Clueless – GS

 

Scene setting : The School

co-written with VunG.

 

VunG:  Elissa was wondering how long it would take John to pick up on her identity, it would be less distracting if he at the very least knew her name if they had met. She actually barely recognized him, though that was mostly because she tended not to work with the detectives all that much. Once their meeting got underway, she would nod to Tommy’s assessment; in fact, now that she thought about it, it would probably be bad to stick around. She was still more than a little baffled by the lack of evidence of casualties though. If this was a battlefield, there should’ve been bodies, or at least signs of these bodies, and there was no way this was anything other than that. Either that or it was extreme live-weapons training… which she doubted. She was willing to overlook the intact windows, again she knew that there were some weird weapons out there that could do some serious damage without that… but the lack of bullet holes was absolutely baffling her. If there were explosives, the windows would be blown out and there would be no bullet holes. If there were bullet holes there would be no blown out windows. A lack of either… all she could think of was something really big coming through with a wrecking ball.

The more she thought about it, the more her mind went back to that… thing in the pictures. Could that be what was out here? Why would it bite buildings? Thankfully her thoughts would be dragged from that as she wandered the school nearby and she caught John’s bizarre suggestion of a government military action. After an amused snort, she quickly wrote a note and handed it over to the man, shaking her head as she returned to her work. *I’m pretty certain if the government wanted to test a weapon on buildings there would be less high profile places than a school in the middle of New York. Try again.*

But… sadly, they were out of potential clues, not without turning this place over, and as John would soon point out, it would be a bad idea to keep the commander in the dark about this. And she didn’t want to get them in trouble over this; that wasn’t what she was here for. At the question, she nodded gladly and went to join Tommy while they called in the situation. Once the two were busy, she’d sign to him while he was putting away his stuff, ~Do you think the… thing in those pictures could have done this?~ She didn’t look as panicked anymore, but she definitely looked concerned, and wanted his opinion. This was frustrating, because her expertise in weapons had completely failed her, and she had nothing really to fall back on in this scenario.

 

Razorbackwriter:  Detective John Moss took Elissa’s note and took out his glasses to read it under the dim lighting. She was right. Why would any government agency pick a school to do its weapons testing? It was just not plausible. The problem that they all faced however, was finding evidence to pinpoint exactly what caused the destruction of the buildings. Tommy had already gathered as much photographic evidence as he could, but other than that, there was nothing else to be found on the ground. A site with no clues will make this a dead end investigation….or it would bring in every kook and whacko job from the cheap tabloids who would suggest conspiracy theories. The more Tommy thought about it, the less likely he would be to even show the photos to his editor. A story needs facts….names, clues. This had nothing.

As Tommy was putting the last of his gear away, Elissa asked him in sign if he thought the creature in the pictures did this. Her expression was one of calm and as though she was not discounting the creature in the photos that Frank had being very real. Shouldering his back pack, Tommy placed a hand on Elissa’s arm and then whispered to her ear. “It’s a strong possibility.. I mean, its size and the way Frank described it….something like that could have caused all this damage. But…if you ask me….something or someone…engaged it in battle. We just can’t prove it due to the lack of evidence.”

It was really like chasing ghosts, and Tommy was starting to feel like Fox Mulder from The X Files.

Detective John Moss was already on the phone to the precinct and soon about half a dozen squad cars along with the Commander’s car would all pull up at the school with their lights blazing. Some officers were already stringing up yellow police line tape, while others were walking around the debris taking photos and starting investigating the damage to the school. They were as clueless as the four that found the debris in the first place. Commander Brack, a forty year veteran of the force approached the four, as Tommy got in behind Frank….not wanting to be seen. Brack’s expression was one of disdain.

“So…what is all this then? Malone? Moss? Were either of you here to witness the destruction of the school?” Bracks asked gruffly before then noticing Elissa, who he had not seen for some time. “Well well well….if it isn’t former Captain Pourtales. Fancy finding you mixed up with these clowns. Oh….and super snoopTommy Xo, New York’s nosiest reporter. Seeing you all together at this school makes me think you had a hand in the damage. So…whose going to tell me just what happened? Hmm?” The Commander asked, folding his arms and waiting for someone to talk.

 

~RB~

 

VunG:  It was perhaps a little discouraging to hear Tommy’s assessment, mostly because she’d been hoping she was just losing her mind rather than have that aberration running around in their streets. However, the thought of something else fighting them was intriguing; if that thing was capable of doing this much damage… then what in the world was capable of standing toe-to-toe with it? It bothered her, and without a potential answer she felt very itchy. They needed a freaking exorcist or ghost buster or at the very least the Scooby Gang.

As the call was made, she’d go ahead and take them moment to pull out a small flask and swig a gulp of her whiskey, wincing as it went down. She knew that being drunk wasn’t the best idea right now, but she wasn’t drinking all that much, and she would probably need it to put up with that idiot Commander. As the cars came in, she went ahead joined the other three, smirking at Tommy as he hid behind Frank before shaking her head and standing calmly as they awaited the commander to deign to show his face. As he went to insult everyone on the site, she promptly pinched her forehead and shook her head with annoyance, letting out a rather loud sigh. She didn’t remember the man being such an imbecile, but then again she was usually just in the SWAT clique.

Snapping her fingers to get Tommy’s attention, she asked him to translate for her, then went ahead and spoke straight to the commander, nothing but a stoney expression shown to her former boss. ~I would advise against threatening or insulting us, considering we’re your only known ‘witnesses,’~ and she made sure to finger quote that last one to make a point, ~Second, we just arrived, I received an anonymous tip. Third, we don’t know what did it, but I’m pretty certain it wasn’t conventional explosives or firearms based on a lack of scorch marks, slugs, bulletholes, or blown out windows, so there’s your important details. Fourth, don’t insult your own men,~ and put extra flourish into the last one, her expression hardening as she glared at the commander. This wasn’t just something she would do for these three, this was her general reaction to any member of the force who was threatened, insulted, or otherwise acted against. She wasn’t usually a wildcat, but when it came to protecting the boys in blue, especially the honest ones, she was downright ferocious.

 

Razorbackwriter:  Everyone knew that Commander Bracks was a hot head – especially Tommy since he was the one that had a relationship with the Commander’s daughter. So, when Elissa asked Tommy to translate for her, Tommy grimaced and then flashed a cheesy smile at Commander Bracks who was in no mood for games. Elissa…was simply brilliant. Frank and John both stood quietly as she defended their reputations and gave a perfect account of what they had found, or rather what they hadn’t. Oh her gestures, followed by Tommy’s translations showed the girl had lost none of her spark, and Frank for one was proud of her and even straightened a little in her company. John Moss just stood there, feeling kinda out of it, since he was called in at the last minute. The last line….” don’t insult your own men” was given with an extra bit of oomph and Tommy made sure to relate that exactly as it was intended.

The Commander gruffly snorted at what he had heard. One of the other officers to come up alongside the chief confirmed exactly what Elissa had reported, much to the Commander’s annoyance. None of those at the site had anything to do with the destruction of the school.

“She’s right, Sir. There is nothing to suggest an explosion, or causalities. The site is clean.” The Commander’s eyes darkened and he stared hard at Elissa, who had stood her ground and glared back just intently. Hmmph!” That was all he could utter as many of the other police officers were coming up empty handed. Pointing a finger at Detective Moss, he ordered. “Have your report on my desk at 10am. Dismissed.:” And like that, he turned on his heel and headed back to his car.

Moss let out a sigh of relief that the incident for now was over, but there was obviously going to be words said back at the station. John took out his cell and then gave the other three a polite nod, before he headed for his car, and started to call his wife to let her know he was alright. Now it was just Tommy and Frank left standing with Elissa. Frank had kept his silence, with his head bowed. It seemed nothing he did was ever right in the eyes of his commander. What he wouldn’t give to crack the case of the death of his partner. The school was a dead end in his mind, but Tommy….he had other ideas.

“Okay, none of us are going to make it through the night without a coffee. I say, we go to the nearest coffee shop and refuel, before continuing the hunt for what took Rory.”

If Elissa agreed, they would all get into Tommy’s car and head to Jax’s coffee house. As they walked, Frank spoke quietly to Elissa as Tommy went ahead to put his gear in the boot of his car.

“Thanks. What you said…meant a lot.” His eyes softened as he watched her walk along side him. She didn’t have to stick around and put up with the crap from the Commander, but she did….and that was worth a great deal of respect in his eyes.

 

~RB~

 

VunG:  Oh it was so satisfying for Elissa to see the Commander stopped in his tracks after that stunt he pulled. Honestly, the guy should’ve, at the very least, been trying to help his men if he thought they weren’t in the best state of mind, not berating them; and honestly she couldn’t comprehend the idea of Frank doing that sort of thing to his partner. She’d only met the two of them a few times before, but she knew that they were best buds, and if Frank had been sick enough in the head to do something like that, then it would’ve shown up on a psych profiling. It was pretty satisfying too to hear that the other officers were pretty much backing her up, intentionally or no; at least she wasn’t completely botching it up.

Still, she felt sorry for poor John, and would flash him an apologetic expression as he took off, giving him a polite wave. Once it was over, she let out a breath and turned to the others, glad to see they’d at least stayed there, even if poor Frank was so beaten down that he ducked his head like a scared child. At least they’d weathered that storm. Of course, now that she’d just shouted down the police commander without a voice, her blood was pumping and, like Tommy, she wasn’t ready to call it quits for today, not yet. At the reporter’s suggestion, she nodded emphatically and fell into step .

Of course, what she hadn’t been expecting was for Frank to come up to him, and thank her for her words. Truth be told, she didn’t see it as anything grand, more what came naturally to her and what was right to do. Still, between the tone in his voice and the look on his face, she could tell it meant a lot to him. Perhaps she was the first person besides Tommy and maybe John to show any faith in him. The thought was kind of heartbreaking. Smiling back, she placed a hand on his shoulder and shook it lightly, telling him wordlessly that she was there for him, if nothing else. With that, she’d go ahead and find her place in the car, flopping into her seat with a sigh and began cracking her fingers.

 

Razorbackwriter:  John’s car pulled out of the parking lot, its red lights fading into the distance while the remaining squad car lights continued to blaze as morning was approaching. Sticking around the school was now no longer necessary. Their curiosity had been met with a dead end situation. A war zone with no clues. Slamming the boot of his car, Tommy checked Elissa as she found her place in the back seat and flopped in. The sound of cracking knuckles was her way of dealing with the stress, Tommy guessed, and he got in behind the driver’s wheel. Staying just a moment longer, Frank surveyed the area – memories of the night Rory disappeared mirroring the sight before him of all the cop cars and policemen looking for clues. Frank slammed his hand on the side of the car to let off steam before getting in beside Elissa and closing his door. Rubbing his hand lightly, he glanced at Elissa. You could see the guy was worn out and beaten down. Even his clothes hung on his body like they were too big for him. The guy probably hadn’t had a decent feed in months. Frank needed someone in his life. To shake him into awakening and to live each new day – not mourn what he had lost. But to do that he needed closure. The only way to get it, was to prove what he saw the night of Rory’s murder to be real.

Tommy’s car pulled away from the curb, and without word the three would head off to Jax’s coffee shop for a much needed cup of joe.

 

~RB~

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School’s out? – GS

 

Scene setting – The school.

co-written with VunG.

 

Razorbackwriter:  It was a sobering drive over to the school. Detective Frank Malone had gotten his cell and texted his current partner – Detective John Moss to join them at what would be a crime scene. That was how Frank saw it, though he would be shocked by what he found….or rather didn’t. The night was dragging on, and it was obvious that all would be needing coffee to stay awake through it all. Frank, had come good considering how much he had to drink earlier. Perhaps the photo evidence and now this current investigation had sparked something within the war horse. Tommy parked his car in the school teachers car park and alighted the vehicle – going around the back and opening the trunk. He pulled out a small sports bag, with camera equipment as well as a good flash light. You know the kind that security guards use. A long black handle and large torch end. Slamming the boot closed, he turned at the sound of another car approaching. It was Frank’s partner, John. Already Frank had gotten out of Tommy’s car and urged Elissa to follow him and meet John. John looked like he’d just rolled out of bed. Racking his fingers through his hair, he approached the trio and asked.

“Want to tell me why you got me out of bed, Frank?”

“Easy, Elissa here has been sent some pics of damage to the school, thought we should check it out before the Commander gets wind.” Frank replied, knowing that John would probably be pissed at Frank acting without back up of the department. John rolled his eyes, before glancing at Elissa. “Don’t I know you?” He asked off the cuff.

A loud crashing sound caught everyone’s attention, and Tommy shone the light in the direction of the sound. “No time for pleasantries. Come on.” Together the four headed into the school grounds, only to be confronted by a sight that was like something out of a war zone. Massive holes that had been caused by some sort of explosion had left a trail of destruction, with everything from desks, chairs and papers scattered. Walking through the debris, Tommy shone his light left and right, but there was no one about – not a soul.

“Hello?!” He sung out, as Frank surveyed the damage in one classroom. There was no one about, and very little smoke. Just a lot of debris and broken bricks. “It’s like there was a battle here…..but there is no shells, no blast residue….nothing. What the hell caused all this?” He asked, looking back at Elissa. Had she seen anything like this before?

 

~RB~

 

VunG:  Throughout the journey over Elissa was staring at the pictures that had been sent to her, trying to notice things and areas truly worth examining right off the bat. Of course, the whole thing looked like a mess, and fine detail was lost on the phone cameras, so it wasn’t quite what she needed, but it couldn’t hurt to try. Once the car arrived, she joined the others in getting up and equipping themselves with flashlights, though she didn’t bother with a camera at the moment since she actually didn’t know the proper techniques for avoiding glare. Like Frank, her eyes trailed immediately towards the newcomer to the party, and she would gladly join in welcoming the poor fellow to the crime scene, though it was obvious that he wasn’t exactly in the sort of position to be all that happy; probably just woke up.

When John asked if he knew her, she would nod and put her flashlight under her arm while she reached for her notepad… but wouldn’t even get it out as they were reminded that they probably on the clock. Immediately she would join the lot in the charge forward, and find her breath catching as she looked on the mess before them. War zone was just the right word. As they approached, she almost immediately went to examine one of the blast marks more closely, not bothering with the interior of the school but rather trying to the actual technical side. She knew that was her best area… normally. This sort of damage was bizarre. It didn’t so much look like it was hit with an explosive, the damage was too clean, too localized for that. But it wasn’t a normal round either; there weren’t shells around but that could be explained away. She knew of a few ways to prevent shells from showing up; she knew that there were even prototype weapons using casing-less rounds. But… there should’ve been slugs. Putting on gloves she began running her hands along one of the blast zones, trying to find any sign of one of the things, trying to figure out the weapons used. But even as Frank spoke, she realized that there weren’t slugs either… nor even shards of lead or steel or anything that would suggest such a thing.

Frowning, she stepped back and began walking about the school grounds, pausing every now and again when she came upon an undisturbed section of carnage. There was evidence of something moving around here, things were disturbed, the debris had been kicked around, this wasn’t just a ghost job. But… that suggested that the damage wasn’t simultaneous either. This wasn’t deliberate per se, more like something had experienced a firefight in here, and the people were either moving in or out. As she realized this, she began taking note of the direction of things, and began following the rough path in towards the gymnasium… or… what was left of it.

For a time she stood there, just examining the damage, spending the whole time gesturing with her hands, flashlight in one of them, trying to paint herself an image of what happened, trying to figure out where all the debris came from. As she stood there, she would have to dodge a bit of falling concrete, and she’d begin to leave the area… only to notice something rather peculiar: the windows were mostly intact. Now that was interesting. Bringing a hand up to her mouth, she whistled sharply and would begin moving to a place a little out of the gymnasium where they could see her.

Once the guys were there, particularly Tommy since he was her translator at this point, she’d begin signing while gesturing to the windows, ~Whatever did this was either direct fire or physical. The windows are intact; explosive shockwaves tend to break them.~ On top of that, she gestured for them to look in the gymnasium and added, ~That seems to be where the worst of it it, but I’m not certain how stable it is in there. Watch your head if you check.~

 

Razorbackwriter:  Over the years, Tommy had covered actual war zones in the middle east and was used to seeing the kind of debris and ruin left by mortars and explosives. Even gun cartridges, and smoldering ash from fires caused by the carnage, but this…this was unlike anything he had seen before. Waving his flashlight over one of the walls, that had major structural damage, there was nothing that showed what caused the blast points or gaping holes in the brick. Tommy set down his sports bag on one of the remaining outdoor seats and pulled open the zipper, to find his camera and flash unit. He wanted to take as many pictures for evidence as he could before word of this got out. Snapping the flash unit in place, he started to take pictures, clicking madly as Frank and John were investigating what would be the pathway to the gymnasium. Both men had heard Elissa’s whistle and followed her lead. John mentioned to Frank; “She’s a quiet one, isn’t she?” Not knowing that the girl was a mute. He knew he had seen her before, some time ago but was only now putting two and two together when Frank made mention that she was once with the SWAT team. “Oh…right.”

Tommy jogged to catch up with the trio and added to Elissa’s signing. “The gym took the brunt of the battle by the looks of things. Elissa’s right about one thing though, I’m not so sure that the structural integrity of the building is all that sound.” He said, shouldering his camera and turning the torch in the direction of the destroyed gymnasium. Frank did notice one thing. There was no bodies. Surely after a fight of this size and scale there would have been causalities….but there was nothing. No bodies….no blood….nothing. The cogs in his mind started to turn. Could this have anything at all to do with what happened to Rory? Great creatures that were invisible to the naked eye, but able to be caught on film? Detective John Moss walked unsteadily over what was once the wall in the gym. He did notice that the windows were not blown out. So the force of the explosions didn’t cause shock waves. Again…that made no logical sense. Tommy took a few more photographs, but already John was starting to get suspicious.

“What if….this is some sort of…government..military type operation? Like, trialing some new weapons, though you’d think they would pick a place more suitable than a school.” Frank wasn’t too sure about John’s deduction. If the government was involved, they wouldn’t just allow anybody to wander on the sight. “I don’t know. Something is just really off about this. There is no residue smell of explosives, no fire…no ash.”

It was clear to all of them that there was little in the way of clues or evidence to suggest what caused all this destruction. In the mean time, they had another case waiting to be solved. The murder of Rory Lismore. They now had photographs of what took Rory that night, and a witness. Unknown at the current time, but it would hopefully be solved as they followed the leads that they had.

John approached Frank and Elissa and suggested. “We should call this in. If Commander Bracks finds out we were here and didn’t report it, we could lose our badges for obstruction.” John was now sure that what ever caused the damage at the school was not something that could easily be solved. Frank looked at Elissa as Tommy started to pack away his camera back into his sports bag. “Should I call this in, guys?”

 

~RB~