diogenes_icon.gif kaylee_icon.gif

Scene Title Sleuths
Synopsis Diogenes and Kaylee try their hands at freelance investigation, and look into the attack in Queens of several days ago.
Date August 13, 2009

A Suburb in Queens

Stars are already spangling the sky above by the time curfew is beginning to encroach on the hour. In this humble residential area of Queens, not all windows of the suburban homes have lit up windows - a disproportionate amount are empty, either abandoned or on the market. All the street lamps light the way, which is more than can be said for even lesser neighbourhoods, these days, and the house in question, the house of importance for the evening, shows a faint glow from one of its rooms, indicating life.

Trash bags, black and shiny, are gathered out the front of this home, huddled to the brick wall like eggs attached to a leaf. More than usual for a simple trash collecting day, it's the kind of clean out that occurs when one uproots one's life, to move away.

But most importantly, there's no movement. No cars, no people, not at this hour, the faces of houses stoic still and all cars tucked into their garages for the evening. No doubt, the black and white police cruisers will start dogging the streets, but perhaps in this one abandoned corner of New York, there's a little privacy in the open.

This evening is important.

Not only was this evening important in that Diogenes was about to break the law with an ally who was an enemy in the past. This late evening was also important in that Thomas would actually act, instead of sitting in his home and playing around with his map. Tonight was when he would no longer be just an observer. He was both excited and worried; however, the latter showed more on his visage as he paced back and forth on the street reasonable distance away from the Stroughton house. He had arrived earlier, in case Kaylee did, too. Such was a part of his culture he grew up in - the importance of punctuality.

Warily, he looks around, in search of either a blonde telepath or police. By now, his paranoia was injecting thoughts of doubt. Would she even arrive? He anxiously looks at his cell phone to see if there's any text message or call that he might have missed.

She almost didn't come down tonight, she had thought about just not showing up. But, Kaylee is curious to a fault. What Diogenes wanted to find out. Intrigued her too. Especially now she had seen some of the stuff about this Sandman. Besides, Adam might be interested in it too if she has it.

Stepping out of the shadows, Kaylee steps softly up to the man. "Boy, I tell you. Traffic was hell." She dead pans, as she tucks blond strands under her black ball cap, the bill tugged to the back of her head to cover the blond braid. With her black jeans and dark grey shirt she's set to play the part tonight. "I hope your right about this plan." She whispers glancing down the street.

"Of course, it was. The curfew is almost up."

People are afraid. It's a perpetual state that could only be shunned aside by illusion of security. Unless it's security they're afraid of, as was the case with the curfew; few wanted to be caught loitering about and be caught. Diogenes and Kaylee happened to be one of the few tonight, and Thomas wastes no time in taking the initiative, starting to move in the needed direction at a rapid pace.

"It all depends on how much the Sandman has revealed of herself to the family", he replies in a low tone, not wanting to inspire noise in the neighbourhood.

Kaylee keeps up easily, a small smile on her lips, her gaze scanning the mostly abandoned neighborhood. "Think housing princes are cheap here? " She muses softly, "With hope their minds will be weak enough that we can get in.. get out.. and them not remember much." Glancing at him she grins, not unlike the blocks she put into his brain that one time. "Just remember.. it's not unlimited." As she eyes the house in question she muses. "Think there is a dog?"

Apparently, house pricing and mortgages are at the bottom list of things Diogenes is currently wondering about. Kaylee's comment does elicit a quick glance passing by all the houses that surround him, however, and he murmurs in an even lower tone, risking Kaylee not hearing the response: "I think the economy screwed by the Bomb rearranged the meaning of 'cheap'."

As they near the Stroughtons house, he notes, "We just have to calm them down, then." An explanation soon follows: "I can dispose of a dog if there is one. I will ring the bell, and I'll introduce myself as an undercover detective, and you as my partner. Can you make them think I flashed a badge?" Diogenes looks over his shoulder at Kaylee curiously. "You're not asking me where Isis is. You're not curious?"

"Yeah.. If I can switch between the two fast enough I think I can get them to believe we're cops. I don't think I can make them see a badge. And with hope only one answers the door." Kaylee's voice is soft and a bit distracted as she starts to concentrate on the task at hand. Her eyes focus on the door, but then his question pulls her out of her mind. A brow arches and Kaylee gives a little smirk, "Isis? No. I just thought you got smart and left her behind." Yes, the telepath thinks the body snatches is trouble.

It was perhaps surprising and curious that Diogenes does not respond to Kaylee's remark regarding Isis with anything more than a brief sigh. He had plenty to say on the matter, and yet at the same time nothing what he wanted the telepath to hear. He didn't want distractions, either. They were, after all, already at the door. The walk took a lot less than he expected or wanted it to. If the trip had stretched to be much longer, he certainly wouldn't have minded. The uncertainty of what was about to happen was suffocating his mind. It was almost as though going up to the blackboard in front of class when you did not study, at all.

Diogenes studied for this event, however. Not as much as a professional would, but he did. Reaching out with his hand, he rests it on the doorbell. His gaze searches for Kaylee's approval, and the moment she'd give the signal, he'd apply pressure on the button that reads 'Get in Trouble'.

There's some time between the ring of the doorbell and the door itself actually opening, but just before either of them can think that no one's home, the soft sound of foot steps manages to reverberate through the door. The rustle of locks— not just one, but at least two— ensues before the door parts to allow for a face to peer out. There's still a chain in place, drawing horizontal between door and wall. The face behind it is that of a man, perhaps in his later fifties, looking also like perhaps he might regret opening the door and dearly hopes he won't. Small of stature, if not remarkably so, with jet black hair peppered with grey, and a mustache across his lip of the same colour and silver.

"Can I help you?" His voice has a Southern twinge to it, not a native to New York, it seems. Dressed down for the evening, in jeans, argyle socks, a grey T-shirt that hangs loose off his torso. The sound of the television can be heard from somewhere behind him.

Kaylee focuses on the door again, Dio when he looks her way will see the sudden look of complete concentration. She holds her breath for a moment and then gives a little nod. She waits, her mind ready… waiting. As soon as it swings open, her eyes latch on to the person answering the door. Her mind reaches out to slip into their's finding what it needs to do….."«You see undercover detectives.»" the words are spoken barely above a whisper, and as they are said, her hand moves in a small wave. "«We are undercover detectives.»" And after a moment she adds almost as an after thought, "«Trust us.»"

The compulsion in place her mind slips out with a soft sigh. She gives the man a bright smile and as a signal to her partner in crime she says with all politness. "Sorry to bother you tonight, sir. I'm hoping you can give us a moment of your time?" Then she leaves it to Dio.

If one is to ignore his young age, Diogenes would certainly give an air of authority and gravitas. As always, his grey eyes betray a tinge of inexplicable sadness, but this expression is lost in the overly serious visage and tone of his raspy voice. "Mister Stroughton, we are here only to ensure your safety and ask you just a handful of questions."

"The Sandman has struck again, and the other family was not as lucky as you. We have no more leads, and respecting your wish to not make this matter public, we just want to ask some questions privately. We would be really grateful if you could help us out - and any future families." No violin is needed, for Diogenes doesn't make it sound sad. No, he knows that is what can potentially frustrate or annoy people. He states is as a matter of fact, as if the alleged victims were just numbers on a newspaper page.

Dark brown eyes, beneath his serious brow, seem to unfocus a little as Kaylee makes her suggestions. Ted Stroughton isn't a weak man, no, but as someone who's only real experience with the Evolved comes in the form of what had only just happened, and all the sleepless nights after, it's certainly not a difficult task for the telepath. Conflict, first, twists in his expression— a glance over his shoulder, back towards the "undercover detectives". "I told 'em— I told 'em I'm tired of talking." But there's no real resistance - he lets out a sigh, nods once, uneasily. "Hold on."

The door slips shut with a brisk, wooden snikt, only to open a moment later, wider and more accommodating and sans chain. "You mean to say they're making it official, now? That this woman did all those murders too?" It's not a question of suspicion - it's rhetorical, mostly. And more importantly, trusting. "Come on in, I guess— I'm sorry, I must've forgotten they were sending anyone else around."

He turns, gestures for them to come down the hallway, moving on inside, towards the living room. A teenager has materialised near the entrance of the room; a girl of sixteen with dark hair, stripes of red through it, and hedging towards overweight but not by a lot. She lifts a look towards where father is leading strangers inside and says nothing, at first, suspicious silence.

"Well, sir," Kaylee says with mock sympathy, "With the days you've been having it's not a surprise. I know I'm prone to forget now and then." She offers him a sad smile, as she steps in after Dio, making sure there isn't someone who needs a little push.

The teenager is spotted and a bright smile is given. "Hello, young lady." Kaylee's gaze locking on her, reaching in to this younger mind, her lips move as she whispers, "«Believe us. Trust us.»" then she offers out her hand with a little nod of her head. "Detective Morgan." her voice calm and serious. "Sorry we're bothering you, shouldn't take too long."

Breathe in, breathe out. Breathe in, breathe out.

A world war was being waged in Tom's stomach, and he could barely restrain the chaos of his thoughts. This wasn't the first time he's risked being caught by the police offers. But all the shennanigans he was up to back home did not require direct, immediate action on his part. This was new. For a man of inaction, this equaled to a leap over the Grand Canyon.

It is good, then, that the door temporarily closes while the man gets rid of the chain to open it wider in the very near future. It's during this brief pause that Diogenes quickly inhales some air quite deep, closing his eyes. "Give me a warning if I'm screwing it up", he mutters hastily. "Just one. A second time — Control me."

And then Ted Stroughton reappears in the doorway, inviting them inside. Diogenes wastes no time and enters, stepping forward boldly, even if his aura of certainty and superiority was slowly waning. "This matter is overly complicated. More so than anyone wants it to be", he replies to the man's rhetoric, not wishing to spawn more memories for Kaylee to deal with. At times, he glances at the blonde. He can't help but think the telepath sounds loco and silly as she convinces the Stroughtons that all is fine. And yet…

…he does not like the teenager. It's her that called the 911, after all.

No one seems totally inclined to take Kaylee's hand. Trust manifests in that they're standing within the house, without objection, and Ted looks towards the teenager, who allows a strained smile at the woman and a nervous glance to the man of the two. "Lilah," Ted says, abruptly, and doesn't bother giving her an excuse, such as, 'check on your brother' or 'why don't you go finish your homework'. There's only a sharp head tilt, and the girl twists her mouth into a small frown, but otherwise, heads for the kitchen.

Ted extends a long, lanky arm towards the living room. "Why don't you two sit down. I don't know if I'll have anything new to say," he warns, and allows a smile, for the first time, to nervously touch his expression. "Do my best, though. I can get Lilah to get you guys some drinks— Lilah!" No time to decline or accept, Ted already calls back to the kitchen. "Wanna get us some water?" There's an echo of affirmation from that direction, as Ted moves to switch off the TV, points to the sofa in invitation.

"You said this— this Evo woman struck again?"

The young telepath doesn't seem too put off as the hand isn't taken. She settles on the couch straight backed as the edge of it. Her hands rest on her thighs, so that she can wave a wave or flick a hand as need me. She is completely alert and prepared in case things go bad. They are here for information, she'll get it if she can. There is no digging, but a scan of what he's thinking something she's done many many times in college. She pulls out a small note book out of her back pocket and a ball point pen. See.. the woman comes prepared.

Quite like no one dared to take Kaylee's hand, Diogenes did not invite anyone to shake hands. He worked towards creating the impression of a jaded detective who had a long day and was simply too tired to indulge in niceties; the family was presumably tired and hardly eager to talk about that night yet again. And 'sides, who minds their manners when they're about to talk how a potential serial killer tortured the other party in this conversation?

Diogenes does not have a notepad. It's a good thing that Detective Morgan does. The dark-haired man simply did not deem it necessary, assuming that Kaylee was going to make the family forget. Not entirely sure of all the details regarding her ability, however, he can see why she's brought that notepad with her. "I'll stand, if you don't mind", he remarks with a vague hint of a smirk. "Makes it easier for me to think. And thanks for the water. So…"

A sigh. "…Uh, at first, I'd like to hear the basics. We already know the essentials, but I think it'd be better for you if we started from the beginning. How did she break in and what were the first things she did?"

Ted settles down in a sofa, and heaves a sigh, running a hand through his grey-peppered hair. His thoughts are erratic as they might be, to Kaylee's second set of ears. …sooner we get out of this state, the better, back home. Kids'll like it, away from this mess, away from this… "The day it happened— it was in the morning. Lilah was out with a couple of her friends, I was looking after Henry. This woman— she just knocked on the door, simple as that. I opened it and…" A brief glimmer of immediate memory, as clear as if had just happened. A woman, her pale face, large green eyes striking, standing in the doorway and looking frail.

"There she was. She didn't say anything, I'd never seen her before. I asked what she wanted and she just— she put up her hand." And Ted does it himself, his palm turned upwards, and in the same moment, Kaylee can see the same thing, although his hand lowers sooner before the memory version of this woman can. "She had powder in her palm, and she blew it straight at me, into my face."

Stupid, you knew she didn't look right, Ted. "I got dizzy as soon as it happened, and she took me down pretty easy. Closed the door, went and found Henry."

Lilah reenters the room at that moment, carrying two tall glasses of water, simply setting them down on the coffee table for the taking. Ted silences for the moment, nodding to her then back towards the detectives, as if to check he's doing this right.

As the question is asked, Kaylee flips on her ability again, this time she scans the man's surface thoughts, something she's done many times over in her collage classes. Her head is down and she makes notes in her notebook to help her remember later when they were not in the danger zone. When and if the information floods through his brain, the images that flash are documented in short notes. Man, she should take short hand classes. The big thing for her is to see what the woman looks like. Maybe she can try to share that with Diogenes later on. When Ted goes silent, Kaylee glances up giving the girl a small smile. "Thank you."

Diogenes wasn't listening to the aged man. He gave off the image of an experienced detective who was scanning the room and trying to relive the event from the past through the words of the victims, but in truth, the youngster was simply looking around. He never had a home of his own. Twenty years he lived in a small apartment consisting of but one room. Four lives in ony tiny cage. Memories of his own home surface to his mind not only because he's in a large house, no. It's also because this family is a family of three. Why was it a family of three? Where's their mother? And, of course, this is how Tom's mind veers off to the only person in the world he never could bring himself to hate - his mother.

Lilah's arrival scatters his thoughts. He loses the illusionary image of a tough detective who goes against his young age; instead, he looked confused, and his eyes sparkled with hints of tears. He looks over to Lilah and nods slowly. "Thank you", he tells her in a hoarse voice before looking over to Ted, clearing his throat. "If you don't mind", he suggests in a clearer tone, "I think Lilah should stay here, in case she has something of value to contribute. She is the one who dialed 911, am I correct?" He temporarily bites down on his lower lip, glancing to Kaylee. That is dangerously close to a screw up; his eyes seemed to say, 'Count that as screw up number one'.

"I don't mind," Ted says, and much like Dio, almost too wrapped up in his own personal anxieties to may much heed to the details, mind returning to that day. Kaylee is awarded with scattered thoughts, fragments, a lot of personal blame and sharp words of anger, and fleeting images of the same woman, over and over. Fine blonde hair, cut above her shoulders, older in an ageless way, thin lips, bright eyes, and the way she'd smile to display as many teeth as possible.

Lilah, on the other hand, has her gaze set and fixed on Diogenes, a hand up to fidget with the ends of her hair, and like him, she's not moving to sit down. "Yeah," she confirms, with a glance to her father. "I called 911. She left me in my room— whatever it is that powder does, or whatever that stuff is that comes from her hands, she needs to keep it up, I guess, and she didn't give me enough of it. I was able to move enough to crawl to where I kept my cell, and she only heard me halfway through. I was tryna get up, but I fell." Her words come stilted and nervous, but obviously repeated - she's said this to the police before, and seems to know at least some of the details needed to be included.

Kaylee glances at Diogenes and hears a soft, Calm. You can do this. in his head.. It sounds like Kaylee but more like she's talking in a coffee can. Glancing back to family, she give a small smile. As the girl talks, Kaylee ignores the light pressure on her mind and lets her ability reach for the girl scanning and looking for something that is missed in her words. When the girl quiet, the blond offers them both a glances "I know it's difficult, but like my partner said.. What you say could save a life. Plus never know." Her voice continues it's pleasant and friendly tones, "You might remember something that might have slipped your mind before.. You know, like did she say anything? Like a name.. her's or someone else's? Something like that? Anything really stand out." She glances between them both, trying to hopefully not miss something as she switches between them.

Things were getting interesting for Diogenes, as he hears of the mystery woman's ability. He guides his glittering eyes to regard the teenager. Despite the forlorn look in his eyes, transfixed in limbo of despair and sorrow. The fact that he finally hears something new about the woman, combined with the soothing, disembodied voice of the telepath — It helps Diogenes loosen the strings of his nerves. "You were very lucky, Lilah", he comments assuringly, "But you were also very bold. You did very wise."

Thomas glances to Kaylee. "This is important", he supports her question. "Anything that might allude to who she is or what she does whatsoever? Perhaps she spoke of some future plans, as well? And, finally, do you have any idea why she has targetted you in particular? These would be the last questions for the night." Thomas looks down at the glass, but he does not take it. Fingerprints.

Father and daughter look between them, silent communication that has little to do with the thoughts tumbling around their heads. No names, they went over that, she didn't say her name, is Ted's thoughtful pondering, and Lilah's own thoughts grapple and struggle with the imposed trust, with, They know all this stuff, why're they back, dad said they'd leave us alone— I guess they have to, keep checking, but…

It's Ted, however, that interrupts the pause of silence, his thoughts skipping over something as he abruptly states, "You know, I think she— let me make this clear, though, this woman is nuts. Something wrong, you know? So she could be a liar, or delusional, but she— spoke like she had a daughter of her own, at one point. Or, a 'little girl'. I don't know, it was all pretty messed up, and confused. She talked like Henry was her son too, you know? Pretended like maybe I was her husband."

Revulsion is obvious in his voice, and Lilah is silent, her thoughts quiet as well, subtly willing the two detectives away and out of their home even quicker than the interview is to wrap up, concern for her father overriding most else. Though she'd given a flicker of a smile at Dio, for his comment on her bravery, it's gone again. "She said she didn't 'want' me," she adds, with a curl of her lip. "She liked Henry, though. She played video games and stuff with him."

Ted is silent as his daughter talks, and he doesn't voice his own recollections, this time. Kaylee may sense the way his mind attempts to sharply veer from memory lane, but unstoppably, he can't quite get rid of the mental image of the pale haired woman straddling him, leaning in to whisper into his ear, while he remained still, impossibly still.

//Let's go.. // Floats through Dio's mind as Kaylee takes some final notes. She shuts the notebook and grins. "Alright. I think that's good. I am sorry for taking your time, but the information you gave…. Very helpful I assure you." She rises to her feet and steps closer to the two. Eyes focus on the man first and her ability goes into effect. Her mind reaches into his and she starts with his memory. «When you think back on this conversation.. you will remember a slightly over weight man with blond hair and green eyes and a black woman.» She places the image in his head and then moves to the girl, her jaw clenched again the pressure that grows with each thing she does, and repeats the processes. Same memory. Small enough but Kaylee is left with a mild headache. "«Show us out, sir?»" she asks of the father. She steps over to Dio and rests a hand on his arm. "Come on partner. Lets get some paperwork done." He can see the strain in her eyes, when and if he looks at her.

She glances around mind sweeping to make sure no one is sneaking up on them as they move towards the door.

It is quite evident that all manner of thoughts are whirring inside of Dio's mind, the gears turning busily, producing all the possible profiles of the Sandman. Of all the potential backgrounds, Diogenes kept returning to the theory that she was the inverse version of this family that he and Kaylee visited, that she had lost her family and her mind sought to recreate the American dream she had had but lost. Mental restraints hardly matter to one who is thrown into a world of darkness. He knew that firsthand.

"Thank you for all the information." His gaze glides past Lilah and Ted to Kaylee, expecting her to do her magic. He did not want to stay in the house for too long, in case actual cops decided to check up on the family. He watches the spectacle, at first, but the luxury of admiring Kaylee's ability is soon lost as he focuses on Lilah's spine, making sure that if she decides to run, she'll just drop to the ground with no sensations of her legs sent to her brain. As Kaylee stood strained, Diogenes stood completely emotionless. Blank. It's as if someone yanked his mind out of the body.

Only when Kaylee touches Tom's arm does he look over to her, noting her strain. Assuming everything goes according to plan, he would follow Ted to the exit.

And everything does. Ted mumbles out a mush of the standard things, a thanks thrown in, an apology if they weren't as helpful as they could have been, a good evening and a stay safe for good measure. But mostly, he's moving as requested, opening the door for them and seeming— lost, in many ways, thanks to the implication of Kaylee's power, but suspicion, or wariness, or any kind of revelation— these things don't happen.

Lilah only shuffles out of the way of the two, scratching her forehead and watching them leave with a sense of relief. No running, no scrambling to get her phone as she had done upon the Sandman's attack. She only heads back for the kitchen, to finish washing the dishes as her mother might have done, to be general and sexist about it.

But it's true. Families have roles. It's an important notion. The door is locked behind the two "detectives" with various rustles of metal.

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