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Knock on the Door Job(IC)


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*CN:  Violence, Police Brutality, Racism, Sexism*


*Bang Bang BANG*  "Bedlam PD!"  preceded the shattering of door and frame as the boys in blue spilled into three apartments across Bedlam.




In Wolverton the office door declaring  Excelsior Investigations shattered under the blow the police spilling in with full tactical loadout weapons raised as if the middle aged resident kneeling in the center of the room next to a half empty cup of coffee was the greatest threat to public safety the city had known.  Xavier Steadman was slammed to the ground bloodying his nose as he was cuffed and taken into custody.  He knew better than to antagonize them with questions about his rights or the charges and patiently accepted the abuse as each badge number and face was committed to a memory more refined than most artificial data stores.  




Not far away in Hardwick park the sizzle of some kind of heavily spiced breakfast meats sizzled as Abuela Orellana called not for the first time to her school age grandchildren to dress and pack for school.  The Garage downstairs was already open with her son hard at work for hte day when the police came.  Only the elderly woman's rapid fire demands of "What did you do?!" threatened to drown out the SWAT teams demands the residents of hte crowded apartment get on the ground.  When the family was all restrained and no few of the struggling families meager belongings shattered the apparent lead detective stomped up and down the line of hispanic faces glaring at each, "Somebody shut her UP!"  he bellowed as Abuela Orellana continued her lamentations in non-stop spanish.  "Sophia Orellana!"  he demanded as he tried to place his quarry which seemed to finally silence the old woman just in time given the raised rifle butt one officer had aimed her direction.  All eyes turned in shock to Sophia removing any chance of hiding who she was from the police and the young woman was quickly hauled to her feet and shoved toward the door and a waiting cruiser to snickers behind masked faces as to her upcoming popularity.




The secluded Downtown apartment Alice currently called home should not have been a thing the police could find even if they did have reason to look for her.  So it came as quite the shock when she found herself surrounded with eagle eyed tactical officers with guns leveled at her before she had the opportunity to even consider fleeing.  The beefy detective that followed the officers in barely even looked at her before nodding to an officer behind her.  There was a sharp pain on the back of her skull then everything went black.




Lou sat in the lockup sleeping off last nights drunk, his continued presence in dry out a sign that someone wanted him here, maybe he made a pass at a wise guys arm candy, or maybe someone had a reason for him to be here.  He woke to the door slamming open as an unlikely trio of perps were thrust into his cell the smallest in a barely stirring heap on the ground.  The middle aged African American man made his way to the sink to begin to clear some of the blood from his face as the young hispanic woman was thrust into the cell behind him.  Even by Bedlam PDs lax standards for inmate safety this was far from regulation.  Xavier looked up at the others warily as he settled in to carefully dab at his nose and check it for a break, "I don't suppose they were more forthcoming with any of you as to why we are here?"  he inquired with unusual calm for an honest man thrust amongst what one could only assume were hardened criminals.

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"No," Alice supplied, from the floor - she'd been introduced to the cell in what looked like an unconscious heap, and hadn't moved much since then, but her voice was clear enough that she'd either bounced back quickly or had been overplaying her condition. More than likely the truth was somewhere in the middle, given the way she winced and rubbed the back of her head when he hauled herself up into a cross-legged sitting position. "They weren't really chatty."


She pulled the hand back to check for blood but her gaze seemed to barely register her own hand before darting around the rest of the room, scanning for possible points of egress. The movement was almost automatic, rapid and efficient, but there was a level of genuine discomfort under it that betrayed her attempt to seem more at ease with their situation. "No 'Hello Alice,'" she mocked, rocking her head back and forth in time with the words to underline the sass, "'Nice to see you, Alice,' 'We'd like to ask you some questions, Alice'. Nooo. Bam! Rifle to the back of the head. And then I'm here with you lot."

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"Seems like you got chatty covered, 'Alice'," the man who'd been lying on the bench against the back wall interjected in a gravely grumble, eyes still shut. The jacket of his rumpled suit was folded into a makeshift pillow under grey hair that contrasted sharply with a jet black beard. An undone tie hung loosely under the collar of a shirt with the top button undone, the faint but unmistakeable scent of alcohol and cigarette smoke lingering about him suggesting that he'd been there a while.


He finally cracked one eye open just enough to take stock of his three new cellmates, ending with the other man. "Could be this is news to you, pal but generally speaking this is where they stick you when somebody's decided you broke a law, yeah?" Closing his eye again he shifted on the bench in an effort to get comfortable again. "Look like a nice bunch, though. Sure they'll be by to apologize for the mistake any minute." Unlike the short-haired woman's exaggerated imitations it was difficult to tell whether he was joking or not.

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"Pendejo," Sofía spat as she was shoved into the cell. Her multicolor hair was more tousled than usual and she spun to give the bar a kick with the heel of one foot, her posture pure defiance. "You got nothing. Nothing!"


It wasn't probably something someone innocent would say, but Sofía knew for damn certain that any trail of her particular crimes was out of the league of the local PD. Now, if some governmental cyber crimes division had shown up, then she might be actually nervous. Huffing once as they were left in the cell, she turned to take in the rest of the group in the room. "They probably think that we were involved in the stupid bank heist." She offered her opinion as her hands flew down over her clothes to see if any of her devices had made it past the pat down. "Not a lot else on the horizon that'll stir up la policia like a hornet's nest. Though how they got my name is something I gonna look into, just as soon as I get outta here."


She paused then and added absently, "Sofía, by the way."

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Rising to cross to the now more ambulatory Alice Xavier leaned in as he introduced himself as well, "Xavier Steadman."  he nodded to Sophia, "I believe you may be correct." he agreed as he reached out gingerly to examine the knot on the back of Alices head and make a rudimentary check for concussion.  


"You will likely have a headache for some time but it looks as if you escaped serious injury."  he finally assessed.  Standing once more he looked to each of them, "From what the rather boisterous detective intimated that seems to be their suspicion."  he opined and looked down as he sunk once more to one of the benches, "I pointed out a likely security hole to the security firm contracted with the Savings and Loan a week or two ago."  he revealed, "Uncovered whilst investigating the managers affair with a comely young teller."  he sighed murmuring under his breath, "No good deed goes unpunished."


"So I would assume the police have at least somewhat credible reasons to suspect all of your involvement as well though no proof else we'd be booked already."  Xavier explained in clipped tones and spared a final glance for Sophia, "And they were exceedingly thorough."  and he was not incorrect, her assorted tools of the trade were hopefully in evidence already.  Otherwise an officer had a phone far above his pay grade.

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"They had to have been, to find me," Alice grumbled, glancing back at the cell door and idly wondering how long it would take to pick. How many officers between her and freedom? Maybe better to not give Bedlam's finest the excuse. "Gonna need to find a new place, now. A better place, with bigger locks on the doors. Doors that're harder to find."


She sighed, reaching down to rub her legs through her thin black jeans - and, not coincidentally, take quick stock of what her captors had and hadn't found on her when they'd brought her in. More had than hadn't, alas. She sighed again, sitting back up and gingerly touching the back of her head as if in hope that it had healed in the last sixty seconds. "I heard about the bank. So, what, they figured it had be a job for a whole crew - pretty obvious - and just invented one out of a bunch of strangers? Instead of finding the real one. Quality police work, right there, okay."

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The hungover man let out a long, quiet sigh as it became clear that the other three in the cell weren't planning to pass their time together in civilized silence. Swinging his leg around he drew himself up into a seated position, cracking his neck audibly. "Hnh, fine. Clearly you ain't bank robbers. The real perps would know better than to tell a bunch of randoms what the cops should or shouldn't have been able to find. That's what I'd figure, anyway. Theoretically." He regarded them with pinpricks of ice blue from beneath hooded eyelids as he unfolded his suit jacket and shook it out. He said nothing while slipping it over his shoulders with a soft grunt before noticing the others' expectant looks. "Oh for-- It's Lou, if you're still feeling all sociable. Acting like you never been in a holding cell before."

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"If I had a phone, I could tell you why there were holding us," Sofía commented from where she was once more wiggling their cell door with faint rattling sounds. She shook her head, shaking those multicolor curls back in place. "Everything's digital these days; memos, emails... court cases. Gotta be some tip off they got from the actual folks responsible." Her brows creased then with barely contained fury. "Oh, when I find out who, they are gonna be knocked straight back to the stone age. Gonna have to listen to music on a walkman." 


She huffed out her breath, letting her hands drop to her sides and swiping them against the sides of her pants. "Who robs a bank anymore, anyway?"

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"Your jest may not be entirely without merit."  Xavier agreed with a small nod, "Entrapping those with known whereabouts and the requisite skills may be easier than ensnaring the actual perpetrators."  he proposed with a beleaguered sigh.  "Which of course means they intend to hold us until they fabricate sufficient evidence."  he added heavily, "Unless perchance one of you is actually guilty?"  he asked rhetorically shaking his head.


"I know I know you're hardly going to admit it to strangers."  he waved off the burgeoning protest with a slight smile, "Just pointing out possibilities, the authorities clearly believe each of us capable of the crime in question, it would not be out of hte question that one here was involved in some capacity."  he however let that line of thought lie for the time being.  He looked with a wan smile to Lou and shook his head, "I have not had the prior pleasure no."  he answered dryly and glanced with all too attentive a gaze at the others as he spoke carefully gauging reactions to his words.


A genuine smile creased his lips at the young woman's furious threat, "Yes that would be quite the ancient history."  he replied with an edge of mirth to his tone.  "As to your other dilemma."  he considered with care, "We were all brought in at once but for one."  he eyed Lou for a long moment, "Either they intended him to arrive first or he is perhaps not her for the same reason whatsoever."  Xavier opined with a raised brow, "Regardless I'd wager they took less care with divesting him of his effects than the rest of us."

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Alice got to her feet with an oddly practiced grace for someone who'd shown such little decorum, and for a moment she didn't say anything, making a show of peering around the area visible from their cell - especially at the cameras, making a rather transparent set of steps around the cell to lean against a wall where no electronic eyes could watch her.


"Doesn't do us a lot of good," she pointed out, a bit less brat and a lot more professional...something as she crossed her arms across her chest. "I don't like sitting around while they invent evidence, but what're we gonna do? Even if they weren't listening in, drooling at the thought of using a recording against us, and the Sour Pickle here had a bobby pin or whatever, we'd still have a bunch of armed cops between us and freedom. Not great odds?"

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"Still where they keep the money. And I guarantee I got nothing to do with what whatever you're weird deal is, pal," Lou grumbled to Sophia and Xavier in turn, giving the latter a glare that advised against trying to find out what the bearded man had in his pockets. Not that it was much but there was the principle of the thing. He watched the other woman case the cell long enough for the question of fighting through the officers outside to come up before running a hand over his face in an effort to summon composure from the ether. "Not great odds, she says. Christ. Just keep your shirt on a minute."


Muttering under his breath and cracking stiff joints as he went Lou made his way over the the bars of the cell, leaning into them enough to look down the hallway. "Hey! Boyle! What's the deal with this #@$%, huh?" he bellowed toward the guard station, one hand gripping a bar while the other gestured emphatically along with his words. "I got important people to see today, you get what I'm saying? What, is throwing diversity hire Larry, Moe and Curly in here your idea of a joke? You think you're funny now, Boyle? Is that it?" He looked back to his cellmates and offered a mute shrug. 

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Sofía eyed Lou is if she were still considering patting him down for a cell phone. Her nose scrunched up in mute dismay as he started to call over the guards. "I'm not worried about recordings. Those, I can make vanish, no problem." She snapped her fingers once to demonstrate how long it would take to scramble a few recordings. "If I had my gear, it'd already be done and done."


She let the debate lie about just how much yield a bank robbery would be and felt the need to point out, "Money is money, sure, but they got insurance and all that. Money gets stolen everyday without this kind of red carpet getting rolled out." She kept her voice low, in case Lou did successfully draw the guards closer. "This much of a shake down, including evidence fabrication? Something bigger than money got nabbed, I bet you. Savings and Loans got some of those security deposit boxes. People get mad about money, sure, but they'll kill for secrets. I bet you dollars to dimes that its about something more than money this time."

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Xavier watched their assorted reactions with almost clinical calm.  "Well escape would hardly be worthwhile that only gives them more time to build a case and our help with the jury in the long run."  he surmised with a sigh though watched with interest what Lou's bellowing would elicit.  "However contacting legal aid would certainly be in our best interests."  he noted with a nod.


The aptly named Boyle stuck his head around the corner to snicker at lou and his complaints, "Only stooge down there is you Lubrano."  he taunted merrily, "Just a normal roundup of scum to keep you company, hey maybe the chief'll give you yer job back if you get em to crack."  he added with a scoff that clearly said the cops had little to no interest in building a case but were simply reacting to look effective in the face of the basic incompetence endemic of law enforcement in Bedlam.


Xavier looked to Lou then to Sophia with a shake of his head, "I have a feeling we'll be here until they have a better lead."  he noted heavily.  "Clearly someone needs to be appeased.  Someone with sufficient pull to bring in all the busy work but not actual results."  he shrugged as if it didn't particularly matter smirking slightly, "Even with fabricated evidence they'd have to prove all of us were there, the job couldn't have been done solo."

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"Huh. Gonna have to look you up sometime," Alice shot Sofía's way, with an oddly professional interest. "Y'know. If I ever had any records to make go away. But for now...ehh."


She stretched, nimbly flexing her arms and back to keep from growing too stiff from inactivity. "The problem with waiting," the young woman yawned, "is that we might be waiting a while. I've been in Savings & Loan. If they got something better than money, they're either really lucky, or had someone really good on the inside, or are just really competent. Even if they had your 'security hole' they've still gotta get in to use it, and get out without leaving evidence. If finding us was easier than finding the real crew, the real crew's doing a good job."


Alice dropped her hands, shrugging. "How 'bout you, Sour Pickle? Sofía? Xavier? You got any hot-shot lawyer friends? 'cos I sure don't."

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Once the guard's head had appeared around the corner Lou locked eyes with him and his bellow became a low growl. "I think you want to remember why I'm not a cop anymore, Boyle," he suggested slowly, letting that thought linger heavily for a moment. "I think you want to get whatever pencil pusher is supposed to be dealing with this bunch and tell them to quit dragging their heels then I think you want to sit back down behind your desk and think about what a useless bag of air you are. See, that's what I think, anyway."


Stepping away from the bars the bearded man massaged the bridge of his nose with a grimace. "The aggravation, I do not need." Lowering his hand he gave the others a level look, starting with Alice. "Look. Whatever you think you're playing at with the cameras and 'your gear' and so on, just cool it, yeah? Nobody's going to put you in a courtroom and try to sell you as bank robbers; you're like twelve and this guy's all well-spoken and #@$%. So just wait for the suit and tell them how the scary bad men hit you in the head. I'm begging here."

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"Twelve?" Sofía scoffed, "I'm spitting distance of thirty, thanks. Just 'cuz I still got my good looks don't mean I'm an infant." Despite her grumbling, she did at least step away from the bars and tucked her hands in her pockets, her boot scuffing absently on the ground. She huffed a soft sigh, "And 'course they will. We ain't white."


That was said as if it was matter of course and in Sofía's world, that was true. In her experience, her hispanic heritage was more than enough in Bedlam to lay all sorts of potential crimes at her feet. Ironically, never any of the ones that she actually committed. Watching the exchange with the other cop, she nudged Lou in the side with her elbow, her voice dropping into a whisper, "Hey, get him to come over here, yeah? Sticky fingers, there, think you can lift his phone?" The last she directed to Alice having caught enough of the professional questions to infer that the woman might be able to do a lift through the bars.

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Alice had a only a few moments to reply before Boyle rounded the corner to stare Lou down for a long moment before looking away with a sigh, "You know how it is Lubrano."  he finally broke down, "Heat fromt eh city manager comes down after a job like that."  he acknowledged weakly, "We gotta look like we're doing something till a real lead shows up so we round up whoevers hot on the latest watchlist and see what falls out."  he shrugged it was business as usual in Bedlam after all.


He approached the bars however growing just  a bit of a spine in the face of being cowed in front of prisoners.  Looking up at Lou he narrowed his eyes, "Some paralegals flashing her bosses stationery trying to get em out already anyway, so you can be the only freak in the cage till whatever goombas holding your leash these days picks you up."  he growled prodding Lou with the butt of his baton.


Xavier smiled slightly at the reveal and stepped up to narrow his eyes at the cop, "Do you really think your pathetic taunts are going to get him to hit you on camera?"  he asked with a smirk, "You're dumber than you look."  it was perhaps little more than a mild warning that Lou didn't need an Assault on an officer charge added to the bill for getting him out but a show of some solidarity with the cause at the least.

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"Stay out of the cameras," Alice had mouthed just before Boyle entered view, gesturing to Sophía's left, at which point she instantly dropped whatever professionalism she'd been displaying to watch the assorted men talk at each other.


Her expression only grew more and more impish as the conversation went on, until she could no longer contain herself and stepped up into what really ought to have been Lou and Boyle's well-respected personal space. "Oooh," she admired, thumping her left shoulder into the bars as she leaned over to poke a right-hand finger into Boyle's baton. "I've seen this video. We all leave," the young woman narrated, sweeping her hand toward the others...and conveniently not toward her imperceptibly-shifting opposite shoulder, "and then you're all alone with the big gruff type all at your mercy, with the strip search and your...baton."


She was all grins, folding her hands behind her back and circling Lou - and by extension, Boyle - until she was all the way around to the wall near Sophía. "I don't want to be here, but that sounds pretty great. Can you send me the surveillance footage after?"

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The moment the baton tapped Lou's chest he seemed to gain two inches in hight as he straightened and squared his shoulders, holding the offending officer's gaze with unblinking chips of ice. Without the slouch the rumpled suit suddenly did much less to hide the slabs of functional muscle it was draped upon and the metal bars began to seem like tenuous protection. 


Xavier's thinly veiled warning didn't seem to do much to diffuse the building tension but formed police officer did look down as Alice slipped into the space next of his shoulder. Her bawdy suggestion led to a long moment of nonplussed silence before Lou snorted loudly. He looked between Boyle and the grinning young woman before breaking out in raucous laughter, loud sharp barks that echoed in the acoustics of the cell. "Be a short video with Boyle pitching," he tossed out between chuckles, dismissively waving the guard away as he stepped away from the bars.

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Sophía slipped up alongside Alice as Lou laughed, watching the large man with some interest even as she palmed the phone from the thief with surprisingly practiced movements. Oh, she wasn't in Alice's league, but it wasn't her first rodeo either. Ghosting back so that her cell mates stayed between her and the retreating, aggrieved cop, Sophía traced her fingertips over the case of the phone. "Good enough." She muttered about the technology. "Let's see what's causing such a fuss." 


Retreating to the back corner of the cell, the phone hidden by her body, Sofía went quiet as her fingers ghosted over the phone's keypad with sure confidence, her eyes flicking over each screen of information swiftly as she moved on to the next, "Just have to... ah, there we go. Hello, BCPD back-door."

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Boyle merely sneered in disgust at the suggestion and turned away unaware of the lift grumbling barely intelligible slurs about all of them but was bothered enough at the insinuations against his manhood to glance over his shoulder well out of Lou's reach to call out, "Nora's got no complaints." before a little too quickly ducking back into the guardpost and slamming the door behind him with force that revealed perhaps more than intended how little he wanted to have a reinforced steel door between himself and Lou after that particular dig.


Taking a step back Xavier looked at the retreating officer with a small shake of his head, "Antagonizing him will do little good."  he warned as he sat once more on a bench as Sophia retreated out of camera view to review what he phone might grant her access too.  "Reckless."  he surmised though with little more than the implicit judgment in his tone and he did offer a nod of respect at the skill with which the exchange had been carried out.


For a woman of sophia's skill surreptitiously entering the BCPD network from a device already connected to the network was trivial and after a few moments effort she had access to at least as much as a beat cop and probably more than many.  Her own record along with that of Alice was flagged by an alphabet soup of agencies though no charges were were in process they were officially here for 'questioning' as 'persons of interest'.  Lou had already had hsi fines paid on a drunk and disorderly and was awaiting processing supposedly.  More likely having paperwork move at a snails pace due to his less than stirling rep with his former employers.  Xavier was the only real outlier, he like alice and sophia was a person of interest, but had no rap sheet and no flags she recognized on his record, in fact he seemed a bit too mundane and well behaved.  No one grew up black in Bedlam without at least one or two trumped up loitering, resisting arrest, or disorderly conduct charges slapped on.  Clearly it was manufactured, skillfully, nothing to make it stand out at all, but that very blandness was a red flag to one who looked at peoples secrets as often as Sophia.


The robbery itself as easy to dig up basic information on.  There was a late night break in at the Saving and Loan, the thieves left a burner smart phone in the cushions of a lobby chair that slowly was used to access the internal network.  al security footage back a week had been purged and the vault was tricked into thinking it was opening time.  Entry appeared to be through a skylight in need of repair that continually sent false alarm codes due to a short when it was wet out.  Alarms were tripped on the way out as they walked the haul right out through the front doors into an unmarked delivery van still being sought by the police as their most solid lead.  The entire case had the personal attention of the city manager which explained some of hte fire lit under the PD to bring in anyone and perhaps everyone that could have pulled the job just to look productive while every traffic and beat cop went looking for another run down delivery truck in Bedlam.

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Alice's over-the-shoulder reading of Sophía's work was both blatant and unapologetic, scanning the individual profiles with only passing (if unsurprised) curiosity - though Xavier's made her pull a frown, her mildly suspicious gaze flicking back up to where he stood. Not even the priests in Bedlam had a clean record....


The details of the robbery pulled her attention back, and she tried to keep up with the hacker's information-gathering as best as she was able. "Smart," she muttered, trying to imagine how she'd have approached the problem instead; probably less successfully, though she'd have liked to think she'd have gotten the skylight. Poor maintenance was responsible for so many security failures.... "When you're done with it," she quietly supplied, "wipe it down really well and leave it outside the bars. He dropped it when he was messing with the Sour Pickle, after all."

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"Hey, this is really good," she commented to Xavier as she flicked through his file with a quick glance but apparently took in a great deal of the information in the process, "Its a nice fake record you got but you should add some scuffs to the edges. Not gonna get a second look with most of the crap work done in this town but someone who knows what they're doing is gonna notice the lack of dirt. Get someone to give you a parking ticket or two or something. Maybe a drunk and disorderly. Whatever. I could hook you up when we get outta here, you want. I got decent rates."


Having given her professional if unsolicited opinion, she nodded absently to Alice, "Could do, could do." She agreed before flicking her fingers over the screen, "So they looking for a van as their current lead but mostly got nothing. Professional job by a professional team. We all," She gestured towards Alice and herself as well as Xavier, "Are 'persons of interest' but they got nothin'. Lou's just stuck waiting on processing. I can spoof a number on the phone and fake some flags to get us maybe released faster if someone's good at talking like a cop." She turned her attention to Lou then, giving him a patently expectant look. "Maybe sound like an FBI agent with a bone to pick." She wiggled the phone at him with a beguiling smile. "Alice and I got flags on our files from the MIBs after all."

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"Dunno, I feel pretty good about it," Lou told Xavier with a last chuckle before adjusting the knot in his tie into some semblance of order. Something other than merriment glinted in his eye as he added, "What I'm going to do to his car on the way out for bringing my ex into it? That's more what you'd call 'reckless'."


He turned to watch Sophía work with the wary interest of someone who wasn't entirely sure what he was looking at but recognized exercise being exercised when he saw it. "Maybe the man doesn't want to be reminded of his past," he rebuffed her compliments of the quiet private investigator's evidently doctored records, some of his earlier scowl returning. "No call bringing it up to the whole room; that's just simple respect." He folded his arms and made no move to take the phone from her. "And nobody's tempting fate just 'cause you don't want to wait a couple hours. We'll be out of each others' hair soon enough."

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Xavier met the clear examination of his false identity with a small shrug, "It has served admirably this long."  he said neither admitting nor denying it's pedigree.  Leaning back he let out a small sigh, "They claim it was two and a driver, Used the skylight short and exploited the clock exploit on the tanhouser."  He shook his head, "That's been patched for six months but they still don't have the rfid terminal keys that came with the update, makes it obvious it's unpatched."  he let out a slow breath, "Also would have taken at least three inside and a driver just to carry the goods out in one trip."  he shrugged slightly, "Unless they were metas, no one his size and build would fit through the light."  he pointed out with a small smirk ans stood slowly to approach the bars hands tucked behind his back as the phone in sophias hand alerted her that all three of them had just had writs of habeas corpus filed.  The cops had run out of time to stall, then needed charges or to let them go.  It was however much faster than the overworked public defenders office would manage such a feat.


With a smile to lou he nodded agreement, "Perhaps sooner."  he noted and his smile fell slightly, "No that would be vengeful."  he noted, "Which is a trait common enough among the police to make it a fools errand to try and strike back at them for such minor indignities."

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