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WARNING: PROFANITY FOLLOWS
The following content contains profanity that may not be suitable for readers of all ages. Please proceed with caution.

Dual Deductions is the eighth episode of the series, Ryder.

Ryder
Season 1, Episode 8
Air date 9/26/18
Written by Brandon
Bat
Directed by Brandon
Bat
Episode Guide
Previous
Reckoning
Next
Accusations

Plot

The episode starts outside of the apartment building which houses Ryder Investigations. The sky has a cool atmosphere with misty clouds yet the sun still shines as it starts to rise upwards.

 
Ryder Investigations
December 27, 08:58 EDT

Inside, Ryder can be seen laying on top of his couch- sleeping. After a moment has passed, his eyes are seen slowly opening. He lets out a soft groan as he rubs his head. Soon enough, he raises from the couch and stretches. He then turns to the phone on his desk, which is thrown into focus. A sigh can be heard distinctly. Ryder gets up from the couch and heads off to the side of the room- with the phone still in focus. Outside of the apartment, later on, some people can be seen walking past as the door to the apartment building is seen opening. Ryder steps outside- hands in his leather jacket pockets- and walks out onto the sidewalk. He stands there for a brief few seconds before turning to walk off.

Ryder puts on his earplugs and turns on his favorite rap song as he begins running. It shifts to a bunch of city blocks, tall buildings, a couple walking their dog, and a few citizens riding their bikes through a trail. Ryder cuts through a park as busy as ever with several people conversing with one another and participating in social activities. Ryder continues on his jog as he passes through the park over to the other side. There’s some traffic in the streets which makes it easy for him to cross. He can be seen sitting at someone’s steps, taking a breath and breathing in. Sweat beads down his face which he quickly wipes off. A shoe is then thrown at him from behind and Ryder gets up in haste as he turns to see who it is. An elderly woman in a flower dress and thick glasses throws another one of her shoes at Ryder while shouting at him. He raises his hands up apologetically and dashes off- continuing on his jog. The apartment building is seen once again- with Ryder heading back in his own pace. He walks into the apartment building- letting out a husky sigh- and heads for the stairs. Once he arrives, on his floor, he walks down the hallway- passing by one of his neighbors; he avoids eye contact and continues past the chubby man in his white, stained tank top. Ryder reaches the door and turns the handle, pushing it open as he soon steps into the office. He looks ahead and stops. His slight look of surprise shifts over to a more determined expression. He then closes the door behind him and takes his leather jacket off- placing it gently onto the couch end. He fixes his hair and turns to the desk.

Ryder: So… I take it that you’re a client.

Before him, a woman- who appears to be in her late forties- sits in the chair before Ryder’s desk. She watches him with careful eyes and soon delivers a gentle and steady nod. Ryder sighs once more and walks behind his desk. He sits down in his chair and looks ahead at his client before him.

Ryder: Alright, let’s get started, shall we?

Title Sequence

The scene continues in the office with the woman and Ryder already engaged in conversation. Ryder takes a sip from his mug as he listens to woman intently.

Woman: So that is why I came here. It’s an extreme matter of importance, Mr. Ryder.

Ryder: Just Ryder, if you don’t mind.

Woman: O-Of course, do accept my apologies. But I hope you understand the urgency in my request.

Ryder lets out a hard grunt as he stirs his mug by rotating it softly with his hand. He takes another glance at his client before him. The woman is wearing a soft green sweater over a white shirt and black pants. She also has dark brown hair with some grey strands and brown eyes concealed by her glasses. He turns his chair so he faces the client and sets his mug down.

Ryder: So you were robbed. Okay, I understand that. But it’s never as simple as you’re trying to make it.

Woman: Huh? I don’t think I understand what you’re talking about, Mr- er- I mean, Ryder.

Ryder: Ms. Melo, you mentioned the fact that you work for a company. Which company exactly was that?

Ms. Melo: D-Does it matter? All I need is for you to retrieve something for me.

Ryder: For all I know, I could be stealing something for you. I might not be collaborating with the police but that does not mean we participate in illegal methods here at Ryder Investigations. So… I’m going to ask again. Which company do you work for, Ms. Melo?

Ms. Melo: I- I work for the local museum.

Ryder: Hmph. The Midtown Museum of Discovery?

Ms. Melo: That’s the one…

Ryder: It seemed like you didn’t want their name being brought up. I’m familiar with the place, has some high standards. But then again, who wouldn’t when they’re in constant competition with the higher up museums that lasted for years.

Ms. Melo: Those other museums are simply overrated. They look down on the smaller museums and- and- it’s sickening, if you ask me.

Ryder: I see. Well, that still doesn’t answer why you didn’t want to bring their names up, Ms. Melo.

Ms. Melo: I uh- I’m responsible for the museum pieces.

Ryder: You’re the curator.

Ms. Melo: That’s right.

Ryder: And you lost one of the museum pieces, I’m assuming.

Ms. Melo: That’s… (sigh) also right.

Ryder: I see… Which exhibit was stolen from the museum?

Ms. Melo: That would be the Catalyst Jewel. It’s an extremely rare mineral that was discovered by the previous curator before me. She, however, went missing and we haven’t been able to put together much about the jewel, I’m afraid.

Ryder: As long as you have an image and some files, I should be able to work with that.

Ms. Melo: That’s… very good to hear, Ry-

Ryder, interrupting: Why didn’t you go to the police?

Ms. Melo: The- The police? Well, uh- we did but, well, they’re currently investigating the matter now. But, well, we need the jewel located a lot quicker than what the police can manage.

Ryder: Any specific reason as to why you need that jewel so badly?

Ms. Melo: We’re having a gala hosted at the museum. It’s our chance to raise funds before New Years. The jewel was meant to be one of the key attractions during the gala and now it’s gone missing.

Ryder: Right. Now I’m starting to really understand everything.

Ms. Melo: In that case, you’ll take the case, yes?

Ryder: Hm… I’m not entirely sure, Ms. Melo.

Ms. Melo: What could possibly be the problem? The museum needs the jewel.

Ryder: Yet you seem committed to keeping information from me. I’m here to help you with your problem, Ms. Melo. If you want me to find that jewel, I need you to work with me.

Ms. Melo takes a breath and adjusts her glasses.

Ms. Melo: Okay. I’ll let you know what you need to know. The museum and I are not in the habit of hiring private investigators for personal matters.

Ryder: There’s a reason we’re called private investigators, Ms. Melo. Before we talk more about the case, I need to know how much the museum is willing to compensate for my work.

Ms. Melo: Like I had already said several times now, the museum and I need the jewel back as soon as possible before the gala starts. So we’re willing to start with five thousand dollars. But each day longer you take, the price reduces.

Ryder: That’s not exactly how compensation works here.

Ms. Melo: But those are our terms. Or would you prefer we paid you regular price.

Ryder: No. No. I uh- I’m just not used to museums paying me plenty of money. But don’t worry, I adjust very quickly.

Ms. Melo: Good. See that the jewel is found. I’m available whenever you need any information about the case but for now, I have to return to the museum and inform my employers.

Ryder: Of course.

Ms. Melo stands from her chair and walks over to the door. She lets herself out, closing the door behind her. Ryder runs his hand through his hair and leans back in his chair, letting out a chuckle. He glances back at the phone with his smile fading ever so slightly. He rubs his face and looks away with a sigh. Afterwards, the scene cuts over to the hospital within the city.

 
Serenity General Hospital
December 27, 10:27 EDT

Inside the hospital, Chloe can be seen walking through the halls; rushing past various medical staff and patients. She then reaches a room and stands before it. She breaths in and knocks with her finger.

Kelly, inside, voice muffled by door: Uh- come in!

Chloe turns the door knob and enters, seeing Kelly putting her orange shirt on. Her body is bruised but the bruises do seem to have swelled down. Kelly turns her head and beams.

Kelly: Chloe! Hey!

Chloe: Hey, girl.

Chloe walks over and gently hugs Kelly.

Kelly: I didn’t think you were going to make it.

Chloe: Yeah, sorry, sorry. I just- (sigh) I was just so worked up in this big case that I’m going over and-

Kelly: Hey, don’t even worry about it. You’re here and, well, that’s all that matters.

Chloe, looking over Kelly: So, you going somewhere?

Kelly: Yeah, um… I’m heading out. The doctors want to keep me here but I think I’m ready to get moving again.

Chloe: You were in a pretty bad accident, Kelly. I’m worried that you’re just going to head back out there and hurt yourself again. I care about you.

Kelly: Relax, I’m going to be fine. I have someone watching over me.

Chloe: A boyfriend?

Kelly lets out a chuckle and hides her face. Chloe’s eyes slowly widen as does her mouth.

Chloe: Oh my- Kelly! You got yourself a man, didn’t you?

Kelly: That’s not what I was going to say, at all.

Chloe: But you’re not denying it.

Kelly: Stop pulling your lawyer tricks on me. I’m your friend, not your witness or whatever.

Chloe: So, who is he? The guy watching over you?

Kelly: A friend. I’m sort of working with him at the moment.

Chloe: So you’re not seeing him?

Kelly looks off for a few seconds. Within this brief moment, her facial expression smiles with her eyes rolling off to the side but then they concentrate on something that isn’t there and her mouth shifts into an uneasy position. She shakes her head and turns back to Kelly, smiling.

Kelly: No, no.

Chloe: Well, you must’ve hooked up with someone.

Kelly: Chloe, I’ll let you know when I’m well and ready.

Outside of the room, the door is shortly seen opening with both Chloe and Kelly stepping out. Chloe is holding Kelly’s bag.

Chloe: So what do you have planned? I could always take the rest of the day off if you want.

Kelly: No, Chloe, it’s fine. Really. You have that case you need to work on. Don’t let me get in the way of your career.

Chloe: Kelly, I’d quit my job if it meant you feel better.

Kelly: Would you now?

Chloe: Okay, maybe not. But still-

Kelly: Heh, whatever.

Chloe: But seriously, are you going to be okay?

Kelly: ...Yeah. I think so.

A figure, in a lab coat, then approaches the two ladies.

Figures: Is there something that I can help you two with?

The two turn to the figure, happily surprised.

Chloe: Oh hey!

David smiles.

David: Hey Chloe. Nice to see you again. How’s the office?

Chloe: Rather not be thinking about it, actually.

David: Right, right. Sorry.

Chloe: How’s the patient?

David: Heh. That’s actually what I was going to discuss with her.

Kelly: She has a name, guys.

They all chuckle briefly before David clears his throat.

David: But yeah, I will need a moment to talk with Kelly about something.

Chloe: Ah. I see. Well, I’ll uh- be in the hall, checking out the vending machines or something.

Chloe starts to walk off down the hall. Kelly turns her head from the hall as she watches Chloe leave over to David, who looks down at her with a loose expression yet stern eyes.

David: So… you’re in a bit of a rush to leave the hospital, aren’t you?

Kelly: It’s not like that. I just- need to get out, that’s all.

David: Well, as your doctor, I recommend you take your recovery slowly. We wouldn’t anything breaking down on us. Oh and to put sure you take the medication that was prescribed to you- should help keep your system in check. Then again, you could just remain here at the hospital. Despite your quick healing, it would probably be best to look over you some more until you properly recover from your injuries.

Kelly: And is that my doctor talking or my boyfriend?

David lets out a sigh as he looks around, a little embarrassed.

David, turning back to Kelly: Sorry, I just- I’m just worried about you, Kelly. Not just about your health but just, you, in general. I mean, you get into some weird freaky accident but I’m certain it has to do with whatever it is that you and I were investigating. And when your friend just carried you into that hospital in the state that you were… (breathes out) I didn’t know what I was going to do with myself.

Kelly places her hand against the side of David’s face, as he struggles to even match her gaze.

Kelly: Hey, hey… I’m okay, really. I appreciate that you care about me but you shouldn’t worry yourself too much. This is something new for both of us but we can make this work.

David looks up into her eyes and gives a short nod.

David: Okay… but I still don’t want you overexerting yourself. Your bruises may be healing but they’re still fresh. Just stick to light work.

Kelly: I’m actually surprised you’re not recommending me a day of rest.

David: The only reason why I’m not is because I already know you wouldn’t do it easily. Helping others is far more important to you.

He looks down, examining his clipboard, and sighs to himself. Kelly seems a little worried but perks up.

Kelly: Hey, if you want, you can come on over to the office later. We can talk for a bit, do some stuff together… plus, it’ll give you a chance to check up on me.

David: Office… right. Alright, sure, I’ll- I’ll be sure to do that.

Kelly: Great. Well, I probably shouldn’t keep Chloe waiting any longer. You probably know how she gets already.

David: Heh. Wait, uh Kelly?

Kelly turns back to face David.

Kelly: Hm?

David takes her hand into his own.

David: I’m glad that you wanted this with me. The relationship, I mean. I never really had the time to properly express that to you.

Kelly, touched: David…

David: No, really. I want this to work. This thing between us.

Kelly lets out a small chuckle as she looks behind David, at the nurses attending to their business as well as the other patients.

Kelly: We’re still at the hospital, you know. (looking back at David) We could get in trouble. A doctor swooning over his lovestruck patient.

David: For you, it’s worth it.

David leans in and kisses Kelly, on the lips. She seems a little surprised at first but as the moment goes on, her eyes close and her hands wrap around the doctor’s body. Some of the nurses and other doctor turn and notice this. A few side glances here and there before returning to their own tasks. David then leans away from Kelly- who still has her lips puckered outwards. She steps back, taken aback by the kiss and slowly opens her eyes. David looks ahead at her and gives her a striking smile with pleased eyes.

Kelly: Yeah… definitely worth it. Heh.

David: So, office later, right?

Kelly: Yeah… office later…

She smiles but she does it so absent-mindedly. David continues smiling as he walks away. Kelly stands there, watching him leave with a goofy smile. She lets out a pleasant sigh before turning the other way- seeing Chloe watching her from the end of the hall. And, just like that, Kelly’s bliss smile drops into a surprised and, almost mortified, look.

Kelly: Oh no…

Chloe: Kelly! (rushes over) So you did hook up with David!

Kelly: Would you-! Not so loud, gosh.

Kelly puts her arm around Chloe and escorts her away from the area while some of the patients watch them leave.

Chloe: You need to tell me everything. Like was that your first kiss or have you been snogging down for weeks now?

Kelly: Chloe.

Chloe: And have you gotten a look at those abs yet or what?

Kelly: Chloe! Please…

She lets out a long and exaggerated sigh as the two leave the hall. Back over at Ryder Investigations, Ryder checks his laptop and looks over articles about the museum. One of which being an article about the upcoming gala- with the jewel being one of the pieces of attention. Another particle that Ryder moves to details what kind of attractions the museum displays. It shows off various art pieces, minerals, rare finds, runes and even old artifacts.

Ryder: Huh… surprised that stuff even survived for this long. Must be one hell of a museum.

Ryder clicks through the rest of the article before moving onto the next one. He stops, his eyes widen only slightly. The article that he had stopped on is an old one, which focuses on the disappearance of the previous curator of the museum.

Ryder, reading: “Mysterious Disappearance of Museum Curator” Huh… I wonder if that has something to do with the missing jewel. (continues reading) Although, I guess that would a bit of a far stretch. This article is old news. Before the Invasion… huh…

Ryder continues strolling through the article, reading more of it. However, the vintage black phone on his desk soon rings, breaking his concentration. Ryder looks at the phone with a slight surprise before reaching quickly to answer it.

Ryder: Hello?

Kelly, over the phone: Hey, Ryder… it’s me.

Ryder: Kelly, hey! Uh- how are you? Is the hospital treating you okay?

Kelly, over the phone: Huh? Oh yeah, yeah. I actually had a quick recovery and decided to leave the hospital early.

Ryder: Wait, what? You’re- You’re leaving the hospital? Did someone pick you up or-

Kelly, over the phone: No. I’m actually on my way back to the office. Figured I go for a walk, stretch my legs and stuff.

Ryder: You’re kidding me. Hang on, Kelly. Are you close to the hospital still?

Kelly, over the phone: Um, yeah. I’m not too far away. I’m close to a coffee shop nearb-

Ryder: Okay, stay there. I’ll head on over and pick you up as soon as I can.

Kelly: Um, sure but Ryder-

Ryder hangs up the phone and rushes out of his seat. He slams the laptop down and heads over to the couch, grabbing his jacket from the couch end. He quickly heads out of the office, closing the door behind him. The scene cuts to a later point in time, Chloe can be seen in the window of a coffee shop, enjoying a hot cup in her hand. She turns to the window and suddenly looks surprised to see a yellow taxi quickly driving up to the curb. She leans ahead in her seat, as if to get a better view. The back seat door opens and Ryder steps out in a hurry. He pays the driver through the driver’s window and turns to the window- seeing Kelly there. She lifts a hand up and looks at him questionably. He stands there, hands now in his jacket pocket and slowly shrugs. Kelly lets out a slight chuckle and motions for him to come inside. The scene cuts ahead to the two of them walking down the sidewalk, a cup of coffee in hand. Ryder drinks from his cup while he walks alongside Kelly.

Kelly: When you said you were going to pick me up, I sort of imagined you driving here with your own car.

Ryder: Well, I don’t have a car. I mean… not at the moment, anyways.

Kelly: More of your traditional Ryder secrets, eh?

Ryder: Secrets that I still plan on telling you about, by the way. Just in due time, that’s all…

Kelly: (sigh) Well, I’m glad that you’re being more open with me. It makes working together a lot more easier.

Ryder: We are friends, after all.

Kelly: Yeah.

Ryder: So, early leave from the hospital, huh? What? They kicked you out for yammering on about protocol?

Kelly: (scoff) Rude.

Ryder laughs to himself.

Kelly: No, I actually had a pretty quick recovery. My doctor said that my injuries healed at a fast rate.

Ryder: Huh… your injuries were really bad, Kelly. I’m actually surprised you’re walking around, at all.

Kelly: Thanks for the boost of encouragement.

Ryder: Hey, a little realism helps you from getting hurt over imaginary things.

Kelly: So you just wanted to walk back to the office?

Ryder: Actually, we’re not on our way to the office. We have a new case.

Kelly: We?

Ryder: Yeah, you’re my partner, remember?

Kelly: Oh, yeah, for work, you mean. So what’s the big case?

Ryder: We’re going to the museum.

Kelly: The museum?

Ryder: The Midtown Museum of Discovery.

Kelly: Hey, I think I went there once. Don’t they have like paintings and diamonds there?

Ryder: Paintings, diamonds, jewels. One of which had gone missing.

Kelly: A jewel?

Ryder: Bingo.

Kelly: And so our case is to locate it for them.

Ryder: Right again. So we’re heading to the museum...

Kelly: ...to search for evidence?

Ryder: See? You’re a natural.

Kelly: I feel like you’re trying to teach me something but it’s coming off a tad bit patronizing.

Ryder: What? That’s just how I normally sound. Come on, the museum should be up ahead.

The two of them continue up ahead. The view raises from the sidewalk and over the rooftops of the local buildings and shops- showing a museum-like building up ahead.

 
Midtown Museum of Discovery
December 27, 11:17 EDT

Inside the museum, Ryder walks ahead while Kelly looks around whilst walking alongside him.

Kelly: This place sure is fancy looking.

Ryder: A little too fancy. (scoff) This is what happens when you try to compete with the other museums.

Kelly: Well, sure there’s the museum of natural history and Metropolitan but I’m sure there other museums out there that are just as good.

Ryder: That’s just optimistic thinking, Kelly. Nobody really goes to museums anymore. They’re a dying breed. I guess lots of people just want to forget about the past.

Kelly: Is the past really that bad? Aren’t there the good moments too?

Ryder: Somethings the bad moments overshadow the good ones. So much so that all we can do is lock them away and hope to move on.

Kelly: Yeah, I guess I know what you mean…

Ryder: The back room should be over here somewhere. Let’s not waste too much time with this.

Ryder continues on ahead as he moves into the back room. Kelly watches his leave for a few seconds before following after him. She enters into the back room and sees Ryder already engaged in conversation with the museum’s curator.

Ms. Melo: Thanks again for coming. You have no idea how much this means to myself and the museum.

Ryder: Yeah, sure. Letting us investigate this area would really help gather clues as to where the jewel may have gone.

Ms. Melo: Ah, I see. Well, I should leave you to it. I’ll be outside if you need me.

Ms. Melo leaves the backroom, moving past Kelly. Ryder then walks over to a broken crate and looks it over.

Kelly, walking to Ryder’s side: So this is the crime scene then. I’m surprised the police hasn’t done anymore for this woman and the museum.

Ryder: It’s a minor incident. In a city like this- in this day and age- it wouldn’t surprising if there are bigger crimes going on.

Ryder continues to examine the broken crate when the door can be heard opening from behind them. Kelly turns her attention to the door while Ryder carries on with his investigation. As the door opens, a young, lanky man wearing a neat, white, buttoned shirt underneath an olive green blazer steps into the back room. He has ginger hair brushed upwards, sharp eyebrows and hazel eyes. He turns away to talk to the curator, standing close to his side.

Man: Thanks, I’ll take it from here.

The door then closes and the man turns to Kelly and Ryder. His smile while fading for a moment regains its wicked strength upon coming into sights of Kelly. He steps forward, extending his hand outwards as his pristine teeth start to bear from his widening grin.

Man: Hi, hello! Sorry, where are my manners? I’m Henry. Henry Adams.

Kelly seems a little caught off guard and surprised when seeing his hand suddenly approaching her. She reaches and takes his hand. She gives him a shake but he raises her hand to his face, kissing it gently. Kelly’s face blushes.

Kelly: Oh! Uh- heh, it’s nice to meet you too.

Ryder glances back momentarily before returning to his investigation. He checks the floors, seeing some footprints heading off towards the further back of the room. He then notices some boots before him. He looks up and sees Henry looking down at him with a grin on his face. Ryder slowly rises up from the ground and looks Henry straight in the eyes.

Ryder: What do you want? You’re in my way.

Kelly: Ryder…

Henry: No, it’s fine. Uh- hello, my name is Henry Adams. I’m a private investigator.

Kelly: Wait, you’re a private investigator?

Henry: Yes, that’s right. I’ll be taking over this case, if you don’t mind.

Ryder: Wait, what? Where is this coming from? Who even are you?

Henry: I’ll have you know I’m actually quite well known in my field. Here, I’ll give you my card.

Ryder: Don’t bother. You can make yourself useful by getting out of our way.

Kelly: What my partner means is we’re already assigned to this case in particular. Maybe there’s been some sort of misunderstanding.

Henry: Yes, I’m well aware of your participation. I spoke with Ms. Melo in detail about my interest in this case. I have a client that is connected to this and she has agreed that I am allowed to investigate and recover her jewel if I can manage it.

Ryder: So, you have the same offer as we do.

Henry: That’s correct, actually. But hey, I wouldn’t mind if you assisted me with this case. So what have you found so far?

Kelly: Well, uh-

Ryder: We’re leaving.

Kelly: Wait, really?

Ryder: Yes. Now.

Ryder gets up and heads out. Kelly follows but stops and turns to Henry.

Kelly: Uh. I suppose we’re leaving now.

Henry: It’s a shame. I wanted to get to know you two better. Hey, if you want, you can visit my office later. I would love to discuss this case in more detail with you both. Here’s my card.

Henry reaches into his blazer pocket and retrieves a business card. He hands it over to Kelly who takes it into her hands. She looks down at it- the business card is incredibly detailed with a gold lining, neat font and a stylish image of Henry, himself, on the front of the card. She flips the card over and it reads, “Investigation is our Specialty” in script.

Kelly: Huh. Neat.

Ryder, calling from outside: Kelly!

Kelly: Uh- y-yeah! Coming! (to Henry) I’ll consider it.

Henry, nodding: It’s all I can ask for.

Kelly turns and leaves the back room. Henry then turns to the broken up crate and looks around the room. Outside of the museum, Ryder can be seen walking ahead with some haste. His hands are stuffed into his jacket pockets and his face is tightened slightly. Kelly rushes over to his side and matches his pace as she reaches his side.

Kelly: Where are you going? What happened to the investigation?

Ryder: Not in the mood.

Kelly: What? Because of that guy?

Ryder: Ms. Melo has no right to hire two investigators for the same case. I shouldn’t even take her case at all!

Kelly: Ryder, listen to yourself for a moment.

Ryder stops and Kelly does too. He looks over at her, clearly repressing some anger, while Kelly looks at him with calm eyes.

Kelly: She can do whatever she wants and he can do whatever he wants but that doesn’t mean they’re any closer to actually finding the thing. Now, I know you better than you think so you must have already found something in the back room back there. Otherwise, leaving would just be a waste of investigation time.

Ryder huffs and smirks afterwards.

Ryder: Looks like you’re catching on.

Kelly: So you were faking that hissy fit, right?

Ryder: Faking?

Kelly, surprised: Wait, so it was real?

Ryder: I don’t have hissy fits. Who even says that?

They continue walking ahead, now in a normal pace.

Kelly: So what did you find? Any clues leading to the true culprit? Let me guess, it was an inside job, wasn’t it?

Ryder: What makes you say that?

Kelly: Well, you know… I mean, what else could it have been?

Ryder: That’s not very confident way of talking about crime scenes. Aren’t you supposed to be a police officer.

Kelly: I’m off duty and on super sick leave. It’s just been a while, that’s all.

Ryder: (sigh) Well, it wasn’t an inside job.

Kelly: Wait, really? How can you be so sure?

Ryder: Think about it. The crate was bashed in. I’m assuming by some sort of blunt weapon or tool. I saw some knocked over tools behind a shelf in the back room. I’m assuming the culprit or culprits used one of those to bash it open. If it were an inside job, they wouldn’t need to bash the crate, at all. They would have the time and proper equipment to unseal the crate, remove the jewel, and seal it again without anyone even knowing it was opened.

Kelly: Okay, good point. But what if they didn’t have time, they could have planned it so that they only let someone else inside. Then that person bashed open the crate and stole the jewel while the inside person allowed them to escape.

Ryder, rubbing his chin: Hm. Good thinking. After all, the footprints that I noticed were leading to and from the back of the room. I checked online and found a diagram of the museum. There’s an emergency exit in the back as well as a staff entrance. So it’s hard to say what truly happened without more evidence. We’ll have to give it some more thought when we investigate tomorrow.

Kelly: Tomorrow? Why not now?

Ryder: With Eager McBeaver back there? I don’t think so. I’ll find the evidence in my own pace. Besides, even if I found the jewel today, do you really think the museum is actually going to cough up as much money as they offered me without debates and court cases?

Kelly: Well, we can’t just sit around while we wait for the price to keep dropping. Hm, maybe we should head over to Henry’s office?

Ryder turns sharply to Kelly with widened eyes.

Ryder: What?!

Kelly: Don’t get me wrong. I don’t think we should be worrying about him too much and letting him get in the way of our investigation. But, we might be able to learn more about the case and why he’s taking it if we just head over and ask.

Ryder: Gah, fine. But only because it’s our way of convincing him to screw off of this case already. Buy me some coffee while we wait.

Ryder walks off ahead while Kelly stands there, watching him leave, with a disappointed look on her face.

Kelly: (scoffs) Why do I have to buy this time?

Kelly walks ahead after Ryder as the scene fades over to a bird’s eye view of the city. After a moment of seeing the city from overhead at a later point in time, the scene cuts over to a tall building elsewhere in the city.

 
Henry and Co. Investigation Offices
December 27, 15:03 EDT

Inside, Ryder and Kelly can be seen walking down the hall. Kelly looks down at the card as she walks ahead while Ryder just looks around. While the office appears to be confined to an apartment like his, the halls appear clean with proper lighting- keeping the hallways always in an illuminated state no matter how late into the day it has gotten. There are also room numbers on the doors. In the middle of the hall, although more towards the back, Kelly stops at a door in particular and turns to Ryder. Ryder stops and glances over at her.

Kelly: Ready?

Ryder nods with a sigh and looks away as Kelly knocks against the door. After a minute or so of waiting, the door swings open and Henry stands in the doorway- looking as eager as ever.

Henry: Kelly, right? Nice to see you accepted my offer. I was just going over some evidence that I’ve gathered from the back room of the museum.

Kelly: And you’re Henry Adams correct? I mean, yeah, of course, you are. We met back at the thing. Sorry, I just never been to a different investigation office before.

Ryder: It’s not that big of a deal.

Henry: Heh. Please, come in.

Henry opens the door wider and allows Ryder and Kelly to enter his office. It appears in pristine condition with organized lockers, a nice, polished wooden floor with an exotic and neat carpet on top. There’s also two wooden desks towards the back. The entire room has rich decor and even what appears to be a little waiting room by the door. Kelly soaks up the sights as she looks around while Ryder mostly keeps to himself.

Henry: Please, make yourself at home. Mi office, tu office- as some might say.

Ryder: Hah, funny.

Henry: Take a seat. Let’s talk about the case at hand.

Henry takes a seat behind his desk while Ryder and Kelly seat in the two seats before his own. Ryder turns his head and notices the second desk towards his left side; it looks cleared and unused.

Henry: So, the case at hand, it appears that we’re both investigating the jewel. I’m sure you already know about the footprints and how the tools may have been used to break open the crate.

Kelly: Well, uh- yeah but how did you-?

Henry: I am a professional, after all. I can only assume that you found the same leads as I. It was a small room, after all.

Ryder: So, what exactly are you suggesting? I’m tired of wasting time by dancing around this.

Henry: It think it would be better if you report your findings to me. I’ll pay you a sizeable amount if you’re still hung over about the money.

Kelly: But why would you want our help?

Henry: Because you’re private investigators like myself. By working together, we can find the jewel a lot faster and we all get rewarded from it. How does that sound?

Ryder puts his curled finger to his chin as if pondering something. He even lets out a soft grunt as his eyes drift downwards.

Ryder: Now this one really gets me.

Henry: Eh? W-What do you mean?

Ryder: Everything seems to fit the bill with you. Self-absorbed, rich asshole has himself a whole company and wants to use lesser investigators to get his work done. Except one thing… why even take the case at all?

Kelly: Ryder?

Ryder: Look around, Kelly. This place definitely shows how much profit this guy has turned up over the years. And even if the well was running dry, I doubt he’d have to settle with a missing jewel in order to make ends meet. Not like us, anyways. Something’s going on here… something you’re not telling us.

Henry: You’re being too hard on yourselves. No one here said anything about you being less than me. I’m just trying to find a good middle ground to this whole situation.

Ryder: Well, let me save you trouble of coming up with a better offer but saying I’m not interested. We’re going to work this case and solve it. And just to top it off, I’ll probably uncover your secrets too while I’m at it just for the hell of it.

Ryder rises from his chair and moves towards the door. Kelly glances back at Ryder- her expression looking more unsure than before- before she follows after her friend. Just as they reach the door, however, Henry stands from his seat.

Henry: If this is how you want to play things, Ryder, then it seems I have no choice but to make sure you don’t finish this case. Best of luck, you’ll need it.

Ryder turns to Henry who watches him with a hard smile, one that doesn’t even look like a smile anymore. Ryder then turns back to the door and opens it. The two step out of the office soon after with the door closing after them. Henry drops his expression and sits back down in his chair. He lets out a hard sigh as he rests his elbows on his desk- soon putting his head in his hands. He then glances over at the second desk for a brief moment and turns back to his own. Reaching the late evening, the apartment housing Ryder Investigations can be seen once again among the other buildings in the area.

 
Ryder Investigations
December 27, 17:50 EDT

Inside, there are files on the floor, the couch, the desk. It appears, on first glance, like a mess of papers but, on closer inspection, a somewhat organized collection of files placed out for viewing. Kelly sits on the floor, criss-cross, as she looks down at some files before her. Ryder lays back in his chair, checking his laptop.

Kelly: Ryder?

Ryder: Huh?

Kelly: Can we talk?

Ryder: ...About?

Kelly: About what happened back there at the office.

Ryder: (sigh) Sure…

Ryder leans up in his seat a little, adjusting his sitting position as Kelly looks away for a moment.

Kelly: Look, I don’t wanna really bring this up but you were really rude to him back there. I know he’s pretty much our opponent in this but I mean- did he really deserve that?

Ryder: Kelly. Gah. You’re a nice girl, you always try to see the best in people. And that’s a good aspect for a person you like to hang out with or maybe even have a relationship with but not so much in this field. When you’re a private investigator, it’s your job to dig up the truth. No matter who it hurts. And sometimes that means you have to break down some doors that people want closed and to get in their faces when they say otherwise.

Kelly: But he’s a private investigator too, isn’t he? And he was just so nice to us.

Ryder: You act as if this guy is the President!

He turns to Kelly and sees her looking at him with a certain look. He lets out another sigh.

Ryder: We all put on a face, Kelly. Something to cover up what we really feel in order to get something that we really want. Maybe that was his facade for the secrets that he’s trying to cover up from us.

Kelly: So everyone wears a face… even you?

Ryder stops. His breath cut short. He then composes himself and looks down.

Ryder: I…

Before he can finish, there’s a knock at the door. Ryder turns to the door and is about to get up when Kelly already beats him to it.

Kelly: It’s okay, I’ve got it.

Ryder: A client this late?

Kelly: Actually, it’s uh-

The door opens before Kelly can reach it and David walks in, hesitantly. He looks up, seeing Kelly, and his nervous look is replaced with a more cheerful one.

David: Kelly, hey! I was worried I got the wrong room for a second. Wouldn’t want to be breaking and entering or anything.

He looks past her and sees Ryder at the desk; he seems a little off guard.

David: Oh, Mr. Ryder, was it? I don’t know if you remember me but I’m-

Ryder: You’re the doctor from the hospital. Yeah, I remember you. What uh- what are you doing here?

David: Didn’t Kelly tell you? I came to check up on her.

Ryder: Is it a medical thing or-?

Kelly: No, he’s uh- it’s um… He just wanted to make sure I was alright.

David: Y-Yes. That’s it.

Ryder: Oh.

The room is thrown into a silence. Kelly steps over and guides David past the files all over the place.

Kelly: So uh- you should probably make yourself comfortable.

Ryder looks around very confused. He takes a sip of bourbon from his flask and looks back at them, already engaged in conversation.

David: So, how was your day today? Been busy or anything?

Kelly: It was fine… I did some more investigating.

David: Heh, you know I never would have taken you for the investigative type.

Kelly: And what’s that supposed to mean?

David: Well, it’s just that, uh- well, you’re a police officer and I’m a doctor. We’ve just got our occupations and all. That’s like me taking up firefighting.

Kelly: Hey, officers investigate things too!

David: Yeah, but publicly. Not privately.

Kelly: Seriously? That’s the best you can come up with? Come on, that was dumb.

David: Well, I can’t help it. I’m just a dumb guy.

David leans in towards Kelly, who is becoming easily flustered. Just as she starts to pucker her lips, a sudden throat can be heard being cleared. The two of them freeze and turn- seeing Ryder watching them from his desk. He swivels in his chair, waving around his flask.

Kelly: What?

Ryder: ...Nothing.

Kelly: You have something to say then please just say it.

Ryder: So uh- are you two… y’know- dating?

David: Well, uh-

Kelly: Yes… We are.

Ryder: ...Cool. Cool. Uh- since when?

Kelly: Ryder…

Ryder: What?

Kelly: You’re doing it again.

Ryder: I’m just asking the man a simple question, is all. I want to look out for my partner…

Kelly can’t help but smile softly at Ryder’s words but, as she turns to David, covers her small grin with her hand, as if wiping her face.

Kelly: You don’t have to answer that.

David: No, it’s fine. It was uh- during her stay at the hospital. She actually confessed to me but I think I’ve had feelings since I first met her.

David looks at Kelly passionately. She smiles, almost as if entranced by his words. Ryder, looks over at them but then glances away.

Ryder: I’m… I’m happy for you two.

Kelly, looking back over at Ryder: Really? No, snide remarks about a doctor falling in love with his patient?

Ryder: I was actually going to save those later but I could just bring them up now if you want. (chuckles)

His chuckles then die down as he looks away from Kelly a second time.

Ryder: No uh- really. I’m happy you found someone that has your interests at heart.

Kelly: ...Ryder, I-

She cuts herself off then lets out a soft sigh.

Kelly: Thank you. (smiles)

Ryder glances over and smiles back at her. David slightly chuckles to himself before glancing at the files. Something appears to catch his eye as he leans forwards, moving some files around.

David: Hey, what did you guys say you were investigating again?

Ryder: A jewel, why?

David: Well, this might be a little out of place but there’s a street where paramedics sometimes receive tips and such about bodies turning up out of the blue. We call it Blood Drive. It’s somewhat close to the museum as it turns out from these files over here.

Kelly: I think I heard about that around the precinct actually. Not a lot people know what’s going down there, but they believe there’s some sort of trafficking ring or something operating on that street and whoever is too injured to move around get left behind as they pass through.

Ryder: What relevance does that have with a missing jewel?

David: I don’t know. From the looks of it, it seemed like you were investigating something else entirely but… (thinks for a moment) Maybe someone else decided to use Blood Drive in order to move the jewel. All I know is something moves through there and people end up injured or even dead on that street.

Ryder: (sigh) Well, a lead is a lead and right now we’re running thin on leads. I’m heading out. You can stay here with your boyfriend if you want but I don’t want that check to get too low.

Ryder sits up from his desk and walks around it, towards the front of the room. He carefully passes by Kelly, who watches him leave, standing up as soon as he passes by.

Kelly: Uh, we’re coming too.

David: Wait, we are?

David stands up behind Kelly who walks past him as well. Ryder straightens his leather jacket and rolls his eyes.

Ryder: Alright, alright. Just hurry it up already.

Kelly pouts.

Ryder: Please?

Kelly, smiles: That’s better.

Ryder opens the door and holds it open as Kelly walks out of the room.

Ryder: You go on ahead, I have to get something real quick.

He closes the door before David gets the chance to leave. He then clears his throat and slowly looks up at David- who is actually taller than Ryder is.

Ryder: So, you’re dating Kelly, now.

David: Y-Yes. I am. Are you going to suggest I don’t?

Ryder: No. I wouldn’t do that. She… she likes you, I can tell. But she liked someone else too and he wasn’t really good for her.

David: I got that impression.

Ryder: Good. Because I don’t want her to go through the same thing she did before, do I make myself clear?

David: Absolutely.

Ryder: Right then.

Ryder opens the door and holds it open. David stands still for a moment, looking a little unsettled. He then walks ahead, leaving the office. Ryder, stays where he is a moment longer, a slight smirk running onto his face. He then turns back and shuts the lights off, closing the door behind him. As the door closes, the room is thrown into darkness. And from the darkness, the scene transitions over to the bottom of an elevated railway, as a train passes by overhead. The view continues to lower, panning downwards to the right as a street comes into focus. Ryder, Kelly and David are approaching it from the sidewalk.

 
“Blood Drive”
December 27, 18:29 EDT

David: What do you guys expect to find here, anyways? I’m sort of new to this whole investigative thing.

Ryder: Well, this type of work isn’t for everyone.

Kelly: What he means is you’ll get used to it. Hopefully, we just turn up a new lead on the jewel.

The three of them are about to turn the corner and enter the street.

Ryder: And with that lead we can finally- (suddenly surprised) Fuck me!

Kelly: Yea- wait, wha-?

Ryder charges ahead, leaving Kelly and David behind.

Kelly, turning to Ryder, stunned: Ryder?

Ryder approaches Henry, who is examining the street as he kneels down.

Ryder: Just what the hell do you think you’re playing at?

Henry turns and sees Ryder confronting him.

Henry: Beautiful night for an investigation, don’t you think?

Ryder: How did you even find out about this street? It doesn’t even have anything to do with the jewel.

Henry: If that were true, you wouldn’t be here, now would you? Maybe it’s time to admit that I may be a step before you.

Ryder: Maybe we should settle this right here and right now, cheesecake.

Ryder steps closer but Kelly rushes over, putting her hand on his chest- keeping him back.

Kelly: Easy, Ryder. Easy.

Henry: You should listen to the little lady here. All those angry, constipated faces you keep making are feeling throwing me off my A-Game.

Kelly, turning to Henry: You’re not making this any better.

Henry: I’m not here to make anything better for you guys. I have a case to solve and I don’t need any of you in my way.

Kelly: We have the right to investigate here, just as much as you do.

Kelly takes her hand off of Ryder’s chest and points her finger at Henry.

Henry: The right to investigate. Please, don’t make me laugh. You’re a police officer, on sick leave, mind you, for getting into an accident that involves several armed men? I don’t exactly need to be a detective or even a PI to put two and two together.

David: Come on, don’t bring her into this.

Henry: Who even are you?

David: I’m David… I’m a doctor.

Henry just looks at David with a confused expression and turns back to Kelly. She’s not exactly pleased just from her expression alone. His body appears tensed. Ryder then backs away and looks off down the street.

Henry: As I was saying, something tells me that you’re not playing by the rules. Would be interesting to call up the commissioner of the police department when he finds out you’re helping out a private investigator and getting into bloody fights in your spare time.

Kelly: That’s not what’s happening at all!

Henry: Where’s your proof? Where’s your evidence? This is exactly why you’ll never be a private investigator- let alone an assistant to some amateur who just so happens to have an office.

Henry glances over at Ryder, who is looking away, not even facing Henry or the others.

Henry: Yeah… that’s what I thought. (turning back to Kelly) All of you are nothing but a distraction for the real thing that needs attention. The case. And if you can’t understand that then don’t even bother working in the investigative field.

David walks off as well. Hands in pocket. He sighs deeply then turns to Ryder, standing alone. He walks over to Ryder.

David: Need some company?

Ryder glances quickly at David.

Ryder: Stuck with you then. Wonderful.

David: You make that sound like a bad thing. Look, I’m not a bad guy like whoever that other guy was. I just- I care about Kelly and I know you do too. She talks about you a lot. And I was worried when you carried her to the hospital. Really. I just- I didn’t know what to do with myself other than to make sure she… made it through the night. Oof, and what a night it was.

Ryder: ...Yeah. Thank you, though. For taking care of her, as her doctor. As for her boyfriend… we’ll see.

David: Hey, that’s all I could hope for.

Ryder: I mean, you can still back down. If you think I’m a problem then you haven’t seen her like that before.

The two of them glance back and see Kelly still arguing with Henry. They both chuckle as they face back around.

David: You seem to be able to handle her.

Ryder: We’re childhood friends. We go way back so I know what she’s like… most of the time, anyways. I guess that explains why she deals with a sack of crap like me all the time.

David: Well, I may not have had the years of experience but we’ve definitely been friends before. She seems… adventurous, daring and spontaneous. But she’s also caring, nice and emotional. The people I usually deal with aren’t like her, she’s really just something new in my life. Someone I really want to take care of.

Ryder: Buddy, no one is like Kelly. Heh. You know I met some pretty big assholes before but you’re not that bad. At least, you’re not as big of an asshole as the other ones were.

David: Thanks?

Ryder: It’s a compliment… I think. (looks around) So Blood Drive, huh? You’ve been here before?

David: Only twice. I was walking through one time and came across a mugging victim. She was bleeding out when I got there. Did the best I could and got her to the hospital. She didn’t make it, sadly.

Ryder: And the second time?

David: ...I got a tip, personally. Someone had gotten kidnapped and the people responsible were planning of selling her off into trafficking. So I showed up- alone- ready to confront them, head on. It didn’t exactly go so well. The paramedics rushed over when someone called in another body drop. Except this time, that body was mine. The hospital kept my situation under wraps so it wouldn’t compromise my profession. After all, I had a long history with the hospital and I was good at what I did. But I failed that girl. And to think that could have been avoided if I just called for help. (sigh) I guess I just took it too personally. I don’t think you would understand.

Ryder: I think I know a few things about coping with loss. About trying to fix your wrongs and avenging people close to you. This world may have changed into an unforgiving wasteland wrecked by monsters and madness but the city had always been cruel and twisted- long before the Incident. Places like this street, these are the dark shadows of the city- where bad things happen to unfortunate people. You’re one of those bright ones, David. You might think a light is good thing to have in a dark place like this but the darker the place gets, the easier it is to extinguish that light.

David looks taken aback for a moment before looking away from Ryder. His eyes then seem to fix onto something in the street.

David: Speaking of light... I think I see something strange over there.

Ryder: What are you-?

Ryder turns, looking down. He then notices something shining underneath the street lamp. He then walks over to it and kneels down. He reaches into his leather jacket and removes a small bag. He scoops up a few shining fragments that reflect the dim light from above. The fragments appear to be blue from the side. Ryder examines them carefully before sealing the zip bag. He places the evidence into his jacket pocket and turns to David.

Ryder: I should go.

David: Wait, go? You sound like some kind of captain rushing off somewhere. What happened to the investigation?

Ryder: I won’t get any work done with this guy around. He’ll just take the credit for whatever I find and we’ll never find that jewel. He’s up to something and I want to find out what that is.

Ryder glances over at David then starts to walk away from him.

David: Well, if you’re going to just walk away with evidence, you should at least get it analyzed. Staring at some fragments isn’t going to help solve the case.

Ryder stops and turns to face David again.

Ryder: So what exactly are you suggesting?

David: You could give it to me, I could scan for some stuff using some of the machinery at the hospital. Should get results within the hour.

Ryder: I already have a source.

David: Really?

Ryder is about to say something but stops and looks down as his eyes shift to the side. He then closes his eyes and mutters something to himself before a heavy sigh escapes his lips.

Ryder: Okay… okay… (turning to David once more) You really want to make yourself helpful?

A moment passes when Ryder approaches Kelly.

Kelly: What were you two doing down there?

Ryder: Just having another friendly chat with your boyfriend.

Kelly: Are you really going to make this thing a big deal?

Ryder: Yes. I plan on dragging this out for as long as I can. So, I take it you’ve gotten to know our rival a bit better.

Kelly: Isn’t that going a bit too far?

Ryder: I dunno, you wanna go ask him for me?

Kelly: ...No.

Ryder: Thought so. Come on, we have some more investigating to do back at the office.

Ryder starts to walk away with Kelly when footsteps are heard approaching them.

Henry: Hey, you and me, we’re not done here.

Ryder turns and glares at Henry, who looks at him expectantly.

Ryder: What? What could you possibly want from me?

Henry: I want to know what you found. I heard you talking with that guy back there. So what did you find?

Ryder: Nothing important.

Henry: Every little thing is important, Ryder. Don’t start playing games with me.

Ryder: I didn’t start anything. You’re the one who decided to take on this case and try to work against me.

Henry: I offered you my help. You know, I think I’m starting to understand just what kind of person you really are. You’re not in this for the money. No, you’re in this for some sicker ideal.

Kelly: We’re just trying to help people. That’s all.

Henry: Call it what you will. Lie to yourself in the mirror every night if that’s what you want to do. But I will know the truth. I will find the truth. By any means necessary.

Ryder: And I’m guessing that’s how you solved your other cases too. You’re not a private investigator. The only thing you capitalize on is privacy. Promises discrepancy in exchange for big bucks and deep pockets. You want a clue, look somewhere else. Because the only thing you’ll get from me is an ass whoopin’.

Henry: So that’s how it’s going to be then?

Ryder then stares at him while Henry stands where he is, unable to keep still. He then gives a dry chuckle then scoffs as he turns away from them.

Henry: I’m done here. Investigate all you want. But this case will be mine. And when I’m finished with my work, you’ll wish you were just as good a private eye as I am!


Henry takes off, with both Ryder and Kelly looking ahead at him go.

Kelly: Yeesh…

Ryder: Tell me about it. Come on.

Ryder guides Kelly away and the two of them start to walk off in the opposite direction.

Kelly: Hey, where’d David go?

Ryder: ...Huh? Oh, he had someplace to be. I’ll tell you about it later, right now we gotta drop something off at the office.

The two continue walking down the sidewalk, unaware that Henry had stopped behind one of the metallic pillars holding up the overhead railway. He leans out, jotting something down in a small notepad.

Henry: The office, huh? (chuckles) We’ll see who’s a good PI now.

Henry then walks away. The scene then fades over to the apartment building that houses Ryder Investigations. The sky is dark and the cloud are starting to thicken but remain sparse. The moon shines over the buildings below it as it lingers in the open air.

 
Ryder Investigations
December 28, 03:05 EDT

Inside, the office is still and dark- with some moonlight shining in from a window, that was only mostly covered by the blinds. The door of the office can be seen opening easily as it swings open silent, with only a couple of soft creaks. A pair of boots step into the office and step across the floor. The view slowly rises from the floor to show that the figure sneaking in is actually Henry. He continues to sneak past the couch, Ryder lays there- sleeping. Henry glances over at him but turns to the desk in the back of the room. He moves around the wooden desk and bends down- checking each drawer. However, once he checks the last drawer of the desk, he looks up, with a worried expression.

Henry, quietly, to himself: What? Where-

Ryder, unseen: Looking for something?

Henry raises his head and a light comes on, brightening the room slightly. Ryder has his hand on the switch of a nearby lamp as he looks over at Henry, still laying on the couch. Henry turns to run but a clicking noise is heard, causing him to freeze where he stands. Kelly moves out from behind the filing cabinets, gun ready in her grip.

Kelly: Don’t you even move a muscle.

Henry lowers his head and delivers a sigh; an exaggerated and withered sigh, at that. He then starts to break down into laughter. Kelly glances over at Ryder then back at Henry, re-adjusting her grip on the gun. His laughter becomes more uncontrollable, louder and even miserable from just the tone of it.

Ryder, getting up from the couch: Something funny?

Henry: It’s over. (laughs) Everything, it’s all over. I… I failed.

His laughing starts to cease as a realization comes over him. He steps back, almost involuntarily, and backs into the desk- placing his hands against it. He looks pale, dazed and ashamed.

Henry: I failed her.

Ryder: Her? Who’s her? Why are you even interested in this case?

Henry: It doesn’t matter anymore. Just arrest me. Get rid of me. Lock me up and throw me away. Do you think I care anymore? I have just lost…everything precious to me.

Kelly: It’s just a jewel.

Ryder: ...No, Kelly. I don’t think it is. At first, I thought that same thing but no… the amount of dedication you put into your research and investigation on this case is way too through to be for just the jewel. So… this is about something else, then.

Henry: Where is it?

Kelly: Where’s what?

Henry: The… uh….

He falls silent again, dropping his head back downwards.

Ryder: He’s talking about the evidence I found back at Blood Drive.

Henry: Yes… Those were my only leads to- to…

The silence returns and remains for an even longer amount of time as Henry holds his head with one hand.

Ryder: The evidence was given to a colleague of ours. You may have met him.

Henry: What? No… That-That can’t be right. I heard you! You and him! You two were talking about the evidence you found and how you were taking it back to the office with you!

Ryder: Yes. You heard what I wanted you to hear. I needed those fragments analyzed and he was the only one able to do it within a certain time frame. As it turns out, the fragments belonged to the missing jewel. But something tells me you already knew that.

Henry: Heh. It looks like you’re the one in front of me this time. Yes, I knew some things about the missing jewel.

Kelly: But why didn’t you tell us?

Henry: I couldn’t. You wouldn’t understand.

Ryder: Oh, you’d be surprised. You weren’t just after the jewel, now were you? You were looking into something else. Maybe… someone else?

Henry looks up at Ryder. A breath leaves from his mouth, either one of disappointment or relief.

Henry: So you figured it out.

Ryder: Actually, I just took a guess. But that’s pretty much what being an investigator is. Doing guest work and getting your hands dirty from digging up the truth. What I haven’t figured out yet is who you’re looking for.

Henry: My wife, Veronica.

Kelly: Veronica Adams… I’ve heard that name before.

Henry: I should hope so. She was reported missing by the museum.

Kelly: The same museum that the jewel was stolen from?

Henry: Yes. She was the curator there for a while before she vanished.

Ryder: And you’ve been looking for her since then.

Henry: No. No, that day wasn’t the day she was taken from me. That was something else entirely.

Kelly: What happened?

Henry sighs and leans more comfortably on the desk.

Henry, crossing his arms: This was the day before the invasion, when those alien creatures came out of that glowing hole in the sky. Gah… It’s like a bad memory pressed into my brain. I can’t get it out of my head… even when I try to forget it even happened. I visited her at the museum. I wanted to surprise her. But as it turned out, I was the one getting the surprise of his life. I watched as they took her away. I was knocked out for a moment. I thought I lost her but I followed the clues and it turned out they were making some sort of laboratory underground, in the back of Central Park. I followed them there and saw them experimenting on her. They used the jewel that she had with her as some sort of lens. I know they weren’t Human but I could still tell they were improvising with what they had around them. I assumed they were a splinter group, that tore away from the main ones that were planning to invade Manhattan.

Ryder: So they experimented on her… was she- I mean, did she become… like them?

Henry: No, no. I- uh- I stopped the experiment. I didn’t care about the risk, I just- ...I just wanted her back, safe. But, I wound up causing an accident. The aliens died, at least I think they did. I saw a couple of bodies but I didn’t really care at the time. She was my main concern. She survived the experiment and took the jewel with her as I took her out of there. And when we came out… well, it was like watching the apocalypse happen all over again.

Ryder: Sorry to break up the backstory here but what does this have to do with the jewel.

Henry: Well, there’s a reason why they call it a backstory, sport. If I just straight up told you, you’d be asking what’s so important about the jewel. (sigh) Anyways, turns out the experiment had some lasting effects. She began to mutate. It got worse with each passing day. I tried to help her in every way I could. I even used up most of the fortune I acquired from my PI jobs but it seemed money wasn’t the answer. It got so worse than she couldn’t be seen by anyone otherwise they’d call the MCA to pick her up.

Kelly: ...So she left the museum with you.

Henry: Yeah… We were planning on running away together. But we didn’t really know where to go. So we just laid low and had each other for company. That was until someone found out about her condition. When I returned to the apartment, she was gone. There were signs of a struggle all over the place. I knew she was taken from me yet again. Except this time, there was nothing that I could have done to save her. I’ve been searching for her for months! But to no end. That is… until I heard about the missing jewel.

Ryder: The only link between you and your wife.

Henry: Exactly. I figured the only people that know about the jewel was me and her. So if someone stole it, they must have heard about it from her which means the kidnappers are the ones who had stolen the jewel. The fragments you found confirm my theory.

Kelly: And they used Blood Drive to move her.

Henry: I was almost hoping not to find her there considering…

Kelly: I’m sure she’s fine.

Henry: I appreciate it but that’s just conjecture. This case won’t be solved with good vibes. We need solid evidence.

Kelly: So do we do?

Ryder: We find his wife, obviously.

Henry: But I thought-

Ryder: That’s the thing, Henry. I don’t care what you think. I don’t care that you’re richer than me, more popular than me, or even a better person than me. The only thing I care about, right now, is the case at hand.

Henry: Huh… I guess I was wrong about you.

Ryder: You say that as if you know me.

Henry: I did know you, Ryder. But I think I know you better now. So… you’re going to help with solve this case?

Ryder: Yeah. I can’t exactly do this alone.

Kelly: I can help… if you want.

Ryder: As thoughtful as that is, I meant I can’t solve it with just the resources I have. (to Henry) You’ve been looking over this case for months now, Henry. You have more evidence and research on this than anyone. And I have my own files and perspective. We put our resources together and we just might be able to find your wife and the people that took her and that jewel.

Henry: To find her, I’d do anything. But this could be fun.

Henry flashes a smile at Ryder before turning off to the file cabinets. Ryder watches him walk off before turning to Kelly with a certain look on his face. Kelly shrugs in response and puts her gun away. The scene then fades to a moment later where both Henry and Ryder are looking over case files together while also conversing with one another. They pass some files to one another while Kelly goes over the evidence they had both collected. The scene fades again to another moment later, showing Ryder on his laptop while Henry lays on the couch. Ryder seems to be asking him something but Henry keeps shaking his head. The moment fades once again- this time into a flashback scene. The office now fades into another office- an earlier variation of Henry’s office. A woman stands by the clear desk, getting her bag ready. Henry comes up behind her and puts his hands around her waist. She lets out a soft chuckle as Henry leans in, kissing her softly on her neck.

Woman: Come on, you might get a client.

Henry: Don’t care, not when you’re here with me.

Woman: That might explain why you haven’t gotten any business in a while.

Henry: Hey, I’m- I’m working on it, Veronica.

Veronica: Heh. Well, while you work on it, I’ll be the one giving us a stable income.

Henry: By the way, how’s work been going?

Veronica: Good, actually. I think I’m on the verge of a discovery. It might take me awhile to get it acquired for the museum but, I think it’s an investment that’ll bring plenty of attention to the museum again.

Henry: Look at you. Ms. Perfect.

Veronica: That’s Mrs. Perfect, to you.

They share a chuckle before kissing each other passionately. Veronica works herself out of Henry’s grasp and pulls away with a soft smile. She bites her lip gently then turns away, grabbing her bag from the desk.

Veronica: You know, you should come and visit me at work, just to see for yourself.

Henry: Yeah… I’ll get around to it one of these days.

Veronica: And by then, even the museum will become a piece of history.

Veronica heads for the door and turns back to Henry with a smile.

Veronica: So. Date night tonight?

Henry, leaning against the desk with a smug smile: We do date night every night.

Veronica tilts her head in a cutesy style.

Veronica: And that’s why you love me.

She flashes another smile before pulling open the door to the office and leaving out into the apartment hallway. The door closes behind her and Henry remains at the desk, looking at- shaking his head. He then turns his attention to the secondary desk and reaches his hand out, grabbing something. He lifts his hand up, into view, showing a pair of keys in his hands.

Henry: (sigh) Every time…

Henry pushes off from the desk and approaches the door. Out in the hallway, the door opens and Henry steps out. He turns to the elevator and sees some yellow tape over it. He tilts his head and bears his teeth.

Henry: Seriously? Come on, man…

He then turns to the stairwell and rushes down the flight of stairs. However, the further he goes down, the slower his pace becomes as some voices are heard below.

Voice: And that’s all you know?

Another Voice: That’s all! That’s all! Come on, man, why can’t you just leave me alone.

Voice: I’m just doing my job.

Henry looks over the railing and sees Ryder talking to a man standing by an open doorway of one of the apartment rooms.

Henry, quietly, to himself: Jay?

Ryder: So you haven’t seen him?

Jay: How many times do I have to keep telling you this? I’m turning over a new leaf here! I got people helping me out.

Ryder: (scoffs) Come on, Jay, I know you better than that. Quit with the bullshit.

Jay: I’m serious, Ryder. I’m not in the mercenary life anymore.

Ryder: I don’t know about that. I feel like once someone is a merc, they’re always a merc.

Jay: Look, you came here for information. And I gave you information. Now I’d rather not have this conversation here anymore. So please, can you just- (sigh)

Ryder: Yeah, well, just watch your back. I hear mercenaries are dropping like flies lately.

Jay: For fucks sake, man, you’re supposed to be a PI, Ryder! And now you’re threatening me?!

Ryder: Just giving you a little warning… in case you get tired of honest living.

Ryder turns off to walk down the stairs, but just as he does, he looks up- seeing Henry watching him for a second or two. Henry and Ryder exchange stares before Ryder continues down the stairs. Henry turns to Jay and sees him looking over at Henry. Jay lets out a long sigh and turns to enter his room once again, closing the door behind him. Henry remains of the stairwell, looking out with a thoughtful expression. The view then pans towards the left of the stairwell before fading off back to the present in the Ryder Investigations office. Ryder and Henry are both hovering over a map laid out on the desk. Kelly leans against the side of the couch, sipping some coffee from a cup secured in both her hands.

Ryder: So based on that report, the last time she was in the city was on Blood Drive.

Henry: Yeah, Blood Drive. But based on your records following kidnapping records, there are signs that they lead outside of the city.

Ryder: But there are some cases that could indicate that they’re still in New York.

Henry picks up a folder at the corner of the desk and goes through it- up to a certain file.

Henry: Right, right. Like that Barnes case about the kidnapped father.

Ryder turns quickly to Henry as he mentions the name. His eyes fix on the folder and he snatches it from Henry’s hands.

Ryder: Come on, man, haven’t you ever heard of client discretion?

Henry: Sorry, sorry. Guess I’m still getting used to sharing evidence or all that.

Ryder places the folder on another corner of the desk, one closer to Kelly. She eyes the folder for a brief moment before looking away- sipping her coffee again.

Henry: So you think she’s still in the city somewhere?

Ryder: Maybe but you might have been onto something. Take a look at this.

Ryder moves away from the map and walks over the filing cabinets. He pulls open a drawer and reaches in- towards the back- pulling out a thick folder, held together by an old rubber band.

Ryder drops the folder against the desk.

Henry: What’s that?

Kelly: Yeah, I went through the drawers you said were okay to go through and I didn’t find that.

Ryder: That’s because it wasn’t in the drawer. It was a hidden compartment in the back.

Henry: You have filing cabinets with hidden compartments?

Ryder: Says the private investigator with gold trimmed business cards.

Ryder’s eyebrow crocks up as a slight smile appears on his face. Henry looks away, fixing his hair.

Henry: Anyways, back to the folder at hand, please.

Ryder: Right… this folder contains information about Mutant abductions.

Henry: Like the invasion? Like what happened to my wife?

Ryder: Partially. It’s mostly for abductions long before then.

Kelly: When did you compile something like that?

Ryder: It’s a long story. Most of the information was given to me by someone else. The main thing that matters, right now, is that-

Ryder unwraps the rubber band around the folder and goes through the files, bagged evidence and photographs. He pulls out one file and places it on the desk for the others to see.

Ryder: There’s a file- this file here- that talks about a few Mutant sightings- people with powers- that sort of thing. A lot of them seem to be going into a certain area of the Bronx. The Wetlands.

Henry: What’s out there?

Ryder: Nothing, as far as I’m aware of. But according to your evidence, we might just find our next lead out there.

Henry: Well, then let’s go. Every second we delay, something could be happening to my Veronica.

Kelly: Relax. We agreed to help you and we’re going to do just that. Right, Ryder?

Ryder: ...Yeah. That’s what we do.

Ryder smiles and turns to Kelly, who beams back at him. The scene then cuts over to later on, where some kind of facility is seen, lit from the interior of the place, built over the wetlands. The foundation looks almost similar to a zoo. There’s a wooden porch with a small set of the steps reaching the grassy grounds.

 
Bronx Wetlands
December 28, 05:21 EDT

A lean man in a unbuttoned, white shirt looks out over the railing. An armed man in some padded armor walks over to the man.

Armed Man: Yo, we got a problem!

Man: I’m not too interested in what you call a problem.

Armed Man: It’s serious this time. That… thing in there, it’s just acting crazy. George got thrown across the place. I think he needs a hospital or something!


The man lets out a sigh and fixes his hair. He turns to the armed man and pushes himself away from the railing.

Man: Do you know who I am?

Armed Man: Uh-

Man: Answer me! Do you know who I am?

Armed Man: You’re Richard Bates, you’re an ex-poacher… like us.

Bates: No, no. Not like you. Better than you. That’s why I’m the leader, and you follow me around and do what I say.

Armed Man: Look man, I don’t have to put up with your shit anymore. If that thing comes for me, I’ll-

Bates: You’ll what? Run back home to the poachers? Do you even remember why we left in the first place or did you just forget everything we worked so hard for?

Armed Man: You said we’d be better off without them. We trusted you.

Bates: And we’re in a good place now. We have the ultimate payoff… not to mention the hostages. With them, we can score whenever and wherever. We’ll wind up way better than those jackasses that we left. Now, aren’t you grateful that you had me to lead you to victory?

Armed Man: Y-Yeah. I guess so.

Bates gives him a stern look.

Armed Man: I mean, I know so.

Bates: Good, see? That’s good. Now get the fuck back in there and back sure it’s settled down.

The armed man nods and turns to walk back inside. Bates leans back against the railing and sighs deeply.

Bates: Fucking idiots…

The scene cuts over to another part of the wetlands, where the facility can be spotted in the short distance. A car drives up, hidden by the forestation. Henry and Ryder soon exit the car in the middle of the Wetlands.

Ryder: Are you sure that we’re at the right place?

Henry: I am positive… this is where she was last seen. We pretty much put two and two together back at the office.

Ryder: Alright man. I’m trusting you, so no bullshit got it?

Henry: It’s my wife’s life on the line. If you can’t trust me now, then this operation won’t work.

Ryder grunts and turns to the car, seeing Kelly exiting as well.

Kelly: So, what’s the plan?

Ryder: I’m thinking we take out the guards stealth-like. You think you can manage?

Kelly: Hey, just ‘cause I just got out of the hospital doesn’t mean I’m not ready for a fight.

Ryder chuckles and turns back to Henry.

Ryder: You heard the woman. We’ll knock out the security while you sneak in and bag your wife.

Henry: You couldn’t have put that any other way?

Ryder: Just hurry your ass up already!

Henry: Alright, alright.

Ryder and Kelly move stealthily over to the facility with Henry following behind. The armed guards stand ready with Ryder coming up behind one and grabbing him tightly. He puts the guard into a sleeper hold. The guard, of course, struggles but soon falls unconscious. Ryder turns his head and sees Kelly, kicking the other guard’s leg in, causing him to drop to his knees. Kelly secures her arm around the man’s mouth- silencing his grunt- as he drops to her height range. She then tazes the guard in the neck with her taser, knocking him out. She then gently lowers his body and nods to Ryder as she does so. Ryder turns and nods over to Henry, who was hiding behind a tree. Henry nods back and sneaks ahead of them, moving into the facility. Ryder then moves up the stairs and goes inside with Kelly at his side.

Kelly: Well, that went smoothly.

Ryder: We still have to find this guy’s wife and make sure none of these guys spot us- otherwise we’ll be dealing with a storm of bullets probably.

Kelly: I was just trying to be optimistic.

Ryder: Well, sorry for my realistic viewpoint on things.

Some groaning can be heard in the distance.

Ryder: Wait, did you hear that?

Kelly: Sounds like someone… or something. Do you think it’s a Mutant?

Ryder: I wouldn’t be surprised. Just keep your guard up.

Kelly: I always do. I wouldn’t be a good officer if I didn’t.

Kelly takes the lead on this one, surpassing Ryder. He looks as if to say something but apparently lets it slide. He follows, sneakily, behind Kelly as they continue further into the chamber. As they turn the corner, Kelly points her gun ahead and looks ahead of her. Her eyes widen softly as her gun lowers.

Kelly: Oh…

Ryder stands up and looks around. In the room, there are several cages- varying from small to medium sizes- in which people are be seen inside. As Ryder approaches them, the people turn to him, grabbing at the bars and watching the two of them look around. Some of them let out whimpers and groans- as if trying to speak. Some have dried up injuries and are covered with dirt marks among other things.

Ryder: I guess this is the trafficking ring. They’re not just smuggling people…

Ryder turns to one cage, seeing a Human Mutant with white fur- its hands bound in metallic cuffs connected to a cage that is attached to the cage.

Ryder: They’re moving around Mutants too. Human Mutants.

Kelly: That’s not a complete surprise. After all, after the Invasion, there were a crazy amount of Human Mutants that used to be alien soldiers or something. We’re still not clear on the details exactly.

Ryder: Well, the rescue mission just got a little more complicated. Now we have to get all of these guys out of here without being spotted… and that’s just impossible- even for me. I’m a PI, not a SWAT team member.

Kelly: We’ll have to call for back-up. I can get the police down here within half an hour.

Ryder: We’re not in Manhattan. It’ll take a while to get all the way out here. Besides, this isn’t exactly a police matter.

Kelly: Then… you’re not suggesting-

Ryder: Look, we don’t exactly have a lot of options here. There are plenty of Human Mutants here. They’re scared, beaten and caged up. We let them out and we’ll have a lot on our plate. This isn’t the objective here, all we can do is help them some other way. And that way is by calling someone who knows what they’re doing when it comes to stuff like this.

Kelly: Right… The MCA.

Ryder: I’m sure they can figure out this whole situation and deal with the people responsible accordingly. Plus with their Jumpjets, they’ll be here in no time.

Shots are then heard being fired. Muffled yelling then heard shortly afterwards. Then a crashing noise follows after that one. Ryder and Kelly turn to one another after looking in the direction of the first couple of noises. They then rush out of the room and step into the opening, close to the facility entrance. Ahead, they see a larger open space within the facility. There are a couple of armed men firing at a large, moss-covered, swamp-like creature roaring at them. There are large metallic chains around its wrists with chains dangling from them and clattering against each other. The creature swings its arm at the ground, swiping and striking the armed men, causing their guns to fire into the air for a moment. Ryder and Kelly get to cover and watch, from safety, the situation unfold.

Kelly: What the heck is that thing?!

Ryder: No clue, but it doesn’t seem to be taking any sides. Must just be some wild Mutant that broke in. But we can use this as an opportunity to get Henry’s wife out of here and call for help.

Kelly, pointing ahead: Look, there’s Henry now!

Ryder turns his head and follows the direction Kelly’s finger is pointed towards. He then sees Henry with his hands out towards the swamp creature. Bates can also be seen stepping out from behind the creature, a small device in hand- similar to a white receiver. A dark grin sits on his face.

Ryder: The hell is he doing?!

Kelly: No clue, but he could use some help. I’ll go in.

She turns sharply and lets out a groan as she quickly sucks in some air from her tightened lips. She instinctively grabs his arm.

Ryder: You alright?

Kelly: Y-Yeah, yeah. I’m good. I can handle this.

Ryder: Kelly, you’re still healing, you should go and call for help.

Kelly: I said I can handle this Ryder!

Ryder: There are other ways of saving people. You don’t have to always get yourself hurt in order to help them. Go, get some distance away from this and make the call. Get the MCA down here. That’s your way of saving those hostages back there.

Kelly looks down, his eyes shifting back and forth for a moment before his head lifts up and turns back to Ryder. She delivers a strong nod and pushes herself up from the ground- groaning a little as she does so. She then takes off, rushing- carefully- out of the opening. Ryder watches her leave then turns back to the swamp creature, who lets out yet another roar. Ryder clenches his fist and looks at it. He looks up, his eyes starting to brighten and his pupils starting to shrink. He then turns from Bates to Henry. He looks hard at Henry and then back his clenched fist- which is starting to loosen its grip.

Ryder: He’s smarter than I give him credit for… so he can probably figure me out. But that’s a risk I have to take if I don’t want that bog monster to tear him apart.

Ryder regains his tight grip on his clenched fist and throws back his head as his face starts to shift forwards becoming more and more canine-like. Back with Henry, he trips over a loose brick and falls right on his backside. He groans and opens his eyes- which suddenly spring wide open as he rolls to the side, just avoiding a grab from the swamp creature. He gets up and looks at the creature.

Henry: Please! You don’t have to do this!

A swamp creature roars out once again and goes to strike Henry. He stands there, closing his eyes- as if to expect the hit to come. However, Ryder- now in his wolf form- dashes ahead on all fours and leaps up- slashing against the creature’s moss-covered arm with his claws. Some of the moss separates from the creature as it reels its arm back, not especially due to pain but probably surprise. It turns its attention to the wolf creature, which squats down on all fours- ready to pounce and attack again. The swamp creature goes in for another attack but the wolf creature pounces, landing- uneasily- on the creature’s arm and just digs its claws into it. It then begins to tear the arm apart with his claws and teeth. The swamp creature yells out- like a loud, exaggerated and inhuman moan- as it raises its other arm. As the wolf creature continues to gnarl and slash against the arm, its ears perk up. The wolf creature- in mid-bite- turns its head and sees the second arm colliding against the side of its body. The wolf creature crashes down and slams against the brickwork. Henry rushes over to the wolf creature- but keeps his distance. He looks at it quizzically for a brief, few seconds before turning his attention back to the swamp creature. He raises his hands up again, as if trying to calm the creature down.

Henry: Please! Think about this! You don’t have to do any of this! Fight this!

The swamp creature lets out another roar as it holds its head. The wolf creature looks up, as bricks fall off from its body. He leans forward and looks from Henry to the swamp creature to Bates. Its piercing blank eyes then squint. In Bates’ hands, the receiver device becomes more prominent as the wolf’s eyesight keens in on it. The wolf creature’s ears are perk upwards- as a high-pitched sonic frequency can be heard. The wolf creature shakes its head, as its ears descend. It then gets up and crawls into the shadows, moving behind a pillar. The sounds of a low growl turning into a grunt can be heard as Ryder emerges from the other side of the pillar- with fur returning to his regular hair length and claws retracting back into his fingers. Now settled with his transformation, he rushes over to Henry as the swamp creature goes to slam its fists against him. Henry just about trips again but Ryder leaps ahead and tackles him out of the way- just as the fists come down, cracking the brick floor. Ryder then gets off of Henry and moves him over to a pillar so he can lean on.

Ryder: You alright?

Henry: Y-Yeah. Did you see that wolf thing?

Ryder: Yeah… I did.

Henry: It was just hear. I think that was the wolf that’s-

He looks at Ryder for a moment, who averts eye contact with Henry.

Henry: Hang on a second… You-

Ryder: Look, that’s not important right now. What is it important is I think I know what’s going on. See, that guy?

Ryder points over at Bates, who adjusts the receiver. Henry nods as he looks over at him as well.

Ryder: He’s a got receiver or some sort of device that’s emitting a high-pitched frequency. If we can take out the device, he loses control over the creature. Then I can go in for the strike and end this.

Henry: No! You can’t!

Ryder: What are you on about now? I’m trying to give you some leeway so you can get out of here and find your wife, man! That’s the whole reason why we came out here, isn’t it?

Henry: I appreciate it, Ryder, I do but you don’t understand. That swamp creature IS my wife.

The swamp creature lets out of another roar as it maneuvers around the open space, looking around. Ryder and Henry look out from their hiding spot as the lurking creature. Ryder then turns to Henry, quizzically but stern.

Ryder: Wait, really?

Henry: (sigh) Yes.

Ryder: And was she always… y’know?

Henry: No. I already mentioned this, Ryder.

Ryder: Right, right. The jewel and mutation shit got it.

Henry: It’s not.. shit. (sigh) Look, we’ll go with your plan- just try not to hurt her so much.

Ryder: I won’t kill her if that’s what you mean.

Henry: I just assumed that was implied.

Ryder: Assumptions get you killed. Just stick to the plan. I’ll cover you.

Henry: Right.

Henry remains where he is, looking out from behind the pillar, while Ryder just looks at him. Henry glances over and catches his stare. He then turns his head to Ryder and looks confused before realizing something.

Henry: Oh, you meant now now. I just thought you meant, we should-

Ryder: Just go!

Ryder pushes him out from behind the pillar.

Henry: Wah! Wah! Whoa!

Henry catches his balance and turns his head, seeing the swamp creature stop and glance back at him. Henry chuckles nervously before running for it. The swamp creature then roars out and turns to Henry before stomping after him. She raises her moss-covered arm to strike the ground but the wolf creature returns, slamming its entire body against the mid-center of the swamp creature’s body- knocking her off guard and off balance. Henry then runs ahead, towards Bates, who wields the receiver frantically.

Bates, to himself: Ugh… Ugh… For fucks sake- (to Veronica) Forget the wolf thing! Just get the guy! Stop him!

The swamp creature grabs the wolf creature, whom slashes constantly against the swamp creature’s hand. But, the slashes do little against the swamp creature, as the moss seems to grow back with each slash. The swamp creature then throws the wolf creature with a hard pitch. The wolf creature lets out a low whimper as it crashes into the brick work, once again. The swamp creature then returns her attention over to Henry, who is getting closer to Bates. Bates takes the receiver into one hand and reaches for his pistol in the other. Henry hurries along as does the swamp creature who continues to stomp towards the two of them. Just as Bates gets his gun out, Henry raises his knee and slams it into the gun as he moves ahead. Bates’ grip remains on the gun but he lowers it instinctively. Regaining his focus, Bates starts to lift the pistol over to Henry who takes Bates’ arm with both of his hands. Bates fires the pistol but- with Henry holding his arm back- fires at the pillars rather than at Henry himself. Bates then looks down and steps- hard- on Henry’s foot, causing him to reel back in pain. Henry, trying to regain his composure, moves ahead but stops as a clicking is heard. Bates holds the gun properly ahead of him and he aims for Henry.

Bates: Not so fast. I’m getting out of here with this thing and not you or your meddling mutt can stop me.

Henry: That’s not a thing, pal. That’s my wife! Raah!

Henry charges ahead, catching Bates by surprise. However, he still manages to pull the trigger- firing the gun which lodges a bullet into Henry’s shoulder. He yells out in pain as he holds his shoulder. Smoke leaves the barrel of the gun. Bates’ composure returns and he straightens himself out and waves the gun around to fan away the smoke.

Bates: Now what was the point of that? You got shot and I’m still standing.

Henry grunts and winces in pain as he holds his shoulder, leaning forward. He uneasily looks up at Bates, with a hard and strained look on his face. Almost like he’s trying to force a smile through all that pain he’s feeling.

Henry: Y-Yeah? We-Well, heh- I’m still standing too!

Bates starts to aim the gun again but Henry charges ahead, still leaning forward. His head slams against Bates’ stomach and he lifts up and pushes into Bates, knocking him down to the ground. The gun drops from Bates’ hand and scatters onto the ground. Bates looks up as if to respond, only for Henry to strike him in the face- rendering him unconscious. The swamp creature continues to roar as it gets closer and closer to grabbing Henry. Henry quickly reaches down and grabs the receiver from Bates- just as he picked up by the creature. Ryder emerges from the brickwork, holding his head. He looks out and sees the swamp creature slowly raising Henry from the ground.

Ryder: Damn it. Henry!

Ryder rushes ahead, running over to Henry and the swamp creature. Henry looks at the receiver as the swamp creature’s grip tightens around him.

Henry: Okay, I think you just- uh you pull that- no, no- I just gotta- okay, it’s getting kinda hard to breathe… uh- uh- oh screw it!

Henry slams the receiver downwards and lets go as he crashes against the brickwork, breaking into pieces. The high-pitched noise is heard again but then dies out, like it never even existed. The swamp creature then grunts- as if released from a tight hold. Its eyes shift down to Henry, who is in her grasp. She lets out another grunt, a longer one with more meaning behind it. Almost like she’s trying to say something. In fact, it even ends on a questionable tone. Henry looks up at her.

Henry: Yeah, yeah, it’s me. (pause to catch his breath) So… not the greatest of date nights, now is it?

His wife pulls him in for a soft and careful embrace, considering her large size compared to him. Ryder then slowly comes to a stop as he looks up at the two hugging.

Ryder: Well… that’s a sight I never thought I’d see. The swamp creature soon lets her husband down onto the brick wood, carefully. He steps off, holding his shoulder.

Henry, calling up to her: Thanks, sweetpea!

Another meaningful moan/grunt escapes from the swamp creature. She sounds… pleased.

Ryder, noticing Henry’s shoulder: Whoa, you got shot.

Henry: It’s fine. If I don’t think about it, it doesn’t hurt that much.

Ryder: Really?

Henry: No. I’m in serious pain. I don’t think I’m cut out for this kind of work.

Ryder: I don’t know about that. You did a good job accumulating your own evidence. You just need to really make sure you get your hands dirty.

Henry: What? Like you? Taking cases by the day and what? Killing criminals at night?

Ryder: I don’t- uh-

Henry: I figured it out. Come on, I might be a little-

Ryder: Flamboyant?

Henry: What? No! I was going to say easy. Come on, Ryder, I have a wife.

Ryder: I mean she is a vegetable.

Henry: Come on.

Ryder: Wait, would that make you a tree hugger?

Henry: Cut it out.

Ryder: What? I’m just saying.

Henry: Seriously, though. You’re deflecting from the real issue here. The issue being you can change into some kind of frickin’ wolf Mutant thing. I think that’s crazier than having a swamp wife.

Ryder: Is it though? I mean, she’s different… for the rest of her life.

Henry: Yeah, she wasn’t this large and mutated when I last saw her so I have to assum- I mean, deduce that her mutation became finalized while she was held captive here. Gah… I wish I could have found her sooner.

Ryder: That’s not entirely what I meant.

Henry: Oh?

Ryder: I mean… how can you live with something that? Her condition, I mean.

Henry: She’s still Veronica, Ryder. That’s the difference here. When you turn, you become someone else…. Something else. Whatever that thing is... It’s not good. Not for the people around you and not for the people of the city.

Ryder: I have it under control.

Henry: Fine. I won’t pry into your business anymore. You helped me find Veronica so I suppose we’re even here. I’m just trying to be friendly.

Ryder: Yeah, that doesn’t usually work around me. I’m not the friendly type.

Henry: I noticed. (sigh) Come on, Veronica…

Henry turns as if to walk away.

Ryder: W-wait. Henry.

Henry stops and turns back to Ryder.

Ryder: Thanks for the advice… and keeping this to yourself.

Henry: It’s fine, it’s fine. Just… (sigh) Let me just ask this. Does anyone else know?

Ryder: Just one other guy but we’re not exactly on good terms right now… That and a whole bunch of murderers that want me dead.

Henry: Sounds… exciting.

Ryder: It hardly ever isn’t.

Henry: Well, you’ll have to tell Kelly. Sooner or later.

Ryder: She’s not ready to hear it.

Henry: I don’t think anyone would ever be ready to hear that. But she needs to know the truth. And it would be better if she heard it from you. I mean imagine if she found out-

Ryder: She won’t-

Henry: Imagine if she found out from somebody else. After all, you did say that people out to kill you know about it too and that someone you’re not on good terms with also knows. Who is to say that they won’t go to Kelly one of these days.

Ryder looks as if to fight back with more words but he just stops himself and looks down.

Ryder: I’m hoping it doesn’t come down to that. But I guess that’s not good enough, huh?

Henry: Just do what’s best for her. Besides, hope isn’t always a bad thing. I hoped to find Veronica and, well, here we are. So thank you, again, for helping me find her.

Ryder: So, what will you two do now? I doubt she’ll be one to move in to civilization easily.

Henry: No, that’d just be wishful thinking. We’ve been talking about it during her early stages of the mutation. She wants to be somewhere peaceful, where no one would bother her, but she also wants to be close to me so I can see her often.

Ryder: Do you have a place in mind?

Henry, with a smile: I think so. But I suppose, time will tell if it works out for us. Share my thanks with Kelly.

Ryder: Yeah, I’ll catch you around, Henry Adams. It’s been… educational.

Henry: Yeah… maybe we’ll unite forces some other time.

The two chuckle as Henry walks off with Veronica at his side. Kelly then enters the facility and Ryder looks back at her.

Kelly: So, what’d I miss? Did- Did we win? Where’s Henry’s wife? And why is he walking away with the um…

Kelly looks at Ryder who just smiles at her.

Kelly: What? ...Wait, no. That’s not-

Ryder: Yeah.

Kelly: But that means-

Ryder: Yep.

Kelly: So that’s really-

Ryder: Yes.

Kelly: Whoa. He wasn’t kidding about that mutation.

Ryder glances off and walks down into a hallway. In the hallway, he can see machinery set up.

Kelly, walking away him: What’s all this?

Ryder: I don’t know, some kind of machinery. Looks like they were doing something to Mutants, maybe making them more powerful or something…

He checks one of the compartments and finds the jewel inside.

Ryder: Bingo!

Ryder tosses the jewel to Kelly, who fumbles with it for a moment before getting a hold of it.

Kelly: Really?!

Ryder: What? I knew you could handle it.

Ryder checks another compartment and finds a container with some kind of substance inside, a familiar substance, at that. Ryder looks over it carefully before removing it.

Kelly, noticing the container: Hey, I think I’ve seen that before.

Ryder: Really? Where?

Kelly: Uh- during an investigation.

Ryder: Right… Well, this shouldn’t be in the hands of rogue Mutant poachers. I’m guessing they’re dealing with some pretty messed up folks.

An approaching engine can be heard.

Kelly, looking up: Looks like the cavalry has arrived. We should probably stay and give a detailed report on what happened down here.

Ryder, looking at the container again: Yeah, yeah, we could do that. (places the container down) Or… we could leave and act like we were never here.

Kelly: But why would we do that? We don’t have anything to hide.

Ryder: No, but do you really want to spend the rest of the night filing paperwork for the MCA or grabbing a bite to eat with yours truly.

Kelly sighs and rolls her eyes before looking back at Ryder. He smirks at her with a charismatic smile that soon breaks through his armor, causing her to slowly smile too.

Kelly: Alright, alright. But you’re paying this time.

Ryder: Do you think they’ll take jewels?

Kelly: Ryder!

Ryder: I’m only messing around. We’ll turn this in when the sun comes up. Right now, I want some burritos.

The two of them start to walk off, the same way Henry and Veronica did, and head out of the facility.

Credits

After the credits, a bar can be seen in the darkness of the night at the corner of a street block. The neon sign overhead reads, “Bancroft Bar”.

 
Bancroft Bar
December 27, 22:43 EDT

Inside, there are quite a few patrons seated and enjoying their drinks at their seats. There are actually a few wooden tables out on the floor and some booths at the side. At the actual bar, itself, there appears to be a man in a business suit, drinking a pint of beer. He chugs down and slams the glass against the counter. He sighs and runs his hand through his black, messy hair. He then turns his head and sees a young woman with a grey hair seated all the way at the end of the bar. She’s drinking a scotch. The man looks over at her with easy eyes and decides to get up from his seat and uneasily make his way over to hers.

Man: Hey…

The woman focuses on her drink but then glances slowly over at the man with her sharp yet delicate eyes. She sets her drink down and turns to the man.

Woman: Hey.

Man: Look, I just saw you all the way down here and thought… maybe you could use some company.

Woman: Maybe I just wanted to be all by my lonesome self.

Man: Huh, guess I never considered that.

Woman: I’m dealing with plenty of thoughts in mind… maybe some company is what I need after all.

The man chuckles to himself as he sits down next the woman. She watches him carefully with her eyes as he sloppily looks her over. She’s very a short and revealing black dress.

Man: So, what kind of ideas did you have in mind?

Woman: Not ideas, per-say. Just general thoughts.

Man: Uh huh…

Woman: I’m considering something different with my profession. I want to run away actually but I don’t know where to go or who to do it with. Do you ever get these feelings?

Man: All the time. I work at this stupid firm and just do all these meaningless meetings and junk like that. This place is where I run away to.

Woman: But there has to be something more, right? A place you’d like to visit or a person you want to spend the rest of your life with.

Man: I’m more a now person rather than a later person. I think about the person I want to spend the rest of the night with, if you know what I mean.

He lets out a laugh before a hiccup comes along. The woman looks down for a moment before looking up at the bartender.

Woman: Give him another beer, would you?

The bartender nods and gets right to it. The man looks a little confused as he turns from the bartender to the woman. She leans towards him from her stool- which just tips a little off from the floor. She places her hands on the edges of his stool and looks straight into his eyes.

Woman: How about we take this one to go? Maybe a little distraction can get these crazy thoughts out of my mind, hm?

The man nods eagerly. The woman cheerfully giggles before reeling back. She turns to the side and adjusts her silver bracelet. The bartender then extends his arm out, beer in hand. The man wobbles in his seat as he reaches for it but the woman takes it from the bartender.

Woman: Here, let me get that for you.

Man: Heh, thanks. You sure make yourself pretty handy. Heh.

Woman: Oh you have no idea.

She hands the beer glass over to the man who takes it into his hand. He drinks it down and slams the glass against the counter.

Woman: Hmph. I’ll get my coat, I think it’s going to rain tonight.

She slides her legs off of the stool and gently rises up onto her feet. She then glides her hand across the man’s shoulder as she walks behind him.

Woman: Hope you enjoyed the beer, Fred.

The woman walks sensually off to the door. Fred smiles but, as if something had clicked inside of him, his expression changes and he turns to the woman.

Fred: Wait, how did you know my name was-

Before he can finish his sentence, Fred starts to choke on his own words. He reaches for his throat but finds his movements to become more and more stiffened. Soon, he drops from the stool and slams against the floor. His face begins to turn grey as his veins puff outwards and shift to a more blue tone. His eyes fixate ahead on the woman strutting away but his view becomes more diluted by the person rushing over to him. She grabs a silver cloak from the coat hanger and turns to Fred with a smile as she pushes the door open. Fred tries speaking, but it comes out as more choking noises. Two men in dark suits and sunglasses rush over to Fred, to check on him. One of them turns to the door, seeing the woman leave, and readies his gun. He bolts through the door, gun out, but no one else is out there on the empty street. Thunder erupts softly overhead as the thug in the business suit looks around. The view raises slowly to a nearby roof as rain starts to pour down. On the roof’s ledge, the woman can be seen watching the bar from below with her silver cloak blowing in the wind.

Cabal Leader, over her comms: Is now a bad time?

Woman: Hm… you know I always have time for you, Boss.

Cabal Leader, over her comms: There’s going to be another meeting soon. Get in as soon as you can. It’s about Ryder.

Woman: Be there soon.

She adjusts her bracelet again, which now shows a needle- dripping with a colorless substance from its end. With her adjustment, the needle shoots back into her bracelet and she looks ahead; lightning striking behind her as her determined look slowly shifts into a minatory smirk.

Notable Events

Major Events

  • Henry is reunited with his wife, Veronica, once again

Minor Events

  • Henry and Veronica learn of Ryder's secret
  • The Cabal plan on having another meeting on how to defeat Ryder

Characters

Villains

  • Rogue Mutant Poachers (First Appearance)
    • Richard Bates (First Appearance)

Allusions

  • Henry Adams’ surname is a reference towards Douglas Adams
  • The name of Henry’s wife, Veronica, is a reference towards Veronica Mars.
  • When Ryder says, “I should go.” David responds with “You sound like a captain rushing off somewhere.” This is an allusion towards Shepherd's closing dialogue from Mass Effect.

Trivia

  • Henry’s character was inspired by Ralph Digby from The Flash.
  • Veronica’s character was based on Man-Thing from Marvel Comics.
  • Special thanks to TheThreeEds21 for reading and checking the dialogue for this episode and also thanks to UltiVerse for bringing up these dialogue issues to begin with.
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