Go Long


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Scene Title Go Long
Synopsis Jolene is looking for Rue, but Rue is looking for ghosts.
Date September 8, 2018

Cat's Cradle sits in a part of the Safe Zone that seems anathema to business. Phoenix Heights is sparsely populated, not the pulsing urban heart that places like Bay Ridge are. In a way, it makes The a Cradle an oasis in an industrial desert; where palm trees should rise are the necks of cranes, where there should be sand, there's rubble. The street outside of Cat’s Cradle has no street lights, but instead is lit by tall construction lamps still running alongside backhoes and cranes in the late evening hours.

But the blue sign posted outside of the Cat’s Cradle marks one of many reasons why it's owner might have chosen it. A simple blue and white sign depicting a bus that says YMGT STOP. The region is set for extensive expansion and remodeling to help alleviate the residents in the relocation park, and whether Eve Mas knew this before she settled her business here is up to debate. Even she may not be sure.

A few days ago, Rue Lancaster made mention to Jolene Chevalier that she was headed out here. It didn't take much talking to convince Eve to talk about the redhead, her usual haunts, her usual watering holes. It wasn't a one-off.

An electric bus whirrs up to the curb outside of the Cat’s Cradle, the marquee on the front reading YAMAGATO PARK as it makes its way through the end of its night route through the Safe Zone. A few passengers disembark at the curb, followed by a brunette woman with fading streaks of burgundy in her hair. She ambles down out of the bus, metal crutches clacking noisily. As she reaches the curb and the bus door closes behind herself, Jolene makes her way across the curb to the doors that lead down into the Cat’s Cradle.

The Cat’s Cradle

Phoenix Heights

September 8th

10:14 pm

“I'm telling you, he didn't have a girlfriend, boyfriend, nothing. He didn't have a favorite hooker, he didn't keep people’s company. He hated people.”

Rue Lancaster isn't here waiting for Jolene Chevalier, days after their last encounter. She's here about a ghost that's been haunting her since February. The Ghost of Devin Bradley.

“He worked down in the bay doing receiving at an industrial shipping dock. Moonlit as a reporter for the Siren, but he didn't talk to me much about that. Bitched about his boss a lot.” The man seated across from Rue Lancaster is a criminal informant she's known for a few years, a small-time drug dealer who goes by the name Dime Bag. “I saw Dev like, two days outta the month when he needed some downers to help him sleep. Tha’s it.”

Dime Bag was Devin Bradley’s dealer, and the one person who might have known who was in Bradley’s apartment the night he was killed. But even Dime Bag doesn't seem to know. No one cares; not the Military Police who closed the case as a burglary, not Wolfhound who got Bradley’s info from a contact on Staten Island, not his friends or even his family who dismissed him as a “troublemaker” who was bound to “get in over his head eventually.”

With the Institute, it's never that simple, though.

“You gotta have something more than that, Dimes.” Rose gold tinted aviators perched atop her head, Rue Lancaster leans back in her seat with an ease that suggests to any onlooker that this is just a social call, rather than an interrogation. The short champagne-colored skirt with black sheer nylons and the black drape-front tank top suggest date. The combat boots are incongruous with the rest of her ensemble, but a girl’s gotta have sensible walking shoes.

“Someone was staying over there. Was there anybody that seemed to like him a lot more than he liked them back?” Someone knows something. Devin Bradley died getting information to her. A veritable treasure map with one hell of a cache. She needs to find who killed him for it. For herself if not for him.

Dimes slides his tongue over the inside of his teeth, staring off in the direction of the bar for a little bit with a pensive expression. He starts to shake his head, then squints and looks back to Rue. “You know, there was one time…” Dimes gets a look in his eye that Rue feels is going to cost her.

“Another two hundred might jog my memory,” Dimes says with a raise of his brow and a knowing smile, arms crossed over his chest.

At the same time, Rue spies a few new people coming into the bar. Most of them look like second shift laborers getting off from the evening shift construction sites. They move in a flock into the bar, and between them weaves — awkwardly — a familiar brunette on crutches with fading streaks of burgundy in her hair. Jolene doesn't notice Rue right away when she comes in, but her pause by the door and wide-eyed look around says she's hunting for someone.

Maybe Eve?

Fuck’s sake. Rue reaches into the side of her top and procures her wallet and thumbs out two bills without indicating how many more might actually be in that thin billfold. Tucking it away again, she set the hundreds down on the table and slides them halfway across, leaving her left hand over them. “What’cha got for me?”

The movement in the bar causes her to lift her head and survey the room again. The sight of Jolene has her sitting up a little straighter, and she nearly waves her over, but she needs this information - if it’s any good. For now, she keeps note of her in her periphery.

Sliding the bills toward himself with his fingertips, Dimes cracks a fond smile and slips them inside his light jacket. “One time I went over there, offloaded some diazepam and weed, right? There's this girl there over his place, looks like she didn't know he was expecting me because she got real nervous. She was like, fuck, maybe twenty? Platinum blonde, basically white, right? Figured she was probably workin’ for a pimp down on the island.”

Dimes eyes his empty drink, picking it up and rolling it around in his hand, then sets it down next to the paper coaster instead of on it. “Anyway, she didn't say shit the whole time I was in there. But she had a purse on her with an ID badge for Elmhurst Hospital clipped to it like she'd just come from work. Figured she was pulling Johns on the side? Name was uh,” Dimes looks to the side, “Maddy something. Mary? Fuck. Last name was Dubois. She looked Frenchy too.” He smiles, wide. “Didn't think we had nice girls like that workin’ the street since the Dagger burned down.”

Around then, Jolene spots Rue and raises one hand in a tentative wave, but when she sees the way she's dressed and that she's with a man she looks sheepish. There's a brief grimace, and Lene looks around and then starts to shuffle over to the bar, but bumps directly into someone hard enough to knock them aside and into the corner of the bar. Stools scoot across the floor, the woman she walked into drops her phone with a clack on the floor. A curious detail that Rue catches, as there's no service out in Phoenix Heights.

Dimes languidly turns around to look at the noise and Lene frantically apologizes, setting one crutch aside and bending down to pick up the phone. Whatever she sees on it seems to surprise her, and she looks immediately at Rue, then up to the woman she bumped into. “Hey, why’re you taking— ”

Lene is cut off as the woman shoves past her, sending a crutch scattering, then snatches her phone and makes a beeline for the door.

Rue listens with interest. This was a better lead than she dared to hope for. If it pans out, Dime Bag has definitely earned his pay. He may be something of a creep about the whole thing (“something”), but he eventually makes his way around to the pertinent info. “You’re a peach, Dimes. Tha—”

The commotion at the bar has Rue snapping to attention. As soon as she sees that phone, paranoia has her on her feet. You don’t spy on people without learning what it looks like when someone else is spying on you right back. The look from Lene is all she needs to confirm her suspicion. The aborted indignance helps.

“You!” She snaps her fingers and points to Dimes even as she shoves her chair out of the way. “Help her, or I will kick your ass and take all my money back.” If he set her up, that’s gonna be the least of his problems.

Her physical therapist is going to be so mad at her later. She’s just gotten her arm out of the sling, and this is going to suck, but Rue throws her weight forward, aiming to throw the fleeing man off his center of gravity. She needs to get that phone. And that chick probably needs a black eye.

Maybe she should try asking Dearing to tag along for these things. She can guarantee almost no killer robots. Probably.

Dazed and on the floor, Jolene watches with wide eyes as Rue bounds away from her table and rushes after the fleeing spy. Dime Bag slowly gets up from his chair, looking at Jolene with am I a fucking babysitter plastered across his face. As Rue launches after the fleeing figure, she catches a bar patron in the shoulder, spinning him around and spilling his drink behind himself.

Rue jukes toward the stairs, but the scrambling man made it through them before she could connect, just out of arm’s reach. She slams into the door before it closes, hot on the spy's heels as she scrambles up the stairs with panting breaths. She bursts out onto the street just ahead of Rue, cutting right and running down the sidewalk.

Unfortunately for her, she's neither as tall nor as fast as Rue in a straight sprint and she's rapidly gaining.

There’s no apology when Rue clips the poor bystander, just grim determination on her face as she makes her lunge — and misses. Her feet scrabble over the floor for a moment as she struggles to maintain her momentum and carry herself forward. Colliding with the door elicits a grunt that just makes Rue even more driven to catch this jerk.

Once they’re both at street level, Rue pours on the speed. The world narrows to the colors and shapes zipping by, the sound of boots slapping on concrete, her heart pounding in her chest. When she’s close enough, she reaches out to grab the back of the woman’s shirt in her fists and wrench her back to try and throw her to the ground.

“Oppress— huff,” the fleeing figure tries to shout when she's grabbed, but hiersudden collision with the sidewalk knocks the wind out of her. The cell phone flies from her hand, skitter-bouncing across the concrete until it comes to a stop some six feet away. “Oppressive use of force!” The woman in the hoodie shouts, her glasses sitting crooked on her nose. “I— I'm a member of the press!” She shouts in protest. “This is unlawful detention!

The squirming, shrieking woman is wide-eyed and red-cheeked, dressed in a hoodie just too thick to be seasonably appropriate, and judging from her heaving breaths isn't a sprinter. “I do not consent to this search!” She bellows, frantically.

“And I didn’t consent to being photographed!” Rue is panting too, but not nearly as hard as the other woman is. “Stay down, or I will put you back there,” Rue tells her with a stern wag of her finger as she walks back the few steps to where the cellphone has landed. Dipping down into a crouch, she picks it up, praying it wasn’t broken in the fall.

“You could’ve identified yourself sooner. Saved us both a run,” Rue says as she ambles back over, but just out of arm’s reach. Rue certainly doesn't expect a scrap with the reporter — they both know she’ll win that, miniskirt and all — but she doesn’t discount the possibility of a fumbling grapple. “Why don’t we start over? I’m Rue, a private citizen very concerned about some chick at a bar taking tabloid photos.” She brings the screen to life with a tap and looks to see what Jolene saw. “Who the fuck are you?”

Phoebe Frady,” she says with pride from the ground, and also obstinacy. Something about this feels momentarily wrong to Rue, but the moment passes. “Editor in Chief of the Safe Zone Siren.” Phoebe’s phone wasn't broken, isn't even locked at the moment, and a blurry and dark photo of Rue and Dime Bag is displayed on the now cracked screen.

“Is it true that Wolfhound is a front for a resurgent Vanguard?” Phoebe asks with a straight face from the ground. “I have reports that Major Hana Gitelman may have become a host for Kazimir Volken. She's been sighted carrying his cane, and the wolf motif?” Wolfhound, Phoebe. “The Public has a right to know!”

There’s several seconds of stony silence from Rue as she stares at the photo, and then down at the woman who took it.

Then, she starts laughing. Hard enough that she holds her sides and has tears forming in her eyes. “Oh my God, you’re serious. Oh, no, lady. You are way off track.” Catching her breath and wiping away those tears, the ginger shakes her head. “First of all, wolfhounds hunt wolves. There is no wolf motif.” Except maybe if you look at Demsky’s tattoos.

“And while she might be able to turn you to ash with a glare, Hana Gitelman has nothing in common with Kazimir Volken. But you’re right. If any of that were remotely true, the public would absolutely have a right to know.” She deletes the photo and flips through to see if there’s more. If a picture of herself and Dime Bag shows up where people can see it, she loses an informant. At best, people assume she’s got a drug habit.

“There’s your exclusive, Misd Frady.” Rue rolls her shoulders gingerly and fixes the woman with a calculating gaze. “Did you know Devin Bradley?”

Phoebe's expression matches Rue’s, coincidentally. Not just because she recognizes the name Devin Bradley, but because at that exact moment — after she's thumbed through and deleted about six dozen photos of her and Dime Bag, scrolled past photos of his cats, a sandwich, and a rainbow — she's staring at a blurry photograph of Devin.

Exhaling a loud snort, Phoebe starts to push herself up from the ground, dusting off her hands and knees. “Knew him?” Indignant. “Devin was my best reporter! He was freelance but— he had the real inside track on what the Institute did before the war. I mean,” Phoebe looks aside, then back to Rue. “He inferred a lot, but I know about the temporal war and the aliens.” She stares down Rue, as if brandishing weapons of truth.

Down the street, the door to the Cat’s Cradle opens and Jolene makes her way out with a raised brow. Dime Bag is a bit behind her, but he isn't going out of his way to really catch up at all.

“Inside track on the Institute, huh?” Rue nods along slowly with the talk of temporal wars and aliens. The truth might be stranger than fiction, but the fiction in this case is pretty damn strange. She looks down the street to where Jolene and her informant emerge from the bar, lifting her hand to wave at them both, indicating she’s okay. “C’mon,” she tips her head back toward the bar. “Walk with me.” If she’d like his phone back, she might want to do that.

“You must be pretty pissed someone killed your star reporter,” Rue posits To Phoebe. “You wanna help me find who did it and bring them to justice before they hurt someone else?”

“I already know who did it,” Phoebe says with a wary side-eye to Rue. She's hesitant to walk, and glances back at a perplexed Jolene and Dime Bag, then back to Rue as she's a few paces away. Hustling, Phoebe catches up. “Here,” and she leans in and flicks her phone, moving to a different folder of images.

This man killed Devin.” It's a blurry photo of a tall man in an olive drab army jacket with… aviator sunglass— goddamnit that's a photo of Avi.

“Former CIA Special Activities. Hired assassin, working for Wolfhound,” Phoebe says as if that's a bomb. She even makes an explosion sound with her mouth. She's an adult. In her mid twenties. Making bomb sounds. With her mouth. “He was arrested last summer,” Phoebe says with a flick of the screen to show poorly lit photos of a rainy street and Avi on his knees with his hands over his head, surrounded by military police.

“But he's suddenly released somehow? And he happens to have a second residence in the Safe Zone?” Phoebe's voice might as well be the adult trombone from Charlie Brown cartoons at this point. “Then you two show up to perform an extrajudicial clean up!” She sure as shit has photos from February, too.

And before.

Multiple photos of a white-haired woman leaving Devin’s apartment.

“What do you have to say to that?” Phoebe steps in front of Rue and looks defiant. “On the record, Miss Lancaster.”

There’s a fleeting moment of elation, hope when Phoebe declares she knows who killed Devin Bradley. And it’s immediately quashed. “So you’re telling me my partner killed Devin.” Rue fixes the newspaper man with a flat look. “On the record? You haven’t said anything to me that’s worth commenting on.”

Phones these days may not get shit for signal in New York City, but that just means manufacturers have been pushing their near-field communication capabilities. Reaching into the side of her top, she digs out her own phone and works on initiating a transfer of the photos of the white-haired woman.

There’s all sorts of incredulous questions she’d like to ask, but as she expects no satisfying answer to do you really think I didn’t already know all that about my own partner, she holds her tongue.

Now that she has what she wants, she holds up his phone again. “Who is she?”

Avi Epstein is a killer, I’m sure of it.” Phoebe says with the certainty of a fanatic. “And I don’t know whether you’re in on it or have been fooled by him just like everyone else.” But when Phoebe's attention is directed down to the phone again, there’s a look that comes with a raise of one brow. “Oh uh…” she grimaces.

“I took that photo because I thought she was cute.” Phoebe says with a dismissive wave of one hand. “She’s not important. I just— ” Stalked someone? Make a habit of photographing women without their consent? There’s no good end to that sentence.


It’s not the dumbest thing she’s heard, or even the most gross, but Rue is clearly unimpressed. “You are a real piece of work, you know that, Frady?” She shakes her head and frowns. “Keep your eyes open for something real and stop being a fucking weirdo.”

Some of the silent fury clears from her face as Rue tucks her own phone away again and gently pulls her shades free from her red curls so she can slide them into place. “You’re going to send me word if you hear something, right? Because you know I’ll tell people about your great reporting if you do.” She smiles briefly. There’s no way it reaches her eyes. “Great.” It fades. Her arm pulls back, hand curled into a fist around that cell phone.

“Go long.”


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