NPC Investigations

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NPC Investigations

Post by Eternal Phoenix on Thu Mar 01, 2012 2:38 pm

New York City. Home to over 8 million people, and a pair of unassuming brownstones that housed NPC Investigations. The connected three story buildings were in Manhattan, smack dab in the middle of the Upper West Side. It was 7 AM, on a Monday no less, and Sonya Harmon was just arriving. However, the trim Hispanic woman wasn't grumpy in the least. She was 24 years old, in the prime of her life, and she enjoyed coming to work. So she smiled as she opened the door. It was, as she expected, unlocked so she went right in. The Japan-born member of the partners, Penny Nihara, had a tendency to work odd hours and one of the agents, Harmony Perez, actually lived here. "Ms. Nihara? Harmony? It's Sonya. It's Monday again." Her voice echoed past the reception desk, through the center hall that rose all the way to the roof skylight, and up both staircases. A groan of displeasure echoed down from the open door of the third floor dormitory, situated on the right. She had woken Harmony. Sonya suppessed a chuckle, and went to the reception desk, her desk, to begin the day.

7:30 AM. Penny Nihara came down the left staircase and greeted Sonya coolly, as was her fashion. There were potential agents coming in for interviews today. Penny passed photos of all of them to Sonya and told her to call her when they arrived. Harmony poked her bed-head out from the right stairs and got the news.

8 AM. One of the partners, Carla Perkins, came in carrying a paper coffee cup and grunted a greeting at Sonya. The African American woman clutched her coffee cup as if it was made of gold and filled with ambrosia as she made her way upstairs. The lights on the second floor library, located on the right, came on. Harmony had started her day.

8:30 AM. Willa Hawke, the blond haired, blue eyed woman who ran the second floor cafe came in. She, too, greeted Sonya and went up the left staircase to get to work.

8:45 AM. The last of the partners, Edwin Christian, came in looking slightly hungover. This was a usual state of affairs on a Monday. The trust fund kid loved to party on the weekends. He gave Sonya a wave, and then headed the left staircase to his office. Not long after that, a few junior agents and potential clients started coming in. Sonya quickly became busy and quickly put the quiet start to her day out of her head.

9 AM. Any second now, the potential agents would be coming in for their interviews. Sonya had handled the inital rush. Cases were assigned and potential clients were referred upstairs. In fact, Carla was talking to the last one as they climbed the stairs. Yep. Any second now.
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Re: NPC Investigations

Post by Digital Muse on Thu Mar 01, 2012 6:12 pm

Julia leaned a slender, leather-jacketed shoulder against the brick facade of a brownstone across the road and down several buildings from the address of the agency she'd been given an interview with. Her thin, almost elven features were half-hidden by a vivid pink fall of bangs that reached her jawline while the back and sides of her hair were a natural dark brown and cut close. Her ears were pierced several times and her left eyebrow showed the scar of an old piercing there as well. Beneath her leather jacket, she wore the perpetual uniform of the young; a t-shirt touting a favorite band (today's choice was Abney Park), faded and tight jeans with strategic tears in the thighs and knees and black combat boots.

While she watched, a young woman with neat brown hair entered the agency, Julia had seen her enter there last week too, so obviously an employee. Then the black woman carrying the same size coffee cup from the same cafe a few blocks away came in as well. She was obviously not a morning person the way she gripped the cup. Then a pretty blond woman with her hair up in a ponytail was followed by was the lone male of the agency. He looked like he'd had a fun weekend, but was paying for it now.

As she watched them, Julia speculated wondering if the female-heavy agency might be a Fem organization with the pretty boy being gay? Token straight guy? The money? It was hard to tell with the few observations she'd made so far. She glanced at the tiny little pocket watch pendant she wore around her neck to check the time. Her appointment was in a hour. She tried to affect an 'I don't care' attitude, but in reality, she believed this job was the first step to getting out of her life. Into a real apartment with a real bed, maybe even a kicking stereo. Her lips quirked upwards at the corners. "Slow down, Lazarre. Gotta get the job first."

Julia chewed the inside of her cheek considering the neat appearance of the women that had entered the brownstone and then looked down at her own uniform of the street with a groan. She hated it, but just this once, she'd have to do things her sister's way. Almost 40 minutes found Julia walking back down the block in simple black dress slacks, a crisp button down pale pink shirt that was a bit too large and a delicate cashmere sweater to finish the outfit. Her sister, Marguerite, had been her usual irritating self, but today she hadn't been able to get under Julia's skin. She fingered the pocket watch pendant and taking her courage in hand, headed to the Agency's entrance. She brushed her hand over her sleek hair and pulled the door open to the reception area. Julia approached the reception desk and smiled, "Hi. Julia Lazarre. I had an appointment?"
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Re: NPC Investigations

Post by Anubis on Fri Mar 02, 2012 4:42 pm

Anders walked down the street, drawing a lot of looks of approval as he went. He was wearing a tailored three piece suit and wearing it rather well. He was a tall man, more than a hair over 6 feet and built like someone who regularly engaged in physical activity. His piercingly blue eyes and white-blond hair peaking out from under the fedora tilted at a slight and fashionable angle.

The building came into view and he checked his watch. It read 8:53, but Anders knew the springs had started to run down so the hands moved at .56 miliseconds slower since yesterday. He thought about it and realized that it was probably 5 minutes slow at this point. He stopped for a moment and watched a street-cleaner drive by. No-one noticed, but his eyes flashes a silver color as he watched it. When they were back to normal, he knew how the drive mechanism on that cleaner worked and was able to guess at the sweeper as well.

Anders grabbed a newspaper from a stand and tossed a few coins at the attendant. He rifled through it as he walked, not finding anything interesting. He tossed the paper in the bin in front of the building and took a deep breath. He had to hand it to these NPC people, they had an impressive building.

Walking into the front door, Anders was impressed with the interior decor. Very modern, but he could see hints of old world inspiration as well. He approached the receptionist, but halted. There was a women talking to her, so he patiently waited his turn.
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Re: NPC Investigations

Post by ElRey on Fri Mar 02, 2012 7:18 pm

All Alai could think about was being late. New York was too busy, he didn’t care for it the hustle and bustle. Hadn’t stopped him from living and working here for the last three years, but he always went where the money was. NPC was a whole new ball game from his previous experience working security at concerts and bouncing at nightclubs. It was a chance to do something more. Give back. He knew how lucky he had been not having a power that made him stick out like a sore thumb. Knew plenty of kids who got picked on for being a freak.

8:53

He couldn’t stop fidgeting, his leg bounced nervously, his right thumb making small circles around his closed fist; a calming habit he had picked up as a kid. The taxi had been ensnared in traffic, progress slowed to a crawl, blocks from his appointment. Gridlock was his nemesis, seemed like the city was always throwing some obstacle in his path. He wasn’t even sure why he had taken a taxi at all, stupid. Alai silently cursed himself as the small dashboard clock’s cheery red numbers stared back at him; an all too present reminder of his looming deadline. Mondays were the worst.

8:54

Tick tock.

“Just let me out here.” He muttered tossing a twenty up to the driver before popping the door and stepping out. A nearby horn honked in futile anger, assaulting Alai’s ears as he made his way to the sidewalk. He immediately started into a jog as hands fuddled with the hastily bought clip-on tie he was wearing. Jamming the tacky accessory into his pocket he steered himself down an alley, taking off in a full blown sprint.

The world zipped past, ears pounding with the drumbeat of his heart through the dingy passage. Hurdling puddles of stagnant water and overturned trash cans. Within seconds he burst onto the opposite side of the block, tearing over the hood of a parked car and weaving through the stalled traffic. Powerful legs drove against the asphalt like angry pistons as he used the bike lane as a runway.

Marconi. Only a few more blocks. Dodging past other pedestrians he slid his phone out of his pocket, not noticing his tie fall out and land in his wake.

8:57

Skittering to a stop he looked up to the street signs, attempting to get his bearings. Arching to his tip toes Alai used his six-four frame to overlook the crowd, just enough to recognize the Brownstone building he had seen on their application.

By some sort of miracle he might actually make it on time. Pleased with himself he stepped out into the crosswalk, goal within reach. The shrill screech of tires barely registered as the car bashed into him, sending him tumbling up and over the hood of the car. The concrete tore at his thrift-store interview clothes, leaving a ragged tear in the fabric along the hem of his shoulder.

“OH MY GOD I AM SO SORRY!” the older gentlemen who had been driving leaped from his car, lifting Alai’s arm in an effort to help him up. Probably more concerned about his insurance policy than Alai’s health.

“I’m fine. Its fine.” he waved him off, picking bloodied pebbles out of his hand. “I’ve got an interview.”

Alai hobbled to the sidewalk and left the man standing there, looking dumbfounded. Even as he walked he could feel the stiffness in his leg working itself out. Wasn’t the first time he’d been hit by a car. Something told him it likely wouldn't be the last.

Taking a moment to catch his breath just out of sight of the glass doors, his hand slid into his pocket only to find his phone broken and his tie missing. Alai’s head fell backwards, eyes cast to the heavens.

Why today?

He took a deep breath, blowing the air out in a deep sigh which puffed out his cheeks and mustering every ounce of professionalism he could feign, opened the door. As he entered he was immediately struck by how trim and tidy the entire place was; though he had caught a glimmer of how things worked when they had first brought him in for testing. He had to look like some kind of crazy person, torn clothes, bleeding from several small scrapes, grit and tar stuck in his now scuffled hair.

Two others had already beaten him there, one of whom certainly wasn’t dressed the part the other who was perhaps a tad overdressed in Alai‘s opinion. He gave her a half-hearted smile and a quick nod gentlemen who was waiting patiently just behind her.

“I, uh, just got hit by a car.” *Cough* “I’ll justuhh…” his voice trailed off searching the others faces for reaction. “…wait. Over here.” he shuffled to follow his finger, taking a seat in one of the metallic chairs which lined wall.

At least he was on time.
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Re: NPC Investigations

Post by Crain_S on Fri Mar 02, 2012 9:20 pm

Jacob walked briskly down the street, his hands buried in his sports jacket pockets. The thumb on his right hand endlessly circled the metal disk that resided there, the metal warm after constant contact with his skin. He knew the symbol by heart, a Celtic knot meant to inspire tranquility and keep him from chewing his fingernails.

His mother had gifted him the disk years ago, an attempt to calm an overly anxious child who would idly chew each finger to the bleeding quick without even realizing it. For the most part, it worked, though Jacob was certain that having something to fidget with was more effective than the old world magic his grandfather had supposedly bound into the metal.

Jacob paused as he walked past the reflective window of an office of some sort, taking the opportunity to check his appearance. His hair had gown longer than he normally liked and was currently held in position by a liberal amount of hair product. Without the slightly damp look that came from using such things, his hair would normally catch the sun and glimmer like warm copper, the auburn highlights a gift from his father’s genetics.

He rubbed his hands over his newly trimmed beard, hoping to smooth down the hairs seeming to take great pleasure in sticking out at weird angles. Moss-green eyes looked from behind the rectangular lenses of his glasses to the buttoned-down shirt of sage green under the black jacket. Wrinkle free, thanks to the rune embroidered inside the left breast pocket, the shirt was tucked into a pair of black slacks.

Peeking from the collar of his shirt was a silver chain bearing a home-made rune stone meant to warn of danger. Jacob adjusted his collar, settling the stone in the center of his chest and moved the strap of his messenger bag so as not to crease his jacket.

Jacob considered his reflection for a second more before moving on, retrieving the slip of paper with the address and scribed directions to his destination with his left hand and squinted at the words. Big cities had always made him nervous; all of the people and the cars and the noise threatening to drive an already anxious personality into overdrive.

When he had decided to move out here from the family homestead, he had nearly turned around at the first sight of the big city. The flat he shared with a distant cousin (how distant was unclear) overlooked what could be called a park and this splash of green had done wonders for his feelings of inability to cope with the changes of moving from a quiet farm to the bustling metropolis.

Now, he even had a job using his gifts to bring old world magic into the current century. True, the sky clad dances and the beer-fueled parties were going to stay behind for those who were a little more traditional than he was, but the essence of the Patterson clan was going to finally do more than encourage a good harvest and ensure the fertility of the livestock.

Jacob looked up at the building he had just reached and smiled. Following directions in city terms were much more complex than ‘Walk to the big elm, turn right and keep going ‘till you reach the river.’ But he had arrived in one piece and had not gotten lost. Today would be a good day. Maybe.

With a deep breath Jacob entered the lobby, pausing at the doorway to needlessly keep the heavy glass doors from slamming shut. This was it…the hard part was done, he had the job. But why did he feel like rats had taken up residence in his guts?
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Re: NPC Investigations

Post by Safton on Mon Mar 05, 2012 11:19 pm

Jason brought the car to a stop in the garage, putting it in park and removing the keys from the ignition. He paused, sighing and rubbing his hand down his face slowly. What was he doing here? Well, he knew what he was doing here, he just wasn’t sure if it was right yet.

For almost twenty years, government work – and the wars that it entailed – was all he had known. And now, for the first time, he was a free man. At least, that was the theory. In truth, he had never felt more constricted. Even when he was lying still in a cave in Afghanistan for days on end, at least he had a clear mission to carry out, a purpose to see through to the end. Now he wasn’t so sure. This new job had seemed like it might be a way out… no, not an escape, but a new start. One he needed, or at least felt like he should need.

Jason wasn’t sure what it was about NPC Investigations that had drawn his attention. Any number of law enforcement agencies or private security firms would have killed to have him. A lot of them were now employing superhumans, but there was still a place for “regulars” with the kind of training and experience Redfield possessed. NPC Investigations, on the other hand, was… different. Even if it seemed to cater to metahumans, he couldn’t simply pass it by once it caught his attention. He needed to expand his horizons at some point, and this was as good a place to start as any. And maybe, in the end, he really could end up making a difference.

With another sigh, Redfield opened the car’s door and stepped out, shutting and locking it behind him. He spared a quick glance around the parking garage, eying the dark corners. Old habits died hard. Jason adjusted the concealed pistol and and its spare magazine which rested in holsters on either ankle, along with the folding knife clipped to the inside of his pants pocket, as always. The ballistic vest under his shirt fit snugly against his torso. He'd been told to dress casually.

Old habits.

His paranoia satisfied, Redfield started moving. His boots pounded against the concrete of the parking garage, resounding in a series of echoes throughout the structure. Jason possessed a relatively large frame – some would even call him imposing. He stood at about six foot four and had an athletic, toned, and rather muscular physique to match. With his brisk pace and long strides, it didn’t take long for him to reach the building, or rather, buildings: two, three-story brownstones with the firm’s logo out front. He stopped short in front of the structure, taking a final look around before exhaling. He clenched his fists. It was now or never, and he wasn’t willing to simply walk away without giving this a chance.

With that, he held his breath and walked inside…


Last edited by Safton on Sun Feb 03, 2013 1:44 am; edited 7 times in total

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Re: NPC Investigations

Post by Eternal Phoenix on Thu Mar 08, 2012 12:05 am

A slim, brown haired woman came through the doors. Sonya glanced up just in time for the woman to introduce herself. Sonya blinked, thrown for a second. It wasn’t often that a guest beat her to speaking. “Yes, Ms. Lazarre, you do.” She shook her head. “Forgive me, you were a bit quicker than I expected. I’m Sonya Harmon.” She shook Julia’s hand, and then picked up her desk phone and pressed a button. “Edwin? Yes, she’s here. You ask like I’m going to tell you. Fine. Better than your usual club rats, all right? Yes, I’ll tell her.” She hung up the phone. “They drew lots. You’ve got Edwin Christian. Up the stairs on the left, first office. It has his name on it. Good luck, and don’t kick him between the legs.” As the woman departed, Sonya muttered “You’re gonna need it.”

Two men had come in while Sonya was speaking with Julia, and so the Hispanic woman strolled around the counter and greeted the first one. “Mister Anders? Hi. Sonya Harmon. We spoke on the phone? Orders from the top say that you are to go directly to the library and speak to Harmony Perez. She’s got a case that we could really use your expertise on. Up the stairs on the right, second floor. Her office is in the back. She’ll tell you anything else you need to know.” As Anders was processing all that, Sonya directed her attention to the other. “Mister Saaid? Miss Perkins wanted to see you as soon as you got here.” In fact, Carla was coming down the stairs at the very second with the client she had gone upstairs with.

“Mister Young, you just wait here. I promise you, there isn’t a safer place in New York City for you to be in. Have a seat, and I’ll be with you in a few minutes.” She snapped her attention over to Alai. “Saaid? Outside.” She went out the door without another word, leaving Alai to come or not as he wished. Just as that happened, a pale young man stepped through the doors, perhaps slightly intimidated by the woman who had gone through them.

Sonya smiled at him. “Mister Patterson, there you are. Have a seat, and I’ll get to you just as soon as-” A somewhat imposing man strode in through the doors. “He gets here.”

“I’ll take him, Penny.” Everyone but the newcomer jumped, startled. Penny Nihara stood at the base of the left stairs. “I wasn’t being particularly quiet. You’re just not paying enough attention.”

Shaken, Sonya nodded. “Yes, ma’am. I already know the answer, but could you wear a bell in the office?”

“If you already know the answer, then why ask the question?” Penny directed her attention at Jason Redfield. “Mister Redfield, if you’ll come with me.” She turned and went back up the stairs.
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Re: NPC Investigations

Post by Digital Muse on Thu Mar 08, 2012 5:47 pm

The receptionist seemed to have been caught off-guard by Julia having gotten straight to the point, but she recovered quickly, shaking her hand and then picking up her phone to call someone. The conversation was less that assuring. “Edwin? Yes, she’s here. You ask like I’m going to tell you. Fine. Better than your usual club rats, all right?" Julia raised her brows quizzically. There was little doubt that her appearance was being discussed. "Yes, I’ll tell her.” She hung up the phone. “They drew lots. You’ve got Edwin Christian. Up the stairs on the left, first office. It has his name on it. Good luck, and don’t kick him between the legs.”

That last comment made Julia even more apprehensive about the interview. She paused to glance over her shoulder as 4 more interviewees arrived very shortly behind her. She began to wonder if they were all vying for the same position, but that assumption was nixed when they were all claimed by various partners of the firm and left her to the stairs and her own interview. She ascended the left staircase and found the indicated office with the name on a brass plate stating Edwin Christian on it. She knocked gently and heard a pleasant, if slightly tired voice bid her to come in.

Opening the door, Julia was surprised by the ultra modern office setting in the old, traditional brownstone. Everything was stainless steel, glass and pale gray leather and obviously had enjoyed the services of a professional interior designer. What you could see of it the occupant and his space rather matched each other. They were messy, unkempt and seemed a little neglected. Edwin was seated behind his desk in a large gray leather chair with a stainless base. He was leaned far back with his feet up on the glass desktop, his gloved hands were clasped behind his head. He tilted his head at her, "Well? Come in and bring me a drink." He waved airily toward a cut-crystal decanter set on a small chrome bar cart against one wall.

Julia stopped, her brows raised, as if she hadn't hurt him right. "Excuse me?" She asked.

"I need a drink. Hair of the dog and all that." He sat up and pinched the bridge of his nose between his thumb and forefinger.

Julia's eyes narrowed. She walked around the right side of his desk, opened the top drawer and found the bottle of aspirin she guessed would be there and placed it on the desktop. She then walked to the bar cart and poured a glass of plain water, bringing that back and placing it beside the aspirin.

He eyed her. "That isn't what I wanted."

"No. But you don't always get what you want. You might get what you need." Deciding she liked the line of thought, Julia decided to run with the idea and do a little bit of a sales pitch. "Like you need me. The people that already work here are all business. They look like business professionals and fit in in that kind of environment."

"Let me guess." He reflected. "Mother or older sister?" He waved a hand at her slightly ill-fitting clothes. "Your hair and piercings say rebel-without-a-clue, but your clothes sort of scream soccer mom."

Julia had to smile."Older sister. She thought I should dress appropriately for an interview." She moved back around to the front of the desk and perched on the edge of one of the gray leather and chrome guest chairs. "So. You and your group would fit in from the 4th floor to the penthouse crowd. But, I would fit best from the 4th floor down to the streets. Even beneath the streets. I know that world and wouldn't raise any suspicion being there. Not all of your cases are all desperate housewives and absconding bank tellers, I'm sure."

Edwin shook out two aspirin into his gloved hand and drank them down the water Julia had provided. "You've been investigating less that 2 years, it said in your application. Is that even true?" His brown eyes caught hers and he waited to see what she'd tell him.

Julia pursed her lips and decided to answer him obliquely. "I can tell you had a date last night that didn't go well. You were trying to impress someone, but she wasn't impressed and you ended up spending the night alone drinking. You then slept in your car before being delivered here."

Edwin leaned his elbows on the desktop. "And how'd you get all that? He asked.

Julia waved a hand at the richly appointed room, "You have money. A lot of it. But the scarf around your neck is a cheap rayon, so someone gave it to you. You wore it trying to impress her. You probably said something that she took offense to given your conversation with your secretary about my looks and she left. Your eyes are so bloodshot, you look like you'll bleed to death, so you drank pretty heavily and the way your clothes are wrinkled means you slept in them rather than them being tossed carelessly into a chair or on the floor. So, you slept alone." She tilted her head at him. "I've been investigating long enough." She didn't dare tell him, she'd only had 3 cases....if you could call them that. "So." She took her courage in hand. "Good enough for you?"
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Re: NPC Investigations

Post by ElRey on Wed Mar 14, 2012 4:03 am

Alai had scarcely sat down before the room seemed to spring to life. Two men followed him in short order as the receptionist began greeting the small gathering. Alai could gather very little from the outward appearances of the two men, aside from one was nearly as large as he was. He briefly mused on what sort of power the man possessed, only to realize it was highly likely each person standing in the room with him was capable of some kind of extraordinary feat or ability.

It was a sobering thought, as he was still in the dark as to how NPC worked, for all he knew he was staring down his competition. Alai’s attention refocusing on the small brunette receptionist just in time to catch her name, Sonya. She instructed the man in front of Alai upstairs to the library before meeting his eyes.

“Mister Saaid? Miss Perkins wanted to see you as soon as you got here.”

As the overly-dressed man disappeared up the steps he was replaced by two others, a shrewd looking man in a deep green business suit and a professionally dressed woman who couldn’t be more than a handful of years older than himself. Alai’s eyes narrowed critically, there was still something odd about her, the tautness and even coloring of her skin looking slightly too perfect. Her hair not possessing a natural shine.

The woman gestured for the man to have a seat in the lobby, minor assurances lost on Alai as he analyzed her. Suddenly her eyes were locked on his own, she strode boldly towards, but then completely past him. A snappy command to follow barked his direction as she went back out to the street.

Damn. Well, that’s that. Out of the running before the race even begins. Typical.

Women like Perkins were a handful, the type Alai was always hesitant to deal with. The professional air that hovered about them giving him far more pause and cause for concern than any weapon pointed his way would. It didn’t help that it looked like he had been forced to brave a garbage disposal on his way to their office.

Knowing it was time to face the music he followed in her tracks, stepping back out the busy street which had spit him out only moments before.

“Saaid.” He faced the voice, Carla casting an arched eyebrow in his direction.

“Hello, Perkins was it?” He asked extending a hand. She took it, the edges of her hard exterior softening for a moment as she granted him a fleeting smile. Alai couldn’t help but notice the firmness of her grip, much stronger than the elegant fingers would seem capable.

“Yes. Carla Perkins. Walk with me.” Without waiting for a response she continued walking, leaving Alai scampering to catch up. “A lot of people aren’t sure you deserve to be here, Mr. Saaid. What happened to your shirt?”

Despite himself, Alai cringed, somehow he had hoped she wouldn’t have made note of his tarnished clothing. Though she was quite a bit shorter than him, she kept up an impressive clip, effortlessly down the block with a purpose.

“A car.” he said, long strides able to match her with ease “I got hit by a car.” It sounded stupid, but at this point Alai had little to lose.

“Hmm.” Though he was only presented with one side of her face she showed little emotion besides the short purse of her lips. They rounded the corner in silence, Alai’s brow creased, unsure of what to make of the woman.

Despite the street noise, there was a staleness to the silence. He felt as though he should say something, but he was at a loss as to what. “Well…?” He finally managed.

“Your drill times were off the charts, as you probably could’ve guessed. But I’m afraid your aptitude testing was a bit…” she drifted off, coming to a stop and turning to face the younger man. “lacking in certain areas.”

“I see.” Alai managed to hold his disappointment back, hesitating only a moment “Thank you for your time Miss Perkins.”

“You misunderstand me,” she quickly clarified, features softening for another brief second. “I simply meant to say that you’re green. Untested. This company has to be very careful who we hire.” She paused, leading Alai by the arm back into a stroll of a more relaxed pace. “You may not realize it but organizations like ours are under the microscope at all times, heavy scrutiny comes with the respect and reputation that is associated with our name.” Her tone was even and calculated, but it was clear she had a deep love for NPC Investigations. A true passion for her duty.

As the made another turn it became obvious Alai was being guided in a circle round the block. Had it all been a ruse? A tactic to test his demeanor under pressure? He wasn’t sure his reaction had been appropriate, though perhaps it was a direct example of his lacking traits she had spoke of.

“Luckily for you, some of higher ups think you have potential, so you’re getting a chance to prove you deserve to be part of our happy little family.” Again the cracks flashed through, hinting at a woman who was held together through professionalism. Her job being the cornerstone holding everything in its place. “Nothing too exciting, but don’t expect it to be easy, we want to see that you have room to grow.”

“Sounds reasonable.” Alai couldn’t help but feel relief wash over him, he had gotten his foot in the door, now he just needed to walk through it. One question still remained. “What do you think?”

“Of?” she asked, pausing with her hand on the door leading back inside the Brownstone.

“My potential.”

Her eyes narrowed, a faint smile curling the corner of her lips. “Ask me again after you’ve finished the first case. Follow me.”

She handed him the manila folder she had been covertly toting since she had come down stairs, before pushing open the door and leading him to her office to be briefed.


Last edited by ElRey on Wed Mar 14, 2012 4:19 pm; edited 3 times in total
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Re: NPC Investigations

Post by Anubis on Wed Mar 14, 2012 1:05 pm

Anders made his way up the stairs, focused on this interview. A place like this probably had great resources and he could do a lot of interesting things with great resources. He made it on the second floor and looked around a moment. The secretary had said the second floor, but hadn't specified a door. Was the whole second floor a library?

He approached one of the doors and peek his head in. It was a massive library filled with more clutter than Ander's entire apartment. He heard someone moving somewhere inside.

"Hello? My name is Anders Colferri, I'm supposed to meet Harmony Perez?"

He heard a book slam shut and then footsteps coming towards him. He saw a woman emerge from behind a stack of books. She was small and slender, with Hispanic features. She was wearing denim overalls with a white tee-shirt underneath. She smiled and approached, holding out her hand.

"Hey there, I'm Harmony. Come on, my office is in the back."

She lead him through the insane maze of books and whatnot into a medium sized office in the back. If the library was a little cluttered, then a bomb and a tornado had come through this office. Harmony gestured to what Anders assumed was a chair underneath a bunch of paper and rifled through papers on her desk. Anders was surprised to find a nice leather chair under the papers and promptly sat down, trying not to knock anything over.

"Sorry about the mess, I tend to get involved in what I'm doing."

Anders nodded politely, this much crap in a small space was making him nervous.

"Anyway, I'm assuming you know why you're here?"

"Front what I can tell it's because this place employs people like myself, people who have special abilities. I'm also assuming that my ability would come in handy in a place like this."

Harmony nodded and looked at something in the folder.

"Oh yeah, you have intuitive aptitude. That's got to be rather interesting."

Anders shrugged.

"I suppose. I'm really used to it at this point. I don't exactly have control of it, it just sort of turns on when I see something. Can be annoying at times."

Harmony smiled and looked back at the papers. Anders sat there, trying to figure out if this was some sort of test or something. After a few awkward minutes. He coughed slightly, seeming to snap Harmony out of a trance.

"Oh sorry, can't help it really. I love to read anything I can get a hold of. Anyway, as you're aware we're offering you a job. But first, we need to see how you handle yourself in the field. We have a mission lined up and want to see how you handle it. You game?"

Anders considered this a moment, he realized that was probably the most the girl had said to him at once. He was nervous about this mission, but the idea of working for a place like this was too great.

I'm game, what have you got for me?"
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Re: NPC Investigations

Post by Eternal Phoenix on Wed Mar 14, 2012 6:04 pm

Edwin’s eyes clouded for a moment. “Not bad…” he muttered, mind clearly elsewhere. Then he snapped out of it. “Yeah, you’ll do nicely. If it was up to me I’d hire you on the spot. But you know…procedure, protocol,” He waved his gloved hands to illustrate his point. “blah, blah, blah. Etcetera, etcetera.” He stood up, seeming shaking off the greater part of the hangover. “You did miss something, though. River mud on my shoes. I was drinking last night because I had to pull a teenage girl’s corpse out of the East River yesterday morning. No one that young deserves what happened to that girl.” He lapsed into silence.

Juila blinked, surprise and a ton of other things running through her mind. “You mean you didn’t have a date?”

Edwin didn’t react at first. “God, I hate our dredging contract with the city. Next time I’m making Carla do it.” Then it was his turn to blink, surprised. “Well…sort of.” He pulled a medallion out of his pants pocket. “I’m actually required by NPC policy to tell you this before we start working together in any way, shape, or form. I’m a mind control addict of the touch telepath variety. So if you like having your own free will, don’t touch my skin with your skin. I mean, you’ll enjoy yourself very, very much, but you won’t be able to tell me no. You might not even be capable of wanting to. Depends on how strong your will is.” He said all of that matter of factly, as if he’d said it many times before. “My date was with my group. Now, since that’s out of the way. Before I can hire you, you have to complete a trial case. If you are successful, you get the job and your first paycheck. If you fail, best of luck to you in your future endeavors, blah, blah, you know how that goes.”

Julia held up a hand. “Wait. Two things.”

Edwin sat back down and shrugged. “Shoot.”

“Mind control addict? Seriously? Am I going to have to stop you at some point?”

“Oh, you mean the warning? I’m not some animal. You might be able to get away-“ Edwin shut up. He closed his eyes, and did some special breathing that could’ve been self taught or a learned technique. A few seconds later, he opened his eyes. “Sorry, Temptation is a-well, you know. It’s safest not to touch me at all, since you’re a attractive woman. I’ve got enough self control that I won’t try and touch you, so don’t worry about that. Second thing?”

Julia was no longer exactly comfortable in this office, but the need for a job prevailed. “Dredging? In the East River? How do you-”

Edwin smirked, and every piece of furniture in the office levitated 3 inches of the floor. “I’m one of the strongest telekinetics in the Tri-State Area, too. I can’t rip molecules apart or block a cruse missile, but I’m no slouch. Helps with all sorts of things. Including helping the police save on boat fuel when somebody spots a floater. That it?” The furniture returned to the floor.

“For now. About this trial case…”

“Right.” Edwin rummaged through the mess on his desk and came up with a manilla folder. He floated it over to Julia, who took it. “Pretty simple. Rich married guy, poor yet smokin’ hot girl. She has a kid, doesn’t tell her who her daddy is. Daddy sends checks, teenage daughter finds them, runs off to see her daddy. Problem is, Daddy says she never arrived. Doorman and security footage agree with his story. Also…he was a good friend to my father and aside from the one affair, the man’s a saint. So…girl’s in the wind. Your job is to find the girl and get her home to her mother. Without daddy’s wife finding out about the whole thing. He’s the one paying, after all.” He pulled a business card from on top of his desk and floated that over to Julia. “You need anything, you call me. Or if you want someone to watch your back right now, I’ll go with you. Obviously I can’t help you solve the case, but if you’re feeling insecure without someone watching that lovely behind of yours, I’ll help you out. I don’t have a thing to do today. Clients seem to prefer Penny. Then again, I’m not entirely sure Penny sleeps. So there’s that.” He sighed. “Ninja girl always gets the good cases. Anyway, all the other info you need is in the file. There’s no real time limit, but remember that I’m seeing how capable by how you solve this case. Any other questions?”

***********************************************************************

Carla’s office was like the woman herself, tidy and professional. There was some slight clutter, but it was obvious that it had just gotten there today. “Have a seat, Mister Saaid.” Carla took her seat behind her desk as Alai sat. She couldn’t help it. She liked this kid. He seemed like a guy who just needed a break. Well…he had to earn it, but if she could give it to him she would. “What I want you to do isn’t particularly complex. In fact, I would do it myself today and be done with it, but I have enough on my plate as it is. Two cases to work today should keep me fairly occupied.. At any rate, do you remember Mister Young, the man waiting downstairs?”

Alai had to think for a second to remember the shrewd man in the green business suit. “The man you came down to see me with?”

“That’s the one.” Carla’s tone remained flawlessly professionally as she laid the manilla folder on her desk and slid it towards Alai. “He thinks someone is trying to kill him. I’ve done some preliminary digging, and it’s technically possible that he’s right. Which brings me to your job. You are to keep Mister Young alive and find out who’s trying to kill him.”

“Then what do I do?”

“Simply put, Mister Saaid, that is up to you. However, I must state that official NPC Investigations policy is that of full cooperation with the police in prosecuting employees, even prospective ones, who break the law. This includes but is not limited to harassment, assault and battery, and homicide.” Carla folded her hands and rested her elbows on her desk. “That said, if he or she should happen to suffer injuries requiring hospitalization if you confront him or her, it’s our word against his or hers. We do have a excellent reputation, after all.”

Alai felt a touch of panic creeping in. Could he really do this, alone? “What happens if I get into real trouble?” Crap, it bled into his voice.

Carla leaned forward with a reassuring smile. “Relax, Mister Saaid. You’ll do fine. If you get in over your head, my contact information is in the file. Unless you’d prefer to work with a partner. My caseload today isn’t particularly time sensitive. Or I could assign a junior agent. Neither of us will help you solve the case, of course, but your back will be covered. There is no real time limit on solving this case, but the longer it takes you the less likely you will be hired. Now, do you have any questions?”

************************************************************************

“This.” Harmony held up a metal cylinder that bore a striking resemblance to a lightsaber straight out of Star Wars, except it was closed at both ends instead of just the one.

Anders’s iries flashed silver. “Hmm. It doesn’t do…anything. A confusing mess of circuitry that counters itself in an endless cycle.”

Harmony frowned. “Shoot, I was hoping it would that easy. Oh, well. Two months ago, three men robbed a bank in Midtown. Two were emptying the vault while the third kept an eye on the bank employees and customers. The guard-he can turn invisible for as long as he can hold his breath-got the drop on the guy outside, allowing a teller to hit the silent alarm. The cops surrounded the place so the robbers couldn’t escape, but when they came in guns ready, the two in the vault were gone. This device was the only thing left. The cops are stumped, so they turned to us. Well, me really. I don’t know what the heck it is, though. I’ve never seen anything like it, and my memory puts an elephant’s to shame. I hoped you could figure it out, but no dice.”

Anders shrugged. “Sorry I couldn’t help.”

Harmony smiled fiercely. “Oh, no. It’s not that easy, buster.” She stepped to her door and yelled out of it. “Marcus, you still here?!” There was a muffled reply. “Good! I didn’t think to bring the Vanishing Robbers file to my office! Could you get it?!” There was another muffled reply. Harmony turned back to Anders. “It’ll be just a minute.” Soon, a brown haired Caucasian man came to the door and handed Harmony a file. “Thanks, Marcus. You off again?”

Marcus smiled. “Yeah. New case in LA needs my eyes. I’ll be back in a few days.”

“Don’t rush back on my account, now.”

Marcus turned to go. “Don’t worry, I won’t.” He left.

Harmony smiled and returned to Anders. “Friends are nice to have in this business, you know? Ah, nevermind. Why were we here again? Right, the case. The device.” She handed him the file. “The police report is in there. If you need someone to watch your back, I’m available. And there’s no real time limit on cracking this one. The cops have given up. Unoffically, of course.” She drew herself up like an NYPD PR rep. “Offically we’re still working diligently to catch the perpetrator.” She relaxed. “You know how it is. Do remember, though, that I’m the judge on whether or not you’re hired. So…do a good job and don’t be slow, okay? Any questions?”
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Re: NPC Investigations

Post by Crain_S on Thu Mar 15, 2012 12:40 am

Jason froze as he was addressed. The panic that gripped his guts quickly changed to feelings of abandonment as he felt that he had been forgotten in favor of the other people who had filled the room only moments before. As they slowly trickled away, Jacob nodded in the receptionist's direction in response to her request for him to wait until he could be dealt with and sank into a chair, seeming to shrink in on himself. At 6-2, the man would have been guessed closer to 5-6 as he slumped over his bag, staring at the toes of his shoes.

What am I doing here? He demanded of himself, his right hand slipping back into his pocket to caress the metal disk, the ridges of the rune comforting under the pad of his thumb. I belong with the rest of the clan at the farm, not here trying to prove myself.

Jacob glanced at the door, thinking about apologizing to the receptionist for wasting her time and just leaving. He would pack his suitcase back at the flat and be home with his brothers, sisters, aunts and uncles and the rest of his family by this time tomorrow. His thumb slowed, tracing the intricate pattern on the metal disk, following the pattern instead of tracing an endless circle over the edges.

You are being a tool, Jay. The words were his, but they were spoken in the voice of his uncle Locklyn.

Of the entire clan, Uncle Locklyn was the only one who had encouraged Jacob to leave and try to find his own way apart from the Patterson hoard from the very beginning.

"You know you are always going to be loved and welcomed back here, but if you never leave, you will always wonder what might have been." This advice, sounding as if it came more from personal experience than just an elder's wisdom, had been what convinced Jacob to leave the farmstead in the first place. He owed it to his uncle, and to himself, to give this a solid try.

With renewed purpose, Jacob withdrew a leather-bound tome from his bag, a gift from the many Runecrafters in his family. Inside were messages of good luck and worldly wisdom, but also pages upon pages of Lore, runes, glyphs, Wyrd components and theoretical suggestions that the family had thought might serve him well on his journey.

Tucked into the center of the book was a family photo, the picture taken so far back as to get everyone into the frame that, without knowing who they were, one would be hard-pressed to tell who was who. "With you always" was written on the back in his mother's flowing script.

With a grin, Jacob tucked the picture into the front of the book and began to study some of the more impressive, but least dangerous, Wyrds. Maybe he could show them a light Wyrd, meant to replace candles in an emergency...

Jacob relaxed as he reviewed the knowledge contained in the book, absently wondering about the library he had heard mentioned before. Maybe they had useful information to copy onto the empty pages of his book...
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Re: NPC Investigations

Post by Safton on Thu Mar 15, 2012 5:53 pm

Jason followed the woman without hesitation, moving toward the stairs. The other candidates were also being herded to various parts of the premises, no doubt for their own interviews. As Redfield planted his foot on the first stair, he looked up to see Penny moving purposefully ahead of him. Something was off – after a moment, he figured out what. The woman made no noise when she moved, or at least none that he could hear.

As he followed Penny up, he nearly cringed at the pounding of his boots on the stairs. After reaching the top, he looked down the corridor to see Nihara standing outside an office door, hands clasped in front of her. “After you,” she said quietly.

Jason nodded, trying not to make his hesitance apparent as he walked past her and into the office. She followed in behind him, silently shutting the door and moving to her desk. Jace noticed how economical her movements were – the balance and coordination was obvious, even in an act as simple as moving across the room.

Speaking of the room, Redfield was struck by how bare it was. Not unwelcoming, necessarily, but very spartan nonetheless. Near the center of the office was an unremarkable wooden desk, surrounded by three equally-unremarkable chairs. The desk was home to a single laptop computer, but other than that it seemed to be as bare as the rest of the office.

Penny took a seat, glancing at Jason before gesturing to one of the chairs in front of her desk. “Please, have a seat.”

Jason nodded, doing as he was told. Attempting to project an aura of casual confidence, he settled into the chair, but kept his posture stiff and straight. Nihara and her office reminded him of some of the career soldiers and intelligence case officers he had known – rigid, but not cold. The effect was intimidating for someone new to the world, but Redfield was used to it by now. At least, he thought he was.

Penny removed a manila folder, opening it to silently read over several lines from a document inside. “I’ve seen your file, Mr. Redfield,” she said in an almost thoughtful manner. She spoke softly, but forcefully. Penny set the file down, placing her elbows on the desk and resting her chin on her clasped hands. “The parts that weren’t classified, that is.”

Jason nodded. “I apologize. I should have warned you about that. With the kind of lifestyle I had…" he shrugged. “You get used to having parts of your life censored in black ink.”

Penny raised her eyebrows, considering that. “The same lifestyle that convinced you to come to a job interview armed?”

Redfield hesitated, frowning. Was that a guess on her part? No… she was too sure of herself. What she said next confirmed it.

The woman continued, unblinking, "Left foot, instep. Small caliber pistol in an ankle holster, no doubt."

Jason was dumbfounded. How had she picked up on that? Unsure of what to say, he began, “I—“

She waved the explanation away. “Don’t worry. Your… preparedness... is commendable. At any rate, we should move on.”

The woman leaned backward slightly, finally breaking eye contact with Jason. “So, as I understand it, you have no superhuman abilities to speak of?”

Jason nodded. “That’s correct. Is that a problem?”

Nihara shook her head. “Not at all. This job isn’t all about capes and superpowers. Now, before I proceed, I have to ask why you’re here.”

Jason frowned. “I don’t follow, Ms. Nihara.”

“I don’t want to pry into your personal life, but I need to hear what drove to take this opportunity. I want to know where your head’s at, is all,” she said in the same, soft-spoken tone.

Redfield sighed, hesitating. He wasn’t sure how to word this in a way she would understand. Hell, even he wasn’t sure what the answer to her question was. “I’m just looking for something new, I think. Before now, government work was all I knew. I thought it would answer some questions I had, but it didn’t turn out that way in the end. Don’t get me wrong – I’d do it all over again. But there were… compelling reasons for me to move on. I guess I’m trying to start a new chapter.”

Jason grimaced internally. Had he been babbling? Had he said too much?

Penny studied him for several, silent moments.

Finally, Redfield broke the silence. “Good enough?”

She nodded, with the slightest hint of a smile on her face. “Good enough." She leaned back somewhat further, putting the folder away. "On to business… we work differently here. Rather than a traditional interview and training, we’re giving you a chance to prove yourself in the field. You’ll be given a trial case. Perform adequately, and we’ll see about the status of your employment.”

Jace raised his eyebrows. He hadn’t expected to be thrown into the thick of it so quickly. But if it was a chance to prove himself and a step towards moving on, then he’d have to take that next step. He exhaled, nodding. “Alright. What are the details?”


Last edited by Safton on Sun Feb 03, 2013 1:55 am; edited 4 times in total

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Re: NPC Investigations

Post by Eternal Phoenix on Sat Mar 17, 2012 2:28 pm

“Mister Patterson?” Jacob looked up from his book to see Sonya standing in front of him. “Are you ready? Or would you like to finish your book first?” The tease was gentle, as was her smile.

Jacob shut his book hurriedly and stuffed it back into his bad. “N, no. I mean, I’m ready.”

Sonya’s smile remained in place. “All right then. Two out of three partners gave me the go ahead to get you started, so here’s how this works. Normally you’d go out and handle a trial case, just so we can get a handle on what you can do. That said, a little research on you says that you’ve never left home in your life. So while you may have a lot of experience with your power set, you have zero with what we do. What I’m saying is that if we gave you the typical trial case, you wouldn’t do very well.”

Jacob knew it. He knew it. “Oh…Thank you for your time, then.” He rose to leave, but Sonya grabbed his arm.

“Not so fast. If we weren’t going to give you a chance to prove yourself, you wouldn’t have been called in.” Jacob turned back around, clearly confused. Sonya let go of his arm and regarded him for a second. Then she spoke again. “I said if we gave you the typical trial case, Mister Patterson. What we’re going to give you is far from typical. It’s not every day a wizard from the Council of Light needs a hand, and we’re going to give it to him.” She stepped back to her desk, and floated up to second story eye level. “Willa? Can you cover the desk for a while? I’ve got to take the Patterson kid on his trial case.”

Willa Hawk just about glided to the railing. “Oh, sure. Lunch is ready and refrigerated. I’ll be down in a minute. You two go ahead. Oh…watch out for dragons. There are always dragons.”

Sonya blinked, and then accepted it. “Okay…hopefully you’re wrong this time. I don’t want to face down a fire breathing monster. Again.” She floated back down and walked back over to Jacob. “Mister Patterson.” She saw the expression on his face. “Oh, don’t mnd Willa. It’s probably just symbolism. A dragon tattooed gang or something.”

“How does she even know?”

Sonya shrugged. “No idea. It’s not psionic, tech, or magic. She just knows things sometimes, and she’s never wrong. Anyway, we have to get to Schenectady, and in a hurry. So I thought we’d just fly. Unless you’re afraid. Which would be weird, because you had to have taken a plane to get here and flying with me isn’t THAT different.”

“Aren't you…supposed to give the details before we go?”

“Usually. But…Sumac didn’t trust the phones, so off we go. I’ll be outside when you’re ready.” She pulled goggles out of her pocket and went out the door, just as Willa came down the stairs to handle the reception desk.

The blonde woman just looked at him, her face virtually blank. Her tone was curiously flat. “You should go with her. Flying Air Harmon is actually safer than a commercial airline. A 747 can’t throw fire at a pursuer, and it needs literally tons of fuel. All Sonya needs is a burger. Oh, right.” She reached under the desk and pulled out a lunch bag. “She always forgets her lunch. Make sure she eats it, okay? You need energy to deal with dragons, you know.”

**********************************************************************

Penny regarded Jason for a moment. “On the surface this is simple corporate espionage. However, I scouted the building last night and its security precautions make the NSA seem careless.” She said it not as a random analogy, but as if she knew it for a fact. “Research indicates that the security chief is a tech control meta. Unauthorized electronic devices are burned out within seconds of entry and security personnel of notified when and where this has happened at that instant. During the day, sensitive locations require a biometric scan of the right hand, a retinal scan, and the keycard with the matching datat encoded on it. Ordinary offices require only the card. During the night, light, heat and motion sensors cover every cubic inch of the building’s interior. There are even weight sensors buried in the floor and most of the walls. Any attempt to override or disable any of these systems is reported immediately to security personnel.”

Jason thought for a second. “It seems impenetrable. How do I get in?”

Penny gave him a small approving smile. “Therein lies the problem, Mister Redfield. Someone already got in, and stole a top secret prototype. If I may speak frankly, I am capable of having done it. However, the man who I used to gain access would be missing an eye, a hand, and his keycard. Five people had access to that room, and none of them are missing anything.”

“Sounds like an inside job, then.”

“Possibly. Your task is to find out how the theft was performed, who performed it, and to retrieve the prototype.

“Where do I start?”

“Archeron Industries. I assume you know the building?”

Anyone who’d ever seen New York’s skyline would. The skyscraper at 40 Wall Street was unmistakable. “I know it. Never been inside, though.”

Penny looked faintly amused by that. “No time like the present. Do you need me to assign you a partner, or are you fine on your own?”
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Re: NPC Investigations

Post by ElRey on Mon Mar 19, 2012 6:04 pm

“I…” Alai took a moment to regard the woman who sat across from him. A minor look of befuddlement likely crossed his features, but it was now or never. Shit or get off the pot. “Yes. Well. That sounds nice.”

Jesus. What the hell was that? Nice? It sounds nice?

His brows furrowed again hand waving slightly as he readjusted awkwardly in his seat. Causing the torn lap of his shirt to sway uselessly from his arm. “Yeah, questions. If they’re trying to kill him won’t they be using guns? I haven’t fired a gun sinc-”

“Mr. Saaid.” She interrupted, taking a blunt almost offended tone. “We’re not looking to throw you straight into the fire.” Her voice softened, as her slightly ruffled feathers soothed themselves, though never losing that professional edge to her gaze. “As I said, if you want someone to watch your back, that’s perfectly reasonable. There’s no shame in it and it will not count against you in any way. Now…”

“I’ll be fine.” he replied, though he wasn’t sure he had said it convincingly enough for either of them to believe it.

Alai quickly stood, rounding his chair to leave before realizing his mistake. He rumpled his nose at his own reflection in the glass door and spun 180° to face Perkins again. By the time he realized he was offering her the scratched, dirty and partially bloodied hand which had broken much of his earlier fall it was too late. He quickly retracted it, drawing an amused cock of the brow from Carla.

His cheeks burned, “Thank you Miss Perkins. I’ll be back with the necessary information.”

Without waiting for any real response, Alai meekly slid the manilla folder from the tabletop, unconsciously sucking in on his top lip. This was exactly what she had been talking about when she said some of his skills were lacking, no doubt. His embarrassment propelled him down stairs in a flash, as if physically distancing himself from the area would dull the self-loathing he felt. Though no doubt still looking like a joke with the tattered clothing of his car wreck he put on the best mask of suave confidence and approached the man, who bounced his leg nervously and ringed his hands together, eyes locked on the front door. It appeared the secretary had been replaced, the desk now occupied by a small blonde woman. He nodded in her direction with a slight smile, approaching the man he was to assist.

“Mister Young?” Alai questioned calmly.

It clearly startled the man, who was far too intent on the door to notice Saaid’s footsteps approach. He whipped cold blue eyes in Alai’s direction, sunken from too many nights without a good sleep. “Y-Yes? Wh-What do you want?”

“I’m here on behalf of Carla Perkins.”

“Oh. Oh, yes of course.” The man seemed to take a moment to assess the size of his new guardian, before nodding in a pleased fashion. Though Alai could not be sure, the man carried himself with an air of readiness and over-alertness that reminded Alai of his father. Was this man ex-military just like his dad? “Well, where do we start?” His question gave Saaid pause. It was a damn good question; one Alai now wished he had taken time to ask himself, or Perkins for that matter, rather than gunning out of there with false preparedness. Young seemed to instantly pick up on this, an eyebrow raising critically. “Are you sure you’re here to protect me?”

“Indeed, I am, sir.” he said through grit teeth, irritation, primarily with himself bleeding through in his voice. Alai quickly flipped open the manila folder containing the contact info and preliminary investigation by Perkins, before returning his gaze to the man in front of him. “Why don’t you tell me what’s been going on from your point of view?”
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Re: NPC Investigations

Post by Digital Muse on Wed Mar 21, 2012 9:02 pm

Julia considered many things in the space of less than a minute;1) this man was a mind control addict. Not good and don't let him touch you. 2) He was a powerful telekinetic. Also not good. 3) She might have to go on dredging detail at some point. Not as bad....since it was likely a ways away. 4) A girl was missing. That was always very, very bad. Even without Edwin's commentary about her ass, this case just left a sinking feeling in the pit of her stomach.

Julia thumbed through the folder, taking in the photograph, the slim details and the uptown address of Daddy-dearest. Julia bit her lower lip, she had a bad feeling she knew what had happened to the girl and prayed she was wrong. As she skimmed the file, she forgot about her discomfort being near Edwin. "Do we know how she traveled? Cab? Or bus? Private car? That will give us a starting point." She glanced up to the man, "I'd rather start street-side for now to see if we can find her and only if we fail talk to the father." She read the file more in depth to ensure she hadn't missed any details. "I wouldn't mind back up, for sure. But you'll have to change clothes." She smiled just slightly, "Into something less likely to make you a target."

Julia explained her plan to talk to anyone she knew on the street that might have any ideas about this girl and the one in the river, in case they were related. Maybe a pimp was recruiting, maybe someone was holding her, maybe she had been attacked and was already dead. Until she got out there and started asking, she'd never know. Julia glanced up. "I'll go get out of these ridiculous clothes and into my own and meet you back here. Then, we start at the beginning; her Mom's place. alright? I want to see if she has any insight into the girl's sudden urge to meet her father."

In the back of her mind, Julia also felt the seedling of a risky plan take root. If it came down to it...she'd act as bait herself. But, only, if everything else failed, she wasn't a fool. Usually. An hour later found Julia, back in her comfortable jeans, t-shirt and boots. She re-entered the reception area and began to head up the stairs toward Edwin's office when the blond sitting behind the desk rose to stop her. "I'm sorry, Miss. Wait, Miss! You can't just go up there!"

Julia stopped on the 4th stair up, hand on the railing and breathed out a long-suffering sigh. "I'm Julia Lazarre. I'm on a case for this Agency? Call it a disguise. OK?" What she really wanted to do is touch the woman's sleeve strengthening the fabric fibers to the point that she couldn't move. But...it likely would have gotten her fired for no good reason. So she turned around and calmly asked, :If you wouldn't mind, could you page Mr. Christian?"
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Re: NPC Investigations

Post by Eternal Phoenix on Fri Apr 13, 2012 6:09 pm

"Well, it’s a little embarrassing, actually. It’s about this woman. Theria Brynstal. We were dating. She was…wonderful. Tall, blonde, and stronger than most of the men I’ve known. I’m an accountant, though, so take that with a grain of salt. It was going great, and then I met another woman. Kerri McDonogh. Dark skinned and petite. Natural red hair, if you can believe it. Theria caught us, and she was angry. I can’t quite remember if Theria was mad at me, Kerri, or both us because I got it on the head. I woke up in the hospital with this.” Young pulled back his sleeve to reveal a bandage. Blood colored had seeped through, coloring the surface. “I tried to continue with my life, but then someone almost ran me off the road. I’m sure it was deliberate. I only got away because it was almost rush hour and traffic was locking up. And then there were the men who were watching me. Never the same man twice, but always in the same suit. A friend recommended NPC, and so here I am.”

Alai flipped through the file again. Theria’s boyfriends had a nasty habit of dying violently. Some appeared to be accidents and others were professional work, but every last one was dead. Carla was unsure how Theria was involved, but the evidence was unmistakable. Kerri seemed to have her own trail of corpses, but they were all women. The file also held photos and addresses for Patrick Young, Theria Brynstal, and Kerri McDonogh were listed. Young was indeed an accountant, if a small time one. Theria and Kerri were apparently ex-military with dishonorable discharges, Theria from the Swedish army, and Kerri from the US Army. No note as to why. They worked mostly as bounty hunters with occasional mercenary work. However, unlike most of their peers, their jobs were rarely shady. In fact, they seemed to go out of their way to avoid them. Something was clearly going on here. There Carla’s notes ended.

*********************************************************************

“No need for that, I’m right here.” Julia turned around to see the door closing behind Edwin. “Did I miss something?” The rich playboy from earlier has vanished, and in his place stood someone who wouldn’t be entirely out of place in Bed-Stuy. Old, battered blue jeans, a worn gray Yankees hoodie, and crisp white sneakers were a good part of it, but there was something else. Edwin stood differently. The perfect posture was gone and he limped slightly. “I know, I know. The shoes. Slick Eddie loves his shoes.” It wasn’t a nickname, not the way he said it. “I have done this before.” He tossed Willa a wave. “Hey, Willa. Sonya’s out, then. Meaning lunch is ready for whenever we want to eat. Nicely done, as usual.”

Willa Hawke smiled faintly. “The Wolf and the Fury. Avenging angels, of a sort. No…that’s Saladin-in-waiting. Edwin...I…you…I can’t…”

Edwin stepped to the desk and took her hands in his cheap cotton gloved hands. “Relax, Willa. Everything will be fine. I promise.” She looked at him, and nodded. He turned to face Julia as she came down the stairs. “It’s not what it looks like. Willa…she knows things, and sometimes she knows she can’t tell. But we’re all friends here, so…you can see where I’m going with this. Anyway, I can see you’re ready. So let’s get out of here. You said you wanted to start with her mother. I’ll drive. Hopefully the old thing starts again.” He stepped back through the door, and Julia moved to follow him. Willa caught her shirt briefly. Julia turned around, sharp comment ready, but it died unspoken when she saw deep concern on Willa’s face. “Don’t let him…He can’t…” Julia shook her head and turned to leave again. “Remind him he’s not alone. Not now. You’ll know when.”

Julia looked back. Relief was all over Willa’s face. “What do you mean, not alone?”

“He’ll need to hear it, and I can’t tell him or anyone why. I just know that. And…I’m sorry if I was rude a minute ago. I didn’t recognize you at first.”


Last edited by Eternal Phoenix on Wed Apr 25, 2012 5:37 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: NPC Investigations

Post by Safton on Wed Apr 18, 2012 6:32 pm

Jason considered Penny’s question quickly before ultimately deciding he’d be better off on his own. Pride and ego had nothing to do with the decision. Objectively, he understood that there weren’t many people who possessed his type of training, so a helpful partner could quickly turn into a useless one, or worse, a liability. He didn’t doubt the abilities of the others in the building, but this operation... case… would take a different sort of skill set than many of them were likely familiar with.

Redfield became aware of the fact that Penny was eying him curiously, unblinking. It was almost unnerving, as if the woman was scanning him for weaknesses as she waited for his reply. He responded slowly, “No, I’ll be fine on my own.”

Penny nodded, leaning backwards. “Very well. You’re on the clock, so I suggest you start immediately.”

Jason nodded before standing up and thanking Nihara for her time. He made it halfway to the door when he heard her call out, “And Mister Redfield?”

The man turned, looking over his shoulder curiously. “Yes?”

“I hope you have a nice suit,” she said with the same passive expression.

He smiled, giving another slight nod before heading out of the room and then the building. He wasted no time in heading back to his car at the parking garage, using the same brisk pace he had on the way to the office. Jason made a quick stop back at his apartment to change clothes – there was no way he’d blend in at Archeron in his current outfit.

He traded the street clothes for a plain charcoal suit over a blue shirt, complemented by an indigo tie with a silver clip. Shined black dress shoes replaced his boots, while his military-style wristwatch was traded in favor of a polished platinum watch with a black dial. Archeron was a high-priced operation and he needed to look the part in order to exert subtle influence, all without drawing too much attention. It was a delicate balance.

Redfield wasn’t a fan of formal wear as a general rule, even if a suit jacket did give you some options when it came to concealing weapons. When you spend the better part of your life in camouflage fatigues and tactical gear, pinstriped business suits are a little difficult to become accustomed to. Even when he worked for the CIA, he spent more time in cargo pants, Afghan robes, and a shemagh than he did in a James Bond-style tuxedo.

After hastily dressing, Jason didn’t hesitate in heading to Archeron. He didn’t need directions – even if he hadn’t known his way around New York City, the skyscraper’s profile was obvious against the skyline. After several minutes of gridlock traffic, Redfield finally made it to the building’s parking garage. After coming to a stop and removing the keys from the ignition, he hesitated.

Jason pulled a holstered Glock from the console, examining the pistol for a moment before putting it away, along with his other weapons. Archeron Industries was a high-security operation; there was no way he’d be getting in there armed. He didn’t like being disarmed, especially not by choice, but he wouldn’t have lived as long as he had if he couldn’t defend himself without a gun or knife. Besides, there were no rules against hidden Kevlar vests.

Redfield locked the car before heading towards the building’s front door. The foreboding gray sky loomed overhead as he entered, threatening a storm.  His black dress shoes clacked against the hard tile floor as Jason passed through the lobby, which was filled with groups of business professionals going about their business. It didn’t take long to spot the security personnel dispersed throughout the lobby. They weren’t uniformed, but it hardly mattered. Their vigilant glares and earpieces gave them away.

Jason approached the front desk, receiving a well-practiced and dazzling smile from the receptionist. “How can I help you, sir?”

“Hello, I’m a private investigator. I was sent—“ he began.

The receptionist nodded before speaking up, “You’re from NPC, correct?”

Redfield cocked his head. “You could say that,” he replied before showing the woman his ID.

She nodded before picking up a nearby phone from its cradle and pressing a button on the receiver. “Mister Archer, the private investigator is here.” A pause. “Yes sir.”

The receptionist hung up before turning her attention and still-present smile on Jason. “Mister Archer will be with you in a moment.”

“Thank you,” Redfield replied, doing his best to replicate the expression but no doubt failing. He stepped away from the desk, taking a spot by the wall and scoping out the lobby while he waited. There was plenty of activity in and out of the building; it was a good thing the suspect list was so narrow.

Jason turned to see a man in an extremely expensive solid gray business suit approaching him. The man was certainly up there in years, with pale, wrinkled skin and silver hair. Despite this, he still moved with a youthful energy.

The man smiled as he drew near, extending his hand to Jason who quickly gave it a firm shake. “Morris Archer, CEO of Archeron Industries. We’re happy to have you here.” Archer spoke with an unmistakable Scottish accent.

“Jason Redfield. It’s a pleasure to meet you, Mister Archer,” Jace replied.

“Oh, the pleasure’s all mine. If you’ll follow me, I’ll give you the pertinent details in my office,” Archer said, gesturing towards the elevators with his hand while gently ushering Jason towards them.

The journey to the CEO’s office was a relatively quiet one. Redfield wasn’t the best at making idle small talk, and Morris’s demeanor made it clear that the details of the case were to be discussed away from any potentially prying eyes or attentive ears.

After exiting the elevator at the top floor, Archer guided Jason to a large office, flanked by two security guards. Passing through the wooden door with the CEO’s name inscribed upon it, Redfield found a rather luxurious room that clashed with the utterly contemporary and modern feel of the rest of the building. A few pieces of artwork adorned the wall, accompanied by a suit of armor in the corner. Archer moved forward to take a seat behind his ornate, cherry wood desk before indicating a cushioned chair for Redfield to sit in.

Jason obliged. Morris considered him for a moment, clasping his hands on the desk in front of him. “I apologize for the silent treatment, Mister Redfield, but you never can be too careful.”

Redfield nodded. “I understand, sir. Before I can get to work, there are a few things I need to know first.”

The businessman nodded vigorously. “I’ll do everything in my power to assist.”

“First of all, what was this prototype? Why was it so valuable and who would want to steal it?” Jason asked.

Morris hesitated visibly. “I apologize, but you must understand that such information is very sensitive. We can’t have our competitors knowing what it is we’re working on at any given moment.”

Redfield frowned. “I realize the need for discretion, Mister Archer, but you’re not giving me much to work with.”

The CEO sighed. “I’ll speak with the Board about this matter, but for the moment I cannot reveal the nature of the prototype.”

The investigator raised his eyebrows, adjusting his tie absentmindedly before speaking again. “Fair enough. Can you tell me who would have had access to the prototype, then?”

With obvious relief, the Scotsman nodded. “Indeed I can. I’ve already had a list put together. It’s rather short – only four people other than myself had access to that lab: my Head of Security, Donald Richter; the head of research and development, Dr. Katie Green; and two of our top scientists, Drs. Peter Johnson and Nicholas Gordon.”

Archer handed over the piece of paper with the indicated names and positions. Jason spoke without looking up from the list, “Thank you. I’ll need to interview each of them, but you need to know that I’ll follow this wherever it takes me—“

Morris cut him off. “I know the implications, Mister Redfield.”

Redfield glanced upwards from the paper to see that the expression on the man’s face was a grim one.

Archer continued, “I’ll have each of the people on that list cooperate with you fully, and we have an office you can use for your interviews. When will you begin?”

“As soon as you’re ready for me,” Jason replied.

“Excellent. Why delay? I’ll have my secretary show you to the office,” Morris said.

Ten minutes later, Redfield found himself in a small office at the end of the hallway, obviously unused for a time, although it was impeccably clean. The room matched the modern décor of the rest of the building. The light gray, bleak walls were bare, save for the northern end of the room which was dominated by a window with a rainy view of Wall Street. Distant flashes of thunder lit up the sky every few seconds as raindrops pounded against the glass.

The room held no furniture except for a small desk constructed of glass and metal. A laptop and a phone adorned the otherwise-bare desktop. A cushioned, surprisingly-comfortable chair sat on either side of the desk.

The investigator settled into the chair behind the desk, picking up the phone and hitting a button. Almost instantly, the voice of Morris’s secretary answered. “I’m ready for him," Redfield said quietly.

“Yes, sir. He’ll be right in,” the woman responded almost immediately.

After a short wait, the door opened and a Caucasian man in a simple gray suit and tie entered. He seemed to be in his mid-40s, balding, with a slight paunch. He moved with assertiveness and confidence, and his face seemed to be twisted into a mix of businesslike dispassion and simple, old-fashioned loathing.

“Mr. Richter?” Redfield asked, standing up to shake the Head of Security’s hand.

“I am,” Donald replied tersely, returning the handshake firmly before sitting down.

“Nice to meet you, I’m—“ Redfield began.

“I know what you are. You’re a P.I.; Archer brought you in about the theft because he thinks I can’t do my job anymore,” Richter said, leaning back in the chair but never ceasing his glare.

Jason continued on, undaunted. “Well, help me prove him wrong. Give me something I can use to help find out who did this.”

Donald scoffed. “Easy as that? What did they tell you about the security of this building, about what I can do?”

Redfield cocked his head. “I’m aware of the building’s security measures and your… talents, Mr. Richter.”

The man nodded. “Then you should be as confused as I am as to how someone could pull this off… unless it was from the inside.”

“Using their security access…” Jason added.

Donald smirked. “Exactly. I’m not naïve, I know I’m under consideration. Who would ever suspect the security chief, right? I spent over a decade in the Air Force and the NSA before I ever came here. And I’ve never seen an operation this clean, even one from the inside. I don’t know how this happened, but I plan to figure out.”

Redfield said nothing, watching the man’s expression. He certainly seemed genuinely baffled, obviously frustrated. Jason wouldn’t be getting much from him that he didn’t already know, after a few more basic questions from the investigator and terse answers from the security chief, Jason ended the interview.

“Thank you for your time, Mr. Richter. I’ll keep you informed."

“No, you won’t,” the security chief replied dismissively, standing up and stiffly exiting the room.

Redfield raised his eyebrows with a sigh before paging the secretary again. It took a few moments before the door opened, and a lanky man in a lab coat entered. Nicholas Gordon, one of the researchers.

The two men exchanged pleasantries before Gordon awkwardly took his seat. He avoided direct eye contact as Jason spoke to him. When he did open his mouth, he spoke softly. He was predictably hesitant to discuss anything about the prototype and the project surrounding its creation. After about fifteen minutes with little progress, Redfield gave in.

“I think that’s all I need, Dr. Gordon. You’re free to go. Please tell Dr. Johnson that I’m ready for him,” Jason said.

Nicholas nodded several times, standing up and self-consciously stalking from the room. Before long, another researcher entered in the same attire. However, the man now standing before Redfield was very different. He was short and pudgy, with an almost jolly demeanor. He waddled into the room and pumped Jason’s hand before settling into the chair.

Despite his attitude, Peter was evidently concerned as the conversation moved ahead. The theft worried him, although he was quick to point out that he knew nothing about it and wasn’t at liberty to speak about the prototype. Soon enough, he, too, was on his way out of the office.

Redfield rubbed his eyes, sighing as he went over what he’d been told so far. Richter, the Head of Security, was a tempting suspect at first glance. Few would tag him as a thief and his abilities to manipulate tech in addition to his intimate knowledge of the building’s security systems meant that he had the know-how and physical capability to carry out the theft. His background in government work would have helped, especially in knowing how to avoid any “tells” during Jason’s interrogation.

However, Donald did seem genuinely frustrated by the turn of events. If he was the thief, then he had effectively killed his own career, since he didn’t seem to be heading for the hills with the prototype. That and the fact that someone in a lofty position such as his had little free time to carry out such an operation cast some doubt on his guilt. He was a possibility, but Jace wasn’t convinced. Yet.

The two scientists were oddballs. Nicholas’s evasive attitude when carrying on a conversation would be seen by many amateurs as obvious signs of guilt. However, Redfield was hesitantly chalking it up to self-consciousness and a general lack of social aptitude. He was no psychologist, but the CIA had made him something of an expert when it came to reading, analyzing, and exploiting human behavior and mannerisms. There was a difference between guilt and simple antisocial behavior, and Gordon’s attitude was more indicative of the latter.

Peter Johnson was strangely jovial for a man under suspicion, but again Redfield was quite sure that was simply who he was. He hadn’t shown any overt signs of deception, but the kind and cheerful demeanor could potentially be a good cover. Finding a highly-qualified scientist with that level of tradecraft would be difficult, but not impossible.

In any case, there was still one more person to interview. Redfield paged the secretary again. This time, the door opened to a very different sight. A tall woman in her 30s entered, wearing a lab coat and conservative black-framed glasses. She was somewhat petite, dark-haired, and undeniably attractive. However, those attractive features were currently contorted into an near-grimace of concern.

“Dr. Green, nice to meet you,” Jace said, offering his hand. The woman took it, shaking it briefly. "My name is Jason Redfield—“

“You’re here about the prototype, aren’t you?” she said quickly, cutting him off.

Jason frowned, immediately switching gears. “Yes, do you know something about it? If you do, I can help.”

She looked around the room, nervously wringing her hands. “I know something that could help you find it, but I swear I’m not the one who took it.”

Redfield gestured to Katie's seat before leaning back in his chair, a passive expression filling his face. “Tell me more.”


Last edited by Safton on Thu Oct 10, 2013 5:17 pm; edited 8 times in total

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Re: NPC Investigations

Post by Anubis on Thu Apr 19, 2012 2:38 pm

Anders looked through the file. He found three main names of interest: Moses Martin, Ruth Feinberg, and Tyler Reardon. Martin and Feinberg were detectives that might be able to help chase down leads. Martin seemed to have his hands in stopping high-tech crimes. Feinberg was his parter, and appeared to have a knack for chasing down motives. Reardon was the security guard who was on duty when the "crime" occurred.

Anders thought this over. He could deal with the cops, they might even be able to get him on the right track. However, it was invaluable to talk to someone who actually say the event occur. If he could talk to him, he could get an idea of what happened and go from there.

He looked back up and realized that Harmony was staring at him.

"Oh, sorry. You asked if I have any questions. Not really, this seems pretty straightforward and I think I know where I'm going."

"Oh? You know who you're going to talk to?"

"Yes, I'm going to talk to Tyler Reardon, the security guard."

He heard the voice of Marcus from the next room, there was a bit of humor to his voice.

"Well Harm, looks like you owe me five dollars."

Anders looked at Harmony and blinked.

You bet one which group I would talk to?"

"Kid, you have no idea how boring it can get around here sometimes."

~~~

Twenty minutes later Anders was walking away from the building and towards the residence of Tyler Reardon.
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Re: NPC Investigations

Post by Eternal Phoenix on Sat Apr 21, 2012 9:50 pm

“Have you heard of the Top Five Lists?” Dr. Green asked.

Redfield considered for a moment. He wasn’t sure whst she was-wait. Professional criminals tended to avoid scrutiny for the most part. However, the most skilled found their way onto their profession’s Top Five List. No one knew who compiled the Lists, or why, but there was no doubt that each Top Five List represented the very best in that field. No real names were used, of course. Each member was known by their codename. As recently as ten years ago, the very existence of the Lists was top secret within the criminal community. However, since then the rise of the internet had made this secrecy impossible. The names were published on virtually untraceable underground websites from time to time, with exploits attached. A cult following had grown up around the Lists, and now, it seemed, it was beginning to break out into something more mainstream.“How do you know about them?”

Dr. Green shifted uncomfortable in her chair. “I’m a fan of the thieves. I’m just about the foremost blogger exclusive to them, and sometimes one of the lowers will sent me an email to my personal address. Untraceable, of course. Number Two, the Night Fox, sent me an apology last night. For stealing my work.”

“Is that so? Why haven’t you contacted the police?”

“Well…I have, sort of. Interpol traced an email to me last month. The FBI took my computer. I’m stuck with my laptop now. The thieves…they aren’t bad people. They pride themselves on never hurting anyone, not even by accident, and they don’t steal from anyone who can’t afford the loss. They’re just providing a service for a fee. The top 5, anyway. That’s why the Lists exist in the first place.”

“I know that much. Did this Night Fox say how she did it?”

“No. I don’t even know how she knew who I was. She contacts me less than anyone but Number One. The legendary Bandito. He’s never contacted me directy.”

Redfield smiled. A slip. “You do know Night Fox is a woman.”

“Well, yes. Every fan knows that. Bandito is the only man on the list.” Dr. Green was smug about that. There was a knock on the door, interrupting their conversation.

Redfield rose. “Can I help you?”

The from the other side was feminine, without a trace of menace. Then why did he feel tense all of a sudden? “Delivery for Katie Green.”

”Come in.” The woman, even smaller than Green with none of her curves, came in with a one of those big padded shipping envelopes in her hand. “Sorry about this, Doctor. Delivery guy said it was urgent.” Her hair was covered by an oversize beret, and her eyes were green, but a bit flat. Cheap color contacts, maybe.

Dr. Green took the envelope. “Oh, Daria. When did you get back?”

Daria smiled. “Just now. But I’m off again. Archer keeps me hopping. Somebody’s got to check on the empire, and he’s getting too old to travel that often.”

Dr. Green blinked. “Oh, Mister Redfield. I’m sorry. This is Daria Stavros. She’s the heir apparent to Archeron. Daria, he’s here for the old man’s problem.”

Daria looked at Redfield. “Oh, that. Big problem. Nice to meet you, Redfield. Well, I’ve got to go. Later, Doctor.” She went back out the door.

Redfield watched her go down the hall, then moved to the door and shut it. Even after Daria had left, he still felt like something was wrong. Very, very wrong. “Does she have access?”

“What? No. She just does the day to day for most of Archeron. She knew we were working on something, but all of the senior executives did. Anyway.” Before Redfield could do anything, Green opened the envelope and pulled out a letter. She unfolded it, and paled. Redfield took a look.

To my biggest fan:

My client has broken the Code. GET OUT. GET OUT NOW. My people will hide you until this is finished. I repeat, GET OUT. GET OUT NOW. Make sure Redfield sees this as well. Speaking with you may have made him a target. MOVE, WOMAN!

-Night Fox


Green stumbled to her feet and threw open the door. Redfield was half a step behind her as she started to run. Then his instincts, honed for over a decade, screamed a warning and he dropped to the floor. Just as a bullet screamed through where his head had been a split second earlier. He froze in place on the floor, and then slowly turned his head to check on Dr. Green. She was down, bleeding heavily from the upper abdomen. That tense feeling was gone, and he knew the sniper was, too. He crawled to her and attempted first aid, but he’d seen this kind of wound before. Dr Green wasn’t leaving the building alive. She spoke to him. “We…we…”

“Don’t try to talk. Save your strength.” Redfield glanced up, and sure enough one of the secretaries was on the phone frantically relaying the problem. “The EMTs will be here soon. You’re going to make it.” He lied out of mercy. No civilian needs to know they’re dying right there on the floor.

Green grabbed his face with a desperate strength that quickly faded. “Listen to me! We…we tried to…to keep it a secret. Don’t…don’t know how…” She faded for a moment, came back. “We made her…not finished…” Her thoughts were growing disorganized. “Little Eve…perfect AI…save us all…tell Arch…sorry…” She lapsed into unconsciousness. Redfield closed her eyes. She wouldn’t be opening them again.

*************************************************************************************

Tyler Reardon lived in a second floor apartment not too far from the bank where he worked. Anders knocked on the door, and the force opened the door. Reardon was an older white man, thick around the middle but not overweight. He had graying black hair and charming blue eyes. He was sitting in an easy chair, in from of a small TV set on
The Discovery Channel. He was also very dead. He’d been stabbed in the right shoulder (the steak knife was still there), and strangled with his own telephone cord. The apartment around him showed signs of gleeful destruction. Pictures ripped off the walls. The kitchen cabinets emptied and the contents thrown all over the place. Someone had to have heard something. The blood hadn’t dried yet. And there, on the coffee table, was a device not too different from the one he had seen at NPC. Anders’s powers kicked in. It was a high powered sound muffling device.

There was a noise from the bedroom. Feet on a fire escape. The start of a motorcycle. Anders hurried to the lobby, just in time to see the motorcycle roar by. The rider was a average sized woman, and dressed for riding. She was gone in a hurry, zig-zagging between vehicles. This case has gotten a lot more interesting.
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Re: NPC Investigations

Post by Digital Muse on Sat Apr 28, 2012 1:23 pm

After giving Willa an odd look, but then nodding to her request, Julia hurried after Edwin. She found him coaxing an old car to life with some good-natured curses. The car was a surprise, as was the evident transformation he’d undergone when he’d changed clothes. She slipped into the passenger side and looked at him obliquely. “I guess you’ve done this before?” She asked, indicating his clothes. It was a little disheartening since she felt that her connection to the streets was her one advantage to getting a job at NPC.

Edwin just grinned and he pulled out of the storage garage into the busy afternoon traffic. As they drove, Julia tried to make conversation, but his warning about being a touch telepath and a mind control addict made her uncomfortable. Then Willa’s pseudo-Delphic Oracle warning about Edwin needing to hear he wasn’t alone just made her all the more uncomfortable. But she stubbornly tried anyway. “Has anyone started looking into this girl’s disappearance yet or are we going to be starting from scratch?” Yes, stick to business, that helped.

Edwin shook his head as he changed lanes smoothly, “No, you’re it. We only just got the call on this one. All we have so far is in the file.”

Julia nodded and opened the file she held in her lap once more to skim the names and addresses of Amy Delgado’s mother and closest friends. She wanted them at her fingertips when she spoke to each of them. As she read, she asked Edwin, “Slick Eddie, huh?”

Again, Edwin flashed a grin, “Exactly. Someone I used to be. We all try on different personas on the way to where we belong. Don’t we?” He glanced at Julia meaningfully.

Julia arched an eyebrow at him. “Just a phase?” She asked.

“Maybe.” He shrugged. “It was for me.”

Julia had a thousand questions she would have liked to ask Edwin about his mind control addiction and telekinetic ability, but it would have been remarkably intrusive and they’d arrived at Amelia Delgado’s brownstone. Edwin circled the block once or twice before lucking into a parking spot. He parked the battered old car expertly and they both got out. ‘Slick Eddie’ slouched along behind Julia with his gloved hands in his pockets. He joined Julia on the stairs to the brownstone and smiled. “Alright. Remember, this is your case. Just go with what you think is right.”

Julia rang the bell with more confidence than she really felt. But she had to start somewhere. After several minutes, they heard several locks being undone and the door was cracked open slightly allowing the occupant to observe them momentarily. “Who are you?” The woman asked.

“My name is Julia Lazarre. I’m here to ask about Amy. We’re trying to find her.” Julia kept her hands in sight out of long habit. “Can we come in and talk to you?”

The woman behind the door seemed to think about it, but then opened the door wider to invite them in. “Yes, sure.” She was, even in her late 40s a remarkably attractive woman. She’d added some weight, but it wasn’t unpleasant on her. Her dark hair was streaked in the front with silver and her skin still shone. It was still easy to see the extraordinary beauty she must have been. As they entered, she asked, “You knew Amy?”

Julia shook her head, “Not personally. But we’re worried about her.” They were lead into a small living room and invited to sit. A few family photos could be seen on the walls along with a crucifix and a bright Mexican flag. “When did you last see Amy?”

Amelia chose a chair opposite them and sat on its edge with her back rather rigid. Her face looked rather vacant and her tone was flat. As if she’d already cried all the tears she had left. “Three days ago. She never goes out without calling me.”

Julia just nodded, feeling a lot of empathy for the woman. “Had she been acting strangely lately? Seeing different people that you know of?”

Amelia shook her head, “No.” She sounded tired. “Nothing like that. Someone would have said.” Her eyes fixed on the middle distance, “My daughter didn’t do drugs.” She wasn’t angry, it just sounded like she’d answered that question far too many times.

“Who were her friends? Where might she go if not back here?” Julia probed.

Amelia shrugged. “Maybe Xu’s or Martin’s.” She didn’t elaborate.

Julia glanced briefly at the wall of photos “Are they in any of those pictures?”

Amelia just shook her head.

“Can I see her room?” Julia pressed.

For an answer, Amelia just rose and led them to the small bedroom, that obviously belonged to the teen. It was filled with posters for different bands, gaudy jewelry, a mix of bright and black clothing and pictures of friends. But the bed had been made up and nothing littered the floor. “Did you clean up her room?

Amelia looked around a moment and then nodded. “Yes.”

Julia frowned softly at the room. It was wrong. She didn’t know why, but something was off. She walked into it and looked through the pictures pinned to the walls. One of an Asian girl hamming it up with her arms around Amy’s neck was the first to catch her eye. “Is this Xu?”

A nod.

“Where is a picture of Martin?” Amelia pointed to another picture of Amy and a dark-haired boy sharing a hotdog. Julia took both pictures. “Mind if I borrow these?”

Amy’s mother just shook her head.

Julia asked for and received the addresses of a few more of Amy’s friends not listed in the file. Not able to think of anything further to ask, she told Amelia that she’d keep her up to date on what she found and left the woman. Outside the brownstone, Julia paused on the stairs while Edwin headed to the car. “Why’d she clean Amy’s room?” She asked no one in particular.

The pair made several more stops at the homes of a couple of Amy’s friends. The answers were all the same; no, they didn’t know where she’d gone. No, she didn’t have new friends. No, she hadn’t been acting strangely. They didn’t know about her real father. It was becoming frustrating.

Julia and Edwin next tried Martin Reyes, but neither his parents nor his friends seemed to have a clue where he was. Julia and Edwin shared a look. Julia wondered if the two disappearances were somehow related. Had the pair simply run away together?

On the way to the home of Amy’s best friend Xu Ping, Julia ran over what she had noted thus far, using Edwin as a sounding board. “Mom, as is usually the case, has no idea about what was happening in Amy’s life. She could have been hanging with anyone without her knowing. But she cleaned her room. That’s not what a distraught Mother does. And everyone we talk to says exactly the same thing. Did you notice that?”

Edwin simply waited for Julia to continue.

“The same exact wording. The same exact tone of voice.” Julia paused. “Like a recording had been switched on when I asked a question specific to Amy.” She tugged at her bottom lip thoughtfully as Edwin drove to Xu Ping’s. “With Amy’s mother, I thought it was just shock or grief. But, everyone? It’s a little too freaky.”

Edwin nodded. “It does seem a little out there.”

Arriving at Xu Ping’s, a short 20 minute drive later, Edwin didn’t have the same luck with parking he’d had earlier and was forced to double-park. They were admitted into the tiny apartment Xu and her brother shared in a slightly run-down building, but the apartment itself was clean and smelled of jasmine. Xu let them in politely. And sat across from them on the floor while they sat on the lone couch.

Julia smiled gently, “You and Amy were best friends, weren’t you?”

Surprisingly, Xu’s eyes welled up immediately with tears. Her tone, however was flat when she responded. “Yes.” The contradiction was startling.

Julia frowned softly, “When did you see Amy last?”

Tears streamed down Xu’s cheeks, but her expression and tone did not change in the slightest. “Three days ago. She never goes out without calling me.”

Julia nodded, suspiciously, “Had she been acting strangely lately? Seeing different people that you know of?”

Xu shook her head, still crying silently, “No.” She sounded tired. “Nothing like that. Someone would have said.” Her eyes fixed on the middle distance, “Amy didn’t do drugs.” Like Amy’s mother and everyone else, she didn’t sound angry or defensive at the suggestion, it just sounded like she’d answered that question far too many times.

“Who were her friends? Where might she go if not back home?” Julia probed.

Xu shrugged, tears leaving streaks in the makeup under her eyes. “Either here or Martin’s.” Xu didn’t elaborate any more than Amy’s mother had.

That’s when Julia knew. Somehow. Someway. Everyone in Amy’s life had been tampered with mentally. And where was Martin? Was he behind it all? Or had he and Amy run away together?
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Re: NPC Investigations

Post by Safton on Fri May 25, 2012 3:59 am

Redfield had gotten a vibe from Daria… with good reason, it now seemed. He had no doubt that tracking her down was the key to finding the truth surrounding this case. Jason forced himself to forget about the now-lifeless body mere inches away from him. It was cold, but necessary. He had a job to do and if he did it right, no one else would have to die. Besides… there would be time for regrets later. He considered his current position. He was hunkered down behind the desk in the office, only a few feet away from the open door. The shot had come from through the window into the office. The sound of the pouring rain outside was now clearly audible.

The shooter could still be in position and he or she damn well knew that Jace was there. Not willing to gamble on a mad dash to the (relative) safety of the corridor, Redfield reached into Dr. Green’s pockets, searching each one until finding what he needed: a makeup kit. He cracked it open, slowly edging it out from the side of the desk and using the reflection in the mirror to assess his surroundings.

He observed the window, noting the size of the hole in the glass.

Probably a .308, he remarked silently to himself. The shot had come from one of the windows of the building directly across the street and plaza beyond, and a cursory search with the mirror revealed little – the distance was too great to reveal a well-concealed shooter, but Jason’s gut told him that they would have fled by now. Considering that they had taken out a moving target with a single, clean center mass shot through an intermediate barrier and pouring rain from a distance of over one hundred meters, he sincerely hoped that his intuition was as trustworthy as always.

He pocketed the mirror, aware that the corridor outside was filling up with curious office workers and security personnel. The secretary, to her credit, had the sense to keep them clear of the room. Before preparing to move, Redfield grabbed one last item: the pen clipped to the inside of Dr. Green’s pocket. It was an old-fashioned fountain pen, not a ballpoint. All the better – it ended in a tough metal tip. It was no knife, but it would have to do. He slipped it into the wristband of his watch, covering it with his sleeve before proceeding.

Here goes nothing. The thought sped through his mind grimly as he rolled onto the balls of his feet, springing forward to cross the office in one bound, ending in a combat roll into the corridor beyond. Several workers gasped, stepping out of the way as Jason came out of the roll, stood, and briskly walked towards the secretary. There hadn’t been a second shot and he didn’t have a hole through his chest, both of which were encouraging. He could, however feel the eyes on him, but no one so as much as spoke.

“Daria Stavros, where did she go?” Jason asked, his steely gray eyes focusing on the receptionist intently. In the back of his mind, he was aware that blood still marked his face, hands, and clothes.

The woman was caught off-guard, phone still in her hand. She began babbling, “I—”

“Which way did she go?” he asked again, urgently.

“I… I think she took the elevator to the lobby,” she said quickly.

Redfield turned on his heel, jogging towards the elevator. He looked up at the LED display above the doors, showing the elevator’s current floor. It was headed down, and fast.

That was all he needed to know. Jason bolted towards the stairwell, pushing past a man in a suit and slamming into the door. He had to get to the lobby before Daria could make good on her getaway… that was over a dozen floors, straight down.

He moved fast, speeding down the steps as quickly as his legs would allow. Miraculously, despite the dress shoes he wore, he never tripped. Before long Jason was taking the steps two at a time, then skipping entire sections, leaping down onto the concrete landings, his shoes pounding loudly against the hard floor. It wasn’t doing his ankles and knees any favors, but sacrifices had to be made. If hiking up and down Afghan mountains for years on end hadn’t done him in, he would be damned if he was going to be defeated by a few sets of office building stairs.

Finally, with the last landing in sight, he skipped the final set of stairs entirely, leaping over the railing and hitting the ground with a thud. The impact sent pain shooting through his legs. He ignored it, barreling through the lobby door.

The room was abuzz with activity and conversation as a throng of people occupied the area surrounding the doors – but this time, everyone was exiting. Jason wasn’t sure if they were evacuating the building or if its occupants had merely taken it upon themselves to leave once they’d heard about the shooting.

Redfield scanned the lobby, his heart pounding and sweat pouring down his face. Nothing until… there. Near the entrance, Jason saw it – the oversized beret Daria had been wearing. Without hesitation, he started towards the doors.

“Sir,” a stern voice called out from his left as a beefy hand clamped down on his left shoulder. “You need to come with me.”

A glance over Jason’s shoulder revealed an imposing man in a black suit, wearing an earpiece. One of the building’s private security men. He was just doing his job – the information regarding the shooting was no doubt sketchy, and here was Redfield, covered in blood and attempting to exit the building. Nonetheless, Jace really couldn’t afford to stick around and explain himself. Daria was too close.

He started to speak calmly, “That woman knows about the shooting,” he said, gesturing with his head towards the doors. “I need to stop her.”

The guard was clearly having none of it. From the corner of his eyes, Redfield spotted other security personnel closing in from the various corners of the lobby. It was now or never.

The grip on his shoulder tightened. “Don’t resist, sir. Just come—“

He was cut off as Jason turned and brought up his left arm, looping it under and hooking the guard's, just past the elbow. He used the leverage to wrench the man's shoulder upward. Milliseconds later, Redfield's foot slammed into the back of the guard's knee, knocking the large man off-balance and sending him crashing to the ground with a thud. Jason knelt down, applying leverage to the vulnerable elbow and shoulder joints while his free hand pressed against the man's sternum. He stopped short of doing any permanent damage. “Stay down. Don’t follow me,” he hissed before releasing the arm and standing up to take a quick glance around.

That did it. The other guards began to rush towards him, but Jace was already moving. He sprinted towards the doors, the beret already out of sight. He shoved his way through the crowd, squeezing between the gaps wherever he could find them, much to the chagrin of the people he passed. Ignoring the calls and shouts that followed him, he managed to make it to the street, immediately being bombarded by the onslaught of raindrops. He spun around quickly, searching for that telltale hat.

He caught a glimpse of it at the street corner. There was no doubting that it was Daria – she stopped, looking over her shoulder and to spot Jason. The woman was too far away for Redfield to make out her expression, but he imagined it was one of surprise. It didn’t last long, however. She darted out of sight around the corner. She was heading towards the subway.

Jason took off, sidestepping to barely avoid bowling over an elderly man exiting a taxi cab. Sirens were audible in the distance and getting closer by the sound of it. His shoes pounded loudly against the pavement as he took the corner at full speed, hugging the wall of the building to his left to avoid the mass of people on the sidewalk.

He saw his target already nearing the escalator leading down into the subway station across the street. Ignoring the crosswalk entirely, he sprinted into the street. Jason ended up sliding over the hood of a sedan that nearly took his legs out from under him, earning him an angry honk and several curses from the driver.

Redfield moved down the escalator and into the metro. He fished his ticket from its place in his wallet, quickly moving through the turnstiles. At this point, the last thing he needed was a group of angry Transit Police officers chasing him through a crowded platform.

Jason moved through the subway, his head on a swivel as he tried to spot the red beret. Something to his right caught his eye. He turned and saw what he was looking for – the hat was here, but it was no longer attached to Daria. She had ditched it in a trashcan. She had no doubt lost the coat, as well.

Clever girl.

Jace glanced upwards, seeing a diminutive, thin girl moving away from him roughly thirty yards ahead. Her light brown hair came down to the nape of her neck, but it was impossible to see her face. A train had arrived, and passengers were already boarding. There was only one way to be sure.

“Daria!”

The woman stopped in her tracks, but did not turn. So it was her. Both of them seemed to be considering their options. Jason saw her head turn towards the newly-arrived train and its open doors. She was waiting for something… but what?

Without warning, Daria sprinted for the train. Redfield wasted no time in following, but it quickly became apparent what she had waited for. She managed to get past a large group of passengers boarding the train, squeezing ahead of them and dropping out of sight within the crowd while Jason was forced to contend with the mob.

He managed to get to the open doors, darting through them sideways as they closed. Several passengers glanced at him absentmindedly. One elderly woman shook her head, looking at the small puddle of rainwater that rapidly formed underneath him as the train got underway. Jason was soaking wet, but that was the least of his worries. At least most of the blood was washed away.

He searched the train car, but it quickly became clear that Daria had boarded another. Finding himself at the head of the car, he paused to consider his options as the train slowed down at the next stop. Craning his head out of habit, he looked out the window and into the car ahead of him. His eyes locked with hers. The doors opened.

Redfield spun around, pushing past the exodus of exiting passengers. The station, however, was packed. There scarcely seemed to be a square foot of space that wasn’t occupied by someone. He lost sight of the woman, save for one glimpse as she boarded the escalator leading onto the street. He darted after her, but progress was slow-going despite his best efforts to find any possible open gap in the crowd, pushing past more than a few angry New Yorkers.

Jason rushed up the escalator, excusing himself as he slid past those riding it upwards. He reached the street, once again feeling the familiar sensation of raindrops against his skin. He spun around, but it quickly became clear that there would be no spotting Daria this time.

She was gone.

“Damn it,” he hissed under his breath, panting lightly from the exertion.

“Uh, mister?” the voice came from several feet to his left. A homeless man, bearded with tanned skin, was huddled on the stoop of an abandoned building, taking shelter from the rain.

Jason frowned, moving towards him slowly. “Yes? Can I help you?”

The man shrugged. “Actually, I think you’ve got it backwards. I’m supposed to help you. A woman told me to give you this. Gave me fifty dollars to do it,” he said, holding out a scrap of paper.

Redfield took the paper. “This woman, what did she look like?”

“Oh, she was a tiny little thing. Brown hair, green eyes, I think. She said your name was Redfield?”

So this was the real deal. Jason nodded, unfolding the note to read the hastily-scrawled contents:

Staten Island. Harbor Road. U-Haul office, Richmond Terrace. 10:17 PM. Alone and unarmed.

“Thanks,” Redfield said, turning to walk away before stopping himself. He reached into the wristband of his watch, removing the fountain pen and examining it. It was well-made, ornate with golden inlays. He turned back to the man, handing him the pen.

“That should get you a few bucks at a pawn shop. Take care of yourself,” Jason remarked quietly.

“Thank you, mister. God bless and good luck with that lady business of yours,” the man said, pocketing the pen.

Jace nodded, heading down the street. He needed to get back to his car, but he wasn’t quite ready to face the teeming subway crowd again. Besides, he wanted time to think on all of this.

A few things were clear. For one, Daria was either the Night Fox or someone working closely with her. Judging by the way she operated, there was a good chance it was the former. Two, the prototype was more important than Archer wanted to let on. One would wonder what would be worth stealing from a maximum-security building and killing over, but Dr. Green had answered that question in her final moments.

Little Eve… the perfect A.I.

Her words were seared into Jason’s brain, as was the pained expression on her face as the life slowly left her eyes. An exceptional memory like Jason’s had its benefits… and its curses.

Artificial intelligence – that’s what the prototype had been. Not exactly Jason’s area of expertise, but he was familiar with the basics. A well-developed, “smart”, and even self-aware A.I. would be worth billions. The first of its kind. The potential uses in the military, medical, and private sectors meant the owner stood a lot to gain… or lose. If that’s what Little Eve was, then it explained the willingness to kill.

Which brought him to the next point. Judging by the letter she had left with Green, whoever had hired Night Fox to steal the prototype had decided that there were loose ends to tie up. The thieves may pride themselves on nonviolence, but it seemed that Daria’s employer did not share the same compunctions. And whoever they were, they had some serious resources at their disposal.

There were still plenty of unanswered questions, but with any luck they would be cleared up at the docks. He had little choice but to go to the meet, even if his trained paranoia did cry out in resistance to the idea. It was certainly a gamble, but it was worth the risk.

First things first, though. He needed to get back to his vehicle before the police and Archeron’s security team tracked it down.


Last edited by Safton on Thu Oct 10, 2013 5:27 pm; edited 8 times in total

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Re: NPC Investigations

Post by Eternal Phoenix on Fri Jun 01, 2012 1:50 pm

Edwin reached to the small of his back, underneath the sweatshirt, and pulled out a metal rod. He handed it to Julia. “If I don’t stop in two seconds, hit me very hard in the head.” Then, before she could react, he pulled off his right glove and touched the tip of his index finger to Xu’s forehead. The reaction was immediate. Xu collapsed, weeping uncontrollably. While Edwin recoiled like he’d touched fire, and looked extremely green around the gills. He sprinted out of the apartment and down the stairwell. His discarded glove drifted to the floor. Julia, torn between which person to deal with, froze for a second. Xu had gone fetal and the sobbing seemed to have no end in sight. That made her decision easy. She picked up Edwin’s glove, and followed him down the stairwell. The door out was cracked and hanging half off it’s hinges. He must have gone through it instead of opening it. The man himself was on all fours by the curb, breathing hard. The stench of vomit was strong in the air. “You okay?”

Edwin shuddered at the sound of Julia’s voice. “No.”

“Did you see something?”

That set off a bout of retching. When it was over, Edwin spoke again. “You could say that.”

“That bad?”

“Worse. I admit, I’ve twisted minds, but never like this. I was never this cruel.”

“I don’t understand.”

“I used finesse. I know I’m handsome, and in good shape. Gives-gave, me a way in. I never forced my way through. I just…no, that’s a lie. By the time they-the women, had had enough, I was too well placed for them to really resist. My point is, I hurt people, but I never broke anyone. I never did to anyone what was done to that girl. It’s monstrous. Can I…have my glove back?”

“How did you know-“

Edwin hauled himself up. “I literally know exactly how young women think, remember?” Julia handed it to him and he put it back on. “Thank you. You…might want to keep the rod for a while. I…probably shouldn’t have done that. Stirred up all kinds of things, including my breakfast.”

Julia gave him a look. “Should have done that? You think?”

Edwin smirked. “I do think, occasionally. So, now what? You’re driving this crazy train, not me. Oh, right. I am a resource, now. I can’t do your thinking for you, but I can answer any questions you might have about mental tampering and the like. I do suggest we take Xu back to the office. We have a few contacts that might be able to fix the damage to her mind.”

***********************************************************************

Staten Island. Harbor Road. U-Haul office, Richmond Terrace. 10:15 PM. Jason had arrived a few minutes earlier and the place seemed deserted. It was…eerily empty. Something wasn’t right. He tried the door, and it was surprisingly open. A quick search found a light switch, but it unsurprisingly failed to do anything. A small, slim woman, covered from head to toe in a strange black material and a hooded cape made of the same, stepped out of the gloom behind him. “Hello, Mister Redfield.”

Jason would have jumped out of his skin if he wasn’t expecting just a move. He turned to look at her. “The Night Fox, I presume.”

‘The very same.”

“In addition to being Daria Stavros.”

“One name among many. It wasn’t the one I was born with, anyway.”

“So why am I here?”

“You’re a smart and capable man, Mister Redfield. Compliments I don’t give to many people. I know you’ve just about figured it out by now. How I was hired to steal the prototype, Archeron’s pride and joy. The result of a half decade of fervent effort and the hopes and dreams of some of the most brilliant men and women on earth. She said her name was Eve. Cute little girl, but just a little off. Much too observant, and much too smart for her age. I made delivery, and receive payment. I thought it was finished. Then a bomb blew up my private helicopter, the pilot, and my friend. I’m not someone to be crossed lightly. I have resources and contacts. My former client is apparently an idiot. Every thief on the List has blood on their hands. Just because we don’t kill during jobs doesn’t mean we don’t kill at all. So. Tonight I’m going to Baroness Valia’s cargo ship, and I’m killing everyone I see. Eve is there. Your job is to recover her. I thought you might like to come and do your job.” Night Fox withdrew a slip of paper from her sleeve and let it flutter to the ground at Jason’s feet. “It’s less than a mile away. I’ll see you there, or afterward.”

“Wait. You’re not taking Eve with you?”

“I was hired to deliver her, and I did. That was the end of that job. By afterward, I mean I’ll be watching for ambushers. To make things clear, I don’t care if you or Eve survive the night. All I care about is having none of the people there who work for that treacherous witch being alive tomorrow. See that neither of you get in my way, and you should see the next dawn. Everything else you have to ask is either none of your business or not my problem.” She took a step back, and merged with the shadows.

Jason stepped forward, but she vanished completely, like a magic trick. He stepped back and pickup the slip of paper. She was right, it was close by. If he took too long getting there, the police would show up and he’d lose his shot at Eve. He’d heard of Baroness Valia, too. The ruler of a small country in Eastern Europe. Wealthy from birth, she’d plowed it all into business ventures and been spectacularly successful, despite rumors of unethical and possibly illegal behavior. No charges had ever stuck, though. A combination of diplomatic immunity and a small army of lawyers kept her out of prison. If she was involved, there was no way this would be as easy as Night Fox made it sound.
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Re: NPC Investigations

Post by Digital Muse on Mon Jun 11, 2012 1:45 pm

**Thanks to Eternal Phoenix for Edwin's dialog**

Julia took the metal rod with complete surprise when Edwin handed it to her, but before she could question him, he took off one of his gloves and touched Xu gently on the forehead. The reaction was immediate and spectacular. Xu collapsed, sobbing uncontrollably and this time it seemed more natural. But, Edwin whirled and bolted from the apartment as if demons chased him. Julia stood frozen in place for a moment, completely taken aback.

Making a quick decision, she bent to Xu and whispered, “It’s OK. I’m going to get you some help.” Julia then raced out after Edwin and found he’d smashed through the door to the street beyond. There she found him on his hands and knees vomiting into the gutter. Approaching, she asked him with some concern, “You OK?”
“No.” Edwin shuddered softly.

“Did you see something?”

That set off a bout of retching. When it was over, Edwin spoke again. “You could say that.”

“That bad?”

“Worse. I admit, I’ve twisted minds, but never like this. I was never this cruel.”

“I don’t understand.”

“I used finesse. I know I’m handsome, and in good shape. Gives-gave, me a way in. I never forced my way through. I just…no, that’s a lie. By the time they-the women, had had enough, I was too well placed for them to really resist. My point is, I hurt people, but I never broke anyone. I never did to anyone what was done to that girl. It’s monstrous. Can I…have my glove back?”

“How did you know-“

Edwin hauled himself up. “I literally know exactly how young women think, remember?” Julia handed it to him and he put it back on. “Thank you. You…might want to keep the rod for a while. I…probably shouldn’t have done that. Stirred up all kinds of things, including my breakfast.”

Julia gave him a sarcastic look. “Shouldn’t have done that? You think?”

Edwin smirked. “I do think, occasionally. So, now what? You’re driving this crazy train, not me. Oh, right. I am a resource, now. I can’t do your thinking for you, but I can answer any questions you might have about mental tampering and the like.

Julia frowned heavily, feeling just a little sick herself. “So what did happen to her? You know more about this sort of stuff than I do.”

"What happened to Xu is the opposite of what I did. I played with hormones, and enhanced my already excellent pick up skills. I didn't wrench someone from hating my guts to being my best friend in less than an hour. That's what happened to Xu." Edwin closed his eyes, voice choked with revulsion.
"Eighteen months ago, Xu hated Amy Delgado. Despised her with the kind of raw passion that only teenage girls can muster. Then her mind was forcibly changed. Her entire personality was altered, and she knows it. She's trapped inside her own mind, unable to make her own decisions. I never did that. I never took over. I just always made sure that I was the only option considered. It's not as damaging."

Julia blanched slightly. A small, fetal idea wriggled into her mind almost unnoticed. Dear god.” She breathed. “What about you? You know what happened…what do we do?”

"Well...I can't help her. I don't know how. But we've got a big rolodex. I'm sure there's someone in there that can help." Edwin looked away from Julia and cleared his throat. “We should go up and get her.”

Julia nods to the suggestion but frowns at the man. “What? What aren’t you telling me?” She asked suspiciously. “Wouldn’t a hospital be a better place for her? Holding out on me isn’t exactly a great start to a working arrangement, Edwin.”

The man just looks over his shoulder at her as they head up the stairs toward Xu’s apartment. “A hospital won’t be able to help fix what’s been done to her. Trust me.” Edwin turned back toward Xu’s door. “Nothing. It’s nothing that matters to the case.”

Dissatisfied, but not wanting to anger Edwin and lose her chance at the job, Julia drops the subject for now and wraps the still broken down Xu in a blanket and help her down the stairs to the car. While driving back to the office, Julia sat in the back, holding Xu while she cried, even though the girl barely seemed to register her presence at all.

As they drive toward the office, Julia couldn’t help but ask, “How do people like me fight…I mean protect ourselves against people like you, Edwin?”

Edwin glanced into the rearview mirror to meet Julia’s frank look. "I can't exactly give you a crash course in psionic defense with just words. Everyone's mind is different. Your defenses and resistances are different. Hmm." Edwin's brow creases in thought. "Maybe...you have some control of entropy, right? Mind control is technically an energy attack. IF you knew it was coming, you might be able to blunt or cancel it altogether. Of course, you can resist, if you know its happening. But once they're in, they're in. Anything else is just flailing around breaking your own mind so it can't be used. Which might be what happened to Xu. I don't know. It's not something I know a lot about, with good reason. Only way to learn how to fix something that complex is to see it taken apart."

Julia swallowed heavily. Nothing she’d ever experienced had prepared her for something like this. Would she need to protect herself against whoever tampered with Xu’s mind? Or even against Edwin? Did she want to take the risk? To take her mind off that unpleasant thought, Julia began to speculate aloud. “So. We definitely know a psionic is involved given what’s happened to Xu and I’d bet everyone else we’ve talked to as well.” She pursed her lips and continued, “We have two missing kids. Amy and Martin. We don’t know much about Martin, so let’s check.” Julia picked up her cell and dialed NPC Investigations. After being transferred to Harmony, she was told that Martin didn’t have a criminal record that she knew of off the top of her head. But, then, he was a juvenile, so if he did, his records would be sealed.

Julia made a mew of distaste at the lack of information, but thanked the woman and hung up. “I think we need to talk to Daddy, after all, Edwin. I know that isn’t what he wanted, but I think we should.”

Edwin will sigh. "All right, we'll go see Uncle Lawrence. Penny and Carla won't be happy we didn't respect a client's wishes, though. And we'll have to change clothes. We won't past the doorman dressed like this."

Julia blinked at the answer. “Wait…Uncle Lawrence? As in your family?” She groaned. “Perfect.” She merely nodded at his suggestion to change clothes. “Yeah. I finally agree with you.” The rest of the ride was spent in silence until they were able to get Xu into the office and Harmony took charge of the broken teen with soothing noises. Standing there in the entry, Julia watched as Edwin began to mount the stairs toward his office when her earlier idea hit her full force. “Edwin!” She rushed after him and stormed into his office. “It’s Amy! She’s the psion! She’s the one that hurt Xu because of Xu’s hatred. She didn’t hurt anyone else. She just made them unconcerned. She may or may not have tampered with Martin, I don’t know yet. But, I’m betting Uncle Clarence is about to become a target!”
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Re: NPC Investigations

Post by Safton on Fri Jun 22, 2012 1:30 am

Jason wasted no time, exiting the building with a purposeful stride. Scanning the surroundings for any possible surveillance, he returned to the rental SUV and threw open the trunk.

Redfield retracted the flap that hid the floor of the storage compartment from view, revealing several hard, plastic cases and duffel bags. He unzipped one of the latter, removing a pair of military-grade night vision binoculars. They had been an expensive purchase, but were about to earn their keep. The thief had been right – the cargo ship wasn’t too far away. Jason had but to move to the edge of the nearest dock and look to the West.

It was hard to miss in the green illumination of the NOD – the vessel was large and despite the usual busy nature of New York’s harbor, it seemed to be docked by itself. However, the area around its boarding ramp was segregated by chain link fences topped with razor wire. Jace could make out occasional movement on the deck of the ship. Armed guards, no doubt.

The gears in his head were already turning, considering the situation. He could sit this one out, let Night Fox and the NYPD handle it. He rejected that notion nearly as soon as it entered his head. He didn’t trust Stavros, or whoever she really was… not yet, at any rate. In any case, he had been hired to retrieve the prototype and that was what he intended to do. Little Eve was a potentially world-changing piece of technology. He couldn’t stand idle and trust others to do his work for him. And finally, there was Katie Green… the first person Jason had been forced to watch die in front of him since leaving the employ of the government. The Baroness needed to be reminded of the penalties that came with killing civilians.

Which left him with only one real option: do as Night Fox had said. He approached the SUV once again and began pulling off his jacket as he collected and checked his equipment. Jason had come prepared, which was shaping up to be a good thing. Paranoia and preparedness were useful characteristics in his former line of work and that clearly hadn’t changed with civilian life. He had assaulted enemy ships with the best of them during his time in the military, but it was never an easy operation to carry out. He needed to be at the top of his game.

He strapped on a military-style ballistic vest over his T-shirt and kneepads over his cargo pants. Tactical gloves adorned his hands. No point in fatigues and camouflage. His primary weapon of choice came next, pulled from a rigid, plastic container. It was an AR-15 rifle with several attached accessories, similar in style to the M4A1 in use by the military. Hefting the weapon, he quickly applied one more accessory to the bottom rail: a Taser. Night Fox might plan on killing everyone aboard, but he had other plans. Jason wasn’t above killing, but he’d had his fill of it long ago. The more breathing bodies he left for the NYPD, the better. With that in mind, he dumped several plastic zip-ties – the same kind used by SWAT teams to restrain suspects – into a pouch on his belt.

Redfield strapped on a pistol along with several magazines for it, filling the pouches on his vest with spare ammunition and Taser cartridges. Several spare pieces of equipment went to pouches on his belt or into the rucksack he would carry with him on the assault. Finally, after sliding a balaclava over his head and strapping on a combat helmet with a set of night vision goggles mounted on the front, he was on the move towards the cargo ship. The entire process of “kitting up” had taken less than two minutes. He was well-practiced.

The view of the harbor around him was clear and surprisingly crisp, despite the night vision optic hanging in front of his eyes. Normally, such a device wouldn’t be necessary due to the streetlights in the area. However, many of the lights closest to the Baroness’s ship didn’t seem to be functioning. He wondered if it was mere coincidence or deliberate sabotage. Regardless, it ironically made his life easier. Most infiltrators would be turned away by the prospect of attempting to board a boat in the pitch blackness of night. But Jason wasn’t most infiltrators. His night vision would give him quite an advantage over the sentries and their handheld flashlights.

Redfield drew close to the chain link fence, his infrared laser (invisible to anyone not wearing night vision optics) dancing across the fence. Jason made sure to avoiding the gate, which was, naturally, chained shut with a heavy-duty padlock. On the other side of the fence, there were several stacks of crates and small shipping containers spread out amongst the otherwise-empty lot in front of the ship’s boarding ramp. He quietly went to one knee, scanning the surroundings as he removed the rucksack and set it on the ground before reaching in to take out a compact set of lightweight folding bolt cutters. He went to work immediately, creating a hole in the fence just large enough for him to fit through, periodically looking up from the task to search for incoming patrols. He folded the tool up, returning it to his ruck.

After one last perimeter check, he proceeded through the hole in the fence, pushing his pack through before following it in. A flash in his peripherals caught his attention – a beam from a flashlight, no doubt. Redfield wasted no time in darting behind the nearest shipping container, crouching down as he listened… Footsteps, heavy ones. The beam of light drew nearer. By the sound of the footfalls and the lack of alarm, Jason didn’t have much reason to worry. This was a routine patrol – he hadn’t been detected as of yet.

The footsteps drew nearer until the man finally took Jason’s corner, walking mere feet away. He was alone, wearing a leather jacket and slacks. A flashlight was clutched in his right hand and judging by the bulge in his jacket, he was armed. Redfield’s breaths were scarcely audible as watched the guard’s every movement, adrenaline coursing through his body. That’s when it happened – the beam of the flashlight moved over the hole in the fence for a brief moment. That was all it took as the guard did a double take, confirming his suspicions as he reached for something – gun or radio, Jason didn’t know. Either one was trouble.

He stepped out of the shadows behind the man, moving silently and swiftly. By the time the guard had started pulling the mystery item from his jacket, it was too late. A muscled, iron bar of an arm closed around his neck, which fit neatly into the crook of Jason’s elbow. Redfield’s other hand locked up the “sleeper hold”. The sentry attempted to struggle, clawing at the appendage futilely, but the resistance lasted mere seconds. With the pressure applied, blood ceased to flow to the man’s brain and unconsciousness came quickly. Jace felt the body go limp, and he set him down on the ground, hastily removing a set of zip cuffs to restrain the man’s hands behind his back. Duct tape went across his mouth and his ankles were tied with Paracord. He would live, but wouldn’t be unconscious for long.

After stashing the guard behind a set of containers, Redfield decided to spare a moment to inspect him. No harm in knowing who he was dealing with. The man had carried an MP-443 Grach semiautomatic pistol in a shoulder holster, along with a concealed switchblade. The handgun was standard-issue within the Russian military, designed to fire high-pressure 9x19mm armor-piercing ammunition. The fact that this guard was carrying it spoke highly of the Baroness’s resources. The sentry had also been carrying a high-quality radio set to a secure channel, complete with earpiece. Jason took both with him. It couldn’t hurt to know what his enemies were up to, after all.

Just as he was preparing to leave, something caught Redfield’s eye. He rolled up the man’s left shirt sleeve to get a closer look at the tattoo there.

It was a skull… bluish in color and somewhat blurred. Most would attribute it to a botched job by an unskilled tattoo artist. Jason knew better. More likely than not, the man had received the tattoo in prison, where a lack of fine-tipped instruments with which to create thin lines resulted in a blurred image. Not looking forward what he was likely to find, Jason pulled up the man’s shirt. Sure enough, there was a cross and rose in the center of the man’s chest, not to mention various other tattoos marking his torso.

Son of a bitch, the thought flew through Jason's mind instantly.

The man was Russian mafia – quite possibly ex-military – and the same was likely true of his comrades. The skull on his arm signified that he was a murderer. The Baroness certainly spared no expense on her security force, Jason thought sardonically.

Nonetheless, that didn’t change his mission. If he stayed sharp and cautious as always, he would survive. He stood up, taking his leave of the unconscious body and moving towards the ship. There didn’t seem to be any other sentries roaming the dock, but there was one posted at top of the boarding ramp. Unfortunately, that was Jason’s only way onto the ship. He hadn’t thought to acquire a rebreather and drysuit for this trip, so an amphibious approach was out of the question. He didn’t exactly relish the thought of going for a swim in the frigid waters of the harbor, anyways.

That still left the problem of the lone guard, however. Just as Jason began running through his options, someone solved the problem for him. The sentry was yanked backwards in the blink of an eye, never making a noise. Night Fox.

Redfield, hearing no cries of alarm, took the opportunity gladly. He rushed up the ramp, AR-15 up and at the ready as he stepped aboard, scanning the deck for hostiles. Something caught his eyes and he approached it, only to find the very much lifeless body of the guard. His throat had been cut and his body was concealed between two crates, blood rapidly pooling beneath it. It seemed Daria was intent on making good on her promise.

There was no sign of her now, however. Jason knew that Eve was no doubt being kept in the cargo hold below decks. Hard to access, easily defensible. With a boat like this, Redfield roughly knew the route he would have to take to reach the hold. This also meant passing through an area of the vessel that likely held the majority of the crew.

Redfield crossed the length of the ship to reach the metal door leading to the stairs. Just as he approached, rifle trained on the entrance, it opened form the other side. A man stepped out, hands to his mouth, attempting to light a cigarette. Even in the darkness, he could see Jason in his peripheral vision. A look of surprise passed over his face, but he never got the opportunity to cry out.

A loud pop could be heard as the Taser fired, sending the two barbed darts into the man and arcing fifty thousand volts of electricity through his muscular system. He dropped to the deck with a thud, his body having completely seized up. Jason moved forward, not letting off the trigger as he hastily shut the door in order to avoid the noise being heard by anyone below decks.

Jason stood over the man, rifle aimed downward at him. He released the trigger, and instantly the tension in the guard’s body disappeared. “Move and you’re dead, you understand?” Redfield hissed the statement quietly in Russian. The man nodded his understanding as he lay still.

Redfield then asked if the man could speak English, which he confirmed. The guard stared at him, wide-eyed before asking in heavily-accented English, "Who are you? NYPD? FBI?"

“You should be so lucky," Jace replied wryly. "Stand up and slowly remove your holster. Toss it and the gun overboard,” Jason ordered him with the same harsh tone. The man took one look at the gun barrel centered on his chest before doing as he was told. The firearm made a loud plop as it was swallowed by the harbor's waters. The guard turned to face Redfield again “Put these on your wrists and ankles,” Jace said, tossing two pairs of zip cuffs at the man’s feet. Once again, he complied, laying down awkwardly across the metal deck as he secured his own ankles.

“Where is the prototype?” Redfield asked.

“I don’t understand,” the guard replied, doing his best to seem perplexed.

Jason glared at him, an expression that was lost in the darkness. “Let’s try that again. Tell me where the Baroness’s package is, or I hit you with the Taser again and send you into the harbor after your pistol. Your move, comrade.”

The mobster considered that for a moment and – apparently deciding that the mysterious man before him was not one to cross – gave in. “It is in the cargo hold. These stairs lead to the catwalks above it.”

Before Jace could reply, gunfire erupted from below decks, followed by frenzied squawking in Jason’s “liberated” earpiece reporting that they were under attack. Night Fox was at it again, and she had given up subtlety. This was good and bad – now bullets would be flying, but at least it could potentially give him the opportunity he needed to reach Eve.

“Don’t do anything stupid,” Redfield advised the sentry before cautiously opening the door, peering inside. A narrow set of metal stairs led downward, the sound of gunfire louder and more intense now. Jason proceeded inside, AR-15 at the ready. He raised the night vision optic, flipping it upward – there was no need for it in the well-lit cargo hold.

Jason came to the end of the stairs, his boots pounding against the metal grating. There was no need for stealth now. Another metal door awaited him. He opened it and was struck by the full force of the noise of the firefight occurring within. The door led to a catwalk which, as the man had said, was over the cargo hold filled with various shipping containers.

Near the middle of the catwalk, two guards were wielding machine pistols, firing across the cargo bay to the catwalks at the opposite side. There, Jason saw a blur of movement. Night Fox stopped, her black armor and cape breaking up her outline like a form of camouflage. She fired several shots from a handgun in the direction of the two guards. One went down, his head whipping backwards as the round punched through his skull. Daria was already gone, leaping from the catwalk and onto the tops of several shipping containers, stacked in such a way that they formed a natural “fort”.

Down on the cargo hold floor, half a dozen mercenaries had gathered around a shipping container, armed with everything from pistols to assault rifles. Several of their compatriots were already dead or dying on the floor. One seemed to have a knife protruding from his chest cavity, the others apparently felled by gunshots. The ones that still lived fired blindly upwards at the catwalks where Night Fox had been moments earlier. From their angle, however, Jason doubted they posed much of a threat.

Redfield took all of this in within the first five seconds of him stepping into the cargo hold. But now he was about to be pulled into the fiasco. The remaining guard on the catwalk glanced over at the door Jason had entered from. His head jerked around to spot Jason, obviously no ally. The man let out a grunt of surprise, whirling around to bring up his weapon. He never got the chance.

Jason pulled the trigger on his rifle three times, sending three hollow-tipped rounds into the man’s chest cavity. One of them apparently severed the guard’s spine, because he dropped instantaneously. Some part of Redfield’s mind registered what he had just done and was about to do, but he forced it down. There would be plenty of time to think on it later. Of that he had no doubt.

For now, he had work to do. The time for non-lethality was over. Redfield approached the edge of the catwalk, bring the holographic weapon sight up to aim at the apparent leader of the group of mercs on the floor, all of them still pelting the shipping containers Night Fox had taken refuge in with weapons fire.

The leader went down moments later, a hole in his skull. His comrades glanced, dumbfounded, at the corpse for a second before spotting the perpetrator on the catwalks behind them. One let out a yell of alarm, only to be put down by a double-tap to the chest. The four remaining guards whirled around, firing up at Jason’s position. At that point, Redfield took a page out of Daria’s book. He bounded backwards, leaping over the railing of the catwalk to land on the shipping containers below, the impact reverberating through his body.

He climbed down on the opposite side from the mercenaries, finding himself in a small alcove of sorts, wedged between the wall of the room and the shipping containers. He could hear the bullets pinging against the metallic surfaces surrounding him, the gunfire thundering in the enclosed space of the cargo hold.

Jace proceeded forward, coming to the corner of the furthest shipping container, leaning out to fire at the mercs’ position. They had dug in, though, and the best he could do was keep them suppressed and prevent them from advancing on his position. He expended the better part of his magazine in their direction before the firefight seemed to die down, an eerie quiet settling over the cargo hold. Redfield removed a small, mirror mounted on a collapsible rod from his vest. He extended the rod, holding it out from the corner to get a look at his adversaries. They were taking a moment to reload their weapons and find better cover. All of them were still looking in his direction.

That was a mistake.

In the surprise following Redfield’s attack, most of them had scrambled to respond to the new threat. Only one guard still looked at the other end of the cargo hold where Night Fox had taken up refuge. However, the attack did not come from there… but from the side. Daria had used to the confusion to maneuver her way out of her makeshift fortress and flank the mercenaries’ position. She darted out of the shadows, disarming the nearest mobster and using him as a human shield. The thief fired pistol shots over his shoulder, striking one of his comrades multiple times in the chest.

Redfield wasted no time, rushing around the corner with his rifle raised. He fired on the move, taking down the leftmost man with a four-round burst of semiautomatic fire. His rifle clicked on empty, prompting him to go for the Glock.

Meanwhile, the two remaining mercs opened fire on Night Fox, only to have the body of their comrade soak up the rounds. As their weapons ran dry, Daria dropped them both with a series of shots from her own handgun before letting the bullet-ridden human shield slump to the ground.

The sound of boots on metal above Night Fox drew her attention as she looked upward to see another guard, just now arriving from the catwalks she had previously occupied. He brought a shotgun to bear on her. She reacted instantly, bringing up the pistol and pulling the trigger… only to be rewarded with an empty click.

Five shots rang out in quick succession, but they did not come from the man’s shotgun. Jason stood several feet away from Daria – smoking pistol in hand – as the mercenary’s body fell backwards from the catwalks and landed atop a shipping container with a reverberating thud. There was a brief silence as both of them regarded each other. The moment was broken as the thief drew her other sidearm, lining up the sights on Jason as he returned the favor with his own weapon. The two began to slowly circle one another.

“We had an understanding, Mister Redfield,” Daria broke the silence.

Jace said nothing, clenching the pistol tightly in a strong, two-handed grip.

She continued, “Eve is in that container, waiting for you. We don’t have time for this and you know that. I am not your enemy.”

Redfield stayed silent for what seemed like a lot longer than a few seconds, even in his adrenaline-fueled state. Finally, he hesitantly lowered his weapon as Daria followed suit.

He watched the woman in the black armor as she backed away slowly, once again dipping into the shadows without a trace.

With a sigh, he reloaded the rifle before proceeding over to the container – the same guards had died setting up a perimeter around to protect – he doubted it was coincidence. Only one item could be that important. The crate was padlocked, but after several rifle rounds, that problem was fixed. Jason grabbed the heavy metal door, pulling it open with a creaking noise. He scanned the inside with his weapon-mounted flashlight. It didn't take the beam of light long to fall on it... her. Little Eve. As much as he didn't want to believe it, something inside Jason told him exactly what he was looking at.

The girl ahead of him looked nearly every part the average Kindergartener. She wore a white dress shirt along with a skirt, much like the uniform of a private school. Her hair was long, at least down to the small of her back. It was bright, almost silver or blue in color. What really struck Redfield were the eyes, however. Even with the bright beam of his weapon-mounted light shining in her face, the girl made no attempt to shield them. The cold blue eyes simply looked at the armed man silhouetted in the doorway impassively. Still, the eyes weren't completely lifeless. They were thoughtful... no, not thoughtful. Calculating.

Jason felt a shiver go down his spine. He had expected to be retrieving a box, an oversized hard drive, maybe... not an android. Redfield lowered his weapon, reaching up to remove the balaclava covering his face. "Eve?" he spoke softly.

The girl cocked her head, unblinking. "Yes."

"I'm here to help you. Will you come with me?" Redfield tried his best soothing voice, suspecting the gesture might be lost on the... being... in front of him. He went a step further, reaching out a gloved hand slowly. As he did so, flashes went through his mind to a very different place and time. Even as he attempted to ignore it, to fight it, the images came in a tidal wave.

Afghanistan, 2002. He and his squad of Marines had just finished clearing a hut. They hadn't made it more than two feet inside before the father of the family inside grabbed an AK and began firing at them. Jace shot back, killing him. It had all happened in seconds. Redfield had never forgotten that... it was never confirmed if the man was Taliban. For all he knew, the man may have just been a father attempting to protect his family from foreign invaders.

But what had always stuck with Jason throughout the years, seared into his brain, was the very thing surfacing now. The girl that was also in the hut. She had been young, probably about the same age that Eve appeared. The girl had seen everything. She had watched Jace shoot her father dead in front of her. Jason had lowered his weapon, approaching where she sat, huddled in a corner. He had held his hand out to her, the same as he was now. But she hadn't taken his hand... she had simply looked at Redfield with eyes that showed everything: grief, disgust, and so much fear.

Snapping back to the present, Jason yanked his hand backward subconsciously. He shook his head to clear it. Eve was still watching him with that calculating glance. "Mister Archer sent you," she said. It was a statement, not a question.

"Yes," Jason replied. "These are very bad people. I need to take you away from them."

"Bad?" Eve seemed perplexed by the statement, thinking it over.

"Yes. Everything will be explained later. But you need to come with me for now, Eve."

Slowly, the girl nodded. She took a step forward, somewhat clumsily. Redfield moved forward instinctively to catch her, but she continued moving. Each step was cautious... measured. She strolled past him and out into the cargo hold. Walking in front of her, he held out his hand to her once again. Eve looked at the hand analytically before raising her own and placing it in his. Jace resisted the urge to balk at how real and human-like the hand felt. Instead, he nodded a slight smile on his face.

"Stay close and if there's any trouble, get down and be still. I'll keep you safe."

The android nodded her understanding after a silent moment.

Jace didn’t let his guard down as he made his way back up to the deck – his rifle remained up and at the ready, aimed with one hand while the other was clenched firmly around Eve's hand behind him, leading her toward the exit. He knew there could still be guards, or even worse, reinforcements from outside the ship. However, the two made it to the top and off the ship without a hitch. Jason hastily led his way toward the hole he had created in the fence.

“Ah, what have we here,” the electronically-projected voice called out. "A thief, come to steal my prize away?" Jason whirled around, bringing up his rifle to spot a humanoid figure emerging from the shadows. He instinctively moved in front of Eve to cover her body with his own. The approaching shape was female, but in the form of a metallic, armored suit standing a little over six feet tall, with several glowing lights adorning the sleek surface. An exosuit, Jason remembered. He recalled that the military was testing prototypes. It was obvious that the woman before him was no soldier… but she was a killer all the same. Judging by the faint Eastern European accent, this was none other than the Baroness.


Last edited by Safton on Thu Oct 10, 2013 5:45 pm; edited 8 times in total

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Re: NPC Investigations

Post by Eternal Phoenix on Thu Jul 05, 2012 1:16 am

Edwin grinned. “I was wondering if you’d figure it out. The one thing you didn’t ask me was if I could I tell who did it. Not that I knew right then and there.” He added hastily. “I thought it over on the way back, and she’s the only one who fits.” That put a damper on Julia’s enthusiasm. For once, Edwin noticed. “Hey. Don’t let it get to you. I’ve got six years of practice on you in the PI game, and more at surviving New York’s mean streets. All that said, you’re a hell of a lot better than I was on my first day, and as good as I am, I can’t handle every case. Even the fourth I do catch is becoming too much. So, here you are. Go get changed, and we’ll go wrap this one up.”

Some time later, Julia re-entered the lobby to find Edwin waiting. He had most definitely changed. Slick Eddie was long, long gone, replaced by a suited man who could easily pass for a high end stock broker or a lawyer. “You ready? My driver’s just arrived.”

Julia quirked an eyebrow. “Driver?”

Edwin was baffled by that reaction. “Yeah…because I’m wealthy enough to afford one. Something odd about that?”

“I expected an expensive sports car and a joke about how women love fast cars.”

“In this town? Are you crazy? It’d be stripped if not outright stolen in a day. My babies stay in the Hamptons where it’s safe. The girls there appreciate fine cars better, too. C’mon.”

Julia shook her head. Regardless of what Edwin wore, some things about him never changed. She followed him out and met the driver, a suave Black man named Lloyd. His vehicle? A limo. Lloyd held the door open for her. “First time, miss? Don’t you worry. My driving skills are second to none. You’ll be there before you realize you’ve left.”

Edwin, waiting for Julia to get in, rolled his eyes. “Stop hitting on the girl, Lloyd. She’s not your type.”

“Of course, sir. I only try to make everyone comfortable.”

“Don’t you smooth talk me, either. This isn’t a date. We’ve got work to do.”

“Yes, sir. I trust you’ll shut the door, then?” Lloyd released the car door, stepped over to the driver’s seat, and got it. The engine started.

“That guy…he’s incorrigible. Ah, well. You getting in, or shall we stay here?”

Julia blinked. “Right.” She got in. Edwin wasn’t that far behind, and he did shut the door. The moment he did, Lloyd sprang into traffic. He was right. It didn’t take long to get to get to the downtown offices of Chandler International. Edwin helped Julia out of the car. His tone has cooled some from earlier in the day. He was all business. “Let me do the talking until we get to my uncle. And a side note…we’re technically not blood relations. He was just my father’s best friend since they were kids. Dad’s dead now, obviously, but Uncle Lawrence managed the trust fund until I came of age and tried to raise me as best as he could.” Julia did as she was asked. This wasn’t her world, after all. Soon enough, they were escorted into the plush office of Lawrence Chandler, President and CEO of Chandler International. He was a tall man and broad shouldered. Gray peppered his lush (for a man) brown hair and goatee. In fact, he bore a striking resemblance to Jonathan Frakes, if the Star Trek actor was in prime physical shape and over 60 years old.

Chandler favored them with a smile. “Now what bring Teddy’s son to my office. The last time you were here, you swore you’d never come back.” His tone was mirthful, but his eyes did not share his amusement.

As Julia watched, Edwin stiffened. His voice was cold, devoid of the warm jocularity Julia has thus far come to associate with it. “I’m not here for me, Uncle. Your daughter, the one who disappeared, Julia was assigned to it. We’ve discovered that she is a psi and powerful enough to brute force someone’s mind. Julia was concerned that you might be a target.”

“Well, as you can see, I’m perfectly unharmed. Unless you’d care to come over here and check?”

“No. There’s no need for that. I can see you’re the same as ever, Uncle.”

“Of course I am. I am a most excellent example of humanity, after all. Why would I change?” The question was rhetorical. “At any rate, she did happen by with that very thought in mind, but I sent her on her way. She was…rather disappointed and extremely confused.”

Julia shook her head. “Wait a second. Amy is a telepath, and she couldn’t do anything to you?”

“Ah, young miss. Someone didn’t pay enough attention in science class. Didn’t anyone ever tell you-“ that powers like hers are often inherited? Julia reeled backward, startled by the first voice in her head that wasn’t on some level her own. “Oh, you needn’t worry about your dirty little secrets, the smut, or me taking the wheel from you. If I’d wanted any of that I’d have had it by the time you came in my door. Ah, but there is one thing that I did. You won’t be able to tell anyone who doesn’t already know. It’s a standard precaution of mine, I’m afraid. So don’t be angry with Edwin. He couldn’t have told you if he wanted to, and he really did. Now, will that be all? I do have quite a bit of work to do before I retire for the evening.”

Edwin glared at Chandler. “I think that’ll do, Uncle.”

Chandler clasped his hands. “Excellent. My secretary will have the address to Miss Delgado’s current whereabouts. I do suggest you hurry. She’s growing more and more unstable by the hour. Who knows what terrible things she could do if not stopped quickly.

Edwin shot him a near-murderous look, and then turned to Julia. “Let’s go.” She nodded, anxious to leave herself and they headed out the door. The secretary gave Julia the note card with the address written down. It was in the Warehouse District. She walked to Edwin, who was waiting for the elevator. He was muttering to himself. “I don’t know how we’re going to stop her. If she’s anywhere near as strong as my Uncle, there’s no way I can do it myself. And there’s no way in hell I’m taking a rookie into a fight like that. It can’t be done. There’s just no way I can do it.” The elevator arrived, and the two of them got in. Edwin kept muttering. It appeared his confidence was badly shaken.

Julia was suddenly reminded of the office. Something somebody said… “I think this is the point where I tell you you’re not alone.”

Edwin stopped muttering and looked at her. He grabbed her by the shoulders, and just when it seemed like an embrace and lip lock were imminent, he blinked and let her go. The elevator stopped, and they got out. Edwin pulled out his phone and speed dialed 1. “Yeah. It’s me. Oh, you know. One of those days. Yeah, I saw him. No choice in the matter. I wouldn’t if it wasn’t a case. Yeah, I could use your help on this one. There’s a psi girl. She’s strong. Three damaged, one broken, and one unknown with her.” He gestured for the note card and Julia handed it over. He read off the address. “You’ll meet us there? Good. Uh…thanks, Tessa.” He hung up and put the phone away. Julia’s eyes held the question. “Tessa. My sponsor, savior of my harem, teller of all my secrets to anyone who will listen, and unfortunately the love of my life. She, uh, doesn’t feel the same way. To put it mildly. Anyway, she’ll meet us there. You want to go back to the office and put the civvies back on, or go right now?”

********************************************************************

Valia's tone was wryly amused in the way that only Eastern Europeans can seem to manage.
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Re: NPC Investigations

Post by Digital Muse on Tue Jul 10, 2012 6:59 pm

Upon declaring her conclusion that Amy was the psion, Edward smiled and nodded. He’d already figured it out too. So much for impressing the new boss. But, he assured her that she was doing better than she thought and they quickly went to change clothes in order to get by Uncle Charles’ business-suited red tape.

After they got into the limousine, Julia couldn’t help but feel how cheap her clothes were, it left her with an unsavory taste in her mouth. She couldn’t tell if Edwin noticed, but he did tell her more about his Uncle Charles and their relationship on the ride to the man’s office. Maybe he did it to take her mind of her sense of inferiority or not. She couldn’t tell.

Once escorted into the man’s office, the atmosphere dropped alarmingly. There was no love lost between the two men and Julia tensed instinctively.

The older man greeted Edwin and confirmed he was quite well, but before Julia could question that, Edwin interjected with a terse, “I can see you’re the same as ever, Uncle.”

Then Uncle Charles dropped the bombshell. Amy had already been there and had been unable to influence the older man. “Wait a second. Amy is a telepath, and she couldn’t do anything to you?” She asked sharply.

“Ah, young miss. Someone didn’t pay enough attention in science class. Didn’t anyone ever tell you-“ that powers like hers are often inherited? Julia reeled backward, startled by the first voice in her head that wasn’t on some level her own. “Oh, you needn’t worry about your dirty little secrets, the smut, or me taking the wheel from you. If I’d wanted any of that I’d have had it by the time you came in my door. Ah, but there is one thing that I did. You won’t be able to tell anyone who doesn’t already know. It’s a standard precaution of mine, I’m afraid. So don’t be angry with Edwin. He couldn’t have told you if he wanted to, and he really did. Now, will that be all? I do have quite a bit of work to do before I retire for the evening.”

Julia was incensed, how dare that old bastard creep around in her head? But once again, Edwin stopped her from saying or doing anything rash. They turned to leave with a final shot from Chandler that Amy might be capable of hurting herself or someone else with the mess he’d left her in. Outside Chandler's office, it was all Julia could do to control herself from wrecking something. She just prayed her power didn’t leak as it sometimes did even now when she was particularly stressed or angry. Julia accepted the card with the address in the warehouse district where Amy was supposed to be hiding.

While she noted it and headed to the elevator, she listened to Edwin mutter to himself about what he should do. Julia thought about it and suddenly remembered the words Willa had spoken to her before they’d left the office this morning.Tell him that he isn’t alone. When she repeated those words to Edwin, it was like he’d just discovered Christmas. He grabbed her by the shoulders and she panicked for a moment thinking he was going to kiss her. To the relief of them both, he blinked and came to his senses just as the elevator doors opened.

Edwin whipped out his phone and called someone. Julia guessed it was back up. She knew that she’d be useless against a psion. Chandler had proved that. She shuddered at the memory. After Edwin hung up his phone, she glanced up at him a question in her eyes.

“Tessa. My sponsor, savior of my harem, teller of all my secrets to anyone who will listen, and unfortunately the love of my life." He elaborated. "She, uh, doesn’t feel the same way. To put it mildly. Anyway, she’ll meet us there. You want to go back to the office and put the civvies back on, or go right now?”

Julia shook her head at him, “We can’t risk her hurting anyone else. Maybe Martin is under her sway too. If you two think you can handle her we have to go now." They climbed into the limo and as it pulled out into traffic again, Julia continued. “I’m going to be a useless as a norm on this. And if she can do what your charming Uncle can, she might even be able to use me or something.” The thought almost made her sick just thinking about it. " But if you can keep her focused on you, maybe I can get Martin out and run interference or …I don’t know…something.”

If she thought long enough about it, Julia was scared out of her mind. No pun intended. The thought of not being in control of her own mind made her even more outraged by what Amy had done to Xu and everyone else they’d met that day. Unfortunately, it also made her very uncomfortable sitting next to Edwin. She’d almost forgotten what he was and the warning he’d been compelled to read to her in the office before the interview had started. But now, it was back and frighteningly close. Could she ever bring herself to trust him? She frankly didn’t know which did not make for a good working relationship and might very well get them killed today.

Lloyd drove them within sight of the warehouse address they were heading for. They opted to get out and let Lloyd get back out of sight. They hid and kept an eye on the warehouse where Amy was supposed to be hiding while they waited for Tess to show up. To fill the time, Julia thought she needed to educate herself more on psions. Besides, she had too much nervous energy to remain still and quiet. “Can you…or can Amy detect people when they get close? Even if she can’t see them?” She turned her head to look up at him, “Can you?” She considered, “If we try to move into that warehouse and she knows we’re coming we’re done.” She really hoped she didn’t sound like a scared child. “Where’s your friend, Tess?” She couldn’t help but ask nervously.

The wait allowed Julia time to think back on their encounter with Chandler. He’d changed her. He’d done something so she wouldn’t be able to tell anyone his secret; just like he’d done to Edwin. In her mind, it was an assault; no different from attacking her with a knife or a gun. The more she thought about it, the hotter she got about it. Without realizing it, the tin of the warehouse wall that they hid behind slowly turned to dust under her fingers until she pushed through suddenly and fell over when the support of the wall was no longer there. She glared at the 2 foot diameter hole from her position on the ground and scowled heavily at it. “God damn it.”

Edwin turned around to look at Julia to answer her questions and looked from her to the hole in the wall with a little surprise. “Are you alright?”

She got to her feet indignantly and nodded, “Yes. But, I am going to kill good old Uncle Charles. Just so you know.” Julia knew it was a useless threat. There would be no chance in seven hells she’d get anywhere near the man. But she felt better saying it.

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