Domestic Disturbance
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"Danger, danger. 6025 break-in and possible 207 at 610 N. Crescent Drive. Any car in the area please code 2, identify."

610 N. Crescent Drive, Beverly Hills, CA

April 28th, 10:00 PM

"…"

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They'd put the siren on. Jack loves the thrill of riding with the siren on, but she never indulges her more childish senses with a single crack of her lips. The car stops in front of the house, just shy of the gate, where two adults are talking to each other while giving the air of distress. Bad stuff. The security of the house tickles Carter's senses a little as the car is put into park. She could break in. The ultimate Houdini could break into anything. Or almost anything. Her eyes narrow as they flit to Kev for just a moment. She hasn't been here before, but his tone and urgency had their effect. The rookie tugs on the door handle, opens the door, and steps out of the vehicle. Her head turns to Kev, waiting for him to acknowledge those present. She's the rookie. He's the lead.

Lead he may be, leader he is not: Kev is as quiet as the rookie as he approaches the two outside, hands in his pockets. His too-big jacket left behind, his arms and all their angry cat scratches are bared not-so-proudly. His face a glower, eyes narrowed points, Kev stops, giving a nod, listening in. 

Kev's silence actually puts Jack more on edge. Is this some kind of test? She sideglances him and then hones in on the pair discussing amongs themselves. "Hello," civillians she thinks rather than says, "I'm Officer Carter. This is Detective Parrish. We received a call there was a break in— " she say nothing else. Everything has to be by-the-book.

Little experience winds up being needed to identify what are most likely the Everlys: distraught, lines across both handsome foreheads, and tears in the corner of the mister's eyes, they turn from the third, only slightly less, upset adult to spot the approaching law officers. A rattling gasp, attempting to be some kind of reassured exhale, comes out of Mrs. Everly. She squirms out of her husband's too tightly comforting arm to come up to Kev.

"Please— please, something's happened to our baby— to Alice. She wouldn't— couldn't— just go out on her own— "

“Mrs. Everly?” Kev ventures, his voice soft while his tone is gruff, a closer match to his increasingly furrowed brow. He reaches out a hand without touching the distraught lady. “Ah—tell us when you first noticed somethin’ was wrong.”

Jack's features soften some, but she forces herself to harden them again. Her gaze shifts around the building quickly. It wouldn't exactly be easy to break into. For most people. Her lips press into a tight thin line.

"We got home and the maid's car wasn't here— Mary— she always checks with us before leaving Alice alone." It's Mr. Everly that answers, striding to meet up with his wife in front of Kev and replace his arm around her shoulder, though the restraint as much disturbs her as comforts. The third adult also reaches them, nodding.

"She often comes to get me if something's going on that she has to leave for. Sorry— I'm Dr. Reve," a hand is extended automatically from the woman, stiff and born of protocol rather than that her wits are completely together, "I'm the neighbor on the left side, and Alice's primary care doctor." Which explains the darkened look in her own eye for the circumstances. "Alice has been on a downward streak lately with her immune system, detective. It's vital she get care ASAP."

Kev tugs a scratched hand from his pocket to grasp the doctor’s, his grip solid, verging on too strong a the last second before it slips off. “I understand… we – er, me and another detective from ACRU were here just earlier talkin’ to Miss Alice. Uh—“ His eyes hopping from person to person, he shoves his hand back in his pocket. Everyone just ignore the fact that his arms are quietly bleeding. “Mr. Everly, have you talked to Mary? We’ll be needing her contact info. Then maybe we can take a look around— ?"

Jack remains quiet a moment for some time listening carefully. "We should put out an amber alert." She clears her throat quietly, "We're going to need the most recent photograph you have, and, if you know, what she was seen wearing last— " Her tongue rolls over her lips, "The more info, the better the hits."

"Yes… o-of course." Mr. Everly nods, turning to input a code into the gate to release its mechanism. "We have Mary's information inside as well."

"Please," Reve strolls beside Jack, "If we could mention Alice's condition in the alert… it may make people pay attention." Those who would, god forbid, ignore the plea for a missing child otherwise; not a happy suggestion, but a necessary one for the time being.


It's an uneasy arrangement in the house, with the Everlys now positioned by a home phone incase anyone calls with ransom, Reve beside them, and the detective juggling the other necessary calls: they've found Mary on the one hand; on the other, she swears up and down that she spoke to Reve before leaving while the doctor swears the other way around. With something definitely amiss, it's time to call in.

Kev makes the call to describe this blurry series of events, paused inside the house on his way, theoretically, to looking around further. There’s a perpetually cagey look etched into every little sun-worn crease around his eyes; it looks edgy on him, every corner peered at as he holds the phone to his ear.

Jack slides back in from outside. Her eyes flit from the Everlys next to a home phone and then back to Kev, despite him being on the phone. Whether intentional or not, her voice comes out in a husky whisper as she leans in to speak to the detective, "No signs of forced-entry. Not from the windows, doors… anything." And then she adds, "I talked to the neighbours… one over there— a few doors down," towards the right, "heard Alice making some weird noises, but thought nothing of it. Evidently the neighbourhood is extremely safe. But when I asked the direct next door neighbour, well they heard nothing." She shrugs before falling silent and taking a few nearly hesitant steps towards the Everlys position near their phone. Until given further orders, she'll linger here.

Archibald arrives at the house much sooner than would be expected. The call was made not very long ago and the station is further away than that. The detective tends to spend many of his evenings in the station going over details of his cases with the dispatch on low. He was most likely already on his way when the official call came in, having already heard it on radio. Entering the room, his eyes sweep over the occupants, noting that his partner has not yet arrived. He glances over Jack and Kev and then the Everlys and Dr. Reve beside them and then surveys the room. There's a pause before he moves over toward the family "Mr. and Mrs. Everly," he addresses them each. "I am Detective Ross. I believe my partner spoke to your daughter earlier. I have a few questions." Without bothering to wait for an answer or even to give any sympathy for their missing daughter, he launches into his questions. "Which of you called in the break in? Were there clear signs of forced entry?" He glances over at the other detectives to confirm or deny what the Everly's may say. "Dr. Reve," he addresses the doctor in turn next. "How long do you believe we have until Alice's condition worsens?"

Despite the jarring briskness, it's clear that the Mrs. appreciates a certain rush when it comes to the subject of her daughter's disappearance. Taking no offense, she answers, attempting to iron out the shaking, "I did. I called it in. Because there's no way that Alice left of her own volition, detective."

"They plastered her all over the news!" insists the father with less respect for Archibald's process, "What did they expect? Someone's taken her."

With a glance to both parents, Reve touches Archibald's arm to turn him slightly aside, creating a barrier of their own private conversation should he oblige. "It depends on where she's been taken. If it's somewhere clean— sterile…" eyebrows raise for the chances of that, but then she sucks in a lower lip while considering the alternative. "Anything people might take for granted, has a chance to kill Alice."

"Because of her illness?" Archibald glances at the monitoring devices - the intercoms and the next door doctor, how close the father stands to the mother, the verbal pearl clutching of the mother. "She's a 16 year old girl who, I assume, is never allowed out unless it is under parental guidance. There's been no sign of a break in." To the father, he raised an eyebrow. "This is a girl who is encouraged not to move from the upstairs to the downstairs, yet there's been no sign of a break in. Who let her kidnappers in? Are you in the habit of keeping your doors unlocked?" He allows Dr. Reve to turn him about, giving the hand on his arm a moment of perplexed attention before moving on. "When was the last time you saw or spoke to Alice?"

"Yes, because of her illness. Also why I saw her yesterday and know that things could get serious fast." With a nod of her head, Reve allows them all to turn to the family.

Mrs. Everly answers, "Like we told the other one— Mary sometimes has to leave early, but she's always told us or Dr. Reve in the past. She shouldn't have been alone in an unprotected house."

Kev emerges from his prowling of the house, pacing several times before strolling closer to the other detective and the gathering of the family and the doctor. "She's uh," he doesn't want to interrupt Archibald's line of questioning; he does anyway, "A sweet kid. Have you talked to your partner yet? He um— " The shaggy-haired cop bobs his head away from the gathering, where he can possibly talk to Archibald away from worried eyes and ears, although he appears under the slight strain of nerves for the prospect.

Dismissing the others for the moment, Archibald focuses on Kev. "I called him when I heard the dispatch. I'm sure he's on his way." Following the gesture, he moves toward the hallway - not out of eyesight of any of the family or the doctor, but far enough away to allow for a hushed conversation. Unaware of the nerves or the strain, he waves his hand for the man to spit it out. "Yes, detective, he what."

"He's on a date with a press lady," Kev says, sounding discomfited by being a tattle-tale of sorts, one cat-scratched hand scraping at his scruffy chin. "I'm worried about how many folks suddenly know about Alice, y'know? Anyway, you think it's the doctor or the maid that's lyin'? Or is it somethin' weirder?" he asks, putting more faith in this man's detecting skills than his own. His brow drops, but doesn't lose its furrows. "I might go check the hospitals…"

"Ah, I knew he was out, but I did not know it was with a member of the distinguished press." Archibald does not glance behind him, but he does put his hands in his pockets. "Do you believe that someone - upon hearing the news that broke only hours ago there is an unlicensed psychic who ran a fortune website - decided to immediately act upon it without knowing any further details about her and then came upon the most fortuitous of events: no one here and a sick young girl who wouldn't be able to fight back? I'm more interested in this discrepancy between doctor and maid. I haven't spoken with the maid. What did she say? And how did she say it? You were here earlier with Andrew, right? How did she seem, what did she do? Do you think she's the type to call the press? Someone had to tip them off."

There's a moment, while Archibald speaks, that Kev appears as a deer-in-the-headlights, question after question — but this is his job (for today), and he answers. "Uh…" he starts, squinting into his memory to form some manner of expressive words. "Well…" Really, he'll get around to it. "Yeah, I mean, I think it's possible, but so is everything, right? The maid was, like, man, she sounded a hundred-and-fifty percent certain she talked to that doc over there and locked every door. She sounded like she'd corporally punish whoever's responsible herself. When I was here earlier, she was … protective, didn't get the impression she even wanted to let us in. I think she cares about Alice. I'd see 'er throwin' somethin' at the press before giving them a word."

"The maid was protective when we were here," another male voice offers from just behind the pair. Andrew's voice lacks its usual playful lilt. His blue collared shirt isn't the white one he'd been wearing earlier in the day, but the suit is the same. A single eyebrow arches upwards, "I'm with Parrish on this one," even if he hadn't arrived on the scene earlier. "I think the maid cares about Alice." His eyes flit between Archibald to Kev, and back again, "I'm not sure anyone tipped them off." His throat clears, "Deacon," not Hana, "already had an idea that Alice was psychic by the time we'd left the building, which, for the record, I'm not even entirely sure that's accurate— not in the lay sense anyways. I think she's clairvoyant." He pauses as his hands tuck into his pockets, "Which means whoever took her may be sorely disappointed if they have unrealistic expectations." The last is said grimly. In this case, disappointment may surrmount to bad stuff. "Depends what they understand about psychic abilities."

Jack peeks around the corner, from which she's been eavesdropping the conversation between Kev and Archie, and offers quietly, "What if neither are lying?" Her hands cross over her chest and she attempts to meet each of the detectives' gazes in turns, "I mean, the world is kind of nutballs— er" a glance is given to Archie and she clears her throat, "it's different than we thought, right? Maybe they're both telling the truth and someone planned it so that they looked like one of the two women and snuck in." Pause. "Or something. All I'm saying is that if I can walk through walls, someone can probably make themselves look like someone else. And maybe their purposes aren't even sinister. BUT!" she lifts a single finger. "I bet they would've had to know the routine, right? Like it would be totally weirdo— er— strange if some random heard on the news about the vic and then knew what the nanny and doc's routines were and what they looked like and… stuff. ERGO," yes, she is trying to be fancy, "whoever took the vic knew the family, the routine, and maybe even the vic herself." Her nose wrinkles. She shrugs and slides back to her space around the corner because she's a rookie and her theory seems outlandish. And from around the corner she offers again, "Or, you know, either the maid or the doc are lying." She resumes her silence.

A crackling, inhuman voice breaks into the pow-wow. "Paging Officer Carter to the Cedar-Sinai East Tower."

Jack's hand drops to her radio. "10-4, unit inbound." Her hand drops and she turns the corner to face her superiors, who get a nod. "I got called out— " she shrugs. "One of you give Parrish a ride, yeah?" They can figure out things here. "Call me if you need me." Except for cat hunting. Not that she says as much. Instead, she strides to the door and, presumably, the car.

Archibald arches an eyebrow at Jack and her observations. He neither applauds nor dismisses them outright - which is an achievement in and of itself. Instead he turns his attention to his partner. "Enjoy your dinner?" He asks. They're far enough away from the parents and doctor that his comment is not unprofessional and merely needling. He doesn't spare a glance behind them and instead shrugs his shoulders. "I don't believe the doctor is lying. There are plenty of creatures who can assume the figure of either the doctor or the maid to confuse us for days." Directing his attention to Kev, he orders, "Have C.H.A.R.L.I.E. search for teenage blonde women. Also, anyone matching the description of either our good doctor or the maid. While we're at it, scan for anyone who can shapeshift. Better to cast a wide net at this point, I guess. We can narrow it as we go. It's more likely that someone assumed the identity of Dr. Reve, faked the phone call and then abducted Alice, so that should most likely be the priority.

"The other possibility is that Alice walked out of her of her own accord - which, considering her illness, is not quite as likely." He eyes Andrew. "Would you think that as a possibility?" Andrew is, of course, the one that met Alice and is more likely to know her limitations firsthand.

Kev is already starting to turn on his heel at Archibald's order. "Yup," he says in his only confirmation before wandering a few paces off to get on that search.

A single eyebrow arches at Archibald's first question, "It was dinner. I ate." Andrew's tone is unusually flat as he gives a quick tug on his tie. Yeah, he's changed since this morning. In fact, he changed since he received the phone call. As far as Alice is concerned though, "I don't think it's likely Alice was capable of walking out on her own. We worried she'd hurt herself when sitting upright— her mobility is… not good." He sucks on the inside of his cheek.

"The parents' concern seems genuine. They were, of course, the prime suspects at first. Draining resources, the statistical inevitable of divorce and shortened lifespans due to the stress of taking care of a sick child." As Archibald rattles on, he doesn't seem to think about the emotional impact of his words, just the facts of them. "If she's unable to get out on her own, it's more likely that the doctor or the maid is involved, but you both seem to think the maid is ruled out and the doctor seems above board. So, let's go over events. The maid claims she talked with the doctor and the doctor said she would take care of Alice." Spinning around, he asks Dr. Reve, "Were you at home all day, Doctor?"

Having been amidst the parents offering calming reassurances to the father, Reve glances up, her hands pressed over both other adults'. "Why… yes. I was. My home is my office."

Andrew's lips part wordlessly as Archibald begins rattling on about his assumptions. His eyes narrow and he lifts a finger to interrupt, but never manages to get a word in edgewise. "I— " he shakes his head. "Look, I think right now the best assumption is to check out everyone who knows the routine. We need lists of everyone who comes and goes from this house. If none of them are guilty, they at least should know the routine." He turns to face the doctor when the question is posed, and he manages the slightest nod of his head. "I take it you didn't see anything unusual, doctor?"

"If I could think of anything," notes Reve, and every notion of her body language and tone screams to the trained detectives that she's being honest, "I would tell you."

"We trust everyone who works for us implicitly," comes the insistence of Mrs. Everly, perhaps expecting some manner of inquisition on the subject next. "They love Alice and… they always knew that she was… special."

"So, do you have an explanation as to how Mary says she talked to Dr. Reve when Dr. Reve denies it despite being home all day? Or how Alice was taken from this house without any clear signs of breaking and entering? I'm more worried about the conflicting stories than I am about the breaking and entering, honestly." Archibald looks between all the adults present. "Did Mary meet Dr. Reve on the steps? Did she call? How did to very trust worthy people suddenly have conflicting stories?"

"I understand that, Mrs. Everly, but for Alice to be missing, someone knew the routine. I'd like to talk to everyone in your employ if possible." Andrew's teeth play at his bottom lip. "We want to find Alice, it's our priority." He swallows hard and then asks the question he doesn't really want to ask, "Did everyone know what Alice could do? I mean… in terms of her ability?"

"Yes…" the woman admits, head bobbing with a slight apology, either for the answer or that she stammers through the next, "I mean— well, not in so many words, maybe. Not by name. But they'd all experienced it… Alice is very," a choke of emotion around her daughter's name slows her, "giving— There'd be no reason for any of these people to hurt Alice now after all this time."

Away from the gathering, Kev's voice is just a low mumble — a few levels lower and slightly more mumbling than his usual, that is.

He stands with his back not quite against the wall, rubbing a thumb between his eye and his nose in a nervous gesture he's glad the person on the other end of the phone, back at headquarters, can't see. "Can we uh… go back and, like…"

"Spit it out, Parrish. Deep and dire, that voice — he knows it well. Now, it coerces him to speak, some sliver of amusement warming its depths but setting Kev no more at ease.

He's just fine with Captain Ramsay until he has to ask him for things.

"Uh, Cap'n," Kev obliges with respect, "Charlie. There's a way to filter through incoming reports that already," pause, "in-came…" He pinches the bridge of his noise and clears his throat. "We've done that before, right?"

"I can prompt an automated search of the database once I have parameters."

"Detective Archibald — all of us, we to cast a wide net on anythin' that could lead us to finding Alice Everly. We gotta— I mean, if there's a way to focus him," Kev uses the team's casual pronoun for the robotic system and backtracks with vague embarrassment when speaking to the one and only proud operator of the thing, "Uh, it."

In one of the darker depths of the ACRU small and underfunded HQ within the police station, Gideon Ramsay's strongly sculpted face goes still in a consideration that makes Kev fretful on the line. The captain's firm brow begins to lower far out of sight from his employ.

"It is, in theory, possible to set it to filter all new incoming reports to focus on everything relevant to the Amber Alert. However…"

A however from a superior is rarely a good thing; Kev only softly, restlessly coughs, and strains to eavesdrop on the others in the seconds Ramsay is silent.

"A narrowed focus means we may miss other incoming reports that would be important." A shorter pause. Ramsay's unseen gaze flicks down the hall he stands in. "Find this girl expediently. Text the parameters to this number."

"Ye— " Did he hang up? Kev looks at the phone; he hung up. " 'essir." As he gets straight to fulfilling the command with his head hunched over his phone, he steps back into sight.

"Yes. Of course after all this time, anything can be possible." Archibald just barely manages to roll his eyes because Andrew is already on his case about behavior in front of worried parents or whatever and he'd prefer to just think about the case. "She's gone, isn't she? We can't rule anything out. So, let's think this through. She didn't just levitate out the door. She's not faking her illness as far as we can tell. And by giving you mean she told them parts of their future. She gave them little fortune cookie wisdoms. What were they? And who has she given fortunes to that you know of?"

Andrew sucks on the inside of his cheek before offering a quiet hum. "It's possible though, that maybe, just maybe one of them wanted to protect her too." The idea of some government agency studying Alice makes his own stomach churn. Imagine someone who had known her for echelons. "So any details you can give may help us with this case…"

Details are poured upon the detectives from every angle, and not only from the overly wrought parents: each person they interview just as helpful as the next, eager to see the missing Alice safe at home as soon as possible. Not an ill will seems present, not a single shifty eye or turned foot to indicate a falsehood as they each relate the pearls of wisdom the girl was able to hand out — they all learned, they profess, to be more thankful and positive because of one, sick, little child. An hour of this. It likely wears on Archibald different than his partner.

Amidst doubtful leads, it's almost refreshing to hear a buzz from their belt-loops.

Almost.

"Picking up chatter. Psychic for sale. North Hollywood. Multiple suspects, male."

Quick-shuffling footsteps follow the update; Detective Parrish, who'd taken up a corner to make phone calls and try his damnedest to be a productive investigator for the cause (to little use, so far), searches out his colleagues. His eyes, commonly half-mast, are vivid with urgent expectancy. Going? We're going? Go now?

It has taken everything in Archibald's power to not bash his head against the wall as the stream of well wishers with absolutely no value enter and leave while giving very little information. By the time Parrish enters, he's clenching and unclenching his fists while pacing behind Andrew. The call comes in and without a care of whoever is around or within earshot, he breathes a sigh of relief. "Finally, something worthwhile. Come on, then, let's go buy a psychic." Using his pent up energy, he all but sprints away, allowing Andrew and Kev to follow.

Andrew, unlike his partner, has empathized with the well-wishers. Having met Alice, and failed to protect her, little stings of guilt prick at a nearly constant pace. The interruption, however, is welcome in a different way. "Yeah, let's go buy a psychic," he agrees, pacing after his partner, although not matching the excitement or energy level.

Their radios key into action a second time. "This Detective Sloan, advise if you need backup." Pause. "Who'm I kidding, right, of course you need backup."

All but jumping in to the squad car, Archibald picks up the radio and is quick to add, "Get your own case, Detective Sloan." There is chatter in the background of the radio and then an audible sigh. "We are moving in, I will attempt to intercept the suspects and pose as a buyer. If you are available, back up would be appreciated." He does not sound all that happy about the idea of not having the case to himself. Himself and Andrew, that is.

Following his partner, Andrew slides into the pilot seat of the squad car. His eyebrows arch at Archibald's comment into the radio. He leans back in his seat in the squad car. He sucks on the inside of his cheek. "You can't just walk in there… you need to be a mack daddy — your alter ego needs to be the kind of guy who has money to burn on a psychic. They'll see you coming a mile away unless you look like someone who can afford a psychic. Can you pull this off acting-wise?" His eyes squint at Archie's clothes discerningly. "Your shirt. You need a designer shirt — " his chin drops to his chest. "My shirt. And shoes. These are really expensive shoes." His hand rakes through his hair. "And arm candy. You need an entourage including arm candy. Sloane — "

He reaches for the radio and actually smirks as he asks the question that no one should ever ask over the radio: "Not to be crass, Detective Sloan, but what are you wearing?" Pause. "Civvies. We need everyone in civvies. Nice ones. And we need to move quick."

Kev follows the detective pair and finds himself in the backseat. As he tries to keep up with events, he deeply resembles a dog going for a drive, alternately not sure if he's allowed in the car and eager to go somewhere, looking back and forth between Archie and Andrew.

Sloan replies. "I can strip down for you if you want, Webber."

"Arm candy." Archibald is practically dripping distaste. "I need no such thing. I'm about to commit an act equivalent of the slave trade. I would want as few witnesses as possible, as I would most likely kill and dump the body once I am done with what I need her for. Keeping a young woman for an extended period of time is both expensive and dangerous - especially if she is a young, attractive, white female gone missing from a wealthy family. The media and police tend to kick up a bit of a fuss about those disappearances. The less people can connect me to what I am about to do, the better. These people have to think me dangerous and competent, no a flash in the pan. If anything, I would require a PA who can look at a scared girl as if she were a brood mare - cataloging faults to knock down the price. Kick the tires, as they may say." If anything, the way he describes exactly how and what may be the fate of the girl with cold logic and without a hint of sympathy should show that he can certainly do so. "And this suit is quite expensive, I'll have you know, Webber. A truly wealthy man does not need to flaunt it." A pause. "I'll take your shoes, however."

"Alice is being sold as a psychic. People who buy psychics aren't looking for quick fixes. We are talking high rollers, the kind of people who intend to use this kid time and time again as a cash cow not a human being. They're not diabolical minds — they're the kind of people the law can't touch. If we don't get Alice now we will never find her." Andrew pinches the bridge of her nose. "Besides I don't think she's a psychic — not in the truest sense of the word. And I think her captors may have figured that out. I think she's a clairvoyant." Not that he's an expert in such things. "Buying a psychic is equally expensive and dangerous, but can mean a large payout. Someone buying someone like Alice would be an adamant gambler — someone willing to absorb big risk for large payout. If this isn't sold right, I'm sure they'll double cross and go with a more apt buyer."

The radio response, however, earns a broad smirk. Sloan at least takes things as they're intended.

Kev stares obtusely.

Slowly, the SWAT-oriented man sinks back against the seat and waits restlessly. Words find him after all, hesitatingly intruding, as his arms restlessly cross. "Hey, like," — hey guys he's here — "you know, while we're plannin' a whole op on the fly, uh, maybe we— call yer Cap."

"Waitin' on a sign, boys…" Liza livens air again. It'd be no far leap to guess that the other detective's imagining Archie and Andrew tangling their opinions around each other right this very minute.

Archibald rolls his eyes at his partner. "Of course they'll double cross anyone at their first convenience. But, like I said, I need to be imposing and believable. They need to think me willing to buy her at any cost. Who would you rather deal with, a degenerate gambler or a calculating business man? The gambler may choose any reason to not take her. A business man can be played and therefore controlled. If they think me dangerous but find a chink in my armor, they will feel superior and more willing to deal. If they find me a capricious gambler who will fold just as soon a deal, they will be wary." Though he glances back at Kev, he all but ignores him. "If it makes you feel more comfortable, would you prefer to add in another more flamboyant buyer to bounce off of each other?" He has all but tuned out Liza over the airwaves.

"They'll need someone willing to absorb risk. I think Alice is a harder sell for a businessman. The way her power works — it's not… it's not what people conventionally think of when they think psychic. A businessman would test her. She can't pass. Not any conventional test that an outsider would believe, and you can bet our sellers already know it." And then as a sort of after thought he tacks on, "Rival buyers I can believe." Andrew pinches the bridge of his nose and ponders soemthing. "And route. Route of information to buy her — we need a believable source." Andrew snaps his fingers, "That kid. The skinny one who does all of those delivers, what's his name?" He points at Archie, "You know the one. Sings like a canary but knows everything going on in this town? Kind of bean-poley, moppy hair. Not a looker, but bright and talks too much? He'd be a good source…. He'd know. And if we know he'd know." Andrew strokes his chin. "Kev, you up for playing the muscle in the hustle?"

A long-lasting wince has embedded itself in the face of the prospective muscle. Despite this unconscious show of wariness, Kev's on board. "Yeah?" He didn't mean to make it sound like a question. "If it's kosher with the big boss, let's get rollin' so I can see what kinda tactical nightmare we're walkin' into."

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