Jump to content

Recommended Posts

Raveled   
Freedom City, New Jersey
Thursday, 23 March 2017
Afternoon
 
Arthur Campbell was many things to many different people. He was a world-renowned geologist, a contemporary of Edmund Hillary, one of the last great explorers, a guest lecturer at HIT and FCU, He was a philanthropist and a regular figure in Freedom City's gala scene, always a perfect gentleman and the life of the party. He also had excellent taste as he had requested the help of Samantha Carson when he ran into a sticky problem with some crystals.
 

He was also a figure of interest to the police, given the number of police cars gathered around his North Point mansion and the police tape across the entrance. Samantha Carson was parked on the side of the road, watching the flurry of police activity. She was supposed to be meeting with Arthur in, well, about thirty seconds, but driving through a police cordon would make that much more complicated.

Share this post


Link to post

It was unusual. Sam was just a physics professor. A genius physics professor known for being well rounded as a scientist, that was true. However, surely there was a specialist he could have called. This was Freedom City, not Boston. Well, she had published a few papers, but no more than she was expected to. Her major breakthroughs were confined to her work as Terrifica. There was no use speculating. The only thing to do was ask him about it. Unfortunately, that looked to have become rather…complicated on her way down. Or perhaps even earlier. The list of things that could interest this many police officers in an old man was not long.

 

With that said, she could indulge in more speculation or go right to the source. She swung her leg and got off her motorcycle. She removed her helmet, and thought it over. Indulging in vanity, she pulled a comb and mirror from the small purse slung across her body and repaired the damage to her hair. Putting the hair care equipment away, she looked cautiously both ways and, when it was safe, crossed the street. She walked to the police tape and tried to catch the eye of the nearest officer. “Excuse me? Has something happened?” At times like this it was best to play it carefully. Volunteer that she was here to see him, and she might end up in interrogation. Better to play the curious onlooker, at least for a while. It was mostly true, after all.

Edited by EternalPhoenix

Share this post


Link to post
Raveled   

The police line stopped Samantha cold. A too-young man in a crisp uniform held up his hand. "Sorry, miss. This is a murder scene. Unless you know Arthur Campbell, I'm afraid you're going to have to tun around."

 

Behind him there was an older man in a sport coat and a turtleneck, talking into a smartphone. "What to the blood? What happened? How do you expect me to put that down on a report! Crystal blood is really what you plan to put on your report? You're going to get laughed out the department if you try something like that."

Share this post


Link to post

If Sam was Terrifica right now, she’d have kept cool. Maintained emotional distance. Asked all sorts of questions. But she wasn’t Terrifica right now. She let the shock wash over her, affecting her features. Police expected emotional reactions, after all. They got awfully suspicious when someone was either not emoting enough or emoting far too much. “What? That can’t be right. I just rode down from Boston to see him. We had an appointment.” She glanced at her watch. “Just a minute ago. I’m a physicist, and he requested a consult. Something about strange crystals.” The timing was interesting…did someone not want him to see her? Not necessarily her specifically, of course. “I don’t know why he asked for me. We had never met.” And crystal blood? What in heaven’s name had the poor man stumbled into? “And never will, now.” She didn’t have to put in any extra effort at looking dismayed at that prospect. He had been a remarkable man, and she had been looking forward to meeting him.

Share this post


Link to post
Raveled   

The too-young officer kept his professional, imperturbable facade up. "I'm sorry ma'am, but I can't let you in the perimeter. Unless you're related to Mister Campbell --"

 

"Hold that thought." The man in the turtleneck had walked up to the line with great, space-eating strides and was now talking to Samantha while the phone was still up to his ear. "You're down from Boston? Appointment with the deceased? You're Samantha Cline? Mz. Cline, if you have some time I'd like to ask you a few questions." He looked around and pointed at an unremarkable sedan parked at the side of the road; with a closer look Samantha could see the light bar recessed into the front and rear console. "I won't keep you long."

Share this post


Link to post

That one threw Sam for a microsecond. Cline? A simple misunderstanding? “Yes, Boston and an appointment, however my name is Carson, not Cline.” That was strange, but old men could have faulty memories. “It is possible he asked for the wrong person.” She made a show of pondering and then shrugging it off. “I do have the free time now, though I received it in the worst possible way. However, I have a husband and two small children to return to, so let’s be brief.” She flashed her best charming smile. “It’s my turn to make dinner tonight.” She turned and led the way to the indicated car, stopping in front of it.

Share this post


Link to post
Raveled   

The detective tapped at his phone and glanced at something on it, then shrugged and stuffed the device in his pocket. "Guy couldn't barely write anyhow. Tremors, apparently, going by the couple of handwritten notes in his office." He walked over to the car and leaned on the hood, pulling a notebook from his jacket and flipping through it. "So, you're the professional from Boston, right? How did you know the deceased? Do you know anything about why he wanted you down here? Do you have a background in geology?" The detective's face was carefully neutral, but if Samantha was going to watch his reactions to her answers she wouldn't be able to watch the cops swarming around Campbell's house.

Share this post


Link to post

Sam repositioned herself so that she could see past the detective. What was going on at the house was much more interesting than a random detective's face. “I’m a physics professor at MIT, Detective. Associate professor, to be precise. As I told your officer, I had never even met the man. I don’t know how he even heard of me. I’m not unknown, but this is Freedom City. Surely he could have found someone more qualified to assess the problem with his crystals.” She shrugged. “My degrees are in physics, but I’m…how shall I put this?” She did her best to look genuinely at a bit of a loss. “I’m a certified genius and a voracious reader. There isn’t very much I don’t have some knowledge of, at this point. Though, as I’ve said, a genuine specialist would have had more to offer than I do.”

Edited by EternalPhoenix

Share this post


Link to post
Raveled   

Past the detective the grand old house was a swarm of police activity. Uniformed officers carefully stalked the well-manicured lawn and other people in good clothes and jackets declaring them to be CSI moved in and out of the house. Occasionally she could glimpse uniformed officers or CSI through the big windows, moving through the interior, documenting every part of the house. Either the police force was putting on a show for the death of one of the city's leading intellectual lights, or they were as stumped as they seemed to be and were covering every possible angle.

 

"Mr. Campbell seemed certain you could help him with his problem, Mrs. Carson," the detective said, pencil tapping against his notebook. "it appears that he only called you a few days ago, but it seemed like he shifted around several other appointments to fit your schedule. A man with Campbell's money isn't used to working around other people." Tap tap tap. "How much was he paying you? Drive down from Boston isn't exactly a short one."

 

Behind him, a van bearing the mark of the medical examiner slowly backed up to the front of the house. Two men came out carrying a body bag between them, both of them wearing full face masks, disposable gloves, and safety goggles. That much isolation wasn't standard procedure for a body. Usually it was reserved for situations where the deceased might be contaminated in some way.

Share this post


Link to post

Sam kept her face calm, though she allowed out a bit of genuine confusion. “Detective, I’m as lost as you are. If I were you, I would inquire at HIT. My department head has me down here consulting with them at least once a week in his place. He doesn’t travel well, unfortunately. Perhaps someone there sang my praises.” She glanced at him for a moment, just to make the next line stick. “I’m not a mercenary for hire. I only charge for actual work, not sharing my expertise. Such as it is.” She returned her eyes to the house. So much activity. The desire to change clothes and unleash Terrifica on the crime scene was almost unbearable. “Are you certain we’re safe here? Your people appear to be taking extraordinary precautions. I wouldn’t want to carry anything home with me.”

Share this post


Link to post
Raveled   

Detective Palmer had a few more questions for Sam, but they were pretty boilerplate things about her work and home. Eventually he gave her his card and a gruff "don't leave the country for the next week or so" and she was allowed to leave the scene. While she drove away the investigation continued; CSI techs roamed over every inch of the old building, searching each of the three floors room-by-room and making sure they recorded every detail. Meanwhile the reporters showed up and Palmer had to manage an impromptu press conference, sticking to the usual cop line of "can't comment on an on-going investigation" and "too early for an official statement."

 

The police worked for hours, and the sun was going down by the time everything was wrapped up. The last police vehicles left were a pair of squad cars; one was parked across an entrance to the circular driveway while the other sat directly in front of the steps leading up to the entryway. Four uniformed officers stood in front of locked doors or patrolled the grounds, flashlights in hand, while police tape sealed off every ground-floor entrance.

Share this post


Link to post

Samantha Carson, after the abrupt cancellation of her appointment for the day, had simply gone home. She did not, however, stay there. After cooking a fine dinner for her family (and telling husband Stan that her other work beckoned), she donned the fiber armor and cowl of Terrifica and roared back down the highway. Sunset was more or less the perfect time for infiltrating a well guarded building, if you had to during technical daylight hours. The edge of night could dull senses slightly. Long shadows and bright light contrasted each other, making it hard to see someone in dark blue (granted, with a neon orange T on her forehead, but she’d added a flap for that recently) sneaking through. And  honestly, the average house in this area had entirely too many points of ingress to be adequately guarded by four people. They were well prepared for someone to attempt the front, but any other angle of approach was loosely covered at best. Which, of course, Terrifica was all too pleased to take advantage of. However…this was a perfect opportunity for Miracle Girl to gain some experience in investigation, and there was something to be said for a high flying approach. People rarely looked up, after all. So, before she’d come to the Campbell house she had left a message for the young heroine, where she’d be sure to find it quickly. Terrifica knew the girl couldn’t resist a mystery, not any more than the supergenius herself could.

Share this post


Link to post
Heritage   

All of Casey Blankenship's homework was already done, as it typically was within the first minute she was back in her dorm after classes, checked, double-checked and triple-checked as well. She sighed as she saved her work and put away her textbooks; now she began to ponder what to do for the rest of the evening. Checking her calendar, she saw she had no long-term projects due and no upcoming Scouting activities, which meant another night of patrolling.

 

Casey genuinely liked patrolling the vast majority of the time, but that didn't mean she didn't have days when she just wasn't in the mood. This evening, the sunset was still gorgeous and the city spread out before her like a beautiful sculpture made of light, but for whatever reason, her heart just wasn't in it tonight.

 

That is, it wasn't before she spotted the glowing message in thermal ink on a Kingston rooftop that set her pulse to racing.

 

Yes, Terrifica needs me! This night just got a thousand times better!

 

Casry quickly swung home to put on a navy blue tracksuit over her usual bright red, white and blue costume (she really had to talk to Sakurako about some camouflage options), then zipped back actoss thr river post haste. The blonde heroine drastically reduced her speed as she approached North Bay, which caused the bioenergy field around her to dim considerably, as well as greatly reducing the sound of her passage; by the time she got to the address in question, she was hardly more than a dark blue smudge in the sky.

 

She landed as quietly as she could next to her mentor, struggling to keep her excitement from bubbling over and overwhelming her attempt at whispered conversation.

 

"Hi, Terrifica! What kind of case are we working?"

Edited by Heritage

Share this post


Link to post

Terrifica’s smile was almost…impish. Surely a trick of the light. A super serious cowl type was never playful and/or frisky, right? “Murder most foul, my young apprentice. A certain Arthur Campbell has met his end in very strange way. I thought you’d like to tag along.” She glanced at the house. “Also, a roof entry would save me some time and effort getting past the police, whom I doubt want some random heroine interfering with their work.” She frowned with her customary annoyance. “One day, Miracle Girl, I’ll have the regard of Midnight or the Raven and I’ll be able to just walk in. Until then, stealth is required.”

Share this post


Link to post
Raveled   

The windows on the highest story of Arthur Campbell's house weren't really designed to be opened, but the heroes managed it without tripping any alarms or alerting the patrolling officers. Inside the rooms were lit by moonlight, but even in the darkness it was obvious the house was crowded with cultural artifacts. Just in this one hallway was a full suit of Spanish armor from the 16th or 17th Century, complete with saber and musket; a model of a three-masted galleon rigged for full sail; and hanging above that was a hand-inked map showing the complete extent of Spain's colonial conquests. Opposite that was a set of samurai armor with an arquebus. Flanking it was what looked like hand-penned scrolls; Terrifica recognized it as a family tree in old Chinese and name "Tokugawa." If all these pieces were genuine, then the contents of this hallway alone would keep any archeologist or curator happy for a year. Once the Campbell estate was broken up and auctioned off, it seemed likely that there was going to be a genteel, well-heeled feeding frenzy.

 

Most of the doors on the upper level were closed. The only open room seemed to be one at the opposite end, which was covered in more police tape.

Share this post


Link to post

Terrifica straighted her longcoat. “The goal is the room with the police tape over the door. However, we’re going to check each door on the way down the hall. You take right, I’ll take left. Make a note of anything suspicious, and then shut the door. We’ll compare notes at the last door. Ready?” She didn’t wait for an answer, but instead started walking. She opened each door in turn, stepped in, saw what was to be seen, and then stepped out again, closing the door behind her. Soon enough, she was at the police taped doorway. “There doesn’t seem to be anything out of the ordinary. However, Mister Campbell did seem to be quite the collector of rare and valuable items. You?”

Share this post


Link to post
Heritage   

With as much dignity as she could manage, Casey flew her mentor up to one of the upper floor windows, which the mega-genius opened with little difficulty. Once the were inside, she cast her eyes over the place, drinking in a wide variety of information. When Terriifca gave the blonde powerhouse her instructions, she merely nodded and complied...in a matter of seconds; the real trick was slowing down enough to not slam each door as she made her way down the hallway.

 

"Well, I agree, he was quite the collector," she offered, clearly impressed. "But I didn't see anything actually suspicious, and I searched pretty thoroughly."

Share this post


Link to post
Raveled   

The study at the end of the hall had all the signs of being an active crime scene. Quite apart from the police tape across the doorway there were little numbered cards next to various points of interest in the room: a heavy desk with individually numbered notes and a heavy magnifying glass on the chair; an open cask of some dark wood, lined with velvet, open on the desk; spots of what could only be dried blood on the carpet; a set of broken reading glasses on the floor. The notes were in a thin, spidery hand and seemed to talk about a set of four crystals that weren't anywhere in the study or any of the other rooms Terrifica and Miracle Girl had examined. Going by the measurements in the notes each one was about as wide as a thumb, tapered at either end, and thicker at one end than the other rather like an egg. If those notes were accurate, the crystals would have exactly fit the impressions in the velvet of the wooden cask.

Share this post


Link to post

Terrifica read the notes carefully, turning them over in her mind. This, of course, took not even a full second. The leather on the desk was covered in holes. Tiny, tiny holes. They formed a trail. Curious. “This morning, I would said I didn’t know this was possible.” Oval orbs, larger at one end than the other. All made of durable crystal, formed either in a powerful furnace, or (as was more likely) buried deep underground for an unknowable (for the moment) number of years. “Every one of them was virtually the same. Durable crystal orbs, most likely formed deep underground. Where they had been for a very long time. Essentially large rough gemstones, approximately egg shaped. The thing I was talking about a second ago is that somehow the atomic structure is creased, which again yesterday I wouldn’t know how that was even possible.” She flashed a girlish, excited grin. “I’m always discovering something new in this line of work, and it is terrific.” She had a theory already. The crystals were eggs of some kind, they hatched, and poor Mr. Campbell paid the price for his discovery. However, the evidence was not yet solid, so she kept it to herself.

Share this post


Link to post
Heritage   

"This is so weird," Casey said as she read the notes, shaking her head. "How could anything still be alive in something like that? Not just the lack of air, water and food, but the pressure!" When her mentor mention the tiny tracks, she nodded. "Yeah, I can see them, too; in fact, I might be able to track their path across the carpeting. Those little claws must be sharp."

 

Zooming in on the carpeting with her eyes almost made the blonde heroine feel like she was flying low over a sea of reeds, the tell-tale slashes like the broken stalks of cattails near a marsh.

Edited by Heritage

Share this post


Link to post
Raveled   

Miracle Girl's incredible eyesight allowed her to follow the path through the carpet, picking out every super-sharp incision and fallen curl of fabric. The trail lead her out of the office and down the hallway. It lead to a narrow and unadorned door; inside was a plain washroom. Inside the claw-footed bathtub there was a slow drip drip drip of an unsecured faucet. Casey tracked the scratches into the bathtub, where a three-inch high therapod apparently made entirely of purple crystal was waiting for the drops. As she watched another drop of water fell and the miniature dinosaur slashed it out of the air, turning it into a spray.

Share this post


Link to post
Heritage   

Floating just above the floor so as to make as little noise as possible, Miracle Girl slowly tracked the bizarre little creature throughout the house until she finally spotted it.

 

Oh my gosh...

 

Despite her best efforts, Casey could not help but find the tiny dinosaur adorable; she had to keep reminding herself that it or one of its friends had more than likely killed a man, who's only crime was curiosity.

 

 "Omigosh, it's in here," she hoarsely whispered. "How could something so cute be so deadly?" 

Share this post


Link to post

Terrifica smiled to herself and spoke back just as quietly. “You would be surprised how effective an adorable appearance is at getting prey to let down its guard.” She had followed her protégé down the hall at a discreet distance. She studied the creature from behind Miracle Girl. Interesting. Here was the proof, in living color. Living, absolutely adorable color. “Well, don’t just stand there admiring it. You’re the one with the bulletproof skin and pleasant disposition. Go say hello.” Terrifica did not push her into the room. She did have some self control, even if her curiosity was at fever pitch and had her more eager than the proverbial beaver.

Share this post


Link to post
Heritage   

Casey looked back over her shoulder and grimaced uncertainty. "Okay...here goes..." She slowly stepped into the room, arms at her side; unconsciously, she had the biggest, dumbest smile on her face, almost like she was creeping up on a crib to get a peek at a newborn, her voice as soothing and non-threatening as possible.

 

"Hey there, little fella! Hi! Look at you! You're so darn cute! You like playing with drops of water? I have a kitty back home name Ginger who likes to do the same thing! Yeah!"

 

The young blonde was ready at a moment's notice to bodily pick up her mentor and get her out of the room at the first sign of trouble.

Edited by Heritage

Share this post


Link to post
Raveled   

The miniature dinosaur stopped playing with the infrequent water droplets, instead transferring its unblinking amethyst gaze to Miracle Girl. It hopped forward with curiously birdlike movements, its jaw snapping shut with a sound like sharp scissors. Then, suddenly, it shrieked like steam being forced through a hole and leapt at the heroine, claws flashing! It impacted her square in the stomach but failed to penetrate, her skin proving too tough for the tiny terror. Instead it hissed in something almost like distress as it slid down her body, unable to get purchase on her and arrest its fall.

Edited by Raveled

Share this post


Link to post

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now


×