elisabeth_icon.gif wright_icon.gif

Scene Title Kidnapped
Synopsis Wright reaches out for help in locating Ames.
Date July 2, 2021

Her desk is mounded with paperwork, the bullpen in the precinct is (supposedly) organized chaos, and every person she sees outside her office is showing the weariness of the past couple days. Lieutenant Elisabeth Harrison runs her fingertips across her forehead near her temple as she says a final, "Yes sir, of course," and hangs up her phone.

Dragging the same hand down her face, she blows out a breath and leans her head back for just a moment, only to startle awake when the next batch of papers lands on her desk. Casting a brief, rather embarrassed, smile at the officer, she pulls the one on top to skim.

And then her phone rings again. "Harrison," she answers automatically, expecting it to be yet another call from someone needing an update from her. This is usually her life these days – desk work.

«Hi, this is Wright Tracy,» the familiar voice of its owner says. She doesn't wait for the rest of the pleasantries to play out, audibly on edge and thinking tactically. «I'm sorry to bother you, but Ames is currently in the care of my parents and they've cut off communications. It's possible that their phones are dead but I'm worried they're doing something incredibly fucking stupid. She was supposed to be delivered back to Marthe a few hours ago.»

Before she can even get out a greeting much less relax, the words are tumbling out of Wright. "Okay," Elisabeth replies slowly. Even as she talks, she's grabbing her small notebook to jot notes – she's old-school, sue her. "What makes you think it's something incredibly stupid and they've cut communications as opposed to the dead phones?" she asks carefully. Wright is not a woman prone to panic, so her tone in this moment is a warning. She wouldn't be this freaked without reason.

«My mother was evasive multiple times in texts with Marthe,» Wright explains. «Marthe just got off of a three day shift at Elmhurst to help with overflow, and options for childcare were limited right before the evacuation orders started going out. Plus my parents are the fucking worst, I may have mentioned that before. The last time we talked went very badly between me and my father, and he's frankly awful. Gregory and Barbara Tracy, just realized I hadn't told you their names. Showed up in the SZ on Christmas and have been trying to insert themselves into Ames's life ever since. Showed up with a bicycle for her at Christmas and I hadn't talked to them in literally years at that point, just the worst human beings.»

Actively taking notes of the things that are important in this conversation, Elisabeth asks, "I assume Marthe has gone by their place here in the Zone." She figures Wright wouldn't call her if they hadn't exhausted the normal avenues, but… this is a missing kid. All bets are off when it comes to staying cool, even with the most controlled parent. "Is there a particular place they would have gone when the evac order went out? I can send cars immediately to check them right now."

She needs more details of what 'awful' means but that's not the most pertinent info just yet. Snapping her fingers to get the attention of the young woman who does their filing, Liz hands her a note and murmurs, "Take this to Detective Brewer and have him put out an immediate Amber Alert to all personnel."

She never takes the earbud off as she does that. "How long overdue are they, Wright?"

«Yesterday morning they told Marthe they stayed wherever they evacuated to another night,» Wright says. «Never got a where, by the way. Marthe asked when they’d be returning and my mother sidestepped the answer last night. This morning Marthe told them when she’d be out of work, and never got a response, though the messages were marked as received.»

«And they don’t have a house, they were waiting on the Lottery,» she explains. «So maybe the resettlement park. We only ever met them at my place or out. I have no idea where they’d go, They lived in Mass when I was a kid, but after my dad did some War Crimes Time after the trials, I have no idea where they stayed. I had almost no contact with them since I graduated high school.»

That brings Elisabeth upright in her seat. "Wait… your father was part of the Humanis First trials?" Fuck. "Jesus, Wright…" She presses the heel of her hand against her forehead for a moment, wondering what even the fuck the probability is that Wright's father is a Humanis First ducker who came to town six months ago and left right when Humanis First fuckers – oh sorry, Pure Earth fuckers – try to torch half the goddamn country.

"Okay. I'll get cars down to the resettlement camps and out to the gates to see if anyone remembers them leaving the Zone," Liz says grimly. "I've got an Amber Alert going out to the patrols, but Wright … do you have pictures of your parents?" She knows Marthe will have pictures of Ames to give her. "I'm gonna plaster their fucking faces on every broadcast out there. I don't know if you saw the news, but the fucking wildfire was caused by Pure Earthers." Infiltration of the Safe Zone isn't that hard, really. And if they're still involved in any way, it might explain their sudden interest in visiting the daughter they haven't talked to in years.

"God…" Elisabeth whispers. The next question might sound insane to some people but it could be the difference, in Liz's mind, to how far they can get. "Have you and Elliot ever taught her any evasions tactics? Cuz… we both know if Ames decides she doesn't want to be there, things could get a little wild." She'd almost feel sorry for the grandparents if she weren't hoping against hope Ames has a few tricks up that little-girl sleeve that might slow them down. She couldn't bear if Ames went missing like Manuel and Adel – no, she's Odette now – once did.

«He was a captain in the army,» Wright clarifies, «And testified against his superiors for reduced sentencing for his various ‘just following orders’ behaviors. Big fan of Mitchell, probably, but I don’t know that he is connected to Humanis First in any way personally. Just a huge sack of shit, really.»

«And yeah, Ames has had a whole run-down of how to behave in stranger-danger situation,» Wright says. «And she was born ungovernable, so she’s got a leg up there if it comes to it. With any luck she’ll be so unruly they’ll just drop her on the curb and speed off into the sunset, to be hunted down and punished at a more relaxed pace.» Her wonderful, terrible little chaos baby. The radiating love turns quickly back to dread.

"Okay," she breathes out. Elisabeth sounds very relieved that maybe it's not as bad as her brain jumped to. Maybe it is just coincidence. There are plenty of huge sacks of shit out there. "Okay…so let's just hope it's a matter of overprotective and/or really annoying and asinine grandparents interfering with parents." Don't hold back, Liz, say how you really feel. "Not that such people aren't a bad thing, but at least they're not a threat to her safety."

Whether she believes in this coincidence (she doesn't) or that the grandparents aren't a threat (uncertain), Liz does manage to at least infuse her voice with less worry than before. She even manages a snort-chuckle about ungovernable Ames. "You know, I thought we were having adventures when I got home and got to know Ricky. But after meeting Ames, I decided we got off easy – There are three of you and I still can't figure out how you contain that one."

«Duct tape and constant vigilance,» Wright says. «I’m going to text you Marthe’s number so you can interface with her directly since she’s still there. Actually, if you could call her, that would probably do her a lot more good than me telling her yet again that everything is going to be fine. I’m going to try to see if I can get special permission to return with a handler but I’m thinking the likelihood is low. I really appreciate you helping us here. Truly.» Despite her nonchalance, it’s impossible to hide all of the dread in her voice.

"I have Marthe's number – she gave it to me the night you guys came to dinner, so we could play date with Aura," Elisabeth replies. "I'll call her as soon as I hang up with you. Wright…" She trails off. "I've got them. Even if you can't get back, I've got them, okay?"

There is no chance in this entire world that she's not going to have every cop on the streets looking for the child. "When everything turns out fine, though, I might put my boot in your wife's behind for not contacting me for a hand. I know I'm busy as crap, but I'd have made sure she had trustworthy childcare." There's an edge to her tone, as if she is kicking herself.

«I won’t tell her you said that,» Wright says with a tone that conveys it would be a pity to spoil such a surprise. «Thank you again. Let me know if you need anything else from me. Thank you.» It’s hard to hide the relief that, at the very least, somebody is on it.

"Anytime," is the quiet reply. "I'll get a sitter as soon as I know anything." Elisabeth is already in motion even as she hangs up.

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