Rues de Guerre



Scene Title Rues de Guerre
Synopsis The Hound is on the trail.
Date January 8 — 31, 2020

January 8, 2020

6:58 am

The Bastion - Rue Lancaster’s Quarters

The whole thing was wrong. Richard’s kidnapping, Rue’s arrest. And how did Nathalie’s disappearance fit into it?

The case appeared pretty cut and dry at first look. He's read over the notes enough times to have much of it memorized. The cameras at Raytech showed his teammate working with someone to kidnap his uncle, but Devon is convinced that there's something else at play. Agent Bluthelner’s words during the arrest have only given weight to his belief.

They let the wrong Rue Lancaster go. He needed to figure out how that was even possible.

The doorway to Rue’s room gives his backlit silhouette a clean cut frame. The light that spills in from the hall doesn't reach far inside, maybe three feet from the opening. But it's enough to guide him further in.

A critical eye is cast throughout. Devon studies the space without touching, getting a sense of the layout, of how he's found the living space. Once satisfied, he moves to the desk — it's the first logical step in uncovering clues — and he starts by leafing through papers and drawers.

On top of everything on the desk is a stack of mail from the day of the arrest. There’s one letter in particular from Discover that’s been opened, the statement poking out from the neatly sliced opening on the top. It all looks fairly standard on first inspection. Charges from clothing retailers, shoe stores, a streaming music subscription service, the hardware store. Two charges, however, have been underlined in red ink.

A car rental service.

A hotel.

Well, that explains the unusual car. The hotel, though…

Devon grabs a pen and a sticky pad. Names and numbers for both services are copied from the bill. He's going to need to look into those later. He considers the statement for a beat, then takes down the account number and customer service numbers. At the very least, he can make things more difficult for whoever is posing as Rue.

The rest of the mail is thumbed through as a just-in-case, anything unopened left as such.

It’s perhaps the call to the hotel that yields the most interesting results. Whether they should be divulging the information or not, the name Wolfhound carries some sense of authority to it and it gets the concierge to open up about what was observed about the stay of one Rue Lancaster.

It seems she wasn’t alone. Her stay began in the middle of December and ended just before Christmas. During that time, she was rarely seen, but a roughly teenage boy was, receiving regular orders from room service, and accounting for the large amount charged to the card.

The stay was otherwise unremarkable. No noise complaints and no damage to the hotel room. Miss Lancaster and her young companion had been the perfect guests.

Notes are taken during the conversation. The pen in Devon's hand underlines the newer, unexpected information about Miss Lancaster’s companion. Any details offered about the boy are likewise highlighted for easy reference. Maybe a search of security footage will turn up an image clear enough to put a name to the face.

Requisitioning the security footage is another conversation entirely. The request, he’s told, will be forwarded to the proper party where it will either be authorized or it won’t. Either way, he’s promised a phone call later on the subject. However, Devon is able to learn that Rue had one other visitor, recognized by hotel staff.

Robyn Quinn of the SLC-Expressive Services Agency.

“Huh.” Robyn isn't someone he was expecting to come across. Devon draws a star beside the SESA agent’s name. He’ll have to try to catch up with her later for some questioning.

He circles back to the angles he's already covered. The back end of his own taps against the notes he's taken, as he wonders if there's any he's missed. It's hard to say, with more questions showing for every answer he finds. “Like hydra heads, cut one off and two more replace it.” Devon gathers his notes, if there is something he's missed, he’ll have to tackle it when more of the puzzle is revealed.

While he isn’t able to obtain the footage he requested — not immediately at any rate, that might take up to a week — he is supplied, after a few hours, with a still image of a teenager being escorted down the hall by Rue. Devon knows his face.

Matthew Parkman, Junior.

Suddenly Robyn’s presence makes more sense. But what does it mean?

“Strange,” Devon remarks of the kid with Rue. He makes note of the date and time then checks his watch. The hour gives him a long enough pause to shake his head. Where did the day suddenly go?

Fishing his cell phone from his pocket, he then pulls up Robyn’s contact information. He's already walking to the main entrance, with a quick detour to grab his jacket, by the time he's composed a text to his former coworker.

January 16, 2020

7:42 pm

The Bastion - Investigations Office

The hum in the room doesn't come from the fluorescent lights overhead but from the lone computer. Aside from the glow coming off the older LCD monitor, the room is dark. The subtly blue hued illumination casts Devon’s face in a ghostly glow. A paper cup stained from stale coffee sits to his left, a pen and used notepad to his right. But his attention is on neither of these.

His eyes trace line after line of information displayed on a spreadsheet that fills most of the screen. Tucked behind the window but visible shows an image zoomed in close enough to make out groups of pixels, but still detailed enough to see that it's a license plate.

“World War Three practically breaks out ten years ago,” he mumbles, “and there's still thousands of cars in this city.”

Piecing together information from the credit card statement he found last week, he’s had a much easier time tracking down the vehicle that the Rue-who-isn’t-Rue drove to her meeting with the Raytech CEO. Well, the origin of that vehicle, at any rate. Knowing where it came from doesn’t tell him much about where it went in the time between when it was rented and returned.

What he does have is a mileage record. It helps him determine how far the vehicle travelled. Or how far it didn’t. Judging from those records, it’s likely there was never a journey made outside of the city’s borders. No excursions to Rochester.

Fingers pinch the bridge of his nose as Devon leans back in his seat. It was a good idea, a possible lead, but it appears to be a dead end. He sighs and leans his head back, eyes fixing in the faintly illuminated ceiling. “What am I missing in all of this,” he asks aloud in the empty room. Of course, like the investigation, there are no answers forthcoming.

Hands take through his hair and he sits forward again. Work doesn't resume this time. The search is saved to a thumb drive and cleared from the computer. Dev pulls the drive and pockets it, locks the machine, and leaves for supper.

Security footage from the hotel parking lot confirms that Rue was seen taking the same car to and from that location, meaning she’d had the vehicle for at least some time. However, she was also rarely seen at the hotel, despite having been a guest on the books for almost three weeks.

There’s a ping on his cell phone as he’s finishing his meal. He’d called in a favor to have the plates run and there appears to have been a hit. A parking violation outside of a corner store in Elmhurst. It hadn’t popped up when investigating the car rental itself because it had been torn up and never formally entered. Apparently the dome light had been left on and the battery had died. The officer reportedly helped the driver push the car to a nearby tenement building.

An eyebrow lifts at the message displayed on the screen. It was a long shot, one he'd assumed wouldn't have any hits. He pulls his notepad close, picks up a pen, writes down the address. Tenements aren't uncommon, especially now with the rebuilding of America. Half the buildings in the Safe Zone are basically tenement housing it seems.

But, “Why leave it there?” Especially since it's a rental. Maybe her AAA membership expired. Whatever it might be, his dishes are cleared away and he gets himself ready to take a look at the building. A little preliminary scouting is in order.

Finding someone willing to open a door to a stranger in that neighborhood at that hour seems to be an impossibility. The building entrance itself is secured, although it probably wouldn’t take much to break in, if he wanted to. It would almost certainly make whatever exonerating evidence he might uncover inadmissible in court, however.

Most of the names on the callbox are faded. But not all. There’s a handwritten name on a scrap of paper laid out behind the yellowing plastic shield that reads Adrianne Dietrich. A press of the button on a hunch results in an annoying buzz to indicate the bell is ringing in the apartment.


After the third attempt on Devon’s part, a window on the ground floor opens, bars over the front of it to keep it from being an easy point of entry. “Half those bells don’t work!” calls an older southern-accented woman, maybe in her early sixties at most, with shrewd hazel eyes that seem to pierce the evening darkness. She peers out at Devon between vertical twists of iron. “Who’re y’all looking for?” The grey laced through her blonde hair seems to glimmer even in the jaundiced glow of yellow street lamps.

Of course they don't is what the responding slump of Devon’s shoulders seem to say. He turns to find the owner of the voice, pleasant enough even though he angles an annoyed but what-can-you-do thumb toward the call box. “Been trying to find my sister for a couple of weeks,” he explains. “Someone in the market, guy with thinning white hair, always wears overalls and flannel, said he thought someone matching her description was staying around here somewhere.”

He takes a couple of steps from the entry, moving into a puddle of streetlight so he can be seen better. And so he can see the woman easily too. “She's got red hair. Usually wears a lot of makeup. About… this tall.” Devon holds a hand to mark about how tall Rue is compared to him. “Usually goes by Rue.”

“Now, I know someone who might sort of match that description, but that ain’t the name I know her by.” The woman’s gaze stays narrowed and appraising, though not hostile. “You sure she’s your sister? Y’all don’t look much alike.” Doesn’t take much imagination to paint an unfamiliar man looking for a woman going by another name as someone by whom she doesn’t want to be found. “Not sure you’ve got the right person, sugar.”

The woman holds up one hand, index finger extended in the universal sign for one minute. She shuts her window and disappears from view. Less than a minute later, she’s pushing open the building’s door and stepping out onto the stoop. She does not leave that door propped, however, letting it close behind her. “Y’all wanna tell me your name?” And to demonstrate her good faith, she offers her own. “‘M Hollis.”


The observation draws an easy grin and a lift of a shoulder. No denial from him that they don't look alike. Dev tucks his hands into his jacket pockets when he's motioned to wait, and he makes a show of casual observance, maybe trying to get a glimpse of “his sister” in an upper window. The grin returns when the woman appears at the entrance.

“Yeah, we aren't blood related,” Devon explains, which is pretty common these days. “Her parents took me in when mine died in that blizzard about ten years ago. We were neighbors before that.” He remains in his pool of streetlight, but he takes a hand out to sort of wave. “I'm Devon.”

Hollis nods her head slowly as she listens to Devon’s explanation. “I take it you already checked with your sister-in-law, then? See if she’s seen her?” Now she shakes her head, glancing at the call box. “Adrianne hasn’t been around for a while now. Her deposit’s paid up and her lease is still good, but I haven’t seen her come in or out of the building in…” She glances down at her watch. “Almost two weeks now. Thought maybe her wife finally called her home.”

Her wife.

“I’m not sure if you’ve got the right girl, Devon,” Hollis finally admits. “Adrianne’s spent a lot of sleepless nights sitting at my dinner table and sharing a pot of coffee with me, talking. Her parents have never lived here, so if you say they took you in after the blizzard… You must be thinking of someone other than Miss Dietrich.”

“Maybe,” Devon offers without commitment. It's possible that they aren't talking about the same person; after all, this is only where the rental car was moved to and not necessarily where the other Rue was staying. It's likewise just as possible that they're talking about the exact same person with very different stories. He doesn't dismiss the likelihood that Adrianne isn't the alt-Rue under a much different cover story.

He regards the apartment with a thoughtfulness, like maybe he'd gotten the address wrong. That's also a possibility, though reasonably unlikely.

“Maybe,” he says again, still lacking in conviction of right or wrong. Dev looks at Hollis and lifts a shoulder. “Can I leave you my number, in case she comes back? You can ask if she knows me.” That would be the way to solve the mystery for them both.

Hollis offers a smile and nods her head. “Sure!” This, it seems, is a perfectly amenable solution to her. One that solves the problem of potential mistaken identity and possible stalker alike. The older woman tugs a phone out of the pocket of her thick sweater and starts a new contact entry for Devon, then passes him the device. “Y’all just punch in your digits and I’ll make sure I pass along to Adrianne that you’re lookin’ for her.”

As Devon steps forward, he accepts the phone that's offered to him. Thumbs quickly tap out his phone number, then touches the button to save his information before he hands the phone back. “I really appreciate the help,” he says as he takes a step back. “I apologize for any inconvenience, especially if this turns out to be two completely different people. But…” He shrugs a shoulder. “I mean, I hope you understand. Just trying to find her, not cause problems.”

“Y’heart seems to be in the right place, son,” Hollis delivers as some sort of apology for the way she can’t just give up the other woman’s information to aid him on this quest of his. She glances down at her phone, making sure everything’s saved correctly before shutting the screen off and sliding it back into her pocket. “I hope you find her. Whether the one you’re looking for is Adrianne or not.”

Only when he’s on his way back down the road does Hollis finally step back inside the apartment building, eventually returning to her window.

January 25, 2020

9:02 am

The Bastion - Devon Clendaniel’s Quarters

Morning light spills through the open window and across the unmade bed, onto the floor, stopping just shy of climbing up the tiny plastic wheels of a workstation chair. The glow from a computer screen is hardly a threat to the sunlight, it's efforts at illumination stunted by the natural glow of the sun.

Devon’s face rejects the ghostly shimmer that would come from nighttime computer usage while he stares at the screen. But his visage does pick up shadows and sharp angles when he leans back to watch the video play again. The chair creaks quietly in protest, his head and shoulders cut into the daylight pouring into his quarters. It's possible there are clues to how and why, and he's just missing them.

So he opens a new browser window instead of starting the playback again. His fingers tap with a new purpose, calling up files within the Wolfhound intranet.

select mazdak
from GitelmanPersonal
where mazdak = ‘FebruaryLancaster’; ‘RichardRay’; ‘NathalieLeroux’

File(s) not found. Please refine your search.

Of course there's nothing found. That would be too easy. Dev leans back in his chair, staring at the lack of return for his search. A finger taps against the arm of his chair as he recounts everything.

The Rue they'd set up the trap with wasn't the Rue that they trapped. Agent Bluthner had said as much. It almost seems like it should have been obvious in retrospect, as he recalls the day of the other Hound’s arrest. His brow furrows suddenly, fingers going still. A beat later Devon leans forward and starts typing again.

select sesa
from all
where sesa = “broken watch”

One single email is returned:

SUBJECT: Broken Watch Protocol Contract
FROM: Kristopher Voss (vog.ases|ssovk#vog.ases|ssovk)
DATE: January 26, 2019; 2:48 PM
TO: hgitelman@localhost

Major Gitelman,

I hope this email finds you well. This is my third attempt to contact you regarding the Broken
Watch protocol. SESA is still interested in hiring Wolfhound's services with regards to this
classified program. We would like to speak with you in more detail on this matter in the near

Due to the agency's relationship with your peer, Avi Epstein, we would prefer not to reach out > to him directly or have his direct involvement. I'm certain you understand, given the severity
of the situation on Liberty Island several years ago. If I do not hear back from you I will
assume you are not interested in pursuing the contract at this time.

Best Regards,

Kristopher Voss
Deputy-Director SESA New York

It is still marked as unread in Hana’s inbox.

“What is this,” Devon asks out loud as he reads the email. As he reaches the end, and without regard for the potential consequences — as unlikely as any might be, given Hana’s absence — he forwards it to himself. Something from a year ago, somehow relating to whatever is happening with Rue, and directly related to Wolfhound. Avi might be interested to know about it, even if it'll make Voss’ head spin like Linda Blair’s. He frowns briefly, sitting back as a thought comes to him. Does SESA know that Hana is gone and has been since before this email was sent?

He shakes his head. Not a rabbit hole he needs to go down. He returns to the query, adjusts the parameters.

select sesa
from hgitelman
where hgitelman = “liberty island”
range 1-1-2016 to 12-31-2018

It hits Devon the minute that he presses enter what that might be. It’s confirmed when dozens of email strings containing communications between Vincent Lazzaro and Hana Gitelman come up. Avi Epstein’s time as a prisoner on Liberty Island is mentioned, the deaths of a dozen federal agents, Colette’s name. It was the disaster they were involved in several years ago now. It was a miracle Wolfhound wasn’t driven into the ground by it all, even if it turned out — long after the fact — this would be what led Wolfhound to Fort Irwin and the destruction of Humanis First.

It seems even after all this time, SESA is unhappy with Epstein and Demsky and vocally dislikes working with the former. What that means in the current time is hard to say. Maybe things have changed.

Maybe not.

“When has the government never had a big up its ass,” Devon asks himself quietly as he tabs through the various and sundry emails. This isn't getting him anywhere in regards to Rue’s problems, but it's an interesting insight to what happened.

He takes a second to scrub his face with his hands before he addresses the search query again. Palms press together, lips and nose resting against the sides of his hands. After a few moments he drops his hands and pulls the keyboard close. “What about…”

select sesa
from hgitelman; kvoss
where all = “sunspot”; “observatory”
range 1-1-2019 to 1-1-2020

No results found.

“Guess not.”

Devon stares at the blinking cursor for a moment, a long moment, wondering if he has any other angles to approach the search from. Or if it would be better to come at it later, take what he's found for now and visit the web of information once he's followed up on the possible leads he's got.

A glance at the clock decides for him that it's time to stop for now. He scratches down notes on a nearby notepad; a reminder to contact Rhys is underlined, talk to Avi about Voss earns three question marks and a box around it. Keywords make a list in the margin, each with its own asterisk.

Then, with one hand, he pushes the notes aside. The other tabs the search closed, clears browsers, reboots. While the screen goes blank, Dev sits back to watch for a second and wonder if he'd missed anything. If he did, hopefully it'll come back to him later. The beat passes, and he pushes away from his desk. If he hurries, he can still grab coffee before his shift.

January 31, 2020

5:48 pm

Elmhurst – Hollis Fitzroy's Apartment

“Ya seen this guy before?” Hollis slides her phone across the table so the woman across from her can get a look at the photo of Devon Clendaniel in profile. “Says he's your brother.

“Jesus Christ,” Adrianne breathes out, clearly rattled. “You didn't tell him I'm here, did you?” A shaky hand tucks away an errant curl that's fallen loose from the bun at the back of her head.

Hollis shakes her head. “No, ma'am. Had a feeling about him. Didn't sit right.”

Adrianne stares down into her coffee and draws in a deep breath, trying to calm her clearly frayed nerves. The reflection staring back at her when she brings the mug up, tipping it toward her face for a sip, gives her some reassurance. She's not in this alone, it seems to remind her.

“I'll be moving out,” the redhead says. “Soon as I can find a place.”

“Figured you might,” Hollis responds with a sad smile. “Won't be the same without you at my kitchen table for our little chats, but… You have to do what's going to keep you safe, Ging'.”

“Yeah…” Adrianne lifts her head and watches shadows moving beyond the pane of Hollis' window. “Thanks for everything. I'll try to let you know where I land.”


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