The Forgotten (MA)

((OOC: As of right now this is reserved for Piper/ Jade and Jacob. If anyone else wants in, message me. Keep in mind that at times this will be MA themed, and I think I will have it marked so that people can avoid it if they choose.))

---

It started small.... barely noticeable at first. 

A homeless person was missing. 

Okay, so perhaps they were vagrant and had simply moved on? It wasn't unheard of. Easily dismissed and not taken as a top priority. Then a few more happened... And then several more. 

Before long, it was not just the homeless that were coming up missing. Piper was sitting on her futon, pouring over a college course selection book, highlighter balancing precariously on the end of her bill as she scanned her choices. Her thoughts, admittedly, were not on the weak and vulnerable of St. Canard. Rather, on which classes she would start at St. Canard University. 

She was just about to draw a neon mark over "Biochemistry" when the news report blaring from her TV caught her ear. 

Reporter: "Good afternoon folks, Guy Everyman here with a special bulletin from St. Canard P.D. Officials would like to ask the general public to keep on the look out for one Prissy Puffington, of St. Canard's upper north side. She went missing around 2 PM last night, and her parents are offering a fifty thousand dollar reward for anyone who can offer a tip to lead to her safe return." A picture of a small Puffin in what was clearly a designer dress flashed across screen. " She is 20 years old, stands three foot, four inches and has black and white feathering. If you have seen her, or know her location, please contact the number below."

The screen flashed back to the reporter. "Miss Puffington's disappearance is one of several that have been sweeping the city in the past few months, and with the growing number of reports, rumors of a trafficking ring have began to circulate. St. Canard P.D. has not confirmed this, but urgently reminds everyone to be aware of their surroundings. Now back to your regularly sch--"

Remote in hand, Piper turned off her television. She'd heard rumors of some goings on, but to be frank... she'd kept a low profile. Malicia's work kept her busy, and because it was such a lucrative venue, she did not wish to risk exposure through her more petty pass times. 

But this one bugged her. Perhaps because she was the same age as the girl who had gone missing. After a few silent moments, lost in though... she stood up and pulled out her cell phone. Her finger hovered for a moment... wondering if this was something she could really turn to Jacob about. In her mind, she knew what she was planning to do... and he had asked that she keep him in the loop about anything she was attempting. 

She bit her lip. Piper had no idea if this would work or not. If nothing more, she could discuss it with someone who had a lot more experience than her. Pressing her contact, she quickly texted Jacob, not wanting to bother him if he wasn't free. 

"I am plotting."

    • Piper/ Jade
      Piper/ Jade

      Piper took the cup, giving Jacob a smile in return. "I am feeling better, thank you. Coffee helps. Cure a drug with a drug, right?"

      She settled in eh her coffee, sipping at it carefully so she didn't burn her tongue. Her feet swung gently back and forth as she waited for everyone to get their second rounds. Once they had, she set her cup down and hopped off the counter.

      She then looked at her cup... "so... what counters ketamine?"

      • Quiverwing Duck
        Quiverwing Duck

        "Well... I was looking into it when we were in the lab," said Drake, after thanking Jacob and taking his refilled coffee cup back. "There really isn't anything that will do it, barring experimental methods I don't know about. Once you're in the k-hole--" he held up one hand, "Nota bene, I did not make up the term, that's what they call it--you may or may not be on the verge of overdose, but if more was administered it'd be pretty likely."

        He leaned against the counter, crossing his legs at the ankles. "If that happens then all you can do is try to counteract symptoms as your body goes into shutdown. Which you obviously can't do for yourself if you're undergoing that. Otherwise, you wait it out."

        • DarkwingPsycho
          DarkwingPsycho

          Jacob nodded, then looked soberly between them.  "So.  Round two?  How shall we proceed?"

          • Piper/ Jade
            Piper/ Jade

            "I will have to try again." It was a simple answer. "In disguise this time since they know what I look like. And in a couple of weeks. Give them time to feel safe again."

            She frowned, "I hate having to delay it... but we have no choice. In the meantime, surveillance will be key. Maybe we can get a break. If Drake remembers what they look like... " she glanced at him. "We can lowkey stalk them. Find out who they are working for and where they are taking the girls? I tried that once before but if they are using ketamine... it would be easy to overlook someone being kidnapped as someone who is just drunk."

            Guilty, she rubbed the back of her head a bit. She'd possibly missed it already.

            "And we can make it a good disguise. More than just a wig." Holding her hair in her hand she considered for a moment. Possibly a cut, and dye job?

            She didn't know yet.

            "And if what you are saying is true... you might not be able to help Drake. You got into a confrontation with them, right? They saw you."

            • Quiverwing Duck
              Quiverwing Duck

              "I... may have insinuated I'd kill that big falcon guy if I saw him again," Drake admitted, a little grudgingly. "If he saw me again, I'd give even odds he'd either immediately attack me or he'd just clear out."

              His voice got a little softer and he told Piper, "You did a good job, Miss Lee. I know it didn't go as you had imagined it would, but we got a sample of the drug, and that alone will give us a lot to work with. We can narrow it down to a manufacturer and we might get something useful from their distribution data."

              Drake held up a finger. "Also, while I was skulking, I was able to get a couple of photos of those two. They're not great due to that club lighting, but its something. And because they spoke to us, we have voiceprints, too." He started to sip his coffee, then added, "And a feather from that big jerk, may as run analysis on that."

              "Cases have been cracked with weaker leads than that." Drake took a long pull from his coffee cup. He paused then with the mug still near his beak staring at nothing for a very long moment. Then he turned to Piper and said, "If you insist on going back in, the approach has to be a little different. If we can rig something to remotely monitor your vital signs, we'd know very quickly if you'd gotten dosed with ketamine, before you got too loopy."

              • DarkwingPsycho
                DarkwingPsycho

                Jacob nodded at the ideas.  All very good, and all very true.  "If we can determine their base of operations, we could look at attempting to bug it.  Place cameras, etc.  However that would likely still mean we'd need an insider.  A better disguise would be a start, along with more tests on the evidence we do have..."

                He looked gravely between them.  "Tracking her vitals surreptitiously is a good thought...but I'm going in this time.  With her."

                • Piper/ Jade
                  Piper/ Jade

                  She gave Jacob a look... she wasn't too sure that his reaction would be any different than Drake's. 

                  Then again, there was a lot more experience to Jacob. She bit her lip in thought... but he would be a bit less stand-outish. His age alone would make him someone to overlook. Or look... it really could go both ways. She supposed it would depend on the venue. Running her thumbs along the side of her cup, she debated with herself about this track.

                  It would be a comfort having him nearby, but it would also mean he would have to disconnect with her. He couldn't swoop in and save the day if things went wrong. He had to stay away... and she would have to force herself not to call for him or look to him. 

                  So maybe it was her own weakness that scared her? 

                  Despite her mental segway, she hung onto one thing, "I went loopy?" then added, "I am fine with the vitals monitoring. And of course, we have time to pursue the information we have now. It's something I have never heard of... transdermal ketamine..." 

                  • Quiverwing Duck
                    Quiverwing Duck

                    Drake nodded at Jacob when he mentioned going in. "I agree, sir. I think it should be you. I can monitor, and also, I'm..." he gave a mild wave of his free hand. "I'm good at not being seen and getting into places. It's not an issue if I need to go in after you."

                    "An advantage to monitoring your vitals, Miss Lee, is you can then be warned that you've been drugged," Drake explained. "Then you can act as if you are far more affected than is the case, which will minimize the chances of them giving you additional doses." He sipped his coffee. "And yes, you went loopy. I ended up carrying you around."

                    • DarkwingPsycho
                      DarkwingPsycho

                      Jacob could see the look Piper was giving him out of the corner of his eyes and he assumed it was because she was hesitant to have him along.  He was glad she didn't voice her concerns, though.  It was something they could iron out at a later date, but in his mind, it was already decided.

                      He chuckled at her question.  "Well, from what I could hear you weren't exactly thinking clearly.  And then there was the whole..." he glanced toward Drake but continued anyway, "shirt incident."

                      Then he turned his full attention on Drake.  "Then it's agreed, although there won't be a need for you to come in...if that situation does arise for whatever reason, I want you to call back-up.  Do not come in yourself.  It wouldn't do for all three of us to lose ourselves to this situation."

                      He drank from his own mug.  "We can take what we've gathered to SHUSH, they have a much more extensive lab than I do here.  We'll just have to be low-key about it.  Dr. Bellum does get overly curious sometimes."

                      • Piper/ Jade
                        Piper/ Jade

                        "Carrying me?" she asked... "Don't tell me you threw me over your shoulder like some cave-duck." 

                        ...he had. 

                        She huffed, and puffed out her cheek slightly. It really was quite adorable. She sipped her coffee as an excuse to not have to respond anymore to the madness that was her while on drugs. 

                        She glanced at Jacob, at his suggestion namely that they use SHUSH resources. "Um... won't it be hard to keep low-key when there are three of us? I mean.. you'd fit in fine." She knew that he worked in the engineering department. Her fingers drummed against her cup. "And... just tossing this out there... because like I said, this is basically new tech... how do we know it isn't a SHUSH job? Or FOWL? You know their science departments are massive, and science tends to have... unethical blindings to experiments." She was taking a massive stab in the dark. 

                        Her concern was possibly this being difficult to trace through SHUSH because it was a SHUSH job. 

                        Weirder things had happened,

                        • Quiverwing Duck
                          Quiverwing Duck

                          "I'm afraid I did indeed have to do that, Miss Lee," Drake confessed. "It was not a problem, you didn't impede me at all when I clobbered the guy who had grabbed you. So you needn't worry about that." He said this with a deadpan seriousness. "Also, you did not act in an unbecoming manner while under the influence of that drug." After a pause, he added, "Mostly."

                          Drake took a long sip of coffee.

                          "Sir," he said to Jacob, although he fell silent. Now he did look a touch uncertain. If Piper and Jacob both went down, he was not entirely sure he could refrain from going after them. Carefully, he said, "I... would call for back-up." And then I'd go in.

                          • DarkwingPsycho
                            DarkwingPsycho

                            "Drake and I will go," Jacob said indifferently.  "He's already listed as a consultant under me.  No one has to know about what we're analyzing, we're simply making use of the equipment there.  If there are any questions, I'm certain I can deflect them effectively enough.  After all, I have a few cases on my plate currently.  However there isn't a definitive way to rule out SHUSH or FOWL.  There just isn't another way to get the information we need without that lab."

                            Jacob glanced toward Drake, catching the other man's hesitation.  But he didn't say anything beyond, "Good man."

                            • Piper/ Jade
                              Piper/ Jade

                              She looked in disbelief for a moment. 

                              It almost felt like he was muscling her out of her own case. He and Drake were going to analyze the patch? While it had a logical root, they were still leaving her out of it.

                              She put a hand on her hip, frowning a bit. "I know I came to you for help with this." She spoke very plainly, making sure to bury her frustration. "But it is still my case." Just a reminder. "I don't like being side-lined." It wasn't often she spoke up against Jacob's plans, but considering the mission had already been scrapped once-- and from what she was understanding a lot of it had to do with people acting without her consent-- she didn't want to miss her second shot.

                              • Quiverwing Duck
                                Quiverwing Duck

                                "It's only lab work, Miss Lee. I don't have any objection with you being in the lab, but it's not very interesting," said Drake. He looked thoughtful, then admitted, "Well, I think it's interesting. But I also think working out is a lot of fun and have been told I am 'messed up'," he made air quotes with one hand, "for that point of view. So who am I to judge anyone's preferences."

                                He shrugged. "Anyway, it isn't my call. I'm not currently an official SHUSH agent."

                                • DarkwingPsycho
                                  DarkwingPsycho

                                  Jacob raised a brow at Piper.  "Of course it's your case," he conceded.  "No one is trying to sideline you, I'm simply saying SHUSH is the best place to analyze the data we've collected, and it would be difficult enough to explain why one consultant is there.  Besides, I assumed that while we were compiling the forensics, you'd be working on a new identity.  It won't take long, Piper...  The intel, the surveillance, the voice analysis...we can handle that here."  He glanced toward Drake.  "In light of that, I suppose I could go to the lab alone while you take care of the rest here."  He shrugged.  It was a thought.  But there was no rush to any of this, it sounded like.

                                  • Piper/ Jade
                                    Piper/ Jade

                                    Drake simply didn't know her, so it was forgivable. But her interests were not something he was familiar with. However as an operative himself, surely he could sympathize with wanting to keep control.

                                    The same with Jacob.

                                    "I want to be kept apprised." She stated. Again, it wasn't often that she put her foot down, or even really took charge. But if she didn't voice it, then she'd only have herself to blame. They needed to know what she expected of them.

                                    "We won't get another shot at this." She reminded them. "If we even manage to get a second. I relent to the fact that SHUSH has better equipment, and that I cannot be a part of that." Cute as she was. "But no responding without my say so."

                                    Who knew she had it in her? Plus, what did she expect? Then to rush in and strong arm the manufacturer once they found him? Without her?

                                    ... well yes. Sipping her coffee, she held back the rest of what she wanted to say. It would probably be better to address later... but they both needed to come to terms with the fact that she was going to be harmed in this process.

                                    • Quiverwing Duck
                                      Quiverwing Duck

                                      Nodding to Jacob, Drake said, "That would also be fine." Turning to Piper, he said, "If you're familiar with doing this kind of analysis work, you can work with me on the stuff I'd be doing here. If you're not, you can still hang around and keep an eye on what I'm doing, it's not going to bother me." He could, by now, tell that Piper was probably feeling a bit adrift about her own project.

                                      "There are always ways, Miss Lee," Drake settled down against the counter again to sip his coffee. "I understand this is important to you. I apologize if my attitude came across as perfunctory, that wasn't my intention."

                                      • DarkwingPsycho
                                        DarkwingPsycho

                                        Jacob raised his brow again, looking a little confused.  "Well of course we'd 'keep you apprised,'" he replied.  "You're an integral part to this, and it was your idea, after all."  Why would she automatically assume that he wouldn't fill her in?  "We're not deciding anything here until we have all of the facts in line and a good plan in motion."  It wouldn't do to go in attempting to wing it.  There had been too many variables at work last time.

                                        "So.  I'm going to SHUSH alone then?"

                                        • Piper/ Jade
                                          Piper/ Jade

                                          Piper went to answer Jacob, but then looked to Drake. 

                                          "You... can call me Piper." she said, giving a small smile. It was starting to sound odd... being 'Miss Lee'. And she felt it even weirder because he was so much older than her. Then, getting back on task, "I would like to hear the audio at least. It might jar a memory." Not likely, but maybe.

                                          "If you want to take Drake with you to SHUSH that is fine." Since they'd agreed to not act without her and to keep her in the loop. "It isn't about keeping an eye on anyone." She added. "Again, things went wrong, and I don't want that to happen again." And she also needed to know that they would listen to her. If they couldn't, she'd have to go it alone, and she didn't relish that idea. "So yes, we need a plan, and we need to stick to it."

                                          She was trying, but she was clearly use to working alone. Her risks were her own, and she didn't need to assure anyone else in order to take them. In this case, she had to. 

                                          • Quiverwing Duck
                                            Quiverwing Duck

                                            Drake seemed pretty affable with regards to where he ought to do his work. As long as the lab had the equipment he required, he was not otherwise picky. "Sorry, of course, Piper," he said to her after she made her request. Although when she mentioned listening to the audio, he looked slightly abashed. "Uh, I apologize in advance for some of my language in that recording." Horrifyingly, he'd dropped a single f-bomb in the course of that confrontation.

                                            Quietly, he wondered to Jacob, "If I continue to do SHUSH-adjacent work, am I going to need to go through their testing? Because I can nail it, if so."

                                            • DarkwingPsycho
                                              DarkwingPsycho

                                              Jacob didn't respond to Piper's attempts to assert dominance.  He could understand it, but he didn't find it necessary.  They were a team, or at least that's how he saw things.

                                              "All right.  You can use the equipment downstairs if you'd like to start analyzing the voices."  He smirked at Drake's formal apology, then put his hand on the other man's shoulder and gave it a small squeeze.  "If that's what you'd like, I'm sure given our previous work together I can convince John to wrangle you a consulting contract much like what we do for...for Darkwing."  His eyes looked a little wistful for a second, then it passed.

                                              "Shall we be going, then?"

                                              He glanced at Piper with a playful expression.  "No exploring...please."  There were things he did not want Piper to run across.  It was true most of those things were behind locked doors, but he knew those wouldn't stop her if she was curious enough.  Not that she would go through his things, but he was protective enough of those items to at least mention it.  Even if it was in a way that wasn't too serious.

                                              • Piper/ Jade
                                                Piper/ Jade

                                                "Ruining all my fun..." she said with a magnificent pout. Of course she wanted to snoop. But, she wouldn't. She understood that while she allowed Jacob access to pretty much everything with her, he was not that open.

                                                She continued to sip her coffee, wanting to finish the cup before showering. Hopefully something would come about from all the extra digging. The night, hopefully, would hold more answers than they were seeing.

                                                ((Ooc: okay. I want to close here and start a new thread. Go ahead and post your closing posts if you would like to :) ))