Without A Trace


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And Introducing:

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Scene Title Without A Trace
Synopsis Company agents respond to the scene of an unexplained incident in Harlem…
Date April 14, 2010

Hamilton Heights Apartments

"How do you suppose that happens?"

Blue and red light sflash like a strobing sea, reflecting off of the wet expanse of street in downtown Harlem. Four in the morning is an awful time to be called in on assignment, but in instances like the one presented to the Company's Investigations Department like this it almost seems warranted. Standing beside newly arrived black sedan, Company agent Albert Rossling stares up wide-eyed at the tenement building looming overhead, watching spouts of water spraying from exposed manes that look to have been sheared off, along with a large portion of the fifth and sixth floor of the building in spherical cookie-cutter fashion.

Shaking his head, the silver-haired agent seems stunned by the sight. A NYFD crane has stretched up to the sixth floor where the top of the missing portion of the building is cut out, a fireman inside spraying down smoldering embers glowing orange hot on the edges of the building where matter simply looks to have been scooped out.

For the other agents just arriving in the same vehicle, the scene is a madhouse, and not quite what they're used to arriving to. NYPD have erected a barricade around the building where neighbors have been segregated from tenants. Members of FEMA in hazmat suits bright yellow in color are patroling the grounds of the apartment complex, geiger counters clicking within non-threatening tone.

Beyond the saw-horse barricades, tennants of the Hamilton Heights Apartments have been segregated for questioning, among them one rather famous face, one federal agent Felix Ivanov, whose exploits border on infamy.

The Company has been through some strange investigations in the past, but as the agents assembled to this site view a building missing a sixty foot wide sphere cut out from two floors, they're forced to reconcile their own experiences against a very unfortunate truth:

Life can always get weirder.

I just moved in. Do I get my security deposit back if I break my lease now? Does this count as an 'Act of God'? All these thoughts were jumbled through one Felix Nikolaievich Ivanov's little head, as he emerged from his apartment, gun in hand, flashlight in the other. But, having established that there was no one in immediate need of help or evacuation, nor any immediately apparent villainy in need of fighting, he's submitted tamely to being asked to stay for questioning. Hell, he's got nowhere to go, other than a hotel room if he'd packed a bag. A flash of a gold badge was enough to get at least grudging politesse from the NYPD on the scene, though none of them likes the Feds anymore than they would a bad case of fleas.

"No, really, Nowakowski," he insists, from where he sits propped on the bumper of an NYPD black and white, looking up at a cynical, elegant, silver-haired detective, evidently an old acquaintance. "I had nothing to do with it. C'mon, my power's superspeed, not tesseracting. For all I knew, we just had a Terminator show up in someone's apartment." Fel shrugs with elaborate disdain, nearly spilling his awful coffee with the gesture; he's dressed in jeans and NYU t-shirt, as well as a pair of ratty sneakers. So much for the majesty of agents of the Federal guvmint.

When the Company vehicle pulls up, Veronica is quick to get out, DHS badge flashed to the cops trying to keep away the looky-loo civilians before he can protest. Not that the vehicle doesn't scream "agents" already. Glancing around the scene, she notices Felix, looking out-of-place as a witness or victim or whatever one might call the apartment dwellers who have survived this.

"Ivanov," she says, with a nod toward the man, hoping their prior interactions will maybe be a tally in her favor rather than in the other column. She glances at the other agents with her and gives a nod in Felix's direction to indicate she's going to speak to the Feeb. Striding to the cop car he leans upon, she glances up at the building and then to his gaunt face. "Were you here when this happened? Can you tell me what you saw, heard, whatever?" the brunette asks.

"And, you know. Are you okay?" She'd ask that first, if it wasn't obvious he's about as okay as Ivanov gets, but it's still polite to ask. For her part, she looks weary as usual these days, her hair pulled back in a pony-tail under a Padres cap, a Berkeley t-shirt, jeans and sneakers making her look more like a college student than DHS. Getting woken at 4 a.m. when one hasn't picked up their dry cleaning makes for a very casual agent Sawyer.

After a lovely short stay at one of the city's many hospitals - which boiled down to 'you'll live' and 'you're about to get much better acquainted with your health insurance provider' - Evan was sent home with a sizable chunk of gauze, a followup appointment, and something of a sense of relief. Maybe the crazy chick on the bus would be his one and only brush with death before November.


Comfortably numb by 10 pm, asleep by midnight, he missed out on the light show and the glimpse of the capital; only when his remaining neighbors started shouting in panic did he stir once again. Now he's working his way through a mug of coffee and some leftover crackers, trying his best to not think about what the Parkers left behind. And failing badly. Christ, that could have been me.

"Don't think I've seen anything like this. Outside of a movie, at least," Corbin states as he steps up behind Veronica, flashing his badge, despite the fact it doesn't actually have his own name on it. This isn't a bad time to be Harvey Marx, at least not to him. It's not like anyone will look at his badge that long, anyway, before he puts it away and stands near her, to look and listen to what people have to say.

The drivers side door opens and Assistant-Director Benjamin Ryans steps out of the car, head tilting immediately to look up. Studying the building, he takes a step back so that he can shut the car door. Unlike Veronica, the older man is somewhat dressed. He has to be, coming down there in a tshirt would show off too many bruises. He's wearing a long sleeved dress shirt and jeans, his brown hiking boots, crunch a little on the asphalt. A brown canvas duster hangs around his form, obscuring view of his shoulder holster.

Hearing Veronica directing questions at someone, Ryans pulls his gaze away from the big cut out and starts looking, flashing his badge anytime it looks like some one is going to stop him, for Patrol Sargent or some supervisor in charge that can brief him on what is known. He can trust his agents to start getting the stories of people for the moment.

Rossling is something of an odd-duck in this lineup, the aged and prim looking British agent offers a furrowed brow stare at the top two floors before walking up towards Ryans. "I'm going to see who from the local law enforcement is in charge of this… circus, and get back to you. Hopefully there is someone around here who will be able to show us what happened with a bit more clarity than the chattering locals."

Glancing back to the barricade, Rossling pulls his plastic Department of Homeland Security badge out from within his jacket and diverts off from Ryans, moving towards the police tape line and flashing his badge to the NYPD officers standing behind it, soon interrogating them about hwich Detective is handling the assignment.

While Veronica and Ivanov are being acquainted, water is showering down from the apartment building like misting rain. Fromboth the sheared off plumbing, and the fire hoses trying ot cool down the smoldering edges of the disappeared apartments. "I'm fine. Well, I'm not hurt," Fel says, as Nowakowski looks to Veronica in apparent annoyance.

"Frederick Nowakowski, I'm a detective with the 14th precinct," he says, offering her a hand, then glancing to Corbin. What agency are you with - that he doesn't ask, apparently presuming she'll introduce herself.

Fel makes a face at Frederick's back. So much for old acquaintance. "So, I just moved into this place." And brought my plague of bad luck with me, he doesn't add. "Literally, this is my first night here. And I got woken up by the building shaking like an earthquake. I got up, I could see what I thought was lightning flashing outside….I looked out, I saw DC," he says, utterly matter of fact.

"I mean, like, Washington. Capitol building in the distance and all. Just for a moment. Don't know if it was a hallucination or some sort of dimensional slip, or what. Then it faded, and I got up, got dressed, and went out to see what'd happened, see if there was a fire. And….there you have it." He shrugs, spreads his hands. All she wrote….and perversely glad that for once, it's not him in charge of the scene.

Veronica dimples at Nowakowski, flashing her DHS badge. "Agent Sawyer," she says briefly, in a way that lets him know she is very aware that he's aware that she holds the trump card in this conversation. Her brows knit as she listens to Felix and she shakes her head. "So some sort of teleportation or something maybe, but…no, that's a hell of a 'port,' we would have heard about it before. Unless it's a first-time manifestation," she thinks aloud a bit. "You didn't see anyone on the other side, beside the Capitol Building and all in the distance? No people who were there, then suddenly weren't, or the other way around?"

With nothing much to say about the events themselves, except why he happened to miss out on seeing them personally, Evan moves on pretty quickly to discussing what he knows about the people. With the initial shock dulled by painkillers and general fatigue, he's rattling off a steady stream of consciousness to one of the other officers. "They were talking about having a kid last I heard, it's a damn shame… I mean, the cuts looked like they were sealed closed by the heat, so they could have survived if the shock didn't give them heart attacks… but if they did, then just getting on with their lives will be hard enough. I don't know. Other than that, there's a college student or two upstairs, the guy next to me just moved in recently— no, I got no idea if any of them might've caused this, sorry—"

"How big is it?" Corbin asks, squinting at the hole, and trying to figure out the size with just his eyes. "What buildings did you recognize in DC, if any? If it was a kind of teleportation, we could send someone there to ask questions, see if anyone witnessed anything in the area at approximitely the same time." He begins to pull out a phone, as if tempted to call someone who could get him to DC a lot faster than any car or plane, but— no, he can't even ask her. Not just cause their affiliation is unoffical, but because he's not sure she's back from Paris yet.

No, he's not jealous.


"Thank you, Rossling." Ryans says firmly at the man's retreating back, before turning back to his agents. Ducking under the tape he approaches the victims and the agents with them. He catches Evan's ramblings, to the officers. Shifting his path towards him, the senior Company agent listens further. hen Evan gets the full attention of the old man… well… not that he looks old, amazing what a few years shaved off your age will do for someone.

"Who do we have here?" He asks in that neutrally, calm voice, the question directed to Evan really. "I'm Agent Benjamin Ryans, Homeland Security." There is a slight incline of his head. "Did you see any thing at all or just the after?"

He works to pull out a notepad and is already taking notes of what he heard on the way over. He does catch a mention of going to DC, so glances over at Veronica and Corbin, "Call the DC office and get someone down there, see if the missing portion is there." He offers up helpfully.

Practically swimming through the crowd of people around the building Agent Rossling doesn't take long to make his way back towards his compatriots with an unfamiliar man tagging at his heels. Short and round in the face with receeding hairline of unkempt graying hair swept back from his brow, the man carries all the swagger of a federal agent.

"Agents," Rossling comments on his return, "this is DHS agent Lucas Eldridge, he was the first responder on scene and the one who will be showing us through the tenement building when we're ready to get a first hand look at the building. He has some men preparing to furnish us with a full list of tennants, and…" Rossling glances over to Felix with one white brow raised. "This gentleman here," there's a motion to Felix, "and that young man over there," comes with a gesture towards where Evan Langford stands in the crowd of tennants, "claim to have eyewitness information. I'll be waiting at the stoop of the building once you're done speaking with them so we can go inside."

Coming up on the group, Eldridge furrows his brows and gives a look up and down Ryans, Corbin and Veronica, "Morning…" he tiredly notes, then turns towards the apartment building following Rossling, waiting out of the way of the cascading water that is streaming out onto the street.

"I saw the dome of the Capitol building distinctly," says Felix, quietly. "As clearly as I see you all now." His manners are unwontedly quiet, low key. Maybe it's the shock of being awoken from a very sound sleep. But for whatever reason, the usual bitchy snap is absent. "No. I didn't see any human figures," he adds, for Veronica's benefit.

"Thank you, Agent," Veronica says to Felix, her own tone warm enough and sympathetic. "I assume I can call your work if I have any follow-up questions? Pretty sure Dorchester has vacancies if you need a new place," she murmurs, though the brunette Company agent doesn't wait for him to answer yes or no to the question nor to respond to her suggestion of a new apartment. She glances at Corbin who already has his phone out and assumes he'll handle the call regarding DC, if he wasn't already on it. Obviously, she has no idea he was considering calling someone else altogether.

She gives the shower of water a wide berth as she moves to follow Eldridge and Rossling. "Morning," she echoes. "I'd think we'd hear about something like this happening in DC, unless the, uh, landing is less violent than the take-off or vice versa, whichever way this works."

Evan blinks, rubbing his eyes as yet another voice of authority is directed his way. "Oh, hello, Agent Ryans," he mumbles, "would you like some coffee? It's kind of gotten cold by now…" Looking around, but failing to find a table near enough, he just sets the half-empty cup down on the ground instead. "I didn't see anything until after - whatever happened - had already happened. Looked like it cut through one of the neighbor couples, roughly knee level - everything below was still here, everything above was removed." Teleported to Washington? Sucked into a void? Who knows.

"Course, 'boss', I was just getting to it," Corbin says, with a hint of a joke to his voice with the use of the nickname, as he looks toward the DHS officer that was first on the scene. "Nice to meet you, I have a phone call to make, if you'll excuse me," he adds as he walks away, flipping open the phone and quietly hoping he has a missed call from a certain speedster saying she got back home, but instead he searches out the number of a DC agent and begins to make a call, as he makes his way back towards the car, so he can make the call in some privacy.

A small smile plays on Ryans' lips at the offer of the cold coffee. "No, thank you." The words spoken have a slight rumbling quality, carrying easily. "But… I'm sure this fine officer here will get you another cup should you want it." A hand rests on the police officer in question. "And he'll make sure to get your full statement. For now, I must see about the grand tour.

"Do not go too far another Agent will be by to get your information." He sounds so professional as he says that, giving Evan a short nod of his head, before he shifts in the direction to follow the others. "Rossling… is your partner around? Have her collect names and apartment numbers.. or anything else relavent if you will?" Make the trainie do some grunt work, good excercise in collecting details.

Hearing his name called and partly parsing what Ryans said over the crowd, Rossling takes a moment to blankly stare at the senior agent, then shake his head after a brief look around the crowd. "No, no I'm not sure where Liza is. She was… injured while you were away in Washington, Sir. The hemokinetic case? She got her leg caught in a bear trap, she's still recovering. They have her pushing papers back at the office until it's better." The old agent offers a look back to Veronica, then a squinted stare at Corbin's back.

There's a moment where Eldridge looks tired, his face sagging and a hand lifting to rub across his brow and mouth before offering a tired nod to the approaching agents. "Alright, just you three?" Eldridge looks around to Ryans, Veronica and Rossling, then at the crowd. "If there's nothing else you wanna ask the tennants, I'm going to give the local boys the all-clear to let them get outta' here. We're keeping the building sealed off for 48-hours, but we can't hold these people anymore. Your call."

"Yeah," says Fel, easily enough. "Call me at the office. or…I'm just vog.ibf|vonavi_f#vog.ibf|vonavi_f." No other F Ivanovs in the FBI, presumably. HE glances back at the ruined building, shakes his head ruefully. Still curiously unperturbed. But then, he really has sort of seen it all, hasn't he?

Veronica likewise winces at the mention of Liza's injury, something she is still angry happened. She should have checked the perimeter herself, not left it to the other agents (namely Flora). She might not have noticed the bear trap, but she would at least not have to wonder if her lack of foresight was the cause of the junior agent's injury. At Felix's rattled off email address, she pulls out her Blackberry to type in the contact information. "Thanks again, Ivanov. I'll give you a call if I need more."

She turns to Eldridge and shrugs, then glances at Ryans, a questioning look in her eyes as she defers to him but gives her opinion. "I think they've told what they know, and no reason they shouldn't get a good rest for the rest of the night. If it was one of the tenants who caused this, well, they're either in DC or they're long gone, I'd guess. Who lives at the," she pauses, trying to think of a word to fit, "epicenter, if you will? That is probably the destination or the take-off site if it's some sort of TP gone wrong. If that's what it is."

"Oh, hey, good idea," says Evan, glancing over toward Felix and checking his pockets to see if he's got any of his own cards handy. Nope, he missed grabbing his much-abused wallet on the way out; it's still sitting on a bookshelf up at his place. If it didn't get sucked into the vacuum of hyperspace or something. It'd be par for the course, really. With a shrug, he just writes down his cell phone number on the nearest fast food wrapper he can find.

You leave the state for a few days and look what happens. "Well…" Ryans says with a bit of a sigh, resigned to the fact, he needs to actually read the reports left on his desk. He was always a field agent, never a paper pusher. "Okay then… we'll have to get with the PD then, for any of that." A glance goes to Veronica with a touch of amusement even as he answers Eldridge. "Let them all get some rest."

Turning slightly, he looks to Eldridge, giving him a firm nod of his head and waves him onward. Ryans is truthfully, not looking forward to the journey, not with his injuries.

Whistling sharply, Eldridge calls over two of the NYPD officers who've been waiting in the wings. "Alright, you can let these people clear out now. There'll be a bus coming down in about fifteen minutes to take them downtown if they want to find a hotel or something for the night, just make sure they know they can't fucking stay here." Looking like he hasn't even slept yet, Eldridge furrows his brows and looks around the crowd, then steps around Rossling and moves towards the stoop of the tenement building, heading up inside.

At Eldridge's request, the police officers begin moving through the crowd, one of them lifting up a bullhorn before climbing up onto a sawhorse. "«Alright, we've been given permission by Homeland Security to allow all residents of Hamilton Heights to vacate the premisis. Residents will not be allowed to return for 48-hours,»" there's cries of frustration and groans from the crowd, "«and a bus will be coming shortly to pick you up and bring you to a hotel for the evening. We're currently working out arrangements for this situation, but if you have friends or family you can stay with we recommend you call them now.»"

While that unfortunate news is spared, Rossling follows Eldridge inside, and from the lobby, the tenement building hardly looks worse for wear, save for some cracks in the tiling of the floor and in the plaster of the walls and ceiling. "You should've seen this place when I first got here," Eldridge comments with a grunt as he lifts up the police tape for the agents to follow him in past the lobby entrance. "Whole fucking place was soaked, we're still trying to get somebody from public works to turn the goddamned water off, but at least the electricity is cut now."

Which is a good thing to know when Veronica sets foot in a puddle of flowing water that crosses the lobby whihc — up until recently — would've been electrocting her.

"Neighbors say the whole block street was shaking. Car alarms got set off, dogs barking the whole fucking nine yards. The flash that you heard Ivanov mention was seen for a couple blocks from here, lit up the whole goddamned street and yet nobody saw anyone strange come in or go out of the building. Even better," he says with sarcasm, "no security cameras."

Glancing back over her shoulder at the groans and offering another sympathetic smile to Felix, Veronica follows Eldridge and Rossling into the lobby, ducking under the tape the Dhs agent lifts. "Again, if this is some sort of strange brand of teleportation, Schwarzenegger style, or if it was an attack of some sort, the apartment that's at the center most likely belongs to our perp or the target or someone who knows one or the other. Who lives there?" Veronica repeats, Blackberry out for typing in notes.

Notes are scribbled down on a notepad, no blackberry for this agent… thanks. Two thumb speed typing is beyond the older agent. Damn kids. "Of course, it couldn't be easy and there be cameras." The comment more said softly to himself as he writes, feet splash through puddles wetting the hem of his duster.

"Could have been a teleporter off site as well… but still the resident at the center of the…. sphere would be a good start." Ryans glances up briefly as he says that.

Finally a question Evan can actually answer, especially now he's gotten some fresh hot coffee in him again. "Parkers, I think," he offers to Veronica, "Mike and Lisa. At least it looked like their place was the center— hard to be sure, there was enough surrounding material taken out along with it. Floor layout's not exactly the same from one level to the next, you know?" A utility closet on one floor might correspond to a roof-access ladder on another. "The question I'd ask is, why Washington, why not someplace else… might've been an accident, might've been on purpose. Somebody could've been dreaming about it for all I know."

Looking back to Veronica, Eldridge halts in the middle of the lobby, one brow raised. "Oh, Jesus Christ does anyone do their goddamned job around here!?" That Eldridge had missed Veronica's question earlier is dismissed entirely when Evan comes walking into the lobby towards the agents on duty. Flipping out his badge, Eldridge comes stalking over towards the young man and waggles the identification card around.

"Thanks for helping out, glad you're invested in the situation, but no civilians past this point. You want to make an official statement you can wait outside or drop one off at the precinct." Beckoning over to NYPD officers, Eldridge points to Evan and then makes a sweeping motion with one hand. The officers come up behind Evan, one of them resting a hand on his shoulder the other keeping an eye on the young man's hands — particularly his coffee.

"Sir, we're going to have to ask you to step back, there's an official investigation ongoing. Could you please come with us?" While Evan is being drawn away from the second terrible thing to happen to him within a week's time, Eldridge is walking back to the agents, brows furrowed and head shaking, fingers pinching at the bridge of his nose.

"I'm really sorry about that… Did you already ask about what that kid was— sorry." Scrubbing a hand at the back of his neck, Eldridge shakes his head. "I've got this fucking ringing in my ears that will not stop." Rubbing one hand over his chin, Eldridge offers an askance look down one hall, then jerks his head in a nod towards a propped open stairwell door. "We're still trying to get a full list of tennants from the building's owner, according to the local PD he's been out of state on vacation for about three weeks now. We're trying to get a cross reference of names from Con-Edison too, so it's sort've a race to see who gets back to us first. It won't be tonight though…"

Heading into the stairwell, Eldridge begins the long ascent up through the building, leading the agents to the actual site of the damage. "We did a head-count of the residents, and— like that kid was saying… some people went missing. Best estimate is that apartment 604 was the epicenter, based on the spherical nature of… whatever the fuck happened."

Halfway up the stairwell, Rossling furrows his brows, looking up to Eldridge then back down to the lobby. "If you do not mind, agent Ryans, agent Sawyer…" the white-haired Brit's eyes narrow slightly. "I'm going to take a statement from that young man. Carry on upstairs without me?" Like a ping-pong ball, Rossling heads back down the stairs while Eldridge creases his brows in a frustrated expression.

The agent turns back to listen to Evan, though there might be the slightest irritation that a civilian is answering her instead of Eldridge. But, hey, at least someone is listening to her. When he actually answers the question, she types the notes into the Blackberry and gives him a nod of thanks, even as Eldridge cuts him off and shoos him out like a cattle dog nipping the heels of a sheep.

Rossling excuses himself, and Veronica nods. "Good idea. See who those Parkers are. Or were." She wrinkles her nose. "Check the Registry, too, then see what information Ayers is getting regarding DC." What goes without saying is that Rossling should also check the Company's database, as well. She then glances back at Eldridge. "Parkers were in 604? We'll want a copy of that list when you get it, of course. Wait a minute." She glances down the lobby. "Hold on." She makes short work of stairs, faster surely than the other two agents would be able to, despite shorter legs.

The young agent moves to the mailboxes and takes note of the names that are filled in. "Parkers are 603, though, not 604. 604 isn't filled in." Rather than take the time to type in all of the names, Veronica takes a few moments to take quick pictures of the names that are filled in, on the floors affected, before hurrying to catch up with the others.

His head tilts back to look upwards at the climb ahead, and the Assistant-Director sighs. Here goes nothing, "Good idea Rossling, especially …" He trails off as Veronica seems to have it taken care of, so he can concentrate on climbing all those stairs with cracked ribs and not show it.

Evan is led around easily enough - the same grogginess that let him wander past the intended cordon leaves him disinclined to argue once he's directly addressed. With his cell phone stuck upstairs along with the rest of his stuff, he looks around for one he can borrow long enough to make arrangements. First a hotel - well, once he finds a phone book - then a friend to give him a ride, seeing as his keys are stuck upstairs, too. By the time he gets the first part figured out, his friends might actually be awake. Dammit, it's way too early in the morning for this crap.

Much like a yo-yo too, Evan will become, when the shout of, "Excuse me," comes piping from the front of the tenement building. "Officers, would you mind?" Hustling out of the building, agent Albert Rossling catches up to the two NYPD officers, shooing them away from Evan as he comes back out into the damp and crowded sidewalk out front of the damaged apartment complex. The officers give silent acquiescence to Rossling's authority, stepping away from Evan as the gray-haired agent catches up.

"I apologize for bothering you again, young man," Rossling's clipped British accent seems wholly out of place in this city. "But I was listening to your earlier statement to the agents and… you said you heard an electrical buzzing during the rumbling, then saw the Washington cityscape outside and then the flash and…" the old agent motions up to the missing portion of the building before settling attention back on Evan.

"You said you saw the… ah, and I apologize for bringing this up, but… the aftermath of what happened to your upstairs neighbors. In the commotion that must have caused — like agent Ivanov mentioned — did you see anyone from your building in the halls or on the street that isn't here now?" Rossling's white brows furrow together, one brow raised in that pointed question.

Several floors above where Rossling is interrogating Evan, Eldridge is finally rounding the stairs to the fifth floor. While there is a clear path up to the sixth, he seems to be stopping the ascent there and then, pushing the door open into the fifth floor. "From what the other tennants have said, a few people just moved in recently, probably why their names aren't on the mailboxes out front. Like I said, we're workin' on getting all the details squared away. But I don't, personally, think this was anything to do with teleportation. I have a feeling this might have been some sort of matter rearrangement, you know… disintegration? But you guys are the— " Eldridge is given pause by the presence of two NYPD forensics officers up on the fifth floor, staring up through the gaping hole in the ceiling and wall that views out to the Harlem streets. "I thought I told you two to clear out, DHS has taken over this investigation."

One of the forensics investigators sets down a piece of burned wood, then looks up to Ryand and Veronica past Eldridge. "Yeah, we're… on our way, actually. Detective Williams wanted to share something with DHS when they showed up, I take it this is the specialists?"

"Yeah," Edlridge grumbles, shaking his head as he looks out to where water pipes, electrical wiring and sheared off pieces of furniture balance precariously where there was once whole apartments. Detective Williams, a short and overweight man with thinning hair easily pushing fifty ambles on over to the two agents.

"Sorry t'trouble you right now, especially with something like this, but…" Williams looks back over his shoulder, then to Veronica and Ryans again. "I wasn't called in here today, when I heard what happened over the radio I came running on down on my own. Wanted to talk to you DHS Specialists about something that happened back on the third that I think might be related to this incident… I wasn't sure, but when I started asking around downstairs about a Shelly Winbrook… well, just hear me out. This might sound a little strange."

Moving to peer at the edge of the disintegrated area, looking at where the wall and window and ceiling have been sheered away, Veronica shrugs. "Well, obviously it's something to do with matter. But it could be transference of matter and people to another locale, which is in effect a form of teleportation, yeah?" she points out.

She looks over to the detective and offers a smile. "Agent Sawyer," she says, offering a hand to the man. "Shelly Winbrook? She's one of the tenants? What happened on the third?"

It's a good thing Ryans was at the back of the pack to start, then no one will notice when he slows down some at the top, hand on the railing to help him. There is sweat beading on his forehead, as he comes along side Veronica. "Agent Ryans." He offers to the officer while, pulling his small notebook and pen out again.

Ryans face remains neutral, though his words are a bit strained to anyone that's known him. "Any information you can give is no trouble officer. You have our attention."

By this point, Evan has woken up enough to recognize a juris-my-diction battle in progress - and, more importantly, to stay the hell out of the middle of it, and just keep acting tired. Which, honestly, he still kind of is. "Um— I saw a woman leaving a few minutes before the sirens started showing up, I think it might've been one of the girls from upstairs. Too far away to see her face, sorry." He focuses his attention on a spot somewhere between the others, leaving it to them to work out who's rightly being addressed.

"A woman?" There's a scratch of Rossling's hand at the side of his cheek, brows knitting together as he scans up and down the crowd, then looks back to Evan. "Thank you, and ah…" Rossling reaches inside of his jacket, withdrawing a simple business card with the shield of the Department of Homeland Security on the front and a cellular phone number printed along the bottom, Special Agent Albert J. Rossling printed below the number. "If you think of anything else at all… call me? You aren't in any trouble at all but, if you remember anything else, I'd appreciate it if you let me know."

Upstairs, things are about to get even stranger.

"Well… the thing is agent Ryans, I dunno exactly how reliable this information I'm gonna give you is. It was, fuck, almost two weeks ago I guess…" the Detective notes with a scruff of one hand at the back of his neck, "I pull duty down at crown heights," he begins to explain, looking out at his partner staring beyond the open expanse of missing tenement building, then back to the agents. "A week and some change ago, we had this absolute nutcase come running in to the precinct…"

Looking awkward even bringing this up, the detective shakes his head slowly. "He kept yammering about something he saw, we thought he was somebody coming to report one of the visions, right? You know from the blackout? The desk jockey that got him told him to sign out some forms, but then he just freaks out and starts screaming about how "they're" coming for "her" and that he was tryin' to warn us or something?"

As Detective Williams begins explaining this, Eldridge slowly turns, offering a scrutinizing look at the detective with a narrowed stare. Shifting his weight to one foot, there's a tilt of his chin up, a wary glance afforded to Ryans and Veronica before he settles back on the detective again.

"This guy goes completely ballistic, shouting about someone named Shelly Winbrook, and he spits out this exact address, 121 Edgecomb, apartment 604." Both of the detective's brows raise as he looks back over his shoulder to the gaping hole where several apartments once were, then back to the agents. "From my best guess, 604 is where the epicenter of this… whatever the heck happened, happened."

With a tired shake of his head, Detective Williams sweeps one hand over his brow, "Only thing I know for sure is, we kept that guy overnight for twenty-four hours until he calmed the fuck down. Turns out he'd just gotten released from Greystone over in Jersey about two weeks prior," the mental institution, "we put in a call and they came to pick him up. Far as I know he's checked himself back in there… I didn't catch his name, but I can get it for you from the precinct if you don't think this is total horse-shit."

The brunette tilts her head as she listens, brows knitting together as Detective Williams tells the strange story. "In Jersey…" she echoes. "So it wasn't a June 10th vision, since those didn't extend that far. Can you recall if he was registered at all? Perhaps he was a precog? We'd definitely be interested in that information. One of us can go with you to the precinct to retrieve the file," she says, glancing up at Ryans, brows ticking up. They're coming for her? Could they be the same they that seems to be kidnapping everyone and their brother these days — the Institute?

She glances back at Williams. "He didn't say who 'they' were, ever, in all his rambling? I mean — even if it seemed absolutely fucking ridiculous and impossible and paranoid, did he say who? No matter how implausible."

"One thing I've learned over the years, never take anything for granted." The assistant-director offers rather blandly, his face unreadable, even if he is delivering the same reassurances as Sawyer. "No matter how strange it seems." When the movement of Vee looking at him, catches his attention, he glances her way as well, though it's hard to tell if he's thinking the same thing. He is, of course. It tends to always be the answer at the moment.

"Send Ayers with him for the paperwork." Is all Ryans has to offer, busying himself with writing what is said.

While the LEOs exchange information on the head case that maybe isn't, Evan has been busying himself with the more mundane task of finding a hotel— the first number he tries is answered by someone with an impenetrable Turkish accent, and the second one doesn't get picked up at all. The clerk must be taking a smoke break or something. Finally, he gets things settled, scrawling down the address and double-checking the numbers. And it's still too soon, as none of his colleagues are liable to be up and about for another couple hours. "Hey," he calls out to whoever nearby looks least busy, "anybody know a decent breakfast place within walking distance? Only one I know offhand that's open before six is Waffle House." About which, the less said, the better.

"Night Owl," might have been said by agent Ivanov in passing to where Evan's trying to find himself some breakfast, but the blonde federal agent's brisk pace through the crowd alongside Detective Nowakowski means he has more to handle than just helping one hard on his luck young man handle his breakfast affairs. But that staple of early morning curfew-bending breakfast certainly is, to many New Yorkers, a place that hits the spot.

Five floors up from the street, the Company agents are finding themselves peeling back the scab of this case and finding something beneath thats more than just sore skin.

"No," Detective Willson reluctantly notes to Ryans, "he kept talking about how he could hear them talking, blabbering on about a pounding or drumming or something in his head and how he couldn't get them to stop. Man, it— I didn't stick around, we had a couple of uniformed officers watching out for him. He was really acting like he was on drug or— maybe not on enough?" There's a bit of a squint that Williams gives to that. "I think whoever was on duty that day and checked him out with have all the info, like I said this was all handled down at Crown Heights. I can go down there with you after we leave here, maybe get some better info about who this guy was?"

"I think agent Sawyer or Ayers or whoever's going to do this paper fetching can handle themselves," Eldridge defensively states, "You just worry about kepeing your own business, I think you've derailed everything enough here. Look, I'm working on zero hours of sleep here and unless there's anything else you want to see I'd like to get home and leave you specialists in charge of the show down here?"

Detective Willson's partner gives Eldridge a narrow-eyed look before steping away from him, walking past Wilson with a silent pat on the shoulder before stepping out into the stairwell. Detective Wilson, however, steels himself and manages not to be sucked in by the frustrations that Eldridge is putting out. "Anything you want on this guy, you got it."

Water cascades down from the severed pipes prutruding from the still smoldering edges of a cauterized building. From up here on the fifth floor, the sea of red and blue police and emergency lights glitter in the sputs of water raining down on the street.

The disappearance of a third of an apartment building without a trace is one thing, but this tangle of a case looks to already be unspooling into more than the Investigative Branch was prepared for on this early morning call. Any case where a former asylum inmate is considered a lead

…is likely not to end the way any of the agents involved expect.

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