Log:20100119 - The Dirt

Setting

Chicago Police Department: Crime Lab - Michigan Street: South

Stark white walls and grey-speckled floors give a harsh effect to the room. Here, it's obvious that everything has its place, every machine to every pen. Organization is key, after all, when processing the large amounts of evidence that pass through the lab every day. The crime lab includes laboratories for ballistics, photography, serology, chemistry, toxicology, trace evidence, documents, latent prints, and DNA analysis, among other functions. Towards the back of the room is a section of desks, each with large surfaces to work on, flat panel computer screens that take up only small amounts of room, storage cabinets above head. Taking up the furthermost corner is the desk of Maeve McIntyre, a shelf above it holding a small stuffed black cat, along with a plush Cthulu wearing a lab coat, complete with ID badge.

There are many pieces of equipment, throughout the lab— Ultraviolet Spectrophotometer, GC/MS, IBIS, SEM/EDX Analyzer, FPIS. Alphabet soup. The lab is rarely quiet, even in the late hours of the night. Some piece of equipment or another constantly going.

Cast

RL Date

Friday, May 08, 2009

IC Date

Tuesday, January nineteenth 2010. 10:49 pm

The sun is down. The waxing crescent moon is up. <23.3% full and growing>

The tide is high and rising.

Fair weather clouds drift through the blue sky from the north, along with the wind. The sunlight on the snow is dazzling, and it gleams on the ice. There is about 22" of snow on the ground. The average temperature is around Twenty-six degrees Fahrenheit, Negative four Centigrade.

Scene

It's nearly 11 pm and the CPD's crime lab is mostly quiet. Eleanor is the one who most often works late nights or overnights on evidence, because she has no spouse or children to tend to, and she is the one who is well-studied in things that go bump in the night. Tonight she is mulling over the graveyard dirt they collected at the Starbucks scene. She's dissolving some of it into various test tubes in order to run particulate diagnostics on its makeup. She's wearing a lab coat over her button down shirt and black trousers, and her hair has been gathered up in a clip at the back of her head. She also has a pair of black framed glasses perched on her nose, after the lab's ventilation system tried it's damndest to dry out her contact lenses. She's sitting on a stool in front of one of the work tables, measuring liquid into test tubes containing small amounts of dirt.

Hadley hasn't been that big of a presence around headquarters since the night Eleanor first brought up the whole partner thing. Whether that was on purpose or not will forever be a mystery. Unless Hadley fesses up one way or the other, at least. He's here and visible tonight, though, and he steps into the lab only to stop abruptly and glance back the way he'd just come as though gauging whether or not he can retreat before he's noticed. But then he shakes his head and approaches, looking over what the woman is doing without saying anything.

Eleanor's psychic senses are spread out around her, though not in a very wide radius. It's far enough, however, to detect Hadley before he reaches her. A test tube is lifted and swirled gently as she murmurs, "Hadley," in quiet greeting. The tube, and others like it, gets loaded into a rack to be sent to various technicians for different analysis. "Haven't seen you around much," she notes.

"Wickham," is the returned greeting and Hadley isn't really sure how to respond to the rest so he doesn't. Instead, he cuts right to the chase. "You weren't suggesting what you did because you know that no one else around here is going to want to be my partner, were you?" That might be a small exaggeration, but the people that would be willing to partner with him probably aren't people he would get along with very well.

Eleanor blinks as she looks over at him, and pushes her glasses on top of her head with her eyes narrowed. "What? No, of course not. Kind of the opposite actually." She grimaces a bit. "No one else here will even consider being my partner. The whole visions thing runs them off. The last thing they want is a partner who might have dreams about how they're cheating on their wife or cheating on their taxes." She snorts and shakes her head a bit. "You don't seem to flee in the opposite direction when I'm around."

The vampire looks at the psychic as though trying to judge the truth of her words. He seems a little confused when he doesn't sense any dishonesty. "As far as I know, the only visions you've had involving me were to my benefit. Not that I'd expect you to fess up to anything else," Hadley admits, gaze still fixed on Eleanor. "I try to give you the same courtesy as you give me, Wickham." Courtesy is somewhat lacking in Brian's professional life, which makes up most of his life.

"Most people don't care if all you've seen of their past or future so far is positive," Eleanor explains. "They get stuck on the potential that you might eventually see the negative." She begins typing on a nearby keyboard to print out labels for the test tubes. "I wasn't kidding when I said I felt our skill sets complimented one another. Sometimes I get very mired down in the scientific things and I miss the more visceral reality of it all."

Hadley considers that and says, "I'm not worried about the negative. Unless there's some problem that we don't know about, I'd be happy to have you as my partner, Wickham. Lucky, too, no doubt." The vampire smiles, which shows the points of his fangs behind his lips. He's still working on that. "I guess we do kind of compliment each other." Hadley's almost the opposite of what Eleanor describes.

Eleanor seems surprised at the acceptance. She can't keep the corners of her mouth from reflexively twitching upwards as she turns on her stool. "Thank you, Hadley. I'll get the paperwork started after I finish getting this stuff sent out for analysis. The university has some top notch particulate analysis equipment I want them to use. Between them determining the composition of the soil, which I can then match up with the soil composition in local cemeteries, and the personal effects we found on the ghouls, I think we may be able to figure out where they're coming from."

His smile fades when his thoughts are drawn back firmly to work and he nods once as his gaze scans over the work table. "Good. If we can figure out where they're coming from, we can figure out how to stop them from continuing to come from there. Anymore sightings of the creepy kid thing?" Hadley asks. He really hates that thing. It wouldn't be nearly so creepy if he hadn't thought it was a kid at first, after all.

"I'm not sure. I haven't read the reports from the attack at Mister Weiss' business yet. I've been so bogged down with the evidence we have so far. I think his estimation of the nearness of the sewer access beneath the pier was very accurate though." Eleanor retrieves her labels from the printer and begins smoothing them on with meticulous care. "It's going to be a major extermination. I've never even heard of this many ghouls in a pack before. Have you?"

"No," says Hadley even while he gives his head a slow shake. "They're too brazen, too far from home and there's too many. Nothing is right about it." Which makes Hadley's expression wrinkle slightly in thought. He doesn't like being forced to think about things that don't make sense. "Hopefully they're all coming from the same place," he notes, more offhandedly than anything.

"If they're from more than one place this will be a nightmare. And I still have no idea just what that child-like one even /is/. If it's a ghoul it's not any kind of ghoul I'm familiar with," Eleanor admits, looking over her shoulder at the vampire. "It looked like it was stitched together like Frankenstein's monster, which makes me think it's been constructed by someone else. Vaudun maybe?"

Hadley offers an agreeable sound as his answer, a thoughtful sound that makes it clear he's actually listening. "That might better explain the ghoul activity. Vaudun rituals might mess with whatever keeps ghouls from rising in a cemetery." He shrugs, not an expert in any regard on either ghouls or Vaudun practices.

"Vaudun can also be used to direct zombies against specific targets. Ghouls aren't quite so malleable from my understanding," Eleanor notes, "But if a ritual of some sort was used to bind them to that chunk of dirt you found, then the dirt was placed in the targeted place?" She pauses. "Does Starbucks keep security video? If they do, the person depositing the soil marker in the shop might have been caught on video."

"I'll see what I can find out. If there was video surveillance, it should've been picked up already. But I wouldn't be surprised if they've already taped over it if it wasn't." Hadley doesn't even ask 'why Starbucks' because he probably doesn't think anyone has any better guesses than he does. "I'll go check on that now, actually," he says, turning to head back toward the door, forgetting about why he was here in the first place.

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