Paper Cuts


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Scene Title Paper Cuts
Synopsis In the aftermath of a bloody ambush the Company discovers new allies.
Date November 26, 1970

Charles Deveaux is not a police officer, but the NYPD regard him as a detective as he and Robert Bishop steps past saw horses of a police cordon and approach a tenement building. There's a small crowd gathered on the street, a mix of residents and neighbors. Windows high up on the corner of the building are blown out, glass and fragments of clay pottery litter the street along with two dead pigeons. Bob steps over one, giving it a curious look as he follows Charles into the lobby.

"What do the police know?" Bob asks as he follows Charles inside, noting droplets of blood on the tile floor of the lobby. He traces their path from the door to the stairs.

"Nothing. Shots fired, some bodies upstairs. Nobody's been ID'd yet, neighbors don't know how it started. Residents of the apartment are missing." Charles' voice is tight and tense. He flips up the collar of his leather jacket against the back of his neck as he head to the stairs. There's a man in a black suit laying slouched against the wall near the stairs, missing an arm. Severed at the elbow. Huge pool of blood under him. Bob's eyes widen and his brows shoot up over the large rims of his glasses.

"Now how d'you suppose that happened?" He asks, crouching beside the body. Charles looks at the cut, then the arterial spray up the wall, and another gash across the man's stomach.

"Looks like something out of a Kurosawa movie." Charles says under his breath. Bob doesn't follow the reference and Charles feels the confusion prickling the back of Bob's mind. With a shake of his head he steps away from the dismembered body and heads for the stairs. "Eighth floor, you gonna be good?" He asks, glancing back at Bob, who blanches a bit.

"I'll be fine." Bob says with a defiant puff of his chest.

Fort Greene Apartments

New York

November 26

Bob Bishop is huffing and puffing like he'd run a marathon after eight flights of steps. "Charles," he gasps, one hand gripping the railing, "c'mon slow down." That part is a little quieter, defeated. Charles does stop, though not for Bob's protesting. Instead it's at the presence of two dead men in suits laying in the 8th floor hallway outside of an open apartment. There's a half dozen police officers inside and two outside, discussing the scene. Charles waves a hand to shush Bob, who quiets his moaning to silent agony, and allows the telepath to take the lead.

"You're good to clear out," Charles says to the officers out front, who nod and immediately head for the stairs. Though he pauses, glancing at the bodies. "Actually," he says and they hesitate, "what do we know about the vics?" He motions to the two dead men.

"Dunno," one of the officers says while the other continues down the stairs. "They didn't have any ID on them, no tags on their clothes. We ain't run prints yet. They were armed but only one of 'em got off any shots. This one took a shotgun slug to the chest," he indicates with a flick of his pen. "The other one got a shotgun to the gun and what we think is a rifle round to the neck. Probably a 30-06, we found some shell casings in the apartment."

"Any other bodies?" Bob asks, regaining his composure and smoothing down his thinning hair. The officer nods and gestures inside.

"Yea, there's a guy inside in the dining room. Got shot in the gut and a couple of pistol rounds in the chest. Ain't pretty."

Charles nods and dismisses the officer with a wave of his hand, then leads Bob into the apartment. The Elvis record stopped playing a while ago, but the turntable is still running. Bob notices it immediately and lifts the arm up and turns off the power, and only then follows Charles' path through the apartment with his eyes. He watches as Charles works the room, dismissing police officers one at a time while questioning them about the attack. Bob, meanwhile, moves to one of the blown-out windows and looks at the sight-lines, at the rooftops and upper-story apartments of adjacent buildings. Then to the bullet holes pock-marking the dining room walls.

"No sign of Chandler or the woman he was living here with, or their kid." Charles says as he circles back to Bob.

"Snipers." Bob discreetly points out the rooftops from the windows. "I'm guessing four shooters, covering two angles on the apartment." He gestures around the house. "Kept the people in here pinned down until the street-level agents could get in." Bob glances at the floor. "Place settings for eight, and nobody saw anyone go outside." He looks at Charles, shaking his head. "You pick up anyone hiding in the building?" Charles shakes his head in response. "Then we have to assume we were right about Chandler."

Charles nods in agreement and paces around the flipped-over dining room table. On the floor he finds a stuffed animal, a pig, spattered with blood. He makes a disquieted noise in the back of his throat. "I didn't probe Chandler too deep when we talked, but I know he was using an assumed name. Figured he was just an immigrant, maybe trying to start fresh. Should've been more thorough."

"You can't dig around in everyone's head like it's a rummage sale." Bob insists. "We're going to make mistakes, we're only—"

"Mistakes cost lives." Charles emphasizes, kneeling down beside the body of the gray-haired, bearded man. "This guy had ID on him. Howard Frady, OSI. Signals intelligence." He starts rifling through Frady's wallet that one of the detectives handed him. There's photographs of a middle-aged woman and an adult man. "Looks like he had a family, too." Charles sighs, pulling out a piece of paper with an address written on it. He hands it over to Bob, who looks it over.

"Not far uptown from here." He says, folding it and putting it in his jacket pocket. "If this guy was OSI, then who were they?" Charles motions to the dead men in the doorway. "And who chopped up the guy downstairs?"

"Dunno," Charles murmurs, slowly standing. "Let's check out the other lead, I'll hit up a payphone and call Danny. He can get some people out here to clean this up."

A Short Time Later

Long Island City

There is a nondescript mill building overlooking a wide stretch of railroad tracks in the downtrodden, industrial heart of Long Island City. Many of the windows of the mill are plastered over with old newspapers to keep the sun out, and no sign indicates what the building is used for now, only the discolored area of brick where a sign once hung when this mill was in active use. Rising up from behind the building, a radio antenna gives a hint at what may lie beyond the brick walls.

Charles' old Chrysler rolls up into the empty parking lot, idling for a moment before the engine turns over and he and Bob step out. "Three people inside, close together. Second floor." Charles motions to a set of stairs that go up the front of the building. Bob reaches for a gun in his blazer, but Charles shakes his head and holds out a steadying hand to his partner. "Be cool," he suggests, and starts walking toward the building. "It isn't that kind of party yet." Bob reluctantly holsters his revolver and follows Charles across the parking lot and up the stairs. There's no sound of raised voices, no sign of forced entry. Charles nods to Bob as they stand at the top of the steps, then knocks.

There's a long silence. After a few moments the door opens and a wiry man in an olive-drab jacket and shaggy blonde hair answers the door. "Fuck off," he says before trying to shut it, but Charles jams his foot in the door.

I'll let you in, you seem cool. Charles projects a demand, but he feels pushback. A jumble of thoughts, languages he doesn't speak, and the door is flung open knocking Charles against the railing. The blonde man steps out onto the landing brandishing a fucking sword at Charles, only to find Bob Bishop jamming the snub barrel of a revolver under his chin. The swordsman stops, glancing sidelong at Bob, jaw tense.

"Is it this kind of party now?" Bob asks Charles, who straightens his jacket and works his jaw from side to side.

"He ain't OSI." Charles says, waving Bob off. The blonde man eases back, staring intently at Charles. "We're not here to start shit," he adds, then motions with his chin inside. "We're just here to find out what happened to some friends of ours. Guy named Chandler his wife and kid, and buddy named Howard."

"Mate," the blonde says through clenched teeth, "this isn't—"

"They can come in, Adam, it's okay." Comes a steady, calm voice from inside.


Adam Monroe steps back into the building, gesturing with his katana as if he were a Maître d' at a hotel inviting them to stay. Bob glances down at the katana and puts away his revolver, giving Charles a what the fuck look at the same time. Charles shrugs and walks in ahead of Adam. "Not your first rodeo is it?" He asks him as he steps inside.

"I've had people like you jumping around in my head before. Stay the fuck out." Adam slams the door shut behind them as they come in, greeted by a familiar face and an unfamiliar one.

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"Wally?" Charles blurts out, chastising himself for not recognizing Walter's thoughts. Walter Renautas, in turn, smiles sheepishly and gestures to his new friends.

"I got a few steps ahead of you, I do apologize." Renautas says. "Allow me to introduce Martin Pines and Adam Monroe, they're a little cluster of like-minded individuals such as ourselves who have been trying to stay under the US Government's radar. Mr. Pines here is an OSI signals specialist, but he does not buy into the government's rather tight-fisted control of things." Pines offers a sheepish smile. "He also possesses a rather remarkable gift of perfect memory." Charles slowly raises one brow in interest.

"Mister Monroe," Renautas says, motioning to the sword-wielding Brit, "has a bit of a shared history with you both, it turns out." Bob and Charles exchange a wary glance, but Adam is quick to fill in their suspicious gaps.

"Uncle Sam had me on guard duty at a little internment camp out in the desert. Coyote Sands." Adam rests his sword up against a card table, then leans against it. "I was there the day they decided to put everyone down. Tried to save as many people as I could." He glances at Pines, then back to Charles and Bob. "You're welcome, I guess."

Charles bristles at Adam's cavalier mention of Coyote Sands, and Renautas sees that tension and defuses it by interjection. "I tracked these two through their actions in the recent past. And I'm of a mind that we can be very mutual allies in the conflict to come."

"Which… conflict is that?" Bob asks, watching Pines and Adam warily.

"Something has to be done about the OSI." Renautas affirms. "It's us or them."

Renautas' intensity deflates some of Charles' resistance. He, too, knew this day would be coming. He just didn't want it to be so soon. He wanted to feel more ready. Less like the world was shifting under his feet.

"Mister Monroe here tried to intervene when the OSI sent a kill team after Martin's friend Howard and his friends he was sheltering." Renautas explains. "The man you know as Ross Chandler?"

"Where are they?" Charles asks, looking between the three. "And will somebody tell me what the fuck is going on?"

Renautas folds his hands together and pumps his brows.

"Of course." Renautas says. "But you might want to sit down."

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