Taking The Corpse For A Walk

Posted on Fri Nov 24th, 2023 @ 1:19am by Team Leader Arani Ravenlocke & Regular Haren Moira & Regular Asa Nox & Regular Dorian Cabrera

Mission: Long Cool Woman (In A Black Dress)
Timeline: 3 Hours After "Demon Worship For Dummies"

Interrogation of the survivors at the Drake Garden shootout yielded barely anything. They were a small time cult, just as Asa had confirmed. Some ritual was being performed here but went sideways and they were waiting for their Dark Mistress to get back to them about what the next move was because GPD's crime scene investigators had taken the body of their ritual victims.

That left the group in the parking lot of a coffee shop at night, sipping drinks and trying to figure out their next move.

"Knowing this city, there has to be a coroner's office on every corner. We're going to have to not only figure out how to narrow that search down, but I doubt going in guns blazing is going to work here." Arani said, sipping her iced coffee. It was cheap, a bit too sweet but the ice was also watering it down too much. The coffee snob in her demanded better but her wallet said that was the best they could do.

Asa held the tea close to her nose, letting the smells waft up to her. The warmth in her paws felt good, as did the subtle steam hitting her nose. "Would each precinct work with a particular coroner? Even if we could not get the police files, we must be able to narrow down who they work with?"

Moira had long since abandoned the notion that this city could spell the word TEA let alone serve something to her that resembled it. Coffee would suffice. Coffee, and a seven hour massage. That last one would have to wait.

"PD's going to want the body gone before the rot kicks in. So it'll be local." Moira started, looking out across the dark city skyline. Home. So far away. That dazzle in her eyes was cold and dead... this wasn't the Aethernet talking, this is Moira. "Gang kill is shit work, means it usually goes to the FNG. Nearest coroner in a two mile radius probably has an apprentice coroner in their basement, overworked and underpaid for what he does. Going to school between corpses for their necrochirurgeon license. A local map'll tell us the possibles, I can start to narrow it down once I get a moment to clear every Bluetooth connection in six blocks out of my head." she rubbed the back of her neck with her free hand. Going public for the raid wasn't pleasant, but it was necessary.

"Down here, there's maybe three in the city. Four when you get closer to high society. Money always wants to make sure the dead secured their will, so they hire a necrochirurgeon to talk to the dead to check." she paused, "Most corps have a necro in house, on payroll. To conduct the exit interview." she said, grim. How close was she to her own final interview. A slow sip of coffee, or whatever it was they served that they claimed was coffee. "We get back to the office, and I can start tracking down the leads."

"The only thing we'd have to worry about is them thinking three beautiful women, plus two, showing up looking for a body aren't a cult of their own. I *might* be able to forge a family visitation for you..." she pointed to Arani, "... but the rest of us would have to play bodyguard to some inner city princess."

That nearly got her to shoot mediocre iced coffee out of her nose. Arani coughed and had to take a moment to compose herself.

"With the entourage we have, it might be enough but at the same time, that's a lot of acting. And there's a part of me that finds it incredibly inefficient if the rest of you are just standing around in suits and black sunglasses pressing your hands to your ears the whole time."

"...I've pulled bodyguard work for some seriously spoiled types. Easy money but incredibly frustrating. But if anyone else has other ideas, let's air them now. Don't have all night to debate but we've got a moment to talk it over." Arani said.

"Easy work. You're the family, I'm the bodyguard, and we have the family cleric to make sure the motions are done right before the body gets butchered." Moira offers. "I'll wear a pair of shades to get the job done."

"A simple story with some basis in truth. Probably our best option with a looming deadline," Asa replied, agreeing.

Being new to the team and new to troubleshooting, Dorian had remained quiet, listening to his three more experienced teammates and choking down his coffee. "I do make a black suit and sunglasses look good," he said unselfconsciously. "So Arani plays the inner city princess. Do we know how many people comprise a typical debutante's entourage?"

After a moment's thought, Dorian added, "Forgive my ignorance, but our goal here is to find the cult that killed our patron's sister, and make sure they don't kill anyone else, right? So what information do we hope to gain from the morgue?"

"Condition of the body, notes on the time of death. Possessions of the dead. I might be able to pull some information off any aetherware they have if they still have a warm enough core for that last push of power. Diving into a corpse is not on my to do list today." Moira pointed out.

"We could also always find out if anyone ELSE has come to visit the body. Say goodbye. Say good riddance. Remove or add something to the corpse." seh continued. "But ultimately we can find out if the body was put there BY cult violence or BECAUSE OF cult violence."

"Well, they also mentioned a ritual and the cult leader wasn't happy the Five Oh took the body. Which tells me that at the very least, the cult may be making a move on their own." Arani added, "Plus, if our victim was the subject of a cult ritual, it might give us something to look for in locating the real perpetrator and settling matters."

Dorian considers all this, and addresses Moira. "So, you're saying that if we can get into the morgue that has the body, you can hack into the PD system and get the coroner's report, and info about recent visitors. Plus, you might be able to access the deceased's cyber enhancements," he summarized for himself rhetorically. Moira's skills were impressive.

"I could pose as the driver for our faux-princess' entourage," Dorian offers Arani. "I might be able to tell if their death was part of a ritual, but necromancy spells are something I've never needed to learn – so far." He grimaces apologetically and recalls some theoretical knowledge. "If the body went to a morgue with a necrochirurgeon on duty, they probably used a Gentle Repose spell to preserve the body and prevent it from being reanimated. And as Moira pointed out, they probably used a Speak with Dead spell for the five-question exit interview."

Moira gave a nod in agreement to the totality. "At the absolute worst, if he's wired I can direct dive in and see the last few moments of their life. Where, when, who. The problem is if the mind has anything left in it, and if there's enough life left in that brain they'll frantically claw at any semblance of life, of energy. Diving into a corpse's chrome is... like diving nude into a pool of college students. Grabbing and pawing and wanting to drag you down with them." a pause, "IF it comes to that, I will need someone on standby to hard disconnect. I'll take a migraine over death." she looked over to Arani. "With what we have here, I think we're good on options and choices. We have three backups and a lot of talent here." she offered a rare compliment to the others.

"Okay. We'll need to move fast. Be on the lookout for more of those cultist flunkies, too. They may try to come and crash the party and the last thing we need is Drake Garden repeating in a police morgue. We'll all be in trouble then." Arani said, finishing off her drink.

"If anyone has any final additions or concerns, now's the time, otherwise, down 'em and let's roll."