ArchivedLogs:Anything Might Help

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Anything Might Help
Dramatis Personae

Doug, Jackson


Doug and Jax catch up about What Doug Has Learned. (Part of Prometheus TP.)


<NYC> 503 {Doug} - Village Lofts - East Village

Ah, that beautiful part of the day when class is over and one hasn't started the pile of reading and homework such activity generates. Doug is just now enjoying some down time at home, laying on the couch with only a pair of black soccer shorts on and his laptop resting on his bare belly. On the floor, Alt and Delete tumble over each other in the Daily Battle for Sibling Supremacy, which is only really succeeding in getting the rug twisted up. None of them seem to be aware or concerned about the umbrella that rotates slowly in the corner, the carved wooden handle knocking against the wall occasionally.

Now there is another knocking! Knockknockknock. Class is over for Jackson, too, and he's just come from it judging by his boxy black portfolio case that sits at his hip. Judging by his somewhat frazzled expression, though, his /day/ is far from over. But right now he is knocking! He's a bit more dressed, in tight black jeans laced corset-like up their outside hems in purple ribboning, chunky black-and-silver velcro platform sneakers, a cheerful yellow top with fluttery colourful sleeves somewhat reminiscent of butterfly wings. His eyepatch is black, with a bright cheerful yellow smiley face in its center. He's currently knocking with one hand, and turning his somewhat frowning attention to a cellphone held in his other. It's buzzing insistently at him. Many texts.

"Hang on!" Doug doesn't look from his laptop as he shifts it from his stomach to the coffee table and sits up. He stretches briefly, before punching a button on the keyboard and closing the window. Only then does he stand, scratching the warm spot on his stomach idly as he pads to the door. When it swings open and Jax is revealed, he brightens a bit, offering a smile. "Hey, Jackson," he says, leaning against the door. "You look bright." Which is obviously a comment on the older man's outfit, given the way Doug takes it in with a slow pan from heels to hair. "What's up?"

"Usually," Jackson agrees with a quick (bright!) smile. His hand drops to fiddle with a zipper on his bag, and he clicks his teeth nervously against a lip ring. "I, um, was wondering," he starts, apologetically, and then glances down the hall. He looks back at Doug, crinkling his nose as his head ducks in further apology. "Sorry, can I come in? Or well do you have a moment to talk?"

Doug grins, and slides back away from the door, clearing a path for Jackson to enter. "C'mon in." Then he's padding back into the living room, nudging the Kitten Ball out of the traffic way. "You want something to drink? Water or soda? Or I could make some tea, if you want." He continues on into the kitchen, swinging open the refrigerator. "I just went to the store the other night, so there's plenty."

"I'm good -- thank you, though." There's black smudges across the fingers of Jax's left hand -- charcoal, perhaps, given his portfolio bag -- and more black smudged against his forehead, though with his typically restless-fidgety scuffing of fingers through hair some of this is soon transferred to his fingers, too. "I just -- I should've called, sorry, it's been -- finding time's been -- um --" Jackson blushes, and scuffs his fingers through his hair again. This time, black transfers from finger to forehead. It's a cycle. "I just -- I didn't know if -- and it's okay if the answer is no, it was a long shot, I just -- was curious if you'd tracked anything down about my -- about the people who lived here. Before you."

"Hey, people get busy," Doug says with a wrinkle of his nose. "And the last time I /talked/ to you, I was kind of pissy and hurt. It's okay." He leans into the fridge coming out with two bottles of water and setting one down on the counter in front of Jax as if he hadn't said no. "Oh! Funny you should ask about that, actually," he says, putting down the second bottle of water and jogging into the living area to grab his laptop. "Betsy's actually turned up a lot of stuff."

"Really?" This is a little /too/ quick to mask the eager note in Jax's voice, the way he straightens with a quick brightening of his expression. He reins it in a moment later, though, biting down on his lip and ignoring the water to glance at the computer with a touch of apprehension. "A lot of stuff like -- anything good or --" His brow creases, and it takes a moment before he schools his expression into neutrality.

"Weeeellll," Doug draws out the word slowly, with a tone that indicates that what will follow might not be /good/ news. "It's mostly non-information, honestly." He frowns, and sets the laptop down, punching a button and re-opening the window. "First of all, your friends are /gone/. As in, they stopped existing in the cyber world beyond the day the city records say they allegedly transferred upstate. No credit cards, no utility accounts, no hotel stays...they flat fucking /disappeared/." Doug's fingers skim across the keyboard, bringing up another window. "But, here's the thing. EMTs don't transfer upstate. Different cities, different pay systems, etc. It's not done. Within the city and the five boroughs, yes. Upstate? Never."

"Transferred?" Jackson repeats this, confused, slowly following over beside Doug to glance at the computer screen. "I mean, that doesn't sound -- yeah. Um. Right. Even if it was a thing that happened they wouldn't have just -- not even told /anyone/." His head shakes, his foot rolling down to tip his ankle towards the floor. "I guess I shouldn't be surprised, we kinda -- figured they'd been -- taken." His expression is still carefully blank, though his tone now is edging towards glum.

Doug nods grimly. "Yeah. Aside from them not telling their friends, they wouldn't /transfer/. They'd have to apply upstate, and there's no record of them doing so. No W-2s, or 401K transfers...nothing." He takes a deep breath. "Hold onto your pants, though, 'cause here's where it gets weird. I /called/ those departments, and told them I was a friend of theirs from training, and had heard they were working there now. Both places said they'd worked there about a week, and just couldn't make the cut, so they were fired." He lifts his eyebrows. "They apparently were so bad that the city couldn't even be assed to add them to the payroll even temporarily." He lifts a shoulder. "But, that's the last word I could find on them anywhere." He exhales heavily. "I'm sorry, man."

"That's not even /true/," Jackson protests, reflexively defensive of his friends. "Josh was a /great/ paramedic. Eli was a /new/ EMT but he was good --" He huffs. /Huffily/. His palm presses against his eye, slow and long, and then scrubs fiercely sideways; it looks like wiping away tears, though his eyes are dry and his black eyeliner and bright purple eyeshadow don't smudge. "OK. OK. Thanks for -- I mean, thanks for looking, anyway. That's still more word than we've had for -- thanks." Belatedly, he asks, duller and without much hope: "Where upstate?"

"Yeah, there's a lot of it that doesn't add up," Doug says, scrubbing at his own face. "Syracuse," is his answer for Jax. "Allegedly." Moving around the counter, he puts his arm around the older man's shoulders, squeezing slightly. "I really am sorry, Jax. This whole business stinks." His mouth tightens, and he ducks his head, pulling away a bit. "Um. There's more, if you want to hear it. It doesn't sound like much to go on, but I got Betsy to finally track down those suppliers from my father's systems, and their other clients."

"Syracuse." Jackson frowns at this, looking a little puzzled. "I don't even know what's up that way." Beneath Doug's arm, his shoulders are tense. Slightly trembling. Mostly just tense, though. "More? I -- yeah. I want to -- anything might help."

"Well, it took a /lot/ of searching," Doug admits, stepping back with a small massage-like rub of his hand along tense shoulders. "I mean, the whole mess was tangled up like no one's business. But, I finally located one supplier who was sending a lot of the stuff we talked about to one particular company." He lifts a shoulder. "Which, in itself, isn't a big deal. Could be a medical equipment rental company, or someone setting up a privately-funded hospital or nursing home." The blonde shrugs, and types something into the laptop, bringing up a complex-looking table with various stock exchange signifiers and other Wall Street-looking information. "But where the items are going is impossible to track, and the bills are going to a P.O. Box in Rome, New York." He frowns. "The actual /corporation/ doesn't exist. At all."

"That -- definitely /sounds/ weird." Jackson's hand lifts, teeth worrying at one chrome-silver nail. "Rome? Where's that, is that near Syracuse at all? I don't --" He blushes slightly. "I don't actually spend much time anywhere farther upstate than Westchester." I.E., not upstate at all, unless you are in the Manhattan mentality that /everything/ Not NYC is Upstate.

"It's about an hour away, actually," Doug says, with a pull of his mouth. "Close enough to be more than a coincidence, in my book." He grins wanly. "This has actually been kind of interesting, despite the way it's been turning out. Like being a detective." He snaps his fingers, a memory flooding into his expression. "Oh! Yeah! There was a detective poking around here the other night. Of the private variety, I mean. Looking for a runaway mutant kid." He wrinkles his nose. "At least, I hope he's a runaway, now that I know what I know. But I told him I would ask around the building about it."

"The green kid?" Jackson asks, absently, "I saw him, too. Um, the detective, not the boy. I hope the kid's okay." He's still looking at the computer screen. Still fidgeting, his ankle rolling outwards and then straightening. Rolling, straightening. "What's up that way, can you bring up a map?" He gestures with one finger towards the computer, a little /tentatively/. Like it's made out of magic.

"Sure!" Doug leans over the computer and brings up a map of the upstate New York area. He points at a town just east of a body of water identified as Oneida Lake. "There's Rome," he says. "There's an Air Force base there, but it's really just a medium-sized town. Nothing out of the ordinary about it." He zooms out, and indicates a much larger city on the southwest side of the lake. "There's Syracuse. It's a lot bigger. But between the two, there's all kinds of open farm land." He wrinkles his nose. "There's a state park on the Rome side of the lake, too." He inhales deeply. "Lots of places to hide stuff, with that much ground."

"Zoom out a little?" Jackson's fingers tap jittery-restless against his hip, his teeth worrying at his lip ring. "Yeah, there's a whole lot of nothing from there all the way clear up to Fort Drum. Um." He studies the map, slow, long, his brow slowly creasing. "S'a lot of ground to cover," he says uncertainly, poking his tongue into the side of his mouth. "But it's a lead, at least. I guess I know people, at least, who move fast." His smile is a little wry as he looks downward.

"Actually, it might not be that hard," Doug says, pulling the map out a bit, and frowning. "We've got a P.O. Box, right? Well, you have to check those regularly. In person. Or they fill up, and you stop getting your mail." His eyebrows lift. "So, if we could figure out who's picking up the mail, and maybe follow them...."

"Oh -- oh!" That's the only answer Jackson gives, for a moment. A long moment, considering Doug's words. Considering the map. He draws in a slow breath, and lets it out just as slow, nodding in answer. "Yeah. Yeah, no, that's -- yeah. We should --" But here he hesitates, looking at Doug a long moment as his weight roooocks to one side, ankle twisting down towards the floor again. "If it is them these people are real dangerous."

Doug watches Jackson process the information, his mouth twitching into an almost smile as he catches on to where the thought was going. "Oh, I wasn't meaning /I/ would go up there," he says. "I doubt that I could offer anything in the way of help, beyond what I've done so far. It's not like I can translate someone into submission." He grins widely, then, and lifts a shoulder. "But, it's a post office. I can try to hack their security cameras, and we can get a visual on the target before anyone actually goes up there." He rubs his nose. "Also, we can figure out what day they're coming in. That'll take a lot of guess work out of things."

"You can do all that? Cuz we should -- cuz you should -- yes. Please. I -- I mean, we /could/ just camp out for weeks but that seems -- inefficient," Jackson says, his smile a little crooked. But it's a smile, at least. Until his phone buzzes, and he drags it out of his pocket to look at it. Colour drains from his face, just a brief flicker before, a moment later, he looks just as he did before. Except that he's texting /very/ rapidly with not particularly steady hands.

  • (Shane --> Jax): Some kid broke into the house. Not a bad kid. Thought YOU were a scientist. Had a letter from them.
  • (Shane --> Jax): List of people Of Interest. Your name. Flicker. Hive. Peace. Tell me you're okay.
  • (Jax --> Shane): I'm fine. At Doug's. Are you okay? Where are you? Who's the kid?

"Sure, I can do that," Doug says. "It all goes into a computer, these days, so it's just a matter of sneaking in and directing video to also go to my computer, where I can recor-- hey!" He frowns at the pale and shaky reaction, and his brow furrows. "Whoa, dude," he says soothingly, reaching out to catch the older man's elbow. "What's wrong?"

"I -- I don't --" Jackson swallows, and then tips his phone screen towards Doug. "Shane just --" There's a text message conversation in progress. Despite saying it is from Shane the phone claims the messages are from from "Frankie". Jackson swallows, looking down. "I should -- find Hive. Flicker. Make sure they're --"

Doug's mouth tightens as his gaze flickers over the screen, and he frowns, anger creeping into his face. "Motherfucker." Then he's heading into his bedroom, and when he emerges, he's pulling on a t-shirt. "They're downstairs? C'mon," he says, heading for the door. "I'm tired of this shit already." That he's barefoot doesn't seem to faze him as he moves, plucking the umbrella from the air as he goes. "I thought this was a security building? How the fuck do people keep getting in here?"

  • (Shane --> Jax): I don't know who. I think he wanted to help. He's still here. He didn't know.

Jackson's phone buzzes again, and he nods, quickly getting up towards the door too once he reads it. "Still there," he says. "I don't know how. It's New York. At least Shane doesn't sound hurt. But --" But. His jaw is pressed into a hard line as he starts out, quickly.