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Looking for answers (continued)

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Shane's eyebrows rose. Twenty four hours of rest a week? He'd probably lived on something close to that in the weeks after 9/11, but he wasn't functioning all that well at the end, and it had been months before his exhausted body made up the sleep deficit. Right now, he wasn't that tired, but he was definitely in need of sleep.

"Do you think a hotel would charge a police officer?"

His eyebrows, which had been descending, raised again. For some reason, that statement coming from Murphy seemed . . . odd. He got the feeling Murphy was a stand-up guy, a cop who never abused his position.

As was he - he'd never so much as accepted a free cup of coffee from a business in his years on the force. But this was a new ballgame, and he was in kind of a bind.

"I'm not sure, but I guess I can always try."

Resolving that if he did manage to snare himself a free room for the night, he'd find some way to pay for it later. He didn't think his conscience would settle for anything else.

I love to boogie . . .

(Continuing from here)

She could sense Calvin's amusement from behind her, and then felt the unmistakable touch as he used Presence.  It seemed like both of them were going to make their marks in here this evening.

She licked her lips slowly, giving another of those cow-eyed looks at her companion, even as she tried not to choke on the miasma of strong cologne, sweat and now lust that was radiating from his pudgy body.  Her hand still rested lightly on his arm, and the almost feverish heat coming from him was doubly disturbing.

The boy swallowed hard, and when he spoke his voice wavered just a little.  "Thanks.  Er . . . um . . . "  He almost blushed, then remembered that he was a goth, and a goth who owned a kickass nightclub that this gorgeous woman was really hot for, and affixed what he thought was an unaffected expression, even if it looked more like a pained sneer.  "Good and bad are totally constructs of a socially conservative culture, and we reject them outright."

Ceri's smile widened as she allowed her fingers to trail up his arm.  "So, you don't think anyone is ever really bad?"

It was too easy, sometimes.

 

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Looking for answers (continued)

(Follows on from here)

"Full body prosthesis."

The very flat tone Murphy used to say those words were a stark contrast to the horror Shane felt as he realized just what the man was saying.

He found himself staring and tore his eyes away, cursing himself mentally for his rudeness.  But still, the awful comprehension of what Murphy had said shook him to the core.  Every part of the . . . man . . . everything from the neck down, it would seem, had been replaced by an artificial construct.  

That alone must be hell - Shane had an uncle who'd lost an arm, and he remembered the look of pain and frustration on his uncle's face when he experienced "phantom pain" from the missing limb.  What must it be like to experience that for your whole body, he wondered.

And how did Murphy ever reconcile the fact that while his head still thought like a human being, it no longer controlled a body which was anything like that?  Thinking back over the last few minutes, Shane realized that perhaps some times were easier than others.  

He took a deep breath.  Okay, so Murphy had a full body prosthesis - this was now stipulated.  Discussion on the morals and ethics of such a thing should probably wait until they passed out of the "almost complete strangers" mode and knew one another a bit better.  For one thing, it appeared Murphy's world was a very different place to the one Shane had come from.

That thought tripped him for a millisecond, and then he dismissed it.  He was accepting that this was not his New York, because to do otherwise was simply focusing on the problem, rather than looking for a solution.  Ditto on Murphy as a machine - right now, machine or man, Murphy had backed him up and was the only living soul he knew in this place.  

So . . . not part of the problem, hopefully part of the solution.  Only Shane didn't have the first clue about the solution either.  Perhaps it was time to take some real small steps here - didn't really matter in which direction, only that they were moving, he guessed.

"I won't say I understand, but, yeah - okay.  You're one of a kind.  But, right now, you're also kind of my partner, so I have to ask - is there anything you need to have fixed, or anything?"  

He didn't know exactly where one went in this version of New York to have a full body prosthesis tinkered with, but . . . small steps.  Just so long as they were moving.

 

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Looking for answers (continued)

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His attention now focused only on Murphy, Shane became aware of things he hadn't had the chance to notice before - like the man's height and build, and the faint mechanical noises as he moved.

In spite of that, he nodded at the words, continuing the sentence.

"Yeah, it even smells the same, but it's not my New York either. I'd ask how the hell something like that could happen, but I doubt finding the answer to that question would help either of us deal with the situation right now."

Glancing again at Murphy, he had to ask. "So, is this metal armour thing the uniform where you're from, Murphy?"

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I love the nightlife . . .

Calvin's arm was around Ceri's shoulders as they crossed Eleventh Avenue - the first of the clubs he wanted to check out was in a building on the other side of West 26th Street, near the West Side Highway.

Personally, he could have thought of a dozen spots with a better location, and at a similar price.  Knowing what real estate was available in the city was sort of a hobby with him.  With a muffled snort, he saw the sign up ahead . . . garish neon letters against a dark background proclaimed that this was "Dead of the Night".  Complete with dripping blood, yet.

He pressed a kiss to Ceri's hair, smiling, "I think we're about to enter a goth nightclub, beloved.  Are you sure you're up to this?"

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Paloma Castillo y Ramírez relaxed on the soft leather of the chaise lounge in the Taipan Suite of the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, sipping a crisp white wine as she looked out at the lights of Manhattan. Her hair, newly bleached blond, curled softly around her shoulders as she turned her head and observed her luxurious surroundings. She liked the clean lines and understated sophistication of the hotel, and would be quite content here until she found a more permanent home in the city.

It had been a rather tumultuous week, she mused. Her Lear had landed in Teterboro, where the pilots had secured the long term lease on hangar space with a minimum of fuss while she opened her suitcase to retrieve the blond wig that would transform her from Dulcinea to Paloma, which was now the only identification she carried. Even the Lear had a set of expertly forged ownership papers which showed Paloma as the owner.

Once the Lear, and its precious and very illegal cargo, was secured, the pilot became her driver, and a rental car carried her to the Grand Hyatt on East 42nd Street. The busy hotel was perfect for her in those first days, where she had a great deal to do, most of it thoroughly illegal.

Her first stop had been one of the hotel's beauty parlors, where with an empty-headed giggle, she had her dark locks dyed platinum blond as if it were nothing more than a big city lark. Once her appearance matched better with Paloma's ID - the wig was a good short term solution, but the damn thing itched and she could not wait to toss it in the trash - she could take care of some other business.

Paloma needed bank accounts, and safety deposit boxes. Preferably a number of them - that way, she could move cash around without alerting the autoridades. And the rented car was fine for a temporary measure, as was the Hyatt, but she needed a more secure location while she set up her business again.

She never checked to see if the autoridades were still seeking Dulcinea - her plan had always been to cut herself off completely from that life. The only reason her pilot and co-pilot were still with her and not lying on a tarmac with bullets in their heads was that she would have need of their skills in the future.

With the Lear and a pair of trained pilots, she could traffic product into the country from Columbia easily - all it required was the purchase of a another small jet. It was the simplest ruse - the Lear would fly in and out of the country on legitimate flight plans, while the other jet would "shadow" it, flying close enough that Air Traffic Control would see not two contacts, but one.

There was a lot of work that first week - she needed to find people to sell her product, and that was . . . difficult. Others might use addicts, but that was not the Cali cartel way, and she saw no reason to change a system that worked. Her pilots made discreet inquiries, seeking men and women who regarded the law with a certain casualness, and those with some reasonable business savvy. Eventually, should they prove themselves trustworthy, they might become permanent members of her organization, but for the moment, they dealt only with the pilots, and were entrusted small amounts of product to sell.

The drugs were moved from the hangar in small quantities, an exercise which had her very nervous until it was completed - someone arriving at the hangar at the wrong moment could have spelled disaster. She had leased a warehouse near the docks - the first of many which would be scattered throughout the city - and the pilots carefully cut some of her pure product before distributing it to the first group of carefully selected "salespersons". It wouldn't do to have a flood of pure heroin or cocaine on the streets, killing her eventual customers before they could bring her their repeat business.

It was . . . unfortunate . . . that some of her new "contractors" had not thought to maximize their profits as most dealers typically did by further cutting the product before selling it on the streets. Still, rather than over-react, she had her pilots engage in some "re-education", and she was fairly sure the problem would not reoccur. What was a few dead junkies in a city as big as New York, after all?

But, just in case, she moved out of the Hyatt a few days earlier than planned, when the news about the overdoses became public. She had chosen the Mandarin Oriental for its sheer luxury, and she would be comfortable there while she shopped for an apartment and began the process of setting up her organisation.

Now, as she enjoyed her wine, she could finally begin to relax. There was work ahead, but it was a challenge she looked forward to. This time, she could do things her way, and she was eager to see how successful that would be.

Looking for answers

(continued from here)

It was times like these Shane sometimes wished he smoked, as he leaned against the fender of his dark blue Ford Crown Victoria.  He missed the Dodge Charger he'd driven as a beat cop, but outside patrol, the muscle cars were the jealously guarded prizes of senior detectives.  

Parked not too far away was a car with red and blue lights, but he didn't recognize the configuration, nor the model.  The car was unmarked - perhaps it was someone from the local NYPD?  East River Park was fairly well patrolled where he was from. 

He could hear the police band from inside his car, unfamiliar voices and idents, and wondered just what what had happened, and more selfishly, what it meant for him.

For starters, he guessed, he was off-shift permanently.   No more hazing from the senior detectives - that was a bonus at least.  But what the hell was he going to do with himself without the job?

More immediately, where was he going to live without a job and an apartment?  He fished his keys out of his pocket, looking at them.  There probably wasn't a door anywhere in this city that these keys unlocked, but he wasn't about to throw them away just yet.  Who knew, maybe whatever had happened would undo itself, and suddenly Dispatch would be screaming for him to check in.

He thought that was pretty unlikely though.  Maybe when CPU One arrived, they could put their heads together and figure this out.  At the very least, he'd really like to know why any member of the NYPD blue needed to be wearing full body armour like that.

 

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 (Following here and here.)

Hmm … now this was interesting. The Doctor quite forgot to keep an eye on the subjective time as he watched the Dalek device at work. Whereas at first glance it seemed designed for a dual function - opening a window and sending a signal - the modifications made the window remarkably smaller and less stable, while the signal had been tampered with to simply cycle back on itself in a loop. If the Daleks had wanted a portal and a signal to go through, whoever had tampered with it afterward wanted a much smaller window that would fade when the power did, and for no signal - which could suggest they didn’t want anyone to know they were doing it.

So, was this simply that someone’s means of escape? Perhaps, and there was a new thought, this particular dimension made a habit of sealing itself off? The Doctor contemplated this, glancing occasionally to the remote sensor screen. The time-window opened directly overhead, thankfully above the remnants of the fading storm and out of naked-eye view, and hung there, empty … and ever so tempting.

Sometimes, he reasoned, starting to disconnect his cables, close panels and put things away, one needed to place a damper on one’s curiosity and simply make oneself tracks while the opportunity was there. Nothing was being summoned, nothing was coming through. Whoever had built or tampered with the emitter was most likely gone. If he were snappy about it, he could be packed away, secured and also go - wait. What was that?

He had everything about the emitter closed up and hidden and the TARDIS disconnected. In fact, he had the last item, the remote scanner screen, right there in his hand when it suddenly started to beep. “Well, well, well.” The Doctor looked up in the direction of the portal, then just as quickly back at the screen. It would seem that he had spoken just a little too soon - high overhead, something was coming through. “Now, then …” he jiggled at the screen controls, trying to obtain a better view. “Let us just find out exactly what you might … you …” His eyes, suddenly got very, very big.

“Oh, no.” The Doctor stared, not quite, for a second, believing his eyes. “Oh, NO!” He turned and bolted for the TARDIS - and was actually mostly through the door before the entire world went white.