The Feeding Circle

Cast: Cedric, Crispin, Jai, Freddie, Wynn
Date:

// Feb 5, 2013//


** Jai and Crispin make a grisly discovery.**
Prufrock Coffee


Prufrock Coffee is a small coffee shop with a laid back atmosphere. A small counter rests at the far end of the shop with a row of blackboards that hang over it, listing the various drinks they offer. A young teenager stands on the other side of the counter taking the orders and making the drinks. The rest of the area is filled with tables, booths and a lounging area to relax. Along the large window that looks out over the street, a counter sits lined with stools. In one corner of the room, a small stage sits for amateur musicians to perform or for open mic night. When there are no performers, soft music plays through the speakers that circles the main shop. A door marked 'Employees Only' behind the counter leads back to the rear of the coffee shop.

====
Anything to get away from fixing sinks, perhaps, but the chance to have a quiet cup of coffee with a new acquaintance was too good to pass up. Really. Crispin seems eager and willing to meet new people, and once he finishes cleaning the horrible drain effluvia from himself and changes clothes (oh, the joys of being a hostel custodian), he's quite ready to take on the world.

So he sits with a lovely rich mocha in his hands, taking the first little sip like a kiss to the edge of the mug and enjoying the rest as comfortably as a lounging cat. "They actually have good homemade biscuits," Crispin says, nodding to the bakery counter. "And surprisingly good shortbread."

"That an offer?" Jai is dressed to impress, if your idea of 'impress' is 'blend in'. He gives Crispin a quick, friendly smile, signaling for a coffee of his own. "Cedric didn't offer me any money for this meeting, so I'm skint." Or cheap. Either way, it seems, Crispin may well have to pay for both their way. "Don't worry. Won't get a cappuccino. Just plain coffee's brilliant."

Asking for coffee and biscuits? From a /Scot/? Crispin's eyebrows shoot up but he shrugs, nodding his agreement and gesturing to the approaching waitress. "Fine, fine. I mean, I've been not-homeless for months now; I can afford to buy someone coffee." He takes another drink of his own, absently breaking off a small piece of shortbread and dipping it. Yum.

"Better than most people 'round here." Jai keeps his tone sociable, though. "So Cedric says we should get acquainted. Don't know if that's more for his own amusement, though, than for anything we might put our heads together about. Don't know a thing about tracking things down, me."

"Aye, true enough, though the trade-off is I get to spend m'days elbow-deep in what people flush down drains that aren't their own. But I love what I do and where I do it." Crispin cocks his head as Jai goes on, though: "I don't know much about you either, I admit. Just who you work for. Is the Watch a full-time gig for you, then?"

"Either that or go back to medical school." Jai pulls a face. "Was working at a chemist's out west, Queensway, but I couldn't keep on there. I make do." Through, apparently, a good dose of charity, at least when it comes to coffee; he offers Crispin a nod of thanks when his coffee arives. "Back up to Manchester's not an option." A quick sip, as if to hide something, but whatever the expression might have been passes.

"I know the feeling. Never did stay on anywhere more than a few weeks, a couple of months at most. Not since I got out into the world on my own. Uni was monstrous. I went thoroughly mad; luckily, they expect that from architectural engineers. Luckily, I've found something /legal/ that keeps me seeing more or less in one time stream at any given moment. Or at least lets me tell the difference." Crispin returns the nod with one of his own: perhaps he bought the coffee in somewhat bad grace, but he doesn't seem to be particularly upset.

"Oh no, I've been in London ten years now. It's just — firstborn son, traditional family. You do the math. Too many questions. So they think I've taken a degree." Jai shrugs, untroubled by revealing that sort of information. "So what time /are/ you in? Or from? Or… I don't really know how that works," he admits, setting his coffee cup down.

Crispin chuckles a little at the question, nodding his understanding at the explanation: "They probably haven't required that you send a copy of your degree; fair enough." He takes a big drink from his mug and sets it down before continuing: "I'm not really a time traveler, or at least not any more so than anyone else: I do travel in time, but it's just the generic from-the-past-to-the-present sort that everyone does. I /did/ spend a longer-than-average time in the Gloom between walking in and stepping out, but I was beaten in that race by that Viking bloke. So given that I'm less than a thousand years off, I'll call that ending up ahead."

Jai nods quickly. "Heard about that. But I was busy during it. Stuck down in Brighton, and it was during the off-season, no less." He sips his coffee, agreeing, "This is half-decent; ta." He smiles at Crispin, but his smile has an apologetic tinge to it as he doublechecks his phone, just to ensure there's no trouble at present. "Sounds like you got the better deal of the two. Starting with not being dead," he concludes dryly.

The moment Jai pulls out his phone, it starts to ring. It's an insistent, shrill ring quite unlike his usual ringtone. That's the emergency line, the one given to outside contacts.

"Lucky you. It wasn't pretty; then again, what is? It's never exactly a pile of fun and gumdrops." Crispin doesn't say anything about the phone, though he does wrinkle his nose minutely. "I suppose getting getting punched in the gut's not as bad as getting bitten in the nuts, so sure…" He squints at the ringing phone, though, adding: "Might be someone important."

Jai barks with laughter at the comparison. "Now that's just bollocks," he quips, ready with the joke, but is interrupted as well by the shrill tone. "Second." He answers, with a slightly more crisp: "Present," pushing his chair back and pushing his coffee cup away.

"I sure as hell hope this is the right bloody number," comes a very disturbed-sounding Estuary accent on the other end of the phone. "This is PC Freddie Shaw. Who am I speaking to?"

Given that they're not likely to be staying for seconds, Crispin pulls out his wallet and drops the few pounds for the coffees on the table. He's waiting, though, to see what this might be. Not that he has to go along for it. He's not in the Watch, after all. But he can just barely hear the voice on the other end, and it brings a smirk to his face. He could put a face to that grumble.

"Jai Sinha. You've got the right number." The eponymous Watch man glances towards Crispin, noting the smirk, brows raised as if to inquire whether Crispin knows him. "What's on?" Another, more measured look towards Crispin, and he mouths the words 'Come on' at him, starting for the door.

A slight grin and a nod — yes, Crispin knows him. He met him once, at any rate. Remarkable powers of sarcasm. But at the gesture to go, Crispin's smile falters. There's s definite sense of 'Do we HAVE to?' in his eyes, but it doesn't stop him rising — with mediocre grace — and accompanying Jai toward the door.

"Look, I've got a situation here." There's the sound of Freddie shifting the phone. "Christ, that's an understatement. It's over my head is what it is. I found it on my regular patrol. Haven't called it in yet. There's no way to explain it. I need you lot to make this disappear as best you can." A breath huffs against the receiver, then he names the address of a closed Londis location in Islington.

"Up for a ride up to Angel?" Jai wonders about Crispin, his hand over the receiver, but there's a note in his words that suggests Crispin doesn't really have a choice in the matter — even if he does shrug helplessly, as if that's not really his choice. Back to Freddie: "Twenty minutes to get us to Angel, give or take. If you need us in the meantime, personal number's — " And he rattles it off.

"Look, just get here as fast as you can, right, mate? I can't hang 'round here too long without calling this in. I'm supposed to be patrolling." Then, Freddie hangs up the phone.

"Gosh, I can't imagine a better way to spend my afternoon." Crispin grimaces, glancing up and down the street. "Don't suppose they gave you cab fare instead of coffee money?" he inquires hopefully. But the money's the lest of his worries. He doesn't look too happy about this. Not at all. "When we get closer," he murmurs, "I may be able to scout it out. It's easier when I know exactly where whatever it is… is."

"At a Londis' over there. Tube's quicker." And Jai heads for the familiar roundel-bearing signs, adding over his shoulder, "Grab my Oyster Card when I go through; swipe it twice. Do it quick enough and security won't notice." He nods at the murmuring. "All I can do is make it think I'm someone else, so…" He trails off, shrugging, readying his card to do the quick-change.

Crispin's fairly adept at that one; he grins, jogging toward the closest entrance and keeping close pace with Jai. "I'm not exactly Mister Blasty myself, you know. I mean, I can more or less point at it and say 'Eugh, that's nasty'." It shouldn't take long to get into the tunnel however they do it, but Crispin — despite moving quickly — looks more than a little nervous. Not a majestic hero of the ages. No claymores. Hopefully not an actual monster this time.

Jai manages to finagle his card to Crispin, and, miraculously, it works. He heads for the right line, leading Crispin through, and stops short in the tunnel, waiting for the right train. "Keep your eyes and ears open however it is that you do, right, our kid?" A little Mancunian coming out there, but he doesn't seem to notice how it sounds, simply waiting for the train to arrive.

Jai's mobile lights up with a text from Freddie's number. "Better get a CC on standby." Cleaning crew. The Watch's taskforce for mopping up supernatural messes. Texts are not very secure, so there's a few shorthand texts they use.

"Yes. Right. I'll be sure to tell you before it eats us if you tell me if I'm about to walk into traffic or something." Crispin is pacing back and forth on the platform, and when the doors open he barely waits for the passengers to get off before squirming his way on. At this hour, he's lucky to find a place to stand; he does reach back, though, to give Jai a hand if he needs it.

Jai quickly makes a few texts Watch-wards for the cleaning crew. "Will do." He's used to boarding the train, and tosses Crispin a surprised look at the hand, finding a pole to hang onto as the car lurches off. "Sounds like whatever we're dealing with is something that — " A grimace, to signify that it may well be unpleasant.

Since when is /anything/ to do with the Gloom plesant? Not even Touched are typically that pleasant. Crispin hangs onto one of the poles and half-closes his eyes, pressing his lips together tightly. Centering himself, or at least as much as he can in the press. "It's not the Nessie thing," he mutters. "They cleared that out."

"Something else. It's all right." Jai waits in silence as they proceed towards Islington, waiting and scanning his mobile in case anything else comes through, half-ignoring Crispin and the press of rush-hour commuting. Only when they near Islington does he murmur a, "Be ready," in Crispin's direction, apparently intending to use the other Touched as a tracker of some sort.

"Right. Right…" When they do arrive, Crispin is moving a little less quickly, a little less sure of himself. He walks as if he's texting or reading a book, but his eyes are wide and taking in, apparently, as much as they can. So: either on drugs or a tourist. But he manages to get through the turnstile and off down the road. Londis ho!

It's easy to tell why this particular Londis failed. It's down a little alleyway, off the main flow of traffic, with only two parking spots. From the look of the dust in the window and the faded 'For Lease' sign, it's been out of business awhile now. And outside, there's a rather irate looking short London Metro cop, doing his best to ignore the chattering radio on his hip.

There's a feeling in the air. Crispin's felt it a few times before. That off, nauseous feeling. Not nearly as strong, but it's present. It's a something you don't forget after it's hit you.

Jai doesn't realize, at first, that Crispin is slower, but when he does, he figures out quickly why, and slows his pace down. "You look like an /American/." It's a joke, but it does have a slightly cautionary note to it, as they emerge from Angel station and head for the shop. As they near the cop, he clears his throat pointedly, adding an, "All right, then?" in Freddie's direction, just in case he didn't notice at first.

"You want a sniffer dog, you get a sniffer dog," Crispin murmurs. "D'you feel that?" he adds, walking across the street without apparently looking left or right for traffic. "Felt that before. When reality went all wonky. All right, officer?" he inquires, stopping just behind Jai and staring at the abandoned shop.

"There's people," he murmurs. "Only not people. Not really corpses. Not really alive. P…robably not mannequins, unless there's some new fashion for putting clothing dummies in a circle. Which there could be. I can't… it's dark; I'm going to need to get inside. What'd you see?" This he apparently says to Freddie, but he doesn't look his way. More sort of gestures.

Jai just watches, gazing at the shop, but he's rather out of his depth when it comes to sensing such things, pacing a bit uncertainly. At the suggestion of mannequins, though, he grimaces, but keeps his reserve to himself, swallowing. "Yeah. Yeah, I feel it. It's… not good."

Freddie looks, well, he looks spooked. He takes off his hat and runs fingers through his short cropped hair. "You Sinha?" It's the voice from the phone, all right. He nods when he recognizes Crispin, then does a double-take as he hears the description. "Something like that." He nods towards the door and steps forward. "Caught a bunch of kids in here last week, getting high. They broke the lock. Came back to make sure they weren't at it again. Fuck me, this is what I found." He holds open the door for the two of them. He's clearly not keen on going back in.

It's dark, save a light over the counter. The merchandise is long gone, leaving a few bare shelves Bits of dust float through the air. There's disturbed footprints everywhere. And there, in the middle of the room, is a sight to make anyone's blood run cold.

A half dozen people sit in plastic chairs, back to back in a circle. Their body postures are relaxed, like people waiting a long time for a delayed plane. But they are stiff, more like the discarded carapaces of human beings than humans themselves. Their eyes are…gone, as are their tongues. Their mouths are agape. There's no sign of struggle, of pain. There's two women and four men, varying ages and ethnicities.

They'll both recognize one of them - the one that faces the door. Roddy Lawton. He was someone who cleaned safehouses for a few months before he saw too much and decided to pretend all this supernatural stuff didn't exist. He severed all ties with them. Last anyone heard from him was over a month ago.

Crispin walks forward, his stomach clenching hard as he sees the husks. The… the no longer bodies, really. He takes another step forward. Another, rather like a man sleepwalking. He swallows as he stops perhaps ten feet away from the people in the chairs. "That's how they found him," he says, his voice creaking. "I've seen pictures of a man who ended up like this. But he was just one man. Something…" He tilts his head downward, pointing it toward the center of the circle. "May have come through. It could be a soft place. I can look back, see what happened here. What did it to them. Though I could probably hazard a guess."

"Roddy," Jai remarks, indicating the one facing the door. He rubs a hand on his neck, swallowing, looking through to see if he recognizes any — if he's used any of their appearances at any point in time. "I could make a guess too. I bet we'd both be right." He watches Crispin, curious about his methodology. "They didn't struggle, though. No pain. I can tell that much, at least." While Crispin is doing what he does best, Jai starts looking for any more mundane signs of what happened, scanning for any tracks that the Other might have left, or anything else that a more-than-reasonably-observant person might pick up on.

There are a lot of footprints in the dust, lines drawn in it where the chairs were dragged into the circle. The footprints are of dress shoes. They stand out against the newest prints made by Freddie's utilitarian cop boots. The ones of the victims seem to have come in single file, and calmly took their seats.

Freddie lingers outside, keeping watch at the door. "When is your crew getting here? I'd rather not hang about. I don't get paid enough for this kind of fucked up shit."

There's a pause before Jai gets any response at all to his text, and when it does come, it's a text response. 'What's on? Skype me. -CM'

"It's more or less what it looks like." Crispin stands quite still, looking left and right. His eyes seem to grow a bit silvery as he does, and his voice becomes a low monotone murmur. "Walked in here. Stoned? Dazed? Possessed? However it was. They were… fed to the Gloom. Three men. Dark suits. No faces — or… or I can't see them." He hisses a breath and covers his face a moment, rubbing his eyes.

"Well-dressed. Dress shoes." Jai nods at Crispin's analysis, waiting, texting Cedric back as he does so.

txt@Cedric: Bit of a situation. Nothing pressing, not necessary beyond CC. - JS

Then, back to Freddie. "Oi, hold up. Not done yet. Five — five minutes?" It's uncertain; he gives Crispin a look to see if his estimate is right.

You paged Cedric with 'When Ced does see them, he'll recognize all but one from their Watch record files. They used the safehouses at some point, mostly temporarily, or had some contact with the Watch. They're all unaffiliated, but Touched. All on their own.'

"You lot should clean this up as quickly as you can. Anything you leave behind will get reported as a crime scene, preferably without the human husks sitting in a creepy-ass circle." Freddie lingers near the door, tossing wary looks left and right. "Do you know any of 'em? They like you?" The radio on his shoulder crackles. "Christ." He steps away to answer the call, though he'll keep a watch on the perimeter as he does.

Again, the text is a minute or more coming back. 'Got CC or you need a request? -CM'

"Man… /woman/. But she doesn't want me — they don't want me — to look." Crispin waves his hands in frustration, fiddling out his mobile and shaking it at Jai. "We knew one at least. Roddy. Pictures. Please. I'm still trying… don't /think/ there's anything else here. Lamia people, I'm guessing." The man's getting more irritable by the second, grimacing as he tries to focus on both the past and the present. "They hide. Their faces hide. But at least one woman. Maybe I can find her, but we — " He lifts his head. "Not here. I'll remember her. Cleanup."

Jai reaches out for Crispin's phone, nodding, taking the phone. It takes him a moment to situate himself with the camera, but he manages to snap photos, pacing around and between the corpses as he does so, unable to suppress a little shiver. He checks, each time, to make sure the picture went through, still keepin an eye on Crispin to make sure he's all right. "Break if you want. Fuzz can wait." That's spoken loudly enough for Freddie to hear, if he's not already distracted.

txt@Cedric: You want to come, you're welcome. Better than all those people. - JS

"Right. Right." Crispin takes a deep breath, blinking his eyes back into the present for a moment. He's not looking his best; patting his coat down, he pulls out a bright blue metal flask and takes a quick swig of it as he leans against a support pillar and glares at the floor encircled by the bodies. "Someone's juicing up the beyond here. He wants one hell of a push."

Cedric's response this time is a bit more terse. 'Not qual 4 CC, send photos & gtfo, am back here - CM' Jai knows where the IT guy / agent is - he actually sleeps in the server room a lot of the time when he's not with his girlfriend, but has been in the server room a lot more lately.

"I cannot bloody wait," calls 'the fuzz.' Freddie paces around out by the door. "Look here," He points through the door at Jai. "I'm not with you lot. I do you favours. I want this mess cleaned up, or at least sorted out to look less like a supernatural fuckfest. Best thing for all of us. If you don't, then I have to call this in as-is. And you're going to have detectives asking the wrong kind of questions."

"We should go," Jai tells Crispin, texting the photos to Cedric on the other Touched's phone without even asking. "We should… go." Again, repeating himself slightly distractedly. Maybe it's because of Freddie having chosen now to put a word in. "Cleanup's coming, mate. Not us. Look at us." He spreads his hands — looking hardly qualified for such a grisly detail — and adds, "Five minutes. Can you hold 'em off 'til then? Crew'll be here by then."

Lean, lean… stare. Crispin leans there staring into space for a good fair bit before jumping away from the column like it's burned him. "Fuck!" Scots cursing continues and he stares at the thing, shaking his head in horror and disgust. "He was here. /He/ was here. MacNamara. Right there, standing where I… urgh. He's coaxing it out. God, he's enjoying this. Smiling. Smiling peaceful as a…" He gives his head another firm shake. What should we? Go? Yeah. Off. Sorry, Freddie. Cleanup's on the way. Isn't it? It is. They're coming. They're not far. Two minutes, tops." His eyes are still a bit greyed out, and he murmurs: "You've got to help me out, Jai. I might walk into traffic."

Freddie rubs the bridge of his nose. "You two bugger off. I'll stay here til your clean-up crew arrives. Then I've got to get back on my beat. They're barking at me for status reports on a bar row two blocks over." He shakes the radio clipped to his shoulder. "I'd ask what that's all about," he nods towards the room, "But I seriously don't think I wanna know."

Jai reaches for Crispin's arm, slipping the mobile back into Crispin's coat pocket, intending to haul him out if necessary. "Probably don't," he agrees with Freddie, his tone apologetic. "Glad I don't know the half of it." If Crispin's allowed him to grab his arm, his hand tightens. "All right? One foot in front of the other." If he has any comment as to the actual details of what Crispin found, however, he keeps them to himself — that's a detail on which it pays to be reticent in front of the cops, after all.

"You don't, mate. You really, really don't." Crispin closes his eyes tightly for a moment, but that doesn't seem to prevent him from actually seeing. It just feels better. He takes Jai's hand, clasping it tightly as they head for the door. "I'm coming back," he murmurs. "I need — I definitely need to get back to the hostel. Wynn knows how to set me right. I'm pulling back in unless you think there's anything else we really need in here?"

What does a proper resident of the British Isles do when one is given unfortunate news? Make tea, of course. It also does double duty with keeping Wynn busy while he waits for people to show up. The hostel guests are either out, or over in the main area, hanging out in the common room, so things are quiet. There's a box of biscuits out, but it's a full tray. Untouched.

Jai has escorted Crispin over with all due haste after alerting Wynn they're coming. The rest, he's left to Cedric, his focus more on getting his newfound acquaintance to safety than in filling in someone he knows and trusts. So he heads in. "Careful. Careful. You all right?" This to Crispin, while he occupies himself by shouldering the door open to where Wynn is.

Crispin comes stumbling in, one hand stretched in front of him, the other arm looped over Jai's shoulder. "More or less. We haven't run into any walls and I haven't been hit by a car, so I count it a success." He squeezes his eyes shut a moment before blinking them open. Wynn. Tea and biscuits. "You're really there?" he inquires, his voice going low and anxious as he nods to the hostel's keeper.

True to form when he's on business, Cedric enters the Red Building directly via the back door. He's separate from the other two, thoroughly bundled in hat, muffler, gloves, and his usual torn black jacket., and it's easy to see at a glance why - one look at him makes it clear that he's not entirely well. Pale as a sheet and shivering are both very unlike him, but he's on his feet and here, with a black backpack slung over his shoulder and wearing a decidedly set and focused expression. He raises a hand in greeting, but says nothing yet, pausing only to cough into one sleeve.

"Oh, Jesus," says Wynn. He moves forward quickly, crossing the room on long legs. He reaches out to grab for Crispin's arm, to lead him to the couch to sit down. "What have you been doing?" He shoots Jai a look. "What have you been asking him to do?" His tone is clearly accusatory. He cups Crispin's cheek. "Do you need me to give you a point? Ah, Christ, what a stupid question. Here. Just take a deep breath." Cedric gets shot a look, but for the moment, he's more concerned with Crispin.

"It's fine," Crispin breathes. He sits on the couch and waves a hand: "I did it. People were dead, Wynn. Husked. Are. Will be? Are. That quiet girl with the… the hair, she — she's still here? Or is she…" Gone for months, the girl he's talking about. Crispin's eyes are wide and baffled and he tries to blink sense into them. He shakes his head quickly to Wynn, looking back up and waving a severe hand toward Jai and Cedric. "Hush, lads. Just for a couple of minutes. I need to be — just don't answer any questions, or he'll try to /answer/ them, and that'll be a disaster." He falls silent then, staring at Wynn with anxious and pleading eyes.

Jai raises his hands at Wynn. "Ain't on, mate. We got into a bit of a situation. Corpses. He thinks MacNamara." His gaze goes for Cedric at the cough, and he grimaces. "If I'm the only one here's on the mend, we've lost the plot." His brows raise, though, and he makes a quick gesture: just how much can Crispin be clued into? But then, when Crispin tells it all, he falls quiet, nodding.

Cedric shakes his head quickly at Jai, but doesn't seem especially inclined to speak anyway. Instead, he settles down in one of the armchairs and pulls off his gloves and hat, tossing them casually to the floor next to him. Working quickly and silently, he pulls from the pack an iPad and sets it in his lap, resting it in a holder provided by the keyboard that also serves as a case. He doesn't bother to remove his jacket, instead working with a few keystrokes and a quick set of swipes on the screen. Whatever he's doing, he's very intent on it, and hasn't said a word yet, although he does glance up at Wynn and Crispin, his frown deepening.

"Crispin's lost his temporal fix. I have to give it back to him. But to do that, I have to link our minds. So, yes, please do shut it for the next few minutes? I don't fancy accidentally digging 'round in his mind for answers without meaning to." The irritation clips those words off Wynn's tongue. He kneels down in front of Crispin and takes hold of his hands. "Just focus on me, all right?"

Unless there's an objection from Crispin, Wynn initiates the connection. There. There's the compass reading. A place for Crispin to lock on to the here and now instead of times blending in to one another. It's a moment of calm, but it does require silence.

And Crispin certainly doesn't object. He does give an apologetic smile to the others, though, and settles in as comfortably as he can. His mind is a /mess/, but Wynn doesn't need to read it to set him right. It's a bit like resetting, a bit like clearing out his buffers and making his mind work more efficiently.

It's only a few minutes, and at the end of it, the colour's back in Crispin's cheeks. He sits back with a relieved sigh, nodding his head: "Right. Okay. I should be a little more coherent now. It's all /right/, Wynn. I volunteered. And no, it wasn't fun, but I didn't expect it to be, now did I?"

Jai watches the whole thing, before grimacing at Wynn. "Right — right. Sorry. I'll make myself scarce. Glad to hear you're all right," to Crispin. But there's no heat in the words; he doesn't take offense, just seems to realize this isn't his place. "Give us a ring when you want." To all and sudry, it seems, as he starts for the door.

Once he's got the thing he wanted pulled up and constructed, Cedric settles back into the armchair to wait until they're done, closing his eyes and leaning back into the softness of the chair, tucking hands beneath his armpits. He doesn't immediately look up when the conversation starts, but when Jai speaks, he finally opens his eyes and looks over. "Mind your email, I've probably got to give a briefing on this shite later." He shuts up again, then - a farewell and acknowledgement of sorts.

Wynn keeps hold of Crispin's hands even after the connection is broken. "You're not a sodding field agent, Crispin. Stop acting like one. You've used your abilities more in the last week than you have in months. It's not good for you, and you know it." It's hard to stand up against Welsh admonishment. Speaking of which. He nods over at Cedric. "And you. You look like you should be in bed. Sleep here tonight if you like. I've room." He stands slowly and nods towards Jai. "I think a briefing is in order, yes."

Giving Wynn's hands a little squeeze, Crispin manages a smile. "Only it's necessary. You know how it is." He looks back up to Jai and gives him a little wave: "Keep in touch. You need me, let me know." That hand snakes into his pocket then and he pulls out his phone: "He sent you what we saw, yes? MacNamara was there. /There/. I saw him… well, I mean, he was there and watching when the people got…" He looks faintly green about the gills. "Eaten."

"Yeah." Cedric just shoots Wynn a look that can only be described as the hairy eyeball. "Love to be, but have a crack at this." He brings up what he was working on and turns it around to show the pair. The concatenated photo lays the shot of Vegeir husked in the compromised safe house, the Viking runes before him, and the photo of those eaten people. "Same thing. What's more, they're all Touched who stayed in a safehouse and went their ways or just quite working with the Watch. Got files on all but one."

Wynn's eyes go wide as he stares at the photo. "Christ," he mutters. "I think we have to assume that we're being hunted. For whatever reason, we have the energy needed to do whatever he's trying to do. We need to circle the wagons. Bring in everyone who'll come in. Anyone who isn't already living with other Touched. Can you tell if these people were living alone?" He points at the screen with one hand. The other's still holding Crispin's. He doesn't even seem to realize he hasn't released it.

"I hadn't put it together like that. I didn't know they were — Christ. They didn't just bring them back; they sucked everything out of them." Crispin grimaces, glancing back up to Cedric. "Whatever it is, then, he's taking Touched and feeding them to the Gloom. Anyone who doesn't have a support network. I /could/…" He glances uncertainly toward Wynn. "I mean, it wouldn't be easy, but it would be possible for me to start remotely looking for Touched in the London area. Checking in on them without having to physically go there, for the ones we know at least. Finding those we /don't/ know will be harder. You're right, though. We need to get as many of them in as quickly as we can."

"Got one more thing I've got to do," Cedric answers, rubbing at his face with one hand. "I know what he's doing with that energy, and reckon I know how to stop it. The trick is doing it without alerting him to the presence of the Watch. Once I do this, we're going to have to move fucking fast to take this cocksucker down." This time, he rubs at his temple. "I've got five more artifacts to find, and that World Link thing is one of them. I can break it. That's what the knife does. But it's too bloody obvious." His voice is rough around the edges.

"Cedric. Go home and go to bed. Technically, I outrank you." Wynn thinks about that for a second. "Okay, I probably don't. But this is my hostel, and I'm kicking you out of it so you can go and get some sleep." He points towards the door. "File your report with the higher-ups. They'll mobilize agents to check on known Touched and bring them back to safehouses. It's not my division, and the two of you are in no shape to do more. And you," he turns a stern look on Crispin. "You are resting. We can talk strategy in the morning. You're just figuring out what year this is."

"Yeah, you — you look worse than /me/, Ced." Crispin grins broadly then, giving Wynn another squeeze to the hand still holding his. "And that's saying something. Have a cuppa and a biscuit. Speaking of, /I'd/ like a cuppa and a biscuit." He looks back to Wynn with something between gratitude and amusement on his lips: "Oi, who mothers who around here? Fine turn up this is, you being the one to tell me to take it easy and not work so hard."

"First you offer me a cot, then you kick me out, then you offer me a cuppa." Still, Cedric's packing up his iPad and keyboard without demur. "What the fuck, mate?" Tiredness mingles with irritation. "Right then, I'll be off." There's irritation in the rough edges of his voice as he picks up hat and gloves and heaves himself to his feet, pausing a moment to put them on. "I'll get that report filed and all. Cheers." With that, he hefts the bag over his left shoulder and makes his way towards the door, scowling to himself.

"He offered the cuppa. I offered the cot, but you didn't answer. So that's why I'm kicking you out," Wynn points towards the door again. "Go and /rest/. We need you fighting form right now. Not looking like a bloody sheet wearing glasses." He pats Crispin's hand. "Fresh pot on the stove. And some tea biscuits."

"That's because I'm the nice one." Crispin rises, leaning forward and giving Wynn a peck on the temple before rising and striding with a lot more apparent confidence into the kitchen. "Take care, Cedric. Keep in touch. /Really/ keep in touch. Might be good if all of us did a bit of a headcount at the end of the day."

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