2010-09-24: Death Surrounds Her



Guest Starring: NYPD technician, Officers Shumack and Sung

Date: September 24th, 2010


It's clearly not the most chipper of weeks, and the days just keep coming as Maggie meets information and attention head-on.

"Death Surrounds Her"

Police Station

A swarm of moving images in shades of grey make up the dim room wherein citizens and visitors walking New York City have their privacy routinely violated every second of every day. Street cameras: they're everywhere, regardless of the Civil Liberties Union has to say. And this is where some of the many feeds — eyeholes into the goings-on of New York — wind up for the purposes of the city's famous police department for what is, to them, a good cause: looking out for the city.

A lone CCTV operator mans this room of much technology; a woman, actually, a twenty-something with neatly organized dreadlocks behind a bandanna and perceptive eyes behind smart glasses. The monochrome light of the screens reflects against dark skin as she sits at her station, pulling up the history of several cameras and going back in time.

Next to her is evidence that she was, recently, not so alone: a vivid red cup unmatched to hers, a cell phone flash-flash-flashing red with an unchecked alert, and an open notepad bearing a list written in unique form:

Washington St. * (Standard)
10th Ave. *
Subway W-4th
W 13th St.
W 14th St.
10th Ave.
11th Ave.
Gansevoort St.

A computer screen beside the notes is frozen with the security camera image of a man on the move. The face captured is the face of the man responsible for recently stealing the weapon of a police officer and shoving her off a railing, fifteen stories to…

* * *

Death. The topmost photograph in a folder, its sparse contents kept in place by a thumb, safe from movement, is gruesome; commonplace for the photographer, however, and the eyes it's meant for. Officers of the law. Gunshot wound to the side of the head. The file, the photograph showing the aftermath of a man's murder, is carried from one place to the next. Brisk steps don't fill the hall— they just whisk by.

Muddled, upbeat conversation drifts in from where corridors intersect in the realm of file rooms and evidence and cameras.

"— Oh hey — Detective Powers!"

The folder drifts shut; sharper, its possessor lifts her head from a troubled study. She slows, swiping a wisp of hair — escaped from an elastic — out of her sights. Bright eyes — expectant, not objectionably so, only fully alert to the sound of her name — are free to land on two uniformed officers.

Several feet ahead of her and closing, the taller of the young pair, Officer Shumack, addresses the detective. A woman he don't really know. Then— not many do. "We were just talking about Miles— " And, seeing her, must have been uncontrollably compelled to share. His friend, Sung, adds more nervously, "Hell of a thing, right?"

This is but the first clue that Maggie won't like where the officers' interruption is headed.

It's been gone over time and time again since Laurie was hauled off in handcuffs; while many at the station keep their thoughts to their selves, just as many continue to talk quietly, discreetly amongst one another— but for some, the newness of the rumours (if, by now, they can be called rumours) burn hot. What burns fast will eventually run out; not fast enough. The boldest people, the ones whose brashness match their curiosity and overtake their respect— they wind up in corridors just like this, with the detective who used to be the wayward consultant's partner.

The officer pays no mind to the downward flicker of her brows, the vaguely warning look in her eye.

By now, they've all three stopped mid-corridor, two facing one. " — We never worked with the guy," Shumack says. Like the conversation is laidback as anything, as if Maggie was joking around with them in the adjacent hall a moment ago. Quickly, however, he begins to gain an edge of arrogance, needling. "Just, come on, I gotta know…"

Maggie only regards the pair of uniforms with a solid stare that is both challenging and patient: she's used to it, go ahead if you dare. Get it all out so she can go back to work.

"How couldn't you know partner was an executioner?"

Silence. Not a flinch. She takes her time regarding the both of them with a slow-building, calm ferocity, something that doesn't mar the deeply insightful nature of her stare; only builds upon it. Sung is markedly uncomfortable by it; Shumack takes it as Powers being speechless and it makes him stand taller. He opens his mouth to talk— she opens hers first, and her eyes settle on him precisely.

"How didn't you know…" she sets in levelly, "that your partner," a blink and her eyes move to Sung, impartial to the words she says, calmly expressing her lesson, "is a thief? That he memorized your locker combination. The money that you've noticed missing from your wallet and blamed on your girlfriend — from a wallet that you sometimes leave in your locker — he uses." A pause; Maggie looks back to Shumack. "On your girlfriend."

Minor accusations — in comparison. Still— the accused becomes defensive; Shumack becomes the accuser. "What? Sung, dude, that better not be friggin' true— "

"I— didn't think you'd— "

The two young officers, so ready to turn on each other, both turn on Maggie at the same time, impassionedly speaking over one another. Sung: "That's not fair, detec— " Shumack: "Why didn't you tell— "

Maggie's reply is swift and to-the-point — do they get the point? — and delivered soundly to their faces; she steps right up to bear her stare a them closely. "It wasn't my business. What I did or didn't know— isn't yours." She coolly weaves around them.

Sung either hasn't learned Maggie's lesson or is so eager to deflect attention off of his own indiscretions that he forgets, even more than Shumack had, that the detective outranks him. "You can't go around accusing an officer of the law of theft— wait, I guess you can!" He backpedals and steps in Maggie's way to interrupt her determined trek down the hall— "It's murder you can't accuse them of." Forcefully, they bump shoulders.

The officer's impetus works against him. He and the detective are shoulder to shoulder for one fleeting second before the next thing he feels is his arm being twisted behind his back and the rest of him being slammed very suddenly face-first into the wall.

"Get back to work, officers." Maggie's proficient grip on the young man presses in with her body weight for good measure before she releases. She strides away, the folder still neatly intact, leaving at least one cop regretting ever saying a word.

* * *

"Did I hear something in the hall?" The CCTV operator blinks behind her glasses at Detective Powers, who settles down in the place she left.

"Nothing to worry about." The GSW photo is sifted off to the side of the folder Maggie has now spread open, and she plucks the next in the series from its grisly neighbours. It's held up precisely alongside the frozen shot of her attacker on the computer screen. One alive, one dead, both facing the camera: the same person.

"Who is that guy?" the operator queries curiously over a cup-o'-soup.

"Iiiit's a mystery…" Maggie unenthusiastically singsongs, breaking the side-by-side imagery to return the photo and skim a file she's already read. "He was found dead in a condemned building. No ID. It was just by chance he was found at all."

"Where? When?" The younger woman slides her chair closer to her station, at the ready, and Maggie looks to her and hesitates; freezes just short of speech. Turning back to her own makeshift station, fingertips touching the file, preparing an answer when — lo and behold — a distraction. The urgent little red light on her phone baits her for attention there on the work surface beneath the cameras. She takes it.

"Excuse me for just a moment…" Last caller — a number she recognizes. And he left a voicemail. Maggie angles her chair slightly away from the singular other person in the room, lifts the phone to her ear and, in the glow of many a screen, prepares to listen to the words of recorded by her caller: Agent Hamm.

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