The Next Morning

April 28, 2011


Brick Duplex: Living Room - Ashland Avenue: Bucktown

With the semi-open floor plan of many Arts and Crafts style homes, the main floor of the duplex has dark-stained wood floors and trim around the doors and windows and soft, off-white colored walls. The ancient wrought-iron grates for heat (and now air) are still in place but connected to a modern central air system rather than an ancient furnace. The living area is large, with a rectangular, many-paned window facing the street and heavy, masculine club furniture. The dining area is smaller with windows facing the narrow space between houses, filled by a table for six and the kitchen is ancient, with the modern stove, refrigerator and dishwasher looking like afterthoughts to the Formica counters and cool, blue tile floor. Open stairs off the living room lead up and a closed door in the kitchen, opposite the exterior door to the back yard, leads down to the basement.




It's around 5 am the next day, Forest has been up for hours, not really having slept much during the night. He's currently pacing back and forth in Dylan's living room, waiting for any word on if anything has been found.

Cale would have called ahead to get the location. And he comes early, still looking a little on the muzzy side from the previous night. He comes up to the room quietly after parking his car, a light knock on the door announcing his presence.

The door is opened almost before you can even knock and Forest looks at you expectantly. The stress can be seen in his eyes and felt in his energy. "Did you get ahold of Robert? Do they know anything?"

Cale arches a brow as Forest comes looking so distraught. "I have.. lets go in, sit down." His voice is calm and he tries for soothing. "I'll tell you everything and I'll need a few things from you." He motions inside and smiles just a little. "We're going to find him."

Forest rubs a hand over his face and nods before he moves in to sit down on the couch, but it's difficult for him to sit still, that can be felt just by watching him. He looks at you, waiting for you to speak as patiently as he can muster.

Cale makes sure the door is secure before he approaches the couch himself and settles down next to Forest. "Alright, I've spoken to Robert.. and Jack was there. The Rat King. Both have agreed to help.. Robert wants to speak to you himself. I gave the plate number to Jack, he's having it run. He wants a picture of Zack and something with his scent strong on it. I think he's going to do some personal looking. I'm going to interview the three, make sure of the details of their story, find out the precise place it happened and see if any of Crystal's images might be a decent composite for identification. Either for us or for the authorities to run a check. Both of them will be telling their people to watch out for themselves and will alert other through CLAW. I am being a bit careful, but both are considering whether or not the three or even Lenore have anything to do with it. I've told them its unlikely, but they're just being careful.. exploring all avenues. I'm being careful with saying too much that is personal to the Pard. I don't wish to overstep my bounds in this."

Forest leans forward as you speak, arms resting on his thighs, he nods as he listens to you, but it takes him a few moments before he says anything. "I'll get a picture and one of Zack's shirts for Jack. I went over the area they said he was taken at but didn't catch any scents that were helpful other than Zack's, but maybe Jack can find something more useful." He rubs a hand through his hair, chewing on his lip as he thinks. "I'll call Robert and get together with him as soon as I can." He looks to Cale from where he's sitting on the couch by him, "Thanks Cale. Question the three, see if you can get any more information from them. I didn't smell a lie on any of them, but I wasn't exactly thinking straight."

Cale nods his head to Forest. He's sitting with him on the couch, his voice low and calm. "Might be best if you take those items right down too Robert with you. He and Jack are close by the looks, so they should manage it between them." He sighs and lifts a hand to rub his cheek lightly before he adds, "I can also try setting up anotehr meeting with them.. one to address the pending situation if you like. Not sure if you want to wait on that, though. This is more important, I would think. Though I did assure them that no one plans to kill them. At least, not unless you decide that is to be so. Ahi still doesn't really understand how things work.. old threats are troubling him when he should be more worried about what you think."

Forest nods a bit, "I left messages for Gage and Frank, but havn't heard back from them yet. I don't want anyone out by themselves again. We don't know anything about who this is or why they took Zack. Any of us could be the next target."

Dylan pads down the stairs, quietly. Not quietly enough to avoid being heard and scented by those with preternatural senses, of course. He's wearing a pair of jogging pants he uses for pajama bottoms and a faintly grumpy expression. Thanks to his shifter metabolism, his caffeine addiction is psychological in nature but an addiction none the less. He smells freshly showered. He blinks when he sees Forest and Cale and crosses over to greet the Raj and then nods to Cale. "Coffee. Soon. Brewing. Now." He pads on towards the kitchen.

"Possible," Cale replies. "I've been careful.. I have my own car and I stick to populated places. And I'm still staying at Frank's place for now." He nods his head. "Not much more to say for now, unfortunately." He looks up towards Dylan and nods his head slightly as the man enters. "Might have a cup," he replies with a light smile.

Forest looks to Dylan, accepting his greeting but seems a bit preoccupied. "Just be careful Cale, I don't want anyone else to go missing or be harmed." He stands up and yawns as he pulls his phone out of his pocket. "I'll call Robert, see if he has any news yet." He moves a few feet away and calls the Ulfric.

Dylan makes semi-coherent noises and starts the coffee. After a few moments he heads back into the living room to sit on the arm of the couch and asks, "No progress overnight then?" His expression is careful and composed around Forest, but its obvious that he sees things a bit grimly.

"For the moment, no," Cale tells Dylan. "But forces are in motion." He lifts a hand to lightly touch Forest's knee before he rises slowly. "A few paths to walk, but for now it's mostly waiting for information to see if there is some manner of clue as to where he's being held, if not why." He keeps his voice light as Forest tends to the phone.

From your phone, Robert says, "Robert Moye."

Forest moves over to stand by a window, gazing outside as he makes his phone call, his energy is tired and a mixture of emotions roll off of him.

Into his phone, Forest says, "Robert, it's Forest. Have you been able to find anything?"

From your phone, Robert says, "Forest. Jack has asked for a trace of the number plate and will organise his people to search the city for his scent once you provide us with an object. Otherwise, I have notified the board, in case this is not a Pard only problem, and prevent any other dangers."

Into his phone, Forest says, "Where can I meet Jack at? I'll bring one of Zack's shirts he wore recently."

From your phone, Robert says, "I will give you his cell number and you can find him. <insert cell number here>"

Into his phone, Forest says, "Alright, thanks Robert. I appreciate your help in this."

Dylan watches the Raj make his call and nods to Cale. "Hm. Yea. It's all a mystery, isn't it?" His tone is neutral on that but his scent betrays that he doesn't entirely believe what he just said. He turns towards the kitchen rather quickly, hoping the smell of brewing coffee covers that. "Java soon."

From your phone, Robert says, "It is not a problem. I have suggested that Cale interview your ex-pard members, since this is too coincidental. That is another area to investigate."

Into his phone, Forest says, "Yeah, I spoke with them last night, I didn't smell any lie, but I can't say that I was exactly thinking clearly either."

Cale cants his head slightly as he considers Dylan. Paused a moment or two before he follows after. Once inside the kitchen he will murmur softly. "So what's your honest opinion?" His hands sunk into his pockets, posture relaxed.

From your phone, Robert says, "I would imagine your emotions cloud at this time, Forest. I suggest you allow Cale to meet and interview them, and perhaps keep them under observation. Otherwise, contact Javier and see if his people have skills that may help or not?"

Into his phone, Forest sighs softly and nods, "Yeah, maybe I'll have Frank go with Cale to question them, he's a little more imposing with his size. Thanks for your help Robert, I'm going to give Jack and Javier a call, see what they can come up with.

Dylan shrugs and glances towards the living room. He says, quietly, "Honestly? I think it's all too convenient, isn't it? I mean, the exiles want back in, Zack is somebody who is sympathetic to them, apparently and they are the only ones who see him 'kidnapped'. I think they did it, their human friends did it or maybe even the Ra is pulling a little political maneuvering himself. It's all a little too high school Machiavellian, isn't it?"

Dylan shrugs and glances towards the living room. He says, quietly, "Honestly? I think it's all too convenient, isn't it? I mean, the exiles want back in, Zack is somebody who is sympathetic to them, apparently and they are the only ones who see him 'kidnapped'. I think they did it, their human friends did it or maybe even the Ra is pulling a little political maneuvering himself. It's all a little too high school Machiavellian, isn't it?"

From your phone, Robert says, "Contact me again if you need more help, or learn anything. I assume you have notified yours to be more wary?"

Into his phone, Forest says, "I will, and yes, I have."

Cale considers that "Not outside the realm of possibility," he murmurs softly. "Though just in case, I'm inclined to treat this as real. If it comes out as fake, there will be hell enough to pay. Not just from the Pard, I'm sure. Those are all possibilities I'm keeping in mind."

Forest hangs up his phone and moves into the kitchen, that worry preceding him into the room, "Cale, why don't you see if you can take Frank with you when you talk to them. His size alone may help get straight answers out of them." He rubs a hand over his face, "I still am not sure if they would do something like this, they all liked Zack a good deal, yet I'm sure they may want a little revenge against me, and this would be a good way to do it."

Dylan nods to Cale, "Of course, we have to treat it as real. That's what I'd count on if I were pulling this. And I've known a person or two who could lie by scent before. Not to mention all the mystical and just plain common sense they options they have available to keep them 'innocent' while their human friends do the deed." He shuts up as Forest gets off the phone and pours the Raj a cup of coffee, handing it to him. "Revenge is one option. Return is another. The prodigal sons and daughters returned in glory."

"I'll see if I can snag Frank," Cale agrees with Forest. "Though to be honest, I don't see them hurting Zack." Which is true enough in his tone and intent. "But all options are on the table for exploration. I'm keeping my eyes open and my ears keen." He smiles and then adds, "I should probably get moving. Not that staying would be bad, but it doesn't feel like my time to stop moving, early as it is."

Dylan shrugs at Cale. "Those three? Maybe. Their humans? Who knows? What do we know about them? What do we know about the people /they/ may have told? That's the problem, isn't it? We can't /ever/ know all the variables involved now." His expression is fairly grim.

Forest takes the cup of coffee, nodding to the words of both of you, "If Zack is hurt…." a low, threatening growl comes from the man and his hand squeezes the cup tight enough that you can hear it crack, he doesn't notice the hot liquid that sloshes over the sides onto his skin. "I don't want anyone going out alone…. " His eyes move to Dylan, a sigh given, "Let's try not to jump to conclusions too much, let's just stick with the facts. They saw him taken, so we're questioniong them. The human friends of theirs are police, I don't believe those ones would be a part of this, but I don't know them well."

Dylan gets a dish towel from the kitchen and returns with it, offering it to Forest and nodding towards the Raj's hand. "Yea, because the cops have always been our friends." He looks back at Forest and says, "Getting Zack back is the first priority, of course. But when we do, if those three turn out to be central to the rescue or whatever … I will /never/ stop believing they or their friends engineered the whole thing. It's just too … pat. Too neatly put together to be coincidental in a city this size at this particular time. But … that's for later."

"We know one is a police officer," Cale tells Dylan, his eyes flicking to Forest. "It makes it unlikely, but not outside the realm of possibility that they had something to do with it. We'll see how things go." He smiles at the both of them and heads out on his way.

Forest blinks as he looks down at the cup, only now realizing what he'd done. He sighs as he takes the towel and sets the cup aside, "Sorry.." is muttered as he dries his hand off, the cup likely ruined now. "Let's just focus on finding Zack, we'll worry about the rest of it later." He looks up at you, that worry and strain in his eyes before he turns away, "I've got some more phone calls to make."

Dylan nods and says, "Yea. We'll get him back. I believe that, Forest." He goes to get another cloth to clean up and lets the Raj get back to his affairs, not wanting to make things worse.

PHONE> You dial Jack's phone.

From your phone, Jack says, "Green."

Into his phone, Forest says, "Jack, this is Forest, Robert gave me your number."

From your phone, Jack says, "Oh, hi, Forest. I'd ask how it's going but that's a silly question. Robert pass on the stuff I found out?"

Into his phone, Forest says, "He just said you needed something that would have Zack's scent on it. I can go pick up a shirt or something he wore recently. Have you found anything else?"

From your phone, Jack says, "Brilliant, let me know where and when. Haven't been to check the place or anywhere else without Zack's scent, need to know what I'm looking for. Nothing else here, just the plates and the owner - anything new your end?"

Into his phone, Forest says, "I can meet you in about an hour anywhere you wish Jack. Do you have a location for where the plates are? A name? I dont have anything else new to share."

From your phone, Jack says, "I've got a location and a name, but I can't be sure that they're anything to do with it. Has the missing Pard member been officially reported missing? Because if he has and the witnesses will give statements I can get a search warrant, and we can make sure it all stays above board."

Into his phone, Forest says, "I hadn't thought of that, I'll have to contact the police and the ones that saw him taken." A sigh is given of frustration, "That will all take time… Zack may not have time for this.""

From your phone, Jack says, "How long has Zack been missing?"

Into his phone, Forest says, "The last time I saw him was two mornings ago."

From your phone, Jack says, "Two days? I won't lie to you - that's not good. If we bring the police in on this then we can throw the full force of the law at it, with all-points bulletins, SWAT and everything else at our disposal. Your leopards will get to be the good guys, downtrodden but surviving. Or we can do this the old-fashioned way, but there's a risk of a marksman armed with silver and kids to get in the way - and that's if the van's owner is the one who swiped Zack. It's your choice."

Into his phone, Forest says, "I don't want anyone else to get hurt in this, but I want Zack found, and now. I'm afraid that waiting for the cops will just take time that we can't afford, especially since some of the police aren't real fond of the Pard."

From your phone, Jack says, "Forest. Think rationally for a moment. Someone is going to get hurt in this, one way or another - people who take leopards off the street aren't worried about people getting hurt. If you can get yourself and your witnesses to the main cop shop as soon as possible, I'll try to get hold of a judge I know and some not-so-unfriendly coppers. Or we can pile in a van of our own, get down there and maybe lose our only lead along with some of our people."

Into his phone, Forest a sigh is given, "You're right Jack, I'll get ahold of the witnesses as and get down there as quickly as possible. Thanks for your help on this.

From your phone, Jack says, "No worries. See you ASAP."

Forest hangs up his phone and heads to the door, not really waiting to say anything to anyone.

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