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Revision as of 01:39, 13 July 2019

Ghost Stories
Dramatis Personae

Rasheed, Doctor Messer




<NYC> 806 {Rasheed} - One Sixty-Seven - Upper West Side

Spacious and elegant and impeccably kept, this apartment is pristine enough that it looks barely lived-in. The living room is just a short hallway down from the entrance, set down a couple stairs in a wide sweep of pale hardwood floors. Dark leather couches and armchairs and pale wooden furniture sits on a plush rug of soft grey. A large balcony runs along the side of the living room, accessible through wide French doors and shaded by an overhang; below, there is a clear view of Central Park.

The kitchen adjacent sits a little bit higher, a few stairs leading up to its dark tiled floor. It is roomy as well, granite countertops and sleek new appliances and a wealth of elegant dinnerware. There are two bedrooms, here, both set opposite each other down a short hallway and both with their own bathroom. The end of the hallway holds a large study, with book-lined walls. Another half-bath sits off the living room, underneath a carpeted lofted area accessible by ladder and big enough to be a room itself, though it lacks walls; instead, a short balcony looks down on the living room beneath.

The slice of apartment visible on the crisp video screen is immaculate. At the polished kitchen counter, Rasheed is just pouring himself another coffee, the only visible concession to the fact he's been dragged out of bed in the middle of the night. His dress shirt is pressed; he doesn't wear his hair long enough for it to muss. "Please. Run me through this situation again?"

The woman on the other end of the video call looks a lot less put together. Katie Messer's loose brown curls have been twisted up into an untidy bun and the powder pink blouse under her lab coat is a bit rumpled. Her piercing blue eyes, though, appear keen and alert. "The intruder captured at Lassiter has been identified as Dawson Allred, A.K.A. Flicker." From off-screen she lifts a white coffee mug to her lips and drinks deep; the black graphic on it depicts Mount Rushmore, its presidential heads replaced by the busts of Hilary Clinton, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Elizabeth Warren, Michelle Obama, and the caption MT NASTY. "He was attempting to abduct one of my subjects--my /only/ remaining subject from Hofstadter, actually. There's been no sign of his usual accomplices, but he's under suppression and psi shielding and sedated for the time being."

Rasheed's hand freezes, the mug halfway to his mouth. His eyes flick to the screen, lock steadily there. A beat later he completes the motion. Drinks deeply. "Lassiter currently has --" There's just an instant of hesitation before he continues, "-- Dawson Allred in its custody?" His fingers tighten around the handle of his mug, and he leans his weight slightly harder against his other palm, braced on the kitchen counter. "Tell me you weren't planning on keeping him there?"

Katie nods and sets the mug down. Her expression does not shift from its pleasant neutrality at Rasheed's reaction, but she does lean forward in her seat ever so slightly. "Well, there's a bit of a to-do about what to do with him." She laces her fingers together. "Since I apprehended him, he fell under my de facto supervision, but I have no managerial privileges here and no facility of my own to transfer him to." She splays both hands out again, a gesture of resignation. "Dr. Hammond wants him executed, Dr. Wendel is probably still breathing into a paper bag, and I was hoping you might be able to advise us with a bit more clarity and less panic."

One long finger taps lightly against the side of the mug. Rasheed takes another drink, still regarding Katie steadily over it. He's slow to lower the cup, slow to lower himself onto a stool in front of the counter. "Dr. Hammond had the right of it. What do you know of Mr. Allred and his team? By far the safest measure would have been to shoot him on sight."

Katie blinks, her eyebrows lifting up. "Does he?" It barely sounds like a question. "Well, I lost my facility to them, so I'm aware the ghost stories are true -- to a point. But!" She picks up her mug again, though she does not drink from it again just yet. "My subject has been in communication with him for a while, and is certain he did this alone -- deliberately keeping his teammates out of the loop." She wraps both of her hands around the mug, holding it near to her chin as if the aroma alone were enough. "While that's no guarantee they won't attempt a rescue, I hardly see how killing him now will help, if they somehow manage to figure out where he'd gone."

"Ghost stories." Rasheed's voice is mild, but his eyebrow hitches up minutely. "I can see that you are ill-equipped to handle this particular subject, Dr. Messer. I'll have him transferred, immediately. Thank you for apprising me of the situation."

Katie lowers her mug slowly. "I can turn him." There's no pleading in this, nor boasting. A simple statement of fact. "And in the meantime he will be far more biddable with the one he came for near at hand. If you're sure he can't stay here safely, then send me and Kelvin with him." She clasps her hands together again. "Hammond will love you forever."

"If I spent my time worrying over Dr. Hammond's approval, I wouldn't get much done." Rasheed lifts his hand, rubbing his finger and thumb slowly at the hollows of his eyes. "You don't even know enough about the man to know that he could not possibly have entered that facility alone and you somehow think you're going to break him? I'll send you the relevant files. I suggest you study them carefully. Why," a trace of weariness is slipping into his tone, here, "do you want him? He doesn't really fit the profile of your subjects."

"I have something he wants." Maybe it's a trick of the video resolution, but Katie's eyes hardly seem to blink at all. "And I will know a great deal more about the man once I've studied said files." The incipient curve of her smile disappears behind her mug as she takes a generous swig. "He's a legend among the subjects -- a sort of postmodern Moses -- and I think conquering him will have a good influence on their behavior overall. Besides..." Her addendum is casual, "...Kelvin -- who is quite useful, and not only to my research -- is rather taken with the man."

"So, you've put our largest facility in jeopardy for the sake of your personal pet project." Rasheed's fingers rub a moment longer before his hand drops to the counter. "You don't think you should learn one, maybe two things about the man before you /presume/ you'll be successful? Start with the file on his companion. Hive. /Try/," he does not anymore attempt to disguise the strained sufferance in his tone, "to understand just why they are such a dangerous pair. If they haven't already scanned and scrubbed every one of the staff who was on duty at the time, make sure it's done immediately. I assure you, he did not come alone." He wraps both hands around his mug, taking another slow sip. "If a thorough mental sweep finds that Hive is not already sabotaging half that facility, you can take the pair of them to Blackburn."

Katie draws a breath -- and then just lets it back out. "I will read both of their files," her tone is...not much changed, really. "The scanning is in progress, but with only one telepath on site qualified for that kind of work it will take some a while yet. We've requested additional personnel for the purpose, and the facility will remain on high alert until further notice." Her head tilts ever so slightly to one side. "Thank you for your instruction, and your consideration."

Rasheed's lips just press together. He hesitates, pulls in a breath. Lets it out, too, slow. "Goodnight, Dr. Messer." His video screen shuts off.