Chicago Police Department: Homicide Division - Michigan Street: South
Beyond the double glass doors lies a reception area where an overworked, middle-aged woman answers the phone and deals with correspondence. Her small desk area is partially cordoned off from the large corridor by a single wall with windows. The long corridor is halved by two opposing niches in the center. One holds a state-of-the-art copy machine (that still manages to have some nicks and scuff marks on it) and a small table with paper storage. Across from the copy machine is a tiny kitchenette area that mostly holds coffeemakers and supplies. The microwave sits a bit crookedly and has dried donut glaze fingerprints on the push buttons. Nameplates on each door label their use and their owners. 'Homicide 3' bears two fairly new nameplates. One reads 'Det. J.H. McAllister' and the other says 'Det. Aidan O'Brien'.
Monday, May 11, 2009
Saturday, January twenty-third 2010. 02:57 pm
The sun is up. The first quarter moon is up. <50.0% full and growing>
The tide is high and rising.
Fair weather clouds drift through the blue sky from the northeast, along with the wind. The sunlight on the snow is dazzling, and it gleams on the ice. The winter Hawk wind is concentrated in the Loop. There is about 22" of snow on the ground. The average temperature is around Nineteen degrees Fahrenheit, Negative eight Centigrade.
It's a Saturday afternoon, when most normal people are off work and enjoying their weekend. Eleanor is not normal people, however. She's a detective, and she's in early to pour through some of her research into the recent ghoul problem. With her arms around a cardboard file box, she walks into the Homicide division and to her desk. It's set face to face with one for, according to the name plate, "Detective Sgt. Brian Hadley". The box gets set down and the cover tossed aside as she begins fishing out what looks like environmental surveys of some kind, for the local cemeteries. She's dressed in a tailored black suit with a white button down blouse beneath it. Her hair is held back in a clip to keep it out of the way.
Good Samaritan, charity work, it all means the same thing - reduced income. Yet, it is the right thing to do, even if his pocketbook might disagree. Dressed in black jeans, a black close-weave sweater that is practically molded onto him, a long black trench coat obscures most of his thin form. The only color that he is wearing is a deep scarlet scarf, that is currently hanging loosely around his throat. He had seen a face that he recognized. Bypassing the receptionist, he heads over to the where the blond detective is working. The hard sole of his shoes clacks on the floor. Julien smiles politely, "Pardon me, might I have a word?" If he wasn't stalking her, which considering the last couple of days, one could possibly come to that idea, his sudden appearance does little to counter that, if one was so inclined to mild paranoia.
The thing about sensitives? Once they get a couple feels of your energy, you become more recognizable to them. Eleanor doesn't look up from the papers in her hand as she asks, perhaps predictably, "Are you stalking me?" She finally raises her eyes to confirm that it is, indeed, the young man from the tea room and the bar. "You /are/ stalking me, aren't you? I'm about a decade too old for you."
Stalking? The young man just looks at the woman for a few seconds, before he begins laughing, not hard, but a bit more than a chuckle. "Oh, that's rich. And I always thought that I had an ego problem." He pushes the edge of the coat away, to slide his hands into his pockets, about half way in, actually. "Actually, if you want to get technical, I don't think being in the same place as someone on only two occasions constitutes stalking. I think the word for that is coincidence, especially considering that I was already at the Cellar." He pauses, "Basement, whatever it's called, first."
"Maybe not, but showing up at my desk, without a receptionist calling me ahead to ok it, kind of moves into stalker territory. And it has nothing to do with ego," Eleanor notes. She has just had a string of odd requests for date-type situations lately. "What can I do for you, Mister…?" She resumes looking over her surveys casually.
"Sterling, Julien Sterling." With more than just a touch of sarcasm, "She looked busy, I didn't want to bother her, and it is not so much what you can do for me, but what I might be able to do for you." His eyes glance down initially to see the name on the desk, but then his eyes moves over and lingers on the files concerning the ghouls. Though perhaps a little longer than probably he should, Julien's gaze moves from the files back to the detective. "I was told that you work with the freak squad." He realizes, and his expression shows his realization as well, that particular term was not the one that he had planned on using, but the one that he was thinking.
"The /freak squad/, as you so eloquently put it, was disbanded in June of 2007, Mister Sterling. All officers are now trained to respond to emergency calls involving preternaturals. RPIT is no longer part of the Chicago Police Department. I do, however, investigate preternatural crimes as part of my job." Eleanor looks over at him again and she covers up the box of files once more, leaning on it lightly. "So why does that interest you?"
Shaking his head slightly, "Just give me one moment to extract my foot from my mouth." Probably for one of the first times in several years, Julien's cheeks are hued with a blush. "My apologies, Detective Wickham. I was curious if the Chicago Police ever use civilian consultants in matters that are out of the range of their… training." He pauses, "And to offer up a little bit of information as well about at least some of the ghoul attacks."
"We do," Eleanor admits, "Although we do have our own ghoul expert at hand who is a member of the force. Do you have information pertaining to the attacks, Mister Sterling?" That has her sitting down and unlocking her laptop to bring up the case and the area to add statements. She seems a little bristly towards Julien in a way that coincidental stalking probably isn't enough to inspire.
"I do believe that would have been indeed implied with me offering up a bit of information, now wouldn't it?" His tone responding to her own. "And I am not contesting the knowledge of your own expert. I make no claims about being an expert on ghouls, no sane person would." Julien looks at Eleanor. "Since you're getting so comfy, mind if I do the same? I'm not sure how long this might take, depending on what questions you may or may not have for me."
Eleanor gestures to one of the wooden chairs nearby, although a brow arches when he mentions his lack of ghoul expertise. "Pull up a seat. Do you mind if I record our conversation? I don't type as fast as I'd like to." She draws a digital recorder from a drawer and sets it on the table. "First I need you to state your full name, date of birth, address, and place of employment for the record."
Unlike most people, Julien does not drag the cheer over, but lifts it up and sets it down. "I don't mind at all, Detective." Once he is seated, "Julien Nathaniel Sterling, born August 7th, 1986, for the next day or two, I am staying at the Amalfi Hotel Chicago, Room 517, after that 2474 North Lakeview Avenue, still moving in. Self-employed, as a freelance animator." He offers a bit of a smile, "That suffice, or do you need more personal information?"
The blonde types in his information, hesitating just a moment before entering "animator" into the statement report. "Are you new to town? If so, how long have you been in the Chicago City Limits?" This holds relevance as to when, during the ghoul attacks, he arrived.
"Yes, and I arrived last Thursday." Julien leans forward, putting his elbows on the desk. "If you are considering as to whether or not I might be a suspect, I can arrange for my schedule before my arrival and afterwards." He grins slightly, with a mildly amused look, "Though I do believe you know where I was at least for part of the last two evenings."
"It would be helpful if you could provide that information, Mister Sterling. The ability to eliminate possible suspects is always a good thing," Eleanor says calmly as she adds the information to the statement. Once the preliminaries are handled, she looks up at him again. "So, tell me what you know about the ghoul attacks."
"It's Julien, not Mister Sterling." He leans back, idly crossing his arms in front of him, as he does so. "Well, at least one of the packs, somewhere between a dozen and a dozen and a half ghouls is being controlled by something that looks like it was once a small Japanese school boy. Well, if small Japanese school boys come hacked up and sewn back together." He pauses, "That and this particular pack, at least, has left the graveyards and moved into the sewer system."
The detective enters the information into the statement, typing rapidly, before she looks to the young man again. "I'm afraid that's all information we're already in possession of, Mister Sterling. But how did you come to these conclusions yourself?" Eleanor emphasizes the "Mister Sterling" part. Apparently she's not willing to be on a first name basis while doing her job.
"Because I saw them." He says matter-of-factly. As Julien cocks his head slightly, "Your information probably also includes that the kid, for lack of a better word, probably doesn't know that he's dead? And that he is falling into what is probably the natural instincts of a ghoul, which means he probably is something akin to one, and that his control is probably not intentional?"
"We have reason to believe that he is not the sole controller," Eleanor states simply. "We also believe his control /is/ intentional and that he knows exactly what it is he is doing. He has also shown the forethought, premeditation, and strategic process to stage a baited ambush." She continues to type the things he is saying into the report. "What makes you think otherwise?"
Julien leans forward. There is a look of curiosity in his eyes as he grins, "I don't suppose you would be willing to tell me why you think otherwise, if explain why I think what I think?" He knows that the answer is probably no, but he has to ask anyway. "And I am more than willing that I could be wrong altogether, as I said, I am no expert on ghouls."
"I'm not at liberty to discuss the details of the case at this time, Mister Sterling. We wouldn't want civilians attempting to take the law into their own hands," Eleanor says, giving him her sweetest fake smile. "However I will say that our theories have been derived in part from my own personal experience with the amalgamated undead child we are discussing."
"Julien." He cannot help but to correct her again, offering a calm smile, suggesting that he won't yield, even if she does not either. "Well, part of it was the fact that I felt the necromantic energy, and well the expression in his eyes. It almost seemed more childlike, now it's like a child with a predator's cunning and instincts." Julien is sitting in a wooden chair, next to Eleanor's desk. Both have a look of mild irritation, and Julien's is mixed with an equal amount of amusement.
"I see," Eleanor replies, as she continues to type his statement in on her laptop. "Mister Sterling," she continues, once more refusing to call him by his given name, "As a civilian with expertise in this field, can you tell me if I am incorrect in the understanding that most necromancers and animators who reanimate a corpse typically, by the nature of their power, transform the corpse more into a healed appearance for the duration of the animation? Whereas those who practice Vaudun, and other ritual magic, do not have that luxury?"
Rowan walks into the department from her old vision as she carries several files in her hand, in her other hand are two coffees. She seems to be looking about before seeing the person she needs to see. She heads over to Eleanor's desk and puts down the fresh cup of her favorite hot drink as she nods her gently. She moves to put the files away. She arches a brow as to what has been said.
An impish grin dances across his lips, "Well, this would not be withholding evidence in an ongoing investigation, but fall more under the arena of consultation. I am afraid that my fee is quite steep in this regard, Detective. For the remainder of this conversation, all you have to do is call me Julien, instead of Mister Sterling, and I will be more than happy to answer your questions to the best of my capabilities."
Rowan gets a grateful look for the fresh source of caffeine, but Eleanor swiftly turns her attention back to Julien. It would appear she is taking his eye witness statement about the ghouls situation. It also appears she is getting increasingly agitated with him. Her expression is cold even though her voice is calm. "I'm sure I can get the department to requisition payment for your services, Mister Sterling. Or I can probably otherwise find the answer by using the mysterious power of Google," she points out. "If those sources fail, I can work on a warrant to bring you in for questioning as a suspect in this case, due to the nature of your own abilities, and ask these questions of you without needing to arrange for it to be a consultation." She smiles, politely, but it never reaches her eyes.
Rowan turns and slowly moves as she turns to grab the chair by the two and sits down gently. She sits the coffee on the desk for herself before she crosses her legs softly as she slips her black leather covered hands around one of her knees as she watches the pair behind her sunglass covered eyes. She smiles before looking to her coffee before looking at the pair.
Leaning once again on the edge of Eleanor's desk. "Tell me, Detective, what exactly have I done to raise such ire?" He glances at the other woman, "Is being asked to be called by one's given name such an insulting matter?" The question is meant to be rhetorical as Julien looks back at Eleanor, "To begin with, you can use the internet - which is notoriously unreliable. Secondly, you know that I am not responsible. To be pulled in and charged, especially in a case that involves rampaging undead, would be irrevocably damaging to my reputation and livelihood. I don't think that this department would cherish the lawsuit put against it. I came here on my own volition and offered my assistance, but ask your question again, Detective, as a consultant - this one time, I'll even do it free of charge."
Eleanor's smile does not budge one iota, nor does the chill in her eyes thaw. "I am a professional, Mister Sterling, and I have not been introduced to you prior to today outside of this formal setting. Even were my best friend to be sitting in that chair getting a statement, they would be addressed by their title and surname, because that is proper protocol. I don't take my job as casually as you do. It is also common for serial killers to taunt the police in every way possible, so until the confirmation of your alibis for the prior incidents comes through, I would be wholly remiss in my duty not to bring you in for questioning regarding your abilities and what you know of those in your profession in the Chicago area. So I shall ask the question again, and feel free to decline the question if you would prefer to have your lawyer present if you should decide to sue me for whatever imagined slight I've aimed at you by not calling you by your first name." She leans back in her chair and studies him. "Am I incorrect in the understanding that most necromancers and animators who reanimate a corpse, typically, by the nature of their power, transform the corpse more into a healed appearance for the duration of the animation? Whereas those who practice Vaudun and other ritual magic do not have that luxury?"
Rowan would jump to answer that question being a vet of RPIT for many years, she watches the two other banter back and forth. She pauses her mental tennis watching to get a sip of her coffee and then slowly moves to put it back. Her hand moving back to join her other black gloved covered one while she seems to watch the entertainment. Working and watching this, who needs to go home when you have it all here? She sits back in her chair and looks to Julian and then to Eleanor depending on who is speaking at the time.
Julien's demeanor becomes more distant. With a slightly arched brow, "Actually, it's etiquette, not protocol. Police often utilize a given name to give either a false rapport or to show empathy with someone that they are dealing with. And to answer your question, you are mistaken, Detective. An animator or a necromancer _can_ return the corpse to a better condition. It makes the transition for the zombie easier. If one not concerned about the mental state, they can opt, if they have sufficient control, not to heal the body."
"I'm not sure where your prior police experiences have been, Mister Sterling, but the CPD holds itself to a bit of a stricter standard in many ways than other police departments," Eleanor points out. "Per article five of the Chicago Police Department Rules and Regulations, we have specific rules of conduct which we must adhere to as part of our protocol." She turns to type in his answer into the laptop without any anger in her voice. She seems to have practiced the level tone she uses. "Thank you for answering the question. To clarify, although necromancers or animators may choose not to alter the appearance of a corpse, Vaudun and ritual magic practitioners actually do not generally have that ability themselves, do they?"
Rowan sits there amused as the man tries to tell two well trained officers their job. Though she can't recall her ever using anyone's given name before, she tilts her head to the side to ponder that for a moment. Watching the two she makes her own mental notes about the situation.
"Well, I stand or sit as it were corrected, Detective." Pausing for a moment, Julien finally shrugs, "Quite honestly, I have never really given much thought to the capabilities of those without the actual talent. It's difficult to say, the best Vaudunist often have some innate talent, but no, I do not believe that standardly those who animate corpses using Vaudun or the like or ritualistic magics have the bond to the corpse enough to heal its natural state of decomposition."
"Thank you, Mister Sterling. That is very helpful," Eleanor states calmly, notating the statement. "Just one more question, and your answer for this is, of course, completely voluntary. It would, however, be instrumental in helping us further research this case, and hopefully save lives." She turns from her laptop to look first to Rowan, then to Julien. Her eyes have a seriousness in them now. "I realize you are new to Chicago, but I believe that talented individuals who raise the dead may be known by reputation to like individuals." She slides a blank legal pad across the desk to him and sets a pen on top of it. "If you know of anyone in the Chicago area capable of raising the dead who might be powerful enough to control ghouls, which I understand is very rare, I would greatly appreciate it if you could write down their names, and any other information you can recall about them."
With a slight sigh, "I wish I could help you there, Detective, but believe it or not, I have not made contact with any of my own kind yet. I was too busy looking for a house and trying not to become a late night snack for a pack of ghouls in the underbelly of this fine city of yours. I have looked into the two agencies in town and must admit that I am not particularly impressed with either." He pauses, "There is one in town that might be able to. Me. I've never done it, but for a moment, the other night, I thought I might have been able to." He shrugs, "But then again, I could have been suffering from delusions of grandeur." He reaches into his back pocket and withdraws his wallet. He fishes a business card out of it. It is black with silver embossed lettering. He pauses, turning it face down and pushes his thumb print into the center of it. "Just in case you want to run that, or if you ever want or need to call."
Since he so graciously offered up his thumbprint, Eleanor opens her desk drawer, pulls on a latex glove, and plucks the business card from him, placing it in an evidence bag, just in case. "Thank you, Mister Sterling. You have been very cooperative with assisting in this investigation. If at such time we resolve the case, we will consider contacting you as an expert witness, if you would be agreeable?"
Rowan looks to the pair as she tilts her head listening. She sits and listens softly. She moves to get another drink of her coffee before setting it down. She keeps quiet for now while she ponders a bit.
Julien watches as she pulls out the evidence bag, "Oh, good grief, you are actually going to run my prints?" He shakes his head, "I honestly cannot believe you, lady." The young man chuckles as he's more amused than insulted. In truth, he half expected her to anyway. "You could have at least waited until my back was turned. And yes, if you need my testimony I will gladly give it. I _did_ come in here to be helpful, you know."
"I don't want you to think I would do something behind your back, Mister Sterling," Eleanor quips back, amusement entering her tone for the first time. "Thank you for your time, and your assistance."
Rowan smiles as she nods her head to the man. "Tis nice ta ye fer doin' that Mistah Sterling." She says letting her Irish accent come out. She smiles before slowly sliding her leg down and moving her gloved hands up.
Julien stands up, fishing a second business card, "In case you need it and that one is locked away in evidence." He looks to the two detectives, then back down to Eleanor, only because he doesn't know Rowan from Eve, "The offer for consultations was serious. I would only seek compensation for the supplies and a nominal fee for my services. Well that and if the department is sufficiently pleased with my work a good word every now and again. Can I assume that we are done, Detective?"
Eleanor takes the second card with her bare hand and she sets it in the top drawer of her desk. "Of course, Mister Sterling. We are finished here. Thank you for coming down here to give a statement."
Rowan smiles gently as things have winded down and gone smoothly. She moves to stand and turn the chair back to here it was. She tilts her head and listens before speaking.
Giving a nod to Eleanor and then Rowan, "Detective, Miss. Have a good evening." Julien starts to walk away, pausing about five steps away. He turns around, "Oh, Detective Wickham, you did forget to ask one question. Why?" With a bit of a smile, he starts to walk off again.
"Why what?" Eleanor asks at Julien's back. Her brow arches.
Eleanor senses Rowan says quietly. "He came in to offer his services to us."
Rowan turns to the man as she nods her head to him. "Tis Lieutenant Detective, Mistah Sterling, tis a pleasuah ta listen ta ye." She says and looks to Eleanor and ponders a bit to that question.
"Why I am interested? Why I was where I could see the kid and his pack of ghouls? Why I came in?" Julien gives a nod, "My apologies, Lieutenant Detective."
"All right, I'll bite, Mister Sterling. Why are you interested? Where did you see the kid and his pack of ghouls? Why did you come in?" Eleanor parrots back at him politely, folding her hands on the desktop.
Rowan's head nods gently to Julien. "Tank ye, it's alright." She says smiling gently while Eleanor asks. She moves to get her coffee and sips more of it.
"You know… I still don't know the answer to that. When you find out, let me know, why don't you?" He grins before turning to leave.
Eleanor uses every ounce of self control not to roll her eyes. As such she just vibrates a little in place until the man is out of her sight. Then she turns to Rowan. "Lieutenant, I think he's corroborated a lot of my theories. But there is one piece of the puzzle he's lacking; the dirt and the possible reasons for it." She rises with the bagged business card and strips off the latex glove. "Thanks for the coffee. I'm going to go put this in to have his prints run. Just in case. Then once Hadley is awake for the night we need to go take that statement about Jessy LaCroix at the Church of Eternal Life."
Rowan rolls her eyes to Julian's remarks and shakes her head. "I've heard better lines from bad B films." She shakes her head for a moment. "Ah about that COEL call. I did get it and I started a report on it. I wanted to know if I could tag along for my report and make sure that the caller is alright?"
Eleanor pauses, and she nods, checking her iPhone as a text shows up. "Sure Lieutenant. It looks like he's asked for a delay in the meeting though. In the meantime, I was going to meet Hadley and go collect some more samples from some of the cemeteries to see if I can match up their particulate composition with the graveyard dirt he found at Starbucks after that attack. Want to come?"
Rowan nods her head a bit as she looks at what she's wearing. "Sure what the hell, haven't done field work in a while. What one are we going to?" She asks as she moves to get her backpack.
"We can start with Graceland," Eleanor murmurs as she heads out. "We can take my car." Her stuff is all in her SUV.