Scene 2: Tseung Kwan O Industrial Estate

[i]The area around Tseung Kwan O New Town, built on land reclaimed from Victoria Harbour, is sometimes called by the English name of 'Junk Bay'. The recent tower blocks and businesses dominate this flat area.

The industrial estate, a squat collection of light industrial units and administration centres, is overlooked in places by the nearby landfill. Were it not for the stone sign advertising the estate as a fine place to set up a business, it could be practically any industrial estate anywhere in the world.

A beige sedan cruises past the sign and into the labyrinth of roads in the heart of the estate. After a few wrong turns, the sedan pulls up on an access road on the outskirts of the estate. The ground is still wet from recent rain.

One side of the road is a chain-link fence, already overgrown with thorny bushes that screen the warehouses and factories from sight. The other side is the back of a row of old houses- maybe even colonial era- in a poor state of repair.

Parked with a front corner bent around a concrete godfather is mid-range Honda. The driver's-side door is open, and the entire vehicle is dressed with black and yellow police tape.

The officers climb out of the sedan and get to work.[/i]

As they peel themselves away from the coffee-sticky faux leather seats, Soo-lin careful stows her piece in the car lockup.

Soo-lin: Inspector, given your rank and experience, I suppose you'll take tactical command of the crime scene, whilst Officer Moore prepares his K72 subsection B. Therefore I request your authorisation to intiate non-targetted covert operations.

Huang, shrugging on his well-worn jacket, pauses, surprised.

Huang: Ah... Sure. Authorisation? Break a leg ma'am.

[i]He shakes his head in disbelief and strolls towards the sedan, as Walker begins enthusiastically unpacking his huge kit bag of equipment.

As they begin to work, Soo-lin takes her shoulder bag inside a public convenience and quickly emerges in the disguise of a local wage slave. She totters unsteadily on shabby grey heels, contricted by a nasty pinkish suit, her hair back combed and a pair of bright red glass balanced on her nose.

Soon she can be found in one of the office refectories, having made friends with some other office juniors, subtly pumping them for information they might have heard about the sedan, the local environment or the joyride.[/i]

[i]Huang gets to work on the sedan. He snaps several photos with his digital camera, makes sure to get the license plate, and makes a call to HQ to run the license number through the database. Pulling on a pair of rubber gloves, he opens the passenger side and checks the glove box for vehicle registration. If the vehicle was stolen, someone needs to be told the bad news.

Next, he checks the ashtray. If someone has used it, he should be able to find what brand the owner smokes, and if the vehicle was stolen, what brand the thief smokes if he's of that inclination. He'll need Dr. Walker to check for DNA samples. Then, he checks the trash around the seats, checking for more DNA samples. If he finds any receipts, a quick call to the store in question and a good serial-number check should tell him who made a purchase in the last few days or so.

Finally, he checks for any footprints and fingerprints on the wheel and driver side, noting that Dr. Walker will need to collect DNA samples from the driver's seat and run any results through HQ. When you've been in the business as long as Huang, a simple poring through a vehicle can reveal a lot. Whoever had this thing last needed to ditch it fast, and thus he's not going to be too careful about covering his tracks. He'll need to check the alleyways next.[/i]

(OOC: Don't know how many Police checks this would entail, as this is a pretty extensive initial search. In any case, Huang's Police AV is 8.)

Huang turns to the rest of the crew.

Huang: Dr. Walker, I'm going to need you to collect some DNA samples. The driver's seat and whatever trash and cigarette butts you can find are good places to start. If Arthur or Nic were here, this would be a good time for them to work their mojo, and I don't know how experienced any of you are in such matters.

Moore, I'm going to need you to check the area around the fence for footprints. If he's jumped it, we're going to have to retrace any steps the others didn't mess up during their search, though I don't know about DNA samples given the fact that it's just rained. Soo-Lin should be able to get us any info on what the others saw, though I'd also like some security footage from the surrounding area. After Soo-Lin gets back, I'd like to check out the old houses for any signs of our joyrider.

[i]Huang paces around the car, muttering under his breath. The flashes from his digital camera throw the interior of the car into stark relief. He finds a few hairs on the seat and some sweet wrappers in the ashtray. The glovebox is empty, although presumably the scene-of-crime team who put the tape on it took away anything important from there. There's a receipt under the driver's seat, but it's so old it's hard to make anything out on it.

Debbie wanders down the alley, poking her head into bushes and looking for holes in the fence. Eventually, she finds a part of the fence brought down by a falling tree. The fall doesn't look recent, but it does appear that someone has climbed through the hole recently- there are one or two freshly broken branches. She considers hollering for the others, then decides not to draw attention to them all. The brings out her mobile phone only for it to slip out of her grasp and fall into a dense patch of foliage. Debbie curses under her breath, blushing redly. She checks no-one saw her mistake, then starts rummaging around trying to find the phone.

Elsewhere, Soo-Lin tucks into a greasy meal with faked gusto. The refectory she has infiltrated seems to see heavy use- but the talk is mostly office gossip. The only remotely interesting snippet is that the factory building one unit along has started operating around the clock recently, so parking spaces in the area have become more hotly contested. If people are working late there, there's a higher chance they saw or heard something of the joyride.[/i]

The good doctor starts to prowl around the area adjacent to the car, before diving into the vehicle itself. I waft by my colleagues as if they are not there - not in an arrogant or pushy way, but just so focussed on the matter at hand that I simply don't notice them

Walker: DNA? Why it would be my pleasure - already on the task. . . erm, please don't touch that. . . contamination you know? But of course you know that. And of course if one wishes to do a truly thorough job in this day and age, then I shall apply an hollistic approach. What was the pepetrator thinking, what was their mood, their emotional state, their favourite colour?

Ah, and, do you see, if we apply this unguent just so we see that when these finger prints were deposited, then the party who deposited them must have been stood here, do you see? Turning to look over their right shoulder; strange though, as they appear to have been right handed, yet opened it with their left. . . but of course you knew that already. . .[/i]

Chris Small, a small mousey man in an olive suit that is clearly more than a decade old wanders toward the car. He has a slight limp and is looking around inquisitively, as if a little on edge. Those who are paying particular attention notice that he tends to keep to the shadier spots.

Chris Good day officers, what have you found here? Anyone know what happened with the Honda?[/b]

Dr. Walker, oblivious to the newcomer, diligently lifts a number of fingerprints from the car, carefully labelling the flimsy plastic squares and putting them in evidence bags. Then he turns his attention to the driver's footwell, looking for any shoe prints. When he comes up empty-handed he turns his attention to the ground just outside the car. Suddenly, his eyes widen and he steps back a few paces for a better perspective.

Dr. Walker: Interesting...

He traces a rough oval shape with his finger then looks down the road in the direction Debbie took.

Dr. Walker: See here? Someone - or something - was dragged across the ground here. See how the the larger stones have scored short lines and the earth is disturbed? There may even have been some skin or blood traces but the rain will probably have washed those away by now.

Huang's eyes go steel at this new development. He does not like this at all. It's feeling like Mingxia all over again.

Huang: Ta ma de... So we're looking at a possible kidnapping here? Maybe even worse?

He opens the back doors and then pops the trunk, the two most likely places to stow someone, taking care not to disturb any footprints the perp might have left behind, taking pictures of both and giving his cursory examination. He then crouches down and sees about making an effort to find out the path the perp took.

Huang: Walker, I want you to collect any DNA samples you can find from the backseat and the trunk. Mr. Small, nice of you to join us. I want you to get in touch with HQ. See if there's been any reports of missing people in the last day or so. Our joyrider ditched the Honda soon after coming here, but it looks like he had a reason to run.

He then checks out the fence and sees the hole made by the tree. He also sees Debbie fumbling in the foliage for something. He rolls his eyes.

Huang: Moore, what have you found over there?

Soo-lin glides up to the assembled investigators, back in black, hair swooshing in the breeze.

Soo-lin Citizen Small, we've not been properly acquainted. I'm Officer Ma, but as with my other new colleagues, you are quite welcome to call me Soo-lin. I'm led to believe that you have authorised discretion to assist HKPD officers. It will be a pleasure working with you.

She reaches an arm across Chris' chest, adjusts the line of his shabby suit, raises an eyebrow and smiles kindly

Soo-lin This work garment is so old! So unique, so individual. I love it!

She briefly confers with Huang, Walker and Small.

Soo-lin Inspector, with your authorisation I suggest I infiltrate the 24/7 factory, according to standard Covert Operational Guidelines, with Lethal Force Withheld, and Plausible Deniability Protocols in force.

[i]Walker finishes his final pass and stows the evidence he has, some of which clearly requires later analysis.

As Soo-lin speaks he brightens up, and pulls another case from his collection, starting to unzip it with glee. When she gets to[/i]

Soo-lin . . . I suggest I infiltrate the 24/7 factory, according to standard Covert Operational Guidelines, with Lethal Force Withheld . . .

his face sinks a little, and his puts his shotgun back in the bag

Chris blushes a little at the attention being shown to him by Soo-Lin. He brushes down his jacket and nods his head in appreciation

Chris Mr. Huang, sir, who do you mean when you say HQ. I mean, I may be able to call the station, sir, but I don't know if it wouldn't be easier, perhaps, if you asked one of your officers to do so. If you understand my meaning, sir, maybe?

He turns back to Soo-Lin.

Chris Officer Ma, I mean, Soo-Lin, um, I wonder if I couldn't help out with some of your "non-lethal" breaking and entering. I think I could prove quite useful, I have the right sort of "background", if you understand my meaning, ma'am.

Chris winks, without any particular subtlety, at Soo-Lin, before glancing around at the other members of Section 44 hoping that no-one else noticed.

Soo-lin breaks into a wide smile and lays a hand on Chris' arm.

Soo-linI would very much like to try that Citizen Small, I'm sure we could accomplish much if we worked closely together. I believe that under certain Special Circumstances, Section 44 is are authorised to requisition members of the public to assist in our enquiries, and I'm sure all my colleagues would agree that this would be acceptable protocol in this situation.

I think it is wonderful that the citizenry of Hong Kong can assist their law enforcement officers in their procedures, it's a wonderful expression of societal unity.

I'm going to go in the front and ask them some questions, see what kind of a feel I get from them. While I'm doing that, how about you use your discretion, around the back, and see what happens?

She dives into the ladies again and comes out power dressed in a dark blue suit, with padded shoulders and dangerously high heels, Blackberry in one hand, clipboard in the other. She attempts to enter the 24/7 factory, flashing a false ID.

Soo-lin Good afternoon sir. I'm the ISO14000 compliance officer for Tseung Kwan O New Town. My records show that you have recently changed working practise and therefore I need to determine that you are still not liable for the variable percentage unit subsidy tariff tax endowment negative, according to the recent change in the by-laws.

Huang opens the boot and the back doors, but there's nothing immediately suspicious. Any trace evidence is in Dr. Walker's evidence bags, so if there is anything lab work should pick it up. Then he strides over to where Moore is floundering in the bushes.

Moore: Look here- a gap in the fence. I'd say someone has been through here fairly recently! In fact, I'd stake my reputation on it! sotto voce You don't even have a reputation and there you go being all pompous...

Huang: Something has been through here. Well spotted- is that your cellphone down there?

Redder than ever, Moore picks up her mobile phone.

Huang smiles sympathetically. Though he hates it when he has to deal with rookie mistakes, he knows that he made just as many mistakes himself starting out.

Huang: You're not the only one who's ever done that kind of thing starting out. If I had a nickel for every time I dropped my cellphone when I was first starting out...well, let's just say I'd be a lot richer than I am now. Usually it'd be Johnson giving me the ass-chewing for it, or Logan, or Chen, or...

Debbie sees a haunted look enter Huang's eyes as he silently mouths the word "Meiying." Before she can ask about what the hell is going on with him, he shakes it off and gets back on track.

Huang: Anyway...Moore...I would advise you to keep a better hold on that thing and be glad that wasn't your gun instead. That's the one you really get your ass chewed on.

Getting back to basics, Huang casts an eye toward the area behind the fence, looking for any drag-marks, footprints, or anything the perp or whoever or whatever he's taken might have left behind. His mind is on overdrive as he quickly maps out likely routes for the perp to have taken and likely places that he might have gone.

Huang: Now, we know that the perp went through here, and that he was carrying something or someone heavy enough to make drag marks on the gravel judging from Dr. Walker's findings. He needed to get out of here in a big hurry, and probably didn't have much time to cover his tracks before the officer that was chasing him arrived, and that means he's bound to have left at least a few more signs of his passage behind. So, it's time to get to work.

"You dropped your cell when you were starting out?" Debbie replies slightly astonished. "I didn't realise there were cell phones back then. Live 'n learn I guess."

At that Debbie turns her attention back to the crime scene managing somehow not to stick her foot in her mouth as she does so.

She turns to Huang slightly absent-mindedly: - "So why did you join the Force anyway?"

Huang: Why did I join the force? Same reason a lot of people do. Cleaning up the streets and making Hong Kong a better place. Making a difference. It was 1993 when I first joined, four years before the handover. And we most definitely had cell phones back then. I was quite the idealist fifteen years ago. That lasted all of fifteen minutes. Working in Vice and Homicide alone showed me a lot of bad shit, and some of the most fucked up people you can imagine. Remind me to tell you a few of the horror stories from some of my cases back in the day.

Working in this division, I see a lot of the same kind of things that I've had to deal with on the force. Only now, I've got weirder shit to handle now. Demonic possession, ghost bride cases involving actual ghosts, domestic disputes from beyond the grave, crazy sorcerers...just a few months ago, we had to take down a lady who kidnapped her own daughter so that she could sacrifice her in order to keep on living. I know she sacrificed one other girl thirty years ago before that case, though I never did find out how old she really was. But you want to know the kicker? Only reason she even had that poor girl in the first place was for that exact purpose. That woman was insane.

Huang notices he's starting on one of his famous rants and excuses himself.

Huang: Sorry...sometimes when something really pisses me off, you'll notice I have a tendency to rant and cuss a bit. I try not to, but I do. And I hate that.

"1993 eh? Wow. Back then I was still in school. Back then Mum was still about. Back then I thought ghosts and demons and things that go bump in the night were real."

At this Debbie smiles not noticing the slightly unhappy look on Huang's face at just how young his new rookie is.

"Now of course I know they're real. Now I get to go bump back too. This isn't as easy as they make it look on CSI y'know. I guess you do. You've been doing it long enough. Doctors probably say the same sort of thing about the medi-dramas... Do you ever wish you had cool montage sequences to gloss over the boring moments where nothing is going on?"

Unlike Huang, Debbie doesn't notice she's babbling and continues in a similar vein for a while as they search around for clues.

Chris heads off around the back of the building, looking for somewhere to gain entry to the warehouse. Perhaps there will be some more clues inside