Paranoid Criminal Friends

Summary:
September 06 2014: Paul requests a meeting with Sara and a certain paranoid hacker.

Greenbelt State Park

An expanse of waterways and greenery three times the size of Central Park, located on Staten Island.


Characters

NPCs

  • K'nert

Mood Music:
[* None]


Paul is actually driving for a change since he knows where they're going. "He wanted to meet here." he explains as they full into a parking spot at the park. "I said a place we can't be spied on, this was what he came up with. I'll tell you both why at once. Saves time."

*

Jericho's paradigm when dealing with these kinds of things is to blend in as much as possible. So he's bird watching. Honestly. That’s why he has a backpack (with ornithology books, naturally) and high powered binoculars perched atop a rock literally off the beaten path. There is no other possible reason he could want those things.

Sure.

At any rate he had left Paul and Sara directions on how to find them and it’s only a twenty minute walk into the park. Through the brush sure but the two detectives are fit. They’ll make it. And he has snacks and water for 'em. The message had been unexpected but there you go. When they find him they may both note, since it’s been a while that his eyes have gone almost entirely amber. it gives him an otherworldy cast in some light.

*

"I'm beginning to think we may be spending too much time hanging out with SHIELD, Paul," Sara notes from the passenger, seat, smirking faintly as she watches the scenery go by. She's a fidgety passenger, and there's a palpable sense that she's biting her tongue at a few turns. Control freak.

Once they reach the park, though, she gets out of the car, pushing a hand through her hair. "Nice enough place, I guess."

*

"Or maybe we're spending too much time with paranoid criminals." Paul counters. Once he gets out of the car, he looks around, paying special attention to the way they came. "Well, we'd certainly know if were followed or being spied on." he notes. "Probably unnecessary precautions but…" He shrugs. Pulling out a piece of paper, he looks over the notes he jotted down. "Okay, this way. We've got a bit of a walk."

*

Bird watchers don’t hide on purpose. So Jericho is totally obvious atop his rock. The rock… well its only visible the last five hundred meters or so. The two detectives get glassed when they emerge from the tree line. He looks comfy up there. Ish.

*

"Paranoid criminals, huh?" Sara smirks, shaking her head. "I'll have you know, Steve came by for dinner last night. And I cooked. So, you know. This is me, being kind of like a responsible adult or something." She tips her chin up as she catches sight of Jericho's rock, nodding. "Speaking of our paranoid criminal friends."

*

"You're getting so domestic. Careful or your bad boyfriend will think you're starting to slack off on the job." It's difficult to say if Paul's joking or not. Or if he has a point. He's also caught sight of Trent and nods. "He almost looks like he belongs there. Sort of like one of those fish that can walk across land. They might be able to but it sure doesn't look right." He lefts the hand not holding the briefcase and starts for Trent's rock.

*

Well, I guess I can scratch a pair of Pensatus Profundus Policas off my list for the year." Jericho says dryly as he slides down to ground level, leaving K'nert perched up on the rock with a bag of trail mix. The hacker offers out water and some granola bars as they get close. "Sorry for the nature hike but it was the most conveniently accessible electronics free area I could think of. So…" He looks from paul to Sara and back again. "This was kind of unexpected. To what do I owe the visit from my two favorite supernatural troubleshooters?" His eyes slide down to the briefcase curiously.

*

"I have no idea," Sara answers Trent, shaking her head with a wry smile. "I've sort of been busy lately. Had to take a side trip to Metropolis to deal with…something. This one's on Paul." She looks to her partner as he holds up the briefcase, crossing her arms loosely over her chest.

*

Paul's gaze stays on the rock for a moment before he dismisses the small demon to look at Trent. There's a frown as he gets a look at the man's eyes. "You're a big boy and I'm not your mother. But you might want to think about turning into something unplanned." Unless of course it is. "This was probably unnecessary but you're making me paranoid, Trent. So make yourselves comfortable and I'm going to tell you short story and you're going to tell me what's wrong with it."

*

Jericho hitches a shoulder up in a shrug. "So far it's just the eyes and I'm not entirely sure it's related." It probably is but… there's a statistically significant chance it's his traces instead. "I'm making you paranoid? Heh. Well okay. I'm all ears, what's the story and where'd you read it?"

*

Sara has no room to talk about being influenced by one's unique weapons systems. So while she gives Jericho a brief look, she doesn't add to the lecture. Instead, she looks back to Paul, waiting to hear what they're after this time.

*

"I didn't read it, I lived it." Paul explains then starts. "It all starts with an assassination. Someone enters a bar, walks over to someone already sitting at a table and shoots him in the head. Someone else starts targeting the assassin. Less than a minute later - and I'm not exaggerating - SRD shows up. During the course of securing the scene, one of the pockets the victim's cellphone. From there on, details are irrelevant."

*

Jericho nods. "Less than a minute? SRD response times are good but they're not that good so it sounds suspicious yes. Odd that I'd not caught word of this on the airwaves. Well perhaps not. I've been busy with stuff, but usually I get a whisper of stuff that you'd think would make the news. I take it the phone did not later turn up in evidence? Or has the NYPD been locked out of the investigation?"

The hacker knows folks with options don't usually come to him, so he doesn't generally turn people down when they do. That Paul would come to him is kind of curious, but he's not gonna look a gift horse in the mouth.

*

"So you think maybe the SRD wasn't as interested in stopping the kill as they were in getting the phone?" Sara quirks a brow at Paul, head tilting as she thinks it over. "Or are you going so far as to suggest that they might've been behind the hit to begin with?"

*

"Forget about the response time. What was SRD doing there at all?" Paul asks as he opens the briefcase and pulls out two files. One is given to each person. "And no, the phone was never booked into evidence. I'm not suggesting they were behind the hit. It seems more likely they knew about it though. Or someone with the authority to send them there, at that time, did."

*

Jericho nods, his eyes distant. He can get reception out here, so he's poking at the internet already on this matter. "Mmmm. Well if they were behind the hit then there are better ways to cover it up certainly. But yeah… SRD isn't in the habit of crashing down on just any old shooting I'll give you that. Mmmmm… no video footage of the hit itself. That's unfortunate. Let's see about… Ah, okay, these call logs have been doctored. Though… huh. There's a call to a payphone here in Manhattan. That's unusual, length of conversation's a bit more than 'hey I'm drunk, come get me.' No record at all of a cell phone though." He trails off, refocusing on Paul and Sara in time to take the file and look thought it. "Was this on him? Or, you know, in his possession, I'm guessing?"

*

Sara steps back to lean against the rock as she flips through the file, frowning slightly to herself as she does. "ODIN Project?" she notes, looking up with a quirk of her brow. "Given recent, Norse-based activity, that's a little bit concerning, in my book. Especially in relation to a defense company."

*

"The file? No, it's what I managed to piece together before hitting a brick wall." And Paul tries not to look irritated that Trent tracked down that payphone call in a fraction of the time it took him. "Oh, Sara. The assassin? Domino, our albino friend from Walmart. And the one who saved Barton's ass."

*

"Domino?" Jericho raises an eyebrow. "She gets around, doesn't she? Took a run at me about three or four weeks ago. Didn't follow up though so I guess it wasn't personal to her or something like that. Or maybe she found better things to do." Domino and Barton, mmm? Now isn't that an interesting bit of intel.

*

"Okay. ODIN Project, and some kind of suspicious looking financial records dating back six months. Is this something you'd like me to look into?" Busy as he's been, he'd be willing to do that, but he asks because it's possible that Paul has a different tack he'd like to take. The detective's proven very clever in the past, coming up with oblique solutions to thorny problems, so its definitely something worth asking in Trent's mind.

*

"Also the one who was getting her ass handed to her by Superman's girl," Sara adds to the list of places Domino's been seen. "She does have a gift for showing up in places where worse things are going down, doesn't she?"

*

"Look into it. Yes." Paul agrees. "'It' being quite a long list. Look into the Odin Project. Look into Kelley. Looks into why SRD was there right after the hit to steal evidence. Look into who hired Domino. I'll talk to Barton and see if he knows how to get in touch with her. She can't be happy about being set up. If I had to guess, someone at Orion paid her to kill Kelley as well as those SRD cops. Or someone who could give orders to those cops and knew they'd be obeyed no matter how unusual the orders. All of it stinks and Sara and I won't be able to do it ourselves."

*

"Alright." Jericho nods. This is one thing to which he doesn't mind putting his expertise. "The Odin Project will take some digging. Defense corporations are better about data security than most folks. Which is not to say it can't be done. The other bit?" He frowns mildly. "The SRD has been acting odd of late. Their activity in Gotham is all off the wall… though Gotham became something of warzone after a hit got put out on the Joker."

"That seems like a likely avenue at the moment." Though Trent knows that these things kind of twist around… "Incidentally, is there anything I should be aware of? Official avenues you two will be pursuing that I should not muck up?"

*

"I wasn't going to say anything yet," Sara says slowly as she looks to Paul. "But I've been keeping an eye on the Smooth thing in M-Town, and things are a little…off there, too." She passes the folder back to her partner, choosing her words carefully. "It looks like the trade's getting pushed to stay in M-Town, but they're not doing a lot about it once it's in there. I hate to say it, but…SRD's not looking like roses right now."

*

Paul glances at Sara then back to Trent and grimaces. "Just… do it. Let us know if you need us to look into something. We're not Internal Affairs to investigate other departments but we can't just look the other way, whatever it is that's going on. Like Sara said, there's too much smoke for there not to be fire somewhere. Hopefully it's just a few bad cops in someone's pocket." Reaching up, he runs a hand over his hair. "Just make sure nothing can be traced back to you. You might have practice running from Hydra but SRD could start a manhunt in the entire state for you. And depending on what charges they trump up, getting you alive could be low priority."

*

"Yeah… did that song and dance with the national guard when this all started and it nearly killed me. I'm not eager to repeat it. I'll keep this low profile." It's left unsaid that if it did get that far there'd be nothing that either Sara or Paul could do to help Jericho, really not much anyone could do to help him short of just living in Limbo for a while… or on a spaceship, neither of which is ideal for obvious reasons.

"Should I shunt anything I find to you two or is there a third party that might be able to leverage it better?"

*

"I'm a little short on official avenues of leverage," Sara admits with a shake of her head. "Superman owes me a couple, but I doubt there's much he can do about institutionalized corruption. And while we're in pretty good with SHIELD, that's a jurisdiction clusterfuck waiting to happen. Until we know what we're looking at, I think it's best we keep this close."

*

"Mmmm. Fair enough. Let me know if you decide more direct action is required." Jericho has avenues of direct action, after all, that aren't a sniper rifle at 1700 yards. "This'll be your 'Op' though, so I'll defer to your lead on it. Until someone comes after me, anyway. Then it gets complicated." K'nert is keeping waaaaay up top atop the rock. It's almost like he's avoiding Paul or something. Or Sara, maybe Sara.

Yeah, totally avoiding Sara.

*

Paul nods his agreement. "Yeah, not to mention we don't know for sure how high this goes. Let's just play it by ear for now and we can make decisions later based on what you've found out." Looking at Trent, he sighs. "I really hate this. Do you think we should ask Estacado about the smooth, Sara? Or if not him, then that Shift guy. Assuming Trent can find us some contact info?"

*

Luckily for K'nert, he just doesn't rate high enough for a Witchblade freak-out. And Sara's too used to weird to be bothered by the critter. "I can see if I can get in touch with him," Sara says slowly to Paul's question. "Whether or not he's going to be the sort of help we want, that's another question. But if we're looking at bad busts? Yeah, I've got no doubt he could set some of that up. If he wanted."

*

Jericho nods. "I see now why you were so insistent on security. Not often people beat me on that one, so I was kind of impressed." Though what exactly that says about Trent, that he should be impressed by someone's paranoia is perhaps best left unsaid.

"The smooth. I've not been really tracking that. The drug that's instantly addictive and takes away mutant powers right? Sounds like nasty stuff. I'm sort of not surprised it's being contained in M-Town. The SRD there has a well earned reputation for bias against mutants. And it's institutional. Doesn't seem to matter how often they discipline individual officers…"

He sighs. Corrupt cops and rampaging Militias. Welcome to the Corridor. The sad thing is, at least in the case of Paul's problem, it doesn't have to be that many of them. Five or six well placed officers with a sufficiently well connected benefactor would about do it. It's pretty simple to subvert any organization, even a police force, if you get the right people into the right places. The SRD? Well they usually start out already being a bit Anti-Meta, so it takes less push to get them over the edge.

"I'm gonna take a look at these financials, see if I can connect them up to anything known. Do you have a sense, Paul, of whom or what might be at the center of the web? It could just be about money if it's Orion Industries, but killing someone is really extreme and, as you know, oftne less calculated than knee jerk." He glances over to Sara now and frowns slightly. "Ugh, much as it's been around I have to ask, possible this web goes back to something spooky?"

*

At the question, Paul just shakes his head. "No. Until the guy got shot, I had no idea there was a web. If there is a web." To Sara, he says "I don’t want Estacado to set anything up. He's a killer. But he claimed to be trying to smash the smooth trade so might know something. If he was telling the truth, instead of trying to take it over, it's in his interest to help us get it off the street."

*

"I think it's in everyone's interest to get it off the street. The only place that'll end is with the mutant addicts effectively on a leash." Jericho shakes his head. "Okay, I'll dig, and I'll be in touch." And he'll try to keep his demonic ass out of their way, much as he's starting to like them.

"Anything else I can deny you having asked me to do?" A wry grin graces his face.

*

"Not for right now," Sara shakes her head to Trent, stepping back from the rock. "Smooth and possible corruption in the SRD should keep me busy for a bit. Let me know if you hear anything new about anything else?"

"Or worse, if they tie in together." Paul adds. Trent's definitely rubbing off on him. "That should keep you occupied for now. And Trent, thanks. You don't have to do this."

*

"I know. But I will. By the way, keep your ear to the street for 9/11 type activity. I've got an international project working that might come local if things go the way Hydra wants it to. The trouble will be centered around mutants, if that helps." He looks up to the rock. "C'mon K'nert, let's get outta here." The demon hops down and nods in a seemingly random direction. "That way mmm? Alrighty, then. You two stay safe and watch your backs."

With a wave he starts off into the woods. For a stepping disk, Paul can sense.

*

Sara watches K'nert hop off, shaking her head. "Weird little thing," she murmurs, then looks back to Paul. "You going to hold on to the keys for the drive back?"

*

Paul digs into his pocket for the keys and tosses them to Sara. "As much fun watching you squirm is, you're likely to cause an accident by distracting me. We're stopping at the Cheesecake Factory though. And if you don't have a date with Steve tonight, I'll even let you help me eat it."


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