It Starts with a Body


ezra_icon.gif kaydence_icon.gif myron_icon.gif

Scene Title It Starts with a Body
Synopsis New York's Finest do what they do best. It's not easy.
Date February 18, 2009


Though it's less than two miles square, Chinatown is home to some quarter of a million residents. Cramped, ancient tenements are the norm, though the forty-four story Confucius Plaza standing at the corner of Bowery and Division does boast luxurious accommodations by comparison. Mulberry Street, Canal Street, and East Broadway are home to streetside green grocers and fishmongers, and Canal Street also boasts an impressive array of Chinese jewelry shops.

February 18, 2009.

The rush of cars whipping past this narrow side street in the heart of Chinatown is almost like music, a rhythm of urban sounds. The percussion of manhole covers clunk-thunking as tires roll over them, the wail of sirens and horns, the susurrus of voices on the street mingling dialects of Chinese and spots of English. It's like a city symphony.

6:26 AM.

Regrettably, it is brutal violence that is this symphony's ultimate conductor. From the yellow crime scene tape strung out across the alleyway, to the blue flashing lights of NYPD squad cars and the red-white boxes of ambulances parked on the sidewalk. It is just another day in Manhattan; another day, another corpse.

Day 1.

"Detective Damaris," The voice comes from a scruffy man already on the scene, his powder-blue shirt and black tie wrinkled, looking like they were hauled out of the laundry hamper at too-early in the morning, "Sherlock." Myron's eyes flick over to detective Ezra Grimes, "good to see you two could make it out."

His broad stomach is doing some measure of good to press out the wrinkles across the wide lines of his belly, even if the rolled up sleeves and paper coffee cup clutched in one sausage-fingered hand only adds more emphasis to his dishevelment. "This ain't pretty, so maybe you might want to not go down and check out the scene…"

Nodding a head full of thinning hair and comb-over towards the alley, Detective Richard Myron purses his lips. In the direction of black-jacketed crime-scene investigators photographing whatever happened, there is a noticeable brown-red tarring to the brick walls, like someone took a hefty trash bag full of chunky tomato soup and dropped it out a third story window.

Identities of the CSI team in the alley are hard to make out, with their paper respirator masks shrouding features. "I got called in at four-o-fucking-clock this morning to take a look at this shit," Myron's tongue clicks, eyes rolling as he takes one swaggering step closer to Kaydence, "and it ends up being SCOUT territory." His gray eyes focus squarely on Kaydence, brows lowered, "All'a that foreplay," he points one thumb behind himself to the mess, "and no happy ending. Ain't that the story of my life?"

5:52 AM.



"Is that you or me?" The woman murmurs to the man next to her in bed.

Bee-beep! Bee-beep! Bee-beep!

"Inconclusive," she mutters again as a pager goes off in addition to the cell phone buzzing on the floor.

The man grunts as the woman crawls over him in her pursuit to retrieve the alerting devices. "Verdict?"

"It's me," the woman sighs as she answers the vibrating mobile. "Damaris."

6:31 AM.

Detective Damaris pulls on a pair of shoe covers over her loafers. She cleans up a little better than her counterpart, but such is a woman's lot in life. In his defense, bedhead is easier to hide when one can just pull their hair into a bun. She drops an empty cup of coffee into a trash bin and frowns at Detective Myron, echoing Ezra's sentiments. "I didn't haul my ass out of bed at this hour to not do my job." She ducks under the crime tape and stops short. The look she's been fixed with is not lost on her. "You got something you'd like to say to me, Dick?" She lets the question hang for only a moment before she tips her head to the side and then begins to move along again. "Didn't think so." Let's go check out a body.

5:48 AM.

Ezra Grimes struggles out of bed against the menacing, non-stop beep-beep-beep-beep of his phone. "Son of a bitch," he mutters. That's fine; plenty of time to get to work, anyways. Sitting upright on his bare mattress, sitting in the middle of a bare wooden floor, sitting in the middle of New York City, Ezra reaches for his phone. The detective flips it open, stuffing a cigarette into his mouth. He hasn't even gotten out of his pajamas. "So who's dead?"mutters, into the receiver.

6:31 AM.

Detective Grimes ducks under a ream of yellow tape; he's dressed in blue jeans, a t-shirt, and a tan overcoat, and he looks like shit. His hair is still shaped like his pillow.

"Like we came all this way /not/ to see the corpse," he says, rubbing his eyes with his thumb and forefinger out of sheer fatigue. "C'mon, let's take a look at what Santa brought us," he mumbles, walking on.

"Oh, and Myron? Do the rest of us a favor and switch back to a regular showerhead? You look like shit with the low-flow."

5:52 AM.



"Is that you or me?" The woman murmurs to the man next to her in bed.

Bee-beep! Bee-beep! Bee-beep!

"Inconclusive," she mutters again as a pager goes off in addition to the cell phone buzzing on the floor.

The man grunts as the woman crawls over him in her pursuit to retrieve the alerting devices. "Verdict?"

"It's me," the woman sighs as she answers the vibrating mobile. "Damaris."

6:33 AM.

Detective Damaris pulls on a pair of shoe covers over her loafers. She cleans up a little better than her counterpart, but such is a woman's lot in life. In his defense, bedhead is easier to hide when one can just pull their hair into a bun. She drops an empty cup of coffee into a trash bin and frowns at Detective Myron, echoing Ezra's sentiments. "I didn't haul my ass out of bed at this hour to not do my job." She ducks under the crime tape and stops short. The look she's been fixed with is not lost on her. "You got something you'd like to say to me, Dick?" She lets the question hang for only a moment before she tips her head to the side and then begins to move along again. "Didn't think so." Let's go check out a body.

Rolling one shoulder, Richard shakes his head and follows Grimes beneath the yellow tape and into the alley, "Hey, kid, don't say I didn't warn ya." Turning as he walks, Myron looks back over his shoulder at Kaydence, lips pursing into an awkward grimace as he takes point in front of Ezra, leading them down the narrow and foul-smelling alley.

Myron was right; the crime scene is a mess, a horrifying and gory mess. While hours old and having been trod through by the CSI group, there's still a feeling of tackiness to the ground, a stick-click of heels and toes against concrete.

Just around the corner of the alley, behind a fish market, the reality of the scene shows a bit more clearly. The body, or what is regarded as most of him, is heaped up against a closed metal door that presumably leads into the fish market. Only the upper half of the man is left behind; shoulders and abdomen, arms splayed to his sides, palms up. The rest is just a tangle of blood and gore that sprays out across the walls, leaving his innards strung from clothes lines that hang between apartment windows a whole story up.

"We found his legs up on the roof of the apartment building." Myron motions up towards the two-floor complex behind the fish market. "No identification on him. His face…" As Myron motions to the corpse's head, the face is simply crushed inwards, as if someone took a sledgehammer to it, a mangle of dried black blood, bone and teeth, "well, we ain't got a clue who he was yet. There's the tattoo though." One thick finger motions to the tattoo of a green, serpentine dragon across the side of his head.

"It's a gang tattoo, Flying Dragons — The Triads." Myron's tongue rolls slowly across his teeth as he moves to interpose himself between Kaydence and the corpse, "They haven't been hot shit in almost twenty years, but now that Frankie Civella is in the hooskow, they've been clawing at everything they can get their hands on."

Myron's eyes close, one hand rubbing at his forehead. "Best as we can tell, there were two people here. One set of sneaker prints goes out the alley the way it came in," Myron's hand traces a line from the alley and out towards the street in the air. "Another pair of shoe-prints we got is dress shoes, then the Jon Doe's boots."

With a click of his tongue, Myron casts a side-long look to Kaydence, "We already questioned the fish market owner, he says he was asleep when all'a this happened. He was the one who put in the 911 call we got," one hand waves up at the carnage, "he says he looked out his window and saw this, says he was woken up by the sound of something howling." One black brow rises slowly, "He says he looked out the back window, and saw a demon standing right here." He shoe scuffs at the ground, "Horns, claws, right outta' fucking Beelzebub's living room."

There's a choking laugh, and Myron rubs one hand tiredly at his forehead. "You wanna' question him, that's all well an' fine. He's still inside, got some boys taking his statement down." There's a nod of his head to the fish market, "Though you'll want to go in from 'round front, since Johnny Doorstop there is resting his eyes."

Myron has absolutely no tact, none what so ever.

6:35 AM.

"As to whether or not this is the worst I've ever seen… Let's just say it's a split decision," Ezra mutters, over the delicate snap of rubber gloves. He seems unfazed by the sheer, horrible *gore* of the scene, staring impassively at the bodies.

5:53 AM.

Ezra Grimes pulls a tupperware container of cold Italian sausage out of the fridge while pressing the phone to his shoulder. He pops it open with a moment of delight; ah, breakfast.

"So, what, it's bad? … Yeah? … Intestines everywhere, huh? Ruptured bowel sewage…. yeah."

Ezra pops the cap back on his sausage breakfast. God dammit.

6:36 AM.

Ezra whistles at the mess, looking it up and down. "Gee, when did you guys think this was gonna NOT be SCOUT territory, huh?" The once-over continues. "You've got enough teeth to get dental off of them, IF you can get into some cooky Chinese dentist's… nevermind. Jinkies," Ezra says, reaching into the corpse's /mouth/ with his gloved hand and propping it open. "Gold tooth cap, right incisor. Chinese word on it — hey! Any of you pigs speak Cantonese?!" he shouts, to the scattered officers.

"I saw the tracks on the way in… and by how this body's skewered everywhere, it was a running fight. Johnny Splat here was running away; lost some blood at the front of the alleyway. He was heading for the back door — any reason he might have to think it'd be safe?" Ezra keeps looking around the alleyway… until he stops, tilting his head.

"Bet you didn't catch this," he remarks, holding up one hand to a scuffed-up spot of the brickwork. Except for one thing: The scuffs are clean red, without accruing a layer of scum or smog from the city. They're fresh. Ezra spreads his fingers to show that they're… finger-spaced. Like four fingers dug into the brick. "SCOUT territory, alright. Pass me some pliers; I think I've got a little bone in these…"

Kay takes the few steps needed to meet the CSI tech halfway to retrieve the pliers and hand them off to her partner. "Running from a demon," she mutters under her breath. "I've seen worse," she finally says. "What do you reckon? Maybe he botched a job and paid the price?" A heavy sigh passes between her lips. "SCOUT is a complicated position. We're every division rolled into one just because some wacko's throwing around superpowers. This should be MCU's turf."

Rubbing his stubbled chin with one hand, Myron watches Grimes work with one raised brow. It's somewhat humbling to see the younger detective work, espescially once he begins taking charge of the investigation and starts picking up Myron's slack. A member of the CSI team, photographing the body looks up to Ezra, dark eyes narrowed as she pulls the respirator mask away from her face, "What've you got there, Sherlock." She says with a bit of a scowl, looking at the tooth. With the mask off, it's hard to mistake those smoky brown eyes as belonging to anyone other than Nancy Lin-Keoh, "Let me see it." One white-gloved hand is held out, palm up in expectance of the tooth.

Another CSI team member steps over looks to Grimes when Kaydence hands him the pliers, offering up a plastic baggie to collect the bone chips. His mask still on, it makes his voice sound muffled when he speaks. "What do you think? Fingernails?" To Grimes, it's obvious it's not fingernails, too pourous, too thick. These are pieces of bone — human or animal only a lab will say.

"From working Chinatown for the last decade, I know this joint is owned by Chang Ye, local head of the Flying Dragons. We've had it under watch off and on for the last six years, trying to pin down some drug trafficking charges to the owner. Nothin's ever stuck." He glances down at the corpse, "Owner's pretty shaken up," Myron's eyes lift up to the apartments, "Nobody in the tenement building claims to have heard or seen anything. Odds are they're used to keepin' their yap's shut about shit that goes on down here."

Ezra reaches awkwardly into the mouth of the corpse. He is, perhaps, surprised when the tooth just… comes loose. Well, his face is in a billion constituent pieces. He pries it out and passes it over to Nancy. "Great," he mutters, with pliers and bag in hand. Everything gets filed away. "They're not fingernails. Way too big. … Claws?" The detective rubs the back of his neck. And then he pulls the glove away, what with it being covered in crap.

"God dammit."

Ezra pulls off his glove and replaces it.

"Maybe we really are after a fucking demon. No kidding. Where's Chang Ye and can we talk to him?" He just wants to… chat? With the head of the Dragons???

Kay shifts anxiously, masking a sudden growing nervousness by doing what she does best - investigating the crime scene. "What's the easiest route to the roof?" A beat. "Assuming you don't have claws to scale the wall, I mean." She stares up at dangling intestines, eyes narrowed. "This is your territory, Myron. SCOUT case or not, what do you make of it?"

"No idea. We had someone knock on his door, he lives a block away from here on Canal Street. They got sent away by a couple of housekeepers." Myron's gray-flecked brows rise, shoulders shrugging slowly. "No sign of Chang otherwise, but he keeps a low profile… But here's the rub about that," Myron's lips curl up into a mischievous smile, "A few people down on Canal Street said they saw an ambulance outside of the Ye residence around two in the morning last night, and that someone inside was taken out on a stretcher." Letting his eyes sweep the faint claw marks on the wall, Myron rubs his chin over his hand, "Funny thing is, I ain't got any hospital reports saying anybody was picked up here in Chinatown last night. Which means something is being swept under a really dirty rug, an' right in my back yard." His hands move to tuck into the pockets of his slacks, eyes now drifting down to the body.

"Normally I'd let this shit roll off me like sweat in July, but Chinatown is my jurisdiction, an' I ain't liking it when someone's trying to pull a fancy-nancy with one of my cases." He looks up to Kaydence, then motions back out the alley. "There's a fire escape to the roof on the north side of the tenement building. Got two boys up there right now from CSI checking it out. Feel free to go up and look." But it's her question that gets his heart pumping — he may not be a great detective, or even a mediocre one, but there's one thing Myron is passionate about, and that's his work. Good detective or no, he's got decades of experience that pluck out things that others miss.

"I'm thinkin' the key to whatever this is, is in whoever made it out of here in one piece, aside from Mister Lucifer." He nods to the claw marks, "We got two suspects and one stiff. I'm going to have this sent down to the morgue for analysis, I already got someone calling up a specialist from the Bronx, Zachery Miller. He's worked miracles for us in the past, ain't no difference now I think." Pacing back towards Grimes and Damaris, Myron looks up towards the entrails dangling from the clothesline with a furrowed brow. "My gut's tellin' me that whatever this is, it ain't just about one stiff."

"Never is, huh?" That's Ezra Grimes, talking from halfway up the fire escape ladder. All business, that one. "Get the lab work-up on those clothes. This is gonna sound nuts, but if you can pull prints off of those bricks I'll fellate your CSI guys for a week." He goes up a couple rungs, a bundle of nervous energy.

"And… put out an APB on an unregistered ambulance? Hell if I know on that one. Crap, crap, and some more crap."

"Miller? Yeah, I've worked with Miller before. I think he's a good choice for this one," Kaydence comments absently as she meanders slowly toward the indicated fire escape, well behind her partner. Let him slip on any stray blood spatter so she knows what to dodge. She pauses and turns to Detective Myron. Time to talk shop. "Do you suppose they took Chang away in that ambulence? Maybe Wednesday and Pugsley decided to take over." So Pugsley is an unkined comparison for Liu Ye, but Wednesday is pretty close to accurate in the case of Song. "Call me crazy, but I bet you those two are getting pretty ambitious, scrambling to fill the void of power Civella's left behind."

Civella. The name makes a bitter taste sting Myron's tongue as he even considers parroting it back to Kaydence. "Yeah, that's probably what's going on. This could be a power struggle, maybe somebody tried to put a hit out on big daddy Chang, and it got botched. Wouldn't be the first time mobster kids wanted to be the first to redefine particide for a whole new era."

Clamboring up to the roof on the rattling fire escape. Grimes spots a spattered line of blood long since dried, rolling down over the edge. Nearby, the lower extremities of the corpse, having been divested from the John Doe's body lie in a crumpled heap around white cards marked with #2 and #3. A ruler laid out on the ground near the legs provides size comparison.

Back in the alley, Myron rubs at his mouth and paces past Kaydence, looking at the claw marks on the brickwork again. "M'sorry about what happened to your previous partner, Damaris." His voice tone drops some, old and tired eyes focused up to her, "Demsky's a good detective, it's a shame him getting benched like that, at his age." Shaking his head, Richard looks back to the body, eyes focused in a distant manner. "This job never gets easier though."

Up on the roof, Detective Grimes has been confronted by CSI member Cyrus Paige, standin gon the edge of the rooftop, motioning down to the alley below. "…and what we think, is that the lower remains were thrown up here somehow. Whoever did it would have to easily be able to toss sixty to seventy pounds, and to get it three stories up here…" His head shakes slowly, looking down to the legs, "There's no signs anyone's been up here. So our perp didn't come out over the roof, which means he had to have come out through that alleyway." Paige points down with his pen to the one exit onto the street, "Same way the second suspect must have exited."

"They were also able to put claw marks in a brick wall," Ezra says, in passing, as he pops up onto the rooftop to go check out what's going on up here — giving the two veteran cops time to talk. "So he just lost the corpse like a baseball on Mr. Johnson's roof, huh?" Ezra looks out over the landscape, scowling.

"Hell of an ability this guy must have," he says. "To do all of this. That oughta narrow it down, anyways." Ezra puts his head over the edge of the roof, and shouts down:

"HEY! Can't hurt to run the database — look for enhanced strength. See if anybody's got a disfigurement that might… uh… make 'em look like Satan!" He looks back at Paige behind him. "Yeah. Haven't you heard? The suspect is Shaitan himself."

"Demsky's a damn good detective. He'll come out all right. He's not dead. Some days, that's good enough, huh?" Kay leans in to scrutinise the scratch on the wall, falling lost in thought for a moment. At least until Grimes shouts down to her. She tips her head back to call back, "Something tells me our perp wasn't first in line to get registered, Sinatra!" Not that she won't run it anyway.

"Sometimes being benched is a worse fate than death." Myron admits with a roll of his tongue over the inside of his cheek, "Man, where the hell is that kid with my coffee?" He murmurs, head shaking slowly as he moves to the corner of the alleyway. It's only as Myron finally moves from where he's been standing all this time, that something catches Kaydence's eyes. Up against the wall where she is, looking at the scratches, there's a glimmer of the faint morning sunlight coming down through the alley, reflecting off of something gold and shiny between a pair of gore-spattered trashcans.

Up on the roof, Grimes can see across all of the small arm-pit of Manhattan that is Chinatown, from this three-story rooftop, all of the possible avenues of escape for the perpetrators come into clear focus. Considering that, his eyes settle on Canal Street, the busiest and most crowded section of the neighborhood.

How did no one see this happen?

"HEY!" Ezra leans out from over the side of the building again, barking down at the CSI team on the alleyway. Never mind that there's a dude right next to him. Nosir, it's all fine.

"This is Canal Street, guys. Even under curfew, somebody had to see something! Isn't anybody talking? We oughta have guys in every apartment with a window on the next block over. The units are packed like sardines over here! Somebody's gotta see something!"

"Benched people can still go home to their families." There's a hint of bitterness there, but it's fleeting. But then… "Father Lucifer, you never looked so sane," Kay muses under her breath as the glimmer catches her eyes. She brushes past Myron toward the rubbish bins. "What do we have here?" She snaps her fingers to get the attention of one of the CSIs, confirming that pictures have been taken before she tracks through the blood in her covered shoes.

"Will you get down from there you monkey!" Myron shouts up towards the roof, "Quit yer hootin and come down for a banana or somethin', I already got some people canvasing the area. If anything comes up you know it'll be in the report! You just do your whatever it is you do with the Evolved!" Myron's nose rankles, head shaking more firmly as runs one hand thorugh his hair.

Watching Kaydence's attention be caught, Myron's eyes track to one of the CSI team as they nod to the area, "Yeah that's all cleared." Though it's obvious they hadn't gone behind the trash cans, because as Kay creeps closer and gets a better look, she finds a wedding band, split and laying amidst paper trash. Too clean to have been there for long.

Ezra starts jangling down the fire escape. It sort of clangs as he descends, until he finally sets his sneakers on the ground before he turns around and heads towards Kaydence's edge of the crime scene. And then he looks at what she's looking at.

His response is calm, analytical, and measured:

"The NYPD can give us guns with bigger bullets in them, right?"

"I've got a permit for a hunting rifle. I think I might start carrying it in the back of the car," Detective Damaris responds without missing a beat. Totally serious conversation. "Fuck." She points to her find. "Someone snap a picture of this and bag it up?" How was this missed? "I want this scene gone over one more time with a fine-toothed comb before you even think about going home." Kay steps back and folds her arms over her chest, taking in a slow, deep breath and letting it out before turning to Ezra. "I'm gonna need a cigarette."

Rubbing the back of his neck, Myron looks down at the ring and shakes his head, "You heard the lady, get your asses in gear! I want this alley taken apart!" The CSI team, seeming to have just been going through the motions with the crime scene struggle under the notion that they have to go over everything again.

With everything they've discovered, with the body torn in half by god knows what Evolved power, there's a sure sign that this case Kaydence and Ezra have broken open is most assuredly SCOUT's territory.

"When Miller get the body, I'll send the report up to you, you'll both probably want to see him before he does the autopsy though, so get in touch with him soon as you can." Myron looks back to the back entrance of the fish market. "You want me to haul in the owner for questioning, or do you think we won't be able to get more out of him than just a statement?"

"Yeah," Ezra mutters, strolling away. "Haul him in," he mutters, pulling out two cigarettes. Two for Ezra. Okay, one for Kaydence. "C'mon, let's open up a file," he mumbles, lighting his cigarette and staggering towards the line. "And… yeah. Haul him in. Ain't my tax dollars."

"Someone gets torn apart behind a building owned by Chang Ye, you better believe I want anybody who even looked at this alley funny brought in for questioning. I want every last fucking bum that pissed against the fucking wall down in that precinct telling me what they fucking know." Kay takes the cigarette from Ezra with some agitation, plucking the one from his mouth expertly in order to 'monkey fuck' it to light it up. Lighters are for pussies. She passes the cigarette back and heads back toward the car they drove up in. "Oh, and Myron?" She pauses and turns back, "I want to keep you close on this one. If you're okay with that." Of course he is. She gives him a sort of knowing smile. "Call us if something comes up. We'll do the same."

Watching Kaydence as she takes a cigarette, the old man smirks and shakes his head, seeing that fire in her eyes. There's hope for her yet — Sherlock? Maybe, but he's not giving a verdict there yet. "You can count on it Damaris." Every time he says her surname, it's a punch to the gut, remembering her husband, a friend of the force, gone.

"I'll point Miller to you, and the second I get a suspect in for questioning, you two will be the first to know."

In a city of millions of people, a single murder often can go by seeming inconsequential.

For the individual responsible for what happened here…

…he won't be so lucky.

February 18th: Blood And Trust

Previously in this storyline…
Blood and Trust

Next in this storyline…
Comic Book Theorists

February 18th: Getting Dangerous
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