2010-08-17: X Marks The Spot



Guest Starring:



Sergeant Gartland, Schaffer and Charlie Sales

Date: August 17th, 2010


It's bait-set-trap for the copycat.

Previously: XeroxX-RatedExceptionless — (Excursion)

"X Marks the Spot"

Metropolitan Correctional Center

Special Housing Unit

Tonight, the Special Housing Unit has undergone a re-haul. To facilitate the perfect set-up, extra guards were called into overtime, dressed down in civvies, to create a prison full-up on visitors — forced to utilize every crawl space available for those checking in. Even the ninth floor attorney's room. For visitors who aren't attorneys. Unwittingly, this isn't their first time misusing that particular area.

Behind door number one, stage left, is the prisoner — the strange ally to this little charade — an antihero preparing for his part. Covered by two men in security garb, flanked by two more, and being eyeballed by the technicians of the NYPD, Earl Schaffer flourishes as the center of this attention. A protesting hand is raised by one of the techs, witnessing his equipment being manhandled onto the khaki uniform by grumpily obedient guards. Prison guidelines didn't allow them near the inmate, so it's all they can do to back-seat drive while preparing the feed to go through.

Through to door number two, stage right. Cutting through the meeting room, past the security booth, to a small guards' room across the hall — and there is the hand-picked contingent of protagonists and enablers. Weighing the impact of a potential arrest with the frenzied public, it isn't surprising that one of those figures is the Sergeant, jacketed very officially in blue, but red in the face from anticipation of the press that — let's not kid ourselves — will find its way outside eventually.

Standing opposite him, and here by his very specific phone-call, ADA Jocelyn Danvers stands straight in a prim but colorful woman's cut suit and skirt, with her moderately unnatural heels still keeping her at a level below those on either side. It's to one in particular — the man — that she glances only very slimly while adjusting the clamp of the ident badge clipped to her pink lapel. "Can't believe they never updated their systems…" She mutters as though to be careless, a fingernail pressing into the plastic that protects the printed 'Jocelyn Miles' underneath.

The only response above her shoulders is Laurence Miles shrugging his own. A bland and non-comittal motion; it's even done without him looking down to witness to what she refers — though it couldn't be all that hard to surmise. Laurie was not, as it turns out, invited by the Sergeant across from them and he's spent the last five minutes also ignoring the dark looks from that section, leaving him little else to stare at but the door through which is the hallway by which the suspect will enter in order to visit with his dark source of inspiration.

A hallway that looks much as it did before. Two guards, edgy simply for handling the affairs of an inmate as infamous as this one, stand by their posts, slapping their metal detectors against their legs and exchanging looks they both understand without words needed to fill the long, empty space any more than the tension already has.

A presence as quiet at the consultant's is that of the woman in the room besides the ADA: Detective Powers. Dressed in neat all-black, arms folded, she is also poised watching the door. Her focus is expectant, projected forward on the meeting that is about to take place. Thus, she too is calmly ignoring — at least visibly — things such as the Sergeant's growing stress; at the very least, she doesn't seem to share it. The tension of the guards doesn't seem infectious to Maggie, either. She does cast a slightly belated glance to Jocelyn's lapel and ID badge, a vaguely unsettled look that comes and goes quickly over the ADA's shoulder.

Eventually, Maggie drifts to the door. She's not blocking much of a view; there is none. She listens, for a few moments, honing in on the muffled movements of the guards — listening for early clues of the incoming visitor. So far, only distant noises — doors, maybe the elevator. "Most homicide investigations… we look for witnesses — then physical evidence — then a confession…" she states to no one in particular. "Without the first two, the third can be rare. We don't have the first, the second is circumstantial, but if this works, and he talks… it should all link back. It should be solid." And all in a matter of days; rare. There is, however, no pride in the detective's commentary, or even optimism, their night isn't over; besides which, this is basic stuff everyone in this room knows inside and out. Her purpose shows when she turns away from the door and a quick smile flashes past Maggie's otherwise serious features, directed this way and that, mostly to the room's two officials. It could be said to be reassuring.

Having been unsuccessful at subtlety, Jocelyn's second tactic of staring blatantly at the side of Laurie's unmoved face comes up short when she's urged to regard the front of the room, with Maggie. "A confession," she mentions, no love for the word despite its implications to her profession — circumstances are atypical here all around, "coerced from a deranged fan by a confessed sociopathic serial killer." Her serious but not severe look finds each person responsible in the room, "It had better be solid. Especially if you really expect the DA to cater to this man's demands." Folded arms across the chest of her primrose fashion, she settles in to stare intently at the feed into the interview room that will soon be the stage for their secret intervention.

The piped up, "How about if we just want the DA to send for take-out?" from behind startles Jocelyn — but not to the full demands of the word. Though surprised by the interjection, she seems not at all taken aback by its nature. Slyly glancing back at the consultant, in his sharp black jacket and brazenly orange shirt, the ADA counters, "I believe it's the police department that's supposed to feed the DA, not the other way around, specialist Miles."

"Ehhhh," Laurie tilts his head side to side, deciding — minutely allowing, "Yet it's you guys who haven't managed to kill him yet." Directly after, he brings his arm to the front, giving a jerk against his elbow that pulls the black sleeve away from his wrist. He isn't wearing a watch. But he gives the spot a good, meaningful eyeful. "Here we go."

"It shouldn't be coercion," Maggie says her piece into this, not at all argumentative, but firm, to a point. "If it's the truth — it's just a matter of waiting for it to come out." She moves to stand at the corner of the room's table, her eyes on the technological equipment there as she adds noncommittally: "I don't actually expect the DA to cater to anything Schaffer says when this part is over."

Movement in the hall. Shuffling past. Murmurs. A pause.

Soon, the small screen of the computer sitting on the table sees movement. Onto a greyscale screen, a person is escorted into a familiar-looking cell-like meeting room — the suspect, the unwitting star of today's proceedings. The angle is such that the visitor is the most visible face on camera, and as such, it becomes instantly clear that the apple falls far from the tree when it comes to Earl Schaffer and this man purported to be his copycat.

Looking everywhere but up, he could easily be passed by in a crowd; what he does share physically — height — doesn't share the same potential to intimidate, at least not here. There are no proud shoulders, and hunched in, his height is lessened. Shaggy hair, a shaggy face. Even on camera there is a hint of dust visibly layering his plain workman's clothes. It's only when he's left alone and in his seat that he looks up — and around, everywhere, manically.

He's been told the rules; no touching, no items that haven't been inspected, no swearing, no— well, provocative dress he seems to have passed on. Now that the stage is set, there's only one more piece to move. As the door electronically shuts on one side, another waits for it to fully be enclosed before opening. Then, just as before, two formally clothed guards hustle the inmate between them out into the meeting space, setting him in the chair.

Once again, Schaffer's poise allows for the illusion that he has been placed exactly as he required. Without a single shift of weight after hitting the chair, the prisoner looks for as if the guards were actually doing what he wanted in their placement. He is — in this, the prison, wrists worn from constant handcuffs, hair shaved and freedoms vanished — right where he wants to be.

This is what his body says, at least, as he eyes the man across from him with both disdain for his appearance and greed for his position. Needing only these narrowed stares to relay his physical judgment, Schaffer places his hands, palms down, onto the table at an even shoulders' width. "You brought me something." No question.

In the room meant for eavesdroppers, voices fuzz and crackle slightly beneath a shift of scratching fabric, of movement; the record button on a digital, electronic device smaller than the models nine years prior remains firmly on, and voices of two men are once again picked up crystal clear. Ear pieces, scattered — it's from the computer that one voice presently comes in, unfamiliar and unsure of its place, its undulating sound waves neon green on the screen: "Of— course I have something for you…"

Center stage, a change has overtaken the man across from the inmate. He sits up taller, his neck straightening as he observes Schaffer wide-eyed; trying not to be. The same manic flash that affected his searching glances around the room a moment ago is still present now that his dark gaze has stilled. His hands come up, only to curl around the edge of the table, empty, and he leans in, glancing around in a subdued version of his prior paranoid search. "…you sure we can— we can talk…"

Nothing peaks Schaffer's low, bored tones. No guilt darkens cold irises, nor lie raises the pitch of his voice as he meets the man across from him with full awareness of the tiny, button-sized transmitter pinned to his outfit. Not even a fleck of sarcasm when he answers, "They're scrambling like ants today. Haven't you seen them. The guards. Their petty little problems. Righteous sticks up their asses every step of the way." Leisurely, his head leans to the side, "If any of 'em were listening right now, I'd tell them to shove it if they could even find any room. So yeah." Now a sneer takes hold of his lip, curling it upward and eclipsing the even affected pleasantness of right before. "I'm sure I can talk. You I ain't got so good a first impression on."

Schaffer's visitor bristles, but gives an agreeing and derogatory little sniff in the direction of the door he came through. Hands — heavy, used to work, probably calloused under a better lens — grip the table's edge tighter, opening and closing. "I've got it— I've got it," he assures in an insistent whisper, half-defensive, mostly just adamant. He leans to the side, one hand unclenching to disappear under the table to some unseen hiding place. "What d'you mean… impression," he hunts, vaguely wounded. "I'm sorry — I hadda be… careful…"

To anyone listening to that recording — or, at the present time, the transmission sent from it — it's not quite the same as being in the room, but Maggie, one such listener, is as intent in her attentions as if she were. Seated now, becomes attuned to an even higher level of preparedness by the movement of the suspect, the potential reach for something like evidence. Her chair is too far from the away, and she's too poised on the edge, leaning ahead an increment over the reach of her arms as her hands rest flat on the table.

At a stand, Jocelyn has joined the detective, positioned behind her seat with arms forming that bridge across her chest, firmly, fingers wrapped around her own sleeve on either side. Tensed body, she leans ever so slightly towards the screen, like perhaps the intensity with which she focuses on each word spoken is also physically sucking her forward. Vaguely widened eyes narrow in on Schaffer as the greyed representation of him on the screen turns over one of his hands in allowance. "Of course you had to be careful."

"But if you can't trust me, who can you trust, Charles? I'm a man of my word." Full color in the room, the convicted man gives a swift shake to his head, lip fully upturned, but no longer aimed at his companion. "And I don't appreciate lying. A lie is no way to start off a relationship. I think you agree." There is little room given between word and question for anything other than what's said. It would take some wiggling. And the impression — so important — now remains that Schaffer's open palm would flip just as easily back over to squash such a rebellion.

All of the visitor's features, under the rough unshaven haze surrounding his face, tense. His eyebrows pull in. "I wouldn't lie… not to you… you're— no, no, I wouldn't." Charles nods quickly — several times, not one of them rhythmic — and looks into the nebulous space between the edge of the table and his body. His hand raises; for Schaffer, there's a soft crinkle of plastic not picked up by the transmission. His hand sets upon the table, closed around something. "I'm a man of my word— too." Yet he seems unwilling, at first, to splay his fingers and reveal what he's brought — but it's reverence, not resistance, that delays him. He breathes out long and slow, gazing somewhat mistily down. "She…"

The closed fist slides across the table toward Schaffer, and every bit of extension is shaky as his fingers unfurl. In his work-worn palm lies a small plastic baggie stuffed with something dark and matted: hair, and perhaps blood.

"…was still warm…" the transmission picks up.

Maggie's intent hawk's eye stare on the screen is unmoving and, in this room, her hand is the one to raise. It could easily be a command — wait — but it lingers mid-air, her own fingers curling in slowly until only the pointer remains up, fuelled by her own thoughts more than demands.

It isn't patience that creates lines in Schaffer's square face, his leathery skin, but the outweighing rewards allow him to remain rock-solid and unmoving while his visitor hems and haws over the reveal. A reward that is so worthwhile that it claims some of the air from the inmate's lungs as he takes no time at all to recognize the present as it sits there. "Give it— " Sensing the faster patter to his voice, he has the presence to start over, low and easy-going, "Give it here." That palm will get no fanboy sensation of touching the serial murderer's; he lets the baggie touch cold table before he's willing to slide his own palm forward, cupping the treasure. It barely fills his thick hand and fingers curl into that extra space carefully, drawing in that trophy to his own domain — his side. It's unfurled only as he draws the hand up to his face, not shy in pressing material to skin; the confining plastic seems to do it for him almost as much as what's inside.

His eyelids flutter on his next long, drawn-out inhale that's held, his nostrils stuck in flare to get every tiny last bit of scent before it's all exhaled again in a shuddering moment of release. Fingers tightened over the baggie, he opens his eyes to find Charles across the table. The sight of the man there — and not a bleeding, pleading woman at all — visibly brings lines of disappointment around his mouth. Grip relaxes, but not out of satisfaction. That hasn't peaked. He — dare he needs… — and his gaze regretfully hesitates — a strange gleam passing through those greens that might look like so much of a glitch through the lens of the nearly invisible camera above.

Yet on the other side of that lens, seeing the world through hazy black and white, Laurie stirs from the wall where he has thus far been waiting without remark.

"… Still warm… when… describe it to me~"

Maggie shifts in place slightly when Laurie moves, though it's fully the screen that prompts it — the details of the prized object are unclear through the camera, but Schaffer clarifies them where the lens doesn't, and it's that, the convict's disturbing reactions to what can only be a gruesome little trophy, that have the detective's face caught in a moment of distinct unease. Her hand unpauses in its mid-air pose and curls under her chin, at her throat. It goes without saying: they're almost there…

"… when I took the knife… the perfect size… just like the one you— you used …"

The voice of the so-called C.S. is a scratchy, fevered whisper, every word inducing him to lean further ahead and for his hands to gesture along the table. "…and cut into her face— and took the same knife… on her hair— cut it… for you…"

Though whispering attracts Schaffer's diluted gaze, his eyes have nearly rolled high up to his tall bald forehead, polluting attention between his company and the images he's inducing. "It was… so easy…" he reminisces, chalky voice now made heavy in pleasure; the gathering has almost taken an intimate turn, and the heady passion revealing in the killer makes not a few uncomfortable shuffles even in another room entirely. "Went in so nice… it wasn't a face no more, not a person once it stopped kicking… Tell me. Tell me that's how it went. Tell me it was good for you like it was… good for me…"

Light skin against pink fabric, Jocelyn turns head over shoulder, finding faces in their room that aren't showing her what Schaffer's is — a reveal she balks at. The words as they come through, distant but clear, retain the power to turn her back again. "We're losing him," she determines, "The trophy — he's disassociating," her hand folds over to indicate the screen, as though anyone in here can change what's happening in there on her whim. "They'll say he's leading — "

A rustle of soft fabrics and Laurie has come up beside Jocelyn before she's even noticed. Her light move away, startled, is less denied by her than the inclination she then has to lean in towards that orange. Steady on the screen, Laurie is all in the meeting room — every sense. He watches but a moment on Schaffer's pause, the way his shoulders begin to tense as his hands pull the baggie down more privately towards his lap. The consultant's hand is on the speaker button they were instructed not to use before the Sergeant can jut forward enough to stop him.

There are no rooms, no hallway — no prison, no stage. Laurie's voice as he uses it on the microphone is as low as the inmate's, as personal. Rough, exploitive — but smooth; he's almost purring as he speaks right into Schaffer's ear: "… ask what's on your mind, Earl…"

Schaffer's convulsion, now a combination of resistance and fantasy, does not betray which side he comes down on until focus returns midway to his gaze, leveling across at Charles there with a spark of old intelligence unclouded by remembrance — only want. "… Is there another woman… do you have one right now?"

Charles, his head down and shaggy hair falling in front of his eyes, has spent time in an indistinguishable expression; but now, as he looks up, what sentiments, his own personal neuroses he'd been hiding are revealed — reluctantly, at that. They share little parallel with Schaffer's. His jaw briefly hangs open like a dog's, embarrassed, scolded. He looks away from the serial killer, not meeting his gaze. "No…" he answers. His head straightens with a snap, however, and his eyes light up, snapping to Schaffer again. "But… soon. Soon— I'll bring you something else. A gift." he wets his lips. "What do you— what do you want."

No sigh of relief is breathed in the other room, not by Maggie, at least not audibly, but she does sit back out of her lean ahead and get to her feet. Her fingers plant on the edge of the table; she's poised to move.

"…I've been watching… I got my eye on one— pretty little whore… the last one thought she was better… parading around like— well, this one knows what she is. She deserves it. No, she wants it. She'll die, too."

"That's enough," Detective Powers decides out loud, straightening, animosity for the killer — or killers — in the other room briefly darkening her gaze. "We have what we need, we've got him." But for all the authority in her voice, she looks to the Sergeant for confirmation (and to a lesser degree, the ADA), or at least signs of disagreement, even though it's on her way to the door. "We're making this arrest and getting Schaffer out of there."

Charles, his head down and shaggy hair falling in front of his eyes, has spent time in an indistinguishable expression; but now, as he looks up, what sentiments, his own personal neuroses he'd been hiding are revealed — reluctantly, at that. They share little parallel with Schaffer's. His jaw briefly hangs open like a dog's, embarrassed, scolded. He looks away from the serial killer, not meeting his gaze. "No…" he answers. His head straightens with a snap, however, and his eyes light up, snapping to Schaffer again. "But… soon. Soon— I'll bring you something else. A gift." he wets his lips. "What do you— what do you want."

No sigh of relief is breathed in the other room, not by Maggie, at least not audibly, but she does sit back out of her lean ahead and get to her feet. Her fingers plant on the edge of the table; she's poised to move.

"…I've been watching… I got my eye on one— pretty little whore… the last one thought she was better… parading around like— well, this one knows what she is. She deserves it. No, she wants it. She'll die, too."

"That's enough," Detective Powers decides out loud, straightening, animosity for the killer — or killers — in the other room briefly darkening her gaze. "We have what we need, we've got him." But for all the authority in her voice, she looks to the Sergeant for confirmation (and to a lesser degree, the ADA), or at least signs of disagreement, even though it's on her way to the door. "We're making this arrest and getting Schaffer out of there."

Brought out of the room, transcending walls by thoughts, Schaffer begins to return now even as his time is called across the hallway. Although precious sensations curl his fingers still, even the description of the second woman cannot forever slow the disgust as it begins to show in his eyes. "Want?" Echoed, allowed to fill the room, as he crunches the baggie inside his fist, twisting hairs that he has not touched except through plastic. Alight, his eyes; it isn't just the disgust. Something is shining wetly past it, creating pools of hardness, tightening muscles around his face and in his neck.

Thoroughly, Maggie has gotten her agreement. Disgust she'd hate to think parallels the killer's drives the ADA from her post at the screen; she gives the detective a firm nod as the Sergeant puts his hand at, but not on, her back. His steps polite, he clearly means to get himself closer to the door, perhaps even dictating Maggie to step away by the suggestion of his rank.

It's Laurie that hasn't moved, bent over, one shoulder lower than the other, with his hand resting just alongside the button he pressed to whisper into a killer's ear. He's still in that room. It slows his finger at remembering to depress that same button before he's already started to insist, "Don't" — "don't do it" it buzzes in Schaffer's ear — do it " Whirling up, jerked to standing, he abandons fruitless communications to muscle past the self-congratulatory Sergeant, the proud but hesitant Jocelyn, and at the determined Maggie to into the hallway. Immediately, a hand points to the door, his strides never slowing so that, should the scrambling guards take a second too long, he'll be jamming his shoulder against an immovable handle. "Get this open now."

Commotion outside cannot distract Schaffer from the intent that's been growing across his features; it can only trigger things to occur. "I want…" he tosses his head, places the baggie down nicely — polite — his hands sliding to the edge of the table. Fingers spread along the surface, palms braced against. As though he could smooth the cold metal. "I want…" Wandering eyes lift. On Charles. In hatred. "Your stink nowhere near me!" With a shove of palms, Schaffer rams the table forward and then upwards, fully seeking to bury his wannabe copycat under its weight.

The second Laurie shoves into the hall, Maggie is on his heels. As one hand reaches behind her, to her belt and the coil of handcuffs there, her strides take her running to the door that keeps them on one side, the killers on the other. Events occur in a loud, chaotic rush: Laurie's command is joined by the detective's hurried shouting at the guards — "Do what he says, open this door! And get your prisoner out of there now!" — not to mention Schaffer's hateful bellowing and the heavy metallic screech from inside, followed by a shout of another kind in surprise or what could be pain.

The guards comply — the barrier is unlocked, the door gives way, under their close scrutiny — but there's a firm hand wrapping around Laurie's elbow from behind, his partner's, pulling back on him slightly in the midst of the quick rush of commotion, reminding him (or at least attempting to) that he should exercise caution. Or is that restraint.

It's a massive push of bodies into one doorway unequipped for such a barrage. Leading first, Laurie loses his advantage to the tug on his arm, twisting him away from a straight-forward charge by the force of his own momentum. It's the guards that lead in, then — hot on the tails of their own job description — with night-sticks at the ready, rather than hands for pulling the killers apart. Since the table flipped, Schaffer delivered to its underside a firm kick, meaning to force the hard surface into the scrambling Charles; after tugging on his own bolted chair, he was slow to rise and the guards find him now still separated by furniture from his wanted foe.

His foe and then, as his slowed steps bring him into the room, the consultant. Sergeant Gartland bursts past, reaching for anything — a guard, Maggie, Maggie's handcuffs — "Get him up, get him out of here!" Laurie's hand falls upon the yelling cop's shoulder, ignored as he pushes the ranking officer aside to where the two guards have fallen quite liberally upon Schaffer with hotly swinging arms to subdue a man clearly stopped. Groan he does not; shoulders hunched to the blows as he's held at a crouch, Schaffer chuckles between gasps of stolen air. "Cut it out. Cut it out now," orders that might seem so easily ignored do not fall on deaf ears. Even in the heat of their anger at the inmate, the guards hesitate, blinking away that haze.

Detective Powers — who keeps a tight grip on her ready handcuffs, but thanks for the initiative, Sergeant — is next to make her way further into the small room, overflowing as it is with figures of authority. Her focus is such that she makes a beeline for the newest killer, but doesn't ignore Schaffer or, for that matter, Laurie's approach toward him; she is well aware of that side of the room, but her boots promptly plant in front of Charles.

Sputtering disbelief and wordless protests, he's scrambling, completely overwhelmed, kicking at the table that forced him to fall and means to keep him down now. He has bigger problems to worry about than getting to his feet when there's a strong-armed woman suddenly leaning down into his level, turning him onto his stomach. He's instantly a scared and confused animal trying to run, but her hold, a knee to his back, and the hovering of the guards force his struggles inert.

"Charlie Sales— " Handcuffs are locked onto one wrist. His other — flailing — is caught and suffers the same fate. "You're under arrest for the murder of Eleanor Epstein. On your feet." He gets some ungentle help for the command by Maggie and the guards. He stumbles, limps — thanks to Schaffer — but no one here is exactly sympathetic. As he's pushed toward the door in Maggie's close grip, wild eyes rove toward Schaffer, betrayed, followed by the detective's starkly concerned gaze in the same direction.

Discouraged from their excessive behavior, the guards that were once in that corner now become part of the parade all wanting a hand in on escorting Charlie Sales, accused murderer, out. A remand center, the MCC has seen plenty of criminals through and through, but none that cause so much commotion as these two in recent times. Heading it all off, the Sergeant has lost no importance in letting Maggie get the collar; his hand is in there on Sales' arm when, one by one, people 'help' the detective hustle her suspect out the door. The only one declining this questionable honor is Laurie as he tails behind, letting the bustle have its way, his hand only reaching to grasp the doorway as he comes up last.

Just outside, concern may be, if only briefly, transferred to making sure the man doesn't get loose with all this crowd. Or, less trouble some, more injured. It's Jocelyn who steps in on this behalf, scolding and pulling away guards in a manner belying her feminine garb and previous path of non-invasion. "Let's make sure he gets to the trial, please," as she tips a you should know better look of intent at Gartland and the door slams closed behind them all.

Well. Not them all.

As the door slams on the room left, the parade down the hall encourages a fast pace. As she strictly guides the future prisoner away from the territory of the current prisoner, things are more crowded than Maggie would like, as evidenced by her shouldering away from those who get too close and her curt but approving nod toward Jocelyn and her interventions; good call.

In glancing back at those being urged off by the ADA, Maggie's eyes narrow down the length of the hall. Someone is quite missing from their team. "Sergeant," she says, urgent through the singular formal word. "Would you walk him out for me." Maggie doesn't appear as concerned with getting the attention for the arrest as just about everyone around her seems to be; the suspect's cuffed arm is offered behind his back to Gartland. When she's one-hundred percent sure he's secure, she takes off.

Throughout, Charlie Sales is quiet — he knows what he's done. Given this outburst of authorities, he very likely knows that he's screwed by now.

Maggie comes up against the door of Schaffer's meeting room to immediately slam a palm against it. "MILES./ You are //not supposed to be in there." An ineffectual attempt on the handle follows, followed in turn by a harder slam. She quickly directs a shout back the way she came, to the people who should be doing their job anyway— "Guards!"

The shouting quite securely grabs everyone in the hallway, freezing some steps and sending others barreling towards the detective — those of the two errant guards. A third, their last member, has never left his post behind the technology at the door but his fingers flying against the buttons are turning up as helpless as Maggie's attempts with the door. "It's stuck— " as he thumps the side of the locking mechanism a few times, "The door thinks it's still open, I— " — can't do anything, left unsaid.

"Special Housing, Special Housing — do you have the inmate Schaffer?" is being bleated breathlessly into a comm at one guard's shoulder, "Is the inmate in your custody, please respond!"

"What is going on here?" Heroically jogging on high heels is the ADA, last of the figures to abandon the hovering Sergeant and his all-important cargo. "Why did you let him in there — open the door, already!" The poor guard; he's already determined why, so he's caught mouth-flapping silently at the demanding attorney.

The detective fills in the blanks. "They tried; it won't open," she tells the ADA, a touch of cynicism marking the fact of the statement. But it's real concern that has Maggie's eyes roaming quickly over the door as if she could invent some new way of getting the door open. "What about the other door, for the prisoner, they can't both be jammed— " That, to the guard, while her hand comes down vigorously on the door again. The door may bar them from entering, but it doesn't completely bar sound — not if it's loud enough. "Miles—" Vehemence changes her voice as she forces demands her teeth, forehead next to the door. "Miles, say something, get out there!" Suddenly, a quick glance around tries to, with a calmer authority, tell anyone who's listening: "The camera. Someone get a look at what's going on."

That guard is left wincing further, "I— I only have the controls for this side…" and he resorts to the tactics of his peers, pinching the comms button at his shoulder, "Second unit, respond…" It is once again Jocelyn who reacts, her braced hand on the guard station allowing her to propel herself around its corner the fastest towards the small service entrance where the surveillance is housed. But it's as both of her hands wrap firmly about the handle that a distinct and instantly recognize bzzzzztt cuts all maneuvers off… — nothing's changed on this side to elicit a positive reaction…

But, then, a subtle clicking from the other side. The room beyond releases its secrets, and the door abruptly swings open to reveal the verbally accosted consultant filling the doorway, in a manner as though he never moved, not once, since the situation shut him out. Then again, if that were true, he would've had to have heard Maggie — and his stare down at her now is nothing short of bland. Emotionless; he registers neither pride, distress, nor sheepishness to give a single hint to the puzzle.

With a shuffle of hands, and a twist of frame, he aims to skirt around Maggie so as to walk past the other stares towards the, instead welcome, gape of the waiting elevator. By the ear of the technician guard, a communication suddenly buzzes into the new settled air: "This is Special Housing. We have Schaffer. What's the problem over there?"

Another shout is cut off in Maggie's throat before it ever becomes audible, and she's left angling instinctively out of the way as Laurie walks down the hall. Bewilderment only shows for a fraction of a second before it fades into a concerned sort of wonder that marks her brow and opens her mouth. She glances back at the ADA with a look of imprecise intent; Jocelyn and the technician are then given small nods of 'thanks anyway' before, in short order, the detective makes her way toward the Laurie and the elevator.

"What was that in there," Maggie says in quiet demand when she gets closer. Not close enough, if the briskness in her step just short of a jog is any indication. "It was something."

And not, either, when Laurie's own swift pace keeps him steadily ahead of her, giving him time to twist around as he sets into the elevator doorway. Feet positioned over that thin crack between box and hallway, his hand bridges the gap their speeds maintained, stopping a finger against Maggie's nose. Giving the tiniest push, it certainly isn't enough to physically stop her in her tracks — except for the mere nature of the thing. One foot sliding backwards, he transitions smoothly from crack to elevator car, using that same retreated finger to depress the 'close doors' button same as with the detective's nose.

Eyes up afterwards, as those metal barriers work to cut one partner off from the other, Laurie meets her through that disappearing avenue. "You're right— it was."

The ding of the consultant vanishing gives way to the clip-clop of the ADA reaching where Maggie has been stopped. A hand already braces for her forehead, brushing escaping wisps of blonde hair away before she's completely come to a halt, herself. "That… was normal."

After Maggie's intent stare at Laurie through the closing doors turns into an intent stare at the doors themselves, for a long moment her eyes remain directed straight ahead despite the attorney's presence. "Essentially," she agrees quietly, knowingly, though her vigorous tones of moments ago have faded. She leans ahead to press the elevator's button to prompt it to return, after its current occupant is done monopolizing it.

As soon as her hand leaves the button, Maggie looks across at the petite ADA, taking her in with a quick and sudden study preemptive to the gentle but curious prodding for information that follows — a detective's questioning of a potential witness. "Did you know Miles when he worked the Schaffer case?"

They haven't left the strict four walls of the prison, but Jocelyn's own guard doesn't keep up quite as well. Her eyes don't hide the open-ended longing as she stares also at the elevator doors. The expression probably has nothing to do with wanting the ride to appear — unless it remains occupied. But it isn't just that, and the emotion has been layered over several times with complications that, by Maggie's glance, the ADA is the poster-child only for a bundle of thoughts. These steady when she looks over at the other woman; the same unsaid for the unconscious lift of her fingers to the plastic hanging at her collar: the badge of… well, it isn't quite honor. Or any longer true. "That's kind of a trick question, detective."

For everything noted in Jocelyn, the detective's composed, studying gaze only grows more questioning; as if aware of this, she eventually spares the other woman her scrutiny and looks to the elevator. "So yes and no," Maggie states lightly. "I'm sorry — I didn't mean to lead your answer." Half joking, she glances over again, just for a moment, with a small flicker of a peaceable smile to be found on her face; then it's an upward gaze to watch the elevator's progress.

"Juuuust a little bit you did," it's more Jocelyn's estimation than her assurance, though she lacks no amount of confidence in saying so. Her body also dips vaguely backward, a subtle lean to accompany the affectedness of the statement. Maggie's smile is met with a twin from the DA, however, and she glances away same as the detective afterward. A bit of a silence helps lead in the footsteps of an approaching guard; he doesn't address the women, merely taking his assigned spot now that it's calmed all around. From off a look past her shoulder to him, Jocelyn offers lightly, "I think it's… fair to say that, at that point, I thought I did."

The guard's approach prompts Maggie not to look to him, but rather down the hall with a thoughtful look, some spark of a notion; it's decisively diminished and her gaze returns to the elevator doors. She's quietly accepting of Jocelyn's answer, sitting on her questions that hearken back to nine years ago; her only response is a small tug of her mouth, the repressed beginnings of a frown. Waiting for the elevator is eventually bound to pay off, and it does: the doors gape open to welcome them inside — and down to the waiting circus.


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