2010-07-01: The Inquiry, Part 2



Date: July 1st — and prior


The inquiry continues.

Previously: "The Inquiry, Part 1"

"The Inquiry, Part 2"

Office of Internal Affairs

New York City

Did it work

Maggie takes a second — or several — of her own to answer, lips pursing together while she looks off to some corner of the office. Or, rather, some corner of her recent memories. "I guess, well … that really depends on your definition."

* * *

From one form of imprisonment to another, a man whose only reputation is that of a lowlife is transferred on the arm of law enforcement. He looks the part. Skinny. Rough. The kind of guy who looks dirty even after being scrubbed clean. The kind of guy it's easy to pin anything on, even the things he's not actually capable of.

It happens outside — not far from NYPD territory, certainly, but on a quiet street. The security surrounding the event is minimal, and there's no one around.

That's what it's supposed to look like, at any rate.

In reality, the transfer is very watched: by cops, by SWAT, and perhaps most of all by Detective Powers who, surrounded by colleagues of various levels (fellow detectives, Officer Lopez and others among them— it's crowded), is watching from afar. Afar, in this case, is an armored NYPD truck behind the safety of a business's windowed garage doors across the street.

Maggie watches from the back, looking through the windshield between the two filled front seats — which she clutches onto, leaning ahead, practically on her feet in a space too confined to do so. The steadily knitting brow above her highly critical eyes-ahead gaze speaks of her growing unease.

As they watch, a van waits to take the handcuffed prisoner away. The walk has been a slow one, and so far — as doors open to usher him in, a strong arm assures he makes the big step up — it's completely uneventful.

Restless, Maggie she shakes her head. "This isn't right," she states. By all accounts, she shouldn't even be calling the shots … but who's to say it isn't an educated suggestion. "Slow it down."

There isn't a whole lot the escorting officers can do but, as the tech seated in front of Maggie mutters into his microphone, they pick up an even greater loiter, taking precious time leaning to check the prisoner's handcuffs. The accused man drags his own feet, twisting unhelpfully, but making no real break for freedom despite the seemingly empty surroundings.

It's all really very quiet. Boring.

Into this silence is projected a loud and purposeful beep — an alert. Something chimes to life from, of all places, Maggie's pocket.

Every body in the van shifts expectantly — some even jumping a bit as the noise startles them from their half-dozing poses thanks to the previous silence.

Maggie is almost as startled as the rest of them, though she hides it better after the initial jolt. It takes a moment, falling into her seat, to maneuver the thing out of her pocket. It's a phone, though not the one that is commonly attached to her belt. So she has two — what are you lookin' at? is extent of the quick glance she gives her colleagues before she investigates the source of the loud beep.

But first — it quickly becomes obvious to Maggie that there is a post-it note attached to the device, and she tugs it off as she realizes it bears an arrow. An arrow she's followed before — since she's so good at following directions.

Locator Activated, the cell phone's little screen declares above a GPS map. After that, everything she does is lightning fast.

Maggie ploughs out of the car, even if it means climbing over an officer in the process to get to the door. Her boots have barely hit the oily floor of the garage before she has her regular phone in her opposite grip, dialing; and while she does that, she's running out of earshot — barely — of the NYPD vehicle. "This is Detective Powers of the NYPD, I need to be put through to Thomas Mason— " she starts in with the utmost urgency as soon as she connects with a live person on the line. " — Okay, that's fine, it doesn't matter if he isn't available, I need one of your people to tap into the wire of your undercover asset Laurence Miles. You can do that, right? You have to do it right now. No, RIGHT now!" Back turned to the NYPD, she comes to a grinding halt, shouting into the phone. "Trust me— PUT. IT ON. NOW."

* * *

"Hrm, hrm," the agent repeats into the space where Maggie seems to have paused. This time her throat clearing holds a note of curiosity, an intensity, and she spares not a glance for her notes while staring the questioned detective down. "Were you, at this time," there's a bit of an allowing wave of her pen, circular, as though to rewind to the moment just described, "aware of the actions that would be taken by Laurence Miles culminating in the event at the Trenton worksite?"

It's here that Maggie tightens one hand atop the other. It carries into a subtle stiffening of the rest of her body, too. Her gaze, back on the woman, however, remains steady throughout this tense hint of reluctance. "No," comes her answer. "Not until it was already happening. Even then — I wasn't aware of the details."

"Trust me— PUT. IT ON. NOW."

Sounds on the other end of the line paint a hectic picture for the FBI office Maggie's been connected to — the whirl of some kind of static, other shouts, even as the voice to which the detective tries to talk cuts in and out. "Ma'am, you — do you have a code for this? — somebody get Wright on the phone! — I need your authorization. You said Detective… what was it? — and why don't I have that wire feed yet?"

Closer in, one of the officers climbs warily out of the back of the surveillance truck, calling a 'hold this position' command to the tech and drivers who relay it to those in the operation outside. It's a string of ignorance all waiting for Maggie's moves to make sense.

Maggie is waiting for her moves to make sense, too — but she's not about to stand around quietly while the chaos on the other end clears up. "I have a GPS location," she interjects. A glance goes over her shoulder to the emerging officer — he'll be privy to an inadvertently intense glare from the detective — but she ignores him. "And if I am right," the commanding tone her voice has taken indicates that she is at least fairly confident that she's correct, "Whatever's happening there? You want to know about it. I'm here with a team of cops and SWAT is on stand-by right around the corner, I can mobilize to the location faster than you can, PUT THE WIRE ON."

The intensity of both Maggie's voice and statements cause pause across the line — but not for long. As an agent of the bureau, the other woman also recognizes the importance of every second in these things. But that doesn't stop her frustrated: "Fuck, what is going on and why don't we know it first?"

There's bustle, almost clear static through the interference of the garage walls where the detective waits, but then a muffled command. "Alright, here it is…" Wariness prevails, as the FBI woman knows not what she should be expecting.

… But it probably wasn't the soft buzz of silence that they both get.

"Is this some kind of— what. Jump back." There's the skimming of tape technology.

Finally. The result of silence comes as a surprise — not a good one. Maggie wastes no time, though, already thinking ahead; she whirls around, marching back toward the NYPD truck in silence of her own. Around the more secretive phone, she gives the watching officer a wait hand gesture. The gesture freezes in the air as she listens, convinced there's something worthwhile to hear. Just wait.

— silence, silence — then — voices! In the scurried backwards quality of rewind. After a second of it, the playback halts, cues, then resumes:

"— in a bit of a box, aren't we?" Laurie's voice.

"They call me evolved." Not Laurie's voice. But a woman to whom Detective Powers is already unfortunately acquainted. Mandy Larson. "I could reach through your skin and crush your spine. But you know what? For all you put me through, I'm gonna make this nice and slow and traditional — So here's what you're gonna do, Laurence Miles."

Laurie: "You should know I— "

Thdddd. A thick impact. The rustle of movement and then muffled contact that everyone there recognizes as a body falling.

— silence.

The FBI line crackles. "MOVE."

The gathered police hear it all: Maggie has pressed the button to send the transmission through speakerphone.

She copies the FBI woman largely without realizing it. "MOVE!" She hauls the back door open and shoves in; whoever's sitting there will just have to get out of the way of the normally polite detective. She reaches between the seats phone with the locator up to the tech. "It's Larson. She's there; don't ask, just make sure SWAT is on their way. We have to move it! I'll explain later."


Confusion for the officers doesn't necessarily translate into disarray; they dodge Maggie's erratic movements with the ease of their training and the tech firstly accepts the locator without batting an eye. It's as he tries to settle it in with the rest of his machinery that he pauses, giving the cheaper grocery-store phone a light smack with a palm. "The signal— we aren't going to get it clear in here…"

"What's going on in there?" comes the line of impatience from those officers positioned outside, not so privy to the shared phone-call. Meanwhile in the driver's seat, the commands to mobilize are already being issued to a much antsy SWAT.

Maggie leans toward the window of the vehicle door she's so recently slammed behind her, knocking on it to point toward the garage door, for the sake of the officer who had climbed out earlier — lest he hop back in and waste time. "Get us out of here," she says. "I remember the address from the GPS." No answer for those left out of the loop, as confusing a loop as it is; she can play catchup with them on the way.

No shocker when, the garage door flying open at the hand of one of their fellows, those outside give a startled jump reminiscent of going for their weapons. Squealing tires as the van peels outside does nothing to appease their displeasure at the interrupted operation that leaves them in the cold of the growing New York evening.

"I've got traffic up," the tech announces to the driver before looping an arm behind him to look at Maggie, one hand at the tip of microphone at the corner of his mouth. "SWAT needs to know if this is lights on or off."

Detective Powers settles in tensely for the ride, buckling up — safety first — and gives the man addressing her a considering look. It doesn't take long for that authoritative tone of voice of hers to crop up again. "Lights off," she decides. "We don't want her to see us coming."

* * *

A hint — the tiniest hint — of a pleased smile comes out rather predatory on the woman's plump face. She suspends the emotion quickly, but obviously. Her next words come out just as fast, more flippant as the others, like she asks only out of obligation — and she's already taking notes. "So, you had no knowledge that could have prevented the events as they occurred?"

Of all things, Maggie laughs — it's a quiet sound, a puff of breath full of wondering. Her brows arch skeptically, considering, and her arms cross. "Could have — no. I don't know." How far would that lead if she didn't stop there? No, I don't know, maybe, yes? I don't know certainly holds the most conviction. The detective isn't being evasive, not purposefully; she might be ambiguous, but she's honest about it.

The laugh startles Patty, who then reacts negatively to her own surprise, her eyebrows dropping into heavy shades over squinting brown eyes. After a moment of evaluating Maggie's level of mockery — and finding none — she seems to relax. Enough to tick tick against the table a few more times, this time with the pen itself. "Let's try it this way— looking back to the events as you've described, in your professional opinion, was there a better way this case could have been handled?"

"Oh absolutely." No hesitation — Maggie agrees genially right away. She doesn't exactly offer up a multitude of alternative plans based on her professional opinion, however. "But everything that happened— anyone has to admit, it got results."

There seemed to have been a prepared follow-up question, but Patty bites down on it in consideration to what Maggie has offered up, instead. A thinned out mouth opens and shuts with a wet smack and then she waves that pen forward. "Do you feel that the end result of the events justifies the unsanctioned means as you've explained them to me now?"

One of several expected questions, but she pauses anyway; not expressly out of hesitation, but there's clearly a wealth of thought behind her blue gaze. "Yes," Maggie then answers, whatever the consequence. "The goal was to prevent more people from being killed. These were extreme circumstances. I mean the rest — what went down on at that construction site — it was reckless," some manner of bitter intensity finds its way in there, "but… I can only justify my own actions. And the end result. Which like I said— not half bad, at least for the department. We stopped a serial murderer that night."


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