Silence Of Evil Legwork

The Silence of Evil Legwork

A brief recap may be in order:

Divination is a strange thing. Sometimes it's accurate, sometimes its not. Sometimes there are real messages and events to be uncovered and othertimes its complete BS. It was a vision in the fire that led the Watchers to rush out to Winter Park. And when they got there, they found a crime scene. A very fresh one.

What was revealed in that immediate aftermath was that strange deaths like this have been a way of life for Winter Park for some time now. And that others had tried to solve it, but no arrest had ever been made, and only speculation surrounded it. Well, if anyone might be able to get to the truth of the matter? It may just be The Watchers.

Ordered by Johnny to look into it, Hitomi used her expertise to do some research. And now it's time for show and tell.

Hitomi has invited the core members of the Watchers to come and see what she's uncovered- she currently sits in the conference room, in the chair that's set aside for her. Her own terminal is already booted up, and she's commandeered the main projector from there. While she waits, she spins back and forth in the chair.

Johnny steps in to the conference room, sliding a shirt over his chest. Hes' just come from the gym level where he's been involved in some Gymnastics. Nothing keeps an old man young like bending his body in to shapes a 12 year old girl has problems with. "Hey Jailbait."

Speaking of 12 year old girls.

Aladriel slips into the conference room and holds the door for Kassie, a big smile on her face to see Johnny and Hitomi. "Hey you two!" she greets, eyes sweeping over each for a quick moment before she asks, "You found something? You've got news?" she asks, sobering a bit because just what there is news about is…not the best thing in the world.

Kass will move in after Aladriel, eyes flicking to take in the room and offering a quick nod to Hitomi and Johnny. She tilts her head as Ally speaks, moving to take a seat and settle in to listen.

Hitomi rolls her eyes at Johnny's greeting, and offers them all a small smile and a nod when they come int. "So, to cut to the chase, I've been digging through the police records." she tells them all, and then hits a button on the computer, and it brings up her findings. She waits for everyone to get seated before she starts, and the case opens up to a file from 2020.

"The first similar case I discovered was way back in 2020. A boy, 13, called Kenneth Baxter. His case is still unsolved today. Shortly after this in 2021 there was a double homicide that bears a strong resemblance to our case." some grisly photos, "Following this in the years 2021 to 2027 there were no less than 79 victims who died under similar circumstances, across 25 separate incidents." the images on screen begin flipping through the case files she managed to snag. "Most of these cases remain unsolved."

Johnny whistles quietly. "So whatever this is is early Awakening. Lots of these cases date back to the NAN war. Are they all the same geographic region, or are they spread out? Any data drift? Family names or genealogical linkups?"

Ally kicks out Kassandra's chair for her before she plops herself down similarly, legs crossing beneath her. She crosses her arms across her chest and devotes her full attention towards Hitomi's presentation. And her mouth pretty much drops open when Hitomi drops numbers like she's doing.

"79!? Aren't there police? Sheriffs? Government? 79!"

Hmming, Kassandra shakes her head and continues to listen, snagging a datapad and making a few notes of her own. She glances to Hitomi at the various questions thrown at the data specialist, but otherwise keeps quiet for the moment.

"Allmost all of them in Winter Park, the town we visited. Those that didn't, were people who had moved away, or relatives of people from Winter Park." Hitomi continues. One of the case files opens up and a family tree comes forth. "Almost all of the homicides are confined to a number of specific families, but not just biological families- spouses often become victims as well, as well as the children of those couples." she explains. "I… don't know as much about magic as you guys, but it seems like… I don't know. Some kind of curse." she comments, but then shakes her head.

She sweeps aside the family tree for now, and then brings up the case file of the most recent murder. "I also discovered our victim- Monica Francis- was born Monica Jarvis. She had a husband, who died four months ago in California. One month before she moved back to the house where she died." a pause for breath. "But, that's not it. She inherited this house when her parents were killed there themselves, twenty years ago."

Johnny mmms quietly as he puts his game face on. Hands come up to steeple in front of his features. "I want a full profile, as full as possible given the Crash-line…" He says referring to the data loss from before the crash of 29… "On the first known victim that fits the MO. If this is a curse, it may trace back to the first person. If it traces back to the Fourth World, there is nothing we can effectively do. We can however investigate what this first person may have done to unleash the curse, such as it is, and in doing so, learn how to neutralize it."

As far as skin-tone goes, Aladriel is not really a colorful person. And at hearing all of this new information, she's becoming even less so. "Families and spouses?" She looks over at Kassandra for a moment, nibbling her lip. "And….she came back to that place where her parents died?" She swallows and looks down, brows furrowed in thought.

"One might think that this curse, if it is indeed a curse, might be running low on victims .. that is, unless it decides to spread to friends and delivery folk and the like." Kassandra considers the doodles on the data pad that she's been making, trying to connect all this.

"That sheriff certainly seemed to know something, or at least suspect. I'll bet several hundred share in any stock you name that most of the town knows something is up as well."

Johnny nods to Kassandra then. "Kass." He says then, an eyebrow raising. "Will you be my bride?" He asks in a syrupy tone. And then to Hitomi… "And you. Will you make us the cousins of our latest victim and the legal heir to that home? And marry us?" Then to Ally. "And dear, I'm not letting you out of this house wearing such slatternly clothing. Go upstairs and change before the big dance."

Aladriel looks up sharply and seems utterly confused about what Sam just proposed. "Huh?" she asks, blinking her eyes quickly and looking confusedly at Kass. "Y'know that we'r…" she stops then, replaying the rest of what was just said. "Oh," she murmurs. "OH! You want to be set up as family? That's…..wow. That really doesn't sound like a good idea y'know?"

"If we want to investigate this as anything other than unwelcome outsiders… we need to be insiders." Counters Johnny, but holds to listen to objections.

Hitomi nods her head at Johny, and then begins tapping on her screen as she opens up a matrix feed. "I didn't know you'd taken a turn for the Mormon." She comments idly when he asks both her and Kass to marry him, but is mostly focused on the screen. "I'm not finding anything prior to that Baxter kid. And even then not much… Birth… Ah, news clipping." She comments.

"Looks like he… interrupted some girl's Gala." She comments. And then her eyes go a little wide, "Maybe the girl had something to do with it." She says, eyes flicking back and forth over the article. She brings up the news clipping on the big screen, and then highlights the name. "Judith Miller."

"Can't you marry Lilith? It would make her century I'm sure. Additionally, you and I were seen by the local constabulary. While you are wonderful about blending into the woodwork, I tend to stand out." Kass breaks off as Hitomi comes up with more facts. She falls silent and considers.

Johnny shrugs. "I don't dig chicks with tails." he admits, then turns to Hitomi. "it's just an option. And Miller.. didn't she make the dolls? It's entirely possible in the early awakening, with mana levels in flux, she was able to work a magic or summon a spirit that does this according to poorly worded wishes… or worse… specifically worded."

"It's a good point, I guess, just don't like the idea of any of us ending up on the radar of whatever's at the root of this," Ally replies back. "I mean we were right there and *we've* got absolutely nothing," she murmurs. Despite herself she cracks a little smile at Kassandra's suggestion that Johnny 'marry' Lilith. Oh yes, that would go over huge. She keeps to her silence though as Hitomi reveals more information, brows knitting a little bit.

"It might also be something that was worked in with the house or some artifact within the home itself. An element of a pre-Awakening relic or fragment thereof could have disastrous effects with a novice mage. There is some evidence that there is a nascent sentience in some of the Fourth World artifacts; while it is still being debated, that can be taken into account. Or just a plan spook." Kass shrugs and waves a hand in a nonspecific manner.

Hitomi goes back to tapping the symbology on her screen. "Judith was 71 when the boy died, and died the same year as him…" she comments then, "Right at the end of the year, late December in fact." She comments frowning. More news clippings appear on the big screen, and Hitomi works rapidly to highlight parts of them. "She was an exceptional ventriloquist… so much so, she was checked for cheating." a pause, "Do you think that the doll was some kind of artifact?" she asks then. "I'll look into how she died."

Johnny hrms quietly. "I want to investigate the doll, but I recall at the scene it didn't have traces of magic in it." He glances to the magi who confirmed that. "But yes. The first links are the first victim and the woman. My gut says she meddled in the affairs of things she didn't understand. A fractured old wives tale about summoning a curse she didn't know how to put down. Or protect herself from. It's just a hunch, so don't run it down as the only lead."

"What's our experience shown with cursed artifacts and the like?" Ally asks, tone thoughtful. "I mean, if it's something powerful enough to actually be killing, there'd have to be some taint left behind from it. And we *did* look at the doll…I know we did, and there wasn't anything to it. It was inert. It…." she nibbles her lip some more and seems to go off on her own along some path of thought.

Johnny quirks an eyebrow, looking to Ally, letting her traipse down the garden path.

"Unless it can shield itself. Many magicians and spirits can do something similar, and clean up the crime scene besides." Kass shakes her head, "A good fire might be a suitable ending to a lot of this."

Hitomi frowns a bit, and shakes her head. "It's weird. She died the most normal death I've ever known anyone to die." She comments then, as she peers at the file. "There's a little data corruption, but it looks like there wasn't much there to get damaged, anyway." She comments, and then mulls things over. "Do you…" she begins, and then shakes her head.

Johnny taps the table. "All ideas out. This is brain storming. Don't dismiss anything. No stupid ideas."

Hitomi says "Maybe she's still alive?"

"Was just thinking that we're going to have to keep a close watch on the doll," Ally murmurs, looking up as she speaks. "I mean, the shielding, the hiding that Kass just mentioned, is kinda tricky. If we both missed it," she motions to Kass and then back to herself, "It's not guaranteed that we could see through it again. It's…tricky."

Johnny glances to Kassandra at that. "I hadn't considered that option." He admits quietly. Thats some out of the box thinking right there.

Kassandra looks off for a moment, running the idea over in her head. "It's possible," she admits, shrugging. "Transferred consciousness, specters, psychometric impressions. It's all cutting edge type magic, not the sort of thing that just anyone would be able to accomplish. Possible? Sure."

"As far as the doll goes, or even the house, if it can hide from both of us .. well." Kass shrugs and shakes her head. "Then we may have to get a little mean."

Johnny nods to the other women. "Alright. I'll change my features and my story. Hitomi, set me up for what I asked for, but leave the ladies out of it. I'll be a relative who just lost his wife in a horrible accident, come back to start a new life. I think we need to be inside the problem, to get any answers. If I'm not actually related, the curse will likely ignore me, if it has set parameters."

Hitomi shakes her head a bit, "She might just be an elf." She comments. "Some people emerged early, after all." she comments and then thinks about this a bit. She frowns at Johnny. "It might not be something you can fight." She tells Johnny then.

Johnny shrugs. "Alright. So get me something we can act on. Something we can do. Investigate that woman's finances. Look for transfers of property or goods. Look for -her- descendents."

"It's not a terrible idea," Ally admits. "Take pictures of it, document it, and then see about destroying it. Doesn't seem that anyone will come looking for it, though," she mentions. She purses her lips at Johnny's suggestion and winces a little bit. Hitomi voices her concerns perfectly. "It's true," she admits. "Everything that we've got…which isn't a lot I'll admit, but it seems to point to something that *you* might not be able to fight. But we've got some places to start. But if you end up going in on it, we've got to send you some defense of the magic kind. This info…just has given us more questions. I think he's right, though, that we've got to get back there."

"If we can contain the doll, or even the house, I can start taking it apart and seeing if there are the tell-tale signs of magic. I mean, no matter how good the enchanter they are going to have to follow some of the basic forms and formulas, just like you would with a program or a house or whatever. Finding that could answer some questions." Kass taps her nails on the table and hmms softly.

Johnny nods to the women. He doesn't seem annoyed to have his ideas rebuffed; this is the nature of the round table. He's an expert on many things, but this is not one of them and he acknowledges that. "I see and hear what your saying, and I don't argue the logic. I just think the town is a ring of wagons, and the natives are restless. We won't get any real answers out of them unless we can win trust. Easiest way to do that, is to be one of them." He shrugs then, leaning back, one hand coming to rest over his belly somewhat idly. "I still lay my money on 'forces beyond her control'."

Hitomi nods her head a bit then, and ponders. "Maybe… maybe I could have you 'transferred' to some job there?" She asks then. "Keeps you from becoming directly involved." she informs Johnny then.

"It cannot hurt to try. If it is a potent magical being and can disguise itself from several of us, then sending in one of us is likely a bad idea. This way we can ride to the rescue." Kass eyes Johnny for a moment and seems about to say more but cuts herself short.

Johnny raises an eyebrow, making a 'come on' gesture with the cant of his head.

"It's not a bad idea," Ally agrees. "And maybe I can go with you for it, as I can stand out a little less than this beautiful elf," she suggests, throwing a quick wink Kassandra's way. "I just think at this point we need to make sure we've got our eyes on all planes, because this is…not shaping up to be a simple thing. So," she looks around, "We get into town. We look at the house, the doll, try to ask some questions of the people, keep the matrix search going…" she stops and listens to Kass and seems to reconsider too.

At Johnny's gesture and Ally's words then silence, Kassandra says quietly, "I'm not looking for a repeat of Chicago. This time, I'll round up enough forces to make God herself blink and burn that little town off the face of the Earth."

Johnny nods to Kassandra, thoughtfully. "Agreed. We do it your way." He says, acquiescing to her position and logic. "Just not used to feeling useless."

Hitomi nods her head a bit then, "I'll try to put together a more detailed profile on the first victim and this woman." she tells the others.

"So looks like we're going to be tearing apart a doll and a house then and seeing what falls out?" Ally asks with a little chuckle. "Sure everyone's going to love that. But seems to be whats needed. Y'think we might be able to flash some Foundation affiliation and get a little backing?" she asks Johnny. "With signs pointing to this being a spree of possible magic-related murders…could that help us get some breathing space to poke around?"

Kass glances at Aladriel, her look giving clear idea what she thinks about what the town would think about all this.

Hitomi glances up, "I could mark it as condemned, maybe?" she offers. "Or something else, that would give us an excuse to rip it apart."

"They know or suspect what is going on. They are complicit in the murders, just as sure as if they did them themselves." Kassandra shakes her head, adding, "For all we know, this .. whatever .. could hop bodies and be in control of various members of the town to keep the secret."

Johnny shakes his head to ally. "Flashing badges is the wrong way to go. I did it at the house because I needed to stall, not be loved."

Ally catches sight of that look from Kass and sinks deeper into her chair, and it's a good thing she doesn't remember in that instance that she can actually go invisible. Cause she wood. "Oookay then."

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