Log Title: High Life and Lowlifes
Summary: Royal meets Detective Henry Murakami. They discuss the Longbow case - and men's fashion.
IC Date: Wed Feb 13 18:49, 2381
OOC Date: Wed Feb 13 18:49, 2019
Related Logs: Fatale
royalhenry

 

 

"You can hide the stick behind a velvet curtain, but it'll still whack you whenever it feels like showing itself."

* * *

The Fell Street Station of the Bay City Police Department is one of the larger branches, but it still has an outsize jurisdiction. The higher you go up, the more and better resourced the police are - and the less they're actually needed. Many connect 'Fell' with the fallen, or those who can never rise off the Ground.

For the most part, you wouldn't know how underfunded and overworked the station is from its general level of upkeep and technology. Holo displays are everywhere, and partnered cops face each other with a screen between them. The bullpen is a wash of blue-green light reflecting off the old worn wood that seems ubiquitous of police stations. Architectural details like high roman columns and checkerboard floors lends gravitas to the space.

Everyone is either cop or criminal in this space. Or, on occasion, witness or victim, though those people are generally given the privacy of a small lounge or the interrogation rooms. So one of these things is not like the other. There's a tall, dark-haired man in an impeccable three-piece suit made from a silver pattern that actually reflects the light like a mirror from certain angles. He doesn't look like a disco ball, but it does give him a subtle silver aura even in the building's muted light. For a man who knows a fine suit, it's the work of famed designer Kiyoshi, who works with fibre optic fabric. This man also wears leather oxfords with a distinctive red sole that's visible as he stands with one foot subtly turned up. He's leaning over a desk that used to belong to a cop named Summers who was recently real deathed breaking up a drug deal. This interloper seems to have claimed the desk for his own use.

* * *

Someone who knows a good suit is Henry Murakami. He wears one himself, though not of quite so lofty an origin. Its grey wool, expertly tailored to his frame, with a purple silk handkerchief in the pocket. Its an aspirational suit, a man who knows glossy world of men's fashion, but can't quite get together the funds to realize that vision to perfection. His watch is relatively inexpensive, but made to work. He's just coming from interrogation, and twice on his way back to his desk he's bothered by other cops; one about when he's going to deliver the files he promised to deliver last week, and once for some advice on how to get a suspect's cooperation when its currently non existent. In both cases he's gruff, but gets away with it with the small touches. A pat on the shoulder here, a disarming smile there. Then he's gone before the other can quite realize that the conversation has ended to nobody's (but his) satisfaction.

Its at the last minute that he spots Royal. He pauses, hand coming up to scratch against the greying scruff on his cheek. He's got a sharp eye, the kind that doesn't usually miss much. "Sir. Are you lost?" He asks. And also: "Is that a Kiyoshi?" His hand moves as if to touch the fabric, but he stops himself.

* * *

There's been rumours swirling around the station of a meth lapdog sniffing around the Longbow case. Usually the lapdogs that haunt the doors of the BCPD are not so well-dressed. They're usually more intimidating. Either that, or they're lawyers. And the rumours don't say anything about this lapdog being a lawyer.

Royal doesn't look up from where he's arranged stills from a video feed. It clearly shows the Panama Rose, which is unusual, given it was not a broadcast bout. It's only when he hears the name 'Kiyoshi' that his attention breaks. "Why, yes it is. One doesn't often meet anyone with a good eye on the Ground." He speaks with a clipped, archaic accent that marks him as from the place most people refer to as the 'old kingdom.' That is, the Kingdom of Great Britain - in particular, the received pronunciation more typical of the snootier class. "And you yourself? Is that an Archer Caines? Or…" he tilts his head, "…from his high street label, in any case. Certainly an above-average choice for that price range."

* * *

"My father liked to say you aught to dress for the success you expect to have," Henry drawls. He's got a gravely voice, exaggerated no doubt by his smoking habit - the scent lingers around him - and his penchant for hard drink. His gaze shifts from Royal himself to the images, and his eyes subtly narrow. He puts one hand on the desk and leans forward to get a better look. "And if you don't get it, well, at least you look good failing, eh? Heh." This time there's a semi-distracted lilt to his tone.

"The Panama Rose. Where'd you get these? I haven't been able to see any footage yet."

He straightens up. As if just recalling himself, he adds: "Henry Murakami. And you are?"

* * *

"Dante Taylor, but most call me Royal." Which may ring a bell. Some of the beat cops and PIs at a local watering hole have talked about an honest-to-god Duke playing private investigator. "I'm here on behalf of the Longbow family. And before you ask, your Captain Tanaka gave me access to this station. So I have permission to be here. This time." He flashes a grin.

"These are stills from a leaked video that made its way out through the network. Whoever took it took a huge risk and had good equipment. Carnage tends to get extremely…tetchy when his non-broadcast bouts find their way out there. Still trying to determine if it's his own algorithms that are stopping its spread or something else."

* * *

Henry thinks on this for a couple of seconds, before saying with a grunt: "I suppose Summers isn't using it anymore. Always told her to be more careful. Leave your heroics in the damn VR. That shit'll get you killed for real. I try to stay out of the damn thing. Pick up too man bad habits. Start thinking you're invincible hero or something." He gives Royal a skeptical side-look as if to say: Please tell me you're not one of those people.

"So you're the insert in our task force. Does this mean we're getting all the fancy toys as well?" A thing occurs to him: "And unlimited overtime?"

* * *

"I tend to like to use VR for things of a more…carnal nature. Also handy for shopping," says Royal as he slides a finger down the edge of his lapel. The fibre optic cable reacts to the warmth from his fingers and flickers subtly at the touch. "But I do agree. None of us should go around thinking we're invincible. It's sloppy, for one. I may have the fashion sense of a meth, but I'm not one." He feels the need to spell that out, because some do assume who don't know his country's provisions against resleeving and keeping title.

"I'm an insert from the GPPI. I don't myself have access to toys any fancier than your own. In fact, your database is much faster and has deeper access than my personal console. I have to file an access certificate to get at information, which is why I'm working here." He motions to the console. "However, I believe extra staff have been allocated to this case, yes. You'll have to ask your captain about overtime."

* * *

"I see." Clearly Henry is disappointed, having hoped for someone with the sway to give him unlimited resources. One can all but see Royal getting mentally downgraded on the 'how useful to me is this person' list. His own desk, marked with a small plaque saying: Sergeant Henry Murakami, is vis-a-vis one belonging to a Det. Perez, obviously his partner. Its just down from the one Royal is sitting at, and close enough to keep the conversation going when he finishes the short jaunt over. He plops down into his chair with a world-weary sigh, his knees serenading of the joy of being relieved with creaks.

"So why you, and what do you have for us, Mr Taylor?" He may enjoy his fashion sense, but he clearly either doesn't know, or doesn't care, about how one properly addresses a duke. "And mind sending all of that over to my station?"

* * *

And Royal would be hanging around the embassy or the university if he got hung up on people not calling him 'Your Grace' or even, 'Doctor.' So he doesn't react to being called 'Mr. Taylor.' "Why me, is that the Longbows asked me. They're acquaintances of the Queen." Which sounds like a ridiculous statement, even in context. "I suppose they figured I'd work better than the meatheads usually assigned to breathe down your neck. Help you instead of intimidate you into action. Surely you consider that a better strategy."

Despite the fact that the chair is right there, he seems to prefer to stand. He taps in a few commands and he shares the folder of stills with Henry. The video lives on the police servers. Then he straightens and considers the other man. "You know, you're about the right size for an up and coming suitor friend of mine. She likes to work with very specific proportions. Don't suppose you'd be interested in sporting some of her offerings? On loan, of course."

* * *

"You can hide the stick behind a velvet curtain, but it'll still whack you when ever it feels like showing itself," Henry says with a half smile, and a tone dripping of well earned cynicism. "None the less, I suppose it makes for a more pleasant experience in the mean time." When he logs in, there's a mess of files waiting to jump out. A backlog of cases long as a bad year, and with sign offs to be made on junior detectives' cases as well. He lets out a long and miserable sigh at the sight of it all, then idly brushes the whole lot of it away so he can focus on the images in question. For long moments he falls silent, flicking through them, studying them for minutia.

Its the mention of suits that drag him back into the real world. "Oh?" The idea obviously appeals. "Hmm. Would have to warn her that in my line of business, sometimes accidents happen. Even when I'm supposed to be off duty and in the clear."

* * *

"Relax, Detective. I'm only into recreational whacking. The serious kind is not on my menu." Royal's eyes are on his glowing console. He's studying the images very closely, though none are zoomed in. He makes notations with a stylus, though it's hard to tell what he's looking for, or at. But he does seem to see something.

As for suits? "That's the beauty of it, you see. She's attempting to make fine menswear out of ballistic fabric. She's made a suit or two for me in my new line of work, but my proportions aren't her preferred to work with. Why, I have no idea."

* * *

"How about the people you work for?" Henry asks dryly. As if to say that question answers itself. He leans back in his chair, still scratching at at his scruff thoughtfully. Its a well maintained scruff. "So do the Longbow family have any idea of how this happened, or why? Seems like a damn waste to me. I mean, if I was a Longbow for a day, I sure as hell wouldn't spend it dying horribly. But that's just me, I guess."

"Well, then. That sounds like my kind of suit. I'm quite particular about being shot. Generally," a pause for dramatic effect. "I don't fucking like it at all."

* * *

"Yes, I've heard getting shot is quite unpleasant," Royal sounds distracted. He makes a few flicking notations onto the screen with the stylus in what seems to be a personal shorthand. "I haven't spoken to the Longbows directly, and I don't expect to. Despite my status and their friendship with the Queen, I don't have contact with or access to the family leaders. Like you, I deal with intermediaries. Mine might be higher up. Their lawyers, assistants, youngest children at best. But make no mistake…" He looks at Henry through the semi-transparent console, "…they don't think much more highly of me than of you. They just trust me a touch more to act in their interests." From the ghost of a grin, that may not actually be the case.

* * *

Henry starts doing some searches with image recognition software, to pull up files on everybody he can pull files on. It takes him time; he's a bit of a luddite. Where's Detective Perez when you need her? "On the upside, they do give you the best drugs afterwards." He leans forwards as he notes people of interest, and cross sections with some other files. Once or twice he gives Vivi's empty chair a glare, and checks his watch. Hmph.

"Not much more than me, eh?" He lifts his eyes to meet Royal's. Its the kind of look that asks why the well dressed Duke isn't quite up to par.

* * *

The room is pretty much a who's who of 'person of interest.' They're mid-level wealthy, they're degenerate gamblers, they're criminals. A few average joes who won lottery seats, but for the most part it's a cross-section of the most suspicious people on the Ground. There's even a couple cops, including one Detective Hanne Remington, whose desk is not that far away. Seems some of the lower-ranked cops have already been working to put together dossiers, because Henry's console auto-populates their information.

That doesn't seem to be what Royal's working on. He seems to be…calculating angles? Writing it out with the stylus rather than bringing up something computer aided. "No indeed. Meths only trust other meths, and even then only as much as they need to. And besides, I've sullied myself with actual work, and I live too close to the Ground for their liking. It makes me a good intermediary but nothing like a peer." He doesn't sound like he minds.

* * *

"So do you go to a lot of these things?" Henry asks, his head tilting just a little to the side as he squints at a particular image. He enhances it, zooms in, then zooms back out again and flicks to another. On the side of the main image he skims the details. "Tell me what you saw. Anything stood out as out of the ordinary?"

He opens a desk and pulls out some kind of energy bar, and gives it a thoughtful bite. Once he's had a couple more, his hand starts reaching into his inner pocket until he's got a fine leather cigar etui. It doesn't seem so much a conscious effort as a matter of habit.

"And out of curiosity, why is that? Just got bored or something?"

* * *

'These things' makes Royal look over and see his own image up on Henry's screen. "Oh, is that what's on file for me? That's a terrible photo." He wrinkles his nose. "I'll have to speak to Captain Tanaka. And yes, I enjoy a good fightdrome fight. I've only been to the Panama Rose a handful of times, but I've been to similar establishments." Then he sighs. "Your fellow officers already interviewed me. Extensively. And fed me the most abysmal coffee. But the short of it is, no, until the woman was unmasked it was a rather unremarkable if entertaining evening."

He returns to his work. For a moment it might seem like he's ignoring Henry, but he's instead finishing a calculation. When it doesn't work out, he smears his hand across the board. "It's more challenging than teaching a room full of disengaged undergrads the history of the fur trade. Besides, it lives in the present, rather than the past. Turns out the reason I love history is because I love to study human motivations, their patterns and what drives them. Applying that to crime is far more relevant and dynamic than retreading the work of a hundred other academics, searching for a new angle."

* * *

"That was then, now is now," Henry says mildly enough of having already been interviewed. "First impressions are useful, but sometimes having a bit of time to think things through is equally so. So nothing at all comes to mind?" Of the coffee mention he makes something between a cough, a choke and a chuckle. One of empathy and understanding, of not with sympathy.

"History. The subject of people who can afford not to care about the present or the future. Because if they had to, they'd study something that'd actually make ends meet. Then again, you can pick up the most future-proof degree, and still end up on an overworked cop on a shitty salary. Anyway, so you got bored." There's a mild rebuke in that. One can aspire for status and wealth, and equally resent everybody who has it while you don't.

* * *

"We found a colleague of mine with his stack ripped out. He was a friend, so I was motivated to find out what happened to him." Royal works at the console's input now, bringing up a crime scene rendering program. "My experience on that case made me realize I was in the wrong field all along. Besides, I'm adept at finding patterns. No matter how good computers get, they're never quite as good as the human eye and the human mind. We draw conclusions based on intuition and experience. Our best facial recognition software is based off of data from hundreds of thousands, millions, of real-world people identifying faces and objects. The computer just aggregates the data."

He finishes inputting the rendering, then with a flutter of fingers tosses the diagram over to Henry's console. "The person who shot the video was using focal length spoofing software that makes it impossible to pinpoint with any degree of certainty the origin and location of the camera. All we know is that it came from this section here…" he steps over to the other man's console and makes a mark on it with his stylus. "This cluster of no fewer than fifty individuals, half of which we have horrendous angles of. Not to mention everyone's moving about."

He chooses to ignore the digs at his academic subject of choice or rise to the bait of being bored. He's heard it before. "The most unusual thing about that evening is how most of the people there were quite happy to see what they thought was a meth die horribly. I don't personally have the stomach for real death. Organic damage is one thing, but to witness the destruction of someone's soul…." he stares off a moment, then blinks back. "That's another thing entirely."

* * *

Henry listens, taking in the information without interruption. The technical details may be beyond him, but the end result perks him up anyway. He hmms to himself as he squints at the section indicated. Finally he says of the problem of identification: "I suppose we'll have to just do it the old fashioned way. Ask a lot of questions and see what matches up." Whether he has any faith in that approach or not is undeterminable.

He chuckles. Its a joyless chuckle, a resigned one. "I've stopped being surprised at what people'll cheer for a long time ago. Anyway, meths aren't really people to your average joe, are they? And that's how they like it. You never meet one, you never talk to one. You might see them on a screen, but you can see all kinds of things on a screen. They weren't happy about a person dying, because it wasn't a person. They were cheering on the destruction of what a meth represents. Which is to say, I guess, everything they don't have." He lifts his shoulder in a shrug.

* * *

"Whoever shot the video could have been a garden variety bootlegger, out to make a few extra credits. Or they could have been tasked with capturing it to make sure the supposed death of Ariana Longbow spread further than that room." Royal taps the stylus against his palm and frowns. "I have no doubt that a few of these people have already gone to ground. Not because they did anything wrong that night, but precisely because they don't want to be subjected to your….coffee." He grins.

Now it's his turn to listen. "Yes, well, I for one found it quite disturbing. People mistake me for a meth often enough that it's easy to imagine them cheering for my own corrupted stack." He sucks in a breath. "Are you aware of the provisions for those of royal blood, detective? The irony is, I'm rather the opposite of a meth. If this sleeve dies, my birth sleeve, by the way," he motions to himself. "…I lose everything. Title, inheritance, all of it. I am only royalty as long as I possess the ability to pass on royal genes."

* * *

"No doubt," Henry agrees about them going to ground. "That's what you got the green kids for. To run down lead nowhere. Normally I wouldn't bother; there's about a million other things I'd rather have them do. But, well. This is a priority. You can brush away some missing kid's mother asking how many people you got looking for _her_ kid." It's said with a light smile, crooked and cynical, and with just a little bit of self loathing hiding beneath the facade.

"Really? No, wait, I think I read about that once. Or did I see it? What's the name of that pink haired talk show host with the purple nose ring again? Yeah, the preppy one. I think she had a segment about it. My ex watched that show all the time. Drove me crazy, the yapping." His hand moves in a lip-flapping gesture. "Huh. Well, I figure you can scrounge together a pretty sizable retirement cache before you have to resleeve. Still seems like a bloody good deal to me." His eyes go distant as he imagines all the things he could do in that situation.

* * *

"I may not have been at this very long, detective. But I know you aren't given the resources to properly do your jobs. That's in part why the GPPI exists, after all. We get the cases you don't have the bandwidth, resources or mandate to pursue." And people pay good money to have their issues resolved. "At the end of the day, we're all at the whim of the meths." Royal moves back to his own station and starts to clear up his workspace of his calculations. "Are you talking about Yvonne Colette? Yes, she is rather obnoxious. She used to work for a segment back home, as a matter of fact. A gossip segment focused on my family." Easy to tell he's not a fan.

"I'm not complaining about my state. I know a lot of people have it a lot harder. If Guild rules would allow, I wouldn't charge for my services. I don't need the money. I'm just pointing out that I've got my own limitations, and sleeve death would have a big impact on my life. Losing this face alone would be a national tragedy."

* * *

"That's one way to look at it I guess," Henry says of the GPPI. "Another is that desperate people who can least afford it now have to sell themselves deep into the red, just to get someone to tell them no dice anyway." He takes a deep breath, then exhales with a small smile. "No offense. Anyway, desperate people will throw money at anyone, anyway. So might as well be the Guild, you at least being regulated and less likely to cheat the fuck out of them and actually do something useful."

He cranks his neck. "Yeah, a terrible shame." Dry, his tone. "Gets me hot and bothered just sitting a few feet away. Heh. Anyway, I need smoke." So said he pushes himself to his feet.

* * *

"At least they get closure. Which is what they don't get when their case file is languishing fifteen files down on your desk." Royal makes a few more notes to himself, then stows a few more files on the interface. "And you'd be naive to think your fellow officers don't pocket the occasional pay-off to move a file up in the rank." Not to mention other payoffs, but he doesn't voice that part. "No offense."

When Henry stands, he watches. "Yes, go get some air. Being this close to me for so long must be driving you absolutely mad." Those words are so incredibly dry that it's clearly meant as a joke. His expression remains neutral, but amusement dances in his eyes.

* * *

"Well. Naive I'm not," Henry says, and leaves it at that. Especially since he's one of those officers who can be convinced to bump up a file. He just doesn't have to like it. He puts his hands on his back and gives his spine a good pop, then offers Royal a gruff - but not unfrienly - nod. Its a two-cigar etui, and he gets one out. Its offered a good and long sniff, like it's a lover he's eagerly awaiting. After a moment he reaches over to give Royal his hand. Its the kind of smooth that you get from a life of paper pushing and asking people questions. His job might require a degree of physical fitness, but callous-making labor it is definitively not. "You catch me up if you come across something, yeah? I'll take what help I can get, but let's leave the decision making to the professionals. Its why they pay us the big bucks."

* * *

There's a similar lack of calluses on Royal's hand, and naturally, it's impeccably manicured. The slight movement of his arm reveals a watch that is enviable even to those who might not know their custom timepieces. It's not digital in any sense. His suit may be excessively modern and fashion-forward, but that watch is clearly an heirloom. It has a rich leather band and precise movement even if one only glances at it for a moment. It is, interestingly enough, set on Greenwich Mean Time.

"I am a professional, Detective Murakami. But I get your meaning. I'm new to this, and I'm here to help, not step on your toes."

* * *