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Unusual Suspects

Posted on Wed Jun 10th, 2020 @ 8:27pm by Lieutenant Commander Talina Sarafian & Chief Petty Officer Spencer Malone & Lieutenant Junior Grade Teagan McGuire Ph.D.

Mission: Mission 1 - "Pound of Flesh"
Location: Central Holding | Station 314
Timeline: MD 3

It took some doing to fight their way out of the noisy and overcrowded promenade back to the admin hub. By the time they did so, Talina was delighted to receive word that they had Ray Ray Zoom in custody. Of course, things could never be that easy.

Seeing as how biometrics could be altered through surgery, which space podders got a lot of due to their proclivity for flying space pods at FTL speeds, the records on Ray Ray were not current. That meant Security detained 10 Ray Ray lookalikes, but without a criminal charge to work with, they were unable to perform gene testing to confirm identities.

Talina stared through the double-sided mirror at the ten transient men who looked the part down to their scraggly beards and sweaty, mismatched socks. Looking to Spencer, she said, "Please tell me you recognize our guy."

Spencer was already staring hard and the men on the other side of the glass. He walked back and forth in front of it even, looking at each one carefully, his eyes narrowed with scrutiny. "It's gotta be number four. It's the tattoos. This one's got all the right tattoos. Although, it might be easier if they took their shirts off. I don't want to make a mistake."

"Not like they haven't done it before," Talina reckoned with a shrug. "Number four, take off your shirt."

When number four pulled his shirt off, Spencer nodded. "That's the one. Right tattoos right scars. Can we gene test him now?" Spencer was eager to get to the questioning part of this. "I'm sure of it, Captain. I know they can change them, but that's custom work. They would be different. Those are the same ones." He wondered briefly if Ray Ray would remember him. Probably not.

Talina shook her head. "No, I don't want to wait for a test." Leaning forward, she said into the microphone, "Ray Ray Zoom, face the wall. Everyone else may go."

Number four twitched and then sighed as the other men hurried toward the exit. Each one of them kicked him in the ass on their way past him.

"No touching!" the brig officer shouted. "No touching!"

Talina stood staring at Ray Ray through the double sided mirror on the other side of the observation room. He had been taken to an isolated questioning room where his hands were fastened to the tabletop. Between his unkempt body and facial hair and his bloodshot eyes, he certainly looked the part of a serial killer, but he still had rights. The threadbare shirt he had put back on did him no favors.

"Go in there and shake him up a bit," Talina said to Spencer. "Once he's off balance, I'll come in and rescue. Maybe we'll get something."

"Sounds good to me, Boss." Spencer headed toward the door without any more comments. He stopped at the door, one hand on the doorknob and looked at Talina. "How much do I tell him? And how hard do I go at him? I mean..." He chuckled and gave her a wry grin. "I'm great at bad cop..."

It was an ugly tactic, but Talina could not deny its effectiveness. "You know where the line is." She nodded her permission to flirt with it.

Spencer opened the door and walked into the room with a tablet in his hands. He eyed Ray Ray and then dropped the tablet on the table, trying to make the most noise that he could. He grabbed the chair and swung it around backwards and sat on it, facing Ray Ray and folding his arms over the back of the chair. "So... you've really moved up in the world... Ray Ray. I mean... you used to just be a petty guy..." He picked up the tablet and scrolled through it with one finger. "A little car theft... some robbery... but man... I gotta give it to you. I didn't think you were capable of murder..." Spencer leveled a look at Ray Ray that hopefully said he wasn't there to listen to bullshit.

"Mang, I didn't kill no one. No one!" He looked past Spencter to the mirror. "You hear me back there? I KILLED NOBODY!"

Spencer touched the desk and brought up a screen that caused a series of images to hover in the air in front of the podder. "So you mean to say that you've never seen any of these people?" He stood aggressively from the chair and crossed his arms over his chest, walking slowly around the table towards Ray Ray. "None of those? None... are you sure? Look closely... take your time." Spencer's demeanor was calm and cool, but any investigator worth their salt could feel the tightly coiled snake in the Chief Petty Officer, getting ready to strike.

"I dunno, maybe?" Ray Ray rubbed his face. "Man, I see lots of people! Don't mean I know them or that I laid a finger on them!"

Spencer leaned over Ray Ray's right shoulder as he came around the table. "If you didn't lay a finger on any of them, then tell me the last place you saw them... any of these people. Go on... I'm waiting." His voice was still calm. "Just the last time even, that you saw any of these..." He pointed to the floating images. "... people."

"Mang, some of them ain't even around here no more!" Ray Ray protested. "That guy got picked up by station security like three months ago, so don't know why you're showing him to me. That lady is a bitch! That guy is a dick! That--" Ray Ray blinked. "That's Justin Boggs. He came snoopin' around cargo bay 72 where the Rad Ratels set up shop, but we... I mean they sent him off 'cause he's a fuckin' mooch. Ain't got nothin' to do with me!"

Spencer was nodding as Ray Ray talked. "Now... we're getting somewhere. So this guy was picked up by station security..." Spencer made the picture of that guy go away. "And you say this lady is a bitch? Why is she a bitch, Ray Ray and when was the last time you saw her?"

"All I did was ask her for a drink. She said she wasn't giving out nothin' for free. Who charges for water?" Ray Ray was indignant at the very thought of it. "It just ain't decent!"

"Okay... okay, Ray Ray. I agree. It's not decent to charge for water, but when was that? When was the last time you saw her?" Spencer let his stance relax a little. As long as the podder was giving him the information he was asking for, even if it was just a little and to the best of Ray Ray's abilities, which wasn't much either, he was going to let him talk without further threat of bodily harm.

Ray Ray started to get even more indignant. "Shit, I don't know! I don't even know what today is!"

Spencer couldn't really argue with the podder. Ray Ray probably didn't know what day it was. "Alright, don't get in a twist." He made the lady they'd been talking about go away from the group of images. "What about this guy... this Justin Boggs guy." He pointed to the image of the guy Ray Ray had talked about earlier. "When you say "they" sent him off... who's "they"?"

"You know who I mean!" Ray Ray said. "Don't make me say it. You can't make me!"

Dr. Teagan McGuire smoothed down the front of her uniform before entering Central Holding in search of her new boss. It had taken her some time to travel to the station, time she used to get to know as much as she could about her new assignment and the people she would be working with. Anxious to get the preliminary introductions underway, Teagan had been surprised the computer had directed her to this place when she had inquired about reporting in. She appreciated a commanding officer who enjoyed taking a hands-on approach to investigations, but naturally, Teagan wasn't sure what she would be walking into. The inhabitants of the station weren't terribly helpful, but Teagan knew enough not to draw too much attention to herself, at least not until she had gotten a better lay of the land so to speak.

Fortunately, no one seemed terribly interested in her arrival here either, and after walking in confidently, she took the position in an unobtrusive corner of the room and scanned the area for the face that matched the picture in the personnel file she had reviewed. Her eyes spotted what seemed like a strung out man sitting in the familiar confines of an interview room, and McGuire found herself approaching out of sheer curiosity. Out of the corner of her eye, she spotted the woman that appeared to look like the woman she was searching for. Still keeping her eyes on the activities beyond the mirror, her voice was quiet but audible. The last thing she wanted to do was to disturb an investigation in progress. That would not be a good first impression. "Commander Sarafian, I presume? Lieutenant Teagan McGuire, your new behavioral analyst. I don't mean to intrude, but I was hoping to report in to you and the computer directed me here."

So focused was she on the interview taking place on the other side of the mirror, Talina was startled for a moment. "Hm? Oh. All right, Lieutenant. I am in the middle of--" An idea occurred to me. Holding up a finger for Teagan, Talina pulled out her comscanner. "One moment."

Talina's comscanner called out to Sparrow's. "Lieutenant Klein said he split up from you," Talina said once sparrow answered. "I hope for his sake you turned something up."

"I did," said Sparrow flatly from the other end. "I have leads on all four names. Artanis Hotel, the Pila-Pila and Decadence. Headed to Pila-Pila now, ma'am."

"Good work! I'll meet up with you at the Pila-Pala. Do not go in before I arrive." Talina's stare said she would brook no argument.

"Received and understood, ma'am."

Closing her comscanner, Talina looked at Teagan and spoke quickly without breathing. "Inside that room is Chief Malone who is trying his damnedest to get information out of the person of interest who may potentially be an accessory as well. I need you to play Good Cop when his Bad Cop routine stalls out. I apologize for throwing you into the deep end so quickly, but we're dealing with honest to goodness missing persons. Time is of the essence. Can I count on you, Lieutenant McGuire?" She finally took another breath.

"Yes, Commander," Teagan answered evenly. Anything less certain than that wouldn't serve her new crew or the victims they were trying to find. Of course, deep down, Teagan felt a surge of adrenaline and her mind began to race, pulling together what very little she knew of the current investigation. She wasn't expecting this sort of trial by fire so soon, naturally, but it was an opportunity to show what she could offer. "Should we let the chief know I'm here, or is he able to roll with the unexpected in this situation? I don't want to do anything but back his play." Teagan wasn't trying to suck up. She genuinely appreciated it was important to work as a team, especially in emergency situations where lives we are at stake. Still, it wasn't lost on her that someone with her training and background would be better accepted if she proved her worth with something other than shrinking heads.

"He's expecting me at any minute. Just introduce yourself and use any surprise on his part to your advantage," Talina instructed. "Maybe you'll get the subject to trust you." She showed Teagan an electronic document. "Ray Ray Zoom's file doesn't have much on him, not even his real name. Man is a drifter, but he has connections with our chief suspects."

Teagan nodded, keeping her apprehension to herself. This was a hell of a baptism by fire for her first day on the job with this group. Not only was she about to interrupt a colleague's flow, a colleague she had yet to meet, but she was supposed to play good cop with very little information to work with. Working with little information wasn't entirely unfamiliar to her, but she couldn't remember the last time she had so little information to go on. "Understood," she replied. It seemed the most straightforward answer which would neither communicate cockiness nor a of self-confidence.

Turning her attention back to the interrogation in progress, this time she focused on Chief Malone. She needed to pick her moment wisely

Inside the room, Spencer was starting to tense up again. "Well, there's a whole bunch of people it could be around you, RayRay. So... I really think you should tell me. I also think you should tell me which way they 'sent him off.' I really think it's in your best interest to tell me."

Ray Ray shook his head. "I ain't tellin' you shit! Let me go!"

"Well... I've got some news for you, RayRay. We can hold you on suspicion for 24 hours... so I hope you're prepared to spend the night here..." Spencer leaned over until he was eye level with the podder. "The sooner you tell me what you know and who you know it about... the sooner you can get back to doing whatever it is that you do." He slammed a flat hand down on the desk right in front of RayRay, as close as he could get without hitting the podder. It was an impressive noise. "JUSTIN BOGGS, RAYRAY!"

The door to the room opened and Teagan entered, her eyes soley focused on the Chief. "Hey Chief. The boss told me to tell you to take a break before you pop a blood vessel. I'm Teagan McGuire, and as the newest person on the team, I get to sit with Ray Ray here while you take a breather." Teagan made sure to keep her tone even so she wouldn't reveal how she felt about this particular task. Until she knew more about this Ray Ray's personality, she didn't want to risk underestimating his understanding of interrogation tactics. She decided to let him project his own assumptions and expectations onto her. Depending on how he responded to her, she would adapt her words and behavior to confirm his expectations.

Spencer blinked at her for a moment. He didn't want to just stop, but he knew she was right and the Captain was right to send her in. He growled. "Best behavior RayRay..." he said to the podder before exiting the room and slamming the door behind him. He couldn't help it. It felt good to slam the door and get out some of the pent up energy he'd been holding back. Once outside the room he was glad to be on the other side of the one way glass.

"I don't know who you are," Ray Ray began with Teagan, "but I ain't sayin' nothin' else!"

Teagan watched the Chief leave, clearly angry, although how much of it was real and how much of it was for Ray-Ray's benefit. When they were alone and McGuire heard Ray-Ray's response, she shrugged, "That's your perogative, and frankly, I don't blame you if you don't want to talk. I'm new here and don't know the chief well, but from what I've seen so far, he doesn't understand the way of things here." She paused, then offered, "I mean, he acts like everyone should want to stick their necks out for other people or that the worst thing you could face is legal consequences."

"Yeah?" Ray-Ray asked. "So what do you want?"

"I'm just hoping you'll listen," Teagan answered honestly. "Just because I work in law enforcement doesn't mean I think all crimes and all people who commit them are the same." She shrugged. "You may not be an angel, Ray-Ray, and I think we both know you'd never claim to be one, but do you really want to be mixed up in a guy's disappearance and possible murder? We have a witness that links Justin Boggs to you. Justin has gone missing and there are people I work with that would be happy to grill you through next century about that simply because they know you're guilty of something just the wrong side of legal. Until someone starts talking, they'd be happy to arrest you for whatever you're doing wrong."

"Boggsy was my mate," Ray-Ray said, "but I ain't no snitch! Might as well off myself. Never could show my face at the docks again."

The passive reference to suicide caught Teagan's clinical attention, but was quickly put aside as she reminded herself she was not serving as a therapist at this moment, but an interviewer on behalf of their investigation. "I hear you, Ray Ray, but the way I see it, you're already here and you know there will be people who will make assumptions about what you're saying here. I won't lie to you and blow smoke by saying we can absolutely ensure your safety. All I can say is, if you're risking your life anyway, do you really want to go down as the guy who lets his friend's potential killers get away with it? Is that really the kind of cold blooded criminal you are?"

"That ain't right!" Ray Ray protested. "You tell them I ain't snitched on no one! The Zoom ain't snitchin' on anyone." Yet the internal conflict was as plain as the nose on his face. "But it ain't like Biggie and the gang did anything wrong. I can tell you where they're hanging out these days and that ain't snitchin' 'cause you can't touch them, right?" Rather than wait for Teagan to answer, Ray Ray continued. "The Rad Ratels crash at Docking Bay C-13D. It's registered to some hotel."

Teagan kept her face inscrutable as she took in the information Ray Ray offered. She was pleased she had gotten him talking, and inwardly a bit relieved matters weren't going to be dragged out under the circumstances. The behavioral analyst never assumed any task was going to be easy, no matter how much confidence she had gained over the years. Not wanting to disabuse him of any assumptions in case more information was needed from him, the analyst answered simply, "Thanks for the information, Ray Ray. Just sit tight for a bit longer while we check things out."

"So can I go or what?!" Ray Ray asked.

Behind the mirror Spencer thought it might to be time to remind their "guest" that he was still there and still paying attention. He stepped around the corner and opened the door to the room, a smug smile on his face. Of course, the smiles and the attitude were all for RayRay's benefit. "Go where RayRay? Where you plannin on goin?" Spencer asked as he stepped into the room. He made his way to the table and turned a chair around so he could sit on it backwards again, leaning his arms against the back. "No RayRay... what's going to happen now is I'm going to babysit you while she goes and checks all your info..." He grinned.

"You asshole! I told you everything I know!" RayRay tried to kick his chair aside, but wound up on the floor.

"Wow..." Spencer commented on the display, which was actually rather impressive in its complete failure. "Good job... You okay there, RayRay?" It was hard to hold back the full blown laughter Spencer was experiencing. He put a hand over his mouth so RayRay wouldn't see his grin. He didn't offer to help him up.

Unlike Spencer, it wasn't difficult for Teagan to keep her expression rather impassive even as she reached out a hand to help Ray Ray up. McGuire had no problem keeping the man in custody for now, but saw no advantage in taking pleasure in it or rubbing it in the way Spencer had. After all, McGuire hadn't blown smoke up the other man's ass, but she had gotten important information simply by speaking plainly and treating Ray Ray like a sentient being. Spencer's attitude had depleted whatever semblance of trust she had gathered, and it dismayed her to realize if they needed to capitalize on that again, she was going to have to work doubly hard. At least they were keeping to their roles as good cop and bad cop.

Ray Ray just sat there with his arms crossed and fumed.


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