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On the Case
Continued from: Browsing

The camera that should have overlooked the service tunnel entrance near the Guardian hospital was broken. And had been for months, from what Chief Inspector Drayson could determine. It took the better part of his morning interviewing a selection of nearly two dozen department managers, shift supervisors, and work crew chiefs regarding the half dozen worker reports about the broken camera, and a dozen more made by one particularly astute security guard whose job it was to stare at the video feeds all day. But not a single work order had ever been signed off on.

By the end of the interviews, he had narrowed it down to gross incompetence, and one department manager was sure to loose his job. Those cameras were installed both for security and for people's safety. And of course, a critical piece of information was missing from the puzzle he was piecing together because of it. He could now only guess the missing heart-surgery patient and his friend had come through there.

Luckily, in his investigation, one of the crew chiefs had proven himself an intelligent and all together likeable fellow. Apparently also well liked by some of the squatter communities that lived in a region that was deservingly coined the 'undercity.' The camera might have been broken, and no city crews had reported anything out of the ordinary, but the folks that lived in the tunnels and forgotten places under the city might have seen something. For a price, likely.

He doubted they would even be willing to speak to him, but with the crew chief along, a familiar and friendly face, it would hopefully open a few doors to him. In the early afternoon, Drayson met the crew chief and two of his underlings at the tunnel, arriving in time to watch them finish the repairs on the camera. Pleasantries were shared, and then they loaded into the specially designed service truck, more of a larger then normal buggy, and they started down the tunnel. There were bars and a gate, but it hadn't been properly locked in all the time the camera had been broken. And would remain unlocked for another week or two, with a newly mounted signing proclaiming as much, to allow those who had been frequenting this place at night a chance to adjust. No point trapping anyone down there.

Academically, Drayson was aware of just how sprawling Moscow's undercity was. He would occasionally read reports from other departments of the more interesting discovires; old and empty armouries, facilities, bunkers, and metro lines repurposed to meth labs, opium dens, illegal immigrant camps and the like. The costs of the clean up was astronomical, he was sure.

His first day was spent on a tour, with little time given over to trying to find any leads. The crew chief familiarized Drayson a bit with life underground, comparing their location with above ground landmarks, and he was suitably impressed with just how huge the place really was. The utility maps were a pain to try and understand at first, but the more they travelled the more he began to recognize how it all worked.

It was on his second day beneath Moscow's streets that the real work began. Again paired with the crew chief and some of the men in his department, they began to visit some of the more regularly inhabited regions; old metro stations or bomb shelters seemed the most favoured. The locals were hard pressed to warm up to Drayson's presence, and eventually he decided to just give the crew chief the sorts of questions he had, and let the man work his reputation to Drayson's aid.

Leads were few and far between. The people who lived down there were understandably upset; the city improvements were forcing them farther from the city center or further underground. Both made it harder for them to earn money from panhandling, forced them farther from known and trusted soup kitchens and shelters. But that was the price of improvement; the work created more jobs, which should have meant fewer people living in the underground city. But it never seemed to work that way.

Rather then full on leads, they began to piece together a rather unpleasant picture; people would go missing in the tunnels. Mostly if alone, or in pairs. Not terribly surprising; such things were expected to happen and was likely the work of gangs, but Drayson didn't dismiss it off hand. The stories were varied of course; metro dogs eating people, ghosts in the walls, giant rats, alligators, Jack the Ripper-esque murderers. Everyone had their own excuse, and by the end of that second day Drayson just had a notepad full of urban legends.

Edited by Drayson, Aug 11 2013, 07:03 PM.
Two more days of combing the tunnels with the crew chief and some of his workers continued to turn up little by way of concrete information. No one was willing to admit having seen someone pass through with a bloody knife wound to the chest. Or anyone going the other way in a hospital gown.

It was on that second day they made a breakthrough. Another work crew reported it first, and Drayson's conscripted crew chief received word immediately. A sink hole in a nearby tunnel, one that had probably been there for years already. Those sorts of things were normal enough; old pipes burst, eroded away the earth, and part of the tunnel would give way. The weird part was the smell.

They had been concerned it might have been a gas leak, and after grabbing some safety gear they lowered a man into the hole, only to find decayed flesh and human bones.

Chief Investigator was on the scene immediately. Specialists were brought in, police assets deployed to keep the area secure, and by the end of the day some two dozen partial human remains were recovered from the hole.

From there, it only took a few hours till one of the teams picked up on something. They had busted a few gang members, and in the questioning about the bodies, they had pointed the police towards a part of the under city the gang kids had learned to avoid. Apparently the folks that lived down there had known something was up for a long time, but had chosen not to report it. Or had, and it had been lost in the system, or more likely just ignored.

Within the hour, Chief Inspector Drayson had appropriated a regional SWAT team, a heavier vest and a pair of Land Warriors from the team's spare equipment. Regular police, with city workers as guides, were cordoned around the area, with the crew chief as their resident expert for how to read the map. Most of the area in question didn't exist in the official records; it was simply too old, or possibly was illegally built to begin with. With the final signal that everything was ready, they went in.
Continued here: Dealing with Devils

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