"Humanity can survive, my friends. But it will take effort and it will take sacrifice. But first, we must rebuild the wheel to study these assailants from beyond. Any piece, any fragment of the Deus Pinnae that rears its head will be ours. Yamata 16 can no longer afford to linger in the shadows. If we must, we will take all of Bastion space in our grasps and ravage it until every metal sliver of the Pinnae is revealed... By any means necessary."
It had been a long night. Alliraine wasn't a deputy of SLED but here and there, her investigations always took a turn for the worse. She had the privilege of being able to hand off the paperwork to people behind a proper desk when it came down to it. She could arrest people if needed. A wondrous line in her contract license gave her the privileges of a bounty hunter to be able to do that. Still, she kept SLED on speed dial for good reason. A bruise had bloomed overnight when a Novae theft struck her as she was chasing him down -- a man who had stolen a family heirloom that she had been hired to recover decided it would be a good idea to give her a thrashing before taking him into custody near the Moors. No doubt he was heading off-station to make away with the heirloom.
Getting home, crashing hard, and waking up, she was prepared for a fair amount to cosign for the paperwork that involved her. Some she could get away with, truthfully, but Alliraine knew she'd never escape the digital hell of the monotonous prescriptions of justice.
Hair nearly combed to the side, the side of her head smooth and free of tattoo ink -- thank god for that chromatic ink she got it with -- for a professional guise, Alliraine was ready to face the mountain of papers. Just shy of the Arch's levels, the transport shuttle stopped. She didn't bother with her own vehicle unless she was out on a job. Public transit had been streamlined over the centuries and, even then, it still took her nearly an hour to get into the offices. Bastion was the size of a small moon, after all, and leaving the Crystal Glades in the morning was like escaping the event horizon of a black hole.
Alliraine nipped back a yawn as she trudged along, meandering with the crowd toward the looming Whitehall. An enigmatic, imposing building, she had been going to it for over twenty years. She could map it out in her thoughts, walk through it with her eyes closed, and find that special deposit box full of Radiant Twists a few officers thought no one knew about.
"Morning Ally," a smooth voice spoke out as a tall, easy-on-the-eyes lawyer eased up beside her, falling into pace. Orin Glash.
Ugh. I don't want to talk. "Nmhm." She murmured, barely willing form words.
"Heard about you calling for support last night. Finally caught the guy who stole those family rocks?"
"It wasn't just 'rocks,'" she said, watching as the lines began to break as they spread out like a stream around rocks toward their respective branches of Whitehall. She kept the furthest right, and Orin followed. His offices were annoyingly close to hers. "They were made of a rare mineral that can only be found growing off a weird bug in the Ra system. From the first years of space travel. And they meant a lot to my client's family. Their great something-or-other was one of the first to make contact."
"Right. Rocks," Orin retorted dismissively as they passed into the doors of the lower wings of Whitehall. Non-SLED personnel had access to offices there. "But that's great, you've finally got time to--"
"Start another case. Yep. Can't wait."
"--to see me in court."
"Wha--" she paused mid-step, but Orin smiled, waving his hand over her holo-tool. It blipped, signalling a file transfer over the open ports. She activated it and, as it bloomed over her arm, she brought up the document.
"I saw the injuries -- my client, the man who you brought down last night, is suing you overzealous conduct in capturing a fugitive." Orin's smug face made her queasy.
"You realize it's already a loss, right? He's the one who BURNed me first. If anything, I have self-defense and, I don't know, the law on my side. This case won't even be acknowledged. It'll all be sorted out in the robbery."
"Probably. But that doesn't stop me from getting paid," Orin smirked, then gave a wave of his fingers. "See you soon, Ally."
Muffling a growl, Ally stalked on, awakened by the frustrating deliverance of the news. Into the great building of Whitehall and toward her personal supply closet office collapsed into the seat. Her forehead hit the desk with a heavy thunk, which spurned the field to illuminate.
"Good morning, Detective," it spoke to her, casting holographic displays around her face. "Evidence records awaiting data input."
Dragging her head up from the table, Alliraine groaned, reached for the jack on the corner of the table and dragged it up to the back of her neck and plugged in.
A large amount of data transfer later, including dates, general times, and memory uploads, and Alliraine had a crystalline drive floating in her hands above a black square. The crystal, manifested as material molecular data, rotated on an axis, awaiting a deposit into SLED's evidence arrays.
These halls were familiar to her -- the people too. She recognized so many faces, so many uniforms, but she no longer wore one herself. It had been a while now since her official departure from SLED's offices and into the private lines of work; a certain air was against her, one that she knew she projected when she had worked for SLED and met with individuals who tread on SLED territory.
Pausing at one of the depositries, she narrowed her eyes as a blinking red light above it deemed it inaccessible.
"Hey," she said, turning to a passing officer, "where can I take this?"
The woman rebuffed her with a shrug. "Sorry, but not here. It's been down for days now -- can't even get a tech to look at simple things these days. Think they might be taking them upstairs." She walked on.
"Thanks anyways," Alliraine grunted, then turned toward another passing person. "Morning. Any idea where the nearest evidence upload is?"
His nightshift had been over for a few hours now, but the awake part of him had kept him in place to go over the casefiles a fifth time that night. It had been an open-and-shut case, and the perp had been taken into custody with enough bruises to make him a scale replica of the Alexandria mountain-range on Magnus Prime. Yet, something about the entire case just felt off to him, seeing the girl splayed out on her bed with her body drained of life, it had shook him harder than usual.
The sight of death he had never gotten used to in the ten years he had worked for SLED, he had seen it all; from Soot users that had burned through their insides by ingesting five-time the lethal dose of the drug, to people who had been thrown off of one of the walkways and left to plunge a mile to their deaths below. Many deaths where as nasty as they came, but this one, the young prostitute, she had gotten to him.
The sight of the picture with her father -who he had to contact and tell him the grave news- had gotten to him, it had hit home with him. He had spoken with Jade over holocomms, yet the sight of his daughter had only filled him with more dread. He didn’t know how the whore’s father would’ve coped, but he himself would’ve died inside if his daughter had been the one lying on the bed.
Yet even the image of the woman, there was more to it, Soot abusers need their fixes and they need credits to be able to get their doses, but they wouldn’t go through the process of first hiring a girl, which requires a down-payment, having their way until they’re satisfied, and only then jamming a knife through her carotid artery to have her bleed to death. There were just too many questions.
But the evidence hadn’t lied either, over a dozen security terminals had seen a blood-stained junkie run away from the scene of the crime, trinkets in hand which would’ve been pawned off for drug-money. Two cops on their day-off had seen the guy run, and they had taken him down and for good measure beaten the ever-loving shit out of him, and that had been before they found out what he had done.
Fortunately for the perp, it would further strengthen his defense in court as a way to show the brutality of SLED.
The tired part of his head was finally winning though, and this was the point the only thing he could do was clock out for the day and find a few hours rest to start right back over later tonight, the case would be buried under a few more that would come in every night. Just another name lost in the ether.
Copping one final cup of coffee out of the machine he grabbed it and took the elevator to the ground floor, where he could take the first shuttle back to the Glades. But even in the elevator itself he could already feel his mind dipping, the crappy coffee only helped to make him feel disgusted whilst falling asleep.
Feeling like a zombie he stumbled out of the elevator into the hallway, but his road to the shuttles was immediately cut off when a blonde woman turned towards him and asked “Any idea where the nearest evidence upload is?”
Taking a sip from his coffee he shook away enough of his sleep to give a coherent answer to her. "Well, you’re standing right next to one…" glancing over at the repository he rolled his eyes and continued. "Of course the gnomes still haven’t fixed it after a week…" a sigh parted his lips, he scratched his head trying to think of the nearest repository.
There was the one on the floor of the homicide group he had just come from, but the woman wouldn’t be allowed up there, she had no ID on her to indicate she was with SLED, but the crystal she held in her hands probably made her one of the various private investigators SLED gave quarter for rent.
He recognized her from somewhere, he was almost certain she used to be part of SLED, but seemingly now she wasn’t… He had only been on the murder-shift for a year, before that he had been stuck doing cold cases, which in truth was located somewhere near the archives where they had found a final piece of space to dump the department, the place perfect for SLED agents that the higher ups didn’t want to see…
Rubbing his chin and taking another sip from the diabolical coffee, he shrugged and turned around, flicking his finger to send a small prod of energy to the elevators call-button. ”Hell, You can use the homicide deposit...” he told, visibly tired and not really wanting a detour.
But a detour he had to do nonetheless, and into the elevator they went back up to the homicide department…
Alliraine's brow furrowed, her nose crinkling a degree in its arch as the man offered only rhetorical wisdom. It took her a moment, of course, to recognize the even-keel of the man's voice and the droll expression that he spoke with. Clearly, he had been through the ringer about the repositories being broken down as well. A small part of her was glad that SLED experienced all the same problems she remembered having to deal with under their umbrella, from malfunctioning service droids to broken evidence repositories.
Even if she didn't work as SLED, she was still subject to the micro-cosmic woes of it and Whitehall alike. Businesses intertwined. Whether she was working for a private citizen or with a DA of the Bastion Station, the endless brigade of problems just never seemed to stop. She could consolidate herself knowing other people suffered the same problems. Thankfully, people came together to progress on the issues. In her wing of Whitehall, the communal confectioneries were abundant and contributed to by all. Especially if the coffee or other energizing godsends were low. They spared no expense.
"I can't keep track of where all these things are. You'd think they'd have a map or something for approved aids." But, no, they never did. SLED took precautions to prevent anyone, be it a wayward traveler or Copernican Trust terrorist, and not having a listed, public layout of the Whitehall facilities was one of that. You learned it or you spoke to the right people. No maps on the walls or anything. Even after all the years she spent in SLED, some factors were lost to time.
The man, barely awake by the looks of it, sent a small Novae discharge to the elevator's button. "Hell, you can use the homicide deposit."
"Thanks, I appreciate it," Alliraine said as the elevator doors parted opened. Unoccupied -- for the first time in ages -- she stepped in beside the man. "I haven't been up to homicide for a while. My cases don't usually deal with the dead." Holding the crystalline drive aloft, she watched it spin on its axis, glistening as the light shifted when the doors shut.
Hitching a brow, she glanced over at the man. Where had she seen his face before...? She hated not being able to place a face. It took her a moment but it finally clicked. "Oh. You're that BURN-G player, aren't you? Lester... No. Fester... Uh, sorry. I don't think we've formally met, have we?"
She stretched out a hand. "Alliraine Nota. Private Investigator. I think we've met briefly on a case a bit back."
To say that Whitehall was taking visitor-friendliness seriously was overstating it severely, in truth he had never seen any official attempt to make it easier on people to find offices, whether they be victims or other SLED employees. Most people had the theory that it had been done on purpose, to make sure that whoever was pissed off at you wouldn’t end up finding you and firing your ass on the spot, with nobody really knowing where everyone was, it meant people would only get visits from the people that mattered, namely close colleagues and the ones that truly needed their help...
Taking another sip from the sewer water that they called coffee, he stretched out a little using one of the handrails to give a bit of lumber resistance, it didn’t do much in loosening up the muscles in his back that had to survive five hours of sitting in the same position as he was going over the details of the crime he was investigating. ”Don’t mention it, there aren’t enough deposits so anything to help someone actually get their job done.” yet another lesson he had learned when he had been promoted to the Homicide department, people simply didn’t care for their works and were simply watching the clock tick by until the end of their shift so that they could hit the bar and drink half their salary away, before throwing the other half away on whatever else they wanted to waste it on…
Cold Cases was a futureless and depressing setting, everyone down there had already seen their careers die and the only thing they had to look forward to was retirement, and a need to stiff it to whoever put them there by simply staying around and not leaving… But Homicide was the big leagues in more ways than one, the most cases, but at the same time a sheer lack of empathy and drive to solve said cases. They smiled at his determination and told him that it was a matter of time before he would fall into that auto-pilot everyone was on, but there hadn’t been a case that he didn’t want to solve. Even the ones that slipped from his grasp stayed in his mind, mulling every detail over and over again until he would work himself an ulcer…
Yet, he wasn’t going to refuse someone else from getting a job done. He didn’t know what the woman was investigating, but it was extremely refreshing to at least see someone put some care in their work, whatever it might be.
But even he couldn’t help but show a straining smile at her remembering him, for the one thing that everyone did seem to remember him for. Juggling the cup of coffee to his off-hand, he stretched out his right giving ‘Alliraine Nota’ a firm handshake. ”It’s Foster, most call me K.B., or Ken...” he told her, drinking some of the coffee, merely for the caffeine that came with it.
Giving a light shrug he dropped the straining from his smile. ”I’d give you an autograph, but I don’t think they’re worth much anymore.” It had been twenty years since he played G, but days didn’t go by when someone recognized them as ‘Lightning’ Foster, the guy that decided he needed drugs to be the best. After what happened, all those accolades hadn’t mattered, it had all been about the scandal.
He didn’t like it, and he wasn’t going to retell his side of the story to anyone, it was a dark past he’d rather forget entirely, he was someone else now, he had learned and he had repurposed his life to something else, he wasn’t the Burn-G player, he was a Homicide Investigator, a pretty damned good one if he had to say so himself.
The name did ring a bell somewhere in the back of his head, and she was a striking figure in more ways than one. ”I’d probably remember you if I wasn’t in the 30th hour of my shift.” His shifts were much less, but the past few days he hadn’t been able to go home, there had been too much going on in his head to be able to rest, open cases, rumors and ideas, and the one thing that would never go away; His past, it didn’t matter what he did, it always niggled in the back of his head.
Leaning against the wall of the elevator he saw the numbers light up, slowly edging towards the level they had to go. But his attention also went to the crystal drive she was holding. ”Interesting case, or just more of the same?” admittedly, he wasn’t great at small-talking, but anything to keep his mind active and stop it from going into total shutdown.
"K.B, then. A pleasure," Alliraine said, affirming the union of their hands with a singular, professional shake. She wasn't one to dwell on formalities with anyone on SLED's forces. Letting go, she let the arm briefly fall back to her side before moving it to slide into a pocket.
Tipping her weight to the side, Alliraine settled a shoulder against the inner wall of the elevator as it shifted, roaming around the expansive Whitehall complexes toward the homicide areas. "No worries. I don't have a pen and paper and signatures on holo-tools are only so valuable. Besides... Yeah. I'm sure it'd go for something, buuut," she shrugged, giving the man a side-long glance and a smile. "It's been a while, definitely. I used to go to BURN-G games back when I was in the Academy and I definitely kept up with them for the decade after that. It's been a while since I've bothered with it, though. Work and all that."
She paused, looking down at the rotating, crystalline drive, thinking back. Alliraine used to be pretty big into it, having been a bit of a player herself. It was good exercise but her heart was always in law-enforcement, so she never pursued it. "If I remember right, you were on the Magnus Maulers? Good team... But I was more of a home team kind of girl. Bastion Senators all the way. No offense."
All in good humor.
"I remember the long hours. I was in SLED for almost twenty years. Shifted around a bit, but Dragon had my heart until Phoenix picked me up. I remember the long hours. The people made it worth it," Alliraine said, thinking back. "Being a PI, the only time I work with others is at the end of a case."
She bounced the floating crystal in her hand some. "Trans-cranial evidence upload for a case I wrapped up that ended rather... poorly the other night. Gave me a nice bruise. Perp stole something and when I tracked him down, it turned into an incident. Called in SLED for some back up so now it has to roll through their courts as a robbery, assault, and..." Alliraine recalled that bastard lawyer earlier in the day. "... Well, a 'compensation for damages taken' and 'police brutality' case. He didn't want to give up the property I recovered, so things got rough. Just another day on the job."
"Homicide been keeping you busy? Heard there were some incidents down at the Moors the other day."
”There’s nothing wrong with liking the Sens’.” seeing the doors of the elevator open they made their way through. ”Takes a true fan to see their hometown team get demolished every night.” he added with a smile, he could act salty about his own past in Burn but the only effect that would have is piss everyone off around him, he casually followed it nowadays and had staid knowledgeable enough to be able to converse about it.
Hearing her talk about Dragon and Phoenix gave him some knowledge of who she might be, there had been plenty of people in Dragon, but to be able to make it into the latter took only the most devoted agents of SLED. As much good as they did, they were more known as gun toting cowboys who went into every high-risk situation looking to rack up a body count, as much as that was a laudable goal, at times they weren’t too concerned with collateral.
It also didn’t help that every meeting he had with Phoenix agents had been one of them trying to tell him what to do, and not taking anything but a ‘yes, sir’ for an answer. The stories were rife of the power they enjoyed, and the power they were more than happy to use to get their way. People who worked in the mud, tended to get muddy in the process, but there wasn’t anyone foolish enough to get the hose and clean house.
”Phoenix, huh? Must’ve been before my time…” if she had been on that job when he had been in SLED, he would’ve known about it. The group of Phoenix agents was so small and prestigious, they were all known by name, for better or worse. ”Must’ve done something right to end up working in Phoenix…” and something even worse to end up not working for them, there was always a chance she had walked away voluntarily into her new job, but would a millionaire opt to be a pauper, would a Burn-G superstar opt to lose everything he held dear? As much faith he had in people, there were a few things reserved that didn’t get that good faith.
And the story about an assault and robbery that turned sour only gave him more notions about what true personality hid behind the blue eyes and her blonde hair, nobody is evil after all, even the Butcher of Bastion was a guy he could talk philosophy with for hours on end. Real people were much more complex than the ones you saw in holo-films. ”If there’s one thing I learned quickly is not to feed the attorneys.” There were a few good ones, the idealistic ones that tried to defend the innocent, but unless they knew what had happened, the odds of protecting someone truly innocent were minor at best, the ones that made success and millions were the ones protecting the true scumbags, the ones that would bulldoze an orphanage to put a brothel in its place. ”But if you’re innocent you’ll be fine, right?” he glanced at Alliraine with a slight crooked smile, it was well-wishing but she probably knew just as much as everyone else that she had little chance to walk away clean.
Taking the last sip from the toilet water they called coffee, he dumped the cup into a recycler which chimed appreciatively at his good habits. A tired sigh parted his lips at her question. ”I don’t think I’ve yet had a shift that didn’t end in me having to force myself to go home…” there hadn’t been, he would’ve known if there had been, he’d probably circle that date and hang it on the wall or something. For as much good he did in catching perps, the wave just kept coming and it didn’t matter how much they caught because at the end of the day they’d have three more cases to investigate. From angry husbands to crazed sootheads to a bar brawl that got ugly, and occasionally something that really made them have to think. Whoever thought Bastion was a safe place, one day in Homicide would make them relocate to something more serene and peaceful… Like Theus.
”Young working girl, did her job, got a shank to her jugular for her efforts. Perp was a soothead who ransacked her place for three-hundred credits and a few trinkets.” the life of a young woman was apparently worth that much, yet every time he thought about the crime it just didn’t add up in his head, why would a soothead pay for anything other than his or her next fix, why didn’t he just cut her up from the get-go and take her credits. Weird thing happened, but Occam’s razor didn’t tend to be wrong. Shaking his head lightly he looked back at Alliraine, no idea if anything of it even hit home to her like it had done for him. ”Just another name to add to the list, I guess. Just another phone call that would destroy someone’s life.” the father hadn’t seen her in years, but that hadn’t stopped a mine-worker from devolving into a broken mess.
When he had contacted Jade afterwards, he had called with the pretense of only wanting to have a chat with his grown-up daughter, he hadn’t told her anything but she had probably known there was more behind it than just a courtesy call. Jade had been smarter than he had been at her age, she could read people better than he could. It didn’t take seeing her grow up to know that, as much as it had broken him losing his two children to his ex-wife, it had been the better decision, he was a mess back then and he wouldn’t have given them the life they required.
With a few long steps they arrived to the deposit, one of the few that was used nearly all day long at Whitehall, Homicide never slept and even amongst the many that simply watched the clocks, Homicide had the most on the force that tried to make a difference. Apart from perhaps the cowboys of Phoenix… ”Well here it is, if afterwards you want a coffee, don’t get anything out of the machines here.” with a smile he pointed at the coffee machines that were the exact opposite of the deposit, nearly untouched barring people that were desperate or didn’t know about the quality. The people that did know took their own. ”The coffee they put in the machines is criminal in its own right.” quickly he rolled his eyes at his own pun, he well and truly sucked at smalltalk.
Luckily for him, as bad as the coffee tasted, there wasn’t anything shy from using drugs that could give you as much of an energy boost. The only thing it was good for, surviving long shifts without collapsing. But just then his sleepy head realized what exactly he had said, and the things he said before sounded awfully like an offer towards her. ”I mean, It wasn’t an offer to get a better coffee…” he scratched his forehead with a smile, the offer had been made so it would sound ridiculous to renege on it. ”I probably won’t sleep anyways, and there’s a place near Whitehall that serves proper coffee, none of that synthetic crap.”
it was a rare sight, but wherever they popped up they became very popular, café’s that served non-synthetic coffee made from ground beans rather than build up through the combination of molecules. Most of them were ridiculously expensive, but the one near Whitehall was run by a former colleague from cold-cases who was both a good friend, and an avid Burn-G spectator, so he could get coffee for synthetic prizes.
”After the crap you got flung onto your plate, you could use a cup.” he added with a kind smile, whether she was guilty of the facts she was being put in front of a judge for, he didn’t really care. Like he knew, people who play in the mud get muddy, and he wasn’t the one with the hose…
Alliraine gave an audible tut as the doors opened, lifting up from the wall. "Please. The Senators are always one of the top four. I can only remember one year when they didn't get into the semi-finals at least," she said, dismissing the claim, even if they were sarcastic in nature.
Still, she smiled, enjoying the idle conversation. Part of her missed it. A private investigator was a lonely job much of the time. It left you with yourself, your thoughts, and usually something awful. There was a certain companionship that being a freelance detective lacked. A partner, a squad, an office of officers; it was an incredibly different lifestyle to be on your own and rely only on yourself. Sometimes it was for the better, sometimes it wasn't.
"Just being stubborn and stupid gets you into Phoenix. And knowing how and when to blast a person in the face," she said, giving Foster a wry smile. "I spent a few years in Phoenix after I got bored of the Dragon wings. It was a... different line of work, definitely. A lot more aggressive and hard-line. Not to say that Dragon didn't get up to its own hard work. Honestly, I'd say Dragon was harder overall. With Phoenix you knew what you were getting into -- high-risk scenarios, live events with the public. With Dragon you'd just be going about your day, sipping your coffee, and suddenly you're laid flat out by a cultist Adam. I'd rather know what I'm going into. I never did like the daily grind of Dragon, but you've got to learn somewhere. It really did refine my skills, though."
She had quite the history in S.L.E.D.. On the Force for nearly twenty years, it was hard not to look back fondly on it all. She knew there were some good times and some bad, but mostly, it was life. Alliraine grew up in the shadow of a S.L.E.D. chief. It was a part of her life and his legacy.
"Damn," Alliraine grimaced. "Soot's always been a problem. Makes people go crazy." She wasn't really one to talk, though. Catalyst had been her drug of choice. "Hope you guys catch the bastard if you haven't already. Someone like that is dangerous. I've come across some burnt-out sootheads; once they start hurting other people, they just keep snowballing. Perp's probably done that a few times."
Best to not dwell on it, though.
Through the halls and down some steps, Alliraine trailed behind K.B. until they finally arrived at the evidence repository. Just as the other one, the crystalline repository offered a pedestal for the hovering drive. "I don't know why they don't have these on every floor. It's ridiculous," Alliraine complained. "I guess Whitehall maintenance keeps contractors on the 'later' list."
Lifting the drive, she set it on the pedestal and tapped into the interface. "Mm, delicious criminal coffee. My favorite," she hummed, inputting her name, service, officiate number, and so on. Feeding the information into the drive, she watched as the repository lit up with a vibrant violet hue. Lines of light began to scan the crystal, breaking down the molecular structure of it. Digitized, particles shot up in quick streaks, and the repository received the evidence. Drawn from the very neural synapses of her brain, taken shape, and reformed in the digital realm, the real-life account of her own memories about the case were all that was needed.
Alliraine looked up, a brow hitching over an eye when KB clarified himself. "Riiight..." Her fingers tapped away at the console until the upload procedure was done. "It sure sounded like an offer to get better coffee somewhere else. Proper coffee, too? I think I've heard of the place." She hummed, closing the repository and turning toward the man.
"I don't mind a cup of coffee and it's almost time for my lunch break, anyways, so if you're buying I'll drink your UDs away." She raised a hand, tapping her pointer finger just beneath Foster's clavicle. "But don't get any ideas. I have a strict 'no cops, no sport-player' policy. No attorneys most of all. That's never ended well for me." She paused, glancing at the man's hand for any sign of a ring. "If you're even single at all, that is."
Her entire story had pretty much summed up his ideas about the woman, nobody sane could join a unit like Phoenix, and she had probably been in it for the adrenaline just as much for saving the innocent and protecting the weak. If the rumours were true, she and her Phoenix brethren had probably done quite a lot of dirty deals on the side too to the mutual advantage of super-cop and high-flying mafia groups. Absolute power they didn’t have, but it sure as hell got close to it, and a group like Phoenix could get their hands on a lot of dirt, and use it to leverage themselves in the perfect position both in the office, and out in the field.
Yet, he couldn’t help but smile the first thing she really reacted to in a non-standard manner was the offer for coffee, the true mark of a (former) cop. Naturally thanks to his own wording, she got the wrong intentions for the offer.
”Hate to burst your bubble Alliraine, but I don’t kiss on the first date.” He couldn’t recall the exact time he had his last first-date, but it didn’t end with a make-out session, in the long run it did end up with two amazing kids and a part of his life he rather not speak of. ”Just coffee, nothing more nothing less. I know the guy who runs it, I’ve helped him out a few times and gives me a fair price.” those favors he had given him had made his day, maybe even his life.
The guy had been a fan of him, and he had made a killing off selling a few old ‘Lightning Foster’ cards that were signed by the man himself. Thinking about his image hadn’t been a thing in the past two decades, but getting a good deal on real coffee was something he could not pass up. In the law enforcement industry coffee was life, where there were safety vests, weapons, and cuffs. Coffee stood above them all on a gilded pedestal, cherished by many for its ‘magical properties’.
”We’ll just get a coffee, perhaps go over some cases whilst where at it?” people would be shocked if they knew how much it helped to have a fresh set of brains thinking about cases, sometimes many cases even ended up connecting in a way and it never being found out.
Alliraine held a smirk on her face, bemused by Foster's response. She was doing nothing more than teasing the man about it, so it wasn't at all harmful. Professionalism was important within the walls of Whitehall. Though Alliraine wasn't an employee of the place any more, she still practiced the general civility expected of an officer of the law. That meant minding her mouth and not being completely rude. High-strung authorities never worked out for anyone.
"If it's not that watered-down garbage, sure. Sounds like a plan," Alliraine conceded with a shrug. "I try to avoid caffeine most of the time, personally. Addictive personality and all that. Better to go on pure will-power and determination these days but I doubt a cup is going to muck that up."
Running a hand back through her hair, pushing it off the shaved side of her head, Alliraine turned away from the repository and began to walk back toward the elevator. Up to the door, she hit the button.
It wasn't long before the elevator pinged open and they could step in. Hitting the bottom floor to head out of Whitehall itself, Alliraine tussled her hair and bit back a yawn. "Cases should be interesting. I'll take any leads I can get on another job. S.L.E.D. likes to hire out PIs like myself for cases now and then when they're short of staff. I try to keep to my own cases and out of S.L.E.D.'s way out of respect for the place. But, in this line of work, paths always cross."
She gave Foster a sidelong glance, straightening her hair out again. "So you've been at it a few years, huh? Sounds like you joined about the time I left, give or take. How's homicide been treating you?"