Cat and Mouse

Discussion in 'ONE ON ONES IN CHARACTER' started by Verite, Aug 2, 2016.

  1. The day started off normally as any. After all, for most people, that's how days start; innocently and normally enough, oblivious to any potential incidents that would come their way until they would indeed come later on.

    And of course, Karen Takashiro was no exception. Her morning routine that she had always stuck by was simple enough, it was more her dedication to following it that others might describe as almost "robotic" in a sense. But she didn't care. She didn't particularly have anyone to impress at home (except for a certain childhood friend, though even so...), and there wasn't a case on her plate at the moment to fuss over, so it was whatever.

    With her long hair just a little messy (bedhead would do that to you), wearing red plaid pajamas, Karen's first move after getting out of bed this fine morning was walking into the kitchen to fix up some breakfast and coffee. Though she knew how to make a few some odd recipes, Karen wasn't much of a cook. So today, she'd be having the luxurious meal of... generic brand oatmeal, along with some coffee.

    A boring, ordinary beginning, to a day she didn't know or would be able to predict just how not boring it was going to be.

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    As usual, Tsu was already awake when Karen dragged herself out of bed. He couldn't help but wonder if it was something she'd ever fix. Even though she was a detective now, she still harbored such counter-intuitive habits...

    "There's already eggs out here," he hollered from the living room of the small apartment room they "shared". Tsu made it a habit of his own to wake up early each morning to watch the news, just in case something might pop up that would possibly show up in one of Karen's cases later on. Today was one such day. He didn't want to bother her with it now though. She'd get grumpy if he bothered her about something work-related just as she'd woken up, even if it was already a little past noon. The prepared breakfast was sort of his way of getting her into a good mood. That way, a case suddenly being tossed upon her hopefully wouldn't be so bothersome.

    "I should mention that someone called for you a few times. Looked like it was from the office. That assistant of yours really wants your attention." Tsu chuckled to himself at the thought. He often helped her with her cases, but he wasn't officially employed under her. She did, however, have an assistant that was. He was a timid young male, one who was uneasy around Karen almost all the time, given her demeanor. "Sounds like things might get busy again soon."
  3. "... I see," came Karen's plain reply to both of Tsu's remarks, concerning the eggs and the calls. Not even a good morning. Though, perhaps one could argue that their relationship was casual enough that they didn't even need to bother with that.

    And here, the thing she was perhaps most excited about, between the assistant being eager to get her attention, and the possibility of getting quite a bit more work, assuming those two things didn't just go hand in hand, was... the thought of having some nice apple & cinnamon flavored oatmeal. Though perhaps eggs would have to do for now. Especially if Tsu had already went through the trouble of making some for her.

    After all, what were friends for, right? That sounded like something other people would say anyway.

    Putting up the oatmeal for now, Karen would proceed to help herself to some of the eggs, sitting down at the table with her utensils. Sometimes, Karen had to wonder why he hadn't officially moved in yet, considering he spent so much time here as it was and did so much for her like cook breakfast, but she never got around to asking. In any case...

    "And here, I thought he didn't like talking to me..." the young woman mused with a soft sigh, having a bite of the meal. Munch munch munch.

    Hmm, not bad.

    "Did he leave any voicemails?"

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    "That he did," Tsu replied, finishing off the last few scraps of egg that remained on his own plate, washing them down with what was left of his orange juice. "I wanted to let you finish eating first..." he began, pausing to wipe his face, utmost cleanliness being something he prided himself in. "..but I suppose it doesn't matter now. Apparently, a serial killer popped up. He said they decided to ask for your assistance in catching him."

    Tsu stood from the couch and made his way to the kitchen, where he washed his dishes off and put them away. Instead of the returning to the living room, he simply leaned against the counter, knowing that he'd probably end up washing the dishes that Karen dirtied. It would admittedly be easier to simply use paper plates, seeing as how it was just the two of them, but Tsu never liked eating off of them. Maybe it had something to do with the luxurious lifestyle he led up until moving out of his parents' home.

    "It seems that we'll be taking a ride soon. Would you prefer that I drive?"
  5. Even at the mention of a serial killer, Karen didn't seem to even take a pause, continuing to silently eat her breakfast, her response to that just being a nod. Many a time she had been called "cold" because of her general lack of reaction towards things like this, but to be honest, she simply couldn't really come to pity people she didn't know, even if they were victims of a grizzly murderer. She knew that the perp was doing bad things that had to be stopped, so wasn't it fine by itself to work to put a guy like that behind bars and make sure he never hurt another person again, while leaving the work of tending to the affected families to others?

    Well, now she was just thinking too deeply for that too early.

    After finishing her meal and soaking the plate upon making her way over to the sink in the kitchen, opting to wash the dishes later today. Tsu's prediction was probably going to be right enough; Karen usually said "later," but "later" came quite later than expected, considering Karen would usually find herself too focused on work to remember to function like a normal person.

    When presented with the question on who was to drive, Karen initially gave a shrug, an indecisive answer that didn't really tell Tsu anything, though it wouldn't be long until the blonde young woman would give another response.

    "If you'd like. Anything useful he said about this serial killer in those mails?" Karen said, quickly shifting to the topic of work before she even got to work.

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    "Unfortunately, no," Tsu replied, while also taking care of the dish just placed in the sink. "It's another one of those lovely cases where even those who know something know next to nothing at all. Then again, that in itself does tell us one thing..."

    Tsu turned off the sink and returned to the couch, having taken note earlier that Karen had yet to even change, as per usual. "Whoever is doing the killing knows how to clean up after themselves." He changed the channel back to that which he usually watched the news on, the television having previously been on a channel showing some sort of animal documentary talking about how certain species would abandon their young almost at birth, forcing them to evolve on their own.

    They weren't showing anything of interest at the moment. "It's likely the news stories will be hushed soon. I've no idea how many they've killed, but if they're calling in outside help, it must be getting pretty serious."
  7. Karen took a brief pause, spurred on (perhaps unknowingly) by what was on the television. She had never been an easy person to distract when her mind was set on something else, but her eyes were planted on the TV for a quick moment, as though it almost resonated with her without her even realizing it, before she'd recover quickly enough.

    "I see. And if the full details went to the public, it could cause a small panic or something to that degree that could potentially impede effective investigation," Karen responded coolly, brushing aside some stray hair before deciding to opt for some water to get the body up and running the "natural way" instead of coffee this so fine morning, producing a glass of some and downing it all in one big gulp, before setting the glass down next to the sink without even a small sigh for air like some people tended to do after a big drink.

    "Get the car up and running if you're finished here. I'll be out once I'm ready," she spoke again, stretching her arms for a minute and letting out a quiet breath.

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    Tsu smiled at Karen's sudden transition. She probably never noticed it, but she always possessed this sort of serious demeanor whenever she entered "work mode". In a way, it was her own sort of "magical girl transformation". Not that he was into such shows, but it was something the kids talked about a lot when they were younger. For some reason, it seemed like the type of thing Karen would dislike.

    "Will do, boss," he replied. He pressed the power button on the remote, and the holographic screen dissipated into the small device at its base. After grabbing the keys, he made his way over towards the door. They lived on the second floor, but the view wasn't anything excessively fancy. They lived in a bustling part of the city, so there were plenty of cars whizzing by. Due to her job, it was important that she be at the center of everything.

    Making his way down the stairs, Tsu pushed the unlock button and the car below gave a small beep. It was a 1000X model, which wasn't as nice as the newer models were, but it was still more advanced than anything that was driven 50 years ago. The blonde pressed a button on the driver's side door and hopped in once it opened. They still called them "keys", but they weren't keys in the same sense that those used long ago were. They were mostly only used as a backup in case the car's facial recognition software went wonky.

    Once he was seated, a scanner from behind the wheel scanned his face. "Tsukaima Hakishima recognized. Automatic or Manual?"

    "Manual," Tsu replied. Cars could drive themselves now, but Tsu always enjoyed driving himself. Part of him half believed humans had grown too reliant on machines. "Air conditioner on, 25%." In response to his voice, the air conditioner turned on, pushing out a gentle breeze. "Radio on, 104.3 Knowledger." The radio whirred on, the announcer relaying various types of news. Knowledger was the premier radio news station in the country, offering all sorts of up to the minute news. Tsu relaxed himself and listened to the newscast, knowing that Karen would be out any moment now.
  9. While Tsu made his way into the car and got comfy there, Karen, as expected, spent her time getting ready. It didn't really take too long for her; all that she had to do was change into her work clothes, maybe spray a few squirts of perfume on her, minimal amounts of makeup (mostly foundation to be honest), gather her things, and then boom, she was good to go.

    With all that, after stepping outside and locking the door, she'd eventually join Tsu in the 1000X, hopping into the passenger seat with a brief breath, before catching wind of what was on the radio. Hmph, maybe there might be something on the radio about the so-called serial killer, who knew? That is, if they weren't busy talking about more "pressing" news like the latest movies and celebrity scandals these days.

    Opening up the glove compartment, Karen would then proceed to take out a small pack of gum. Chewing gum had always been something the young woman took comfort in consuming. For whatever reason, it just seemed to relax her and clear her head, so she usually had a piece or two every day or every other day. Popping a piece into her mouth, she'd then silently offer some to Tsu, holding the pack out to him without saying a single word or even looking at him.

    Maybe the sad part was that this was easily one of her less cold gestures pulled during the ordinary day.

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    Tsu held his hand up in a "swearing in" fashion, declining his closest friend's offer of gum. He wasn't one who regularly partook in chewing gum, but his reason in declining was more based on the fact that his focus was on the newscast. He still declined her with a smile. Now that she was seated and hooked in, Tsu backed the vehicle up and began driving towards the office they, er, she worked in.

    "This is an Important News Reminder. The Senior Serial Killer struck again last night, killing Yui Kirashima while she was sleeping in her home. While nothing is known about where and who they are, the police have informed us that they'll be taking in outside help for this job, though they didn't release details regarding exactly what this outside help is."

    The radio continued on and on like this, and Tsu's focus on it loosened as they deviated from what interested him. "The Senior Serial Killer, huh? I guess that means he or she only targets older people. Pretty weird MO. Nothing is ever taken from them, so it looks like they're just being killed for sport..." Tsu found it peculiar. Whoever it was, they didn't seem to have any clear goal to their actions. What was the point in killing a bunch of older people? His only guess right now was that there was probably some sort of mental reasoning behind it.

  11. Putting the gum back, Karen would furrow her brow ever so slightly as she heard the update on the so-called Senior Serial Killer. Strange modus operandi indeed. Of course, from there, she could make a few assumptions based on that kind of behavior, but at best, that's what they'd be until she investigated further; just assumptions.

    Still, may as well share her thoughts. Serial killers always made for great conversation topics in the morning.

    "If our guy, or girl, targets the elderly, maybe they're the kind who enjoys the thrill of the hunt, but doesn't like the trouble that comes with hunting prey that is able to resist in a way that can prove troublesome, like an energetic younger person, so he decides to hunt the crowd that he believes is weak compared to them. He wants to feel in power. He wants to feel strong by plucking out whom he believes to be weak."



    She blew a bubble with her gum, before popping it and going back to chewing it.

    "Or maybe he just really doesn't like old people."

    That was her hypothesis anyway.

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    "It's a possibility, but there's no way of knowing with what little information we have now. Investigating the crime scenes should reveal plenty though." Tsu was already sure that some sort of pleasure was being derived from the killings. Finding out what type of pleasure would point them towards the reasoning involved. His best guess was that, as Karen mentioned, he wanted the feeling of empowerment - of being in control.

    The short ride there was filled mostly with silence, the two not having many words to exchange. There wasn't much to be said when acting on the bare minimum of information, no matter how "right on the money" they have been right from the get-go. Once they arrived, Tsu turned the car off and made his way towards the building's front entrance. Even though she lived in an apartment, she had her own office. She had him to thank for that; well, his parents' finances anyway.

    Seeing that they'd finally arrived, James Wester, Karen's assistant, rushed over to greet them. "Welcome back, Ms. Takashiro, Mr. Hakishima!" James offered a bow and motioned towards Karen's office. "The police chief is waiting for you. He wants to discuss the details of the case so far. I wouldn't keep him waiting much longer, Ms. Takashiro."

    Tsu returned the bow greeting, and assured the male that it was okay to lose the formalities, but James was insistent. As often happened, Tsu just let it slide, with hopes that maybe they'd make progress the next time they met. "Shall we?" he asked Karen.

  13. Karen, typical of her, silently walked with Tsu, almost like a ghost. As they would walk together in silence, Karen's thoughts raced about. But oddly enough, surprising even her, and arguably more to her irritation than even surprise, her thoughts were actually not of the case itself (probably because there wasn't much else to think about at the moment until further information was uncovered), but of Tsu himself. Of all times for her to suddenly begin musing aimlessly, it had to be on the morning she found out about a potential serial killer terrorizing town.

    Maybe she really should have taken that coffee after all. Or would that have made it worse?

    Still, she couldn't get those thoughts out of her head. Even though he didn't officially work with her, it always seemed like people, even Karen herself sometimes, forgot that fact, even as the two of them walked in together. He had always been there, always hanging around her, always wanting to help. Sometimes, Karen had to wonder why. Why did he stick around? Was it simply because they'd been friends for so long that it was comfortable to stick together rather than exert effort into getting so friendly with others? Was it something else like...

    Karen pursed her lip and shook her head a little. If she were a more "normal" young woman, her thoughts would have drifted some place she didn't waste time thinking about. Reticence was always her most prominent suit for a reason.

    Even when her assistant Wester would greet her, snapping her back to reality, speaking with enough energy like he was trying so hard to get her attention, Karen simply nodded quietly, before deciding to also add in a curt "Morning" and a taciturn "I'll handle it" in response to James's words. Arriving at the door, Karen would then give a nod towards Tsu.

    "Whenever you are."

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    Tsu smiled. "In we go then."

    Upon opening the door to Karen's office, they were greeted by Shikimura Hameo, known to them as Chief Shikimura. He was a somewhat heavy man, with a mustache that made his chubby face look a little silly. His existence was one of irony, his silly appearance belying his serious nature. "Good to see you once again," he greeted them, his voice a bit rough. He met both of them with a firm handshake and took a seat.

    Tsu found a nearby seat and relaxed himself, knowing that most of the discussion would be directed towards Karen, who sat at the head of the room.

    "As you may have heard, the Senior Serial Killer, as they've dubbed him, struck again last night. As of this most recent attack, however, we've realized a pattern. Thus far, they've only killed people in their homes, and they've all been elderly. We've also noted that they never strikes nursing homes."

    "Probably because of the staff. It would be troublesome if he or she were to be caught in the act. It takes away from the easiness of the job," Tsu added.

    The Chief nodded, agreeing with the male's statement. "It's true that they seem to enjoy the ease of the kill. Another important fact we noted..." Chief Shikimura removed a folder from his coat and splayed its contents for everyone present to see. "Looking into the medical records of the five victims thus far, it seems they were all people who'd received news from a doctor that their time was limited."

    Tsu looked towards Karen and nodded, giving her the cue for her to take the stage.
  15. "Indeed," Karen would speak in response to the initial greeting, returning the handshake, but remaining standing up rather than taking a seat like the chief would. She listened to the summing up of the case, nodding every now and then as her mind would move to reach new conclusions, especially with the new information being supplied to her.

    She cupped her chin lightly in thought for a brief moment, looking over the contents of the folder Chief Shikimura would display. If the victims were targeted based on them not having a lot of time left in this world, then that could probably mean that the killer believed that since they were going to die anyway, his line of thinking could be either to end their anxiety quickly, or that he believed no one would miss people who were already knocking on death's door anyway. Perhaps she could inquire who the "youngest" victim was and see who could be predicted to be the next victim, until...

    Wait a minute, that was it. She almost missed it.

    "And I doubt that matter is a coincidence, considering the number of victims we've had before. That must mean that if we know, then surely, the killer also knows about his victim's limited time," Karen spoke, her brow a little furrowed, "Did they all happen to attend the same hospital? Where did you pull this from, chief?"

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    Tsu lifted a finger, though he'd already come to the deduction his partner had. "That's right! If our serial killer is targeting people that they know are close to death, there's no doubt they must have access to their records!"

    "Mhm... I see..." the Chief sifted through a folder he had on hand and offered it to Karen. "They did all attend the same hospital. Mishima Hospital, to be exact." It took him a moment, but it was as they'd both said. In order for their perpetrator to kill in such a pattern, they'd have to have access to records that weren't publicly available, which would mean they'd have to be an employee of the hospital, and someone high enough in the rankings so as to have permission to view them.

    "In that case, it's obvious what we have to do. Go to that hospital for questioning." Tsu rose from his seat, as there was no need to sit idly by when such a large lead was right in front of them.

    "We'll go without calling then," the Chief stated, unseating himself as well. "A call will only alert anyone there that we're closing in."
  17. "Seems that we've found our next lead then," Karen spoke with a tone that was resolute compared to her usual expression. That is to say, if she normally spoke at 50 decibels, she was now speaking at 55. You knew she was intrigued and invested in something when she dared to speak that loudly, eh?

    "Right. We'll get there right away," she would nod to the chief, Karen herself having been standing up on her own all this time anyway while the others would unseat themselves. Heading for the door, she'd put her hand on the knob, but glanced back at Shikimura before opening the door, "I trust you won't mind if I bring my weapon inside as well, should we run into the killer. Don't worry. I'll keep it concealed."

    There was a dry joke in there somewhere, but it was lost in the deadpan expression and otherwise awkward delivery.


    "Will that be all then?"

    #17 Verite, Aug 23, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2016
  18. 'There she goes,' Tsu thought to himself. He was all too familiar with her resoluteness. Not that this was a hard case once the common denominator was revealed, but there was nothing stopping her determination. Even someone like her could get excited about being so close to nabbing a criminal.

    "That's fine by me," Shikimura replied, answering the female detective's question. "We're the ones who called you in. Take it as a sign of our trust in your judgement." Leaving things at that, the group retreated from the room and made their way towards their respective vehicles. Shikimura only brought along one extra officer. Too many people coming in at once would alert the perpetrator to their presence.

    "Shall we go in at 10 minute intervals?" Tsu suggested, while everyone was still within earshot. "Questioning people separately would probably prove less suspicious."

    "Agreed," the Chief responded. "Honestly, Mr. Hakishima, I'll never understand why you don't simply become a joint detective."

    Tsu smiled and opened the driver's side door of his and Karen's vehicle. "I prefer being a helpful bystander," he answered, his face still bearing a smile. "Besides, I don't like to get my hands too dirty. I dirty them enough cleaning Karen's dishes." Affording a chuckle at Karen's reaction, Tsu climbed in the car and started it.
  19. Karen's kneejerk reaction to Tsu's remark about her dishes prompted her to elbow him in the arm quietly. At least, that was what the others would witness anyway, before Karen would enter the passenger seat of their vehicle wordlessly, ready to get a move on and track down the perp.

    Though not without its distractions, due partly to a certain, perpetually smiling blonde man.

    When Tsu would enter the car with her, he would be able to see her pouting underneath as she almost tried to hide behind her hair as she looked down. Inconceivable as it might seem to some who didn't know her as well, Karen indeed did have a cute side, shifting her head to look at the window away from Tsu now.

    "... You didn't have to tell the chief about that," she simply uttered.

    #19 Verite, Aug 30, 2016
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2016
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  20. Tsu laughed his partner's utterance off, knowing their chief wasn't paying it as much mind as she probably assumed he would. "It's fine, isn't it? I don't think the chief cares who does your dishes, so long as you're a great detective." He wasn't wrong. The chief was too focused on the case at hand to be laughing over small talk. Tsu knew that, but he thought he'd do well to try to liven things up anyway.

    The ride to the hospital was about as quiet as the ride to the office building, the only difference being in a short review of their orders. Tsu and Karen were to enter through the front, ten minutes apart of each other, and question the staff there separately. The chief and the officer he'd brought along would come through the back, effectively cutting off any escape routes.

    After driving for some time, Tsu pulled into a parking lot. They passed by a sign that read "Mishima Hospital Front Entrance" on it. Finding a parking spot that would both allow for Karen to get out after him unnoticed, as well as for them to quickly return to the car if a chase broke out, Tsu stopped the car. "I'll head in first," he told his partner, getting out of the car.

    "You two ready?" the chief voiced, sounding over a device around Karen's wrist.

    "Roger that," Tsu replied, closing his door and making towards the hospital before Karen could say anything. Ten minutes from now, she was to enter after him and begin asking around for clues.

    "Remember. The victim's name is Yui Kirashima."