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Scene Title Legwork
Synopsis Officer Trask follows up on Cameron's request to do some background checks on Pariah members Daniel & Helena.
Date September 12, 2008

Alley Cat Courier Service

What was once a small warehouse now serves a completely different purpose. From before dawn until after dark, bikes pass in and out the open doors, couriers off to pick up and deliver mail, returning to take on another task.

Although the warehouse should be rather spacious, it mostly manages to feel crowded. At the very least, busy. A row of lockers, stacked two high, covers one long wall. Bike racks for those who prefer to keep their bicycles here — or need someplace to leave them while on break — line the opposite side of the building. There are always people moving about — rummaging in their lockers, little knots of chitchat, trading experiences and advice on routes (or just the latest gossip) beneath the shouted calls for messengers to deliver this package there or go pick up something from somewhere else. There are usually two people tasked with coordinating the chaos of the Alley Cats, a receptionist who takes called-in orders and the manager who sees to the fair dispersal of jobs; a corner of the warehouse near the main doors has been partitioned off to create their offices.

Stalking into the converted warehouse, Ygraine shakes her head to send her braid snaking down her back, one arm hooked through the open visor of her all-black cycle helmet. Nodding a rather absent-minded greeting to a couple of couriers on their way out, the new arrival heads straight towards the supply of coffee.

A short time after her arrival, a blue uniform passes through the door. He doesn't seem to be looking around the much just heading toward the front desk, and not trying to hide it.

Ygraine approaches the desk at the same time as the man in blue - though it takes a few moments for her to register the out-of-place arrival. Shooting him a markedly quizzical look, she slows to let him go first.

As many of the members of the staff start vanishing at the sight of the uniform, Officer Trask smiles at the other woman who walks up to the counter, before turning to the one behind the counter. "Excuse me, I would like to know if I can ask a few questions about some of your Couriers?"

Ygraine blinks, remembering to respond with a smile only once Trask is already turning away to speak to the woman behind the desk. The latter lady shoots the policeman a somewhat wearily dubious look, then musters a smile of her own. "Of course, officer. Can I ask what the problem is, or if you have any names in mind?"

Trask pulls out a list from his pocket, there are about a dozen names on the list, including Daniel, Helena, Ygraine, and any name that sounds to least bit foreign. "I was asked to come down and check the paperwork on these people, Birth certificates SSN's that sort of thing.

The woman behind the counter looks rather as if she was expecting most of those names, though she receives a rather impish grin from Ygraine, who waggles her eyebrows behind Trask's back.

"Shouldn't this be a job for the immigration boys?", asks the woman with the list, fingers rattling softly across the keyboard of her computer as she starts to bring up the requested details.

"You know how those feds are, they prefer to stick the locals with all the leg work jobs, then swoop in when they have things confirmed." He shakes his head, "Make us do all the dirty work."

"Do you need to see original documentation, or are copies and print-outs enough? And I'll take a note of your badge number with this request, if you don't mind, officer. If you want to interview them, it might be a bit tough to arrange quickly. It's not as if they're sitting around at desks, but I can put out calls." The woman's doing her best to ignore a smirking Ygraine sipping at her coffee behind Trask.

Trask smiles, "Copies will be fine at this point, if you can include thier contact info, We can always set up our own interview process." He waits a couple heartbeats, before looking over his shoulder some what unexpectedly, to see what she seems to be not looking at.

The policemen receives the slightly grumpy nod of a woman being put to unexpected extra work early in the morning, before meeting a cheery smile over her mug as he looks around at Ygraine. "Hi there", the Brit says, voice quite possibly betraying her origins.

Trask smiles back, "Morning, Sorry if I am in your way Miss, don't mean to delay your business any." He looks back over at the gal behind the counter, "I really appreciate all of this." He does step back just a little, so he is not blocking the counter, and can keep his eyes on both women now.

Another couple of keys are hit, then an old printer starts whirring and chugging into life behind the counter. Looking up once more, the woman receives a cheery little wave from Ygraine. "Well, officer, if you want to grab one of your suspects for an interview now, there she is. She's the only one in the building at the moment…."

Trask smiles and checks his list for female names, "Now are you Miss Dean, Miss Montoya or Miss Fitzroy?" He seems friendly enough, for someone who has come to possibly deport people.

"FitzRoy", says Ygraine, lips quirking into another smile, apparently quite unbothered by the potential threat of deportation. "Do you want to take a seat, or do you want to go for a wander outside to talk without people over-hearing your interrogation technique?"

"How bout I buy you a cup of coffee, or a bowl of soup, since I am impeding on your working time, its the least I can do." He grins again and turns to the window, "Take your time on the paperwork I'll be back in a little while."

The desk-jockey nods agreement - and will probably use the time to confirm Trask's identity before she hands over any paperwork. For her part, Ygraine grins, eyes the contents of her mug, then downs the remainder. "Sure, I'll take you up on that." Setting the mug on the counter, she starts towards the door. "Got anywhere in particular in mind?"

Trask shakes his head, "I'm easy, you decide" he grins a little, "I'm sure you know the neighborhood better then I do. Besides first rule of interrogation is to make the subject feel comfortable."

"Really?", asks Ygraine, tone amused as she guides Trask to the door. "I'd have thought that was the first rule of interview, not interrogation. The classic difference seen even on TV is between those who try to be the friend of the subject, and those who seek to unsettle them. Either way, the critical points in communication are usually phase shifts in demeanour and behaviour, and those can often be prompted by changes in treatment or environment…."

Holding the door for the officer, Ygraine quirks a grin at him. "There's a deli just down the road that does good soup. I'll take you up on that offer, if you don't mind. Though… does the departmental budget stretch to providing breakfast for interviewees?"

Trask nods and chuckles, "You caught me, I don't have a bad cop with me, so I figured half way through I was planning on going all Dr. Jekyll on you." He steps through the door, "Breakfast, I think we can do that Miss Fitzroy."

"Meals for all of us? I'll have to make sure that the others know they can be bribed to turn up for this", Ygraine says with a smirk. "But what should I call you? Or do you prefer just to be a nameless uniform?"

The Officer says, "My name is Norton, Norton trask. So how long have you been working for the Couriers Miss Fitzroy?"

"Mmmm. Mid-August. About a month. I'm afraid I'm still a comparative newbie", confesses Ygraine with a rueful shrug. "But I worked in New York for a few months in '06, so this isn't my first time here."

Trask walks with her down to the diner, gets a table off to the side, and makes sure she has a menu to look at.

"Seen anything supicious while you have worked there? Odd Packages, strange occurences?"

Ygraine folds herself onto the bench-seat, drawing one foot up so that she can drape her arms around her knee, only a small part of her attention on the menu. "Alley Cat's one of the few places that seems to have a solid reputation for categorically _not_ doing that, as best I could make out when I was job-hunting. Is that why you're checking them out? Yes, there are packages that are "odd". Some people will send just about anything and everything by courier, and we turn down a good few requests that simply can't be carried by someone on a bike. But any indication of couriers dealing or acting as delivery boys for criminals? Not that I've seen. In all honesty, I'd be astonished if there wasn't a single package that hadn't gone to or from a criminal - but fraudsters and burglars get mail, too."

Trask nods, "and what about strange occurences, it seems since the bomb we get new reports every week about neighbors cats flying out of trees, and Hedges rearranging themselves.

Ygraine laughs quietly, shaking her head. "New York used to pride itself on being a… locus for strangeness. The English are meant to be the experts in eccentricity, but this place was said to have entire districts that prided themselves on being off-the-wall. There are still a lot of strange people here, and the levels of paranoia and suspicion have gone through the roof. Things that would once have been amusing anecdotes in the local newspaper or a ten-second gag on a radio show are now viewed with the deepest concern."

Ygraine shrugs once more. "I'll go for the tomato soup, with the sliced baguette roll. Are you hunting Evolved in Alley Cat, or something?"

Trask chuckles softly and shakes his head, "No, but Homeland has given us certain questions we are required to ask in any interview, just departmental procedure." He orders himself a cheese omlette and side of bacon. "So I assume you peeked at the list that I gave your desk clerk?"

Ygraine shakes her head. "Not really. I was behaving myself. And also holding a mug of coffee. Any attempt to subtly peer past you at paperwork could all too easily have gone rather horribly wrong. I was curious, but not wanting to piss off either the cops or my bosses."

Trask chuckles yet again, awfully happy for a police officer. He puts the paperon the table, where you can read it. "What can you tell me about your fellow emloyees? Anything odd about any of them, anything you think I should look into?"

Ygraine's gaze flickers over the names on the page. "I don't really know too many people that well, I confess. I'm a fairly new recruit, myself, and I think that some of these are even more recent recruits than me. Mmmmmm. Looks like you've been given a few locals along with us obvious foreigners, which is interesting. Are they there just to prove that this isn't targetting immigrants, or are we there to mask interest in them? Heh. Sorry. It's not as if you're likely to be able to answer questions like that…."

Trask frowns, "Which ones are immigrants and which ones are locals? I didn't actually make up the list myself, but it seems like they all have a foreign flavor." He frowns a little, masking his kicking of his own mental ass for being so apparently obvious.

Lifting a brow, Ygraine shrugs. "Arguably, everyone in New York is an immigrant, of course. And I can't claim to be wholly au fait with the personnel rosters of businesses in the city… but there doesn't seem to be a single clearly Jewish or Italian name on the list, which'd be unusual, I think, for a wholly-random selection. And I know that at least a couple of others on your list, as well as myself, are here on work visas. Then there's the comment Jean made about immigration. I didn't need to see the list to pick up that _she_ thought you were asking about foreign workers for the most part. But there's… mmm. If that's the girl I think she is", Ygraine tap-taps Helena's name, "I'm pretty sure someone told me she's from up-state New York. About as un-foreign as you can get, no?"

"Helaina Dean" he mispronouces it giving it a more foreign sound, "Yes well, not the most common first name at least, though nothing compared to yours. Without meeting her I couldn't be sure of that." He shakes his head, "any others?""

"Mmmm. "Partington" is sufficiently aristocratic that it could denote a fellow Brit, but it's not exactly unusual to find clearly English names in the Thirteen Colonies. And, of course, many names got Anglicised by immigration officials in years past…" Ygraine shrugs once more. "You'll know better than me who's here appropriately. Me, I should already show up in police files. I was interviewed a couple of weeks ago about a shooting I witnessed."

He says, "A shooting? Was it here at the Shop? Were any of the other employees involved?" He is making notes as you give answers."

Ygraine chuckles, shaking her head. "Nothing to do with the Couriers. Or me, really. You'll find information under the name MacKenzie Myers, I think. Up in Queens, we were having coffee, and someone pulled a gun. Got off one round before someone blind-sided him with hot coffee to the head. MacKenzie got clipped… and she and I spent a few days with cops sitting outside our homes in black-and-whites. I've not had the chance to catch up with her recently to see if anything's come of it yet - but you'll be able to find _that_ out better than me, too. I'm just a witness."

Trask nods, "I can look into it when I get back to the station, is there any other info you think I should no, or ask about that I havn't covered?"

Ygraine shrugs amiably. "The couriers are a mixed bunch. You'll find many different backgrounds and interests and activities among us. I'm not sure how much help I can really offer, unless you can tell me something more than that you're interested in the unusual. Most of us are at least a bit odd…."

Trask says, "Odd how? What kind of…idiocycracies have you seen?"

Ygraine permits herself another laugh. "Just to take myself - when last I was here, I was working for the UN. I'm a specialist in the mediation of international conflict, and hoped to be spending this Summer in Beijing rather than here. You'll find zoned-out hippies, high school drop-outs, aspiring professional racers, freelance businessmen working as sub-contractors…."

"I guess it's true the world really was turned completely upside down by" he waves, "I'm sure with that kind of experience you could get more then a bike courier's job…couldn't you?"

Ygraine snorts, then chuckles. "Jobs in resolving conflict are far rarer than you might think. There's _far_ more money to be made in supplying feuding parties or promoting strife…. But… I was here in November '06. This is partly a way of confronting my fears. Facing up to a few "personal issues", as New Yorkers might put it. I love cycling, the pay's easily enough to live on, and I get to battle a few inner demons while I'm at it."

Trask nods, "So you are one of this…Sylar's Victims?" he frowns a little, "Not that we all aren't, how does that make you feel about the evolved?"

Ygraine quirks her lips, then shrugs slowly. "New York was a centre for IRA fund-raising for years. Even after Sinn Fein fund-raisers were proved to have provided the timers for Timothy McVeigh to put into the bomb used in Oklahoma City, money continued to pour from Britain's ally into the coffers of people trying to kill members of my family and other Brits. Should I hate all Americans, all Yanks, all New Yorkers? Or accept that some people are stupid, others criminal, and some of both categories insane? If anything, the incidences of demonstrable Evolved terrorism seem to be rather low, given the numbers said to be out there. Sylar personally… that's rather a different story. But why should I hate, say, Bob Bishop for having the guts to stand up and risk identifying himself? There's no reason to believe that he or any other Evolved has any more in common with Sylar than the guardians of the US nuclear arsenal do."

Trask nods, "Your right, not the opinion a lot of people would be sharing. It's good to see someone with perspective for a change."

Ygraine shrugs slowly. "Quite apart from any personal inclinations in that direction, or prior reasons to think about terrorism, I'm trained to analyse and identify conflictual behaviour. A standard human response is to divide the world ever more strongly into "us" and "them" when feeling frightened or under stress. And the more one falls prone to that, the more it is promoted in others. In time, "them" can come to include anyone who disagrees with your definitions, regardless of what those definitions might originally have been, or what purposes they might have been intended to serve. To try to separate off the Evolved as an inhuman threat… that risks becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy at worst, or at best creates a new minority to oppress."

Trask nods, "And how would you suggest we keep that from happening, given your own experiences. Is it not just human nature to see black and white, us and them? Evolved are being registered, some…the more dangerous or potentially dangerous are being controlled, and most would say rightly so. Evolved have stricter registration then child molesters these days. How do we stop them from becoming second class citizens? Or should we even stop it?

Ygraine offers another low laugh, mouth twisting bitterly. "Whether you believe that mankind has an innate capacity for higher matters, or you believe that civilisation is a thin veneer slapped forcibly onto the festering mess that is the human soul - it's a good idea to work at promoting better behaviour and higher ideals, rather than just giving up and saying "bigoted morons will be bigoted morons so why bother?" As soon as you begin carving up society into good and bad, monitored and unmonitored, it poses problems far beyond the original well-intended parameters of the first phase of legislation. After all, the entire concept of the origin of these abilities is that they are genetic expressions of evolutionary processes within the human genome, no? So… there's a genetic component. If you're to monitor all Evolved, does that mean that you automatically track and investigate any children that an Evolved individual has now or has in future? What about their siblings? Their parents? Their grandparents? Their cousins? Where do you draw the line? If the purpose is "comprehensive safety", then _all_ genetic relatives of Evolved should be monitored in case they manifest. Similarly, since there has to be a point at which someone in a family is the first to demonstrate a tangible power, do you know - for safety - formally assess and monitor all criminals, lest they turn out to be Evolved? Having started, where's the sane place to stop?"

Trask nods, "Thats a good question, and a good argument. Where do we draw the line? Are the evolved the new Scape Goat, to pin our sins to, and send out into the world as a sacrifice. Are they the causes of all our woes? Should they be seperated from society in thier own walled Ghettos? Should we start building special camps…." He shakes his head, "These are the type of questions that don't need answers on the streets of New York, they need answers in the UN, and in Congress. Perhaps there is a reason you were spared. Perhaps with your background you can do more then just deliver packages. Your a bright girl."

Trask stands putting some money on the table, "I'm sorry…I didn't mean to get off subject."

Ygraine permits herself another wry laugh. "And I have the bits of paper to wave around to prove that I'm smart. Doesn't mean that anyone will - or necessarily should - listen to me…. Is that the end of the interview, then?"

Trask says softly, "I'm sorry…I didn't mean to get off topic…I should probably go pick up those papers. Was there anything more, miss?

Ygraine waves a hand, looking somewhat sheepish. "No, no. I suspect that I've bent your ear quite enough, haven't I? Thank you for breakfast. I hope that your other interviewees lecture you somewhat less."

Trask smiles and hands her his card, "Do call me if you need anything, or if anything comes up, my cell is on there as well, so don't worry about the time, if there is a problem."

Ygraine looks mildly surprised, then leans forward to take the offered card between two fingers. "I'm afraid that I've not got a card myself, but I suspect that you can probably find my contact details easily enough through official channels. I guess that the breakfast lecture didn't bore you too much after all…"

Trask shakes his head, "Not at all, it gave me something to think about, that is rare these days." He gives her another soft smile, and then turns to head out.

Ygraine raises a hand in farewell, watching Trask depart before tucking his card away and pushing herself to her feet, snaring the money en route to the counter …

September 12th: Action And Reaction

Previously in this storyline…
Not Much of a Gift

Next in this storyline…

September 12th: Followup
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