ICC- Episode 1 - The Fire in the Hole

This is a Non-Delta Green / Non-Mythos game that utilizes Delta Green Rules.
Agent, you have been assigned to the Joint Task Force headed by a Assistant US Attorney for the Southern District of New York. You, and your colleagues chosen from other Federal Law Enforcement agencies, have been especially selected to participate in this exercise of inter-agency cooperation so that we can pool your collective talents and skills to better serve the interests of our great nation. As we struggle to over come the challenges we face as a nation in this time of global pandemic, we're counting on you and your colleagues to work together against the many threats we face (foreign and domestic, visible and invisible, biological, human and 'other') in order to keep your countryman safe, secure and healthy. With your service, we will help make America great again. Thank you for your service. Sincerely, Your President.

Re: ICC- Episode 1 - The Fire in the Hole

Postby Snapper » Sat Jul 25, 2020 9:33 am

OOC - Conroy:

I'm not sure Conroy is close enough to Kaminski to help him out if Conroy is in the remains of a vehicle garage.

ICC - Conroy:

Conroy, intrigued, rubs some of the red dust between thumb and finger, sniffs it then cautiously tastes it, spitting it out after.

Spoiler:
Can Conroy make a chem roll to try to roughly guess what the red dust is?


He decides he can't leave the military crates unchecked so heads over and has a look in them with the assistance of his flashlight.
Last edited by Snapper on Sat Jul 25, 2020 10:08 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: ICC- Episode 1 - The Fire in the Hole

Postby Snapper » Sat Jul 25, 2020 9:41 am

OOC - Gonzalez:

I'm completely completely unfussed and quite happy with your explanation for the guns. Gonzalez will be satisfied that no issues will crop up if the NYPD see the professor and his ironmongery. Frankly, US gun laws are all a complete mystery to us Johnny Foreigner types anyway.

ICC - Gonzalez:

Decision made, Gonzalez nods to the prof. "I'm more than happy to try to solve a few other crimes along the way, bring some long forgotten justice for these people. Doing my small bit to help the poor and minorities helps me sleep at night. Let's go with your recommendation and speak to this gentleman, Tyrone Epps."
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Re: ICC- Episode 1 - The Fire in the Hole

Postby Philulhu » Sat Jul 25, 2020 10:25 pm

Snapper wrote:OOC - Conroy:

I'm not sure Conroy is close enough to Kaminski to help him out if Conroy is in the remains of a vehicle garage.


OOC: Oops... didn’t spot that Conroy had moved. I’ll edit my post.
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Re: ICC- Episode 1 - The Fire in the Hole

Postby welsh » Sun Jul 26, 2020 7:40 am

OCC- Sorry for the delay folks- Grading week and some admin nonsense. Also had some mistypes with the names before but you folks seem to have carried forward.

Kaminski is close enough to Conroy to see what he's up to. The house is somewhat L shaped with a garage on either end, but the layout isn't so important at the moment. Unlike other parts of the building there wasn't much structure over the garages and apparently no basement below, so access to the vehicles is a bit easy.

Gonzales is right to be concerned about the fact that someone is brandishing some weapons as does Cooper, but then again, the guy does look like a cowboy on horseback riding through the apocalypse. Also the Black Cowboys are regularly part of NY area events and parades, not just offering educational lessons but regularly engaged in community events. There may be some class issues as well, as these folks are riding horses which, in NY, is often a more middle to upper class activity. The local cops also know the stables are relatively nearby. If Cooper isn’t being harassed its possible that its because the local police recognize him and have left him alone.

Search and rescue operations in NYC- https://www.nytf1.org/ Composed of members of both NYC's Police Department and the Fire Department of NY. Suffice it to say any specialized equipment is arriving as members are called to respond.

One thing you may wish to consider is that most of your are moving in different directions. You may want to step back, update each other and confer, then coordinate next moves, especially as a lot of the search and rescue work will probably be turned over to local fireman and police who are trained for that work. That said, you have some time left before the digging begins to gather any further evidence.

IC- At the crime scene-


Robinson calls out to the others. “We’re going to have to clear the area for search and rescue who will be coordinating rescue efforts. So watch your step, tread lightly. Investigators, gather what evidence you can.

He turns to consult with the fire inspectors and local officers of the fire department and EMT, speaking to Ruffini about coordinating the arrival of the new unit. Robinson calls in the radio, “What’s the hold up with the Search and Rescue?”

“Most of the Search and Rescue teams have been caught up with the riots in the Bronx. But a light team of 24 are scrambling up now. They should be here within 15 minutes.” Responds Rufinni.
“Make sure they have easy access coming in.” Says Robinson who turns to Salvaggio, the fire inspector and a number of the fireman.

Salvaggio doesn’t wait for the questions. “No risk of live wires. Electricity is cut and we got no evidence of fuel lines. We got axes, picks tow cables whatever is needed to pull stuff up but best we can tell most of the challenge will be all the brick and mortar. The top two stores have basically collapsed on top of the basement, so we’ll need to dig that out to get to whoever is buried beneath.”

“How long can we wait?” Asks Robinson.

Salvaggio shrugs, “Hard to tell, be we can perhaps get some air hoses down. We got microphones in some of the vehicles we can send down as well. But you can expect much of this area will be turned upside down to get down there. “

Detectives Pacesee and Mooreland turn to each other, “We need to collect whatever evidence we can find and quick.” Says Mooreland.

But Pacesee’s attention is on another apparently older homeless man who is at the end of the street, behind the police line.

He turns to Mooreland. “Give me a minute. I might have some info.” Pacesee steps away from Mooreland and heads to the man.

Lapis and Dowd see Shafto and Waterhouse approach and pull them aside. Lapis looks at both, “In a few minutes there will be search and rescue operations and this place will be swamped with fireman and policeman pulling up rocks. We need to gather up what evidence we can. But there is a truck over there.” He points out the large trailer truck now knocked on its side, “Which is connected to this building and the people inside and might be tied to narcotics or terrorism. Do you want to check it out before this place becomes filled with first responders? “

OCC- Shafto and Waterhouse are actually facing some choices. They can help uncover the person buried, but fire crews and police crews are already arriving for that work. It is unclear if they will arrive with enough time. There is also a need to continue searching for evidence that will likely get damaged as a result of the search and rescue efforts, and then there is the business of opening the truck and seeing what was inside.

IC – Conroy investigating-
Conroy can hear the others gathering nearby and the increased activity that is beginning to take place. He has heard Robinson call out in the loudspeaker. He reasons it is unlikely the recovery efforts will happen under the garage as, best he can figure, there is no crawlspace or basement underneath. Rather, it feels like he’s walking on a concrete slab.

He puts the red dust to his tongue and tastes. It’s dirt, sandy but fine. It is possible that is brick that has been turned to sand and dust, but it would take a chemical analysis to figure out the source of the red dust. But the composition looks strange. He knows from his time in Virginia that there was a lot of red brick used there, but this seems different, as if it were dust that had long been without water or precipitation, like sand from a desert.

Yet as the day brightens, he can’t help but note there is a lot of it. Yet from the rubble of the building, it seems the construction was more of a grey cinderblock that had been repeatedly painted over. It is possible the red sand isn’t native to the area.

Leaving the trunk of the Audi still closed, he turns to the military crates in the van. Both crates had their lids removed and knocked aside and Conroy notes that, here too, the red dust has seemed to seep inside. Casting the flashlight beam into the crate, Conroy notices something else. Loose ammunition. From a quick look he sees what appears to be cartridges of different caliber: 9 mm ammunition, Shotgun shells, .308 or 7.62 X 51 rounds, .45 and 5.56 mm.

Kaminski
His attention focused on Conroy also notices the cars in the garages. He sees the van has been partially stoved in but a quick glance over at the cab and the Audi indicate that neither vehicle had been fully investigated. The cab lies on its side pressed up against the Audi in the garage, both covered by what he notices is a reddish dirt and dust.
In fact, as the light breaking through the overcast and the haze over the crime scene chases away the shadows of the morning, Kaminski notes the reddish dust seems to be everywhere, coating most everything.

Harry and the old timer-

The man stops and thinking about Harry, looks past them at the ruins from the fire and explosion, they eyes the other people in the street, casts his eyes down the street to the end and then looks down. He mutters “Bad shit.”

“Bad shit has always been a problem in the Hole. Always. Why the mafia dump them bodies and why some of the bodies they dump here still not found. Bad shit like the people died in that house before those Muslims moved in, when it was used by junkies and a crack house, and then even before that, people got murdered in their back in the late 1970s. It’s a bad place that, probably always been.” The man stops and considers Harry again.

“But it ain’t just the history, ya see. The people who moved in their recent, no one really sees ‘em much. They keep themselves. Come and go as they might but they don’t interact with the locals, least we can see. Cops in these parts don’t care either. They don’t patrol down here. Lots of folks coming in, squatting, living in these abandoned trucks. Some getting high at night, some just lost. They come here because they lost everything. If not from that damn Covid, maybe it was the economy, maybe it was the politics… bad fucking year in all sorts of ways. Lots of new people coming into the Hole over the past year. Some come and go, some stay for long. Us old timers, we don’t see em all, don’t keep count of em. But we listen. This is our neighborhood and you got to know your neighbors, even the new ones.”

He shakes his head.

“Some folks come and leave. Some been coming here because they got no where else to go.” He says. And he looks at Harry. “But some of them.. they disappear…. I mean like they get lost forever like. Like the Hole just… disappeared them.”

He looks up the road. “And this happens after they show up?”

Gonzales and the Cowboy-

Cooper nods at Gonzales, “Well be careful with the local police as its unclear who are the good ones and who are not. Most of the local police have been here a good long time. Crooked police act like predatory animals. They feed on whatever they can until there is nothing left then move on. Could also be that the corruption gets passed along, one crooked cop at a time. But who do you trust?”

Cooper gently walks the horse further away from the site, not waiting for Gonzales to follow, until he reaches a gate behind which is an old trailer. “Tyrone, you in there? Come on out Epps, I got someone I want you to talk to. I know you didn’t sleep through that explosion”

An African American man eventually walks out of the trailer, “JB, what do you want? “
Image

“Perhaps you can offer some info to this man.” Says Cooper, “ a bit of local current events.”

“The fire and explosion that woke me up? Bullshit. What do you think I know about that?” Says Epps.

“More than most” Says Cooper, “Come on and be cooperative.”

“Fuck I want to get involved. Not my business.”

“You already involved and it is your business” responds Cooper, “And you are not going to get it sorted on your own.”

“You really want me to talk to the police? What the fuck they ever do for us?” Epps shakes his head.
“Not local police but federal.”

“Same federals who are breaking heads in Portland? Chicago, DC, New Orleans, Altanta…”

“Yeah I know, a lot of cities. But this one is different than the local police.”

Epps eyeballs Gonzales before turning back to Cooper. “Oh a Hispanic police?”

Cooper shrugs, “Brown lives Matter too, brother. Besides, what do you got to lose?”

Epps eyeballs Gonzales. “OK convince me why I should speak to you.”

OC- Epps is reluctant to speak so you may want to role to see if you can convince him to talk.
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Re: ICC- Episode 1 - The Fire in the Hole

Postby Snapper » Thu Jul 30, 2020 2:27 am

ICC - Conroy:

Conroy grabs his cell phone and sends a quick audio update to the team:

"I'm looking at military type crates in this van at the site, no weapons I can see but leftover ammunition, various calibre. Enough to make me very nervous."

"Also, there's a lot of dry red dust here that does not belong. I don't know where it's come from but it's weird."

"And finally, I think we are about to have the crime scene invaded by the rescue teams." Conroy takes cell phone photos of the inside/outside of the crates he found ammunition in, and a close-up of various loose rounds inside a crate, and sends them to the others.

Conscious of losing the crime scene, Conroy hustles over to the Audi and pops the trunk.
Last edited by Snapper on Thu Jul 30, 2020 11:14 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: ICC- Episode 1 - The Fire in the Hole

Postby Snapper » Thu Jul 30, 2020 2:43 am

ICC - Gonzalez:

Gonzalez regards Epps evenly. "Sir, my name's Special Agent Javier Gonzalez, DEA. I won't pretend all law enforcement are perfect and I suspect the only law enforcement you've met for a good while have been far from perfect."

"What I can tell you is I want to help. Drugs are like the red blood running through pretty much all crime in the US. That's why I'm in the DEA, one of the few agencies that can still hold its head up proud these days. I want to help ordinary Americans like my own family. I want to help you and the other people living here by stopping this happening again."

"But for me to help, I need to hear what you know about this."

Spoiler:
Snapper rolled 1d100:
90


Spoiler:
Snapper rolled 1d100:
52


OOC:
He's likeable but not the greatest piece of oratory ever from Javier.
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Re: ICC- Episode 1 - The Fire in the Hole

Postby Philulhu » Fri Jul 31, 2020 11:54 pm

IIC - Jakob Kaminski

Kaminski pockets his cellphone and steps over to where Conroy is checking out the Audi. His shoes crunch on the sand underfoot. He looks down and says, ”Where’s this stuff come from? There’s a lot of it about...”

Conroy has already got the Audi covered so he squeezes past him and approaches the cab. He pulls out a flashlight and he shines the beam through the windows, illuminating the interior of the vehicle with a sandy-red flecked glow.
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Re: ICC- Episode 1 - The Fire in the Hole

Postby Philulhu » Sat Aug 01, 2020 12:00 am

IIC - Harry Shibatu

Harry pauses for a moment, looking down at his notes. ”Disappeared? What do you mean by that?” He pauses for a moment, the looking at the old man he probes further. ”Where did they disappear to?”
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Re: ICC- Episode 1 - The Fire in the Hole

Postby Mr. Handy » Mon Aug 03, 2020 4:23 am

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Lee Shaftoe is already at work trying to rescue the person trapped under the rubble. "Whoever's in here may not live long enough for the search and rescue people get here," he says, "and I'm more than strong enough to dig. We could save this person's life, and I don't have to tell you how important having a living witness is."
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Re: ICC- Episode 1 - The Fire in the Hole

Postby Mr. Handy » Mon Aug 03, 2020 4:25 am

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Lacking Shaftoe's strength, Miranda Waterhouse leaves the rescue effort to him and starts photographing and gathering the evidence in this area before it gets trampled and destroyed. The truck can wait. She fills in the rest of the group on what they've found so far.
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Re: ICC- Episode 1 - The Fire in the Hole

Postby welsh » Tue Aug 04, 2020 5:13 am

Conroy at the Audi-

Conroy is thinking a bit about the military cases, the red dust, and the shell casings. He has an insight, his mind on how remarkable the dust feels, so dry, as if it hasn't experience rain in years. It is as if the dirt had been dried out, all the moisture cooked out of it.... or as if it had come a long distance from some distant desert.

Conroy finds the lever for the trunk in the front, pulls it. But hut the trunk doesn't pop. He comes around and checks the trunk and doubts the level of dust on top of the trunk is enough to keep it down. Perhaps dust has gotten into the latch itself. Conroy reaches his fingers under the edge of the lift and feels the trunk is stuck by some sticky substance, yet it gives without much effort and finally pops open.

There is blood on the latch and parts of a plastic bag that seemed to have gotten caught in the latch. There are other bags inside the car but Conroy can only see the one that is ripped, and the contents are almost impossible to distinguish but Conroy knows the smell. It smells like blood, tissue and death.

Javier, the cowboy and Epps

Epps looks at Javier. "Drugs? Shit. You mean the meth heads? Sure we got cooks in the Hood, hiding out in one of the trailers and selling to the local kids. I had one of them kids telling me he was seeing shadow people when he was high. But the drug you are worried about here isn't chemical but ideological and spiritual."

Cooper looks to Epps, "You telling me its the meth heads lit the fire."

Epps shakes his head. "Could be but it wasn't meth that made 'em do it. Nah man... what you have here is a battle of spirit and form."

Cooper turns to Javier and explains. "Epps here was a student of anthropology and religion when he was a student way back."

"That's right. Why I got an NSEP in grad school and then got picked up for Africom." Says Epps. "You got to tell him my whole c.v.?"

Cooper shrugs and lifts his hands up. "AIn't my story. But this man needs to know about what's been happening in these parts and why there might be a fire in that house that used to be a Muslim worship center."

Epps nods. "Hell man, there's been bad feeling in the Hole ever since they did set up a Muslim center, but most of that came from the Christians and that church a few blocks away. But that spiritual war has been happening for years. Nah, this was probably sparked because of the people they have gone missing."

Epps turns to Gonzalez, "The simple explanation is usually the right one, so if you want to know what might be driving this, I'd guess it was the people that keep going missing from here. Mostly its been children, some old folks, drug addicts, drunks, crack heads, prostitutes... forgotten people no one really cares about. They come and go from here, and no one really notices when they are gone." Epps turns to Cooper. "You know this."

Cooper shakes his head. "I've heard a few people have gone missing and the police..."

Epps snorts, "Police don't care about these people. Damn police too busy with all the other shit that's happening and it ain't like they ever gave a shit before. And you know why."

"Mafia pay offs?"

"What else? When the mafia needs to leave a body, they leave it in the dump, in a swamp, and were the police are in no rush to find it . And the police don't come because they get paid to look elsewhere. Meth cooks, trucks of contraband, stolen trucks that get abandoned. Cops don't come here to protect and you got a lot of people who disappear and no one cares. People here are prey, and what does prey invite?

"Predators." Says Cooper.

Epps nods. "If you got enough prey, a crocodile can live with a lion, can live with a hyena, can live with the leopard. Because everyone got enough to eat so they don't fuck with each other. Or so you'd think but in the natural world predators kill each other. Hyena will kill a lion cub if it gets the chance just like lions will wipe out hyenas."

Kaminski-

The cab has been turned on its side against the Audi, so inspecting it takes a bit of movement around the car. Searching the car windows, the front looks much as most cabs Kaminiski had used. There is a plexiglass window and a meter in the front as well as an incense burner. On the side is taxi license that says Ali Rabbani and there is a picture of a young and handsome man, which looks like the man Kaminiski had inspected earlier. From where Kaminiski stands he can see little int the backseat but that's partially because the stains on the window and what looks like reddish smokey dust floating in the air in the back seat.

Harry and the old Timer

The old timer looks at Harry. "Son this is the Hole. People disappear forever. The mafia left more bodies here then they ever found out. But historically, the people who disappear are not many, and who is to say if they just didn't move off somewhere else." He gets quiet as his eyes turn back towards the ruined building. He grimaces, reluctant to say more, shakes his head.

"But we've had more people here over the past few years... and more people are disappearing too. Disappear and gone.. People go to sleep in the same truck and then is gone when the rest wake up. And I'd they disappear in there," nodding to the house, "and never come back."

Lee Shafto-

Salvaggio shrugs, looks to Robinson, "We can at least get started. Electricity and gas is off."

Robinson nods, "Fine but be careful."

Meanwhile other fireman are closing bringing pry-bars, picks and shovels, beginning to clear out the rubble to get to the person below.

Shafto sees one of the fire trucks pull up

Mooreland and Parchese are noting to the others about preserving evidence.

The fireman are clearing away rubble when Shafto hears someone calls out. "Body parts. Someone got a bag for this?"

Miranda photographs-

Miranda keeps taking photographs, even of the body parts that are being removed from ruined house. She notes that both Kaminiski and Conroy are working around the audi and the taxi cab. But she can also see Lapis and Dowd, stepping away as more of the fireman close in on the dig site where the rescue workers are trying to retrieve the body. Lapis motions to Miranda to come closer so they can speak. When she is near he says, "That trailer over there was parked outside the house and carried a container from a company for South Africa. This company has been connected to terrorist networks elsewhere, so it might be a good idea to get some pictures of the truck before the Saudi's try to stop us from opening it up."
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Re: ICC- Episode 1 - The Fire in the Hole

Postby Philulhu » Wed Aug 05, 2020 11:43 pm

IIC - Harry Shibatu

Harry looks at the old man for a long time. He’d seen some crazy shit in the Middle East - women and kids blown up, buddies losing a leg to an IED, even a couple of ISIL guys turned to red mist when the bomb they were planting went off too soon - but the old man’s flat, matter-of-fact description of people just disappearing, has shivers running down his spine.

”I’ll talk to the local PD and we might get you to look at some pictures. Would that be ok?” he says, thinking of the thousands who went missing in the city every year. ”Perhaps you’ll find someone you know...”
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Re: ICC- Episode 1 - The Fire in the Hole

Postby Philulhu » Wed Aug 05, 2020 11:51 pm

IIC - Jakob Kaminski

Kaminski has his cell phone out again and is snapping images of the Cab, getting in close to take a photo of the driver’s ID. Satisfied the snaps are clear, he turns to the back door of the Cab. He checks his gloves, pulling the cuffs further down past his wrists and carefully tries the door handle.

He feels the tension in the springs, like the Cab is subtly giving him the brush off, telling him he doesn’t look in the back and that he’s going to be better off not knowing what made that stain in the back window...
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Re: ICC- Episode 1 - The Fire in the Hole

Postby Snapper » Sat Aug 08, 2020 9:32 am

ICC - Conroy:

Conroy reels back a bit, horrified and swearing to himself. He quickly grabs his phone and sends an audio message to the team:

"We've got some real Hannibal Lector stuff going on in the trunk of an Audi in here. It's full of bags. One bag is torn open and I think it has body parts in it. Or I guess they could be animal body parts. The other bags are not empty."

Conroy snaps a phone photo close up of the open bag and sends it to the team, then a second one the trunk's entire contents.

Turning around he looks for any CSIs. "Forensics! We might have body parts in here. And not caused by the explosion!"

Conscious of not overly disturbing the scene, Conroy takes out a pen and carefully has a poke in the opened bag, looking for indications if these are human remains or not.
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Re: ICC- Episode 1 - The Fire in the Hole

Postby Snapper » Sat Aug 08, 2020 9:43 am

ICC - Gonzalez:

Gonzalez, despite the grim circumstances, can't help but enjoy the interplay between his two unexpectedly intelligent and educated witnesses. He regards them both with a slight smile.

Offering around his Cuban Cohiba cigarettes before lighting one himself, he waits for a natural break in conversion then addresses Epps.

"Sir, the National Security Education Program and Africom? Were you in the services?"

"And I guess the real question is who was the last predator to move into that building." Gonzalez points a thumb back at the demolished structure.
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Re: ICC- Episode 1 - The Fire in the Hole

Postby Mr. Handy » Mon Aug 10, 2020 6:07 am

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Though the firemen are there now, Lee continues to help clear the rubble, figuring that his assistance will help get to the survivor faster. He takes care not to destroy evidence in the process.
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Re: ICC- Episode 1 - The Fire in the Hole

Postby Mr. Handy » Mon Aug 10, 2020 6:08 am

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"I'm on it," says Miranda, hurrying over to the truck and starting to photograph it, making sure to get the license plate and the VIN.
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Re: ICC- Episode 1 - The Fire in the Hole

Postby welsh » Fri Aug 14, 2020 5:46 am

Harry and the Old Man-

The Old man steps back from Harry as if Harry has just reminded him of something... noxious. "The local police?... Nah.. No way. I'm talking to you now and all I got to say is what I hear. Police... Shit.. You think the mafia could bury people here without the police knowing it? You think the police care about the Hole? Police never care for the Hole. This place is abandoned by the police. They don't care, never have... never will. People coming in here.. they lost too. Maybe they just move out and go somewhere else when they figure what's here. Maybe they just left and didn't tell anyway. Like some men do to the women they sleep with, or like women do to the men, ya understand? I am telling you only what I am hearing... that people...just gone. Sometimes they leave behind their stuff and they're gone. Maybe they go out for a walk, called up or awaken by something... like a whisper in ya ear when you are sleeping and you wake up and you get called out of that abandoned truck or RV or house or whatever you sleeping in and you walk off into the night.... and don't come back. "

The man seems a bit lost in what he's saying, as if he's struggling with the phantom of an idea that he can't put his finger on. Then he turns his head back to Harry. "The police? They don't care, they don't come here... maybe they know better. These people just.... missing. They are nobody to them. Nobody important disappearing, just lost people. None of the old-timers vanish. Not the people with roots here. Just the transients..... Those are lost people to begin with. To them, lost people just belong lost."

He shakes his head. "Police only take care of real citizens. People with property, people with significance. People with roots and substance. These people lost, they lost everything already. No surprise they lost their bodies and up somewhere else."

"No I got nothing to say to the police. I don't want the attention. Something taking these people, like a predator in the night. This my place too, and I don't want whatever it is outside my home at night or trying to get in. Let it prey on some other, leave me be. No.. I won't talk to no police."

(OCC_ Remember, in an earlier bit of this dialogue that this witness saw the kids who lit the fire and one was very close, perhaps received burns- they might have gone to a hospital but, it is also likely they may still be nearby, hiding and nursing their injuries)

Kaminski- and the cab

Moving around the cab is difficult because of the angle of the vehicle, lieing on one side. The windows have been blown out from the front to the back, the front window is mostly shattered as is the back, but there are shards. A plexi-glass panel between the front and rear seats remains intact, but dark and grimy, reddish with the strange dust that makes investigation into the back seat especially difficult.

To try open the door, Kaminski will need to get virtually climb on top the car to pull the door up, and the car is a bit off balance. Getting on top might shift the weight of the vehicle over to one end, perhaps tipping the vehicle, and it could fall on top of Kaminski, crushing him or pinning him either against the Audi or or against he remains of the garage wall.

As Kaminski consider his next moves can't help but consider another puzzle that the cars are largely intact despite being so close to the blast. In fact, except for the the cab being turned over and a few points were the bottom of the taxi seems scorched, it seems that both vehicles escaped significant blast damage despite being so close.

Inspection of the wall behind separating the garage from the house, suggests much of the wall remains intact, and, oddly, that the upper half of the garage wall didn't blow out on to the cars, but rather into the origins of the blast, as if the wall had been pulled into the basement of the house. Kaminski also notes that he door between the house and the garage should have been blown apart and scattered into the garage, but in fact, much of the door remains in one piece. It is damaged and scorched by the heat and the blast, but rather than be inside the garage, most of it remains buried within the section of the house.

As if something below out of the house, and then created some kind of vacume that pulled the blast back inside almost immediately after. His attention turns to the cars, which have relatively minor damage despite the proximity to the blast. Yet the cab has been turned on its side It is as if something picked up the taxi on one side and turned it partially over, but not so far that it actually fell onto the audi? What could have such power... or strength?

It is possible to peer into the back seat of the cab through the broken rear window. Much remains masked in the swirling red dust. But it may be possible to remove or blow out the dust with windblower for a closer inspection, or perhaps to vacume the dust up with a vacume that one of the crime scene investigators may have handy.

Kaminski is consider these options as he sees Conroy, stepping back from the open trunk of the nearby Audi.

(OCC- Does Kaminski proceed? if so, you may need to roll It may be simpler to use a wince from one of the firetrucks to pull the car off its side so its back on all four wheels- and thus avoid unnecessary risk, or perhaps grab a few of the other guys to push the car over?).

Conroy-

Conroy glances back at the torn bag as he informs his colleagues. But he knows the smell and he thinks he can see the muscles. It's human by the look and without further guess.. the bones are those of a child.

One of the forensic team approach, her face masked. "More body parts?" She asks. "And not crisped or crushed too?"

"Ohhh yeah.." She says looking at the bags. "These are human. See here" she points at one pretty gory area. "That's an arm, and that..." She points at a row of bones, "looks like a rib cage... and this rather nasty bids... looks like intestines.... yep, definitely a child, can't be more than 10 or 11" It's as if she's speaking out her thoughts. "Looks like it they were cut too... see these marks.... someone cut this bone...... yep, some nasty fucker did this and no surgeon either."

She looks at Conroy. "This is definitely a child but I can't tell how old till we get to the lab." She calls in the finding then turns to Conroy, "This might be a lead in a case we've been following for the last year and half. Human body parts floating up on the coast from Brooklyn all the way up near to Jones Beach. About a year ago we found a plastic bag in the Hudson with body parts. We figured they were dumping parts up river. Some of them found in the East River and the Long Island Sound too. Hell, we figured must have been at least 8 different children we found before this. We thought someone was dumping corpses and the numbers had gotten worse since Covid."

Gonzales, Epps and the Scholar of Faith

Epps nods. "NSEP is a scholarship that the government gives for research, mostly language study, but allows graduate students to go abroad to do research. I got mine to study African languages when I was in graduate school studying comparative religions. I spent two years in Central Africa doing research and learning languages."

Cooper cuts in, "Epps here was exploring the connection between indigenous more native religions and Christianity and Islam, how religions mingle."

Epps, "That's right, but they don't always mingle well do they?" He turns back to Gonzales, "You might be thinking Boko Haram, or some of the terrorist groups that have been operating in the horn of Africa around Somalia or perhaps in East Africa that blew up those US embassy's some years ago. And you're right, there's that. But there's more to it than that. African leaders have long been corrupting and co-opting religion as a vehicle for power, playing on African faiths, perhaps mixed with a little Christianity, to spread fear and suspicion. A powerful leader may have connection with dark and spiritual forces that keep watch on the people and can see into the hearts of those that would launch revolution. Anyone launching a revolution goes against not just a real powerful strongman, but one that also has cosmic and supernatural power."

"I heard that some made deals with some televengelists." Says Cooper.

"That's true." Says Epps. " Mobutu in Zaire did that, others too. Bring in a big Western TV church, pay them off with some juicy bit of property or opportunity, and local Big Man get the people worshiping that Western televengalist and they don't join the local churches that have been here for a long time and are invested in the people. Local church without people to support it eventually fades away in lieu of a American church that tells the people not rebel against the local Big Man, which is just a dictator, while the church makes a profit on diamonds or coffee or something else. Religion is just another form of power that can be bought by the high bidder."

(OOC- By the way, this is actually drawing on some decent academic work by Stephen Ellis- http://docenti.unimc.it/u1.chelatidirar ... Africa.pdf and by William Reno's work on corruption and states in Africa)

Epps shrugs. "So when I was done with my years I came back to finish my PhD but... well it was hard to cover expenses while writing. You take and NSEP and you owe the government. It is a National Security Educational Program, and sometimes the government wants the language background, but sometimes it wants more. Only people really studying religion and politics were Anthropologists, so I got picked up to work AFRICOM. I thought I was going to go after Kony and the Lord's Resistance Army. Or maybe deal with the conflicts in Eastern Congo, or problems in NIgeria."

Cooper and Epps both get quiet, as if both are coming close to revealing more of a secret that is deep and personal and bitter, and neither wants to trend on that least it open old wounds. Cooper knows Gonzalies is probably growing impatient. He begins. "From what I recall the first folks who came to that building were devote Muslims."

"They were." Agrees Epps. "I got to know the leader there. Khan, not a bad fellow. Wahabi, but that figures being the Saudi connect, but curious and open minded. He really wanted to create a spiritual center here and perhaps do some coverting. I used to go for the free lunches they offered and he found I had studied African faiths and mythologies. He was interested in the pre-Islamic faiths of the Middle East, before the days of Mohammad. When the people there worshiped other gods and spirits. Not unlike the African faiths before Christians and Muslims turned up. Thing is, the new faiths come with their single God, but deep down, people don't let go the old Gods either. He knew from his experience that the Middle East has many people who maybe good Muslims but there are lots of people who believe in the old spirits and magics too."

"LIke the way Christians may believe in unholy ghosts, phantoms and monsters, witchcraft and all those things and call it the devil's work?" Asks Cooper.

Epps nods. "Like that yes, but in some places the faith in the old spirits is still way strong. When people move, they carry their gods and their beliefs with them. Gods travel with the people who believe in them."

He turns back to Gonzales, "Which is what you got here. You don't got one predator, but two. The one that was here, the old one, looks like a Christian church, but its an old-time African Church more than a Christian Church. They may worship Jesus as the son of God and a loving God, but they also know that were there is good there is evil. And they didn't take kindly to a Muslim church taking residence in the middle of their territory. The first Muslims tried to set up a spiritual mission but the Christians made their presence unwelcome, so they left but didn't give up. Instead, these new folks came in about two years."

"That's when people started disappearing, wasn't it?" As Cooper.

"The Cowboys were gone at that time so you didn't know and you weren't here to keep an eye on things. But yes, people started disappearing and the drugs came in." Epps says turning back to Gonzales, "Mostly meth heads."

"Shadow people?" Ask Cooper.

Epps shrugs, "Maybe it's the drugs, the meth. Or maybe they just see what the rest of us don't." Then turning to Gonzales, "But those folks in that house, they weren't cooking meth in that basement. They were doing something else, and I'm betting they were bringing something else to the Hole. You asking me, this is about a war between two churches, and while it looks like Christians and Muslims, it is actually something else and something older and more fierce."

(occ- on Meth and Shadow people- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Methamphetamine and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shadow_person )


Shafto at the dig.


Shafto looks for a pick or a shovel but sees the other fireman and police pulling away rubble at the instruction of local fire inspectors. More members of the Search and Rescue group are coming in and a fire truck is pulling near to help pull out heavier pieces of masonry. It's heavy work but Shafto can't help noticing that the blast site is unusual. More of the brick and mortar should have been dispersed into the area, but much of the local damage seemed to be more done by the concussion of the blast, the wave of energy that came out of the blast and knocked out windows and knocked over trucks. But in this case, the much of the blast seemed to go in-ward, into the house rather than out.

As the teams work he notices that body parts are coming out the deeper they go. Unlike those the group found earlier one- the young woman and the young man, these body parts are burnt and torn, plastered and crushed and blacked as if torn apart by a blast and burnt beyond recognition. A terrible blast had torn these bodies apart.

As the group deepens then also begin to find themselves coming against a harder concrete slab that seems to be made of some kind of reddish concrete mix Unlike much of the broken mortar and cinder blocks that have been part of the upper construction, this seems to be a newer and harder construction. The hardened concrete seems especially resistant to the picks and shoves used by the fireman and rescue team.

The fireman and workers continue to clear away the brick and mortar of the upper part of the structure, revealing more of the newly discovered slab, that seems hardened against the picks and shovels.

Salvaggio inspects the masonry. "This is new.." He picks at it with a shovel but can't seem to damage the new work. "And its damn hard. We'll need drills to break through this."

Robinson is watching. "What is it?"

"Hell if I know but this is new, not original. Looks as if someone was building a bomb shelter down here and expecting bombs to rain down, or perhaps a nuclear blast." Says Salvaggio, "but whatever caused the blast came from inside."

Shafto has an insight. Perhaps the slab was part of a construction not to shelter from a blast from without, but perhaps it was part of an effort to keep a blast contained within, and yet failed to do so.

Miranda, Down and Lapis at the truck


Lapis and Dowd watch as Miranda clicks her pictures. Her pictures are somewhat limited given the truck and container had been knocked over. The front window of the truck had been smashed but the only way to get the vin number on the door of the truck is to climb up on the truck. Miranda can take pictures from the stickers on the back of the container, but there are no marking on the roof and she can't picture those on the side unless she climbs up on top of it toppled truck.

Lapis updates here. "This container came in through the airport but another came through the port of New Jersey. Both shipped by a company named Red Wind, a company out of Saudi Arabia that ships good by container all over the world. Red Wind is a shipper, probably an agent for some unknown principle. They've been connected to some terrorist cases in the past. The Port Authority Police have been called in to help with the investigation... message from Interpol to keep an eye on some containers moving through King Abdul Aziz Port in Damman, Saudi.. They've ended up in the UK and Munich, moving through Rotterdam and bring narcotics and guns. The narcotics mostly local favorites in the Middle East, so they figured sales to local Arabs in the UK. "

Dowd adds, "The container only got here a few days ago and the proximity to the house is suspicious. Could be that they were going to unpack whatever was inside and bring it into the house."

Lapis notes, "There have been other containers in US ports but nothing suspicious. But this one ends up right outside the blast, looks damn suspicious. We are tempted to look inside but..."

"We're having trouble with the lock." Concludes Dowd.
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