s mind again, even as she watches outside. «Do we have anything for taking a sample from the furnace? Should I call in a forensics team? I wouldn’t be surprised if there is evidence of human remains.»

Erin appraises the lock, looking at the way the door is attached to the wall. “Demsky,” she calls into radio, “we need a lockpick on this side.”

In the interim, Elisabeth hears nothing of note on the other side, save that the echoes indicate it isn’t a closer space, but something larger. The sound of Colette’s footfalls echo from upstairs as she joins the others, carrying the box Kaylee had given her in two hands. When she reaches the bottom of the stairs she sets the paperwork aside on a small wood workbench, then goes over to the door with a wary expression.

She turns to face the shoes, then looks pointedly over her shoulder at Elisabeth before stepping up to the lock. Modi readies his Banshee, keeping it aimed at the door. Erin steps back and does the same.

There’s a bright flash of light, accompanied by a crackling snap as Colette applies a laser cutting torch to the lock. It only takes a few moments to cut through the metal and the padlock hits the floor with a heavy clunk. Colette grabs the door handle, checks with Erin and Modi, and then hauls the door open revealing —

— a hallway.

Erin and Modi both look at each other. Beyond the door is a rectangular passage cut through the foundation with a concrete saw. Past the walls of the foundation, it is an earthen tunnel braced with woodens supports, not entirely unlike a fucking mine shaft. A steady breeze blows up from within, along with a foul tang that smells remarkably like sewage.

What the fuck.” Erin says breathlessly, covering her mouth and nose with one hand.

While they wait for Colette, Elisabeth continues for a long moment to look at those shoes and the incinerator. As the last two of the squad arrive, glances at Kaylee. "Get forensics in here to make sure this isn't…" she trails off, unable to complete the thought. It doesn't even occur to her to have Colette try the key they found. Then the scent as they open the door hits.

"Agh!" Well, it's not what Elisabeth was fearing, that's for sure. It's disgusting as hell and all, but as she clamps her nose shut, her shoulders drop a little bit, the tension easing at least slightly.

"Nobody builds something like this in their basement without reason," she observes. Although she grimaces, this is why they wear things like heavy boots. Pulling out her flashlight and putting it at shoulder level so she can see, she heads into the earthen tunnel carefully. God I fucking hate tunnels. But years of clambering through them have mitigated the fear enough that she doesn't freak as soon as it gets dark anymore. "I swear to God, if this asshole has dead bodies in here…"

Kaylee smells the open doorway before she sees it, having followed after Colette a few moments later after she’s satisfied there was no one hanging about. “Whew. That is ripe,” she gripes, covering her nose with a hand. “I’ll hang back, take some pictures and get forensics on the way.” She glances over at Elisabeth, “Call if you need me.”

With that said, Kaylee goes about getting photos taken of various things in the basement with both the official camera and her phone. The latter photos are used to keep Wilson up to date and a request for forensics. “Just stay safe, '' she calls after, moving to open the furnace and incinerator with the intent of poke through the ashes with the end of a pen.

“Hold on, let me…” Colette closes her eyes and extends a hand toward the door. Her brows furrow, and Elisabeth can see a fine filament of bent light move away from Colette and snake into the darkness of the tunnel. Her head tilts to one side, then another, and she makes a small noise in the back of her throat.

When Colette’s blind eyes open again, she turns to face Elisabeth. “The tunnel goes down about twenty feet before it cuts into a drainage pipe that goes out to the river. There’s a tie off there for, probably a small boat. We might be…” she thinks back to something from years ago, a binder containing photographs of corpses.

“This might be related to human trafficking.” Colette says with a tightness in her voice.

Pausing halfway down the corridor, Elisabeth stops and looks back toward Colette. "We have a shipping manifest book, a pile of shoes, and an underground passage that goes to the river. And we have a bunch of people going missing and reports of Pure Earth attempting to take people. Check that key you found against the padlock on the door." Her eyes flicker to the others. "We need a full forensics team and an expanded warrant that covers his car, his other home, and his office." Her tone is grim. Backstopping the warrant already in their hands won't be much of a problem now.

Even if it's not enough to convict, it's enough to start a massive investigation. "When you get Wilson on the line, tell him Mullen isn't here and if he wants to let it leak that there's human trafficking and that Mullen stands to make a shit-ton of money on Staten along with those letters prepped for Culbert? It's enough." At least enough to shut down the hatchet job on the mayor.

There is a hiss of irritation from Kaylee over by the furnace, “Shit.“ Straightening, after taking a photo, she shakes her head in Liz’ direction, “This has been cleaned out just like the fireplace. Maybe forensics will find something.” She was lacking proper tools.

Instead she looks through the door, raising the camera, snaps a picture, before pulling the strap over her head and offers it to Elisabeth to use down stairs. “I already sent the images of the paperwork through my cell and a few of down here.” There is a glance to her cellphone, swiping at the screen.

The telepath is forced upstairs to get better reception for the call. Tucking the phone against her ear, Kaylee waits for the other end to pick up. “Hey, it’s Thatcher, I need to talk to the Captain.”

Erin and Colette edge just a little into the tunnel leading below the street and Colette offers a shake of her head. “I’m not seeing anything else down here, there’s too much water to tell if anyone’s been through here recently.” She turns to look back at Elisabeth. “This is going to take a while to go over, but…”

There’s silence on the other end of the line. When Kaylee checks the screen of her phone, there’s just a circle with a line through it indicating her signal. But they’re in Bay Ridge, even in a basement the signal strength of Yamagato’s GhostNet is strong enough to be picked up.

Elisabeth is the first one to hear something is amiss. The sound of four cars pulling up on the street and engines idling, multiple doors opening and closing in rapid succession. Backup wouldn’t have arrived here that fast.

Modi seems to intuit something is the matter, leveling a look at Elisabeth. “Lieutenant?”

Elisabeth's eyes flicker upward and she narrows them slightly. A grim expression tightens her features as she looks at Modi. "Sergeant, put the ledger and the camera in the box with the documents, take the box, and fly. Do. Not. Stop. until you get to the PD and personally hand it to Wilson." Her tone makes it a direct order. "Go now."

They're outnumbered and no one brings four cars of people unless they're planning on making a lot of trouble. Abby is smart enough to get the hell out of Dodge and call in backup. She hopes the pyrokinetic doesn't come in after them. Casting a look at the three other officers remaining, she considers a moment. "Sorry, ladies, looks like we're taking the long way," she quips darkly. A swim was not on her agenda for the day, but this is not the war and fighting against an overwhelming force isn't required. "Colette, can you reach the upstairs with your ability from here? Between a flash strobe and really loud noise, we can disorient them and make them sick for a few minutes and give ourselves a head start."

“Lost cell service,” Kaylee calls down from her spot on the cellar’s stairs, just before the sound of cars pulling up. She glances back down the stairs at the others, before closing the cellar door.

Backing down a few steps, Kaylee’s eyes unfocus as she reaches out. Slithering tendrils of her ability reach out, seeking out the humming minds. Lips move as she counts each one, whatever she hears, the telepath’s breath hisses through clenched teeth. “Ooh… man. We gotta go. Now.” She hurries down the stairs and snags a chair, which is taken up to hook under the knob, after locking it. With hope, maybe, it would give them a bit more of a head start.

Back down and standing near the door down into the sewer, she off-loads what she knows. “I can count twelve surrounding the building and they don’t plan to talk,” Kaylee says with a significant look to everyone, making a shooting gesture with her hand. “But luckily they don’t know where we are or who we are.”

There is a jerk of the telepath’s head towards the tunnel and the sewer, “Harrison is right, our best bet is to take a swim.” Tying up her hair at the back of her head, Kaylee can’t help but comment, “Glad I didn’t wear my mom’s jacket today.” Hair in place, she snags the box off the workbench and offers it to Modi, with a nervous, worried smile. “You first. It’s clear down the sewer as far as I can hear.“ A finger taps her temple to signify what she meant.

Colette is quick to stow the evidence Elisabeth listed off into the files box and pass it off to Modi who, without question, grips the box as tight as he can and takes off like a bullet down the corridor through the air, inches off the ground. Erin exhales a sharp breath, never having seen Modi fly so fast, and angles a look back to Liz.

“Can’t flashbang upstairs without being up there, but I can cover your rear. I’ll go up invisible, pop off a flicker, and follow you out the back.” Colette says as she unholsters her sidearm and clips her Banshee back into place. “I’ll do what I can to ID, just trust me. I’ve been in way worse situations.”

Erin draws in a sharp breath, drawing her sidearm as well, aimed down at the ground. “Lead the way Lieutenant, I’ll follow you in.” She then looks over to Colette, watching the brunette head toward the basement stairs.

“Demsky!” Erin hisses. Colette looks over her shoulder. “You still owe me fifty bucks, no dying till payout.”

Elisabeth's blue eyes on Colette are stern. "Stay invisible and get the hell out while they're blinded. We'll meet you back at the Watchtower." She has faith that Colette's abilities are up to the guerrilla tactics they're about to employ. "Erin, phase and take point. Everybody move fast." She urges Kaylee into the tunnel ahead of and takes the rear guard position — if push comes to shove, she'll collapse the place behind them.

Memories bubble to the surface of another time and another place, when Kaylee was forced to leave her friend in a hostile place, to face it alone. “Colette. No.” Kaylee hisses fiercely, there is terror behind those blue eyes.

The words are out of the telepath’s mouth before she can stop them, ducking away from Elisabeth. Teeth snap shut, mortified at that reaction, and she gives a small shake of her head to clear it. When Kaylee speaks up again there is a small tremble to her voice, which is pitched lower making it a more intimate conversation between the two ex-Ferrywomen. “They are coming in spraying and praying. Please, I don’t want you to get killed. You and I know that even she can be fallible.” Colette knows Kaylee’s talking about Tamara, of course. “Come with us. We’re all better together as a team, than apart.”

“I’ll be fine,” Colette says with a tense confidence. “C’mon, trust me, I’ve been in worse scrapes than this. You’ve always had my back,” she adds, taking Kaylee’s hand and giving it a firm squeeze, “it’s my turn to have yours.”

Colette flashes a nervous smile, then looks from Kaylee to Erin and back again. “No worries. She’d have at least said goodbye. It’ll be fine.” Her certainty in Tamara’s vision spurs Colette onward, up the stairs and back into the condo.

The telepath’s jaw is set as she is urged forward again by her sister-in-law, casting a look of worry back at Colette. «Don’t you dare get killed..» There is no hiding the anger that was driven by the fear for the other’s life. «// Or I will fight my way into the underworld to yell at you myself.//» Kaylee knows she can’t, really do that… but… this was Colette. Someone just as special as any of her family.

As Kaylee descends into the darkness, “To hell with anyone who thinks I’m letting her face that without help,” the words are murmured under her breath, before that blue-eyed gaze unfocuses. Her step stumbles a bit as she pours her focus into watching after Colette, leaving Liz to guide her.

The tunnel below the condo looks to have been hand dug, no major excavation tools, no clean lines of SLC-Expressive abilities at work. Someone had to know about this tunnel, or at least up until they were killed to keep it a secret. The ceiling is reinforced by wooden timbers like an old mine shaft, but it’s all too new to be something from the old city. This served a grisly, contemporary purpose.

Kaylee and Elisabeth hold a unique perspective on the events, though even without their abilities both can hear the brazen display of violence as the attackers open fire on the house from the street before even moving in. Through Colette’s eyes, Kaylee can see a world in shades of kaleidoscopic colors from the safety of the top of the basement stairs, ducked for cover against the brick wall as bullets tear through the house. Tear gas canisters come next, thrown through the windows and spinning up into hissing plumes as soon as they hit the floor.

But as Elisabeth and Kaylee run, the distance becomes too great for Kaylee’s range. She can’t run and reach the minds outside, and she can barely keep a hold on Colette. Until even that is swallowed up by the limits of her telepathic field. Whoever these people were, they were willing to kill police officers in broad daylight to maintain their secrets.

Elisabeth can still hear the gunfire popping as she runs. Up ahead, Erin comes skidding to a stop as the tunnel opens out into the side of a large corrugated steel drainage pipe flowing with ankle deep runoff. She pivots back around, facing Elisabeth. “What the fuck are we gonna do?!” She asks, looking down the pipe to the Hudson River it empties out into after a couple hundred feet.

Modi is nowhere to be seen, maybe he kept flying. But Kaylee can sense his mind, the worry and the fear, as he circles in the air above the entrance to the drainage pipe, hoping beyond hope the others make it.

The sound of that level of gunfire behind them makes Elisabeth regret like hell that Colette stayed back. Jesus fucking Christ. "Kaylee, before you lose range on her, tell her never mind fucking around with stalling them. Get the fuck down here into the tunnel as quick as she can." Invisibility won't keep the younger woman safe if they are just going to fire indiscriminately. She never expected they'd be bold enough to fire on the house like that. She can only hope to God Colette isn't hit as she guides Kaylee through the tunnel — the lack of coordination tells her what the telepath is doing, and part of her hopes Kaylee fries a couple of brains.

"We're going to go for a swim," Elisabeth retorts grimly. "Get going. As soon as you get outside, we're going to split up and you don't stop moving until you hit the Watchtower. Erin, if you can stay phased, do it. You and Kaylee go upriver a half mile, more if you can manage, before you come out." At least the Hudson isn't nearly the dumping ground it used to be. Her mental map of this area — at least what it used to be — is only general but it'll do. "Stay alert. They could have sent someone to keep an eye on the drainpipe. Colette and I'll go downriver and do the same."

The further Kaylee gets from Colette, the harder it is to leave her. The anxiety over the other woman’s situation heightens until it is a taunt like a bow string. It makes Kaylee realize that some traumas from their past haven’t quite healed. That she’ll always blame herself for Colette’s torture by Bella.

Elisabeth’s words pull her from the edge of panic, from turning and running back into the fray. Kaylee needed to trust that Tamara would have shown up if it was Colette’s time. There is a shaky breath as her ability is strained to its limit to keep with her friend, until she can feel the slow slip of each tendril. There wasn’t much time.

«Harrison says get your ass down here.» Kaylee’s voice whispers in Colette’s head before the last tendril snaps, bringing her back with a throb of pain.

A hand presses to the side of her head, aware of the light ahead, but not just that. “Modi’s still up there,” Kaylee murmurs, with a glance to Liz. There is a nod to whatever silent exchange goes between them and she turns her ability to urge Modi on. «We’re here. We’re fine, we’ll be right behind you. Liz wants you to get that box to Wilson, otherwise this was for nothing. Too many people are counting on us.» Whether those people knew it or not. But, also the telepath didn’t want Colette’s heroism to be for nothing.

To the orders, Kaylee gives a nod and turns a fading smile Erin’s way, “Could use the cardio anyhow, skipped out on my morning run.”

Kaylee isn’t sure Colette heard her, isn’t sure the connection was secure enough. But she can hope — pray as Joseph would’ve suggested — that she heard enough. The pop of automatic gunfire echoes from two blocks away. The squad sent to the house doesn’t seem to have any representation by the back entrance, at least not yet.

Modi rockets away through the sky the moment he is given the all-clear to, leaving a contrail behind himself as he soars up into the air with the documents box in both hands and held fast to his chest. Erin focuses on his rapidly vanishing silhouette, then looks back to Elisabeth with wide eyes.

“What if she doesn’t show up?” Erin asks, then exhales a sharp breath and steels herself. “Fuck, fuck!” She doesn’t like the answer, but she knows what it is: Elisabeth doesn’t leave anyone behind.

Erin channels her frustration into action, clenching her hands tightly into fists before she dives into the Hudson river. Her phasing is too short-term to help her here, they’ll have to swim to the shore. Erin surfaces with a hiss against the freezing cold water and swims for her life along the lapping coastline against the current. North is infinitely more desirable than south.

Elisabeth doesn't have to say anything to Erin's question — the answer is obvious enough. She will make sure that either Colette is with her or that she got out already. Even as Erin dives into the icy water, Liz hugs Kaylee hard. "Be careful. I'll see you back at base."

Then she makes her way back along the dark tunnel, looking for Colette. "C'mon, Demsky — don't make me kick your ass," she murmurs under her breath.

The hug is returned by the telepath fiercely. When Kaylee pulls away from her sister-in-law, she is already pulling out spare crime scene gloves from her back pocket. “Me be careful? You be careful. I don’t want to explain to my brother why I let you go back.” As she talks, her cellphone is quickly stuffed into one glove and tied off and then tucked into a second one. They will need it once they are out of the river.

Tucking the wrapped phone in her inner pocket, Kaylee steps to the edge of the pipe, watching Erin. “Besides,” Kaylee calls back at Liz’s retreating form. “You don’t have to worry about me, I’m a Ray. Pretty sure Edward won’t let me,” Kaylee jokes with a wink, before jumping in. Liz can probably hear her sister gasp at the sharp shock of frigid water, “Fuck. That’s cold.”

With a chattering huff, the telepath follows after Erin.


James Mullen’s Residence
Bay Ridge

The front door of the Mullen residence is kicked in by a broad-shouldered man in a black as the tear gas starts to clear. Dressed in a sleek suit, he carries a submachine gun in one hand on entrance. He scans the foyer, walls pockmarked with bullet holes, paintings blown off the walls, broken glass scattered across the floor. He makes a silent gesture with one hand, then strides inside, motioning for two of the men to head upstairs while two more follow him into the living room while the others circle around to the back of the condo.

In the living room, fiber from the perforated couch drifts in the air. The lead assassin stops and looks into Mullen’s office, walking inside and gingerly pushing the door open. The other two men at his back creep around the furniture, one checking the fireplace, another overturning an armchair that flipped over from the gunfire when suddenly his arm jerks to the side, gun trained out, and sprays automatic weapons fire at the man crouched by the fireplace. Brain and bone explodes onto brick as he collapses to the ground.

Screams erupt inside the house as Colette Demsky fades into view, leaping up and hooking one leg around the trapped gunman’s neck, twisting her upper body to bring him crashing to the ground with his throat caught in the vice of her knee between thigh and calf. She throws out a hand to the man emerging from Mullen’s office, hair-fine threads of blue-green light whipping out and slashing through walls, floor, furniture, and flesh with equal measure, leaving smoking scars behind where laser-light cauterizes everything it touches.

Thundering footfalls come from upstairs, and Colette pulls out a knife from her belt and drives it into the eye socket of the man she’s pinned on the floor, twisting it in a quick scrambling motion before she leans off of him and blurs away into invisibility again.

The assassins who had gone upstairs come down one at a time and the first one steps into the living room to find three corpses, one of whom is vivisected by laser-light. The second assassin through the door feels something grab his wrist, snap his elbow backwards, and turn his gun on him firing a burst of three rounds into the middle of his chest. The gunman deeper into the apartment turns around and is shot six times in the face and chest, crumpling to the ground.

Colette exhales a shaky sigh, slowly coming back into view as she hears more footsteps coming from outside. Three more would-be assassins come in the front door and catch a spray of machine gun fire as Colette retreats invisibly back toward the kitchen, skidding to a half as five more men are coming in from the back of the house. She becomes visible and they train their guns up on her as her blind eyes glow white and then erupt in a searing flash of violent illumination that floods the kitchen.

Colette becomes a silhouette of light, flickering on and off like a strobe light, disorienting the gunmen as they fire blindly. She dives through the basement door, colliding halfway down the stairs into a tumble, rolling head over heels until she lands in the basement. When she rises to a crouch her attention focuses up the stairs and she fires again just as a man rounds the corner, catching him in the face with the last few rounds from the submachine gun. He manages a strangled yelp and comes falling down the stairs.

Colette dives out of the way of his body and scrambles for the tunnel entrance, sprinting as fast as she can down the uneven floor of the corridor. She slips, skids, and falls once and pulls herself back up to her feet, continuing to hurry down the hallway until she nearly runs full-bore into Elisabeth.

Colette exhales a breath of shock, practically pushes Elisabeth ahead. “Right behind me!” She shouts, though Elisabeth can tell they aren’t quite as close as it feels they are, but she can hear footsteps coming down the stairs in the basement on the other end of the tunnel passage.

The sound of gunfire above has Elisabeth grimly pulling her firearm and coming up the stairs. But as she hears Colette's footsteps coming through the kitchen — with a herd of buffalo, surely, behind her — the audiokinetic backpedals fast toward the tunnel. She breathes out a sigh of relief when she sees Colette coming and then they are both running like hell through the tunnel. "How many?" she gasps out, pausing right at the end, waiting for those thundering footsteps to get closer.

“I’unno, like seven!” Colette gasps as she runs, uncertain of precisely how many more there were. Too many, her tone says.

It's not going to be as bad as hitting the brakes and letting them fly right by, but … bringing them in closer was probably not Colette's plan.

Still, Elisabeth waits as long as possible, and then shoves Colette into the river. "DIVE!" Just as she herself launches off the drainage pipe, she hurls a concussion wave to what she hopes is both deafening and collapsing effect back into the tunnel. If they get their asses crushed, that's just too damn bad.

There’s a low rumble as Colette and Elisabeth both hit the water, and the cacophony of old concrete and earth collapsing is a muffled report in the dark depths of the Hudson River. Neither woman can see the immediate aftermath of what happens, twisting and righting themselves in the freezing depths. But when they breach the surface again, gulping for air, they find the drainage tunnel crushed under the weight of fallen concrete and loose earth; a cloud of dust and debris rising up from the entrance.

Colette barks out a nervous laugh, treading water as she looks around for Kaylee, Erin, and Modi. It would seem like all of them made it out fine, judging from Elisabeth’s reactions.

The sound of sirens whipping down the coastal highway is an indication that what just transpired wasn’t the end at all. But based on all of the evidence they’d found…

…the beginning of something huge.

Two Hours Later

Floyd Bennet Airfield
Sheepshead Bay

7:24 am

It is lightly raining when a black Yamagato Altum pulls up to a taxied jet on the runway of Floyd Bennet Airfield. The rear door opens so fast the vehicle’s driver doesn’t even have time to get out. James Mullen is jogging the moment his feet hit the asphalt, running toward the private jet waiting for him, engines whining and ready for takeoff.

The security entourage waiting for him at the jet look not to James, but to the caravan of SUVs tearing ass down the runway toward the plane, blue and red lights flashing brightly in the blood of the falling rain.

“What the fuck are you waiting for!?” Mullen shouts, pushing past the security, not even bothering to bring a bag. “Go, go!

He’s halfway up the stairs to the aircraft’s door when the SUVs cut the plane off on the runway, three more boxing it in from behind. Agent Rhys Bluthner with SESA is the first out of the SUVs at the front of the plane, badge out. “Federal agent! Step away from the plane!

The SUVs blocking the aircraft in from behind spill out with SCOUT accompanied by a dozen uniformed NYPD officers. As Colette Demsky steps out onto the tarmac, she doesn’t make any swift movements to Mullen, watching him backpedaling up the stairs. This isn’t her show, she’s just here to watch.

Modi comes out of one of the SUV’s driver’s seats, unholstering his Banshee as he’s joined by Erin who circles around the front of one of the vehicles. “Disembark and get down on the ground!” Erin shouts, training her Banshee up at Mullen. “Now!

The dunk in the Hudson hasn't left them worse for wear — they had just enough time to get dry clothes before taking off after James Mullen. Elisabeth climbs out of the passenger side of the SUV, choosing not to carry a Banshee though her pistol is still holstered to her thigh. Blue eyes are hard on Mullen as she moves forward and crosses her arms, standing just behind Modi and Bluthner. She doesn't even have to raise her voice to make sure she's heard by the pilot within and the security team on the tarmac, along with the man backpedaling up the stairs, over the whining engines.

"~James Mullen, you're under arrest. Don't make this harder on yourself than it has to be. Pilot, shut down your engines immediately.~" She points a finger at the security guards, silently warning them to hold their positions, simply watching Mullen. Is he stupid enough to make them storm the plane?

«Listen to them.» The voice of his conscious whispers in the dark recesses of his mind. He really wants to listen. «Should just do what they say,» Mullen finds himself thinking strongly about doing that. «Shouldn’t make it worse.»

It had been so easy to quietly slip into the man’s mind without him knowing. Kaylee steps out of the SUV, eyes not quite focused on the scene in front of her. She doesn’t have her Banshee out when she’s straddling two worlds, it’s best if she just keeps her mind on what she’s doing. Door still open and a hand resting on it, her ability continues to weave through his mind.

Any thoughts of why he should run are blurred like greasy finger smeared across the glasses of his mind. Reasons why he should listen come into clear focus. This man was going to come in and do so willingly.

Even as she’s doing things to ensure his compliance, Kaylee is watching for memories of his involvement. Who wanted the Mayor to go down?

Audiokinetic and telepathic persuasion, impossible to prove in court outside of corner cases so specific as to be astronomically unlikely. The odds are not, and will never be, in Mullen’s favor. The mayor’s aide grimaces like he’s trying to pull out of his own skin, his singular urge to escape punched down by both Elisabeth’s hypnotic suggestion and Kaylee’s subconscious urge. His fingers curl against his palm, teeth clench, a vein bulges in his brow.

But he cannot fight it. James Mullen slowly raises his hands, tears welling up in his eyes as he descends the stairs from the plane where he is met by Erin and Modi who wrestle him almost immediately to the ground, handcuffing him and removing a pistol from an underarm holster on his person.

This could have ended in a gunfight, in at least one person dead. But the late-edition headlines of the Safe Zone Siren will read:

Marcus Donovan’s Office
The Watchtower
Red Hook

12:25 pm

“Hero officers arrest corrupt government aid on human trafficking charges.”

Marcus Donovan holds a copy of the late edition of the Safe Zone Siren in one hand, looking from page to person at the pair of SCOUT leaders gathered in his office as he reads that headline aloud to them. Commissioner Donovan tosses the paper down on his desk with a smile, shaking his head.

“We’ve got six hired killers working for a Russian outfit in custody,” Donovan says as he steps from around his desk, looking over to Captain Wilson and Lieutenant Harrison, “a box of hard evidence implicating Mullen and Culbert in a laundry list of crimes, but the spiciest one lands on the front page.”

Whistling to himself, Donovan sits on the edge of his desk and crosses his arms. “Mayor Short called me about twenty minutes before you all got down here to commend you on your work, she’s talking about a ceremony to award SCOUT with a medal of valor for the way you all swiftly solved this and came up with a solution.”

“The devil’s in the details on this, but we’ve got some Faustian lawyers to smooth over the burrs on this one.” Donovan says as he slaps a hand on the surface of the paper. “You’ve not only validated SCOUT to the government and the country, but you’ve done a hell of a service here to the city.”

“With all due respect, Sir,” Wilson interjects with a gesture to Donovan. “Most of the credit here goes to Lieutenant Harrison and her team. If they hadn’t pulled those boxes out of Mullen’s house before the Russians set it on fire… we wouldn’t have anything. Her team acted on good intelligence and they did what they do best, professionally.”

Donovan’s brows rise, eyes wandering from Wilson to Elisabeth, a sly smile slowly creeping up over his face.

“And you were worried.”

Blue eyes meet the Commissioner's amused gaze and Elisabeth can't help the grin that quirks her lips upward even as her face holds a faint pink color from the reading of the newspaper. She wasn't worried that they couldn't do it. It's those details, the ones that will totally bite all of them in the ass if they come to light, that make things 'spicy,' to use his own word. Those lawyers are going to have their work cut out for them. "I'm always worried," she retorts mildly, her amusement evident in her expression.

"My team deserves all the credit, but Wilson gets to go accept any award and make the Mayor happy with his nice smile and reputation — I'm not the face of this!" Yeah, yeah, Marcus told her from the start that ship had sailed, but she's digging in her heels about having to put her face anywhere in the news, dammit! For all the good it'll do her.

“We’ll see what the mayor has to say about that,” Donovan says, as if he somehow has no control over all of this. “For the time being, you can count yourselves as heroes… and the city’s gonna see it that way too.”

“You, and your team did great work.”

No matter the means is left unsaid.


Boilerplate Tavern
Red Hook


Colette Demsky sits hunched at the bar of a small, dimly-lit basement bar near the Red Hook waterfront, swirling a bottle of beer in one hand, most of the peeled off label in curled strips next to her coaster on the bartop.

“All’f this ties up in a pretty neat bow,” Colette says, angling a look over to the blonde in the leather jacket sitting next to her. It’d been a long, long day. “Mullen’s a fucking human trafficker for the Triad, Culbert was in cahoots with him up and down through the whole Zeitgeist thing, and… fuck, I don’t know.”

Looking down at the scraps of the label on the bartop, Colette shakes her head. “Somebody got to Green after us, kept him quiet. I know they’re saying we’re heroes but I just… I feel like there’s more going on here, Kaylee.” She looks back to the telepath. “This feels weird.”

Metal clinks against the glass as Kaylee works at dissolving the decent amount of sugar that she’s dumped into her glass of iced tea, a product of southern upbringing no doubt. Her head shifts slighting to cast glance to her friend out of the corner of her eye. “If I wasn’t able to see in their heads, I’d be a little suspicious of just how neat it all was.” An upside to having someone like her on the team.

Speaking of heads, the telepath pulls a small travel tube of Tylenol from her jacket pocket. A trick taught to her by Parkman to ease the aching behind her eyes. While she takes the time to tap a trip of round pills into her palm, Kaylee addresses her friend’s concern. “In all seriousness, Colette, when is anything simple? There will always be more to it and I agree I think we’ve only scratched the surface of a much larger problem.”

Four teenagers stand against a brick wall. A soldier with a hand-held electronic device scans them one by one. The device clicks loudly, reporting a positive identification. The other soldiers raise their rifles.


Gunshots like thunder, screams and cries, desperate pleading and merciless execution. History repeats itself.


A sighs puffs out her cheeks befriefly, unable to shake that funny feeling in the pit of her stomach. Kaylee had it ever since she went into Green’s mind. “The shuttle, the human trafficking, those kidnappings… the shady attempts of getting back into office, somehow I think it is all linked. Maybe it’s paranoia, but I feel it in my gut.” There is a weak smile thrown Colette’s way knowing how she sounds.

Kaylee shakes her head, watching the aspirin as it shakes around in her hand, “We got our work cut out for us, that’s for sure. All these kids deserve to grow up like kids, that’s on us to make sure they do. Last thing we need is a repeat of ten years ago.” When a bunch of Ferry kids traveled back in time to help their parents. Kaylee still feels the heartache of Hannah’s loss, especially when she looks at the little girl she still calls her daughter.

“I don’t even want to think what would happen if they got back into office.” Kaylee murmurs, before knocking back the painkillers. They have all seen the platform the other guys are running on and if they had any say what life was like ten years ago would be the norm again.

“Ten year later and I still have nightmares of it all.”

Colette peels the last scrap of a label off of her beer.



Red Hook Harbor
Red Hook

8:19 pm

A lone black car pulls up alongside the Red Hook harborfront under the jaundiced glow of tall waterside lamps. Old pylons from turn-of-the-century piers just out into the river. A lone figure is cast in stark contrast as a pair of headlights briefly sweep over him from an approaching Yamagato Altum.

Marcus Donovan squints against the light, tucking his hands into the pockets of his wool coat as the car comes to a stop and its headlights turn off. The driver’s side door opens, and a tall, blonde man steps out into the dim glow of the streetlamps.


Jason Mines cuts a stark silhouette in the night, slowly approaching Donovan from the parked car.

“Do we have to fucking do this in the open?” Donovan asks with a look over his shoulder to the water, then back to Mines.

Mines in turn reaches inside his jacket and produces a thin hotel room keycard. There is a gold leaf DG monogram stenciled on one side. Donovan looks at the extended card, rankles his nose, then snatches it out of Mines’ hand.

“The fuck is this?” Donovan asks, shoving it in his pocket to get it out of sight.

“A room, where you can converse with Mr. d’Sarthe. He’d like to congratulate you on your job well done.” Mines says motioning to the pocket. “With Culbert and his company out of the way there's no path for the Civellas to get back into New York… which means the path is clear for Mr. d’Sarthe to take Staten Island back from the lowlifes.”

“What about what I want?” Donovan asks, tension in his voice.

Mines motions to Donovan with his chin.“Things take time, but Mr. d’Sarthe has the assets, the resources, and now the land to move forward and hopefully… find a way to clear up your little problem.”

Donovan takes a step forward toward Mines and the air around him swells with pressure, turning into a slowly turning gust of cyclonic wind. In the dark, Donovan’s eyes burn a vibrant gold, and he lets the wind die down before he says through clenched teeth:

He better.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License