Hands In A Box


murdoch_icon.gif felix_icon.gif elisabeth_icon.gif

Scene Title Hands In A Box
Synopsis Someone sent a box full of corpse hands to the precinct and Murdoch gets tapped to take a look. The box of severed hands refers to Dead Men Tell No Tales.
Date february 9, 2009

Crown Heights Precinct, SCOUT Squad Room

A normal afternoon in the precinct — normal for the past couple of weeks, anyway. Translation: Slam busy and people in and out on calls constantly. Sometimes in the company of their own partners, sometimes in the company of DHS agent partners (egad, THAT is going over like a lead balloon), and sometimes on their own. There are just far too many cases spread among far too few officers and agents for it to be anything but chaotic and insane.

The good part is that security is still doing their job, and the box is caught before it goes far. By the time it's brought to the SCOUT room, it's already been scanned, x-rayed, inspected, dusted for prints, bagged, tagged, and everything else anyone can think of. The uniform who brings it in looks around at the damn-near empty room and looks relieved with Elisabeth Harrison steps into the room wearing her badge tacked to the belt of a pair of black slacks along with her gun. "Oh good," he mutters in a foul mood, thrusting the box at her. "Here! Sign this!" He shoves the clipboard for chain of evidence forms at her, waits til she signs it, and bolts.

Liz glances around the room, shaking her head a little. She sees Murdoch and Felix doing… whatever the heck they're doing over there at their desks in the corner … and tosses a wave in their direction before setting the box on her desk to open it and see what new case they've dropped on her. The sight within the box has her reeling away from the box, gagging. (This is *not* her line of work, remember!) "Guys!" she chokes, backpedaling away from the thing in the box.

OOC: A box containing the severed hands of several drowned corpses was mailed to a PD precinct of Reasonable Import on Sunday and should be caught by security protocols by Monday. The accompanying card read 'Verrazano-Narows,' the name of the bridge that was nuked by the conflict between Kazimir Volken and Phoenix the other week. At least one of them was a plainclothes officer; all of them were men, several of them blond, and with rather vivid final experiences (lightning, havoc, falling into the sea, etc.).

Fel's a G-man, down to the gray suit. And even he's made uneasy by all the HomeSec crawling out of the woodwork. But he's in his seat at his desk, remanded to desk work until the issue of the shooting is decided, which should be soon. He looks away from his computer and rises to peer over her shoulder. "Goodness," he says, mildly, brows heading for his hairline. "You must've been a very good girl this year."

A medium sized cup of coffee sits vigil over Murdoch's work, a tiny stream of steam peeking its head from the slit in the top. He regards Elisabeth's summons over the tops of his reading glasses, then removes them, taking his cup in hand as he moves over. His nostrils flare at the first tinge of the unmistakable smell of spoiling human. His lips thin. "The sheer number of possible puns leave me speechless. All for the best," he considers taking a sip of his coffee, then decides not to couple the sight of dismemberment with an other delicious beverage. "Were we expecting…" describers fail him, "This?"

Looking up at them, Liz shakes her head mutely. "Uhm…. no?" She moves forward again, gingerly removing the official paperwork sitting on top of the bags that contain the hands. "This says they've printed all the hands and done everything else necessary to ensure the chain of evidence, and they want us to look into it." She glances at Murdoch. "Actually… your name is specifically mentioned, so I think it's supposed to be your case, not mine." There's an underlying 'thank God' in there somewhere. She's looking a bit green around the gills.

"I certainly wasn't," Fel says, drily. "What's on the packaging - who sent this?" he wonders. "And who's they?" He angles his head to peer at the box.

Murdoch gives a thin smile, "Oh, how sweet. I do love attention and recognition," he steps a bit closer. "I think I may know why they gave it to me," he lifts a hand to his chin, taps with a finger, "I'd like to see the accompanying files. If I'm going to jump headfirst into this," he nods at the box, "I want at least to know what to expect."

Elisabeth steps back and gestures toward the box. "Files are in there — under the hands, I'd bet. Bastards in evidence just *love* to see cops lose their lunch in the squad room," she grimaces. Especially the girls. It's how they get their kicks. "Just what is it that you *do*, Murdoch, that you get the icky job?" She asked him before, but he skirted around the answer.

That's the question also on Fel's mind, by his curious look. "Yeah, they do," he affirms, grinning at Elisabeth, as he polishes his glasses on his tie.

"I'd love to say it's my experience in homicide," Murdoch says, dryly, "I'm going to need a seat and," he clears his throat, "Skin contact. I hope the boys in evidence were thorough. I have to contaminate the sample a little," he unbuttons his cuffs and rolls up his sleeves.

Elisabeth gives Felix the 'hey, don't you gimme that look — I'll whap you upside the head' look. And then she *stares* at Murdoch. "You're gonna…. *touch* them? With your bare hands?" She definitely looks absolutely like she's going to lose it, stepping sideways to the trash can near Kaydence's desk cuz the one next to hers is too close to the box. "Really?" Oh God.

"It's more or less new to me as well," Murdoch says, his chin going up, drawing his face away from the box in anticipation even as he tucks his sleeves into themselves. He grabs a nearby chair and pulls it up, settling in, reaching down into that grisly container to extract the information. He doesn't have to touch them, not yet, but his hands brush against the thin barrier of plastic, and it is not a pleasant experience. He removes the file with care and then flips through it, eyes scanning the pages. "I think we may be waiting on more concrete IDs here, but we have one downed officer accounted for here. I wonder where he went missing. This was all mailed in a care package…" and so on, filling in his fellows on the details Evidence has compiled. He offers the file to Felix, and shoots Elisabeth a sardonic smile, "Time to give these fellows a firm shake. Get to know them."

Fel is eyeing Murdoch with a mingling of curiosity, and general dubiousness. "Psychometry?" hewonders, in a tone barely louder than a whisper. He's actually begun to grin, as if waiting for the punchline of a joke.

Standing over near Kaydence's desk, the words 'downed officer' make Elisabeth visibly go white. She looks like she's literally going to pass out on the spot, grabbing the edge of Kaydence's desk with hands that show white knuckles. Her ears are ringing and she can barely hear the exchange between the men, and she sucks in a breath trying to quell the urge to toss her cookies. She moves on shaky legs to sit in Kaydence's chair, and all she asks is "Who?"

"You make it sound so unromantic when you put it that way," Murdoch chides Felix, with no small irony. He removes one of the bagged hands and places it gingerly on his desktop. "Pinch you noses, ladies and gentlemen." He opens the bag; it's not pleasant. The smell of cadaver creeps out, and Murdoch is quick to slip his hand inside, placing two fingers against the dismembered appendage. The detective takes a deep breath through his mouth.

Fel makes a disgusted face at that. Not a scent you can get used to, even after all these years. But he aits eagerly for Murdoch's answer.

Yep…. nope. She's not gonna make it. The words 'downed officer' still ringing in her ears, Elisabeth bolts out of the chair with Kaydence's trash can in her hands, barrelling right past Felix. The odor was the last straw, Felix can come knock on the women's bathroom door when they're done in here.

Murdoch 's face goes a bit taut as something happens. His eyes close, and there is a flutter behind them, not unlike REM. His adam's apple bobs, and the next moment his eyes are open again. He looks a little pale, but he is calm enough as he closes the bag. The smell lingers, but it won't stay forever. "Well, this one wasn't murdered. At least not specifically. He died at the site of that bridge, the Verrazano-Narows. If we aren't investigating it very carefully, we ought to. Serious Evolved involvement. Lighting storms… lasers," he wrinkles his nose, "And various other expressions of unsubtlety. This poor fellow was bystander. Collateral damage. Little more."

Fel's smile has vanished, and he's gone positively sphinxish in his impassivity. "Part of the recent rash of Evolved terrorism we've been combatting. That whole thing….I wasn't there. I was told it was a mess," he says, quietly. "No wonder you're in Homicide."

"I'll have to go through all of these, just to make sure," Murdoch says, placing the bag back in the evidence box, "But I don't know that our mailer here is a murderer, not in this instant at least. A ghoul, certainly. The victims drowned and the cutting occurred post-mortem. The question is whether or not this indicates some future crime. The goal of our mailer is unclear."

"Can you get names from them?" Fel wonders. "Faces? How far back can you reach?" It might as well be a box of leaves, for all his reaction, beyond a wrinkling of his nose at the scent.

Murdoch shakes his head, "These samples are too far gone. Dead for almost two weeks. If they were fresher, maybe," he takes another bag out, another right hand, so as not to double up, "I only have about a month's range, and even then only the most intense emotional experiences. Obviously the terror before death stands out, which makes my talent particularly applicable. Glad to be of service, hm?"

Felix snorts. "Man. I wish I had that. My trick….it's useful enough, in its fashion. But not like that."

"Don't," Murdoch says, "Remember, I am always in contact with myself. And, while I may not look it, I am very fresh indeed. Fair warning, everyone," he opens up another bag, reaches inside.

Once the odor eases, Elisabeth can't keep herself away from the SCOUT squad room. She stops at the far doorway, though, holding her hand beneath her nose to curb the worst of the smell from reaching her, and she asks into the room. "Please tell me you're getting something useful enough to warrant this?"

Fel insists, "There has to be some pattern. Unless we've got a serial cop killer who wants to make a boast?"

Another long pause, and this time a little sweat forms at Murdoch's hairline. He releases the hand, closes the bag quickly. "This one was murdered. But not by our ghoul. Gangland execution. This one was a gambler, owed money," he gives a sigh, "Another post mortem, just like the report says. I'm not sure what the link is here. I didn't see any Evolved activity," he looks up at Elisabeth, nodding, "Welcome back. I… don't know. We are being sent a message, but he forget to include a decoder ring."

Elisabeth listens intently, and asks Felix, "Are we taking notes about what Murdoch gets?" She still looks incredibly pale, and her eyes remain on Murdoch. "The best we can do is give what details we can, and hope that at least the victims' families get closure for their missing."

Fel has grave enough to look embarassed, and scoops up a legal pad and pen from his desk. "We are now," he says, under his breath. "We can cross reference this with John Does, missing persons cases."

Murdoch replaces the hand, takes out another. "I'm going to get some fresh coffee after this," he says, "Other duties be damned." He wipes his brow, "Your appreciation of the human element is admirable. But what worries me is the dedication that would drive someone to collect dead bodies, from disparate locations, even if they all did die on Staten Island, and chop off their hands with the express purpose of informing… us. This can't be for nothing."

Elisabeth swallows hard and looks at Felix, then Murdoch. "Probably not…. perhaps they're looking for someone specific." She cannot in any way imagine why else someone would do it, but they all fit the description of one person that *she* knows who isn't among the officially missing. "I've been hearing rumors of things going on over on Staten Island. Maybe someone is trying to tip us off."

"Someone we might also be looking for?" Fel suggests, glancing between the two. "What sort of things?"

Elisabeth replies quietly, avoiding Felix's gaze while Murdoch concentrates. "Murdoch said one of them's a downed cop." She clenches her jaw. "IDing him might be a start. Though with decomp, I'm not sure anyone'd be able to even identify a cop much less send his remains to us out of the kindness of their hearts." She shrugs slightly. "I've heard a lot of things — complete anarchy over there. Everything from sex trade gone wild to slave rings to… who knows? To figure it out, we're going to have to send in soldiers and riot teams, I think."

Felix notes, "It'd be nice to check his name off a list, you know. On the MPD records. And yes, we can. Or we can get informants, find an ear to the ground," And guess who's already done just that? "It's pretty Wild West, I understand, yeah."

Elisabeth looks toward Felix and whispers under her breath, the words manipulated so they hit only his ears, "Yeah…. it would. Pheonix has one cop missing in our own assaults."

That's a great big 'uh oh' right there. Fel merely slants a look at her, but his expression is perturbed. "Later," he mouths to her.

Murdoch comes-to with a blink. It's unclear how with it he is when he's delving into those memories, but either way he manages to answer one of Elisabeth's requests. "Gary Redman," he says, rather abruptly, "Sergeant Gary Redman. Just in the wrong place at the wrong time. I don't know that our ghoul even realized he was a cop," he closes the bag, turns to the two conspiring colleagues, "I can compile a more detailed report, no stone unturned and all that… but I'm uncertain as to how to proceed. Other than to deliver the appropriate condolences."

Elisabeth smiles faintly. She made certain that only he could hear it, but he can see the vague amusement in her gaze that he's worried about it. And rightfully so, never know who could listen. But still, she was compelled to say it. She leans against the wall, waiting for Murdoch to wake, and when he speaks, she actually jumps. And then naked relief passes across her features for a split second while he closes the bag, her eyes closing tightly as she swallows hard. Okay. She can do this. By the time he looks up, she's composed. "That's probably all that's really expected," she tells him. "That and the hope that if fingerprints turned up nothing, maybe you could in terms of identity? Or else tell us that they…. I don't know, saw who killed them? Can you even *do* that? The only thing I know about psychometry is what I read in sci-fi books as a kid."

"I might be able to ID the gangster who killed our unluckly gambler," Murdoch says, "But the rest of them… casualties of the bridge incident. Drowned or mangled when it collapsed. Find the terrorists and vigilantes responsible, and you'll have your murderers."

Fel looks around, gaze wandering like he doesn't want to look either of his fellow cops in the eye. "All we can likely do there, yes. Tell the families of the others, too, what names we can get," He sits back down, rubs at his eyelids with the pads of his fingers.

Elisabeth nods. "I'll alert Redman's lieutenant immediately. Should I have someone run this back down to forensics, Murdoch, or do you think you can get more out of it?" She looks at them both. "I really think we ought to start looking into what's going on over on Staten Island, too. Not like we're not overbooked enough."

"In truth, I only need a small sample to work with," Murdoch says, "Give them over to forensics before they turn over further. I can always take a trip down if I need a… refresher." He gets to his feet, "I'll assemble a more complete set of my impressions, but I'll need some time for it to process. I'll make copies as soon as they are complete. We can, at the very least, try and set some minds to rest, if not some ghosts."

"In our copious free time, yes," Felix drawls, taking his glasses off entirely, and setting them aside. He leans back in his chair, making it tip dangerously. "What sort of threat does Staten present us? It may be cold of me, but if we can get all the lawless elements in one place, make the rest of the city safer…."

Elisabeth actually grins a bit at that. "I'm not sure you're going to get argument from me on that, honestly," she murmurs, dropping a hand on Felix's shoulder as she passes him to quiclky cover up the box and get it the hell out of our squad room. Quickly.

February 9th: Say One Thing, Mean Another
February 9th: Who Dares, Wins
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