2008-02-21: Nine Kinds of Crazy


Randall_icon.gif KeLyssa_icon.gif Sophie_icon.gif Ian_icon.gif Charlotte_icon.gif Ndugu_icon.gif Lee_icon.gif

Summary: With Kory's trail gone cold, Randall enlists the help of a teleporter, in hopes of finding her no matter where she is. Meanwhile, Lee confirms everyone's worst fears about Leslie, and then some.

Date It Happened: February 21, 2008

Nine Kinds of Crazy

The Secret Lair, East Village

This has not been Randall's week at all. First his girlfriend turns up missing under suspicious circumstances, and then the seemingly most promising bit of evidence turns up negative. This time, when he comes in, he doesn't so much slam the door out of annoyance as lean against it in frustration.

KeLyssa is just coming out from the back as Randall slams the door shut. She looks towards him and furrows her brow. "No luck?" Is all she says to him. No need to explain what she's referring to. "Li'l Cam, have ya met him yet? He's gonna make some posters. He felt real bad when he heard 'bout it all, an' he wanted to help some."

Sophie was already inside. It has been a while, she was working her way up to asking if Kory had been seen when.. she jumps at the slamming of the door, spinning around to see who it is. She both sighs with some relief, then there's disappointment and concern at Randall's expression.

Ian….is invoking the magical law of coincidence. And knocking on the outer door plaintively. Where is his Kory?

Belatedly realizing that he's sent the door thudding into the wall again, Randall draws it back, walking toward the counter and preparing another apology for Tito— only he isn't on shift, KeLyssa is. "Afraid not," he says to her, "the tea turned up clean. Cam… I think so, once, a while back. Tell him thanks." He waves to Sophie as well, but not to Ian, who's still somewhere behind him at this point.

KeLyssa shakes her head in disappointment. "Dang. That was our one lead, wasn't it?" She sighs. "Well, I'd say we should go to plan B…but we don't got one." She frowns deeply. "Our trails cold 'less we start followin' people."

Sophie sighs and nods. "We need to find a PERSON." breaking in. She thinks a bit. "I wish.. I don't know if I'm going to be much help with this kind of thing."

There are lights on. The lock is, happily, mechanical, which means that Ian can't just fry it and waltz in. Much as he might like to.

Charlotte gave Ndugu a nice little rundown on the walk over here. Yes, walk, and despite the slightly warming temperatures, she's still not pleased. So here she is, walking with a giant African man, herself wrapped in a pea coat, floppy hat, mittens, scarf - the works, really. "Excuse us." She murmers softly, apologetically to Ian as she nudges her way by to open the door for herself and Ndugu. She shivers once inside, trying to get used to the new feeling of heaters. She's not used to walking, after all. Stomping her feet a bit, she waits for Ndugu to make his way in as well.

Ndugu isn't quite so polite, not doing much more than giving Ian a Look as he steps past him to follow Charlotte. He says nothing himself, simply looking behind her with his hands clasped behind his back and a serious expression upon his face.

Sophie moves closer to where Randall and Kelyssa are talking. She looks over as the door opens, letting in the new arrivals. She keeps quiet for now.

Randall offers the others a shrug, then turns toward the entrance again as Charlotte steps inside. "Oh, hi, thanks for coming." He pauses for a moment, sizing up Ndugu-- recognizing him from the passing encounter during last week's clothes-shopping excursion, but not knowing him otherwise. There are a couple others present that he doesn't have a clear read on, either. So he plays it carefully. "I— the cops are stonewalling me. 'Sorry, pal, she's probably just not that into you.' Which I get them doing, but… I know Kory got nabbed, but I don't know who or where."

Ian slips in right behind the others. "Why do you think that?" he asks Randall,bluntly, not yet bothering to greet the rest of those assembled.

KeLyssa hops up onto the counter and sits there, looking like she doesn't know what to make of it all. "I'm sure she was too. She wouldn't leave without sayin' nothin'. She just wouldn't!" She sighs lightly.

Sophie shakes her head, "That wouldn't make sense, out of nowhere, right? I mean, I only met her a few times, though. I hear the police, though, don't take missing adults very seriously until they're gone a while."

Charlotte hears the words 'nabbed' and looks over her shoulder at Ndugu with a look that says something. Ce n'est pas bon, that's what the look says. Still, she turns her attention back to the group in the front, not speaking to Ian as she doesn't know him, instead taking a few steps forward. "Mister Kirkwood." She says, pulling her scarf down from her mouth so her face can be seen. "I must admit I was surprised by your call." Her heeled loafers click softly on the floor as she walks deeper into the store, more encompassed by the heat. Heat is nice…

If this is worth being investigated in Charlotte's eyes, then Ndugu isn't about to make it seem like he is paying anything less than full attention. Randall's sizing him up gets a stare in turn before he goes back to listening to the conversation at large. He remains close behind Charlotte, having the seeming of a bodyguard more than a fellow investigator or associate.

Randall offers a hand to Charlotte, and fills Ian in with the short version. "Kory up and disappeared right around Valentine's Day. No appearances, no phone calls… there was some stuff left open at her apartment, like she just suddenly left. Or got taken away." To Sophie, he nods. "Exactly— and God only knows what'll have happened to her if we wait that long. So it's up to us to find her and get her back."

Ian blanches. "Nothing since then. At all?" he presses, even as he gives Randall a positively owl-eyed stare.

KeLyssa is dragged away momentarily by a customer having difficulties finding a few things, though she attempts to listen somewhat to the conversation as it progresses, though it seems, for now, Randall is just filling people in.

Charlotte blinks, looking between all the folks gathered, then at Ndugu again. Then back to Randall. "Mister Kirkwood, I know you asked me to come by, but…is this a bad time?" She doesn't even know Kory, much less any of these other people, and her aquaitence with Randall is only rudementary at best. And they were having chinese food when she got the call. So forgive her for being a little confused.

Sophie shifts a bit, tugging the gloves on her hands more firmly down. She seems to be careful to stay out of casual contact range of people. But she nods her agreement to Randall. "Has anyone found that guy they were all talking about? Umm.. went by a bunch of weird aliases?"

Lee comes in, after arriving in a taxi. He looks bedraggled, exhausted and has his arm in a splint and sling. Eyes slightly deadened due to painkillers. "Hey," he says to KeLyssa, vaguely recognizing her as someone with some official presence there. "Has anyone seen Randall?" You mean that guy standing not six feet away from him? He must really be out of it.

Randall glances back at Sophie for a moment. "Dropped in briefly, at best-- nobody's had a chance to ask him anything about it since things started smelling fishy." Then he turns back to answer Charlotte. "I'm afraid it's urgent. Was hoping—" But then he catches sight of Lee. "I hope you got his license plate," he deadpans, even as he winces at the obvious injuries. "No, seriously, what happened to you?"

Ian jerks a thumb at Randall like a phantom hitchhiker. "Whom do we think took her? Any ideas?"

Charlotte glances behind her to see Lee come in, having never seen the man before, but he does look like he was hit by a bus. A well-manicured hand comes up to her lips to both show and hide her shock as she steps back out of the way beside Ndugu. If it's urgent enough, Randall will get to it as soon as possible, but when people come stumbling in looking like death his-self, well then.

KeLyssa smiles over at Randall. "Hey…" She looks at injuries he has…"What in the holy good icicles happened to you!" She exclaims in a worried stance.

Sophie grimaces at the information. Then she turns, gasping at the injured man arriving. "Oh.. my." she says, simply, after the flash of disappointment at the news about, well, she keeps thinking of the guy as Solarfox.

Lee blinks at the sudden appearance of Randall in his view. "Oh yeah. Hey, Randall." He explains to the concerned: "Yeah. Kory's new boyfriend tried to blow Randall up with dynamite and blew me up instead. What's his name. Lefty. Something like that. The guy that looks like that guy from the high school detective show." Lee pays a lot of attention to the people in the comic book store, can you tell? "Look out for him, he's nine kinds of crazy. I've been in a hospital in Jersey for the last week. You should have seen me when I got there."

Between the stress of the missing-person case itself and the strain of keeping up with multiple people at once, the tension in Randall's head is mounting - and flat-out explodes as soon as Lee pauses long enough to let it happen, rambling on frantically. "Leslie. Oh hell… we thought it might've been him. Look, I'm really sorry you got caught up in this, however you did, but— Kory's missing. He must've nabbed her, somehow. I mean, lie down someplace first, but do you have any idea where they are?"

Charlotte watches the scene, leaning up on her tip toes - it takes her all the way to the tip to speak into Ndugu's ear - and mutters something to the larger man. As she lowers herself, she speaks up. "Mister Kirkwood…such conversations do not seem condusive to a public arena. Perhaps if there is a back room?" Sometimes she underappreciates the privacy that a facility like Pinehearst offers.

Sophie winces, "You mean.. from a guy who thinks he's some kind of hero, to a villain? Ok, if we know who, and how.. do we know where, and can we do something to get her?"

KeLyssa shakes at it all. It all seems a bit…too much for her. She motions to Charlotte. "Ya can use the back office ma'am." She looks down. "I…I…I wanna help but I…this is so much! Ya'll can do this 'thout me tonight, right? I just don't think I'm in a good state of mind to be thinkin' clearly."

Ndugu simply offers a low, wordless murmur of agreement as Charlotte whispers into his ear. When Charlotte suggests moving, he rolls his shoulders slightly and clasps his hands in front of him. If they're moving somewhere, he's ready.

Lee says, "According to the recordings? They're getting married someplace tropical. Of course according to the recordings I was you and, uh, died while he laughed? I can't remember the exact phrase. Wrong on both counts, of course." He looks at Charlotte weirdly for a moment. "Anyway, the cops scraped me up and dumped me in an ambulance. I'm sure they'll want to talk to you. I told them all about it." So much for privacy! "I don't guess the guy's been in here recently enough to still be on the security tapes…they got me to talk to a sketch artist but that's about it."

Randall shoots Lee a funny look— but hey, if the guy prefers to stay on his feet despite his recent bang-up, that's his business. After all, it is his store. Ish. "Thanks, KeLyssa. Thanks, all of you, I owe you big-time…" His attention turns back to Charlotte, next, but he waits till they get to the back before continuing any further with his stream of consciousness.

Sophie's hands clasp at some word or another of Lee's. But, she pauses, 'I don't know if I'm any use, but is there anything I can help with on this?'

Charlotte doesn't answer Sophie's question out loud, but the response is right up there in her mind. I believe that's where I come in. She glances over her shoulder once to make sure Ndugu follows before moving silently, even professionaly behind Randall into the back room. The Rescue business is sort of becoming her forte. Perhaps she needs her own business cards: Charlotte's Rescue Aid Society. Once they're in the back, she faces the brunette boy. "Can you tell me everything that's happened, at least that you're aware of? I think I can help but….I'll need to know." It doesn't take a genius to figure out why she's here.

Lee has been laying in a hospital bed for a week, being upright without doing anything strenuous kinda feels good. "Hey, uh, wait, did you say Kory was missing?" he asks, as the group withdraws. "…this guy really went after her. Christ. Look, I need to get some water and get cleaned up…I have to let some more people know I'm okay…but if I can help, call me, all right? Tito's got my phone number. And, uh, well, I live upstairs." Everyone wants to help, Lee's not going to be the churl in the room even on his worst day.

Randall nods to Lee, mouthing another silent 'thanks' as they part ways. Then to business, handing Charlotte the brain dump she requested once they're safely in the back. "There's this guy, Leslie - lots of aliases, but never mind that. Point is, he's been mooning over Kory for weeks, especially after I hit a rough patch myself for a while… Anyway, he somehow kidnapped her without a struggle - maybe he got his hands on some knockout gas - and hauled her off to this tropical honeymoon he thinks is going down. While apparently leaving a Bond villain death trap that he intended me to get dragged into." His hands press together, nervously: he wants to ask for help more directly, but is she cool with letting the others here know what she can do?

Charlotte really, really isn't okay with that potential. She checks behind her, closing the door after Ndugu enters, so it will just be the three of them. "How dangerous is this guy? Do we know if he's armed?" Because she's assuming he is. Most people that kidnap other people? They tend to be armed. Her luck just tends to run that way. "And Kory, tell me about her, too." The more you know….

"I wouldn't be surprised," says Randall, leaning back against the nearest patch of wall that looks like it will support his weight. "She works" - worked, but he can't bring himself to use the past tense - "here in the shop. And a couple other places, but this is where he knew her from." He leaves out the part about her also having an ability, because it isn't relevant, is it? If she could have contacted someone, then surely she would have done so by now. "Can you… track down a person, say if there's a picture, or does it only work with places?"

Ndugu follows after Charlotte, remaining standing just inside the door. To the casual observer he looks as though he's not even listening, instead simply guarding the entrance and keeping an eye on Charlotte.

Charlotte folds her arms, one hand coming up to play with one of the overly-dangly ethnic earrings she's so fond of. "I'd need Kory's full name." She explains, without really explaining. A soft sigh escapes her as she thinks, white teeth biting softly into the flesh of her lower lip. "This Leslie guy, he have any people with him on this?" A SWAT team, things of that nature? Thats what she's used to. Glancing up over her shoulder, concerned doe-brown eyes look over Ndugu. "This isn't official business…" She murmers to him softly, letting him know: He doesn't have to be here if he doesn't want to be. This is not what he signed up for, and there's no paycheck assosiated with this sort of business.

Randall fishes out a cell phone, tapping buttons until he brings up a photo of her, which he shows to Charlotte. "Kory Alexander. Do you need her middle name? Starts with an I, but I'm not sure how to pronounce it right… And I don't know what kind of resources he's got. I didn't even know for sure it was him until Lee came in just now… it was just an educated guess, because we couldn't think of anyone else with a reason to do this." He's pacing now, hands stuffed into his pockets, having handed over the phone earlier. "He's at least got enough to set up that deathtrap that Lee mentioned, but that could've just been a pipe bomb." Although, in truth, it wasn't.

"I am not going anywhere," Ndugu answers plainly when Charlotte speaks. Nope, as far as he's concerned … is Charlotte is here, he'll be here.

Charlotte lets Ndugu have a look at the phone and the picture before handing it back. "No, Kory Alexander should be enough. If he's keeping her somewhere, chances are that he doesn't have that place wired to be a giant explosion. That would sort of defeat the purpose." Doors and windows might be wired, but really: Who uses those? She looks back at Ndugu. "If…if you want to help with this, I think I'd prefer it if you were armed." And she may want to recruit a person or two….

Randall nods, glancing over to Ndugu for a moment. He's certainly not going to turn down armed assistance! "I'd like to ask a couple others to come along, if you're good with that… I figure, the more people with skills he isn't anticipating, the better." Because guns are nice and all, but he might expect those.

Charlotte cocks her head to the side, earrings jingling. "Depends on who and how many, Mister Kirkwood. This isn't…exactly my first time doing this sort of thing. If we have a lot of people who don't really know what they're doing, it might go bad. Particularly if I have to carry them all." Yes, two niave teleporters can jump in and jump out, but if she has to teleport six people in, who are then going to scatter - that's the potential for six people she might have to rescue.

"Well, what if you don't?" That's it, Randall, focus on tactics. Don't think about what Leslie might be doing with his drugged prey right now, or you'll fall apart. "Can you just get close, and then tell the rest of us where we need to go?" This probably has its own pros and cons, but at least considering the option can't hurt.

Charlotte raises her eyebrows. "If he's in a tropical location? That's several hours on a plane. I think it's best if I take one other person." Really, keep it minimal. "I have someone in mind, if you don't. But if you do, I'll be more than happy to hear it." Because honestly? She doesn't really trust the person she has in mind anyway, so subsitiuting someone else might be feasible. "Besides, once I'm there, I'm there. If I need backup, it means he knows I'm there. So either way, he'll know, and he might panic."

Ndugu continues to sort of loom there for the moment, patting the side of his coat. The blockish outline there isn't actually visible until he makes it so by adjusting the jacket, giving Charlotte a Look. He's already armed.

Randall bites his lip. "If we're lucky, he hasn't gotten that far yet. I see your point, though… I guess I can ask the others to be on standby, in case he's nearby. Or to jump on him as soon as he's dragged back— that'd probably work better. How long do you need to get things together on your end?"

Charlotte thinks a moment. "A day, at most, although if he's still in the area I'd like to try to go in at night. Chances are, if he has a lot of people working with him, some will be sleeping. It'll be even better if he's someplace else - the jetlag will have the dead on their feet." She looks back at Ndugu, down at the gun, then back at the man. She nods: Thank you. Nevermind the shiver of discomfort guns give her. "Can you have your people ready here? And … Randall, I'm sorry to ask, but I have to. Are they people like you, or people like me, and do they have any idea what they're doing? I don't want to bring him back here just to…" Just to have him get tortured. Or murdered.

Ndugu turns his head very slightly to listen to Randall's reply, although his eyes are still locked on an empty space in the middle distance.

Randall squints at Charlotte, looking confused. "I am people like you." Well, he thinks he is, anyway. "And—" What exactly is she being uncomfortable about, there? "And I'll make sure everyone who's in on this is on the same page. We have to make sure she's not hurt… and preferably that he isn't, either, just stopped. I'd hate to think I was sinking to his level, even a little bit."

Charlotte nods. "Alright." She glances up at Ndugu. "Give me a day, and please don't go after this guy yourself." Charlotte is what you call a Journeyman at this sort of thing, and Ndugu? He's just a bloody professional. Although the comment about being like her is given a strange look in those doe-brown eyes, she doesn't comment on it now. "Please, Randall. I promise I'll do whatever I can, okay?" But don't be stupid.

Randall walks over to pick his phone back up. There are numbers to exchange, the photo to be copied (just in case)— and several more calls to place. "Same here. Twenty-four hours, then."

Charlotte nods. "I'll see you." She promises, glancing her doe-brown eyes at Ndugu before turning to go, knowing he'll follow. We'll just call this freelance work….

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