Responsibility to Act


abby_icon.gif jaiden_icon.gif rasheed_icon.gif robyn_icon.gif sasha_icon.gif

Scene Title Responsibility to Act
Synopsis The clean-up crew arrives.
Date May 21, 2018


RAYTECH'S CHIEF BRAND OFFICER KILLED IN TRAGIC LAND MINE ACCIDENT is the headline on everyone's lips at daybreak. Even in the Safe Zone, it's been known to happen on occasion; old relics from the Second American Civil War resurface in unexpected places, and in this instance, at least according to officials, one such holdout has taken the life of Soleil Remi Davignon-Mortlock.

The section of old Elmhurst roadway where the accident occurred has been taped off, both for the safety of the investigators and bystanders, who have gathered in droves, hoping to get a glimpse at the twisted wreckage that was once Remi's Land Rover.

It's dark in the way that early mornings at the cusp of sunrise still are. Streetlamps flicker and glow, casting the scene in a ghostly pale, washed-out light. A single ambulance idles at its perimeter, engines off as paramedics load the bag containing Remi's body into the back. Cameramen snap pictures of what little they can see from behind the blockade, documenting the on-site bomb squad and big bristly dogs sniffing for other explosives that might be lying in wait.

Where there is one landmine, there are often more — assuming it was even a landmine at all.

Landmine… that's a problem.

That's the first thought that Rasheed has when he steps onto the scene, flashing his SESA badge before he crosses the tape. He was in the area, and well, if a murder is still fresh, he's not against giving useful aid in gathering evidence.

The first thing he does is try to find someone in charge, and asks, "How long ago did this landmine go off, and do we have a blast radius yet? I might be able to determine a few things, I might not. It entirely depends on this mine."

While there are things that he could do, this mine seems to be an issue for him.

It’s the kind of call that you really never expect to get. Dinner had been made and put away, the girls had been bathed and put down, and it was a quiet evening of waiting for Remi to make her way home. All of that was interrupted by a visitor on the doorstep after he'd fallen asleep in his recliner.

"Mr. Mortlock, there's been an accident. You need to come with us right now." The uniformed officers said and then, up to that moment, the rest of the evening was a blur. Now, standing there outside the crowd scene in his overcoat and the clothes he had been wearing the night before, Jaiden can only watch as Remi…Remi's body, is loaded into the back, shapeless as a bag of laundry.

The rising sun promises a beautiful day, but it's the first day of hell for Jaiden. He gets to tell two little girls that Mommy isn't coming home ever again.

Abby had been sent out from the hospital, accompanying the ambulance that had just dropped someone off. Training hours. Not like she hadn’t enough hours logged, but she was there none the less, hopping out of the back where she had hitched a ride.

Robyn Quinn isn't far behind Rasheed - not here in the most official capacity, but she had been nearby when she had caught wind of what had happened. She hadn't known Remi as terribly well as some of the others she knew through Raytech or other extended associations, but that didn't make the event any less tragic.

And then she'd remembered what Graeme had told her, years ago. Kids, marriage. That was more than enough to get her to the scene.

She doesn't smile as she walks up behind Rasheed, dressed in a blue suit that is professional yet somehow manages to possess fashionable ruffles. A look over at her, and then a look back out at the scene. "Jesus," she says in a low voice, looking at the media that's started to gather. Hands clench tight for a moment. "Were there any witness at all?" is her lone question, offering a nod over to Rasheed, and then a look back at the crowd.

Rasheed's badge gets a look of disdain from the military police stationed at the tape. There's nothing the officer can do to stop him from crossing, but as soon as the other man is out of earshot, he mutters something into his radio.

Government rivalries are alive and real.

The official in charge of the investigation — a tall, lean officer whose badge reads REESE — does a much better job of masking his emotions as Rasheed and Robyn come at him with questions. "We don't have any reason to believe that an SLC-Expressive individual was involved at this time," he tells them, "but your people will be the first to know if that changes." A beat, then: "What do either of you know about explosives, anyway?"

Sasha Kozlow, who does know about explosives, is silent as he fastens the last buckle holding the gurney into place, securing Remi's body for the short drive to the morgue. "You say something to him," is what he eventually suggests to Abby, a nod in Jaiden's direction. "You are better at comfort showing."

"Here's what I'm offering…" Rasheed decides to get to the point, because clearly trying to be super official isn't particularly working. "If I know the blast radius and how long ago this took place, I might be able to reverse the entire crime scene through time for a few minutes, minus the body, and gather new evidence. But that won't be possible if the blast radius of this landmine is too wide."

He shrugs, figuring that'll get the officer's attention. "If you're interested, of course, sir."

Abby breaks away from the gurney after murmuring something to Sasha, taking the gloves off her hand. "Hey Jaiden." Ferrymen don't really forget other Ferrymen. "We're going to take Remi to Elmhurst right okay. When you're ready, we'll get one of the officers to drive you over and you can deal with paperwork when you're ready and everything else. I'll make sure they took good care of her and when they're done, they clean her up good in case…" In case he wants to bring the girls to see her.

Jaiden stands there with his cane gripped tightly in his right hand, his left gripping his right wrist. The only movement he really shows are his eyes, hard, watching the movement of the buckles and body, the woman he loved being loaded into the back of the ambulance, no lights, no sirens. They're not needed to transport the dead.

"Abby." his voice is strained - the usual cheerful note torn asunder, leaving a growling rumble, his attention flicking to her when Remi's body disappears into the ambulance, out of sight. "I appreciate it. It's…terrible…" The normally conversational man's vocabulary has been cut down to the bare minimum, a lot of his energy devoted to standing up and not breaking down. He's got to be strong for a little while. He reaches over to grip Abby's shoulder, giving it a light squeeze. "I know you'll take care of her. The girls will….need to say goodbye. do….does anyone know what happened? I hear something about a land mine, but this is a street that gets a lot of traffic. Why now…why her…" His shoulders shiver, hunching over a little, his eyes screwing closed as the emotion passes for a second, pushed down.

"I know that I've been the subject of more than I care to admit," Robyn replies rather blithely to the officer on the subject of explosives. She has a passing knowledge at best of explosives, and usually of the more compact kind - only because she had to occasionally transport them, or because Eve had felt the need to educate her on what makes the biggest booms. "I'm not here to interfere, unless there is evidence to support the necessity. That said, both agent Mustang and I will be nearby if needed."

She glances over to Rasheed, mustering a small grin. "Frimer," she offers. Showoff, a glance over to the wreckage. "Careful not to overstep boundrys, Mustang. Good thought, though."

A look over in Abby's direction, and Jaiden next to her. The next stop in her mental checklist, but for now, hands remain on hips as she looks around.

Reese pales at Rasheed's suggestion. "You want to reexplode the vehicle?" he asks in disbelief. "The shrapnel alone would—" He hisses out a slow breath. "Why you fuckers don't think registration should be mandatory, I'll never know."

His jaw sets. "Look, I'm gonna be real frank here. The press is running with this landmine story, but we haven't been able to verify anything yet. Your guy Sandoval was already here earlier. We called him in with a telepath to see if they could glean anything about exactly what happened, but the other agent— she went down, blood outta her nose, ears, eyes. Happens sometimes, I guess, when another telepath dies violent-like. Residual psychic energy, he said. So we gotta do this the old-fashioned way."

"I don't want to reexplode anything, that's why I'm asking. If there's a safe area around here, without anything that might explode, where we might be able to gather evidence… well, I thought I'd make the offer before it's too late." Rasheed looks to Robyn, sighing, though he takes note of the telepath story. "When you have this ability, and you see a crime scene, it gives you a certain feeling of responsibility to act."

"Sandoval." Her expression flattening a bit, Robyn nods. At least someone from SESA had been able to get something. She offers a respectful nod to Reese. "Well, we can't magicly them all, Mustang. Sometimes the old fashioned way is the best." A hand runs at her chin as she takes one last look around. "Landmines, in the Safe Zone… that's worrisome if true." And not something she can do much about, unfortunately.

She pats Rasheed on the shoulder. "Keep at it," she says to him in a low voice. "See you can get anything Sandoval didn't." With that, she turns away, making her way to Abby and Jaiden. A nod to Abby, but Jaiden - barely recognised, but enough to know who he is - receives a solemn look. "You have my deepest condolances, Mr. Mortlock."

"I hear you," Reese tells Rasheed flatly. "Must be nice, being so fucking talented." Anti-Evolved sentiments run a broad spectrum. Humanis First and Pure Earth are on one end. Men like Reese are at the other.

He's not so resentful as to impede his own investigation, however. "We did some preliminary interviews earlier and think that the victim was trying to communicate something at her time of death, or maybe this sort of thing is just what happens, like Sandoval said. Anyway."

Reese pauses, watching Robyn's retreating back. "A bunch of people living in the apartment complex across the street said they had visions around the same time as the explosion. Nothing consistent, but maybe you and Scarface wanna look into that for us?"

"This ability comes with prices that most people would never want to experience, so trust me when I say that there's nothing wrong with the old fashioned way." Rasheed turns and motions to Robyn. "Let's go, Scarface, we should look into those visions."

"I…I don't know. What do you think? Did she…did she go peacefully?" Jaiden is kind of out of it, turning, blinking at Abby, eyes wide, looking for some good news to latch on to.

"I am sure Jaiden that she didn't, and if she did it was… so brief. So very brief." Abby states, a look to Robyn as she approaches and takes a step back. "I'll see you at the hospital." Leaving him to Robyn's hands now.

Robyn offers Abby a smile, but doesn't stop her retreat - she's sure they can speak again at some other time. Instead, she focuses her attention on Jaiden. "Don't worry," she comments with a rueful laugh. "I'm not going to bombard you with questions. Sure the press has that covered. "I just… I'm so sorry, Jaiden." Genuine sympathy, marked with a dip of her head. "I don't know if you remember me. Robyn Quinn, I knew Remi, among several other friends we share."

She offers a hand to him, though there isn't a smile to go with it. "I'm sure we'll all be looking for answers we can give you."

Jaiden nods slightly. "I do remember you, Robyn. We met a few times at events." Ferry Events, but still. "And thank you. I appreciate it. My cell phone has about twenty messages wanting comments, quotes, and offering condolences." Jaiden rumbles, looking over as Abby retreats into the distance, turning to look at the ambulance again, the doors closed tightly behind. Any talk of messages sent to the surrounding residents aren't heard, he's so tied up in just thinking of the enormity of what's going on and what needs to happen, all looming over his shoulders. "I take it that the….land rover was….looted? Before you got here?" he's trying to get timeline information. "Do we know anything? The time that she hit the mine. If…anyone was there?" His bad knee buckles a little, Jaiden leaning back against the wall of the building behind him, perching on a decorative limestone accent along the bottom. "Jesus, Remi…." his head goes back to rest against the wall, his eyes closed.

"Nothing I can comment on officially, I'm afraid." Robyn shakes her head, sucking in a shallow breath. "It's not my investigation, I simply happened to be in the area." With a look over to Rasheed, she motions in his direction. "Agent Mustang and I are about to question bystanders, maybe do some door duty. If I find out anything I can share, I'll let you or someone else know."

With that, she gives a nod of acknowledgement to Rasheed. "I'll be over in one second, Mustang." A beat. "That's not going to happen. I'm not letting Scarface happen." Still, just the barest hit of a smile forms on her lips, though it's short lived.

Closing her eye, she turns back to Jaiden. "I will tell you they brought a telepath out, but… they weren't able to glean much. Residual feedback from Remi, I guess. It happens, it's the weirdest phenomenon." She holds up a hand, stopping herself. "Anyway. Anything more than that, you'll have to get from the officer in charge of the scene." She watches him carefully for a moment. "I try not to make empty promises, Jaiden. But… they're working on it."

"I think the worst part of it is, that if it's a mine, it's an act of god. An accident. No-one's to blame except for the minesweeper who missed it, or the manufacturer who set it up to blow up at just the appropriate time." Jaiden looks over to the wrecked SUV, at the destruction surrounding it, and then the ground alongside, looking for a crater, a divot, or something….a blast like that should have left a mark, and he wants to see where the blast came from. "I know you can't tell me much….it's a little different now than it was back in the olden days of the Ferry, but keep me in the loop, if you can. Remi might've tried to send a message to someone around here. A goodbye. Something…" Jaiden rubs his eye with his left hand, the right white-knuckled on his cane still. "May 18, 2018. A quiet Friday. One day out of a year's worth, and the start of a new chapter in my life."

Robyn eyes Jaiden sympatheticly, before reaching out and placing a hand on his shoulder. She has a differing opinion than his - missing a landmine, out here, seems like something with low statistical probability - and where there's one landmine, there's probably more that hadn't yet been found. So, she keeps it to herself, as much as it swims in her mind. "I'll do my best," she offers honestly. She studies him for a moment. "I can't speak entirely to your pain," she whispers, closing her eyes and looking down. "But I have an idea. I lost my mother in the war. Most important person in my life." A squeeze of his shoulder. "So I'm sorry. If I can help in anyway, you can reach out to me at Fort Jay."

His shoulder is tense, drawn into the core, seeming to barely register the touch Robyn places on it, like resting a hand on a boulder. He does look over at the touch and nods slightly. "Again…I really appreciate it. If there's anything I can do, up to and including funding mine removal for streets in the safe zone, let me know. I don't want anyone to experience this. It…hurts." There's a slight movement as he straightens to his full height, withdrawing a business card from the pocket of his jacket and offering it to Robyn before starting towards the ambulance. "She doesn't need to be alone." He's intending to go to the morgue with her and get on the paperwork.

"I think that may be on the Co-Op and City Council's domain," Robyn notes reluctantly. "But… this gives cause to bring it up." She lets out a small sigh. "Sometimes people forget this city was a warzone." And, it's beginning to seem, may still be. She squeezes his shoulder once more before releasing it. "Go, if they'll let you. I'll keep working here, as long as they let me." One, two pats, and she steps away, leaving him to the ambulance.

It's a quick turn on her heel that brings her back towards Rasheed, a more serious look on her face. "Alright, Mustang. How do you feel about door duty?"

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