Into Focus, Part I


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Scene Title Into Focus, Part I
Synopsis After a strange event takes place at Red Hook Market, law enforcement arrives on the scene to begin gathering an understanding of what happened.
Date October 28, 2020

Outside of Red Hook Market

The perimeter the police are setting up is wide to better account for all the ground that may hold clues. They don't really know what they're dealing with yet, and they're taking no chances.

The street that before was blocked by persons are now cordoned off by barricades to prevent flow of traffic.

While establishing an outer perimeter, though, blocking off the eastern entrance to the market hasn't been as much of a priority. No one stands there yet to turn traffic away, a simple strip of yellow tape serving to deter the curious.

Shutters resound as crime scene photographers take stock of the scene— of the broken bodies on the ground with one camera while another snaps photos photos of tiny cards left by anything that could be of interest.

They try their best to bring things into better focus with their electronic eyes, the way the human ones do their best to make sense of what little they have to go off of.

"I'm Officer Nguyen, NYPD," a shorter man in uniform greets Delilah, Elliot, and Wright. He wears salt-and-pepper hair and the slightest hint of something that might want to be wrinkles on his face, all without any of the jaded tire that could come with that age, that experience, or seeing what he's seen of the victims. "I understand Agent Dahaka here called in the incident, and you, ma'am—"

He quiets, uncertain how to phrase the rest of that statement. The officer glances to Delilah.

There was definitely nothing to be done for the victims, but the ambulances have still been utilized by the witnesses. No injuries there save for what people got when the crowd starting climbing over one another. Delilah looked much worse than it was; she was covered in blood that wasn't hers, and though she has since been cleaned up, still sits on the back of the ambulance waiting for an officer. The pair that called it in has been regarded with a tentative trust.

She still has the rings that she picked up when things started dissipating, clutched in a fist; though a heat comes with them, a mix of embarrassment and shame that identification and memorial were her first reactions, rather than something like crowd control. But you never think well when your hackles are up, right? Things were just a little too… volatile to keep focused on anything else. So now she has to deal.

"Mm." Delilah looks up into Nguyen's face, expression stormy. There is blood still on her shoes and jeans, but the rest of her is clean again, red hair pulled up. "I was only involved in the verbal altercation. If that's what you're getting to." There is absolutely a reticence to explain more immediately; not so much authority as it is circumstance.

Elliot has pulled up his hood both against the cold and in the off chance that he gets caught in a picture taken by one of the lookie-loos. ‘Agent Dahaka’ has him turning his head to the side to allow his eye to twitch unseen. You try not to verbally identify yourself in front of two sketchy-ass masked kids *one time*, he thinks. But they didn’t appear to rip anyone to shreds, so what can one do?

Wright pays polite attention to Officer Nguyen and Delilah, offering nothing to the question directed at the other woman but waiting to be addressed or questioned. Delilah didn’t seem the type to speak against harmful anti-Expressive rhetoric only to turn and disassemble to strangers on the other end of the crowd, though Wright’s shaky on the her-being-covered-in-their-blood issue.

Elliot pulls out his phone to get the time, then pulls Wright’s perspective to stay anchored in the conversation. He scans the internet for meals which can be made in their now shorter window of dinner time. Anything to get his mind off the second pile of dismembered corpses he’s seen in the last week.

The unmarked police car joins the rest of the vehicles sitting around the nightmare that is this site, and the blonde who emerges from it scans the horrific scene. She has an air of authority before she even comes away from the vehicle, her low-heeled shoes quiet on the ground as she ducks beneath the tape and makes her way in. She swallows hard against the odor of carnage. There are some things you never forget. It's the worst part of this job.

Years ago, there would have been even more cars, and certainly even more lookie-lous. Elisabeth Harrison isn't sure whether this is an improvement, to be honest. Checking her waistband to make sure her badge is visible, she approaches Officer Nguyen, to whom she was directed when she ducked the tape.

"Officer Nguyen," she greets him quietly. Then she does a visible double-take when she sees who is sitting in that ambulance next to Nguyen's position. "Jesus… Delilah?" Her blue eyes scan the woman, who despite being quite bloody seems to not be in danger at the moment, and she shakes her head slightly. A raised finger tells the other woman 'be with you there in a moment.' She has a job to do.

"Sitrep, officer?" The poor man is becoming fast acquainted with Lieutenant Harrison's face on crime scenes lately. She's heard the squawking about what happened, but he'll have more details about what they've discovered that hasn't gone over the radio.

There’s a slight shortage of active agents right now after the events at the festival, which is why Junior Agent Lance Gerken is here - to determine if this is a case that falls under SESA’s jurisdiction or not.

The slender young man in a grey suit comes out of the company car and makes his way towards the scene and the emergency vehicles, trying not to seem nervous since he’s here on his own— a feeling that eases up in relief when he sees some familiar faces on scene. That’ll make things easier.

“Lieutenant Harrison, Officer Nguyen,” he calls in greeting as he draws closer, checking something on his near-tablet sized phone and tapping something into it before drawing closer, “What’s the situ— oh god what’s that smell?” He pales a bit, gaze sweeping towards the crime scene. Oh. Oh, that’s what that smell is. Death.

Crime scene tape is a barrier that only keeps the honest and afraid people out of the way. Jac Childs tries to be honest, and she isn't usually afraid, so the tape does little to actually keep her from the crime scene. She was there, if that matters to anyone who asks, when it happened. And if it doesn't matter, she knows how to scoot off and look somewhere else.

She's also wise enough to avoid the places being actively photographed. Which is how she's currently ended up in the periphery. Jac's currently perched on the base of another lamp post, an arm wrapped around the lamp it supports. It's a great spot, right where she can look at all those little cards and the things that have been listed as evidence and still hear the exchange with Officer Nguyen and everyone else.

Officer Nguyen keeps a passive expression when Delilah explains her interpretation of the limits of how she was involved in the event and its aftermath, not really having a follow-up for that just yet. Honestly, he'd feel better if one of the SESA agents arrived, or at the very least—

He looks away at the sound of footsteps approaching them directly, surprise flickering in his eyes to see it's the SCOUT Lieutenant. He remembers her. And either she remembers him, or she's a very quick read on his label— or, he considers silently, maybe she overheard him from that far away.


And shortly after comes another familiar face, just the young one, lacking his partner. Nguyen stops short of a frown as he remembers hearing just how badly SESA's agents were wrapped up in that event out in Jersey. He moves on swiftly instead of addressing Lance's lone approach. "Two victims, one male, one female. There were reportedly between a hundred and two hundred people gathered in the area, listening to a political speaker, when the victims began falling apart. Councilwoman Trafford took the liberty of removing something from the corpses…" He turns his uncertain look back at Delilah now before glancing back to Elisabeth. It's a delicate topic. He clears his throat.

"The Wolfhound agents here were on the scene— they can provide their eyewitness accounts as well." He nods once gratefully to Elliot and Wright both, and in turning their way, takes note of the girl crouched nearby who he couldn't see from his earlier position facing the ambulance. One eyebrow begins to raise.

Delilah just becomes more aware with every familiar face that she may be in for a harsh word, especially given the percieved judgment from the officer on scene as he explains. She waits until he's finished before interceding.

"Liz." Hey, how's it going? "I, ah… here." It's to either the officer or Elisabeth that she offers out her palm, the pair of rings haphazardly cleaned. "I wasn't looting them, I swear to God." Most people might think so, given everything. Lilah knows this. "I panicked." It may not be feasible to Nguyen, though she does include him in her own explanation out of courtesy now that someone she knows is here.

"I guess getting used to the habit of… " A pause, ears burning and features troubled, Delilah steadies her breath against a sudden twist of shame. "I'd always get tags or rings when we lost people. Cause you couldn't always take them back too, and IDs weren't a big thing during the war… I went in to see the damage done and my lizard brain stepped in when I saw what the end was…"

"I don't know if that makes sense to you as much as it does me."

When Delilah gives her preemptive defense, Wright nods in support. She certainly collected more than one dog tag during the war, and the woman made no attempt to flee the scene. Again she nods, this time in greeting to the Lieutenant. “Officer Tracy, Ma’am,” she says.

“Officer Hitchens and I,” she continues, gesturing to Elliot who makes only the faintest gesture of acknowledgement, though he does put away his phone for appearance’s sake, “Were on scene, off-duty, heading into the market when were obstructed by the crowd. We worried the crowd might grow agitated due to the anti-Expressive sentiment being espoused, and entered the crowd to mitigate what we could. We—” She suppresses most of a wince.

“We noted what we believed to be suspicious behavior in the crowd, two masked young adults, male, though we appear to have misread that situation. While we were distracted, the event unfolded. We only saw the death of the second, female victim. No indication of a perpetrator. The crowd dispersed fairly rapidly. We remained in place to observe the scatter, but. Nothing. It is worth noting that there was an observer on the high ground, who is currently in the same crow’s nest.” She ticks her head to the side faintly, in the direction of the girl clinging to the lamp post.

Blue eyes are sharp on Nguyen as he relays the information, but she's clearly paying attention to each speaker's recitation. Quietly but with authority, Elisabeth says, "'Lilah, make sure you get the rings to the officer so he can return them to her family." She won't cast stones on what was done — some things, you just do without thinking. To Nguyen, she asks, "Fell apart, officer?"

She moves gingerly to the body and lifts the side of one of the sheets covering the corpses on the ground so she can look, and Liz's expression hardens. The odor of blood and viscera is bad… but even with that warning, she didn't expect to see people who look like they've literally been cut in half. "Jesus fucking Christ," she breathes out softly, horrified.

And despite her horror, she squats to take a close look at the injuries, seeking out initial impressions of things like whether the slice is ragged or clean edges and such. She's seen savagery… she's seen what Odessa in another time and place could do with a sword. This seems… excessive, even for that scenario. Moving to stand, she nods to Wright's assertion that someone else was watching, her eyes flicking in that direction and immediately noting a familiar face up high. Good fucking grief, how much more horror is that young woman going to have to see? She looks at the young man who followed her in and grimaces slightly. Not a great time to be a rookie on this call. "Agent Gerken," she greets him quietly, "Would you go ahead and take Miss Childs' statement while I finish getting this one?"

Why the Lieutenant seems to know people by name is, well… Maybe it's just that certain people are magnets for weird, strange, and awful.

As the sheet is lifted, Lance steps to get a look under it as well… and he turns a few shades paler. Don’t throw up, Lance. He’s seen pretty bad things before, but this? This was pretty up there even for someone from the Lighthouse.

“A-ah, yeah, of course,” he clears his throat at the Lieutenant’s suggestion, turning to step away and head towards where Jac’s leaning against a lamp post. He offers her just the ghost of a smile as he draws closer, briefly drawing a bubble around them that their words won’t escape, “Hey, Squeaks. You doing alright?” Genuine concern there, for a member of his adopted family.

There’s probably some conflicts of interest there, but as it says above… certain people are magnets for the weird, strange, and awful.

As eyes turn her way, Jac returns the attention with an air of importance. She belongs here as much as anyone else. The gruesome sight beneath the sheet hasn't scared her off, and the looks and gruff words from the police doing their work have only kept her from getting in the way. She keeps her perch, head and shoulders above everyone as she stands upon the raised base of a lamppost.

It gives her a clear vantage to see when Lance breaks away to approach. Her brows knit slightly, showing a fleeting uneasiness.

“They don't know who did it.” It isn't a question, it's an observation. Jac lifts a nod toward the covered corpses. Even she doesn't know, and she was watching the scene unfold in real time until the crowd got too dangerous. “I didn't see anyone.”

Officer Nguyen pulls a pair of nitrile gloves from his pocket before accepting the rings. He only glances at Delilah several times as she explains, waving low at one of the crime scene documenters to hand him something for the rings. As he seals a plastic evidence baggie with them, he notes bluntly, with some sympathy, "I'll be sure to mark that the activity was PTSD-related. Thank you. You may be asked about the event by other officers again as the investigation proceeds, but I'll make a note."

When Liz lifts the sheet and stoops to review the dismembered victims, it can be seen that some cuts were more clean than others. For the man, his cut at the waist seems perfect. His head is a less-clean thing, skin and brain matter torn unevenly while his skull is visibly jagged. For the woman, cut diagonally, her falling apart came with shreds of fabric and skin hanging haphazardly as though someone had pulled hard and the tear had favored one side of bulk over the other.

That being said, it's all one tear for each bit of uneven quartering on both victims. There's no signs of a break as though the attempt to rend them apart had stopped and then restarted. There's little indication that any areas particularly more difficult to cut through due to bone actually proved harder to navigate. After all, the man's head was sliced right open.

It's a sight Nguyen opts not to revisit as he instead looks to the girl on the lamppost. His brow settles with some suspicion, but she's identified by name, so he curbs any commentary. Dipping his head in a nod to Liz as she appears to have things here, he nonetheless follows after Lance as he goes to speak with Jac. Just in case.

Liz has it right, and especially after the prompting, Delilah passes over the rings; at first it seems like she won't comment further, but his notation to pass on her explanation brings her chin down and eyes with it but briefly.

"Thanks." I guess. It's no mystery that a lot of people have trauma— she just prides herself on pushing through it. Probably not a healthy ideal. When Nguyen follows Lance, it leaves Delilah momentarily with the Hounds, who earn a discerning eye and a tight non-smile.

Dee's aura reads rather miserable as she sits there on the end of the truck. "I probably shouldn't have started something, huh?"

He had to keep on talking, though.

Wright shakes her head at Delilah’s question. “Medina’s rabble rouser started something, you were the only person pushing back. Thanks for that, by the way,” she says. She smiles in the only way one really can in moments like these, politely but humorlessly.

Elliot leans back against the side of the ambulance, and turns his head only far enough to contribute to the conversation. “They were holding onto each other when they started falling apart. This seems more like a lover or ex-lover crime of passion to me, not stoked political violence, but.” he shrugs, Who knows.

“Shit,” Wright says, “I did leave that part out, sorry Lieutenant. It’s been a day.”

Elisabeth's brain is still working to actually make sense of what she saw under the tarp. It's maybe not as hard for her as it should be and her nausea is hidden behind the Blank Face that cops and soldiers perfect. "It's fine," she murmurs to Wright. "Would you mind going through what exactly you did see for me again? Those wounds are… pretty unique."

Her brows pull low and she absently observes, "Single stroke, but not entirely clean — so if it was a blade, what made it catch in the ragged areas? It would have had to be really fucking sharp and heavy, even in an overhand blow, to cleave his head." It really more a question to herself, perhaps intended for the coroner later, but she's musing aloud almost under her breath.

"You said you didn't see anyone, though. I'm wondering about powers that could have been involved. Invisibility with a blade is a definite maybe." Depending on the coroner's inspection of the wounds. "But… Anyone ever heard of a telekinetic able to do something like it?" Other ideas, Bueller?

As she avoids his query about how she’s doing, Lance frowns, but— then Nguyen is coming up behind him and he’s lost his chance for brief private conversation. He lets the privacy bubble lapse, clearing his throat, “You didn’t see anybody, alright. Did you notice anything unusual going on, did you see the— victims before it happened?”

He lifts his notepad and pen, looking attentive. He’s looking extra attentive because there’s a cop there now, standing up as straight as he can and doing his best to keep a professional face on.

Jac balances on a line as thin as a strand of hair, likely poised to circle back to Lance’s original question then withdrawing when she spots Nguyen’s approach. A sigh is exhaled through her nose as a very mild expression of annoyance.

“No.” Her answer is given to Lance, and not the officer who's come into their space. “I saw what had happened after, but not what caused it.” She could speculate, some people were saying some pretty nasty things. But she's been questioned enough times to know speculation is either dismissed as irrelevant or puts her under further scrutiny. Neither of which are useful any day. “I was closer to the entrance, trying to help Indy get to his market stall.”

If Nguyen notices there's airs being put on for his sake, it's not made visible note of. Instead, evidence bag in hand, he listens to the question and the answer both. "Who's 'Indy'?" he asks, his brows arching. "He still around here?" He looks away, back to the taped-off entrance to the marketplace she must have returned from. Someone else is standing over there now, not quite on their tiptoes peering out over the scene, but he begins to frown at it nonetheless.

"Yeah, they weren't doing anything." Delilah responds to Elliot, though her eyes seem to linger on Wright. Nguyen's questioning of Jac on the nature of the scene does catch her attention. "He's a seller. Has been for a long time, he just got caught up in the crowd."

"If it makes any difference, Liz, I haven't seen something like this in a long time." Delilah finally looks up from her hands again, mouth a line when she looks to the gathering as a whole. "That's a lot of rage and power." It harkens back to old cases from years ago, too. But those people are probably dead by now. Unfortunately, Dee doesn't add to that, instead casting her eyes away so as to avoid the temptation of looking over the scene again. The paramedic's kinda cute, let's look at them now.

Wright keeps her attention, calm and supportive, on Delilah as Elliot’s intentions make themselves gradually more obvious in his facial expressions. “There’s honestly not much more I can say than that. Descriptors are difficult in the moment.” He answers the lieutenant's question for Wright.

“I can give you a more accurate description of the events, Ma’am,” he says. “Somewhere with walls, if possible. We’re fresh off a loaner shift to the PD from the Bastion.” Wright’s eyes snap over to his finally. They’re basically still on shift, right?

“If need be, I can share my memory of events with you directly. Along with those of any other willing witness. What needs to be on paper can obviously still be on it, but.” Some things aren’t admissible in court. “I can form a composite memory of what any volunteer saw. Everything at once. No guarantee it’ll give you what you need, but you can see it.” Wright blinks. Nods at the ground.

Elisabeth is nodding with a grim look at Dee, noting quietly, "when you write out your statement, you should write down when you've ever seen something like this if it seems similar. I'm going to want to pull files if something like this has happened before." Assuming such files still exist, of course. "Have to check for similarities, just in case."

Her blue eyes turn to Elliott and a single brow quirks upward in questioning fashion. Do what, now? She sees the way Wright reacts to this and replies carefully, "That will be helpful." Elisabeth flickers a look between the partners and says, "If you're able to distill witness versions for me from all angles to let me see them…" She swallows hard. "It's best to do that now before they have time to fade or be blocked out of sheer self-preservation." No one should ever see what people here saw happen.

Lance nods a bit to Nguyen at his question, ready to make a note once it’s explained. He adds to the queries aimed to Squeaks, “Afterwards— did you see anyone acting unusual? Someone who wasn’t shocked or horrified, or who was running or otherwise acting other than expected in an… unpleasant situation like this?”

“He sells things.” As Jac answers Nguyen’s question, she looks at him like the answer is obvious. Who else would Indy be? She shakes her head, dismissing the oversight. Maybe Nguyen just doesn't get out much. Her attention returns to Lance when the officer’s attention drifts to the entrance. “I looked for as long as I could, but I didn't see anyone suspicious. They might've been hiding, maybe not even in the crowd. Or gone below when people began panicking.”

Nguyen doesn't get paid to put on a great poker face, so he doesn't bother concealing the tight frown he has at the vagueness of Jac's reply. At least it seemed to be fonted from a different worldview than a desire to be purposefully dodgy. There's definitely an attempt to he helpful in the remainder of her observation.

He turns back slightly at overhearing Elliot's offer to Elisabeth, brows arching up. Hell of a forensics tool, that sounds like. Turning over the baggie with the bloodied rings, he glances down at them, thumb brushing over the plastic.

There weren't many answers now, but between methods mundane and extraordinary, he's sure they'd find their killer yet.

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