What We Find In The Dark



Scene Title What We Find in the Dark
Synopsis When Lucille doesn't return after a suspicious meeting with Ricky Daselles, Berlin Beckett goes in search of answers.
Date September 30, 2018

Ruins of Staten Island

Berlin knows better than to wait up for Lucille most times. But the girls have been keeping each other informed while the Hounds chase down their leads. And with Luce being out of contact after her meeting with Ricky… Well, that's not someone Luce is going to voluntarily spend more time with than she has to. So Berlin has made the trip out from her temp stay in the Safe Zone to Ricky's place.

And she's come armed.

A gun is tucked in a holster inside her jacket, a knife is settled in her boot, and her fists are clenched as she climbs the stairs to his apartment. She's normally quite tolerant of Ricky and his… rickyness, she's even had sympathy for him, on occasion. Not this time, though. Worry is easier when it's anger and that anger shows in her knock, banging like she might knock the whole thing down.

Looks like someone else got to Ricky first, though. Because that door just opens after the knock. As rage gives way to clarity, Berlin sees an indent in the door below the knob, the doorjam is broken and there's broken lengths of a slide chain littering the floor just inside. The door’s been broken before, but this time it's totally fucked.

Inside the apartment, Ricky’s place has been completely tossed. Furniture was cut into with a knife, stuffing torn out. His refrigerator door hangs wide open, filled with old laundry that's been rummaged through. For a second that perplexes Berlin, but then she remembers that he doesn't have electricity and that's basically just an armoire at this point.

There's a couple of drops of blood in the carpet, but not enough to have killed a man.

There's also a ratty looking tabby cat in here.

Maow”, it noisily greets Berlin, tail twitching in excitement as it pads over.

The state of the apartment takes the wind out of Berlin’s sails. Her face scrunches in confusion, but she walks deeper into the room to take stock of the damage. She does her best not to disturb anything, at least until she gets pictures of it all on her phone. Blood included.

She pauses when the cat greets her and crouches down to regard the animal for a moment. “I take it Ricky’s stepped out,” she says, reaching over to scratch under the cat’s chin. She picks it up as she stands, holding it enough to support the tabby, but not so much that it’s trapped if it wants to go.

And then she does something she has never wanted to do.

She goes deeper into Ricky’s apartment.

The kitchenette remains a disaster. A blue cooler is tipped over, still some water on the floor where ice had melted. Nothing else, though. Dirty dishes are stacked up around empty styrofoam cups of instant noodles and a VHS cassette tape of Sweatin’ to the Oldies with a sun-bleached cover of Richard Simmons’ screaming face. Berlin has no idea who that is or why he's screaming.

There's no sign of foul play there, so it brings Berlin’s attention over to the living room. Whoever tore up the furniture did a thorough job, flipping the recliner and dismantling the underside, fully gutting each cushion. Ricky’s bedroom door hangs partway open, adjacent to a bathroom with no door that's about the size of a closet.

Some things are broken here; Ricky’s radio is smashed on the floor, pieces ground into the carpet. A glass pipe lays in fragments, near pieces embedded in the wall. There's a fork and a knife—

someone’s here.

Berlin feels it at the same time the cat seems to, curiously. The tabby leaps out of her arms and hits the floor with a slinking grace and then pads over to the door behind Berlin, back to the tenement hallway, where an elderly Asian man stands in sleek black clothing. The cat runs right up to him, nuzzling his ankle, then turns and sits at his side, purring.

Hound,” the old man says firmly, one thin brow raised, “you seem far from the pack.” Lips pursed together, the bald old man tilts his head to the side. “What's led you so astray?”


Cat in one arm, phone in the other, Berlin goes on making notes and taking pictures of the scene, raising an eyebrow here and there. Holding her breath here and there. But at the same moment that the cat jumps down, she pulls her gun and turns toward the person before she even gets a chance to really figure out who it is.

Which is okay, because she doesn't fire right away. She's paranoid, not undisciplined.

She slides her phone into her pocket as she looks the man over, freeing her hand to support the other as she trains her weapon on him. "The hunt," she says, answering his question flatly. And without elaborating. "Who the hell are you?"

Wenzhuo Zhao,” the old man introduces, and at the same time the nearby cat skitters off into the hallway. “Mr. Daselles did business for my organization, and competitors have taken affront to his unique brand of…” Zhao rolls a hand in the air, “Yuchun.” He smiles, faintly. “I've been waiting to see if he comes back, or…” a slow motion from himself to Berlin. “…who comes looking.”

Zhao is a name Berlin has heard for years. He is ostensibly the Mountain Master of the Ghost Shadows triad, a figure of legend on the streets of New York as the only crime lord who remained in power through and after the civil war. Zhao’s triad consumed all other major gangs that predated the civil war, and their stranglehold over the Refrain business is unmatched.

“You must be Officer Berlin Beckett,” Zhao says with a raise of his brows. “What do you hunt tonight, Ms. Beckett?”

A flicker of recognition flashes over her face at the name. But she doesn't lower the gun. "Which competitors?" Berlin lifts an eyebrow, like she's not entirely sure about this man and his motivation for someone she considered fairly far down the ladder. That he knows her name only seems to deepen that uncertainty. "I didn't realize I was so famous."

The question, though, gets a pause. Debating.

"A friend of mine came to see him. To question him." She lets out a heavy exhale and moves to point her gun toward the floor. "She's been out of contact for too long. And obviously," she says with a nod toward the scene they're standing in, "something happened."

“He's been gone for weeks,” is something Berlin didn't expect Zhao to say. “A gentleman by the name of Eugene Arrowood broke into this apartment some many days ago and took Mr. Daselles by force into a boat.” Zhao takes a step into the apartment, regarding Berlin the way one might a relic at auction; assessingly.

“Mr. Arrowood is a firm believer in the failure of humanity. A Pure Earther, as they call themselves. He does not take kindly to the way I run my business, or the company I keep.” Zhao crosses his arms over his chest, looking down to the scattered glass from the broken pipe on the floor. “He isn't much fond of Mr. Daselles, either.”

Dark eyes alight to Berlin, and Zhao seems pleased. “Your friend’s misfortune is my gain, however. It appears that Mr. Daselles is still alive. Though perhaps,” Zhao’s Head bobs to the side, “under duress.”

Then, quickly, Zhao adds. “A question for you, then, Ms. Beckett?”

That is all very important information. Berlin takes it in, slides it in with what she knew about the meeting with Ricky, and deepens her frown. "Pure Earthers. Great." The likelihood that Luce stumbled into something instead of being targeted seems to be low. "I don't know how well you know Ricky, but not too many people are fond of him." She is only sometimes an exception.

His next words get Berlin's attention, they make her attempts to joke away this moment harder and a dangerous look meets his. "He better be under duress, or I can't promise he'll come back to you in one piece." Berlin's friend is clearly more than a passing acquaintance. She's not bothering to hide that. Maybe she can't.

But, she takes a moment to breathe, to center herself, then she nods her head. "I'm listening."

Zhao shrugs about the duress, then motions to the apartment. “I have it on good authority that he escaped the Arrowood brothers and swam to shore. But he never came back here. Where he is now?” Zhao leaves that hanging, taking another step closer to Berlin.

“You were raised in a Lighthouse,” Zhao says with certainty, “a ward of the Ferrymen prior. I'm looking for someone, perhaps you ran into them during your stay?” His brows raise, hands spread again in gesture to the room. Behind him, the cat pokes its head in and squeaks softly.

Nathalie LeRoux.” Zhao folds his hands in front of himself. “A business associate of mine wishes to know that she is well, and to speak with her. But she disappeared during the war, perhaps dead.” Zhao takes another step closer. “I've been asked to see if any of the old wards of the Ferry know about her. Many of the children I've met, in their own ways, are wise beyond their years.”

"My friend was meeting him in Ferrymen's Bay," Berlin offers, "but that's the last I know about his whereabouts." Since he certainly isn't home. But if his boss wants to find him, she's not against that notion. "If you find him, I'd appreciate a moment with him."

It sounds so calm, that statement. Standing at odds with the weapon in her hand. And the demeanor she came here with.

Her head tilts when he mentions the Lighthouse. Curious, but guarded. She never fit in with the others, but that doesn't mean she likes a crime boss asking about any of them. "The Ferrymen took care of a lot of kids all over. We don't all know each other," she says, like she's trying to ease him into disappointment. And, indeed, when he says the name, it gets a blank expression in return. "I never met anyone by that name. You sure she was with the New York kids? They never mentioned her and believe me, they talked a lot."

If he ever met Joe, he'll know what she's talking about.

"A lot of people died in the war," she adds, "if your business associate is looking to adopt, he might want to look elsewhere."

“We lost track of her in Canada,” Zhao admits with a roll of his shoulders. “I knew many of the children from the Lighthouse are still close acquaintances. I had hoped perhaps…” He makes a noise in the back of his throat. “My employer will learn to live with his disappointment, and I assume so will the girl’s father.” Zhao’s brows crease together. “Family can be such a tenuous thing.”

Looking down to the cat in the doorway, Zhao makes a small shooing gesture and it scampers off with tail held high. He then turns to Berlin, “I wish you luck on locating your friend and…” Like a magic trick, he unfolds a business card in one hand with a flick. “Perhaps if you know anyone who has heard of Miss Leroux, you can direct them to my employer?” A brow raised, the card proffered between two fingers.

"Her father?" Berlin's question is almost accusatory, as if being an orphan's father were a crime he would need to answer for. She holsters her gun before she steps forward to take the card. "Thank you, I might need some luck," she says as she turns the card over to read it.

"You know, Ferry kids don't have fathers. They don't have mothers. Those people abandoned us. The only family we have is the one we make." She looks back up, frown twisting her expression. "You can tell the girl's father that. From all of us." She lifts the card, giving it a moment's acknowledgement, "If I hear anything, I'll call."


“You might be able to more easily,” is all Zhao says in return regarding the missing girl’s father, but leaves it at that. A smile creeps up on Zhao’s lips. “And you're right, about family. We are all we have, we children of the eclipse.”

"Maybe," she says distantly. Noncommittally.

Berlin isn't sure there are too many people who suddenly decide to show up and be parents after so long. Not without motive. The company and the job title of the associate make this particular case a little more suspect than most.

It occurs to her that Nathalie LeRoux might be in a lot of trouble.

But. She is also easy to set aside in favor of hunting Lucille down and helping her out of whatever trouble she is in. She pockets the card and looks back to Zhao. "I hope you don't find it too rude if I rush off. I need to pick this trail back up before it gets any colder. But, it was a pleasure meeting you." She inclines her head in farewell before she moves to the door.

Ferrymen's Bay is some distance from here. It's probably too much to hope that Luce is still there getting drunk with Ricky, but it might have something worth seeing still.

It's going to be a long night. The cat in the alleyway agrees, staring at Berlin with wide, yellow eyes.


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